Mar 20, 2020
Rutgers’ Jeff Lane joined Joe Miller to shed light on “the digital street”—how social media shapes the criminal justice system in Harlem and beyond.
Jeffrey Lane (@TheDigitalStre1) studies communication and technology as it relates to urban life, criminal justice, and social inequalities. He approaches these topics ethnographically by getting to know the same people and situations in person and online. Lane is the author the award-winning The Digital Street (Oxford University Press, 2019), a neighborhood study of social media use in Harlem (NYC) -- the first book about neighborhood street life in the digital age. Lane’s research has informed a needs assessment and a strategic plan for juvenile gangs convened by New York’s Center for Court Innovation. Lane's previous book, Under the Boards (University of Nebraska Press) focuses on the production of race, masculinity, and popular culture in the basketball industry.
Jeffrey Lane, The Digital Street (2018).
Lawmakers and educators are considering how to provide internet access to children who don’t have it, as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies amidst crippling uncertainty as to when Americans will be able to come out from under house arrest, and when schools will reopen. On the federal level, Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has been underscoring the need for universal access. Democratic Senators Klobuchar, Peters, and Tester urged the FCC in a letter last week to take actions to ensure that parents at least know about the options that are available to them for accessing high speed internet service if they need it.
Federal Communications Commission data indicates that some 21 million Americans do not have access to the internet at home. The Senators noted in their letter that some 12 million children lack access to the internet at home. We here at WashingTECH have been advocating on the local level here in the DC area for stronger partnerships between groups like the National Parent Teachers Association and school districts to develop buddy systems that pair students who lack access with students who have it. Volunteer parents serving as host families could receive a stipend.
Several Democratic Senators are proposing mail-in ballots ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Under the bill, the National Disaster and Emergency Relief Ballot Act (NDEBA), all voters would be entitled to obtain absentee ballots. The bill also provides for 20 days of early voting in all states. A new Brennan Center study found that maintaining the credibility of the U.S. electoral system during the pandemic, which would include measures outlined in the NDBEA, would cost taxpayers some $2 billion.
Amazon has shut down its Queens warehouse after an employee tested positive for coronavirus. The shutdown will be temporary but if one goes down, many can go down. And then what? An Amazon spokesperson told the Hill that the employee is under quarantine and that they sent their employees home with full pay. The company also announced that it would stop shipping nonessential items to warehouses and that it plans to hire another 100,000 workers to handle the spike in demand.
The Associated Press reports that more and more children who were detained at the border and separated from their parents, are not only having to face immigration judges alone, usually without counsel because they’re not entitled to it, but now they’re going to have to face them through video screens. The AP piece describes 7 children standing “shoulder-to-shoulder” in Houston, talking to a judge located a thousand miles away on a glitchy video link. Nearly 4 thousand children are currently in federal custody. A number of these children crossed the U.S./Mexico border alone.
Finally, you know there’s a ventilator shortage. Well Elon Musk has said his company would produce ventilators in the event of a shortage in hospitals. Just last week, Musk said coronavirus concerns were dumb. So it’s good to know he’s come to his senses.