Weekly Letter to the President
Copyright © 2017
ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
November 20, 2020
Mr. President: Despite Joe Biden exceeding the magic number of 270 that
guarantees a majority in the electoral college, President Donald Trump has not
conceded. Does he have a plan to overturn the wishes of the electorate?
According to Trump he did not lose, he was cheated out of a legitimate win by voter
fraud and ballot stuffing. Accordingly, he has filed lawsuits in those critical states with
narrow margins of victory for Biden -- so far without tangible success -- to block
certification of the vote and persuade Republican legislatures to overturn the state
vote as fraudulent and award the electoral votes to him.
Trump's window of action is narrowing. A major target state was Michigan with 20
electoral votes. However, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has now certified
Biden's victory meaning he should get its electoral votes.
While Trump's shenanigans continue, the world faces a real danger of melting ice
sheets and glaciers. A long term denier of global warming, Mr. Trump now accepts it
but believes the earth will right itself without any effort by humans.
Scientists meanwhile are particularly concerned with the Florida-sized Thwaites
glacier in the Antarctic. Its collapse they fear could destabilize surrounding glaciers
eventually causing catastrophic global sea level rises measured not in inches but feet.
The glacier rises 60 to 75 feet above water across its 75 mile face. Remembering
that 90 percent of it is under gives some notion of the quantity of ice. The Nathaniel
B. Palmer research vessel is conducting a survey this winter for the first time as part
of a five-year international research program to learn just how fast the glacier is
melting and how much it might be adding to rising seas.
The problem is the shape of the glacier under the water and the warming waters
eating away that core while the ice on top gets thicker and thicker as the glacier
retreats inland. At some point the glacier is likely to collapse of its own weight into the
ocean. Scientists who have modeled the scenario fear the process is unstoppable
once it starts. Worse it puts much of the West Antarctic ice sheet at risk of following it
into the sea. Any wonder then that Thwaites is also known as the Doomsday glacier.
At the other pole the Greenland ice sheet had a record-breaking 2019, shedding the
most ice since 1948 -- an estimated 532 billion tons. It of course increases coastal
flooding along the eastern seaboard particularly the Carolinas and Florida.
Fortunately for the residents, the 2020 melt from Greenland, while well above the
1981 to 2010 average, was lower than recent years particularly 2019.
Donald Trump does not believe he lost the election and he does not believe in global
warming. Christmas is just around the corner and it's reassuring to know he believes
in Santa Claus . . . and the tooth fairy.