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"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

...............................................................Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mother Nature's Shovel Ready Stimulus

Nothing like an impending natural disaster to focus the mind and energies.

Right now in Fargo, we're preparing to face by this weekend what may be the worst flooding on record. Or second worst, to 1997. Whichever, we'll be ready, we'll have exerted maximum effort to guard against it.

High schools and universities have called off classes, volunteers are rallying in the thousands to Fargo Moorhead and our satellite communities. A neurosurgeon works side by side with a county jail prisoner. National Guardsmen—who've already given so much in Iraq—and volunteers from the Grand Forks Air Force Base, and ordinary citizens, neighbors, farmers driving into North Dakota's biggest city. We have 8th graders joining in today for sandbag building, plus giant "spiders" capable of filling sandbags in the hundreds of thousands.

The forecast for the crest is daunting—39 to 41 feet.

The exactitude is still to come...depending on what Mother Nature contributes overnight. It's blizzarding to the west of us. And that's heading our way. Ice jams are backing up the mighty Missouri river, which flows to the south.

But the basin of the Red River [the ancient Lake Agassiz lakebed] is rising fast and furious and the subsoil is still frozen, so there's no mitigation by absorption.

Coordinating the volunteers and city workers are seasoned teams of flood fighters--city engineering staff, cops, city planners, the mayors and commissioners. They are fighting for their homes, too. And the homes and businesses of neighbors. This is what we pay them to do.

This is we, the people.

Government and citizens, teaming up to take on a common challenge. In this case it's a flooding river basin.

It could be securing a border. Or funding schools. Or finding a solution that serves the common good instead of special interests in health care.

But it starts with a government that acts—and plans—for the common good. And a citizenry with a spirit of volunteerism and community service to make it work.
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

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