Today’s Links: June 22, 2012


PAUL KRUGMAN: “Prisons, Privatization, Patronage
“You might be tempted to say that [the drive to privatize government functions] reflects conservative belief in the magic of the marketplace, in the superiority of free-market competition over government planning. And that’s certainly the way right-wing politicians like to frame the issue. But if you think about it even for a minute, you realize that the one thing the companies that make up the prison-industrial complex — companies like Community Education or the private-prison giant Corrections Corporation of America — are definitely not doing is competing in a free market. They are, instead, living off government contracts. There isn’t any market here, and there is, therefore, no reason to expect any magical gains in efficiency.”

GREG BEATO: “Lift the Ban on the Domestic Dissemination of U.S. Propaganda
“The U.S. government underwrites the production a huge amount of international news, public affairs information, propaganda, and award-winning Persian-language satire. In fact, there are at least four federal departments and agencies with the mandate to create and distribute such content. There’s the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), a 276-person agency with a 2013 budget of $137 million that publishes and distributes booklets like Being Muslim in America and licenses old PBS series to deploy in foreign markets.

ADAM CONNER-SIMONS: “More Than One Way to Butcher a Cow
“A chef, a meat scientist, and an Oklahoma State food researcher walk into a beef summit in Chicago. It sounds like the setup to the world’s nerdiest gastronomy joke, but what actually happened one Tuesday this spring was that the trio unveiled their Vegas Strip Steak™, taken from an undisclosed part of the cow that has supposedly only ever been used for burgers, and proclaimed the cut of beef so earth-shatteringly original that they will be filing a patent for their knife strokes.”


PIRACY – Japan Passes ‘Jail for Downloaders’ Anti-Piracy Law
“Japan’s legislature has approved a bill revising the nation’s copyright law to add criminal penalties for downloading copyrighted material or backing up content from a DVD. The penalties will come into effect in October.”

ANTITRUST – Developments in an Antitrust Case Against Apple and Book Publishers Over E-Book Pricing
“On Thursday, the U.S. government said Apple wants to rush its antitrust lawsuit over the price of electronic books. Apple acknowledges it has a “special urgency” in ending the case.”

SOCIAL MEDIA – New La. Law: Sex Offenders Must List Status on Facebook, Other Social Media
“A new Louisiana law requires sex offenders and child predators to state their criminal status on their Facebook or other social networking page, with the law’s author saying the bill is the first of its kind in the nation.”