The days are stretching, especially on the evening end, which I noticed when I was at the beach yesterday and it was still quite light at 6 p.m. The wind was blowing and the air was chill, but the water was not.
Ran into a friend of mine there, and as the albatross and iwa drifted on the air currents overhead, we chatted about healing prayers, extraterrestrials, his new I-phone (the first time I’d seen one) and the Superferry.
I got two calls on the latter subject yesterday, one from a man in the San Francisco Bay Area who has been following the story, and by his reckoning, the company’s $6.5 million escrow fund should be exhausted by now.
As he figured it, Hawaii Superferry has to pay $4 million in interest only payments annually and another $2.3 million to the state in harbor fees. And that doesn’t cover advertising or operating expenses during start up. So since they aren’t making any money with their tiny passenger loads and days stuck in the harbor, that fund should be pau already.
The other call came from a friend who was recollecting how HSF, when pressing for the quick go-ahead at the special session, kept threatening to take the boat elsewhere, saying they couldn’t hang around for more than six or eight weeks, with no revenue coming in and costs of $650,000 a week even while idled at the dock.
Yet here the boat is, still around, well beyond that six or eight weeks, even though it’s barely bringing in any revenue and its expenses, now that the fuel costs of running to Maui — when it’s not idled by rough seas or repairs — are added in, have got to be more than $650,000 a week.
As my friend at the beach noted, the company’s business plan has never made sense.
Still HSF officials say they’re in it for the long haul, with strong backing from their investors. I wonder. The only entities I know with such deep pockets and a willingness to throw good money after bad are governments.
Speaking of governments, LightLine today distributed an AP article about a federal judge’s ruling that President Bush cannot exempt the Navy from earlier court rulings limiting its use of sonar that may harm whales.
While the sonar issue is being legally challenged in California, it has implications for Hawaii, where the Navy likes to use sonar during its training exercises.
Those exercises are just some of the expenses covered under Bush’s new $515 billion military budget.
However, the figure does not include supplemental funding for nuclear weapons or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has already topped $600 billion, Democracy Now! reports. "The Pentagon budget proposal marks a seven-percent increase over last year and the 11th consecutive year it’s gone up. It comes just days after the Bush administration announced plans to seek deep cuts to Medicare and a freeze on new Medicaid spending. Overall the White House is trying to slash $208 billion from federal health programs over the next five years. The Bush administration has increased military spending by 30% since taking office.”
Even though he's poured billions into military spending, Bush has actually made the world less safe, not more. And yet he's asking Congress to keep joining him in this folly, at the expense of health care and other social problems.
It doesn't add up — unless you're a defense contractor.