Get your own
 diary at! contact me older entries newest entry

Hold on to what is good even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe even if it is a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life even when it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand even when I have gone away from you.
- Pueblo Blessing

101 Things About Me

Do My Surveys
(scroll down)

To Do List

To Buy List

Free Guestmap from Bravenet 

Thursday, Sept. 01, 2005 - 12:47 a.m.

Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)

WARNING!!!! if you know me personally, you may read my diary, but if you do, you take the chance of hearing things you don't want to know, misunderstanding what I've written and being hurt by it. If you are unsure if it is ok to read, save yourself and me the grief and heartache, and ask first!!! Please note that this is a DIARY, ie my subjective feelings, hearsay, suppositions, and outpourings of ranting of the moment. It does not represent objective news, the whole of what I think of a topic or someone, or even a thought-out representation of any of the above. Keep that in mind. Thanks. * Here is a Diary Etiquette Read Me.

Cats, Dogs and Floodplains

OK, the Katrina rain has stopped here completely. I rather miss it. Really it was soothing and cool and nice like those fountains they put in the corner of the room to calm you. Good for the garden.

People have been sending me links, as is wont to happen.

This one is very good... it is a rescue agency for animals in disasters called Noah's Wish... sort of the fauna version of the Red Cross. Take a look at it.

There is a lot of information there about preparing for yourself and your animals in the case of disaster. One of course doesn't think of these things until one's house needs to be evacuated.

You might want to read the information on the animals you own in this list.

Here is a site to buy Evacpacs... basically emergency evacuation bags for raptors (!!) cats, other small animals that could freak out in an evacuation situation (ie rabbits), bite, scratch and basically escape you, to their great peril. Very cool. Keep a couple with photos of the animals, vet innoculation info (so that people will admit them to a shelter), food, water, leash, id tags for your temporary refuge address etc...

The whole shebang on preparing an animal-specific emergency evacuation kit.

And call Noah's Wish if you have a disaster in your area where animals need to be saved or cared for.

Another thing forwarded to me today was Tom Tomorrow's page and blog... it makes for some interesting and thoughprovoking reading. Did you know that in 1995 there was flooding in New Orleans and they knew the levies needed work? Did you know that some of the budgets for that repair work was deviated to Iraq. Very very very sad. I guess while Bush is fighting terrorists in Iraqi's backyards, the earth is fighting us in ours. Dang. Dang again.

That is so so so sad. So incredibly sad.

Here is a quote from that article:

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

Also that June, with the 2004 hurricane season starting, the Corps' project manager Al Naomi went before a local agency, the East Jefferson Levee Authority, and essentially begged for $2 million for urgent work that Washington was now unable to pay for. From the June 18, 2004 Times-Picayune:

"The system is in great shape, but the levees are sinking. Everything is sinking, and if we don't get the money fast enough to raise them, then we can't stay ahead of the settlement," he said. "The problem that we have isn't that the levee is low, but that the federal funds have dried up so that we can't raise them."........

"The Newhouse News Service article published Tuesday night observed, "The Louisiana congressional delegation urged Congress earlier this year to dedicate a stream of federal money to Louisiana's coast, only to be opposed by the White House. ... In its budget, the Bush administration proposed a significant reduction in funding for southeast Louisiana's chief hurricane protection project. Bush proposed $10.4 million, a sixth of what local officials say they need."


Now there was some mention yesterday of the dangers of building in disaster-prone zones, and The Pumpkin Queen said this in my comments:

i do agree that it's insane to build in tornado/hurricane alley, on fault lines, on mountainsides, in flood plains, etc. but in defence of that insanity, is there really anywhere to build that isn't vulnerable to some kind of insane disasters? even here in relatively safe canada, we still get floods and sinkholes and washouts and forest fires and ice storms and tornadoes and sometimes earthquakes.

Is there really anywhere to build that isn't vulnerable to some kind of insane disasters?

Well, actually, most of the world is not prone to insane disasters, or if there are insane disasters, there are safe or safer spots.

My father has a master's degree in urban planning and believe me I lived his thesis on the effects of clay soils in the lake basin that is my hometown. They suck up water and expand, and dry out and contract, and as a result, they basically break apart anything manmade on them. Roads, water systems, sewer lines, building foundations. And because clay tends to have runoff rather than drain in summer thundershowers,AND it is flat (it's a lake bottom for god's sake): flooding problems.

Oh my oh my, we say, but whatever could we do??
Well, THAT was the point of his thesis. The very same clay lakebottom that was ruining the city week to year is also some of the best cropland for grain in the entire world. And it is being built over at an alarming expansionist rate for suburbs. BUT the glaciers that came from the north, whose melting created the ancient lake, stopped dead and melted only ten miles north of the city limits. And when the glaciers stopped, they dumped huge deposits of gravel.

Gravel. Yes, what they use to put under roads to create stable solid roadbeds. Gravel. Doesn't expand or contract. Drains beautifully, besides the deposits made the land bad for farming of any type, AND make the land higher than the lakebottom so no flooding.

My father's solution? Moratorium on development in the city, all suburbs built on the gravel 10 miles north of the city. Basically a ten minute drive. As much as people were used to driving to get from the suburbs already. Nope. That would take RADICAL PLANNING.

So every year, basements a year old form inch wide cracks and flood. Roads need constant repair. Sewer lines crack. Insurance is costly, infrastructure is costly for the city. But oh woe, whatever could be done?!!!

Tornados tend to go through the exact same corridors year after year since they form depending on relatively predicable weatherpatterns and geographic features of the earth. They follow the earth's rotation and go in predicable directions. Being only a few miles one way or the other of a really common tornado corridor will make a huge difference.
But planners do not develop according to these things. They divide up areas depending on maps and pretty trees and waterfronts.

Same with earthquakes. Predictable fault lines. The worst could be NOT built on. The difference between building a skyscraper ON a fault line, or ten miles away is a lot.

Mudslides and flood plains... building on the bottom of valleys instead of shelted sides of hills causes disasters that are totally forseeable. Building on the edge of the coastline for the view (property values property values) instead of a quarter mile back means every time the edge erodes into the ocean, million dollar properties are lost.

Building huge hotels and cities along the shoreline in areas prone to hurricanes rather than leaving a belt between the shore and the actual city means that damage is maximised. We all want to see the sea out our front window, walk to the beach. And then are boggled when the ocean carries us away.

Building in below sea-level depressions. Instead of putting a moratorium on development there and insisting it take place on only above sea-level land. New Orleans wasn't wiped out by the actual hurricane. It was wiped out a day later by lake water flooding in.

Really, it is all about convenience, human desire to be where the action is, where it is beautiful and cool etc, the natural propensity to keep expanding wherever people naturally settled hundreds of years ago, when they had no water systems so had to be next to running water, when they had no cars or trains so they had to be next to the ports, when it made sense not to travel for an hour to work (now people travel an hour to work even WHEN they live in a disaster prone geographical region... having put a moratorium on further development in the old historical city and have them drive from homes in a satellite city inland and on dry ground really wouldn't change the driving distance much these days.

No, there will always be natural disasters. But we know enough to logically plan to have our primary building in areas where the impact of said disasters would be minimized. And we don't do it. We do the opposite. Spend billions on fancy engineering projects to allow us to keep water out of natural floodbasins, allow us to build 100 floor buildings on earthquake epicenters, put houses on stilts hanging over seacliffs etc, and then we are surprised that they fall down go boom when normally bad weather boffs them one.

It is not neglecting to pray to the god of your choice that punishes us with disasters, it is neglecting to use the brains and foresight the god of your choice gave us to put the valuables away on a dry top shelf instead of putting them on the basement floor next to the floordrain and the washingmachine.


ps, I also agree with the Pumpkin Queen that the idiocy of those who neglected to use the brains and foresight that the god of their choice gave them, and willfully ignored the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans is really really sad as well. If someone says to evacuate a huge bloody historical major city, it probably is for a damn good reason.

1 People have left cute, callous or caring comments on the wench's wordiness!!
Leave yours too!!

Go to "notes" instead of comments

Join my Notify List and get email when I post a private entry:
Powered by
ps, you'll need to email me for a username and password


previous meanderings - future past

Goodbye Michael. May your next life be kinder to you. - Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
Taking Care of Your Cows - Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
Saint Joseph robs the cradle and eats spaghetti - Sunday, Jun. 14, 2009
sticky notes and broken irises - Friday, Jun. 12, 2009
The FOODCOMMANDER - Monday, Jun. 08, 2009


about me - read my profile! read other Diar
yLand diaries! recommend my diary to a friend! Get
 your own fun + free diary at!

Prism Comics!

*inspired by Chaosdaily