At The Moderate Voice, Ron Beasley recommends the recent movie at Netflix documenting Mitt Romney's Presidential campaign. Ron sees Mitt much more sympathetically now. Among his insights is that Mitt didn't really want to win. As I see it, that observation would be evidence of a level of Romney patriotism I had failed to detect.
Conservative James Wigderson gives politics and policy a moment's rest (whew). He explains what has to be the silliest minor effort to protect Justin Bieber from his latest juvenile antics. People with this sort of budding sense of entitlement may grow up to be Ted Nugent.
- Tim McGaha at Tim's Thoughtful Spot is celebrating. It's the anniversary of the landing of the Mars rover Opportunity. Its life was designed to go for an ambitious 3 months. Tim explains how long it actually sent information to us from the red planet.
There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President
- President Barack Obama, interviewed by New Yorker Magazine, November 24, 2013
On the surface, it might seem as if the President's observation is not all that controversial. Do we really think there is no racism among those who reflexively oppose President Obama? But conservatives point out that some people are more willing to support the first black President because he is black. Couldn't President Obama have admitted that some people give him the benefit of the doubt?
Well, actually, let's see what more he said.
“There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said.
“Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.”
- President Barack Obama, interviewed by New Yorker Magazine, November 24, 2013
It might seem as if some conservatives are accusing the President of not saying what he really did say.
So the president believes race may play a factor among some white voters who don't much flip over him, telling the New Yorker, and I quote, "There's no doubt that there's some folks who just really dislike me because they don't like the idea of a black president."
What's remarkable is that five years into his presidency, this issue of race still even comes up. And on this Martin Luther King Day, no less, seems the latest excuse de jour served up for a presidency that's flailing, and approval ratings that are tumbling.
But wait a minute, when those ratings were soaring, I guess race was not an issue? Or now that they're going the other way, have they suddenly become an issue?
- Neil Cavuto, Fox News personality, January 20, 2014
You can see Neil Cavuto's point. By saying that some people don't like having a black President, while others kind of like having a black President, the President is making an issue out of race. Consider what the President said when he spoke directly about race and the issues.
“There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues,” he went on.
“You can be somebody who, for very legitimate reasons, worries about the power of the federal government—that it’s distant, that it’s bureaucratic, that it’s not accountable—and as a consequence you think that more power should reside in the hands of state governments.
But what’s also true, obviously, is that philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil-rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun. There’s a pretty long history there.
- President Barack Obama, November 24, 2013
So we can see how President Obama is using race to make excuses. Conservatives are outraged that the President did not at least acknowledge that it's possible to oppose him on policy grounds. You don't have to be racist to oppose the policies of America's first black President.
What exactly did he actually say, right after pointing out the history that associates racism with some of the policy arguments used against him?
And so I think it’s important for progressives not to dismiss out of hand arguments against my Presidency or the Democratic Party or Bill Clinton or anybody just because there’s some overlap between those criticisms and the criticisms that traditionally were directed against those who were trying to bring about greater equality for African-Americans."
So President Obama is pointing out that some people don't like him because of his race and others like him because of his race. He knows there is an overlap in history of states rights and other issues with some of the arguments used against him, and that that is the very reason progressives should be careful not simply to dismiss those arguments as racist.
He is making the argument that some conservatives think he is arguing against.
Well, let's see how other conservatives react to his agreement with them.
Here's Glenn Beck:
He said in New Yorker Magazine "There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President." Mr. President, I mean, this is so tired. This is so tired.
- Glenn Beck, January 20, 2014
The very tired Glen beck is joined in his assessment by fellow host Stu Burguerre, reacting to the idea that some people don't like having a black President.
And it's obvious, he sets such a ridiculous standard. Are there some people? I guess there is someone somewhere.
- Stu Burguerre, January 20, 2014
And, of course, associate Pat Gray, who protests with the counter fact:
There are some black people who don't like the idea of a (Voices in unison:) white President.
- Pat Gray, January 20, 2014
I especially like that chorus of voices chanting the same point, the point they don't seem to know that President Obama already made for them in somewhat calmer terms.
A few seconds later, Mr. Gray expresses greater enthusiasm.
Making excuses for himself. Going to the easiest card he can play, and that's the racist card. Shut up!
- Pat Gray, January 20, 2014
Rush Limbaugh is a dependable source of conservative perspective.
"There's no doubt, no doubt, that there's some folks who just really dislike me because they don't like the idea of a black president," Obama said in the article. So, what, white Americans have just figured out Obama's black in the last two years? This is classic. This is really classic.
- Rush Limbaugh, January 20, 2014
Of course, not all conservatives have gotten the memo. Some do not perceive the race card being played. For example, Bill O'Reilly is a little more moderate in his assessment of the Obama claim that some folks don't like having a black President and some folks do.
That assessment? 100 percent correct.
- Bill O'Reilly, January 21, 2014
O'Reilly may seem to be making an obvious observation. President Obama says some folks reflexively attack him because they don't like having a black President. Some folks give him the benefit of the doubt because they do like having a black President. And, although there is an unfortunate historical entanglement between some conservative arguments and racism, the President cautions progressives not to dismiss conservative concerns out of hand.
You can see why some conservatives might see very little objectionable. But here is something Bill O'Reilly and others may have missed.
The flip side is I think it’s important for conservatives to recognize and answer some of the problems that are posed by that history, so that they understand if I am concerned about leaving it up to states to expand Medicaid that it may not simply be because I am this power-hungry guy in Washington who wants to crush states’ rights but, rather, because we are one country and I think it is going to be important for the entire country to make sure that poor folks in Mississippi and not just Massachusetts are healthy.”
Well, there you have it at last. Obama thinks it's important to provide health protection to poor folks in Mississippi as well as Massachusetts, because we are all one country. One country.
Talk about playing the race card.
"And on this Martin Luther King Day, no less, seems the latest excuse de jour served up."
"Mr. President, I mean, this is so tired. This is so tired."
"Are there some people? I guess there is someone somewhere."
"There are some black people who don't like the idea of a white President."
"Going to the easiest card he can play, and that's the racist card. Shut up!"
"...white Americans have just figured out Obama's black in the last two years?"
And those who, for some reason, just don't see the race card being played. Those blind souls who have become complacent at the President's outrageous statements.
"That assessment? 100 percent correct."
Susanne Atanus (R-IL), Congressional Candidate, explains
why God is now against the United States.
From the Daily Herald, (Chicago, IL):
"I am a conservative Republican and I believe in God first," Atanus said. She said she believes God controls the weather and has put tornadoes and diseases such as autism and dementia on earth as punishment for gay rights and legalized abortions.
"God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions," she said. "Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it's in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God."
- More -
We've made it clear that we're going to move on a common-sense, step-by-step approach in terms of how we deal with immigration.
- John Boehner, (R-OH), Speaker of the House, November 15, 2013
Any reviews of a past perspective can be satisfying or humbling. Pick a card, any card: it depends on which selections are chosen.
Over three years ago, as the tea-party triumph of 2010 became fact, I compared one aspect of the Kennedy presidency with something similar about the Obama administration. In foreign affairs, the contrast between Kennedy's tough and intelligent negotiating ability and the way he was portrayed by his political enemies was remarkable.
John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev were pictured at opposite ends of a wide field. "Let's meet halfway," says the Kennedy figure. Khrushchev answers, "Okay. You first." Kennedy walks to the center of the gap. "Now you," says Kennedy. Khrushchev strolls halfway to Kennedy's new position, stopping about one fourth into the gap. "Your turn again."
I managed to get in a little snide sarcasm as I recalled the nuclear disaster that almost came from the Cuban missile crisis and the way Kennedy skillfully extracted the world from that fate. I mentioned former Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino, who confessed having to be schooled by her husband because she had no idea what that crisis was all about, or even that there had been a Cuban missile crisis. "She still represents the best and the brightest of contemporary conservative thought on the Fox network," I wrote.
In reality, Kennedy's aggressive ability in dealing with a nuclear adversary seemed to accelerate with time. Republicans publicly regarded as weakness his willingness to negotiate at all.
I suggested that Barack Obama's conduct of national security was equally strong, targeting for destruction those who would take on as a tactic terrorism against the United States. The life expectancy of terrorists had, by then, become much shorter, a brief span of brutish fear. I even dared to hope that "with luck, bin Laden may one day be captured or killed."
I believe I reflected the frustration of many with the posture of the administration on domestic policy. The Obama administration seemed completely inept when dealing with Republicans. On one issue after another, the administration would enter negotiations with concessions. Republicans would demand additional concessions, which frequently met with compliance. As negotiations then commenced, Republicans would demand more and more, until finally encountering resistance.
Republicans would then declare Obama to be completely unreasonable, insisting on having his own way, unwilling to compromise. They would then oppose proposals that contained much of their own wishlists.
This was the model for much of the healthcare debate. The administration would adopt the sane half of the Republican agenda before talks even began. Republicans, never mollified, would oppose even their own ideas. The administration was essentially negotiating with itself. Would this concession work? Republicans would say no. How about that concession? Nope. Something more? No, no, no.
At one point, David Axelrod got really tough. The administration was willing to talk about further concessions, but Republicans couldn't have everything. Why was the administration giving up so much at the outset? Axelrod explained. "We have to deal with the world as we find it. The world of what it takes to get this done."
So the pattern continued. Republicans would demand concessions, get the concessions they demanded, then oppose the deal they had insisted on. It was the Kennedy-Khrushchev caricature come to life. "Let's meet halfway" followed by "We'll skip our turn, it's your turn again."
Administration personnel have changed. So has circumstance. As did Kennedy, Obama seems to have become more skilled with time, at least in not giving away the store early on.
On immigration reform, it is clear the Obama administration has been willing to get tough on border security. Illegal immigration has slowed to the lowest level in many years. But those who have been in this country for decades should have some path to open residency. Those brought here as little kids especially should be allowed citizenship.
Republicans want tougher, much tougher, border enforcement as a condition for immigration reform. A humane approach may be okay, if the price is steep enough for immigrants who want to earn citizenship. But border patrols are the real key for the tough conservatism the lower house of Congress wants. Debate focuses on what multiple the number of border patrol officers should be increased. How tough should tough get before it is finally tough enough?
Stalwart legislative optimists have cobbled together something comprehensive. Conservatives will have their many multiples of tough, tough border enforcement. In return, existing undocumented immigrants will be treated humanely, and allowed hope of acceptance.
But now conservatives have one little non-negotiable demand.
The idea that we're going to take up a 1,300-page bill that no one had ever read, which is what the Senate did, is not going to happen in the House. And frankly, I'll make clear we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.
- John Boehner, (R-OH), Speaker of the House, November 15, 2013
All that comprehensive stuff is okay, as long as we go slowly and carefully. First we will have the many new layers of tough immigration enforcement at the border.
Later on, we'll get around to humane treatment. We promise.
But you meet us halfway first.
I want us to deal with this issue. But I want to deal with it in a common sense, step-by-step way.
- John Boehner, (R-OH), Speaker of the House, November 15, 2013
Oh NOooo! This is bad. The Heathen Republican, who curtailed his thoughtful conservative contributions to internet writing, will be deleting the website. We all have 30 days to find and copy favorite posts. Better get digging.
Another week, another killing in a movie theatre. This time the victim is a guy in Florida texting his little girl during previews, before the movie itself. The perpetrator says existing stand your ground law entitled him to use deadly force. Meanwhile, expand those very laws.
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, reports a different angle of the recent massive West Virginia chemical spill. Seems the company will dodge financial accountability for the damage by filing for a limited bankruptcy. As Mitt Romney and the Supreme Court reminds us, the company is a person.
James Wigderson considers character over party in endorsing one of three candidates for City Attorney of Waukesha, WI. A partisan Democrat is rejected because he signed an anti-Governor Walker petition. The Republican is rejected for helping destroy evidence on behalf of a Republican ally of the same Governor.
- Vincent at A wayfarer’s notes sees life as moments. He sees lost moments as a source of human tragedy. He sees slavery as stolen time, and so stolen life. He celebrates freedom.
Albert Einstein proposed his new theory, special relativity, in 1905 and quickly became famous. It was a strange and exotic set of propositions. The follow up general theory of relativity really shook things up. It was pretty much accepted in physics within a few years.
You might say that Einstein generated a big bang of his own. There followed an explosion of sorts. The merging of time into spacial dimensions brought forth variations. Elementary particles begat lesser particles, then sub-sub-particles. Those particles were just theoretical, explained by strange twists of quantum mechanics in which opposite, mutually exclusive, states of existence could simultaneously be true.
Some scientists felt compelled to assure the public that the wonderfully bizarre reality that operated on a sub-atomic level had no relationship to the world we experience every day. One skeptic, physicist Erwin Schrödinger, proposed a thought experiment to demonstrate the absurdity of the only-true-for-submicroscopic-reality postulate. He suggested a set up involving a Geiger counter and a radioactive substance, a bottle of arsenic, and a cat, all in a closed box.
A random subatomic event might or might not trigger the Geiger counter which might or might not break open the arsenic which might or might not kill the cat. If the prevailing new theories were right, the cat would be both dead and alive until the box was opened and the state of the cat was settled.
As scientists predicted new particles and states of reality, math began to run ahead of experimentation. Little in science is truly static. Settled fact can become open to contradiction as new evidence is uncovered. In fact, mainstream science holds statements to be meaningless unless they are both falsifiable and verifiable by some path of evidence.
The laptop computer, the cell phone, the television, the nuclear bomb all depend on absurd, largely theoretical, operations of the subatomic universe. Many of the ever new particles that scientists visualize in the complexities of their advanced mathematics can only be inferred. There is hope that, one day, advances in measurement will combine with future epiphany to provide at least some tenuous proof of what will never be seen directly.
In the meantime, the theories work. All things wonderfully electronic and modern come from the counter-intuitive, often unproven, theoretical world of exotic subatomic physics. Who needs Schrödinger's cat when we have cable television?
I had just microwaved dinner and was watching a broadcast on the device Isaac Newton would have dismissed, when I came across a political story that reminded me of the wonderful world of unproven particle theory that nonetheless works.
It has been documented past the point of redundancy that voter fraud is a rare, rare event. It most often happens when some public official wants to declare residency in order to run for office from a pretend residence. In one case it happened when a woman seeking to hide from an abusive ex-spouse tried to disguise her residence.
What doesn't happen is individual voters trying to influence an election by voting illegally. That is true for three main reasons.
It's amazingly easy to get caught.
Penalties against those who are caught are extreme. Fines and prison time can haunt a citizen for a long, long time after the debt to society is paid.
- Backroom tinkering with results is a lot safer, a lot more effective, and therefore a lot more common than any voter fraud.
There have been efforts to document voter fraud, the individual kind, not the backroom tally manipulation. In Pennsylvania, a city commissioner from Philadelphia found 700 cases of voter fraud over several years. When they were looked into, they pretty much turned out to be something else. The grand total was one.
In Colorado, the Secretary of State found 155 cases. Upon investigation, they were found to be legitimate voters. It seems the Secretary had included the names of immigrants who voted. He neglected to check, so he didn't know they had become citizens first. It turned out that citizens can legally vote.
During the George W. Bush administration, a nationwide search for voter fraud involved a detailed combing of records for every national, state, and local election over 7 years. It took five years to pour through every vote, then follow up in a search for voter fraud. They did find a handful of double registrations and fewer than ten actual fraudulent votes. That's nationwide over 7 years.
Around the country, voter ID laws have been carefully restrictive. Lots of minority voters and older folks and students just turned 18 don't drive. So traditional forms of identification have been discarded. These folks are now required to have drivers licenses or their equivalent to vote. And the equivalent have been made hard to get.
The number of voting booths have been reduced in minority areas. Voting locations have been moved to places that are hard to get to. Voting times have been reduced.
A recent study confirms what is apparent to most folks who have thought about it. The idea is to keep a lot of legitimate voters from voting. The state of Texas is even arguing that it is okay to attempt to discriminate against minority voters if, in their hearts, politicians are only motivated against voters who will support Democrats.
A few observers have labeled the new tactic James Crow, esquire, or Jim Crow, Jr. or Jimmy Crow. It isn't exactly the same as the poll taxes and literacy tests of old. The racial motivation is not always primary, but the target is largely the same.
The story in North Carolina's Raleigh News Observer was about voter suppression, moves against voter fraud that will only keep actual voters from voting, and voter fraud itself that is pretty much nonexistent. It seems Republicans are pushing local voting boards pretty hard to keep voters from voting, even when local officials know better.
The story begins this way:
RALEIGH — One of the longstanding arguments against voter ID laws has been that there is no history of significant elections fraud.
But advocates of North Carolina's new elections law have been making their way across the state to county elections boards to try to make the case that fraud has existed but has been inadequately investigated.
- Raleigh News Observer, January 12, 2014
That's what brought the higher mathematics of subatomic physics to mind. Illegal voters are like the newest class of particles.
Republicans are sure they exist. They simply haven't found any way to observe them.
But in the world of voter suppression, the theory works. Yes indeed, it does work.
In Response to comments by Jerry Critter regarding
Hawaii and What's Behind Genetic Modification
Ah, the old slippery slope argument.
- Jerry Critter, January 10, 2014
Where? I asked you a question: if more information is good, why not include even more information on the label? Why just stop at "GMO Food"? Surely there is more information that some people want to know.
The point is that, in the absence of both a *right* to know and a *legitimate reason* to know, there is no good reason for a business to label its food as GMO, given that some people will avoid it on that basis alone. And whether or not there should be a right to know should depend on whether or not there is a legitimate reason to know.
Too much information is bad...and who is to judge when there is too much information? You?
In the interest of maximizing information, please send me all of your bank account and credit card details. You see, I'm just better off knowing--and who are you to say no?
Actually people can eliminate or, at least, greatly reduce their consumption of GMO foods by eating organic foods.
I don't know why you brought this up. I didn't deny it.
They are preventing voluntary labeling! And you say that is not censorship?
You bring up a new issue--one I am only reading just now--and suggest that I support a ban on voluntary labeling on the basis of my previous comment, which concerned only involuntary labeling?
Here is my actual position:
Censorship is sometimes justified--think shouting "Fire!" in a theater--according to the harm that it prevents. We all disagree on the point at which censorship is appropriate, but we all seem to agree that it sometimes is, even in our government.
Accordingly, I can understand and sympathize with the reasoning behind the government's refusal to allow organic producers to label their food as GMO-free. However, since I suspect that allowing it would cause minimal harm, I don't support the government here.
Involuntary labeling is another matter because it involves forcing a business to likely lose money for no legitimate reason. Moreover, it seems more likely that people would *stop* eating foods newly labeled GMO than that they would *start* eating foods newly labeled non-GMO. So, I can reject the one (the original issue) and support the other (your article) without being inconsistent.
Ryan is a frequent and generous contributor. He also writes for his own site where truth is not modified, genetically or otherwise. Please visit Secular Ethics.
Jerry Critter's always pithy, usually witty, and frequently wise comments are always appreciated. He can be found, in pure organic form, at Critter's Crap.
Georgia NBC station WSAV 3 Exposes GOP Rep Jack Kingston's Taxpayer-Funded Lunches after he lectures poor children about accepting school meals.
Ripples Could Join into Tsunami to Reverse Income Disparity (5:19) - Click for Podcast
For Original Text
Republican Cryoseisms Are Not Political Earthquakes (5:06) - Click for Podcast
For Original Text
Infidel 753 reviews available analysis of the Christie bridge to snarls and conludes that it doesn't really matter if the Governor's deniability is plausible. The Christie Presidential run is stillborn.
Progressive's for a while have said that the country's slow leftward direction can't be measured by self-labeling. Folks think of themselves as conservative even while endorsing liberal policies. The Moderate Voice reviews polling that now indicates even political labels are beginning to tack more leftward. The Moderate Voice is skeptical of over-interpreting the label and explores possible reasons.
- Jonathan Bernstein, now writing for Bloomberg News, wonders whether political polarization is as bad as pundits are painting it.
What is most urgent is not always what is most important. The progressive focus is on immediate need. Nutrition programs are important because at least children and the elderly and the disabled will experience deprivation right away. Unemployment benefits are important because families will find themselves living in alleyways very soon. Injured veterans returning from combat need treatment. Police officers are fighting crime. Infrastructure repairs mean bridges stay standing.
The focus is important because the suffering targets real human beings. The urgency comes because that suffering is not on some distant horizon. It is a darkness that is right around the corner.
The impetus is strengthened by the crassness and transparency of foolish arguments against obvious moves. Children will learn the value of industrious ambition if they go hungry before starting classes. The unemployed are indolent, and would easily find work if we stopped paying them small amounts to stay unemployed. There seems to be an almost universal meanness in the obstruction of rescue efforts.
The shortsightedness involved adds to the urgency. Conservatives insist that budgets be balanced right now. Deficit scolds hold sway. Unemployment benefits might be worthy of consideration as long as they are paid for by cutting breakfast programs for little kids.
Dumb arguments against action are a good motivator for action.
Mainstream economists agree that economic downturns, including the recession that continues now, are shortened by increases in deficit spending. The time to balance budgets, then create surpluses, is when prosperity returns. Higher deficits in harsh economic times. Pay it back during good economic times.
The ironic fact of life is that safety net programs are the best economic stimulus there is. Providing help to the desperate has a side benefit to everyone else. Recipients do not hold onto benefits. They are spent on life's desperate necessities, and they are spent right away. The multiplier effect becomes an exponential effect.
The fierce urgency of now has become fierce indeed.
But there is an even greater importance in the larger picture. Our economy has gotten top heavy and unstable. Income inequality has become detached from any rational measure of economic contribution. It began in the early 1980s and has accelerated with each passing year. The downside of each economic cycle has been a burden carried disproportionately by the poor and economic middle class. Each upturn has disproportionately benefited the top 1%.
The twentieth century is replete with examples of top heavy economies, oases of wealth surrounded by those whose lives are spent in economic struggle. These societies have often been accompanied by nominal democracies that are not democracies at all, where voting rights have been restricted, where oligarchies rule.
There have been brief periods of disproportionate flow of wealth in American history. This has usually happened in economically desperate times. Some local remedies have have brought mixed results.
Huey Long's Louisiana squeezed oil companies to provide a sort of redistribution through a roads-roads-roads construction program. The policy was mixed with a strong dose of racism. The economic part was eventually overtaken by Roosevelt's jobs programs, then by the huge spending made necessary by World War II. The closest reprisal of the Huey program minus the racism came when Alaska Governor Sarah Palin dramatically increased direct cash payments to state citizens financed by oil revenues.
More realistic steps seem to be popular.
Unemployment benefits help those who are getting back on their feet. Head Start and other programs provide an extra boost for that magic bullet that cures so much - education.
A growing body of evidence shows that large increases in minimum wage will have their own multiplier effect. Not only do such increases fail to reduce employment. They result in indirect wage increases across the board.
Shifting the tax burden from the middle class to the top 1% will eventually become legislatively possible. It is already politically popular.
Increasing Social Security benefits, increasing the quality and scope of care for veterans, feeding kids, helping families stay together sheltered and fed, increasing the work of repairing bridges, roads, schools, police stations, and firehouses. Staffing those schools and police stations and firehouses with trained professionals.
Each step fulfills a specific need. Each step also provides an incremental advance toward a larger goal of economic equity, a more sensible balance in income flow.
In the end, everyone will benefit. Even those who will scream the loudest and obstruct the most.
It began right around Christmas in parts of New England. In Vermont, employees of Enterprise Car Rental thought some uncontrolled vehicle had collided with the back of their building. WCAX in Burlington carries the story:
"It actually sounded like there was a truck or something that hit the back of our office and I went out back to see if ice had fallen or something like that, but nothing there," says Enterprise employee Phil Seidel. "I was checking a car back in a little later in the afternoon and I actually tripped over this crack here."
Reporter: "And so you guys definitely didn't notice this before then?"
Seidel: "No, absolutely not."
- WCAX, Burlington, Vermont, January 3, 2014
Now there are numerous reports from Canada. Lights in the night are followed by explosions. The ground shakes.
At first, people swore they were experiencing earthquakes. But now, scientists are explaining something different.
The culprit is cryoseism. The cryo part refers to sudden cold. Like cryogenics. These phenomema are often known as ice quakes or frost quakes. They happen when there is extreme cold, at least by human standards, that comes suddenly. This began happening about the time of the explosive ground shaking. That's where the seism part, as in seismic, comes from.
When water turns to ice, it crystallizes. That makes it expand. It's the crystallization that does it. It's not like the expansion and contraction that makes your old-style thermometer or thermostat work. Metals and liquids tend to expand as they get hotter and contract as they get colder.
But when some liquids turn to solid, like water to ice, they crystallize and expand. This happens pretty much every winter here in Missouri, and it happens without a lot of weird lights and shocks to the foundations of homes. That's because it happens gradually. When water turns to ice and expands it creates a strain in the earth. That strain dissipates.
When the drop in temperature is extreme and happens suddenly, the strain is great, and we see these short term effects that wake populations out of peaceful slumber. There are other conditions. A heavy rain just before the temperature drop, for one. And snow coverage after the rain must be slight or non-existent. That all drenches the ground and provides minimal insulation.
For the most part, the only damage comes from the frightening of neighborhoods, with occasional parking lot cracks. Sometimes the sounds and the shaking are startling. Most folks think EARTHQUAKE. But we're not looking at seismic plate type stuff. Ice expansion is short term and the displacement results mostly in sound and short term fury.
When my loved one mentioned news reports about sudden proliferation of cryoseism in Canada, my mind, being what it is, went to politics.
I think Obamacare is a wonderful improvement over what has been our healthcare system up to now.
Politically, it's given the President and Democrats a terrible beating. That has been mostly because of a combination of distortions (death panels), political ineptitude (you can keep your coverage), and technical failure (the website from Hell).
The falsehoods are beginning to flee in the face of actual experience.
The President's you-can-keep-your-coverage was a direct reference to a provision that exempted existing plans that did not meet new standards. But it lives for a while as a "lie". You have to remember that these are the same conservatives who will insist that "you didn't build that" referred to something other than infrastructure, business environment, and educational preparation. Transmuting the President's assurances to a promise that insurance companies would not behave as ruthlessly as they had always done was not a huge moral step for conservatives. Some now insist that "you can keep your doctor" means that physicians will never retire or die.
Conservatives are enraged at preliminary calculations that indicate both that the website is handling huge volumes successfully, and that there are huge volumes to be handled.
Earthquakes come from the friction of political seismic plates. Policy changes the landscape. So does political structure. Obamacare will prove to be a success. And the Republican Party will continue its helpless slide into extremism.
Distortions, faux-scandals, technical glitches, and even single election cycles, when they all come together in just the right combination of explosive confluence, do make a lot of noise.
But, in the end, they're just frost quakes.