Tuesday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Rolling up Europe (and psy-ops in general and Iraq).
  2. Ferdinand, a outraged (outrageous?) Serb and us.
  3. What the high court won’t hear (and why it matters).
  4. She’d be one who might know.
  5. China … and the US … and Taiwan.
  6. Reading Scripture the rong weigh.
  7. Ugly girls have all the fun, in which “fun” alas means not going to jail.
  8. Solyndra as VC (Venture Capitalism). You know … if you’re going to make the VC argument a VC investor typically invests in 10-20 things cutting losses intelligently banking on one of them being a home run. If you’re going to make the WH as VC argument, show us the intelligent pruning and the home runs. Otherwise stop making that claim.
  9. On the the same topic (Solyndra) the White House strategy of lie lie lie remains intact however.
  10. Slipping free.
  11. Seeking the mythical utilitarian who, erhm, isn’t a psychopath.
  12. Fast food is not cheap.
  13. Ms Clinton re-writes history for her convenience.
  14. The problem with lying when there is a clear and present paper trail.

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  1. Boonton says:

    7.Ugly girls have all the fun, in which “fun” alas means not going to jail.

    Ohhh, I’m not so sure. If she was ugly the prosecutor would have painted a picture of a girl who was jealous of her roommates good looks and, because she was ugly, would go along with any perverse thing her bf wanted to do..

    What bothers me about the Knoxx case is that it seems just so implausible. This girl decided to rape and murder her roommate but left behind no DNA other than DNA on random objects in her own apartment! This seems like the Duke rape case and the preschool child sex abuse cases from the 80’s where prosecutors who become convinced of a case develop blinders to the truth and end up ramming the case all the way through the legal system….a legal system that is supposedly designed to be biased towards defendants in order to establish guilt only ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. Even with multiple checks, there’s no guarantee you’ll find reasonable people in a system!

  2. Mark says:

    Have you ever watched episodes of Masterpiece Mystery’s “Zen” (a series set in Italy)?

  3. Mark says:

    I recommend them .. although I don’t recommend (on seeing that) ever coming in contact with the Italian police and justice system (especially as portrayed).

  4. Boonton says:

    8.Solyndra as VC (Venture Capitalism). You

    I think this is unclear about what exactly venture capital is. To start any business, you begin with an asset of some sort (money, an idea, an empty building whatever). Double sided accounting requires an entry on the other side of the ledger, the ‘credit’ side to the assets’ ‘debit’ side. There’s two broad categories of credit. Debt and Equity

    Debt – simple, you owe Bill $100. If you pay him $100 you have no obligation to him. It doesn’t matter if you make $100B off of his little loan to you. You, the company, get all the upside.

    So as far as this goes, VC (which is just equity)

    Equity – Bill gave you $100. You don’t owe him anything but he *owns* you. He has an ownership stake in you so he can cash in against your ‘upside’ or make business decisions or whatnot. The good side for you is if your business crashes, you owe Bill nothing. That’s the risk he took. If, though, you strike it rich Bill is entitled to his cut. A good film here is The Social Network which depicts how Facebook’s founder traded equity when he had no funds to buy basic stuff like web hosting….and then out manuvered those who held large equity stakes out of the picture by diluting them to almost nothing.

    So that being the facts, Solyndra is not about VC in any real sense. The gov’t guranteed a loan for them. By insuring the loan, the lender was able to offer a reasonable rate, the gov’t no doubt was set to earn a fee for doing this. Like any lender, though, there is always the ultimate downside risk that not only will the company end up with no prospects of future growth, but even the original loans won’t get paid back. But since there was no equity stake I’m aware of, you can’t call this VC in any real sense. If the company ended up as huge as GE and ten times as profitable, all of that would belong to its shareholders, not the gov’t.

    Now it is sad that the company floundered and instead of earning a fee the gov’t has to pay out. But that in itself doesn’t say much of anything. Nearly 80% of all mortgages written since the crash have had a gov’t guarantee attached to them and that’s no less corrupt. But the VC defense here works as an analogy. Why would gov’t gurantee a loan like this? Basic industrial policy. It would like to see solar energy develop rapidly and the benefits to this are partially captured in the market but also external to the market (since Mark won’t let us price carbon, we have global warming, we also have energy dependence, other environment issues, the security value of energy diversity etc.) To that end, its unknown whether or not the gurantee was a bad deal. If it gets the technology out there, then it is likely to be a good deal. Yes it would have been nice if the company that took the loan made the profits and paid off the gov’t, but hey if some other company buys the tech at fireside prices and makes millions off of it, well that works out too. The tech gets out there and the gov’t probably even gets paid back (unlike a VC, anybody who makes money pays taxes more or less….if you were a VC that bet the farm on Myspace rather than Facebook, you’d be out but the gov’t wins either way…either the founder of Myspace is paying mucho income taxes, or Facebook is…win-win).

    In fact, the Internet is a textbook example of this. The initial gov’t grants and funding were never paid back, weren’t even made with the idea of payback because it was just so implausible. But nonetheless the gov’t has been paid back for every dollar of R&D funding for the Internet millions of tmes over. GPS, collection of weather data, geological data, space program etc. all fit into that category as well.