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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Mob Rule at the White House

“You got a problem with that?

Related imageI blame Tony Soprano.

As entertaining and compelling as the “The Sopranos” was back in the day—and I certainly count myself among its fans—by so successfully humanizing a thug and his henchmen in organized crime, I can’t help but wonder if the TV series, and other shows and movies like it, may have helped contribute to an atmosphere in which a man like Donald Trump not only can be elected and then allowed to treat the presidency like a Mafia clubhouse, but even be admired for it.

And yes, that was an 86-word sentence. I can hear Tony growling, You got a problem with that?

In his controversial new book, "A Higher Loyalty," fired FBI director James Comey, who has come under a relentless hail of Twitter fire from @realDonaldTrump, describes the president as “unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values,” and while Tony Soprano certainly was, too, I confess the comparison may be unfair. To Tony.

Tony Soprano is a far more well-rounded and better written character than Trump, and at least sufficiently self-aware to have once said to his consigliere Silvio, “All due respect, you got no @#%^&* idea what it’s like to be Number One. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other @#%^&* thing. It’s too much to deal with almost. And in the end, you’re completely alone with it.”

Although Trump may realize the truth of this more and more, arrogance and hubris would never allow him to say it out loud.

What is it?

The progressive web comic about Paul Ryan resigning.

Democratic witch hunt

Pic of the Moment

New solution to harmful algal blooms

Raises hope of economic and environmental benefits

A cheap, safe and effective method of dealing with harmful algal blooms is on the verge of being introduced following successful field and lab tests.  

Moves to adopt use of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) as an effective treatment against toxic algae are already underway following the results of new research by a team from the John Innes Centre and the University of East Anglia (UEA.)  

Successful trials last summer showed that H2Owas effective against the golden algae, Prymnesium parvum. This is responsible for millions of fish kills worldwide each year and a threat to the £550m economy of the Broads National Park where trials are taking place.  

Now follow up lab tests have demonstrated that controlled doses of the versatile chemical compound could be even more effective in dealing with cyanobacteria commonly known as blue green algae - a major public health hazard and potentially fatal to dogs and livestock.  

Coca-Cola’s “war” with the public health community

An inside look at Coca-Cola's manipulation masquerading as science

In 2016, I obtained, via a public records request, an internal memorandum of The Coca-Cola Company proposing to launch a new scientific organization called the Global Energy Balance Network.

The premise for the network was to promote the idea that exercise, much more than dietary change, is the solution to the global obesity epidemic.

The organization collapsed after it was exposed as a front group by The New York Times and the Associated Press. But Coke's memo on the group lives on as worthy of attention and study.

My colleagues and I recently wrote about it for the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, presenting Coca-Cola's unvarnished thoughts on the "public health community" and how to deal with issues surrounding obesity and responsibility for this public health crisis.

There is much for citizens and public health professionals to learn from the Coke memo as it lays bare how the company aims to control the conversation over public policy and consumer choices pertaining to obesity.

Trump, The President, Isn’t Such A Great Businessman

‘The One Thing He Brought to the Job as an Advantage Is Unraveling’
By Terry H. Schwadron, DCReport New York Editor

trump GIFIn electing an avowed billionaire businessman as president, a deal-maker devoted to creating more American jobs, Americans could have believed that they had at least one basically sound principle to pursue with Donald Trump.

Whatever else Trump did that might disrupt, act out through provocative tweet, even flip off American tradition, custom and values, he would be rock solid on looking after job creation.

How are we doing?

A year in, we’re on the verge of a huge trade war with China and others—though administration officials either were taking pains to say otherwise or saying, yes, a trade war is warranted,  the vaunted gains in stock market value were teetering, new job creation is starting to dwindle, and lots of companies are still laying people off. 

The claimed economic gains of a corporate tax cut have delivered benefits to the wealthy class, but the gains elsewhere are now openly being questioned, as the rising prices for imported goods through tariff policies will eat up any personal tax gains.

Meanwhile, housing starts are down, job training lags and the president is choosing older manufacturing and mining goals over preparing for a future competition with artificial intelligence and non-fossil fuel energy sources.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


By FRANK CARINI/ecoRI News staff

 To make room for the 12.2-megawatt Gold Meadow Farms solar array in Cranston some 60 acres were clear-cut and rock was blasted. About 80,000 cubic yards of material was removed from the Lippitt Avenue site to accommodate the project’s 60,000 solar panels. (Seminole Financial Services)
To make room for the 12.2-megawatt Gold Meadow Farms solar array in Cranston some 60 acres were clear-cut and rock was blasted. About 80,000 cubic yards of material was removed from the Lippitt Avenue site to accommodate the project’s 60,000 solar panels. (Seminole Financial Services)

Both climate solutions are identified as “green” — in fact, one literally is — but the Mother Nature-created one is being destroyed to make room for the manmade one.

Some proponents of the latter say chunks of the former need to be sacrificed if society is to kick its dirty fossil-fuel habitat. Their well-intentioned argument goes something like this: we can’t say no to everything and we need renewable energy.

While renewable energy is a must, it shouldn’t be given carte blanche to be sited anywhere and everywhere. If that’s the development practice Rhode Island embraces, environmental degradation will continue. Public health will suffer.

Rhode Island could lead the way, and the best place to start would be to stop bulldozing trees, covering open space and marginalizing farmland in the name of green energy. 

This effort would require some universal sacrifice, diversified leadership, a touch of political will, National Grid mapping Rhode Island’s grid capacity, accounting that includes environmental and public-health costs, plenty of carrots, and at least one stick (disincentivize).

Hillary did it

Bring on the clowns

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

Mystic Aquarium celebrates Earth Day over four days

Plenty of activities for all

Image result for mystic aquarium earth dayEveryone likes a party! Kicking off with Celebrate Sound Spirit and culminating with an Earth Day celebration, Mystic Aquarium is proud to host a party with a purpose-“Party for the Planet”-on April 19-22, 2018.

“At Mystic Aquarium, we can’t limit the celebration to just one day,” said MaryEllen Mateleska, Director of Conservation and Education. “We have four days where children and families can take action in protection of our environment!”

Over the four-day observance, Mystic Aquarium educators, Youth Conservation Corps and other local student volunteers and organizations will lead hands-on activities that highlight unique habitats and conservation issues affecting ecosystems locally and around the world, and most importantly, what can be done to help protect the planet.  

When you got trouble, get a lawyer

Instant death

Just one high-fat meal sets the perfect stage for heart disease
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

Animated GIF fat, monty python, gross, exploding, john cleese, headlikeanorange, technoninjacus, meaning of life, terry jones, fat guy, exploding, A single high-fat milkshake, with a fat and calorie content similar to some enticing restaurant fare, can quickly transform our healthy red blood cells into small, spiky cells that wreak havoc inside our blood vessels and help set the perfect stage for cardiovascular disease, scientists report.

Just four hours after consuming a milkshake made with whole milk, heavy whipping cream and ice cream, healthy young men also had blood vessels less able to relax and an immune response similar to one provoked by an infection, the team of Medical College of Georgia scientists report in the journal Laboratory Investigation.

While the dramatic, unhealthy shift was likely temporary in these healthy individuals, the scientists say there is a definite cumulative toll from this type of eating, and that their study could help explain isolated reports of death and/or heart attack right after eating a super-high fat meal.

Sen. Whitehouse letter details illegal conduct by EPA chief

Two new letters paint a disturbing picture of Pruitt's EPA.

Image result for Sheldon Whitehouse and Pruitt
Sen. Whitehouse details Pruitt's ties to industries he is supposed to regulate
Two letters sent by top Democratic senators and representatives to President Donald Trump and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt reveal new information about the administrator’s questionable travel habits and what prompted him to fire former deputy chief of staff Kevin Chmielewski.

Chmielewski, a lifelong Republican and former Trump aide, was placed on administrative leave in February by Pruitt. Chmielewski told Democratic senators and representatives he believes he was “marginalized, removed from his senior position and placed on administrative leave” for speaking up about Pruitt’s “inappropriate and unethical spending.”

The two letters provide fresh insight into the way Pruitt treated those around him, including top political appointees, who questioned his extravagant use of taxpayer dollars.

The letters to Trump and Pruitt were signed by Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Reps. Elijah Commings (D-MD), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), and Don Beyer (D-VA). In one, they state that their conversation with Chmielewski “painted an extremely troubling picture of wasteful spending, unethical behavior, and improper retaliation against EPA staff.”

Monday, April 16, 2018

The lunatic running the asylum

The petulant adolescent in the White House – who has replaced most of the adults around him with raging sycophants and has demoted his chief of staff, John Kelly, to lapdog – lacks adequate supervision.  

Before, he was merely petty and vindictive. He’d tweet nasty things about people he wanted to humiliate, like former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Now his vindictiveness has turned cruel. 

After smearing FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe with unfounded allegations that he lied to investigators, the new Trump made sure McCabe was fired just days before he would have been eligible for a pension after more than twenty-one years of service.

View image on Twitter
Even Chief of Staff John Kelly (end of the table) couldn't help but
express his frustration with Trump - this photo was contained in
a Trump tweet that was DELETED when someone noticed the shot
Before, he was merely xenophobic. He’d call Mexicans murderers and rapists.

Now his xenophobia has turned belligerent. He’s sending thousands of National Guard troops to the Mexican border, even though illegal border crossings are at a record low.

And he’s starting a trade war against China. 

China has been expropriating American intellectual property for years. But Trump isn’t even trying to negotiate a way out of this jam or build a coalition of other trading partners to pressure China. He’s just upping the ante – and, not incidentally, causing the stock market to go nuts.

But the most dangerous thing about the new Trump is his increased attacks on American democracy itself.

Fox says it, Trump does it

For more cartoons from Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE.