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Morning Sun
  • JOY LEEPER: Being prepared

  • Now that tornado season is here, I’m once again grateful that we have a basement in our house. I grab my "tornado bag" and make my way down there whenever the sirens go off.

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    Now that tornado season is here, I’m once again grateful that we have a basement in our house. I grab my "tornado bag" and make my way down there whenever the sirens go off. We saw in the recent tragedy in Moore, Oklahoma how important it was to have a shelter. As we know, FEMA is the federal entity that helps with disaster relief, going into an area to help the survivors after a tragedy such as a tornado, hurricane or flood. I was happy to learn that FEMA also helps finance shelters to prevent injuries during these horrific storms. As Ben Franklin said "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
    The importance of planning for possible threats is drilled into us over and over. Buy insurance. Fasten your seatbelt. Wear a life vest. Put on sunscreen. Get your flu shot...etc. I’m wondering why it is so hard to use this wisdom at the governmental level. We used to try. For instance Congress planned for the retirement of the baby boomers by adding extra money to the Social Security fund in the 70's and 80's. Then they proceeded to raid the fund. There was a big surplus, now some (especially the righties) are claiming a crisis and even trying to eliminate Social Security altogether - our most successful government program of all time.
     
    Obamacare is an example of an intelligent attempt to plan ahead. Revamping healthcare is a way to address several crises at the same time. While single payer would have been the most effective way to go, the watered down bill we got still should help in reducing long term spending on health care. After all the tweaking is done we hope to greatly improve prevention and eliminate most of the exorbitant costs such as emergency room visits for routine care and unnecessary and repetitive tests. Simply the new controls on insurance company profits should help bring down costs, making sure most of our premiums go to actual healthcare instead of executives’ pockets. And of course we hope millions more Americans will have health coverage.
     
    Bringing it back around to the storms, it is becoming alarmingly urgent to address climate change. We listen to our scientists about so many aspects of our life – our diet, our medicines, what computer or cell phone to buy – why don’t we listen to our climate scientists?? They have been telling us for 40 years to do something about greenhouse emissions. Why don’t we listen?? Why do we instead listen to some talk show host who doesn’t know beans about it or some oil company shill with a vested interest in wringing every last dollar out of our finite resources of oil and coal? We have now reached the dreaded number of 400 parts of carbon dioxide per million in the atmosphere set years ago as the critical number. Ice caps are melting even faster than projected. We are racing towards doom. Storms will get worse. We will lose loved ones and spend billions on cleanup. Where is the planning??? Lets do it now!
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