DO YOU WANNA PAY FOR YOUR WEATHER FORECAST???
Thanks to Mark Lane at Flablog for this big heads-up!
It is simply incredible how far the Republican right will go to support their big business buddies! U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R - Pennsylvania) has introduced a bill which would, if passed, in effect prohibit the National Weather Service from providing for free weather forecasts and other information that is also available from private services such as The Weather Channel and AccuWeather, which are offered through paid subscriptions and advertiser-supported Web sites.
This legislation could be nothing short of disaterous for the general public! It could force NWS Web sites and NOAA Weather Radio stations run by local weather offices to close, as the wording of the bill is ambigious at best. You can view the bill's text in pdf. format.
Anyone who survived through the hurricanes last year by visiting the NWS Ruskin site, and anyone who listens to NOAA Weather Radio when severe weather threatens or before heading out on the water can appreciate the efforts made by these public servants, and should realize that WE ALREADY PAY for the service! Does this sound like a first step toward eventually getting the government out of the meterological business? It sounds like is came straight from the Reagan-era Republican playbook to me!
Say what you will about U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D - Florida), but his office has expressed concerns about this legislation.
"The weather service proved so instrumental and popular and helpful in the wake of the hurricanes. How can you make an argument that we should pull it off the Net now?" said Nelson's spokesman, Dan McLaughlin. "What are you going to do, charge hurricane victims to go online, or give them a pop-up ad?"
And it's the Commerce Committee on which he serves that will deal with the bill. Let's hope and pray that this dies a quick and hard death in committee!