Flood Damage

I got an email from a friend last night. He said that his friend was flooded in Texas and had lost many family mementos and valuable items.

Obviously this is a terrible thing to have to go through.

We went through it during Hurricane Sandy when the Hudson came over its banks and flooded our building’s basement and first floor.

All of our building systems were destroyed and all of the families had to vacate our building for what turned out to be almost four months.

We also lost everything in our storage unit in our basement, including many family mementos and valuable items.

We fought with the insurance companies for almost a year and recouped maybe 50 cents on the dollar.

The mementos were and are irreplaceable. Gone forever.

But as I am typing this, I must say that although it was a terrible experience for us, nobody in our family was hurt and we have fullly recovered from it

Thankfully we have the means to absorb the financial losses and I realize that many people don’t.

We should have better federal flood insurance for this reason. The federal flood insurance system doesn’t cover many things that it should and sadly many people in Texas will suffer significant financial losses that they will not be able to fully recover from their insurers.

At this time, it seems that the death toll for Harvey will be in the range of Sandy, which took 117 lives, mostly in NY and NJ.

To lose so few when so many are impacted is a testament to the outpouring of assistance that we saw in both Sandy and Harvey. There are many heroes in both of these disaster stories.

So first and foremost, we should all be thankful that so many were saved from harm. And we should seek out ways to help those who don’t have the means to sustain the financial losses they have taken. That is where I want to focus our support right now.

Floods are terrible. But once the waters recede and recovery begins, many will recover quickly, as we did, and move on. Some will struggle. They will need our help and hopefully we can all come together to provide that.

#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Good one Fred and while I have never experienced anything other than an evacuation twice here in NY, I do indeed feel fortunate.And know that community is the key to everything.And that unfortunately after politicizing the support funding post Sandy by major Republicans, this is going to get ugly when we need just the opposite.

    1. PhilipSugar

      I think you underestimate Texans. They won’t tolerate that crap.I used to and wanted to like Chris Christie. From Delaware, willing to say Government Budgets were screwed up, willing to take on Government Employees.But he turned out to be an ass.

      1. awaldstein

        I have a bunch of friends in Texas and back when acquired a company in Plano and managed it.A New Yorker with a lot of respect.I hope you are correct.

      2. LE

        I used to and wanted to like Chris Christie.A dick. For lack of a better way to put it (and with apologies in advance) what type of personality becomes a prosecutor? I am not as you know all liberal touchy feely. However you kind of have to be a bit heartless to do some of the things that people do in that end of law enforcement. I mean type of personality that can be a hard ass 24/7. And I also think that Christie, by virtue of years of his physical appearance (obese) ,[1] certainly is going to have a kind of mean streak in him as a result of what must be years of emotional abuse by people making fun of him. Hard to explain, but that is how I size someone like him up.[1] And by the way it doesn’t matter if it’s the result of a physical condition (I don’t know even if it is) but the resulting abuse is all the same.

        1. PhilipSugar

          The guy wasted literally lifetimes of peoples time with the GW Bridge Closure. Lifetimes. And they say some lives.Then he plays the politics game during Sandy.Then he gets a private jet ride to Dallas Cowboys games and is hugging Jerry Jones in in box? Does it twice? I am a lifelong Dallas fan. Governor of NJ? Jets, Giants, or Eagles? Ok. That is just a giant FU to the voters, plus you should not take a private jet ride.Three strikes? Out.

          1. LE

            That is often my point tough with both kids and people. If you are already telling them they suck they have little reason to not piss you off further because you have already told them they can’t and will never win and have your approval. And you know Christie (by my ‘fat’ theory) has already built up a thick skin as well. This is what is happening also with how Trump acts often. He understands he won’t ever please people so he might as well do as he pleases.The headlne with his visit to the flood area? A picture about Melanie wearing heels. It’s so ‘and all the press had to say was that Marilyn was found in the nude’ esq.The first lady’s baffling choice of footwear lit up the Twitterverse — and her critics included one of the top law enforcement officials in the country.“Those high heels are really practical for today,” Los Angeles Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff wrote on Twitter.Critics had a field day with her attire.“She does know she’s going to a natural disaster, right? Not sure 4 inch heels is the most appropriate footwear,” tweeted Jaime Primak…. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          2. JLM

            .OK, so you’re surprised that FLOTUS ended up in black jeans, a white shirt, a FLOTUS cap, and sneakers?https://www.usatoday.com/st…Why?She’s a freakin’ supermodel, right?Little minds. I may have to block you. My life is so great now that I’ve been blocking cupcakes and snowflakes.Be better than this.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. LE

            Be better than this.A? Perhaps you re-read my comment and then will see that I was criticizing the press/media and not the first lady.The hint was:It’s so ‘and all the press had to say was that Marilyn was found in the nude’ esq.The lyrics from Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind”. Essentially that when she died the headlines were about that she was nude being more important than anything else.

          4. JLM

            .@le_on_avc:disqusI was screwing with you, man.My life is so great now that I’ve been blocking people I don’t agree with and can’t win an argument with. But, I’m not a cupcake or a snowflake.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          5. LE

            I’m glad to hear that because quite frankly I was worried that you had a condition that caused you to not read as carefully as you normally would.Sarcasm: My second wife (not a super model but makes good money and is a doctor and is way younger than me) banned sarcasm from the day we met. I used to be sarcastic all the time. So that is something I gave up. But not much more. She does my wash and makes my dinner and it was her idea.You know it’s funny though (talking about ‘blocking people’ how that differs with how I was raised). I was brought up to battle to the end and not bail. As a result I can typically (in business) win in many situations where others bail because it’s all a game to me and that is the way it was in our house with my dad. Defend it like a lawyer don’t throw a fit and scream, yell and give up. If you have a brain don’t resort to brute force or anger.

          6. JamesHRH

            I was raised that way too.However, the people referred to are commenting on how wonderful their online life is, with the express purpose of making sure that the people they have blocked see the comments.Its junior high 101.Sad deal.And, of course, they don’t apply their rules for your conduct, to their conduct.

          7. LE

            I guess someone could simply make up a new account either to reply to the person and/or make new comments. But remember what happened to all the people in high school they don’t matter anymore. Way back the going thought was they would end up working in a shoe store.

          8. JamesHRH

            now they are in media or cold pressed juices.

      3. JamesHRH

        I can report from the ground that Mayor Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett are not the politicizing types.Get it done.Judge Emmett told people – if you have a boat, go to where you are needed and find someone in charge – no permit, paperwork nothing.Mayor Taylor when asked about funding for services for shelters – we will meet their needs and figure that stuff out later.Need to ship these dudes out east sometime.

    2. Anne Libby

      Same on the evacuations. I’ll never ride out another storm that I know is coming, and have the power to “self-evacuate” for.That said, I am heartbroken by the recriminations at this point — from people who aren’t eve there — about whether people “should” have evacuated.There will be time later for people to look at this. The only thing it does now is to stir people up.

      1. JamesHRH

        This is an impractical and close to immoral stance.How would 8M metro Houstonians, of which I am now 1, do that on Thursday & Friday of last week?Personal inconvenience is part of living in a metropolitan area, during good times and bad.

        1. LE

          Personal inconvenience if part of living in a metropolitan area, during good times and bad.It is definitely a risk that people take. Would not want to be in Manhattan during any disaster.

          1. Anne Libby

            Exactly. I’ve done it several times.

          2. LE

            You know a great deal of this comes down to people who are adverse to risk (and suffer or lose upside as a result) and people who aren’t (and then impose suffering or downside on others when they are in a jam).If you remember the scene in the Deer Hunter when they went hunting and the DeNiro character wouldn’t lend boots to the John Cazale character saying ‘no more I’ve told you this before next time bring your own boots’. (Or something like that). One thing I hate is having to clean up the mess for people who take risks and get to enjoy when I make the decision not to. It’s like they want the upside and none of the downside. Not saying that we all don’t have a version of this btw.

          3. Anne Libby

            I’ve never seen the Deer Hunter, kind of a gap in my film experiences. (Lol, I just saw the Godfather for the first time earlier this summer — it was on the big screen, I was glad to fill in that gap.)

          4. LE

            My wife hadn’t seen Godfather or Deer Hunter either. I explained to her that it was foundational and helped with appreciation of other films. You need to see it multiple times though one time it’s like eating olives or anchovies an acquired taste.

          5. Anne Libby

            I was visiting family in the suburbs and we went to see a special TCM presentation of the Godfather. I can definitely see watching it again, and I’m so glad to have seen it on the big screen. For now, I’m just glad to get it when someone compares someone to Fredo, lol.For film fans, Casablanca is coming up in this series in November. (And ET next month.)https://www.fathomevents.co….

        2. Anne Libby

          I’m sorry for what you’re going through, and also my family in Houston, and all of your neighbors.That said, not sure why you think you’re someone who can chastise me. You have no idea of who you’re talking at, or the experiences she’s had. So, check yourself.

          1. awaldstein

            Life online is much more productive now that I’ve used Disqus to remove those who don’t add value to my day.http://arnoldwaldstein.com/

          2. Anne Libby

            Great idea, thank you. I didn’t know that this was possible. Done.

          3. awaldstein

            On days where there is any way to squeeze in a political lecture, 1-2 of the commenter are responsible on an avg of 25% of the comments and over 40% of the words.This is like a sunny day with this feature. I spend more time here now and learn more.Or everywhere I am on a raining day, someone is selling an umbrella.

          4. Anne Libby

            Yes! I was just chatting with another friend from here. We were talking about those days — when we usually take a look at the board, see a few people dominating, and decide to leave.Sunny day indeed.

          5. JamesHRH

            I am merely challenging your view. Your interpretation of my action shapes your reality. Typically, when I chastise people, there isn’t much doubt and its completely deserved.You seem to be unaware that 100’s of people died in SE Texas during Ike, when a selected evacuation order was issued and over 2.5M people who hold your view of emergencies in metro areas – do what is best for me and fuck the rest of you clowns – decided to leave when they did not need to do so.Over 100 people died of heat exhaustion on the interstate system that was completely gridlocked. Unnecessarily. Your view is impractical based on this evidence alone.I am not sure what your view of immoral is, but i think knowingly taking care of yourself while causing harm to others usually qualifies. Therefore, your view is borderline immoral.Mayor Turner made the right call here to ask citizens to stay put. Its worked out as poorly as possible and we are still suffering very few injuries and fatalities. Meanwhile, people who actually act on their community instincts rather than congratulate themselves for thinking they are community minded, have saved countless people from unexpected and unforeseen danger.So, the obvious question for you is: if I have no right to chastise you – even though I did not but you feel I did – how do you justify telling me to check myself?Get back to me when you have an answer for that which doesn’t end with ‘ because I am superior to you / more important than you and the logic I use to keep you in your place doesn’t apply to my behaviour. ‘As we say in Canada, there is nothing more embarrassing than to be the kid who loses at hockey and then declares ‘ I am taking my puck and going home. ‘

  2. PhilipSugar

    It is terribleA small suggestion.I had a friend who lost absolutely every possession in a fire. His house burned to the ground as the hydrant was stuck. He also was lucky as everybody was safe including a special needs person. He was at an Eagles game, it was Christmas time, and all I will say is candles are bad.After things had gotten back to semi normal he held a party. On the invite he specifically said he did not want any gifts. But what he did want was any pictures or mementos that you had of him or his family.

    1. Karen Cahn

      what a great idea. thank you for sharing

    2. Anne Libby

      Candles are bad. A firefighter once told me that “civilians should never have candles.” If just one person sees this…

      1. PhilipSugar

        I have outlawed them in my house. The little LED’s are great.My wife accidentally left one that was in glass lit after a party. Around 3am the glass shattered wax spilled out and it lit the kitchen window on fire. I was lucky my SIL heard the window glass break and thought somebody was breaking into the house, I put it out.In his case his wife was wrapping gifts in the kitchen lit one on fire didn’t realize it and went to put it under the tree. Set that on fire. Panicked and went to throw it out outside, lit the curtains on fire.

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Daughter of a firefighter here. Dad would agree.

    3. JamesHRH

      Air National Guard and Coast Guard helicopters still flying over my house, taking people from the I10 @ Dairy Ashford (near the Addicks and Barker reservoirs). That is a nice part of town, built inside a flood plain with massive tolerances.Every quadrant of the city has a story like that – Columbia Lakes in SW, Baytown in SW, Kingswood in NE & Eldrigde in NW.On local ABC affiliate, young clean cut well spoken couple that was out all day doing water rescues was interviewed because they live in that Addicks / Barker area and their apartment was going to get flooded.’Its just material things that we can replace’, she says.He adds ‘A buddy did help me get in to our place. Got the wedding dress and the guns, you know, the important stuff. ‘I’d take one of each of them for every 1000 cold pressed juice squeezing, offence taking jack asses that think of themselves at all times.Boggles my mind that people can so blithely say “I got me, fuck you.”Trump’s re-election looks like a lock.

  3. William Mougayar

    Indeed, natural disasters (and wars) are terrible events that can swoop unexpected damages of people’s lives and fortunes.I wonder if one day we’ll be able to prevent hurricanes with technology and know-how, like nuking them before they land or something like that. Concurrently, reducing greenhouse gas emissions would be another contributor to erratic weather. I am scared thinking what will continue to happen if global warming continues and more of the North Pole continues to melt away. It has been predicted that water will rise everywhere and it might be disastrous for many cities.

    1. awaldstein

      Both thoughts were on my mind early this morning in the gym.I live in the flood zone in NY.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      Super good news: Relax. A little. There are still other things to worry about.But for:> Concurrently, reducing greenhouse gas emissions would be another contributor to erratic weather.Relax. Not a chance. There is zip, zilch, zero, nichts, nil, nada meaningful evidence that greenhouse gasses that humans could throttle have anything at all to do with the weather. It would be as accurate to blame the weather on the bow and arrow.To throttle greenhouse gasses to reduce global warming is much like the Mayans who killed people to pour their blood on a rock to keep the sun moving across the sky.> I am scared thinking what will continue to happen if global warming continues and more of the North Pole continues to melt away.Again, relax. There is no significant “global warming”. E.g., temperatures were higher during the Medieval Warm Period when they were growing grapes in England.Recently, for the past 20 years, there has been essentially no change in global temperatures at all.Also, from 1940 to 1970, while greenhouse gas concentrations were increasing, we had some global cooling.And if more CO2 is a cause of global warming, then less CO2 should be a cause of global cooling. The 800,000 year ice core record shows lots of changes in temperature and CO2 concentrations but (A) not even once was significant cooling closely preceded by significantly lower CO2 concentrations and (B) not even once was significant warming closely preceded by significantly higher CO2 concentrations.Indeed, about 800 years after some significant warming, from the additional biological activity from the warming CO2 concentrations increased but did not stop the next cooling.Clearly there are causes of the temperature changes, but CO2 concentrations is not one of those causes.Yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Sorry Tom Friedman of the formerly revered, highly self-esteemed NYT: CO2 does not absorb sunlight. If CO2 absorbed sunlight, then we would be able to see CO2 when we exhale. Nope: CO2 does not absorb visible light.CO2 does absorb infrared light in three narrow frequency bands one for each of bending, stretching, and twisting of the molecule. Then CO2 is able to absorb infrared from Planck black body radiation from the surface of the earth warmed by sunlight. But all evidence is that realistic variations in CO2 concentrations have nothing at all significant to do with global temperatures — the effect just is not big enough. E.g., water vapor is a much more important greenhouse gas.Also there’s no evidence that the ice in the Arctic is any different than it long has been. Sure, about this time of the year, a lot of the ice in the Arctic Ocean melts and, due to winds and currents, moves around, piling up against Russia, Alaska, Canada, etc. unpredictably year by year.People concerned about melting of the Arctic might head up there now, stay for six months collecting data, e.g., on all the balmy tropic breezes, and return with their data in the spring. Uh, don’t pay any attention to those skeptics claims that you might encounter temperatures of -60 F and winds of 50+ MPH.Uh, for the polar bears, apparently they did fine through the Medieval Warm Period.Athttp://www.breitbart.com/bi…is in partWe know that the annual cost of the global warming industry is — at a conservative estimate — $1.5 trillion.So, to explain the fears about global warming from human activities, e.g., as long has been in the NYT, just use the old advice “follow the money”.Money? Okay, there is Elon Musk with about $5 billion in government subsidies. Details inhttp://dailysignal.com/2016…To fit in socially in Manhattan, sure, scream about greenhouse gasses from human activities. Ban the bow and arrow. Pour blood on a rock. Burn money. Agree with the NYT and fit in with others who do. Be popular in Manhattan! Do anything about hurricanes? Nope.But, since Saint Laureate Al Guru’s latest nonsense movie is a big box office flop, worrying about CO2 will likely soon be yesterday’s social in-group fad, even in Manhattan.Uh, about that blood, athttp://books.google.com/boo…from page 76 ofSusan Milbrath, ‘Star Gods of the Maya: Astronomy in Art, Folklore, and Calendars (The Linda Schele Series in Maya and Pre-Columbian Studies)’, ISBN-13 978-0292752269, University of Texas Press, 2000. is in partIndeed, blood sacrifice is required for the sun to move, according to Aztec cosmology (Durian 1971:179; Sahaguin 1950 – 1982, 7:8).

      1. William Mougayar

        So you don’t believe that the ozone is getting damaged in irreversible ways and that this damage is having consequences on earth? Wow, some kind of denial of factual reality.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          So, now we are out in the ozone?I remember the ozone stuff: About the time I was ready to pay the extra in capex and opex for A/C in my new cars, I got two such and soon the ozone flim-flam, fraud, scam ruined both A/C systems. I’m not pissed. You’ve seen me pissed. That was way beyond pissed.The screaming was that there is an ozone hole over the Antarctic! Of COURSE there is: Each summer in the US is a winter in the Antarctic with no sunlight at all. So, no ozone. So, a big ozone hole.If somehow all the ozone disappeared today, then the sun would have it all back tomorrow.Uh, ozone, O3, is darned unstable, highly reactive, and doesn’t last long –2O3 –> 3O2plus a little energy. We’re talking a half life of, what, a few minutes? I used to have an electric train that did a lot of sparking and generated some ozone which was easy to smell, but when I turned the train off the ozone went away in minutes. Same for the ozone layer when the sun goes down.The ozone stuff was just a flim-flam, fraud, scam to cause hysteria, get donations for the groups doing the screaming, and for DuPont to have a new coolant working fluid that needed new A/C equipment and to replace their old Freon that by then was being made and sold dirt cheap around the world.Uh, what does the ozone look like over the Antarctic now? Bet the hole is just the same as before. We don’t get reports on the ozone over the Antarctic now, do we? Of COURSE not — the scam is over with.The reports during the scam were just propaganda as in the Goebbels “If you tell a lie often enough, then people will believe it. Eventually even you will believe it.” — IIRC.When alarmists and DuPont got what they wanted, the scam was over, the money flows were over, the propaganda was over, and we didn’t get anymore reports on ozone holes.It has long occurred to me that the ozone-Freon scam was a dress rehearsal for the big, Al Gore, NYT, Elon Musk, etc. CO2 global warming flim-flam, fraud scam ripping off about $1.5 trillion a year, doing really ugly things to some of the poorest people in the world, and shooting the rest of the world’s economy in the gut all for no more reason than the Mayans pouring blood on a rock.> Wow, some kind of denial of factual reality.In fact, there is zip, zilch, and zero “factual reality” to humans having anything to do with ozone or the temperature of the planet.

          1. Lawrence Brass

            According to professor Martyn Chipperfield of the University of Leeds, UK, the effects of the agreements and actions taken by the signatories of the Montreal Protocol have been proven to be true.I was in Punta Arenas this month and high UV radiation is a very real issue for the people living there.https://en.wikipedia.org/wihttps://www.nature.com/arti

          2. sigmaalgebra

            Yup, if have an ozone hole and sunlight, then also have a dangerous UV situation. But usually sunlight creates 2O3 from 3O2 and stops the UV, right away, I’d believe minutes — ozone is reactive, and when I was a child with an electric train that generated ozone, turning the train off had the ozone smell go away in minutes. Generating ozone is much faster: A few sparks and, presto, some ozone.From your Wikipedia article, there is> After the discovery of the ozone hole it only took 18 months to reach a binding agreement in Montreal.Gee, “the discovery of the ozone hole”! Why is that anything surprising? Of COURSE there’s an ozone hole over Antarctica — when there’s no sunlight there to generate ozone.I just went tohttps://ozonewatch.gsfc.nas…looked at the data on the Antarctic ozone hole currently and back to 1980 or so.From that site, the ozone hole as of 26 August 2017 washttps://ozonewatch.gsfc.nas…So, right, looks like a nice, big ozone hole. That’s the current ozone hole.We notice that this hole was from nearly the end of August. Okay, so that means that Antarctica still has little or no sunlight. So, no wonder there’s an ozone hole there now.From your Wikipedia page, the Montreal agreement was signed on 14–16 September 1987 and apparently became effective on 1 January 1989.So, that was when the A/C in my new 1986 car and my new 1987 car was destroyed. Bummer.That A/C was nice some days when it worked.Well, as of now, there’s still an Antarctic ozone hole, and from Web pagehttps://ozonewatch.gsfc.nas…there is a graph that seems to indicate that the ozone hole size got smaller from about 1980 to about 1990 and has stayed the same since then. Gee, nearly all the reduction since 1980 happened well before the agreement took effect, and since then there’s been essentially no reduction! Some agreement!From the Wikipedia page, there isClimate projections indicate that the ozone layer will return to 1980 levels between 2050 and 2070.That smells worse than an acre of week old dead fish: (A) If the CFCs, etc. were really bad chemicals for the ozone, then 1980 will be no great target since we’ve had CFCs, etc. long before 1980. (B) By 2070, nearly everyone on the ozone hysteria will be dead so their great plan is safe! (C) Apparently we have an ozone smaller than in 1980 now and have had such since 1990. Definitely dead fish smell.Since the ozone hole has not gotten smaller since 1990 or so, either (A) the chlorinated fluorocarbons (CFCs), etc. are still in the upper atmosphere acting as catalysts converting 2O3 back to 3O2 and, thus, when the sun is shining, letting in UV or (B) the CFCs are now long since gone and the Antarctic ozone hole is back to where it has been for, as far as we know, thousands, likely millions, of years.The suggestion at that NASA Web site seemed to be that evil humans are cheating on the ban of Freon, CFCs, etc., and that cheating is the reason for the continuing ozone hole.Really, either way, (A) or (B), the ban on Freon that ruined the A/C in my cars has done little or nothing about the ozone hole.Also, again, for, whatever it is, 4, 5, 6 months each year, 24 hours a day, it’s pitch black dark at the south pole, over essentially all of Antarctica, and also over much of the southern ocean around Antarctica and, thus, causing an ozone hole (humans or not, CFCs or not) from the South Pole reaching with significant strength as far north as parts of South America, South Africa, and Australia. We know that.We also know that after all the years of attack on Freon and other CFCs, the ozone hole at best shrank early on, 1980-1990, and since then, even by now, hasn’t closed. But how the heck could we have expected it to close? Of COURSE, when there’s no sunlight, there’s an ozone hole.At the beginning of the big public concerns, I didn’t believe that CFCs had much to do with the ozone hole: My main reason was just the above, of COURSE there’s an ozone hole, CFCs or not, humans or not. At worst maybe the CFCs made the hole larger. But, it’s super tough to know since (A) there has to be a hole there anyway, (B) we don’t have good data on the hole from hundreds of years ago from before human sources of CFCs (fluorine is so reactive and rare that tough to believe that there could have been much in natural sources of CFCs), and (C) even if we get some samples of the upper atmosphere and find some chlorine or CFCs, we are not very sure at all how much larger the holes since 1990, all about the same size, have been due to the CFCs etc.So, we put the big, expensive intervention in place, ruined a LOT of refrigeration equipment, still have a hole, and really have no idea just what the heck we got from the hysteria and for our money.To me, the whole thing looks like a flim-flam, fraud scam explained by following the money: Some hysterics got donations; DuPont got a new, more expensive refrigeration working fluid; some refrigeration companies got to sell new equipment, and my car A/C got ruined. Bummer.Yes, your Nature article tries to quantify the gains from the ban. Their technique is a “transport model”. Gee, where can I get one of those transport models? They sound amazing! Will one of those have fresh, hot pancakes for me when I wake up?On the Nature article, I see two possibilities: (A) Someone did some amazing physical chemistry complete with reaction rates, etc. or (B) we can follow the money and see a scam.My experienced nose a priori guesses (B), the money.Sure, for the scam option, some people got some money. But, scam or not, a lot of people had a lot of expensive refrigeration equipment ruined. And scam or not, we still have a big ozone hole. I don’t believe we got anything for our money.

      2. Jordan Thaeler

        This blog does not get much love on the free market or, frankly, data-based decisions. Fred is already advocating for more government involvement with no consideration to the improved efficiencies of private insurance. @andyswan:disqus is missing, but he would probably tell you what I would: your comments are better left to forums where readers have more open minds. This is a pretty solid, statist stronghold.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Yup. That’s essentially why this “stronghold” is so wrong so often! Somehow, even when they are so wrong, they can still be fun to read!And, as for appraising Trump’s chances of winning the White House 2 1/2 years ago, it was easy to be solidly for Trump and have fun watching nearly everyone else say really nasty things about Trump and be wildly wrong about Trump’s chances! Similarly for human sources of CO2 causing global warming; that claim is no more rational than pouring blood on a rock, easy to debunk, and well on the way to dying out as another fad. That Gore’s latest movie was a big flop is big evidence of the death of the fad. IMHO, it’s mostly just a social fad anyway. Commonly now, even for the common man on the street, Gore’s claims are a total hoot, a thigh slapper, a big Nelson Rockefeller salute. I thought that Gore’s first movie was total BS right away and believe I so posted — I could check my old files.IMHO, Trump right away also saw Gore’s claims as total BS, pulled us out of the Paris Accords,and will look like a really good, smart leader as nearly everyone just laughs at Gore. It can be risky to be wildly wrong; there can be some advantages in being right; if only a few people are right but eventually win, then the win can be really big in many respects!Gee, there was a guy who believed Gore and after Katrina took big, long, leveraged positions on oil believing that hurricanes would greatly throttle oil production from the Gulf of Mexico, and soon lost the top three buttons of his shirt. That’s because he lost all the buttons on his shirt. Yup, that’s because he lost his shirt, …, maybe his girlfriend, etc.!But, to fit in at least socially, no doubt politically, maybe even professionally, with the Manhattan “best people,” gotta go along with the social norms and fads while they last! Same for Hollywood!Or, it’s fun winning, and often at AVC that is really easy to do! Really easy. There’s hardly an exercise anywhere in books by W. Rudin, P. Halmos, or even freshman calculus so easy! There’s NOTHING in a J. Neveu book anywhere near that easy! Yes, as for winning about Trump’s chances, it can take some time for the winning score to be posted! Okay by me! I’d rather be right in the long term than wrong but socially popular in the short term!I learned that attitude, partly as a means of self-preservation, in math: In much of K-12, I just didn’t have the social skills at pleasing the teachers that the girls and some of the other boys had. The teachers dumped on me. Heck, it even took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t supposed to be dumped on!Then I discovered math: I could be right, prove I was right, get 100% credit for being right, even if I was the only one in the room who was right, which happened some notable times, no matter what the heck I did socially! All I had to do was just learn the darned material and, then, get the work right on the tests, and in math that was easy! Beat the teachers? Did that often. It was fun! For all the insults I got elsewhere in K-12, I got “payback time”! As in a movie, “Payback’s a bitch, ain’t it!”.And for my startup, it should be enough, after some good publicity, virality, etc., for 1 billion people to really “love” (as from Paul Graham at YCombinator) my Web site, and for that, give the users some stuff they like a lot, for that, process some available data in some valuable ways, and for that use some powerful math I derived and some software I wrote.For me, all the users need to do is like my Web site, not me, just the site! Maybe now I’m the only person in the world who sees the potential and odds, and that’s okay by me! Been there before, done that already, got the T-shirt.Before? In grad school, my department chair didn’t like me. He was a total straight A kind of guy, likely in pre-school, too. He was a world class guy in his field, gave an advanced course in his field; I took it, as my first formal course in that field (before the course I told the faculty that from my prior, independent study I didn’t need that course — they just smiled), totally, effortlessly blew away all the other students, at one point even intimidated the prof in class, so from that he liked me for a few minutes. Then with my social rough edges, etc., he came to hate me. So, soon I took a reading course, supposed to last a semester, got solid results on the main question in two weeks, and that was the end of the course! The results? Nice, original, surprising, quite publishable, and I did later publish. Word of my results spread through the halls! The smartest prof in the department, my favorite prof, a star student of E. Cinlar at Princeton, stopped me in the hall to congratulate me. That was a biggie problem for the chair guy, likely much of why he was on his way to another job — no joke.In a high end research university in math, a student or prof who can do nice, publishable, original research quickly and does is untouchable, invincible, beyond criticism, wears a halo, and has a bullet-proof shield! Then social norms don’t count. And for a Ph.D., a student doesn’t even need to do such work very often; often in practice, just once.A math department at a high end research university is about just three things, research, research, and research. The reason is that research is why the money is there for the profs, grad students, buildings, equipment, etc., and far too few people actually can do such research. Too many people die trying. The money? Nearly all of it comes from Congress, and they give the money for one main reason, good research results for US national security.Uh, in business, it’s about after tax earnings, right? There are some similarities!Those K-12 teachers still wouldn’t like me. And the high school girls then? They’d likely really like me if I just showed up in a new Corvette! That’s one of my goals! Few girls would understand, but the Corvette engine I want has the Eaton Roots supercharger with an air-liquid intercooler! Ah, once I was made a Full Member of the SAE!!! So, I’m a car nut!

        2. fredwilson

          I would call it a caring stronghold

          1. JamesHRH

            The kind of caring that lasts right up until its not the government or someone else delivering the care or cutting the check?I appreciate you will cut the checks, but how can Manhattanites like Anne and Arnold justify their ‘ I got me, fuck you. ‘ philosophy?How does that create a caring stronghold?Boggles the mind.We are stuck in our area, water locked on all 4 sides. I can hardly wait to get out of here and help people who caught a bad break but did the right thing.My only hope is my undying faith that karma is a bitch.

          2. Jordan Thaeler

            The nazis and soviets had many euphemisms while they stripped natural rights from their denizens too

    3. Vasudev Ram

      The Antarctic ice too, going by some articles I saw recently.

    4. LE

      Was just up at the Columbia Icefields and saw that firsthand. [1][1] Had a pretty good experience and then got nabbed in a speed trap (30km zone they said I was doing 110km) on the way back. Nice way to welcome people to Canada to spend their tourist dollars, eh?

      1. William Mougayar

        You crossed the border? Oh no, sorry to hear about the ticket. But it’s Canadian dollars, so you can discount it by 25% 🙂

        1. LE

          What happens if you don’t pay it? I haven’t done my research yet so I might as well get your opinion if you have one.

          1. William Mougayar

            They’ll send the ticket to your home address, and will set a court date if you continue ignoring it, then it will appear on your record eventually. A 2nd offense in Canada then might lead to an immediate suspension. I think that US/Canada has reciprocal sharing on that level, with points reduction that can apply either side. You can check if your state has such reciprocal agreement with the province you were in.Many years ago, I had the opposite occur in Buffalo, so I took the court date and got it reduced with no points, just by appearing, pleading guilty and asking for a reduction with no points.

          2. LE

            Yeah lot’s of FUD for sure makes sense to pay and forget. Kind of like insurance in reverse (or something like that). Pay to avoid aggravation.

          3. PhilipSugar

            Don’t plan on going back.

          4. LE

            Probably will but they didn’t even record my drivers license or ask for insurance info. In the end it’s not worth having any future issue etc. If my wife and kids were not in the car I would have turned around, gone back, and filmed it with the signage.Funny thing was we saw the trap on the way up. We were driving discussing where the trap was on the return.. Next thing we know we are in the trap.In my fantasy I want to hire some people from up there to simply stand with a sign warning people of the speed trap to put them out of business.

          5. JamesHRH

            If it was a rental car, they will bill it to them, basically.You will end up in a fight with rental car company.

          6. LE

            Good point hadn’t thought through to that point.

      2. JamesHRH

        110? Where the hell did that happen?The Icefields Parkway is one of the world’s Top 10 drives. Did you go Banff to Jasper?

  4. jason wright

    following on from the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy (London) i invested in several heavy duty fireproof and waterproof cases. everything of emotional value to me now has a good chance of surviving a fire et.c., and everything else can burn. it’s just replaceable ‘stuff’.EDIT 18:58 GMT:i also bought a fire extinguisher and more smoke detectors.

    1. Jake Baker

      Any links to brands or items you thought were particularly good?Another great tip I’ve heard is to film a “video tour” of all the rooms and items in your house/apartment. This will be a much easier way to prove what was actually there for purposes of insurance and also personal recollection/rebuilding.

      1. jason wright

        good tip.thanks.no not really. i’m in England so the options may be different in your region.

  5. curtissumpter

    Does anyone think some areas, as these storms become more frequent and powerful, will just become uninsurable? Are there any technology opportunities here that can benefit society? Capital markets opportunities?

    1. sigmaalgebra

      > Does anyone think some areas, as these storms become more frequent and powerful, will just become uninsurable?Athttp://www.nhc.noaa.gov/out…is a history of hurricanes since 1900. There, since 2005, we’ve had only Ike until Harvey. So, that last 12 years have had surprisingly few hurricanes. So, “more frequent”? Over the last 12 years, much less frequent.Right, the NOAA page does not have a date so might date from 2005.

      1. curtissumpter

        Thank you. That’s good to know.

  6. Matt Zagaja

    The reason federal flood insurance is a federal program is that the market cannot bear the risk. Many of the places where folks need to use this are threatened by global climate change. These are foreseeable risks. In my office, before purchasing real estate, most employees consult flood maps and then add some buffer to them. To prevent these sorts of events, we need the current administration to make fighting climate change a priority. Until it is, this is the inevitable result, and folks should make their purchasing decisions based on the idea that it’s only going to get worse. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.https://www.youtube.com/wat

    1. Rob Underwood

      Some of this prevention funding (part of the “pork”) was in the Sandy bill that many, though not all, of the Texas congressional delegation opposed.I have been glad to see northeast Republicans like Chris Christie and Peter King gently pointing out the hypocrisy of folks like Ted Cruz and Blake Farenthold’s request for federal aid as they (NE political leaders) commit to the NE supporting the recovery of Texas.It feels a little icky to politicize in any way an ongoing disaster that could actually get worse over the next few days as Harvey reforms. But sadly, and I think this is the calculus of folks like Christie and King, if the point is not made now the opportunity will be lost as the news cycle shifts and people forget about Houston recovery just as many have forgotten about the ongoing Sandy recovery. It’s only in the very moment the point can be made. We as a country talk a big game about national dialogues and discussions about big issues that are never had.Here is an opposing view, btw, for some balance on this, as it is a touchy point: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/0…And here’s a piece from Mother Jones on this http://www.motherjones.com/

    2. k77ws

      Got news for you: these areas have been flooding, ie the risks have been forseeable, well before “climate change” (or “global warming” before it or “global cooling” before it) became a fashionable term. It’s a mother nature problem, not a Donald Trump one.

    3. sigmaalgebra

      “Climate change”? “Global warming”? That humans could do something about? Horse feathers. See myhttp://avc.com/2017/08/floo…here.If a lot of the premium for flood insurance is from worries about human caused global warming, then there’s an opportunity to lower the premiums a little, get all the business, and make big bucks.

    4. JLM

      .As a civil engineer who studied hydrology, it is difficult to build any realistic connection between climate change and the flooding in Houston.The problem in Houston is driven by a rainfall event of such magnitude as to be beyond the typical Corps of Engineers models — based on the watershed behavior of the 100 year storm.It has to do with the amount of moisture which Harvey picked up in the Gulf and its perilous path and speed of movement. For a long time, it was moving at 6 MPH which meant it was, effectively, stalled.There are those who are bandying about the term 700 year storm or 1000 year storm. Those are not rains anyone can actually measure. Given that thought, it is clear this storm is more than a 100 year event — which is one Hell of a big storm.A flood map is the result of a storm event within a watershed taking into account the drainage flows from that watershed. As an example, if a watercourse has steep banks, it can channel more water as it rises than one that has shallow banks.A low lying highway bridge over a river might become an impediment at high flow rates. Increasing the clearance of that bridge would change the high water mark of the 100-year event.The same storm in Austin, TX — which has decent retention and drainage and a hard, rocky soil — might have no flooding whatsoever. It is the topography, the slope, the channel (cross sectional wetted area), the friction (concrete v rock v vegetation), the storm water retention (building code issue), and the moisture content of the ground which determines how quickly the area drains.In a flat topography, like Houston, you could have rain fifty miles north of Houston, not a drop in Houston, and the flow of the water from north to the Gulf through Houston could flood Houston.The antidote to rain — even 50 inches — is drainage. The drainage in Houston is virtually non-existent.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Matt Zagaja

        Thank you for your always thoughtful response. I did in fact learn something.

      2. LE

        Even if we stipulate that climate change caused this so what? I mean there is really no reason to do anything different because there is a 1 in a lifetime event. It’s like spending the money to make sure all buildings can withstand a fully loaded 747 because maybe 1 building in 40 years (or 2) might get struck by one. Sure if the cost is trivial but it’s not the only risk that could be prevented against with a small amount of money. Where does it stop? Touchy feely non rational people can’t grasp this concept. Sure why not have every single commercial pilot spend a week more training so they can land like Sully did on the Hudson because you know it may happen again. You never know.Meanwhile people do all sorts of risky behavior (food, drugs) which they can control themselves. But they don’t do that.If you haven’t seen the cnn clip of the welfare mom yelling at the CNN reporter for putting a microphone in her face you should.http://nypost.com/2017/08/2

    5. SFG

      Oh boy, we all knew someone would blame “climate change”. Start the Donald Trump climate change hysteria now that Russia and the Nazis and calmed down a bit.

  7. Rob Underwood

    Some of the folks from NYTechResponds (NY tech community effort to donate tech skills to Sandy recovery) have regrouped to offer our help and connected Sunday with a similar group in Houston. From some Slack discussions yesterday it appears one way we may help is with some of the insurance issues that Houston folks will face similar to those faces at Sandy — with added wrinkle that a key Texas law re property insurance changes this Friday.If you like to donate your tech skills to helping the folks in Houston email me at rob(at)ttmadvisors(dot)com

    1. Rob Underwood

      FYI the Slack team is http://sketchcity.slack.com/ if you want to plug in. Also see the twitter handle @harveyrelief and @harveyrescue — other related efforts that have been working on mapping of those in need and rescue dispatch similar to early days work of groups like Occupy Sandy immediately after Sandy w/ tech support from NY tech volunteers.

    2. Rob Underwood

      If you want to see what decentralized, crowdsourced mutual aid and assistance looks like, check out this google sheet, https://docs.google.com/spr…, which is being used to source this map, http://harveyrelief.handiwo…As with Sandy recovery, much of the work is based on open source mapping tools/APIs coupled w/ heavy use of GDocs.

    3. Rob Underwood

      Following on to the afore mentioned change to Texas insurance law to go into effect on Friday, 9/1.http://www.senate.texas.gov…HT to Jeff R down in Houston who brought this to my attention and is leading tech assistance with recovery down there. From Jeff:”In the wake of a significant natural disaster, homeowners should be on alert for storm-chasers. File insurance claims directly with your insurance company. Do not provide up-front payment to individuals who may be blanketing your neighborhood promising faster repairs or larger payouts. HB 1774 has no impact on the insurance claims process, it only affects lawsuits. The narrative that the claims process changes on Sept. 1 is false. There is no need to rush to file a claim. Put your safety first. Do not return to seriously-damaged property unless you are informed that it is safe. Under HB 1774, if an insurance company acts in bad faith, property owners maintain the option to sue and are encouraged to report their insurer to the Texas Department of Insurance Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439. In the event that a lawsuit becomes necessary, HB 1774 limits lawyer’s fees so that more awarded damages stay in the pockets of the rightful recipient, the property owner. In addition, prompt pay penalties awarded through a lawsuit will now be calculated on a floating basis tied to interest rates, with a 20% ceiling, rather than a static 18% penalty.”

  8. Pointsandfigures

    http://pointsandfigures.com… NFL Football star JJ Watt set up a fundraiser and donated $100k to get it started. https://www.youcaring.com/v… Been amazing to see private companies and government agencies to work together to help people. Harvey hit a high pressure system and bounced, so Houston will get 20 more inches of rain.

  9. 0tiger1

    One problem with federal flood insurance is that it encourages people to live in places that will increasingly be hit with floods. We need to find a way to help people move out of traditionally inhabited places as weather conditions intensify and sea level rises, or else we will both put people in harms way and incur huge federal costs as people rebuild on the same vulnerable spots over and over, as they have done on the Jersey shore.

    1. PhilipSugar

      I think a little of both. I agree with you about the Jersey Shore. Those are barrier islands, if you look at old maps you will see they moved around quite a bit before we filled them with houses and took every step imaginable to prevent them from moving.But in this case you had 50 inches of rain. No way to predict that.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Apparently your “50 inches” is now correct:Athttp://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.go…is in part…TEXAS…MARYS CREEK AT WINDING ROAD 49.32

    2. Rob Larson

      Yes, the federal program is effectively a subsidy from people who don’t live in flood areas to those that do, making it more affordable for people to move into flood zones. It’s the wrong incentive, which over time causes people to overbuild in flood prone areas. Better system would allocate the cost of the insurance to those people who choose to live in hurricane-prone areas. Then people can decide for themselves whether living in those coastal areas is worth the extra insurance cost.

    3. JLM

      .The event in Houston is primarily a rain event and would have the same flood implications if it were in a pasture. Much of the area flooded in Houston is undesirable and flat.The antidote for rain is drainage.The problem with Houston is that it is flat and drainage requires slope and channel (cross sectional wetted area) to relieve massive amounts of water.Houston is, further, downstream from the rest of Texas and the “crest” is not driven by local conditions but by the contribution from the upstream watershed.It rains to the north and it takes a little while for the water to get to Houston. If Houston is already flooded, then it is just stacking up.The relief valve is the Gulf of Mexico. If tide or wind is driving water into the coast, then there is a hurdle for the drainage to jump to dissipate.In Houston, nothing will ever work if you have 50″ of rain. Nothing.This was in excess of a 100 year storm. Nobody knows enough about a storm like this to be able to say whether it is a 700 or 1000 year event.Everybody can agree it is a mother fucker (technical civil engineering hydrology term).JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Right. That’s why athttp://avc.com/2017/08/floo…here I suggestedsome well designed glorified storm drains, based on the idea that water runs downhill, to let heavy rains drain away before they create floods.Why the “well designed glorified”? Because of what you pointed out: (A) Houston is not much above sea level. E.g., there is a river essentially at sea level running through the downtown area. (B) With tides, storm surge, etc., the water level in the Gulf near Houston can be higher than Houston so that can’t get water to run downhill from Houston to the Gulf. (C) But with my “glorified” maybe could get water from Houston to run into storm drains that go, say, 50 miles along the coast to where the Gulf water level is not affected by the hurricane and still a little below the level of Houston and let the water from Houston run downhill.Sure, else storm drains from Houston to the Gulf would be sending water from the Gulf INTO Houston! So the “glorified” would need shutoff valves to stop any chance of reverse flow! Might also want some really big pumps.For the 100 year storm, or 500 year, or whatever, that’s nice, cute, entertaining, etc. but for anything at all literal essentially total BS. Why? Because we have no corresponding good empirical data. E.g., we don’t have 500 years of data from Houston, and if we take data for 10 years from each of 50 coastal locations we still don’t have good data.IIRC the main way the estimates of 100 year storm, 500 year storm, etc. are made is to assume a Gaussian distribution, use recent real data to get a maybe okay, decent estimate of the mean and standard deviation of that Gaussian, and then from the formula for the Gaussian bell-curve density curve calculate very accurately where the, say, 500 year storm would be.Just need some assumptions, that the mean and standard deviation estimates are accurate enough and, then, the biggie, huge, enormous, cough-cough, upchuck, you gotta be kidding, where’d you get that really strong funny stuff been smoking and that toxic Kool-Aid been drinking actually to believe, take seriously, the far out, long tails of the exact Gaussian? What a Hoot! Old GIGO — garbage in, garbage out!Once in grad school, there was a statistics course. Sadly, it’s a fact, too much of statistics for too long has been too much devoted to the Gaussian for darned near everything. It’s darned near a religion, and an especially irrational one.There are some good reasons for the Gaussian from the central limit theorem — the high end version of it the Lindeberg-Feller result, a big mess to prove but I have it in my class notes from a good course in probability.For that stats course, the prof was suggesting doing things like that far out on the tails of the Gaussian.I’d never had a stats course but had been doing moderately advanced applied statistics for a long time and did an upchuck, “I’m here for serious purposes; so what am I doing wasting my time with this nonsense?” When the course got to sufficient statistics, a super cute topic, it made a total mess. So did the text. So I rushed to the library and got the basic Halmos-Savage paper with the original stuff, from when Halmos was at U. Chicago, and dug in. I saw what looked like a typo, was darned short on time, asked the stats prof for, finally, one of the few times ever, help, and learned that he didn’t know the good stuff from Halmos. Right, the good stuff is from the Radon-Nikodym result with a famous proof by John von Neumann — scary smart guy, on the right inhttp://www-history.mcs.st-a…On the left is S. Ulam, also a mathematician. The guy in the middle was just a physicist!So, since I didn’t need that stats course, to save time for better uses, I walked out. Grad students are not in K-12 and are not expected to sit through nonsense.Doing serious stuff way out on the tails of the Gaussian, with or without the Lindeberg-Feller result, is dumb de dumb dumb total BS.Yup, apparently the guys at Long Term Capital Managment (LTCM), who tried to sink the world’s financial system and did their best and came close, didn’t understand this either. See, a stationary, independent increments stochastic process likely satisfies the assumptions for the central limit theorem so that Brownian motion, the standard, first-cut model for stock prices, gives the Gaussian distribution, right, with a lot of assumptions, some quite delicate, in theory. So, some Nobel prize econ guys, and I encountered some of such work before, sucked up that Gaussian tail swill and got some biggie headlines.I knew that long tail stuff was obviously garbage the first time I saw it. The Gaussian is fine; the central limit theorem, infinitely divisible distributions, Brownian motion, etc. are fine. Lots of applications are fine. Good stuff. Powerful, valuable. But 500 year floods from way out in the tail? Nope. Don’t do that or at least don’t take it more seriously than some fast back of the envelope scribbling.

        1. JLM

          .Check valves prevent backflow.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. Lawrence Brass

        Good to know that you are safe in the ATX.

      3. Lawrence Brass

        “Mother nature is a bitch”. – Bonnie Eldredhttp://www.eldritchpress.or…click on the images to read..

  10. Frank W. Miller

    My brother-in-law’s 80 year old mother and his paraplegic brother were both rescued by boat. They went back the next day to get his wheel chair and meds. I lived in Houston myself for a few years but not through a hurricane. My prayers are with everyone affected.

    1. Richard

      Wow, that is devistating. For those without the means, particularly the sick and the elderly, this is a going to be a very rough journey.

  11. sigmaalgebra

    Yes, life’s mementos can be tough to lose. Mementos are part of what like a lot, don’t want to lose, can’t get anywhere else, and add meaning and continuity to life, especially bonding within a family.I wish I still had the bicycle I had as a teenager, but somehow when I went to college and my parents moved, it got lost.Athttp://insider.foxnews.com/…is in part:Texas Governor: President Called and Said ‘Whatever You Need, You’ve Got’ Athttp://www.breitbart.com/li…is a news article on what Houston and Texas are doing about Harvey.Part of the article is about what HUD is able and promising to do:HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson said, “Today, our thoughts and prayers are with those who are beginning the process of recovering from Hurricane Harvey. As FEMA begins to assess the damage and respond to the immediate needs of residents, HUD will be there to offer assistance and support the longer-term housing recovery efforts.”HUD is:Assisting the State of Texas and local governments in re-allocating existing federal resources toward disaster relief– HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs give the State and communities the flexibility to redirect millions of dollars in annual formula funding to address critical needs, including housing and services for disaster victims. HUD is currently contacting State and local officials to explore streamlining the Department’s CDBG and HOME programs in order to expedite the repair and replacement of damaged housing;Granting immediate foreclosure relief– HUD is granting a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages. There are approximately 200,000 FHA-insured homeowners living in these impacted counties;Making mortgage insurance available– HUD’s Section 203(h) program provides FHA insurance to disaster victims who have lost their homes and are facing the daunting task of rebuilding or buying another home. Borrowers from participating FHA-approved lenders may be eligible for 100 percent financing;Making insurance available for both mortgages and home rehabilitation– HUD’s Section 203(k) loan program enables those who have lost their homes to finance the purchase or refinance of a house along with its repair through a single mortgage. It also allows homeowners who have damaged houses to finance the rehabilitation of their existing single-family home; andOffering Section 108 loan guarantee assistance– HUD will offer state and local governments federally guaranteed loans for housing rehabilitation, economic development and repair of public infrastructure.Information on housing providers and HUD programs – The Department will share information with FEMA and the State on housing providers that may have available units in the impacted counties. This includes Public Housing Agencies and Multi-Family owners. The Department will also connect FEMA and the State to subject matter experts to provide information on HUD programs and providers. Historically, it was a big advantage for a city to be close to water good for shipping. So, that explains Houston, New Orleans, San Francisco, Saint Louis, Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, Boston, and, sure, NYC, and more.Alas, such a location can be prone to flooding, especially in the case of hurricanes.Gee, if the Federal Government is in effect to insure such cities from flooding, then maybe it would, net, be cheaper for the Federal Government to pay for some well designed glorified storm drains, based on the idea that water runs downhill, to let heavy rains drain away before they create floods.

    1. DJL

      Is this loan assistance a new program? This seems actually like something of value from the Federal Government.Locally, the “shelters” being run by the city are total disasters. Trash, theft, not enough food, drug addicts put in with small children. 100% chaos.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        > Is this loan assistance a new program?I don’t know the details. My impression is that the programs are old but that for Harvey Trump called Dr. Carson and told him to open the HUD checkbook and start writing checks, big ones. And soon Trump will tell Congress to pay for it. If Congress pays, then Trump looks good. If Congress objects, Trump will raise hell, Congress will look like dirt and soon pay for it, and again Trump will look good.Same song, one more verse, from Trump Tower, the Wollman Skating Rink, his POTUS run, and now his Harvey response — Trump’s a “doer — gets things DONE.”

  12. k77ws

    I sympathize with people’s loss. But Federal Flood Insurance is a horrible idea.How about if people who live in flood prone areas purchase their own flood insurance, rather than socializing the costs to those of us who choose not to live in flood prone areas (for that specific reason, among many others)?Federal flood insurance does not reflect true market rates and is in many ways a re-disributive program from those who don’t live in flood prone areas to pay for the disasters of those who do.Plenty of illuminating articles via google. http://theweek.com/articles

    1. sigmaalgebra

      > How about if people who live in flood prone areas purchase their own flood insurance, rather than socializing the costs to those of us who choose not to live in flood prone areas (for that specific reason, among many others)?Sure, I agree in principle and in theory. But in practice, nope: I touched on the logic in my post herehttp://avc.com/2017/08/floo…Or, we already have Houston, New Orleans, San Francisco, Saint Louis, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, NYC, Baltimore, etc. They were all founded and grew just because they were on water transportation routes, had good harbors, etc.Now we have no choice: We can’t just ask people to move from those cities: Why? Because we still need those cities, gee, even NYC — I hate to say that but confess, we still need NYC, even NYC! Sure there have been proposals just to saw off the NE Corridor, let it float out to the center of the Atlantic Ocean, and sink, but think of the horrible pollution of the ocean, and so far we don’t have a suitable saw! Gee, who would want to eat wild-caught Atlantic cod fish after NYC just sank near there?Yes, we can ask people in those cities to buy their own flood insurance, but IIRC the premiums will be really high. As I understand it, no matter how high the premiums, for many years no insurance company or reinsurance pool would have the capital to cover even the first Harvey, Katrina, Sandy, etc.Also, there’s no good way even to estimate the risk (expected cost): E.g., hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and cyclones in the Pacific Ocean are caused by warm surface waters in the fall covered by suddenly cooler air — it becomes one heck of a heat engine. Well, sure, with higher summer water temperatures, we would stand to get more such storms.But apparently so far from the best we know the main causes of such higher temperatures are not CO2 or any greenhouse gasses from humans, volcanoes, or anything else but, and may I have the envelope, please [drum roll], “RIP”, and the answer is sun spots. We don’t have even a single drop of a chance predicting sun spots or sun spot activity over the years. Not a drop.Sun spots? Clouds have a net cooling effect. A significant cause of cloud formation is cosmic rays hitting molecules in the upper atmosphere causing water droplet condensation and the start of clouds. More solar wind hits, throttles, the cosmic rays, and more sun spots generate more solar wind. So, net, more sun spots generate more solar wind, reduce cloud formation, and cause global warming. That hypothesis fits the data. The CO2 garbage, black magic, superstition, potion of boiled tails of rats, brain-dead hysteria, Saint Laureate Al Guru flim-flam, fraud nonsense, etc. doesn’t fit the data.So, we can’t predict sun spots, and we can’t price flood insurance. So, mostly individuals can’t buy flood insurance.Since we still need those cities located next to water transportation routes, we need another solution. The solution we have now is Trump’s recent “Whatever You Need, You’ve Got,” Dr. Carson’s HUD list, etc. Sorry ’bout that.

  13. DJL

    We have been extremely lucky. We live in the suburbs of Houston and so far have been spared any major damage – even though the water got nearly to our doorstep. But many have not been so lucky. Less than three miles away people’s homes are completely flooded. The concern of friends and family is very heartwarming.(Don’t get me started on flood insurance. After the insurance companies took big losses during Hurricane Ike they basically left town. Many people cannot even buy flood insurance if they want to. I’m not a big fan of government regulations – but the Feds should force these companies into creating a pool for basic flood insurance in these areas. I’m sure it will get only worse after this event.)God Bless everyone who has been effected. It is still going on.

    1. Michael Elling

      Would you say the same for health insurance?

      1. DJL

        I knew that was coming. And the answer is – absolutely. But not the way Obamacare was done.You create a pool for “high risk” people that the government helps fund. Require the insurance companies to cover people in this pool if they CHOOSE to be covered. You never force anyone to buy insurance.This simple option would have saved the economy billions of dollars and saved me from getting my health insurance cancelled 4 years in a row. But the Democrats (now 80% of republicans) are not interested in rational solutions. All they want is power.

        1. Michael Elling

          Not a huge fan of the mandate, but what about poor people? Who’s controlling costs? I think there are many more issues than high risk and pre-existing conditions. Blame can be equally shared and goes well beyond just the political parties; mainly to those who are convinced free, competitive, winner takes all models and markets are best.

          1. DJL

            Understood. I wish I had more time… But healthcare has been beaten to death on AVC many times.Personally, I am 100% convinced that Obamacare needs to be repealed (or at least majorly fixed.) I am very pissed at the Republicans who won’t do their job. And if they keep fighting Trump they will lose their majority quickly. There ARE rational solutions to these problems.

          2. Michael Elling

            Republicans won’t address costs. Where’s Trump’s campaign promise to open up competition across state lines? Oh wait! He’s for state rights (and limited federal govt); at least that version that the southern rebels fought for.We could talk all day, but it’s really very simple as in his own words, “healthcare is really hard.” So is everything else. Good luck down there. Maybe it’s time for some good govt control of the commons down there.Note, you can best describe me as cynical of both parties, so I’m not taking sides; just being a realist about the morass we’re in, how we got here, and what it will take to undo it.

          3. DJL

            With all due respect, I don’t like to engage with Trump-bashers. The conversations are almost always pointless. I know you say you are cynical of both parties – but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you are a Liberal (and did note vote Republican.)?

          4. Michael Elling

            Voted: Reagan, Bush (2x), Dole, Bush (2x), Obama (2x). Predicted to my Republican friends in Summer of 2015 that Trump would get nomination but not election. Guess I was wrong. Voted Clinton this time, but just by default as Trump concerns me.As for bashing, read your history of states vs federal rights going back nigh 240 years (yes it was an issue before the Declaration, War and Constitution). Clearly Trump has not. But ironies (and hypocrisy) abound in a lot more places than just knowledge of history; let’s just hope Kelly keeps Trump’s trigger finger in check.For what it’s worth Bush soured me on Republicanism because of the war and killing off telecom competition through his FCC Chairman. Thank goodness for Steve Jobs and iOS in 2007. He single handedly resurrected competition and helped the US stave off an even worse depression over the past decade. Imagine if every app had to run in 4 different silos.

          5. DJL

            Those are pretty solids credentials to claim some form of center. (Truthfully, your statement about Trump and state’s rights confused me. I don’t see him trampling states rights in anything.)I am soured on both parties. Dems because they have been hijacked by the far left and Reps because they seem to be wimpy liars. In my opinion, like him or not, Trump is about the only person in Washington who cares about the people who voted for him. Is he a perfect person? No. A perfect politician? Hell no. But unlike most of the news media – I think his heart is in the right place. Does he deserve the relentless attacks from the media, the Left, Hollywood (same thing), the Tech elite, the former President, and his own party? Hell no. This level of constant harassment is unprecedented.The media will never separate Trump from his supporters. Only Trump can do that.

    2. LE

      Fwiw as you know for business insurance any big event like this is an excuse to jack up rates for everyone. It becomes a justification for a price increase. If I invested in stocks I would buy p&c stocks.

      1. DJL

        Yes. Just like they did with Obamacare. It’s a serious racket.

  14. LE

    We should have better federal flood insurance for this reason. The federal flood insurance system doesn’t cover many things that it should and sadly many people in Texas will suffer significant financial losses that they will not be able to fully recover from their insurers.Here is the document that describes what it covers and what it doesn’t cover.https://www.fema.gov/media-…One of the things that I evaluated when deciding on this (including risk of the area the house is in obviously) was it seemed the biggest issue was the basement. It didn’t seem to offer much benefit if you have a basement and that was the main concern. That would have been our lowest level (so in a sense it’s a sacrificial zinc insurance wise).That said in any insurance policy there are grey areas of interpretation and a great deal hinges on how you present the situation (or the adjuster does) to the insurance company. For example years ago in my first house there was water damage on the first floor. The policy didn’t cover water if it comes in as a result of a flood from the outside. But it does cover damage if it came in from a crack in the wall above. So knowing that in advance means you can get a claim approved if you need to.Sad given what others go through with this (without knowledge of how things work) but the truth is insurance is a lopsided situation where typically the house has a huge advantage. I had a case with a commercial condo (told this one before) where I was getting it painted and walked in to check one afternoon and found out that the painter was spray painting chairs all over the first floor carpet. I had told him I was replacing the carpet (but didn’t tell him when or say he didn’t have to cover the floors etc.). [1] My first reaction was to get pissed off. Then I immediately thought ‘I will just file a claim’. Insurance company handled with a few pictures no questions asked. New floors for the entire suite. In theory they could have subrogated to the painter insurance company but they didn’t. And even if they did he could just say whatever he needed to defend himself and the insurance company (given the amount) would have settled and all would be fine.[1] Would like to state that even though this is the case I wouldn’t have felt guilty in the least even if the facts changed slightly.

  15. JamesHRH

    Don’t agree with anything you propose – developers and counties that put people at or near sea level should be required by federal law to carry $10B in flood insurance.They generate the $ from those homes.

    1. LE

      In Fred’s case he is more or less self insured.And importantly I am close to 100% sure that the point that he is making is not relative to his particular circumstance but recognizing that people that are not him are in a bad position. And he said that very clearly.One thing (and I normally agree with you and have no reason to defend Fred as you know) is this idea that people have to walk on eggshells when they want to make a point. Fred did clearly point out the following:Thankfully we have the means to absorb the financial losses and I realize that many people don’t.My point is I or anyone should feel free to express their thoughts (especially the blog runner) w/o worry that someone will call them out as being spoiled and in no position to claim any pain and suffering when other people are suffering more.

      1. JamesHRH

        Fair enough.Not really seeing it as a personal experience being conveyed to demonstrate understanding, but appreciate you making me look at it that way.A little low on sleep and a lot low on tolerance for people making agenda based points on social media, while using the unfolding biblical disaster that surrounds me as their vehicle.Edited my comment.

  16. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:We as a collective group have always assisted those in need and even volunteer yearly for the last ten years to those less fortunate and in immediate need.We expect a hit on the following comments that follow. This should in no way reflect upon or suggest that we shouldn’t assist those in need.Why every year Americans and people around the world continue to live in areas that Flood, Earthquakes, and other natural disasters putting children in harms way yearly and not moving.Adults have a responsibility to care for children who are unable to care from themselves. No excuses. Every year the same disasters in the same areas of the world. Move after receiving the insurance money or tax refund.If victims of Katrina were able to disperse around the country and not return and build documented better life’s why can’t the rest of these areas. Yearly and same areas. (Tornado belt to follow). We will be revisiting the same issue again next year in same areas of the country. Why?We acknowledge everyone’s financial and economic situation differs. We are addressing those with the ability to move. (Reread)We will be revisiting another disaster again next year in same areas and we will again remind the blog of the responsibility of adults to protect their children from yearly harms way.

  17. LE

    Floods are terrible. But once the waters recede and recovery begins, many will recover quickly, as we did, and move on. Some will struggle. They will need our help and hopefully we can all come together to provide that.Not to take away from the devastation in the area and as mentioned my cousin was impacted (but certainly has the financial ability to survive although I wonder about his employees honestly) but there will be a tremendous amount of money flowing into the storm hit areas which will certainly provide a upside and benefits.You know it’s a bit different if a shitty thing happens to just you, and there is nobody who knows or cares to help, and if a shitty thing happens to a large group of people and everybody comes out to offer their support, money and jobs are almost certainly created.

  18. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:A big thank you to the Community in Katy, TX for helping and assisting flood victims.

  19. LE

    One thing that I do for emergency preparedness is keep what I will call a small ‘crash suitcase’ packed with various things that I would need if I had to flee quickly for some disaster reason. Just basic things clothing, toiletries and so on. It’s not very large either and also I have an additional backpack that I always travel with (the nuclear football let’s say..). I have also decided in advance that if the family had to make a quick getaway we would probably take 2 cars even though we can easily fit into one car. I also have been meaning to make or buy a printout of hotels that doesn’t require web access. Also don’t wait until the last minute to fill up on gas keep the tank at least always (or try) 1/2 full or more. (Good luck with electric cars, eh?)I had a case years ago when I was skiing that there was an avalanche. The minute I saw we would be cutoff (end of ski day) I raced to the nearest town and got a hotel room without even knowing how long it would take for the block to be cleared or the status. It got cleared quickly (less than 8 hours) and the hotel needed the room so it didn’t even cost anything but even if it did it made sense to hedge against rooms running out (was in Lake Tahoe or Truckee don’t remember).The ‘momento’ comment that @philipsugar:disqus made is interesting in light of the fact that in this day and age all of our memories are stored electronically and in the cloud so that is certainly less of an issue.

  20. panterosa,

    Fred, when you lost things from Sandy, how did you inventory them? And did you inventory the rest of the possibly losable things in your home afterwards? Did it change how you live?Flooding and war are just a few times where people lose parts of their history in objects and mementos. Yet your children will live with less than you, as you less than your parents. The digital age means we have less objects to lose.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      So true. Literally all of my kids’ “home movies” and photos are in the cloud.But you make such a great point. I wouldn’t be able to tell you 95% of the stuff in our house, including *my* childhood photos and other mementos.

      1. panterosa,

        As a visual person, I have come to rely on pictures so much more than words. I inventory the books, games, music, movies by taking a picture of the bookshelves. We digitize the old stuff in batches.I feel more itinerant these days – ready to move faster, with less. Hammock vs bed, short throw projector vs screen TV. Fabrics vs hard furniture. I think furniture is basically over.This has brought my design down to ideas. Games to play with those ideas should be able to be homemade even. Yes I can design small and portable, and mainly do, but the ideas are what is important and not the products.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          I’m going to do that, take pictures of everything. Such a simple, effective solution 🙂

    2. fredwilson

      We didn’t

      1. LE

        Disqus need to fix this.”We didn’t” – What are you referring to???To many other comments. To much work to find exactly what you are replying to. And no you can’t just click and find. And why should you have to?This is also the same with twitter. Hard to follow the statements and thoughts of others.I don’t know why this type of usability thing is so hard for product managers and engineers to understand.

  21. JLM

    .The Sandy water, as it relates to Manhattan, was an almost perfect storm.The hydrology was driven by:1. the upstream watershed flows, 2. the river flows (part of which is the watershed flow),3. the high tide,4. the nature of the high tide (unusually high tides which are regular and seasonal in nature),5. the offshore to onshore weather push (the storm surge), 6. the local wind direction (different than the storm surge which is more regional) and, 7. the local amount of rain.This was further exacerbated by the impact of an inadequate drainage design (e.g. local storm detention volumes) and the absence of an emergency plan. The drainage design was only inadequate in the sense it did not anticipate the levels of water being drained.Sometimes drainage design is a small thing like a twelve inch drain pipe v a twenty-four inch drain pipe. Sometimes it is gravity flow v pumped flow.New Orleans, which is essentially below the level of the Mississippi River, on a regular basis is held hostage to a series of levees and pumps. If either fails, then the water pours in.All of Nawlins is, essentially, an emergency plan.If the Sandy phenomenon had changed one or two of the variables, there would have been no flooding. It is difficult to imagine it happening again in the future, given the overlapping probabilities involved.Something as small as no watershed contribution upstream could have a huge impact.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  22. Harvey Rubin

    have gotten out many more people in advance, instead of doing nothing. Houston’s mayor should step down for doing a terrible job of this event. Never listen to politicians. They will drown you.

  23. Ian Katz

    My thoughts are with all affected.I am from Australia so when you said federal flood insurance I immediately thought of federal health insurance like we have in Australia. Surely it’s a very similar concept?