Friday, December 10, 2004

"Connecting the Dots"

I read with interest today the article about the new appointment to the Bush cabinet, Deputy Treasury Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, who shall be succeeding Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham.

O.K., who IS this guy? I mean, I keep up with things generally, and here is some Samuel Bodman, coming out of the haze into the Secretary of Energy post. And WHAT is his connection to George W. Bush.

Relying on the trusty Google and an internet connection, I set out on my detective work. According to the Commerce Department bio, Mr. Bodman Graduated in 1961 with a B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University. Hen then completed a ScD at MIT, and served for six years as an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT. Pretty impressive actually! After that he was working over at Fidelity Investments where he became CEO in 1983. And then the trail gets interesting. In 1987 he joined Cabot Corporation, where he served as Chairman, CEO and a Director. According to a 2001 article on Bodman, he served as CEO for 15 years...I guest since 1987, until joining the Commerce Dept in 2001.

O.K., so this is fantastic, so WHAT does this have to do with Bush? (I can hear you asking!).

As a recent Houston Chronicle article points out: "While serving as Cabot's chief executive officer, Bodman spearheaded the decision to split off the company's oil and gas exploration and production business into a separate entity, Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas.

Bodman continued to serve on Cabot Oil & Gas' board of directors until joining the Bush administration.

Cabot Oil & Gas spokesman Scott Schroeder called Bodman "a talented individual" and "a smart man

Drum here is, as Paul Harvey likes to say, 'the rest of the story.'

Recall, that as this Washington Post article points out: "When President Bush served as a director of an energy company 12 years ago, he approved the creation of an off-balance-sheet partnership that reduced the company's debts and improved earnings in a transaction similar to those that led to the collapse of Enron Corp.

As a director of Harken Energy Corp. in 1990, Bush, who had sold his own oil business to Harken and was retained as a consultant, made the motion at a board meeting to negotiate the transfer of struggling Harken assets into a partnership with Harvard University's investment arm, Harvard Management Co. Inc., documents indicate.

The article goes on: "Harvard Management, which invests the university's endowment, was a major investor in Harken, at one point owning 30 percent of its shares. Its investments began at about the time that Bush, the son of the then vice president, became a director of the company in 1986."

Another article from The Nation Magazine, points out an interesting connection: "That same year (1993), Harvard also got out of HAP - selling it to the Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, a spin-off of the Cabot family conglomerate. (More old school ties: Walter Cabot headed the Harvard Management Company from its 1974 founding to 1991.) In exchange for the HAP properties, Harvard took Cabot Oil & Gas stock worth $34.6 million."

You see, Mr. Bodman was CEO of Cabot at THAT TIME. Well it has taken over 10 years to pay back THAT favor, but the Harken bail-out is remembered well by this President. THAT, is the rest of the story.

Why do we still have to wallow in this Harken Oil mess with the good old boys from Texas and elsewhere? Why couldn't John Kerry have won the election in 2004; now we shall have to wait for 2008!



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