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Arthur Schaper: Rhode Islanders Behaving Badly

Friday, April 04, 2014


Will the latest spate of Rhode Islanders behaving badly finally force voters to force out their bad representatives? We will soon see, believes Arthur Schaper.

Rhode Island lawmakers (and some public workers) have been behaving badly over the past few weeks. Is there a reason why? Is there any way to stop this uncivilized behavior without resorting to law enforcement?

Let’s start with the less obvious yet brazenly salacious.

Drug addicted nurse

On March 13 Lynn A. Magnusen, school nurse at Narragansett High School, was caught addled on heroin, passed out in her car outside of a liquor store in Charlestown. The Providence Journal reported that police” “found a crack cocaine pipe and two syringes, one containing a clear liquid, in the car.”

Did she get fried, er. . .fired? Nope. The school placed her on her paid administrative leave. She will continue to draw a salary, and the school will pay for a substitute nurse, until she is found guilty. Magnusen gets her pay, the district pays more, and Rhode Islander taxpayers get played once again. Someone call a doctor!

To be fair, Magnusen was not caught at the high school getting high, but heroin addiction (plus the extra gram or found ever so privately tucked away in her body) suggests that her dependency does not wait until the last school bell rings every day. A nurse doing drugs is not all that unusual (so many to choose from), but questions about the viability of removing a public school employee resurface. What does it take to remove a unionized education employee?

At least she should have been suspended without pay!

He said what?

Then there’s state senator Joshua Miller (D-Cranston). Besides voting the liberal-progressive line driving the state deeper into debt toward bankruptcy, Miller’s latest crimes against the residents of Rhode Island: cursing at constituents and supporting gun control, in spite of the historical trends, the legal arguments, the moral obligations, and the statistical evidence which debunk gun control as effectively controlling gun violence.

Instead of targeting law-abiding gun owners, Miller should stop shooting off his mouth. However, instead of holding his tongue, he accosted a Second Amendment supporter after a gun violence hearing with “Go F--- yourself!” His security entourage repeated the same epithet.

Firing blanks, are we?

Miller’s vulgar exhortation to self-involved coitus (is he connected with Ms. Magnusen?) put him in a negative range. He later apologized (well, not really):

[T]he individual in question was physically removed from a committee room by the Capitol Police later that evening. Regardless of the emotions and atmosphere of the moment, it does not justify the language I used that day.

Respect in the statehouse? Miler should not only apologize for his outrageous conduct, completely unbecoming of a state senator (even in Rhode Island), but repent for considering the following legislation “common sense”: an assault weapons ban and gun-free zones at public schools. How about apologizing (along with the rest of the General Assembly) for the state’s pension crises, 38 Studios, extravagant tax increases, sanctuary state status for illegal immigrants, etc.?

Speaker Fox resignation

And now to the piece de resistance of Rhode Islander lawmakers behaving badly this month.

On March 22, FBI and state police (and IRS) forces stormed the Providence State House , the first time ever that federal law enforcement raided the legislature for incriminating evidence against legislators. Boxes of documents left the building, implicating the former Speaker in something, serious enough for him to step down and not seek reelection. Speaker Gordon Fox resigned (not retired) abruptly from the rostrum. The Fox in the Hen House has finally been forced out.

What took them so long? I had already written about Fox’s brazen connections with 38 Studios, coupled with his stunning refusal to recuse himself. WBUR reported that the reasons for the criminal investigation remain unclear, but the reaction of Rhode Island residents has been “So what else is new?” followed by a recognition that the political crooks of yesterday become the radio hosts, celebrated authors, and busy entrepreneurs of today.

One-party corruption

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung called for Fox to step down (he should have demanded that Josh “F--- You!” Miller do the same), but I have a better question: how come so many politicians do get away with behaving so badly in Rhode Island? Libertarian radio host Tammy Bruce argues that liberalism (and progressive politics) go hand in hand with corruption. Absolute pursuit of government corrupts, and has thoroughly corrupted the Democratic Party in Rhode Island, with its decades long one-party dominance. With no viable opposition to push back, Democrats have run amok.

Still, why the dominance? While Thomas Del Becarro of Forbes Magazine identified two deeper reasons for one-party corruption in my native California, his arguments apply to Rhode Island: a complaisant media and a complacent electorate.

As long as media covers for (instead of uncovers) political chicanery, and voters stay uninformed or uninterested in their government’s malfeasance, endemic corruption remains inevitable. Since politics is the major business in Rhode Island, government is involved in so much (a liberal-Democratic trademark), government waste, graft, and fraud, complete with unaccountable union employees like Nurse Magnusen (and Democrats like Senator Miller) are guaranteed.

Will the latest spate of Rhode Islanders behaving badly finally force voters to force out their bad representatives? We will soon see.


Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow him on Twitter @ArthurCSchaper, reach him at [email protected], and read more at Schaper's Corner and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.


Related Slideshow: Fox Scandal: Winners and Losers

Prev Next


Peter F, Neronha, U.S. Attorney

The bold action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation coupled with Internal Revenue Service investigators raiding the Speaker of the House's office was a major statement by federal authorities.

The investigation tied to now-former Speaker Fox sets expectations of a far broader probe.

Neronha has also indicted developer Richard Baccari and was key to the http://www.golocalprov.com/news/9949/">Google Settlement that brought $230 million to Rhode Island. 

Prev Next


Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed


Generally, the Senate President plays second fiddle to the Speaker of the House, but with a new Speaker to be voted on as early as Tuesday, Paiva Weed's influence will shoot up in the transition.


She will be more influential in the budget process.


Look for Paiva Weed to make a move on controlling the Joint Committee on Legislative Services - the proverbial legislative grab bag for jobs and grants.

Prev Next


Majority Leader Nick Mattiello


As GoLocal Tweeted on Friday, the Cranston Representative and Majority Leader has the edge to take control of the House.


Mattiello (as of Sunday Night) has approximately 40 votes and the momentum necessary to replace Fox.


Mattiello has strong support from former Speaker and lobbyist Bill Murphy. A Mattiello Speakership may cause a big shake up in Committee Chairs and senior staffing.

Prev Next


Former Speaker Bill Murphy


Murphy and Fox worked together for more than a decade and their relationship had both ups and downs. Nick Mattiello, if elected Speaker, is a close ally to former Speaker Bill Murphy.


Murphy had served as Speaker from 2003 to 2010. The former legislator has a successful criminal defense practice and is a lobbyist for notable clients (2013) for UTGR (Twin River), Advance America Cash Advance, and the Brotherhood of Correction Officers.


Murphy will emerge as an ever greater influencer with Mattiello as Speaker.

Prev Next


Gina Raimondo


The resignation by Gordon Fox is a political hit to the General Treasurer who went big for Fox in his surprisingly tough re-election against story teller Mark Binder.


Binder hit Fox both for his role in 38 Studios and his legal work for PEDP applicants.


Raimondo decided to publicly support Fox and walk his district with the embattled Speaker.


It should be noted that Providence Mayor Angel Taveras also supported Fox, but Raimondo claims to be the reformer in this race.

Prev Next


Fox's Committee Chairs (if Mattiello wins)


Fox loyalists who have pledged their support to Michael Marcello will be in trouble as will their agendas if Mattiello is in fact elected Speaker on Tuesday. 


Committee Chairs like Helio Mello, Edith Ajello, and Arthur "Doc" Corvese might all be replaced as they backed Marcello. 

Prev Next


Providence's Budget


For the past decade, Providence could always count of Gordon Fox to help bail the Providence Budget out of trouble.


From Finance Committee Chair, then-Majority Leader and ultimately-Speaker, Providence Mayors knew that Fox -- the Mount Hope section of Providence Representative -- would increase aid to Providence in one way or another. 


Providence always found an extra few millions from Fox. That access is likely to end in 2014 further impacting the City of Providence's budget issues.

Prev Next


Legalization of Marijuana


The pieces were falling together for the effort to pass legislation to legalize marijuana in Rhode Island. Speaker Fox was a social progressive. Judiciary Committee Chair Edith Ajello, who may lose her post in the power shift, was the legislation's sponsor and in command of the key committee.


In addition, Governor Lincoln Chafee has voiced support for the idea.


But, a shift to a more conservative Mattiello would throw a barrier in the way to a 2014 passage.


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Jesus, what a goggly gob of self absorbed pretentious narcissistic bombast. Let alone some half-baked knee jerk all over the place syllogistic nonsense.

Comment #1 by bill bentley on 2014 04 04

"Jesus, what a goggly gob of self absorbed pretentious narcissistic bombast. Let alone some half-baked knee jerk all over the place syllogistic nonsense."

That pretty well describes the Democratic hypermajority in Providence. Fox is out -- who will be next?

Thanks for sharing!

Comment #2 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 04 05

I would add a comatose "Attorney General". How's the weather in Florida? Are all the friends and relatives you inserted onto the state payroll over the years down ther with you? BTW. what's "Miller's" real name?

Comment #3 by G Godot on 2014 04 05

In 2004, Vice President Dick Cheney told Senator Patrick Leahy to “Go F___ yourself” in response to Leahy’s criticisms over the corrupt Cheney’s Halliburton war profiteering. Later the same week, Cheney said he didn’t regret cursing at the Senator on the Senate floor, and even recently said of telling off Leahy, “That’s sort of the best thing I ever did.” LOL

Cheney set a pretty low bar for “best thing" but sadly, given his record, he is correct.
At least the part-time Senator ..Mr Miller was man enough to apologize. Unlike the draft-dodging pro-war chicken-hawk liar Dick Cheney

Comment #4 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 04 05

Arthur Schaper penned
"Cranston Mayor Fung called for Fox to step down (he should have demanded that Josh “F--- You!” Miller do the same), ...LOL

Mr Miller is a $15,000 a year part-time Senator. When the second most powerful man in the free world the draft-dodging coward Dick Cheney tells a well respected Senator to Go F___ Himself (not at a cocktail party, but on the Senate floor) A total lack of decorum and a sign of disrespect for the entire Senate on Cheney's part. Did the right-wing-rubes call for the traitor Dick Cheney to step down ??
No-way ...
The incident made the totally corrupt Cheney even more popular with the right-wing-lemmings

Comment #5 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 04 05

Mr Schaper
Ah the sounds of silence .. even the usual anti-gay righties, who normally comment here, don't want to come out to defend your loony article. Arthur please forgive them, they are probably in morning for the recent death of the prominent conservative leader the Rev Fred Phelps (owner of the popular right-wing website www.GodHatesGays.com)
R.I.P. Reverend Phelps ..The world is a better place without you

My condolences to Fred's loyal right-wing friends

Comment #6 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 04 06

The General Assembly needs to check themselves and take a good look in the mirror! LOOK at the corruption they turn a blind eye to, and the dirty politics they condone, look at the back room deals they have participated in, and look at what that costs the hard working,tax paying,middle class people of RI...They want us to pay our taxes,(no matter how high),play by the rules (no matter how unfair) and then ask us to re-elect them so they can continue screwing us year after year after year.Government transparency is a lie!..lobbyists,legislators and labor are the ones who blank you everyday..and don't you ever forget that!

Comment #7 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 04 06

I have also shared a more personal appeal to the Rhode Island community here:


Please visit and share this post. One Rhode Islander shared with me that he stopped sitting on the sidelines as an unaffiliated conservative, joined the GOP, and is telling everyone what is going on in Rhode Island.

End the complaisant (or rather complicit) media and invigorate a complacent (or uncommitted) electorate. No one has to settle for this rogues gallery of rooks, schnooks, and crooks any longer:




Comment #8 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 04 06

This state has been run into the ground..We can dig ourselves out with new leadership or we can dig our own graves by sticking with the status quo and go nowhere.

Comment #9 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 04 06

What does a brain-dead right-wing hack blogger from California know about Rhode Island? Not a g0ddamn thing.

Comment #10 by Lewis Charleston on 2014 04 07

"What does a brain-dead right-wing hack blogger from California know about Rhode Island? Not a g0ddamn thing."

Hmm. . . .

{From "Gay CounerMentum"]
Silence Dogood

10:17am on Friday, February 28, 2014

Mindblown. great post, thank you

[From "Speaker Fox in the Hen House"]


Killary Klinton

7:49am on Friday, October 25, 2013

Arthur -

Very well written and to the point,

donatello gori

8:22am on Friday, October 25, 2013

nice article about one of the biggest tools in RI politics.

[From "Roger Williams would be a Republican in RI]
Dexter Liu

2:31am on Monday, January 06, 2014

It is amazing how utterly "tolerant" my fellow RI citizens are of the conservative point of view. For that matter of anyone's point of view that dares to shatter their bubble. Last I checked, Torrance is not a foreign country, and we have freedoms in this country that permit free speech across state lines. Torrance residents do not have a monopoly on the goings on in their community any more than the provincial Rhode Islanders have on our fair state. And no, you are not the "enlightened" contrary to your delusions. Sadly my state remains infested by those who know not just how fast the ahip has been taking on water, so rather than bail or patch the hull, they'd rather shoot the messenger so they may go on rearranging the deck chairs on the promanade deck. Go ahead... shoot the messenger, it's the likes of you idiots who have sustained the 75 year "Progressive" destruction that will doom Rhode Island to a future modeled after Detroit. Bravo, Arthur for continuing to tell the truth and bravo Golocal Prov for carrying the only sensible point on view to those of us who acknowledge reality.
[From "Langevin Quotes (Racist, Statist) Woodrow Wilson"]

Art West

9:20am on Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thank you Mr. Schaper for a very eye-opening article.

Langevin is a tax-and-spend politician who follows the Democratic leadership without much question. Now that I understand his inspiration a little better, perhaps it is ideology as much as job security considerations that drives him

joe pregiato

3:18pm on Tuesday, August 20, 2013

And after 80 yrs of progessive failure, we still vote these morons in? Stop beliving the "Gov't will solve your problems" drivel. What made this country great was self reliance, independence, freedom, opportunit-- A free market system that takes advantage of the hard working entreprenuer, risk taker, self motivated---And benefits all of us by creating jobs, careers, wealth, a huge middle class. Dopes like Wilson have been PROVEN wrong.

[From "Round, Rhode Island, GOP + School Choice"

Mike Govern

10:41am on Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thanks Arthur. Well stated.

[From: "RI Education: End the Pillage, Restore The Village"

James Berling

5:22pm on Friday, September 06, 2013

Arthur, maybe you could write an article on how we could go about getting some ballot questions in RI. For years the General Assembly has had a stranglehold on democracy in this state. The public sector unions and the Democrat Party have a too cozy relationship. As a result the General Assembly—totally dominated by one party—won’t even allow important issues like Right to Work to be discussed. Instead, when this state suffers from high taxes and high unemployment, they vote on what the official state appetizer should be.

I am totally convinced that if we could get some commonsense ballot questions before the voters we would have a very good chance of turning this state around.

To Sammy-Lewis-Cheap (My haters):

Those are just a few comments from Rhode Island readers. Their responses have been affirmative as well as respectable for the work which I have submitted.

They differ with the sad commentary of Mr. Charleston, who resorts to name-calling and epithets because the "cherished" values of progressivism are falling apart before his and many other "true liberal believers'" very eyes.

Repost the Reproach! Thanks again for the forum, Go Local Prov!


Comment #11 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 04 08

Arthur Schaper is a fired teacher from a Los Angeles suburb who spends his time spamming local politicians, newspapers, websites, etc., with his insane ramblings. And GoLocalProv is desperate enough for content to post his nuttiness. And that's the state of "information" in the Internet Age.

Comment #12 by Lewis Charleston on 2014 04 08

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