Policy choices in time of crises

This is an excerpt from Bloomberg’s Morning Joe:

Citizens need to recognize that Federal government has the power to mitigate economic crises to a greater extent. I ask why are our leaders in Washington choosing austerity over charity? Read Joe’s take on Federal response to crises.

“Something people should understand about the current U.S. economic crisis is that it is in large part a policy choice.

People joining food lines all around the country is the result of a policy choice not to supply laid off workers with more income, or easy enough access to income from the government. The spiraling number of small businesses closing up shop is the result of a policy choice to cap the level of payroll support, turning the program into a de facto lottery. The wave of state and local austerity we’re already seeing (Los Angeles is the latest) is due to a policy choice, not to include ample money for municipal funding in any of the emergency spending bills that we’ve seen so far. Of course, the social distancing demands create an exceptionally difficult and disruptive situation for everyone, but the attendant level of economic devastation that this has caused was a choice. The federal government isn’t anywhere close to exhausting its fiscal capabilities to supply the private, state and local sectors with replacement income for the duration of the public health emergency.

The reasons behind these choices are different and complex. However the economist JW Mason nailed one aspect of it in a blog post, writing: “It seems like one of the deepest lessons of the crisis is that a system organized around the threat of withholding people’s subsistence will deeply resist measures to guarantee it, even when particular circumstances make that necessary for the survival of the system itself.” Tomorrow another 4.5 million initial jobless claims are expected to be reported.”

David Brooks: The urban backlash against the populist backlash – The Salt Lake Tribune

https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2019/11/22/david-brooks-urban/

The populist backlash came in different forms in different parts of the world. In Central and Eastern Europe it came in the form of nationalist strongmen — Victor Orban, Vladimir Putin, the Law and Justice party in Poland. In Latin America it came in the form of the Pink Tide — a group of left-wing economic populists like Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro. In the Anglosphere it was white ethnic nationalism of Donald Trump and Brexit. In the Middle East it was Muslim fundamentalism. In China it was the increasing authoritarianism of Xi Jinping. In India it was the Hindu nationalism of Narendra Modi.

David Brooks

Thank you Hyatt

“Hyatt is the latest international hotel brand to ditch travel-sized toiletries from its rooms, following Holiday Inn-owner InterContinental Group and Marriott International.

Portable tubes of shampoo, conditioner and bath gel will be replaced with bulk-sized toiletries across Hyatt’s global chain of 220,000 rooms beginning in June 2021. The changes will affect Hyatt’s 900 hotels worldwide, encompassing 20 brands, including Park Hyatt, Hyatt Place and the Andaz.

“Plastic pollution is a global issue, and we hope our efforts will motivate guests, customers and, indeed, ourselves to think more critically about our use of plastic,” Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt, said in a press release.”

It takes everybody working together to reduce plastics….why all the packaging? Ever since Tylenol scare back in the 1980s, companies have gone packaging crazy…time to ease up on Plastics. Buying local is a starting point…

Most Endangered Rivers Victory: Washington’s Skykomish River | American Rivers

https://www.americanrivers.org/2018/04/most-endangered-rivers-victory-washingtons-skykomish-river/

“This week, after seven years of opposition to a hydropower proposal put forth by the Snohomish County Public Utility District (SnoPUD) for the South Fork Skykomish River, local activists, tribes, paddlers, river recreationists, and anglers got some good news at the April 10 SnoPUD meeting, when the SnoPUD commission and staff agreed to cancel the Sunset Falls hydropower project and request the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to close the docket on the current application.

Finally! Falls would have been reduced to a trickle if hydro project approved.

2 gallons of radioactive nuclear waste done; 56M gallons to go | The Columbian

http://www.columbian.com/news/2018/may/16/2-gallons-of-radioactive-nuclear-waste-done-56m-gallons-to-go/

“It’s a big deal,” said Dawn Wellman, sector manager for environmental health and remediation at the national lab in Richland. “At a scaled version we have done what they will do at full scale at Hanford.”

The vitrification plant — or Waste Treatment Plant — at the Hanford nuclear reservation has been under construction since 2002, with a court-ordered deadline of 2023 to start treating some of the 56 million gallons of radioactive waste in underground tanks.

Much of the waste, which is left from the past production of plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program, is planned to be vitrified, or turned into a solid glass form for disposal.”

Efforts to Restore the Los Angeles River Collide With a Gentrifying City | Sierra Club

https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2018-4-july-august/feature/efforts-restore-los-angeles-river-California-collide-gentrifying-city

“The complex, unique geology of the Los Angeles Basin, with its interlocking and overlapping ridges and valleys, resulted in a wildly unpredictable river that often sent torrents of water tearing over its banks.

Not long after California became a state in 1851, the water needs of a booming population stressed the Los Angeles River to its breaking point. Meanwhile, the fitful river endangered the settlements multiplying throughout the floodplain. After catastrophic floods in 1914, 1934, and 1938, the city, at the recommendation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, agreed to straighten the riverbed and pave it with concrete, deracinating whatever plant and animal wildlife was left. A complex of aqueducts, dams, and reservoirs was built to import most of the city’s water; today, it delivers about 430 million gallons daily.”

Restoration of this watershed is a priority to many who live in and around LA.

Why the World’s Rivers Are Losing Sediment and Why It Matters – Yale E360

https://e360.yale.edu/features/why-the-worlds-rivers-are-losing-sediment-and-why-it-matters

“Now, as global warming steadily melts glaciers and polar ice sheets, quickening the pace of sea level rise, scientists say that a severe shortage of river-borne sediment — most of it trapped behind dams — will increasingly be felt along the world’s coasts.

The most important things!

Plan Released for Klamath River Dam Removal | American Rivers

https://www.americanrivers.org/2018/06/plan-released-for-klamath-river-dam-removal/

“The Klamath River project will be the most significant dam removal and river restoration effort yet. Never before have four dams of this size been removed at once which inundate as many miles of habitat (4 square miles and 15 miles of river length), involving this magnitude of budget (approximately $397 million) and infrastructure.

But perhaps more important than the size of the dams is the amount of collaboration and the decades of hard work that have made this project possible. American Rivers has been fighting to remove the dams since 2000. And thanks to the combined efforts of the Karuk and Yurok tribes, irrigators, commercial fishing interests, conservationists, and many others, our goal of a free-flowing river is now within reach.”

Biggest dam removal ever! Klamath was largest salmon producer until dams interrupted reproduction cycles.

From stltoday.com

https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/parson-signs-law-setting-up-funds-for-radioactive-waste-probe/article_5962ba0a-6ac9-5d82-941a-fdad2212d872.html

Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who was sworn in on June 1 after the resignation of Gov. Eric Greitens, approved the proposal championed by Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City.

The measure will allocate $150,000 annually to the Department of Natural Resources to probe sites like the West Lake Landfill in north St. Louis County, where radioactive material was dumped more than 40 years ago.

What to do with nuclear waste-From forbes.com

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/06/19/stop-letting-your-ridiculous-fears-of-nuclear-waste-kill-the-planet/

What is usually referred to as nuclear waste is used nuclear fuel in the shape of rods about 12 feet long. For four and a half years, the uranium atoms that comprise the fuel rods are split apart to give off the heat that turns water into steam to spin turbines to make electricity. After that, nuclear plant workers move the used fuel rods into pools of water to cool.

Congress wants to ‘bury’ Nevada in nuclear waste?