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Improve Your Banter: 9 Facts You Didn't Know

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By Ben Cohen: Ever wonder how many American flags are imported into the US, how many barrels of oil Saudi Arabia uses for its own energy needs, who earns the most in the National Football League, and whether tattoos help or hinder immigrants get a work VISA?

As part of our commitment here at The Daily Banter to inform our readers, here are 9 facts you probably didn't know to help improve your banter:

1. TRIGGER HAPPY: Eight million U.S. citizens carry handguns. In Minnesota, 103,000 state residents pack heat, more than 10 times the numbers there were a decade ago. In Utah, one in nearly seven adults has a permit. In Wisconsin, which became one of the most recent states to approve a carry permit law last November, 100,000 permits were issued in less than six months. More women are also carrying guns than ever before. Ten years ago, only 623 new gun permits were issued to Connecticut women. In the first six months of 2012, 3,584 gun permits were issued to women in that state. According to gun experts, this nationwide trend is part of a growing concern among gun-owners who seem convinced that if President Obama gets re-elected he'll initiate an anti-gun law spree. Meanwhile, through the end of June, the number of murders in Chicago was up 37%.

2. AMERICAN MADE FLAGS---According to the Foreign Trade Division of the U.S. Census Bureau $3.3 million worth of American flags were imported into the U.S. last year; roughly 6 percent of all U.S. flags produced. But that's too much for Rep. Dan Boren (D. Ok.) who has introduced a bill in each of the last three sessions of Congress that would ban the importation of foreign-made American flags.

3. WEALTH--According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, Americans' net worth has fallen 40% since 2007, returning to its 1992 level. Meanwhile, the median white household has 22 times more wealth than the median black household; a gap that has doubled since 2005. The Pew Charitable Trusts research organization reports that race plays a significant role in economic mobility in the U.S. Fifty-three percent of blacks raised in poverty are more likely to stay poor compared with 33% of whites. Sixty percent of Americans say the next president will have little or no impact on unemployment.

4. SALARIES: The top five salaries in the National Football League this year: 1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, QB $20 million; 2. Peyton Manning, Dever Broncos, QB $19.2 million; 3. Tom Brady, N.E. Patriots, QB $18 Million; 4. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles, QB $16.7 million; 5. Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills, QB $16.7 million.

5. VOTERS: Asian-Americans and Pacific-Islanders, who comprise 5.2 percent of the U.S. population, represent the fastest-growing minority group according to U.S. Census data. It shows that this group's numbers expanded by 41 percent between 2000 and 2011. But at the highest rates in nine of the ll states considered to be battleground contests. In Virginia, the Asia-American vote is 5.9 percent. In Nevada, it is 8.4 percent of the vote. Meanwhile in Utah, 77% of that state's Mormon population believe that Mitt Romney's candidacy will bring bad publicity to their faith.

6. CONFIDENCE---Americans have the highest confidence in the U.S. military than any other institution according to a recent Gallup poll. Congress, with a 7% approval rating has the lowest. The U.S. military has ranked first on the confidence list in every year but one since l989.

7. ENERGY---Saudi Arabia's oil use has nearly doubled over the last decade to 2.9 million barrels per day, about a third of what it usually produces.

8. TATTOOS-- Immigrants attempting to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. may want to rethink displaying a tattoo during an interview at a U.S. consulate. Two visa applicants were deliberately nixed in 2006 for having a tattoo. That number increase to 80 in 2010 and is on the rise. U.S. authorities associate tattoos with gangs and thereby do not look favorably on such a form of self-expression.

9. FOOD---Only 3.5 of African crop land is irrigated in compared to 39 percent in South Asia, reports the UN. What is produced is often destroyed by rodents because of poor storage capability. No wonder that in a country like Malawi, 47 percent of the children under 5 years of age are stunted from malnutrition.

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