Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Centralia PA

The high water mark of the Confederacy was achieved at the Battle of Gettysburg along Cemetery Ridge on the afternoon of July 3 1863. Here the futile and costly charge led by Confederate General George Pickett ended the hopes of the secessionists to extend the war north of the Mason-Dixon Line. It also signaled the beginning end of the Confederacy and their hopes to dismantle the Union.

November 19 will mark the 145th anniversary of the Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. Lincolns speech is revered as an oratorical masterpiece. It ably conveyed a free people’s resolve and reverence for a representative democracy and the price free people’s must pay to secure the grace of liberty.

I bring this up because the great state of Pennsylvania is again a high water mark in the presidential battlefield of this historic election. Pennsylvania is the battle ground state whose electorate may decide who sits in the office of our next president. And as the candidates jaw on about Joe the Plumber, Six Packin Six Packers and the sacred patriotism of Hockey Moms, I hope voters continue to consider the environmental degradation that has visited this region too such terrible effect.

The town of Centralia is a scant 101 miles northeast of Gettysburg. Centralia was founded in 1840 and its residents have made a living mining the coal along the Reading Seam for over 100 years. Today however, Centralia is a ghost town. It had to be evacuated due to an underground fire that has been burning for 40 years fueled by the coal that once provided the miners and residents of the town its livelihood. The experts predict that the inextinguishable fire will burn for 250 years and its toxic emissions and danger of ground cave ins have made the town along Highway 61 uninhabitable.

The devastation of this environmental industrial disaster should be a prime issue in the campaigns of the candidates along with occupational safety, environmental protection, the provision of health care and jobs for these distressed areas. Unfortunately as the Bush Administration continues to allow strip miners to operate with impunity without regards to any environmental safeguards the devastation and degradation of small towns like Centralia will remain a real threat.

I ask my fellow countrymen in Pennsylvania to consider your vote and turn back the tide of ignorance to the real issues confronting our nation. Environmental degradation and ecological risk is a real threat to our livelihood and well being. Ask the former citizens of Centralia. Today’s video shows the devastation of the once small town of Centralia accompanied by great guitar work by Mr. Winter.

You tube Video: Johnny Winter Highway 61 Revisited

Risk: environmental, brownfield remediation, mining

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October 27, 2008 Posted by | Bush, elections, environment, rock | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fallout from China’s Quake

The fallout from the earthquake that hit China could have severe global ramifications as the extent of the damage is becoming more apparent.

As of this writing, 19,000 people have been reported dead. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left homeless by the disaster and are living mostly on the streets. Numerous cities have been completely leveled. Many more are in urgent need of medical attention. The nation is experiencing a traumatic emotional shift from the building euphoria from the hosting of the Olympic Games to the national nightmare of this deadly quake.

The earthquake has also opened the door to a potentially larger catastrophe. The New York Times reports that the Red Army has been deployed to examine and buttress a number of dams that may have been damaged as a result of the quake. Further, the Times also reported that it believes the area has a number of nuclear fuel processing facilities. If true this heightens and changes the severity of the events geo risk profile. The consequences of the failure of either or both of these energy producing infrastructures is unimaginable.

The economic fortunes of the United States may also be directly affected by the China quake. The quake may spike inflation in China making its exports more costly for US consumers. Though there has been no indication that China’s manufacturing capacity was broadly affected by the quake, capacity may be required to address domestic consumption.

China may also need to repatriate some of the investment assets of its Sovereign Wealth Funds. China’s SWF is a large investor in US securities and some of that investment may be redirected for domestic purposes.

This power of this quake will move the earth under many peoples feet. We wish China and her people our prayers for a speedy and full recovery.

You Tube Video: Carol King, I Feel The Earth Move

Risk: Geo, China, Capital Markets, United States, Inflation, Credit, Nuclear

May 16, 2008 Posted by | China, commerce, community, environment, nuclear, pop | , , , , , , | Leave a comment