Wednesday, September 2, 2015

President Obama is visiting Arctic Alaska, so shut up already

Posted on Twitter by Kate Zuray
President Obama spends a happy moment on the beach at Dillingham.

Read this, then pause and reflect on it for a moment.

For the first time in history, a sitting United States president is visiting Arctic Alaska.

Now, to top that off, he is here at least in part to examine first hand and also to highlight the effects of climate change in Alaska which is the front line where changes due to global warming are most obvious.

Yesterday he visited a glacier.

Then he was criticized by a supposedly intelligent Alaska writer who said melting glaciers aren't necessarily indicative of changes in global climate. That may or may not be. However it is not the only indication and in part is why President Obama is visiting the Arctic. Incidentally that writer who has been a controversial outdoors reporter over the years, with this visit sounds like he is auditioning for Fox News, as he nit picks anything he can find to criticize about the president's trip.

Here are just a few climate changes recalled off hand without looking anything up:

Thinning and retreating levels of polar ice to perhaps unrecoverable levels.

Melting of permafrost which has the added result of releasing methane into the air to add to the greenhouse gases that lead to warming.

Shoreline erosion along the western and northern coasts of Alaska caused in part by a lack of ice which in the past dampened the intensity of waves attacking the shore.

Northern advance of species never before seen in Alaska including one of those huge sunfish picked up in the Gulf of Alaska this summer.

Northward advance of the tree line.

Record or near record temperatures across most of Alaska over the past several years.

Invasive plant species spreading farther and farther north, both aquatic and on land.

These few are just the surface I can recall reading about. A serious look into the science being done these days would probably yield a hundred more.

But this it not about warming it is about a president making a historic trip, the purpose of which at least partly is to highlight the dangers.

Today somebody complained on Twitter about how much all the presidential airplanes and other vehicles contributed to pollution during the trip. Well if a US president making a trip to the Arctic highlights the problem worldwide and more people become aware of it and more people realize the seriousness of the issue and then more people act on it, and it brings about serious engagement, the tradeoff is well worth it.

The same poster earlier had spoken with envy that a coworker had been joined by the president during her morning workout.

It has been typical of Barack Obama's presidency that no matter what he does, he receives massive criticism, even vitriolic. It's a wonder he can show up for work every day smiling and moving forward, a testament to the man. It's been a kick looking at other pictures of his trip. We have a US senator whose name escapes me, elected on the promise to "stand up to Obama" and end Obamacare, who, once elected, disappeared from sight. He's been observed in a couple of pictures near the president grinning like a kid who just received the exact birthday present he wanted.

The point is, at least for Alaskans, lay off. No matter what your issue, he is an intelligent man, he can tell his feet are getting wet while he stands on the outskirts of Shishmaref. (I know he's not supposed to go there – it's an analogy silly). He will hear from folks who live where Shell is drilling.  He will hear about the lack of ice and the stronger storms and the plight of walrus and polar bears who can't find haulouts except on land where they are more vulnerable.

Think of it, this single man like none other, has the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he is taking the time to come to Alaska to see first hand what the shouting is all about and he is also intelligent enough to process what he sees and hears and one hopes lead the way toward finding an acceptable solution. And like it or not, the world is watching. Nothing he does this publicly goes unnoticed. And, the world also watches how we as a people treat our own president. It's not pretty.

In the meantime, nothing said here is going to stop the sniping. That's one failure of the Internet, it has given the critics, haters and snipers (yes, even me) a broader audience.  It's kind of interesting there doesn't seem to be a lot of criticism coming from his usual political opponents.  It is perhaps the continuation of his rope-a-dope method where he takes an action, then ducks and dodges and while the opposition is all fired up yelling about that, he swings again. And BTW today while he was in Alaska, he got the deciding vote in Congress to save his deal with Iran. They are going to be reeling off the ropes for weeks.

This time the day before he arrived the administration announced the official name of North America's tallest mountain would be changed from McKinley to Denali, the traditionally accepted Native name for it, and one a majority of Alaskans have favored since Statehood. While all the Republicans started yelling about it, (after they had checked Google and found out McKinley was a Republican) the president moves on to an Arctic conference and a tour of Alaska to see it all for himself still carrying the weight of the world, smiling with couple of women fishing for salmon in Dillingham dancing with some kids in the Dillingham school and letting the criticism roll off his back, something he apparently does so well.

Perhaps we should all take a lesson from the gracious way the president has been greeted by Alaskans in Dillingham and Kotzebue. And too, from the comment a friend of mine made on another post, "I've never seen pictures of the president smiling so much."

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Interesting quotations

· " “Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. Kurt Vonnegut

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” Stephen King

The thing about ignornance is, you don't have to remain ignorant. — me again"

Never debate with someone who gets ink by the barrel" — George Hayes, former Alaska Attorney General who died recently

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeareon Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

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Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

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Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

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Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

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Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve