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Today's Links: December 11, 2012

OPINION

RICH LOWRY: "The beginning of the end for big labor"
"Michigan is on the verge of passing the kind of “right to work” law that is anathema to unions everywhere and is associated with the red states of the Sun Belt, not the blue states of the Rust Belt. To say that such a development is stunning is almost an understatement. Michigan is to unionization what Florida is to sand, Texas is to oil and Alaska is to grizzly bears. The union model hasn’t just been central to its economy, but to its very identity."

DAVID KOPEN: "Does any government have the legitimate power to ban medical marijuana?"
"Ernst Freund was one of the Founding Fathers of progressive constitutionalism. His 1904 book The Police Power: Public Policy and Constitutional Rights argued for a vastly expanded understanding of the police power. [...] So what would Freund, that great advocate for loosening the restraints on big government, have to say about laws which prohibit the medical use of marijuana?"

KATY WALDMAN: "5-Hour Distillery"
"Do [whiskey] startups have to wait years and years before selling their first bottle of the good stuff? [...] While some high-end whiskey brands distill their own grain or corn, many distinguish themselves not by distilling or aging, but by mixing various carefully selected, pre-aged blends together. It’s also common practice for these companies—which include Adelphi, Silver Seal and Lombard—to create a signature taste by applying filters that remove congeners, the harsh chemicals which form during fermentation, and by adding liquor flavorings and spices. One exception to this rule is bourbon: It’s illegal in the United States to modify bourbon in the time between it leaves the storage cask and enters the bottle."

NEWS

TSA - What happens when the TSA takes your weapons away
"Last year the Transportation Security Administration collected 888,000 items -- from knives and scissors to snow globes and sunglasses -- that were confiscated or left behind by airline passengers as they boarded their flights. But airport contraband has an afterlife. It ends up in state-run stores, where thrifty customers can rummage through bins of objects from the TSA's no-fly list."

INTERNET - Can you face charges for reposting a link?
Barrett Brown, the once self-appointed spokesman to hacker collective Anonymous, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on 12 charges related to the infamous Stratfor hack. Unlike activist Jeremy Hammond, who could face life in prison for his alleged role hacking the private intelligence firm, Brown’s charges specifically pertain to the sharing of information, a development that has perturbed journalists and bloggers who regularly report on hackers and hacked information.

SPACE - Via the Moon, a Theory of Life on Mars
"Scientists care about the moon in part because it is the moon -- our moon. But they care about it, also, because its body is in some ways a proxy for our Earth's: Its surface, like ours, bears the scars of a long existence in our little corner of the Milky Way. And new research suggests that that existence might have been much more violent -- and perhaps more hospitable to life -- than we humans initially believed. Yes."