Tracking the Tolls

COVID-19 and Race; New Data on Homework Gap; Bots Are Us; and much more.


New from the COVID Tracking Project: the COVID-19 Racial Data Tracker, which it is doing in collaboration with the Antiracist Research and Policy Center. Black people make up 13% of the population but 23% of the deaths where race is known, they report.
 
Indeed, 31% of Black Americans know someone who has died from coronavirus, compared to 17% of Hispanic Americans and just 9% of whites, according to a new survey by The Washington Post.
 
A new report from Common Sense Media finds that 30% of K-12 students, along with one-in-ten of their teachers, lack the tools to engage in remote learning. This map breaks down the “homework gap” by state.
 
An analysis of 473 cities nationwide finds that poorer cities spend a larger share of their budgets on police than wealthier ones, Andy Friedman and Mason Youngblood report for Sludge. On average about 30% of city general funds go to police.
 
Related: New America scholar Hollie Russon Gilman, author of Democracy Reinvented: Participatory Budgeting and Civic Innovation in America, writes that “With people across the country calling for new community-based funding models, participatory budgeting can provide instructive lessons for achieving more direct community control over public funds—and investing more equitably in public education, infrastructure, the elderly, child care, and a host of other areas.”
 
Speaking of urban priorities, CityLab Berlin has posted video of a keynote talk given two weeks ago by Toronto’s Bianca Wylie about the lessons to be learned from the long and ultimately successful fight by the civic activists to block Sidewalk Labs’ planned takeover of a lucrative piece of the city’s waterfront.
 
Submit: The biennial G0v summit, which will be December 3-6 in Taiwan, is accepting proposals for talks (due today). Remote participation will be OK for speakers and attendees.
 
Attend: The 17th annual Games for Change Festival, happening July 14-16, will be virtual and for the first time ever, free to all participants. Register here.
 
Apply: ioby is looking to hire a director of engineering.
 
Tech and politics: A new study by Harry Yan, Kai-Cheng, Yang Filippo Menczer, and James Shanahan of Indiana University-Bloomington of political bots on Twitter with partisan personas finds that “Republican users are more likely to confuse conservative bots with humans, whereas Democratic users are more likely to confuse conservative human users with bots.” Add to this other research showing that knowingly interacting with political bots increases existing political polarization, conservative bots are much more active than liberal ones, and the fact that roughly one of six Twitter accounts is a bot, and you may want to conclude that Twitter is a hot mess. Which it is.
 
Three Democratic senators have written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding he do more to prevent white supremacist groups from using the platform as a recruitment and organizational tool. With more major brands joining the #StopHateforProfit campaign, the company’s stock is taking a beating, Kaya Yurieff reports  for CNN Business.
 
If the likelihood of a 2020 general election meltdown keeps you up at night, you probably don’t want to read David Corn’s new feature story in Mother Jones about the efforts of a bipartisan group of former government officials, academics, and election experts to game out the likeliest scenarios and come up with remedies for them.
 
End times: Masks are not required in Japan, and yet.

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