Thursday, May 19, 2011

NOAA follies

I'm not a fan of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Once I was a shameful fanboy, when they were in the business of regulating fisheries and conducting oceanographic and weather research. Now that they're a political machine bent on social engineering for 'green living' however, I'd be happy to see NOAA disbanded and their mandate passed to private organizations operating under contract.

Today was NOAA's annual hurricane prediction day, the day when they predict the end of the world just before it comes time to calculate budget requirements for the next fiscal year. As always, they've predicted a strong and busy hurricane season. I say this because they never predict a normal or below-normal season. To do so would be to call in question the need for the fastest-growing annual budget of any federal agency. So, today, as happens about this time every year, NOAA is predicting the end of the world. zzz...
You know, the most ironic part of all this is that when you predict anything will be higher than average, 50% of the time, it should be. The hilarious part, to me, is that NOAA has been predicting The Day After Tomorrow for the past three years, which have turned out to be among the quietest consecutive hurricane seasons in well over a century... and they're shooting for 0/4 this year.

NOAA isn't just about whoring themselves for fun. They're also now doing it for profit. When word got out that NOAA's fishery enforcement agents were performing warrantless searches and seizures, extortion, and fining fishermen exorbitant sums, and THEN selling off forfeited and seized assets to purchase a stunningly beautiful yacht, vacations for employees, and free cars for everyone (NOAA has 1.2 automobiles for every agent in their employ, higher than any other federal agency) NOAA severely punished everyone involved by transferring them to other jobs, and by promoting and giving raises to the leadership.

Dr. Jane Lubchenko, NOAA's head, appointed by President Obama, has been extremely proactive in her leadership of the premier scientific organization of the US. She's been busy, diverting research funding for fisheries and weather into NOAA's political arm, into NOAA's campaign to turn fisheries management into a commodities market, modeled after energy trading (which has worked out so well for the consumer). In the meanwhile, instead of actually performing research, NOAA has been able to save money by simply predicting the end of all things every year, about this time, and then sit in their offices and take vacations.

Think I'm exxagerating? The day after NOAA received a mild rebuke from a federal judge for extorting New England fishermen, the judge then went to Kuala Lumpur with the lawyers for NOAA who had been before his bench the day before.
Anyhow, I'm disgusted. I've always had a soft spot for fishermen, having grown up in the industry, but I'm ashamed that this sort of bullshit happens within the US government, and there isn't even a modest attempt to look legitimate. It's my hope that the next president will go through NOAA like a pyro in a library.

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