Today’s Links: February 16, 2012


GLENN G. LAMMI: “Court Should Dismiss Privacy Group’s Suit vs. FTC Over Google Buzz Settlement
On Friday, a federal court in Washington, D.C. will hear what the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) thinks about a lawsuit the online privacy advocate EPIC has filed demanding that FTC charge Google with violations of a settlement agreement between FTC and Google involving Google Buzz. […] The issue here is whether a non-party to the FTC-Google agreement can force FTC to fine Google.”

PHILLIP KLEIN: “Obama’s High Wire Act on Insurance Mandate Crashes
“By 2009, Obama was publicly touting the mandate. And in a famous interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that September, he insisted that the mandate to purchase health insurance was not a tax. Yet by the following June, things had changed. The Obama administration’s legal team was scrambling to respond to lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the health care law. […] Acknowledging the mandate is a tax would mean that it was a direct violation of his pledge not to raise taxes on those earning under $250,000. But publicly denying that it is a tax directly contradicts the administration’s legal argument.”

“Team Cuomo sounded upbeat yesterday about a deal for a new system for rating teachers — and, presumably, firing bad ones — as its self-imposed Thursday deadline nears. Indeed, odds are good that New York’s biggest teachers union will strike an ‘agreement’ with the State Education Department — or that Gov. Cuomo will keep his vow to impose teacher-evaluation guidelines as part of his budget. But the devil resides very much in the details. Once the smoke clears, will public schools finally be able to easily rid themselves of incompetent teachers? The depressing answer: Not likely.”


EDUCATION – Cincinnati High School Paying Students to Come to School
“A Cincinnati high school is paying its students to come to school. The Dohn Community High School has launched a $40,000 incentive program to get students to come to class. The school’s CEO Ken Furrier told CBS Cleveland that students will get Visa gift cards for showing up everyday for school, being on time for class and not getting into trouble. Seniors would get $25 while underclassmen would get $10.”

ALCOHOL – Deadly Alcohol Needs Global Regulation, Health Expert Says
“The World Health Organization has meticulously documented the extent of alcohol abusein recent years and has published solid recommendations on how to reduce alcohol-related deaths, but this doesn’t go far enough, according to Devi Sridhar, a health-policy expert at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. In a commentary appearing today (Feb. 15) in the journal Nature, Sridhar argues that the WHO should regulate alcohol at the global level, enforcing such regulations as a minimum drinking age, zero-tolerance drunken driving, and bans on unlimited drink specials. ”

ANTITRUST – Firms Accused of Antitrust Behavior on Gas Leases
“Two companies accused of promising not to compete against each other in auctions of four natural gas leases on federal land have each agreed to pay $275,000 under a proposed settlement of antitrust allegations, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. The U.S. Department of Justice said this is the first time it has challenged an alleged anticompetitive bidding agreement for mineral rights leases. Its investigation stemmed from a whistleblower lawsuit.”