Thursday, August 28, 2014

Online Access to Archives of Five Courts Discontinued

Due to changes in technology, online access to records of five courts through the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system has been discontinued. A notice on the PACER webpage states the locally developed legacy case management systems in the five courts listed below are now incompatible with the new PACER Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system;
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit - Cases filed prior to January 1, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit - Cases filed prior to January 1, 2008
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit - Cases filed prior to January 1, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit - Cases filed prior to March 1, 2012
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California - Cases filed prior to May 1, 2001
A note says to contact the court directly to obtain copies of documents and dockets in the above cases. Contact information for each court is available on the Court Locator page.

A Washington Post blog article contains statements from Charles Hall, a spokesperson for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and Brian Carver, an assistant professor at the University of California at Berkeley School of Information and co-founder of the nonprofit Free Law Project. The project along with Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy maintains RECAP, a crowd-sourced platform hosting free archives of documents obtained through the paid PACER system.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Copyright Publication

The U.S. Copyright Office has made available for viewing a public draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition, the first major revision in more than two decades. According to the announcement,
the draft presents more than 1200 pages of administrative practices and sets the stage for a number of long-term improvements in registration and recordation policy. It will remain in draft form for 120 days pending final review and implementation, taking effect on or around December 15, 2014.
More information and a link to download the draft is available at http://copyright.gov/comp3/.

For previous editions see The Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, First Edition (1973) and Second Edition (1984).

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Overview of Nonmarital Births

On July 30, 2014 the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report by Carmen Solomon-Fears, Specialist in Social Policy, entitled Nonmarital Births: An Overview. CRS studied this topic because "although marriage and family life are generally considered private issues, they have become part of the public arena primarily because of public policies that help families affected by negative outcomes associated with nonmarital births to maintain a minimum level of economic sufficiency." The report "analyzes the trends in nonmarital childbearing, discusses some of the characteristics of unwed mothers, addresses some issues involving the fathers of children born outside of marriage, and offers some concluding remarks."

Africa Rising: Harnessing the Demographic Dividend

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released an August 2014 working paper revealing "Africa will account for 80 percent of the projected 4 billion increase in the global population by 2100." The authors of the paper, Paulo Drummond, Vimal Thakoor, and Shu Yu, state that the increase in this working age population "creates a window of opportunity, which if properly harnessed, can translate into higher growth and yield a demographic dividend." To translate this opportunity into concrete economic growth, the right supportive policies fostering human capital accumulation and job creation must be in place.

For more information access working paper WP/14/143, Africa Rising: Harnessing the Demographic Dividend.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dodd-Frank Act a Failure?

On July 21, 2014 the House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) released a committee staff report that concludes "the Dodd-Frank Act did not end 'too big to fail' as the law’s supporters claim, but actually had the opposite effect of further entrenching 'too big to fail' as official government policy. The report also examines the causes of the 2008 financial crisis and the bailouts to large financial institutions. Both a description of the report and a link to it are available from The Committee on Financial Services press release page.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Financial Literacy of Teenagers

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) released the results of its 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) financial literacy assessment of 15 year old students from 18 countries including the United States. Results from the US include:
  • Students in the US ranked somewhere between 8 and 12 among the 18 countries represented.
  • More than one in six US students did not reach the baseline level of proficiency in financial literacy.
  • About one in ten students in the US is a top performer able to "take into account features of financial documents that are significant but unstated or not immediately evident, such as transaction costs, and can describe the potential outcomes of financial decisions."
  • In the US about 70% of advantaged students have a bank account compared to 32% of socio-economically disadvantaged students.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

FCC Proposed Rule on the Open Internet

On May 15, 2014 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a proposed rule about protecting and promoting the Open Internet with a comment date of July 15, 2014 and and reply to the comments date of September 10, 2014. The document includes both supporting and dissenting opinions. The third point made in the introduction states the purpose of the notice:
3. Today, there are no legally enforceable rules by which the Commission can stop broadband providers from limiting Internet openness. This Notice begins the process of closing that gap, by proposing to reinstitute the no-blocking rule adopted in 2010 and creating a new rule that would bar commercially unreasonable actions from threatening Internet openness (as well as enhancing the transparency rule that is currently in effect).
What are some of the reactions to the notice? Andrea Peterson of The Washington Post interviewed Lynn Bradley, the director of government relations at the American Library Association's Washington office, about how net neutrality affects all types of libraries and ALA's hope to preserve an open Internet policy.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

9/11 Memorial Museum Dedication, May 15, 2014

The National September 11 (9/11) Memorial Museum dedication ceremony is taking place at 9 a.m.(EST) on May 15, 2014. Following the dedication ceremony, the museum will be open around the clock for six days for 9/11 family members and rescue and recovery workers. The museum will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily starting May 21. The ticket price for the museum is $24. Children age 5 and younger will get in free as will rescue and recovery workers and relatives of 9/11 victims. The museum will not charge admission on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Entrance to the World Trade Center memorial plaza with its two huge fountains sitting on the original footprints of the twin towers will continue to be free. The plaza opened on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.