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How easy should it be to buy a silencer for a gun?

Gunfire is dangerously loud. Most handguns and rifles produce peak noise levels over 150 decibels — noisier than a jet engine at takeoff, higher than the maximum threshold set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for what can cause permanent hearing damage.

The House Natural Resource Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing on whether the government should continue to tightly regulate the sale of devices that make guns somewhat less loud on Wednesday morning. The hearing was postponed after Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise, who supports silencer deregulation, and four others were shot at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, Wednesday morning.

Read more at The Trace.

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In the race to win readers, which publisher will come out ahead?

In the chaotic media industry, it is the consumers of news who occupy the driver’s seat. Their ever-shifting behavior has all the other players chasing after them. Once, they liked getting information from newspapers, then it was their desktops, then Kindles, no, forget Kindles, now phones, and Facebook. First they consumed text. Now its video. To understand their behavior, think about three factors: speed, loyalty, and mobility. Let’s take them in that order.

Read more at Columbia Journalism Review.

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How a leading conservative magazine views the GOP frontrunner

The website of conservative news and opinion magazine National Review has an entire section titled simply: “Against Trump.” The words also headlined a February print edition. A recent cover depicts Trump as a “clown prince,” comfortably seated in a throne while competitor-turned-ally Chris Christie kneels before him.

Trump’s anti-media rhetoric often targets the so-called liberal press, but he has also sparred with reporters from prominent conservative outlets like Fox News and Breitbart. The progressive magazine Mother Jones has been turned away from campaign events, but the Trump campaign has also rejected National Review’s requests for permission to cover him.

Read more at Columbia Journalism Review.

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The secret life of a New York bookie

“Are you a gambling man?” Vera asks me. She hands an envelope to a bartender in the Meatpacking District as she sips on a whiskey and ginger ale. The envelope contains cash for one of her customers. Vera’s a bookie and a runner, and to be clear, Vera’s not her real name.

Read more at Narratively.

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NYC first lady promotes peer counseling for the homeless

A new $30 million initiative, Connections to Care, led by first lady Chirlane McCray and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, opened its doors to nonprofits in early September. The program aims to address mental illness among lower income residents and the homeless by training non-professionals to help provide mental health services at nonprofit organizations citywide. Those services will include screening, motivational interviews and psycho-education.

Read more at The Midtown Gazette.

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Blaze Foley: Don’t wanna be no star

Blaze Foley’s brown ponytail shimmered on top of a white scarf. A green and gold hair tie held it taut and “C” shaped. Sybil Rosen, who received the ponytail from Blaze in 1977, sat on her couch to my left. We were at “Waller,” a drafty, spacious home hidden by tall pines on the Chattahoochee River, just outside of Whitesburg, Georgia. During the ’70s and ’80s, long before it belonged to Rosen, Waller was a hot-spot for musicians, artists, and hippies. I set the scarf and ponytail on my lap. It felt fresh despite being cut off for 38 years.

*Published in the 2016 Jan-Feb print issue of American Songwriter.

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An ex-cop nearly assassinates a hotdog-selling, activist blogger

When Ean Bordeaux isn’t selling hot dogs at the River Market in Little Rock, Arkansas, he’s writing about racketeering and police misconduct (cops doing racist shit) on his blog, which allegedly motivated Todd Payne, a former cop, to try to kill him. “There are members of the Little Rock Police Department actively and unceasingly engaging in such illegal activities as racketeering, complainant and witness intimidation,” Bordeaux posted. “MOST of these mercenary police officers reside OUTSIDE of Little Rock City Limits. This only adds insult to injury as they are not even citizens of our great city, but are unwisely and irresponsibly allowed to SHOOT and KILL its citizens.”

Read more at Vice. 

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Review: Tim Hardin 2

It’s fair to say Tim Hardin’s surge of creativity between ’66 and ’67 produced some of the decade’s best songwriting. While his debut album, Tim Hardin 1, feels rushed – most songs clock in at two minutes with splatters of orchestral strings over simple lyricism – Tim Hardin 2 paints a more complete picture.

*Published in the 2014 May-April print issue of American Songwriter.

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Pawleys Pier turns 60

It’s been 60 years since 7-year-old Connie Bull cut a red ribbon stretched across the entrance to the Pawleys Island Pier to open a new chapter in the island’s long history.

Unlike today, the pier was a dominant feature for visitors as soon as they crossed the North Causeway at Myrtle Avenue. Condos and houses block the view now, but on July 10, 1954, there was a bare, clay-and-sand parking lot the size of a football field adjoining the pier. About 750 people attended the opening in a light rain. As niece of co-owner Arthur Ehrich, young Connie was selected to cut the ribbon during the ceremony. State Rep. James Moore presented a certificate for $50 to the pier’s construction superintendent. Shrimp plates were served, and prizes awarded for the most fish caught from the pier that day along with the smallest and biggest. Pawleys Island had its landmark. Visitors paid 50 cents to walk to the end.

*Published in “Beaches,” the Coastal Observer’s summer magazine.

Read more at the Coastal Observer. 

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Prison guard Mark Williams has to choose between his job and his dreadlocks

About two weeks ago, a sergeant approached Mark Williams, a correctional officer at the California Institution for Men, in Chino, and told him he had to choose between his dreadlocks and his job. For 14 years Mark has supervised inmates—checked their mail, given them soap, watched them eat breakfast and work out in the Yard, driven them to radiation-treatment centers, and covered their vocation release. All the while, he kept his dreadlocks in a bun, to keep them above his collar.

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation manual, “Female employees’ hair shall not extend below the bottom of the collar. If the hair is long, it shall be worn in a neat, non-flamboyant style.” But the bun rule only applies to female employees.

Read more at Vice. 

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