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Daily Archives: December 21, 2023

Supreme Connections

Pro Publica: Supreme Connections – “Every year, the Supreme Court’s nine justices fill out a form that discloses their financial connections to companies and people. Using our new database, you can now search for organizations and people that have paid the justices, reimbursed them for travel, given them gifts and more.

Examples: Clarence Thomas, Harvard University, The Federalist Society

The bulk of the data we used came from the Free Law Project, which maintains a database of more than 35,000 financial disclosure records for federal judges, justices and magistrates, most of it dating back to 2003. These disclosures, which federal employees are required to file each year under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, are maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The law, however, requires most of them to be destroyed after six years, making many disclosures from earlier years hard to find. Our disclosures cover most of those filed since 2003, as well as some financial information disclosed by some justices during their Senate confirmations in 1990, 1991 and 2000. (Do you have information about a Supreme Court justice’s finances from before 2003? Email us.) Because much of the data was extracted from PDFs using optical character recognition, we designed our own database and imported and cleaned the Free Law Project’s data to fix scanning and other errors. We corrected spelling errors, edited fields for style and clarity and, where possible, attempted to add contextual information by, for example, categorizing organizations and transactions, standardizing certain fields, updating entity names or filling in missing information. In some cases, such as when the Free Law Project did not have a specific disclosure or had not extracted data from a report, we extracted or transcribed the data manually. After cleaning and standardizing the data, we spot-checked it for accuracy, looking primarily for transcription or categorization errors.”

How to Check If Something Online Was Written by AI

Gizmodo: “Generative artificial intelligence is everywhere you look these days, including on the web: advanced predictive text bots such as ChatGPT can now spew out endless reams of text on every topic imaginable and make all this written content natural enough that it could plausibly have been written by a human being. So, how can… Continue Reading

Read it yourself: All 673 books removed from Orange classrooms

Orlando Sentinel: “These books are among the 673 rejected by Orange County Public Schools this year [read free] for fear they violate a new Florida law that prohibits “sexual conduct” in books available to students. The books were in teachers’ classroom libraries. The books will get another review by OCPS staff, and could be returned… Continue Reading

Using Maps of Historical Locations to Understand Historic Events

This post is by Tyron Bey, the 2023-2024 Library of Congress Teacher in Residence. “In the November/December issue of Social Education, the journal of the National Council for the Social Studies, our “Sources and Strategies” article features a map titled “Important farmlands map, Clarendon County, South Carolina.” Created by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service in… Continue Reading

Call For Justice Clarence Thomas’ Recusal In Trump Immunity Case

December 20, 2023 Letter to John G. Roberts, Jr. Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the United States from Senator Richard Blumenthal: [snipped] “The Supreme Court is currently weighing whether to decide a critical question in United States v. Trump, a criminal case arising from former President Trump’s role in the January 6 th insurrection. Last… Continue Reading