Friday, November 28, 2008

Radio Reporter Finds an Important Error Correction

We found this tee-shirt at Better than Pants along with a few other collectibles.

Now a quick question that begs your comment.

Do you think there is to much "lame-duck" lag time between the election and the swearing in of the next U.S. President? Should the three and half month period be changed, or is it necessary for a "smooth" transition? Leave us a comment, on this blog, with your thoughts on the matter.

And, check out the inauguration count-down clock in the right column.



Once considered a bright spot on Albuquerque's economic horizon Eclipse Aviation is more than $1,000,000,000 (Yes, one billion) dollars in debt. The Albuquerque Journal reviewed the company's bankruptcy filing and in a copyright story reports that more than 5,000 people and other investment entitites are owed money. The top three creditors are owed a combined $230.6 million dollars. Eclipse's top creditor is Kings Road Investments, LTD of New York City. They're owed $92.3 million dollars. Most are excpect to loose most of their investment. Of course the New Mexico State Investment Council, which has a 2.7 percent stake in the very light jet maker stands to lose the majority of its $19 million dollar investment. That makes taxpayers the fourth largest creditors.


Eclipse Aviation could emerge from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection a stronger company, if it survives it's financial crisis. But now, the company can add an FAA director to its list of problems. The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an airworthiness directive that goes into effect in December. It limits the very light jets manufacutred in Albuquerque, to a maximum altitude of 37,000 feet, instead of the earlier maximum of 41,000 feet previously authorized. The FAA has instutted the order to address problems of carbon buildup in the enginees when flying beyond the 37,000 foot ceiling.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Remembering NM Troops Serving Overseas at Thanksgiving!

It's the time of year when we are reminded to give thanks, and we are reminded this morning that we are most thankful for the troops who have bravely served the country overseas.

Of course, New Mexicans are thankful for the many local men and women who have served in battle this year. On Monday, we talked to NM Veterans Affairs Secretary John Garcia about his legislative priorities for next year. He says he's preparing for the return of New Mexican troops who have been deployed overseas. Garcia also tells us about the collaborative efforts the state has with the Feds to ensure vets needs are met locally.

Listen to our interview here.

Millions of Americans are celebrating the annual Thanksgiving Day holiday Thursday with a traditional feast with friends and family. President George Bush is spending his last Turkey Day holiday at the Camp David presidential retreat outside of Washington, while his successor, President-elect Barack Obama is in Chicago.

The president thanked 7,500 military troops, just back from the Middle East for their service, two days ago at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. About 10,000 Fort Campbell troops have returned from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since October. But, other troops are scheduled to depart for the regions in the coming week.

Thanksgiving is even being observed in space. Today the astronauts and a cosmonaut aboard the International Space Station are marking the day. The U.S. space agency NASA says the crew of the orbiting outpost are dining today on a special freeze-dried meal of traditional foods including green beans and mushrooms, candied yams, cranapple dessert, cornbread stuffing and smoked turkey.

Earthbound citizens have lots of dinner options and most of them are not freezed dried. We found these great Paula Deen recipes featuring Honey game hens online at ABC News.

The United States has officially observed Thanksgiving since 1863, although the first Thanksgiving is believed to have taken place in 1621. UNM History Professor Ferenc Szasz talks about the founding of the national holiday of Thanksgiving by Abraham Lincoln in this interview with UNM's Senior Communication Representative Carolyn Gonzales.

We'll be off for the next few days sharing, caring and laughing with family and friends. We wish you and yours a safe and memorable Thanksgiving.

Last week we went Frozen Turkey bowling in Los Alamos with fellow blogger LP at the NMFBIHOP. Enjoy the video from our first experience with turkey bowling.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Eclipse Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy!

From a company news release:

Eclipse Aviation Seeks Court Approval for Restructuring under 363 Sale Procedures and Debtor in Possession Financing. Affiliate of ETIRC Aviation, VLJ maker's largest shareholder, announces offer to purchase Eclipse.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - November 25, 2008 - Eclipse Aviation(r), manufacturer of the world's first very light jet (VLJ), announced today that it is seeking court approval for debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing and procedures for the sale of substantially all of its assets under Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The proposed sale will enable the business to continue as an industry leader in the manufacture and sale of VLJs with lower costs and reduced debt liabilities.

Eclipse filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware this morning, simultaneously announcing an agreement for the sale of its assets for a combination of cash, equity and debt to an affiliate of ETIRC Aviation S.a.r.l., Luxembourg, subject to higher and
better offers. ETIRC Aviation, a principal driver of the VLJ industry in Europe, is currently Eclipse's largest shareholder. ETIRC Aviation's Chairman Roel Pieper has been the acting CEO of Eclipse since July 2008 and has served as Eclipse's Chairman since January 2008. The proposed sale is subject to competitive bidding through a public auction, which is expected to be completed and a sale finalized in January 2009.

"In the face of unprecedented economic challenges, it is clear that the sale of the Eclipse business through the Chapter 11 process is the right course of action to maximize the value of the business, secure its future and protect the best interests of Eclipse's stakeholders,
including customers, suppliers, employees and creditors," said Roel Pieper, CEO of Eclipse Aviation. "The successful sale will position the business for aggressive global expansion, allowing the company to fulfill its promise and solidify its position as the world's leading
manufacturer of VLJs."

Also announced today, a group of existing Eclipse shareholders and note holders will provide Eclipse with post-petition, debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing. This financing will provide Eclipse with sufficient resources to continue normal business operations through the closing of
the sale. Eclipse has filed a motion with the Court to approve the financing with a request for an expedited hearing to avoid business interruption. Once approved, this financing along with other relief requested from the Court, will position Eclipse to pay wages and salaries, honor employee benefits, service customer aircraft and continue manufacturing operations throughout the sale period.

New York-based Greenhill & Co., Inc., a leading independent investment bank with proven expertise in mergers, acquisitions and restructurings, has been retained as financial advisor to Eclipse Aviation.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Denish Prepares for Historic New Role as Governor!

Every fall for the last six years Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish has met with some, or all, of the 13 Cabinet Secretaries that make up the Children's Cabinet. The meetings, scheduled ahead of the legislative session each winter in Santa Fe, allow her to get input from each department and determine her legislative agenda.

This year is no different. Well almost no different. Everyone she meets knows she'll likely be Governor by the start of the 60-day session. Still, she's meeting with each secretary before the Thanksgiving holiday. Denish will become the state's first female governor if Governor Bill Richardson is appointed, and accepts, the post of Secretary at the U.S. Commerce Department.

Denish told reporters that she is working closely with the Gov. Richardson, and is staying in close contact with him, to work on their legislative agenda. Denish said for now there is only one governor. She also told the group that she and Richardson are well aware of budget shortfalls and are working hard to develop a balanced budget proposal.

Today, Denish met with Veteran's Affairs Secretary John Garcia at the Albuquerque's Veteran Re-Integration Service Center. Afterward she met with reporters who only had one topic in mind: the political shift that will take place after Governor Bill Richardson is named to President-elect Barack Obama's cabinet.

Lt. Gov. Denish says she believes Governor Richardson "will be a terrific addition" to the cabinet, and that she's prepared to step into the role as governor as she has so often during her six year tenure as his number two. Denish says her priority right now is to prepare for the 60-day session, and she confirmed she's considering multiple people to replace her as lieutenant governor.

Reporters asked almost every question. Thinking back on it, I wish I'd asked her how her husband Herb Denish felt about becoming the state's first man or first husband. What will we call him? Perhaps, like Alaska's Todd Palin, he'll just want to be known as "First dude," but somehow we doubt that. A reader recommends: First Gentleman.

SF Reporter Kate Nash covered the event with me. Read her post on this morning's news conference at on her SF New Mexican Blog: Green Chile Chatter.

Personal Note: So this is my first news video. It gets shakier the longer it goes because I was also holding the 770KKOB News microphone at the same time I was managing to keep the Lt. Gov. centered in the new Flip Video camera. We’ll figure it out as we go.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Patricia Madrid On Obama's Short List for Interior.

Former state Attorney General Patricia Madrid is believed to be on the short list for interior secretary.

Politico, an online web journal, reports Madrid, who was one of two woman appointed by Barack Obama' Latino Advisory Board during the fall election. Madrid was also a co-chair of the Democratic Party’s Platform Committee, is on the list with former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar.

Two New Mexicans, Bernalillo County Commissioner Deanna Archuleta and former Richardson energy advisor Ned Farquhar have been rumored to be on Obama's interior department transition team.

Governor Richardson had been on the list for the interior spot, but now appears to be the top contender to become Commerce Secretary.


The Associated Press reports it's official: Richardson to be named U.S. Commerce Secretary

The official says Obama plans to announce Richardson's selection after Thanksgiving. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the negotiations.

Richardson was energy secretary and U.N. ambassador under President Bill Clinton. Richardson would be the most visible Hispanic named to Obama's Cabinet.

Hat tips to Heath Haussaman and LP at NMFBIHOP

Photo: MG Bralley