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OpenMarket: May 2012

  • Causes of Public Pension Underfunding Are Not Hard to Identify

    May 30, 2012
    As if on cue, nearly every time state and local government officials try to rein in public employee pension costs in order to bring their budgets under control, government unions decry such efforts as  "scapegoating" of public employees. Which is rich, considering that most reform efforts mainly consist of bringing public sector pay and benefits in line with those in the private sector. As I've noted before, deficits bear no party label, so lawmakers across the nation, both Republican and Democrat, are working to address their pension liabilities in varying degrees of boldness. But unions are opposing even modest reforms. Consider Illinois, which, as ...
  • The Futility of Religious Profiling at Airport Security Checkpoints

    May 30, 2012
    “Obviously, Muslims would be someone you'd look at, absolutely,” former-Senator Rick Santorum said during a GOP presidential debate last year. “Radical Muslims are the people that are committing these crimes by and large, as well as younger males,” he explained. While religious profiling may not seem like a hot campaign topic, America’s intrusive airport security process will force the question into debates between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney this fall. With that in mind, the recent debate between best-selling...
  • Today's Links: May 30, 2012

    May 30, 2012
    OPINION MATTHEW YGLESIAS: "IP Policy Is About Consumers, Not Geek v. Artist Pissing Matches" "You can't credibly say that someone who wanted to read something interesting was better off in 1982 than in 2012. That's particularly true if you posit that the "someone" in question is sitting in a house near San Antonio rather than a college campus or New York City. You can read newspapers from around the world. You can read academics discussing their work and its relevance to the issues of the day. You can order any book in print to be delivered to your door in days, and many books will digitally appear within minutes if you want them to. For people who like to read, life has never been better. And...
  • Injunction Imposed Over Blog Posts That Criticized Convicted Terrorist-Turned-Left-Wing Activist

    May 29, 2012
    In 2005, a New Mexico judge appalled people across America by issuing a restraining order against David Letterman after a wacky woman accused Letterman of harassing her across the country through coded messages in his TV show. That restraining order was dissolved after it became obvious even to the judge that the allegations could not possibly be true.  But a court in Montgomery County, Maryland -- a liberal bastion -- recently did something similarly bizarre by jailing and issuing a restraining order against a lawyer, Aaron Walker, who represented a party sued by ex-terrorist Brett Kimberlin. Kimberlin is a...
  • Paycheck Fairness Act Contains Unfair Provisions, Would Result in Equal Pay for Unequal Work

    May 29, 2012
    "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., scheduled a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act when the Senate returns from its week-long recess," reports Susan Ferrechio of the Washington Examiner. "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups that say it would encourage frivolous lawsuits and place burdensome regulations on employers, particularly small businesses, by legally compelling them to justify their wage scales." The Act would effectively force many businesses to prove themselves innocent of pay discrimination, and would in some cases create a conclusive presumption of guilt, by narrowly limiting the availability of affirmative defenses (for employers that rely on sensible factors "other than sex" to set pay in ways that result in statistical disparities that...
  • Today's Links: May 29, 2012

    May 29, 2012
    OPINION SARAH GOODYEAR: "Chicago's Ambitious Plan For Zero Traffic Fatalities" "What would happen if a United States city decided it was going to reduce the traffic deaths within its borders not by 10 percent, or 50 percent, or even 80 percent, but by 100 percent – all the way to zero. What would happen then? In Chicago, we’re about to find out. The city of Chicago’s transportation department, headed by commissioner Gabe Klein, has released a new 'action agenda' called Chicago Forward. It contains a goal that, as...
  • When Schools Are Like Jails -- Or Worse

    May 29, 2012
    A 17-year-old Texas honor student has been jailed for missing too much school. Diane Tran works both full-time and part-time jobs, in addition to taking advanced and college level courses, and her parents have split up and moved away, leaving her in charge of a younger sister, making it hard to keep to the exact school day. Judge Lanny Moriarty was not sympathetic: “If you let one run loose, what are you gonna do with the rest of ‘em?” [CBS Atlanta]. As one commenter noted, "The judge's thought process is so primitive it's just gut wrenching. His response is literally, 'If you let one of them loose, What are you gonna do with the rest of them?' What are humans? Animals? How on earth...
  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    May 29, 2012
    95 new final rules published last week, covering everything from crocodiles to the definition of "unblockable drain."
  • Magical Thinking in Liberal Land

    May 28, 2012
    Like fairy tales?  If so, I've got some doozies for you.  See if any of these ring a bell: These are not your garden-variety fairy tales, however. Instead of being told to -- and believed by -- children, these and countless similar fables are told by -- and believed in -- by...
  • Classic Obfuscation: The New America Foundation's Search for the "Public Interest"

    May 25, 2012
    Milton Friedman once quipped that “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.” Perhaps he would add the outmoded idea of the “public interest” as used by the FCC if he were still alive today. On May 23, the New America Foundation, in coordination with Public Knowledge and the Rutgers Institute for Information Policy and Law, held an event titled Broadcast to Broadband: New Theories of the Public Interest in Wireless. Unfortunately, though, no new theory of the public interest was forwarded. Instead, there was a rehashing of the same tired clichés about universal service, localism, and diversity. All of the participants -- panelists, speakers, and questioners—were united in the belief that basic public interest notions currently followed by the FCC in the broadcast realm should be extended...

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