Tag Archives: congress

President, Congress pass bill to allow venture capital funding via crowd sourcing

Earlier this month, President Obama sign the JOBS bill into law with strong bipartisan support, and no this isn’t the one you’re thinking of. This one is designed specifically for funding start-ups with a particular focus on crowd funding (i.e. Kickstarter).

Explained by author and professor, Jeff Jarvis:

The JOBS bill being signed by President Obama today is critical to the emergence and growth of the next generation of industries as ecosystems.

Those ecosystems are made up of three layers: platforms, entrepreneurial ventures, and networks.

Platforms (Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Facebook, Kickstarter, Federal Express, Foxconn), which make it possible for entrepreneurial ventures to be built at lower cost with less capital and reduced risk at greater speed. To provide the critical mass that large corporations used to provide — to, for example, sell advertising at scale or acquire distribution or acquire goods or services at volume — sometimes these ventures need to band together in networks (Glam, YouTube, Etsy, eBay).

The bill supports this flourishing start-up trend by updating some outdated laws, from the 1930s, and correcting some from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

Of interest to us, the regular people:

  • Entrepreneurs can raise up to $1 million per year through those approved crowd funding channels.
  • Investors with incomes of less than $100K will be limited to 5 percent, or $2K, investments.
  • Those who make over $100K/year will be limited at 10 percent, or $10K.

Previously, one could not sell equity through crowd funding and only registered investors with $100,000 could fund a company. Now, with the crowd sourcing provision anyone can get in on the action.

This is great for the industry and those with a nose for investing, but do be wary. Internet scammers and unskilled entrepreneurs will soon be asking for your money to fund the next Google.

 

Learn more about the billJumpstart Our Business Start-ups (JOBS) Act

 

// Photo – Guano

Congress orders FAA to integrate drones into the U.S. aviation system

As the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration prepares to let civilian unmanned aircraft operate in domestic airspace, universities including Embry-Riddle have created majors in flying and building drones. Enrollment is accelerating as students look for new opportunities in an aviation job market pummeled by airline bankruptcies.

The drone industry, estimated worldwide at $5.9 billion annually, will expand to $11.3 billion by 2021.

During the past 10 years, drones have become a vital military tool in Iraq and Afghanistan, creating a platform to attack terrorists without risking pilots’ lives and giving ground troops a chance to see their opponents from the air.

Congress passed bills in December and February that ordered the FAA to create six test sites for flying unmanned aircraft alongside regular planes. The agency must also complete a plan for integrating unmanned flights into the aviation system by Sept. 30, 2015.

Unmanned aircraft could be used for photography, police surveillance and monitoring pipelines and power lines. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has special permission to use drones.

more at - Bloomberg

 

Here are a selection of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), used by the military. I suspect the first to be employed privately will be the helicopters for police surveillance.

A BQM-74E aerial drone is launched from the guided-missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43) during a live-fire exercise.
Global Hawk Drone.
First flown in 2002, the Boeing X-45A was the first modern UAV designed specifically for combat strike missions. The stealthy, swept-wing jet has fully retractable landing gear and a composite, fiber-reinforced epoxy skin. Its fuselage houses two internal weapons bays.
The U.S. Navy's Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) launches into its flight test program.
A Shadow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is being attended to by three soldiers at Forward Operating Base Fenty, Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan.
A Northrop Grumman RQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Take-Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) System.

 

// Photos – An Honorable German, Rennett Stowe, Cliff1066, Marion Doss, US Army Africa, & Marion Doss

// Thx to Kosso K

Debate over oil subsidies – Senators voting to protect them received on average 4x more contributions

The debate goes much deeper than who received money, but these numbers are still important:

In a 51-47 vote, 43 Senate Republicans and four Democrats filibustered to protect $24 billion in tax breaks for Big Oil. Although a majority voted for Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) bill, it fell short of the 60 needed. The only two Republicans to break rank were Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

A Think Progress Green analysis shows:

  • The 47 senators voting against the bill have received $23,582,500 in career contributions from oil and gas. The 51 senators voting to repeal oil tax breaks have received $5,873,600.

Democrats who joined the Republicans in defeating the bill include Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Jim Webb (D-VA).

The oil industry also spent over $146,000,000 on lobbying last year.

55 percent of Americans want to see the subsidies stopped.

via Think Progress Green

 

Thx to Justin Bacon

Bees are in peril – and so are most of our major foods

Bees are nearing a “crises,” prompting the government to spend millions on a massive data base and asking beekeepers on March 27 for advice on how to save them and prevent the nation’s agriculture from collapsing.

Honeybees are critical in agriculture. The value of crops in U.S. agriculture that depend on their pollination is $19 billion, according to USDA estimates. Worldwide that crop value is $217 billion.

Facing this, Congress and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) took action last year, granting $5.6 million to establish a national, massive data base under the Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) program.

The goal is simple: “Get information collected from beekeepers back to beekeepers quickly so they can make more informed decisions.”

via The Washington Times

 

Wikipedia lists over 125 mainstream foods that depend on bee pollination, among them:

Coffee, chocolate (cocoa), apple, pear, watermelon, avocado, grape, tomato, onion, broccoli, pepper, lemon, lime, strawberry, soybean, and blueberry.

Other major foods:

Okra, celery, kiwi, cashew, almond, beet, mustard, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprout, papaya, chestnut, tangerine, coconut, coriander, hazelnut, cantaloupe, melon, cucumber, squash, carrot, persimmon, fig, strawberry, cotton, sunflower, walnut, lychee, macadamia, mango, passion fruit, bean (lima, kidney, string), apricot, cherry, plum, guava, pomegranate, boysenberry, raspberry, blackberry, cranberry, eggplant, vanilla, jujube.

"You don't own me, I pay your salary" – Rice professor Douglas Brinkley argues with Congressman Don Young

Friday, while testifying about his passion — protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from drilling, Dr. Brinkley met a strong critic on the House Resources Committee.

Chairman Don Young, a congressman from Alaska, called Dr. Brinkley “Dr. Rice” and used the word “garbage” to describe part of Dr. Brinkley’s testimony. The professor responded saying, “It’s Doctor Brinkley. Rice is a university. I know you went to Yuba College and didn’t graduate.”

Young, who is visibly angry in the video of the exchange, shouted back, “I’ll call you anything I want to call you when you’re in that chair. You just be quiet.”

Brinkley, of course, didn’t take those comments lightly or back off.

“You don’t own me,” the professor said. “I pay your salary. I work for the private sector and you work for the taxpayer.”

From KHOU and Chron

If you’re interested in the full back-story the MinnPost has a good write-up.

“You don’t own me, I pay your salary” – Rice professor Douglas Brinkley argues with Congressman Don Young

Friday, while testifying about his passion — protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from drilling, Dr. Brinkley met a strong critic on the House Resources Committee.

Chairman Don Young, a congressman from Alaska, called Dr. Brinkley “Dr. Rice” and used the word “garbage” to describe part of Dr. Brinkley’s testimony. The professor responded saying, “It’s Doctor Brinkley. Rice is a university. I know you went to Yuba College and didn’t graduate.”

Young, who is visibly angry in the video of the exchange, shouted back, “I’ll call you anything I want to call you when you’re in that chair. You just be quiet.”

Brinkley, of course, didn’t take those comments lightly or back off.

“You don’t own me,” the professor said. “I pay your salary. I work for the private sector and you work for the taxpayer.”

From KHOU and Chron

If you’re interested in the full back-story the MinnPost has a good write-up.

Historical Baseball Photos (1880-1915)

Baseball has it roots far back in history. A manuscript from France in 1344 has an illustration of monks and nuns playing a game of bat and ball. The modern beginnings most likely date back to the early 1700s in America. In 1744, the term “base-ball” was printed in an English book and in 1791 the town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, kicked the ball players off their field by ordinance.

The records and photos of those days show a game gaining in popularity. Teams were popping up all over for recreation (after work, weekends). Mostly playing themselves but occasionally playing teams across the river, down the road.

In the 1800s the game went huge, particularly in New York where journalists referred to it as the “national pastime”. Leagues were formed, stadiums were built, and players were paid to play the game.

By the turn of the century baseball looked like the modern-day game, with owners, presidents, managers, and star players.

Here are some photos of that era pulled from the Library of Congress Archives.

**Note: It is commonly believed that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in 1839. This founding myth was fabricated by the prominent baseball figure A.G. Spalding to increase popularity for the game.**

 

Casey Stengel, 1915, Brooklyn Dodgers
Look at those gloves and shoes!
Hank O'Day, 1914, manager, Chicago Cubs
Harry Wright, 1887, manager, Philadelphia Quakers
Indiana, 1908
Morris Brown College, 1899 or 1900, African-American team, Atlanta, Georgia

 

Danbury, Connecticut, 1880, African-American baseball team
New York Mets, 1882
Umpire, Billy Evans, 1914
Umpire, Bill Klem, 1914
Boston Braves Stadium, 1914, Hank Gowdy batting

 

catcher, Ira Thomas, 1914, Philadelphia Athletics
AL club presidents, 1914: Frank Navin, Detroit; Benjamin S. Minor, Washington; Frank Farrell, N.Y.; Charles Comiskey, Chicago; Ban Johnson AL President; Joseph Lannin, Boston
Baldy Louden, 1914, Buffalo Federal League

 

More Photos

Historical Photos of European Royalty (1910-1915)