What’s In….What’s Out…


What’s in… What’s out…

What’s in… The Thanksgiving Holiday

The Thanksgiving holiday is still a Holiday where we can enjoy the togetherness of our families and loved ones without the pressure of gift giving and presents. It still remains a day of giving thanks for all we have and reflecting on those who have less. Family members travel far and near to be together on this Holiday to share the love, food and tribute to being here in America to enjoy it all!

What’s in… The Providence and Pawtucket Coat drives...

The Rhode Island “Buy Nothing Day Winter Coat Drive” took place on Black Friday this year. Greg Gerritt, a frequent social activist at the RI State House, has made this an annual tradition on the State House lawn every year. Coats are dropped off at key locations and at the State House where families can choose a warm coat to weather the winter cold.

The Pawtucket coat drive known as ” Warm Hearts Buy Nothing Coat Drive” is the brainstorm of Arthur Plitt, a Pawtucket humanitarian, who has orchestrated a successful coat giveaway at the Salvation Army in Pawtucket for many years.

Kudos to Gregg Gerritt and Arthur Plitt for their caring and timely efforts!

What’s in… The Newly Elected Women of the RI House of Representatives

Fresh out of the general elections this year are five new women elected to the RI House of Representatives, bringing the total to 23. Not equal numbers yet, but at least rising, though short of the number of 27 who served before the downsizing and redistricting of the RI General Assembly in the year 2000.

Susan Donovan, Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, Camille Vella-Wilkinson, Julie Casimiro, and Moira Walsh join a male dominated House. Congratulations and good luck as they add a much needed dimension to the House.

What’s out… Ray Gallison, John DeSimone, Jan Malik, and Tom Palangio

For one reason or another, these members of the RI House leadership are out of office as the General Assembly convenes in January. After years of being in office, they will be replaced by new Representatives this year. Let this be a lesson to all lawmakers that the people of this state are paying attention. As my grandpa used to say, “The people put you in, and they can put you out. You can never forget the people who elected you to represent them”. If only every elected official would remember who took them to the dance.

What’s out… The Fidel Castro Era

Fidel Castro may have died this weekend, but his torturous memories live on. The Cuban dictator ruled for five decades causing thousands of migrants to flee Cuba for a better life. This dictator will be most remembered for a near-catastrophic nuclear war with the United States.
After illness, Castro permanently handed over his rule to his brother, Raul Castro, in 2008. Many look forward to change in the Cuban government but with a Castro still in power, they wonder if things will be the same.

What’s out…The Old Lively Experiment Format

For those of us who regularly watch PBS’s “Lively Experiment”, it was refreshing to see Jim Hummel take the reins. Since Hummel is moderating the show, there has been a steady change of new faces on as panelists. This show is reflecting diversity in having women panelists, minority panelists, panelists of different economic and social backgrounds and
different party affiliations. Kudos to them for recognizing that Rhode Islanders want to see not only the wealthy or well-connected “who’s who” of Rhode Island but the average person, too. People are tired of turning on commentary shows and seeing the same panelists every week because they agree with the moderator. Hummel has shown this way of doing things is out.b


Trump’s Pick: Retired Lt.General Michael Flynn

IMG_2996.JPGPresident elect Donald Trump has chosen Rhode Island’s own retired Lt. General Michael Flynn to be his national security advisor.

If you are a political junkie like me, you might have seen that in Donald Trump’s speech election night that Flynn was one of the first people thanked by Trump for his support. It’s no secret that Flynn has taken issue with many current security policies and has been very vocal.

Michael Flynn is 57 years old and a native of Middletown, Rhode Island. He’s a graduate of The University of Rhode Island with a degree in management science.  His expertise is in military intelligence. Flynn has three graduate degrees which include: a masters in telecommunications from Golden Gate University; a master’s in military arts and sciences from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and a master’s in national security and strategic studies from the U.S.Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island as reported by Robert Burns, AP National Security Writer.

Clearly he has the experience and expertise to do the job. Now I say to all the naysayers “Don’t kill the messenger”. That’s right because I’m sure there will be people who will say something negative about me writing this. As I saw this announcement today I couldn’t help thinking.  What does this mean for Rhode Island? Could it be the beginning of something good for our state? Could Rhode Island finally get some national attention for the Newport Naval base and Quonset point?

I like many Rhode Islanders remember the loss of Quonset point in 1974 , as a Navy cutback, and the many jobs that were lost.  My dad, a Navy veteran was one of them. His heart was broken at the time and always called it a disservice to our state.

We as Rhode Islanders should be optimistic that Lt.General Michael Flynn, a hometown guy, was chosen for a key position in the Trump administration. Regardless of your party affiliation or presidential preference, you have to admit this is quite an honor and accomplishment for Flynn.

Our Congressional delegation needs to open their hearts and minds to working with this new administration for the betterment of Rhode Island and our country.  We all should accept no less from our elected officials. It’s time for elected officials to put aside partisan politics and do what they were elected to do, “Lead”. Lead by listening, working together and offering solutions to unite our country, not divide.

If there was ever  a time in history where we needed to be united, it is now. If the appointment of Flynn can help our state and our country, he needs to be supported by our Federal elected officials in the House of Representatives and Senate.

We as a people need this. We as a people deserve this.





Bleed for this Showcases Vinny Pazienza!

What a great night last night for former boxing champ, Vinny Pazienza! I was grateful to be invited to the premiere of the new movie “Bleed for this” at the Providence Place Mall  IMAX movie theatre. Congratulations to Vinny and Producer Chad Verdi on what promises to be a winner!img_2978

In a star studded event which featured the cast, extras, producers and The Who’s Who of Rhode Island, the audience was treated to what promises to be an award winning movie.  Miles Teller’s portrayal of Vinny Pazienza hit the nail right on the head, from his passion to his Rhode Island accent, it was flawless.  Aaron Eckart was equally outstanding playing Vinny’s trainer Kevin Rooney. Also, adding to the mix was the popular Kathy Segal who portrayed Vinny’s mom, the kind of mom we all grew up with as Italian Americans.  Not to be forgotten, was Ciaran Hands who played Angelo Pazienza, Vinny’s dad.

If you were a boxing fan during Vinny’s career, you certainly remember Vinny’s story.  But for those who are not Rhode Islanders or who are not familiar with the turbelelnt career of Vinny Pazienza, this movie is an eye opener.

It brings back memories for me of Vinny Paz’s great and colorful career.  I remember ” The Champ ” coming to the State House and signing autographed pictures for us when I was a State Representative.  He was so proud to be a Rhode Islander and so happy to represent Providence and Cranston nationwide. His love for his city, state and country was never a question as he rose to claim his national title from humble beginnings.

I and many of the audience cheered him on as his story was portrayed on the big scene. A story that tells of courage, stamina, stubbornness and love for the opportunity to be the best he could be at a cost to his own life

It was  a great night for Rhode Island last night and a great night for as Vinny says “little Vinny from Rhode Island” whose only wish was to be an inspiration for others.

We salute you Vinny Pazienza for reminding us never to give up! And you certainly proved that ” Bleed for this”  has a reason!

Joanne’s Journal: It’s almost over!

img_2969Do you have the Election blues? You might ask what are the Election blues? I have them and here is why.

This has been an outrageous election cycle.  I have never seen such negativity in my lifetime in any election cycle. People fighting with each other over the candidates, friends losing friends over political choices, fighting at rallies,  over the top negative flyers and advertisements, candidates defaming their opponent’s family members, disrespect for candidates by erecting nude statues throughout our country, and so much more of what you would call people behaving badly.

As if this is not enough, we have the media chomping into this like a juicy steak. They love it. The fight, the brawls, the negativity all makes news. And yes, we get to hear  the media choices for President and every other office in this country. I thought the press was suppose to be neutral and report the news, not editorialize it!  There are so many good news people in this country. But they have been overshadowed by a tabloid media who deals in sensationalism and dirt.  Is this the sign of things to come? Can candidates buy the media by placing advertisements in newspapers and on line publications? It seems so.

So what happens to the average citizen who wants to run for office with a bare bones budget.  She or He is quickly at a disadvantage against the establishment.  The mighty  establishment that people follow like sheep. The go along to get along set rules.  Their  power is unbelievable and certainly scary. The establishment has the power to control and protect the status quo.

We as Americans can change this. We have the right to voice our opinions, regardless of who likes it.. we have one thing that no one can stop and that is our right to vote.  Tomorrow is our day to say whether we like the staus quo or prefer change. It doesn’t matter what superstar or media expert tells you, it is your choice!

Make it count!