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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Museum pieces

Remembering the "Republican environmentalists" of days past

Related imageEDITOR’S NOTE: Rhode Island once was home to two members of this now extinct species of Republican environmentalist: Claudia Schneider, former US Representative who now lives in Colorado, and former Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee who just moved to Wyoming.  – Will Collette

The popular young history professor cut a profile that spanned generations. Add a jaunty fedora and a sleeve or two of ink to the horn-rimmed glasses, wavy mane and boxcar-sized sideburns and he could well be a 2000's slacker instead of a 1970's tree hugger.

Newton Leroy Gingrich, Ph.D. (left), taught the first environmental studies courses at his school. He advised the campus Sierra Club chapter and successfully raised hell against a proposed dam on the Flint River. And he aspired beyond the modest campus of West Georgia College.

By 1978, Gingrich was elected to Congress on his second try. Ronald Reagan's landslide victory in 1980 helped inspire the young Congressman's sharp turn away from green politics.

In 1995, he became Speaker of the House and shortly after, invented the modern government shutdown, and led a rightist rebellion that held green politics to be in extremely bad taste. Gingrich continued sporadic advocacy for unobjectionable causes, like saving Africa's gorillas.

His Congressional career imploded after the failed bid to oust President Bill Clinton. In 2007, he appeared in an ad beside new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call for action on climate change. He later disowned the ad.

Newt Gingrich and his renunciation of environmental values is not a political exception. In the last 40 years, anti-environmental rhetoric and policies have swept the Republican Party:

MUSIC VIDEO: Border Lies

To dance to this on YouTube:

Hard work, if you can get it

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Presidential scholars ranks all US Presidents

Siena’s 6th Presidential Expert Poll 1982 – 2018

pres chart 1

For the sixth time since its inception in 1982, the Siena College Research Institute’s (SCRI) Survey of U.S. Presidents finds that experts rank Franklin D. Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington as the United States’ top five chief executives.

The 157 participating presidential scholars for the first time name Washington as number one with FDR second, Lincoln third, Teddy Roosevelt fourth and Jefferson fifth.

Donald Trump enters the survey as the 42nd rated president, and he joins Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Warren Harding and Franklin Pierce in the bottom five.

Dwight Eisenhower moved up to sixth, the highest ranking he has ever achieved, while Ronald Reagan was up five spots to 13th, and George W. Bush was up six places but remains in 33rd place.
Barack Obama slipped two spots to 17th, Bill Clinton dropped to 15th from 13th, and Andrew Jackson fell five places to 19th.

“The top five, Mount Rushmore plus FDR, is carved in granite with presidential historians who have ranked the presidents for Siena six times since 1982 always just after a new president has had one year in office.

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(Lots more....)

Preventing suicides in South County

Grant will help tackle the state’s highest suicide rate
By Olivia Ross

Related imageUniversity of Rhode Island Health Services is partnering with South County Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, which has been awarded a $2 million grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to transform the local health care delivery system and achieve zero suicides in Washington County.

At 10.1 out of 100,000, Washington County, which is comprised of Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, New Shoreham, North Kingstown, Richmond, South Kingstown and Westerly, has the highest suicide rate in Rhode Island.

To provide health care services that incorporate suicide prevention efforts, the grant calls for a five-year plan to achieve zero suicides in South County.

Sheldon Whitehouse proposes USE-IT or lose it

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

Image result for carbon capture technologyAs the Green New Deal makes national headlines, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., is advancing a less-heralded approach to cutting climate emissions, one with the added benefit of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Whitehouse’s latest bill, the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act (USE IT Act) offers $50 million in financial incentives for carbon-capture research and infrastructure for a range of technologies, such as innovative systems that take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and smokestacks.

Monday, February 18, 2019

No going back

Nothing Extreme about the Reproductive Health Care Act
Image may contain: 1 personThe Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom rejects claims by anti-choice activists which characterize the Reproductive Health Care Act of 2019 (RHCA) as “extreme.”

The Coalition also refutes the results of a recent poll paid for by “Citizens for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” an initiative led by the Gaspee Project.

The questions asked in this poll are biased and misleading, and did not ask about maintaining the status-quo afforded under Roe v Wade.

The RHCA, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe and subsequent cases, including Planned Parenthood v Casey, protects the right to safe, legal abortion up to fetal viability.

The definition of fetal viability in the RHCA is based on the language in Roe v Wade and affirmed in subsequent cases.

Currently, an abortion can only be performed after fetal viability in cases where the life or health of the pregnant person is in jeopardy.

Mexico WILL PAY after all

Now would be a good time

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Reed and Whitehouse get GOP-controlled Senate to protect local scenic waterway

By ecoRI News staff
The 300-square-mile Wood-Pawcatuck watershed features the Barberville Dam raceway. (Wood-Pawcatuck Wild and Scenic Study Committee)
The 300-square-mile Wood-Pawcatuck watershed features the Barberville Dam raceway. (Wood-Pawcatuck Wild and Scenic Study Committee)

The U.S. Senate recently voted to approve a public lands package that includes Sen. Jack Reed’s language to designate river segments within the Wood-Pawcatuck watershed as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. 

The legislation, co-sponsored by fellow Rhode Island Democrat, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, would establish the state’s first Wild and Scenic river system and provide access to federal funding to protect and maintain the rivers of this watershed for recreation, fisheries, and preservation.

The bipartisan public lands package will permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which expired at the end of September, to create about 1.3 million new acres of wilderness area, and adopt more than 100 public lands and water initiatives, including the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Wild and Scenic River Act.

Why do Republicans scoff at climate change?

Northwestern researchers examine political divide behind climate change beliefs
Image result for Republicans and climate changeIn new study, authors challenge prominent explanation for this divide.

Despite a scientific consensus, citizens are divided when it comes to climate change, often along political lines, and scholars want to better understand why.

40 gazillionaires hold more wealth than the 150 million Americans at the bottom

Worst income inequality since the run-up to the Great Depression
Image result for trump and the rich

As survey data continues to show that raising taxes on the wealthy is extremely popular among the U.S. public, new research by inequality expert and University of California, Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman found that the richest 0.00025 percent of the American population now owns more wealth than the 150 million adults in the bottom 60 percent.

Zucman, who helped Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) develop her "Ultra-Millionaire Tax" proposal, observed in a working paper (pdf) that "U.S. wealth concentration seems to have returned to levels last seen during the Roaring Twenties."

According to Zucman's research, the richest 0.00025 percent—just 400 Americans—have seen their share of America's national wealth triple since the 1980s, while the wealth of much of the U.S. population has stagnated or declined.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

It’s gun ownership

Mental illness not to blame for gun violence study finds

Image result for mental illness and gun violenceCounter to a lot of public opinion, having a mental illness does not necessarily make a person more likely to commit gun violence. 

According to a new study, a better indicator of gun violence was access to firearms.

A study by researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston looked into the association between gun violence and mental health in a group of 663 young adults in Texas. Their results were published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

"Counter to public beliefs, the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence," said Dr. Yu Lu, a postdoctoral research fellow at UTMB and the lead author of the study.

What researchers found instead was that individuals who had gun access were approximately 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun. Individuals with high hostility were about 3.5 times more likely to threaten someone.

What if Hitler had won World War II?

For more cartoons by Ted Rall, CLICK HERE.

REAL emergencies