Today’s Links: February 15, 2012


MICHAEL BARONE: “A Failure of Imagination Put Metro on Wrong Track
“Believers in central planning should take a look at Washington’s Metro rail transit system. While they will find many things to like, they will also see examples of how central planners — and especially rail transit planners — can get things disastrously and expensively wrong.”

JAMES GLASSMAN: “Auction the Spectrum, Grow the Economy
“The big problem for the [telecom] sector today is what Genachowski himself calls a ‘looming spectrum crunch.‘ There is not enough bandwidth, even today, for wireless users to do all they want with the speed they require. AT&T attempted to get extra bandwidth by merging with T-Mobile, which the DOJ and FCC failed to embrace. Now AT&T and others are looking to the FCC, which controls the electromagnetic spectrum, to hold an auction for underused and unused portions. Since 1994, such auctions have raised more than $50 billion for the U.S. Treasury. There hasn’t been one in four years, but the next auction could raise an estimated $25 billion, which would make a nice dent in deficit.”

MICHAEL TANNER: “A Debate About Contraception of Religious Freedom? No, a Debate About Economic Choice
“First, let’s be clear: This issue never had anything whatsoever to do with women’s health. There is nothing that prevents any woman who wants contraceptives from purchasing them. No one is threatening to take that right away, and no one should. The debate does not even have anything to do with whether or not women can get insurance that covers contraceptives. Most insurance plans already do so, and when they don’t, women can purchase a rider that provides the additional coverage. What this debate was really about is who pays for that coverage. And as much as some would like to obscure it, there is a difference between having the freedom to buy something for yourself and forcing someone else to pay for it.”


POST OFFICE – Towns Go Dark With Post Office Closings
“Postal officials were blunt in December when they stood before 120 residents in Dedham, Iowa, to tell them why their town’s post office has to close. The Internet, officials said, was killing the U.S. Postal Service.”

ALGORITHMS – Google Thinks This Is the Funniest Video on Youtube
“As part of a research project, Google set out to find a way in which they could calculate how funny YouTube videos are. Huh, right. Because everybody knows that computers and algorithms have a great sense of humor, right? That wasn’t enough to put Google off, though. A team of researchers developed software that looks for sounds associated with laughter, internet acronyms and emoticons to rate humor. How… advanced. It gets better: It then ranks them according to those same features.”

MEDIA NEWS – Fox News ‘Course Correction’ Rankles Some
“Across the Conservative Political Action Conference this year, there were grumbles among conservative activists that [Fox News] was no longer speaking for them as it once did. The grumblers were picking up on a strategy that has been under way for some time — a ‘course correction,’ as Fox chief Roger Ailes put it last fall — with the network distancing itself from the tea party cheerleading that characterized the first two years of President Barack Obama’s presidency. Lately, Fox has increasingly promoted its straight-news talent in the press and conducted some of the toughest interviews and debates of the Republican primary season.”