Score one for openness in air safety data.
It looks like new Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood flexed his muscle, according to the Washington Post:
“I think all of this information ought to be made public, and I think that you’ll soon be reading about the fact that we’re going to, you know, make this information as public as anybody wants it,” LaHood said in an interview for The Washington Post’s “New Voices of Power” series. “The people should have access to this kind of information.
“The whole thing about the bird strike issue is it doesn’t really comport with the president’s idea of transparency,” the secretary said. “I mean, here they just released all of these CIA files regarding interrogation, and . . . the optic of us trying to tell people they can’t have information about birds flying around airports, I don’t think that really quite comports with the policies of the administration. . . . It’s something that somebody wanted to put out there to get a reaction. We got the reaction, and now we’re going to bring it to conclusion.”
Also, public comments on the proposed regulatory rule were overwhelmingly opposed to the FAA’s action.
The anti-pork group Citizens Against Government Waste released its annual Pig Book this week, just days after a deadline in the U.S. House for members to submit earmark requests (or what some members call “congressionally directed” spending).
You can see what all five members of Oklahoma’s House delegation requested for FY 2010 at the following Web pages:
It’s still early in the budget process, so there’s no guarantee that all those requested projects will actually make it. The Senate deadline for earmark requests is apparently later this year, but I’m still trying to find out exactly when. (More on the House rules at this Congressional Research Service report, courtesy of WikiLeaks.org.)
For other House earmark requests from across the country, check out the Sunlight Foundation’s blog.
Big news today for campaign finance, lobbying and political influence trackers: the Center for Responsive Politics’ Web site, OpenSecrets.org, will offer much more data beginning next week.
With the help of a grant from the Sunlight Foundation, OpenSecrets.org will open up its most-popular data products, which were previously available only through subscriptions.
From an e-mail I received this afternoon from the CRP:
For the first time in CRP’s 26-year history as Washington’s premier money-in-politics watchdog, we’re making our most popular data archives fully available to the public for download — for FREE. Starting next week, we’ll be putting our vast data on campaign finance, lobbying and the personal finances of lawmakers in more hands, with the expectation that more people counting cash will lead to more people making change. We expect all sorts of mashups, maps and other cool projects to result from this new capability, which has been graciously underwritten by the Sunlight Foundation. Stay tuned for details about how to use this data, and be prepared to dive in!
Here’s a screenshot:
Personally, I think it’s a big improvement over the old design, which was starting to show its age.
From Gov. Henry’s press release announcing the makeover:
The site now features translation available in 8 languages and the ability to “Share” with eleven different social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. Another new feature is a dashboard on the right column of the homepage providing quick access to real-time content such as State Surplus Auction items in the “Shop OK.gov” panel and the status of state bills in the “Bill Tracker” panel.
Oklahomans are invited to visit OK.gov and provide feedback utilizing the online “Feedback” form located in the “Support” menu. The portal also offers Live Chat Help during normal Oklahoma government business hours, available through the Help Center located in the right content area.
As an open-government advocate, I especially like the e-Services page. It has links to some of the useful tracking databases used by various state agencies, as well as a kind of “one-stop shop” for professional licenses and permits.
I’m still making my way through all the changes, but let me know if you see something you like or don’t like about the new design and navigation.