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Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Sales Tax Cut Fairy Tale

Don’t cut sales tax based on flawed economic model


A few months ago, I wrote about the intellectual bankruptcy of the economic model called STAMP, for State Tax Analysis Modeling Program, created by the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI), and beloved of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Apple Pie (CFAP). 

The good folks at the CFAP have been heavily promoting some of the results of this model, that predict that Rhode Island will enjoy a tremendous economic boom if only we would eliminate our sales tax.

As I detailed in that article, the RI STAMP model is flawed not only by a host of questionable assumptions, but also the laughable attempt to obscure those assumptions under an absurdly over-complicated presentation of the relevant equations. Really, there is no reason to do what they do except as a conceptual bulwark against reporters who are easily cowed by that sort of thing.

Now comes the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) to say the same thing as me. In an epic takedown (summary here, report here), they cite STAMP’s many assumptions that either cannot be justified by the research literature or are completely contradicted by that literature or by experience. 

URI scientist recognized by International Association for Landscape Ecology

Richmond resident earns distinguished service award

KINGSTON, R.I. –Peter August, professor of natural resources science at the University of Rhode Island, was awarded the 2014 Distinguished Service Award by the United States chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology at its annual symposium in Anchorage, Alaska last week.

The award recognizes those who have made exceptional contributions of time, energy and dedication to advance the association’s mission.

ARLSRI companion animal of the week

Meet Cinder
Hi, I am Cinder... A sweet and shy young lady who has been enjoying her new found freedom now that her kittens have all grown up. 

I would love to be in a home where I can relax and enjoy the simple things in life with a great family.  While I might seem a little quiet at first, I have a lot of great stories to tell and adventures yet to be had. 

Could you give me a chance?  I would be grateful with a new home where I can flourish and give my undivided love.

Scrimping on Women’s Pay

Low-paying jobs are growing faster than decent-paying jobs, and more women than men are getting measly wages.

Republicans in the Senate blocked a vote on the minimum wage earlier this month — no surprise there. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee was the only Republican who stood aside. But don’t believe the issue is dead. Democrats will make sure that raising the minimum wage and reducing income inequality will be hot topics all the way to Election Day.

President Barack Obama fired the first shot when he used his State of the Union speech in January to announce an increase from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour for federal contract workers. Forcing GOP Senators to vote “no” for the rest of the country’s workers was another volley.

If you're in Wakefield, chances are it's not even fish

Seafood Fraud Meets Tech-Driven Traceability

From: Lauren Zanolli, Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate 

If something smells fishy the next time you step up to the seafood counter or sit down for sushi, it may not be the catch of the day. 

An estimated 33 percent of seafood sold in the United States is incorrectly labeled by type of fish, catch method or provenance, according to a recent report by conservation group Oceana. 

So that ahi tuna roll you ordered might actually be escolar, a cheaper substitute known as the 'ex-lax fish' for its digestive effects, and the wild-caught shrimp at the grocery store could have in fact been farm-raised in Thailand.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Don't forget to VOTE - MONDAY (not Tuesday) at Town Hall

Town Budget comes before the voters on Monday
By Will Collette

The new rate is expected to be $9.87
On Monday, June 2, Charlestown's registered voters get their chance to vote on the town's budget for the upcoming fiscal year that starts on July 1.

Well, you get to vote on just under half of the budget - $12.1 million - because voters have already approved the Chariho School District budget of $14 million and change. 54% of your tax bill pays for Chariho. Click here for more detail on this budget. Click here to read the whole budget for yourself.

This budget calls for the sixth consecutive tax increase - each and every year since the Charlestown Citizens Alliance took control of all the levers of power in town in 2008.

Hours of fun for the kids on a rainy day

Start Your Own Lab At Home

June 7 Grapes & Grain event

 For the benefit of URI women’s athletics

KINGSTON, R.I. –An evening of exquisite wines, craft beers and food and a great lineup of auction items are among the offerings at the fifth annual Evening of Grapes & Grain Saturday, June 7, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The event to benefit University of Rhode Island women’s athletics will be hosted by Lynn Baker-Dooley on the lawn of the president’s house. 

Food waste legislation inches along

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff
PROVIDENCE — A bill banning food waste from the landfill is on its way to the Senate floor. After two changes to the Recycling of Organic Materials bill, the Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources voted unanimously May 28 to send the legislation to the full Senate. A vote is expected next week.

The bill requires large restaurants, hotels and schools to divert food scrap to a compost facility or food digester starting in 2015. There are several stipulations, however. A compost/digester facility must be within 15 miles of the food producer and willing to accept food scrap. Food producers may also apply for a waiver if the cost to haul the scrap is more than sending it to the Central Landfill in Johnston.

Like your mother said, let's feed it to the pigs

Donna Walsh promotes turning food waste into a resource

STATE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE NEWS Bureau – Rep. Donna M. Walsh spoke about her legislation to divert food scraps from the landfill at a State House event Wednesday morning during which schoolchildren were honored for their recycling achievements.

The legislation is aimed at extending the limited life of the state’s Central Landfill by reducing the waste dumped there, harnessing the waste’s potential for production of energy and organic fertilizer and giving a boost to Rhode Island’s green economy.

Stop corporate tax-dodging

Tanzi bill would close corporate tax loophole
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Teresa Tanzi is pushing for legislation to close a loophole that large, multi-state and international corporations exploit to avoid paying state taxes in Rhode Island.

Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) is sponsoring legislation (2014-H 7739) that would stop multi-state or multi-national corporations from dodging state taxes by hiding their Rhode Island profit in a shell corporation or other out-of-state entity that is not subject to Rhode Island taxes.

Representative Tanzi’s legislation would enact “combined reporting” in Rhode Island, which would require corporations that have businesses in other states or countries to combine all their subsidiaries as a single entity and then pay taxes to Rhode Island based on the percentage of net business profit or loss generated by its operations in this state.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

More hiccups at Millstone

And other scary nuclear news
By Will Collette

For the first time, both nearby Millstone nuclear reactors went down at the same time. Both nuclear reactors at the Millstone Nuclear Power plant just 20 miles to the west of Charlestown SCRAMMED (went into emergency shut-down) on May 25 when incoming electricity power to the plant conked out, probably due to an electrical short. 

That outside electrical power is essential to the operation of safety systems. On-site diesel generators kicked on to make sure coolant kept flowing to prevent a meltdown.

Outside power was restored to the power plant later in the day. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission dubbed the outage “an Unusual Event” but noted that all safety systems performed as they were designed.

However Millstone was still out of commission for several more days. It finally went back on line on May 28.

The reasons for the initial May 25 SCRAMM and the inability of Millstone to be able to restart for several more days started off pretty banal – it was a “faulty relay” that caused the shut-off, However, the power-up had to be delayed because the abrupt shut-down caused two pressurized tanks for cooling water to rupture.

Radioactive water leaked from those two ruptured tanks and had to be cleaned up by Millstone workers. The outage also disabled radiation monitors. I am not making any of this up. 

Another argument for legalizing pot

The comic about how much food is wasted in America.

Take the test

Are You Left Or Right?
Guest Contribution by Matt Foster
Below is a rather extensive list of words and terminology related to the issue and meant to both amuse and inform. When an election comes around it might be an idea to simply review the list below to see whether your personality, your beliefs and ideologies favor the left or the right. You should then vote the political party that best matches you
  • Peacekeeper / Crusader
  • Negotiate first /Action first
  • Socialism / Capitalism
  • Generosity / Greed
  • Share / Possess
  • Separation of religion and state / Freedom to promote religion in policy
  • Tolerate others / Demonize anything deeded to be leftish
  • Freedom from religion / Freedom of religion
  • Christ’s Cross / God’s Sword
  • Flexible / Rigid 
There's more, so please read on...

When Corporations Get Too Big to Tax

The drive to scrap the corporate income tax won't stop at zero.
When Corporate America Gets Too Big to Tax, an OtherWords Cartoon by Khalil Bendib
Wouldn’t it be nice if the government paid you on Tax Day? 

I’m not referring to getting a tax refund because you overpaid the federal government or a safety-net benefit labeled as a tax refund under the “Earned Income Tax Credit” rules.

I mean an actual payment from the U.S. Treasury.

Done laughing? Great. This really could happen, but with corporate-tax bills, not your personal 1040. Yes, we may very well see the day when Uncle Sam spends more money pandering to big companies than it receives from taxing them.

Don’t Weep for Pfizer

If the drugmaker's executives choose to disown America, then America should disown them.
Gosh, you’ve got to feel sorry for Pfizer. The poor drug giant has to pay taxes in our country, so it’s leaving.

When I say “poor” drug giant, I don’t mean Pfizer is broke or in the poor house. No, no, the pill peddler is incredibly rich, hauling in some $50 billion a year on sales of Viagra, Lipitor, Celebrex, and such. 

However, the pharmaceutical powerhouse feels put-upon by what its CEO calls America’s “uncompetitive tax rate.”

Poor baby. Now Pfizer says it must renounce its citizenship in our country, flee to the lower-tax sanctuary of England, and reincorporate as a British firm.

Now that the skies have cleared, it's Code Orange for allergy sufferers

From Keep reading to see what types of pollen are hitting us

Summer reading for the climate crowd

Need to keep your edge in this summer of sweat and torpor? The Daily Climate's annual summer reading list can help.
By Douglas Fischer, The Daily Climate

Drop the Thomas Piketty. Let's all admit right now you weren't going to read that 696-page economics tome anyway. 

And set aside Donna Tart's "Goldfinch," too. Yes, it's beautiful. Yes, it won the Pulitzer. Yes, it's 775 pages.

It's summer, people. Time for a little skin. A bit of fun. Something light and insouciant.

Time, in short, for The Daily Climate's annual summer reading list.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Charlestown awards $661K Klondike Road paving project to contractor with sketchy track record

Town ignores warning
By Will Collette
Cheezburger animated GIF
NOT Tom Miozzi
The Charlestown Town Council, on a motion by Councilor Lisa DiBello, seconded by Dan Slattery and by a vote of 4 to 1, Councilor Paula Andersen (D) dissenting, awarded a contract of $660,899.95 to asphalt contractor T. Miozzi of Coventry. 

Miozzi is being hired to do the next major phase of road reconstruction and paving on Klondike Road.

Because the cost of the project was substantial, I decided to look at the bid documents and noticed a wide disparity, where Miozzi underbid its competitors by a large margin. 

That is not normal on a public construction project because prevailing wage requirements and material specs tend to fix most of the costs and usually make the margin a lot smaller than the 15% spread between Miozzi’s bid and the next lowest bidder. There was an almost 50% spread - $300,000 - between Miozzi and the highest bidder.

Even Charlestown Public Works Director Alan Arsenault expressed some concern about that spread in his recommendation to the Town Administrator, specifically an illegal tactic called "unbalanced bidding." However, Arsenault then covered his ass by saying he had gotten several positive recommendations from other municipalities and decided Miozzi's bid was acceptable. 

As you read on about Miozzi's troubles, it's clear that Arsenault only heard from a very select group of references, ones I'm willing to bet were given to him by Miozzi.

Call the Nobel Committee - Shocking science news

Emotional arousal makes us better at swearing
People swear more colourfully when they are in a emotionally aroused state. This suggests that swearing is closely related to emotion.

This is the finding of a research project, funded by the British Psychological Society's 2013 Undergraduate Research Assistantship Scheme, by Amy Zile and Dr Richard Stephens from Keele University.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Tail of the Hamburger Galaxy 
From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day

Sharp telescopic views of NGC 3628 show a puffy galactic disk divided by dark dust lanes. Of course, this deep portrait of the magnificent, edge-on spiral galaxy puts some astronomers in mind of its popular moniker, the Hamburger Galaxy.

It also reveals a small galaxy nearby, likely a satellite of NGC 3628, and a faint but extensive tidal tail. The tantalizing island universe itself is about 100,000 light-years across and 35 million light-years away in the northern springtime constellation Leo. 
 Its drawn out tail stretches for about 300,000 light-years, even beyond the left edge of the wide frame.

NGC 3628 shares its neighborhood in the local Universe with two other large spirals M65 and M66 in a grouping otherwise known as the Leo TripletGravitational interactions with its cosmic neighbors are likely responsible for creating the tidal tail, as well as the extended flare and warp of this spiral's disk.

Poison pills?

Will Big Pharma Cripple Healthcare Reform?
By Phil Mattera, Dirt Diggers Digest
vintage animated GIFFor those of us who criticized the Affordable Care Act for not going far enough, a big part of the concern was the law’s reliance on the private insurance industry to handle much of the expanded coverage. That industry, with its history of denying coverage and inflated premiums, deserved to be phased out rather than being awarded a large new captive customer base.

It now looks like an even more serious problem for healthcare reform will be another industry with a checkered past: Big Pharma. The drugmakers are generating a growing crisis not only for Obamacare but also for more established programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

They knew it all along

animation animated GIFRemember how the country was sold the idea of “trickle down” economics? “Oh, if we just give the wealthy more, they will create wealth for the poor and middle classes by increasing spending, investing in new factories, hiring more workers, etc, etc, etc.” 

In reality, after over 30 years of trickle down, or “supply side” economics, we are looking at just the opposite: the rich have gotten richer, and middle class incomes have stagnated. Now, even some in the financial community are admitting that trickle down economics is a failure.

According to an April 17 story on,

While the wealth of American households has jumped more than $25 trillion since early 2009 amid rising equity and home prices, the pass-through to consumer spending is lagging the $1 trillion fillip that would have been anticipated historically, according to Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York.

A special needs kitty is our companion animal of the week

Meet Titus

Greetings, my name is Titus. I am wonderful tuxedo cat with a great personality. I love to talk and it would be great to carry on a conversation with you.

It is only fair to let you know that I am FIV+ and thus I cannot be housed with other cats but dogs are fine. Rest easy though, FIV does not make me any less of a wonderful cat and you and your family do not have to worry about catching FIV.

FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) just means that my immune system is a little weak but with an indoor home and a high protein diet, I can live a reasonably long and happy life.

I don't get as much playtime at the shelter because I can only be out by myself, and that is why a permanent home would be so grand. I would love to share your home with you!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More Charlestown Tapas

Dishing more tasty tidbits of local news
By Will Collette

Sumptin’s up in the DiBello case?

In the Town’s May 14 response to my on-going open records request, Town Clerk Amy Weinreich sent me this response:
“Based on research and communication with other Town Departments and the Town's Solicitors, the Town is in receipt of a letter from Attorney Robert E. Savage dated April 17, 2014 related to: "3. Any new records relating to Lisa DiBello’s claims against the town."
However, this document is exempt from disclosure under one or more of the following:RIGL §38-2-2(4)(A)(I)(b); RIGL §38-2-2(4)(A)(II); RIGL §38-2-2(4)(B); RIGL §38-2-2(4)(E); RIGL §38-2-2(4)(J); RIGL §38-2-2(4)(K); RIGL §38-2-2(4)(M); RIGL §38-2-2(4)(S)”
This related to Town Council member Lisa DiBello’s conspiracy lawsuit against Charlestown originally filed over two years ago. This response says the town received a letter pertaining to this case from DiBello’s lawyer but that the letter and its contents are (correctly) exempt from disclosure under the Access to Public Records Act. Since there have been no filings in the actual case in well over a year, the odds are that DiBello’s attorney is looking for a way to end this case, no doubt with some form of settlement.

Keep going...lots more news.

”Why the fridge?”

By Martin Gardiner in Improbable Research
Cheezburger animated GIFImprobable recently drew attention to the field of Fridge Magnet Research. For those who wish to further investigate the ethnographical aspects of fridge magnets, may we also recommend a study by Dr. Laurel Swan  (previously at Brunel University, now a research fellow at the Royal College of Art, UK) and Alex Taylor of Microsoft Research Cambridge Lab, UK.

‘Notes on Fridge Surfaces’  (in:  Proceedings CHI 2005) In which the researchers ask (and then give an answer to) the simple yet crucial question : “Why the fridge?”

Annual "Red Bandana" tribute to Richard Walton on June 8

Henry Shelton, Providence Student Union to be honored

The Red Bandana Fund will be a legacy to help sustain Rhode Island’s community of individuals and organizations that embody the lifelong peace and justice ideals of activist Richard J. Walton.

Richard was a father, grandfather, brother, and friend. He was a social and political activist, working against homelessness, poverty, and injustice. 

In addition to his affiliation with Stone Soup, Richard had a deep personal involvement with Amos House in Providence. 

For many years Richard was an adjunct instructor in the Department of English at Rhode Island College and was the founding president of its Adjunct Faculty Union.

Richard was the heart and soul of Stone Soup Coffeehouse, serving as President of the Board for most of the 32 years of Stone Soup’s existence. For many people he was also the face of Stone Soup as its long-term master of ceremonies.

The 2013 Red Bandana Fund Award was presented to Amos House in Providence which makes a difference in the lives of others by providing basic needs, education and businesses such as the Friendship Cafe, More than a Meal Catering, and Bristol Harbor Homemade Baking Mixes.

This year, the Red Bandana Fund is proud to name Henry Shelton and the Providence Student Union as the recipients of the Red Bandana Award for 2014. The Award honors individuals and groups whose work embodies the spirit and work of Richard Walton, a longtime activist in the Rhode Island area who died in 2012. The awards will be presented on June 8 at a celebration at Nick-a-Nees, 75 South St. in Providence, from 4 to 7 pm. The event is open to the public and is family-friendly.

Low-carb vegan diet may reduce heart disease risk, weight

Maybe Ryan Bate is right!

Not a role model

Summary: In addition to weight loss, a vegan low-carbohydrate diet may also reduce the risk of heart disease by 10 percent over 10 years, researchers have demonstrated for the first time. The diet is a low-carbohydrate vegan diet. Many low-carbohydrate diets have been proven to improve weight loss but most emphasize eating animal proteins and fats, which may raise cholesterol. Diets that are high in vegetable proteins and oils may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering "bad cholesterol."

Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital have shown for the first time that, in addition to weight loss, a specific low-carbohydrate diet may also reduce the risk of heart disease by 10 per cent over 10 years.
The diet, often called Eco-Atkins, is a low-carbohydrate vegan diet. Many low-carbohydrate diets have been proven to improve weight loss but most emphasize eating animal proteins and fats, which may raise cholesterol. Diets that are high in vegetable proteins and oils may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering "bad cholesterol."

Don’t shake on it

Marc Abrahams in Improbable Research
handshake animated GIFWhile some researchers urge the public, especially children, to come in more contact with common dirt — and thus presumably boost their immune systems by exercising them against a wide range of threatening thisandthat — other researchers point adults towards the opposite direction. 

At present, it seems unlikely that these two research camps will soon join hands. 

Witness a new study by the shaky-about-tolerating-handshakes group:

Both Tavares and Raimondo backed by controversial venture vulture

Raimondo and Taveras - both "Wall Street Democrats?" 
Texas billionaire John Arnold, who has drawn attention for his interest in public sector pension reform (meaning that public sector pensions are too generous), is supporting both sides of the gubernatorial race in Rhode Island.

David Sirota wrote about how the Arnold Foundation underwrote a PBS special on the pension crisis and underwrote a Brookings Institution report on the same subject. PBS returned $3.5 million to the foundation because of Sirota’s disclosure.

Arnold is also a major supporter of charter schools, Common Core, and other “reforms” favored by corporate reformers.

Monday, May 26, 2014

How to pay less in Charlestown property taxes

Practical tips to make sure you don’t pay more than your fair share
weinventyou animated GIFBy Will Collette
Soon, Charlestown voters will go to the polls to approve the town’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget for the year starting July 1. 
Coincidentally, July 1 is the first day in the tax year and soon after, you will receive your property tax bill from the town and from whichever local Fire District you live in.
There is little doubt the proposed budget will be approved even though it contains the sixth property tax increase in a row, adding to the unbroken string of tax hikes by the ruling Charlestown Citizens Alliance which has controlled town government since 2008.
The CCA Party tries to explain that Rhode Island law allows Charlestown to raise taxes even higher, as if that’s supposed to be some consolation to us. But if you believe, as I do, that just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should, then you probably agree that this CCA blandishment is meaningless.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Scientists discover a natural molecule to treat type 2 diabetes

Molecule mimics some effect of physical exercise
Researchers at the Université Laval Faculty of Medicine, the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Research Center, and the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods have discovered a natural molecule that could be used to treat insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. 

The molecule, a derivative of omega-3 fatty acids, mimics some of the effects of physical exercise on blood glucose regulation.

The details of the discovery made by Professor André Marette and his team are published today in Nature Medicine.

It has been known for some time that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce insulin resistance caused by a diet high in saturated fat. In their earlier work, André Marette and his colleagues had linked these effects to a bioactive lipid called protectin D1. In investigating further, they discovered that another member of the same family named protectin DX (PDX) triggers the production and release of interleukin 6 (IL-6) in muscle cells, a response that also occurs during physical exercise. 

RI's big strike-out

Rhode Island Considers Defaulting on Bonds for Notorious 38 Studios Deal
mlb animated GIF
The aftermath of Rhode Island’s biggest economic development scandal isn’t over yet. In 2010 the state’s privatized economic development agency loaned 38 Studios—a video game company founded by former major league pitcher Curt Schilling—some $75 million in subsidies which the state borrowed to provide. 

The firm soon failed, apparently leaving taxpayers with an obligation that has risen to $89 million (with interest), including a $12.3 million payment due next year.

Those payments are now in question. Rhode Island’s House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has scheduled meetings with Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s to discuss the consequences of failing to pay. While these bonds are not backed by the full faith and credit of Rhode Island, a previous consultant to the state made dire warnings about failure to pay, claiming that the move would degrade Rhode Island to junk bond status.

What we don't know about guns...and why

Why Don't We Know How Many People Are Shot Each Year in America?
by Lois Beckett, ProPublica

america animated GIFHow many Americans have been shot over the past 10 years? No one really knows. We don't even know if the number of people shot annually has gone up or down over that time.

The government's own numbers seem to conflict. One source of data on shooting victims suggests that gun-related violence has been declining for years, while another government estimate actually shows an increase in the number of people who have been shot. Each estimate is based on limited, incomplete data. Not even the FBI tracks the total number of nonfatal gunshot wounds.

Favored by God in warfare?

How WWI sowed seeds for future international conflicts

World War I -- the "war to end all wars" -- in fact sowed seeds for future international conflicts in a way that has been largely overlooked: through religion, says a Baylor University historian and author.

As the 100th anniversary of the war's beginning approaches, Philip Jenkins, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor, says that attitudes prevalent then have influenced how global powers see each other today, often viewing themselves as favored by God.

During World War I, which began on July 28, 1914, Germany saw itself as a religious force on a "messianic mission," while Russia saw itself not just as "a" Christian state, but as "the" Christian state, Jenkins said in a recent interview with Interfaith Voices, a public radio religion news magazine. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

For many, it's privacy and freedom of choice as well

The Issue is Safety
By Philip Darney 

Over half of all American women of reproductive age now live in states with laws severely restricting their reproductive health care -- creating a potential public health and safety crisis unseen since the 1970s. This was not the future envisioned by my colleagues as the drive to legalize abortion took place.

More than 40 years ago, obstetrician-gynecologists around the country began to worry about what would follow the legalization of abortion, which they could see coming. One hundred leading obstetricians signed a landmark Statement on Abortion in the respected American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1972, warning of "an imminent problem of rather staggering proportions" and calling on their peers to take action right away.

Roe v. Wade legalized abortion the following year, and the aftermath surprised the physicians. They had thought the problem would be women's safety. They predicted, correctly, that the 1973 legalization would lead women to request about a million legal abortions per year, one in every four pregnancies. Would hospitals have the needed capacity and skills?