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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Going, going, GONE

It’s Happening
By Progressive Charlestown guest columnist Jim Bedell

This is the complete and illustrated column that ran edited letter the Independent. Jim’s organization, the Rhode Island Shoreline Access Coalition fights for the right of all Rhode Islanders to use and enjoy the shoreline as guaranteed by the Rhode Island Constitution.
Some of “It” is scary, some of “It” is hopeful.

The scary part is the consolidating evidence of global warming, the surprising acceleration of sea level rise, and the accepting of the profound effects these will have on Rhode Island. 

The hopeful part is the proactive call to arms by our little state, stepping out in front of the crowd to take meaningful steps to deal with the changes coming our way.

Those steps come in the package of CRMC’s Beach SAMP (Special Area Management Plan.) If you don’t know what that is…well…start paying attention.

 It is time to look over the time horizon. Sea level rise is accelerating way beyond previous assumptions. 

Before anthropogenic warming began accelerating in the mid 1900s, scientists spoke of natural post glacial sea level rise in terms of a few inches per century! The latest NOAA projections cite the range in sea level rise above 1990 levels to be a maximum of 7 feet by 2100. 

The youngest of our current schoolchildren will live long enough to see Waterplace Park, Galilee, Misquamicut and much of Wickford and lower Newport under water, and whole waterfront neighborhoods abandoned.

Love that Second Amendment!

The progressive web comic about America's gun problem.


Pic of the Moment

Food author attacks Peeps

It can be hard to know where to draw the line, but Peeps are definitely past it.

Peeps take a beating in this week's Jill Richardson food column
If you’ve read any nutritional advice lately, you’ve probably encountered one hard-and-fast rule: Avoid processed foods.

But what does “processed” mean?

On one level, anything humans do to food — slicing fruit, cooking beans, fermenting cabbage into sauerkraut — constitutes processing. 

It’s obviously silly to say that an apple eaten whole is healthy, while the same apple sliced isn’t.

And even if you can call the ingredients “processed,” there’s nothing unhealthy about a good, crusty sourdough bread made with whole wheat flour or cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. Why should a diet forbid them?

Another school of thought says that if cooking and chopping are benign and even healthful, then any other form of processing is good, too. But what rational person would say that a roasted chicken is nutritionally equivalent to a Chicken McNugget?

Here’s what you really need to avoid: ultra-processed fare. Ultra-processed foods are made with ingredients not normally found in a household kitchen, such as artificial flavors, colors, and emulsifiers.

E-Waste drop-off this Saturday in Charlestown

For more information, visit Indie Cycle's website by clicking HERE.

Turning Point in Climate Fight as AGs Unite to Target Exxon Crimes

In a move many are hailing as a "turning point" in the climate fight, 20 state Attorneys General on Tuesday launched an unprecedented, multi-state effort to investigate and prosecute the "high-funded and morally vacant forces" that have stymied attempts to combat global warming—starting with holding ExxonMobil and other industry giants accountable for fraud and suppression of key climate science.

"This is about facts, and science, and transparency," said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who spoke at a press conference alongside New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, former Vice President Al Gore and seven other Attorneys General.

"Fossil fuel companies that deceived investors and consumers about the dangers of climate change should be, must be held accountable," Healey continued, saying there is a "troubling disconnect between what Exxon knew, what industry folks knew, and the company and industry chose to share with investors and the American public."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Trump unfit for the office “by any measure”

Mike Luckovich
To see more cartoons by Mike Luckovich, CLICK HERE

A scathing editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Tuesday laid waste to Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions.

Armed with a brutal headline declaring Trump unfit for the office “by any measure,” the paper began by repeatedly telling the Republican front-runner a word he hates to hear and called for Wisconsin voters to do something to stop him:
No to Donald Trump.No to his bigotry.No to his contempt for women and minorities. No to his vague, clueless bluster about the problems facing the nation.No to Trumpism, which runs counter to the ideals of this nation of immigrants, to the notion that by working together under the rule of law, we can protect freedom and promote inclusion and fair play.Wisconsin Republicans: Reject this un-American candidate on April 5.

Republican Vampire!

For more cartoons by Ruben Bolling, CLICK HERE

VIDEO: Why do we let this happen?

Women athletes as much as twice as likely to injure knees

Why are women more prone to knee injuries than men?

Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have found that women who take the birth control pill, which lessen and stabilize estrogen levels, were less likely to suffer serious knee injuries. The findings are currently available in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Female athletes are 1.5 to 2 times more likely than their male counterparts to injure their anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. The ACL is a ligament that connects the top and bottom portions of the knee. 

Damage to this ligament is a serious athletic injury that can be career altering. Return-to-play rates after ACL injury are as low as 49 percent among soccer players. Also, this injury may lead to lifelong issues with knee instability, altered walking gait and early onset arthritis.

Using a national insurance claims and prescription database of 23,428 young women between 15 and 19, the study found that women with an ACL knee injury who were taking the birth control pill were less likely to need corrective surgery than women of the same age with ACL injuries who do not use the birth control pill.

Reverse your diabetes

Newcastle University
A new study from Newcastle University has shown that people who reverse their diabetes and then keep their weight down remain free of diabetes.

In addition, the team found that even patients who have had Type 2 diabetes for up to 10 years can reverse their condition.

The study, published in Diabetes Care, is the latest research from Professor Roy Taylor, Professor of Medicine and Metabolism at Newcastle University, who also works within Newcastle Hospitals.

Making up for betraying public trust

Producing More EVs to Counter Auto Industry Lies

Car brands increasingly understand that the best way to respond to the Volkswagen scandal is to build more EVs.

The Volkswagen scandal is fascinating not only for what VW did to deceive, but for what auto brands are doing in response. 

In the face of vulnerabilities about their own misrepresentations, auto makers like Mercedes are struggling to get ahead of the issue by producing more green cars.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

VIDEO: Trump will take from just about everybody!

Trump: The Art of the Tax Deal
By Phil Mattera, editor of the Dirt Diggers Digest

See this video on YouTube:

Donald Trump is famous for making high-profile deals using other people’s money. Sometimes those other people are not his business partners or lenders but rather the taxpayers. For a figure who is seen to epitomize unfettered entrepreneurship, he has been relentless in his pursuit of government financial assistance.

Trump’s first major project, the transformation of the old Commodore Hotel next to New York’s Grand Central Station into a new 1,400-room Grand Hyatt, established the pattern. Trump arranged to purchase the property from the bankrupt Penn Central railroad and sell it for $1 to the New York State Urban Development Corporation, which agreed to award Trump a 99-year lease under which he would make gradually escalating payments in lieu of property taxes. 

The resulting $4 million per year tax abatement was criticized as excessive but was approved by the Board of Estimate in 1976. The deal also provided for profit sharing with the city. The total value of the abatement has been estimated from $45 million (Wall Street Journal, January 14, 1982) to $56 million.

Show where you stand

Allow gun carrying at the Republican National Convention!

Pic of the Moment

Politics of vaccination

URI pharmacy professor partners with political scientists to get word out on pneumococcal disease vaccinations

KINGSTON, R.I. –Political science isn’t a field that comes to mind when clinicians are trying to convince adult members of the minority community to get vaccinated against pneumococcal infections, which include pneumonia and bloodstream infections.

But for University of Rhode Island Pharmacy Professor Kerry LaPlante the connection is clear. She is working with URI Political Science Professor Brian Krueger, chair of political science, and Associate Professor Marc Hutchison on a $606,173 research grant to develop science-based messages to improve pneumococcal vaccination rates in black and Hispanic/Latino populations.

Federal seafood advice leaves some women full of mercury: Study

For years seafood was Karen Grote’s “go to” when eating out—ordering tuna, shrimp and lobster.
“I travel a lot for work, so was constantly eating out,” said the 34-year old actuary from the Philadelphia area.

But her choices changed after Grote had her hair tested for mercury as part of a study and her levels were elevated. Now pregnant, she still eats some seafood but is limiting how much to avoid harming her unborn child with the neurotoxic chemical.

“It was completely eye opening for me,” Grote said.

 After the testing of Grote and other women across the country, an environmental group warns that eating federally recommended seafood amounts may leave women with too much mercury and not enough omega-3s.

The report, released by the Environmental Working Group, found that the majority of mercury in 254 women of childbearing age from 40 states came from fish the government does not warn pregnant women to avoid, such as tuna steaks and tuna sushi. Only about 17 percent of the women’s mercury load came from species the agencies warn about.

Big week for pollen

How the War on Drugs started

Nixon's War on Drugs Began as Strategy to Attack 'Antiwar Left and Black People'

The former top domestic adviser to President Richard Nixon admitted years ago that the so-called "War on Drugs" was crafted to target black people and anti-war leftists, according to new reporting.

The April feature of Harper's, an investigation by journalist Dan Baum into the widespread failures of drug prohibition, includes an excerpt from a 1994 interview between Baum and Nixon's adviser, John Ehrlichman, who died in 1999.

One passage in particular went viral:

Monday, March 28, 2016

VIDEO: Robin Hood in reverse

Why Either Trump’s and Cruz’s Tax Plans Would Be the Largest Redistributions to the Rich in American History 
By Robert Reich

Watch this video on YouTube:

The tax cuts for the rich proposed by the two leading Republican candidates for the presidency – Donald Trump and Ted Cruz – are larger, as a proportion of the government budget and the total economy, than any tax cuts ever before proposed in history.

Trump and Cruz pretend to be opposed to the Republican establishment, but when it comes to taxes they’re seeking exactly what that Republican establishment wants. 

Here are 5 things you need to know about their tax plans:

Spay and neuter

If you received a Peeps bunny for Easter, be responsible!

Deju vu all over again

The progressive web comic about Donald Trump's resemblance to George W. Bush.

Registration deadline coming up on April 4

Get those mice a gym membership

Mayo Clinic
cheezburger  animals fail running wheel

Could an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise be making you age faster? Researchers at Mayo Clinic believe there is a link between these modifiable lifestyle factors and the biological processes of aging. 

In a recent study, researchers demonstrated that a poor diet and lack of exercise accelerated the onset of cellular senescence and, in turn, age-related conditions in mice. Results appear today in Diabetes.

Senescent cells are cells that contribute to diseases and conditions associated with age. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging found that exercise prevents premature senescent cell accumulation and protects against the damaging effects of an unhealthy diet, including deficiencies in physical, heart, and metabolic function, equivalent to diabetes.

Doggie of the Week

Meet Rebel!
Animal Rescue Rhode Island

Woof! I'm Rebel, a two year old pointer mix who's full of life and energy.

Want to get more exercise? Action is my middle name!

My "LET'S GO" lifestyle will keep you motivated to get outside and move.

I'm a naturally playful, curious and trusting dog.

I get along with kids, and would be happy to try with other pets.

Take me for lots of good walks every day; give me something to do!

After my job is done, I will be sure to curl up with you.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

VIDEO: Cover your ears, CCA

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff
VIPs recently toured the interior of a bottom section of one of the towers for the Block Island Wind Farm, at a staging area on the Providence waterfront. (Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News)
VIPs recently toured the interior of a bottom section of one of the towers for the
Block Island Wind Farm, at a staging area on the Providence waterfront.
(Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News)
PROVIDENCE — While offshore construction is idle, onshore assembly of the Block Island Wind Farm is moving along.

Not far from the Narragansett Bay Commission's three spinning, land-based wind turbines and port facilities that ship coal, propane and oil, Deepwater Wind and General Electric held a recent press conference to celebrate the midpoint of construction for the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

“This is the year we are going to finish,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowsky said during the March 18 event at ProvPort Inc.

Five bottom sections for the ocean-based wind towers stood like rockets waiting to launch as politicians and business and labor leaders praised the renewable-energy project. 

The 95-foot-tall steel tubes, however, won’t be firing into the cosmos, but will instead be shipped vertically down Narragansett Bay this summer to commence the next phase of the $300 million project.

Be bear aware!

Be Bear Aware

It's the NRA's Constitutional right

Pic of the Moment

She works hard for the money

Working Women in the US Have Less than 40 Minutes of Personal Time a Day

new report released by the AFL-CIO reveals that more than half of working women spend less than four hours a week on themselves after fulfilling their work and caregiving responsibilities. 

The report is based on the results of a survey on women, which received nearly 25,000 responses from union and nonunion women across the country.

"This survey offers a telling glimpse into the issues that matter most to America’s working women," said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. 

"As a woman and a union member myself, I understand the constant balancing act that many women are forced to play. I also know that union membership opens doors to leadership opportunities and economic power for women."

Peeps by the numbers

NEVER again

URI Hillel to hold Holocaust Remembrance Week, April 3-10, 2016
KINGSTON, R.I. -- Hillel at the University of Rhode Island is hosting a series of events to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Week, April 3-10, 2016. All events are open to the public. Erica Allen, a senior from Boca Raton, FL is the student chair for the events.

On Sunday, April 3 at noon, Holocaust Survivor, Alice Goldstein of Warwick will speak at brunch at Hillel (6 Fraternity Circle). A retired social researcher in population studies from Brown University, Goldstein spent the first eight years of her life in Nazi Germany. 

Goldstein's presentation seeks some answers to the question of how such atrocities could happen in a modern democratic state and what kinds of lessons we can draw from her experiences. The brunch is free and open to the public but reservations are required and may be made on the Hillel website. This event is co-sponsored by the URI Women’s Center.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Silencing the Myth

Study Finds Guns Do Not Increase Personal Safety
Harvard revealed data that shows “defensive gun use” not only rarely protects a person from harm, but gun involvement also increases personal danger – decreasing personal safety.

Though concealed carry crusaders and NRA flag-waivers would have you believe otherwise – a new study from The Journal of Preventative Medicine finds no advantages to using a firearm for self defense.

Led by David Hemenway, Ph.D., of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, this study utilizes data from the National Crime Victimization Survey. It is an annual survey of 90,000 households which has revealed data that shows “defensive gun use” not only rarely protects a person from harm, but also increases the personal danger.

The study found that in incidents where a victim used a gun in self-defense, the likelihood of suffering an injury was 10.9 percent. 

Had the victim taken no action at all, the risk of injury was virtually identical: 11 percent. 

VIDEO: Fun for kids at Easter!

O, Canada


Will VW be able to buy its way out with gift cards?

VW Emissions cheating scandal update
From: Leon Kaye , Triple Pundit

Volkswagen is still struggling to move past the emissions-software scandal that has plagued its reputation for the better part of a year.

Ever since the news officially broke that an array of its diesel passenger cars were outfitted with deceptive software, VW’s reputation has been pretty much at bottom ratings.

It’s not like the company hasn’t tried to regain public trust: To disgruntled consumers who bought one of the affected cars, it’s offered a combo of Visa cards and credit at dealerships.

To dealers stuck with stock frozen by the publicity, the company offered to buy back used vehicles at full price

And in response to hundreds of class-action suits coming up on the horizon, the company recently suggested that it may be willing to buy back those vehicles that can’t be fixed.

Fixing, VW lawyer Robert Giuffra explained in court in January, requires coming up with new software, and that may still be a long way off — too long for some earlier vehicles caught in the debacle.

How to prevent spring allergies

Pollen count (for real) from; handy advice from Fake Science

Plant a tree for Arbor Day

DEM & the Arbor Day Foundation again team up to offer you free trees
trees wind natures

PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Arbor Day Foundation are teaming up to give away 1,000 trees this spring; the Energy-Saving Trees Program helps homeowners conserve energy, reduce utility costs, and beautify their neighborhood.

"We're happy to partner with the Arbor Day Foundation again this year to encourage homeowners to "green" their properties and promote a healthier environment," said DEM Director Janet Coit. 

"Trees play an important role in cooling our streets and homes, filtering our air, and reducing stormwater pollution. I hope Rhode Islanders will take advantage of this opportunity to plant a tree with their families and watch it grow; it will help with household expenses and benefit our environment for generations to come."

The trees are approximately four to six feet tall and will be distributed in three-gallon containers for easy transport. The RI Tree Council will provide planting and care instruction to homeowners - as well as guidance on how to maximize energy-savings. When planted properly, a single mature tree can save $30 annually in heating and cooling costs.

Friday, March 25, 2016

A predator in so many ways

Donald Trump: Corporate Raider
By Phil Mattera, editor of the Dirt Diggers Digest

“We’re not interested in being taken over by Donald Trump.” That message, which sounds like a pronouncement by today’s Republican Party establishment, was expressed three decades ago by the board of directors of Bally Manufacturing as it sought to thwart an unwanted bid by the developer. Bally managed to escape the clutches of Trump but it had to pay a significant price.

During his recent endorsement statement, Dr. Ben Carson declared that there are two Donald Trumps running for president, one of them “cerebral.” Whether that’s true or not, there’s evidence of two Donald Trumps in the business world.

The first Trump is the one constantly promoted by the candidate — the owner and operator (or at least licensor) of a string of supposedly wildly successful business all adorned with his name. Whether Trump University or Trump Steaks, these are also the focus of his critics.

Yet Trump has another track record that involves not the running of companies but rather that of profiting by launching takeover bids that do not lead to completed transactions. During the 1980s Trump was a junior member of a fraternity of wheeler dealers known as corporate raiders. (One of the more notable members of that group, Carl Icahn, has endorsed Trump’s presidential campaign).


For more cartoons by Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE

Special Easter VIDEO: 10 Ways to Kill Marshmallow Peeps

Watch this video on YouTube:

Zombie fiction writer Kim Paffenroth to speak at URI, April 5

Event is part of URI Center for the Humanities Festival

KINGSTON, R.I. –Kim Paffenroth, a nationally acclaimed zombie fiction writer, will speak at the University of Rhode Island Tuesday, April 5 for the 5th annual Center for the Humanities Festival.

His talk, “I Want to Know What Love Is: Hellish and Heavenly Loves, from Dante to The Walking Dead,’’ will start at 6 p.m. in the Agnes B. Doody Auditorium, Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road on the Kingston campus. 

Paffenroth is distinguished professor of Religious Studies at Iona College, specializing in scholastic theology. He is the author of Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero’s Visions of Hell on Earth and of zombie fiction influenced by classical humanities texts such as Dying to Live: Last Rites. 

He regularly speaks about the role of zombies and the horror genre in popular culture. His essays have appeared in Communio and The Journal of Religion and Film. He is the recipient of the 2006 Bram Stoker Award and a silver medal in Forward Magazine’s Book of the Year 2007. He was a finalist for the 2007 International Horror Guild Award and the 2008 Black Quill Award. 

Anniversary of a tragedy

Mourn the dead, but fight like hell for the living
By Judy Gearhart, International Labor Rights Forum.  

Today we remember the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City and the 146 garment workers – most of them young women and girls – who died 105 years ago. 

That tragedy became a pivotal moment in history that helped usher in sweeping labor law protections in the United States. 

At ILRF we are proud supporters of the  Remember the Triangle Coalition, which continues to commemorate the sacrifice of those 146 garment workers every year and to build a coalition of supporters for a permanent memorial at the site of the tragedy.

The annual commemoration in New York is not an isolated action, but one that connects garment workers everywhere, too many of whom continue to risk their lives making the clothes we wear.  

A Curbside Crisis

How much of what you recycle ends up at the dump?

Do you cross the street to put your soda can in the recycling bin or avidly pluck plastics and paper from your neighbor’s trash cans? The current state of recycling in the United States may surprise you.

It’s in trouble for many reasons, including two straightforward ones. Most programs dump everything together — and consumers are confused about what goes into their recycling bins.

Single-stream recycling, first developed in the 1990s, offers the allure that everything can be recycled without duplicating efforts to handle paper, plastic, glass, and metal refuse. Creating a single blue bin where people can toss all kinds of recyclable items did away with the need to separate your bottles from your cans from your newspapers.

When your commingled recyclables arrive at the facility, they travel along conveyor belts where someone manually pre-sorts them. Then the stuff goes through a series of screens that separate items by weight and shape, and strong magnets mechanically sort the steel and aluminum products.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. communities that recycle used this approach by 2010.

The single-stream system sounds great, but it’s not perfect. The biggest problem is that contamination can occur at your home or workplace, in your curbside bin, at the sorting facility, or on the way there.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

In First, Majority of Americans Now Oppose Nuclear Energy

Gallup poll comes as new campaign counters nuclear’s "clean energy myth"

A majority of Americans—54 percent—oppose nuclear energy, a Gallup poll released Friday found.
It marks the first time a majority in the country has felt this way about nuclear energy providing electricity since Gallup began asking the question in 1994.

Forty-four percent said they are still in support of it.

The new results show a major shift from responses last year, when just 43 percent expressed opposition to nuclear energy and support stood at 51 percent.

Republican support, in particular, dropped steeply from 2015. Fifty-three percent now say they are in favor of nuclear energy, compared to 68 percent last year. Thirty-four percent of Democrats are in favor of nuclear energy, an 8-point drop from last year.

Even in 2012, the first time Gallup asked the question after the Fukushima disaster, 57 percent of Americans were still in favor of nuclear energy.

As to why to tide has turned, Gallup suggests it may be the result of lower gas prices, as they have coincided with low levels of worry about the nation's energy situation.

VIDEO: Donald Trump has a very good brain

Watch this video on YouTube:

Trump's foreign policy brain trust

Pic of the Moment

The new Teflon?

University of Michigan
animals ice goat cold slide
Yes, we used this graphic before. Couldn't resist an encore

On your car windshield, ice is a nuisance. 

But on an airplane, a wind turbine, an oil rig or power line, it can be downright dangerous. 

And removing it with the methods that are available today--usually chemical melting agents or labor-intensive scrapers and hammers--is difficult and expensive work.

That could soon change thanks to a durable, inexpensive ice-repellent coating developed by University of Michigan researchers. 

Thin, clear and slightly rubbery to the touch, the spray-on formula could make ice slide off equipment, airplanes and car windshields with only the force of gravity or a gentle breeze. 

This could have major implications in industries like energy, shipping and transportation, where ice is a constant problem in cold climates.

The new coating could also lead to big energy savings in freezers, which today rely on complex and energy-hungry defrosting systems to stay frost-free. 

An ice-repelling coating could do the same job with zero energy consumption, making household and industrial freezers up to 20 percent more efficient. The coating is detailed in a new paper published in the journal Science Advances.

Speaks for itself

Pic of the Moment

Undergoing fertility treatment? Watch your plastics

One of the most challenging aspects of Sarah Bly’s work is helping women cope with infertility.

“It’s not only a mental desire you have around creating a life, but a very deeply physical, primal and biological urge, and these women are dealing with this on all of those levels,” said Bly, a women's health counselor and fertility awareness educator in Oregon.

Bly, who runs a private practice in Ashland, home of Oregon's famous Shakespeare festival, urges women to listen to their bodies in pursuing health and pregnancy. Increasingly, she's asking them to also pay attention to scientists’ alarms over chemical exposure.

Sailing the ocean green

URI to host two-day workshop to promote ways to make ships, ports greener

URI Graduate School of Oceanography’s Research Vessel Endeavor
underway on Narragansett Bay. 
Photo by Nora Lewis.
NARRAGANSETT, R.I– Landlubbers are trying to reduce their carbon footprint, but what about seafaring souls? 

Making ships and ports green is gaining momentum throughout the world thanks, in part, to efforts by the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography.

For the second time since the first Green Boats Workshop was held at Duke University in 2012, GSO, the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Naval Research (ONR) and 11th Hour Racing will bring together shipbuilders, marine architects, agency and port representatives, ocean scientists and owners of commercial and research vessels to brainstorm about ways to make boats and ports more environmentally friendly.