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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Positioning for 2022 state races begins

Treasurer Magaziner Hires Seth Klaiman as Chief of Staff

Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner announced that Seth Klaiman will join his office as Chief of Staff, effective December 7th. 

"Seth Klaiman is a talented public servant with many years of experience working in Rhode Island government," said Treasurer Magaziner. "I'm pleased to welcome him aboard as our new Chief of Staff, and have full confidence in his ability to assist me in fulfilling our office's mission to promote economic growth and financial security for all Rhode Islanders." 

Seth Klaiman has led a distinguished career in Rhode Island government and philanthropy over the last two decades.

For the last seven years, Klaiman served as Congressman Jim Langevin's (RI-02) Rhode Island Chief of Staff.

Previously Klaiman worked on the campaigns of Jack Reed for United States Senate, Elizabeth Roberts for Lieutenant Governor, and Bob Weygand for United States Congress, among others. Klaiman has also served as Director of Major Gifts at Providence College and Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children's Hospital. 

"It's been the honor and privilege of a lifetime to work for Congressman Jim Langevin over the last seven years, and I will remain forever grateful to him for the opportunity," said Seth Klaiman. "I look forward to continuing to serve Rhode Island families as the new Chief of Staff in Treasurer Magaziner's office. The Rhode Island Treasurer's office plays a key role in our state's economy, and I'm excited for the opportunity to join Treasurer Magaziner in this vital work." 

In addition to the hiring of Klaiman as Chief of Staff, the Treasurer's office has also announced that LeeAnn Byrne has been promoted to Deputy Chief of Staff. Byrne has served as Legislative Director for the Office of the General Treasurer since 2017 and previously was policy director at the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless. 

Charon Rose has also been promoted to serve as Deputy Treasurer for Financial Empowerment and Community Outreach. Rose has worked for the Office of the General Treasurer in outreach and constituent affairs roles since 2015, and she previously worked at Women and Infants Hospital where she served as a union delegate and Member Political Organizer for SEIU 1199 NE. She also currently serves on the board of Boys Town New England. 

Langevin Names Mike DeAngelis District Director

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) announced that Mike DeAngelis is joining his staff as District Director. DeAngelis will take on the role held by Seth Klaiman, who is departing to be Chief of Staff for Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. 

“I want to thank Seth for his invaluable work as a member of my team,” said Langevin. “While Seth certainly leaves big shoes to fill, I am confident that Mike will excel in this new role as we continue our diligent work for the Second Congressional District. Mike offers a wealth of knowledge and understanding of Rhode Island and has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to making our state better. I am fortunate to have him at the helm of my district operations.”    

DeAngelis has served as Campaign Manager and Finance Director for the Langevin for Congress campaign since 2013. Prior to that, he worked as Deputy Campaign manager in support of Langevin’s successful reelection efforts. He also served as Finance Director to Pedro Segarra’s successful bid for mayor of Hartford, Connecticut, in 2011, and was Deputy Campaign Manager for Steven Costantino’s Providence mayoral campaign in 2010. 

DeAngelis is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. His first day as District Director will be December 1st.

Measuring the True Cost of Conservation

Higher than expected

BU ExpertsBy Katherine Gianni

Estimated fair market value of all properties in the United States (3D visualization). Photo courtesy of Christoph Nolte, Boston University.

For decades, scientists have been warning about potential future effects of global climate change, including more frequent wildfires, longer periods of drought, and sharp increases in the number, duration, and intensity of tropical storms. 

And since the start of 2020, we’ve seen natural disasters in record-breaking numbers, from the wildfires that ravaged California and Colorado, to most consecutive days with temperatures skyrocketing over 100 degrees in places like Arizona. 

Environmental concerns are continually creeping to a broader, national stage: issues of climate change and conservation received more attention during the first presidential debate on September 29, 2020 than in any other presidential debate in history.

But when it comes to the topic of safeguarding the environment, Boston University Earth & Environment Assistant Professor Christoph Nolte is hardly a newcomer. He’s spent the majority of his academic career studying the effectiveness of conservation, asking key questions about where concerted efforts take place, and what difference they make for our world at large. 

To inform future decisions about conservation policy, Assistant Professor Nolte has now created the first high-resolution map of land value in the United states — a tool he says will better estimate environmental conservation costs, inform policy recommendations, and help peer academics conduct their own research on rebuilding and protecting what’s left of our natural resources and the biodiversity within our ecosystems. We sat down with him to learn more.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Just go away

Trump Is Going Overboard In His Final Days

He Should Just Disappear—Go Golfing and Leave Our Government Alone

By Terry H. Schwadron, DCReport Opinion Editor

Noxious a thought as it is, I was getting used to the idea that amid rapidly rising COVID-19 cases nationwide, Donald Trump just wanted to spend his last month playing golf and flailing about with unwarranted legal challenges to an election that he cannot overturn.

That he would be doing nothing about the biggest emergency facing the country has been insulting enough. 

It would seem from recent days that Trump’s only overt act was to take credit for private company scientists to be making great progress toward a vaccine against the coronavirus while ignoring 250,000 American deaths.

But come to find out, Trump has found a way to amuse himself with other actions to burnish his record, but that put the country more in peril. At the same time, it would put an incoming Joe Biden further in the hole.

He has been finding ways to stay busy outside of watching TV. Still, it’s anything but good for America.

Topping the list, of course, is refusing to allow any normal transition to proceed. That includes the necessary, non-partisan planning for the distribution of any emergent vaccine and refusing to help get a stimulus package through the lame-duck Congress.

With Trump having skipped five months’ worth of COVID-19 task force meetings, we should not be surprised now that public contagion hitting all the states is insufficient to hold his attention.

Merry F******* Christmas


Cash help for Rhode Island businesses and families


Even the Christmas trees are stressed

Drought Stresses Christmas Trees and Those Who Grow Them

By GRACE KELLY/ecoRI News staff

During pagan winter celebrations and rituals, evergreen boughs were used to symbolize life and fertility even in the darkest times.

But this year, the evergreen firs we bring into our homes for our winter celebrations might not be as vibrant.

This summer’s drought — which still has much of Rhode Island classified as experiencing moderate to severe drought — has brought many a local conifer to its knees, either killing young trees outright or causing trauma to older trees that resulted in extensive needle loss.

With saplings hit particularly hard, this season has been rough for some of the smaller local Christmas tree farmers, many of whom were already struggling.

Some 24.5 million live Christmas trees were bought nationwide in 2012, which was down from 30.8 million live trees sold in 2011. Last year an American Christmas Tree Association survey found that 82 percent of Christmas trees on display are artificial, with many consumers starting to choose trees that you can simply unbox and plug in.

In Rhode Island alone, the number of members of the Rhode Island Christmas Tree Growers Association have dwindled over the years.

An apple a day (at least)

Flavanol-Rich Diet Could Help Lower Blood Pressure

By Sci-News Staff / Source

Consuming a high-flavanol diet was associated with a significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure and was inversely associated with blood lipids in a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

 “Previous studies of large populations have always relied on self-reported data to draw conclusions, but this is the first epidemiological study of this scale to objectively investigate the association between a specific bioactive compound and health,” said Professor Gunter Kuhnle, a nutritionist in the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Reading.

“We are delighted to see that in our study, there was also a meaningful and significant association between flavanol consumption and lower blood pressure.”

“What this study gives us is an objective finding about the association between flavanols — found in tea and some fruits — and blood pressure.”

Major Lasting Effects on Health, Work and More

Life After COVID-19 Hospitalization

Kara Gavin

Surviving a case of COVID-19 that’s bad enough to land you in the hospital is hard enough. But life after the hospital stay – and especially after an intensive care stay – is no bed of roses, either, according to a new study.

Within two months of leaving the hospital, nearly 7% of the patients had died, including more than 10% of the patients treated in an intensive care unit. 

Fifteen percent had ended up back in the hospital. The data come from more than 1,250 patients treated in 38 hospitals across Michigan this spring and summer, when the state was one of the earliest to experience a peak in cases.

When researchers interviewed 488 of the surviving patients by phone, around 60 days after their hospitalization, they heard a litany of health and life woes. They’ve published their findings in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Ghost of Trump’s Dad again dumps mashed potatoes on his head

The Petty Revenge of a Soon-to-Be-Ex-President

By Michael Winship for Common Dreams

In Mary L. Trump’s book about her family, Too Much and Never Enough, there’s a moment referred to in the index as the “mashed potatoes incident.”

Apparently, young Donald was a major pill almost from birth, undisciplined, rude and nasty to his siblings and his mother. One night at dinner, he was, as usual, picking on his younger brother Robert. He had the boy in tears. Older brother Fred, Jr., then 14, intervened.

“Robert’s crying and Donald’s needling became too much,” Mary Trump writes, “and in a moment of improvised expedience that would become family legend, Freddy picked up the first thing at hand that wouldn’t cause any real damage: the bowl of mashed potatoes.

Everybody laughed and they couldn’t stop laughing. And they were laughing at Donald. It was the first time Donald had been humiliated by someone he even then believed to be beneath him… From then on, he would wield the weapon, never be at the sharp end of it.

On November 3, a majority of voters dumped mashed potatoes on Donald Trump’s head and he’s still screaming from the injustice of it all. Despite overwhelming evidence that he lost the election, he continues to falsely bellow “Fraud!” via his Twitter feed and pursues one frivolous lawsuit after another to challenge the result, all to no avail. So far. (As of this writing, he and the Republican Party were 0-33.)


By Matt DaviesNewsday


With Starkist?

From Fake Science, the favorite information source for loser Donald Trump


Sleep more, live longer

Healthy sleep habits help lower risk of heart failure

Circulation Journal Report

Adults with the healthiest sleep patterns had a 42% lower risk of heart failure regardless of other risk factors compared to adults with unhealthy sleep patterns, according to new research published today in the American Heart Association’s flagship journal Circulation

Healthy sleep patterns are rising in the morning, sleeping 7-8 hours a day and having no frequent insomnia, snoring or excessive daytime sleepiness.

Heart failure affects more than 26 million people, and emerging evidence indicates sleep problems may play a role in the development of heart failure.

This observational study examined the relationship between healthy sleep patterns and heart failure and included data on 408,802 UK Biobank participants, ages 37 to 73 at the time of recruitment (2006-2010). Incidence of heart failure was collected until April 1, 2019. Researchers recorded 5,221 cases of heart failure during a median follow-up of 10 years.

Americans don't eat enough fish

Despite the cost, don't miss out on robust health benefits 

Sardines are rich in oils and protein. 
Photo by Ahmed Nadar for UnsplashCC BY-ND 

Eating fish can provide powerful advantages for the heart and brain, yet Americans eat less than half of the 26 pounds per year that experts recommend. By contrast, Americans buy seven times more chicken and beef annually than fish.

Why Americans don’t eat more fish has been pondered for a long time by health experts, fish farmers and fishermen themselves. One way to consider this question is production. 

Consumers can buy a product only if it’s available. The more they buy, theoretically, the more that item will be produced. In this case, a greater demand for fish would be stimulated if more fish were offered for sale.

More seafood could be made available for American consumers from global ocean sources given that at least 60% of seafood in the U.S. is imported. 

U.S. aquaculture has the capacity to significantly increase. Research conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries also indicates slightly more domestic wild-caught fish can be harvested.

How YOU can become a super-spreader

UCF Researchers Identify Features That Could Make Someone a Virus Super-Spreader


Add caption
Sneeze velocity for four different nose and mouth types is shown. A is open nasal passage with teeth, B is open nasal passage without teeth, C is blocked nasal passage without teeth, and D is blocked nasal passage with teeth.

New research from the University of Central Florida has identified physiological features that could make people super-spreaders of viruses such as COVID-19.

In a study appearing this month in the journal Physics of Fluids, researchers in UCF’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering used computer-generated models to numerically simulate sneezes in different types of people and determine associations between people’s physiological features and how far their sneeze droplets travel and linger in the air.

They found that people’s features, like a stopped-up nose or a full set of teeth, could increase their potential to spread viruses by affecting how far droplets travel when they sneeze.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the main way people are infected by the virus that causes COVID-19 is through exposure to respiratory droplets, such as from sneezes and coughs that are carrying infectious virus.

Knowing more about factors affecting how far these droplets travel can inform efforts to control their spread, says Michael Kinzel, an assistant professor with UCF’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and study co-author.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020 in Rhode Island

Despite terrible year, reasons to be thankful

By Will Collette

1909 Thanksgiving greeting card, NY Public Library on-line archive

Even without the traditional Thanksgiving family gathering, I think there are many reasons to be thankful this year.

Despite a terrible pandemic that is again raging out of control, just consider where we would be without the dedicated work of so many. I am thankful for the millions of first responders, health care workers and essential workers in the supply chain. They put their lives at risk to help the rest of us.

Thank you to the many scientists and researchers around the world who have labored to find effective treatments to make COVID-19 less lethal than it was in the first few months. Despite our record-setting new case numbers, the death rate has dropped, largely due to what we have learned about treating this disease.

Here in Rhode Island, the vast majority have adhered to the guidelines, worn masks and maintained social distancing. I am thankful that during these past nine months, I’ve only encountered one intransigent mask-hole.

We have to stop slipping into super-spreading behavior with the big parties and weddings and stay steady as we all look forward to the new vaccines coming on-line.

Of course, we owe tremendous thanks to the research teams who have produced the new vaccines that are going to be coming on-line soon. They did this work in record time. It is truly amazing that, at this writing, we have THREE likely safe and effective vaccines just about ready to go.

I am thankful that over 80 million Americans voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, more than 6 million more than voted for Dear Leader. I hope we can go into 2021 without further civic decay.

I am thankful for Rudy Giuliani and his crack legal team for their crazy incompetence. 

Imagine if Trump’s efforts to overthrow the vote was led by someone with a less fevered mind who was capable of spinning a case based on no evidence into a plausible challenge? I thank Rudy for helping to heal the country – unintentionally, of course – by being such a clown.

I thank Charlestown voters for finally cracking through the hegemony of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) and their 10 year stranglehold on town government. Though technically three of the five Town Council members are still CCA Party endorsed, there’s only one die-hard CCA Party zealot on the Council leaving the door open for some reasoned debate and much needed change.

From our small town to our great nation and then the world at large, we still face serious challenges. The global coronavirus pandemic. A badly damaged, fragile economy. Systemic racism and the rise of right-wing fascism. The climate crisis that is wreaking havoc coast to coast.

And we’re not even free of 2020 yet - until January 20, still have a malignant narcissist in charge.

But the election results and the new vaccines have lifted my spirits as I hope they have lifted yours. We still have two important Senate races in Georgia and so much work still to do.

But be thankful because, sisters and brothers, it could be ever so much worse.



Do the right thing


Singing a New Song

Researchers Uncover Evidence Birds Listen to Birdsong Much Differently Than We Do

By Maryland Today Staff  

How exactly do birds “talk” to one another? And how can birdsong research help us understand communication in humans, too?

In a sequence of publications, psychology Professor Emeritus Robert Dooling and his team have demonstrated that for zebra finches, the subtle—and to human ears, inaudible—nuances in sound texture or timbre far outweigh the sequence of repeated sounds, which is deeply embedded in human communication. 

While the quality and tone of birdsong play key roles in communication for other avian species as well, the team’s research over several years suggests new avenues of investigation in using zebra finches in particular as animal models for the processing of sounds and sequences. 

We're all tired

What you can do about "information exhaustion"
Mark Satta, Wayne State University

A woman views a manipulated video that changes what is said by  
Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama. 
ROB LEVER/AFP via Getty Images 
An endless flow of information is coming at us constantly: It might be an article a friend shared on Facebook with a sensational headline or wrong information about the spread of the coronavirus. It could even be a call from a relative wanting to talk about a political issue.

All this information may leave many of us feeling as though we have no energy to engage.

As a philosopher who studies knowledge-sharing practices, I call this experience “epistemic exhaustion.” The term “epistemic” comes from the Greek word episteme, often translated as “knowledge.” So epistemic exhaustion is more of a knowledge-related exhaustion.

It is not knowledge itself that tires out many of us. Rather, it is the process of trying to gain or share knowledge under challenging circumstances.

Currently, there are at least three common sources that, from my perspective, are leading to such exhaustion. But there are also ways to deal with them.

Pro-mask or anti-mask?

Your moral beliefs probably predict your stance 

Moral combat: Do you wear a face mask to show you care about others?
Or do you refuse because you believe they defy human nature? 
Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images 

Governments around the world have recommended or mandated various behaviors to slow the spread of COVID-19. These include staying at home, wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.

Yet individuals continue to flout these recommendations and ignore explicit rules about wearing face masks. In the U.S., U.K. and Australia, crowds have gathered closely together to protest against lockdowns.

All this poses the question: Why are people not following the rules that protect not only their own health but the health of their community and nation? And how can policymakers and public health officials design better messages to encourage uptake?

How morals guide our decisions

In my latest research, I studied how people perceive the three main recommended behaviors as either “right” or “wrong.” I grounded my research on Moral Foundations Theory, which states that people judge the “rightness” or “wrongness” of behaviors along five different moral concerns or “foundations.”

The first is whether an action shows you care; the second is whether an action upholds standards of equality; the third is whether it shows loyalty to the group; the fourth is whether it shows deference to authority; and the last is whether it conforms to impulses and the natural way of doing things.

Some foundations are relevant to certain behaviors; others, not so much. For example, parents who are “anti-vaxxers” hold this view because they see vaccines as harming a child’s natural immunological defenses. Although that is not true, vaccines still challenge their perception of what’s natural. Likewise, when it comes to charitable giving, people donate because they see it as showing they care – not because they see it as “natural” to do so.

One benefit of exploring which moral foundation is relevant to a certain behavior is that it offers a better understanding of how to encourage or discourage that behavior.

For example, policymakers now understand that to encourage vaccinations for children, messages aimed at hesitant parents need to help them see how vaccinations can actually boost a child’s natural defenses. But telling these parents that “it shows you care for your child” has little effect, because the “caring” foundation is less relevant.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Every day he stalls, he makes things worse

There's still time -- and reason -- to invoke the 25th Amendment

By Dr. Bandy X. Lee, DC Report and James R. Merikangas

By Ann Telnaes, Washington Post
"What is the 25th Amendment for, if not designed for this exact reason?" is a question we have perpetually received regarding the current president. We finally sought to answer it at our Nov. 14 online town hall.

Indeed, since the announcement of election results, Donald Trump has refused to concede, has withheld critical information from the transition team, has fired and replaced top officials responsible for the nation's security, and has contemplated a catastrophic war with Iran

On top of this, he continues to ignore a surging pandemic that is now infecting almost 200,000 and killing 2000 Americans per day and collapsing medical systems he has refused to support.

Every hour of every day that he delays and disrupts a peaceful transfer of power, he is obstructing the critical preparations that are necessary for proper vaccine distribution and is risking a massive loss of lives. 

Could we have imagined, even a few months ago, keeping in charge a person who would kill a quarter-million Americans, and be poised to kill a half-million very soon? We already dubbed him "killer-in-chief," but the phrase almost fails to do justice to fully describe the magnitude of destruction he is inflicting on the nation and the world medically, politically, and mentally.

Yet this is exactly what was predicted. Since Donald Trump's election, mental health professionals have come forth in historically unprecedented ways to warn against entrusting the U.S. presidency to someone exhibiting dangerous mental impairments. 

Was it worth it?

For more cartoons by Keith Knight, CLICK HERE.


Sure would be nice


One out of four RI households don’t have enough food

RI Food Bank reports dramatic increase in food insecurity

By  Steve Ahlquist 

The Rhode Island Food Bank released their 2020 Status Report on Hunger in Rhode Island, and it contains dire, but not unexpected data.

“It’s shocking, but one in four households lack adequate food,” said Andrew Schiff, CEO of the Rhode Island Food Bank. “The rate of food insecurity was even higher – one in three for Black and Latinx households. They are also the ones suffering the most from coronavirus disease. Black Rhode Islanders and Latinx Rhode Islanders are over represented among Covid cases and hospitalizations.”

Among the reports findings:

90% accuracy in detecting melanoma

New non-invasive method

Kaunas University of Technology

A team of researchers from Kaunas University of Technology and Lithuanian University of Health Sciences proposed a non-invasive method for detection of melanoma. 

A patented computer-aided diagnostic system developed by Lithuanian scientists proved to be more than 90% accurate in detecting malignancy in diagnostic images of skin lesions acquired from 100 patients.

In Europe, melanoma is the fifth most common type of cancer and is the major cause of death from skin cancer. Northern Europe displays the largest age-standardised rate mortality of 3.8 per 10,000 in the region, with an incidence of 23.4.

Excision of a primary tumour remains essential in diagnosing melanoma, and the decision for the operation is generally based on the dermatoscopic evaluation of the lesion. 

However, the accuracy of melanoma clinical diagnosis is only at 65% and strongly relies on the experience of the physician-dermatologist carrying out the analysis.

Trump deserts work to stop the pandemic to go golfing

Trump skips G20 pandemic preparedness meeting as US Covid-19 cases surpass 12 million

By for Common Dreams

Donald Trump golfs at Trump National Golf Club on November 21, 2020 in Sterling, Virginia. Trumpdeclined to attend a meeting during the virtual G20 summit regarding the coronavirus pandemic, which is surging across the U.S., and went golfing instead. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

After briefly attending the virtual G20 summit from the White House's Situation Room on Saturday, Donald Trump skipped a meeting with other leaders of the world's 20 largest economies where the attendees discussed the coronavirus pandemic.

The "Pandemic Preparedness and Response" meeting included addresses by French President Emanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but no American government officials were listed as speakers. Both Macron and Merkel have been leaders in the global call for a coordinated international response to the coronavirus pandemic, with the French leader calling on Saturday for "solidarity" between countries.

As the U.S. allies prepared to discuss the financing of vaccine collaborations at the two-day G20 summit, Trump retreated to his golf club in Sterling, Virginia. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Enraging Deja Vu of a Third Coronavirus Wave

This new surge in COVID-19 didn't have to happen!
By Caroline Chen for ProPublica

By Matt DaviesNewsday
There’s a joke I’ve seen circulating online, over and over during this pandemic, that goes along the lines of, “Months this year: January, February, March, March, March, March, March…”

My lips pull into a smile, but my heart’s not in it.

I was on the phone two weeks ago with a nurse who lives in Missouri, where cases have risen from 1,100 per day in August to about 3,400 daily in November. 

Her husband works in the ER of a rural hospital. Every time a patient suspected of having COVID-19 walks in, the sample is sent to be tested in St. Louis, an hour and a half away. Results take eight hours or more to process.

Medical workers don’t get enough protective equipment. “They’re given one N95 mask and have to keep it in a bag to reuse for days,” the nurse said, fretting about her husband’s safety. “He should at least get a new mask for every shift, right?”

I looked at the calendar: It was Oct. 30, but it might as well have been March.

I could still hear the voice of another nurse, Sarah, in Illinois, who poured out her fears to me on March 2, when the coronavirus was just starting to make its presence known in her city.

Sarah told me she had been instructed to write her name on a brown paper bag and put her mask in it to reuse for the week. “There’s this feeling like, we’re just going to get it,” she told me, sounding more resigned than scared.

As a health reporter covering the pandemic, I’ve experienced too many moments of deja vu. This summer, as the virus swept through the South, news footage of overwhelmed hospitals in Houston turning away ambulances recalled similar scenes from March and April in New York City. 

The election that just won't end

For more cartoons by Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE.


Sad consequence of the election


Mystic resumes rescue program

Animal Rescue Program Reopens with Renewed Focus 

Hope this means a return of seal releases at Charlestown beaches
 (photo by Will Collette)

Mystic Aquarium officially resumed operation of its Animal Rescue Program this morning by safely welcoming back several program volunteers. 

With authority granted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Mystic Aquarium will resume its rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured and stranded marine animals along 1,000 miles of coastline throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island and Fishers Island, New York.  

Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program was shuttered in March 2020 as a result of the numerous public health restrictions imposed during Connecticut’s COVID-19 shutdown.  Financial hardship and other operational challenges also impacted the organization during shutdown and necessitated the program’s extended closure.   

Plans are in place to reopen the program with updated, COVID-specific safety protocols.    

New website shows you where to get really fresh seafood

DEM Announces New Website Feature Providing Access To Weekly Rhode Island Seafood Landings

The Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative, chaired by Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Director Janet Coit, announces the availability of a new feature on the website that provides weekly updates of all seafood landings in Rhode Island. 

This is the first time this information is being provided to consumers in a readily accessible, online format.

"We're excited to offer this new tool on the website so that Rhode Islanders can more easily find what's fresh and available, and where they can find it," said Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Director Janet Coit. 

"There is a strong demand for local seafood and we're fortunate that our commercial harvesters are able to meet that demand by harvesting and landing wide varieties and large quantities of fresh seafood every day at our ports. Rhode Islanders can take pride in knowing that when they purchase fresh local fish, shellfish, lobsters and crabs, they are not only getting delicious seafood, but also helping to keep a vital part of our economy – our commercial fishing and seafood industry – up and running."

The website was established several years ago by the Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative. The website provides consumers with information on Rhode Island seafood including what's available, where it can be purchased, how it's harvested, and how to cook and enjoy it. 

Trump lawyers admit there is NO EVIDENCE of election fraud

Why Trump's election fraud claims aren't showing up in his lawsuits challenging the results  Steven Mulroy, University of Memphis

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani alleges election fraud during a news
conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters,
Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington. Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo
There seems to be a real disconnect between the claims of widespread fraud, a stolen election and illegal voting made by President Donald Trump and his allies and the actual claims formally made by his lawyers in court.

Both Trump in his Twitter feed and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in her press conferences have made allegations of broad-based election fraud

But under questioning from judges in Arizona and Pennsylvania, Trump’s lawyers have backed away from actually asserting fraud. 

Despite Trump’s allegations to the contrary, his lawyers have acknowledged that they are not claiming that dead people voted or that occasional computer glitches were part of a deliberate conspiracy.

In one of several Pennsylvania cases, Trump attorneys actually signed a legal document in which they stated,

“Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any fraud in connection with the challenged ballots; Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any misconduct in connection with the challenged ballots; Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any impropriety in connection with the challenged ballots; Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any undue influence committed with respect to the challenged ballots.” Emphasis added.

The attorney backpedaling is not surprising.

It’s one thing to speculate via tweet, but quite another for an attorney, who is an officer of the court, to make representations to a judge. Trump’s lawyers are constrained in what they can assert by three major restrictions that apply to lawyers: professional ethics, rules of civil procedure and rules of evidence.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Cui Bono?

Who Wins from Trump’s Final Travesty?

By Robert Reich

By Michael de Adder
Leave it to Trump and his Republican allies to spend more energy fighting non-existent voter fraud than containing a virus that has killed 244,000 Americans and counting.

The cost of this misplaced attention is incalculable. While Covid-19 surges to record levels, there’s still no national strategy for equipment, stay at home orders, mask mandates or disaster relief.

The other cost is found in the millions of Trump voters who are being led to believe the election was stolen and who will be a hostile force for years to come – making it harder to do much of anything the nation needs, including actions to contain the virus.

Trump is continuing this charade because it pulls money into his newly formed political action committee and allows him to assume the mantle of presumed presidential candidate for 2024, whether he intends to run or merely keep himself the center of attention.

Leading Republicans like Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell are going along with it because donors are refilling GOP coffers.

The biggest beneficiaries are the party’s biggest patrons – the billionaire class, including the heads of the nation’s largest corporations and financial institutions, private-equity partnerships and hedge funds – whom a deeply divided nation serves by giving them unfettered access to the economy’s gains.

Carve 'em up

By Adam ZyglisThe Buffalo News


Contrast and compare


Rapid Testing Is Less Accurate Than the Government Wants to Admit

Trump team pushed out rapid antigen test without a plan and won't admit the tests are highly inaccurate
By Lisa Song for ProPublica

COVID-19 antigen testing in Eau Claire, Wisconsin,
on Nov. 2. 
(David Joles/Star Tribune via Getty Images)
The promise of antigen tests emerged like a miracle this summer. With repeated use, the theory went, these rapid and cheap coronavirus tests would identify highly infectious people while giving healthy Americans a green light to return to offices, schools and restaurants. 

The idea of on-the-spot tests with near-instant results was an appealing alternative to the slow, lab-based testing that couldn’t meet public demand.

By September, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had purchased more than 150 million tests for nursing homes and schools, spending more than $760 million. But it soon became clear that antigen testing — named for the viral proteins, or antigens, that the test detects — posed a new set of problems. 

Unlike lab-based, molecular PCR tests, which detect snippets of the virus’s genetic material, antigen tests are less sensitive because they can only detect samples with a higher viral load. The tests were prone to more false negatives and false positives. As problems emerged, officials were slow to acknowledge the evidence.

With the benefit of hindsight, experts said the Trump administration should have released antigen tests primarily to communities with outbreaks instead of expecting them to work just as well in large groups of asymptomatic people. 

Understanding they can produce false results, the government could have ensured that clinics had enough for repeat testing to reduce false negatives and access to more precise PCR tests to weed out false positives. Government agencies, which were aware of the tests’ limitations, could have built up trust by being more transparent about them and how to interpret results, scientists said.

With scallop prices at $15-$20 a pound, this may help

NOAA Fisheries Science Helps Maine’s Pioneering Sea Scallop Farmers

NOAA New England/Mid-Atlantic

A trait fishermen and scientists share is adaptability: the trait required to think on your feet, be comfortable with uncertainty, and repurpose resources when necessary.

“Adaptable” is a word that perfectly describes Marsden Brewer, a third-generation commercial fisherman, who is also a scallop farmer and owner of PenBay Farmed Scallops

Brewer’s business is the result of his 20-year effort, as well as techniques learned through Maine's enduring friendship with its sister state, Aomori Prefecture, Japan. His three-and-a-quarter acre Stonington, Maine, farm is the first of its kind in Penobscot Bay.