Volcano Lancing Update

by Jonah Goldberg

World’s strongest laser fully-operational.

Meanwhile the pro-Volcano lobby continues its filthy fifth column work, claiming that a lack of volcano attacks contributes to global warming. To which I say, Oh yeah? What’s hotter: A warm breeze or a face-load of hot magma?

Last, one has to wonder: is The Lobby giving money to Bobby Jindal?

Update: A reader intrudes with substance:

Hey Jonah!

The drivel aimed at Jindal over the volcano comment is amazing. Somehow pointing out that $140 million dollars of a “stimulus” bill is going to the USGS, which already has a nearly $1 billion yearly budget to watch trees, clean hiking trails, and yes, watch volcanoes, is ignorant? I must have missed the statistics that show the USGS contributed to the economy substantially enough to warrant an additional 15% bonus budget this year when we’re already heavily in debt. The leftysphere has so completely accepted that the bill had nothing to do with stimulating the economy that they’re not even pretending its contents even should be directed to that purpose. Adios!

Update II: Other readers intrude with substantive defenses of the USGS:

I will admit that as a rock ribbed conservative and geology grad
student, I got a bit miffed by your commenter’s trashing of the USGS.
While some think the USGS simply “watch trees, clean hiking trails,
and yes, watch volcanoes”, its actually involved pretty heavily in
engines for growth in general. Perhaps he is unaware of geology’s
primary role in the  domestic oil+gas and mining industries? They have
quite a few people working for them, and much of the USGS’s job
involves laying the groundwork for their exploration/training the next
generation of geologists for their employ. Also, when volcanoes and
earthquakes do occur, they cause fantastic amounts of death and
destruction. Note yesterdays wire story
. While I am thoroughly upset about all of the new Gov’t spending (
and even the 140 million to the USGS), I can’t help but feel that its
far less wasteful pork than most. Given the choice between maybe the
first third of a bridge to nowhere and knowing when and where the next
big CA earthquake will hit, my choice is pretty obvious.


Not that I know of, although they do cooperate with the Park Service
to provide geological information of interest to park goers.  I assume
you’re aware of the costs/benefits of volcano monitoring:
http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/1997/fs115-97/ and

As far as the USGS being relevant to the stimulus goes, the first
stimulus project I google was The National Map -
http://www.directionsmag.com/article.php?article_id=3023 – 90% of the
costs are for construction and contractors are already in place to
spend the money immediately.  If you read the relevant section of the
legislation, money for the USGS is entirely allocated to short-term
projects – equipment purchases, construction, etc.  In fact, there
isn’t any money to fund a long-term increase in volcano monitoring;
rather the money is to buy new volcano monitoring equipment:

US Geological Survey
For an additional amount for ”Surveys, Investigations, and
Research”, $140,000,000, for repair, construction and restoration of
facilities; equipment replacement and upgrades including stream gages,
and seismic and volcano monitoring systems; national map activities;
and other critical deferred maintenance and improvement projects.

If you disagree with the idea that short term spending can stimulate
the economy, fine, but don’t pretend the USGS cash is some
irreversible expansion of spending… it will be much easier to roll
back that some of the other measures.

Me: I knew I shouldn’t have let substance intrude on this post.

The Corner

The one and only.