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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Comprehensive chart of Obama conspiracies

Not so much "Blue" but "Anti-Red"

House Minority Leader Brian Newberry had some simple wisdom when the Providence Journal asked him why Democrats do better than Republicans in Rhode Island.

“The answer to that is easy: there’s a lot more Democrats than Republicans,” he was quoted as saying.
Of course this is true. The Journal then went on to surmise that this is because “Rhode Island is often called the bluest of blue states, and numbers from the secretary of state’s office bear that out.”

This, on the other hand, is not true … nor is there any way for Rhode Island voting rolls to bear out a comparison with the rest of the country. Nevertheless, the ProJo goes on to cite the data: “As of Jan. 24, the state had 295,971 registered Democrats and 74,959 registered Republicans. Also in the mix: 1,311 voters aligned with the Moderate Party, and a whopping 358,637 who were undeclared.”

Duck and Cover 2.0

The police-industrial complex aims to deploy thousands of domestic drones in the next few years.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Domestic drones ARE coming. If you're concerned about this, click here.

Last year, Sheriff Tommy Gage of Montgomery County, Texas, was eager to show off his new surveillance toy. Having obtained a $300,000 Homeland Security grant from the federal government, his office had become the first police agency in the nation to have its very own drone, a pilotless aircraft to monitor and, yes, spy on people.

This beauty came with the deluxe eye-in-the-sky package, including infrared detection equipment and a power zoom camera. Filled with pride, the sheriff summoned the media to a big photo-op last March to witness him and the drone strutting their stuff. To add drama to this show of police power, Gage also had his SWAT team attend in full riot regalia, positioning them in their “Bearcat,” an armored vehicle.

UPDATED: Another great local reporter moves on

Former Sun reporter Chris Keegan lands new gig
By Will Collette

UPDATE: Chris e-mailed me to report that he has started a new job as associate editor for the Northeast Independent - the sister paper to the South County Independent that covers North Kingstown and East Greenwich. Best of luck, Chris.

This is the fourth time in Progressive Charlestown’s short history that we’ve done a farewell and good luck piece to one of the local reporters who have covered Charlestown news.

First there was Andrew Martin at the Chariho Times and then the Sun’s Cassidy Swanson and Andrew’s replacement at the Times, Anthony aRusso. Michael Souza was on the Sun’s staff briefly and during his short tenure, he also covered Charlestown. Charlestown’s current beat report is the talented veteran print reporter David Pepin.

Now one of the most experienced Sun beat reporters, Chris Keegan, is moving on to a new and hopefully very rewarding new gig. Chris is leaving the Sun as of December 30 and will let us know about his new job when he starts, hopefully soon.

Blowin' in the Wind

By FRANK CARINI/ News staff

About 180 million plastic shopping bags are sent to the Central Landfill annually.Plastic bags have been waving from trees and clogging storm drains since the 1960s. These petroleum-based pouches have become the unofficial flags of a throwaway society. So how do we stop these plastic parachutes from muddling windswept landscapes and degrading the environment? Do we even have the political and/or societal will do so?

We know the environmental externalities associated with plastic bag manufacturing and disposal include greenhouse gas emissions, and water and land pollution. In fact, a billion discarded plastic bags is the equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil.

Block Island Ferry cancelled today

The high winds overnight have resulted in cancellation of the entire ferry schedule for today, according to the Block Island Ferry's Facebook page.

Chariho schools are also delayed one hour this morning.

A tip of our hat to

Concerned Citizens of Bradford-Charlestown ask for, and get, commitments from Town Council

Statement to the Charlestown Town Council, January 28, 2013
Run-off from COPAR pollutes Charlestown wetlands
By Jo Ann Ercoli, on behalf of the Concerned Citizens of Bradford-Charlestown (CCBC)

EDITOR'S NOTE: the COPAR quarry in Bradford, just across the town line, has plagued residents for at least a mile around in Bradford and the northwestern corner of Charlestown. The citizens' group provided the Charlestown Council with volumes of evidence - documents, photos, video, witness statements, etc. To their credit, the Town Council responded positively (click here for the Westerly Sun's coverage and here for their editorial). But the town of Westerly has been unmoved. So far. Here's the group's opening statement to the Council last Monday:

We, the citizens of Charlestown continue to stand by our request that the Copar quarry be shut down, and that the Charlestown Town Council support us through the following means:

We request the Town Council to direct town enforcement action in the following instances:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Young Republicans

Intransigence Training
By Brian McFadden

To read the instruction manual, click here.

Charlestown Man Charged With Possession of Cocaine

According to South Kingstown police, Carl R. Gross, 52, was found with cocaine after a traffic stop when his van was swerving.
Unless otherwise noted, information about the following incidents was supplied by the South Kingstown Police Department. An arrest does not indicate a conviction.

Carl R. Gross, 52, of 4414 Old Post Road, Charlestown, was arrested at about 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 18 and charged with:

  • Felony drug possession (cocaine)
  • Drunken driving
  • Possession of marijuana
  • Driving without a license
  • Driving while in the presence of alcohol
  • Driving while in possession of a controlled substance

Tax the rich, Part 87

By Bob Plain in

new report confirms what progressives have saying for several legislative sessions now: Rhode Island needs tax equity.

According to the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy report the poorest Rhode Islanders will pay more than twice as much in percentage of income than will the richest residents of the Ocean State. Rhode Island has the eighth highest taxes on the poor in the nation, according to the report.

Forget Fake Girlfriends, Republicans Have an Imaginary President

One of our major political parties has become infected with the Notre Dame virus.
The bizarre story of Manti Te’o, the Notre Dame football player, and his dying girlfriend gives new meaning to the term “fantasy football.”

Te’o very nearly rode the heart-rending story of his tragic online romance into a Heisman Trophy (college football’s highest individual honor) and a national championship.

There was hardly a dry eye in the press box as Te’o told of the death from leukemia of his online love and how he would soldier on because that’s what she would have wanted him to do.

It was a great story with but a single flaw — he had no girlfriend, she didn’t die or, in fact, ever exist. She was Te’o's imaginary playmate.

Good investment

By TIM FAULKNER/ News staff

PROVIDENCE — Incentives for installing solar panels on homes may get another boost. On Tuesday, Rep. Deborah Ruggiero, D-Jamestown, introduced a bill (pdf) to reinstate the 25 percent tax credit for solar and geothermal energy projects. 

Former Gov. Donald Carcieri eliminated the tax credit, along with other tax deductions, in June 2010.

During the four years the tax credit was available, the cost to taxpayers was minute, Ruggiero said, at about $150,000 annually. The economic benefit was about $1.5 million from an average of 57 renewable installations a year, she added.

Good news on housing for a change

Market recovery helps restore some homeowner equity
By Will Collette

Nearly all of the articles I’ve written on housing have been bad news – foreclosures, depressed prices, lack of affordable homes and rentals. But the housing market is beginning to brighten and that’s good news for working families who usually count their home as their most valuable and important asset. shows a sharp jump in Charlestown home values, continuing a trend that began in the last half of 2012. Average home value in Charlestown grew to $304,700 and, for the first time in a while, we show a positive year-to-year growth 1%.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lance Armstrong seeks new gig

Just a couple of small problems in the background check
By Jen Sorenson

Click here to find if if you'd want to hire him.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

NGC 602 and Beyond 

Near the outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy some 200 thousand light-years distant, lies 5 million year young star cluster NGC 602.

Surrounded by natal gas and dust, NGC 602 is featured in this stunning Hubble image of the region. Fantastic ridges and swept back shapes strongly suggest that energetic radiation and shock waves from NGC 602's massive young stars have eroded the dusty material and triggered a progression of star formation moving away from the cluster's center.

At the estimated distance of the Small Magellanic Cloud, the picture spans about 200 light-years, but a tantalizing assortment of background galaxies are also visible in the sharp Hubble view. The background galaxies are hundreds of millions of light-years or more beyond NGC 602.

Worldwide growth of organic farming

Organic Farming Expands, Contributes to Sustainable Food Security
Despite a slight decline between 2009 and 2010, since 1999 the global land area farmed organically has expanded more than threefold to 37 million hectares, according to new research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute for its Vital Signs Online service. 

Regions with the largest certified organic agricultural land in 2010 were Oceania, including Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Island nations (12.1 million hectares); Europe (10 million hectares); and Latin America (8.4 million hectares), write report authors Catherine Ward and Laura Reynolds.

Is it really an "either-or" choice?

By TIM FAULKNER/ News staff

PROVIDENCE — During its annual presentation to the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, the Watershed Counts environmental coalition talked about climate change and the damage it is already causing to Rhode Island’s natural habitat and the economy.

But some members of this House committee were thinking about other matters, such as medications in the water and billionaire philanthropists.

After a 45-minute report from 10 environmental experts, Rep. Larry Valencia, D-Charlestown, abruptly brought up concerns about trace pharmaceuticals in the water supply. Several of the Watershed Counts panelists noted that the issue was being studied at the federal level, and, as of yet, there was no verified public health threat.

Reps. John J.  Lombardi, D-Providence, and Teresa Tanzi, D-Narragansett, still pressed for details. “When will an assessment begin?” Tanzi asked.

Save money by not paying for bad charter schools

Westerly Sun letter challenges Charlestown Town Council decision
By Will Collette

On January 26, the Westerly Sun ran a version of my letter. 

A similar letter ran in the Chariho Times.

Here is the original as I wrote it:

Monday, January 28, 2013

What to do if you catch a cold

More from Fake Science - click here.

Second Amendment Vigilantes

It's a myth that the right to bear arms stemmed from the Founders' wish that Americans be free to stage an armed rebellion against our own government, should it become tyrannical.

I don’t hunt, but I have nothing against hunters or owners of rifles, bows and arrows, or boomerangs. However, I am against vigilantes and those, like the NRA leaders, who encourage them.

I had my own run-in with vigilantes when I joined the movement to end segregation and guarantee all citizens the right to vote.


DUI Expert, A Rude Awakening

DUI Lawyer Arrested on DUI Charges…Again

Apparently one East Providence lawyer was looking to conduct more “research” for her practice this past week. The 32-year-old attorney, who specializes in DUI cases, was arrested on (you guessed it) DUI charges this week after she allegedly drove into a parked car while intoxicated. This isn’t her first DUI charge:


Deodorants: Do We Really Need Them?
New research shows that more than 75 per cent of people with a particular version of a gene don't produce under-arm odour but use deodorant anyway.

The study was based on a sample of 6,495 women who are part of the wider Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol. The researchers found that about two per cent (117 out of 6,495) of mothers carry a rare version of a particular gene (ABCC11), which means they don't produce any under-arm odour.

Time to learn how to swim or buy an Ark

By TIM FAULKNER/ News staff

A recently released draft of a federal climate change assessment presents some disturbing predictions for the Northeast. Most of the expected impacts are nothing new, such as more frequent heat waves, sea-level rise, flooding and more intense storms.

But the predictions get dire, especially if carbon emissions continue to climb. Under the worst-case scenario, temperatures jump 4.5-10 degrees Fahrenheit by 2080. Even if emissions are substantially reduced, temperatures still climb between 3 and 6 degrees. Under any scenario, the heat and weather will get much more unpleasant, according to the report.

Council quintuple header on Monday?

COPAR, Town Administrator, Citizens Forum on tap
Mine run-off from the COPAR quarry into Charlestown wetlands
(December 21 photo by Steve DuBois)
By Will Collette

The Charlestown Town Council has posted three separate meeting notices on Clerkbase[1] for Monday, January 28, listing five major items of business that include the search for a new Town Administration, the notorious COPAR granite quarry and whatever it is that Charlestown Citizens Alliance President Virginia Wooten wants.

First in line, starting at 10 AM at the Charlestown Police Station, is the Council’s second Executive Session to discuss the Search Committee’s results in finding a replacement for Bill DiLibero who was ousted as Town Administrator last year in a CCA purge. I am predicting that the only possible candidate who can fulfill the Town Council majority’s ideal qualities for Town Administrator is a Furby programmed to say one phrase: “Whatever you say,Tom.” Perhaps this meeting will be the Council’s interview with the Furby.

The Westerly Sun reports that there will be a continuation of that session at 3 PM at Town Hall, but there is no notice of that meeting on Clerkbase. There is also no notice filed with the Secretary of State

If that second meeting takes place, as the Sun indicates, it may be in violation of the state Open Meetings ActI'm told the 3 PM session is being characterized as the same meeting as the one that starts at 10 AM.

However, it doesn't meet the spirit of the Open Meetings Act, if not the letter of the law, to have a scheduled break and a change of venue without advertising it. Perhaps that second meeting is intended to be the Council’s introduction of their choice for new Town Administrator, with a potential OMA violation, but so classically CCA.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

BAD Liberals!!!

Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Cygnus Wall of Star Formation 
The North America nebula on the sky can do what the North America continent on Earth cannot -- form stars.

Specifically, in analogy to the Earth-confined continent, the bright part that appears as Central America and Mexico is actually a hot bed of gas, dust, and newly formed stars known as the Cygnus Wall.

The image below shows the star forming wall lit and eroded by bright young stars, and partly hidden by the dark dust they have created. The part of the North America nebula (NGC 7000) shown spans about 15 light years and lies about 1,500 light years away toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus).

Actions speak louder?

By TIM FAULKNER/ News staff

PROVIDENCE — For the second straight year, Gov. Lincoln Chafee ignored the environment, and climate change, in his State of the State address (pdf). But some of his actions are speaking louder than his public speeches.

In his proposed 2014 fiscal budget, Chafee puts money and resources toward open space and habitat protection, environmental enforcement and renewable energy.

Lock your doors

Bank of America Returns to the Scene of the Crime
By Phil Mattera, in the Dirt-Diggers Digest 

Home buyers beware: Bank of America is returning to the home loan market. According to the Wall Street Journal, BofA is “girding for a new run at the U.S. mortgage business.”

It apparently wants to reclaim a share of the fat profits that rivals such as Wells Fargo have been enjoying from a mortgage refinancing boom sparked by low interest rates. Those profits are particularly tantalizing given the other recent news about BofA: it reported a 63 percent decline in fourth-quarter net income.

Environment-Economy Link

Reports Reiterate Link Between Environment and Economy
From: Richard Matthews, Global Warming is Real, on, More from this Affiliate 

Two new reports reiterate the scientific veracity of anthropogenic climate change while reinforcing the interconnectedness of the economy and the environment. The World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risks Report 2013 clearly points to the interrelationship between the environment and the economy.

New stomach bug spreading across US

Hitting Rhode Island hard
By Will Collette

Just as the reports of flu cases are leveling off, the country is seeing a rapid rise in reported cases of the new “Sydney strain” of norovirus, a nasty stomach bug that causes severe vomiting diarrhea and nausea.

New strains of stomach viruses emerge every few years. The last time was in 2009. This new strain was first observed in Australia, thus the name. It has spread rapidly around the world, usually by contact with infected food or surfaces.

Stomach viruses are often worse in winter. They can spread rapidly in closed environments, such as cruise ships, schools and nursing homes and then into the general population. The illness can be spread by food handlers who do not wash their hands.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Obama's second term

High hopes
From keefknight

Click here to see them all.

Don't even think about it

No safe ice on Rhode Island waters
By Will Collette

Though it's been mighty cold and a lot of local ponds look like they have nice packs of ice, don't do it!

DEM's Division of Parks and Recreation lists no safe ice - other than ice rinks, of course - around the state.

Not for skating. Not for ice fishing.

It takes about six inches of ice before DEM will declare ice to be safe for public use and the most they are reporting at present is around four inches.

Gnudi? Who gnu?

Photo and text by KARA DiCAMILLO/ News contributor
On these cold winter nights, I usually crave comfort food. Everyone has his or her own idea of what comfort food consists of, and, for me, gnudi with tomato sauce hits that sweet spot.
Gnudi means, well, “nude,” and this yummy dish is essentially nude ravioli (those smart Italians). It’s the filling of the ravioli cooked without the pasta. I was so excited when I picked up spinach from my CSA this week, not only because I could eat it several times a week, but because gnudi was the first thing that came to mind.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

NGC 1309: Spiral Galaxy and Friends 
From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day

A gorgeous spiral galaxy some 100 million light-years distant, NGC 1309 lies on the banks of the constellation of the River (Eridanus). NGC 1309 spans about 30,000 light-years, making it about one third the size of our larger Milky Way galaxy.

Bluish clusters of young stars and dust lanes are seen to trace out NGC 1309's spiral arms as they wind around an older yellowish star population at its core.

Not just another pretty face-on spiral galaxy, observations of NGC 1309's recent supernova and Cepheid variable stars contribute to the calibration of the expansion of the Universe.

Still, after you get over this beautiful galaxy's grand design, check out the array of more distant background galaxies also recorded in the above, sharp, reprocessed, Hubble Space Telescope view.


Jail Cell Design & Wrath of God

Man ‘Decorates’ Jail Cell

One arrestee took a page from Martha Stewart’s book when he decided to do some redecorating in his jail cell. Police arrested the 54-year-old North Kingstown man on charges of disorderly conduct after he allegedly began yelling obscenities at his neighbor’s trailer while under the influence. While in his cell at the police station, police noticed that the man had discovered a new use for toilet paper as he was hanging it from the cell bars in an attempt to prevent the surveillance camera from seeing him.