Sure. Let’s Destroy Our Waterways.

pollutionnavigationimage400White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, stood behind the lectern and stated very emphatically,

We’re going to put the safety of Americans first, we’re not going to wait and react, as I said in the statement, the president is going to be very proactive in protecting this country.

Donald Trump’s America First Energy Plan specifically states,

…our need for energy must go hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship of the environment. Protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources will remain a high priority. President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water.

Sean Spicer’s statement is shortsighted, red meat for the White House’s narrow constituency, while the statement about the EPA’s responsibility is now an outright lie. Or can be an outright lie, should the President sign the latest environmental regulatory review decision that Paul Ryan and the Congress have decided to do.

There’s this little thing called The Congressional Review Act. It was instituted in 1996, part of Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America, and signed into law by Bill Clinton, himself. This allows Congress to review and roll back any regulations, instituted by any administration, recently enacted (within the last 60 days the legislature has been in session, currently this means that they can review all regulations enacted back to June, 2016). It works just like a law. If they disapprove with a simple majority and the President signs it, the regulation goes away. If the President vetoes it, as Obama would have done, they can overturn his veto by a 67% majority and the regulation also goes away.

Back in December of 2016, Obama finalized a regulation that requires surface mining companies (not just coal, as Paul Ryan is trying to make you think…heavy metals, as well) to not pollute waterways outside of their permit areas. After all, any kindergartner knows that water runs downstream and dumping waste into a stream, river, or lake, will end up polluting ecological communities downstream. This is just common sense.

We have Superfund sites that have been operating for years, decades even, where the entire mission is to clean up the downstream pollutants. Superfund sites are reactionary. Much like disallowing visas from Saudi Arabia would be, after the attack on September 11, 2001. A mining company comes in, legally pollutes the land and waterways, and then leaves or goes bankrupt, and the government (the EPA) is left holding the bag. The citizenry of the United States pays billions of dollars a year to clean up the environmental damage to our water and land.

Much like the current administration states that the “extreme vetting” refugee rules are proactive, rather than reactive, an argument that can be proven (and debated) on its merits, they also say that the “mission of the EPA is to protect (should be read: proactively) our air and water.”

But Congress is now using the Congressional Review Act to completely eliminate that rule, rolling back the proactive protections of our environment, going back to only worrying about the permitted areas, or at least removing the protections from regulatory oversight, making it easier for a mining company to circumvent responsibility for polluting our downstream waterways.

This will not only continue to cost America’s taxpayers billions of dollars in Superfund cleanup, but will fly in the face of the forcefully proffered “intelligence” of the Trump Administration to govern proactively. And it most definitely will disallow the EPA from carrying out its White House defined “essential mission.”


Felicity is fine, considering

reliefSo yes. It was just a migraine. Sure, that seems like a terrible thing to say, being that a 9-year-old little girl may have to suffer severe and debilitating headaches for the rest of her life, but it’s much better than the alternative. Brain bleeds, strokes, and large tumors that cause the head to be shaped like that cone headed family in that one show from long ago all went through my head.

The doctor gave her a cognitive test, mixing up numbers and having her repeat them backwards. Then he checked her extremities and balance, examined her eyes, checked vitals, and went through a thorough analysis of what happened and what we can expect. The fact that sleep and Ibuprofen made the headache go away was an excellent sign. She was diagnosed with a classic migraine that begins with an aura, causing vision to be distorted.

I get those. They’re fascinating. I first see a bright spot in my vision, then text goes awry. After a few minutes, everyone around me is walking around headless. I completely lose vision in my right eye, replaced by a pulsating light. The light comes directly at me, my glasses melt from my face in true Salvador Dali fashion. Then, about 20-minutes later, it all evaporates. If I haven’t already taken Excedrin Migraine, I will begin to feel a dull pain in the front of my head, then it will build, and keep building, until I’m stumbling around, speaking incoherently, and bumping into walls.

I usually like to continue coding my medical device control applications at this point. Powering through a migraine is a rite of passage for a pace maker developer. (That was a joke, by the way.)

If I do take migraine meds, the headache is meh. Nothing doing. Thus, I don’t usually complain about them, being that I have dear friends, including my bride, with pain that is much worse and more frequent.

After the doctor, I ran home and grabbed The Boy, Fred. He’s 12. What happened next is causing me great fear and worry. He was home because he didn’t want to go skiing with his class, and one of the options was to stay home and rot on your iPad. So we went to McDonald’s.

“Young man. What would you like to eat?” the nice woman behind the counter asked him.

“I’ll take a Big Mac Meal with a side salad instead of fries. Make it large, with a Coke.”

My little boy who can get a cheap kids meal, even a few items off the Dollar Menu, now has tastes. And opinions. Both cost money. Soon, the bloke will be ordering caviar and schnitzel.

I need a second and third job.

It’s Just a Headache, Joe. It’s Just a Headache.

How-to-get-rid-of-a-headache-naturallyWhen I was in the second grade (for all you Canucks, Grade 2), I had a friend named Amy. We sat together, talked all the time (only when we were supposed to, of course), and I still remember what she smelled like. She was my best friend.

One day, I walked into class, and she had her head down on the desk, laid into her folded arms. She was moaning about something. I asked her what was wrong and she informed me she had a headache. A bad one. Asking her if there was anything I could do, she told me to go get a wad of paper towels, soak it in cold water, and bring it to her. I obliged.

Thus started the new dance of our lives together for the next few months. In those few months, she was diagnosed with a fast moving brain tumor. She had surgery, leaving half her head shaved and a massive scar. The shaved head didn’t matter so much because she lost her hair – just before she died.

I remember her death and life, vividly, but not my response to it. I probably looked at it through the lens of religion, worrying about her eternal destiny, being her family belonged to the Mormon Church. Mormons were bad. Hell-bound. I lost my opportunity to grieve for my friend.

But, at the moment, grief doesn’t really hit me. Right now, it’s worry.

My 9-year-old daughter, Felicity, woke up this morning with a headache.

“Daddy? I keep looking at things and they disappear. I can’t see.”

It quickly devolved into a very bad headache where she needed to skip school, lay down in bed, and keep the room completely dark. I have a doctor’s appointment at 12:45 PM today, and am hoping it’s just a headache.

I want to tackle my memories of grief, focused on Amy, and not discover them anew with something more recent, and even closer to tearing my real heart out.