Freedom of Information

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  • Groups Urge President to Sign FOIA Bill

    The FOIA blog
    scott hodes
    24 Oct 2014 | 6:40 am
    Over 50 groups have sent a letter to the President urging him to sign the FOIA reform bill that is currently in Congress.  More on the letter in the Hill. Of course, if Congress never acts on the bill, the President won't have to worry about whether to sign it. The House passed its version of the bill but the Senate version hasn't yet reached the Senate floor.
  • Free speech fight focuses on parody of trademark

    FIRST AMENDMENT COALITION » News & Opinion
    donal brown
    14 Oct 2014 | 12:38 pm
    A Virginia federal court recently ruled that a trademark would prevent a parody of the NAACP in naming the group “National Association for the Abortion of Colored People.” The Radiance Foundation was objecting to the liberal stances of the group that excluded any significant pro-life activities, but was told by the court that its parody […]
  • $16 Million to NextGen Climate is Pocket Money for Tom Steyer

    OpenSecrets Blog
    Lalita Clozel
    24 Oct 2014 | 11:10 am
    In just 15 months, NextGen Climate Action has grown into one of the mightiest spenders of the midterm election.  And with the latest round of pocket money from founder Tom Steyer, it now has $19 million to spend within two weeks of the November 4 election. With his latest gift, Steyer’s contribution to NextGen Climate now exceeds the $50 million he had promised to spend at the outset. He gave $16 million on October 14 — the super PAC’s largest contribution received to date — meaning that NextGen has now racked up close to $58 million from the California hedge…
  • The Week on Politwoops: a slogan, a scold, a hoof and poof

    Sunlight Foundation Blog
    Nicko Margolies
    24 Oct 2014 | 1:29 pm
    Header via Parnell2014.com and deletion via Politwoops. This week's roundup of notable deletions archived on Politwoops include a campaign mocking the idea that people would believe a campaign slogan, a mysterious scolding and a childish spelling error. We start with the deletion seen to the right from the campaign account of Gov. Sean Parnell, R-Alaska, that boldly encourages those who believe slogans to believe his opponent, Bill Walker. Parnell's own slogan "Building Alaska Together" are both the first words of his campaign Twitter bio and a prominent header image on every page of his…
  • Two Reports About FBI's Use of National Security Letters Reissued

    Deeplinks
    Nadia Kayyali
    24 Oct 2014 | 10:58 am
    Even the reports that are supposed to provide transparency about the FBI's use of national security lettters (NSLs) are secret—or at least a couple dozen pages of them are. NSLs are nonjudicial orders that allow the FBI to obtain information from companies, without a warrant, about their customers’ use of services. They almost always contain a gag order, which prohibits recipients from even saying they've received the request. Two Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reports reviewing the FBI's use of NSLs from 2007 and 2008 were reissued earlier this week after having portions…
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    The FOIA blog

  • Groups Urge President to Sign FOIA Bill

    scott hodes
    24 Oct 2014 | 6:40 am
    Over 50 groups have sent a letter to the President urging him to sign the FOIA reform bill that is currently in Congress.  More on the letter in the Hill. Of course, if Congress never acts on the bill, the President won't have to worry about whether to sign it. The House passed its version of the bill but the Senate version hasn't yet reached the Senate floor.
  • DHS FOIA Backlog Up 18%

    scott hodes
    22 Oct 2014 | 7:01 am
    The Hill reports on DHS's announcement that its FOIA backlog increased 18% in 2013 to over 50,000.  The agency puts most of the blame on the backlog on immigration related requests.  Trying to put a positive spin, the agency reports that its easier to file requests and touted its use of social media.  I think the way to reduce the backlog is to have all top executives at the agency acknowledge that they have a problem, become personally involved and devote extensive agency resources to the problem.  Until that happens, the reporting of the backlog will be,…
  • OGIS At Five Event - 10/31/14

    scott hodes
    16 Oct 2014 | 3:38 am
    The Office of Government Information Services is five years old and to mark the occasion there will be an event at the Newseum on October 31, 2014 hosted by OGIS, the Newseum and Openthegovernment.org.  I hope to see some of you there. For more information and to rsvp, go here.
  • Some Basic FOIA Facts

    scott hodes
    9 Oct 2014 | 5:34 am
    Many long time readers of this blog will know this, but I write the below material for those who are coming across the FOIA for the first time and have no real understanding of it. The Freedom of Information Act covers material maintained by the federal government's Executive Branch, including independent agencies (i.e. FCC, SEC etc.).  The Judicial and Congressional Branches are not covered by the FOIA. States are not covered by the federal FOIA either.  However, each state has its own access law.  Some of them are called a FOIA, but many have a different name (open…
  • Audit of IRS FOIA Released

    scott hodes
    2 Oct 2014 | 11:27 am
    The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has released its audit report of the IRS FOIA operations.  The report fails to address the real issues that I have found with the IRS FOIA Office,  namely a decentralized system with a managers ill versed in FOIA law as well as a FOIA appeals system that is among the worst in the FOIA system.  I hope TIGTA looks at these procedural issues in its 2014 audit of the IRS FOIA operations.
 
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    FIRST AMENDMENT COALITION » News & Opinion

  • Free speech fight focuses on parody of trademark

    donal brown
    14 Oct 2014 | 12:38 pm
    A Virginia federal court recently ruled that a trademark would prevent a parody of the NAACP in naming the group “National Association for the Abortion of Colored People.” The Radiance Foundation was objecting to the liberal stances of the group that excluded any significant pro-life activities, but was told by the court that its parody […]
  • California town council shuts down meeting over messge on hat

    donal brown
    13 Oct 2014 | 11:55 am
    The Santa Ana City Council sparked a free speech debate over a hat with anti-police lyrics. After a man refused to take off the hat which read “—- the police,” the mayor cancelled a city council meeting. A local law professor cited a U.S. Supreme Court case, Cohen v. California, in arguing that the man […]
  • Obama favors net neutrality, against fast lanes

    donal brown
    13 Oct 2014 | 11:36 am
    President Barack Obama again expressed his opposition to preferential treatment for certain websites who could pay providers for faster lanes. He wants the Federal Communications Commission to treat broadband as  a public utility. (GigaOm, October 10, 2014, by Jeff John Roberts) Obama was careful to say that the FCC was an independent agency not subject […]
  • Virginia volunteer fire fighters lose free speech case in federal court

    donal brown
    13 Oct 2014 | 9:50 am
    Two Virginia volunteer firefighters lost in federal court when a jury ruled that their department did not violate their free speech rights in suspending one and firing the other. The two firefighters accused the department of acting to quell their criticism of decisions on equipment and funding. The jury could not find that criticism was […]
  • Transparency: Twitter takes federal government to court over surveillance data

    donal brown
    9 Oct 2014 | 12:03 pm
    Twitter is challenging the federal government in court over federal efforts to curb their ability to release the details of requests for surveillance. The company has been trying to negotiate a more liberal policy on the issue but failing that is suing the government on First Amendment grounds. (Wired, October 7, 2014, by Kim Zetter) […]
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    OpenSecrets Blog

  • $16 Million to NextGen Climate is Pocket Money for Tom Steyer

    Lalita Clozel
    24 Oct 2014 | 11:10 am
    In just 15 months, NextGen Climate Action has grown into one of the mightiest spenders of the midterm election.  And with the latest round of pocket money from founder Tom Steyer, it now has $19 million to spend within two weeks of the November 4 election. With his latest gift, Steyer’s contribution to NextGen Climate now exceeds the $50 million he had promised to spend at the outset. He gave $16 million on October 14 — the super PAC’s largest contribution received to date — meaning that NextGen has now racked up close to $58 million from the California hedge…
  • The NCAA’s K Street Dash Continues

    Lalita Clozel
    24 Oct 2014 | 7:54 am
    NCAA president Mark Emmert is juggling a host of lawsuits. (Twitter.com) After spending record amounts on lobbying earlier this year, the troubled National Collegiate Athletic Association is now going the whole nine yards to round up support in Washington. During the second quarter, the association had hired new hands to lobby on its behalf for the first time since 1998. It paid $90,000 to Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, hiring some of its top point guards, including Elizabeth Gore and Marc Lampkin. In the third quarter spanning July to September, the NCAA’s tab with the firm…
  • Eldridge Sparing No Expense in NY House Race

    John Sugden
    23 Oct 2014 | 2:32 pm
    Sean Eldridge is doubling down in his bid to become a congressman. The Hudson Valley transplant, venture capitalist and husband to Facebook cofounder and New Republic publisher Chris Hughes is showing little interest in frugality during his run to unseat Republican Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) and represent his adopted 19th Congressional District. Eldridge’s campaign spent nearly $2 million dollars during the third quarter — $1.2 million of which went toward media buys. That’s a lot given that in the 2012 cycle, the average winning House campaign spent $1.5 million. And the…
  • Lobbying Giants Extend Spending Lead

    John Sugden
    23 Oct 2014 | 7:09 am
    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce building in Washington, D.C.(Flickr/Ron Cogswell) Lobbying heavyweights reasserted their dominance during the third quarter, as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Realtors built on their already sizable second quarter spending totals and remained Nos. 1 and 2 on the list of top lobbying spenders. The National Association of Realtors — a trade organization boasting more than 1.2 million members — has already eclipsed its previous record annual lobbying total through just nine months this year. The NAR spent a shade under $18…
  • Ebola Lobbying Goes Viral

    Lalita Clozel
    22 Oct 2014 | 8:07 am
    The Ebola scare has reached K Street. (Flickr/European Commission DG ECHO) If you’re seeking reassurance on the Ebola threat, don’t look at the latest lobbying filings. In the third quarter spanning July through September, 17 organizations specifically referred to the hemorrhagic fever — which has already caused more than 4,500 deaths in West Africa and one in the United States — in their lobbying filings. This includes health professionals’ associations, research institutions and many pharmaceutical companies. With the growing scare, many of these…
 
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    Sunlight Foundation Blog

  • The Week on Politwoops: a slogan, a scold, a hoof and poof

    Nicko Margolies
    24 Oct 2014 | 1:29 pm
    Header via Parnell2014.com and deletion via Politwoops. This week's roundup of notable deletions archived on Politwoops include a campaign mocking the idea that people would believe a campaign slogan, a mysterious scolding and a childish spelling error. We start with the deletion seen to the right from the campaign account of Gov. Sean Parnell, R-Alaska, that boldly encourages those who believe slogans to believe his opponent, Bill Walker. Parnell's own slogan "Building Alaska Together" are both the first words of his campaign Twitter bio and a prominent header image on every page of his…
  • Revenge of the Democrats: Wealthy liberals top list of super PAC donors in 2014

    Peter Olsen-Phillips
    24 Oct 2014 | 11:46 am
    One billionaire has spent more than $70 million on the 2014 elections; Image credit: DonkeyHotey, Flickr In a reversal from 2012, liberal billionaires top the list of biggest super PAC donors with a little more than two weeks to go before Election Day. Three of the top five givers lean Democrat, while the king of unlimited money mountain — environmental crusader Tom Steyer of California — is lapping the competition, a Sunlight analysis finds. Taking advantage of the Supreme Courts ruling in the Citizens United case, which opened the door to political spending by outside groups that can…
  • Exploring open data's microdata frontier

    Emily Shaw
    24 Oct 2014 | 11:13 am
    Photo credit: *n3wjack's world in pixels/Flickr As open data advocates, we seek to achieve public access to the best quality data we can get. One of the critical dimensions of a dataset’s quality concerns its granularity: the number of individual observations that a dataset aggregates together in individual cells. Microdata —data which is not aggregated at all, but which is available at the level of the individual observation — is the most granular data. Where this data is available openly, this is “open data at the power of one” — data which allows us to query individual cases,…
  • Today in #OpenGov 10/24/2014

    Matt Rumsey
    24 Oct 2014 | 6:29 am
    Today in #OpenGov is going email! Click here to sign up now. We're taking "Today in #OpenGov" to the next level: Your inbox. Beginning in mid-November, your favorite roundup of all-things-opengov will transition fully to an email newsletter, delivered each morning during the week. Ready to take the next step? Sign up for the newsletter here! National News President Obama has made reducing improper payments across the Federal government a priority. That focus is paying off, according to a new OMB memo that includes some new guidance on how to further trim the rate of improper payments. (Fierce…
  • Thirty minutes on Philly TV news: 11 political ads, no political stories

    Kathy Kiely
    23 Oct 2014 | 1:44 pm
    If one recent evening newscast is any indication, Philadelphia voters may be longing for used car ads and payday loan pitches — and maybe for some unbiased political reportage. In the course of one 30-minute newscast on KYW last week, viewers were bombarded with no fewer than 11 political ads, most of them negative. The news program, which aired at 6 p.m. on Oct. 16, featured no political news stories, although in three weeks voters in the region will be heading to the polls to make decisions on the contests that were the subject of the political ads: for governor and state Senate in…
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    Deeplinks

  • Two Reports About FBI's Use of National Security Letters Reissued

    Nadia Kayyali
    24 Oct 2014 | 10:58 am
    Even the reports that are supposed to provide transparency about the FBI's use of national security lettters (NSLs) are secret—or at least a couple dozen pages of them are. NSLs are nonjudicial orders that allow the FBI to obtain information from companies, without a warrant, about their customers’ use of services. They almost always contain a gag order, which prohibits recipients from even saying they've received the request. Two Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reports reviewing the FBI's use of NSLs from 2007 and 2008 were reissued earlier this week after having portions…
  • Cops Need to Obey Facebook’s Rules

    Dave Maass and Nadia Kayyali
    24 Oct 2014 | 10:06 am
    Facebook scolded the Drug Enforcement Administration this week after learning that a narcotics agent had impersonated a user named Sondra Arquiett on the social network in order to communicate and gather intelligence on suspects. In a strongly worded letter to DEA head Michele Leonhart, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan reiterated that not only did the practice explicitly violate the site’s terms of service, but threatened Facebook’s trust-based social ecosystem. Sullivan writes: Facebook has long made clear that law enforcement authorities are subject to these policies. We…
  • Snowden's Motivation: What the Internet Was Like Before It Was Being Watched, and How We Can Get There Again

    rainey Reitman
    23 Oct 2014 | 4:40 pm
    Laura Poitras’ riveting new documentary about mass surveillance gives an intimate look into the motivations that guided Edward Snowden, who sacrificed his career and risked his freedom to expose mass surveillance by the NSA. CITIZENFOUR, which debuts on Friday, has many scenes that explore the depths of government surveillance gone awry and the high-tension unfolding of Snowden’s rendezvous with journalists in Hong Kong. One of the most powerful scenes in the film comes when Snowden discusses his motivation for the disclosures and points to his fundamental belief in the power and promise…
  • Where Copyright Fails, Open Licenses Help Creators Build Towards a Future of Free Culture

    Jeremy Malcolm
    23 Oct 2014 | 4:13 pm
    One of the convictions that drew law professor and former EFF board member, Lawrence Lessig, to co-found Creative Commons was that a narrow and rigid application of copyright law made no sense in the digital age. Copying digital information over long distances and at virtually no cost is what the Internet does best; indeed, it wouldn't work at all if copying wasn't possible. If all online copying requires permission—a worldview that Lessig has termed permission culture— then a huge part of our modern systems for conveying and creating knowledge will always require explicit and prior…
  • Research Is Just the Beginning: A Free People Must Have Open Access to the Law

    corynne mcsherry
    23 Oct 2014 | 11:33 am
    The open access movement has historically focused on access to scholarly research, and understandably so. The knowledge commons should be shared with and used by the public, especially when the public helped create it. But that commons includes more than academic research. Our cultural commons is broader than what is produced by academia. Rather it includes all of the information, knowledge, and learning that shape our world. And one crucial piece of that commons is the rules by which we live. In a democratic society, people must have an unrestricted right to read, share, and comment on the…
 
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    The Fine Print: blog posts from Center for Effective Government

  • End of the "Double Irish" Scheme Could Take a Bite Out of Apple's Tax Avoidance

    jschieder
    22 Oct 2014 | 9:05 am
    Last May, many were shocked to hear that one of their favorite companies, Apple, was acting less than patriotically. The corporation was stashing profits out of the reach of the U.S. Treasury. Apple has been using the “holy grail of tax avoidance,” as Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) described the accounting tricks, to generate profits that cannot be taxed by any country. The company is one of several that have taken advantage of this scheme. Google used the "Double Irish" accounting maneuver, as it is known, to avoid paying an estimated $2.5 billion in U.S. taxes last year.
  • New Study Finds Big Government Makes People Happy, "Free Markets" Don't

    guest
    16 Oct 2014 | 11:35 am
    Originally released by the Campaign for America's Future on Oct. 15, 2014 Interview with Patrick Flavin, principal author of the study “Assessing the Impact of the Size and Scope of Government on Human Well-Being,” conducted by host of “The Zero Hour” Richard Eskow Forget about feeling “like a room without a roof,” or whatever that “happy” song says. If you want to know “what happiness is to you,” try living in a social democracy. A recent study confirms something leftists have suspected for a long time: People are happier in…
  • The Need for Speed: $15 Billion Cost of Foodborne Illness Underscores Urgent FDA Action

    rwhite
    15 Oct 2014 | 3:25 pm
    Preventable foodborne diseases cause thousands of illnesses and deaths in the United States every year. Coupled with this pain and suffering, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently estimated that foodborne illnesses cost the American public more than $15 billion annually. To develop this estimate, the USDA analyzed specific disease outcomes from 15 major pathogens found in food in the United States, which account for over 95 percent of the illnesses and deaths from foodborne disease. It also examined health care costs, lost wages from these illnesses, and other costs. We can…
  • Cleaning Up CAFOs with the Civil Rights Act

    afrank
    6 Oct 2014 | 12:40 pm
    For decades, minority communities in North Carolina have suffered with the odors and pollution of industrial pig farms. They may finally get a reprieve thanks to a complaint submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Civil Rights. The complaint, filed by Earthjustice on behalf of several groups, argues that North Carolina’s permitting process for pig farms negatively and disproportionally affects minority communities and violates the Civil Rights Act. CAFOs Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, also known as “CAFOs,” are highly…
  • Report: Anonymous Companies Threaten American Interests

    jschieder
    6 Oct 2014 | 6:18 am
    It is easier to form a corporation in the United States than it is to get a library card or driver’s license. Current law allows people or existing corporations to create new companies without requiring any information about the human owners of the businesses. A powerful new report by Global Witness details the threats these anonymous companies pose. “The Great Rip Off”  provides 22 detailed case studies to highlight the threats to American interests posed by anonymous company ownership. These include: jeopardizing national security, exploiting taxpayers, conning the…
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    Local Open Government Blog

  • Recent PRA Litigation Missteps: Abandoned Claims, False Starts

    Foster Pepper
    22 Oct 2014 | 4:33 pm
    By Milt Rowland and Lee Marchisio Abandoned Claims.  In West v. Gregoire, Division II of the Court of Appeals held that a PRA requestor who moves for a show cause order under RCW 42.56.550(1) abandons any claims he or she does not either (1) address in briefing, (2) mention in oral argument, or (3) otherwise specifically preserve for judicial review.  Arthur West submitted a public records request to Governor Gregoire’s office.  After providing West an initial five‑day letter, the Governor’s office did not further communicate for several…
  • Case Law Update: "fullest assistance," redactions for effective law enforcement, disclosure of non-agency phone logs

    Lee Marchisio
    18 Sep 2014 | 6:02 pm
    The Washington Court of Appeals issued three notable Public Records Act decisions in the past few days.  In Andrews v. Washington State Patrol, Division III held that an agency that fails to comply with self‑imposed disclosure deadlines does not violate the PRA if the agency acts diligently to produce the requested records.  The specific records request was complex, seeking audio recordings of third‑party telephone conversations protected by attorney‑client privilege.  In order to preserve confidentiality, the State Patrol developed a method to identify responsive…
  • Recommended Reading: Ethics and the Public Disclosure Act

    Foster Pepper
    12 Aug 2014 | 12:31 pm
    Foster Pepper's Regulatory & Government Affairs practice recommends reading, "Does Media Coverage of School Shootings Lead to More School Shootings?" to stay up-to-date on conversation related to the Public Disclosure Act. The Stranger originally published the article on August 11, 2014.
  • Court Of Appeals Holds Records Subject To Protective Order As Unduly Burdensome Not Exempt Under The Public Records Act

    Adrian Urquhart Winder
    4 Aug 2014 | 2:00 pm
    In Washington State Department of Transportation v. Mendoza de Sugiyama (Division II), a former employee brought an employment action against the Department of Transportation (“DOT”) and requested certain records in pretrial discovery.  When the trial court granted DOT’s motion for a CR 26(c) protective order on the grounds that the request was unduly burdensome, the former employee submitted a public records request to DOT for the same records.  DOT brought a separate action for declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that the records were exempt under…
  • Recommended Reading: Open Public Meetings Law

    Foster Pepper
    31 Jul 2014 | 10:35 am
    Foster Pepper’s Regulatory & Government Affairs practice recommends staying updated on state open public meetings law and reading the most recent development as reported by Justin Runquist of The Columbian. Washougal mayor: Council may have violated public meetings law. 
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    Sunlight Foundation Blog

  • The Week on Politwoops: a slogan, a scold, a hoof and poof

    Nicko Margolies
    24 Oct 2014 | 1:29 pm
    Header via Parnell2014.com and deletion via Politwoops. This week's roundup of notable deletions archived on Politwoops include a campaign mocking the idea that people would believe a campaign slogan, a mysterious scolding and a childish spelling error. We start with the deletion seen to the right from the campaign account of Gov. Sean Parnell, R-Alaska, that boldly encourages those who believe slogans to believe his opponent, Bill Walker. Parnell's own slogan "Building Alaska Together" are both the first words of his campaign Twitter bio and a prominent header image on every page of his…
  • Revenge of the Democrats: Wealthy liberals top list of super PAC donors in 2014

    Peter Olsen-Phillips
    24 Oct 2014 | 11:46 am
    One billionaire has spent more than $70 million on the 2014 elections; Image credit: DonkeyHotey, Flickr In a reversal from 2012, liberal billionaires top the list of biggest super PAC donors with a little more than two weeks to go before Election Day. Three of the top five givers lean Democrat, while the king of unlimited money mountain — environmental crusader Tom Steyer of California — is lapping the competition, a Sunlight analysis finds. Taking advantage of the Supreme Courts ruling in the Citizens United case, which opened the door to political spending by outside groups that can…
  • Exploring open data's microdata frontier

    Emily Shaw
    24 Oct 2014 | 11:13 am
    Photo credit: *n3wjack's world in pixels/Flickr As open data advocates, we seek to achieve public access to the best quality data we can get. One of the critical dimensions of a dataset’s quality concerns its granularity: the number of individual observations that a dataset aggregates together in individual cells. Microdata —data which is not aggregated at all, but which is available at the level of the individual observation — is the most granular data. Where this data is available openly, this is “open data at the power of one” — data which allows us to query individual cases,…
  • Today in #OpenGov 10/24/2014

    Matt Rumsey
    24 Oct 2014 | 6:29 am
    Today in #OpenGov is going email! Click here to sign up now. We're taking "Today in #OpenGov" to the next level: Your inbox. Beginning in mid-November, your favorite roundup of all-things-opengov will transition fully to an email newsletter, delivered each morning during the week. Ready to take the next step? Sign up for the newsletter here! National News President Obama has made reducing improper payments across the Federal government a priority. That focus is paying off, according to a new OMB memo that includes some new guidance on how to further trim the rate of improper payments. (Fierce…
  • Thirty minutes on Philly TV news: 11 political ads, no political stories

    Kathy Kiely
    23 Oct 2014 | 1:44 pm
    If one recent evening newscast is any indication, Philadelphia voters may be longing for used car ads and payday loan pitches — and maybe for some unbiased political reportage. In the course of one 30-minute newscast on KYW last week, viewers were bombarded with no fewer than 11 political ads, most of them negative. The news program, which aired at 6 p.m. on Oct. 16, featured no political news stories, although in three weeks voters in the region will be heading to the polls to make decisions on the contests that were the subject of the political ads: for governor and state Senate in…
 
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    WordPress Tag: Open Government

  • Phew! Lucky this large new oil find off the Scottish coast was made after the referendum

    Tom Pride
    23 Oct 2014 | 9:10 am
    (not satire – it’s the UK today!) It’s extremely lucky for David Cameron and the winning NO campaign that the large new oil find off the coast of Scotland announced today was discovered just after the independence referendum. Because such an announcement could have given the YES campaign a massive boost. Couldn’t it? GDF Suez and BP make UK North Sea oil find Please feel free to comment. And share. Thanks:
  • KAREN DEGGES, COUNTY MANAGER, MAKES EXCUSES AT OPEN GOVERNMENT FORUM

    taxdogs
    21 Oct 2014 | 6:56 pm
    October 21, 2014 Watchdogs, newspaper reporters, and a few county officials attended the Open Government Forum in Macon last Friday. This forum was sponsored by the Transparency Project of Georgia and the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. Jim Zachary (long time newspaper editor and fierce open government advocate) representing the TPOG, and Hollie Manheimer representing the GFAF were the main speakers. Thank you to Charles Forsythe for attending and recording the forum so we could have these videos. Jim Zachary did not mince words and neither did those in attendance about the problems…
  • The government bill which will allow public forests to be handed over to private developers

    Tom Pride
    21 Oct 2014 | 2:59 pm
    (not satire – it’s the UK today) Well this is a bit worrying. An innocuous sounding bit of legislation called the Infrastructure Bill is making its way through parliament with hardly a peep of protest from …. well, just about anyone really. Which is strange because the bill is about to give Government agencies carte blanche to hand over any public land – including countryside and forests – to private developers. You can read more about this pernicious legislation here: Parliaments New Chainsaw – The Infrastructure Bill There’s still time for a…
  • Lettuce Know

    Barkinghandbag
    20 Oct 2014 | 6:42 pm
    New Zealand. Land of milk, manuka honey, kiwifruit, giant fleeced marinos, football playing rams, happy bulls producing record amounts of semen and very unhappy consumers whose 5+ a day programme has been hamstrung by an outbreak of painful food poisoning allegedly from contaminated lettuces – or perhaps carrots. Shrek, Big Ben and Samson – no shaggy sheep tales with these fellas I can’t tell you more in case I name a supplier, a producer, a brand or a retailer who may not be associated with said contaminated veges and I can neither confirm nor deny if carrots and/or lettuces are…
  • UK government shuts down free speech with threats of jail (tabloid newspapers exempted)

    Tom Pride
    19 Oct 2014 | 1:51 am
    (not satire – it’s the UK today!) When government ministers or members of the establishment talk about free speech, they don’t mean free speech for plebs like you and me. As an illustration of this, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has just announced 2 year jail sentences for anyone found to have been dishing out abuse on social media. But the law will not apply to tabloid newspapers, who dish out abuse on a regular basis – sometimes with tragic consequences. If the government thinks dishing out abuse online should result in jail, fair enough. But the laws must also…
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