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The Crumbling of America - The History Channel is running a compelling documentary

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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 09:27 PM
Original message
The Crumbling of America - The History Channel is running a compelling documentary
on America's crumbling infrastructure right now. Every elected official from the President down to your city councilman or county commissioner needs to be watching this tonight!


http://www.history.com/shows.do?episodeId=452430&action...

"America's infrastructure is collapsing. Tens of thousands of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. A third of the nation's highways are in poor or mediocre shape. Massively leaking water and sewage systems are creating health hazards and contaminating rivers and streams. Weakened and under-maintained levees and dams tower over communities and schools. And the power grid is increasingly maxed out, disrupting millions of lives and putting entire cities in the dark. The Crumbling of America explores these problems using expert interviews, on location shooting and computer generated animation to illustrate the kinds of infrastructure disasters that could be just around the bend."


Douglas J. De Clue
Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering,
Georgia Tech

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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 09:29 PM
Response to Original message
1. We're watching
Edited on Mon Jun-22-09 09:30 PM by malaise
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WonderGrunion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 09:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. At first I thought you were talking about "Life After People"
I'll have to add this to my DVR list.
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 09:38 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. Replay Sunday at 5PM.
Yeah if we don't fix it, it WILL be "life after people" alright...the Wolf Creek Dam failure situation will wipe out Nashville - that one really got my attention having lived in middle TN before.
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MadMaddie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
3. The bridge failure in MN is just the canarie in the mine!
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Thegonagle Donating Member (548 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-23-09 02:41 AM
Response to Reply #3
14. That bridge failure in MN was an engineering error made over 40 years ago.
Edited on Tue Jun-23-09 03:00 AM by Thegonagle
The expected life of the bridge when it was designed was 50 years, and while it was a rickety, ugly POS bridge from the beginning, the bridge would have lasted the 50 years were it not for one calculation that was forgotten. (In fact, the "construction" work they were doing to the bridge at the time could typically be expected expected to last 10-20 years in the area, given the weather extremes and road salt used.)

The real tragedy is that nobody building, studying, or inspecting that bridge in 40 years saw those 4 under-sized gusset plates and had an "ah ha, that looks wrong" moment and referred it to a structural engineer.

Now that the failure point was identified, MN-DOT has reviewed the original engineering of all steel truss-style bridges in its inventory. NTSB has recommended that all state and regional DOTs do the same. In MN alone, three steel truss bridges have since been closed--two permanently, and one temporarily. Several other steel bridges of different design principle have been put on accelerated replacement schedules due to rust and other maintenance issues.

Stories abound about how the MN-DOT "was going to reinforce the bridge, but didn't because of money," however, such reports don't get the facts quite straight. Sure, they were looking to reinforce the structure to extend the expected life of the bridge, but ironically, had they gone forward, that would have actually weakened the bridge. The reason is that they were going to reinforce (thicken) the steel truss members (girders), but they weren't about to touch the gusset plates, because everybody assumed that they were designed properly in the first place (with a 200% margin of safety).

People miss the point that we're learning lessons about construction techniques of the 1960's, not inspection and maintenance practices in the 2000's.
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rockymountaindem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 09:32 PM
Response to Original message
4. I saw the promo for that and it made me kind of mad
when they asked "what can we do to prevent the crumbling of America?"

The answer is obvious: quit treating tax cuts like the answer to every problem. That's the big problem where I grew up. If you want something, you have to pay for it. That goes for everything, including roads and bridges. At home in Colorado Springs people love to complain about potholes, but they won't pay a penny to fix them. Between the people who think the government can gin up something from nothing and the "drown it in the bathtub" types, El Paso County and Colorado Springs are BROKE. Now people are upset that the county Sheriff is telling people not to expect a response for up to 30 minutes because they can't pay enough deputies. Well, you get what you pay for.
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tularetom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #4
12. The sheriff here has been telling us that for 15 years
In fact he damn near told me not to expect any kind of response at all. There simply were not enough people out here to make it worth his while.

Not only that but the county dads are now threatening to turn all our paved roads back to gravel, but even the cost of doing that would exceed the road budget according to the road department.

And yet every person I talk to seems to be unable to make the connection between low taxes and crappy services. In fact they all bitch that the taxes are too high.

And of course they have the elected officials scared to death to even think about a tax increase.
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KG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 09:34 PM
Response to Original message
5. but no problem to get money to rebuild countries we bomb into dust.
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 09:37 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. or basketball stadiums for billionaires!
:argh:
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 09:36 PM
Response to Original message
6. Thanks for the headsup, ddeclue. Maybe when a Senator is killed by a bridge collapse
we'll see some action on this. Or maybe they'll all start to use helicopters.

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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. That won't be enough but an entire wealthy neighborhood with
a few of them will do it.

Dems should use the bully pulpit and show this decay by neglect daily.
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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 09:38 PM
Response to Original message
9. I'm sure the right-wing noise machine will smear the History Channel as a pinko commie outfit....
.... trying to force higher taxes on everyone to repair all those non-essential things like the power grid, roads, bridges etc.
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
11. Watching it .......
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1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-23-09 01:23 AM
Response to Original message
13. it looks like those that live in large cities are going to have to pony up a lot more for water...
sewage, and road fees.

your pipes and roads are in terrible shape.

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Cali_Democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-23-09 02:52 AM
Response to Original message
15. That's what happens when you spend money on bullshit wars instead of domestic infrastructure.
nt
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Caliman73 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-23-09 02:59 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. True that...
You can't even think of touching the defense budget for anything or you aren't a "true American" while our infrastructure rots away.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-23-09 02:57 AM
Response to Original message
16. Another direct result of the Raygun maladministration and the following
three, going on four. We were learning about this happening in the 80s and nothing has been done to fix it in all that time.

But we do need 500 F-22s to keep us safe. :banghead:


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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-23-09 06:40 AM
Response to Original message
18. Checkout the "green shoots" sprouting up all over.
Green shoots: An alternative view
by Kurt Cobb

I am seeing green shoots everywhere these days. But not in the places in which Wall Street's strident financial cheerleaders and Washington's happy economists are. I am seeing green shoots in the many cracks in the suburban neighborhood roads I now travel daily by bicycle.

Unlike the supposed financial green shoots, these green shoots are not propitious. It is mid-June and the cities which I traverse by bike do not seem to have the wherewithal to douse the weeds that are cracking their streets. I also ride across many lovely private parking lots that are breaking up like so many crumbled cookies with no one seeming to want to fix them. I am reminded of images from a History Channel series called "Life After People" which depict what the Los Angeles freeway system would look like just one year after the disappearance of people (surprisingly green!) and how it might appear one hundred years after people (like a nature preserve!).

The roads are, of course, crumbling. But this has long been the case in Michigan where the governor and legislature refused to do anything about it throughout the 1990s and the early part of this decade for fear of voter reaction to new taxes. (One can still today close one's eyes and know immediately whether one is on the Michigan or the Ontario side of the Canadian border just by how the car rides.)

Not surprisingly, in the face of the current financial crisis, our local colleges and universities are doing what they can to encourage green shoots of their own on their campuses, namely, deferring even more maintenance.

http://www.energybulletin.net/node/49292
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