Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What cheer?

My apologies for the lack of updates, folks. I've spent most of the last week putting the finishing touches on a home built PC. Why didn't anyone tell me these new dual core Pentium 4 processors get so hot? I found myself having gone to somewhat extreme lengths to bring temperatures down to an acceptable level. Memo to everyone: factory heatsinks and heatsink fans are garbage.

On the serious tip, a friend told me about the sad and outrageous case of Anthony Maini of Johnston, who was arraigned on Friday on one count of second degree child molestation, after which, he took his own life on Sunday. What the news accounts apparently fail to mention is that the charges had been dropped after the police determined that the victim fabricated the accusation.

When, exactly, did child molestation start carrying a heavier social stigma than murder? If someone had accused him of murder, society could live with it, but the stigma attached to the mere accusation proved to be a fate worse than death, even when he knew he was innocent. Words fail to convey the tragedy that's taken place here.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Brothel owner busted in Providence

A 51 year old Korean woman was arrested in downtown Providence as federal agents moved in to shut down a human trafficking ring on the east coast. Kyong Polachek (aka "Big Sister MaekDo") who runs the Down Town Spa in Downcity, stands accused of holding a woman against her will to work as a prostitute.

While human trafficking and immigration charges may apply, the authorities have no basis for another charge: prostitution. In Rhode Island, prostitution is legal so long as it occurs indoors (streetwalkers and johns doing business outdoors are routinely busted).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Club for Growth endorses Laffey

Lincoln Chafee must have seen this coming: the ultra-conservative Club for Growth has announced that they have endorsed Steve Laffey for US Senate. Of course, organizations like the Club for Growth don't have very much political influence in Rhode Island, but for registered Republicans, the endorsement goes a long way towards establishing Laffey's bonafides as a fiscal conservative.

The Club president, Rhode Island native Pat Toomey, is aware of the risks of having Laffey win the primary only to get clobbered by a Democrat in a heavily Democratic state like Rhode Island, saying:
"First, it wouldn't be much of a loss if a new Democrat senator were elected, as he would vote much the same as Chafee does now. Second, it is unlikely this loss would result in tipping control of the Senate back to the Democrats -- though that, too, can't be ruled out. If Republicans lose so many seats that the Rhode Island race is crucial, Chafee would probably lose, too."
That's something something I, and most other Rhode Island Republicans, have been saying for months now. Even if Laffey were nominated and lost to Sheldon Whitehouse, the difference between Whitehouse and Chafee's voting records in the senate would be more or less the same. Unlike Connecticut's Joe Lieberman who actually voted with the Democratic party line on nearly everything but the Iraq war, Chafee's a bonafide RINO who would be running as a Democrat if he had any connections in Rhode Island's powerful party apparatus.

Monday, August 14, 2006

幸せ 終戦記念日

For those who cannot read Japanese, Rhode Island celebrates Victory over Japan Day today, the second Monday of August. While the real 61st anniversary of what in Japan is called "memorial day for the end of the war" is tomorrow, Rhode Island remains the last state in the union to commemorate the end of the second world war.

The famous kiss pictured above has Rhode Island ties too, as the Naval War College has identified the sailor in the picture as none other than Newport's own George Mendonça. I do hope everyone takes time during the day to remember just how momentous an occasion our victory over the imperial Japanese war machine truly was, and at what terrible cost it was won.

Roger Wheeler Beach

I have yet more photos of Rhode Island available here on Flickr. This time, the destination was Roger Wheeler beach in Narragansett. The sky and clouds were absolutely phenomenal, even though it was fairly chilly for a beach day smack dab in the middle of August.

As for what's new in Rhode Island, the venerable Newport Jazz Festival just wound up. I really, honestly had no idea Dave Brubeck was still alive., much less touring. Obviously, apologies are in order.

Lincoln Chafee launched a new campaign ad on TV called "Bully", which paints his Republican primary opponent Steve Laffey as some sort of lunatic in favor of old people dropping dead. Don't bother looking for it on his website, because it's not there. Having seen the ad, I'm just counting down the days until I can vote against Chafee.

The Providence Journal, ever eager to read too much into things, wonders if Chafee's situation is comparable to Joe "Joementum!" Lieberman's defeat in Connecticut. The answer is: probably not. You're not going to find Republican activists from around the country flooding Rhode Island with out of state money and activists looking to "punish" Chafee for being a raging DINO, largely because Republicans have worked to expand their base to include people like Chafee. While Democratic activists have sought to punish "heretics" like Lieberman for his pro-Iraq war stance, the Republicans were actually serious about looking for "converts", and creating a "big tent". I'm not happy about Chafee's voting record, or about his sleazy smears on Steve Laffey, but he'll certainly get my vote over Sheldon Whitehouse when push comes to shove.

In other news, more tedious business about the proposed Narragansett Indian casino. It's been put back on the ballot thanks to the Supreme Court, but I'm still not entirely enthused about having a large casino in West Warwick. Put it in Central Falls, and maybe I'm sold on the idea that it's going to pump money into the local economy, revitalize communities, and all that. West Warwick doesn't need any of that as much as Central Falls, after all.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

New photos: Block Island and Narragansett

I have returned from a Saturday excursion to Block Island with fresh photos on Flickr, both of lovely New Shoreham on the island and of Point Judith in Narragansett. The weather was perfect, as the heat wave broke but the water was warm enough to stay in all day long. Quite possibly the beach day of the year.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


It's ridiculously hot. It's got nothing specifically to do with Rhode Island, of course, but there are occasionally people (mostly from the south) who think New England is a frozen wasteland year round.

It's not.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Chafee and Laffey to go mano a mano

Lincoln Chafee and primary challenger Steve Laffey have agreed to a series of four debates before the September 12th Republican senate primary. The Providence Journal has the times and dates here.

I suppose there should be, at least in theory, a series of debates on the Democratic side, but why bother? Sheldon Whitehouse is going to crush his bolshevik primary opponent Carl Sheeler so badly that televised debates would simply clutter up the earth's electromagnetic spectrum. That one is in the bag, folks.