Skimming the surface – honest services, honesty, and yatchs

Although I spend the winter dreaming of “summertime, when the living is easy”, the summer months are the busy season of my “day job” – months full of days like today when there is little time for more than skimming the surface of what would otherwise be a series of posts.

For example, the conviction of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman will not be among the “avalanche of legal challenges” expected to follow the recent USSC ruling on “honest services”.  The Court made certain of that:

In a one-sentence order, the Supreme Court instructed the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to review the convictions of  Richard Scrushy,  the former CEO of HealthSouth, and former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman…

Scrushy and Siegelman were convicted on bribery and corruption charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Middle District of Alabama in 2006. The government alleged Siegleman had improperly appointed Scrushy to a hospital regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy donating $50o,000 to a campaign for  a state lottery that Seigelman supported…

Siegelman and Scrushy have maintained their innocence. Their attorneys have argued that donations the health care business executive made to the then-governor’s lottery fund and Scrushy’s later appointment to the Alabama health board wasn’t criminal, just ordinary politics.

Speaking of honesty, Mississippi-born Jimmy Buffett recently told Anderson Cooper that he knows “liars when I hear them”:

“You’re not human if anger isn’t your first emotion,” Buffett tells Cooper while walking along a Gulf beach where he spent many of his younger days. Jimmy expresses his frustration with “people in the extraction business”, as protection of the Gulf is clearly not their primary concern. When Cooper asks Buffett how he feels about the sight of tarballs littering the beaches he grew up on, he exclaims, “It’s depressing as hell!”

True enough, tarballs littering the beaches are “depressing as hell” – and so is the news that Mississippi was more than a day late but not a dollar short!  Mary Perez reports Mississippi now has own skimmers for battle with oil for the Sun Herald:

The state has leased eight skimmer boats to fight the oil before it lands on South Mississippi beaches…

Fisher said these are different from the 19 skimmers Gov. Haley Barbour ordered built for the state after he realized there were only 20 skimmer boats protecting the coastline from Louisiana to Florida.

Those are belt skimmers and are being built by two Coast contractors — Trinity Yachts in Gulfport and Overing Yachts in Ocean Springs.

Trudy Fisher, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality…toured Trinity Yachts on Monday and saw people working on the skimmers during the holiday.

She said Overing should begin delivery this week and the contractors should deliver about three a week.

Trinity also is building a 249-foot oil storage barge to download the oil from the skimmers.

The skimmers can operate in shallow or deep water and be used in Mississippi waters from the barrier islands north to the shoreline.

“They’re state owned so they’re state controlled,” she said.

Inquiring minds suspect that one looking below the surface on this story will find “friends I’ve met while yachting”.

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