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RIO: Rhode Island Oddities

RIO: Rhode Island Oddities

Rhode Island is more a state of the mind than state of the Union.

The Christmas Tree in the rotunda of the state house died about a week ago. It made the New York Times. (Under our former Dolt of A Governor, Lincoln Chafee, this was called a “Holiday Tree” so as not to offend the 37 people who are offended by “Christmas” and who evidently attack people who say, “God Bless You” after they sneeze.)

Normally, a dead evergreen would involve the head of maintenance of someone of that stature, and a new tree would be obtained. What happened was that they either failed to water it or they didn’t make a cut in the trunk before watering it, meaning it couldn’t absorb the water.

But in Rhode Island, the governor, herself, Gina Raimondo, a very nice person and quite popular, has to make this decision. At first, she decided not to get a new tree (the trees are provided for free by a tree farm). But then there was a public outcry, the 37 aforementioned people had no further influence, and a new tree was procured, though smaller (the large ones were all gone).

We are now prepared for Christmas. Oh, yeah: A massive computer upgrade has denied thousands of people important disability and other needed payments, the speaker of the house is accused of denying support for a new baseball stadium while backing legal gambling operations, and a few of our former supreme court justices—and a governor—have spent jail time in the past.

The tree might have died from angst.


Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 2

  • Praveen Puri

    December 23, 2017

    Sounds like Illinois by the ocean!


    December 24, 2017

    I’ve lived a large part of my life in New Jersey, and I’m well acquainted with corruption and ineptness. But the trouble with Rhode Island and places like it is that there simply are not enough people to provide sufficient talent for all of its varied jurisdictions and functions. It ought to be like Singapore, a city/state, not like California or New York. (Well, no place should be like California.)

    There was a huge project here for a state motto (tourism is the #1 economic driver), an expensive firm and a new bureaucrat were hired, and it was a disaster, mocked by all and abandoned. The firm was sued, the bureaucrat fired before she found the rest room in the State House.

    My suggestion: “Rhode Island: Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.”

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