Sleepless (and Homeless) in Seattle
February 6, 2020
“To stir the masses, to appeal to their higher, better selves, to set them thinking for themselves, and to hold ever before them the ideal of mutual kindness and good will, based upon mutual interests, is to render real service to the cause of humanity.” – Eugene Debs
A Whole New (And Very Sad) Meaning To Street Smart
President Trump presented a picture of utopian life in America in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. Not everyone is living it. Each year states submit data on the demographics and academic performance of homeless students to the US Department of Education. Only students enrolled in public school districts or local educational agencies (LEAs) are counted. Not counted are school-aged children and youth who experience homelessness during the summer only, those who dropped out of school, or young children who are not enrolled in preschool programs administered by LEAs. In other words, the numbers do not reflect the totality of children and youth experiencing homelessness.
The National Center for Homeless Education recently submitted its report covering the three academic years of 2015 through 2018. For the school year 2017-18, the number of homeless students reported was 1,508,265. It is the highest number in a decade, and a 15 percent increase over the number reported for the school year 2015-16. Additionally, the number of students living without shelter, as in on the streets, spiked by 137 percent to more than 102,000 in the past three years. California has the highest number of homeless students with 263,000.
This new homeless student count reflects a much more serious uptick in the homeless population than that reflected in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) point-in-time estimates, which uses different assessment criteria. HUD’s 2019 annual homeless assessment reported just a 3 percent increase in the homeless population nationwide. Additional song: Soul Asylum – Runaway Train (Official Video)
SyRI, Please Remind Me To Not Let You Violate My Rights
- Last October the District Court of the Hague held hearings on the legality of Systeem Risico Indicatie (SyRI), the Dutch government’s automated system for detecting welfare fraud. SyRI is a risk calculation model developed to predict an individual’s likelihood of engaging in benefits and tax fraud, and violations of labor laws. To perform its calculations it taps into vast pools of personal and sensitive data collected by various government agencies, from employment records to benefits information, and personal debt reports to education and housing history.
- The surveillance regime disproportionately targets poorer citizens for more intrusive scrutiny. A coalition of civil society groups and activists filed suit, arguing that the system violates data protection laws and human rights standards.
- On Wednesday a Dutch district court ordered the immediate halt of the system, finding it violates human rights. The verdict will be watched closely by welfare rights campaigners in the UK, where the government is accelerating its own development of robots for use in the benefits system. (Guardian)
- Police surveillance is more invasive and more mysterious than ever (Vox)
Two Lefts Don’t Give Us Rights
- More than a million Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh in 2017 to escape ethnic cleansing in the Myanmar state of Rahkine. Bangladesh’s government, with Myanmar’s cooperation, has tried to repatriate thousands of the refugees, who are living in squalid camps in Cox’s Bazar.
- Over three thousand were approved for repatriation last August. But the refugees refused to go back to Myanmar voluntarily without some guarantees, including the right to citizenship. Bangladesh responded by further restricting their movement and communication, including imposing an internet blackout.
- Activists like Mohammad Arfaat have been calling for more help for Rohingya to launch their own initiatives, for everything from education to arts, but complain of lack of support from UN agencies and international aid groups. “No one comes to research what’s happening. Whenever there’s violence, they’re not here,” Arfaat said. “You see them on social media, talking to the public, but they don’t come to talk to us.”
- Activists have campaigned for years against a government ban on all but the most basic level of schooling, warning of a “lost generation.” They won a victory last month when Bangladesh announced a pilot program to teach children between 11 and 13 the Myanmar curriculum, although Rohingya teachers and activists had little knowledge of how the plan would work. (Guardian)
Additional World News
- Fears for Brazil’s isolated tribes as ex-missionary named to head agency (Guardian)
- Finland’s Women-Led Government Has Equalized Family Leave: 7 Months For Each Parent (NPR)
- How Coronaviruses Jump From Animals To People: David Quammen Explains : Goats and Soda (NPR)
- Coronavirus: Newborn becomes youngest person diagnosed with virus (BBC)
- In Quarantined Wuhan, Hospital Beds For Coronavirus Patients Are Scarce (NPR)
- China Clamps Down on Coronavirus Coverage as Cases Surge (NYT, $)
- In Coronavirus, China Weighs Benefits of Buffalo Horn and Other Remedies (NYT, $)
- Meet our secret weapon for Valentine’s Day! There are just certain days you have to remember: birthdays, anniversaries, and of course, Valentine’s Day. Luckily, we’ve got this. The Bouqs Co. Bouquets, simplified.
- Every bouquet is responsibly sourced, and fresh from eco-friendly farms, so you always get the best blooms…the kind that stay fresher, longer. Trust us, she’ll notice.
- The Bouqs lineup includes classic flowers, plants, succulents, breathtaking tropical blooms (way cheaper than a vacation), plus awesome gift bundles (flowers paired with jewelry, gourmet chocolate and more). Or, go big and gift a custom flower subscription to keep your valentine smiling all year.
- Don’t let Valentine’s Day surprise you! Win the most lovey dovey day of the year with Bouqs.com. Use exclusive code XO to save 25% on your entire order.
Alex Pena via Getty Images
You Don’t Have To Survive, But You Can’t Stay Here
- Human Rights Watch has reported that at least 200 Salvadorian migrants and asylum seekers have been killed, assaulted, or tortured after being deported from the United States since 2013. El Savador is the most densely populated country in Central America with just over 6 million citizens, and has one of the world’s highest rates of homicide and sexual violence.
- Authorities are largely ineffective in protecting the population from this violence, which is often perpetrated by street gangs which have 60,000 or so members across the country, with almost 11,000 people were registered missing during the last decade. The number of Salvadorans fleeing has soared, with asylum applicants in the US increasing by almost 1,000% in five years to 60,000 in 2017.
- The dire security situation is well documented, but despite this, the US continues to deport Salvadorans to face abuse and even death, according to the HRW despite international law prohibits the US from returning anyone to a country where they face serious risks to their lives or safety. (Guardian)
Additional USA News
- The End of the Impeachment
- ‘Not Guilty’: Trump Acquitted On 2 Articles Of Impeachment As Historic Trial Closes (NPR)
- Mitt Romney just did something that literally no senator has ever done before (Vox)
- Donald Trump Jr calls for Mitt Romney to be expelled from Republican party (Guardian)
- Opinion | George Conway: I believe the president, and in the president (WaPo, $)
- How Vaping Became a Public Health Crisis (NY Mag)
- Furor Erupts Over Killing of Witness in MS-13 Gang Case (NYT, $)
- Reparations for slavery are already being paid all over the country (WaPo, $)
- New Jersey dentist suspended after 1 patient dies and 14 others suffer heart infections (CNN)
- US-Mexico border apprehensions decline for eighth consecutive month (CNN)
- U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows for First Time in Six Years (WSJ, $)
Leaving the Family Business: Ohana or Omerta
- Family businesses make up around two-thirds of global companies. Working in a family firm can be complicated, as chronicled in TV shows from Succession to The Sopranos. News stories describing the decision by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to step away from the British royal family offer some insight into how difficult it is to quit a family-run institution to forge a different path.
- Jennifer Pendergast, professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at Northwestern University, says family companies must negotiate unique stress points. “There is a tendency for everyone to know your business. If you have an argument, likely the rest of the family in the room knows about it, and may choose to take sides.”
- Pendergast notes that negotiating your exit carefully is the best way to avoid friction. “The best way to leave is to be transparent about reasons for departure – but this needs to be done in a considerate and professional way, for example: ‘I’m choosing to pursue a different path that’s a better fit with my interests’. It’s also helpful to acknowledge and appreciate the opportunity offered to be part of the family enterprise.”
- She stresses the importance of managing a departure well. “It’s always a good career situation to avoid burning bridges, but in family business, even more so because you’ll be involved with the stakeholders for the rest of your life.” (BBC)
- A Robotic Future
- How African ‘feng shui’ can shape the continent’s cities of the future (CNN)
- How cosmopolitan Armenian radicals launched the 20th century (Aeon)
- What I learned talking to 120 women about their sex lives and desires (Guardian)
- Physicists determine the optimal soap recipe for blowing gigantic bubbles (Ars Technica)
- The fact-checker’s dilemma: Humans are hardwired to dismiss facts that don’t fit their worldview (Nieman Lab)
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU