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Today's Links: February 17, 2012

OPINION

KATHERINE MANGU-WARD: "Free-Range Parenting: You're Going to Go to Jail. Maybe."
"Hey look, here's a big omnibus article by David Pimentel of the Florida Costal School of Law on all the ways you are potentially legally screwed if you let your kid do stuff that was considered normal at some point in the less intensively parented past."

KASHMIR HILL: "How Target Figured Out a Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did"
"Every time you go shopping, you share intimate details about your consumption patterns with retailers. And many of those retailers are studying those details to figure out what you like, what you need, and which coupons are most likely to make you happy. Target, for example, has figured out how to data-mine its way into your womb, to figure out whether you have a baby on the way long before you need to start buying diapers. [...] What Target discovered fairly quickly is that it creeped people out that the company knew about their pregnancies in advance."

RHONDA ABRAMS: "Retail's Changing; So Should You"
"Small retailers are in serious trouble. All over America, they have been pushed to the brink of extinction. The assault began with mall stores and continued with big-box super stores, but the final blow may come from aggressive Internet merchants. Do small businesses have a future in the retail environment? Can small retailers be saved?"

NEWS

NANNY STATE - Homes' Sagging Pants Bill Passes Alabama House 59-0
"Called the 'saggy pants' bill, the measure applies only to Montgomery County. It passed the House by a 59-0 vote Thursday. People in Montgomery County could end up paying fines if their pants fall below their waists. The bill calls for a fine up to $100 for juveniles and up to $150 for adults cited for wearing 'saggy pants.'"

CANADA - Conservatives and Enthusiasts Cheer the End of the Long-Gun Registry
"The Conservative government says its MPs will celebrate after a historic vote to end the long-gun registry Wednesday evening, despite vehement opposition to the move in Quebec and much of urban Canada. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told reporters Wednesday, hours before the vote, that the government’s actions are long overdue. 'It does nothing to help put an end to gun crimes, nor has it saved one Canadian life,' he said."

HEALTH & SAFETY - What's Really Causing Tourettes Symptoms at Le Roy High School?
"Could it be toxins from hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the natural-gas wells that ring the girls’ school? Seepage from a 1970 cyanide spill miles away, suddenly reappearing after all these years and somehow affecting only young women? Or maybe all those folks on the Internet are right with their rants against vaccinations like Gardasil. And what about PANDAS, the elusive pediatric auto-immune infection? Surely if Erin Brockovich, the environmental crusader who has made a career out of litigating spills, sent a trusted aide to the scene to dig up soil samples from the school grounds, there was reason to suspect a cover-up."