Weekly Letter to the President
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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 6, 2020
Mr. President: Deceit and its handmaiden mistrust are in the nature of man. The US
election last Tuesday is over; the counting took longer. At first both candidates
claimed to have won Pennsylvania yet one has difficulty pronouncing it (and much
else besides) and the other in spelling it . . . and much else besides. Now one has
declared victory supported by the media; the other has filed a lawsuit. Guess who is
Trump can feel the tightening of the noose and the loosening of his grip on power; he
is not a graceful loser. If it is not a clear-cut case, it will end up in the supreme court
where there is now, after Trump's recent appointment, a right wing majority. The
issue resides on what votes should be counted in Pennsylvania.
Some people contend that all votes mailed in before Tuesday November 3 should be
counted; others believe only votes received by that date are valid. Logic favors the
latter because if anyone expressed an intention to vote in person before voting day
but did not show up to do so, no one would accept his or her voting at a later date.
Think of November 3 as D-day when the votes are counted. If some modern
technological system was to be used and all votes cast in person or received by mail
counted immediately, the election would be over on Tuesday.
It took more than a month to sort out the election in 2000. That was between George
W. Bush and Al Gore. The Supreme Court decided the issue and Dubya Bush
became president. We went to war in Iraq and haven't stopped since.
There is other news in the world, most notably on climate change. One figure stands
out. Were the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and glaciers to melt, the mean sea
level in the world would rise by 215 feet. Not to worry, those ice sheets are thick:
10,000 feet for Greenland 15,000 feet thick for Antarctica, so it will take a while for
them to melt even though Greenland ice has been likened to a cube of ice floating in
warm water with a blow dryer trained on it -- the blow dryer representing the warming
earth atmosphere, now 2C above pre-industrial levels.
The fight against global warming has found an ally in Prince Charles, the heir to the
British throne. In a letter to the World Economic Forum's Sustainable Development
summit at the end of September, he laid out a proposal to abate global warming. First
he called for an end to "perverse fossil fuel subsidies" urging business and political
leaders to embrace carbon pricing. He also called for scaling up carbon capture and
storage technologies, sustainable urban development, a protection of the
environment, and a focus immediately on solutions and their implementation. . . all of
which long overdue.
Donald Trump, a climate change sceptic, pulled the US out of the Paris climate
agreement, a withdrawal that became effective ironically on November 4, the day after
the election. Biden has promised to follow the recommendations of scientists.