Today’s Links: September 28, 2012


KATE HAVARD: “It’s Not Really a Farm Bill
“This week, Congress is under pressure to pass the 2012 farm bill before the current legislation expires on September 30. About every five years, Congress pushes through a farm bill, ostensibly a big bundle of agriculture subsidies that also funds food stamps. But the name is misleading. Nearly 80 percent of the $1 trillion the 2012 bill would spend over the next 10 years would go to the food stamp program.”

ALEXIS C. MADRIGAL: “Driverless Cars Would Reshape Automobiles *and* the Transit System
“When I’ve thought about driverless cars, which if you believe Sergey Brin, will be available within ‘several years,’ I’ve tended to think of them as a drop-in replacement for our current automobiles. So, you’d buy a VW Automaton and it would sit in your driveway until you wanted to go somewhere. Then, you’d hop in, say, ‘Take me to Lake Merritt,’ and then just sit back and pop in the latest Animal Collective while the computer drove. But maybe that’s not what would happen at all. Changes in transportation technology have tended to be accompanied by changes to transportation systems, too.”

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER EDITORIAL: “Prop. 33 (Car Insurance Premiums): Yes
“In a perfect world, insurers would be able to create whatever rating models they wished and would be free to compete for customers. California’s Insurance Commission, however, allows insurers to write policies based solely on 18 criteria. Prop. 33 would add another criteria – continuous driver history – and that would likely go a long way to lowering car insurance rates, as has been found in the 48 other states that allow continuous-driver discounts.”


CULTURE – Matt Damon’s Anti-Fracking Movie Financed by Oil-Rich Arab Nation
“A new film starring Matt Damon presents American oil and natural gas producers as money-grubbing villains purportedly poisoning rural American towns. It is therefore of particular note that it is financed in part by the royal family of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates.”

NANNY STATE – Skateboarding Community Ready To Fight Farmingdale Village Over Proposed Law
“A law to ban skateboarders? That’s what being proposed in one Long Island community, where residents worry someone is going to get hurt.”

COPYRIGHT – Actress claims copyright infringement in second lawsuit over anti-Muslim film
“Cindy Lee Garcia filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday against YouTube, parent company Google Inc., and the filmmaker, citing copyright infringement and seeking unspecified damages.”