What is Suffering?
The most traumatic place I’ve yet visited on this Earth is Auschwitz-Birkenau. I was there with some friends in 2005.
I know I’ve talked about it before. The awful things that were done to people during that war. The humiliation. The beatings. The dreadful murders of so many people. The intense fear and pain of those who watched others die so horribly.
People who were drowned, crippled, killed, or otherwise experienced devastation from the 2005 southern US hurricanes and the 2004 tsunami in the Pacific. Many people left with nothing after the floods and other weather disasters in 2008.
Those who died and those who watched the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001.
People who have endured starvation, lacking …
On the Republican side, the increase in McCain’s position in the polls, slow as it is in coming, is a reflection of the unity that is starting to build within the Republican Party. I think what you’re really seeing is that as the various state conventions come to a close, and people have finished jockeying for position to attend the Republican National Convention, that the dust is settling, people are getting into position for victory and are finally realizing the inevitable: John McCain is going to be the Republican Candidate… there’s little that could change that now. People are seeing more and more clearly the need to get past the differences and work toward victory in November, both in the Oval Office and in …
Traveling across eastern Iowa and Illinois this past week we got a look at some of the areas that were affected by the flooding. I-80 looks good… the section that had been flooded looks normal… I didn’t realize what it was until I had driven over it. Some corn crops, which have probably been replanted at least once, were looking good in many areas although still not as tall as they would normally be by now. Many low-lying areas are just unplanted.
In Illinois, the water appears to be still a big problem. Drove across the Mississippi River, and it’s just brown with stirred up silt, mud and debris. Fields are still under water. Driving down I-74 and into Peoria, a lot of water still …
The waters have receded in Iowa for now, and although the task is still long and hard ahead of so many Iowans, we’ve moved the links related to the flood off of the sidebar and onto a separate page. If you select the “Other Resources” page above, one of the choices on that page will be “Floods of 2008″. Or use this link.
We continue to pray for and support those who were impacted by the flood. As the Iowa General Assembly comes together either later this year or during the regular 2009 session, we will cover the major decisions that face them and the impacts these decisions will have on the state of Iowa.…
I’ve got two sets of photos to share. The first are photos from around Des Moines during the peak water levels, including the Raccoon River, Des Moines River, and some creeks.
The following photos were taken along the Des Moines River on Thursday, June 19. The river level has receded quite a bit, and yet riverside walkways are still covered at least 10 feet (the night photos show the top of the wall along the walkway just breaking the surface of the water about 15 yards from the levee). The Pedestrian Bridge is not yet opened, and has major debris jammed into it.
The railroad bridge, which in earlier photos had sand covering the tracks, is now open.
One of our local stations promotes high school student videos… here’s one of the waters receding up in Iowa Falls.
Thanks to KCCI-TV.…
This afternoon, my post about Iowa considering raising the Gas Tax to help pay for flood recovery was clicked into by someone on the “house.gov” network… that is, someone probably working in some congressperson’s office took a look at the post.. I have no idea who. But less than an hour later, I notice a story (that has evidently been running at least since early morning) that the White House is now asking Congress for $1.8 Billion in disaster relief money.
And of course, Congress will add more to the request.
But with tens of billions of dollars, maybe even hundreds of billions, in damage and recovery expense across the midwest, this will end up being a small portion of the needed funds.
And, it …
Legislative Leaders in Iowa are continuing to talk about a special session of the General Assembly, which makes sense. The Governor is doing a good job of expressing the need to prioritize working on the current relief effort AND establishing a solid assessment of the costs before holding a session.
The bad news is, the only option being mentioned by the media (although there are almost certainly others) is an increase in the gasoline tax. That would be a bad idea. Better to raise the sales tax than the gasoline tax. Gas prices are already creating too much of a burden for everyone… a 1% increase in the sales tax with a well planned time-limit to cover flood related needs would be more appropriate. …
The American Red Cross has depleted its Disaster Relief Fund. According to KCCI-TV:
Red Cross senior vice president of Disaster Services said the fund has been depleted over the past few years in the absence of large-scale disasters that bring attention to the relevance of the Red Cross.
He said they have had many mid-size disasters that have cost them a lot of money but didn’t prompt donations to cover the costs.
So far, he said the flood response in the Midwest has cost about $15 million. The Red Cross estimates it could reach as high as $40 million.
This is somewhat surprising and disappointing, but definitely a sign of the times. We’ve gotten so accustomed to the government stepping in and saving us …
*** This Post will remain as a sticky until midday Saturday June 21. ***
We decided to put a fresh post up. The prior running post should be just below. Useful flood-related links can be found in the sidebar.