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Sunday, September 30, 2012

You're just underpaid!


Mark your calendar

Tuesday night - meet your soon-to-be new State Senator
From the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee


Farm Bureau honors Rep. Donna Walsh

Award given for the non-farmer who has done the most for farming 
Donna Walsh news release


The Rhode Island Farm Bureau’s board of directors has selected Rep. Donna Walsh to receive their annual “Golden Tractor” award.

This award is given to the person who has done the most to help Rhode Island agriculture but does not personally earn a living from farming.

The Farm Bureau singled out Rep. Walsh’s consistent legislative advocacy to help Rhode Island agriculture survive and thrive.

“I believe expanded agriculture in Rhode Island and especially in rural South County offers Rhode Island an important way boost jobs and the economy,” said Rep. Walsh.


A Vanishing Act for Good Jobs

For those on the economic ladder's lowest rungs, the middle rungs have almost completely disappeared.
Ashley Brown wants to be a bank teller. When I met her this past spring, the 26-year old single mother was cold-calling banks and credit unions, looking for one that might hire her. So far, she'd had one interview and a lot of unfriendly brush-offs. No offers.
Brown is one of those Americans whom Mitt Romney has dismissed as part of the 47 percent of us who are "dependent upon government" and therefore not worthy of his concern. I met her in Sacramento, California at a program called Job Club, which aims to help people on welfare find work.
Brown worked in a warehouse before being laid off, and while she was pregnant she attended business college to get a certificate in medical billing and coding. But warehouse work had taken its toll on her tiny frame, and she'd had no luck finding work in a medical office. And so she spent her days like so many others, looking for jobs that didn't seem to exist in a city where unemployment hovers at 13 percent. "If I could just get my foot in the door," she sighed.


Charlestown Affordable Housing – facts versus CCA fiction

Compare the real data to George Tremblay’s imaginary numbers
This book is NOT on George Tremblay's reading
list. He prefers to make up his own facts.

Why the tin foil hat? Tremblay insulted one of my
colleagues by calling her "the lady in the tin foil
hat." He either didn't get Ron Areglado's memo
or he didn't look in the mirror.
By Will Collette


HousingWorksRI is Rhode Island’s leading authority on affordable housing, and its annual report is commonly accepted around the state as the primary book for people who want the truth about affordable housing, as opposed to Tremblay’s overcooked version done according to the Charlestown Citizens Alliance’s (CCA’s) recipe.

You can view or download the entire Housing Fact Book for free by clicking here.

On page 19, you’ll see a full page of data on affordable housing in Charlestown. There are also full pages on the other three towns – Richmond, Hopkinton and Exeter – covered in George Tremblay’s “study.”


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Culture of Dependency

Get to work, you slackers!
By Tim Eagan

For the whole cartoon, click here.

The 'Self-Made' Hallucination of America's Rich

Like Mitt Romney, most Americans who amass grand fortunes have a substantial head start.
Let's cut Mitt Romney some slack. Not every off-the-cuff comment he made at that now infamous, secretly taped $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton reveals an utterly shocking personal failing. Take, for instance, Mitt's remark that he has "inherited nothing."
A variety of commentators have jumped on Romney for that. They've pointed out that Mitt, the son of a wealthy CEO, has enjoyed plenty of privilege — everything from an elite private school education to a rolodex full of rich family friends he could tap to start up his business career. On top of that, the struggling young Mitt had $1 million worth of stock his father threw his way to tide him over until the big paydays started arriving.


The Price of Admission

Across our country, women are walking away from Regal Cinema's pretentious abrogation of our Fourth Amendment rights.
Gosh, I feel so much safer now that teenage ticket takers at the Regal chain of movie theaters have been directed by corporate chieftains to search the purses of their female customers.
Responding to that horrible mass murder in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, the Regalites say they've begun rummaging through movie-goers' purses to protect us from…well, from what?
The Dark Knight Rises shooter had an armory of weapons that wouldn't fit in any purse. And need I point out that he was a he? Yet, Regal's rummaging is apparently reserved for women, even though practically all mass shootings have been committed by male specimens of our species.


CCA adds affordable housing for the elderly to list of things they hate

CCA Council candidate George Tremblay launches all out attack on imaginary elderly housing cheats
By Will Collette

As predicted, CCA-endorsed Planning Commissioner (and CCA candidate for Town Council) George Tremblay rolled out his “research” on affordable housing at the Planning Commission’s September 26 meeting.

Tremblay, who touts his credentials as a scientific researcher, produced a thoroughly biased “report” whose “findings” could have been predicted last January when Tremblay started pushing for a study that would validate the anti-affordable housing position of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance.

While it is no surprise that Tremblay produced a report that supported his preconceived conclusions, Tremblay added a whole new layer of bizarre to the increasingly outlandish positions the CCA and its candidates are taking as we get closer to the November 6 Election.

Tremblay revealed that he has discovered yet another threat to Charlestown’s bucolic rural slumber – predatory millionaire senior citizens.

Barry Hinckley for sale

By Bob Plain in RIFuture.org

Remember when Republican Senate candidate Barry Hinckley courted out-of-state political donors by saying, “Although many of you who live out of state cannot vote for me – remember, I can vote for you.”? Well, it seems as if one out-of-state group has taken him up on the offer.

Hinckley was endorsed by the Freedomworks PAC on Tuesday, which on its website describes itself as “leading the fight for lower taxes, less government, and more freedom.”
You can say that again.

Promises, promises


The winning CCA candidates haven’t done such a hot job of fulfilling the promises of the CCA platform. How well have they kept their own personal promises?




By Linda Felaco

As I’ve shown in my review of the 2010 campaign literature of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance,[1] the winning CCA candidates not only have not done much of anything they promised to do, but they actually did some of the very same things they professed to be so “disappointed” in the previous council—all hand-picked by the CCA—for having done.

And yet they somehow managed to maintain the faith of their overlords on the CCA steering committee, since the CCA is letting them run for reelection rather than replacing them with a new slate like they did in 2010.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Better than the Nanny state

The Grandpa state
By Jen Sorenson

For the whole cartoon, click here.

DEM cancels Charlestown fly-fishing class at Kettle Pond


DEM ANNOUNCES CANCELLATION OF SEPTEMBER 29TH SALTWATER FLY-FISHING WORKSHOP AT KETTLE POND VISITORS CENTER IN CHARLESTOWN

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management's Division of Fish and Wildlife announces that the "Introduction to Saltwater Fly-Fishing" workshop previously scheduled for Saturday, September 29 at the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Kettle Pond Visitors' Center in Charlestown has been cancelled due to low registration.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

A Space Shuttle Over Los Angeles 
From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day

It's not every day that a space shuttle lands at LAX. Although this was a first for the major Los Angeles airport hub, it was a last for the space shuttle Endeavour, as it completed its tour of California skies and landed, albeit atop a 747, for the last time.

During its last flight the iconic shuttle and its chase planes were photographed near several of California's own icons including the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Hollywood Sign, and the skyline of Los Angeles.

Previously, in May, the space shuttle Enterprise was captured passing behind several of New York City's icons on its way to the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum.

Pictured below, the piggybacking shuttle was snapped on approach last week to LAX as it crossed above and beyond a major Los Angeles street.

Now retired, the space shuttles are all museum pieces, with the above shuttle scheduled to be towed along the streets of LA to the California Science Center.

OMG PD

Paul Bunyan Doppelgänger, Show and Tell Gone Bad
·         By Abigail Crocker and Samantha Turner from the Narragansett-South Kingstown Patch

We compile noteworthy crime stories from across the region for OMGPD.

Reckless Roller Blader Arrested on Warrant
A Woonsocket police officer "pulled over" a roller blader after he allegedly coasted through a stop sign, almost got hit by a vehicle and then made a less-than-flattering hand gesture. After he was asked to sit on a curb, he was arrested for a warrant related to a breaking and entering case

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Here's one from the Gipper


A Memo to Mitt and Ann

Pretend that you like people.
I feel sorry for Mitt Romney. By now, he has offended just about every American group, except billionaires, morons, and robots. To stand a chance on Election Day, he must get his act together right now.
Pundits and experts can argue over whether Mitt's problem is biological, moral, or electrical. I think he just needs some pointers. In that spirit, I've developed this handy manual of do's and don'ts for the Republican presidential nominee — plus some tips for his wife.

Toxic products

By ecoRI.org News staff
Madison Avenue’s stealth use of labels to market everything from cologne to jeans has been co-opted by K Street. Candidates are elected or not based on catchy labels produced by pundits, political advisers and marketing agencies. Flip-flopper, insider, outsider, moderate, pro-choice, pro-family, flaming liberal, bleeding heart, ultraconservative and hawk are among the empty tags we affix to Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Greens and Cool Moose.
Candidates are seldom elected based on their ideas, honesty, integrity and intellect. The same could be said for many of our purchases. Advertisers spent $144 billion in 2011 to entice us to buy more and more stuff, much of it unnecessary and bad for public health and the environment.
The following is a list of some products you don’t need, but are advertised as if they are essential to our existence:

Leg committee chaired by Donna Walsh plans to work on EDC reform

Joint Economic Development Committee eager to study RIPEC’s proposals

STATE HOUSE – The leaders of the Permanent Joint Committee on Economic Development said today they will seriously consider the proposals made by an independent evaluation of the state’s economic development efforts, with an eye toward vetting legislation in the upcoming session.

The Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council issued a report yesterday recommending systematic changes in the way Rhode Island pursues economic growth, and gave a presentation yesterday on its findings to the joint committee, which is co-chaired by Rep. Donna M. Walsh and Sen. James C. Sheehan.

Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee asked the nonprofit, independent RIPEC to review the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (EDC) following the collapse of Curt Shilling’s 38 Studios. In 2010, RIEDC backed $75 million in loans for the video game company as part of a deal in which the company would move from Massachusetts to Rhode Island. After struggling with payments on the loan, the company declared bankruptcy earlier this year.

UPDATED: Talking Taxes

Let’s have an honest discussion about taxes
By Will Collette

The biggest mistake Charlestown Democrats made last November when they presented a proposal for a $1000 Homestead Tax Credit to the Town Council was to tell the truth.

Town Democrats did a full disclosure on who would benefit – homeowners who make Charlestown their permanent home, with the greatest benefit going to Charlestown citizens with homes in the $200-$500K range – and who would not, specifically, nonresident property owners. 

They talked about how much it would cost. Both here on Progressive Charlestown and on the website of the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee, we provided you with our Magic Tax Calculator so you could see exactly how you would make out under the CDTC proposal.

Town Democrats explained why they were proposing the tax credit plan – that town reassessments gave million-dollar properties, most of which are owned by nonresidents, a 7% break under the new tax rate, plus many of the communities where Charlestown’s nonresident property owners live grant Homestead property tax breaks. Further, non-residents do not share in the costs of state infrastructure that those of us who live here pay through state taxes, but our part-time visitors do not.

But that sparked a revolt by the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) and RI Statewide Coalition (RISC), both of whom have a long history of advocacy for wealthy property owners and the “rights” of nonresidents.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Further gaffes

More from that Romney video
By Tom Tomorrow

Click here for the whole cartoon.

Power East Coast via wind?

From: Miguel Llanos, NBC News on ENN.com
Placing wind turbines off the East Coast could meet the entire demand for electricity from Florida to Maine, according to engineering experts at Stanford University.
It would require 144,000 offshore turbines standing 270 feet tall — not one of which exists since proposals have stalled due to controversy and costs. But the analysis shows it's doable and where the best locations are, says study co-author Mark Jacobson, a Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

NGC 2736: The Pencil Nebula 
From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day

This shock wave plows through space at over 500,000 kilometers per hour.

Moving toward to bottom of this beautifully detailed color composite, the thin, braided filaments are actually long ripples in a sheet of glowing gas seen almost edge on. 

Cataloged as NGC 2736, its narrow appearance suggests its popular name, the Pencil Nebula.

About 5 light-years long and a mere 800 light-years away, the Pencil Nebula is only a small part of the Vela supernova remnant.

The Vela remnant itself is around 100 light-years in diameter and is the expanding debris cloud of a star that was seen to explode about 11,000 years ago.

Initially, the shock wave was moving at millions of kilometers per hour but has slowed considerably, sweeping up surrounding interstellar gas.

But we're gonna need bigger boats

Researchers examine a great white shark that washed up on 
Goosewing Beach in Little Compton earlier this month. 
The shark was estimated to be 13 feet long, 
weight about 1,600 pounds
By MICHAEL LOMBARDI/ecoRI.org News contributor

Summers here in New England bring a few things for shark lovers — summertime blues off the Rhode Island coast, Discovery’s “Shark Week” and, in recent years, the great white, making “Jaws” a reality.

With great white sightings off Cape Cod making national news headlines in recent summers, I often field inquiries about my own experiences with sharks while diving. In the tropics, with clear water, sharks can be seen as a fairly common occurrence. 

I’ve spent enough time there to encounter numerous species — reefs, lemons, nurses, bulls and hammerheads. Each has its own unique set of behaviors, and each interacts with humans just a little differently.


Science or pseudoscience?



Is this water or asphalt?

The CCA’s 2010 campaign literature promised “Experience, Conservation, Science” on the Planning Commission. Yet pretty much anytime Chair Ruth Platner is asked about the science behind her proposed ordinances, she's unable to explain it.

 

 

Part 1: Actions speak louder than platforms
Part 2: “We have met the enemy and he is us”
Part 3: CCA family values
Part 4: Whose interest does the CCA serve?
 

 

By Linda Felaco

Living in an environmentally sensitive area, you’d expect Charlestown residents to be concerned about the environment. And indeed, a 2008 e-mail survey by the Charlestown Citizens Alliance showed that nearly 90% of respondents identified the environment as an issue of concern. Though I can’t vouch for the validity of the results given that the CCA gives no information about the methodology.

I think most people would agree that addressing environmental issues should be based on sound science. And the word “science” rightly featured prominently on the Planning Commission page of CCA’s 2010 campaign mailer.[1] Yet when Planning Commission Chair Ruth Platner discusses scientific issues at public meetings, she’s generally long on rhetoric and short on details.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Alternative theories on climate change

Hm, wonder which one it is?
By Occupy Posters


If you like turnips…

Photos and text by KARA DiCAMILLO/ecoRI.org News contributor

I recently had a conversation with a friend about turnips. She was telling me how much she loved them and I told her it brought back a memory from when I was a teenager. There was one Thanksgiving that there were turnips added to our mashed potatoes — one of my favorite parts of the dinner — and I just couldn’t bring myself eat them.

Because of that memory I haven’t gone out of my way to eat them until this past week when they were a part of my CSA.

So what was I going to do with turnips that would have otherwise rotted in the refrigerator? Make mashed potatoes, of course. I use a ricer for my mashed potatoes because it gives them an ultra-creamy texture, but you can also use a food processor or a good old-fashioned masher. 

Mosquito update

DEM urges continued precautions
DEM news release


PROVIDENCE -- The Department of Environmental Management announces that test results from the remaining 116 mosquito pools, or samples, from traps set statewide during the week of September 10 are negative for both West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). DEM announced last week that of the mosquitoes trapped on September 10, one pool trapped in Westerly was confirmed positive for WNV, one pool from Warren was confirmed positive for EEE, and one sample collected in North Kingstown tested positive for Highlands J virus.

Can't get there from here


A few years ago I worked for ITA Software, a very successful privately-held company whose customers were airlines. Along with about a hundred other people there, I was on a big project to build a new airline reservation system from the ground up, something that pretty much hadn’t been done since the 1970s.

It may surprise you to know that most airlines still rely on reservation software originally written before 1976, though these systems have seen their code base updated and wrapped with more modern trappings since then.

One theory that explains the Ricci deposition

Your Memory Is Like the Telephone Game, Altered With Each Retelling
Remember the telephone game where people take turns whispering
a message into the ear of the next person in line?  By the time the last
person speaks it out loud, the message has radically changed.
It's been altered with each retelling. Turns out your memory is
 a lot like the telephone game, according to a new Northwestern
Medicine study. (Credit: © Minerva Studio / Fotolia)

Remember the telephone game where people take turns whispering a message into the ear of the next person in line? By the time the last person speaks it out loud, the message has radically changed. It's been altered with each retelling.

Turns out your memory is a lot like the telephone game, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Spotlight on George Tremblay

Planning Commission will hear Tremblay's theories about affordable housing and senior citizen millionaires who cheat at Wednesday meeting
By Will Collette

When George Tremblay ran for Planning Commission in 2010, he told Charlestown voters about his career as a scientific researcher and his decision to dedicate his service to the town through the Planning Commission. For that, voters rewarded him with a six-year term.

But after less than two years on the Planning Commission, Tremblay is now a candidate for Town Council on the CCA slate, perhaps emulating ex-Gov. Sarah Palin, running mate to Sen. John McCain, whose campaign Tremblay supported in 2008[1].

At the upcoming Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday, September 26, we get the rollout of a sample of Tremblay’s research, his long-awaited study on Low and Moderate Income Housing in Charlestown, Richmond, Hopkinton and Exeter. Is affordable housing a threat or a menace to our rural way of life, a conspiracy by wealthy senior citizens or simply an annoyance to Tremblay and his colleagues in the Charlestown Citizens Alliance?

Monday, September 24, 2012

This should work

What Would We Do If The T-Rex Came Back?

From Fake Science


Green Energy Takes a Hit

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI.org News staff
Vito Buonomano doesn’t beat around the bush when talking about renewable energy and our future. His solar installation business is hurting, the state’s new incentive program for renewable energy, he said, snubs small projects, and he's concerned little is being done to address climate change.
“It’s horrifying,” he said of the predicted effects of sea level rise during a recent meeting held by the state Office of Energy Resources (OER) for renewable energy developers. “Why don’t we tell this to our grandchildren? And we’re sitting here arguing about pennies.”
The pennies he refers to are the monthly charges on National Grid utility bills that fund renewable energy programs. Most residential customers pay about 2 cents daily to subsidize these incentives.

TONIGHT: CCA Surprise!

Promises of consultation broken
Planning Commission and Town Council pop short-notice workshop
By Will Collette

You just can’t beat the CCA-controlled Town Council and Planning Commission for their “open, transparent, professional and civil” approach to town government.

With the barest, minimum legal notice, no fanfare and no supporting documents posted on Clerkbase, the Town Council and Planning Commission have sprung a special “workshop” to discuss forming a “Historic District Committee” on Monday night. There’s not even a CCA e-bleat.

The last time this issue was discussed was at the July 9 Town Council meeting, raised by Marge Frank as an issue that should be considered. Planning Commissar Ruth Platner immediately stepped up to the podium to argue against having a Historic District Commission because, she said, it could apply very strict rules to historic areas. Click here to listen to the discussion.

Ode to an Autumn Olive

My favorite invasive species
Autumn Olives, nice and ripe
By Will Collette

With the coming of fall, I look forward to harvesting the last edible wild berry of the year, the Autumn Olive

My brother-in-law Mike O’Reilly and I have had a running battle over Autumn Olives for several years. Mike is the environmental officer for the town of Dartmouth, MA, and, as such, he made it plain to me that Autumn Olives are a very bad invasive species.


Whose interest does the CCA serve?



In 2010, the CCA promised to “create a government that serves the people’s interest.” But which people are they serving?

 

Part 1: Actions speak louder than platforms
Part 2: “We have met the enemy and he is us”
Part 3: CCA family values

By Linda Felaco

It’s not always easy for public officials to divine the will of the people, and elections can serve as a wake-up call in this regard. Sure, some folks write or call their legislators to let them know where they stand on specific issues, but they are a tiny minority within the electorate. And government would come to a standstill if a public hearing or a referendum had to be held on every single issue that came up.

Though if you’re proposing sweeping changes that would affect key areas of town, calling a public hearing with the barest legal minimum amount of advance notice is not a good way to take an accurate reading of the will of the people either.

And if you campaign for office on a specific issue and are then elected, seems a pretty safe bet that the will of the people is that you keep your promise.

Time for Answers from DiBello, Part 4

Oops, she did it again
By Will Collette

For Part 1, click here
For Part 2, click here
For Part 3, click here

Continuing my series of articles in response to Charlestown Town Council member Lisa DiBello’s June 25 public attack on me from the Council dais for being a “liar,” I am reviewing the volumes of material I’ve presented here in Progressive Charlestown and the questions that DiBello has never answered.

DiBello’s track record shows a persistent disdain for accountability. In Part 2, I reviewed her refusal to provide copies of her IRS-990 reports for her home-based “charity,” A Ray of Hope, as she is required to do by federal law. These reports, filed annually with the Internal Revenue Service, are supposed to detail a charity’s income and expenses. The IRS-990 reports are the single most important accountability tool available to the public on the behavior of nonprofit charities.

DiBello has also never filed the simple, two-page annual report with the RI Secretary of State by the June 30 deadline. Ever. For the entire 12 years since A Ray of Hope was incorporated. The main information in this report is a listing of the officers and board members who, by law, have a fiduciary responsibility to properly manage the nonprofit.

DiBello just filed her latest state report, late, as usual, on August 17, more than a month and a half overdue.