The musings of one Andrew Langer - defender of liberty, passionate protector of individual rights, foodie. (Note: Said Musings of Andrew Langer are his own, and the views represented herein are likewise his views, and not the views of any other people, entities, foodstuffs, etc [unless otherwise specifically and explicitly noted].)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Howard Stern - The Envy of Every Small Business Owner

“We’re being regulated to death!” So said shock jock Howard Stern outside of WXRK radio in New York, following his announcement in October 2004 that he would be leaving the heavily-regulated no-cost radio industry and moving to the unregulated “pay for service” satellite radio medium. With that statement, Stern echoed the sentiments of millions of small business owners nationwide, who are similarly being crushed under the burden of over-regulation..

How bad is it? For businesses with fewer than 20 employees, the federal government’s heavy hand costs them around $7,700 per employee per year, according to the Small Business Administration. State and local regulations only add to that burden. For an average-sized member of the National Federation of Independent Business (five employees) this means an additional cost of doing business of nearly $40,000 per year. And that burden is only increasing.

It’s no wonder that Stern is leaving radio. Like every other regulatory scheme, the penalties for rule breaking are being ratcheted-up. But unlike Stern, when regulations are tightened for your average small business owner, they simply can’t make a jump to an unregulated industry. For most, when the burden becomes too high, they have to close up shop. It’s only their larger brethren who are able to shift their operations overseas (“offshoring” didn’t just happen in the last four years – it’s the result of, among other things, thirty-plus years of intense industry regulation).

Stern’s switch comes at a strategic time, too. While he finds the proposed penalty scheme much too harsh for him to be able to effectively (let alone happily) work, it will undoubtedly become even more difficult in the coming years for those who remain on the public airwaves. At some point, civil penalties will not be enough for some who want to see tight control over content, and they will suggest appending criminal penalties for those who wantonly break the rules.

This is how it has gone for countless other industries in the United States. Some segment of the population convinces a legislator that a law is necessary to inhibit some form of behavior, that law produces a complex regulation, and in subsequent years the law is tightened and tightened as that lawmaker is under pressure to do something to satisfy the question, “what have you done for me lately?”

In many cases, the initial impetus behind the regulation is a not a bad one. Everyone wants clean water, for instance, and in the early 1970s it made perfect sense for the federal government to severely restrict the water pollution. But nobody would have foreseen the possibility that a small business owner would eventually go to prison for putting dry sand on dry sand, as happened to Ocie Mills in Florida. That happened because the Clean Water Act’s scope was gradually expanded, and its prohibitions tightened, so that eventually a much wider net was cast.

This process is known in some circles as “overcriminalization,” and it presents yet another threat to well-meaning citizens who inadvertently run afoul of the law. With the Congressional Research Service being unable to even quantify the current number of federal crimes, according to the Heritage Foundation’s Paul Rosenzweig, this threat takes on an even scarier dimension. How can any small business owner possibly be aware of the multitude of criminal laws impacting them when the federal government doesn’t even know?

Businessman David McNab found this out the hard way when enviro cops swarmed his boat bringing in his shipment of lobster tails from Honduras, acting on an anonymous tip that the crustaceans were undersized. This was in violation of, among other things, the “Lacey Act”, which holds that it is a crime to import seafood caught in violation of any foreign law. The problem is that only 3% of McNab’s shipment was undersized, so the federal agents additionally claimed that McNab should have had his shipment packed in cardboard boxes, instead of clear plastic bags. Yes, that’s right – cardboard boxes that you can’t see into were legal, but clear plastic bags that you could see into were criminal. McNab was sentenced in 2001 to eight years in prison.

Stern’s absolutely right: small businesses are being regulated to death. The pressure on him is the same pressure faced by small business owners nationwide. But he is a giant in his business, talented enough to be able to take advantage of the crossroads at which his industry finds itself. He can do the extraordinary and be a pioneer in an arena in which he’ll make the rules. This makes him the envy of every entrepreneur in America. In light of his decision, and in light of the economic soul-searching we are doing this election year, the time is ripe for us to seriously address the problems of overregulation and overcriminalization.


Blogger Cajun Tiger said...

It's a sad day when the Federal Government makes Howard Stern turn into a hero for small businesses.

December 17, 2005 1:10 AM

Blogger Andrew Langer said...

I dunno, CT - I wasn't trying to go for "hero", just trying to say that Howard Stern isn't the only one frustrated with government over-regulation.

In fact, I think there's a parallel to be drawn between my two posts from yesterday. I may say something about that, above...

December 17, 2005 8:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does NSA Serve SRA International's 'Cookies' ?
By Tony Ryals 31/12/2005 At 00:33

The rumor that SRA International's Barry Landew may be addicted to gambling and have accumulated debts to pressure him to manipulate and dump his own shares for cash cannot be dismissed lightly.He could even be tempted to allow SRA International's spying apparatus to be used by the criminal 'private' sector if this is true.

Does NSA Serve SRA International's 'Cookies' ?

The rumor that SRA International's Barry Landew may be addicted to gambling and have accumulated debts to pressure him to manipulate and dump his own shares for cash cannot be dismissed lightly.He could even be tempted to allow SRA International's spying apparatus to be used by the criminal 'private' sector if this is true.

For those who have been following: I have posted two articles-stories-complaints on the indymedias recently about my experiences with the supposed anti-money laundering corporation, or 'AML' ,Mantas Inc.,recently,whose links you will find at the bottom of this post.They, like their founders SRA International, are conveniently located in the Beltway to be near their clients at Big Brother Inc., no doubt. Immediately below is a promotion from the SRA International website itself bragging about 'picking' the probably criminal and certainly corrupt brain of an NSA 'bigwig'. SRA International and Mantas Inc. brag about detecting the 'bad guys' through use of 'behavior' software.

And yet who is watching their behaviors ? Rumor is that Barry Landew, CEO of SRA International that has obtained monopolistic contracts with various government agencies,(including our fraud watchers at the GAO!!),probably due to the fact of the CIA's In-Q-Tel investments in SRA International,is himself addicted to gambling like that Republican pillar of 'virtues', Bill Bennett.(Do google search ,'sra international Barry Landew gambling')

What I suggest and hope is that as many people as possible contact their congress people and demand an investigation not only of NSA's spying on the public but of their software people SRA International and also into their 'spinoff' ,Mantas Inc,.who,as I have explained previously in various indymedia articles,allowed the illegal 'pump and dump' .of Texas' fraudulent biotech company, Endovasc, to be orchestrated and covered up through a Charles Schwab account.(see link Charles Schwab Share-Money laundering below.)

Also demand that that the SEC or Securities Exchange Commission investigate SRA International's and Mantas Inc.'s possible connection to or involvement with Bellador Group, , of Kuala Lumpur and Dubai, and why it recommended both Endovasc and SRA International stock shares to its suspect clients.

The fact that Bellador Inc. has been allowed to pump and dump SRA International shares and many UNAUDITED AND UNREGISTERED U.S. penny stock shares,both onshore,and offshore in terrorist suspect money laundering regions,is proof certain CIA , Mantas Inc. and SRA International employees and mangement are aiding and abetting the terrorists they warn us about.

The fact that shares of SRA International are dumped even more easily on the international market because Bellador and SRA Inernational management and CIA can claim they have guaranteed income from our on government is scandalous beyond all belief.SRA International shares may have been used for money laundering in terrorist suspect money laundering centers as well.So we can only conclude that the GAO
who has given tens of millions of dollars to these people not only has rewarded them for spying on us but has inadvertently been used as a prop in the promotion of shares that Mr.Landew,the CIA's In-Q-Tel and Bellador Group Inc. of Kuala lumper have used to con others to buy shares as they dump and pocket the cash !!!

The rumor that SRA International's Barry Landrew may be addicted to gambling and have accumulated debts to pressure him to manipulate and dump his own shares for cash cannot be dismissed lightly.He could even be tempted to allow SRA International's spying apparatus to be used by the criminal 'private' sector if this is true.

Note that while even Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur securities commissions have warned their citizens about Bellador Group's fraudulent boiler room activities our Securities Exchange Commission continues to do nothing.In fact the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission does much worse than nothing,they provide the unaudited penny stock shares that are the backbone of Bellador Group's illegal boiler room activities that defraud American and other stock investrors and are laundering money for someone(s).Maybe some SEC employees should resign or be investigated as well.(Do a google search of 'bellador group'.)

SRA picks brain of ex-NSA bigwig
Jeff Clabaugh
Staff Reporter
Fairfax-based SRA International, an IT contractor whose customers include national security agencies, has a former National Security Administration bigwig on board to help advise it.

Recent Company News
» SRA International
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» Companies in the News
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Michael Jacobs, a 38-year veteran of the NSA who most recently served as its director of information assurance, will join SRA International as senior adviser for cyber and national security.

Among his assignments will be working with intelligence and law enforcement organizations to sell solutions for improving secure information sharing. SRA International says Jacobs' local government experience will also be handy in dealing with local and state government clients.

Jacobs also served as mayor of College Park from 1997 to 2001.

SRA International went public this spring, raising $90 million in its initial public offering. Its stock (NYSE: SRX) has gained more than 46

Agora Inc.meets George Tenet in New Orleans,touts penny stock for C,69943-0.html?tw=wn_tophead_4


Computer 'Nerds' Crunch Numbers Rake in Super Bowl Cash

Sportsbook bettors make some serious cash

This is what happens when self-described "nerds" bet on the Super Bowl.

They set up laptop computers in their hotel room to crunch numbers from the NFL regular season and playoffs. They argue about statistical anomalies, bimodal gambling patterns and other migraine-inducing topics only Rain Man could understand. They wear clothes that suggest they not only discuss bimodal gambling patterns, but actually like it.

They win some serious cash.

"We're not here to gamble," Barry Landew said, a smile spreading below his standard nerd-issued glasses. "We're here to make money."

Landew and six of his pals did plenty of that Sunday as the Denver Broncos cruised to a 34-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. Rooting less for either team than for the right number of field goals, punts and interceptions, the friends swapped high-fives as the game's final gun sounded, the results marking the 14th time in the last 15 years their "investments" paid off.

When people talk of gambling as an investment, it usually means one of two things: they're casual bettors who think that laying money on a game where grown men wear helmets and face paint is a cute little diversion; or they ought to use their last 35 cents to call Gamblers Anonymous.

But Landew and his chums are, well, statistical anomalies. Unlike the thousands of suckers who kick-start Las Vegas' economy each January, these guys almost always get a sizable return on their investment. And as they took in the big game at Caesars Palace, it was easy to see why: Their approach to gambling is akin to what would happen if Mensa held a meeting in a sports book.

Start with their collective brain wattage. Among the group's members - or "investors," as they refer to themselves - are two senior vice presidents for a Virginia technology firm, a computer programmer, a software engineer, a lawyer, a physician and an accountant. Their ranks include three former high school valedictorians, one MIT grad and, in general, more IQ than the entire state of Arkansas.

Next, there's the absurd attention to detail. Back in Fairfax, Va., Landew will spend 40 to 50 hours each January combing through every last NFL statistic he can find before the group makes its annual Super Bowl pilgrimmage to Las Vegas. The 40-year-old senior VP at SRA International then compares notes with a childhood buddy, Stuart Maron, a New Jersey attorney who shares his affection for numbers, sports and betting.

In turn, they hand over their "data," in the group's vernacular, to Jeff Rydant, the MIT grad and SRA International's chief information officer. He puts his big brain and his home computer to the task, cranking out percentages on the statistical probability of various bets.

Then it's off to Vegas, with Landew, Maron and Rydant joined by the other four investors - Brian Cross, Jeff Sullivan, Maron's brother Scott and another man who asked not to be identified.

Once their plane kisses the runway they fan out, canvassing casinos for bets to exploit. They look for the slightest edge, such as two casinos offering different totals on the game's over/under, gauge it against their research and make bets accordingly.

Sound nerdy? Sullivan offers no argument.

"This is the kind of thing nerds are going to come up with," the 37-year-old computer programmer said. "Nerds are analytical. They're people who are interested in looking at a lot of data and finding things that aren't going to jump out to the casual observer."

One example: Casinos were offering bets on whether the combined points scored by Denver and Atlanta would be an odd or even number. Landew's research showed that the total score of most of the two teams' games this season, as well as the 32 previous Super Bowl contests, was an odd number. The teams combined for 53 points, bringing the group a tidy little sum - and all on a statistical sampling pool that Rydant called "pretty small by our standards."

The group's somewhat dispassionate reaction to the game stood in marked contrast to the pockets of fans at Caesars yelling for the Broncos or Falcons. The loudest cheers from Landew and crew came when Jason Elam hit a fourth-quarter field goal, but not because the kick helped seal the game for the Broncos.

Rather, the over/under on total field goals was 3.5. Elam's was the fourth of the game, and his hitting it ensured the group of another winning year.

"It's free money," Landew said, smacking Sullivan a high-five. "They just give it away."

After the game, Landew tabulated the group's earnings off a pair of score sheets he had drawn up. Sixty percent of its picks were winners, bringing in a four-figure dollar amount that will more than pay for the investors' trip.

And the Super Bowl is only small potatoes. The group places season-long wagers on the NFL, the NBA and other sports that net them so much money Landew and Rydant have considered moving to Las Vegas to make sports betting their career.

The two men declined to give out their big-money secret on the record, but suffice to say it's embarrassingly simple. That is, if you have seven guys with large craniums who are absolutely obsessed with statistics, beating the odds and having a whole lot of fun.

"We're not psychopathic gamblers. We don't need the action.

"But," Landew said, his smile growing wider, "we like making money."

How very bimodal.

January 02, 2006 10:01 AM


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