Queensland floods:

Ken Lambert writes: Re. “‘Rebuild of postwar proportions’: Queensland floods” (yesterday, item 1).  Having been occupied in successfully sandbagging my business in the last 48 hours to see the flood peak pass at the Port Office at 4.5m at 4am this morning, I was prompted to look for the 1974 flood (pre-Wivenhoe dam) information; The official BOM report is here.

A relevant quotation:

“Meteorological studies suggest that rainfalls well in excess of those recorded in the floods of 1893 and 1974 are possible. Therefore it seems certain that unless major flood mitigation schemes, such as the proposed Wivenhoe Dam, are implemented, floods even greater than those of 1974 will again be experienced in Brisbane.”

1974 flood peak was 6.6m and in 1893 there were two floods at 9.51 and 9.24m. Now there are changes to the hydrology of the river since those dates – but the magnitude of those flood heights (particularly 1893) still far exceeds those of the current event in Brisbane.

Wivenhoe has done its job — and well. All bow down to Joh Bjelke-Petersen who got it built before green ratbags got hold of the agenda.

As we all know, Anthropogenic Global Warming officially started around 1975-80, so the 1974 and 1893 events (and those back to 1841) were free of CO2GHG induced extreme event effects.

The history lesson here is that big floods in Brisbane (and elsewhere in Queensland) might just be “natural variation” in the climate system.

If this applies to Brisbane and Queensland — one fails to see why this conclusion would not apply generally.

Jackie French writes: Re. “Holding back the floods: the difficulty of managing Wivenhoe” (yesterday, item 9). This is why history matters. If politicians and planners had looked at past floods — or taken heed of their own experts’ reports — then this tragedy would be  much less.

Similar planning decisions are made each week all over the country, with little reference to the past, or possible future.  But looking at the images of Australians helping each other, I am very proud to belong to this nation. Private heroism, public shame.

Palin’s “blood libel”:

Travis Gilbert writes: Re. “‘Blood libel’: Palin goes on the offensive” (yesterday, item 4).  “Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own,” Palin said in her prepared speech to camera, flanked by an American flag.

“They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle.”

Palin’s statement in and of itself may seem entirely reasonable if not for the actions of the Republican Party and its then President George Dubya following 9/11. If as Palin states “acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own … They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all citizens of a state…”

Why then would Ms Palin not have condemned the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which effectively punished all of the citizens of those two nations for the actions of the (mostly Saudi) 9/11 hijackers and Saddam Hussein?

Nice try Sarah, some consistency please!

Lucy Sussex writes:  I once had the blood libel cited as fact to me, when interviewing an elderly Russian lady for a research project. She was otherwise intelligent and cultured, but maintained that the Jews had started the pogroms, “by sacrificing little Christian children”.

I have seldom been so chilled in my life. Now Sarah Palin claims she has been “blood-libelled”.”Poor bloody me!” she cries. You have much animal blood on your hands already, madam. If you really don’t want human blood there as well, then stop calling for armed warfare.

Peter Fray

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