Popular science bloggers have made a sport of going after Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and to be blunt, rightfully so. From his claims of being able to exorcise cancers to signing a bill which allows science teachers not to teach science and being unable to have a staffer look up what volcano monitoring actually is, it’s as if the Governor is trying his hardest to earn their ire. In the media, he’s often called GOP’s rising star and we may expect him to shine brightly on a political party in disarray like a star should. However, Jindal’s star is a neutron one, blasting out a lethal beam of radiation at anything caught in its sights.
It seems to be a hot trend over the last few years for those who want to take charge of the GOP to assault science with utter disregard for the role it plays in the U.S. economy and its necessity in helping people manage disasters. In his rebuttal to the State of the Union, Jindal decided that he would continue this Quixotic tradition and decried spending money on volcano monitoring, unable to define what it means and seeming generally befuddled about why we should be doing something as silly as monitoring huge mountains that can suddenly spew out enough lava and superheated rock to destroy a city.
Governor Jindal, I know you were busy exorcising people and all, but have you heard about this whole Mt. Saint Helens business? Or about a supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park that could wipe out this entire country and has been very astutely named the scariest freaking place on our planet by Phil Plait? Could monitoring a sleeping monster that could plunge us all into a new Ice Age warrant a couple million dollars here and there to make sure we have a heads up if it decides to launch a thousand cubic miles of superheated death over the continent? Or maybe a little masterpiece from Steven Colbert better captures your ideas on the subject?
Monitoring the volcanoes just ruins the surprise. Republicans know the best way to stop a volcano is to sacrifice a virgin which is why they support abstinence- only education. (watch)
And then, there’s the newly minted Louisiana law which allows teachers to teach creationism in the classroom if they so choose. Great. Nothing screams academic freedom like proselytizing students on a whim rather than teaching them real science. It’s as if to become the star focus of the GOP involves a prolonged rite requiring the undermining of science and projects which try to safeguard people in potential danger. It’s ironic that Jindal questioned the government’s ability to help in a disaster, citing Hurricane Katrina since it was a Republican administration’s mishandling of relief efforts that caused so many problems. And wasn’t that hurricane tracked by another waste of taxpayer money, something called hurricane monitoring?
Maybe rather than monitoring the eruptions of spending in Washington, Jindal should consider monitoring his own verbal eruptions which are so laden with irony and anti-science, one starts to wonder about the future of a political party that admits to learning its lessons and yet insists on doing the exact same things which made them so unpopular in the first place. Unless Jindal can exorcise the recession, I doubt he’s going to lead the Republican party anywhere good.