Two wholly unrelated thoughts, about neither dusty plains nor ol' San Antone:
1) The Houston Chronicle reports, "An appeals court panel has slapped down an Enron shareholder's challenge of a judge's decision to erase former Enron Chairman Ken Lay's criminal convictions." I'm surprised that the three 5th Circuit judges didn't dismiss Russell P. Butler's suit just for lack of standing, and I bet that in the unlikely event SCOTUS takes it, they'll choose the narrower ground. I would think that the SEC's civil case against Lay and Skilling would be a better avenue of stockholder redress than any criminal convictions. And if it's all about the Benjamins, don't forget the billions in lawsuits against banks that colluded in Enron's deceptions. Meanwhile, the post-Chapter 11 Enron has collected some money from the life insurance policy taken on Lay before the company collapsed.
Also, I am as amused as the next person when discrimination actually seems to redound to the victim's benefit, but I don't understand why the same-sex partner of Enron’s global finance unit director isn't being prosecuted (via ChaliceChick):
Among the information emerging from this and subsequent trials of Enron figures was that Kopper enlisted Dodson to serve as a joint owner in one or more sham companies that operated in partnership with Enron, The Houston Chronicle reported. In one such company, called Chewco Investments, Kopper and Dodson netted more than $7 million after the company was sold back to Enron, Kopper testified.At the moment, Dodson is "in the same 'third party' category of individuals or entities, including churches and hospitals, that received tainted Enron money that the government won’t attempt to recoup." I assume the churches and hospitals (as well as every major performing arts center in Houston) didn't participate in any of the scams that contributed to Enron's collapse, whereas Dodson apparently did. Though he and Kopper couldn't get married, and the $9 million Dodson holds therefore isn't community property, for Dodson to sign on as joint partner in a sham company strikes me as at least as bad as signing off on fraudulent tax returns.
2) There's no love lost between Governor Rick Perry and me, and because I never received my absentee ballot and thus was unable to vote for Democratic challenger Chris Bell, I made an exception to my usual rule against giving money to political candidates (I'm shifting toward the ACLU's position that current campaign finance restrictions are both unconstitutional and useless, and that we should just switch to public financing) and donated to Bell's campaign. Nonetheless, in a season of crappy and sometimes creepy political advertisements, particularly by Republicans, “Mr. Way Too Liberal For Texas Guy” is fabulous. It spoofs not merely the general Budweiser Real Men of Genius ads, but specifically parodies the "Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy" one. Sure, it hits all the usual conservative cliches about Taxachusetts, the French and liberalism, but just reading the text made me crack up -- it must have been fantastically effective as a radio commercial, particularly since the audio doesn't have the translation included in the text on Perry's site.
Announcer: And you voted to let the United Nations oversee elections in America because no one stands up for democracy like the French.Really, governor, I know you've made a mess of school funding, but most of us passed the part of the TAAS/ TAKS that tested context clues.
Singer: Je m’appelle Christophe Bell! (My name is Chris Bell)