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Today's Links: November 19, 2012

OPINION

JORDAN BLOOM: "An Anti-IP Turn for the GOP? (UPDATE: RSC disowns and pulls the brief)"
"A Republican Study Committee policy brief released today to members of the House Conservative Caucus and various think tanks lays out 'three myths about copyright law' and some ways to go about correcting what many see as a broken system. Derek Khanna, the RSC staffer who authored the paper, acknowledges an important role for intellectual property while also pointing out how badly the current system has gone off track. [...] [UPDATE Saturday 4:48 pm]: The RSC has now taken down the brief and disowned it via this memo from Executive Director Paul Teller."

EDWARD J. PINTO: "The Next Housing Bailout? Big Trouble Brewing at the FHA"
"While these are welcome trends, figures released today from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) throw a sobering splash of cold water. FHA's FY 2012 Actuarial Study for its main single family program shows that its capital position has turned negative, by $13.5 billion. That's a shift of $23 billion in economic value in a single year, and it puts the 78-year-old agency $34.5 billion short of its legal capital requirement.  If it were a private company, it would be shut down."

GREG BEATO: "Big Brother’s Border Blindness"
"Long before Google Street View existed, long before we started sending out alerts every time we breached the perimeter of Starbucks, the U.S. government embarked on an epic quest to establish a 'virtual' fence along the Mexican border. The year was 1997. And while the U.S. Border Patrol’s surveillance technology then consisted primarily of sunglasses, border hawks and bureaucrats dreamed of a thin technological line of motion sensors, infrared cameras, and video-driven command centers producing the same sort of omniscience we now exert over 7-Eleven parking lots. To realize this bold but improbable vision, Congress approved funds for a pilot project called the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System, or ISIS.  Thus began a long stretch of failure[.]"

NEWS

HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT - Evolution of the Mobile Phone by Docomo
"Japanese communications company NTT docomo celebrates its 20th anniversary with an exhibition showcasing the evolution of mobile phone culture starting from 1987 to the present day. The extensive chronological display of cell phones on view at Tokyo designers' week offered a visual documentation of the progress made in terms of size, shape, form, color and materials used in the design of today's mobile devices.

CALIFORNIA - Public Nudity Ban Eyed in Fed-Up San Francisco
"City lawmakers are scheduled to vote Tuesday on an ordinance that would prohibit nudity in most public places, a blanket ban that represents an escalation of a two-year tiff between a devoted group of men who strut their stuff through the city's famously gay Castro District and the supervisor who represents the area."

MARKET - Wall Street Rises on Budget Talk Optimism
"Stock opened higher on Monday, with the S&P 500 rising 1 percent, as signs of progress in talks to resolve the fiscal crunch heartened investors at the start of a holiday-shortened week."