Tag: Rhode Island

Cox raising rates in RI

This is interesting. Cox is crying that energy costs are forcing it to raise rates for video service in RI.

A 6.6% increase on basic expanded cable to $48.99 a month, and hiking the prices on all premium services like digital cable, subscription channels etc.

This is interesting since Cox is now more expensive than Verizon’s FiOS package if you get all your services from Cox (video, net, phone). I only get net service and they’re not hiking those rates, nor are they hiking phone rates.

But here’s an idea for Cox. How about investing in green technologies? For example all those cable amplifiers etc. are on telephone poles. Wouldn’t be too hard to use solar technology to power those during the daylight hours. You could even setup batteries so they could go through part of the night. Make it an intelligent network, e.g. if there’s nobody using the service then shut the amps down, make them on-demand devices.

As far as the vehicle fleet, how about looking at electric vehicles or hybridized electric vehicles.

There are a number of things that in the short run would cost them more but in the long run reduce their dependence on those energy suppliers like National Grid, et al.

The California Marriage Ruling

There’s great news from California. Their Supreme court invalidated the Defense of Marriage law there. I should email links from the numerous articles to Rep. Brien since he’s trying to sneak a DOMA law into Rhode Island.

What encourages me about this is that we now have two jurisdictions in which the courts have acted to protect a minority from a majority. The foes in California will certainly try to get a constitutional amendment put in place but people realize those for what they are, writing discrimination into a constitution.

But since there’s now case law we’re going to see other jurisdictions go the way of California and Massachusetts. One of those could very well be Rhode Island. My cousin Tom Seymour wrote a wonderful memorandum of support that includes all the citations for the RI Consitution, U.S. Constitution and relevant case law. That was submitted to the entire Judiciary Committee during the hearing on Marriage Equality/Divorce Equality last week.

It’s now common knowledge that we have the support necessary to clear the Judiciary Committee, but Speaker William Murphy is the brick wall.

So I’ll email the memo to him too. After all his next in charge is a gay man, and I happen to know the 3rd down is too. He’s got to understand that it’s rolling along and even his brick wall won’t stop it.

And here’s a video of the celebrations in San Francisco. What was most poignant was the fact when he asked the couple what they’d be doing differently tomorrow. Their answer was they’d been together 23 years, the only difference now being that their relationship would be validated and recognized.

Here in RI we already have ENDA protections, and most of the Fortune 1000 have domestic partner benefits. But we still need a federal ENDA, and I’d ultimately like to see federal marriage equality too.

Marriage Equality Hearings in RI this evening

So I got there early to get my name fairly high up on the list to testify. They said the hearing would start at 4:30PM, it didn’t start until 6:30PM.

I did note that the parade of nitwits and the God Squad (Aka the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence) were fairly light in attendance this evening. In fact the God Squad only sent one Deacon to testify against Marriage Equality, Civil Unions, and granting of divorce to same sex couples whose marriages were performed in Massachusetts. The Deacon sat and read a statement from Bishop Tobin and of course it was the usual drivel. But I noted that it apparently didn’t appear to be a hot button issue this year since Fr. Codega and his crew weren’t there. None of the bishops in recent memory have ever attended the hearing either.

We heard from the marriage equality bill sponsor, Rep. Arthur Handy as well as from Rep. Frank Ferri the openly gay and partnered one. There are now three gay members of the House, Ferri, Fox, and Costantino. Hopefully this bodes well for us.

We also heard from Rep. Al Gemma in support too!

There were four stars in the testimony this evening. Two pro and one con.

I’ll start with the con. They put up Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage up and of course she kept on and on ad naseum about how the perfect thing for marriage throughout time was a man and a woman. NOM was founded by one Brian S. Brown. Would someone find that asshat and give him a good beating for me? It got particularly fun when Rep. Amy Rice started in on her. Rice loves provoking the religious nitwits. Rice is a very bright person too, she hold numerous degrees from some very good schools.

Then of course on the con side we had the less notable Brown University Pysch professor Lewis Lipsitt who claimed that studies show that male-female parents are better for a child than children with a single parent, or remarried parents or heave fucking forbid, a gay couple. The man should have his shingle revoked. Funny how his specialty is in developmental psych and he mentioned that the vast volume of literature on parenting and its effect on children is heterosexually based, that there are at max only about fifty studies on homosexual couples raising children and he said some pretty hateful things.

So much so that the 12 year old daughter who testified several people after Professor Dipshit was in tears and Rep. Edith Ajello tried to soothe the distraught girl.

On the pro side we had three notable testimonies this evening.

The first was Jenn Steinfeld, the director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island. At times you could tell she was getting frustrated with the questions from the reps on the committee. But she made them look like the fools they are, particularly Rep. Jon Brien. Brien has a bill that proposes putting the question to the voters of the state, in essence a DOMA bill that he swears up and down isn’t a DOMA bill. Brien kept stating over and over that the statute forming the RI Family Courts said that marriage was a union between man and woman when the statute he’s talking about does NOT contain that phrase.
Thanks for playing Rep. Brien, but for an attorney you sure are a dim fucking bulb.

Next was a gentleman whose name escapes me, but he had his partner of 20 years die in his home. The gentleman was handcuffed, denied any right to see his dead partner, make funeral arrangements, etc. Really a very touching reminder of why we need marriage equality in this state.

Finally Casandra Ormiston testified. What a grand and eloquent testimony it was. She rattled the reps sitting on the bench, let me tell you that. The name might be somewhat familiar if you’ve been following the gay divorce case going through the RI courts. She touched on EVERYTHING with a very dramatic flair, so much so that a couple of the Reps on the committee complimented her.

Others of those opposed were the wife of Steven Boyce a pastor at New Life Worship Center in Smithfield, RI (Warning! Flash Laden Site) She boasts her church has 1,000 members, blah,blah blah and urged them to reject the bills in question. She has a voice that to me is like fingernails on a chalkboard. I just wanted to blurt out “SHUT THE FUCK UP!”. And the other thing, how do we get these little mega-churches in Rhode Island?

I also heard that Christopher Young went off on a 20 minute psycho rant against marriage equality. . Everyone who’s met Young knows he’s certifiably nuts. Yet he got 26% of the vote in his run for various offices. I consider anything up to 28% to be the lunatic fringe. Even George W. Bush still has a 28% approval rating, that’s his core, his base, the lunatics among us. Young clearly falls into that category.

Apparently these hearings have been playing out for more than a decade. I did have an idea though I didn’t get to testify. When it rolled around to 10PM and the chair was saying there were no more names on the list yet there were, I just left. But here’s the idea, link support of marriage equality to money. Seriously, the state is in dire financial straits here and one gentleman testifying made note of the fact that when his sister married her partner in Massachusetts, all the money was spent in that state. I think we should really pounce on that issue too.

I am told that greater than 2/3’s of the Judiciary committee supports bringing the marriage equality bills to the floor for a vote but the leadership in both the house and senate keep doing things to quash the bills, like scheduling committee hearings near the end of the legislative session.

House Speaker William Murphy, Senate President Joseph Montalbanowww, and Governor Donald Carcieri have all voiced their opposition to the bills. But I’m calling on them now to stop with their religious objections to the bills in question, with the exception of Brien’s DOMA bullshit. You still have time in this session to do the right thing and pass the equality bills.

In case you’re interested, I created a video and sent it to the entire Judiciary Committee and the Speaker.

Quebec Province Snow

I’ve been reading the blog of Sticky Crows quite often and one thing that he’s been complaining about lately is the amount of snow they’re getting. I think he’ll find the link below rather amusing, since he’s originally a California boy.

So much so that people are coming to blows over snow.

Meanwhile we’ve had a very, very mild winter here in RI. We had four storms that actually dumped snow, and most of that disappeared a day or two later. Temperatures have been higher than usual, January more so than anything. We’ve had several mid to high 50’s and low 60’s days in February, and all in all more rain than snow.

We’ve had some very unusual winters in Rhode Island for the past decade or so. On average there’s been less snow, more rain which means a mean increase in temperature during the winter months. I’m all for that! If this is global warming, bring it on! But I understand the other effects of global warming, like disappearing coastline and then I’m not all for it.

Maybe it’s because I was shorter as a kid but I thought we got a lot more snow. Then of course there was 1996 when we got 120″ of precipitation for the winter season. There was so much snow that they had to dump it in the rivers else there was nowhere else to put it. That’s something I’d never seen them do before. Hell, in seasons past those very same rivers were decked over yet we dealt with the snow just the same.

All about connections – a–>b–>c

It appears that Operation Dollar Bill is proceeding along nicely in Rhode Island. Prosecutor Robert Clark Corrente is untangling the web of political corruption in the state. Thus far the only one prosecuted and sentenced as been former Senator John Celona (D) North Providence.

But here’s a list of targets and today that list grew by a few names I’ll add on.

  • Rhode Island Senate president Joseph A. Montalbano
  • Senate Finance chairman Stephen D. Alves
  • Senator and New England Laborers’ administrator Dominick J. Ruggerio
  • Former Rhode Island Senate President William V. Irons
  • Former State Senator and Rhode Island Blue Cross & Blue Shield vice president Thomas Lynch
  • State House banking lobbyist William Farrell
  • West Warwick, Rhode Island
  • Lincoln, Rhode Island
  • CVS Corporation
  • Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island
  • Roger Williams Hospital
  • The Laborers’ Union
  • And now it gets more interesting. Seems that Rep. Stephen Ucci brought his concerns about the tax break for A. Duie Pyle to Speaker William J. Murphy. So that means Murphy’s assertion that he knew nothing is false.

    The other two are Sen. Stephen Alves (D) W. Warwick, chair of the Senate Finance Committee and Rep. Steven Costantino (D) Providence, Chair of the House Finance Committee.

    It just goes on and on and on. I think Corrente’s early statement that 7 pols and 7 companies is starting to look like a conservative estimate.

    A New Idea for Government in Rhode Island

    I have a proposal for the esteemed leadership of the Rhode Island Legislature.

    Next time you give a huge tax break to a new construction project, give that break with the stipulation that they pay for infrastructure or state buildings.

    For example the State Archives should be in a state owned facility that is up to specifications for their needs. Their needs are a large enough space protected from high water tables and climate controlled vaults. Many of the other details have already been hammered out by the staff at the archives.

    But they currently occupy a leased space in downtown Providence with a basement that would flood for the lack of sump pumps that operate nearly continuously.

    So next time we give a $25 million tax break to some developer, tell them they have to kick 10% of that into a construction budget for the state. Hell, be generous and make it 20%. They still get a $20 million tax break and the state gets a new archives, or maybe rebuilding roads, or upkeep for things like the State House, the Attorney General’s building, or the state schools.