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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

VIDEO: He had him confused with Ted Nugent

To watch Pavarotti's amazing last performance of "Nessun Dorma" at the 2006 Olympics on YouTube:

Is The Donald really this oblivious to the entire world? And history? And, well, everything?

Two and a half months after embarrassing himself by implying that Frederick Douglass was still alive, he embarrasses himself by dropping the name of yet another famous person who has passed away – Luciano Pavarotti.

He didn’t just imply that Pavarotti is still living today (he died of pancreatic cancer ten years ago). 

While he and Italy’s prime minister held a joint press conference, he must have decided to praise Italy for the gift of Pavarotti (or rather, he decided to use Pavarotti to puff himself up and appear more superior) by saying:
“Pavarotti, friend of mine, great friend of mine.”
First off, as stated before, Pavarotti is no longer gracing the world with his amazing tenor voice. 

But it’s also not likely that Pavarotti was any friend of Trump’s at all.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Continuous war, continuous shake-downs

What’s the “Trump Doctrine” of foreign policy? At first glance, foreign policy under Trump seems inconsistent, arbitrary, and devoid of principle.

A few weeks ago, even before the airstrike on Syria, Trump communications director Mike Dubke told Trump’s assembled aides that international affairs presented a messaging challenge because the Trump administration lacks a coherent foreign policy. 

“There is no Trump doctrine,” Dubke declared. 

I think Dubke is being grossly unfair. Of course there’s a Trump Doctrine. You just have to know where to look for it. 

Funding the Trump Wall

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How it works

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Next decade literally do or die

Next ten years critical for achieving climate change goals
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis 

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Carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can be reduce in  two ways—by cutting our emissions, or by removing it from the atmosphere, for example through plants, the ocean, and soil.

The historic Paris Agreement set a target of limiting future global average temperature increase to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to even further limit the average increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Yet the timing and details of these efforts were left to individual countries.

In a new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) used a global model of the carbon system that accounts for carbon release and uptake through both natural and anthropogenic activities.

Mission control: Salty diet makes you hungry, not thirsty

New studies show that salty food diminishes thirst while increasing hunger
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association

Image result for salty foodWe've all heard it: eating salty foods makes you thirstier. But what sounds like good nutritional advice turns out to be an old-wives' tale. 

In a study carried out during a simulated mission to Mars, an international group of scientists has found exactly the opposite to be true. "Cosmonauts" who ate more salt retained more water, weren't as thirsty, and needed more energy.

For some reason, no one had ever carried out a long-term study to determine the relationship between the amount of salt in a person's diet and his drinking habits. 

Scientists have known that increasing a person's salt intake stimulates the production of more urine -- it has simply been assumed that the extra fluid comes from drinking. 

Not so fast! say researchers from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), Vanderbilt University and colleagues around the world. Recently they took advantage of a simulated mission to Mars to put the old adage to the test. Their conclusions appear in two papers in the current issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Show your support

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Concerned About Climate Change? Change Where You Bank!

Wall Street is destroying the planet with our own savings — so let's move them.

Image result for banks & climate changeOn April 29, hundreds of thousands of people will take part in the People’s Climate March in DC and around the country. The march will send a clear message that the majority of Americans understand that climate change is all too real — and they’ll continue to raise their voices until the government takes action.

The march is also a great way to inspire people to take action for climate solutions in their own communities — whether by calling their elected officials or speaking up at town halls, pushing their local and state governments to act, or working with schools and houses of worship to address the climate crisis without waiting for Washington.

If all that’s not for you, there may be an even simpler option: Move your money.

Monday, April 24, 2017

We must act to save Rhode Island’s children

Children’s deaths are horrifying and accountability is needed at DCYF
By Rep. Julie A. Casimiro

Image result for neglected childrenTo say that I am horrified by the death of so many children connected to DCYF would be an understatement, as I am sure it is for anyone else who has heard the same tragic news over the past couple of years.

At a recent House Oversight Committee meeting, it was revealed to the committee that over the past 26 months, 10 children who have been associated with DCYF have died, eight of them under the age of 18 months old.

This is beyond unacceptable.

The art of distraction

For more cartoons by Ruben Bolling, CLICK HERE.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

NGC 4302 and NGC 4298 

Seen edge-on, spiral galaxy NGC 4302 (left) lies about 55 million light-years away in the well-groomed constellation Coma Berenices.

A member of the large Virgo Galaxy Cluster, it spans some 87,000 light-years, a little smaller than our own Milky Way.

Like the Milky Way, NGC 4302's prominent dust lanes cut along the center of the galactic plane, obscuring and reddening the starlight from our perspective.

Smaller companion galaxy NGC 4298 is also a dusty spiral. But tilted more nearly face-on to our view, NGC 4298 can show off dust lanes along spiral arms traced by the bluish light of young stars, as well as its bright yellowish core.

In celebration of the 27th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope on April 24, 1990, astronomers used the legendary telescope to take this gorgeous visible light portrait of the contrasting galaxy pair.

"Look up in the sky....It's a bird..."

By TODD McLEISH/ecoRI News contributor

Rhode Island is the smallest state, but it plays an outsized role in providing food and habitat for migrating birds traveling through the region each fall.

That’s the preliminary result of the first year of data collected for the Rhode Island Bird Migration Atlas. The information combines satellite data of mass movements of birds during migration with field observations collected along 10 transects scattered throughout the state.

“We’ve confirmed what we’ve always suspected: Rhode Island is a very important stopover site for migrants. We’ve just never been able to put numbers to it before,” said Charles Clarkson, the ornithologist who leads the project on behalf of the University of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

Clarkson said the bulk of the birds migrating north along the Atlantic flyway in the spring travel to the west of Rhode Island, whereas most of those traveling south each autumn do so by crossing through the state.

Dog of the Week

Meet Dots
Animal Rescue Rhode Island

Dots is a one-year-old lab mix patiently waiting for his forever home.

Dots is an adventurous young pup who would do great with an active couple.

This sweet boy would absolutely LOVE to go home with another young dog.

He adores belly rubs and squeaky toys.

Won’t you come see this adorable pup today?

Congrats, Graduates! Here’s Your Diploma and Debt

44 million households now hold student debt.

Image result for student debtIt’s that time of year again. Flowers are flowering, spring is springing, and across the country college graduates are graduating with their newly awarded degrees held high.

Also higbh is the mountain of student debt most of these recent graduates are taking on. All told, 44 million Americans now owe student debt — including 7 in 10 graduating seniors last year, who owe an average of $37,000.

If you’re not one of those tens of millions of people, you might’ve missed how out of control student debt has become. Total student debt is approaching $1.4 trillion, surpassing auto loans and credit card debt.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Now we know more about why the Camp Davis deal went sour

Tribe rejected deal conditioned on yielding sovereignty
By Will Collette

For a time, it looked like the Narragansett Indian Tribe’s lands in Charlestown would be greatly enlarged and existing gaps in the 1978 borders of Narragansett tribal lands would be filled in.

The state of Rhode Island had offered the Tribe three parcels of land, two of them in Charlestown, as compensation because the Route 95 Providence Viaduct project in downtown Providence had improperly disturbed the site of an ancient Indian village.

Under the agreement, the state would turn over the 105-acre abandoned Camp Davis property (off Route 2) and the smaller nearby Chief Sachem Nighthawk property, as well as an important Salt Pond Archaeological Preserve in Narragansett to the Tribe.

But recent news reveals that this land transfer has come completely off the rails. The Narragansett tribe has filed suit in US District Court against the Federal Highway Administration seeking to block further construction on the I-95 project because RIDOT violated the land transfer agreement.

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The Providence Journal reports the Tribe cites actions by RIDOT that began about eight months into the negotiating process when DOT demanded the Tribe waive its sovereignty rights over the use of the property.

Because the Tribe refused the state demand, RIDOT filed notice on February 15 that it intended to cancel the land transfer offer. On March 20, RIDOT filed THIS REPORT explaining why it decided to pull the plug on negotiations.

VIDEO: new song from Bruce Springsteen

That's what makes us great
By Bruce Springsteen

To watch this great music video on YouTube:

Week 13 in review

Climate change and risk to fossil fuel industry

Sustainability train has left the station
Cambridge University Press

Image result for coal miningCommercial activity in fossil fuels is increasingly at odds with global actions to reduce the threat of climate change.

Burning coal, oil, and natural gas is responsible for two-thirds of humanity's emissions of greenhouse gases, and yet provides more than 20% of GDP in two dozen nation states.

By Citicorp's estimate, current commitments to reduce these emissions could mean forgoing $100 trillion in fossil fuel revenues by 2050 -- representing a huge disruption to global affairs, undermining national budgets and corporate balance sheets while exposing stakeholders, including pension holders and ordinary citizens in resource-exporting states, to myriad risks.

Give Your Old Stuff to Others — Not the Landfill

Spring cleaning? Don't throw it away...give it away

EDITOR'S NOTE: This topic is one I heartily endorse, as well as practice. What I do with clothing and household goods is donate them to the Jonnycake Center's resale store in Westerly. I give books, CDs and DVDs to the Cross' Mills Library. Building supplies and old furniture to South County Habitat's ReStore right here in Charlestown. And old electronics go to Charlestown-based Indie Cycle's regular drop-offs at the Charlestown Mini-Super. - W. Collettte

My neighbor moved out this week. I learned that when I found a moving truck blocking my car and I couldn’t get out of the driveway. No matter — by the end of the day, the truck was gone.

In its place, however, was a queen-sized pillow-top mattress, a wooden dresser, and five tires sitting there on the curb.

Then it rained for four days straight.

The dresser and the mattress appeared to be in perfect condition when she placed them out there. She probably could’ve gotten $100 for them if she’d sold them before she moved. But after four days of rain, who’d want them?

On the fifth day, the sun came out and I went for a walk. Another neighbor had three soggy couches on the curb, all apparently in good condition. At least, they had been before the rain.

Upset about the immense amount of waste now headed for the landfill, I told a friend about the furniture. She replied that her son had found an entire wardrobe of stylish clothing that others had tossed out, with much more going to the landfill.

Saving the planet can be hard to do. Who wants to deny yourself anything? And are you willing to spend extra money to lessen your impact?

I’ve always felt that the best place to look when trying to help the environment is at win-win solutions.

Trump is HIRING lobbyists

Top Ethics Official Says ‘There's No Transparency'
by Justin Elliott for ProPublica

Image result for draining the swampPresident Trump has stocked his administration with a small army of former lobbyists and corporate consultants who are now in the vanguard of the effort to roll back government regulations at the agencies they once sought to influence, according to an analysis of government records by the New York Times in collaboration with ProPublica.

The Times adds new details to our previous reporting on Trump's weakening of ethics rules and former lobbyists working on regulations they opposed on behalf of private clients just months ago.

The Times scrutinized financial disclosures of top White House staffers and found that the lobbyists and consultants in their ranks had more than 300 recent corporate clients and employers, including Apple and Anthem, the insurance company.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Trump “Armada” gaffe the most dangerous mistake yet

World wonders if they can believe anything Trump says

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Where in the world is the USS Carl Vinson?
As far as I am concerned, this week brought perhaps the most dangerous and destabilizing events in the presidency of Donald Trump, and it has been almost completely overshadowed by a cavalcade of news such as elections in Georgia and the Bill O'Reilly story.

But while many of us may be preoccupied, make no mistake the world is watching - and is worried.

For over a week, the American people and the world were led to believe that the United States was sending an aircraft carrier strike force to the waters off of North Korea, in an escalating tension over the standoff with that troublesome nation over its nuclear and missile ambitions.

President Trump boasted about his show of force. “We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier," he said.

The National Security Advisor and the Secretary of Defense both reiterated the information. Except it wasn't true. The carrier USS Carl Vinson and its accompanying ships were heading in the other direction, thousands of miles away.

How and why can this happen?

The cost of golf carts

Pic of the Moment

Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Red Spider Planetary Nebula 
From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day

Oh what a tangled web a planetary nebula can weave.

The Red Spider Planetary Nebula shows the complex structure that can result when a normal star ejects its outer gases and becomes a white dwarf star.

Officially tagged NGC 6537, this two-lobed symmetric planetary nebula houses one of the hottest white dwarfs ever observed,  probably as part of a binary star system.

Internal winds emanating from the central stars, visible in the center, have been measured in excess of 1000 kilometers per second.

These winds expand the nebula, flow along the nebula's walls, and cause waves of hot gas and dust to collide. 

Atoms caught in these colliding shocks radiate light shown in the above representative-color picture by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Red Spider Nebula lies toward the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius). Its distance is not well known but has been estimated by some to be about 4,000 light-years.

PRIVACY: smart phone fingerprint security is flaws

So you think you can secure your mobile phone with a fingerprint?
NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Image result for smart phone fingerprint securityNo two people are believed to have identical fingerprints, but researchers at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering and Michigan State University College of Engineering have found that partial similarities between prints are common enough that the fingerprint-based security systems used in mobile phones and other electronic devices can be more vulnerable than previously thought.

The vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication systems feature small sensors that do not capture a user's full fingerprint. 

Instead, they scan and store partial fingerprints, and many phones allow users to enroll several different fingers in their authentication system. Identity is confirmed when a user's fingerprint matches any one of the saved partial prints. 

The researchers hypothesized that there could be enough similarities among different people's partial prints that one could create a "MasterPrint."

Charlestown pollen undeterred by rainy weather

Even though we've had lots of gray days with rain or drizzle, the trees are putting out so much pollen that it is still at levels that can cause allergy sufferers a bit of misery. Here's the five-day outlook:

To see which types of pollen are in the air, continue...

Allow workers to create their own businesses

By Steve Ahlquist in Rhode Island’s Future

“Worker cooperatives allow businesses to be more than money-making enterprises,” said local co-op worker/owner Liz McDonnell of Fortnight Wine Bar, “When workers are owners and owners are workers, everyone is invested in the day-to-day and the long-term goals of the business. This permits the business to be more responsive to its community, making it a great place to live, work, and visit. I’m excited to give the worker cooperative model the legitimacy and clarity of its own enabling law.”

“Cooperatives are part of the solution to the problem of working in a capitalist economy,” said McDonnell, “in a traditional business workers sell their labor and the product of that labor belongs to the owner, not to the worker. So there’s a disconnect between your work and what you produce. Control over the terms of labor are also in the hands of the owner, with the worker negotiating at best from a position of weakness. In contrast, cooperatives allow workers to be reconnected to the product of their labor, to be invested to their work and recognized for the work that they do.”

Senator Donna Nesselbush (Democrat, District 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) and Representative Robert Craven (Democrat, District 32, North Kingstown) have introduced bills that will allow worker owned cooperatives to be started in Rhode Island. House Bill 6001, and Senate Bill 676 will allow organizations of working people to start cooperatively owned business. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Killing critically needed ocean research

By ecoRI News staff

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A Trump administration proposal to cut the national Sea Grant budget by $30 million effective April 28 would likely mean the elimination of the program altogether, including the Rhode Island Sea Grant program at the University of Rhode Island.

The cuts to Sea Grant and other federal environmental programs are administration proposals to offset costs for proposed increases in defense and border-protection activities. Rhode Island Sea Grant director Dennis Nixon said this is the first time a presidential administration has proposed eliminating Sea Grant in a current fiscal year.

"God Save the Queen!"

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May 7: Miles for Smiles Benefit Walk/Run

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We are excited to announce Dental Lifeline Network of Rhode Island's Miles for Smiles 5K Walk/Run Benefit Race Sunday, May 7th 2017. Dental Lifeline Network provides free comprehensive dental care for those with disabilities, who are elderly, or medically compromised. The 5K takes place at Ninigret Park in Charlestown, RI. Registration begins at 9:00 A.M. and the race starts at 10:00 A.M.

We invite you, your family, and friends to come and support Dental Lifeline Network Rhode Island. The race can either be walked, skipped, or run depending on your preference. Please consider registering online at the link below, or come to Ninigret Park at 9:00 A.M. for same-day registration.Visit our facebook event group in the link below and let us know if you are attending the event. We suggest you check for updates closer to the race. Please spread word of this fun event.
We hope to see you there!

Registration for the event can be found online at

The Facebook event for the race can be found at

If you have any questions, please call Alex Prevey or Terrie Straight at Arrowhead Dental Associates at 401-364-6300.

Arrowhead Dental Associates
4995 South County Trail
Charlestown, RI 02813
Email | Website

Charlestown area job openings

Gap widens between Charlestown unemployment rate and state average
By Will Collette

Image result for looking for jobsOn April 20, DLT announced that Rhode Island’s overall unemployment rate fell to 4.3%. 

That’s good news, except that rate is still the highest in New England and some of the drop was due to fewer people in the workforce.

As bad as that is, Charlestown is even worse with unemployment at 6.0% and a town government that doesn’t seem to care.

If they did care, they would take a serious look at some serious and practical things Charlestown could do to help boost employment, DESCRIBED HERE.

In the meantime, if you are out of work and looking for a job or looking for a  better job, I’ve collected an assortment of recent job postings for work in non-profits or government agencies in South County.

There’s a great on-line service, RI Community Jobs, provided by Brown University’s Swearer Center for Public Service. You can sign up to receive a daily e-mail with all the latest listings for the entire state plus nearby parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Here are some job announcements of note. 

Common drugs, uncommon risks?

Higher rate of serious problems after short-term steroid use
Broken bones, dangerous clots and sepsis all higher -- though still rare -- in those who were prescribed oral prednisone or other corticosteroids for 30 days or less
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Image result for prednisone side effectsMillions of times a year, Americans get prescriptions for a week's worth of steroid pills, hoping to ease a backache or quell a nagging cough or allergy symptoms. 

But a new study suggests that they and their doctors might want to pay a bit more attention to the potential side effects of this medication.

People taking the pills were more likely to break a bone, have a potentially dangerous blood clot or suffer a life-threatening bout of sepsis in the months after their treatment, compared with similar adults who didn't use corticosteroids, researchers from the University of Michigan report in a new paper in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Though only a small percentage of both groups went to the hospital for these serious health threats, the higher rates seen among people who took steroids for even a few days are cause for caution and even concern, the researchers say.

Draining the Swamp, continued

The Tainted Reverse Revolving Door
By Phil Mattera for the Dirt Diggers Digest

Given his own string of business controversies, it perhaps should come as no surprise that Donald Trump does not seem to worry much about the accountability track record of the companies from which he has recruited key members of his administration.

It’s well known that he chose as his Secretary of State the chief executive of environmental culprit Exxon Mobil, that he brought in a slew of people from controversial investment house Goldman Sachs, that his Treasury Secretary had operated a bank notorious for foreclosures, and that his first pick for Labor Secretary had run a fast-food company with numerous wage and hour violations.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that those were not anomalies. Research being carried out in collaboration with independent investigator Don Wiener shows that the administration also has a tendency in its second-tier White House and subcabinet appointees to select people associated with companies that have a checkered reputation.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Rule of Law

The starkest difference between dictatorships and democracies is that democracies are ruled by laws, and dictatorships are ruled by dictators. 

The “rule of law,” as it’s often referred to, stands for laws that emerge from a process responsive to the majority, that are consistently applied, and are applicable to everyone regardless of their position or power.

Donald Trump doesn’t seem to understand this. Within a matter of days, Trump has bombed Syria and a group of fighters in eastern Afghanistan.

On April 12, Trump authorized the Pentagon to drop a 22,000-pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) on people described as “Islamic State forces” in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border. 

It’s the first time this bomb – nicknamed the “mother of all bombs,” and the largest air-dropped munition in the U.S. military’s inventory – has ever been used in a combat.

It’s the largest explosive device America has utilized since dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. (By comparison, U.S. aircraft commonly drop bombs that weigh between 250 to 2,000 pounds.)

Why, exactly? It’s not clear. And what was Trump’s authority to do this? Even less clear. 

We still don’t know exactly why Trump bombed Syria. He said it was because Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, used chemical weapons on innocent civilians, including children. 

But it wasn’t the first time Assad had used chemical weapons. When he did in 2013, Trump counseled against bombing Syria in response. 

The boys

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Marine art contest at Mystic

Mystic Aquarium

West Marine Image

Enter West Marine's World Oceans Day Art Contest
Now through April 29

Click for more

World Oceans Day was created to recognize and honor the body of water which links us all. Young artists are invited to send original artwork inspired by the 2017 World Oceans Day theme, "Our Oceans, Our Future."  
Winning pieces of artwork with the artists' signatures will appear on fun, innovative "pieceless" puzzles, which will be sold right here at Mystic Aquarium and in select West Marine stores across the United States.  Each winner will also receive a $250 West Marine gift card.

Mystic Aquarium celebrates World Oceans Day June 10.  We are bringing the oceans to you with engaging hands-on activities all day! Stay tuned to for more details.

Mystic Aquarium | 55 Coogan Boulevard  | 860.572.5955

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