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Friday, September 30, 2016

Here’s a message for Jim Mageau, Charlestown’s leading Trump fan

By Gryphen in The Immoral Majority

Courtesy of GQ:

Nothing that Trump says, no damning piece of Trump reportage, and certainly no opinion piece like this one will stop his voters from pulling the lever. Nor will anything stop Trump from being the officious, braindead goon that he is. He will never answer for his crimes, and there’s a frighteningly large portion of the electorate that will always love him for that.

And so I’d just like to say to that portion of the electorate: Fuck you. No, seriously. Go fuck yourselves. 

I’m not gonna waste any more time trying to convince you that you’re about to do something you’ll regret forever. I’m not gonna show you old clips of Trump saying rotten things.

I’m not gonna try to ANNIHILATE Trump by showing you records of his hypocrisy and greed. I’m not gonna link to a John Oliver clip and be like, “THIS. So much this.”

Nothing’s gonna take down Trump at this point, so I’m not gonna bother. No no, this post is for ME. I am preaching to the sad little choir in my soul here.

Because while Trump is a miserable bastard, YOU are the people who have handed him the bullhorn.

Bad week for The Donald

Pic of the Moment

Just imagine


New from the Worm Ladies of Charlestown

Your best resource for everything vermiculture!

The Worm Ladies of Charlestown, Inc.             

The Worm Ladies Castings and Miracle Brew!

This worm harvester that sifts our castings is now in a hoop house protected by the weather and set upfor us to do a lot less lifting so that we can begin to build a supply of castings to meet the demand.  The castings will be approved for organic growing.   We would like to hear from you concerning your goal for using castings.

  1. What amount of castings are you looking for?
  2. Do you need a special formula of food being fed to the worms?  We can customize your needs.

We can make our Miracle Brew in this 60 gallon brewer; the brewers are also available for sale in different sizes.

The Worm Ladies are in the West side of hoop house #4 toward the back.

The Worm Ladies welcome volunteers and interns.

OPEN HOUSE -- OCTOBER 28TH 10-2 at 251 Exeter Road, North Kingstown

Hungry Bins Available

Soil Saver Outdoor Bin



161 East Beach Road Charlestown, Rhode Island 02813 
251 Exeter Road, North Kingstown, RI 02852


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UPDATE:Rescued marine mammal at Mystic unlikely to be released at Blue Shutters

UPDATED: Mystic plans to return rescued manatee - who they've just discovered is pregnant - to Florida for release

UPDATE: When I originally posted this article, I picked the GIF at left showing a baby manatee and its moma because I thought it was cute. But, as the New London Day reported, a routine ultrasound revealed that the rescued manatee is three to four months pregnant.

This discovery makes her care even more important as part of on-going efforts to protect and conserve the manatee population.

On September 22, Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program admitted a female Florida manatee to the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation Veterinary and Animal Health Center. 

The International Fund for Animal Welfare monitored, rescued and transported the manatee under a permit and with guidance from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The female manatee weighs in at just over 800 lbs.  Under the professional and world-class care of Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Team, animal care specialists and veterinary staff,  she is in stable condition and is eating and acclimating well to her current surroundings. It is the first manatee at Mystic Aquarium.

The animal was rescued from the waters of Cape Cod Bay in Falmouth, MA.  First sighted in Chatham, MA, in late August, officials became increasingly concerned for the mammal’s well-being as September approached and water temperatures continued to drop.

Eroding Trust in Science

The Implications of Big Sugar’s Lies

Image result for sugar lobbyA lie remains a lie long after it is told. The subterfuge of industry to serve it’s bottom line at the public’s expense is a crime that warrants public outrage.  We have recently seen evidence of this type of reprehensible behavior from big tobacco, big oil and automakers.

In 1994, we discovered that big tobacco was lying about the health impacts of smoking when Congressman Harry Waxman held a series of Congressional hearings that subpoenaed the CEOs of the four major tobacco companies.

In 2015, big tobacco’s cover-up was eclipsed by the revelation that decades ago, Exxon concealed research showing how fossil fuels are a major cause of global warming. Further examination revealed that the whole fossil fuel industry was complicit in these lies.

Also in 2015, Volkswagen found itself in hot water over a scandal in which they were found to have installed devices that falsified emissions tests.  Evidence of systemic dishonesty was then shown to extend across the auto-industry.  Now we can add big sugar to the list of industries responsible for strategic subterfuge.

UNITE HERE Launches National Boycott of Trump Businesses

#BoycottTrump aims to Bring Donald Trump to Las Vegas Negotiating Table

Image result for boycott trump

Citing federal law allowing boycotts for the purpose of forcing an employer to honor their duty to bargain, UNITE HERE, the parent union of the Culinary Union which is certified as the bargaining representative of workers at Trump Hotel Las Vegas, has called for a national boycott of businesses Donald J. Trump owns, has invested in, or has partnered with until the Trump Hotel Las Vegas honors its legal duty to bargain with the union.
Image result for trump failures
No point in boycotting these Trump products...
He's already run them into the ground

The #BoycottTrump campaign urging customers to not eat, sleep, or play at many Trump hotels and golf courses comes in the wake of federal officials' denying Trump Hotel Las Vegas' objections to a December 2015 union election, during which the majority of workers at the hotel voted to join the Culinary Union, the largest affiliate of UNITE HERE.

Union members recently picketed at Trump National Golf Course Los Angeles, announcing the boycott from inside the clubhouse restaurant, and union locals have planned further boycott events for September 29 in Waikiki and San Francisco, and October 1 and 18 in Chicago.  More actions are expected to follow in Virginia, New York and Florida.

"Enough is enough," said UNITE HERE President D. Taylor. "While Donald Trumpwaged an indefensible anti-worker and anti-immigrant presidential campaign, the workers at his Las Vegas hotel fought for dignity and respect in their workplace. They voted to unionize, they won, and now the law says Trump must negotiate."

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Who’s responsible?

Dad’s Turn to Do the Family Planning
By Gerald E. Scorse, Guest Columnist to Progressive Charlestown

Image result for vasectomyWhat keeps America so quiet about vasectomy? Why aren’t we seeing and hearing the compelling case for men to man up in a final act of family planning? These are no idle questions: of the many birth control methods, vasectomy could well be the simplest and easiest of all.

A vasectomy also defuses the abortion issue. It leads to no fetus, confers no rights on the unborn. There’s no reason to deny funding to Planned Parenthood for performing vasectomies, or simply spreading the word.

It’s where I had mine 43 years ago. My wife had given birth to our second son, and we decided that two was the magic number. I was drafted (and should have volunteered) for end-phase family planning.

Let’s review the basics: how vasectomies work, the powerful reasons for getting them, the powerful cultural norms that weigh against them. Let’s see how, in an ironic twist, the last path to women’s reproductive rights is men who give up theirs.

The standard vasectomy is a routine outpatient procedure, done in less than half an hour under a local anesthetic. The procedure cuts and seals the tubes that carry sperm to the semen, effectively ending a man’s ability to impregnate a woman.

Never before

Pic of the Moment

VIDEO: My temperment

 To see the man who would be President on YouTube:

Vox populi on temperment

Pic of the Moment

Langevin Accepting Applications for U.S. Service Academies

Applications Due By October 28

Image result for langevin & service academies
Olivia DeSpirito (r), who was nominated by Rep. Langevin in 2012
Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) is now accepting applications for nomination to the United States Military Academies.

As a Member of Congress, Langevin has the privilege of nominating constituents to the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy and the United States Air Force Academy.

“Nominating talented, hardworking, and patriotic young people to our distinguished military academies is one of my greatest privileges, and I continue to be so impressed, year after year, by the caliber of students setting forth on the path to serve and protect our nation,” said Congressman Langevin.

Amazon Says It Puts Customers First.

But Its Pricing Algorithm Doesn't.
By Julia Angwin and Surya Mattu for ProPublica

Image result for amazon algorithmic pricing buy boxOne day recently, we visited Amazon's website in search of the best deal on Loctite super glue, the essential home repair tool for fixing everything from broken eyeglass frames to shattered ceramics.

In an instant, Amazon's software sifted through dozens of combinations of price and shipping, some of which were cheaper than what one might find at a local store., an online retailer from Farmers Branch, Texas, with a 95 percent customer satisfaction rating, was selling Loctite for $6.75 with free shipping. Fat Boy Tools of Massillon, Ohio, a competitor with a similar customer rating was nearly as cheap: $7.27 with free shipping.

The computer program brushed aside those offers, instead selecting the vial of glue sold by Amazon itself for slightly more, $7.80. This seemed like a plausible choice until another click of the mouse revealed shipping costs of $6.51. That brought the total cost, before taxes, to $14.31, or nearly double the price Amazon had listed on the initial page.

What kind of sophisticated shopping algorithm steers customers to a product that costs so much more than seemingly comparable alternatives?

One that substantially favors Amazon and sellers it charges for services, an examination by ProPublica found.

Amazon often says it seeks to be "Earth's most customer-centric company." Jeffrey P. Bezos, its founder and CEO, has been known to put an empty chair in meetings to remind employees of the need to focus on the customer. But in fact, the company appears to be using its market power and proprietary algorithm to advantage itself at the expense of sellers and many customers.

Unseen and almost wholly unregulated, algorithms play an increasingly important role in broad swaths of American life. They figure in decisions large and small, from whether a person qualifies for a mortgage to the sentence someone convicted of a crime might serve. 

The weightings and variables that underlie these equations are often closely guarded secrets known only to people at the companies that design and use them.

So who’s the real liar?

Image result for trump liarTrump’s way of handling the heat is simple: deflect, and blame everything on everyone else. 

He is a master of pointing the finger and saying “look, they do it too!” The evidence couldn’t be more clear with how he accuses Hillary Clinton of everything — from pay-for-play, to corruption, to even murder.

And for some reason, the media lets him get away with it.

But luckily for us (and bad for Trump once the debates come around), Hillary Clinton isn’t letting him get away with anything.

Sick of the never ending accusations and silence by the media elites, Clinton listed on her website nine difference instances in which Trump accused her of doing something he actually does himself. 

From real pay-for-play to ties to Russia, Clinton proves that it really is Trump, and not her, that is the shady candidate.

Let’s take a look:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Boosting Rhode Island pension security

Switch from costly, risky hedge funds and “Back to Basics” announced by Magaziner
By Will Collette

hedge fundsWhen Seth Magaziner ran for General Treasurer in 2014, he promised his top priority would be putting Rhode Island’s pension funds in a better position by securing higher returns on investment at the lowest practical risk.

I spoke to Seth this afternoon about his new plan (see news release) which was unanimously approved today by the State Investment Commission.

There is approximately $7.6 billion total in the state’s public pension funds of which about $1.1 billion has been invested in so-called “hedge funds” that were originally intended to provide investors with good returns and security.

However, as numerous reports have shown, hedge fund performance hasn’t matched hedge fund promises, except perhaps for their managers who have become billionaires while handling other people’s money.

The Treasurer’s office conducted months of research and consultation with financial experts. They also ran “thousands of models and projections” to come up with a better way to get better returns on investment without undue risk.

The result was announced by Seth today - a “Back to Basics” plan to move about half of the money the state has invested in hedge funds – around half a billion dollars – into safer, better investments such as low-fee index funds.

This will take place over the next two years.

I asked Seth to talk about the challenges of coming up with such a plan, such as public impatience with the pace of change.

“When you’re moving this much money,” he said, “You have to do it in an orderly fashion.” He noted that making such changes was “like steering an aircraft carrier – you can’t turn on a dime.”

Then there is the matter of exit fees involved when leaving investment vehicles such as hedge funds. “We wanted to make sure we avoided early redemption fees” which in some cases could be significant.

The other factor requiring a careful, deliberate approach is the need to find solid investment alternatives.

I told Seth that the dream of many people, me included, is to see pension fund money used to create local jobs and businesses. But I acknowledged the fact that pension law doesn’t really allow that to be a major pension fund priority.

Seth pointed out that the first duty of any pension trustee is to secure the best rate of return for beneficiaries with the least risk.

That said, among the alternatives they’ve explored are funds that invest in infrastructure. He noted the infrastructure investment market is very “hot” at the moment affecting the cost of buying in. Of course, the basic rule of investing is “buy low, sell high” not vice versa, timing is a key issue.

Rhode Island has used its pension funds’ proxy voting rights to join with other public pension funds around the country to support shareholder resolutions against excessive executive pay and other abusive corporate practices. These pension funds control millions of shares so they carry some weight at corporate annual shareholder meetings.

The state pension fund is no longer in crisis, as it was six years ago. Since Seth took office two years ago, the fund has run in the black, earning more than $390 million and beating the fund’s goals.

Rather than give back so much to hedge funds, the “Back to Basics” plan should reduce costs and boost earnings while taking a cautious, prudent approach to risk.

Here is the Treasurer’s official new release about the plan:

VIDEO: It's up to you to Save the Day

The deadline to register to vote in Rhode Island is October 9!

The deadline to apply for a mail-in (absentee) ballot is October 18.

For quick answers to just about any Rhode Island election related question, CLICK HERE for the Secretary of State's election info dashboard.

Now watch this great video:

 To watch this video on YouTube:

Coming up at the Mystic Aquarium

Check out what Mystic Aquarium has planned for you!

Mystic Aquarium 860.572.5955

Mystic Aquariums Upcoming Events

Fiesta del Oceano
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with guided bilingual tours, dance & live music.
Click here to learn more

October Family Overnight
Explore the Aquarium at night then fall asleep next to your favorite indoor exhibit!
Click Here to Learn More

Run Walk for the Penguins
Start fundraising efforts today for the 10th annual 5k run or 2-mile walk.
Click Here to Learn More

Harvest Happenings
Celebrate fall with fun photo ops, seasonal sweets, delightful decor & more.
Click Here to Learn More 

Themed Pancakes with Penguins
Have a Halloween-themed breakfast with ooey, gooey, spooky pancake toppings.
Click Here to Learn More 

Mystic Aquarium | 55 Coogan Boulevard | 860.572.5955

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