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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why we need to go to war in the Middle East again

Building Blocks of War
By Tom Tomorrow

Click here to learn why absolutely none of our past experience with fighting in the Middle East makes any difference.

DEM wants public involvement in new wildlife action plan

You’re invited to a workshop at URI on October 8

Baby Animals Cute Animals animated GIF

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management will hold its final scientific review workshop on the Rhode Island Wildlife Action Plan (RIWAP) on Wednesday, October 8 at the URI Coastal Institute in Narragansett.

The workshop will take place from 9:00 a.m. to noon in Corliss Auditorium at the University of Rhode Island's Bay Campus located at 215 South Ferry Road.

During the past year, many of the state's natural resource and wildlife specialists have worked diligently to determine the Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and their associated key habitats in Rhode Island, and develop species and habitat profiles outlining their distribution, threats, and proposed conservation actions. 

“Congressman Langevin delivered for kids.”

Rep. Jim Langevin Recognized as Champion for Children
Ed Walz, First Focus Campaign for Children

Washington – Today, the First Focus Campaign for Children, a national bipartisan children’s advocacy group, recognized Congressman Jim Langevin for his leadership on issues important to children during the 113th Congress (2013-2014).

“Lots of politicians talk about kids’ issues, but few back it up,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the Campaign for Children. “Congressman Langevin delivered for kids.”

In selecting Champions, the First Focus Campaign for Children noted leaders who introduced, co-sponsored, and voted for legislation to meet children’s needs. In addition, the organization considered Members who demonstrated extraordinary initiative by spearheading activities such as sponsoring hearings or garnering the support of their colleagues to improve the health and well-being of children. 

In recognizing Congressman Langevin as a Champion for Children, the advocacy group cited his leadership to protect and improve the future of America’s next generation.

Ted Cruz Dreams Up Assorted Fossil Fuel Favors

He's got a nifty plan to alleviate Native American poverty by opening up their tribal lands to oil drilling.

Let’s take a cruise down the narrow byways and twisting turns that form Senator Ted Cruz’s mind.

The first right turn on our road trip brings us to a sweeping view of the Texas Republican’s Energy Renaissance Act, a proposal so studded with fossil fuel favors that it ought be called the “Exxon Mobil Relief Act.”

His bill would prevent the federal government from ever imposing regulations on fracking. It also includes an edict to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, a requirement that any new EPA regulations get a congressional vote of approval, and a nifty plan to alleviate Native American poverty by opening up their tribal lands to oil drilling.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Recycling in Charlestown flops again

Last place, for the third year in a row
help animated GIFBy Will Collette

The state of Rhode Island’s Resource Recovery Center will actually pay us to recycle. In fact, every year at this time, they distribute checks to RhodeIsland municipalities to reflect the profits on selling the amount of waste they deliver to the Johnston landfill’s recycling center.

However, it’s becoming a regular annual story that, like the past two years, Charlestown got the smallest check. Four years ago, the only town to do worse than Charlestown was West Greenwich.

With town leadership dominated by the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) who claim the mantle of environmentalism for their own, why is it that we suck so badly at recycling? We’ll get back to that, but let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

What makes this year different is the new lengths the town, with the help of the RIRRC, has been trying to gloss over its dismal performance. They want you to use a different measure of comparison, rather than the simplest and most obvious by noting that Charlestown’s record is not really so terrible.

If you turn the numbers so that you look at them in a certain light at a certain angle, “You’ll see that Charlestown actually fairs [SIC] extremely well when compared to other communities. It is *this* measure-waste generation-that is important, not a town’s recycling rate, which is dependent on many variables.”

That’s what RIRRC public relations officer Sarah Kite wrote to me in an e-mail. Sure you can. Indeed, you can torture any data to make it tell you just about anything you want. When her agency first issued their “new and improved” way of looking at municipal recycling, it was pretty easy to tear that analysis to shreds, as I did here.


Visit Depressionland

The crappiest place on earth
By Gemma Correll

If you can work up the energy, click here.

VIDEO: Just seven?

Kitty of the week

Meet Barry
From the Animal Rescue League of Southern RI

Hello, I am Barry. 

I am a long-haired grey wonder who is looking for a nice comfy spot in a new forever home. 

In my free time I love to relax and watch the birds from the window. 

By night my goal is to be your best friend and sit next to you while you relax after a long day. 

I am a mild mannered cat that is rather low maintenance...although I will admit a nice brush running through my fur would be splendid every now and again. 

Other than that, I just want a family to love and call my own. 

Who can resist a stunning male grey cat with a handsome coat? 

If you can let me into your home I will let you into my heart!

For the last of your tomatoes - Mozzarella and Tomato

Photo and text by KARA DiCAMILLO/ecoRI.org News contributor
One of the things that I love is cheese and, for me, there’s nothing like fresh mozzarella. I’ve wanted to learn how to make it for quite some time now, so I decided to attend a cooking class at Trio Restaurant in Narragansett. While chef Kevin Gaudreau made it look incredibly easy, what I learned is that it actually is, and not as time consuming as I had thought.
Using local curd from Narragansett Creamery, Gaudreau explained that there are just a few simple ingredients to mozzarella: milk, acidity (such as lemon juice, vinegar or rennet), water and salt. The technique of forming the mozzarella is really what’s key to it, because, as I learned, if it’s overworked it becomes too dense.

Opening Pandora’s Box

Congressional Republicans can’t bring themselves to support Obama even when he does what they want him to do

Isn’t it interesting how, up until now, Republicans have been clamoring for ramping up the war effort in Iraq – calling Obama weak because he pulled out of that country? Of course, the entire Iraq withdrawal plan was signed, sealed and rightly delivered by the Bush administration. If you will recall, back in 2011, Republicans were outraged that President Obama was actually abiding by the agreement made by his predecessor and bringing the last of the American troops home.

Remember just over a year ago when Republicans were happy to side with the president about bombing Syria? Senator John McCain was almost giddy at the prospect.

But now, when the president is asking Congress to vote on giving him the power to do what they have long been wanting him to do – go back to Iraq and into Syria so he can bomb ISIS terrorists into eternity – well, they aren’t so up for doing their job.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Attorney General cites Charlestown for open government violation – AGAIN

For all their talk about transparent government, the CCA Party does not practice what it preaches
By Will Collette

Platner and the CCA Party are taught, once again, that you can't run
government cloaked in secrecy
Since the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) was formed in 2006 to battle then Town Council President Jim Mageau, they have preached the virtues of open and transparent government. 

Maybe they only meant that to apply to Mageau because they sure haven’t practiced it themselves during these past six years that they’ve been running Charlestown government.

The state Attorney General’s office has just handed down yet another decision that cites the CCA Party town leadership for two violations of the open government law. This time, it’s Ruth Platner’s Planning Commission that broke the Open Meetings Act by holding a secret ballot during an open meeting.

Read the decision here

The decision comes from the complaint filed by former Town Council President Deb Carney that charged the Planning Commission with violating the law at its May 7 meeting by holding a secret vote of the Commission members on their preference for which consultant to hire to help rewrite the town’s Comprehensive Plan. Carney also charged the Commission with failing to record the actual vote.

She also asked the Attorney General to deem the violation “intentional” and thus subject to penalties because this is the second time in a year that a CCA Party-controlled Charlestown town body used a secret ballot during an open meeting. 


Should you go to college?

If it's "culture," then that "culture" needs to go


“I can’t take it anymore!”

Burnout caused by more than just job stress

Impossible deadlines, demanding bosses, abusive colleagues, unpaid overtime: all factors that can lead to a burnout. But when it comes to mental health in the workplace, the influence of home life must also be considered to get the full picture.

That's about to change thanks to new research from Concordia University and the University of Montreal, which proves that having an understanding partner is just as important as having a supportive boss.

Is the Bishop taking sides in the 2014 Election?

 animated GIF
When Bishop Thomas Tobin cracks his whip on Catholic politicians, it doesn’t serve his cause well. Remember when he managed to make a martyr out of even Congressman Patrick Kennedy?

Tobin hasn’t denied Democratic nominee Gina Raimondo communion, but the Republican bishop did offer a passive rebuke to the Catholic candidate for governor after she won the endorsement of Planned Parenthood. He didn’t mention her by name, but the timing left little doubt.

The very reason Catholics were distrusted in this country in the 1800s and the early 1900s is because Catholics were presumed to be anti-democratic in their allegiance to a foreign king (the Pope) and it was assumed that they would attempt to impose their Catholic values on everyone in the event that they achieved political power. 

Trying to save us from ourselves

By ecoRI News staff
Amazing Animated Gif animated GIF

Rapid climate change and an increasing range of climate impacts are already being felt along the U.S. coast, and new research suggests that Northeast coastal waters may be more vulnerable to climate change and ocean acidification than previously thought.

A team of scientists with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) recently received a $1 million grant from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to develop science-based climate-change adaptation solutions for coastal communities and to partner with organizations to help these communities anticipate change and prepare to adapt.

The multi-pronged research project pairs WHOI scientists with regional organizations actively involved in three interrelated coastal ocean climate impacts areas that are affecting many coastal communities in southern New England: sea-level rise and coastal flooding; coastal water quality and ocean acidification; and ocean climate warming and fisheries.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

'Her day was getting up, eating if she could, then crawling back to bed'

By Marianne Lavelle, The Daily Climate
Lyme Probability-768
Editor's Note: "Climate at Your Doorstep" is an effort by The Daily Climate to highlight stories about climate change impacts happening now. Find more stories like this here.

Richard Gardiner had no option but to shut down his law practice in Fairfax, Va. in the summer of 2012. A fit 60 year-old, he came down with a high fever and the worst chills he had known in his life. He spent a miserable summer bedridden with aches and debilitating fatigue.

At around the same time in Bozeman, Mont., 12-year-old Noelle Freeburg – described by her mother as a "healthy-as-a-horse" tween who enjoyed dancing, swimming and skiing – became feverish, dizzy, and doubled over with stomach aches every time she tried to exert herself.

In different corners of the United States, this middle-aged man and middle school girl were embarking on the same frustrating, costly journey. It took both of them months to learn why their health was deteriorating. They were patients on the frontiers of North America's expanding Lyme disease epidemic.

Leading vector-borne disease in the U.S.

Less than four decades ago, scientists identified a spiral-shaped bacteria transmitted by the bite of a tiny hard-bodied tick as the cause of an arthritis outbreak among children in southern Connecticut. Since then, Lyme disease has emerged from obscurity to become the leading vector-borne disease in the United States. The 27,203 confirmed new cases reported to federal health authorities in 2013 marked nearly a 25 percent jump over the previous year.


They're everywhere

Guide to E-Holes
By Jen Sorenson

Click here, although you already know who they are.

VIDEO: For some reason, Sarah Palin is looking forward to conservatives moving into the Willard Hotel

Sarah Palin Wants Conservatives to Live At ‘1400 Pennsylvania Avenue’
Map of 1400 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004Sarah Palin gave a speech at the Values Voter Summit to a somewhat less than enthusiastic audience on Friday afternoon. 

She told the extreme righties in the room that they were the most slandered people in the country. And she blathered on about how she was sick and tired of the Liberals using the race card.

Palin did manage to come up with a few names of minority Conservatives but somehow the address of the White House totally confused her. 

I’m not sure where 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue is (see map), but according to Caribou Barbie, it’s where the liars live. I guess we should be grateful that at least she can locate Russia from her house.

Click "continue" to see the video.


Cleaning recyclables makes them more recyclable

Why It's Important to Rinse Recyclables
Bottle Octopus animated GIF
We all know it's important to recycle and not toss things into the trash or the environment, but how carefully do we need to rinse containers before sending them on their way to the recycling center? 

Some argue that recycling is a total waste of water when you factor in the amount people are using to get their cans, bottles, and jars squeaky-clean, while others claim containers don't need to be rinsed at all, and some say that the reality lies in the middle ground.

The real answer is that the rinsing requirements can vary depending on where you are, but the bottom line is this: Yes, you still need to rinse recyclables. However, you can do it in an energy-efficient way.

Another diet study challenges assumptions

Study shows eating high-fat dairy lowers diabetes risk
From: Diabetologia via EurekAlert 

New research presented at this year's annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Vienna, Austria, shows that people with the highest consumption of high-fat dairy products (8 or more portions per day) have a 23% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest consumption (1 or less per day). 

The research is by Dr Ulrika Ericson, Lund University Diabetes Center, Malmö, Sweden, and colleagues.

Dietary fats could affect glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity and may therefore have a crucial role in the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Studies have indicated that replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats might be favourable in the prevention of T2D.


Legal Marijuana Has Created a Conundrum for Law Enforcement

Like its liquid counterpart alcohol, marijuana is a drug. Unlike alcohol, however, there are no clear-cut means of determining whether or not one is too intoxicated by the herb to drive safely.

Two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Four more states — Alaska, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon — and the District of Columbia, may be close to doing the same. Moreover, medical marijuana is currently available in 22 states and Washington D.C.
In the wake of the widespread move to remove the boundaries against marijuana use, states are scrambling to figure out how to detect and deal with drugged drivers.

DUID Laws: The Times, They are Changing

Friday, September 26, 2014

They can bail but you can’t


Thirty years ago, on its opening day in 1984, Donald Trump stood in a dark topcoat on the casino floor at Atlantic City’s Trump Plaza, celebrating his new investment as the finest building in Atlantic City and possibly the nation.

Last week, the Trump Plaza folded and the Trump Taj Mahal filed for bankruptcy, leaving some 1,000 employees without jobs.

Trump, meanwhile, was on twitter claiming he had “nothing to do with Atlantic City,” and praising himself for his “great timing” in getting out of the investment.

In America, people with lots of money can easily avoid the consequences of bad bets and big losses by cashing out at the first sign of trouble.

The laws protect them through limited liability and bankruptcy.

But workers who move to a place like Atlantic City for a job, invest in a home there, and build their skills, have no such protection. Jobs vanish, skills are suddenly irrelevant, and home values plummet.
They’re stuck with the mess.

Bankruptcy was designed so people could start over. But these days, the only ones starting over are big corporations, wealthy moguls, and Wall Street.

"We won't try to buy your vote"

The progressive comic about GOP campaign promises.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Supernova Remnant Puppis A 

Driven by the explosion of a massive star, supernova remnant Puppis A is blasting into the surrounding interstellar medium about 7,000 light-years away.

At that distance, this remarkable false-color exploration of its complex expansion is about 180 light-years wide. It is based on the most complete X-ray data set so far from the Chandra and XMM/Newton observations, and infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope.

In blue hues, the filamentary X-ray glow is from gas heated by the supernova's shock wave, while the infrared emission shown in red and green is from warm dust.

The bright pastel tones trace the regions where shocked gas and warmed dust mingle. Light from the initial supernova itself, triggered by the collapse of the massive star's core, would have reached Earth about 3,700 years ago, though the Puppis A supernova remnant remains a strong source in the X-ray sky.



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