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OpenMarket: August 2012

  • Obama Justice Department Recruits Lawyers With "Severe Intellectual Disabilities," But Excludes Conservatives

    August 24, 2012 2:49 PM

    Reality is often stranger than fiction.  A former Justice Department lawyer, who publishes at PJ Tatler, has

    obtained documents from the Justice Department detailing efforts to recruit attorneys and staff . . . who have “psychiatric disabilities” or “severe intellectual disabilities.” On May 31, 2012, Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez issued a directive to affirmatively recruit people with these “targeted disabilities.”

    This DOJ policy does not merely involve prohibitions against discrimination, but rather the documents reveal deliberate recruitment efforts to hire as attorneys and staff for the Department of Justice people suffering from psychiatric disorders and intellectual disabilities. Moreover, applicants can “self-identify” their disability by means of the “Standard Form 256, Self Identification Disability.”

    Those with “targeted disabilities” may be hired through a “non-competitive” appointment. That means they don’t have to endure the regular civil service competition among applicants, but can be plucked from the stack of resumes and hired immediately instead.

    According to the documents, those with these “targeted disabilities” may be hired “before the position is advertised” and even “before the position’s closing date.” Moreover, lawyers with psychiatric disabilities and “severe intellectual” disabilities receive a waiver from the requirement that a new DOJ employee have practiced law for one year before being hired.

    As "Hube," a schoolteacher, notes at Colossus of Rhodey, "Considering some of the [bizarre] decisions to come out of the DOJ these past few years, I'd say they have quite of few of these folks already."  (Maybe he was thinking about how the Justice Department has foolishly attacked banks for using traditional, prudent lending criteria, and how it has threatened schools with lawsuits for discouraging use of bad English, or for seeking to discipline minority students who repeatedly disrupt class and thus contribute to the minority achievement gap.

  • Regulation Roundup

    August 24, 2012 2:29 PM

    A creative way to get around liquor permits, plus more.

  • Today's Links: August 24, 2012

    August 24, 2012 10:23 AM

    OPINION

    AMELIA HAMILTON: "Government Regulation Slowing Energy Jobs and Economic Growth"
    "With unemployment in the United States at 8.3%, job growth is something which should be encouraged. However, it would seem that the government is only interested in jobs that support their agenda. In the field of oil and gas, for example, the government’s misguided policies are preventingthe creation of 64,805 new jobs and $15 billion in economic growth."

    KYLE SMITH: "Legalize Sports Betting, And Let Gov. Chris Christie Spike The Football"
    "Christie wants the state’s racetracks and casinos to be making book on sports by the end of the year, but the NCAA and the four major professional sports leagues in North America sued him earlier this month in federal court in Trenton. They cited a 1992 law, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, sponsored by then-Senate basketballer Bill Bradley, that limited sports gambling to the states where it already existed: Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon."

    RYAN GALLAGHER: "FBI To Give Facial Recognition Software to Law-Enforcement Agencies"
    "The speedy onward march of biometric technology continues. After recently announcing plans for a nationwide iris-scan database, the FBI has revealed it will soon hand out free facial-recognition software to law enforcement agencies across the United States. The software, which was piloted in February in Michigan, is expected to be rolled out within weeks. It will give police analysts access to a so-called 'Universal Face Workstation' that can be used to compare a database of almost 13 million images. The UFW will permit police to submit and enhance image files so they can be cross-referenced with others on the database for matches."

  • Clinton Vs. Clinton (And Obama) On Deregulation

    August 23, 2012 4:52 PM

    With little success on the economic front, President Barack Obama in 2012 is embracing much of his message on the economy from 2008. And from that playbook, he has two basic strategies.

    One is to blame the supposed deregulation policies of the Bush administration that Obama and his surrogates endlessly say "got us into this mess." And the second is to hug former rivals Bill and Hillary Clinton as hard as he can and harken back to the prosperity and economic growth of the 1990s.

    But there is just one problem with this theme. The Obama campaign's twin messages of bashing deregulation and embracing the Clinton years are inherently contradictory. Despite yesterday's much-hyped new pro-Obama ad in which Clinton warns that a Mitt Romney president would "go back to deregulation," on financial regulation, Bill Clinton as president was actually more of a deregulator than Bush.

    Clinton pushed for and signed the very deregulatory measures that have been blamed (wrongly) for causing the financial crisis of 2008. What's more, Clinton administration officials have credited these policies for contributing to the ‘90s economic boom -- the very "shared prosperity" that Obama says he wants to go back to.

    Late in Clinton's tenure, the White House put forth a document celebrating "Historic Economic Growth" during the administration and pointing to the policy accomplishments it deemed responsible for this growth. Among the achievements on Clinton's list were "Modernizing for the New Economy through Technology and Consensus Deregulation." That's right, a Clinton White House document credited part of the administration's success to that now dreaded d-word, deregulation.

  • If Demography Is Destiny, We're Screwed (So To Speak)

    August 23, 2012 4:25 PM

    "Things will get better."

    Such sentiments frequently fall from the lips of ever-loving economic optimists who -- while noting the current distressed condition of things -- nonetheless insist that recessions have come before, and have always been followed (eventually) by recoveries. I know a few of these optimists, and they’re quite right -- to a point.

    Because what these sunny souls forget is that every recovery depends upon a plentiful supply of Earth’s most precious resource -- human beings. And it is a resource that is becoming increasingly scarce, especially in the industrialized democracies.

    Until recently, the United States was famous for bucking the plummeting birth-rate trend that has haunted other advanced countries for years. But apparently Americans are now caving to the peer pressure (“Come on, Yanks! Everyone’s -- not -- doing it!”). According to a recent report in newgeography.com:

    “…the 2010 Census showed that in the past decade America’s birthrate slipped below at least one European country (France) and under the pace necessary to replace our current population.”

    Never mind, you say, immigration can make up the difference, right?  Maybe not:

    “Immigration, both legal and illegal, is also slowing, in part due to plunging birthrates in Mexico and other Latin American countries.”

  • Colorado Voters Ready To Tell State to Follow Constitution

    August 23, 2012 3:52 PM

    Openmarket.org, NewWallofSeparation.org

    In Colorado, Douglas County School Board members are questioning the district’s current collective bargaining system due to arcane provisions and a decaying relationship with their union. And rightfully so. Currently, taxpayers pay the salaries of teacher union bosses who do not teach or perform government duties and the district acts as the union’s bill collector free of charge.

    During an August 22 board meeting, county officials proposed submitting three ballot measures for the November general election to let voters determine how to address the board’s concerns. According to The Denver Post, voters will be asked:

    1. Should the district be prohibited from engaging in collective bargaining with the union?
    2. Should the district be prohibited from using public funding for the compensation of union leaders?
    3. Should the district be prohibited from collecting union dues from employee paychecks on the union’s behalf?

    http://www.openmarket.org/2012/08/23

  • CEI Podcast for August 23, 2012: Bailouts as Corruption

    August 23, 2012 2:35 PM

    Senior Fellow Matt Patterson argues that when government is big and powerful enough to dispense favors like bailouts, special interests will flock to Washington to get a piece of the pie. Corruption is the inevitable result, as the GM/Delphi/UAW bailout showed. The only effective way to limit corruption, Patterson argues, is to limit government.

  • Colorado Voters Ready To Tell State To Follow Constitution

    August 23, 2012 2:33 PM

    In Colorado, Douglas County School Board members are questioning the district’s current collective bargaining system due to arcane provisions and a decaying relationship with their union. And rightfully so. Currently, taxpayers pay the salaries of teacher union bosses who do not teach or perform government duties and the district acts as the union’s bill collector free of charge.

    During an August 22 board meeting, county officials proposed submitting three ballot measures for the November general election to let voters determine how to address the board’s concerns. According to The Denver Post, voters will be asked:

    1. Should the district be prohibited from engaging in collective bargaining with the union?
    2. Should the district be prohibited from using public funding for the compensation of union leaders?
    3. Should the district be prohibited from collecting union dues from employee paychecks on the union's behalf?

    Although recent results in Wisconsin and California indicate voters are fed up with paying for lavish government union contracts, voting on the second and third possible ballot measures is redundant to what is already in the state’s constitution. Article XI Section 1 of Colorado's Constitution reads:

    1. Pledging credit of state, county, city, town or school district forbidden.

    Neither the state, nor any county, city, town, township or school district shall lend or pledge the credit or faith thereof, directly or indirectly, in any manner to, or in aid of, any person, company or corporation, public or private, for any amount, or for any purpose whatever; or become responsible for any debt, contract or liability of any person, company or corporation, public or private, in or out of the state.

  • Regulation And The Green Bay Packers

    August 23, 2012 12:43 PM

    The NFL has a 53-man roster limit, but it doesn't prescribe how many linemen or quarterbacks the team must carry. That's up to the GMs. Not only does this type of regulation open up another level of competition for fans to enjoy -- front offices, not just players, trying to outmaneuver each other -- but it prevents cheating.

  • FDA Rules Won't Work, Will Harm Small Farmers

    August 23, 2012 10:31 AM

    The FDA recently decided to delay implementing about $1.4 billion of food safety regulations until after the November election. We think the FDA should scrap the rules entirely for two reasons: ineffectiveness and rent-seeking.

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