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Sunday, July 21, 2019


For more cartoons by Ted Rall, CLICK HERE.

So when are you leaving?

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The most important thing you can do right now to fight climate change, according to science

It is "massively important" we all start talking about climate change

Americans rarely talk about climate change with family and friends.

Tragically, research shows that this climate silence reinforces the dangerously wrong belief that climate change isn’t an existential threat requiring urgent action.

But a major new study led by Yale researchers finds that just discussing the issue with friends and family leads them to learn more facts about the climate crisis, which in turn leads to greater understanding and concern about the issue.

The study, titled “Discussing global warming leads to greater acceptance of climate science” was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Around one in 20 patients are affected by preventable harm

Most is drug-related and accounts for $9.3 billion excess charges in US

Image result for medical mistakesAround one in 20 (6%) of patients are affected by preventable harm in medical care, of which around 12% causes permanent disability or death, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Most preventable harm relates to drug incidents and invasive procedures and it is more common in surgical and intensive care units than in general hospitals.

Preventable harm also accounts for an estimated $9.3 billion (£7.3bn; €8.2bn) excess charges in the US. Similarly, the financial cost from only six selected types of preventable patient harms in English hospitals is equivalent to over 2000 salaried general practitioners or over 3500 hospital nurses each year.

As such, the researchers say strategies targeting preventable patient harm could lead to major improvements in medical care and considerable cost savings for healthcare systems across the globe.


Have We Hit Peak Decadence In The United States?

Related imageHave we hit peak decadence in the United States? Probably not. But we’re getting awfully close. The latest evidence just may be the “super-penthouse.”

What exactly counts as a super-penthouse? Luxury analysts at List Sotheby’s International Realty have taken on the task of defining this new phenomenon. 

To rate as “super,” these analysts now posit, a penthouse has to span at least 10,000 square feet, take up the top floor — or floors — of a residential tower, and offer “unimpeded 360-degree views” of the city down below.

The UK’s richest single individual, small appliance mogul Sir James Dyson, earlier this month picked up one of these super-penthouses in Singapore. 

Dyson shelled out $54.2 million for a triplex occupying the top three floors of a 64-story building that ranks as Singapore’s tallest.

Among the creature comforts in Dyson’s new triplex: a sky deck, a pool, and a 600-bottle wine “cellar” that sits about 1,000 feet above sea level.

But the undisputed epicenter of the emerging global super-penthouse scene remains Manhattan. On “billionaire’s row,” eight super-penthouses now tower (way) above New York’s fabled Central Park. 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Religion scholar looks at immigration

The Bible says to welcome refugees

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The Trump administration will stop accepting asylum applications from migrants who could have claimed asylum in a different country before entering the U.S., it announced on July 15. EDITOR's NOTE: In addition, Politico just reported the Trump administration's target is to have ZERO refugee admissions to the US by next year.  - Will Collette.

The new interim immigration rule upends a 60-year-old policy that protects refugees from war, political persecution and targeted violence. 

Central Americans – hundreds of thousands of whom cross Mexico each year – will now be barred from applying for asylum when they reach the U.S.

Only refugees who applied for and were denied asylum in a “safe third country” – in practice, Mexico – may then apply to the U.S. for protection.

As a Roman Catholic scholar, I look to the Bible for guidance in evaluating the Trump administration’s immigration policies, from the Muslim ban and the border wall to the new asylum rule.

At issue in all these policies, it seems to me, are deeper questions about what it means to welcome the stranger.

So, what does the Bible actually say?

How it starts

For more cartoons by Ted Rall, CLICK HERE.

By the numbers

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Lifeguard testing for next year starts on August 5

2020 Lifeguard Certification Testing Starts Next Month

duty lifeguard GIFThe Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced today that beginning next month, it will administer surf and non-surf lifeguard certification testing for the 2020 season. Certification is required for lifeguard positions at all Rhode Island beaches.
The schedule of testing is as follows:

Monday, August 5 – Friday, August 9 | 9 AM – 2 PM Scarborough State Beach, Narragansett Surf tests for lifeguards working at all types of swimming facilities

Tuesday, August 13, through Friday, August 16 | 9 AM – 2 PM Prosser Grove Picnic Area, Burlingame State Park, Charlestown Non-surf tests for lifeguards working at freshwater/bayside beaches

To qualify for testing, all candidates must have successfully completed courses and hold valid cards in lifeguard training, first aid, and CPR that includes infant, child, and adult. 

Candidates must be at least 15 years of age and present a photo ID with verification of date of birth. 

Heat stroke: what it is and how to handle it

Heat also brings unhealthy airGabriel Neal, Texas A&M University

EDITOR'S NOTE: in addition to the dangers of heat stroke, the hot air presently covering Rhode Island is also not healthy for breathing. The state has issued an air quality warning for our area because of very high ozone levels. If you look at the chart to the left, southern RI and the coast has the highest ground ozone concentrations in the state. For more information:
- Will Collette

I easily remember laughing at Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner while watching Saturday morning cartoons as a child.

 I can still see the Coyote walking slowly through the sweltering desert, sun high in the sky, sweating, tongue-hanging-out, about to collapse from heat, hunger and thirst. Then, BEEP! BEEP! the Road Runner would fly past, and the chase was on with a perfectly revived Coyote.

If only fixing heat stroke were that quick and easy.

As a primary care physician who treats patients with heat related illnesses, I know that heat stroke is certainly no laughing matter. Each summer, a heat wave (or, like, 17) rolls over the U.S., precipitating a rash of death and hospitalizations related to what is, in doctor-speak, “severe non-exertional hyperthermia.”

Let’s stick to calling it heat stroke.

Words make Trump crazy

Trump Dishes It Out, But He Can’t Take It
By Terry H. Schwadron, DCReport Opinion Editor

Related imageThe gap that Donald Trump continually shows us between word and deed is remarkable. 

He lets words hurt while ignoring the substance of what the words mean.

That public words that various people, from both in and out of government or politics, say about him seem to matter a whole lot more than actual events, scandals or bad governmental behavior reflecting on his presidency. 

We’re used to it by now, numb really, so, it seems useful to step back and look at the pattern.

Even so, his tweets on Sunday telling four rebellious first-year congresswomen, citizens who are all of color, that they should return to where they came from “to go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came” is an insult that crosses all borders. 

As it happens, three of the four are American-born, and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Mich.) has been a naturalized citizen since age 12.

Friday, July 19, 2019

How The Super Rich Avoid Paying Taxes … And What We Can Do About It

There’s a simple way to make the 1% to pay up and make the tax system fair to everyone 
By David Cay Johnston, DC Report Editor-in-Chief

Related imageOur investigative series The Koch Papers illustrates many deep problems in America’s creaky, century old-income tax system, especially how our Congress has through favors to donors has transformed it into has two tax systems, separate and unequal.

These dual systems pose a threat to our nation’s social stability, to our national security and to America remaining a nation of equality under law. 

But there is a simple solution to this, as we shall see. It requires only that Congress stand up for honest and fair tax law enforcement, not the interests of those major campaign donors who cheat.

One of the most significant lessons applies to William Ingraham Koch and his company whether or not, as his former chief tax executive claims, the IRS failed to curb massive income tax cheating. 

Send him back

For more cartoons by Ruben Bolling, CLICK HERE.

Upcoming Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association events

Upcoming Paddle Programs
 Paddle and Basket Weaving
Join Loren Spears, Tomaquag Museum Executive Director, as she paddles and points out traditional weaving materials on the Wood River before teaching weaving at WPWA headquarters. WPWA Safety Kayak Instructor Kassi Archambault will join in the fun. We hope you do to!

  • Monday 7/29 (rain date Tuesday, 7/30)
  • 9am - 12 noon
  • $65 per teen or adult
  • Kayaks and Weaving materials and instruction included!
  • Register on
 Boats, Birds and Bats!
Laura Carberry, long time employee of the Exeter, RI office of the state's Audubon Society, knows all about birds and bats! We will have a short indoor presentation about bats. Then, the group will kayak up to Frying Pan Pond to see all the fliers in their evening activities. Because of the time of night, we may even see beavers.

  • Thursday, 8/1 (rain date Friday, 8/2)
  • 6 - 9 pm
  • $55 per person
  • Kayak included upon registration!
  • Register on
Our Contact Information
Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association
203 Arcadia Road
Hope Valley, RI 02832

Festival opens next Wednesday

Kingston Chamber Music Festival marks Natalie Zhu’s 10th anniversary as artistic director
Grammy-winner Hilary Hahn to perform on closing weekend

Hilary Hahn
Violinist Hilary Hahn will perform Aug 2 and 4 at the
Kingston Chamber Music Festival in the
University of Rhode Island Fine Arts Center.
Photo courtesy of the Kingston Chamber Music Festival
Last year, the Kingston Chamber Music Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary with six special concerts, including the premiere of three commissioned compositions and a closing night that featured a 22-piece chamber orchestra.

This year, the festival, which opens July 24 in the University of Rhode Island’s Fine Arts Center concert hall, will celebrate pianist Natalie Zhu’s 10th anniversary as artistic director.

“It has been a fantastic experience to be able to do this wonderful job for as long as I have,” says Zhu, who has performed at Kingston since 2004 and took over as director from founder David Kim in 2009. 

“I’m blessed to have a team and community that supports our vision with passion and action.”

The highlight of this year’s festival may be the two performances by three-time Grammy Award-winner Hilary Hahn, who made her long-awaited Kingston debut last year. 

But she’s just one of many renowned musicians on the bill – including prolific composer and accomplished pianist Lera Auerbach, flutist Mimi Stillman, clarinetist Igor Begelman, violinists Juliette Kang and Noah Geller and the Curtis On Tour Ensemble from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. See the full schedule and ticket information.

While the six subscription concerts – July 24, 26, 28 and 31 and Aug. 2 and 4, all in the Fine Arts’ concert hall – will showcase the music of such 18th and 19th century legends as Beethoven, Bach and Brahms, there will be numerous works by contemporary composers such as David Ludwig, Edgar Meyer and Aaron Copland, along with two co-commissioned pieces that will premiere at the festival.

Be careful out there


Crimes against humanity pay....very well

Gabe Ortiz, Daily Kos Staff

It wasn’t just the head of the “nonprofit” federally contracted to detain migrant children—including those stolen from their families the border—who was receiving a fat paycheck for his “work.” 

In addition to Southwest Key CEO Juan Sanchez’s $3.6 million salary from 2017-2018, The Washington Post has identified five other top executives who received salaries of more than $1 million in 2017, far eclipsing “the maximum amount of grant money that the government allows migrant shelters to use to pay an employee, which was $189,600 last year.”

Tax records “showed that other prominent employees—including the group’s chief financial officer, who earned more than $2.4 million—were earning substantial, seven-figure salaries there.” 

Sanchez’s wife, Jennifer, was not among them but was surely no less pleased with her direct deposit: $500,000. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Trump’s Midsummer Night’s Hallucination

With his normal Shakespearean aplomb, the president rattles off a list of his green credentials.
Image result for trump and the environmentBefore this week, President Donald Trump's most glaring enviro-delusion has been his imaginary effort to revive the domestic coal industry.

There have been a few others, but most of the mainstream glare has been reserved for other things, like coddling dictators, threatening the news media, and blaming Obama and Hillary for the extinction of the dinosaurs and the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby.

Then on July 8, possibly inspired by Republican pollsters who see Trump's environmental oblivion as a vulnerability with younger voters, Trump delivered a self-congratulatory speech on his environmental accomplishments.

Lewis Carroll ingesting six tabs of Timothy Leary while smoking a bagful of Stephen King, mainlining three Picassos and snorting a full reel of Quentin Tarantino could not have conjured a more bizarre image.

In his Monday remarks, Trump crowed about how his administration has pushed to perfect America's "crystal clear" water and air, despite a flurry of rules and budget cuts designed to undermine the half-century-old laws that have enabled our national cleanup.

Two dozen environmental NGO's, and nearly as many Democratic presidential candidates, responded. Rolling StoneLos Angeles TimesPoliticoNew York Times,Washington PostMother JonesCBS NewsThe New Yorker, and others set a record for fact-checking a speech that was utterly bereft of actual facts.

James Freeman, Assistant Editorial Page Editor for the Wall Street Journal, was a lonely, if not unsurprising, voice of dissent, leaving Trump's facts blissfully un-checked.

Here's another environmental accomplishment that POTUS was too modest to mention:

Only days before his green victory lap, Trump filched a reported $2.5 million from National Park entry fee revenues to help pay for a military-themed July 4 hoedown. The Park Service, chronically underfunded and years behind on meeting its maintenance and infrastructure needs, falls that much farther back.

POTUS covered a lot of ground, but he could barely find the time to mention the single environmental issue that dominates global discussion, climate change. 

The Trump administration stands alone, having pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord and rolled back Obama-era restriction on power plant emissions.

And last month, he rolled back fuel efficiency goals beyond what automakers were asking.

This isn't mere hypocrisy, nor is it just catering to friendly industries, nor blind anti-science spite. It's something deeper, and quite pathological.

Earth to Donald: WTF? This is serious. Earth to the Republicans: Your pollsters are warning that ignoring this issue could cost you the White House and the Senate next year.

And it could cost us all far more dearly.

What if we had Twitter back then

For more cartoons by Jen Sorenson, CLICK HERE.

Sunday: Free concert in Ninigret Park

Free Concert At Ninigret Park
will evan headliner

This Sunday Arrowhead sponsors talented musician, Will Evans at the Ninigret Park Summer Concert Series in Charlestown, Rhode Island.

The performance begins at 5:00 p.m. and we welcome you to bring your friends and family to enjoy the show.
We look forward to seeing you!

Will Evans - Rise (HiSessions Live Music Video)

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

Going Quiet

More States Are Hiding 911 Recordings From Families, Lawyers and the General Public
By Lynn Arditi, The Public’s Radio for ProPublica

Troy Phillips (left) was repairing a propane filling station on Cape Cod one afternoon last October when his mother called, her voice frantic.

“Something happened to Scott!”
Phillips’ younger brother Scott had been rushed to the hospital. 

Troy’s first thought was that Scott, who worked as a truck driver, must have been hurt in an accident. 

His mother was so upset on the phone that he could barely understand what she was saying.

Then she blurted out, “He died!”

At Rhode Island Hospital, Phillips learned that his 46-year-old brother had stopped for lunch at a Subway sandwich shop, in Cranston, when he collapsed.

The cause of death was hypertensive cardiovascular disease, according to his death certificate.
In the months since his brother’s death, Phillips — a volunteer firefighter and licensed EMT — has been trying to piece together what happened the day Scott died.

“Being an EMT,” Troy Phillips said, “you just want to know, what happened?”

But he keeps hitting a wall.

Rhode Island is one of about a dozen states that prohibit the release of 911 recordings or transcripts without the written consent of the caller or by court order. The goal generally is to protect the privacy of callers in what may be one of the most stressful moments of their lives.

Spiders are our friends

Why you shouldn’t kill your friendly neighborhood spiders

spider life bugs GIF by Dr. Donna Thomas RodgersWhen that itsy-bitsy spider climbs up the spout, resist the urge to stomp it out—even if it makes your skin crawl.

The leggy bugs get an unfair reputation as being poisonous and creepy, when in fact most of them, particularly those native to North America, are harmless to humans and good for the ecosystem, said a University of Alberta expert.

“They aren’t bad at all, there’s just this innate fear we have of spiders,” said conservation biologist Jaime Pinzon, who studies the arachnids as a U of A adjunct professor and researcher with the Canadian Forest Service. “If you don’t bother them, they won’t bug you.”

Pinzon, who says he’s been bitten “hundreds of times” with no harm done by spiders in the course of his work, notes that only a handful of the 48,000 species known worldwide—including more than 600 species of spiders in Alberta alone and about 1,500 species in Canada—are venomous to humans, most of them living in tropical climates.

And though some might fear climate change could bring potent tropical spiders to North America, there’s no strong evidence to suggest it, Pinzon noted.

VIDEO of Trump partying with Jeffrey Epstein

Newly revealed video shows Trump and Jeffrey Epstein ogling cheerleaders 

To watch this sleezy display on YouTube:

Newly revealed video recorded in 1992 shows Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein ogling NFL cheerleaders at a party held at the future president’s Mar-a-Lago club.

The video recorded by NBC and broadcast Wednesday by MSNBC shows Trump, then a celebrity businessman, dancing with dozens of cheerleaders for the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, and then greeting Epstein and two other men.

Trump and the accused pedophile Epstein are then seen pointing toward various women and commenting on their looks, although it’s not always clear what they’re saying.

“She’s hot,” Trump says about one woman, and then leans in to say something that makes Epstein double over with laughter.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

VIDEO: How Trump tariffs are a tax on YOU

To watch this vidoe on YouTube:

Speaking of....


Perfectly consistent

Pic of the Moment

How much is your data worth to tech companies?

Lawmakers want to tell you, but it's not that easy to calculate

Related imageNew proposed legislation by U.S. senators Mark R. Warner and Josh Hawley seeks to protect privacy by forcing tech companies to disclose the “true value” of their data to users.

Specifically, companies with more than 100 million users would have to provide each user with an assessment of the financial value of their data, as well as reveal revenue generated by “obtaining, collecting, processing, selling, using or sharing user data.” In addition, the DASHBOARD Act would give users the right to delete their data from companies’ databases.

As a researcher exploring the ethical and political implications of digital platforms and big data, I’m sympathetic to the bill’s ambition of increasing transparency and empowering users. However, estimating the value of user data isn’t simple and won’t, I believe, solve privacy issues.

How humans and chickadees understand each other

Hear them roar
By Katie Willis
animals being jerks chickadee GIFIs there something universal about the sounds we make that allows vocal learners—like songbirds—to figure out how we’re feeling? 

Sounds like it, according to new research by University of Alberta scientists.

The researchers examined the elements within vocalizations that indicate a level of arousal such as fear or excitement. They found that both humans and black-capped chickadees can detect arousal levels in other species. 

“The idea is that some species can understand other species’ vocalizations,” explained Jenna Congdon, PhD student in the Department of Psychology

“For instance, a songbird is able to understand the call of distress of a different type of songbird when they are in the presence of a predator, like an owl or a hawk. Or, for example, if your friend scared you and you screamed. Both of these are high-arousal vocalizations, and being able to understand what that sounds like in a different species can be very useful.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: Chickadees are a year-round presence at our bird feeders and one of my favorite birds, especially when I am loading the feeders. Bold and fearless, they come very close while I am pouring the seed and, I swear, they yell at me to go faster. "DEE-DEE-DEE-DEE-DEE," five loud exclamations. Translation: "Hurry the Hell up!" They repeat this chant until I finish and step back, whereupon they are the first birds to eat.   -Will Collette

Trump’s banker exits investment banking

One Less Wheeler Dealer
By Phil Mattera for the Dirt Diggers Digest

Image result for deutsche bank & TrumpIt’s unfortunate that 18,000 people will lose their jobs in the process, but it is good news that Deutsche Bank is leaving the investment banking business. 

The world is better off with one less wheeling and dealing financial player that has repeatedly flouted all kinds of laws and regulations.

That tarnished record dates back to the late 1990s, when Deutsche Bank acquired New York-based Bankers Trust, which was testing the limits of what a commercial bank could do while getting embroiled in a series of scandals.

Just a few months after the acquisition was announced, Bankers Trust pleaded guilty to criminal charges that its employees had diverted $19 million in unclaimed checks and other credits owed to customers over to the bank’s own books to enhance its financial results. The bank paid a $60 million fine to the federal government and another $3.5 million to New York State.

Deutsche Bank was also having its own legal problems during this period. In 1998 its offices were raided by German criminal investigators looking for evidence that the bank helped wealthy customers engage in tax evasion. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

"Once you stop caring, you feel better"

A Border Patrol Agent Reveals What It’s Really Like to Guard Migrant Children
By Ginger Thompson for ProPublica

ImageThe Border Patrol agent, a veteran with 13 years on the job, had been assigned to the agency’s detention center in McAllen, Texas, for close to a month when the team of court-appointed lawyers and doctors showed up one day at the end of June.

Taking in the squalor, the stench of unwashed bodies, and the poor health and vacant eyes of the hundreds of children held there, the group members appeared stunned.

Then, their outrage rolled through the facility like a thunderstorm. One lawyer emerged from a conference room clutching her cellphone to her ear, her voice trembling with urgency and frustration. “There’s a crisis down here,” the agent recalled her shouting.

Image result for immigrant children in US detention
At that moment, the agent, a father of a 2-year-old, realized that something in him had shifted during his weeks in the McAllen center. 

“I don’t know why she’s shouting,” he remembered thinking. “No one on the other end of the line cares. If they did, this wouldn’t be happening.”

As he turned away to return to his duties, the agent recalled feeling sorry for the lawyer. “I wanted to tell her the rest of us have given up.”