So says Republican leaders in Georgia. The UN! Agenda 21! Rural broadband! RAND! Obama’s 2008 election yielded the Tea Party. His reelection may breed an even stupider brand of nutjobs. →
The Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled in favor of allowing OpenCourt to expand their streaming video feeds of court proceedings beyond Quincy District Court. The WBUR project has been running since last year, allowing anybody to watch what’s going on in the courtroom. It’s been a success by any measure, but when they tried to expand to broadcasting jury trials, the county DA sued to stop them. The court ruled that there’s simply no legal basis to stop them—they have the same right as any other media outlet to film in the courtroom. This is a great project, doing the important work of opening up courtrooms. This is the second such legal challenge that they’ve faced, the second time it’s gone to the state’s highest court, and the second time that they’ve won. →
I thought that the USPS was in financial trouble because they’d over-promised pensions. Nope. It turns out that a law passed by Congress in 2006 requires the USPS to save up enough money to pay 100% of their pension obligations for the next 75 years by 2016. That’s unheard of. So why require that? To break the back of the USPS union. The same law prohibits the USPS from engaging in any business activity other than strictly postal services, so they can’t even innovate their way out of this. →
On the blog for my State Decoded project, I explain how a bill becomes law. Hint: It’s not how you think. →
Remember in 2008, when every Republican senator in the General Assembly voted against the the budget bill, how they were labelled “obstructionists”?
Yeah, me neither. →
The state legislature routinely puts together commissions that conclude by issuing a report about its assigned topic. Dozens of reports have been published this year, on topics as varied as “Management of State-owned Bottomlands on the Seaside of the Eastern Shore” and “Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors in Virginia.” Although most of the older reports have only the title—not the report itself—some old ones and all of the recent ones can be read on the General Assembly’s website, clear back to 1897. →
Earmarks are back. Now they’re in the form of specific funding riders attached to spending bills. Congress’ budget for the Army Corps of Engineers had $507M tacked on for 26 separate projects that were not requested by the Army, not part of the president’s budget, and weren’t previously part of the spending bill. →
- Double-Tongued Dictionary: hoghouse
"Connotating legislation that has been stripped of its original provisions and amended to accomplish a different purpose." This is a useful word.
- Office of Government Ethics: Executive Agency Ethics Pledge Waivers
These are the presidential appointees who were given waivers to exempt them from one or more ethics regulations, along with copies of the relevant documents that explain the circumstances warranting their exemption from ethics standards.
- Bulk Homeopathy
Save money by buying in bulk. They ought to dehydrate it, to save on shipping. Just add water!
- PolitiFact: Occupy Providence sign says Goldman Sachs CEO earns in an hour what minimum wage worker earns in a year
PolitiFact ranks as "false" the claim that the CEO of Goldman Sachs earns as much in an hour as a minimum-wage worker makes in a year. Which seemed like good news, until I read their article. It turns out that it takes him one hour and forty minutes to make that much. I'm not sure that's going to make anybody feel better.
- Jay Rosen: Lefty journalism professor tries to discredit the Tea Party by passing along sensational footage to his buddies at the Times!!!
Is there anybody left who takes James O'Keefe seriously? One can mix and match anybody's words to make them look foolish, but one shouldn't pretend that's anything other than being goofy.
- New York Times: Report of Justice Dept.’s $16 Muffin Greatly Exaggerated
It wasn't true, for reasons that were perfectly obvious to me (and any event planner) at the time. Fear not: the story will live on as urban legend for decades to come.
- Frontline: The U.S. Immigration Detention Boom
This map of the growth of immigrant detention facilities is a great—and alarming—illustration of the rise of these ever-larger, often private facilities.
- Wikipedia: Northwest Angle
Insufficient understanding of North American geography in the late 1700s resulted in the Treaty of Paris accidentally assigning a notch of land in Canada to the United States. These 600 square miles comprise the "Northwest Angle" in Minnesota, the northernmost point in the continental U.S. To get there, one must fly, drive through Canada, or take a boat across the Lake of the Woods. 152 people live there.
- Search State and Federal Campaign Contribution Data
All of your bulk downloads for government data in one place, courtesy of the Sunlight Foundation. There's even a 2.2GB download of all state and federal campaign contributions (ever?).