Today’s Links: April 20, 2012


MATTHEW PHILLIPS: “Why Obama’s Crackdown on Oil Speculators Won’t Work
“Those pesky oil speculators. If only we could rein them in by making it more expensive to bet on oil prices. If only regulators had the firepower to track down market manipulators and impose tougher penalties on those they caught. The price of oil would surely drop, right? If only it were that easy. One thing about the oil market: It is not prone to simple solutions.”

JOSH BARRO: “Why Housing in Washington, D.C., Is So Awful
“[T]he real crisis of land use in Washington goes way beyond the height limit. It’s that the District’s planning and zoning apparatus is overall hostile to new development, usually allowing far less building that would be permitted by the Heights of Buildings Act of 1910. And while D.C.’s planning rules are restrictive, they are also arbitrary and unevenly enforced, making it a difficult market to enter.”

WENDY MILLING: “The DOJ’s Mugging of Apple Reminds Us That Antitrust Is Theft”
“The absurdity of the Department of Justice’s latest antitrust charges against Apple has prompted a long overdue re-evaluation of the validity of antitrust doctrine. The commentariat is increasingly realizing that antitrust does not make sense and is destructive in practice. For many laws that are wrong, certain caveats or qualifications should be stated before condemning them. I cannot think of any for antitrust law. There is no longer anything plausible about it. It is time to formally reject the concept of antitrust and to put the repeal of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 on the legislative agenda.”


COSMETICS – Drugmaker’s Eyelash Fight Reaches Congress
“The company behind Botox is lobbying Congress to make it harder for cosmetics makers to compete with a $100 million-a-year drug it markets to thicken eyelashes. Allergan Inc., which makes Latisse, a popular mascara-like treatment, wants Congress to pass legislation that would force its competitors to submit their currently unregulated eyelash products for Food and Drug Administration reviews.”

ARGENTINA – Ignoring Critics, Argentina to Nationalize Oil Firm
“It sounds like a story from the past: A Latin American leader announces plans to nationalize a large foreign company, touching off a high-stakes battle that involves money, politics and diplomacy. Yet it’s happening right now. Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez said this week that her country plans to take over a giant Spanish oil company at a time when the economies in both countries are facing challenges.”

SAUDI ARABIA – Beheadings for Witchcraft
“A Sri Lankan woman is currently facing decapitation by sword on a witchcraft charge in Saudi Arabia, in accordance with Wahhabism, a strict form of Sunni Islam. The UN reports executions tripled in the kingdom in 2011.”