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South Kingstown School Bond: Inter Alia, a Really High Price to Reduce Classroom Space by 200,000 Sq Ft

On May 4, residents of South Kingstown will be voting on an $85,000,000 school bond referendum.

That’s a pretty high amount for town residents to go on the hook for, mainly because the town’s student enrollment has been steadily declining but also because the cornerstone component of the proposed works, the high school, would not be newbuild but conversion of an existing school building. Two miles AWAY, by the way, from its current in-town location.

As there would be state funds involved, the project itself, its costs and its proposed funding sources have to be approved by the Rhode Island Department of Education. (Link here to the town’s facility application submitted to RIDE).

So the Ocean State Current reached out to RIDE with the questions below and received the indicated answers.

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No Cost Projections or Means Identified to Achieve Rhode Island’s Green New Deal

The innocently named “2021 Act on Climate”, H5445, has been ominously rocketing through the General Assembly. It passed the full House on March 23 and the full Senate is scheduled to vote on it this afternoon. If it passes, it will have cleared the General Assembly and presumably be sent straight on to Governor Daniel McKee for his action within seven (ten?) days.

Informally dubbed “Rhode Island’s Green New Deal”, H5445 would mandate the reduction to zero by 2050 of greenhouse gases in Rhode Island – a goal that could only be accomplished by eliminating the use of all fossil fuels and transitioning entirely to renewable energy sources, wind and solar; i.e., from reliable, reasonably priced energy sources to intermittent, exorbitantly expensive ones. More about it here, including why the effective date of substantial implementation would be 2026, not thirty long years from now.

But perhaps we are missing something. Have proponents of the bill answered the critically important question about cost of implementation?

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One Year In: Lockdowns 100% Destruction; Zero Benefit

On its one year anniversary, it would be irresponsible not to look at the effectiveness of the COVID-19 lockdown. Florida and California vividly demonstrate that the answer is “completely ineffective”: the two states have had similar outcomes to very different approaches, making it clear that lockdowns did not and do not work to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19.

What about Rhode Island? Well, we locked down. And we have the third highest COVID-19 deaths nationally.

Lockdowns, even if they worked exactly as hoped, were never a good solution because of the enormous public health and other consequences they inflict. One year later, it is clear, as they do not achieve even their hoped-for goal, that they are entirely destructive with zero public health benefit.

Now, let’s look at where Rhode Island stands on the original reason for a lockdown: two weeks to flatten the curve and not overwhelm hospitals. Below is the trend of Rhode Island’s hospitalizations; specifically, Column U, “Currently Hospitalized” of this sheet:

4/28/2020: 375 (Spring, 2020 peak)

12/15/2020: 516

1/25/2021: 380

3/9/2021: 141

By this original goalpost, Rhode Island can open up fully, now. (Please stop with the agonizing and ineffective baby steps.) More to the point, the state never needs to lock down again for this (or any) reason. This is because, to her credit, former Governor Gina Raimondo set up COVID-19 field hospitals. While they were recently shut down because COVID-19 cases have dropped markedly, they will remain in place in the event of a surge.

The evidence and observed science one year into COVID-19 lockdowns is blaring and indisputable: they do not work. All states can and should open up immediately, fully, without restrictions – including nursing homes with reasonable protections. Refusing to do so is to deny the plain evidence and prolong the needless suffering and very serious health and other consequences of lockdowns.

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Redhanded: Radical Environmentalists Want to “Break Your Will” To Pass TCI

The shocking words they admit they can’t say publicly… were just made public. They say, if YOU heat your homes or drive passenger cars, YOU are the “bad guys.”

Whether it is “you,” “the person up the street,” or “the senior on fixed income”… the radical environmentalists who support TCI say it is you who they want to “turn the screws on” and “point the finger at,” so they can “break your will” to force you to “stop emitting.”

See the alarming video of the MA Undersecretary for Climate Change talking about the abusive TCI scheme: https://youtu.be/muxVGmgykA4

Learn more by clicking here now to read about how the TCI Gas Tax is bad for Rhode Island families.

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Green on the Grid:  Texas is a Huge Red Flag

Count me among those somewhat surprised to learn that the electric grid of the State of Texas, perhaps best known for oil production (and proud of it), incorporates wind turbines in its electric grid. In fact,

… wind generation ranks as the second-largest source of energy in Texas, accounting for 23% of state power supplies last year

But as you have probably seen, this “green energy” source has turned into a big Achilles heel for Texas’ electric grid in the cold front that has descended on that state and much of the country. As of yesterday,

Frozen wind turbines have caused almost half of Texas’s wind generation capacity to go offline in the midst of an “unprecedented storm”.

The Lone Star state is under a state of emergency after freezing conditions swept the region, causing dangerously icy roads and leaving nearly 3 million people without power.

Update: frozen wind turbines led to a drop in Texas’ wind power from thirty one gigawatts to six and there are currently 3.4 million power outages. The situation is getting worse, not better.

Texas, and other states, has resorted to rolling blackouts. In below-freezing temperatures, this is literally a life-threatening situation for states like Texas which rely on electricity for heat (and lots of other critical activities).

A small but vocal group of advocates, promoted by many gauzy-eyed members of the mainstream media, have for years been pushing to transition to green energy away from fossil fuel.

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POLL: Rhode Islanders Say “No” to High Costs of TCI Gas Tax

Rhode Islanders clearly feel, after all we’ve been through, that now is not the time to punish people for driving their vehicles!

This week, the Center released a new poll that shows the initial conceptual support for the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) Gas Tax drops significantly when voters learn the policy will result in gas tax hikes, a significant projected loss of jobs, and a major reduction in the average family’s disposable income.

On the flip side, by not adopting this TCI scheme and keeping gas taxes where they are, our Ocean State would gain a competitive advantage over our Massachusetts and Connecticut neighbors.

Rhode Islanders oppose TCI when they learn about its high costs – including a $0.23 increase in the gas tax, an estimated 2,000 jobs lost, and a $1,200 reduction in disposable income for the average Rhode Island family.

Another false “feel good” narrative (from far-left Never Never Land) is not worth the loss of disposable income and jobs costs for virtually zero environmental impact. Learn more now by clicking here to see the full poll results!

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California Numbers and Newsweek: Lockdowns Don’t Work

California’s response to COVID-19 has been to lock down and lock down hard. The harshness of its lockdown is confirmed by its decimated economy and heavy out-migration.

Ten months later, California currently has the second highest average daily cases per 100,000 in the last seven days per the CDC. A couple of weeks ago, it was at the top of the list. Rhode Island, also a state which misguidedly chose to lockdown, is currently fifth highest.

Lockdowns, even if they worked exactly as hoped, were never a good solution because of the enormous public health consequences they inflict. Now California’s experience confirms indisputably that lockdowns do not work to stop or slow COVID-19.

And a study just released via Newsweek confirms this.

A study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic may not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction.

As she edges out the door, Governor Gina Raimondo has admonished us to “stay the course”. Meaning stay locked down. She is bewilderingly putting on auto pilot a completely failed, highly damaging public policy.

When asked whether he will continue the state’s lockdown, incoming governor Dan McKee has stated (I believe on WPRO radio), “The infection rate is going to drive that”. In light of the complete disconnect between lockdowns and the infection rate, I would respectfully urge him in the strongest terms to re-examine that course and not repeat the mistake of his predecessor of disregarding the data and evidence. He has no obligation to continue any of her policies – but particularly one that has so obviously failed.

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… Except that Rhode Island’s COVID Positivity Rate Is Lower than Two Months Ago

Graph by epidemiologist Dr. Andrew Bostom basis State of R.I. data

At her press conference currently ongoing, Governor Gina Raimondo is announcing new restrictions, including reduction from fifteen to ten at social gatherings; no spectators at any sports for next two weeks; and fines, including fines on households, saying she doesn’t want cases to “explode”.

You’d reasonably conclude from these serious measures and language that Rhode Island’s case positivity rate, the newest panic-promoting selling point of the lockdown, was at a recent high, wouldn’t you? In fact, as epidemiologist Dr. Andrew Bostom said yesterday on the R.I. Center for Freedom and Prosperity‘s “Mikes with Mics” and shows in his graph, above, the current, very modest rise in case positivity is actually lower than the modest rise of August 1.

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UPDATED: Rhode Island Hospitalizations – Still Less than Half the Peak

Eight days ago, this is where Rhode Island stood with hospitalizations, the original and only goal of the lockdown. Now Rhode Island is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Good time to update, especially with a press conference by Governor Raimondo coming up shortly.

At 168 “Currently Hospitalized”, we are still less than half the peak in late April of 377. And Rhode Island hospitalizations were not overwhelmed even at this peak. In fact, the Governor Raimondo herself stated mid-April that the need for hospital beds would peak in late April or early May and that Rhode Island was not going to see a worst case scenario. She was correct on both points. Nor has Rhode Island come close to the peak for hospitalizations

Yet despite achieving this goal, Governor Raimondo, with the express consent by inaction of Speaker Mattiello and Senate President Ruggerio, has inexplicably not lifted the onerous and damaging lockdown of Rhode Island.

Moreover, as we are now seeing in Europe, lockdowns do not work to stop the disease.

Yes, we need to be vigilant. Vulnerable populations must continue to take steps to protect them and we all need to be thoughtful of our interactions with them. But let’s also not overreact.

By continuing to impose what has now been demonstrated to be an ineffectual (yet highly damaging) measure to suppress spread when the singular goal of the measure was achieved six months ago, our state leaders are flexing power in a way that is completely detached from facts, science and data. This is, accordingly, an an abuse of power and an overreaction, the result of which, intended or not, is to punish Rhode Islanders in the short and long term for something that is beyond our control.

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Raimondo Rips out Goalposts Altogether as Governors Carefully Disregard Most Important Datapoint

As you probably know, the original justification for the COVID-19 lockdown was to prevent the overwhelming of hospitals. This never happened; not in Rhode Island nor in any state other than hotspot New York (where it got close); not even at the height of the pandemic. Click here to view Justin Katz’ latest, very informative tracking graph of COVID-19 trends in Rhode Island. You’ll note that hospitalizations in Rhode Island, in fact, peaked THREE WHOLE MONTHS AGO.

Keep this critical piece of information in mind as we move now to Rhode Island’s COVID-19 press conference yesterday.

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Union Political Spending: A Web of Corruption

Not every teacher, first-responder, clerk, or other public servant considers themselves to be Democrats or part of the “progressive-left” movement in Rhode Island. Yet every employee who is member of a government union in our state is paying dues that directly support this extreme political agenda… along with the corrupt quid quo pro that comes with union political spending. A new report, from our Center, exposes that Rhode Island’s hyper-partisanship and radical agenda is funded by government union political spending: Click Here Now To Read It.

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Death Arrives – Lockdowns Now Demonstrably Indefensible

The survival rate for COVID-19 is now in the range of 99.35% – 99.74%, per CDC data. But even this high rate is almost certainly on the conservative side as it does not include all unidentified cases, an important data point which scientists continue diligently to try to quantify.

Moreover, COVID cases are rising but COVID deaths are falling.

Conversely, grimly, deaths from the lockdown have moved from projection to reality and are rising.

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RI DOH Whistleblower Targeted By Insiders, Disciplinary Hearing Called

The Ocean State Current has received a copy of a letter sent to RI Department of Health Whistleblower Lisa Camuso. The letter gives Camuso notice of a disciplinary hearing as a result of the public accusations she has made of misconduct by the department related to Rhode Island nursing homes during the COVID-19 crisis.

Camuso appeared on the new web show “In The Dugout” hosted by Mike Stenhouse referenced many times throughout the letter.

A full copy of the letter can be viewed here.