U.S. death rates from suicides, alcohol and drug overdoses reach all-time high

U.S. death rates from suicides, alcohol and drug overdoses reach all-time high



Phoenix chief says police response to incident with 4-year-old is ‘unacceptable’



“Isn’t in keeping with good policing.”

“This is not what should have happened in that circumstance.”

…Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego issued a statement on Twitter Saturday saying, “I, like many others, am sick over what I have seen in the video” and “I am deeply sorry for what this family went through.”

The mayor vowed to speed up implementation of body cameras on police officers and hold a community meeting to address the incident. “I realize that to get to the bottom of this issue and implement meaningful change, we are going to have some uncomfortable and painful conversations,” Gallego said.

Phoenix chief says police response to incident with 4-year-old is ‘unacceptable’


Mississippi residents flooded out for four months think ecosystem-devastating pumps could save them

“There are layers of reasons why this is a bad project,” said Melissa Samet, senior counsel at the National Wildlife Federation, who has followed the project for decades, ”but worst of all is it really gives a false promise of hope to people who are suffering from flooding.”

…Many residents believe there is a solution to their persistent, yearly flooding woes — if only the government would cut through the red tape to enact it. Locals like Deere believe that an unfinished Army Corps of Engineers project known as the Yazoo Pumps, a potential drain for the levee system that protects the Delta, would hold back the floodwaters that regularly threaten almost 20,000 people here.

…Residents of the region, local farmers and Mississippi politicians are calling for the revival of the pumps — a project vetoed by then-President George W. Bush’s administration, called “one of the worst projects ever conceived by Congress” by the late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain in 2004, and endlessly decried by environmental advocates.

…The project has been debated for almost 80 years, with frustration and anger building with the passing time.

….Environmental advocates and longtime civil servants who have worked on the project, however, argue that the pumps come at a high cost, potentially draining tens of thousands of vital wetland acres that supports one of the most unique wildlife habitats in the country.

…Conservationists say the Delta’s bottomland hardwood wetlands create one of the most important ecosystems in the country. Twenty percent of the nation’s ducks, 450 different species, including 257 species of birds, rely on these wetlands’ natural resources.

They [would] be devastated by the pumps, according to the EPA’s veto, which said that [up to] 67,000 acres of wetlands could be drained if the pumps were installed.

…“It was a hard decision because EPA knew the area needed flood protection but our analysis of widespread environmental impacts, costs, and other complications fully justified the veto.”

…Buyouts, wetland reforestation and raised homes and roadways are ideas proposed by Shabman in another report that he produced for the EPA about potential alternatives. Environmental advocates, however, claim local leaders were never curious to explore such ideas because they didn’t come with expensive construction contracts benefiting a small number of people in Mississippi.

…Because of those rising waters, Branning entered his property into the Wetlands Preserve Program in 1999, which provides him compensation for the land that he can’t farm if he allows it to be reforested.

“We did that because the program added value, in my opinion, to the land because the land had been cleared and being farmed unsuccessfully numerous years,” he said. “It may do okay for two years and then in two years the high water comes.”

…Branning said he’s happy that it’s helping the environment and noticed that some wildlife has returned, which is good for him as a hunter.

Mississippi residents flooded out for four months say the EPA could save them but won’t


Lawsuit Claims Amazon’s Alexa Devices Record Without Consent, Against N.H. Law

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Seattle claims the voice-controlled virtual assistant devices permanently records millions of children without their consent or parents’ consent.

It claims the devices can identify individual voices and Amazon could ask for consent when a new person uses the device.

Lawsuit Claims Amazon’s Alexa Devices Record Without Consent, Against N.H. Law | New Hampshire Public Radio


Memphis protesters hurl bricks and rocks at police in outrage over a man’s death

What started as a protest over the death of a Memphis man devolved into chaos after demonstrators threw bricks at police and vandalized squad cars, officials said.

At least 36 officers and deputies were injured in the melee Wednesday night, police said Thursday. All those hospitalized have been released. Three people have been charged with disorderly conduct and one of them also with inciting a riot.

“For some reason, they turned their anger toward the Memphis Police Department.”

Memphis protesters hurl bricks and rocks at police, injuring 36 officers in outrage over a man’s death – CNN

“Some reason,” indeed.

The article attempts to make it sound like the officers just stood there and peacibly allowed protestors to throw things at them. I find that hard to believe.

36 officers and deputies, how many civilians were injured?

Tackle Poverty’s Effects to Improve School Performance

Not enough food on the table or erratic housing can cause children to lose focus, increased anxiety and damaged mental health. Other common challenges for these students include more school absences and less parental support.

In sum, external factors, particularly poverty, matter more than other issues in shaping students’ academic success.

…State lawmakers can improve outcomes for impoverished students and the schools where they are concentrated with a coordinated set of strategies that respond to both external and internal factors.

  • Foster socioeconomic integration in schools
  • Invest adequate resources in low-income students and schools
  • Build a statewide principal pipeline
  • Enhance teacher compensation

…A review of schools’ 2016 grades by their poverty concentration highlights the connection between poverty and student outcomes.

…Of the 2,135 schools included in this analysis, 100 are counted as extreme-poverty, 446 are high-poverty, 969 are moderate-poverty and 620 are low-poverty.

None of the extreme poverty schools earned a grade of A or B, and all but one earned a D or F.

…Of Georgia schools where fewer than 25 percent of students live in poverty, about 70 percent received either an A or B. And in schools where fewer than 10 percent of children are poor, nearly 94 percent got an A or B.

Schools where the majority of students are low-income are also the schools with the most black and Hispanic students. Nearly all of the students in extreme poverty schools are black or Hispanic.

…When children are exposed to significant or constant stress, the architecture of their brain adapts to functioning in that state. They struggle to differentiate between normal stress sources and greater threats, often reacting strongly to minor problems or disagreements. Their working memories can be impaired, making it harder to complete multi-step assignments or activities. They often have difficulty controlling impulses and emotions and are at heightened risk of mental health problems. All of these make focusing on learning tasks and working collaboratively with peers harder.

…A child who is hungry is a child focused on finding something to eat, not learning.

…Low-income children often are not ready to learn when they enter the classroom, from kindergarten to twelfth grade. The issues causing them to struggle need to be addressed for children to master the knowledge and skills expected in K-12 schools and move on to postsecondary study and the workforce. At the same time, K-12 schools need to make all children feel safe and welcome and ensure they get the educational support needed to be successful learners.

[GA School] District officials also said a lack of instructional resources is a problem. Some said they are unable to provide teachers with materials and tools, including technology. Others reported an inability to provide intervention services to students who are behind while others said they lack resources to provide the variety of courses they would prefer, including STEM and enrichment.

…Several districts said the scope of material teachers are required to cover is difficult to squeeze into the allotted time. Two expressed concern that students are moved ahead before they are ready as a result.

…Students are expected to know and do far more today than 30 years ago. The state is not offering resources to match these elevated standards.

…Educating high-poverty and historically-marginalized students to high levels of academic achievement costs more. The state must match its expectations of these students with a renewed commitment to provide the additional resources they need to reach them—it is accountable for that.

…Eleven percent of responding districts said a lack of community resources is a problem, including enrichment programs and mental health services. Rural communities also lack transportation, an access barrier even where community organizations are in place.

…Squeezed districts also cut student programs, including elective courses like art and music, and intervention programs for low-performing students. A recent national review showed these cuts led to declines in student achievement, particularly in districts with more low-income students.

…The magnet schools are more racially and economically diverse than traditional schools, and their students do better academically than their peers in traditional schools.

…The district is creating magnet-like schools but without admission standards, with the aim of enrolling students from different socioeconomic groups. The initiative is too new to offer student achievement data but the schools are more economically diverse than traditional schools.

Tackle Poverty’s Effects to Improve School Performance