Tilting at Windmills

Tilting at Windmills One of the most important judicial decisions in American historv: the US District Court ruling thai Nixon, Haldeman, and Mitchell were personally liable to Morton Halperin...

...One thing we were reminded of while reading Turowís book is that a lot of people are ready and able to begin law practice after the first year of law school and a lot more are ready by the end of the second year...
...We also hope that we are developing non-lethal, temporarily disabling chemical and biological agents, which could be more humane ways of waging war than bullets and atomic bombs...
...There are now 165,000 cases Tied each year in federal courts alone...
...Since the New York City budget crisis began early in 1975, the precinct patrol force has shrunk by 3,305 officers but the number of radio cars patrolling the streets has remained the same...
...There are still, after Jimmy Carterís first half-year in office, 147 government officials who are chauffeured to and from work each day...
...A reasonably high Percentage of them are outstandingcertainly a higher percentage than of comparable slice of the civil service...
...Those who think political appointees are always jerks should take a look at judges of the United States District Courts, the United States-Attornnys, and thecongressional staffs-all political appointees...
...Letís have doctors rule on cases of legal ethics, lawyers check up on the doctors, and both can review the accountants...
...The Hatch Act and tenure would apply to the first group and not the second...
...Even though they were well aware of the defects of the civil service, they saw politicians as an unsatisfactory a1 t ern ative...
...Many-probably most-of them could be handled more sensibly and humanely by mediation and arbitration, the way almost all disputes are handled in China...
...10 Adams is maneuvering for a 1980 Senate race, and his staff is unlikely to do anything that will jeopardize that...
...From what we hear of their early performance, a mutual knockout would be in the public interest...
...A possible answer may be that during the last four years, a period in which the property tax of local homeowners increased by 66 per cent, the tax liability of the Districtís 20 most valuable commercial properties declined by two per cent...
...Under present civil service retirement rules, an employee may retire on disability if he is unable to do the work of his present job, even though he could do any other job in his department...
...The CCC (the Civilian Conservation Corps), one of the great programs of the New Deal, is coming back, only this time itís to be called the National Young Adult Conservation Corps...
...A new book that will be out this fall, One L by Scott Turow, describes the authorís first year at Harvard Law School, and makes it clear that almost none of his fellow students had been exposed to the Socratic method of teaching before they encountered it in law school...
...He may then get another job on the outside and retain both his salary for that job and his disability pension if the earnings for the outside job are less than 80 per cent of his former government salary...
...W. Bowman Cutter, associate director for Budget at the OMB, and his assistants, Eliot Cutler and Randy Jayne, impressed the White House during the June budget sessions . . . e A Congressional leader suggests that if Carterís tax on gas guzzlers is enacted, Detroit will respond by raising the price of its small cars and lowering that of the guzzlers...
...Of all our leading jurists, the one who is trying toĒ do something about our litigation madness is Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, the man most liber-Ď als have dismissed as a pompous, petty, and vain Nixonite...
...We recently had lunch with three respected friends at Brookings, all of whom threw up their hands at our proposal...
...The District of Columbia government, led by Mayor Walter Washington, has in recent years scaled new heights of ineptitude in a field, municipal government, where the heights are already Himalayan...
...The reasons are complex...
...With them, he can learn to think in any subject he cares about...
...What we need is review by non-peers...
...Weíre confident the Star and the Post have assigned their best investigative reporters to the story and that both papers are planning a series of editorials to arouse public indignation...
...In its stirring appeal for zero sacrifice, it is in fact the moral equivalent of the Vietnam war...
...The President has referred to his energy program as the moral equivalent of war...
...If there are that many in federal court, there must be over a million in state and local courts...
...Have you ever paused to consider what this means about the American educational system from kindergarten through college...
...Few of its programs accomplish anything and the money could be better spent on direct income supplements for the poor...
...The clientís one half is of course computed after the lawyer deducts his expenses...
...One problem with getting real welfare reform enacted is that Al Ullman is against any form of guaranteed annual income...
...Root for both...
...That kind of accountability only works under a strict system where everyone follows his superiorís orders to the letter-and as Admiral Rickover knows, even then it only works in theory, not in practice...
...We suspect it was based on leaks from Zbigniew Brzezinski...
...It would also present robbers with an interesting problem, for after they had scooped out the cash drawers and dashed out the bank door they would find themselves in a hallway where they would have to wait for an elevator or run down 12 flights of stairs...
...Charles Peters...
...As James S. King, Carterís special assistant for personnel, told Tolchin, ďThe President felt that they [the cabinet officers and agency heads] are going to be held accountable for their actions and therefore their staffs should be accountable to them...
...The mutual regard of doctors and lawyers, in particular, is now such that the public could rest assured that they would subject one another to the most rigorous scrutiny David Mott of The Financial Times of London writes that England is considering a cutback in its foreign service, ďradically pruning British representation outside North America and Western Europe, with the elimination of many posts altogether...
...Carter, instead of following in a s q r t admiralís footsteps, is taking the path of the kind of dumb admiral who believes totally in the command system...
...One is that many politicians are crooked...
...The power of the defense lobby has never been better illustrated than on May 24 of this year when the House Armed Services Committee voted to kill financing for the design of a small aircraft carrier-not because the small carrier is unnecessary, which it probably is, but because the committee wanted to build another giant nuclear carrier, which is certainly unnecessary...
...This sdrt of thing keeps from dozens to hundreds of people busy at every embassy...
...One clear benefit of ending the tax on corporate earnings and taxing them only as they are received as dividends by the shareholders is that it would end all the corporate expense-account rackets that are based on the fact that the fancy restaurant, the corporate jet, and the luxury hotel can be deducted from taxes and paid for by the general public...
...If public officials know they will have to pay their own money to compensate the victims of their misdeeds, there is almost no chance that we will ever again see the kind of civil-liberties atrocities the FBI and the CIA have been guilty of in recent years...
...Two recent items about chemical and biological warfare (CBW) deserve attention...
...This would provide a mixture of the caution, expertise, and continuity of the civil servant and the adventure and the action-orientation of the kind of person who is willing to risk all in the throw-of-the-dice of elective politics...
...Two problems of downtown Washington-and, we are told, of other American cities-are excessive bank robberies and excessive numbers of banks and savings and loans...
...If the political appointees screw up, we can always get rid of them by electing a new President in 1980...
...This would free the bottom floors for interesting shops and restaurants...
...It is true that the White House has announced a comprehensive study of the service, but it is to be conducted by civil servants who will not complete their work for two or three years...
...Without rigorous instruction, without insistent and intelligent questioning by the teacher, no student is going to learn to think in math or any other subject...
...1. Incompetents cannot be fired...
...If weíre right, this might herald the beginning of the expected war between the Secretary of State and the National Security advisor...
...The D. C. Teacherís College graduated two seniors who had failed math...
...I suspect this is true of Jimmy Carter, by the way...
...had given his cabinet officers and ag&ncy directors almost total cohtrol over fiiling positions in their department...
...The assessed valuation of The Washington star stayed the same, that of The Washington Post actually declined by $6,940...
...We want to congratulate the New York City Police Department for managing to avoid the worst consequence of the Firemen First Principle...
...Why not call it the CCC...
...Did you see the article by Tad Szulc in New York called ďHow Carter Fouled the Israeli Election...
...Clean and the politician like Mr...
...See Leonard Reedís article in this issue...
...And he is ignoring the example of his mentor, Admiral ,Rickover, who spent more than two hours ,interviewing a lowly lieutenant named...
...A serious obstacle to tax reform is turning out to be Laurence N. Woodworth, the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for tax policy and one of the great heroes of Washington lobbyists during his years on the Hill as an aide to Russell Long...
...While the Socratic method is not the single answer to all the problems of pedagogy, it does make students think, and it should be use8 in high schools and colleges...
...We fear that what happened to baseball after Catfish Hunter got a $3.5 million contract from the Yankees will now happen in the law, and that every self-respecting lawyer will increase his fees by at least 200 per cent...
...Under the system King outlines, a Brock Adams can bring in a top staff that has been associated with him for years and whose members are accustomed to seeing their fortunes fluctuate with Adamsí, not Carterís...
...Finally, one of the great triumphs of the late 19thcentury establishment was glorifying the neutral expert, the objective journalist, the lawyer, and the technocratic civil servant, who would find their satisfaction in performing functions with skill but who would never question the policies of their employers or feel it was respectable to seek a policy voice themselves by running for office...
...we would put roughly half the jobs in government under a real merit system of selection, and open up the other half to political appointees of the President...
...Why not enact a law requiring all banks and savings and loans to be on the top floor...
...At the same time, we hope research is going forward on defense against such weapons, to protect both troops and public alike...
...In practice the government is so large and the web of loyalties so complex that the only way Carter can be sure of having his programs carried out right is by having a broad base of loyalists who have a direct interest in carrying out those programs well so that Carter will get reelected and theyíll keep their jobs...
...Carter, he reported...
...Vast numbers of students now in 8 law school explain their presence by saying they need to learn how to think...
...Tilting at Windmills One of the most important judicial decisions in American historv: the US District Court ruling thai Nixon, Haldeman, and Mitchell were personally liable to Morton Halperin for tapping his phone...
...We should follow the example...
...Jimmy Carter when Carter wanted to become part of Rickoverís nuclear submarine program...
...M u r r a y Teigh Bloom, author of The Trouble with Lawyers, reports another tribute to the selflessness of the profession: lawyersí fees in personal injury cases have risen from the old standard of one third of the amount recovered to one half in Detroit and Philadelphia...
...When he 12 took office he laid off 280 employees of the stateís liquor stores, saying he had to do so because of a budget shortage...
...Besides being all of those things, he is also sublimely right in trying to persuade people that the courts arenít the only way of resolving differences...
...O n May 21, Martin Tolchin of The New York Times came up with one of the more accurate interpretive stories to come out of the Carter White House...
...3. Tenure, originally granted to protect the honest and the brave, has attracted the cautious, the kind of people who want security more than anything else...
...Business leaders are thinking twce about their campaign against the *double taxation of corporate earnings now that the ADA has come out for the same thing...
...The legislature then gave him a supplemental appropriation...
...Among the many things wrong with the civil service system, three stand out...
...The Tammany Hall image of politicians still has wide credence...
...Many politicians even look down on other politicians...
...the numbers problem has come about because no one else can afford to pay the rent for the ground floors of the expensive new buildings going up all over the place...
...Since they werenít supposed to teach math, we couldnít understand why they had been compelled to take it, much Ďless pass it...
...Why donít we abolish HUD...
...He used it not to rehire any of the workers, but to give store managers a raise...
...If the civil servants screw up, we canít do a thing...
...The crime problem is well known...
...Dirty...
...One is a report by Jack Anderson and Les Whitten that the government has no program to defend the civilian population against CBW...
...See ďHow to Get A Government JobĒ by Ann Pincus in our June 1976 issue...
...Those letters were a great symbol of putting human need, real work, and the public interest together in projects that shored up eroded hillsides, planted trees, built roads and cabins in public parks, dredged streams, collected litter, and performed numerous other truly useful tasks...
...It was an attack not on Carter, but on Cy Vance...
...He knew you canít control it unless you find a way to select the people who staff it...
...All this happened during the greatest inflation of real estate values in the cityís history...
...Having advocated the 1969 ban, we hope President Carter will make sure that we are not developing an offensive capability in lethal chemical and biological weapons...
...By permitting these people to make most of the 2,000 appointments open to him, Carter is coming very close to surrendering his chance to control the government...
...the rest are tenured civil servants who donít much care about Carterís success or failure...
...This is a guild requirement, designed to support law schools aqd avoid overcrowding in the profession...
...Of course, the review groups must have some members from the profession reviewed to provide expertise when it is needed, but their tendencies to self-protection will be restrained by the presence of others who do not share their self-interest...
...The other is a report by WI that the Defense Department has gotten back into the chemical warfare business, which was shut down by a presidential directive in 1969...
...Yet in most states they have to wait until they have finished a third year of study...
...But since it is entirely self-generated, it could be dispensed with entirely with absolutely no harm...
...Peer review is the same technique lawyers and doctors use to avoid any real policing of themselves...
...2. People are hired, not on the basis of merit, but on the basis of friendship with incumbent civil servants...
...What they care about is protecting their jobs against reorganizations that might destroy them...
...There are several things we think can be done to-improve this system...
...Also, most of us were first taught about politicians by teachers who were themselves tenured government employees with a self-interest inmaking the civil servant look like Mr...
...Joe Califano is so afraid of leaks that he had his health financing proposal typed at the Pentagon...
...Itís too bad, however, that Burger, by his opposition to class action suits (in which one case can substitute for thousands) has seemed to want to deny the courts to the poor, the consumer, and the environmentalist Accountants are trying to get out of the hot water theyíre in-because of the Metcalf report and other revelations of their inadequate audits of Ďcompanies upon whose favor their prosperity depends-by proposing a system of peer review in which one accounting firmís work is periodically audited by another...
...The latest villain in our series on the Firemen First Principle (which says that in a budget crunch, useful public employees are fired before useless administrators) is Pat Boggs, the Alcoholic Beverage Commissioner of West Virginia...
...In the meantime, Carterís programs will be in the hands not of people he has chosen but of a few people selected by his cabinet members and agency heads and hundreds of thousands of civil servants...
...In one recent District of Columbia scandal, we found ourselves siding with the authorities for a change...
...No matter who controls the political appointees, they make up less than one per cent of the federal government...
...The work of most American diplomatic posts abroad consists almost exclusively of dealing with the internal affairs of the official American community-our favorite story concerns a staff meeting at our mission in Cameroon that was devoted entirely to how to divide a recent shipment of Skippy peanut butter-and with sending and receiving cables to and from Washington and receiving official visitors from Washington...
...Clients of the nationís lawyers may be in for a jolt when they receive their next legal bills...
...B u t all that is just carping compared to the main problem Carter faces in putting his programs through: the Civil Service...
...Itís also unlikely to do anything that will jeopardize Adams even if he is doing a bad job, because itís he, not Carter, who is their protector...
...But why canít we learn to think by studying a subject in which we are genuinely interested, be it math or literary criticism or history or politics...
...The general assumption seems to be that math-beyond its necessary instruction in how to add, subtract, and divide, which we agree everyone needs-is necessary because it teaches one to think...
...Even the greediest lawyers had generally assumed that their professional income would level off i r ~th e vicinity of $200,000 until they read about the $550,000 Joe Califano made last year...
...Accurate and disturbing...
...Rickover had been around the bureaucracy a long time...
...We have wondered why the local press and business leaders have not expressed greater concern...

Vol. 9 • July 1977 • No. 5


 
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