Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Musings: Super Suckers

Waialeale was dressed in lavender-grey, and wearing a white cloud belt, when Koko and I went walking this morning. Every notch and nook in her sloping summit could be seen, and in the pastures lying before her, mist had pooled in an enchanted floating lake.

Dawn approached and Waialeale cast off her belt and blushed pink. Every crack and crevice in her ancient face could be seen, and I wondered how long it had been since all her many waterfalls flowed. That’s a sight we need to see soon.

The sun rose in a eruption of golden grandeur, then promptly ducked behind a cloud, which is just about the time I ran into my neighbor Andy and his dog, Momi.

He was looking forward to a morning paddle in his canoe at Kalapaki, which got us talking about paddle boarders and surf break etiquette. Andy said he gave up board surfing back in 1963.

“It was too getting crowded,” he said, “and too aggressive. And the worst of the bunch, the biggest ass**** of them all, was Fred Hemmings.”

It seems Fred, a football player, was bigger than the other guys and had a propensity to bully. Andy recalled one incident where Fred actually tipped him off his board backward as he was about to catch a wave, then grabbed the ride himself.

“It’s been more than 40 years, so I suppose he could have changed, but somehow, I don’t think so,” Andy said. “Even if he was a liberal Democrat, he’d be hard-pressed to get my vote.”

That’s the thing about living in a small place like Hawaii. Stuff sticks.

And sometimes folks stick it to you, as is the case with Hawaii Superferry and the taxpayers of Hawaii. An article in yesterday’s WAToday.com shows us just how advantageous the bankruptcy filing — and its timing — will prove for some:

Shipbuilder Austal Ltd does not expect to find itself out of pocket after one of its customers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States.

Ferry charter operator Hawaii Superferry has filed for bankruptcy in the US Court of Delaware, owing Austal $US21.3 million ($A26.3 million).

The loan was provided by Austal as part of a deal to sell Hawaii Superferry two high-speed vessels.

Austal said in a statement on Tuesday that Hawaii Superferry would attempt to reorganise its affairs to allow it to continue as a going concern.

"If the business continues to operate, the chances of Austal getting its money back eventually are high," Austal executive chairman John Rothwell told AAP.

Mr Rothwell said it was likely that ownership of the vessels would return to Austal, which would then charter them to the US Department of Defence.

Austal holds a second registered mortgage over the vessels, ranking it as a creditor behind the US Maritime Administration.

Mr Rothwell said the US military had an urgent need for the class of vessels concerned.


Let me get this straight. You loan a company money to build two ships so you can establish yourself as an American shipbuilder. Then you find some super suckers who will pick up the tab while you test the vessel's performance in their waters and harbors, which helps you win a U.S. Navy contract potentially worth $1.6 billion. And then you get the boats back and charter them to the military while you build the rest of the boats it ordered. Those Aussies are so clever!

As Larry Geller noted in a thoughtful analysis of HSF’s operations, the company was losing money even in the best of times.

So why would it continue to ferry poorly-paying puking passengers when it could be sucking instead at the navy’s teat? The Supreme Court decision merely gave it a convenient out — and a way to ditch all those pesky debts, including the $40 mill it owes the state for “minor” harbor accommodations.

But one thing still puzzles me. Even if the Lingle crowd did believe it was doing the right thing in rolling out the red carpet for the Superferry, why didn't it structure the deal to better protect the state's interests? By all accounts it was a risky business venture, even without the lawsuits. Is the Lingle Administration really that much of a super sucker? Or does it just not care?

Yet none of this stink seems to be sticking to Linda and her gang, thanks in large part to the Honolulu dailies, which have treated this story with kid gloves from the beginning. Instead, the ignoramuses keep sticking it to “environmental wackos.” Heck, even mouth-foamer Rush Limbaugh weighed in on his morning broadcast yesterday, ending his spew session with this gem:

Manufacturing, energy, transportation -- almost every sector of our economy that you can think of -- has been impacted by unelected, unaccountable environmentalist wackos. Yet for all of the environmental impact studies that have been generated, there has never been one that quantifies what environmental extremism has cost the America economy. But the largest cost... is that they have bankrupted our freedom.

Yeah, Rush, let’s ditch all our environmental laws and then we can be truly free, like China.

When Rush starts championing a cause, you just know it reeks.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Yet none of this stink seems to be sticking to Linda and her gang,"

Nor the gang of Dems that illegally tried to rewrite the law for HSF.

Joan said...

You're absolutely right. We should stick it to them, too.

Anonymous said...

Hemmings bio is pretty impressive. Other than the bullying part, he otherwise seems intelligent, talented and aggressively competitive. One can be that competitive without being a bully, though, but I can see where he might be inclined to win by stepping on and over others.

Overall, from his bio, I like him. I almost remember seeing him on Wide World of Sports way back then.

Anonymous said...

You don't achieve the levels of success in multiple diverse fields by being the "nice guy"..."oh, you go first".

He understands that there are winners and losers, and what it takes to win in various competitive arena.

The "pushing you off your board" incident was unnecessary, unless that wave was the biggest, best, not-to-be-missed wave in years. Other than that, there's always another wave.

Many people don't like hyper-competitive winners, but you can't deny his multi-faceted talents.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments. In my line of work, there are people I admire, but don't like. I'd engage their services for specific jobs, but I wouldn't become any more than an business acquaintance.

The ones I admire and do like never seem to rise to the dog-eat-dog top of their profession. Sometimes you need a dog-eat-dog kind of person.

Anonymous said...

"why didn't it structure the deal to better protect the state's interests? "

-- fair point. if they did not well so protect, call em on it


"ignoramuses keep sticking it to “environmental wackos."

-- "wacko" seems a worthless term as it describes little, but plenty of just criticisms can be directed towards kauai's vocal far left


relatively radical environmentalists are like lawyers - you can easily cite their benefits or negative impacts, depending on how you are oriented


darwin_was_pretty_smart

Anonymous said...

Hemmings is not talented, he is ruthless and authoritarian.
he had his day and it went belly up. can't salvage it so he is hoping to commander YOUR shreddinship ...starting with some more weird shock doctrine.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Sonny from Kapolei is an idiot serial adulterer who shacked up with a convicted felon and wants to preach to all of us.

Outside of some older haoles in Lanikai/Kailua and a couple of sellout Hawaiians, he is the subject of laughs at surfing, paddling and political functions.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I happen to admire ruthless and authoritarian people who rise in the ranks.

Anonymous said...

Assuming everything on his official senate resume is true, it takes more than ruthlessness and authoritarianism to achieve all that (although those 2 characteristics certainly help).

Dawson said...

"That’s the thing about living in a small place like Hawaii. Stuff sticks. ...Yet none of this stink seems to be sticking to Linda and her gang...."

Linda doesn't live in Hawaii, she's passing through, lingering just long enough to adorn her resume with bullet points like HSF. What seem like shit stains to the home folks are Badges of Honor in the leaderless mosh pit of the RNC.

And don't think she couldn't go far: a CNN Poll released yesterday showed a three-way tie in a hypothetical race for the Republican nomination in 2012.

The three are Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin.

With bruised bananas like those at the top of the tree, there's plenty of room at the bottom.

Anonymous said...

Linda Lingle was born Linda Cutter. Cutter Ford stood to benefit greatly from HSF. It was using it to shuttle cars from Oahu to Maui. One theory is that Gov. Lingle, in addition to getting irresistable props from Lehman and prominent financial types, was also excited about the financial benefit to the Cutter fam.

Anonymous said...

fred, like rush, is a blowhard. both are admired by plenty but in the end the maggots and gadflies will feast accordingly and their legacy will be but a footnote in the sorry history of imperialism.

Anonymous said...

the 1st 2 deletes were not warranted, fyi (esp the 2nd; didnt see the 3rd)

otherwise

"Linda Lingle was born Linda Cutter. Cutter Ford stood to benefit greatly from HSF. It was using it to shuttle cars from Oahu to Maui. One theory is that Gov. Lingle, in addition to getting irresistable props from Lehman and prominent financial types, was also excited about the financial benefit to the Cutter fam."

-- quite plausible. i wonder what cutter saved in just those few months vs using young bros


darwin_was_pretty_smart

Anonymous said...

I saw all 3 deletions prior to their swift removal. None were warranted based on personal attacks.

It doesn't take much criticism of this blog for the warden to enact a swift lock down. And on the verge of Tiananmen Square anniversary!

The third deleted post made a loose comparison of many musings to the general tone of most Sarah McLachlan songs...take that for what you will...

Anonymous said...

the second "wait for it..." delete was pretty funny. It was almost like a little piece of performance art. It predicted its own demise and invited the viewer to participate in anticipating the inevitable.

Anonymous said...

I know! I liked that. I actually marked the time and came back here very often too see how long it lasted.

Anonymous said...

"the second "wait for it..." delete was pretty funny. It was almost like a little piece of performance art. It predicted its own demise and invited the viewer to participate in anticipating the inevitable."

-- totally. and pls continue to comment on this blog


"It doesn't take much criticism of this blog for the warden to enact a swift lock down. And on the verge of Tiananmen Square anniversary!"

-- oh the irony!


dwps

Anonymous said...

Like when I was a kid, lighting Black Cat firecrackers. Sometimes the fuse would burn all the way down but it wouldn't explode. We were scared to approach it! Often, after as much as 15 seconds, it would go off!

Oh, the thrill of anticipation...

nowondertheyhateus said...

Fred Hemmings is definitely not one of the sharper tools in the box.
In fact, in my opinion, heʻs a pretty dull one.

Not a thinker. Why could that be?
He doesnʻt have the grey matter. Letʻs be honest now. Cut the artificial hype.
This guy should get thrown under the bus.
Just your garden variety ʻbend overʻ kind o guy. Yes and a bully.

Anonymous said...

I guess people like bend over guys for Senators, then.

Hey...I didn't vote for him. I don't vote period. I don't care who gets in or what they do. It doesn't affect me one way or another.

We're all bozos on this bus...I'm just the clown in the back observing and smiling.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of that, you know that Senators don't use book marks?

They just bend over their pages...


bada bing!!

SMelman said...

I respect a blog owner who deletes offensive posts. Joan is trying to engage folks in an intelligent discussion of important issues. Those with something to contribute appear to be welcome. Those who make comments designed to debase the discussion should have their posts deleted.

If you go into a bar and are argumentative, you will be 86'ed and the other customers will applaud the bouncer. If you walk into a classroom, church or civic meeting and are rude, you will also be asked to leave.

Blogs are private discussions and the host is entitled to ask disruptive posters to leave the discussion.

I applaud her and wish more bloggers would carefully weed their gardens.

(I say that without having read the specific posts.)

Anonymous said...

deletion per it being unpleasant to contemplate is...less than ideal or what should be easily achievable

anyways, realistically, its not like this is the NYT or WSJ anything. so "deletion" per (largely) non-conformance with certain political and world views is to be expected

still an meritorious local blog overall. am glad and appreciative its around. its a sometimes interesting insight into the mindset of the local political far left

dwps

Anonymous said...

I don't like too much manicuring.

Let's hear it for The Jungle!

Anonymous said...

You write as much sensationalist bs as you do and you have the tenacity to delete other peoples comments? seems a little contradicting to me...