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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Rep. Justin Price steps in it

Price’s outhouse bill creates shit-storm
By Will Collette

Image result for Rep. Justin PriceRep. Justin Price (R-Hopkinton) may well be the General Assembly’s most far rightwing member. 

He has reliably brought the fringe right agenda into the State House pushing conspiracies such as “chem-trails” and calling statewide planning a communist plot

He opposes mandatory vaccination, taking guns away from domestic abusers, LGBT rights, and animal protection.

He has publicly praised the domestic terrorist Three Percenter movement. He proposed legislation to allow motorists to kill protesters if they block traffic.

Given Price’s reputation as a right-wing nut, there was notable surprise when he introduced legislation to eliminate outhouses from Rhode Island’s backyards. His lead co-sponsor was leading liberal environmental activist Rep. Art Handy (D-Cranston) who chairs the House Environment Committee.

Has Price gone soft, some wondered? Who would have expected a guy like Price to want to actively promote indoor plumbing? Who would have ever expected Price to work with a pinko like Art Handy.

They're good at what they do!

The progressive web comic about the Republican House Intelligence Committee.

And again about those priorities

Pic of the Moment

Senator Whitehouse exposes the hypocrisy of ‘so-called climate caucus’ members

Views caucus as providing political cover for its members.
Image result for Sheldon whitehouse & climate changeClimate activists aren’t the only ones waiting for members of the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus to propose meaningful climate change legislation. 

A senator, who has become a prominent climate action advocate, is taking the caucus to task for failing to bring Democrats and Republicans together to craft significant climate legislation.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), speaking at a renewable energy policy forum sponsored by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) in Washington, referred to the House Climate Solutions Caucus as the “do-nothing caucus” for its inability to propose any form of climate legislation. Whitehouse’s comments mark one of the few times that a member of Congress has criticized the caucus.

No Friend Of Animals

A Year in Office, and Zinke has Targeted Eagles, Elephants and Other Species
By Sarah Okeson

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has taken aim at iconic animals like the bald eagle and the elephant with his policies and pressured subordinates at Glacier National Park in Montana to reopen the park’s lakes to motorized boats after invasive zebra mussels were found in the state.

Zinke, who grew up in Whitefish, Mont., likes to talk about how hunters and people who fish help conservation. 

Related image
Interior Secretary Zinke prefers his wildlife stuffed
As Montana’s representative in the U.S. House, he received $79,068 from gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association during the 2016 election cycle, second only in the House to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)

On Zinke’s first day in office, he signed an order overturning a ban on using lead ammunition and fishing sinkers on federal wildlife refuges that was meant to help prevent animals from being poisoned by lead left on the ground or in the water.

Predators like the bald eagle, our national symbol, are susceptible to lead poisoning from eating animals remains left behind by hunters. 

New Administration Bright Idea: Let Private Companies Oversee Animal Treatment

Agriculture Department Wants Industry Foxes Inspecting Hen Houses

Trump’s Department of Agriculture, which took down online inspection reports about puppy mills last year and blocked a rule to reduce abuse of horses, is now looking to farm out animal inspections to organizations that could financially profit from writing mostly good reviews.

The agency, headed by former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who once worked as a veterinarian, wants more inspections by third parties, not trained inspectors, at the agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

“The USDA is likely to team up with industry groups or associations that have a financial interest in the regulated business themselves,” said Kathleen Summers who works with the puppy mill campaign at the Humane Society of the United States.

The agency contends that having other organizations do more inspections will free up USDA inspectors to spend more time at problem zoos, breeders and labs. The USDA already looks at inspections by other government agencies and the Association of Zoos & Aquariums when scheduling how often federal inspections are done.

“USDA is not looking to abdicate its inspection responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act in any way,” said Bernadette Juarez, deputy administrator of the USDA’s animal care program.

So far, more than 27,900 people have commented on the proposal. People have until March 21 to comment.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Fired FBI Deputy Director calls out Trump

Says firing is part of Trump’s campaign to stop or discredit Mueller investigation 
Statement issued by Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the FBI after firing just days before his planned retirement.

Related imageI have been an FBI Special Agent for over 21 years. I spent half of that time investigating Russian Organized Crime as a street agent and Supervisor in New York City.

I have spent the second half of my career focusing on national security issues and protecting this country from terrorism. I served in some of the most challenging, demanding investigative and leadership roles in the FBI. And I was privileged to serve as Deputy Director during a particularly tough time.

For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country. Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us.

The president’s tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about it.

No more.

You'll end up in rehab

From Fake Science, the only science source trusted by Donald Trump

What could go wrong?

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, eyeglasses and text

Media Coverage of Mass Shootings: Is it Part of the Problem?

Focus is on the wrong questions
BY Robin Lloyd

Related imageWhen it comes to coverage of mass shootings in the United States, the media can be fickle. 

School shootings like the one in Florida last month, for example, are more likely to get attention — and tend to garner more sustained attention — than shootings that occur in other places like businesses, malls, and coffee shops, even though the latter are more common. 

A high death toll is an even better predictor of coverage, of course — but so too are the use of more than one gun, attacks linked to ideological extremism, and those perpetrated by people of Middle Eastern descent. 

This holds true even though simple handguns are more frequently the weapon of choice, most shooters are white, and ideological motivations are uncommon.

Such are some of the findings in a new study that examined mass shootings in the U.S. over the last 50 years, and the researchers reach a sobering conclusion: “This work finds the media is distorting the reality of mass public shootings,” write the study's co-authors.

This is particularly worrying because people get most of their information about crime from the news media. 

Biased or sensational coverage of mass shootings could provoke panicked and misplaced public responses to these incidents, including unnecessary, excessive, or ineffective policies and legislation, says co-author Jason Silva, a doctoral student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. 

The distortions can also lead to legislative responses to mass shootings that fail to address the most common characteristics of rampage attacks — specifically, that they are committed predominantly by middle-aged white men using handguns in business settings, Silva says.

Fiber-fermenting bacteria improve health of type 2 diabetes patients

Dietary fibers promote gut bacteria that benefit blood glucose control
Rutgers University

Image result for fiber and diabetesThe fight against type 2 diabetes may soon improve thanks to a pioneering high-fiber diet study led by a Rutgers University-New Brunswick professor.

Promotion of a select group of gut bacteria by a diet high in diverse fibers led to better blood glucose control, greater weight loss and better lipid levels in people with type 2 diabetes, according to research published today in Science.

The study, underway for six years, provides evidence that eating more of the right dietary fibers may rebalance the gut microbiota, or the ecosystem of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract that help digest food and are important for overall human health.

"Our study lays the foundation and opens the possibility that fibers targeting this group of gut bacteria could eventually become a major part of your diet and your treatment," said Liping Zhao, the study's lead author and a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

VIDEO: Ayn Rand is required reading

Preached that selfishness is good, generosity is evil

To watch this video on YouTube:

Donald Trump once said he identified with Ayn Rand’s character Howard Roark in “The Fountainhead,” an architect so upset that a housing project he designed didn’t meet specifications he had it dynamited. 

Others in Trump’s circle were influenced by Rand. “Atlas Shrugged” was said to be the favorite book of Rex Tillerson, Trump’s secretary of state.

Rand also had a major influence on Mike Pompeo, Trump’s CIA chief. Trump’s first nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, said he spent much of his free time reading Rand. 

The Republican leader of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, required his staff to read Rand.
Uber’s founder and former CEO, Travis Kalanick, has described himself as a Rand follower. 

Before he was sacked, he applied many of her ideas to Uber’s code of values, and even used the cover art for Rand’s book “The Fountainhead” as his Twitter avatar. 

Who is Ayn Rand and why does she matter?  

Friday, March 16, 2018

Capitalism won't make necessary changes unless they are profitable

By FRANK CARINI/ecoRI News staff

 Offshore wind could play a major role in decarbonizing the electrical system. (Jeremy Grantham/GMO)
Offshore wind could play a major role in decarbonizing the electrical system. (Jeremy Grantham/GMO)
For each bit of warming that continues to occur, climate changes are locked in for centuries and related costs soar.

For instance, worldwide last year $330 billion in damage was caused by climate change, according to Massachusetts venture capitalist Jeremy Grantham who gave a recent talk at Bittersweet Farm in Westport, Mass., about climate change. He said denying or even failing to understand climate science is a costly mistake.

He noted that in India, China and Europe climate science isn’t even debated. In the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia it’s a common practice.

When it comes to adequately dealing with climate change, he said, capitalism often gets in the way.

“It’s a matter of economics. Capitalism is pretty straightforward: can you make money?” Grantham said. “Have to make money if sappy, greedy homo sapiens are going do it. Without profit, we won’t make the changes we desperately need.”

The time is now to invest in those changes, profitable or not, as failure to act aggressively will cost everyone plenty. For example, as the Northeast has witnessed in one week alone, more frequent and intense storms have quickly become the norm.

The Thing that eat America's brain

For more cartoons by Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE.

Makes you dizzy

Pic of the Moment

He’s not the only one

Related imageOn March 9, Martin Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison. What, if anything, does Shkreli’s downfall tell us about modern America? 

Shkreli’s early life exemplified the rags-to-riches American success story. 

He was born in Brooklyn, New York, in April 1983, to parents who immigrated from Albania and worked as janitors in New York apartment buildings.

Shkreli attended New York’s Hunter College High School, a public school for intellectually gifted young people, and in 2005 received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baruch College.

But soon thereafter, Shkreli turned toward shady deals. He started his own hedge fund, betting that the stock prices of certain biotech companies would drop. Then he used financial chat rooms on the Internet to savage the companies he bet against, causing their prices to drop and his bets to pay off. 

In 2015, Shkreli founded and became CEO Turing Pharmaceuticals. 

Under his direction Turing spent $55 million for the U.S. rights to sell a drug called Daraprim. Developed in 1953, Daraprim is the only approved treatment for toxoplasmosis, a rare parasitic disease that can cause birth defects in unborn babies, and lead to seizures, blindness, and death in cancer patients and people with AIDS.

What to do with our limitless supply of bullshit

Manure could heat your home
University of Waterloo

Farm manure could be a viable source of renewable energy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo are developing technology to produce renewable natural gas from manure so it can be added to the existing energy supply system for heating homes and powering industries. 

That would eliminate particularly harmful gases released by naturally decomposing manure when it is spread on farm fields as fertilizer and partially replace fossil natural gas, a significant contributor to global warming.

Trump admits lying to Canadian Prime Minister

Who needs a Secretary of State when genius statesman Trump can just make stuff up?
By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams

SOURCE: the US Trade Representative website. Note the US has a
$24.6 BILLION SURPLUS with Canada
After the Washington Post obtained a recording in which President Donald Trump bragged to donors about making up trade facts during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Americans expressed concerns about Trump's demonstrated tendency to lie alongside worries about how he will handle less friendly heads of state, such as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who he is set to meet with sometime in May.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening that the president insisted the United States has a trade deficit with Canada, despite not knowing either way. According to the newspaper, during a private fundraising speech, the president said:

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Bump stocks MUST go

No one needs a machine gun to hunt
By Rep. Robert Craven & Sen. James Sheehan

For more cartoons by Mike Luckovich, CLICK HERE.
As the gun debate rages across the country, there have been many proposals about what should be done to address the mass shootings that are bringing unprecedented sorrow and anxiety to our schools and other public places.

It’s a very complicated and emotional issue that shows little hope of consensus anytime soon. But there’s one area where we can make strides, and we can do it soon.

On the night of Oct. 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, slaughtering 58 innocent people and injuring another 851 concertgoers. 

Between 10:05 and 10:15 p.m., 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, fired more than 1,100 rounds from his suite on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel. About an hour after he fired his last shot into the crowd, he was found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His motive remains unknown.

The incident is the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the United States. It reignited the debate about gun laws in the U.S., with attention focused on bump fire stocks, which Paddock used to allow his semi-automatic rifles to fire at a rate similar to that of a fully automatic weapon.

A Hard and Stormy Night

For more cartoons by Ruben Bolling, CLICK HERE.

Coming up at the Mystic Aquarium

Amphibian Monitoring

March 21  |  5:30 - 8:30pm
Learn how to identify local amphibians and help gather important information for scientists.

Signing Class

March 22  |  4:00 - 4:30pm
During this eight week series, your preschooler will learn over 100 signs for daily use.

Nature Play in the Green

March 24  |  10am - 12pm
Join us for the first Nature Play of the year where you'll make a bird feeder for local and migrating birds.

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny

March 31  |  8:00 - 9:30am
Kick off Easter weekend with an Aquarium tradition where you'll enjoy a breakfast buffet and time with the Easter Bunny.

Dinosaur Discovery Week

April 11 - 18  |  11am - 3pm daily
Celebrate our new exhibit, Jurassic Giants, with special dino activities and also learn awesome survival tactics.