April 23, 2005

Santorum + Accuweather = Money Connection

"An honest politician is one who when he's bought stays bought."
Simon Cameron (Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of War) I had initially written about Senator Rick Santorum's bill which would gut the wonderful NOAA and National Weather Service website located at weather.noaa.gov The next day, I received a comment to that post from a reader named Deo who said:
The NWS’s original charter was to collect data and warn people. Now they’re spending my tax dollars making flash based radar? No thanks. The next thing you know they’ll be handing out free weather stations to everyone. But that will be okay, right - because we paid for it with tax dollars.
Sounds reasonable at first glance but as I wrote here, the cost of providing this website is trivial compared to the cost of gathering the data which is already in the charter. The only people who would stand to benefit from a bill of this sort would be the commercial weather providers -- Accuweather and The Weather Channel. Oh yeah -- when anyone posts a comment to any blog, the address of their computer is logged and reader Deo's system was at which happens to be in the Accuweather netblock (ie: the computer Deo used was connected to the Accuweather network at the time he made his post.) Cute move there... Because of this, I have been nosing around looking to see if there is any connection between $enator Santorum and Accuweather and I stumbled into this gem from The Raw Story:
Senator aiming to nix federal weather forecasts enjoyed AccuWeather money
A conservative Republican senator who proposed that federal meteorologists be forbidden from competing with companies such as AccuWeather and the Weather Channel, has received nearly $4,000 from AccuWeather's founder and executive vice president since 2000, RAW STORY has discovered.

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) introduced the bill last week. The senator's supporters (among them the founder and executive vice president of AccuWeather) note the bill provides an exemption that would allow organizations the National Hurricane Center from alerting the public to hazards.

"The National Weather Service has not focused on what its core mission should be, which is protecting other people's lives and property," said Barry Myers, the Executive Vice President of AccuWeather told the Palm Beach Post Thursday. "It spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year, every day, producing forecasts of 'warm and sunny.'"
The total donations from brothers Barry Lee and Joel as well as Mrs. Barry Lee add up to a nice even $6,000 - see for yourself at the OpenSecrets.org website Senators are come a lot cheaper than I would have guessed -- must be from Santorum's association with Wall-Mart... Posted by DaveH at April 23, 2005 3:32 PM