Bobby Jindal: Dumb about rocks

I couldn’t believe it either.

Remember all the flap about a flurry of earthquakes in the Yellowstone Caldera over the Christmas holidays?  Volcano monitoring is critical to safety in California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Alaska — not to mention Hawaii’s special circumstances — and to all neighboring states or those within downwind striking distance of a volcanic event.

A volcanic field now in southern Idaho erupted a few millions of years ago, spreading ash that killed creatures as far away as Nebraska.  “Neighboring state” covers a lot of territory.

So, Bobby Jindal, in his response to the Obama budget proposal speech, said the U.S. should get out of the volcano monitoring business.  It was not clear whether there were no rocks in his head, but neither was there knowledge about rocks where it should be in his head.

Green Gabbro, a real geologist, couldn’t believe it either.


Ignoring for the sake of argument the value of the basic science that always results from the data collected during routine monitoring – ignoring the general function of increased spending as an economic stimulus to the nation’s earth scientists, instrument manufacturers, etc., – even ignoring all that, volcano monitoring is still a very sensible investment in national security. A $1.5 million investment in monitoring at Pinatubo (near a U.S. air force base) earned a greater than 300-fold return when the volcano erupted explosively in 1991: hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property (mostly airplanes) was saved, as were thousands of lives. That 30,000% figure comes before you attempt to put a value on human life.

But then, Sarah Palin is in one of those areas where a failure to monitor volcanoes might lead to huge disaster.  It’s an unusual way to knock out a political rival, and not certain, but were Sarah Palin to disappear into a volcanic cloud, Bobby Jindal’s path to the Republican nomination for president might be less cluttered.  He’s a Rhodes Scholar — surely he can’t be that stupid about volcanoes, so the evil alternative, that he hopes to get rid of Palin, is the only thing that makes sense, isn’t it?

Is there no one in the Republican Party who will stand up for science and reason?


9 Responses to Bobby Jindal: Dumb about rocks

  1. […] “Bobby Jindal:  Dumb about rocks,” February 27, 2009″ […]


  2. […] Yellowstone earthquake swarm, 2010 Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Earthquake swarm hits the area of the Yellowstone Caldera, around Yellowstone Park; wackoes start predicting the End of the World As We Know It, at least for West Yellowstone, Montana, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Unless they are Bobby Jindal, and they predict that the quakes didn’t even happen. […]


  3. Perhaps he is related to Julius Jindalimus, governor of Pompeii a few years back.


  4. […] the government must be all things to all people category. Share the […]


  5. […] In the government must be all things to all people category. […]


  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Snowe is a Republican outlyer on several issues. Bully for her, and long may she wave.

    It used to be that the top rungs of conservation organizations were loaded with old-line Republicans, and that on key committees in Congress one could find a couple dozen senators and representatives who could be counted on to vote for funding for education and science research.

    It’s too bad there aren’t more, now. When the GOP makes their standard bearers those who argue the opposite, it makes me uncomfortable. Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal aren’t people I’d want to have to work with if stuck on a desert island, nor on a trip to Mars.

    Jindal’s undergraduate degree was in a science field. What in the world happened to him?


  7. John Mashey says:

    Well, actually, albeit a member of an endangered species, Olympia Snowe (R-ME)once wrote a letter with Jay Rockefeller to ExxonMobil asking them to stop funding denialist fronts, thus incurring the wrath of Viscount Monckton, who ordered them to resign the offices they polluted.

    CA does have a governator who isn’t too bad at this.
    (Of course, CA GOP reviles him as a RINO…)

    FL Governor Chrlie Crist seems OK, at least on global warming.

    Peter Darbee, CEO of Pacific Gas & Electric (big utility), is Republican:

    There also the “green elephant”folks:

    I’m Independent, but there is a serious point: it is a bad tactic to demonize all Republicans. Don’t shoot at everybody, as you may hit (a few) innocents. If you tell Republicans they have to become Democrats to support science, that may no be productive.

    I’m reminded by Chris Mooney’s “The Republican War on Science” that this is a relatively recent phenomenon in USA history, and it’s certainly not a good one.


  8. Eli Rabett says:

    Is there no one in the Republican Party who will stand up for science and reason?

    short answers to simple questions

    Obviously not.


  9. McDuff says:

    If you read the actual stimulus bill, the $140 million Jindal said was for “volcano monitoring” actually includes funds all of the USGS’s stream level, earthquake, and volcano monitoring systems, money for national mapping activities, as well as funds for repair to its buildings. USGS itself says only about $14 million will be used for volcano monitoring. The largest chunk of the funds will go towards the repair/replacement of USGS “stream gages” that monitor river levels — you know, things useful in monitoring flood levels upstream from Baton Rouge — or maybe the governor doesn’t care to know if he has to evacuate for a coming flood.


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