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White House Edited Oil Drilling Safety Report 368

bonch writes "The Interior Department inspector general has released a report stating that the White House edited a drilling safety report by reordering paragraphs to make it appear as though a seven-member panel of independent experts supported the six-month ban on offshore drilling. The IG report states, 'The White House edit of the original DOI draft executive summary led to the implication that the moratorium recommendation had been peer-reviewed by the experts,' but the panel had only reviewed a draft of safety recommendations and not a drilling ban. The White House has issued a statement saying that there was 'no intentional misrepresentation of their views.' This follows complaints from scientists and environmentalists that the administration has not been holding to its promise of policy guided by science and not ideology."
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White House Edited Oil Drilling Safety Report

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  • by KermodeBear ( 738243 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:44PM (#34202324) Homepage

    Two words got moved

    “Both versions, however, revised and re-ordered the executive summary, placing the peer review language immediately following the moratorium recommendation causing the distinction between the secretary’s moratorium recommendation – which had not been peer-reviewed – and the recommendations contained in the 30-Day Report – which had been peer-reviewed – to become effectively lost.”

  • by Ksevio ( 865461 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:24PM (#34202638) Homepage

    - Democrats - Failed to clean-up the mess caused by BP oil spill

    That would be BP's responsibility, the gov't has done all that it can, though arguably it could've done more to prevent it (see TFA)

    - Democrats - passed that damn Banker Bailout Bill of 2008, despite 80% opposition by americans

    But saved the economy and made a nice profit for the government

    - Democrats - passed the Healthcare NON-reform Bill of 2010, despite 70% opposition by americans

    But the same americans polled on the parts of that bill were much more in favor. And it provided many protections and extended coverage

    - Democrats - passed a 800 billion stimulus that has done anything but; in fact ~100 billion of that cash was mailed overseas

    anything but - except for preventing a depression, providing jobs for millions of americans, and giving tax breaks to small businesses to help them weather the recession.

    If you're going to accuse the democrats of something, at least look for their failures.

  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:44PM (#34202744) Homepage Journal

    I'm mostly okay with what you're saying, maybe not to the degree you are taking it, but largely I would agree. Save for one point:

    - Democrats - Clinton's White House created a "no person shall be turned down" policy in 1997 which directly led to the housing boom

    The "no person shall be turned down" policy of 1997 only effected a very specific subset of banks. Specifically, of the top 20 sub prime mortgage lenders in the build up to the 2008 blow out, 2 we under the regulations applied by that law. And they were (IIRC) 18th and 20th for the total amount of money lent to sub-prime loans.

    No, the underlying cause of the housing bubble is a standard free-market behavior couple with greedy people willing to lie. You had a whole lot of upper-middle and upper class individuals with money to invest. They gave their money to investment firms (and banks, which after the repeal of the GS act, could behave like investment firms). These investment companies had too much liquidity, too much money in the pocket, and not enough out in the market earning interest. So they pushed for more loans. Business loans, construction loans, home loans, personal loans, etc...

    Well then it becomes a supply and demand issue. There are a finite number of "good bets" on the market at any given time. And with the excess liquidity in the credit market, all those were snatched up first. From there, we had loads of "pretty good bets". And those too got snatched up.

    Then we started getting into the "completely crap bets." Ideally, there shouldn't be enough liquidity in the credit market that these loans are ever going through. But between the huge amount of demand for investments, and the completely bogus CDL vehicles misrepresenting the risk, they were selling like hot cakes.

    Now, had the GS Act still been in place, all of this would have happened to investment firms, which should have known better, should have protected there investments, and if they neglected the signs, gone bankrupt. The problem though, is that banks were in on the deals. And when a bank loses hard like this they have insurance through AIG and if things get bad enough, FDIC. And that's when everything went to crap.

    So yeah, the dismantling of GS opened the tax payers and economy to this risk, but it wasn't the cause. Nor was Clinton's affordable housing initiative.

    The underlying cause is the exact same thing that lead up to the great depression: The excessive consolidation of wealth. I'm not a bleeding heart commie, but it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure out that when we have too much money in too few of hands, the economy suffers significantly.

    Tax the wealthy. Not because it's right. Not because they can pay. Not because they have some obligation. Do it because it promotes a stronger middle class and leads to economic stability. The needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few, no matter how rich.


  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:57PM (#34202816) Homepage Journal

    It's a shame really. It could be so clear. Every comment about the moratorium starts off with "The Secretary recommends..." where as all of the peer reviewed stuff starts off with "The Report recommends..."

    The problem though, is the word "This". A paragraph immediately following one of the paragraphs that states "The Secretary recommends ... a 6 month moratorium ... " starts off with the following:

    The recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts
    identified by the National Academy of Engineering.

    The "this" in that sentence is suppose to be referencing the report that the peer-review group passed. But since the paragraphs have been re-ordered, it appears to reference the report that we are currently reading. And thus implying that the Secretary's recommendations have been peer reviewed.


  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @09:48PM (#34203094)

    Or, we could have, you know-- tapped hydroelectric power in Colorado (LOTS of mountain streams before it reaches the major river systems), and wind energy here in Kansas-- (the average windspeed year-round is 12mph, with windy days constituting more than 2/3. This is more than enough to harvest sizable quantities of "green" energy.)

    The major falacy with "Alternative energy wont work! (cites energy density VS hydrocarbons)" is that it makes at least 3 assumptions, almost all of the time:

    1) Only one kind of alternative energy is cited. A favorite is Solar, due to its abysmal energy conversion efficiency.

    2) Wind energy is discounted due to variability. Arguments against tactlessly ignore pumped hydro as a solution to the variability and availability problems.

    3) "Wont power our cars!" Which, of course it wont, if your car is designed to run on hydrocarbons. Of course, nobody wants to trade in their "Perfectly working" hydrocarbon burning rattle trap, despite that the much vaunted "Energy Density" issue being pretty much garbage here, because nearly all of the energy liberated by the combustion leaves the tailpipe as wasted heat. Total system efficiency with a rechargable battery array + powerplant + transmission lines is rapidly approaching the absymal total efficiency of the internal combustion heat engine, but with considerably less pollution. (arguably, this depends on the battery chemistry used, and how it is recycled.. but that kind of pollution is more easily contained than is flippant CO2 emission.) The major reasons people dont want an electric vehicle are: 1) A lie by the automotive industry that electric vehicles are gutless. [tell that to a diesel electric train. The pulling power comes fromt he electric motor, not the diesel generator.] 2) inferior drive distances (battery technology is rapidly resolving this.) 3) Price. (artificially controlled for the most part.)

    4) "All that alternative energy would require a new power distribution system! That costs money!" Cry me a river. We need a new power distribution system anyway, unless you look forward to "California brownouts part II" nation wide, along with 'National emergency' type power grid failures when we have another category 4 or higher solar storm, like we did in the 20s. Feel free to ignore that problem though-- just dont come crying when your power goes out. Did you know that most of the power generated and pushed into the existing grid gets bled out as wast heat and or radio emissions? Why do you suppose that is? What do you suppose the result of replacing that leaky "hose" would be on power prices? (Long term here. Yes, I know the utility companies would charge to replace the lines in the short term.)

    Long story short, The "Problem" with alternative energy is that it would upset the apple-cart for the current energy stakeholders. It is a purely political problem.

  • by Totenglocke ( 1291680 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @10:24PM (#34203304)

    I'm with you on everything except Katrina. That was a State level issue and the Governor and Mayor of New Orleans were responsible for dealing with it - after they proved utterly incompetent, they tried to claim it was a Federal issue (when no hurricane has ever been labeled as such) in order to shift the blame to someone else.

    Sorry, but even if it's someone I dislike (such as Bush) I hate when people blame them for something that was not their fault in any way.

  • by Black Gold Alchemist ( 1747136 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @12:04AM (#34203886)

    For example if we switched to Solar energy, we'd need to pave over Nevada with light-sensitive silicon. And that still wouldn't provide a way to fuel cars or freight trucks.

    Nonsense. If we switched to solar PV, we'd need roughly 70,000 km^2 of panels. That's based on US energy consumption, taking in to account clouds, day/night, all the stuff solar deniers like to pretend is an issue. Now, 70,000 km^2 sounds like a lot, but it really is about 270 km on a side. Convert that to miles, get 165 miles on a side. Big, but not as big as Nevada. Expensive as hell, sure. But not too big.

    Now of course, we could build those cells on our roofs, and cut that by a major number.

  • Re:Where's Kanye? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:53AM (#34204650) Homepage Journal

    I think we sometimes forget the US is a lot like the EU..... the EU president would not be able to send help either if, for example, Greece's PM refused entrance.

    Uh, no it isn't.

    The EU president doesn't even have any troops to send. In fact, there is no such thing as "the EU president". Wikipedia:

    President of the European Union (or President of Europe) could be an incorrect reference to any of:

            * President of the European Council (since 1 December 2009, Herman Van Rompuy)
            * President of the European Commission (since 22 November 2004, José Manuel Barroso)
            * Presidency of the Council of the European Union (since 1 July 2010, Belgium)

    Neither of them holds any executive powers. Especially the first two are administrative positions, basically the head organizers of their respective organisations.

  • Re:Where's Kanye? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Notquitecajun ( 1073646 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:37AM (#34205952)
    "She." Kathleen Blanco was governor at the time. And was woefully inept during Katrina.

    Other than Ray Nagin, there was actually a LOT of competence on the local level in small towns and such - it's just that the big mistakes were made by the big leaders. Louisiana suffered GREATLY there because of widespread ineptitude. Compare to Mississippi, where Haley Barbour did a VERY good job.

    Of course, there were a lot of cultural differences where the generationally poor in New Orleans learned a hard lesson about what government won't do for them.

    Compare to Gustav, when Bobby Jindal - and the people of Louisiana (and Baton Rouge in particular) - handled the situation on their own VERY well with FEMA being VERY late to the game.

    Oh, and down there? It was area churches that came through more than anyone else. But you won't see that on the news.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"