by guest blogger Ken
Having goofed up on my paperwork the first time around, I had to wait longer than expected to get the final documentation, but I am now looking at an official Certificate of Filing of Lunar Library LLC.
That’s right, according to the LLC Agreement, I am now the proud Custodian of the online assets of OutoftheCradle.net, as well as the physical collection which is currently overflowing my apartment.
The goal of the business is to make money on the Moon, starting right here on Earth.
I have yet to figure out how to apply the physical assets. I still like the idea of using it as the seed for a Lunar Academy program at some university. Something that blends the UND Space Masters program, the NASA Academy, and ISU to train future Moon leaders.
I’m a bit bummed that I’m missing the NLSI Conference out at Ames. From Keith’s coverage over at NASAWatch it sounds interesting and well-attended. And hey, you know, if you’re going to apply for the position of NLSI Director you should probably go to their conferences. But I’m just a poor working stiff from the wrong side of the launch pad, with a limited number of vacation days and amount of budget to expend on the Lunar Library and space conferences. My vacation days this month are going towards working at the International Space Settlement Design Competition this next weekend down in Houston. Not in an official capacity, just NSS, but I expect to end up helping out in some way.
My big vacation is the end of October when I’m going to drive down to the big Moon conference at Cape Canaveral. Given the generally larger turnouts appearing at Moon conferences it should be a very exciting one.
Speaking of working stiff, how about that article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal? About the only thing I can say is that it was really spooky reading about the very same things I saw in that portfolio, including one file in particular that is specifically cited as an example in the article. I’m not really supposed to talk about it, so that’s all I’m going to say.
More interesting was an article a couple of pages in that talked about the increasing number of undercapitalized businesses that are heading into bankruptcy. The article cites an example that I looked at at work, so I can’t talk specifically about that one, but it does tie back in to what I’ve noted in previous posts about private equities buying up small companies with borrowed money and then dividending the borrowed money to themselves instead of investing it in the company. This was how they got around the Enron error. Instead of basing profits on a computer model, they based their profits on the money they had already sucked out of the companies, which could be allocated to the P&L as appropriate. Risk for the payment default on the borrowed money rides with the CDO holders who bought bundles of these loans packaged up and sold to get the loans off the books of the banks, who were making their money off the fees associated with making and servicing the loan (a/k/a shaving pennies). An interesting note in the article was that there are an increasing number of fraudulent transfer cases being filed in these bankruptcies. My conjecture is that they are founded at least in part on the fact that so many of these bank loans were made on ‘As-If’ appraisals being supplied by the appraisal industry. Under traditional banking theory, the money from the loans would have been used to render the ‘As-If’ business as ‘Actual’, thereby providing the increased business necessary to pay off the loan. Under modern banking theory, the plan seems to be that you get a phenomenal ‘As-If’ appraisal to get everyone to buy into the loan syndicate, and then the money goes to the guys who borrowed it in the first place to buy the company, and those guys go in periodically to exhort the employees of the newly acquired company to work harder to pay off the bank debt.
Company town? Hah! Welcome to Corporate Nation!
Some folks might try to slander me as a right or left winger. Whatever. I am less concerned about the blame so much as how we’re going to clean up this mess. It is not the fault of Bush, or Clinton, or Bush, or Reagan. It’s the fault of all of them, and all the other political enablers in Congress and elsewhere, as this mess has been developing for decades. The subprime debacle now? Look at the charts in the WSJ. These guys were honing their technique at the end of the last administration. I can remember from my earliest days as an intern at Shearson Lehman Brothers when CMOs were a bad word. This has been a long time coming, and frankly printing new money is not going to solve our problem.
If you’re trying to figure out where I’m coming from, let me just say that I defy any attempts to pigeonhole me. Politically I vote independent and consider myself a small-l libertarian, with hints of classical liberal and traditional conservativism. I’m an Aquarian, an AB bloodtype, and I’m anywhere from 6 months to five years ahead of the rest of the world. Okay, it’s been as little as two weeks, but I’m usually pretty far ahead. I don’t do polls as I don’t have a landline and they never have my answers to their questions so pollsters can’t use me anyway. You know that Bell Curve? Pick any particular thing to apply it to and I will usually be found more or less way out on one of the tails. I’m basically a pathfinder who finds new ways and then shows others how to follow.
I should be on the Moon, exploring there, but that’s clearly not going to happen for my generation unless it happens by private means. Contributing to that is part of the goal of the Lunar Library. I suppose that would technically make my company a ‘NewSpace’ company, but I’m just trying to create a groundswell of consumer interest in the Moon, because money talks. To the extent I can figure out how to divert some of that swell to the cash flows of Lunar Library LLC I will do so.
It’s so cool joining the ranks of entrepreneurial Americans.