The Enron Executive Demographic

1. They wear khaki shorts and blue or green or black shirts.
2. Or jeans.
3. They’re tall, as a group. Over 5’9″ or so on average.
4. And fit.
5. They don’t wear cologne, and yet they all smell good.
6. They pay with AmEx.
7. Lots and lots of blue eyes in that crowd.
8. Right handed.
9. At least six I know drive SUVs.
10. They seem the type to eat bacon – though in general they are a group of health conscious people.
11. iPhones rule among them. Second most popular phone, surprisingly, isn’t a Blackberry. It’s a flip phone. Go figure. (One does use a BlackBerry.)
13. In general, they’re over forty. The exceptions to this rule somehow still conform to all the other rules.
14. They have beautiful manners and treat waitresses well.
15. They’re all blazingly, obviously brilliant.

Supreme Court Refuses To Block Execution of “Good, Decent Woman”

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to block the execution of a woman convicted in two killings, clearing the way for Virginia’s first execution of a woman in nearly a century.

Via FoxNews:

Teresa Lewis, 41, is scheduled to die by injection Thursday for providing sex and money to two men to kill her husband and stepson in October 2002 so she could collect on a $250,000 insurance pay out.

Two of the three women on the court, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, voted to stop the execution. The court did not otherwise comment on its order.

The court’s decision followed Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s refusal to reconsider a clemency request, which he rejected Friday.

“A good and decent person is about to lose her life because of a system that is broken,” said attorney James E. Rocap III, who represents Lewis. He said he was referring to the decision by the Supreme Court and McDonnell’s rejection of clemency.

And pause.

There are a lot of valid reasons to block the execution of this woman but it seems a foolish tactic to use “she’s a good and decent person” as a reason, when in fact she killed her husband and stepson. The tertiary reason – that she’s a woman – seems beside the point.

I remember almost the same appeals being heard from coast to coast when Karla Faye Tucker was executed here in Texas. George W. Bush was the governor at the time and every bleeding heart who could find a camera condemned him for being so cold and callous as to kill a woman who had killed a man with a pickaxe and later said she’d had orgasms doing it.

It was the fact that she was a woman that offended the liberals more than anything – a fact I find hilarious. If they want equality, well, isn’t that equality in action? (Incidentally, one of Ken Lay’s attorneys represented Karla Faye Tucker.)

I support the death penalty. But my experience with the Enron cases have made me extremely wary of allowing the federal government to have that much control over a human being. The DOJ is made up of ambitious attorneys who crave success just like the rest of us. They are not above doing lowdown, illegal, unethical things to advance their cause. So it seems to me that we have to be extremely cautious about the death penalty.

Can you imagine if the Enron cases were death penalty cases? Can you imagine John Kroger deciding whether or not to pursue the death penalty? I think if that were the case, half of the executives that I write about and care about and admire so much would be dead.

And it’s not because they were guilty. It’s because John Kroger, Andy Weissman and others acted with ruthless disregard to the rules. The executives were going to be found guilty, no matter what.

So while I think we should definitely execute murderers and child abusers, I worry that there’s no entity who can actually carry it out with 100% accuracy.

I admit that I don’t care if we’re accurate with terrorists. I don’t care if they were just the moneyman, or if they weren’t planning to blow up anything but just shot at a few soldiers in Afghanistan. I want them dead. I realize this is not a foreign policy that most people can get behind, but I’m okay with that.

Mostly I just want to know for a stone-cold fact that when an American citizen is put to death, they’re actually guilty. All the other pleas, such as “she’s a nice person”, “she’s a woman”, “she had a bad childhood,” etc etc don’t faze me at all. If she’s guilty, execute her.

But knowing what I know about the DOJ, I wonder how I will ever know if they’re really, really guilty.

Woman’s Day Magazine Offers Razor Sharp Criticism of Enron

When I think of Woman’s Day magazine, I think of blueberry pie recipes and “100 Hot Sex Positions In 100 Days: How To Ensure He Never Walks Again.” Or maybe I’m confusing it with Cosmo? In any case, there’s no good reason at all Woman’s Day readers should be worrying their pretty little heads over famous insider trading cases, or Jeff Skilling in particular.

Sayeth Woman’s Day:

While the Enron case was primarily an accounting scandal—the company lied about its debts and losses to cover up its deterioration—insider trading was certainly one of the many charges filed against the guilty parties. Jeff Skilling, the company’s former CEO, was convicted of 18 counts of fraud and conspiracy, and one count of insider trading in 2006. Although he was acquitted of nine other counts of insider trading, he was still sentenced to 24 years and four months in jail.

The best part? They’re using a high-def picture of Jeff in our favorite pea pods and tomatoes necktie! Come to think of it, that sort of suits Woman’s Day.

Ode to Enron

Oh you
You you you blue monstrosity as round and blue as God’s eye
Have you any clue
What you do
What you will be
When I die?
Will you miss me
As I miss you?
Will you?
Could you undo
What they did
And uncover the real you?
Oh you
Pristine blue
Where I worshiped every Sunday
And Tuesday too
Only to understand you
To know what they did to you
To get inside the yellow that lives inside the blue
How I miss you
And your gin-grin frat boy smile
Your easy laugh
That says stay a while
And kiss me too
Oh you
I left, it’s true
But I came back, back, back to you
What I must do
Out here is learn to move on
But my heart heart heart
Belongs to you
Enron

Why Insider Trading Is A-Okay With Me

Of all the crimes Enron executives have been charged with, insider trading is the only crime I can see myself committing because I believe, as the kids used to say, information wants to be free. Thus, I don’t think insider trading should be a crime at all. It seems logical that if your broker knows something other brokers don’t know, you would pay him handsomely to trade on that information. If you work hard to learn what is going on in a company, you should get the benefit of that, and should be able to trade on it.

Ken Rice traded on information that Skilling was leaving the company and I am a-okay with that. Good for Ken. That was smart. What was he supposed to do, sit there and watch his stock tank when he had the means to prevent it?

And I’m consistent about this. Sherron Watkins’ insider trades are also cool with me. What bothers me is that right now it is against the law, she violated the law, was never punished for it, and she has the audacity to make a living telling everyone else how to be ethical. It’s the hypocrisy I can’t stand – and the veneration of the media.

So I’m down with insider trading. I think insider trading is probably how the markets are supposed to work. However, I accept that investors might think it’s unfair because they don’t have the same opportunity to make money on the same information that insiders have. But if they did the work to find out what was going on, or if they used a broker who offered the competitive advantage of knowing what was going on in your companies, they’d be singing a different tune.

In the Smartest Guys music video someone (maybe Amanda Martin?) says that “anyone could get into the market.” This always struck me as an incredibly elitist thing to say. Of course anyone can get into the market! But the market, like life, is not fair. There’s no affirmative action program for stupid people. You don’t get points for being good-hearted. You have to know what you’re doing and if you don’t, it’s your own stupid fault.

That being said, most of the executives charged with insider trading have much more respect for the market than I do and would never actually trade on insider information.

One Enron executive told me the mere idea of insider trading was “abhorrent” to him. I argued about that, stating that when people trade on insider information, they’re actually using the competitive advantage that is so valued everywhere else in business. He was shocked that I’d say such a thing, and I went even further, stating that when an executive trades on insider information, he is rewarded for it, like a bonus on his intelligence, whereas those who don’t have the information can look at it like a tax on being out of the loop.

He was perplexed by my attitude about it and said I’d make a good viking queen – a compliment so far never matched.

EBS Assets Make Waves In The Cloud

For those who say that EBS “never existed” or was a facade, I present this link.

Basically, what happened was, Switch acquired one of the EBS POPs, the Las Vegas facility, and has leveraged it to become a player in cloud computing. EBS had a number of similar POPs and was already negotiating for a variety of cloud services with industry leaders. For example, HP just beat Dell in a bid to acquire a storage services company in the cloud services arena. EBS was already negotiating with several storage companies back in 1999 — Mark Palmer led that effort for a time.

From that website:


Switch delivers Truth in Technology™. Switch has created a new model for technology delivery – a world-class telecommunications hub delivering the best cloud computing platforms all in the world’s most efficient, high density, ultra scale data centers – the Switch SuperNAPs. The patented SuperNAPs serve as the foundation for the U.S. Inter-Cloud Exchange (SwitchCloud I.C.E.) where the industry’s leading burst-ready computing platforms are accessed from one secure facility. Switch is America’s premier communications gateway. With the acquisition of the Enron Broadband Services peering arbitrage data center, Switch created SwitchC.O.R.E. (Combined Order Retail Ecosystem). SwitchC.O.R.E. aggregates the combined power of all its customers into one carrier-neutral consortium for an unmatched return on infrastructure investment. The sum of these parts is what Switch calls Truth in Technology™ – the best solutions intelligently integrated on the highest quality infrastructure. For more information call 702.444.4000 or visit http://www.switchnap.com.

Go Away

Yesterday some wacky conspiracy site found my blog and directed a bit of traffic to a post about Andy Fastow’s Jewishness:

If you read that post and believe that I’m somehow advocating your worldview, which appears to be that “Jews run the world”, then you’re very much mistaken about the context and the content.

Andy’s religion only interested me because Judge Hoyt, when sentencing him, seemed to make a big deal out of it, which I thought was bizarre.

Please, anti-semetic moosefuckers, go somewhere else.

Government Dismisses Some Charges Against James A. Brown

In a revealing last-minute move, after being denied a postponement of this Monday’s trial start date, the government moved to dismiss the remaining “conspiracy and wire fraud charges” against James Brown today in the Enron-related Nigerian Barge case. All the other defendants in the case had already had their charges dismissed; however, trying desperately to force Brown to drop his appeal of two other counts based on the government’s egregious misconduct and Brady violations in Brown’s original trial, prosecutors refused to dismiss Brown’s counts.

Finally, facing an imminent retrial for which they had obviously failed to prepare their factually and legally empty case, the prosecutors did what they should have done long ago — they dismissed the remaining charges against Brown. So, after seven painful years of being hounded by the government on ridiculous charges, Brown is clear of the government’s irrational vindictiveness. I am happy for James Brown now and sorry that he had to endure this stupidity for so long.

If there is anyone out there who still believes that the government was not guilty of intentional abuse and misconduct in the Enron indictments, here is yet another compelling body of evidence of that fact. There was no rational reason for the Nigerian Barge indictments in the first place — yet it has taken seven years for the falsely accused defendants to claw their way out of the government’s clutches. The government’s behavior has been beneath shameful—including their latest game of dragging Brown through the last six months of intense litigation of a case they never intended to retry!

More on this soon!
Brown’s Opposition to Continuance
Government’s Motion to Dismiss

UPDATE
The original indictment was issued September 16, 2003—exactly 7 years ago. It feels like a circuit has closed with perfect, elegant symmetry.

Was Ken Rice Playing Ping Pong?

The place I work has a ping pong table. People are serious about ping pong in my office, but I never even noticed the table until I was walking past today and saw two brokers engaged in a vicious ping pong death match. It stuck me as funny so I whipped out my phone and snapped a picture.

I emailed it to my boyfriend. Then the following email conversation took place:

He: Hey, the guy with his back to the camera looks a bit like Ken Rice!

Me: What?

Me, two minutes later: They’re playing ping pong, not working!

He: Yes, I see that. Check out the guy with his back to the camera. He has Rice’s profile! Rice had a reputation of not working a lot either, BTW. : )

In A Corn Field With My Shorts Around My Ankles: More Bill Collins

Back in the day, when Bill Collins was literally losing his mind, he went around two of his bosses and talked to Microsoft, and flat out lied to Microsoft; this is not in doubt. He admitted under oath that he lied. Anyway, his cracked-up self was starting to make Enron and EBS look bad, so Joe Hirko stepped in and told him that from now on, only Jeff Skilling would be talking to Microsoft. He viewed this as Joe getting between him and success, and he threw his hissy fit about it.

So not only are these emails funny, they demonstrate a very salient point about an incident that came up again and again.

Here, Bill does what he always did: ran to Scott Yeager and begged him to kiss his boo-boo. Also notice the paranoia in his reply, claiming Joe Hirko was “hostile” when he only asked to see where Bill was getting these cockamamy numbers.

With everyone babysitting Bill Collins, I’m shocked any work got done at all.

In A Bill Collins Mood

Bill Collins was an epic email writer. In all my days, I’ve never seen anyone write such amazing, crazy-ass emails. He was very prolific, very unorganized, very crazy, and very passionate – a cracktastic combination of self-delusion, illusions of grandeur, petty jealousy and greed. If he were a party, he’d be Burning Man. He was just awesome in the best, most hilarious way. Those who worked with him have told me, in no uncertain terms, he was a whack-job. I think I would have enjoyed working with him just to observe the slow unraveling of a human being but I am cold that way.

This is part of one of his crazy-mails to one of his favorite email victims, Scott Yeager. As usual, he is unhappy about his job, and he has some ideas how he can get happy.

Poor Scott Yeager. He had to deal with this day after day after day. If that does not demonstrate his strength of character, nothing will.