I have a theory about the canary in the coal mine. I expect that before it died of asphyxiation, it would panic and chirp loudly and vigorously at the prospect of its coming demise. It would then fall silent, and pass out, and its change in behavior would warn the miners that the air in the mine had become foul.
The use of canaries in coal mines to warn miners of the danger of accumulating noxious vapors is not just an "old wives' tale." As recently as the 1980s, miners in the UK used the birds to warn of danger. The practice was described by the BBC, which noted that, beginning in 1911, tradition held that two canaries should be "employed by each pit."
A news story, remarkable for its readily apparent inaccuracy, surfaced from theWashington Post on Friday under the headline: "GOP presidential field unified in opposition to Iraq withdrawal." The story was about the supposedly uniform response of the Republican presidential candidates to the announcement from the Obama White House that all U.S. military personnel will be withdrawn from Iraq at the end of this year, in accordance with the Status of forces Agreement signed between the government of the United States and Iraq in 2008, the last year of the Bush presidency.
In an interview this past Wednesday with CNN’s Piers Morgan, presidential contender Herman Cain was asked about abortion — and his answer got him in hot water. Cain said that he believes life begins at conception and, consistent with that reality, that he considers abortion wrong in all situations, including rape and incest. So far, so good. But then, upon being challenged on the rape-and-incest point by Morgan, he had the following to say about the government’s role in the matter:
Time magazine is working hard to make sure that Barack Obama is reelected. That is why it is the perfect place to see how liberals think. Its October 24 issue contains a report on the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, which I consider to be part and parcel of the Obama reelection campaign.
I have a very serious question I want to ask you today: What are you doing to win others to our cause, so we can enjoy enough political victories next year to begin turning this country around? I hope you’ll give me some encouraging, even inspirational, answers.