Wednesday, April 25, 2007

National criminal background checks

An article written byJackie Walters, Technical Services Librarian at Wiley Rein LLP for the Spring 2007 newsletter, Law Library Lights says that there are 7 facts that contradict the myth that a national criminal background check is even possible:
1. No central repository exists for federal, sate, and local criminal records.
2. Only 25 states - of the 49 states D.C. & Puerto Rico that have automated records - are fully automated.
3. There are no standards for collecting records.
4. Conducting on-site, county level searches where an individual has lived could be cost-prohibitive.
5. States are increasingly restricting personally identifying data, such as birth dates and SS #s and without this data you cannot link information across record types, and how do you know you even have the "right" John Doe?
6. Permissible use of these records are limited and sometimes restricted by federal and state privacy statutes.
7. So-called "national" databases are restricted to government users - law-enforcement agencies or agencies authorized by the FBI.

But don't let that stop you from requesting a search for your story. We'll do our best.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Guns and violence

In response to the shootings Monday at Virginia Tech, Newswise has created a Breaking News Channel on Guns and Violence. The channel is a collection of articles and experts related to guns, gun laws, and violence in our nation's schools.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press announced the availability of of a free, bi-weekly audio podcast called News Media Update. It supplements the Reporters Committee's biweekly newsletter News Media Update and covers recent developments and trends in media law that affect journalists and media attorneys. Topics include libel, invasion of privacy, freedom of information, reporter's privilege (keeping sources and information confidential), access to courts, newsgathering rights, and prior restraints.

Topics from yesterday's podcast: Virginia gun permit access; Florida secret docket ruling; Columbine depositions; Illinois Chief Justice's libel claim; interview with Lucy Dalglish on Josh Wolf.

This info forwarded to the News Library list serv from Genie Tyburski -Web Manager, The Virtual Chase

Monday, April 16, 2007

Finding 990s - Free

Foundation Center web site was mentioned on the News Library List Serv as a place to find older 990s. They also offer an online course that explains how to read the 990.

Click here for the 990 finder.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

20 Leading Occupations of Employed Women

U.S. Dept of Labor lists the top 20 jobs for women in 2006 and the median weekly earnings for those jobs. Registerd nurses are the highest paid ($971) and cashiers, the lowest ($327).

National Health Spending

Health spending reached nearly $2 trillion in 2005

National Health Spending in Billions
Spending Levels
1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
$28 $75 $254 $714 $1,353 $1,733 $1,859 $1,988 $2,123 $2,262

Note: Selected rather than continuous years of data are shown prior to 2003. Years 2006 forward are CMS projections.Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Office of the Actuary.Health Care Costs 101

From the California HealthCare Foundation