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United States Government Files for Chapter 11 Protection

From captainsblog at http://www.livejournal.com/users/captainsblog/202417.html

I guess it's true EVERYBODY's doing it....

United States Government Files for Chapter 11 Protection

NEW YORK (AP)-- Joining the steady parade of major corporate filers seeking to beat the changes in business bankruptcy law effective October 17, the United States government filed its own Chapter 11 petition today in United States Bankruptcy Court here.

Analysts had noted major upcoming restrictions in the new law on corporations being able to pay large salaries and offer "retention bonuses" to their own executives. The removal of these incentives resulted in a rush of CEOs, similar to the one among consumers, to "get in before the deadline" to protect their lavish packages, including those of several major manufacturers, two airlines and that of Delphi Automotive earlier in the day yesterday.

The debtor-in-possession's official spokesman, presidential press secretary Scott McClellan, said his company's directors "wished to act swiftly to ensure their ability to retain the awesome talent we have running the people's business." First-day proposed orders filed with the petition included requests to pay an immediate $1.0 billion retention bonus to CEO George W. Bush to induce him to remain at the helm until "his mission is accomplished."

The petition estimated 3.8 trillion dollars in assets but close to 8 trillion in debts. Full details were expected to be filed later, but the "List of 20 Largest Unsecured Creditors," required to be filed with the petition, included such entities as Rush Limbaugh's EIB Network (a several-billion dollar claim for "advertising"), several oil companies along with former Enron executive Kenneth Lay (each with multi-million dollar claims for "consulting services- energy policy") and Haliburton, Inc. (listed as "at least a gagillion" for "no-bid contracts, some of which we haven't not bid yet"). But the number one claim on the list was that of "Social Security recipients, their children and grandchildren" which was listed merely as "big and getting bigger."

Secretary of State Condoleeeza Rice hand-carried the petition and other initial documents to the Bowling Green courthouse at the foot of Broadway at 6:35 Saturday evening. "Whew, that's done," she was quoted as saying. "Now I still have time to take in a show!"

The filing did pose serious logisitical problems for the judges and staff members of this court, who are bound by federal statute and rules of ethics not to have unilateral contacts with, or frequent the businesses of, any companies filing petitions with their court. Faced with the conundrum of the court itself being just such a business, acting Clerk Rodney B. Early announced that neither he nor any of the members of any chambers or clerks' staff would be able to enter the building until the ethical conflict had been resolved.

Other governmental entities seized on the opportunity to land this lucrative piece of journalistic tourism business. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a joint venture with Silvercup Studios to build sets at its famed Long Island City backlot which would exactly duplicate the courtrooms, chambers and other facilities of the Bowling Green courthouse. "We're kinda bored out here anyway until The Sopranos finally goes back into production," said studio head Fabrica Cabeza.

Government officials also considered ways of transferring the case to another U.S. Bankruptcy Court to reduce at least the appearance of impropriety. The leading contender appeared to be the little used federal court for the District of Guam. "We're not a state," said court clerk Mary L.M. Moran. "Heck, at this point we don't even have a building for a bankruptcy court so we can put it in a hut or something. That shouldn't get anyone's nose out of joint." Tourism officials joined in the effort and announced a special promotion with Oceanic Airways to fly the government's CEO and other necessary witnesses for court hearings from Washington to Hagåtña on its daily 8:15 a.m. flight.

Still another movement considered it an unresolvable conflict requiring venue to be transferred completely outside the U.S. government's own court system. "We're here, eh?" said Mr. Justice Ronald MacLean of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List). "We've been handling bankruptcies for years under our own laws, which of course are neater, kinder and more polite than yours. Yet we think if necessary we could apply the precepts of your oon statute to your oon case if someone like Irv Weinstein would come on the air and explain to us what they are. Oh, but no more of this coming in with papers on Saturday nights, eh? We're busy."

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