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Monday, June 24, 2024

Two Years After Dobbs Decision, Magaziner Recommits to Restoring Roe v. Wade as Law of the Land

First, we have to win in November


Two years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, Representative Seth Magaziner issued the following statement:
 

“Women deserve the right to make their own decisions about abortion – not politicians,” said Rep. Magaziner. “The extreme politicians and judges who want to roll back the rights of millions of Americans have made clear they were not going to stop at Roe – now they’re trying to restrict access to birth control, in vitro fertilization and other reproductive health care services. We can’t let them succeed. I’m fighting to restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land once again.” 

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, stripped away the right to abortion and abandoned nearly 50 years of precedent in its Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision. Since then, abortions have been banned in almost all circumstances in 14 states and counting. In at least half a dozen others, they are heavily restricted, making it nearly impossible for people to access care. 

In state legislatures and courts across the country, extreme lawmakers and judges are attempting to further restrict abortion, put doctors at risk of prosecution for providing abortion services, criminalize interstate travel to obtain abortion care, and curtail access to reproductive health care – including in vitro fertilization and birth control. Currently, one in three women are living without access to abortion. 

Several high-profile stories have highlighted the dystopian reality of a post-Roe America, including a woman who had to carry her dead fetus for two weeks, a ten-year-old rape victim who had to travel to receive an abortion, and doctors who are unable to provide health care services to save the lives of pregnant women. 

Rep. Magaziner is an original cosponsor of  H.R.12: Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), which is the only legislation that enshrines the principles of Roe v. Wade into law. WHPA creates a statutory right for health care providers to provide abortion care and for their patients to receive that care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions that single out abortion and impede access. 

Additionally, Rep. Magaziner is a cosponsor of H.R.7059: Abortion Care Capacity Enhancement and Support Services (ACCESS) Act of 2024, to authorize a grant program to increase capacity for providing abortion services and other sexual and reproductive health care. 

Rep. Magaziner is also a cosponsor of H.R.7056: Access to Family Building Act, to establish a federal right to access assisted reproductive technology, including in vitro fertilization (IVF). He is the proud father of a child who was conceived through IVF. 

Rep. Magaziner is a member of the Pro-Choice Caucus and received a 100% score on the Reproductive Freedom for All (formerly known as NARAL Pro-Choice America) 2023 congressional record on reproductive freedom.

Trump's debate prep

Beware of rip currents!

 

The Delusion of Advanced Plastic Recycling Using Pyrolysis

Solution or a bigger problem?

By Lisa Song, Illustrations by Max Gunther, special to ProPublica

Last year, I became obsessed with a plastic cup.

It was a small container that held diced fruit, the type thrown into lunch boxes. And it was the first product I’d seen born of what’s being touted as a cure for a crisis.

Plastic doesn’t break down in nature. If you turned all of what’s been made into cling wrap, it would cover every inch of the globe. It’s piling up, leaching into our water and poisoning our bodies.

Scientists say the key to fixing this is to make less of it; the world churns out 430 million metric tons each year.

But businesses that rely on plastic production, like fossil fuel and chemical companies, have worked since the 1980s to spin the pollution as a failure of waste management — one that can be solved with recycling.

Industry leaders knew then what we know now: Traditional recycling would barely put a dent in the trash heap. It’s hard to transform flimsy candy wrappers into sandwich bags, or to make containers that once held motor oil clean enough for milk.

Now, the industry is heralding nothing short of a miracle: an “advanced” type of recycling known as pyrolysis — “pyro” means fire and “lysis” means separation. It uses heat to break plastic all the way down to its molecular building blocks.

While old-school, “mechanical” recycling yields plastic that’s degraded or contaminated, this type of “chemical” recycling promises plastic that behaves like it’s new, and could usher in what the industry casts as a green revolution: Not only would it save hard-to-recycle plastics like frozen food wrappers from the dumpster, but it would turn them into new products that can replace the old ones and be chemically recycled again and again.

So when three companies used ExxonMobil’s pyrolysis-based technology to successfully conjure up that fruit cup, they announced it to the world.

“This is a significant milestone,” said Printpack, which turned the plastic into cups. The fruit supplier Pacific Coast Producers called it “the most important initiative a consumer-packaged goods company can pursue.”

“ExxonMobil is supporting the circularity of plastics,” the August 2023 news release said, citing a buzzword that implies an infinite loop of using, recycling and reusing.

They were so proud, I hoped they would tell me all about how they made the cup, how many of them existed and where I could buy one.

So began my long — and, well, circular — pursuit of the truth at a time when it really matters.

Ultra-processed plant-based food is NOT good for you

Unexpected villain in plant-based diets

By RYAN O'HARE, IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON 

New analysis of the health impacts of plant-based ultra-processed foods (UPFs) has found they may pose a higher risk for cardiovascular diseases compared to less-processed plant-based foods.

The research, led by the University of São Paulo and involving Imperial College London, used data from more than 118,000 people. It suggests that while plant-based diets are linked with reduced disease risk, overall, UPFs were linked with worse health outcomes.

They find that eating plant-based UPFs was linked with a 7% increase in the risk of cardiovascular diseases, compared with eating unprocessed plant-based foods. They also found that the all consumption of UPFs (animal-based and plant-based) was linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and dying from these diseases.

Not a very good form of birth control

New test finds more than 50 common chemicals may be linked to infertility

By Lydia Larsen

Using a new testing tool, US researchers said this week they have found more than 50 chemicals that pose a strong risk to fertility, including chemicals used in plastic water bottles and other common products.

The study, published Monday in Reproductive Toxicology, detailed a newly developed method for testing chemical toxicity, a tool the researchers said is badly needed because tens of thousands of chemicals used in household and commercial products have not been evaluated for their potential toxicities towards human health.

“This data shows that we need to be acting more quickly on some of these chemicals to which people are being exposed,” said Tracey Woodruff, a professor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and an author of the new study.

General fertility rates in the United States have been declining, hitting a historic low in 2022, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers have known that certain types of chemicals are at least partly to blame for the declining fertility, but understanding the root causes of the problem has been difficult.

In the new study, the authors said they evaluated 199 chemicals, including bisphenols, phthalates, pesticides, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and other compounds. 

They found 57 strongly negatively impacted the reproductive system, and also found evidence that many new BPA substitutes, which are used in plastic water bottles and other plastic products, are actually more toxic than the original bisphenol A and that when certain BPA and BPA-type chemicals were combined, reproductive outcomes worsened.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

New law will educate buyers of shoreline property of the public’s right to access the shoreline

 They can’t say they weren’t warned

Photo by Will Collette
A new law sponsored by Sen. Victoria Gu and Rep. Terri Cortvriend will improve the disclosure of shoreline access rights and related conditions during the sale of oceanfront property.

“This legislation builds on the historic shoreline access law that we passed last year,” said Senator Gu (D-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown). 

“A lot of people in Rhode Island are now aware of the new law but a lot of people coming in from other states to buy property aren’t necessarily aware of it. This is an important consumer protection and education measure to ensure that people buying ocean front real estate understand the public’s right to access the shoreline.”

It's what they do best

It's YOUR money


 

Making art is a uniquely human act, and one that provides a wellspring of health benefits

It can be its own reward

Girija KaimalDrexel University

The act of creating art serves as exercise for the brain
and is integral to physical and mental health.
 hzechphotography/Moment via Getty Images
When you think about the word “art,” what comes to mind? A child’s artwork pinned to the fridge? A favorite artist whose work always inspires? Abstract art that is hard to understand?

Each of these assumes that making art is something that other people do, such as children or “those with talent.”

However, as I explain in my book “The Expressive Instinct,” art is intrinsic to human evolution and history. Just as sports or workouts exercise the body, creating art exercises the imagination and is essential to mental as well as physical well-being.

I am a professor of art therapy who studies how creative self-expression affects physical and emotional health. In our clinical research studies, my colleagues and I are finding that any form of creative self-expression – including drawing, painting, fiber arts, woodworking or photography – can reduce stress, improve mood and increase self-confidence.

As a sickly child who needed to stay home from school a lot, I found that making art helped me cope. Today, creating art is my sanctuary. I use it as a sounding board to better understand myself and a way to recharge and learn from the challenges of life.

Infectious H5N1 influenza virus in raw milk rapidly declines with heat treatment

Raw milk can carry bird flu – stick with pasteurized

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The amount of infectious H5N1 influenza viruses in raw milk rapidly declined with heat treatment in laboratory research conducted by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

However, small, detectable amounts of infectious virus remained in raw milk samples with high virus levels when treated at 72 degrees Celsius (161.6 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 seconds -- one of the standard pasteurization methods used by the dairy industry.

The authors of the study stress, however, that their findings reflect experimental conditions in a laboratory setting and are not identical to large-scale industrial pasteurization processes for raw milk. The findings were published today in the New England Journal of Medicine

In late March 2024, United States officials reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus called HPAI H5N1 among dairy cows in Texas.

To date, 95 cattle herds across 12 states have been affected, with three human infections detected in farm workers with conjunctivitis.

Although the virus so far has shown no genetic evidence of acquiring the ability to spread from person to person, public health officials are closely monitoring the dairy cow situation as part of overarching pandemic preparedness efforts.

With new investments and affiliation agreements, Lifespan to become Brown University Health

Rhode Island's largest medical system changes its name

Brown University

 

Amid ongoing headwinds facing the health care sector, Lifespan health system and Brown University have finalized terms on a set of expanded affiliation agreements to strengthen top-quality patient care, medical education and biomedical research in Rhode Island.

As part of the agreements, Lifespan will change its name to Brown University Health later this year through a rebranding effort to be developed over the next several months, enhancing its ability to recruit and retain world-class physicians and reflecting a deeper alignment between Lifespan’s clinical care and Brown’s academic and research focus.

The agreements also include reciprocal financial investments between Lifespan and Brown, which will continue as separate, independent organizations after the implementation of the Lifespan rebrand to Brown University Health. A $15 million to $25 million annual investment from Brown to Lifespan, totaling $150 million over seven years, will be devoted to strengthening Lifespan’s financial capacity to sustain and advance the shared academic mission of the two organizations. Following that period, Lifespan will invest $15 million annually to support the Warren Alpert Medical School’s education and research efforts.

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Boeing's management woes are a national disgrace

Nothing to Be Proud Of

By Philip Mattera, director of the Corporate Research Project for the Dirt Diggers Digest

It's not just airliners - Boeing's new - but badly malfunctioning - Starliner
capsule has stranded two US astronauts "indefinitely" at the
Int'l Space Station. Leaking helium and thruster problems
have so far been unresolved. NASA photo
Seated in a hearing room between hostile Senators and relatives of the victims of 737 Max crashes calling for criminal prosecutions, Boeing CEO David Calhoun tried to have it both ways. 

He apologized to the families and admitted that the company has to work hard to regain the public’s trust, but he avoided taking personal responsibility and sought to preserve some remnant of Boeing’s reputation.

“I’m proud of every action we have taken,” he declared, eliciting an incredulous response from Sen. Josh Hawley, who accused Calhoun of cutting corners on safety to maximize profits: “You are strip-mining Boeing.” Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal called the hearing “a moment of reckoning” for a “a once iconic company that somehow lost its way.”

These comments and others designed to put Calhoun on the defensive imply that Boeing was a model company before the 737 Max debacle. In fact, the company has been the subject of safety concerns for several decades.

GOP-approved math book

The election and your Social Security

 

Studies uncover the critical role of sleep in the formation of memories

Sleep -- or a lack thereof -- has a dramatic effect

Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan    

Jacob Dwyer, Michigan Medicine
Imagine you're a student, it's finals week, and you're preparing for a big exam: do you pull an all-nighter or do you get some rest?

As many a groggy-eyed person who's stared blankly at a test knows, a lack of sleep can make it extraordinarily difficult to retain information.

Two new studies from University of Michigan uncover why this is and what is happening inside the brain during sleep and sleep deprivation to help or harm the formation of memories.

Specific neurons can be tuned to specific stimuli.

For example, rats in a maze will have neurons that light up once the animal reaches specific spots in the maze. These neurons, called place neurons, are also active in people and help people navigate their environment.

But what happens during sleep?

"If that neuron is responding during sleep, what can you infer from that?" said Kamran Diba, Ph.D., associate professor of Anesthesiology at U-M Medical School.

A study, summarized in the journal Nature and led by Diba and former graduate student Kourosh Maboudi, Ph.D., looks at neurons in the hippocampus, a seahorse shaped structure deep in the brain involved in memory formation, and discovered a way to visualize the tuning of neuronal patterns associated with a location while an animal was asleep.

A type of electrical activity called sharp-wave ripples emanate from the hippocampus every couple of seconds, over a period of many hours, during restful states and sleep.

Researchers have been intrigued by how synchronous the ripples are and how far they travel, seemingly to spread information from one part of the brain to another.

These firings are thought to allow neurons to form and update memories, including of place.

For the study, the team measured a rat's brain activity during sleep, after the rat completed a new maze.

Using a type of statistical inference called Bayesian learning, they were for the first time able to track which neurons would respond to which places in the maze.

"Let's say a neuron prefers a certain corner of the maze. We might see that neuron activate with others that show a similar preference during sleep. But sometimes neurons associated with other areas might co-activate with that cell. We then saw that when we put it back on the maze, the location preferences of neurons changed depending on which cells they fired with during sleep," said Diba.

The method allows them to visualize the plasticity or representational drift of the neurons in real time.

It also gives more support to the long-standing theory that reactivation of neurons during sleep is part of why sleep is important for memories.

Given sleep's importance, Diba's team wanted to look at what happens in the brain in the context of sleep deprivation.

In the second study, also published in Nature, the team, led by Diba and former graduate student Bapun Giri, Ph.D., compared the amount of neuron reactivation -- wherein the place neurons that fired during maze exploration spontaneously fire again at rest -- and the sequence of their reactivation (quantified as replay), during sleep vs. during sleep loss.

They discovered that the firing patterns of neurons involved in reactivating and replaying the maze experience were higher in sleep compared to during sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation corresponded with a similar or higher rate of sharp-wave ripples, but lower amplitude waves and lower power ripples.

"In almost half the cases, however, reactivation of the maze experience during sharp-wave ripples was completely suppressed during sleep deprivation," said Diba.

When sleep deprived rats were able to catch up on sleep, he added, while the reactivation rebounded slightly, it never matched that of rats who slept normally. Furthermore, replay was similarly impaired but was not recovered when lost sleep was regained.

Since reactivation and replay are important for memory, the findings demonstrate the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on memory.

Diba's team hopes to continue looking at the nature of memory processing during sleep and why they need to be reactivated and the effects of sleep pressure on memory.

Additional authors include Hiroyuki Miyawaki, Caleb Kemere, Nathaniel Kinshy, Utku Kaya and Ted Abel.

Study Confirms Sweeteners Do Not Spike Hunger Levels and Identifies Additional Health Benefits

Good news for diabetics

By UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS 

Photo by Sarah Pack
Replacing sugar with artificial and natural sweeteners in foods does not make people hungrier – and also helps to reduce blood sugar levels, a significant new study has found.

The double-blind randomized controlled trial found that consuming food containing sweeteners produced a similar reduction in appetite sensations and appetite-related hormone responses as sugary foods – and provides some benefits such as lowering blood sugar, which may be particularly important in people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The use of sweeteners in place of sugar in foods can be controversial due to conflicting reports about their potential to increase appetite. Previous studies have been carried out but did not provide robust evidence.

However, the researchers say their study, which meets the gold standard level of proof in scientific investigation, provides very strong evidence that sweeteners and sweetness enhancers do not negatively impact appetite and are beneficial for reducing sugar intake.

Magaziner Leads Charge to Increase Funding for Career and Technical Education in Fiscal Year 2025

Fund career education - not everyone needs to go to college 

U.S. Representative Seth Magaziner (RI-02) is leading 31 members of Congress in a letter requesting $64,400,000 for Career and Technical Education (CTE) National Programs in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill.  

“There is more than one path to success in our country, and investing in career and technical education will help prepare Rhode Islanders for high-wage, in-demand jobs while providing businesses with the skilled workforce they need to grow and serve their communities,” said Rep. Seth Magaziner (RI-02). 

“I’m proud to be leading the charge in Congress to increase funding for CTE National Programs, and will continue fighting to expand opportunities for working people in Rhode Island and across the country.” 

CTE Perkins National Programs identify, support, and rigorously evaluates evidence-based and innovative strategies and activities to improve and modernize CTE, and to ensure workforce skills taught in CTE programs align with labor market needs. 

This funding will also support the Career-Connected High Schools initiative which provides students with hands-on learning, real-life work experience, and opportunities to earn college credits and make progress towards industry credentials before they graduate high school. Last year, the Department of Education received 161 eligible applications from 43 states and the District of Columbia totaling over $860 million, but was only able to award 19 grants with available funding. 

Rep. Magaziner also requested robust funding for the Perkins V funding awarded on a noncompetitive basis via Basic State Grants (BSGs).  

Rep. Magaziner is a member of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education Caucus. His funding request will help equip the next generation with the skills necessary to fill good-paying jobs created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act and Inflation Reduction Act.  

Earlier this year, Rep. Magaziner introduced his bipartisan bill, the Clean Energy Workforce Act, which would create a grant program to fund career and technical education to connect Rhode Islanders to good-paying jobs in the growing clean energy economy. 

The signatories of the letter include Reps. Seth Magaziner, Lisa Blunt Rochester; Suzanne Bonamici; André Carson; Sean Casten; Joaquin Castro; Joe Courtney; Angie Craig; Jasmine Crockett; Sharice Davids; Danny Davis; Suzan DelBene; Sylvia Garcia; Josh Gottheimer; Steven Horsford; Val Hoyle; Glenn Ivey; Andy Kim; Raja Krishnamoorthi; Summer Lee; Stephen Lynch; Lucy McBath; Eleanor Norton; Jimmy Panetta; Chris Pappas; Gregorio Sablan; Andrea Salinas; Kim Schrier; Mikie Sherrill; Eric Sorensen; Haley Stevens; and Rashida Tlaib. 

Full text of the letter is below. A PDF copy of the letter is available here.

Friday, June 21, 2024

Here's the official end-of-session wrap

This year at the General Assembly

STATE HOUSE — Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the General Assembly this year. For more information on any of these items visit http://www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease

 

HEALTH CARE

§  Several bills that were included in the Senate leadership’s HEALTH (Holistic Enhancement and Access Legislation for Total Health) initiative were enacted by General Assembly, including bills to join five interstate licensing compacts to make it easier for Rhode Islanders to access the care they need and budget provisions to use $1 million of general revenue to purchase medical debts of struggling Rhode Islanders and incentivize providers to enter primary care fields.

§  The Assembly included over $160 million from all sources to fully fund the plan recommended by the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner to raise Medicaid reimbursement rates next year, including $3.8 million for Early Intervention providers.

§  The legislature passed the Healthcare Provider Shield Act to protect medical providers who provide transgender and reproductive health care services in Rhode Island from civil or criminal suits from other states or their residents.

 

HOUSING

·       Legislators approved and sent to the governor several bills included in the legislative package put forth by Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) to address the state’s housing crisis.  Many of the bills are aimed at speeding housing production by streamlining and removing roadblocks in permitting processes.

·       Lawmakers provided a boost to housing production by helping Rhode Islanders to develop accessory dwelling units on their property.

·       Legislators put forth a $120 million bond question on the November ballot to support more affordable housing creation. The bond would provide $80 million for affordable housing, $20 million for acquisition and revitalization, $10 million for homeownership programs, $5 million for site acquisition, $4 million for housing-related infrastructure and $1 million for municipal planning.

 

In the mind of the beholder

By Mike Smith

A defeat for guns and another reason why Clarence Thomas must resign

A germophobe's guide to surviving summer

How to avoid getting sick at the barbecue, in the pool or on the trail

Bill SullivanIndiana University

Taking precautions against outdoor pathogens can
keep you from getting sidelined over the summer.
 galitskaya/iStock via Getty Images Plus
As flowers bloom and temperatures climb, many are eager to get back outside. But while the Sun may be shining, there is a dark side that can make the great outdoors not so great.

Gangs of germs are lurking in the woods, in the soil, in the water and in your food, ready to rain on your summer parade.

I’m a professor of microbiology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, where I study and teach about infectious disease. Here are some things to keep in mind to help you and your loved ones stay free of illness while enjoying summer activities.

First RI Mosquito Report of 2024 leads with first finding of EEE

Bad bugs

The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) are announcing that the first set of mosquito samples of the 2024 season tested by the Rhode Island State Health Laboratories (RISHL) have confirmed the first two detections of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus in the state in 2024. The mosquito samples testing positive for EEE virus were collected in Tiverton and Coventry on June 10.

These positive findings of EEE virus are notable because they were detected earlier in the mosquito season than usual, indicating that EEE virus is present in the environment in two geographically distant municipalities.

All other samples tested negative for West Nile Virus (WNV), EEE virus, or Jamestown Canyon Virus (JCV). These results are from the 104 mosquito samples collected from 20 traps set statewide by DEM on June 3 and 10.

To date, neither the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or State of Connecticut have reported any EEE virus, WNV, or JCV findings. The 2023 mosquito season was a higher-than-average risk year for mosquito-borne disease in southern New England.

Although extremely rare in humans, EEE virus is very serious and has a much higher human mortality rate than WNV. Approximately 30% of people with EEE virus die and many survivors have ongoing neurological problems. Unlike WNV, which is prevalent in Rhode Island every year, EEE virus risk is variable, changing from year to year. 

Microsoft Chose Profit Over Security and Left U.S. Government Vulnerable to Russian Hack, Whistleblower Says

Shocking but not surprising

By Renee Dudley, with research by Doris Burke for ProPublica.org

Microsoft hired Andrew Harris for his extraordinary skill in keeping hackers out of the nation’s most sensitive computer networks. In 2016, Harris was hard at work on a mystifying incident in which intruders had somehow penetrated a major U.S. tech company.

The breach troubled Harris for two reasons. First, it involved the company’s cloud — a virtual storehouse typically containing an organization’s most sensitive data. Second, the attackers had pulled it off in a way that left little trace.

He retreated to his home office to “war game” possible scenarios, stress-testing the various software products that could have been compromised.

Early on, he focused on a Microsoft application that ensured users had permission to log on to cloud-based programs, the cyber equivalent of an officer checking passports at a border. It was there, after months of research, that he found something seriously wrong.

The product, which was used by millions of people to log on to their work computers, contained a flaw that could allow attackers to masquerade as legitimate employees and rummage through victims’ “crown jewels” — national security secrets, corporate intellectual property, embarrassing personal emails — all without tripping alarms.

To Harris, who had previously spent nearly seven years working for the Defense Department, it was a security nightmare. Anyone using the software was exposed, regardless of whether they used Microsoft or another cloud provider such as Amazon. But Harris was most concerned about the federal government and the implications of his discovery for national security. He flagged the issue to his colleagues.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Biden’s on Target About What Repealing ACA Would Mean for Preexisting Condition Protections

Fact-checked claim is verified

 

If the Affordable Care Act were terminated, “that would mean over a hundred million Americans will lose protections for preexisting conditions.” - President Joe Biden in a campaign advertisement, May 8

President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign wants voters to contrast his record on health care policy with his predecessor’s. In May, Biden’s campaign began airing a monthlong, $14 million ad campaign targeting swing-state voters and minority groups with spots on TV, digital, and radio.

In the ad, titled “Terminate,” Biden assails former President Donald Trump for his past promises to overturn the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Biden also warns of the potential effect if Trump is returned to office and again pursues repeal.

“That would mean over a hundred million Americans will lose protections for preexisting conditions,” Biden said in the ad.

Less than six months from Election Day, polls show Trump narrowly leading Biden in a head-to-head race in most swing states. And voters trust Trump to better handle issues such as inflation, crime, and the economy by significant margins.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll of about 2,200 adults, released in early May, shows the only major policy issues on which Biden received higher marks than Trump were health care and abortion access. It’s no surprise, then, that the campaign is making those topics central to Biden’s pitch to voters.

As such, we dug into the facts surrounding Biden’s claim.

Another way to look at our 2024 election choice

We're NOT #1 - and that's a good thing (relatively speaking)

Visual Capitalist

How often do you lie?

Researchers find the average person lies at least once a day (1.08)

Trump's average was 21 per day during his term of office

Christian B. Miller, Wake Forest University

The Washington Post catalogued 30,573 Trump lies during
his term of office
Prominent cases of purported lying continue to dominate the news cycle. President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden was found guilty of lying on a government form while purchasing a handgun. Republican Representative George Santos allegedly lied in many ways, including to donors through a third party in order to misuse the funds raised. The rapper Offset admitted to lying on Instagram about his wife, Cardi B, being unfaithful.

There are a number of variables that distinguish these cases. One is the audience: the faceless government, particular donors and millions of online followers, respectively. Another is the medium used to convey the alleged lie: on a bureaucratic form, through intermediaries and via social media.

Differences like these lead researchers like me to wonder what factors influence the telling of lies. Does a personal connection increase or decrease the likelihood of sticking to the truth? Are lies more prevalent on text or email than on the phone or in person?

An emerging body of empirical research is trying to answer these questions, and some of the findings are surprising. They hold lessons, too - for how to think about the areas of your life where you might be more prone to tell lies, and also about where to be most cautious in trusting what others are saying. 

As the recent director of The Honesty Project and author of “Honesty: The Philosophy and Psychology of a Neglected Virtue,” I am especially interested in whether most people tend to be honest or not.

Extreme heat can be dangerous for runners, cyclists and anyone spending time outdoors: 6 tips for staying safe

Watch out, Faith!

Susan YearginUniversity of South Carolina

"Faith's Folly" in Ninigret Park. Photo by Will Collette
When summer starts with a stifling heat wave, as many places are seeing in 2024, it can pose risks for just about anyone who spends time outside, whether they’re runners, people who walk or cycle to work, outdoor workers or kids playing sports.

Susan Yeargin, an expert on heat-related illnesses, explains what everyone should think about before spending time outside in a heat wave and how to keep yourself and vulnerable family members and friends safe.

What risks do people facing running, walking or working outside when it’s hot out?

The time of day matters if you’re going for a run, or if you’re walking or cycling to work during a heat wave. Early risers or evening runners face less of a risk – the Sun isn’t as hot and the air temperature is lower.

But if your normal routine is to go for a run midmorning or over lunch, you probably want to rethink exercising in the heat.

Pretty much everywhere in the U.S., the hottest part of the day is between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The body will gain heat from both the air temperature and solar radiation. The ground also heats up, so you’ll feel more heat rising up from the asphalt or grass.

Add humidity to the mix and that will also affect your body’s ability to dissipate heat through sweat.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke
Signs of heat illness and what to do. Elenabs via Getty Images

Bad air! Mostly in central, northern RI


Supreme Court sides with Starbucks in labor case that could hinder government’s ability to intervene in some unionization disputes

Terrible decision from corrupt Court

Michael Z. GreenTexas A&M University

The coffee company pushed back against a step the National
Labor Relations Board took tied to a store in Memphis. 
AP Photo/Joshua Bessex
The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Starbucks in a case that could make it harder for a federal agency to enforce labor laws in disputes that can arise during organizing campaigns. 

On June 13, 2024, the court announced that eight of the nine justices had signed onto a decision, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, on the Starbucks Corp. v. McKinney case. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson concurred overall with the decision but dissented on some key points in a separate opinion.

The Conversation U.S. asked Texas A&M law professor Michael Z. Green to explain the significance of the court’s decision and how it could affect the right to organize unions in the United States.