March 28, 2008

The Damage of Cheap Political Points

Justin Katz

Providence Journal photographer Kathy Borchers (and her editor) lobbed a softball out there to accompany Steve Peoples's predictable coverage of the other night's State House events (PDF), and Matt Jerzyk hammered it into the ground:

In one corner we have MEN IN SUITS who are longtime advocates for lowering taxes on the richest millionaires and corporate tycoons at the expense of health care and child care!

In the other corner we have WOMEN & CHILDREN who desperately want to save a program that helps poor kids have equal opportunities for early childhood development.

What's irksome about such unimaginative political gamesmanship is how oblivious the speakers generally are of the consequences of their own rhetoric. To adopt the metaphor, disadvantaged children would be much better off if their own fathers were, themselves, to become "MEN IN SUITS" — responsible, hard-working citizens. (And it isn't at all unlikely that some of the pictured women are married to "MEN IN SUITS," thus enabling their participation in a midday rally.) Jerzyk has contributed to the hackneyed cliché vilifying such men, who are never portrayed with the dignity of standing up for the survival of their businesses (and the families, both their own and employees', thereby supported), but always as scraping with greedy fingers at the world's good deeds. Their efforts to decrease public handouts are never treated as if there's any counterbalance from their efforts to increase general prosperity such that others can earn what is not given.

The aggregate image thereby created provides a powerful rationalization for those eager to chase their natural libidicism down the path that leads away from their familial responsibilities. No less are women given license not to join the forces of supposed commercial evil or to encourage men toward it. Sadly, righteous leftward purity can often come at the taxpayer's expense.

When one considers that Jerzyk titled his post not "Men v. Women & Kids," but "Daddy v. Mommy & the Kids," his boilerplate propagandizing moves from troublesome to despicable. Hesitance to question whether progressive family-destructive efforts are deliberate begins to evaporate when the professional (MEN IN SUITS) advocates drive such wedges into the culture.

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This is why conservatives get no respect, and why this blog will always be treated like bottom feeders.

I hope your proud Justin. The racist and sexist comments aside, to allow your readers to go after the kids of your political opponents crosses a line that even Ed Achorn wouldn't cross. Once again, you show that you are nothing but mean spirited talk. Your blog isn't about politics, it is about passing judgment on people.

Posted by: Pat Crowley at March 28, 2008 7:41 AM


The bottomfeeders are you immoral libs. You talk the double talk out of both sides of your mouth as you live the very lives you condemn in others.
Where is the 'progressives' legislation to reforming those horrible urban schools that contribute so greatly to the neverending cycle of poverty and despair among your
V-O-T-I-N-G B-A-S-E Ducka$$? Oh I forgot it's all about the kids and the poor with you libs isn't it? Yup it's about keeping those kids poor for the rest of their lives. Uneducated and dependent on government servies = Democrat votes in November.
Oh how you care! Immoral hypocrites!!
Now get back to your superficial bulletin board that laughably calls itself a blog = RIDemise. lol

Posted by: Tim at March 28, 2008 7:58 AM

I agree with Pat (God help me) that Tim's comments are disturbing and have no place on this blog. A crackdown on etiquette unfortunately seems required.

Pat, I hope you'll encourage Matt to do the same at his blog. Comments by WOW and others are just as angry and disturbing. Let's not pass judgment (yes, you do it too) without making sure our own house is in order.

A final question Pat (no, not the question you refuse to answer). Is assuming all the women are "mommies" sexist? Are no women bread-winning professionals?

Posted by: mikeinRI at March 28, 2008 8:04 AM


What is wrong with my comments about Jerzyk? Didn't use bad language and made no untrue accusations or assertions. So what did I say that was wrong or incorrect? Jerzyk himself has publicly promoted (snip) on RIDemise. Jerzyk points the finger of condemnation at others yet he's immune? Think not! Sadly this wimpish limpwrist approach of yours is typical of the RI right and why the Ducky Crowley's always succeed in this state over the MikeinRI's. They play hardball. You worry about etiquette. lol Such a sad yet very true to life representation of the way the game really is played here in Rhody between right and left. It's why the left always wins. What is this a noon tea? Grow a pair MikeinRI!

Posted by: Tim at March 28, 2008 8:49 AM

You know, Jon, if Jerzyk wants to play hardball with misleading pictures to disparage certain groups, he really should be ready to get whacked right back in the head.
If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at March 28, 2008 10:13 AM

The one aspect of Jerzyk's family that may be a legitimate discussion point is simply this-did he attend Brown,where he was a prime mover in the "living wage" program on family money generated by "non-living wages"?That would be an indication of hypocrisy.Or his law school tuition for that matter. (snip) Jerzyk gives us enough ammo with his own behavior and his Stalin-era propaganda machine to show him up for the manipulating elitist marxist that he is. (snip)
That being said,duck suit,charley"pigpen" bakst,jerzyk,steven brown,and their whole gang can indulge themselves with mutual mental masturbation all they want-just witness the 94% approval of the Governor's initiative on illegal aliens by WJAR viewers in the online poll.I think they know they're going to lose on that,taxes,and a lot else.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 28, 2008 10:21 AM

If crowley himself was really concerned about kids he wouldn’t advocate the “job actions” by teachers that hurt the children (and are intentionally mean spirited) and he wouldn’t advocate for teacher pay that is so expensive that the school districts then have to cut student programs like trees losing their leaves in the Fall. What a hypocrite.

Few in this state have earned the total lack of respect of the informed that crowley has with his lies, shameful policies, duck suit, and “finger pointing”. It’s laughable that the one person who, more than anyone else around here, has lost the respect of others tries to throw HIS well earned label at everyone else. Again, what a hypocrite.

Tim is right on the mark with his comments. How is the truth “hate speech”? Wake up Mikeinri, real harm is being done to our state and to our children, politely, by these idiots, I mean liberals.

Posted by: Frank at March 28, 2008 10:38 AM

Mike Cappelli-check out the Providence Urinal today-they also do some photoshopping-they show steven brown and some other lowlife scum with pouty faces-apparently half the room was filled with suppporters of the new procedures,but the rag newspaper wouldn't show that

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 28, 2008 10:54 AM

Sounds like a few folks woke up on the wrong side of the crypt this morning.
Did Matt engage in a little hyperbole? Yes, he did. But as we all know, conservatives NEVER engage in hyperbole, riiiiiiiight?

Posted by: rhody at March 28, 2008 11:11 AM

Thanks for the post, Justin. I was actually planning to do one on the same thing myself (I may still).

The thing I noticed right away was the obvious bias by the Providence Journal, in not only of "who" was in the respective photos -- a few middle-aged white guys in suits vs. lots of presumable moms with colorful signs, etc. -- but also, that there was the obvious difference in the size and placement of the photographs, with the one with the women being at least 2 to 3 times larger.

I've often been amazed on how liberals and conservatives can see the same thing, but come to completely opposite results. Matt's certainly right in the the Projo has an agenda, just not about what kind of agenda they have.

It so happens that I was with the men in the suits (in the photo) earlier in the afternoon, and I known for fact that that although several are involved in business, none of them by most ways you'd define it could be considered "rich." They all work extremely hard for what they have. There's certainly nothing wrong with wanting to keep what you've earned. there were plenty of women there from the chambers of commerce and the real estate industry, but I guess using a photo of them wouldn't have conveyed the same "message", right?


Posted by: Will at March 28, 2008 12:08 PM

...But I could be wrong. ;)

"1) The blog has strict and written rules about personal attacks on our blog and we are governed by community standards."

Then why don't you enforce them? I guess that depends on what the definition of "rules" is, right?

PS Justin doesn't sit by his computer 24/7 looking at the posts (unlike some people). He works hard all day. Most of the comments are accepted automatically. Usually, if he finds something offensive or non-germane, he removes it quickly.

Posted by: Will at March 28, 2008 12:14 PM

Will -

I don't even know who the frick you are and why you feel the need to know so much about me (like Mike, Greg, Tim, etc..), but anyway.

1) I am married.

2) The RIFuture rules are enforced. When people bring comments to my attention that are personal attacks, hate-filled, etc..., they are evaulated and taken down. Otherwise, if a comment gets a rating of "0" from a certain number of people, the comment is automatically deleted. This is community "self-regulation."

3) I don't sit by my computer 24 hours a day either. I have a job. I am a full time law student. I have a family. That is - in fact - why we implemented our rules and our self-regulation policies.

Posted by: Matt Jerzyk at March 28, 2008 12:25 PM

Nothing like personal attacks to ruin a perfectly good argument, or discussion depending on how you see things. Anybody who logs onto Anchor Rising with any regularity know whose comments to ignore, those just stopping by must be horrified by the "conservative" voice heard here.

I have seen the enemy, and it is us.

Posted by: michael at March 28, 2008 12:29 PM

Any site where Pat Crowley is a regular contributor has no right complaining about "Hate speech". Nobody hates children more than Pat and the RI NEA.

Posted by: Greg at March 28, 2008 12:34 PM

I was going to suggest we stay on topic and wander away from the miasma of personal attacks, but has this thread ever been on topic?
Anybody who feels sure their personal life can withstand the Zapruderization Matt's has received here, please stand up.
I don't see anybody standing...come on, folks, don't be so shy now.

Posted by: rhody at March 28, 2008 12:46 PM

Matt's chosen to be a public figure. Dem's the breaks.

Posted by: Greg at March 28, 2008 12:52 PM


You may not know me, but you know my work (even if you don't know I'm the one doing it). I'm into researching different things for certain people.

The reason why I mentioned that I thought you were married was because I thought I had recalled reading about it at some point in the past on your blog (from what I remember of a photo that you had posted, you did surprisingly well).

Fortunately, with the advent of RSS feeds, visiting RIF is no longer something that I have to torment myself by doing with any regularity. That being said, I don't think Matt's family (e.g. wife/gf and child) should be in the conversation, unless it is truly germane to the discussion, which I don't think it is. There might be different standards for other family members, but that would be a judgment call. This particular post did rabbit-trail considerably from it's original topic.

It's nice that you have rules for your commenters, but how enforcing some for your writers? While it's certainly possible that you may not be a hater, certain individuals who write for you seem to make a quite a living of it.

PS On the topic of self-regulation, that reminds me a little bit of what YouTube or Wikipedia and other similar sites do. While it certainly makes your life as a site administrator easier, it does often lead to minority viewpoints being effectively censored by the majority. How ironic.

Posted by: Will at March 28, 2008 5:44 PM

"Daddy v. Mommy & the Kids"

Childish. Nasty. And a complete mis-characterization of the hearing. Over a hundred people signed up to "testify" at this hearing. It's a safe bet that there was not even one instance of a father and mother on opposite sides of this bill.

Further, as Will pointed out, just because someone is in a suit does not mean they are rich. And the angle that rich people are evil and live only to grind their heel into the face of the poor and, therefore, deserve to be vilified is not only wrong but has gotten real boring.

Posted by: Monique at March 28, 2008 6:02 PM

This is exactly while I no longer read here much and, apart from this comment will never post here again.

Matt's "suits vs. mommies" post was not particularly clever, interesting, or appropriate. But attacking a person about (snip)? That's just shameful and it's certainly un-Christian.

Conservatives once had a reputation for at least being respectful and respectable. That's clearly gone on Anchor Rising.

Shame on you, Mike. And shame on you Justin, Monique et. al. for not speaking up against it.

Posted by: chalkdust at March 28, 2008 7:48 PM

I believe that in the war of ideas there have to be people willing to get up to their elbows in the blood of their enemies.

Posted by: Greg at March 28, 2008 8:14 PM

and I believe, Greg, that you're simply not able to distinguish between being a intellectual warrior and being an jackass.

Posted by: chalkdust at March 28, 2008 9:19 PM

and I believe that the comments section on Anchor Rising is in real danger of becoming extinct, and that is a shame.

Posted by: michael at March 28, 2008 9:26 PM

Apparently, Mike does not like Matt. ;)

Anyway, it would be nice to stick to discussing ideology, issues, and politics, etc. After all, this is a public policy discussion blog, not a reality TV show.

While it's always possible that certain commenters may migrate to other places, one thing about the Internet is that there's always someone else with a viewpoint to share. I'm not so worried about anything here going extinct, but rather with taking the focus off of substantive issues that affect Rhode Islanders. Our state is going to hell in a hand basket, and frankly, Matt's living arrangement doesn't impact one way or another my or anyone else's ability to live and work in Rhode Island (I'm presuming for the moment that he's not an illegal alien). ;)

Posted by: Will at March 28, 2008 9:55 PM

I left this out of my subsequent post because I'm hoping to extract worthwhile points from those that are best let die, and I'm late to commenting, here, because I've simply been non-stop with life today.

The whole thing's exhausting.

But to the bottom line: I do not believe that noting Jerzyk's past actions — and the results thereof — is beyond the pale. But Tim's comments clearly go beyond that. (snip) The rest, as I endeavor to explain in the subsequent post, is fodder for legitimate judgment of the speaker, however little it adds to the discussion

Frankly, I find much of what's been said immature and heated to the point of impropriety. I let it stand, just as I let similar comments from the other side stand, because the authors put it out there and ought to be engaged (or not) on those grounds. That had been done, in this thread, before I'd had the opportunity to comment, and I don't consider myself (or believe others to consider me) a paternal authority in this space.

But inasmuch as our side will have to be maximally beyond reproach in the coming fight, I will move to cease our end of the mirror image of viciousness if we can't agree to sufficiently high standards.

Posted by: Justin Katz at March 29, 2008 12:03 AM


As a former contributor here and as someone who has know Matt for a number of years, I'm saddened by much of the comments in this thread.

In a different thread Justin, I noted that I wanted to take the conversation out of a thread and move towards, a cup of coffee. I am a firm believer that some things are better done over the phone/in person versus lobs on the internet. Because.....We write these words and often times are irresponsible with them. I know I have been a few times before. And often, things are taken out of context, not communicated the way we meant them, etc.

But in all honesty, who do Tim's comments hurt. Matt? Justin? AR? RI Future? No. They hurt a young man who might read this thread and wonder why he was tossed about in some political retort.

And in my opinion that's totally wrong and knowing the AR contributors, unlike Pat's commentary, i'm sure they believe the same.

No one's perfect, but each side needs to begin to have a dialogue and not simply lob bombs towards one another.

That solves absolutely nothing.

We're grown ups here folks.

Posted by: don roach at March 29, 2008 2:27 AM

Tim, by all means, expose the hypocrisy. I only learned of Matt's family wealth by reading it here. And be angry. The right in this state needs to be more angry. However, becoming too nasty only gives others the opportunity to dismiss you as a crackpot, and all you say as irrelevant.

Posted by: mikeinRI at March 29, 2008 9:19 AM

This thread has made me think of something-who would patronize Taco Bell anyway?Half of what they serve looks like it came out of someone's rectum.Considering the e coli problems they've had,maybe it did.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 29, 2008 10:12 AM

Tom W,

I'd love to respond but I promised Justin I'd live a good clean Christian life on his blog from now on. Please see my good buddy Mike for any further inquiries on the slimey hypocrisy of Ms. Jerzyk.


Taco Bell? Not McDonalds or Wendy's? Taco Bell? Careful there buddy. Someone just might call you a racist or a xenophobe or a hater of spiced ground beef or a .......


Believe me I've been called alot worse. lol
However your point is well taken.

Posted by: Tim at March 29, 2008 5:11 PM

Tim-just about any fast food trans fat palace qualifies.If you pay people crap,treat them like crap,give them crap benefits while your spoiled child goes to Brown,it is no surprise that crap can end up in the food.Being 62 years old,I had the great gift from God to grow up with a wonderful East European grandma who cooked every variety of animal byproduct and no one ever got heartburn,let alone sick.I'm talking about chicken feet,brains,calf's foot,beef intestine,etc-just like the Chinese (and other Asians)do-it was old time common sense and hygienic food handling that did it-and old time customs such as salting food before preparation.BTW the people in my family who ate that stuff lived to REAL old ages-my mom is 95 and barely slows down except for climbing stairs.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 29, 2008 5:37 PM


No need for an explanation. Was just having some fun with you given the mentally retarded liberal PC state we live in. Gotta tell you though Joe that when I read your posts I hear that great radio voice of yours. Seriously I do! lol Love your calls man. You know your stuff on immigration. Between you and Terry Gorman the general public is very well informed with hard and true facts on the issue of illegals.

Posted by: Tim at March 29, 2008 6:35 PM

Thanks Tim-Terry deserves a lot more credit,because after all it was my job to know this stuff-Terry took the time to learn it all on his own and form a grass roots organization to articulate the problem,and he did so in the public interest-not to enrich himself or run for office.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 30, 2008 8:48 AM
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