Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Fox Guarding the Hen House....

One of my loyal readers--perhaps the only one--has recently complained about my not getting irate about something recently, so I promised that I would. I read the recent news online, and found this little article labeled "U.S. management-led buyouts soar." If that's not something to get your blood boiling, nothing will!

In a nutshell, what happens is that the management of a publicly traded company decides to take the company "private"--which means they own the company and you do not. Let's take a made-up example to make this clear.

The management of a company named Fuku decides that the stock is dirt cheap at $10. Too cheap, in fact. It really should be much higher--perhaps $20/share. Rather than wait for people to wake up and notice this absurdly low price, they offer to buy it themselves for $15/share. The shareholders, allegedly, are happy since they've just nabbed themselves a 50% profit overnight. The management is happy because they just screwed you out of $5 per share!

If there's one thing that management cares more about than shareholders--and remember, their job is to please and answer to YOU above all else--it's themselves. It should be absolutely criminal to allow management to act as both the seller of a publicly traded company and the buyer of the same company. Talk about major conflicts of interest!

All publicly traded companies trade over and below their true value for extended periods of time. When they trade below their intrinsic value, the management should be purchasing shares and retiring them to improve the fortunes of the shareholders. When shares trade above their real value, management should THEN start looking to sell shares to any idiot that would buy overpriced shares.

It's good business. And a CEO that wants to sell out the company out from under you when it's underpriced? That's a CEO that needs to get the boot. Any board members who support such an action should likewise get the boot.

Never, EVER sell out to insiders! They know more about the company than you do, and they're only going to buy when they know they can screw you out of money that's rightfully yours to begin with. Just say no to management-led buyouts! Then boot the management out of office. You can do better than that.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Real Problems in Society....

Did you hear? If not, you were probably dead or maybe vacationing in Guatemala, but Mel Gibson was caught drinking and driving and alas, verbally abused the Jewish people of the world while getting arrested. It's a big scandal. People of all religions were shocked and horrified. Many are ready to boycott his movies.

Did I miss something here? Since when has verbally bashing Jews been a bigger crime than drinking and driving!!! Mel Gibson could have run over a pedestrian, ran into a bus full of school children, or drove over the side of a cliff onto a bunch of beach hippies. Nobody cares about that, though. No, nobody seems surprised or concerned that he felt he could drink and drive and risk not only his own life but the people around him.

No, because he had a few bad words to say about Jews, he's off the hook for drinking and driving. It's the anti-Semite defense.

"You killed your wife, three children, and the pet dog. What do you have to say for yourself?"

"It's those damn Jews! It's all their fault! They're the cause of all the world's wars and problems!"

"Well, shoot, that's just wrong. We're going to boycott your movies! So there! You can go home now."

Now don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Jews myself. In fact, my first girlfriend was Jewish, and although it did not work out between us, her religion was the least of our problems. My thought it is that drinking and driving is a far more dangerous, far more disturbing problem than a few bad words against Jews. This should be a time to educate the masses about the dangers of drinking and driving. This should be a time to remind people that even famous movie stars are expected to follow common sense and respect the safety of others.

But no, sadly, it's just turned into an opportunity that a small minority in this country can use to educate the masses on their problems. I can't blame them for that--they're actually pretty smart doing this. Grab attention for their woes when they can. I only wish Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the police, and the news media would focus on the bigger crime--the one that could very well have ended in death.