Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Investing in the Future

Many years ago, America created programs that invested in the possibility that people, poor people, working class people, people of every race, color and creed, could pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
A great many social factors played into President Johnson signing the Economic Opportunity Act in 1965. From this particular act, neighborhoods in economically depressed areas experienced anti-poverty programs. There were spin-offs such as Operation Bootstrap, which generated programs in which people learned to gain the skills, in order to help themselves From such an act, the nation made an investment into funding the college dreams of students no matter their socio-economic, religious, or ethnic status. From the nation's investment in the future through education, yours truly was able to benefit, grow, learn and dedicate her life to educating others. From an initial investment, there was growth.

Schools, like infrastructure needs constant investment. For schools to be houses of learning, the people inside the school, in this republic, need constant investment. Why? Because in the United States of America, part of who we are, what distinguishes us, is our ability to invest in public works. We may fight, bicker, and moan about the expense but at the end of the day, and in some cases that"day" may last years, the investment flowers into people helping people to grow, explore, and contribute to society.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

106th Street and 8th Avenue

How old was the pipe underneath 106 and Central Park West in New York?

Try 100 years old.

That leads to pictures like this:

Now the question is how many other pipes under New York City are in the same condition?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Are your bridges secure?

I just went on Google and typed in 'America's worst bridges'. I don't know what bothers me more, the fact that there are 15,900,000 results (a great chunk of which are not relevant but a disturbingly large amount that are relevant). When you click on several links there is a common pattern:

a. overly congested roadways that lead onto the bridges. Click here.

b. report card grades on roads, and bridges that are rated with mediocre to failing grades.
In fact, click here to see a related article that deals with a report card on dams, bridges, highways, and roadways.

Now here's the kicker - already there are rumblings in the play-yard that certain members of Congress DO NOT want to approve ANY part of President Obama's job's bill. They do not want to play with others. There are certain members of Congress who are a NO because they are more intent upon making President Obama being a one term president than in providing levers that will help their own constituents with getting jobs.

Infrastructure Now!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wading in the Water - Part 4

Today was a great opening day for most schools in NYC. Unfortunately, there are some areas alo0ng the East Coast, like in Pennsylvania, where students are being evacuated from their school.

We are now in a pattern of heavy precipitation. Now the East Coast is dealing with Tropical Storm Lee. Click here to see a short video. Ground that has already soaked up the water, has no more room. The result is that families who thought they had successfully survived Irene, now look as their basements, and homes flood. On top of that, if they happened to put their water logged belongings out on the street, the new, large puddles, or flash floods, push their items into other property.

President Obama will be speaking tonight, trying to convince a certain section of the Congress to put Country First. Let's make the thinking process even simpler than that - let's put neighbor first. Let's stop mistaking kindness and caring for the welfare of people for weakness and realize that fixing, editing and contributing to a jobs plan that will address America's wobbly infrastructure is more important than party politics.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Different Between Can and Won't

This is a section of Paterson, New Jersey. The Pasaic River crested, overflowing the woefully inadequate spill basin, or dam system, or what ever system was in place.
There should bed streets and instead there is an image of two people moving from one place to another by boat. The property damage throughout Paterson and in sections of the state of New Jersey is in the billions. We as as a nation can help the states who have suffered such devastation. We as the nation have the capacity to help citizens in distress. We have a structure called Congress, that votes on bills that provide money to enhance, support, and maintain the infrastucture through many different avenues. One of the avenues is FEMA.

The problem - FEMA, the agency that was created in 1979, that in the past has routinely had money allocated by Congress in order to provide catastrophic emergency aid. FEMA is down to 1 billion dollars. 1 billion dollars. Can FEMA help the state of New Jersey. Not quite. New Jersey has about $7-8 billion dollars worth of damage. New York has 1 billion dollars worth of damage. This means FEMA does NOT have enough money. FEMA, whose purpose is to provide assistance to states to help their residents. When properly funded, FEMA can do it's job. FEMA can fulfill it's purpose.

Congressman Eric Cantor indicated FEMA may be able to do what it is supposed to do but Congress WON'T be allowed to provide any aid, or to replenish the money FEMA needs because - because - because - hmmm - let's see, because Congress feels there is plenty of time to look in other areas of the budget to cut spending in wasteful areas BEFORE it provides aid to the citizens who are need emergency services across the East coast due to Hurricane Irene.

So the person or persons who lived in this house are supposed to wait until Congress figures out the cuts before they receive aid.

There are millions of pictures of people who have lost everything; whose jobs have been swept away by flood waters, who Congress could help but WON'T help because according to Speaker Boehner and Congressman Cantor, it's more important to go for more budget cuts, and make sure that those who are are financially in the upper 5% of the country do not have to pay taxes than it is to help the citizens of the United States.

Right now one can look at different pictures of third world countries after a natural disaster has struck and look at pictures of the aftermath of the floods that devastated Connecticut and Vermont and feel there isn't a difference. Here are two pictures from the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.
Natural disasters realize how quickly one becomes severed from civilization.

Here are two areas in Vermont.
The people, who ever they are, hopefully will have the family members, fortitude, and resources as Congress puts power, influence, and politics over the citizens of the United States.

The destruction is the same. The ruined property is the same. The discarded furniture, the broken, shredded remnants of where people resided, the violently overturned earth; and ominously dark water convey a feeling of death. Congress can help.

Congress has the ability to help. Congress can quickly vote to okay the bill for extensive interstate highway building, repair, and maintenance. Congress can vote to approve more money for FEMA so that the agency can provide aid to all of the states who have suffered devastation.

Will Congress "do the right thing?"
Can Congress "do the right thing?"
Will the response the citizens of the United States get from Congress is that when there is a catrstrophe, Congress WON'T respond?