We are the 99%

April 26, 2005

Santorum Update

Here, read this.

Maeve Reston of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes about Senator Santorum's recent attempts to privatize weather data.

Sen. Rick Santorum has introduced legislation that would limit the information that the National Weather Service can provide to the public, in what the Pennsylvania Republican's aides describe as an effort to make sure that private weather companies -- particularly those in his home state -- can compete in the marketplace and retain jobs.

Santorum's legislation directs the U.S. secretary of commerce to limit the National Weather Service's offerings to just those services that private-sector weather companies cannot or are unwilling to offer -- unless the information is related to "severe weather forecasts and warnings designed for the protection of life and property" or information that the government must provide under international aviation accords.

Some have criticized the legislation as a giveaway primarily intended to help Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather, whose employees have contributed to Santorum's campaign fund. But a spokeswoman for the senator dismissed that assertion as being without merit.

Riiight - it's without merit. It's all a coincidence, of course. I am shocked SHOCKED that a politician of Senator Santorum's stature would be selling out the public good for a few grand in campaign contributions.

Accu-Weather was founded by a man named Joel Myers and AccuWeather's based in Senator Santorum's Pennsylvania.

Here's the data from Open Secrets. As you can see, over the last few years Joel Myers has donated about 4 grand to the slimy Santorum's campaigns.

Here is how the Senator explains himself.
U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today introduced the National Weather Services Duties Act of 2005 to clarify the duties and responsibilities of the National Weather Service (NWS) within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“With the support of my colleagues, we can pass this legislation to modernize the description of the National Weather Service’s roles within the national weather enterprise, so that it reflects today’s reality in which the National Weather Service and the commercial weather industry both play important parts in providing weather products and services to the nation,” said Senator Santorum.

Fourteen years ago the NWS took the extra step of carefully delineating the respective roles of the NWS and the commercial weather industry, in addition to pledging its intention not to provide products or services that were or could be provided by the commercial weather industry.

However, the parent agency of the NWS, NOAA, repealed the 1991 non-competition and non-duplication policy in December 2004. Its new policy only promises to “give due consideration” to the abilities of private sector entities. The new policy has enabled NWS and NOAA to expand into areas that are already well served by the commercial weather industry.

“This decision by NOAA to repeal the non-competition and non-duplication policy detracts from NWS’s core missions of maintaining a modern and effective meteorological infrastructure, collecting comprehensive observational data, and issuing warnings and forecasts of severe weather that imperil life and property,” said Senator Santorum.

Senator Santorum’s bill restores the NWS non-competition policy. However, the legislation leaves NWS with complete and unfettered freedom to carry out its critical role of preparing and issuing severe weather warnings and forecasts designed for the protection of life and property of the general public.

Notice the rhetorical devices. He's not cutting off or stopping anything. No, the bill is intended to "clarify" and "modernize" the descriptions of the National Weather Service. He's only trying to fix something, can't you see that? Look at the 4th paragraph. It's the weather service that repealed the non-competition policy. His law is merely a remedy for the mean and nasty guv'mint that's lookin' to stop fair competition.

I guess Senator Santorum is trying to avoid the fact that the NWS taxpayer-funded. It's free because we already paid for it.

Basically what's going on is this. Senator Santorum wants to restrict our access to a government service that we've already paid for so that we'd be forced to buy that access from a company that's been very very good to him.

As I said - boggles the mind.

2 comments:

Shawn said...

Sadly, none of this surprises me. Santorum is a true-blue opportunist. If there's profit to be had, he'll have it. And if it's done while he's able to advance this neo-classical view that everything can and should be commodified, so much the better.

The key is just to make sure that the rest of PA is still able to muster the outrage that has begun to desert me. Of course, I don't plan on voting for him in the next election, either. But yinz take my point.

Ol' Froth said...

Linking "santorum" to http://www.spreadingsantorum.com is much more fun!