Monday I linked to a Paul Krugman column about California’s artificial energy shortage. Re-reading it reminded me of this column by Carlton Vogt. The three-paragraph nub of it:

Faced with the decision of whether to buy medicine, food, or electricity, they picked the first two and tried to live through the summer heat without having to spend precious resources on our extortionary electric rates. This was a choice no one should have to make — choosing which means of neglect would kill them: heat, hunger, or lack of medicine.

Those of us who live in California now know that our electricity shortages and rising rates were the direct result of manipulation by Enron and its corrupt and greedy gang of executives. We know that if those rates had not risen astronomically, these elderly people most likely would not have been faced with the ultimate dilemma.

So, who killed these four people? A corporation? People? “Evildoers”? All of the above? But more important, who will be brought to justice for their deaths? Will anyone?

A little melodramatic perhaps, but the folks are dead, and neither tax cuts nor plans to drill in ANWAR nor a hands-off Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seems to have helped avert that.


Full disclosure: I have a little piece of Jolson & Company, which opened at the Century Theater in New York Sunday night . . . but that can’t be true of all the people jumping to their feet at the end to cheer and applaud. So if you’re having trouble getting good seats to Hairspray or the Producers, check it out.


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