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ADBC (Agriculture Development Bank of China) branch in Bei Chuan after earthquake
Following Sunday night's 6.1 earthquake in Northern California, there have been widespread reports of damage, most notably in the wine region of Napa Valley:
No one was killed in the 6.0-magnitude earthquake that jostled residents awake early Sunday.

The Queen of the Valley Medical Center said it has treated "approximately 208" patients since the earthquake struck. Of those, 17 were admitted to the hospital, and one is still in critical condition.

The majority of patients sustained injuries that were not life-threatening.

Emphasis on the no one was killed part. In early August 2014, a 6.1 earthquake in Southwestern China killed nearly 600 and injured close to 2,500 more.

Why the difference? Government regulation and stricter building codes throughout the U.S., particularly in Northern California.

From the U.S. Geological Survey:

The majority of deaths and injuries from earthquakes are caused by the damage or collapse of buildings and other structures. These losses can be reduced through documenting and understanding how structures respond to earthquakes. Gaining such knowledge requires a long-term commitment because large devastating earthquakes occur at irregular and often long intervals. Recording instruments must be in place and waiting, ready to capture the response to the next temblor whenever it occurs. The new information acquired by these instruments can then be used to better design earthquake-resistant structures. In this way, earth scientists and engineers help reduce loss of life and property in future earthquakes.
For as much as Republicans clamor for fewer regulations and less government oversight, I think we can all agree this is one area where the government absolutely does it right.

Vox put together a fantastically informative video outlining just how different the regulations affect the outcome of a major earthquake. Jump below the fold to see the video.

Originally posted to Scout Finch on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 02:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  government regulation (25+ / 0-)

    is and has been a positive force in this country.   The current attack on common sense financial and environmental regulation is costing us money, slower growth and ultimately, the ability to deal with crises in the future.

    •  "job-killing regulations" (24+ / 0-)

      usually mean that the CEO and top staff of large companies will earn less money. Regulations are about saving lives, improving living conditions, and making the work environment healthier.

      •  what is sad (22+ / 0-)

        is that most regulations ultimately don't cost the management anything.

        How many detergent manufacturers went out of business because of clean water regulations?

        Coal plants aren't closing because of clean air regulations but because a cheaper product is eating into their market.

        How many employers saved money on benefits because we don't suffer from illness caused by higher levels of pollution?  How much does the economy as a whole grow?

        It is great to promote the general welfare, it is a lie that it causes damage to the economy.

        http://switchboard.nrdc.org/...

        some figures on savings and benefits of clean water

        •  ultimately but not in the quarter (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IreGyre, Oh Mary Oh

          if you eliminate all the safety margins, you can gain 2-3%
          but risk 100%

          as long as it's bonus time, the disaster usually shows up
          on someone elses watch.

          It's rare to have a titanic but you can lose a ship
          that's getting a little older.

        •  How much money will be saved (5+ / 0-)

          by the requirements to install CFLs to replace incandescent bulbs, and to put in double paned windows? Last year, our apartment complex put in double paned windows and sliding doors in all the apartments, and not only was our heating bill less, our apartment has stayed much cooler this summer even without an air conditioner. (We mainly do what my mom used to do; open up the windows and sliding door early in the morning, then close them up when the weather starts getting warm outside, then open back up again when it's cooler at night till we go to bed.)

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 10:42:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Regulations (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snwflk, rabrock, Ojibwa

        have improved things in all fields, from living conditions and health matters to saving money because of fewer "accidents" like the explosion in West, Texas.  We have drinkable water, edible food, safer homes and schools and businesses, especially in the manufacturing field.  We have safer vehicles on the roads, and better roads to drive them on, though I realize lack of upkeep has made some of those roads not as good as they should be.
        I doubt there have been many jobs killed because of them, but I suppose it sounds good to the ears of the extreme right.

        •  No regulations (0+ / 0-)

          You have to understand something that should be obvious to everyone who works for a large corporation.

          You are not a human being, not to the 0.01%.  You are a machine that makes them even more money.  Product comes in, you or some other machine do whatessever you/it does, and it comes out the other end ready to be sold.

          If a machine breaks down and is unrepairable its replaced.  No consideration of the machine's (your) emotions or needs.  And certainly no concern for loyalty, the good of the nation, or anything else.

          Regulating industry for safety will inevitably create some limitations for the company and detract from the bottom line.  For you it may mean living to a ripe old age but to the guy who makes the decisions that is far less important than the small difference in profit.

        •  Regulations in "Liberty" (6+ / 0-)

          Once upon a time, back when I followed the libertarian publication "Liberty", there was a funny little bit included up-front from one of their regular writers.  He was talking about visiting some place relatively  undeveloped (I forget where, in Central America I think), and looking at the place through a libertarian-lens, he had been thinking things like "The people living here aren't getting a lot of help from their government in getting things done, but they get together and help each other out, and make it all work more-or-less okay--"  Then one day, he was taking happily taking a shower turned around, and realized there was a 220 Volt electrical box in the shower stall.  He called this a "ten second political conversion".

          That's a pretty funny quip, and it's to "Liberty"'s credit that they ran this bit that was contrary to their usual themes-- but if this writer ever followed up on his political conversion, I never saw the results in the pages of "Liberty", which I've always thought was the problem with the libertarian press-- you don't often catch them saying something wrong exactly, but if there's a point they don't know how to deal with in their ideological framework, you'll never hear of it.

      •  Many of the regulations (9+ / 0-)

        are actually job creating regulations; seismic retrofitting projects for historic buildings help to restore those buildings and create construction jobs, while saving the lives of those who work or live in those buildings.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 10:39:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  These regulations did kill some jobs (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko, icemilkcoffee, Calamity Jean

        At the morgue. Just think of all everyone who would love to have a job at the morgue.

        "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

        by jfern on Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 12:20:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Very good. many thanks. Will pass this on. nt (8+ / 0-)

    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

    by Bob Love on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 02:24:39 PM PDT

  •  It's not just earthquakes (13+ / 0-)

    Our government can't fund infrastructure problems anymore, because it can't do anything anymore, and as a result we will face a future full of unforced errors and self-inflicted wounds like collapsing highway overpasses. Jesus will not protect us from entropy.

    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

    by The Termite on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 02:26:26 PM PDT

  •  And most of these damaged buildings in Napa (11+ / 0-)

    will be old, pre-regulation structures build with unreinforced masonry or otherwise lacking current earthquake strapping techniques.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 02:46:18 PM PDT

  •  Uhhhh, You Can do a Fair Copy of That Video (10+ / 0-)

    pointing at lax building codes and enforcement in southern USA hurricane zones. The flattening Andrew inflicted on parts of FL was largely a manmade catastrophe.

    Also, I think it was one of 3-4 southern hurricanes responded to by GHW Bush's croney-addled FEMA within a short period of time that helped him fall to Bill Clinton, who fixed FEMA to rave reviews before the Bush family got their hands back on it again.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 02:49:03 PM PDT

    •  Bush II 'n' FEMA (0+ / 0-)

      I just watched a Greg Palast piece about Katrina.  Made in 2006 it points out that the company Innovative Emergency Management (IEM), a politically connected group of grifters, was hired to write the evacuation plan for New Orleansabout 2002 or so.  They got $500,000 for it.  It didn't include how anybody without a car would leave the city.  Result: 2k dead.

      Being "sciencey" types, Bush's FEMA wanted to know what went wrong (ie: how to cover their ass).  So they hired a company to do an analysis of what exactly went wrong and write a report.  The company they hired: IEM.

      Political corruption killed 2000 Americans and the gov't not only didn't send anyone to jail, they re-grifted and doubled down on the scam.

      https://duckduckgo.com/...

      The only reason the 1% are rich is because the 99% agree they are.

      by GreatLakeSailor on Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 09:22:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  people-killing deregulation (10+ / 0-)

    I know from personal experience: if a corner can be cut, most contractors will cut it. Profits come first.

    But when the fines for cutting are onerous enough to wipe out those profits, and the company itself maybe, then that corner had damnwell better stay uncut.

    •  As (I am) a concientious contractor (4+ / 0-)

      I take offense to your comment.A builder often has very different values than say,a corporation that places profit above all.I have often had to haggle with clients and customers who were more concerned with cost control than the quality of their own project.
      Some building inspectors are, (unfortunately) too incompetent to compete successfully in the building trades and attempt to exact a revenge on those who are by imposing redundant time consuming and expensive over building that is unjustified by the UBC.
      Luckily ,they are as much a minority as the utterly criminal cadre of contractors that avoid building ethically (and that includes building green and paying fairly for labor as well ) in order to maximize profits.

      'The tyranny of the ignoramuses is absolute and inescapable' A..Einstein

      by unfangus on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 05:12:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are to be commended (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder, Oh Mary Oh, unfangus

        I was going for a bit more tongue-in-cheek in the first 'graph then how it sounded. I think I'd have been better served by replacing "most" with "many". However "most" has been my experience, that being entirely on someone else's payroll.

        Once it was quite a bit different, but in the place I live and work now the inspectors are eagle-eyed and not to be trifled with. So my current boss is of the second sort.

        Kudos to you

      •  As someone who spent almost 40 years in the (0+ / 0-)

        industry before becoming disabled, I will admit that my usual comment about contractors pointed out that I  never saw a poor (non-rich) one.   It is true that there were a few I didn't meet.  It is nice to find out that not all were twits.

        i

        Torture is for the weak. After all, it is just extended wheedling.

        by nargel on Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 11:36:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  those pesky regulations (5+ / 0-)

    at work.  Everytime I hear a repub talk about getting rid of regulations...I ask which ones.  They can't answer.  

    Someone needs to remind Republicans that being President while black is not an impeachable offense.

    by regis on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 03:44:56 PM PDT

  •  It reminds me of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (9+ / 0-)

    How much feces is acceptable in your food? Well, it turns out not everyone can agree, so there is a regulation on point.

    I personally love regulations, especially of consumer safety, effluents, electrical products, airlines, autos, scaffolding, and so on.

    Regulations: The life they save might be your own...

    •  I have a libertarian friend (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, divineorder, Oh Mary Oh

      He argues, in all seriousness, that we should eliminate the regulations on mouse turds in grain.  The Market will allow people to balance cost versus turd content, based on labeling and their personal preferences.

      Like you, I strenuously disagree with this approach.

      Vai o tatu-bola escamoso encontrar-me onde estou escondendo? Lembro-me do caminho de ouro, uma pinga de mel, meu amado Parati (-8.75,-8.36)

      by tarkangi on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 04:43:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absent regulation, how do we know? (6+ / 0-)

        They aren't going to voluntarily label the product. The Market would require my knowing that this loaf of bread is made with wheat having a .01 level of mouse turds and that loaf is made with wheat having a .008 level of mouse turds. Or maybe we are each to independently contract with a lab to determine the quantity of mouse turds in our preferred brands?

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 05:14:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Feces content would become a mark of pride (5+ / 0-)

          I can see it now:

          LOWEST TURD COUNT OF ANY MAJOR CEREAL!

          wins CLIO for most creative slogan.

          Vai o tatu-bola escamoso encontrar-me onde estou escondendo? Lembro-me do caminho de ouro, uma pinga de mel, meu amado Parati (-8.75,-8.36)

          by tarkangi on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 06:13:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Competing regulators! (6+ / 0-)

          No, honest:  I read a most entertaining discussion thread initiated by someone who apparently genuinely thought that eliminating government regulatory agencies would trigger the spontaneous generation of competing, private regulatory agencies.  He argued, in all seriousness, that "{If} private regulators had to compete on the open market for a contract with distributors and stores, they would be forced by competition to do as good a job as they could. Otherwise they will have no reputation, and no business."

          He never did respond to the following imagined dialogue:

          "Hi there, this is CleanBillOfHealth Private Regulators. You're due an audit. We are one of several regulators operating in this area and we hope you choose us to publicly verify that your company is well run"

          "OK I'm sure we can negotiate terms. Make it a good one and there'll be a tip in it for you. AOKNothingToSeeHere FirmCheck also offered us a review and some of the examples in their portfolio are stunning. They're attractively priced too. What can you do for us?"

          (http://forums.randi.org/... , and I warn you, the thread is sixty-eight pages long)

      •  Without regulations (5+ / 0-)

        Moose turds could be labeled "wheat berries."  As for private enforcement via the courts, the Republicans have a policy for that.  It's called "tort reform."  Tort reform means, like every other Republican policy, "Scr3w the little guy."

        Warren/Grayson 2016! Yes We Can!

        by BenFranklin99 on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 02:16:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What labeling? Voluntary labeling? Your friend (4+ / 0-)

        is a fool, but he's(she's?) welcome to be the first into that pool.  Like the anti-abortioners who never jump to support birthed children--far from, in fact--I'll bet.  Your friend should remember that labeling was forced on producers by legislation, many fought hard against.

        I would love to see people generally have to live with their fantasies, but the less is more crowd already is and won't acknowledge it, or the consequences.  I know someone whose mantra is lower taxes, less regulation:  we're there, already, what are you complaining about?

        If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu.

        by CarolinNJ on Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 09:42:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Enjoy your rat-feces-and-human-thumb sausage. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        Enjoy your rat-feces-and-human-thumb sausage.

    •  Taking the Jungle out of Petaluma (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko, Calamity Jean

      Petaluma Slaughterhouse Co-Owner Pleads Guilty In Scheme Processing Diseased Cows

      According to the indictment, Amaral is accused of instructing the two managers to slaughter cows with eye cancer when USDA inspectors were on their lunch breaks. The managers allegedly told to swap the diseased cows’ heads with healthy ones and received kickbacks for going along with the scheme.

      The feds say Rancho sold bad meat from nearly 200 cows. Nine million pounds of beef were affected in the recall, which included Hot Pockets and premium grass-fed beef.

      The on-site USDA inspectors have not been blamed for any of this.

      This is now. Common sense tells me more inspectors are needed, not fewer. Can't even take a break, sheesh.
  •  Regulations are a curse to the greedy. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Maggiemad, debocracy

    Anything that bars them from selling faulty or deadly products or services does not improve their bottom line.

    No country can be both ignorant and free - Thomas Jefferson

    by fjb on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 11:49:48 AM PDT

  •  pesky liberals (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Maggiemad

    Somehow I imagine the tea-bags would claim that it is CA's immoral recklessness that brought on gawd's wrath in the form of the earthquake.
    So the pesky top-heavy "liberal" establishment created the very situation that justified the high taxes they force onto poor, unsuspecting gawd-fearing Xtians.

    Their circular justification for their dishonest take on the government has no limit.

  •  I hate to be a devil's advocate here, (0+ / 0-)

    but comparing Yunnan Province and Napa is a bit disingenuous.  The population of Yunnan Province (46.31 million as of 2011) is 593 times the size of the population of Napa (78 thousand).  Meaning, that if only one person died in Napa (one person is still in critical condition), then statistically speaking, the death rate is almost the same, with 619 people dead in China.  Not that you can do a statistical comparison when in one city the total is +/- 1.

    As for the homes destroyed, and what it means about lax building codes, that is absolutely spot on.  Using those same numbers indicates that homes in China were destroyed at ten times the rate that they were in Napa, which is completely unacceptable.  We have the ability to build earthquake-safe buildings.  It is a shame that so many countries have picked out the very worst aspects of capitalism and have run amok.  The only thing that can fix this is the type of regulation that stopped this kind of thing from happening here (i.e. Triangle factory fire) and punishment for people who bribe inspectors and for inspectors who take bribes.  

    To paraphrase Tony Robbins, if they want things to get better, they have to make it more painful for people to continue the way they are (taking bribes, etc.) than to change.

    •  comparing yunnan to napa is a mistake (4+ / 0-)

      ludian county, where the epicenter was, is 1,519 square kilometers in area, with 370,000 people

      napa county, is 2,041 square kilometers, and has 139,000 people.

      both have a few cities and a lot of rural population. while ludian has more people because of china's greater population density, it's not entirely apples and oranges, really.

      china has the capacity to build earthquake safe homes, even out in ludian county. they build tons of modern structures, and have lots of top-rate architects and engineers. what it lacks, and what napa has, is relatively incorrupt enforcement of building code. this is not lost on the chinese population, by the way, who expect more from their government than they get. people get really pissed that local officials approve crappy construction for kickbacks, it's a major political issue every time an earthquake knocks down a bunch of substandard housing. these aren't mud huts out there, they're modern concrete apartment blocks.

      •  oops, replied to the wrong post (0+ / 0-)

        this was meant to reply to flatmotor.

      •  Yes but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming

        Read my comment down thread.

        This is a particularly unfortunate comparison based on (a) geology of the terrain and (b) the weather conditions that preceded this particular earthquake, which included torrential rain for days, ground saturation, flooding and landslides.

        And then the earthquake happened.

        No doubt Napa residents have better homes, but whoever made that video fit available footage to a preconceived narrative not the other way around.

        We could also compare Napa to Port au Prince to make an even more dramatic contrast, but is that necessary to make the argument for sensible regulations?

        Another thing these villagers lack is money. Even the crappy local officials (well maybe not all are so crappy, and it's pretty hard to find great ones to take those rural jobs) are poor.

        •  this is all true (0+ / 0-)

          but lax building code is a major contributor as well. every time there's an earthquake, buildings that should be able to take the shaking come down because of "tofu construction."

          china, even out in yunnan, isn't analogous to port-au-prince. granted, ludian isn't napa either, but the technological ability WRT architecture is more similar between california and china than between china and haiti. china is, technologically speaking, a developed country, even if in other areas it still has far to go.

          and as the diary rightfully points out, america in many ways is headed towards resembling more of a developing country than a developed one, and the GOP war against regulation and enforcement plays a significant role in that.

    •  Yunnan is also a much larger area than the city... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming

      Yunnan is also a much larger area than the city of Napa. Most of the province would be completely unaffected by an earthquake. If you just compare the areas that felt the quakes, the population ratio is closer to 2:1.

  •  What's the point of this conversation? (0+ / 0-)

    Napa and urban China are vastly different from each other in almost any way I can imagine. Comparing the two is a real apples/oranges case.
    Building codes and code enforcement are a good thing. You need a mature society with a well honed rule of law to make building codes work. Napa has that. China doesn't. What do you expect of a nation that has completely changed their government every 50-100 years in the time since we formed the USA?
    The other thing is that we build most of our homes out of wood. A single story wood house without a masonry chimney or tall bookshelves is the safest place you can be in an earthquake. Even 3-4 story apartments hold up pretty well. (I know that from personal experience)
    In most of the world homes are built of stones piled on top of each other or concrete with no one counting the number of expensive rebars or cement content of the concrete. Earthquakes happen, lots die.
    As for Napa, CA. The one really serious injury was a healthy teenager who was participating in a group sleep over in a single family home. He had the bad luck to be just waking up from his sleeping place next to the fireplace when the collapsing masonry literally fell on him. The doctors took 10 hours putting his hip bones back together. He'll spend the next 6 months in a wheel chair; but will recover. There were also several non-fatal cardio-vascular emergencies admitted to the local hospital (Which really had its act together for handling disasters)
    4 homes were destroyed in Napa. One knocked off it's foundation ($300 worth of Simpson strong ties would have prevented that). Another burned down likely due to a natural gas line being broken. (special earthquake shutoff valves are readily available in California - Maybe $500 at the most to install one).
    I don't know if any of the drown the government in a bathtub types will read this. Probably wouldn't matter. They tend to be pretty low on the intelligence/common sense scale.
    Flatmotor

  •  This sort of thing is what frightens me most (0+ / 0-)

    about the whole anti-regulation, anti-government crowd. We need regulations like these, like food safety, like drug safety; and we need government, to fix our roads, bridges, rail and public transportation infrastructure that needs repair (desperately).

    What are we supposed to do without it? Pass a hat to fix our local bridges? Boycott builders, when a building they make with more sand than concrete collapses, 20 years after they build it (if we're lucky enough to go that long without a quake)?

    Dumb. It's just. So. Dumb.

  •  I agree but... (0+ / 0-)

    .. when you compare numbers, you can't ignore the area of the quake and you need to compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges.

    A quake isn't solely based on the Richter scale!!  You're square footage of the affected area makes an enormous difference when talking about how many homes were destroyed and so on.

    This video is at least 50% disingenuous.

    You could have two cars that were both traveling at 40 miles per hour that where both hit an identical brick wall.  They would have enormous differences in damage if one was a smart car and the other was a tractor trailer.  See what I mean?

    You also have the landscape, building density, and so on, which drastically affects the numbers discussed here, and why they are different.

    Meh... this site can do better than this.

  •  But, the market!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MrJersey, mightymouse, eyo, Calamity Jean
    For as much as Republicans clamor for fewer regulations and less government oversight, I think we can all agree this is one area where the government absolutely does it right.
    But the market would have taken care of it.  The earthquakes would have killed off anyone stupid enough to live in that area, and no one else would have moved there.  Just like Pompeii.  No one lives around Vesuvius any more.

    "Moon landing was real. Evolution exists. Tax cuts lose revenue. The research has shown this a thousand times. Enough already." - Austan Goolsbee

    by anonevent on Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 08:16:49 PM PDT

    •  Yet in Oklahoma, when confronted with a bill to (6+ / 0-)

      require tornado storm sheltering "safe rooms" to be built in all newly constructed houses, it was rejected by the legislature whose representatives said that they would feel better with a "free market" approach to the problem.  This is the Republican  lack of thinking in "tornado alley."

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 10:20:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Building codes have a huge impact--look at Japan (6+ / 0-)

    The 2011 Tohoku quake, which came in at 9.0, is thought to have caused 20,000 deaths. However, upwards of 90% of those deaths were due to the tsunami.

    A relatively small number died directly as a result of the earthquake--remarkable considering its strength. That was almost entirely due to very strict building regulations implemented following the 1995 Kobe earthquake.

    And for further perspective, 100,000 Haitians died in a 7.0 earthquake the year before.

    GOP stands for Grand Old Problem.

    by LennyLiberal on Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 08:22:06 PM PDT

  •  What could also really save lives is an (6+ / 0-)

    earthquake warning system like exists in Japan. Sensors all over the country detect the first signs of an earthquake and immediately sound a loud alarm that gives people something like a minute of warning time of an impending earthquake. There have been some small trials of it in California but it requires a large government commitment to fund the system statewide and the GOP is obviously against that.

    •  For an earthquake like this, (0+ / 0-)

      the damage was all quite close to the epicenter, so you wouldn't get much if any warning time.

      The warning system is more useful for ~7+ that we're expecting, where there is damage far enough from the center for those signals to get ahead of the shaking.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 01:39:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  CA quake (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko

    Someone commented in the Fresno Bee that it is so refreshing that there was no looting by young people in Napa after the guake unlike Ferguson, MO after the killing of Michael Brown.

  •  Chinese Regulations (0+ / 0-)

    Are exactly what their Gvt wants them to be. They see their populace as excess people, and actively support corruption in their building trades, such that even when they say they want safe buildings, they really don't. (And certainly don't get them after all the layers and layers of skimming that goes on there.)

    They prefer that only Gvt buildings survive earthquakes, and regard the loss of other lives as beneficial to their population problem.

    Somewhere a bureaucrat is smiling while counting the savings from all the people that don't need to be fed or housed, savings that end up in his own pocket. Not to mention all the donations (all in cash) that roll in whenever such disasters occur. When people object to donating (because they know that it just goes to the corrupt officials) their paychecks are garnished. Bags full of untraceable cash is too tempting for even the honest ones to resist...

    Reducing Oil Imports One Volt at a time. Now with extra Spark!

    by Volt3930 on Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 10:47:16 PM PDT

    •  it's not sinister like that (2+ / 0-)

      government buildings go down in these quakes too. it's corrupt incompetence, not some sinister attempt to cull the population through building code.

    •  Oh, stuff it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming

      Your comment is misinformed, bigoted and creepy.

      WTF? :

      They see their populace as excess people, and actively support corruption in their building trades, such that even when they say they want safe buildings, they really don't. (And certainly don't get them after all the layers and layers of skimming that goes on there.)

      They prefer that only Gvt buildings survive earthquakes, and regard the loss of other lives as beneficial to their population problem.

      That is one twisted wet dream fantasy. Seek help.
  •  not just regulations and building code (9+ / 0-)

    but an effective and non-corrupt enforcement of said code. in the 7.6 9/21/1999 quake in taiwan, i could literally see the boundary between the city of taichung and the county of taichung, by looking at the state of the high rise apartments. all the ones in the county, where construction was run by organized crime and county officials looked the other way with flamboyant violations of code (using cheap but salty and corrosive beach sand in the concrete, newspapers tossed into structural pillar concrete to save money, bodies buried in building foundations, etc), has either collapsed or else lost a story by falling into the underground parking lot. in the city, things were beat up with cracks and missing tiles, but far fewer collapsed buildings.

    suffice to say, building code enforcement in china, especially out in the sticks, is suboptimal.

    •  I was in an illegal fifth floor apartment in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko, Calamity Jean

      Taipei once and felt the place shake. I was terrified knowing that 35 years ago when the building was made things were probably even more corrupt than now.  

      I lived in Yunnan also and don't even know if they have building code outside of Kunming, or even there.

      “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

      by ban nock on Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 04:16:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  from what i saw in '99 (0+ / 0-)

        and from what people there told me, the old buildings were built far more sturdily, and the code enforced more consistently, 35 years ago than in the past few decades. democratization was good for taiwan in many ways, but it didn't appear to help with good building code in places like taichung county. huge building booms also tend to correlate with lax enforcement, in many countries.

  •  The better comparison is Indonesia vs China (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    Does Indonesia more reliably enforce building codes than China to explain the difference in deaths per earthquake? Why does Japan, which has a stringent building code and a more influential culture of obedience to authority, have a higher death rate per quake than the US?

  •  There was a great video up (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eyo, Calamity Jean, cocinero, elfling

    sorry, can't now locate it --- CNN or NBC -- of a small business owner (Asian female, optician I think) in Napa saying when she moved into her building, the inspector strongly recommended that she anchor it and reinforce it and whatever anti-earthquake measures -- and she did, and as a result had very little damage.

    This is that "job-killing regulation that burdens small businesses."

    There have been many articles on "why didn't people buy expensive earthquake insurance?" but frankly the money would be better spent reinforcing buildings than paying for insurance to cover repairs after a catastrophe.

  •  The D-Regulators (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    birdboy2000, cocinero

    Koch libertarian bercher  platform 1980

    "We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission."
    "We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs."
    "We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services."
    "We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry."
    "We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary."
    "We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service. The present system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages governmental surveillance of private correspondence. Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service."
    "We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes."
    "We support the eventual repeal of all taxation."
    "As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately."
    "We support repeal of all law which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws."
    "We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended."

    Inquiry is how we get a grip on life

    by 2curious on Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 06:59:49 AM PDT

  •  Good topic but terrible & misleading illustration (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming

    It's unfortunate you took the conclusions of the Vox article and video at face value since it was not fantastically informative but actually fantastically misleading, simple-minded and unscientific.

    Certainly building codes in earthquake prone areas can be decisive in saving lives and certainly the middle class and wealthy people who live the rolling hills of Napa Valley live in better homes than the poor farmers living in the mountain terrain of Ludian County, Yunnan Province, China.

    But this casual comparison is wrong for more reasons than I need to elaborate because two of the more obvious oversights make the case:

    - A simple comparison of intensity scale indexes tells nothing of a myriad of complex geological factors that determine outcomes to an extent that makes such comparisons virtually useless. In almost any major quake examples can be found of well built structure in close proximity that suffer vastly different damage because of geological factors. And in this case, these are quite significant given the general terrain of the villages near the epicenter.

    - In the case of this quake, which was in a quake prone, mountainous part of South Western China, the quake was preceded by several days of torrential rains that saturated the ground and flooded the area; consequentially, when the quake struck, it caused massive landslides which buried hundreds of homes and thwarted rescues since responders had to literally hike and climb in to reach victims during continued torrential rains as roads were impassable and weather conditions unsuitable for helicopter transport (one was lost trying).

    No doubt better built houses would have saved some people, but I think the assumptions that (a) all of the buildings were poor and this was the basic problem, and (b) that the basic difference in outcomes between these two quakes was building codes, are both wrong.

    Please try a little harder next time.

    The case for sensible regulation and improving infrastructure can be made with better illustrations and closer to home.

    I realize CHINA is a useful symbol to construct tautological arguments, but maybe not the best one in this case.

    I've actually been to both of these regions and suggest a hike up to these mountain villages in Yunnan might change your perspective a bit, it contrasts Napa in ways you might not imagine, and without contradicting your basic thesis that strong building codes are a good thing, anywhere.

  •  Alas, most 'Pubs rant about "intrusive" regulation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero

    and "excessive" regulation... which give them a disclaimer to say "Well, of course we support things like building codes".

    ... except when the issue is building wheelchair ramps for the disabled, retrofitting old structures to stay up in earthquakes, requiring new landscaping to conserve water, or anything else that - y'know - costs money.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 09:23:54 AM PDT

  •  Not just regulation; education too. (0+ / 0-)

    That's also a government function. In addition to construction and retrofitting of structures, there is a lot that people can do inside homes and buildings to make them safer and reduce damage. People can get killed or injured if a tall shelf full of heavy stuff falls over on them.

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