Today’s Links: July 27, 2012


CONOR FRIEDERSDORF: “The Problem With the NYPD’s Interstate Spy Squad
“The fact that the September 11 attacks targeted New York City, the ongoing threat of Islamic terrorism, and the fact that many hold the civil rights of Muslim Americans in lower regard than the rights of other citizens all contributed to the dearth of condemnation heaped on Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD for spying on countless innocent Muslims, sometimes far outside their jurisdiction. […] Whether or not you think spying by the NYPD was desirable in this particular instance, think about the larger precedent that is being set when Bloomberg defends “the police department’s right to go anywhere in the country in search of terrorists without telling local police.” I can think of some other ways that precedent might be used.”

SAM KEAN: “Blogging the Human Genome
“There are many things you might know about James Watson. That he co-discovered the double helix structure of DNA. That he was the first head of the Human Genome Project. That he kicked up a real shitstorm in 2007 for making nasty comments about the intelligence of Africans. That he has a tongue so sharp that one science historian called him ‘the Caligula of biology,’ someone ‘given license to say anything that came to his mind and expect to be taken seriously.’ You might not know that—according to his DNA sequence, published in Nature in 2008—Watson by all rights should have been blind, deaf, photophobic, prematurely decrepit, and possibly mentally retarded.”

MARK A. CALABRIA: “Break Up the Banks? Be Careful of What You Ask For
“The most effective solution to risk-taking by big banks, as I’ve argued elsewhere, is to stop trying to micromanage what risk banks are taking and start pulling back their safety net. It is largely the moral hazard created by various government guarantees protecting “Too-Big-To-Fail” banks that caused the most recent crisis. It’s time to start reducing, if not eliminating, those guarantees. Ultimately, Too-Big-To-Fail is a political problem, not an economic one. The solution is to be found in limiting government, not the banks.”


USDA – Retracting a Plug For Meatless Mondays
“[A]mid outraged Twitter messages by livestock producers and at least one member of Congress, the agency’s ‘Greening Headquarters Update’ had been removed. ‘U.S.D.A. does not endorse Meatless Monday,’ a spokeswoman said in a statement. The newsletter, which covered topics like the installation of energy-efficient lights on the Ag Promenade and recycling goals, ‘was posted without proper clearance,’ the statement said. ”

CULTURE – Amazon’s Founder Pledges $2.5 Million in Support of Same-Sex Marriage
“Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of, and his wife, MacKenzie, have agreed to donate $2.5 million to help pass a same-sex marriage referendum in Washington State, instantly becoming among the largest financial backers of gay marriage rights in the country.”

MARKET – Facebook Shares Sink to New Low After 2Q Results
“Facebook’s stock hit a new low Friday after it reported second-quarter results that disappointed investors.”