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School Starts In Chicago With More Safety Guards

Tue, 2014-09-02 08:52
CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago children returned to school Tuesday walking past even more guards than last year, when concerns about safety prompted the city to line the streets with 1,200 adults every day.

Thanks to an infusion of $1 million from the city, another 100 "Safe Passage" workers were lining routes that students walk through crime-ridden neighborhoods to get to school. And after Gov. Pat Quinn pledged $10 million, officials said another 600 of the workers would be hired and on the streets over the next several weeks.

When they're all in place, said Jadine Chou, the chief safety and security officer for the Chicago Public Schools, more workers will be assigned along existing routes and some routes will be extended farther from schools. The district has added 27 schools to the 93 for which there will be Safe Passage workers.

"It was good last year, but I don't think it stopped the violence none," said mother Tiffany Davis, who was walking her 7-year-old son to Dulles School of Excellence on the city's South Side. "Maybe it calmed things down a little."

There is far less publicity about the first day of school than a year ago, when the closure of some 50 schools by Mayor Rahm Emanuel had parents and others worried that forcing children to walk through unfamiliar and dangerous neighborhoods to new schools would put them at greater risk of crossing gang boundaries and being caught in gang conflicts.

But the worst fears of violence against children walking to school never came to pass.

"It didn't happen, to the glory of God, and I think there were very few if anything happened to children on their way to and from school," said Bishop Larry Trotter of the Sweet Holy Spirit Church on the city's South Side, one of several pastors who had urged Emanuel to reconsider the closings. "The mayor and his team did a wonderful job."

Chou said not one student was seriously injured along a Safe Passage route during the hours that the guards were on duty last school year.

Since school ended in the spring, the city has witnessed spasms of violence such as one over the July 4 weekend that left 14 dead and dozens injured. In one tragic incident, an 11-year-old girl inside a house at a slumber party was killed when a bullet fired outside at someone else pierced a wall and struck her in the head.

Some worry that the city is not doing enough to keep students from harm, particularly high school students who are going to and from school for extracurricular activities before or after the Safe Passage workers are on duty.

Last December, a 15-year-old girl who left her home before dawn to get to a school on the city's North Side was beaten and raped less than a half block from a Safe Passage route.

"She had to get to school earlier than the Safe Passage (workers) were on duty," said state Rep. LaShawn Ford, who noted that Safe Passage workers were not on the street at 6 a.m. Ford has pushed for the hours of the guards to be expanded this year. Guards start less than an hour before classes begin and stay up to an hour after school ends, according to Chicago Public Schools.

There's also a political risk for Emanuel, who's up for re-election next year. His most-talked-about potential rival, Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis, has criticized Emanuel for closing neighborhood schools and dubbed him the "murder mayor" because of the city's violence.

Any violence that occurs on a student's walk to and from school could become fodder for Lewis - or any other opponent - to use against Emanuel, whose popularity has fallen over the last year.

Your Friends Affect Your Health A Lot More Than You Think

Tue, 2014-09-02 07:26
A new study asserts that interpersonal dynamics deserve our attention, not only because friendships make us feel good, but because they actually play a large role in our health, well-being and even survival.

In addition to being under-appreciated, friendships may be misunderstood, according to the new paper, a summary of all the literature to date on the effect of relationships on health, published online in the Personality and Social Psychology Review.

Typically, we think of "good" and "bad" friends -- meaning, toxic people, one-uppers, frenemies, leeches and unsupportive friends -- as separate types of people. But what if those so-called bad friends -- people who don’t come through for you in your time of need -- are simply good friends who got overextended, or are hurting too?

Having a better sense of why friendships matter and how we can understand the underlying factors that influence friend interactions could help enable us to thrive, physically and mentally.

“We have so little knowledge about why relationships are so important,” said Brooke Feeney, lead author and a social psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon in an interview with The Huffington Post. "We emphasize [in the paper] the role of relationships in supporting individuals -- not only its ability to help people cope with stress and adversity, but also to learn and grow and explore and achieve goals and cultivate new talents.”

While that may seem intuitive, research on relationships is dwarfed compared to the outsized impact good relationships can have on our lives. For example, Feeney pointed out, a 2010 meta-analysis of 148 mortality studies published in PLoS Medicine journal found that the mortality risk associated with a lack of a strong social network was comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes every day, or more than 6 alcoholic drinks a day.

Yet, while cigarettes and alcohol are recognized as major risk factors for death, and awareness campaigns about obesity and physical activity are given special consideration, the importance of good friendships enjoys almost none of this attention in the public health arena.

Feeney thinks that public health campaigns about friendship and the importance of social networks could have a major impact on the health of the nation. "Our hope is that work like this could provide a foundation for the development of relationship-based interventions aimed at promoting public health,” she said.

Dr. Juliette Holt-Lunstad, who was the lead author on the 2010 PLoS Medicine study and was not involved in Feeney’s research, praised the new study for highlighting the positive things relationships produce, as opposed to simply describing the bad things that happen when someone doesn’t have enough social support, which is the focus of most research on this topic.

Holt-Lunstad also agreed with Feeney on the need for public health campaigns about relationships, but cautioned that much more research needs to be done first.

“Not only do social relationships influence behavioral pathways, like getting more sleep or going to the doctor, but there’s also direct physiological pathways that have been studied,” Holt-Lunstad told HuffPost. “We do have quite a bit of evidence — we just don’t have as much evidence, nor do we have a good understanding on how to intervene. That I think it our biggest challenge.”

People generally turn to primary relationships -- a significant other, best friend, sibling or parent -- for these two critical kinds of support: Source of strength support (SOS), in which friends provide comfort, protection and soothing; and Relational Catalyst (RC), which challenges, encourages and celebrates. Read on for Feeney's Tips On Being A Good Friend:

  • Acknowledge your friend's perspective. If you’re sensitive to your friend’s point of view, they’ll feel understood, validated and cared for, writes Feeney.

  • Make sure you have the mental and emotional (and perhaps material) resources to actually provide support. Without these resources, even the best of friends may struggle to remain patient, non-intrusive and uncritical.

  • Accept the responsibility to support your friend in the first place. Do you even want to be a source of support, e.g. a friend, to this person? Without accepting responsibility for the role, you’ll lack the motivation to care for someone sensitively and effectively.

  • People who need support should reach out for help instead of withdrawing and express their needs clearly. The person receiving support also has an active role to play. If you need help, it’s better to be direct about the kind of support you need instead of making people guess.

  • Express gratitude for the support, and return the favor when needed. There are major benefits to giving support and then seeing the help was successful and appreciated. When a friend helps you, let them know you’re grateful. And when it’s your turn to care for them, you’ll reap similar emotional rewards — like a sense of meaning in life.

  • Take care not to over-tax your support network. If a friend isn't supportive enough, it may be that you were relying on her too much -- and that should be a signal to widen the social circle and seek support elsewhere.

Russell Wilson Got Some Advice From Michael Jordan During The Offseason

Mon, 2014-09-01 12:36
By Chris Yuscavage, Complex Sports

It's good to be a champion. Just ask Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

A season ago, Wilson was a second-year NFL quarterback trying to find his place in the league. But after securing his first Super Bowl win back in February, Wilson made an appearance on Late Show With David Letterman. He sat courtside at a Nets game with Jay Z and Beyoncé. And according to him, he spent some time speaking with Michael Jordan at MJ's golf tournament—and received some excellent advice from the NBA legend.

"The thing that he said is being able to lead, being able to bring the others with you and, also, being the one that's always the first one there and the last one to leave, to take the extra shots, to help the young guys and do all the things that you can," he said. "I think you just have to do that much more. Human nature wants to fight against that. Human nature wants you to naturally relax and not improve. One of the things I'm trying to do—and our team collectively—is to fight that and to continue to improve and continue to stay focused on one mission, and that's going 1-0 every week."

It's pretty cool to see how far Wilson has come in the span of just a year. Now it'll be interesting to see whether or not he and the Seahawks can repeat as Super Bowl champs. Their journey to another title starts in three days when they help kick off the new NFL season with a game against the Packers.

[via USA TODAY Sports]

This Loving Pit Bull Made A Man Out Of Her Buddy With This Kiss

Mon, 2014-09-01 11:33
These two rescue pit bulls are just like any best friends -- inseparable, loyal and sure to ham it up in front of the camera.

Mike Coffey told HuffPost that he and his wife, Brandi, adopted their blue-eyed pit bull, Flex Pride, two and a half years ago using Petfinder. The pup had been wandering the streets of Chicago. Keva Joy, the big kisser in that photo below, came into the family more recently.

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Post by 4 Paws 4 Rescue.

"Flex is my best buddy and even stood with me as one of my best men at my wedding," Coffey says. "Flex showed us what a pit bull is like and I have loved the breed since then."

Keva joined the family "at a pretty low time in life," says Coffey. "We had two fur-kids pass away in 13 days. Brandi and I were devastated. It was the first time I ever had to deal with this -- but Flex was so sad as well. He completely shut down. He was not himself at all. He needed a buddy."

Kiva (right) with Claude, one of the Coffeys' foster dogs. Photo credit: Mike Coffey

This was about nine months ago. The Coffeys soon met Keva through a rescue group that took in the affectionate pit bull after she was found alone in Kansas City. As soon as the Coffeys saw her, it was clear that Keva was the buddy Flex needed.

"She ran right at you and immediately kissed you all over, only stopping long enough to smile, then start kissing you again," Coffey says. "We brought her home and Flex took to her right away. She brought him out of his funk. More importantly, she made our family whole again."

Brandi Coffey and Flex share a tender moment in the sunshine. Photo credit: Mike Coffey

Since then, there have been a ton of smooches, a heap of goofiness and loads of laughs, plus a couple more foster dogs through 4 Paws 4 Rescue, the group that first shared on Facebook the magical photo of Flex and Keva above.

And through all that, Coffey says, he has discovered new meaning in his life.

Mike Coffey snuggles up with Flex Pride. Photo credit: Mike Coffey

"Rescue is full of hard times for sure, yet it is the most rewarding thing we do," says Coffey. "I, personally, had wondered for a long time what I was meant to do. It wasn't a certain job. I wasn't here to save the world. I am here to help those animals who can't help themselves."

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Mark Wahlberg Missed Donnie Wahlberg And Jenny McCarthy's Wedding This Weekend

Mon, 2014-09-01 10:02
When Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy tied the knot on Sunday, at least one famous relative was not on hand for the nuptials.

Mark Wahlberg tweeted his congratulations and posted an Instagram video for the new couple the day before. The actor's rep said his daughter Ella's 11th birthday was scheduled to take place in Los Angeles over the weekend. (The McCarthy/Wahlberg wedding was at Hotel Baker in St. Charles, Illinois, minutes from McCarthy's childhood home.)

Congratulations @DonnieWahlberg and @JennyMcCarthy, so happy for you both today.

— Mark Wahlberg (@mark_wahlberg) August 30, 2014

TMZ has another story, though. The site reports that Mark Wahlberg and his wife are not especially close with Donnie and are not particularly fond of his new bride. TMZ also wrote that another Walhberg brother, Bobby, wouldn't be an in attendance either, nor would Donnie's mother, because she's afraid of flying. Brother Paul, on the other hand, was expected to attend. HuffPost Entertainment contacted a representative for Mark Wahlberg for comment on the TMZ report; this post will be updated if and when they respond.

Donnie didn't seem too distraught by his brother's absence, returning his well wishes on Twitter.

Thank you @mark_wahlberg. Thanks to you & @rheadur for the adorable video for me & Jenny! Please wish a Happy B-Day to my god daughter Ella!

— Donnie Wahlberg (@DonnieWahlberg) August 30, 2014

The Daily Mail reports McCarthy and Wahlberg's ceremony was an intimate affair with their closest friends and family members, lasting just 20 minutes. Famous faces in attendance included former "View" co-host Sherri Shepherd and New Kids on the Block bandmates Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood.

A Straight Person's Guide to the Coming-Out Conversation

Mon, 2014-09-01 08:58
Having combed the Internet for 10-plus years for relevant content, I know that there is more than enough material about coming out as gay and how to do it: live videos of people coming out to friends and family, support forums and news articles with both uplifting and soul-crushing stories, and countless networks to help people who are about to take the plunge.

But what there is not is a good, comprehensive FAQ that prepares the receiver of the coming-out conversation to respond. Well, that's just a bit unfair! So, from the mind of a gay guy to the straight world around him, here is a guide to what I'm thinking, how I hope you'll react, and what this all means for me in the context of our (platonic) relationship.

Not all gay people are the same, but having waited until 29 years old to come out, I have a lot of experience in the mentality of a gay guy pre-coming-out through the lens of actually, finally, coming out. Here is a compendium of thoughts that have been running between my ears in the years, months, days, minutes, and seconds prior to telling you that I'm gay.

My hope is that, when a friend does finally choose to come out to you, the notes below will help you be more comfortable with it, and that you'll understand what he or she has been going through up to this day that shapes the conversation in his or her head.

And if you've already had that conversation with someone and it didn't go well, feel free to use this piece and just say, "I didn't know!"

Here goes....

1. My biggest fear is that you'll walk away. Or, worse, that you'll say to my face, "It's cool," and then slowly walk away over the next couple of days, weeks, or months. This is the reason that I haven't told you until now. I love you to death as a friend/brother/sister/mom/dad/other, and I couldn't imagine confronting a reality like this head-on if everyone walked away from me. The worst-case scenario in my head was too awful to fathom ever subjecting myself to it.

2. I'm coming out now because it's finally too much to handle alone. I have been agonizing over this for years, but always inside. Finally I've reached my boiling point. Whether you're the first person I'm telling or the last one, you're hearing about this not because I have to tell you, and not because I want to. Who wants to tell someone something like this? I need you to know this so that it's not a barrier to my ongoing relationship with you. I need you to know this about me because I cannot stand not sharing the whole truth with you, changing pronouns in the stories I share with you, making up excuses for not hitting on that girl in the corner for yet another decade, and never really being able to take my whole guard down around you. I am coming out to you because I want you in my life -- my complete life -- as a friend/brother/sister/mom/dad/other.

3. I have suffered this a lot. Remember your first "thoughts" about the opposite sex? Yeah, since that same day in my life, I've known I'm gay. And yes, relationships have pretty much sucked since that day. It was easy to fake or ignore for a while. Then it wasn't, and every day of my life it has taken more effort. It has kept me up nights. If I turned the channel on the Matthew Shepard story, it was out of fear, disgust, pain, and absolute agony at what the world around me was telling me about who I was. If I made a homophobic comment, it was a moment of rock-bottom in self-defense. If I didn't tell you for a decade or more, it was because I've spent every day since I've known you, at least once a day, wondering what you and others would do if you knew. The stress has sucked more than I can explain.

4. I am certain about this. Please don't ask me if I'm sure I'm not just bi. Trust me: I've tried. And trust me: If it were in my power to choose my sexual orientation, this clearly wouldn't be the road I'd take! I wouldn't just blurt out something like this that could cause me to lose my job, lose all my friends, estrange me from my family, make me a social pariah, and make me uncomfortable in public for fear of being a target, if I weren't really damn-sure about it. I'm telling you now because I've finally come to terms with who I am in this area.

5. It's not about you. I haven't kept this from you until now because of you. It was because of me, because of everything that I just listed above: the fear, the pain, the shame, the questioning, the attempt to change it, the desire to be normal, etc. The only part that was about you was that I didn't want to lose you. Please don't be angry with me for not being open about this. Every day that I didn't tell you was a day I wished I could tell you but was too afraid of what you would say, or how far you would walk away, or what would happen if this fact got out beyond your own ears.

6. This isn't a gender-identity issue. Just because I'm attracted to people of my same gender does not mean that I want to be the opposite gender. For some this may be the case, but homosexuality and gender-identity issues are two very different things. Some people just have to deal with one, some people both, most people neither. Mine's just the gay thing.

7. I am not a pedophile, and I'm not into incest. I'm just gay. I like people of the same gender. Don't lump all this other stuff into it. Don't ask me if I'm now attracted to your kids of my same gender. That's just creepy. That's like asking you, as a father or mother, if you're attracted to your own son or daughter. Please be sane about this, and think a bit before responding with something like this.

8. Just about any response is OK. When I tell you I'm gay, any response will do that is not (A) leaving, (B) berating me for being gay, (C) lecturing me on why it's wrong to be gay, (D) asking me when I chose to be gay, or (E) hitting me in the face. Feel free to make a joke, laugh, cry, say it's cool with you, tell me you had suspicions before now, tell me you never would have guessed, share a story of your own along the same lines, order another round of drinks and toast my newfound freedom, give me a high five or a fist bump, joke about sex, introduce me to the nearest hot guy (after we've chatted it through a bit!), ask about my current relationship status -- anything! I'll be thrilled with just about anything that shows me that you understood it, and that it's not a deal breaker in our relationship. And the more fun you make it, the more chill I'm going to be about it. You having any relatively positive reaction will take a 1,000-pound weight off my shoulders, and you may well notice the change in my posture right away.

9. It's never easy to come out. I may be as straight as an arrow in your eyes, or I may be the most feminine-acting guy on the planet, but it's not easy for me either way. And although it may be easier now than ever before to come out, it wasn't always this way. We've watched kids get killed for being gay, kids around us be bullied under suspicion of maybe being gay, employees be fired for being gay, an entire nation debate whether or not I am human enough to be allowed to get married, live with someone of the same gender, or raise a child. So even though now it's a lot better, please don't cheapen this process by not recalling that it has not been an easy decade or two for this type of thing.

10. I have gay friends you don't know about. Hell, I may have even been in long-term relationships that you didn't know about. If I've told you about relationships in the past, I may have changed the pronoun and told you anyway because I needed your input, wanted your advice, just needed to talk to someone, or wanted to be as close a friend as possible without giving away my secret.

11. This has been on my mind every day of my life for as long as I can remember. I've lost sleep over this more nights than I haven't. This isn't an issue that I'm going to ignore after I come out to you. If you're uncomfortable with having a follow-up conversation about this, I may seek that elsewhere, because I need to talk this through. That's fine; just don't disappear and never talk to me again. Tell me it's going to take you some time, take your time to talk it over with others or just think it through, and we'll have another chat when you're ready.

12. I'm not any different than what I was before, minus this one thing. If I waited this long to say something to you, it was because I didn't want something that I see as such a small part of who I am to overshadow everything else about me. My sexual orientation is just that and nothing more. It's not my personality, it's not my character, it's not my heart or soul. Those things, if we're close, you already know. This is only about whom I date, whom I sleep with, and whom I'm going to fall in love with.

13. I may not do this whole coming-out thing perfectly. Please be forgiving with me over the next few months. It's a new reality to try to keep relationships on the even keel while I update people on this aspect of my life. I might need few days to myself, maybe a few successive nights of late-night chats, or maybe even to talk it through with you several times over the next few months. What I would really appreciate is if you'd just be willing to be there for me and check in on me occasionally to make sure things are going OK. Coming out isn't just the day I tell you; it also involves adapting to the reality that my whole world now knows about this, and coming around to new public realities.

14. Don't worry about the gay jokes. I've been hearing them as long as you have. Yes, up to now each one stings a little bit. But just like you remember everything that your massive crush has ever said, I remember everything that has been said around me about gay people prior to coming out. So I know some great gay jokes myself. And now that I'm out, I will probably laugh at the good-humored, non-vicious ones, and that'll be a moment for us to connect. Don't cringe when something comes on TV around me; remember, I'm not new to this! Now more than ever, I can just laugh it off or have a real chat about it. I won't make it weird if you don't, I promise. Oh, and my new response to "You're so gay" is "Yeah, and?" And that's always going to be funny to me now.

15. Thank you. For not walking away. For being an amazing friend/brother/sister/mom/dad/other for caring about me up to now, and for years to come. For listening to me now. For understanding. For caring enough about me for this small part of me to not define who I am in your eyes.

19 Reasons You Should Be Happy That Summer Is Ending

Mon, 2014-09-01 07:43
Summer, we've had enough. Here's why we're looking forward to Fall this year.

The Bloody Origin Of Labor Day

Mon, 2014-09-01 06:30
WASHINGTON -- Most people know Labor Day as an extra day off of work. Fewer know the holiday comes from a time when the government was offing workers.

It all started with a bad recession in the early 1890s that reduced demand for railway cars, prompting Chicago railway magnate George Pullman to lay off workers and reduce wages. Many of his workers went on strike. The sympathetic American Railway Union refused to handle Pullman cars, hampering commerce in many parts of the country.

"The boycott tapped the deep and pervasive alienation of labor in general," historian David Ray Papke wrote in his 1999 book The Pullman Case: The Clash of Labor and Capital in Industrial America.

"Workers were mad about their situation," Papke wrote. "They were angry about their limited opportunities and about what they took to be the mean and arbitrary treatment they received from the distant owners of the industries in which they worked."

Pullman workers started their strike in May 1894. The following month, Congress passed legislation making the first Monday of September a day to recognize workers. (Such a holiday had already been a demand of the labor movement, though commentators have described the Labor Day legislation as an attempt to "appease" angry workers.) In July, President Grover Cleveland sent federal troops to Chicago to crush the strike.

Illinois Gov. John Altgeld (D) resented the president's decision, as there had not yet been any large-scale rioting. "I protest against this uncalled for reflection upon our people, and again ask the immediate withdrawal of these troops," Altgeld wrote to the president.

Within a day of the troops' arrival, mobs started tipping railroad cars and setting them on fire. Troops cracked down with bayonets and bullets; the rioting and property destruction worsened. Dozens of people ultimately died in Chicago and elsewhere. The government restored order by the fall, and American Railway Union leader Eugene Debs was eventually convicted of defying a court order and sent to prison.

The U.S. Department of Labor's page on the history of Labor Day notes the holiday "is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers." It doesn't mention the Pullman strike or labor strife in general. Throughout American history, workers had to fight to get better pay and shorter hours -- evenings and weekends weren't just handed over by lawmakers and benevolent managers.

"I think most people consider Labor Day an end-of-summer three-day weekend," Papke, a law professor at Marquette University, said in an interview. "Very few Americans stop to reflect on the working man, on labor, on the union movement or any of those things."

11 Reasons College Students Absolutely Need Coffee To Survive

Mon, 2014-09-01 06:00
College is an awakening time in a young person's life, in which they really figure out who they want to be and what exactly they want to do with their life. But what if you discover that all you want to do is drink coffee? And who you want to be is a coffee addict?

It's okay. That's what college is for. It's a time for understanding that the only thing that motivates you to get up and face another day (literally) is the promise that coffee will be there to guide you through the tough times that encompass "being on your own." Behold, 11 reasons every college student must have coffee in their lives forever and ever.

1. First and foremost, because it keeps you awake. And you're somehow always tired.

And without coffee, there are just not enough hours in the day to balance studying and partying.

2. Because it's probably the only time in your life you're going to have the privilege of having a Starbucks coffee truck follow you around campus all day.

Yes, really. If you're lucky enough to be a student at Arizona State University, James Madison University or Coastal Carolina University, this coming school year Aramark will be introducing Starbucks coffee trucks that will "follow students from dorm to lecture halls" and provide you with your much-needed caffeine. Scary or awesome? We'll let you decide.

3. Because coffee shops are where all your studying and socializing gets done.

You learn quickly that the coffee shop is where all your friendships are made and where you cram all that information into your brain. Your addiction to the stuff follows suit.

4. Because you just keep "forgetting" to go to the gym and the antioxidants in coffee will keep your body healthy.

So, you don't have time to go to the gym because you're too busy binge-watching Law and Order SVU all day. Thankfully coffee provides you with enough antioxidants to make you feel better about yourself. It's the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet!

5. Because it makes procrastinating on that final term paper much more fun.

When your coffee gets cold, it's time for you to get creative with your note doodling.

6. Because you stayed up until 4 am watching "Chopped" re-runs on Food Network and you have class at 8 am.

And it's proven that when you're tired and you drink coffee, all of your senses will be heightened, including your attention and logical reasoning.

7. Because it's the only thing that motivates you to do your laundry.

The inspiration to be clean can be found inside that coffee cup.

8. Because when you've been living in the library for the past two days, just the smell of coffee will revive you from your zombie state.

This is proven to be true. A study at the Seoul National University examined the brains of rats who were stressed with sleep deprivation and discovered that those who were exposed to coffee aromas experienced changes in brain proteins tied to that stress.

9. Because coffee is the best hangover cure after drinking too many PBRs out of red Solo cups.

Coffee can also help your liver out (since we know it probably needs some serious flushing). One study showed that those who drink at least one cup of coffee a day were 20 percent less likely to develop liver cirrhosis -- an autoimmune disease caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

10. Because you forgot to put sunscreen on when you laid out on the quad, but coffee will help prevent you from getting skin cancer (if you're a girl).

A study done by the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that women who drink three or more cups of coffee a week are less likely to develop skin cancer than other women.

11. Because the only form of organization right now in your life is this daily schedule:
1.Wake up.
2. Put on clothes
3. Get or make coffee.

Aint no shame in your coffee game.

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Dumped? 6 Ways to Save Face on Facebook

Sun, 2014-08-31 21:29
When you're in love, social media is very good to you. Every encounter -- date night, food fight, and strolls in the park -- becomes a selfie photo shoot, and you just can't wait to upload those images to your page. There you are, the Facebook Couple of the Day, and you're so cute and loving and full of promise. The Like gods rain down on your every post.

Your Facebook life is good.

But when you're dumped, social media can be a really, really bad place.

There you are, sitting in your cotton jammies, feeding on your cookies and ice cream when your ex-boo and the new chick invade your Facebook timeline.

You're hypnotized by the endless updates: There they are, checking in at the movies. There they are, hanging out with friends -- your former friends -- at the basketball game. There he is rocking that shirt you bought him; there she is rocking that new pack of hair extensions.
Finally, there it is -- his relationship status update that confirms your worst nightmare -- he's now claiming her on Facebook. It's official, he's moved on.
What. The. Hell?

Dumped? 6 Ways to Save Face on Facebook

1. Don't disappear from your social network. After a breakup, it's normal to want to unplug, run and hide. Being suddenly single doesn't make you less of a woman. Making up and breaking up are just facts of life, and although you can't control the course of love, you can control how your breakup plays itself out online.

If you've built your identity into being a couple, reclaiming yourself as a single person may take more time, but it still can be done.

2. Update your relationship status. After the breakup, change your status to reflect that you're now single. This simple change will alert your followers of your life change and it will kick-start the healing process. Announcing the breakup first also helps you to save face when/if your ex posts pictures with his new chick.

The announcement also avoids the disaster of mutual friends tagging and emailing you about your ex's "infidelity" because they don't know that the two of you are no longer together.

3. Lead the conversation. This is your breakup; no one should be authorized to speak on your behalf about it but you. If friends post "you're better without him," or "keep your head up," delete it immediately. Thank your friends for the post in a direct message and politely tell them not to post such sentiments on your wall again because this chapter of your life is painful and you don't want things to get ugly.

4. Take new photos for Facebook. Update your profile pic with a spanking new makeover or take funny pictures with your children, pets or friends. Your pictures should reflect the truth about falling in and out of love: Life goes on. Warning: Don't post lingerie or booty pics to make your ex jealous, it can backfire and make you appear to be desperate for attention.

5. Remove the cutesy couple photos gradually. Remove the cutesy couple pictures (within 72 hours) that are no longer relevant. Hastily erasing the person, say, within 15 minutes of the breakup, signals that the breakup was an emotional affair for you and that you're hurt or overreacting. Besides, your NEW photos will generate the majority of the buzz and the couple pics won't be missed as much.

6. If all else fails, block your ex-lover and his loudest cheerleaders. Don't invite the opportunity for others to rub your nose your ex's brand new life. Also, if your ex is posting nasty comments or racy photos about you, report it to Facebook immediately and the offensive posts will be removed. In extreme cases, his/her page can be disabled. If the ex harasses you online, you have options to press charges or to sue for defamation. Never engage in an offensive exchange online. Remember, your posts are forever, even if you delete them. (Likely, someone will save a screen shot of the drama.)

Also, install privacy controls so that any posts made about you must be approved by you before they appear on your timeline.

Polite society says that you should remain online friends with your ex; we're all adults, right?
However, only you know if that's the truth. If it pains you to know about what he's up to now that you're no longer together, please just un-friend the guy. Don't put your mind and heart through the pain of seeing his new life without you.

Shift your focus to the new fish in the sea.

Illinois Libertarians Lodge Criminal Complaints Over Armed Intimidation

Sat, 2014-08-30 15:55
The Libertarian Party of Illinois lodged complaints on Thursday with both the Office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Office of Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez over intimidation tactics employed in an attempt to prevent the Libertarian's slate of statewide candidates from appearing on the November ballot.

We, as well as the Chicago Sun-Times, have recently reported on Bruce Rauner's and the Illinois Republican Party's direct connections to those alleged intimidation tactics. See here, here, and here.

The use of openly armed investigators in the petition process represents a new low in Illinois politics.

In addition to the potential abuse of constitutional rights, section 29-4 of the Illinois Election Code (10 ILCS 5/29-4) makes it a Class 4 felony to use force, intimidation, threat or deception intended to impede the petitioning process.

"The Illinois Republican Party's actions, by hiring a private investigation firm such as Morrison Security Corporation to engage in deceptive and coercive tactics against the Libertarian Party's petition gatherers and signers, are beyond outrageous," said Ben Koyl, Libertarian Party candidate for Illinois Attorney General. "The actions by the Republicans are calculated to deprive registered voters of Illinois of their right to free and open elections. These coercive and deceptive tactics have a chilling effect in that they discourage people from signing petitions and are in violation not only of Illinois election law, but also of our First Amendment rights," added Koyl.

More soon on this developing story.


Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.

Chicago Business Learns Little Leaguer Is Homeless, Offers To Pinch Hit And Pay Family's Rent

Fri, 2014-08-29 18:52
When Jackie Robinson West players returned home to Chicago this week, seemingly everyone in the nation knew about the U.S. champions of this year's Little League World Series.

What most people didn't know, however, was that 12-year-old Jaheim Benton -- No. 8 on the Jackie Robinson West squad -- had no particular home to return to. As the Sun-Times reported late Thursday, Benton and his family are homeless. But one local businessman wants to change that.

Spencer Leak Jr. told The Huffington Post he heard of Benton's situation on the radio Friday morning while holding to phone in for an unrelated story. When it was his turn to talk, the 44-year-old vice president of Chicago's Leak & Sons Funeral Homes said on the air that his family's business would be willing to cover an entire year's rent for the Benton family.

“I just felt for them. I look at my son and my daughter and by the grace of God, they’re able to come home to their own beds every night. But that could all end tomorrow,” Leak told HuffPost. “God has blessed us, so we have to give back. Whether it be help for a funeral or housing or giving food, we have to step up to do that.”

Leak said he met with Jaheim's mother, Devona, later that day and the two "talked privately, and hugged and talked about some items for the future."

The Benton family's struggles began when Devona, a home care provider with Catholic Charities -- the charitable arm of the Chicago Archdiocese -- had her hours cut back due to fewer clients. According to the Sun-Times, Jaheim's father works as a part-time radiator technician. Between the two part-time salaries, the family couldn't afford to keep their home.

“I have been at my job for six years. I have never had this happen to me," Devona Benton told the Sun-Times. "This is the first time I have ever lost a home."

Jaheim and his father recently were staying at the home of a family friend. Devona, meanwhile, also cares for her three grandchildren, as well as Jaheim's older brother and adult sister.

"Mrs. Benton is such a strong woman," Leak told HuffPost. "She does not want the focus to be on her -- she wants the focus to be on the team. Even though she’s going through trials, she’s still more conceded about [Jackie Robinson West ]."

"This shouldn't have even been a story," Leak added. "If I had heard of it before now, it wouldn't have been a story because I would have done something about it."

For decades, the Leak family has had a history of stepping in to help fellow community members in need.

The family funeral home, which was founded in 1933 by Leak's grandparents, handled roughly one-fifth of the Chicago's funerals in 2012, according to Crain's Chicago Business. The Leak family often provides services at a reduced rate for those without insurance. In more severe cases, the Leaks completely waive the roughly $4,000 cost of a typical funeral.

"You have to be willing to give back to the community that supports this business," Leak said, adding that he hopes his family's act of kindness will inspire others to help their fellow neighbors in need.

"What we’re doing is not out of the ordinary," he said. "It’s what all Chicagoans -- what all Americans -- should be doing."

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Airport's Incredibly Cute Lawn-Trimmers Are Back On The Job

Fri, 2014-08-29 15:37
Guess who's baaa-ck?

The Chicago Department of Aviation announced Thursday that it has once again "hired" several dozen goats, sheep, burros and llamas to graze on the grounds of O'Hare International Airport.

The airport first introduced the low-tech, eco-friendly initiative in 2013. The animals, all obtained from a suburban rescue shelter, focus on areas of the grounds that are typically difficult to maintain using traditional equipment.

The furry crew of almost 40 has been back on the clock since this July and was responsible for eating up five acres of dense, overgrown vegetation between July and November last year. The animals' diet even includes poison ivy, which is safe for them to consume and "they seem to find delicious," according to the city.

Airport officials told WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" the animals -- which spend their days simply eating around the clock -- are probably the airport's happiest employees.

Eating wasn't the only thing going on last year among the all-you-can-eat crew. A male lamb was born there last August, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

At least three other airports -- in San Francisco, Seattle and Atlanta -- also rely on four-legged grazers for weed control.

Here are the animals on the job last year:


(AP Photo/Jason Keyser)

(AP Photo/Jason Keyser)



(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Feds Are Increasing Their Marijuana Growth Because Of Cannabinoid Research

Fri, 2014-08-29 14:48
The federal government is currently growing a lot more marijuana than it has in the past because it expects higher demand from researchers for cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana that has shown tremendous promise for medical use.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, which "oversees the cultivation, production and distribution of research-grade marijuana on behalf of the United States government" and made the initial request for more research-grade cannabis, told The Huffington Post on Friday that the agency is growing marijuana with varying concentrations of CBD and THC. THC, the psychoactive ingredient that produces the "high" sensation, is used along with CBD in medical research and medical marijuana.

"We are targeting concentrations that are low in CBD, equal concentrations 50/50 CBD/THC, and high CBD," NIDA explained. "We will know the final THC/CBD concentrations once the marijuana is harvested this fall and analyzed."

The feds earlier this year requested a massive increase in their marijuana production quota -- more than 1,000 pounds, from the originally planned 46 pounds -- to be used for medical marijuana, and the Drug Enforcement Administration ratified the increase in marijuana for research purposes just this week.

"The projection of increased demand is due in part to the recent increased interest in the possible therapeutic uses of marijuana," according to NIDA.

NIDA added that it has marijuana of "various THC content already in its inventory," but that if current or upcoming research needs cannabis with custom levels of THC and CBD, and those strains are not already available, they would need to be grown. Because marijuana takes some time to grow and cultivate, NIDA says it "has to predict future research interest so that a customized order is ready once a researcher has obtained all the proper approvals" from all the federal agencies involved.

In recent years, strains of marijuana high in CBD and low in THC, most well know by the name "Charlotte's Web," have been used effectively to treat epilepsy in children.

A growing body of research suggests CBD may also be effective in reducing inflammation brought on by multiple sclerosis, stopping metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer, killing cancerous cells found in people with leukemia and serving as an alternative antipsychotic treatment.

A bipartisan bill calling for the legalization of CBD was even introduced in the House of Representatives just last month. The House also recently voted to block the DEA from targeting medical marijuana operations that are legal under state laws.

Eleven states have legalized CBD for limited medical use or research, and 23 other states have more broadly legalized marijuana for medical purposes. But because federal law considers all forms of marijuana illegal, people who use, possess, sell or grow marijuana for medical use -- even in states where it's legal -- face potential federal charges.

WATCH: These Mind-Controlling Parasites Are Freaky, And Apparently There Are A Lot Of Them

Fri, 2014-08-29 13:00
How do you explain suicidal crickets and zombie caterpillars? One word: parasites. Science writer Ed Yong shows us how these tiny creatures force insects and animals to do their bidding, and asks: Are parasites manipulating humans, too?

We want to know what you think. Join the discussion by posting a comment below or tweeting #TEDWeekends. Interested in blogging for a future edition of TED Weekends? Email us at
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Illinois Issues Long-Awaited Fracking Rules For Oil And Gas Companies

Fri, 2014-08-29 12:51

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources released a long-awaited plan Friday to regulate high-volume oil and gas drilling that supporters hope could bring an economic boost to southern Illinois but environmentalists fear may be too lenient.

The lengthy report follows months of delays and complaints over the process to draft rules governing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Illinois. Industry officials say southern Illinois has rich deposits of natural gas, but a final draft of the rules — initially touted as a national model of both sides working together — has taken months for the agency to produce as industry groups warned the state was losing business.

A 150-page report was given to the 12-member Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which has 45 days to act, or the rules can take effect. Environmental groups, industry experts and lawmakers also got their first look at the report Friday, and some said they expect to spend hours, possibly days, combing through the details.

"These are highly technical rules that will require a really close look at the details," Josh Mogerman, spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said earlier Friday. "Our experts are going to be spending their holiday weekend going through these rules with a fine tooth comb."

The new rules would require companies awarded drilling permits to submit lists, some of them redacted, of the chemicals used in fracking. The redacted list would be made available to the public by department and be submitted to the public health department. The industry says releasing the full list would expose trade secrets.

In issuing drilling permits, the department would be required to determine within one day whether an applicant had fully completed the necessary forms. The department would then have 60 days to approve or reject an application.

Hydraulic fracturing uses a mixture of water, chemicals and sand to crack open rock formations thousands of feet underground to release trapped oil and gas. Opponents fear it will pollute and deplete groundwater or cause health problems, while the industry insists the method is safe and will cause the same economic surge that oil booms have created in other states.

Illinois was praised last year for passing legislation seen as a compromise between industry and environmentalists on how to regulate the practice, while other states have declared moratoriums or adopted less comprehensive regulations. But the implementing rules proposed by the DNR were criticized by environmentalists as weakening the agreed-on provisions. Industry officials, in turn, said they would stall permits.

"Our hope is that the rules implement the law that was negotiated in all sides in good faith," Mark Denzler, chief operating officer of the Illinois Manufacturer's Association, said ahead of the report's release Friday.

Agency officials spent months pouring over the more than 30,000 comments in response to the first draft, at the same time coming under increasing criticism by fracking supporters who had hoped that drilling would begin this summer. Backers say allowing more drilling could bring thousands of jobs to the rural area.

The panel reviewing the rules is made up of a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the Chicago area and central Illinois tasked with evaluating state agencies' rules. It has 45 days to sign off on the suggested rules, change them or prohibit their filing. It is also allowed to ask for a 45-day extension in making its recommendations.

The department faces a Nov. 15 deadline for the rules to be established.

The 21 Best Breakfast Spots In America

Fri, 2014-08-29 11:14
According to doctors and the backs of cereal boxes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And because we always agree with whatever they say on Lucky Charms boxes, we spent months eating those breakfasts at places all around the country, and then going back for more biscuits and gravy... just to make sure.

At the end of it all, these 21 spots offered up our favorite breakfasts in the nation (and no, we're not talking about places that exclusively serve that made-up weekend meal of brunch -- these places do breakfast all the time). If you disagree, or think we omitted something, or just want to tell us an unrelated anecdote because you need someone to talk to on the Internet, drop it below in the comments. But for now, just come in and sit down. Breakfast is served:

Credit: Matt Houska

Omaha, NE
What you're getting: Country Potato Casserole with two eggs and toast

Most VIP Clubs require you to be a high roller, or, at the very least, be highly invested in wearing tight black T-shirts and sunglasses at night, but all it takes to get into the 11-Worth Cafe VIP Club is filling out a member form when you go to eat at the legendary Omaha joint run by Tony Caniglia and his family. And when you go, you better be hungry, especially if you opt for our move, and get the #18, aka the Country Potato Casserole, aka hash browns sautéed with onion, tomato, pepper, mushroom, American & Swiss, plus chicken-fried steak, all topped with their infamous country gravy. You can get two eggs and toast on the side as well for an extra $1.50... or cheaper if you happen to know any Very Important People.

Credit: Michael Giberson

Gardiner, ME
What you're getting: Blueberry pancakes

Brief history lesson: Back in the early 1900s, a man named Philip Duprey started the Worcester Lunch Car Company, which had the peculiar gig of just building "lunch cars" or diners. The company lasted 51 years, making over 600 in that time, including one that, since 1946, has sat in Gardiner, Maine. As you may've guessed from every other clue, that is now A 1, and though the scene inside does feel a bit like a time capsule, the food is very much up-to-date, and delicious (what other diners are regularly whipping up Korean vegetable pancakes with spicy green beans, huh?!?), though -- being that it is Maine -- we prefer to keep it simple with their light, crispy local blueberry pancakes. Luckily, the nostalgia comes free.

Credit: Flickr/Peter Merholz (Edited)

Minneapolis, MN
What you're getting: Bacon waffle

The Dinkytown diner is only 10ft-wide, a planked shack that would look just as at home on a weathered beachside strip as it does propped up by two buildings in the narrow alleyway where it's been wedged since 1950. Come early -- a line before the 6am opening is completely normal -- and plan to wait with stalwart regulars for one of the 14 stools. While hash browns -- cooked on a griddle so well-seasoned that Southern cast-iron skillet-wielding grandmas would be jealous -- and blueberry pancakes are also winners, trust us on the bacon waffle. Rather than wimpy bits of crisp pork, huge chucks of salty porcine goodness are layered through this fluffy monster. Pour on syrup for a sweet-savory breakfast that's basically a side and main baked into one.

Credit: Ann Sather

Chicago, IL
What you're getting: Swedish breakfast sampler & free cinnamon rolls

The Chicago morning institution offers plenty of your standard breakfast fare, but you'll want to give a nod to their Swedish roots with their sampler (technically listed as a special but always available), consisting of one of their Swedish pancakes with lingonberry jam, a juicy potato sausage, a Swedish meatball (weirdly tasty at breakfast time), and an egg in whatever your preferred egg-consumption method is. Normally it'd be a fairly easy breakfast to tackle, but since you will have already mowed through their icing-laden cinnamon rolls that they lay down on the table before the main course, you're walking out of here stuffed.

San Francisco, CA
What you're getting: Chicken and Bacon Waffle

If you knew nothing of San Francisco, and just spent an entire day in the Ocean Beach neighborhood, you would come away thinking that SF is not all that different from its more beach-focused Southern counterparts. The hood (which obviously sits right across the Great Highway from the actual Ocean Beach) is more of a surfer's enclave, more laid back and less bustling than the rest of the city, and offers some (relatively) undiscovered gems, Java Beach owners' Patrick and Buffy Maguire's Beachside Coffee Bar being one of them. Though they keep the same exacting standards with the coffee that they do at Java Beach, it's the food here that shines, from the fantastic Irish Breakfast Sandwich, to our personal favorite, the fried chicken and waffle, with their bacon-in-the-batter waffle substituted in.

Credit: The Busy Bee Cafe

Buffalo, WY
What you're getting: Occidental French Toast with a side of bacon

Smack in the middle of the picturesque mountain town of Buffalo, the Busy Bee is a tiny, charming cafe housed on the end of the town's centerpiece, the historic Occidental Hotel, which also houses a saloon that hosted everyone from Buffalo Bill to Teddy Roosevelt. The modern-ish cafe specializes in huge, cowboy-tranquilizing breakfasts ranging from overstuffed breakfast burritos to baked goods and locally farmed chicken-fried steaks. But nothing is quite as insane as the Occidental French Toast, which is actually a gigantic cinnamon roll dipped in French toast batter, fried, and soaked in maple syrup. Pair it with a side of bacon and maybe book a room in the hotel. You're not getting up for a while.

There's still plenty more of the best breakfast spots in America to go -- check out ones from Georgia, Texas, New Hampshire, Iowa, Michigan, Arizona, and more!

More from Thrillist:

The world's best breakfast: which country's morning meal is tops?

6 things you should absolutely not eat while hungover

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Will Bruce Rauner's real thoughts on the minimum wage please stand up?

Fri, 2014-08-29 10:51
Raising the minimum wage has been a hot topic lately at all levels of government. President Obama wants it to increase for the whole country. Rahm Emanuel wants $13 an hour. And Gov. Pat Quinn has made a $10 minimum wage a pillar of his re-election campaign.

Back in December at a candidate forum in the Quad Cities during the Republican primary race, Quinn's gubernatorial opponent Bruce Rauner said he favored reducing Illinois' $8.25-an-hour minimum wage to the federally mandated $7.25 minimum.

No sooner did those remarks become public -- generating swift backlash from nearly all sides -- than Rauner backtracked. His campaign first said Rauner would favor increasing the state minimum wage if the federal minimum wage also went up. Now he says he would support raising the Illinois minimum wage if business reforms were passed to go along with it.

But a new Quinn campaign ad says Rauner wants to lower the minimum wage.

Rauner spoke about his new thoughts on the minimum wage at the Municipal Planning Council lunch Thursday, made just as the new ad began to be broadcast. The verdict? He does not want to cut the minimum wage. See the video of Rauner speaking about the minimum wage in Illinois Thursday at Reboot Illinois.

Quinn also is facing election woes over dealing with a union after layoffs of Illinois Department of Transportation employees, a situation that State Journal-Register columnist Bernard Schoenburg compares to a time when now-jailed-for-corruption Gov. Rod Blagojevich also laid off state workers en masse, a comparison that could be very concerning for Quinn. What does it mean that the same lawyers who represented those workers 10 years ago are now representing these?

At Least 14 Injured In Shuttle Bus Crash Outside Chicago Airport

Fri, 2014-08-29 10:48
At least 14 people were injured when a shuttle bus traveling to Chicago O'Hare International Airport slammed into a concrete barrier Friday.

A firefighter on his way to work at the O'Hare fire station happened to be just two cars behind the crash, which occurred at about 6:30 a.m. local time, NBC Chicago reports. He and another firefighter immediately helped passengers and rescued the shuttle bus driver who had been pinned in by the wreckage, the outlet notes.

At least 13 injured after shuttle bus crash at O'Hare #chicago

— Chicago News Now (@chicagonewsnow) August 29, 2014

Some of the injured passengers were seen lying on the sidewalk as they received treatment, according to WGN. Of the at least 14 people injured, four were listed in serious-to-critical condition.

"People were thrown around the bus," Chicago Fire Chief Timothy Sampey told NBC Chicago. "Some were more critical than others."

ABC Chicago reports 16 ambulances were called to the scene while emergency crews hurried to clear the debris from the bus crash during what travel officials expected to be the busiest travel day of the Labor Day holiday weekend.

With the crash blocking the entrance to O'Hare, cars piled up on Interstate 190, prompting passengers to bail from cars and walk to the terminals in hopes of catching their flights.

Walking to terminal. Entrance to #ORD blocked by crash. @BreakingNews @nbcchicago

— BJ Lutz (@bjlutz) August 29, 2014

Catcalling Comic Illustrates Street Harassment From The Very Beginning

Fri, 2014-08-29 10:06
Sometimes it's hard for even the most empathetic of men to understand the level of street harassment most women face. So if you ever need to explain it to someone, this comic may come in handy.

Ursa Eyer, an artist based in New Orleans, was inspired to create a piece about catcalling after she had a particularly frustrating exchange with a male peer.

"I made this comic in response to a conversation with a young man I met at a party," Eyer told The Huffington Post in an email. "We ended up having the same conversation I've had a hundred times over, part of which includes the detriment of catcalling... I was inspired to illustrate my personal history of catcalling to show what it actually looks and feels like to someone who may have never experienced it before."

While some people may think catcalling is acceptable behavior (see: Fox News hosts, men's rights activists and Doree Lewak), the fact remains that men say some truly sickening things to women on the street.

The comic shows the types of unsolicited comments about their appearance women receive from strangers throughout their lives, starting from "she's so cute!" as young children and escalating to sexually suggestive and aggressive comments in adulthood.

"At a relatively young age we have to learn, often by ourselves, how to deal with really frustrating and sometimes scary situations," Eyer told HuffPost. "We deal with it so often that it just becomes a part of our daily lives. We don't even mention it, because it's the norm."

Check out her incredible comic below.