Today’s Links: October 18, 2011


WILLIAM D. COHAN: “Occupy Wall Street Loves Capitalism’s Pearls
“It’s no surprise that Occupy Wall Street’s preferred methods for getting out its message are the social-networking powerhouses Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. […] Of course, these three companies are all backed by wealthy venture capitalists expecting to become even wealthier when these closely held businesses take advantage of the Wall Street- enabled market for initial public offerings. Did someone forget to tell Hedges et al. that Facebook is backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., may have a market capitalization of about $100 billion if it goes public next year, and its co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is thought to be worth $17.5 billion largely because so many people around the world are willing to share their private musings with their friends (and with Facebook) for free?”

DOUG BANDOW: “It’s Time to Declare Peace in the War on Drugs
“Banning drugs raises their price, creates enormous profits for criminal entrepreneurs, thrusts even casual users into an illegal marketplace, encourages heavy users to commit property crimes to acquire higher-priced drugs, leaves violence the only means for dealers to resolve disputes, forces government to spend lavishly on enforcement, corrupts public officials and institutions, and undermines a free society.  All of these effects are evident today and are reminiscent of Prohibition (of alcohol) in the early 20th Century.”

JACOB SULLUM: “Mark Bittman Corrects Fact-Resistant Food Policy Analysts . . . Such as Mark Bittman
“I’d thank Bittman for doing a public service by refuting the persistent myth that people eschew healthy food because it’s so expensive, except that he himself was until quite recently reinforcing that very myth—a fact he does not find space to acknowledge in his 1,700-word column. Two months before he set the record straight concerning the relative price of junk food, Bittman was positively giddy about obesity maven Kelly Brownell’s proposal to discourage consumption of politically incorrect foods through taxes and encourage the consumption of politically correct foods through subsidies, calling the challenge of implementing this elaborate price control scheme ‘fun’ and ‘inspiring.’ As I noted at the time, Bittman overlooked not only the moral and practical issues raised by Brownell’s vision but the seemingly relevant fact that price is not the reason people prefer potato chips to collard greens.”


NANNY STATE – Sens. Urge Baseball to Ban Tobacco
“Four U.S. senators and health officials from the cities hosting the World Series are urging the baseball players union to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at games and on camera. […] The senators told union head Michael Weiner that when players use smokeless tobacco, they endanger their own health as well as the health of kids who watch the games on TV.”

PATENTS – EU Bans Patents of Stem Cells if Embryo is Destroyed
“Europe’s top court on Tuesday banned researchers from patenting any process to extract stem cells when it leads to the destruction of a human embryo.”