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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Baseball team renames ‘BP’ to protest oil spill

In a protest over the Gulf oil spill, a minor league baseball team is changing the name of batting practice so the players will no longer have to utter the letters “BP.”

The Brevard County Manatees of the Florida State League say they will now take “hitting rehearsal.”

This a home run idea until you pass it by human resources.

Gamingboy Posted: June 05, 2010 at 08:53 PM | 366 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: minor leagues
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   301. tshipman Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:29 PM (#3552669)
Yeah, what #294 said. I have to tell you that for all the lefties yelling about the joys of regulation and the terrors of the free market, this disaster occurred in a highly regulated industry. And while we may not know all about the causes of the disaster, it seems pretty clear that the government's response was hopelessly inadequate. This is a pretty terrible advert for government regulation, because it appears to be a classic example of incompetence, regulatory capture, and (possibly) corruption.



No, it occurred in a poorly regulated industry. One that was increasingly corrupt and in the pockets of the oil industry.
   302. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:29 PM (#3552670)
We aren't screwing up the world - we're making it less how we want it.

We're also making it less like it was before we existed, and less inhabitable for many other species. I know you realize thsi, but it's a distinction worth noting.

Nature will fix that coastline.

This gets back to my original response to Ray. When you say nature will "fix that coastline", do you mean return it to its former state, or do you mean arrive at some new state of equilibrium 100 years from now? Also, it's not just the coastline that people are concerned about.

Not that we shouldn't do everything we can to prevent and clean it up faster, but don't kid yourselves, people are upset because the price of shrimp is going to go up and we can't get oysters at all.

Really? A lot of people have had or will have their livelihoods destroyed by this disaster. It's about more than the price of shrimp or oysters.
   303. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:31 PM (#3552671)

Really? A lot of people have had or will have their livelihoods destroyed by this disaster. It's about more than the price of shrimp or oysters.


They are free to move and find better jobs.


Weee! I am a libertarian now!!!!
   304. Ray (CTL) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:34 PM (#3552674)
No, it occurred in a poorly regulated industry. One that was increasingly corrupt and in the pockets of the oil industry.


Enron should have told you that regulation doesn't eliminate corruption.
   305. Rich Rifkin Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:36 PM (#3552676)
BERN #192: "Has a corporation ever done anything environmentally sound that it was not forced to do by regulation?"

Corporations are (mostly*) driven by the profit motive. So, yes, of course many have done things which were "environmentally sound" despite not being forced to do so by regulations. They do that when it brings them good publicity and they think the publicity will add to the bottom line.

I can think of a couple of local examples here in my neck of the woods (northern California). Our local Target store was built to LEED standards. That was well more "green" than was required by the regulations. They did that out of greed -- that is, Target believes the positive press is worth more to them than the extra expense required by LEED building standards.

Another is with Google. They spent millions of dollars intalling a solar-covered parking lot. They could have bought electricity for much less money on the open market. They could have left their employee lot unshaded. But they decided that the good publicity from being a "green" corporation was worth the investment.

*Badly run companies, of course, do all sorts of things which don't add to the bottom line. GM, Ford and Chrysler, for example, accepted labor deals with the UAW which ran them into the ground. Lots of CEOs and other executives in badly run companies are highly overpaid because their boards of directors are not loyal to the shareholders, but rather are loyal to their executive-friends. So the notion that corporations do everything for the bottom line is an overstatement. But in general it applies to well-run companies; and many of them serve the bottom line being "green."
   306. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:37 PM (#3552677)
This is a pretty terrible advert for government regulation, because it appears to be a classic example of incompetence, regulatory capture, and (possibly) corruption.

No, it occurred in a poorly regulated industry. One that was increasingly corrupt and in the pockets of the oil industry.
But that's exactly my point. Just because the government sticks its nose into regulating something, doesn't mean it'll do a good job. The argument made repeatedly throughout this thread, that only the government were to step in, the wrongs of the market would be righted, is disproven by the very incident we are discussing.
   307. tshipman Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:37 PM (#3552678)
Enron should have told you that regulation doesn't eliminate corruption.


Of course not. What a straw man, though!

Regulation does not eliminate corruption, but hopefully it reduces it. Look at Nigeria's horrific oil spills, where there is absolutely no regulation. That's very close to what we'd have with no regulation.


But that's exactly my point. Just because the government sticks its nose into regulating something, doesn't mean it'll do a good job. The argument made repeatedly throughout this thread, that only the government were to step in, the wrongs of the market would be righted, is disproven by the very incident we are discussing.


That's a little disingenuous, considering that those regulations were weakened and those regulators made more feeble by the lobbying efforts of the oil industries.
   308. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:42 PM (#3552683)
No, it occurred in a poorly regulated industry.

The problem is that your claim doesn't really contradict Alou's.

As for your previous post, the first two paragraphs contain very sound points and I don;t have much of a rebuttal. I think the basic problem we're running into is that nobody trusts anybody enough to successfully regulate anything- and that belief is not without foundation. I've been pro-offshore drilling (and remain so in the abstract) but I don't believe that the federal government can adequately police the situation such that it's acceptable. That's a ###### place to be, but I think it's where we're at.

As far as the government not having the expertise- that's just unacceptable. If the government is going to sale offshore drilling rights- and they do- they better have something better than BP will save us if something goes wrong. That's unimaginable to my mind- and largely why I just can't see trusting the DC crew with anything important.
   309. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:47 PM (#3552689)
Ray, I have no idea what you mean in #282:

Allen also said Monday that the clean up process will take years.

"Dealing with the oil spill on the surface will take a couple of months" but getting oil out of marshlands and other habitats "will be years," he said."

Ray: Note that nature can handle a lot of this itself...

Do any of you disagree that nature can handle a lot of this itself? If you do, please feel free to go on record.


Me: What do you mean by "handle this"? I agree that at some point a new equilibrium will be reached in the gulf, but I have no idea what that will look like or how long it will take.

Dial: Nature can not just handle "a lot of it". Nature can handle ALL of it. The fact is, all of it *IS* nature. It's crude oil - where do you guys think it came from?

Me: The question of nature "handling it" came up in reference to the ability to remove the oil from the marshlands and other natural habitats. The fact that crude oil is natural is irrelevant to that discussion...

Ray: Not at all.


The fact that oil occurs in nature is irrelevant to how long it will take to remove the oil from the marshlands and other habitats, unless you're taking the position that since it's naturally occuring, it's already "handled" and ok to simply leave it there. Are you taking that position? I asked you in #239 what you meant by nature "handling it", but you haven't responded, so it's difficult to respond to your original question or discuss the subject with you.
   310. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:47 PM (#3552690)
We're also making it less like it was before we existed, and less inhabitable for many other species. I know you realize thsi, but it's a distinction worth noting.
Well, I would say that the present condition cost many species and will continue to do so. Extinction is perfectly natural. There's nothing special about this particular set of conditions and species except they are the ones we live with.

Yes, their livelihoods are upset. That is terrible. BP should compensate them accordingly. But I wasn't talking about that at all. I am talking about the actual effects of oil in nature, and how it affects the environment, because humanity, IMB, doesn't get special exception. Some species overbreed and eat themselves into a massive starving die out until the environment can support the population, and then we start that over. Humans have been here for some time, but only a fraction of the earth's life, and we'll find a way to #### it up for ourselves, and then boom, we'll start over. This is an unfortunate coincidence, and when it comes to rooting for man vs nature, I tend to nature almost every time. We wanted the oil - we are paying the price. I speed, I pay speeding tickets.

That doesn't mean I am glad this happened or whatever my words need to be twisted into (not that you are), but people wanted to jump ray for saying nature will take care of a lot of. Nature will take care of all of it. Just not in the timeframe many are demanding. Well, don't allow them to drill for oil in the gulf. And certainly not in ANWR. Drilling for oil has risks. We wanted the oil - this is the price.
   311. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:48 PM (#3552691)
That's a little disingenuous, considering that those regulations were weakened and those regulators made more feeble by the lobbying efforts of the oil industries.
It's not disingenuous at all! That is exactly what is meant by "regulatory capture" - when the regulators essentially wind up working for the very people they are supposed to be regulating. This is not some feature unique to the oil industry, this is a systemic problem with all government regulation.
   312. tshipman Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:50 PM (#3552694)
I think the basic problem we're running into is that nobody trusts anybody enough to successfully regulate anything- and that belief is not without foundation.


I would say the essential problem was the overwhelming efforts that the Bush administration made to weaken regulators and regulation, largely at the behest of big business. When there's no cop on the beat, people do what they like.

As far as the government not having the expertise- that's just unacceptable. If the government is going to sale offshore drilling rights- and they do- they better have something better than BP will save us if something goes wrong. That's unimaginable to my mind- and largely why I just can't see trusting the DC crew with anything important.


I don't honestly know how much of a problem this is, since a large part of the problems with offshore drilling seem to be isolated to BP, and BP taking shortcuts. Very similarly to the 2008 finance system collapse, the problem appears to be lax regulation and enforcement of existing policies, mixed with a healthy dose of unethical and dangerous activity being done by people who were looking to move quickly and make fast money.

It's very difficult to say that one thing alone caused anything.
   313. tshipman Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:58 PM (#3552700)
It's not disingenuous at all! That is exactly what is meant by "regulatory capture" - when the regulators essentially wind up working for the very people they are supposed to be regulating. This is not some feature unique to the oil industry, this is a systemic problem with all government regulation.


So the solution to regulatory capture is not regulating industry at all?

I mean, I don't get your point here.
   314. CrosbyBird Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:59 PM (#3552701)
The "bad guys" cease to be the private enterprises that put short term profits ahead of safety and environmental caution. In fact, the "bad guys" *become the environmentalists and regulators themselves.

There are multiple bad guys. The primary bad guy is BP, but this problem was caused not by over-regulation, but by lack of effective regulation. I am in favor of some controls on the oil companies, because like you, I do not trust them to behave responsibly and the cost of negligence is so extreme.

It's far from a "libertarian chorus" to suggest that a significant part of the problem was that government allowed BP to circumvent best practices through the granting of exceptions. In other words, there wasn't enough regulation.
   315. CrosbyBird Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:01 PM (#3552702)
As opposed to the carefully considered position that cigarette companies engage in multi-million dollar advertising campaigns solely in order to support unemployed cartoonists, and that without that century-long campaign we'd have just as many smokers as we do today.

I really wish you'd stop this. The primary purpose of these ad campaigns is to promote brand loyalty. It's Joe Camel, not Joe Tobacco.
   316. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:03 PM (#3552705)
I would say the essential problem was the overwhelming efforts that the Bush administration made to weaken regulators and regulation, largely at the behest of big business. When there's no cop on the beat, people do what they like.

I just can't see giving Bush that much credit. This is a long-term trend, and given the nature of our government (particularly how elections are financed) it's entirely predictable. I mean, we're almost 4 years into the Democrats having complete control of Congress. Whatever Bush did, if it was clearly anomalous, there's been a decent enough chunk of time to roll a lot of it back. I just don't see that happening.

And I definitely wouldn't argue that any one thing can be blamed for this issue. My point was simply that if the government is going to allow people to drill in a mile of water in the gulf, it is incumbent upon that government that they have plans in place for the potential danger inherent in that conduct. I don't see that here at all. And when any one (or entity) wets the bed on such an essential duty, I think it's fair to step back and wonder how much they should be trusted.
   317. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:04 PM (#3552706)
I don't honestly know how much of a problem this is, since a large part of the problems with offshore drilling seem to be isolated to BP, and BP taking shortcuts. Very similarly to the 2008 finance system collapse, the problem appears to be lax regulation and enforcement of existing policies, mixed with a healthy dose of unethical and dangerous activity being done by people who were looking to move quickly and make fast money.


You forgot government complicity (CRA), which is not the same as lax regulation and/or enforcement.

Or incredible incompetence:
Every rule and tool was at each regulatory agency's disposal in order to 'catch' Bernie Madoff. Heck they even had more than one person bring the 'answer key' to the SEC's door, and it didn't matter. There were plenty of suspicous investors who asked too many questions when solicited for Bernie's scheme, if they had no problem figuring things out, then no amount of $$$ in the SEC budget would make a bit of difference.
   318. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:05 PM (#3552707)
So the solution to regulatory capture is not regulating industry at all?

I think the bigger point is to be mindful of the limited utility of regulation in the current context. It would be great if we could regulate well. I'm not sure that's realistic.
   319. tshipman Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:10 PM (#3552712)
I just can't see giving Bush that much credit. This is a long-term trend, and given the nature of our government (particularly how elections are financed) it's entirely predictable. I mean, we're almost 4 years into the Democrats having complete control of Congress. Whatever Bush did, if it was clearly anomalous, there's been a decent enough chunk of time to roll a lot of it back. I just don't see that happening.


Here's a good example of some of the abuses:

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/05/interior-department-inspector-general-issues-report-detailing-sleaze-at-minerals-management-service.html#tp

Here's a source from the time of, less I be excused of hindsight:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/11/washington/11royalty.html?_r=1&hp;
   320. CrosbyBird Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:10 PM (#3552713)
Has a corporation ever done anything environmentally sound that it was not forced to do by regulation?

Ben and Jerry's comes to mind. They changed the material used to make their containers to be more environmentally friendly without being forced to do so. They're also fairly active in social issues (cloned animal products, protesting oil drilling, very strict wage controls, etc.) All by choice.
   321. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:15 PM (#3552716)
Corporations are fictive creations of the state. They don't exist outside of the state. They are entities created by state granted privilege. That's why you have to file paperwork in order to create an LLC.
Corporations are not created by the state. An LLC (which is not a corporation, incidentally, but why get technical?) or a corporation needs to register with the state, but is created by private individuals. (There are some exceptions, such as Fannie Mae or Amtrak.) The state no more creates a corporation than the state creates marriages or churches, just because these things are usually registered with the state.

Rights are natural. That's the basic, fundamental notion, going all the way back to Locke, Voltaire and the Magna Carta.
And I don't disagree with any of what you said in this regard. (Though I thought I remembered that you yourself did.) But Citizens United wasn't suing on the grounds that BCRA and its predecessors violated Citizens United's natural rights; it was suing on the grounds that BCRA and its predecessors violated the First Amendment, which says "Congress shall make no law...," not "People have natural rights to speech which Congress may not violate."

I note, once again, the implication of claiming that corporations don't have any constitutional rights because they aren't people: (1) the government could order the New York Times not to criticize the president; (b) the government could kick down the ACLU's door in the middle of the night without a warrant and search its computers; (c) the government could seize the Sierra Club's headquarters without paying for it; (d) the government could fine or dissolve the UAW without a hearing; (e) the government could allow Yale University a hearing on whether to dissolve it, but refuse to let it have an attorney represent it or to call or question witnesses; (f) the government could put the Green Party on trial for sedition and then retry it on the exact same charges after after an acquittal.

None of these are strawmen. All of the restrictions on government's ability to do these things stem from parts of the Bill of Rights no differently than freedom of speech. (1st amendment, 4th amendment, 5th amendment, 5th amendment, 6th amendment, and 5th amendment, respectively.) If corporations don't have rights, then the other amendments don't protect corporations, either. (Indeed, the argument that the government can do (b)-(d),(f) is stronger than the argument that the government can censor Citizens United; the first amendment says "Congress shall make no law," but the 4th-5th amendments talk about "people" and "persons.")


Finally, I want to point out something that Glenn Greenwald pointed out when this case came down: (1) the notion that corporations have rights is not something that came from Citizens United, and (2) not a single justice rejected that notion. Not one of the four dissenters said, "Corporations aren't people and so they don't have rights." While the media and some demagogic politicians treated the case as one about whether corporations have free speech rights, that was never in dispute. The actual legal issue in the case was just whether the government had a compelling interest in abridging their free speech rights.
   322. tshipman Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:18 PM (#3552718)
I think the bigger point is to be mindful of the limited utility of regulation in the current context. It would be great if we could regulate well. I'm not sure that's realistic.


I dunno. The Bush admin was historically corrupt w/r/t oil policy. Saying that regulation doesn't work well with corrupt government is accurate, but I, for one, would prefer non-historically-corrupt government give it a try.

David's post above is very good. I think the question was mostly regarding the level of scrutiny to apply to safeguarding corporate speech. Y/N?
   323. McCoy Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:19 PM (#3552719)
Ben and Jerry's comes to mind. They changed the material used to make their containers to be more environmentally friendly without being forced to do so. They're also fairly active in social issues (cloned animal products, protesting oil drilling, very strict wage controls, etc.) All by choice.

I don't know at best that simply sets the karmic scales in balance. Think of all the fat B&J has created over the years. Plus if you want to see the dirtiest place in all of Philadelphia check out the sidewalk in front of Ben and Jerry's in Manayunk.
   324. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:20 PM (#3552721)
As opposed to the carefully considered position that cigarette companies engage in multi-million dollar advertising campaigns solely in order to support unemployed cartoonists, and that without that century-long campaign we'd have just as many smokers as we do today.

I really wish you'd stop this. The primary purpose of these ad campaigns is to promote brand loyalty. It's Joe Camel, not Joe Tobacco.


That's the primary purpose of any given ad campaign, but the ancillary effect of any given campaign is to create new smokers, and the cumulative effect of cigarette advertising as a whole is to increase the pool of new smokers.

And it really takes a libertarian to deny this. It takes a libertarian to pretend that the tobacco companies would blithely accept a world where they had to rely on existing smokers to stay in business, or to pretend that ad campaigns like Joe Camel or Pink Camels are aimed only at existing adult smokers. I have too much respect for your otherwise evident intelligence to imagine that you actually believe such a risible notion yourself. Even the most grizzled tobacco company CEO would have trouble advancing that sort of bullshit with a straight face.
   325. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:20 PM (#3552722)
I recall that problem (319) tship, and I'd agree that you can dump that right into Bush's lap. I'm just not convinced that those agencies (and many similar ones) are in any better hands than they were a few years ago. And I'm really unclear how this incident wouldn't give rise to that presumption.
   326. God can’t be all that impressed with Charles S. Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:22 PM (#3552724)
But that's exactly my point. Just because the government sticks its nose into regulating something, doesn't mean it'll do a good job. The argument made repeatedly throughout this thread, that only the government were to step in, the wrongs of the market would be righted, is disproven by the very incident we are discussing.

I think this is so obvious that no one bothered to mention it. When anyone promotes a course of action, be it government regulation or hard-boiling an egg, it is implied they expect it to be done correctly. No one is actively promoting regulatory capture or incompetent oversight.
   327. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:23 PM (#3552726)
I would say the essential problem was the overwhelming efforts that the Bush administration made to weaken regulators and regulation, largely at the behest of big business. When there's no cop on the beat, people do what they like.


If anything, the pendulum of regulation post internet boom (i.e. Bush years), at least in the financial sector, has been more regulation. SOX, OCC, SEC 38a-1, FASB, FINRA f/k/a NASD Rules have gotten more layered and onerous, these are all layers I avail myself to daily.

This isn't a simple blame game exercise, people really want to give tons of credit to W. for this ####, for a guy who such a schmuck and a moron to many here, he sure seemed to effortlessly exercise incredible powers and persuasion during his presidency. I must've missed it when he gutted the SEC, HUD, stripped the OCC of powers and overturned SOX with an exective order.

My observations related to regulation are only to note that Government, specifically Congress doesn't give a rip about regulation, either new forms, enforcement, empowerment, etc. when times are good, people are 'profiting' and home values rise, it is only when securities or homes, which can't go up forever, actually experience losses that anybody gives a #### about regulation. This isn't about not enough, or too much regulation, or right wing free market lunatics, or left wing commies, it is about human nature behaving in an irrational manner ("my investments can't lose any of my principal") in accordance to a motivation of greed, and then trying to find the bogeyman that caused them to lose money.

If we are going to have a marketplace, there needs to be risk, and there needs to be pain, and a public willing to suffer that risk and pain*. We can't trick or fool the pain, and no amount of regulation to the credit markets will prevent our next marketplace bust or make it easier to stop it.

* this entire comment has nothing to do with the oil disaster, but financial crisis matters.
   328. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:26 PM (#3552730)
My old company (a privately owned LLC) moved into a LEEDS building a few years ago despite the fact that it was more expensive, and while it may have helped with some customers, we were not in a PR-driven business. We basically did it because it was important to the owners of the firm. They also distributed books about personal environmental responsibiltiy to all the employees.
   329. tshipman Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:28 PM (#3552732)
I recall that problem tship, and I'd agree that you can dump that right into Bush's lap. I'm just not convinced that those agencies (and many similar ones) are in any better hands than they were a few years ago. And I'm really unclear how this incident wouldn't give rise to that presumption.


It takes a lot of time to clean up an industry is all I can say. From this op-ed (I wish I had a better source):

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2010-05-25-editorial25_ST1_N.htm

"Since coming into office, we have eliminated the scandal-plagued royalty-in-kind program, established new ethics standards, balanced MMS' mission to include renewable energy production, slowed new leasing in the Arctic in order to get more scientific information about the region, and established a clear, science-based process for determining which areas are — and are not — appropriate for offshore oil and gas development.

Last week, I divided MMS into three parts. For too long, the agency has had a conflicted mission of promoting energy development, collecting energy revenues and policing the industry. MMS' three missions will now be carried out by strong, separate and independent agencies."

I don't know to what extent these reforms will be successful, as I am not an expert in MMS's internal policies, but work's been done to clean it up. Further evidence for the corruption of the position under the Bush Admin: Dept. of Interior sent to prison for corruption:
http://www.standardnewswire.com/news/462791276.html

Edit: I'd also like to note that Democrats in congress after the 2008 scandal called for a moratorium in offshore drilling due to the scandals in the MMS, which of course, led to the infamous chants of Drill, Baby Drill! The worst you could say about the way Obama's handled this is that he was too willing to compromise with Republicans eager for offshore drilling in exchange for hoped for bi-partisan compromises on HCR and FinReg.
   330. McCoy Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:28 PM (#3552733)
I believe "Bush" is a catch all term for his entire administration. It wasn't like Bush was some sci-fi creature behind the controls of a 1000 lever machine. Bush and his staff set the agendas and put the heads of departments in place. As such what those agencies do and do not do is largely based on the directions Bush had set for those agencies.
   331. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:29 PM (#3552737)
I think this is so obvious that no one bothered to mention it. When anyone promotes a course of action, be it government regulation or hard-boiling an egg, it is implied they expect it to be done correctly. No one is actively promoting regulatory capture or incompetent oversight.

When you advocate for more regulation, what are you looking at as a model? Is there an example of a regulatory body which you think has been particularly successful, or an industry that's been well regulated?
   332. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:33 PM (#3552740)
Telling someone who desperately needs their job that they'll get fired if they don't work overtime for free, even if it's not true, is a type of control.

No. It's an offer to pay them if they accept the conditions.

The "desperately needs their job" stuff is just typical leftishspeak to distract from the issue.

By the way, lawyers (the scourge of the earth for some around here) routinely work overtime for free.
I agree with the point you're trying to make, but you're buying into the mistaken framing by the OP. Nobody works overtime "for free." We/they work overtime for our paychecks. The fact that I don't get extra money if I stay an extra hour does not mean I'm working that extra hour "for free."
   333. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:35 PM (#3552742)
I love that the same people who accuse Obama of being a socialist monster are the same people who are accusing him of not being socialistic enough when it fits their partisan message (i.e., in responding to the spill). Why, it's almost as if they're more interested in scoring partisan points than in assessing the situation objectively.
Yes; a lot of it is ###-for-tat over Katrina.
   334. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:36 PM (#3552743)
Note, I am not saying that the response is to deregulate. What needs to happen is for the government to regulate properly. And yes, ultimately, that is on Obama.


and

As far as the government not having the expertise- that's just unacceptable. If the government is going to sale offshore drilling rights- and they do- they better have something better than BP will save us if something goes wrong. That's unimaginable to my mind- and largely why I just can't see trusting the DC crew with anything important.


This is basically correct. The government needs to better and more effectively regulate the energy sector, in much the same way the government needs to better and more effectively regulate the financial sector. And the means to do this is the break the cozy "partnership" bonds between those sectors and government and re-establish government as a counterbalance, in opposition to the industries. We have spent the last 30+ years worshipping at the feet of unlimited "growth", and the social institutions that should have been balanced in opposition and counterweight to the excesses of industry have moved in and gone to bed with them. This is a problem that needs solving.

But of course, as was mentioned above with regard to the financial regulation package the Congress just passed, when we attempt to address these very real, very pressing issues we hear the Tea Party and Marching Nutsack Brigades howl about "socialism" and the wingnutters here splutter apoplectic about "anti-capitalism" or whatever the meaningless rant du jour is for the libertarian fringers. Much as they desparately demand that we get the national debt under control, but refuse categorically to cut real spending programs or raise taxes, they apparently want this to be fixed by magical thinking and wishcasting as well.

To Dagberto (@308) are you willing to fund a government agency with qualified scientists and engineers such that we have the expertise ready to go next time, even though they will be spending the vast majority of their time (and your money) sitting around imagingin doomsday events that hardly ever occur, and never occur perfectly according to model? Is that a legitimate function of the federal state?
   335. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:39 PM (#3552745)
Yes; a lot of it is ###-for-tat over Katrina.


Do you believe the federal government should be funded and prepared to rescue citizens from flooding and/or natural disasters, as well as distribute potable water and basic food supplies to refugees of natural disasters?

Do you believe that the federal government should be funded and prepared to cap oil wells a mile deep in the ocean floor?

If so, where do you propose we acquire the funds to enable those agencies?
   336. McCoy Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:40 PM (#3552748)
The fact that I don't get extra money if I stay an extra hour does not mean I'm working that extra hour "for free."

Actually for some people it is "for free". It is a pretty common tactic in the restaurant industry and in other industries (cough Wal Mart cough) to force hourly employees to clock out or not clock in and work off the clock or else. Wal-Mart has been caught before and I'll bet they'll get caught again and again and again. Sure you can call it a choice but when your only remedy is a long legal battle and unemployment that isn't much of a choice at all.

Frankly, I think the whole thing is unethical and slimy. I always chuckle when I'm in some training session or have to give the troops the complany pep talk and it is full of a bunch of BS about integrity, honesty, togetherness, and all that other crap. They want you to believe it and follow it but they themselves don't follow it.

I am a salaried employee but if I dare not work at least 5 days I won't get paid in full. Yet they have no problem having me work 6 days a week and not pay me for it. Do they then make it up to me by giving me an extra day off the next week? Nope, if you want to have 4 days off over two weeks with one of the weeks having you work 6 days then you have to take PTO. Which is BS.
   337. tshipman Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:40 PM (#3552749)
I agree with the point you're trying to make, but you're buying into the mistaken framing by the OP. Nobody works overtime "for free." We/they work overtime for our paychecks. The fact that I don't get extra money if I stay an extra hour does not mean I'm working that extra hour "for free."


If someone is paid hourly, and is told they have to work extra time, unpaid, to keep their jobs, that is working for free. That is also a company using information asymmetry to force an employee into a result that would not happen if the employee had access to more information.
   338. . Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:41 PM (#3552750)
I struggle to see how I'm defending BP at all. The corporation is clearly a bad actor here, but it is far from the only bad actor. The government didn't force BP to spill oil into the Gulf of Mexico. It enabled BP to drill without appropriate safeguards. If I'm going to sacrifice some of my personal liberties for safety, the government damn well better be making me safer, not deciding to ignore my safety when someone buys their way around compliance.

A corrupt government allowed profit-motivated corporations to cut corners for its own financial gain. What is the purpose of regulation if it can be opted out of with a large enough financial influence?

If the government is going put itself forward as a moral authority and guardian of safety, then it deserves to be held accountable when it acts immorally and against the interests of safety. That is entirely orthogonal to BP's responsibility.


This space warned of the corrupt conjoinment of big government and big business and here we have another reason why. As many have already pointed out, another danger of the creeping corporatist polity is that no identifiable entity -- don't even bother with person -- is responsible. Everyone can plausibly point fingers at somebody else. All or practically all involved maintain their privileges and emoluments. And there we see the parallel with the housing bubble and ensuing financial meltdown of the 00s.

Normal people, and unfortunately in this case, appealing marine creatures, are left to deal with the mess.
   339. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:44 PM (#3552753)
I believe "Bush" is a catch all term for his entire administration. It wasn't like Bush was some sci-fi creature behind the controls of a 1000 lever machine. Bush and his staff set the agendas and put the heads of departments in place. As such what those agencies do and do not do is largely based on the directions Bush had set for those agencies.


The Bush-Cheney administration was simply the apex of decades of deregulatory fervor. Those decades include the New Democrats under Clinton and extend back at least as far as Reagan. Granted, the Bush-Cheney cadre sort of took the game to a whole new level, but they were not the originators of the process.
   340. CrosbyBird Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:44 PM (#3552754)
That's the primary purpose of any given ad campaign, but the ancillary effect of any given campaign is to create new smokers, and the cumulative effect of cigarette advertising as a whole is to increase the pool of new smokers.

Certainly. But you are conceding my point. The primary purpose of cigarette advertisement is to create and reinforce brand loyalty, which is a significant reason other than "to keep cartoonists employed." I'm quite sure the cigarette companies want new consumers of their product and design a portion of their advertisements accordingly, but there's tremendous brand loyalty among smokers.

I don't know smokers that buy Marlboro today and Camel tomorrow and Benson and Hedges on Wednesday. (Exception: Cheap folk buy Parliaments.)

As an aside, when was the last time you even saw a cigarette advertisement? If I've seen one in the past five years, I glossed right over it without noticing. (I've seen a few advertisements for chew in a magazine.)
   341. . Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:45 PM (#3552757)
The probability of a catastrophic oil spill is a cost that the free market would not induce BP (or whomever; take "BP" to refer to whichever entity was actually responsible for ensuring the safety of the rigs) to internalize, and as such it is entirely appropriate for the government to take measures to ensure that BP takes it into account.

And that word needs to be here; without understanding it, all discussion of the free market is simply drivel.

The way you internalize the costs and make the next predator think twice is to make BP pay every single dime of the clean-up costs. My guess is that won't happen.
   342. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:45 PM (#3552758)
You forgot government complicity (CRA), which is not the same as lax regulation and/or enforcement.


No one "forgot" the CRA of 1977. We just didn't bring it up because it was utterly irrelevant to anything being discussed here.
   343. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:46 PM (#3552759)
I think this is so obvious that no one bothered to mention it. When anyone promotes a course of action, be it government regulation or hard-boiling an egg, it is implied they expect it to be done correctly. No one is actively promoting regulatory capture or incompetent oversight.
Yes, but then you're stacking the deck. You're comparing a time when corporations did things incorrectly, not to what actually happens, but to a hypothetical world where government does things correctly. Obviously if you assume the government does a good job, that will always be superior to a situation where corporations screw things up. But the former isn't a realistic assumption.
   344. Alex_Lewis Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:46 PM (#3552760)
That doesn't mean I am glad this happened or whatever my words need to be twisted into (not that you are), but people wanted to jump ray for saying nature will take care of a lot of.


People wanted to jump on Ray for that comment because the comment itself was asinine.
   345. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:49 PM (#3552762)
That doesn't mean I am glad this happened or whatever my words need to be twisted into (not that you are), but people wanted to jump ray for saying nature will take care of a lot of.

I don't want this to be another "look at Ray!" thread, but I think Ray was pretty clearly trying to call people out on this topic, and not the other way around. He wrote

Do any of you disagree that nature can handle a lot of this itself? If you do, please feel free to go on record.

but hasn't clarified what he meant by "handle" it despite being asked several times. I don't think anyone responded inappropriately to him.
   346. tshipman Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:51 PM (#3552768)
Yes, but then you're stacking the deck. You're comparing a time when corporations did things incorrectly, not to what actually happens, but to a hypothetical world where government does things correctly. Obviously if you assume the government does a good job, that will always be superior to a situation where corporations screw things up. But the former isn't a realistic assumption.


There are plenty of examples of regulatory agencies fining and penalizing companies for doing things they're not supposed to do. I don't understand your position. Are you seriously claiming that there are no instances of federal agencies preventing health/safety catastrophes?

Smog regulation in California, regulation on the pollution in Lake Erie, mercury testing in commercial fisheries, there are bunches of examples. I don't get your point here.
   347. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:54 PM (#3552771)
Corporations are not created by the state. An LLC (which is not a corporation, incidentally, but why get technical?) or a corporation needs to register with the state, but is created by private individuals. (There are some exceptions, such as Fannie Mae or Amtrak.) The state no more creates a corporation than the state creates marriages or churches, just because these things are usually registered with the state.


If a corporation fails to register with the state, what happens?

Rights are natural. That's the basic, fundamental notion, going all the way back to Locke, Voltaire and the Magna Carta.


And I don't disagree with any of what you said in this regard. (Though I thought I remembered that you yourself did.) But Citizens United wasn't suing on the grounds that BCRA and its predecessors violated Citizens United's natural rights; it was suing on the grounds that BCRA and its predecessors violated the First Amendment, which says "Congress shall make no law...," not "People have natural rights to speech which Congress may not violate."


You're old. Memory is fickle.

As for the technical merits of the suit, Congress made no law infringing the freedom of speech, as the entity in question has no basic right to freedom of speech. No one said the individuals who made up Citizens United couldn't individually make up false crap to sling about Hillary Clinton if they wanted. That's pretty much the entire programming bloc of right wing talk radio for the 90s.

I note, once again, the implication of claiming that corporations don't have any constitutional rights because they aren't people: (1) the government could order the New York Times not to criticize the president; (b) the government could kick down the ACLU's door in the middle of the night without a warrant and search its computers; (c) the government could seize the Sierra Club's headquarters without paying for it; (d) the government could fine or dissolve the UAW without a hearing; (e) the government could allow Yale University a hearing on whether to dissolve it, but refuse to let it have an attorney represent it or to call or question witnesses; (f) the government could put the Green Party on trial for sedition and then retry it on the exact same charges after after an acquittal.

None of these are strawmen. All of the restrictions on government's ability to do these things stem from parts of the Bill of Rights no differently than freedom of speech. (1st amendment, 4th amendment, 5th amendment, 5th amendment, 6th amendment, and 5th amendment, respectively.) If corporations don't have rights, then the other amendments don't protect corporations, either. (Indeed, the argument that the government can do (b)-(d),(f) is stronger than the argument that the government can censor Citizens United; the first amendment says "Congress shall make no law," but the 4th-5th amendments talk about "people" and "persons.")


None of these hypotheticals have anything to do with Citizens, except perhaps if the Times attempted to run an end-around campaign financing laws by running a "special section" printing fiction to slander a candidate I suppose. Further, none of the hypotheticals require corporate rights. The individuals have rights. The legal fictions do not. They are in fact, strawmen.

Finally, I want to point out something that Glenn Greenwald pointed out when this case came down: (1) the notion that corporations have rights is not something that came from Citizens United, and (2) not a single justice rejected that notion. Not one of the four dissenters said, "Corporations aren't people and so they don't have rights." While the media and some demagogic politicians treated the case as one about whether corporations have free speech rights, that was never in dispute. The actual legal issue in the case was just whether the government had a compelling interest in abridging their free speech rights.


"They" don't have free speech rights. Because corporations don't have rights. I don't really care if 5 or 9 justices fail to see basic fundamental reason, it's still the case.
   348. Alex_Lewis Posted: June 07, 2010 at 09:56 PM (#3552774)
I think Ray was pretty clearly trying to call people out on this topic, and not the other way around.


Ray was making an irrelevant point to draw attention away from his confusing arguments. Don't give him too much credit.
   349. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:04 PM (#3552784)
There are plenty of examples of regulatory agencies fining and penalizing companies for doing things they're not supposed to do. I don't understand your position. Are you seriously claiming that there are no instances of federal agencies preventing health/safety catastrophes?

Smog regulation in California, regulation on the pollution in Lake Erie, mercury testing in commercial fisheries, there are bunches of examples. I don't get your point here.


Part of the problem here is that again, regulation is about prevention. As such, when regulators do a good job, *bad things don't happen.* This doesn't lead libertarian leaning folks to think "hey, wow, look at how well the FDA is regulating life science, it sure is great that we have an agency doing that effectively." It leads them to think "my God, we haven't had any problems but we're paying this federal agency millions for beuracrats to sit on the fat assez and impede even better free market results! Imagine the superdrugs we'd have if these guys weren't in the way!"

You'd get the same sort of reaction if you staffed a federal agency to maintain safety in drilling, and/or to be capable and ready at a moment's notice to go cap an oil well undersea. We'd spend millions per year on training and theory, and every second of every year that we went without an accident the right wing would be frothing at the bit about the out-of-control, "useless spending" on these "socialist" agencies who only "stand in the way of innovation."
   350. . Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:05 PM (#3552786)
Corporations are not created by the state. An LLC (which is not a corporation, incidentally, but why get technical?) or a corporation needs to register with the state, but is created by private individuals. (There are some exceptions, such as Fannie Mae or Amtrak.) The state no more creates a corporation than the state creates marriages or churches, just because these things are usually registered with the state.

If a corporation fails to register with the state, what happens?

#### sakes, this again? The state may not "create" the corporation (though actually it does), but it creates the limitation/elimination of shareholder liability that encourages people to form corporations in the first place.

Can we dispense with this silliness now? It's kind of embarrassing; I'd hate to think outsiders were reading along.
   351. zenbitz Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:07 PM (#3552791)
actually the people sputtering about anti-capitalism are NOT refusing to cut real spending programs.

But they ain't in charge of nuthin' neither.

Don't mix up your libertarian wingnuts with your republican wingnuts! Even if they sometimes come as "mixed nuts".
   352. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:08 PM (#3552792)
A corporation needs to register with the state, but is created by private individuals... The state no more creates a corporation than the state creates marriages or churches, just because these things are usually registered with the state.
I find this line of argument strange and ahistorical.

What we mean by a corporation is an institution with a separate legal identity. People may naturally create institutions, but there is nothing "natural" about giving an institution a separate legal identity. That is absolutely a governmental creation. Indeed, historically, the only way to form a corporation was by a specific governmental charter. Charters being rare, most institutions were of the form of partnerships, etc. If the US government were to abolish all corporations tomorrow, no fundamental right would be breached (although it would be economically inefficient).
   353. . Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:09 PM (#3552793)
"They" don't have free speech rights. Because corporations don't have rights. I don't really care if 5 or 9 justices fail to see basic fundamental reason, it's still the case.

The notion that BP is constitutionally entitled to shout down real people with its PR BS and lies, using its ill-gotten profits (**) is simply a grotesque distortion of the charter of our liberties.

(**) See discussion of externalities above. Had the system forced BP to incur the actual costs of its drilling, its profits over time would have been miniscule.
   354. The Good Face Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:10 PM (#3552797)
When anyone promotes a course of action, be it government regulation or hard-boiling an egg, it is implied they expect it to be done correctly. No one is actively promoting regulatory capture or incompetent oversight.


Of course, it's so easy! We just need to create a magical new kind of regulatory agency that won't be subject to regulatory capture and won't have any incompetent or corrupt people working there!

Regulatory capture is a fact of life that can't be avoided just because somebody we like is in the White House. Incompetence (and corruption) is an unfortunate and universal side effect of humans engaging in pretty much any activity. This doesn't mean it's not worth the effort, but regulation brings costs as well as, if we're lucky, benefits. We need to be honest about those costs, both with ourselves and others.
   355. Answer Guy. Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:11 PM (#3552799)
No one "forgot" the CRA of 1977.


Just in case anyone thought that there was something the conservative movement and their "libertarian" allies wouldn't try to blame on poor minorities.
   356. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:16 PM (#3552808)
Don't mix up your libertarian wingnuts with your republican wingnuts! Even if they sometimes come as "mixed nuts".


In more nuanced circumstance, I would agree that distinctions are worth making. But in the aggregate, self-identifying "libertarians" are functionally identical to "Republicans." And the "Tea Party Movement" is made up almost entirely of those identical folks.
   357. Answer Guy. Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:18 PM (#3552810)
You're comparing a time when corporations did things incorrectly, not to what actually happens, but to a hypothetical world where government does things correctly.


There's no way to count cases of lead poisoning that *don't* happen now because we outlawed (for essentially all purposes) lead paint and leaded gasoline.
   358. tshipman Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:18 PM (#3552811)

Of course, it's so easy! We just need to create a magical new kind of regulatory agency that won't be subject to regulatory capture and won't have any incompetent or corrupt people working there!

Regulatory capture is a fact of life that can't be avoided just because somebody we like is in the White House. Incompetence (and corruption) is an unfortunate and universal side effect of humans engaging in pretty much any activity. This doesn't mean it's not worth the effort, but regulation brings costs as well as, if we're lucky, benefits. We need to be honest about those costs, both with ourselves and others.


I don't understand the point. The Department of the Interior under the Bush Administration was historically corrupt, and the MMS sub-division in particular was intentionally staffed with an eye to cronyism and weakening regulatory reforms.

When this was discovered in 2008, the response of Democratic senators was to call for a moratorium on offshore drilling. This was roundly opposed by the Republican party at the time, going so far as to make expanded offshore drilling a plank of their campaign platform and a popular slogan at their rallies.

When Obama was elected, he moved to appoint a new Sec. of Interior who made numerous reforms in MMS, which were resisted by Republicans. The problems aren't related to structural problems of government. The massive corruption in MMS was specific to one administration's directly intention to weaken their regulation.

Saying, well, regulatory capture is inevitable escapes the criticism that endemic corruption is not. A historically corrupt administration weakened safeguards preventing incidents like this occurring. While regulatory capture is a risk, as is incompetence, the results of the intentional weakening of regulations at the behest of the previous administration isn't something that you can just sweep under the rug.
   359. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:20 PM (#3552812)
To Dagberto (@308) are you willing to fund a government agency with qualified scientists and engineers such that we have the expertise ready to go next time, even though they will be spending the vast majority of their time (and your money) sitting around imagingin doomsday events that hardly ever occur, and never occur perfectly according to model?

As a threshold matter, unless the Energy Department got shut down without anyone noticing, we've already got that agency.

More importantly, the idea that such is required is not sound. I currently work for a firm that designs/builds data centers. Ideally. What we also do, is disaster recovery when someone's data center has a fire or flood and is no longer functionable. Which is to say, I deal with destructive and devastating foul ups all the time.

In that arena there are certain things that you buy and keep in-house (that's basically what we sale generally) to prepare for that contingency, and there are others that you simply line-up such that you can turn to them in the very unlikely event that you have a catastrophe (that's a service we provide to customers who have their #### together and plan for disasters.) I don't anticipate that a new agency is needed, though I'm quite sure we'll get one either way. Rather, what I'd like to see is any evidence tending to show that the federal government was legitimately prepared for this very obvious possibility. I want to know that all the equipment (for land and sea) that would be needed in this instance has been contemplated- and that at a sound level of thought has been given to securing those assets in a timely fashion should they become necessary. I want to see a competent individual in charge of coordinating the response when necessary. I'm not seeing any of that. What I see (from my own experience) is the customer who is simply stunned that such a terrible thing could happen when he was sure that it wouldn't. I don't trust that guy generally, and I 'm certainly not likely to give him a host of new responsibilities.

Now, I'm well aware that the scale of the disaster is vastly different than what I deal with and I also understand that some disasters simply overwhelm all reasonable precautions. I'm also open to a showing that the government is handling (and has handled) the mitigation efforts reasonably. But to date, I'm not impressed. And that's a very charitable description.
   360. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:22 PM (#3552814)
The righties and libertarians on this site appear to have lost their minds.
   361. . Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:23 PM (#3552816)
Incompetence (and corruption) is an unfortunate and universal side effect of humans engaging in pretty much any activity.

Which is why the only workable long-term solution is to reduce the size and scope of the activities and the entities engaged in them -- both big government and big business. These ongoing arguments about the relative worth of the two have become tiresome and beside the point.(**) Big government is a cesspool of corruption and surpassing incompetence; big business is a cesspool of corruption. Together, they're a disaster.

(**) The ultimate goal is more capitalism and more capitalists. The current structures are antithetical to both.
   362. Answer Guy. Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:26 PM (#3552818)
In more nuanced circumstance, I would agree that distinctions are worth making. But in the aggregate, self-identifying "libertarians" are functionally identical to "Republicans." And the "Tea Party Movement" is made up almost entirely of those identical folks.


Depends on the issue. There are substantial distinctions worth making if the topic at hand were foreign policy, military policy, the appropriate role of religion in government (and vice versa), and criminal justice. But we're not discussing those topics at the moment.
   363. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:28 PM (#3552821)
tship- you keep saying historically corrupt, what is the metric for that claim?
   364. McCoy Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:33 PM (#3552827)
tship- you keep saying historically corrupt, what is the metric for that claim?

You might not have heard of it because BP owns the right to it but it is CORA.
   365. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:38 PM (#3552833)
I really wish you'd stop this. The primary purpose of these ad campaigns is to promote brand loyalty. It's Joe Camel, not Joe Tobacco.

That's the primary purpose of any given ad campaign, but the ancillary effect of any given campaign is to create new smokers, and the cumulative effect of cigarette advertising as a whole is to increase the pool of new smokers.

Certainly. But you are conceding my point. The primary purpose of cigarette advertisement is to create and reinforce brand loyalty, which is a significant reason other than "to keep cartoonists employed." I'm quite sure the cigarette companies want new consumers of their product and design a portion of their advertisements accordingly,


Thank you. And when you consider the cumulative effect of all tobacco advertising, that's a pretty powerful persuader.

but there's tremendous brand loyalty among smokers.

I've never argued that there wasn't.

As an aside, when was the last time you even saw a cigarette advertisement? If I've seen one in the past five years, I glossed right over it without noticing. (I've seen a few advertisements for chew in a magazine.)

Tobacco companies spend many billions of dollars a year on advertising**, but the reason you don't see as many advertisements these days is because only about 10% of their ad budgets are spent on printed material. Over 50% of tobacco ad money is now devoted to promotional giveaways that are aimed, naturally, at young people.

**Figures I found for a few random years: $8.3 billion in 1999; $15.12 billion in 2003; $13.11 billion in 2005. By comparison, those NYC ads have cost all of $80,000 to print and distribute in the first eight months since the passage of the law. That might not strike some people as particularly overwhelming.
   366. tshipman Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:38 PM (#3552834)
tship- you keep saying historically corrupt, what is the metric for that claim?


Mostly these details:

On one occasion, the report said, the royalty-in-kind program allowed a Chevron representative who had won a bid to purchase some of the government’s oil to pay taxpayers a lower amount than his winning offer because he said he had made a mistake in his calculations. A report from Mr. Devaney’s office earlier this year found that the program had frequently allowed companies that purchased the oil and gas to revise their bids downward after they won contracts. It documented 118 such occasions that cost taxpayers about $4.4 million in all.


In three reports delivered to Congress on Wednesday, the department’s inspector general, Earl E. Devaney, found wrongdoing by a dozen current and former employees of the Minerals Management Service, which collects about $10 billion in royalties annually and is one of the government’s largest sources of revenue other than taxes.


A former official named in the report, Jimmy W. Mayberry, pleaded guilty to a felony conflict-of-interest charge in August and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In late 2002, when he was about to retire, Mr. Mayberry drafted a “statement of work” for a consulting contract to perform essentially identical functions to his own. He then retired, started a company, and in June 2003 won the contract with the help of Ms. Denett and Milton Dial, another friend at the agency.


The similarities between this and the Teapot Dome Scandal was what caused me to call it historic.
   367. Zoppity Zoop Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:40 PM (#3552836)

tship- you keep saying historically corrupt, what is the metric for that claim?


Top Ranking of Corrupt Energy Departments
Unit of Measure - GWB (number of George W. Bush's as president)

1(t) 2001 - 1
1(t) 2002 - 1
1(t) 2003 - 1
1(t) 2004 - 1
1(t) 2005 - 1
1(t) 2006 - 1
1(t) 2007 - 1
1(t) 2008 - 1
9(t) 1977 - 0
9(t) 1978 - 0
9(t) 1979 - 0
(list truncated)
   368. Zoppity Zoop Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:44 PM (#3552841)
On one occasion, the report said, the royalty-in-kind program allowed a Chevron representative who had won a bid to purchase some of the government’s oil to pay taxpayers a lower amount than his winning offer because he said he had made a mistake in his calculations. A report from Mr. Devaney’s office earlier this year found that the program had frequently allowed companies that purchased the oil and gas to revise their bids downward after they won contracts. It documented 118 such occasions that cost taxpayers about $4.4 million in all.


And if this is evidence of a particularly corrupt organization, you'd show the documented claims in other administrations as being less.


In three reports delivered to Congress on Wednesday, the department’s inspector general, Earl E. Devaney, found wrongdoing by a dozen current and former employees of the Minerals Management Service, which collects about $10 billion in royalties annually and is one of the government’s largest sources of revenue other than taxes.


Again, you're attempting to showing malfeasance without demonstrating if it's particular to the Bush administration or simply normal practices. It's the equivalent of saying "Obama's the Most Oil Friendly Politician Ever!" simply by demonstrating that he took a lot of money from oil companies.


A former official named in the report, Jimmy W. Mayberry, pleaded guilty to a felony conflict-of-interest charge in August and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In late 2002, when he was about to retire, Mr. Mayberry drafted a “statement of work” for a consulting contract to perform essentially identical functions to his own. He then retired, started a company, and in June 2003 won the contract with the help of Ms. Denett and Milton Dial, another friend at the agency.


Again, that's not exactly evidence of the organization as a whole being particularly corrupt. I know you so want to mindlessly lampoon talking points you heard on DailyKos, but there's actually people of different ideologies here.
   369. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:46 PM (#3552842)
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/forums/viewthread/2497/
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