Who would have thought that so many Rhode Islanders think reputed mob boss Luigi “Baby Shanks” Manocchio is a saint? Doctors, lawyers, pharmacists and teachers sent letters to the U.S. District Court pleading for this “kind and loving man” to be released on bail. Wow! I guess all those investigators and prosecutors who think Manocchio is a ruthless killer and extortion artist must have gotten the wrong man.
With the Hispanic unemployment rate at 25 percent in the Providence metropolitan area, why would Governor Chafee want to make the situation worse by creating incentives for unemployed illegal aliens to immigrate to Rhode Island? Indeed, could this high rate of Hispanic unemployment be the result of illegal aliens taking jobs from our resident Hispanic citizens? College educations, driver’s licenses, no immigration enforcement – all reasons for illegal immigrants to come to Rhode Island and deprive many of our legal Hispanics of jobs.
Occupy Providence? At its “teach-in” prior to last weekend’s sit-in at Burnside Park, speakers claimed the movement “…seeks to give voice to the 99 percent of Rhode Islanders who have been disenfranchised [by] powerful corporate interests.” And, of course, at the weekend gathering participants carried signs declaring, “We are the 99%!” Surely the majority of Rhode Islanders are not taken in by this foolish rhetoric! Look around! Look at the thousands of shiny new SUVs on our highways. Look at the lines waiting to get into expensive restaurants. Look at the throngs at the airport boarding planes for exotic locations. Look at the crowds attending concerts and sports events at the Dunk and plays at PPAC. Look at the hefty dollars parents pour into Brown, RISD and other elite colleges. I guess these several hundred thousand Rhode Islanders are all part of the 1 percent who have not been disenfranchised by the corporations that employ so many of us. 99 percent disenfranchised? My rear end!
Another speaker at the Occupy Providence “teach-in” proclaimed, “…existing regulations don’t have appropriate incentives to make them [corporations] act on our behalf.” Duh! Corporations’ prime responsibility is to make money for their shareholders, including all those union pension plans that invest in corporate stocks. Ours is a free market, free enterprise society, not a socialist or communist one. Those who believe corporations should practice welfare instead of business and “act on our behalf” should practice what they preach and send their entire paychecks every week to the government so it can redistribute that money as it sees fit. “On our behalf,” of course!
This week’s breaking news in mainstream media has had the Internet abuzz for some time. The Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (AFT) ordered a gun store in Arizona to sell weapons to customers with phony IDs and wads of cash as part of a sting called Operation Fast & Furious. About 1,500 pistols, rifles and semiautomatic weapons – including 50-caliber sniper rifles – were sold to unqualified customers. The ATF planned to “follow the guns” to the drug cartels most of the guns were purchased for. The problem: The ATF conducted little or no surveillance and the guns disappeared. Murders and other violent crimes have been connected to many of the guns already, to include the murder of a border patrol officer. To make matters worse, Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, apparently lied to Congress in May when he reported he had only recently learned of the botched operation. Yet, an investigative journalist found e-mail messages to Holder in July of 2010 explaining the inept operation in full. It is clearly time for a special counsel to be appointed to investigate this whole nasty matter. The violence spawned by the illegal drug trade is bad enough without our government helping to arm the cartels and our Attorney General trying to cover it up!
Thousands protested at the State House last week to stop $24 million in cuts to budgets supporting Rhode Islanders with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Let’s remember these citizens’ problems are not of their own making and they are not trying to avoid work as many legal residents do while receiving extended unemployment compensation. Indeed, much like illegal immigrants, these folks crave work – even menial work beneath the “dignity” of many non-disabled residents. Cut more in areas like corrections, where we spend $46,000 per year per inmate, instead of more cuts to these programs. Our disabled citizens deserve at least as good a life as incarcerated felons!
The Values Voter bus rolled through Rhode Island with a brief stop at the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence where members of the National Organization for Marriage spoke against the Rhode Island ACLU’s attempt to repeal a state law that allows religious organizations and private businesses to discriminate against couples joined in civil unions. Speakers contended the ACLU’s move is an attempt to destroy “religious freedoms” in Rhode Island. By law, and rightfully so, religious organizations do not have to accept or provide services to gay couples. However, should this “religious freedom” extend to non-religious services? Should doctors, lawyers, photographers, rental companies and hospitals be allowed to refuse services to a couple based solely on that couple’s decision to sign a contract committing themselves to each other? Regardless how one feels about gay marriage or civil unions, outright discrimination against another law-abiding human is wrong! In this case, the ACLU is right.
Governor Chafee wants to include local pension plans in the pension reform bill the General Assembly will soon consider. While he should have made his desires known earlier so Treasurer Raimondo could have included them in her pension system restructuring plan, Chafee is right on target about fixing the municipal plans now along with the state plan. At the minimum, the General Assembly should include a provision in whatever plan is ultimately approved that will remove all retirement benefits from the collective bargaining process. We can’t afford to allow a city like Providence, Warwick or Cranston to become the next Central Falls simply because unions can strong arm local politicians at the negotiating table due to these politicians’ worry about union support during the next election.
The basic tenet of military service is that soldiers agree that, when necessary, they will sacrifice their lives in the fight for freedom and security for their country. Military people accept this risk every day. So, why is Israel trading 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for one Israeli soldier held by the terrorist group Hamas for five years? Most military veterans would bet that this lone soldier would give his life to prevent adding 1,027 trained terrorists to the Hamas force. How many innocent Israelis will die at the hands of these freed terrorists? They were convicted already of killing innocent people – to include at least one American, with bus bombs, hotel bombs, directing suicide bombers, etc. While it is unfortunate, it is far better for one Israeli soldier to die than what will surely be many, many Israelis at the hands of these released killers.