US gun regulation, background checks, private sales, new law
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A Craigslist for Guns, With No Background Checks (Maria)

The authors write, “Federal law requires background checks only for purchases made through the approximately 80,000 businesses that sell, ship, import or manufacture weapons licensed through the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Unlicensed private sellers, by contrast, can legally sell their wares at gun shows, out of their houses and, increasingly, through online platforms such as Armslist that match buyers with sellers. The growing digital loophole is causing alarm among gun-control advocates, and some of those whose relatives were targeted with powerful weapons purchased with relative ease online. … But the regulatory landscape might be changing.”

The Russian Military’s Looming Personnel Crises of Retention and Veteran Mental Health (Sean)

The author writes, “Since President Vladimir Putin’s partial-mobilization decree in September 2022, no Russian personnel fighting in Ukraine have been allowed to leave the armed forces, and none will be until the ‘period of partial mobilization’ is ended by another decree. Currently, the only ways out — apart from death in combat — are reaching mandatory retirement age, medical discharge, or imprisonment. Some soldiers have taken matters into their own hands by deserting. … When these restrictions are lifted, and they will have to be eventually, the army could face large-scale resignations among officers and other professional soldiers.”

Obama’s Solicitor General Has Pivoted to Defending Climate-Killing Pipeline (Reader Jim)

From Truthout: “One of the highest-ranking U.S. government attorneys under the Obama administration leveraged his public service experience to successfully defend a natural gas pipeline, which is set to hasten global warming while threatening vulnerable communities and ecosystems along its route. Donald B. Verrilli Jr., solicitor general from 2011-2016, is the lead counsel for the holding company behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) on a petition to the Supreme Court filed on July 14.”

Republicans’ Excess Death Rate Spiked After COVID-19 Vaccines Arrived (Gerry)

The author writes, “The pandemic inflicted higher rates of excess deaths on both Republicans and Democrats. But after COVID-19 vaccines arrived, Republican voters in Florida and Ohio died at a higher rate than their counterparts, according to a new study. Researchers from Yale University who studied the pandemic’s effects on those two states say that from the pandemic’s start in March 2020 through December 2021, ‘excess mortality was significantly higher for Republican voters than Democratic voters after COVID-19 vaccines were available to all adults, but not before.’”

Anchorage Homeless Face Cold and Bears. A Plan to Offer One-Way Airfare Out Reveals a Bigger Crisis. (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Shawn Steik and his wife were forced from a long-term motel room onto the streets of Anchorage after their rent shot up to $800 a month. Now they live in a tent encampment by a train depot, and as an Alaska winter looms they are growing desperate and fearful of what lies ahead. A proposal last week by Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson to buy one-way plane tickets out of Alaska’s biggest city for its homeless residents gave Steik a much-needed glimmer of hope. … But the mayor’s unfunded idea also came under immediate attack as a Band-Aid solution glossing over the tremendous, and still unaddressed, crisis facing Anchorage as a swelling homeless population struggles to survive in a unique and extreme environment.”

How the Unabomber’s Unique Linguistic Fingerprints Led to His Capture (Al)

From The Conversation: “Can the language someone uses be as unique as their fingerprints? As [the writer describes in his] forthcoming book, ‘Linguistic Fingerprints: How Language Creates and Reveals Identity,’ that was true in the case of Theodore Kaczynski. … Kaczynski’s crimes triggered the longest and most expensive criminal investigation in U.S. history. Law enforcement had little to go on other than a few letters that the terrorist had sent to the media, as well as fragments of notes that had survived his device’s detonations.”

Sandhill Cranes Are Moving to Cities and Adopting Urban Lifestyles (Laura)

From Sierra Magazine: “Trumpeting calls echoed across the bustling University of Wisconsin campus in Madison. A pair of sandhill cranes had taken up residence in the local marsh. Throughout the summer, the pair and their two tawny chicks could be seen meandering across the campus’ lawns and playing fields, seemingly unfazed by the steady stream of bikes and cars and the throngs of ogling onlookers snapping photos. Urban crane sightings, such as those on the University of Wisconsin campus, are no anomaly. The towering four-foot-tall birds are now routinely found in athletic fields, cemeteries, and backyards throughout Wisconsin. But this wasn’t always the case.” 


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