Great Video on the 1st Amendment

A great video from the 1 for All campaign working to raise awareness of the first amendment.

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Transparency & CT Government

I wanted to start a topic to discuss the issue of Connecticut and transparency. Both candidates for governor have talked about transparency a little. Lamont mentions it in regards to procurement and Dan Malloy talks about the expenditure database. Meanwhile the right-leaning Yankee Institute has been leading a transparency charge. Using disclosures obtained in cooperation with the Comptroller’s office they developed CT Sunlight.org. The CT Mirror had an article about the legislature’s reaction to the database. Concern about the accuracy of the Yankee Institute data lead to an act directing the state to create its own version of the database.

While it’s certainly interesting that this data is online, I’m wondering about its usefulness. Candidates are calling for transparency and as activists and citizens I think its important for us to have the conversation about where it is best to focus these efforts. After all, transparency does not actually accomplish anything unless we as citizens we can use the data and then effect change with it. Whether it be informing ourselves as to the results of health inspections of restaurants so we know what to avoid, or using campaign contribution data to determine whether a representative may have been influenced by money, we can use the data to inform our eating and voting patterns.

What data should Connecticut be opening up? Where as a citizenry are we lacking important information the government has that could be useful?

Free(mium) Law Research

Via the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog I discovered that Fastcase has a free legal resource called Public Library of Law that lets you search recent court cases and statutes. A welcome addition to using Google Scholar to search federal cases for free. These still won’t completely replace WestLaw and Lexis anytime soon but they’re certainly getting there. I tried a free trial of the paid version of Fastcase a while back and was actually rather impressed. The interface was less clunky than WestLaw and Lexis and it was in fact faster. The downside is the lack of those time saving headnotes. Either way these resources are worth checking out and adding to your bookmarks.

A More Accurate Picture of How Our Laws are Made

Chart on how laws are made.

via Sunlight Foundation (and available in poster form!)

Thoughts on Convention - Did Merrick Follow My Advice?

I spent the afternoon at the state convention today. I volunteered for Dan Malloy’s campaign and served as a proxy delegate for my town.   This was my first time inside a democratic convention and there was no shortage of drama and surprise. The focus of the night was obviously on Merrick Alpert and Richard Blumenthal. A lot of people seem to still be bothered by the fact Blumenthal has not apologized, but this did not show when it came to the roll call. I was extremely surprised to see Chairwoman DiNardo recognize Merrick Alpert, and then even more surprised to see him withdraw his nomination. This was something similar to what I suggested a little while back here on MyLeftNutmeg. I do not know if Merrick read or one of his people read my comment or if he decided to do it on his own, but I think his speech was appropriate and really did what was needed to offset the defiant and angry tone that I think put off a lot of members of the party. It was pure class.

As far as Blumenthal goes his speech was decent. I think his message is fine and he was obviously among friends. I think there is a lot of room for forgiveness for those that have known him and seen his work as Attorney General for the many past years. The question is whether the general electorate will feel the same way.

I also wanted to comment on the sign waving and campaign volunteers outside. I was waving signs for Malloy and the Lamont people were there too. I found that both sides were respectful of each other and I did not see any conflicts or fights erupt. Here is to hoping tomorrow is the same. I think it is important for people to support their campaigns and be proud of their candidates.

Tomorrow I will be at the convention volunteering and again serving as a proxy delegate later in the day. I’ll be tweeting updates of interesting things that happen if you’d like to follow.

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