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Whitcomb: Superman Teardown? CT’s Tough Gun Laws Seem to Work; Puppy Parties


And Connecticut has a registry of weapon offenders and a universal ... I think it’s great news that two real estate powerhouses, Gilbane Development and Paolino Properties, have been diligently working to find a path towards that goal.


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  I confess to never having had much affection for the Superman Building’s exteriorIts limestone facing is crumbly and dirty and the top of the structure looks like an incineratorThe beautiful part is inside, in the palatial former public banking area on the first floorWouldn’t it be nice to save that and put the modern, glassy skyscraper over it?   And office dwellers these days like a lot of natural light, which means big windows.   Rendering of Hasbro corporate HQ concept   xxx   Republican congressional leaders are talking about taking on “entitlements reform’’ next year, which sounds like cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social SecurityThere’s no doubt that demography will ultimately force major changes in these programs, lest they consume the entire federal budgetBut if you thought the tax battle was ferocious….   xxx   After a lunatic young gunman murdered 20 first graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., in 2012, Nutmeg State legislators in  2013 broadened the definition of “assault rifle’’ and the sale of gun magazines that can hold more than 10 roundsState law also requires a permit to buy any gun or ammunitionAnd Connecticut has a registry of weapon offenders and a universal background check system.   Ron Piniciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, told WNPR that the state had 53 homicides with guns in 2016, way down from the 92 before the new law took effect But then, southern New England has long had among the lowest gun-death rates in America.   Interestingly, reports WNPR, gun sales are still rising in the stateBut Mike Lawlor, Connecticut’s undersecretary for criminal-justice policy and planning, says the rigorous permitting process keeps down the violence.   There have been variants of the Connecticut legislation promoted in Congress but as long as the National Rifle Association, which acts as chief lobbyist for the gun-manufacturing industry, holds sway there, don’t expect anythingPolls suggest that most Americans want tougher gun laws, but that counts for little on Capitol Hill!   Gun-control advocates lack the lobbying and campaign-contribution money of the weapons industry and, whatever the opinion polls show, gun lovers vote more intensely than do gun-control folksAnd the gun lobby and its servants in Congress and the White House are far more politically ruthless than are gun-control peopleFor that matter, on a range of issues from health care to taxes to the environment, the majority of the public seems to favor slightly left-of-center positions, if national opinion polls mean muchBut they vote at considerably lower percentages than do people on the rightThey get the government they deserve.   To read a WNPR story on this, please hit  this link:     xxx   Governmental micro-management/social engineering can get pretty silly and intrusiveConsider the Colorado case heard the other week by the U.SSupreme CourtIn this case, Jack Phillips, the owner of a bakery called Masterpiece Cakeshop, refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple on the grounds that to do so would violate his Christian beliefs,  the expression of which is protected under the First AmendmentThe state took him to court for allegedly violating the gay couple’s legal rights.   I hope that the Supremes rule in MrPhillips’s favorIt seems to me that someone running a tiny business should have the right to refuse to sell something to some whose behavior he opposesFurther, for government officials to intervene in such micro-relationships dilutes their authority and effectivenessAnd there are plenty of bakers who would be happy to sell a wedding cake to anyone Money usually trumps (so to speak) religion in America(For that matter, religion can be very lucrative.) The Colorado officials should pick their battles more carefully.   This isn’t like an African-American being denied service because of his race.   We might also remember just how recent gay marriages areThirty years ago, the idea that gay marriage would be the law of the land would have seemed preposterous to most AmericansMany people are still getting used to the idea, an idea that’s a good thing.   xxx   Connecticut state troopers are ingenious in laying in wait for speeding drivers on Route 95They park between trees before lunging toward speeders.   xxx     That there’s increasing competition to establish wind-power facilities south of New England shows the increasing cost-efficiency of wind turbines and the growing awareness of the need to reduce fossil-fuel consumption.   So there now are three companies vying to build wind farms off the southern Massachusetts coast – Bay State Wind, Vineyard Wind and Deepwater Wind (which has already put up a small wind farm east of Block Island, after much opposition from some wealthy summer people).   The whole area is superb for wind powerThat’s because of relatively shallow water in which to put the structures and lots of wind year round, as well as proximity to a densely populated area dangerously dependent on natural gas from outside the region to generate electricityFurther, New England is a famously difficult place in which to put any power plant; NIMBYIsm reigns(One reason our electricity costs are so high.) Thus offshore wind farms are more attractive than ones on land, albeit more expensive to erect and maintainThere’s another attraction: The supports for the turbines attract fish.   xxx   Flickr:Kinjeng Submiter Bill Nemitz, a very good columnist for the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, had a good piece the other day about the tendency to coddle college students at some campuses;  the young people are considered all-so-fragileHe cited a “campus puppy party’’ at the University of Maine at Farmington that used seven golden retriever puppies (criminally cute!) at the student center as part of administrators’ efforts to help students deal with the anxiety associated with final exams and papers.   Meanwhile at Yale, MrNemitz reports, students can “actually check out dogs from both the medical and law libraries because, as one librarian explained to the student newspaper {the Yale Daily News}, ‘For a lot of students, it’s their first time away from home and they do miss their home comfort – families, pets.’’’   All this cosseting, which includes a proliferation of highly paid assistant deans to address a panoply of students’ emotional, psychiatric and sociological worries,  and some luxurious spa-like services, has, of course, helped make college ever more expensive (another cause of anxiety!).   The students will find the world after they leave college remarkably unsympathetic.  How to prepare for that? As MrNeimitz writes: “Rather than agreeing with hand-wringing undergrads that life is indeed a tough journey and they’d best get about navigating it, we’re validating their ‘suffering’ with adorable little bundles of bliss.’’   To read MrNemitz’s column, please hit this link:   From the Yale Whiffenpoof song:   We're poor little lambs who have lost our way Baa, baa, baa We're little black sheep who have gone astray Baa, baa, baa Gentleman songsters off on a spree Doomed from here to eternity Lord have mercy on such as we Baa, baa, baa   xxx   As I’ve written, there are far too many variables to confidently make a prediction on the economy, other than what goes up will go down and vice versaBut we can see the major forces behind the current global expansion – years of loose Federal Reserve Board monetary policy; record corporate profits; very fast growth in many nations, most dramatically in China and India, with annualized  gross domestic product growth in those two nations at well over 6.5 percent, and in some “emerging economies,’’ and a strengthening European Union after its Greek, Spanish and other crisesOf course,  the economies of developing nations will tend to grow faster than those of already developed nations: They have much further up to go!   Meanwhile, America’s GDP seems to be growing at a tad over 3 percent at the momentThat could be raised, or maintained, if more attention were paid to raising low-and-middle-income wages to increase purchasing powerBut there’s little in current and planned government policies to suggest that this will happen.   In any event, beware of predictions of continued growthHerbert Hoover said in 1928, when he ran for president and was elected in a landslide: “The outlook of the world today is for the greatest era of commercial expansion in historyThe rest of the world will become better customers.” We know what happened in the fall of 1929Stock prices and corporate profits are very high now. Desmond Lachman, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has a good cautionary column on our current bubbleTo read it, please hit this link:   xxx   Congressional Republicans and Trump have denounced the top “statutory’’ corporate-income tax rate of 35 percent and plan to cut it to a tad over 20 percentBut when you figure in all their credits and deductions companies pay on average 18.6 percent; some pay nothing – the tax code is, if nothing else, remarkably plastic in the hands of good tax lawyers. I wonder what the average will look like after the GOP tax bill is enacted10 percent? And so with a flood of retiring Baby Boomers, decayed infrastructure,  swelling national debt and intensifying security challenges abroad we’re gonna slash tax ratesThat means we’ll have to boost them big time in a few years to pay for the party.   xxx   The Republic of Shade: New England and the American Elm, by Thomas Campanella, a city planner, is a fascinating look at how elm trees were planted and nurtured in American towns and cities to bring together nature and human systemsThey have great height,  their crowns have a wide fountain shape, and their leaves are small, which lets through a lot of sunlight to dapple the ground belowSo wide are their crowns that long rows of elms on both sides of a street create a Gothic cathedral effectNo wonder that there are so many Elm Streets in New England and in the Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest states. The author says that Charles Dickens was very enthusiastic about elms when he visited New Haven, “Elm City,’’ in 1842Dickens wrote that the trees “bring about a sort of compromise between town and country.’’ Sadly, Dutch Elm disease killed most of these beautiful trees in the 20th CenturyBut forestry experts have been developing more disease-resistant elms in the past few yearsWe’re hoping that these elegant trees can make a big comeback and again grace many streets, parks and commons. My strongest memory of them is from the mid-50s, when Memorial Day marchers in uniform walked at generally stately paces below their new leavesMost of those trees were gone in the next decade. To hear MrCampanella discuss his book, please hit this link:    xxx   “Winter arrived with December, and the world continued to suffer the loss of the Internet and most forms of communicationSupply chains were disruptedThe only mass form of personal communication was the letter, and postal workers were having their worst year ever, as they were actually neededFood was becoming scarcer and more expensive, as was fuel for vehicles and heatingMajor cities experienced riots on a regular basis, spurred on by religious fervor and wantCivilization was on the brink of collapse.”  ― Mark ARayner, in The Fridgularity "); //]]>-->   var ad = '; var ad_url = '/ad-zone/17/300/250/news/whitcomb-superman-teardown-conn.s-tough-gun-laws-seem-to-work-puppy-parties'; $(document).ready(function(){ $('#slideshow .slide_info').each(function(i){ var charLimit = 1000; var adInserted = false; var numChars = 0; if ($('iframe.slideshow-ad', this).length charLimit && !adInserted) { $(this).after(ad); adInserted = true; } }); if (!adInserted) { $(this).append(ad); adInserted = true; } } $('iframe.slideshow-ad', this).each(function(a){ $(this).data('views', 0); }); }); $('#slideshow .slides').cycle({ fx: 'turnDown', speed: 'fast', timeout: 0, pager: '#nav_slideshow ul', next: '.slideshow_next', prev: '.slideshow_prev', // callback fn that creates a thumbnail to use as pager anchor pagerAnchorBuilder: function(idx, slide) { // return selector string for existing anchor return '#nav_slideshow li:eq(' + idx + ') a'; }, before: function(curEl, nextEl, opts, fwdFlg) { $(nextEl).addClass('has-ad-call'); var slideshowAd = $('iframe.slideshow-ad', nextEl).first(); var views = parseInt(slideshowAd.data('views')); //console.log('Views before: '+views); if (views > 0) { slideshowAd.attr('src', slideshowAd.attr('src')); //console.log('Ad refreshed') } else { slideshowAd.attr('src', ad_url); } slideshowAd.data('views', ++views); //console.log('Views: '+slideshowAd.data('views')); }, after: function(curEl, nextEl, opts, fwdFlg) { var title_slug = location.pathname + '/slide/' + convertToSlug($(nextEl).find('h2:first').text()); title_slug = title_slug.replace('#', ').replace(/\/+/g, '/'); //ga('send', 'pageview'); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview', title_slug]); } }); }); function convertToSlug(txt) { return txt.toLowerCase().replace(/[^\w ]+/g,').replace(/ +/g,'-'); } Related Slideshow: Leaders and Experts React To Hasbro Tower Proposal and Demolition of Superman Building Prev Next Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello This space is very important to the continued growth and development of the economy in our state and city.  I always appreciate economic development proposals, and should this one advance further, I look forward to reviewing and analyzing it closely. Prev Next Will Morgan, Leading Architectural Critic The proposed 36-story glass box for Hasbro on the site of the Industrial Trust Building is a terrible idea on so many levels. As is all too typical in contemporary Providence, this idea is only about Property Development–only about dollars, square footage, trashing history for a quick profitWhere is the discussion of architecture, of inspired city planning, of encouraging innovative design, of enriching the city’s spirit? Imagination is also lacking in the assumption that the so-called Superman Building cannot be savedWhat a tired litany! Too many cities have lost major landmarks that defined them because they lacked the will and the imagination to take on the challenge of rehabilitating an outstanding work of architectureWe can no longer call ourselves the “Creative Capital” if we are unwilling to expend the creative capital to save that treasure. If Providence really wants to attract people and companies, then it needs to ditch its tired let’s-build-it-and-aesthetics-and-good-planning-be-damned philosophyA truly smart city would see that rehabilitating the Industrial Trust and combining it with first-rate design is not only possible but to be expected. Prev Next Senate President Dominick Ruggerio I welcome news of this potential major investment in downtown Providence, and look forward to learning more about the proposal. Prev Next Bradley PDorman, Managing Partner, WhaleRock Point Partners, LLC We would be 100% behind the Hasbro dealIt would reinvigorate the downtown community so I am all for itGreat for RI!!   . Prev Next U.SSenate Candidate Bob Flanders I think this would be an exciting development for Providence and the state if this were to happenThe Superman building is irreversibly outdated and, given the impractical high cost of trying to modernize such a structure, it needs to be demolished, in my opinionIf this project were to proceed, then it would convert what is now a white elephant into a modern facility housing one of RI's iconic businessesMore importantly, it would catalyze further development and business activity in Providence's downtown area, reversing a long slide and lamentable hollowing out of our central commercial district. Prev Next David Brussat, Architectural Critic Paolino’s proposal makes perfect sense in the context of Providence’s recent development historyThe policy of the current and recent mayors seems to be this: Tear down everything that represents the city’s venerable brand and replace it with anything that can be relied upon to weaken its brand. Hey! Sounds like a plan! This plan has a pedigree that reaches back to the Vietnam War: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” For those shaking their heads in wonder, yes, Providence has already traveled down that roadThe Downtown Providence 1970 Plan, announced in 1960, proposed demolishing the city’s beauty and replacing it with uglinessPure urban removalFortunately, only Cathedral Square and Westminster Mall were builtThe former, though the brainchild of modernist icon I.MPei, remains dead spaceAs for the latter, Paolino himself deserves a lot of credit, as mayor in the 1980s, for removing the failed pedestrian mall, which was just as ugly as Cathedral Square, and replacing it with a street that can sit alongside many of Europe’s finest for beauty and civility.   Prev Next House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan, Candidate for Governor I love the fact that we have preserved so many of the architectural treasures of our state’s historyIt makes our cities unique, beautiful and livableSo it’s not easy to say, tear down the old Industrial Trust BuildingRhode Islanders have good memories of the “Superman Building’ in its glory daysFilled with workers, it was an economic engine for our stateIts beacon proclaimed its financial clout across the horizonSadly, it has been empty for 4 years now, and instead of delivering economic vitality, it is a drag on downtown ProvidenceMy understanding is, that the interior, designed 90 years ago, is no longer conducive to the work environments that are needed by today’s companiesIt would be extraordinarily expense to renovate the building to today’s standards. Having Hasbro fill the void would be a strong stimulus for a beleaguered downtown district and the commerce it spurs in the area just from being filled again with employees and visitors would undoubtedly lead to additional jobs in the surrounding areaI think it’s great news that two real estate powerhouses, Gilbane Development and Paolino Properties, have been diligently working to find a path towards that goalAnd that other developers are also interestedWhether they restore the existing building, which given the challenges seems unlikely, or demolish it and build a new building, it can only be a positive improvement for ProvidenceI am thankful that Hasbro’s commitment to Rhode Island is so strongIt really is commendable.   Prev Next Providence Preservation Society Whether the Industrial Trust Building has monetary value *may* be up for debate, but it is undeniable that it is among the most valuable buildings in Downtown Providence for MANY other reasons, among them embodied energy, craftsmanship, high quality materials, architectural beauty and interest, etcLet's get Hasbro to build in downtown Providence, but let's use some of the parking lots that we have so many of...and build parking into the buildingThat's what cities do when they improveNot tear down iconsWe call on Jorge Elorza and Gina Raimondo to help find a suitable place for Hasbro in our Downtown.   Prev Next Saul Kaplan, Founder and Chief Catalyst of Business Innovation Factory I like the sound of Hasbro TowerDon’t look now, but Rhode Island may be starting to believe in itself! A new Hasbro headquarters downtown is a game changer which will help transform Rhode Island’s skyline and economyIt’s wonderful to see local companies like Hasbro and CVS Health playing offense and positioned as the innovators reshaping their industries.  Prev Next Aaron Renn, Urbanist at the Manhattan Institute The Superman Building is clearly a challenging situation for ProvidenceBut it's also a signature historic structure that can never be recreated if lostHistoric architecture is part of what gives Providence its unique characterGiven the availability of other sites for any Hasbro HQ, it's not clear why demolition is a card the city needs to playI would prefer to see the Superman building mothballed until redevelopment makes sense, though I recognize that there may be limits to what can be done to save it.   Prev Next Bob Burke, Owner of Pot Au Feu Restaurant Let’s play a little Monopoly - Downtown Providence Edition. As a lover of our iconic architecture, it would be great to see the new building built on the parking lot site where 110 Westminster was going to be builtThe engineering work worth millions has been done and millions in demo cost tearing down Superman would be saved.  Superman would then be viable as a micro residence site for workers attracted by the creative power of Hasbro - that’s a win-win-win. Monopoly Downtown - it’s all about landing on the right spot.     Prev Next Ray Rickman, Founder of Stages of Freedom That building is a symbol of Providence -- in spite of all its problems, it's enormously elegant, it's the skyline.  I'm slow to think it should come down. Having said that, I saw the rendering (which remember are usually 50% better than how they'll look), it looks glamorous, and would create a whole new skylineSometimes you have to move forward.  So at first blush I'm opposed, but if it's not going to cost the public -- and it's truly a private development -- and it could be, this isn't being done on spec -- I'm not opposed to considering it.    Prev Next       Related Articles GoLocalTV: RI Leaders Make Case for Saving Superman Building Superman Developer Asking for Tens of Millions in Subsidies Again Senate Republicans Oppose Rehab of Superman Building Using Taxpayer Funds Public Tours of Superman Scheduled to Build Support - UPDATED Bob Whitcomb’s Digital Diary: Superman Building, Mike Pence and Hillary EXCLUSIVE: Citizens Bank Looking at Superman Building for Corporate Headquarters PODCAST: Citizens Bank Looking at Superman Building for Corporate Headquarters New Proposal: Ten of Millions of Taxpayer Funds for Superman Bldg Can Providence Survive More Apartments in Superman Building? NEW: Block Calls Superman Deal “Kryptonite” for RI Superman Building Has Zero Value, Appraisal Shows Take a Tour of the Superman Building If PayPal Comes to RI, Superman Building Not Likely UPDATED: Plan to Build Hasbro Headquarters in Providence—Demo Superman Building EXCLUSIVE: Hasbro Looking at Superman Building to Create Providence Campus Restaurateur Burke: Build Hasbro HQ Across Street from Superman RI Leaders and Experts React To Hasbro Tower Proposal and Demolition of Superman Building Could the Superman Building Be Imploded to Make Way for Hasbro HQ? Commerce’s Pryor Announces Program Expansion, Talks 195, Superman, and PawSox Robert Whitcomb’s Digital Diary: Greedy-Boomer Bathos and Last Chance Superman High Wire Act: Women Investigate Superman Building New Round of Superman Building Tour Dates Announced Will 3 Towers on 195 Land Kill Superman Building’s Future for Residential? What is the Status of Superman Building? Bill Fischer Updates GoLocal LIVE Whitcomb on Superman Potential, Boston Herald Bankruptcy on LIVE Robert Whitcomb: CVS Race Day Paralysis; Vote at the Same Time; Burns’s Vietnam Take Robert Whitcomb: Low Rating for Cybersecurity; Low Wages and Benny’s Demise Robert Whitcomb: Raimondo’s Correct Veto; NFL Kneeling Distraction; Losing NE’s Forrest Media Experts Preston & Whitcomb Weigh In on Raimondo’s Media Battle Robert Whitcomb: A Failure to Communicate, NRA, Green International Airport, and More Robert Whitcomb: Amazonian Ocean State? Immigration Ambiguities; Block Island Police Logs Robert Whitcomb: Rebuilding & Rebuilding; Calling ERISA; Bailey’s Beach Bathos; Great Books Robert Whitcomb: Korean Quandary; Politicians Trying to Do the Right Thing; ‘Passive Housing’ Robert Whitcomb: Worcester Wouldn’t Well for PawSox; Taxing Away the Little Guys? Racial Fire Robert Whitcomb: Electrifying Issues; Demagogue’s Delight; Did Cyberattacks Cause Collisions? Whitcomb - Did Magazine Industry Cover Up Weinstein to Protect AdvRevenue? Robert Whitcomb: ‘All-Electric’ Future; Worcester Better Run? Genocidal Columbus? Another Religious Whitcomb: Providence as Hotel Heaven? Cape Wind Is Dead; ‘Handicapped Parking’ Crackdown Whitcomb: Holiday Horrors; Break Up Facebook, Google, too; New Use for Brayton Point? Friday on LIVE: Musician Taylor, Nutritionist Mulligan & Columnist Whitcomb LIVE: Whitcomb on Al Franken’s Demise, StJoseph’s Pension Debacle, and More Whitcomb: CVS-Aetna; Pedestrian Bridge; Pour in More Pollution? O Jerusalem Whitcomb: Taxing Your Enemies; Planting Trees Together; Thanks for No Thanksgiving Whitcomb: All Bow to Amazon; Mainers Want More Medicaid; Money Underwater; Perfectly Awful Penthouse Robert Whitcomb: Memorial’s Inevitable Closing; Wexford Will Work; Poor Pay Taxes Whitcomb: Cities Should Seek ‘Organic’ Development; Lethally Drug-Peddling; Pit Bulls Whitcomb: Private Commuter Trains; Go, Giovanni, Go! We’ll Take Menhaden; The Next Recession   Enjoy this post? Share it with others. Email to a friend Permalink   -->   --> -->   --> --> --> --> -->       Sign Up for the Daily Eblast I want to follow on Twitter I want to Like on Facebook $(function() { $("#endpage-box").endpage_box({ animation: "flyInRight", from: "8%", to: "110%" }); }); X Stay Connected — FreeDaily Email Sign Up for the Daily Eblast I want to follow on Twitter I want to Like on Facebook   Home News Politics Sports Business Real Estate Weather Health Lifestyle About Us Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Advertise With Us Contact Us

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