“We’re Doing a Great Job” in Puerto Rico

I just saw the President re-state this point in a press conference with the Governor of Puerto Rico. He also just said (if I heard it right) that the Federal response deserves a “10” score. Here are some key graphs.

These graphs are based on FEMA data, reported and updated here by WaPo (graphs accessed 11:50AM Central, 10/19).

It is good to see the gradient is positive, after trending sideways for some days. Of course, these statistics mean that around 2.7 million American citizens are without power; and about 1 million without water service one month after Hurricane Maria struck the island. It is also good that the President has not suggested pulling out FEMA and other Federal support again. I know, it’s a low bar, but these days I am thankful for whatever I can get.

60 thoughts on ““We’re Doing a Great Job” in Puerto Rico

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Bruce Hall: So if I can interpret you, because PR was badly governed pre-hurricane, then it deserved to have delayed assistance (particularly regarding military assets), and negative moral support from the Head of State. (Compare and contrast DJT’s tweets re: Texas and Florida vs. those for PR, for some empirical evidence.)

      Thank you for confirming my earlier impressions.

      1. Bruce Hall

        No, your “spin” is not what I was indicating. If you read the article you would have recognized the enormity of trying to do anything with a system that was already plagued with power outages due to obsolete equipment and that service, prior to the hurricanes, was abominable.

        In a different post, I also alluded to the fact that PR kicked out the navy from an adjacent small island which, had PR not done that, would have been available as a logistical center for getting supplies and equipment in rather than being blocked by union activities at the port.

        I’d question that, given the widespread destruction, power could be routed to flattened homes. If uninhabitable structures are included in the statistics for power availability, I believe that is a non-sequitur.

        If you believe reconstruction of an entire island that was substandard to begin with can take place in a matter of a few months, you’re better off at economic conferences.

        1. pgl

          Since everyone knew Puerto Rico was not as modern as say New York City – one would think the Federal government would have sent in more assistance not less. I think this is Menzie’s point. And yes – we could have gotten the basics of food, water, and health care there much faster. I’m tired of these lame excuses as they are of zero help when people are dying.

  1. PeakTrader

    It’s politically correct to say nothing about Puerto Rico’s government debt and just do what the Mayor of San Juan wants – get taxpayers from the states to pay for the decades of corruption and incompetence. That’s what Obama would’ve done.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Peak Trader: How much of the flood damage in Texas was due to the fact that they abstain from implementing policies that would limit paving over vast areas? The damage was arguably greater as a consequence — and who is footing part of the costs for that? And yet I don’t hear you complaining about those costs. Selective, I think. Curious and curiouser.

      1. PeakTrader

        Menzie Chinn, yes, selective, but not what you think. Puerto Rico has a debt crisis, while Texas is required by law to manage balance budgets.

        The federal government is spending money and other resources on Puerto Rico, but it can only do so much for such a “basket case.”

          1. PeakTrader

            The government perfectly fits that definition.

            A Russian friend left Russia and I don’t find that “very insulting.”

      2. Steven Kopits

        I don’t think it’s reasonable to plan any city around the assumption of 50 inches of rain in three days. While neither a record for single day rainfall (42″, in Texas) nor rain in total (offshore), Harvey dumped huge amounts on Houston.

        If you know Houston, you know there are large drainage ditches everywhere.

        If you want to allocate even more space for runoff collection, then by definition, you have to reduce housing density, leading to even longer commuter times, which are already daunting in many cases. There is a trade-off to be made, and I am not convinced 50″ is the place to draw the line.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Steven Kopits: And here I thought a direct implication of global climate change predicted by many of those maligned models was increased rainfall in certain portions of the US. Silly me.

          1. Steven Kopits

            I don’t think there are predictable rainfall trends.

            For example, Vermont has seen three very wet years in the last decade or so; there is absolutely no trend in New Jersey, by contrast. There is no longer term trend on a national basis.

            There is an argument for increased hurricanes, but no compelling evidence to that effect. There is no effect on tornadoes.

            In any event, precipitation is really not a good indicator for climate change, in part because it is influenced by a great many variables, to wit, the Pineapple Express which drowned claims of perma-drought in California.

            Now, I am not saying that a warming climate will have no effect on rainfall. I am, however, saying that rainfall is a very noisy statistic, and not the one to pin the argument on.

            If I were going to pick a single marker, I’d probably vote for corals, because they have tight temperature tolerances and are in already hot climates.

        2. baffling

          “I don’t think it’s reasonable to plan any city around the assumption of 50 inches of rain in three days. ”
          you are correct. you cannot economically design around worst case scenarios. hence you need to acknowledge the local community will be overwhelmed, and place external resources that can effectively enter the damage zone and begin recovery with minimal support from the affected local community. in houston, to a large extent, this did occur. this aspect was a colossal failure with respect to hurricane katrina in new orleans, and we learned valuable lessons. the response in puerto rico has not rivaled katrina in terms of incompetence. but the response has certainly been underwhelming in achieving the goal of supporting the local community during and immediately after the disaster. just like designing for 50 inches of rain, there really is no community design against a 155 mph storm. external support did exist, but it was not nearly as large, supportive, and independent as was necessary for the island community. the is a territory of the USA, but i have the feeling many on the mainland do not give it equal standing. if this had been miami-dade, the country as a whole would probably be demanding more from the federal government in terms of assistance than we have seen on the island thus far.

  2. Bruce Hall

    A better question might be: what were the Puerto Rican governor and other officials doing for a year prior to the hurricane? Even this somewhat apologetic analysis can’t avoid coming to my original conclusion that PR was a mess that got agitated (colloquially, a $hitstorm). http://abcnews.go.com/US/puerto-rico-warned-power-grid-literally-falling-maria/story?id=50560446

    The real holdup seems to be in Congress where some might be asking the question, “Who should be trusted to manage the reconstruction process?” They might also be thinking, “Not the people who let Puerto Rico fall into disrepair in the first place.”

    Odd, don’t you agree, that Puerto Rico wasn’t prepared for a major hurricane? I guess that would be equivalent to San Francisco or Seattle not being prepared for a major earthquake. “We know it’s going to happen, but we’ll think about it mañana. Then someone else will take care of us.”

    1. PeakTrader

      Yes, Puerto Rico’s infrastructure was a disaster before the hurricanes. For example:

      Mike Hyland, senior vice president of engineering for the American Public Power Assn., a nonprofit organization that sent equipment and utility experts to help with recovery, said officials are conducting a comprehensive assessment of damage to the electrical system, relying in part on drones sent by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

      “It is going to be a long and arduous process and patience is the key word,” Hyland said.

      The neglect led to massive and chronic failures at the Aguirre and Palo Seco power plants. The three-day blackout in September 2016 underscored how fragile the system was, and that the company was “unable to cope with this first contingency,” the Synapse Energy report said. As of 2014 the government-owned company was $9 billion in debt, and in July, it filed for bankruptcy.”

  3. Rick Stryker


    Trump’s A grade he gave to his Administration’s response on Puerto Rico is fair. According to the Washington Post, Trump has “dispatched to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands more than 19,000 military and civilian personnel who are working around the clock to restore electricity, distribute supplies and care for the injured.” Also, HHS has “sent more than 600 on-site medical personnel who have provided care to 3,000 patients.”

    In fact, former Clinton Administration FEMA director James Witt told the WaPo that he’d give the Trump Administration an A+ for its response to all the hurricanes, including Puerto Rico.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Rick Stryker: I was anticipating that you would write. Well, others have different assessments. And I would say we still don’t know why it took so long for military assets to be mobilized, and why in the days right after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the President was not engaged in making sure the response was adequate…Oh:

      Whether Washington realized just how much ruin Maria had caused in Puerto Rico was unclear immediately following the storm. Federal sources insisted the White House was closely engaged in the response. But Trump spent the weekend golfing in New Jersey and tweeting about National Football League players kneeling in protest during the national anthem, diverting most of the public’s attention away from the isolated island.

      It was FEMA Administrator Brock Long and White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert who appeared to finally sound the alarm in Washington on Sept. 25 — five days after Maria’s landfall — following a Puerto Rico visit in which they flew over the stricken island. They got an earful from state leaders, in private, about the slow federal response. In public, Rosselló warned of a “humanitarian crisis” that could lead to a “mass exodus.”

      I am sure you will insist this publication is fake news, if you hold true to form as an apologist for the Administration.

      By the way, do you still think 500,000 jobs/mo is standard in a recovery?

      1. Bruce Hall

        Military not there fast enough:

        Logistical actions:

        FEMA to blame:
        But with 77 helicopters and 19,000 troops on the island three weeks after the storm, the relief effort was “robust,” Byrne said, delivering one million liters of water on Oct. 17, and 600,000 meals. “So there’s always slow ramp up time, but once you get the pump primed, things get moving. And it took longer to get this pump primed, because it’s 1,000 miles from the mainland.”

        “We know it’s going to happen, but we’ll think about it mañana. Then someone else will take care of us.”

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Bruce Hall: How far away from the mainland is Haiti?

          By the way, do you think the President was fully engaged in the days after the Hurricane hit, in-between tweeting about the NFL? Just curious.

          1. Bruce Hall

            Point one: U.S. aid to Haiti after a powerful, but brief earthquake was not hampered by an on-going earthquakes as did hurricane Maria east of Florida 4 days after striking Puerto Rico. This was just a couple weeks after hurricane Irma had already caused problems to Puerto Rico. Additionally, the earthquake was more localized than the effects of two hurricanes which affected the entire island of Puerto Rico. This provided areas to stage recovery efforts and to move people. https://media1.britannica.com/eb-media/73/136073-004-57489415.jpg Logistically, apples to figs..

            Once again, military response would have been faster if the Puerto Ricans hadn’t kicked the navy out of Vieques Island, but that was Trump’s fault, too. That’s Trump spelled B i l l C l i n t o n… if you need to assign blame for allowing that.

            Point two: 30-second tweets about the NFL are hardly significant relative to the overall effort to aid/rescue Puerto Rico. That’s like saying Menzie Chinn can’t take care of his academic responsibilities because he spends a couple of minutes responding to blog comments.

            I recognize the antagonism toward Trump, but this is stretching a bit.

          2. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Bruce Hall: A cursory search indicates the decision to end the US naval base operations was by President George W. Bush. Do you have different source (e.g. RT?) that states otherwise?

            I guess here is your tradeoff, in any case: have a bombing range next door, and have a naval base from which to stage rescue operations from, or don’t have a bombing range, and you should suffer. That in a nutshell is what you are posing. So, PR deserves everything it got.

          3. baffling

            “Once again, military response would have been faster if the Puerto Ricans hadn’t kicked the navy out of Vieques Island, but that was Trump’s fault, too. That’s Trump spelled B i l l C l i n t o n… if you need to assign blame for allowing that.”
            using vieques as cover is a straw man argument. that island took a direct hit from the storm, and stripped trees of foliage. the port was severely damaged. it was not a resource available to the mainland, even if it had remained a naval station.

            look, puerto rico took a direct hit from a cat 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds. even if the island had not been derelict in its electric and water infrastructure, a storm of that magnitude would have devastated even a “prepared” island. you cannot defend your infrastructure against such catastrophic storms. the infrastructure is too large and too vulnerable for such an event. the city of miami was under a nightmare scenario for this very reason-and they have the best hurricane preparation plans in the country. this storm, if it had struck miami-dade directly, would have been catastrophic as well. so please, quit politicizing this event with commentary of puerto rican debt and mismanagement. the us virgin islands are in similar catastrophic conditions, and they did not have the same mismanagement as PR. category 4 and 5 storms will present catastrophic damage no matter how prepared you may think you are.

          4. PeakTrader

            Baffling, how about some expert opinion to support your assumptions.

            We know the infrastructure was weak and know it’ll take a long time to restore it.

            Have you ever read the Three Little Pigs?

          5. Bruce Hall


            You are correct. According to the report:
            In response to widespread protest, President Clinton created two committees to report on the Navy’s impact in Vieques. Based on the results of these studies, Clinton offered up to $90 million as economic incentive to allow indefinite use of the island for military purposes. A referendum was to be held that would give residents the option between financial support and the removal of the U.S. Navy within three years. Actionists rejected this offer and continued to demand immediate withdrawal. An informal referendum in July 2001 showed that 70% of the population wanted the Navy to leave immediately. President Bush reversed Clinton’s attempts to negotiate with Vieques and stated that the Navy would halt military exercises in February and leave the island by May 2003. The closure of both military bases on Vieques was met with an island-wide celebration and support rally.

            So, apparently, the Puerto Ricans were to blame for the lack of a military base to act as an emergency staging area.

          6. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Bruce Hall: Thank you for correcting the record on who finalized the closure of the base. It was President G.W. Bush, we all now agree.

            Now, I must confess, if I was given the choice of (1) you can have a target range next door, and have the Federal government support you in an emergency, or (2) don’t have the target range next door, and be left to your own devices for a week (why did it take so long to send the hospital ship? why was only a amphibious assault ship deployed to PR, when an amphibious assault ship and an aircraft carrier were sent to Florida?), I might’ve taken the target range.

            But then, if I had known that Donald Trump would be president, I might’ve guessed that even with the base there, help would not have been forthcoming. I think reasonable people can ask what Mr. Trump would’ve done even with the base there (assuming it would’ve been operational after the hurricane struck).

          7. Bruce Hall

            baffling you are correct.

            Puerto Rico’s infrastructure was a mess before the two hurricanes. The power grid was already on the verge of collapse. The military was forced to use the main island port for unloading and redistribution instead of what used to be a nearby military base. http://www.nola.com/hurricane/index.ssf/2017/09/puerto_rico_storm_aid_ports.html
            “There are plenty of ships and plenty of cargo to come into the island,” said Mark Miller, a spokesman for Crowley, based in Jacksonville, Florida. “From there, that’s where the supply chain breaks down — getting the goods from the port to the people on the island who need them.”

            So, I agree that it might be best to “quit politicizing this event with commentary of puerto rican debt and mismanagement. the us virgin islands are in similar catastrophic conditions, and they did not have the same mismanagement as PR. category 4 and 5 storms will present catastrophic damage no matter how prepared you may think you are.”

            Except it’s still Trump’s fault that more hasn’t be done sooner. He could have had more supply ships sent and anchored them in the harbor where they would have stood for weeks or months while the mess at the docks was handled. He could have sent more than the thousands of troops to Puerto Rico where there would be no facilities for them. Or, perhaps, the response was the best that it could have been under the circumstances.

            I wonder if the local building codes are going to change.

          8. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Bruce Hall: As of four days ago, not clear FEMA has full authorization to do infrastructure repair; see Vox. US Virgin Islands have been authorized for this.

          9. Bruce Hall


            I believe that military hospital ships are not provisioned for the scope of what happened in Puerto Rico. It takes some time to get the supplies and medical staff together. Plus, hurricane Maria was still directly east of Florida 4 days after it hit Puerto Rico, so immediate sailing into the Caribbean might not have be wise. Regardless, the hospital ship did arrive by Oct. 4.

            There are some good articles on the Defense Logistics Agency website that may shed light on why the effort wasn’t a “flip of the switch” process.

          10. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Bruce Hall: I understand that the ship could not be deployed immediately; yet press accounts noted that one week after the hurricane had struck, preparations were just beginning to get the ship prepared to get underway.

          11. baffling

            “Baffling, how about some expert opinion to support your assumptions.”
            peak, that was expert opinion. i know infrastructure resilience. there is a reason you evacuate for category 5 and high 4 storms. other than a few isolated, reinforced structures, your general infrastructure will be destroyed. it would not have made a difference if puerto rico had world class electric grids prior to the storm, they would not have survived 155 mph winds. period. look at homestead in florida after hurricane andrew to understand the type of devastation this storm can impart. and that was the mainland usa.

          12. baffling

            “I wonder if the local building codes are going to change.”
            bruce, the short term answer is probably not. why? mostly economics. puerto rico is poor, and strict building codes are costly. miami-dade has the best hurricane building codes in the country. but that has contributed to increased cost in housing construction. there are some things which could be implemented on the island, such as hurricane ties for the roofs. but other improvements, such as impact resistant windows and walls, are probably beyond the cost of most on the island. in addition, it does take a slightly higher skill to design and build hurricane resistant structures. not sure if that labor pool can effectively build the houses properly. faulty installation is as bad as no installation in many cases. in an ideal world we could improve the future performance of the island, but in reality the economics make such changes less likely.

    2. baffling

      from james witt:
      “Shortly after the initial responses to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Florida and Texas, I was asked if I would give the Trump Administration and FEMA an A+ for those responses. I said I would, on both hurricanes. This was prior to hurricane Maria in Puerto Rica and the Virgin Islands. Even today it is yet to be determined whether the ultimate response to that hurricane will get an A, C or F or something else. As time goes by that will become apparent.”

      rick stryker, you are incorrect in that he included that grade for puerto rico. he explicitly clarified his grade.

      1. Menzie Chinn Post author

        baffling: Please don’t bother Rick Stryker with facts. He still sticks to the idea that 500,000 jobs/mo is the normal rate of job creation in a recovery.

  4. Anonymous

    Maintenance of local electric grids is not a Federal responsibility.

    Puerto Rico was mismanaged in terms of infrastructure and is financially near bankrupt. This is the fault of the local government. A left wing government.

    Somehow, you want to cite every isolated data point that makes a Republican governor look bad in Wisconsin or Kansas, but then it’s the Republicans fault that PR is screwed up?

    1. pgl

      One of the major reasons for Puerto Rico’s troubles had to do with section 936 and its aftermath. I guess the House Ways and Means Committee are a pack of communists!

    2. baffling

      mismanagement was not the cause of the grid failure. it was the result of a 155 mph major hurricane striking an island. such a storm would have been catastrophic even if the grid had not been mismanaged. you really believe a well managed electric grid could have withstood 155 mph winds and catastrophic flooding? it would have failed as well. so the question is, if the grid had been well maintained, and yet still undertook the same catastrophic damage (which it would have taken), do you still think the response is adequate?

        1. baffling

          even a well designed and built grid would have collapsed under 155mph hurricane. you cannot design and build a large infrastructure system to withstand that type of storm. so you can argue they had a poor grid prior to the storm. but it made no difference with the strength of this storm. if this had been a cat 1 or mild 2, your argument would have more merit. but not in this case. the storm would have destroyed any built infrastructure. go ask the virgin islands.

      1. Lyle

        Actually part of the issue was that the power plants were on the other side of the island from the major loads (i.e. the power plants were on the south side of the island and San Juan is on the north side of the island). This was because a while ago it was proposed to build a big oil refinery on the south shore which did not happen, but the power plants were there. Then the transmission lines had to cross the interior and for one reason or another the transmission lines did not follow the roads so that fixing them was much harder. The rainfall was so far above normal that a lot of secondary roads to small settlements had major bridge destruction failures, In an island where flash floods are very common. The communications failures where the fault of relying on the cell phone network and land lines to work. Each municipality should have had some ham radio operators set up to communicate with both San Juan and the mainland. In fact equipment should have been prestaged for this. For the small settlements a network of CB radios and small generators could have been provided. In many respects the communications failures were a bigger issue since they were preventable.

  5. 2slugbaits

    No one expects Trump to put on overalls and physically join in the clean-up and restoration efforts. No one expects Trump to be on the ground directing this or that. Trump’s job is to make sure he directs agencies to prepare all of the necessary documents and executive orders that are required to get the bureaucratic machine rolling. For example, releasing government owned assets from DoD humanitarian mission stockpiles require executive orders. Obligating contracts above certain thresholds have to be approved at certain levels in the bureaucracy, which can be a real problem when there are so many senior executive positions that are still vacant in this Administration. And that’s where Trump fell down on the job. He was slow to move out with executive orders. He alone is responsible for the decapitated leadership across the bureaucracy. Once he finally got around to doing his job, then things started to improve because the career folks across the bureaucracy were finally able to start doing their jobs. But Trump was very slow to move.

    One risk with criticizing Trump too much is that he might take it as an invitation to get further involved, and that would be a very bad thing. Trump is an incompetent bungler and the last thing the people of Puerto Rico need is his active involvement at this stage of the recovery. At this point the best thing would be for him to stay on the golf course. He should just stay on the links and sign whatever additional orders the bureaucracy puts under his nose.

  6. 2slugbaits

    Rick Stryker and Bruce Hall

    The stories and references you cite all refer to the good news stories being done by people not named Donald Trump. I know some of those folks who are heading up the relief efforts and they’re working their butts off. So if you want to give those folks an A+, then I’m fine with that. The problem is that Trump wasn’t doing his job, which made an already tough job even tougher. As one of your sources noted, part of the problem was that top positions within FEMA (not mention other government agencies) remained unfilled 8 months into the Trump presidency. Whose fault is that? And just a few weeks before hurricane season the Trump Administration planned to cut ~$700M from FEMA’s budget. Whose fault is that? Unlike Haiti’s earthquake, these hurricanes did not come out of the blue as a complete surprise. We knew for almost a full week before Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico that it was going to be a whopper. Did Trump direct DoD and federal relief agencies to begin logistical operations in advance of a well anticipated hurricane? No. Whose fault was that? A lot of the prepositioned pallets of food and water held for humanitarian relief are stored at Sierra Army Depot; i.e., a long way from Puerto Rico. Did Trump direct DoD to start moving those supplies to ports and staging areas during that week prior to Maria making landfall? No. Did Trump direct DoD to prepare release documents for generators? No. Did Trump direct the Army Sustainment Command and the Corps of Engineers to mobilize civilian logisticians in advance of Maria? No. Did Trump take any actions to clear the port areas in PR before the storm hit? No. The bottom line is that Trump didn’t do his job…a job that only he can do. And because Trump was too busy playing golf and throwing tweeter temper tantrums precious time was lost. The people working in Puerto Rico are doing a great job in spite of Trump, not because of him.

  7. 2slugbaits

    Bruce Hall

    There are some good articles on the Defense Logistics Agency website that may shed light on why the effort wasn’t a “flip of the switch” process.

    This is just FYI, but just to clarify for those not steeped in government stuff, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is mainly about logistics execution rather than logistics planning. For example, the services compute how much is needed to support some mission (it could be a combat or humanitarian mission) and direct DLA to execute that plan; i.e., DLA performs the warehouse and packaging functions as well as negotiating with commercial freight carriers. Typically the services “war game” hundreds of various scenarios, which are then assigned project codes. When the President, SECDEF and Joint Chiefs give the orders and release the necessary funding, then the lead service directs DLA to execute the physical logistics; i.e., the physical movement of materiel. So yes, there are lots of things that have to happen before stuff actually gets moving. You’re quite right that it’s not just a matter of flipping a switch; however, someone still has to flip a switch in order to get the ball rolling, to mix metaphors. And that’s my beef with President Trump. Everyone knew several days in advance that Maria was going to be a monster. Trump should have spent that time in the WH situation room with his DoD and FEMA chiefs rather than watching “Fox and Friends” and tweeting at 3:00am.

    1. PeakTrader

      2slugbaits, it would’ve been a waste of time watching the hurricane for several days to see where it hits. Nonetheless, some preparations took place. And, the Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and contractors from the states responded quickly after the hurricane blew through. The problem is the outdated and above ground power system. It should be noted, it took six months to restore power after hurricane Hugo in 1989. There’s too much Monday morning quarterbacking.

      1. 2slugbaits

        PeakTrader it would’ve been a waste of time watching the hurricane for several days to see where it hits

        Wrong on several accounts. For one thing, anyone who followed the Weather Channel knew with a high degree of confidence that the hurricane was headed for Puerto Rico and that it would be a Cat 4 or Cat 5 event. To claim otherwise is willful ignorance. Also, even if we didn’t know exactly where the hurricane would hit, we knew that we would still need relief efforts somewhere. And whose time would have been “wasted” if Trump had spent time in the Situation Room rather than tweeting, playing golf or watching “Fox and Friends”? Maybe Trump should spend some time reading the POTUS job description.

        The Trump Administration took a reactive approach to managing a disaster. They waited for it to happen before doing anything. Just because you cannot control everything is not an excuse to do nothing until after-the-fact.

        The problem is the outdated and above ground power system.

        Wrong. That is ONE problem among many, but not “THE” problem. Please learn the difference between an indefinite article adjective and a definite article adjective. Also, your comment is irrelevant to the problem at hand. What we’re discussing is Trump’s grade to himself regarding how he managed the disaster, not whether or not PR should have had below ground power lines. In any event, the power line question doesn’t address the water supply problem, which was also acute.

        There’s too much Monday morning quarterbacking.

        Quite the contrary. There’s not enough. And oh by the way, every NFL team looks at game film on Monday morning in order to see what worked and what didn’t. “Monday morning quarterbacking” is how NFL teams learn from their mistakes. Trump’s problem (and evidently yours as well) is that he refuses to admit any mistakes, so it’s impossible for him (or you) to ever learn from them.

  8. PeakTrader

    2slugbaits, hurricane Irma, just before hurricane Maria, was a “monster hurricane” too, but it seemed to slightly veer off a day or two before and caused relatively little damage.

    Puerto Rico’s poor infrastructure is not Trump’s fault.

    You can learn from prior hurricanes, but Maria was the worst in many decades.

  9. TinMan

    Mystery: Millions of Americans in the direst of situations and we debate whether to help because their fate is their own fault.

    Explanation: they’re mostly brown and don’t speak English so they’re not really Americans.

    Thanks, Occam.

    1. PeakTrader

      It seems, the most important thing about people to leftists is the color of their skin. Then, all kinds of stereotypes can be drawn, while downplaying or simply ignoring other factors.

    2. baffling

      I have found the first line of defense of most racists, especially those that are not overtly racist, is to deny racism and discrimination exists in the first place. then there is no need to discuss a problem that does not exist.

        1. baffling

          peaktrader, here is a simple question. does racism, discrimination or bigotry exist as a problem in america today?

          1. PeakTrader

            It’s not a big problem.

            The perception is a big problem.

            Lunatic fringe groups exist in America.

          2. Menzie Chinn Post author

            PeakTrader: I’ll be sure to tell the family of Trayvon Martin next time I have the opportunity it’s not a big problem … for PeakTrader at least.

          3. baffling

            actually peak, it is a problem. it is the reason we have nondiscrimination notices, seminars, and entire HR departments devoted to addressing the problem. my experience has been those that most deny it is an issue are the ones contributing to it being a problem to begin with. my guess, throughout your career, you have been unknowingly guilty of promoting such behavior. hence your position that it is not a problem. overt racism and discrimination may be on the fringe, but covert racism and discrimination are embedded in our society today. why do you think people talk of dog whistles? it exists.

          4. PeakTrader

            It’s a much smaller problem than you think.

            The big problem is perception.

            And, I’m sure, some people have a chip on their shoulder.

            Of course, people like you like to discriminate against Asians attending universities in the name of equality.

          5. baffling

            and there you have it. peaktrader denies racism and discrimination is a problem in america today. as i said, most who practice discrimination deny its existence. some insight into the mind of those who discriminate. peak trader believes it is ok to remove the black population from death statistics, because it improves the outcome of the statistics. apparently the black population presents a problem, and is best to remove them from the discussion rather than deal with the issues. apparently they should not be treated as equal citizens when we examine our population. with that insight, you can better understand how one could even rationalize not to hire a black person for a job, and still believe that is not discrimination. the world of peaktrader.

            peaktrader, your denial of racism and discrimination in america today illustrates your ignorance of the modern world. please return to your cave.

          6. PeakTrader

            Menzie Chinn, what’s sad is security guards are needed in too many black neighborhoods.

            To you, it’s just racism.

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