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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Statement of Sen. Murkowski responding to Gov. Jindal’s Republican address:

It is absolutely appropriate for our federal government to spend money on volcano monitoring. A current example is Mount Redoubt. This active volcano, which is on the flight path into Anchorage International Airport, the third busiest cargo airport in the world, and Elmendorf Air Force Base, has been smoldering since the end of January. The Alaska Volcano Observatory has been on 24 hour watch since then.

A volcanic eruption at Mount Redoubt has the potential to bring down a jumbo aircraft flying over Southcentral Alaska. Alaskans vividly remember that volcanic ash from an eruption of Mount Redoubt nearly brought down a KLM Boeing 747 as it was completing its flight from Amsterdam to Anchorage in December 1989. The volcanic ash caused the failure of all four engines on the jumbo jet.

It is understandable that citizens in the Lower 48 may not be familiar with our many active volcanoes in Alaska and how devastating they can be to our state and its citizens. In many ways, it is the same kind of danger caused from Mother Nature that the Gulf states face from hurricanes or all coastal communities face from a tsunami.

However, Governor Jindal raised a legitimate question last evening about whether it is appropriate to fund volcano monitoring in legislation that purported to stimulate the economy and create jobs for unemployed Americans. One of my key criticisms of the economic stimulus bill is that it turned into a supplemental appropriations bill, rather than a targeted approach to stimulate the economy.


And it's really USGS money!

Bobby Jindal and volcano monitoring: What was he talking about?

Fact Checking the Republican Response: No, there's not $140 million in the stim for volcano monitoring

Don't Pisstak

As reported around the blogosphere, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal made at least one faux pas in his GOP response to President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress when he said
"But Democratic leaders in Congress -- they rejected this approach. Instead of trusting us to make wise decisions with our own money, they passed the largest government spending bill in history, with a price tag of more than $1 trillion with interest. While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a "magnetic levitation" line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called "volcano monitoring." Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C."
Obviously he neglected to vett (popular word these days, isn't it?) his zinger with people like, oh, say, Senator Murkowski or Governor Palin.
A look at the State of Louisiana website prominently displays another liberal democrat initiative, the National Hurricane Center.
Personally, I am also a fan of high speed rail, but that's another issue.
Here's the email I just sent to him:

Governor, great speech last night except for one small thing: Volcano Research is as important to the people of Alaska and Washington State and trans-Pacific air commerce as the National Hurricane Center is to the Gulf.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory ( is critical preparedness infrastructure to us, as is the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.
You are no stranger to natural disasters, and neither are Alaskans.
While it got you a great line about the "eruption of spending" in Washington, a sudden eruption of one of our many active volcanoes could have a devastating effect on life here in the Last Frontier and cripple the northern air trade routes that are so important to our Nation's economy.
Personally, I would like to hear you state that you misspoke last evening, and recognize the similarities of importance in Federal warning systems for natural disasters between the Gulf States and the Pacific Northwest.
Sincerely and with best regards from Alaska,
Mark E. Springer

Bethel, Alaska 99559

cc: Senator Murkowski

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Y'all Come Back, Now

Let me say this about that. If you are from Alaska, listen to the Governor carefully.
As to Franklin Graham, I have to say that being from Hooper Bay I have to respect the man for what he did for my Alaska home village. When the school burned a couple of years ago he was there that day pledging to rebuild homes. And he and his organization, Samaritans Purse did just that (with a lot of help from the community!)

Video courtesy of Anchorage Daily News.


The "Anonymous Blogger," bane of politicians from Wasilla to, well, Wasilla, is a creature not even of modern times, but a graffiti artist from the prehistoric, drawing animal pictures on the ceilings of caves and carving hearts into oak trees and asking, politely, that their name be "withheld by request."
Of course, in our modern age an authors name can be "withheld by choice" allowing, one would infer, greater intellectual latitude.
What is ironic, of course, is the pithiness with which some anonymous commentators comment on public and attributed statements by anyone, with no opportunity (barring a blog reply) for retort, not that many bloggers would welcome such response in the first place.
The policy here at Both Barrels has always been to be up front about who we are, partly through ego and partly because that is the way we have always operated, with a byline and letting the chips fall as they may.
This is not to say that we don't hold the work of some of the Anonymous Bloggers in high regard. Some are remarkable writers and we will be linking to their work as time allows.
Whether our willingness to attach a name to the words functions as a restraint only time - and I - can tell.

Monday, February 23, 2009

We May Be Back

Shocked? Don't be! After a more or less self-imposed hiatus form the public square, your Both Barrels editorial board is giving careful consideration to the implications of a reappearance. Certainly the times call for a voice from the wilderness (not that there aren't one or two now, but what the hey) too add to the roil.
As some would say, stayed tuned.