Please visit the new home of Majikthise at bigthink.com/blogs/focal-point.

« Poisonous primates | Main | Department of disturbing projections »

April 22, 2005

Santorum vs National Weather Service

The National Weather Service offers free weather reports to all Americans, but Rick Santorum wants to change that.

Feds' weather information could go dark
Thursday, April 21, 2005

Do you want a seven-day weather forecast for your ZIP code? Or hour-by-hour predictions of the temperature, wind speed, humidity and chance of rain? Or weather data beamed to your cellphone?

That information is available for free from the National Weather Service.But under a bill pending in the U.S. Senate, it might all disappear.

The bill, introduced last week by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., would prohibit federal meteorologists from competing with companies such as AccuWeather and The Weather Channel, which offer their own forecasts through paid services and free ad-supported Web sites. [Palm Beach Post]

Santorum argues that the NWS shouldn't "duplicate" the daily weather reports sold in the private sector. Nevermind that these forecasts are based largely on information gathered at taxpayer's expense.

Santorum says the NWS has no right to provide ordinary weather reports because the Service's mission is only to monitor extreme or dangerous weather. Actually, the official mission of the NWS is "the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy." Obviously, farmers, fishermen, pilots, and others depend on accurate weather bulletins for their safety and prosperity all year round, not just during hurricane season.

The outrageous thing about Santorum's bill is that it's a gag order on data NWS has to collect anyway. The Service can't even forecast extreme weather without continuously monitoring weather patterns across the country.

Currently the NWS makes this information available to citizens, other government agencies, and the private sector (including AccuWeather!). Santorum's proposal would forbid NWS to offer this information for free on its website. Presumably the NWS would still have to give the data to AccuWeather and other firms to sell back to the public.

Remember, boys and girls, it's not a stupid business model if you have influential friends.

[Hat tip to Sophia.]

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c61e653ef00d83458309569e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Santorum vs National Weather Service:

» Proposal to cut off free weather data from Big Monkey, Helpy Chalk
Hey look, here is a useful government function that a lot of people depend on. Let’s destroy it! [Read More]

» Strangers Talk Only About The Weather from 2071.org
Via Majikthise, Rick Santorum wants to keep you from getting weather information, information that you've already paid for, because it competes with Accuweather and the Weather Channel. This is my favorite part: [Read More]

» Senator Santorum and the Weather Bug from aTypical Joe: A gay New Yorker living in the rural south.
I'm an IT Professional and I have the WeatherBug on my machine. This, my colleagues cannot abide. They say the weatherbug is odious spyware. They want me to remove it and use something like Forecast Fox or a Windows weather... [Read More]

» Senator Santorum and the Weather Bug from aTypical Joe: A gay New Yorker living in the rural south.
I'm an IT Professional and I have the WeatherBug on my machine. This, my colleagues cannot abide. They say the weatherbug is odious spyware. They want me to remove it and use something like Forecast Fox or a Windows weather... [Read More]

» Senator Santorum and the Weather Bug from aTypical Joe: A gay New Yorker living in the rural south.
I'm an IT Professional and I have the WeatherBug on my machine. This, my colleagues cannot abide. They say the weatherbug is odious spyware. They want me to remove it and use something like Forecast Fox or a Windows weather... [Read More]

» Tuesday, April 26, 2005 from Log: David Chess
The outrageous thing about Santorum's bill is that it's a gag order on data NWS has to collect anyway. The Service can't even forecast extreme weather without continuously monitoring weather patterns across the country. [Read More]

» Poor Florida from Bloodless Coup
I've been picking on them so much lately, I feel the need to share the wealth with my other former state of residence. No, not Rio, sillies...Pennsylvania!!! And, don't for get to wait...for...it... From Donna Wentworth at Corante (hat tip... [Read More]

» Poor Florida from Bloodless Coup
I've been picking on them so much lately, I feel the need to share the wealth with my other former state of residence. No, not Rio, sillies...Pennsylvania!!! And, don't for get to wait...for...it... From Donna Wentworth at Corante (hat tip... [Read More]

Comments

If the NWS continued to gather data on the weather and gave it to Accuweather to sell to the public, couldn't I sue under the Freedom of Information Act and demand that they give the information to me? It might mean a lot of paperwork, but a determined organization could circumvent the ban.

Don't you see the real problem here? It's not just the data, it's the weather itself that's putting industries out of business. Free sunlight and rain are robbing millions of Americans of their livelihoods.

Slashdot, has a great discussion of this, including a link to the record of accuweather's contribution to Santorum's PAC

Ah, the kind of tax increase the GOP can get behind...

Sorry for the previous double post. My browser is acting weird.

The /. discussion also has links to the mission statement of the NWS, some nice analogies to public schools competing with private schools, and cases where people have died in boats and planes because they relied on private weather forcasts rather than the publicly funded ones.

Omigod, let's stop the US post office -- it's stealing money from UPS. And libraries -- jeez, just think how much money Regnery is losing from this 'competition' funded by taxes...

What's interesting about the very rightmost ideological wing about the Republican party--at least ideological on socio-cultural and religious issues--is their total lack of scruples about peddling influence for money. The state and policy are completely for sale. It's also what's made many of them such as Delay holders of the keys to the warchests. And it's also what makes the more centrists of the Republicans embrace the loonies.

Boy do I miss John Heinz.

I'm glad I left PA and got away from having this guy as my senator. Although through my various moves I've had Lott, Chafee, and now Sununu. So I don't know if I'm any better off.

Seriously, I'm considering voting absentee in NH next fall so I can go back to PA and drive my 85 year old grandmother to the polls so she can help vote this guy out.

accuweather is based in PA.

I say we start a fund drive right this minute and raise a million or so in campaign contributions if Rick Santorum promises to suck a cock in public. Just to see if he'll do it.

I say we start a fund drive right this minute and raise a million or so in campaign contributions if Rick Santorum promises to suck a cock in public. Just to see if he'll do it.

Posted by: Amanda
------------------

The sad(?) thing is he would.

My question is, why are senators so damn cheap?

Look, accuweather bought Santorum for a measely $3550.00 (via /.)

I bet it would only take 10 grand to get him to suck dick in public.

Omigod, let's stop the US post office -- it's stealing money from UPS. And libraries -- jeez, just think how much money Regnery is losing from this 'competition' funded by taxes...

You mean that as satire, but I don't think it is. Really, the Republicans have killed satire.

Not just any Dick

It would have to be an idealogically PURE dick...

bjr, have you read Frédéric Bastiat's Petition of the Candle Makers? I kind of suspect you have, since your point is straight out of it. If you haven't, though, I recommend you give it a read. It's great fun! Everyone else, too.

Damn right! Good for Santorum. This "socialized weather" business has got to stop before we find ourselves sliding down the slippery slope to commie pinko totalitarianism.

I do dimly remember reading that. That's good satire. Santorum looks like a republican staffer. He has that same clean-cut-but-sleazy look.

I wonder how Santorum would explain his public dick-sucking to his wife.

What am I saying? Sheesh, I'm sure he'll just use the same excuses he always has before.

Explain it? He would just respond, "why do you hate America?"

Santorum has already become a slang term for "the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex."
www.spreadingsantorum.com/

And he's also known as Man-on-Dog Santorum for his obsessive fear that people will start jumping their dogs' bones if there's no law to prevent it.

So why not combine the "santorum" thing with the dog thing? I'll bet we could get him to felch his own santorum out of a dog's ass for ten grand, easy!

This "privatized" weather reportage has some precedent... It may have been during the former Bush ascendancy- or maybe right after the Reep sweep in the House. I used to get up early to watch the PBS "aviation news & weather" out of Owings Mills, Md. It was the best satellite picture going on, at the time (for a li'l Luddite laddy w/ no computer nor alternatives). They took a knife, right to the budget. I wish that I'd taped their final show- because they were still in shock and disbelief- like it was a sick joke that they had to go along with. I was... nonplussed- for weeks or maybe longer. It was a really fine show! If I recall correctly, it was axed because it was deemed "redundant"- people just didn't Need all that info (& pilots could get it somewhere else, I guess...). I'll be damned if some squidge-brained fetus-fondling marmoset is pulling the plug becuz somebody's yanking his wire- & they get away with it! Sux to Ricky's assmar! (Mebbe he'd gargle the head of the joint chiefs... heard they'd swapped a dick for a peter... Rummy's new fawn...) ^..^

I happen to live near the headquarters of one of the companies being discussed. And my heart truly bleeds to hear that the owners of InAccurateWeatha' are not making enough money to survive. This explains why for the past 15 years or so, they have been buying up building after building in the old downtown area of State College and converting said buildings to student rental units. They are obviously very desperate to put something aside for the inevitable penniless retirement that will come as a result of being driven out of business by those heartless public servants at the NWS.

So by the same logic Accu Weather and Santorum would close down the state and federal govt police and armed services and have private companies protect you based on how much you are willing to pay for those services. I wonder what a lot of the less fortunate communities in the country would think about that. You, the taxpayers, have already paid for the weather data and all the other technology that gets you weather information (doppler radars, automated observing systems, some of the best computer modelling systems in the world). The cost to you has been estimated about $3.50 per person per year, about the cost of a happy meal. I think that is a bargain. The NWS provides all of this infrastructure and the privae companies like Accu Weather take this "free" data, repackage it, and sell it to fools who buy it!! It is the exact same data that the NWS gives out for "free". They are literally biting the hand that feeds them....if the NWS shut off all the lights and walked out the door these private companies who leech off the taxpayer funded weather infrastructure would fold up the next day. Their logic in trying to shut down the NWS is idiotic.

Beware of anything AccuWeather does...remember they are a private business with their own self interests. They will do whatever they can to make more money for themselves(himself)...though this latest twist with getting into bed with Rick Santorum is scary. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that since 1999 employees at AccuWeather donated at least $5,500 to Santorum. To be fair, same with Arlen Specter but notice not as much. See http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05116/494329.stm We all know that corporations buy public officials through campain donations all the time and it looks to me that AccuWeather has made an influence on one idiot, but it's sad when it touches the field of meteorology, a once innocent profession. Of course the NWS and growth of NWS products on the web hurts them. How can it not? Why would anyone pay for the same weather data and service twice? Your taxes already pay for it once. AccuWeather is threatened by the NWS because they see, as do the general public and current AccuWeather customers, that the NWS is putting out quality stuff in a timely manner. This ain't your father's weather sevice anymore (though it's been around a lot longer than AccuWeather). Back in the 60's, 70's and 80's when AccuWeather reigned the NWS was ineffiecient and slow. They really didn't have a public forum to distribute their products. There was a feeble attempt with weather radio but we all know how limited that was (still is). And by the way...why didn't AccuWeather complain then when the NWS started NWR? That provided a specailized service (toning warnings) that reached only certain clients (people who owned NWR). Then along came the public internet...that wonderful levelling field. With the growth of technology and influx of talented IT people to help meteorologists make it work the NWS has become efficient and fast in serving it's clients (the public). The NWS finally has a face and people are waking up and re-discovering what the NWS and e-government really can do with their money. And this makes AccuWeather scared. No longer do they hold all the power. In a way their reaction to this dwindling gap is a good measure that the NWS is right on track and serving the public taxpayers well. I am glad this is all coming out now. It will help to place more focus on the NWS and solidify their presence on the web when other rational thinking senators see the good work the NWS does. To AccuWeather: you reap what you sow. When you bite the hand that feeds you, you get bitten back. To NWS: continue to take the high road and provide me the good service I am paying for. To elected officials: Big Brother is watching you.

Christian for Sale

Sen. Santorum:

You are selling our weather reports for $ 60,000 campaign contribution from AccuWeather.

As a Christian, a licensed pilot, a registered Republican living in Pennsylvania:
Never again will I vote for you,
Never again will I donate to you,
Never again will I allow a lawn sign on my property,

Your actions are despicable. You are a money changer masquerading as a Christian.

Redemption: Introduce a bill to close all businesses on the Sabbath. Surely, Stopping Sunday Selling and Saving the Sabbath for Our Lord is what you should be doing.

The comments to this entry are closed.