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Wednesday, August 31, 2022

A Tax Credit Was Meant to Help Marginalized Workers Get Permanent Jobs.

Instead It’s Subsidizing Temp Work.

by Emily Corwin for ProPublica

DeMond Bush was living in his friend’s basement in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2017 when he heard about a job that could help him get beyond his past. Since getting out of prison two years earlier, the 43-year-old had cycled through day labor and temp work but hadn’t been able to find anything steady. 

He’d spent more than two decades behind bars for a violent crime that he was charged with as a teenager. During that time, he’d done everything he could to prepare for a better life — earning several associate’s degrees, learning a trade and performing in nine Shakespeare plays. But the world outside didn’t seem to care.

So when the temp agency Express Employment Professionals offered him a “temp-to-hire” position at a warehouse run by Tennant Company, a cleaning products manufacturer, Bush couldn’t help but get his hopes up. Bush said Express wasn’t concerned by his record and told him that if he worked 90 days as a temp, he’d be considered for a job working directly for Tennant with higher wages, plus benefits and sick days.

“I’m thinking, ‘I’m going in and prove myself, work hard, they’ll judge me based off that,’” said Bush, who was born in New Jersey but occasionally slips into a Southern lilt.

His plan seemed to be working: Bush said his managers told him he was doing a good job and he’d likely get hired. That changed on his 90th day on the job, after Tennant ran a background check, Bush said. In an instant, Bush’s months of hard work vanished. When he showed up for work the next day, a company representative escorted him off the property.

“I was feeling like, man, you know, I put this effort into this thing,” Bush said. “And then here it was, something from 27 years ago, it’s still haunting me. It seems like I can’t get past it, no matter how hard I work or what effort I put into it.”

Yet to the federal government, this outcome was worthy of a reward. Bush’s temp work was more than enough to qualify Express for a tax credit worth up to $2,400.

After losing the job, Bush became homeless and was caught in Indiana, having crossed state lines without permission. That was a violation of his parole, and Bush returned to prison.

When Congress passed the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to encourage businesses to hire and retain marginalized workers, lawmakers made it clear that the credit should be used for permanent employment — not dead-end temp jobs like Bush’s.

The end of the story


Meet the CRU candidates for Charlestown municipal office on Friday


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Fellow Residents of Charlestown,


Our CRU-endorsed candidates for Charlestown elected offices will be outside Rippy's Liquor and Marketplace (4158 South County Trail), on Friday, September 2, from 5 pm until 7 pm. 

Please stop by to chat, pose your questions, discuss our platform and their positions on issues, etc. They will be happy to see you! 

Please tell your friends about this event. While an RSVP is not necessary, the Facebook event is here and it can be shared with your friends. 

You can see our list of endorsed candidates here.


With thanks,

Tim Quillen, Chair

Charlestown Residents United



Paid for by

Charlestown Residents United

P.O. Box 412

Charlestown, RI 02813



URI’s Plant Protection Clinic available for plant consultations

Ready resource
Kristen Curry

This summer’s dry conditions are leading many of us to look nervously out the window at our stressed-out shrubs, and perhaps even the plants found inside our home. Rest assured, care and advice from the University of Rhode Island’s Plant Protection Clinic is only a mail drop or email away.

A tidy white building at the bottom of the University’s Kingston Campus, formerly the site of URI’s turf program, is where the plant Rx takes place. Recently renovated, a variety of work takes place under its low roof, from processing vegetables grown on the University’s nearby agronomy farm to classes for local farmers.

Inside, Heather Faubert and Keiddy Urrea-Morawicki are ready to answer your plant questions.

Faubert, who began working at URI in 1981, brings a wealth of experience. Her focus has varied over the years, including working with local apple orchards and potato farmers. Urrea-Morawicki is a plant pathologist who started at the University earlier this year, bringing five years of experience on plant disease diagnostics at the Plant Health Clinic at the University of Arkansas. This fall, they will be joined by new Cooperative Extension agent David Weisberger.

Plant Rx

Faubert was a plant sciences major at URI and fell in love with plant protection when she took a class in that subject. “I really liked looking at the things that attack plants,” she said, “diseases, insects.”

Faubert runs the clinic just as you’d run any kind of a clinic … plant owners reach out to her, she takes samples and diagnoses problems, makes suggestions and offers remedies. Today, much of the diagnosis happens via email; think tele-plant health. The clinic processes about 400 samples a year.

This was at the top of my list, after curing cancer and flying cars

Brown researchers make surprising discoveries about how flies’ brains respond to tastes

Brown University

Taste matters to fruit flies, just as it does to humans: like people, the flies tend to seek out and consume sweet-tasting foods and reject foods that taste bitter. However, little is known about how sweet and bitter tastes are represented by the brain circuits that link sensation to behavior.

In a new study published in Current Biology, researchers at Brown University described how they developed a new imaging technique and used it to map the neural activity of fruit flies in response to sweet and bitter tastes.

“These results show that the way fly brains encode the taste of food is more complex than we had anticipated,” said study author Nathaniel Snell, who earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brown in 2021 and conducted the research as part of his thesis.

Just as significant as the researchers’ findings is the method they used, said Gilad Barnea, a professor of neuroscience at Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School and director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Cells and Circuits at the University’s Carney Institute for Brain Science.

EDITOR'S QUERY: WTF? How does it help advance our society to find out why fruit flies like sweet food and dislike bitter? The name "fruit" fly kinda says it all.  - W.C.

Proposed US data privacy bill aims to give you more control over information collected about you

It should make businesses change how they handle data

Anne Toomey McKennaUniversity of Richmond

The U.S. could soon catch up to the European Union in protecting
people’s data privacy. Teera Konakan/Moment via Getty Images
Data privacy in the U.S. is, in many ways, a legal void. While there are limited protections for health and financial data, the cradle of the world’s largest tech companies, like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Meta (Facebook), lacks any comprehensive federal data privacy law

This leaves U.S. citizens with minimal data privacy protections compared with citizens of other nations. But that may be about to change.

With rare bipartisan support, the American Data and Privacy Protection Act moved out of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce by a vote of 53-2 on July 20, 2022. The bill still needs to pass the full House and the Senate, and negotiations are ongoing. Given the Biden administration’s responsible data practices strategy, White House support is likely if a version of the bill passes.

As a legal scholar and attorney who studies and practices technology and data privacy law, I’ve been closely following the act, known as ADPPA. If passed, it will fundamentally alter U.S. data privacy law.

ADPPA fills the data privacy void, builds in federal preemption over some state data privacy laws, allows individuals to file suit over violations and substantially changes data privacy law enforcement. Like all big changes, ADPPA is getting mixed reviews from media, scholars and businesses. But many see the bill as a triumph for U.S. data privacy that provides a needed national standard for data practices.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Who should RI Democrats pick for Governor in the September 13 Primary?

Five candidates offer wide variety

By Will Collette

With the start of early voting and mail-in ballots, some of you may have already made your choice. But for those of you who haven’t, I’d like to offer my opinion of the field.

The five candidates are accidental incumbent Dan McKee, term-limited Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, left-wing guru Matt Brown and activist Dr. Luis Daniel Munoz.

To be blunt as well as consistent with my past criticisms, I think Dan McKee has been a lousy Governor, a post he got by virtue of Gina Raimondo’s decision to go to Washington to become Joe Biden’s Commerce Secretary.

McKee was a lackluster, almost invisible Lieutenant Governor and only stayed in that office when challenged in 2018 by Aaron Regunberg who actually wanted to make something out of that office. McKee won the primary by only 2,466 votes. In my opinion, he would have lost if more voters actually cared about the office of Lieutenant Governor.

Other high-ranking Rhode Island politicos describe him as “lazy” and “stupid,” not able to focus on more than one issue at a time. It used to be McKee’s sole focus was charter schools. Now it’s “small business” (whatever that means) to the exclusion of all else.

I am especially furious at McKee for his COVID practices. In the name of small business, McKee ended all restrictions and pretty much has tried to make COVID invisible. He closed down state testing and vaccine sites. 

The State Health Department only reports statistics, such as they are, once a week now. (By the way, we remain at a community infection rate that is ten times higher than it was on July 4, 2021 and that only includes cases the state knows about, not those discovered on home test kits).

I blame him for people no longer masking and, frankly, not even paying any attention. Yet, ask yourself: can you remember any time during the pandemic when you’ve had so many friends and family come down with COVID?

McKee is in a statistical dead heat in the polls with his top competitor, term-limited Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. In many ways, Nellie is the opposite of McKee. He is as inspiring as Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup® while she is dynamic and creative.

She has also had eight years to show us an outstanding record as Secretary of State – running efficient, fraud-free elections, handling COVID’s potential to disrupt the 2020 election, expanding her department’s services and fighting hard for every citizen’s right to vote.

Her office is always coming up with innovations. I just ran across a new one where she tracks the early votes as they come in. Using this new RI Voter Turn-out Tracker, as of August 30, 33 Charlestown voters have voted early at Town Hall. No mail-in ballots for Charlestown has turned up yet.

Nellie has my vote without doubt or question.

Behind McKee and Nellie, there are three also-rans.

Helena Foulkes is the only one to break into double digits in the polls, largely based on her ability to use her considerable fortune to buy a lot of advertising. Her downside is that she takes the blame whenever CVS gets negative headlines, such as the recent court award of millions in damages against CVS for its role in pushing opiate drugs and contributing to our national overdose epidemic.

I saw her when she met with the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee and found her to be a knowledgeable and likeable person. I don’t see her as Governor, but I do hope she stays in Rhode Island politics. Her main hope of winning lies in Nellie and McKee attacking each other so badly that voters turn to her instead.

Behind her is the enigmatic Matt Brown, leader of the Rhode Island Political Coop. I think of Brown as an anti-Democrat, as his driving motivation seems to be the belief that Rhode Island’s entire political structure is corrupt and needs to be torn down completely and replaced by him and his followers.

Brown harbors a deep-seated grudge against the state Democratic Party. After serving as Secretary of State from 2003 to 2007, Brown declared for US Senate in 2006 seeking to unseat then Senator Lincoln Chafee.

That campaign ended on accusations that Brown engaged in a practice called “donation swapping” to evade campaign donation limits. In this case, Brown received large donations from state Democratic Parties as far away as Hawaii while Brown’s own high-roller donors sent equivalent donations to those out of state parties. He was exonerated by the FEC in 2007.

Brown left Rhode Island to run an anti-nuclear non-profit in Washington, only to return 12 years later to run against Gina Raimondo in 2018. That was an ugly campaign, as Raimondo reminded voters Brown was accused of political money-laundering. Brown called Raimondo’s charge “defamatory,” citing the FEC findings, but the damage was done.

While I take no joy in grudge matches and find that Matt Brown offers little else in his run for Governor, I do acknowledge his creation, the RI Political Coop, and the boost it has given to progressives running for local and General Assembly seats.

We have three local Coop candidates: Charlestown’s Jennifer Douglas who I hope will be successful at defeating ultra-rightwing Sen. Elaine Morgan; Megan Cotter of Exeter who hopes to defeat insurrectionist state Rep. Justin Price and Michael Niemeyer of Westerly who is one of three Democrats on the September 13 Primary ballot seeking to replace retired state Sen. Dennis Algiere.

The last of the five Democratic Primary candidates for Governor is Dr. Luis Daniel Munoz. This is his second run for Governor, having run as an independent in 2018. He received only 6,223 votes.

I heard him speak at the state Democratic Convention and, despite the severe limits on speaking time, I thought he was quite impressive. Nonetheless, he is polling last.

Like a number of other good people running for state offices they have no chance to win, I just wish he would try to build some experience in local office. He’d make a great state senator or representative or city council member.

Final note

No matter which candidate emerges as the Democratic choice for Governor, they will be far better than the nightmare represented by the GOP choice, Ashley Kalus. 

Up until recently, Kalus' only connection to Rhode Island was to run a COVID testing company based in Westerly. The state decided to terminate her contract. That led to an altercation on January 16 at the job site that required the intervention of Westerly Police.

Days later, Kalus registered to vote in Rhode Island for the first time and then declared her intent to run for Governor in March. Does anyone smell pay-back?

She and her doctor husband bought a house in Newport in May 2021. As of last March, she was still registered to vote in Monroe County, Florida - while declaring her candidacy for Rhode Island Governor!

Her Florida history is interesting in itself. According to tax records, she and her husband own a condo in the Florida Keys (where she had been registered to vote) but paid ZERO taxes based on what appears to be a homestead exemption EVEN THOUGH her billing address is listed on the tax bill as 151 Belle Ave., Highland Park, IL 60035-2503. The property ownership is listed as WEINZWEIG JEFFREY / ASHLEY.

I wonder if she was ALSO registered to vote in Illinois where she worked as "director of public engagement for Illinois' former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner" failed 2018 campaign.

She is a true Trumplican. In an interview with WPRI's Ted Nesi, when asked which living political leader she admired most, she picked fascist Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. OMG!

He can't possibly be guilty

For more cartoons by Ruben Bolling, CLICK HERE.


Summer reading

By Ann Telnaes


Elaine Morgan worst in Senate. Justin Price tied for 4th worse in the House

Environmental Council of Rhode Island issues biennial legislative scorecard.

By Will Collette

Morgan and Filippi photo op shows where they stand on the environment
Environmental Council of Rhode Island (ECRI) released its much anticipated scorecard raking each legislator in the RI General Assembly on their environmental record.

You can read the full report to understand ECRI's ranking criteria. They used a broad range of energy and environmental legislation and ranked legislators based on only on their votes, but whether they sponsored or co-sponsored legislation. 

For example, Sen. Sue Sosnowski of South Kingstown received several credits in the report for her frequent leadership on environmental legislation. Others singled out for praise were Rep. Deb Ruggiero who is running in the September 13 Democratic primary for Lieutenant General, and Reps. Teresa Tanzi and Carol Hagan McEntee, and Sens. Bridget Valverde and Alana DiMario, all of South Kingstown.

By contrast, Charlestown's General Assembly delegation were among the very worst. Sen. Elaine Morgan ranked LAST in 37th place. Retiring Sen. Dennis Algiere eked out a 31st place finish in his final year in the state Senate. 

Rep. Blake "Flip" Filippi, who is also retiring, came in near the very bottom in the House rankings, just one slot above the embarrassing right-wing nut Rep. Justin Price (R-Richmond) who tied for 4th from the bottom. 

The Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) continually points to the recent Community Survey done in the town and the top ranking given to the environment by respondents. Yet Charlestown has been represented in the General Assembly for the past eight years by perhaps the worst bunch of anti-environmental senators and representatives of any town in the state.

Throughout those eight years, the CCA has supported them all! And admit it: you only trot out cherry-picked parts of the survey when it supports your agenda of making irresponsible bad land deals.

Here are the complete ECRI rankings tables:

Some samples of where food is going… or gone.

A foodie tastes climate change

Peter Dykstra 

Our lobsters are moving north
Pity the poor climate reporter. Tasked to write about the costly future and gloomy topic of climate change, we often turn to food to try to relieve our misery. But in our case, that means writing about it, not eating it.

This past week, I distinctly heard the sound of a butter knife clinking against the bottom of a four-ounce jar.

Dijon mustard had joined the list of edible climate victims.

NPR sent its veteran Paris correspondent Eleanor Beardsley to the Bordeaux region. Not to report on the threat to Bordeaux wine, mind you, but on the region’s Dijon mustard. It turns out that genuine Dijon requires mustard seeds from Canada, and last year’s brutal, record-setting “heat dome” ruined the hot mustard crop.

And there’s more concern at the other end of the condiment aisle.

Olive output has suffered in recent years as more frequent winter waves of warm and chilly Mediterranean weather impact the trees’ flowering and fruiting. And as olives go, so goes olive oil.

And with our olive oil, so goes tomato sauce for pizza and pasta. About thirty percent of the world’s canned tomato crop comes from California’s Central Valley, where near-catastrophic drought threatens not a bad year, but a bad forever in one of the world’s key food-producing zones.

So, if Marie Antoinette were around to witness this, would she offer a tomato sauce workaround? Maybe, “Let them eat white clam sauce?”

Well... even for those of us who can stand white clam sauce, clams and other mollusks are vulnerable to the oceans’ rising levels of acidification.

And then there’s the wheat flour that’s turned into traditional pasta. Breadbaskets like Ukraine and the U.S. heartland are increasingly subject to drought, and nutritionists predict that rising CO2 levels could rob wheat, rice and other grains of nutrients.

As early as 2011, a study predicted problems for all manner of fruits and nuts grown throughout the world’s temperate regions. Pistachios, walnuts, cherries and peaches are among the crops that need warm summers and chilly, but not frigid winters to prosper. Warming winter temps may be a problem from Israel to Georgia.

So let’s take a break

Enough about our food for now. Let’s have a drink to relax. Are you a wine person? Well, get some Bordeaux while you can. It’s expected that the world’s prime grape-growing regions may shift with the climate.

Beer? Subtle changes in hops, barley –the yeast that turns sugar into alcohol– and other brewing essentials may not kill your favorite microbrew, but we have no idea how it will taste.

And if you prefer to inhale your escape, the folks at have some news for you. The publication, which seems to regard itself as the Wall Street Journal of weed, projects marijuana growers as following the vineyards’ paths on the where cannabis will struggle, and the new places where it could thrive.

The 800-pound steer in the room

Blake Filippi has been shrieking about the threat to his cows
 - cows he raises for slaughter - by climate activists
Of course, our current diet is a big factor in the climate crisis. Beef, pork and chicken, all raised factory-farming style, greatly contribute to methane release and other air-pollution issues. In regions where cattle are still raised on pasture, they are to blame for the clearing of tropical rainforests, like the Amazon, wiping out one of the world's great carbon sinks.

I could lose five pounds just writing down why I’m a climate-writing, meat-eating, climate-destroying hypocrite.

Prefer seafood? Sensitive to water temperatures, forage fish like sardines and anchovies are de-camping for warmer waters. On the North American East Coast, lobsters are deserting the southern New England coast for the cooler waters of Maine. But lobstermen worry that the crustaceans are merely biding their time to dodge the thermal draft and eventually will head to Canadian waters.

For their part, North Carolina fishermen, rigged and experienced to capture summer flounder, have to chase their target hundreds of miles up the coast to New Jersey.

So some of our food is leaving us. Other food is running and hiding.

Thanks, climate change!

Peter Dykstra is our weekend editor and columnist and can be reached at or @pdykstra.

Search warrant affidavit reveals how Trump may have compromised national security

Five key questions about the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago

Clark D. CunninghamGeorgia State University

The Justice Department on Aug. 26, 2022, released an affidavit written by an FBI special agent that was used to obtain a court order for the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate for documents related to national defense and other government records.

Large portions of the affidavit were blocked from public view, leaving many questions about details of the investigation. Nonetheless, what is visible shows the FBI had solid evidence that Trump took documents critical to national security to his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Florida federal Judge Bruce Reinhart had ordered on Aug. 22, 2022, that the affidavit – which typically contains key details about an investigation to justify a search warrant – be made public following a lawsuit from media organizations and other groups. But Reinhart also said in his order that he would allow the Justice Department to first redact some of the affidavit’s most critical information, like “the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents, and uncharged parties … the investigation’s strategy, direction, scope, sources, and methods, and … grand jury information.”

It’s the latest development in the legal conflict over government documents, including national security material, that Trump has kept in violation of the law, according to the affidavit. The document shows that there is what the law calls “probable cause” to believe that Trump committed various crimes, including violation of the Espionage Act.

We asked Georgia State University legal scholar and search warrant expert Clark Cunningham to answer five key questions to help explain this new development.

1. What is a search warrant affidavit?

Let’s start with a search warrant, which is a court order authorizing government agents to enter property without an owner’s permission to search for evidence of a crime. The warrant further authorizes agents to seize and take away such evidence if they find it.

In order to get a search warrant, the government must provide the court one or more statements made under oath that explain why the government believes a crime has been committed, establishing that there is sufficient justification for issuing the warrant. If the statement is written, it is called an affidavit. This is why the first sentence of the unsealed affidavit has the words “being duly sworn” following the blacked-out name of the agent making the statement.

Monday, August 29, 2022

How to Stop the GOP From Killing Medicare, Social Security, and Us

The Republican Party is quite literally taking aim at the lives of low-income and working-class people of this country.


It’s The Ronald Reagan Memorial Competition: which Republican can make the rich richer and the poor poorer the fastest?

This week, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin wants to one-up Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida in this perpetual GOP contest over who can most effectively screw working people.

Johnson wants Congress to vote every year whether or not to continue funding both Social Security and Medicare, while Scott says it should only be every five years.

On top of that, in a true tribute to Saint Ronny, they’re competing for how to most aggressively raise income taxes on working-class people, and how quickly.

(You may remember Rick Scott as the guy who ran the company convicted of the largest Medicare fraud in the history of America, who then took his money and ran for Governor of Florida, where he prevented the state from expanding Medicaid for low-income Floridians.)

Scott is the second-richest guy in the Senate and, true to form, he’s now echoing the sentiments of the richest guy in the Senate, Mitt Romney.

“There are 47 percent who are with him,” Romney said of Obama voters back in 2012, “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. These are people who pay no income tax.”

Most low-income working people in America actually pay a higher percentage of their income as taxes than do many billionaires and multi-multi-millionaires. 

Working people pay Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and other taxes in the form of fees for everything from a driver’s license to road tolls to annual car inspections.

Billionaires, on the other hand, have bought politicians to write so many loopholes into the tax code that most — like Donald Trump — will go decades without paying a single penny in income taxes.

Go figure

By Bill Bramhall


Trump 2024


‘Just Good Food’ is topic of URI’s fall Honors Colloquium

Speakers to address equitable, sustainable and resilient food systems

Just the mention of the word food can bring to mind varying images for Americans: a big dinner with family; a low-key night at home with pizza; children and families across the globe facing starvation; the behemoths of agribusiness; and the increasing interest and participation in local, sustainable farming and food production.

Despite these different perceptions and experiences, scholars at the University of Rhode Island and elsewhere say we all share one thing: we are increasingly disconnected from the food system, except as consumers. The coordinators of the University of Rhode Island’s fall 2022 Honors Colloquium, “Just Good Food: Creating Equitable, Sustainable, and Resilient Food Systems,” hope to change that lack of understanding and awareness. Additional details and information about other events can be found at

The University’s premier, free public lecture series will bring 10 experts to the Kingston Campus to examine numerous aspects of the local and global food systems on Tuesday evenings at 7 in Edwards Hall. The series starts Sept. 13 and ends Dec. 13. 

Winona LaDuke, a Native American activist, economist,
and author, starts the series Sept. 13
The colloquium will also be available online. In addition to the lectures, the art department will present an exhibit related to the themes of the colloquium titled “Some Food We Could Not Eat,” featuring the works of Kamari Carter, Jennie Maydew and Zoe Scruggs and the Rhode Island Food Policy Council will have a photo contest that will serve to illustrate the different elements of the Rhode Island food system.

Colloquium coordinators John Taylor, professor of plant sciences and specialist in agrobiology, and Marta Gomez-Chiarri, professor of fisheries and specialist in aquaculture, say in their proposal for the colloquium that in 1900, 40% of the U.S. population lived on farms, and 41% of the population was engaged in agricultural production. Today, roughly 80 percent of Americans live in cities, and less than 2% of the labor force works in agriculture.

Citing a 2017 survey of Americans older than 18, 48 percent of respondents reported seldom or never seeking out information about where or how their food was grown or produced.

Spraying for Mosquitoes

What They Don't Tell You?

By Regina DeAngelo

Image: Earthwatch Institute at
Permethrin, the insecticide used by "pest control" sprayers, kills a lot more than mosquitoes. 

It also kills beneficial insects like bees and other pollinating flies. It poisons fish, toads, frogs, and other water animals.  

Permethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide. It was formulated to mimic a natural insecticide, pyrethrum, which is found in chrysanthemums. Permethrin is neither “organic” nor “natural.”

Most importantly, permethrin is highly toxic to bees and other beneficial insects. Our food supply depends on the work of these insects. "One of every three bites of food eaten worldwide depends on pollinators, especially bees.” (1) 

Bees are dying in alarming numbers. "Pollinator decline is a massive concern because of its impacts on food production, human health, and ecosystem functioning, including the capacity of plants to provide essential services such as carbon sequestration.”  (2) 

“A. mellifera pollinators are declining as a result of habitat loss, habitat degradation and other factors including pesticides, pathogens, parasites and climate change.” (3) 

Instead of poisoning our ecological systems, try using common sense, as recommended by Rhode Island DEM (copied from their website): 

- Clean your gutters and downspouts so that they can drain properly.

- Remove any water from unused swimming pools, wading pools, boats, planters, trash and recycling bins, tires, and anything else that collects water, and cover them.

- Remove or treat any shallow water that can accumulate on top of a pool cover. Larvicide treatments such as Mosquito Dunks can be applied to kill immature mosquitoes. This environmentally-friendly product is available at many hardware and garden stores and online.

- Change the water in birdbaths at least two times a week and rinse out birdbaths once a week. 

Quoted Sources:


(2) EarthWatch Institute

(3) The worldwide importance of honey bees as pollinators in natural habitats.

Other Sources:

Toynton, K.; Luukinen, B.; Buhl, K.; Stone, D. 2009. Permethirn General Fact Sheet; National Pesticide Information Center, Oregon State University Extension Services.

“Permethrin Facts,” U.S. EPA, August 2016.

Consumer Reports at

Most People Infected With COVID-19 Omicron Variant Didn’t Know It

This is one reason for omicron's wild spread


All the more reason to continue masking
The majority of people who were likely infected with the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, didn’t know they had the virus. This is according to a new study from Cedars-Sinai investigators. The findings were published on August 17, 2022, in JAMA Network Open.

“More than one in every two people who were infected with Omicron didn’t know they had it,” said Susan Cheng, MD, MPH. Cheng is director of the Institute for Research on Healthy Aging in the Department of Cardiology at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai and corresponding author of the study. “Awareness will be key for allowing us to move beyond this pandemic.”

Previous studies have estimated that at least 25% and possibly as many as 80% of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 may not experience any symptoms. Compared to other SARS-CoV-2 variants, the Omicron variant is associated with generally less severe symptoms that may include fatigue, headache, cough, sore throat, or a runny nose.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Big decision for US House District 2

Who’s the best Democratic candidate to hold on to it?

By Will Collette

It’s only two weeks until Rhode Island’s party primary on September 13. For those of us voting by mail or taking advantage of early voting at Town Hall, we can make our choices before then.

For Charlestown Democrats, we have a hot race for the Senate District 38 seat being vacated by Sen. Dennis Algiere. Statewide, there is hot competition in the Democratic primary races for Governor, Lieutenant Governor and General Treasurer.

But from a local, statewide and national perspective, the most vital primary of all is for the Democrat who will run for retiring Representative Jim Langevin’s seat in Congress. The winner of the September 13 primary will face Trumplican Alan Fung, former mayor of Cranston in the General Election on November 8.

In the battle for control of Congress, Democrats MUST hold on to this seat in the epic battle to stop fascism from advancing in America. I’m not exaggerating – that’s what is at stake.

Six Democrats have qualified for the September 13 primary ballot, although South Kingstown’s former state rep Spencer Dickinson has suspended his campaign and political comeback attempt reportedly due to poor health.

The five active candidates are (in the order they appear on the ballot): term-limited General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, David Segal, Omar Bah, gazillionaire carpetbagger Sarah Morgenthau and former Langevin aide Joy Fox.

All five have very similar positions on all the big issues so I think the way to decide who deserves your vote depends on (a) their record and experience, (2) the likelihood they can do the job well and (3) their ability to beat Alan Fung in November to keep Congressional District 2 blue.

My choice is Seth Magaziner. While you can read his campaign bio just about everywhere or read GoLocal’s trash talk against him, I urge you join me in voting for Seth for a lot of good reasons.

For the past eight years, Seth has done a terrific job as General Treasurer. He’s balanced the books, changed our investment strategy away from Gina Raimondo’s hedge funds to more solid, dependable ones, including local banking institutions, and boosted the office’s projects like returning lost money to their rightful owners and compensating crime victims. His innovations include the major school construction and rehab initiative and the Green Bank to finance environmental initiatives.

Seth is smart and creative, a genuinely nice guy and he can win. He’s won handily in District 2 twice now running as Treasurer, while Alan Fung has lost in District 2 twice in his two failed attempts to become Governor.

If we had “ranked voting” in Rhode Island (we don’t), I would pick Joy Fox as my second choice, just edging out my third choice David Segal. Joy is a Rhode Island native and certainly knows the job, having worked as aide to Rep. Langevin. She too is smart and personable and I hope to see her in Rhode Island politics in the years to come. The same holds for progressive David Segal.

Then there’s Omar Bah, described in the Providence Journal as an African refugee with a compelling personal story.”

While he certainly does have a “compelling personal story,” unfortunately that seems to be the only actual concrete information we have about him. I went through his campaign website to try to understand his campaign points. What I found were very general progressive talking points (pro-choice, pro-Green New Deal, etc.) but nothing specific.

I respect his history and commend his courage but really don’t understand why he decided to run for Congress as his first time ever attempt at electoral politics.

To me, the most controversial candidate is Sarah Morgenthau. She’s deliberately running as a Washington insider perhaps because she’s not much of a Rhode Islander having only just moved here. She was called out for collecting a homestead tax credit on her DC residence. Hint to Charlestown: Isn’t it time WE had a homestead tax credit too?

She’s a blue-blood establishment aristocrat. Her grandfather served as Franklin Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary. Her great-granddad was Woodrow Wilson’s Ambassador to Turkey. She had several political appointments under President Obama, did work for Gina Raimondo and fund-raising for Joe Biden.

She says that because of all her DC connections, she will be instantly ready to call on all her friends to help her deliver for Rhode Island. Plus, she’s a woman.

But looking through her resume, you won’t find much experience with Congress – which is the job she’s actually seeking. I can tell you from 25 years of working in Washington myself that Congress is a very different animal than the Executive Branch.

She may be able to get the Prime Minister of Great Britain to answer her phone call but that doesn’t mean she can provide quality constituent services to the people of the Second District. We’ve been spoiled by Jim Langevin who excelled at constituent service. And her grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s blue blood friends won’t be much help in getting legislation passed in a sharply divided Congress.

I don’t understand why she’s running except maybe to tick another box on her list of lifetime achievements. Maybe she’s just anxious to move back to DC.

Into the MAGAverse

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Answer below

Answer: A, E and I are legal under the Respect the Flag Act. All the others are violations.