Harvey, Houston and Flood Insurance

As I’m watching our neighbor city to the South be inundated by record breaking rains from hurricane Harvey,


PBS NewsHour, As Harvey floods Texas, Congress due to debate insurance program that’s underwater, Aug 29, 2017

A vast majority of Texas homeowners in areas under water from Tropical Storm Harvey lack flood insurance, and how to help them is sure to be a big political fight in Washington. Lisa Desjardins joins Miles O’Brien to take a closer look at the debate about the National Flood Insurance Program.

They don’t have flood insurance because a) the Bush II White House insisted on denying climate change and wouldn’t update flood maps and b) Trump is rolling back guidelines that Barack Obama instituted that would have made many of these homes be mandatorily covered for flood insurance. Flood insurance is there for a reason.

Like health insurance it is not a thing you should be economizing with. Also like the other insurance that’s not really insurance, some of us will need the insurance more than others, but all of us will have to pay the costs the system endures. Just another example of the value of early investment, or how it would be smartest to to engage in the architectural equivalent of preventative care and build to suit the location in the first place. Houston is a prime example of ignoring science and planning and essentially building stupid. No offense to Houstonians, most of which have little choice over where they live.

Houston has been stuck in a vicious circle. More people means more subdivisions, and more subdivisions means more runoff. That results in more flooding, which ends up affecting more people.

John Jacob, a wetlands expert who runs Texas A&M’s Coastal Watershed Program, has been warning about the dangerous effects of bulldozing natural flood barriers for years. The mission of his program is to share the science with communities to help them better cope with the fact that many of them live not much above sea level in hurricane country. He says he sees signs that Houstonians are finally coming to terms with the need to change their ways.

“The idea that we just don’t care is radically changing,” says Jacob. “The real-estate people, to them Houston is a one-night stand. The rest of us want this to be a place where our grandkids are happy and safe… This storm just cements that there’s consequences to the way we’ve done stuff.” – Quartz, August 29, 2017

The Pettiness of the Orange Hate-Monkey’s Henchmen

Did anybody else note this the other day?


Facebook video, Youtube video, PBS NewsHour December 2, 2016

 The NPR politics podcast (live) covered a bit more of this.


NPR Politics Podcast Weekly Roundup: Live In Cambridge December 2, 2016

Can anyone be more juvenile than the entire Trump team? Can anyone be more clueless than their candidate is about the office he is about to be elected to? This is the essence of the problem we are now facing. The inmates are truly in charge of the asylum, and there is no knowing where this will go next if he is allowed to take office.

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Smells like 1984 to Me

PBS News Hour: Egypt’s opposition forcibly muted five years since revolution

Five years after the revolution that toppled the government, Egypt has yet to achieve the movement’s democratic ideals. But there are no more protests because protests are illegal. Freedom of speech curtailed, McCarthy-esque fear pervades under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, with opposition parties persecuted and former revolutionaries jailed. Special correspondent Nick Schifrin reports.

Contrast US satellites Egypt & Israel, the treatment of their people by their governments, with Syria. Syria, backed by Russia and tied to the old USSR, is held up as resisting progress while US satellite countries in the region continue the old ways of suppression quietly on the sidelines. Never has the future painted by George Orwell in ‘1984’ been more starkly illustrated than on this anniversary of Mubarak’s fall from power.

Guardian article

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