Archive | Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Wishful Thinking

It was known long before the Obama administration took over that the MMS was rubber stamping every drilling application that came along. So why didn’t they clamp down on this from the beginning?

Regulators at the Minerals Management Service exempted 27 additional offshore drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico from performing an in-depth environmental analysis—even after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, according to reporting by McClatchy. One of those exemptions went to BP.

The Deepwater Horizon rig had also been exempted from having to perform an in-depth environmental analysis using something known as a “categorical exclusion.” Categorical exclusions are used to fast-track drilling plans by eliminating paperwork that is deemed to be unnecessary or redundant because the drilling would probably have no significant effect on the environment.

While the granting of an exclusion is not the final step before a company is free to drill, it does expedite the review process.

The Department of Interior has put a temporary moratorium on new permits to drill offshore. MMS officials told McClatchy that giving a categorical exclusion isn’t the same as giving final approval to drill, and they “could not say” whether the exemptions would stand when the moratorium is lifted.

BP’s massive oil spill was already in progress when MMS applied the categorical exemptions to these 27 projects in the Gulf, exempting them from having to produce site-specific environmental impact statements as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

“The BP rig still burning. The oil is spilling,” Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, told me. “And they give another categorical exclusion to BP, saying there’s no chance of a spill. It’s just insane.

BP’s Deepwater Horizon plans were also thought to pose minimal risk to the environment. In its exploration plan for the rig, submitted to MMS years ago, BP said “no significant adverse impacts are expected” to the environment and stated that a spill was an “unlikely event.”

In the three weeks after the rig exploded, MMS gave BP a categorical exclusion for a plan to drill “at a depth of more than 4,000 feet,”according to McClatchy. Another company, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., was given approval for a plan to drill in more than 9,000 feet of water.

SEC Investigates Moody’s

Are you telling me the stock market just figured this out – or did the stock drop because they got caught?

NEW YORK — Moody’s Investors Service stock fell sharply Monday following news that the ratings company is being investigated for possibly misleading regulators three years ago.

Moody’s disclosed late Friday that it might face a Securities and Exchange Commission administrative charge that it misled regulators when it applied for its license in 2007. Ratings agencies must be licensed by the federal government.

The investigation comes as ratings agencies like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s continue to face scrutiny and criticism related to their role in the credit crisis.

Moody’s stock dropped $1.59, or 6.8 percent, to $21.77 Monday, although the broader market rose sharply.

Pew Survey: 70% in Money Trouble

If I had a dollar for every person I’ve met in the past few weeks who believes the Dems just added another tier of unemployment checks, we wouldn’t even need a Tier 5. I hate to sound like a broken record, but it still astounds me that Democrats are saying there’s “no political will” to add another tier of unemployment benefits, that they’re not hearing “any popular support” for spending the money.

That’s because people think that’s what Congress just passed, you morans. Are the Congressional Dems really that stupid and out of touch? Yes, they are. And they’ll pay for it dearly in the mid-terms. And you know what? They deserve whatever happens if they let all these despairing people fall off the unemployment rolls.

From The Pew Foundation:

Americans are united in the belief that the economy is in bad shape (92% give it a negative rating), and for many the repercussions are hitting close to home. Fully 70% of Americans say they have faced one or more job or financial-related problems in the past year, up from 59% in February 2009. Jobs have become difficult to find in local communities for 85% of Americans. A majority now says that someone in their household has been without a job or looking for work (54%); just 39% said this in February 2009. Only a quarter reports receiving a pay raise or a better job in the past year (24%), while almost an equal number say they have been laid off or lost a job (21%). Read more:

It Would Be Irresponsible Not To Speculate, Part 2

Hmm. So while Shahzad wasn’t a fan of the Beckster, it appears that neither was he a member of any radical Islamic group. I wonder how many wingnut heads will explode now:

WASHINGTON — No credible evidence has been found so far that the Pakistani-American man accused in the Times Square bombing plot received any serious terrorist training from the Pakistani Taliban or another radical Islamic group, six U.S. officials said Thursday.

“There is nothing that confirms that any groups have been found involved in this for certain,” one U.S. official told McClatchy. “It’s a lot of speculation at this point.”

Faisal Shahzad may have, at the most, had “incidental contact” with a terrorist organization, and he may have been encouraged to act, said one of the officials, who declined to elaborate further.

Four U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials and two other U.S. officials with knowledge of the case spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss classified intelligence or the ongoing investigation publicly.

According to a five-count criminal complaint filed by U.S. prosecutors in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday, Shahzad admitted after his arrest on Monday to receiving bomb-making training in Waziristan, a part of Pakistan’s tribal area bordering Afghanistan, during a five-month trip to his homeland that ended in February.

According to the criminal complaint, Shahzad admitted that he’d parked a Nissan SUV loaded with propane tanks, gasoline canisters, fertilizer and fireworks coupled to two alarm clocks in New York’s Times Square on Saturday evening and fled.

The vehicle began smoldering, but failed to explode. Shahzad was apprehended on Monday night on a Dubai-bound Emirates flight at John F. Kennedy Airport that he’d been allowed to board even though his name was on the “no fly” list.

The U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials, however, said that the bungled nature of the bombing and the trail of clues that led the FBI to him suggest that he never received even rudimentary terrorist training or instructions on how to evade arrest.

Nor has any credible evidence been uncovered verifying his story of being trained in Waziristan, they and the other U.S. officials said.

“We’ve seen nothing suggesting that Shahzad received even minimal training, and everything about what he did suggests otherwise,” one U.S. official said.

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