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Today In Tea Party Welfare Bums

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Get your damned gubmit out of Curt Schilling’s Galtian entrepreneurship!

Providence, R.I. game developer 38 Studios knew it was in dire straits before it moved the company from Massachusetts to the Ocean State, according to documents filed in Rhode Island Superior Court.

Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. attorney Max Wistow said there was “crushing evidence” that shows that the former Red Sox Ace Curt Schilling and others at the company covered up financial information, the Providence Journal reports.

Officials from the state of Rhode Island filed a lawsuit against Curt Schilling, other lawyers and executives at the failed video game company, and the former head of the state’s Economic Development Corp., saying they misled the state into approving a $75 million state-backed loan to the company, according to the Providence Journal. According to documents filed with the court, 38 Studios needed more than $75 million from the state in order to proceed.

But let’s be clear, the money he received from Rhode Island taxpayers to prop up his failing business wasn’t a handout:

And of course Schilling is also a longtime loud-mouthed, ultra-conservative, rich Tea Party moron from way back who regularly bemoans that the government takes money that he could be using to create jobs. “I’m not looking, never have been, for handouts,” he told Sean Hannity in March.

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  • Complain if you must, but know this: I was totally going to repay that debt in my trademarked Curt Schilling Ketchup Blood-stained Socks, autographed by me myself, by Autopen. The state could have sold those valuable pieces of baseball memorabilia right after I make the All-Drug Baseball Hall of Fame, and netted a pretty handsome profit out of the whole affair. But no, they had to destroy yet another Maker by not dumping a bunch of public cashola on him, which if you read your Ayn Rand is absolutely what she was talking about, I think.

    Anyway the whole thing stinks, stinks just like old baseball socks with rotten ketchup stuck all over them, not that I would know anything about that.

    • c u n d gulag

      Curt,
      You’re a sock of sh*t!!!

    • Jumbo

      A bad baseball player, a much worse business person, and a poor excuse for a human being. Tea baggers suck.

  • Philly peeps knew Curt Schilling was a loud-mouthed asshole a long time ago.

  • But, see, it was not a handout. Handouts only go to the undeserving, and everybody knows that Curt Schilling deserved investment assistance, because…well…the sock, people, the sock…

  • ken houghton

    Actually, Philly peeps knew Schilling was a strong supporter of helping people with ALS.

    • Jeff R.

      This is true. Not only does ALS, and other chronic, debilitating diseases, cause physical and emotional suffering, they can been financially devastating. That’s why Schilling vocally supported candidates who were in favor of the PPACA. With its ban on lifetime benefit caps, the act could help prevent families from losing everything if a person is struck with one of these diseases. Oh, wati a minute…

      (This was suggested by Charles Pierce back in the day, but I can’t find his original post.)

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        ALS: American League Syndrome?

    • Warren Terra

      Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

      I mean, I don’t wan’t to directly cite the obvious Godwin here, but you do realize that “the malefactor wasn’t a cartoon villain and had some noble sentiments/was kind to small animals/once helped an old lady across the street” trope is regularly invoked as a bitter joke, right?

      ALS is just a terribly cruel disease, and as a matter of fact I know people who have devoted more effort to ALS than you or I will likely devote to anything, and I know they’re grateful for the celebrity support they get in their cause. But this doesn’t blind even them to any major or minor flaws in the characters of those celebrities. Those celebrities’ good deeds are worthy of note, but they’re not magic; they don’t provide some sort of immunity if one of those celebrities happens to, say, steal tens of millions of taxpayer money.

      (Also, what Jeff R said about people who express concern for the downtrodden while promoting policies that rush them underfoot).

    • BruceK

      The fact that Schilling put a lot of money into ALS research may mitigate, but does not negate, the other ways in which he acted like a colossal [language censored by Department of Homeland Security on grounds that it may summon eldritch abominations to eat the coastal regions of the United States].

      • Halloween Jack

        “Cocksucker” won’t summon the Many-Angled Ones; I’m living (and nominally sane) proof.

        • rea

          Speaking as a cocksucker myself, I’ve never understood why that’s a term of abuse.

          • Halloween Jack

            Yeah, that was not really the best example for me to reach for.

  • cpinva

    i believe this demonstrates the theory of inverse randianism: the louder someone yells, about how they did everything on their own, with no help from anyone, especially not the gubmint, the higher the likelyhood that they’ve availed themselves of gubmint largesse.

    the fact that a sale of $75 million in bonds only netted $50 million should have raised a million red flags, all by itself. the fact that, as far as i am aware, mr. schilling had zero experience or expertise in the industry, should have, in a rational market, resulted in a detailed analysis of his company (and its prospects for actual success), with a specific focus on the bonafides of the people who were actually going to be responsible for the creation of the product. clearly, this never happened.

    god, i love unfettered capitalism!

    • Random

      In fairness, the technical and artistic team involved had solid bona fides and produced a good game that is generally regarded as an artistic and critical success.

      Just not a commercial success. Which is kind of an important point when you bum 75 million bucks from your local government.

      • Sly

        The mediocre sales figures of Kingdoms of Amalur (which I would agree is a good game) are not so much the issue as Schilling deciding to invest large resources of a startup into an MMO, which have considerably higher development costs (not to mention maintenance and post-release development costs via patch updates) than stand-alone games and that take years to recoup if the game is successful. And he thought he could do this on a free-to-play microtransaction format.

        It was pure hubris. Schilling thought it would be a cash bonanza because he’s a Warcraft Nerd suffering under the delusion that he could succeed with a completely new IP better than established studios with more visible brands. Meanwhile, Bioware, one of the most established game developers there is, dumped something like $150 million into a Star Wars MMO that will likely never turn a profit.

        • FMguru

          There was a really good article at the time in Boston Magazine about the shitshow that was 38 Studios.

          Schilling’s big plan was to make a “better” version of World of Warcraft. Literally, “like World of Warcraft, but better”. In a market littered with the corpses of dozens of games, some with 8-figure and 9-figure budgets, that tried and failed to compete with WoW, he – a man with zero business or video game design experience – would waltz in and drink Wow’s milkshake, simply by making a more expensive clone of WoW. It’s amazing, and that’s not even taking into account the fact that 1) MMOs are by far the most expensive kinds of games to try and develop, with the longest lead times, and 2) the entire MMO marketplace is downshifting (WoW’s subscriber base is off by 40% from its peak) as the money and the audience shifts to casual/mobile/social gaming.

          He should have stuck to designing and publishing modules for Advanced Squad Leader.

          • Good read. Thanks for the link.

            What I find perplexing is the rank stupidity of RI in this deal. I feel pretty confident I can create high tech jobs for less than tens of millions of jobs. I also feel pretty confident that if I have $75 million to spend (“loan”) on building a high tech sector that I’d be better off running it like a venture capitalist and spreading my investments around on small start ups. At $5 million per, I could fund 15 startups (and $5 million is excellent start up money. Really good. A ton, actually.) If most fail (as they would), that’d be ok. Even if they all do, the positive effect on infrastructure would be there (i.e., lots more people with experience).

            • FMguru

              Lots of state-level “business development” funds are just ways for buddies of the governor to shovel taxpayer dollars to well-connected cronies under the guise of “investing” in developing industries and building a hightech workforce. Any effect it has on kickstarting a state’s technology sector is epiphenomenal.

              See also: the non-existent job gains realized after taxpayers invest $100 million or more in a sparkling new professional football stadium.

          • Kurzleg

            Great article. Also, that Project Copernicus trailer looks pretty fabulous.

          • Halloween Jack

            I love this bit:

            Industry experts often compare making video games to filming movies, given their similarly long production cycles and hit-or-miss nature. In movie terms, then, Schilling was attempting to start a studio from scratch, but instead of beginning with a low-budget indie flick, he was going straight for the summer blockbuster. His first time behind the camera, he was going to make Avatar.

            “If it wasn’t an MMO, I wouldn’t have done it,” Schilling tells me. “If you look at the game space now, if you want to build something that’s a billion-dollar company, the only game to do that with is an MMO.”

            Blizzard started out with things like Rock ‘n’ Roll Racing, well before they came up with WoW. Curt basically wanted to do the game company equivalent of someone insisting that if they were going to play baseball at all, they had to start in the major leagues–that’s “start” as in “play their very first game, ever”.

      • cpinva

        “Just not a commercial success. Which is kind of an important point when you bum 75 million bucks from your local government.”

        why yes, yes it is. it’s kind of important, regardless of who the investors are. many things are critically & artistically successful, but not commercially. they probably should be, but it’s a fickle market. this is why PBS exists.

      • Murc

        That’s not true, actually.

        38 Studios wasn’t a commercial success. Kingdoms of Amalur was, if you consider purely the costs of its development and the revenue it generated in exchange. What killed 38 Studios was all the other shit it was doing at the same time.

        • Someone

          Not really. Kingdom of Amalur was built by a different studio (Big Huge Games) and funded from a different set of financing (IFG completion bond). Even so, it didn’t break even.

          • KoA had the additional problem of trying to start a new game franchise while the steamroller of Skyrim was still going strong. I heard a lot of great things about the game, but I was still only halfway through the main quest of Skyrim.

    • DrDick

      It actually reflects actual Randians in action. Almost everyone I know of who advocates her philosophy is totally dependent on the government for their living (see Ryan, Paul).

      • Procopius

        Also Greenspan, Alan (Class of ’43)[that’s an in-group subset of the Objectivist cult].

  • RepubAnon

    This is like the old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon about Calvin’s $15/glass lemonade stand (http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/2013/04/07)

    • c u n d gulag

      Yeah, that’s pitch-perfect.

      And I still can’t decide which I miss more, Calvin & Hobbes, Far Side, or Bloom County.

      • jeer9

        Far Side hands-down.

        • firefall

          +1

      • Jeff R.

        Only the good die young:

        http://www.gocomics.com/lio/2007/02/28

        • Halloween Jack

          That’s a great cartoon, in particular because of what’s unspoken: that Berke Breathed (who, despite the numerous Bloom County strips and characters that I enjoyed, was never as funny or smart as he seemed to think he was) kept digging up BC characters and trying to revive them.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Yeah, I love the original Bloom County as much as anyone, but Breathed’s post-BC work makes clear that he was right to quit while he was ahead. “I know, what if we did nothing but the unfunny “ambitious” Sunday strips you ignore in the book, only much more pretentious! We’ll bring in Opus, it’ll be great!”

  • DocAmazing

    What, no jokes about taking the king’s Schilling?

  • R. Porrofatto

    Too pig to fail?

    Also, it seems to this non-lawyer that misleading the state and covering up financial information in order to fraudulently obtain a handout government loan might be worthy of some, y’know, criminal charges?

    • cpinva

      good question, starting with the accounting firm that provided the “audited” financial statements. pretty much everything in question should have been disclosed, in the required notes to the financials, which is the very first place i go to, when reviewing them.

  • DrDick

    Heh. This just got a shout out from Atrios (and Curt got worst person in the world).

  • klondike

    According to Schilling, he played this the way no true Galtian overlord would have – putting his own money into it as well as the state’s. Be interesting to see if this proves to be true. If he loses his (big-ass) house, then he’s one cut above a true Galtian overload (Galtian underlord?). #distinctionwithoutadifference

    • Are you a visitor to this country?

    • Thlayli

      According to the ESPN 30 for 30 film “Broke”, he put in $35 million of his own money.

      That money is gone, and there’s no reasonable expectation he will ever be able to replace it.

    • Warren Terra

      If he loses his own money, that doesn’t settle the question of whether he defrauded the government. And, mind you, his money was thoroughly lost before that point; he was seeking a windfall of cheap and unjustified credit from the state in order to rescue his failed investment.

      Also, if he manages to lose his house his lawyer should eat my hat. I assume anyone in his position has an absurdly big house in Florida against just such an eventuality; Florida famously makes it easy to protect a residence, any residence, from loss in bankruptcy.

      • Malaclypse

        The MA version of this requires owners to waive homestead protection as part of the personal guarantees. And credit from the MA version is not cheap – most loans are in the 10-12% range.

        But you are correct that we don’t know anything about whether required disclosures were made.

      • David M. Nieporent

        As for defrauding the government, you’re right that whether he lost his own money is a separate question. However, I’m only about a quarter of the way through the 200 (!) page brief filed by the government, but so far, they seem to be contending that the EDC’s lawyers, and the EDC’s director and deputy director, were all aware of the facts allegedly concealed by 38 Studios.

        By the way, the homestead laws were tightened up somewhat in the 2005 bankruptcy reform; you can no longer move to Florida right before filing and protect an unlimited homestead. If you haven’t lived there for two years before filing, you don’t get the unlimited exemption.

  • Walt

    The real lesson here is that total shamelessness seems like a valuable life skill.

  • Davis

    Personal responsibility is for the little people.

  • David M. Nieporent

    Remember, government allegations are always facts, if the defendant is unpopular!

    (Of course governments shouldn’t be engaging in this sort of transaction; there’s no reason to think that a government is competent to manage “economic development.” If it were a good risk, the company could get private funding; if it’s a bad risk, then there’s no reason why the state should take it. But that’s an entirely separate question from whether Schilling “covered up” anything.)

    • DrDick

      I always just remember that you are a libertarian asshole who has been wrong about everything.

      • David M. Nieporent

        To respond at an intellectual level you can handle: “I know you are, but what am I?”

        • But…that means you are accusing DrDick of being a libertarian.

          If you are going to use a schoolyard taunt, get it right!

          • DrDick

            This is what David considers reasoned argument.

      • Brandon

        accurate

  • efgoldman

    Well, Loomis and I, and I don’t know how many other Ocean Staters, are going to have to pay this money back, somehow. Not a lot, on a per capita basis, but another thumbtack, at least, in the coffin that is Rhode Island’s economy.
    Nobody’s mentioned that the ::ahem:: Republican governor at the time was all for it. Some Galtean, he.

    • It’s all very exciting.

      • efgoldman

        I dunno’, Loomis. If you’d been here as long as I have (11+ years), the excitement wears off pretty quickly. It started with the year (2002 or 2003, I don’t remember which) that the state ran out of money to pay tax refunds, and folks who filed after the middle of February or so had to wait until September or October.

        • Oh, believe me (though I haven’t worked in RI since 1977, and merely live in nearby MA), there was also plenty of excitement back during the Savings & Loans debacle, long before 2002.

          • efgoldman

            Oh yeah. We saw the reporting in MA at the time. Looked exciting, especially for all th folks with their life savings in them.

  • Malaclypse

    I have put together a (successful) loan package for the MA version of this. The programs actually are pretty cool – run right (which Schilling’s doesn’t seem to have been) it really is a “handup, not handout” program that does very cool things. The big difference between working with them and a bank is 1) they charge a non-trivial risk premium, and 2) not only do they expect to see financial results, but also reports on what jobs have actually been created. Run right, these programs really do get genuinely small businesses either up and running or back on their feet, and accomplish a shit-ton of good.

    Oh, and if Davey actually knew, you know, anything, he’d know the difference between government and quasi-public agencies (Community Development Corporations are the latter), but he’d rather be a blowhard, because programs like this are STALIN!!! and PICK WINNERS AND LOSERS!!!

    • David M. Nieporent

      The difference is the words on the letterhead. A state can declare that particular agencies will be known as Turnips from now on, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not governmental agencies.

      The EDC is established by statute. The statute defines the powers and authority of the EDC. The governor nominates, and the state legislature confirms, the EDC board. It performs, by statute, government functions, and by statute has the power of eminent domain. It’s a state actor for § 1983 purposes. This is a government agency.

      And anybody who thinks these are a good idea is either (a) a corrupt politician, or (b) too stupid to live. And you don’t seem to be a politician.

      • Malaclypse

        Needs moar complaints about men with guns. Or Heinlein references. Those were cool, and not at all an insight into your psyche.

      • David M. Nieporent

        Indeed, to quote from the EDC’s own brief, the EDC

        is “a governmental agency and public instrumentality of the State,” R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-64-4(a), which, when exercising its powers, is engaged in “the performance of an essential governmental function of the State for public purposes.” R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-64-4(b). It is the “State’s lead agency for economic development throughout Rhode Island.” R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-64-5.

        • Malaclypse

          The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation is the full service, official economic development organization for the state of Rhode Island. A quasi-public agency, the Corporation serves as a government and community resource to help streamline the business expansion in, and relocation to, Rhode Island. The agency assists companies with commercial real estate, business financing, workforce training and other relevant issues.

          • David M. Nieporent

            Thank you for boldfacing something not remotely in dispute. I know that this is the label that Rhode Island law gives to it. So what? Your personal attack on me was because you pretended that they weren’t a government agency. They are.

            • jb

              1. If you could actually address Malaclypse’s point about the possible benefits of these agencies rather than a. debating about the meaning of “government agency”, and b. declaring him “too stupid to live” because he doesn’t share your opinion that would be good.

              2. In fact, I’ve noticed that your posts often have a contemptuous, sneering tone to them, and you often put down people at this site. This tone is probably what most irritates the posters here. Your ideology also upsets some people here, but bradp is also a libertarian and he doesn’t use the same tone you do. Partly as a result of this, he doesn’t get nearly the hostility you do. If you could please try to be less contemptuous of the posters at this site and understand that they are not evil or stupid that would be good.

              Thanks

              (As an aside, I don’t get the controversy over the name of those agencies. If they work, who cares if thier called government agencies, quasi-public agencies, or granfaloons? And if they don’t work, again it doesn’t matter what their called.)

              • This tone is probably what most irritates the posters here.

                Speaking only for myself, what irritates me most about Nieporent’s posts is their sexism and wrongly wrongness.

                The fatuous superiority is just some delicious icing on the cake o’ fail.

                • Brandon

                  You should have seen his outrage over the Phoenix public pools minority recruitment/training programs.

              • Malaclypse

                If you could actually address Malaclypse’s point about the possible benefits of these agencies

                See, Davey already knows that they can’t be, because ” If it were a good risk, the company could get private funding.” Because if Davey learned anything from 2006-2008, it is that the modern banking system is the bestest, most efficient system available for evaluating risk and allocating capital that the world has ever seen. (Countdown to zombie lie about Jimmy Carter and the 1977 CRA commences… now.)

              • David M. Nieporent

                1) bradp is the libertarian Alan Colmes of this site.

                2) If you look at my post here which started this subthread, I didn’t say anything about the name of those agencies, or say anything insulting. I pointed out (okay, slightly sarcastically, but hardly insultingly) that just because the government makes allegations in a lawsuit does not mean that those allegations are proven. Then I added a general observation that government programs of this sort are a bad idea.

                If people here were interested in civil discussion, it could have resulted in one. People here aren’t, so it didn’t. If people here just wanted to ignore it, it would have been an isolated comment that disappeared. But instead, it resulted in (a) a pure content-free insult from “DrDick,” and (b) an insult from Malaclypse that I didn’t know “anything” because I thought the EDC was a government agency when it was really a quasi-public agency.

                Malaclypse didn’t want a debate over whether these agencies were beneficial; if he did, he’d have left off his last paragraph, which was gratuitous, insulting, and wrong. And an empty statement that ‘run right’ they’re helpful is so meaningless as to be impossible to respond to in any case. Yes, if we assume a can opener, we can open any can we want.

                • Brandon

                  Someone who responds by saying anyone who supports these typs of programs is “too stupid to live” is definitely looking for civil discussion.

  • Shakezula

    This is kind of shocking until you remember Rush Limbaugh was once a welfare queen. Mr. SHILLing just took his in a big lump. OK, his and several friends.

    (Also, I’ve met a number of poor whites who don’t receive welfare, they receive this thing called “assistance.” It is very hard not to laugh when you first hear this.)

    • Warren Terra

      My vague recollection is that at some point in his life Limbaugh found himself in need of government assistance, obtained it, and thereby was able to get back on his feet and build a career that (however regrettable on its merits) has made him ludicrously wealthy. His massive earnings have enabled and required him to pay taxes, some of which go to help other young people in need of government assistance, some of whom will thereby go on to earn a lot of money, much like Limbaugh himself. This is how it’s supposed to work. The people who decry “welfare queens” and demand the government stop helping the less fortunate (and stop taxing them to do so) are the Limbaughs of the world; we have no need to join them in their hate-fueled error. Call Limbaugh a hypocrite, if you will, but he’s not a Welfare Queen. Indeed, if only he’d recognize it, he could be a Welfare Prince.

      • Shakezula

        Wait. I’m confused. Pointing out the hypocrisy of a fat fuck who perpetuates the Welfare Queens Destroying America myth when he has in fact been on welfare is not nice because … Why?

        Also, am I allowed to point and laugh when he talks about the sanctity of opposite sex marriage?

  • Craig T. Nelson

    I was on food stamps. Did anyone help me out? NO!

  • bobber
    • Kurzleg

      I felt a little sorry for the guy after reading the article linked up thread and wondered if his experience might cause some introspection and re-evaluation of certain beliefs. I guess not.

      • jb

        I felt a little sorry for the guy after reading the article linked up thread and wondered if his experience might cause some introspection and re-evaluation of certain beliefs

        This almost never happens. Most people are too set in their beliefs for anything short of a major crisis to change them. And sometimes, not even then.

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