Archive for the 'Link Round Up' Category

Friday Link Round Up – brought to you by the Dark Knight

Yeah, so if you haven’t seen the new Batman movie yet you really should. It’s a well acted ensemble piece masquerading as an action film – I loved it!

Today’s links share a common theme of encouraging regular folks to take part in overseeing their government – an idea that I am very much in favor of.

Government is the people’s business from the Denver Post. This has a nice story about how easy it can be to just let people in authority just do whatever they want. A pull:

My first business cards hadn’t even been printed when an editor sent me out to cover a county hospital board meeting. Something about the board hiring a corporate management team.

Snooze.

The chairman gaveled the meeting into session, made a few comments and I scribbled some notes. No news here, I huffed. Then he called for an executive session, cast me out into the hall and closed the doors to the boardroom.

And that’s where I sat. For hours.

A doctor, who also had been kicked out of the meeting, finally broke the silence in the hallway,saying, “Don’t you think you have a right to be in there, you know, if they’re deciding the fate of a publicly held hospital?”

Well, if you put it like that.

Click over to ready the rest!

Stop Being Pundits; Start Being Activists from Tech Republican. This is a wee bit more partisan than I am generally comfortable with, but the basic point of getting involved in politics and not just sitting and bitching about them is a great one. A quote from Erick Erickson:

You donʼt have to be the commander. You donʼt have to do it full time. Just be willing to lend a hand. Just be willing to stay informed. Just be willing to help others stay informed.

And here’s some handy advice from those members of the public that seem to have a better handle on FOIA than their representatives: Memo to towns: Save your email records. Thanks to Blue Jersey for that tip!

Friday Link Round Up – brought to you by jogging

I have always hated jogging with the passion of a thousand suns. Lately however, its simplicity, the lack of equipment, and ability to be performed anywhere at any time has really begun to appeal to me. Also, it’s free. So, I’m giving it a shot – yesterday I ran two whole miles! Well, I walked for a little bit of it, but it was really hot out. Hopefully I’ll be doing more soon.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a link round-up (I’m still pissed about this), so there are tons of good blog posts about open records out there.

First, a couple of posts about the sheriff of Maricopa County, AZ, Joe Arpaio. This guy does not have a good track record of be responsive to citizen requests, and now Valley Fever is reporting that Arpaio’s thugs threaten to arrest a New Times reporter for looking at public records. On the other side of the fence, Seeing Red AZ thinks that they are Wastin’ away again in Agendaville.

Meanwhile, out in Maryland the folks at the Pokomoke Tattler are wondering Countdown to the End of Chief Ervins Contract…What’s Going to Happen? Read this post for a nice illustration of what a citizen can learn by examining public records.

In Tennessee, a Bredesen Administration Flack Continues To Defy Open Records Law according to Bill Hobbs.com. I should follow Bill’s example and continue to follow up on my most recent FOIA request rather than just letting it languish…

Finally, The Delaware Curmudgeon looks at the case of a woman who filed a request with the IRS back in 1974 (before I was even born if you can believe it!): FOIA – Thirty Years and Still Fighting. I hope that she keeps pushing — if it’s been fought this hard for this long, there must be something interesting in the IRS’s attic.

Friday Link Round Up — brought to you by Sex in the City

This might be letting my girly flag fly a little higher than usual, but this looks sooo fun to me: Sex and the City Night at the Majestic. If you want to see me giggly after a cosmo or two, you know where to find me!

Thanks for the heads up to Dane 101.

Now for the open record links:

Sunshine in Missouri asks Cloudy days, don’t the sun ever shine anymore? And it would seem that she is right… the open records scene in MO has not made many improvements over the last several years.

My interest in farm subsidies was sparked after reading Michael Pollan’s books The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. Now it turns out that the USDA wants to keep as many details surrounding farm subsidies out of the public eye as possible. Mulch has the details: Farm Bill Blocks Court-Ordered Release Of Subsidy Program Data Under FOIA.

GRRLAW wants us to know What law enforcement does not want you to know about Iowa’s open records. Namely,

“Why then do law enforcement agencies refuse to provide copies of police reports to the general public when a request is made? The simple answer is because they get away with it.”

And finally, this posting from Angry Zen Master made me laugh: The Superhero Registration Act’s Fatal Flaw. Funny the stuff that can turn up in a news alert. (Anyone else love comic books? I love comic books.)

Friday link round up brought to you by Friday FOIAers

When I was looking for some good blog posts about open records around the country today, I noticed what might be turning out to be a new trend: the Friday FOIA’s. I guess I jumped the gun by filing a FOIA request yesterday

First, from A Chicago Blog we have Friday FOIA: Jim Thompson’s Expense Report, where Michael Van Winkle writes about a request he’s made to figure out if Jim Thompson has any of his expenses reimbursed by the Illinois Sports Facility Authority.

Then there is FOIA Friday – May 2, 2008 brought by Maggie Thurber of Thurber’s Thoughts. Here, she gives us a couple of updates on FOIA projects that have been going on in her area.

That’s all I found (so far) on Friday FOIA blogging, but I think it’s a great idea and hope to see more entries in the coming weeks.

UPDATE: Today (5/6/08 ) I found another Friday FOIAer! Entropic Memes offers up Friday FOIA Fun: Intelligence, a more federally focused posting.

For other good blog posts on open records recently we have Freedom of Information – Let’s Start Looking beyond the Law from People, Places, Deliberation. I really enjoyed this post since it calls transparent government laws one of the defining features of a civilized society.

And here’s one where I just really get a kick out of the title: Open Government can be so pesky from Young Philly Politics. Yeah, I get the feeling that that’s how all too many public officials view it.

Friday Link Round Up brought to you by the Plague

Things have been going on the open records realm in Wisconsin lately, but I’ve been waylaid by illness and have not posted as much as I would like. Here’s a picture of what I look like today. Well, if I was a unicorn. A bunch of my friends are sick too, must be the Plague.

Anyway, here are some Open Records links:

Mississippi Gets an “F” in Transparency from Reason’s Hit and Run blog. The writer is not surprised by Mississippi’s grade.

Hoboken 411 covers Beth Mason’s crusade for transparency in her area: Unanswered OPRA Questions.

On Monday, Dakota Voice writer Gordon Ganos published a really nice essay on A couple of questions about privacy and secrecy in government. Good stuff.

Friday Link Round Up – brought to you by snow. Lots and lots of snow.

 I probably don’t have to mention this to anyone from the southern WI area — we got a little snow this week. And by “a little” I mean SO MUCH SNOW that now that it’s been plowed into piles it is TALLER THAN MY CAR. My CAR is shorter than the SNOW!

snow car

At least two bloggers are unhappy about the proposed changes to the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law: 

Capitol Ideas says: Well, That Oughta About Do It For Open Records.

and

I’m from the Government. I’m here to help. wants to make his thoughts very clear: Sorry, we’re too busy screwing 2.8 million Pennsylvanians out of property tax relief to find the keys to that filing cabinet… Just another Wednesday in Paradise.

Meanwhile, things are going a bit better in other states. At TaxingTennessee Records must be released in timely fashion, court rules. Congrats to both of those papers pushing through on their rights to public records.

Friday Link Round Up – brought to you by El Pescador.

I just finished the best lunch I’ve had in a while from El Pescador on E. Wash. I looked around the interwebs to see if they have a website, but couldn’t find one. In lieu of that, here is a link to a glowing review in Isthmus. Delish!

There were some interesting blog posts this week about open records. To start off, here is one from Blogging for Michigan: Sheriff – “I am not responding to the blog”. In it, blogger Christine is very pleased with the way a local sheriff reacted to her FOIA request (filed on her behalf by Zarko Research and Consulting.

Next, The Indiana Law Blog brings up an interesting question: Is a public employee’s history of internet usage subject to public records access? I have to agree with their conclusion — unless a user’s surfing history is complied into a document anyway, it’s not a public record.

In Judge Horne: “I am not ruling that every record in a public official’s possession is a public record.” Ric James, the blogger at Hooda Thunk finds this most recent ruling in the Sally Mann case (he’s got the history of the case within the post) much more agreeable than the one another judge had made previously. I’m in agreement with the first ruling myself – it doesn’t matter to me where the records were produced, at home or in the office, if they were made to further public business then they should be treated as public documents.

Finally, here’s a post from a school board memberin Loudon County, VA: FOIA & gadgets. He’s getting a little pissy about the fact that all communications regarding school business are a matter of public record, and is combating it by storing all those messages back and forth on dedicated devices.