Category Archives: Infrastructure

February 9, 2018

Victor Davis Hanson 2017 – The Civic Cost of Illegal Immigration (Video)

Victor Davis Hanson examines how permissive attitudes towards illegal immigration undermine respect for the rule of law and traditional notions of citizenship.

How Easy Money Is Rotting America from the Inside-Out

How much of our gleaming new infrastructure will fall into disrepair?

The Federal Reserve has been the main cause of business cycles in America since 1913. For several decades, it has tried to hide the consequences of its policies by enabling easy credit during each recession. As Jonathan Newman wrote yesterday, pouring trillions of dollars into the financial sector obscures the external signs of the recession such as low asset prices and high unemployment and promotes economic malinvestment.

This malinvestment creates the conditions that cause the next recession. Some of the consequences of the Fed’s policies, such as stock market and housing bubbles can be directly attributed to its policies. In other cases, the artificially low interest rates and other “easy money” policies foster an “infrastructure rot” that erodes the efficiency of the American economy, the standard of living of consumers, and eats away at American infrastructure. These effects are difficult to trace back to the Fed’s policies, so let’s concretize some examples to understand how Federal Reserve policies affect America.

At the city level, low interest rates allow cities to fund new public projects such as parks and bridges. While this may seem fine and dandy, all infrastructure projects have a maintenance cost. It’s not sufficient to build a park. One must also have the money to maintain it every year. If there is not enough revenue to pay for maintenance, the park will literally rot until the playgrounds fall apart, the lawns are overgrown, the lights fail, and the park becomes too dangerous for families to play in.

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December 28, 2017

Tom Cotton: ‘Not Nativist’ to Want Immigration Policy ‘Crafted to Benefit American Citizens, Not Foreigners’

The leading voice in the U.S. Senate to reduce immigration levels, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), says it is “not a ‘nativist view” to want a national immigration policy that benefits American citizens, rather than foreign nationals.

In a series of posts via Twitter, Cotton slammed a New York Times report for being biased against President Trump’s pro-American immigration agenda and favoring an immigration policy that puts foreign nationals first.

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December 26, 2017

Indian National to Be Deported After Profiting $20M by Fraudulently Importing H-1B Foreign Workers

An Indian national who pocketed $20 million by fraudulently importing foreign workers through the H-1B visa program to the U.S. will be deported after he completes time in federal prison.

Raju Kosuri, a 45-year-old Indian-born U.S. resident, pleaded guilty to operating a cheap labor business where he brought nearly 1,000 foreign workers to the U.S. on the H-1B visa through fraudulent applications, according to the Washington Post.

Every year, more than 100,000 foreign workers are brought to the U.S. on the H-1B visa and are allowed to stay for up to six years. That number has ballooned to potentially hundreds of thousands each year, as universities and non-profits are exempt from the cap. With more entering the U.S. through the visa, Americans are often replaced and forced to train their foreign replacements.

Kosuri used his fraud foreign-importing business to bring his wife, 46-year-old Smriti Jharia, to the U.S. on a fraudulent H-1B visa. The two are the parents of an “anchor baby,” the term used to describe a U.S.-born child who is given birthright citizenship despite their parents being foreign nationals.

Kosuri was supposed to be given a tougher sentence, but U.S. District Judge ­Leonie M. Brinkema passed down a mere 28 months for the massive fraud scheme after she said there were issues with the prosecution’s case. When Kosuri completes the sentence, he and his wife, along with their anchor baby, will be deported from the U.S.

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October 13, 2017

PG&E power lines linked to Wine Country fires

PG&E and other large utilities in California have a long history of being found responsible for major wildfires because of inadequate maintenance of their power lines.

As the first reports came in Sunday night of numerous fires that would grow into one of the most destructive wildfire disasters in California history, emergency dispatchers in Sonoma County received multiple calls of power lines falling down and electrical transformers exploding.

In all, according to a review of emergency radio traffic by the Bay Area News Group, Sonoma County dispatchers sent out fire crews to at least 10 different locations across the county over a 90-minute period starting at 9:22 pm to respond to 911 calls and other reports of sparking wires and problems with the county’s electrical system amid high winds.

State fire officials said Tuesday that they are still investigating the cause of the blazes, which as of late Tuesday had killed 17 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes in Sonoma, Napa and other Northern California counties.

But the reports of the power equipment failures began to turn the spotlight on PG&E, the giant San Francisco-based utility, raising questions about how well it maintained its equipment in the area and whether it adequately cut back trees from power lines to reduce fire risk — as required by state law.

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October 3, 2017

How the Democrats Set Up Puerto Rico for Disaster

What New Orleans, Houston and Puerto Rico have in common.

We’ve seen this show before.

When there’s a national disaster, neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble, shelters are filled with crying families, and a Republican is in the White House, the Democrats jump into action.

Not to help, but to make political capital from a disaster that they helped cause.

After Hurricane Katrina, the media shrieked that survivors inside the New Orleans Superdome were murdering each other. But there actually wasn’t a single murder in the Superdome. And no, NBC’s Brian Williams, never saw any corpses floating past the Ritz-Carlton. The media exaggerated and lied.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was all over the news shouting, “Get off your asses” and accusing the Bush administration of “spinning” while “people are dying”. The dirty Democrat demanded more resources while claiming that everything that the Federal government was doing wasn’t good enough. He called for Greyhound buses, when there were plenty of school buses in New Orleans that weren’t being used.

Much of the disaster was actually Nagin’s fault. And Ray Nagin has been convicted of his crimes.

Puerto Rico is the new New Orleans. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz is the new Nagin.

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September 25, 2017

Facing Months in the Dark, Ordinary Life in Puerto Rico Is ‘Beyond Reach’

Disaster exacerbated by corruption…

Two days after Hurricane Maria flattened this island of 3.5 million people, knocking out all its power and much of its water, the rebuilding of the services and structures needed for people to resume some semblance of ordinary life was looking more complicated by the day.

All or part of three towns in the northwestern part of the island — Isabela, San Sebastián and Quebradillas — were being evacuated Friday because of fears about structural damage to the nearby Guajataca Dam. Close to 70,000 people could be affected if the 90-year-old dam, which is 120-feet high and can hold about 11 billion gallons of water, collapsed, said Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló.

And with everyone from the governor of Puerto Rico to the mayor of San Juan predicting that it could take four to six months to resume electrical service, people were contemplating empty refrigerators, campfire cooking, bathing in their own sweat and perhaps wrangling for fresh water on an island accustomed to hard times but nothing like what the future may bring.

“It’s been hard to see infrastructure deteriorate in Puerto Rico, but it has been harder to meet citizens who have lost it all,” Governor Rosselló said.

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September 4, 2017

For years, engineers have warned that Houston was a flood disaster in the making. Why didn’t somebody do something?

“It is naturally prone to flooding,” said Don Riley, the former chief of the Army Corps of Engineers civil works division. “People have built in this massive flood plain. They have to understand that.”

Houston is built on what amounts to a massive flood plain, pitted against the tempestuous Gulf of Mexico and routinely hammered by the biggest rainstorms in the nation.

It is a combination of malicious climate and unforgiving geology, along with a deficit of zoning and land-use controls, that scientists and engineers say leaves the nation’s fourth most populous city vulnerable to devastating floods like the one caused this week by Hurricane Harvey.

“Houston is very flat,” said Robert Gilbert, a University of Texas at Austin civil engineer who helped investigate the flooding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. “There is no way for the water to drain out.”

Indeed, the city has less slope than a shower floor.

Harvey poured as much as 374 billion gallons of water within the city limits, exceeding the capacity of rivers, bayous, lakes and reservoirs. Experts said the result was predictable.

The storm was unprecedented, but the city has been deceiving itself for decades about its vulnerability to flooding, said Robert Bea, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and UC Berkeley emeritus civil engineering professor who has studied hurricane risks along the Gulf Coast.

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July 4, 2017

Scientists explain ancient Rome’s long-lasting concrete

“Contrary to the principles of modern cement-based concrete,” said lead author Marie Jackson from the University of Utah, US, “the Romans created a rock-like concrete that thrives in open chemical exchange with seawater.”

Researchers have unlocked the chemistry of Roman concrete which has resisted the elements for thousands of years.

Ancient sea walls built by the Romans used a concrete made from lime and volcanic ash to bind with rocks.

Now scientists have discovered that elements within the volcanic material reacted with sea water to strengthen the construction.

They believe the discovery could lead to more environmentally friendly building materials.

Unlike the modern concrete mixture which erodes over time, the Roman substance has long puzzled researchers.

Rather than eroding, particularly in the presence of sea water, the material seems to gain strength from the exposure.

In previous tests with samples from ancient Roman sea walls and harbours, researchers learned that the concrete contained a rare mineral called aluminium tobermorite.

They believe that this strengthening substance crystallised in the lime as the Roman mixture generated heat when exposed to sea water.

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March 23, 2017

Lead Poisoning In “Dozens Of California Communities” Worse Than Flint, Michigan

California, a state infamous for its environmental protections, including a $65 billion tunnel project being pushed by Governor Jerry Brown so as not to disrupt the habitat of a tiny, non-native fish species, may be facing a lead poisoning crisis more severe than Flint, Michigan.

According to blood test data obtained by Reuters, rates of childhood lead poisoning in several California cities surpass those measured in Flint, Michigan, with one Fresno locale showing rates nearly three times higher.

In fact, in Fresno’s downtown 93701 zip code, nearly 14% of children tested showed lead levels at or above 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s current threshold for an elevated reading. As the CDC noted, no level of lead exposure is safe, but children who test that high warrant an immediate public health response.

In all, per the map below, Reuters found at least 29 California neighborhoods where children had elevated lead tests at rates at least as high as in Flint. “It’s a widespread problem and we have to get a better idea of where the sources of exposure are,” said California Assembly member Bill Quirk, who chairs the state legislature’s Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials.

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