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UNITED STATES: Senate hearing on Enron

Postings have referred to the relative merits of the parliamentary and presidential systems. The US has both the worst and the best. The worst are the mob scenes known as party conventions, which are an insult to the human intelligence. The best by contrast are the congressional hearings, quiet discussions which provide facts and arguments on specific problems. An excellent example was provided by the hearing on the Enron scandal held by the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs. It interrogated Pat Wood, head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a political appointee. I could not help laughing as he squirmed under the relentless questioning, much of which was done by the rather domineering Democratic Senator from California Barbara Boxer, who came armed with colored charts. I still did not really understand what was going on until I read the article about California politics, "Bad news, good news. Corporate entanglements embarrass both sides in the governor's race" (The Economist, 5/11-17/02). The good news for Governor Gary Davis and the Democrats was the Enron scandal. No wonder Barbara Boxer went on the attack and Pat Wood squirmed. Clearly it takes quite an effort to figure out what is going on in the political game. Obviously I do not know much of the time. Do you?

Ronald Hilton - 5/16/02