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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Help hunt the wild woodcock

By TODD McLEISH/ecoRI News contributor

Image result for American woodcockOne of the region’s most unusual birds is the subject of a research project by University of Rhode Island doctoral student Erin Harrington, and she’s seeking at least 80 volunteers to become citizen scientists to contribute to her work. 

All it takes is a commitment of 38 minutes at dusk on four dates between April 20 and May 10, plus attendance at a two-hour training session.

The subject of Harrington’s study is the American woodcock, which she calls “a funny-looking bird with short, stubby legs and a variety of silly nicknames that makes arguably the silliest sounding mating call known to mankind.”

She’s not kidding.

“They’re an ideal bird for citizen scientists to work with because they’re unique and goofy looking, but their goofiness is endearing in a way that makes them distinctive and easy to identify,” Harrington said.

Sometimes called the timberdoodle, woodcocks are chunky, brownish birds with large eyes, short tails, and long beaks that they probe into the ground in search of earthworms to eat. They are found throughout the eastern United States, but their populations have been declining throughout their range. Little is known about their habits and habitat preferences in Rhode Island.

Toothpaste alone does not prevent dental erosion or hypersensitivity

Analysis of 9 toothpastes found that none protects enamel or prevents erosive wear
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo

The rising prevalence of dental erosion and dentin hypersensitivity has led to the emergence of more and more toothpastes on the market that claim to treat these problems. 

While no such toothpaste existed 20 years ago, today, many brands with different attributes are being offered.

However, a study conducted at the University of Bern in Switzerland with the participation of a researcher supported by a scholarship from the São Paulo Research Foundation -- FAPESP showed that none of the nine analyzed toothpastes was capable of mitigating enamel surface loss, a key factor in tooth erosion and dentin hypersensitivity.

Good luck trying to follow the money

Where’d Trump’s Record Inauguration Spending Go? ‘It’s Inexplicable
By Ilya MarritzWNYC and ProPublica

Related imageLast month, the committee that ran President Donald Trump’s inaugural festivities released basic details about its revenues and spending. Trump raised $107 million, almost twice the previous record, and spent $104 million. The committee’s tax filing showed that $26 million of the spending went to an event planning firm started in December by a friend of the first lady.

It’s not clear how the firm spent that money, or how most of the money raised for the inauguration was used. The tax filing doesn’t show spending by subcontractors, nor is it required to do so.

In this week’s episode of “Trump, Inc.,” we dig into the inauguration. We’ve found that even experienced inaugural planners are baffled by the Trump committee’s massive fundraising and spending operation. 

We also noticed that two members of the inaugural committee have been convicted of financial crimes, and a third — the committee’s treasurer — was reportedly an unindicted co-conspirator in an accounting fraud.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Trump’s March Madness

Related imageTrump is moving into a new and more dangerous phase.

Before, he was constrained by a few “adults” – Rex Tillerson, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster, and John Kelly – whom he appointed because he thought they had some expertise he lacked.

Now he’s either fired or is in the process of removing the adults. He’s replacing them with a Star Wars cantina of toadies and sycophants who will reflect back at him his own glorious view of himself, and help sell it on TV.

Narcissists are dangerous because they think only about themselves.

Megalomaniacs are dangerous because they think only about their power and invincibility.

A narcissistic megalomaniac who’s unconstrained – and who’s also president of the United States – is about as dangerous as they come.

The man who once said he could shoot someone dead on Fifth Avenue and still be elected president now openly boasts of lying to the Canadian Prime Minister, deciding on his own to negotiate mano a mano with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, unilaterally slapping tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, and demanding the death penalty for drug dealers.

The ultimate American thing

For more cartoons by Ted Rall, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday wingnuts

Pic of the Moment

Fear drives people to vote against their own interests

Regional levels of fear associated with Trump and Brexit votes, psychology study shows
University of Texas at Austin

Related imageUnlike previous elections, fear and worry played a heavy hand in both the 2016 Donald Trump and "Brexit" elections, changing the script on how personality shapes political behavior, according to an international psychological study on voting behavior.

Research has long established that political attitudes are associated with the Big Five personality traits. 

For example, prior studies show low openness and high conscientiousness to be related to conservativism. 

But in 2016, two campaigns built on populist themes of fear, lost pride and loss aversion awoke previously uninfluential traits, particularly those of anxiety, anger and fear -- all of which are aspects of the Big Five trait of neuroticism.

Dog of the Week

Meet Oscar
Animal Rescue RI

Meet Oscar, a 3 year old shepherd mix.

A total gentleman who is good with other dogs.

He also knows his basic commands and really enjoys car rides.

Please stop by our shelter located at 506B Curtis Corner Road in Peace Dale or call 401-783-7606 for more information about Oscar or our many other adoptable pets waiting for their new forever homes.

VIDEO: Trump campaign used data stolen from thousands of Facebook accounts to target voters

Mass. Attorney General just opened an investigation into Trump and his shady election data company

Related imageThe New York Times and London’s Observer broke a joint story that proves Trump’s primary 2016 election data company, Cambridge Analytica, obtained hacked Facebook records to illegally harvest the data of 50 million American voters.

Data scientist Chris Wylie built the Cambridge Analytica data company into “Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare mindf*ck tool,” and he has the proof that his tools were built on illegally obtained Facebook data. (video below) 

They turned Facebook “likes” into a political weapon exploited by the Republican Party to help install Donald Trump into the White House.

That’s why Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey just launched a new investigation into the UK-based data company formed by hedge fund billionaire GOP kingmaker Robert Mercer, who owned Breitbart News.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Choice endangered in Rhode Island

Will RI Democrats Ignore Abortion Rights Protections?

Related imageRhode Island does not have a law that makes abortion legal, meaning the medical procedure would become illegal in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade

Rhode Island has several antiquated laws restricting abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and does not yet have a law that makes abortion legal, making these pro-choice bills all the more urgent.

Although the Catholic school she attended removed her portrait from the wall of notables after she took a pro-choice stance in the 2014 election, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has been mostly quiet on reproductive rights since she took office.

But with three bills in the state legislature aiming to advance reproductive rights in Rhode Island, Raimondo has confirmed she intends to sign them if they make their way through opposition from state legislators opposed to abortion rights.

Introduced in January, the Reproductive Health Care Act, HB 7340 and SB 2163, protects abortion rights made law in Roe v. Wade—similar to those passed by Democrats in neighboring Massachusetts—in case the landmark ruling is overturned. Sponsored by state Rep. Edith Ajello and state Sen. Gayle Goldin, both Providence Democrats, the bills are pending in committees.

No chaos. None.

For more cartoons by Matt Bors, CLICK HERE.

Help support RI's only truly no-kill shelter

New data shows how little Rhode Island needs guns and the gun industry

Rhode Island is 3rd LEAST dependent on the gun industry
Adam McCann, Financial Writer for WalletHub

For more cartoons by Wiley Miller, CLICK HERE.
With gun sales still in decline since Donald Trump took office and with the recent Parkland school shooting prompting more debates on the gun industry, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2018’s States Most Dependent on the Gun Industry.

To determine the states that depend most heavily on the arms and ammunitions industry both directly for jobs and political contributions and indirectly through firearm ownership, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 16 key metrics. 

The data set ranges from firearms industry jobs per capita to gun sales per 1,000 residents to gun ownership rate.

Curbing smoking among teenagers

Tanzi files bill to raise tobacco purchase age to 21

Related imageSaying the state must do more to address smoking as the serious threat to public health that it is, Rep. Teresa Tanzi introduced legislation to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in Rhode Island from 18 to 21.

The legislation (2018-H 7647) would apply to all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, and would take effect upon passage. Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) has introduced similar legislation (2018-S 2464) in the Senate.

If passed, Rhode Island would become the third state to adopt 21 as the minimum age for tobacco purchases, after Hawaii and California. Last year, Central Falls and Barrington adopted local ordinances prohibiting sales to those under 21, joining Boston and New York City among the more than 220 municipalities across the country with such ordinances.

Representative Tanzi points to success in reducing youth smoking in communities that adopt higher age restrictions, and the positive effect that less smoking would have on Rhode Islandershealth as well as public and private health care costs.

They’ll probably blame Obama and Hillary

Vanessa Trump just filed for divorce against Donald Trump, Jr. after the couple had been struggling with marital problems, including his controversial tweets.

You see, it wasn’t the fact that he’s a trophy hunter who has been seen in photos holding a severed elephant’s tail, presumably after murdering the innocent animal, but it was his tweets that crossed the line for her.

It’s difficult to have sympathy for her when her husband, who she married in 2005, has launched vile attacks, given in to conspiracy theories and has just been an all-around shit head.

But, it’s not just the tweets.