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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why wait till later?

The B.S. Approach
By Tom Tomorrow

Preemption is the best medicine - click here.

Another Side of the Immigration Debate

We reap the benefits of cheap farm and meatpacking labor in the form of low-priced food, thanks to the contributions of millions of undocumented workers.

Until a few years ago, Rosa Acosta had never even seen a flush toilet. She raised her 12 children in a tiny adobe home in rural Jalisco, Mexico. Several of her kids left it to work in the United States. One son, who left at age 12 to earn money as a farmworker in California, returned home to Rosa and his siblings after only a year. Another, her oldest, still works in California’s fields. Neither crossed the border legally.

After two decades of backbreaking labor in California, her oldest son and his family still live in extreme poverty. Out of his meager earnings, he sends some money back to Mexico. For many years, he had never even met his youngest siblings who were born after he left, and his mother had never met his children, her grandchildren, as neither could easily cross the border.

Omega oils are good for you

Omega and Liver Inflammation
From: Andy Soos, 

Omega-3 fatty acids are fats commonly found in marine and plant oils. Research at Oregon State University has found that one particular omega-3 fatty acid has a powerful effect in preventing liver inflammation and fibrosis — common problems that are steadily rising along with the number of Americans who are overweight. 

Some of the other potential health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation remain controversial. They are considered essential fatty acids, meaning that they cannot be synthesized by the human body but are vital for normal metabolism.

Betting on Gambling

Rather than treating the growing addiction to gambling, the states prey on it.

Tainted money
For your state,
When legislators
Take the bait.

Shame on George Tremblay, Dan Slattery and Tom Gentz

CCA Town Councilors frivolous response to gun violence
Ashton and Alton Perry
By Will Collette

Only one day after Town Council member George Tremblay (CCA) publicly heaped scorn on a request from Providence Mayor Angel Tavares for RI municipalities to take a stand against gun violence – calling it “a knee-jerk reaction to a terrible tragedy” – gun violence struck close to home.

On February 26, Stonington, CT grandmother, Debra Denison, took her two grandsons, aged 6 months and two years old, from day care in North Stonington, drove them to a Foxwoods golf course and shot them and herself dead with a 38 caliber pistol.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Special Delivery

How to save the Post Office
By Keith Knight

Click here to see his ingenious idea!

Seriously, I love this idea.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy in Dust and Stars 
The Whirlpool Galaxy is a classic spiral galaxy. At only 30 million light years distant and fully 60 thousand light years across, M51, also known as NGC 5194, is one of the brightest and most picturesque galaxies on the sky.

The below image is a digital combination of a ground-based image from the 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory and a space-based image from the Hubble Space Telescope highlighting sharp features normally too red to be seen.

Anyone with a good pair of binoculars, however, can see this Whirlpool toward the constellation of the Hunting Dogs (Canes VenaticiM51 is a spiral galaxy of type Sc and is the dominant member of a whole group of galaxies.

Astronomers speculate that M51's spiral structure is primarily due to its gravitational interaction with a smaller galaxy just off the top of the image.

The End of Cod

RI Loses A Natural Resource Economy

When we think of the Northeast, natural resource economies might not instantly come to mind. But of course the ocean has played a central role to the Ocean State’s economy since the days of Roger Williams. Rhode Island’s rich fishing history has faded significantly in recent decades as the collapse of the cod fisheries has caused severe declines in catch limits.

Reductions of 77% in the Gulf of Maine and 61% off Cape Georges are in order. Many fishermen will lose their jobs. Coastal communities will likely suffer serious economic problems, even if they have developed something of a tourist economy; the ones that haven’t will struggle much more.

Holy guacamole!

Avocados Linked to Better Diet Quality
From: Allison Winter, 

Break out that guacamole! New data suggests avocado consumption may be associated with better diet quality!

Avocados, also known as the alligator pear for their shape, green skin and rough texture can be found in dishes all around the world. From adding them to dips, spreads, salads and sandwiches, avocados not only add to the flavor of your meal, but carry multiple health benefits as well.

New World Disorder

Modern warfare is an exercise in savagery.

They were droning on about drones the other day in Washington.

The Senate Intelligence (ha-ha) Committee was grilling CIA chief-designate John Brennan on the use of unmanned aircraft during his tenure as President Barack Obama’s adviser on terrorism.

Drones are being used a lot, according to Brennan, who was in charge of the drone program. But only for a good cause.

If you can’t comply, change the rules

Millstone nuclear plant wants federal OK to use hotter water
By Will Collette

I would be very shocked if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission does not grant Dominion Resources’ request to raise the temperature limit on the water they draw from Long Island Sound to cool the Millstone nuclear power plant, which is just 20 miles west of Charlestown.

Millstone delivers 50% of Connecticut’s power and 12% of New England’s total supply.

Last summer, Millstone became the first nuclear power plant in the US to have to shut down because the sea water used for coolant exceeded what the NRC considered to be the safety limit. Thank you, climate change.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Senator, who are you for?

Depends on how you define "average"
By Dave Horsey

To get the whole scoop with commentary from Horsey, click here.


More unintentional humor from the Tea Party

Fun with worms

Join us for a Vermicomposting Workshop in Peacedale, RI February 9, 2013 from 10-12. Vermicomposting Workshop Agenda

This is the postponement date for the February workshop which was cancelled due to weather.

Saturday March 9, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST
Add to Calendar

It’s Time to Move Forward on Climate

President Obama has the power to make the transformation to a clean-energy economy.
As President Barack Obama’s second term gets underway, Americans are expecting big actions from him — especially on climate disruption and clean energy. The decision to block the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline should be the cornerstone of his positive, solutions-oriented climate legacy.

Tar sands oil is the most toxic fossil fuel on the planet. It leaves in its wake scarred landscapes and a web of pipelines and polluting refineries all the while delaying our transition to a clean energy economy. In addition, tar sands oil production produces three times the climate-disrupting pollution of conventional oil.

Downwardly Mobile Nation

America's working class has been magically transformed into the working poor.
Work my butt off
Plain to see,
Bootstraps are
No help to me

Bridgeport — Connecticut’s largest city — is also my affluent state’s capital of poverty. Even though it’s part of the nation’s richest region, the rapidly rising number of children living in poverty in Bridgeport is already twice the state average.

Class segregation can help shield the elite from an uncomfortable set of facts. America’s median household income may have fallen sharply since the Great Recession began, but among the richest 5 percent, growth is back and robust.

Sequestration, Rhode Island and Charlestown

A million here, a million there and pretty soon we’re talking about real money
By Will Collette

We’re just hours away from another one of the bogus emergencies concocted by the Republican members of Congress to, er, do something to make all of us afraid of, er, communists and socialists and other assorted threats.

This new “emergency” is an economic bomb called “sequestration” that is set to go off later this week if the Republicans don’t get an agreement from President Obama to cancel health care reform, gut Medicare and Medicaid, slash Social Security payments, end environmental regulation and who knows what else they want. Oh, and no new taxes on the uber-wealthy. “Sequestration” means automatic cuts applied fairly randomly throughout the federal budget, hitting both defense and non-defense items, but sparing – for now – Medicare and Social Security.

I wish I was joking or lampooning the Republican posture on this subject, but indeed that’s what they want…and they’ve said so on the talk shows and in the news sound bites we’ve been hearing for weeks. Once again, they're holding the economy hostage and demanding we fork over Medicare and Social Security for evisceration 

The White House has published a state-by-state run-down on the impact of the cuts. Read the report for Rhode Island by clicking here. The Washington Post published an excellent interactive, state-by-state run-down – click here.

Monday, February 25, 2013

No live coverage of tonight’s second half of the February Town Council meeting

Not unless the International Space Station fell out of the sky and dropped on Town Hall
By Will Collette

The agenda for the second half of the Town Council’s February agenda, Monday, February 25, is almost totally dominated by the Chariho School District and the on-going blather over charter schools.

Rather than listen to an array of speakers demand their right to send their kids to schools other than Chariho, I’m watching re-runs of the Mentalist and Star Trek: Next Generation recorded on DVR. Time much better spent.

Green energy, smart energy

By LESLIE FRIDAY/ News contributor

To be green, sometimes you need to spend a little green. That’s the lesson Massachusetts officials have learned by enticing homeowners to invest in renewable energy through tax breaks, rebates and other economic incentives.

Since 1979, Massachusetts has offered a $1,000, one-time tax credit to homeowners who install solar systems, but that incentive didn’t exactly push residents to invest in these relatively costly systems.

What really drove the solar energy market, according to Dwayne Breger, director of the Division of Renewable Energy at the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), was the legislature’s passage in 2008 of the Green Communities Act

It's All the Same Love, So It's About Time For Me to Raise Up

Speaking out once and for all about my support for LGBTQ rights (with apologies to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for the title).

DISCLAIMER: The following is the opinion of myself and myself alone. It does not necessarily reflect those of the staff here at Patch or anywhere for that matter, but it is possible. You may not like my opinion, but that's fine. That's your right. I don't agree with it, but I respect your right to have an opinion. 

I’m tired of being silent about my support for LGBTQ rights. 

Cross Mills Fire District saves taxpayers a cool $1.55 million

Financing on new firehouse locked in at an amazing rate
Not only under budget, but bonded at a very low interest rate
By Will Collette

It’s not very often that taxpayers get good news on major public construction projects, but that’s what happened with the controversial Cross Mills Fire District station on Old Post Road.

Readers may recall that this recently opened fire house sparked months of controversy when the Planning Commission attempted to force the fire district to shrink the size of the facility to dimensions smaller than that needed to accommodate modern fire equipment and to substitute some other material, such as wood shingles, instead of brick.

After those problems were worked out, the District could then focus on getting the station built and, of course, paid for.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Yearning for the simple life

A dumb beer I drank
By Matt Bors

These are just the things for Charlestown - click here

They descended from Cats….

Mystery of Dog Evolution Solved
From: Roger Greenway,

How did modern dogs evolve from wolves or other predecessor canines? Scientists have long thought that modern dogs evolved from wild wolves that became accustomed to human interaction and then were deliberately bred by early humans as pets.

Part of the ancient mystery of the makeup of the modern Western dog has been solved by a team led by researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine.

Several thousand years after dogs originated in the Middle East and Europe, some of them moved south with ancient farmers, distancing themselves from native wolf populations and developing a distinct genetic profile that is now reflected in today’s canines.

Betcha didn't know...

Government transparency a statewide problem, not just in Charlestown

New Open Records Law Needs Enforcement

Between 1999 and June 2012, the Attorney General’s office filed lawsuits against public bodies for violating the state’s Access to Public Records Act (APRA) on only six occasions, less than 4% of the time after finding that violations of the law had been committed. That is one of the findings of a report issued today by the ACLU of Rhode Island, which examines past enforcement of the open records law by the AG’s office and urges stronger enforcement in the future.

In June 2012, the General Assembly enacted comprehensive amendments to APRA, and expanded the circumstances for imposing penalties against public bodies that violate the Act. This prompted the ACLU to examine how APRA had been enforced by the Attorney General’s office, the state agency explicitly given enforcement powers under APRA, prior to those amendments.

Is Bigfoot Alive and Well in Rhode Island? Serving on the Charlestown Town Council?

In very serious news, researchers claim to have used genetic testing to verify Bigfoot's existence, and he might be in Rhode Island.
Seen wandering along South County Trail
By Olga Enger in Narragansett-South Kingstown Patch

A team of researchers led by Melba Ketchum, a Texas veterinarian, claims to have used DNA samples to prove the existence of Bigfoot, reports the Huffington Post. On the team’s Sasquatch Genome Project’s website,  it claims the genetic testing also confirmed the hairy beast is half-human, the result of a human mating with an unknown primate about 13,000 years ago.

Mainstream science journals rejected the research. Instead, the group self-published the first volume on an online science journal DeNovo Journal of Science last week. 

“Rather than spend another five years just trying to find a journal to publish and hoping that decent, open-minded reviewers would be chosen, we acquired the rights to this journal and renamed it so we would not lose the passing peer reviews that are expected by the public and the scientific community,” Ketchum said.

Marriage equality – Senate head count is close by all accounts

Sen. Dennis Algiere – undecided – is a critical swing vote
Sen. Dennis Algiere - critical swing vote
By Will Collette

If you are one of 57% of Rhode Islanders who strongly believes it’s time for Rhode Island to join the rest of New England in authorizing same sex marriage, there’s a job for you to do.

Marriage equality legislation passed the RI House by a wide margin. Local Representatives Donna Walsh, Larry Valencia, Teresa Tanzi and Bob Craven were sponsors of the House bill.

Now it’s time for the RI Senate to vote and the outlook for that vote is for a very close vote. Neither supporters nor opponents claim to have the votes. Both sides agree that the issue is still very much in the air.

Local State Senators Cathie Cool Rumsey and Sue Sosnowski are both co-sponsors of the Senate bill, so their “yes” vote is assured.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Second Amendment thoughts

The Tree of Liberty
By Tom Tomorrow

Read about the need to fertilize by clicking here.

Lose Your Lawn

Turning your lawn into something more beautiful and useful would save time and money while curbing pollution and water usage.
Plant more trees! Now!

Have you taken your hounds fox hunting lately? You haven’t? Well, maybe you’ve gone to visit a friend’s estate in a horse and carriage? You haven’t done that either, have you? Most of the popular trends of 19th century British aristocracy are not the norm in 21st century America. Except for one: the lawn.

Centuries ago, most Europeans (and their descendants on our side of the pond) produced food on their land. Whether in the form of kitchen gardens, farm fields, or pastures for raising livestock, most folks relied on their land in order to eat.

Only the rich could afford to flaunt their wealth by devoting large areas of land to an inedible, yet beautifully manicured, green lawn. Back then, without lawn mowers, lawn maintenance required paying a servant to “mow” the lawn with a scythe. Lawns were mega status symbols.

Though the plastics industry's propaganda make turn your stomach....

Never underestimate the ability of the corporate media to come up with a ridiculous reason for why common sense environmentalism should be ignored. The latest example: plastic bag bans make people sick.

“Rhode Island’s leaders have a new Public Enemy No. 1: plastic bags,” proclaims WPRI blogger Ted Nesi. “But is this bit of feel-good policymaking actually bad for public health?”

In reverse order: No, plastic bag bans don’t make people sick – anymore than anything else used for food storage and not cleaned properly. No, this isn’t feel good policy – it will actually go a long way to cleaning up Narragansett Bay and help the aquatic ecosystem thrive. And, no, RI doesn’t have a new public enemy – the enemy is still the corporate forces that prevent the public from having a rational debate about anything that doesn’t line their wallets.

American labor and business agree it's time to change immigration policy

"Current immigration policies are rigid, cumbersome and inefficient"
Joint Statement of Shared Principles by U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue & AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka February 21, 2013

The United States will always be a nation of immigrants who have contributed greatly to the vitality, diversity, and creativity of American life.  Yet, like the rest of America’s immigration system, the mechanisms for evaluating our labor market needs and admitting foreign workers – as well as recruiting US workers – for temporary and permanent jobs are broken or non-existent.  

They’re going to keep holding Town Council meetings until they get them right

Second half of February session on Monday, Feb. 25
The Real Agenda

By Will Collette

Nimble Town Council Boss Tom Gentz allowed a lot of discussion on February 11 on items that have been officially postponed to February 25. But just because an item has already been pretty much talked to death doesn’t stop our stalwart Town Council from doing it all over again.

As a regular Progressive Charlestown public service, I have prepared a version of the Council agenda that takes into account changes to the order of business that this Council always does. Maybe they change around items just to see if anyone notices that the printed agenda they distribute bears little resemblance to what they actually do. But for those of you who actually like to see the actual order of business (and my snarky commentary), here it is.

Friday, February 22, 2013

How to pick the right doctor

For more from Fake Science, Click here.

Not just for sexy vegans

Photo and text by KARA DiCAMILLO/ News contributor

One of my friends from college is a chef in Los Angeles. He recently sent me his new cookbook called “The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude.” When I opened the package I was a bit skeptical because, as you know, I am not vegan. But I do love food and with my weekly CSA veggie pickup I knew there would be options for experimenting.

Brian Patton started experimenting with vegan food in hopes of losing weight, and quickly became a YouTube sensation. I started following his instructional cooking videos a few years ago. As his witty, ukulele-playing alter ego “The Sexy Vegan,” Brian gained quite a large following.

License deadline is next week – February 28

Limited Number of New Commercial Fishing Licenses Available for 2013

Don't let Leo Mainelli see you!
PROVIDENCE (RIDEM news release) - The Department of Environmental Management announces that a limited number of new commercial fishing licenses will be made available this year.

A total of 23 new quahog, 11 new soft-shell clam, and six new restricted finfish endorsements on commercial fishing licenses will be available for the 2013 fishing season.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass...

Anyone who leaves Rhode Island for a better life, god bless. Anyone who leaves to save money, good riddance. And to anyone who would confuse the two, get real.

As the progressive left in the Ocean State calls on the General Assembly to reverse the Carcieri-era tax breaks for the rich, the best defense the right has come up with is that the affluent will move away if we ask them to pay their fair share. While I’m fairly confident most folks are smart enough not to make such life-altering decisions based on the singular factor of tax rates, for those of you who aren’t, here’s a personal story for you:

Two new types of help for Rhode Islanders in need

Replacing food lost during Nemo, helping the unemployed start their own businesses
By Will Collette

Charlestown’s unemployment rate remains high at 9.7%, which translates into 451 Charlestown workers who are out of work and actively seeking work.

Charlestown also has several hundred families who receive Supplemental Nutritional Assistance (formerly known as Food Stamps). 217 of them are children.

There are a couple of new developments that can help.

Charter Chatter

A world where everyone is “special”
By Will Collette

NOTE: there's a second Council meeting this month - Monday, Feb 25th. Charter schools will be one of the main topics.

At the February 12 Town Council meeting, the Chariho School District appeared on the agenda several times in various forms. At the beginning of the meeting, Town Council Boss Tom Gentz (CCA) announced that because Chariho Superintendent Barry Ricci couldn’t attend that night’s meeting, the Chariho agenda items would be postponed to the second half of the Council’s February meeting which will be held on February 25th[1].

One of the postponed Chariho items was a continuation of last month’s surreal discussion of the relationship of Chariho to Charter Schools. That item was also “continued” to the February 25th meeting so that Superintendent Ricci could be part of it, as well as a representative of the state charter school association.

But despite the early decision to “continue” these issues to the February 25th meeting, Gentz – ever the nimble and competent meeting chair – allowed extended discussion on these subjects anyway. I guess Gentz subscribes to the philosophy that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It's the message

Our Moral
By Tim Eagan

Once upon a time, click here.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Infrared Orion from WISE 
The Great Nebula in Orion is a intriguing place. Visible to the unaided eye, it appears as a small fuzzy patch in the constellation of Orion.

But this image, an illusory-color composite of four colors of infrared light taken with the Earth orbiting WISE observatory, shows the Orion Nebula to be a bustling neighborhood or recently formed stars, hot gas, and dark dust.

The power behind much of the Orion Nebula (M42) is the stars of the Trapezium star cluster, seen near the center of the above wide field image. The eerie green glow surrounding the bright stars pictured here is their own starlight reflected by intricate dust filaments that cover much of the region.

The current Orion Nebula cloud complex, which includes the Horsehead Nebula, will slowly disperse over the next 100,000 years.