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
February 1, 2019
Mr. President: It doesn't take much to imagine the following scenario: 'Cross my
heart, I swear it's a low-yield,' as a Trident is launched! One wonders if the new low-
yield W76-2 warhead advocated by Donald Trump comes with a broadcast tape
Otherwise it looks exactly the same, is delivered by the same missile, and is made
essentially by disabling the second stage of a Trident warhead. That restricts it to the
5 kiloton fission starter which is about a third of the Hiroshima bomb. Still, a third of
the Hiroshima experience might not be looked upon lightly by the victim. The first of
the new bombs has just rolled off the production line, the initial operational batch to
be delivered by the end of September.
The big question is how a country being attacked is supposed to know it's not the real
thing, namely the massive hydrogen bomb of a regular Trident about to deliver a
crippling blow. Under the use-it-or-lose-it MAD doctrine, the target country has
minutes to decide whether or not to launch its own missiles. Who will want to wait and
see the effects of the incoming Trident before responding? Worse still, if the smaller
warhead makes use more likely, then the likelihood of Armageddon increases
It could also have been designed for use in non-nuclear countries that one way or
another are irksome to US power brokers. Iraq used to be on the list, now it's Iran,
and who knows but the Taliban have been persuaded by it to negotiate and agree on
a framework for an Afghan deal. Although, no matter what lipstick is put on that pig, it
will not obscure the fact of another lost war.
In other news, the Midwest is colder than the inside of a freezer. The polar vortex
normally spinning contentedly over the North Pole has been forced down into Canada
and the US Midwest. Chicago, the worst affected major City, experienced colder
temperatures than the Antarctic. The indoor-outdoor temperature differential was
94F, the outdoor low at -22F or -30C.
Too much for President Trump to resist who tweeted, "In the beautiful Midwest, ...
coldest ever recorded ... What the hell is going on with the Global Warming? Please
come back fast, we need you!" Lipstick on a pig does not change the fact its
posterior is more valuable than its brain.
It turns out a pool of intensely hot air formed over Morocco. As it rose, wind currents
pushed it to the North Pole where it cleaved the vortex forcing one half down into
North America. One can of course wonder about the causes of the hot air and its
intensity, but such speculation is unlikely to be of interest to Mr. Trump.
Meanwhile new research reported in Science (January 11, 2019) finds an accelerated
pace of ocean warming. Using ocean heat content (OHC), which the authors claim is
a more reliable measure than surface temperature, they have collected data showing
a faster pace. Simulations of the future under three scenarios show an accelerated
rise from bad to worse. For Trump's business-as-usual scenario they predict a sea
level rise of 30 cm. At present it's already 7 cm higher than in the 1990s.
Will it all be goodbye to Mar-a-Lago, or is that where he's building that wall?