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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Better than Wal-Mart on Black Friday

RI Joins REI, America's State Parks To '#OptOutside' On Black Friday

Here are other places to walk off your Thanksgiving dinner
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is hosting a guided hike at George Washington Campground, in Glocester, on Friday, November 23. 

The one and a half-mile hike on the Angell Loop is part of the annual #OptOutside event sponsored by REI in partnership with the National Association of State Park Directors.

"DEM is excited to participate in the #OptOutside initiative and proud to host a hike at George Washington Campground," said DEM Director Janet Coit. 

"Rhode Island has an amazing selection of historic parks and recreation areas throughout the state where residents and visitors can connect with nature and get active. We are excited to welcome folks to explore George Washington and its gorgeous scenic landscape as part of this event. What a healthy way to spend Black Friday!"

Natural selection at work?

Major chickenpox outbreak hits anti-vaxxer town
Related imageA North Carolina town known as a stronghold of anti-vaccination activists is dealing with the largest outbreak of chickenpox in two decades.

According to the Washington Post, the Asheville Waldorf School in Asheville, NC has reported seeing 36 separate chickenpox infections this year, the highest number the school has ever seen since the chickenpox vaccine first became available in the United States in 1995.

Asheville is home to many families who claim religious exemptions from vaccinating their children, the Post reports, and it cites Centers for Disease Control statistics showing that “the percentage of children under two years old who haven’t received any vaccinations has quadrupled since 2001.”

Monday, November 19, 2018

Trump Hates the American Public — Here's How He Reveals His Disdain

He has a billionaire's antipathy for the general good.
By Jim Hightower /

Image result for trump quote on AmericansDonald Trump hates you. But don't take it personally, he hates me, too -- and all of us who constitute The Public

The billionaire's antipathy is not directed at us as individuals, but as users of publicly provided services -- such as schools, parks, health care, buses, collective bargaining, libraries and environmental protections. 

From his privileged perspective, all of that is welfare, nothing but an expensive waste that puts burdensome taxes and annoying regulatory constraints on the entrepreneurial creative class, i.e., him. 

Moreover, as he's made clear, it galls him that the American people as a whole own such a wealth of shared assets, benefits and programs. He sees no need for them, apparently unaware that the great majority of people clearly do need, use -- and want -- more of them!

But being The Donald has always meant not caring (or even noticing) what common folks want or need. 

As we've witnessed again and again, his presidential policies (incarcerating terrified refugee toddlers, pushing a trillion-dollar tax giveaway for the superrich, etc.) routinely reject the public interest and the people's will. 

Instead, they're based on his narcissistic desires, personal biases, insecurities and assorted right-wing furies screeching inside his head.

Daring Donald

Happy Thanksgiving from the RI Community Food Bank

A healthy Thanksgiving recipe for you.
Gentleman visits food pantry.
2018 Status Report:
Food Inflation Adds to Food Insecurity
Many Rhode Islanders are reaping the benefits from economic prosperity and increased employment opportunities yet low-income families are still struggling to make ends meet. In our latest Status Report on Hunger, learn how rising food costs far exceed advances in wages, leading to food insecurity for many of our neighbors in need.
Learn More

Learn More


Our Holiday Open House is a free, family-friendly event.
Holiday Open House:
Saturday, December 8, 9 am to Noon
Join us for the Food Bank’s annual Holiday Open House on Saturday, December 8 from 9:00 am to noon. This free, family-friendly event will include Food Bank tours, nutrition education demos and recipe samples, live music and holiday refreshments. Attendees are encouraged to bring donations of food or funds to help our neighbors in need during the holiday season and winter ahead.
Join Us

This Sage Sweet Potatoes with Walnuts recipe was created by our Heatlhy Habits nutrition team.
Thanksgiving Side Dish:
Sage Sweet Potatoes with Walnuts
As a small token of our appreciation for your generosity towards those in need, here’s a special recipe created by our Healthy Habits nutrition education team. Healthy Habits empowers food pantry clients to make smarter, healthier choices.
Enjoy This Recipe

Read More


© 2018 Rhode Island Community Food Bank
200 Niantic Avenue
Providence, RI 02907
Phone: (401) 942‑MEAL (6325)

Trout fishing and Thanksgiving

DEM Stocking Local Waters with Trout for Thanksgiving Week
summer coming GIFThe Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will be stocking 2,000 hatchery-raised trout in four ponds across Rhode Island next week in advance of Thanksgiving weekend – a popular time for recreational fishing.

"I hope anglers of all ages will take time on Thanksgiving weekend to reconnect with the outdoors and head out to a favorite fishing spot to reel in these beautiful brook, brown and rainbow trout," said DEM Director Janet Coit. 

"Fishing is a time-honored Rhode Island tradition and a wonderful way to create memories with family and friends, especially during the holiday season."

Dietary fat is good? Dietary fat is bad?

Coming to consensus
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Which is better, a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet or a high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet -- or is it the type of fat that matters? In a new paper featured on the cover of Science magazine's special issue on nutrition, researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston Children's Hospital, and colleagues with diverse expertise and perspectives on the issues laid out the case for each position and came to a consensus and a future research agenda.

The researchers agreed that no specific fat to carbohydrate ratio is best for everyone, and that an overall high-quality diet that is low in sugar and refined grains will help most people maintain a healthy weight and low chronic disease risk.

"This is a model for how we can transcend the diet wars," said lead author David Ludwig, professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School and a physician at Boston Children's Hospital. 

"Our goal was to assemble a team with different areas of expertise and contrasting views, and to identify areas of agreement without glossing over differences."

Now what?

OK, now that Democrats won big in the House, can they go bold, too?
By Sam Pizzigati | November 14, 2018
For more cartoons by Ted Rall, CLICK HERE
Tony Maxwell, a retired African-American naval officer, was trying to get his Jacksonville, Florida neighbor to go vote with him. The young neighbor, a high-school-dropout, had no interest.

“Voting,” the young man declared, “doesn’t change anything.”

Can Democrats use their newly won House majority to reach that dispirited young man in Jacksonville? 

That all depends on their eagerness to think big and bold — and to challenge the concentrated wealth and power that keeps things from changing.

Of course, big and bold new legislation will be next to impossible to enact with a Republican Senate and White House. But just pushing for this legislation — holding hearings, encouraging rallies, taking floor votes — could move us in a positive direction and send the message that meaningful change can happen.

This sort of aggressive and progressive pushing would, to be sure, represent a major break with the Democratic Party’s recent past. The reforms Democrats in Congress have championed have often been overly complicated and cautious — and deeply compromised by a fear of annoying deep-pocketed donors.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Battle stations! Thanksgiving is coming!

Looking forward to fighting with your relatives?
Related imageThe weather has turned cool and crisp (or so I’ve heard… I’m in California, where it’s hot out and everything’s on fire). We’ve entered the time of year when soon we’ll get together with our loved ones, share a traditional holiday meal, and bicker over politics.

There are two major fallacies that prevent Americans on both sides of the political aisle from understanding one another.

The first is the assumption: “If you knew what I knew, you would believe what I believe.”

I hear this on both sides: If the other side just knew what we knew. If they knew the planet was warming, if they knew about all the plastic in the Pacific Ocean, if they knew we’ve been working hard for decades and still haven’t gotten ahead…

Often a debate will focus on adjudicating the facts. What percentage of scientists believes in human-caused catastrophic climate change? Or what are the scientific arguments for and against genetically engineered crops?

The problem is that the debate, at its core, is often not over facts. The two sides have different values and different identities. Our values and our political positions tie us to the groups we identify with.

For one thing, our differing values will lead us to different positions no matter what the facts are.


For more cartoons by Ted Rall, CLICK HERE.

VIDEO: The next Crash

 To watch this video on YouTube:

Ragweed May Expand Its Range Northward with Climate Change

UMass Amherst, University of Washington predictive model suggests surge in weed

Image result for ragweedA new predictive model developed by an ecologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a climate scientist at the University of Washington suggests that climate change may allow common ragweed to extend its growing range northward and into major northeast metro areas, worsening conditions for millions of people with hay fever and asthma.

Plant ecologist Kristina Stinson at UMass Amherst, who leads a research team that has been studying this plant for over a decade – particularly how it responds to elevated CO2 levels – worked with climate modeler and corresponding author Michael Case at UW on this project. Details appear online in the journal PLOS One.

They point out that though the weed is expected to expand its range, this could be moderated by the plant’s own sensitivity to climate variability. 

For example, they note that in their analysis, ragweed is negatively correlated to very low or very high annual precipitation variability, “indicating a general sensitivity to precipitation extremes” as well as temperature extremes, the authors note. 

Stinson adds that this could turn out to be an important uncertainty; “if the Northeast turns more wet and cool, it would be less hospitable to ragweed,” she says.

Tailored weight loss approach is best

Study finds that in treating obesity, one size does not fit all
cat dieting GIFUnderstanding the very different characteristics of subgroups of obese patients may hold the key to devising more effective treatments and interventions, new research from Brown University found.

Analyzing data from more than 2,400 obese patients who underwent bariatric weight-loss surgery, researchers identified at least four different patient subgroups that diverge significantly in eating behaviors and rate of diabetes, as well as weight loss in three years after surgery.

“There probably isn’t one magic bullet for obesity — if there is a magic bullet, it’s going to be different for different groups of people,” said Alison Field, chair of the department of epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health and lead author of the paper. 

If this doesn't get Trump's attention, nothing will

Climate change damaging male fertility
University of East Anglia

Related imageClimate change could pose a threat to male fertility -- according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

New findings published today in the journal Nature Communications reveal that heatwaves damage sperm in insects -- with negative impacts for fertility across generations.

The research team say that male infertility during heatwaves could help to explain why climate change is having such an impact on species populations, including climate-related extinctions in recent years.

Research group leader Prof Matt Gage said: "We know that biodiversity is suffering under climate change, but the specific causes and sensitivities are hard to pin down.

"We've shown in this work that sperm function is an especially sensitive trait when the environment heats up, and in a model system representing a huge amount of global biodiversity.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The fight goes on

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

 A growing movement of young activists is pushing action on climate change and gun safety. (Sunrise Movement)
A growing movement of young activists is pushing action
on climate change and gun safety. (Sunrise Movement)
The election is over but the activism continues, at least for the growing progressive environmental movement.

Energized by popular political newcomers such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, students from the environmental activist group Sunrise Movement recently staged a sit-in outside the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

The protesters want quick progress on the “Green New Deal” and an end to political contributions from fossil-fuel companies. 

What is the Green New Deal? Like the original New Deal that led the country out of the Great Depression, the green successor is a government-led, nationwide, job-creating economic transformation of the energy system to address climate change. 

The job-works programs are intended to produce equitable incomes, improve the economy, and address climate change.