Aug 28 2011
Major Update: WUWT has a hit list of ‘staged’ dram from yesterday by the news media. Truly pathetic. And WUWT also tackles the silliness if blaming the NWS, - end update
Fox News has just produced one of the dumbest articles on the size of government I have ever seen. They question whether the nation needs the National Weather Service – I kid you not:
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.
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.
As I noted yesterday the news media hype over Irene was pathetic – but that is the news media, not the NWS. The weather service, operating under NOAA, expends enormous money to fly sophisticated weather satellites and radar stations around the nation. It has invested many millions in perfecting the art of forecasting so that we have a prayer of understanding where danger may come. The fact New Orleans ignored the warnings of Katrina is not the NWS fault, nor was the hype of Irene.
The fact is the news media and political left wing in power wanted to demonstrate the importance of big government, and over played it horribly. Even GOP governors in NJ and VA went too far. When the YMCA in my town closes down in a drizzle we have become wimps. People need to be responsible for themselves and loved ones. The government cannot cover everyone every minute of the day. This responsibility begins with driving safely and taking care of your health. It continues into not doing things you are physically incapable of performing -like swimming in a raging surf. Some people can, most cannot.
So to straighten Fox News out we do need the NWS. They do save lives and protect people, and their service has not disappeared but grown. Because of their information the flying public dodges dangerous weather every day of the year, and people do not die in tornadoes by the hundreds.
What we don’t need is the drama-queen news media and the know-it-all bureaucrats and pols. Those can go. The author was right that yesterday’s 24×7 soap opera was annoying as hell. But don’t shoot the messenger, shoot the morons who pushed them onto the air waves to remind us we can easily live without the nanny state. Yesterday sealed the fate of big government types.
Addendum: Back to the moronic nanny state moves, the all time bozo-award goes to Mayor Bloomberg for turning off elevators in NYC’s massive skyscrapers. Bloomberg feared someone may get stuck if the power went off, but apparently was oblivious to the risks in cramming stairwells with people, and what would happen if people with heart conditions missed their rides and had to hike up tens of stories to get home. Personally, this was one of the dumbest rationales I have ever seen.
Let’s look at Ocean City, MD, which was in the target zone and a low level area right on the Atlantic:
In the resort town of Ocean City, Md., damage appeared minimal. A few small trees along a major road had been uprooted. Scattered piles of sand about two feet high covered areas of the boardwalk. The end of a wooden pier was sagging and a wooden railing was askew.
At the Quietstorm surf shop on the boardwalk, part of a wall where the shop’s name is advertised had been torn off, exposing wiring and scattering insulation. Locals, though, said they had seen worse during ordinary storms.
It’s amazing humankind survived all those millennium to reach this point of fragility.
Addendum_2: The other clown moment yesterday was Wolf Blitzer reporting from DC in a massive coat, perfectly collared-up to look dashing, while it drizzled in the background. Watching from only a few miles away in VA I had to laugh because the air temperature was hot and humid and Wolf was wearing this massive red coat, obviously baking in the heat and lights. Can anyone say ‘staged’?