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  • rhode island: why you always need a business plan
    okay, so i read the new york times... and it's mainly for articles like this.

    i'm not fond of politicians for the usual reasons, and i'm really not fond of politicians for the extraordinary reasons:

    Matt Bai of The New York Times Wrote:You have to imagine what it was like being Don Carcieri in the harsh winter of 2010. As Rhode Island’s governor, a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, he had come into office seven years earlier as a business executive turned politician, vowing to retool the state’s corroded economy.

    But that winter, Rhode Island was on the precipice of economic ruin. Its unemployment rate was pushing up against 12 percent — fourth worst in the nation — and three of its cities were careening toward bankruptcy. Facing term limits, Mr. Carcieri had only months left to do something to arrest the steep decline.

    And that’s when Don Carcieri ran into Curt Schilling, the revered former Boston Red Sox ace — the man who had famously bled through a sock while pitching his team to its first World Series title in 86 years. That March, Mr. Carcieri attended a fund-raiser for a prospective documentary at Mr. Schilling’s 25-acre estate in Medfield, Mass. The two men exchanged pleasantries in the living room before the talk turned abruptly to business.

      Story Continued

    “I said, ‘Well, what are you doing?’ ” Mr. Carcieri recalled when I met him recently, at a Panera Bread in East Greenwich, R.I., his hometown. “And he said, ‘I’ve got this business, this company, creating video games.’ Which I knew nothing about — my grandkids know more about it than I do. But he was describing it. He said: ‘It’s a great little company, it’s growing,’ et cetera. And he was looking to grow it further.”

    More to the point, Mr. Schilling let drop that he wasn’t getting much help in Massachusetts when it came to the financing he needed to expand, and he was frustrated. You can imagine the heralding trumpets that must have been blasting in Mr. Carcieri’s ears as he listened to Mr. Schilling dangle hundreds of jobs in front of him.

    [Image: 21-SCHILLING-JP1-sfSpan.jpg]
    Curt Shilling, Center

    Within a few weeks, Mr. Schilling, a novice in the gaming field, was wowing other local politicians with his outsize presence and his grand ambitions to build a Microsoft-like behemoth. And soon Rhode Island’s lawmakers were rushing to approve a deal to make the state Mr. Schilling’s angel investor. The tiny, struggling state issued $75 million in bonds so that Mr. Schilling’s company, called 38 Studios, could relocate to Providence and unleash the world’s next killer fantasy game.

    Ideas that seem plausible in our darkest moments often seem plainly flawed in hindsight, and you can probably see where all this is going. A little more than two years after Mr. Carcieri first talked to Mr. Schilling about 38 Studios — so named for his baseball uniform number — the company went bankrupt, blowing a sizable hole in the state’s already strained finances. And now Mr. Schilling’s headquarters on Empire Street, the brick building just a few blocks from the Capitol that was supposed to prompt a high-tech urban renaissance, sits locked and abandoned, like some ugly monument to political folly.

    [Image: 21-SCHILLING-JP4-articleInline.jpg]
    Lincoln Chafee

    Politicians are debating whether Rhode Island can afford to repay the bondholders, or whether it should simply default. Because the bonds are what’s known as moral obligation bonds, the state doesn’t technically have to repay them, but its credit rating could take a hit, and Mr. Carcieri’s successor as governor, Lincoln D. Chafee, has promised that the bondholders would be repaid. Mr. Chafee is also suing Mr. Schilling and his partners, along with a raft of former state officials, banks and law firms involved in the deal, and a criminal investigation is under way.

    Even in a state that long served as New England’s Mafia headquarters — and a state whose best-known modern political figure, Buddy Cianci, the former Providence mayor, was sent to prison in a federal corruption case known as Operation Plunder Dome — the 38 Studios debacle has registered as a painful embarrassment. (When I called influential Rhode Islanders and told them I was writing about 38 Studios, virtually all of them, even if they had opposed the deal, answered with some version of, “Do you have to?”)

    Rhode Islanders are used to being played by their politicians. What makes them cringe is the suspicion that virtually all their elected leaders might have been played by someone else.

    A Beguiling Vision

    It may be hard to understand how all of this happened without understanding the ancient, one-sided rivalry that exists between Rhode Island, a state of just 1,000 square miles, and Massachusetts, which squeezes Rhode Island on two sides like a vise. Massachusetts is the land of the Red Sox and the Kennedys; Rhode Island makes do with the Red Sox’ Class AAA affiliate in Pawtucket and has a history of rampant political corruption.

    Going back to the 1980s, Massachusetts developed a high-tech corridor near Cambridge that enabled it to transcend its manufacturing roots. Rhode Island remained stubbornly wedded to its textile makers and jewelry factories, most of them now long gone or crumbling.

    [Image: 21-SCHILLING-JP5-articleInline.jpg]
    Don Carcieri

    So when Curt Schilling came courting in the weeks after his encounter with Mr. Carcieri, it wasn’t just the promise of jobs that caught the attention of the state’s political establishment. Here was one of Boston’s greatest living legends, a proven winner who had sunk something like $50 million of his own fortune into his company, and he was looking to build it not in Kendall Square of Cambridge, but near the old Jewelry District of Providence. If ever there was a way to show up the Bay Staters next door, this had to be it.

    “It just felt really good, when this all started, to have the sexy sports celebrity from Boston who seemed to like Rhode Island and showed up in Rhode Island, and who built this exotic new business, even though no one knew what it was,” says the historian Ted Widmer, who grew up in Providence and works at Brown. “It seemed like the digital economy, or biotech, or whatever. But then it turned out that it wasn’t the new digital economy. It was some 13-year-old’s medieval fantasy.”

    That’s not really an accurate assessment of Mr. Schilling’s start-up, but neither is it entirely off base. (Mr. Schilling declined to talk to me about 38 Studios, citing the continuing litigation; in an e-mail, he called the state’s case against him “wholly without merit and literally 100 percent baseless.”) An avid gamer when he wasn’t on a mound, Mr. Schilling dreamed up 38 Studios near the end of his playing days back in 2006, according to a Harvard Business School case study written in 2009.

    From the start, his goal was to build what gamers call an MMORPG — for a massively multiplayer online role-playing game — along the lines of the crazily popular “World of Warcraft,” and to get what he called “Bill Gates-rich” in the process.

    By the time Mr. Schilling pitched Mr. Carcieri on his company, one of the world’s leading video game publishers, Electronic Arts, had agreed to underwrite and publish a scaled-down, console version of the game, titled Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. (A console game is the kind you can put into a system like an Xbox.) But Mr. Schilling estimated that he would need an additional $100 million and a couple of years to finish his multiplayer masterpiece.

    He had been unable to get it from any of the venture capital firms in Boston, probably because these types of online role-playing games are notoriously expensive and hard to produce — even now, none have approached the commercial heights of Warcraft — and, according to the Harvard Business School study, Mr. Schilling wasn’t willing to hand over even half the company’s equity to prospective investors. He had little patience for their skepticism.

    “Sitting across from people at investor meetings, I wonder, How can you not understand this?” Mr. Schilling told the study’s authors. “How do you not see what we are doing? And if you do see it, why aren’t you writing a check?”

    As it happened, Rhode Island had decided to start writing its own checks in an effort to modernize its economy. Mr. Carcieri had overhauled the Economic Development Corporation, a quasi-public agency chaired by the governor and responsible for attracting new jobs. Its 13-member board included the respected chiefs of some of Rhode Island’s leading businesses, including the chairman and former C.E.O. of Hasbro Toys and the vice chairman of Gilbane, an international real estate developer.

    [Image: 21-SCHILLING-JP8-sfSpan.jpg]
    Shilling-in his pants.

    In past years, the corporation had provided loans of $1 million here or $1 million there, usually to help a local factory buy a new machine or to expand a plant, but now Mr. Carcieri was putting some muscle behind it. He and the Democratic leaders of the Legislature were preparing to appropriate $50 million to the corporation so it could place bigger bets on new industries looking to locate in Rhode Island.

    For years, state officials had been kicking around the intriguing idea of transforming the old jewelers’ neighborhood in Providence, not far from the Rhode Island School of Design, into a nationally competitive “knowledge district” — the kind of neighborhood to which hip, young graduates would flock to design software. So, right from the start, what Mr. Carcieri and his economic planners saw in 38 Studios was just the sort of high-tech start-up that could be the magnet to revive the area.

    Before they could realize this vision, however, Mr. Carcieri and the Democratic legislative leaders had to get through a two-step process. First, they had to convince lawmakers to authorize an extra $75 million in bonds issued by the Economic Development Corporation, because Mr. Schilling said he needed at least that much if he was going to relocate to Providence and complete the multiplayer project. They managed to achieve this with only one dissenting vote, which was cast by Robert Watson, then the Republican leader in the House. (“Scandal finds money,” Mr. Watson darkly warned at the time.)

    With that obstacle out of the way, the project’s boosters had to persuade the business heavyweights on the corporation’s board to approve the loans to 38 Studios. When we talked, Mr. Carcieri emphasized to me that the board, far from being bullied by the governor or star-struck by Mr. Schilling, had engaged in a laborious process of due diligence and had come to see 38 Studios as a solid opportunity. “These are people who are not just going to roll over, even if it’s something I wanted them to do,” Mr. Carcieri told me.

    And yet, you don’t have to dig very hard into the record to find that there were plenty of serious-minded advisers who tried to warn state officials away from 38 Studios. Among them, apparently, was the corporation’s own financial portfolio manager, Sean Esten.

    According to the state’s pending lawsuit, Mr. Esten was alarmed that 38 Studios’ worst-case projection for its business seemed to rely on releasing a successful game every two years — a track record that most gaming companies can only dream of.

    “I don’t think I can support a $75 million guarantee to any single company in this industry due to the wide volatility in commercial success of game releases,” Mr. Esten told his bosses in an e-mail. “Perhaps we should develop a toolbox of incentives (including loan guarantees) to attract companies into a cluster and not rely on a single company to build the cluster around.”

    According to the state’s complaint, Mr. Esten’s bosses decided to bury his analysis. (Like others involved in the deal, Mr. Esten declined to return my calls or e-mails.)

    Another skeptic was Gina Raimondo, a Democrat who was running for state treasurer at the time and now holds the office. Ms. Raimondo spent the previous decade working in venture capital, and after reading about the proposed investment in July 2010, sent an unsolicited and eerily prescient e-mail to Keith Stokes, who was then the corporation’s executive director and the deal’s main architect.

    “In general, I would proceed very carefully on this,” Ms. Raimondo wrote. The company “is in the Boston area where there are 200 venture capital firms, and it is in a very hot area of gaming so if it were in fact a compelling investment I would have to think it would be well funded already by venture capitalists; the fact that many have looked at it and passed is a red flag.”

    (Mr. Stokes, who is out of government and is among those being sued, sent me a one-paragraph statement that said, in part, “I am fully prepared to undertake a vigorous defense and look forward to correcting the false and misleading allegations that have been leveled against me.”)

    In the end, with warnings like these apparently ignored by the staff, only one of the 13 board members voted against the investment in 38 Studios. That lone dissenter was Karl Wadensten, who owns Vibco, one of the country’s main manufacturers of industrial vibrators.

    Mr. Wadensten told me that he had simply asked himself some basic questions before the vote: Doesn’t it always take twice as long to bring a product to market as you think it will? And if the economy keeps cratering, aren’t parents likely to stop buying video games for their children?

    It’s easy, of course, to consider these questions now and to wonder what the rest of the state’s top politicians and blue-ribbon C.E.O.'s were thinking. And no doubt Mr. Wadensten and others deserve credit for seeing the risks. But you can’t really divorce the fateful plunge into 38 Studios from the context of the economic moment.

    “They were telling us we could have unemployment of 13 or 14 percent!” Gordon D. Fox, the Democratic House speaker, recalled when we sat in his State House office one morning last December. “And you’ve got a population saying: ‘O.K., lookit, we need something to happen now. We need jobs now.’ And O.K., what is government’s role in that?”

    Mr. Fox and Mr. Stokes were the first Rhode Island officials to meet with Mr. Schilling after he made his pitch to Mr. Carcieri, and Mr. Fox was instrumental in pushing the financing through the Legislature. His father, he told me, had been a jewelry polisher downtown; his mother had worked as a maid. In 2010, people who reminded him of his parents were losing paychecks and getting tossed from their homes, and suddenly there was Mr. Schilling, sitting in front of him with a plan and bursting with entrepreneurial confidence.

    “I don’t want to make it look like I’m beguiled somehow by a sports guy,” Mr. Fox told me. “But I imagine it’s like certain military generals, when they call them up and say, ‘You know what? We need Eisenhower in there because he’s the guy to lead that fleet across to Normandy.’ You just at some point have confidence that, whatever that intangible is, this guy can do it. And I did get that feeling from him, that if all of this vets out true, this is probably a guy who can pull it off.”

    A Personal Feud

    Lincoln Chafeeis one of the more unusual politicians you will ever meet. The scion of one of Rhode Island’s most admired political families, young Linc graduated from Brown in 1975 and promptly went off to shoe horses out West, spending seven solitary years on the Canadian racing circuit.

    Although he can sometimes seem meek and stammering, all that time alone seems to have instilled in him a steely resolve. Throughout his career as a Republican senator and now as a governor without a party, Mr. Chafee has displayed a stubborn indifference to the wisdom of crowds and an outright contempt for famous figures — most notablyGeorge W. Bush — who strike him as imperious.

    So it’s not surprising that Mr. Chafee, after talking with some private investors he knew, decided that he wanted nothing to do with Mr. Schilling or 38 Studios. In July 2010, just after the Economic Development Corporation approved the bond issue for Mr. Schilling’s company, Mr. Chafee, who was then a candidate for governor, spoke out against the deal and wondered aloud whether Mr. Schilling was the right business partner for the state.

    [Image: 21-SCHILLING-JP7-articleInline.jpg]
    The bloody sock.

    “I just remember his own teammates didn’t like him,” Mr. Chafee said in a radio interview the day after the vote. “They thought he was a bit of a salesman. I remember one of his teammates said he painted his sock, the bloody sock, he painted it.” (That story turned out to be inaccurate.) Mr. Chafee added, “I don’t know if I trust Curt Schilling.”

    In the heart of New England, accusing Mr. Schilling of having fabricated the bloody sock was like saying that Betsy Ross had imported her flag from China. Local reporters immediately set about seeing if Mr. Chafee would retract the allegation. He wouldn’t.

    Thus began the often personal feud at the center of the 38 Studios scandal, between the revered and voluble jock on one hand and the obstinate introvert who was soon to become governor on the other. When it came to sounding the alarm about 38 Studios, Mr. Chafee told me recently, “You couldn’t say I didn’t do everything I could.”

    Whether Mr. Chafee did everything he could after becoming governor, however, is a different question. He made a point of touring 38 Studios’ new building on Empire Street and trying to reach some accord with Mr. Schilling. Whether or not he liked the deal, Mr. Chafee said, the state was now in business with the company and he was committed to making sure that it succeeded. But then, from all appearances, Mr. Chafee pretty much wiped his hands clean and moved on to other things.

    As governor, Mr. Chafee chaired the board of the Economic Development Corporation he had accused of negligence, but until 38 Studios went under, he made no consequential changes to the board or its staff. Mr. Chafee told me that he left Mr. Stokes in charge of monitoring the 38 Studios deal because Mr. Stokes was a longtime friend of the state Senate’s president, and removing him would have required more political capital than it was worth.

    According to an investigation by GoLocalProv.com, the development corporation’s various committees held 63 meetings from September 2010 to May 2012, but not once did anyone discuss the financial health of 38 Studios. The board seemed to be under the impression that a consulting arm of I.B.M. had signed on to police its investment. In fact, I.B.M. was being paid by 38 Studios, not the state, and didn’t issue a single report to the board.

    Mr. Chafee doesn’t dispute the suggestion that he might have done more to monitor the state’s investment.

    “I had so many reservations about this being a bad deal, that I was reluctant to micromanage, to have it be ‘Chafee screwing this up,’ ” he told me recently. “And don’t forget, we had our hands full in this state.”

    He ticked off a series of challenges he has confronted as governor: a $450 million budget shortfall, a small city in bankruptcy, Hurricane Irene and a battle over reforming the pension system. “We... had... our... hands... full,” he repeated, tapping the table to emphasize each word.

    It wasn’t as if the state’s leading politicians were going to run into Mr. Schilling at the Providence Place shopping mall, or sitting at a corner table at Capriccio, so they could ask him what was up with that whole gaming thing. If state officials had envisioned that Mr. Schilling would become a glamorous new pillar of the local business community, they had miscalculated there, too. Mr. Schilling made the drive most days from his Massachusetts home to Providence, but he didn’t become a man about town. Mr. Schilling was talked about but rarely seen, and neither Mr. Chafee nor any other politician I spoke to ever thought to invite him over for a talk about what the company was doing with Rhode Island’s money.

    ‘The Company Was Curdling’

    Had state officials known what was transpiring inside the brick building on Empire Street, it’s a good bet they would have sensed trouble coming a lot sooner.

    From the start, Mr. Schilling prided himself on offering good pay; the average annual salary, according to Mr. Schilling, was $86,000. “We had as good a health care plan as anyone in the world,” he said in an interview with WEEI, a Boston sports station, after 38 Studios collapsed.

    And because Mr. Schilling was determined to bring his best talent with him from Boston to Providence, 38 Studios had also assumed responsibility for the mortgages on dozens of its employees’ homes until they could be sold — the kind of incentive not usually offered by start-up companies.

    As if all of this weren’t expensive enough, as part of his agreement with Rhode Island officials, Mr. Schilling was ramping up at a frantic pace, hiring hundreds of new employees. Mr. Schilling and his main investor found themselves at cross-purposes; he needed to control costs, but the taxpayers had been promised more jobs, and jobs they got.

    Experts will tell you that a multiplayer online game like Amalur is among the most complex and ambitious projects that a game producer could undertake, even if the company were well capitalized and had a proven record of success. Mr. Schilling’s version was especially challenging, because it was a “player versus environment,” or P.V.E., game, which means that your world as a player can evolve differently than some other guy’s, depending on the choices you make; if you kill a wizard somewhere, the fortress that the wizard might have created somewhere else in the game will never exist.

    Multiple layers of entire worlds have to be designed and coded. One of Mr. Schilling’s original collaborators was the best-selling fantasy author R. A. Salvatore, whom Mr. Schilling recruited to create a fantasy world with 10,000 years of back story, racking up a bill (still unpaid) of almost $2 million.

    In 2011 and into 2012, as Mr. Schilling piled up expenses and payroll, 38 Studios was burning through several million dollars a month, with no end in sight. Brett Close, who had been 38 Studios’ founding C.E.O. in Boston but left well before Mr. Schilling struck his deal with Rhode Island, told me that he had pushed Mr. Schilling to consider scaling back his ambitions. He suggested releasing Amalur in smaller phases, rather than “trying to build the skyscraper horizontally and then standing it up.”

    Mr. Schilling, however, was unmoved. He seemed to think that he could will Amalur into being, in the same way he had always been able to pitch his way out of a bases-loaded jam, even with a throbbing arm. His certainty reassured employees on Empire Street, who had no idea that he was running out of money.

    Mr. Schilling had been counting on the sales of his console game, Reckoning, to keep the company going until the online game was ready. But in the months after 38 Studios and Electronic Arts introduced that version in February 2012, it became apparent that Reckoning wasn’t going to be the breakout hit that Mr. Schilling needed it to be.

    In the end, Reckoning sold about 1.5 million units, which was a more-than-respectable debut for a gaming company, but nothing like the spectacular showing that Mr. Schilling had projected. There was no way that he was going to lure more private financing at that point, and he had no more of his own cash to lose. He pledged his collection of gold coins to secure a bank loan for $8.5 million, but time was running out.

    In April 2012, Mr. Schilling finally reached out to the state, inviting Mr. Chafee and Mr. Fox, the House speaker, down to Empire Street for a meeting. Mr. Chafee recalled that as the two men waited for Mr. Schilling in a conference room, they poured themselves coffee, only to watch the cream in their cups curdle instantly.

    “In retrospect, it was symbolic, because at that meeting there was indication that the company was curdling,” Mr. Chafee told me. “Curt was talking about his investment, and how much he’d put into it, and how they were going to need more financing.”

    The two politicians tried to take all this in, then stumbled back into the street, too dazed to speak.

    Inevitably, the sad, final act unfolded in a swirl of public recrimination. Mr. Schilling thought he had long been promised an additional $14.3 million in tax credits from the state, but the Chafee administration refused to authorize them.

    “We were in deep already, and like any good investor, show me a bridge to success, and I’ll do the cost-benefit analysis,” Mr. Chafee told me. “We never got that confidence that it was going to lead to something successful.”

    As Mr. Schilling scrambled for backing and failed to make his payroll for three consecutive weeks, Mr. Chafee publicly called the console game a “flop” and said 38 Studios was “just the worst investment that’s ever been made, I think, in the history of Rhode Island.” He also accused 38 Studios of trying to pass the state a bad check. By the time 38 Studios closed its doors for good in June, dismissing hundreds of employees in an e-mail, the company listed $150 million in debt, $22 million in assets and $320 in petty cash.

    For his part, Mr. Schilling made it very clear that he blamed Mr. Chafee for scuttling his plans to save the company. In the WEEI interview, Mr. Schilling said that a gaming company had been prepared to sign a $35 million publishing deal for his console game, Reckoning. But then Mr. Chafee went and slammed the company, and Mr. Schilling’s partner fled the scene.

    “I think he had an agenda, and he executed it,” Mr. Schilling said on the radio of Mr. Chafee. “This is an I-told-you-so, absolutely.”

    Mr. Schilling said he had basically lost his entire baseball fortune in 38 Studios. Months later, he would auction off his bloody sock.

    ‘The State Kind of Took Itself’

    The state’s 95-page complaint against Mr. Schilling and his 13 co-defendants, most of whom have now filed motions with the court to dismiss the case, reads like the treatment for a modern remake of"The Music Man.”

    According to the complaint, Mr. Schilling knew that he needed more than $75 million to realize his dream. He also must have known, it adds, that the amount of money he would get from Rhode Island — minus the money set aside for insurance and paid in transaction fees, along with the costs of relocating his employees — would actually fall short of that mark by more than $20 million. The complaint contends that Mr. Schilling purposely defrauded the state by taking its money even though he knew that it wasn’t enough and that 38 Studios was “destined to fail.”

    This may or may not persuade a jury — and, in any event, it almost certainly won’t get that far, because the main objective is most likely a settlement with the three major banks named as co-defendants in the suit, all of which advised the state or helped issue the bonds.

    To the casual reader, though, the case against Mr. Schilling may not be all that impressive. After all, if people went around suing everyone who accepted a loan for less money than they actually needed, the courts wouldn’t have time for anything else. In the state’s version of events, Mr. Schilling comes off as an arrogant and overexuberant entrepreneur, possessed of grand delusions. But there’s no suggestion that he intended to swindle anyone. He clearly believed he could succeed.

    No, it was the entire political establishment of Rhode Island, not Curt Schilling, who decided that it would be a good idea for the taxpayers to capitalize a gaming company that had never actually produced a game, because the guy running it had a World Series ring, and because it might just seed a magic garden of technological innovation.

    At bottom, 38 Studios may be that rare political scandal that grew not from any lies that anyone told the public, but from the stories that desperate politicians told themselves.

    “Maybe this just came down to everyone wanting it too badly,” Mr. Fox told me. Or as another legislator, Charlene M. Lima, a Democrat, put it, “The state kind of took itself.”

    If there’s a lesson in all this, it probably has to do with the limits of what any government can — or should — do to bring about growth. Just about every state offers some kind of tax incentive or loan program for businesses looking to relocate. But Rhode Island went further than that; in its zeal to land Mr. Schilling, the state took on the role of venture capitalist, without having the expertise to do it well.

    An actual venture capital firm would have been investing in many companies at once, to minimize its exposure, and it would have demanded a sizable equity stake. It would have taken a seat on the board so it could monitor the money closely and, if needed, restructure the company. Rhode Island, instead, threw most of its venture money into a single, highly speculative start-up, insisted that it more than double the size of its work force, and then walked away.

    This lesson isn’t lost on Mr. Chafee, who has been preaching a longer-term, more methodical kind of economic development centered on what he calls “the meds and the eds” — that is, hospital and universities, of which Rhode Island has plenty. Brown recently moved its medical school into the hoped-for knowledge district, and the state has just finished relocating a highway in the neighborhood, clearing acres of real estate.

    Even so, with unemployment in Rhode Island above 9 percent, Mr. Chafee is now a profoundly unpopular governor, and his chances for re-election at this point seem slim. His deliberate approach inspires little confidence.

    “People don’t like it,” Mr. Chafee acknowledged, shaking his head. “They want the razzle-dazzle.” By which he meant something more like the shimmering kingdom of Amalur, twinkling just out of reach.

    This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

    Correction: April 21, 2013

    An earlier version of this article misstated the given name of the director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation who voted against investing in 38 Studios in 2010. He is Karl Wadensten, not Kurt. The article also referred incorrectly to another director who served during that period. He was the chairman and a past chief executive of Hasbro, not its C.E.O. at the time. An earlier version misattributed the statement that the development corporation’s various committees held 63 meetings from September 2010 to May 2012 without discussing 38 Studios’ financial health. It was reported on GoLocalProv.com, not in The Providence Journal. And an earlier version referred incorrectly to work on a highway running through the Providence “knowledge district.” The highway was relocated but was not buried underground.

    even entry level civil service jobs require applicants to take some sort of test to ensure they aren't total morons. it's time to start quizzing these fuckers to ensure they understand basic business finance.

    also... after actually seeing the infamous 'bloody sock,' i find myself unimpressed. i was expecting the sock to be drenched in blood. i mean, it's almost as if he nicked his leg while shaving and then just put a sock on. seriously? that was the bloody fucking sock?

    "Yeah. I understand the mechanics of it, shithead. I just don't understand how this is any less retarded than what I'm suggesting." - Kiley; Housebound.
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