Rhode Island Culture

The Sickness is Deep

By Marc Comtois | May 14, 2010 |

The anecdotes provided by John DePetro in this piece are, unfortunately, entirely predictable: Callers from North Providence were calling in to my show on WPRO regarding the FBI arresting three members from the council. Some of the comments: * “It wasn’t taxpayer money they took.” * “25 grand ain’t a lot of money. It ain’t…

History Unexplored and Quality of Life

By Justin Katz | April 18, 2010 |

It’s been a running theme — of accelerating urgency on an individual basis — whether Rhode Island’s vaunted “quality of life” justifies the cost of building a life, here. My view is that high culture, wonderful scenery, history, and so on don’t amount to much for families that must work so hard simply to survive…

Public Spenders’ Soft-Spot for Nonsense

By Justin Katz | March 19, 2010 |

The “arts community” has drawn pretty tight ideological lines around itself, but there are those of us with pretensions to art, in some medium or other, with a different understanding of the world. As such a one, I think Governor Carcieri was wrong to give in and cancel his plans “to eliminate a program that…

Connecting the Dots: The PPD Drug Ring

By Marc Comtois | March 9, 2010 |

It’s been a few days since the main players were divulged, so–based on information gathered in various stories–here is an attempt to show the links between the known players in the Providence PD drug ring and others. These links aren’t to be inferred as an accusation against those not charged, but they are interesting in…

The Not-Well New England State

By Justin Katz | February 16, 2010 |

Perhaps Rhode Island’s problem is it’s size. I mean, looking at the map that accompanies the results to Gallup’s poll concerning Americans’ well-being, one can hardly tell that we’re in the “lower range” category. I mean, the bottom half of New England is “midrange,” and Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine made the “higher range” category…

RI’s Rut Is Intellectual as Well as Economic

By Justin Katz | February 15, 2010 |

In a general sense, the front-page, top-of-the-fold story in the Sunday Providence Journal isn’t really news at all. Rhode Island led the region in job losses, over the last decade, and its 3.85% drop compared with a national average of 2.2%. The message to readers: get used to the pain. Of particular concern is that…

What Consolidators Are Missing

By Justin Katz | January 19, 2010 |

I suppose this Projo editorial opposing the newly legislated board for statewide health insurance benefits for teachers is better late than never, but the editors continue to keep two and two from being joined: Obviously, Rhode Island can do much better than rushing through a new system whereby a panel of special interests reward themselves…

A Fortieth Municipality

By Justin Katz | January 19, 2010 |

At a time when common wisdom is marching straight toward a cliff labeled “consolidation” (at the bottom of which are sharp rocks of incumbency, special interests, and political corruption), I’m encouraged to see that the independent spirit lives on in some corners of the state: Started in early December by Prescott Avenue resident and Riverside…

How a Ruling Class Is Maintained

By Justin Katz | January 15, 2010 |

Ed Achorn makes a familiar observation when he writes: Ocean State politicians have long supported a two-tiered society in which there is a privileged class of public employees — about one in six workers in Rhode Island two years ago, probably a higher percentage today — and an underprivileged class of private-sector drones. We should…

In a Land of Waning Religion?

By Justin Katz | January 4, 2010 |

Ted Nesi has culled the local data from a national survey concerning American religion: Rhode Island residents are among the least religious in the country, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life in Washington. Just 44 percent of Rhode Island and Connecticut residents surveyed by Pew…