Thursday, February 26, 2009

"volcano monitoring"

Come to think about it, I'm not through with Jindal yet. The "volcano monitoring" budget line he was mocking is essentially funding for the United States Geological Survey. I know we can't expect a Rhodes Scholar like Jindal to understand this, but the scientists of the USGS don't just play with rocks in national parks: they do work that not only saves lives, but the scientists themselves often give their lives in service to this country.

Let's talk about David A. Johnston, for instance. Johnston was a scientist with the USGS 30 years ago, charged with monitoring Mount St. Helens during the 1980 eruption that killed 57 people. It was Johnston who theorized that the eruption would be a lateral one, bursting out of the newly formed northern bulge of the volcano, rather than a conventional one spewing from the summit. He is credited on the USGS website with having likely saved thousands of lives by convincing the authorities to give the volcano a wide berth and not reopen it too soon.

Johnston was himself one of those 57 casualties. He was on duty when the volcano erupted, having just enough time to radio "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!" before he was swept away.

I'd like to see someone ask the governor what he thinks about "erupting" government spending on the salaries of people like Johnston.

1 comment:

TioChuy said...

What is still amazing to me is that some articles I've read and Jindal's own defense
of his response have been centered on his delivery. Given it was a little sing-song and goofy, the poor delivery pales in comparison to the poor policy.