Just Asking For It
Let’s start with some fun. Here’s yesterday’s headline in the Daily Beast on Anthony Weiner’s decision not to withdraw from the New York City mayoral race:
I mean, honestly, what do you expect a headline writer to do?
Here’s a timely quote from Oscar Wilde:
The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands.
Dick’s Boys Will Be Boys
Did it slip past you that Halliburton, former Veep Dick Cheney’s personal ATM, admitted to destroying evidence relating to the Gulf Oil Spill?
Deepwater Horizon Burning
That’s because the corporate media was too busy making dick jokes at Anthony Weiner’s expense while simultaneously going gaga over that little brat who was born in England this week.
Halliburton was the cement contractor for the Macondo Prospect well, operated by Brit oil giant BP. The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig positioned over the well exploded and sank in April, 2010, killing 11 workers and flooding the Gulf of Mexico with some 210 million gallons of crude oil.
Halliburton and BP have been blaming each other for the spill for the past three years. One of the charges Halliburton has made against BP is that the oil company did not follow the contractor’s safety recommendations.
This gets a little sticky, so follow me here. Halliburton had recommended that BP use 21 metal stabilizer rings to secure the hole in the ground the company had drilled. BP decided to use only six. In the weeks after the explosion. Halliburton ran a couple of 3-D computer simulations using models for both the 21- and the six-ring set-ups. The simulations found that the extra stabilizer rings likely wouldn’t have prevented the disaster.
Uh-oh for Halliburton. IF BP’s decision to go with six rather than 21 rings didn’t make any difference in the outcome, that means Halliburton might be open to some other liability in the mishap.
Now, if you or I destroy evidence in a civil or criminal trial, say your husband stole a loaf of bread and you flush the wrapper down the toilet before the SWAT team arrives, you’re gonna be spending some serious slammer time for your efforts.
The US Department of Justice, which is handling the Gulf Spill case, issued a press release Thursday crowing about how it got Halliburton to admit to doing the nasty and adding, solemnly, that Cheney’s cash cow is about to get its ass whupped.
“Oh, Uh, I ‘Quit’ Halliburton Long Ago.”
So, how’s Halliburton going to suffer for being such a brazen evidence destroyer? The DoJ is fining the company a grand total of $200,000.
Two hundred Gs. Jeez.
According to the US Census Bureau, the average home in this holy land in the year of Our Lord, 2010, was worth $272,900. That means all Halliburton has to do is fork over the deed to some modest ranch house in a so-so neighborhood and by doing so, its debt to society will be paid in full.
Either that or Dick Cheney and a couple of other Halliburton capos can look for loose change under the sofa cushions in their offices and come up with the fine.
You think Halliburton is weeping and gnashing its teeth over this? Hah! Halliburton flacks Kelly Youngblood and Beverly Blohm can hardly stop themselves from nominating their overlords for the Nobel Peace Prize. They write in the company’s official press release on the agreement: “The Department of Justice acknowledged the company’s significant and valuable cooperation during the course of the investigation….”
Man, I hope Halliburton is paying those PR-meisters some good coin, the better to make up for the eternity in hell to which they’ve condemned themselves.
As for the former Vice President of the United States, it pays to be a Dick.
Bombs Bursting In Air
This is a banner day in the history of warfare. If blood and guts is your thing, you’re likely waving your flag and inviting all the neighbors over for a cookout.
On this day in the 20th Century alone, a number of big cheeses ordered their little curds to go out and blow the brains out of the enemy before the good old vice versa. Dig:
◗ July 28, 1914: Austria-Hungary, bummed because its archduke was whacked a month before in the streets of Sarajevo, declared war on Serbia. See, Serbia wasn’t sufficiently apologetic for one of its wild-eyed Black-Handers gunning down the Aus-Hun big shot so all the nations of Europe decided to fight each other. Makes sense, no? Total killed: 16 million; wounded: 20 million.
“Apologize, You Bastards!”
◗ July 28, 1942: Soviet strongman Joseph Stalin issued orders that commanders who retreat or soldiers who leave their positions are to be shot. He played this tough guy card because Hitler’s war machine was rolling through Mother Russia. Total killed in the German/Russian theater: approximately 34 million soldiers and civilians.
◗ July 28, 1943: The biggest night of bombing in the British and American air forces’ Operation Gomorrah, designed to destroy shipyards, U-boat pens, oil refineries, and a major dynamite factory in and around Hamburg, Germany. The planners did not anticipate that concentrated bombing combined with hot, dry conditions in the city that summer would create a something called a firestorm. A virtual tornado of fire, estimated to be 1500 feet high, destroyed the city. Total killed: 42,600; total injured: 37,000. All casualties were civilian.
◗ July 28, 1965: President Lyndon B. Johnson nearly doubles the number of ground soldiers in Vietnam as the American involvement in Southeast Asia becomes serious. Total killed in Vietnam during the American involvement there: approximately 600,000 soldiers and civilians; total wounded 1.2 million.
I’ve said this before and it bears repeating: We are a fascinating species.