Is Campaign Finance Data Unusually Dirty Data?

January 7, 2015 Campaign

Is Campaign Finance Data Unusually Dirty Data? At first glance, it sure seems that way. In an idle moment, just poking around looking at different data files, I decided to load some campaign finance data from New York’s Open Data site. Just go to the site, search on “elections,” pick a file and see what […]

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Greater (Data) Power Requires Greater Responsibility

December 8, 2014 Data

Edward Snowden is the Citizen Four for government misuse of data. Who’s Snowden for corporate use? The car ride company, Uber has a callous corporate culture. It’s not just annoying. It’s frightening. Read Tufekci and King in the New York Times: We Can’t Trust Uber. 

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Data Thought for the Day

October 16, 2014 Data

Since the Obama election, and particularly the re-election, politicians have gained a deepening appreciation of the use of data for politics – for tactics, targeting and personalization. It’s just a matter of time – and we can accelerate that time – before they have the same appreciation of using data for governing – including both […]

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To Better Understand, We Need Better News Coverage of Malaysia Flight 370

March 20, 2014 Analysis

A colleague and friend, knowing of my history flying large Air Force transports internationally, and who’s intensely curious about the fate of Malaysia Flight 370, has sent me a string of emails, most with the subject line: “does this make any sense?” My first response, and one which is still correct was this: “It is […]

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Nursing Home Problems Visualized Nationally

October 18, 2013 Dashboard

John Kelly of USA Today and Emily Le Coz of the Jackson (Miss) Clarion-Ledger on USA Today have done an exemplary job of using the latest in data visualization technology to display and enable interactive exploration of nursing home problems. Take a look here! Note the interactivity. Be sure to look at each of the […]

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Empire Center’s Tool on the NYS Budget

January 25, 2013 Budget

The Empire Center‘s SeeThroughNY has created and put online a new tool for examining New York’s Budget. It features: A nice, clean interface Ability to download the data into Excel files Trendline graphics Popup explanations and definitions of some terms and titles, e.g., the difference between “All Funds” and “State Operating” funds. “Special Features,” which […]

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Making the Public’s Data Public – Cuomo Edition

January 9, 2013 Data

Well, this seems an especially appropriate topic with which to kick off our 2013 posts. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2013 State-of-the-State address’s includes an entire section on using technology to promote “transparency.” Among other things, the Governor has now committed to providing online copies of the State budget in “machine-readable” form. That means you […]

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Albany County: Working Hard to Make it Harder for the Public to Understand its Budget

November 3, 2012 Budget

The past several years, Albany County made its tentative (proposed) budget available online, not only in a readable format (PDF), but in a format (Excel) that the public and occasional legislators could actually do calculations with. No more. When the County Executive’s Tentative Budget was released last month, the PDF documents were posted online, but […]

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No. Intentional Ignorance Does Not Improve Public Policy. Or Politics. Or Business.

May 30, 2012 Census

Earlier this month the House of Representatives voted to eliminate funding for the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). Lest you think that my objection is nothing more than my geeky self looking for more data to bathe in, here are a couple of examples of how these data are used: Distributing $400 billion in […]

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