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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Washington Trust scandal leads minority legislators to seek legislative remedies

RI Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian-American and Pacific Islander Caucus will explore potential legislation to better prevent redlining

The Rhode Island Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian-American and Pacific Islander Caucus (RIBLIA) will explore whether state-level legislative fixes could prevent redlining. 

Their announcement comes after learning about the recent Washington Trust bank settlement with the Department of Justice over accusations of “redlining” minority neighborhoods in Rhode Island.

The caucus is chaired by Sen. Jonathon Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) and Rep. Leonela Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket).

“The allegations that caused this settlement are deeply concerning to Rhode Island’s minority populations and, whether intentional or not, the practice of restricting and hampering standard banking services in Rhode Island’s Black and Brown communities needs to end. 

"We are grateful for the hard work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their investigation. Speaking generally, we fear allegations such as these may be an early warning sign of how the banking sector across our state treats communities of color. 

"The RIBLIA Caucus will explore if potential legislative action on the state level could help prevent redlining and better ensure that the state’s minority residents are not discriminated against. All of our state’s residents deserve the same access to credit and banking services in order to achieve the American Dream,” said the caucus.

The RIBLIA Caucus represents and advocates for the interests of disadvantaged people throughout the State of Rhode Island. It seeks to increase a diverse participation and representation in all levels of government. 

The goal is to close, and ultimately to eliminate, disparities that still exist between white and non-white Americans in every aspect of life.

Thank you for your service, General Milley


So sad

Communing with plants

Take a break from your screen and look at plants

Jacob S. SuissaUniversity of Tennessee and Ben Goulet-ScottHarvard University

You may be surprised by what’s growing on a familiar trail. 
Benjamin Goulet-ScottCC BY-ND
When you hear about the abundance of life on Earth, what do you picture? For many people, it’s animals – but awareness of plant diversity is growing rapidly.

Our planet has nearly 300,000 species of flowering plants. Among animals, only beetles can compete with that number. There are more species of ferns than birds, more mints than mammals, and more beans than butterflies. Measured in total mass, plants make up 82% of all life on land across the globe.

We are plant scientists and co-founders of Let’s Botanize, an educational nonprofit that uses plant life to teach about ecology, evolution and biodiversity. In the past several years we have witnessed a botanical boom, with participation in plant-based hobbies surging. From cultivating houseplants to foraging for wild foods and outdoor gardening, plant appreciation is on the rise.

Botanizing is spending time alongside plants in order to observe and appreciate them as living organisms – like birding, but with subjects that stay in place. 

When you botanize, a simple walk in the woods becomes an immersive experience shared with many species. Getting to know your nonhuman neighbors is a way to engage with a changing planet.

Burgers and fries with a side of PFAS

Nothing's sacred

EHN Staff

OK, let’s start with the bad news: a new report from Mamavation found evidence of PFAS chemicals in food packaging including a McDonald’s filet-o-fish carton, a Starbucks’ sandwich wrapper and a KFC bucket of fried chicken.

That’s not good. But many of these fast-food and fast-casual restaurants have announced plans to ban the “forever chemicals” and for some — Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Sweetgreen and others — it seems to be working. 

In total 35% of 81 pieces of fast-food packaging showed detectable levels of organic fluorine, an indicator of the group of chemicals known as PFAS, according to a new report from Mamavation.

What rights are in jeopardy in the new Supreme Court term?

Supreme Court supermajority will clarify its constitutional revolution this year, deciding cases on guns and regulations

Morgan Marietta, University of Texas at Arlington

Guns lying on glass display shelves.
Semi-automatic firearms are seen displayed on shelves in
a gun store in Austin, Texas.
 Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images
The first Monday in October, the traditional date for the beginning of the U.S. Supreme Court’s term, is almost here: On Oct. 2, 2023, the court will meet after the summer recess, with the biggest case of the term focused on the limits of individual gun rights.

The other core issue for the coming year is a broad reassessment of the power of the administrative state.

Both issues reflect a court that has announced revolutionary changes in doctrine and must now grapple with how far the new principles will reach.

Two years ago, the court began what many consider to be a constitutional revolution.

The new supermajority of six conservative justices rapidly introduced new doctrines across a range of controversies including abortion, guns, religion and race.

When the court announces a new principle – for example, a limit on the powers of a specific part of government – citizens and lawyers are not sure of the full ramifications of the new rule. How far will it go? What other areas of law will come under the same umbrella?

In a revolutionary period, aggressive litigants will push the boundaries of the new doctrine, attempting to stretch it to their advantage. After a period of uncertainty, a case that defines the limits on the new rule is likely to emerge.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Boss Trump threatens autoworkers to endorse him or die

Trump to UAW: Endorse me or you won’t have a union

By Andrew Roth, Rhode Island Current

Former President Donald Trump told United Auto Workers (UAW) leaders Wednesday that they would not have a union if they fail to endorse him in the 2024 presidential election.

“They have to endorse Trump, because if they don’t, all they’re doing is committing suicide,” Trump said.

UAW President Shawn Fain criticized Trump’s Wednesday night visit to Drake Enterprises, a non-union automotive parts manufacturer in Clinton Township, which the former president scheduled to counterprogram the second 2024 Republican presidential debate.

Only the important issues

For more cartoons from Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE


Renowned New Zealand PM will speak at Brown on October 5

Former NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to speak at Brown about global leadership

In an Odgen Memorial Lecture on Oct. 5, Ardern will share insights from her six years as prime minister, her commitment to women’s empowerment and her passionate advocacy for climate action.

Jacinda Ardern, who served as prime minister of New Zealand from 2017 to 2023, will visit Brown University on Thursday, Oct. 5, to deliver the 102nd Stephen A. Ogden Jr. ’60 Memorial Lecture on International Affairs.

In a presentation titled “Global Leadership in the 21st Century,” Ardern will share insights from her career in public service.

In 2017, Ardern became prime minister of New Zealand at just 37 years of age. 

During her time in office, she faced the challenges of a live-streamed domestic terror attack against the nation’s Muslim community, a volcanic eruption and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ardern’s focus on people, kindness and what she has called “pragmatic idealism” saw New Zealand achieve some of the lowest losses of life experienced by any developed nation through the pandemic, the ban of military style semi-automatic weapons, and creation of the Christchurch Call to Action to eliminate violent extremism online, with which Ardern continues to hold the role of special envoy. 

Ardern is a champion of women’s empowerment. While in office, New Zealand reached 50% representation of women in parliament and on government-appointed boards. 

She decriminalized abortion, improved pay equity laws and extended paid parental leave to six months — all while being only the second woman in the world to have a baby while leading her country. 

She is a passionate advocate on climate action and is a board member of The Earthshot Prize, which focuses on solutions to climate change and environmental issues. 

Deal on Point Judith aquaculture?

Decision on disputed Point Judith Pond oyster farm project postponed

By Nancy Lavin, Rhode Island Current

Coastal regulators postponed a decision Tuesday on a disputed Point Judith Pond oyster farm.

Instead, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council opted to push a public hearing and decision two its Oct. 24 after the applicant and opposing neighbors put forth an eleventh-hour compromise agreement.

The agreement, outlined in a two-page letter obtained by Rhode Island Current, would end the opposition by area residents to a proposed half-acre oyster and quahog farm in the pond by adding half a dozen conditions to the project. 

The project proposed by South Kingstown resident Andrew Van Hemelrijck initially drew outcry from nearly two dozen property owners along Narraganett’s Mollusk Drive who claimed the farm would interfere with their ability to boat, fish and otherwise enjoy the pond.

Researchers Discover Surprising Side Effect of Common Diabetes Drug

Metformin can help with healing


Diabetes might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering muscle function. However, a widely used diabetes drug that controls blood sugar can also prevent muscle atrophy and muscular fibrosis—which can help the elderly bounce back faster from injury or illness.

Researchers from the University of Utah Health have found that Metformin, a common drug that’s been used in diabetes treatment for more than half a century, has surprising applications on a cellular level. 

It can target “zombie-like cells,” called senescent cells, which impact muscle function. Senescent cells secrete factors associated with inflammation that may underlie fibrotic tissue, a hardening or scarring of tissues.

Metformin also reduces muscle atrophy. Their findings were published in the journal Aging Cell.

Is this the next U.S. Drug Crisis?

‘Poor Man’s Cocaine’ and a funding source for terrorism

By Jim Crotty

The opioid crisis continues to rage across the U.S., but there are some positive, if modest, signs that it may be slowing. 

Overdose deaths due to opioids are flattening in many places and dropping in others, awareness of the dangers of opioid abuse continues to increase, and more than $50 billion in opioid settlement funds are finally making their way to state and local governments after years of delay. 

There is still much work to be done, but all public health emergencies eventually subside. Then what?

First, it’s important to realize that synthetic opioids like fentanyl will never fully disappear from the drug supply. They are too potent, too addictive, and perhaps most importantly, too lucrative. Opioids, like Covid-19, are here to stay, consistently circulating in the community but at more manageable levels.

More alarming is what may take its place. Since 2010, overdoses involving both stimulants and fentanyl have increased 50-fold. Experts suggest this dramatic rise in polysubstance use represents a “fourth wave” in the opioid crisis, but what if it is really the start of a new wave of an emerging stimulant crisis?

Substance abuse tends to move in cycles. Periods with high rates of depressant drug use (like opioids) are almost always followed by ones with high rates of stimulant drug use (like methamphetamine and cocaine), and vice versa. 

The heroin crisis of the 1960s and 1970s was followed by the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s, which gave way to the current opioid epidemic. As the think tank scholar Charles Fain Lehman quipped, “As with fashion, so with drugs — whatever the last generation did, the next generation tends to abhor.” 

The difference now is the primacy of synthetic drugs — that is, illicit substances created in a lab that are designed to mimic the effects of naturally occurring drugs.

Today, anyone with a few thousand dollars and internet access can find instructions to build their own little drug empire. Look no further than "Breaking Bad," the hit television series in which a high school chemistry teacher starts cooking high-quality methamphetamine out of an RV to help provide for his family. "Breaking Bad" is of course a work of fiction, but in the age of synthetic drugs, the plotline is not that far-fetched.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Judge Gives Trump Organization the Corporate Death Penalty

Ultimate punishment for corporate crime, besides jail for execs


That's how they usually do it

By Bill Bramhall

Says Joe Biden is "unfit" but there he is, all "6'3" and 215 pounds"


Washington Trust cops a plea in race discrimination case

Bank to pay $9 million in redlining settlement

By Christopher Shea, Rhode Island Current

The nation’s oldest community bank will pay over $9 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging it discriminated against Black and Hispanic borrowers in Rhode Island, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) announced Wednesday.

Washington Trust was accused of redlining, the name for the practice of avoiding providing credit services to people because of their race, color or national origin. The federal government outlawed redlining with the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

Wednesday’s settlement marks the ninth such agreement under the DOJ’s Combating Redlining Initiative, launched in 2021.

“Everyone who pursues the American Dream has the right to expect to be treated equally and with dignity, regardless of their race, their background, or ZIP code,” U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha said in a statement. “When communities are denied access to fair lending, families are denied the opportunity to build stability and financial success.”

From 2016 to 2021, investigators claim Washington Trust bank “failed to provide mortgage lending services to majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods.” Officials at the DOJ said despite expanding across the state, it never opened a branch in a community of color.

Even in cases where Washington Trust generated loan applications from majority-Black and Hispanic areas, the DOJ said “applicants themselves were disproportionately white.”   

The Westerly-based bank has 25 branches across 18 municipalities in Rhode Island including Block Island Cumberland, Cranston, and Warwick. There are two locations in Providence: one downtown and one on the East Side along Waterman Street.



DEM Stocking 25 Waterways with Brook and Rainbow Trout for the Columbus Day Holiday Weekend

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is conducting fall trout stocking, in advance of the Columbus Day holiday weekend in selected areas in Rhode Island beginning Thursday, Sept. 28, and continuing through Friday, Oct. 6. 

Cyanobacteria alerts may also prevent stocking in some ponds and lakes.

The following areas will be stocked from Thursday, Sept. 28 through Friday, Oct. 6, 2023, with Rainbow and Brook trout:

I'd like to see scofflaws do litter pick-up under armed guard

Think before you toss, Council passes ordinance on littering

From Charlestown Residents United 

Joy Kimbrough | The Daily Times
At the Sept. 11 Town Council meeting, the body voted to approve an ordinance and increase fines, even more than the statewide cost of $85 per first offense to $125 for a first-time offender. That’s right, willfully throwing, dropping, depositing, disposing, or discarding of litter, garbage, or refuse, will take a bigger bite out of your wallet.

The bill came about as part of the Ordinance Review Ad Hoc Committee, and Lt. Kevin Kidd brought up the fact the town had no specific ordinance dealing with littering. He let the Council know that the language mirrored the state legislation.

 From there the public had their chance to comment and ask questions, and everyone was genuinely concerned about several issues. However, the conversation quickly devolved quite literally to dog poop. How to define it. Is it a crime if it happens in the woods? Should it be included in this ordinance or as a stand-alone ordinance? Finally, stuff got figured out.

There was some question about increasing the amount of the penalty to make it more prohibitive, something pointed out by CCA adherent, Ruth Platner, which seems disingenuous since that group was in power for a decade and never sought to write any ordinance concerning littering. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

If You Need Something to Blame for UAW Strike, Try Wall Street Greed

Workers have done their share

LES LEOPOLD in the Los Angeles Times

The United Auto Workers are striking against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis — the Big Three — to make up for lost ground. Since 2003 the average hourly wages of UAW production workers have declined by 30%, adjusting for inflation. 

A large portion of those losses came when the autoworkers were compelled to help bail out GM in 2008 as it went bankrupt.

The worker concessions included a decade-long wage freeze for those hired before 2007, lower pay and benefits for new hires including the elimination of defined pensions, and the shift of the healthcare benefit fund from the company to the union. 

The concessions also permitted the use of lower-paid temp workers who could earn $18 an hour working alongside a longtime employee earning $32 per hour while doing the same tasks.

The union wants to end these concessions while also gaining a 40% wage increase over the next four years to match the 40% compensation increases received by Big Three chief executives over the last four years. The UAW has said that if contract negotiations don’t advance by Friday, it will expand the strike beyond the three plants currently targeted.

The federal government’s $80-billion bailout and worker concessions saved GM. Many who supported the bailout expected the company, when it returned to profitability, to invest heavily in electric vehicle research, development and production: The taxpayers saved GM, so now GM should help ameliorate global warming that harms us all.

But Wall Street had other ideas. In 2015, it swooped in to capture these newly minted profits by pressuring GM management to conduct a stock buyback of $8 billion

The real conspiracy

For more cartoons by Jen Sorenson, CLICK HERE

Sound and fury

A cartoon by Jeff Danziger


Night Owls Beware

Staying Up Late Tied to Increased Diabetes Risk


Investigators found evening ‘chronotype,’ or going to bed late and waking up late, was associated with a 19 percent increased risk of diabetes after accounting for lifestyle factors.

A new study has an important message for people who consider themselves night owls. Investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system, found that people with later sleep and wake times had less healthy lifestyles and were at greater risk of developing diabetes than those with early-bird sleep habits. Their results were published on September 12 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Look for safer cleaning products

Use of “green” cleaning products may improve indoor air quality, study says


Consumers can slash their exposure to certain types of indoor air pollution by using “green” labeled cleaning products, according to new research. 

In a study published this month in the journal Chemosphere, researchers said they detected nearly 200 hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs), present in common household cleaning products — some at levels that could pose a risk to human health. 

Products that were labeled “green” or “fragrance-free” were less likely to contain VOCs, they found. The researchers detected over 500 VOCs total.

Many VOCs have both immediate health impacts, such as eye or throat irritation, and long-term impacts, such as nervous system damage or cancer. 

Rhode Island companies being bought up by private equity

After Housing, Private Equity Targeting Home Services

By Uprise RI Staff

This company has been buying up a slew of
Rhode Island businesses
Over the past two years, private equity firms rapidly bought up homes and residential real estate at an alarming rate. By acquiring a huge share of limited housing inventory, these corporations artificially constrained supply and drove up rents and home prices. Low and middle-income residents got priced out of their neighborhoods, all to enrich distant corporate landlords.

Now, private equity has set its sights on local service businesses as the next target for extraction. These “roll-up” acquisitions target successful “guaranteed” markets such plumbers, electricians, HVAC repair technicians, and other critical home service providers. 

On the surface, this might seem like a win-win – the small business gets the financial backing and resources of a large corporation, while the corporation gets access to an established customer base and regional market share. 

However, these roll-ups come at a real cost to Rhode Island consumers and communities.

When large corporations acquire independent local businesses, they typically keep operating the acquired company under its original name. For example, most Rhode Islanders don’t know that Petro Home Services, Buckley Heating & Cooling, Wood’s Heating Service, Deblois Oil Company, and Mutual HVAC are all now owned by the same national corporation, even though they still operate under their original local brand names. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The Rise of White Nationalism Alongside the Second Coming of Trump

American fascism on the march

CLARENCE LUSANE for the TomDispatch

In 2020, The Daily Show ran a segment in which statements by Republican leaders, including Donald Trump, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), and various Fox News personalities were juxtaposed with those made by Ku Klux Klan leaders like former Grand Wizard David Duke and former Imperial Wizard Bill Wilkerson. Fired Fox News commentator Tucker Carson, for instance, screeches manically that, because of immigration, “eventually there will be no more native-born Americans.” Immediately following that comment comes former Grand Wizard Duke saying, “We’ve got to start protecting our race.”

Donald Trump is then shown at a rally (with several Black people behind him wearing “Blacks for Trump” T-shirts) saying about Covid treatments, “If you’re white, you have to go to the back of the line. Discriminating against white people!” Again, there’s a cut to Duke stating, “There is racial discrimination going on right now in this country against massive numbers of white Americans.”

Public benefits for the rich

For more cartoons by Ruben Bolling, CLICK HERE


Partners in crime

Rhode Island joins 25 states in promoting heat pumps and other climate-friendly solutions

U.S. Climate Alliance announces new plan to decarbonize America

The U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 25 governors representing approximately 60 percent of the U.S. economy and 55 percent of the U.S. population, today announced a series of new commitments from its members to eliminate emissions from buildings, including collectively quadrupling heat pump installations by the end of the decade. 

As part of the Alliance’s new heat pump target, members agreed to collectively reach 20 million heat pump installations across the coalition by 2030, with the aim of ensuring at least 40 percent of benefits flow to disadvantaged communities. 

How does fever help fight infections?

There’s more to it than even some scientists realize

Edmund K. LeGrandUniversity of Tennessee and Joe AlcockUniversity of New Mexico

Being feverish is unpleasant, but it can help your body
overcome invading pathogens.
 Narisara Nami/Moment via Getty Images
When you’re sick with a fever, your doctor will likely tell you it’s a sign that your immune system is defending you against an infection. 

Fever typically results from immune cells at infected sites sending chemical signals to the brain to raise the set point of your body’s thermostat. So, you feel chills when the fever starts and feel hot when the fever breaks.

However, if you were to ask your doctor exactly how fever protects you, don’t expect a completely satisfactory answer.

Despite scientific consensus that fever is beneficial in fighting infections, exactly how is contentious. We are a veterinary pathologist and an emergency physician interested in applying evolutionary principles to medical problems. 

The evolution of fever is a classic conundrum because fever’s effects seem so harmful. Besides making you feel uncomfortable, you may also worry you’ll dangerously overheat. It is also metabolically costly to generate that much heat.

In our research and review, we propose that since fever occurs throughout much of the animal kingdom, this costly response must have benefits or it never would have evolved or been retained across species over time. 

We highlight several important but rarely considered points that help explain how the heat of fever helps your body fight infections.

Fever is a physiological response that has persisted for hundreds of millions of years across species.

No simple walk on the beach

Scientists decipher shoreline access law for public in Charlestown

By Cynthia Drummond, Rhode Island Current

Coastal geologist Janet Freedman, far left holding microphone, and Coastal Institute Science Director Nathan Vinhatiero, holding measuring instrument, point out one of several seaweed lines on East Beach. (Cynthia Drummond/Rhode Island Current)

One line of seaweed lies up against the dunes at East Beach. A second is in the middle of the beach. A third line is near the water.

Rhode Island’s new shoreline access law calls for using the seaweed line to measure public access. But which line would you use?

That depends, Coastal Geologist Janet Freedman and Science Director Nathan Vinhatiero told a group of about 50 people late Thursday afternoon. They were on a tour to learn more about how Rhode Island’s new shoreline access law will work.

Freedman pointed to the highest seaweed line, or wrack line, near the dune.

“We believe that this was deposited during Lee,” she said, referring to the offshore hurricane that passed by southern New England last Saturday. “It’s still kind of an extraordinary tide, just because the waves were much higher than usual. So, this line would not be the line that you measure your 10 feet off of.”

Then the group turned their heads to follow Freedman’s gesture toward the second seaweed line in the middle of the beach.

“We had a little debate on would you go by this debris line, because we don’t see another debris line,” she said.

Freedman said she and Vinhatiero had concluded that in this case, the measuring point should be the line where wet sand met dry sand.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Scabs or slaves?

Reality TV show contestants are more like unpaid interns than Hollywood stars

David ArditiUniversity of Texas at Arlington

Country singer Adley Stump, a former contestant on NBC’s
hit reality show ‘The Voice,’ performs at an Air Force base
in Washington state. 
Joint Base Lewis McChord/flickrCC BY-NC-SA
In December 2018, John Legend joined then-newly elected U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to criticize the exploitation of congressional interns on Capitol Hill, most of whom worked for no pay.

Legend’s timing was ironic.

NBC’s “The Voice” had just announced that Legend would join as a judge. He would go on to reportedly earn US$14 million per season by his third year on the show. Meanwhile, all of the participants on “The Voice,” save for the winner, earned $0 for their time, apart from a housing and food stipend – much like those congressional interns.

The fall 2023 TV lineup will be saturated with low-cost reality TV shows like “The Voice”; for networks, it’s an end-around to the ongoing TV writers and actors strikes.

Whether it’s “The Voice,” “House Hunters,” “American Chopper” or “The Bachelorette,” reality shows thrive thanks to a simple business model: They pay millions of dollars for big-name celebrities to serve as judges, coaches and hosts, while participants work for free or for paltry pay under the guise of chasing their dreams or gaining exposure.

These participants are the unpaid interns of the entertainment industry, even though it’s their stories, personalities and talent that draw the viewers.

Best served with ketchup


Likely government shut down looms – September 30 deadline

MAGA Republicans endanger Americans


Rep. Seth Magaziner (RI-02) will hold a press conference tomorrow to describe the effects a MAGA-driven shutdown will have on Rhode Islanders to encourage House Republican leadership to take action to avert this manufactured crisis.


House Republican Leadership is threatening to shut the government down despite the fact that both parties in Congress and President Biden already agreed to a deal on government spending levels for the coming year. 

The decision of House Republicans to back out of the deal they agreed to is jeopardizing services and pay for thousands of working Rhode Islanders.


A government shutdown would have devastating consequences for working Rhode Islanders, which includes:


  • Forcing Servicemembers and Law Enforcement Officers to Work Without Pay: All active-duty military personnel and many law enforcement officers would be required to work without pay.
  • Worsening Social Security and Medicare Backlog for Seniors: Many Social Security workers would be furloughed, causing significant delays in the processing of benefits.
  • Denying Food Assistance for Women and Children: Some of the nearly 7 million women and children who count on WIC, including nearly 18,000 in Rhode Island, would soon start being turned away at grocery store counters with funds drying up to operate the program.
  • Putting Travelers’ Safety at Risk: Air traffic controllers and TSA Officers would have to work without pay which could lead to staffing shortages that threatens travelers’ safety. 
  • Endangering Workers: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) would be forced to limit workplace inspections, putting worker safety at risk, and Americans who are owed back pay for their hard work would face delays due to the majority of Department of Labor investigations being suspended.
  • Eliminating Head Start Slots for Kids: 10,000 children across the country would immediately lose access to Head Start, affecting early childhood development and the ability for parents to go to work.
  • Threatening Food Safety: The Food and Drug Administration could be forced to delay food safety inspections for a wide variety of products all across the country.
  • Impairing Disaster Response: A Republican shutdown would create an increased risk that FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund is depleted and would complicate new emergency response efforts if additional catastrophic disasters occur. 
  • Undermining Public Health and Environmental Protections: Most EPA-led inspections at hazardous waste sites as well as drinking water and chemical facilities would stop. EPA would halt oversight and review of permits and plans to ensure safe drinking water and clean air in communities. Additionally, efforts to address dangerous contaminants like PFAS—which are linked to severe health effects, including cancer—would be delayed, and cleanup activities at Superfund sites would slow or cease.  

Rep. Magaziner stands ready to work with anyone in order to keep the government open. House Republicans must take immediate action and work with Democrats to stop an unnecessary shutdown.

URI Theatre presents a season to lose your head over

‘Marie Antoinette’ ‘opens the season on October 12

Tony LaRoche

Marie Antoinette likely wasn’t the first to live a life of conspicuous consumption and, obviously, she won’t be last. But it’s a tale worth revisiting.

The University of Rhode Island Theatre Department will do just that as it opens its 2023-24 season with “Marie Antoinette,” David Adjmi’s contemporary look at the ill-fated French queen – from her rise as a star of the masses to her place on the guillotine. The production is also part of the URI Honors Colloquium’s fall series, “Not Business as Usual: Business for the Common Good,” as an American tale of celebrity culture and irresponsible spending.