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Friday, July 21, 2017

No more teachers, no more school

Student Debt Means Fewer Public Servants — and More Bankers

Cum laude, my diploma reads — “with honor.” But cum debitum, “with debt,” is a bit more accurate.

Collectively, America’s student borrowers owe $1.7 trillion. On average, each graduating senior this year is beginning their life around $37,000 in the hole.

That looks like a lot, but when you’re living with student debt, you look at that number and don’t even flinch. 

The debt is so normal it’s like an inside joke for pretty much everyone in my generation. Except we’re the punch line.

I graduated class of 2015 from a private, liberal arts college — a “most selective” one, U.S. News and World Report assures me. 

It was also an expensive degree, Sallie Mae reminds me. Monthly.

Replace Obamacare with what?

The progressive web comic about medicare for all

Scope of the problem

How is climate change like Trumpcare?

Climate change damages US economy, increases inequality

Rutgers University

Make America great again, like the 1930s Dustbowl?
Unmitigated climate change will make the United States poorer and more unequal, according to a new study. The poorest third of counties could sustain economic damages costing as much as 20 percent of their income if warming proceeds unabated.

Unmitigated climate change will make the United States poorer and more unequal, according to a new study published in the journal Science. The poorest third of counties could sustain economic damages costing as much as 20 percent of their income if warming proceeds unabated.

States in the South and lower Midwest, which tend to be poor and hot already, will lose the most, with economic opportunity traveling northward and westward. Colder and richer counties along the northern border and in the Rockies could benefit the most as health, agriculture and energy costs are projected to improve.

Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad

Closing the door on Cuba again. For spite.
By Jill Richardson

Image result for cuba

There’s a lot to say about Trump reversing some of the Obama administration’s policies on Cuba. 

The White House recently announced it was banning individual travel to the island and further restricting what business Americans can do there.

Yes, there’s a lot to say, but I wonder if there’s any point in saying it. After all, most Americans want to relax the embargo on Cuba. Even most Republicans disagree with Trump on Cuba, polls show.
That requires a bit of explanation. 

America has a longstanding embargo on Cuba, preventing the U.S. from selling much of anything there. The policy traces back to the Cold War. The economic harm to the island resulting from the policy is obvious when one sets foot in Cuba.

When I visited in 2010, life had gotten better for Cubans since the hardest times in the early 1990s. 

Still, life was difficult. Meat was a luxury for Cubans. Milk was only rationed to young children. I bought a handmade dress for $15, a handsome sum to a Cuban but a pittance to me.

Obama didn’t end the embargo. It’s still in place.

What Obama overturned were other Cold War-era measures. He restored diplomatic relations with Cuba and relaxed a travel ban on U.S. citizens visiting the island.

Facebook hate speech rules discriminate

Facebook's Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men from Hate Speech But Not Black Children
by Julia Angwin, ProPublica, and Hannes Grassegger, special to ProPublica

Image result for alt-right hate speechIn the wake of a terrorist attack in London earlier this month, a U.S. congressman wrote a Facebook post in which he called for the slaughter of "radicalized" Muslims. 

"Hunt them, identify them, and kill them," declared U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, a Louisiana Republican. "Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all."

Higgins' plea for violent revenge went untouched by Facebook workers who scour the social network deleting offensive speech.

But a May posting on Facebook by Boston poet and Black Lives Matter activist Didi Delgado drew a different response.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

What’s killing kids?

Image result for guns killing kidsCourtesy of Ars Technica 

Nearly 1,300 children aged 0 to 17 are killed by gunshots each year in the US, and nearly 5,800 more suffer from non-lethal gunshot wounds, researchers estimate in a study published Monday in Pediatrics.

 In all, about 19 children die or are wounded each day from firearms, either by homicide, suicide, or unintentional shootings. Firearm-related deaths are now the third leading cause of death among US children and the second leading cause of injury-related deaths, behind car crashes. The grim national statistics are even more startling when considered from an international perspective: the US now accounts for 91 percent of all child firearm-related deaths (aged 0 to 14) among high-income countries. 

In addition to the broad figures compiled by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study also provides one of the most comprehensive looks yet at the factors surrounding those deaths and injuries. 

Faux News has a learning curve

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Coming up at the Mystic Aquarium

Upcoming Events

Military Promotion

Thank you for your service!  Active duty and veterans get FREE general admission all month long!
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Summer Nights

Explore and enjoy the Aquarium on Monday nights after hours as the sun sets over Mystic. 
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Cocktails with Whales

Bring your besties or impress your date! Enjoy beluga whales, live music & a cash bar at this posh party.

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Seals on the Rocks

 A summer evening of  Tapas 'n Taps. Food, fun & entertainment benefits our Animal Rescue Clinic!
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Pancakes Penguins

Join us for a delicious breakfast buffet and meet an African penguin. Make your reservations today!
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PIzza with Penguins

Meet an African penguin at our great new event featuring a pizza buffet & beverage bar! Book today!
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Mystic Aquarium| 55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT | 860.572.5955
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PRIVACY: Governor Raimondo SIGNS bill that would allow police to look at your prescription records without a warrant, despite opposition from health professionals.

UPDATED: Governor Raimondo SIGNED this awful piece of legislation.

By Steve Ahlquist in Rhode Island’s Future

Image result for prescription drug privacy & police“Requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant before accessing the prescription history of any Rhode Islander provides a judicial check to ensure that investigations are legitimate,” said Sarah J Fessler, MD, Rhode Island Medical Society (RIMS) president. “Judicial review should remain the standard by which police gain access to such sensitive information.”

Fessler was speaking at the RIMS offices on Promenade St to implore Governor Gina Raimondo to veto “a law that would allow law enforcement access to confidential healthcare information without a warrant.”

Specifically, writes the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island (ACLU), “the law would grant some state and federal law enforcement agents access to the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which contains information on every prescription for a controlled substance dispensed by Rhode Island pharmacies, including cough syrup, common painkillers, and various other routinely prescribed medications.”

Take action TODAY!

We need your help today
to ensure that national marine sanctuaries and monuments - our blue parks - stay protected!

You've helped us take action by reaching out to the U.S. Department of the Interior, we ask you to Stand up for Marine Sanctuaries and Monuments yet again by providing your comments to the Department of Commerce!
Millions of acres of protected U.S. waters, including Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, could be in jeopardy. An executive order targets national marine sanctuaries and monuments.   

Between now and July 26, we ask that you tell the Department of Commerce's why public lands and oceans need protection.

The Department of Commerce is currently reviewing marine sanctuaries and monuments designated or expanded over the past 10 years. Any changes to these monuments and sanctuaries could make them vulnerable to human interactions and could threaten unique habitats and thousands of marine species and birds that call these places home. 

While the Department of Interior's public comment closed on July 10, you still have an opportunity to make your voice heard about why the nation's marine monuments and marine sanctuaries matter to you.  Take action by July 26 by submitting your personalized message to

Our blue parks are a source of pride for all Americans. Add your comments to the Federal Register and join us in defending our national marine sanctuaries and monuments. The 30-day public comment period ends July 26, so please make your voice heard today! 

Click here to learn more about the Northeast Canyons & Seamounts Marine National Monument.

Mystic Aquarium  | 55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT  | 860.572.5955
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