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Cindy Crawford Recalls Calculus Professor's Snap Judgment About Her Intellect (VIDEO)

Tue, 2014-04-01 08:33
When supermodel and entrepreneur Cindy Crawford stepped foot into the first calculus class of her college career, she -- like her fellow students -- expected to learn about mathematical concepts. Instead, she got a memorable life lesson in snap judgments.

Having graduated as valedictorian of her high school, Crawford had earned an academic scholarship to Northwestern University to study chemical engineering. She was well prepared to manage the demanding coursework of her major and was eager to embark on another phase of her education, tuition-free.

"[It was] super exciting," Crawford says of her receiving her scholarship. "There was no way my parents could have afforded to send me to school there."

The first day of calculus, she walked into class and was quickly singled out by the professor.

"For some reason, I caught the professor's eye," Crawford says. "He was like, 'Honey, I think you have the wrong class.'"

Crawford was stunned. "That made me so mad," she remembers. "It was really the first time in my life that I felt judged by the way that I looked."

The incident was a big departure from what Crawford had experienced in her childhood. "I did not grow up feeling that I had to prove that I was as good as boys. I assumed that I was," she says.

That calculus profession's snap judgment left an impact on Crawford that extended beyond the classroom. "It set me on a course of… I've got to prove to the world that I'm not [what he thought]," she explains. "I have relaxed that over the years because you just realize, hey, people are going to make those judgments about me or they're not. But, it was really important to me, especially then, to… represent myself as someone who has a brain."

On Wednesday, April 2, Cindy Crawford joins a special live stream of "Oprah's Lifeclass." Log on to at 3 p.m. ET to see the event live.

Nobody Would Eat These Foods If We Called Them By Their Honest Names

Tue, 2014-04-01 07:51
The names we actually know these foods by are way more appetizing than their literal and honest descriptions. Bon appétit!

Foie Gras

Foie gras -- usually extracted from force-fed ducks or geese -- does literally translate to "fat liver," but it sounds so much fancier in French. But not all foie gras comes from specially fattened birds. Some farms are free range and others let their ducks beef up naturally. (Photo via AP)

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Yep, bovine gonads. Breaded, deep-fried and dipped in sauce. (Photo: jankgo via Flickr)


This delicacy is also known as "roe" and is often used as a spread or garnish. (Photo: Holger Leue via Getty Images)

Blue cheese

We really hope you already knew the blue was mold. And yes, that is how cheese is made. (Photo: John E. Kelly via Getty Images)


They don't always come from a pig -- cultures around the world also eat intestines from sheep and cows -- and sometimes they're fried or baked. Either way, they're still intestines. (Photo: Rawksteadi via Flickr)


This rare and incredibly expensive spice comes from the flowers of the Crocus sativus. Their stigmas and styles, female reproductive organs of flowers, are harvested and dried for use in cooking. (Photo: Kelly Cheng Travel Photography via Getty Images)


This classic Pennsylvania Dutch breakfast dish is commonly made by taking unused parts of a pig -- also called offal -- and mixing them with cornmeal or flour to make a loaf shape. Individual pieces are often served after pan-frying. (Photo: voteprime via Flickr)


These distinctively flavored toppings are actually flower buds from the Capparis spinosa that have been sun-dried and brined or packed in salt. (Photo: Kevandy via Flickr)


Salted, cured, smoked or aged. All delicious, all pig belly. (Photo: skilledmicrowaveuser via Flickr)


The digestive tracts of edible snail species are first typically purged, before being killed, cooked, loaded with butter and garlic, and crammed back in their shells for serving. (Photo: zxvisual via Getty Images)


Stomachs are actually incredibly popular across many cuisines. Beef, pork, sheep, you name it. (Photo: Lluis Gene via Getty Images)


Typical gelatin is included in a variety of products and extracted in a number of different ways. Most of them require extraction of natural collagen found in the leftover carcasses of domesticated animals. (Photo: instamatics via Getty Images)


This innocuous and delicious sounding meal is actually made out of the thymus or pancreas of calves, lambs, pigs or cows. (Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Head Cheese

Take the head of your favorite livestock animal, stew it in a pot with some vegetables and seasoning, then strip the meat off of it and let it sit. Thanks to the natural collagens in the meat, it will turn into a jelly that you can form into a shape. Or not. (Photo: stu_spivack via Flickr)


This traditional Scottish dish is a pudding made from the "pluck" of a sheep -- or its heart, liver and lungs -- mixed together with onions and seasoning and then stuffed into a casing, traditionally from the animal's stomach. (Photo: Holger Leue via Getty Images)


First, grab your symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, also called a SCOBY. It looks like a slimy mat. Throw it in a container, pour in your tea and wait for it to ferment. The end product will be mildly fizzy (and delicious?). (Photo: Werner Blessing via Getty Images)


Veal comes from a variety of cows, but almost always from animals that are under a year old, and as young as just a few days old. (Photo: Ariela R. via Flickr)

Hot Dogs

At their core, hot dogs are just casings filled with ground meat. Leftover meat trimmings, fat and sometimes mechanically separated chicken are primarily fillings. (Photo: Matt Carey via Getty Images)


Adding specific bacterial cultures to milk results in the fermentation of lactose and the production of lactic acid, which clots the milk and gives it a yogurty tartness. (Photo: James And James via Getty Images)

Steak tartare

This is effectively an uncooked hamburger patty, seasoned and served with some garnishes. To up the raw factor, an egg yolk is often cracked on top. (Photo: Jekaterina Nikitina via Getty Images)

Fish Sauce

This tasty accoutrement is made by packing fresh fish and salt into a box, which is then left to ferment. After a number of months, the fish become hydrolized and their delicious salty fluids float to the top. (Photo: enviromantic via Getty Images)

Cottage cheese

The process of cheese-making leaves both curds (solids) and whey (liquids). Cottage cheese curds have not been pressed, which means they remain more soupy than many regular cheeses. (Photo: Markus Guhl via Getty Images)


This traditional Korean side dish is made by mixing a variety of chopped vegetables and seasonings into jars, where they are left to ferment, giving them a strong and very recognizable flavor. (Photo: Asia Images via Getty Images)

Black Children Face The Most Barriers To Success In America, Asians The Least

Mon, 2014-03-31 23:01
From birth, the average black child in America is at a relative disadvantage, according to an Annie E. Casey Foundation study released Tuesday.

While more than 92 percent of white, Latino, American-Indian and Asian and Pacific Islander babies are born at normal birth weight, that number for African-Americans only reaches into the high-80s. The pattern of disadvantage for black children continues into elementary school and through high school in the form of standardized testing scores and high school graduation rates. Only 66 percent of African-Americans graduate from high school on time, while more than 90 percent of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders do.

As America becomes increasingly diverse, the Casey Foundation report looked at how five racial groups fare against a dozen milestones in stages of life from birth to adulthood, including the number of eighth-graders with math proficiency and the number of young adults who are in school or working. The report, titled the Race for Results, finds that while no group perfectly meets every milestone, Asian-Americans fare the best and African-Americans do the worst.

“We found that the gaps sort of start out relatively small and get bigger over time,” Laura Speer, Casey Foundation associate director of policy reform and advocacy, told The Huffington Post over the phone. “Look at the early childhood measures: The gaps between African-Americans, Latinos, whites are relatively small. But in the early childhood years, even a small gap can have a big impact in the long run.”

The report measures each group's success toward the milestones on a 1,000 point-scale. Asian-Americans and whites scored best, with 776 and 704 respectively. American-Indians and African-Americans, on the other hand, scored in the 300s. Gaps between groups’ achievements start small in early childhood milestones, like percentages of babies born at normal birth weight, and children enrolled in pre-K, but the differences widen in neighborhood milestones, like percentages of children living in low-poverty areas.

The report uses data from the latest census that shows differences between states. American Indians in Texas and California, for example, appear to be faring significantly better than American Indians in Montana and North Dakota, according to the report. African-Americans face the greatest barriers in Michigan, Wisconsin and Mississippi, the report says.

The report comes after a recent government study found that students of color are routinely discriminated against in school, with harsher discipline and less access to the best teachers than their white peers.

The Casey Foundation suggests further study to pinpoint what's causing the racial disparities and programs to eliminate them.

"Too often, the resources of public systems serving children and families are spent on programs that lack evidence and without input from the families and communities they are intended to serve,” the report says.

Speer said several Obama administration initiatives will help, including the My Brother’s Keeper, designed to increase opportunity for boys and men of color.

“The kids of color in our country are absolutely critical to the future success of the United States,” Speer said. “They are going to be the majority of our work force and we can’t afford to lose the talent they have and could have in the future behind. We need them to be successful.”

OKCupid Publicly Rips Mozilla: 'We Wish Them Nothing But Failure'

Mon, 2014-03-31 18:49
OKCupid may be in the business of love, but the online dating site has anything but tender feelings for Mozilla and its newly-appointed CEO.

In a letter published Monday on but viewable only to those who try to enter the site using a Mozilla Firefox Internet browser, the company called out CEO Brendan Eich's past support of Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot initiative that aimed to ban same-sex marriage in California.

"Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies," the letter reads in part. "[W]e wish them nothing but failure."

You can see a screengrab of OKCupid's message if you click here, but we've also reproduced it in its entire below:

"Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.

Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.

Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure."

OKCupid does provide Firefox users with a link through to the actual site at the bottom of the page, but nevertheless urges people to use alternate browsers:

In an statement emailed to The Huffington Post late Monday, Mozilla asserted that it is no way an anti-gay institution.

"Mozilla supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples. No matter who you are or who you love, everyone deserves the same rights and to be treated equally," a Mozilla spokesperson wrote. "OkCupid never reached out to us to let us know of their intentions, nor to confirm facts."

Eich's appointment as Mozilla's new CEO last week led to an outcry among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates. At the heart of the criticism against Eich is a $1,000 donation the Mozilla co-founder and JavaScript inventor made in support of Proposition 8 six years ago.

In its letter to Firefox users, OKCupid wrote that while Eich's contribution is six years in the past, "Mr. Eich’s boilerplate statements in the time since make it seem like he has the same views now as he did then."

Eich himself last week addressed concerns about his "commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla" on his personal blog.

In it, he said:

"I am committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion."

Harry Bradford contributed to this report.

New Poll Shows Potential Reelection Trouble For Rahm Emanuel In Chicago Mayor's Race

Mon, 2014-03-31 17:29
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel could have his hands full in his reelection campaign if a certain challenger decides to run against him, a new poll released Friday shows.

In a poll commissioned by the Illinois Observer and conducted by Strive Strategies, 40 percent of respondents said they would vote for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle over Emanuel if Preckwinkle opted to run in the 2015 election.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents to the poll of 724 likely voters, which was conducted using robocalls and has a margin of error of 3.49 percent, said they were undecided in the hypothetical showdown of the Democratic lawmakers.

Preckwinkle had the most support among African-American respondents to the poll -- 42 percent of whom said they'd vote for her over the incumbent mayor. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they believe the city is heading in the wrong direction.

While Preckwinkle has repeatedly emphasized she is running for reelection this fall and said she plans to serve out that four-year term, she has declined to specifically rule out challenging Emanuel next year.

Meanwhile, Emanuel has already raised over $6.2 million in campaign funds though only two longshot candidates have thus far gone on record to announce a mayoral challenge.

The Chicago mayoral election will be held on Feb. 24, 2015.

It's Time for Universities to Pay Up and Stop Exploiting Their 'Student Athletes'

Mon, 2014-03-31 16:49

Recently, Bill Maher tweeted that "March Madness really is a stirring reminder of what America was founded on -- making tons of money off the labor of unpaid black people."

Although there are some parallels, college athletes do receive scholarships and are not forced against their will. A more accurate comparison would be when a company builds a factory in an economically underdeveloped country, paying its workers pennies but making millions while claiming to be doing them a favor by providing a tremendous opportunity they wouldn't otherwise have.

Let's look at the facts: The NCAA is a $6 billion-a-year industry. Yes, that's billion with a "B." And as Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar pointed out on CNN last week, in 2013, CBS and TBS split $1 billion just off March Madness alone.
The average annual pay for coaches in this year's NCAA tournament field is $1.47 million. That's based on 62 of 68 schools in the field for which USA Today was able to obtain compensation figures.

Yet the NCAA continues to oppose paying college athletes, and in polls, most people share that opinion -- but it's hypocritical.

The popularity of the NCAA bowl games and March Madness continues to skyrocket, and so do the astronomical television deals and overall profits that come with that exponential growth. While this raises the eyebrows of some, it simultaneously causes universities to clench their Scrooge McDuck empires even tighter. Players don't share in the spoils, and the more money universities make, the more tightfisted they become.

But now, in the wake of a National Labor Relations Board ruling that Northwestern University's football players are, in fact, employees of the university, student-athletes can form a union, and this could change the entire NCAA dynamic as we know it.

There are those, however, who are still completely against the thought of college players not only unionizing, but also being compensated in any form beyond their scholarships.

Some are naive enough to believe that the reason the NCAA doesn't want to pay college athletes is because they are 100 percent committed to the value placed on educational and intellectual enlightenment. Some are actually convinced that the very fiber of our institutions of higher learning would be compromised and the focus of scholastic achievement would quickly dissipate.

Many do not realize that if you have a career-ending injury, you're no longer of any use to the university and can be sold up the river, or, in modern terms, lose your scholarship. I know this firsthand because it almost happened to my wife (then girlfriend), Nichole Oliver (now Nichole Thomas), who, like me, played basketball for Syracuse University.

After her third knee surgery, the Syracuse specialist told her that if she wanted to be able to walk without a cane and play with her kids in the future, she had to stop playing basketball. She was devastated, because as athletes, we are programmed to run through walls, ignore pain and never quit. But after much convincing from the people who cared about her -- mostly her mother -- Nichole made the right decision.

Then-Head Coach Mariana Freeman, Felisha Legette, and the rest of the Syracuse Women's program began a crusade to take Nichole's scholarship away because after all, if you can no longer play what good are you to them. Nichole actually had to get a lawyer and threaten to sue the school then-Athletic Director Jake Crouthamel and the entire Syracuse University in order to keep her scholarship her senior year.

If their main concern was education, this wouldn't have happened. The bottom line is that it's a business. When you play Division I sports, you're not treated as a "student-athlete" -- as colleges love to profess to the world -- you're an athlete-student, and you're there for one reason and one reason only. You can keep your grades up enough to remain eligible, but then again, that's only so you can be able to play -- and earn more money for the university.

But naysayers will tell you things along the lines of...

"Universities are dedicated to inundating capital into each and every student-athlete's academic development."

"Paying college athletes would devalue the Universities as a whole and discredit the student athletes as scholars."

"Paying college athletes would diminish their overall academic growth and would therefore be doing them a disservice."

"We really feel that it wouldn't be fair to the other students who are boggled down with student loans, work study and financial aid programs so we just wouldn't want to hurt their feelings."

If you believe that, I have some magic beans that you'd probably be interested in buying as well.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch -- Martin Luther King Jr.'s biographer -- looked at the state of affairs in college sports and could come to only one conclusion:

"For all the outrage, the real scandal is that two of the noble principles on which the NCAA justifies its existence -- 'amateurism' and the 'student-athlete' -- are cynical hoaxes; legalistic confections propagated by the universities so they can exploit the skills and fame of young athletes."

Thus, the argument against paying college athletes is quickly exposed as one of the most hypocritical, self-serving positions in modern sports. Whether or not college athletes are actually being exploited shouldn't even be a question. The only question is how we can rectify this problem.

This story was originally published on The

Which Companies in Illinois Are Growing?

Mon, 2014-03-31 16:25
Fortune magazine analyzed the annual revenues, profit growths, and net incomes of various companies and came up with their "100 Fastest Growing Companies" list in 2013. Five companies in Illinois made the list.


Want to work at one of these fast-growing companies one day? Consider going to one of Illinois' best business schools.

What do the candidates for governor think about the business climate in Illinois? Check out our candidate scorecards and get their thoughts.

Want more great coverage from Reboot Illinois? Don't miss these articles:

Only in Illinois: We've dug deep holes for Illinois state budget, school districts

Check out the 2014 election cycle in cartoons

Would you be impacted by a switch to a progressive tax system? Find out here. 

Same state, totally different perspectives: The differences between Chicago and downstate

Want to change something about Illinois? Tell your legislators with our Sound Off tool!

Don't forget to like Reboot Illinois on Facebook!

Latino Obamacare Workers Arrested, Claim They Were Racially Profiled

Mon, 2014-03-31 15:57
Two young men going door-to-door to spread the word about the Affordable Care Act's Monday deadline on Chicago's West Side were arrested last week in an incident their employer described as "racist profiling."

The two men -- Felipe Hernandez, 20, and Kevin Tapia, 19 -- were arrested in the city's Garfield Park neighborhood last Tuesday after a resident called 911 to complain about what they reportedly suspected was a scam targeting the elderly, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The two men were detained for several hours and charged with soliciting unlawful business, a misdemeanor, because police say officers were not aware at the time that the two were working with the Grassroots Collaborative community group. A police spokesman told the Chicago Tribune on Sunday they expect a judge will dismiss the men's case.

“I never would have thought informing people about Obamacare would get me in handcuffs," Hernandez said at a Sunday news conference, according to the Sun-Times.

In reaction to the arrests, Grassroots Collaborative executive director Amisha Patel called on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to apologize and "institute anti-racist training for all Chicago Police officers" in a statement.

"We will continue to outreach to Chicago residents and we will continue to stand against policies and police tactics that attempt to criminalize youth, criminalize people of color, and criminalize community organizing," she added.

According to the statement, Grassroots Collaborative had received funding to conduct outreach for the Affordable Care Act to low-income Chicagoans.

Patel's group also launched an online petition calling for the charges to be dropped and that the racial profiling incident be investigated.

A CPD spokesman denied to the Tribune that the men were targeted because of their race.

The two are expected to appear in court on May 16.

Billy Corgan In Talks With AMC For Reality Show Based On His Indie Pro Wrestling Company

Mon, 2014-03-31 15:41
Billy Corgan is reportedly developing a new TV show that will focus more on smashing skulls than Smashing Pumpkins.

The Pumpkins frontman is in talks with AMC to develop a pro wrestling-focused reality show, according to Variety.

"The Untitled Billy Corgan Wrestling Project" promises to "[pull] back the curtain on the pro-wrestling world as [Corgan] takes over creative direction for the independent wrestling company Resistance Pro," Variety reports.

A long-time pro wrestling aficionado, Corgan founded Resistance Pro with wrestling promotor brothers Jacques and Gabriel Baron back in 2011.

Resistance Pro holds wrestling events once a month in small venues around Chicago attracting between 300 and 600 people per event and netting as much as $20,000 a night, Crain's Chicago Business previously reported.

Since founding Resistance Pro, Corgan has done more than just attach his name to the project: The Chicagoland native ditched his disaffected Pumpkins persona and got downright silly while starring in a local furniture company ad to promote Resistance Pro last year.

"We believe that wrestling is fascinating on many many levels. Socially, politically, even economically," Corgan told in 2012. "The struggles independent wrestlers go through to try to find work. Those are real struggles that anybody can identify with. We want to show what goes on in a wrestling company behind the scenes."

Beyond his wrestling project, Corgan has been busy creating epic jam sessions inspired by ancient literature at his suburban Chicago tea shop, Madame Zuzu's.

In early March Corgan played an eight-hour musical interpretation of Herman Hesse's "Siddhartha" and followed up that performance Sunday with a three-hour stretch of "sonic impressions" based on poems by the Sufi mystic, Rumi.

Adding to Corgan's ambitious list of activities are not one but two Smashing Pumpkins albums promised for 2015. According to a recent post on the band's official site, the Smashing Pumpkins will release a pair successive albums, "Monuments To An Elegy" and "Day For Night."

On the band's site Corgan wrote, "For those interested in sound, think: ‘guitars, guitars, guitars, and more guitar.'"

Facebook Data Creates Incredible MLB Fan Map That Proves That Yankees Fans Are Everywhere

Mon, 2014-03-31 15:38
Baseball is back but it seems that not everyone is ready to root, root, root for the home team. Many baseball fans are apparently choosing to support the New York Yankees regardless of their proximity to the Bronx.

To create a map of Major League Baseball fandom, the Facebook data team went to each MLB club's official page and checked the "likes" to see where supporters lived across the country. Each U.S. county was then given a color to correspond with the team that had the most fans among people who reside in that county. According to the resulting map, the Yankees are America's team. At the very least, the Bronx Bombers seem to be the team of choice among those who register their fandom on Facebook.

While the Yankees seem to have the widest reach across the country, the Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers are all backed by large geographic areas of concentrated fan support. At other end of the "like" spectrum, the New York Mets and Oakland Athletics couldn't even register a single county in their designated team color. Both are overshadowed by more popular neighbors. The Toronto Blue Jays joined the A's and Mets as teams without a plurality of support in any U.S. county but they're presumably not too worried about these U.S. results.

First-Ever MLB Replay Challenge Made, Umpires Confirm Call (VIDEO)

Mon, 2014-03-31 14:53
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Major League Baseball has used expanded replay for the first time, and the umpire's call was confirmed in a game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Cubs manager Rick Renteria asked umpires to take another look after Jeff Samardzija was called out at first base in the fifth inning Monday at PNC Park. The call on the field was confirmed after a 2-minute wait.

Samardzija bunted, and the Pirates turned it into a double play.

Most calls can be challenged this season under MLB's new replay format. The system was tested in spring training.

'Two Souls' Photo Series Beautifully Captures The End Of A Relationship (NSFW)

Mon, 2014-03-31 14:24
The end of a relationship is always a confusing and emotionally fraught time -- and we've found a set of images that perfectly capture those heartbreaking moments.

On assignment for Upon Paper magazine, 21-year-old student and photographer Jordan Tiberio spent two days last year intimately photographing a couple she knew in what turned out to be the final weeks of their relationship. The resulting images are both stunning and haunting.

(Some images below are NSFW)

The couple, who Tiberio was already friends with, dated for one year and lived together for much of that time. According to the photographer, she shot the couple nude in order to capture them the way they might act alone together.

"Making the model feel I'm unfazed by their nudity is important to me, so that they can be at ease," Tiberio told The Huffington Post in an email. "Though I do not wish to objectify my models in any way, I treat the nude body as a prop; an ever-changing, transformative object, limitless in its potential beauty."

Tiberio was nervous about showing the subjects the final images, given their breakup, but instead found them grateful for the series.

"These pictures are special," the woman in the photographs told Nerve. "They are real, tangible representation of something that changed my life and changed me for the better."

See some of Tiberio's beautiful images below, and check out the rest on her website.

Here Are Some First Steps for Northwestern's Union

Mon, 2014-03-31 13:44
The national media has focused on "pay-for-play" for college athletes after the recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling allowing Northwestern University football players to unionize.

The concept of universities cutting paychecks to college athletes is a complex one, one that could have numerous ramifications, including unknown effects for female athletes under Title IX and male athletes in so-called minor sports.

However, if the ruling survives all the legal challenges to come, there are several relatively straightforward items that a Northwestern players' union -- or a potential athletes' union at any university -- could bring to the bargaining table quickly.

Here are a few actions that college athletes should push for immediately when dealing with the NCAA in general and individual university athletic departments in particular:

1) Cover All Sports-Related Medical Expenses for Athletes and Disallow the Pulling of Scholarships From Athletes Who Suffer Injuries While Engaged in Sports Activities For Their School

Currently, there are athletes losing their athletic scholarships (or having them reduced) due to injuries occurred during athletic competition for their university. That's simply wrong.

As the National College Players Association (NCPA), headed by former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma, says, "It is immoral to allow a university to reduce or refuse to renew a college athlete's scholarship after sustaining an injury while playing for the university."

Even worse is the fact that some schools aren't paying for all -- or part - of athletes' medical expenses that are clearly tied to sports-related injuries. Those occurrences need to stop.

2) Require Athletic Scholarships to Cover the Full-Cost of College Attendance and Be For Five Years

"Full" athletic scholarships should be just that and cover the full-cost of college attendance for students.

According to an NCPA and Drexel University study, the average scholarship shortfall (out-of-pocket expenses) for each "full" scholarship athlete was approximately $3,222 per player during the 2010-11 school year.

Many major college football and basketball players come from impoverished circumstances. The full cost of attendance should be covered under full athletic scholarship programs. The NCPA suggests these additional scholarship costs could be easily covered by using a relatively small percentage of post-season revenues. That sounds reasonable.

In addition, athletic scholarships should be for five years. This would prevent coaches and athletic directors from "firing" athletes due to injuries or athletic performance reasons - even when they are excelling in the classroom.

3) Develop Policies That Severely Limit Weekday Games

Academic performance is hindered, and graduation rates are damaged, by the growing number of NCAA Division I games that take place on weekdays.

In order to honor the NCAA's stated mission "to integrate intercollegiate athletics so that the educational experience of the student athlete is paramount" the number of weekday games needs to be curtailed significantly.

Scheduling Tuesday and Wednesday night football games is not in the best interests of students' educational work.

4) Adopt the Olympic Model of Allowing Athletes to Benefit Economically From Their Fame

Economically, college football and basketball players continue to be exploited.

According to a study by the National College Players Association and the Drexel University Sport Management Department, football and men's basketball players at top sports schools are being denied at least $6.2 billion between 2011 and 2015 under National Collegiate Athletic Association rules that prohibit them from being paid.

Admittedly, paying athletes salaries as university employees is a complex challenge that could take years to sort out. However, allowing college athletes to receive money from outside the athletic department is much more straightforward and can happen quickly.

It's fair and just. And it gets rid of a lot of the hypocrisy in college sports.

It's time to let athletes benefit from their fame and likeness like every other student at our colleges and universities. Let them take endorsement money like the coaches that lead them. If the local auto parts store wants to pay a college athlete to sign autographs for two hours during a store sale, why shouldn't the athlete be allowed to take that opportunity? If someone wants to give an athlete a gift -- be it cash or tattoos -- why should that be banned? College students on music scholarships are free to accept cash or gifts for playing a weekend gig at the local club. What makes athletes different?

As an example, it's time to eliminate the NCAA's outdated concept of amateurism and allow college athletes to get paid for having their likeness on calendars.

The fact is, nobody else in our country has to deal with the economic restrictions that NCAA athletes currently face.

The Olympics dumped the amateur myth and allowed athletes to make money from their athletic ability and fame. And guess what? The world didn't end! In fact, the Olympics are more popular than ever.

"The plight of college athletes is definitely a civil rights issue," says civil rights historian and author Taylor Branch. "College athletes are citizens and are being denied their rights by what amounts to collusion. Colleges are telling football and basketball players they can't get anything above a college scholarship. The athletes are being conned out of their rights. We need modern abolitionists to fight this unjust and unstable system."

The Northwestern football players have stepped up. Now, we need others from all walks of life to join the fight.

Opt Your Child Out of State Testing: Don't Feed the Machine

Mon, 2014-03-31 13:30
This week begins the make-or-break, do-or-die standardized testing that will label your child a success or a failure. I urge you not to let your child take the state test.

Opt out.

The best test for students is the test made by their teacher. Teachers know what they taught; they test what the students were taught. They get instant feedback. They can find out immediately which students didn't understand the lesson and need extra help. They can get instant feedback about their own success or lack of success if the students didn't learn what they taught.

The standardized tests are useless for instant feedback. They have no diagnostic value. The test asks questions that may cover concepts that were never introduced in class. The test is multiple-choice, creating an unrealistic expectation that all questions have only one right answer. The tests may have errors, e.g., two right answers or no right answers or a confusing question. The test results are returned months after the test, meaning that the student now has a different teacher. The test scores give no breakdown of what the student did or did not understand, just a score.

These days, the purpose of the tests is to evaluate the teacher; most researchers agree that using student scores to evaluate teachers gives inaccurate and unable results. This year's "effective" teacher may be next year's "ineffective" teacher. "Value-added-measurement" has not proven to work anywhere. Most teachers don't teach tested subjects and they are assigned rating based on the results of the school as a whole. A music teacher may be found "ineffective" based on the school's math scores. This is madness.

Because the tests have no diagnostic value for students, they are worthless. If they can't be used to help students or to improve instruction, they shouldn't be used at all. We can learn all we need to know about states or cities by sampling (like NAEP, which compares states to states, and cities to cities). We can learn all we need to know about individual students by relying on teacher judgment and testing in specific grades, like 4 and 8.

The reason we have so much testing is because our policymakers don't trust teachers. If we trusted teachers, we would let them teach and trust them to do what is right for their students. The more we distrust teachers, the less appealing is teaching as a job or a profession.

Another reason we test so much is the power of the testing corporations, which pay lobbyists in Washington and the states to push for more testing. This is big business.

Elite private schools rarely use standardized tests. They trust their teachers to evaluate their students' progress.

We are trapped in a machine that is profitable for the few, but demoralizing to teachers and students.

Testing is not teaching. It steals time from instruction. Making it so important leads schools to narrow the curriculum, cutting funding for the arts, eliminating social workers and counselors, cutting recess and physical education. Making testing so important leads to states and districts gaming the system, to schools shedding low-scoring students, to cheating, to teaching to the test, and to other anti-educational actions.

How to stop the machine?

Opt out.

Don't let your children take the test.

Deny the machine the data on which it feeds. There are corporations ready to mine your child's data. Don't let them have it.

I am reminded of the famous speech by Mario Savio, leader of the Free Speech Movement, during a protest rally at the University of California at Berkeley in 1964. He said:

There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels...upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

Assert your independence. Protect your child. Stop the machine.

Opt out.

Which Are Illinois' Healthiest Counties?

Mon, 2014-03-31 13:09

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps ranked every Illinois county from healthiest to least healthy. Do you live in one of the counties that fell in either the top 10 or the bottom 10? Two counties in the Chicagoland area appear in the top 10.


Meanwhile, a majority of the least healthy counties in Illinois are clustered downstate.


Dennis Rodman Wears Drag For Legends Of Basketball Tour

Mon, 2014-03-31 11:19
Dennis Rodman had all eyes on him in Argentina when he hit the basketball court, dressed in drag.

Rodman wore heavy eye makeup, bright lipstick and a platinum mohawk to play in the Legends of Basketball 2014 Tour in Buenos Aires, Sunday, March 30.

A YouTube video from the game shows the crowd cheering and taking photos. Sporting News notes the audience wasn't too shocked at the former Bulls player's appearance.

"The Argentinian fans weren't surprised one bit," blogger DeAntae Prince writes. "In fact, they appeared delighted to have Rodman live up to his reputation for pulling off the unexpected and unthinkable."

Drag is nothing new for the 52-year-old NBA star, who discussed his multifaceted persona in his 1996 autobiography, Bad As I Wanna Be.

"To hang out in a gay bar or put on a sequined halter top makes me feel like a total person and not just a one-dimensional man," he wrote. "I'm always looking for new ways to test myself, whether on the court or off. There are no rules, no boundaries -- I'm trying to get deep into who I am. ... Nobody's going to tell me it's not manly to drive a pink truck or wear pink nails. I'll be the judge of my own manliness."

ICYMI: Dennis Rodman in Argentina was a real Drag Queen. VIDEO:

— Sportando (@sportando) March 31, 2014

10 Motherhood Truths From Around the World

Mon, 2014-03-31 10:22

What do women around the world think of raising children?

What do mothers all over the world do all day?

What do they dream about for their children? Does it matter where they live? Does it matter how much money they have? Does it matter if they live in a small apartment or a big house?

Are mothers in other countries happier, or not?

Over the last two years, I've had the opportunity to get to know mothers all over the world. Each of them has been on their own journey of being a peaceful, playful and present mother. They've been busy transforming their families along the way reporting more happiness, more meaningful moments and more connection.

These truths were created with the help of moms who live in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Malaysia, Germany, Scotland, England, Trinidad, Norway, Iceland and nearly every single state of the United States.

These truths are a glimpse into the reality of modern mothers today who are faced with a constant push-pull to be more than they can be in a single day -- but they try. Oh, they try.

Now onto those truths ...

Truth No. 1: We are all perfectionists.
The truth is that we all want the perfect life, the perfect house, the perfect DIY project to fill our days. We all want perfectly behaved children and perfectly written homework and perfect dinners. We all want more time for ourselves and more time with our family. We all want more money. We all want more joyful days. We all want a clean house and decent clothes and a child who doesn't say "I hate you."

Truth No. 2: We all seek -- but rarely attain -- a balanced life.
The truth is we are never going to have enough time for ourselves. The truth is there is no right way or wrong way to find and achieve balance while raising children. In fact, there is only a constant effort, re-assessment and adjusting to find the right way to keep the balls of raising children, working, living, dreaming and housekeeping in the air without dropping a single thing. Balance is a journey, not a destination.

Truth No. 3: Mothers (and fathers) yell for a reason.
The truth is sometimes we yell. The truth is that we don't want to yell. The truth is we know yelling isn't helpful. The truth is we want to stop yelling. We'll do just about anything to stop yelling but so many of our attempts fail. To stop yelling feels impossible, just like breaking any bad habit is difficult. But once we do stop we realize how good it feels, how empowering, how life-changing it is.

Truth No. 4: We all need more time for ourselves.
The truth is that finding time is hard. The truth is that taking time is hard. The truth is that cherishing time is hard. The truth is that if we had more time we'd still feel like we don't have enough time. Time is like water. It slips through our hands and evaporates unless we know how to conserve it.

Truth No. 5: We all just want to feel like we're enough.
The truth is that every mama has a day when she feels the weight of motherhood so heavy on her chest she can barely breathe. The truth is that every mama desperately needs to feel like she is enough, especially when she isn't sure what she's doing, which is all the time.

Truth No. 6: We are all lonely.
The truth is that every mama has -- or still -- feels very lonely and left to scramble and survive on her own, often for days or weeks -- or months -- at a time. And it's so hard sometimes that she uses the Internet to cure her of that need to connect with adults.

Truth No. 7: We all feel the pros and cons of social media.
The truth is that every mama has found connections and friendship online in ways that help her not feel so lonely. But at the same time she also finds herself drawn into the world of social media to the detriment of her family, home and children. Social media is both something we're gripping onto tightly and a tightrope that we're desperately trying to navigate carefully.

Truth No. 8: We are all clueless.
The truth is that what works for one family doesn't work for another. the truth is that tips from one parenting book work one day, but not the next. The truth is that ideas from one parenting blog sound good but when implemented, backfire. There is no right way or wrong way. Just our way and the sooner we realize that the happier we become.

Truth No. 9: We all have to learn to trust ourselves.
The truth is that we do know what we're doing. The truth is that we do know our children best. The truth is that we are doing a better job than we even know, most of the time. Learning to trust what we know to be best, what we know to be ideal for ourselves and our families is the best gift we can ever give ourselves.

Truth No. 10: We're all afraid of messing up.
The truth is that we're terrified of missing out on something. The truth is that we're scared to death that we're not being the best we can be. The truth is that we're afraid we're not perfect and that our children, the neighbors, the fellow parents at school will figure that out. The truth is that we're all chasing the perfect-mother myth.

Shawn Fink is the founder of The Abundant Mama Project, a community for moms seeking peace.

No More Oil Found In Lake Michigan After Spill At BP Refinery

Mon, 2014-03-31 10:05
WHITING, Ind. (AP) — The Coast Guard says crews didn't find any more oil during the latest search of the Lake Michigan shore following last week's spill at BP's northwestern Indiana refinery.

Officials say a Coast Guard, BP and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assessment team checking the area near the Whiting refinery on Sunday spotted no visible oil on the shore or in the water. Cleanup workers spent last week removing oil from about a half-mile section of shoreline. The Coast Guard says BP is being allowed to remove most of the containment boom from the lake some 20 miles southeast of downtown Chicago where a refinery malfunction discharged oil on March 24.

BP estimates between 15 and 39 barrels of oil were discharged into the lake. That's between 630 and 1,638 gallons.

New Michael Jackson Album, 'XSCAPE,' Coming Five Years After His Death

Mon, 2014-03-31 09:22
Music fans will get to hear new Michael Jackson music in May, nearly five years after the singer's death in 2009. Titled "XSCAPE," the record will arrive on May 13 via Epic Records and in conjunction with Jackson's estate.

From the Epic Records website:

After mining by the Estate of Jackson’s archives, L.A. Reid was granted unlimited access to the treasures spanning four decades of material on which Jackson had completed his vocals. Reid then teamed up top producers to “contemporize” the songs while retaining Jackson’s essence and integrity, creating the best music you’ve never heard. The list of producers include global hitmakers Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, Stargate and John McClain.

According to a press release, "XSCAPE" will feature eight new songs, including the album's title track.

"Michael was always on the cutting edge and was constantly reaching out to new producers, looking for new sounds," John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson, said in the release. "He was always relevant and current. These tracks, in many ways, capture that spirit. We thank L.A. Reid for his vision."

That there's new Jackson music coming is of little surprise. All the way back in 2010, Jenkins revealed that he was working on "unreleased Michael Jackson" songs. In August of 2013, Timbaland revealed he was working on a Jackson song, apparently called "Chicago." Then in March of this year, Timbaland released a snippet of another Jackson song, this one named "Slave to the Rhythm."

For more on "XSCAPE," head to the Epic Records website. Check out the album artwork, released by Epic, below.

Administrators Tell College Athletes: Don't Worry, Be Happy

Mon, 2014-03-31 06:37

Big league universities want the athletes they recruit to see them as substitute moms and dads. Don’t worry, they say, be happy, ’cause we’ve got you covered.

It’s all very appealing – until an athlete is seriously injured in practice or a game. Then the athlete may lose his scholarship. Then, all too often, after he leaves school, he can’t get medical care for the injury because the university didn’t continue to provide insurance. Then he’s out in the cold with no concern from the school that had been so solicitous before he was crippled on its field of glory.

“Don’t worry, be happy” is the same paternalistic hogwash that employers across America tell workers. Don’t fuss about the safeguard missing from that hazardous paper rolling machine. Don’t concern yourselves with that deadly silica dust you’re inhaling. Don’t fret about supervisors overriding safety devices. Just be happy you’ve got a job, the boss says. Some workers, however, are never happy blindly placing their lives in the hands of others. So they join with fellow workers and establish labor unions, giving them the leverage they need to improve their welfare at work. That’s what the scholarship football players at Northwestern University are doing. They’re forming a union to achieve some level of self-determination.

Like coal miners and steelworkers and school teachers, university football players want a seat at the table when issues affecting their health and welfare are decided. Scholarship football players at Northwestern University are seeking that position for themselves. They did it by authorizing a new labor union, the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), to represent them.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the governing body for college sports, has condemned the attempt by college athletes to secure the right to participate in deciding their own fates. The NCAA’s position is clear: it should retain complete paternalistic control over the players.

Its response last year to football players from several universities who publicly demonstrated for better concussion precautions illustrates clearly that the NCAA believes college athletes are best seen and not heard.  

Every year, researchers discover more about the devastating, life-long effects of concussions. College players, who suffer concussions routinely, are rightly concerned. Their academic scholarships will be valueless if injuries on the field cause debilitating and permanent brain injuries.

To express their concerns, some players, including Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, wore to last season’s televised games wristbands bearing the initials “APU.” It stands for All Players United for reform of rules regarding concussions set by the NCAA and the universities.

The NCAA responded as if concussed.

That was not the reaction of a caring parent. The NCAA and the universities even failed at the pretense of paternalism.

So Colter sought help from someone he knew he could trust, Ramogi Huma, a former UCLA linebacker who in 2001 created the National College Players Association (NCPA) to advocate for better treatment of university athletes.

They decided to go beyond advocacy, to seek a union for college athletes, so they would have real leverage to use ­– the power of a team – to negotiate over safety issues. The vast majority of Northwestern scholarship football players, who are outstanding students with a graduation rate of 97 percent, signed cards seeking representation by CAPA, for which Huma also serves as president.

Huma asked my union, the United Steelworkers, for help with the legal costs as the issue of unionization by scholarship athletes was argued before the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board. The USW, which has 12 years assisted Huma and the players association, agreed.

Last week, Peter Ohr, a regional NLRB director, ruled that the scholarship players have the right to form a union. Ohr wrote that these players, who devote as many as 50 hours a week to football, are employees within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act.  

Northwestern has announced it will appeal. That means these athletes won’t immediately get a seat at the table. It means universities and the NCAA are likely to continue ignoring many of the athletes’ concerns.

In addition to better protection against concussions, the athletes want insurance coverage that would enable them to get treatment after college for injuries sustained on the field. They want the schools to stop rescinding their academic scholarships when injuries in college games and practices end their athletic careers. They want some control over how their likenesses are used.

These young people place their health in jeopardy every time they step on the field. They know that. They love the game, and they’re willing to take necessary risks.

But they shouldn’t be exposed to unnecessary risks. No amount of scholarship money justifies endangering young people needlessly.

The safety measures and insurance the players are seeking won’t bankrupt the universities or the NCAA either. The NCAA and the universities will get, for example, $7.3 billion over 10 years from the TV coverage of the new football playoff system.

But just like other powerful, highly profitable employers, the universities won’t simply comply with safety measures or hand over benefits. They’re not kindly parents.

Despite all the assurances from football programs, the athletes still worry. They’re not happy. And Northwestern’s football players are doing something about it. They’re in league now with millions of other workers who realized that the only way to get what they need is to bargain for it collectively.