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The Chumph and Puerto Rico

Can you imagine the response from the Federal Government if any major city in the US was hit by a natural disaster that as a result it would lose electricity for 3-6 months?

Well..That just happened to Puerto Rico.

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Houston Hurricane Harvey –

President Donald Trump has already made a $7.9 billion request to Congress for emergency funding, which the House passed Wednesday. It’s just a starting point for total Harvey recovery spending; the White House says it plans to request an additional $6.7 billion soon…

Trump promised last Monday “you’re going to see very rapid action from Congress” about approving recovery dollars. “We’re going to get your funding,” he told Texans.

Florida Hurricane Irma –

Trump approves greater FEMA aid for 37 Florida counties

HURRICANE IRMA AND HARVEY $15B DISASTER FUND WON’T LAST 30 DAYS, SAYS EX-FEMA CHIEF

Puerto Rico –

The tragedy has received relatively little media coverage compared to Harvey and Hurricane Irma, and President Donald Trump hasn’t brought much attention to it.

As Puerto Rico reels from hurricane, Trump focuses on football

Yeah …Puerto Rico has 4 things wrking against it

  1. Brown Skinned people
  2. Spanish Language
  3. Votes Democratic
  4. A Territory not a State

None of those things should count…But under the Chumph and the Reprobates they do.

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The U.S. Government Couldn’t Care Less About Helping Puerto Rico Right Now

In Puerto Rico, more than 3.3 million people—who are also U.S. citizens—are still without power, electricity, cellphone service, and, in many cases, the bare necessities for survival after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island nearly a week ago. And Congress doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to help them.

Jennifer Bendery, a HuffPost politics reporter, tweeted Monday that the White House was expected to send a disaster aid request to Congress sometime during the first or second week of October.

She went on to explain that FEMA and the Office of Management and Budget first need to assess the scope of the damage in Puerto Rico—where the governor said on Monday a “humanitarian crisis” is looming if help doesn’t arrive soon—then request money. Then Congress will act.

In a worst case scenario, that means Congress, a body not exactly know for its efficacy, could only start consideration of an aid bill for Puerto Rico sometime after October 10 (the legislature won’t meet on the 9th in observation of Columbus Day), nearly three weeks after the storm first made landfall on September 20.

For context, Hurricane Harvey—whose devastation, while significant, was nowhere near as horrific as what has happened in Puerto Rico—made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm on Friday, August 25. A massive aid bill easily passed through the House on September 6 and sped through a Senate vote the next day—pushing a significant aid package to start rebuilding parts of Texas and Louisiana decimated by Harvey onto the president’s desk less than two weeks after the storm hit.

So it’s hard not to read the somewhat lackadaisical approach Congress and President Trump are taking to helping Puerto Rico, an impoverished island that’s more than $74 billion in debt, as a cynical value judgement on what’s worth rebuilding. Trump’s Twitter page, his bullhorn of choice, makes the point even clearer. Since Maria, Trump has tweeted about the devastation in Puerto Rico twice. Just since Saturday, the president has tweeted (or retweeted) messages to stoke his ongoing war on the NFL over the national anthem protests 17 times.

 

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Houston – You Have a Problem

There are a series of manmade issues which have resulted in the massive damage we are seeing in the Houston region of Texas. The major contributor is the lack of Zoning Laws which would require developers to use certain standards in location and construction. Much like what happened in Florida during Hurricane Andrew some years back, there are no laws requiring builders not to build on floodplains, or to utilize special construction. As such a lot of the lessons from Andrew, and Katrina (I worked on parts of the Katrina recovery) were ignored.

The second problem is the US Government and FEMA. While FEMA is really strict on rules for coastal homes built along the ocean, and insurance rates are sky high (if you can get it at all) – they take a highly permissive approach to insuring homes and property a few miles inland – even when that property is located on a floodplain which repeatedly floods. I live in a coastal area, designated as a “flood zone”. I was required to utilize certain building methods. For instance the roof and siding are designed to survive a Category 5 hurricane – 140 MPH winds. The house is on “stilts” 13′ above the ground, which were driven 20′ or more into the earth. It has survived 4 Hurricanes, including a direct hit by a Cat 5 with no significant damage despite a 12′ Storm Surge and flooding. Indeed as I write this, my area is being pounded by a Tropical Storm moving up the East Coast, and we are expecting 60 MPH winds and 2-4 inches of rain.

FEMA has paid on properties which repeatedly flood – far in excess of the property values. Properties and localities with no storm mitigation systems.

The National Flood Insurance Program, established in 1968 was meant to protect and indemnify people without creating economic catastrophe. Instead of avoiding the floodplain, insurance allowed people to build within it, within management constraints recommended by FEMA. In theory, flood-hazard mitigation hoped to direct development away from flood-prone areas through the disincentives of risk insurance and regulatory complexity. It isn’t working – especially in areas where there was substantial construction before the law (NOLA), and in Texas where there is no Zoning.

In Houston’s case, catastrophic floods have been anticipated for some time. The combination of climate change, which produces more intense and unpredictable storms, and aggressive development made an event like this week’s almost inevitable. The Association of State Floodplain Managers has called for a national flood risk-management strategy, and the Houston Chronicle has called flood control the city’s “most pressing infrastructure need.” A lack of funding is often blamed, and relaxed FEMA regulations under the Trump Administration won’t help either.

The famously “un-zoned” city has allowed developers to pave over natural areas that provide resilience to floods, and build homes in the way of cataclysm. According to a 2016 analysis by ProPublica and the Texas Tribune, 166,000 acres of coastal prairies have been destroyed by development since 2001.“More people die here than anywhere else from floods,” Sam Brody, a Texas A&M University at Galveston researcher, told us last year. “More property per capita is lost here. And the problem’s getting worse.”

Not counting the Harvey’s devastation in Houston, in the past two years, 16,000 buildings have been flooded, and $1 billion in damage was caused by the so-called “Tax Day” and “Memorial Day” floods. In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison killed almost two dozen people and caused $5 billion in damage in Harris County, which includes Houston.

The next problem is Houston’s road system. Those giant highways are impervious surfaces which cause rapid rainfall runoff. In the case of the major superhighways in Houston, that runoff is along the road filling underpasses – making evacuation nearly impossible.

After Hurricane Sandy 36 Republican Senators refused to vote in favor of funding relief, including the two Senators from Texas. The political ramifications of that are floating around in the political miasma.

Maybe we need to take a different view of how to pay for this. The State, which is responsible for the laws leaving citizens defenseless – should bear a greater responsibility for its actions. Second – maybe we should put relocation on the table. Those buildings that have repeatedly flooded should be torn down, the owners should be provided FEMA Insurance money – but only to build elsewhere or to build with significant mitigation strategies. Ergo – the State, County, and City has to put a plan of mitigation on the table before a dime is spent for rebuilding.

 

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2017 in American Greed, Disaster Prep, News

 

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Racists Anonymous Meetings…

No joke. A Church in North Carolina has started weekly group meetings.

North Carolina Church Holding Weekly Racists Anonymous Meetings

A church in North Carolina is taking 12 steps towards helping to improve America’s racial divide.

Every Wednesday, Trinity United Church of Christ in Concord hosts a Racists Anonymous (RA) meeting.

Church minister, Rev. Nathan King told WCNC TV that RA is meant to “deal with the racism within ourselves and to eliminate the racism within ourselves.”

King said the group was inspired by the number of high-profile police shootings in recent years as well as the Charleston church shooting in June 2015, where a white gunman killed nine black parishioners.

“It seemed like every week we were coming into worship and we were doing another prayer because someone had been killed in the street,” King told the station.

Sick of the shootings and racial unrest, King added that he wanted to do more than pray.

The group uses a modified version of the 12-step program pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous, according to a recent Facebook post

A group devoted to helping people overcome personal racism might seem strange to some, but not King who told WCNC TV:

“It may not be the first thing you want to talk about the table at the Thanksgiving dinner with your family, but those conversations are going to be more common going forward.”

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Whitney Houston – Your Brain on Crack…

If you have ever been involved in the addiction treatment of a relative or friend, or volunteered to work in an Addiction Treatment program – one of the most pernicious impacts of drug addiction is it’s long term impact on the brain. The answer to why addiction is so hard to quit, and why addicts do such “stupid” things is – the drugs often damage the brain. And that damage may take several years to recover from.

Now, I’m not going to lay this all automatically on Whitney – I’ve run into several situations over the last year, particularly on Delta where some of the flight crew were waaaaaay out of bounds, discourteous, and downright rude.

So here is the case of Whitney – reportedly sans crack –

Whitney Houston – Flight Crew Threatens … Fasten Your Seatbelt, Or Else

Whitney Houston isn’t on drugs anymore … she’s just crazy — and yesterday she almost got kicked off a Delta Airlines flight … because she refused to buckle her seatbelt.

Multiple sources tell us … Whitney boarded a flight in Atlanta Wednesday afternoon … and when she settled into her seat, a crew member asked her to buckle up.

We’re told Whitney refused and “got diva” on the crew member … until another crew member came over and warned Houston that if she didn’t buckle up, she would have to get off the plane.

Whitney eventually allowed one of the crew members to grab the buckle and fasten it for the singer — and the plane was then cleared for takeoff.

Sources close to the singer tell us … Whitney “overreacted a little bit after missing an earlier flight but she’s still 100% sober and was on the way to Detroit for her first day of shooting a new movie.”

It’s not right, but it’s OK …

And the opinions expressed in this article aren’t mine. I really hope she can stay with it – and that beautiful voice comes back…

 
 

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Gabrielle Giffords Has Her IPad Going!

Apparently Cong Giffords has re-connected with her IPad!

That is a great sign!

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2011 in News

 

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Wishing the Queen Of Soul a Healthy Recovery – ReRe Has Surgery

Back when Re Re was the Queen –

Aretha Franklin recovering from ‘highly successful surgery’

Aretha Franklin is doing well after undergoing a mystery surgery on Thursday.

“The surgery was highly successful,” Franklin, 68, said in a statement. “God is still in control. I had superb doctors and nurses whom were blessed by all the prayers of the city and the country. God bless you all for your prayers!”

She underwent the procedure about 5 a.m. Thursday at a Detroit hospital.

The reason for the surgery was not revealed. In November, her publicist announced that she had canceled all her performances through May.

 

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2010 in Black History

 

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Haiti – “A Real Motha For Ya!”

Don’t know if Mr Nicholas D. Kristof over at the NY Times will ever read this – but here goes…

Haiti, Nearly a Year Later

Ultimately what Haiti most needs isn’t so much aid, but trade. Aid accounts for half of Haiti’s economy, and remittances for another quarter — and that’s a path to nowhere.

The United States has approved trade preferences that have already created 6,000 jobs in the garment sector in Haiti, and several big South Korean companies are now planning to open their own factories, creating perhaps another 130,000 jobs.

“Sweatshops,” Americans may be thinking. “Jobs,” Haitians are thinking, and nothing would be more transformative for the country.

Let’s send in doctors to save people from cholera. Let’s send in aid workers to build sustainable sanitation and water systems to help people help themselves. Let’s help educate Haitian children and improve the port so that it can become an exporter. But, above all, let’s send in business investors to create jobs.

Mr. Kristof  – I have been working on various projects in, and for Haiti now for 10 months. I have been there a number of times to meet and work with Haitian officials. By and large I have had the same experience with the Haitian people as one of your commenters, CK (#46), who said:

These are an entrepreneurial, industrious people. However, I can tell you that individuals can’t clear the rubble in any reasonable time frame. I spent 4 hours with 200 people trying to clear out the rubble in one large, collapsed building. We were in lines of 4 passing down the bricks and stones. We didn’t finish. An excavator and dump truck could have done the job in 30 minutes. No one was being paid for that work, and given the workload of day-to-day survival, I think that most people can understand that clearing by hand for nothing that brings clean water and food to families isn’t particularly viable. Though plenty of people are trying…

To be honest – seeing the Haitian people’s perspicacity on my first trip there reduced me to tears.

Your idea to “send in investors” is a good idea…

Except for one little thing.

To create any sort of modern business in Haiti (or anywhere else in the world today) you need functional infrastructure. I mean in terms of the United States and other first world countries it isn’t asking for much to have reliable electricity, clean water, high speed communications, passable roads, specialized facilities, and a large cadre of educated people.

Haiti has none of those in adequate supply. Which means few investors.

You are right that simply sending in doctors, food, and aid isn’t going to ultimately result in creating a better country…

But it keeps people alive until those of us working on building the infrastructure can get the core stuff done from which some sort of economy can be leveraged. And no, Mr. Kristof – you don’t build a septic plant handling 2.5 million people in two months… Or even 12 months. Or power plants, or an electric grid, or an internet backbone, or marine ports, or airports. Some of these projects are on the scale of years.

You don’t train 5 million illiterate people to be Rocket Scientists in 6 months.

Ain’t that a “Real Motha For Ya!

It’s going to take 5-10 years… Maybe more.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2010 in Haiti

 

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