Especially the last half on disaster preparedness.
Those who follow my blog and care about the issues covered here have already been upset by many of President Trump's actions. For example appointing major oil executive, Rex Tillerson, as Secretary of State (actually not the worst of his picks); former Texas governor, Rick Perry, as Secretary of Energy; or an avowed anti environment and climate change denier, Scott Pruitt, as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. This is just a sampling, but the rest can be seen at this site which includes links to their former jobs and connections.
The "9 minute gap" link also points out that transgender health care would cost between $2.4 million and $8.4 million per year, about 0.1% of active military medical spending. Subsequently it has been shown surgery and medical treatment costs for transition and maintenance are considerably less than the cost of erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment and medication. This Army Times article reports that in 2014 the Defense Health Agency spent $84.2 million on ED medication for active-duty troops, eligible family members and retirees. In addition are the 1.18 million ED prescriptions since 2014 and the total cost of $294 million for ED meds since 2011. So, when is Trump going to outlaw paying for Viagra by the military???
As if what we have seen already isn't bad enough, now our Dear President is trading threats of nuclear holocaust with North Korea's equally belligerent Dear Leader. Trump warns the North to fear "fire and fury like the world has never seen." I guess "shock and awe" in Iraq was no big deal, except the consequence was a 9 year war. Nor was the terrible slaughter and destruction of the static trenches of the Western Front in WW1. Now the North's military has claimed planning for an attack on Guam where we have military bases. Do they believe the only way to top those horrors is to go nuclear? Unfortunately both men love political theater and spectacle.
[10/16/17] - The situation between President Trump and North Korea, if anything, has heated up even more as the NK deputy ambassador to the UN says "War May Break Out Any Moment." He further declared that "The entire U.S. mainland is within our firing range..." While these threats are somewhat routine for that government, given equally inflammatory rhetoric by our President it is seriously worrisome.
[9/3/17] - North Korea detonated a powerful explosive device this weekend, which many believe is a hydrogen bomb with 10 times the power of the bomb we dropped on Hiroshima. Then to add to the excitement, Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had a few choice words. He warned the escalating NK crisis could cause a "planetary catastrophe" and huge loss of life, further describing US proposals for further sanction on NK as "useless". Putin says, "Ramping up military ysteria in such conditions is senseless; it's a dead end." Are either Trump or North Korea paying attention???
This past week (before 8/18/17) we were even informed that North Korea's missiles might now reach as far as Boston and New York, which means DC could also become a target. They feel that Andersen Air Force Base on Guam could serve as the base for a potential US invasion. Thus they are developing plans to neutralize the island. Guam has been the target of their threats for some time now, but the language and official sources of these threats is becoming of greater concern. NORK's long vowed threat to reduce Seoul to a "sea of fire" adds additional spice to the rhetoric.
The one good result of all the saber rattling is that China is finally expressing interest in dialing down this escalation. They have just announced trade sanctions against North Korea in reaction to the most recent threats against the US. These are reported to restrict the export of coal, iron ore, gold, titanium, and rare earth metals to China, their biggest client. On paper this looks good, but China fears illegal immigration just as much as we are troubled by Mexican border illegal immigration. In fact China has been a busy wall builder. A 2007 study suggested as many as 3 million of the North's 23 million population might flood China if the North's government suffers a major collapse.
Meanwhile, Guam is busy working on their problem based on the most recent North Korean threats to direct "enveloping fire" in their direction. This article: https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/08/11/guam-publishes-fact-sheet-on-preparing-for-an-imminent-missile-threat/23075045/ details some of their recommendations. Guam Homeland Security has released a fact sheet on preparedness for an "imminent missile threat." It advises the 160,000 people who live there to do the following:
* Don't look at the flash or fireball--it can blind you.
* Take shelter as soon as you can. Radioactive fallout can be carried by wind for miles.
* Remove your clothing to keep radioactive material from spreading.
* Shower, or if you can't, use a wipe or wet cloth to get rid of radioactive material.
Now, thanks to two seriously angry, ego driven leaders, Washington, DC faces a similar problem. And the question is: WHAT HAVE OUR CITY LEADERS DONE TO PREPARE???
I don't yet have the answer to that question. Personally, I am not convinced that even if North Korea launched a missile toward DC, that it would come all that close, but I can easily imagine a miss that would create huge clouds of radioactive dust. What do we have left of our old cold war bomb shelters and supply caches to allow staying sheltered for 4 or more days of fallout. Last November, the Washington City Paper answered that question in very pessimistic terms.
While the original fallout shelter planning and public mania was directed toward fears of very large Soviet nuclear bombs, today's threat is somewhat different. After 9/11's terror attacks considerable worry was directed at the danger of dirty nuke explosions in downtown areas. Not necessarily atom or hydrogen bombs, but even conventional explosives packed with radioactive materials. Also NORK missiles would have a smaller payload, and could easily land miles from our city.
The most important key to survival is good protection from radiation and radioactive fallout. The consensus is that 3 feet of soil provides good radiation protection. This article answers many questions about bomb/radiation shelters and lists things to do to survive. In a fallout situation staying underground a minimum of 4 days is recommended, and even up to two weeks depending on how powerful and nearby was the blast. I was very interested to learn that McMillan Park has 3 feet of soil above it's 20 acres of underground filtration galleries.
In the 60's, my aunt and uncle in Gettysburg were proudly showing us their new well-equipped fallout shelter. After admiring all the little details and conveniences, my Korean War veteran husband asked, "Where do you keep your gun?" They responded, "We don't have one." "So, how do you expect to keep all this food and medicine," my husband exclaimed. No answer, befuddled looks. On the way home, hubby said, "Well, if worse comes to worse, we'll pack all our food and my firearms, and head fast for Gettysburg."
In addition to the Guam recommendations above, I would add:
* Imagine needs if there is no electricity, running water, heating--candles, batteries, blankets.
* Keep emergency box(s)--bags with a sealed changes of clothes, canned and dried food, several gallons water per person, flashlight, radio, wet-naps, among other things.
* Agree on what well sheltered place to reunite with loved ones, bring box(s).
* If sheltering at home choose lowest, most central site. Provide food, water, bedding, medicine, human waste containers, and other essentials in or next to this space. Quick trips to adjoining space to bring in essentials won't add much radiation.
* For possible underground shelter in yard, this site has much info.
* To avoid breathing radioactive ash use face mask/water moistened bandanna.
* Iodine and/or fresh chlorine bleach to kill germs and purify water.
Given the various kinds of emergencies we may face including flood, storm, explosions, etc. This list for fallout shelters also provides much other emergency situation information. One of the important things to have is iodine pills to protect the thyroid from radiation, or liquid iodine which can also be used on cuts to kill germs. When traveling in Central America, a former Peace Corp volunteer told me to put a drop of liquid iodine in a glass of water, let it sit a half hour then drink. We did this the rest of our trip and my husband and I never got food poisoning once.
After Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Katrina, thousands of people suffered from lack of safe water. They could have filtered dirty water through cloth, and when clear used the above method to purify with a drop of iodine per glass. Also effective is fresh chlorine bleach or for long term emergency supply storage, calcium hypochlorite. This link has detailed instructions. Calcium hypochlorite is especially good for large shelter use. Potential public shelters should keep a supply on hand.
Hurricane Katrina was a major citywide disaster with a central emergency meeting point. The New Orleans Superdome eventually held 30,000 people for five unsupplied days. This nightmare is well described by manager, Doug Thornton, who was there the whole 5 days with his wife Denise. Their subsequent struggles to bring back New Orleans and how it almost destroyed their marriage is movingly documented by Denise Thornton.
He devoted ALL his energy to rebuilding this essential infrastructure symbol for their city's home team. She felt the important need was to bring back the people and rebuild community. Eventually they agreed both kinds of work were essential. Nevertheless the huge noisy gathering to celebrate the NO Saints opening game a year later in a rebuilt clean-smelling Superdome was more than she could bear. She left, but her single handed effort to establish communication had brought the people back.
OUR LEADERS NEED TO REMEMBER THAT WHILE DEVELOPMENT IS IMPORTANT A DIVERSE COMMUNITY IS EQUALLY ESSENTIAL
One of the great dangers of all gentrification all the time is our loss of the many lower income people who work daily in restaurants, hotels, and hospitals. Equally problematic is the fact that teachers, police and firemen can no longer afford to buy in DC. This was brought home to many last year when a record winter storm stranded many workers in the city. Businesses scrambled to house their workers so their businesses could stay open or because Metro had been forced to close. Meanwhile, ordinary people enjoyed nearly empty roads and snow fun, or struggled to clean unplowed alleys and side streets. This link has over 400 comments.
Last summer (2016) while running At Large for DC Council, I was very concerned to find some way to save McMillan Park for all our DC residents. I heard our Mayor was planning to sell it to a NO-BID developer for $17 million when it's appraisable worth is at least $100 million. I realized we pro-park people would need to come up with a plan having economic benefit for DC's tax structure. My detailed illustrated plan (shown elsewhere at this blog) explains how parts of the underground space could be used for high end wine cellars, and other economically useful and entertaining businesses.
Another idea by the McMillan Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture (MCSA) proposes growing hydroponic vegetables and fish culture. There is no need for poorer people in DC to suffer the deprivation of local food deserts when so much could be grown and distributed at relatively low costs. In addition, underground production could provide some of the needs of the restaurants and food related businesses described in my blog post.
This 8+ minute video shows how fish is being farmed indoors in Baltimore at Univ. of MD's Inst. of Marine & Environmental Technology. They are growing salt water fish which is harder than producing fresh water fish like tilapia. MCSA's combined system recirculating water between fish tank and hydroponic vegetation is highly efficient. Fish waste feeds the plants and the plants clean the water. Very little water is wasted. McMillan's underground space helps regulate proper temperatures.
I have asked others about the economic potential for growing fish and plants. One estimate was growing 50 metric tons of fish per month per well designed acre. If only $1 a pound were received, that would be around $1.32million per year, around $4million for 3 acres. Given the prices suggested here, $10million or more might be possible. Today Harris Teeter was selling tilapia for 5.95 a pound. Since tiers of plant growing racks could be constructed above the fish tanks, that is another significant amount that could be earned.
The two main styles of combining fish and plants are called Media Bed Systems and Raft Bed Systems. This link has a 7 minute video and 2 dozen linked articles to the right as well as other useful videos after the first one ends. Aquaponics is a young technology, and there is much creative experimentation going on. This view of "Vertical Farming/Vertical Gardens" most resembles a likely configuration for McMillan underground. Perhaps the most valuable contribution for DC would be the opportunity to hire young people and help them learn STEM subjects and good incomes.
When asked how soon North Korea might have missiles able to reach the US, the answer was probably months, not years. This detailed article with maps shows threats to us and our allies. Washington, DC (Pentagon) is on the North's official target map. As to how soon east coast cities like DC, NY or Boston could be targeted, five years was one suggestion. If true, WE HAVE TIME TO PREPARE, but we should not be wasting time, and we certainly should not destroy our biggest and best potential fallout shelter--McMILLAN PARK's 20 acres, underground.