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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Republicans protecting the local weatherman

Thanks for nothing. Republican Rick Santorum has introduced a bill that would require people to pay for the NOAA weather information - as is available at weather.com. Why? Because it is threatening to put the local weatherman out of business:

"NOAA's actions threaten the continued success of the commercial weather industry," Santorum said in a Senate session last week. "It's not an easy prospect for a business to attract advertisers, subscribers, or investors when the government is providing similar products and services for free."

I don't really need my local weatherman until the tornadoes start whirling in Texas. When twisters are on their way, I like the local guy being able to tell me exactly where the twister is, say at Lancaster and Hadley drive (two miles away) or crossing Arkansas and Bowen. The national weather service will never be able to duplicate the storm-tracking that we get around here when the weather gets real bad real fast. For forecasting temps and humidity, the local guys are no better than the government, but I would have thought that the local guys were getting their information from the feds anyway.

I am not sure where I come down on all of this. It seems that publically available weather information is a fairly reasonable thing for the government to provide. It is a heck of a lot more useful than other things the government does.

Upshot: Republicans are protectionist when it serves them or their contributors' interest just like the Dems.

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