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tC1 Austin’s Largest Selection of International Folk Art, Silver Jewelry and Textiles -TE scs nc> s FOLK ART K OTHER TREASURES FROM AROUND THE WORLD j 209 CONGRESS AVE AUSTIN 5121479-8377 a -,\\OPEN DAILY 10-6 Dialogue, continued from page 2 beach closure and a similar proposal to lease out a county park on South Padre Island could lead to the same situation in the rest of Texas. Texas ranks at or near the bottom in access to public land. Most of the land is also in far West Texas and is not a likely weekend destination. Similarly, Texas Public Parks are woefully under funded and recent fee increases make if increasingly difficult for the average family to visit them. Texas Beaches, however, are free and open for enjoyment of Texans and their families. This right is codified in the Texas Open Beaches Act but dates back to before we were a Republic. Closing off segments of beach at the request of developers threatens the rights of all Texans to access our beaches. Our children and grandchildren will have beaches to play on only if we demand that beaches remain open. We commend the Observer for its coverage of this important issue. Jamie Mitchell Surfrider Foundation, Central Texas Chapter WRITE DIALOGUE 307. W 7th Street Austin, TX 78701 [email protected] Enron, continued from page 13 its reported financial results.” Other big banks and securities firms have also paid fines. But when it comes to criminal prosecutions, only three executives from Merrill Lynch have been indicted by the Justice Department for their roles in the Enron meltdown. The lack of zealous criminal prosecutions against the other crooks who actively “aided and abetted” the Enron fraud proves there is one set of laws for small time thieves and a whole other set of rules for white collar criminals. Indeed, the only real prosecution of the banks has been left to tort lawyersthe same tort lawyers that George W. Bush has been campaigning against for years. In October, the biggest civil case against the banks will go to trial in Houston. It’s being headed by the securities lawyers at Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP. Where are Phil and Wendy Gramm? While it’s true that Enron was Bush’s biggest career patron until 2004 and that the Bush Administration went far out of its way to help Enron whenever it could, the Gramms performed the most egregious political whoring on behalf of Enron. In 2000, Phil Gramm pushed a bill through the U.S. Senate that exempted Enron’s trading business from federal oversighteven though Wendy was serving on Enron’s board. For her part, Wendy got her job on the Enron board just days after leaving her post at the federal agency supposedly regulating Enron. In 1993, she had pushed a ruling through the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that freed Enron’s energy derivatives business from federal regulations. Is George W. Bush actually Ken Lay? For watchers of the Bush administration, much of the hubris at Enron should prove disgustingly recognizable. Listen to these concepts and see if they sound familiar: Enron insisted the old rules didn’t apply to them; it was going to remake the world in its image; anyone who disagreed with its vision was viciously maligned; and as it descended into bankruptcy, it kept cooking its books to make it appear healthier than it was. Now that “Kenny Boy” Lay appears headed for jail, let’s hope a similar fate awaits other Bush cronies. Scooter? Karl? Or even better, Dick? Robert Bryce, a contributing writer for the Observer, is the author of Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron. 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JUNE 16, 2006