Where are the free-marketeers on this?

Time and again, we've heard the Limbaugh-ites and the idiot wing of the Libertarian party and the laissez-fairies and the Randians proclaim the beauty of the free market. They tell us that whatever government can do, they can do better and cheaper.

Well, apparently, they can't broadcast the weather any better or more cheaply than the feds can.

Do you want a seven-day weather forecast for your ZIP code? Or hour-by-hour predictions of the temperature, wind speed, humidity and chance of rain? Or weather data beamed to your cellphone?

That information is available for free from the National Weather Service.

But under a bill pending in the U.S. Senate, it might all disappear.

The bill, introduced last week by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., would prohibit federal meteorologists from competing with companies such as AccuWeather and The Weather Channel, which offer their own forecasts through paid services and free ad-supported Web sites.
Now forget for the moment that Accuweather and the Weather Channel don't actually gather their own information, that they use the national Weather Service's data to provide their service. No--don't forget that, because that's what the real problem is here. This is a huge giveaway to two companies (for now--more could pop up to take advantage of the taxpayers' largesse). They would get to take data we pay for and then turn around and charge us again for the ability to access it.

Say it with me people--What the fuck?

Now I'm certainly not one of these people who thinks the free market can solve our problems. Sure, there are a number of things that a truly competitive marketplace can do more effectively than a government bureaucracy--but the reverse is also true. But even if I were to imagine that in this case, the free market would be better at providing this information, it wouldn't matter--because this isn't a free market being described here. This is one more example of a Republican Senator getting down on his knees and worshiping the ballsack of his corporate masters.

P.S. To any trolls who wander past, I know--Democrats do it too, and I'm just as pissed at them. Biden and all those other fucks who gave MBNA and the other credit card companies the rimjob of a lifetime (aka, the Bankruptcy Bill) better never ask me for a penny in political contributions.

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