Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Etch-A-Sketch Junior: Gov. Bobby Jindal Wants GOP to be Smart Now


Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana wants the GOP to stop being the "Party of Stupid."

Washington Post
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal criticized the Republican party as too anti-intellectual and too beholden to the wealthy.
He said that “offensive, bizarre” comments have damaged the party’s brand. “We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism,” he added. “We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”

Not so fast, Mr. Etch-A-Sketch Junior.

This is the guy who made his debut on national TV by making fun of money spent on volcano monitoring. Just after Jindal made that remark, Redoubt Volcano in Alaska shut down air traffic for days so that even Sarah Palin and family couldn't get back home. Then we had the huge shut-down all over Europe from the Icelandic Volcano, which could certainly happen again. And we see the damage from the Japanese Tsunami caused by a massive earthquake, yet the U.S. hasn't kept up with warning buoys near Hawaii that might protect even more people - because of anti-science people in Congress who won't provide money. 

Scientific American
...“Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.,” Jindal said.

What was that all about?
Well, Congress authorized some of that $140 million to be spent on volcano monitoring, but not all of it, ProPublica notes in a blow-by-blow of the economic recovery package. That line, ProPublica says, is directed to “U.S. Geological Survey facilities and equipment, including stream gages, seismic and volcano monitoring systems and national map activities.”

Critics writing in The New Republic and elsewhere say Jindal’s jab at volcano monitoring was disingenuous. The USGS is charged with working to “reduce the vulnerability of the people and areas most at risk from natural hazards,” including volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and wildfires which it says cost hundreds of lives and billions of dollars annually in disaster money. Between 50 and 70 volcanoes erupt each year, according to the Smithsonian's global volcanism program. And between 1980 and 1990, they killed at least 26,000 people and caused 450,000 people to flee their homes, the USGS says. “Why does Bobby Jindal think monitoring volcanoes is a bad thing for the government to be doing?” Nick Baumann writes in Mother Jones. “There doesn't seem to be any immediate way for private enterprise to profit from monitoring volcanoes (maybe selling volcano insurance?), but there is obviously a huge public benefit from making sure volcanoes are monitored: warning people if a volcano is going to erupt. Isn't that obvious?”

Jindal is also a fan of charter schools, in which taxpayer money is given to religious institutions for whatever unscientific beliefs they want to teach.

Article from Slate
...he made a bargain with the religious right and compromised science and science education for the children of his state. In fact, Jindal’s actions at one point persuaded leading scientific organizations, including the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, to cross New Orleans off their list of future meeting sites (PDF).
What did Jindal do to produce a hornet’s nest of “mad scientists,” as Times-Picayune writer James Gill described them? He signed into law, in Gill’s words, the “Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), which is named for what it is designed to destroy.” The act allows “supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials” to be brought into classrooms to support the “open and objective discussion” of certain “scientific theories,” including, of course, evolution. As educators who have heard such coded language before quickly realized, the act was intended to promote creationism as science. In April, Kevin Carman, dean of the College of Science at Louisiana State University, testified before the Louisiana Senate’s Education Committee that two top scientists had rejected offers to come to LSU because of the LSEA, and the school may lose more scientists in the future.
And now Jindal is poised to spend millions of dollars of state money to support the teaching of creationism in private schools.

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