Criminology and Economic Theory
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First inmate released under new three-strikes law

First inmate released under new three-strikes law | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A San Diego inmate who was serving 25 years to life has become the first to be released under the revised California Three Strikes law that voters approved on Election Day.
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Harrisburg residents share ideas about ending crime wave

Harrisburg residents share ideas about ending crime wave | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
HARRISBURG — More than 100 citizens, lawmakers, law enforcement and city officials met Monday night at Harrisburg City Hall for a Town Hall-style discussion on the recent crime wave which
Rob Duke's insight:
A good survey of remedies....
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The Poisoned Generation

The Poisoned Generation | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Lead was only one of many ecological risks her family faced. The playgrounds where Ryan and Ronnie played often brimmed with pools of fetid, standing water—owing to New Orleans’s fabled and constant flooding—that were sometimes tainted with battery acid. Billieson had heard tell about the regurgitated sewage and chemical waste from Louisiana’s booming petrochemical operations that flowed back into dirt common spaces where her children learned to walk, all while they breathed in the emissions from the nearby roads and highways.

Some other kids across the virtually all-black New Orleans housing projects had it even worse. That year, the Press Park section of the Desire projects and its nearby elementary school were declared a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency for a concoction of known contaminants leaching from a closed landfill.
Rob Duke's insight:
How much is lead responsible for violence? 
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UK police: 19 dead, 50 injured at Ariana Grande concert after reports of explosion

UK police: 19 dead, 50 injured at Ariana Grande concert after reports of explosion | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Nineteen people were killed and 50 injured at an Ariana Grande concert late Monday in Manchester, England, after reports of an explosion, UK police confirmed.
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Crime Increase Sparks Criminal Justice Reform Debate in California

Crime Increase Sparks Criminal Justice Reform Debate in California | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Crime has been going up in California, and some members of law enforcement and their support organizations are blaming a series of changes to California’s criminal justice system in recent years.

Violent crime in California increased 10 percent and property crime increased 8.1 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the California Office of the Attorney General. In Los Angeles, violent crime increased three years in a row, rising 69.5 percent since 2013, according to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
Rob Duke's insight:
As ownership of the institutions of public safety shifted away from the police and victims, the value of that safety shifted to criminals.
California has even acknowledged this by allowing it's taxpayers to deduct the cost of security on their tax returns.
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'The Drug Whisperer': Drivers arrested while stone cold sober

'The Drug Whisperer': Drivers arrested while stone cold sober | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Drunk driving arrests are down sharply after decades of aggressive enforcement, while drugged driving arrests are climbing.

Georgia now has more than 250 officers with special 'drug recognition expert' training.

But WHAS11's partner station WXIA's Chief Investigator Brendan Keefe discovered some drivers are getting arrested for driving stoned -- even when their drug tests came back clean.

Cobb County Police Officer T.T. Carroll: "You said you haven't had anything to drink tonight?"

Katelyn Ebner: "Not tonight, no."
Officer Carroll: "Not tonight, okay. One of the things we do is we ask people to blow through this thing, okay."

Katelyn Ebner crossed the center line, and got pulled over on the way home from work. She works in a bar, and does not drink while at work.

Officer Carroll: "Blow real hard, blow 'til I ask you to stop -- keep going, keep going -- you can stop. Okay."

No, she had not been drinking. All tests for alcohol came up empty. But the Cobb County police officer who pulled her over was not done yet.
Rob Duke's insight:
Analogs (a designer drug) won't be detected, though the person will have the physiological symptomology of the illegal or impairing substance.  At the end of the day, it's not the substance that is illegal, but the impairment, thus as long as the probable cause for the stop is good and the symptomology supports the probable cause of the arrest, the arrests are good.  Now, having said that, a prosecutor may decline prosecution because a jury may conclude the drug test is proof the officer was wrong about the probable cause.
See some scholarly articles on the CSI effect that has caused the public to expect scientific evidence.


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Going straight: Prisoners and the job market | The Economist

Going straight: Prisoners and the job market | The Economist | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

Should prospective employers know a prospective applicant's arrest history? 


DION got his first paying job at 14—which would be admirable, except that he was selling crack cocaine. He spent much of his early adulthood bouncing between prison and the streets of Yonkers, in New York state. Then, a few months out of one four-year spell behind bars, he discovered Greyston bakery. Founded by a Jewish engineer-turned-Buddhist monk, Greyston practices "non-judgment".  To get a job, people need only provide their names and telephone numbers, and turn up on time when a vacancy arises.

Most companies are far more discerning, particularly when it comes to people like Dion.

Rob Duke's insight:
Survey Says: No!
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Household Debt Levels Are at a High -- but It's Not All Bad News -- The Motley Fool

Household Debt Levels Are at a High -- but It's Not All Bad News --  The Motley Fool | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
We live in a country that practically runs on borrowing, and the latest data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York only drives home this point. According to the Fed, total U.S. household debt reached $12.73 trillion in the first three months of the year, marking a $149 billion increase since the end of 2016. What this also means is that collectively, Americans have a higher level of debt today than they did back in 2008, when it peaked at $12.68 trillion.

If you don't quite remember 2008, here's a brief summary: The housing market went boom, the stock market tanked, and the economy was in such a sorry state that even to this day, countless Americans have yet to fully recover. Yet the news out of the Fed isn't all bad, because while debt levels have hit a record high, we're in a very different situation today from where we were the last time around.
Rob Duke's insight:
See my comments on Institutions next article over (or down).
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The driver behind Times Square mayhem said "I wanted to kill them"

The driver behind Times Square mayhem said "I wanted to kill them" | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Richard Rojas, 26, told a witness that he had wanted to kill the pedestrians on Thursday, according to court documents.
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john's comment, May 21, 6:02 PM
To me it seems like a behavior problem that escalated until this event. Rojas was discharged from the Navy in 2014 and we have this three year gap of his personal life that we do not know. Whether he has taken efforts to improve his behavior, alcohol consumption,through rehabilitative means or have reached out to family and friends near by. I believe on a different article I read earlier, it stated that he wanted suicide by cop. If this was the case, why did he use this approach instead of using a weapon? The photo of him looks desperate as he wants the police to know that he is the driver who hit those people.
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Fentanyl found in 3 recent overdose deaths in Anchorage

Heroin overdoses have surged in recent weeks, public health officials say.
Rob Duke's insight:
Synthetic opioids...Tango & Cash; China White, etc.
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Alabama Principal Charged With Obstructing Police Probe

Police say they've charged an Alabama high school principal with obstructing their investigation into allegations that a teacher was sexually involved with a student.

Al.com reports (http://bit.ly/2qR45wl ) that Hueytown High School Principal Joseph Garner is charged with obstruction of a governmental operation; and violation of Alabama's mandatory reporting law. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Hueytown Police Chief Chuck Hagler said that when his detectives asked the principal about the case, he was "not truthful." Hagler said police haven't been able to file charges against the teacher, partly because evidence including cellphone records was destroyed.
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Number-crunching: The hidden maths of organisms, cities and companies | The Economist

Number-crunching: The hidden maths of organisms, cities and companies | The Economist | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
“Underlying the daunting complexity of the natural world lies a surprising simplicity, regularity and unity when viewed through the coarse-grained lens of scale,” he writes. In other words: do not get too distracted by what animals and plants look like, or how they have evolved. Just look at fundamental properties like their size and weight. These tend to obey mathematical laws.

Cities, he suggests, are a little like giant organisms. They often grow in the same exponential way. A map of lorry journeys looks a bit like a network of blood vessels. Cities also scale non-linearly. A city that is twice as populous as another does not have twice as much infrastructure and twice as much productivity. It has a bit less infrastructure than you would expect, and a bit more productivity per head (as well as more crime). Just as an elephant is a more efficient animal than a cat, big cities are more efficient than small ones. That is why people are drawn to them.

Having charted these patterns, Mr West is not quite sure what to make of them. He suggests that urban planners should think of themselves as facilitators of fundamental natural processes. But how, exactly, should they do that? Like many urbanists, Mr West admires Jane Jacobs, who believed that cities such as her beloved New York should be left to evolve naturally rather than being tweaked by meddlesome planners. In fact New York is one of the world’s most rigorously planned cities. Its grid pattern was laid down when the city was just a small settlement on Manhattan’s southern tip.
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Proposed California bill would base traffic fines on income

Proposed California bill would base traffic fines on income | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Senate Bill 185 would allow judges to reduce traffic violation fines by up to 80 percent if a person can prove they’re unable to pay the amount -- and only if their income is 2-and-a-half times above the federal poverty line or less.

Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said it doesn’t make sense to use money as a punishment because a $450 ticket is a minor annoyance to wealthy people and potentially detrimental to lower-income earners.
Rob Duke's insight:
Just pass a day fine.  A citation is equal to one day's wages.
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On Law Enforcement, California Has Already Seceded

On Law Enforcement, California Has Already Seceded | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
COMMENTARY
On Law Enforcement, California Has Already Seceded

In his State of the State address this year, California Gov. Jerry Brown failed to even mention crime. (AP)
MICHAEL RUSHFORD5/10/2017
Reprints
In mid-April, the leader of CalExit, a movement to have California secede from the United States and become an independent nation, announced that he was dropping the effort and moving to Russia.

But by their words and actions, California's political leaders have made it clear that on matters of law enforcement the state has already seceded.

In recent weeks, the governor, attorney general, legislative leaders, and even mayors and city councils have stumbled over each other to announce that the state will not participate in any national effort to secure the nation's borders or crack down on drug-dealing street gangs and violent criminals.

Some undeniable legacies of the Obama administration have been the explosion of violent crime in many U.S. urban centers, a widespread increase in drug trafficking, and an accompanying record-setting number of fatal drug overdoses.

While the causes or even the existence of these facts are disputed by liberal/progressive political and academic leaders and their followers, it is also undeniable that the only candidate for the presidency who consistently targeted the increases in violence and drugs under the Obama administration was the candidate who won the election.

While the deniers and hecklers continue their resistance, sometimes violently, the new president is working to address the pervasive crime, violence, and drugs that most Americans outside of Hollywood, the Beltway, and academia are witnessing firsthand.

In an article in the City Journal in late April, Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald laid out a game plan on fighting crime for the Trump administration.

Among her suggestions is to widely report existing data about the relationship of criminal commission and victimization among different racial groups with police responses, including shootings, to expose the false narrative that police are racially targeting blacks when the data makes it clear that they are targeting criminals.

Other suggestions include: evaluating Obama-era consent decrees on police agencies, on the basis of whether they are helping or hindering the ability of police to protect people living in urban neighborhoods from criminals; expanding Department of Justice data collection on the impact that different sentencing and policing policies have on crime and recidivism; cracking down on sanctuary cities; reversing the previous administration's failure to prosecute gun crimes; and pursuing partnerships with private enterprise to refocus prison rehabilitation on productive work and marketable skills development.
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Purse snatcher seriously injures 71-year-old outside Fairbanks bingo hall, police say

A man being held on robbery and assault charges in Fairbanks broke a woman’s pelvis when he snatched her purse and knocked her down, police say.
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Tampa man arrested for allegedly killing 'neo-Nazi' roommates who 'disrespected' his Muslim faith

Tampa man arrested for allegedly killing 'neo-Nazi' roommates who 'disrespected' his Muslim faith | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Tampa police are investigating after a man allegedly admitted to killing his two roommates because he believes they disrespected his Muslim faith.

Devon Arthurs, 18, was arrested Friday and faces two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and three counts of armed kidnapping.

Around 5:29 p.m. local time on May 19, Arthurs entered Green Planet Smoke Shop in Tampa armed with a black semiautomatic pistol, according to a police report on the incident. He allegedly demanded that the employee and one customer who were in the store at the time get on the ground as he pointed the gun at one of the captives.

"Why shouldn't I kill you?" one victim says Arthurs yelled while holding them captive, according to the police report.

About two to three minutes after Arthurs entered the shop, a second customer entered and was also ordered to get on the ground.

"Arthurs informed all three victims in the store that he had already killed somebody," said the police report. "He further informed all three victims that he was upset due to America bombing his Muslim countries."

Approximately five minutes after the third victim entered the store, two Tampa police officers arrived to the scene and confronted Arthurs.
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Lawyer who reacted to judge's ruling with muttered obscenity is suspended from federal practice

Lawyer who reacted to judge's ruling with muttered obscenity is suspended from federal practice | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A lawyer who rolled her eyes and complained that a judge’s ruling was “f—— bull—-” has been suspended from practice in Chicago federal court for 90 days.

The executive committee of the Northern District of Illinois imposed the suspension on Chicago-area lawyer Alison Motta in an order (PDF) made public last Friday, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The order said Motta made comments under her breath and rolled her eyes several times in a trial before U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve. In addition to imposing the suspension, the order banned Motta from acting as lead lawyer in any trials before the court for a year and required her to take ethics classes.

Motta’s bad behavior occurred during her defense of Vandetta Redwood, who was accused of giving a gun to a teenage relative seconds before the relative used the weapon to kill a 14-year-old girl. Redwood was acquitted on federal weapons charges in the January trial, the Chicago Tribune reported here.

Motta was “continuously disruptive” during the trial, which lasted about two weeks, according to the order. She “visibly reacted to testimony (such as by rolling her eyes) and made comments about the testimony, all in the presence of the jury,” the order said. “Other instances of misconduct were even directed at the trial judge’s rulings on objections. After unfavorable decisions on objections, Ms. Motta would shake her head, roll her eyes, and make comments under her breath.”

The “F—— bull—-” comment was one “particularly egregious instance,” the order said.
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Note the Missing Word......Victims :: Fox&Hounds

Note the Missing Word......Victims :: Fox&Hounds | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
As crime rates rise and victims continue to be marginalized by some state legislators, the Los Angeles Times again provided a “criminal justice reform” advocate with a platform to expound on how the system is too harsh.  This time it was Fordham law professor John Pfaff, who blamed budgetary incentives and the dark forces of prosecutors as reasons why criminal punishments are not lessened.
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TxDPS - Texas Criminal Alien Arrest Data

TxDPS - Texas Criminal Alien Arrest Data | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The State of Texas has averaged over 71,000 total criminal arrests per month in local Texas jails since January 2012.
Rob Duke's insight:
It would also be useful to know what rate of offense this represents:

1.65 million estimated illegal aliens in Texas;
36,000 reported crimes per year
.02 crimes per person
UCR rate per 100,000 population of Illegal aliens: .33

27.47 million total population
888,155 crimes reported annually
.03 crime per person
UCR rate per 100,000 population: 8.24


So the illegal alien rate of crime is quite a bit lower than the total rate of crime.  Be careful of data.  As Mark Twain once remarked: "There are lies.  There are damn lies.  Then, there are statistics."


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Free exchange: A new anthology of essays reconsiders Thomas Piketty’s “Capital” | The Economist

Free exchange: A new anthology of essays reconsiders Thomas Piketty’s “Capital” | The Economist | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

“A MODERN Marx” was how The Economist described Thomas Piketty three years ago, when he was well on his way to selling more than 2m copies of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”. It was meant as a compliment, mostly: as advice to take the analysis seriously, yet to treat the policy recommendations with caution. The book’s striking warning, of the creeping dominance of the very wealthy, looks as relevant as ever: as Donald Trump’s heirs mind his business empire, he works to repeal inheritance tax. But “Capital” changed the agenda of academic economics far less than it seemed it might. A new volume of essays reflecting on Mr Piketty’s book, published this month, prods economists to do better. It is not clear they can. 


“After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality”, edited by Heather Boushey, Bradford DeLong and Marshall Steinbaum, is a book by economists, for economists. In that it resembles “Capital” itself. Before he was an unlikely cultural icon, Mr Piketty was a respected empirical economist. He was best known as one of a group of scholars, among them Emmanuel Saez and Anthony Atkinson, who used tax data to track long-run inequality. In “Capital” these data became the basis for an ambitious theory of capitalism. Mr Piketty argued that wealth naturally accumulates and concentrates, so that familial riches are ever more critical to determining an individual’s success or failure in life. The extravagant inequality of the Gilded Age could return if no preventive action is taken.

Mr Piketty chose to compress his sweeping narrative into a compact economic model backed up by a few simple equations. The mathematical expression at the heart of his book is little more complicated than an emoji: r > g. It says that the rate of return on capital, r, has historically been greater than g, the growth rate of the economy. Why does this matter? It means, first, that the ratio of an economy’s wealth to its output tends to rise, which increases the relative economic power of wealth in society. Second, because the distribution of wealth is usually less equal than the distribution of income, faster growth in wealth than in GDP means a steady increase in inequality. Third, it implies that income from capital will grow as a share of income (and income from labour will fall). So being born rich (or marrying well) becomes a surer route to success than working hard or starting a firm. It is a recipe for social stagnation, and perhaps crisis.

Rob Duke's insight:
Piketty gave us a lot to think about.  James Buchanan, a Nobel prize winner in economics, suggests that free, open, plural, and fair systems will always provide the best institutions, but this "unfairness" of wealth accumulation undermines that formula.....later we'll study the Instrumentalists (Marx, and principally the Frankfurt School of theorists) who come from the position that those in power use power to augment and hold on to that power.  Structuralists (Parsons, Merton, etc.) see these effects, but not the mechanism for how the wealthy are achieving this feat--it's very complicated and another explanation is that it is somehow functional (these theorists are also called functionalists) for the system to have capital clustered in a few hands, therefore the system has evolved to do so--without any nefarious cabal behind the scenes making sure this happens.

Whether anyone causes this or not is immaterial when we look at Merton's (and later Agnew's) strain theory, because economic strain creates angst that contributes to crime (due to anger, despair, and substitution for things like respect & pride) and, over time, creates deviant subculture (the Chicago School).
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Teen accused in Miss. carjack murder points finger at accomplice

Teen accused in Miss. carjack murder points finger at accomplice | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A Mississippi teen charged with murder in the death of a 6-year-old said the boy was actually shot by another of the three suspects.
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john's comment, May 21, 2:37 PM
Now this is a crime of opportunity. The mother made a poor decision on leaving her son inside a running car past midnight. The three teens took advantage of it and drove off without knowing their was a toddler in the backseat. What I did not read was if the county set an AMBER alert and if any radio stations were up that late to run it. The police officers believe that they have enough evidence to move forward without the weapon and maybe they can find gun residue on one of the defendants.
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Alaska unemployment, among nation's highest, worsens slightly in April

Alaska’s 6.6 percent rate for April was just behind New Mexico’s, the worst in the nation at 6.7 percent.
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john's comment, May 21, 3:07 PM
This recession is the first I get to experience as an Alaskan. Oil production prices have been lower than what we are used to and it really created a domino affect in Alaska. I personally know several new teachers who recently graduated from UAF and now lost their teaching positions due to cuts. It is imperative for the next generation to seek higher education because of future stability and to keep a better quality of life. I read in a different article that local economist predict that there will be no job bounce back by 2026. https://www.adn.com/opinions/2017/01/20/economists-say-recession-will-last-three-more-years-followed-by-a-smaller-poorer-alaska/ Another challenge that the state faces is environmentalists and lawmakers who are heavily against oil drilling and our state needs to take advantage of our resources.
Rob Duke's comment, May 21, 7:22 PM
Luckily, economists are notoriously wrong, usually pessimistically so...afterall Economics is known as the "dismal science"; unfortunately sometimes they're not pessimistic enough. I hope that's not true in this case because we need a bounce before 2026.
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Here's the Most Dangerous City in California

Here's the Most Dangerous City in California | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
One analysis of crime and other data says San Bernardino is California's most dangerous city.
Rob Duke's insight:
In 1990, 1991, 1992, we had the highest murder rate per capita in the entire U.S., so it has been bad for as long as I can remember, but ever since Norton AFB shut down....the city never recovered.  Ontario, Fontana, and Rialto played the development game correctly and captured the auto dealers and new malls--Even the zero growthers in Redlands (my home town & department) have done better.  Property tax is a slow slide into oblivion (because prop. 13 capped property tax and Props 98 & 99 gave over 70% of that revenue to schools), so without sales tax, a city in California is challenged.  "Berdoo" came back from the brink of bankruptcy, but they're a City without a sale or a rudder.  I don't know the answer, but they need to figure out how to have a healthy jobs-housing mix.  At the very least, they need to invest in modern rapid transit and Transit Oriented Development (TOD).  With reasonable transportation options, those with good jobs may discover cheap housing, which may lead to a renewal, but without good public safety even that is a non-starter.
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Four reasons why the demand for walkability is growing | Build a Better Burb

Four reasons why the demand for walkability is growing | Build a Better Burb | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
While patterns of development from the previous century dictated a sprawling suburbia focused on the automobile, many Americans have begun to turn their back on this way of living and are now seeking walkable places to shop, work, and live. Below are four of the reasons that have fueled this increased demand. Shopping and dining …
Rob Duke's insight:
My four reasons are a little different.  Walkable spaces are:
1. safer because the streets seem to have "eyes" and most times other people are out with you;
2. people live above shops, so downtowns, restaurants, and shops are economically viable;
3. everyone likes to live in a town that gives them a "sense-of-place" or that hometown feel; and
4. people get to know one another and everyone enjoys living where everyone knows your name.  This creates strong social organization and is the very currency of civil society.

So, be well and design walkable built spaces.
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Norwegians and Icelanders let Alaskans in on the secrets to economic prosperity

Alaskans seemed eager to tap the expertise of fellow northerners whose economies these days are highly successful.
Rob Duke's insight:
Alaska is a colonial economy and, like many colonies, might do better as an independent economy from that of the mainland United States....
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john's comment, May 19, 8:11 PM
"You're allowed to aim sky-high and if you don't make it, we'll take care of you anyway." Brugard is fine paying a 40% tax rate in Norway and states that hospitals and education is free. I think many Americans will not like this idea because of the virtues we hold and societies view of "working it yourself". Alaska's resources are rich and many people argue to use them to be self sufficient as a state and bring prosperity to people and communities. I can understand why people resist using our natural resources because of pollution and ancestry. I think we should use our resources to sustain us for the future.
Rob Duke's comment, May 21, 12:28 PM
I think we need to invest in the things over which we have the natural competitive advantage. For instance, when we first moved up, I couldn't believe my daughters were buying Ug boots for $100, but then found out that there was no commercially available option to buy "Alaskan". i think we should find ways to invest in local "arts" so that the world could buy what we have found works for sometimes thousands of years.
Rob Duke's comment, May 21, 12:30 PM
Could we engineer and produce our own snow machines, ATV's, and Jet-Boats? Branding could certainly be something like the old Timex commercials: Tested and used in brutal environments, but keeps on ticking no matter what. I don't know if this is the answer, but it seems better than being a state that depends on Federal transfers.
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How This Maryland Police Department Is Combating MS-13

How This Maryland Police Department Is Combating MS-13 | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
“The community’s silence is the gang’s strength,” Capt. Paul Liquorie, in charge of combating MS-13, says in a Q&A with The Daily Signal.
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john's comment, May 20, 3:47 AM
This interview gives us insights and understanding of MS-13 in Montgomery country. I thought the questions and answers help understand how these gangs form and the tactics they use in their killings. It really shows how violent MS-13 is because they require their members to take part in a stabbing so they can be equally responsible.. Another part is how the unaccompanied immigrant youth are lured to this gang because of the promises they make for protection. The county has been working with local and government agencies in order to combat the gang. Some of the approaches that they are using are prevention, intervention, and suppression. These tactics have been used widely in the U.S. and often aim at, at-risks-youth and to disintegrate the hierarchy.