Friday, June 22, 2018

Airport Noise Impacts - DNL = "Driving me Nuts Lately"

I wrote Wednesday that the Anchorage International Airport has a temporary new flight plan sending noisy jets over our house throughout the day and night.  In the past we've had three or four week periods like this as they repaired the north-south runway.  But there was always a quiet period during the night.

This year's repairs are scheduled for all summer and next summer and there's no night quiet period either.  (The posting said the heaviest planes would have to use the east-west runway 24/7)

So I looked at their map.

The dotted red lines shows the area labeled:   During Construction 65 DNL Noise Contour  
I added the blue dashes to show how far significant  (at least) noise goes beyond those red dots. I'd also note there are two major hospitals just east of where I ended the blue dots that definitely are affected.

They don't explain DNL, but I have google working for me.  Below is a definition of DNL from MACNoise:
"What is DNL in Terms of Aircraft Noise?
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established DNL as the primary metric for aircraft noise analysis and expressing aircraft noise exposure in the United States. "DNL" is the acronym for Day-Night Average Sound Level, which represents the total accumulation of all sound energy, but spread out uniformly over a 24-hour period.
DNL has been widely accepted as the best available method to describe aircraft noise exposure and is the noise descriptor required by the FAA for use in aircraft noise exposure analyses and noise compatibility planning. It also has been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the principal metric for airport noise analyses.
The calculation for DNL considers the time of day an aircraft operated and applies a 10-decibel penalty on aircraft arriving or departing between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.; the output is a numeric value in decibels that represents a 24-hour average noise exposure value. The current federally-established threshold of significance is 65 dB DNL.
While DNL also may be used for non-aviation purposes, the FAA's use of DNL is specific to aircraft noise. The Metropolitan Airports Commission publishes Aircraft Day-Night Level values as "ADNL" to avoid confusion with other uses of "DNL." 
The threshold is 65 dB (decibels) DNL.  That doesn't mean the sound level stays below 65 dB.  It means the average over a 24 hour period is 65 dB.

So if on average you have ten minutes per hour of jets flying over your house, it would appear that decibel level is averaged with the 50 minutes of quiet.   So, from what that definition says, you could have ten minutes of 120 dB per hour and probably still get a 65 dB DNL.  (I'm not sure, I don't know exactly how they calculate. How does the fact that the decibel scale goes up logarithmically affect an 'average'?)


How loud is 65 dB DNL?   Here's a google docs chart that shows you lots of examples.  It puts washing machine, dishwasher, and refrigerator at 65 dB and electric shaver at 65.  If linking to the google chart is too much of an effort, I've added a chart from SCRIBD that has some extra pages of info.  You can scroll through it and enlarge it.  (Note:  the examples in the Google and SCRIBD charts don't always match exactly, and the SCRIBD charts has different examples on different pages)

As you look at the chart, the numbers aren't going to seem right.   For instance, here are a few examples:

breathing   = 10 decibals
light traffic = 50 decibels
inside subway car = 90 decibels

Is light traffic really only 5 times louder than breathing?  A subway car only 9 times louder?  The answer is no.  And here's why from Science How Stuff Works:
"On the decibel scale, the smallest audible sound (near total silence) is 0 dB. A sound 10 times more powerful is 10 dB. A sound 100 times more powerful than near total silence is 20 dB. A sound 1,000 times more powerful than near total silence is 30 dB. Here are some common sounds and their decibel ratings:"
Here's where the logarithmic scale is important.  Each step of 10 decibels is 10 TIMES louder than the previous step.  So, if light traffic is 40 decibels more than breathing, then that's  10  x 10 x 10 x 10 = 10,000 times louder!

The SCRIBD chart tells us that hearing loss can start at 90 decibels - a subway.  Permanent damage occurs at 140 decibels - a jet engine at 100 feet or a gun shot.

Noise and Health

There's lots of research showing the damaging effects of noise on health - though be careful with what you find online.  I found one article which made pretty broad claims, but the sources cited were extremely limited studies on fairly small populations.  While the claims were probably accurate, the sources listed couldn't be generalized to such broad claims.  So I didn't use it here.

But here's an article* about noise impacts at an airport in Turkey using European standards.  It has this chart which neatly outlines some of the key problems with airport noise.  The metrics are European standards

EffectObservation threshold
MetricValue dB(A)
Ischemic heart diseaseLden70
Sleep patternLn60
Subjective sleep qualityLn40
Mood next dayLn60

Below are the first seven of ten Key Findings from the European Environment Agency report Noise In Europe 2014.

The key messages from this report are:
1. noise pollution is a major environmental health problem in Europe;
2. road traffic is the most dominant source of environmental noise with an estimated 125 million people affected by noise levels greater than 55 decibels (dB) Lden (day-evening-night level);
3. environmental noise causes at least 10 000 cases of premature death in Europe each year;
4. almost 20 million adults are annoyed and a further 8 million suffer sleep disturbance due to environmental noise;5. over 900 000 cases of hypertension are caused by environmental noise each year;
6. noise pollution causes 43 000 hospital admissions in Europe per year;
7. effects of noise upon the wider soundscape, including wildlife and quiet areas, need further assessment;
I'm not sure whether Lden is the same calculation as DNL, but Europe's threshold seems to be 55 dB while ours (US) is 65.

Is this post going to end?

Basically, I've been taking notes here so I have some basis for raising questions about the decision to impose this level of noise on a big chunk of Anchorage for four months.  Two days into this and I'm already on edge.  Jets flying over all night - even with heavy duty ear plugs in - is affecting my sleep and there are all the other stress issues the studies show.  The DNL numbers are one way to measure this, but are they the best way?  The average sound is important for long term steady health impacts.  But in terms of health, I would guess that measuring  the loudest sounds and how often people subjected to them is equally or more important.  It's hard to sleep through occasional 120 dB periods (rock concert is listed as 115 dB)  all night.

I understand the airport makes a lot of money from cargo flights through the airport and disrupting that may encourage cargo companies to fly through Fairbanks instead of Anchorage.  Maybe the heaviest cargo planes that can't use the shorter north-south runway should go through Fairbanks at night.   Maybe they should give a discount to flights that are delayed during a night time east-west runway ban.  I don't know the answer.  But it doesn't look like health and inconvenience played nearly as big a role in their calculations as keeping the money rolling into the airport.  That's not a small matter, or course, but for a big swath of Anchorage to have its summer disrupted by continuous jet noise is no small matter either.  The Municipality's dog noise page tells us that:
"Few things in life are as annoying as having to listen to the constant bark, howl, whine or cry of another person's dog."
Well, constant loud airplane noises can be just as annoying.

 This is my starting point.  Let's see what I find out.

And I would add that it's Friday now.  Thursday night seemed to have fewer flights and with my earplugs I made it through the night ok.

* I got this through the UAA consortium library, so I'm not sure if you need a library id to get this article.  Here is the citation.  An Anchorage library card would probably work through Loussac. Here's the citation:
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment Volume 36, May 2015, Pages 152-159 Estimation of airport noise impacts on public health. A case study of İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The New Abnormal

We've all been warned about the 'normalization' of previously unthinkable acts with the president as the main example.  Things that would have destroyed every past president, Trump does daily with (so far)  impunity, because enough Republicans in Congress put their reelection above the good of the United States.  

But I'm noticing something else - ordinary acts of decency, that used to be pretty routine, are now glorified and persons involved are given hero status.  Here are two stories from the ADN in the last two days:

Man helps woman in wheelchair (Link goes to theWashington Post version ADN reprinted)

Bilal Quintyne was on a training run and saw a 67 year old woman stranded in a broken wheel chair.  He stopped and pushed the chair (whose battery had died) home, a 30 minute walk.

We used to expect people to do that sort of thing.  When we arrived in the 1970s, Alaskans knew if they skidded off the road, the next passing pick-up would pull them out of the ditch.  Bilal was on a training run, and pushing the balky wheelchair for 30 minutes would work different muscles maybe, but it wasn't a big departure from what he was doing.  Was it a good thing to do?  Yes, of course.  But not helping would have been shameful.  In the old days helping others in need was expected of us all, like saying please and thank you.

People find engraved bracelet on Seldovia beach and return it to owner

This was in the letters to the editor today.  Again, this used to simply be common decency.  People looking out for each other.  This one is a little different because it's a thank you from the person who got the bracelet back.  So it's not the editor picking up a story and highlighting it.  But there have been others of late, particularly on social media.

The Point

I have mixed feelings here.  On the one hand, these kinds of actions should be everyday occurrences.  Unremarkable.  Simply people helping people because that's what decent people in a decent society do.

On the other hand, it's not a bad thing to remind people that these things are occurring all the time. So, I guess I'd say we should get these kinds of stories - I'm sure they inspire others to copy them - but we shouldn't make these folks out like heroes, like unusual events.  Rather, people who don't do these sorts of things should be pictured as troubled.

And, of course, if someone helps another while taking great personal risks, then, yes, that shows heroism.  But not finding a woman in a broken wheel chair and helping her get home.  Not finding an engraved bracelet and tracking down the owner.  Those should be treated as normal behavior, not heroic acts.

Our perception of things like the prevalence of crime and human decency tend to be anecdotal and emotional, not fact based.  I've written here before that when  highlighting a car crash death, the reporter ought to also mention how many people did NOT die in a car crash that day.  Just to help us keep things in perspective.

I'm all for stories of people doing good deeds, but keeping them in perspective as what a decent citizen is expected to do.  Not making the good samaritans into  heroes doing unexpected goodness.  We shouldn't be making doing good deeps into the new abnormal.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Anchorage International Airport Diverting Jets Over Midtown To Work On North-South Runway

Jets are flying overhead.  Last night throughout the night, the sound of jets.  On and off during the day and again tonight.  So I checked the Anchorage International Airport website.  They're rebuilding the north-south runway which means wee'll get a lot more noisy traffic taking off over Mid-town Anchorage.  It's nice to have the airport ten minutes away when you're flying.  But not when you're in town and the jets are diverted over your house.

Construction Schedule
Construction is planned for two construction seasons: 2018 and 2019.
During the 2018 summer, the runway will be partially closed, and it will be fully closed during the 2019 summer. Modified operations will occur throughout the two construction seasons; during these time periods operations will require heavier cargo aircraft to be shifted to the east-west runways. In order to complete the project, the North/South Runway will be closed and modified operations will occur during construction for approximately two (2) seasons. During construction, the majority of air traffic will be shifted to the east/west runways. Most arrivals will land from the west, and most departures will take off to the east, creating a temporary increase in air traffic and noise over areas east and southeast of the airport. Airport operations will return to normal between construction seasons and once construction is complete. Every effort is being made to reduce noise and impacts to local residents.
2018: To expedite project delivery, construction is scheduled 7 days per week, 24 hours per day, from the middle of June through October 2018. During the 2018 construction season, the North/South Runway will have full or partial closures for brief durations. There will be a three week full closure starting on June 18, 2018. Between these fully closed periods, the shortened runway is anticipated to remain operational. The full length of the North/South Runway will be returned to service for the winter 2018/2019.

[I intended to save this and finish it later, but it seems I hit the publish button instead.  So I cleaned it up a little this morning.]

Here's the next post on this.  It gets into DNL - the metric they use to measure acceptable airport noise and health impacts of noise.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Nicole Stellon O'Donnell's Steam Laundry

My bookclub met here last night.  We'd read Steam Laundry.  I can't recall a book quite like it.
Based on letters and other documents the author found in archives, it tells the story of a woman who, with her two sons, follows her husband to the gold fields of Dawson City in 1898.  The story is told in poems mostly with a letter or two and other documents, like a doctor's prescription.

I want here only to alert you to this wonderful, unique book.  I was skeptical when others described it, but the pages went by too fast.  It's short and can be read in several hours, though it deserves more than one reading.  It's the kind of book that reminds me how much beauty and feeling can be captured in words if one takes the time and has the talent.

Let me direct you to the author's website to learn more.

Our book club hosts (me last night) try to serve some refreshments that directly relate to the book. There wasn't much literal food in these poems.  They were living in the wilderness through the winter.  Potatoes are mentioned.  Caribou strips.  And then there was this:

"In the stewpot
chunks of moose, an onion
with the rot peeled away, the last
of the summer’s potatoes
bubble, and steam soaks the lifted lid,
a perfect moon, dripping
round and hopeful"

I remembered a hunter friend over the weekend and asked if I might be able to get a small amount of moose or caribou.  He had caribou [moose] at 10th & M (a place that butchers and stores the meat of hunters).  So he was only able to get it to me Monday morning.  Two pounds.  I thawed it, cubed it, browned it, then added other ingredients from a recipe I found online.

I understand better now why some hunters hunt.  The meat was dark read, cut easily, and delicious.  We tend not to eat meat, but make exceptions on special occasions.  This was one.  Loussac Library has lots of copies, or better yet, go buy one.  You'll want to savor the words and images.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

When It Comes To Guns, We Don't Need New Laws 'Cause People Will Still Get Guns, But When It Comes To Immigrants, They Think Taking Away The Kids Will Stop Folks

I know logic and consistency don't matter with the Trump administration, but I think about all the NRA folks swatting away any law that might make it harder for some people to get guns, saying, "Criminals will still get guns.'

And I say, no matter what Congress does, immigrants will still come.

Remember the folks who jumped out of the World Trade Center to avoid burning to death?

The people fleeing from countries where they're in daily danger from community and domestic violence have a much greater chance of saving themselves by seeking asylum in the US than the people who jumped out the windows.  And even if they're told about Trump's policies, it sounds better than the fires burning around them at home.

But the Trump administration thinks taking away the kids - and for many this will mean a life of severe psychological damage, particularly for the youngest kids - will stop people from jumping out of the burning countries.

From the NYTimes:
"But advocates inside the administration, most prominently Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump’s senior policy adviser, never gave up on the idea. Last month, facing a sharp uptick in illegal border crossings, Mr. Trump ordered a new effort to criminally prosecute anyone who crossed the border unlawfully — with few exceptions for parents traveling with their minor children.
And now Mr. Trump faces the consequences. With thousands of children detained in makeshift shelters, his spokesmen this past week had to deny accusations that the administration was acting like Nazis. Even evangelical supporters like Franklin Graham said its policy was 'disgraceful.'”
How much more of this evil* will the Republicans in the Senate go along with?  Certainly those not running for reelection in November need to stand up to this severely troubled man in the White House.

*I don't use this term lightly, but these people, who seriously advocate separating young children from their parents, are morally incompetent, not to mention that whatever possible short term gain, will be far offset by the long-term damage to these kids.

Read this Twitter thread by a reporter who was forcibly separated from his father as a young child.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Anchorage Pridefest and Parade

Thursday was warm (70s) and sunny.  Friday was gray, Friday night it rained a lot.  But this morning the streets were dry but the clouds were still here.  I biked downtown to get in the Congregation Beth Sholom group at the parade, but I couldn't find them.  So I chained the bike to a tree and waited just before where the groups entered the parade route.  (Why the groups don't have
any body on the streets.)  There were lots of bubbles.

The Royal Court.

Here's Mayor Berkowitz (light blue) near the front of the parade with an APD car behind.

Planned Parenthood.

The Alaska Native Health Consortium.

Anchorage Public Library.


Pride Youth Network

And I joined in when Congregation Beth Sholom arrived.

James was staffing the Full Circle booth and signed up the friend I was with.  They've come a long way from when we subscribed.  Back then they didn't carry Alaska grown stuff, stopping delivery when we were away was tricky, and they didn't deliver to your door.

Brian Conwell was working at the AKDems booth.  He grew up in Dutch Harbor, just graduated from high school, and is headed to Harvard when the summer's over.  This is someone to keep an eye on.  I'll bet we hear his name in the future.

Aaron just arrived in Alaska for the first time ever last week from Chicago.  He's a legal intern at the ACLU.

Kim works with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and I wanted get her take on the Netflix show "13 Reasons Why" which we just finished.  She hasn't seen it yet.  Her organization isn't using it, but she's heard that reactions vary a lot and for some it could well push people to suicide, but she's happy people are talking about suicide.  She said they were getting a lot more people coming to the booth this year.

Bryan was there with his family.  He went to school with my daughter.

Dani was there representing UAA.

Candidates tend to show up for events like this and I got to meet Dimitri Shein who is running as a Democrat for the US House.  This is the race that Alyse Galvin is in as an independent.  Which doesn't mean an Independent Party member, but just no party declared.  But with a recent Alaska Supreme Court ruling, she's running in the Democratic Primary.  Whoever wins - Alyse or Dimitri - will run against Don Young.   

It was cooler than last year and when the breeze picked up, it was getting chilly.  But all that was good for the many, many bubbles.

The hell and damnation guy was there spouting his vitriol against gays, but not too many were paying any attention at all.  I don't understand how so called Christians can interpret Christ's message as intolerant and exclusive and damning.  It's truly a feat of one person twisting the bible's meaning to support his own unchristian views.    I decided he needs to be noted, but I don't need to include a picture.  

Friday, June 15, 2018

Only A Country Of Sick People Takes Kids From Their Parents

The people who make these kinds of decisions have no conscience.

But people in a democracy bear responsibility for allowing their government to do such things.

Everyone needs to make peace with people of opposing ideologies.
Everyone needs to recognize our society oppresses everyone in one way or another.  Most get over it.  Others grow to become the oppressors.  We all need to smile when we meet people on the street.  To imagine everyone we meet as a brother, as a future Nobel Prize winner, of US president, or great athlete, and our behavior toward others will improve.  (Unless you hate your brother.)

This is just sick.  What did these official not get as children.  Or get too much of?  To use the kids as a political bargaining tool is unconscionable.

And if your members of Congress get a letter, email, or phone call about this, I'm sure most will agree.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Queen Of Sheba - Anchorage Finally Gets An Ethiopian Restaurant

Samrowit and Dwit have opened an Ethiopian restaurant on Dawson, between Northern Lights and Benson.  It's where the Somali restaurant was.

There was an article in the ADN last week which mentioned that it had opened and the couple said they were not quite ready for the crowds.  They only expected people from around mid-town, but it's been people from all over.

We got there about 6:45pm.  We didn't realize that it closed at 7pm (they're open for lunch too).  They'd run out of the veggie dishes we wanted.  They ended up bringing out two chicken orders and a veggie order on the traditional spongy bread and said it was on the house because it wasn't what we ordered.   It was delicious.  Messy, but delicious.  (You eat with your fingers, though if you asked I'm sure they'd get you a fork.

They'd only been open a week when the article came out.  The ADN should have held off and given them some time to get settled. (It was an article about new businesses opening and old ones closing, not a food review.)   On the positive side, because of the article people have promised help, like putting up a website.  They'll figure things out.  They've already ordered a larger mixer so they can prepare more of the bread.    I was hungry so I didn't think about getting a picture of our dinner, but you can see a picture at the link for bread above.

Here's the entrance.  It was (and still is) warm today - in the 70sF - so the shades are down to block the sun.  They put up a sign with their hours while we were leaving.  But the food was good.  Just go earlier than we did.  And yes, we left a tip equivalent to what it would have cost us.

This is a great addition to the Anchorage restaurant choices.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Comparing the Joint Statements of Trump and Kim Jong Un and of Nixon and Chou Enlai

I keep hearing about the statement from Singapore saying little or nothing, so I thought I'd read it and put it up here for people to see.  Then I thought it would be useful to get some sort of benchmark to compare it to.  So I found the Shanghai Communique released after Nixon's visit to China in 1972.

Some things to think about when reading through these two documents:
1.  The basic purpose of Nixon's visit was to simply start a dialogue with the most populous nation in the world after decades of the US denying the existence of China and supporting Taiwan instead.   Trump's visit had some similarities because the US and North Korea had no diplomatic relations for decades either.  However, in the present case, Trump was visiting a pariah nation and there was growing concern about North Korea's nuclear weapons. Trump's goal to 'denuclearize' the Korean Peninsula.
2.  In the current statement, the names of the two leaders are in the title.  In the 1972 statement, they are not.  Probably not a big deal, but still telling.
3.  In both statements there are a lot of vague commitments with no actual specific steps or deadlines.  In the Singapore statement, the most specific commitment is that North Korea "commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."  A further specific commitment is to return identified remains of POW's and MIA's.
The Shanghai agreement goes through many more issues including Vietnam (the US was still fighting there at the time), peace between India and China in Jammu and Kashmir, peace in Korea,  and China and the US commit to a one China policy and the US will withdraw military bases from Taiwan. This was a huge concession on the part of Nixon radically changing US policy on China. There is also mention of cultural exchanges.
4.  The Singapore statement includes a bit of self-aggrandizement when it mentions "a first, historic summit"   and later, "Having acknowledged that the U.S.-DPRK summit — the first in history — was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future . . "  (emphasis added)  The Shanghai statement has no such language.

Nixon went to the most populous country in the world - opening relations that both saw as beneficial for trade and for peace in Asia and the world.  Trump went to one of the poorest nations with a population of 25 million (the 52nd largest in the world).  Trump went to denuclearize North Korea.  And the statement shows commitment to that goal.  As much as the Shanghai Communique shows commitment to any of their goals.  Though in the Shanghai case, the two countries met, if not quite as equals, then as two of the most powerful nations on earth.  And without any clear agenda items (such as the denuclearization goal) other than to establish contact and begin to regularize relations.

Singapore Statement
Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Convinced that the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:
1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
Having acknowledged that the U.S.-DPRK summit — the first in history — was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in this joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-up negotiations, led by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the U.S.-DPRK summit.
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new U.S.-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.
President of the United States of America
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
June 12, 2018
Sentosa Island

And here's the Shanghai Communique (as best as I can tell) issued jointly by China and the US after Nixon's visit in 1972.  

203. Joint Statement Following Discussions With Leaders of the People’s Republic of China1Shanghai, February 27, 1972.President Richard Nixon of the United States of America visited the People’s Republic of China at the invitation of Premier Chou Enlai of the People’s Republic of China from February 21 to February 28, 1972. Accompanying the President were Mrs. Nixon, U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers, Assistant to the President Dr. Henry Kissinger, and other American officials.
President Nixon met with Chairman Mao Tse-tung of the Communist Party of China on February 21. The two leaders had a serious and frank exchange of views on Sino-U.S. relations and world affairs.
During the visit, extensive, earnest, and frank discussions were held between President Nixon and Premier Chou En-lai on the normalization of relations between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China, as well as on other matters of interest to both sides. In addition, Secretary of State William Rogers and Foreign Minister Chi P’eng-fei held talks in the same spirit.
President Nixon and his party visited Peking and viewed cultural, industrial and agricultural sites, and they also toured Hangchow and Shanghai where, continuing discussions with Chinese leaders, they viewed similar places of interest.
The leaders of the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America found it beneficial to have this opportunity, after so many years without contact, to present candidly to one another their views on a variety of issues. They reviewed the international situation in which important changes and great upheavals are taking place and expounded their respective positions and attitudes.
The U.S. side stated: Peace in Asia and peace in the world requires efforts both to reduce immediate tensions and to eliminate the basic causes of conflict. The United States will work for a just and secure peace: just, because it fulfills the aspirations of peoples and nations for freedom and progress; secure, because it removes the danger of foreign aggression. The United States supports individual freedom and social progress for all the peoples of the world, free of outside pressure or intervention. The United States believes that the effort to [Page 813]reduce tensions is served by improving communication between countries that have different ideologies so as to lessen the risks of confrontation through accident, miscalculation or misunderstanding. Countries should treat each other with mutual respect and be willing to compete peacefully, letting performance be the ultimate judge. No country should claim infallibility and each country should be prepared to re-examine its own attitudes for the common good. The United States stressed that the peoples of Indochina should be allowed to determine their destiny without outside intervention; its constant primary objective has been a negotiated solution; the eight-point proposal put forward by the Republic of Vietnam and the United States on January 27, 1972 represents a basis for the attainment of that objective; in the absence of a negotiated settlement the United States envisages the ultimate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from the region consistent with the aim of self-determination for each country of Indochina. The United States will maintain its close ties with and support for the Republic of Korea; the United States will support efforts of the Republic of Korea to seek a relaxation of tension and increased communication in the Korean peninsula. The United States places the highest value on its friendly relations with Japan; it will continue to develop the existing close bonds. Consistent with the United Nations Security Council Resolution of December 21, 1971, the United States favors the continuation of the ceasefire between India and Pakistan and the withdrawal of all military forces to within their own territories and to their own sides of the ceasefire line in Jammu and Kashmir; the United States supports the right of the peoples of South Asia to shape their own future in peace, free of military threat, and without having the area become the subject of great power rivalry.
The Chinese side stated: Wherever there is oppression, there is resistance. Countries want independence, nations want liberation and the people want revolution—this has become the irresistible trend of history. All nations, big or small, should be equal; big nations should not bully the small and strong nations should not bully the weak. China will never be a superpower and it opposes hegemony and power politics of any kind. The Chinese side stated that it firmly supports the struggles of all the oppressed people and nations for freedom and liberation and that the people of all countries have the right to choose their social systems according to their own wishes and the right to safeguard the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of their own countries and oppose foreign aggression, interference, control and subversion. All foreign troops should be withdrawn to their own countries.
The Chinese side expressed its firm support to the peoples of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in their efforts for the attainment of their [Page 814]goal and its firm support to the seven-point proposal of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam and the elaboration of February this year on the two key problems in the proposal, and to the Joint Declaration of the Summit Conference of the Indochinese Peoples. It firmly supports the eight-point program for the peaceful unification of Korea put forward by the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on April 12, 1971, and the stand for the abolition of the “U.N. Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea.” It firmly opposes the revival and outward expansion of Japanese militarism and firmly supports the Japanese people’s desire to build an independent, democratic, peaceful and neutral Japan. It firmly maintains that India and Pakistan should, in accordance with the United Nations resolutions on the India-Pakistan question, immediately withdraw all their forces to their respective territories and to their own sides of the ceasefire line in Jammu and Kashmir and firmly supports the Pakistan Government and people in their struggle to preserve their independence and sovereignty and the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their struggle for the right of self-determination.
There are essential differences between China and the United States in their social systems and foreign policies. However, the two sides agreed that countries, regardless of their social systems, should conduct their relations on the principles of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, nonaggression against other states, noninterference in the internal affairs of other states, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. International disputes should be settled on this basis, without resorting to the use or threat of force. The United States and the People’s Republic of China are prepared to apply these principles to their mutual relations.
With these principles of international relations in mind the two sides stated that:
—progress toward the normalization of relations between China and the United States is in the interests of all countries;
—both wish to reduce the danger of international military conflict;
—neither should seek hegemony in the Asia–Pacific region and each is opposed to efforts by any other country or group of countries to establish such hegemony; and
—neither is prepared to negotiate on behalf of any third party or to enter into agreements or understandings with the other directed at other states.
Both sides are of the view that it would be against the interests of the peoples of the world for any major country to collude with another against other countries, or for major countries to divide up the world into spheres of interest.
[Page 815]
The two sides reviewed the long-standing serious disputes between China and the United States. The Chinese side reaffirmed its position: The Taiwan question is the crucial question obstructing the normalization of relations between China and the United States; the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government of China; Taiwan is a province of China which has long been returned to the motherland; the liberation of Taiwan is China’s internal affair in which no other country has the right to interfere; and all U.S. forces and military installations must be withdrawn from Taiwan. The Chinese Government firmly opposes any activities which aim at the creation of “one China, one Taiwan,” “one China, two governments,” “two Chinas,” and “independent Taiwan” or advocate that “the status of Taiwan remains to be determined.”
The U.S. side declared: The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves. With this prospect in mind, it affirms the ultimate objective of the withdrawal of all U.S. forces and military installations from Taiwan. In the meantime, it will progressively reduce its forces and military installations on Taiwan as the tension in the area diminishes.
The two sides agreed that it is desirable to broaden the understanding between the two peoples. To this end, they discussed specific areas in such fields as science, technology, culture, sports and journalism, in which people-to-people contacts and exchanges would be mutually beneficial. Each side undertakes to facilitate the further development of such contacts and exchanges.
Both sides view bilateral trade as another area from which mutual benefit can be derived, and agreed that economic relations based on equality and mutual benefit are in the interest of the people of the two countries. They agree to facilitate the progressive development of trade between their two countries.
The two sides agreed that they will stay in contact through various channels, including the sending of a senior U.S. representative to Peking from time to time for concrete consultations to further the normalization of relations between the two countries and continue to exchange views on issues of common interest.
The two sides expressed the hope that the gains achieved during this visit would open up new prospects for the relations between the two countries. They believe that the normalization of relations between the two countries is not only in the interest of the Chinese and American peoples but also contributes to the relaxation of tension in Asia and the world.
[Page 816]
President Nixon, Mrs. Nixon and the American party expressed their appreciation for the gracious hospitality shown them by the Government and people of the People’s Republic of China.2
Source: Public Papers: Nixon, 1972, pp. 376–379. Commonly known as the Shanghai Communiqué.↩
A Note following the text of the communiqué reads: “The joint statement was released at Shanghai, People’s Republic of China. On the same day, the White House released a statement by Press Secretary Ronald L. Ziegler and the transcript of a news briefing on the joint statement. Participants in the news briefing were Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and Marshall Green, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. The statement and the transcript are printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 8, pp. 480 and 476).” On February 14, the White House released a statement by Ziegler on further relaxation of trade with the People’s Republic of China. The statement is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 8, p. 438). On February 21 the White House released a statement and transcript of a news briefing by Ziegler on the President’s meeting with Chairman Mao Tse-tung. The statement is ibid., p. 466.↩
CHINA, 1969–1972
Optimistically, one could argue that Trump understood Kim as he understood the white working class in the US.  He saw them as having a strong need for respect from others.  A need that Trump himself seems to have.  If he's right on this, perhaps being on equal footing the president of the United States will give him what he needs to stop his nuclear weapon program.  It's possible.  But as all but the most ardent Trump fans have been saying, there are no timetables, not concrete steps, no discussions of how to verify. It would be great if things progressed as Trump sees things.  I'd be willing to acknowledge Trump did a great thing, if it works out.  But there's a lot that can go wrong, not the least is Trump's twitter addiction.  Some one night stands become more than that.  But in most cases the glow fades quickly.

But looking at the two documents, I'd say that the China one has more detail on a wider range of topics and is more diplomatic in its language, but there aren't any more specifics about the next steps and no deadlines.  That peace on the Korean peninsula they both supported, well, it's 35 years later and we've been in one of the tensest periods in decades.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Supreme Court Decision Allows Ohio To Drop Voters For Missing Election And A Post Card

Justin Levitt, a redistricting expert I respect, wrote a very detailed analysis of yesterday's Supreme Court decision which allows Ohio to purge voters who miss an election and a follow up post card. The whole thing is worth reading; here's a snippet:
"And then there’s the Supreme Court decision, its own bundle of disappointments. It’s a disappointing approach to have so little regard for what Congress was trying to achieve.  Congress set out to limit unwarranted purges of eligible voters, and it’s hard to believe they approved a process allowing voters to be kicked off of the rolls without any reliable evidence that they might in fact be ineligible.
It’s a disappointing triumph of empty formalism. Recall that the statute says that individuals can’t be removed because they haven’t voted. At one point, Justice Alito explains that Ohio does not purge people because they haven’t voted, because purging also turns on the failure to return a postcard. This is an astonishingly thin conception of causation, and a mechanical version of textualism that should by all rights fail the Turing test.
It’s a disappointing trivialization of the franchise. Magazine subscriptions lapse because of inactivity. But part of the whole reason for this portion of the federal code is the notion that access to fundamental rights doesn’t.
And it has disappointing consequences. Some eligible voters who have not recently participated and who miss a single mailing will be unaware that they are no longer registered, and in states without same-day registration, will discover the problem too late to cast a valid ballot. Joe Helle registered in Ohio in 2004, missed a few elections while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and arrived home to find himself purged from the rolls and shut out from the coming election, despite no change in his underlying eligibility. The process will likely have inequitable ramifications beyond servicemembers, as well: groups that tend to vote less often, the very citizens we should be making more efforts to engage, will naturally be more affected."

I'd also like to know what sort of accountability the department has on their purging activity. Are people in all areas treated the same?

And if anyone is wondering if they have been purged from the voting rolls here in Alaska, I called the Election Office and spoke to Rachel who showed me where to check online.  So it's pretty easy to make sure you're still there.

But the process here is much more lenient.  After four years of voter inactivity (that means not voting) they send you a post card and ask you if you want to stay registered.  If that comes back with a forwarding address, they'll send a second post card.  After that you are put on a list called "inactive purge."  That lasts another four years, for a total of eight years without having voted.

If you're on inactive purge and you go to vote, you won't show up on the list of voters in your precinct or anywhere else.  But you can vote a questioned ballot and if you're on the inactive purge list, your vote will count.  But, as I understood it,  you will only be able to vote for statewide offices - say this November, Governor, House of Representatives, and any propositions.

Within and hour of posting, I decided there needed to be more.  It's not quite long enough to call it an update.  

I looked up whether you could check online to see if you were registered in Ohio as well.  You can.  Here's the link to the page.

I've complained in the past that Alaska has way too many registered voters.  People die, people move away from Alaska.  Few of them (or their heirs) notify the state.  Other people move to different parts of the state.  And we have a pretty low voter turnout.  Not voting for eight years, seems like a pretty lenient policy.    And no one has presented evidence that people are falsely voting on behalf of any of these no-longer-here voters.

If voter fraud isn't a problem, what difference does it make if ghost voters hang around eight years?  Nothing too serious, certainly not serious enough to accidentally purge people who think they're registered.

Candidates will have more voters to contact when they run for office.  But they tend to ignore people who haven't voted for a number of years.  Many just go after the super voters in their party (and independents).  So that's not a big problem.

Perception of voting turnout.  If there were 100,000 registered voters (an easy number to calculate with) and 20,000 voted in an election, we'd say the turnout was 20% of the registered voters.  Not very good.
But if 30% (30,000) of those 100,000 no longer lived in Alaska but were still on the list of registered voters, then there'd really be only 70,000 registered voters.  20,000 voters out of a total of 70,000 registered voters would come out to 28% turnout.  That's quite a bit better, but still pitiful.

With smart phones and iPads on the campaign trail, candidates and their supporters can go online and show potential voters whether they are still registered or not.  Yes, it's an obstacle, but given how many people don't vote at all, it's probably a rather small bump.  But as Justice Sotomayor pointed out in her dissent in this case, it affect low income and minority voters much more than suburban white neighborhoods.
"It is unsurprising in light of the history of such purge programs that numerous amici report that the Supple- mental Process has disproportionately affected minority, low-income, disabled, and veteran voters. As one example, amici point to an investigation that revealed that in Ham- ilton County, “African-American-majority neighborhoods in downtown Cincinnati had 10% of their voters removed due to inactivity” since 2012, as “compared to only 4% of voters in a suburban, majority-white neighborhood.” Brief for National Association for the Advancement of Colored People et al. as Amici Curiae 18–19. Amici also explain at length how low voter turnout rates, language-access prob- lems, mail delivery issues, inflexible work schedules, and transportation issues, among other obstacles, make it more difficult for many minority, low-income, disabled, homeless, and veteran voters to cast a ballot or return a notice, rendering them particularly vulnerable to unwar- ranted removal under the Supplemental Process."
I'm sure some see this just as a simple task that responsible citizens take care of, others see this as an intentional tactic to lower Democratic voter turnout, and along with the myriad of other ways of stacking the vote from voter id to gerrymandering, each of these attempts all together create a sizable obstacle for some voters.