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Mudslide Science

The latest from the Washington state mudslide disaster, and the actual geology of mudslide risk.

Searchers slowly move through a field of debris following a deadly mudslide, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. Several people also were critically injured, and homes were destroyed. (AP)

Searchers slowly move through a field of debris following a deadly mudslide, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. Several people also were critically injured, and homes were destroyed. (AP)

Michael Lincoln and his wife were sleeping Saturday morning when the mountain gave way above them in Oso, Washington.  They heard banging and bolted, in seconds, with a neighbor.  It sounded “like the end of the world,” they said of the mudslide coming down.  Like the sound of ten thousand things hitting each other.  In Washington state they are still pulling out the bodies of those who did not escape the giant slide.  The geology, the science, of that much earth letting loose that fast is amazing.  So is the risk, if you’re in the way.  This hour On Point:  mudslide science, and the Oso disaster.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Tom Banse, reporter for the Northwest News Network. (@TomBanse)

David Montgomery, geologist and professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.  Author of “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations.”

Daniel Miller, geologist at the Earth Systems Institute.

Ted Warren, staff photographer for the Associated Press. (@tedswarren)

From Tom’s Reading List

Seattle Times: Heartbreaking search intensifies in mudslide zone – “Dozens spent the day carefully maneuvering through shattered trees and the unrecognizable debris of homes and twisted propane tanks, searching with specially trained dogs and a variety of technologies such as sonar.”

Christian Science Monitor: Can mudslides be predicted? Washington site’s history highlights challenge – “That such a disaster could occur – the death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers hunt for the missing – even with that history highlights the challenge faced by researchers who are trying to refine ways to assess landslide risks and provide timely warnings when conditions are ripe to trigger landslides and mudslides.”

NBC News: Eight Questions About the Washington Mudslide – “It could take weeks, months or years for families of the dead and injured and other local residents to recover from the mile-wide mudslide that buried a rural Washington town under tons of mud and debris in one of the worst landslide disasters in U.S. history. At least 16 people were confirmed dead on Tuesday evening and dozens of reports of missing people have been received by authorities.”

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  • lobstahbisque

    Ha! That hillside crossed over one of Obama’s ineffectual red lines, emboldened by his weakness.

    • Charles

      That’s what I’d expect from a president who has visited 57 states.

  • HonestDebate1

    I know it’s absurd to suggest but it would not surprise me so I’ll make my plea: please don’t blame global warming.

    • JS

      Can we discuss whether GW will make such landslides more or less likely?

    • John Cedar

      Not GW…CLIMATE CHANGE!

      • Don_B1

        For the “umpteenth” time, Global Warming is one aspect, and the driver, of many other aspects of the addition of huge amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels. It is many of those other aspect which are covered by the term, Climate Change. Another aspect, not covered, is the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere by the oceans, which turns them more acidic, which harms sea life, from the fertilization of eggs to the building of shells. Such a change is strongly suspected as one of the causes of a ocean life extinction, one of the five known mass extinctions that the Earth has experienced in its 4.5 billion year existence.

        But it sure makes a nice attempt at “humor” that will fall flat. It also shows the mendacity of the poster who mostly likely knows better but wishes to push misinformation to those who do not have the time to research the truth.

    • jefe68

      If you think it absurd to suggest it, then why do so?

      • HonestDebate1

        It was pre-emptive. Hopefully it won’t come up, if it does I’ll be prescient, if it doesn’t I’ll take credit. It’s a win win.

        • jefe68

          And you say it’s not about you…

          • HonestDebate1

            I was just answering your silly question.

            It’s about the victims of this horrible tragedy and I suspect AGW will be cited as a factor as OP usually does. From there it devolves into blaming the tea party for opposing cap and trade.

          • Ray in VT

            It must be difficult to carry that cross around all of the time.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s mine to bear, no complaints.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t know. Those lies and distortions that you try to spread must start to get heavy at some point.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are entitled to your opinion however woefully misinformed it is. I never lie.

          • Ray in VT

            You telling anyone that they are misinformed is hilarious. You even lie about lying. Amazing, but I’m sure that you believe that the lies that you tell are true, so your conscience is clean. George Costanza lives!

          • jefe68

            That’s what Pinocchio said.

          • Steve__T

            You just did!

          • Don_B1

            I think his complaining posts are an indication that he does find that cross heavy.

            The weight of a false ideology.

          • Ray in VT

            It must take a lot of work to hold that all up against the weight of facts to the contrary.

          • jefe68

            The silliness is all in your conjecturing about climate change. The inanity is how you inject some form of right wing toxicity into every topic.

      • hennorama

        jefe68 — ignoring the ignorant in the defense of sanity is no vice.

        (apologies to the late Sen. Barry Goldwater)

        • jefe68

          One cannot help to think of Mr. Clemens as well.

      • hennorama

        jefe68 — how about this one:

        “I know it’s absurd to suggest but it would not surprise me so I’ll make my plea: please don’t blame [libertarianism].”

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Seven+ inches of rain is not your father’s weather.

    • DeJay79

      HD1, what would climate change/global warming and its effects have a cause in this natural disaster?

      This disaster is geological in nature not atmospheric. To suggest people not bring up cc/gw in affect implies that you lack a true understanding of what cc/gw is.

      as an analogy: There is a show about the housing collapse of 08 and in the discussion you would ask people not to bring up and blame Roe v Wade as a cause of it.

      • Ray in VT

        Uh, the financial crisis was obviously divine retribution for Roe, as can be evidenced in the reports of DOL reporting February job losses on March 7, 2008.

        • DeJay79

          see! and I was worried that no matter what analogy i can up with someone would find a causal relationship between the two.

          silly me

      • JS

        While it is certainly geologic in nature, it is also atmospheric: rain saturating the ground contributed to the slide. GW can be discussed as some predictions call for an increase in the amount and intensity of rainfall events.

        • DeJay79

          It rains all the time in the northwest. This specific location had many other and more important factors then the slight increase in amount of rain fall that caused this geological natural disaster to happen.

          • Don_B1

            It seems that the “straw that broke the camel’s back” cliché might not be a cliché here?

          • JS

            I believe the topic is “Mudslide Science”, not just this particular mudslide. And wouldn’t more rain, even in the Northwest, mean more slides?

          • Don_B1

            Exactly!

          • HonestDebate1

            Is there evidence there is more rain?

          • JS

            a 0.39 second Google search turned up this article, claiming a trend during the 20th century of an annualy averaged precipitation increase of 13% to 38% in the Pacific Northwest. Evidence aside, more rain = more slides, which was the point I stated.

            http://research.wsulibs.wsu.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/2376/1032/v77%20p271%20Mote.PDF?sequence=1

          • HonestDebate1

            The wettest year on record in Washington was 1931. The google knowledge is flawed. It rains in Washington, always has.

          • JS

            … and always will. One wet year does not make a trend. You asked for evidence, i gave you a paper to read that claimed to provide evidence. Google is a search engine: it merely points you to sources, but is not in and of itself a source.

          • HonestDebate1

            Exactly. It’s a wet year (not the wettest) that’s all. And the term is global warming. A few hindered miles to the south and we have droughts in CA. It’s a dry year. Weather happens yet AGW is blamed for both. We had a cold snap in January (very unique I’m told) global warming is blamed.

            The paper you cited (obvious biases aside) was looking at the 20th century, not the last decade. And a century is nothing in the context of time. What is the baseline for the “trend”?

            Believe what you want, I think blaming AGW is absurd, irrelevant and disrespectful. Have at it.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, global warming could not possibly cause both more rain in some places and less in others. You’ve destroyed the argument of the scientists once again.

          • JS

            And when exactly did I blame AGW? Re-read my post on this thread for your answer. I stated both atmospheric (meaning rain fall) and geologic conditions were responsible for this particular mudslide, and that a discussion of GW is not out of the question in regards to Mudslide Science in general. I then stated the fact that more rain in the Northwest would mean more slides in the Northwest. You asked for evidence for more rain (even though more rain is not something I said would occur), and I found you a paper for such. I’m sorry that the first paper I came across didn’t meet your standards of peer reviewed science, but it was never my intention to present evidence for more rain, I was merely responding to your request for information.

            I think the confusion comes from your desire to shoot down any GW talk as “absurd, irrelevant and disrespectful’. Perhaps I should have said,”If GW leads to more rain in the northwest, as some models predict, …etc.”. If you don’t believe in GW thats fine, but I don’t see the problem in discussing what might happen if the models are true. Not everything needs to be turned into a GW debate.

          • Ray in VT

            Good luck trying to convince him of anything. I can’t even get him to accept definitions from the dictionary.

          • JS

            I hear ya. I remember a few years ago “debating” a fellow poster about something, and I mentioned it was like “apples and oranges”, their response: “Why are you bringing up fruit, we weren’t discussing fruit? What’s the matter with you?!?” … I realized then that I was either debating a twelve year old, or someone incredible stupid, and remembering that Twain quote, I stopped going to forums until recently. I see few things have changed.

          • Ray in VT

            It all depends. One of my friends recently declared that the world must soon be coming to an end, as he was able to convince someone in an online forum that that person’s position was wrong, and that the facts that my friend brought to bear showed my friend’s position to be more valid. Perhaps, like Halley’s Comet, such an event will not be seen again for decades.

          • HonestDebate1

            Knee-jerk anyone? Gratuitious nastiness possibly?

          • HonestDebate1

            You know in your heart you’re lying.

          • Ray in VT

            Nope. I am merely defending the truth and giving this good man a heads up that attempting to convince you of even the most basic of facts is futile, as you will even lie about the dictionary.

          • HonestDebate1

            The paper you cited blames AGW on the first page. I was referring to that. It was also the premise of this thread. And you wrote: “GW can be discussed as some predictions call for an increase in the amount and intensity of rainfall events.” It follows that you attribute some of the cause to AGW. Apologies if you took offense.

            I also disregard the paper because it is talking about a specific region. You said more rain. I have yet to here anyone anywhere at anytime claim rain can be influenced locally. It is always in the context of the planet. A wet year or trend in one state is irrelevant.

            And I never said I don’t believe in AGW, I do. I just think the debate is not honest and there are hucksters with finacial and political agendas driving it. I also will point out the models have been wrong. For one thing they predicted heavy rain in CA. And I agree 110% with your last sentence, that’s reason I started this thread. That was my entire point. Not only that, I was rebuked by those who do want to make it an AGW debate.

            Maybe we’re talking past each other.

          • JS

            If you stepped back for a moment, and didn’t immediately assume everyone is a huckster, you would have realized I made two distinctions: local rain and geology for THIS landslide, and discussion the implications of GW for Mudslide Science, meaning any and all mudslides, anywhere (i.e. if GW brings more rains, thatmeans more slides).

            We ARE talking past each other because you immediately jump on the GW topic, drooling with anticipation, waiting for me, or anyone else in the comments, to take what you perceive to be the slightest misstep off the GW path, so you can pounce on them, overpower them with your “facts and logic”, and win the day, without fully taking the time to understand what the other person is trying to say.

          • HonestDebate1

            The nub (and only the nub) of your criticism is fair but not entirely accurate. You would not know but I am on record for years criticizing On Point’s incessant drum beating regarding AGW. When there is a flood they do a show on AGW. When there is a drought, ditto. If there is hot summer, ditto. If there is a cold winter, again, ditto. If there is a hurricane there will be a show on AGW. When it was discovered and admitted the models were very much exaggerated (see the 5th assessment report) silence.

            And read this thread. I made a harmless comment given the context I just described. Not counting my own, I tally 45 replies many (if not most) are making the case for blaming AGW for the mudslide. This is not unusual for my comments.

            I hardly invented this notion of blaming AGW for everything under the sun. Now, to the extent I judged you in the context of what has been proven over and over again you may have a point. I already apologized despite your implications and refusal to clarify. You have yet to state a firm position on AGW’s influence.

            I did not bait you or anyone. I did not immediately do squat. I made a request to OP not disrespect the victims by absurdly blaming AGW. They did, as I knew they would. Commenters did as I knew they would. I think it’s dishonest and cruel.

          • JS

            You conflate bringing up GW with blaming GW.

          • Don_B1

            Nor does it stand by the truth in those sources.

          • Ray in VT

            Do you have a citation for that?

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes.

          • Ray in VT

            Please provide it then. I am very curious to know your source.

      • Don_B1

        See Ed75 for the “analogy causal junk”!

        Yes, it was the geology of the site that provided the event. But it was triggered by the extreme weather of 24″ of rain in the last month or so, causing ground saturation and the subsequent mudslide.

        Would it have happened sometime? Almost certainly, but the greater likelihood of heavier rains in extreme weather events has been greatly increased by Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).

        The meteorologists have been talking about the return of the “Pineapple Express” this jet stream driven atmospheric air bringing warm high-water-content air to the Pacific Northwest for over a month. Because of AGW, that air, on average, contains more water vapor than it did in the 1970s, specifically for the Atlantic east of Florida, 4% more. So when atmospheric forces concentrate that moisture, it is easier and more likely for it to reach extremes of the past and likely even higher.

      • HonestDebate1

        If I follow (I’m not sure I do) then I would deny the charge. I do know exactly what cc/gw is. It’s a political mountain made of a molehill meant to blame Conservatives and roll back our standard of living 100 years.

        • Ray in VT

          Why, 100 year old economic policy and some 50+ year old social policy seems to be exactly what people whom you support propose, so why not have the standard of living, at least for the takers, line up with that?

          • HonestDebate1

            Because you made it up.

          • Ray in VT

            Sure. Nobody in the TOP looking to get rid of abomination minimum wage laws or overtime rules, and nobody running for President being disgusted by legalized contraception or defending the position that businesses should have the “liberty” to racially discrimination against customers. I’ve made it all up.

          • HonestDebate1

            I have not heard any proposals to abolish minimum wage or overtime rules. No one has proposed making contraception illegal. No one has proposed legalizing racial discrimination. So yea, I agree, you made it all up.

          • Ray in VT
          • HonestDebate1

            Gee wiz Ray, focus.

            Where is Lamar Alexander’s proposal to abolish minimum wage? Did he sponsor a bill?

            “The Republican-led House is poised to approve a bill that would give private sector workers the option of choosing paid time off instead of cash wages for working overtime.”

            In what world can that be interpreted as abolishing overtime rules?

            The hit piece from Time during the elections states Santorum’s opinion which does not extend to public policy. He opposes government funding of contraception and even then it’s only certain types. He has sponsored bills that cover contraception, we learned that in 2012. He has NO proposal to outlaw contraception.

            Read the article the link you gave distorts and you will find this: “The Republican candidates also say the state has the authority to ban contraceptives and favor a “personhood” constitutional amendment that would grant legal protections to a fertilized human egg and possibly ban some forms of birth control.

            A few points on that, if the state has authority to ban contraception then that will be decided by the courts and is just a whacked out notion at this point. I cannot believe anyone believes that regarding all contraception. There will always be rubbers. Granting protections to the fertilized egg is not a contraception issue because the egg is already fertilized. Abortion is legal under Federal law but even then it’s still illegal to use coat hangers.

            Please provide a link to Rand Paul’s proposal to abolish the Civil Rights Act so many Democrats opposed. He has made no such effort.

            SB 128 was on the State level, went nowhere, had nothing to do with race and the article conflates sexual orientation with civil rights.

            I have not heard any proposals to abolish minimum wage or overtime rules. No one has proposed making contraception illegal. No one has proposed legalizing racial discrimination. You made it all up… as I said.

            Why do you insist on such reframing, distortion and outright disinformation? I was very clear about what i wrote but you can’t debate that so you claim I wrote something I didn’t. It’s weird.

          • Ray in VT

            Sure, I just made it all up. Believe whatever you want.
            Are you saying that you are unaware, for instance, of Rand Paul’s “principled” opposition to the elements of the Civil Rights Act that banned racial discrimination by businesses?
            The GOP proposal on overtime rules wouldn’t get rid of them, but it has been described as “gutting” them by some, allowing employers to give employees comp time instead of overtime. Of course if, how and when that could be used would apparently be up to the employer, which sort of goes against the “flexibility” that is supposedly being given to workers.
            “Hit piece”. Definition: something that points out the obscenely outdated or ridiculous positions held by dimwits in the TOP.
            Just keep on pretending that giving people the “freedom” to discriminate against gays and lesbians isn’t a civil rights issue. Legalized bigotry still has its defenders in modern America, apparently.

          • Don_B1

            At least now he knows of the falsity of his previous statements, so when he repeats them, as it is required by his (false) ideology, he will be pleading guilty to lying.

          • Ray in VT

            I think not. Precedent indicates that contradictory facts will be dismissed and honesty will be claimed because he has stated that belief clears one of lying.

    • DeJay79

      well you win HD1, they brought it up.

      what was the bet $20 bucks?

      • jefe68

        He knew they would, which is why the comment is absurd. It’s a valid question, but does it mean it was the cause, not in the least.

        • Don_B1

          But it made the trigger, the ground saturation with rain, more likely, which is all that can ever be said about any one specific event, though the growing number of such events at an increased rate, can be laid at AGW’s door.

          • jefe68

            Well, how can you say that for sure. Given that this area has a lot of rain fall annually.

            Also did not hear the geologist on the show who did a study on this area? I’m not saying that Climate Change is not a factor in the long term, as it could very well be, but for this incident it’s hard to really know if it was the leading cause of the tragic event.

            I think this is why some folks are so turned off by people who try to tie every weather related event to AGW. Measured responses seem prudent.

          • Don_B1

            What climate scientists claim, with strong evidence, is that Climate Change is a factor in the weather everywhere, with the size of that factor ranging from small to large, depending on the location and type of event.

            Since this was a rain-triggered event, and the rain was particularly heavy, it is likely that the trigger was at least moderately influenced by AGW.

      • Don_B1

        Only in response to him, at least on this thread!

        But it was likely that it would have come up in the broadcast discussion.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      This is a fact: the climate relates to almost everything.

      That is why climate change is of utmost importance.

      http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

      • HonestDebate1

        Do you believe in weather?

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          Do you believe in gravity?

          • Ray in VT

            Probably only if Obama says that it isn’t a thing.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Gravity exists whether or not you or I ‘believe’ in it.

            Do you know what the difference between weather and climate?

          • HonestDebate1

            So does God I’m told.

            Yes.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            The changing climate means that it can rain more than ‘normal’ and that is how climate relates to the mud slide.

        • Don_B1

          Do you even know the difference between weather and climate?

    • StilllHere

      Fine, global cooling then!

  • Acnestes

    This thing has Jesus’ fingerprints all over it.

    • dust truck

      Jesus kills people?

      • Acnestes

        Jesus kills, period!

  • Charles Vigneron

    Please mention the Corps of Engineers report from the 1990s. The extensive history of slides in that area dating from settlement.
    High elevation photographs show adjacent hill failures. One only had to look.
    Prof. Cliff Mass, UW, posted interesting rainfall information concerning the area.
    “This was unforeseen…” speaks to the failure of institutional memory.

    • Charles Vigneron

      Well done, Mr. Ashbrook. Thank you.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Lets not forget we live in the great era of unaccountability of the governing/managing elite.

      Finanical Bubble and consequence unforeseen

      Putin actions unforeseen

      Mudslide unforeseen

      The reason they all get away with this is that we simply don’t demand any better.

      • Don_B1

        The wealthy demand “freedom” and other low-meaning words, while using their money to elect people to office who will support their whims, not the needs of the people.

        So what do you expect when the less wealthy do not have the time or money to do their own research on every issue and thus elect people who will work to make sure that information is even harder to discover?

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          I believe in transparency and equal protection under the law. Constitutional rights, and open markets with transparency.

          Like it or not, we elect people to defend our Constitutional Rights that provide us opportunities, not to provide for us.

          Taking a more paranoid or cynical view which requires the government to actively ensure outcomes, vs protecting opportunity, is unsustainable financially and sociologically.

          I’m all for throwing liars, cheaters, and colluders in prison for long terms to protect the rest of us who are willing to work and exist honestly and with maximum freedom.

          • Don_B1

            And among those that vote in those elections are a lot of what are called “low-information voters,” for both understandable and incomprehensible reasons.

            Understandable when many people work unbelievably long hours at below poverty level wages and have little time to think beyond the headline ideas.

            Incomprehensible, though sometimes understandable, when wealthy people use their “excess” money to publish ideas that undermine democracy while seeming to support everyone’s aspirations for a good life but actually when implemented will deny all possibility of a good life for most Americans.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            “Understandable when many people work unbelievably long hours at below poverty level wages and have little time to think beyond the headline ideas.”

            Challenging and true, but absolutely not an excuse for handing over power to “well-meaning” elites with concentrated power to do it for them/us.

            As for the second point, IMO that is more of a cynical/fearful reaction, that again does not justify the power elite, and is precisely WHY we have constitutional rights to equal opportunity before a transparent rule of law. We must work to that ideal.

      • JS

        And Katrina: No one thought the levees would fail

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          list goes on and on. Its all very well foreseen and thats how the cronies garner votes and make money off the lack of transparency and manipulation of markets.

  • Coastghost

    Topography, meet Meteorology. Meteorology, meet Topography.
    Now let me introduce you two to Fluid Dynamics . . . .

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      I love fluid dynamics. Right behind E&M. {university days}

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    And how many brains does it take NOT to build or camp in a known debris field? Perhaps Congress should fund a study to answer this question.

    • Charles

      I’m with you. This reminds me of the conversations after Katrina about rebuilding in a place like New Orleans.

      If people want to live in a disaster-prone area, fine. But it should not be incumbent upon me or the taxpayers to subsidize these bad decisions.

      • TFRX

        And coastal Alabama. And Trent Lott’s house on the shore in Mississippi.

        • J__o__h__n

          And it will be wildfire season in California soon. I think there was an NPR interview with people who didn’t think a tornado would hit their town a second time.

          • HonestDebate1

            I hear ya but there are things that can be done to prevent fires from being uncontrollable such as allowing the brush to be cleared and selective logging.

          • Steve__T

            Yes, absolutely and who is going to do it and who is going to pay?

          • HonestDebate1

            It is prohibited. Lift the restriction and it will get done.

          • Don_B1

            Another panacea to enrich the wealthy lumber industry and not accomplish the desired fire reduction.

      • Don_B1

        But the information to avoid those bad decisions must be available and understandable, and that will take public effort, in doing the research and/or providing regulations on companies that would build in dangerous places and then sell their product under false claims.

        • Charles

          Agreed, the knowledge needs to be more readily disseminated.

          Civil Engineering is all about finding ways to manipulate the Earth to gain results it doesn’t naturally offer. There is a wide body of knowledge about landslides, among many other things. But people have to listen!

      • Steve__T

        Yeah tell everyone that lives in the midwest to move cuz uh Tornado’s they really cause a mess ‘specially to dem trailer’s folk out their live in. I don’t wana pay for that, that’s stupid.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    It’s a new world. And stupid is not invited.
    Ask the friends, kin, associates, & colleagues of Malaysia Airlines flight 370.

    • Don_B1

      Ignorance is not stupidity!

      When the risks of some activity are not available, it is easy to make a bad decision.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Governor Jay Inslee {D-Oz} said yesterday that it’s not the time to ask hard questions. It’s time for search, prayer, recovery and weeping.

    This is what government always gets you: shoulder shrugging, finger pointing, foot shuffling, blame shifting, huggies.

    {Inslee: Don’t ask me to do my job, I’m just hired help}

    • J__o__h__n

      It is never the time to ask questions until no one cares anymore. How many people got fired over 9/11? How many people who ruined the economy are in jail?

    • Acnestes

      Yeah, just like it’s never time to ask questions about guns after a mass killing.

    • anamaria23

      this is a tragedy for those lost, for their families, for the responders “doing their job” digging through the mud looking for survivors, many in tears as they do.
      It is unfortunate that for the likes of you it just another chance to throw a cheap shot.
      There will be time to “blame” and investigate when the weeping is done.

      • Acnestes

        With respect, the time to begin the investigation is now, fresh tears notwithstanding, and if it means keeping the wound open so be it. Like what should have been done with Newtown, Columbine, etc. History has demonstrated again and again, if you drop it for, “healing”, considerations it goes away and never comes back.

        • anamaria23

          It is the mocking tone that I find disturbing, not so much the suggestions.

          • Acnestes

            No argument there.

      • Don_B1

        The investigation does need to begin now, but it does not necessarily need to dominate the news until the possibility of recovering live people is gone.

  • Omaha Guy

    As a news consumer, I want to know if any energy companies were frakking nearby. Either way, I would just like to know.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Given the warnings that were issued several years ago, I’m sure that personal injury lawyers will be looking for opportunities to file lawsuits. I would think that people who lived in this immediate area were aware of the warnings and risks. How many chose to abandon their homes and move away?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Seattle Times reporter said yesterday on NPR that first known slide occurred in 1949. Another in 1951.* Then he went on and on with the rest of the known events. Year by year.

    Gov. Jay Inslee: Don’t blame me. I was busy dialing for campaign funds.

    * Inslee and I both born that year. He can’t claim this was all new stuff.

  • Coastghost

    Cue the James Taylor . . .

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    http://www.amazon.com/Dirt-Civilizations-David-R-Montgomery/dp/0520272900/
    Copies available from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. For card holders.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB
  • Coastghost

    How had P&C insurance carriers rated dwellings in the affected area? Were insurers properly alert to Daniel Miller’s 1999 study?
    Would Washington state’s insurance commissioners have been responsible in whole or in part for communicating the perceived risk?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    If Washington state legislators don’t investigate the failure of officials to protect the public, maybe Darrell Issa will in Congressional hearings. At least that will put the whole shoddy business on C-SPAN. Where it belongs.

    • J__o__h__n

      He is due for another round of grandstanding.

      • TFRX

        I’m thinking a tie-in to that Noah movie somehow.

        • hennorama

          TFRX — parts of Washington had something like 39 out of 40 days of rain in 2006, which is the last time there was a landslide in the Oso area.

          (I own property in WA and remember the Noah discussions from that time.)

  • Michael Sheridan

    Are many the dead and missing lower class? Is exposure to geological risk in this area distributed by wealth?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Think Oso was something? I’m only getting warmed up.
    –Mother Nature

    Here we come to save the day!
    –Republicans & Democrats

    Heaven help us.
    –Humanity

  • rich4321

    It is too early to finger pointing. But it does raise many concerns:

    1. The developers-Did the developers do enough to do a comprehensive
    geological survey before they build the development? Or did they forge data before their money over life mentality?

    2. Did the home owners knowingly buy or build the property and gamble on such tragic won’t happen to them?

    3. Did the real estate agent deliberately hid the potential danger from the home owners?

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      It’s never too early for accountability.
      –Gospel according to Reality

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Please, sir. Can we have more representative government?
    –Oliver Innocent

    • Don_B1

      If the House of Representatives were more representative, rather than gerrymandered, it would not be controlled by Tea/Republicans and then the country would be a lot better off.

      There were over 1 million more votes for Democrats to occupy House seats, but a lot of them were “wasted” in high plurality wins by Democrats in carved-out districts, all because of the 2010 “wave election” that gave Republicans control of state legislatures in Red States.

      • damnspot

        Damn shame the way the Constitution works, I know. Fix it, please.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Lets just abolish it, and go for the China or Putin Model. Much more efficient.

          Freedom is a “low value” concept anyway.

        • Don_B1

          It will take more than I, but I am trying to support efforts to fix it. The main Constitutional change needed is campaign finance reform.

          That will not be sufficient, but it is necessary.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Why can’t we have a real, but voluntary, insurance market that prices the risks of natural disaster-prone zones?

    If people want to spend their $ on big policies, or by paying direct replacement costs, or want to gamble on a full loss with no insurance instead, let them. But why subsidize these markets?

    • Don_B1

      Because it is in the interest of the wealthy to hide the full costs of things that they want to sell to the less-informed.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        So in addition to free, accurate-pricing markets, we need transparent markets.

        Also, potential hazard maps from USGS should be freely available to the public, likely are. Anyone in the market for real estate, should go in with open eyes to the risks. Buyer beware or be-aware, given free information, and accurate pricing, seems acceptable.

  • hennorama

    Any libertarians care to weigh in on the freedom to do whatever one wishes with their own private property, such as building residences on land across the river from an area with a known history of landslides?

    Is Oso, Washington the exception that proves the rule that one should be able to do whatever they wish with their own property?

    • jefe68

      As long as they want to take the risk, I don’t any problems for them as individuals. The problems arise when the tax payers have to foot the bill for this kind of ideology.

      • dust truck

        but the government should FORCE insurance companies to cover residences in flood zones at lower rates because global warming is a hoax and FREEEEDOM

        • HonestDebate1

          That’s the Obamacare model.

          • dust truck

            You’d think so, but the Tea Party was never a logical bunch.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup, the old, the sick, the poor and the rest of the takers need to have the freedom to not have access to health care, because liberty, or something.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, I was referring to forcing post-menapausal women to carry maternity coverage or Hobby Lobby to provide abortive contraception.

            I have much compassion for the old, sick and poor and make a huge difference to many through actions in my community.

          • Ray in VT

            And why should my policy be comprehensive enough to cover things that tons of people get but that I will not. That’s not how insurance works, by spreading risk around and such. Wait….

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — it’s all about the self for some.

            It’s so obvious. There should be no minimum standards, and every single individual’s policy should be underwritten seperately. Forget risk pooling, forget group plans, it’s everyone for themselves.

            Right?

            In other words, an insurer’s ideal world.

          • Ray in VT

            Me. Me. Me. It’s all about me.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — and NIMBY, as well-illustrated above.

          • Ray in VT

            Uh, yeah. Toxic waste and stuff is for being close to someone else. Being close to me is an outrage. Being close to you is just too bad for you, and it does not affect me, unless you life next to me, in which case I might care what happens to you, because it might really affect me.

          • HonestDebate1

            I was being brutally and refreshingly honest. It’s my nature.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s ridiculous. You guys have wild imaginations.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yea but it’s not working and more people are losing insurance than are buying it. The government has no business mandating equal outcomes.

          • Ray in VT

            Fewer Americans are reporting not having insurance. Yup, I guess that people should have the liberty to be denier access to insurance, go bankrupt for getting sick or charged outrageous rates that they can’t afford because they sinned and got sick. Why does the gub’ment want to steal my freedom to have those things?

          • Bluejay2fly

            Denying your employees health insurance because if affords contraception or family planning is IDIOTIC it is not freedom of religion. They are not using the “evil” services. What is next only hiring devout Christians. Sorry, you lost that one with equal opportunity employment.

          • Ray in VT

            The freedom to discriminate against minorities. Just another way that the evil gub’ment is oppressing whitey.

          • Bluejay2fly

            You would think that me, being a libertarian of sorts, would side with the tea baggers, Hell NO. They only want the freedom to oppress those that they feel should be subjugated.

          • HonestDebate1

            Bizarre.

          • HonestDebate1

            They are willing to pay for 16 out of 20 types of contraception. No one is being denied.

          • Ray in VT

            The funny thing is that Hobby Lobby was covering this stuff until some right wing group tried to get them to sue and then they found out about it. Why should an employer get to decide between two products. They aren’t doctors, and these things aren’t causing abortions, as they declare that they do.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — but facts aren’t important; it’s only religious belief that’s supposed to matter.

          • Ray in VT

            Right. I can believe that contraception is abortion, and that makes it so. It works on pretty much everything. My favorite must be “believing” that something like the dictionary doesn’t say what it clearly does. It’s a post-fact world. Get with the program or get left behind.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — well, there’s this new religion that believes all regulations and taxes are evil, so if you are a member of this religion, you may do whatever you wish without penalty.

            In fact, you needn’t even be a member, as this religion deems these tenets to be Natural Laws, which apply to every human.

            In fact, you needn’t even be a human …

          • Ray in VT

            And forcing me to do something, anything that is against my religious tenets would be illegal. As a Pastafarian I am ordered by the FSM to cane people who say stupid things. Should the authorities attempt to charge me with assault, then I will claim my First Amendment freedom to practice my religion without interference from the government.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — Ommm … a closed mouth catches no noodly appendages … ommm.

          • Steve__T

            LOL I mean MMMMMMMM OOOOOMMMMMMMM

          • HonestDebate1

            I am pro-choice meaning I believe taking a life is acceptable within a certain time frame. However, a rubber or IUD prevents pregnancy while RU 486 terminates pregnancy. So the fact is there is a distinction and some birth control is a defacto abortion. Why do you dismiss the science in such a condescending tone? I think it’s best to respect people religious beliefs but even if I didn’t they are protected under our constitution. This is not a debate for shallow thinkers.

            We’ll see what the SCOTUS says.

          • Ray in VT

            RU 486 is not on the list of items that are considered to be contraceptives and are required to be covered by the ACA.
            It isn’t a debate for shallow thinkers? Then shouldn’t you be getting out of it?

          • HonestDebate1

            Irrelevant. My point stands.

          • Ray in VT

            Nope. Not irrelevant. You were wrong to say that that is covered by the ACA’s contraception mandate, but feel free to defend it. Your opinion stands as that, but facts are facts, and you were wrong about RU 486.

          • HonestDebate1

            Ridiculous. Who says that?

          • HonestDebate1

            Providing contraception is not the employers job… until Obamacare. Maybe he’ll delay it.

          • Ray in VT

            Providing safe working conditions was not the employers job until the government mandated it. Perhaps employees should have the liberty to be free of that as well. Employee health benefits should not be subject to the whims, religious or otherwise, of employers.

          • Steve__T

            Sorry, while you were blowing your horn my eyes stopped working

          • HonestDebate1

            What is the proper response when being told you don’t care about the poor, sick and elderly? Not that I care what you think but the charge is relentless, ongoing and shallow. It also could not be farther from the truth. Sue me for not being a doormat.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — they have access to healthcare but just can’t pay for it. Yanno, bootstraps and all …

            Remember as Speaker Boehner said, “we have the best healthcare delivery system in the world.”

            Unfortunately, not everyone is on the delivery route.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, then they should just have the personal responsibility to choose to earn more money, and magically that will happen. Problem solved.

          • HonestDebate1

            Everybody has the choice to earn more money but it’s not magic.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup. I choose to make a million, and now it’s in my wallet. Magic. Thanks free market. If only I had known how easy it was years ago.

          • HonestDebate1

            What are you reading?

          • Ray in VT

            Most recently an inane comment posted in response to my comment some 13 hours ago.

          • HonestDebate1

            Well you couldn’t tell by your non-sequitur reply.

          • Ray in VT

            I was just talking about choosing a higher income, because as it is a choice, then I can just choose to make more money and presto change. More money.

      • hennorama

        jefe68 — thank you for your response.

        What about the search, rescue and recovery operations? Should there be any so-called “nanny state” involvement, or should the individuals who took the risks be completely on their own?

        I’m just curious as to where the edges of these ideas are.

        • HonestDebate1

          The edges are easy to discern but you must quit making illogical leaps. No one advocates no limits regarding property. No one advocates no safety net. Those are straw men.

          • J__o__h__n

            People are getting very close to advocating no limits on use of property. Perhaps the scariest is the new extremist conservative legal concept that any form of government regulation regarding one’s property is considered a taking.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t see it that way but I do see a push back to the ever increasing efforts to take away those freedoms. Kelo is one example. The defining of what is considered a wetland is another. I read about a guy being fined $75K a day for building a pond and he had a permit. The pendulum is definitely swinging in the direction of more restrictions not less.

            Several years ago someone bought up 30 acres adjacent to our farm and made plans for a trailer park. The zoning permitted it. I set out to get the area rezoned and got much support although I ultimately failed. I was very conflicted because I certainly believe a person should be able to work within the law to develop their land as they want to. I just didn’t want it in my face.

            In the end he went belly up and there is no trailer park. Now the woods are gone and there are 6 new stick built houses. I did not have to confront my own hypocrisy.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I live in an area regulated by a private agency called the Adirondack Park Agency they make fascism look like absolute freedom.

          • HonestDebate1

            Are you sure they are private and not a government agency?

          • JS

            Actually, I personally know people who advocate for no safety nets, and that they should be able to do with their own property whatever they want to do. Although they are not in any position of power, they do vote.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Within limits. I grew up in rural NY and I have seen people burn structures full of shingles and asphalt siding. It looked a 747 crash site. I knew another guy who used to burn bowling balls in his outdoor would boiler. If they have the freedom to do that then I should have the freedom to beat them with a louisville slugger for being an idiot.

          • jefe68

            Well, a lot of people also shot there guns off thinking they are in the middle of know-where. I remember hearing a story about a woman working in her garden in Vermont getting shot this way by her neighbor.

          • hennorama

            Yikes! I thought that was only in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve.

            They probably didn’t have any gunfire detection and location analysis systems active near her garden, making solving such an incident quite difficult.

            Not that it’s easy with a gunfire locator, but a least you’d have a shot (pun intended).

            See:
            https://www.shotspotter.com/solutions

          • hennorama

            Bluejay2fly — sheesh, the things people will do with fire.

            In my rural days of yore, we burned our household trash in a well-perforated 55-gallon drum, with plenty of water at hand. This worked well, with one notable exception. Unbeknownst to me, my visiting city slicker uncle had tossed his empty butane lighter refill cylinder in the trash.

            The neighbor’s dairy cows got a good scare that day, as did I.

          • HonestDebate1

            I was indeed talking about actual proposals by politicians with power. I could have been clearer. I seriously doubt anyone could come close to being elected on that platform. It’s an extremely fringe position.

          • JS

            Agreed, but you don’t need to dismantle a bridge to make it unusable. Cutting funding to safety nets can cause the same effect for some people as if the net was never there. Like when does a net with too many holes stop being considered a net?

          • HonestDebate1

            When it goes bankrupt because the demonization of making it sustainable makes politicians put off the tough choices.

        • jefe68

          Well, that’s coming from the taxes we pay.
          Personally I would advocate for people who want to take these kind of risks to pay more property taxes or something akin to that, say a surcharge.

          • hennorama

            jefe68 — TYFYR.

            I understand the argument, and it has some merit. Getting such surcharges passed is another matter altogether, especially in light of the “no new taxes” and “Taxed Enough Already” crowds.

    • damnspot

      They did what they wanted with their property, just as people living along the Jersey shore. What’s wrong with that, besides their having made bad choices and now being dead?

      • hennorama

        damnspot — thank you for your response.

        I’m curious as to where the edges of these ideas are.

        Let’s say that you are an informed landowner who builds a residence in an area that floods every other year. One day, severe flooding lifts your house off its foundation, and your house smashes into the bridge I’m driving over, collapsing it, and I drown as a result.

        Is that OK?

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

        How many of the dead children had a say in where their parents chose to live?

    • georgepotts

      when the government bails out the property owner and then pays them to rebuild in the same space is when the government is to blame

      • dust truck

        privatize the gains, socialize the losses. It’s the American way!

    • Ray in VT

      To a certain extent I don’t have a problem with someone building in such an area, but I think that they should probably have to pay substantially for the insurance that would come along with such a move.

      • hennorama

        Ray in VT — TYFYR.

        OK, but what if I forego insurance, and someone who doesn’t know the risks visits my property and is injured?

        • Ray in VT

          Then isn’t one susceptible to a lawsuit? Of course one can be even if one is insured.

          I am buying a house that is pretty close to the edge of flood plain. I has flooded once in 100 years. That is a risk that I am willing to take, but I may have to pay more for it.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — yes, of course one can be sued, but in my example, the property owner has lost virtually all of their assets (the building/property), making them effectively judgment-proof.

            Best wishes regarding your new home, and thanks again.

          • Bluejay2fly

            The fear of lawsuits has ruined America. I cannot go over to your house and help you with any home repair because what if I get injured? Community is effectively destroyed by these fears. I have to be a self insured certified contractor to help you now. Unbelievable!

          • brettearle

            Not only that, but if you sneeze when you’re there–and a loved one at the household catches a nasty virus, soon thereafter–you’ll be hit with a summons for private workmen’s comp…which is to be provided by you, if that individual is out sick, for any length of time.

          • Bluejay2fly

            The law has become a tyranny taking the place of person ethical choice and individual action. We have legislated a dystopian world ,and tragically, all in the interest of making it more fair. BTW, my wife is a lawyer and the stories I can tell about this subject is unreal.

          • brettearle

            They wouldn’t be unreal to me. I could give you as many War Stories, I can assure you.

            And, through you, I’d like to hear some of your wife’s stories.

            [Not that you're at liberty to do so--but if you made them generic, then, as Ross Perot said in a different context, "I'm all ears."]

          • hennorama

            Bluejay2fly — TYFYR.

            You can always sign an indemnification, waiver, and release form to hold the property owner harmless.

            But I get your point. Thanks.

          • Bluejay2fly

            That does not work. By having them perform work without a license and building permit they are participating in an illegal activity.

          • hennorama

            Bluejay2fly — TY again FYR.

            As I am not aware of the specifics of your local circumstances and ordinances, a question:

            Is there a dollar threshold below which a license and permit is not required? (This is typical in many areas.)

            Thanks again.

          • Steve__T

            New regulations have popped up everywhere. If you want to be a private independent contractor, local laws say you must be bonded in order to get a license to do the work, dollar amounts are not considered in this. Bond amounts that are required are set by local authority’s. They can run from 30k to 100k. If you work without it and get caught,you can be fined or imprisoned by the local authorities and sued by whomever you were working for.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            You shouldn’t be doing that work anyway. It should be done by the US Dept. of Construction.

            We can’t trust you with a hammer. You are probably a racist tea bagger who will hit somebody with it.

            Sarcasm.

          • hennorama

            Steve_T — TYFYR.

            Contractors should be licensed, bonded and insured, and well-enforced.

            But what I was talking about is a “minor work exemption,” which is fairly common. In other words, if the total value of the project is below a certain figure (e.g., $500), the tradesperson needn’t be licensed. In some areas, there is no exemption for certain types of work, such as electrical or plumbing, however, regardless of the dollars involved.

            I was also referring to a more casual friend-helping-friend concept, which is what I had understood was [Bluejay2fly]‘s lament.

            Thanks again for your input.

          • Steve__T

            hen TYFYR
            Agreed. There is the old “lets do a barn raising” and invite all the neighbors. I’ve actually been to one and had a blast.

          • hennorama

            Steve T — speaking of … I’ve been involved in both barn razing, and barn raising, all on the same site.

            We (my family) dismantled an old semi-ramshackle wooden barn almost entirely by hand, preserving the very valuable wood to be sold and/or re-used. The barn’s foundation was piled boulders, and the oldest part of the structure consisted of massive (the largest were about 30″ x 30″) hand-hewn beams held together with wooden pegs. The oldest nails were all handmade as well.

            The proceeds from selling the old wood [were] enough to pay for all the materials for the shell of the new barn, which we also built ourselves. We even constructed a gin pole (basically, a tree trunk on a four-wheeled chassis, with a block and tackle attached at the top) as a crane for hoisting the trusses and some materials.

            Decades later, that barn’s still there, as is a bridge we built out of some of the old barn lumber.

            Thanks for reminding me of that part of my past.

          • Steve__T

            I too love trips down memory lane, but lately, I seem to not want to come back to the future.

          • hennorama

            Steve_T — well said.

            Thinking back, I remember the specialized tools we used, including this nail puller (image on link below). The handle telescopes, allowing it to be slammed down to close the jaws, or to extend for greater leverage.

            My Dad and I also came up with an ingeniously simple system for popping off the unsalvageable roofing boards, which we fabricated in our farm shop. It consisted of a metal triangle with an eye at one point, and a separate wide, flat metal hook. A cable was run through the eye of the triangle and attached to the hook, with the other end attached to a tractor on the ground. The person on the roof would slip the hook under the boards, then stand the triangle up to act as a fulcrum. Then the tractor operator would ease forward, and the cable would transfer forward motion into upward force, popping the boards and roofing. This was waaaaay easier and far safer than other methods.

            Here’s the nail puller:
            https://www.coastaltool.com/hand_tools/crescent/nail_puller.htm

          • HonestDebate1

            Impressive. Really, no snark.

          • brettearle

            Wow

          • hennorama

            brettearle — I was in my mid-teens at the time and didn’t realize how big a deal it was. To me, it was just another of the many self-sufficient things we did on the farm, albeit on a larger scale than usual.

            This was a hog production barn. We also designed and built the self-flushing waste capture and methane production system, as well as the compound sloping and heated floor. (The entire floor sloped slightly toward one end, and the separate rows of pens each sloped perpendicular to that overall downslope, into alleys that were flushed periodically.)

            And to close the loop, the methane was used to heat the fluid that ran through the floor.

            We had many, many clean, warm, healthy and happy hogs.

            My Dad was pretty damn crafty and skilled. He bought the site for next to nothing, because the owner didn’t want to deal with the hassle and potential liability that the old barn represented. Then Dad turns the old barn into an asset for almost nothing, too.

            Of course, the free labor was a big help.

          • brettearle

            How come Big Brains, like you and Ashbrook, grew up on farms?

            What gives?

            Is there a relationship between Fertilizer and Neurotransmitter activity?

          • hennorama

            brettearle — TYVM, but I’m not comparable to Mr. Ashbrook.

            To answer your question — it’s the fresh air and healthy living. And we didn’t use chemical fertilizers. We were the crazy hippie-dippy people from the big city, according to the locals. This wasn’t true at all, as my parents were about as straight-laced as they come, but our organic food production ideas were different. It was only after they saw our results that we became popular.

            I dunno about Mr. A, but I was a post-riot transplant from the inner city. I very distinctly recall seeing National Guard troops with fixed bayonets rolling toward downtown. We moved shortly thereafter.

            Talk about your culture shocks: our nearest farm neighbor was almost a half mile away. But the farm was a great refuge and a great learning experience.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — the opportunities for independence, problem-solving, solitude, and the wide allowances for making and recovering from mistakes are no doubt significant factors as well. When you’re a kid growing up on a farm, you’re often both left to your own devices, and given great responsibilities. That’s one heck of a crucible.

          • HonestDebate1

            I have a commercial contractors license and that is news to me. But I’m not disputing you, I just keep the sheepskin and don’t do construction. To renew my license I must show $17,500 worth of capital which is like a mini bonding but I did not know bonding was now required. I seem to remember you are in NC too. I’ll have to look into it.

          • Steve__T

            I now live in California. But even in NC it’s the same, example: To install a simple cable you must have a low voltage incense issued by the local authorities $$$.for that particular job.

          • HonestDebate1

            We built a covered riding arena with an adjoining barn plus offices, viewing lounge, meeting room, classroom, locker room and 3 bathrooms 3 years ago. We contracted out the roof on posts. It is 150′ long and 60′ wide save for the last 30′ which is 72′ wide. I built everything else by myself. I did the electrical and plumbing as well. I was not required to have a license of any kind but I did need a general building permit and was required to pass all the different inspections. Maybe it’s my County or maybe it’s because I was the owner but the red tape was minimal.

          • Steve__T

            Slap slap slap, that’s a pat on the back. Well done.
            I couldn’t help it after you blew you horn so loud.

          • HonestDebate1

            It was no big deal. My point was things are different here in NC. The arena is actually a piece of crap and will most likely blow down soon.

          • tbphkm33

            Agreed – you should visit New Zealand. They have implemented reform and it is like a breath of fresh air. None of this silliness that exists here in the U.S.

          • HonestDebate1

            Have you thought about moving there?

          • Ray in VT

            That’s true. How can one sue someone when they have nothing. We can always bring back indentured servitude maybe. I’m sure that at least some of the Founders supported it, so it must be good.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I would love to see that replace most prison sentences. Let Johnny meth lab maker build a bridge in Alaska. After a couple of years give him some seed money to go honest or build another lab. Either way it works.

          • JS

            It works great for the company building the bridge to have indentured, or slave, labor. It doesn’t work so well for the person whose job was taken by Johnny Meth Lab

          • Ray in VT

            And I don’t think that I would like to travel over a bridge built exclusively by meth-heads.

          • Bluejay2fly

            My wife used to be Public Defender and once in a while she would have ex clients who needed labor jobs. I stupidly would hire them to do construction LORD HAVE MERCY. However, in a prison setting you would be amazed the quality of the work they can perform.

          • Ray in VT

            Perhaps, but is would call my position skeptical ranging to uncomfortable with traveling upon a meth-head build bridge. Maybe if it was a bridge to nowhere…

          • JS

            And I was a sandhog for 10 years, working with many ex-cons, most also veterans. Some of them were some of the best people I have ever worked with. The db’s didn’t last too long.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I worked in Deck Division in the USN and concrete construction both back in the 80′s. Many rough types but I can tell you that many young Americans would profit physically and spiritually from some hard work rather than screwing off in jail. PS back then we beat the hell out of the slugs. I had many days where I had a wrench or hammer angrily flung at me.

          • Ray in VT

            I find physical labor to be quite gratifying, and I also think that many would benefit from having to do some.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — due to the risk of the bridge Breaking Bad?

          • Ray in VT

            I’ve never actually watched that show, although I hear very good things about it.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Works well for all our crap they sell at Walmart. I am also not an idiot I would put “Johnny” in a Papillion style solitary confinement cell for six months prior to asking him if would rather work or spend more time getting to know himself. Also, bridge building is sort of high end we can start Johnny doing something less glamourous.

          • JS

            So, use prison labor to replace actual construction workers?

          • Bluejay2fly

            Not necessarily in new projects. They could tear down things and maybe do some prep work. How many abandoned houses and factories are their in detroit alone? How about having them tear down old navy ships for recycling? One super carrier could keep hundreds busy for years. Instead this work never gets done. How about having them plant trees? I used to work at a prison work camp. The inmates prepped snow mobile trails, cleaned camp sites, and they loved it. However NYS thought it a waste of money and closed it down. Now it sits as another abandoned facility that is a ruin. At least they could have restored that site to nature by tearing down the 50 or so abandoned buildings, but that would make sense.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — and it worked for Seinfeld and his “butler,” too, proving once again that there’s a Seinfeld episode for everything.

          • Ray in VT

            I haven’t seen a great many Seinfeld episodes, but there are definitely places where it makes some good points.

          • Goldentrouts

            Ray – don’t feel so secure with FEMA’s 100-year flood plain designation – 100 year floods or 100-year flood plains don’t mean once in a century, even though that’s what it sounds like.

            100-year floods depend on flow and flood records – can change with alterations to flood plains like construction of houses, restrictions in streams and floodways like constrictive or undersized spans or culverts, and upstream changes in watershed changing the water yield like logging and the roads that go with it, as in this case.

            You can have three 100-year floods in one year – although not naturally very likely. Also, if flooding keeps happening or if floodplain development changes, FEMA will alter the map and you might end up well within the risk zone.

    • brettearle

      People are still settling down near the San Andreas Fault.

      Not that I would.

      [My time as a Lemming expired in a prior incarnation.]

      • hennorama

        brettearle — long time-ish no read. WB and TYFYR.

        Indeed, and local zoning and insurances regulations take such proximity into account. Insurers that sell homeowners policies in CA are also required to offer earthquake insurance to policyholders, and to notify policyholders that homeowners policies do not cover losses due to earthquakes.

        • brettearle

          2 separate bouts with the Flu and a PC implosion explain the absence. [No, it wasn't because I'm allergic to HD.]

          Does not the structural integrity of any new building, on the Coast–which changed specification requirements, across the board ["House Built on a Weak Foundation, It Won't Stand: Oh No! Oh No!"] towards the latter part of the 20th century–now determine policyholder Destiny?

          Thanks for asking after my absence and I’ve forgotten what WB means [Could it be, 'Where's Brett'?]….

          • brettearle

            WB=Welcome Back?

          • hennorama

            brettearle — TYFYR, and glad you and your PC are recovered.

            Yes, revised building codes (and retrofitting) help to an extent, and insurers do take variations in structures into account during the underwriting process. Insurers also survey their policyholders periodically, asking about the details of the structures, and also do periodic visual (generally exterior-only) inspections.

            “A well-built house won’t divide against itself and will ever stand!”

            In theory, at least.

            Welcome Back.

          • brettearle

            Thanks, much….

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        curious why in your world those with libertarian persuasion are Lemmings, but those with establishment D or R leanings or committed leftist ideology for that matter are not?

        I know you are probably smarter than everyone else but…..

        You mix political/economic philosophy with empirical historical observation and you end up with a world view you support and try to encourage via voting and persuasion.

        Its all in the data set and the interpretation, and of course in the good faith of the participants.

        Why the arrogance? You will not convince anyone that some ‘libertarian experiment” has already been tried and failed. And arguing against classically liberal traditions like rule of law and individual liberty vs. Rule of Men and increasing Centralized Power and Authority seems rather radical, if un-lemming-like.

        • brettearle

          This comment, above, is over my head.

          [As any Tsunami would be, triggered by an Earthquake.]

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            edited slightly for clarity, removed barbed comments, for hopes of honest reply.

            Did you consider yourself libertarianish before? What about before that?

            I considered myself a progressive, leftish person voting for Ds or Naders for no other choice, and reflexively rejecting Republicans, which is quite easy to do, when the ones making the most noise are generally the bible thumping and war promoting social conservatives and neo cons.

            Exploring the Ron Paul and libertarian end of things, contemplating monetary policy, military industrial complex as part of big government, and (re?)discovering the rationale and history behind classically liberal notions, brought me more toward the current realm of trying to square personally progressive values with more libertarian principles, as I believe bigness and the power it wields, government and non-competitive business, is a threat to true individual opportunity and freedom, which includes more “liberal” personal values.

          • brettearle

            I posted a reply to you that was expunged by the dark side of technology.

            If I can find the time, I will try again.

            Thanks.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            thanks for trying…

  • tbphkm33

    This event in Washington State does make you wonder how many other “hidden” landslide dangers there are out there. Visiting Colorado, I know there is a lingering concern resulting from last falls floods and previous forest fires that have weakened hillsides. Lots of areas where the stability is not exactly known. Also, open pit mines in West Virginia and Kentucky, another region where the landscape has drastically been altered by human activity.

    Scientists have warned us, as we have altered the ecology and the environment, storms will become more severe and unpredictable. Moving between weather extremes, one can only surmise that more communities will face similar situations to what has struck in Washington State.

    • Bluejay2fly

      The more people and the more people want to live in their own house, on their own land, creates more encounters of this type. Having homes cheaply made and poorly constructed does not help either.

  • John_Hamilton

    Tom Ashbrook can be really annoying when he is at his worst, but today he was at his best, covering the subject thoroughly, carefully, and adding greatly to our understanding of mudslides. This segment is worthy of an award.

  • Benedicta

    One of the things that has worried me for some time is the possibility of a giant landslide from Mount Rainier across Seattle itself – it has happened in the past, millennia ago.

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