Monday, August 27, 2012

A note on We, Us and the language of email

What is it about an earnest email that tells "you" (they mean me) to do something or other? 
I do not deserve such a subordination of my decisions to the minds of others.

What ever happened to us? I mean, whatever happened  to "we?" 
I like the ring of, "We the people," and like that.

When Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg, he said, "Four score and seven years ago our fathers...," and a moment later, "We are engaged in a great civil war..,"  leading us to conclude together that, "we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

I am waiting for my copy of Joe Romm's book, "Language Intelligence." I can tell from the posts of his enthusiastic reviewers that they have yet to learn to use inclusive language as well as did Lincoln.  They write that "you" should get the book. 

But should we? I might write about it after I've read the book.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mixed tides for New Orleans

Hurricane Isaac is projected to head for New Orleans with a landfall between 8 PM Tuesday and 8 PM Wednesday.  What a gloomy thought.  

Wondering how tides could work for or against the latest fate of southern Louisiana and New Orleans, I found a webpage of tides on the Louisiana coast and bayou area.  The tides around there are "mixed" high and low tides that occur once a day each and not with an obvious progression from day to day.

Natural-born presidents of a sort

My dad was pleased when the New York Law Review and the Congressional Research Service indicated that GEORGE Romney could run for president of the USA.  Now, George Romney was born to US citizens who were part of a Mormon community in Mexico.  His opponents claimed that if Romney hadn't been born on US soil, he wasn't natural born. The law review took Romney's side in effect, as it argued that being a natural-born child of a US citizen residing anywhere was still natural-born.  As dad pointed out, that meant that a child born on an airplane over the mid-Atlantic or in the Philippines could still be eligible to run for president, provided that the child never subsequently relinquished his or her natural-born citizenship, as acquired from a biological parent with US citizenship at the time of the child's birth.

The 'hiding in plain sight' part of Barack Obama's birth certificate is his birth mother's US citizenship.
It doesn't matter where he was born geographically!
His father was Kenyan, no doubt, but Barack Obama never sought or claimed Kenyan citizenship.  
What counts is that Barack Obama was born to a US citizen and he never relinquished his US citizenship nor claimed another. 

This is why when MITT Romney ineptly joked to his hometown Michigan audience about no one asking for his birth certificate, he was really messing around.    Mitt was in his late teens when his father George ran for president, so Mitt is old enough to remember the eligibility challenge.  What would count on Mitt's birth certificate is if his parents were US citizens (they were), not being born in Michigan.

What could make life interesting is a candidate for US president who was born on US soil when neither parent held  US citizenship.  The amnesty offer for children born in the US to 'illegals' could create a constitutional crisis. 

It would be smart to plan ahead and think it through.

Spin not the Arctic sea ice death spiral

The Arctic sea ice shrank this summer to the smallest surface area in human recording.
Joe Romm at Climate Progress has been posting on the implications.
The National Snow & Ice Data Center has multiple images of the changes.

Loss of sea ice is loosening up the spinning top of the world, unraveling the Jet Stream. The Jet Stream  now loops further into the mid-latitudes, creating blocking patterns  that shape droughts, heat waves and inundations.  Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University gave a succinct presentation for scientists about the Arctic and extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere.  Those with sufficient motivation are encouraged to watch.


Welcome to Planting Ahead. 

The name Planting Ahead stuck with me when I'd been thinking about the Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment, a cooperation among three Mohawk Nations. They plant black ash trees in diverse locations to preserve the tree species from the invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer and from the northward advance of climate change.  The Mohawks on the ATFE are certainly not in denial about the dangers, and they aren't waiting for a external policy shift to fix things. I admire their presence of mind.