GOOD MORNING!

Quake jolts San Francisco Bay area

SAN FRANCISCO – An earthquake jolted San Francisco Bay area residents awake early Friday, breaking glass and rattling nerves, although there were no immediate reports of injuries.

The earthquake was recorded about 2 miles east of Oakland and had a preliminary magnitude of 4.2, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It could be felt for up to 10 seconds on both sides of the San Francisco Bay after striking shortly after 4:40 a.m.

More than 1,000 customers in the Oakland area lost power, a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokesman said. Crews were investigating the outages.

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Please do not forget this report, as reported in The New Republic.

“Before a storm sank New Orleans and a pair of Boeing 767s gored the Twin Towers, officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) drew up a list. It escaped notice in the months of second-guessing after the September 11 attacks but took on an air of prophecy within hours of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. There were three disasters, FEMA managers concluded at an August 2001 training session, that Americans should beware above all others: a terrorist attack on New York City, a hurricane in New Orleans, and an earthquake near San Francisco. Four years later, it’s two down, one to go.”

What’s this White House really doing to batten down the hatches here at home? Is he meeting regularly with the Governator and/or with the mayor of Sam Francisco, establishing contingency plans and clear lines of reponsibility in case of The Big One? What has the Untied States done to fortify its power grid? What would this country be like right now if Hurricane Katrina had been a nukyoolar bomb instead of a simple natural disaster? And are we any more prepared for either a freakishly bad natural disaster or a manmade one? Have new, specific procedures been put into practice as to what to do if ever again four aeroplanes make complete U-Turns? Is “fighting them over there” actually improving our nation’s infrastructure and its preparedness? How high and strong and mighty could we make levies in NOLA with what we’ve spent in Iraq this month?

Every time I have to get on an aeroplane these days, I come away with a story. Last time, they had me sitting on the tarmac for an hour after another hour’s delay because, as they actually announced over an actual loudspeaker, “Uh, we’re having trouble getting a crew together for this flight, and, uh, the captain is uh, stuck in traffic.” People used to complain about lost luggage and peanuts, but now, airlines actually believe it’s okay to hold people in an airplane on the tarmac for hours. This to me at least anecdotally reflects a sad devolution of our transportaton infrastructure, and, to me, whence goes your transportation system, whence goes your country. Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. Roads. Bridges. Transportation. The Power Grid. What good is fighting them over there if we’re sitting in the dark over here?

<./meandering rant>

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