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Category Archives: Government Documents

5 Pandemic Mistakes We Keep Repeating. We can learn from our failures.

The Atlantic – “…Five key fallacies and pitfalls have affected public-health messaging, as well as media coverage, and have played an outsize role in derailing an effective pandemic response. These problems were deepened by the ways that we—the public—developed to cope with a dreadful situation under great uncertainty. And now, even as vaccines offer brilliant hope, and even though, at least in the United States, we no longer have to deal with the problem of a misinformer in chief, some officials and media outlets are repeating many of the same mistakes in handling the vaccine rollout. The pandemic has given us an unwelcome societal stress test, revealing the cracks and weaknesses in our institutions and our systems. Some of these are common to many contemporary problems, including political dysfunction and the way our public sphere operates. Others are more particular, though not exclusive, to the current challenge—including a gap between how academic research operates and how the public understands that research, and the ways in which the psychology of coping with the pandemic have distorted our response to it. Recognizing all these dynamics is important, not only for seeing us through this pandemic—yes, it is going to end—but also to understand how our society functions, and how it fails. We need to start shoring up our defenses, not just against future pandemics but against all the myriad challenges we face—political, environmental, societal, and technological. None of these problems is impossible to remedy, but first we have to acknowledge them and start working to fix them—and we’re running out of time…”

EU law requires companies to fix electronic goods for up to 10 years

Euronews: “Companies that sell refrigerators, washers, hairdryers, or TVs in the European Union will need to ensure those appliances can be repaired for up to 10 years, to help reduce the vast mountain of electrical waste that piles up each year on the continent. The “right to repair,” as it is sometimes called, comes into… Continue Reading

Accidental Wiretaps: The Implications of False Positives By Always-Listening Devices For Privacy Law & Policy

Barrett, Lindsey and Liccardi, Ilaria, Accidental Wiretaps: The Implications of False Positives By Always-Listening Devices For Privacy Law & Policy (February 8, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3781867 “Always-listening devices like smart speakers, smartphones, and other voice-activated technologies create enough privacy problems when working correctly. But these devices can also misinterpret what they hear, and thus… Continue Reading

The Little Magazine That Incubated Team Biden

The New York Times: “It has only 500 subscribers. And yet Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, a 15-year-old quarterly run by a three-person staff out of a small office blocks from the White House, may be one of the most influential publications of the post-Trump era. Six of President Biden’s 25 Cabinet-level officials and appointees,… Continue Reading

The first 100 days of U.S. news coverage: Lessons about the media ecosystem for librarians, educators, students, and journalists

Alison J. Head, Steven Braun, Margy MacMillan, Jessica Yurkofsky, and Alaina C. Bull, September 15, 2020, Covid-19: The first 100 days of U.S. news coverage: Lessons about the media ecosystem for librarians, educators, students, and journalists, Project Information Literacy Research Institute, https://projectinfolit.org/publications/covid-19-the-first-100-days/ “This two-part series is about the shape and flow of U.S. media coverage… Continue Reading

Access Denied: Federal Web Governance Under the Trump Administration

The Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI), February 2021: “The Trump administration pushed the boundaries of rules, guidelines, and norms in most areas of governance. Manipulating public information was a key tactic, which included dramatic and damaging changes to federal agency websites relating to environmental regulations. These changes led the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative… Continue Reading

A Simple Rule of Thumb for Knowing When the Pandemic Is Over

The Atlantic: “…The most obvious interpretation of “beating COVID-19” would be that transmission of the coronavirus has stopped, a scenario some public-health experts have hashtagged #ZeroCOVID. But the experts I spoke with all agreed that this won’t happen in the U.S. in the foreseeable future. “This would require very high levels of vaccination coverage,” said… Continue Reading

Flood Factor – Find your home’s Flood Factor

“Flood Factor is a free online tool created by the nonprofit First Street Foundation that makes it easy for Americans to find their property’s risk of flooding and understand how flood risks are changing because of a changing environment. Flood Factor was created to make the most cutting edge flood science. First Street Foundation aims… Continue Reading

Trump reported making more than $1.6 billion while president

CREW: “Donald Trump reported making more than $1.6 billion in outside revenue and income during his four years as President of the United States, according to a review of his financial disclosures by CREW. While Trump publicly took credit for donating his taxpayer-funded salary, that ended up being less than 0.1% of the revenue and… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Nominations, 1789 to 2020: Actions by the Senate, the Judiciary Committee, and the President

CRS – Supreme Court Nominations, 1789 to 2020:Actions by the Senate, the Judiciary Committee, and the President, Updated February 23, 2021: “The process of appointing Supreme Court Justices has undergone changes over two centuries, but its most basic feature, the sharing of power between the President and Senate, has remained unchanged. To receive a lifetime… Continue Reading

The 5 Trump Amendments to the Constitution

The Atlantic: “…Presidents have been the authors of many informal amendments. George Washington set enduring precedents such as the two-term limit on presidential service (a norm so embedded that after Franklin D. Roosevelt broke it, it was written into the formal Constitution). Andrew Jackson reimagined the president as the direct representative of the people. Abraham… Continue Reading

The Three Permissions: Presidential Removal and the Statutory Limits of Agency Independence

The Three Permissions: Presidential Removal and the Statutory Limits of Agency Independence, 121 Columbia Law Review No.1, January 2021. “Seven words stand between the President and the heads of over a dozen “independent agencies”: inefficiency, neglect of duty, and malfea­sance in office (INM). The President can remove the heads of these agencies for INM and… Continue Reading