Afghanistan: U.S. Rule of Law and Justice Sector Assistance

Following up on and related to an earlier post as to the Afghanistan Legal Education Project, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) has issued a 48-page report:

Afghanistan: U.S. Rule of Law and Justice Sector Assistance (Nov. 9, 2010)

The purpose and scope of the report are stated as “to provide background and analysis for Congress on U.S. rule of law (ROL) and justice sector assistance programs in Afghanistan … by defining ROL and the justice sector, describing the scope of the ROL problem in Afghanistan, including the role of corruption, and surveying the range of Afghan justice sector institutions.”

Hat tip to Docuticker.com.

Law.Gov Report Contest

From our great friend Carl Malamud:

Public.Resource.Org is pleased to announce the Law.Gov Report contest. A series of 15 workshops were conducted that resulted in a strong consensus on 10 core principles. Those workshops also produced a huge amount of material to work with including presentations by many of the leading lights in the field.

We’ve put a great deal of thought into how to do the report on this process that has been requested by members of Congress, the Courts, and the Administration and have concluded that we should take a page from the playbook of the founding fathers, which is to get a consensus on some high-level concepts (in their case the Constitution, in our case the Law.Gov principles) and then allow many people to all explain what those concepts mean (in their case, The Federalist Papers, in our case this contest being announced today).

The Law.Gov Report is a contest. We will accept submissions as a written essay or as a video essay.  The topic is really quite simple: What Does Law.Gov mean? You can write about one of the principles, or all of the principles, or any other take on the topic.

For the video essays, there is a tremendous amount of high-resolution footage available you can draw with talks by luminaries such as Vint Cerf, Larry Lessig, John Podesta, and many others. We have released final mixes of the first 27 talks and the remaining high-res footage will be available by mid-November.

If you submit an essay, please keep a couple of points in mind. First, you must attach a liberal license to your work or we will not accept it. That means at a minimum a Creative Commons license that allows derivative works with attribution, and we’d prefer if you simply used CC-Zero or Public Domain. You must also submit your work in a form that we can use for republication. In the case of a written essay, you can submit in PDF, but we’d also like revisable form text such as HTML or a word processing format. For your video, this needs to be high-resolution (you should shoot for at least NTSC size and at least several megabits per second on the encoding) and a relatively open codec (H.264/MP4, MP2, WebM).

The winning written essay will receive a prize of $5,000. The winning video essay will also receive a prize of $5,000. Submissions are due before Memorial Day (May 31). Winners will be announced the day after Labor Day at a prize ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Memorial Day deadline was set so that students can consider making this a class project. We hope that professors in law schools, i-schools, journalism schools, and any other discipline will let their students know about this contest and offer them credit in their classes for preparing a submission.

Public.Resource.Org has put $10,000 into the Law.Gov Report Prize Fund. If others wish to contribute prizes such as books, conference tickets, lunch with a justice, or other items of educational value, please contact us.

If you have questions about the contest, please ask them on this list or contact Carl Malamud at Public.Resource.Org. (You can find his email address on the about page.)

Here are a few resources for you to work with:

1. The Law.Gov videos on YouTube

2. The Law.Gov videos on the Internet Archive

3. Directory of final footage

4. Miscellaneous additional law.gov materials

Fiscal Year 2009 & Related Reports of the U.S. Government

The Fiscal Year 2009 Financial Report of the United States Government — along with various related publications — is available from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) .
As stated there:
The Secretary of the Treasury, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is required annually to submit financial statements for the U.S. Government (USG) to the President and the Congress. GAO is required to audit these statements.

Foreign Gift Database

Very interesting database on Foreign Gifts to Congress.  Thanks to Sunlight Foundation for this find.   As it reads on the Sunlight Foundation site: “Legistorm, a Web site dedicated to providing a variety of important information about the US Congress, has launched a new database of all foreign gifts (whether tangible gifts or travel) received by members of Congress and their staff since 1999. The database details each of the 450 gifts members of Congress and their aides reported receiving in the past decade. Senate rules require that senators and their staff must report all gifts over a $100 value threshold, and House members and their aides threshold has been adjusted for inflation and stands at $335.”