Five Jobs for Fastow

Enron honcho needs work.

CRIME

Five Jobs for Fastow
Out of prison, Enron honcho needs work

By Richard Connelly

Andy Fastow, the former financial whiz of Enron, has returned to Houston after his stint in a federal prison.

He's currently in a halfway house and, let's face it, he needs a job. Luckily the rules allow him to leave the facility for work or community service.

But Fastow comes back to a changed Houston. To help him adapt, and in the hope he can line something up in this tough economy, we offer our job tips:

5. Houston Texans statistician

Look, numbers are wonderfully malleable things. You say the other team got 38 points and the Texans only got 21 (14 of them scored in garbage time) and that means the other team "won"? Fine. Let Fastow bedazzle the press for a while and those numbers will come out as another win for Houston.

4. Salesman at Texas Tuscan Furniture

Why Texas Tuscan? Because it's at 1302 West Gray, which is the former home of...Jus' Stuff, the antiques store opened by Ken Lay's wife after the Enron collapse. Fastow could commune with Ken's ghost while he tries to upsell a West U lawyer's wife on a dining room set.

3. Texas Comptroller

Sure, current comptroller Susan Combs was able to whip up an extra billion or so in "expected revenue" when the legislature needed help, but that's not nearly enough. Texas needs someone who can spin billions and billions out of thin air with a couple of PowerPoint slides. Fastow has proven he's got what it takes. Why not use that talent?

2. Open up a cheap moving company

Look, ex-cons have to stick together, no matter what the parole board says. And nothing says "ex-cons" more than a fly-by-night moving company, the kind that seems to infest Houston. "Handling your valuables as carefully as the Chewco or Jedi offshore accounts!!" is a winning slogan, we think.

1. Astrodome Developer

Two things are clear about the abandoned Astrodome: a) There's no affordable plan that would reliably transform it into a moneymaking facility, and b) No politician has the balls to call for it to be torn down.

Enter Fastow. He'll have that thing looking like a money-printing machine in no time. And it will all sound good. Why shouldn't all Harris County taxpayers get to feel like Enron 401(k) shareholders?

Failing all of these, we guess he can always find a job at his in-laws' Weingarten Realty, closing down beloved Houston stores and theaters.
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EDUCATION

"Aggie Owned & Operated": A Warning?

By Richard Connelly

Texas A&M had a ceremony recently honoring a Houston insurance business as the first in what they hope will be a large program called "Aggie Owned & Operated."

Barhorst Insurance Group on the northwest side of town was the honoree; it is owned by a member of Jackie Sherrill's original "12th Man" student program. And being so designated means, according to the school, that from this day to the ending of the world there will be "an automatic association between an Aggie's business and the values and reputation of Texas A&M in the minds of customers."

This, the school says, will be "good for Aggies and for the public at large." As for the public at large, Aggie officials are not clear on whether they mean the declaration as a warning. We guess not, but you never know.

"The Aggie Owned and Operated program allows Texas A&M to engage with businesses across the state of Texas and tap into the passion that exists through our former students," said Jason Cook, A&M's VP of marketing and communications. "When patrons walk into an Aggie Owned and Operated business, they will know that their experience will be based on Texas A&M's core values — that they will have an excellent experience and will be treated with the highest levels of integrity and respect."

And when you go into a feed store, you definitely want to be treated with respect. (We kid.) The Ags will publish a "Maroon Book" listing all the businesses involved. And those businesses will get a banner and a sign for their window declaring their Aggieness.

Other schools do this, and Cook mentioned in passing one reason why: Another goal of the program, he says, is "being an excellent entry point to a more extensive relationship with Texas A&M, either through athletic sponsorships, sponsored research agreements or scholarship contributions."
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DOING IT DAILY

There’s tons of stuff each day on the Houston Press blogs; you’re only getting a taste of it here in the print edition. Head to blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs (or “/rocks” or “/eating” or “/artattack”).

Political Animals

Houston City Council seems to be developing into a home for former state reps; Kristi Thibaut and Ellen Cohen announced they'd be running for seats, hoping to join Melissa Noriega. Thibaut will run in the new, ultra-hip Montrose-Heights district created in the new redistricting plan. Jon Bon Jovi rode his steel horse to meet Annise Parker; no word on whether her face was rocked. And Rick Perry once again became the subject of scuttlebutt that he would leap in to save the dismal GOP presidential field for 2012.

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