Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is this what they are talking about?

You know, those roughly 50% of Americans who do not vote who say things like 'Republicans and Democrats are all the same'?

The king of natural gas will be dining with the First Lady.

On November 1st, Michelle Obama will headline a fundraiser hosted by the the young billionaire (via a Houston Chronicle blog).

From the piece:

"The super-wealthy hedge fund manager and his wife will introduce Obama to individuals who paid $10,000 for the privilege or couples who paid $15,000."

Arnold manages Centaurus Advisors.

You remember John Arnold, don't you? He founded Centaurus with his Enron bonus from 2001, which was the year before Enron collapsed under the weight of its scams.

Now he and his wife are tackling pension 'reform' (sic) in California.

John D. Arnold, a former Enron Corp. trader in Texas who became a billionaire by buying and selling natural gas, is bankrolling a group supporting changes to limit California’s pension-fund obligations.

Arnold, who formed hedge fund Centaurus Advisors LLC in Houston after leaving Enron, started a foundation that Meredith Simonton, a spokeswoman, said has given $150,000 to the California group.

The organization set up by Arnold and his wife, Laura, a lawyer, plans to be involved in pension-overhaul efforts around the U.S., Simonton said by telephone from Houston. State and local governments confront “massive financial distress” from the gap between assets and promised benefits, she said.

Let's count the six degrees of separation: Michelle Obama, John and Laura Arnold, Enron (Ken Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, Andy Fastow,, George W. Bush.

Whoops. That's only four.

Anybody still confused about what OWS is all about?

Update: CA Gov. Brown seek sweeping pension rollbacks. It's not just for Wisconsin any more.

Update II: POLITICO's Julie Mason (formerly of the Houston Chron) picks up the story.

An upcoming Houston fundraiser featuring first lady Michelle Obama at the home of a former Enron executive who is part of a movement to convert public pensions to 401(k)-style plans is angering some local Democrats.[...]

Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, called the 401(k) proposal "very frightening for teachers." She noted the nose dive many retirement plans took in the stock market in 2008, saying, "What if I was retired and that happened?"

"My people supported Obama big-time in 2008," Fallon said. "This is not helping." [...]

Art Pronin, a Houston Democratic activist, said, "This just got my dander up."

"Does Obama support converting teacher pensions to 401(k)'s? I doubt it," said Pronin, president of his neighborhood Democratic club. "This is creating a lot of consternation in Democratic circles, and it's going to make it that much harder to get the vote out next year politically."

Local activists, including the Houston chapter of Occupy Wall Street, are considering some kind of protest of the first lady's event. Meanwhile, the local teachers' union is working to educate members about the pension campaign.

"We need street action that will make Wisconsin look like a picnic," Fallon said.

Update III (Monday 10/31): Thanks to Matt B. in the comments for the news on Halloween -- the day before the event -- that the First Lady will not be attending and the fundraiser will be "rescheduled at a later date".


Matt Bramanti said...

It's been called off.

Greg said...

She probably won't fit her dress after eating all the leftover Halloween candy while telling the rest of us to eat right.

PDiddie said...

You really think you have room to be making fat jokes, Greg?