07 February 2006

A response to some past comments

Let’s face it, I can be a slacker. I should have responded to these a while ago.

The first is to a family member, who emailed me about not giving to the 700 Club anymore, and giving me an alternative. As it happens I was giving to UMCOR as well as the 700 Club (not to mention the local Salvation Army chapter and Compassion International). So not to worry, the money will be reapportioned.

Second, is to John of Locusts and Honey. I had made the comment to the Santorum bill which would threaten the NWS as it now exists, not that change would be bad, but in my estimation, it would degrade the protection of life and property clause of the NWS mission. John responded,


One must call into question the legitimacy of federal
activity in this area.Please tell me what article and section of the
Constitution grants the federal government the authority to establish or fund a national weather service.


While not explicit, there is support to having the NWS. One is in the preamble, where it states the purpose of the Constitution,

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common
defense
, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of
Liberty…” (emphasis mine).
You could even argue that it promotes the general Welfare.

The next comes out of the Article II, Section 2:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the
United States, and of the Militia of the several States
, when called into the
actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of
the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject
relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to
Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in
Cases of Impeachment.

If you follow the history of the NWS you will find that we were part of the Army Signal corps as found from the NWS history web page:

The beginning of the National Weather Service we know today started on
February 9th, 1870, when President Ulysses S. Grant signed a joint
resolution of Congress authorizing the Secretary of War to establish a
national weather service. This resolution required the Secretary of War

"to provide for taking meteorological observations at the military
stations in the interior of the continent and at other points in the States
and Territories...and for giving notice on the northern (Great) Lakes and on
the seacoast by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force
of storms."


So we, the NWS, were under the Army at the beginning to protect the life and property
of the United States.

So if the Executive Branch is expected to protect the people, how does the President do it? He delegates.

I’m not against privatization per se, but what if the Army or Navy was privatized? Other than the President having authority to command them, it doesn’t say in the Constitution that the government has the authority to establish or fund an army. So where does that leave us? The Constitution is the infrastructure for the Federal Government to provide the services that the nation needs to carry out the preamble. If there is a part that isn’t working, then the people will speak through voting and change the departments that need to be changed, by putting the people in power that need to do the changing, but that is a whole other thing to think about.

So that’s my opinion…
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