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Thursday, April 30, 2020

VIDEO: 'Reopen' protest movement created, boosted by fake grassroots tactics

It's called "astroturf" - fake grassroots
Marc Ambinder, University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Many Americans have been under strict stay-at-home orders, or at least advisories, for more than a month.

People are frustrated and depressed, but have complied with what they’ve been asked to endure because they trust that state and local public health officials are telling the truth about the coronavirus pandemic.

There has been passionate – and honest – argument about how many people are likely to get sick and die under different circumstances and sets of official rules.

It’s not clear how uncertain and evolving scientific findings should affect extraordinary government measures that restrict citizens’ basic freedoms.

In recent days, there have there been public protests against continuing the lockdown. The people who are doing the demonstrating may really be frustrated and upset, but new research, and journalistic investigation, is revealing that there are powerful forces behind them, egging them on, who want their influence to remain secret.


The culture war, explained

No photo description available.

Trump seeks personal bailout cash

Pic of the Moment

Movement toward gender equality has slowed in some areas, stalled in others

New five-decade study finds progress curbed beginning in 1990s
New York University

usnationalarchives women archivesgif womens rights womens history GIFWomen have made progress in earning college degrees as well as in pay and in occupations once largely dominated by men since 1970 -- but the pace of gains in many areas linked to professional advancement has slowed in recent decades and stalled in others, finds a new five-decade analysis.

"Substantial progress has been made toward gender equality since 1970 on employment and earnings as well as in women's access to certain fields of study and professions," explains Paula England, a professor of sociology at New York University and the study's senior author. 

"However, movement toward gender equality has slowed down, and in some cases, stalled completely."

The study, "Is the Gender Revolution Stalled? An Update," appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and also found that movement toward gender equity, which accelerated in the 1970s and 1980s, slowed or stopped beginning in the 1990s.


Please don’t hoard the Charmin

URI’s supply chain management faculty answer questions about COVID-19 shortages
A good hurricane or snowstorm forecast will usually cause a run on milk, eggs and bread. But toilet paper? With the COVID-19 crisis, that is the “new normal.” But what is driving the shortages in consumer goods, medicines and medical supplies? Are things getting any better? And what, if anything, are we learning?

Faculty in supply chain management at the University of Rhode Island’s College of Business tackle these questions below. Answering are: Lecturer Jack Beliveau, Assistant Professor Gulver Karamemis, Associate Professor Koray Özpolat, Associate Professor and Area Coordinator Dara Schniederjans, Senior Lecturer Brian Walsh, and Assistant Professor Mehmet Yalcin.


17th Century London Plague social effects resemble today

Diary of Samuel Pepys shows how life under the bubonic plague mirrored today's pandemic
Ute Lotz-Heumann, University of Arizona



There were eerie similarities between Pepys’ time and our own. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
In early April, writer Jen Miller urged New York Times readers to start a coronavirus diary.

“Who knows,” she wrote, “maybe one day your diary will provide a valuable window into this period.”

During a different pandemic, one 17th-century British naval administrator named Samuel Pepys did just that. 

He fastidiously kept a diary from 1660 to 1669 – a period of time that included a severe outbreak of the bubonic plague in London. 

Epidemics have always haunted humans, but rarely do we get such a detailed glimpse into one person’s life during a crisis from so long ago.

There were no Zoom meetings, drive-through testing or ventilators in 17th-century London. But Pepys’ diary reveals that there were some striking resemblances in how people responded to the pandemic.


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Trump's 180 spins are making us all dizzy

Toxic leadership is dangerous
By Terry H. Schwadron, DCReport Opinion Editor


By Clay Jones
It’s enough to drive us crazy. Immediately crazy.

One day after reading a  roadmap of guidance to governors to gradually ease coronavirus orders, here was Donald Trump using Twitter in mid-day to yell LIBERATE Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia.

My instant reactions only confirmed after thinking about them:

Even Trump does not believe Trump. Trump certainly does not believe the doctors.

He thinks more coronavirus deaths are perfectly acceptable as a trade-off for people to return to work, but also to return to golf courses and such, which were the source of protest this week by Trump loyalists.

The tweeter-in-chief attacked three Democratic governors whose states do not qualify for even the first of his open-ended categories for reopening.

He is dangerous to the country and to my family.

And, apparently, Trump has nothing to do in the middle of the day.

Trump just said some states are “too tough,” adding, “I think elements of what they’ve done is too much and it’s just too much,” without delineating what orders have gone too far.

That’s some leadership, for sure.


Lucky Ducky and COVID-19


For more cartoons by Ruben Bolling, CLICK HERE.

When you go shopping

Relying on Drug Companies With Flawed Safety Records to Save Us from Covid-19

Can we trust these guys to get it right?
By Ann Telnaes, Washington Post
Among the many things that have changed drastically in the past few months is the public perception of the pharmaceutical industry. 

At the beginning of the year, the main news about Big Pharma was the possibility of a multi-billion-dollar opioid settlement with the states.

Now, rather than being held accountable for tens of thousands of overdose deaths, the industry is being hailed as our savior from Covid-19. 

The news is filled with laudatory stories about the efforts of the drug companies to come up with a treatment for those currently suffering from the virus and a vaccine that may be the only way for society to return to something approximating normal.

Of course, everyone wants these efforts to succeed, but we shouldn’t ignore the very checkered track record of the industry. The safety portion of that record suggests that pushing for extremely rapid results may be risky.

The pharmaceutical industry’s safety problems date back at least to the 1930s, when a company called S.E. Massengill introduced a liquid antibiotic without testing and the drug turned out to cause fatal kidney damage.

In the 1950s Parke-Davis heavily promoted a typhoid drug for less serious ailments until it emerged that users were developing severe and irreversible anemia. During the same period, thousands of children around the world were born with birth defects after their mothers took the morning-sickness drug thalidomide during pregnancy.

Sometimes these scandals involved vaccines. In the mid-1950s a California company called Cutter Laboratories produced large stocks of the new polio vaccine that mistakenly contained the live virus. Scores of children who received the vaccine developed polio.

Defenders of the pharmaceutical industry will claim that safety practices are much more stringent these days. But consider the recent history of Johnson & Johnson, which is one of the companies actively pursuing a coronavirus vaccine.


Why farmers are dumping milk down the drain and letting produce rot in fields

Pandemic uncovers supply chain flaws
Elizabeth Ransom, Pennsylvania State University; E. Melanie DuPuis, Pace University , and Michelle R. Worosz, Auburn University


A Pennsylvania dairy farmer watches 5,500 gallons of milk swirl
down the drain. MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images
Many Americans may be surprised and confused to see farmers dumping milk down the drain or letting vegetables rot in their fields.

Why would they be destroying food at a time when grocery stores and food pantries struggle to keep pace with surging demand during the coronavirus pandemic?

As sociologists with a specialty in agriculture and food, we study how the structure of the food system affects people’s lives and the environment. 

Seeing food destroyed at a time when people are going hungry highlights both short- and long-term problems with this system.


Meet the new guy picked to lead the federal pandemic response

The Best People, Also Labradoodles

brian_med_index-1.jpgWe take heart in the consistently crackerjack team leading us in this unprecedented health crisis.

There’s the mad king who just fired a leading doctor for arguing against the king's fave quack theories to the sycophantic anti-science zealot who dutifully insists the coronavirus is almost behind us.

Now there’s the racist wacko newly appointed HHS spokesman to one Brian Harrison, a former Texas dog breeder with no public health experience,

It turns out Harrison was tapped by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to run the federal pandemic task force, which maybe helps explain the disastrous, multi-faceted, weeks-long delays and blunders that experts say could have prevented 90% of this country's early COVID-19 deaths.
labrad_tease_darwin_93599477_34482611252
Photo from Dallas Labradoodles website

Azar himself belongs right up there on the list of murderous dolts not yet held accountable.

As head of the massive HHS and its $1.3-trillion-budget, Azar, a Republican lawyer and former Big Pharma lobbyist who clerked for the right-wing Antonin Scalia and hangs out with blackout drunk Brett Kavanaugh, is tasked with overseeing almost every federal public health agency, including the key Center for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration.

But Azar botched it from the start:


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Stupid on science

Trump’s attacks on science and reason beggar belief
By Will Collette

Image may contain: 3 people, meme, possible text that says 'HI, I'M DONALD TRUMP AND YOU MAY REMEMBER ME FROM SUCH NEWS STORIES AS: DAMN IT TGAVIN RAKE THE FORESTS! FALLOUT 4: NUCLEAR HURRICANES HEY, CHECK OUT THAT BRIGHT THING! THEWNTEHOUSE WINDMILL CANCER: SOCIETY'S HIDDEN MENACE /FOX AND THE PATRIOT'S GUIDE FING TO MEDICAL BLEACH INJECTION'Donald Trump’s recent advice that doctors should inject bleach or Lysol® into the lungs of COVID-19 patients was the last straw for many. 

He also suggested that doctors zap patients’ lungs with high levels of UV light or even a very strong light. 

The New York City Poison Control Center reported 30 cases of people ingesting Lysol® or bleach just hours after Trump’s remarks.

Trump has also pushed hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure even though studies are showing it not only doesn’t help, but actually can cause fatal heart problems. 

At least two people have died from reactions after following Trump’s Rx.

But it’s no surprise, coming from a deranged guy who has made a lifetime of false claims, many of them dangerous, on scientific and medical subjects. The Union of Concerned Scientists Center for Science and Democracy listed 130 Trump attacks on science and that was just as of 2017!

During the current coronavirus pandemic, Trump has added many more.

The Associated Press recently assembled Trump’s greatest hits of scientific quackery that includes:


MUSIC VIDEO: Just a spoonful of Clorox


To watch this great video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPDPzbLFeP4

VIDEO: Some REAL solutions to the climate crisis

VIDEO: The Buck Stops Here

To watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozzwMBvvUiA&feature=emb_title

New leader for coastal agency

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

Willis Named CRMC's Interim Executive Director — ecoRI News
Jeffrey Willis (ecoRI photo)
Grover Fugate, the long-serving executive director of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), is set to retire May 31. 

Fugate, who in 1986 became the agency’s first director, has no immediate plans other than to spend more time with family.

During an April 14 video meeting, CRMC’s governing board approved deputy director Jeffrey Willis to serve as acting director until Fugate’s replacement is hired.

Willis will take on the duties of executive director while continuing his current responsibilities. He said he intends to apply for the director position.

Several members of the CRMC board spoke enthusiastically about Willis serving as interim director.
CRMC chairwoman Jennifer Cervenka said Willis “is well liked and trusted by this council.”


MIT Researchers identify cells likely targeted by COVID-19 virus

Study finds specific cells in the lungs, nasal passages, and intestines that are more susceptible to infection
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing: What you should know | UC Davis HealthResearchers at MIT; the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard; and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; along with colleagues from around the world have identified specific types of cells that appear to be targets of the coronavirus that is causing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Using existing data on the RNA found in different types of cells, the researchers were able to search for cells that express the two proteins that help the SARS-CoV-2 virus enter human cells. They found subsets of cells in the lung, the nasal passages, and the intestine that express RNA for both of these proteins much more than other cells.

The researchers hope that their findings will help guide scientists who are working on developing new drug treatments or testing existing drugs that could be repurposed for treating Covid-19.

"Our goal is to get information out to the community and to share data as soon as is humanly possible, so that we can help accelerate ongoing efforts in the scientific and medical communities," says Alex K. Shalek, the Pfizer-Laubach Career Development Associate Professor of Chemistry, a core member of MIT's Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), an extramural member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, an associate member of the Ragon Institute, and an institute member at the Broad Institute.

Shalek and Jose Ordovas-Montanes, a former MIT postdoc who now runs his own lab at Boston Children's Hospital, are the senior authors of the study, which appears in Cell. The paper's lead authors are MIT graduate students Carly Ziegler, Samuel Allon, and Sarah Nyquist; and Ian Mbano, a researcher at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa.


Langevin supports House Passage of $484 Billion Interim Coronavirus Relief Package

Far from perfect but a step forward

By Ann Telnaes, Washington Post
Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) voted in support of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, a $484 billion interim coronavirus relief package that supports public health and the nation’s economy by providing critical aid for healthcare providers and small businesses and by funding a nationwide coronavirus testing strategy.

Earlier in the day, Langevin spoke on the House floor in support of the legislation. The relief package passed the House by a vote of 388-5 and now heads to the President’s desk for his signature. 

“Millions of families, small business owners, and healthcare workers are in dire need of help as our nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress is answering their calls with an additional relief package that seeks to ensure public health and bolster the nation’s economy with targeted support for mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, and hospitals and medical personnel on the front lines. 

The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act also makes a massive investment in testing, which will be critical as communities contemplate how to begin the process of reopening.


Monday, April 27, 2020

Compelling arguments to re-open the country


For more cartoons by Matt Bors, CLICK HERE.

In gratitude and celebration

"R.I. Angel of Hope and Strength" by famed RISD artist Shepard Fairey  #RIArts

Why Nursing Homes Are Being Overrun By The Trump Pandemic

You guessed it: gutted Obama-era regulations and an industry crony who has Trump’s ear
By Sarah Okeson

Coronavirus cases surge at nursing homes as workers battle 'almost ...Former Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat but the CEO of a nursing home industry group, wrote Trump after the 2016 election seeking a “collaborative approach” to regulation, much like the one the Federal Aviation Administration has had with the aircraft industry.

Team Trump acquiesced, rolling back fines and proposing to weaken rules for infection prevention employees. That collaborative approach has failed, much as it did with the FAA , the agency that enabled failures in the design of the Boeing 737 Max.

Shoddy federal oversight of planes helped kill 346 people. The death toll from the pandemic, where health officials Seema Verma and Alex Azar helped turn our nation’s nursing homes into Trump death traps, is more than 46,000.


Chronic conditions worsen coronavirus risk

Here's how to manage them amid the pandemic
Laurie Archbald-Pannone, University of Virginia

Myth bustersAmid the stress and confusion of coronavirus shutdowns and social distancing orders, it can seem to older patients as though everything is on pause. 

Clinics have postponed regular office visits. Patients worry about going to pharmacies and grocery stores. 

There’s even anecdotal evidence that people with serious issues such as chest pain are avoiding emergency rooms.

One important fact must not get overlooked amid this pandemic: Chronic health conditions still need attention.

If you had diabetes before the pandemic, you still have diabetes and should be monitoring your blood sugar levels. If you were advised to follow a low-salt diet before the pandemic to control your blood pressure, you still need to follow a low-salt diet during what my spouse calls “the duration.” 

If you had to check in with your doctor if your weight increased from underlying congestive heart failure, you still need to check your weight daily and call your doctor.

As I remind my geriatric patients, taking care of chronic conditions is even more critical right now as the new coronavirus raises the risk for people with underlying medical problems.

Lungs, heart and even kidneys

If you have chronic medical conditions and you become infected with the coronavirus, you’ll likely face an increased risk of developing severe symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at a sample of U.S. patients with COVID-19 and found that 89% of those hospitalized in March had underlying conditions. The percentage rose to 94% for patients age 65 and older.



Handful of Trump supporters demand Rhode Island drop pandemic counter-measures

Reopen RI Rally draws heroes to the State House
Healthcare workers silently counter-protest
Saturday, a small gathering of people stood on the steps of the Rhode Island State House to deliver an important message. 

There were seven health care workers silently counter-protesting the Reopen RI Rally, which called on Governor Gina Raimondo to open Rhode Island’s economy, despite the very real risks of people becoming infected by and dying of COVID-19 at increased rates.

The very presence of these frontline health care workers bore witness to the reality of COVID-19, and the dangers the disease brings to our most vulnerable communities.

The Reopen RI Rally itself drew about 125 people at it’s height.

The rally at its height.
Though organizers insisted that the event was not a rally celebrating Donald Trump, Trump was very present in the form of flags, hats, signs, slogans and shirts.

The official signs for the rally, which said “Knock It Off Gina! Reopen Rhode Island” were designed to be similar to the Trump 2020 signs that people carried.


Not a Trump rally.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Republican House Minority Leader Blake "Flip" Filippi (who may or may not live in Charlestown or Block Island or Providence or Warwick) had this to say about this event: "There's a lot of questions out there we don't have answers to.  And maybe if the people out on the street had answers, they wouldn't be protesting. And those answers are the duty of the legislative branch to provide." OK, legislative leader Flip - what's YOUR answer? Inject bleach? - Will Collette


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Trump’s Derangement Threatens The Entire World

As his mental state worsens, he will take millions of us down with him
By Bandy X. Lee
Dr. Deborah Birx's scarves are the power accessory we all need ...
Dr. Deborah Birx tried to excuse Trump's insane idea to inject
disinfectants into the lungs as just a case of the way he likes to think
things through out loud. Is that supposed to make us feel better? is that
really where his mind takes him?
As the most eminent mental health experts warned would happen since Donald Trump’s election, the office of the U.S. presidency has become a locus of grave psychological dysfunction.  Seldom do we see our warnings realized in real life with such recurrent, precise confirmation, as if on schedule.

The president’s latest suggestion that injecting bodies with disinfectant, or irradiating them with ultraviolet light, could help with COVID-19 is only the latest, blatant example of his malady: His boundless willingness to place the nation in harm’s way for his slightest gain.  

Given our track record, the world should know that we were not speaking frivolously of his dangerousness and that, were  Trump to continue in the presidency, not only the United States but the world would see vast, unnecessary increases in suffering and death.

Just as COVID-19 was exceeding 2 million confirmed cases across the world, Trump announced that he would freeze funding for the World Health Organization (WHO), the main agency that is in charge of helping the world to confront the pandemic. I have been consulting with the WHO since its launch of the landmark World Report on Violence and Health

On a shoestring budget, it does innovative and vital work around the world that saves lives in ways that no other agency can replace. For a global pandemic, which requires a concerted effort among nations, this funding means protecting ourselves in a closely linked world of international travel and interconnected economies.

 The remaining nine months of Trump’s presidency are looking to be the most dangerous of all, for the United States and for the world.

This is especially true in the absence of U.S. leadership. 

We will never know to what degree the COVID-19 pandemic could have been attenuated or contained altogether, like other near-pandemics in the past, had Trump not disbanded the nation’s global pandemic response system two years earlier, out of pathological envy of his predecessor, President Barack Obama. 

It was a system that experts lauded throughout the world and voiced outcry for when it was dissolved.


Death cult


For more cartoons by Jen Sorenson, CLICK HERE.

New poll gives Raimondo high numbers for COVID-19 response

Hassenfeld Institute poll finds most Rhode Islanders approve of Raimondo’s pandemic response
Coronavirus In RI: Raimondo Breaks Down Steps To Reopen Economy ...
The Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership today released a public opinion survey on the attitudes of Rhode Island registered voters relating to the coronavirus crisis. The survey was conducted from April 15 through April 18, 2020.

[The poll relied heavily on landlines, older people and those who make more than $75,000 a year.]

The poll surveyed public attitude about the job approval voters give elected officials in handling the coronavirus crisis, trust voters place in information being provided, the effect of the crisis on personal economic well-being, the impact on participation in the political process, and attitudes towards the roles and responsibilities of government.

The Institute’s Director, Gary Sasse, said “The Spring of 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the Institute. Unfortunately, it coincided with the global pandemic. In light of these circumstances, as a public service the Institute has decided that this was the right time to examine the public’s perception of leadership during this crisis.”


On keeping Rhode Island agriculture alive

Senator Sosnowski lauds DEM for work in keeping fisheries, farmers, garden centers in business
About Sue • Sue Sosnowski for SenateSen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) is thanking the Department of Environmental Management for working with her to ensure that fisheries, farmers and garden centers remain in business with necessary precautions to protect workers and consumers for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I want those who work in fishing and agriculture to know that we’ve developed policy and protocols to enable businesses to remain open during this crisis,” said Senator Sosnowski, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture.

“Those in agriculture and the seafood industry are struggling since the closure of restaurants and other businesses and supply chains. We want them to know that we’ve been working hard to take steps to keep business going.”

Senator Sosnowski has been in frequent contact with Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit and the Director of the Division of Agriculture Ken Ayars, as well as with the Rhode Island representative from the United States Department of Agriculture, the Rhode Island Farm Bureau and other stakeholders on all issues that agriculture and seafood industries are facing at this time.


URI Dining Services feeds 500 Rhode Island senior citizens, needy individuals a day

Refrigerated truck leaves Kingston Campus each weekday morning for senior centers around state

Kevin O'Brien, at left, and cook's helper John Fonseca, prepare shepherd's pie meals for delivery
SHEPHERD'S PIE FOR EAST PROVIDENCE SENIORS:
URI Dining Services cook Kevin O'Brien, at left, and cook's
helper John Fonseca, prepare shepherd's pie meals for delivery last
Thursday to the East Providence Senior Center. URI photos by Nora Lewis
As University of Rhode Island Dining Services workers loaded 500 individually wrapped meals into a refrigerated truck last Wednesday morning, others were already hard at work preparing Thursday’s meal–shepherd’s pie with spinach, carrots and rolls.

Wednesday’s meal of fried chicken, beans and macaroni and cheese, went to Cumberland’s Senior Center, and Thursday morning, dining services workers were off to East Providence with the shepherd’s pie meal. 

Each individual meal was fully cooked and prepared and only needed to be reheated.

It’s all part of an effort involving the University, Rhode Island’s Office of Healthy Aging and the state’s senior centers. 

Older Rhode Islanders staying home need help with nutrition; senior centers, which are no longer providing communal meals to their patrons at their centers, needed a way to get meals to them; and URI Dining Services has plenty of food to prepare the meals, since most of its nearly 6,000 resident students did not return to campus after spring break when the University ceased in-person instruction and most in-person services.


Trump’s Self-Serving Immigration Ban

He Closes the Country to Immigrants, Except the Ones He Regularly Hires and Fires
By David Cay Johnston, DCReport Editor-in-Chief


Trump’s Self-Serving Immigration Ban
Featured imaged:” Trump and his Mar-a-Lago staff, photographed for Vanity Fair magazine (Getty Images). The image is used on the Mar-a-Lago Staff parody Twitter feed.

Image result for melania trump parents immigration | Melania trump ...Donald Trump’s new ban on new immigration is designed to make sure he can continue to hire foreign workers at Mar-a-Lago and his other properties, denying jobs to the Americans he claims to care about.

During the five o’clock follies Tuesday, Trump said “by pausing immigration we will help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens—so important. 

It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced by any new immigrant labor flown in from abroad. We must first take care of the American worker—take care of the American worker.”

But less than a minute later, Trump added a self-serving caveat:

The ban applies “only to people seeking permanent residency,” he said, citing holders and seekers of green cards. He said the ban on immigrant workers does “not apply to those entering on a temporary basis.”


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Death homes

Corporate-owned nursing homes and Covid-19
Seattle-area nursing home unable to test 65 workers with COVID-19 ...It was only a few days ago that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that nursing homes will be required to notify residents and their families when coronavirus cases have been discovered in a facility. 

This comes many weeks after the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington became an early Covid-19 hotspot and deaths started mounting at other nursing homes across the country.

Even before the pandemic began, conditions in the nation’s roughly 15,000 nursing homes, which house some 1.5 million residents, were far from ideal. 

As a Washington Post investigation recently found, about 40 percent of nursing homes with publicly reported cases of coronavirus — the list of which is far from complete, given varying transparency practices among the states — had been previously cited by government inspectors for violating regulations meant to control the spread of infections. This made them all the more susceptible to coronavirus.

The blame for that poor track record rests to a significant degree with the large corporations, including private equity firms, that control a substantial portion of the country’s nursing homes. 

While the Washington Post story did not identify the parent companies of the facilities with reported Covid-19 cases, the data in Violation Tracker shows the compliance problems at those corporations.


Go ahead and protest

No photo description available.

ICE detainees in Central Falls private prison sound COVID-19 alarm

People Detained by ICE in the Wyatt Detention Center Raise Concerns About the Spread of COVID-19 in the Facility, Demand Release
Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance (AMOR)

Stop the Spread of COVID-19: Release Vulnerable Communities from ...On April 17, people detained by ICE at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility released a letter detailing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 inside the facility and pleading for immediate release.

The letter describes the detainees’ inability to practice social distancing due to the conditions inside the facility. 

“Our suffering is immense. Our lives is in danger,” the letter reads, “There are people in a sensitive health condition in this facility.”

The letter comes almost two weeks after the detainees launched a hunger strike in protest of the unsanitary conditions inside the facility. The hunger strike ended after three days due to increasing retaliation against the hunger strikers, such as cutting off phone access and placing people in isolation.

“It is critical that people detained at Wyatt are released, considering the tragedy that happened in 2008 when Hiu Lui Ng passed away while detained at the Wyatt due to medical neglect,” says Arely Diaz of the Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance. 

“Ng’s life could have been saved if ICE had prioritized the health and safety of those in detention, and many lives can be saved now. It is impossible for people to practice proper sanitation and social distancing protocols while detained and it is only a matter of time before COVID-19 starts spreading throughout the facility..”

EDITOR'S NOTE: Prisons are among the worst places to be during a pandemic. The very first person among our circle of friends and family to contract COVID-19 is a worker at one of Connecticut's state prisons. Conditions inside are perversely ideal for the spread of a contagious disease spread through the air. Prisoners are in close quarters. Ventilation is poor. Sanitation is spotty. Among the prison population are many elderly people and persons with compromised immune systems. They are becoming the latest hot-spots. - Will Collette

Charlestown to receive $168K for new Ninigret Park "fitness space"

DEM announces $6 million in grants for local recreation projects 


Hitler Youth Stock Pictures, Royalty-free Photos & Images - Getty ...
Getty Images
As part of a continued focus on supporting healthy communities and promoting outdoor recreation when the state economy begins to reopen, Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today awarded $5.79 million in matching grants to 21 local municipalities to develop or renovate recreational facilities in their communities.

The grants will fund 27 projects across the state including new athletic fields, playgrounds, splash parks, bike paths, walking trails, shoreline access, basketball, tennis, and pickleball courts, and various site improvements.

Since the inception of Earth Day in 1970, efforts to improve air and water quality, clean up contaminated lands, conserve open space, and increase recreational opportunities have greatly enhanced Rhode Islanders' quality of life. 

Over the past five decades, almost 50,000 acres of land have been protected and nearly $75 million in grants has been invested for over 500 recreation projects across the state. 

Although the state and some local communities have temporarily closed parks, playgrounds, and sports fields to limit exposure to COVID-19, these closures have created a void where people used to safely recreate. The grants awarded today will help communities unlock recreation opportunities for all Rhode Islanders when it is safe to do so.


Peak Tick time is coming

Environmental Management and Health Depts. urge tick prevention

cycle tick GIFAs the weather is getting warmer, state public health and environmental officials are urging residents to continue practicing social distancing when outdoors and to take additional precautions to avoid direct contact with ticks that can transmit Lyme disease.

Rhode Island has the fifth-highest rate of Lyme disease in the country. 

With a very mild winter in which many more ticks than usual have likely survived until spring and with many more people expected to be outside this year, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) are concerned that 2020 may be shaping up to be a bad year for tick bites and the transmission of Lyme disease and other diseases.

As Rhode Islanders enjoy Rhode Island's outdoors safely with social distancing, it is also important to be aware of ticks and the diseases they carry. 

According to 2018 RIDOH disease data, Rhode Island had 1,111 cases of Lyme disease, with an incidence rate of 105 cases per 100,000 people, giving it the nation's fifth-highest rate of the disease. Reported cases of Lyme disease in Rhode Island increased by approximately 20% in 2017 and remained at a similar level in 2018.


The GOP Has Become a Death Cult

American conservatism—the so-called "culture of life"—worships annihilation.

new_checks_death_certificates_evqnwqfx0aA decade ago, in my first public writing since leaving Capitol Hill, I warned that the Republican Party, in its evolution towards an extremist conservative movement allied with extremist Christian fundamentalism, was becoming like “one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe.” 

After Donald Trump’s enthronement as the decider of our fate, I analyzed the GOP’s descent into a nihilism that belied every one of its supposed “values.” They value only absolute power or ruin.

It is now long past time to cast off highfalutin’ Latinisms and simply call the Republicans and their religious and secular conservative allies what they are, and in unadorned English: a death cult. As the country reels from the coronavirus pandemic, our national government might just as well be run by the infamous People’s Temple of Jonestown.

By now we are benumbed by the all-pervasive arguments over relaxing workplace shutdowns and stay-at-home orders due to coronavirus. In any sane society, the issue would be how to institute the most efficient measures to defeat the pandemic in the shortest time and with the lowest loss of life. 

Instead, Trump and his merry band of lunatics have hijacked the national debate into a faux-serious discussion of when, oh, please, how soon, can we “reopen the economy?” Naturally, the media gamely continue to play along with this calculated bit of dezinformatsiya.

This has led to extreme callousness, like that shown by Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick, who opined that grams and gramps should be eager to shuffle off this mortal coil for the sake of their grandchildren.

There is abundant empirical evidence against this notion: voters in Florida, known as “God’s waiting room” for its geriatric population, are notoriously averse to paying one cent in state income tax to fund education or child health, let alone lay down their lives. 

In any case, the 69-year-old Patrick, who claims he’s willing to die for his proposition, did not relinquish the burdens of his office to volunteer as an emergency room orderly.