While MLB players will be taking the field for Sunday’s and Monday’s opening day games in hopes of winning a World Series title in October, team owners may have their sights set on winning a different sort of Fall Classic.
According to data from Sunlight’s Influence Explorer, MLB organizations pumped in over $24 million to politicians, PACs and independent expenditure groups throughout the 2012 election cycle.
FYI, Washington: Sunlight now has a transparency drone.
Inspired by the Independent Lens film As Goes Janesville, the BizVizz app serves as the transmedia component of the documentary, enlightening users how specific companies behave when it comes to corporate and social responsibility.
There’s a scene in As Goes Janesville (airing tonight on Independent Lens), towards the end, where the city council votes to approve a $9 million incentive package for Shine Medical Technologies. Shine is a startup looking for a town in which to set up their medical isotope operation and, like many companies, it is compelling cities to compete with offers. Though Janesville is desperate for jobs after losing their GM plant, $9 million is 20% of their budget. This is the scene that inspired BizVizz, our corporate accountability app.
Companies claim to be job creators and to contribute to our economy, but how do we judge their claims? BizVizz makes their records visible by putting the metrics of corporate citizenship in the hands of ordinary people. Allowing you to see shareable tax data, jobs data, and other financial information hidden in regulatory documents, BizVizz turns you into a smart, conscious consumer.
As the Senate prepares to take up the first major gun control debate since last December’s shooting massacre in Connecticut, a Sunlight Foundation analysis of the political pressures on 26 key senators paints a pessimistic picture for passage.
Absent a major pressure campaign to push senators to support gun control legislation, the political calculus points against the Senate passing any reform.
Following a New York newspaper’s controversial decision to publish the names and address of local gun owners, state legislators are moving to make such information private, even as a Sunlight Foundation analysis shows that in a majority of states, the data are already off the public record.
Because of some the work we’ve done before on last minute negotiations and divided government, Sunlight prepared the following graphic that visualizes the recent history of US House votes on the debt ceiling, based on public voting records and a CRS report.
We’ll have more commentary forthcoming, but here are a few initial thoughts on what this graphic makes clear:
- Opposition to raising the debt ceiling is often partisan, with opposition coming from either party, based on who is in the White House. Many House Republicans have voted for raising the ceiling, just as President Obama voted against it when he was a Senator.
- Divided government has necessitated support from both parties to raise the limit.
- There is a significant untold story about the Gephardt Rule, a House Rule which enabled the limit to be raised with little public record. The role this rule played in setting up the current showdowns has been insufficiently examined.
- Good access to congressional data and reports enables this kind of analysis; it could be improved.
- Each of these votes was a predictable consequence of budgets that were passed before them, demonstrating another facet of political hypocrisy.
As we expand on our vision for local government transparency, we realize we need to start with defining what we mean by local.
The general scope of the work we’re taking on is targeted at the idea of “municipal” government, something we’ve been referring to internally as city government, though we’ve quickly realized it’s not that simple. Municipal government takes many forms, and if we’re being accurate, we have to set our scope a bit wider.
We’ve experimented with it though I know it annoys a lot of people.
What do you think? Yay or nay?
Not a data visualization or an infographic but important none the less.
A community’s great loss: RSS co-creator, early Reddit employee, tech activist Aaron Swartz dies at 26
Swartz committed suicide as he faced a federal trial on criminal charges. One of the hacker world’s most iconic personalities, he had played a key role in building a number of things that defined the internet’s voice, helping build the RSS spec at the age of 14, helping build Reddit in its early days, and playing a key role in modern tech activism. It was this last aspect of his life that got him into significant legal trouble, as he faced a FBI investigation after publicly releasing large parts the for-pay PACER database to the public, then, two years later, found himself facing criminal charges after downloading millions of articles from the private JSTOR academic journal database. Swartz faced $4 million in fines as as many as 35 years in prison over felony charges related to the case — though both MIT and JSTOR declined civil actions in the case. (photo by quinnums/Flickr)
EDIT: Here’s a roundup of some noted tech-world reaction to Swartz’s death.