Paul Bastean, owner of the Ultimate Defense Firing Range and Training Center in St Peters, Missouri, some 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Ferguson, arranges a rack of handguns on November 26, 2014. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

In the wake of numerous mass shootings of 2017 and the growing cultural divide in the United States, one study sought to understand the meaning behind guns to their owners. Researchers discovered white men often see guns as a mechanism of empowerment when confronted with economic plight. This subgroup of gun owners tends to carry a particular set of values and policy positions, including insurrectionist tendencies, worth further study.

White men with financial concerns feel empowered by guns

F. Carson Mencken and Paul Froese, professors of sociology from Baylor University, published their study “Gun Culture in Action,” in the journal Social Problems. They used data from the Baylor Religion Survey 2014, to create a “gun empowerment scale.” Through survey questions surrounding gun owners’ feelings about guns, Mencken and Froese sought to assess their emotional and moral attachments to firearms.

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Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have the demanded that the White House explain why senior adviser Jared Kushner still has a security clearance and access to classified information despite reports that he failed to disclose meetings with Russian officials and businessmen. Kushner also omitted dozens of contacts with foreign business leaders on his SF86 security clearance application even though the application asks for a list of all encounters with foreign government officials over the past seven years.

Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter signed by all the Democrats on his committee to White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus yesterday. The panel's 18 Democrats question why the White House has not yet revoked Kushner's security. They've requested documents, including Kushner's security clearance application and records of his contacts with Russian officials, by July 5.

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California’s growing teacher shortage is reaching crisis levels. Attracting new teachers is becoming increasingly difficult as the profession has failed to remain competitive with rising living costs, and older teachers are retiring in droves. However, California has a fairly radical new solution to both attract new teachers and increase retention: Two California state senators, Democrats Henry Stern of Los Angeles and Cathleen Galgiani of Stockton, have co-authored a California bill, SB 807, that offers K-12 teachers financial incentive to stay in the profession longer. To encourage them to continue teaching beyond the traditional burnout period of five years, California teachers would be exempt from paying state income tax, and receive reimbursement for any additional state-mandated training. That exemption would go up even higher after six years, and would grandfather in teachers who have already been working in the field.   

The Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act is the first of its kind in California and in the country. This would be the first time a state has considered eliminating income tax for an entire profession. And while there are critics who argue that it singles out one profession to the exclusion of others, teaching is one of the professions in which employees do not receive overtime pay for the many additional hours they put in, where there is not a great deal of financial upward mobility, and where schools often face budget cuts that require them to work harder for the same pay.

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[DIGEST: New York Times, Health Affairs. org,]

People with type 2 diabetes know it can be expensive to follow the high fiber, low carbohydrate diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association. Cheap and filling foods tend to be heavy in the carbohydrates that cause blood sugar to spike. Foods that help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, such as protein and vegetables, often cost significantly more, and can be hard to come by for people without reliable access to enough safe and nutritious food. This dilemma, often exacerbated by low income and other limitations, is also known as food insecurity. While food assistance may be available, the food that is subsidized or donated to emergency food pantries is often low in quality and high in carbs. Those experiencing food insecurity have few options for feeding themselves well or consistently on a tight budget, and often pay with their health.

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(Credit: Suzanne Tucker via Shutterstock)

Among the many alarming effects of climate change, one receives far less attention than it deserves: its economic effect on the working poor.

Most discussions of climate change acknowledge its disproportionate effect on poor communities in developing countries, primarily due to the risk of famine, displacement and disease from rising sea levels, and increases in the severity and frequency of storms or droughts. But our planet's changing climate is also proving treacherous to the working poor in industrialized nations.

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Baltimore’s Inner Harbor (CREDIT: Shutterstock)

Starting this week, 25,000 households in Baltimore will suddenly lose their access to water for owing bills of $250 or more, with very little notice given and no public hearings.

Rita, a renter in Southeast Baltimore who asked to remain anonymous for this story in order to protect her two children from being taken away, told ThinkProgress she was served with a shutoff notice last week. Maryland law states that a child that is “neglected” may be taken out of his or her home and put into foster care. One characteristic of “neglect” as defined by the Maryland Department of Human Resources is a child with “consistently poor hygiene” that is “un-bathed, [having] unwashed or matted hair, noticeable body odor.”

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