Tag Archives: government

OpenCourt Wins Legal Battle Over Streaming Proceedings

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. 

Why the USPS is running out of money.

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. 

An archive of reports issued to the General Assembly.

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. 

Links for November 11th

  • 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!

Links for October 31st

Links for October 19th

  • 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?).