Thursday Morning: Don’t Feel Bad

While I am sorry a family has lost their father, I can’t mourn the bizarre passing yesterday of Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon.

McClendon had been indicted Tuesday for price fixing on real estate related to natural gas and oil development. Charges against him had been expected since 2012 when the violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act came to light.

But for a Michigander like me, this is not a remote and abstract story. Property over the Collingwood Shale formation in Northern Michigan was included in collusion between McClendon and Encana Oil & Gas executives to “avoid bidding up” prices. Between Chesapeake and Canadian corporation Encana, the two businesses owned nearly a million acres of Michigan — a chunk of land the size of Rhode Island.

Imagine it: two corporations buying a state-sized mass of land at rigged prices within a state. And all of it with underground water connected to a couple of the largest freshwater bodies in the world, much of it earmarked for fracking.

Energy visionary“? That’s what other resources leeches might call McClendon, who was at the heart of a dispute over Lake Michigan shoreline property. The land had been willed to “the children” of Benton Harbor by former residents J.N. and Carrie Klock, in memory of their daughter Jean, for use as a public park. In dedicating the land, J.N. Klock said, “…See to it that the park is the children’s.”

It was the only such lakefront park for Benton Harbor, a financially-challenged city with 89% African American residents. But the property adjoined the intended development of a Jack Nicklaus golf course, and the McClendon family as well as other notable figures (like Rep. Fred Upton and Whirlpool CEO Jeff Fettig) lived in the neighborhood of both the intended golf course and Jean Klock Park. The dispute caused considerable heartburn for Benton Harbor residents. It still boggles my mind that wealthy parasites like McClendon simply felt they could ignore the intent of the Klocks’ intentions, their proxies arguing the pricey (read: unaffordable to the average Benton Harborite) golf course would meet the standard of public access.

Note also, that Benton Harbor was among the Michigan cities to which an emergency financial manager had been appointed because of its municipal financial crisis — just like Flint, Michigan.

I can only imagine what other parasitic nonsense will emerge in the debris field left by McClendon. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Quick hits

That’s enough damage for now. Be anti-parasitic and do something nice for others today.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
9 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    À propos the discussion the other day about government research vs. private research. Here’s a Guardian story on the topic.
    .
    “A US government agency says it has attained the “holy grail” of energy – the next-generation system of battery storage, that has has been hotly pursued by the likes of Bill Gates and Elon Musk. Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (Arpa-E) – a branch of the Department of Energy – says it achieved its breakthrough technology in seven years.” They’re talking grid-scale storage, which is what is needed for reliance on alternative energy sources to be feasible. Hot damn! (if true)
    .
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/03/us-agency-says-has-beaten-elon-musk-gates-to-holy-grail-battery-storage
    .
    And your McClendon buddy seems like a real piece of work. Problem is, I read too much of this stuff, my blood pressure goes up. How do you all do it on a daily basis?

    • martin says:

      quote”Problem is, I read too much of this stuff, my blood pressure goes up.”unquote

      ditto. And it’s only 10am. fuck.

  2. martin says:

    quote”While I am sorry a family has lost their father,I can’t mourn the bizarre passing of Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon.”unquote

    Well, I’m sure there are a shitload of people who will stand in line to spit on his grave, so don’t feel too sorry.

    However, it doesn’t take an Einstein to figure this one out….

    quote”He pretty much drove straight into the wall,” Balderrama said. “The information out there at the scene is that he went left of center, went through a grassy area right before colliding into the embankment. There was plenty of opportunity for him to correct and get back on the roadway and that didn’t occur. The accident occurred less than 24 hours after McClendon was indicted by a federal grand jury.”unquote

    http://www.eclectablog.com/2011/04/connection-between-michigans-efm-power.html
    Meanwhile..
    “The Court permanently enjoins the City from using any portion of the property depicted as Jean Klock Park in Exhibit to this Consent Judgment for any purpose other than bathing beach, park purposes or other public purposes related to bathing beach or park use…” (snip)

    “Unbeknownst to the plaintiff group at the time, the city of Benton Harbor was represented by an attorney who simultaneously was representing a constituent member of the Harbor Shores development consortium, then named Edgewater-River Run. This is significant because the city and the Harbor Shores developer entered into the subsequent contract, executed in 2006 and again in 2008, allowing the Harbor Shores developer to lease Jean Klock Park acreage for 35 years with 2 automatic renewals, or allowing the developer quiet enjoyment of the land for up to 105 years.”unquote

    Unbeknownst to the plaintiffs. right. I’ll file this under Great Moments in Scum Sucking Lawyers…no insult to catfish intended.

    Too bad this cockroach lawyer wasn’t in the car too.

    quote”Between Chesapeake and Canadian corporation Encana, the two businesses owned nearly a million acres of Michigan — a chunk of land the size of Rhode Island.”unquote

    There oughtta be a law against this. ..er ..wait. Corporations are people and people have rights. un hun. I guess the SCOTUS knew what it was doing.

    http://wemeantwell.com/blog/2016/02/29/scalia-dined-at-the-great-trough-of-corruption/

    sheeezushchrist. Michigan. What a shithole of corruption.

  3. Rayne says:

    bloopie2 (9:39) — How do I do this daily? I think of this bit by Friedrich von Logau, Göttliche Rache, based on an adage from philosopher Sextus Empiricus:

    Gottes Mühlen mahlen langsam, mahlen aber trefflich klein,
    ob aus Langmut er sich säumet, bringt mit Schärf ‘er alles ein.

    Which Henry Wadsworth Longfellow translated in Retribution as,

    Though the mills of God grind slowly; Yet they grind exceeding small;
    Though with patience He stands waiting, With exactness grinds He all.

    Sometimes I scream, sometimes I cry, but then I think of the mills of the gods. I’ve been waiting for McClendon to get his for a long time — since 2007. He didn’t get punished as thoroughly as he deserved, but he is now fine ash caught in the mill’s teeth.

    martin (10:05) — Time is an illusion. It helps keep things from looking like they happen all at once. LOL

  4. pdaly says:

    Strange crash indeed. Suicide? Medical explanation? Tampered with Tahoe?
    .
    So I assume charges are dropped as the Defendant is deceased, but what happens to the land? Was it foreseeable that the land would have been returned to the people if the legal proceedings confirmed price fixing?
    .
    Do the people of Michigan have any other way to investigate the shady land deal or has Mr McClendon permanently foreclosed options now that he has, in a sense, paid for it with his life?

  5. bloopie2 says:

    “Charged with six murders, Michigan Uber driver to get competency exam”.
    .
    Intersection of technology and insanity. Go for it.

  6. RUKidding says:

    National Propaganda Radio last night tried to white wash McClendon’s rep. Puke-making. Talking about how he was some patron of the arts and a basketball FAN!!! (said just like that, like WTF??). Pretty much said as little as possible about the law suit and what skeevy conniving SOB McClendon was.
    *
    Yeah, sorry to his ever loving family, whatever. The kids, at least, didn’t have a choice.
    *
    This bastard is lower than dirt to me, and I’m frankly pretty sick of the edict “don’t speak of ill of the dead.” Why the H not? When they’re as crooked and lethal as McClendon, Eff that sh*t. He was a crook and apparently a skeevy coward as well and took his own life rather than face the consequences of his disgusting actions. Don’t do the crime, sucker, if you aren’t willing to do hard time.
    *
    Leaves his family to deal with the consequences. Another rat fink bites the dust.

    • lefty665 says:

      “Leaves his family to deal with the consequences.” As in convincing the insurance companies that since his death was an “accident” they should pay off big bucks?
      .
      Rayne, how about a feature on bridge abutments role as crime stoppers, and on the brighter end of the FBI’s recruitment profile? Hit one with an iPhone going fast enough and that little sucker will talk.
      .
      If you believe in afterlife there’s the joyous possibility that McClendon, Scalia and Nixon may get to spend eternity locked in a small hot room together.

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