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"Volcano monitoring" -- ANOTHER GOP LIE Exposed

Sarah's picture

Even Fox News admits that $140 million budget item for "volcano monitoring" Bobby Jindal pooh-poohed last night isn't what he claimed. That money is for the United States Geological Survey, which will use it for a variety of purposes -- none of them the sort of boondoggle Jindal evoked, with his sly comment. (Where was his watchfulness when President Bush and his cooperative Republican Congress spent us from a surplus into a multi-TRILLION deficit? Oh, right. Lapping at the trough.)

The money buys monitoring equipment for the US Geological Survey's many tasks, including stream flow watches, mapping, and, yes, keeping tabs on volcanoes, according to Scientific American.

Stream flow? Yeah, you know -- surface water, in the United States -- and whether it's normal flow, low flow, rising or over flood stage. Now maybe Bobby Jindal doesn't care about flooding. After all, he's only the Republican governor of Louisiana, so maybe floods don't bother him. But in Texas, we actually give a damn about public safety.
Including flooding. (For what it's worth, the northwest Brazos River watershed -- I'm nearly at the top of the Double Mountain Fork, where I live doesn't flood very often, but boy howdy, when it does, the thing to do is get out of the way of the water.)

I realize that's not a concept the GOP is strongly interested in, because it does not involve complicated financial maneuvers. It involves saving lives. Still, even if they're not financiers or bankers or insurance moguls, lives matter. Flood is the commonest natural disaster in the United States.

Why wouldn't you want to watch what was happening in streams? Why wouldn't you want to support, oh, the National Weather Service and the Department of Homeland Security's disaster-preparation programs by keeping an eye out for potential fast-rising water? Why wouldn't you want to warn people ahead of a flood, whether of water or lava?

As Mother Jones put it earlier today:

The 'volcano monitoring' part is almost as misleading. According to ProPublica, the relevant portion of the stimulus money is for "U.S. Geological Survey facilities and equipment, including stream gages, seismic and volcano monitoring systems and national map activities." It seems obvious that employing geologists, building facilities, buying equipment, and paying people to map the country all have a stimulative effect. But more importantly, why does Bobby Jindal think monitoring volcanoes is a bad thing for the government to be doing? There doesn't seem to be any immediate way for private enterprise to profit from monitoring volcanoes (maybe selling volcano insurance?), but there is obviously a huge public benefit from making sure volcanoes are monitored: warning people if a volcano is going to erupt. Isn't that obvious?
Apparently not to Bobby Jindal. But, of course, Bobby Jindal is the person who just tried to tell the nation that the problem with the government's response to Hurricane Katrina was that bureaucrats demanded that people have proof of insurance and registration. It wasn't.
(There's no money in the stimulus to save the San Francisco salt marsh mouse, either.)

I mean, it would be to me -- I think saving lives is more important than lying about money.
But I'm not a Republican

(thank you all the deities) and nor do I play one on TV.
From a CNN article on the volcano-monitoring claim:

Louisiana is no stranger to natural disasters itself, having been devastated by hurricane Katrina in 2005. But Timmy Teepell, Jindal's chief of staff, said the governor stands by his statement.

"That was just one example of wasteful spending in the largest government spending bill in history," Teepell said. "The governor made it clear that we need to grow jobs, not government."

The $140 million line-item for the USGS includes not only monitoring, but also replacement of aging equipment "and other critical deferred maintenance and improvement projects."

The spending could provide new jobs "no different than the amount of money you would spend on building a street or building a bridge or something," said Danny Boston, an economist at Georgia Tech university in Atlanta, Georgia.

That's just one of the lies Jindal's less-than-stellar (quoting one of his backers' description of his performance last night, John Feehery) rebuttal to President Obama's speech featured.

I'm not going to nitpick which, if any, NOLa-area parish sheriff Jindal visited during Katrina rescue operations (consensus around the blogiverse last night seemed to be if he visited with any of 'em, though, it wasn't the one he claimed during his rebuttal speech) and I'm not going to get in a turf-marking spray-fight with Tommy Teepell. I am going to point out, as has been said before, that the tone of the speech seemed irrelevant and the content of the speech seemed disconnected from reality.

The facts don't back up Bobby Jindal. The Conservative pundits are trying (with perhaps the exception of hate radio's own Master Voice) to distance themselves, and the GOP, from the speech Jindal gave, if not from the speaker.

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Submitted by Elliott Lake on

Seeing as how the Pacific Ring of Fire cuts a swath down the whole western coast of the country, and how those volcanoes can and do affect those of us living at all near (Idaho is about 400 miles from Mt St Helens and yet we were strongly affected by it)--I want volcano monitoring. Think of the lives in the balance around Mt. Rainier, for example.

Did Jindal even go to college?

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

I kid you not.

Yes, we do need volcano monitoring in the Pacific Northwest. As mentioned above, Mt. St. Helens caused a lot of havoc nearly 30 years ago. But what do I know. I believe government should provide public goods.

caseyOR's picture
Submitted by caseyOR on

Jindal attended Brown University. He was accepted by both Yale Law School and, I think it was, Harvard Medical School. So much for the highly vaunted Ivy League education.

Salmo's picture
Submitted by Salmo on

Jindal graduated from Brown with a 4.0, dual majors, and significant honors. He did not get in there, or to Yale Law, as a legacy. There is ample evidence in that academic record that he isn't stupid. Which raises the question of why he chose to look so stupid responding to Obama. There is reason to think that he did not do this on his own - the Republican Party was right there by his side. That speech was a team effort, that delivery was a practiced piece of theater. What were they thinking, what were they smoking?

The obvious conclusion is: Republicans believe that intelligence is bad, and real Americans do not want anything like that applied to governance. So they got their smartest guy, and trained him to look like a cross between Gomer Pyle and Mister Rogers speaking down to third graders. I'm sure they thought it was a great plan.

What I want to know, is how's that bipartisanship thing coming along. Now that Republicans have shown they choose to be stupid, how can anyone expect Democrats to work with them?

caseyOR's picture
Submitted by caseyOR on

I was safely in Portland, but in a backyard in NE Portland. I saw that mountain explode. Yes, it really did look like a "mushroom cloud." Even with the warnings that the eruption was coming, people died. Many communities were devastated, literally swept away by the massive debris flows. I shudder to think what would have been the result had the USGS not been monitoring.

I could be wrong here, but don't Republican governors usually not attack programs that are critically important to their states? For example, I can't see Palin, who lives in a volcano state, attacking this program. Nor would I think that Missouri's governor, (Matt Blount isn't it?), would attack federal flood control programs along the Mississippi. So, Jindal's nonsense about Katrina seems out there, even for a Republican.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Seriously, the man's nothing more than the GOP's sacrifice to their very own volcano god. Palin, Jindal, Steele, all of these "answers to Obama" I've seen them called as, have been left holding the GOP's bag.