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Thursday, November 8, 2012

(0) Days Since Our Last Lost Time Incident

A few days removed from the election it appears little has changed.  Oh, the banter in social media and cable news is active as ever.  Within a half hour on my Facebook feed I am witness to posts from either side of the aisle.  Micro-blogs range from: "Obama got away with murder."  "I am disappointed to be an American."  "Sad day :-(. " to  "Ooooooo Bama!!!"  "America has spoken!!" "Flava Flav :-O ."

It is more of the same rhetoric, or vitriol that preceded the election itself.  Very little, if any, of the discourse is constructive or even relevant.

"Obama's not a citizen," they cry.  "Romney wears magic underpants."

Life goes on.  Everyone is going to be just fine.  The DOW and interest rates will continue to fluctuate.

Mother Nature, this Autumn's headline, had nothing to do with the results.  And she might be the biggest factor in the next 4 years.

She certainly has wreaked havoc on the Northeast.  Several thousand people in my home state of NJ, as well as other states, still find themselves without power 11 days post Sandy.  A snow storm hit yesterday that further damaged the relief work currently ongoing.

New Jersey Transit buses are still several weeks away from becoming fully operational.  It has been several weeks since I made the commute to New York City.  My wife, and many of my friends and neighbors, have had to scramble to simply get to work.  Buses have been chartered.  Car pools have been formed.

We are still reeling from the effects of 9.11 and now another force to contend with.  The candidates spoke of "jobs" leading up to Tuesday.  What if you are prevented from getting to the jobs that already exist?

The brutal combination of Hurricane Sandy and yesterday's Nor'Easter illuminate two major issues.

1.  These type of weather events are the new norm.  Winds are going to be stronger.  Storms surges WILL be unprecedented.  Whether or not you believe in climate change or global warming is irrelevant.  All you have to do is look out the window.  Assume this is a random pattern that God decided upon.  You still have to acknowledge the pattern exists.  One storm is a fluke.  Two events are an oddity.  When the events are systematic year in and year out it is imperative you open your eyes.

Explain it anyway you like.  But let us ALL admit something is going on here.

2.  If this is indeed the new norm we MUST update/revise/reconfigure our aging, tired and downright antiquated infrastructure.  Think about it, there are several train tracks that have been rendered useless due to Sandy.  Thousands of workers who rely on that service are unable to use it to go to work.  Consequently they are forced to drive vehicles using already scarce fuel to adapt.  Gas rather than electric is the only alternative.

We should be moving away from gas, not embracing it as savior.  Our trains should be near indestructible forces of engineering able to withstand the breath of Godzilla and splash of the Kraken's tail.

This is not to discount Sandy's force.  The destruction of the Jersey Shore and Staten Island is quite real and overwhelming.  But we have done nothing to improve upon the way we travel.  There was a proposal a few years back to add another rail tunnel leading into NYC that Gov. Christie put an end to.

"We can't afford it!" he growled.

Can we afford this?  How does FEMA make its money?  You and I, right?

The hits are going to keep on coming.  Hell it's not even mid- November.

But what will we do to prevent further catastrophes?  Are we comfortable waiting in gas lines and looking at empty shelves in grocery stores?

Where to start?  Can we get electrical wires underground?  Is it time to further examine electric cars?  Solar and wind should be on the table, no?

Sure, we will all have to pay more.  But isn't it worth paying a little up front rather than lots down the road?

I look at my 10 year old and wonder what World I have brought her into.

She came into this World shortly after 9.11.  War has been ongoing since her birth.  She knows the color chart detailing NYC's "threat levels."  Katrina was in her lifetime.  Now Sandy.

What next?

She should be worrying about 5th grade nonsense like fitting in with the "perfs."  Yes, "perfs" is the Mean Girls-esque "Plastics"group that roam the halls of her suburban grade school.  Let her worry about basketball tryouts and school socials.  We can only blame the Baby Boomers for so long.  And I do, believe me.

We have four more years.  Here is hoping we can make a change.

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