The massive 8.9 temblor that struck off Sendai, Japan and sent shock waves through Tokyo two hundred miles away is the sort of wrenching disaster that brings all people together.
Thoughts and prayers go to the victims of the earthquake, tsunami, and resulting devastation. As yet unknown numbers of victims, ruined buildings, towns washed away, and an unfolding nuclear catastrophe focus the world's heartfelt anguish.
The tsunami that swept away whole communities in Japan reached across the trackless expanse of the Pacific Ocean to crush marinas and sink boats as far away as California.
Fortunately, after the earthquake, it took only twelve minutes for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to issue emergency alerts across the west coast of the United States. Thanks to NOAA's system of tsunami warning buoys, emergency responder and locals officials were constantly kept apprised of the timing and magnitude of the tsunami as it approached American shores.
It took only a few more hours for House Republicans to demand that $117 million be stripped from NOAA funding in their latest budget-slashing attack on America. Republicans would like to see $1.2 billion cut from NOAA. Their actions are completely consistant with those who seek to kill Americans and dismantle the nation's ability to protect lives and property.