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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Catholic Diocese fires a volley in the "war on Christmas"

So much for Christmas being the season of peace on earth. Not to be outdone by freshman Tea Party legislator Doreen Costa (R-"Peanuts"), St. Patrick's Parish on Smith Hill and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence have thrown down the gauntlet against the statehouse Christmas tree being called a holiday tree and will be holding a counter-tree-lighting ceremony on Tuesday, December 6, at 5:30 p.m., to coincide with Governor Lincoln Chafee's tree-lighting ceremony at the statehouse.


Um, if you want peace and harmony, maybe stop the grandstanding over what is after all just a word? As Rev. Donald C. Anderson, executive minister of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches, told the Providence Journal,
"I would ask my fellow Christians, with all of the poverty, hunger and injustice that surround us, do we really believe that Jesus would have us spend all this time and energy around what we call a tree? Do we truly think that the Jesus of the Gospels cares what we call a tree?''
Meanwhile, Ted Nesi at WPRI has constructed a history of references to the tree that's put up at the statehouse this time of year in previous gubernatorial administrations, demonstrating that Chafee is hardly the first governor to come up with the radical idea of trying to be inclusive in a ceremony that is supposed to be for all Rhode Islanders and not just the 59.5% that identify as Catholic. But hey, why let a few inconvenient facts get in the way of demonizing the governor?

By Linda Felaco

Mageau fires off another volley


Calls Collette "Willie the wing nut"....quintessential bottom feeder:,,,,"union go-for"....."hypocrite"...."taker"...."wolf in sheep's clothing...."radical left-wing ideologue"

To the Editor (from Jim Mageau):


It's apparent to me that the so-called Charlestown Democratic Town Committee members do not understand that when you lay down with dogs you're liable to get fleas. That seems to be the case with its association with Will Collette, aka "Willie the wing nut" and his blog, progressive charlestown.com. It's obvious to me that "the wing nut" is the quintessential bottom feeder of Charlestown who learned his trade as a labor union "go-for" spreading misinformation and lies. He has boasted that he is a retired "union official" but his support for Charlestown's Town Administrator, William DiLibero during the on-going harassment complaints lodged against him by certain town employees raises issues about his union loyalty and discloses that he is a hypocrite. Both Collette and his wife Kathy, who is Chairman of the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee, collect their retirement pensions from the unions. Those pensions are funded by the annual dues paid by current union members which suggest that the Collettes rank among the "takers" who have given labor unions such a bad name. It shows that they subscribe to the old adage "hooray for me and to hell with you."

Doreen Costa fights back in the "war on Christmas"

A living Christmas tree (photo by EbenVisher).
In protest of Governor Lincoln Chafee's decision to call the blue spruce erected in the statehouse a "holiday tree," Tea Party darling Doreen Costa (R-NK) plans to install and decorate a Christmas tree in her office on December 6, the day the governor will be holding a tree-lighting ceremony. Costa's first action as a legislator, you might recall, was to pass a symbolic resolution declaring that Christmas trees be called Christmas trees and not any "other non-traditional terms."


Chafee defends his decision by citing Rhode Island's founding as a haven for people fleeing religious intolerance and suggests that people's energies would be better spent helping improve the lives of their fellow Rhode Islanders rather than agitating over what the tree is called. 

As a practicing druid, I frankly don't care what the trees are called as long as they're left alive. I strenuously object to the wholesale slaughter of trees this time of year. And then people strap them to the roofs of their vehicles like they're bringing their kill home from the hunt. It's barbaric. And I don't think it's even legal in Charlestown what with our tree ordinance and all. Where's that tree warden when you need him.

Rather than kill a tree, I encourage everyone to get a living tree this year. It grows outside 11 months of the year and then you can bring it indoors for December. It'll be the last Christmas—er, holiday—tree you'll ever need to buy. 

By Linda Felaco

RI's Right Wing Juggernaut and Transparency

How much did RISC and EngageRI spend to beat the unions over pension reform?
By Will Collette

Now that the right-wing myth that unions control Rhode Island has been shown to be a paranoid fantasy, how big exactly was the conservative steamroller that squashed the retirement security of thousands of Rhode Islanders?

The answer is we will probably never know. Just trying to get a handle on all the time and expense devoted by individual businesses, business associations, Chambers of Commerce, cities and towns, outside organizations, the Tea Party, the RI Statewide Coalition and EngageRI is a daunting challenge because of the obtuse way lobbying costs are reported.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One more reason to scale back this Christmas: Consumer privacy

Using credit or debit cards to pay for transactions and shopping online are certainly convenient—but that very ease encourages overspending, and it creates vast data streams on your shopping and spending habits that you then have no control over. Smaller local merchants and craftspeople are less likely to be equipped to handle electronic payments, so you're more likely to pay cash and won't end up paying fees or interest on top of your purchases.

Ah, but the kids. Can't have the underneath of the tree looking skimpy and disappoint the kids. Well, you could just get a smaller tree. Who says gifts have to be new, though? There's a pretty short window of time when most toys are age-appropriate, anyway, and oftentimes they scarcely have time to wear out. Why not have the older kids wrap up a toy they don't play with anymore to give to their younger siblings? Not only do "recycled" gifts help the environment, but you won't be giving away valuable marketing data for free.

By Linda Felaco

Beach pavilion bids come in under budget

Bid opening this afternoon
By Will Collette

On June 6, Charlestown voters, by a surprising margin, approved spending $1.19 million to building decent toilet facilities at our two town beaches.

It was a struggle to overcome opposition from the Charlestown Citizen Alliance's "voices of greed" - wealthy beach property owners who felt that providing decent toilet facilities would only encourage more people to come to the beach. Just recently, Planning Commissar Ruth Platner giggled when she said that hot showers were excluded from the beach facilities plan, meaning that "people from western Connecticut won't be driving to our beaches to use the showers." I didn't make that up.

Anyway, the project was put out to bid and, today, the bids were opened. Beach Facility Ad Hoc Committee Chair Paula Andersen commented, "While we appreciate the efforts of all the bidders, my committee will work diligently to compare quotes and specifications so that we may give our citizens a product that they will be proud of.  Hopefully will make our decision before the next council meeting." 
 
Here are the bid results:


The most powerful force in the Universe

This land is your land, Part 4
A series on the Charlestown Planning Commission
By Will Collette
Part 1: The Platner Principle
Part 2:  Recommendations for Charter changes – appoint, 4-year terms, no staggering
Part 3, Torturing the beach facilities project to death

Physicists who study the nature of the universe talk about force in its four most recognized and understood forms: gravity, electromagnetism and the two forces that hold matter together, the “strong” and the “weak” force. If you want to get deep into the study of things, there’s the theoretical “unifying force theory,” yet to be discovered that will explain how it all fits together. 

But missing from the debate is any recognition of what I consider to be the most powerful force in the universe, and one we know all too well in Charlestown – the Power to Obstruct.

The death of privacy

Part 1: A brief history of privacy

By Linda Felaco

A voluntary surrender of privacy:
Lisa DiBello's entry in Mohegan Sun's
"Show us your jackpot face" contest,
which appeared on the casino's
Facebook page last year.
Herman Cain's bid for the Republican presidential nomination is being undone by a failed effort to keep sexual harassment allegations against him private by paying off and gagging the accusers and revelations of a 13-year-long extramarital affair. Anthony Weiner was forced to leave the halls of Congress when lewd photos he sent electronically were made public. When shirtless photos of himself that he'd posted on Craigslist were revealed, Chris Lee resigned from Congress an unprecedentedly fast 3 hours later in a vain effort to forestall further revelations that the companionship the staunch opponent of gay rights sought was from transsexuals. And Julian Assange has been systematically exposing government secrets via WikiLeaks.

Granted, public figures don't have the same privacy rights as private individuals, and the old gentlemen's agreement whereby journalists didn't write about the private lives of politicians has long since fallen by the wayside. Though Herman Cain appears to be attempting to resuscitate it: In response to the most recent allegations, he issued the following statement:
"… No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public's right to know and the media's right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one's bedroom door.
"Mr. Cain … has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media."

Meanwhile, Google has been systematically posting street-level images of every address on Earth (and the rest of the universe) in vast online databases that are available to the public. And anyone who uses the internet is allowing corporations to buy and sell vast quantities of information about themselves, their purchasing habits, and their Web usage. And then there's the red-light cameras. Indeed, a case currently before the Supreme Court seeks to determine whether law enforcement agencies can put GPS devices on people's vehicles without a warrant.

Does such a thing as privacy even exist anymore in the digital age?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Introducing the Magic Tax Calculator for the proposed Homestead Tax Credit

Back in March we created a spreadsheet  called the Magic Tax Calculator. It was quite popular because it was available months before our tax bills.

To help understand the Homestead Tax Credit proposed by the Democratic Town Committee, we have created a new spreadsheet so you can see what the Homestead Exemption Tax Credit would mean for you.

by Tom Ferrio

Celebrating Progressive Charlestown’s 100,000th hit

We’re amazed we’ve lasted this long
By Will Collette

Tom Ferrio and I started Progressive Charlestown ten months ago as a way to explore ideas, dig into the issues and, mostly, to have fun.

We found that Charlestown’s life and politics was generally poorly covered in the media, and that coverage was pretty superficial.

Opinions in Charlestown seemed to us to be mostly based on rumor, misinformation or bombast.


Economic stimulus funds for green energy in Rhode Island schools

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff http://www.ecori.org/
SMITHFIELD — High schools across Rhode Island are getting an opportunity to meet all of their energy needs thanks to a project headed by one of the state's top experts on solar and wind energy.
Bob Chew, founder of Alteris Renewables and Solar Wrights, is a familiar face among the state's alternative energy policy and development sector. His latest company, R.W. Chew LLC, will offer many of the same consulting services for solar, wind and geothermal energy, wood-chip boilers and methane digesters, as well as overall energy-efficiency assessments. 
One of his first initiatives, dubbed the Net Zero Energy project, will create plans at each high school for developing an all-encompassing alternative energy system.

Affordable housing and "sweat equity"

Affordable housing, Silver Spring, Maryland, circa 2000.
In discussions about affordable housing here in Charlestown, the phrase "sweat equity" has been coming up pretty frequently. Instead of building new homes, people ask, why can't we rehab distressed properties? The short answer is, of course we can—not, I hasten to add, that those are anywhere near the only two options. Most people who need affordable housing are not in a position to buy a home regardless of price and need affordable rentals. But there seems to be a bias against (year-round) rental properties (though summer rentals are hunky-dory). I have to wonder if the antirental attitude has anything to do with Jim Mageau, seeing as how he doesn't currently own property here in town. Maybe people think if there are no more rentals, he'll move away?

But when it comes to homeownership, even if we rehabbed every single distressed property in town, it wouldn't get us anywhere near meeting our affordable housing mandate. And it doesn't solve the immediate problem of giving people someplace to live now, while they're rehabbing.

By Linda Felaco

Thinking ahead to next year’s town budget

A friendly suggestion
By Will Collette

I think it’s long overdue that Charlestown paid tribute to all that Jim Mageau has done for this town by creating a special line item in the town budget, just for him.

After all, no one person in the history of Charlestown has filed so many lawsuits against the town, so many administrative complaints, so many demands for information, inserted so much pointless material into the record and tied up so much town staff time than James M. Mageau.

And all while paying not one single nickel in town taxes. No property tax. And through his veteran’s tax credit, not one nickel in car tax in the past ten years.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Is Iran Iraq All Over Again?

The nuclear intelligence that the media is fixated on consists mostly of allegations of abstract research that have been floating around for years.

For at least the past two decades, political leaders in the United States and Israel have warned that Iran was on the threshold of building a nuclear weapon. From what we've been hearing lately from the media, Iran is once again...on that threshold.
Touting thousands of pages of carefully vetted intelligence, menacing satellite imagery, and tales of a mysterious Soviet nuclear scientist, the media is telling us that Iran is about to get The Bomb.

Border War Rumors

Far from being a chaotic war zone, a study of the 14 Texas counties bordering Mexico shows that the number of murders has actually declined in the past five years.

Grim-faced military officers and ashen-faced politicians describe a horrific "war zone," with "hundreds of people murdered" and "citizens under attack around the clock." Some of the politicos say that the situation is so dire that it "may require our military."

Will bad air end the Last Supper?

Da Vinci's Last Supper faces new threat of damage from air pollution

From: Click Green Staff, ClickGreen, More from this Affiliate 

ENN: Environmental News Network -- Know Your Environment

Having survived long centuries, political upheaval, and even bombings during World War II, Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece Last Supper now faces the risk of damage from air pollution due to its location in one of Western Europe's most polluted cities. 




Commenting on Progressive Charlestown

Comments are welcome unless you behave like a jerk
By Will Collette

The great thing about a blog is that you get to say what you want. If you run the blog.

It''s been a while since we've run a piece expressing our very loose policy on publishing comments, and a couple of disgruntled commenters have challenged why we choose to accept or reject comments, I’ll state my point of view and how I deal with comments on the things I write.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving pepper spray a make-over

It's all a matter of packaging
By Matt Bors


Click here for the full cartoon.

The war on vegetables

First ketchup & relish, then french fries, then pizza, then pepper spray....
By Jen Sorenson


For the whole cartoon, click here.

Wal-Mart violence spreads to Rhode Island

Buckeye, AZ grandpa beaten by police when he
tried to protect grandson from trampling
It’s not Xmas without mayhem at Wal-Mart - Ho, Ho, Horrible
By Will Collette


Wal-Mart had an especially bloody opening day to the holiday shopping season with violent incidents at almost 20 stores, including Providence. Desperate times led to desperate measures as Wal-Mart’s Christmas frenzy led many shoppers to turn on each other.

As we catalog the incidents, I can’t help but wonder at what this says about our culture. It certainly suggests re-thinking the “tradition” of pressuring working families into spending more than they can afford on stuff nobody really needs.

The alternatives: (a) Buy Nothing; (b) buy from small, local merchants, craftspeople, farmers; (c) donate to charity in lieu of presents or (d) make your presents yourself.

Or you can go to Wal-Mart and deal with this….

Big Banks are Doing Just Fine, Thank You

This virtual abandonment of local economies by Wall Street exploded when Uncle Sam bailed out the big banks.

Wall Street Bankers,
In the pink;
Forcing Main Street
To the brink.

Where were you on November 18?

The Day everything changed
By Ted Rall


For the entire cartoon, click here.

What do the Charlestown Republican Town Committee and Jim Mageau have in common?

This question might come up on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" 
By Will Collette

The Charlestown Republican Town Committee made it onto a list published in GoLocalProv.com today of PACs and city and town party committees who are delinquent in paying fines for violating campaign finance disclosure regulations. Usually, these fines are for late filing or failure to file.

The Charlestown Republicans owe the State Board of Elections $100 in fines.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Benjamin Disraeli and Mark Twain were right
By Will Collette

Charlestown: not the sharpest pencil in the pencil box. According to a new report ranking the intelligence and educational attainment in American cities and towns, Rhode Island doesn't do so well. Among cities with 100,000 or more people, Providence ranks #155 out of 269 cities. In the ranking of 10,450 small towns, we had several Rhode Island small towns who made the rankings. Our best was Kingstown ranked at #375. Wakefield/Peacedale came in at #704, Melville at #1,216; Greenville at #1,254; Hope Valley at #1,873; Cumberland Hill at #2,135; Ashaway at #2,967; Harrisville at #3,406; and Tiverton at #3,955. Charlestown did not make the list. Harrisville?



Reality check: what Rhode Island "pension reform " means to the younger worker

The Pew Center on the States has just prepared a terrific graphic presentation of what the recently enacted changes to the Rhode Island state pension system will mean to a 25 year old state worker who joins the work force in 2012.

Pew also offers a more comprehensive state-by-state national  report for download here.

See the graphic after the jump.


Be careful out there

If you're braving the Black Friday shopping crowds—which I don't recommend—watch out. A woman at a Los Angeles Walmart pepper-sprayed fellow shoppers to keep them away from the merchandise she wanted, and 20 people suffered injuries. Police are still looking for the woman.

Need any more reason to avoid the traditional seasonal bacchanalia of mass consumption? Shop locally this Christmas! At least that way, if someone pepper-sprays you, you're more likely to recognize them to be able to turn them in to law enforcement.

By Linda Felaco

OMGPD: ‘Stealing Is What I Do’

From South Kingstown Patch


When a Cranston police officer approached a 50-year-old Providence man riding his bike while toting a white bag the night of Nov. 1, they asked him what he was doing. "I'm out here stealing," he said. "Stealing is what I do." The man was wearing a coat that was "bulging," police said. He had been going into unlocked cars and lifting GPS systems and more. He was arraigned, ordered to pay restitution and serve a one-year suspended sentence. Just five days later, he was back at it. Officers were called around 2:30 a.m. for a report of a man on a bicycle stealing from a car. This time, officers found him carrying a GPS unit, a Norelco razor and a Sirius XM radio. "I broke in a couple of cars, up and down the block," he reportedly told officers. He had another year of probation added to his original charge.
This is disturbing
A 19-year-old Salve Regina University student was arrested after allegedly killing a rabbit with a hockey stick and then using the carcass as a puck. He was charged with felony malicious killing of an animal.

Are you getting your morning e-mail summary from Progressive Charlestown?

Our morning e-mail summary service doesn't seem to be getting through to everyone
By Will Collette

UPDATE: based on comments and e-mail we have received, the problem is NOT limited to Cox users, although I have e-mailed Cox tech services to see if they have ideas about the how to fix this problem. We do know that some PC subscribers are getting their morning updates. This may be a system-wide problem - that's good news because it will motivate the blogging service to fix it. In the meantime, we suggest you bookmark us and check us in the morning.

Starting a few days ago, I noticed that I didn't get my morning Progressive Charlestown daily summary. This summary goes out at 1 AM to readers who subscribe to it (a quick and easy sign-up is in the right hand column).

Our low-cost blogging service has its moments, and I figured this problem, like most that pop up, would go away. Then we got another report from a reader who didn't get the morning summary.

This reader and I both use Cox as our ISP (internet service provider) and for personal e-mail.

Are any of you missing your morning e-mail summary? Please let us know, especially if you use an ISP other than Cox.

We'd like to know what kind of problem this is before trying to fix it. Presuming we can. If this is an issue with Cox deciding the Progressive Charlestown e-mails are spam (after ten months of operations), that's a Cox problem.

I'm hoping that this problem will get resolved at the service provider end. In the meantime, please make sure you bookmark PC or include it in your favorites, and visit on your own.

Deputy Dan Disclosure Dispute goes to the Attorney General

Deputy Dan - a law onto himself
Deputy Dan won't disclose so I appeal to the AG and we'll see how it goes
By Will Collette

Charlestown Town Council Vice-President Deputy Dan Slattery conducted a solo investigation of official corruption in Town Hall, collected evidence, released a report and closed the investigation. Now, he is refusing to turn in his collection of evidence - documents he collected from the Town Clerk and other Town Hall staff.

Deputy Dan is a big believer in openness and transparency in government - except when it comes to himself.

He, and of course his CCA compadres, only believe that other people must disclose information. They are privileged and may operate in secrecy with impunity.

After my initial request for the records Deputy Dan brandished at the October Town Council meeting and offered to show to any other Council member, I was denied the records because Deputy Dan retained them. I filled the required, pro forma appeal with Town Administrator William DiLibero and my appeal was denied because Deputy Dan retains the records.

So now, my appeal (see below) goes to the Attorney General's office. This would be a simple matter if Deputy Dan had turned in his "evidence." However, he not only felt authorized to conduct the investigation - contrary to the Town Charter and Town Council rules of procedure - but now feels authorized to withhold those records. We'll see how the AG rules on this appeal.

But the next time you hear Deputy Dan pontificating about how this or that agency - let's take Chariho for example - must be more transparent, think of Deputy Dan's own arrogance and hypocrisy.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Misrepresenting Occupy Wall Street

Even the Anti-Defamation League denies that the Occupy movement is infused with anti-Semitism, but ultra-conservative pundits are sticking with that non-story anyway.
As the Occupy Wall Street protesters are swept out of their encampments around the nation, many are asking what the movement's next step will be and whether the police actions might actually help the two-month-old populist outburst grow.
But even for those seeking to discern the future of this new movement, a more instructive question might be: What is Occupy Wall Street, anyway?

Occupy the Budget

How to pay for the crisis while making our nation more equitable, green, and secure.
Some lawmakers are trying to give America the cartoon image of a penniless hobo, circa 1932, with holes in his pants and nothing but a cold can of beans for dinner. We're broke, they say, with no choice but to slash spending on public services.
The truth is that we're a rich nation. We need to make big changes, of course. But we should see this crisis as an opportunity to harness the country's abundant resources in ways that will make us stronger.

Bits and pieces


I knew it! Fairleigh Dickinson University just did a study showing that people who watch Fox News (a.k.a. "Faux News") are stupider than people who watch no news at all. This held true even after controlling for the fact that more Republicans watch Faux News. These results jibed with those of a study at the University of Maryland last year that found that Fox viewers were more likely to believe false information about American politics. Fox, you may be unsurprised to learn, responded to the report in typical Republican fashion, by disparaging the University of Maryland, quoting the Princeton Review as saying that it was "among the top schools for having 'Students Who Study The Least' and being the 'Best Party School.' " Fact check: At number 19, UMd didn't even make it into the top 10 of "party schools." Snap to you, Fox News! 

Of course, is it any wonder Fox viewers have trouble keeping their facts straight when Fox tells them pepper spray is a vegetable? Now I'm really worried that the dittoheads are going to start using the stuff to add some "bam!" to their Thanksgiving dishes. 

By Linda Felaco

A non-traditional Christmas season

Occupy Christmas

By Dave Fisher, EcoRI.org


Christmas is a time of mass consumption and displays of trance-like mob mentality that has, in recent history, led to stores being stormed and people being trampled. A jolly time when Americans go into debt, partake in gluttonous behavior and, basically, hit the nitrous on the already redlining engine of consumerism.

In the United States, five times more trash is created during the five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's; 1,500 plain-old Christmas lights can double your electricity usage when left on overnight.  I think that it’s about time that we rethink our behavior around the holiday season.
Rethinking and changing our behaviors seems to be a central tenet of the Occupy movement, and there really isn’t a more perfect time than the holiday season to draw attention to just how misguided things have become. Every year, advertisers whip children and adults into a Bacchanalian fugue state of acquisition and all of the trappings, such as wrapping paper, ribbon, cards, gift bags, etc. This year, send a message of solidarity to the Occupy protestors for the holiday season and Occupy Christmas. The rules of Occupy Christmas are simple.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Housing for Firemen

Memorial Day Parade 2009
click to enlarge
Beth Richardson posted a comment this morning asking for clarification of statements I have made about volunteer firemen having to live outside Charlestown.

The reply promised to be lengthy so I decided to fulfill one item on my to-do list by writing an article.

Major shake-up likely for local state Senate districts

Out with the old....
Redistricting could shake up South County representation in Senate
By Will Collette

The new maps showing the leading proposals for redistricting legislative districts in Rhode Island came out yesterday. Every ten years, we go through this political drama as we change the shape of legislative districts so that they have roughly equal numbers of voters, based on the latest census.

Yesterday, we looked at the House maps for southern Rhode Island which showed two options for the new shape of our local politics. Today, we look at the three Senate options on the table. These maps could mean a different line-up of state senators in southern Rhode Island after the 2012 election.

First, here's what the map looks like today, based on the old 2000 census:




Oh, no, the Super-Committee Failed!

Maybe we need to try another new type of government
By Tim Eagan




To see the whole cartoon, click here.

Deputy Dan Slattery and the Quest for Transparency

"This is Deputy Dan - OPEN UP!

For Chariho, but not for himself
By Will Collette

Council Vice-President Daniel “Deputy Dan” Slattery learned a lot about openness and transparency as a career federal bureaucrat in Washington, DC and as President of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance.

He learned that it is important to demand transparency of those around you while being as opaque and secretive about your own affairs as you can.

Deputy Dan was thwarted at the November 14 Town Council meeting from launching a new campaign for open and transparent government when his motion to launch a transparency jihad on the Chariho school system failed to get enough votes. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Occupy this


"It's a food product, essentially." Leave it to Faux News to try to "spin" police brutality against unarmed citizens exercising their constitutional rights. Last night, Fox News hosts Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly declared pepper spray a vegetable and bent over backward to condone its use by campus police against Occupy protesters on the University of California, Davis, campus. O'Reilly even went as far as to use the infamous Hitler-era "they were only following orders" defense—orders that the chief of campus police has been placed on leave for giving, along with two of the officers involved in the spraying.

Speaking of John Pike, the pepper-spraying cop, not only has he already become an internet meme, but the meme has gone meta and is showing up on protest posters on the UC Davis campus. Small towns that have streets named Wall are also getting in on the Occupy Wall Street action, albeit ironically, and John Pike has already shown up there as well. There's a Wall Street in Westerly; anyone up for occupying it? 

By Linda Felaco

Political landscape is about to change

Take a good last look before the
lines change
Redistricting maps released today
By Will Collette

The ultimate "inside baseball" political junkie's hot topic comes up every ten years in the year after the US Census numbers are released. The districts for state Senators and Representatives must be adjusted to make them equal in population. Because population tends to change a lot over ten years, every legislative district has to be changed accordingly.

Last April, I wrote about how the new census numbers for South County were going to cause changes to the districts of all our local legislators. This is what the House district map looked like after the 2000 census which is what the map looks like now::


Breaking News: ProJo reports driver in second car related to Chariho crash charged

"Reckless Driving"
By Will Collette

The Providence Journal has just reported that the teenager driver of a second car has been charged with reckless driving related to in the October 23rd car crash that injured four Chariho students.

One of the boys, John LaMotte, remains in critical condition.


The Mageau Files

Mageau on the attack on November 14

Jim Mageau’s documents tell an amazing story
By Will Collette

Town curmudgeon Jim Mageau reserved a slot under “Persons Wishing to Be Heard” at the November 14 Town Council. And he was heard.

He used his 15 minutes to attack Council Vice-President Deputy Dan Slattery, Town Administrator William DiLibero, Parks and Recreation Director Jay Primiano and Economic Improvement Commission (EIC) chair Frank Glista.

He described an elaborate criminal conspiracy led by Glista, and aided by DiLibero and Primiano, plus helpers from among Town Hall staff. And Mageau accused Deputy Dan Slattery of aiding and abetting the conspiracy by conducting a cover-up.

When he was finished, he handed his package of evidence to Police Chief Jack Shippee to be included in the official record of the meeting. Those documents are now posted on Clerkbase

Now we can analyze those records and find out what they say.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Pound Papers, part 2

Town rejects Dog Pound contract renewal after a summer of trouble
By Will Collette

This is the on-going saga of Town Council member Lisa DiBello and the Dog Pound, a now former beach concession business run under contract with Charlestown by DiBello’s long-time housemate and business associate Deborah Dellolio. After a short re-cap, I'll continue my report based on a new collection of town documents I received under the state open records law.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Start when they're young

School Summit Puts Environment at Head of Class
By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff
Teachers, administrators and students from across Rhode Island on tour of the Nathan Bishop Middle School. David Gaudet, facilities manager of the Providence Public Schools, led the recent tour. (Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News staff photos))PROVIDENCE — The environment is not just another subject, but an educational imperative, was the message at this year's Sustainable School Summit.
In his introductory remarks, Ken Ward of the Apeiron Institute for Sustainable Living — the organizer of the event — noted that the urgency to address climate change puts the environment at the top of educational priorities.
"The concept of sustainable schools is much more important than we thought twenty years ago," Ward said.

Don't whine, work

If Chelsea can do it, so can you
By Ted Rall


For the whole cartoon, click here.

Big Corporation, Tiny Heart

Walmart is displaying its incredibly shriveled ethical center by whacking the already meager health care benefits that hundreds of thousands of its workers count on.


By Jim Hightower


How small can a giant corporation get? I don't mean in size, but in spirit.

Once again, America's biggest commercial empire — Walmart — is displaying its incredibly shriveled ethical center by whacking the already meager health care benefits that hundreds of thousands of its workers count on.