We react to increases in housing prices in exactly the wrong way.

Lance Lambert, who appears to be a reporter on the housing beat, shared a table of increases in housing prices in the 50 largest metro areas.  As the following snip from the table shows, Providence experienced the third-largest increase over the past year: Various contextual points are important to remember.  Metros can vary in size,…

Suburban house with a slot machine on the side
We’re crossing the line from inadequate education to malevolent indoctrination.

For those willing to step outside the boundaries of “just the way we do things,” the justification for mandatory schooling backstopped by taxpayer-funded government schools is an interesting question.  I’d pick up the rope and pull for the “yes, justified” side.  A country founded on freedom and individual achievement and held together by abstract agreement…

A teacher Xes out George Washington on the blackboard
Even By Her Own Metric, Rhode Island’s Education Commissioner Has to Step Down

The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity has called for the removal of Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green. They make their case here. I echo their call. During her tenure, Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green has failed to implement successful education reforms. She has instead prioritized questionable, experimental, non-education initiatives in Rhode Island’s K-12…

Elaborate government investment fraud creates incentive for election fraud.

The latest shiny news object in Rhode Island media is the revelation that the Tidewater soccer stadium will cost Rhode Island taxpayers $132 million in order to finance $27 million of the construction costs, or $4.4 million per year for 30 years.  Grumbling is being heard from people with familiar names — “obviously these are…

A man in a suit holds a soccer ball decorated with dollar signs
People who want to think for themselves are not the target of national Democrats’ talking points.

Among my frustrations with social media in recent years has been the way my streams become filled with content in which I have minimal interest — like Democrat propaganda — because people share it in disbelief.  The frustration is primarily with the realization that people apparently believe in completely incompatible realities, which is what motivates…

Men discuss box of garbage in a dark shop
In Rhode Island, government is a natural disaster.

Yes, yes, words get thrown around in state-level politics, but there’s an important lesson in East Providence City Council President Bob Rodericks’s letter asking Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee to declare a state of emergency over the closure of the Washington Bridge between East Providence and Providence: … East Providence is impacted more than any…

A road inspector sleeps on his car
In the current environment, expedited voter registration is an invitation to fraud.

When one of our cars became unusable last year, my family had to buy another, which we did at a dealer in Massachusetts that a friend had recommended.  We’ve bought cars in Massachusetts, before, but it appears that something has changed.  Registering the car took about a month, during which time we were short a…

The word, "vote," on puppet strings
Rhode Island’s K-12 Transgender Policy: Why Are Education Commissioner and Council Silent?

Following our first inquiry of Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green and the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education about Rhode Island transgender policy in K-12 schools and their non-response, Anchor Rising reached out a second time, this time asking, … current RIDE policy permits schools to discuss transgender procedures with students.  RIDE policy also permits schools…

A word on housing.

Amidst all the other happenings in Rhode Islanders’ lives, it’s worth a moment to consider that we’ve reached the point that the General Assembly is delving into such levels of micromanagement as housing setbacks and in-law apartments in local zoning.  That’s a sign that we’re doing things wrong. In the mania of the day (or…

A dense conformist neighborhood on the water
A Central Landfill meeting gives a sense of what’s being lost from media.

Considering how frequently I criticize professional journalists, I may too infrequently convey how powerful I think their role can (and should) be.  A recent Johnson Sunrise article by Rory Schuler, about the resignation/retirement of Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) Executive Directo Joseph Reposa, is an excellent example of what we’re losing.  Without making a gooey…

Reporter shocked at 19th Century public meeting
The system we inherited doesn’t persist of its own accord.

News that the Rhode Island Republican Party is struggling to hit the qualification requirements to place any presidential candidates on the primary ballot points to a deep problem in our state’s political landscape.  This is true even if we put to the side (for now) rumors that some large number of signatures were inexplicably invalidated….

An unkempt and overrun baseball stadium
RIDOT About Bridge Inspections: Psych! You Need a Data Key

The featured image is by RIDOT of a broken steel rod on the Washington Bridge Westbound, one of the critically failed components that caused the sudden closure of Interstate 195 west on December 11. How these components went critical between July, its most recent inspection (link to report) until December 8, when they were purportedly…

Short memories and an urge to dictate have brought Rhode Island a plastic bag ban.

Honestly, I expected the COVID experience to put an end to the high-school-civics-project of banning single-use plastic bags, but stores’ bag dispensers now sit empty, and Rhode Islanders have another reason to lean toward shopping in Massachusetts or online. In Rhode Island, our legislators have a chronic difficulty understanding consequences and the availability of alternatives. …

A man freaks out about a plastic bag in a tree in an urban park
A recipient society produces the government plantation.

So much of Rhode Island’s predicament can be explained by incentives.  People who rely on government for their prosperity, for instance, have a great deal of incentive to manipulate the processes thereof, whereas our community lacks institutions with incentive to counterbalance them politically.  Something similar and related — though much broader on a social scale…

The RI State House in the middle of a plantation
One undeniable fact about the huge influx of illegal immigrants…

… is that we, the People, are being manipulated.

JonDBrien1: This is a disaster.  Indefensible.

Of course, we should be clear.  The contribution of illegal immigration is not the entire 3.8M, which also includes whatever increase there would have been, if any.  (Presumably, immigration could prove to had made up for what otherwise would have been a decrease.)  We also should turn a good portion of our attention to a realistic “So, now what?” analysis.

That said, a country-changing trend like this really should be subject of extensive public debate and consent, which is pretty much the opposite of what our political elites are encouraging.

Progressives’ Valentines give a hint of life when everything’s political.

It seemed to be a mini-fad, this year, for progressives to post fake Valentines on social media that weren’t about love, but about their political positions.  This one, from RI Kids Count captures the distasteful feel with particular gusto:

RIKidsCount: Roses are red
Violets are blue 
Kicking kids off Medicaid is myopic
Can't you see that too?

The tone is hard to miss, with its insinuation of superiority and assumption of bad-intent and/or blindness.  The post even uses a word from the classic vocabulary of pretention, “myopic.”

This is a small thing, to be sure, but something about it really captures the flavor of life under a progressive regime.

There’s a subtler lesson about the lie of Biden’s loan forgiveness.

Brian’s got this right, but it’s not the entire story:

BrianCNewberry: Let me fix this headline: "A new report shows Rhode Island taxpayers will pick up the tab for 450 lucky people whose votes Biden is trying to buy".

$3.4 million to 450 people is $7,556 each.  That’s not life-changing money; it’s purely a political handout at others’ expense.  Wait until the kids discover how limited this handout is, by the way.  Most of them are actually struggling with their private loans, which tend to be much larger and that are carrying interest increases under Biden that more than wipe away the benefit of the subsidized-loan buy off.

Education will not improve in RI as long as these folks are setting the agenda.

This is all about ideology and politics, not about truly educating Rhode Island students:

PaigeCParks: .
 is an allied partner w/ NEARI.

Most Rhode Islanders don’t have any idea who these people are, and many of those who do want to avoid the danger and cognitive dissonance of believing they have ulterior motives.  Nonetheless, as long as they have prominent roles in public education in our state, students will suffer.

The ACLU of Colorado has reached the point of psychosis.

That’s the only explanation for this sort of thing:

ACLUofColorado: BREAKING: We’re suing Children’s Hospital Colorado (CHCO) after they refused to provide top surgery for our 18-year-old transgender plaintiff — all while doing the same surgeries for cisgender patients.

This is discrimination — full stop.


The activist-lawyers at the ACLU would have us believe that they are so blinkered by ideology that they can’t see a distinction between a children’s hospital removing unhealthy breast tissue to stop cancer and removing healthy breasts for cosmetic reasons under the assertion that it will help relieve a mental illness.

Pay attention, by the way, to the “full stop” language, which I’ve seen with increasing frequency from trans activists.  We should be concerned that this petulant insistence that disagreeing is simply not acceptable has contributed to the increase in violent attacks from transgenders.

Yes, pet euthanasia often comes down to convenience.

I mean, I know from experience it can still be sad and traumatic, but at the end of the day, few people exhaust the medical possibilities before concluding the cost is too high.  That’s why this tweet is an example of the way in which political arguments can brush aside the most significant distinctions:

kelsey_coletta: We allow our pets to die with dignity, shouldn’t we afford our fellow humans the same option? Rather than forcing people to suffer?

Kelsey calls such statements “stupid,” but it’s simply undeniable that euthanasia for human beings with the same standards as for pets would be a downgrade for humanity.

The cause of the young-adult suicide drop is less important than the cause of its resumption.

Armand Domalewski asks an important question, when he observes a quick decrease in teen and young adult suicide after 1994, which held until about 2008 and in 2017 exceeded its previous high:

ArmandDoma: What happened in 1991?

The more important question, though, is what has been happening since 2007/2008.

Having graduated high school in 1993, I’d speculate that the drop in the ’90s had to do, most profoundly, with the lightening of the existential dread of nuclear war after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 combined with young adults’ trimming their Baby Boomer parents’ greater social excesses and gaining a general optimism for the future based on economic growth with the rise of information technology.

Corresponding with the elevation of Obama, efforts to revive existential dread based on the environment and to erase progress toward racial harmony, not to mention attacks on the economic freedom, reversed those trends.

The union push is a bad sign for ABC6.

Entirely apart from ideological battles, the push at the ABC6 news operation in Rhode Island is a bad sign for the station:

bamaral44: A group of staffers at ABC6 are seeking to unionize. They say they're facing stagnant pay and a lack of resources at the station. A union, they say, will bring them to the table and elevate their work.Over a quarter century of living in Rhode Island, I’ve seen no movement from ABC6 toward a greater competitive position against WJAR (10) and WPRI (12).  The perennial third-place laggard from a struggling industry in a deteriorating small-market state needs flexibility and an entrepreneurial spirit across the organization, not the what’s-in-it-for-me sclerosis of a workplace model more suitable to a factory, where workers are interchangeable.

Of course, in this state, nobody will question the move, and it will likely be the final, fatal albatross for ABC6.

McKee is a great representative… of RI insiders.

I’m a little slow with this, but I still want to chime in on how telling this is:

KimKalunian: VIDEO: @GovDanMcKee said yesterday that the Washington Bridge issues are only adding 10-15 minutes of extra commute time for drivers. @NewsProvidence pressed him on that today. What are you experiencing behind the wheel? @wpri12It’s never a good sign when politicians find themselves explaining to constituents why they (the People) are exaggerating the difficulties they (the politicians) are causing them with unarguably incompetence, but it’s so, so emblematic of RI government.


This should be the repeated proposition for a better future in RI.

The following sentiment, expressed here by a small-business owner being crushed by the Washington Bridge closure, has been expressed by people seeking to reform Rhode Island for decades, so it is encouraging to find it somewhere outside of our meetings and events:

“think of how successful we could be if we weren’t having to pick up the slack of other people”

Rhode Island could be the gem of the Northeast.  Rhode Island could be the archetype of America’s promise.  Rhode Island could be the hub of such dynamism as historians will talk about for centuries.

The problem is that its obvious potential has made the Ocean State vulnerable to rent-seeking toll collectors who stand in the way but promise we only have to pay them off a little.  They’ve collected, though, and there are so many that the purpose of the state has shifted from a vision of thriving to the burden of supporting their slack.

A question that must concern us all is at what point they’ve utterly ruined even the possibility of that vision.

It’s not a good sign when a museum of government is the best use of prime real estate.

The signs of Rhode Island’s decline are piling up, but here’s a small one worth noting:

Once considered a pipe dream, a new $100 million Rhode Island state archives museum is closer than ever to being built. …

… McKee’s office has asked to investigate whether the land next door to the Providence Amtrak station might be a better option, Amore said in an interview. …

The little-used field next to the train station south of the State House has long been eyed as a place for development for everything from an Amazon corporate headquarters to, most recently, a bus hub. Among other things, the complexities of building around and above the Northeast Corridor rail line have squelched prior plans to use the train station land.

With our crumbling infrastructure, failing education system, deteriorating healthcare system, and struggling economy, perhaps the condition of old documents shouldn’t be a nine-figure priority just now.  Even putting priorities aside, however, we should worry that Rhode Island can’t make that bit of prime real estate so valuable a developer would be willing to find a solution for the train track challenge.

We need to start thinking big picture, around here.

We need to ask the “and so” of healthcare principles.

When I see statements like the following (from a former Bernie Sanders surrogate, in this case), my reaction is usually, “Fair enough, but then what”?

DrDooleyMD: Insurance denying things because they say it’s “not medically necessary.”  

Like, I’m the doctor, not you.  I said it’s necessary.  Medically.  

WTH are you talking about? 

We just let Big Insurance practice medicine without a license and that’s not okay.

So what’s the alternative?  If we move toward the single-payer, government-managed system Dr. Dooley likely supports, then it’ll be politicians and bureaucrats rather than doctors.  And even in the case of doctors, if other people are going to be made to pay for people’s healthcare, how do we ensure that doctors are not driven by ideology or some other non-medical incentive?  They’re human, too.

“Just make it so” just does not work.

Here’s a quick lesson younger Americans should learn.

A truism about government used to be heard periodically:  A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.  That saying’s a bit dark, though, and makes its point in an extreme way that younger Americans who’ve been raised with an implicit trust of big government might reject out of hand.

Here’s a milder version that everybody should at least consider:  If the government provides you services and pays for all your needs but makes your life more difficult and takes more of your wealth, the only thing that changes is your dependency on government.

Of course, the unspoken bargain in the minds of many who support larger government is that they will get more of what they need at the expense of other people who don’t need what they have.  For now, however, simply encouraging thought about tradeoffs would be a helpful step.

Oh, it’s just the speaker buying votes.

As business-as-usual as it may be, we shouldn’t become numb to Rhode Island’s base-level corruption, as Democrat House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi demonstrates here:

JoeShekarchi: I was very proud to help support the Warwick Junior Hockey Association - @RIJrBlues, which will be hosting its first annual Winter Classic. Mite teams will face off at the Bank Newport rink in downtown Providence.

Charitable contributions are wonderful, but this photograph raises some questions.  Is that his official State House office?  Is that a personal check, a gift from his campaign, or a taxpayer-funded legislative grant?  What’s with the attached business card?  Was this a donation or a transaction?

It’s difficult to speak out as if against donations to children’s sports leagues, but that’s an indication of the evolved cleverness of the corruption, not the importance of doing so.  A state in which his sort of thing was considered inappropriate would be far less corrupt across the board.

The problem is teachers’ contempt for their role.

The quotation John pulls from the article is worth highlighting:

JohnDePetroShow:  “A lot of districts that have contracts coming up are thinking about what this means if the unions are becoming more militant, if they’re not afraid of a judge, if they’re not afraid of being held in contempt, and if they think it can get them more,”

The disregard of the law is only an incremental worsening of the problem.  Teachers’ going on strike (especially for crass considerations like even higher pay and benefits) has always seemed shocking to me and one of the reasons their unionization seems wholly inappropriate.  If they don’t care about the harm that their unions do to children, why should they care about the law?

Our institutions are guided by primitive and simplistic racism

I used to spend time pointing out the problem with this sort of bean-counting racism (and sexism), but it hardly seems interesting anymore.  The findings aren’t meant to indicate anything real; they’re simply intended to promote a simple-minded ideology.  We can see this in the fact that the conclusions only ever point in one direction.  If there are more white people than their portion of the population, that’s bad.  On the other hand, if there are more women or minorities than the population would suggest, that’s good.

It’s heads we win, tails you lose.

DanMcGowan: URI's staff and faculty is 84.9 percent white, according to the university's affirmative action report.

In an intelligent, non-superstitious, egalitarian world bureaucrats would be embarrassed to publish such reports, and journalists would be embarrassed to promote them.  Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world, and I suppose as people like me tire of pointing out the obvious, younger generations will simply accept the propaganda as facts… until they realize they’ve been swindled.

Are there any homeless caves in Rhode Island?

Yeah, officials will complain about the danger of uninspected residences, but as somebody who grew up in an era when fiction was filled with secret communities in society’s hidden corners, I have to admit these homeless caves are cool:*

CollinRugg:NEW: Massive furnished homeless *caves* discovered in California 20 feet below street level.I wonder if there’s anything comparable around here.

* I should specify that the coolness of the residents’ solution is distinct from the apparent necessity for it, which is a problem we should resolve.

Progressives really want a civil war, don’t they?

In recent years, a strange emphasis has been emerging on America’s political Left on the notion of treason.  The accusation flies not only against hated political personages, but also retroactively in ways it didn’t used to be applied, like the Confederacy.  It isn’t difficult to see where this is going:

ruthbenghist: Greg Abbott is a dangerous subversive who does not recognize Biden as president nor, apparently, federal authority.

According to this person, the governor of Texas is “a dangerous subversive” for disagreeing with the Dear Leader and issuing an official proclamation in accord with legal due process.  (Yes, that’s what it is, even if it is subject to legal challenge.)  These people will be happy to lock up their opponents… or worse.

We’re in desperate need of basic economic lessons around here.

Economically illiterate activists are laying the groundwork to make housing harder to find, and make life worse, in Rhode Island:

JenStewartRI: Thanks for this important reporting @antoniafarzan & @projo

This is how economics works.  The rent goes up to reflect the real value of the property.  Other property owners see the value of their space and reconsider their usage.

For example, instead of renovating or building to add a new storage unit (which progressives hate), the property owner renovates or builds apartments.  When the supply increases, the value and the rent will stop climbing or go down.  Cap rent, and you’ll get the reverse effect: less housing and higher prices.

Unfortunately, the same activists have been training each other for decades to dismiss such arguments as mumbo-jumbo from evil, greedy people.  That’s a shame, and they’ll probably never question whether they, themselves, are contributing to the suffering as it increases.  They’ll get angrier and angrier that others didn’t react as they’d expected them to, taking it as greater proof of evil.

McKee’s absolution shows it’s time to disband the Ethics Commission.

This is how appeals to the Ethics Commission often end, these days:

IanDon: Reax:

McKee - "This stunt was a waste of taxpayer resources"

 - "the lunch ... even if it’s legal, isn’t how people think government should work.” 

 - "To do business in Rhode Island, you should not need to go through this."

From personal experience, I can testify that the Ethics Commission combines the gradual accretion of ethical allowances with the possibility that the commission will completely disregard its precedence to suit its preferences of the moment.  Thus, it tends toward increasing permissiveness with a constant danger of being embarrassed, as a complainant, when the commission decides to change its mind on a whim.

The entire exercise has become one of giving approval to manifestly unethical conduct.  We should get rid of it and let voters decide what’s ethical without giving politicians recourse to a board of insiders who are happy to give them seals of approval.

We really need mature leadership in RI, and I wish Neronha were offering it.

Look, I generally disagree with Attorney General Peter Neronha’s politics, but I could put that aside if I thought he were coming to conclusions reasonably.  Unfortunately:

PeterNeronha: If you want to understand how private equity kills healthcare systems, and gets out before anyone knows the systems are dead, read this.  And remember how private equity ownership would have Roger Williams/Fatima circling the drain, but for our escrow.I’m certainly not going to defend predatory investment firms, but read the article.  Steward Health Care was already dying.  The story is of an equity firm finding a way to make money off it nonetheless.

Trying to make this a government vs. private sector issue is a terrible framing that distracts from the reality causing healthcare problems, while also making it ripe for private sector predation.  Whether Neronha does so deliberately or not, it’s difficult to conclude otherwise than that the distraction is intended to be away from government’s role in the mess.

Shortsighted inspectors of disaster

Politics This Week: An Establishment Without Clarity

On WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM, John DePetro and Justin Katz discuss: Political establishment deteriorating with the Washington Bridge Safety falling through the gaps of immigration euphemism Media punts on journalism when it comes to people they hate Tidewater beneficiaries “Quiet campaigns”   Featured image by Justin Katz using Dall-E 3 and Photoshop AI.

Rising tide floods a city

Politics This Week: High Tide for Special Interests

John DePetro and Justin Katz discuss unions, immigration, infrastructure, borrowing, and other ways special interests profit from government.

Government insiders play in a snowfall of cash

Politics This Week: Snowfall of Favors

John DePetro and Justin Katz trace the disconnect between what Rhode Island needs and what its politicians keep supplying.

An old man contemplates a pit expanding to consume a city

Politics This Week: Distracted by Disaster

John DePetro and Justin Katz lament the lack of focus on the basics in RI government and media.

Children dance near a burning RI State House

Politics This Week: RI Bridges Falling Down

John DePetro and Justin Katz wonder whether Rhode Island can withstand deterioration with its current leadership.

Rising tide floods a city

Politics This Week: High Tide for Special Interests

John DePetro and Justin Katz discuss unions, immigration, infrastructure, borrowing, and other ways special interests profit from government.

Government insiders play in a snowfall of cash

Politics This Week: Snowfall of Favors

John DePetro and Justin Katz trace the disconnect between what Rhode Island needs and what its politicians keep supplying.

An old man contemplates a pit expanding to consume a city

Politics This Week: Distracted by Disaster

John DePetro and Justin Katz lament the lack of focus on the basics in RI government and media.

Children dance near a burning RI State House

Politics This Week: RI Bridges Falling Down

John DePetro and Justin Katz wonder whether Rhode Island can withstand deterioration with its current leadership.

A visual representative of bureaucracy blocks access to a highway

Johnston’s unreachable neighborhood illustrates the problem with insider-ocracy.

Johnston’s challenge gaining access to a neighborhood during emergencies exposes several problems of RI’s way of doing things.

A 1950s coach has a bad idea

Politics This Week: RI Pols Put the Exploitation in “Team”

John DePetro and Justin Katz review the ways in which RI’s self-appointed “coach” and self-presumed captains manipulate the “team” of Rhode Islanders.

The bright Amazon cloud in Johnston does have a dark shadow.

It would be difficult to argue against welcoming an Amazon distribution center in Johnston.  That’s a lot of money that will flow into Rhode Island and one of its municipalities.

There’s even an important and encouraging observation to be made about the fact that it will be in Johnston, with its conservative-Democrat mayor, Joe Polisena.  An electorate that would elect such chief executive — as opposed to a place like Providence, that may without notice elect a socialist — is a sign of stability and reasonableness to a massive company planning an investment of tens of millions of dollars over decades.

The concern is this:  Amazon is going to immediately be a major player (read, “special interest”) in Rhode Island politics.  The other special interests (unions, Democrats, environmentalists) will all make out alright, no doubt, but the average person and small businesses are going to find themselves being ushered a little more toward the back of the bus.

Teachers unions shouldn’t be training members on how to subvert “parent groups.”

A story in Not the Bee about a teachers union seminar about handling “nice white parents” comes out of Pennsylvania, but one can be sure that Rhode Island unions are talking about how to “limit the power” of “parent groups.”

This should be broadly scandalous, which may indicate that most unions across the country have been smart enough not to publish fliers about such things.  As the Washington Examiner tweets, “no other race or ethnic group is subjected to such a curriculum and government-endorsed demonization.”

Magaziner running from the podium after announcing a run for governor has become typical crafting.

The bottom line is that the news media supports progressive Democrats, so its practitioners are not anxious to press their candidates when they decline to answer questions in the service of crafting the news stories.  That’s why it’s entirely natural for Rhode Island General Treasurer to hold a press conference announcing his expected run for governor and then walk away having provided reporters with his canned material.

Magaziner is a consummate Democrat insider, and his time as treasurer has been characterized by the constant PR focus.  In that way, he’s very much the Raimondo-style candidate of this race, although with lighter credentials and less proven competence.

If necessary to see the tyranny, reverse the political parties.

Let’s be blunt about it:  the January 6 protesters being treated so poorly are political prisoners.  In the United States.  Reverse the parties, and we’d be hearing nonstop mainstream media proclamations about how Biden is “literally Hitler.”  The government is actually arguing that stay-at-home-parents are more of a terrorist threat!

When profiling claims another victim.

Michael Morse tells a cute story about how he used his one phone call from prison to explain to his future wife why he had missed their date.  Before going on read how he tells it and come back.  Here’s the summary with the key details for this post.

Morse was racially profiled as some other white guy and asked for ID.  That turned out to have consequences, because he had missed a court summons for driving with an expired license.

I can testify from experience that these sorts of things happen to young men who are still trying to figure out how to balance respect for the rules with the challenges they present.  So, you take a risk, and sometimes that leads to the next step in enforcement.

Now change his race, and way people would tell the story changes.  The way the participants engage in the incident changes, too.  Maybe indignation even turns into confrontation and tragedy.  Then political drama increases the likelihood of conflict in other cases.