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Birth Rate On The Rise In The United States?

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(Via New York Post)

Sometimes a society’s values change sharply with almost no one noticing. In 1968, according to a Gallup survey, 70 percent of American adults said that a family of three or more children was “ideal” — about the same number as Gallup surveys starting in 1938. That number helps explain the explosive baby boom after Americans were no longer constrained by depression and world war.

Those values and numbers didn’t last. By 1978, Gallup reported that only 39 percent considered three or more children “ideal.” The numbers have hovered around there ever since, spiking to just 41 percent in the late-1990s tech boom.

The change in values and behavior took time to register. Just before the 1972 presidential election, then-President Richard Nixon and a Democratic Congress goosed up Social Security benefits. They figured the baby-boom generation was just delaying producing a baby boom of its own. Wrong. Social Security has needed patching up ever since.

Similarly, the 1970s showed sharp increases in female workforce participation, divorce and single-parent households, as well as decreased participation in voluntary organizations — all unanticipated.

Is a similar values shift happening now? Maybe so, suggest George Mason University associate professor Philip Auerswald and Palo Alto hedge-fund manager Joon Yun in an article in The New York Times. They point out that the American fertility rate — the number of children per woman age 15 to 44 — has hit a post-1970s low.

Birth rates typically drop during recessions and rise a bit during booms. They did drop notably from 2007 to 2009. But the latest data don’t show a rebound, despite significant growth and record-low unemployment.

(Full Story Here)

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California

“Typhus Zone” in Los Angeles Adds To California’s Dirty Reputation

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San Francisco’s poo and needle-filled streets have competition for the state’s most squalid, as LA’s skid row – home to over 4,000 transients, is now a “typhus zone,” according to NBC News.

Situated among wholesale fish distributors and produce warehouses, skid row spans approximately 54 square blocks in downtown Los Angeles – and has become a breeding ground for rats and other vermin, which have contributed to Los Angeles County’s typhus outbreak which began this summer.

Uneaten food is dumped on the street — a salad platter was recently splattered on the asphalt — and discarded clothing piles up only to be swirled into rats’ nests.

Those rats, experts say, are likely contributing to the growing number of typhus infections cropping up on skid row and other parts of the region. The disease is spread by fleas, which are carried by rats, opossums and pets.

“You have constant activity that serves as a breeding ground for rats,” said Estela Lopez, executive director of the Central City East Association, a business improvement district that overlaps skid row. –NBC News

Typhus infections can cause high fever, headache, chills – and in rare or untreated cases, meningitis and death. It is contracted when the “feces from infected flease are rubbed into cuts or scrapes in trhe skin or rubbed into the eyes,” according to the county health department.

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Culture

South Africa Testing “Confiscation” Of White Land To Build Affordable Housing

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The debate about land redistribution in South Africa has been a passionate one, as many South African cities face a housing crunch that has left hundreds of thousands of people living in informal settlements. Just as this debate is starting to reach a fever pitch, one South African city, Ekurhuleni, is about to embark on what mayor Mzwandile Masina calls “a test case” for the nation: the government is going to seize hundreds of acres of land, from white citizens without paying for it, to build low-cost housing.

Last month, the city voted in favor of pushing forward with “expropriation without compensation”. According to ABC News, this was cited by the African National Congress as a legal rule that is necessary in order to distribute land equitably and correct “historic injustices” that took place in the country.

The mayor of Ekurhuleni stated the same thing, saying that landowners in South Africa should not be scared. Mayor Masina told AP: “Our policy is not to take the land by force. Our policy is to make sure the land is shared amongst those that need it.” It was unclear what those whom the land is taken from thought about this policy.

The total amount of land that’s going to be expropriated amounts to about 865 acres. The land is both private and government owned, and some of it has been vacant for decades. Masina, who heads the local ANC-led coalition, did not specify which landowners will be hit be the measure.

The internationally debated land reform was approved by South Africa’s ruling party to address the historic injustices of apartheid, and distribute land among the population more equitably. According to the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, over 77 percent of South African farms and agricultural holdings are owned by white citizens with only four percent of lands belonging to black South Africans. White citizens make up just nine percent of the country’s population, while black citizens account for 76 percent. This, to the ruling regime, is a green light to repossess land that has been owned by white citizens, in many cases for generations.

(Read Full Article)

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Culture

NFL Ratings Continue To Fumble

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(Via Zerohedge)

The NFL – suffering from dismal ratings for last week’s opening game and Sunday Night Football, may be in for a serious decline in viewers this season if Dallas local TV ratings are any indicator – after the Cowboys registered their lowest local ratings since 2009.

the Dallas market is an important market for one of the most watched teams in the country. There is a reason the Cowboys are valued at over $4 billion dollars. They absolutely own Dallas Fort-Worth. Nothing else really matters.

The NFL does not want to see one of it’s most important market losing fans. It’s not a good look. It’s cause for concern. -Touchdownwire

That said, some have pointed out that the cowboys are “boring” now…

No one should be surprised. The Cowboys, while still a compelling aspect of the overall fabric of the NFL, have become a somewhat boring team, with a Salisbury-steak-and-lumpy-spuds offense that features two stars, a diminished offensive line, and a collection of No. 2 and No. 3 receivers. -Profootballtalk

Less viewers, more money

Despite a steady decline in viewership over the last three years, advertising revenues have continued to climb.

“Everyone loves to focus on the ratings, and everyone loves to focus on the NFL because it is the biggest ratings on television,” said Brian Rolapp, the league’s head of media. “But the reality is: Historically, the ratings of the NFL have always gone up, they’ve just never gone up in a straight line.”

(Full Article Here)

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