The last words on Lay |

The last words on Lay

Randy Wyrick

Just when you thought no one was paying any attention to the Aspen Ideas Festival, Kenneth Lay croaked in its town.

It wasn’t one of its officially sanctioned ideas.

Still, Ken “Enron Man” Lay did die in Aspen during the Ideas Festival, which is really pretty funny. Your average Ass-painian would much rather Karl Rove had died during Idea Fest, an idea they’d be glad to take credit for.

There’s something gloriously healthy about a nation that will make brutal fun of a guy who dodged prison because he supposedly died of a heart attack, even though no one really believes there was anything natural about his causes. We think he found a way to kill himself with the help of the CIA ” another idea for Ass-pain’s Idea Fest.

Here’s another idea for the Idea Fest: Ken Lay might not really be dead. As David Letterman asked, “Has anybody checked Dick Cheney’s pockets?”

Or this one from Jay Leno: “You know what Ken Lay had for breakfast the morning he died? Shredded Wheat.”

The whole Enron mess is a little like international politics when people ask, “Why doesn’t someone do something about Ubangi-Bangi?” And we frown thoughtfully and answer that it’s more complicated than that.

Except that Enron is like the Philippines of high finance. It isn’t complicated at all.

In the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos stole all the money, leaving his wife Imelda “Let ‘Em Eat Cake” Marcos behind to spend it on shoes. Likewise, Kenny The Felon managed to conveniently croak, leaving millions in ill-gotten gains to his progeny.

The feds were going to go Robin Hood on him and take $44 million or so and return it to the Enron shareholders from whom he stole. Now they can’t.

Both Marcos and Lay should have had their ears stapled to the tailgate of a pickup truck that’s on its way to a nuclear waste dump site, and there be left to rot until their color resembles the money they stole.

But both Kenny and Ferdy are dead and the money they stole stays where it is, which isn’t where it belongs.

For the uninitiated, the Aspen Ideas Festival is one of those Gatherings of the Great Minds that Ass-pain is so proud of. Basically, they sit around and drop intellectual blockbusters like oil is bad and ethanol ” growing and burning food to power our hybrid SUVs instead of using it to feed hungry people in Third World cesspools ” is good.

Maybe the Idea Fest’s best idea is for the Lay clan to follow the sterling example of the Kennedy clan. The Kennedy patriarch, Joe Kennedy, established their family fortune a lot like Kenny did. Joe, you will recall, got Big Texas Rich running bootleg whiskey during Prohibition. The Kennedy crew are darlings in Ass-pain and other leftist enclaves, such as Boulder, Nantucket and most of France. (And speaking of France, is the U.S. going to have to come in during halftime of this weekend’s World Cup final against Italy ” a metaphorical redo of World War II ” and bail their butts out again?)

So Karl Rove, if you’re in Ass-pain, enjoy your stay in the Rockies. Take a little hike, do a little fishing, spend a little time on the front porch swing thinking about nothing in particular.

But keep a close eye on your heart.

You do have one, don’t you?

Vail, Colorado

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