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Crazy, Useless, Shafted

I called this book review Crazy, Useless, Shafted. That seems to cover it in a few words. The full title is The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted but that seemed a bit long for a title.

The book is by Mike Lofgren who spent 28 years has a Republican Congressional staffer. His start was with John Kasick who in the 1980s was on the House Armed Services Committee. Mike switched from national security to the House Budget Committee when Representative Kasick became chairman. He retired from the Senate Budgetary Committee in 2011, frustrated by the ridiculous debt ceiling debate and the lunacy and terrorism of the Republican party.

Why I read this book

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Who is this guy? Why should I care?

I got an email titled “Who is this Guy???” It is apparently a version of an email that has been around since 2010 or earlier.  I suppose the 3 question marks are meant to show that this is an important question.

I wasn’t quite sure of the point but it seems to suggest that I should not vote for Hillary Clinton because her daughter’s father-in-law scammed lots of people out of money and went to jail for it. Continue reading

Clinton misleads on Healthcare

Hillary Clinton has said the Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan would leave health care in the hands on Republican governors. Perhaps she has confused Bernie Sanders’ plan with the medicaid expansion under Obamacare. But it does seem more likely that Hillary Clinton misleads, or tries to mislead, us on Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan.

I have Medicare. I do not have Medicaid. They are 2 distinct programs. If someone believes they should be President, I think they should understand the difference between them, be able to intelligently discuss them, and not use the similarity in names to mislead the public.

There are some real differences between Clinton and Sanders. I would rather see an honest discussion of the policy differences than misleading claims.

Free Kurt Vonnegut short story

I downloaded a free Kurt Vonnegut short story a few days ago. It was free then and free when I just checked so I’m guessing it will be free for a while but check.

The story was “2 B R 0 2 B “ which does seem like kind of an odd title but it makes perfect sense when you read the story. Well, I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of an older short story of his called Continue reading

Kindle vs Kindle App for iPad

I enjoy reading on my Kindle and occasionally use the Kindle app on my iPhone. I am currently using the Kindle Fire HDX but have used other Kindles in the past. So what I have to say is specifically about the Kindle HDX but also seems to apply to other Kindles.

I do like the feel of a real book but reading on the Kindle does have quite a few advantages and, as I see it, one big disadvantage. I like being able to quickly access the internet to look-up some thing i am not familiar with. I like being able to search the book I am reading when I run across something and want to refresh my memory on something related that I think I read but am a bit fuzzy on the details.

The big disadvantage Continue reading

New York Grid

One of my Christmas presents was City on a Grid: How New York Became New York by Gerard Koeppel. I spend much of the next few days reading and learning about the New York Grid.

One of the first things that strikes a visitor to New York City is the grid pattern of streets in Manhattan. The grid doesn’t include the southern end of Manhattan since the old city was at the southern tip of the island that that just grew organically. The grid doesn’t extend to the far north of the island. But the grid does rule on most of the island. Continue reading

Mary McKenzie Hogge McDougall

This is one of those things where I am not sure if Mary McKenzie Hogge McDougall is a relation. I’ve previously written about my McKenzie/MacKenzie search including Colin of Ellsworth and his possible brother Malcolm (my great grandfather).

This one is more of a “Hail Mary”. I stumbled upon an abstract of a death certificate for Mary McDougull at FamilySearch. (A big “thank you” to those volunteer indexers.) The thing that got me interested was that it said she was born in Nova Scotia in 1854 and her parents were Alexander and Anna McKenzie. This could match as a potential sister of Malcolm McKenzie but may just be coincidence.

Show me the records

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Republicans against sensible gun laws

Once again, Republicans take a stand against sensible gun laws.

Previously this stance against was taken against a proposed sensible gun law which proposed closing the gun show loophole so buyers cannot evade background checks by buying a gun shows or online.

Just last month, the Senate defeated an amendment to a bill which would similarly close this loophole.

This week the President is suggesting an executive order which would do much the same thing. Republicans are again opposed. Perhaps not all but a number of politicians have spoken.

Why Bernie Sanders Matters

I just finished reading Why Bernie Sanders Matters by Harry Jaffe. I had requested an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) from Netgalley because it sounded interesting so I thought I would give it a try. I’m glad I did. I understand it is out today so the ARC gave me a few days head start.

If you have been following the presidential primaries, you know there are 3 candidates left in the democratic field. Bernie Sanders is one. It is seems like Hillary Clinton will be the nominee, but Bernie Sanders is presenting a serious challenge.

So, who is Bernie Sanders and why does he matter?

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Paris climate change agreement

I was thinking about climate change because it is much in the news these days. We have the Paris climate change agreement (21st United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP21)).

I ran across an interesting site. The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication is tracking changes in American public beliefs about climate change and the role of human activity in climate change. The data are looked at a number of ways. It is well-worth your time to look around the site. Continue reading

Almost compromise

About 6 weeks ago I wrote about a budget compromise which I hoped showed a new spirit of compromise in Congress and a maybe even a interest in governing.

I wrote too soon. I should have known better.

Congress failed to get the needed legislation to implement the budget deal. They passed the deadline and passed another continuing resolution. So I guess we can call the deal an almost compromise.

Colin McKenzie of Ellsworth, Maine

I think Colin McKenzie of Ellsworth, Maine is a brother of my great grandfather Malcolm McKenzie.   I’m not sure at this point but it does seem likely.  It would be great to hear from a descendant or 2 of  Colin McKenzie of Ellsworth but I am jumping way ahead in this story.

Colin McKenzie of Ellsworth

As far as I know Colin McKenzie of Ellsworth was born in or near Middle River, Victoria county, Nova Scotia.  This is on Cape Breton Island.  His marriage certificate is even more specific placing his residence and place of birth as Hunter’s Mountain which is between Baddeck and Middle River in Nova Scotia. But then other records say he was born in Scotland.  So he was born in old Scotland or New Scotland.  I suppose I’ll eventually get it straight. Continue reading