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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Not enough

The Problem With Trump’s Pledge to End HIV
By Kambiz Shekdar

Image result for cure for aidsIn his State of the Union address earlier this month, President Trump made an ambitious pledge: to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the U.S. within 10 years. 

“Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach,” he said. 

The policy promise is no less bold than President George W. Bush’s global initiative PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), which has been credited with saving more than 17 million lives since its inception in 2003. Whereas Bush’s initiative tempered the destructive force of AIDS, could Trump’s end it altogether?

Trump Summit Triumph

Pic of the Moment

Go Fish

A Fantastic Class and OUTSTANDING News!

Beginners Fly Fishing Class
Registration Closing next Wednesday, March 6th
Monday evenings, March 11- April 15
There are only a few spots left for you to learn how to increase your comfort and knowledge enough to actually catch fish with a fly!  Join a life-long fly fisher who will explain and have hands on practice for topics such as casting, equipment/gear/tackle, knots, reading water, flies/hatches and stream etiquette.
Six classes at two-hours each, cost is $135, ten participants max.
For details and to register, click the link above or visit


US House & Senate passed
Wild & Scenic River designation!
7 Rivers
in the Wood-Pawcatuck watershed
are now just 1 step away from additional protection
Wood-Pawcatuck Wild and Scenic Designation
Passes the US Senate & House of Representatives
Yesterday evening, in a final vote of 363-62 the US House approved the Public Lands package, including national designation of Wood-Pawcatuck Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Last week, the US Senate approved the Act by a vote of 92-8. Now it's all up to the President to sign it into law.
River segments will be protected as either....... 
“Wild” : Undeveloped and pristine
“Scenic” : Having historic developments and some road access.
This prestigious designation will provide federal funds for local efforts to protect and promote seven local rivers in RI and CT.  This National Park Service designation has taken WPWA decades to attain and has required immense community involvement and support.  We could not have come this far alone.  As we move through the final steps, WPWA will constantly be thanking the hundreds of volunteers and supporters who have made this possible.
Thank You All
The Wood-Pawcatuck Wild and Scenic Rivers Stewardship Council is forming now and consists of representatives from the watershed towns, state environmental agencies and several key non-governmental organizations. Half the seats on the Council are already filled!  Through the authority of the Stewardship Council, the community's representatives will collaborate to develop and implement projects recommended in the Stewardship Plan. 
EXTRA, EXTRA! Read all about it!
News coverage on our rivers big steps toward designation:
The Westerly Sun, Cynthia Drummond
The Hour, Peter Urban
Our Contact Information
Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association
203 Arcadia Road
Hope Valley, RI 02832

New research and old data from Henry Thoreau produce unexpected results

Threats to New England wildflowers
Sloan MacRae, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

pink slipper orchidA new study featuring historical observations collected by the philosopher and author Henry David Thoreau, combined with new observations, shows that spring wildflowers may face challenges in a warming climate.

Researchers at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Boston University, University of Maine, Syracuse University, and University of Tennessee, Knoxville recently published the study in the scientific journal, Ecology Letters,revealing that understory wildflowers are less responsive to climate change than the trees above them.

Conservation biologists Richard Primack and Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie at Boston University approached Mason Heberling, Assistant Curator of Botany at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, with scientific observations initiated by Thoreau in Concord, Massachusetts in the 1850s. The data includes tree and wildflower leaf out dates measured for 37 separate years between 1852 to 2018.

Primarily as a result of human activities, temperatures in Concord have warmed by 3 degrees Celsius over the past century. Over this same time period, tree and wildflower leaf out dates have shifted significantly.

Your fish on drugs

Pharmaceutical residues in fresh water pose a growing environmental risk
Radboud University

brook GIFOver the past 20 years, concentrations of pharmaceuticals have increased in freshwater sources all over the world, as research by environmental experts at Radboud University has revealed. 

Levels of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin have reached the point of potentially causing damaging ecological effects. 

The research is the first to examine the risks of two particular medicines in global freshwater sources, and is being published in Environmental Research Letters on 22 February. “The study calls for more widespread data gathering to measure the problem around the world.”

“Getting an accurate picture of the environmental risks of pharmaceuticals around the world depends on the availability of data, which is limited,” says Rik Oldenkamp, lead author of the article. 

“It's true that there are models, such as the ePiE model, which can give detailed predictions of pharmaceutical concentrations in the environment, but these are often only applicable to places where we already have a lot of information, such as rivers in Europe.”

The new model developed by the researchers, which builds on an existing model with a lower resolution, makes it possible to come up with worldwide predictions for individual ecoregions.

Doctors FOR guns?

Doctor-affiliated PACs fund political candidates who oppose firearm safety policies

Image result for Doctor PACs and gunsPolitical action committees (PACs) affiliated with physician organizations contribute more money to political candidates who oppose evidence-based policies to reduce firearm-related injuries than to those who support such policies, a new study found. 

This pattern of giving is inconsistent with advocacy efforts by many individual physicians and organizations in support of the policies, the researchers said. 

“Doctors can — and should — lead efforts to prevent firearm violence,” said study co-author Dr. Jeremiah Schuur, chair of emergency medicine at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School.

“Yet we found that the PACs affiliated with the doctors who provide frontline care for victims of gun violence contribute to candidates who are blocking evidence-based firearm safety policies. If the organized political giving of these organizations doesn’t match their stated public health goals, they undermine the moral authority and scientific credibility they draw upon when advocating for policy change.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Hate high

Image result for alt-rightA new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center tells us what we already suspected when we see and read news reports: There are a record number of hate groups in the United States, driven by both shifting demographics and Trumped-up fears of immigration.

The SPLC gives us the discouraging numbers both on its website and in its spring Intelligence Report:

  • The number of hate groups reached an all-time high of 1,020 in 2018.
  • The number was the fourth straight year of hate group growth, or 30 percent growth overall.
  • In  2018, at least 40 people in the U.S. and Canada were killed by people either motivated by or attracted to far-right ideologies, embracing ideas and philosophies that are cornerstones of the alt-right. 
“Violence that has traditionally been in the shadows of racist extremism is increasingly taking to the streets,” the report said.

During the first few years of President Obama’s second term, hate crimes actually fell by 12 percent.

When Donald Trump announced that he was running for president and started his anti-immigrant rhetoric about “building a wall,” the number started rising again.

Hate crimes grew by 30 percent from 2014 to 2017 (2018 hate crime figures are not available yet from the FBI).

Fitting in

For more cartoons by Jen Sorenson, CLICK HERE.

Talks like a Fourth Grader.

flesch scale trump use this
For more on these numbers and what they mean, CLICK HERE.

No wall will stop this dangerous immigrant

DEM, Partners Develop Emerald Ash Borer Response Plan

Related image

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with the University of Rhode Island (URI), National Grid (NG), USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the USDA Forest Service State & Private Forestry (USFS), has finalized an action to address the destructive effects of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) to Rhode Island's ash resources. 

An invasive forest insect from Asia, EAB was first detected in Rhode Island last summer; the state now joins the federal quarantine which covers much of the eastern United States.

DEM's Divisions of Agriculture and Forest Environment, in cooperation with project partners, will use the EAB Technical Response plan to guide Rhode Island communities, homeowners, woodland property owners, and other stakeholders as they prepare for, manage, and recover from local-level EAB impacts. 

Food riots and famines in the future

Climate change increases potential for conflict and violence
Iowa State University
Related imageImages of extensive flooding or fire-ravaged communities help us see how climate change is accelerating the severity of natural disasters. 

The devastation is obvious, but what is not as clear is the indirect effect of these disasters, or more generally of rapid climate change, on violence and aggression.

That is what Craig Anderson sees. The Iowa State University Distinguished Professor of psychology and Andreas Miles-Novelo, an ISU graduate student and lead author, identified three ways climate change will increase the likelihood of violence, based on established models of aggression and violence. Their research is published in the journal Current Climate Change Reports.

Anderson says the first route is the most direct: higher temperatures increase irritability and hostility, which can lead to violence. 

The other two are more indirect and stem from the effects of climate change on natural disasters, failing crops and economic instability. A natural disaster, such as a hurricane or wildfire, does not directly increase violence, but the economic disruption, displacement of families and strain on natural resources that result are what Anderson finds problematic.

One indirect way natural disasters increase violence is through the development of babies, children and adolescents into violence-prone adults, he said. 

For example, poor living conditions, disrupted families and inadequate prenatal and child nutrition are risk factors for creating violence-prone adults. 

Anderson and Miles-Novelo noted these risk factors will become more prevalent as a result of climate change-induced disasters, such as hurricanes, droughts, floods, water shortages and changing agricultural practices for efficient production of food.

Another indirect effect: Some natural disasters are so extensive and long term that large groups of people are forced to migrate from their homeland. Anderson says this "eco-migration" creates intergroup conflicts over resources, which may result in political violence, civil wars or wars between nations.

Trump's $12 billion war against energy-efficient light bulbs

The Republicans’ Dumbest Idea Yet
By Terry H. Schwadron, DCReport New York Editor

light lights out GIFIt’s one thing to oppose the grandiose “Green New Deal” as gratuitously imprecise or for its full-throated attack on all-things-ozone and carbon release in our global community.

It feels like something totally other to oppose narrow regulations that could advance the campaign to swap out incandescent light bulbs for light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, a small, practical step that, multiplied into the millions, would passively remove a healthy chunk of energy-eating pollution over time.

Actually, I was surprised to see a recent editorial about all this in The Washington Post,  which argued that “Of all the counterproductive policy campaigns conservatives have waged in recent years, among the most irrational has been their war on the federal government’s efforts to update the light bulb.”

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Case for obstruction looks rock solid

Obstruction Of Justice, In Private and Plain Sight
By Terry H. Schwadron, DCReport New York Editor

Image result for trump and obstruction of justiceOpening a broad review of how over two years, Trump has worked publicly and privately to thwart the widening investigations that threaten him, his family, his presidency and his businesses, The New York Times had a startling disclosure:

Trump asked his acting attorney general, Matthew G. Whitaker, to put a political ally—who had recused himself—in charge of the Michael Cohen investigation, apparently to halt it or put a friend in charge of it. 

Whitaker apparently said no, but the disclosure drew wide perceptions from both sides of the aisle as a blatant attempted obstruction of justice—and coincidentally put Whitaker in the position of coming very close to having lied to Congress about any presidential request to interfere in the investigations.

The Times said Trump called Whitaker about the case involving Trump payments to silence two women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign. 

Trump asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the former Rudy Giuliani partner named U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation, according to several American officials with direct knowledge of the call.

“Whitaker, who had privately told associates that part of his role at the Justice Department was to ‘jump on a grenade’ for the president, knew he could not put Berman in charge because Berman had already recused himself from the investigation. 

The president soon soured on Whitaker, as he often does with his aides, and complained about his inability to pull levers at the Justice Department that could make the president’s many legal problems go away.”

That incident and others described in dozens of interviews and documents were depicted as part of a pattern over two years that shows “the extent of an even more sustained, more secretive assault by Trump on the machinery of federal law enforcement.”

The Times added: 
"The story of Mr. Trump’s attempts to defang the investigations has been voluminously covered in the news media, to such a degree that many Americans have lost track of how unusual his behavior is. But fusing the strands reveals an extraordinary story of a president who has attacked the law enforcement apparatus of his own government like no other president in history, and who has turned the effort into an obsession. Mr. Trump has done it with the same tactics he once used in his business empire: demanding fierce loyalty from employees, applying pressure tactics to keep people in line and protecting the brand—himself—at all costs.”

At last, the hidden truth

For more cartoons by Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE.

So, obviously he's innocent

Pic of the Moment

MUSIC VIDEO: Searching for the wily woodcock

URI seeking volunteers across Rhode Island to help track unique bird species
To watch this funky video on YouTube:
Tracking the mating rituals of the American Woodcock (coined the Funky Timberdoodle by URI researchers) may be key to understanding the decline of certain bird and mammal populations in Rhode Island. This fun video shows why URI researchers call them funky.

While hardly the most attractive of avian species, the American Woodcock (aka, the Timberdoodle), a rather plain and proportionally unbalanced bird, may be the key to helping URI scientists better understand the decline of several bird and mammal species in Rhode Island.

Researchers in the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Natural Resources Science and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, led by URI doctoral student Erin Harrington, have launched Project Timberdoodle. 

The project requires the help of volunteers, needed to conduct surveys throughout Rhode Island this spring. These surveys should help researchers learn more about the young forest habitats Timberdoodles and other species rely upon. The Timberdoodle in particular has seen a decline in its numbers for more than four decades.

Not good: mercury in local fish

By FRANK CARINI/ecoRI News staff
Professor David Taylor is gathering information about mercury levels of native species that are heavily fished and consumed by Rhode Islanders. (EPA/FDA)

The federal government advises women who are or may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children not to gorge on several marine species, namely swordfish, albacore tuna, king mackerel, and tilefish, because of the concentration in the tissue of these fish of methylmercury, a highly toxic organic compound of mercury.

While these species are notably identified as fish that should be eaten in moderation by certain groups of people, little information has been recorded on the mercury levels of native species that are heavily fished and consumed by Rhode Islanders.

Since 2005, however, Roger Williams University professor David Taylor has been working on collecting that data, by studying the methylmercury content in the tissue of legal-size and above bluefish, striped bass, black sea bass, tautog, scup, and summer flounder caught in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island Sound, and Block Island Sound.

These seven species account for about 99 percent of the Ocean State’s recreational fishery, according to Taylor.

RI pension power pushes Big Agra to shift position on climate gas emissions

This is how shareholder initiatives work

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In response to shareholder engagement led by Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), one of largest agricultural processors in the world, has agreed to assess the feasibility of adopting quantitative, company-wide goals for reducing the company's greenhouse gas emissions, including increasing its use of renewable energy.

As a result of this agreement, Rhode Island has withdrawn the shareholder proxy proposal filed on this topic at ADM late last year.

"Pension funds are long-term investors," said Treasurer Magaziner. "Companies, especially those as large as Archer Daniels Midland, must have a plan to adapt their business model to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. A transition to renewable energy can help stabilize and reduce energy costs - freeing up corporate resources that can be invested for sustainable growth."

Monday, February 25, 2019

5G: Threat or menace?

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

This wireless cell transmitter atop a utility pole in Wakefield, R.I., looks like a 5G small-cell antenna. (Stephen Dahl)
This wireless cell transmitter atop a utility pole in Wakefield, R.I., looks like a 5G small-cell antenna. (Stephen Dahl)

Light poles and traffic lights are getting cluttered with electronic equipment and it’s expected to get worse as new wireless communication networks spread across Rhode Island.

One of those systems, Fifth Generation — or 5G cell network — is quietly being pursued in cities and towns despite concerns about health risks, unsightly appearances, and scant regulatory oversight.

Gov. Gina Raimondo champions the 5G network, but details of wireless “densification” are guarded by telecom companies, while cites and towns have few options to review or get answers about the expected influx of systems, even as health worries mount.

With Raimondo’s backing, the General Assembly passed a bill (H5224) during a rare session in October 2017. The legislation fast-tracks rollouts of the 5G network by preempting local planning and zoning boards from reviewing and approving the systems. 

The new 5G networks enhance existing 4G networks and require the installation of higher-radiation transponders and antennas.

The controversial legislation was one of a handful of laws passed around the country pushed by communications companies to bypass local oversight of 5G installations. 

Sees all, knows nothing

For more cartoons by Mike Luckovich, CLICK HERE.

Mystic Aquarium art show promotes “Inspiration for Change”

New Gallery of Artwork on Display at Mystic Aquarium

Image result for Sophy Tuttle
An example of Ms. Tuttle's work from her website
A powerful new art exhibit entitled Inspiration for Change brings attention to the negative implications of human impacts on the natural environment with paintings that are genuine, vibrant and poignant.

Each summer, Mystic Aquarium hosts an “Artist in Residence” associated with the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to shadow various Aquarium teams in search of a story to tell through art. 

This year, the Aquarium welcomed Sophy Tuttle, a visual artist born in Colchester, England, who currently resides in Medford, Massachusetts.  With a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from RISD, Tuttle is currently working on a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Art from the University of Hartford Art School.

“As an artist, I am inspired by the natural world,” said Tuttle. “With my work, I ask people to consider the other creatures on our planet.”

Dog of the week

Meet Clover
Animal Rescue RI

This beautiful girl is Clover.

She is a sweet senior who loves to cuddle up on the couch.

She is very loving, people friendly, and gives lots of kisses.

She knows her basic commands and does very well in the house, but would do best with a family that is home often.

She has medium to low energy and she loves to go for walks.

Weight loss strategy for the elderly

More protein and fewer calories help older people lose weight safely
Wake Forest University

Image result for Weight loss diet for the elderlyA high-protein, low-calorie diet helps older adults with obesity lose more weight, maintain more muscle mass, improve bone quality and lose "bad" fat, according to results from a new randomized controlled trial led by Wake Forest University researcher Kristen Beavers.

Four research papers based on the study results have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals including the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The latest was published this week in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism.

Geriatricians have long struggled with how to recommend safe weight loss for seniors, because dropping pounds can lead to muscle and bone loss.

NRA targets members of Congress

NRA under fire for ‘Target Practice’ magazine photo of Pelosi and Giffords

The National Rifle Association, famous for its tone-deaf response to gun violence, once again is facing a barrage of criticism — this time for a shocking headline in its American Rifleman magazine.

Next to a photo of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) announcing new gun legislation, they used the headline “Target Practice.”

The photo was taken in January as they announced the introduction of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. The article, by the NRA’s chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox, attempts to spin the proposal — which would require universal background checks before private gun sales and close the notorious “gun show loophole” — as an effort by Congressional Democrats to “target gun owners for persecution with extreme firearm transfer bans. 

The bill already has five House Republican co-sponsors.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

VIDEO: Red-baiting is the new green for Republicans

Green New Deal, meet Old Red Scare

This is American politics 2019, in a nutshell: Republicans circle the wagons around Donald Trump and a renewed fondness for red-baiting, while Democrats equivocate over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and the Green New Deal.

Presented last week by AOC and Senator Ed Markey, the 11-page manifesto was simultaneously hailed as visionary, pegged as short on detail, and condemned as a Marxist blow against the American Empire.

That's a lot for 11 pages.

In those pages, Ocasio-Cortez and Markey introduce vital concepts like soil health to Congressional attention. But even doing that will threaten Big Ag and the farm chemical industry. Indirect references to meat-eating, car-driving, plane-flying and other things with self-evident climate consequences will draw other big money constituencies into opposing the GND.

The original New Deal worked because every American community felt the pain of the Great Depression's economic ruin. 

Big difference


Image may contain: text

Women scarce in the one percent

Glass ceiling is more extensive than previously thought
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Related imageMen hold nearly all primary breadwinning positions in top income households, and the glass ceiling that has hindered women's advancement in the workplace is more extensive than previously thought, a new study by University of North Carolina at Charlotte researcher Jill Yavorsky and colleagues finds.

"Our results indicate that men control the majority of income resources in households in the top one percent of U.S. income distributions," Yavorsky said. 

"This matters because members in the one percent possess a great deal of political, economic, and social power and influence in our society. If men are primarily the ones who control these resources, it is likely that men, not women, exercise the majority of power and influence that comes with being in these households."

Switch to water

Diet drinks may be associated with strokes among post-menopausal women
American Heart Association

Image result for fresca tab vintageAmong post-menopausal women, drinking multiple diet drinks daily was associated with an increase in the risk of having a stroke caused by a blocked artery, especially small arteries, according to research published in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association.

This is one of the first studies to look at the association between drinking artificially sweetened beverages and the risk of specific types of stroke in a large, racially diverse group of post-menopausal women. 

While this study identifies an association between diet drinks and stroke, it does not prove cause and effect because it was an observational study based on self-reported information about diet drink consumption.

Compared with women who consumed diet drinks less than once a week or not at all, women who consumed two or more artificially sweetened beverages per day were:
  • 23 percent more likely to have a stroke;
  • 31 percent more likely to have a clot-caused (ischemic) stroke;
  • 29 percent more likely to develop heart disease (fatal or non-fatal heart attack); and
  • 16 percent more likely to die from any cause.
Researchers found risks were higher for certain women. 

Trump Labor Secretary violated federal law

Federal judge deems plea deal for billionaire on child sex trafficking was illegal

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This is the dirtbag Acosta let off with a wrist-slap with pictures of some
of the young girls he victimized. (Miami Herald photo)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sex-trafficking seems to be a quality shared by many Trump friends and associates. In what may come as a shock to some New England Patriots fans, Trump pal and team owner Robert Kraft was busted in a Florida police operation against a dozen massage parlors who kept young immigrant women in sexual servitude.  – Will Collette

A U.S. District judge ruled Thursday that U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta committed a crime in 2007 when, as a U.S. prosecutor at the time, secretly gave a lenient plea deal to a politically-connected billionaire accused of sex trafficking underage girls.

In a case brought by victims of billionaire and Trump associate Jeffrey Epstein, Judge Kenneth Marra found that Acosta and other federal prosecutors violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act by brokering a plea deal with Epstein, allowing him to serve only 13 months in a county jail for his crimes, and then sealing the agreement.

The ruling came nearly three months after the Miami Herald's explosive report on the plea deal, which prompted the Justice Department to begin investigation into the prosecutors' conduct.

Marra's decision led to renewed calls for Acosta—who was appointed by President Donald Trump and who as head of the Labor Department is responsible for combating sex trafficking—to resign.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Sure, let's give Saudi Arabia the means to nuke Israel, Yemen

House Panel Probes Trump Advisers’ Push for Saudi Nuclear Deal
by Isaac Arnsdorf for ProPublica

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The Trump administration has continued pursuing a proposed nuclear power deal with Saudi Arabia despite warnings from ethics lawyers and security experts, according to a congressional oversight committee.

The proposal gained traction in the early days of the administration because of then-national security adviser Michael Flynn and presidential confidant Tom Barrack, who had potential financial stakes in the plan, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform said in initial findings released on Tuesday.

“Further investigation is needed to determine whether the actions being pursued by the Trump Administration are in the national security interest of the United States or, rather, serve those who stand to gain financially as a result of this potential change in U.S. foreign policy,” the oversight committee said in its report last week.


March 7: Celebrate women in education

Enable images to view International Women's Day 2019

Ask Donald

Why bribery works and what changes its effectiveness
Carnegie Mellon University

Image result for trump bribes womenA new study from Carnegie Mellon University suggests that greed, and not the willingness to return the favor, is the main reason people give in to bribery. 

But the research also finds there are times when the almighty buck can be ignored and effects of a bribe can be lessened.

The study indicates that when incentives are dependent on choices, people accept and reward bribes. On the other hand, when bribes are not contingent on delivering a certain outcome, they don't distort judgment nearly as much.

Easier to learn on a full stomach

Children who eat lunch score 18 percent higher in reading tests
ESMT Berlin

eric cartman eating GIF by South Park The powerful connection between nutrition and education has been revealed by new research from ESMT Berlin. Primary school children who attended a public free lunch program over an extended period were shown to have significantly better learning outcomes. 

According to the study, children with up to five years of midday meals had reading test scores that are 18% higher than those of students with less than a year of school lunches. They also showed an improvement of 9% for maths test scores.

What a great idea! Put a prison camp for immigrant children on a toxic waste dump

Proposed Camp at Texas Air Force Base Designed to Hold Up to 7,500
By Sarah Okeson

Image result for prison camp for immigrant childrenThe Trump administration has drawn up plans for another tent city for migrant children in Texas that would hold up to 7,500 children in a camp built on or next to a former dump and not far from Superfund sites.

The 70-acre camp at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo in West Texas would be similar to the infamous camp in the border town of Tornillo that closed in January. 

Gregg Gnipp, a commander in the U.S. Public Health Service, is overseeing this for our nation’s health agency, according to planning documents.

Image result for prison camp for immigrant children
“Public records show the migrant children’s housing site proposed for Goodfellow will be built atop a former landfill, in an area riddled with lead, benzene, and other chemicals particularly hazardous to children,” said Lisa Evans, an attorney for Earthjustice.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Trump has filled the swamp, not drained it

Former Trump Officials Are Supposed to Avoid Lobbying. Except 33 Haven’t.
by Derek Kravitz for ProPublica

Image result for trump fills the swampIt’s been more than two years since President Donald Trump, who rallied campaign supporters with calls to “drain the swamp” of lobbyists and their ilk, took office.

But despite that campaign promise, Washington influence peddlers continue to move into and out of jobs in the federal government.

In his first 10 days in office, Trump signed an executive order that required all his political hires to sign a pledge.

On its face, it’s straightforward and ironclad: When Trump officials leave government employment, they agree not to lobby the agencies they worked in for five years.

They also can’t lobby anyone in the White House or political appointees across federal agencies for the duration of the Trump administration.

And they can’t perform “lobbying activities,” or things that would help other lobbyists, including setting up meetings or providing background research. Violating the pledge exposes former officials to fines and extended or even permanent bans on lobbying.

But loopholes, some of them sizable, abound. At least 33 former Trump officials have found ways around the pledge.

The most prominent is former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who resigned in December after a series of ethics investigations. He announced Wednesday that he is joining a lobbying firm, Turnberry Solutions, which was started in 2017 by several former Trump campaign aides. Asked whether Zinke will register as a lobbyist, Turnberry partner Jason Osborne said, “He will if he has a client that he wants to lobby for.”

Among the 33 former officials, at least 18 have recently registered as lobbyists. The rest work at firms in jobs that closely resemble federal lobbying.