September 14, 2017

No #IkeDike, part 2

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water
"Cadillac Desert": It's
description of the Army
Corps of Engineers is
yet another reason to keep
it from building any sort
of "Ike Dike."
Since my original piece opposing an Ike Dike, Brain's comment, and my piece about how maybe we have too many people living in Houston, and other disaster-prone areas, some further thoughts have come to my mind.

First, I stand by what I say about the Corps of Engineers. Especially having read "Cadillac Desert" five times, it's an anti-environmentalist, bloated, money-wasting bureaucracy. And one with too damned many Congressional constituents, as Jimmy Carter found out.

Second, per the mitigation by other cities plus the too damned many people post, I mention the Bay Area. Not mitigation, but post-earthquake rebuild. They used some federal money, but much of the funds to replace the Bay Bridge, and upgrade others in the greater Bay Area, were state, regional and local dollars, including increases in tolls.

For more on the funding of the Bay Bridge AND how it spiked sixfold from original estimates — partially due to fancy design upgrades but largely due to unforeseen engineering costs, go here.

So, if Houstonians DO want an Ike Dike, fine. Just don't ask the feds to fund most of it, first.

Next, besides a carbon tax as the one possible source of federal funding for any of it, there's another very needed source.

The Ike Dike would protect what from storm surge? The Houston Ship Channel, above all.

And what's there? Petrochemical plants.

Tax them, dun them, if they want protection. Besides, beyond a carbon tax, they should be assessed damages for their role in causing this.

Besides, getting back to being a good environmentalist, f we need to get away from fossil fuels, at least the plants that refine oil into gasoline and diesel, not the ones that make plastics, need to be getting LESS valuable by the day.

Another way of more cheaply addressing the problems, per my too damned many people post? Pay more people to move.

Maybe this is why some Texans think the state doesn't suck

Denial is not just a river in Egypt and it has many tributaries in Texas.

Why?

Maybe in part, due to Texas' neighbors.

Let's start with looking across the Red River. Per this Guardian piece, the Sooner State is sooner going to be a failed state than anything. Governed by Mary Fallin, a cross between between a prayer warrior and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, when you have four-day school weeks and teachers panhandling for supplies, you have a problem.

Fallin et al believe that trickle-down applies to the oil patch. Except when she, per followers of Joel Osteen, called on the residents of the state to pray away low oil prices. And failed just as surely as they did, and as Rick Perry did on rain six years ago. (Will bleeding-spirit Religious Right governors ever learn?)

Let's look west, next, across the 103rd meridian and the Permian.

For the past six years, New Mexico has been led by a kleptocratic Brownback wannabe, who got some comeuppance in her party nationally when she was even slower than Ted Cruz to jump on the Trump Train.

That said, the Land of (Dis) Enchantment and home of Fanta Se has had bipartisanly bad leadership. Big Bill Richardson dodged criminal charges, but a fair amount of his New Mexico Miracle was smoke and mirrors. And, before him, Gary Johnson, a governor who vetoed a bill backed, in its original version, by his own wife, and who was a "law and order Republican," not a Libertarian, back in the day.

East? If you live in East Texas and cross the state line, even without having to cross water, you can tell with your eyes closed when you're in Louisiana by how crappy the roads usually are.

It, even more than the other three states, is a petro-state. Funny that the likes of Sarah Palin point the finger at the Nigerias of the world while never looking at the Louisianas, or their own Alaskas.

The Pelican State has emerged from eight years of governance by Jenga (Bobby Jindal), whose overblown pretentiousness makes even New Mexico's Oh Susana Martinez look tame. Jon Bel Edwards is now stuck with cleaning up his mess, and with fighting wingnuts who want to pretend there is no mess and want to make absolutely sure LSU football is inviolate. Geaux Tigers!

And ...

Arkansas.

It does border Texas on a corner. It avoids some of its problems, and those of the three bordering states, by not really being a petro-state.

On the other hand, it IS the home of both Bill Clinton AND Mike Huckabee, among others.

So, for the everything's better in Texas crowd? Well, in the Pointy Abandoned Object State™,  everything's relative.

September 13, 2017

Translating today's job description world, part 1

These are all based on various specific ads I've seen

"10 days PTO."

You mean I don't get 10 days vacation PLUS five (or more) sick days?

"Snacks provided."

Note that they are NOT provided for FREE. (This is from the same ad as above.)

Translation? "We have a vending machine."

"Pizza days" and "quarterly parties."

Is that all? Every job I've been at has done at least that. OK, we haven't had a "movie afternoon."

But, that might translate as "parent company mandatory webinar." (This ad is from Zip Recruiter, so, you know, I could be right.)

==

In turn, this stupidity shows why we need basic income — with the caveats that I have previously blogged about.

September 12, 2017

TX Progressives have more thoughts on Harvey

The Texas Progressive Alliance sends its thoughts to Florida as it brings you this week's roundup.

 Off the Kuff looked at the hopefully temporary reinstatement of the voter ID law as it goes through the appeals process.

 SocraticGadfly offers up a trio of Harvey-related thoughts related to possible future "big ones." Would an Ike Dike be a massive military-industrial complex boondoggle?  Can Houston and Harris County do anything different on evacuation ideas? And does greater Houston, like some other disaster-prone areas, simply have too many people living there?

 CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is angry with the previous Houston flood control head and the current pollution helpers.

 Family feuds are the most fun to watch, especially when you're not in the family, laughed PDiddie at Brains and Eggs as he popped more corn.

 Neil at All People Have Value said people really need to move on from the Sanders/Clinton primary fight. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

Lewisville Texan Journal notes Denton County is being sued for sex discrimination.

 =================

 And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

 Better Texas Blog talks fighting hunger after Harvey.

 Michael Li shows the proposed remedial Congressional maps.

 The Texas Living Waters Project will work to find innovative flooding solutions for the next Harvey.

 The TSTA Blog cheers the selection of John Sharp as statewide hurricane czar.

 Dos Centavos wants us to think about undocumented immigrants as something other than cheap labor for rebuilding after disasters.

Nick Anderson sums up what merits a special session for Greg Abbott and what does not.

Grits for Breakfast discusses bail reform ideas.

Texas Moratorium Network announced the 18th annual March to Abolish the Death Penality is set for next month.

-->

Dallas Observer has the info on the city's latest failed attempt to take down the Lee statue in Oak Lawn.

September 11, 2017

Two lawsuit fails — one good, one bad

First, Sarah Palin lost her lawsuit with the New York Times, over a piece it did about her "gun targets" for certain Democratic congressional candidates shortly before Gabby Giffords (one of the targeted Dems) was actually shot.

Palin's a public figure, which makes the bar high, even in a news story. (Having blogged about Wendy Davis losing a similar lawsuit to the StartleGram, over op-eds, when she was on Fort Worth city council, I knew this would happen, contra "Cowfefe Owl Doctor" on Twitter.)

The second? Not so good.

Showing how much the American jurisprudence system is in the tank for the duopoly, the DNC fraud lawsuit was also dismissed. Some Sandernistas are rightfully appealing. If they lose, will they continue with their independent third party idea, ignoring the existence of the Greens?

#Harvey catastrophe final roundup

The Houston-area damages from Hurricane Harvey happened in large part because of bad politics in Houston and Harris County, followed by some in the state of Texas. Unfortunately, at least one semi-prominent pseudoskeptic in greater Houston wants to double down on that politically conservative state of mind.

That same politics is exemplified in the US Senate by Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, both of whom voted against Superstorm Sandy aid but immediately had their hands out for Harvey help, with Cruz then doubling down on bad manners and ill grace by attacking President Trump for making a deal with Democrats not to link Harvey help to a long-term debt ceiling move.

Could an IkeDike have helped? Besides the fact that it only addresses storm surges, not rainfall-caused flooding, it appears to be a massive boondoggle of the military-industrial complex. It's something that should not be seen as a solution, or even a plausible idea.

Could Houston and Harris County have a better plan for evacuations? Possibly. It at least needs further discussion. Because, storm surge or not, rain-induced flooding, even from less than fully big ones, is going to be an ongoing problem there.

And, maybe part of the problem is that Houston, along with other disaster-prone urban conglomerations, simply has too many people there. Decarbonizing the economy, along with the federal government not favoring right-to-get-fired states, would help with Houston, but not other places.

(And, this hasn't even touched the issue of community, state and federal enforcement of existing floodplain building and rebuilding rules.)

Meanwhile, I, with other Texans, wish the best for Floridians post-Irma. Miami has done some mitigation that Houston has not, but at the state level, it's run by a wingnut governor.

And, Presient Trump's St. Martin property being badly damaged, and Mar-A-Lago at least moderately so, still won't likely lead him to admit the reality of climate change, speaking of Irma.