Category Archives: Websites/Databases/Blogs

Brass Parachutes: Defense Contractors’ Capture of Pentagon Officials Through the Revolving Door

Source: Mandy Smithberger, Project On Government Oversight, 2018

A POGO investigation found that from 2008 to the present over 380 high-ranking Department of Defense officials and military officers became lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for defense contractors within two years of leaving the Department.

Major Findings
– There were 645 instances of the top 20 defense contractors in fiscal year 2016 hiring former senior government officials, military officers, Members of Congress, and senior legislative staff as lobbyists, board members, or senior executives in 2018 (see chart below). Since some lobbyists work for multiple defense contractors, there are more instances than officials.
– Of those instances, nearly 90 percent became registered lobbyists, where the operational skill is influence-peddling.
– At least 380 high-ranking Department of Defense officials and military officers shifted into the private sector to become lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for defense contractors.
– Of the Department of Defense officials POGO tracked through the revolving door, a quarter of them (95) went to work at the Department of Defense’s top 5 contractors (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman).
– Military officers going through the revolving door included 25 Generals, 9 Admirals, 43 Lieutenant Generals, and 23 Vice Admirals.

Related:
Pentagon Revolving Door Database

DELTA 8.7 – New data dashboards launched to inform policymaking on modern slavery and child labor

Source: United Nations University – Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR), 2018

What does delta mean?
The Greek letter delta—Δ—is used in mathematics and science to signify the amount of change in a particular variable.

What is 8.7?
In Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals, States committed to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate modern slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and child labour.

What do they mean together?
Delta + 8.7 = Measuring the change towards Target 8.7.

On any given day in 2016, the latest year for which we have a reliable estimate, 40.3 million people were in situations of modern slavery or forced labour—or one in every 174 people alive —and 152 million children were victims of child labour. Urgent action is needed to address these problems. With Target 8.7 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 193 countries pledged their commitment to take effective measures to eradicate modern slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and child labour.

But what are effective measures? What works to address these problems?

To answer these questions, the United Nations University – Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR) created Delta 8.7—an innovative project that helps policy actors understand and use data responsibly to inform policies that contribute to achieving Target 8.7. Delta 8.7 brings together the most useful data, evidence, research and news, analyses cutting-edge data, and helps people understand that data so it can be translated it into effective policy.

Resources
Dive deeper into Thematic Overviews, online and offline Learning Opportunities, original Research by the Delta 8.7 team, or explore the site Glossary.

Data and Measurement
Visit the Data Dashboards to explore evidence at the national, regional and global levels, or learn How to Measure the Change through our introductory materials on data science and measurement.

Forum
The Forum is the world’s leading venue for discussion of the latest data and evidence about forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour, and what it means for policy to achieve Target 8.7.

Call to Action
Explore the efforts of countries that have endorsed the UK’s Call to Action to End Forced Labour, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.

CMS Strengthens Nursing Home Oversight and Safety to Ensure Adequate Staffing

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Press Release, November 30, 2018

Agency works with states, facilities to identify and address potential cases of inadequate staffing
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced actions that will bolster nursing home oversight and improve transparency in order to ensure that facilities are staffed adequately to provide high-quality care. These actions include sharing data with states when potential issues arise regarding staffing levels and the availability of onsite registered nurses; clarifying how facilities should report hours and deduct time for staff meal breaks; and providing facilities with new tools to help ensure their resident census is accurate. ….

…. Research shows the ratio of nurses to residents impacts quality of care and health outcomes. For example, facilities with higher nurse staffing levels tend to have fewer resident hospitalizations. In general, the new payroll-based staffing data shows most facilities have somewhat fewer staff on weekends, but some facilities have significantly lower weekend staffing. Additionally, some facilities have reported days with no registered nurse onsite, although nursing homes are generally required by law to have a registered nurse onsite eight hours a day, seven days a week.

To help address these risks, CMS will use frequently-updated payroll-based data to identify and provide state survey agencies with a list of nursing homes that have a significant drop in staffing levels on weekends, or that have several days in a quarter without a registered nurse onsite. State survey agencies will then be required to conduct surveys on some weekends based on this list. If surveyors identify insufficient nurse staffing levels, the facility will be cited for noncompliance and required to implement a plan of correction. ….

Caselaw Access Project

Source: Caselaw Access Project, 2018

The Caselaw Access Project (“CAP”) expands public access to U.S. law.

Our goal is to make all published U.S. court decisions freely available to the public online, in a consistent format, digitized from the collection of the Harvard Law Library.

What data do we have?

CAP includes all official, book-published United States case law — every volume designated as an official report of decisions by a court within the United States.

Our scope includes all state courts, federal courts, and territorial courts for American Samoa, Dakota Territory, Guam, Native American Courts, Navajo Nation, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Our earliest case is from 1658, and our most recent cases are from 2018.

Each volume has been converted into structured, case-level data broken out by majority and dissenting opinion, with human-checked metadata for party names, docket number, citation, and date.

We also plan to share (but have not yet published) page images and page-level OCR data for all volumes.

Global Municipal Database (GMD)

Source: UN-Habitat, 2018

From the press release:
A Global Municipal Database (GMD) launched by UN-Habitat provides standard indicators for municipal budgets and includes data on per capita expenditures, revenues and debt in cities worldwide. The GMD is the first database to provide standardized local level per-capita budget data and covers more than 100 cities, highlighting the importance of focusing on financial data at municipal level.

The data which is based on core mandates with a standard set of budget responsibilities identified and noted for each government in the database was compiled with cooperation from city-based researchers and technical staff of municipalities in developed and developing countries. Selection of cities and original points of contact for city-based researchers was derived from the Atlas of Urban Expansion project which contains data on spatial layout of cities but none on municipal finance….

Tracking Trump’s Conflicts of Interest – Details and news coverage of the Trump Family’s business and financial dealings

Source: Sunlight Foundation, 2018

This database is part of the Sunlight Foundation’s ongoing “Tracking Trump’s Conflicts of Interest” project, funded by the Lodestar Foundation. As we continue to learn about the First Family’s business holdings, this database will be updated. Learn more about the project or our methodology and download the data. Get involved and help with the updates by contacting us here.

Trump Tax Cut Truths

Source: Americans for Tax Fairness, 2018

Claims that corporations are sharing a big slice of their huge Trump tax cuts with employees through bonuses and wage hikes are mostly hype, the “Trump Tax Cut Truths” website of Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) shows.

The data on this website primarily covers Fortune 500 companies, whose revenues are two-thirds of the entire U.S. economy (GDP). But the universe is all Fortune 1000 corporations and businesses not on the Fortune 1000 that are included in the List of Tax Reform Good News maintained by Americans for Tax Reform.

Data estimates are based on information from corporations, the media, independent analysts or ATF research and cover activities since the tax law was passed on December 20, 2017. Sources for the data below can be found here or on the separate spreadsheets found here. See the Methodology explanation for more details.

Teens Resist Was Created by High Schoolers to Help Youth Engagement in Politics

Source: Sonia Chajet Wides and Kate Griem, Teen Vogue, August 24, 2018

Teens Resist offers biweekly news and action items you can engage with.

In this op-ed, sophomores Sonia Chajet Wides and Kate Griem, both of Brooklyn, explain why they started the youth-advocacy website Teens Resist and why they believe youth engagement is so key.

It’s no secret that Gen Z is incredibly informed and opinionated. But we need comprehensive resources to turn our opinions into tangible action. That’s why we started Teens Resist, a platform that provides those resources in order to make political activism accessible to passionate youth in a world where their voices matter more than ever.

In publishing biweekly lists on our website that contain briefings and actions to take on topics in the news, Teens Resist hopes to make complicated issues easy to understand. The lists are practical, and made by and for teens. We also publish longer features, written by our core of staff writers or by contributing writers who have extensive knowledge of a particular issue, going deeper into particular issues, including DACA and net neutrality. We also use social media, such as our Instagram, for more frequent updates on current events, lists, and activism opportunities…..

Announcing PACER Docket Alerts for Journalists, Lawyers, Researchers, and the Public

Source: Michael Lissner, CourtListener, August 21, 2018

Now Today we are thrilled to announce the general availability of PACER Docket Alerts on CourtListener.com. Once enabled, a docket alert will send you an email whenever there is a new filing in a case in PACER. We started CourtListener in 2010 as a circuit court monitoring tool, and we could not be more excited to continue expanding on those roots with this powerful new tool.

The best way to get started with Docket Alerts is to just make one. Try loading a popular case like U.S. v. Manafort or The District of Columbia v. Trump. Once the case is open, just press the “Get Alerts” button near the top. Then, just wait for your first alert.

We believe PACER Docket Alerts will be a valuable resource to journalists, researchers, lawyers, and the public as they grapple with staying up to date with the latest PACER filings.

Our goal with docket alerts is to make them as simple as possible to use. Once you have found a case you are interested in, a single click is all it takes to turn on an alert for that docket. From then on, we will send you an email as soon as we detect a new filing in that case. For more details on how to use docket alerts, please see our help page. …..