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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Trump's world

Behold, the worldview of the incoming Trump Administration and its accolytes, as seen through this parody of a legendary magazine cover illustration.
For more cartoons by Ted Rall, CLICK HERE

The list

Here is the list of everyone Trump has attacked since Election Day:

And here's one conspicuous absence from the list....

Newly discovered moth species named for Trump.

Discoverer hopes new moth’s stardom will encourage conservation efforts. Lots of luck with that

Image result for N. donaldtrumpi
In case you're confused, that's the newly discovered
Neopalpa donaldtrumpi moth on the left, and its namesake on the right
Days before Donald J. Trump steps forward on the Inaugural platform in Washington to assume the role of the 45th President of the United States of America, evolutionary biologist and systematist Dr. Vazrick Nazari named a new species in his honour.

The author, whose publication can be found in the open access journal ZooKeys, hopes that the fame around the new moth will successfully point to the critical need for further conservation efforts for fragile areas such as the habitat of the new species.

While going through material borrowed from the Bohart Museum of EntomologyUniversity of California, Davis, Dr. Vazrick Nazari stumbled across a few specimens that did not match any previously known species.

Following thorough analysis of these moths, as well as material from other institutions, the scientist confirmed he had discovered the second species of a genus of twirler moths.

While both species in the genus share a habitat, stretching across the states of California, USA, and Baja California, Mexico, one can easily tell them apart.

The new moth, officially described as Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, stands out with yellowish-white scales present on the head in adults. In fact, it was in these scales that the author found an amusing reference to Mr. Trump's hairstyle and turned it into an additional justification for its name.

EDITOR'S NOTE: this newly discovered moth is not the same as the poisonous “flannel moth caterpillar” or “megalopygidae” found in the Amazon. Image of that remarkable critter at the end of this article. - W. Collette

MARCH: Saturday in DC and in Rhode Island and elsewhere

This poster was created by URI graduate Narya Marcille of North Smithfield. To read more about her, CLICK HERE

The Rhode Island Women’s Solidarity Rally will be held Saturday, Jan. 21 at 1 pm – 3 pm on the South Lawn of the RI State House in Providence

America wants to know: Where are Trump’s Tax returns

Actually Mr. Trump, Turns Out Americans 'Care a Lot' About Your Tax Returns

Related image
Among the questions: how much is he really worth,
to whom does he owe money, what is the true extent
of his business holdings, does he give as much to
charity as he claims? And did he pay any taxes at all?
President-elect Donald Trump has claimed that the American people "don't care at all" about whether he releases his tax returns. Turns out, he was wrong.

In fact, new ABC News/Washington Post polling data released on Monday shows that 74 percent of all Americans, including 49 percent of his own supporters, say he should release his tax returns.

What's more, the number of people curious about Trump's finances has risen since he's been elected. 

"In May, 64 percent said he should release the returns, and in September, 63 percent said he was not justified in withholding them," ABC News reports.

Last week, the incoming president held a news conference during which he announced that he would not divest his holdings in his business empire and stood by his refusal to release his tax documents.

"You know, the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, OK? They're the only ones," he said, in response to a question from a journalist.

"You don't think the American public is concerned about it?" the reporter followed up, according to CNN.

"No, I don't think so. I won. And became president," Trump said. "No, I don't think they care at all. I don't think they care at all. I think you care."

As it happens, a full 41 percent of Americans went so far as to say they "care a lot" about Trump releasing the records.

A solution that lacks a problem

At his turbulent January 11 news event (I won’t dignify it by calling it a news conference), Trump reiterated that he will build a wall along the Mexican border. “It’s not a fence. It’s a wall,” he said, and “Mexico will pay for the wall.”

Here are 6 reasons why Trump’s wall is an even dumber idea than most of his others.

1. The U.S.-Mexican border is already well defended, and a wall won’t improve the defenses. 

The United States now spends $3.7 billion per year to keep some 21,000 Border Patrol agents on guard and another $3.2 billion on 23,000 inspectors at ports of entry along the border, a third of which is already  walled or fenced off.

2.  The cost of Trump’s fence would be a whopping $25 billion on top of this. 

That’s the best estimate I’ve seen by a Washington Post fact checker. (When Trump discussed the cost last February he put it at $8 billion, then a few weeks later upped the cost to $10 to 12 billion. )

3.  There’s no way Mexico will pay for it.

On January 11, Mexican President Enrique Peña assured Mexicans they would not be footing the bill. “It is evident that we have some differences with the new government of the United States,” he said, “like the topic of the wall, that Mexico of course will not pay.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

VIDEO: The case against Trump’s pick for Education Secretary

Image result for betsy devosRandi Weingarten, president of the  AFT, gave the following speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on January 9:

Eight years ago, I spoke at the Press Club as the newly elected AFT President. At that time, President Obama was inheriting the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. America was losing 750,000 jobs a month. 

President-elect Trump will inherit a different economy, one that has added an average of 200,000 jobs every month for a record 75 straight months. While we still have a long way to go to combat social and economic inequality—and to address the effects of deindustrialization, globalization and automation, it’s wrong not to acknowledge the real progress of the last eight years.

Today we face a very different crisis. Voters have lost confidence in our institutions, and that confidence is lowered still by the distorted reality created by fake news. Our country is intensely polarized. And for the second time this century, more Americans – nearly 3 million more, in the case of Secretary Clinton—voted for a candidate who will not be their president.

So what can we do to address, head on, the deep anger and distrust so many Americans feel?

I believe–

...whether one wants a less polarized environment…
…whether one wants a skilled workforce and more middle class jobs…
…whether one wants pluralism and democracy…
…whether one wants diversity and tolerance…
…or whether one just wants children to thrive and be joyful…

—the answer always starts with a powerful, purposeful public education.

Getting to the bottom of it

For more cartoons by Ruben Bolling, CLICK HERE

Trump gets briefed

For more cartoons by Matt Bors, CLICK HERE

The wealth of just eight men equals that of half of all

And they wonder, “Is that all?”

Image result for eight richest men in the worldThe private jets of the world's wealthiest men and women are swarming the Swiss Alps for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF), which begins Monday in Davos, Switzerland, in the midst of an ongoing global inequality crisis.

And that crisis is accelerating, according to a new Oxfam report released Monday: today, only eight men own the same amount of wealth as the 3.6 billion people who comprise the poorest half of humanity. Those eight men are Bill Gates, Amancio Ortega, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim Helu, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg.

The report, An Economy for the 99% (pdf), observes that "[f]ar from trickling down, income and wealth are being sucked upwards at an alarming rate."

Whaddya mean, French fries aren’t Mediterranean?

University of California - Riverside

More than two in three adults in the United States are considered overweight or obese, with substantial biomedical and clinical evidence suggesting that chronic overconsumption of a "western diet" -- foods consisting high levels of sugars and fats -- is a major cause of this epidemic.

New research by scientists at the University of California, Riverside now shows that chronic consumption of a western diet leads to overeating and obesity due to elevations in "peripheral endocannabinoid signaling."

Corporate misconduct may very well decline under Trump since it might be legalized

Corporate Crime and the Trump Administration
By Phil Mattera for the Dirt Diggers Digest

Related imageWith all that’s happening in the chaotic Trump transition, less attention is being paid to the announcement that Volkswagen is pleading guilty to felony charges and paying more than $4 billion in penalties while a half dozen of its executives face individual criminal indictments.

A development of this sort should represent a turning point in the prosecutorial handling of the corporate crime wave that has afflicted the United States for years. 

Yet because of its timing, it may end up being no more than a parting gesture of an administration that has struggled for eight years to find an effective way of dealing with widespread and persistent misconduct by large companies. 

And it may be followed by a weakening of enforcement in a new administration led by a president whose attacks on regulation were a hallmark of his electoral campaign.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Interesting perspective on the car tax debate

By James Kennedy, transportprovidence

Image result for Tom Gentz & porsche
Poster child for the unfairness of car tax valuations: Charletown
Town Council ex-Boss Tom Gentz behind the wheel of one of THREE vintage
Porsche convertibles. 
Assessed tax value: ZERO. Tax paid by Gentz: ZERO.
I don’t agree with eliminating the car tax, but if it’s going to be done, are there ways for progressive legislators to use the process to better advantage?

I’ve come up with some bargaining chips that I think should be in the progressive line-up while dealing with the car tax.

Just briefly. . .

Some poor people and lower middle class people struggle mightily with the car tax, my own household being one of those. However, the car tax is paid on a per vehicle basis and according to vehicle value.

That means that a household with three new Mercedes has a lot more to gain from eliminating the car tax than a household with a junker.

A household that doesn’t drive has nothing to gain from eliminating the car tax at all, and we know that non-driving households are disproportionately poor.

A better alternative to target low- and middle-income households would be an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

But it’s unlikely that many legislators will abandon their promises to get rid of the car tax easily.
I’ve lobbied my own representative, Aaron Regunberg, who I think is one of the most honorable and thoughtful people in the State House. He disagrees with me.

So, if we can’t win on the core issue, what are the ways that progressive legislators could use the car tax fight to get a better deal for all Rhode Islanders? Here are some of my thoughts.

On this, Dr. Martin Luther King Day...

Image may contain: 2 people, meme and text

Historical Society announces January 21 annual meeting


Museum & Schoolhouse   

January, 2017
2:00 PM

Learn about a Charlestown resident who fought in what has been described as "one of the bravest acts of the Civil War."  Discover the exploits of Medal of Honor recipient Charles D. Ennis and his battery of unarmed Rhode Island artillerymen.

Joining us in our presentation will be members of Battery B, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, a group of reenactors dedicated to educating the public about Rhode Island's history of excellence in the military science of artillery.  They will arrive in uniform and give a presentation on the life of a Civil War Artilleryman.

We will also ring in the new year with updates on CHS activities during 2016, the annual election of our Board of Directors and our plans for 2017.

Light refreshments will be served.

Charles D. Ennis
Battery B - 1st RI Light Artillery

The Perry Gristmill (Moonstone Beach Road directly off Rt. 1) will be holding a winter grinding on Sunday, January 22nd, at 2:00 PM.  Come join in the festivities and enjoy some jonnycakes while you watch this 300 year-old mill come to life.  CHS is proud to have many of our members active in the running and maintenance of the mill as they preserve a bit of South County's past.


Charlestown Historical Society

Charlestown Historical Society, P.O. Box 100, Charlestown, RI 02813