It is not at all odd that some people do not like some things. Some people do like like oysters, some people don’t like horror movies, some people – generally called cranks – do not like much of anything. One can also qualify as a crank by ranting about something you do not like with some factually and logically challenged opinion passing itself off as insightful punditry. The later is very much the case for Iain Murray and David Bier. They seem to be batsh*t crazy eccentrics who, after many hours of assuring each other that their bizarre world views are in fact quite rational, have decided to get America on their dump the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) bandwagon. Which includes the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center. Do We Really Need a National Weather Service?
As Hurricane Irene bears down on the East Coast, news stations bombard our televisions with constant updates from the National Hurricane Center.
While Americans ought to prepare for the coming storm, federal dollars need not subsidize their preparations. Although it might sound outrageous, the truth is that the National Hurricane Center and its parent agency, the National Weather Service, are relics from America’s past that have actually outlived their usefulness.
The National Weather Service (NWS) was founded in 1870. Originally, the NWS was not a public information agency. It was a national security agency and placed under the Department of War. The Service’s national security function has long since disappeared, but as agencies often do, however, it stuck around and managed to increase its budget.
Today the NWS justifies itself on public interest grounds. It issues severe weather advisories and hijacks local radio and television stations to get the message out. It presumes that citizens do not pay attention to the weather and so it must force important, perhaps lifesaving, information upon them. A few seconds’ thought reveals how silly this is. The weather might be the subject people care most about on a daily basis. There is a very successful private TV channel dedicated to it, 24 hours a day, as well as any number of phone and PC apps. Americans need not be forced to turn over part of their earnings to support weather reporting.
The NWS claims that it supports industries like aviation and shipping, but if they provide a valuable contribution to business, it stands to reason business would willingly support their services. If that is the case, the Service is just corporate welfare. If they would not, it is just a waste.
First this is an editorial column expressing doubts of veracity by Fox News. When did Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda machine for the rabid right ever care about horrible little things like facts. Second, the claim that “private” enterprises such as Accuweather and Weather.com does a better job. Both those services get their baseline data from the NOAA. Anyone can read about what the NOAA does on its web site. Among its weather tracking activities it flies at least two weather tracking balloons a day, it monitors weather tracking stations not just across the U.S. but around the world – knowing what weather fronts are over Asia helps predict the weather for the U.S. NOAA has its own weather satellite system. NOAA has its own weather radar. Some local TV and radio stations have their own radar, but noone has the kind of comprehensive tracking systems used by the NWS or the NHC. What do Weather.com and Accuwetaher add to the mix. They employ their own meteorologists and their own proprietary weather modeling software to analyze the data they get from the NOAA. Sometimes, according to to this article, they get some local temperature projections a little better than does the NOAA.
Fox -Murray-Bier state in their column that the weather is a national security issue and proceed as though that should no longer be a consideration. The alternative is to completely outsource an essential part of military intelligence to private contractors. They supply no financial figures or data of any kind to support the monumental shift of privatizing the NOAA. Typically conservative and thus typically arrogant. It is their opinion and that is all anyone needs to know. Privatizing or outsourcing is not always a bad thing, but the least we could expect is a cost/benefit analysis or a link to one. One of the draw backs to privatizing weather is the high probability of politicizing the weather. Joe Bastardi was one of the featured meteorologist at Accuweather and he is also a climate change denial nut – How many major scientific misstatements does Joe Bastardi have to make before In-Accuweather fires him as their chief long-range forecaster?
Just last month, he cooked the books in an official In-Accuweather video to smear some of the nation’s leading scientists. I called for him to be fired and suggested referring to the company as InAccuweather until it does. Bastardi did ultimately retract the video but couldn’t bring himself to admit that his accusation of fraud against NSIDC was not merely completely unwarranted but totally inappropriate and in fact based in part on his simple misreading of a graph.
Now he has a new official In-Accuweather video, his weekly “Global sea ice and temperature report.” In it he claims the Navy believes Arctic ice is getting thicker, when in fact they have testified to Congress that it is getting thinner and will continue to do so.
Bastardi, who occasionally appears on Fox as a climate change denier, has sense left Accuweather to form his own weather forecasting company. Accuweather is not the only example of a preview of the privatization/politicization of the weather. Right-wing libertarians like the Koch brothers have paid “researchers” to create papers that, surprise, deny global warming. Organizations who have produced slews of paid for junk science about the weather include Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, George C. Marshall Institute, National Center for Policy Analysis and the Heartland Institute.
Another wing-nut from Forbes tells American, Get Real: Hurricane Irene Should Be Renamed “Hurricane Hype”. Patrick Michaels uses a few antidotes about poor weather predictions to claim that all weather predictions must be privatized because everyone at the NOAA has a political agenda he doesn’t like. The only way around that is to let private weather companies with a clear political agenda predict the weather and decide when and who should evacuate. Michaels is sure he is correct. There can be no doubt that if the country would just get on his broken down mentally challenged 1972 Chevy Vega to the promised land of right-wing weather predictors, it’ll be nirvana in a cloud of cotton candy. In a live update stream from CNN this morning as Michaels was showing off his indisputable wisdom – New York’s East River rising; Holland Tunnel closed
New York’s East River and Hudson River topped their banks Sunday morning, sending water into Lower Manhattan, where hundreds of thousands of people had evacuated and millions more were hunkered down to wait out the massive hurricane centered just a few miles away.
[Update 8:57 a.m. Sunday] The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has now closed the north tube of the Holland Tunnel due to flooding, according to a statement. (If any of Patrick Michaels friends are killed in the tunnel – which warnings are over-hyped – just him him the funeral bill)
[Update 8:34 a.m. Sunday] The Hudson River is causing some flooding in the West Village, CNN’s Phil Han reported. Han said part of 10th Avenue has been blocked off and two cars just got stuck in the water.
[Update 8:20 a.m. Sunday] CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and Senior Producer Rose Arce report the Hudson River has overflowed its banks in lower Manhattan with flooding occurring as far as a block inland in the city’s meat packing district.
[Update 8:00 a.m. Sunday] The East River in New York City is topping the edge of its barrier wall, CNN’s Ali Velshi reports from river overlook. Rob Marciano in Long Beach, New York, screams to report over massive surf and high winds. The life guard building appears to have been ripped off its foundation. The streets of Long Beach are flooding. Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras said tropical force winds will continue throughout the area for the next two hours.
By Saturday evening, the storm had already knocked out power in more than a million homes, forced more than a million people off the New Jersey shore alone and caused at least 10 deaths.
[Update 5:11 a.m. Sunday] Nearly 3 million customers across the East Coast are without power as Hurricane Irene churns northeast. Utility customers warned that the numbers are expected to go up as the storm swirls north.
Inside the shell of conservative reality there has been no flooding, no high winds, no property damage, no injuries and no deaths – its all “Hurricane Hype”. Facts and weather are well known liberal plots.
In other news:
C.I.A. Drone Is Said to Kill Al Qaeda’s No. 2. For an America hating Kenyan socialist Obama sure does kill a lot of terrorists.
Perry Says He Hasn’t ‘Backed Off Anything’ In His Book, Still Thinks Social Security Is Unconstitutional. Social Security has been challenged all the way to the SCOTUS and found to be constitutional see Helvering v. Davis and Flemming v. Nestor. Social Security keeps 20 million Americans out of poverty. Social Security is a large component of the social safety net. We have it, we need it, because while free markets are generally a good thing, they are not perfect. The right-wing conservative and libertarian position is that people should save and take care of each other. Look around. A lot of descent hard working Americans are out of work or underemployed. Not because they want to be but because market forces that caused them to be in such circumstances are beyond their control. Even before the financial collapse of 2007-2008 millions of Americans worked and yet could only pay their rent and utilities – the working poor. Rather than admit there is something wrong with a system where a full time employee does not make enough money to live on, we have cons and libertarians blaming low income workers for their plight. While there is very little debate about very wealthy people failing over and over again, yet never suffering the way the genuine middle-class or working poor has to pay. We have a free market dog-eat-dog system for the bottom 50% and plutocratic socialism for those at the top.
AS we celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, we reflect on the life and legacy of this great man. But recent legislation on voting reminds us that there is still work to do. Since January, a majority of state legislatures have passed or considered election-law changes that, taken together, constitute the most concerted effort to restrict the right to vote since before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
[ ]…Having fought for voting rights as a student, I am especially troubled that these laws disproportionately affect young voters. Students at state universities in Wisconsin cannot vote using their current IDs (because the new law requires the cards to have signatures, which those do not). South Carolina prohibits the use of student IDs altogether. Texas also rejects student IDs, but allows voting by those who have a license to carry a concealed handgun. These schemes are clearly crafted to affect not just how we vote, but who votes.
Conservative proponents have argued for photo ID mandates by claiming that widespread voter impersonation exists in America, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. While defending its photo ID law before the Supreme Court, Indiana was unable to cite a single instance of actual voter impersonation at any point in its history. Likewise, in Kansas, there were far more reports of U.F.O. sightings than allegations of voter fraud in the past decade. These theories of systematic fraud are really unfounded fears being exploited to threaten the franchise.
Republicans and their sugar daddy donors will spend millions, if not billions fighting ghosts, but nothing to fight real injustices. All the while complaining that our historically low taxes are too damn high.
The NYT published some corrections to its profile of one of the most corrupt Congress critters to ever serve Darell Issa(R-CA).
An article on Aug. 15 about Representative Darrell Issa’s business dealings, using erroneous information that Mr. Issa’s family foundation filed with the Internal Revenue Service, referred incorrectly to his sale of an AIM mutual fund in 2008. A spokesman for the California Republican now says that the I.R.S. filing is “an incorrect document.” The spokesman, Frederick R. Hill, said that based on Mr. Issa’s private brokerage account records, which he made public with redactions, the purchase of the mutual fund resulted in a $125,000 loss, not a $357,000 gain.
And the article, using incorrect information from the San Diego county assessor’s office, misstated the purchase price for a medical office plaza Mr. Issa’s company bought in Vista, Calif., in 2008. It cost $16.3 million, the assessor’s office now says — not $10.3 million — because the assessor mistakenly omitted in public records a $6 million loan Mr. Issa’s company assumed in the acquisition. Therefore the value of the property remained essentially unchanged, and did not rise 60 percent after Mr. Issa secured federal funding to widen a road alongside the plaza.
That still lives Issa on the hook for a verity of ethical violations and possible criminal activity, including the earmarks for roads near his property, carrying water for Wall St and treating some people who have appeared before his committee with kid gloves. Where is that Special Investigation Mr. Boehner(R-OH)? And why is Issa allowed to remain as a committee chairman with all of these ethical infractions ?