Category Archives: News

Donald Trump’s Health Care Commitment

He promised these things in his speech to Congress. Sounds pretty good. We should not forget, or accept excuses if he fails to deliver:

The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we are going to do.

Here are the principles that should guide Congress as we move to create a better healthcare system for all Americans. 

First, we should ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage, and that we have a stable transition for Americans currently enrolled in the health care exchanges.

Secondly, we should help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded health savings accounts, but it must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by our government.

Thirdly, we should give our state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out.

Fourth, we should implement legal reforms that protect patients and doctors from unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance and work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs and bring them down immediately.

And finally, the time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines.

Which will create a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring cost way down and provide far better care. So important. Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed. Every problem can be solved. And every hurting family can find healing and hope. Our citizens deserve this and so much more. So why not join forces and finally get the job done and get it done right?


Donald Trump and His Associates’s Disgraceful Birtherism

Barack Obama was born in the US. We all knew it in 2004, in 2008, in 2012. Now, holy cow, even Donald Trump agrees that’s true. Boy genius!

But why did Trump spend seven years insinuating that Obama wasn’t born in the US?

Was it because there were legitimate questions? Or was it because Trump could gain political advantage by exploiting the prejudices of people who weren’t comfortable having a Black man with an unusual name as president?

Where do you stand?

This story is a good resource:





Hat Tip to James Oddo!

Screenshot 2016-02-13 00.02.13Who is James Oddo? I didn’t know this until about 10 minutes ago, but he is the Staten Island Borough President.

We don’t pay that much attention to Staten Island. It is the borough that most New Yorkers think is  part of New Jersey, but it isn’t.

But I like this story. A politician responds to a political loss with cleverness and, well, a sense of humor.

This Guy Tracks Presidential Movie Watching.

Movies are important, all over the world, and many presidents watch movies. It seems that no president watched more movies than Jimmy Carter. And the man who lusted in his heart brought the first x-rated film to the White House, at least officially. (Didn’t JFK live the x-rated life?)

And note that by the time Midnight Cowboy screened at the White House it had been rerated R.

The link here is to a story about a guy who uses FOIA requests to glean the movie watching schedules of the Presidents of the US. He’s extracted the publishable goods for Carter (and Nixon and Reagan). What the hell is Bill Clinton hiding?

Much less Jerry Ford?

I’m thinking about making a tumblr devoted to movies our leaders should watch. They’ll watch, right?

Screenshot 2015-10-09 07.08.34BTW perhaps the best filmic incursion into the Carter White House was Terry Southern’s Magic Christian. Not a great film, but an awesome provocation.

Welcome to the New Mastervision!

LittleLeagueDVD-Cover-ArtFor nearly 30 years, since I wrote and directed the baseball instructional video Little League’s Official How-to-Play Baseball Video for Mastervision, I’ve worked off and on for the company.

Richard Stadin, who started the company in 1981, and I worked together distributing a slate of impressive educational and instructional (mostly) videos, first on VHS, and then on DVD. You can see the list at (I also wrote and directed, with Jim Ebner and Paul Opler, the Audubon Butterfly Essentials for Beginners and Gardeners and the Audubon VideoGuide to Butterflies Common and Endangered, for Mastervision.)

Just a few weeks ago, after a long period of transition, Richard Stadin retired, signed the papers, and passed keys to the company to me.

2015-04-01 15.40.03
Richard Stadin signs agreement to transfer Mastervision, after 35 years. It was a hard moment for him.

My mission is to move as much of the collection to digital distribution, sell some DVDs and help promote the titles to new audiences via social media.

To that end I’m posting promotional clips on YouTube, on the Mastervision channel, and Facebook, on the Mastervision Page. All the titles are on sale there now, for a limited time, so please check them out if you’re interested.

People will soon be able to buy digital downloads of all the titles, and rent some of them, too. I’m excited about the possibilities.

Like Mastervision on Facebook!

LINK: Who Loses If the Supreme Court Challenge Overturns Obamacare Subsidies?

Screenshot 2015-03-05 17.10.30Walter Dellinger makes a good point in Slate, that the citizens who will be hurt if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the four men who challenged the Affordable Care Act because citizens in their state are getting subsidies even though their state doesn’t have its own exchange, are working class people in the 35 or so states that didn’t set up exchanges. The link takes you to a Kaiser Family Foundation pages that describes the four types of exchanges.

Dellinger explains the reasons almost all the people hurt by this are people in the Red States, who have elected politicians who hate the Affordable Care act, and have already chosen not to implement the Medicare expansion in the ACA that would have covered millions of more citiens, on the mostly-Federal dime. In some ways it almost makes you hope the Supremes support the challenge, since it would be interesting to see the politicians in those states explain to their constituents why they’re not getting benefits their equals in the Blue States are.

Maybe that would provoke some voting.

Inside Garbage Land!

CNN’s “Inside Man,” Morgan Spurlock, goes deep inside the world of garbage tonight on CNN. Here’s a story about his report.

Spurlock does all the things a good and enterprising reporter might do. He follows his trash from house to truck, then to the transfer station, and on to the dump. He investigates what happens to all the plastic in the ocean. He works a shift with his local Department of Sanitation workers, looks at a recycling MRF, explores electronic waste issues, and even talks to members of the zero-waste movement. Though there is no indication he visits a Prolerizer, which is something I would like to see, these are all fine topics for discussion.

garbagelandcoverAnd they were all covered extensively by my wife, Elizabeth Royte, in her 2005 NY Times Notable Book, Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash. Visit Garbage Land’s website here.

Spurlock was an enterprising documentarian while making Super Size Me, about eating McDonalds only, and POM Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, about product placement, and has made many other films and TV shows, including one about One Direction, so he’s likely to do a fine job on the same story in a different medium. We’ll see.

Elizabeth is philosophical. One can’t own a topic, of course. Still it’s hard to read through the list of topics in Spurlock’s show and the reportorial approach and not think of recycling.