Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Saturday, November 16, 2019

It’s really most sincerely dead

Invenergy declines to appeal. Their proposed power plant is dead.

View image on TwitterFriday, November 15 in Rhode Island was remarkable because of what didn’t happen.

Outside the Court House on Benefit Street in Providence, a small group of people anxiously waited to see if Invenergy would appeal the Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB)’s decision to reject their proposed $1B fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant, aimed at the pristine forests of our state’s northwest corner. The power plant had until 4 pm on Friday to appeal the decision to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

At around 4:01 pm, writes power plant opponent Paul Roselli, the group received a text message from Invenergy that there would be no appeal. 

A minute later the group received an email from from the Rhode Island Supreme Court clerk’s office which read that the court “did not receive a petition for writ of certiorari in this matter as of the close of business today.”

“It was a good feeling,” said Paul Roselli – president of the Burrillville Land Trust (BLT) and one of the key opposition leaders to the power plant. 

“This all started August 1, 2015, when the Governor of Rhode Island standing with Invenergy’s owner Michael Polsky, declared before cameras and members of the Providence Chamber of Commerce, ‘We will do everything we can to make sure you’re successful here.’

“Now it’s truly over. And we, Rhode Island, won.”

Governor Gina Raimondo never gave up on fighting for the power plant, despite her public protestations of neutrality as to the outcome. Her Office of Energy Resources was at every session of EFSB hearings, arguing in support of the power plant alongside Invenergy.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Charlestown was dragged directly into this fight when Invenergy made a deal with a Narragansett tribal official under which the tribe would sell water for cooling the plant. That water would be drawn from the underground source that supplies Charlestown residents with their drinking water. The deal was denounced by many members of the Tribe along with just about everyone else in town. That widespread opposition killed the deal.

The impeachment so far

Progressive comic about the first Trump impeachment hearing

Pick the hero

Image may contain: 2 people

Brown scientists looking for life on Mars

At future Mars landing spot, scientists spy mineral that could preserve signs of ancient life
Kevin Stacey, Brown University

Image result for Jezero crater
Jezero crater, where NASA plans to land a new Mars rover next year, is home to the remains of an ancient river delta. Researchers have now found deposits of hydrated silica, a mineral that's especially good at preserving microfossils and other signs of past life, near the delta. NASA/JPL/JHUAPL/MSSS/Brown University

Next year, NASA plans to launch a new Mars rover to search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet. A new study shows that the rover’s Jezero crater landing site is home to deposits of hydrated silica, a mineral that just happens to be particularly good at preserving biosignatures. 

“Using a technique we developed that helps us find rare, hard-to-detect mineral phases in data taken from orbiting spacecraft, we found two outcrops of hydrated silica within Jezero crater,” said Jesse Tarnas, a Ph.D. student at Brown University and the study’s lead author.

“We know from Earth that this mineral phase is exceptional at preserving microfossils and other biosignatures, so that makes these outcrops exciting targets for the rover to explore.”

The research is published in Geophysical Research Letters

NASA announced late last year that its Mars 2020 rover would be headed to Jezero, which appears to have been home to an ancient lake. The star attraction at Jezero is a large delta deposit formed by ancient rivers that fed the lake. The delta would have concentrated a wealth of material from a vast watershed. Deltas on Earth are known to be good at preserving signs of life. 

Exposed: Toward a BPA-free future

What will it take to rid our store shelves of BPA and its equally hazardous cousins?
hungry marc rodriguez GIFA percussion of metal-on-metal echoes through the lab as empty food cans drop one by one off a conveyor belt and into rounded pockets of a rotating blue cogwheel.

As the cog circles counterclockwise, the can spins rapidly. Two spray guns blast a liquid lining inside before the can falls onto another conveyor belt and then shoots up a chute to a final belt that carries it down into a large curing oven.

These now freshly baked cans, their interiors a toasted brown, are part of a series of validation tests at the coatings company Valspar, recently acquired by Sherwin-Williams. For more than a decade, Valspar has worked to develop safe and effective replacements for food and beverage can linings historically made with bisphenol A.

Until about a decade ago, a layer of BPA-based epoxy about 20 times thinner than a human hair coated the inside of nearly all food and beverage cans. This shield excelled at preventing corrosion and, therefore, protecting us eaters and drinkers from deadly spoilage. 

But evidence has piled up that bits of the substance can leach from that lining and into soda, soups, Spam and sardines, among other canned products. 

And studies from academic laboratories show that BPA may mimic and mess with our hormones even at the tiniest of doses — increasing risks of cancer, diabetes and infertility, as well as derailing the normal development of a child's brain. That science suggests that our bodies are so sensitive to this compound that the use of BPA needs to be eliminated, not just reduced, to protect our health.

How Deregulation Kills People

Who benefits?
By Terry H. Schwadron, DCReport Opinion Editor

Image result for 737 max crash
Your government at work: Members of Congress were hot on both sides of the aisle last week about air safety, relentlessly attacking Boeing over safety lapses on the 737 Max.

But they were pretty silent about our government’s role altogether in giving the job of supervising new technology to the air manufacturers themselves.

In other words, it was a lousy review of those charged with keeping us safe—because de-regulation, rocket-fueled by the Donald Trump administration—is the word of the day. 

Too many rules for safety might affect jobs, they tell us.

So, last week, Boeing and its CEO, Dennis Muilenberg, apologized publicly again, even before sign-carrying family members, for mistakes that led to two international crashes of its 737 Max aircraft. Muilenberg owned up to the fact that Boeing set aside a test pilot’s warning— information that the company had not described in previous testimony.

What did Congress think was going to happen when they gave the regulatory keys to the companies themselves?

Friday, November 15, 2019

VIDEO: Would the Founding Fathers impeach Donald Trump?

"Build the Wall! continued

No photo description available.


Image may contain: 1 person, suit and text

Hey kids! Work for free!

Langevin Offices Accepting Applications for Spring 2020 Interns

Image result for Jim langevin internsRepresentative Jim Langevin (D-RI) is accepting applications for interns in his Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. offices for the spring of 2020.

This program is open to civic-minded college students who are available for at least 10 hours per week.

A qualified candidate will be well-organized, responsible, dependable, and have strong oral and written communication skills.

Responsibilities include drafting constituent correspondence, answering phone calls, and supporting staff members on various projects.

College credit is available if approved by the institution. The application deadline is December 16.

For more information, visit Langevin.House.Gov and click on the Internships prompt under “Serving You,” on the homepage.

Food Bank shares delicious recipe

Starting Her Own Business & Giving Back

"The Community Kitchen has been a life-changing program, I will never forget,” Nithya Vadivelu said two years ago as she graduated from the Community Kitchen culinary job training program at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. After completing our program, Nithya opened her own restaurant, Dosa Express, in Manville.
She hasn't forgotten about Community Kitchen. “It is part of my life. The instructors, they are part of my family,” she says. Last class, she came back and demonstrated how to cook vegetable biryani to the students.
There's so much more to Nithya's story, we wanted to share it with you.

Nithya's Pav Bhaji Recipe

Nithya's recipe for pav bhaji (a dish featuring spicy vegetables and warm buttered bread) was used by Community Kitchen as their dish at Empty Bowls in 2018. She's graciously agreed to share the recipe with the Food Bank community. It's great for the home cook looking to try something ambitious.

Donate Appreciated Securities by Year-End

With the stock market at record highs, gifting appreciated securities to the Food Bank prior to the end of 2019 may mean additional tax benefits to you while helping Rhode Islanders in need. For instructions on how to transfer stock to the Food Bank, please contact our Director of Annual Giving, Jill Gonsalves.

Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
Visit our website!

Copyright © 2019 Rhode Island Community Food Bank, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Rhode Island Community Food Bank
200 Niantic Ave
Providence, RI 02907-3150

Trump wants to give Border Patrol officers highly classified intel. What could go wrong with that?

Border Agents Can Now Get Classified Intelligence Information. Experts Call That Dangerous.
By Melissa del Bosque for ProPublica

Image result for National Vetting Center
Pushing further toward its goal of “extreme vetting,” the Trump administration is creating a new center in suburban Virginia that will allow immigration agents to access, for the first time, the sprawling array of information scooped up by America’s intelligence agencies, from phone calls intercepted by the National Security Agency to material gathered by the CIA’s spies overseas to tips from informants in Central America.

This classified, potentially derogatory, information will eventually be used to screen everyone seeking to enter the United States, including foreign vacationers seeking travel visas, people applying for permanent residency or immigrants requesting asylum at the Mexican border.

Legal experts worry that immigration agents could potentially use this secret data to flag entire categories of people that fit “suspect” profiles and potentially bar them from entering the U.S., or prompt them to be tracked while they’re here. 

It could also be nearly impossible for those denied entry to challenge faulty information if wrongly accused, they say, since most of it is classified.

In an interview, the director of the new National Vetting Center, which is being overseen by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, was vague about the types of classified information that may be shared with immigration agencies but said the vetting center’s privacy and legal experts will make sure it conforms with the law.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

We can’t hold back the tide


Scott Keeley's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, outdoorYou may have heard about the Charlestown, R.I., man (Scott Keeley, photo at left) who is suing the town of South Kingstown and one of its police officers over his arrest in June on a trespassing charge while he was collecting seaweed along a beach.

The charge was dismissed, but the act itself was, in part, intended to call attention to unresolved questions about shoreline access here in Rhode Island, a right enshrined in our state constitution. 

A 1982 Supreme Court ruling attempted to clarify the issue by saying the public’s right ends at the mean high-tide line, but since that line is a calculation of averages over an 18.6-year cycle, there’s no way for a beachgoer to identify it.

Further complicating matters is that the line will continually move inland as sea level rises, most of the time gradually, but at times heaving large chunks off dunes and other coastal features. With sea rise, property owners and members of the public whose shoreline access is constitutionally guaranteed will continue losing ground.

After Hurricane Sandy destroyed properties along the coasts of New York and New Jersey, there was an uptick in discussion about whether some particularly at-risk coastal properties should even be rebuilt. Many were, in fact, abandoned there, because increasingly violent weather events and rising seas have rendered them too much of a risk for repeated loss.

Then and now

No photo description available.

WARM Center's Pre-Holiday Bash TOMORROW

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing, suit, night and indoor

WARM Center’s “Pre-Holiday Bash”, is being held on November 15, 2019 from 7:00-10p.m. at The Windjammer 321 Atlantic Avenue in Westerly

It will feature the band “Eight to the Bar” as the headliner.

Doors will open at 6:00 p.m There will be a silent auction, raffles, food and lots of dancing!! This is sure to be the event of the season and a great way to WARM up to the holiday season!

For more information please contact Mojie Friel by phone at 401-596-9276 ext 115 or via e-mail at

The band, Eight to the Bar is based in Northford, CT.

Drawing its musical influences from American roots music- swing, boogie woogie, and Motown-Eight to the Bar is known for its outstanding instrumentalists and sophisticated 4-part vocal arrangements.

Learn the art of fly-tying

Fly-Tying Workshops Offered For Saltwater And Freshwater Anglers This Fall

fly tying workshopThe Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is offering workshops for anglers interested in developing and honing their fly-tying skills.

Hosted by the Division of Fish and Wildlife's Aquatic Resource Education Program, the sessions will be held from 7:15 PM to 9:15 PM on Mondays through December 23 (no session will be held on December 9). 

The workshops will take place at the Cold Spring Community Center, located at 44 Beach Street in North Kingstown.

Designed for both beginning and intermediate fly-tiers, the classes, taught by highly skilled fly-fishing instructors, will immerse participants in the arts of knot-tying and fly-tying for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. 

All equipment and fly-tying materials are included with the registration fee. 

The cost is $5 per class. 

Who lives? Who dies?

Making life-or-death decisions is very hard – here's how we've taught people to do it better
Laurence Alison, University of Liverpool and Neil Shortland, University of Massachusetts Lowell

When faced with a wildfire, responders must act quickly
and decisively to save lives. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
When faced with a rapidly advancing fire threatening a community, it can be hard to know how best to save lives.

Is a rapid evacuation better, or is it safer for residents to stay where they are? The whole situation can change in an instant, and delays and indecision can be fatal.

As wildfires spread across California, a report about a massive fire in London in 2017 can offer useful lessons for emergency managers and residents.

Inside the Grenfell Tower fire

A rapidly growing fire at the Grenfell Tower in London
challenged city officials’ decision-making skills.
Natalie Oxford/Wikimedia CommonsCC BY
On June 14, 2017, a refrigerator in a London apartment had an electrical malfunction that started a fire.

For the first two hours after the fire was reported, officials told the apartment building’s residents not to evacuate.

Rather, they recommended people stay in their apartments and trust the building’s design to contain the fire to the unit where it started.

The city’s fire officials were faced with two types of potential tragedy: people dying in their apartments or getting injured or killed trying to evacuate.

In hindsight, they took too long to realize the fire was out of control, and to change their instructions, telling people to get out.

Less than four hours after it started, the fire had engulfed the 24-story Grenfell Tower, home to just under 300 people, of whom 72 died.

A similar problem has arisen in California wildfires – including in 2018, when delays in the order to evacuate the town of Paradise, California, led to the deaths of 56 people.

Who are the Kurds and why should you care?

Why there is no Kurdish nation: Trump wasn't the only one who sold them out
John Broich, Case Western Reserve University

Flag of Kurdistan on military uniform. Bumble Dee/ 
Since U.S. troops left their region, roughly 180,000 Kurds of northeastern Syria have been displaced, and over 200 have been killed.

Those Kurds, soldiers who’d battled the Islamic State and families, had hoped to secure a future Kurdistan state in areas now targeted by Turkish warplanes and patrolled by Russian mercenaries.

This is only the latest reversal for the Kurds, a group of around 40 million who identify with a regional homeland and common historical background, but are now divided between four countries. 

Despite their many attempts, they have never won and kept a Kurdish nation.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Institutional scale child abuse

Causing 'Profound' Trauma, Trump Administration Detained Record-Breaking 70,000 Children in 2019

A young migrant girl sits on the floor as her father, recently released from federal detention with other Central American asylum seekers, gets a bus ticket at a bus depot on June 11, 2019, in McAllen, Texas.
A young migrant girl sits on the floor as her father, recently released from federal detention with other Central American asylum seekers, gets a bus ticket at a bus depot on June 11, 2019, in McAllen, Texas. (Photo: Loren Elliott/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. held a record 69,550 migrant children in detention facilities in 2019, a Tuesday report from The Associated Press and PBS Frontline found, leading to major psychological and physiscal harm and lasting trauma. 

"No other country held as many immigrant children in detention over the past year as the United States—69,550," said AP tech reporter Frank Bajak in a tweet promoting his colleagues' work. "The physical and emotional scars are profound."

The story lays out in excrutiating detail the emotional pain of victims of President Donald Trump's child separation policy, focusing on, among others, a Honduran father whose three-year-old daughter can no longer look at him or connect with him after being separated at the U.S. border and abused in foster care. 

"I think about this trauma staying with her too, because the trauma has remained with me and still hasn't faded," the father told AP

The 3-year-old Honduran girl was taken from her father when immigration officials caught them near the border in Texas in March 2019 and sent her to government-funded foster care. 

The father had no idea where his daughter was for three panicked weeks. It was another month before a caregiver put her on the phone but the girl, who turned four in government custody, refused to speak, screaming in anger.

"She said that I had left her alone and she was crying," said her father during an interview with the AP and Frontline at their home in Honduras. "'I don't love you Daddy, you left me alone,'" she told him. The father agreed to speak about their case on condition of anonymity for safety reasons.


Image may contain: text
From Fake Science, named by Trump as replacement for the EPA and National 
Academy of Science. 

Ukraine timeline

Image may contain: 1 person

Greta is right

Aviation emissions' impacts on air quality larger than on climate, study finds
IOP Publishing

Image result for greta thunberg and airplanes
Climate activist Greta Thunberg condemns air travel for its harm to the
environment. New MIT research shows she is right.
New research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has quantified the climate and air quality impacts of aviation, broken down by emission type, altitude and location.

The MIT team found that growth in aviation causes twice as much damage to air quality as to the climate.

Writing today in IOP Publishing's Environmental Research Letters, they examine how this damage can be mitigated, and provide consistent comparative assessments of aviation emissions trade-offs, considering both climate and air quality impacts.

The lead researcher on the study, Dr Sebastian Eastham, from the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment in MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, said: "Aviation emissions are an increasingly significant contributor to anthropogenic climate change. They cause five per cent of global climate forcing.

"When you consider the full flight, which includes emissions from takeoff, cruise and landing, aircraft emissions are also responsible for around 16,000 premature deaths a year from impaired air quality. This is small compared to other sectors, being only around 0.4% of the total deaths attributed annually to global air quality degradation, but is often overlooked in policy analysis."

"The challenges for aviation sector decision makers wanting to reduce these impacts are the trade-offs between different emission types, and their impacts in different locations."