New Year's Resolutions for Houston

We have a lot to forgive and forget about 2005; here's hoping local celebs do better next year

Al Edwards, Texas state congressman (D-Houston): "I resolve to drop my anti-cheerleading crusade and bust out some of my own moves in 2006."

Edwards drew national attention last year for his obsessive one-man campaign to outlaw "sexually suggestive" routines by usually virginal Texas high school cheerleaders. Apparently, an excess of rump-shakin' and pom-pom-grinding on the playing field is yet another sign of the pending Apocalypse.

Edwards's original bill called for cutting off state funding to schools housing offending hip-hip-hoorayers. When that garnered about as much support as a proclamation allotting a Gay Cowboy Day might, the bill was toned down and passed. But it neither defined what's considered an offense nor laid out any specific punishment. The bill to date has no sponsor in the state Senate.

So maybe Edwards needs to do a little cheerleading of his own and demonstrate for senators some fresh moves he considers acceptable -- like the Twist, the Swim, the Jerk and maybe (if his joints are well oiled) a little Robot. Hell, let's see Al krumping. Now those are good, clean dances to inspire a team of boys whose job it is to pile onto each other, pass their balls around and smack each other on the butt.

Two, four, six, eight!

From now on we won't gyrate!

Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, former chairman and CEO of Enron: "We resolve to restore our business reputation by running the prison commissary in 2006."

And then there were two. Since it seems that most of the former employees under them have turned rat, pleaded to lesser offenses, done their time or are doing their time, that leaves (apologies to Dr. Seuss) Thing One and Thing Two as the top prosecutorial prizes in the biggest business collapse in American history. Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee pleaded ignorance to any financial hanky-panky, blaming it on "lower level" employees who must have possessed Mission: Impossible-level operations to keep dealings secret from the dynamic dunderheads. Skilling faces 30-plus criminal counts and Lay 11, including fraud and conspiracy, in a co-trial that begins January 30.

The smart money says that both men will be spending some time in the slammer, and what better place to work on their business résumés and get back some of their good rep? Buying, selling and trading oil and energy is no different from commerce involving a carton of Camels, phone cards or somebody's bitch named Stanley. If Heckle and Jeckle could just blend the philosophies of Adam Smith and Warren Buffett with the principles of Tookie Williams and John Gotti, they could have the prison commissary running smoothly and efficiently. Sound a'ight?

Bill White, mayor of Houston: "I promise not to respond to any more natural disasters outside Houston in 2006."

No one questions that the city of Houston went above and beyond in its extraordinary response to aiding the tens of thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina that poured into the city. City and local governmental agencies, along with churches, community and aid groups and the faceless army of tireless volunteers responded to the needs of evacuees.

Heading the charge of Houston's hospitality brigade was White, who welcomed the evacuees, worked with County Judge Robert Eckels to open city and county buildings and area hotels and basically said, "Take care of the people now, and we'll sort out the details later." Well, later has arrived, and the realities of this generosity are coming home.

Already strained school, job and social service programs are groaning. FEMA has sometimes been vague or slow about concrete answers and financial reimbursement to the city. Charity fatigue, jealousies, greed and a small segment of evacuees criminally acting the fool are starting to turn public opinion from "Welcome" to "Can I help you with your luggage?"

Mayor White, you and Houston have done your part and done it amazingly. But if another massive hurricane displaces an entire populace, hand over the phone numbers for the mayors of Dallas and Miami.

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