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Today's Links: March 8, 2012

OPINION

TIMOTHY B. LEE: "The Obama Administration Wants Warrantless Access to Cell Phone Locational Data"
"A Maryland court last week ruled that the government does not need a warrant to force a cell phone provider to disclose more than six months of data on the movements of one of its customers. Two defendants had been accused of armed robbery, and a key piece of evidence against them was data about the movements of the pair's cell phones. The defendants had sought to suppress this location evidence because the government did not get a warrant before seeking the data from network providers. But last Thursday, Judge Richard D. Bennett ruled that a warrant is not required to obtain cell-site location records (CSLR) from a wireless carrier."

MICHELLE HIRSCH: "The High Cost of Clean Energy"
"Clean energy is a top priority of the Obama administration, which late last year launched an initiative offering businesses $2 billion to enhance their energy efficiency, while spearheading green building projects as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  And while the president has stressed the importance of government reorganization and downsizing where possible, the administration has largely left dozens of 'green' programs in place from previous administrations.  The result is a 'lasagna' of similar programs layered one on top of the other."

STEVE FORBES: "The Federal Reserve's Approach to the Housing Market"
"In reaffirming its near 0% interest rate policy for another three years the Federal Reserve averred that this was necessary to revive the housing market, which, in turn, was necessary for the economy to revive. House building and the buying and selling of existing homes are meaningful parts of the economy. More important, from the Fed’s perspective a house is the biggest asset for millions of people; therefore, higher values mean owners will be more likely to spend. This reasoning is arse backwards."

NEWS

ENERGY - Washington State Plan Expands Renewable Energy Law
"Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire on Wednesday signed a bill that for the first time broadens the definition of renewable energy. The measure makes electricity produced from older biomass facilities, such as pulp mills, eligible for the state's renewable energy mandate. Supporters say it will benefit rural communities and a struggling timber industry."

JOBS - D.C. Has No Count of Jobs From Stimulus
"Despite receiving more than $885 million in federal economic stimulus funds since 2009, theD.C. government — whose residents face one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation — cannot say how many jobs it actually created for those who live in the District."

HEALTH - FDA Weights Over-the-Counter Switch For Key Drugs
"Some of the most widely used prescription drugs, including those to treat cholesterol and high blood pressure, could be available over the counter under a new proposal being weighed by government regulators."