Category Archives: Websites/Databases/Blogs

SCOTUS Watch

Source: Jay Pinho and Victoria Kwan, SCOTUS Watch, 2018

What is this?
SCOTUS Watch tracks the public statements made by United States senators about how they plan to vote on the Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and tallies them into a likely vote count. This tally is based solely on their statements: we do not make estimates or guesses based on a senator’s party affiliation or ideology.

Related:
CIA Successfully Conceals Bay Of Pigs History
Source: National Security Archive, May 21, 2014
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit yesterday joined the CIA’s cover-up of its Bay of Pigs disaster in 1961 by ruling that a 30-year-old volume of the CIA’s draft “official history” could be withheld from the public under the “deliberative process” privilege, even though four of the five volumes have previously been released with no harm either to national security or any government deliberation. …. The 2-1 decision, authored by Judge Brett Kavanaugh (a George W. Bush appointee and co-author of the Kenneth Starr report that published extensive details of the Monica Lewinsky affair), agreed with Justice Department and CIA lawyers that because the history volume was a “pre-decisional and deliberative” draft, its release would “expose an agency’s decision making process in such a way as to discourage candid discussion within the agency and thereby undermine the agency’s ability to perform its functions.”….

D.C. Circuit Review – Reviewed: Brooding Spirits, Judge Kavanaugh Edition
Source: Aaron Nielson, Notice & Comment, July 9, 2018

Here’s Where Trump’s New Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Stands On Abortion, Executive Power, And Guns
Source: Zoe Tillman, BuzzFeed News, July 9, 2018
Kavanaugh has written hundreds of opinions in more than a decade on the DC Circuit.

Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, explained
Source: Dylan Matthews, Vox, July 9, 2018
He’s a veteran of every conservative fight from the Clinton impeachment to the fight against Obamacare.

Brett Kavanaugh has sided with broad views of presidential powers
Source: Ann E. Marimow Washington Post, July 9, 2018

Students, Alumni Urge Yale Law School’s Leadership To Denounce Brett Kavanaugh
Source: Carla Herreria, Huffington Post, July 11, 2018
Even though Yale Law School published a press release touting the accomplishments of Brett Kavanaugh, its alumnus and President Donald Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee, not everyone at the school is singing his praises. As of Tuesday night, more than 200 students, staff members and alumni of Yale Law School signed an open letter calling for the institution to rescind its apparent support of Kavanaugh.

Trump’s Supreme Court List

Source: Free Law Project, June 27, 2018

Associate Justice Kennedy informed President Trump that he would be retiring from the Supreme Court effective July 31st. In response to this announcement, President Trump stated that his next Supreme Court nomination would come from his existing list of potential Supreme Court justices.

In our Judge and Appointment database, we have compiled extensive information about American judges, including their biographical data, the roles they have held before, during and after their time in the judicial branch, their political affiliations, and their campaign finance information (if applicable). The judges are also linked to the opinions they have authored.

Below are links to every judge in our database that is on President Trump’s list. For a few judges, we have not yet completed this work, and so there’s no link.

Open FOIL NY Online Form

Source: New York State, 2018

A convenient, centralized location to file a FOIL request to more than 50 New York State executive agencies and authorities. You can easily select multiple agencies in a single FOIL request.
Reading Room
Access agency records, publications, reports or statistics already available in the Open FOIL Reading Room.

FOIL Resource Center
Review the Freedom of Information Law, get answers to FAQs, find an Agency Records Access Officer, or view an Agency FOIL website to learn more about records requests.

Open Data
Browse and download over 1,600 New York State data resources, and realize new opportunities to explore, discover, analyze, reuse, and visualize data.

OSHA Occupational Chemical Database

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2018

This chemical inventory is OSHA’s premier one-stop shop for occupational chemical information. It compiles information from several government agencies and organizations. Information available on the pages includes:
– Chemical identification and physical properties
– Exposure limits
– Sampling information, and
– Additional resources.

How Much Is Your State Spending on You? Taxes, Spending, Job Answers Made Easy by New Census Tool

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, America Counts: Stories Behind the Numbers, May 2018

Are you interested in how much your state is spending on college education or parks and recreation? Have you ever wondered if your state or local governments are putting more funds into public safety and health care compared to last year? How does your state compare to other states? Where would you go to find this financial information?

State and local governments are responding to a growing demand for transparency by posting more government data online. That information, however, has been primarily accessible to the public who have a strong background in internet research and accounting — until now. ….

….. The State & Local Government Snapshot is the most comprehensive and compact view of government data ever created by the Census Bureau. The visualization combines data from the Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances and the Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll. ….

Early Learning Legislation in the States: 2018 Update

Source: Adrienne Fischer, National Conference of State Legislatures, May 23, 2018

States are leading the way with creative and timely solutions to support pre-K through third grade education (P-3).

Red and blue states alike are increasing investments in public pre-K programs, while others that are new to providing state-funded pre-K are looking at initial outcomes. Meanwhile, several other states are grappling with funding decisions.

Overall, legislation varies widely, from assessing school readiness in Utah, to providing quality improvement grants for low-income pre-K students in Colorado, to limiting suspension and expulsion of P-3 students in Virginia.

Check out NCSL’s new P-3 Education Bill Tracker for an interactive look at P-3 education bills introduced and enacted  from 2018 legislative sessions. States have filed more than 300 bills across a broad spectrum of issues related to early learning. Legislators’ focus this session has been on pre-K, comprising 22 percent of all P-3 education bills filed.

Consumer Arbitrations with The American Arbitration Association 2009 to Present

Source: Yale Law School Consumer Arbitration Data Archive, Last Updated: May 24, 2018

This website reposts data previously posted on the American Arbitration Association’s website: https://www.adr.org/consumer. The AAA describes the data on their website: “The AAA maintains an online Consumer Arbitration Statistics report based on consumer cases filed with the AAA for at least the last five years. This report is made available pursuant to state statutes such as the California Code of Civil Procedure §1281.96 and Maryland Commercial Law §§ 14-3901 to 3905 and updated quarterly, as required by law.”

In practice, each time the AAA adds the latest quarter of data, it takes down the earliest quarter. This website aids researchers by retaining the data each quarter in exactly the format in which it was originally posted. We are retaining and posting this data because we have found it useful in trying to understand the effect of mandates for consumers to arbitrate.

Caveats are in order. A first limitation of the data is the absence of access to the underlying materials, which are held privately. As the AAA explains, it does not independently verify what arbitrators report to it. A second problem is that coding errors can occur at both individual and aggregate levels. For example, when researching consumer arbitration between 2015 and 2016, we identified sixty-two cases in the set that were described as seeking the same amount ($607,525.40) and in which each consumer was listed as having received the same award ($585.71). AAA research staff responded to our inquiries, identified a computer coding error affecting these cases as well as other cases, and posted corrected data. But no red flags told other researchers that the data had been corrected. Thus, a vivid example of a potential error may be found through culling thousands of entries and then seeking clarification, but the general public has no systematic method of checking the accuracy of the data posted by AAA. ….

Another site that has usable AAA data is Level Playing Field (http://levelplayingfield.io), and there could be other sites as well. ….

Mapping State Interference

Source: Partnership for Working Families, 2018

What is State Interference? While attention focuses on Washington, aggressive corporate and special interests are systematically working at the state level to close critical avenues of power-building for poor people, people of color, women, LGBTQ individuals, and immigrants. Their strategy: targeting local governments, which provide essential hubs of innovation, protection and progressive political power. The Koch Brothers-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the architect of this strategy, has moved state legislators and courts to gut the ability of local governments in a vast number of states to alleviate unemployment, poverty and residential displacement and to protect their residents from threats to their health, safety and civil rights. In many cases such state interference laws are being used as a tool through which largely white state legislatures both deny cities of color of self-determination and preserve longstanding racial inequities.

To help shed light on this development, we created the interactive map below. Click on any of the nine issues to see which states block local standards and laws on that issue. Click on a state to see whether local authority has been preserved or preempted across all nine issues. For further information, you can click through to the actual text of the statute.

Our partners at Grassroots Change have a companion map that covers issues related to public health. Please visit that site to learn more.

Ethiq [beta]

Source: Ethiq lnc., 2018

From the FAQ:
WHAT IS ETHIQ?
Ethiq® is a tool designed to help you make purchases more aligned with your beliefs and values; to Vote With Your Wallet®. Our core mission is transparency through objective, factual data.

How does Ethiq match me with compatible companies?
An Ethiq user submits their opinion on a variety of prompts relating to ideological positions, on-the-record positions and statement by politicians, specific bills, ballot measures, etc. As you do this, Ethiq’s propriety algorithm tracks the sponsors, authors and votes related to these prompts, cross-referencing your responses with a dataset that links corporate money and its paths to these individuals and groups, both directly and indirectly. Currently, Ethiq offers customized rankings in 4 key consumer categories: Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Department Stores, and Fast Food Restaurants. Please let us know if there which additional categories you’d like us to add.

Where does Ethiq lean on the political spectrum – across political positions, ideologies and party lines?
Ethiq is a tool designed for Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, and everything in between. There are values-driven consumers on all sides of the political spectrum. The results Ethiq outputs, depending on your unique responses, should be equally valid to every user. Try for yourself! Click “Start Over” in the prompt box, and answer the prompts as your ideological opposite. You’ll soon see how the results match the “new you.”

Where does Ethiq’s data come from?
Ethiq’s data is primarily sourced from Federal Election Commission and IRS 527 filings, with additional data and assistance from the National Institute for Money in State Politics (www.followthemoney.org).

Ohio State University – salary information

Source: Ohio State University, Office of Human Resources, 2018

From the press release:
The Ohio State University is breaking new ground for transparency among public universities in Ohio by making all non-student employee salaries available to the public in an online, searchable web-based application. ….

…. In calendar year 2017, 42,670 faculty and staff received $2.5 billion in total earnings – representing a one-year employee headcount increase of 1,855 (4.5 percent) and a 6.4 percent increase over the 2016 $2.35 billion payroll budget. The 2017 median annual base salary stood at $48,173, compared to $47,661 in 2016 – a 1.1 percent increase.

Two types of data are available on the Human Resources website: Users may enter a name, department, title or salary range to search for base salary information in the web-based application. A second option is available to download Excel spreadsheets of total employee earnings for calendar year 2017, which includes bonuses, overtime, deferred compensation, and vacation and sick leave payouts in addition to base salary. The data will be updated throughout the calendar year…..