Saturday, January 07, 2012

Santorum's Stormy Weather Past

If you're a weather geek, you might remember way back in 2005 when then Senator Rick Santorum proposed legislation to curtail general public forecasts from the National Weather Service (likely to benefit a certain private forecasting outlet located within Pennsylvania)...or his criticism of the NWS' handling of Hurricane Katrina (when in fact the Weather Service and National Hurricane Center were lauded for their efforts to warn).     The proposed bill actually would have counteracted a prior Bush administration policy change that allowed the Weather Service more leeway in releasing information and products over the internet.   So much for following the party line...I guess money talks in politics in the end.

Not that I think Santorum has much of a chance of winning the Republican nomination...nor does Intrade and others who "predict" such things and personally I think the Devil will have a snowball fight in Hell before Santorum gets elected President...but this chicken is coming back home to roost. 

Through various punditry outlets and through others in the online realm, the long-since shelved attempt to mute the National Weather Service is gaining new light in response to Santorum's result in the Iowa caucus earlier this week.   The Politico article goes into a rehash of the bill and muses whether there's a chance this bill could be resurrected and actually pass through Congress and become law regardless of whether Santorum were to be elected President or not.  I tend to agree with Dr. Masters' opinion in the article that a proposal may creep back into Congress at some point given the general discourse in Washington over austerity and the possibility of some axe wielding to the budget taking place in the coming years.   While I don't think such a proposal along the lines of Santorum's actually makes it through, there may be some changes to the structure of the National Weather Service in the coming years if the budget axe indeed gets sharpened up...just thankfully not a full blown muting.