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Rhode Island Tag

The activists beyond the "Resistance" to Donald Trump's Inauguration are urging students nationwide to walk out of classes on Friday, January 20, 2017, just prior to Trump's swearing in. The College Fix reports:
A student socialist group has organized a nationwide walkout on Friday to protest the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, fearing the new president and his party will “unleash a storm of attacks” on various segments of the American population. The National Student Walkout Against Bigotry & Hate is organized by Socialist Students, a campus arm of Socialist Alternative.

Alan Sorrentino wrote a Letter to the Editor of his local newspaper, the Barrington Times in Barrington, Rhode Island. It was a letter, accordingly to Sorrentino, intended to be tongue-in-cheek, somewhat humorous in intent, critical of women wearing yoga pants outside the yoga studio (and men in Speedos). Little did Sorrentino realize that not everyone appreciated or understand his sense of humor, particularly some women who took offense to his yoga pants comments. And therein started what is one of the most bizarre stories I've seen, in which Sorrentino became so vilified that it resulted in death threats and a protest called a "Yoga Pants Parade" attended by hundreds of people who marched past his house in protest as police stood watch. We told the background of the story in my prior post, New object of hate: Guy who complained about older women in Yoga pants.

The internet moves from object of hate, to object of hate. Perhaps a prime example was Justine Sacco, who after tweeting an ambiguous, clearly satirical message about AIDS that some people interpreted as racist, found herself the subject of an internet hunt -- all while she was on an airplane to Africa. By the time she landed, she had been fired from her job, and people tracked her airplane and confronted her at the airport when she landed. The writer for Gawker who started the whole thing apologized years later. Certainly there have been many other such examples, but the Sacco incident stands out. I don't know if it will reach Sacco proportions, but there is an internet "outrage" gaining momentum against a guy in Barrington, RI, who wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper complaining about older women who wear yoga pants:

As you may have noted from some of my recent posts, we recently bought a small waterfront house in my formerly-now-once-again home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. For the past six weeks I've been back and forth several times, and expect to split the year between Ithaca and Rhode Island again like I did for five years prior to selling our prior RI home in June 2013. During these breaks from Ithaca I've come to understand how living full time in Ithaca is a political pressure cooker. In Ithaca, everything is political. You can't escape it. You will not be left alone. You will be made to care. Even about your coffee, as I joked when we left RI for Ithaca full time:

I'm back in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations again. Not just for the weekend, but "for good." We are back to splitting the year between Ithaca and RI. When I left in 2013, I lamented all that would be missed:
My home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations has provided much material for Legal Insurrection over the years, including the dispute as to the name itself. Splitting the year between Ithaca and Rhode Island provided me with the distinction of having Patrick Kennedy and Maurice Hinchey as Congressmen for several years. I’m reminded of the Seinfeld episode about the dentist who converted to Judaism for the jokes. Sometimes I felt that I lived in Rhode Island for the same reason. But alas, it is no more....

The Rhode Island legislature has joined numerous other states in passing legislation prohibiting the state and its subdivisions from contracting with entities involved in discriminatory boycotts, which would cover the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Signature by the Governor is expected. The recognition that boycotts based on religion and national origin are discriminatory is a prime focus of such legislation. There is no doubt that Israel is singled out because it is majority Jewish and that Israelis are singled out because of national origin. Such boycott anti-discrimination laws have been on the books for decades in New York and California. The New York law caused the GreenStar Food Coop in Ithaca to reject a BDS resolution, and the California law forced the BDS-compliant American Studies Association to abandon its annual meeting policy of excluding representatives or officials of Israeli universities. The key component of the legislation passed by the RI House of Representatives provides:

My formerly home State of Rhode Island and [do you remember the rest of the official state name?] recently mourned the loss of Robert Healey, founder and perennial candidate of the Cool Moose Party:
Robert J. Healey Jr. was a fixture at Rod’s Grille in Warren — so much so that words became unnecessary. With a nod of his head and a playful look to the kitchen staff, he’d have his breakfast ordered: french fries with a cup of black coffee. Healey, who ran for governor four times and lieutenant governor three times, went largely unnoticed to other customers, hiding behind his long, curly hair and thick beard, said owner Ray Rodrigues. But that was him, “a low-key kind of guy.”

You may recall the Silver Spring, Maryland case of parents being charged with “unsubstantiated neglect” for allowing their children, ages 10 and 6, to walk home from a local park.  This, along with similar incidents, sparked a debate about "free-range kids," the role government should take in parenting, and the relative dangers of and safety concerns about children walking outside without a parent or guardian present. The Washington Post reported about it at the time:

Long before the Meitivs of Silver Spring clashed with Montgomery County over their young children’s walk home alone from a park, other parents across the country were at odds with authorities over similar questions: How much supervision do children need, and when are they truly at risk?

In Austin, Kari Anne Roy, 38, a children’s author, was investigated for neglect after her children walked the dog one day in August and her 6-year-old lagged behind, playing on an outdoor bench a few houses down the street.

In Port St. Lucie, Fla., Nicole Gainey, 35, a mother of two, was arrested for letting her 7-year-old son walk alone to a park and play there, about half a mile away from their home in the town where she grew up.

One of most the most publicized recent cases involved Debra Harrell in North Augusta, S.C., who allegedly allowed her 9-year-old daughter to play at a park while she worked at a McDonald’s as a shift manager.

Former Providence Mayor Vicent "Buddy" Cianci, Jr. has died, The Providence Journal reports. He was a lovable rogue, but definitely a rogue. He transformed Providence from a washed-out industrial blight to the jewel of New England. He was larger than life, and came to epitomize both the power and excesses of personality. My prior post about Cianci's 2014 failed run to serve a third (not consecutive) term summarized his history:

Victory Day, formerly known as VJ Day, formerly known as Victory Over Japan Day, no longer is celebrated anywhere in the U.S. except in my formerly home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.  It is celebrated the second Monday in August, even though Japan didn’t actually formally surrender until September 2, 1945.
The Ocean State is the only one that still observers an official holiday marking Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II. That’s been the case since 1975, when Arkansas dropped the commemoration, which it had already rechristened “World War II Memorial Day” by that point. There have been attempts to rename the holiday here in Rhode Island, too – Gov. Ed DiPrete tried to transform it into Governor’s Bay Day, and in 1995 there was a bid to start to calling it “Peace and Remembrance Day” – but protests from veterans and traditionalists have always put the kibosh on them. There’s no question World War II had an enormous impact on Rhode Island. More than 100,000 of the state’s residents served in the war, and 10,000 were killed, injured or lost.
There is a memorial outside the library in Barrington, Rhode Island, where we used to live, with the names of 26 town residents killed during World War II. Twenty-six. From a tiny town in a tiny state. I think it is nearly impossible for us today to appreciate the sacrifices made. [caption id="attachment_138488" align="alignnone" width="489"] [Barrington, RI][Image Source][/caption]Or the will it took to insist on unconditional surrender. Or the joy when the war truly was over.

There I was, minding my own business on Twitter, when Kurt Schlichter retweeted this tweet and it hit me in the gut: What jumped out at me was not just that another American soldier was killed in Afghanistan. It was his hometown, Bristol, Rhode Island. As readers know, I used to live in Rhode Island (where we would be when law school was not in session) until two years ago, when we relocated full time to Ithaca. But Rhode Island emotionally is still home. It's a small state, and everyone knows someone who knows someone. Bristol was just two towns over from where we lived, and it was an easy bicycle ride on the East Bay bike path from Barrington. We often ate in Bristol, or cycled to Roger Williams University (where I taught for a semester) or along Poppasquash Point. Bristol has the oldest continuous 4th of July parade in the nation. While Bristol wasn't home, it was part of home. McKenna is a pretty common name in Rhode Island. So while we didn't know Andrew McKenna or his family, we probably knew someone who knew them.

Remember the Miles of New Sidewalks, and Empty Stores I wrote about on July 6, 2010? It concerned federal Stimulus Plan "shovel ready" construction of miles of sidewalks in Warren, Rhode Island, which were built pretty much just for the sake of building them:
Warren, Rhode Island, has new sidewalks from the center of town down Rte 103 to the Massachusetts border, almost two miles away. Thanks to the Stimulus Plan. I have driven that road hundreds of times, and also have cycled the route many times. I never noticed any particular problem with the sidewalks. I also almost never noticed anyone using the sidewalks, particularly once you leave the very center of town. The road is a local main road, not exactly a walk in the park. But there are new sidewalks as far as the eye can see.... Warren, Rhode Island, also has plenty of empty storefronts. The sidewalks will not change that, and neither will the Stimulus Plan.
Here's what the newly constructed sidewalks looked like in 2010:

Former U.S. Senator and Rhode Island Governor Linc Chafee has announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee. When Rhode Island reader and blogger Tony emailed me about it, I thought it was a joke. Chafee has a reputation of a buffoonish political character who switches political sides on a whim. On second thought, that may make him perfect as a presidential candidate. Apparenty it's true. Here is his announcement: The Providence Journal reports:
Former U.S. Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee, who slipped quietly out of the State House in January, made a big splash Thursday in local politics by announcing he may run for president in 2016. Chafee made his announcement on his website and in a news release in which he said he was announcing the formation of an exploratory committee to consider a run as the Democratic Party nominee. Chafee, a former Republican turned Independent turned Democrat, said he will spend the next few months in New Hampshire, Iowa and other key battleground states, asking voters whether his “independent thinking and fresh ideas for the future” are what is needed in the 2016 presidential campaign.
GoLocalProv has more details on his background:

My formerly home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is keeing up its long history of corrupt politicians. In March 2014, we reported how Gordon Fox, the RI House Speaker and most powerful politician in Rhode Island was resigning after fed and state police raid. Now we know why. The FBI has issued a press release that Fox is pleading guilty to three federal charges:
Former Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, 53, of East Providence, has waived federal indictment and is expected to plead guilty in federal court to a three-count Information charging him with wire fraud, bribery and filing a false tax return. The charges stem from former Speaker Fox’s theft of $108,000 donated by campaign supporters to pay for personal expenses; his acceptance of a $52,000 bribe to advocate and move for issuance of a liquor license for an East Side restaurant while serving as Vice-Chairman of the City of Providence Board of Licenses in 2008; and his failure to account for these illegal sources of income on his tax returns....
News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England Via News 10:

You may not fully appreciate this unless you are from my former home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. As mentioned here before, twice-convicted former Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci not only is running for Mayor a third time (as an Independent), he is leading in the polls. Buddy's first conviction during his first term as Mayor was for beating his wife's alleged paramour with a fireplace log and assaulting him with a lit cigarette. His second conviction was for running a criminal enterprise (under the RICO statute), namely, Providence City Hall. Mike Stanton, author of the definitive chronicle of Buddy's years in office (The Prince of Providence book and later movie), has a column in The New York Times this weekend, Good Buddy, Bad Buddy:
Stories of the Good Buddy and the Bad Buddy are legion, and legend. He moved rivers. He took bribes. He built a mall. He was accused of raping a woman at gunpoint in law school. He championed WaterFire, the festive floating bonfires on downtown rivers. He assaulted a guy and tried to jab a lit cigarette in his eye while a police bodyguard stood by. He raised a city’s self-esteem. He turned City Hall into a cesspool. The judge who sentenced him to five years in prison, for running City Hall as a criminal enterprise, called him Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (The ever witty Buddy cracked, “He didn’t give me two [expletive] paychecks.”) He belongs to that great American pantheon of rogues whose corruption was tolerated because of their populist appeal to voters and the perception that they “got things done” — Boss Tweed, Huey Long, James Michael Curley, Edwin Edwards.... A city is like a woman you make love to, he once said. But he was an unfaithful lover.
Yet Buddy remains a beloved figure because he was larger than life, a superb retail politician, and the man who transformed Providence from a dying industrial city into the jewel of New England.

After the Oklahoma workplace beheading, I asked if the threat level had shifted From Going Postal to Going ISIS. Regardless of whether we see more actual beheadings in the U.S., it appears that threats of beheadings may be the latest iteration of threatening hoaxes based on news events. As ISIS beheadings are in the news, as well as the Oklahoma workplace beheading, someone who hopefully will be caught made a beheading threat directed at elementary schools in three towns in my formerly home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. (h/t Infidel Bloggers Alliance) NBC News 10 reports:
Police had a very visible presence Wednesday at schools in Cranston, Johnston and Warwick. Officers will be present all day after a letter threatening beheadings at the elementary schools in the three communities was received by the Johnston Police Department on Tuesday. Police said the handwritten letter was one page, and it is being analyzed at the state crime lab at the University of Rhode Island. Police departments said they would cover every school in the three communities. "When these threats come in, we take them very serious. But at the same time, we don't want these threats to disrupt our daily life, including important work that they do here educating students," Cranston Police Col. Michael Winquist said. The police presence calmed the fears of some parents.
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