ProPublica

79 posts
Increased case counts not just from increased testing

Some attribute increased Covid-19 case counts to increased testing. While that is certainly part of the reason, it doesn’t explain it all when you compare testing rates against the increase in positives. Charles Ornstein and Ash Ngu for ProPublica: In other states, including Arizona, Texas and Florida, which did not see a wave of early cases and deaths, the increase in positive results has far surpassed testing growth. In Florida,...

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What the federal government has been buying and where from

The Federal Procurement Data System tracks federal contracts of $10,000 or more. For ProPublica, Moiz Syed and Derek Willis made the data for coronavirus-related contracts more accessible with a searchable database. Browse the items, the companies, and the amounts. Somehow it seems like so much, and yet so not enough. See also the accompanying article highlighting some of the more questionable contracts. Tags: coronavirus, procurement, ProPublica

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Reopening states and how they currently measure up

States are reopening. Some seem ready, and some less so. Lena V. Groeger and Ash Ngu for ProPublica made a reference so that you can quickly see how your state is doing in five important metrics: To give people context on state reopenings, and what happens afterward, we are tracking metrics derived from a set of guidelines published by the White House for states to achieve before loosening restrictions. Even...

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Nationwide database of credibly accused Catholic clergy

For ProPublica, Ellis Simani and Ken Schwencke compiled an interactive database that you can search: ProPublica reporters spent months collecting the lists as they were originally released by each diocese. They then made them searchable via a public database in order to provide victims of clerical abuse and members of the public a way to search across all of the released lists. More than 6,700 names are included in the...

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Deaths from child abuse, a starting dataset

By way of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, ProPublica and The Boston Globe requested records from each state. They compiled the many documents into a single dataset: In each record, CAPTA requires states to list the age and gender of the child, and information about a household’s prior contact with welfare services. The information is supposed to help government agencies prevent child abuse, neglect and death, but reporting...

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Mapping chemical plants, the pollution around them, and more chemical plants

ProPublica, with The Advocate and The Times-Picayune, estimated chemical concentrations in a highly polluted area along the Mississippi River that will probably get worse soon: The industrial stretch of the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, a region known as “Cancer Alley,” is one of the most highly polluted areas in the country. A ProPublica analysis using a scientific model developed by the Environmental Protection Agency shows that...

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Unproven aggression detectors, more surveillance

In some public places, such as schools and hospitals, microphones installed with software listen for noise that sounds like aggression. The systems alert the authorities. It sounds useful, but in practice, the detection algorithms might not be ready yet. For ProPublica, Jack Gillum and Jeff Kao did some testing: Yet ProPublica’s analysis, as well as the experiences of some U.S. schools and hospitals that have used Sound Intelligence’s aggression detector,...

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Millions of dollars in tax breaks — because of a mapping error

A small discrepancy in a couple of shapefiles led to a misclassification of land. Wealthy investors are taking advantage. For ProPublica, Jeff Ernsthausen and Justin Elliott: They have President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul law to thank. The new law has a provision meant to spur investment into underdeveloped areas, called “opportunity zones.” The idea is to grant lucrative tax breaks to encourage new investment in poor areas around the...

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Search through 3m nonprofit tax records

ProPublica just released a search tool for nonprofit tax records: The possibilities are nearly limitless. You can search for the names or addresses of independent contractors that made more than $100,000 from a nonprofit, you can search for addresses, keywords in mission statements or descriptions of accomplishments. You can even use advanced search operators, so for instance you can find any filing that mentions either “The New York Times,” “nytimes”...

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Where the IRS most likely audits

Using estimates from a study on regional bias in tax audits, ProPublica mapped the likelihood of getting audited by the IRS. They then turn their attention to Humphreys County, Mississippi: In a baffling twist of logic, the intense IRS focus on Humphreys County is actually because so many of its taxpayers are poor. More than half of the county’s taxpayers claim the earned income tax credit, a program designed to...

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