Thursday, July 06, 2006

God Needed a Former Energy CEO with a Knack for Creative Accounting in Heaven: Kenneth Lay 1942-2006

Maybe the energy grid in Heaven needs to be reconfigured. Maybe God's books need to be balanced with a little creative accounting. Maybe God just needed a charming, folksy angel to pal around with. Or maybe after teaching him a little lesson in humility, God just wanted to spare His good friend and supporter the ignominy of spending years behind bars. Whatever the reason, former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay is now the newest angel on Heaven's corporate board.

Ken Lay was the embodiment of the American Dream and a shining example of the blessings God bestows on America. The son of a Baptist preacher, Lay grew up poor. Yet he never lost his faith in God or the possibilities that America offers those who work hard. Even in his darkest hours Lay said, "My family and I believe that God is in control and, indeed, He does work all things for good for those who love the Lord." If the Lord was testing Lay the way He tested Job, Lay apparently passed with flying colors.

I'm sure President Bush wishes he could attend the funeral of his good friend Ken Lay but he probably feels that his presence would be a distraction just as it would be at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq, which is probably why he hasn't attended any of those either. After all, if he attend the funeral of one friend convicted of corporate fraud, he would have to attend them all. I'm sure President Bush would agree, however, that to know Ken Lay was to love him.

One thing everyone says about Lay is that he was "charming" despite his failure to charm the jury into letting him off. President Bush called him "Kenny Boy" and the two were great friends until the President's duties left him little time to socialize. In his first Presidential campaign President Bush and Vice President Cheney flew around the country in Lay's company jet and Lay was the largest contributor to their campaign. When Cheney needed some help putting together an energy plan, Lay was one of the corporate executives who attended secret meetings to help him write it. Lay was always giving his friends advice. He once sent the President an article about globalization by everyone's favorite columnist Thomas Friedman, although he warned that "it includes some of Friedman's own biases toward particular safety nets." The President in his inimitably laconic way said the article was "very interesting." It's no surprise that Lay would not be a fan of "safety nets." He preferred to work without a net as he pulled himself up by his own bootstraps.

No doubt some of the former employees suing him will be disappointed that now that Lay is dead they won't be able to collect punitive damages for the way he rent their own particular safety nets. But they will have learned a valuable lesson: Trust in the Lord, not your 401K. Of course, if President Bush had been allowed to privatize Social Security, they might not be quite as worried about their retirement plans. But perhaps they can gain solace from knowing that their money did make some people happy. Mrs. Lay may have lost her husband but she will always have fond memories of the birthday when he gave her a $200,000 yacht, ironically named Amnesia. One thing you can say about Americans is we are not an envious people. We get a vicarious thrill out of the conspicuous consumption of the wealthy. Who knows, maybe some day it will be us! It's just one example of Americans' eternal optimism, another quality Lay had in abundance. Even as Enron's share price began to plummet, Lay urged his employees to buy more. And his wife seemed to share his infectious hopefulness, waiting until the very last minute, in fact, just ten minutes before the news of Enron's problems broke, before she sold her shares.

I think Tony Snow summed up all of our feelings about the tragedy of Ken Lay's death when he said, "What do you think would be the appropriate thing to say?" Sometimes words are not enough to express our grief and Snow's touching, almost poetic facility for inarticulateness says all that needs to be said. Or perhaps Marlene Dietrich's eulogy for another larger than life figure, the small-town sheriff played by Orson Welles in Touch of Evil, is a fitting tribute to the legacy of Ken Lay: "He was some kind of a man. What does it matter what you say about people?"

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Dee Paolina said...

I think your intel may be a little "off." Hell's leading daily has the scoop.

Dee Paolina said...

Damn blogger. Try this.

Anonymous said...

While we are pleased that Kenny Boy is now beyond the reach of those jackal-hearted government lawyers who wanted to steal all his hard-earned money, we can't help but wish he had passed a day earlier. After all, ascension on the 4th of July would only be fitting for selfless patriot like Kenny Boy, who gave so much and asked so little.

kudosdc said...

Mr. Lay's glorious departure is a affirmation of Jesus' love for his earthly flock of Bush Pioneers. In addition to their other acts of selfless charity these men dedicated themsleves to their mission from God: deliver into the holy American empire a president who owed Him a favor.

You shall see that Bush fundraisers will never face earthly liberal misguided justice. Glory be the day Cheney reconvenes the meetings of energy executives - for all eternity.

benmerc said...

Check the know, the vampire thing. "Blessed" people the likes of Ken Lay never go away this easy.

Anonymous said...

a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge, too.

The N.Y. Post - usually an apologist for the Right - is perfectly justified in demanding to make sure we all aren't being hoodwinked by Lay's sudden and very conveniently timed demise. I for one would like to see pictures of his lifeless, rotting corpse a la Uday and Cusay Hussein so we can be sure the bastard is indeed dead.

Whether you believe he died from a coronary as advertised, he was offed by the government because he knew too much or he faked his death to disappear, the bottom line is the same - JUSTICE DENIED! He's ruined so many lives and stolen so many families' futures. It's so unfair that on top of everything else, his victims have been denied the satisfaction of seeing him punished.

Personally, I hope he's dead and receiving final justice from a higher power. Hopefully "Kenny Boy" is now inhabiting some particulary heinous circle of Hell; the one that is reserved for robber barons.

Oh, and please publish where the grave is going to be so I can go piss on it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

It is a long time since I have read anything so subtly written and so cleverly tongue-in-cheek that it took me several paragraphs before I stopped saying, "Is this guy for real? Is he serious?" The name, of course, should have told me right up front, but I modestly propose that I was a little slow off the mark. Great stuff. Found you by virtue of your comment left on "Just Observing," one of my favorite Blogs. Keep hammering, Jon. Great work. Ed Fitzgerald

Anonymous said...

Who led the charge to prosecute Lay? Was it Ketchup kerry? Muddled Murtha? Plastic-face pelosi? Magilla McKinney? Harry "Gollum" Reid?

Hm. I wonder who it could have been?

Tony Snow is "inarticulate?" Your fear is showing.

Ha, ha ha!

OutOfContext said...

I wear baggy clothes so my fear doesn't show. Jon you're way off again. Lay's genius was he had no knack for creative accounting, and that's why he was not guilty. In fact, I think you will find he was practically retarded (can I say that nowadays?) He was a victim of all those fancy elite financiers he had to hire, let make him rich and then blame. I doubt if he knew, as even Tony Snow did, that 2500 is a number (and that it could be reached in increments of 500). Also, I'd like to take a stab at Jeff's multiple choice: Plastic-face Pelosi?
By the way, Tom Friedman thinks the next six months will be decisive in Ken Lay's life.

benmerc said...

Funny bit on Friedman...the weather man of punditry. Just another goo-goo doll for CM...(It helps to humble CM when he heaps praise on he seeks both; that is humility and mediocrity)

The Truffle said...

I think God should make money rain down from the sky. It would make former Enron employees very, very happy.

Tedj said...

I still say he looked like Dave Cummings

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