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OpenMarket: April 2013

  • Welcome to the New Workplace Choice!

    April 26, 2013 11:00 AM

    Step right up!

    Welcome, boys and girls of all ages, to the new and improved WorkPlaceChoice.org, your one-stop shop for all things labor. Included herein for your education and amusement you will find:

  • Margaret Thatcher Vs. Today's GOP

    April 26, 2013 10:38 AM

    Reflecting on Thatcher's recent passing, Warren Brookes Fellow Matthew Melchiorre and I explore that theme in today's American Spectator:

  • CEI Podcast For April 25, 2013: Regulations Are Less Than Transparent

    April 25, 2013 3:57 PM

    Every year, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) releases a report on the costs and benefits of the previous year's new regulations. Wayne Crews talks about this year's just-released edition.

  • The Maryland State Education Association's Blatant Money Grab

    April 25, 2013 3:38 PM

    As I recently explained in a column for the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) is salivating at the chance to force all teachers — members or not — to pay union dues. Not surprising because MSEA represents nearly 80 percent of Maryland teachers.

  • Will EU "Cultural Diversity" Exception Undermine U.S.-EU Trade Talks?

    April 25, 2013 1:31 PM

    A possible bump in the road  toward  a U.S.-EU trade agreement emerged  today as a parliamentary committee of the European Commission voted to begin trade talks with the U.S. but to allow a “cultural exception” for film and audio-visual subsidies. That means that the EU would be carving out this exception early on, possibly creating an obstacle to real progress on eliminating non-tariff trade barriers between the two parties.

    The amendment to allow this exception was pushed by France, which wants to continue to receive substantial subsidies for its film industry and to limit the amount of foreign programs shown in France. German film subsidy bodies also endorsed the need for EU countries -- in the name of “cultural diversity” -- to subsidize their domestic film industries. The European Commission  in its assessment of state aid to the industry endorses the cultural significance of the industry:

    Audiovisual works, particularly films, play an important role in shaping European identities. They reflect the cultural diversity of the different traditions and histories of the EU Member States and regions. Audiovisual works are both economic goods, offering important opportunities for the creation of wealth and employment, and cultural goods which mirror and shape our societies.

  • Why BPA (And Other Chemicals) Don't Belong On Proposition 65

    April 25, 2013 1:25 PM

    If you want to have fun in California's Disneyland, avoid reading the warning signs saying that products used in the park may give you cancer and reproductive problems! They're not just a buzz kill, they are plain dumb and misinformed. But it's state law that they be there. You can find them in Starbucks and many other places throughout the state too.

    California's nonsensical Proposition 65 law directs regulators to place chemicals on a "toxic" substances list, and then forces companies to issue warning labels when they use these substances to make consumer products and food. But regulators list chemicals for myriad stupid reasons. For example, they may list a chemical simply because high doses give cancer to rats, which is also true of broccoli. It's the dose that makes the poison, which is one reason that such rodent tests have little relevance to health impacts in humans.

    If the logic behind is law were correct, you might worry about keeping a nickle in your pocket since California lists nickel as a toxic substance. It's not clear why the federal government does not have to post warning labels on nickles. I guess the feds are exempt from state-level idiocy?

    As I noted on the Independent Women’s Forum Inkwell blog yesterday, one chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), has recently gained a temporary -- hopefully soon-to-be-permanent -- stay from listing on the Proposition 65 list. This case raises questions about the thousands of other chemicals found on this list. Had industry fought as hard as the American Chemistry Council is currently doing for BPA, would fewer chemicals be on this list? Maybe so. After all, at existing exposures, none of these chemicals pose much of any risks.

  • Obama's Controversial Nominee For Labor Secretary To Be Voted On

    April 25, 2013 11:34 AM

    Cato Institute attorney Ilya Shapiro wrote Tuesday about “Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights who personifies . . . this administration’s flouting of the rule of law.” As he notes, Perez “is due this week for a vote in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on his nomination to be Labor Secretary.”

    Shapiro provides this “recap of Perez’s nefarious dealings” (drawing on the work of Quin Hillyer, who provides more detail at this link):

  • Noel Canning and the canning of the NLRB

    April 25, 2013 9:30 AM

    At a meeting of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce the future of recess appointed NLRB board members was considered. The legitimacy of these board members was called in to question by the DC Circuit court decision in Noel Canning vs. NLRB. The court held that the board members appointments unconstitutional.

  • Iron Man vs. The Musicians Union

    April 24, 2013 2:19 PM

    Iron Man has faced a variety of dastardly villains in his storied, five decade-long super hero career: Communists, terrorists, evil tycoons, rust. And most frightening of all, Mickey Rourke (pictured below).

  • Lawsuits Over "Customary International Law": A Menace To Free Speech, Our Liberties, Our Companies, And Our Economy

    April 24, 2013 1:52 PM

    Earlier, I wrote about how it was a good thing that the Supreme Court blocked foreigners from suing in the U.S. over putative violations of "customary international law" by corporations and other defendants with deep pockets. My conviction has grown stronger, since I learned that the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has ruled that Germany violated international law by not prosecuting a former German legislator for an interview with a cultural journal in which he said negative things about immigration and the alleged dependence on welfare of Turkish immigrants to his country. That ruling illustrates that international-law norms can be inimical to American civil-liberties such as freedom of speech, making it inappropriate for U.S. courts to enforce such foreign norms.

    German prosecutors had concluded that the former legislator's remarks were protected by Germany's (limited) free-speech guarantees because, while offensive, they were part of a "discussion" of "problems of economic and social nature," and did not rise to the level of hate speech. (Germany generally bans hate speech; by contrast in the U.S., the Supreme Court voided a hate-speech ordinance in 1992 on First Amendment grounds. A federal appeals court has also ruled that a professor's racially-charged anti-immigration diatribes were protected speech in the Rodriguez case.) Law professor Eugene Volokh reprints the speech that, "according to the Committee, must lead to a criminal prosecution in countries that have ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination." (The U.S. has ratified that convention, but, as Professor Volokh notes, "I am pleased to say that the U.S. has not recognized the competence of the Committee to enforce the Convention, though most European countries have; the U.S. has also ratified subject to a specific reservation in favor of the freedom of speech.")

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