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[aprssig] Re: National Weather Services Duties Act (S. 786 )

KC2MMi kc2mmi at verizon.net
Wed Nov 9 16:28:18 UTC 2005


Ray-
 When you ask "why would"...maybe you don't recall that nautical charts and
charting information were a very similar subject. A number of agencies have
merged and renamed since then, but essentially the cartographers at NOAA and all
wanted to create new digital charts and provide them essentially free to the
public, in the same way nautical charts and topos were provided at very low
cost. (Way less than they cost to make, if you factor everything in.) Then Mr.
Reagan decreed that all agencies should instead adopt private commercial
development partners, and digital charts were privatized. What is now Maptech
put up the money--privately--to fund the work. And retained the exclusive
private rights to SELL the resulting digital data.

 This sounds like a similar work in progress, where NWS would or could be
allowed to provide only the free emergency warnings, and at the discretion of
the leadership--or further political mandates--they could be required to recover
their operating costs by SELLING all data instead of giving it away. Another
Senator trying to make a name for himself by making all the "freeloaders" out
here in the world pay for the NWS, instead of forcing the federal budget to pay
for the common good.

What the pros at NWS do or don't want to do, doesn't matter. This is Politics,
and they are just civil servants. They don't get to decide how it will be done.

The bill is unclear about motivation and intents, but from the text is can very
obviously follow the very costly precedents that have already been set, fo rthe
purpose of reducing the federal budget. And you KNOW the voters will love "less
taxes" promises and screw the consequences of that. They do it every time, so
this should be a popular bill.





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