Hurricanes- Climate and the Capitalist Offset – by Brett Stevens – NYT

“Harvey will also inflict billions in economic damage, most crushingly on uninsured homeowners. The numbers are likely to be staggering in absolute terms, but what’s more remarkable is how easily the American economy can absorb the blow. The storm will be a “speed bump” to Houston’s $503 billion economy, according to Moody’s Analytics’ Adam Kamins, who told The Wall Street Journal that he expects the storm to derail growth for about two months.

On a global level, the University of Colorado’s Roger Pielke Jr. notes that disaster losses as a percentage of the world’s G.D.P., at just 0.3 percent, have remained constant since 1990. That’s despite the dollar cost of disasters having nearly doubled over the same time — at just about the same rate as the growth in the global economy. (Pielke is yet another victim of the climate lobby’s hyperactive smear machine, but that doesn’t make his data any less valid.)”

Ouch. Here is the the top comment, and my endorsement:

Bruce Rozenblit is a trusted commenter Kansas City, MO 4 hours ago

What a pile of doo doo. Texas caused this flood by paving over the wetlands to the point that they turned their city into a big bathtub. They built in floodplains without regard to the consequences.

As far as brick houses are concerned, those are the ones that collapse during earthquakes. Masonry construction falls apart when the ground shakes, while stick built homes can resist the stress much better. The loss of life is catastrophic. Check out the loss of life in southern central Asia where homes are built out of rocks.

Houston will recover financially in two months? Are you kidding? 30% of the area is under water. That’s like 500 square miles and that’s just Houston.
People don’t have homes to live in. Thousands of businesses have been shuttered and destroyed. If the Houston economy is so powerful, then why do they need any federal aid?

Regulations and building codes save lives. Infrastructure saves lives. Technology saves lives. Public safety programs save lives. If these factors were not in place, then the loss of life form natural disasters would be much higher.

Texas just had three 500 year floods in three years. What does your expert meteorologist have to say about that? What does he have to say about the severe droughts and fires that occurred between those floods? Only a weak and poorly skilled journalist would ignore the obvious and cherry pick statistics to prove a point. This is the New York Times, not the New York Post.

Reply 221 Recommended

Thank you for your submission. We’ll notify you at da*** when your comment has been approved.
David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

I second all said here by Bruce Rosenblit.
I wish to add, that there is something pathetic in cheery picking data, and mixing it with fake news. Contrast the rubbish here with the extraordinary reporting today of Nicholas Kristof. I commented on Kristof’s piece:
David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

Thank you Nicholas Kristof (and the New York Times).
You wrote: ”

Jan Egeland, a former senior U.N. official who now leads the Norwegian Refugee Council, urges an immediate cease-fire, a lifting of the embargo on Yemen, and peace talks led by the U.N., the U.S. and the U.K., forcing both sides to compromise.

A glimpse of moral leadership has come from the U.S. Senate. A remarkable 47 senators in June voted to block a major arms sale to Saudi Arabia, largely because of qualms about Saudi conduct in Yemen. Those senators are right, and we should halt all arms transfers to Saudi Arabia until it ends the blockade and bombings.”

It is time for the American Press, television, radio, and print, to bring this horrible story to the American people, and the fact that there are intelligent solutions being offered. I have shared this on social media, and my blog,, but we need this story at NPR, Public TV, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and every outlet I’ve left out.”

On Voting Reforms- Follow Illinois- Not Texas – The New York Times

“In the face of America’s abysmal voter participation rates, lawmakers have two choices: They can make voting easier, or they can make it harder.

Illinois made the right choice this week, becoming the 10th state, along with the District of Columbia, to enact automatic voter registration. The bill, which could add as many as one million voters to the state’s rolls, was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican who had vetoed similar legislation last year.

Under the new law, all eligible voters will be registered to vote when they visit the Department of Motor Vehicles or other state agencies. If they do not want to be registered, they may opt out.”

Strong editorial, excellent comments, such as:
Bruce Rozenblit is a trusted commenter Kansas City, MO 4 hours ago

The right to vote and the requirements thereof should be nationalized. There should be no difference from state to state. Instead of exercising states rights to improve access, deep red states are using the states rights issue increase political power. This is not only un American, it is essentially stripping away the basis of our republican democracy, which is the right to vote. Nothing is more fundamental.

Texas has just experienced a disaster of biblical proportions. The costs to recover will most likely exceed $100 billion dollars. Tens of million have been hurt.

The floodwaters did not discriminate. Rich or poor, black, brown or white, the waters came. They are all in it together, bound up by their suffering and loss.

That’s how voting is supposed to work in a democracy. All are bound up together, regardless or race, creed or income.

If Texas can’t learn that lesson from Harvey, then it’s time to play hardball. I would make federal aid contingent upon Texas accepting the federal motor vehicle registration system. The cost is nil. The pain to do so is nil.

If Texas wants federal dollars to flow to help in the recovery, then the state should accept the voter requirements that allow voting in all elections.

We are all truly in this disaster together. The nation should rally to help Texas. It’s high time Texas started acting like it is part of this nation.

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‘Climate-smart soils’ may help balance the carbon budget | by Blaine Friedlander – Cornell Chronicle

“Here’s the scientific dirt: Soil can help reduce global warming.

While farm soil grows the world’s food and fiber, scientists are examining ways to use it to sequester carbon and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.“We can substantially reduce atmospheric carbon by using soil. We have the technology now to begin employing good soil practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Johannes Lehmann, Cornell professor of soil and crop sciences, co-author of the Perspectives piece, “Climate-smart Soils,” published in Nature, April 6.Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon and using prudent agricultural management practices that tighten the soil-nitrogen cycle can yield enhanced soil fertility, bolster crop productivity, improve soil biodiversity, and reduce erosion, runoff and water pollution. These practices also buffer crop and pasture systems against the impacts of climate change.

Currently, Earth’s atmosphere holds about 830 petagrams (1 trillion kilograms) of carbon and humans add about 10 petagrams of carbon to the atmosphere every year, because of industrial and agricultural waste, and fossil-fuel burning vehicles, according to Lehmann. Soils, however, hold about 4,800 petagrams of carbon to a depth of 2 meters, which is six times the amount of carbon dioxide currently in the atmosphere. The good news is that soils have the potential to hold even more, said the scientists.”

Source: ‘Climate-smart soils’ may help balance the carbon budget | Cornell Chronicle

In hurricane season- Texas Medical Center- hospitals prepare for the worst – Houston Business Journal

“The New York Times noted in 2010 that, “More than 100 deaths occurred in New Orleans-area hospitals and nursing homes after Hurricane Katrina when emergency backup power systems failed and patients languished for days awaiting transport.”And in Houston in 2001, Tropical Storm Allison caused $5.5 billion in damage to the Houston area. It deposited up to 30 feet of water into parts of the then lightly protected Texas Medical Center.

However, emergency experts in charge of the complex and its flagship facilities say that that can’t happen again.

Subtle protective precautions aren’t obvious to the casual visitor or patient. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston’s buildings are now guarded by little-noticed earthen berms. Its first-floor windows are hardened aquarium glass. The lower structural walls are built with a dam-like, “hydrostatic” composite. Below, hidden pumps lie under steel grates just outside each structure waiting to rapidly transport rainwater into the a nearby gully.

Should that watercourse bayou itself prove inadequate to accommodate flood waters, a huge pipe, buried beneath a major arterial street, will accept and divert the excess. And almost two dozen watertight, submarine-style hatches are hidden in plain sight. Each, sized to accommodate a hulking superhero, is designed to hold back tons of rising water.”

Source: In hurricane season, Texas Medical Center, hospitals prepare for the worst – Houston Business Journal

Houston- Warned – by David Leonhardt – NYT

” “Houston’s perfect storm is coming — and it’s not a matter of if but when,” journalists wrote, a year and a half ago. “Why isn’t Texas ready?”The story was a joint project of The Texas Tribune, an excellent local publication, and ProPublica, the deservedly well-regarded national group. Headlined “Hell and High Water,” it exposed the lack of preparedness, and downright denial, in Houston about flood damage. The project mixes maps and text, and you can dip into it briefly or dig into the details.

“We’re sitting ducks. We’ve done nothing,” Phil Bedient, a Rice University professor and storm-surge expert, says in the story. “We’ve done nothing to shore up the coastline, to add resiliency … to do anything.”

The article isn’t perfectly clairvoyant — no story is. It falls into the common trap of exaggerating the economic effects of a news development that’s bad for other reasons. But the story offered an important — and, sadly, unheeded — message: Even though it’s possible to mitigate the effects of extreme weather, we’re instead making choices that aggravate them.”

Making Sure Your Help Gets to Hurricane Harvey’s Victims – (Issues at the Red Cross) – NYT

“A 2015 investigation by ProPublica and NPR documented the Red Cross’s glaring failure to account for how it spent the $488 million it raised in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in 2010, including such basics as how many people were assisted and how much money was spent on overhead.”

The comments are helpful. There are endorsements for the Salvation Army, The Houston Food Bank, and religious relief organizations like the Episcopal Fund for Relief.

There is an endorsement for the United Way, and another comment criticizing it. Everyone agrees that we have to spend time at Charity Navigator or Charity Watch.

Harvey- the Storm That Humans Helped Cause – by David Leonhardt – NYT

Even before the devastation from Harvey, southeastern Texas was enduring a year unlike any before.The daily surface temperature of the Gulf of Mexico last winter never dropped below 73 degrees. You can probably guess how many previous times that had happened: Zero.

This sort of heat has a specific effect on storms: Warmer weather causes heavier rainfall. Why? When the seas warm, more moisture evaporates into the air, and when the air warms — which has also been happening in Texas — it can carry more moisture.The severity of Harvey, in other words, is almost certainly related to climate change.Yes, I know the sober warning that’s issued whenever an extreme weather disaster occurs: No individual storm can be definitively blamed on climate change. It’s true, too. Some version of Harvey probably would have happened without climate change, and we’ll never know the hypothetical truth.

But it’s time to shed some of the fussy over-precision about the relationship between climate change and weather. James Hansen, the eminent climate researcher, has used the term “scientific reticence” to describe this problem. Out of an abundance of academic caution — a caution that is in many ways admirable — scientists (and journalists) have obscured climate change’s true effects.”

Comments are great. such as,

Robin Rutherford

Hunterville New Zealand 9 hours ago

Every gallon of gasoline emits 20lb of CO2 which stays in the atmosphere and absorbs heat. So, in one year, one car uses 250 gallons gasoline and produces 2 tons of CO2. We need to begin to think of car trips not in terms of dollars but in terms of lb’s of CO2 emitted. There is no leadership in this area, we must do it ourselves and start limiting our vehicle use to save the world for our children and grandchildren.

How Trump Kills the G.O.P. – by David Brooks – NYT

“It’s ironic that race was the issue that created the Republican Party and that race could very well be the issue that destroys it.The G.O.P. was founded to fight slavery, and through most of its history it had a decent record on civil rights. A greater percentage of congressional Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act than Democrats.

It’s become more of a white party in recent years, of course, and adopted some wrongheaded positions on civil rights enforcement, but it was still possible to be a Republican without feeling like you were violating basic decency on matters of race. Most of the Republican establishment, from the Bushes to McCain and Romney, fought bigotry, and racism was not a common feature in the conservative moment.

Between 1984 and 2003 I worked at National Review, The Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal editorial page and The Weekly Standard. Most of my friends were Republicans.”

Don Shipp, Homestead Florida 7 hours ago

David is wrong about the Republican Party and its white identity politics, it was an integral part of Republican Party strategy long before 2005. Republican opposition to “big government” was always a metaphor for opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” was a raced based appeal to white voters. Ronald Reagan’s entire presidency was marked by racial dog whistles, opening his 1980 campaign in racially infamous Philadelphia, Mississippi. Reagan originally opposed making Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday. He was against forced busing to achieve integration, and affirmative action. He told false stories about “Chicago welfare queens” driving around in Cadillacs, and referred to “strapping young bucks”. He vetoed the “Civil Rights Restoration Act ” of 1987 and sanctions against the Apartheid regime in South Africa. The notorious Willie Horton campaign was the creation of George H.W. Bush’s campaign strategist, Lee Atwood. Moderate Republican’s must accept the fact that Donald Trump’s blatantly racist appeal to voters is an ugly legacy of Republican Party history.

1374 Recommend

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

David Brook’s remarkable op-ed went right by you, Mr. Ship. There is variation and nuance in both parties. John Lindsay was a Republican when he co-authored the what became the civil rights act of 1964. He was part of a bi-partisan group of leaders in congress who forced it to a vote against the quiet wishes of the the Kennedy brothers, who warned it would damage the Democratic party for years.
While you are right that the GOP has moved closer and closer to the white supremacists and racists, a number of Republicans certainly had their great moments in the sunshine of the civil right movement.

Procter & Gamble Is Right About Peltz’s Criticisms – The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) | Seeking Alpha

Procter & Gamble recently released their Q4 results.
Activist investor Nelson Peltz has lobbied for P&G to cut costs and trim bureaucracy.
However, Procter & Gamble have been engaged in tackling these problems for some time.”

Source: Procter & Gamble Is Right About Peltz’s Criticisms – The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) | Seeking Alpha

Struggles at Procter & Gamble Draw Scrutiny of Nelson Peltz – The New York Times

“Tide detergent dominated the American laundry room for decades and helped make Procter & Gamble a consumer products behemoth.But consumers have increasingly been shunning premium-priced brands like Tide for cheaper versions of laundry detergent. And the detergent market is just one of many in which Procter & Gamble is battling to keep bargain-hunting customers.

Across a number of its mission-critical, multibillion-dollar product lines — from Pampers diapers to Olay skin creams to Gillette razors — Procter & Gamble is fighting to retain its market share.Those struggles have now attracted the attention of Nelson Peltz, a billionaire investor and activist shareholder.”