Today’s Links: April 30, 2012


JO-ANN ARMAO: “The Big Easy’s School Revolution
“Most of the buzz about the city’s reforms focuses on the banishment of organized labor and the proliferation of charter schools, which enroll nearly 80 percent of public school students, up from 1.5 percent pre-Katrina. But what really distinguishes New Orleans is how government has redefined its role in education: stepping back from directly running schools and empowering educators to make the decisions about hours, curriculum and school culture that best drive student learning. Now, state and school-district officials mostly regulate and monitor — setting standards, ensuring equity and closing failing schools. Instead of a traditional school system, there is a system of schools in what officials liken to a fenced-in free market.”

VENKAT BALASUBRAMANI: “Facebook  ‘Likes’ Aren’t Speech Protected by the First Amendment-Bland v. Roberts
“Bland and his cohorts worked in the Hampton Sheriff’s Office, under B.J. Roberts. Roberts ran for re-election against Jim Adams, and the plaintiffs were lukewarm in their support of Roberts. In fact, three of the plaintiffs went so far as to “like” Adams’ Facebook page. Roberts won the election, and he decided to not retain the plaintiffs. He justified the terminations on cost-cutting and budgeting grounds, but plaintiffs argued that their termination violated their First Amendment rights.”

CONOR FRIEDERSDORF: “Paranoia About CISPA is Justified
“The legislation is trying to strike a balance: to permit government access to potentially sensitive information without making citizens vulnerable to dangerous abuses. Before the Bush Administration’s illegal spying, it was easy to imagine that the legal penalties for exceeding the bounds of the law would be one check on government officials and corporate leaders tempted to abuse their access to data. We now know that when national security is invoked, these people are treated as if they’re above the law. If legal violations aren’t going to be punished after the fact, it’s prudent for concerned citizens to push for even more elaborate preemptive safeguards.”


ANTITRUST – Mexico Regulators to Vote on $1 Billion Fine vs Tycoon Slim
“Regulators are due to vote on Monday on one of Mexico’s biggest antitrust cases, a $1 billion fine for tycoon Carlos Slim, which has been bogged down in court appeals and disputes for a year.”

TRADEMARK – Designer Louboutin Hits Back in Red Sole Lawsuit
“Louboutin, who is suing fellow French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent for trademark infringement in a U.S. court, argues that he is not trying to monopolize the color red. The designer said Monday he is defending his ownership to ‘a specific color in a specific place’ of a shoe.”

INNOVATION – Social Gifting: The New Buzz-Word in E-Commerce
“Start-ups such as Sweden-based Wrapp, which is launching its U.S. business on Monday, are getting millions of dollars in venture-capital funding, and retailers like Best Buy Co Inc, Gap Inc and Starbucks Corp are scurrying to be a part of it. […] Wrapp is essentially an app that can run on smartphones, tablets and computers. It allows Facebook friends to buy each other gift cards from participating retailers either individually or by teaming up, which they can store on their mobile devices and redeem either online or inside physical stores. Retailers like it because there is little marketing cost and because customers often end up buying more once they are inside the store.”