Posts Tagged: next


11
Oct 10

Column: Where to find the next Facebook

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“The idea of the lone genius who has the eureka moment where they suddenly get a great idea that changes the world is not just the exception, but almost nonexistent,” says Steven Johnson, author of “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation.” That’s because innovation, whatever the Facebook movie told you, isn’t really about individuals. And in making it about individuals, we misunderstand, and thus impede, innovation.

I was not born physically or mentally superior to my grandparents. But I would have been much likelier to invent Facebook than they were. The natural capabilities of human beings don’t change much from year to year, but their environments do, and so do the technology and store of knowledge they can access. Better sanitation lets people live in cities, where they can learn from one another. Transportation and communication advances allow ideas to mingle across distances that, a thousand years ago, they would never have traversed. The development of the Internet makes the coding of social networks possible.

When these advances happen, they happen to many people simultaneously, so many people tend to see the next step forward at the same time. In 2003, we were all social network geniuses, at least compared with everyone in 1993.

Consider CU Community, a Facebook competitor started at Columbia University. Adam Goldberg, its creator, programmed his social network over the summer in 2003. It was more advanced than Facebook, with options for pictures and integrated blogging software, though it did lack the elegant minimalism of Zuckerberg’s design. (Disclosure: Washington Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham is on Facebook’s board, and The Post markets itself on Facebook.)

Today, Zuckerberg is many times as rich as Goldberg. He won. Zuckerberg’s dominance can be attributed partly to the clean interface of his site, partly to the cachet of the Harvard name and partly to luck. But the difference between Mark Zuckerberg and Adam Goldberg was very small, while the difference between what Mark Zuckerberg could do and what the smartest college kid in 1999 could do was huge. It was the commons supporting them both that really mattered. But the focus on individuals leads us to overinvest in the rewards for individual innovation and underinvest in the intellectual commons that make those innovations possible. We’re investing, in other words, in the difference between Zuckerberg and Goldberg rather than the advances that brought them into competition.

Consider the current debates in Congress. Republicans are fighting to add $ 700 billion to the deficit to extend the Bush tax cuts for income above $ 250,000. It is hard to imagine the innovations that happen at a 35 percent tax rate for your two-hundred-thousand-and-fifty-first dollar, but not at 39 percent. We’re also helping creators and their heirs hold legal monopolies on innovations for much longer, extending individual copyrights to the life of the author plus 70 years, for instance. Would we lose so many great ideas if the monopoly lasted only until 15 years after the inventor’s death?

At the same time, the recession has broken the back of state budgets. California is gutting its flagship system of universities. Salaries are dropping, and research money is drying up. And California is not alone. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 43 states have cut funding for higher education, while 33 others — plus the District of Columbia — have hacked away at K-12. And Congress seems to have given up on the energy and climate bill that could’ve kick-started our green energy industry — even as China has committed almost a trillion dollars in green energy funding over the next decade.

And let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that public investments don’t matter. Direct public investment was crucial for developing a national railroad system, planes and semiconductors. It was behind the Internet and the Global Positioning System. It was behind the educated populace that developed those innovations.

Nor should we be overly sanguine about the private sector’s interest in innovation. The average company spends 2.6 percent of its budget on research and development, and a National Science Foundation survey found that only 9 percent of companies reported a product innovation between 2006 and 2008. “You can’t be an innovative economy if only 9 percent of your companies are innovating,” economist Michael Mandel wrote.

People have many incentives to innovate. They love what they’re doing. They’re competing with others. They want to make money. They want, as Zuckerberg does in the film, to “make something cool.” And they should be richly rewarded for their successes.

But there really isn’t a replacement for public investment, and good rules. You need a good education system. You need intellectual-property rules that ensure space for new ideas and uses. You need a tax code that encourages research and development spending. You need, in other words, to furnish people with an environment in which innovation can take place.

We need to think harder about whether we want to spend our limited dollars on the vision of innovation in the Facebook movie or the reality of innovation behind Facebook.

Photo credit: Paul Sakuma/Associated Press







Ezra Klein


11
Oct 10

Welcome to the Next NewsBusters

We're finally here. Welcome to the new NewsBusters site design! Please have a look around and tell us your thoughts. There are still a few bugs to be worked out and we'll be squishing them like crazy so please post any you may see in this blog post. Credit for the design of our fancy new digs goes to NB member mrshy, aka Michael Miller who worked with us to come up with this new look.

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NewsBusters.org – Exposing Liberal Media Bias


8
Oct 10

Gingrich: 2010 the next 1932

(CNN) – Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is raising the bar for Republicans, predicting they win enough seats in the midterm elections to take control of the House, and then some.

“I’m going to predict that we are probably going to be over 60 seat pick up and it will be historic,” Gingrich said on Fox News. “It will be the largest pick up since 1932.”

Gingrich said a high unemployment rate and the number of people on food stamps will contribute to a landslide in November. To become the majority party in the House, Republicans need to net 39 seats.

The comments come as Gingrich mulls a presidential bid, in a season where he has received national criticism for comments on race and religion.


CNN Political Ticker


8
Oct 10

How The GOP Could Gain Senate Seats Before Next Year

There are currently six appointed members of the Senate, and as Congress returns for a lame duck session in November, there is a question of when their terms expire. If Republicans pick up any of these seats in this year, it could change the partisan composition of the Senate before the next Congress convenes.

It’s a very complicated issue. Federal law trumps state law on these matters and the Senate also has its say, according to former Senate Parliamentarian Robert Dove, who is now a public policy specialist with Patton Boggs. Once the election of the new senator is certified, the governor signs the certificate, and the newly elected senator must appear on the Senate floor to present these credentials.

This would be a straight-forward exercise if not for the lame duck session. It will be a particularly tricky issue for three of the six new Senators who are being elected to full six-year terms and the question of when they can be seated becomes one of timing – and politics. Only Illinois has addressed the issue by putting the Senate race on the ballot twice; once for the full term and again for the remainder of this Congress. Colorado and Florida have not made such provisions.

Hotline On Call


7
Oct 10

Obama: GOP victory would mean “hand-to-hand combat” in Congress next year

It’s on.


First Biden’s fantasizing about strangling people, now The One’s ready to affix bayonets. I wonder: Is this the pressure of looming electoral catastrophe getting to them? Or is this just … Rahm’s influence? A Republican majority in Congress would mean “hand-to-hand combat” on Capitol Hill for the next two years, threatening policies Democrats have enacted […]

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Hot Air » Top Picks


6
Oct 10

Sarah Palin – the Next Margaret Thatcher?

Margaret Thatcher nearly singlehandedly restored Britain from its cradle-to-grave welfare state to a thriving economy.  She believed that the socialism of her day was incompatible with the strong, productive, self-reliant, moral citizens she wanted the British people to be, and that freedom (economic and personal) was the only solution.  Her conservatism was a moral stance, not a technocratic one.

Our latest guest, author and journalist Claire Berlinski, talks about the Iron Lady, why she matters and what she stood for.  She suggests that were Thatcher and President Obama to meet, the former Prime Minister would “eat him for lunch.”  Even more surprisingly, Berlinski takes offense to the notion that Sarah Palin might be compared to Thatcher.  What are their similarities? “Sarah Palin is a woman; she’s from a small town; she’s a conservative.  The comparison ends there.”

Berlinski goes on to discuss her past 6 years living in Istanbul, moderate Muslims and moderate Islam, and why Americans should be paying more attention to Turkey.

Watch the full episode below:

Follow @UncKnowledge on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


Big Government


6
Oct 10

Sarah Palin – the Next Margaret Thatcher?

Margaret Thatcher nearly singlehandedly restored Britain from its cradle-to-grave welfare state to a thriving economy.  She believed that the socialism of her day was incompatible with the strong, productive, self-reliant, moral citizens she wanted the British people to be, and that freedom (economic and personal) was the only solution.  Her conservatism was a moral stance, not a technocratic one.

Our latest guest, author and journalist Claire Berlinski, talks about the Iron Lady, why she matters and what she stood for.  She suggests that were Thatcher and President Obama to meet, the former Prime Minister would “eat him for lunch.”  Even more surprisingly, Berlinski takes offense to the notion that Sarah Palin might be compared to Thatcher.  What are their similarities? “Sarah Palin is a woman; she’s from a small town; she’s a conservative.  The comparison ends there.”

Berlinski goes on to discuss her past 6 years living in Istanbul, moderate Muslims and moderate Islam, and why Americans should be paying more attention to Turkey.

Watch the full episode below:

Follow @UncKnowledge on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


Big Government


6
Oct 10

Goldman Sachs: Economy may be “fairly bad” next 6-9 months

And that’s the good news.


The American economy may be “fairly bad” for the next six to nine months, says Goldman Sachs, and that may be the best-case scenario.  The other option is “very bad.”  GS says that the chances of another outright recession are still low but cannot be discounted: “We see two main scenarios,” analysts led by Jan Hatzius, […]

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Hot Air » Top Picks


6
Oct 10

Rachel Maddow Alleges GOP ‘Money Laundering’ One Night, Hosts Alleged Money-Laundering Democrat the Next

Next up on The Rachel Maddow Show, human traffickers decry the suffering they witness in human trafficking …

At the rate she’s going, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is on track to earn an Emmy for best cable comedy * (* — unintentional category).

On Sept. 30, the ever-excitable Maddow spoke with Congressman Pete DeFazio, 12-term paleo-Democrat from Oregon, about an organization called Concerned Taxpayers of America spending $ 160,000 in television ads criticizing DeFazio.

The segment featured footage of DeFazio appearing at the organization’s address on Capitol Hill, Washington Post videographer along for the ride, in DeFazio’s attempt to learn more about the group.

Maddow indignantly described how Concerned Taxpayers of America, based on its September filing with the FEC, appears little more than a front for unidentified opponents of DeFazio to run ads against him.  

The FEC filing, Maddow said, was submitted by the group’s treasurer, Jason Miller, "a long-time Republican congressional staffer" now working for Jamestown Associates, a Republican lobbying firm.

"That is who is running Concerned Taxpayers of America," Maddow said (the segment can be seen in its entirety here). "So, you know, take the Concerned Taxpayers at their word. Maybe they are an organization designed to engage regular citizens, designed to engage people of all walks of life. But it doesn’t really seem like that. It seems like the Concerned Taxpayers of America is basically just a piece of paper, filed at the FEC. Somebody filed that piece of paper at the FEC 29 days ago and now $ 160,000 from Lord knows where is being spent to get rid of Pete DeFazio, totally bigfooting all other spending in that race. And nobody is allowed to know who’s behind it until the damage is already done."

"That’s the way that politics works now," Maddow lamented (first part of embedded video starts here). "It’s not news that corporations and rich people try to get their way in politics. We’ve talked a lot, even just this year, about corporations and billionaires funding fake grassroots groups like Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, right? But at least those organization do stuff. They, for example, take David Koch’s oil and chemical industry fortune money, and they buy hot air balloons and they fly hot air balloons around the country talking about how global warming is a bunch of hot air. Whatever you think about that, at least they are doing something."

"But this year," Maddow added, "in 2010, in these elections for the first time, nobody is pretending that these ‘organizations’, these groups, are doing anything but laundering money. … You can just launder your money through a fake organization that you have some Republican lobbyist set up in five minutes at GoDaddy.com. … Money laundering — money laundering on a grand scale, money laundering, that’s what it is, to take over the Congress of the United States of America, there is no ceiling on what you can spend."

It was with no apparent irony that one of Maddow’s guests the following night was veteran Democratic operative (though never identified as such) Craig Varoga, who appears to have toiled as a launderer himself. 

Maddow introduced Varoga as president of Patriot Majority PAC, a political action committee that created an ad criticizing GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s staunch opposition to abortion. Maddow asked Varoga about his organization’s background and sources of funding, leading to this evasive, stutterstep of a response from Varoga (second part of embedded video, starting at 1:38) –

MADDOW: Craig, tell me a little bit about Patriot Majority. What is your group? How long have you been around? Who funds you?

VAROGA: Uh, Patriot Majority’s been around since 2005. We were here before the Tea Party, we’ll be here after it, and we’ll be here after this election. Uh, we’re funded by, you know, I mean, individuals all across the country, uh, you know, our website, you know, we seek individual contributions. Uh, you know, and we’re funded by people who think that, you know, we need to, you know, draw a line in the sand and fight these radicals, you know, who are actually, you know, you know, trying to, uh, you know, undo the progress that we’ve made as a country.

Guess it was too much for Varoga to respond with a straightforward answer along the lines of — we’re funded mainly by labor unions. This ran the risk of, uh, you know, candor.

But as shown at CampaignMoney.com, the vast bulk of Patriot Majority’s funding — at least 77 percent of the $ 11.2 million it has received since 2005 — has come from unions. More than half that amount, $ 6.3 million, has been donated in the last two years alone from a single contributor — the American Federation of State, Federal, County and Municipal Employees. As in, taxpayer-funded AFSCME.

Not that you’d learn this from Patriot Majority’s Web site, which reflects Varoga’s opacity. It’s "About" page, for example, makes no mention of Varoga or anyone else in the PAC. Another link, "Issues," consists of a blog roll that dutifully includes numerous conservative sites, such as Michelle Malkin and Drudge. This noble attempt to appear bipartisan quickly dissolves after a visit to the site’s "News and Events" link — which lists stories and blog posts critical of Republicans and flattering toward Democrats. And you’ll search in vain for information on the PAC’s funding, except for this curiously thin gruel

Varoga was one of two Democratic operatives behind the TheTeaPartyIsOver.org Web site, described in a Fox News story last February –

Here’s how it works: What appears like a local groundswell is in fact the creation of two men — Craig Varoga and George Rakis, Democratic Party strategists who have set up a number of so-called 527 groups, the non-profit election organizations that hammer on contentious issues (think Swift Boats, for example).

Varoga and Rakis keep a central mailing address in Washington, pulling in soft money contributions from unions and other well-padded sources to engage in what amounts to a legal laundering system. The money — tens of millions of dollars — gets circulated around to different states by the 527s, which pay for TV ads, Internet campaigns and lobbyist salaries, all while keeping the hands of the unions clean — for the most part.

The system helps hide the true sources of funding, giving the appearance of locally bred opposition in states from Oklahoma to New Jersey, or in the case of the Tea Party Web site, in Illinois.

And this whitewash is entirely legal, say election law experts, who told FoxNews.com that this arrrangment (is) more or less the norm in Washington.

… a legal status apparently also extending to Concerned Taxpayers of America, since the civic-minded Maddow never told viewers of her plans to notify the proper authorities.


NewsBusters.org – Exposing Liberal Media Bias


6
Oct 10

The Next Step for SpeechNow

By John Samples

The plaintiffs in the SpeechNow.org case have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to decide “whether, under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment, the federal government may require an unincorporated association that makes only independent expenditures to register and report as a political committee.”

You can read all about this important case here.

The Next Step for SpeechNow is a post from Cato @ Liberty – Cato Institute Blog


Cato @ Liberty


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