In the hours since the Interior Department released its report on sex, drugs, and multi-million-dollar corruption in the Minerals Management Service, news of the scandal has gone viral in the blogosphere, which means that every possible joke about drilling here, drilling now, the lubrication of government, and/or bureaucrats getting probed has already been made, repeatedly. But I think I can add something to the discourse by pointing out that the Interior employees with starring roles in this morality play worked in the Lakew00d, Colorado royalty-in-kind office, and that the scandal is therefore pretty darn Western. They went on free ski vacations to Keystone and Breckenridge, courtesy of the oil companies whose royalty payments they were supposed to oversee. Can you get more new-West-meets-corrupt-old-West than that? And the toaster from which Greg Smith snorted meth before having oral sex with his subordinate? Turns out it was a Western toaster.
There are all sorts of serious points to be made here about oil-industry corruption and whether it makes any sense to let the oil companies pay their royalties in-kind. But for now, the story is a welcome sight for computer-strained journalists' eyes. After a week of low-grade Palin scandals, here are some folks who know how to do their corruption -- and their oil-industry paramours -- right.