Today’s Links: May 18, 2012


HARLAN J. PROTASS: “The Criminal Crackdown on Insider Trading Is Stupid
“Pouring money into criminal insider trading cases is a huge waste of public resources. There is a much more cost-effective way to go after this particular form of fraud, and switching to it would free up prosecutorial resources to fight other economic crimes that pose a far greater danger to Main Street investors. […] The government has at its disposal alternative methods for going after traders on insider information—civil charges that generate pocket-book penalties instead of criminal ones that lead to prison sentences. Civil charges are more proportional to the wrongdoing, less expensive to prosecute, and still get the job done.”

JUDITH WARNER: “Blaming Brain Science
“Is understanding human behavior as being driven, at least in part, by neurobiology, tantamount to ‘blaming the brain’? Does talk about genes, and brain structure and chemistry relieve us of personal responsibility for our actions, reinforcing a kind of hopeless fatalism, and allowing us such easy excuses for our bad behavior as – to borrow the headline from a New York Times opinion piece last weekend—’The Amygdala Made Me Do It’?”

In the summer of 2009, the federal government gave General Motors $49.5 billion in aid, including a $6.7 billion loan, to finance its bankruptcy. The result: Washington, not private shareholders, took roughly 61% ownership of GM. The bailout wasn’t to save capitalism; it was a payback to the United Auto Workers union that gave Obama and his party more than $4 million. […] Obama has continued his capitalism-wrecking, union-favoring campaign by naming members to the National Labor Relations Board who tried to block Boeing from opening a plant in South Carolina to build the company’s 787 Dreamliner.”


LAW ENFORCEMENT – Justice Dept. Defends Public’s Constitutional ‘Right to Record’ Cops
“As police departments around the country are increasingly caught up in tussles with members of the public who record their activities, the U.S. Justice Department has come out with a strong statement supporting the First Amendment right of individuals to record police officers in the public discharge of their duties.”

NANNY STATE – Utah School Fined $15,000 For Accidentally Selling Soda at Lunch
“A Utah high school is learning the hard way that the government is serious about nudging students away from food it doesn’t want them to consume. Davis High School in the Salt Lake City area is having to fork over a whopping $15,000 in fines to the Feds because it accidentally sold soda through a vending machine during lunch.”

TECHNOLOGY – It’s Tinkerers v. Hollywood as Copyright Office Mulls New Jailbreaking Rules
“To jailbreak or not to jailbreak? That was the question on everybody’s mind Thursday as copyright regulators, content creators and digital rights groups battled over whether Americans should have the right to tinker with the devices that they buy.”