by Jonathan Singer, Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 07:21:42 AM EST
I want to follow up on something that I mentioned last night and that Charles wrote about as well: The offensive attack Bobby Jindal and the Republican Party made on disaster preparedness during his response to Barack Obama's address to Congress.
I grew up in Portland, Oregon, about 50 miles from Mount Hood, an 11,249-foot volcano that has been active in the past few hundred years, and only about 75 miles from Mount St. Helens, the eruption of which led to dozens of fatalities not even 30 years ago. Most of my family still lives in Portland, and I am in the city on a fairly regular basis. In the event that Hood, St. Helens, or any other volcano in the region were to blow, I would most certainly want the federal government to have done all it could on the detection front so that my family had ample warning to get to safety. Do Bobby Jindal and the Republican Party begrudge me that?
At present, I live in Berkeley, California, which is nearly constantly experiencing earthquakes. It has been just two decades since an earthquake killed 69 people in the region, and just a century since another earthquake killed more than 3,000 people. By the logic presented by Bobby Jindal last night in the official Republican response to President Obama's address, should I and the millions living in the Bay Area not have the latest detection technology to ensure our safety?
And it goes beyond volcano or earthquake detection. Should the people in the Plains states not be protected by the latest in meteorological technology to alert them in the case of a twister or a dust storm? Should the people in the Rockies not be enabled to detect avalanches? Should the people in the Gulf Coast -- including the residents of Bobby Jindal's own state of Louisiana -- not have the resources to track major hurricanes?
Disaster detection is no joke, and Bobby Jindal and the Republican Party ought to know better than to play politics with people's lives.