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TOPICS: SUPPORT KPFT! PART 1: Flooding and flood control: Understanding how precipitation and flooding are described by the technical community, and what variables matter. (Part 2 is tentatively scheduled for September 18th: What can we do about it?)
GUEST: Dr. Francisco Olivera is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, member and former Associate Director of the GeoSpatial Science, Applications and Technologies Center, and member of the Institute for Sustainable Communities at Texas A&M University. He teaches classes on Urban Stormwater management and Geographic Information Systems. He has published a number of peer-reviewed articles on the assessment and mapping of flood damage and risk in the most prestigious journals in the field.
Listen live on the radio or on the internet from anywhere in the world! When the show is live, we take calls at 713-526-5738. (Long distance charges may apply.)
For the purposes of this show, I operate on two mottoes:
- You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts;
- An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.
“There is hardly a place on Earth where people do not log, pave, spray, drain, flood, graze, fish, plow, burn, drill, spill or dump. There is no life zone, with the possible exception of the deep ocean, that we are not degrading. In poor countries biodiversity is being nickel-and-dimed to death; in rich countries it is being billion-dollared to death.” ~ Donella H. Meadows is an adjunct professor of environmental and policy studies at Dartmouth College, (from her article “Preserving Biodiversity Is Protecting Life on Earth : Environment: Why care about red squirrels, tundra, blue beetles or little bluestem grasses? Three reasons, which boil down to self-interest.”, Los Angeles Times May 13, 1990)
Possible discussion points with links:
- Flooding is not inherently bad. Some ecosystems rely upon it. Human actions can acerbate flooding and this needs action. But catastrophic flooding from storms like Harvey, Ike, Katrina, etc. needs to be managed.
- Houston government, infrastructure criticized in Harvey’s wake, Aug 30, 2017 Jason Axelrod | American City and County
- Harvey, which has since been classified as a tropical storm, has dumped at least 19 trillion gallons of water on Texas since the storm began, Mashable About 1.2 trillion of those gallons fell on Harris County alone, where Houston is located.
- Houston’s flood mitigation system is designed to clear just 12 to 13 inches of rain per 24 hours, the Associated Press Moreover, the current flood marks the third “100-year-or-more” category of flood to sweep Houston in three years.
- Houston is the most flood-prone city in the United States,” Phil Bedient, a Rice University environmental engineering professor, told the AP. “No one is even a close second — not even New Orleans, because at least they have pumps there.”
- recovery from the hurricane is expected to take years.
- In Texas, Concerns About Damage To Flooded Toxic Waste Sites, By Rebecca Hersher September 4, 20175:23 PM ET (Heard on All Things Considered [NPR] Download 3:50)
- Officials are still trying to confirm whether Texas floodwaters have spread contamination from decades-old toxic waste sites, as water recedes and residents return to homes that, in some cases, were flooded with water that passed over known contaminated areas.
- The Environmental Protection Agency says 13 Superfund sites were flooded and potentially damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The agency said Monday morning that its personnel had not been able to inspect 11 of them: Bailey Waste Disposal, French LTD, Geneva Industries/Fuhrmann Energy, Gulfco Marine Maintenance, Highland Acid Pit, Malone Services, S. Oil Recovery, Patrick Bayou, Petro-Chemical Systems, Triangle Chemical and the San Jacinto Waste Pits.
- If You Think the Water Crisis Can’t Get Worse, Wait Until the Aquifers Are Drained – We’re pumping irreplaceable groundwater to counter the drought. When it’s gone, the real crisis begins. By Dennis Dimick, National Geographic, Published August 19, 2014
- Boomtown, Flood Town – Climate change will bring more frequent and fierce rainstorms to cities like Houston. But unchecked development remains a priority in the famously un-zoned city, creating short-term economic gains for some while increasing flood risks for everyone. by Neena Satija for The Texas Tribune and Reveal; Kiah Collier for The Texas Tribune; and Al Shaw for ProPublica, December 7, 2016
- Natural Flood Control, by Richard A. Haeuber, William K. Michener
- Floods took more than 200 lives between 1990 and 1995, and total flood damage costs between 1990 and 1997 reached nearly $34 billion. We have spent even more than that trying to control floods by building structures such as levees and dams to modify the ways rivers flow.
- focus of policy began to change dramatically in the wake of massive flooding in the upper Mississippi and lower Missouri river basins from June to August of 1993. Many of the engineering structures failed during this flooding. In response, President Clinton chartered an Interagency Floodplain Management Review Committee to investigate causes, explore how human actions might have exacerbated the situation, and determine what the nation should do to prevent a repeat event. Known as the Galloway Report, the committee’s findings and recommendations marked the first time that the important ecological services provided by wetlands and upland forests, such as water and nutrient uptake and storage, were explicitly acknowledged. The committee pointed out that loss of these services through land conversion significantly increases runoff. Above all, the report recognized that large floods such as the 1993 event are natural recurring phenomena that must be accepted and anticipated.
- Flooding creates and nurtures far more diverse and complex habitats than exist when floodwaters are controlled. The production of new plant and animal tissue normally increases in response to flooding. Plants colonize new areas or take advantage of the increased light that becomes available when old vegetation is cleared away, and animals such as invertebrates and fish often find new food sources. Flooding not only leads to the dispersal and germination of plant seeds but it also results in different kinds of vegetation being able to survive in different locations. Research has found that major floods in coastal plain areas of the southeastern United States in 1994 and in the forested mountain landscapes of the Pacific Northwest in 1996 created a much more complex mosaic of habitats and biological diversity than had existed previously.
- research on the middle Rio Grande indicates that consciously reintroducing floods can help restore ecosystems to a more natural state. After flood control was imposed several decades ago, native cottonwoods and willows began to decline, and nonnative species such as salt cedar and Russian olive, which favor environments that are not regularly disrupted by floodwaters, invaded. But the results of experimental flooding from mid-May to mid-June of 1993, 1994, and 1995 suggest that managed floods might help reestablish the native tree species. The experiments also triggered a wide range of other beneficial responses. Greater rates of plant respiration and decomposition reduced the tangle of wood debris that had accumulated over the years in the absence of floods, and microbial populations and specific arthropod populations, such as the native floodplain cricket, increased.
- most of the $4 billion per year in flood costs over the past decade has been associated with damage to structures in the floodplain.
- The aftermath of the 1994 flooding caused by tropical storm Alberto in Georgia has highlighted the important role [floodplains] play in minimizing damage. When floodwaters eroded agricultural fields, picking up soil particles contaminated with herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides, the large, intact forested floodplains in the area filtered out those particles, so that they never entered streams and rivers where they would have harmed water quality and aquatic life.
- the fragmentation and lack of coordination that has characterized policy concerning floodplains in the United States must be addressed. Land use decisions that could affect floodplains are made primarily at the county and municipal levels, yet the current policy structure gives the federal government the most responsibility for floodplain management.
- Nor do states have much opportunity to become involved, even though they may be best situated to coordinate the diverse actions and decisions that are needed.
- Thus, one positive move would be to heed the Galloway Report’s recommendation for a Floodplain Management Act. Such an act would establish a national model for floodplain management that would give states primary responsibility as floodplain managers, define responsibilities among other levels of government, and provide fiscal support for state and local floodplain management efforts.
- The Galloway Report was also wise to advocate reactivating the Water Resources Council, which had been established by the Water Resources Planning Act of 1965 and dismantled by the Reagan administration in 1982. With representation from all federal water management agencies, the council served as a central clearinghouse, coordinating diverse components of floodplain management policy. Reactivating it or creating a similar body that would provide senior-level coordination of federal and federal-state-tribal water resource management is crucial if flood control policy is to become flood management policy.
- Galloway Report: one positive move would be to heed the Galloway Report’s recommendation for a Floodplain Management Act. Such an act would establish a national model for floodplain management that would give states primary responsibility as floodplain managers, define responsibilities among other levels of government, and provide fiscal support for state and local floodplain management efforts.
TOPICS FROM PREVIOUS WEEKS:
Is It Time for the U.S. to Rein in the Presidency? Two historians consider whether it’s time to raise the possibility of decentralization amid frustrations with the federal government. By Julian E. Zelizer and Morton Keller [Theatlantic.Com] Jun 9, 2017
Article V, U.S. Constitution (The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)
- The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
FREE SPEECH: What’s constitutionally guaranteed and what’s culturally expected
- 1st Amendment: First Amendment | Constitution | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
- The Amendment protects us against Government interference in speech, press and religion.
- NON-government interference – private businesses, publishers. Etc. – is more culturally entrenched but usually not illegal.
- The Amendment protects us against Government interference in speech, press and religion.
- NON-government interference – private businesses, publishers. Etc. – is more culturally entrenched but usually not illegal.A Civics discussion:
- Our founders did not design our government to be “efficient”. They designed it to be “safe”.
- People who say that they want government to run like a business miss the point: Government is NOT a business.
- People who say that they want government to run like a household miss the point: Government is NOT a household.
- Government is a Sovereign, which is an entirely different and unique thing, totally unlike a business or a household.
- No one branch of government is meant to be ‘supreme’. The 3 branches of government – executive, legislative and judicial – were designed to be co-equal.
- The tug-of-war that goes on among them – this inefficient, tug-of-war that goes on among them – is designed to slow things down, and make them “safe” but “inefficient’.
- In today’s terminology, the inefficiency designed into our government is not a “bug”. It’s a “feature”.
- I’ve said for many years that people who have run big businesses should not be politicians, and certainly should not be president. If there was ever an example of why I believe that, it’s Trump.
- We are now experiencing the wisdom of that “feature”, as the Trump regime attempts to establish its Supremacy over the other branches.
- Collective defence means that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies.
- The principle of collective defence is enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
- NATO invoked Article 5 for the first time in its history after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States.
- NATO has taken collective defence measures on several occasions, for instance in response to the situation in Syria and in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
- NATO has standing forces on active duty that contribute to the Alliance’s collective defence efforts on a permanent basis.
- TEXT: NATO Article 5
- “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
- ii) Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.” “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
- Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.”
- Emoluments Clause of the Constitution (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia):
- The Ineligibility Clause, one of the two clauses often called the Emoluments Clause, and sometimes also referred to as the Incompatibility Clause or the Sinecure Clause, is found in Article 1, Section 6, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution. It places limitations upon the employment of members of Congress and prohibits employees of the Executive Branch from serving in Congress during their terms in office. The name “Ineligibility Clause” is only used by a minority of writers, as compared to the name “Emoluments Clause”.
- The clause states: “No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.”
- Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The Twenty-fifth Amendment (Amendment XXV) to the United States Constitution deals with succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities. It supersedes the ambiguous wording of Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the Constitution, which does not expressly state whether the Vice President becomes the President or Acting President if the President dies, resigns, is removed from office or is otherwise unable to discharge the powers of the presidency. The Twenty-fifth Amendment was adopted on February 10, 1967.
- Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
- Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
- Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
- Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
- Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
- Group will sue Trump over business’ foreign profits, By Cyra Master 2 hrs ago (The Hill) 1/22/2017 via MSN
- The Title of Nobility Clause [Also known as the Emoluments Clause] is a provision in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, that prohibits the federal government from granting titles of nobility, and restricts members of the government from receiving gifts, emoluments, offices or titles from foreign states without the consent of the United States Congress. Also known as the Emoluments Clause, it was designed to shield the republican character of the United States against so–called “corrupting foreign influences”. This shield is reinforced by the corresponding prohibition on state titles of nobility in Article I, Section 10, and more generally by the Republican Guarantee Clause in Article IV, Section ~ Title of Nobility Clause – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_of_Nobility_Clause
SOURCES WHICH MAY BE RELEVANT TO OTHER DISCUSSION:
- Trial Balloon for a Coup? Analyzing the news of the past 24 hours, by Yonatan Zunger
- Four Freedoms, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: The Four Freedoms were goals articulated by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1941. In an address known as the Four Freedoms speech (technically the 1941 State of the Union address), he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy:
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of worship
- Freedom from want
- Freedom from fear
- Roosevelt delivered his speech 11 months before the United States declared war on Japan, December 8, 1941. The State of the Union speech before Congress was largely about the national security of the United States and the threat to other democracies from world war that was being waged across the continents in the eastern hemisphere. In the speech, he made a break with the tradition of United States non-interventionism that had long been held in the United States. He outlined the U.S. role in helping allies already engaged in warfare.
- Differences between Liberals, Conservatives, Libertarians and neo-Conservatives
- Left–right politics, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- History of the terms: The terms “left” and “right” appeared during the French Revolution of 1789 when members of the National Assembly divided into supporters of the king to the president’s right and supporters of the revolution to his left. One deputy, the Baron de Gauville, explained, “We began to recognize each other: those who were loyal to religion and the king took up positions to the right of the chair so as to avoid the shouts, oaths, and indecencies that enjoyed free rein in the opposing camp.” However the Right opposed the seating arrangement because they believed that deputies should support private or general interests but should not form factions or political parties. The contemporary press occasionally used the terms “left” and “right” to refer to the opposing sides.
- Greens and Libertarians: The yin and yang of our political future, by Dan Sullivan (originally appearing in Green Revolution, Volume 49, No. 2, summer, 1992)
- … Libertarians tend to be logical and analytical. They are confident that their principles will create an ideal society, even though they have no consensus of what that society would be like. Greens, on the other hand, tend to be more intuitive and imaginative. They have clear images of what kind of society they want, but are fuzzy about the principles on which that society would be based.
- Ironically, Libertarians tend to be more utopian and uncompromising about their political positions, and are often unable to focus on politically winnable proposals to make the system more consistent with their overall goals. Greens on the other hand, embrace immediate proposals with ease, but are often unable to show how those proposals fit in to their ultimate goals.
- The most difficult differences to reconcile, however, stem from baggage that members of each party have brought with them from their former political affiliations. Most Libertarians are overly hostile to government and cling to the fiction that virtually all private fortunes are legitimately earned. Most Greens are overly hostile to free enterprise and cling to the fiction that harmony and balance can be achieved through increased government intervention.
- Amongst published researchers, there is agreement that the Left includes anarchists, communists, socialists, progressives, anti-capitalists, anti-imperialists, anti-racists, democratic socialists, greens, left-libertarians, social democrats, and social liberals.
- Researchers have also said that the Right includes capitalists, conservatives, monarchists, nationalists, neoconservatives, neoliberals, reactionaries, imperialists, right-libertarians, social authoritarians, religious fundamentalists, and traditionalists.
- Left–right politics, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia