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Today's Links: January 31, 2012

OPINION

SANJIV AHUJA: "Lost in D.C.'s Iron Triangle"
"LightSquared, encouraged by the Federal Communications Commission under both the Obama and Bush administrations, has spent billions building a new wireless broadband network on parts of the spectrum we legally own. [...] But then last year, the Space Based Positioning Navigation and Timing Executive Committee was asked to evaluate our plans. This government panel was created in 2004 to guide GPS policy, and we believe it has been captured by the GPS industry. For example, the vice chairman of the committee’s advisory board sits on the board of directors of a GPS company that has spent more than a million dollars lobbying against LightSquared’s technology."

ANDREW COHEN: "Quietly, U.S. Moves to Block Lawsuits From Military Families"
"Politicians and bureaucrats of all persuasions typically trip over themselves when it comes to praising the values and virtues, the courage and the sacrifice, of America's military families. [...] But while public officials are out waving the flag toward these families, federal lawyers in court are now quietly trying to expand the U.S. government's legal immunity from exposure to medical malpractice claims brought by those very same military folks. Now, the feds want the courts to recognize a bold application of an old doctrine -- an already heavily criticized old doctrine -- that would bar many plaintiffs, whose loved ones serve their country, from exercising the right merely to be able to present the substance of their claims at trial."

GLENN GARVIN: "Stop Bothering the Fed, You Peasant Taxpayers!"
"Breaking news: When it came to the collapse of the bubble that touched off the 2008 meltdown of the U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve was a placid herd of clueless blockheads. Less than two years before the housing market turned kamikaze, Fed officials were gathering around conference rooms congratulating one another on what a genius job they were doing managing the economy."

NEWS

HOMELAND SECURITY - British Pair Arrested in U.S on Terror Charges Over Twitter Jokes
"Leigh Van Bryan, 26, was handcuffed and kept under armed guard in a cell with Mexican drug dealers for 12 hours after landing in Los Angeles with pal Emily Bunting. The Department of Homeland Security flagged him as a potential threat when he posted an excited tweet to his pals about his forthcoming trip to Hollywood which read: 'Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?'"

PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS - CBO: Federal Workers Make More Than Their Private Sector Counterparts
"The Congressional Budget Office has found that the federal government pays slightly more in average wages and significantly more in benefits than the private sector. But the advantages mostly accrue to less-educated workers, while compensation for federal employees with professional and doctoral degrees lag significantly behind their private-sector counterparts."

FDA - Whistleblowers Sue FDA Over Email Monitoring
"The Food and Drug Administration is being accused of monitoring the personal e-mails of six employees who had previously reported inappropriate device approvals to Congress and the press."