Explaining Southern California's economy

When bloggers break the rules: Did Jim Romenesko do anything wrong?

We are periodically obliged to blog about blogging here at DeBord Report. The last couple of days have seen the (sort of) downfall of one of the blogging greats, Jim Romenesko, who in 1999 started a site called MediaGossip.com. It was effectively the first blog about the peculiar inside-baseball of big-time journalism. Picked up by the Poynter Institute, it became a must-read in the profession and a model for other sites, such as LAObserved

It now appears that for the last 12 years, Romenesko has been breaking Poynter's editorial rules (they were posted online in 2004). It's just that nobody seems to have noticed until now — and none of the many journalists whose work Romenesko has kinda lifted without attribution for a decade ever complained. 

The Director of Poynter Online, Julia Moos, summarized Romenesko's infractions, over which he has officially resigned (although he was planning to retire this year anyway, with plans to start a new site). In a nutshell, Romenesko built posts about stories from around the media by cutting and pasting in the mostly verbatim language of his original sources, sometimes properly attributing, sometimes not. But he always included links to those stories — in fact, the link was the whole point. Romenesko wanted you to read the original. And that made journalists very happy, because Romenesko could drive traffic, as well as prove that you mattered in media land.

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Eurozone Crisis: Enter the economists to save the sinking ship

TO GO WITH STORY "Papademos : Greek tech

GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

This is what a European "technocrat" looks like. Lucas Papademos will take over from Georges Papandreou as prime minister of Greece, as the Eurozone continues to sink.

Europe is full of flamboyant politicians, but when it comes to rescuing the continent from financial ruin, the money right now seems to be on the most technocratic of technocrats: economists who have served time in the trenches of the very common currency they helped to create in the 1990s. As the euro has melted down, the Greek prime minister, George Papandreou, has stepped aside, replaced by Lucas Papademos, an economist. In Italy, the embattled billionaire PM, Silvio Berlusconi, is being moved aside to make room for Mario Monti, another economist.

The message to Europeans is pretty clear: politicians created this mess, and now the people who actually know what they're doing with the economy will get us out. Try to imagine what this would be like in America. We'd kick Obama out of the White House and replace him with...an executive from a consulting firm. Oh, wait...didn't Mitt Romney work for Bain & Co. back in the day?

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Rather Short Book Review: Emanuel Derman's 'Models. Behaving. Badly'

Emanuel Derman is a professor of finance at Columbia University and also a physicist. But what' he's probably best known for is his years at Goldman Sachs in the lead-up to the financial crisis and his role as one of the pre-eminent Wall Street "quants" — investment professionals who attempted to use complex quantitative models to drive risk out of making money. These days, some critics blame the quants for nearly destroying the global financial system

Derman chronicled his Wall Street days in a 2004 book, "My Life as A Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance" — a full four years before the financial crisis truly took hold in late-2008. He's now followed that title up with "Models. Behaving. Badly," in which he looks back on both his life and his life's work and...finds fault with the world that he in part helped to engineer. 

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Watch out, Southern California! New York wants to do biotech, too

The guy in the video above is Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist and a partner at Union Square Ventures in New York. (He also a very active and disciplined blogger.) I've blogged about Fred and his thoughts a few times here at DeBordReport.

Watch the whole thing to get a sense of his views on engineering, startups, VC — and where New York might be headed in terms of developing a more diverse startup community.

One of the things that means is biotech.

Biotech is a startup industry that Southern Californian already does and does well. Biotech is our version of Silicon Valley and information technology. And that's good, because biotech could be the next big thing. I went down to Orange County earlier this week to find out how and dropped by a new biotech incubator, TechPortal Orange, at the UC Irvine Medical Center.

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Occupy LA gets more aggressive

Occupy Protesters March In Downtown L.A.

David McNew/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 5: Police officers stand guard as Occupy LA protesters stop to demonstrate at a Bank of America during the Move Your Money March on what is being called Bank Transfer Day on November 5, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Occupy movement members are calling for people to move their money from banks to credit unions today in support of the 99% movement. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

When compared with Occupy protest movements in New York, Oakland, and now Berkeley, Occupy LA has seemed like a blissed-out band of peaceniks. No police confrontations. No tear gas. No rubber bullets. No truncheons. 

Until now. Well, OK, there's been no real violence. But elements of Occupy LA did...actually occupy something other than the lawn of City Hall last night. They moved into a Bank of American branch lobby. KPCC's Corey Moore got the story:

About 50 protesters holding signs and chanting "Make banks pay" briefly took over the lobby of a Bank of America branch in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday night, calling for greater accountability. They were part of a march of about a thousand people demanding that financial corporations help resolve the state’s budget problems.

It's not clear yet whether the Occupy Movement is ramping up its provocations because it wants to...or needs to, given that the public and the media may be losing interest in the protests.

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