Law and Legal

The Essential Guide to the Federal Budget

PoliticoPro Blog [free]: To receive federal funding, federal agencies must begin developing their budgets 18 months ahead of the next fiscal year. They must also monitor the progress of their requests as they are pushed and pulled through the White House, House of Representatives and Senate. The federal budget process: step-by-step – Download the entire infographic here.

  • Step 1: Agencies and Office of Management and Budget begin working on future budgets. The process begins in the executive branch of government and sets fiscal policy, proposing how much should be spent on public programs and how much revenue should be generated through taxes, and how much deficit or surplus should be tolerated.
  • Step 2: President sends a proposed budget to Congress the first Monday in February. While this deadline is never missed, several other deadlines throughout the budget process timeline are often missed. There is no penalty for missing a federal budget deadline…”
Categories: Law and Legal

The terrible numbers that grow with each mass shooting

Washington Post – “The places change, the numbers change, but the choice of weapon remains the same. In the United States, people who want to kill a lot of other people most often do it with guns. Public mass shootings account for a tiny fraction of the country’s gun deaths, but they are uniquely terrifying because they occur without warning in the most mundane places. Most of the victims are chosen not for what they have done but simply for where they happen to be. There is no universally accepted definition of a public mass shooting, and this piece defines it narrowly. It looks at the 165 shootings in which four or more people were killed by a lone shooter (two shooters in a few cases). It does not include shootings tied to gang disputes or robberies that went awry, and it does not include domestic shootings that took place exclusively in private homes. A broader definition would yield much higher numbers…

…This tally begins Aug. 1, 1966, when a student sniper fired down on passersby from the observation deck of a clock tower at the University of Texas. By the time police killed him, 17 other people were dead or dying. As Texas Monthly’s Pamela Colloff wrote, the shooting “ushered in the notion that any group of people, anywhere — even walking around a university campus on a summer day — could be killed at random by a stranger.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Trust and Mistrust in Americans’ Views of Scientific Experts

Pew – More Americans have confidence in scientists, but there are political divides over the role of scientific experts in policy issues – “In an era when science and politics often appear to collide, public confidence in scientists is on the upswing, and six-in-ten Americans say scientists should play an active role in policy debates about scientific issues, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The survey finds public confidence in scientists on par with confidence in the military. It also exceeds the levels of public confidence in other groups and institutions, including the media, business leaders and elected officials. At the same time, Americans are divided along party lines in terms of how they view the value and objectivity of scientists and their ability to act in the public interest. And, while political divides do not carry over to views of all scientists and scientific issues, there are particularly sizable gaps between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to trust in scientists whose work is related to the environment…But a partisan divide persists. More Democrats (43%) than Republicans (27%) have “a great deal” of confidence in scientists – a difference of 16 percentage points. The gap between the two parties on this issue (including independents who identify with each party, respectively) was 11 percentage points in 2016 and has remained at least that large since…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Millions of Books Are Secretly in the Public Domain. You Can Download Them Free

Vice – A quirk of copyright law means that millions of books are now free for anyone to read, thanks to some work from the New York Public Library: “Prior to 1964, books had a 28-year copyright term. Extending it required authors or publishers to send in a separate form, and lots of people didn’t end up doing that. Thanks to the efforts of the New York Public Library, many of those public domain books are now free online. Through the 1970s, the Library of Congress published the Catalog of Copyright Entries, all the registration and renewals of America’s books. The Internet Archive has digital copies of these, but computers couldn’t read all the information and figuring out which books were public domain, and thus could be uploaded legally, was tedious. The actual, extremely convoluted specifics of why these books are in the public domain are detailed in a post by the New York Public Library, which recently paid to parse the information in the Catalog of Copyright Entries. In a massive undertaking, the NYPL converted the registration and copyright information into an XML format. Now, the old copyrights are searchable and we know when, and if, they were renewed. Around 80 percent of all the books published from 1923 to 1964 are in the public domain, and lots of people had no idea until now…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Book Bus, an independent bookstore on wheels, brings the joy of reading to those who need it most

Road Trippers – After Melanie Moore retired from teaching, she filled a 1962 Volkswagen Transporter with books and hit the road – “…Though the Book Bus is an independent, mobile store, Moore often partners with coffee shops and community markets across the greater Cincinnati area to set up a pop-up shop for a day or two. In the winter months—or during a heatwave—businesses like Wyoming Community Coffee invite Moore to park the bus in front of the building and bring some boxes of books inside to sell. During the warmer months, Moore still partners with local businesses, but instead opens the cotton flaps, displays her books in the sunlight, and invites customers to spend time walking around the bus, taking in all it has to offer. For both Moore and the local businesses, the relationship is mutually beneficial. “These businesses usually like to have me come, because it gives them a special something to draw people in,” Moore says. A one-woman business, Moore drives The Book Bus, acts as a salesperson, sets up partnerships across Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and runs all social media accounts. According to Moore, the Book Bus has enough fans that she usually ends up bringing her own customers. “Even today, I introduced this coffee shop to a couple of regular [Book Bus] customers who have never been here before,” she says…”

Categories: Law and Legal

New on LLRX for July 2019

The are 5 new articles and 4 new columns on LLRX for July 2019
  • Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, July 28 2019 – Four highlights from this week: Viral App FaceApp Now Owns Access To More Than 150 Million People’s Faces And Names; What Does Incognito Mode Actually Do? Here’s Everything You Need to Know; How vulnerable are the undersea cables that power the global internet?; and Equifax To Pay Hundreds Of Millions In Data Breach Settlement (with many caveats).
  • Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, July 19, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: Trump is rattling sabers in cyberspace — but is the U.S. ready?; Casting the Dark Web in a New Light; Army researchers develop metrics for cyber defenders’ agility; and How To Clear Out Your Zombie Apps and Online Account.
  • Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, July 13, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: How Fake News Could Lead to Real War; Researchers detail privacy-related legal, ethical challenges with satellite data Firefox 68 arrives with darker reader view, recommended extensions, IT customizations; ICE, FBI use state driver’s license photos for facial-recognition scans; and Google tracks all Gmail account purchases, even if emails are deleted.
  • Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, July 7, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: The Strange Politics of Facial Recognition; U.S. Congress expands probe of White House personal email use; All the countries where someone managed to shut down the entire internet — and why they did it; and Over 80% of facial recognition suspects flagged by London’s Met Police were innocent, report says.
Sabrina I. Pacifici – Editor, Publisher, Founder –® – the free web journal on law, technology and research for Librarians, Lawyers, Researchers, Academics, and Journalists. Established in 1996.
Categories: Law and Legal

Creating Library Linked Data with Wikibase: Lessons Learned from Project Passage

“The OCLC Research linked data Wikibase prototype (“Project Passage”) provided a sandbox in which librarians from 16 US institutions could experiment with creating linked data to describe resources—without requiring knowledge of the technical machinery of linked data. This report provides an overview of the context in which the prototype was developed, how the Wikibase platform was adapted for use by librarians, and eight use cases where pilot participants (co-authors of this report) describe their experience of creating metadata for resources in various formats and languages using the Wikibase editing interface. During the ten months of the pilot, the participants gained insight in both the potential of linked data in library cataloging workflows and the gaps that must be addressed before machine-readable semantic data can be fully adopted. Among the lessons learned:

  • The building blocks of Wikibase can be used to create structured data with a precision that exceeds current library standards.
  • The Wikibase platform enables user-driven ontology design but raises concerns about how to manage and maintain ontologies.
  • The Wikibase platform, supplemented with OCLC’s enhancements and stand-alone utilities, enables librarians to see the results of their effort in a discovery interface without leaving the metadata-creation workflow.
  • Robust tools are required for local data management.
  • To populate knowledge graphs with library metadata, tools that facilitate the import and enhancement of data created elsewhere are recommended.
  • The pilot underscored the need for interoperability between data sources, both for ingest and export.
  • The traditional distinction between authority and bibliographic data disappears in a Wikibase description…”
Categories: Law and Legal

Researchers map global economy in collaboration with LinkedIn A small team of researchers at Indiana University has created the first global map of labor flow in collaboration with the world’s largest professional social network, LinkedIn. “The work is reported in the journal Nature Communications. The study’s lead authors are Jaehyuk Park and Ian Wood, Ph.D. students working with Yong Yeol “Y.Y.” Ahn, a professor at the IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering in Bloomington. According to the researchers, the study’s result represents a powerful tool for understanding the flow of people between industries and regions in the U.S. and beyond. It could also help policymakers better understand how to address critical skill gaps in the labor market or connect workers with new opportunities in nearby communities. The study showed some unexpected connections between economic sectors, such as the strong ties between credit card and airline industries. It also identified growing industries during the study period from 2010 to 2014, including the pharmaceutical and oil and gas industries—with in-demand skills such as team management and project management—as well as declining industries, such as retail and telecommunications…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Twitter users are escaping online hate by switching profiles to Germany, where Nazism is illegal


  • “Seeking to shield themselves from online hatred, some Twitter users say they’ve switched their account locations to Germany where local laws prevent pro-Nazi content.
  • While German laws make it harder for explicitly hateful content to remain online, local researchers say it is not a hate-free internet utopia.
  • Germany has imposed stricter laws on social media companies about content moderation as some conservative American lawmakers have criticized the companies of showing bias in their content removal decisions…”
Categories: Law and Legal

3D Printing: Overview, Impacts, and the Federal Role

CRS report via FAS – 3D Printing: Overview, Impacts, and the Federal Role, August 2, 2019: “Three-dimensional (3D) printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a highly flexible manufacturing process that has been used in product development and production for the past 30 years. Greater capabilities, lower prices, and an expanded range of manufacturing materials have vastly expanded adoption of 3D printers over the last decade and a half. The economic and scientific potential of this technology, as well as certain regulatory concerns (such as 3D printing of firearms), have recently increased congressional interest.

3D printers are used in a variety of industries—such as aerospace, medicine, and education—as well as in nonspecific custom prototyping. Both private industry and the federal government have supported these applications of 3D printing. Support from the federal government has included basic and applied research funding from the National Science Foundation, as well as research and development funding from mission agencies such as the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. More broadly, federal support for additive manufacturing has been provided through the flagship institute of the Manufacturing USA program, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (also known as America Makes). This consortium of industry, university, and government seeks to “[accelerate] the adoption of additive manufacturing technologies in the United States to increase domestic manufacturing competitiveness.” In recent years, hundreds of millions of dollars—public and private—have been invested in 3D printing-related companies and 3D printing research and development…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Resolutions to Censure the President: Procedure and History

CRS report via FAS – Resolutions to Censure the President: Procedure and History, updated August 1, 2019: “Censure is a reprimand adopted by one or both chambers of Congress against a Member of Congress, President, federal judge, or other government official. While Member censure is a disciplinary measure that is sanctioned by the Constitution (Article 1, Section 5), non-Member censure is not. Rather, it is a formal expression or “sense of” one or both houses of Congress.

Censure resolutions targeting non-Members have utilized a range of statements to highlight conduct deemed by the resolutions’ sponsors to be inappropriate or unauthorized. Before the Nixon Administration, such resolutions included variations of the words or phrases: unconstitutional, usurpation, reproof, and abuse of power. Beginning in 1972, the most clearly “censorious” resolutions have contained the word, “censure,” in the text. Resolutions attempting to censure the President are usually simple resolutions. These resolutions are not privileged for consideration in the House or Senate. They are, instead, considered under the regular parliamentary mechanisms used to process “sense of” legislation.

Since 1800, Members of the House and Senate have introduced resolutions of censure against at least 12 sitting Presidents. Two additional Presidents received criticism via alternative means (a House committee report and an amendment to a resolution). The clearest instance of a successful presidential censure is Andrew Jackson. The Senate approved a resolution of censure in 1834. On three other occasions, critical resolutions were adopted, but their final language, as amended, obscured the original intention to censure the President. In the remaining cases, resolutions remained in committee, without further consideration, or were not adopted in a floor vote. Nevertheless, presidential censure attempts have become more frequent since the Watergate era. This report summarizes the procedures that may be used to consider resolutions of censure and the history of attempts to censure the President (1st -115th Congresses). It also provides citations to additional reading material on the subject…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Radical Transformation of the Textbook

Wired – Digital-first. Open source. Subscription. The way textbooks are bought and sold is changing—with serious implications for higher education: “For several decades, textbook publishers followed the same basic model: Pitch a hefty tome of knowledge to faculty for inclusion in lesson plans; charge students an equally hefty sum; revise and update its content as needed every few years. Repeat. But the last several years have seen a shift at colleges and universities—one that has more recently turned tectonic In a way, the evolution of the textbook has mirrored that in every other industry. Ownership has given way to rentals, and analog to digital. Within the broad strokes of that transition, though, lie divergent ideas about not just what learning should look like in the 21st century but how affordable to make it…

The major publishers are publicly traded companies, under pressure to demonstrate constant growth. Pearson’s digital-first strategy is a significant step toward a more sustainable business model. Under the new system, ebooks will cost an average of $40. Those who prefer actual paper can pay $60 for the privilege of a rental, with the option to purchase the book at the end of the term. The price of a new print textbook can easily reach into the hundreds of dollars; under digital-first, students have to actively want to pay that much after a course is already over, making it an unlikely option for most…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Best Ice Cream Parlor in Every State

24/7 Wall St: “According to the International Dairy Foods Association in its report on ice cream sales and trends, about 1.4 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts (like gelato and sorbet) were produced in the United States in 2017 — the last year for which data is available. The average American, the same body reports, consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream annually. Another industry group, the American Dairy Association, estimated back in 2011 that there were about 80,000 ice cream, gelato, and frozen yogurt shops around the U.S. — and the number has surely grown since then. There are big ice cream chains, of course, including Baskin-Robbins, Ben & Jerry’s, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Cold Stone Creamery, Carvel, and many more. But many communities also have smaller, independent operations, many of them making their own product, often using local and/or organic ingredients and turning out a changing menu of flavors — including these 18 incredible ice cream varieties that we wish would come back from retirement permanently. Ice cream parlors — or shops, or joints, as you prefer — tend to be community favorites, popular gathering places, for obvious reasons: No reservations are necessary, there’s no dress code, the prices are almost always reasonable, and they sell something almost everybody loves.

24/7 Tempo has assembled a state-by-state list of the best ice cream parlors in America — the best, according to Yelp reviews. Despite being the highest rated, many of these shops are not among the most well-known in their state. In many states the competition is cutthroat. This is the most popular ice cream shop in every state…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues August 4, 2019

Via LLRXPete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues August 4, 2019 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex and wide ranging ways technology is used to compromise and diminish our privacy and security, often without our situational awareness. Four highlights from this week: Medicare fraud, identity theft: Genetic testing scams target seniors; NIST Publishes Multifactor Authentication Practice Guide; “You Can Probably Be Identified From Your Anonymized Data”; and CIS Releases Newsletter on Cleaning Up Data and Devices.

Categories: Law and Legal

Libraries are fighting to preserve your right to borrow e-books

Eponymous librarian (internet folk hero) Jessamyn West‘s Opinion piece on CNN –Libraries are fighting to preserve your right to borrow e-books – “Librarians to publishers: Please take our money. Publishers to librarians: Drop dead. That’s the upshot of Macmillan publishing’s recent decision which represents yet another insult to libraries. For the first two months after a Macmillan book is published, a library can only buy one copy, at a discount. After eight weeks, they can purchase “expiring” e-book copies which need to be re-purchased after two years or 52 lends. As publishers struggle with the continuing shake-up of their business models, and work to find practical approaches to managing digital content in a marketplace overwhelmingly dominated by Amazon, libraries are being portrayed as a problem, not a solution. Libraries agree there’s a problem — but we know it’s not us…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Concerns About Online Data Privacy Span Generations

Internet Innovation Alliance – Are Millennials okay with the collection and use of their data online because they grew up with the internet? “In an effort to help inform policymakers about the views of Americans across generations on internet privacy, the Internet Innovation Alliance, in partnership with Icon Talks, the Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP), and the Millennial Action Project, commissioned a national study of U.S. consumers who have witnessed a steady stream of online privacy abuses, data misuses, and security breaches in recent years. The survey examined the concerns of U.S. adults—overall and separated by age group, as well as other demographics—regarding the collection and use of personal data and location information by tech and social media companies, including tailoring the online experience, the potential for their personal financial information to be hacked from online tech and social media companies, and the need for a single, national policy addressing consumer data privacy…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Elsevier sends copyright threat to site for linking to Sci-Hub

Follow up to previous posting on BeSpacificScience’s pirate queen Alexandra Elbakyan is plundering the academic publishing establishment (includes multiple sub-links) and SciHub continues to get attacked around the world – via Boing Boing: “Sci-Hub (previously) is a scrappy, nonprofit site founded in memory of Aaron Swartz, dedicated to providing global access to the world’s scholarship — journal articles that generally report on publicly-funded research, which rapacious, giant corporations acquire for free, and then charge the very same institutions that paid for the research millions of dollars a year to access. In a field of giant, corrupt monopolists, Elsevier is still notable for its rapacious conduct, so it’s not surprising to learn that the company has sent a copyright threat to a to Citationsy, a service that helps scholars and others create citations to scientific and scholarly literature, alleging that merely linking to Sci-Hub is a copyright infringement…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Op-Ed: How data privacy laws could make the criminal justice system even more unfair

LA Times – “A cluster of new and proposed state and federal laws will soon make it harder for people accused of crimes to defend themselves. All of these laws are well-intended — to protect privacy by shielding sensitive personal information — but they suffer from a fundamental unfairness that needs correction. These laws tilt the scale in favor of the prosecution by giving police access to lots of useful data while putting critical information out of defendants’ reach. Social media messages, photo metadata, Amazon Echo recordings, smart water meter data, and Fitbit readings have all been used in criminal cases. The new laws would limit how defendants can access this key evidence, making it difficult or impossible for defendants to show they acted in self-defense, or a witness is lying, or someone else is guilty of the crime.

The California Consumer Privacy Act, which was approved in 2018, allows law enforcement officers to obtain data from technology companies and prohibit those companies from immediately notifying the person they are investigating. Such delayed notice may be necessary to investigate someone who is dangerous or likely to destroy evidence or flee. But the law does not give defense investigators the same right to delay notification to witnesses or others — who might well pose a threat to the defendant — when they subpoena data from tech companies as part of the defense’s case. Legislators need to amend the law to fix this flaw by the Sept. 13 deadline for making final changes to the statute…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Equifax settlement has already spawned deceptive websites

Follow up to my previous postings via BeSpacific – Skip Cash for Equifax Breach and Get Credit Monitoring, F.T.C. Tells Victims – more guidance via the Washington Post – “It’s been less than two weeks since the Equifax data-breach settlement was announced, and already at least two websites trying to scam information-seekers have been shut down. Thus begins the effort to catch unscrupulous individuals looking to make a buck off the credit bureau’s major data breach. Let me say this now, because I have no doubt there will be many email phishing attempts, telephone calls and probably gift-card scams trying to capitalize on Equifax’s $700 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission: If anyone calls or emails you about the settlement, do nothing — and I mean not a single thing — until you verify the information with the Federal Trade Commission or your state or local consumer-protection office.

…Please, for your safety, if you’re searching for information connected to the settlement, go to . There you’ll find details about the settlement, and you’ll be sent to the real website to file a claim. I also want to warn you that you may get phishing emails or scam telephone calls pretending to be from the administrator handling the Equifax settlement…”

Categories: Law and Legal

A librarian’s case against overdue book fines

TED Talk – Dawn Wacek – she  advocates for equitable library service for all community members. “Libraries have the power to create a better world; they connect communities, promote literacy and spark lifelong learners. But there’s one thing that keeps people away: the fear of overdue book fines. In this thought-provoking talk, librarian Dawn Wacek makes the case that fines don’t actually do what we think they do. What if your library just … stopped asking for them altogether?”

Categories: Law and Legal


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