Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Sunday, 4 August 2013

'INTERESTING TREND' Va. Sees Drop in Gun Crime As Firearm Sales Soar -

'INTERESTING TREND'  Va. Sees Drop in Gun Crime As Firearm Sales Soar - 

Amid calls nationwide for stricter gun control laws, Virginia is experiencing a unique trend: the state's gun-related crime is declining but firearms sales are increasing. 
Firearms sales rose 16 percent to a record 490,119 guns purchased from licensed gun dealers in 2012, according to sales estimates obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
During the same period, major crimes committed with firearms dropped 5 percent to 4,378.
"This appears to be additional evidence that more guns don't necessarily lead to more crime," said Thomas R. Baker, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs who specializes in research methods and criminology theory.
"It's a quite interesting trend given the current rhetoric about strengthening gun laws and the presumed effect it would have on violent crimes," Baker told the newspaper. "While you can't conclude from this that tougher laws wouldn't reduce crime even more, it really makes you question if making it harder for law-abiding people to buy a gun would have any effect on crime."


Canada Is Part Of U.S. 'Homeland' On NSA Map -

Canada Is Part Of U.S. 'Homeland' On NSA Map - 

us homeland canada nsa

Just when you thought the NSA surveillance programs couldn't get any scarier, the spy agency goes ahead and makes Canada part of the U.S. "homeland."

That's how Canada — as well as Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean — was labeled on an NSA map presented at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday.

The map appeared during a presentation by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, an outspoken supporter of the NSA's surveillance activities, on how many terror "events" (don't confuse this with plots, the numbers are different) the agency has disrupted.

The map showed all of North and Central America shaded in light blue and labeled "HOMELAND." Manifest destiny writ large.

One might think this is simply a mistake by the NSA, but The Atlantic's Philip Bump, who first spotted the map, isn't so sure:

"This being the NSA, we're not inclined to offer that benefit of the doubt. Is this a way of blending in Canadian and Mexican terror activity disruptions (which, we'll remind you, is different from actual plots interrupted) to give a larger sense of the NSA's success at halting terrorism within our borders?"

Twitter, predictably, freaked out about the conquest-cartography, but there was bigger news in the widening surveillance scandal this week.

The map gaffe (please let this be a gaffe) came on the same day as new revelations about the scope of the NSA's surveillance activities.

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Record 21 Million 'Young Adults' Now Live With Their Parents -

Record 21 Million 'Young Adults' Now Live With Their Parents - 

Just about a year ago we questioned the "demographic demand" thesis for why the US housing 'recovery' would become self-sustaining and lead to yet another fiscal and monetary 'nirvana'. However, while the 'household formation' meme remains front-and-center among bloviating Fed apologists; the sad facts are that not only is household formation actually still falling but, as a recent Pew Research study finds, a record 21 million young adults are now living at home with their parents.

Since 2007, young adults have grown increasingly likely to live at home. This is a new trend with a stunning 45-year high 36% (21 million) of 18-31 year-olds back with mom-and-pop. By way of corollary, with one-third of all Italian adults living at home (and 61% of young-adults), it would seem arguing that a housing renaissance in the US is around the corner on the basis of demographics is risible at best.

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