BP — Bad Players

The Fortnightly Rant for May 21, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 17, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. It has now been one full month since BP’s well began spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Though that has not been enough time for BP to end this ongoing calamity, it’s been more than enough for the rest of us to learn more about BP and its friends. So far, none of it has been good. This past fortnight got off to a rather ironic start as the Associated Press reported that a “group of BP executives were on …

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Luncheon, Interrupted

The Fortnightly Rant for May 7, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 16, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. If things had gone as planned last Monday, the Federal officials in charge of regulating offshore oil drilling would have been handing out awards in Houston. Among the three contenders for the Minerals Management Service’s Safety Award for Excellence, which recognizes “outstanding safety and pollution prevention performance,” was the British oil giant BP. Due to a mishap, however, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), a bureau of the Department of the Interior, announced last Friday that it was postponing its annual Industry SAFE …

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The SEC Says “Tilt”

The Fortnightly Rant for April 23, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 15, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. Wall Street was shocked to discover last Friday that it is possible to conduct business in a manner so depraved that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will actually attempt to take punitive action. Goldman Sachs, an institution recently characterized by The New York Times as “the most powerful bank on Wall Street,” was charged with fraud for creating a collateralized debt obligation (CDO) called “Abacus” and selling $1 billion worth of it without disclosing to the purchasers that it had been …

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The Party of Murdoch

The Fortnightly Rant for April 9, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 14, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. According to the traditional Norman Rockwell version of American democracy that used to be taught in high school civics classes, when a political party is out of power it makes every effort to induce the public to ask itself, “Why didn’t we elect those guys?” The most common method for achieving this goal is to propose rational programs of legislation and articulate to the public why such programs would yield better results for the nation than the programs of the party in …

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Thank God That’s Over

The Fortnightly Rant for March 26, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 13, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. In a vote that is truly deserving of the term “historic” — its antecedents go back 98 years* — last Sunday the House of Representatives passed legislation that substantially reforms America’s health care system, depending on what the meaning of the word “reform” is. The legislation will force millions of Americans to become customers of the very insurance corporations that have been screwing the nation for Lo, these many years. Thus the festering sore at the heart of our alleged health care …

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Life in the Sausage Factory

The Fortnightly Rant for March 12, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 12, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. Quite frankly we have been ambivalent about the watered-down health care proposal being pushed by the White House. The status quo has got to go, that much is clear. Under our present “system,” the lack of health care insurance is killing almost as many people every year as automobile accidents. For that dubious service the nation pays at least half again as much as it would if everyone were covered. In a sane political system the Democratic Party would stand up and …

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