Friday, May 29, 2009

Government Motors

Does this make sense?

  • The Government gave $19.4 billion, would get 72.5% (up from 50%) of the new Government Motors plus $8 billion will still be owed by the new company. Pretty sweet, they get 72.5% for a net of $11.4 billion.

  • United Auto Workers trust will get 17.5% (down from 34%), in lieu of something like $20 billion in payments not yet due.

  • Bondholders would get 10 percent plus warrants to buy another 15% (previously bondholders were not offered the opportunity to "invest" more money) for the $27 billion they already loaned GM .

  • Apparently the people who are owed the other $27 billion GM owes either don't get anything or those debts taken over by the new company, it isn't clear.
This has got to be the goofiest bankruptcy in history.

In the normal world the Union, like every other contractor, would get it's contracts dissolved and then then have to make a new deal with the new company. GM would not have to pay the money not yet due. If the Union was owed money they can get in line with everybody else.

The Government would have gotten either debt or equity. They would lose their equity or become a creditor in the bankruptcy if they got debt. They'd be in the same boat as the other creditors.

The creditors would form a committee and the company would either reorganize (usually swapping debt for equity) or be liquidated with the proceeds going to the creditors or some combination of the two, under the supervision of a Federal Judge.

In this upside down bankruptcy apparently the government gets a company on the cheap and the people the company owes money to get screwed. Many of those people are depending on the income those bonds generate for retirement.

6/1/09 Update: The press is now reporting that the government will get 60% and put in an additional $30 billion.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Has anyone seen one of these?

For the recent Geek Dinner, I decided to make a shrimp dish. I always like to buy whole shrimp and make shrimp stock but since I was talking about a lot of shrimp ( 5 pounds cleaned) decided I need to replace my Katrina Kasualty Shrimp Deveiner.

I thought I could simply go to my Local Rouse's and pick one up. They are, after all, based in the heart of the bayou.

No such luck. They apparently don't carry them, looked in three different stores. Neither do Robert's nor several other places I looked.

For those of you who never heard of the article in question here is a picture.

This simple cheap plastic do-dad makes cleaing shrimp simple. Simply pull off the head and insert the point into the back of the shell. The shrimp's shell will almost fall off as the probe is slid along the back of the shrimp.

When I started asking around I was stunned by the number of locals who had never heard of this simple useful device and by the number of people who have been looking for them without success.

If anyone knows where I can pickup one please let me know.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Nayor Magin

I'm not a big fan of Ray but recently we're seeing a lot of piling on. I'm not defending his unconscionable secrecy which only fueled the fire. But, the Sharks smell blood in the water. They are feeding on the public's apparent distaste for his antics. When he was popular they wouldn't have dared.

I just read the article on WWL's analysis of Ray's schedule. I'd have to say his schedule is a lot more structured than mine. I'm sure Obama's is more tightly structured judging by the West Wing. If Ray is meeting 4 or 5 hours a day, when does he get to read all of the reports and analysis he needs to read to go to the meeting? When does he get to go observe what is really happening? I've been in corporate situations where the same group of people seems to go from meeting to meeting without pause. I wonder when they have time to tell their subordinates what to do. Usually they don't, I know I don't.

In that situation I tend to have different key people in each meeting so they can go off and do their work and I can try to keep the client in check. It doesn't always work. I can vividly recall situations where some significant time after our client made a decision it became apparent we hadn't followed up. Often it turned out that had had a meeting without us and neglected to inform us of the decision. Occasionally when called them on it they would all look at each other say "you remember the meeting at ... " slowly they realize we weren't at that meeting and no one told us what had happened.

In my world, I have meetings but my office door is open so I get a lot of phone calls and impromptu meetings. None of that is scheduled. I wonder what Dr. Hatfield's schedule or Blakeley's schedule showed? I'd imagine they would fill in some of the blanks, but maybe not if they had casual access and simply walked in when they needed to talk.

WWL's analysis also apparently uses some deceptive statistics. For example they cite 46% of his time spent on scheduled social functions, apparently including all meals, which may have been meetings where actual stuff discussed but excluding any time not recorded, like time spent in his office reading, talking on the phone or in walk in meetings.
Clancy DuBos said, "in all reality, what's on the schedule doesn't reveal everything Nagin does in any given day."
He's right, unfortunately it was at the very bottom of the online article.