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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

The real National Treasure: US presidential libraries

Oxford University Press Blog: “…A presidential library is actually two things,” Giller [Melissa Giller, Chief Marketing Officer for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Institute in Simi Valley, California] describes. “It’s a museum that anyone can come and visit and tour through…and it is a library.” The library is, more often than not, the private side of the establishment, where the archives are held. The curation is for the actual museum. The museum covers the president’s life before becoming president, his time during office, post-administration, and if the president is deceased, then any history related to him after his death. At the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, one might be so lucky to catch a glimpse of certain famous historical artifacts, such as a handwritten copy of the Gettysburg address in Lincoln’s handwriting, an original printing of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln, a copy of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the bloody gloves Lincoln wore the night he was assassinated, and the stove pipe hat he wore, “where you can still see the thumb print on it from when he would tip his hat to people,” Lowe informs me. “So in terms of what goes into our library versus a private library…you can’t compare,” Giller says of the Ronald Reagan President Library. “We don’t have books on display.” At Lincoln, they have a permanent exhibit and special exhibit, and it takes time to determine which artifacts to show in each section. Since many of their pieces no longer contain information that could be a threat to national security, their primary concern with these items is conservation and the ability to streamline the research process for those using these artifacts as evidential or study materials. “My main goal since I got here,” Lowe declared, “is making sure we have the right research rooms set up to help researchers and educators to get the most out of their time here…”

Animal welfare data deleted by government restored to public by Russ Kick

Follow up to previous posting – Animal welfare information wiped from USDA website – news via TIME on the freedom of information evangelist Russ Kick – “An Arizona man who has published thousands of animal welfare documents on his website since the government purged the once-public information is pledging to keep digging up data until… Continue Reading

AALL joins 60 advocacy groups calling for open access info on government websites

Via AALL: On February 14, 2017 “the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) partnered with OpenTheGovernment.org and more than 60 other public interest groups and associations on a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), asking OMB to issue guidance reminding agencies that they are required under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C.… Continue Reading

Murray, Cantwell Seek Answers After Resource Website for Federal Law Protecting Students with Disabilities is Taken Down

“Washington state Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell today called on new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to provide an immediate and detailed explanation for why the resource website for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has disappeared. “The Department’s failure to keep this critical resource operational makes it harder for parents, educators, and… Continue Reading

Amnesty International – Mass hangings and extermination at Saydnaya prison, Syria

Report – Human slaughterhouse: Mass hangings and extermination at Saydnaya prison, Syria: “One former judge from a Syrian military court told Amnesty International the “court” operates outside the rules of the Syrian legal system. “The judge will ask the name of the detainee and whether he committed the crime. Whether the answer is yes or… Continue Reading

Establishing Digital Interactive Transparency Act

News release, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) reintroducing the Establishing Digital Interactive Transparency (EDIT) Act. “The EDIT Act will instruct the Library of Congress to open up the legislative process by implementing a track changes style system for Congress.gov. “Americans want accountability and transparency out of their lawmakers in Washington, and as lawmakers, we must work… Continue Reading

FedWeb.com – How America Raises and Spends $4 Trillion per Year

FedWed.com: “As General Counsel at the Senate Finance Committee, I had the good fortune to be present when our Chairman, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, famously said “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” One of the great ironies of the Information Age is that the volume of information we receive… Continue Reading

Politico – Federal workers turn to encryption to thwart Trump

Via Politico: “Federal employees worried that President Donald Trump will gut their agencies are creating new email addresses, signing up for encrypted messaging apps and looking for other, protected ways to push back against the new administration’s agenda. Whether inside the Environmental Protection Agency, within the Foreign Service, on the edges of the Labor Department… Continue Reading

Reporters Committee releases report on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch

February 2, 2017 – “U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch does not have an extensive history of cases involving free speech, free press, and freedom of information issues, but the opinions he authored or joined during his more than 10 years on the Tenth Circuit that do touch upon those issues reflect the application of… Continue Reading

Newsweek reporter records suit is focused Trump National-Security issues

Court House News: “A Newsweek reporter has brought a federal complaint to access records on President Donald Trump’s classified briefings, as well as details on how the government investigated the likes of Stephen Bannon for a security clearance. Jeffrey Stein’s Jan. 31 lawsuit comes just days after Trump announced that he would give the chief… Continue Reading

New powers of FBI made public to shine light on threats to civil liberties

The Intercept: “In the wake of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the FBI assumes an importance and influence it has not wielded since J. Edgar Hoover’s death in 1972. That is what makes today’s batch of stories from The Intercept, The FBI’s Secret Rules, based on a trove of long-sought confidential FBI documents, so critical: It shines a bright light… Continue Reading

FCC Eliminates Two Public Inspection File Requirements

“The Federal Communications Commission today eliminated two public inspection file rules.  These rules currently require: (1) commercial television and radio broadcast stations to retain, and make available to the public, copies of correspondence from viewers and listeners;  and (2) cable operators to maintain and allow public inspection of the location of a cable system’s principal headend. The… Continue Reading