Friday, July 6, 2012

The heat wave in the US and the decay of infrastructure

World Socialist Website: A devastating heat wave has hit much of the eastern United States. Violent storms have combined with record high temperatures to cause the deaths of at least 23 people, and likely many more. A week after the storms, hundreds of thousands of people remain without power.

Storms late last week knocked out power for a total of 4.3 million people in Washington, DC, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. Temperatures are expected to hover around 100 degrees (37.7 Celsius) in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states over the next few days.

Unable to find municipal emergency cooling centers, or reach cooler wooded areas as a retreat, millions of elderly people, workers and their families have resorted to sheltering in air-conditioned grocery stores, restaurants and strip malls.

Coming on the heels of the Colorado fires, extraordinary heat points to the consequences of climate change and global warming. Scientists are issuing increasingly dire warnings yet President Obama, completely subservient to Corporate America, has done even less about it than his Republican predecessor. On an international scale, the major powers can come to no agreement because they all defend the corporate interests in their own countries.

As always, the extreme weather serves to expose the decrepit state of social infrastructure and gapping social inequality in the United States. This is a country that expends $1.5 trillion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone, and trillions to bail out the Wall Street banks. Yet, when it comes to the most basic requirements of modern life, the American ruling class insists there is “no money.”...

As of 2008, what is left of the Beerline B railroad spur, which once provided service to Pabst, Blatz, and Schlitz breweries just south of the Beerline B neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Shot by compujeramey, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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