Lay Down

Plus: No Apologies, El Paso's Best

Lay Down

Welfare CEOs: "Up In Smoke" [by Brian Wallstin and Tim Fleck, February 7], while well researched and informative for the most part, is quite incorrect when it refers to Enron's board of directors as "free marketeers." Some Enron executives may have posed as free market trailblazers, but "corporate welfare-seekers" is closer to the mark.

Enron sought and obtained huge government subsidies through the Export-Import Bank, which makes risky loans to foreign governments, for projects involving U.S.-based companies. One such project, the failed Dabol power plant in India, played a big part in Enron's collapse. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which provides taxpayer-funded loan guarantees for overseas projects, also paid more than $1 billion for 12 projects involving Enron.

The Enron collapse should not be seen as a failure of capitalism or free markets, because the opposite is true. Enron is an example of how the force of government can do so much to prevent the free market from working properly in the first place. Those who live by the sword of corporate welfare can also die by it.

Tom Clark
Sugar Land

Politics and Enron: Good article -- one of the few that actually discuss what Enron's trading business was doing. A few points on the political side, though: You say Enron made contributions to Phil Gramm's campaigns. Isn't that illegal? The article links Tom DeLay to Skilling (and Lay to everyone), but how is DeLay connected to the dereg bill? If Gramm's dereg bill was obviously so bad, couldn't Clinton have vetoed it, or just left it for George Bush to sign a month or so later?

James Brown
Houston

Editor's note: The Enron political contributions came from its political action committees and executives and were legal. DeLay's influence over legislation in Congress is obvious.

No Apologies

Protective parents: Let's find an African-American who thinks she is being unfairly treated by the white political power structure ["Foul Out," by Wendy Grossman, January 31]. We'll need a picture of the victim or her family, looking suitably solemn and indignant, of course. Throw in accusations of "retaliation" and "racial stereotypes." Garnish with a quote or two from the NAACP and even a state legislator. The only thing missing was Al Sharpton, but he was busy over at the Enron building.

Please! This sort of formula journalism is worthy of Fox News or -- dare I say it? -- Houston's Leading Obfuscation Source. But the Houston Press?

Shar-day Campbell is just another teenager with an attitude. Her coach was exactly right. Her parents won't be able to protect her forever. But they will try, because she's their baby. And besides, they might get their picture in the paper.

Shar-day should apologize to the teacher whose class she disrupted. Wendy Grossman's editor should try a bit harder to come up with an assignment worthy of the 64-point bold-faced heading on the page where her article appeared: NEWS.

Houghton Hutcheson
Bellaire

Backside kisses: Poor Shar-day Campbell. Made to apologize to her Spanish teacher and crawl around on the ground on all fours like an animal by her "coach." Looks like she was made a fool of by all. I hope they enjoyed it. One day she's on the team, then she's not. Can't the school administration get it straight? My advice to Miss Campbell would be not to fight it, because she's going to lose, but to tell the school district to kiss her butt and kiss the state aid away and then look for another school, preferably private or, just as good, home school. These "school administrators" just jerked her around.

Bettina Cahill
Closter, New Jersey

El Paso's Best

Flaunt the haunt: I have just read Robb Walsh's insulting description of the food at Ling and Javier in the Hotel Derek ["Supermodel Cuisine," February 7]. Being from culinarily starved El Paso and having eaten at Ling and Javier on two previous occasions, I beg to differ with Mr. Walsh's assessment of the food.

I found the blend of Chinese and Cuban dishes a culinary delight. Not the '80s or '90s food, but the new millennium food.

If Houstonians could just once stop flaunting their money and attitude and appreciate something good and extraordinary, then perhaps the caliber of a restaurant like Ling and Javier would have a viable chance.

Cynthia Hoover
El Paso

 
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