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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Those potentially harmful “Inactive Ingredients”

Inactive ingredients in pills and capsules may cause allergic, adverse reactions
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Image result for inactive ingredientsA new study led by a team of investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that the vast majority of the most frequently prescribed medications in the U.S. contain at least one ingredient capable of causing an adverse reaction. 

Known as inactive ingredients, these components are added to improve the taste, shelf-life, absorption and other characteristics of a pill.

However, the authors found that more than 90 percent of all oral medications tested contained at least one ingredient that can cause allergic or gastrointestinal symptoms in sensitive individuals. 

Such ingredients include lactose, peanut oil, gluten and chemical dyes. The team's findings are published online in Science Translational Medicine.

"When you're a clinician, the last thing you want to do is prescribe a medication that could cause an adverse reaction or allergic reaction in a patient," said corresponding author C. Giovanni Traverso, MB, BChir, PhD, a gastroenterologist in the Division of Gastroenterology at the Brigham and in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. 

"This project was inspired by a real-life incident where a patient with Celiac disease was prescribed a medication and the formulation of the pill they picked up from the pharmacy had gluten in it. We wanted to understand the problem and drill down to characterize the entire universe of inactive ingredients across thousands of drugs."

Traverso collaborated with biochemical data scientist Daniel Reker, PhD, internal medicine resident Steven Blum, MD, the Brigham's executive director of Pharmacy John Fanikos, MBA, RPH, and others to analyze data on the inactive ingredients found in 42,052 oral medications that contained more than 354,597 inactive ingredients. 

Inactive ingredients are defined as substances that are added to a pill's formulation but are not intended or expected to have a direct biological or therapeutic effect. 

Although such ingredients have been tested for safety at the population level, scattered case reports have suggested that inactive ingredients may cause adverse reactions in individuals who have allergies or intolerances.

"What is really striking about this data set is its complexity," said Reker. "There are hundreds of different versions of pills or capsules that deliver the same medication using a different combination of inactive ingredients. This highlights how convoluted the possible choices of inactive ingredients are, but also suggests that there is a largely untapped opportunity today to specifically select the most appropriate version of a medication for a patient with unusual sensitivities."

The team found a total of 38 inactive ingredients that have been described in the literature to cause allergic symptoms after oral exposure. The authors report that 92.8 percent of the medications they analyzed contained at least one of these inactive ingredients. Specifically, they report:

  • Approximately 45 percent of medications contained lactose;
  • approximately 33 percent of medications contained a food dye;
  • while only 0.08 percent of medications contained peanut oil, for certain drugs -- such as progesterone -- there are few alternatives that do not contain this inactive ingredient.
The authors note that inactive ingredients can cause an adverse reaction through an allergy (a histamine-related response that can trigger hives, difficulty breathing and/or anaphylaxis) or an intolerance, in which difficulty absorbing a substance can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. 

It is unclear what amount of an ingredient is necessary to trigger a reaction in sensitive individuals -- the content of lactose in a medication, for instance, may be too low to cause a reaction in many patients, except for those with severe lactose intolerance or those taking many medications containing lactose.

"While we call these ingredients 'inactive,' in many cases, they are not. While the doses may be low, we don't know what the threshold is for individuals to react in the majority of instances," said Traverso. 

"This pushes us to think about precision care and about the role for regulation and legislation when it comes to labeling medications that contain an ingredient that may cause an adverse reaction."

We need new ways to fight corporate crime

Resisting the Trump Organization Business Model
By Phil Mattera for the Dirt Diggers Digest
Related imageA recent 60 Minutes episode provided further evidence of how the pharmaceutical industry successfully pressured federal regulators to allow excessive prescribing of powerful opioids, paving the way for the ongoing epidemic of fatal overdoses.

In recent days there have been reports that Purdue Pharma, the company at the center of the crisis, is planning a bankruptcy filing to reduce the risk from the 1,600 lawsuits that have been brought against the company.

These developments illustrate how the main structures that are supposed to deter corporate misconduct – government regulation and the civil justice system – are not up to the task.

Despite the endless complaints from the business world about rules and lawsuits, there are in fact few meaningful limits on corporate behavior.

Despite years of evidence showing that many industries dominate and neutralize the government agencies that are supposed to oversee them, the proponents of deregulation all too often carry the day.

The current presidential administration has embraced that ideology whole-heartedly and has even tried to promote the idea that relaxed regulation benefits not only corporations but workers and consumers.


Monday, March 25, 2019

Barr’s 4-page whitewash doesn’t address basic question of Trump’s competence, character and corruption

Image result for trump in jail
The Mueller report addressed Russiagate. There's still a host of financial
crimes - e.g. fraud, tax evasion, profiteering, bribery, money laundering -
as well as his cover-ups, campaign and election law violations,
lies, abuse of power, dementia, racism and incompetence
We may never know for sure whether Donald Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin to obtain Russia’s help in the 2016 election, in return for, say, Trump’s help in weakening NATO and not interfering against Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Trump and his propaganda machine at Fox News have repeatedly conjured up a “witch hunt” and maintained a drumbeat of “no collusion,” which already has mired Robert Mueller’s report in a fog of alt-interpretation and epistemological confusion.

What’s “collusion?” What’s illegal? Has Trump obstructed justice? Has he been vindicated? What did Mueller conclude, exactly? What did he mean?

The real danger is that as attention inevitably turns to the 2020 campaign, controversy over the report will obscure the far more basic issues of Trump’s competence and character.

An American president is not just the chief executive of the United States, and the office he (eventually she) holds is not just a bully pulpit to advance policy ideas. He is also a moral leader, and the office is a moral pulpit invested with meaning about the common good.

A president’s most fundamental responsibility is to protect our system of government. Trump has weakened that system


"Completely exonerated"


For more cartoons by Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE.

VIDEO: City Life



Who knew? Gloom and doom doesn't work

Why Climate Change Pundits Aren’t Convincing Anyone
By David Ropeik

David Wallace-Wells’ recent climate change essay in The New York Times, published as part of the publicity for his new book “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming,” is, sadly, like a lot of writing on climate change these days: It’s right about the risk, but wrong about how it tries to accomplish the critical goal of raising public concern.

Like other essays that have sounded the alarms on global warming — pieces by Bill McKibben, James Hansen, and George Monbiot come to mind — Wallace-Wells’ offers a simple message: I’m scared. People should be scared. Here are the facts. You should be scared too.

To be sure, Wallace-Wells and these other writers are thoughtful, intelligent, and well-informed people.

And that is precisely how they try to raise concern: with thought, intelligence, and information, couched in the most dramatic terms at the grandest possible scale.

Wallace-Wells invokes sweeping concepts like “planet-warming,” “human history,” and global emissions; remote places like the Arctic; broad geographical and geopolitical terms like “coral reefs,” “ice sheet,” and “climate refugees”; and distant time-frames like 2030, 2050, and 2100.

It’s a common approach to communicating risk issues, known as the deficit model: Proceeding from the assumption that your audience lacks facts — that is, that they have a deficit — all you need to do it give them the facts, in clear and eloquent and dramatic enough terms, and you can make them feel like you want them to feel, how they ought to feel, how you feel.

But research on the practice of risk communication has found that this approach usually fails, and often backfires.

The deficit model may work fine in physics class, but it’s an ineffective way to try to change people’s attitudes. That’s because it appeals to reason, and reason is not what drives human behavior.

For more than 50 years, the cognitive sciences have amassed a mountainous body of insight into why we think and choose and act as we do. And what they have found is that facts alone are literally meaningless.


Dog of the week

Meet George.
Animal Rescue RI

George is a 6 year old gentle boy who is good with kids and other dogs.

He is very smart, knows a lot of commands and is fully house-trained.

His favorite pastime is lying in a sunny spot by the window and having his belly scratched.


Trump blames the workers for auto plant closure

How An Ohio Auto Plant Has Become A Political Battleground
By Terry H. Schwadron, DCReport New York Editor

Image result for trump blames the UAWEven this early in the presidential election campaign, there are all kinds of promises to Rust Belt voters. 

Certainly, the proposals are needed, though the emphasis on Rust Belt communities seems especially selected because of the key role they played in electing Donald Trump president in 2016.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), for example, is talking about a massive government infrastructure initiative for the Midwest. And several Democrats are going out of their way to try to appeal to farmers with promises to repeal corrosive tariff policies, promoting farm ownership and generally increasing the number of visits to the region. The Democratic Party selected Milwaukee as the site for its national convention.

Still, the king of the Rust Belt pitch remains Donald Trump.

Over this last weekend, Trump urged General Motors leadership to reopen the closed auto manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio, before deciding to blame the local union leader for not doing enough to save the GM jobs.

Closing that facility last month caused the elimination of about 5,400 jobs, though Trump has promised the workers that the factory will be reopened.


Sunday, March 24, 2019

When their “rights” imperils us all

Mark Sumner Daily Kos Staff

Anti-vaxxers have been with us since the discovery of
vaccination. Here's a 1930s cartoon on anti-vaxxer
resistance to smallpox vaccination.
It’s been a banner week for anti-vax, anti-science, anti-sense information that is anti-American in the most fundamental sense: because it directly threatens the health and lives of Americans. 

And unfortunately, one of the most prominent voices for anti-vax on the left is contributing to this threat in a way that could raise the body count as much as those on the right could.

On Thursday, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin let it be known that he had intentionally exposed his nine children to chickenpox rather than give any of them the chickenpox vaccine. 

Bevins was smugly proud of this, explaining that “it all turned out fine.” 

Except that it didn’t, because this exposure set his children up to develop shingles later in life, a condition that can be not only extremely painful, but potentially disabling or blinding. 

And that’s far from the limit of what might have happened, or what might still happen. 

Chickenpox may strike children, but it’s not kid’s stuff. 

Previous to the development of the vaccine, nearly 13,000 Americans ended up hospitalized each year for complications related to chickenpox. 

Between 100 and 150 of them died. The availability of the vaccine dropped the number of deaths by 87 percent, but in encouraging people to not get vaccinated, Bevin in setting up a situation that could easily—easily—lead to increased deaths, disability, and disfigurement. 



Your wall is ready

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Where "America First" came from

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Fishing-gear entanglements the leading cause of death

By TODD McLEISH/ecoRI News contributor

Image result for right whalesA year after the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale population produced zero calves for the first time on record, the animals have given birth to seven calves so far this winter. 

But that number is still far too few to convince scientists that the population is rebounding.

“Without concerted efforts to reduce the effects of human activities, this species is likely to go functionally extinct in about 20 years,” Scott Kraus, senior science advisor at the New England Aquarium, said during testimony March 7 at a congressional hearing examining the threats to right whales.

The global population of North Atlantic right whales, which currently stands at about 400, was growing steadily in the 1990s and 2000s, including a record year in 2009 when 39 calves were born. But reproduction rates have slowed precipitously since then.


Rhode Island College will take over annual composting event

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff
Image result for earth care farm
RI's anti-food waste law was signed at Charlestown's Earth Care Farm.
(Photo by Will Collette)
It’s been 10 years of compost conferences and much has changed — and remains to be done — with food-scrap reuse in Rhode Island.

Environmental sage Greg Gerritt founded the Compost Conference & Trade Show a decade ago and the March 14 event at Rhode Island College was his last as organizer.

Gerritt got religion on the rich soil amendment when he began composting sheep manure 35 years ago in Maine. The agrarian tradition of composting, he realized, should be applied to the tons of organic material going to landfills and incinerators.

Rhode Island has only recently begun efforts to divert the 250,000 pounds of daily residential and commercial food scrap that gets buried at the Central Landfill in Johnston. But during the past 10 years, the state has gone from one commercial composting facility, Earth Care Farm in Charlestown, to several commercial and public ventures.


Jury finds Roundup major factor in cancer

Second trial goes against Monsanto
Image result for roundup and cancerIn a landmark verdict against Monsanto that could have far-reaching implications, a federal jury on Tuesday found that the weed-killer Roundup was "a substantial factor" in causing a 70-year-old plaintiff's cancer.

"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook said in a statement, referring to the active ingredient in Roundup. 

"As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Bring back Eisenhower socialism

President Eisenhower supported positions that today’s Republicans call “communist”
Related imageBeware of the specter of socialism!

Anytime a politician proposes a wildly popular idea that helps ordinary people, a few grumpy conservatives will call them “socialists.” 

Propose to reduce college debt, help sick families, or ensure the super-rich pay their fair share of taxes — suddenly you’re a walking red nightmare.

Utah Republican Rep. Chris Stewart is so alarmed he’s convened an “Anti-Socialism Caucus” to ward off “the primitive appeal of socialism” that will “infect our institutions.”

Democrats’ talk of restoring higher income tax rates on the wealthiest or helping families with childcare was enough to trigger Treasury Secretary Steve Munchin to quip, “We’re not going back to socialism.”

These same politicians consistently vote for tax cuts for the rich and to gut taxes and regulations on corporations so they can exercise their full freedom and liberty — to mistreat workers, pollute the environment, and rip off their customers.


Atmospheric Cleansing


For more cartoons by Jen Sorenson, CLICK HERE.

Gun scorecard for 2019 so far

It's spring already?

Why does time seem to move quicker as we age?
Duke University
Photo by Will Collette
A Duke University researcher has a new explanation for why those endless days of childhood seemed to last so much longer than they do now -- physics.

According to Adrian Bejan, the J.A. Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke, this apparent temporal discrepancy can be blamed on the ever-slowing speed at which images are obtained and processed by the human brain as the body ages.

The theory was published online on March 18 in the journal European Review.

"People are often amazed at how much they remember from days that seemed to last forever in their youth," said Bejan.

"It's not that their experiences were much deeper or more meaningful, it's just that they were being processed in rapid fire."

Bejan attributes this phenomenon to physical changes in the aging human body.


April 11, expert on marine pollution to discuss chemical Rhode Island refuses to regulate more stringently

Hope the Health Department comes to this lecture

Image result for pfasEDITOR’S NOTE: EcoRI reports that the state Health Department has rejected a request to regulate PFAS pollution, rather than simply monitor its presence in drinking water. The Conservation Law Foundation and the Toxic Action Network had filed the request as more evidence mounts of health hazards of this common chemical, including the risk of kidney and testicular cancer. PFAS has been found in drinking water in Westerly, Cumberland, Newport and North Providence.

In its March 11 rejection letter to CLF and TAC, the Health Department claims “Additional research and analysis are needed to better assess the threats of PFASs on public water systems,” because the Department “lacks sufficient quantitative and qualitative data upon which to base appropriate regulations.” Maybe they need to attend this program - Will Collette
Pál Weihe is caught between the culture and traditions of the Faroe Islands in the Arctic, east of Iceland, and his desire to protect the residents from marine pollutants that have found their way to this remote region from industrialized countries.
The pollutants, called poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances or PFASs, are chemical compounds found in common household goods like non-stick cookware, stain-proof carpets, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags and many others – as well as in fire-fighting foams and other industrial products.
Because they do not break down easily in the environment, they find their way into the food chain, including into the whales that are a traditional food source of the Faroe Islanders.

Inside Trump's Moscow Tower deal

Meet Trump’s Other Partners on His Attempted Moscow Tower 
Image result for trump moscow towerThis week on “Trump, Inc.,” we’re exploring President Donald Trump’s efforts to do business in Moscow. Our team — Heather Vogell, Andrea Bernstein, Meg Cramer and Katie Zavadski — dug into just who Trump was working with and just what Trump needed from Russia to get a deal done. 

First, the big picture. 

We already knew that Trump had business interests involving Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign — which he denied — that could have been influencing his policy positions. 

As the world has discovered, Trump was negotiating to develop a tower in Moscow while running for president. 

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has admitted to lying to Congress about being in contact with the Kremlin about the project during the campaign.

All of that explains why congressional investigators are scrutinizing Trump’s Moscow efforts. And we’ve found more:


Trump’s partner on the project didn't appear to be in a position to get the project approved and built. 

On Oct. 28, 2015 — the same day as a Republican primary debate — Trump signed a letter of intent with the partner, a developer named Andrey Rozov, to build a 400-unit condominium and hotel tower in Moscow.


Friday, March 22, 2019

It CAN happen here.

Las Vegas shooting survivor Erica Keuter: You do not want the next mass shooting to take place here in Rhode Island
Image result for new zealand assault weapons ban
In less than a week after the Christchurch massacre, New Zealand banned
these weapons of mass destruction. It has been 18 months since the
slaughter in Las Vegas and not a damned thing has been done.
The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on a series of bills concerning guns Tuesday evening. 

Gun safety advocacy groups Moms Demand Action and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence (RICAGV) are particularly interested in three bills. 

One would ban semi-automatic assault weapons, one would ban high capacity magazines, and the third would ban the possession of firearms in and around schools.

There was plenty of testimony on both sides of the issue in the first four hours or so, but by far the most arresting and dramatic testimony came from Erica Keuter, and East Greenwich resident and a survivor of the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. Keuter is a member of Everytown Survivor Network and a volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gunsense in America.


Ready for retirement

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The face of irony

Image may contain: 1 person, meme, text that says 'THAT FACE YOU MAKE WHEN OBAMA NEVER CAME AFTER YOUR GUNS, BUT TRUMP AND REPUBLICANS ARE COMING FOR YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. OCCUPY DEMOCRATS'

In the 1840s, Rhode Island’s “fake news” focused on Irish immigrants

URI history professors to examine ‘fake news’ through a historical lens

What better day to talk about fake news than April Fools’ Day?

On Monday, April 1, four University of Rhode Island history professors will present the discussion “Fake News: A Historical Perspective” from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Agnes G. Doody Auditorium in Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road, on the Kingston campus. 

The event is free and open to the public.

While the term “fake news” has come into wide use since the 2016 presidential election, the forum will show that fake news – whether as a means to further a political agenda or cast doubt on the legitimacy of a news report – may be as old as news itself.

“This is a very timely topic,” says Joelle Rollo-Koster, professor of medieval history and organizer of the forum. “This event will show people a range of fake news throughout history. It’s nothing new. It’s something that has always existed.”

The forum also highlights the value of history in combatting fake news, says Catherine DeCesare, a senior lecturer in U.S. and Rhode Island history.
“The study of history is extremely important and certainly relevant in today’s society,” says DeCesare. “Knowledge about the past can be used to inform contemporary society.”


VIDEO: Best and worst for pesticide residues

Almost 70% of US fruits and vegetables contain pesticides
See this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83X327kOFPo

If you're going to buy organic, strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines and apples might be a good place to start.

Those are the top five U.S. fruits and vegetables most tainted with pesticides, according to the annual Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce report from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.

The report, released today, found nearly 70 percent of U.S. produce is contaminated with pesticides, and more than 225 pesticides or pesticide breakdowns compounds are found on our nation's produce.

There are a broad range of pesticides, and it's still not entirely clear how much residue may harm people.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which produces the pesticide data analyzed by EWG, just last December boasted that the U.S. food supply is "among the safest in the world" for pesticide residues.

"More than 99 percent of the samples tested had pesticide residues well below benchmark levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)," the agency said in a statement on the most recent round of pesticide testing.

However, the new EWG analysis is concerning because many pesticides found on our food have been linked to cancer, respiratory problems, depression, endocrine disruption and impacts to people's reproductive systems. 

Studies increasingly show that these health impacts are linked to exposure at levels below the thresholds set by federal agencies such as the EPA.


Right-wing violent hate crimes on the rise

Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2018
Anti-Defamation League



Each year, ADL’s Center on Extremism (COE) tracks murders perpetrated by all types of extremists. The 2018 Murder & Extremism report provides key insights into the crimes, including motivations behind these violent attacks.

2018 was a particularly active year for right-wing extremist murders: Every single extremist killing — from Pittsburgh to Parkland — had a link to right-wing extremism.

Among this report’s key findings:


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Trump’s reaction to New Zealand massacre raises more doubts about his mental health

Yale psychiatrist explains the most ominous fact about the violent societal sickness emanating from Trump
World Mental Health CoalitionPresident Donald Trump has drawn criticism for downplaying the white nationalist ideology that led a gunman to kill over 50 people in New Zealand. The killer cited Nazism and Donald Trump in a manifesto and online video while murdering worshippers at two Mosques in New Zealand.

Although Trump sent his condolences, he chalked up the attack to a small number of individuals with problems rather than the demonization of immigrants and refugees. 

In fact, in the same press conference in which he addressed the attacks, Trump also described immigration at the Southwest border as an invasion.

In addition to his refusal to condemn the Nazis who marched on Charlottesville, Trump’s reaction to the New Zealand massacre once against raised doubts about his leadership and his fitness for office.

Raw Story spoke with Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a psychiatrist at Yale School of Medicine who has taught at Yale Law School for over 15 years and has consulted with the World Health Organization on violence prevention since 2002.

She edited the New York Times bestseller, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,” released in an expanded edition on March 19, 2019—the same day as a major, interdisciplinary conference on presidential fitness, sponsored by the World Mental Health Coalition, of which she is now president (for more information on the conference, go to: dangerouscase.org).


Be careful

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Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Central Magnetic Field of the Cigar Galaxy
Are galaxies giant magnets? Yes, but the magnetic fields in galaxies are typically much weaker than on Earth's surface, as well as more complex and harder to measure.

Recently, though, the HAWC+ instrument onboard the airborne (747SOFIA observatory has been successful in detailing distant magnetic fields by observing infrared light polarized byreflection from dust grains.

Featured below, HAWC+ observations of the M82, the Cigar galaxy, show that the central magnetic field is perpendicular to the disk and parallel to the strong super-galactic wind.

This observation bolsters the hypothesis that M82's central magnetic field helps its wind transport the mass of millions of stars out from the central star-burst region.

The featured image shows magnetic field lines superposed on top of an optical light (gray) and hydrogen gas (red) image from Kitt Peak National Observatory, further combined with infrared images (yellow) from SOFIA and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

The Cigar Galaxy is about 12 million light years distant and visible with binoculars towards the constellation of the Great Bear.


How Deregulation Made Flying More Dangerous

The FAA Let Boeing Certify the Safety of Its Own Planes
By Terry H. Schwadron, DCReport New York Editor
For more cartoons by Ted Rall, CLICK HERE.
Once the decision was made to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane last week, somehow it made sense. Until then, mysteriously, we were somehow still awaiting more information as country after country suspended their use. 

Indeed, the United States was the last to declare emergency grounding.


Did our FAA have some special knowledge here that other international agencies do not? Or was this lack of action the result of protectionist action for American business or political power? Was it the FAA or the president who delayed? And how, after all, is this looking out for the best safety interests of Americans?

There have been hints, but no specific reporting I’ve seen on the question. So, I was attracted by the New York Times Op-Ed column by James E. Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, which looks into such accidents as we have seen with this aircraft, who lays the blame at regulatory changes.

Image result for Dennis Muilenburg & Trump
“The roots of this crisis can be found in a major change that the FAA instituted in its regulatory responsibility in 2005. Rather than naming and supervising its own ‘designated airworthiness representatives,’ the agency decided to allow Boeing and other manufacturers who qualified under the revised procedures to select their own employees to certify the safety of their aircraft. In justifying this change, the agency said at the time that it would save the aviation industry about $25 billion from 2006 to 2015. Therefore, the manufacturer is providing safety oversight of itself. This is a worrying move toward industry self-certification.”



Practical solutions to the problem of plastics

What Laws Work Best to Cut Plastic Pollution?
EDITOR'S NOTE: Westerly has become one of the latest RI communities to consider banning single-use plastics. Read more here. Charlestown already looked at - and rejected - a ban. They decided the "solution" was to sell reusable cloth shopping bags. Though not a bad thing in itself, it barely touches the problem.   - Will Collette

Every minute an estimated 2 million single-use plastic bags are handed out at checkout counters across the world. 

They contribute to the 300 million tons of plastic waste generated each year, much of which ends up in the environment where it threatens wildlife, endangers public health and costs billions to clean up.

How do you solve a problem this big?

According to legal analysts who advised Congress at a briefing in January, the United States could reduce its contribution to the global plastic pollution crisis by implementing sweeping federal policies that restrict plastic use and hold manufacturers accountable for responsibly handling waste.


Now China and Saudi Arabia collusion with Trump campaign?

Federal Authorities Raided Trump Fund-raiser’s Office in Money Laundering Probe
By Robert Faturechi and Justin Elliott for ProPublica


Related image
Remember this? Trump fondles the Saudi's sacred orb. He doesn't
need a crystal ball to see widened problems ahead
Federal authorities raided the office of Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy last summer, seeking records related to his dealings with foreign officials and Trump administration associates, according to a sealed search warrant obtained by ProPublica.

Agents were authorized to use the megadonor’s hands and face to unlock any phones that required fingerprint or facial scans.

The Washington Post reported in August that the Justice Department was investigating Broidy. 

The sealed warrant offers new details of federal authorities’ investigation of allegations that Broidy had attempted to cash in on his Trump White House connections in dealings with foreign officials. 

It also shows that the government took a more aggressive approach with the Trump ally than was previously known, entering his office and removing records — just as it did with Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Broidy served as a major Trump campaign fundraiser and was the national deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee until he resigned in April 2018, when it was revealed he had agreed to secretly pay off a former Playboy model in exchange for her silence about their affair.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

This one is for Blake Filippi

Abortion is not a dirty word and Planned Parenthood isn’t a McDonald’s and the GOP can go F**K itself
By Helen Philpot

Image result for Blake Filippi and abortion
Charlestown State Rep. Blake "Flip" Filippi is one of those Helen is
talking about
Nothing pisses me off more than when a man has an opinion about something he knows nothing about.

And one thing for damn sure a man knows nothing about is what’s in a woman’s mind and heart when she is making a decision about whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.

It’s called an abortion. It’s not a dirty word. It’s legal. It’s a woman’s right. It’s personal. A woman can choose to have one or not.

And damn it, there is no such thing as a post-birth abortion unless you’re talking about the death penalty (which is a whole nother GOP lie).

The fact that the GOP has a talking point about post-birth abortions tells you all you need to know about how stupid the GOP is and how stupid they think voters are. If you can’t make your case with the truth then do you really have a case?


Loving capitalism


For more cartoons by Ted Rall, CLICK HERE.

Worm Ladies announce new events


Your best resource for everything vermiculture!












Free Vermiculture On-Farm Workshop Next Sunday, March 24th at our North Kingstown location, 12noon-2pm

251 Exeter Road, Hoophouse 4W
bring lunch or a snack
​​​​​​​call 401-742-5915
​​​​​​​sponsored by NOFA and USDA Specialty Crop Grant










20th Vermiculture Conference - October 26 - 27, 2019
North Carolina State University









 Cushner Gillen has been posting pictures on Instagram of the work he has been doing at the Worm Farm.




The Worm Ladies began weighing the food we feed the worms on January 22nd.  We have weighed 1763 pounds of food waste until March 1.  We will continue to do this and report it to you.












March 24th--at the Worm Farm--NOFA workshop from 12-2p.m.
April 9th--at Dunns Corner Elementary School, WORKING WONDERS, a career exploration program in Westerly Public Schools.  The Worm Ladies will be speaking to 4th graders about careers in worm farming!
April 22nd--Earth Day--visit to Boston Library for a children's workshop.
May 16th--Attleboro Garden Club








Worm Ladies 
Network Membership

Check out the details on the SHOP page of our website.





We will always welcome volunteers and/or interns who are interested in working with raising worms and harvesting castings.    If you are interested, call Nancy at 401-322-7675 or 401-742-5915.





251 Exeter Road
North Kingstown
02852

We are in the fourth hoophouse on the west side.








161 East Beach Road Charlestown, Rhode Island 02813 
251 Exeter Road North Kingstown, Rhode Island 02852
If you are coming to pick up a product, double check the location.