To be sure, it's all very depressing. Indeed, Sandy was a real bitch and her power of destruction seems to grow with every passing day as the impacted area continues to experience difficulties in coping with daily life. Here in New Jersey the famed Shore is essentially gone and to rebuild it will take years assuming another storm doesn't come along and inflict more carnage. The gas lines are ridiculous as panic spreads that people will not have enough fuel to get to work and operate their generators because the electricity is still out for so many folks. The supermarkets have sparse pickings and many schools will likely remain closed again as the new week unfolds. In my beloved NYC one borough is in ruins as Staten Islanders try to cope with the scope of the disaster. I could go on and on but it's just too depressing.
Meanwhile politicians spent much of the storms aftermath congratulating each other on what a wonderful job the were doing. Yeah, right!! Sure the storm was even worse than predicted but where was the advanced planning? You can hug the survivors all you want but it doesn't make up for not having an adequate disaster plan. But for me the electricity thing really frosts me. I spent more than 20 years on Wall Street covering the electric utility industry and during that time I got to know this sector pretty well. The industry just never learns about how to deal with the problems created by storms. For one thing they refuse to convert more lines to underground transmission which would result in less disruption of service. They claim it is too expensive and that customer rates would have to go up too much. Well ask the folks who are freezing without power if they would rather pay more for electricity or suffer hypothermia? In short it's a disgrace. Also a disgrace is the fact that gas stations are not required by law to have back up generators so they can pump fuel.
But perhaps the biggest disgrace is the simple fact that we have politicians that have refused to deal with the reality of climate change. The facts are there. The science is real. Yet we have one political party that refuses to even acknowledge it is happening. Climate change has not been a topic in the presidential campaign even though it may be the most important issue facing the electorate. The survival of the planet is at stake. The ignoring of climate change and the failure of leaders to adequately plan for the disasters that it brings makes America a third world country,