Wandering Eye: Want to help women? Try listening to them, the backup in immigration courts, and more

We don't take kindly to the New York Yankees in these parts, but it's hard to not mourn the loss of legendary Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, who died Tuesday. As The New York Times' obituary of Berra notes, the affable Berra was a likable character who became famous beyond baseball for concocting epigrams such as "It ain't over til it's over," "It's deja vu all over again," and "You can observe a lot by watching." The veracity or exact wording of those lines is subject to some debate, but they're all attributed to Berra anyhow. As the Times notes, the press sometimes used Yogi's way with words to portray him as a "triumphant rube." His incredible hitting and baseball acumen proved otherwise. But as an example of just how funny he was, take this anecdote from Oriole great Boog Powell about Berra chatting the lumbering first baseman up when he took the plate in 1962: "He said, 'How ya doin'? Did you go out to dinner last night?' Strike one.

"'Did you have a good time?' Strike two.

"'What are you gonna do tonight after the game?' Strike three.

"My next time up, Yogi started again. I said, 'Just a minute, Yogi,' and hit a home run on the next pitch. The next time I came to bat, he said, 'To hell with you, I'm never talking to you again.'" (Brandon Weigel)


Yes! magazine has a feature on the strategies that domestic-violence shelters are using to help women in poor, rural areas in the United States, where the lack of resources and isolated location make it difficult to help women. The radical conclusion that the writer, Laura Michele Diener, comes to? "The secret of their success seems to be listening carefully to the women they serve and then handcrafting programs for those women." The idea that you should listen to the vulnerable populations that you're serving shouldn't be a radical one, but then, people seem far too willing to decide that they know what's best for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Take the Safe Campus Act, which is currently being considered in the House of Representatives and would require colleges to involve the police in every sexual assault that was reported to the university. The bill says it's meant to "protect victims of sexual violence [and] improve the adjudication of allegations related to sexual violence," but as Callie Beusman writes for Vice's site Broadly,the bill will likely have a chilling effect on reporting of sexual assault cases. And even if universities don't handle sexual assault cases properly, it's not as if police departments are any better at handling them: Beusman points out that there are currently more than 70,000 untested rape kits in police departments across the country, and many sexual assault victims and advocates have shared stories of derisive or dismissive responses from police officers when they try to report an assault. (An advocacy organization I used to work for, Know Your IX, is sponsoring a petition to tell Congress not to pass the Safe Campus Act.) (Anna Walsh)


Say you're an immigrant—maybe illegal, maybe not—awaiting a hearing in court about your status. How long does that take, on average? The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a Syracuse-University-based nonprofit that uses the Freedom of Information Act to get public records from the Justice Department, has the very latest projection: 1,071 days. Just under three years. There are currently more than 456,000 individual deportation cases pending, and the average person has already waited more than 600 days, TRAC's figures show. Last January the immigration court issued letters to thousands of individuals telling them that their cases would be delayed until at least November 2019. "Now, more than seven months since this initial wave of rescheduling notices was sent out, the situation has worsened, with the backlog of pending cases currently up 11.9 percent since the beginning of this fiscal year," TRAC reports. And where are these immigrants waiting for their hearings? "Some are locked up, some are in the community," TRAC's Susan B. Long tells City Paper. "Detained individuals do receive 'priority.' You can see that hearing locations at detention facilities tend to have shorter average times. However, an individual can end up being detained for years." The Nation magazine reported last summer that 34,000 people were kept in detention each day. We know this is the minimum number detained, because it is enshrined in law as "the detention bed mandate." That's right: Congress has decreed that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) shall not jail fewer than 34,000 people on any given day, regardless of their flight risk, danger to the public, or what have you. The INS itself has argued for a lower quota. Says The Nation, in uncharacteristic understatement: "The persistence of this detainee quota is less surprising in light of the fact that for-profit private prisons hold more than half of all immigration detainees." (Edward Ericson Jr.) 

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