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Steve Young

Steve's Blackout News O' the Day
by Steve Young

Western states hard hit by the energy crisis of four years ago still owe hundreds of millions of dollars to the very same companies that rigged electricity markets, pushing up prices, causing rolling blackouts and power shortages.

"We had to go out and buy energy to keep our system in the red, to keep our lights on, to keep the strip up and running and we had to do so at exorbitant prices," says Russ Campbell, attorney for the Nevada Power Company.

"More Incriminating Enron Tapes," CBS, July 16, 2004

June 17, 2004 -- HOLLYWOOD ( -- Yet another group of audiotapes obtained by CBS News may offer proof that Enron energy traders helped bring on, and cash-in on, the Western power crisis. Make up your own mind.

A phone conversation somewhere between Los Angeles and Houston, July, 2000.

"Wassup down at the grid, bro"

"Nothin’. Just f***ing with California, man. Wanna see something cool. Look outside your window."

"Hey, the lights just went out in Beverly Hills."

"Yeah. Let’s see those rich b****es get liposuction in the dark. Watch this."

"The power just went down at Cedar Sinai Hospital."

"Cool, huh? We get bonuses for that one. Last night I was able to shut down a defibrillator at UCLA Cardiac Care from 1500 miles away."

"F’in A."

"Wait. The hospital lights just went on."

"F***ing generators."

"I know. I’ll get someone on that right away.."

"F***ing sick people."

"I was just thinking. What if the Feds cap energy prices?"

(Pause, then hysterical laughter)

"Yeah. That’ll happen...when Cheney tells Waxman who was in his energy meetings."

(More laughter)

"Wait a minute. What energy meetings?"


"No, I'm serious. Cheney? Waxman? What energy meetings?

"Oops. Forget I said that. The Enron time/space continuum is still in experimental stage.

"You know, he steals money from California to the tune of about a million."

"Will you rephrase that?"

"OK, he, um, illegally abrigates, sucking every possible penny from any and everyone in California no matter how poor, no matter how elderly, no matter how sick, to the tune of a million bucks or two a day."

"Better. Who’s he?"

"Well...not Lay or Skilling...wink-wink."

"They make Halliburton business practices look legal."

(Pause. Hysterical laughter)

"I’m only kidding."

"How can we get away with a f***ing mugging of a state’s treasury without someone getting wise? I mean, we’re stealing aren’t we?"

Stealing? Nah. It’s f***ing capitalism, man. First we manipulate the energy flow, they start rolling black outs, prices go up and then we capitalize on it. That’s why they call it capitalism. Stealing is when you get caught."

"You sure?"

"Look. It’s all about denial. People say there might be a problem and we just deny it. Ooh, look. I just turned off all the street lights in Compton. BAM! Yeah! Y'see, people have faith in big business. We're like the rich uncle who you don't diss because you don't want to be written out of the will.

"What will?"


"But won’t the Governor see through it?"


"Governor Gray Out? You think anyone’s going to listen to that stiff? The f***ing public is already blaming him for the shortage. Heh-heh. I said shortage. You’d have to have a f***ing movie star running before anyone in this state would pay attention to anything they’re saying in Sacramento.

"You mean, like Van Damme?


"Except for his womanizing and the fact that he’s a foreigner who no one would understand."

"But what if f***ing talk radio ever finds out about this. Won’t they sound the alarm, and kill the chances of W and his friends moving into1600 Pennsylvania? (Pause, then...hysterical laughter) Sorry. I couldn’t keep a straight face."

"You think we’re ever gonna get caught?".

"No f***ing way, man. We’re f***ing Enron. Big oil. They put us away, they’d have to put everyone who ever worked for an oil company. You know who that means. All we have to do is stonewall and ain’t no one gonna find out."

"F***in’ A."

"(Chuckle) Unless we were being taped."

(Hysterical laughter, then:)

"Did you hear a click?..."


Federal investigators have stopped the release of additional Enron employee tapes, not because of they're finished, but because they've run out of "bleep machines."

"These suckers are a mother-f***er," said FBI director Robert Muller. "We hadn't put that thing through such a workout since we transcribed the Richard Nixon's Oval Office prayer meeting. "We blew out three (bleep)ing bleepers on that one. We were forced to just cough to cover up the President's colorful language."

Those familiar with bleep machine history say the Enron transcriptions ranks as some of the most memorable, though Arnold Nerp, head of the FBI's Audio/Video Club, surprised many by admitting the Bleeper was not used during "Clinton/Lewisnsky."

"Oh, we had the Bleeper ready for the Lewinsky thing," admitted Nerp, but to tell you the truth, we were all so f***ing turned on, none of us had a hand free to turn the thing on."

Steve Young is an award-winning television writer, director/writer of "My Dinner With Ovitz", and author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" (Tallfellow Press -- check out the web site at
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