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December 10, 2008 04:32 PM UTC

Wednesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Corruption never has been compulsory.”

–Anthony Eden


70 thoughts on “Wednesday Open Thread

  1. OK, oil is plummeting with no end in sight short of “Please take this nasty goo off of our hands.”

    Why?  Yes, demand is down, hence the price is down.  But how closely are they linked? I understand that many couplings do not have a linear relationship, that maybe a 10% drop in demand results in a 50% drop in price.  But is this likely?

    Or, last summer were we bent over the barrel and raped, like the California electricity “crisis.”  See: Enron.

    Can a better Goggler than myself find the world oil production for the last year?

      1. This from the International Herald Tribune on Jan 26th, 2008 “While an economic slowdown might lead to lower oil demand, as consumers scale back their gasoline consumption and businesses cut down on air travel, economists say this might not necessarily lead to much lower energy prices.”

        Yet, as the US has entered a recession officially, oil prices are WAY down. It’s not because we are using dramatically that much less gas, but because oil is traded as a commodity and therefore subject to speculation. As people took their money out of the market in general, they also took it out of the formerly lucrative oil stocks. Coupled with the perception of lessening demand, oil prices came plummeting back to reality.

        1. Natural Gas is the most volital commodity in regards to price.  A 1 percent move in supply either direction has a 20 percent impact on price historically.  

          Not sure about oil, but the point is not all commodities react the same to supply changes.  

          $140 oil this summer resulted in more worldwide production.  Now the largest user, the United States, is in a deep recession.  So more supply and a quick loss of demand equals a $100 drop in price.    

          1. Tell me we are better of than in the days of regulation, when families and companies could budget with known costs.  We pay a huge price in angst, crashing economies, and other roller coaster effects.

  2. The Ritter Rules on oil and gas are supposed to be voted on in their final form this week. That the legislature is supposed to have the final say on any rulemaking is common knowledge.

    However, the Ritter administration and the COGCC are pushing what is now called “interim rules.” This process is meant to implement the new regulations before the legislature is able to review and finalize the rules. The idea behind this? Once the rules are in place changing them will be harder for the General Assembly. Colorado law requires all rule makings have legislative oversight and this runaround is just one more example of the circus this oil and gas rulemaking process has been.

    1. Many agencies enact “interim rules” that are subsequently reviewed by a committee of the General Assembly. I worked and lobbied at the General Assembly for nearly a decade and just because a rule was “interim” never stopped the legislature from voting a specific rule or set of rules down.

      Besides, the statutes establishing the duties and policies of the Oil and Gas commission were amended two years ago and it is incumbent upon the Commission to propose and promulgate new rules that reflect those statutory changes. The Commission did that and they are doing it, in part, through “interim rules.”

      The fact these are “interim rules” is meaningless. That does not in any way affect the General Assembly’s authority to vote for or against the rules and it certainly won’t impact any legilator’s viewpoint on these rules or their vote.  

    2. We have a part time General Assembly that meets the first four months of year and then must adjourn pursuant to a provision in the state Constitution. Colorado state agencies are proposing, enacting and enforcing new rules all year long. Most rules are never reviewed by the legislature until after they have been enacted by an agency and enforced by a specific agency. However, that fact has never stopped the legislature from voting down rules and regulations a specific agency is already enforcing.

      1. 36

        You have got to be kidding me. Your are really comparing a complete rewrite of the oil and gas regulatory framework to an average bureaucratic rulemaking? Dont you agree thatit wouldnt be wise and prudent to wait for the legislature’s assessment prior to implementation given that your guv is messing with the stability of Colorado’s most important industry?


        1. Remember, the General Assembly amended the Oil and Gas Commission statutes two years ago which, as a result, required the Commission to rewrite its rules and regulations to comply with the revised duties and responsibilities of the Commission.

          The interim rules are not a surprise. These rules have been written, debated and rewritten ad nausem for well over one year. The stability of the oil and gas industry has been part of that analysis and, in fact, the economic impacts on the industry were one of the primary reasons many of the original proposed rules were revised and amended.

          This happens all the time when the legislature rewrites the statutes governing an agency. In the mid-1990’s, as a result of the Summitville mine disaster, the legislature (Republican majorities in both houses) gave the Minded Land Reclamation Board a whole set of new duties involving in situ mining which had a major economic impact on the industry. The MLRB wrote new rules that directly impacted the mining industry and after they were implemented the legislature reviewed them.

          By adopting interim rules, which in this case have been throroughly debated for over a year, the Oil and Gas Commission is not doing anyhting out of the ordinary and, if additional issues are discovered, the legislature sometime in the next four and one-half months will be able to correct them.  

    1. Your link quoting ABC news says Jackson WAS OFFERED the seat by Blagojevich in exchange for up to 1 million. The story says Blagojevich offered the bribe to Jackson, not vice versa.

      Then you go on to say Jackson should be charged or investigated because of the offer.  But the news story you quoted says he was offered a bribe, not that he offered a bribe.

      Let me ask you this Hamilton. If I offer you a bribe and you don’t accept have you committed a crime ?

      Which is it ?

      1. However, Huffington Post is reporting that an emissary from Jackson’s camp, according to the Governor, approached Blagojevich.  

        One of the many questions swirling around the Blagojevich indictment announced today is the identity of “Senate Candidate 5,” the official who may have approached the Governor about the possibility of ‘pay to play’ for Obama’s Senate seat.

        From the indictment:

           On December 4, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke to Advisor B and informed Advisor B that he was giving Senate Candidate 5 greater consideration for the Senate seat because, among other reasons, if ROD BLAGOJEVICH ran for re-election Senate Candidate 5 would “raise money” for ROD BLAGOJEVICH, although ROD BLAGOJEVICH said he might “get some (money) up front, maybe” from Senate Candidate 5 to insure Senate Candidate 5 kept his promise about raising money for ROD BLAGOJEVICH. (In a recorded conversation on October 31, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH described an earlier approach by an associate of Senate Candidate Five as follows: “We were approached ‘pay to play.’ That, you know, he’d raise me 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a Senator.”)”

        Right now, we only have Blagojevich’s word that he was approached by Jackson’s people.

        At this point, I’m reading this the way that Hamilton is.  

        1. then emissaries of Jackson were offered the seat in exchange for $ 1 million by Blago or his people.

          Sounds like the finger pointing has already started.

          1. This is going to get ugly. I’m reading the wiretappings that they have up on Huffington Post and they are pretty damning. Jackson isn’t looking so good right now on this one. He better pray they don’t have anybody from his camp on tape making an offer to “play.” If they do, his career is over…or, if he stays in Illinois, it’s only just begun. 🙂

            1. continues to get more complicated !

              First Jesse wants Obama to kiss his ring for black support in the Presidential primary and Obama politely declines and completely bypasses Jackson in the process.  Bill Clinton then compares Obamas campaign to Jackson’s win in the South Carolina primary and makes an ass out of himself.

              Then Jackson wants to “cut his balls off”. Then Obama gives his victory speech in Grant park and Jesse is crying (guess he’s back on board).  Now Jesse’s son may be in deep shit re: Obama’s senate seat.

              The plot just gets thicker. The first black president, the new blood, vs the old civil rights stalwart, the old guard. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.  A “complicated” relationship ? Hell yeah.

        2. as someone who may well not be all there and certainly his behaviour has not been rational, to say the least, for someone who  knows perfectly well that he has been under suspicion for years.  It isn’t fair to jump to conclusions about Jackson at this point, certainly not on the basis of transcripts of claims made by Blagojevich.  Many believe the man to be fairly deluded. Jackson has not been charged with anything yet. Whether he will be or not, for now he still deserves the benefit of the doubt.

          1. Blag isn’t known to be an honest guy–he’s been under investigation for 3 years now. At this point, it’s one guy’s word against another’s and one of the guys just got arrested so of the two, he’s not the most believable right now. 🙂

      2.    But remember, to right wing nuts, “up is down,” “deficit is surplus,” “war is peace,” “corrupt is honest,” etc.

          It only stands to reason that Ham would mistake “offered” with “was offered”.

        1. Here’s part of the problem – this ABC writer should be sent back to DPS for an English class..oh, wait.  Maybe not.

          Someone please diagram this sentence for me…

          Chicago Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., is the anonymous Senate Candidate no. 5 whose emissaries Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich reportedly offered up to $1 million to name him to the U.S. Senate, federal law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

          Now, can anyone tell me after reading that who allegedly offered money to whom?

          Of course, Jackson Jr. has a great history of exchanging tangible wealth in exchange for something or other. Try googling “Budweiser” and “Jesse Jackson”.  

            1. The details, as I understand them, are that Blago was recorded saying that an “emissary” from Candidate #5 (JJ, Jr.) offered him fundraising help totaling $500k to $1m, if JJ, Jr. was appointed.

              If this is true, it’s what Blagojevich should have done to avoid charges – i.e. employ a third party to do the negotiations.

              So this is the Gov., talking to someone, saying that someone speaking on behalf of Candidate #5 offered to do significant fundraising for Blagojevich after the appointment.  It’s hardly a solid case – in fact, since it doesn’t name the go-between, it isn’t even actionable without testimony from Blago himself.

              It’s also possible Jackson was working with the USA’s office, though I doubt it since he apparently went in and talked to them in the course of the indictment process.

              Jackson at this point needs to have a serious exoneration if he doesn’t want his name dragged through the mud.  In fact, considering the urgency of clearing his name, a statement from the USA’s office would be somewhere between helpful and necessary if he wants to have a chance at the Senate seat.

              1. aren’t just dealing with #5, but with #1-6, all “dirty” conversations.  One conversation

                The real mystery lies with “Senate Candidate No. 5.” In wiretaps from Dec. 4, Blagojevich is said to be giving the candidate “greater consideration” for the seat because the candidate would “raise money” for the governor if he ran for re-election.

                Still not completely clear if someone is saying that, or if the Blag. is.  But the tap was on his phone.

                The indictment is supposedly more about shakedowns in general.  Blag. was trying to raise a ton of cash before some new laws are enacted.

                With Wyma’s help, federal agents allegedly caught the two-term governor not only trying to raise cash from wealthy donors in exchange for favors, but threatening to withhold state money and projects if he didn’t get what he wanted.

                At one point, Blagojevich allegedly instructed a lobbyist to approach and solicit $500,000 in campaign money from an unnamed highway contractor (The Chicago Sun-Times says at least one of the lobbyists the governor dealt with was former chief of staff Alonzo Monk). That highway contractor stood to benefit from a $1.8 billion project to build new interchanges and “green lanes” in Illinois, an initiative announced in October.

                “I could have made a larger announcement but wanted to see how they perform by the end of the year,” Blagojevich said, according to a federal wiretap quoted in the court documents. “If they don’t perform, (expletive) ’em.”

                It’s not a simple case, but it does appear to be a slam dunk.



                1. There are, so far, no prosecutions lined up for the candidates.  These conversations are all dirty on Blagojevich’s part, but only the conversation about Candidate #5 implies Bad Things about the candidates.

                  So I agree – the case is pretty solid against Blago.  But the candidates appear to be safe – to a greater or lesser extent – except possibly Candidate #5, and (s)he’s only implicated by third-party hearsay proxy.

                  1.    Give Fitzgerald time.  He had to go public with the stuff about Blago (probably faster than he otherwise would have preferred) because he wanted to generate enough political pressure to stop Blago from consummating a sale and trying to appoint someone to fill the vacancy.

                      I don’t think the criminal investigation is nearly finished.

                  2. It sounds like the price was going up, so there must have been someone on the other side.

                    You’re probably right about the hearsay.  My guess is that the papers don’t know for sure, that’s why they’re going out of the way to be ambiguous.

                    1. The summary I gave is pretty much based on the criminal complaint against Blago.  I blame poor writing and not enough research for the bad info.

                      OQD, from the criminal complaint, it doesn’t look like most of the candidates have anything going against them.  Everyone’s speculating about Jackson because if he’s Candidate #5 like his lawyer assumes he is, then he has to clear himself from any involvement insinuated by the conversation of Blago to his aide.

                    2. …there may be enough stuff to “convict” him in the court of public opinion.  

                        If he’s not charged criminally, JJ, Jr. would probably survive a scandal if he run for re-election to the House, but a statewide race would probably be out of the question.

                    3. He’s apparently meeting with Fitzgerald on Friday or Monday – don’t know who called the meeting, but the other party agreed and Jackson’s publicizing it.

                      My read: JJ, Jr. is going to see if he can get a clarifying statement from Fitzgerald to try and clear his name fast before he gets dragged through too much more muck.

  3. Blago was the first major public official to endorse Obama when he ran for the Senate in 2004. At Blago’s request Rezko donated and raised a lot of money for Obama in 2004.  Later Rezko gave Obama a sweetheart deal on a land purchase.  

    Is this illegal? Probably not.Certainly nothing worse than say Whitewater was.

    There will be questions raised. Except this time it will not be fawning reporters asking the questions. It will be possibly the best Federal prosecutor in the country asking those questions under oath. The same guy who nailed Scooter Libby by setting him up with careful questions before a grand jury.  It is time for Obama to recognize what happened to Clinton on a similarly innocuous Whitewater transaction.  The Republican drumbeat on Blago and Rezko will obscure all that Obama hopes to accomplish. These guys were your pals. Pardon them on your first day in office and save a lot of heart ache later.

    Does the President really want Michelle Obama under oath discussing the land purchase that gave her family a $300,000 break. I think not.

      1. Obama should pardon Rezko band Blagojevich and get this behind him once and for all. Whitewater was in this league and look what it led to.  

        Obama benefited mightily from his connections with Blago and Rezko. Obama’s work on Blago’s first race for Governor resurrected his political career. Blago repaid Obama’s help with an early endorsement when the unknown Obaama ran for the Senate.

        Does Obama really want to testify before a Grand Jury along with his wife, Valerie  Jarrett and all his friends? End this now. If Clinton had pardoned Jim McDougal in 1993 history would be a lot different.  

        1. Just kidding Hugh.  

          Obama loses tons of credibility with the American electorate if he pardons either, and he just flat out won’t do it. It would be a horrible move.  If he would have to testify so be it.

            1. All Bill and Hillary had to do was go down and tell the truth about Whitewater.  No big deal. Nothing came of Whitewater as there was never anything to find. All Bill Clinton had to do was pardon Jim McDougal and it would have been a one day story. Same with Rezko and Blago.  Do you  want The President and his family and friends testifying about the land deal with Rezko or fighting for health care reform.

              Jesse Jackson sent someone into offer a deal to Blago.  This could be great fun.  

    1.    You guys really want to go down this road again?  First Lady subpoenaed to testify about land deal….where have I seen this movie played out before?

        By your attempts to villify her, all you guys did was generate enough sympathy and admiration for HRC to propel her into a U.S. Senate seat and now head of the State Department.

        And now you want to do the same thing with Michelle Obama?

    2. First of all, I think Obama really does care about clean government.  He worked on the issue way before anyone thought he would ever be president.  

      But even if he didn’t care, he is way too smart to be seen as helping or cooperating with such slimy characters.

      1. Pardoning those guys is a whole lot better than the alternative. There is no easy way out of this for Obama.  I agree he won’t do it but he should. Letting this Fitzgerald guy digging around all of your financial dealings is not a good idea.

        Sure he cares about clean government. After Rezko and Blago were of no value he cut them lose. Before that he was more than happy to take a sweetheart land deal from Rezko as well as lots of campaign money.  

  4. there was a soiree for Bob Ewegen last night at the Red Room.  It was attended by a bunch of us who have known and respected Bob for many years.  Lots of old time Post staffers.

    Fred Brown, Penelope Purdy, the list was long.

    Bob was gracious and did not bad-mouth the Post or any one there.  He talked about maybe going to law school and there was a lot of reminiscing.

    here is a link to some pictures.

      1. was drinking soda.

        He said he promised his wife two things, he wouldn’t drink and he wouldn’t talk too long.

        The second part of that promise is harder for Bob to keep.

        1. Biden will be 74. Assuming he is still VP in this hypothetical situation, is it likely he would run again at that age?

          We could be looking at another situation where neither the incumbent nor the VP will be running.

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