1. Tyler Cowen: “What I Learned From Reading Every Last Word of India Today.”
2. Megan McArdle on why high speed rail from New York to LA isn’t feasible. She has written about this before. See also here.
I suppose I’m an optimist (no, really!), but I continue to think that high speed rail could be useful in cutting out commuter flights between closer cities (like Dallas-to-Houston, or Atlanta-to-Savannah). People can board trains faster than airplanes, there’s no taxiing, and passengers can probably bring more luggage. (Of course, for this very reason, airlines will be one of the biggest obstacles to HSR; for example, Southwest will fight tooth-and-nail against a HSR corridor between Dallas and Houston, because it would seriously cut into their business.) Please note that the odds of this working fall precipitously if Chuck Schumer and his ilk saddle rail passengers with TSA-style security theater.
3. Witness the Epic Fail of Applebee’s social media crisis management. In many large corporate organizations, managing social media (e.g., the company’s Facebook account) is a low priority and low prestige job, given to a very junior team member and largely overlooked by senior management. Most of the time, a company can get away with that arrangement. Most of the time, it works. Until it doesn’t. H/T: Tod Kelly at the League.
4. Ilya Somin: “The Collapse of the Judicial Law Clerk Hiring Cartel.”
5. In Ireland, an Inter-Departmental Committee has released a report regarding the collusion of the state with the abusive and exploitative Magdalene laundries run by the Catholic Church in Ireland for most of the 20th Century. It’s more than enough to make the blood boil. The Guardian and BBC News also have reports.
6. Via Radley Balko, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a nice report on surplus military equipment, like grenade launchers (for tear gas, we’re assured) and armored personnel carriers, donated to Georgia police departments by the U.S. Department of Defense.
7. This is not the hope and change I was expecting: so, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former constitutional law lecturer Barack H. Obama apparently is cool with the U.S. president (or another “‘informed, high-level’ official of the U.S. government”) having the power to order the killing of American citizens. (H/T: Professor Bainbridge.) Jacob Sollum at Reason has a post about this: “5 Disturbing Aspects of the DOJ White Paper on the President’s License to Kill.” (Only five?) See also thoughts by Spencer Ackerman and Clarissa.
(Image Credit: First Cultural Industries. Map by Alfred Twu. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license. H/T: Natasha Chart.)
Update (Feb. 6, 2013, 5:05 PM): Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy has a helpful roundup of reactions to the Obama Administration “Kill List” white paper.