Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Strange Things about the MMS Firing

A funny thing was inserted in the CNN article entitled "Charge to Obama: Go off!" (about Spike Lee telling Obama to get mean with the spill). About 2/3rds of the way through the article this paragraph appeared:
The president has been actively engaged in the crisis -- firing the head of the Minerals Management Service, extending the moratorium on further offshore drilling and increasing the federal presence in the region.
Interesting they say he fired Ms. Birnbaum. When asked at last week's presser he appeared to not know exactly how she came to be terminated. One might think if he actually 'fired' someone, he'd know. But now, according to the New York Times (who asked the question at the presser, btw), the MMS Director supposedly fired herself:
Minerals Management Service Director Liz Birnbaum might have kept her job a little longer if she'd stayed in her office and kept her phone on the hook yesterday...

...Someone from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's office called and said the secretary did not want her to attend the House hearing. Following a harsh New York Times profile that highlighted her low profile in the crisis, that might have seemed like a bad omen.

But Birnbaum, the former veteran congressional staffer, was worried more about stiffing a committee chairman than what this meant for her job. She called Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, where she was supposed to testify, to tell him she would not be appearing.

Moran called Salazar, who then walked out of his sixth-floor hallway with Deputy Secretary David Hayes. They went one floor down and four hallways over to Birnbaum's office in 5400 corridor of Main Interior and asked her to resign.
Hmm. So summarizing, "someone" from Salazar's office called and told Birnbaum not to testify; she, apparently being a conscientious type, called the Congressional chair to notify him of her no-show; he then called Salazar, who walked down the hall and fired her? Presumably for not testifying? Or was it in general? Bizarre.

Then, later that day at the presser Obama feigned dumbness about the whole thing while simultaneously declaring himself fully in charge from sunrise to sunset and in between. Odd. It would be interesting to know why CNN said Obama fired Birnbaum.

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