A Female Deer (reprise)

We’re the world’s biggest polluter who has no idea what to do about it – can’t use less, absolutely cannot tax ourselves more. Meanwhile, our best and brightest have been working nights and weekends:

The Justice Department is investigating whether former Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton illegally used her position to benefit Royal Dutch Shell PLC, the company that later hired her, according to officials in federal law enforcement and the Interior Department.

The criminal investigation centers on the Interior Department’s 2006 decision to award three lucrative oil shale leases on federal land in Colorado to a Shell subsidiary. Over the years it would take to extract the oil, according to calculations from Shell and a Rand Corp. expert, the deal could net the company hundreds of billions of dollars.

Norton, 55, was President Bush’s first Interior secretary. She had worked as an Interior Department attorney before being elected Colorado’s attorney general. Later, as a private lawyer, she represented mining, timber and oil companies.

As Interior secretary, she embraced an industry-friendly approach to environmental regulation that she called “cooperative conservation” and pushed the department to open more public land for energy production.

I hear people say, quite frequently, that corruption in the US isn’t as bad as it is in Europe and elsewhere. If that’s somehow true, it must be a comment on the failings of our system of government. And media. And embarrassment. Norton’s alleged traverse is all too common, and when that’s the case, who needs other forms of corruption? We seem to have found the sweet spot. The revolving door that lets foxes traipse into and out of the hen house with impunity, all the while castigating government as ineffective and ‘the problem’ would be the height of contempt were it not for the self-lubricating irony with which we find no bounds to our amusement (nor depths of silent admiration for these guileful players and their cunning stunts), even as we free ourselves from all possible insult. And this is not to single out literary critics for special abuse. In medicine, they induce this kind of insentience with anesthesia.

And what will it take for this to be reported with the relentless scorn given to ACORN, Van Jones or Henry Louis Gates yelling at that cop not to arrest him in his own house? Wait… those stories had black people in them! Wait… there’s a black guy in the White House!

This Norton thing hardly compares.