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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Every day he stalls, he makes things worse

There's still time -- and reason -- to invoke the 25th Amendment

By Dr. Bandy X. Lee, DC Report and James R. Merikangas

By Ann Telnaes, Washington Post
"What is the 25th Amendment for, if not designed for this exact reason?" is a question we have perpetually received regarding the current president. We finally sought to answer it at our Nov. 14 online town hall.

Indeed, since the announcement of election results, Donald Trump has refused to concede, has withheld critical information from the transition team, has fired and replaced top officials responsible for the nation's security, and has contemplated a catastrophic war with Iran

On top of this, he continues to ignore a surging pandemic that is now infecting almost 200,000 and killing 2000 Americans per day and collapsing medical systems he has refused to support.

Every hour of every day that he delays and disrupts a peaceful transfer of power, he is obstructing the critical preparations that are necessary for proper vaccine distribution and is risking a massive loss of lives. 

Could we have imagined, even a few months ago, keeping in charge a person who would kill a quarter-million Americans, and be poised to kill a half-million very soon? We already dubbed him "killer-in-chief," but the phrase almost fails to do justice to fully describe the magnitude of destruction he is inflicting on the nation and the world medically, politically, and mentally.

Yet this is exactly what was predicted. Since Donald Trump's election, mental health professionals have come forth in historically unprecedented ways to warn against entrusting the U.S. presidency to someone exhibiting dangerous mental impairments. 

Was it worth it?

For more cartoons by Keith Knight, CLICK HERE.


Sure would be nice


One out of four RI households don’t have enough food

RI Food Bank reports dramatic increase in food insecurity

By  Steve Ahlquist 

The Rhode Island Food Bank released their 2020 Status Report on Hunger in Rhode Island, and it contains dire, but not unexpected data.

“It’s shocking, but one in four households lack adequate food,” said Andrew Schiff, CEO of the Rhode Island Food Bank. “The rate of food insecurity was even higher – one in three for Black and Latinx households. They are also the ones suffering the most from coronavirus disease. Black Rhode Islanders and Latinx Rhode Islanders are over represented among Covid cases and hospitalizations.”

Among the reports findings:

90% accuracy in detecting melanoma

New non-invasive method

Kaunas University of Technology

A team of researchers from Kaunas University of Technology and Lithuanian University of Health Sciences proposed a non-invasive method for detection of melanoma. 

A patented computer-aided diagnostic system developed by Lithuanian scientists proved to be more than 90% accurate in detecting malignancy in diagnostic images of skin lesions acquired from 100 patients.

In Europe, melanoma is the fifth most common type of cancer and is the major cause of death from skin cancer. Northern Europe displays the largest age-standardised rate mortality of 3.8 per 10,000 in the region, with an incidence of 23.4.

Excision of a primary tumour remains essential in diagnosing melanoma, and the decision for the operation is generally based on the dermatoscopic evaluation of the lesion. 

However, the accuracy of melanoma clinical diagnosis is only at 65% and strongly relies on the experience of the physician-dermatologist carrying out the analysis.

Trump deserts work to stop the pandemic to go golfing

Trump skips G20 pandemic preparedness meeting as US Covid-19 cases surpass 12 million

By for Common Dreams

Donald Trump golfs at Trump National Golf Club on November 21, 2020 in Sterling, Virginia. Trumpdeclined to attend a meeting during the virtual G20 summit regarding the coronavirus pandemic, which is surging across the U.S., and went golfing instead. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

After briefly attending the virtual G20 summit from the White House's Situation Room on Saturday, Donald Trump skipped a meeting with other leaders of the world's 20 largest economies where the attendees discussed the coronavirus pandemic.

The "Pandemic Preparedness and Response" meeting included addresses by French President Emanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but no American government officials were listed as speakers. Both Macron and Merkel have been leaders in the global call for a coordinated international response to the coronavirus pandemic, with the French leader calling on Saturday for "solidarity" between countries.

As the U.S. allies prepared to discuss the financing of vaccine collaborations at the two-day G20 summit, Trump retreated to his golf club in Sterling, Virginia. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Enraging Deja Vu of a Third Coronavirus Wave

This new surge in COVID-19 didn't have to happen!
By Caroline Chen for ProPublica

By Matt DaviesNewsday
There’s a joke I’ve seen circulating online, over and over during this pandemic, that goes along the lines of, “Months this year: January, February, March, March, March, March, March…”

My lips pull into a smile, but my heart’s not in it.

I was on the phone two weeks ago with a nurse who lives in Missouri, where cases have risen from 1,100 per day in August to about 3,400 daily in November. 

Her husband works in the ER of a rural hospital. Every time a patient suspected of having COVID-19 walks in, the sample is sent to be tested in St. Louis, an hour and a half away. Results take eight hours or more to process.

Medical workers don’t get enough protective equipment. “They’re given one N95 mask and have to keep it in a bag to reuse for days,” the nurse said, fretting about her husband’s safety. “He should at least get a new mask for every shift, right?”

I looked at the calendar: It was Oct. 30, but it might as well have been March.

I could still hear the voice of another nurse, Sarah, in Illinois, who poured out her fears to me on March 2, when the coronavirus was just starting to make its presence known in her city.

Sarah told me she had been instructed to write her name on a brown paper bag and put her mask in it to reuse for the week. “There’s this feeling like, we’re just going to get it,” she told me, sounding more resigned than scared.

As a health reporter covering the pandemic, I’ve experienced too many moments of deja vu. This summer, as the virus swept through the South, news footage of overwhelmed hospitals in Houston turning away ambulances recalled similar scenes from March and April in New York City. 

The election that just won't end

For more cartoons by Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE.


Sad consequence of the election


Mystic resumes rescue program

Animal Rescue Program Reopens with Renewed Focus 

Hope this means a return of seal releases at Charlestown beaches
 (photo by Will Collette)

Mystic Aquarium officially resumed operation of its Animal Rescue Program this morning by safely welcoming back several program volunteers. 

With authority granted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Mystic Aquarium will resume its rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured and stranded marine animals along 1,000 miles of coastline throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island and Fishers Island, New York.  

Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program was shuttered in March 2020 as a result of the numerous public health restrictions imposed during Connecticut’s COVID-19 shutdown.  Financial hardship and other operational challenges also impacted the organization during shutdown and necessitated the program’s extended closure.   

Plans are in place to reopen the program with updated, COVID-specific safety protocols.    

New website shows you where to get really fresh seafood

DEM Announces New Website Feature Providing Access To Weekly Rhode Island Seafood Landings

The Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative, chaired by Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Director Janet Coit, announces the availability of a new feature on the website that provides weekly updates of all seafood landings in Rhode Island. 

This is the first time this information is being provided to consumers in a readily accessible, online format.

"We're excited to offer this new tool on the website so that Rhode Islanders can more easily find what's fresh and available, and where they can find it," said Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Director Janet Coit. 

"There is a strong demand for local seafood and we're fortunate that our commercial harvesters are able to meet that demand by harvesting and landing wide varieties and large quantities of fresh seafood every day at our ports. Rhode Islanders can take pride in knowing that when they purchase fresh local fish, shellfish, lobsters and crabs, they are not only getting delicious seafood, but also helping to keep a vital part of our economy – our commercial fishing and seafood industry – up and running."

The website was established several years ago by the Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative. The website provides consumers with information on Rhode Island seafood including what's available, where it can be purchased, how it's harvested, and how to cook and enjoy it. 

Trump lawyers admit there is NO EVIDENCE of election fraud

Why Trump's election fraud claims aren't showing up in his lawsuits challenging the results  Steven Mulroy, University of Memphis

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani alleges election fraud during a news
conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters,
Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington. Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo
There seems to be a real disconnect between the claims of widespread fraud, a stolen election and illegal voting made by President Donald Trump and his allies and the actual claims formally made by his lawyers in court.

Both Trump in his Twitter feed and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in her press conferences have made allegations of broad-based election fraud

But under questioning from judges in Arizona and Pennsylvania, Trump’s lawyers have backed away from actually asserting fraud. 

Despite Trump’s allegations to the contrary, his lawyers have acknowledged that they are not claiming that dead people voted or that occasional computer glitches were part of a deliberate conspiracy.

In one of several Pennsylvania cases, Trump attorneys actually signed a legal document in which they stated,

“Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any fraud in connection with the challenged ballots; Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any misconduct in connection with the challenged ballots; Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any impropriety in connection with the challenged ballots; Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any undue influence committed with respect to the challenged ballots.” Emphasis added.

The attorney backpedaling is not surprising.

It’s one thing to speculate via tweet, but quite another for an attorney, who is an officer of the court, to make representations to a judge. Trump’s lawyers are constrained in what they can assert by three major restrictions that apply to lawyers: professional ethics, rules of civil procedure and rules of evidence.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Cui Bono?

Who Wins from Trump’s Final Travesty?

By Robert Reich

By Michael de Adder
Leave it to Trump and his Republican allies to spend more energy fighting non-existent voter fraud than containing a virus that has killed 244,000 Americans and counting.

The cost of this misplaced attention is incalculable. While Covid-19 surges to record levels, there’s still no national strategy for equipment, stay at home orders, mask mandates or disaster relief.

The other cost is found in the millions of Trump voters who are being led to believe the election was stolen and who will be a hostile force for years to come – making it harder to do much of anything the nation needs, including actions to contain the virus.

Trump is continuing this charade because it pulls money into his newly formed political action committee and allows him to assume the mantle of presumed presidential candidate for 2024, whether he intends to run or merely keep himself the center of attention.

Leading Republicans like Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell are going along with it because donors are refilling GOP coffers.

The biggest beneficiaries are the party’s biggest patrons – the billionaire class, including the heads of the nation’s largest corporations and financial institutions, private-equity partnerships and hedge funds – whom a deeply divided nation serves by giving them unfettered access to the economy’s gains.

Carve 'em up

By Adam ZyglisThe Buffalo News


Contrast and compare