Mountain News 

Something rotten in Aspen

ASPEN, Colo. — At least in its resort era, Aspen has something of a morbid history. There, Pop singer Claudine Longet killed her lover, ski racer Spider Sabich. There, mass-killer Ted Bundy escaped from jail.

Now, it will also be remembered as the place where Ken Lay, who was CEO of what may have been the largest smoke-and-mirrors corporate deception in U.S. history, died.

Lay had rented a home near Aspen, at Old Snowmass, after his conviction in May of fraud and conspiracy at Enron. When he died, it just so happened that two of the biggest names in television, Katie Couric and Wolf Blitzer, happened to be nearby.

But not everybody believed the Pitkin County coroner’s report of a heart attack. Under the headline "A Sense of Something Rotten in Aspen," New York Times business columnist Tom Zeller Jr. recounts the web postings of victims of Enron and others who felt no compassion for the man who, just 18 months before Enron toppled of its own deceitful folly, had issued an edict about "fairness and honesty."

"Word on the street is that he’s actually chillin’ in the Dominican Republic, fanning himself with his offshore money he squirreled away and sharing a pitcher of sangria with Tupac (Shakur, the slain hip-hop artist)," wrote one blogger.

Said another blogger, "I hate it when those jerks go off and die before they get their punishment. It’s so unfair."

American’s addiction

ASPEN, Colo. — America’s dangerous addiction to foreign oil seems to be on every thinking person’s mind this summer. In think-tank discussions from Aspen to Vail to Sun Valley, energy dependency and global warming figure prominently.

In Aspen, former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Democrats should make global warming a key issue in this year’s elections. The Republican strategy, he said, is weak.

"Let’s forget about global warming and talk about flag burning and gay marriage," Clinton said, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival. "I don’t know how long you can milk that old cow."

Clinton said Democrats should stress the national security angle of clean energy. He also said climate change is a far more important issue than he thought when he was in office, reports The Aspen Times. (That might seem like a curious statement, given that his right-hand man, Vice President Al Gore, was even then the nation’s lead crusader on the issue).

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan stressed some of the same themes during his earlier speech at the Aspen Festival. He said the United States must develop alternative energy sources or risk dire economic consequences.

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