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Monday, July 16, 2018

Eating local has gotten harder

By TODD McLEISH/ecoRI News contributor

Related imageThose looking to buy local seafood at grocery stores and fish markets in New England may have a difficult time finding much, especially if you’re searching for something other than shellfish. 

Just 15 percent of the seafood available at markets in the region originated in New England, according to a pilot study by the Rhode Island-based nonprofit Eating with the Ecosystem.

“Unfortunately, the results weren’t super surprising to me,” said Kate Masury, the program director for Eating with the Ecosystem who coordinated the project with University of Rhode Island professor Hiro Uchida and student Christina Montello. “We’re a seafood-producing region, it’s a big part of our economy, but we’re not making it available to our own consumers.”

Rhode Island’s results were better than the regional average, though still not as high as one might expect. 

Help stop insane plan to push coal over green energy

Energy Commission Moves To Force Electricity Costs Up, Air Quality Down
By Sarah Okeson

donald trump GIF by State of the Union address 2018The wind and the sun may be free, but Trump’s energy regulators want you to pay the same price – or more – for clean energy than what we pay for electricity from our country’s aging, dirty coal-fired power plants.

The Republican-dominated Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave states and utilities just 60 days to weigh in on how to do this in nation’s largest wholesale electricity market serving 65 million customers in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

coal GIF“We’ve never seen this kind of federal intrusion in the energy industries,” said energy consultant Rob Gramlich.

The proposed changes could cost consumers billions of dollars more. One estimate for a narrower proposal said it could cost utility users $14 billion to $24.6 billion roughly over the next 10 years. That’s between $216 to $379 for each of the 65 million people served.

Fossil fuel’s share of how much energy we consume in the U.S. was the lowest last year that it’s been since 1902 when whale oil was still being used. States such as Maryland and New Jersey require utilities to generate some electricity from renewable sources like wind, and states including Illinois and New York subsidize nuclear power.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Hopkinton’s battle over solar

By FRANK CARINI/ecoRI News staff. See video by JOANNA DETZ/ecoRI News staff HERE.

 A 17th solar project, GD Hopkinton, has been proposed for the Palmer Circle area, according to a June 18 Hopkinton Planning Department memo. (Kevin Proft)
A 17th solar project, GD Hopkinton, has been proposed for the Palmer Circle area,
according to a June 18 Hopkinton Planning Department memo. (Kevin Proft)
On a recent Saturday morning, two days before the Town Council was scheduled to meet, to continue a hearing on a zoning change requested by the developer of a proposed utility-scale solar project, 13 concerned residents gathered at an Old Depot Road home to discuss their opposition strategy.

Some of those sitting in the living room of Joe and Paula Moreau had never met their gracious hosts. 

Others in the room, who also live on the rural dead-end street, had never actually spoken to one another. 

Their busy lives, however, intersected on this sunny, late morning around a project they say would drastically transform their neighborhoods.

Anthony Del Vicario of Rhode Island Solar Renewable Energy III LLC, 43 Creston Way in Warwick, wants to install thousands of solar panels to generate 13.8 megawatts of electricity on nearly 62 acres of private forestland off Route 91. 

This proposed array would be built on three lots: one at 350 Woodville Alton Road, one at 6 Townsend Road, and a third on an adjacent site that was once used as a municipal landfill and then as a private dump. The project originally proposed 17 megawatts on 95 acres and would have included the clear-cutting of an estimated 7,000 trees.

Don't use the N word

For more cartoons by Ruben Bolling, CLICK HERE.

Wrecking Ball diplomacy

Spending time outside is good for you

It’s official
University of East Anglia

forest GIFLiving close to nature and spending time outside has significant and wide-ranging health benefits - according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

A new report published today reveals that exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure.

Populations with higher levels of greenspace exposure are also more likely to report good overall health – according to global data involving more than 290 million people.

Lead author Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Spending time in nature certainly makes us feel healthier, but until now the impact on our long-term wellbeing hasn’t been fully understood.

“We gathered evidence from over 140 studies involving more than 290 million people to see whether nature really does provide a health boost.”

What’s in your salmon?

Fishy Chemicals in Farmed Salmon

salmon sashimi GIFPersistent organic pollutants—or POPs—skulk around the environment threatening human health through direct contact, inhalation, and most commonly, eating contaminated food. 

As people are becoming more aware of their food’s origin, new research at the University of Pittsburgh suggests it might be just as important to pay attention to the origin of your food’s food.

Trump sez Russiagate is all Obama’s fault

By Conover Kennard  ·

understand donald trump GIFFormer reality show star Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that the Russians did not meddle in the 2016 election. 

He knows this because he said Russian President Vladimir Putin told him he didn’t do it. Case closed!

Or, maybe not.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein held a press conference on Friday to announce that 12 Russian intelligence officers are now charged in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

11 of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit computer crimes, eight counts of aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to launder money. 

Two defendants are charged with a separate conspiracy to commit computer crimes, according to the indictment.

Trump knows exactly whose fault it is. Even though he lifted the Russia sanctions President Barack Obama imposed and has refused to address election meddling, he says it’s his predecessor’s fault.

“The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration,” Trump tweeted from Scotland before playing a round of golf. 

“Why didn’t they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election?”

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Langevin Calls Mueller Indictment Most Significant Foreign Hacking Case in History

Calls on Trump to cancel Putin meeting

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a senior member of the House Committees on Armed Services and Homeland Security and the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, released the following statement after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of twelve Russian military intelligence officers for distributing documents they had stolen from US political organizations in an attempt to interfere with the 2016 presidential election:

“This is the most significant hacking case the United States has ever brought against the agents of a foreign state. Russian interference in the 2016 election struck at the very core of our democracy, and the perpetrators must be held to account. 

“This is another example of why Director Mueller’s investigation is so important and must be allowed to continue.

“This indictment is an important part of that reckoning, but it is in no way sufficient.

“When a nation violates the norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace, we must respond with all means of state power, economic, diplomatic and otherwise.

NATO eats boogers

The progressive web comic about toddlers have to defend themself in immigration court.

Support the Food Bank's summer food drive

Donate Now

Kids collect and donate food as part of our summer food drive.
Support the Summer Food Drive
Host a Food Drive
During the summer, food donations decrease as families struggle to fill the gap from missing school meals. You can help by holding a food drive at your workplace or in your neighborhood.
Set Up a Fundraising Page
Help us purchase healthy food by creating a fundraising page and inviting your friends and family to participate. With every $10 donated, we can acquire 25 meals.
Thanks for helping us get healthy food to kids in need this summer!
Price Rite employees pack Meals4Kids boxes.
Price Rite Helps Hungry Kids This Summer
Because the summer is such a difficult time for kids in need, Price Rite recently donated 3,000 Meals4Kids boxes that provide a week’s worth of nutritious meals. Price Rite employees then volunteered their time to pack the boxes with the healthy, kid-friendly foods. The boxes are distributed to families who need a little extra help when school is out.
Learn More
Donate Now
© 2017 Rhode Island Community Food Bank
200 Niantic Avenue
Providence, RI 02907
Phone: (401) 942‑MEAL (6325)

Look beyond the rankings

Medicare Advantage rankings penalize plans serving disadvantaged populations, study finds
Image result for Medicare AdvantageA new study from Brown University shows that Medicare Advantage plans suffer in quality rankings when they serve more non-white, poor and rural Americans.

New research from Brown University suggests that federal rankings of Medicare Advantage plans may unfairly penalize those that enroll a disproportionate number of non-white, poor and rural Americans.

The study, published in Health Affairs, used data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to measure the quality of care provided in Medicare Advantage plans, and adjusted performance rankings for race, neighborhood poverty level and other social risk factors. 

After the adjustments, plans serving the highest proportions of disadvantaged populations improved considerably in the rankings.

The findings show that existing Medicare Advantage plan rankings may not accurately reflect the quality of care a given plan’s enrollees receive, said Amal Trivedi, an associate professor of health services, policy and practice at Brown and the study’s senior author.

No brain benefit shown

Vitamin D no defense against dementia
University of Adelaide

Image result for vitamin dNew research from South Australian scientists has shown that vitamin D (also commonly known as the sunshine vitamin) is unlikely to protect individuals from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease or other brain-related disorders.

The findings, released today in the science journal Nutritional Neuroscience reported that researchers had failed to find solid clinical evidence for vitamin D as a protective neurological agent.

"Our work counters an emerging belief held in some quarters suggesting that higher levels of vitamin D can impact positively on brain health," says lead author Krystal Iacopetta, PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide.

You always hurt the ones you love

Turmoil On the Road to Autarky
By Phil Mattera for the Dirt Diggers Digest

Image result for autarkyDonald Trump got elected in 2016 essentially by promising everything to everyone except immigrants and environmentalists.

In the economic realm he vowed to resurrect dying industries such as coal, to achieve trade supremacy over the rest of the world, to dismantle the regulatory state, and to bring about growth rates not seen for decades.

Now those corporate executives who sold their soul to Trump are realizing he cannot deliver on all those promises.

This is most apparent with regard to trade.
Companies such as Harley-Davidson and General Motors are complaining about the consequences of Trump’s ham-handed use of tariffs, which instead of bringing about concessions from U.S. trading partners are prompting retaliatory moves.

A front-page story in the New York Times headlined “Industries in U.S. Feel Undermined by Trade Policies” states: “Even as the president’s pro-business stance is broadly embraced by the corporate community, in some significant cases the very industries that Mr. Trump has vowed to help say that his proposals will actually hurt them.”

This epiphany took a while to happen because most of Trump’s previous dubious initiatives were domestic in nature.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Why they still come

And why won’t we let them in?
Image result for gang violence in el salvadorWhat goes around comes around

This familiar phrase explains why Central American families and children are coming up to our back door, seeking asylum in the United States.

And they will keep coming — even if the Trump government resumes tearing small children away from their parents — because for them it is literally a matter of life and death to escape the horrific violence that our government sowed in their homelands.

Why wouldn’t they try? Attorney General Sessions asserts that gang violence is no longer a basis for seeking asylum. But try telling that to a teenager whose parents have been murdered by one of the gangs that have overwhelmed El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and so many parts of Mexico.

Try telling that to a mother whose 13-year-old daughter is being “recruited” on pain of death for sex with a gang leader — and who has seen girls her age gang-raped, mutilated, and murdered.

Would you stay and “wait for your turn” for lawful entry to the United States, a turn that might never come? Or would you tell your daughter: Go! Get away as fast as you can, for God’s sake, and get into the United States any way you can!

It started long ago in the 1980s, when a million Salvadorans fled a brutal civil war. In desperation, many entered the United States unlawfully. Similar struggles in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua in that era generated still more refugees.

The U.S. backed brutal parties to each of these conflicts, making them that much bloodier.