Monday, August 20, 2018

The World Didn't Start When You Began Paying Attention

The difference between Trump and many past presidents and there advisors isn't that he's racist and misogynist and arrogant.  It's that he says what's on his mind and many past presidents knew how to conceal what they were thinking.

In a Patheos piece called "White Supremacist Roots of Evangelicalism,"  the author (can't find an author name) starts with another article written by an Evangelical who is leaving the group because of Trump's arrogant bullying of everybody.  But the Patheos author says she doesn't disagree with most of what the ex-Evangelical says until she gets to
"In fact, [Trump] somehow, mysteriously to me, gained momentum and endorsements."
The Patheos writer then gives some historical context.
"As historian Randall Balmer writes, white evangelicals were largely apolitical until the Supreme Court upheld an IRS decision to deny tax exemptions to segregated private schools. The outrage over that ruling was the spark for religious-right powerhouses like Jerry Falwell to launch a massive political movement. It’s only after overt racism became unacceptable that abortion was chosen – basically, picked out of a hat – as the new cause for religious conservatives to focus their ire on (you may have seen Samantha Bee’s ferociously funny segment about this).
Evangelicalism has always been the tool of choice for propping up racial hierarchies. For instance, Christianity Today was founded by a segregationist and promoted segregation. It’s plausible that the “otherworldly” emphasis on heaven and salvation was invented as a means to justify slavery and other earthly evils."

We all become politically conscious at some point.  And most of us don't know too much about what happened before we started paying attention.  That's natural.  And when one had to search book after book in the library to find out about history, it took effort to get past the narratives of the main media outlets.

But today, google offers lots of ways to find out what went on before.  Sure, there's lots of crap out there designed to confuse and confound.  But good stuff should make sense and have references you can follow.  And you can easily find ten articles from sources in various camps and compare.

Every politician has a history.  Every group, every organization has a history.

Our Supreme Court helped maintain segregation and inequality of nearly a century after the Emancipation Proclamation.  The Courts supported the rich over the poor more often than not.  None of this is new.  What's depressing is that now that the people of the United States have moved ahead, the courts are poised to keep pulling us back to a world dominated by the wealthy.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The 1964 Alaska Earthquake & Northern Acorn Barnacles - Why Knowing Lots And Integrating What You Know Is Useful

I'm reading Henry Fountain's The Great Quake:  How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet.  It's for my October book club meeting.  We're actually discussing David McCullough's  The Johnstown Flood at our next meeting, but it wasn't in the library and Quake was.

The whole Quake book is about figuring things out - basically, how the field of geography was still resisting the idea of earthquakes being caused by shifting tectonic plates.  I took geography at UCLA in 1963 (a year before the Alaska earthquake), and I don't recall anything about plate tectonics in that class.  Fountain argues that what the learned from the Alaska earthquake moved the field to accept plate tectonics.

But I want to focus on a tiny part of the data collected after the earthquake.  Fountain focuses particularly on a field geologist with the US Geological Survey - George Plafker, who had done a lot of summer field work in Alaska.  The USGS sent him and Arthur Grantz and Reuben Kachadoorian to Anchorage immediately after the quake.  They did a lot of flying around, taking pictures, talking to folks, and generally documenting changes in the landscape immediately after the quake.  (I'd note the turned out a report on the earthquake on April 27, 1964, just one month after the quake.  I can't imagine too many government agencies pulling that off today.  It was a preliminary report with lots of qualifications, but still, it was out there.)

Pince William Sound Google Map 
He came back up again for the summer to study uplift and subsidence in Prince William Sound.  Fountain writes that so much of the land to be studied was on the water where things were easier The Don J. Miller -  at their disposal.  (Don Miller was an old mentor of Plafker who had drowned in Alaska.)
to see and measure.  He points out that Prince William Sound (about 100 miles from east to west - Cordova to Whittier) has about 4000 miles of coastline.  But they had an agency flat-bottomed motor barge -

"The Don J. Miller, Plafker realized, would make most of [the coastline] easy to reach.  And measuring the changes in elevation along it would be made easy by something else:  the barnacle line.
Plafker had first learned of the barnacle line during his two weeks in Alaska immediately following the quake and had talked to marine biologists then to better understand how barnacles fit into the environment of the Alaskan coast."
Newfoundland Rock Barnacles - *see note below
Barnacles had been used to measure uplift and subsidence after a previous earthquake, but Fountain says that Plafker and his crew perfected the technique.

"The concept was relatively simple.  Because northern acorn barnacles establish themselves at a certain spot on rocks and pilings - at or close to mean high water - they could be used as a reference point to measure both uplift and subsidence.  In an area where the land had risen up, the prequake barnacle line would now be higher than it was before, and out of the water.  After a few weeks the barnacles would have died, but their white- colored plates remained, firmly cemented to the rocks or wood.  For ears where the land had sunk, the barnacle line would now be underwater most or all of the time.  Either way, to determine the amount of elevation change, in most cases all that was needed  was to know the stage of the tide - which the US Coast and Geodetic Survey had been busy recalculating all over Alaska after the earthquake - and them measure from the waterline to the top of the barnacle line."
Fountain explains it's a little more complicated than that and gives details, then writes:
"Later in the summer the work became easier and Plafker found that often he didn't need to worry about the tides at all.  Late summer was when juvenile barnacles, which had hatched after the quake and developed, settled down for good - at the new, post-quake mean high-water line.  Then Plafker would have two barnacle lines - before and after - and determine the elevation change was simply a matter of measuring the distance between the two."
There were, Fountain points out, areas where there were no barnacles, such as where the rocks were exposed to strong waves.  But there was a type of seaweed - Focus distichus, or Rockweed - that offered a similar mark that could be used.

I'm writing about the norther acorn barnacle here because I think it's cool, the way that these scientists used knowledge in one field to assist them in this difficult task of measuring how much the land had risen or sunk due to the earthquake.   The more we know, or communicate with people who know other things, the more we are able to integrate that knowledge to know more.  I also have to think about Alexander von Humboldt, about whom I wrote not long ago, who had this incredible breadth of knowledge across different fields that enable him to see what most people couldn't.

*Newfoundland Nature calls this a 'northern bar 'acorn barnacles' AND '  balanus balanoides.  I found other pictures labeled 'northern acorn barnacle' but also called semibalanus balanoides.  The Effects of Land Level Changes on Intertidal Invertebrates, which references George Plafker's use of the barnacle line, his barnacles are identified as balanus balanoides.  Other northern acorn barnacle pictures I found were also labeled semibalanus balanoides. They also required permission to use.  But I'm sure these are very close, if not the exactly the same sort of barnacle. I was hoping to find some pictures of the barnacle line - I'm sure I have my own somewhere from pictures I took kayaking in Prince William Sound.  If I find one I'll add it.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Recycling Plastic Flower Pots At Alaska Botanical Garden

I gather a bunch of old pots from the ancient greenhouse in the yard and washed them as best as I could in the wheel barrow for the Botanical Garden's recycle your pots day.

Then today we took them to the Garden and added them to their collection.

And then we did a quick walk through the garden to see what was still blooming.

There's a tall fence to keep the moose out, but bears can squeeze under the gate.

Here's a globe thistle not quite open.

And here's one open.

And a Masterwort.

There aren't too many peonies left, but here's one.

Here's a bed of geraniums.

Most of the garden is full of perrenials, but there are a few beds with annuals, like this snapdragon.

Friday, August 17, 2018

"There Is No Way To Tell" - Hogwash

In an Anchorage Daily News story Thursday about Chinese attempts to hack Alaska state computers, reporter Alex DeMarban writes:

"It is not unique, nor would we draw conclusions about its timing or source," Baird [a spokesperson for Gov. Walker] said. "There is no way to tell if the activity is related to the recent trade mission to China, and a review by the Office of Information Technology has found no evidence that state networks were hacked in this instance."
I find phrases like "there is no way to tell" troubling.  Most times, especially when we're talking about human acts, there IS a way to tell.  It's just that Baird doesn't have access to the people who know.

I'm sure Baird would say, yeah, Steve, of course - all that is implied.  I can't explain every little detail.

But it does matter, because most people don't think past those words.  Don't think, well, somebody most know and therefore, there is, actually a way to tell.  They just accept it at face value.  It would be much more transparent if he said something like, "Computer people at Tsinghua University know, but so far they haven't told me what happened."

"Nobody knows" is another way to say "I don't know" without sounding so bad - after all, nobody knows.  There are things nobody knows - events in the future, or so long ago that no one who remembers is still alive.  But when police inspecting a crime or politicians tell us 'nobody knows' be ready to ask follow up questions.  Sir, somebody must know.

This is often just a power phrase, a way to say something that makes you look stronger or smarter or better than you really are.  It was only about two weeks ago I posted about another power phrase - Make No Mistake.

These are terms that should cause you to listen up really carefully and to push back on the person talking.

I don't think that everyone who uses these phrases is consciously attempting to manipulate others.  They are said so often, that people's tongues seem to utter them as filler.  But then, that's a clue that they aren't paying close attention to the words and phrases they're using, which leads to other problems.

I added "Hogwash" to the title as an afterthought.  I've gotten a few hits on an old post entitled, "The Origins of Hogwash."    Enough that I figured that term had come up somewhere that lots of people saw.  Today I read an analysis of the spat over former CIA chief John Brennan's losing his security clearance.  Brenna says 'hogwash' several times in his response.  And 'hogwash' is a good answer often, when someone says, "There's no way to tell."

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Can You Figure Out What's Wrong with These Alaska Crime Report Charts?

Alaska's CRIME IN ALASKA 2017:  Uniform Crime Reporting Program Annual Report came out today.  You can get to the whole report  here.  I haven't read through the whole thing, because the first chart was so bad.  I got distracted looking at what was wrong with this chart.

Charts are supposed to help visual words or numbers, help you see relationships the column of numbers or verbal descriptions the visualize.  So here's the first chart in the report.

Look at this chart.  Can you tell what the numbers represent?  The gold (Non-Reporting) if I understand this right, is the number of people in jurisdictions that do not report crime statistics.  That makes sense because the population in 2017 was 739,000 people.

That is a problem, but not the major problem I see here.

Can you tell what my real problem is?  I'm going to distract you with some pictures that have nothing to do with this so you can think and not be distracted by my corrected chart.  Think about jeopardy music playing while you look at the pictures.

The raspberries are ripening daily in the back yard.

Have you figure out what's wrong with the chart?  If yes, scroll down.  If not, go back and figure it out.

A while back I posted about the city turning off the water one day because they're doing work on the old pipes.

Well, there are some upsides to this.  They're putting in new sidewalk/bike path along Lake Otis. Unfortunately, I think it's not related to which parts need it the most, but rather to where they had to dig to put in new pipes.  But it's better than nothing.  It was pretty gnarly.

OK, now go look at the chart I made of these numbers.  (I'm afraid I got green instead of gold for the non-reported population. I'm doing this in Mac's Numbers and it has limited combinations of colors.)

Here's a more accurate representation of the numbers:

As I said, the point of a chart is to help visualize the meaning of the data.  In the State report's chart, the vertical columns segment out the two different populations, but the length of the blue and gold has no relationship to the numbers.  The gold for 2013 is about 40% of the chart, when the actual number of unreported population is less than 1%.  The same distortion exists for all five years.   And the difference in total population for each year is also exaggerated.  In fact, the differences are so small that in a proportionally correct chart, you can barely see the gold (green in my chart) or the differences between the years.  They're really insignificant.  

Here's another unrealized chart.  (I'm trying to be diplomatic here.)  

The chart is better than trying to find this information in the text, but it could have organized the information in much more useful ways.  

My biggest problem is that I can see no order in the crimes selected.  The point seems to be to graphically show us how frequently different crimes occur.  So why not put them in order from least frequent to most frequent?  

The spacing around a clock isn't really relevant to anything.  The clock tells us nothing except this is about time.  But why is ROBBERY at the 3?  All the critical information is presented in words, not images.  As I said, all this does (and this is not unimportant) is highlight these frequencies by pulling them out of the text of the report and putting them in an image.  But the image itself doesn't show much thought about how to convey the numbers visually.  

Data visualization is one of the hottest fields in journalism today.  DATAVIZ folks are taking vast amounts of data and putting them into great charts that help people see complex ideas.  Here are some ideas on this from one of the leaders in the field, Alberto Cairo.

But these examples take Stone Age data charts and botch them.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Traffic Jam Anchorage Style On My Way To Ask Voter Registration Questions

The traffic wasn't moving on Benson as I was heading to the elections office to turn in to registrations and ask some questions about PFD registration and registering homeless folks.

I got onto Benson at Spenard and the left lane wasn't moving shortly after that.  The two right lanes were empty.  Here I was at Benson and C after the light's been red a while.

The two left lanes weren't moving because the folks in the right lanes were merging because at A street they were completely blocked off.  My lane had a dying flare in it, so basically everyone had to move over to the far left lane.

At A Street and Benson, the problem was revealed.  I'm guessing someone ran a red light, just can't tell which one.

I think I waited about four or five extra red lights, maybe fifteen extra minutes.  This is just normal conditions in lots of parts of LA.

At the elections office I learned 

Yes, when you register for the Alaska Permanent Fund  Dividend (PFD) check, you're automatically registered.  Some people, they told me, complained because they had no choice.  She did refer me to the Elections website which has a PDF updated August 2018, which answers all my questions.

I guess this is the key question, all the others, clarify this one:

"Why is the Division of Elections sending me mail?
The law requires the Division of Elections to send each PFD applicant that is eligible to vote an opt-out mailer giving the applicant/voter the option to opt-out of being automatically registered to vote or have their voter registration record updated."
I take this to mean that everyone who applies gets a letter from the Division of Elections, either to opt out, change information (namely address), or do nothing.  If I got such a notice, I've totally forgotten it.  If you do nothing, and you're already registered, everything stays the same.  If you aren't registered and do nothing, you get registered to vote.

I'd note that in October 2016, when the initiative to add automatic PFD registration  was coming before the voters in November, Paul Jenkins had an opinion piece saying it was a waste of money, that people already had lots of ways to register if they wanted to.   But then his real opposition to the initiative is revealed when he writes near the end:
"To argue the initiative is not about advancing Democrat fortunes at our expense is nonsensical. If the left wants to register voters it should pick up the check and not pass it on to a cash-strapped state while pretending it is for the civic good."
I would have to do some more research to see if his predictions that more Democrats will be signed up is true.  I suspect that would be hard to determine since people are automatically registered as "undeclared."  They would have to opt to change their party registration and I'm guessing most won't.

My guess is that Republicans wouldn't have any problem with spending money on this if they thought it would add Republican voters.

The Hill cites a recent Brennan Center report:
"Nine southern states previously had to get approval from the Department of Justice to change voting policies under a provision in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but the Supreme Court struck down that measure in 2013.
“Across the board, formerly covered jurisdictions increased their purge rates after 2012 more than noncovered jurisdictions,” the report found.
The center highlighted Texas, Georgia and Virginia as states impacted by the 2013 Supreme Court ruling with higher rates of voter purging."
Actually there were 16 states overall that had to get preclearance from the Department of Justice before the Supreme Court ruling and Alaska was one of them.

But with the PFD registration (more people get PFD's than drivers licenses) Alaska has to be one of the most aggressive states actually getting people onto the rolls instead of off.

And it's nice to live in a state that's making it as easy as possible for people to register to vote.  Unlike states where they are now aggressively purging the roles.  

I'm curious what this means for voter registrars.  How many people aren't registered.  Of the two I registered last Friday, one had moved from out of state, so he clearly hadn't registered yet.  But the other seemed to be someone who would have gotten a PFD check last year.  But they checked and he wasn't registered.  And, of course, all the people turning 18 before the election.

Homeless Registration?

People can use Bean's Cafe, or any other place they regularly eat at as their address.  If they are living in a homeless camp off the bike trail through the woods, they can give the closest intersection or whatever description that will allow the elections office to determine what district they are in.  Of course that won't work too well for mail-in only elections.  But you can still go and vote early at various locations.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Standing For Salmon 2: Fish [Ship] Creek Fishers

The last post was about standing for salmon politically.

This one is about literally standing for salmon - at Fish [Ship] Creek in downtown Anchorage next to the Port of Anchorage.

We'd made a trip to Alaska Mill and Feed, but they close at 4pm on Sunday, it turned out, and it was 4:30.

So we decided to walk around the area.  We hadn't done that for a number of years and things have been spiffed up.  The Bridge Restaurants crosses over Ship Creek and has an upscale menu and there have been lots of improvements.  Here's the fanciest outdoor public restroom I've ever seen in Alaska.  If you look closely (you may have to click on it to enlarge and focus it) you can see they're labeled Dollies and Chums.

It had rained during the night and much of the day, but it was surprisingly warm - low 70s F.  And it was windy.  Weather reports said it was a remnant of a typhoon in Japan.  I'd say we had about 10 mile/hour winds most of the time with gusts over 30 mph.

Here's a guy sloshing through the mud, his rod had snapped.

Here we walked down to a look out point, next to the boat launch into Cook Inlet.  The picture is looking north to the mouth of Ship Creek with the Port of Anchorage in the background.  If I'd turned around and taken a picture to the south, you'd see downtown Anchorage about half a mile away.

We sat there watching the clouds move past us in the wind.

To get a sense of how fast the clouds were moving, the series of shots below span just under two minutes.

Another shot to the north, geese in the foreground and the port in the background.

Another view of the fishers as we cross a bridge and return on the other side.

And yes, folks were catching fish.

[UPDATE Aug 16, 2018:  Jim Kerr pointed out this is Ship Creek, not Fish Creek.  I seem to have used both names in this post.  Thanks Jim, I've made the corrections now.]

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Standing For Salmon, Registering Voters, Visiting Photographer

Stand for Salmon is a group that got an initiative onto the November ballot that would better protect salmon habitat in Alaska.  An industry group, made up of mining and other resource extraction companies, is calling themselves Stand for Alaska, to oppose Ballot Initiative 1.

I haven't read through the initiative - it's about eight pages long.  I can do that.  But it was disqualified by the Lt. Governor (who supervises elections) and Stand for Salmon sued.  The Alaska Supreme Court has now ordered the initiative to be on the ballot, but with some changes.  We have to wait to see what the Lt. Governor's elections team does before we can know exactly what will be on the ballot initiative.  My basic understanding is that the initiative would bring back some of the protections Alaskans had before the legislature failed to renew our Coastal Zone Management Program.   The elimination of the program, which gave coastal communities much more say in projects, was supported by resource extraction organizations that didn't like all the public participation that slowed down or ended their project approval processes.  But that's my general impression and I have to get into the details soon.

In the meantime, you can start at Ballotopedia which gives much better coverage than I could give at this point.

All this introduction leads into the Salmon BBQ that Stand For Salmon threw at the Cuddy Family Park, Friday evening to celebrate Alaska Wild Salmon Day.  (Yes, that's a state recognized day.)

I was asked to help out at the Citizens Climate Lobby table and when I arrived, there was already a
large crowd walking around and lining up for BBQ salmon.  (Salmon was free, beer you had to pay for.)

I also brought along my voter registration forms.  I figured this would be a good place to register folks.  The first person I asked had moved up from California and hadn't registered here yet.  Bingo.  He had an Alaska drivers license.   But then, everyone else I asked was already registered, many in other states or countries.  Then folks told me they thought everyone was registered because of the automatic voter registration when you apply for the Alaska Permanent Fund check.  I'd forgotten about that.  Here's what the Permanent Fund Website says:
"On November 8, 2016, Alaska voters approved Ballot Measure 1 (15PFVR) which will automatically register eligible individuals to vote when they apply for a Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD), unless they opt-out. The Division of Elections webpage has more information.
A mailer from the Division of Elections will be sent to Alaskans who applied for their PFD from March 1, 2017 (effective date) to March 31, 2017 and whose address on their PFD application is different than their voter record address, or to applicants who are not currently registered to vote."
So Alaska has taken a different direction from a lot of other states that are trying to purge folks from the voting lists.  The only eligible unregistered voters are those who are turning 18 since the last PFD check and people who just moved to Alaska and haven't filed for the PFD check yet.  And, of course, those few folks who don't apply for their checks.  I'm guessing any way.  I have to check Monday with the elections office.  I also want to know how to register homeless folks.  I'm sure they've figured this out, but address is a mandatory

There were lots of tables with information from various non-profit organizations like CCL.  There was music, and, of course, the salmon.

I did get one more voter registered - a 20 year old who was in line waiting for his salmon.  He said he wasn't interested in registering and when I asked why not, his answer didn't make sense to me, so I pushed a bit.  "It doesn't matter if I vote."  I responded that the people who didn't vote could have changed nearly every race if they had vote. He still wasn't interested in voting.  "If you register, you don't have to vote.  But if you don't register and you change your mind, you won't be able to vote."  His response was that he didn't have time to register.  Now I had him.  "You're waiting in line to get free salmon.  You can fill out the form before you get your salmon."  And he took the form and pen and filled it out.  The couple behind him, when he gave the form back to me, congratulated him on registering to vote.

I talked to a lot of folks, including one gentleman who had three expensive looking cameras wrapped around him.  He's a photographer from London who's in Alaska talking to people about their views on climate change.  He was amazed at some of the folks in Utqiaġvik (formally Barrow) who didn't believe that climate change was caused by humans.  When I asked more, he did say they worked for or had worked in the oil industry.  The photographer, Laurence Ellis, said this was for Document Journal.  He sounded like someone who was worth noting here.  At the very least, he will be interpreting his version of Alaska to the world.   I only wish I'd worked a little harder when i took his picture with my low end Canon Powershot.

Toward the end of the event, everyone was invited for a giant photo of the event.  I'd guess most people had already left.  But there was still a good crowd.

[UPDATE August 13, 2018:  Coincidentally, the next post turned out to be about standing for salmon literally.]

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Posts Are Piling Up While I'm Getting Other Things Done

The Amanitas are starting to pop out of the ground.  I've searched my blog here to find a post I did on the more mystical properties of the Amanita.  As I did that I found that four of the five  previous  posts with an Amanita were put up between August 6 and August 19.  One outlier was on July 15, 2016.  [The post with the most information - including the warnings of the dangers and the praises of the flights - is the first one you see in the link.  And there's one more that you need to click on "Next Posts" at the bottom to get to.  There are lots of mushrooms on those pages, plus other surprises.]

Here's one that's a little further along, with a budding one in the background.

These two little white mushrooms were poking up in the woodier area of our yard where I've been experimenting with a hugel.  This link will get you started on "hugelkulture".   I've been trying to solve two gardening issues at once:

  • excess soil
  • lots of trimmed branches
In hugel gardening (Hugel in German means hill), you take branches of various sizes and pile them up and then put soil on top of them.  You get a hill with lots of organic material and air pockets below.  Go to the link for details.  

The new steps in front exacerbated an old problem that began when I dug out soil along the garage so I could put in some insulation.  Dug up soil is not nearly as dense as soil that's been packed down for years.  Even after spreading some of the extra soil around the yard, I still had a garbage can full of dry sandy soil.  So now I've taken care of about 70% of the pile of branches and twigs and the garbage can full of dirt.  There's more dirt from where they dug to put in the new front steps - which expanded into areas I'd had plants before.  

Another interesting white mushroom.  In the past I would have spent an hour going through my mushroom field guide to tell you what these two mushrooms are called.  But this is a post about not having time to put up other posts.  It was only supposed to be a few picture - like throwing your back pack to the ground when you're being chased by a bear.  To keep you (and the bear) busy while I gain some ground. (Fortunately, despite being in a state full of bears, they aren't really interested in interacting with humans and so we've had relatively few encounters while on foot and usually they run as soon as they see us.)

I went to the Covenant House BBQ Thursday for lunch and to touch base.  I hadn't been to the new facility which is really nice.  I was a mentor for several young men there in the past.  But the last guy I mentored is still in my life and I decided he's enough.  And all this reminds me I want to follow up on the ADN's editorial about homelessness.  

After the BBQ I stopped by the election office to get forms to register voters, and the instruction booklet to remind me how to do it.  I became a registrar about four years ago when I was involved in a political campaign.  

I also voted early in our primary which is August 21.  There's a lot to write about that - particularly the governor's race.  I have posted a little on that with a video of Tom Begich explaining why his brother jumped into the race.  

Outside the election headquarters the flagpole had no flag.  I remember when raising and lowering the flag were like a ceremony every morning and evening.  It would be nice if we could listen to everyone else in the US and be heard by them in return so we could make the US a country we could all be proud of.  Where we'd all be proud of our flag again.  (I say this recognizing that we're in a time when those in power (who were in charge of the flag and what it represented) rode roughshod over much of the population - women, the poor, people of color, lgbtq folks, and everyone else who was other.  But I think many of those 'others' still believed that the United States was moving forward toward equality for all of them eventually.  And thus many of them also took the flag seriously.  (I could be wrong here.  I don't think the mainstream surveys ever asked questions like that - they took the answers for granted.)
Anyway, now that laws have given more people better tools to be treated fairly, those who had the power are feeling victimized.  Equality for them, apparently meant, that they still kept their special status and privilege.  

So here's my stalling post, since I've missed a couple of days already.  I've got Friday's Stand For Salmon post to put up and lots of other themes I want to pursue.  Hope you have a good Sunday.  

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

On This 44th Anniversary, Here's Nixon's Resignation Speech - Maybe Trump Will Watch It And Get Some Pointers For His

I remember the day well.  Two days before my son was born.  On August 7th I began an eight full day class on Privacy with the Director of the Bureau of the Census, Vincent Barabba, a Nixon appointee.  And then on the 8th, Nixon went on television to give this resignation speech.  His speech began at 6pm after class was over.   As you can imagine, the next day, when he actually resigned, the class  strayed from the topic of privacy.  But we had a busy schedule and we got back on track relatively quickly.

Donald, watch carefully, maybe you can be known for the best presidential resignation speech.  Here's your competition.  Despite what we thought at the time, after 18 months of our current president, he looks incredibly presidential.

Here's the whole speech:
Good evening.
This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office, where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of this Nation. Each time I have done so to discuss with you some matter that I believe affected the national interest.
In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the Nation. Throughout the long and difficult period of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.
In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.
But with the disappearance of that base, I now believe that the constitutional purpose has been served, and there is no longer a need for the process to be prolonged.
I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interest of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations.
From the discussions I have had with Congressional and other leaders, I have concluded that because of the Watergate matter I might not have the support of the Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of the Nation would require.
I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of America first. America needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad.
To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.
Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.
As I recall the high hopes for America with which we began this second term, I feel a great sadness that I will not be here in this office working on your behalf to achieve those hopes in the next 21/2 years. But in turning over direction of the Government to Vice President Ford, I know, as I told the Nation when I nominated him for that office 10 months ago, that the leadership of America will be in good hands.
In passing this office to the Vice President, I also do so with the profound sense of the weight of responsibility that will fall on his shoulders tomorrow and, therefore, of the understanding, the patience, the cooperation he will need from all Americans.
As he assumes that responsibility, he will deserve the help and the support of all of us. As we look to the future, the first essential is to begin healing the wounds of this Nation, to put the bitterness and divisions of the recent past behind us, and to rediscover those shared ideals that lie at the heart of our strength and unity as a great and as a free people.
By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.
I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my Judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interest of the Nation.
To those who have stood with me during these past difficult months, to my family, my friends, to many others who joined in supporting my cause because they believed it was right, I will be eternally grateful for your support.
And to those who have not felt able to give me your support, let me say I leave with no bitterness toward those who have opposed me, because all of us, in the final analysis, have been concerned with the good of the country, however our judgments might differ.
So, let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in helping our new President succeed for the benefit of all Americans.
I shall leave this office with regret at not completing my term, but with gratitude for the privilege of serving as your President for the past 51/2 years. These years have been a momentous time in the history of our Nation and the world. They have been a time of achievement in which we can all be proud, achievements that represent the shared efforts of the Administration, the Congress, and the people.
But the challenges ahead are equally great, and they, too, will require the support and the efforts of the Congress and the people working in cooperation with the new Administration.
We have ended America's longest war, but in the work of securing a lasting peace in the world, the goals ahead are even more far-reaching and more difficult. We must complete a structure of peace so that it will be said of this generation, our generation of Americans, by the people of all nations, not only that we ended one war but that we prevented future wars.
We have unlocked the doors that for a quarter of a century stood between the United States and the People's Republic of China.
We must now ensure that the one quarter of the world's people who live in the People's Republic of China will be and remain not our enemies but our friends.
In the Middle East, 100 million people in the Arab countries, many of whom have considered us their enemy for nearly 20 years, now look on us as their friends. We must continue to build on that friendship so that peace can settle at last over the Middle East and so that the cradle of civilization will not become its grave.
Together with the Soviet Union we have made the crucial breakthroughs that have begun the process of limiting nuclear arms. But we must set as our goal not just limiting but reducing and finally destroying these terrible weapons so that they cannot destroy civilization and so that the threat of nuclear war will no longer hang over the world and the people.
We have opened the new relation with the Soviet Union. We must continue to develop and expand that new relationship so that the two strongest nations of the world will live together in cooperation rather than confrontation.
Around the world, in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, in the Middle East, there are millions of people who live in terrible poverty, even starvation. We must keep as our goal turning away from production for war and expanding production for peace so that people everywhere on this earth can at last look forward in their children's time, if not in our own time, to having the necessities for a decent life.
Here in America, we are fortunate that most of our people have not only the blessings of liberty but also the means to live full and good and, by the world's standards, even abundant lives. We must press on, however, toward a goal of not only more and better jobs but of full opportunity for every American and of what we are striving so hard right now to achieve, prosperity without inflation.
For more than a quarter of a century in public life I have shared in the turbulent history of this era. I have fought for what I believed in. I have tried to the best of my ability to discharge those duties and meet those responsibilities that were entrusted to me.
Sometimes I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, but always I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, "whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly."
I pledge to you tonight that as long as I have a breath of life in my body, I shall continue in that spirit. I shall continue to work for the great causes to which I have been dedicated throughout my years as a Congressman, a Senator, a Vice President, and President, the cause of peace not just for America but among all nations, prosperity, justice, and opportunity for all of our people.
There is one cause above all to which I have been devoted and to which I shall always be devoted for as long as I live.
When I first took the oath of office as President 51/2 years ago, I made this sacred commitment, to "consecrate my office, my energies, and all the wisdom I can summon to the cause of peace among nations."
I have done my very best in all the days since to be true to that pledge. As a result of these efforts, I am confident that the world is a safer place today, not only for the people of America but for the people of all nations, and that all of our children have a better chance than before of living in peace rather than dying in war.
This, more than anything, is what I hoped to achieve when I sought the Presidency. This, more than anything, is what I hope will be my legacy to you, to our country, as I leave the Presidency.
To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every American. In leaving it, I do so with this prayer: May God's grace be with you in all the days ahead.
NOTE: The President spoke at 9: 01 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. The address was broadcast live on radio and television.