Wednesday Dec 18, 2013
North Kingstown, RI – Good morning, Ocean State. This is Bob Plain, editor and publisher of the RI Future blog podcasting to you from The Hideaway on the banks of the Mattatuxet River behind the Shady Lea Mill in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
It’s Wednesday, December 18 … there are less than two weeks left in 2013 and the Capital City is making a late run to beat its 103 shootings last year. Yesterday, it recorded numbers 99 and 100 yesterday when a man and a woman were found with bullet injuries after crashing their car while driving themselves to Rhode Island Hospital. According to the ProJo, the man was shot on the same Elmwood Ave corner last year. Do me a favor and read the Providence Journal story by Greg Smith, and then ask yourself again if taxes are the biggest issue facing the Ocean State.
Rhode Island Catholics are calling on Bishop Tobin to apologize for slamming Nelson Mandela on abortion while the rest of the world was mourning his death. The group plans a news conference today when it will deliver a petition signed by 19,000 people to the dioceses today.
And speaking of influential conservatives who say stupid and hurtful things …. let’s be clear about something else, too: John DePetro indeed does have a First Amendment right to call women whores. And so does WPRO, for that matter … see George Carlin’s famous seven dirty words routine for a list of the words they don’t have a 1st Amendment right to use….
But if you want to make this a First Amendment issue, you better be ready to defend the rights of those who want tell as many people as they can NOT to support businesses that calls women whores. The more relevant question is whose rights will Alex and Ani decide are more important to their bottom line.
…And still on the topic of saying hurtful things, Justin Katz pens a post in which he gives the Humanists of Rhode Island a some nice props. But Katz’s post centers on the Freedom from Religion’s State House decoration which says, “Religion is but a myth & superstition that hardens hearts & enslaves minds.”
In differentiating that banner from the Humanists’, Katz writes, “That message is different in kind, not just content. It’s an overt (indeed, hard-hearted) attack on what others believe and a short-circuit of a sense of community and spirit of public discourse.” And then he has this asterisk: “Note that venue is important; seasonal decorations merit a different standard than policy debates.”
Right, the venue in question – the State House – is for policy debates. That’s the point. This is a policy debate and sometimes people say hard-hearted things in policy debates. In fact, I dare say no one else in Rhode Island politics takes as hard-hearted a view on policy debates as you … no fair going soft on us when it comes to church and state matters…
So here’s a pretty cool look into how Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is working across party lines to make the world safer and Rhode Island’s economy stronger, all in one tiny piece of what could otherwise be called pork. In the Defense Authorization bill, Sehldon worked with Republican Rob Portman to include a rider for what’s called “asset tracking provisions.” In other words, the bill would require fancy bar codes on military guns and ammo. Well it just so happens that there’s a Rhode Island company that makes these fancy bar codes: A2B Tracking is located in Portsmouth and employs about 50 people there. Coincidentally or not, A2B’s website says they are hiring!!
Ronnie Biggs died yesterday … he was the world’s last great train robber. In 1963, he and 14 other guys stole $7 million in bank notes from a train in England. Biggs turned himself in in 2001.
December 18th is a giant day in American history … in 1620, the Mayflower made landing in what would later be named Plymouth Harbor. And on this day in 1865, America would abolish slavery.
In less world-changing historical events, on this day in 1966 Tara Browne, friend of Mick Jagger, was killed in a car wreck … you know her because her accident is the one John Lennon sung about in “A Day in the Life”
…I bet you can guess what our song of the day is!