Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
a film by Alex Gibney
"Burn, baby, burn!" two Enron traders chant upon hearing that wildfires are impeding an electrical transmission line in California. Their Houston firm had masterminded the Golden State's energy crisis of 2000-2001, and a natural calamity only tightened the noose. That audiotape, and images of Enron CEO Ken Lay bragging in corporate videos, makes you realize that blaming "a few bad apples" doesn't fly when a corporation's entire culture revolves around arrogance, greed, and gaming markets. This taut documentary is based on the book The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, by Fortune magazine reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. It's in limited theatrical release and will be available on DVD this fall--just in time for the trials of Lay ("Kenny Boy" to his pal George W. Bush) and Enron president Jeff Skilling, set to begin in January.
a book by Jim Wallis
"Our public life is a bankrupt battlefield of competing special interests," writes Jim Wallis, and religious people must come to the rescue. Accusing the right of trying to co-opt the faithful and the left of dismissing them, the evangelical leader argues for a biblically based philosophy that's traditional on family values yet progressive "or even radical on issues like poverty and racial justice." This, says Wallis, is God's politics. His book also touches on stewardship of creation: In a chapter subtitled "What scandalizes God?" he blames the Bush administration's close corporate ties for loosening clean-air and -water rules and later praises the anti-SUV campaign "What Would Jesus Drive?" Wallis predicts that moderate and progressive people of faith will ultimately shape politics far more than the religious right will: "It may well be that only theology--good theology--can save the Earth now.