crushing entrepreneurs' capital

Or, “toldyousotoldyousotoldyouso.”

For years, James Taranto quoted novelist and journalist Mark Helprin in a running gag called “Homeless Rediscovery Watch”. In that quote, the latter (correctly) predicted the media would suddenly, magically, rediscover social problems that mysteriously disappeared from 1993 to 2001. Similarly, I’d like to introduce a new segment on this blog which will highlight things I predicted on Election Night to someone very close to me, when she asked why I wasn’t happy about something so “historic” happening. She can corroborate my story, though I no doubt bored her to tears with my sermon.

Today’s thing I predicted: the Obama administration and its Democratic Congress, despite being backed by tech pundits and the venture capitalists whose investments keep the employed, will destroy the capital necessary to keep the tech revolution going. The new bill proposed by retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) will tightly regulate the financial instruments of any company it deems risky to the financial system. As the WSJ notes, that fly-by-night venture Apple Computers was once deemed too risky by state regulators:

[B]efore 1996, certain initial public offerings of stocks were subject to merit review in certain states, where the state decided if a security is a “bad” investment and thus not appropriate to be offered to its citizens. In fact, this is exactly what happened to Apple Computer when it first went public in 1980. Massachusetts prohibited the offering of Apple shares because they were “too risky,” and Apple did not even bother to offer its shares in Illinois due to strict state laws on new issues. What if federal bureaucrats had had the power to impose their judgment on a “risky” financial product (such as an IPO) on a nationwide scale, or every state followed Massachusetts’ lead? Would Apple have become the successful company that it is today?

So now we’re going to put this power in the hands of the Feds. Yeah, this is going to end well.

the dangers of burying facts

Readers of the New York Times may have noticed an article about the alarming resurgence of polio in several areas of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa; several immediately took to Facebook to complain that the US hasn’t been doing enough in the area of medical aid to less-developed nations. As ever, facts are rarely important when a good opportunity to flog ourselves comes up:

Despite more than 20 years of eradication efforts, two strains of polio have spread out from northern Nigeria and northern India — both places where many Muslims have resisted vaccines because of rumors that vaccine efforts are a Western plot to sterilize them.

Pretty sure that’s not the case, but the religious leaders in question make a very good case for selected sterilization.

mmm. . . irony

Do you like irony? Think the AP are being douche-barrels deserving to fall into oblivion with the rest of the modern newspaper industry? Then you’ll love the Obama poster kerfuffle!

The Associated Press are trying to sue LA artist Shepard Fairey for his use of an AP photo to create his vaguely cultish (and socialist realist) poster of President Obama. Farley and his lawyer, with all the facetiousness they could muster, countersued:

Fairey’s lawyers said in papers filed at a New York court Wednesday that the artist’s use of the photograph is protected by the First Amendment as well as by fair-use laws.

But the real attention-grabber was Fairey’s assertion that the AP itself violated copyright laws when it used a photo of the artist’s “Hope” poster without getting permission. In other words, he’s arguing that the AP can’t reproduce an image by Fairey that the artist himself appropriated from the AP.

The AP’s case probably has merit (Fairey certainly pushes the bounds of fair use), and Fairey’s case is clearly a sarcastic stretch being used to make a point, but I can’t help but laugh at a wire service that clearly does not get it.

thomas frank and selective naivete

Thomas Frank writes another treatise from the the “if you don’t agree with me, you’re mentally unstable” school of thought that’s so popular on the left in today’s Wall Street Journal, about the sins of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R):

communists to cuba; anarchists* to somalia (a rant)

The anarchists are back at it, with another protest at another G20 meeting. I continue to wonder: do they have any idea what anarchy is? Are they aware how unlikely the economic conditions that fattened their trust funds would have been under an anarchic system? And why are they still surprised when they’re pulverized by police? Do they think they’d fare any better under a decentralized system of warring factions?

No, they don’t think of any of these things. Perhaps one of my biggest pet peeves about the ignorance of anarchists is that, while they repeatedly call for abolishing money, they neglect to note that money is at its most basic a measure of value. I would be happy to concede that money is the root of all evil when they convince me that inches are the root of all shortness. And I would be happy to concede that security is unnecessary right after they negotiate North Korea into anarchism.

* – n.b.: I’m excepting anarcho-capitalists here. While I find the general tenets of anarcho-capitalism to be unfeasible in our lifetimes, I’ll note that its adherents almost never call for “breaking the system” by breaking people’s stuff like so many hormonal teenage vandals. Man, I hate anarcho-syndicalists.

not getting any tamer

One might wonder whether NY conservablogger Karol Sheinin is losing her snarky edge, what with her impending wedding and all. I submit this is not the case:
NY Mag:

The true legacy of Governor Eliot Spitzer is Governor David Paterson.


Actually, no, it’s getting caught with hookers.

misunderestimating obama

From tonight’s address to Congress:

But we are committed to the goal of a re-tooled, re-imagined auto industry that can compete and win. Millions of jobs depend on it. Scores of communities depend on it. And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.

The first internal combustion engine was designed in Switzerland; the modern automobile—powered by either a gasoline or diesel internal combustion engine—was invented in Germany. What, now we have to bail out their auto industries, too?

But, hey, I won’t begrudge his economically vacuous rhetoric. It’s really just an excuse to spread other people’s wealth across our fifty-seven states anyway.

tech stifling we can believe in

I hate to say I told you so, techhie and dynamist Obamaniacs, but: I told you so.

President Obama plans to appoint current Federal Trade Commission member Jon Leibowitz to lead the agency, which partially enforces antitrust laws and has taken a recent interest in online advertising.
. . .
“Industry needs to do a better job of meaningful, rigorous self-regulation, or it will certainly invite legislation by Congress and a more regulatory approach by our commission,” he said earlier this month.

In November 2007, Leibowitz suggested that Internet companies should take an “opt in” approach to cookies instead of the current “opt out” approach, a requirement that would have roiled the industry. He also suggested the idea of a “Do Not Track” list for Web surfers.

In contrast to spam, which is a hellspawn phenomenon that should die a thousand bloody deaths, cookies are what enable perfectly legitimate organizations to see if you’ve ever been on their site before, and then customize content accordingly. It’s what enables web analysts (like yours truly) to track visitor behavior and improve site traffic, and what enables Amazon to recommend products to you. Leibowitz essentially wants me to fill out thirty registration forms before I can allow a site to track my browser. (I steadfastly refuse to fill out the one that the WaPo asks me to.) Now that’s the way to help improve online innovation!

Also, buried deep in almost all articles, was this note:

Leibowitz previously worked as a lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America. Before that, he was chief counsel and staff director for a Senate antitrust subcommittee.

A former lobbyist, and for an industry organization that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age? That’s the change I was believing in!

rick santelli's capitalist rant

He’s no Jim Mora (he actually makes sense), but CNBC’s longtime man in Chicago works up the crowd at the CBOT:

(via Jeremy H)

quote of the day: israeli election edition

It’s important, the Israelis are told, not to damage Palestinian confidence in the “peace process,” though it is difficult to see how such a process, which is to peace as Velveeta is to cheese, could be further damaged by hard men who have never kept any agreement they’ve made. The Israelis are told to restrain their response to rocket attacks and drive-by shootings, since, with no West Point nor Sandhurst nor even a St. Cyr to teach military tactics and instill soldierly discipline, the Palestinians must send out women and girl children to defend men cowering at home.

–Washington Times Editor Emeritus Wesley Pruden, writing on the impact of today’s elections.

(via Karol at Alarming News)

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