From AP, via the Honolulu Star-Advertiser:
A spending plan approved by the House would slash funding for a tsunami warning center that issued an alarm after the devastating earthquake in Japan.Hawaii is a blue state, but we occasionally elect Republicans to the governorship (Linda Lingle) or send one to Washington (Charles Djou). Both of them may be vying for the seat of Senator Daniel Akaka, who has announced he won't run for re-election in 2012. Unless they come out against things like this, it's doubtful they will win.
The plan approved by the GOP-controlled House last month would trigger deep cuts for the National Weather Service, including the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.
A union representing workers at the tsunami center said the proposed cuts could result in furloughs and rolling closures of National Weather Service offices.
Barry Hirshorn, Pacific region chairman of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, said the GOP bill would affect the center's ability to issue warnings similar to those issued after Thursday's earthquake in Japan.
Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii called the GOP cuts reckless and even dangerous.
I realize the budget is busted and we need to do something. I think we need to take a good hard look at what happened to bring us from debt-reducing budget surpluses in the late 1990s to an accumulation of more than $5 trillion in debt into the latter years of the Bush administration. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan do not account for most of that.
Instead of balancing the budget on the backs of people who are so poor they need heating fuel, or children who suffer (and bring the older folks with them) when they are in overcrowded classrooms, or people who are placed in danger by weather emergency services being slashed, we need to look at the real things that are causing the towering deficits.
Over at the Tea Party groups and elsewhere in some corners of the Republican Party, there are folks hoping for a government shutdown. While there is no doubt waste and corrupt quid-pro-quo in the Federal budget, what these folks don't realize is that there are a lot of essential services that, were we to be without them for too long, would lead to a lot of crap we don't actually want. Sure, few are going to die from a tsunami or cold snap or whatever, or fall into a pothole on the Interstate, if the government shuts down for just a week or two, and that simply reinforces their view that "most of what the Federal government does is unnecessary."
Rant mode off.
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