Windows on the World of Raymond Plank
Founder, Apache Corp
Vol. 2011 No. 6



“Insanity is repeating the same mistake over and over and expecting a different outcome” so spoke Dave Flynn, whose family were neighbors and friends; David and my eldest son becoming life long friends, and I enjoying a true relationship since childhood.  David and I share love of Ontario’s magnificent Lake of the Woods and perhaps one of the world’s better fish habitats.  We also share similar political perspectives and do not deem our current president to be “clueless” as to where he would steer our ship of state.  Flynn and Plank agree that the President’s speech of September 8th to the nation and beyond is highly politicized dogma predicated on the principles of class warfare.  After the speech I browsed the commentators and their guests’ reactions. 


Since Robert Greifeld, President of the NASDAQ Stock Exchange has been a diligent acquaintance and friend of many years; I paid particularly close attention to his remarks.  He made three points, the first encouraging commentary that the content warranted the Super Committee working to achieve an appropriate outcome.  His second and third points addressed the necessity to cut costs to a point where debt reduction can only be achieved by incoming funds exceeding outgoing. 


During my tenure at Apache we had listed Apache shares for trading on the NASDAQ Exchange, continuing on the N.Y.S.E. in order there be competition to seeking the benefits in the world of rapid technological change which I recognized meant significant adaptation and market competition better to meet our shareholder interests in a liquid market characterized by narrow spreads between bid and aft prices of the objective.


Over a period of several years Bob Greifeld and several of his senior executives had become interested in our outreach program to pre K through 12 teacher sabbaticals.  The American Stock Exchange on which Apache shares were earlier listed became an important area for senior NASDAQ people’s Chicago outreach to make summer sabbaticals available to the Chicago area.  They did a marvelous job.  Fund for Teachers has a thriving partnership with broad base Chicago support. 


The above illustrates the complimentary attributes of commercial and humanitarian mutuality of commitment.  






From the President’s speech I’ve selected three headings to address within the jobs now mantra: 


1.      Rebuild schools.  The jobs now objective of rebuilding schools is subject to a time lag which should encompass the demographics of the present anticipated population to be served by any school and the engineering phase prior to job ramp up in the construction phase.  Rebuilding schools are different from highways, the building of which together with its bridges are done on a path worn down by 18 wheelers, heating and cracking based on seasonal temperature change etc… Even there, ramping up a program in excess of the work that may have already been planned for 2012 is a challenge to instant job creation unless the government continues to throw money in the air and will employ more government bureaucrats to participate in an Easter egg hunt.  “Pass my bill now” referenced 10 times in the speech like dealing with the issue of Obamacare, it came down to an excess of an 1100 page bill which few of the representatives of house and senate had the opportunity to study before voting.  Consequence: before going on the next forced march, Congress is still reeling whether to throw out health legislation or to start over.  I spent two hours reading the massive missile finding enough examples in that period to rev my disgust to fever pitch.  To me there was more problem creation in what I was able to understand than basis to advance an appropriate cause.  The two interests to be served are those of knowledgeable doctors and their patients, the rest are important supernumeraries, which above all need not include, a degree of lobbying self interests and political hack potentially conflicting behavior. 


2.      Simplify the tax code was called for.  Good idea; it comprises over 70,000 pages of bullshit which should indeed be flushed out.  But to waive one’s gums absent the teeth to chew into a monster project is despicable demagoguery. 


3.      Attacking the banks, or force-feeding unionism beyond public workers and workers.  In woodpeckering the world’s largest industry, oil & gas, probably also the largest direct and indirect job provider, is vile.  Invite us to a party and serve dung from either or both sides of the political isle.


To endure another year of this kind of electioneering is like tying dog shock collars around our necks and insulting our brains.  Running from the challenge is the worst offense.  The time is overdue to work within groups on specific issues in parallel to the gridlocked political process over the next 14 months.  Weigh-in on the details before participating beyond the level of spectator to the decline and fall of both values and The Constitution. 


Raymond Plank