WHY IS INVESTIGATION OF “TICKETGATE” TAKING SO LONG? It just doesn’t make sense! Complicated murder investigations are conducted in days or weeks, yet state police cannot complete a simple ticket-abuse investigation in four months.
Absurd is the best adjective to describe the molasses-flow speed at which state police detectives are moving in the investigation of an issue that has badly undermined Cranston residents’ confidence in their police department.
The lack of visible progress begs the question of whether or not Mayor Fung is playing politics with the police union in this snail-crawl investigation, or even whether the state police are somehow trying to protect their brothers in blue.
This thing has to be finished very quickly with the public fully informed. Otherwise, public confidence in Mayor Fung, the Cranston Police Department and the State Police will deteriorate rapidly.
THE ‘REST OF THE STORY’ ON OBAMACARE: With this week being the deadline to sign up for Obamacare, Democrat politicians everywhere are proclaiming the law a success. The Obama administration claims that over six million people have signed up for Obamacare, implying that the program has reduced by six million the number of uninsured in our country. This message couldn’t be more specious.
McKinsey and Company, one of the most respected business and economics research organizations in the world, studied Obamacare enrollment figures and has concluded that only 27 percent, or about 1.6 million of the six million enrollees, were previously without insurance. The remaining 4.4 million enrollees previously had employer-provided insurance or are a part of the 5.5 million previously insured who had policies they wanted to keep that, contrary to President Obama’s promises, were cancelled by Obamacare.
To make matters worse, the research shows that of the approximately 1.6 million enrollees who were previously uninsured, 20 percent – about 300,000, have failed to make premium payments and are not really enrolled. Thus, there only about 1.3 million enrollees who previously had no insurance. And according to the Kaiser Foundation, 83 percent of enrollees have policies that are subsidized by taxpayers to the tune of an average $2890 per year.
When the rest of the story is considered, Obamacare is not the raging success story President Obama and Rhode Island’s congressional delegation have proclaimed.
MATTIELLO - BEST CHOICE FOR SPEAKER: The selection of new House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello seems to have been a good move for Rhode Island. Mattiello appears to be a fiscal conservative with a strong interest in lowering taxes, an advocate for increasing business-friendly legislation and reducing red tape regulations to increase job creation, a supporter of common sense social issues such as same-sex marriage and legalization of marijuana, and a supporter of the Second Amendment. He has received high marks from such diverse organizations as environmental groups and the National Rifle Association. Although the ACLU gives Mattiello only a 29 percent rating, his support for same-sex marriage - the state’s biggest civil liberty issue in decades - seems to belie the low rating. Mattiello has made it abundantly clear that he is willing to work with Republicans and even appointed a Republican to an important leadership position.
Only time will tell, but it seems Mattiello was a good choice for speaker. We wish him well but fully expect him to deliver on his promises, even when it upsets special interest groups.
CAMPAIGN NOTES: A straw poll conducted by the North Kingstown Republican Town Committee in which voters could buy the ability to vote numerous times and skew the balloting didn’t make sense. Almost 90 percent of the votes cast were purchased, with Ken Block “winning”. Such political party trickery for publicity purposes usually backfires. It just inspired Block’s Republican opponent, Allan Fung, to point out once again that Block twice voted for Barrack Obama,
It looks like Gina Raimondo is carving out a clear split among unions in Rhode Island. While Angel Taveras and Clay Pell seem to be the darlings of public employee unions whose operations are run with taxpayer-funded payroll deductions, Raimondo continues to rack up endorsements from private sector unions with yet another pitching in with her last week. Of course, these union members actually produce things and don’t rely on taxpayer-funded payroll deductions to support their union membership.
WARWICK REP’S STATEMENT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE: Warwick State Representative David Bennett, who introduced a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, said of the bill, “If you put more money in people’s pockets, they spend, which is good for the economy.” What Bennett doesn’t seem to get is that the money comes from someone else – generally small business owners, who would also spend the money. So the economy would be no better off with a higher minimum wage.
RI HELP THE DMV? Christine Ferguson, head of HealthSourceRI, claimed on WPRO radio that our Obamacare computer sign-up system operates so smoothly that it is rated first- or second-best in the country in every category Whoever installed and programmed the HealthSourceRI computer system needs to head over to the Department of Motor Vehicles and show that agency how to do simple computer stuff.
SLOW JUDICIARY BAD FOR BUSINESS: With the new house speaker calling for more emphasis on making Rhode Island more business friendly and adding new jobs, perhaps someone should tell our state’s judiciary that it, too, needs to get onboard and start moving some of its business-related cases to the front of the courts’ agendas.
A glaring example of our judiciary’s snail-pace is the case of the proposed truck stop at exit one off I-95. Hopkinson officials rejected the developer’s proposal in 2009 and the developer immediately sued in superior court. When did the Superior Court get around to issuing a ruling on the case? Last Friday! Five long years after the developer filed suit, a ruling in favor of the developer was issued.
AN INCREDIBLE STATISTIC: Star Parker, an author and president of CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and Education, presented a fascinating statistic in a commentary piece in the Providence Journal last week. Writing about the difficulties Republicans will face in the 2014 elections and beyond, she emphasized that those who receive government benefits tend to vote for Democrats, Parker said, “The majority of Americans are now dependent in some way on government. Now 70 percent of government spending goes out as direct payments to individuals, compared with less than 30 percent in 1970. So cutting government spending means asking many individuals to give up checks. Not so easy.”
Many of those direct payments to individuals are for current government employees, social security recipients, and military retirees. That’s all fine. But it’s still incredible that our government payments to individuals - both deserved payments and harder-to-justify payments to those who contributed little or nothing to our society - have grown by a whopping 133 percent since 1970. This trend is clearly unsustainable and if left unchecked will ultimately destroy our economy and our republic.
This dramatic increase in government payments encourage recipients to want and demand even more - a sentiment that leads them to vote overwhelmingly for Democrats who consistently promise more hand-outs. It’s a vicious cycle that our society must figure out how to stop.
TOM BRADY GETS IT: Speaking emotionally and reverently about the two Boston firefighters who were killed fighting a blaze that he witnessed in his Back Bay neighborhood, New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady said, “We as athletes think that we’re heroes, but when you witness first-hand what I saw yesterday, you realize who the real heroes are in this world, and that’s the people that work hard to protect our lives and protect our safety, and our freedoms in America...”
CHRISTIE BACK ON THE ATTACK: Apparently feeling that he has survived the TrafficGate scandal, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, was back on the attack last week. Speaking at a Jewish political gathering and obviously referring to President Obama’s foreign policies that have frightened our friends and emboldened our enemies, Christie threw this barb, “We cannot have a world where our friends are unsure of whether we will be with them and our enemies are unsure of whether we will be against them.”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Speaking to a reporter the day before State Representative Nicholas Mattiello was elected Speaker of the House, Newport Representative Peter Martin mentioned one of the reasons he was supporting Mattiello, “Nick is one of the people who thinks the best social welfare system might be a job.”