Heavy Weather Traffic


James Fallows asks a pretty good bunch of questions:
How can it be that in the imperial-capital city of the richest nation the world has ever seen, people are told that it will probably be a full week* before electric power is restored? For the second widespread multi-day outage in the past two years. No lights, rotting food, no communications (internet, TV, and radio out, no way to charge cell phones). We have neighbors with little children, who get very hot -- forget air conditioning, even electric fans won't run -- and want to have milk from the refrigerator. We have neighbors who are elderly, and very sick, and have medicine that needs to be kept cold and monitoring machines to run. This is not special pleading for our neighborhood, just a reminder of the whole modern existence that depends on electricity. I would worry that when we return we will not be able to get our other car out of the garage, which has an electric door-opener -- until I remember that it doesn't matter, since the roads on all sides are still (as of Sunday night) blocked by huge trees like the ones shown in a Washington Post photo today.
The "richest" nation on Earth is a nation where raising taxes to improve infrastructure, hire more city employees, and plan for disasters is akin to asking for a sledgehammer to the face. There isn't an austerity fetishist alive who would sign off on increasing the ability of various agencies to improve their ability to quickly deal with something like this unless, of course, this was their goddamned vehicle.

FEMA is located in Washington D.C. Has that escaped anyone's notice? FEMA should be helping the people in the D.C. area, but, alas, none of the FEMA employees can get to their cubicles and start issuing orders.

Electricity is overrated. Why don't these people have four to six solar panels on their roof? That's just about enough renewable energy to keep a few electronic devices humming throughout the day. Why aren't there rechargeable battery devices to keep things running at night? A country that can make it normal for people to go without electricity for a few days, or use solar power to bring their electricity usage down is a country where common sense lives. But, in America, solar power is weird hippie voodoo, so to hell with that.

We live in America the tribal. It doesn't matter where you live or who you know or where we are on the world's index of "richest" nations. Storms of a similar variety blew through Southern Germany this week; there was no power outage. People were out sweeping away the debris the next day. Germany is relentless in its ability to prune trees and protect infrastructure. Money is allocated and spent to prevent catastrophes, but, when they occur, everything within reason is done, with the proviso that people will help themselves and help their neighbors to overcome any difficulty. This is what a mature society looks like.

There is no political will to live in a civil society anymore. What we see now is a great opportunity to deride the Obama Administration, rail against inefficient government, and call for the privatization of everything disaster related. Go Galt, and run your generator at full blast, and pray your ammunition holds out before the zombies eat through the steel doors of your doomsday bunker.
Totally unrelated, but cool...