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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Raising the Flag on Ryan Zinke’s Corruption

Pruitt's top competitor for Most Corrupt Trump Appointee

Image result for zinke corruptionThe media’s been swirling around the many scandals involving Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, and rightfully so. 

But there’s another scandalous member of Trump’s cabinet who’s bending ethical standards and attacking our environment: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Like Pruitt, Ryan Zinke is misusing taxpayer dollars, promoting industries he’s supposed to regulate, and remaining completely opaque when it comes to decision-making. He deserves as much media and congressional scrutiny as Pruitt.

The Interior Department is supposed to be the steward of our country’s “lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources,” according to its mission statement. But Zinke’s actions toward U.S. national parks and public lands show where his alliances truly rest: with the fossil fuel industry.

Though he’s tried to play himself as a serious outdoorsman — even as he’s incorrectly rigging a fly fishing rod or wearing a National Park Service hat backwards — Zinke has made clear his real mission is to drill and extract all over public lands.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Rhode Island Poor People’s Campaign

A National Call for Moral Revival kicks off
The Rhode Island Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival kicked off a six-week season of nonviolent direct action in Providence. 

The 60 plus people in attendance included clergy, advocates and members of the poor and disenfranchised communities from Rhode Island. 

They gathered outside the Rhode Island State House to demand “new programs to lift up the 140 million Americans living in poverty, immediate attention to ecological devastation and measures to curb militarism and the war economy.”

Inspired by Dr Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign, organizers will engage in 40 days of nonviolent direct action and voter mobilization. The movement aims to transform the nation’s political, economic and moral structures in this country. The action in Providence is one of 30 taking place across the United States.

For more photos and videos of speeches, CLICK HERE.

Air travel safety notes

From Fake Science, the only Donald Trump-approved source of science information.

They pay more than Trump

If you believe it, it's truer

People reflexively accept information as accurate if it aligns with their worldview
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Image result for trump believersA new study illuminates how rapid, involuntary mental processes kick in when responding to statements that correspond with an already held viewpoint, according to a study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The research, published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, shows how people's tendency to remain entrenched in their worldviews is supported by their automatic cognitive "reflexes."

The team led by Dr. Michael Gilead, head of the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at BGU, found that study participants verified the grammatical accuracy of statements about political topics, personal tastes and social issues much more quickly when they matched their opinion.

In a series of experiments, the researchers asked participants to respond to various opinion statements, such as "The internet has made people more isolated" or "The internet has made people more sociable," and indicate as quickly as possible if the grammar of the sentence was correct or not. 

The harvest after the harvest

By JOANNA DETZ/ecoRI News staff

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 4 percent of planted vegetable and fruit fields are left unharvested annually. (istock)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 4 percent of
planted vegetable and fruit fields are left unharvested annually. (istock)
In her previous job as assistant director of programs at the Rhode Island Food Bank, Eva Agudelo saw firsthand the demand for fresh produce among those families who relied on food pantries.

In 2017, according to its annual report, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank distributed 2.3 million pounds of fresh produce to local pantries. 

Some of that produce was grown locally, but the food bank purchased much of it from out of state.

During her time at the Community Food Bank, Agudelo also served on the Rhode Island Food Policy Council, which has been working to address the problem of food waste. From this vantage, she began thinking more about the produce that is wasted before it even hits a plate and how it might be rescued to feed those in need.

What’s scarier? That Trump doesn’t know the difference between HIV and HPV, or that he knows way too much about Bill Gate’s daughter?

Bill Gates Says Trump Knew a ‘Scary’ Amount ‘About My Daughter’s Appearance’
By Samuel Warde 

To watch this video on YouTube:

Microsoft founder Bill Gates was captured on video at a recent Gates Foundation event where he spoke of meeting with Trump on two occasions after the election.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes aired the never-seen-before footage Thursday night in which Gates can be heard discussing concerns about Trump’s knowledge of his daughter Jennifer’s appearance [she is now 22-years-old].

"I went to see [Trump] in December [2016]. He knew my daughter Jennifer because Trump has this horse show thing in Florida. In fact he went up and talked to Jen…

"So when I first talked him it was actually scary how much he knew about my daughter’s appearance. [laughter] But, Melinda didn’t like that too well."

Gate’s also said that Trump asked him at both meetings about vaccinations and the difference between HPV and HIV.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Another mass school shooting

Will probably assure swift passage of RI gun control bills and aggravate Blake Filippi and Jim Mageau
By Will Collette
Image result for Dimitrios Pagourtzis
Alleged shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis
Raise your hands if you thought there wouldn’t be another school massacre like the one in Parkland, Florida?

Raise your hands if you think drugs are a bigger problem than gun violence? Ah, is that beloved Charlestown curmudgeon Jim Mageau with his hand raised?

Raise your hands if you think it’s wrong to take guns away from lunatics and maniacs? There’s Mageau again, and he’s joined by Charlestown state Representative Blake Filippi.

The body count in this country may have reached the point where even the NRA’s mountains of Russian money can no longer buy off American politicians.

Evidence of that is the “fast-tracked” impending passage by the Rhode Island General Assembly of bills to ban “bump-stocks” that can convert an assault rifle to full automatic and for the Superior Court to order the seizure of a dangerous individual’s guns.

Passage of those bills seems more certain and perhaps with more speed after today’s horror at the Santa Fe High School outside of Houston, Texas.

The suspected shooter is 17-year old Dimitrios Pagourtzis who displayed an apparent interest in neo-Nazi paraphernalia.

Image result for assault weapons ban
Now watch for a new torrent of Letters to the Editor of the Westerly Sun by Jim Mageau (like this one), insulting and denouncing anyone who thinks sensible gun control is a good idea.

And watch for Blake Filippi to say, “yes, but,” raising concerns about gun owners’ due process rights, as if they outweighed the growing pile of dead school children.

I am sick of it. I am sick of “thoughts and prayers.” I am sick of the rhetoric from the likes of Mageau and Filippi.

Just a spoonful

The progressive web comic about the excess sugar in almost all our food.

How do YOU describe Trump?

Image may contain: 7 people, meme and text

We may catch a break from gypsy moths this year

Less Defoliation Of Trees Expected This Year
Frequently Asked QuestionsThe Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is advising homeowners that it does not anticipate widespread defoliation of trees by gypsy moth caterpillars in Rhode Island this year, as occurred in 2016 and 2017. 

There will still be some localized areas, however, where tree defoliation may be severe.

Surveys conducted last fall by DEM's Division of Forest Environment showed a marked decline in the number and size of gypsy moth egg masses in the environment; thus, there will be fewer caterpillars hatching this spring. 

Areas expected to be hit hardest include central Providence County and Washington County, although all forested lands, parks, and urban green spaces are still somewhat at risk.

Mystic Aquarium releases seal from Blue Shutters Beach

Homeward bound for rescued seal

Charlestown’s Blue Shutters Beach was once again the venue for the return of a rescued and rehabilitated seal to the delight of gathered onlookers.

Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Team set a male harp seal named Gilligan (as in the Island) free to live in the waters off our coast.

Gilligan was rescued in Georgetown, ME by Marine Mammals of Maine and was transferred to Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic on March 20 where he began treatment for pneumonia.

While in the Aquarium’s care, Gilligan also received medication to help manage another mild ailment.

His weight fluctuated slightly due to his illness, but Gilligan otherwise maintained a healthy weight throughout his rehab and weighed approximately 66 pounds at the time of his release.

Mystic runs a wonderful program well worthy of your support.

Langevin pushes back against White House plan to downgrade national cybersecurity efforts

White House needs to be serious about protecting the country from cyber-attack

iran_deal_comicCongressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) introduced a bill to enhance cybersecurity collaboration across the federal government by creating a permanent director of cybersecurity policy in the White House.

Recent news reports indicate that President Trump has eliminated the role of special assistant to the President and cybersecurity coordinator at the urging of National Security Advisor John Bolton. Langevin and Lieu’s bill, the Executive Cyberspace Coordination Act, would create a cyber advisory position by consolidating cybersecurity policy responsibilities in a National Office for Cyberspace in the Executive Office of the President.

“We have had three excellent cybersecurity coordinators since the late Howard Schmidt originated the position. It is an enormous step backwards to deemphasize the importance of this growing domain within the White House,” said Congressman Langevin, the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus. 
Image result for cybersecurity
“We need a designated expert to harmonize cyber policy across the many agencies in government with responsibility in this space. We also need clear communication of Administration positions on cybersecurity challenges, whether during major incidents or when establishing norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace. I’m proud to work with Congressman Lieu to not only reinstitute this cyber coordinator position, but also enhance the role’s power to make government more effective.”

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Bill to help people facing foreclosure needs to pass

By Bob Plain in Rhode Island’s Future

Nearly 10,000 homes went into foreclosure during the mortgage crisis in Rhode Island. Then, in 2013, the General Assembly passed the Foreclosure Reduction Act, which mandated banks to work with homeowners before repossessing property. 

Since then, the law helped some 600 Rhode Islanders avoid losing their homes.

But the Foreclosure Reduction Act is set to expire in July, which would leave Rhode Island as one of only 15 states in the country that wouldn’t require either a judicial or mediation process prior to a foreclosure. 

The other states are: New Hampshire, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Wyoming, Montana, and Arizona.

"Or whatever"

For more cartoons by Ruben Bolling, CLICK HERE.