Mother’s Cookies- A Victim Of the Times

I really liked those frosted animal cookies.

(10-08) 17:21 PDT — Mother’s Cookies, an Oakland institution for 92 years, has been shuttered, its owner seeking bankruptcy protection for the company.

The ending was abrupt: Workers for the company, which shifted its baking and distribution operations to plants in Ohio and Canada in 2006, told workers Friday that operations would cease and cookies would no longer be made as of Monday.

The company cited rising prices for raw materials and fuel, and on Monday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

The company that made Mother’s cookies at the end was the Archway & Mother’s Cake and Cookie Co. of Battle Creek, Mich. It was owned by Catterton Partners, a private-equity firm in Greenwich, Conn., which in 2005 purchased it from an Italian firm, Parmalat Finanziaria,
which was plagued by scandals at home.

In 2006, Mother’s Cake & Cookie Co. was uprooted from its plant on 81st Avenue in Oakland and relocated. About 230 employees lost their jobs.

According to industry lore, the company was founded in 1914 by a newspaper vendor, N.M. Wheatley, as a one-person shop. It expanded and moved to the 81st Avenue location in 1949.

Mother’s later had a series of corporate owners: a Belgian company, Artal B.V., bought it in 1991; it was owned by Specialty Foods Corp. of Illinois in the late 1990s; in 2000, Specialty sold Mother’s and Archway Cookies to Parmalat, which in turn sold the combined business to Catterton for an undisclosed sum.”

Crossposted here.

Bailout Fails- Partisan Politics While Rome is Burning

I think that my head is about to explode. A few minutes of reading about how bad the economy is and how both parties are blaming each other and my head will look it was hit with an axe.

It is absolutely mind boggling to read anything other than we are all working together to fix the economy and to restore confidence. I don’t want to hear another ^&Y%&$^&UY$ word from any of the jackasses in office that doesn’t address how everyone is working together. Forgive me for being crude, you all need to shut the fuck up and work.

This is not the time to point fingers and engage in the blame game. I don’t care who drove the car into the wall or sailed into the iceberg. That moment has come and gone and now we are stuck dealing with the aftermath.

I never considered myself to be a wealthy man, but I always figured that if I could hang on and keep adding a little bit to my portfolio eventually I’d be able to retire. Fortunately I am not interested in trying to do so anytime soon because at the moment my investments are not even worth mentioning.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Stocks skidded Monday afternoon, with the Dow’s
nearly 778-point drop being the worst single-day point loss ever, after the House rejected the government’s $700 billion bank bailout plan.

Stocks tumbled ahead of the vote and the selling accelerated on fears that Congress would not be able come up with a fix for nearly frozen credit markets. The frozen markets mean banks are hoarding cash, making it difficult for businesses and individuals to get much-needed loans.

According to preliminary tallies, the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU)
lost 777.68, surpassing the 684.81 loss on Sept. 17, 2001 – the first trading day after the September 11 attacks. However the 7% decline does not rank among the top 10 percentage declines.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 (SPX) index was down 8.7% and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) 9.1%.

“The stock market was definitely taken by surprise,” said Drew Kanaly, chairman and CEO of Kanaly Trust Company, referring to the House vote. “If you watched the news stream over the weekend, it seemed like it was a done deal. But the money is being held hostage to the political process.”

Crossposted here.

Goodbye Washington Mutual

My grandparents told me many stories about what their lives were like during The Depression and how lucky my siblings and I were not to have to worry about living through such a time. I always enjoyed listening to their stories about their childhood and can remember being really impressed at how they overcame hardship.

Sometimes I wondered what it was like to live like that. It piqued my curiosity, but it would be an exaggeration to say that I really wanted to find out. It is like so many other questions people ask themselves, “what would I do if I witnessed a bank robbery. Would I try and be the hero or would I freeze?”

Most of the time the honest answer is that you do not want to know. On the anniversary of 9-11 a friend looked at me and said that he was confident that we would have fought the hijackers. I think that I would have. If my family was threatened I haven’t any doubt that I would hesitate to maim, disable and or kill the person(s) who were doing it. But I never want to find out. I am ok not knowing the answer.

So it was with much anger that I read about Washington Mutual.

“NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — JPMorgan Chase acquired the banking assets of Washington Mutual late Thursday after the troubled thrift was seized by federal regulators, marking the biggest bank failure in the nation’s history and the latest stunning twist in the ongoing credit crisis.

Under the deal, JPMorgan Chase will acquire all the banking operations of WaMu, including $307 billion in assets and $188 billion in deposits.

In exchange, JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) will pay approximately $1.9 billion to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Separately, JPMorgan announced plans to raise $8 billion in additional capital through the sale of stock as part of the deal.”

Until this afternoon Wamu was my bank, not to mention that I had their stock in my retirement savings. It wasn’t a huge investment, but that is not the point. Part of the reason that I held their shares was that because I believed that it was a safe investment that would help me maintain a diversified portfolio.

Look, I am 39 years-old and have young children, I am not planning on retiring anytime soon. But that doesn’t change the fact that I feel like some really stupid people robbed me of my hard earned cash.

As I watch these institutions crumble around me, as I listen to commentators discuss how the government is going to bail us all out, and try to save the country from economic ruin I just shake my head.

I understand risk. By nature I am a gambler. I have always been willing to take risks on various enterprises. Sometimes I roll snake eyes and have to make do, but other times I win. Still, I don’t gamble on everything. There are somethings that I am very conservative about. There are areas in which I don’t screw around. That is why I didn’t pull all my eggs in one basket.

But what ticks me off more than anything else about all of this is knowing how there are executives who failed miserably but are receiving incredibly large sums of money for their failure. There are compensation packages that pay far too much to people who screwed others.

Life isn’t fair and it never will be. But that doesn’t make it any less bitter to lose the money. It doesn’t ease the sting of knowing how all of my hard work was for nothing.

I am bitter and angry. I’ll recover. I’ll find a way to get back on my feet. I always do. I’ll find a way to make it all work because I do. But I won’t forget this.

Like I said, I have been curious what life was like during The Depression, but I never wanted to know. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect to be living on the street. I am not concerned about being able to feed my children, but it is going to be rough around the Shack for a while.

It is one thing to accept that because I did something. It is one thing to accept because of the choices I made, it is quite another to be forced to because some jackasses couldn’t pull their heads out of their collective asses long enough to see that they were driving the bus off the cliff.