Rhody Reporter: March Referenda

What’s so special about March 2nd? That’s the date of a Special Election in Rhode Island. Its only questions – seven of them – are for the approval of a wide spectrum of bond authority so more than six hundred million dollars worth of deficit spending can be undertaken. Mark Zaccaria says NO! You should, too.

Rhody Reporter: Da Speakah 2021

Mark Zaccaria analyzes the recent race for Speaker of the RI House of Representatives. Outwardly it appeared to be a tranquil coronation of Rep Joe Shekarchi, the Guy everyone suddenly wants to Know. Below the placid surface of this Made-for-Capitol-TV love fest, however, there was a lot more going on. As you’ll see in this segment, the jury is still out on the final results.

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Flagging Leadership

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for February 1, included talk about:

  • Black Lives Matter flag in Barrington
  • The governor checks out
  • McKee shuffles in
  • Unplanned vaccines
  • The General Assembly back in the picture

I’ll be on again Monday, February 8, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

Rhody Reporter: Marijuana Sales in RI

Rhody Reporter Diana Lozowski takes a look at how the State’s Bureaucracy has morphed what could have been a simple licensing process using existing procedures into yet another feast for connected insiders. In short, You Gotta Know a Guy. Too bad that kind of overhead drives up the price. Too bad that those in the most need have to overpay because of cost structures designed to feed insiders. The surprising conclusion: At least it’s available now to those in need.

Rhody Reporter: Cares Money in the Wind

Mark Zaccaria scoffs at the RI Administration’s boast that it managed to distribute less than One Percent of the Federal Funds allocated for small business relief in the Ocean State last year. He points out that the tiny fraction was largely necessitated by the fact that almost One Billion Dollars worth of that federal stimulus money was diverted, instead, to the state’s operating budget. Zaccaria also notes that despite that usurpation of federal intent, Rhode Islanders will also be asked to authorize Four Hundred Million Dollars worth of Additional Deficit Spending – All so that the bureaucracy that brought businesses to their knees can be assured of every one of their paychecks. Huh?

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Moving Past the East Side Style

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for January 25, included talk about:

  • Raimondo’s East Side of Providence style versus McKee’s Blackstone Valley style
  • Central Falls as leading example of RI’s patronage system
  • Black Lives Matter flag in Barrington
  • Legislation against vaccine line-cutters

I’ll be on again Monday, February 1, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

Rhody Reporter: Mail Ballots in Nursing Homes

Rhody Reporter Diana Lozowski examines some of the exploitation that occurred last November as political operatives descended on Nursing Homes and other Congregant Care facilities around the Ocean State. Their aim was to enter mail ballot applications for as many Seniors as they could, whether or not the voter really understood what was going on. Diana lays out the problem and then offers practical solutions to insure fairness in upcoming elections.

Politics This Week with John DePetro: An Interregnum

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for January 18, included talk about:

  • Military/police repression of speech at the State House
  • Rep. Price versus progressives and media
  • A sense if McKee
  • Gina’s “See ya”

I’ll be on again Monday, January 25, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

Politics This Week with John DePetro: After the Storm

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for January 11, included talk about:

  • The attempt to cancel Rep. Price
  • Raimondo on her way out
  • McKee on quarantine

I’ll be on again Monday, January 18, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

If “Misinformation” is the New Standard, Rhode Island’s General Treasurer Must Step Down Immediately

This morning on the WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti – link to audio – General Treasurer Seth Magaziner elaborated on his call for Rhode Island Representative Justin Price to resign from the House of Representatives for spreading misinformation, saying

When elected officials use their platforms to spread (mis)information, to spread lies, they have to be called out for it.”

And

…as elected officials, we should be held to a higher standard …

Interesting. Alright, check out this analysis from August, 2018 by Mike Riley.

In assessing the effort to keep the PawSox in Rhode Island, it is important to review the role of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The state treasurer was asked to analyze the costs and opine on affordability, as would be expected with a large borrowing like this. Mr. Magaziner opined in October 2017 and in June 2018 as numbers changed along with the terms of the deal and then opined again recently, finally giving a nod to the deal.

But what everyone needs to know is that $350 million dollars in debt for Pawtucket’s other post-employment benefits (OPEB) for former employees was not used in his analysis. This is more than twice the city’s pension debt! In fact, it was purposely left out by Magaziner. Including OPEB debt would obviously have made the City of Pawtucket’s borrowing look dangerous and ill-conceived. … This $350 million is so significant and overwhelming, it would be irresponsible for any treasurer to think Pawtucket absorbing new debt was a good idea.

Well, that’s an eye-opener. Nice work by Mike Riley catching that serious piece of misinformation by General Treasurer Magaziner. Ultimately, the PawSox left Rhode Island and these ill-conceived, unaffordable bonds were never issued. But that was very much despite this substantive misinformation that Treasurer Magaziner issued about Pawtucket’s financial condition.

Now, it is absurd to call on an elected official to step down due to a statement of misinformation; in part, because it falls into a broader category of free speech and, in part, because about three quarters of all elected officials in the country would instantly have to step down. (I heard that; stop cheering!).

But that is the position of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.

I do agree with him when he says, as he did this morning, that “As Americans, we all have a duty to speak up when we see people in positions of authority spreading misinformation” and that elected officials “should use our platforms responsibly”. Via this post, accordingly, I am fulfilling that duty. Specifically, I am calling out Mr. Magaziner for a piece of misinformation that is especially egregious because he communicated it in his capacity as the state’s General Treasurer in an analysis about a major financial decision facing a municipality and the state.

Clearly, Mr. Magaziner did not use his platform as General Treasurer responsibly by including misinformation in this important analysis. Now, I myself am not calling on him to resign as the state’s General Treasurer for this. But by his own standard, he must do so immediately. Referring once again to Mr. Magaziner’s own words on WPRO this morning, elected officials have a duty to tell people the truth, to be honest. He failed notably to do so.

In The Dugout: Welcome to 2021!

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Departing Queen and Incoming Squad

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for January 4, included talk about:

  • Raimondo’s prospects in a Biden administration
  • Channel 10’s groveling before progressives
  • The General Assembly’s likely atmosphere

I’ll be on again Monday, January 11, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Closing Out the Year

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 28, included talk about:

  • The Guv’s house as the new protest spot
  • A whittled down RI Congressional delegation
  • 2020 winners and losers
  • Things to watch for in 2021

I’ll be on again Monday, January 4, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Breaking Cloud of Fear

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 21, included talk about:

  • The end of the Pause
  • COVID transparency
  • The Guv as a national story
  • Testing at the mall
  • Judges entering the Supreme Court under an ethical cloud

I’ll be on again Monday, December 28, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

Rhody Reporter: Clash of Philosophies

Mark Zaccaria gives a short primer on Progressive vs. Conservative approaches to government.

Rhody Reporter: Currahee Project

Mark Zaccaria takes time out to examine one of the notable good things of our otherwise ugly Year 2020, a Vets-Helping-Vets nonprofit doing God’s work right here in the Ocean State.

Rhody Reporter: What Is a Campaign?

Diana Lozowski compares the style and substance of two very different, but successful, legislative campaign styles from the 2020 election, noting that either could become the template for all future RI campaigns.

Roland Benjamin: COVID-19 Lockdown: The Preferred Intervention of the Elite

It is commonly accepted that an effective vaccine for COVID-19 will save lives.

The vaccine, be it BioNTech’s, Moderna’s, or any other pharmaceutical intervention, will most effectively bring an end to the COVID era. The “science” needed to bring this intervention into the world is astounding, with tens of thousands of test subjects undergoing trials for each version. Months and months and months of careful testing, and yet A SINGLE ADVERSE EVENT among any of the study participants halts the progress. One event. Savings lives is critical, so long as no harm is done in the process.

Simultaneously, governments all over the world have become obsessed with their own interventions. The non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) range from mask mandates, to required testing, to full scale economic lockdown. In the most extreme, China even resorted to welding people into their homes.

There has been no shortage of speculation that the lockdowns have caused harm. The argument has always been that they save lives by mitigating spread, but there really has not been comprehensive proof of that. Florida and California, two comparable states in climate and demography, have had comparable disease spreads with remarkably different approaches to inhibiting its residents. In other words, the NPIs adopted by California, draconian in some respects, have not proven any more effective than the “control group”…Florida’s non-interventionist approach.

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Them and the Rest of Us

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 14, included talk about:

  • The administration’s COVID outbreak
  • The governor’s quarantine
  • A budget through the roof
  • The governor’s house becomes an official protest spot

I’ll be on again Monday, December 14, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

Rhody Reporter: Fines by Executive Order

Diana Lozowski notes all the extra-legislative authority Governor Raimondo is exercising in the service of enforcing her lockdown orders and muses (along with two prominent legislators) that her excellency is skating on thin legal ice.

Demand Transparency on Covid-19 Cycle-Threshold Data

The full release and analysis of detailed testing data could be critical in shaping more focused and less intrusive COVID-19 restrictions for Rhode Islanders.

This data, which measures “viral load” (how much of the virus is present) and which is routinely collected by labs that conduct COVID tests, can be critically important in determining both public policy and individual regimens. Take action now to demand it.

The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity has launched a new campaign, sending over a sixteen hundred pre-written emails (in just days) to officials petitioning the state to take action to collect and publish this vital cycle threshold data.

We have good news to share… they have taken the first steps in making a small portion of this data available. Our campaign is clearly working, but we need full transparency on this critical information.

You can take action by clicking on the link here now. Don’t wait, because your voice is powerful and it will make a difference for the people of Rhode Island!

Tiverton on Track, 24: Operation Blue Santa

Time is of the essence, on this one.  Tomorrow in Tiverton, the Police Department will be in the parking lot of Tom’s Market on Main Rd. collecting toys and other gifts for 40-50 local families in need.  If you’re in the area, stop by for beverages, cookies, Clauses, and music.

In the meantime, here’s a Tiverton on Track interview I did with Chief Patrick Jones and Sergeant John LeDuc, who suggested and spearheads the event.  We also talk about the need for police to have positive interactions with the public and the experience of policing under the shadow of COVID-19, which is changing the frequency and nature of the calls to the department.

Rhody Reporter: Rock the Vote

Mark Zaccaria analyzes the role of unsolicited Mail Ballots in the 2020 Election and asks the question: “Do we want an Election Day or an entire Election Season?”

Politics This Week with John DePetro: The End Game Settling In

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 7, included talk about:

  • Not getting rid of Gina
  • Identity politics rule
  • The poor investment of a General Assembly campaign
  • Nellie’s election security deterioration

I’ll be on again Monday, December 14, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Governor’s Court

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for November 30, included talk about:

  • The Pause arrives
  • The Queen’s bid for a higher court
  • McKee’s bid for the Queen’s attention
  • The General Assembly as courtiers
  • Is the jester in the Britt trial still relevant?

I’ll be on again Monday, November 30, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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