Topics

City/Town Government

Updated: About That State Police Report on Cranston

Fact checking Governor Raimondo’s use of the State Police’s 2015 report on the Cranston police department suggests she ought to be careful about accusations of political corruption.


Donna Cook: Edwardses’ Effect on Taxes and Regulations

Tiverton resident Donna Cook notes that the General Assembly is too willing to impose difficulties on working Rhode Islanders while the Town Council is happy to put taxpayer dollars under its control.


Bristol-Warren Teachers Union’s Coercive Deception

The teachers union covering Bristol-Warren is sending out letters warning teachers that they’ll lose certain rights and have to pay new fees if they exercise their right not to join, but those claims (and perhaps the letter itself) don’t appear to match the contract or the law.


Back to top



Civil Rights

“Publick Occurrences” – The Fundamentals: Patriotism & Faith

As part of the recent Providence Journal sponsored “Publick Occurrences” panel discussion at RI College, I’d like to share some thoughts I prepared, but did not have the chance to put forth. The event’s premise – “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?” and the polarization of public discourse – leaves us two factors to consider:


Going Nuclear on the Second Amendment

Arguments about the proper interpretation of the Constitution don’t often enough acknowledge that it can be amended.


Bristol-Warren Teachers Union’s Coercive Deception

The teachers union covering Bristol-Warren is sending out letters warning teachers that they’ll lose certain rights and have to pay new fees if they exercise their right not to join, but those claims (and perhaps the letter itself) don’t appear to match the contract or the law.


Back to top



Congress

Political Monday with John DePetro: Intentions and Perceptions

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about the performances of Cicilline in a Congressional hearing, Raimondo and Brown campaigning, and Captain Trillo.

Open post for full audio.


Cicilline, Strzok, and Where We Are as a Country

Congressman David Cicilline manages to capture exactly the divide in our cold Civil War.


A Gift to Rhode Island Families: The Federal ‘Tax Cuts & Jobs Act’

On behalf of the Center, I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! Recently, Rhode Island families have received a gift… the “Tax Cuts & Jobs Act” has passed federally.


Back to top



Culture & Family

To Join or Not? Public Workers Have A Choice

At the Center, we believe that public workers deserve to know that they now have full freedom to decide whether or not it is in their best interest to pay union dues. That if they choose not to pay, these employees cannot be recriminated against by corrupt union officials.


Trillo, Mattiello, the Bully Justin, and the Question of Our Day

However we feel about Joe Trillo or his recent behavior, the story of his 1975 altercation raises questions about the kind of society that we want to be.


The Feeling of Society When the Cultural Seasons Change

The madness of our time may result from the general public’s “whoa, there” response to progressives who’ve forgotten the keys of their incremental strategy.


Back to top



Economy

Luxury as a Tax on the Rich

From Ancient Rome to the modern day, spending on luxuries is like a valve for wealth, or a voluntary tax paid by the rich, as Edward Gibbon put it.


Keeping Perspective on School Safety

If we apply just a little bit of reasonable perspective to the issue of school safety, filling them with paid guards begins to look like less wise of an idea.


August 2018 Employment: Cooling Already?

The number of Rhode Islanders who say they are employed is still going up, but a one-month job loss and slowing of the rate at which new people enter the job market raise concerns that the boom is already cooling.


Back to top



Education

The Challenge of Getting Back to Basics in Education

Our education conundrum: We’ve layered too much mere stuff in the system and created too many incentives for people to advocate against reform.


The Environment in Which We Train the Future’s Leaders

On the American campus, Catholics are forced out of their jobs in the name of presenting a diversity of ideas while hoax papers are published because academics really do believe that identity politics can tell us about the physical universe.


Keeping Perspective on School Safety

If we apply just a little bit of reasonable perspective to the issue of school safety, filling them with paid guards begins to look like less wise of an idea.


Back to top



Energy & Environment

Alarm Versus Denial and Experience of a Hot Summer

Providence may have had a hot August, but that’s no exactly a sign of impending doom.


Another Lesson in Autocracy and Fake News on the Environment

Somehow, the Providence Journal transforms an environment proposal of the Trump administration from a reduction in emissions to a massive increase.


Keep the Solar Rabbit Hole Local

Residents who think giving the state more influence over local zoning when it comes to solar farms may discover that the bigger muscles of the bigger government pull in a direction they don’t like.


Back to top



Gambling

Donna Cook: Edwardses’ Effect on Taxes and Regulations

Tiverton resident Donna Cook notes that the General Assembly is too willing to impose difficulties on working Rhode Islanders while the Town Council is happy to put taxpayer dollars under its control.


Last Impressions Podcast Episode 16: The Light of the World

Awards, earned and maybe not yet earned; Fight Club; Twin River; and it’s my birthday.

Open post for full audio


Tiverton Casino: Live by the Government, Die by the Government

Thanks to efforts to restrict the development of a piece of land in Tiverton, a government casino and hotel became its best use.


Back to top



General Assembly

Car Inspections and “Why Do We Live in This State?”

The absurdity of Rhode Island’s computerized car-inspection regime points to the desperate need for us to figure out what boundaries government should be allowed to impose on our behavior.


The Biggest Part of the PawSox Issue Is Not Being Discussed

Rhode Island politics have been messing things up for Rhode Islanders for decades, but by messing things up for the PawSox, they’ve finally gotten something right.


Truck Tolls: *Sigh* No, Peter and Gene, We Cannot Conclude that Truck Drivers Support Them

Every Thursday morning, as you probably know, WPRO’s Gene Valicenti hosts RIDOT Director Peter Alviti on the WPRO Morning News for a half hour plus segment. (Yeah, I know, I find it annoying, too.) Alviti takes questions from callers and spends a significant amount of air time promoting Governor Gina Raimondo’s wasteful, unnecessary, highly damaging RhodeWorks toll scheme.

On July 19, Alviti ratcheted it up a notch by involving his host.


Back to top



Government

To Join or Not? Public Workers Have A Choice

At the Center, we believe that public workers deserve to know that they now have full freedom to decide whether or not it is in their best interest to pay union dues. That if they choose not to pay, these employees cannot be recriminated against by corrupt union officials.


Car Inspections and “Why Do We Live in This State?”

The absurdity of Rhode Island’s computerized car-inspection regime points to the desperate need for us to figure out what boundaries government should be allowed to impose on our behavior.


Abuse and Statutes of Limitation: Keeping Our Hands on the Guardrails of Values and Justice

The emotions raised by an abuse scandal in another state shouldn’t lead us to discard careful consideration of our values and justice.


Back to top



Governor

Updated: About That State Police Report on Cranston

Fact checking Governor Raimondo’s use of the State Police’s 2015 report on the Cranston police department suggests she ought to be careful about accusations of political corruption.


More Detail on the WPRI Poll

The first-glance interpretation of WPRI’s latest poll could lead candidates to choose strategies that a deeper analysis proves flawed.


Political Monday with John DePetro: After the Primary

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, recapping and analyzing results from the primary.

Open post for full audio.


Back to top



Healthcare

The Common Goals of the Governor and the Labor Union Versus Home Care Workers

The SEIU has pledged to help reelect Gina Raimondo win election; how much is she willing to do to help the SEIU win its own election with home-care workers?


Insurance and Society When We’re Deliberately Less Accurate

A Canadian man’s belief that he is female (defined as “somebody who pays less for car insurance”) raises the question of what cost there might be to banning accurate descriptions of each other.


Getting to the Key Question on Drug Prices

When a drug price rockets like Venezuelan inflation, civic society is apparently not well tuned to figure out the problem.


Back to top



History

“Publick Occurrences” – The Fundamentals: Patriotism & Faith

As part of the recent Providence Journal sponsored “Publick Occurrences” panel discussion at RI College, I’d like to share some thoughts I prepared, but did not have the chance to put forth. The event’s premise – “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?” and the polarization of public discourse – leaves us two factors to consider:


Cable Street and the Facially Fascist

Comparing the Battle of Cable Street with today’s Antifa attacks would be a good lesson in critical thinking, if our education system were keen on teaching that skill.


Abraham Glazer: My First Visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

A visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum teaches lessons about evil and humanity, especially in contrast with the memorials to humanity’s highest ideals elsewhere in Washington, D.C.


Back to top



Immigration

Progressive Cranston Action Network Holds Pro-Illegal Immigration Rally Outside Cranston City Hall

Under thirty people rallied in front of Cranston City Hall on Monday evening to protest Mayor Allan Fung’s campaign promise to side with Rhode Island families over prisoners who have illegally immigrated to the United States when elected Governor.


Political Monday with John DePetro: Hidden Rhode Islanders, Hidden Candidates

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, the topic was a Census immigration question and a quiet gubernatorial debate.

Open post for full audio.


Binding Up the Immigration Issue with Heartstrings

Jorge Garcia’s story brings out the battle between illegal aliens and fluffy animals.


Back to top



Infrastructure

An Analogy for Lack of School Building Maintenance

A crucial addition to Dan McGowan’s metaphor for lapsing school repairs.


Political Monday with John DePetro: A Long Ride on a Short Bridge

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about the politics of bridge traffic and the competitiveness of primaries and Providence mayorality.

Open post for full audio.


Truck Tolls: *Sigh* No, Peter and Gene, We Cannot Conclude that Truck Drivers Support Them

Every Thursday morning, as you probably know, WPRO’s Gene Valicenti hosts RIDOT Director Peter Alviti on the WPRO Morning News for a half hour plus segment. (Yeah, I know, I find it annoying, too.) Alviti takes questions from callers and spends a significant amount of air time promoting Governor Gina Raimondo’s wasteful, unnecessary, highly damaging RhodeWorks toll scheme.

On July 19, Alviti ratcheted it up a notch by involving his host.


Back to top



Legislation

Abuse and Statutes of Limitation: Keeping Our Hands on the Guardrails of Values and Justice

The emotions raised by an abuse scandal in another state shouldn’t lead us to discard careful consideration of our values and justice.


Next/Last Round of Toll Gantries: Raimondo Administration Solicits Public Comment on an UNFINISHED Environmental Assessment

A couple of weeks ago, Governor Gina Raimondo’s Department of Transportation announced the locations of the balance of ten toll gantries and released an Environmental Assessment [PDF] of them. They also announced that hearings to take questions and comments on the E.A. would occur in three locations on July 27 – tonight, as a matter of fact.

Yes, that’s right, RIDOT is holding public hearings on a very significant project on a summer Friday evening. Quite similar in spirit, as a matter of fact, to the scheduling and location of the hearing for the first Environmental Assessment – in that case, two days before Thanksgiving hard by a cow pasture in South County so remote, the cows themselves need GPS to get there.


Wasted Opportunity – 2019 Budget Graded “D-” by the Center

When will Rhode Island’s political leaders remember of the real needs of families? Despite a large and unexpected revenue windfall and clear policy lesson, resulting from the recent federal tax and regulatory cuts, Rhode Island’s General Assembly has wasted an opportunity for reform and, instead, are seeking to maintain the status quo in the FY2019 Budget.


Back to top



Media

Thoughts on the Local News Media Market

More layoffs at the Providence Journal bring into view two paths down which the local media could go… and they’ll probably choose the wrong one.


Rowing the Cover Up Narrative with a Broken Ohr

As the election draws nearer, the news media is going farther and farther in its attempt to keep the Trump-Russia narrative alive in the minds of true believers.


A Broken News Story and the Social Media Panopticon

We’d do well to develop social standards for how we handle indiscretions online and whether we help fights to deescalate or whip them up into a violent frenzy.


Back to top



Musings & Announcements

“Publick Occurrences” – The Fundamentals: Patriotism & Faith

As part of the recent Providence Journal sponsored “Publick Occurrences” panel discussion at RI College, I’d like to share some thoughts I prepared, but did not have the chance to put forth. The event’s premise – “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?” and the polarization of public discourse – leaves us two factors to consider:


Finding a Word for the New Ennui

What do adults call this feeling of boredom with all the tasks that must be done?


The Day After the Anniversary

The persistence of that old 9/11 feeling and a reminder of long-ago friends raises thoughts about balancing what is there now with what used to be.


Back to top



National Security

Media Language and a Virtue-Signaling Lie

A small example of political “news” can illustrate the language by which journalists promote partisan and ideological positions.


An “Adaptive” System of Leaks Depends on Trust and Consequences

Journalists who support leaks have a point about their value as a safety valve for government abuse, but that safety valve requires that the consequences for breaking the law be real.


Never-Trump Right Gets Us to the Hub of the Matter

When it comes to Don Junior’s meeting with a Russian lawyer, it seems a lot of the key questions, the “and so”s, are being left out of the arguments.


Back to top



On a Lighter Note

Finding a Word for the New Ennui

What do adults call this feeling of boredom with all the tasks that must be done?


Harry Potter and Muggle Fly-Over Country’s Conservative Stories

The Harry Potter novels are in some regards liberal wish fulfillment, not only that magic exists, and not only that the elect can be whisked away to an exclusive world, but also that we can ignore the obvious and profess progressive beliefs.


Last Impressions Podcast Episode 19: The Tides of Liberty and Attraction

What is government for? What turns me off about libertarianism, and what turns some men on about lesbianism? And a poetic response.

Open post for full audio.


Back to top



Pensions

Fire the Providence School Bus Drivers’ Union

Justin says, “Fire the Providence School Bus Drivers”. Maybe. Fire their union, the Teamsters? Absolutely.

What Teamsters Local 251 are trying to do to the drivers – whose best interest they supposedly represent – borders on criminal. It WOULD be criminal if they had a fiduciary role with regard to their members’ retirement.


The Circling Pension Comet

The government pension problem hasn’t gone away; it’s just gone quiet for a while, during which time, politicians are working to ensure that nobody ever notices it again.


The Next Pension Crisis Approaches

Beware the gathering clouds of state pension fund “endangered status.”


Back to top



Political Theory

Trillo, Mattiello, the Bully Justin, and the Question of Our Day

However we feel about Joe Trillo or his recent behavior, the story of his 1975 altercation raises questions about the kind of society that we want to be.


The Feeling of Society When the Cultural Seasons Change

The madness of our time may result from the general public’s “whoa, there” response to progressives who’ve forgotten the keys of their incremental strategy.


The Environment in Which We Train the Future’s Leaders

On the American campus, Catholics are forced out of their jobs in the name of presenting a diversity of ideas while hoax papers are published because academics really do believe that identity politics can tell us about the physical universe.


Back to top



Politics

To Join or Not? Public Workers Have A Choice

At the Center, we believe that public workers deserve to know that they now have full freedom to decide whether or not it is in their best interest to pay union dues. That if they choose not to pay, these employees cannot be recriminated against by corrupt union officials.


Trillo, Mattiello, the Bully Justin, and the Question of Our Day

However we feel about Joe Trillo or his recent behavior, the story of his 1975 altercation raises questions about the kind of society that we want to be.


“Publick Occurrences” – The Fundamentals: Patriotism & Faith

As part of the recent Providence Journal sponsored “Publick Occurrences” panel discussion at RI College, I’d like to share some thoughts I prepared, but did not have the chance to put forth. The event’s premise – “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?” and the polarization of public discourse – leaves us two factors to consider:


Back to top



Regulation

Looking for Rhode Island-Style Innovation

Rhode Island does need an economy that capitalizes on cross-pollinated innovation, but that means getting government and faith in central planning out of the way.


Donna Cook: Edwardses’ Effect on Taxes and Regulations

Tiverton resident Donna Cook notes that the General Assembly is too willing to impose difficulties on working Rhode Islanders while the Town Council is happy to put taxpayer dollars under its control.


Car Inspections and “Why Do We Live in This State?”

The absurdity of Rhode Island’s computerized car-inspection regime points to the desperate need for us to figure out what boundaries government should be allowed to impose on our behavior.


Back to top



Science

The Environment in Which We Train the Future’s Leaders

On the American campus, Catholics are forced out of their jobs in the name of presenting a diversity of ideas while hoax papers are published because academics really do believe that identity politics can tell us about the physical universe.


Who Will Manipulate in Favor of Free Will?

If the demon behind social media is “persuasive technology,” how do we petition for the aid of the corresponding angels?


Tasking the State to Figure Out Every Legitimate Difference Between People

Rhode Island should pause and think about what it really means to give the state government bureaucracy a mandate to analyze the pay differences of every employer within our borders.


Back to top



Sports

Political Monday with John DePetro: The WooSox Debate the Chicken

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about the merits of a political system that lost the PawSox and the wisdom of debating chickens.

Open post for full audio.


The Biggest Part of the PawSox Issue Is Not Being Discussed

Rhode Island politics have been messing things up for Rhode Islanders for decades, but by messing things up for the PawSox, they’ve finally gotten something right.


Political Monday with John DePetro: Grants and Debates

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about the complaints about (a lack of) debates, a vote-buying grant scheme, and some PawSox chat.

Open post for full audio.


Back to top



Taxation

The Challenge of Getting Back to Basics in Education

Our education conundrum: We’ve layered too much mere stuff in the system and created too many incentives for people to advocate against reform.


Keeping Perspective on School Safety

If we apply just a little bit of reasonable perspective to the issue of school safety, filling them with paid guards begins to look like less wise of an idea.


Looking for Rhode Island-Style Innovation

Rhode Island does need an economy that capitalizes on cross-pollinated innovation, but that means getting government and faith in central planning out of the way.


Back to top



Unions

The Challenge of Getting Back to Basics in Education

Our education conundrum: We’ve layered too much mere stuff in the system and created too many incentives for people to advocate against reform.


To Join or Not? Public Workers Have A Choice

At the Center, we believe that public workers deserve to know that they now have full freedom to decide whether or not it is in their best interest to pay union dues. That if they choose not to pay, these employees cannot be recriminated against by corrupt union officials.


Fire the Providence School Bus Drivers’ Union

Justin says, “Fire the Providence School Bus Drivers”. Maybe. Fire their union, the Teamsters? Absolutely.

What Teamsters Local 251 are trying to do to the drivers – whose best interest they supposedly represent – borders on criminal. It WOULD be criminal if they had a fiduciary role with regard to their members’ retirement.


Back to top



Welfare

Perspective on the Estate Tax as a Social Policy

Progressives and conservatives frame things like tax policy differently, and not only does it prevent fruitful discourse, but progressives’ errors undermine an economic system that makes shared prosperity more likely.


Minimum Wages and Welfare Programs Don’t Help Poverty

Negative effects from minimum wage increases, no long-term benefits from welfare programs, and questions about the earned income tax credit show that there is no subsidy for freedom and prosperity.


Political Monday with John DePetro: A Governor’s Priorities

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about the consequences and implications of legal bumbling in Governor Raimondo’s administration.

Open post for full audio.


Back to top



Quantcast