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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

First thoughts on Trump-era science

By Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich for Environmental Health News

Image result for trump anti-science

Like virtually all people with interest in the functioning of human society, we've been thinking about the consequences of a Trump presidency. The results of the election were a shock but not a surprise. 

We were in Britain shortly before the Brexit vote and saw the anger in some people (especially taxi drivers) at President Obama's attempt to persuade that nation to stay in the Union. At home we were treated to people expressing similar attitudes in support of Trump all through the long elections season. And we knew from an extensive literature that decision-making has a large emotional component. 

Many people were clearly enraged at the "Hood Robin" efforts (stealing from the poor and lower middle class and giving to the rich) started by President Ronald Reagan and continued by subsequent administrations, with little attention to the plight of blue-collar Americans.

Hate being stuck in traffic?

The Price of Mitt Romney's Soul

Pic of the Moment

Can Radioactive Waste be Immobilized in Glass for Millions of Years?

Maybe, but then there’s the question of where – and how – you store all that glass
By Todd B. Bates, Rutgers University

Image result for radioactive waste & glassHow do you handle nuclear waste that will be radioactive for millions of years, keeping it from harming people and the environment?

It isn’t easy, but Rutgers researcher Ashutosh Goel has discovered ways to immobilize such waste – the offshoot of decades of nuclear weapons production – in glass and ceramics.

Goel, an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is the primary inventor of a new method to immobilize radioactive iodine in ceramics at room temperature. He’s also the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI for six glass-related research projects totaling $6.34 million in federal and private funding, with $3.335 million going to Rutgers.

Why Does Pet Care Cost So Much?

What the cost of caring for our pets can teach us about the cost of caring for humans.

Anyone who owns a pet knows that the cost of caring for old Fluffy or Fido has gone up considerably over recent years.

Economists from Stanford and MIT have just published some research that details how dramatic this increase has been. Between 1996 and 2013, they found, spending on pet health care as a share of gross domestic product rose a whopping 60 percent.

The one economic sector where spending rose nearly as fast as health care for pets? You can probably guess: health care for people. Human health care spending, as a share of GDP, has increased by 50 percent.

Who deserves the blame for this hefty hike in spending on our human health? Conservative-leaning policy wonks essentially blame people who partake in health care services.

Low and middle-income Americans on the bullseye

The War on the Poor Is Already Underway

It was just a little over two months ago that the Census Bureau reported the very good news that real median household incomes had increased by 5.2% from 2014 to 2015, and that the poverty rate had fallen by 1.3 percentage points.

The bureau also told us that the percentage of people without health insurance coverage had continued to decline substantially.

That upbeat report is likely to be the last burst of good news that the poor will see for quite some time.

Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and the bellicose tribunes of the hard right are in complete charge of the federal government.

Their hostility to such crucial anti-poverty efforts as the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, food stamps, and substantial increases in the minimum wage is hardly a secret.

With both houses of Congress under Republican control, big tax cuts (heavily weighted toward the richest among us) are a virtual certainty.

As a result, trillions of dollars in revenues will likely be lost and Congress will be on the hunt for spending cuts to offset them.

Social programs will be among the first items in their sights.

We’ve already seen something of a blueprint for what’s coming: Paul Ryan’s wish list was in his 2015 budget proposal.

Nearly 70% of its heart-stopping spending cuts would have come from programs designed to help moderate or low-income people.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Big storms a brewing

Trump Administration is Far Worse for the Planet than Most Realize

We need to take stock of where we are if we are to have any chance of getting to where we need to go. After years of slow but steady climate action, the U.S. now has a climate and environment destroying president and legislature. 

Although Hilary Clinton won the majority of votes, under the collegiate system –which was designed to protect slave owning states–Donald Trump won the election and will be president. 

Under Trump, Republicans will reverse everything that President Obama has achieved on energy and the environment.

Consider that President-elect Trump called global warming “bullshit” and a Chinese-invented hoax.

Although this may seem like a surreal reality show it is actually a living nightmare, a cataclysm of America’s own making. 

Trump has promised to double-down on fossil fuels, kill climate action and withdraw from the Paris Agreement. He will gut the EPA and eliminate $100 billion in climate-related federal funding over the next eight years.

Not what Obama had in mind

First ever Holiday Sale at Octagon House

This weekend is the Carolina Fiber and Fiction Center first holiday sale at the Octagon House in Carolina.

"Creation is a better means of self-expression; it is through creating not possessing, that life is revealed." --V.D.Scudder

But it is December and it is a loving thing to do to make or choose something beautiful for those you love, so why not choose local and made by hand? 

Another great choice for Giving Tuesday



A Gift of only $50 will ensure that a family living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, right here in Rhode Island will have food, warm clothes,heat for the winter and a gift under the tree.  

Support AIDS Care Ocean State's mission of providing quality housing, case management, medical and nursing care, and prevention to adults, families, adolescents and children who are affected by or at risk for HIV infection. AIDS Care Ocean State will act as an advocate for individuals and families at risk, while providing those support services needed to ensure and maintain a high quality of life for the people we serve.

Giving Tuesday gifts to Food Bank will be doubled!

Rhode Island Community Food Bank


Dear Charlestown friends,
Today is #GivingTuesday — a national day to encourage people to respond to the consumerism of the holiday season, reflect on the needs around them... and then give back!
Your support during #GivingTuesday means twice as much because our End Hunger Challenge fund is matching your gift, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $25,000!
By joining this movement, you're supporting the power of giving, and choosing to celebrate the incredible impact generosity has on our community.
I hope you'll celebrate today with your gift for families, children and seniors in Rhode Island who are struggling with hunger. Every $100 donated will be doubled to help us acquire 600 pounds of healthy food for our neighbors in need.
Join Us for #GivingTuesday

Together, we can give hungry individuals in Rhode Island full plates and hopeful hearts this #GivingTuesday.
With sincere gratitude,
Signature of Andrew Schiff
Andrew Schiff
Chief Executive Officer

Help Hungry Rhode Islanders

Rhode Island Community Food Bank

Rhode Island Community Food Bank
200 Niantic Avenue
Providence, RI 02907
P: (401) 942-MEAL (6325)

A good choice for Giving Tuesday

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England
Dear Charlestown friends,

Dayana, a teen peer-educator with Planned Parenthood of Southern New England wouldn’t have considered herself brave two years ago. When she first joined STARS (Students Teaching About Responsible Sexuality) she said she was “that shy, quiet kid who sits at the back of the classroom and never utters a word”. Because her time in the STARS program and the opportunities it presented her, Dayana says she stands a lot more confidently today.

Dayana is empowered by knowledge about healthy sexuality and relationships, and informed about the services and resources available to maintain them. Dayana is one of our 90 STARS who is changing our local communities through comprehensive sex education. Make a Giving Tuesday contribution today to give the gift of confidence to our STARS and all the lives that PPSNE health center staff touch.

Your contributions allow Dayana and hundreds of other students to experience PPSNE’s evidence-based sex education curriculum. Today, your Giving Tuesday gift, in addition to providing the reproductive health care services PPSNE is known for, will help students like Dayana and all the STARS continue the work they are doing in their schools, from Providence, RI to Stamford, CT. 

Through mentoring and talking to classmates about safe dating and sexuality, Dayana says she has changed. “Not only have I stepped out of my shell and learned how to become an active member of my community, but I have also learned the power behind helping others”.

You give Dayana, and all of our STARS, the confidence and skills to pursue happy and healthy relationships, embrace their sexuality and pursue their futures as they please.

Click here to make your Giving Tuesday gift today.
CARE. No Matter What.
© Copyright 2016 Planned Parenthood® of Southern New England. All rights reserved. |   Privacy Policy

Dog of the Week

Meet Gilbert
Animal Rescue Rhode Island

All Gilbert wants for Christmas is a loving family to call his own.

This gentle soul would make an excellent companion for anyone, preferably a quieter home since he can be a little nervous at first.

However, he sure makes up for it in the cuteness department with his stub tail.

Monday, November 28, 2016

He likes coal

By Bob Plain in Rhode Island’s Future

Image result for Trump & wind energy

Donald Trump isn’t enamored with one of the brightest sectors of the Ocean State economy: offshore wind. 

Earlier this week he urged British leaders “to oppose the kind of offshore wind farms that Mr. Trump believes will mar the pristine view from one of his two Scottish golf courses,” according to a New York Times story.

Trump is said to be bearish on offshore wind because turbines off the coast of Scotland would be seen from two golf courses he owns there. 

He offered a different explanation in an interview with Times reporters and editors on November 22:

Ask not, or don't ask

Mike Luckovich
For more cartoons by Mike Luckovich, CLICK HERE

The price of “freedom?”

University of Michigan Health System

Related imageFewer motorcycle riders who are involved in crashes across the state of Michigan are wearing a helmet, and the state's trauma centers have seen a 14 percent increase in head injuries among motorcyclists, since the state's partial repeal of its universal helmet law in April 2012, a new study finds.

In addition, emergency physicians and trauma surgeons are seeing a shift in the types of head injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes, with the proportion due to mild concussions falling 17 percent, while the proportion due to skull fractures increasing 38% during the same time period.

This increase in overall head injuries was also associated with an increased need for costly hospital services, including invasive neurosurgical procedures necessary to treat serious head injuries. 

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Michigan Injury Center, which is funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). 

The study compared statewide rates of helmet use, fatalities, and serious head injuries for the 12-month periods before and after the repeal.

The partial repeal allowed Michigan motorcycle riders 21 years of age or older to legally ride without wearing a helmet if they have passed a motorcycle safety course or held the motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license for at least two years. 

Statesman versus thug

Image result for death of fidel castroPresident Obama couldn’t be more different from his successor, Donald Trump. 

Obama has so much class and grace. As for Trump, well, not so much. 

Their responses to the death of Fidel Castro say so much about who these men, and their supporters by default, really are. 

And the differences between them are abundantly clear.

Obama responded with respect and compassion. His carefully crafted words are just one more example of the quiet dignity we have come to expect from this man and his family. Here is what the president had to say on Castro’s passing:

Doubts about taxpayer-subsidized shoreline home raising

By TIM FAULKNER\ecoRI News staff

Image result for Army Corps of Engineers underestimates sea level riseA plan by the Army Corps of Engineers to pay for and elevate buildings along 28 miles of Rhode Island’s southern coast is being challenged by one of the state’s largest environmental groups.

Save The Bay says the proposal to raise 341 homes between Westerly and Narragansett (including Charlestown) to guard against the impacts of climate change is inadequate and flawed.

One of the main concerns is the Army Corps’ use of outdated data to estimate sea-level rise. 

The Army Corps projects that coastal water will climb 4.4 inches within 50 years because of climate change. 

Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) projects sea-level rise of 2 feet within the next 32 years and up to 7 feet by 2100. EDITOR'S NOTE: NOAA's projection of sea level rise is 8.5 times higher than that of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Get ready to fight!

Image result for Trump Resistance

Trump’s First 100 Day agenda includes repealing environmental regulations, Obamacare, and the Dodd-Frank Act, giving the rich a huge tax cut, and much worse. Here’s the First 100 Day resistance agenda [with thanks to Alan Webber]:

The sex lives of trees

What Tree Rings Mean

Is this what you wanted?

For your holiday giving: support progressive journalism

Support RI Future because we support YOU!
RI Future is getting some national attention because we’ve built such a great news website, particularly adept at speaking truth to power and standing up for the powerless – something the Donald Trump moment is teaching millions of Americans we have a responsibility to do.

@RIFuture Your website is a welcome map for other states, to begin pushing back against the divisiveness we are seeing. Go, Rhode Island!

This means we need your help more than ever.
Now, more than at any other time in our nation’s history, we need journalists who are willing and able to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. We’re more than willing. But to be fully able, we need your support.
We’re probably the hardest working and lowest paid journalists in Rhode Island. Imagine how effective RI Future could be if we actually earned a living wage?
If everyone reading this post gave us just a few dollars a month, RI Future could finally compete on an even playing field with the better-heeled news organizations in Rhode Island. If some of you can do more than that, there’s no telling how much we can accomplish.
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