Today’s Links: October 26, 2011


DAVID KRAVETS: “Patriot Act Turns Ten, With No Signs of Retirement
“The USA Patriot Act, the law granting the government vast surveillance powers that was adopted in the wake of September 11, turns a decade old Wednesday. But despite its namesake of ‘Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism,’ the law seemingly is being invoked far more to target domestic crime than for fighting terrorism.”

MICHAEL PATRICK LEAHY: “The Price of Civilization?
“[A] few brief observations about [Jeffrey Sachs’] new book, The Price of Civilization[:] The title comes from the quote from Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who famously said ‘taxes are the price we pay for civilization.’ Professor Sachs wholeheartedly agrees, and argues that our problem is that we just aren’t paying enough in taxes these days. The wealthy, in particular, aren’t paying ‘their fair share’ of taxes. It’s a familiar, predictable, and uninspiring argument.”

ELIOT VAN BUSKIRK: “What You Need to Know About the New Copyfight
“On the surface, the PROTECT IP Act (‘Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property’), whose proponents appear to be ramping up their efforts, might appear to make sense. Services like MegaUpload and RapidShare, which traffic in millions of infringing transactions every day, would go away, allowing legitimately-licensed services to flourish and our country’s copyright creators to earn more money. The thing is, critics claim, making services preemptively responsible for what people do with their products and starting down the slippery slope of internet filtering would do more harm than good.”


TRANSPORTATION – One Third of Red Light Camera Violators Opting Not to Pay Voluntary Citations in LA
The Newspaper reports that red light camera revenue is down by one third after LA Police Commissioner Alan Skoban called the cameras ‘a voluntary citation program’ back on June 7. The cameras have already been shut down in Los Angeles, but surrounding cities are losing boat-loads of dough. Since that June announcement, photo enforcement vendors are reportedly losing $1 million per month.”

NANNY STATE – Fake Maple Syrup? Vermont Senators Urge Prison Time
“Vermonters take their maple syrup seriously. So much so that the state’s U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would make it a federal felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to sell something labeled as maple syrup when it is not.”