politics, civil rights, intellectual property, science, capitalism, and foo

« April 2007 | Main | July 2007 »

May 23, 2007
Its a bubble, its not a bubble, its a bubble

These stories just make me sigh.

So which is it? Is it good that some of us are here to navigate the ups and downs and frankly could give two shakes about where the outside market is (beyond figuring out what the coupon on our venture debt is or where the herd VC mentality is going to be this week?) Or is it just plainly bad that some of us are happy and able to be creative and productive regardless of the conventional wisdom?

Arrington has an interesting conflict of interest. He is potentially playing a game of false modesty for becoming this cycle's Henry Blodget (so far.)

What bugs me about talk of bubble/no bubble is that it just doesn't at all matter beyond minor business environment effects. If the product that entrepreneurs are making serves customers in a more efficient and needed way and there is a group of skilled (or quick learning) people around it, that company/product will do very well.

Not being able to adjust as an entrepreneur to the business climate and being forlorn that the shift is toward marketing - well, that just says that your team isn't well rounded. How about this hypothesis. Maybe a whole bunch of the serious folks in the valley used the last downturn as a product development cycle and now those products are leaving the dev cube farm, crossing the chasm, and need to turn toward marketing and scaling? Maybe that's why we all aren't focused on "the garage man." Maybe we're actually really building all aspects of businesses.

But that would be too quaint and too mundane for the valley...

Posted by hoffmang at 01:03 AM

May 20, 2007
Perpetual Copyright?

Mark Helprin seeks that the government rent seek even further than Eldred v. Ashcroft already allows. There are so many reasons for my distaste for perpetual copyrights but I'll just put one in place for Mr. Helprin. If perpetual copyright exists how much will it cost to license an 800 year old copyright that has been subdivided on 16 occasions an average of 2.3 ways leading to 37 separate owners? Good luck quoting the great works in your future great work.

Any "right" that isn't natural suffers from all sorts of complications that require a state to intervene. Leaving the state wide open to create an "idead gentry" is wrong on many levels. Who do you think will be the patrons of the state? So much for freedom of thought and creation being balanced against the incentive to create.

I leave it to you the reader to realize how badly he misrepresents Jefferson. Jefferson was the founder who most thought that intellectual property laws were a dangerous infringement of natural rights. I don't fully agree with him on that, but I'm coming to more understand his concern as rights holders and Supreme Court Justices read the words "for limited Times" out of the Constitution.

Posted by hoffmang at 01:27 PM

May 13, 2007
How would SCOTUS rule on Parker v. DC

I posted this on a forum I spend some time on but with DC losing the en-banc appeal in Parker v. DC and recent coverage of Kennedy being the new swing vote on the 5-4 decisions, it has become even more relevant.

I've done some reading to have a more informed opinion as to how I expect the Supreme Court to rule should Parker be given certatoria. I believe that the four solid votes we have for the individual rights interpretation are:

Thomas - In Printz v. United States he specifically requested that SCOTUS review and show its an individual right.

Alito - He's got some good appellate cases on NFA

Roberts - He hinted at his pro individual rights stance in his confirmation.

Scalia - He's almost always on the right side of gun laws. Caron v. United States is a good example.

Here are the two wobblers. I'll go from most likely to least likely.

Souter - Souter authored the opinion in United States v. Thompson/Center Arms Co. where Rhenquist and Oconner joined and Scalia and Thomas concurred in a separate opinion that Thompson's carbine kit wasn't a constructive possession of a short barreled rifle as ATF wanted to hold. Souter also held in favor of Small in Small v. United States where Small was convicted of gun smuggling in Japan but wanted to buy a gun in the United States. Further in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Souter joined Kennedy in quoting with approval Justice Harlan's statement that the "full scope of ... liberty" is not limited to "the freedom of speech, press, and religion; the right to keep and bear arms; the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures." Casey reaffirmed the right of privacy, a right it viewed as belonging to an individual and that can be asserted by the individual against the federal government or a state. The Justices used this quote from Justice Harlan to convey the view that such an unenumerated right had the same constitutional status as all the enumerated rights in this list. All these rights retained by the people are considered by the Court to be on par. No mention of a militia-centric qualification is made.

Ginsburg - I know it is a long shot, but here is the evidence in support of her voting for an individual second amendment right. First, she authored Eldred v. Aschroft in which she found that prefatory clauses in the Constitution don't limit the scope of a right or power in an operative clause. Here is an article with more about that issue. Also, Ginsburg refers to the Second Amendment as an individual right in the context of attempting to understand what "carry" means in Federal law in Muscarello v. United States: "Surely a most familiar meaning is, as the Constitution's Second Amendment ("keep and bear Arms")" Souter concurred in that one.

So I'm going out on a limb and saying with these odds we could see a 6-3 ruling in favor of an individual right to arms.

The only negative thing I noticed was this, written by Souter and joined by Ginsburg, Stevens, and Breyer. FN 11: "While that document protected a range of specific individual rights against federal infringement, it did not, with the possible exception of the Second Amendment, offer any similarly specific protections to areas of state sovereignty." (Justice Souter, with Stevens, Ginsburg, and Breyer, dissenting) from US v. Morrison.

I actually don't think we need Kennedy.

Update: US v. Rybar is the machine gun case that Alito wrote a dissent in favor of the machine gun possessor but its pretty clear that he was basing his opinion on Commerce Clause limited Federalism grounds.

Posted by hoffmang at 11:46 PM

Powered by Movable Type