Whitcomb: Holiday Intensity; Panic in Pawtucket; Stoned While Driving; ‘Riskiest Moment of Our Lives

Monday, December 25, 2017

 

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Robert Whitcomb, former Editorial Page Editor of the Providence Journal

Many people probably have stronger memories of Christmas than of any other time of the year;  the prospect of another one brings out a mix of emotions.

 

There’s the year you might have been stuck at an airport in a snowstorm, or skidded into a tree in an ice storm. The lost luggage that held presents. There’s the year someone might have had a few too many drinks and got in a loud argument, or worse. There’s the Christmas that closely followed the death of a loved one. Or soon after someone lost a job and so felt anxious and cramped and unable to put on a full holiday show in the great retail rally of America.

 

But then there is the joy of seeing the joy of children and grandchildren wallow in the festivities, yes, including materialism as well as the good cheer that adults try to at least summon up. There are the presents you really like and will use. Indeed, you’ll remember them for years, such as the perfect tool set or a painting.  And a holiday dinner that shines with happiness and humor all around the table. Best is the knowledge that the days are no longer growing shorter and you’ll soon have a new year in which to try to reform yourself – again.

 

Two of the most famous American Christmas songs – “White Christmas’’ and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’’ – are essentially melancholic and express longing for perfect Christmases that never existed and never will. But then Americans may be better at longing than any other people – “the green light, the orgiastic future’’ and all that. And Christmas, in varying degrees, is about longing or maybe call it wishful thinking.

 

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Among the silliest political assertions of recent years is that there has been a “War on Christmas’’ in which Americans have been allegedly discouraged from saying “Merry Christmas’’. Baloney. This is yet another piece of demagoguery put out by the likes of Fox “News’’ and their allies in the  very lucrative right-wing religion racket. No one’s being punished for saying “Merry Christmas.’’ Further, there’s nothing new, or  intrinsically “politically  correct,’’ about saying “Happy Holidays.’’ When  I was a boy in the ‘50s, amongst avid Protestant and Catholic churchgoers, I often heard that greeting. And many of the “Christmas cards’’ we received said “Season’s Greetings’’.  The “War on Christmas’’ is a crock, but it probably has led some suckers to send money to multimillionaire TV evangelists.

 

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As has happened to many people who bought a  Christmas tree too early and/or failed to keep its bottom in water, the big Christmas tree in the Rhode Island became severely dried out and was falling apart. It had to be replaced. So did a big one in Rome. For future Christmases, why not go with a big metal tree and spray it with pine scent. It’s increasingly a man-made world: Embrace it and save a tree.

 

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Mayor Grebien's desperate efforts

There’s something very desperate and sad about Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien’s idea that the Rhode Island General Assembly should consider letting the old mill town finance the entire public part of a PawSox new-stadium financing deal. The bonds to be sold would supposedly be paid off by letting the city use all the state sales and income tax revenue to be generated by the ballpark for that purpose.

 

Thus the city would be glued to one company, whose fortunes in coming decades are impossible to predict with any precision. (Will Minor League baseball be popular in 10 years?) Of course, whatever such a financing agreement says, if the tax revenue doesn’t meet expectations and thus Pawtucket can’t cover the debt, the state would have to come in to try to save the city – again.


I wish that Pawtucket officials would spend more time trying to find ways to leverage for economic  development the coming Pawtucket/Central Falls train station, which will link the old mill city more closely with booming Greater Boston, and less time obsessing about the PawSox as if it’s the only game (so to speak) in town. Better to lure and/or keep dozens of small companies that rely so much upon just one with very rich and mobile out-of-state owners.

 

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Rhode Island “Medical marijuana’’ dispensers have taken in a total of some $27 million in retail revenues so far in 2017, reports The Providence Journal (“Regulators worried by glut of cultivation,’’ Dec. 20).  How many of the customers are actual, sincere patients seeking relief from severe or at least chronic pain and how many are just gaming the system for the simple pleasure of getting stoned is unknowable. In any case, it’s not particularly comforting to know that some of those many motorists driving erratically as they text may also be high. It can only get worse; the state hasn’t shown that it can regulate this booming new drug industry.

 

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So the current version of the GOP, aided by extreme congressional gerrymandering and the peculiarities of the Electoral College, has their new tax law, which especially benefits, among others, those rich folks who voted for it on Capitol Hill. As for President Trump, the law seems brazenly tailored to maximize the advantages for himself and his dubious family and enterprises in real-estate development. 

 

We’ve been down some similar roads before, albeit not bordered by such self-dealing. In 1981, President Reagan pushed through big tax cuts, some of which had to be undone, most notably in ’82, ‘83 and ’84, to deal with the rapidly widening federal deficit.

 

After the very deep 1981-82 recession, the economy thrived through much of the ‘80s, before ending in the recession of the early ’90s. The main movers: The Federal Reserve Board quelled inflation, the price of oil plunged and a big economic stimulus from a jump in defense spending.After tax increases in the early ‘90s, there was an extended boom.

 

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President Ronald Reagan - the tax-cutter

Then, with the arrival of President George W. Bush in 2001, he and congressional Republicans pushed deregulation and large tax cuts that favored the very rich. This was followed by a period of slow growth and then the biggest crash since 1929, followed by a very deep recession, from which many Americans are still recovering.

 

The latest GOP tax cut may well cause an economic-growth spurt in 2018. But the widening federal budget deficit and income inequality, as well as that financial markets are in bubble territory, may lead to another crash sooner rather than later.  Before that happens, the yawning budget deficit will be used to promote Republican efforts to slash Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, thus reducing consumer purchasing power, which itself could cause a recession.

 

I assume that the tax law, however unpopular now, will become quite popular at least from January to April 15, since most folks will get at least some tax cut. The big ugly chickens probably won’t start to come home to roost until, perhaps, next year. Even in 2018, that the law guts part of the Affordable Care Act will mean that insurance premiums will rise for many Americans enough to more than offset reduced income taxes.

 

Oh wait! Companies will pour savings from their tax cuts into big raises for folks below the executive suite and go on hiring sprees! They’ll no longer pour money into stock buybacks (to boost share prices), bigger dividends and ever higher compensation for senior executives, right, even though that’s what they’ve done over the past few years of record corporate profits!?  And they’ll cut back on automation! Anyway, ignore some big corporate promises of the past week, meant to garner administration applause.  Look at things in a year or two.

 

(Actually, as I’ve written, corporate taxes should be gradually eliminated and the top rate for individuals raised to pay for the government services that most citizens say they want and/or need. Corporate income taxes are just too inefficient and corrupting.)

 

There’s at least one really good thing in the tax law. By limiting the interest deductibility to new mortgages of no more than $750,000 and ending the deductibility of interest on home-equity loans, the tax writers will tend to discourage upper-middle class people from taking on excess debt and will put healthy downward pressure on prices in some neighborhoods, though the Realtors won’t like that since they’re paid a percentage of the sale price.  

 

The next couple of years should be exciting. As Brett  Ryder recently noted in The Economist: “{“R}arely have so many asset classes – from stocks to bonds to property to bitcoins – exhibited such a sense of invulnerability…rarely have creditors demanded so little insurance against default, even on the riskiest ‘junk’ bonds. And rarely have property prices around the world towered so high…add to this the craze for exotica, such as cryptocurrencies, and the world is in the throes of a bull market in everything.’’

 

Or as Richard Thaler, a University of Chicago economist and Nobel laureate, said recently: “We seem to be living in the riskiest moment of our lives, and yet the stock market seems to be napping.’’

 

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We’re still early in the renewable-energy era, and many will be slow to accept its tradeoffs. Consider the angry complaints of some neighbors of Richard and Lola Eanes, of Beverly, Mass., after the couple installed a ground-mounted grid of solar panels on their land in that generally affluent community.

 

One neighbor, Mary Downing, told The Boston Globe: “It’s a foreign body. We don’t want to be out on the deck in the summer, by the pool, and see that thing.’’ The installation is a stack of 20 panels that turns with the sun and shuts down for the night. The Globe says  that “It hums rather than rumbles {and} moves a foot or two several times a day.’’


Another neighbor, Bill Soares, told The Globe: “I’m stuck with the property value diminished. I’m stuck with looking at the thing.’’

 

The heroes in this tempest are Richard and Lola Eanes. Lola said: “We have grandchildren, and we’ve been thinking about climate change and what has to be done to reduce {fossil-fuel} energy {use}. It’s a plus for the environment.’’


I think that people will get used to such installations, as they have gotten used to cell towers and telephone poles. It reminds me of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. I worked across the street from them in the ‘70s. For years, they were denounced as hideous Modernist abominations. But as the years rolled by, and New York City returned to prosperity after the bad years of the ‘70s, many New Yorkers started to love them as symbols of Gotham. (Okay, I continued to dislike them myself.)

 

To read The Globe’s story, please hit this link:

 

 

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In other energy news, it was good to learn from ecoRI News that Rhode Island will soon install its first large battery-storage facility. It will be in Little Compton and be used to help meet growing electricity demand in that town and adjacent Tiverton. The system will be focused on meeting summer demand in the towns, which have many seasonal residents. Massachusetts has already done 26 such projects. To read the ecoRI story, please hit this link:

 

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New England Lobster industry

Beware of protectionism, especially involving close and traditionally friendly nations. Here’s a little example of what can happen when the United States excludes itself from international trade deals.

 

The New England lobster industry (which mostly means Maine) is understandably worried about the fact that Canada, whose Maritime Provinces are very big lobster exporters, and the European Union have agreed to end E.U. tariffs on Canadian lobster imports. North American lobsters are very popular, if expensive, food in Europe. The E.U. is the world’s biggest seafood importer.

 

The lobster deal is part of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Implementation Act (CETA). This is the sort of agreement that recalls the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free-trade agreement between the E.U. and the U.S. Such a pact would strengthen economies on both sides of the Atlantic and make the West better able to confront the economic and security challenges posed by the aggressive, expansionist dictatorships of Russia and China.  And, after all, we share basic political, social and economic values with Europe. We’re stronger together. But the Trump administration’s instincts, here and elsewhere, are protectionist, even when it comes to our closest allies, whom we need as much as they need us in a dangerous world.

 

The TTIP would, of course, be particularly beneficial to New England.

           

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It was pleasant to read that the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating Jill Stein, M.D., the leader of the leftist Green Party and its 2016 presidential candidate, for possible “collusion’’ with Russia before the election last year.

 

Among other things, Ms. Stein attended a  December 2015 tenth anniversary dinner in honor of RT (formerly called in English Russia Today), the Kremlin’s international propaganda TV network. Intriguingly, at the same table that festive night was Michael Flynn, Trump’s former (very briefly) national security adviser, and none other than Vladimir Putin.

 

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Green Party's Jill Stein

The whole thing makes one speculate on whether the Trump campaign, and the Russians, had anything to do with propping up the campaign of  Stein, who took votes away from Hillary Clinton, who won the overall national popular vote but lost it narrowly in three states that handed the Electoral College victory to Trump. In any event, Stein and Flynn should be ashamed of themselves for in effect honoring the murderous thug Putin and his most important international propaganda outlet. The GOP-controlled committee is also digging into reports that Clinton’s campaign paid for research in a report with allegations about Trump’s behavior during a 2013 business trip to Moscow. That’s generally called “opposition research’’ and is virtually universal in American political campaigns for major offices.

 

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In the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration built big projects to be both beautiful and to last. They used lots of granite for public buildings, walls, bridges, monuments and so on. So a lot of stuff they put up is still lovely.

 

Not so most public projects of the past few decades. The favored materials are easily stained, flaked and chipped cement and concrete, which quickly show their age. Take a look at the bridges and other parts of the river-relocation project put up in downtown Providence in the ‘90s and you’ll see what I mean. They’re lovely from a distance but shabby close-up.

 

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President Donald Trump

The Trump administration has been trying to censor certain phrases  that formerly were widely used in some federal agencies, such as “global warming’’ and “human-caused climate change’’ in the Environmental Protection Agency (the fossil-fuel industry doesn’t like them) and ‘‘evidence-based,’’ “science-based,’’ “transgender’’ and “diversity’’ at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Tea Party and some Evangelical types don’t like those words.)

 

At the same time, the administration is trying to force out some agency scientists disinclined to follow the new regime’s line. But science is international and these phrases and the science they refer to will still be out there, although the administration’s actions will tend to move some important scientific research abroad. Too bad.

 

When I worked in Paris in the ‘80s we lived right next to the Institut Pasteur, the famed medical-research center, where I often went in to look at the bulletin board to read announcements about discoveries. (Institut Pasteur scientists found the AIDS virus.) Most of the announcements were in English, the primary language for high-level scientific communications. One got a strong sense of just how global science is.

 

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RIP, George Graboys, a stellar Rhode Island banker and visionary civic leader, and Kerry Kohring, a longtime Providence Journal editor, Newspaper Guild activist and civic leader in his neighborhood on the East Side of Providence. They both combined moral principle, leadership, kindness, good humor and persistence.

 

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The Land Remembers, by the late Ben Logan, is a very evocative memoir of growing up on a southwest Wisconsin farm in the ‘30s. It manages to be both nostalgic and realistic, heartfelt and factually rigorous. It is indeed a very moving piece of personal history. My maternal grandfather, who died when I was very young, grew up on a large farm in upstate New York. I’ve always regretted not having been able to ask him what it was like.

 

Related Slideshow: Some of the Most Interesting GoLocal LIVE Interviews—The First 1,000

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Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny

Enda Kenny, former Prime Minister - the Taoiseach - of Ireland, joined GoLocal LIVE to discuss the growing trade opportunities sparked by the new direct air travel between Rhode Island's T.F. Green via Norwegian Air.

WATCH THE INTERVIEW HERE

Kenny has been instrumental with his support for the Ireland West International Trade Center in Rhode Island and the RI Trade Center in Mayo.

At the time of the interview, a Rhode Island trade mission was visiting Ireland led in part by Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, who also appeared on LIVE.

Kenny served as Prime Minister from 2011 until earlier 2017.

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Amanda Clayton, Actress

Johnston native Amanda Clayton was almost ready to give up on her acting dreams when she got the call to travel to Atlanta to meet Tyler Perry and test-read with other actors for the then-new show “If Loving You Is Wrong," an opportunity that has been life and career changing for Clayton. 

Having moved to New York at 19, five days before 9/11, she studied on-camera acting at New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue film and TV opportunities in Hollywood.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE 

She appeared in Disney’s “John Carter," multiple TV appearances like NCIS: New Orleans, Major Crimes, and The Mentalist, and as Vinny Pazienza’s sister in “Bleed for This” filmed and based right here in Rhode Island.

Clayton just finished a Lifetime Movie “Mommy’s Little Angel”, coming out next year, and finished a role behind-the-scenes as a producer for “Dirty Dead Con Men.”

 “If Loving You Is Wrong” airs Tuesday nights on OWN.

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Billy Gilman, Grammy Nominee

When your career begins at age 11 as the youngest artist to reach #1 on the Billboard charts and continues on through adulthood, it’s almost difficult to believe one could still have professional firsts, but RI native and “The Voice” Alum, Billy Gilman, did just that with his first ever arena concert at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

WATCH THE INTERVIEW HERE

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Johanne Killeen, Al Forno

Johanne Killeen of Al Forno shared both the story on GoLocal LIVE's "The Taste," of how grilled pizza began -- as well as the announcement on her new cookbook highlighting pizza.

She told the story of how one of America's greatest restaurants was started and where it is going in the future. 

WATCH THE INTERVIEW HERE

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South African Penguins

Mystic Aquarium’s Penguin Trainers Eric Fox and Josh Davis visited GoLocal LIVE with Blue-Purple and Blue-Red penguins, talking about how you can help the Endangered South African species.

WATCH THE INTERVIEW HERE

They also discussed trips to South Africa, what it’s like working with penguins, and what’s on the penguin’s lunch menu.

Mystic Aquarium’s mission is to inspire people to care for and protect the ocean planet through education, conservation and research. To help accomplish that mission, Mystic Aquarium offers educational opportunities and fundraising events to continue their conservation work and teach the public about the ocean’s creatures.

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Jai Rodriguez, Actor

“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” alum, Jai Rodriguez, joined GoLocal LIVE to talk about his new show “Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man’’ currently running in Vegas until January of 2018. 

Rodriguez co-stars in the audience-participation heavy live show with reality TV personality, Kendra Wilkinson, and says the subject matter of the show is perfect for the crowd in Vegas. 

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

Rodriguez will also be appearing on the new CBS drama “Wisdom of the Crowd” and makes a cameo as Margaret Cho’s Husband in “Sharknato 5.”

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Governor Lincoln Chafee

Lincoln Chafee, former Mayor, U.S. Senator and Governor, took Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo’s administration to task for promoting economic growth by funneling tax dollars to some of America’s richest corporations, in one of a number of appearances on GoLocal LIVE.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

Appearing on GoLocal LIVE with GoLocal News Editor Kate Nagle, Chafee said the Raimondo’s transfer of taxpayers dollars to billion dollar companies such as General Electric and Johnson & Johnson was flawed.

“I have never liked corporate welfare. It's unfair to existing businesses…some out of state business comes in and you give them the candy store. I just don’t like it," said Chafee.

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Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero

As only the 10th person to serve as the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero said it’s been amazing to learn responsibilities of the position and get to know the staff at the National Archives. He appeared on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O'Brien at GoLocal's downtown Providence studio.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

“The most exciting thing is getting to know the records and getting to know the richness of the documentation that tells our country’s history, starting with the oaths of allegiance signed at Valley Forge by George Washington and the troops, all the way up to the tweets that are being created as I am speaking, in the White House,” Ferriero said.

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Governor Gina Raimondo

Governor Gina Raimondo joined GoLocal News Editor Kate Nagle on LIVE where she discussed the UHIP technology failure, economic development, the status of 38 Studios, and how she works to build a lasting legacy for Rhode Island. 

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

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Walt Mossberg, Top Tech Journalist

Who are five of the most influential people to change personal technology? The most important journalist gave his insight on personal tech to date and outlined where we are going.

Super tech journalist and Rhode Island native Walt Mossberg appeared on GoLocal LIVE with GoLocal's News Editor Kate Nagle.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

"Well, it was a combination of really important people - and really important technology," said Mossberg. "It took too long for the computer industry to get the memo that these things had to be usable without reading manuals."

Mossberg, who served as the principal technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal from 1991 to 2013, founded AllThingsD, Recode, and the D and Code Conferences, and from 2015 to 2017, was Executive Editor of The Verge.

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Gretchen Morgenson, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist

Gretchen Morgenson, a top financial writer for the New York Times [now the Wall Street Journal], joined GoLocal LIVE just hours after her newspaper published her investigative piece that unveiled that claims that financial giant TIAA was involved in improper financial practices took on new momentum.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

Rhode Island’s Treasurer Seth Magaziner has nearly $700 million invested with TIAA.

Morgenson was first to report that, “New York’s attorney general has subpoenaed TIAA, the giant insurance company, and investment firm, seeking documents and information relating to its sales practices…”

In October, she wrote a sweeping investigative piece that raised questions about TIAA’s selling strategies. “The subpoena to TIAA, which handles retirement accounts for over four million workers at 15,000 nonprofit institutions across the country, followed an article last month in The New York Times that raised questions about the firm’s selling techniques,” wrote Morgenson.

On GoLocal LIVE, Morgenson told News Editor Kate Nagle in a Skype interview, “I think clients in all states should be worried -- Mr. [Seth] Magaziner should do a little more investigation into this to assure himself and the people in Rhode Island in these plans - that what TIAA is [telling them] is correct.”

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Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Ron Powers said his recent book, “No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America” is one he promised himself he would never write.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

The book is based on the true story of his two sons' struggles with mental illness. Both were diagnosed with Schizophrenia as young men.

While deeply personal, Powers gave insight on the battles his sons’ fought and details into their family life. He also looked at the history of mental illness, including incarceration, medication and more. 

"I was determined to give the mentally ill, invisible to much of society and often denied the very basic acknowledgment of their own humanity, a voice,” Powers said.

Powers is the author or co-author of 14 previous books, including New York Times bestselling “Flags of our Fathers” and “True Compass."

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Lidia Bastianich, Chef and Author

Lidia Bastianich, Emmy award-winning chef, restaurateur, and author joined GoLocal LIVE's The Taste with Rick Simone.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

Bastianich explained how she was inspired by family traditions and how she first got into the culinary world. She has since carried on her passion and it now has involved to include her whole family in all her endeavors.

Big news -- Bastianich announced that Eataly could be opening in Toronto, Canada in 2018.

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Piff the Magic Dragon

Magician and comedian Piff the Magic Dragon appeared on LIVE before he performed five shows at the Comedy Connection in East Providence over Labor Day Weekend. 

“New show, all new jokes, all new tricks, same dog,” Piff said. “Mr. Piffles will be doing a lot of mind reading. He’s got his whole new act with The Dog Who Knows and he’ll be attempting to see all and know all. Ask him anything and he’ll tell you.” 

Known for his dry sense of humor and rescue K-9 sidekick Mr. Piffles, Piff gained worldwide attention after his success on season 10 of America’s Got Talent. 

Although Piff didn’t win that season, he’s made guest appearances on America’s Got Talent, racked up 50 million YouTube views, and recently extended his show at the Flamingo in Las Vegas until the end of 2018.

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Jean Lesieur, French Journalist

Leading French journalist Jean Lesieur has appeared twice on GoLocal LIVE. 

He is a novelist and a co-founder of France 24, the French version of CNN, warned of the rise of Trump and nationalism.

WATCH ONE OF HIS INTERVIEWS HERE

“He is the symptom and agent of the emerging nationalism. And, nationalism should not be considered patriotism. Patriotism is the love of your own. Nationalism is the hatred of others,” said Lesieur at the Hope Club.

In a sweeping discussion with GoLocal, he spoke about Europe in the Brexit, the Trump relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the wild French election campaign.

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Patrick Kennedy, Former Congressman

Former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy spoke with GoLocal LIVE about efforts in Rhode Island in 2017 to legalize marijuana - and what he said is the country’s crisis of addiction, and why he is opposed to marijuana legalization. 

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

“We’re going through an epidemic of addiction and depression…and we’re in the midst of the rollback the biggest expansion of healthcare coverage that benefits people with mental illness [and] addiction, and this was the first time the ever got coverage,” Kennedy told GoLocal’s Kate Nagle on Wednesday.

“We ought to think do we want to throw gasoline on the fire,” said Kennedy, of legalizing marijuana in Rhode Island. “We know what’s happened with other addictive substances where’s basically there’s no perception of ‘risk’ — alcohol is ubiquitous; tobacco, until the settlements, there was no appetite for addressing [the impact of that].”

“Going down this road of adding a new intoxicant is not a good thing,” said Kennedy.

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Beverly Daniel Tatum, Former Spelman College President

Former president of Spelman College, Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., is one of the nation’s leading experts on race, and the psychology of race.

Tatum recently released a fully revised and updated edition of her bestselling book “Why Are the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race.” 

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

In an interview with LIVE, Tatum said it’s important to have conversations about race and listen for opportunities to have natural discussions.

“We can’t solve a problem if we can’t talk about it,” the Brock International Prize in Education winner said. 

To make a change, she said, we all have a role to play and each of us has an opportunity.

“We all have a sphere of influence. Everybody influences someone, and we should not be afraid to use that influence to bring about the changes we hope to see,” she said.

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Mark Baillie, Top British Security Expert

Terrorism and international relations expert Mark Baillie of King's College in London's War Studies Department spoke with GoLocal's Kate Nagle regarding the post-Manchester landscape in England - and the world. 

"The young guy...did it in his mother's basement. Any lone actor can make a powerful bomb," said Baillie following the terrorism incident. "We're in the midst of a general election where politicians talk about there being no political or cultural backlash."

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

"And estimated 300 people are 'ready to go' -  400 who have been fighting with Isis in Syria  -- and in a group of about 20,000 supporters," noted Baillie of the UK landscape, calling Manchester and acts like it the "terrorism of the mundane" -- and much more frightening than "spectacular" acts of terrorism. 

Baillie, who runs seminars on a wide range of security matters at King's and at the UK Joint Staff College, has lived or worked in more than 14 countries in the fields of news, security, finance, economics, business and politics and appears widely in international news media on terrorism and international security.

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Mark Geragos, Celebrity Attorney

Geragos is one of Hollywood's biggest celebrity lawyers having represented rapper Chris Brown and Michael Jackson over the years. When asked about his relationship with the often legal troubled Brown, Geragos said that the rapper is "like a son and an annuity" to him.

In reference to a lawsuit that he is representing Alex and Ani over, Geragos said, "For lack of a better word, we've got a couple of knuckleheads, [and] it's not at the forefront of anything we're worried about."

"Unfortunately when you become successful people want to take an elevator to the penthouse and that won't happen here, trust me," said Geragos.

Geragos explained how he met Alex and Ani CEO Carolyn Rafaelian - and spoke to how the "company culture" brought him in.

"I was at a charity event at Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard -- she was doing a fundraiser for an Armenian orphanage," said Geragos. "They have a unique blend of doing humanitarian work...Carolyn was the hit in New York this week."

Model, entrepreneur and activist Gisele Bündchen, co-anchor of Good Morning America Robin Roberts; and Rafaelian were among the women recognized Tuesday in New York City by the David Lynch Foundation (DLF), a global charitable organization that addresses the epidemic of trauma and toxic stress amongst at-risk populations.

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Amazing Regulars

Each week, GoLocal LIVE features an amazing group of experts in Rhode Island and Washington, D.C.

Robert Whitcomb, former Editorial Page Editor of the Providence Journal, now GoLocalProv columnist

Gary Sasse, "The Money Man," an expert on state and federal fiscal policy

Jennifer Lawless, Director of the Women & Politics Institute and Professor of Political Science at American University

Ray Rickman, Former State Representative, Deputy Secretary of State, and Civil Rights Leader

Kristin MacRae, Organizing Expert

Saul Kaplan, Business Innovation Expert

Robin Garceau, Interior Design Expert  

 
 

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