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We need a strong EPA

Why do we need a strong EPA? There are many reasons but here is a good reminder to how America looked before there was an EPA to regulate pollution.

Kevin Loria’s article Vintage photos taken by the EPA reveal what America looked like before pollution was regulated reminds us of a few things the EPA is doing (or avoiding) today but more importantly shows pictures of the good old days before we decided to regulate pollution.

Perhaps there are some who miss the good old days when rivers caught fire or companies were free to poison the drinking water. But I like the clean water and clean air. I’m old enough to remember the good old days and certainly do not miss the pollution.

The article by Keven Loria is a quick read with only a few paragraphs. But those pictures are definitely worth thousands of words.

President Trump and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt are trying to weaken the EPA. We need a strong EPA.

Reality Based Opinions, Again

I started this blog as Reality Based Opinions then went to RetiredGuy. I explain my reasoning for this move in the post Reality Based Opinions.

But now I decided to go back. If you like this move, you might want to thank President Trump since he and the Trump adminstration are an important factor in my reasoning.

I started this blog in mid-2009. I suppose at least part of the reason I chose that name was a reaction to the George W. Bush adminstration’s referral to “reality-based community”. Continue reading

A double disaster but not “real catastrophe”

President Trump insulted Puerto Ricans by calling them lucky and saying they had not faced  “a real catastrophe, like Katrina”.  Yes they are the lucky ones.  No ”real catastrophe” (who am I to contradict the President) but instead the double disaster.

Disaster one was Hurricane Maria with loss of life, loss of power, little food or drinking water, widespread destruction.  Well, you get the idea.
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Vital records access threatened (Action now)

New York City (NYC) may restrict vital records access. The public including genealogists and others would be hurt by the restriction.

This would be great hindrance to my genealogical research since the vast majority of my ancestors entered the US though NYC and stayed there for generations.

The millions with NYC ancestors should be worried. But the larger genealogy community should also be concerned since other jurisdictions may decide to follow this example and restrict access to various records of genealogical importance.

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is proposing a new rule that would prevent public access to birth and death records. There would not be public access to birth records for 125 years. And no public access to death records for 75 years.

I have long been a member of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B). It certainly is an organization worth your consideration if you have NY ancestors. But the reason for my mention of the NYG&B here is that they explained this issue much more thoroughly than I can do here and have made it easy to take action if you so choose.

See their page at –


This is How It Begins by Joan Dempsey

This is How It Begins is a very good book. I thought it was so good I read it twice.

I will sometimes re-read books but usually after a good interval has passed. I think this may be the first that I have read a book twice within a few weeks. It is definitely the only one that I read twice before the book was released.

It is that good. Continue reading

Government overreach for internet records

Remember the protest at President Trump’s inauguration. There were hundreds of thousands in Washington and about a million when you consider all the marches in other cities, according to estimates in the Washington Post. Around 200 of those hundreds of thousands in Washington were indicted on rioting charges. Most of the rest were peaceful protesters.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is demanding that DreamHost turn over records on website associated with those protests, its owner and the 1.3 million visitors to the site.
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The Presidential dilemma

President Trump is stuck with the presidential dilemma of his own making. I did not support the now President Trump in the general election. He had shown no sign of being a good president and many signs of being a bad president but after his election promised to be be a President for all Americans. Unfortunately nearly everything he has done since then has indicated he is only interested in pleasing his base and, of course, protecting himself and maybe his family.

So the presidential dilemma is how should he acknowledge the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend.
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Democracy Amendments and change for the better

Our democracy is in trouble.  Our political system is broken.  We have seen these problems growing and continuing to get worse.  How can our democracy be saved? Does “The Democracy Amendments”  hold the answer?

The full title is “The Democracy Amendments: How to Amend Our U.S. Constitution to Rescue Democracy for All Citizens”. The author is Rick Hubbard. It is available in both Kindle and paperback editions.

I think Rick Hubbard identified the problem and suggested a solution and I agree that it would be nice.  However, I don’t think this or any like it will happen anytime soon.

Still, I think the book worthwhile.  It gives a good summary of many problems with our democracy.  It proposes a solution.  Not a solution that I think will work but important because we will never solve this or any other problem without a good idea about the proper direction of move.

In the 2016 election many people voted for change.  Unfortunately the result seems not to be a change for the better,  I hope this book and more like it will get the people thinking about change and the type of change that will be good for our democracy.

The people can change our democracy.  Let’s hope the next time that we will have change for the better.   It will be a difficult road and we will face a good bit of resistance. It may take more time than some would like but it can be done.

A healthcare fraud and disaster and Senator Lindsey Graham

A healthcare fraud and disaster was prevented last week.

Now that is has been a few days since I last wrote about the disaster that was the Republican plan to break our health care system. Thankfully that plan was defeated. For now, millions of people who would have been thrown of Medicaid are safe. Hospital depending on Medicaid funds are safe. Planned Parenthood can continue providing low cost health care.
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Trump makes us stronger says MS-13

Members of MS-13 think that President Trump’s immigration crackdown and roundups of illegal immigrants have made them stronger. It is an interesting look at gang violence, fear in a community, illegal immigrants deportation and the so called Sanctuary Cities.

View the interviews on CNN.

Broken Care by Republicans

Somewhat ironically, I think, the Senate bill is called the ‘Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017’ or just BRCA. It is very unlikely to result in better care. Millions of people will lose their health insurance and access to health care. And millions more will see their out-of-pocket costs rise. States will receive lower Medicare funding. Hospitals will go broke.

I think BRCA means Broken Care by Republicans Act. The bill or whatever version finally passes the Senate has the correct acronym but somehow the politicians have the words wrong. Clearly the BC is Broken Care. It certainly is a product of Republicans, so there is the R. The A is Act but perhaps one of my readers can think of a better A word.

Election integrity or voter suppression

Is it election integrity or voter suppression? That is the question about President Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

Over the past few years Republicans have championed stricter voting requirements which they claim are needed for election integrity. But Democrats claim these requirements are a form of voter suppression since they disenfranchise large numbers of voters, most of whom are members of groups more likely to vote for the Democrat.
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Net neutrality explained by analogy

Net neutrality has been much in the news lately. The Trump FCC is ready to roll back the rules to benefit corporations over consumers.

It is an important issue but perhaps a bit difficult to understand. The folks at NPR Marketplace have explained it by offering a series of analogies. The Marketplace article is very non-technical and uses analogies such as ordering a pizza or paying protection money to the mob.
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Bipartisan healthcare plan

Are we ready to try for a bipartisan healthcare plan ?

The Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 has not yet been passed. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell developed his plan in secret and was then not able to get the 50 votes he needed to get it through the Senate by the July 4 recess.

The Majority leader is still working toward 50 and probably modifying the Bill to help get there. It is a very tricky task modifying it to make it more palatable to extremely conservative Senators without adding some provisions that will cause the loss of support of other Senators.
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Two Paths: America Divided or United by John Kasich

John Kasich  is a 2 term governor of Ohio and a former  U.S. congressman. In the House of Representatives he was on the Armed Services Committee and was chairman of the  Budget  Committee the last time we had a balanced budget.  So he does know a bit about governing and fiscal matters. Continue reading

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