Surprise, surprise! An energy exhibit will be part of the new Fort Worth Museum of Science and History when it opens in 2009. Oil and gas companies are spending millions on TV, billboard, and newspaper ads to convince everyone they’re not greedy slimeballs who don’t give a damn how many property owners they stomp on or how much environmental damage they do in their scramble to get rich.
Seven of 30 donors that gave at least a million dollars to the museum are oil and gas companies. So, did Big Oil invest millions in exchange for an exhibit that depicts them as knights in shining armor? Recall the Fort Worth Zoo’s Texas Wild! exhibit, showing how wildlife – mostly dead, stuffed wildlife – could exist in harmony with oil and gas drillers. The exhibit was created under the leadership of Lee and Ramona Bass, they of the oil-rich Bass family. And guess what? There were no photos of seagulls drenched in oil, or groundhogs burned to a crisp after an explosion, or fish floating upside down in creeks and rivers polluted by drilling waste.
A museum official said an energy exhibit has been in the planning for years. Which brings us to the chicken-or-egg theory: Did the museum contrive the exhibit as a sales pitch to entice millions of dollars from the industry? Or did the industry dangle money in exchange for a one-sided exhibit? Museum officials say drilling is an important part of the area’s history and that the energy exhibit will be fair and comprehensive. Hmmm, Static is willing to bet $7 million of somebody else’s money that any exhibit funded by oil and gas will slide by alternative fuels and the negative aspects of drilling quicker than an Exxon Valdez-greased duck on ice.
The Old, Sordid Song
Sexual abuse is still part of the culture at the Carswell federal medical center for women, it seems. Vincent Inametti, a priest there, pleaded guilty last month in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth to sexually abusing two inmates last year, according to The Dallas Morning News – which means at least one major news outlet is finally paying attention to the ongoing, brutal prison story that Fort Worth Weekly has been reporting on for a decade. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in whose backyard this story has been playing out, still has written barely a word.
Inametti becomes the eighth man to be convicted of or fired for sexual abuse of women at Carswell – including rape – since the hospital opened 13 years ago. The case brought against Inametti, a parish priest at Our Mother of Mercy Church here for five years, was particularly brutal, according to the News and to Static’s sources at the prison: The sources said that after one inmate caught the priest and a second woman having sex in the prison chapel, Inametti used sexual assault and death threats against the witness and her family to keep her quiet. She reported the abuse anyway, only to be ignored by the Bureau of Prisons, the source said, until a third inmate threatened to go to the news media. Then the ugly truth came out. Sentencing is set for March in the same federal courthouse where Carswell guard Mike Miller got 12 years in prison for raping inmate Marilyn Shirley in 2000 – the same year that Inametti showed up to “minister” to the women of Carswell.