The McKee-Matos 2030 plan is doomed for disaster (if it isn’t just political fluff).

Given it all to do again, I’d probably have studied systems engineering in college.  I love plans and planning.  But I loathe self-described “plans” like Rhode Island 2030, still in draft form from the so-called McKee-Matos Administration. The duo claims that they “launched RI 2030 to craft a vision both for the state’s economic recover as…

Machine Elements by Fernand Leger
Maybe rediscovering distrust of tech and government was a good thing.

In the amazing advance of our technology comes the possibility of smart watches’ diagnosing health issues before symptoms begin, Steven Reinberg reports for HealthDay News.  Keeping track of your vital stats on an ongoing basis as you go about your day (and sleep at night), you can get an early start on treatment, which can…

Silhouette over digital background
At least the Wall Street Journal is supporting Bessinger against the “education horror show.”

Yesterday, I wondered why the plight and complaints of Providence middle school teacher Ramona Bessinger weren’t of more concern to teachers, parents, the community, the union, and Rhode Islanders generally.  Today, the Wall Street Journal editorial board has proven that somebody actually cares, giving their editorial the sharp headline, “Education Horror Show, Continued.”  (Search the headline…

A dark classroom
Biden’s military politicization is genuinely the sort of thing authoritarians do.

If you blinked (or don’t get your information from non-mainstream-progressive news sources), you might have missed the Biden administration’s explicit attempts to politicize the United States military along partisan lines.  John Lucas explains for The Federalist: President Joe Biden and his administration are continuing to purge and politicize the American military. Consistent with the totalitarian left’s…

A soldier signals to hold
We must address the roots of our society’s depression and anxiety.

Russ Roberts’ conversation with writer Johann Hari on a recent episode of EconTalk was interesting for a variety of reasons, not the least because it seems Hari’s work on anxiety and depression changed his own mind a bit.  One might say he’s moved toward the conservative view of the world, at least on this question, and…

A fading man on train tracks
Magaziner is abusing the position of General Treasurer.

If we had a healthy civic culture, wherein citizens had been adequately educated in the appropriate use of government power, it would be the stuff of scandal, rather than political bragging, that Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner is abusing his authority over state investment funds for purposes of political activism.  As he touts on…

Burning $100 bills
The RI Democratic Party relies on a probably-unconstitutional law to silence Democratic women.

Controversial Rhode Island Democratic Party Senior Advisor Kate Coyne-McCoy sent a letter to the Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus advising the group that it is using the word “democratic” in its name illegally, reports Steve Ahlquist on UpriseRI. In a surprisingly sloppy letter full of misspelled words, Coyne-McCoy refers generally to Rhode Island General Law Chapter…

Logos for the RI Democratic Party and Democratic Women's Caucus
Where is the support for Bessinger and her cause?

William Jacobson reports on Legal Insurrection that while Providence middle school teacher was at an inquiry alleging that she had permitted some students out of her classroom during a practice lockdown, students wrote threatening notes on her classroom’s whiteboard and tweeted pictures at them.  One of the images showed a student at the board, but Jacobson speculates…

Whiteboard harassment of Ramona Bessinger
Long natural immunity is important to recognize, even in its caveats.

The damage that public health authorities have done to their credibility by refusing to demonstrate due acknowledgment of naturally acquired immunity to COVID-19 has been immense.  Perhaps they’re ideologically motivated, but it might be as simple as believing that the risks of vaccination are low enough and its effectiveness high enough that the clarity and…

Infectious bronchitis virus
The rabble must recognize friend and foe.

Michael Morse is pledging never again to vote for the lesser of two evils. On the whole, his “Saturday morning soapbox,” as he calls it, resonates very strongly with me, although I disagree with his pledge for prudential reasons — most significantly because it’s really very, very easy for activists and the news media to…

David Teniers' Village Revel with Aristocratic Couple
The innocent must beware of Biden’s threat never to forgive or forget.

Catching up on podcast listening over the weekend, I was reminded of Joe Biden’s declaration (video) after the terrorist attack on Kabul airport while his administration was struggling in its shamefully botched retreat from Afghanistan: To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not…

Joe Biden "We will not forget"
A Hanover math and business teacher was fired for not adhering to the state religion.

Last week, a post in this space juxtaposed Roger Williams University’s requirement that new hires model woke values in their off-campus lives with a federal ruling that Catholic schools cannot have a similar requirement for their employees and their values.  This week, Jeff Reynolds brings news on Legal Insurrection that a teacher of math and business…

Kari MacRae TikTok video
A fundamental point must be made about low police recruitment in RI.

Laura Damon provides some of the reasons, in a Newport Daily News article, why police departments on Aquidneck Island may be having a hard time finding police officers: This year, calls for applications to join the Newport Police Department yielded a significantly lower turnout than years past. … “First of all, we have a lot of highly…

Courts don’t settle science; they settle the law, and they’re settling it against the rights of the people.

This is an ominous development, reported by Jack Phillips for The Epoch Times: A federal judge on Oct. 8 denied a request to block Michigan State University’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate on the basis of natural immunity. An employee at the school, Jeanna Norris, filed a lawsuit against the mandate and asked a judge to intervene on…

Gavel with a speech bubble
We’re in a dangerous spot when seeing your children is conditional on your being vaccinated.

In New York City, a judge has suspended a father’s visitation rights to his daughter “unless he submits COVID-19 tests on a weekly basis or gets vaccinated.”  He’s had the virus before, as well.

The key, though, is the judge’s reasoning, which is (let’s say) pretty far from the actual science:

“Here, in-person parental access by defendant is not in the child’s best interests, and there are exceptional circumstances that support its suspension,” wrote Justice Matthew Cooper, according to the New York Post, in a case involving the father’s divorce and custody dispute over his 3-year-old daughter.

Cooper also wrote that that the “dangers of voluntarily remaining unvaccinated during access with a child while the COVID-19 virus remains a threat to children’s health and safety cannot be understated.”

How does Terry McAuliffe think lying to parents should be accomplished?

The Democrat candidate for Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe, agrees with Democrats in Rhode Island that schools should engage in a conspiracy to lie to parents whose children may be exploring a change of their gender.  I’ve long wondered what the mechanics of this deep deception would look like, and it’s frightening to know it’s a nationwide question.

It’s also discouraging to think how much this attitude seems to be part of the public school culture, as indicated by the “red flag” of a district refusing to provide access to library catalogue lists.

The North Kingstown School Committee laughably managed a mask mandate to avoid public scrutiny.

I find self repeatedly coming back to a photo that John DePetro posted of the controversial meeting of the North Kingstown School Committee last week. As reported, Chairman Gregory Glasbalg ended the meeting on the pretense that two people in the room were not wearing masks.  Given that excuse, what do you notice about the police who were called to disperse them in this image:

Police and protesters at NK school committee meeting

Governor McKee apparently has something of a permanent protest escort.

And we’d hardly know it if John DePetro weren’t paying attention.

Apparently core administration secretaries are sort of like ambassadors, now.

Appointing political allies to cushy ambassadorships has long been something of a political joke in the United States, but Mike LaChance observes that the U.S. transportation secretary is apparently also a similarly non-essential worker:

While U.S. ports faced anchor-to-anchor traffic and Congress nearly melted down over the president’s infrastructure bill in recent weeks, the usually omnipresent Transportation secretary was lying low. …

They didn’t previously announce it, but Buttigieg’s office told West Wing Playbook that the secretary has actually been on paid leave since mid-August to spend time with his husband, Chasten, and their two newborn babies.

Another political joke in the U.S, has also been that people who are forced out of their offices always say they wanted to “spend more time with family.”  Apparently, folks in the Biden administration are so competent that they can manage to spend all their time with family even while remaining on the (no-show) job.

The self-delusion of the Left is a thing to behold.

For more evidence that we really live in different universes, give a read to Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s musings about the parent vax wars for CNN.  It’s almost difficult to believe it isn’t a parody that flips the script, attributing to the Right what is actually the standpoint of the Left.  It starts here and gets worse:

The scenes of harassment and vitriol in front of schools and in school board meetings in all parts of the country are the latest indicator of the deepening fractures in American society. While talk of a possible “civil war” may seem hyperbolic, four years of Donald Trump’s divisive and polarizing presidency, and the post-Trump extension of the GOP’s retreat from bipartisan governance, have eroded support for the democratic ideals of consensus, compromise and mutual tolerance.

In what follows, there is not a whiff of self-awareness that the divisiveness and polarization of the Trump Era was (at the very, very least) nursed and amplified by the Left.  Reading Ben-Ghiat, one would have no idea that the Democrats are much more vitriolic toward their own internal dissenters and much more likely to act in lockstep.  You catch no hint of irony that her fellow progressives are the one actually forcing uniformity of ideas and actions lie mask wearing and vaccination, while invalidating the right of those who disagree to be acknowledged, much less represented.

Add child abuse to the toll of lockdowns.

Reading these results from a Pennsylvania report, it would be fair to say that government overreach during COVID has been child abuse:

A recently released annual child abuse report from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services showed that in 2020, the state registered a 43 percent increase in child abuse deaths compared to 2019.

That is, 73 children died from child abuse in 2020 compared to 51 deaths in 2019. The increase is new and significant; reports going back to 2010 average 37 deaths a year. And it is notably higher than the 17 COVID-19 deaths in children aged 0-19 recorded in Pennsylvania not only in 2020, but also counting all COVID-19 deaths in Pennsylvania children up to Oct. 7 this year, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

For some sense of what to expect in RI, look at Figure 1 of this report, which shows that the number of reports of child abuse were down every month, by as much as 40%.  That doesn’t mean abuse wasn’t happening, but rather that it wasn’t being spotted.  Since typically around 35% of reports indicate abuse, that’s over 1,100 missed abuses of Rhode Island children over seven months.

Will anybody in politics or government ever face consequences for these decisions?  Probably not.

Record-level drug overdoses during the pandemic lock-down were predictable.

And they’ve happened:

Deaths from drug overdose in the United States jumped nearly 30 percent in a 12-month period ending in March 2021, according to provisional data released on Wednesday.

The United States saw a record high of 96,779 reported drug overdose deaths, an increase of 29.6 percent in the period of a year from March 2020—coinciding with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic— according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics.

The corresponding CDC data shows Rhode Island on the bad side of the spectrum, with a 22% increase.  That compares with a 9% increase in Connecticut, a 6% increase in Massachusetts, and a 3% decrease in New Hampshire, although Vermont led the nation at 85%.

Now they’ve invented “global stilling”!

That’s apparently the latest excuse for wind energy not living up to promises:

Is there nothing that “climate change” doesn’t affect?

Industry experts are warning that climate change may have caused wind speeds in Europe to plummet this year in news that threatens to drive energy prices even higher.

Long labelled as a saviour of the energy industry, wind farms have cropped up across the continent in recent years and have been billed a low-cost, renewable and dependable source of power…

Maybe there’s some life in the judiciary, after all.

It’s not in New England, but pretty close: a judge actually sided with healthcare workers against the mandate regime:

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that New York must continue to allow healthcare workers to seek exemptions from a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate on religious grounds as a lawsuit challenging the requirement proceeds.

Judge David Hurd in Utica had issued a temporary restraining order a month ago after 17 doctors, nurses, and other health professionals claimed in a lawsuit their rights would be violated with a vaccine mandate that disallowed the exemptions.

The article notes that Hurd differed from other judges in thinking that “the public interest lies with enforcing the guarantees enshrined in the Constitution and federal anti-discrimination law.”  It’s depressing that more judges don’t think that’s where the public interest lies.

Whether federal overrides of states is good apparently depends where the Democrats are in power.

Nick Ciolino of The Epoch Times reports:

Psaki also says the health administration rule will override Abbott’s executive order.

“We know that federal law overrides state law,” she said. “I would note that earlier when we put out our guidance on the president’s announcement about mandates several weeks ago, it made clear that … requirements are promulgated pursuant to federal law and supersede any contrary state, or local law or ordinance.”

Remember when a statement from the White House that its orders overrode those of the states was considered a sign of the end of our democracy?  The only significant difference is that the Democrats occupy the White House, and they’re fighting Republican governors.

Next time the roles reverse and the usual suspects (mainly the media) act as if dictatorship is dawning, we’ll know it’s just B.S. and should respond appropriately.  (That doesn’t mean agreeing with whatever the policy might be, but we should ignore objections that aren’t made in good faith.

How to respond when the police knock on your door asking about your Facebook post about a protest.

Cardinal Pritchard is right that this video from Australia shows the appropriate response when the police show up at your house to ask if a picture on your Facebook page is evidence that you illegally were present at a protest.

Summary: No comment, and who do you think you are?

A random musical tip…

I learned this too late in life.  Whether you’re just getting started with music or have been playing for a long time, get yourself a pan flute (or zamponá).  Something about having to move to a different part of the instrument for each note by feel of the distance rather than by sight (as on the piano) has really helped my sense of the relationship between notes.  I noticed a very quick improvement playing guitar and (separately) picking out melodies.

If you’re interested, I recommend Brad White’s pan flutes.  (Go ahead and buy the corresponding case when you order it.  You’re going to want it.)  I haven’t found a good supplier of zamponás; the one I bought at a local music store was inexpensive, but it’s pretty much a toy, and I had to shove cork in some pipes to make it tolerably in tune.

When Facebook matters… and when it doesn’t.

Writing in The Federalist, William Doyle describes how Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg helped buy Biden the election:

During the 2020 election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent hundreds of millions of dollars to turn out likely Democratic voters. But this wasn’t traditional political spending. He funded a targeted, private takeover of government election operations by nominally non-partisan — but demonstrably ideological — non-profit organizations.

Analysis conducted by our team demonstrates this money significantly increased Joe Biden’s vote margin in key swing states. This unprecedented merger of public election offices with private resources and personnel is an acute threat to our republic, and should be the focus of electoral reform efforts moving forward.

Read the whole thing for details, but even on its surface, the episode makes one marvel that the news media spent years talking about how a very limited amount of Facebook activity ostensibly from Russia helped President Trump cheat, but on this… disinterest!

It’s unsettling to see journalists so credulous about YouTube bans.

The Associated Press takes YouTube’s framing completely for granted:

YouTube is wiping vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories from its popular video-sharing platform.

The ban on vaccine misinformation, announced in a blog post on Wednesday, comes as countries around the world continue to offer free immunizations for COVID-19 to a somewhat hesitant public. Public health officials have struggled to push back against a steady current of online misinformation about the COVID-19 shot since development of the immunization first got underway last year.

They really can’t imagine differing ideologically from the Democrats and tech oligarchs, can they?

The mask narcing shows the media’s alignment.

Maybe it’s a small thing, and at least WJAR has somebody there, but it’s telling that Katie Davis would mix their failure to wear masks with the substance of this story:

NOW: Group angry with @RIStatePolice and @GovDanMcKee deliver written complaints alleging brutality during protest outside McKee’s home to State Police HQ. None are masked despite requirement to mask in RI state buildings. @NBC10

Note that she chose to use limited tweet space for that detail rather than (say) what it was they were protesting outside McKee’s home (vaccination mandates on healthcare workers).

Connecticut provides a fantastic case study in a state moving progressive on taxation…

… too bad it’s not studied more.  (Maybe because academics know what they’ll find.)  Anyway, it now takes the most-taxed award:

Connecticut received the dubious honor on Sept. 29 of displacing New Jersey as the state with the highest taxpayer burden, according to a new “Financial State of the States” report from Truth-in-Accounting (TIA).

Illinois, Massachusetts, and Hawaii follow in the 48th, 47th, and 46th positions among the nation’s 50 states, as calculated by the Chicago-based nonprofit that tracks government spending and debt at the metropolitan, state, and federal levels.

Each Connecticut resident’s share of the Nutmeg State’s total outstanding debt is $62,500, compared to $58,300 for New Jersey, $57,000 for Illinois, $38,100 for Massachusetts, and $37,000 for Hawaii.

RI’s DOH Medical Director James McDonald gets COVID messaging for the holidays right.

This is how the messaging should have been for COVID and the vaccine for a long time:

The holiday season fast approaching, and R.I. Department of Health Medical Director Dr. James McDonald is expecting the celebrations to look like they did prior to the pandemic.

“I’m not planning on a virtual Thanksgiving or Christmas this year,” he said during his monthly interview on 12 News at 4. “I expect this year, all of us will gather [for the holidays].”

That being said, he urged those who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 get the shot as soon as possible to protect themselves and their loved ones.

No carrot, no stick… just the professional opinion that the vaccine is safe and that it’s a good idea to get it.

Leftism makes things worse in such a way as to leave people not knowing what they’re missing.

That’s a conclusion that leaps off the page of Stacey Matthews’s roundup of info on New York City’s ban on gifted & talented programs for children.  First, consider a tweet from New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz:

It really is leftism in action. They could not make the bad schools better so they’ll make the good schools worse and call it a win.

Next, note that the city isn’t just eliminating the programs.  Then, people who know their value would push back.  Instead, they just aren’t testing kids into them anymore, so many or most affected families will never know the opportunity that was taken from them.

Shocking night of Hollywood discoveries for me…

Not only did I learn that actor Clint Howard is the brother of Richie Cunningham, but also that he isn’t the same person as Curtis Armstrong.

Just when you think you’ve got a grip on reality…

Modern autocracies are benefiting from the Sparta spin.

In an EconTalk episode, Russ Roberts evoked a fascinating response from University of North Carolina historian Bret Devereaux when he asked why, considering that the Spartans were so evil by today’s standards and also mediocre at warfare, they’ve enjoyed such a positive legend:

The Spartans get really good press in our ancient sources. And part of the reason is who is writing our ancient sources and why. Our first set of sources about the Spartans–we’ll put Herodotus to the side for a second–our first big set of them are written by Athenians. Of course, Athens is the enemy of Sparta, and so you’d say, ‘These guys will be hostile.’ But, who writes history in Athens? It’s the elite. It is the wealthy class. People who, in a Greek city that was as unequal as Sparta, would be in charge. But Athens is a democracy. And so, these men must serve the people; and they’re terribly sore about it. And so, Sparta becomes the go-to comparison point for Athenian oligarchs to complain about the democracy. Much the same way, by the by, modern autocracies are the sort of go-to point for American technocrats to complain about the democracy. Whether that is left-wing or right-wing modern autocracies, one sees that tendency.

Sparta naturally gets good press from these fellows. Xenophon stands out sort-of in front of them. Xenophon is quite hostile to the Athenian democracy, and he’s very friendly with Sparta because he sees it–Sparta, after all, is a place where an aristocratic warrior sort-of fellow like Xenophon would be in charge. And the Spartans were in charge in their society in a way that no other Greek was.

Two different scales

Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Narrative as Double-Standard

John DePetro and Justin Katz talk about the Rhode Island political topics of the week.

A floor chart spanning the floor and walls

Economic Storm Clouds Around the Planet

Tony Lemonde of Senior’s Choice Rhode Island talks open enrollment, Joel Griffith from Heritage talks inflation, Dean Cheng of the Davis Institute talks Chinese economics, and Sal Mercogliano of Campbell University talks supply chain problems.

Theodor Aman's The Battle With Torches

Hate on Patrick Conley Exposes Progressives’ Need to Dominate

Phil Eil’s attack on RI Historian Laureate Patrick Conley is not the perspective of a tolerant person; it is the voice of an ideological movement that seizes power through division and dishonest appeals to fairness and then crushes all dissent the moment it thinks it has succeeded.

Dan McKee cuts a ribbon

Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Flustering McKee

John and Justin discuss ways in which the controversies of the day illustrate a surprising (and disappointing) tendency of the McKee administration.

Woman running in the dessert at dusk

The Border Crisis and the Boston Marathon

Todd Bensman talks about immigration and Victoria Salibi discusses running the Boston Marathon.

A floor chart spanning the floor and walls

Economic Storm Clouds Around the Planet

Tony Lemonde of Senior’s Choice Rhode Island talks open enrollment, Joel Griffith from Heritage talks inflation, Dean Cheng of the Davis Institute talks Chinese economics, and Sal Mercogliano of Campbell University talks supply chain problems.

Theodor Aman's The Battle With Torches

Hate on Patrick Conley Exposes Progressives’ Need to Dominate

Phil Eil’s attack on RI Historian Laureate Patrick Conley is not the perspective of a tolerant person; it is the voice of an ideological movement that seizes power through division and dishonest appeals to fairness and then crushes all dissent the moment it thinks it has succeeded.

Dan McKee cuts a ribbon

Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Flustering McKee

John and Justin discuss ways in which the controversies of the day illustrate a surprising (and disappointing) tendency of the McKee administration.

Woman running in the dessert at dusk

The Border Crisis and the Boston Marathon

Todd Bensman talks about immigration and Victoria Salibi discusses running the Boston Marathon.

John Carlevale and Mitchell Kaplan on State of the State

State of the State: Mitchell Kaplan

Mitchell Kaplan joins John Carlevale to discuss his musical, artistic, and educational activities.

Piero Della Francesca, Battle Between Heraclius and Chosroes

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Battles Brewing in RI

John and Justin discuss brewing turmoil among and between factions in the Ocean State.

Odd how the politics of Democrats tend to harm minorities.

As Glenn Reynolds points out on Instapundit:

Yes, we’re told it’s a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” but the unvaccinated are disproportionately black. They’re disproportionately in hospitals and ICUs, and they’re disproportionately dying, and they’re disproportionately affected by the Democrats’ playing politics with antibody treatments.

And, of course, they’re disproportionately affected by Democrat-backed vaccine-passport requirements.

If you’re curious, this nationally valid observation is true in Rhode Island, too.  As of this writing, about 56% of white Rhode Islanders are fully vaccinated, along with 52% of Hispanics.  Black Rhode Islanders, however, are only vaccinated at a rate of 48%.

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!

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