Get Your MMS Swag While Its Hot

Photo courtsey of PEER.

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Among the reforms the Obama administration has underaken at the Department of Interior since the Gulf disaster began was breaking up the problem-plagued Minerals Management Service (MMS) into separate divisions, one for regulation and the other for revenue collection.

MMS also got a shiny (if overly wordy) new name; it’s now the “Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or the “BOE” for short (though there is apparently some infighting about the acronym). It’s almost as if changing the name could magically solve the division’s problems!

The new name now means MMS swag is about to become a collector’s item. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility has a reserve of MMS memorabilia, most of it with a “safety” theme, that it’s auctioning off to say good riddance to a department that became legendary for sex, drugs, cozy ties with industry, and extremly lax oversight.

PEER has MMS whistles in both plastic and metal (for whistleblowers, get it?). There’s also a “Never Take a Brake from Safety” lunch box (guess someone must have been out to lunch when it came to safety oversight on the Deepwater Horizon). There’s also a “Safety Week” flashlight, lanyards, an official 2008 “Safety Week” gym bag, key chains, a pedometer, pens, a laptop bag, and a paper weight with an oil drop logo.

There’s even a 1997 MMS Hammer Award, presented by then-Vice President Al Gore in recognition of the agency’s Innovative Achievements Program for it’s commitment to customer service. The message from Gore reads: “Thanks for building a government that works better and costs less!”

Ah, MMS: Safety endorsed via swag, if not actual agency policy. I’m glad PEER has preserved this kitsch for posterity.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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