First Cup of Coffee: Rules
MSN this morning has an article bemoaning the fact that not every damn aircraft was fighting the fire - the lead states:
LOS ANGELES - As wildfires were charging across Southern California, nearly two dozen water-dropping helicopters and two massive cargo planes sat idly by, grounded by government rules and bureaucracy.Egad! The deuce you say! Goodness knows liberals hate government beauracracy, that's why they prefer it so small... er...
Moving on, paragraph the second:
How much the aircraft would have helped will never be known, but their inability to provide quick assistance raises troubling questions about California’s preparations for a fire season that was widely expected to be among the worst on record.No kidding? But idle speculation make for terrific alarmism to panic the unwashed. Kind of the like yelling fire in a crowded theater, so to speak.
Paragraph the third:
It took as long as a day for Navy, Marine and California National Guard helicopters to get clearance early this week, in part because state rules require all firefighting choppers to be accompanied by state forestry “fire spotters” who coordinate water or retardant drops. By the time those spotters arrived, the powerful Santa Ana winds stoking the fires had made it too dangerous to fly.How sad. Who knows what sort of damage could've been done, had the firefighting aircraft been able to fly around dropping fire fighting agent as best they could instead of on target with a professional spotter. And if only we could've gotten the two planes and 24 helicopters off the ground during those dangerous winds and killed some pilots, why then we'd be able to blame George bush for killing those guy by making them get in the air and fight fires when he knew it was unsafe!
Additional commentary from John at OPFOR: On the use of UAVs to help identify fires in southern California, Brig. General James Poss says "This is the United States Air Force you are talking to. We designed these things to locate targets -- to help us start fires, not put them out."
News articles aren't designed to be read farther than the third paragraph, I majored in journalism, they taught us this. Most people won't get farther than paragraph two. Even on the Internet, articles are written this way by news organizations and you can tell they're sticking to the format because right after the third 'graph is where the advertisement goes. If you make it past the advertisement, you're more intelligent than the MSM gives you credit for.
Below the ad, it becomes instantly clear the C130s weren't even outfitted for firefighting. Waiting for the upgrade for four years - jump right into my nightmare the water is warm! My last ship was 23 years old and still waiting for basic vital safety upgrades. It's all about cash, and it all has more important places to be spent, like the Army and Marines for fighting the GWOT. I can deal with that. It's not until paragraph seven that you get to Gov. Schwarzenegger's response.
I've spent nine of the last thirteen months living with helicopter pilots and working closely with the air bosses of two detachments to ensure they have everything they need to fly safely. Aviation safety rules are written in blood, folks, and if a small number of aircraft remained on the ground, it was in the best interest of their crews.
Odds and ends about this: I loved the press conference that Harry Reid gave saying that one reason the fires are happening is global warming, then turning around three minutes later and denying he said it (Tin Foil Hat Tip: Bloviating Zeppelin and Rush Limbaugh). The politicizing of disaster response has become really irritating, yet provides keen insight as to who the leaders in Washington are and who the politicians are.
I think the Healthy Forests Initiative may help (Tin Foil Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin), but it's too late to make a difference now and if it passes won't show results until after President Bush leaves office at which time some Democrat will likely take credit for it.
That's it, just the rant. Thank you, drive through.