Jeann Lugo Should Consider Suing Bill Bartholomew for Defamation

Justin Katz called it early.  Bill Bartholomew’s extremely clipped video of Jeann Lugo striking Jennifer Rourke at the State House melee Friday night is a serious disservice to the truth. Bartholomew’s clipped video doesn’t show what happened leading up to that moment. So you don’t see Jennifer Rourke laying hands on Jeann Lugo.  Without his…

Governor McKee’s gun-control photo-op was wildly inappropriate.

The image used as the featured image of this post shows Rhode Island Democrat Governor Dan McKee signing gun control legislation recently at the State House, and even people who support the outcome should be concerned by it. For the good of our states and our country, Americans used to have a clear, if undefined,…

McKee signs gun control bills
Will we ever develop the skills to process online political content like Bartholomew’s doctored abortion-protest clip?

First things first: It is very difficult to imagine circumstances that entirely excuse the actions of Jeann Lugo in a five second clip from last night’s pro-abortion rally at the State House.  Lugo is a muscular man with police training.  Striking a woman — progressive candidate Jennifer Rourke — should not be something he would…

The moment before Lugo strikes Rourke
The Supreme Court has undone a travesty of law by overturning Roe v. Wade.

Honestly, I never thought I’d see the day, but the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, which invented a Constitutional right to abortion across the country.  To this day, many Americans don’t realize just how radical the judicial legislation was, making the United States much more extreme than most of the world, with abortion…

A sonogram.
Blake Filippi is exiting the House, and Rhode Island will come to regret it.

Voters (and other citizens) very often make claims about what attributes they want in elected officials that they do not substantiate with their support.  They say they’d prefer public servants who are not career politicians and who are in it for “the right reasons,” by which they generally mean they are not merely seeking power…

Blake Filippi
Maybe there’s something to “systemic racism” in Rhode Island.

Shift your focus just a little bit from the standard narrative, and you can only shake your head at the conspicuous omission in Amy Russo’s Providence Journal article reporting that “racial disparities in homeownership are more severe than the national average” in Rhode Island: The report, released Thursday and authored by Brown School of Public Health…

A Providence neighborhood through a Statehouse window
What does Matos have against the First Amendment?

No sooner do I resolve to take the summer off from social media than the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Rhode Island, Sabina Matos, decides it’s politically advantageous to involve me in her primary campaign to retain her seat.  According to her press release: The Ocean State Current and the Center for Freedom and…

Sabina Matos takes the oath of office.
There is no reasoning with those who will to confiscate law-abiding citizens’ guns.

The idea of “reasonable” and “common sense” gun control laws is becoming an obvious sham.  Reasonable people acting according to common sense differentiate between policies in different states and balance facts such as how frequently a particular type of weapon has been used in crimes in the state where gun-control legislation is proposed and what…

Jose Clemente Orozco, The Clowns of War Arguing in Hell
Divisiveness and falsehood taint even feel-good student stories.

Stories like this, by Kavontae Smalls in the Atlanta Black Star, should be a more prominent part of local news, giving us all an opportunity to acknowledge and admire the achievements of those with whom we share a corner of the world.  Woonsocket sophomore Mariam Kaba has been awarded a $25,000 scholarship and given $1 million to…

Woonsocket and Cumberland map
The smart set needs to ponder the value of historical limitations.

An episode of the High Noon podcast featuring Oren Cass brought to mind a point relevant to my break from social media. Cass is, in some respects, a contrarian in conservative circles, expressing some healthy skepticism against the free-market bent of the Right (a bent, to be clear, toward which I definitively incline).  The assumptions of…

Theodore Gericault, Heroic Landscape with Fishermen
We’re putting aside social media for the summer.

Sometimes the commentary on social media gives one the impression of an alternate reality. At the highest level, social media is a world of information, which means it can be entirely abstract.  You can say or imagine anything, and the more you live apart from tangible reality, the less what you say and imagine has…

A girl on her phone in a digital stream
Redefined “tolerance” in Foster-Glocester is the marker of civil rights lost.

The totalitarian Communist language of administrators in the Foster-Glocester school district is reason for concern about the direction in which our country is headed: Several students at Ponaganset High School brought “anti-tolerant” flags to school following a celebration of Pride Month. In an emailed statement to The Journal, district leaders said there had been an…

A masked figure shushes silence
Hey, don’t worry! It’s only an energy sector “transition.”

You can tell our country’s radicals — from Joe Biden on down — are going for the kill this time because they aren’t moderating on energy, even as gas prices shoot up and inflation decimates the wellbeing of Americans.  Instead, they talk about how it’s simply a “transition.”  Note the phrasing of progressive Democrat State…

A wind farm at sea
The gun-controllers’ dehumanizing talking point proves the importance of the Second Amendment.

The day of the school shooting in Ulvade, Joe Biden took to his national platform to blame people who disagree him about the Second Amendment and the practical steps to stop mass shootings: “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” That talking point has filtered down throughout the…

Van Gough's Prisoners Exercising
Ripples
Trying to explain the Supreme Court ruling to a child.

What did they change?

Well, there was a rule that said mommies had to be allowed to kill their babies before they were born everywhere in the country, and the court said states could decide whether or not to keep that rule.

Why would mommies want to kill their babies?

Biden’s bike fall is a horrible harbinger for our country.

Naturally, the mainstream media is choosing to share video of Joe Biden falling on his bicycle in which you can’t see what actually happened.  Barstool Sports has the good clip:

It wasn’t even one of those stumbles that happens from time to time. The White House occupant just forgot how to get off the bicycle.

The people who installed this man have put the planet in cataclysmic danger.

What’s the supporter overlap between suicide-barriers and physician-assisted suicide?

This is probably a strange question to pose, but nonetheless, one wonders.  As the state government moves toward spending big money on suicide barriers that will inevitably change the aesthetic character of the bridges on which they’re installed, what is the belief system underlying our local culture?  Where do supporters for such things stand on, say, physician-assisted suicide?

I ask only because my sense is that our society is deeply confused exactly in the way that would spend money to stop people from killing themselves by jumping off bridges while also spending money for doctors to pull the fatal chemical trigger upon request.

Yes, we should probably expect Democrats to have a hard time nationally.

The political commentary crew on CNN pretty uniformly believes Democrats will experience a “trouncing” come November.  Well, look.  That’s what happens when you install a senile old man through questionable means, selling him (to the extent you bother to make the case at all) as a reasonable centrist even though the people who make decisions on his behalf are hardcore Marxists.  The truth is that a “trouncing” is too soft.  If we had a healthy civic society, the Democrat Party would be utterly wiped from the face of American politics… and quickly replaced by a new opposition to Republicans.

Social justice wokism is a means for elite self-righteousness.

To live in the shoreline suburbs of Rhode Island is periodically to encounter raw evidence that progressivism has gained its purchase here, at least in part, as a way for some of the most privileged people in human history to feel themselves even more superior while assuaging their own guilt by accusing those who are slightly (or even significantly) less privileged of holding the incorrect views, all in the name of “tolerance” and support for the disadvantaged.

A Wildly Disproportionate High School Top 10.

I just came across listings of the top 10 students from three Rhode Island high schools’ graduating classes.  At two of them, nine out of 10 of the students are girls.

Being generally against inferring bias based on disproportionate outcomes, I’m certainly open to the possibility that two nearby schools both having only a single boy on a top 10 list just happened to happen.  Take enough random samplings of any binary population, and you may get some that are this out of whack.

But, still… given everything we know about education and culture these days, the dismissive conclusion is hard to credit.  At the very least, we would do well to devote some thought to whether anything is contributing to these imbalanced results, particularly given the unusual events of the past few years.  For the third district, boys had the majority of the top 10 (seven versus three), and the fact that it’s the wealthiest of the three may provide useful information, as well.

We live in the world of “Doh!”

You may have seen this image on social media offered as evidence that Fox News is just propaganda:

In combination with other similar observations, this is why I’ve been feeling down today. People are actually insisting that the single television news outlet not promoting the same content as all the others is the one spreading propaganda. My goodness!  That is the opposite of how propaganda works and the opposite of why it’s dangerous!

We’ve reached the point that many people think a refusal to goosestep is fascism, which is a sure sign that fascism is making gains.

McConaughey is just in the wrong venue.

Gun-control advocates are very pleased with the speech that actor Matthew McConaughey made from the White House podium, but as is typical, people tend not to look beyond agreement to important secondary considerations.

By his choice to be a national activist on this issue, rather than a state one, McConaughey blurred his core issue in the broader issue of our entire system of government.  His performance would have reached a wider array of sympathetic ears if he’d focused on Texas law.

Similarly, by marching out with Biden’s lead propagandist and speaking from her podium, he mixed the issue with partisan politics.

Failing to think about such things is why we’re so divided and spiraling downward so quickly.

Psst! Progressives in Providence don’t trust Wall Street or the mechanics of investment to help with their pension problem.

They just know that imposing a bond is a more-sure way of saddling taxpayers with the payoff to their labor union allies.  (Actually, most don’t know much on either front.  They just go along because they’ve bought into the baseline propaganda that progressives are always on the side of goodness.)

2022 is finally defined.

Harry Potter plays Weird Al Yankovic in what appears to be a quasi-fiction movie from a streaming service.

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this.

The right thing to do isn’t entirely clear in the recent NYC subway harassment video.

I’m as keen to lament the deterioration of our broader community as anybody else, but reactions to a recent cell phone video taken in the New York City subway seem to me to overstate the inaction of the bystanders.

In summary, a guy who is obviously disturbed walks through the subway car shouting.  He sits down next to a woman, and when she stands to move away, he puts his hand on her shoulder and makes her sit.  She looks around pleading for help.  Then, the man shouts for her to stand up, which she does, and he walks her a few steps while grabbing her hair, ultimately pushing her away and walking in the other direction.

The whole thing happens in a matter of seconds, so the question for those faulting the bystanders is how quickly they think one should react.  Intervening too quickly and confrontationally could escalate things.  When a situation is in the open and somewhat controlled, sometimes it’s better to wait.

Observe the man in the blue shirt, for example.  He was behind the passenger with the camera, and when we first see him, it’s clear he was keeping an eye on the situation.  Quite likely, when the crazy guy made the woman stand up, the man in blue began to move in their direction.  When we get another glimpse of him; he’s standing near the woman.  Now, it’s possible he was just moving away from the crazy guy as just about everybody else did, but perhaps he had positioned himself to intervene if the crazy guy’s attention turned back toward the woman.

That seems to me to be the correct approach, in this case.

The logic of “gun control” is not difficult to follow.

Reviewing the details of school shootings, the other day for an online conversation, I was struck by how clearly banning a particular style of gun or access-related regulations will not solve the problem.  They may or may not be justified on their merits, but to treat such policies as if they are obvious fixes is simply a mania.  All sorts of weapons have been used.  Some were taken from parents.  One was taken from a former cop.  Sometimes the shooter murders the person before taking the guns.

That being the case — particularly in context of the many references to how this is largely an American phenomenon — makes clear where this is going.  First, the gun controllers push national policy banning particular weapons and ancillaries, while adding restrictions for accessing other guns.  When shootings continue, they move to ban all weapons.  When that proves impossible, they’ll go for other freedoms.

The reality is that the United States is not like those other countries.  We’ve always put more emphasis on individual freedom and the right to be different.  A society like that will always be more dangerous.  The important part (increasingly missing) is the moral foundation to encourage self-control and mutual care.

We can have a conversation about reasonable gun restrictions, but the problem is that the rhetoric of the advocates does not inspire trust that they’ll stop there.

Believe it or not, I’m eager to find common ground in progressive arguments.

The problem is that they’re not founded in reason, but emotion.  I’m not interested in developing solutions to our problems through the method of emoting alongside others.  Emotion supplies motivation; it is not the process for finding answers.  Yet, without fail, when progressives (or “moderates,” for that matter) articulate their emotions in the guise of reason, they respond to reasoned answers emotionally… or by pretending the contrary point has not been made.

This is the methodology of children and will only lead to ruination.

Has the media rebranded “gang violence” as “mass shootings”?

You don’t have to pay very much attention to political discourse in the United States to know that “mass shooting” has a very particular definition.  When Americans hear the phrase, they think of one or more psychotic gunmen killing people indiscriminately as an expression of alienation.

It feels deliberate, therefore, that the mainstream media appears to have decided to broaden its use of the term to cover other sorts of shootings affecting more than one people, probably including what used to be known as “gang violence.”

Russians with experience of life in the Soviet Union say that the Communist Party’s propaganda organs would report actual news, but readers had to learn to parse the meaning carefully to understand what was actually going on, and it wasn’t always easy or possible to come to a conclusion.  This Orwellian shift is very much like that.

Across a wide range of issues, we’re seeing how the ability to twist a phrase just a little can make a huge difference in the political meaning of an event.

Ashley Kalus’s introduction video shows promise and dangers.

The recently released video promoting Republican Ashley Kalus’s campaign for governor provides reason to think she’s got some real opportunities and exposes some of the risks her campaign faces:

 

On the risk side, her references to bringing policies from specific other states is the sort of thing that rubs provincial Rhode Islanders the wrong way and can remind them that she’s new to the local political scene and is bringing in out-of-state help.  Meanwhile, her reference to her work with COVID in RI obviously has a bad association in people’s memories.  People just shouldn’t use images of people getting needles in their arms when they want a positive association.

On the opportunity side, it’s so obvious that Rhode Island needs to open the windows for some fresh air and common sense that this may be the year it actually works.  This is particularly true on the education front, although it will take somebody who can speak the truth about things like school choice and economic reality without seeming to threaten what Rhode Islanders feel like they already have (which they grip with desperation no matter how inadequate it is).

We could use more elected officials like Frank Maher.

Senator Frank Maher

When Bill Felkner introduced me to Republican state Senator Frank Maher on the back steps of the State House, I was still new enough to politics-in-the-flesh to think he was a representative sample of elected officials.  “He’s one of the good guys,” Bill told me, and he was right.

On another occasion, not long after, both Frank and I followed a Republican convention in Newport as it crossed the street and continued into the night at a bar.  We distracted each other, along with his wife, Kathleen, from the felt need to schmooze with a long conversation about matters political and personal.

Senator Maher was in politics for the right reasons.  He wasn’t looking for an edge in the insider career path or running for a place on local talking head shows.  He was a man of strong values who saw politics as a means of doing some good in the world.

Too often, those who should be our models are too modest to draw attention to themselves.  Rest in peace, Frank.  I know you’re doing what you can to help us from where you are.

The people running our country are difficult to understand.

Has it ever happened in history that a country’s government has so aggressively opposed a domestic industry so vital to the economy and national security? It’s like an autoimmune disorder.

So much changes…

I’m glad to have learned about the Abernathy Boys’ cross-country adventures a century ago, but I do wonder.  Sure, the 10- and 6-year-olds’ adventures do echo across the decades as something lost.  And yet… their story was unique even then, and life has become less dangerous for children, which is a good thing.

On the other hand, we’re definitely overprotective these days, largely (I think) because we overemphasize the rare stories on the other side of the spectrum, where things go tragically wrong.

Reminder for Catholics who might be confused by Biden.

We’re not supposed to eat meat on Fridays during Lent.  However, yesterday was the Solemnity of the Annunciation, which means the rule of abstaining from meat was suspended for the day.

Joe Biden eats pizza w/meat in Poland

 

Whether Biden knew of the suspension, we cannot know.  Even if he didn’t, this would have been a small transgression (especially compared with his full-throated support for killing unborn babies).  It may even have been excused by the likelihood that he genuinely forgot the date, the liturgical season, or the rule.

Has our COVID experience opened the gate for skepticism about The Pill?

It’s interesting how topics bubble up in the constant flow of information in which we swim, these days.  Yesterday, I came across Martha Rosenberg’s interview with women’s health advocate Mike Gaskins, whose research has investigated the science and politics with which the birth-control pill became a cultural mainstay:

Several years ago, I heard a lecture by an autoimmune disease expert who explained how endocrine disruptors that mimic natural estrogen play a crucial role in the condition, but when I asked him about the pill specifically, he said it played no role “at all.” In fact, he said it had never been linked to any of the diseases.

Later, I went online and discovered a study that found a significant link between the pill and the autoimmune disease lupus. I thought the expert must be unaware of the study, until there was a quote from him in that very article saying it didn’t mean women should stop taking the pill. I became interested in why the medical community seems eager to downplay the pill’s risks and began my research.

The “expert’s” response feels very much like the doggedly insistent proclamations we’ve been getting about COVID vaccines.

Earlier today, I was listening to an episode of the Jordan Peterson podcast with his wife and daughter, and the conversation turned unexpectedly toward the women’s terrible experience with the pill and how it changed their personalities starkly for the worse.

Maybe the political health establishment became so brazen with COVID that people are beginning to question other campaigns, too.

A fist punches water

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Punches and Polls

John DePetro and Justin Katz review up-to-the-minute politics in Rhode Island.


Kate Duffy and Darlene D'Arezzo on State of the State

State of the State: Intervention, Readiness, and Treatment

Host Darlene D’Arezzo discusses alcoholism and recovery with Kate Duffy of Tipping Point Recovery

A woman in a hedge maze

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Everybody’s Losing the Plot

John DePetro and Justin Katz talk about the ways insiders are missing the point in Rhode Island politics.

Louise Kiessling, Andrea Martin, and Susan Orban on State of the State

State of the State: Promoting Children’s Mental Health

Host Susan Orban discusses the mental health of children and how books can help with Louise Kiessling and Andrea Martin.

The End on a white brick wall

Politics This Week with John DePetro: RI’s End Approaches?

John DePetro and Justin Katz discuss the discouraging news in RI and the solution.

Kate Duffy and Darlene D'Arezzo on State of the State

State of the State: Intervention, Readiness, and Treatment

Host Darlene D’Arezzo discusses alcoholism and recovery with Kate Duffy of Tipping Point Recovery

A woman in a hedge maze

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Everybody’s Losing the Plot

John DePetro and Justin Katz talk about the ways insiders are missing the point in Rhode Island politics.

Louise Kiessling, Andrea Martin, and Susan Orban on State of the State

State of the State: Promoting Children’s Mental Health

Host Susan Orban discusses the mental health of children and how books can help with Louise Kiessling and Andrea Martin.

The End on a white brick wall

Politics This Week with John DePetro: RI’s End Approaches?

John DePetro and Justin Katz discuss the discouraging news in RI and the solution.

Seth Magaziner and Richard August on State of the State

State of the State: Seth Magaziner for Congress

Host Richard August covers a variety of issues with Rhode Island Congressional candidate Seth Magaziner.

Pickpocketing in Oliver Twist

Providence’s pension obligation bond shows how civics know-how can be worse than useless to an ignorant population.

A handful of very active people who don’t understand how a policy works can do a great deal of damage, which is an outcome we should be discouraging rather than encouraging.

Ripples
Trying to explain the Supreme Court ruling to a child.

What did they change?

Well, there was a rule that said mommies had to be allowed to kill their babies before they were born everywhere in the country, and the court said states could decide whether or not to keep that rule.

Why would mommies want to kill their babies?

Biden’s bike fall is a horrible harbinger for our country.

Naturally, the mainstream media is choosing to share video of Joe Biden falling on his bicycle in which you can’t see what actually happened.  Barstool Sports has the good clip:

It wasn’t even one of those stumbles that happens from time to time. The White House occupant just forgot how to get off the bicycle.

The people who installed this man have put the planet in cataclysmic danger.

What’s the supporter overlap between suicide-barriers and physician-assisted suicide?

This is probably a strange question to pose, but nonetheless, one wonders.  As the state government moves toward spending big money on suicide barriers that will inevitably change the aesthetic character of the bridges on which they’re installed, what is the belief system underlying our local culture?  Where do supporters for such things stand on, say, physician-assisted suicide?

I ask only because my sense is that our society is deeply confused exactly in the way that would spend money to stop people from killing themselves by jumping off bridges while also spending money for doctors to pull the fatal chemical trigger upon request.

Yes, we should probably expect Democrats to have a hard time nationally.

The political commentary crew on CNN pretty uniformly believes Democrats will experience a “trouncing” come November.  Well, look.  That’s what happens when you install a senile old man through questionable means, selling him (to the extent you bother to make the case at all) as a reasonable centrist even though the people who make decisions on his behalf are hardcore Marxists.  The truth is that a “trouncing” is too soft.  If we had a healthy civic society, the Democrat Party would be utterly wiped from the face of American politics… and quickly replaced by a new opposition to Republicans.

Social justice wokism is a means for elite self-righteousness.

To live in the shoreline suburbs of Rhode Island is periodically to encounter raw evidence that progressivism has gained its purchase here, at least in part, as a way for some of the most privileged people in human history to feel themselves even more superior while assuaging their own guilt by accusing those who are slightly (or even significantly) less privileged of holding the incorrect views, all in the name of “tolerance” and support for the disadvantaged.