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Bobby Jindal's Volcanic Mistake

If we leave it up to Republicans we'd be living in the stone ages again.

After President Obama's speech on the economy last night, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal criticized government spending in the stimulus bill, citing examples including "$140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.'"

Stone-age Republicans just don't get it. America used to be the leader in innovation, science and technology. Fifteen years of Republican-controlled Congress has resulted in a lot of slippage. Obama wants to bring our nation back - Republicans want to stop him.

Leave it to idiots like Gov. Bobby Jindal and we'll end up wearing animal skins again... Pennywise and pound foolish, It'll be one "Katrina" after another unless we shed ourselves of the Republican albatrosses weighing down this once-great nation.

The $140 million to which Jindal referred is actually for a number of projects conducted by the United States Geological Survey, including volcano monitoring. This monitoring is aimed at helping geologists understand the inner workings of volcanoes as well as providing warnings of impending eruptions, in the United States and in active areas around the world where U.S. military bases are located, such as the Philippines.

Among the scenarios in which the USGS's monitoring can assist - the catastrophic eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, which killed 57 people (including a geologist monitoring the mountain) and was the deadliest and costliest volcanic eruption in U.S. history ($2.74 billion in 2007 dollars). This event was preceded by thousands of earthquakes in the two months before the volcano blew its top; some of these prompted the Governor of Washington to declare a state of emergency and many residents were evacuated from a designated danger zone.

About 50 volcanic eruptions occur around the world every year, according to the USGS. The United States ranks third, behind Indonesia and Japan, in its number of historically active volcanoes (those for which written accounts exist). Most U.S. volcanoes are located in the Aleutian Islands, the Alaska Peninsula, the Hawaiian Islands, and the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest, with the rest distributed around the West.

About 65 volcanoes in the United States are considered active; most of these are in Alaska, where an eruption occurs almost every year. Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth and has been erupting continuously since 1983.

The USGS has three volcanic observatories - in Alaska, Hawaii and the Cascades - set up to monitor volcanoes for signs of impending eruption.

USGS scientists are currently monitoring Alaska's Mount Redoubt, which has been threatening to erupt since late January. Seismic rumblings from the volcano have alerted geologists that magma might be moving around underneath the surface, preparing to make a potentially explosive appearance. Redoubt last erupted on December 14, 1989, for the fourth time in the 20th century, creating large ash clouds that clogged the air around Anchorage for days.

In addition to listening for rumbling of the Earth, researchers survey the surfaces of volcanoes, map volcanic rock deposits, and analyze the chemistry of volcanic gas and fresh lava to detect warning signs of eruptions and to determine what type of eruption is most likely to occur.

The USGS has issued several warnings over the past 10 years, though predicting the timing and size of eruptions remains a difficult task.

Volcano monitoring likely saved many lives - and significant money - in the case of the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines (where the United States has military bases), according to the USGS.

The cataclysmic eruption lasted more than 10 hours and sent a cloud of ash as high as 22 miles into the air that grew to more than 300 miles across.

The USGS spent less than $1.5 million monitoring the volcano and was able to warn of the impending eruption, which allowed authorities to evacuate residents, as well as aircraft and other equipment from U.S. bases there.

The USGS estimates that the efforts saved thousands of lives and prevented property losses of at least $250 million (considered a conservative figure).

Volcanoes, of course, aren't the only potential natural disaster that scientists monitor to give people warnings of imminent danger. Hurricanes, tornado-producing storms, earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding events are also watched and forecast.

While those predictions can result in mitigating the damage and losses that result from natural disasters, the research is only useful in a practical sense for residents if authorities pay heed to it. For instance, in the case of Hurricane Katrina, the Natural Hurricane Center was watching the situation like a hawk, but the subsequent preparations and responses by authorities was insufficient to prevent wholesale destruction of large parts of New Orleans and the loss of more than 1,800 lives.

Jindal's comment comes at a time when President Obama has pledged to return science to the White House, an effort widely applauded by scientists who felt shunned by the previous administration.

The criticism of government funding of scientific research was similar to remarks made last fall during the presidential campaign by vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who was dismissive of fruit fly research.

Neanderthals, Republicans are nothing but Neanderthals.

Update: Some thought Jindal's address last night was "stunning":

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Comments (13)


He isn't criticizing the validity of this study. If you had any critical thinking skills left, you would understand. This is being criticized because it is a "stimulus" bill. What part of the economy does geological studies stimulate?

Lee Ward:

And here I thought i had a direct quote from Jindal --

Oh wait - there is a direct quote from Jindal, expressing his stupidity - here it is again for the trolls in our audience.

"$140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.'"

Ohhh, chuckle, chuckle - who needs something called "volcanic monitoring" anyway? Those damn Democrats!

Jindal puts his mouth in gear before putting his mind in motion - as most Republicans are prone to do.

Most of the money from the stimulus bill earmarked for monitoring (only about a tenth of the total going to the USGS) will go to modernizing existing monitoring equipment, including switching from analog to digital and installing GPS networks that can measure ground movements, said John Eichelberger, program coordinator for the USGS's Volcano Hazards Program. Much of the expense of this technology comes from the manpower required to make and install it, he added.

"Ultimately most of this creates jobs or saves jobs that would have been lost" to recent budget shortfalls Eichelberger told LiveScience.

And here is Jindal's direct quote:

While some of the projects in the [stimulus] bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes ... $140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.' Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, DC.

-- Bobby Jindal

Jindal critcized the program, not the extent to which it was stimulus or not, J.R.

"their legislation is larded with wasteful spending"


Make no mistake: Republicans are pissed off. They got trounced in November, and their response has been to act like spoiled, petulant, whiny 4-year-old. The geniuses in the Party have decided that the road back to power is paved with defiant, unified opposition. That's a very calculated strategy that's going to backfire big-time.

But what Republicans fail to grasp is that Obama's plan must succeed. It has to succeed. It simply cannot fail, period. Because if it does, and we're still racked by this financial crisis in 2010, we're all gonna be bankrupt and on breadlines...and that includes House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Opposer-in-Chief John McCrusty himself. If these GOP clowns believe that America can withstand another 20 months of recession, credit freezes, layoffs and stock market declines, it's truly delusional and drunk on it's own Kool-aid. Poison Kool-aid. The kind that kills political parties for good...

The GOP is indeed terrified of Obama; it is now becoming patently obvious. All GOPers could do was moan and groan about "the failure of bipartisanship" that was, of course, the President's entire fault. Once again, as is their wont, Republicans cried about process, while leaving the substance, what their policies of the last eight years have done to the country, and what needs to be differently to fix the mess, virtually unmentioned by them. Plus, the GOP itself is screaming about the deficits and foreign borrowing. (Both are a real problem, to be sure, but one that didn't seem to bother them when tax revenues were plummeting and we were borrowing about $200 billion a year to fight the War on Iraq.)


Its fairly amazing what kind of bullshit counts as stimulus when the democrats get to write the bill all by themselves.

Lee Ward:

More, demonstrating the stupidity of Republican'ts:

Before the cataclysmic eruption, roughly one million people lived in the region around Mount Pinatubo, including about 30,000 American military personnel and their dependents at the two largest U.S. military bases in the Philippines--Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station. The slopes of the volcano and the adjacent hills and valleys were home to thousands of villagers. Despite the great number of people at risk, there were few casualties in the June 15 eruption. This was the result of intensive monitoring of Mount Pinatubo by scientists with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and the USGS.

The first recognized signs that Pinatubo was reawakening after a 500-year slumber were a series of small steam-blast explosions in early April 1991. Scientists from PHIVOLCS immediately began on-site monitoring and soon declared a 6-mile-radius danger zone around the volcano. They were joined in a few weeks by USGS scientists from the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, a cooperative effort with the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance of the U.S. Agency for International Development.


The USGS and PHIVOLCS estimate that their forecasts saved at least 5,000 lives and perhaps as many as 20,000. The people living in the lowlands around Mount Pinatubo were alerted to the impending eruption by the forecasts, and many fled to towns at safer distances from the volcano or took shelter in buildings with strong roofs. Additionally, more than 18,000 American servicemen and their dependents were evacuated from Clark Air Base prior to the June 15 eruption. In the eruption, thousands of weaker roofs, including some on Clark, collapsed under the weight of ash made wet by heavy rains, yet only about 250 lowland residents were killed. Of the 20,000 indigenous Aeta highlanders who lived on the slopes of Mount Pinatubo, all but about 120 were safely evacuated before the eruption completely devastated their villages.

It's time to flush the toilet again - there's still some Republican turds left in politics.


J.R. is on point. What's next Lee, references to Krakatoa and Pompeii. After all, if stupidity is the measure of last night's performances, the Prez wins with this -

Speaking of our auto industry, everyone recognizes that years of bad decision-making and a global recession have pushed our automakers to the brink. We should not, and will not, protect them from their own bad practices. But we are committed to the goal of a retooled, reimagined auto industry that can compete and win. Millions of jobs depend on it. Scores of communities depend on it. And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.

America invented the automobile? Biden must be rubbing off on him. When can Germany expect the apology?

While the president gave one of the best performances of his life, and it was indeed a great address, the GOP unfortunately found a political lightweight to offer their response that looked rather faint by comparison.

Last week I drew more than few arrows in my back when I was more than a little critical of Bobby Jindal. Well, last night it looked much like the GOP might had just found some 7-Eleven employee to offer their address, both in 7-Eleven style and 7-Eleven substance. The folksy angle was absurdly played, and the logic and positions were inch deep shallow and very thin.

Mr. Jindal also failed to explain his logic of accepting $4 billion in stimulus aid for his state of Louisiana, which is 98% of the stimulus funds, and only turning down just 2% of the funds or $100 million that would go to expanding unemployment insurance benefits. Mr. Jindal claims that after 3 years he would have to raise the unemployment insurance taxes that business pays in his state per employee as a reason to oppose this. What's the problem? Is he such a poor manager that he can't figure some way how to ask employers how to pay their fair share of unemployment insurance taxes in three years? Is this problem that complex for someone with presidential ambitions. This looks like another George Bush, a much hyped figure by the GOP that really lacks basic management skills. Bad management during the last eight years of Bush is what has left such a mess for Mr. Obama to clean up.

A simply pathetic GOP response by a pathetic political lightweight. Mr. Jindal really did very little to advance his presidential ambitions last night.

Lee Ward:

"J.R. is on point."

J.R.'s only 'point' is on top of his head.

Jindal wasn't criticizing the spending - he criticized and questioned the need for the program. This "monday morning" spin by Republicans is too little too late. Jindal's volcanic mistake is on the public record.

People misspeak all the time - and Obama/Biden are famous fr their gaffes.

This wasn't a gaffe by Jindal - it was a volcanic mistake that will haunt him for the rest of his political career.

That's what happens when Neanderthals walk the earth. They evolve or go extinct.

I'm hoping for the latter.


"GOP might had just found some 7-Eleven employee to offer their address, both in 7-Eleven style and 7-Eleven substance."
Well said, Mr. Biden. Good thing we Democrats cannot be racist or rely on old negative stereotypes or we'd be in trouble here.

Lee Ward:

lol - Biden Derangement Syndrome is catching on -- those poor Republican'ts can be so &%CoNfUsEd!?!?

You know Maynard, I actually got Mt. St. Helens ash on my car, city and person when this volcano blew. That was a very significant event. And Hawaii still has a number of active volcano sites as well that could threaten human life and property if one should blow.

I just didn't view Mr. Jindal's opposition to this volcano monitoring or other specifics as very credible or even intelligent at all. In my view, the GOP response proved all of the political sophistication of any 7-Eleven employee last night, which was an underwhelming way for the GOP to tone their response.


Volcano monitoring is already fully funded under the USGS. Why more money? They already have replacement costs for sensors and monitoring equipment, and have a staff that has been watching/maintaining that equipment for years, why the increase? Are we expecting several "new" volcanoes? Yes, they need to be monitored, but they already are. That's a lot of money to SPEND (not stimulate) that I have to pay taxes for. Is it responsible? I'd like to see the justification. Remember, we were promised that these things would be on the internet for our review before they were voted on. Transparency. Guffaw!

Lee Ward:

How very "Jindal-esque" for you to open your mouth and criticize a program that you know nothing about, Chad. Are all of you Republicans blitheirng idiots, or this an epidemic of some sort.

Easily googled - this from Fox News:

Most of the money from the stimulus bill earmarked for monitoring (only about a tenth of the total going to the USGS) will go to modernizing existing monitoring equipment, including switching from analog to digital and installing GPS networks that can measure ground movements, said John Eichelberger, program coordinator for the USGS's Volcano Hazards Program.

Much of the expense of this technology comes from the manpower required to make and install it, he added.

"Ultimately most of this creates jobs or saves jobs that would have been lost" to recent budget shortfalls Eichelberger told LiveScience.

Rushbo is a drug-addicted fat slob who's wants America to fail -- what's your excuse Chad? Just a Lib-hater?


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