Washington, D.C. — In a surprise decision that exonerates dozens of major companies, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that corporate earnings statements should be protected as works of art, as they "create something from nothing."
The firm is composed of lawyers from the two major strains of the legal profession, those who litigate and those who wouldn't be caught dead in a courtroom.
Litigation lawyers are the type who will lie, cheat and steal to win a case and who can't complete a sentence without the words "I object" or "I demand another extension on that filing deadline." Many people believe that litigation lawyers are the reason all lawyers are held in such low esteem by the public. Powers Phillips, P.C. is pleased to report that only four of its lawyers, Trish Bangert, Tom McMahon, Tamara Vincelette, and JoAnne Zboyan are litigation lawyers, and only one of them is a man.
Lawyers who won't be caught dead in a courtroom are often referred to in the vernacular as "loophole lawyers," underhanded wimps who use their command of legal gobbledygook to scam money from the unsuspecting, usually widows and orphans. Many people believe that such "loophole lawyers" are the reason all lawyers are held in such low esteem by the public. Powers Phillips, P.C. is pleased to report that only four of its lawyers, Myra Lansky, Kathy Powers, Mary Phillips, and Jay Powers, are such "loophole lawyers" and one of them, Jay Powers, hardly does anything at all anyway so he doesn't really count.
The first time I really heard someone talk heatedly about blogs was when I had dinner with Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury, John Markoff of the New York Times, Howard Rheingold, Justin Hall and John Vasconcellos. I was probably the only one who hadn't been "turned on" yet. Dan was a strong believer that it would change everything. Markoff still gave a lot of credit to the value of editors and the role of mass media. I still really didn't understand the difference between blogging and having your own web page. I've had a diary online for years and I was using Dreamweaver to edit my html.
Justin was scooping around for some more stuff to do with the "free time" and I wanted to update my web page so he found Movable Type, a cool "personal publishing system" which allows you to create blogs and set it up for me. (He's currently co-webmaster of my site.) The amazing thing is how much technology has advanced. The software saves the messages in database format, allows you to export to other blog software, lets you syndicate stuff in xml, lets you "ping" other blogs to let them know when you have updated your content, keeps templates, style sheets and content separate so different people can manage the different roles, etc. The simple advance in technology make the world of difference. It is like the different between gopher and html.
So, when I soft launched my blog, I emailed Howard and asked him to help me get linked to. He told me that I needed to scoop a story. Then everyone would pick it up and link to me. Ah ha! That's how it works. The network of blogs is like an amazing network of people doing peer review, adding their spin. Each blogger being an entry into this network for his/her readers.
So I started reading boing boing and surfing the net in a totally different way, keeping an eye out for the tell-tale links and discussion area of blog networks. Anyway... You learn something new every day.
The other amazing thing is, like the Internet itself, blogging is really difficult to "get" unless you spend sometime actually surfing around blogs and seeing how it all links together and how cool content collects into pools on the leading blogs. It's like the "tupperware syndrome." You need to experience it to "get it." So many people who are generally really clued in, still haven't caught on to what this blog thing is all about. I'm going to blame the fact that I didn't "get" the blog thing until Dan Gillmor's rant on the fact that I live in Tokyo now and don't get face to face rants from fanatical Internet gurus as often. I didn't "get" the imact of PPP until John Markoff gave me a copy of MacPPP. Maybe there is a trend here. Joi gets his new ideas from newspaper reporters in California! Anyway, when you finish reading this, go to boing boing and trying spending an hour reading, clicking, reading, clicking and see how much you learn!
The real media is also taking a serious look at blogs. The Economist had an interesting article "The trees fight back".
We just got back from the World Cup finals. I had a very difficult time choosing which team to back. I know more Germans than Brazilians, but the Brazilians seemed nicer and more fun. They were also more likely to win. Mizuka definitely wanted to cheer for Brazil so that settled it.
We had front row seats on the second story. My Hasselblad didn't really work from where we were. The lense was too dark and my film was too slow... They were out of the "Sky Box" seats, but I figured that hanging out with the real fans would be fun.
Unfortunately, we ended up sitting with a bunch of rowdy Brits. They seemed to think that I didn't understand English. They gabbed on about all kinds of things that I won't post here, but when Mizuka left to get us some drinks, I told them them what I thought about their behavior. Actually I was quite upset and it was ruining my experience. I said that I thought they were really rude and that I bet that they were fixed income dealers from England. Interestingly enough, one was!
Later, one of the guys behind me was cheering for Germany and the rest of they guys said that they would all punch him when Brazil scored. I told the guy I would punch him too. He laughed. When Brazil scored their first goal, I turned around and punched him quite hard. He was noticably upset, but I guess he didn't have the guts to really start a fight so we shook hands and let it go.
Anyway, they were quieter after that and everyone around us had more fun, I think.
Brazil won as expected and they went running around thanking their fans, which was nice.
We quickly escaped the scene and were able to catch a taxi to get onto the highway before they shut it down to let the emperor drive back. 30 minutes later, Mizuka and I were eating and drinking near our house at Mitate where everyone had just finished watching on TV. We got a warm welcome from the staff and service the best we had experienced. The staff said that they cried when Renaldo scored his goal...
And now it's back to normal for Tokyo and Brazil is on the brink of banruptcy...
So what does this Worldcom thing mean? Many people saw it coming. I've been hearing about this possibility for a long time.
Many people are aruging that this is the beginning of the end for telecom because Moore's law applies to telecom and although bandwidth gets cheaper and cheaper, demand has slowed down.
There is an interesting comment from Professor Gerald Faulhaber on David Farber's list. His point is that we should be apalled by the Enron/Andersen of it all and that isn't directly related to the problem with the business model.
Having been through the bankruptcy of PSINet as a former CEO of the PSINet Japan, I have my own theories. I think part of it was the telephone companies trying to gobble up the ISP's that are a threat to their voice business and choking on their acquisitions while at the same time trying to use regulators to make it difficult for ISP's to compete directly with phone companies. The cool thing is that regulators in Japan haven't figured it out or NTT isn't good at lobbying them and Yahoo is providing voice over IP broadband and really starting to be a pain in the neck for NTT.
I heard a rumor that China bought out all of the backbone carriers and is running it as a state operation. Even if this isn't true, this makes sense.
Anyway, I think that trying to continue to charge for voice doesn't make sense and I think it is the freebie giveaway like email to get people to really go for broadband.
Here are some good articles about Worldcom etc.
This Week's Clue: The Telecom Crash of 2002
Gordon Cook on how regulators are trying to bail out legacy telcos at the expense of ISP's
Worldcom Reveals Accounting Scandal - Reuters
AS THE WORLDCOM TURNS: A blog about WorldCom