Climate change #Featured

It’s Just the Weather. Nothing to See Here, Citizens. Move Along.

No, it’s not the Apocalypse. That happened last November. This is just weather.

Just weather. And the earth. How quaint.

Three hurricanes, and a major earthquake that very few people outside of Mexico are paying attention to, are taking their physical and psychic toll on a country that does not need any more bad news. Add in a cleanup that will be expensive, daunting and political, and you’ll see more partisan bickering in addition to the usual American disaster response which will include astounding stories of bravery, generosity, and poignancy.

Coming on the heels of the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the earthly events of the past few weeks are instructive and worthy of reflection. For as a much as we consider ourselves as the vanguard of technology, knowledge, wealth, sophistication and freedom, we need to remind ourselves that nature ultimately holds us to account. There’s just no way to stop a hurricane or to predict an earthquake in time to safely evacuate residents. We are really at the mercy of our own limitations and our uncanny hubris when it comes to assessing risk. Just as we overestimated our safety 16 years ago, and unconscionably put the New York disaster assessment agency in the World Trade Center, so have Houston and, I’m reasonably certain we will find out, South Florida, will find that they were unprepared for events that stretched the vocabulary of every weatherista in the media.

And the political lessons? Please. Just ask anybody in New Jersey who remembers the Texas Congressional delegation’s incomprehensible opposition to federal relief for Superstorm Sandy in 2012, how they view the Ted Cruz FEMA telethon and screechy request for funds to rebuild, and they’ll tell you quite a story. Just don’t stand too close. And I hope you’re not offended by salty language. There’s also more money to be spent on Florida, and in the end I expect that both states will get what they need.

What these storms ultimately should tell us is that we are pretty good at reacting to disasters (right, Brownie?), but we are terrible at planning, execution, building codes and, yes, infrastructure. We simply cannot continue this way. Other countries, such as the European low countries and Great Britain, have made adjustments and not simply rebuilt up the affected areas. Dunes on the New Jersey shore will help, but building more houses on stilts will just set up homes as field goal attempts the next time we are pummeled with a 100-year storm that comes 95 years too soon.

The last piece to all of this is how we react, long-term, to these challenges, and the main component is the effect our activity is having on our atmosphere. Climate change is real. It is being influenced by choices and actions that humans have made since the industrial age. You can’t believe in meteorology and astronomy and physics, but deny the atmospheric chemistry that is making the earth warmer and holding more moisture. It’s time that we realized that we need to make adjustments and to not put people in danger that is avoidable.

That will require leadership that, at present, we just don’t have.

For more, go to www.facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives or Twitter @rigrundfest

Politics #tweets

Fight! Fight! Mayor Bill de Blasio vs Al Roker – Your Front Row Seats

al roker

America’s favorite weatherman is having his way with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio today, as once again, New York schools are open in the middle of the worst snow storm so far this season – the Nor’easter!

Not one to bite his tongue, Al Roker also lashed out against the governor of Georgia when he tried to blame weather forecasting for the problems his state faced a few weeks ago when snow and ice stranded thousands of Georgians on roadways. This time around, it was Mayor de Blasio’s turn.

Roker took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with the mayor for not closing schools.

In a briefing on the storm, Mayor de Blasio was offered this response to Al Roker’s Tweets.

“I respect Al Roker. I watch him on TV,” de Blasio said. “It’s a different thing to run a city than to give weather on TV.”

Al Roker fired back with another Tweet:

 

News

Winter weather in Atlanta traps students, forces drivers to abandon cars

ATLANTA (AP) – Students camped out with teachers in school gyms and commuters abandoned cars along the highway to seek shelter in churches, fire stations – even grocery stores – after a rare snowstorm left thousands of unaccustomed Southerners frozen in their tracks.

Vehicles make their way around a beer delivery truck that slid off county road 25 in Wilsonville, Ala. during a snow storm which hit the south. A winter storm that would probably be no big deal in the North all but paralyzed the Deep South on Tuesday, bringing snow, ice and teeth-chattering cold, with temperatures in the teens in some places.

Tuesday’s storm deposited mere inches of snow, barely enough to qualify as a storm up North. And yet it was more than enough to paralyze Deep South cities such as Atlanta and Birmingham, and strand thousands of workers who tried to rush home early only to never make it home at all.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said the National Guard was sending military Humvees onto Atlanta’s snarled freeway system in an attempt to move stranded school buses and get food and water to people. Deal also said the Georgia State Patrol was sending troopers to schools where children remained stranded early Wednesday after spending the night there.

State transportation crews were continuing to treat roads and bring gas to stranded motorists, Deal said.

Read more: http://www.wjla.com