Corporate welfare and Princes in exotic destinations

Extending the corporate safety net: ARPA-e

Recognizing the need to reevaluate the way the United States spurs innovation, the National Academies released a 2006 report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm”, that included the recommendation to establish an Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E) within the Department of Energy (DOE). The America COMPETES Act (PDF 39 KB), signed into law in August of 2007, codified many of the recommendations in the National Academies report. Authorized but without an initial budget, ARPA-E received $400 million funding in April 2009 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). ARPA-E is modeled after the successful Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the agency responsible for technological innovations such as the Internet and the stealth technology found in the F117A and other modern fighter aircraft. Specifically, ARPA-E was established and charged with the following objectives:

  1. To bring a freshness, excitement, and sense of mission to energy research that will attract many of the U.S.’s best and brightest minds—those of experienced scientists and engineers, and, especially, those of students and young researchers, including persons in the entrepreneurial world;
  2. To focus on creative “out-of-the-box” transformational energy research that industry by itself cannot or will not support due to its high risk but where success would provide dramatic benefits for the nation;
  3. To utilize an ARPA-like organization that is flat, nimble, and sparse, capable of sustaining for long periods of time those projects whose promise remains real, while phasing out programs that do not prove to be as promising as anticipated; and
  4. To create a new tool to bridge the gap between basic energy research and development/industrial innovation.

Would refraining from giving patents funded by public research to private corporations just this once really be that hard?  I know it’s the standard for how we do things in the U.S., but getting this technology out there is kind of important.

It looks like while Blackwater is being sold, Mr. Prince is running off to the United Arab Emirates:

Sources close to Blackwater and its secretive owner Erik Prince claim that the embattled head of the world’s most infamous mercenary firm is planning to move to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Middle Eastern nation, a major hub for the US war industry, has no extradition treaty with the United States. In April, five of Prince’s top deputies were hit with a fifteen-count indictment by a federal grand jury on conspiracy, weapons and obstruction of justice charges. Among those indicted were Prince’s longtime number-two man, former Blackwater president Gary Jackson, former vice presidents William Matthews and Ana Bundy and Prince’s former legal counsel Andrew Howell.

Have fun with the corrupt Islamic monarchs!