California

Illinois Named Worst-Run State In America In 2014

“‘We don’t have the time to mess around. We are in deep, deep trouble financially,’ [Illinois Governor-elect Bruce] Rauner told a meeting of the Illinois Farm Bureau at a downtown Chicago hotel. ‘The next 24 months are going to be rough. And I apologize. I ain’t going to be Mr. Popularity for a little while. That’s OK. Four years from now I think, though, everybody will appreciate what we did.’”

-Chicago Tribune website, December 8, 2014

Talk about lists you don’t want to be on. In 2012 and 2013, Illinois was the 3rd worst-run state in the annual best- and worst-run states in America survey conducted by New York City-based financial news and opinion organization 24/7 Wall St.

So how did the “Land of Lincoln” fare in 2014? From the 24/7 Wall St. website on December 3:

How well run is your state? Assessing a state’s management quality is hardly easy. The current economic climate and standard of living in any given state are not only the results of policy choices and developments that occurred in the last few years, but can also be affected by decisions made decades ago, and by forces outside a state’s control.

Each year, 24/7 Wall St. attempts to answer this question by surveying various aspects of each state. To determine how well states are managed, we examine key financial ratios, as well as social and economic outcomes. This year, North Dakota is the best-run state in the country for the third consecutive year, while Illinois replaced California as the worst-run state

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Ouch. Worst part is, the people who brought us this mess are the same ones still in charge, more or less. It will be interesting to see how much of a difference Governor-elect Rauner- who ran on the Republican ticket- can make in the Democrat-controlled state.

24/7 Wall St. went into more detail about my home state’s latest “honor.” From the piece:

Illinois is the worst-run state in the nation. Like many other low-ranked states, more people left Illinois than moved there. Illinois lost more than 137,000 residents due to migration between the middle of 2010 and July 2013. A poor housing market may partly explain the exodus. Median home values fell 16.2% between 2009 and 2013, the second largest drop nationwide. Illinois has extremely poor finances by many measures. Just 39.3% of Illinois’ pension liabilities were funded as of 2013, worse than any other state. Further, the state’s reserves are estimated at just 0.5% of its general fund expenditure, the second lowest reserves rate nationwide. Both Moody’s and S&P gave Illinois the worst credit ratings of any state, at A3 and A- respectively. According to Moody’s, the state’s rating reflects its low fund balances and high pension obligations, as well as its “chronic use of payment deferrals to manage operating fund cash.”

As for our neighbors, Indiana is ranked 28th and Wisconsin comes in at 26th in 2014- down from 19th and 21st- respectively.

That’s quite a hit (9 places) the Hoosiers took from last year. Wonder what’s behind the drop?

Curious as to where 24/7 Wall St. ranked your state in 2014? Head on over to their website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Chicago Preparing For Potential 9/11 Anniversary Terrorism?

I’m back. And just in time for the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

While I haven’t come across anything (yet?) from the feds about any specific terrorist threats related to tomorrow, I see New York City is ramping up “intelligence gathering and visibility.”

Good for them. I’ve come to believe NYC (in particular, One World Trade Center aka Freedom Tower) and Washington, D.C., are primary targets for the Muslim extremists.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Chicago is a target as well. After all, Al-Qaeda has reportedly mentioned the city as being one. I blogged back on May 6, 2011:

After receiving today’s marching orders at their place of employment, a number of Chicagoans are settling down at their desks this morning and reading on the Chicago Tribune website:

Some of the first information gleaned from Osama bin Laden’s compound indicates al-Qaida considered attacking U.S. trains on the upcoming anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. But counterterrorism officials say they believe the planning never got beyond the initial phase and have no recent intelligence pointing to an active plot for such an attack.

As of February 2010, the terror organization was considering plans to attack the U.S. on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. CNN reports that al-Qaida was particularly interested in striking Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Sounds like Chicago’s Al-Qaeda’s kind of town, right?

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’ve heard an Al-Qaeda expert or two say the group is big on “celebrating” anniversaries. Along with that purported Islamic State Twitter post with a photo of the Old Republic Building at 307 North Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago, one might think the City of Chicago, like New York City, would take precautions around 9/11/14.

If they are, major local news outlets aren’t reporting it from what I can tell. I just visited a number of MSM news websites a short time ago and didn’t see a thing. No news releases from the City of Chicago or its Office of Emergency Management and Communications either.

Now, that’s not to say the “Windy City” isn’t preparing for a potential terror attack. I’d like to think the City of Chicago and Chicago Police Department are taking a page out of the New York Police Department’s playbook when it comes to 9/11 anniversaries. Collen Long of the Associated Press reported yesterday:

New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said the department is prepared.

“We will, as always, ramp up intelligence gathering and visibility,” Bratton said. That means thousands of officers in specialized teams, bomb-sniffing dogs who can detect not only the scent of a bomb but the vapors of a moving target, undercover officers and teams of police using radioactive detection devices and other high-tech tools.

Intelligence officers around the globe will be reporting in regularly and monitoring events around the world. If something happens in Gaza, it’s instantly felt in New York because of the large Jewish and Palestinian populations.

“Things ricochet real quick here,” said intelligence chief Thomas Galati…

Too much to hope for considering the current state of affairs in the CPD?

I understand a new Gallup poll is out showing Americans still aren’t concerned about terrorism these days despite the recent emergence of the Islamic State and what looks to be a competition between it and Al-Qaeda to see who can land a major blow against the American homeland first.

I cringe to think such indifference runs rampant among Chicagoans and their leaders too.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Long, Collen. “NYPD says terror threat more complex than ever: ‘It is layer upon layer upon layer’” Associated Press. 9 Sep. 2014. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/sep/9/nypd-terror-threat-more-complex-than-ever/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS). 10 Sep. 2014.

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Reminder To Californians

“The past couple of articles I’ve read that mentioned major earthquakes and California seemed to imply that the state was somewhat ready for such an event. I understand ‘The Golden State’ has improved its earthquake readiness and response capabilities over time. However, I get the feeling there’s some complacency going around, with a lot more work still needing to be done…

Keep those earthquakes preparations going at full throttle, Californians. And visit The Great California Shakeout website- among other earthquake preparedness online resources- if you haven’t already.

After all, it’s only a matter of time before the ‘Big One’ strikes.”

-December 12, 2013, post on Survival And Prosperity


Watch more news videos | Latest from the US
ABC News Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Sunday, August 24th, 2014 Emergencies, Preparedness, Public Safety No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 76

This morning, I was talking to the assistant manager of my parents’ condo building not too far from Chicago’s West Side. I’ll call this guy “Bookman,” one of my favorite characters from the TV show Good Times. Bookman’s from the area, and a couple of years older than me. From the exchange:

BOOKMAN: Have you been following what’s going on Missouri?
EDITOR: Yeah.
BOOKMAN: I think it’s going to blow up.
EDITOR: You mean, like a replay of Rodney King?
BOOKMAN: No, like after Martin Luther King was shot.
EDITOR: Oh, you mean the 1968 riots on the West Side.
BOOKMAN: Yes- but all over the country.

Interesting. Hope he’s wrong. But I’ll be keeping an eye out for any signs of coming widespread unrest.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Future Riots In Store For Ferguson, Missouri, And Elsewhere In U.S.?

I first mentioned Gabe Suarez, a decorated veteran of Southern California law enforcement and president of the personal safety training outfit Suarez International, way back in April 2011. I follow Suarez on a regular basis, and yesterday he wrote the following about the ongoing civil strife in Ferguson, Missouri, and how it’s been “a replay of the Rodney King events of so long ago.” Via an e-mail from Suarez International:

I will make a prediction – in this order.

The Grand Jury will find the officer “Innocent Of Any Wrong Doing”.
The mob will not accept it and riot again.
Obama will step in, demanding another hearing.
No justice – no peace…as it were.
There will be another hearing where the officer is found guilty (wink-wink-nod-nod)

And all will live happily ever after.

Sure enough, Tim Bross and Jef Feeley reported on the Bloomberg website earlier today:

A grand jury will begin hearing evidence tomorrow in the police shooting death of Ferguson, Missouri, teenager Michael Brown, as violent clashes continued in the St. Louis suburb.

A grand jury will start hearing from witnesses about the shooting that left Brown, 18, dead, Ed Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, said in a telephone interview today…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Gabe Suarez may be on to something with that prediction about the state grand jury finding the officer “Innocent Of Any Wrong Doing.” Along with other media outlets, Jason Howerton reported on TheBlaze.com late last night:

More than a dozen witnesses have backed up the account of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the controversial shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, police sources reportedly told St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Christine Byers…

Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop’s version of events in shooting #Ferguson

— Christine Byers (@ChristineDByers) August 19, 2014

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Will Suarez’s other prediction about an “innocent” verdict play out, and “the mob will not accept it and riot again” be in store for Ferguson, Missouri, and possibly other parts of the country?

Time will tell. But I’ll say this- If I suspected the safety of loved ones and/or myself could be threatened by such activity, I’d start taking steps to prevent that from happening.

Don’t be that schmuck trying to obtain personal safety gear, supplies, tools, what have you after the riot’s already at your doorstep, a la Los Angeles, April/May 1992.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Suarez, Gabe. “St. Louis: Having “Been – There – Done – That.” Suarez International Blog. 19 Aug. 2014. (http://blog.suarezinternational.com/2014/08/st-louis-my-take-having-been-there-done-that.html#.U_O955V0zIU). 19 Aug. 2014.

Bross, Tim and Feeley, Jef. “Ferguson Police Shooting Grand Jury Probe Starts Tomorrow.” Bloomberg.com. 19 Aug. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-19/ferguson-police-shooting-grand-jury-probe-starts-tomorrow.html). 19 Aug. 2014.

Howerton, Jason. “Report: More Than a Dozen Witnesses Have Corroborated Officer Darren Wilson’s Version of Ferguson Shooting.” TheBlaze.com. 18 Aug. 2014. (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/18/report-more-than-a-dozen-witnesses-have-corroborated-officer-darren-wilsons-version-of-ferguson-shooting/). 19 Aug. 2014.

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1992 Los Angeles Riots: ‘There Are No Atheists In Foxholes; There Are No Liberals In Riots’

I haven’t really thought about the 1992 Los Angeles Riots since I put together a piece that appeared on the shooting sports news website AmmoLand.com back at the beginning of May 2012- the twentieth anniversary of the “Rodney King Riots.”

And then racially-charged protests and looting occurred in Ferguson, Missouri.

Last night, I was looking over some of the L.A. Riot-related material I had gone through over two years ago. A couple of news articles of the time stand out as the Missouri National Guard take their turn patrolling the streets of Ferguson tonight:

The police tolerated armed citizens. Jonathan Lovitt reported in the May 4, 1992, edition of USA Today:

Many hundreds of people, alarmed by law enforcement’s inability to control the chaos, took up weapons throughout the riots.

Police were grateful. “You get a guy standing over you with a gun and you’re not going to loot … and that’s fine with us,” said Sgt. George Wright of Los Angeles Police Rampart Division.

Anti-gun types quickly “saw the light.” Lovitt added:

The rush to weapons began almost immediately after the riot’s first vivid images went out over TV.

Shopkeepers said some gun buyers were lifelong gun-control advocates, running to buy an item they thought they’d never need – only to find themselves blocked by gun-control legislation that requires Californians to wait 15 days.

“The customers were angry about the waiting period but they bought the guns anyway,” says Barry Kahn, who owns B&B Sales, one of the region’s largest gun outlets. “These people were different from my usual customers. They were definitely first-time buyers.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

American ingenuity shone. Lovitt wrote:

But many buyers beat the restrictions, purchasing exempt “antique” firearms, made before 1941…

Others employed different tactics. Black-owned shops hung signs saying “Black-owned and operated: Do not Loot” with the name of a prominent gangster, an enforcer, below. Along trendy Melrose Avenue, store owners boarded up windows and hung “for sale” or “for lease” signs, hoping looters would search for visible booty.

Some Los Angeleans prepared accordingly. Phil Sneiderman wrote in the Los Angeles Times on April 9, 1993:

Still, some residents are concerned that police would not be able to halt widespread violence. Area gun shop owners said they have noticed an increase in people buying guns over the past few weeks, well before the federal King beating case neared an end.

“They knew the trial was starting and that there would be a verdict eventually,” said Steve Cotter, whose family runs Hilldale Sales, a Simi Valley gun shop. “They knew about the 15-day waiting period, and they started buying early.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A memorable quote was born. Ron Soble wrote in the Los Angeles Times on August 17, 1992:

Part of the rush for weapons was caused by police inability to initially control the riot, said her husband, Steve Cotter, who waits on customers with a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson stuffed into his holster.

That spawned a public perception that “if the police can’t handle it, we’ll handle it ourselves,” he said.

Such emotions even motivate liberal advocates of gun control to buy a weapon for the first time, he believes.

“There are no atheists in foxholes; there are no liberals in riots,” he said.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Ammo sales were banned in L.A. Soble added:

On top of the waiting period was an emergency order issued by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley on April 30, which banned ammunition sales in Los Angeles until May 20.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The California National Guard initially had no ammunition. I blogged on September 14, 2012:

Watch for yourself the following news segment where then-California Governor Peter “Pete” Wilson admits California National Guard troops weren’t initially given bullets:


“LA Riots the GOV explains that the Guard has no ammo”
YouTube Video

Governor Wilson revealed:

There was some hesitation on the part of the Guard officers. I gave the order that they should take the ammunition that they had distributed as I would think they should in any case to those who are platoon and squad leaders making it available as needed.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Finally, guns saved lives and property. According to self-described “anti-gun feminist to armed feminist” Katherine von Tour in 1999 on KeepAndBearArms.com:

One day, just before the riots exploded, I was driving in downtown LA in a scary part of town. It was dusk. As I was stopped at a stop-light, with one car in front of me, two men who had been watching me began quickly and menacingly approaching my car from the sidewalk. One of them was carrying a tire iron.

I grabbed the pistol, which I had laid on the seat beside me, and held it up so they could see it.

The look in their eyes changed in an instant from threatening to fearful, and they immediately turned around and ran in the opposite direction. The light changed. I drove away.

No one was hurt, but a gun in my formerly liberal hand had, I believe, probably saved my life, or at least prevented me from likely injury…

Within a week, the very street where this incident happened had erupted in rioting, looting and killing.

I watched on television as the Korean grocers defended their property with AK-47’s and AR-15’s, and thus prevented it from being torched and looted. The police couldn’t stop the violence and killing.

I had friends who worked in the garment district in LA who barely made it out alive, and who told tales of pulling out pistols and having would-be attackers turn tail and run away.

Guns were saving lives and property.

As the riots threatened to spill over into Beverly Hills, myriad Hollywood types stormed gun stores to arm themselves, only to be told that there was a 15-day waiting period; radio talk shows boiled with people calling in and screaming about how unfair this was, and how the law was leaving them helpless.

Some of them even admitted that they had previously supported the waiting period, and that they were now furious that it had left them unarmed.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Real insightful stuff, much of which I wouldn’t have known about without the Internet even though I watched the riots live on television while attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign a little more than 22 years ago.

And seeing that history never repeats- but often rhymes, as Mark Twain said- how much of the above will ring true in the next major riot on American soil?

We may find out as early as later tonight.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Lovitt, Jonathan T. “Survival for the armed.” USA Today. 4 May 1992. (http://www.jonathanlovitt.com/usa/SurvivalForTheArmed.htm). 18 Aug 2014.

Sneiderman, Phil. “Police Agencies Rehearse Riot Response Plans : King case: Authorities vow to back up one another if disturbances occur. Some area gun shops report brisk sales.” Los Angeles Times. 9 Apr. 1993 (http://articles.latimes.com/1993-04-09/local/me-21047_1_gun-shop). 18 Aug. 2014.

Soble, Ron. “Going Great Guns : Security: The L.A. riots trigger a firearms-buying spree in the county. First-time owners drive the boom in sales.” Los Angeles Times. 17 Aug. 1992. (http://articles.latimes.com/1992-08-17/local/me-5096_1_gun-sales). 18 Aug. 2014.

von Tour, Katherine. “My Transformation From Anti-Gun Feminist To Armed Feminist.” KeepAndBearArms.com. 1999. (http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBPrintItem.asp?ID=635). 18 Aug. 2014.

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Proposed National ‘Enhanced’ Body Armor Ban Details

Speaking of body armor tonight, have you heard of the federal legislation that’s been proposed by a California Democratic Congressman to ban Americans not in the military or law enforcement from selling, purchasing, using, and possessing such personal protective gear? From the website of U.S. Representative Mike Honda (D-CA, 17th District):

Responsible Body Armor Possession Act Keeps Military Armor out of the Wrong Hands

Congressman Honda’s act bans the sale and possession of new enhanced body armor

Jul 31, 2014 Press Release

Washington, DC- Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA17) today introduced the Responsible Body Armor Possession Act of 2014, which allows law enforcement to respond to active shooters more effectively. It accomplishes this by prohibiting the sale, purchase, use, or possession of enhanced military-grade body armor by anyone who is not a member of law enforcement, active duty military, or other authorized users.

“There is no reason this type of armor, which is designed for warfare, should be available in our communities except for those who need it, like law enforcement,” Congressman Honda said. “There’s nothing more dangerous than what a well-armored, unstoppable active shooter can do. This bill is common-sense and long overdue.”

The U.S. News & World Report website highlighted the finer points of the proposed “enhanced” body armor ban. Steven Nelson reported August 8:

Honda’s “Responsible Body Armor Possession Act,” introduced July 31, would prohibit civilians from buying or owning armor – including vests, shields, helmets and other items – rated Type III or higher on the National Institute of Justice’s penetration resistance scale…

Weaker armor rated Type I or Type II would remain available to the public if the legislation becomes law. However, many bullet-resistant items on the market now, such as bulletproof backpacks for school children, are rated Type III and would therefore be banned.

The ban would not apply to body armor already in private hands, but Honda says law enforcement might want to encourage people to turn in the items anyhow. “If there are records of sales [law enforcement] could track those down,” he says…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’m not so sure this bill has got much mileage.

While those who support it may think doing so will create or enhance a “tough on crime” image, constituents may instead interpret this proposed ban as what some are claiming is yet another attempt by those in Washington to reduce the American citizenry into unarmed, now unprotected sheep ready to be led to the slaughterhouse if it comes to that.

“Oh, behaaave!”

Anyway, below is a copy of the legislation:

Body Armor Ban Bill


H.R.5344, Responsible Body Armor Possession Act of 2014
Scribd File

You can track the progress of the proposed “enhanced” body armor ban legislation over on Congress.gov here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Nelson, Steven. “Congressman Guns for High-Performance Body Armor Ban.” U.S. News & World Report. 8 Aug. 2014. (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/08/08/congressman-guns-for-high-performance-body-armor-ban). 12 Aug. 2014.

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Detroit Police Chief: ‘Good Detroiters Are Armed And Will Use That Weapon’

“Detroit’s police chief has a solution to help drive down crime in one of the nation’s most dangerous cities: arm more citizens.

James Craig made the comments at a police press conference Thursday, when he announced a 7 percent drop in violent crime in 2013, The Detroit News reported. Although urban police typically favor gun control, Craig said his views evolved after working in Los Angeles and Maine, where concealed weapons permits are more easily obtained.

‘I changed my orientation real quick,’ Craig said. ‘Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed.’

-FOX News website, January 3, 2014

Detroit Police Chief James Craig grabbed national headlines back in July with that comment in support of armed city residents to fight crime. And he’s in the news again today regarding that same topic. George Hunter reported on The Detroit News website:

Detroit has experienced 37 percent fewer robberies in 2014 than during the same period last year, 22 percent fewer break-ins of businesses and homes, and 30 percent fewer carjackings. Craig attributed the drop to better police work and criminals being reluctant to prey on citizens who may be carrying guns.

“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.

“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” Craig said.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Too bad the merits of an armed citizenry in the face of significant criminal activity are being recognized after Detroit had already imploded.

Seeing that there’s no shortage of talk about Chicago becoming the next Detroit, perhaps Mayor Emanuel and his City Council are taking note of the “Motor City’s” experiences?

Doubtful.

Detroit West he we come?

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Hunter, George. “Detroit police chief gives credit to armed citizens for drop in crime.” The Detroit News. 16 July 2014. (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140716/METRO01/307160034/Detroit-police-chief-gives-credit-armed-citizens-drop-crime). 16 July 2014.

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‘Earthquake Lady’ On L.A. Tremblors: ‘We’ve Got To Expect More Earthquakes Than We’ve Seen Recently’

“People have gotten used to L.A. being quiet, and that’s a bit dangerous, because it’s not our long-term future.”

-Lucy Jones, U.S. Geological Survey seismologist, in a FOX News appearance earlier today

“Earthquake Lady” Lucy Jones, who I last blogged about in December, appeared on FOX News earlier today and weighed-in on the recent earthquakes in the Los Angeles area:


“What’s causing increase of earthquakes in Los Angeles?”
FOX News Video

There has definitely been a pick-up of significant seismic activity around L.A. recently. Monday night Rong-Gong Lin II reported on the Los Angeles Times website:

No, it’s not your imagination: The Los Angeles area is feeling more earthquakes this year.

After a relatively quiet period of seismic activity in the Los Angeles area, the last five months have been marked by five earthquakes larger than 4.0. That hasn’t occurred since 1994, the year of the destructive Northridge earthquake that produced 53 such temblors.

Over the next two decades, there were some years that passed without a single quake 4.0 or greater…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Lin II, Rong-Gong. “Quakes are increasing, but scientists aren’t sure what it means.” Los Angeles Times. 2 Jun. 2014. (http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-la-quakes-20140603-story.html). 4 Jun. 2014.

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Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 Emergencies, Natural Disasters No Comments

Latest Prediction Of What California’s ‘Big One’ Might Look Like

Recently, I’ve talked a bit about what some earthquake experts suspect might happen to California when the “Big One” strikes.

I blogged about Dr. Lucy Jones, the “Earthquake Lady,” in December.

Then I wrote about Dr. Katherine Scharer and a disturbing $200 billion national economic loss projection in March.

A couple of days ago, I came across the following on The Week website. Frances Weaver reported on April 19:

Today, geologists say, there’s a 99.7 percent chance of a Big One of at least magnitude 6.7 striking California within the next three decades, with Southern California most at risk. Fears that a big quake is imminent in Los Angeles were stoked in March when two earthquakes, including a magnitude-5.1 quake in La Habra, cracked walls, triggered landslides, and sent furniture flying. “Sooner or later there’s going to be the Big One,” says U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) seismologist Kate Hutton.

How bad would it be?
“You would see buildings collapse, you’d see people trapped, you’d see roadways collapse,” said Kelly Huston of California’s Office of Emergency Services. “You’d see widespread destruction.” Under the USGS’s crisis scenario for a magnitude-7.8 temblor in Southern California, the soil-filled Los Angeles Basin would turn into a violently trembling Jell-O, causing major highways and airport runways to buckle, water and sewer pipes to crack, electrical and gas lines to sever, and thousands of fires to break out across the region. Those blazes could then be whipped into a frenzy by the Santa Ana winds. Fiber-optic cables running across the San Andreas would be torn apart, and infrastructure would take months, if not years, to repair. The hospitals would be swamped by 50,000 injured people, and at least 1,800 would die….

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Truly disturbing. And according to Weaver, it’s a fault line other than the San Andreas that could be more costlier and deadlier. She added:

What about other fault lines?
Though seismologists have long dreaded a San Andreas–based quake, experts now fear that a tremor on the Puente Hills fault line could cause as much — if not more — damage. Running from the suburbs of northern Orange County straight through the densest neighborhoods of the Los Angeles Basin, a 7.5 quake on the Puente Hills line would affect millions — including downtown L.A.’s 4 million residents alone — killing up to 18,000 people, causing $250 billion in damage, and leaving as many as 750,000 households homeless, according to the USGS. “This is the fault that could eat L.A.,” said USGS seismologist Sue Hough…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis )

$200 billion national economic loss projection?

Make that $250 billion if ground zero for the “Big One” happens to be on the Puente Hills fault line.

It’s a seismic feature I’ve never heard of until now, but it’s making headlines these days in the midst of all the recent shaking going on in North America. Rong-Gong Lin II reported on the Los Angeles Times website on March 29:

Experts say a major, magnitude 7.5 earthquake on the fault could do more damage to the heart of Los Angeles than the dreaded Big One on the San Andreas fault, which is on the outskirts of metropolitan Southern California…

The Puente Hills fault could be especially hazardous over a larger area because of its shape. Other local faults, like the Newport-Inglewood and Hollywood, are a collection of vertical cracks, with the most intense shaking occurring near where the fault reaches the surface. The Puente Hills is a horizontal fault, with intense shaking likely to be felt over a much larger area, roughly 25 by 15 miles…

One reason for the dire forecast is that both downtown L.A. and Hollywood are packed with old, vulnerable buildings, including those made of concrete, [USGS seismologist Lucy] Jones said.

Lin added that scientists believe the Puente Hills fault has a major earthquake roughly every 2,500 years. Unfortunately, they don’t know when the last major trembler was.

Here’s hoping Californians- particularly those in the southern portion of the state- are not only keeping abreast of all this info (I understand Puente Hills was only discovered in 1999), but acting on it as well.

Thankfully, I know of a few who are

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Weaver, Frances. “When will the Big One strike California?” The Week. 19 Apr. 2014. (http://theweek.com/article/index/260116/when-will-the-big-one-strike-california). 12 May 2014.

Lin II, Rong-Gong. “La Habra quake a reminder about dangerous Puente Hills fault.” Los Angeles Times. 29 Mar. 2014. (http://articles.latimes.com/2014/mar/29/local/la-me-0330-quake-puentehills-20140330) 12 May 2014.

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Status Of West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System

The other week, I was pondering my options for “Resource Of The Week” on Survival And Prosperity.

Considering all the recent headlines about earthquakes, I decided I would look for some sort of earthquake early warning notification system for those living and working on the West Coast.

The best I could do was the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Notification Service (ENS), “a free service that sends you automated notification emails when earthquakes happen in your area.”

A noble effort, but basically, no earthquake early warning system in place then.

What a shame, considering the warnings of numerous experts about the inevitability of a major trembler striking the West Coast of the United States down the road.

The foundation for such a system is being laid, however. From Tiffany Wilson on the wesbite of San Francisco ABC affiliate Channel 7 yesterday:

UC Berkeley has been working for years to build an earthquake warning system on the West Coast. The same kind of system that helped prevent Mexico’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Friday from landing a bigger punch than it did.

California still doesn’t have one of these systems in place. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that mandates California build one of these systems, however that bill did not include anything about funding

Right now, the UC Berkeley Seismological Lab has a test version of what the earthquake warning system would look like.

The system would send an alert to your cellphone, giving you precious seconds to find safety.

[UC Berkeley Seismological Lab spokesperson Jennifer] Strauss says it would cost about $82 million up front to build and $12 million annually to maintain…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Wilson also added in her piece that Japan, Mexico, Turkey, and Romania have “similar or advanced warning systems” in place already.

In fact, viewers of one Mexico City TV program got to see the system work during last week’s quake:


“Así sintieron el sismo en Foro TV”
YouTube Video

I really hope some sort of earthquake early warning notification system is funded and operational before the U.S. West Coast suffers significant loss of life, limb, and property from a major shake.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Wilson, Tiffany. “UC Berkeley working to build earthquake warning system.” ABC 7. 21 Apr. 2014. (http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/east_bay&id=9511499). 22 Apr. 2014.

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‘Earthquake Storm’ To Descend Upon Coastal California?

There’s plenty of talk about California earthquakes right now after two significant seismic events recently struck the southern part of the state. And I happened to come across a real interesting article on The Christian Science Monitor website the other day that speculates the California coast may soon be visited by “earthquake storms.”

Earthquake what?

Randy Dotinga recently talked to geophysicist John Dvorak, author of a new book entitled Earthquake Storms: The Fascinating History and Volatile Future of the San Andreas Fault. From their exchange:

Q: What is an “earthquake storm”?

A: During the last few decades, it has been realized that earthquakes do not occur randomly, nor do they occur like clockwork.

Instead, earthquakes, even large ones, tend to cluster in time and space. An earthquake storm is when there is a cluster of large earthquakes in a region occur over a period of several decades…

Q: How does California fit into the world of earthquake storms?

A: Most of the motion between the Pacific and North American plates occurs along coastal California. In the last hundred years, there has been only one significant earthquake along those plates: the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, also known as the World Series earthquake.

But during the previous hundred years before that, there were five significant earthquakes along the California coast, in 1812, 1838, 1857, 1868, and 1906.

Large earthquakes are the major means by which seismic energy gets released after building up between the two tectonic plates. And so one or more large earthquakes are in California’s future. It is a matter of when…

Back on March 3, I brought up earthquake expert Dr. Katherine Scharer, who warned in a February presentation that an 8.0 Southern California “megaquake” would not only devastate the local infrastructure, but cause a national economic loss potentially surpassing $200 billion.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Dotinga, Randy. “Is California overdue for a big earthquake?” The Christian Science Monitor. 28 Mar. 2014. (http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/chapter-and-verse/2014/0328/Is-California-overdue-for-a-big-earthquake). 1 Apr. 2014.

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Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 Infrastructure, Natural Disasters No Comments

USDA: Food Prices Expected To Rise 2.5 To 3.5 Percent In 2014

It’s not only prices at the pump that are going up these days where I live.

From what I’ve seen, food prices keep rising as well (while portions continue to shrink).

And it looks to continue that way in 2014. Ros Krasny reported on the Reuters website Tuesday:

U.S. food prices are expected to rise more rapidly this year after a very tame 2013, led by gains in beef, poultry and egg prices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday.

The food price inflation outlook assumes normal weather, the USDA said, adding that the California drought poses a risk of bigger increases in many food categories, and that high supermarket prices for beef are “here to stay.”

Various measures, including overall food, food-at-home and food-away-from-home prices, are expected to rise by 2.5 to 3.5 percent in 2014. The consumer price index for all food prices rose by 1.4 percent in 2013…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Krasny added that according to the USDA, prices at the supermarket have risen by an average of 2.8 percent annually since 1990.

I blogged about potential avenues for saving in this area back on March 10, 2011, and March 23, 2013.

Seeing that a landscaper is scheduled to stop by tomorrow, now’s as good a time as any to formulate a plan for fighting higher food costs while moving towards food self-sufficiency here in the Chicago suburbs. I’ll fill you in on what I’ve come up with in a future “Project Prepper” post (starting up again next week).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Krasny, Roz. “Pricier beef ‘here to stay’ as food costs seen higher: USDA.” Reuters.com. 25 Mar. 2014. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/25/us-usa-agriculture-inflation-idUSBREA2O13Q20140325). 27 Mar. 2014.

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Los Angeles Named In Top 10 Most Risky Cities List

Speaking of U.S. metropolitan areas I’d be uncomfortable living in due to some significant threat to life, limb, and property, anyone hear about that overall top 10 most risky cities list just put out by the world’s second-largest reinsurance company, Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd (Swiss Re)? Chris Michael reported on the website of The Guardian (UK) earlier today:

What are the world’s riskiest cities when it comes to natural disasters? For the insurance industry it seems an ever-more urgent question, so last year one reinsurance company set out to assess 616 cities around the world for their risk of earthquake, hurricanes and cyclones, storm surge, river flooding and tsunami. Here are Swiss Re’s overall top 10 most risky cities…

I’m not going to steal the British newspaper’s thunder here, but get a load of number 9 on Swiss Re’s list:

9) Los Angeles, United States: Its location on the San Andreas Fault makes Los Angeles one of the most earthquake-prone cities – although not as vulnerable to tsunami as might be expected. Subduction zones, where oceanic plates dive underneath the continental crust, generally create much larger tsunamis than so-called “strike-slip” faults such as the San Andreas and Northern Anatolian faults. Small comfort to the 14.7 million residents of the area threatened by earthquake…


“KTLA St Patricks Day Earthquake 3/17/2014”
YouTube Video

While an L.A. megaquake would definitely suck, I’ve been hearing more concern lately about a similar threat much further up the coast- which I’ll blog about in the coming days.

In the meantime, you can view the rest of the list here on The Guardian website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 Insurance, Natural Disasters No Comments

Al-Qaeda Magazine Lists Willis (Sears) Tower, Chicago Board Of Trade As Potential Car Bomb Targets

I spotted the following on TV the other night while watching the news on Chicago’s ABC affiliate ABC7. Investigative reporter Chuck Goudie wrote Saturday on the station’s website:

Two Chicago landmarks are called out by name as suggested car bomb targets for al Qaeda sympathizers in a newly-released Inspire magazine, the publication considered required reading for American jihadists.

“America is our first target” are the un-minced words in the Spring 2014 edition of Inspire, the first publication from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in nearly one year.

The magazine offers a detailed, illustrated recipe for constructing a car bomb “in a few hours,” securing it in a vehicle and then detonating it. “It allows Muslims to train at home instead of risking dangerous travel abroad” explains the just-posted online instruction manual that requires easily purchased components.

“This type of car bomb is not usually used to destroy buildings, but is very effective in killing individuals.”

Two Chicago buildings are listed prominently by al Qaeda as locations where car bombs could accomplish that:

1. Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower), 108-story skyscraper, it held the title tallest building in the world for about 25 years.
2. The Chicago Board of Trade Building

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

In the ABC7 I-Team report, Goudie pointed out other suggested U.S. car bomb targets included Washington, D.C, Northern Virginia, New York, and Los Angeles.

I think it’s only a matter of time before Al-Qaeda, an affiliate, or devotee(s) carries out another terrorist attack within the United States.

That being said, as long as there’s still a sizable U.S. troop presence in the Middle East, I can’t help but feel that presents a much more “attractive” target to the jihadists.

Once they come home however, I suspect we’ll see attention shift to the “homeland.”

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Goudie, Chuck. “Chicago targets in terrorist crosshairs, new al Qaeda magazine Inspire says.” ABC7. 15 Mar. 2014. (http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/iteam&id=9467587). 20 Mar. 2014.

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