The administration is raiding the homes of political opponents as well as Catholic schools (in a sense).

Maybe my brain is excessively wired to see connections and patterns, but the raid on President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and the Biden administration’s efforts to bully Catholic schools into promoting radical sexual ideology seem very much connected. Rod Dreher gets us most of the way there, in an essay titled “Trump & Our Late Roman…

A Christian mug with colored pencils and an apple
What’s up with gas demand?

The economic news is peculiar, lately.  Inflation is high, and the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) is shrinking.  Yet, government data shows a strong increase in payroll jobs in the most-recent month.  It’s difficult to know which side of that “yet” the following news supports, or whether it helps explain how all of the above…

Help wanted sign
RI Republicans must stop taking an apologetic stance.

As long as I’ve been paying attention to politics in Rhode Island, mainstream Republicans have given the impression that they are ashamed of their affiliation — that they just found the ruling Democrats to be so off-base and corrupt that they needed a different option, and the GOP was the only viable one.  This isn’t…

Allan Fung and Kevin McCarthy in Jamestown 2022
Just a little shift in perspective goes a long way on climate change fear.

An underappreciated risk laps at the legs of our advanced knowledge.  When people didn’t know why things were happening in the world around them or how to predict change, they just dealt with them.  They invested some energy in a relationship with gods in the hope of exerting some control on their environments, but mostly,…

A woman dances around a fire
Energy and the environment are not separate stories.

When discussing public policy, responsible politicians, journalists, and members of the public should never separate the issues of energy and the environment.  They are a single, nuanced, and extremely complicated issue.  Absent this imperative, Democrat Governor Dan McKee feels free to brag about his environmental policy thus … “Over last 16 months my administration has…

Cooling towers at Brayton Point
Don’t let our disrupted lives put our children in ideologues’ hands.

Stories like this, from WPRI’s Shannon Hegy, too easily slip under the radar without anybody’s pointing out what, specifically, is happening: [Cranston Park View Middle School] STEM Coordinator Caitlyn Blankenship tells 12 News she’s seen firsthand the evidence of key skills lost during the pandemic in middle schoolers, who are struggling to problem solve, work…

A man with a mirror mask
Whitehouse wants a dictator in the White House.

Actually, it’s worse than that.  Rhode Island Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse wants an American dictator who actively harms our country for the benefit of foreign countries that are mostly hostile to us.  Objectively, the malice or mania necessary for a privileged American to make such declarations as the Wall Street Journal describes is something of…

Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Brown University Studiously Silent on Adverse Vaccine Effects and COVID-19 Cases Among Students

Anchor Rising received information that a Brown University student had been hospitalized in March, 2021 with myopericarditis after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. This raised a couple of important matters regarding Brown University’s strict vaccine mandate on students, staff and professors.  Has the university been tracking adverse COVID-19 vaccine effects, including among the student body?  If…

Even the introduction of NY’s gun law is a bad sign.

We’ve reached the point in the Northeast that the leaders of Democrat-run states seem to be searching for ways to trample multiple Constitutional rights with a single policy.  Consider this new law in New York: Under the law, applicants have to provide local officials with a list of current and former social media accounts from…

A handgun, bullets, and target
Jeann Lugo’s Arrest Record Confirms Jennifer Rourke Grabbed Him

Anchor Rising has obtained from the Rhode Island State Police the Arrest Record of Jeann Lugo pertaining to the June 24 melee at the State House. Click here to view it. A couple of interesting items from the record: > The last page includes a full description of the events that led up to Jeann…

The economics are important to consider when undercutting gas prices.

It’s nice of Tiverton gas station owner George Alzaibak to take 50-cents per gallon out of his own pocket and give it to drivers, although one could argue that he’ll be able to write it off as a marketing expense.  However, before joining the pop-radio show hosts in calling for a revolution in his image,…

A gas shortage starts in South Carolina
Senator Tiara Mack’s destructive immaturity ignores our cultural warning signs.

After a week of national coverage, with Tucker Carlson jokingly lauding her honesty and encouraging the Democrat Party to embrace her more fully, most Rhode Islanders who pay any attention to the news have probably heard about Tiara Mack’s twerking performance.  Even the local media had to take some notice, at least to the extent…

Rattlesnake warning sign
They’re scamming us when they talk about money in education.

On the periodic occasions that one sees headlines in Rhode Island about improving education, the focus is almost invariably money, whether the topic is an adjustment to the state funding formula or about a “right to an education,” by which advocates ultimately mean a right to more tax dollars. But take a look at the…

RI schools by spending and outcomes
Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements is shameless in executing injustice against Jeann Lugo.

From the beginning, the likelihood that Providence police officer Jeann Lugo would receive a fair hearing was vanishingly small.  His political views conflict with those of the ruling class in Rhode Island, and he therefore does not enjoy basic rules of justice and due process. How egregiously brazen this injustice can be is shocking, nonetheless. …

The mob tackles Jeann Lugo
Monkeypox may prove the cost of woke restrictions on acceptable observations.

As local media sources have started to track instances of monkeypox in our area, I’ve wondered how many Rhode Islanders know that it is mostly (although not entirely) a venereal disease spreading mostly among gay men.  Except, as Rod Dreher points out, that’s not a fact to which we’re permitted to react:

Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner, writes in the NYT that monkeypox is about to become another huge public health failure. His reasons for that grim conclusion are sound, but not once does he mention that the authorities could easily and effectively respond in part by shutting down gay sex clubs. Gay men cannot fail; they can only be failed by public agencies.

The contrast with our still-recent experience with COVID is striking.  Dreher makes it concrete in the person of Luisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, who oversaw a tremendous shutdown of economic activity for COVID but won’t impose limits on the Southern Decadence Festival in light of monkeypox.

Of course, the two epidemics may be pointing to the same problem.  A major reason the COVID response was so invasive is that we didn’t allow ourselves to distinguish between groups of people whose demographics put them in different risk categories.  Either we all must suffer or no precautions may be taken.

This imperative may backfire on progressives in the long run.  After all, if we’re all going to be restricted and freed without distinction, the boundary for acceptable behavior for everybody will constrict.

We’ve entered the pervasive-rent-seeking phase of our nation’s decline.

Something about this story feels profoundly discouraging to me:

Forty Rhode Island business owners traveled to Washington D.C. last week as part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit to meet with hundreds of officials to discuss how to boost access to capital, child care and government contracting.

Katie Schibler Conn, owner of KSA Marketing in Warwick, was one of those participants that made the trek to D.C. and spoke with Rhode Island’s U.S. Senator Jack Reed and U.S. Rep. David Cicilline.

“Small business owner” should connote a sense of independence — of providing for one’s self, one’s family, and one’s employees.  It’s “yes, I built that!”  Running to government for cash and subsidized family services is rent seeking, which is very much like working for the government.

Don’t forget that legislative grants are still out there.

Rhode Island provides an excellent case study in how corruption works.  Elections aren’t stolen at the ballot box (except as a last resort).  Rather, corruption rigs the game at every opportunity — buying and coercing votes so that they don’t have to be stolen or manufactured.  The only way to stop this is to get the money out of politics, and the only way to do that is to get as much power out of politics as feasible.

The reminder for these thoughts was the Providence Journal’s searchable tool for legislative grants, which House and Senate leaders hand out to legislators if they behave so they can buy good will (i.e., votes) in their districts.  It looks like the Projo duplicated the data while setting up the tool, so check it against the House and Senate lists, but it’s instructive to look through the grants in your community.

Anybody else get the feeling we’re not hearing much about COVID because the long-term evidence isn’t good for the lock-down artists?

More data on COVID immunity over the long-term is not actually that surprising to people who looked at the data honestly a year or more ago:

“Effectiveness of primary infection against severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 reinfection was 97.3 percent … irrespective of the variant of primary infection or reinfection, and with no evidence for waning. Similar results were found in sub-group analyses for those ≥50 years of age,” Dr. Laith Abu-Raddad of Weill Cornell Medicine–Qatar and colleagues said after studying long-term natural immunity in unvaccinated people.

That percentage is higher than the protection from COVID-19 vaccines, according to other studies and real-world data.

Swedish researchers, for instance, found in May that two doses of a vaccine were just 54 percent effective against the Omicron variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.

As time goes on, the whole thing looks more and more like a moral panic stoked in the service of political advantage and to promote a cultural and ideological shift.  Did it work?  Well, that data may take longer to develop.

I’ve finally written another Dust in the Light essay.

My pace of writing for these essays is much slower than my usual.  In part, the reason is that my 2022 has simply been busier than I expected, and I haven’t been able to manage my Dust in the Light allotment of time every week.  In bigger part, however, the reason is that, as clear as the concepts are to me, putting them into words so as to be explanatory is difficult.  Such writing is very easy when the writer is simply proclaiming beliefs with the a priori assumption that readers have necessary knowledge and agreement.  It’s much more difficult if the intent is to make the case for original ideas to people who will probably think the writer is crazy.

Be my sanity whatever it may be, exploring these ideas feels like the capstone project of my life, so I’ll keep trudging along.  (I think the next three will flow more smoothly, but we’ll see!)

This time around, I move from my proposed model for reality, which carried through to the Multiverse, and describe how beings emerge conceptually, down to the level of human beings.

“The Way Young Lovers Do”…

… on Astral Weeks by Van Morrison has to be one of the greatest tracks ever recorded

A random thought on Billy Joel…

I listened to so much Billy Joel as a tween and teen that one could almost say he was something of a father figure for me (hey, don’t judge).  One of his songs just came up on my shuffle, inspiring me to check in, which I haven’t visited in years.  With a few exceptions, the photos reinforce an impression I’ve had since first watching the video of his millennium concert decades ago: he just never seems happy.  With some exceptions, the smile never seems to reach his eyes, as the saying goes.

I say this believing myself still to be in tune with his professional persona.  In interviews from the ’80s and ’90s, I completely got his somewhat cynical and sarcastic Tri-State Area sense of humor.  But somewhere around the year 2000, the down-to-Earth-getting-what-a-lark-this-all-is star thing shifted to a guy-who-reached-the-top-and-didn’t-find-something thing.

Maybe that’s why he hasn’t really done any original work since his classical album in 2001.

Trying to explain the Supreme Court ruling to a child.

What did they change?

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

Why would mommies want to kill their babies?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Wildly Disproportionate High School Top 10.

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

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

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

We live in the world of “Doh!”

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

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

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

McConaughey is just in the wrong venue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2022 is finally defined.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A man in multiple poses of consideration and doubt.

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Politicians’ Reluctance to Do Their Job

John DePetro and Justin Katz review the many ways Rhode Island’s government officials refuse to do address the basics of their jobs.

A locked luggage box

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Political Honesty in Hiding

John DePetro and Justin Katz call out the ways RI politicians are hiding from reality.

A behind the back cash bribe

Politics This Week with John DePetro: A Boughten Government

John DePetro and Justin Katz comment as the Rhode Island campaign season heats up.

Rock quarry scene from Breaking Away

A note about being a genuine cutter…

The secret is that we can always be geniune.

Dan McKee

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Motha Enters RI Battle of the Monsters

John DePetro and Justin Katz review Rhode Island politics… this week, mainly having to do with McKee and his cast of characters.

A locked luggage box

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Political Honesty in Hiding

John DePetro and Justin Katz call out the ways RI politicians are hiding from reality.

A behind the back cash bribe

Politics This Week with John DePetro: A Boughten Government

John DePetro and Justin Katz comment as the Rhode Island campaign season heats up.

Rock quarry scene from Breaking Away

A note about being a genuine cutter…

The secret is that we can always be geniune.

Dan McKee

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Motha Enters RI Battle of the Monsters

John DePetro and Justin Katz review Rhode Island politics… this week, mainly having to do with McKee and his cast of characters.

The sun rising or setting

Technology, Building, and Weather

John Loughlin talks with Dr. Shafman about bladder cancer, Tim Taylor of the Lost 52 Project, Lori Garver, former Deputy Director of NASA, Tom Lopatosky, owner of LOPCO Contracting, and Joe Bastardi of WeatherBell Analytics.

A crumbling sandcastle

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Shifting Sands Under RI Elections

John DePetro and Justin Katz marvel at the dangers and shortsightedness in the runup to RI’s 2022 elections.

Comedy Central’s version of Toby Flenderson Cancels ‘Diversity Day’ from its The Office re-runs

According to Daily Wire (first discovered by Barstool), Comedy Central doesn’t find a particular episode of the sitcom The Office funny after all.

The episode is famous for its politically incorrect storyline which features boss Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) forcing the paper company staff to participate in a racial diversity seminar where he speaks in an exaggerated Indian accent and reprises Chris Rock’s notorious standup routine about different kinds of black people.

I’ve been listening to Billboard Top 100 playlists from the ’80s and ’90s.

Something really strange happened in 1990.  There are some stand-outs, but mostly, pop/rock music fell off a cliff for a year.

The scandal is more Mayor Lightfoot’s than the priests.

She must have known a non-Catholic in a lesbian marriage shouldn’t take the Eucharist.  Incredibly disrespectful… and at a police officer’s funeral. (Autumn Jones reports for Catholic News Agency.)

“‘It would be better to die under the Taliban’s bullet’ than face the crowds again, a staff member was quoted as saying in the cable.”

Reports from local staff members at the U.S. embassy in Kabul as Abigail Williams and Yuliya Talmazan report for NBC News. (Via Instapundit.)