Tag: hurricane

Background Briefing: August 30, 2021


Devastation in New Orleans as Superstorms Become the New Normal

We begin with the devastation that Hurricane Ida has left in its path across Louisiana with the state’s electricity grid in tatters after powerful winds knocked out all eight electric transmission lines feeding New Orleans. Joining us is Mark Schleifstein, a reporter with the New Orleans Times-Picayune who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 then another as well as a George Polk Award in 2008 for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina. The co-author with John McQuaid of Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms, we discuss how the levies surrounding the city of New Orleans which is below sea level are at best 32 feet high and that due to global warming and sea-level rise, future storms will overcome the multi-billion dollar protective systems now in place.


The Weaknesses of the Nation’s Electricity Grids

Then we speak with Najmedin Meshkati, a Professor in the Department of Civil/Environmental Engineering and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California where he is an expert on safety and risk reduction for energy generation plants, petrochemical plants and refineries and transmission and distribution grids. He joins us to discuss the damage to Louisiana’s power grid as another example of the weaknesses of the country’s electricity systems. With blackouts in Texas last winter and fires in California last summer and at this moment caused by the PG&E grid, these failures expose the fragility of the nation’s grid and the need to deal with extreme weather as the new normal as well as the decentralization of the grid to the level of self-sustaining household generation.


Obstruction by the Chinese Government Means We Will Never Know What Caused the Pandemic

Then finally we examine further the inconclusive report from the U.S. Intelligence Community on the origins of the Covid pandemic and discuss what can be done in the face of a refusal by the Chinese Communist government to cooperate and provide evidence as their propaganda apparatus pumps out conspiracy theories blaming the U.S. for creating a bioweapon which apparently we used against ourselves given the U.S. has the world’s highest death toll. Dr. Stanley Perlman, a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Iowa who has studied coronavirus pathogenesis for four decades, joins us.