Weird. A surprise Census revision under Raimondo and Biden has proven to be incorrect (or worse).

Is anybody surprised by news of a problem with the U.S. Census finalized under the leadership of Secretary Gina Raimondo and her boss, Joe Biden, that appears to have erroneously salvaged one of Rhode Island’s Congressional seats and a bunch of federal funding?  The imbalance of the results is not, let’s say, what one would…

A man with his head in a washing machine
Westerly middle school teacher Erica DeVoe shouldn’t be TikTok pals with students and disrespecting their parents.

The attitude that Westerly middle school English teacher Erica DeVoe displays toward parents in this TikTok video, which is also targeted toward her students, is disturbing: Here you go… pic.twitter.com/wUzw67h5xJ — Robert Chiaradio (@bchiaradio14) May 6, 2022 One can gather from her commentary that she’s had a practice of making TikTok videos with her students,…

Erica DeVoe disrespects parents on TikTok
A world in which mothers don’t smother their babies is inherently good (even on Utilitarian grounds).

Having just finished a graduate course in ethics, I found my mind keenly tuned to a question when Quillette editor Claire Lehmann raised it during a conversation with Jordan Peterson.  Lehmann said she found herself offended, once, when asked in an ethics-related class whether she would smother her own baby to death so as to prevent…

Mother touching baby's hand
To understand how progressives operate, consider the housing issue.

Rhode Island has real problems, and an unavoidable consequence of reality is that those who most need a healthy, vibrant society under their feet will face the greatest risk of tragedy in an unhealthy, sclerotic one.  The wise approach, then, when one observes suffering in the community is to look for fundamental causes and solutions…

Homeless man "seeking human kindness"
“Price gouging” is another term pols and the media use to slippery effect.

Three things come immediately to the eye of anybody who carefully reads Sarah Doiron’s WPRI article, “Dems urge crackdown on price gouging as gas skyrockets.” First, the article contains not a single number or specific instance of price gouging.  Politicians (Democrats all) simply note that prices are up, assert that there is “price gouging” and…

A gas shortage starts in South Carolina
They’ll pull us into a social credit system if they can.

A free people ought to reject some policies completely on principle, no matter what the practical arguments for them might be in the moment.  The Chinese Communists’ social credit system is one such policy, whereby the government leverages its power to grant rewards or impose demerits in order to control the population. The American spirit…

Man in a suit walking
Will growing parent dissatisfaction make a difference in Barrington?

Barrington resident William Jacobson has an update on his Legal Insurrection site about the growing pushback of parents against the school department’s decision to reduce academic opportunities for advanced students.  The content is somewhat encouraging.  Jacobson notes the national attention the story is attracting, provides video from a school committee meeting that shows more than the…

The Barrington School Committee
Matt Brown is selling other people’s money.

A tweet from an apparent Matt Brown supporter shines an unmistakable light on two realities of progressive politics: Matt Brown, a wealthy man, himself, is precisely the sort of politician observers warned us about at the founding of our country, a huckster willing to capitalize on the ability of people to vote themselves other people’s…

Pickpocketing in Oliver Twist
Americans seem to be getting the early indications of a very bitter taste.

The news comes from the beginning of the digestive process… The out-of-stock rate for baby formula hovered between 2% and 8% in the first half of 2021, but began rising sharply last July. Between November 2021 and early April 2022, the out-of-stock rate jumped to 31%, data from Datasembly showed. To the end… Sky-high prices…

A boy rummages through trash at the dump
Kids don’t overcome trans indoctrination in a few years.

For the growing “our elites are insane” file, WPRI gives this propagandistic headline to an AP article: “Early transgender identity tends to endure, study suggests.”  See, the editor is implying, it’s not just a faddish thing that fades quickly.  But think objectively about what precisely the study found: The research involved 317 youngsters who were 3…

A child with hands over face.
State government theft from workers shows we need trust in ourselves, not new laws.

With a bit of spectacularly bad timing for Rhode Island insiders (who may very well win anyway), an employee of the state Department of Labor and Training has been charged with stealing funds from exactly an area that labor unions are trying to make more flush: An employee of the Rhode Island Department of Labor…

A shadowy man on the phone
Right-to-work states passed non-right-to-work states in employment during the pandemic.

This, from Mark Tapscott in The Epoch Times seems like exactly the sort of thing we’d be hearing a lot about if those tasked with promulgating and debating information were truly committed to the American project of freedom and experimentation: There were 78.3 million employed individuals in the [right-to-work (RTW)] states in February 2020, when the…

Black man reviewing business trends
The SCOTUS news is exposing a madness in Rhode Island.

As Anchor Rising readers know, last week a Providence Journal headline proclaimed, “RI’s record-shattering baby shortage could spell trouble for state’s economy.” This week, Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos proclaimed her aspiration for the Ocean State to kill more: I’m confident RI can become a national leader for reproductive rights at a time when these rights are coming…

Snowy tracks through a crystal ball
Topless Nantucket is a step toward discovering if we’ve forgotten why our ancestors made certain cultural decisions.

Culture and history are funny things.  Over the centuries, our civilization learns things about human life and codes them in cultural norms that everybody can know without having to be able to explain.  They’re just how we do things — lessons learned over centuries, sometimes through painful experience. No doubt, our ancestors coded the wrong…

A beach and light house in Nantucket
Ripples
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.

Paying your debts is social justice.

Maybe I’m just entering that late-middle-age phase, but it seems to me that younger adults — or all of us, with reference to times that were before our time — too infrequently understand the experience of the past.  Consider this find from Tim Worstall for Accuracy in Media:

A new piece from Teen Vogue says that student loans really must be forgiven because going traveling on vacation is so good for mental health.

No, really, that is what the piece says: “[T]he repayment pause went into effect soon after, and she was grateful. Without needing to make that monthly payment, she’s been able to put money into other things that are important to her, such as travel, which she says has helped her mental health.”

Sure, we like to travel, a vacation, as much as the next person. We do differ with the conclusion reached though: “You know, that’s not only eliminating student loan debt.”

As Worstall goes on to explain, “the economy must add up.”  Somebody, somewhere, will bear the cost of your education, and a generation steeped in social justice ideology ought to understand that somebody will probably be way down the hill from them.

Paying your debts is social justice.

Why not just leave anachronistic “plantations” in place where it’s historical and difficult to remove?

Patrick Anderson follows up on the state’s ongoing efforts to change its official name everywhere, following a constitutional edit during the last election:

You don’t have to look too hard to find the words Providence Plantations on state buildings, a year and a half after Rhode Island voters deleted them from the state name.

The phrase is still on the State House’s Smith Street façade, on the marble floor of the rotunda, the façade of the Department of Transportation building and the marble outside the Licht Judicial Complex in Providence.

The picture of the lettering around the seal in the State House rotunda suggests the question posed in this post’s headline.  Buildings, unlike official documents, are historical artifacts, and erasing the past is a dangerous game, especially when it comes at great expense.

Funny how we’ve forgotten why the state took over Providence schools.

It’s depressing to say, but it looks like the anti-reform strategy of the teachers unions and other special interests succeeded.  From the beginning, it was clear that the plan was to delay and obfuscate attempts at correcting the unforgivably terrible performance of Providence schools until the attention of the public moved on.

For some reason, it was this tweet from Providence Teachers Union VP Jeremy Sencer that heralded their success:

Last night’s @RISenate hearing made it clear that we can do the TAP work for @pvdschools better without the divisive, chaotic @RIDeptEd takeover. We have the passion & talent in PVD!

If anybody was (1) paying attention, (2) remembered the recent past, and (3) cared, Sencer would have been too concerned about backlash to state such a thing publicly.

You’re not the only one thinking the COVID trajectory all looks kind of… deliberate.

Ed Driscoll rounds up a little bit of the commentary, including:

TWITTER THREAD ON 2020 AND ITS AFTERMATH: “The Democrats saw an opportunity with the emergence of Covid to crush a roaring economy under a president they didn’t like. So they, & their base, did everything in their power to impose crushing restrictions on small businesses…Locking people up at home not only tanked the economy & drove up prices, it completely disrupted the global manufacturing & supply chain that was in place. You can’t just flip that on and off like a light switch.”

And:

As Ace of Spades writes, at the start of a lengthy post on that last headline, “The masking mandates that the corrupt US and state and local governments forced on children, under pressure from the corrupt teachers unions have imposed developmental disorders on children that they may never recover from. The early years of development are critical ones. You don’t get those back. These are critical years of development in which children’s brains are wired to rewire themselves like crazy. Their brains will reconfigure themselves during these years like in no other point in their lives, ever. There is no ‘Do Over’ switch on a child’s formative years.”

I suspect the average person would be reluctant to believe people could be evil enough to do this kind of harm knowingly, let alone deliberately.  Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?

Hey, have you heard about that election fraud in Wisconsin?

Strange how little I’ve been seeing about stories like this in my rounds of news collection. You’d think it’d be of broad interest.

Rampant fraud and abuse occurred statewide at Wisconsin’s nursing homes and other residential care facilities,” according to the Office of Special Counsel’s second interim report filed on March 1 with the Wisconsin Assembly. That conclusion represents but one of the key findings of election irregularities detailed in the nearly 150-page report—a report that also confirms the conclusion of the Racine County Sheriff’s office last fall that fraud occurred at nursing homes in Wisconsin.

Special Counsel Michael Gableman, the retired state Supreme Court justice appointed by the Wisconsin Assembly to investigate integrity concerns about the 2020 election, vetted more than 90 nursing homes in five different counties before concluding there was “widespread election fraud at Wisconsin nursing homes in November of 2020.”

Don’t worry.  I’m sure we’ve got nothing of the kind in Rhode Island.

Should Ukrainian refugees expect a modern American welcome?

Democrat Governor Dan McKee’s letter to Joe Biden expressing our state’s willingness to house refugees from war in Ukraine raises many questions.  For instance, why is this particular offering worthy of a prominent, grandiloquent pronouncement while accepting midnight flights of illegal immigrants (mostly young men) is not?

Separately, one wonders what it means to welcome Ukrainian refugees “with open arms.”  How soon after they arrive will we begin educating them about their white privilege?

The United States is hobbling itself and its economy when it comes to energy.

As an emboldened Vladimir Putin causes mayhem on the global stage, it’s important to remember how much our own government is harming the prospects of the United States, as if deliberately humbling our country to bring us down:

Upcoming federal oil and gas lease sales will be delayed as the Interior Department figures out how to weigh the climate impact of those sales without using a key tool for measuring those risks, according to a court filing issued on Saturday evening.

The length of the delay was not specified, but it stems from a Feb. 11 decision by a Louisiana federal district court judge that blocked the Biden administration from using the “social cost of carbon” – an interim estimate of $50 per ton of greenhouse gases emitted – to factor the risks of climate change into federal decision-making for permitting, investment and regulatory issues.

This whole thing feels like a deliberate performance between an administration that doesn’t want to allow Americans to be energy independent and judges who are happy to abet the subversion of the laws that permit our freedom.

Add a leaky Dunk to the signs of RI’s deterioration.

For the cost of taxes and the cost of living around here, why do Rhode Islanders tolerate this sort of thing?

For the third time in the last four years on national television, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center has served as a national embarrassment, as games have had to be canceled or delayed because the management of the facility can’t maintain the building properly.

Twice before, concerns about players’ safety forced games to be stopped, and in one case, a game had to be shifted to Providence College’s Alumni Hall. The Friars lost that game.

It’s a great analogy.  A private organization (with a Catholic foundation) has some amazing success, and our government insider system does nothing but leach and tarnish.  Lest you forget, The Dunkin’ Donuts Center is managed by the Convention Center Authority, which is very much part of RI’s insider system.

Something as reasonable and helpful as temporarily eliminating the gas tax has no chance in RI.

Well, we have to thank Rhode Island Republicans for trying:

The Rhode Island Senate Republican Caucus is proposing the state eliminate gas tax for the remainder of the year.

“We want to direct the influx in tax revenue back to residents and provide relief from the crushing pain at the pump,” Senate Minority Whip Jessica de la Cruz said. “Our state budget is benefiting from inflation as the gas tax brings in new, unexpected revenue. Meanwhile, the people of Rhode Island are struggling to balance their budgets with no relief in sight.”

Why can’t these ideas get more traction around here?

Relying on tech for your health is a risky proposition.

Not long ago, technology was beginning to allow the blind to see.  Beware the need for maintenance and software support:

These three patients, and more than 350 other blind people around the world with Second Sight’s implants in their eyes, find themselves in a world in which the technology that transformed their lives is just another obsolete gadget. One technical hiccup, one broken wire, and they lose their artificial vision, possibly forever. To add injury to insult: A defunct Argus system in the eye could cause medical complications or interfere with procedures such as MRI scans, and it could be painful or expensive to remove.

On its face, this is more a market failure than a technological one.  (What is preventing the market from making such miracles sustainable?)  Either way, however, it does remind us not to be too readily trusting in technology (whether implants or, say, vaccines) that must be maintained in an ongoing way.  It also reminds us how easily the ground can fall away beneath us.  Disruptions from experiments in big government, for example, become absolutely profound when one needs the structures of society even in order to see.

The Nazi’s-eye-view of the great Battle of Providence shows how pathetic the whole thing was.

The video that the Rhode Island 131 group posted of its attack, protest, walk-by-shouting, whatever, on Monday shows how pathetic the whole thing was.

The video does add the implied possibility that there was some shoving involved, although it may have been two-sided.

The idea that this has commanded the attention of all of Rhode Island’s governing officials for a day would be inexplicable if we hadn’t already seen similar reactions for far less (like a handful of fliers on the East Side). It’s inexplicable, that is, except as propaganda, which has exposed the real threat — namely, that governing officials are on the hunt for excuses to curtail our freedoms while distracting from their own failures.

Canada’s crackdown on the trucker protest is a major warning sign.

Jordan Peterson has shared a note from one of the organizers of the Ottawa protests:

From BJ Dichter, one of the organizers of the Ottawa protest. If you don’t think this could happen to you or someone you love you’re a fool. He’s been made a nonperson. Without being charged or tried. Is this what we’re now doing to people who differ in political opinion?

All of my bank accounts, person and corporate and all my credit cards have been frozen. Has happened to many others. It feels like being banished from the midlevel [Medieval?] village left to die.

It’s chilling to see the number of comments to Peterson’s post that completely ignore the significance of due process.  In the view of some, the government warned him to stop, and this is simply the consequence for his actions.

There are dark times coming if we don’t turn this around soon in the West.  In the meantime, I foresee cash enjoying a surge in interest.

Just when I was beginning to respect the Projo again, Katherine Gregg lets loose some partisan COVID propaganda.

As much of the local, state, and national media goes woke, established publications like the Providence Journal have seemed more even-handed in contrast.  An article by Katherine Gregg about a Rhode Island psychiatrist who dissents from the demanded view on COVID blows that impression up.  Some of the paragraphs that make me wonder whether the Projo has laid off all its editors.

For instance, what is the relevance of the date to this particular story?

On a broadcast, aired on the anniversary of the January 6 siege of the nation’s Capitol, she lamented the COVID “hysteria” being perpetrated by “many different media outlets about the virus.”

What evidence does Gregg have that the doctor was speaking based on “talking points” rather than her informed opinion?

Asked if McCance-Katz had been given the go-ahead to argue GOP talking points in venues outside Rhode Island, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals said…

Gregg throws a bunch of stuff in the pot to make Dr. McCance-Katz (no relation) seem like a partisan Republican and then blame her for long-running troubles at the state-run Eleanor Slater Hospital, but it’s a farce to enforce an partisan, ideological line and distract from true responsibility.

Neronha’s denial of the hospital merger offers an important lesson.

Whether or not one agrees with Attorney General Peter Neronha’s decision to block a major merger of Rhode Island hospital companies, the fact that it wasn’t really a typical Rhode Island decision-making process cannot be denied.  From that fact we can learn an important lesson.

Personal integrity probably played a role, of course, but one reason he was able to buck expectations was that Neronha was tasked with answering a specific question based on a clear set of standards (i.e., the law).  That is how we should strive to structure all administrative and judicial (as opposed to legislative) decisions in government.  Unfortunately, we’ve become too accustomed to elected officials and judges simply imposing their best judgment (I’m being charitable) regardless of what law or regulation might say.

People who do that have to be removed from office.  Of course, political insiders will always prefer that decisions be made behind closed doors for political reasons, with justification pieced together after the fact as a disguise for the corruption.

Teenager gets vaccinated

Vaccines and Veterans

Naomi Wolf tells John Loughlin about the scandal of COVID vaccine coverups; Cox discusses Get Started RI; and two officials talk veterans affairs.


Liquid pouring into an invisible glass

Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Illusion of Politics

John DePetro and Justin Katz pull back the curtain on Rhode Island politics

Blindfolded woman smoking

The Crucial Lesson of Gaps in Abortion Journalism

From a one-sided Boston Globe article advocating for subsidized abortions, we can see how Bill Maher managed to remain ignorant about the facts of U.S. abortion.

Water glass on beige table

Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Beigeness of RI Politicians

John DePetro and Justin Katz review the gubernatorial “forum” and abortion politics.

Joseph Shekarchi and Richard August on State of the State

State of the State: Speaker Shekarchi on Current Legislative Matters

Speaker of the House of Representatives Joseph Shekarchi speaks with Richard August, candidly and straightforwardly discussing some of the current matters facing the legislature.

Liquid pouring into an invisible glass

Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Illusion of Politics

John DePetro and Justin Katz pull back the curtain on Rhode Island politics

Blindfolded woman smoking

The Crucial Lesson of Gaps in Abortion Journalism

From a one-sided Boston Globe article advocating for subsidized abortions, we can see how Bill Maher managed to remain ignorant about the facts of U.S. abortion.

Water glass on beige table

Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Beigeness of RI Politicians

John DePetro and Justin Katz review the gubernatorial “forum” and abortion politics.

Joseph Shekarchi and Richard August on State of the State

State of the State: Speaker Shekarchi on Current Legislative Matters

Speaker of the House of Representatives Joseph Shekarchi speaks with Richard August, candidly and straightforwardly discussing some of the current matters facing the legislature.

Governor Dan McKee and Sgt. Pete Philomena

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Hiding the Pol

John DePetro and Justin Katz discuss the political stories of the week.

Darlene D'Arezzo and Michael Prusko on State of the State

State of the State: Living Successfully with Visual Impairment

Michael Prusko talks with Darlene D’Arezzo about his experience of visual impairment.

Ripples
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.