Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In the land of the blind...

One of the NOAA's weather satellites, the one that covers the eastern seaboard, is broken and can't be fixed.  The NOAA is activating a backup satellite but if the other satellite fails, its going to be a long fall hurricane season.

In just another reminder that elections have consequences,
Experts say that America's weather and climate observing abilities have fallen into severe disrepair due to budget difficulties and poor management

because five years of Obama trying to wrestle hires through a Congressional GOP caucus that wants him to fail has not, it turned out, been enough to undo eight years of Cheney/Bush hires that sailed through and then proceeded to mismanage everything in sight while they padded their resumes for the move to K Street.  If we look at the Bush/Cheney administration's hiring record these people were typically those who'd proved unable to manage a kegger at their sorority/fraternity without losing money, usually by requiring an ideological litmus test from the attendees, the beer company and the delivery guys so firm no one actually wanted to go and thereby creating urban legends about people so stupid they couldn't give away beer to frat boys.  (All of them in the same category of "failing upward" as this guy, who has somehow taken three machines for printing money and failed to make them work.)  So its no surprise that the prior administration would screw up something as complex as satellite maintenance and management, and the current congress, daily demonstrating its desire to be the most ideological in history, would rather vote for ACA repeals than fix weather satellites. 

There are so many metaphors here, and none of them pleasant, that its difficult to know where to start.  I know its become something of a meme to talk about how quickly people adapt to new technology and take advantage of it; AT&T has a whole series of ads featuring teenagers complaining about how easy kids these days have it, because you can get wireless TVs and move them around the house.  I personally prefer maps to GPS, and its easy to laugh at people who get lost (or worse) because they listened to their GPS rather than common sense, but my wife can't read maps well either so the GPS is a welcome addition for her.  I don't use my phone much but I get a little frisson of danger when I drive somewhere without it, because what if...? even though I used to drive all over the western part of North America with $60 in my pocket, no credit card, a cup of coffee and a bottle of water.  Through ice storms.  So not having a cell phone for my four mile commute is hardly living on the edge.

But we all know extreme weather events are increasing, so much so that I don't have to link to the evidence, which is coming from both the weather services and the insurance companies.  And its not like we don't all benefit from knowing there's a hurricane coming, in much the same way we'd all be happy if we knew there was a runaway truck bearing down on our house or our kids.  Knowing there's a hurricane coming - or tornadoes for that matter - is not, I would hope, considered some kind of authoritarian Kenyan Socialist plot against hardware stores.  So why would we cut out one of our eyes?  Is it because conservatives are so busy revering the past they can't plan for the future?  Is it because we want Rupert Murdoch providing our hurricane forecasts so they're fair and balanced? 

What is it, exactly, that conservatives want?  I can understand nostalgia for the good old days.  I even understand the desire to see something positive happening in the world. 

But blinding yourself so you can't see bad news?


Sharon Dymond said...

Honestly, I don't believe conservatives know what they want because so many of the things they wanted during Reagan and Bush administrations are the very things they don't want under Clinton and Obama administrations. I'm not sure they're even capable of cognitive dissonance.

yowsa said...

I think it would be fun to speculate. Just for the sake of relieving frustration.

Not very productive maybe. But not everything has to accrue economic benefits.