Thursday, June 02, 2005

He's out of his mind

Four hurricanes in six weeks here in Florida last year, and lets not forget Tropical Storm Bonnie came through first. Florida wasn't the only state hit, nor are hurricanes the only form of extreme weather that affects the nation.

Hurricane Charley

Some companies exist solely to take the raw data the taxpayer-funded National Weather Service provides to everyone for free, repackage it in pretty little pictures, and then sell it.

We taxpayers expect improvement in the the services we pay dearly for although all too often, it seldom occurs. An exception is the information the NWS provides.

In addition to the raw data, with the growth of graphics software the NWS is working toward providing its own "pretty little pictures."

And the companies are having a fit claiming it's unfair competition. They want the NWS and NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) it's parent agency, to be prohibited -- unless it's an emergency -- from disseminating any information to the public.

Last April, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) introduced a bill that would do just that.

I've got about 1,000 jobs in Pennsylvania and 14 weather companies, believe it or not, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," Santorum told a local radio station recently. "That's how they make their money, in providing these services. And we don't think that the Weather Service, which does a fine job . . . should be doing this job."
My heart bleeds.

Santorum is the bill's sole sponsor and it's so ridiculous, it probably won't even make it out of committee.

We're already paying for the information through taxes that pay the meteorologists' salaries and fund the instruments through which the data they analyze is collected. Everything from bouys to land monitors and even satellites. And now, in addition to the information they already provide for free, the NWS is going to make it available in a more user-friendly format, too.

That's not competition. That's improved service.

(Competition would be like . . . ummm, if the Weather Packagers were paying for their own meteorologists and data collection. But they're not. Why should they when we already are, and they can get the information for free and then charge for it.)

And you know, I really don't like the idea of weather information being filtered through corporate entities and then the media (Stay tuned for the latest news on how you're all gonna die!!!) both of which are more concerned with profits than anything else.

Usually boring and often too technical, the NWS and NOAA are there for one reason only: weather.


Blogger Norma said...

Thanks for the heads up. This is really strange.

2:11 PM  

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