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May 09 2011

Mississippi River Flooding

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Summary: Flooding has been creating much havoc in many Midwestern and southern states within the last week. The US Army has been called in to open a spillway to calm the rising of water in the Mississippi river. These are created to divert water away from the low-lying city of New Orleans. Upstream in Memphis and Tennessee people waited for water to go down as it had reached 14 feet, way above flood stage. In between states such as Louisiana and Mississippi are beginning to prepare for flooding by opening floodgates and levees that officials said are holding up well. “This water that we’re seeing coming by is moving 2 million cubic feet per second,” said Col. Vernie Reichling, Corps of Engineers’ Memphis District commander, of the situation Sunday outside that city. “To use an analogy, in one second that water would fill up a football field 44 feet deep.” “There is no doubt that we are stressing the system,” he said. “These are historic flows.” The river is the highest it’s been since 1937. When it hit 48.7 feet. That flood killed 500 people and destroyed 200 acres of land that means this flood will be almost or even more devastating. The sewage plant is close to shutting down which provides the clean water to drink and bathe in. Memphis is doing okay so far and much of the water is coming from other states tributaries not being able to dump water. The cities mayor said that even though this is a major disappointment he doesn’t expect the flooding to be that bad in their area. In Mississippi people are getting nervous that the nuclear power plant will be shut down soon because an access road is extremely close to becoming flooded. The spillway opened on Monday can accommodate about 1.87 million gallons of water per second, diverting water from the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico by way of Lake Pontchartrain. As a result of the 1927 flood congress passed the Flood Control Act of 1928 that started a massive Public Works program to hold back the river more efficiently and lessen the effects of floodwater. Only minimal rain is expected over the coming days, with daytime temperatures forecast to be in the upper 80s and 90s through Thursday, at which point the water levels should begin to creep back down. “It’s a historic time we’re in all along the Mississippi River,” Fleming said.

Analysis: This is a horrible disaster that is occurring more and more in the past ten years. I feel like over the last few years multiple “acts of god” have destroyed land and ruined people’s lives. If it’s not flooding it’s a tornado, if it’s not a tornado it’s an earthquake.  It is sad to see so many peoples homes go under water when there was nothing they could do about it. After this I think that congress must create another public works program to try and build more levees and other things to stop water. Hopefully within the next 10 years the US government can make this possible.




May 09 2011

Arizona tries to build fence on border

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Summary: Arizona officials have created a website to try and bring in funding for an extended fence around the border hoping to keep illegal immigrants out. The Federal government does not think it is necessary so they have not provided any funding for the fence. The main source of funding and labor will come from the state of Arizona and prison workers. All they need to do now is get permission from the Construction Company and landowners and they could start building right away. They are trying to get this done as soon as possible says governor Steve Smith. Arizona is already strapped for cash and in a major budget crisis. They are already using public donations to pay for its legal defense of the illegal immigration law. “Part of the marketing pitch for donations could include providing certificates declaring that individual contributors “helped build the Arizona wall,” Smith said. “I think it’s going to be a really, really neat thing. If the website is up and there is an overwhelming response to what we’ve done and millions of dollars in this fund, I would see no reason why engineering or initial construction or finalized plans can’t be accomplished.” The border has around 700 miles of fence right now with over half in Arizona. This is a high traffic area for illegal immigrants and marijuana smuggling. The fund through Wednesday has received nearly 44,000 donations totaling more than $3.7 million, collected online and through mailed donations since May 2010. The cost to have men on foot ranges from 400,000 to 15 million. Ranchers will probably support this because many of their farms have been broken in to by illegal immigrants.

Analysis: I think this is bad because more immigrants means more opportunity for terrorists, drug dealers, and other criminals to enter the country. Most of these people are poor and have no money so they will do anything possible to gain income. Also immigrants, especially the poorer ones, consume a high amount of government resources (health care, education, welfare, etc.) without paying a high rate of taxes. This is unfair to American citizens because they have to pay more while they’re a part of the country and immigrants are not. While illegal immigration also has some positives I think that the negatives outweigh them, therefore I think that extending the fence is a great idea.




May 08 2011

The US and Pakistan

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Summary: According to president Obama, Bin Laden and company had supporters in Pakistan. Pakistan still remains a key ally in the fight against terrorism but we are still wondering how Bin Laden was kept there for the last six years without the countries knowledge. Obama said, “We think that there had to be some sort of support network for bin Laden inside of Pakistan. “But we don’t know who or what that support network was.” It is still unknown whether local Pakistani government officials were helping or if the help was coming from an outside source. The Pakistani government is extremely interested in finding out who was supporting him. Pakistani leaders have promised that they did not take any actions in helping Bin Laden and are working with the United States in finding how he was able to live in a city for this long with such a high military presence. Obama’s national security advisor, Tom Donilon, told CNN’s Candy Crowley he has not seen any information to indicate Pakistani officials knew Bin Laden was living in Abbottabad. Many questions are being raised in Pakistan and an internal investigation is under way. Indiana’s Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN it seems “very logical” that “a lot of people in Pakistan knew about his whereabouts.” Sen. John Kerry believes that the uproar over bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad will allow American and Pakistani leaders to “punch a reset button” in their relationship. Haqqani said on “This Week” that Islamabad would have taken action if any member of the Pakistani civilian government, military, or intelligence service knew bin Laden’s location. The Pakistani government has promised a probe, but rejected charges that extremists like bin Laden are extended safe havens. ” Tom Donilon told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ that bin Laden’s residence for several years inside a compound in Abbottabad, 35 miles north of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, “needs to be investigated.”

Analysis: In my opinion I don’t think that Pakistan’s government was involved in sheltering Bin Laden. Pakistan’s main intelligence agency, the ISI, has said it is embarrassed by its failures on al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. I would be as well. Osama was living in a small-gated compound within a few miles of a military academy and within 100 miles of a major army headquarters. Abbottabad is a major military strong point in Pakistan so it his highly questionable when Pakistan says they knew nothing. According to Pakistani officials the compound had been raided several years ago but since then it had not been on their radar. The government of Pakistan has categorically denied any knowledge of the raid before it took place. I think that in the future we need to pay a closer eye on the Pakistani government to make sure this doesn’t happen again. This could lead to a relationship strain with the Pakistani government and we are dependent on them for many things inside of their country such as oil and support against terrorism.




Mar 19 2011

Radiation found in food as workers scramble to curb nuclear crisis

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The problem in Japan has just gotten worse. Radiation from the earthquake that collapsed the power plant has found its way in to farm products near the disaster. Six members of the emergency crew at the plant have been exposed to more than 100 millisieverts of radiation per hour, the equivalent of getting 10 chest x-rays per hour, plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Company said. Also small amounts have been found in water, not enough for concern but it could potentially get worse in the future. The company said workers hope to fully restore a stable power supply by day’s end to the plant’s Numbers 1, 2, 5 and 6 reactors. The plan is to get power up and running Sunday for the Numbers 3 and 4 reactors. Officials have been spraying seawater on the reactors to cool them down and limit the spread of radiation. Hopefully this can be fixed before it gets worse.This is terrible because radiation can have long term effects on people and if enough is taken it, it could kill you. Something must be done by Japan and other countries to aid in the process to a speedy recovery.


Mar 19 2011

French jets open fire on Libyan military vehicle

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French jets in Libya fired on a military vehicle today, a clear sign going against Gadhafis regime. The French government confirmed the strike saying that they are there to tank out tanks an artillery. They have stated that any aggression by Gadhafis regime on Benghazi will not be tolerated. The US, France, and Arab League have given Gadhafi a warning to stop all attacks by Friday or there will be harsher punishments. According to the French Gadhafi has ignored the warning and has stepped up his attacks even more. The international coalition meeting in Paris focused on how to take on a Libyan government bent on destroying the fledgling opposition movement under the U.N. resolution authorizing force to protect civilians against the Gadhafi government. Sarkozy the french president said, “There is still time for Colonel Gadhafi to avoid the worst, by complying immediately and unreservedly with all the demands of the international community. The doors of diplomacy will open once again when the aggression stops.” In Rome, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s office confirmed to CNN that Berlusconi has proposed the use of the NATO base in southern Italy as a command center for allied action in Libya.

I definitely think this is the right idea to take down Gadhafi and his forces in Benghazi. His forces are dangerous and killing innocent civilians. I think the next move is for the United States to intervene if Gahdafi steps up his attacks any more. Gadhafi is leading a corrupt government and must be taken down immediately before Libya is destroyed even more.


Feb 22 2011

Libya protests: Tripoli hit by renewed clashes-Jesse Silverman

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Libya has been in constant turmoil over the last few weeks debating on what to do with Colonel Gadaffis Regime. A portion of the Tripoli has been destroyed by fires, bombs, and massive protests by the people of Libya requesting freedom and peace. Reports from several cities across Tripoli suggested much of the country was slipping from Col Gaddafi’s grip. Many of the high ranking officers under Gadaffi have either resigned, fled, or, asked for asylum. US ambassador Ali Aujali said he could no longer represent a government that killed its own people while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he had urged Col Gaddafi in a 40-minute phone call to halt the escalating violence. The violence has helped to push up oil prices to their highest levels since the global financial crisis of 2008. And many people have already fled the country. In my opinion this is horrible. Any country having to go through what they are going through right now is a disaster, the people who are not involved in any of the political matters suffer the most for no reason what so ever. They have stopped flying in planes because they fear a risk of genocide. In my opinion they should somehow get Gadaffi exiled from the country or receive the death penalty like Saddam Hussein did. In my opinion they are similar people abusing their power and killing whoever gets in their way.

-Jesse Silverman