The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Another Anthropogenic Forcing

Rick Perry, among his other interesting attributes, has managed to unbalance the state budget of Texas, you know, the state with the miracle economy, to the tune of $2.5e10/annum; yes that is twenty-five billion dollars. Consequently, the forest service and the volunteer fire departments were among the services substantially defunded as of September 1, and some professional firefighters just recently lost their jobs.

The following is a republication (with permission) of an article from the Texas Tribune:


Fire Crews Straining Amid Devastation in Central Texas
by Matt Largey 9/7/2011

Federal authorities arrived in Bastrop on Tuesday to assist with the wildfires that have killed two, charred more than 30,000 acres and destroyed at least 600 homes. Matt Largey of KUT News reports that the crisis has stretched fire crews to their breaking point.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/texas-environmental-news/environmental-problems-and-policies/fire-crews-strained-devastation-in-central-texas/.


Who's left holding the bag? Not the wealthy taxpayers of Texas who got a big tax break from Perry, presumably. In fact, nobody seems to know.

As a Texan, I have no hesitation drawing on my vast supplies of culturally encouraged hubris to propose that the Bastrop disaster (now approaching the scale of the Joplin tornado disaster with over 1000 houses lost, with the fire only "35% contained" as of this morning) be considered primarily a federal matter. But I wouldn't be surprised to find the rest of the country disinclined to agree.



Update: Some comments at the LA Times fit my expectations nicely.
Stone_icon at 12:24 PM September 08, 2011

What kind of moron cuts the fire proctection budget in the midst of a long drought? You brag about your balanced budget and making hard choices, and then beg for aid when your foolishness bites you in the rear. Well good luck with that. Remember, there is no such thing as climate change.

JohnZ52 at 10:45 AM September 08, 2011

Perry slashed the budget for firefighters in his state. The majority are volunteers who pay for their own uniforms and equipment. Now Perry who foams at the mouth when government intrudes on business and regular folk is whining about not getting Federal Aid. Why should my tax dollars as a resident of CA go to assist a state and governor who are anti-gay, anti- choice and anti-immigrant? Perry once advocated that Texas seceed from the Union. Deal with it Gov, and quite crying that the rest of the United States isn't bailing you out.

JasonFerguson at 10:39 AM September 08, 2011

A tax free state with affordable housing is the accepted trade off for living in states that are vulnerable to natural disasters. Bet hedging 101 would encourage them to buy the best insurance they can afford. Why do they deserve additional financial help? I've chose to pay additional taxes to live in California and enjoy the beaches. Will the government help me out if I can't pay my property tax? No. They shouldn't. I knew what I was signing up for and so did they. The government can't continue to bailout nitwits. This is non-sense
!
No. You guys are wrong. You should send us money because Texas! Texas, Texas, Texas! And oh yeah, because climategate.

9 comments:

Dan Olner said...

So sorry for what Texas is going through. I can't imagine what it must be like living in the middle of it.

RonSpross said...

Obviously the solution is to have the volunteers pay for their own expenses, as the FAA inspectors did.

Doug said...

Well, it -is- a federal matter. The idea is, we all pull together. True, there's a flock of gilt seagulls gabbling "mine, mine, mine" who would like us to forget that; some of us are temporarily deluded into thinking the greedy birds will drop some scraps in their acquisitive haste

We can do better than zero-sum seagulls. We know this to be true, history tells us so.

David B. Benson said...

Call it the Perry fire.

Pangolin said...

Nope. We should send Texas disaster relief money because a) we send it to other states b) people who didn't vote for Perry are U.S. citizens too and c) even when an entire state pulls a "hold my beer" stunt it's still proper to send in an emergency crew and rescue them.

Any decent moral schema demands you help idiots as well as the virtuous when they absolutely must be helped. Why? Because dead people don't learn much.

Let's just call this a "learning moment" shall we?

Pangolin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pangolin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pangolin said...

My apologies to those of you who got that last bit three times in your inbox. Blogger has been quite buggy of late.

EliRabett said...

It's not Schadenfreude, it's a learning moment