Today’s article will cover two events. To me they were the biggest outrages of the week just ended (and that’s a pretty high bar to clear). Let’s explore.
The more complex story centers on Kodak. Being a baby boomer I grew up in an America where the adults were obsessed with taking pictures to memorialize seemingly everything and Kodak’s products were the gold standard, at least for the working and middle classes. As fate would have it I grew up in suburban Buffalo, New York which was a short ride westbound on the New York State Thruway from Rochester, New York which is synonymous with Kodak and its world headquarters. While smaller than Buffalo – and in the opinion of most people more sophisticated – it was far from a third world developing country even back in the 1950s.
Last week word leaked of a proposed $765 million loan to Kodak from the U.S. Development Financial Corporation. Basically that little known agency is run by Jared Kushner and his former college roommate Adam Boehler and was set up to lend to projects in developing countries. Boehler is a native of Albany, New York (a little over 3 hours’ drive east of Rochester) and it is impossible to believe that he was totally ignorant of Rochester being a city, not a third world country. So this agency giving Kodak a loan commitment seems outside their purview from the start.
At this point credible reporting has not uncovered any hanky panky involving Kushner or Boehler but I find it interesting that almost every time a Trump administration deal fails to pass the smell test Kushner is involved. Not for the first time I invoke Nance’s Law: coincidence takes a lot of planning.
The deal between Kodak and the Trump administration (White House Economic Advisor Peter Navarro was also involved in the negotiations) calls for Kodak to produce pharmaceutical chemicals. Admittedly in order to be a photography giant you have to possess significant chemical expertise. I think calling Kodak a pharmaceutical company is a serious stretch. I was a pretty good basketball coach but hiring me to coach lacrosse would be silly! It’s coaching but basketball and lacrosse are two very different games. I honestly think I could come out of retirement and still put a pretty decent basketball team on the floor; I don’t even know how many players each side has in lacrosse.
Now we come to the Kodak side of the equation. Several media outlets have done a good job of reporting the known facts to date but I’ll give you the nickel version. In recent years Kodak has been but a shell of what it once was. Many facilities were effectively mothballed and before this situation its stock was trading at $2. In coordination with leaks of the loan commitment several Kodak executives and directors received stock options. With the leaks a feeding frenzy went on in the stock market and the shares reached $60. Insiders sold at huge profits and in some cases we cannot determine the total of transactions because those individuals fell below the 5% ownership SEC reporting level. In one case a considerable charitable donation was the way one person got under the 5%.
As I’ve stated from its inception, tellthetruthonthem.com is a political opinion site, not a news agency. Many organizations have done a good job in reporting the facts; in my opinion Stephanie Ruhle and Jonathan Allen’s for NBC is the most informative.
Now let’s shift from the manufacturing end of photography to a photograph and considerably south to Paulding County, Georgia. Last week a photograph of a high school hallway crowded with student, few wearing masks, went viral. The initial action taken by school administrator(s) was very Trumpian. Instead of addressing the life threatening problem they ascertained who the “leakers” were and suspended them from school for five days for violating the school’s social media policy. So let me get this straight; allowing, if not condoning, a situation where people could die is fine but taking a picture of it is a problem.
I guess this is another case where sunshine is the best disinfectant; reports are that following the publicity the suspensions have been lifted. Of course that still did nothing to eliminate the threat to the student’s lives and the lives of all they come in contact with. I do have a suggestion for the Paulding County Board of Education and it is to reassign the administrator(s) responsible for the suspension to duties more in line with their critical thinking ability like say turning on the automatic sprinklers on the athletic fields and school grounds.
Is it any wonder that under Donald Trump’s “leadership” America is by far doing the worst job of any advanced country in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic?
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