November 28, 2014
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My Take on the News
A season of double standards
Lonnie Barham

A DOUBLE STANDARD? Former Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman was hounded out of town after it became known that a teenage drinking party occurred at his home following his daughter's high school graduation. Fast forward a year and guess what? An important public figure – wait, make that two important public figures, are embroiled in controversy over a teenage drinking party that got out of hand, resulting in a 911 call for a very sick and intoxicated young girl. The underage drinking party was hosted at Governor Chafee's Exeter estate by his son. And who else was in attendance for at least part of the party? None other than Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's son. The governor's attorney directed several attendees to refuse cooperation with State Police in the investigation. This, after the governor's son tried repeatedly to interfere with a witness as she was being interviewed by police. Chief Esserman was up front about the party at his home, apologized for his failure to prevent it, and later resigned because of it. There certainly doesn't seem to be any similar moves planned by either the governor or the senator in the current case, and certainly the media is not suggesting it. Hmmm ... is that the stench of a double standard wafting through the air in R.I.?

PROJO EDITOR BEHIND THE TIMES: Robert Whitcomb, editorial pages editor at the Providence Journal, recently penned an editorial complaining about a CVS store on College Hill that has automated some of its checkout counters. Whitcomb railed about the conversion costing jobs since, "Not everyone can be a computer programmer or venture capitalist ... Some nice young, and old, folks could use a job there..." Apparently, Mr. Whitcomb thinks companies like CVS owe people jobs, even when computerized payment systems can do the jobs faster, more accurately and at less cost. With opinion leaders like Whitcomb poisoning the minds of readers with such anti-free market drivel, it's no wonder our state and federal governments feel free to tax-rape private enterprise to support free-spending giveaway programs. Mr. Whitcomb admitted he owns a "few" shares of CVS stock but isn't selling them. Instead, he intends to boycott the CVS store because of its automated machines. Why isn't he taking the principled route and ridding himself of such "deplorable" stocks? One also wonders whether he boycotted telephones when human operators gave way to automation and whether he still dictates his editorials to a secretary who types them on a manual typewriter.

THE IMMIGRATION MESS: After almost four years in office, President Obama should be proudly signing an immigration reform bill passed by a Congress that had reached a bi-partisan compromise because of Mr. Obama's leadership. Most provisions of the DREAM Act would become law because they are right for America. Successful, law-abiding youngsters brought to this country illegally would no longer suffer for the crimes of their parents and they would have a path to citizenship. Instead, because of his inability to lead, his inability to forge compromises and his inability to function like a president, Mr. Obama has again chosen to disregard constitutional checks and balances by unilaterally issuing policy to "stop" something that wasn't happening anyway – the deportation of children of illegal immigrants. Obama's administration had already restricted deportation solely to illegal immigrants with records of criminal violence. Thus, his self-serving proclamation was just pure pandering to the Hispanic vote during an election year. If it's not political pandering, then why didn't he make his policy announcement three years ago instead of only months before the election?

ACLU AND PROTECTING RIGHTS: Many times the positions taken by the American Civil Liberties Union seem to be out of sync with the vast majority of public opinion. But, almost invariably – with the Woonsocket cross memorial a glaring exception – the ACLU takes an unpopular position to protect individual liberties from the improper intrusion of big government. The most recent case in R.I. involves a Cranston man whose friend reported to police he thought the man "might" be having suicidal thoughts. Exercising their "thought police" responsibilities, Cranston police raided the man's home and confiscated his collection of firearms and ceremonial swords. As a temporary move for the man's safety, this might have been justified. However, police have since resolutely refused to return the weapons, even after a psychiatrist submitted a letter saying the man has demonstrated "no suicidal tendencies or thoughts." Thank goodness the ACLU has stepped in to help protect this innocent man from his well-meaning friend, from the Orwellian thought police, and from the ever-increasing tendency of big government to intrude into every facet of our lives.

HBO'S DISGUSTING DISRESPECT: In its "Game of Thrones" production that aired last year, HBO depicted President George W. Bush's severed head on a spike. Even after several complaints, HBO left the scene in DVDs it distributed this year. Finally relenting to public pressure, the cable giant has now agreed to halt further shipments of the DVD, saying, "We meant no disrespect to the former president and apologize if anything we said or did suggested otherwise." What a crock of spit! HBO, with its far-left Hollywood constituency, purposely and egregiously damaged the former president and inflicted great harm on the office of the presidency – regardless who sits in the Oval Office. All Americans should boycott HBO and shift their dollars to cable entertainment companies that have more respect for our constitutionally established institutions.

KEY DEMOCRATS ABANDON CICILLINE: Former mayors of several Rhode Island cities, all Democrats, have abandoned Congressman David Cicilline and now support his opponent, Republican Brendan Doherty, in the hotly-contested race for the First District Congressional seat. Led by former Boston Mayor Ray Flinn, who also served as Ambassador to the Vatican, Rhode Island Democrats who previously served as mayors in Central Falls, Cumberland, East Providence, and Woonsocket have all lined up to support Doherty. When staunch Democrats choose such a heretical approach, it surely signals an ill wind for Cicilline's re-election chances.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Louisiana's Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, who a few weeks ago lamented that President Obama has run nothing whatsoever in his entire life – not even a lemonade stand – last week issued another nugget: "The problem is that the private sector is so foreign to our president that he would need a passport to go there and a translator to understand what is happening."


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