28 March 2009

Mother Nature's rebuttal

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal gives the GOP response to President Obama's address Tuesday.
Know-nothing conservative wunderkind Bobby Jindal, tapped to respond to President Obama's NSOTU, used his national TV platform last month to sneer at "wasteful spending," including "$140
million for something called 'volcano monitoring.'" (scare quotes in original)

In a bit of karmic wonderfulness, Alaska's Mount Redoubt erupted last week, allowing the USGS to educate Governor Jindal: this is volcano monitoring.

AVO Image
Bonus geek points for the USGS: Redoubt eruption updates and ashfall forecasts have their own Twitter feed.   "Another explosive eruption of Redoubt volcano occurred at approximately 01:20 AKDT (0920 UTC). NWS reports a cloud top of 50,000 ft above..."

Volcanoes are cool.   Volcanoes that debunk right-wing canards are cooler.


  1. This is just a strange all-over-the-place post. In looking at the volcano monitoring link, it appears that the volcano is currently being monitored just fine. It even seems that the precise time of the eruption was known! OMG! I'm not entirely clear how the eruption of a volcano in Alaska means Americans as a whole must be taxed $140 million more dollars in the context of the worst recession since 1931.

    Smart doctor, really off-the-mark on macroeconomics as per usual. All of this money is paid back w/interest to China or Japan or whoever is buying our treasury bonds, remember. $140 million + interest is not chump change.

  2. Point was not necessarily that $140 million extra is needed or is good policy -- really, who the hell outside of the field of Geology really knows that? Point was that "volcano monitoring" is not some bizarre weird way for the government to spent money. It's not like it was $140 million to search for the lost continent of Atlantis. Because the US has volcanoes and they do erupt from time to time. To mock it is just wrong (and perhaps representative of Jindal's anti-science views), and it was lovely timing for mother nature to demonstrate that a right-wing hack is just that.

    Also, the other point is, volcanoes are cool That must be emphasized.

  3. I guess what I want to know is...what are we debunking by acknowledging that volcanoes do erupt and that the government is already monitoring this sufficiently with existing money?

  4. I guess "seismology" is a word that even I know; I'm pretty sure Jindal is aware of that as well. That this is in a stimulus plan deserves mockery. I mean, what, the volcanoes are already being monitored, so are we going to pay tourists to look at them now too and take purty fotos? Mockery deserved in my opinion.

  5. "Sufficient" monitoring is an open question -- you do not know that (and neither do I).

    As for the stimulus -- the spending is clearly stimulative. They'll be paying the makers of the gadgets, and the helicopter pilots, and the mainframe computers makers, and the academics to analyse the data. Those are all jobs that will be created, staffed up, etc, related to this sort of spending.

    This is what a lot of people don't get -- just about all government spending is stimulative. If you pay a man to dig a hole and fill it up again, that's stimulative -- it's terrible policy, but it is inarguably stimulative. The WPA was little more than that, though the public got some nice parks and bridges out of the deal. This sort of spending is like that, only high tech. The public (hopefully) sees a benefit, and in the meantime, a lot of money gets injected into the private sector to spur the economy.

  6. "Clearly" stimulative. LOLOLOL.

    Where are we building/assembling computers in the United States? My dad tests huge mainframe hard-drives and all his are built in Singapore. I'm sure the Singaporeans will be more than happy to take our money. Maybe if they get a contract or two, they'll give my dad and the other few hundred employees their 10% pay cuts back. Stimulative.

    Haven't you heard the allegory of the economics professor telling his student who doesn't understand the stimulus package to come over to his house, and take water from the deep end of the swimming pool and dump it out in the shallow end over and over to "stimulate" the shallow end to become deeper? Hm, it's the same water being redistributed in the same finite amount of space, doesn't make the pool overflow.

    Of course, selling a bunch of treasury bonds (ie creating money) may inject money into the economy, but it causes inflation and we have to pay all of it back plus more. Between the inflation, the lag time, and the interest, I doubt it will do anything other than teach future generations to not do that anymore, I hope.

  7. I am no economics wizard, and make no claim to such. However, even I have a really hard time trying to justify a statement like "All gov't spending is a stimulus" If this were at all true, there should be no recession or crisis at all, since the gov't has been spending more and more every year. So if all gov't spending stimulates, why is there a crisis? As to your model of paying a man to dig a hole and then fill it back in, the one fact that you overlooked is that the money that is paying him is HIS OWN money. Gov't has no income and no money except what it takes from us. So if taking money from your pocket, giving it to the gov't, then accepting that same money back as payment for digging and refilling a hole can be considered a stimulus, then go for it!!

  8. live within 100 miles of an active volcano, one that's erupted and killed people within my lifetime (and I'm almost 30!)

    Cutting volcano monitoring in my neighborhood is like cutting tornado monitoring in Kansas or cutting hurricane monitoring in Florida.

  9. Dang...Shadow. You got Nurse K on your Dizzik...Too bad HH ain't playin much anymore, but I enjoy Movin' Meat and Nurse K banter much better. HH is a d-weeb.

  10. ...like cutting tornado monitoring in Kansas or cutting hurricane monitoring in Florida.

    I'm sure the meterologists on the nightly news will be just fine without government funding.

  11. Nurse K:

    I'm sure the meterologists on the nightly news will be just fine without government funding.

    Ohmygod. Give it up and go home now before you embarass yourself any more.

    So, where do you think they get the data for their predictions? DUH! The fucking NWS and the GOVERNMENT-OWNED-AND-OPERATED weather data collection network. Did you think there's a fleet of NBC weather satellites? Really?

    It would be funny, but it's actually kind of sad.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.