Your Government at Work

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

How utterly depressing:

Fire commanders say they are often pressured to order planes and helicopters into action on major fires even when the aircraft won’t do any good. Such pressure has resulted in needless and costly air operations, experienced fire managers said in interviews.

The reason for the interference, they say, is that aerial drops of water and retardant make good television. They’re a highly visible way for political leaders to show they’re doing everything possible to quell a wildfire, even if it entails overriding the judgment of incident commanders on the ground.

Firefighters have developed their own vernacular for such spectacles. They call them “CNN drops.”

Of course, you’re still expected to entrust your property to the people who waste resources staging useless, theatrical water shows for the TV cameras. Forget about taking steps to fight an approaching wildfire yourself. You’ll likely be arrested. Want to hire a private firm to provide extra fire protection? That may soon be illegal too, thanks to the Naomi Kleins of the world, who’ve deemed private fire protection “disaster apartheid.”

California may burn due to government incompetence and leftist egalitarianism. But at least everyone will burn equally.

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13 Responses to “Your Government at Work”

  1. #1 |  Ginger Dan | 

    Ultimately these “CNN Drops” are going to end up costing in human lives as well. What would happen if a C-130, loaded up with flame retardent got caught in a thermal updraft from a fire or got caught in high winds at low altitudes?

    I wonder if any of the civilian companies are publicly-traded? Seems like a sound investment considering the consistency of wildfires in the West and politicians love of wasting taxpayer money?

  2. #2 |  jwh | 

    …..especially since California has so many public funds TO waste…..NOT!!!!

  3. #3 |  Matt | 

    Poor people don’t live in the really high risk areas prone to wild fires anyway. They can’t afford the homeowners insurance! Heaven forbid that the rich pay out of their pocket for more protection that will probably have a net benefit for their neighbors who don’t pay for it. I have a friend in Pasadena who has stated the very same sentiment in the Reason article linked above. The State of California spends exorbitant amount of money to protect rich people’s homes when they should be paying for it themselves. Or at the very least, spend an exorbitant money putting on a good show. Try explaining that to Klein and her head might explode.

  4. #4 |  Chris in PA | 

    I will now light myself on …..never mind.

    /Bill Simmons

  5. #5 |  annemg | 

    I live near some of the N CA fires… I hope someone gets their act together. I’ve been breathing smoke since June 21. They had a couple of fancy planes that they showed on the news a lot, but I don’t think they did much good. At least they had the National Guard out (for the first time since 1981) to help.

  6. #6 |  The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack | 

    I remember hearing something about a scuba diver in a lake who was killed when he got scooped up by a firefighting airplane or helicopter, and then dropped onto a wildfire. It would be interesting if that turned out to be a “CNN Drop”.

  7. #7 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    What socialists like Klein (and Mike Davis) don’t understand is that if the reasonably well-to-do people living in vulnerable areas are allowed to bring in private firms to fight fires, then public fire departments will have more time to help those in the surrounding areas who need help. Or, the fire departments will just continue to do publicity drops. Either way, this is not really hurting the poor and middle-class. It may even help them by freeing up fire fighting resources. Klein and co. just show their statist colors when they bitch about this stuff.

  8. #8 |  Robert | 

    Or, the US could just offer a deal to people who want to immigrate legally to the USA. Spend 4 or 5 years fighting fires, cleaning up after natural disasters like floods and hurricanes, and repairing infrastructure ( roads, bridges, parks, etc. ) and then you get US citizenship. They stay in camps ( old miltary bases that are already owned by the feds but are now empty ). First job is to rennovate the buildings where you will live. They get three good meals a day and recreation facilities. After 1 year they can bring immediate family ( legally married spose and children ) to live with them in quarters. They would get paid a wage as well as the room & board. When not working on a project, they would have classes available for learning English and other subjects.

  9. #9 |  JJH2 | 


    Or instead of trying to conscript immigrants into government labor camps to clean up “our” messes, the US government could just stop acting like a Border Thug and let them waltz on in and live their lives in peace. How terribly simple a solution!

  10. #10 |  Robert | 

    I really shouldn’t respond to trolls, but when you have a roommate you expect them to help keep the house clean don’t you? And don’t forget that your “government labor camps” gave us many of our national parks back in the 30’s during the great depression. This just allows them to earn their way into the system. Conscription is involuntary, this idea is completely voluntary.

  11. #11 |  Ben | 

    Was listening to the news reports about Yellowstone being on fire. To paraphrase “These areas haven’t burned in 100 years, so it’s imperative to keep the flames under control.”

    Um, no? They should burn every few years. It’s good for the ecosystem and safer for everyone. National Geographic did an interesting article a few months back about controling wildfires. Everyone interviewed, including fire fighters, thought that full control was impossible and not productive.

  12. #12 |  Edmund Dantes | 

    Full control is not and it actually hurts the ecosystems. A lot of these forests have grown to rely on fires to occasionally reset and restart their life cycles.

    CNN Drops are no different the security theater we go through at airports and other places. It’s all designed to make it look like the government is doing something to protect us when it really isn’t doing anything other than giving people a false sense of security.

  13. #13 |  Wally | 

    Ignorance is bliss…any of you fine folks ever been a firefighter, paid or volunteer? Didn’t think so.

    Guess you just don’t understand wildfire fighting tactics.

    ….an east coast vollie….