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Friday, July 20, 2018

Hail to the Chief

Meant "shouldn't," not "should

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Sunday Ninigret concert postponed

Due to predicted inclement weather and thunderstorm warnings, Sunday's Concert has been postponed until September 9th. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope that many of you can still attend at the re-scheduled date.

Secret threat to Americans

How the EPA and the Pentagon Downplayed a Growing Toxic Threat

By Abrahm Lustgarten 

By the 1970s, DuPont and 3M had used them to develop Teflon and Scotchgard, and they slipped into an array of everyday products, from gum wrappers to sofas to frying pans to carpets.

Known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, they were a boon to the military, too, which used them in foam that snuffed out explosive oil and fuel fires.

It’s long been known that, in certain concentrations, the compounds could be dangerous if they got into water or if people breathed dust or ate food that contained them.

Tests showed they accumulated in the blood of chemical factory workers and residents living nearby, and studies linked some of the chemicals to cancers and birth defects.

Now two new analyses of drinking water data and the science used to analyze it make clear the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense have downplayed the public threat posed by these chemicals.

YDRI endorses opponent to Sen. Elaine Morgan

Young Democrats of Rhode Island PAC Announces First Round of 2018 Endorsements

The Young Democrats of Rhode Island Political Action Committee (YDRI PAC) is proud to announce our first round of 2018 endorsements.

“These candidates were selected based on their commitment to the values that young Rhode Islanders care about. Their willingness to take hard stands on the most pressing issues of our time is why they have earned our endorsement, including:
Fighting to reverse the effects of climate change through rapid expansion of our green energy economy,
  • Investing in our schools and teachers,
  • Fighting for a $15 living minimum wage,
  • Expanding protections for workers,
  • Standing strong for women’s right to choose, and
  • Ensuring every Rhode Islander has access to a high quality and affordable education, housing, and healthcare”

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Who’s on the ballot for Charlestown Municipal office?

Loaded ballot for the first time in years
By Will Collette
Screen shot from the RI Secretary of State's database

The deadline has now passed for candidates running in local Rhode Island elections in 2018 to turn in the required numbers of resident signatures on their nomination papers.

Small minds and hobgobblins

Pic of the Moment

Image result for consistency the hobgoblin of little minds

Getting a bigger boat

URI-led consortium selected to operate new research ship to replace R/V Endeavor
$100 million vessel to be delivered to GSO in 2021

Artist’s rendering of the new Regional Class Research Vessel
An artist’s rendering of the new Regional Class Research Vessel to be operated by URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography and home-ported at the University’s Narragansett Bay Campus. (Glosten Associates)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected the East Coast Oceanographic Consortium, led by the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, to operate a new oceanographic research ship, one of only three such vessels in the nation.

Owned by NSF and valued at over $100 million, the Regional Class Research Vessel will be constructed in Louisiana, delivered to Rhode Island in 2021 and home-ported at URI’s Narragansett Bay Campus.

New Bedford harbor is one of America’s worst toxic waste dumps

Fishermen disregard New Bedford Harbor’s lingering toxic past
It was about 4:30 p.m. on a Friday, and Arthur Burton was standing on a pier by Fort Tabor in New Bedford, Massachusetts, with a fishing pole.

He fishes all over the area, from Rhode Island to Cape Cod, but today he decided to cast his line into waters that flow in and out of the New Bedford Harbor.

Burton is looking for stripers, or striped bass, blues, also known as bluefish, and tautog. 

If it's the right size, the fish will come home with him. If they are too small, back in the water they go. But one thing that isn't weighing into his decision: pollutants in the fish.

"For the most part, they are migrant. They go in and go out. They don't live in the harbor," Burton told EHN.

But despite Burton's assertions, the fish that swim in the waters of New Bedford Harbor are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are persistent organic pollutants. The levels, depending on the fish, are not healthy to consume.

Burton isn't alone. Despite an approximate 35-year clean-up of the harbor, there are still harmful levels of toxics in the fish. 

The Environmental Protection Agency and local city officials have put up signs and have worked to spread the word about contaminated fish, but studies suggest the local anglers are still eating far too many toxic fish.

PCBs were used in electrical equipment and as industrial solvents. The chemical family was banned in the 1970s amid concern that PCBs bioaccumulated in wildlife and people. 

The chemicals are fat soluble and prefer to bind to fish tissue over the sediment. Fish can eat PCBs by eating smaller fish or life growing in the sediment, or they might absorb the PCBs through their skin, Superfund expert David Carpenter, director of University at Albany's Institute for Health and the Environment, told EHN.

Do you believe you have a right to privacy?

Trump's new Supreme pick believes you don't
President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Why should you care? 

Because everything from reproductive rights to voting, education, and health care is now at stake.

Kavanaugh, a judicial ideologue committed to pulling the Court further to the right, may also reverse decades of key rulings that uphold the constitutional right to personal liberty and autonomy.

All Americans say they value personal freedom, especially the right to make our own decisions about our private lives. 

Every day, we take that liberty for granted, from exercising our right to free speech to lighting up sparklers on the Fourth of July. Cherishing our liberties is as American as apple pie — but our right to exercise those liberties could be undone.
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Nowhere is the issue more critical than on reproductive rights. Kavanaugh’s nomination will mean a major battle to undo key protections in Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case that firmly established the right to access safe, legal abortion.

Striking down Roe would immediately outlaw abortion in states where pre-Roe anti-abortion laws are technically still on the books. 

As many as 22 states could be impacted over the course of two years.

That’s bad enough. But it’s also critical to remember the reasoning behind the historic 7-2 ruling: that people have a constitutional right to privacy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

VIDEO: We could maybe build a time machine?

How to prevent future Trumps

To watch this video on YouTube:

Why did so many working class voters choose a selfish, thin-skinned, petulant, lying, narcissistic, boastful, megalomaniac for president? 

It’s important to know, because we need to stop more Trumps in the future. 

The answer lies in the interplay between deep-seated racism and stagnant and declining wages. Both must be addressed.

Some white working class men and women were – and still are – receptive to Trump’s bigotry.  But what made them receptive? Racism and xenophobia aren’t exactly new to American life. Fears of blacks and immigrants have been with us since the founding of the Republic.

What changed was the economy. Since the 1980s, the wages and economic prospects of the typical American worker have stagnated. Nearly 80 percent now live paycheck to paycheck, and those paychecks have grown less secure.

Meanwhile, all the economy’s gains have gone to the richest ten percent, mostly the top 1 percent. 

Wealthy individuals and big corporations have, in turn, invested some of those gains into politics.

Supremely scary

For more cartoons by Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE.

If life imitated politics

If Life Imitated Politics
For more cartoons by Jen Sorenson, CLICK HERE.

Another reason why we should go to war with Canada

By TODD McLEISH/ecoRI News contributor
 Volunteer Alexis McCabe learned Canada geese are stronger than they look. (Todd McLeish/ecoRI News photos)
Volunteer Alexis McCabe learned Canada geese are
stronger than they look.
(Todd McLeish/ecoRI News photos)
The Canada goose on Alexis McCabe’s lap looked anything but comfortable. The bird was upside down, with its feet and belly pointed skyward and its head between McCabe’s legs. 

But that was how McCabe, a first-time volunteer, had just been taught to hold the goose as she attached an aluminum band around the bird’s leg.

“It was a very bizarre experience,” admitted McCabe, a Warwick resident and a student at the Community College of Rhode Island. 

“I was very concerned about the location of its beak. And banding it was more difficult than I thought it was going to be, because the goose was a lot stronger than I expected.”

The goose and a dozen others had been herded by five kayakers — staff and volunteers with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) — into a pen adjacent to Green End Pond on July 2 as part of an annual effort to monitor Rhode Island’s resident Canada goose population.

Capturing the geese took longer than banding them, but even that wasn’t especially difficult, since the birds were in the middle of molting their flight feathers, a three-week process that begins in mid-June and makes them unable to fly.

Josh Beuth, the DEM biologist who oversees the banding of 600 to 800 resident geese each summer, said the state’s population of non-migratory geese was established in the late 1980s, when the migratory population was declining.

“The resident population has taken off better than anyone expected they would, and now we have a fairly liberal hunting season to keep them in check,” he said.

Beuth estimated that there are between 3,000 and 7,000 Canada geese that live in Rhode Island year-round, mostly near urban areas along Narragansett Bay, including Apponaug and Pawtuxet coves in Warwick, the Seekonk River in Providence and East Providence, and in Newport and Middletown, where “big houses have big lawns that go down to large bodies of water.”

Where the geese gather in areas of high density, the birds’ feces can raise bacterial levels and increase nitrogen in the water, which can lead to algae blooms and unhealthy water.

“The geese aren’t the primary source of pollution that leads to the closure of beaches, but they definitely contribute to the problem,” Beuth said.

The birds can also be a nuisance to homeowners, due to the large quantity of droppings they leave on lawns.

“The most common thing I hear when I show up at a site to band the birds is, ‘Are you here to take the geese away?’” Beuth said. “But we can’t relocate wildlife. As soon as they can fly again, they’ll go right back where they came from. And nobody else wants the problem anyway.”

He advises residents with nuisance geese to allow a natural vegetative buffer to grow between the water’s edge and the lawn, to provide a place for possible predators to hide and to make it difficult for the geese to get from the water to the lawn.

 Biologists and volunteers banding 600 to 800 resident geese each summer.
Biologists and volunteers banding 600 to 800 resident geese each summer.
“If the geese have to get through a place where a coyote or a fox could be hiding, they might not go there,” he said.

To keep the population of resident geese from expanding too much, the state has extended goose hunting season and raised the bag limit for those hunting resident geese. 

Since it’s impossible to tell the difference between a migrant and resident goose, the fall hunting season begins in September, long before the migrant geese arrive in the region, when up to 15 geese may be harvested per hunter per day.

In Providence, Bristol, and Kent counties, and the northern part of Washington County, where most of the resident geese live during the winter months, the hunting season extends into February, with a bag limit of five birds per day.

“The areas where the resident geese are hunted have far fewer nuisance issues than in the urban areas where hunting isn’t allowed and where people feed them, which only adds to the problem,” Beuth said.

The population of migrant Canada geese has recovered from the declines it experienced in the 1980s and ’90s, though in recent years it has undergone another slight decline, leading state wildlife officials to shorten the hunting season this year from 70 days to 60 and reduce the daily bag limit from three to two.

“Migrant birds breed on the tundra, where they have a limited breeding season,” Beuth said. “If it’s a late ice-out year or there’s limited food available, it could lead to the birds being in poor condition or having poor reproduction. They have boom and bust years, and if you get several bust years in a row, the population can really take a hit.”

After the team of goose banders completed its work at Green End Pond, they moved on to Gardiner Pond, where they banded 25 Canada geese and captured six others that had been banded in previous years. 

By the end of the goose molting period, the team of biologists and volunteers banded a total of 704 resident Canada geese in Rhode Island and recaptured an additional 259 previously banded birds.

Rhode Island resident and author Todd McLeish runs a wildlife blog.

Know what your plants need before fertilizing

Wrong food = bad results
Oregon State University

Related imageIn a perfect world, garden plants would feed themselves. As it is, we’ve got to help them along sometimes.

Plants take up nutrients from the soil but when those nutrients are missing, it’s time for fertilizer.

“Plants pull out nutrients as they grow,” said Weston Miller, a horticulturist with Oregon State University Extension Service. “Unless they’re put back in, the plant suffers.”

But knowing which fertilizer to choose, how much to apply and which plants to feed is not always obvious. Knowing the plants’ needs makes all the difference.

Latest genius idea: let’s catch a LOT more fish NOW

GOP controlled House passes bill to eviscerate nation's marine ecosystems, fisheries
discovery channel television GIFConservations, scientists, and members of fishing communities and industry expressed outrage and disappointment after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on July 11 that experts warn will set the nation's fishing industry back decades by eviscerating protections that have made U.S. fisheries more sustainable and undermining the health of marine ecosystems as well as the communities that live off the ocean.

With a final vote of 222 to 193, the bill known as H.R. 200—officially titled the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act—was passed along party lines, with just nine Democrats voting in favor and just 15 Republicans voting against. See the full roll-call vote here.

[Rhode Islands Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline both voted NO.

The problem with the legislation, say people like Martin Hayden, vice president for policy and legislation at Earthjustice, is that the bill does the very opposite of what its name suggests.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Uncharted territory for all of us

Canadian Diplomat Says there is no precedent for a US president siding with America’s enemies
By Samuel Warde 

For more cartoons by Mike Luckovich, CLICK HERE.
American allies are getting sick and tired of Trump and his antics, from his withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris Agreement and his violation of the Iran Nuclear deal to his recent trade wars and policy of separating migrant children from their parents as a means of deterring immigration.

Former Canadian diplomat, Scott Gilmore, has written extensively for McLean’s Magazine about the Trump regime, proposing a variety of suggestions for pushing back against his lawless administration.

And it’s not like he doesn’t have experience having served as a political officer for Global Affairs Canada, for the United Nations’ Office of the National Security Advisor, and as the Deputy Director for Asia for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Gilmore has written of Trump’s “diplomatic treason,” writing: “Trump’s foreign policy moves have hurt U.S. influence in return for no benefit. It is beyond bad.”

He has written several article dealing with Trump’s corruption and how foreign governments are learning that bribery is the best way of negotiating with his regime.

Recently, he penned an article calling on Canadians to boycott Trump organization companies and any other companies providing their products or services.

Just last month, he wrote an article making the case for invading America.

Gilmore didn’t mince words when he took on Trump’s disastrous Monday press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in a new article published by McLeans on Monday.

How the New York Daily News saw it


A one-photo summary of Trump's foreign policy

If prescriptions cost less, people with chronic illnesses would be more likely to take them

Pay less, take more: Success in getting patients to take their medicine
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Related imageTaking a medicine every day in the hopes that it will prevent some long-range potential health catastrophe -- like a heart attack or kidney failure -- isn't easy.

Many people skip doses, or don't refill their prescriptions on time, or at all. And plenty of studies have shown that the more patients have to pay for those prescriptions, the less likely they are to take them as directed.

But new evidence shows the power of a method aimed at changing this behavior: insurance plans that charge patients less for the medicines that could help them most. Some plans even make some of the medicines free to the patients with certain conditions.

SOMEBODY agrees with Trump

It's the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Dog of the week

Meet Skyler
Animal Rescue RI
Skyler is a stunning 3 year old girl.

This gold eyed beauty is super smart and would love to learn new tricks.

She loves going on walks and is a complete snuggle bug!

She just wants to feel safe and secure in a forever home at last. 

There is an all-out war on kids

But it’s not just at the border
By George Goehl 

Image result for trump's war on childrenDonald Trump’s choice to separate migrant children from their parents has unleashed a flood of outrage across the political spectrum. 

While the president has stepped back from separating families at the border, his solution is to imprison children with their parents, and change laws so he can hold them indefinitely.

Trump is a master of bait-and-switch: He distracts voters with tough-on-immigration politics, then sells out working families. 

Irreparable harm to thousands of children is a price he’s willing to pay, if it helps him score political points.

While these hateful acts against children are Trump’s most blatant to date, they’re hardly the first. His policy agenda is a full-throated attack on children from poor and working class families.

What’s happening at the border is part of a larger pattern: an all-out war on kids. Your children will feel the hurt of the Trump’s agenda, too. Here are a just a few highlights.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Xenophobia, racism and demagoguery

A Wall Won't Fix Immigration

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoorThe wailing in our country about the "invasion of immigrants" has been long and loud. 

As one complainant put it, "Few of their children in the country learn English...The signs in our streets have inscriptions in both languages...Unless the stream of the importation could be turned they will soon so outnumber us that all the advantages we have will not be able to preserve our language, and even our government will become precarious."

That's not some diatribe from one of today's Republican congress critters. It's the anxious cry of none other than Ben Franklin, deploring the wave of Germans pouring into the colony of Pennsylvania in the 1750s. 

Thus, anti-immigrant eruptions are older than the U.S. itself, and they've flared up periodically throughout our history, targeting the Irish, French, Italians and Chinese among others. 

Even Donald Trump's current proposal to wall off our border is not a new bit of nuttiness — around the time of the nation's founding, John Jay, who later became the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, proposed "a wall of brass around the country for the exclusion of Catholics."

Luckily for the development and enrichment of our country, these past public frenzies ultimately failed to exclude the teeming masses, and those uproars now appear through the telescope of time to have been some combination of ridiculous panic, political demagoguery and xenophobic ugliness.


Concert in the Park this Sunday

Looking for an “Innovation Economy”

Brown launches new initiative to boost economic growth in Rhode Island
jetsons GIFAfter a yearlong series of discussions and focus groups with community leaders and experts, the University has begun work on an effort to maximize its impact on innovation, entrepreneurship and job growth.

In consultation with business, community and government leaders from across Rhode Island, Brown University has launched a new initiative aimed at expanding the University’s impact on economic growth across the Ocean State.

A strategic action plan titled Brown and the Innovation Economy identifies key economic areas in which Brown is positioned to make an immediate impact and establishes action items aimed at maximizing that impact. 

The action items include incentivizing entrepreneurs to build ventures in Rhode Island, translating medical discoveries into products and companies, increasing the University’s engagement with private industry, building new innovation infrastructure and helping Brown faculty to turn research ideas into commercial ventures.

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?”