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A Quick Salute To The NBA's Best Football Team

Mon, 2014-12-01 21:27
It’s always tough to contextualize the Bulls next to every other contender. They don’t have the traditional superstars of a powerhouse, they don’t spend a ton of money, they don’t run teams off the court with offense, and, more often than not, the most dominant personality is their coach. The best way to understand the Bulls is to think of them as the closest thing the NBA has to an NFL team.

Obama Wants To Help Buy 50,000 Body Cameras For The Nation's 630,000 Police Officers

Mon, 2014-12-01 18:28
The White House announced Monday that President Barack Obama will sign an executive order meant to improve training for local law enforcement agencies that receive equipment through federal grant programs. Among the proposed initiatives is a 3-year, $263 million investment package, of which $75 million would go toward covering half the cost of 50,000 officer-mounted cameras -- a technology that has been widely cited as a necessary police reform following the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager shot and killed by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson in August.

Monday's announcement was greeted by some as a victory for transparency in law enforcement. Yet with almost 630,000 police officers working nationwide, it's not clear how much of an effect even 50,000 cameras would have.

Body cameras have long been a popular proposal among police reform advocates, who say that documenting interactions between officers and civilians can help to eliminate bias and uncertainty regarding alleged misconduct by either party. One frequently cited pilot program in Rialto, California, found that between 2012 and 2013, in the first year of the city using police cameras, the number of complaints filed against officers fell by 88 percent and use of force by officers fell by almost 60 percent.

Despite resistance from some police officials and union members who have called the cameras an unnecessary distraction for officers, departments in major cities like Chicago, New York, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., as well as smaller cities like Ferguson, have started using cameras, or have at least announced plans to do so.

Obama's $75 million program, which still requires congressional approval, would seek to ease the financial burden of outfitting police officers with cameras by providing a 50 percent funding match to states and localities that decide to participate. (Individual cameras cost between $300 and $400, on top of which are the costs associated with storing and maintaining the data recorded by the devices.) But with no ability to compel local police departments to get behind this move, the administration must simply hope that enough law enforcement volunteers are willing to join the program.

In addition -- as the Police Executive Research Forum presented to the Department of Justice in a 2014 report -- there are still plenty of concerns from both the law enforcement and civil rights communities about how, exactly, a large-scale police camera program would be implemented. Which interactions, for example, would be recorded? How would the review process work? Such questions are further complicated by state laws that differ on when and where people may be recorded, as well as how such recordings may be stored and accessed by the public.

Monday also saw the release of a White House review on the programs that provide military equipment to local police departments -- a project first undertaken in August in response to criticism over militarized police behavior in Ferguson. It's difficult to ignore the sheer difference in scale between Obama's proposed police camera program and the sum of all federal grant programs to local law enforcement. In the past five years, grants from five different federal agencies have totaled about $18 billion -- money that has gone toward everything from office supplies to mine-resistant armored vehicles, or MRAPs, fit for the battlefield.

A recent review of a handful of MRAPs given to local law enforcement agencies found that the federal government had spent $5.7 million on these types of vehicles in New York state alone. The administration's report documented a total of 617 MRAPs and 616 aircraft among the 460,000 total pieces of controlled property currently maintained by local police forces.

In its announcement Monday, the White House noted a "lack of consistency" in how these federal grants have been implemented. Yet at the same time, the White House review claims the programs have been useful, and provides no suggestions for repealing or significantly restructuring them. Instead, the administration plans to focus more generally on improving "training" and accountability, as well as signing an additional executive order to create a Task Force on 21st Century Policing. This group will examine "how to promote effective crime reduction while building public trust," and will organize its findings in a report for the president within 90 days.

Have You Heard of #GivingTuesday?

Mon, 2014-12-01 17:49
It's hard to believe the holidays are here again. Every year they seem to come a little earlier. Black Friday now starts on Thursday, and the most popular gifts are often sold out online on Cyber Monday before they even hit the shelves. This is the eager opening to the season, and for many people the beginning of the search for the perfect gifts for those they love. But to me the most important opportunity the holiday season offers us can't be found amongst sales and discounts. This is a chance to remember all we have to be thankful for, and not only to get but to give, especially to those struggling in poverty this holiday season.

I'm proud to say I'm not alone in my desire to enjoy the spirit of giving. Right now, a movement is growing throughout the country as people rethink how to best honor those they love. The result has been #GivingTuesday, which falls on December 2 this year.

Conceived of in 2012 in the midst of the economic downturn and now in its third year, it's become not only a day to remember giving, but a movement. Ten thousand organizations participated last year and more than three million people spread the word on social media. The message is simple: One of the greatest gifts we can give is the gift of giving back.

As president of Heartland Alliance, the Midwest's leading anti-poverty organization, it's the nature of my work that I see the faces of those who need this support. In the last few weeks I've met Kimberly, a mother of three, one of her sons just two weeks old, who left her abusive partner and found herself in desperate need of housing, healthcare, and a job. I've met Mohammad, his wife Jiana, and their four beautiful children, refugees from Iraq who fled to America as refugees with nothing but the clothes on their back. And I've met Mary Pat, a Navy veteran and LGBT senior unable to afford a safe place to live, on the verge of homelessness.

And in the end, that's who #GivingTuesday is about - the people, like Kimberly, Mohammad, Jiana, and Mary Pat - who so often go unseen. This day gives us an opportunity to honor our loved ones by giving a gift to the causes that matter to them, and to bring back the spirit of the holidays.

So this year, as you're searching for the perfect gift or stocking stuffer, consider that it may not be a sweater or the latest gadget. It can be as easy as sharing that moment of change through #GivingTuesday and changing the reality we see every day on the streets.

It's easy to support local nonprofits through #GivingTuesday if you are so inclined. Visit and find a cause that moves you. You can review reports on how effective each nonprofit is and support them at a level you're comfortable with. You can also choose to volunteer through the site and learn how to participate in the #GivingTuesday promotional campaign through social media.

To view Heartland Alliance's #GivingTuesday campaign, click here or visit us on Facebook, Twitter (@heartlandhelps) and YouTube (HeartlandAlliance).

The Most Unnecessary Gifts That Gobs Of Money Can Buy Are All In One Gift Guide

Mon, 2014-12-01 16:21
'Tis the season for gift guides, but the 2014 Neiman Marcus Christmas Book is a true wonder. First off, if you've never been to a Neiman Marcus department store, that's probably because they exist at the fanciest malls and avenues in only 21 states with the largest concentrations of rich people. They hawk all the usual high-end fare -- red-soled shoes and beauty products from companies eager to load you up with free samples -- in old-fashioned seasonal catalogs that maybe your grandmother still gets in the mail. They're predictably exclusive.

The Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, however, does a thoroughly impressive job in showing us how hard it must be to choose gifts for people who want for literally nothing. We can only imagine that's where someone got the idea for a pint-sized Mercedes coupe or a personalized pool ball set. People eat it up, because otherwise Neiman Marcus wouldn't sell these things on its website. We are 85 percent sure that is how capitalism works.

Anyway, here are our favorite gift "ideas" for your mother, brother-in-law, illegitimate half-sister or neighbor's exotic pet:

Fake Acoustic or Electric Guitar Bag, $5,195

This fake guitar bag that is shaped like a guitar -- but doesn't play Wonderwall because it is not actually a functioning guitar -- will still set you back far more than a counterfeit instrument should. Every inch of its deceitful surface is covered in "Austrian crystals," which are clear rocks from the fabled lands of Austria, where it was also made, probably with magic. We can think of 5,195 things on which you could better spend your money.

Equivalent purchase: One real, custom Gibson Les Paul electric guitar

Rabbit Fur Coat for Girls, $395

Only one left as of this writing! Each coat is made of real fur and designed by a former painter who realized she could make a much better living capitalizing off rich people's lust for impractical status pieces. Actual rabbits gave their hippity hoppity lives this holiday season so someone's kid could wear a hospital-white coat for the remaining few months of cold. Next season, each and every one of these fluffy things will be relegated to the back of so many closets, because our little minnows grow up so fast.

Equivalent purchase: Day-long inflatable bounce house rental with safety attendant

Gold Top Hat Champagne Cooler, $189

"You'll be putting on the Ritz [pause for knowing laughter] when you add this unique wine cooler to your entertainment serveware," says Neiman Marcus. It will look so fabulous on the table next to your chip-and-dip made from vintage spats and dishware made from retired monocles! While mostly aluminum alloy, the cooler is plated in 24-carat gold as shiny as Rockefeller's bald head. The Future Billionaires' Club approves.

Equivalent purchase: 12 30-racks of PBR from Walmart

Mink Fur Backpack, $7,830

Here it is: the most impractical backpack this vast and varied planet has to offer. Smothered in real mink fur -- which comes from a mink, which is basically an otter, which is to say, an animal that's cute as shit -- this backpack features a satin lining and two sizable front pockets. It might serve someone, somewhere, very well during the laborious journey between the drawing room and the ladies' DAR meeting, and then all the way downtown for the charity auction. The driver always gets the addresses wrong, doesn't he? Pishposh.

Equivalent purchase: 784 hamsters OR 8 AKC-certified Dalmatian puppies

Flammable Golden Matchbox, $175

At first we saw this and were like, Okay, it's a forever matchbox. In terms of things we'd rather have last forever, matchboxes aren't really up there with sunglasses or phone screens, but to each their own. Then we noticed that it's covered in linen, which has all the flame-retardant properties of a parched sapling. And it doesn't even come with matches. This is stupid.

Equivalent purchase: 2.7 barrels of crude oil

Whimsical Scented Candles, $85

Fools who place this order will receive not several Paschal candles' worth of wax, but ONE three-inch tea light. Made of crushed animal bone china that's been hand-painted AND hand-gilded -- none of that plebeian machine gilding here -- each one is filled with soy wax in one of three floral scents. Those Yankee Candle shops in the mall may have reeked of a thousand rotten potpourri satchels, but at least you got what you paid for.

Equivalent purchase: 6.5 copies of Taylor Swift's album "1989"

Leather Travel Journal, $255

This pebbled leather journal, which is for documenting travels because it says TRAVEL JOURNAL across the front, is available in one inoffensive shade of beige. When you write your TRAVEL NOTES on its pages, the travel journal safely embraces them in its lambskin binding. None of your words get jumbled up or fall out onto the floor as with other, lesser journals. At five-and-a-half inches high, this journal is also light and portable, unlike others that cannot even be lifted by the strongest man.

Equivalent purchase: 75 Double-Double burgers from In-N-Out

Crystal Beatnik Cat Purse, $5,595

We understand that art is subjective and its often sky-high price tag can be justified by its cultural importance and a need to support the artist. Perhaps this minaudière is a critique of the beat generation's true intellectual contribution -- a visual cacophony as shamelessly gauche to our modern aesthetic as the beatniks' dress and manner was to those planted in the midcentury mainstream. Perhaps the ghost of William S. Burroughs whispers lines of poetry when its clasp is unlocked. Perhaps its thousands of Austrian crystals were applied by the unerring hands of Austrian fairies, whose workers' union secured them proper compensation.

We think it's just an ugly bedazzled cat.

Equivalent purchase: 562 Moleskine notebooks

Rottweiler Statement T-Shirt, $570

Neiman Marcus suggests a perfect gift for the "animal lover" in your life is a $570 Givenchy t-shirt emblazoned with the snarling face of a demon Rottweiler obviously salivating at the thought of sinking its teeth into human flesh. Dashboard Confessional CD not included.

Equivalent purchase: 63 tubes of black eyeliner

Custom Locket-Making Adventure with a Total Stranger, $100,000

One lucky Neiman Marcus customer will embark on noble three-day quest to discover the most perfect family locket in the whole wide world, as if we can't just set family photos as the background to our iDevices nowadays. Jewelry designer and total rando Monica Rich Kosann will be along for the ride. "Together" they'll select a stone and "collaborate" on the design, Neiman Marcus says, although we suspect that process will be much less buddy-pal and much more civilian-dictator. Upon request, Kosann will take a family portrait that will be printed so small, whether it was taken with a DSLR or 20th-century flip phone doesn't really matter. Airfare is not included, because it is merely the change a rich person gathers from the seat cushions of his or her couch.

Equivalent purchase: 833 goats from Heifer International

Vanity Fair Almost-The-Oscars-But-Not Experience, $425,000

For a price that should encourage serious bidders to take a long, soul-searching sabbatical, Neiman Marcus will send one lucky recipient and a friend to "mix, mingle and revel" with celebrities at the annual Vanity Fair Oscar party, which is somehow advertised as "the night's most coveted event." The experience also includes a spa day, fancy dinner, styling and transportation to and from the event -- which, again, is not the main event. What a whirlwind! But get this -- as part of the deal, $400,000 will be donated to Neiman Marcus' charity to support arts education. So the experience is really just a $25,000 perk to being a big donor, which is, like, sort of fine. Whatever.

Equivalent purchase: 1,118 tickets to Burning Man

The House of Creed Fragrance Journey, $475,000

Need a new perfume? Neiman Marcus invites you to skip the malls that reek of processed cinnamon pastries, pack your mink backpack and flit off to Paris! You are a snowflake, and your signature scent shouldn't be anything less. But while the Journey may begin as a trip to discover the perfect combination of olfactory sensations, the chosen recipient may well discover herself, too, during a day trip to the French countryside, private museum tours, fine dining, "and other experiences befitting the royally amazing you." Vom. A few months later, buckets of scent show up at your door.

Equivalent purchase: 79,299 cans of Axe body spray

Popcorn Triad, $50

No one likes this shit.

Equivalent purchase: $50 Applebee's gift card

Giving Tuesday

Mon, 2014-12-01 15:12
I'm part of a philanthropic family. Not the Bill-Gates-gazillionaire philanthropic family, but the do-what-you-can-for-those-who-can't sort of philanthropic family. Whether that means going to a soup kitchen and feeding the homeless, walking around a track for this/that/the other cause, buying cookie dough to supports my nieces and nephews, or -- in the absence of time or money -- using words to spread the word about things that are worthy causes.

I don't come from a monied family. It's unlikely that anyone in my family will ever be monied. And you know what? I'm okay with these things. Well. I'm not not okay with these things. I -- we -- wouldn't argue with not having to worry about money, but there's a lot more that enriches our lives that money could never buy. My nieces and nephews are more remarkable than anything I could then go out and buy at a store or dealer. My brothers and sisters? Equally so. Even when they're being brats. I could wax poetic about my parents and grandparents, my aunts and uncles, but I'll save all that for a time when you ask for it.

This is a post about how despite not having the money to give back big, we end up giving back in ways that we can. We give five bucks here, ten bucks there, an hour here, an hour there. I often write posts like this -- to spread word about a particularly worthy cause or two in the hopes that maybe thirty people will be able to donate $10 and suddenly the collective we is donating $300 that can go a long way to making a difference in someone's life. This is connected to a movement that I hope gains greater and greater traction -- Giving Tuesday.

I have no idea where or when this started. I got an email last week from Horny Toad promoting not just Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but this concept of Giving Tuesday. Horny Toad (HT) and the distribution center they use outside Chicago has partnered for almost twenty years with an organization called Search, Inc. Since 1997 Planet Access Company (PAC) and Search, Inc., have worked together to empower and enrich adults with developmental disabilities, a demographic far too often overlooked. These men and women work to pick and pack the warehouse's orders. They get paid. They are so enthusiastic, so excited, to be treated with dignity and respect. That shouldn't be so much to ask, right?

Par for the course, this is all a long lead-in.

This year Search, Inc., is a part of the Coleman Foundation's Giving Tuesday Matching Grants Program -- the philanthropic answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This Tuesday the Coleman Foundation is offering a dollar-for-dollar match of donations up to $15,000. That can make a difference in the lives of so many who deserve a difference made in their lives because they've had their families and the state give up on them.

I've also been posting about a friend's efforts to raise money for Southern Maine's Animal Refuge League. Both of these are efforts that can make a very real difference in the lives of a lot of people (in the case of the ARL, a difference in the lives of animals). As I've said in most of my entreaties, it's not always easy to find the money to give this time of year, but with the ARL and Search, Inc., these are opportunities where five dollars can make a huge difference.

Let's do what we can to make Giving Tuesday a thing. Whether it's a dollar, a word, a hug or a smile we all have something we can give and each of these things are capable of changing the world.

Why Community College Students Are In Demand

Mon, 2014-12-01 14:23
This article comes to us courtesy of U.S. News & World Report, where it was originally published.

Graduates of community college programs are hard-working and driven, recruiters say.

Community college students juggle a lot of responsibilities. Most work at least part time, many have families to care for and homework doesn't do itself.

Successfully keeping all those balls in the air requires focus, determination and maturity – traits that hold a lot of weight with recruiters from businesses and four-year universities.

"If you can juggle family, working, homework, school, internships – I want you. It's just as simple as that," says Maureen Crawford Hentz, director of talent management for A.W. Chesterton Co., a global manufacturing corporation headquartered in Massachusetts.

[Discover four types of people who benefit from community college.]

In fact, when given the choice between two equally qualified applicants, Hentz leans toward the one with community college on his or her resume, she says, comparing that student to Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

"Both were great dancers, but Rogers did it backwards and in heels," she says, reciting a famous quote. "Community college students do it backwards and in heels."

That ability to multitask can’t be taught, she says, and is one of the reasons A.W. Chesterton forged a partnership​ with Northern Essex Community College in Massachusetts.

Through the program, advanced manufacturing students​ at NECC take core classes such as machining, blueprint reading and geometric dimensioning. Once they have a foundation, they shadow employees at A.W. Chesterton and later intern with the company.

This gives students exposure to a field before committing to it, and gives employers an "internship-long interview," Hentz says.

While A.W. Chesterton’s partnership with NECC is new, it is already proving to be fruitful, Hentz says, adding that the company is "very interested" in hiring a few​ of the students who participated in the program.

[Learn how to find your career path at a community college.]

More established partnerships, like those at City Colleges of Chicago, have led to job opportunities for dozens of students each year, says Cheryl Hyman, chancellor of the community college network.

Rush University Medical Center, for example, hired 20 City College students last year, Hyman says. And Aon, a global insurance company, hired nine students for internships, two of whom were promoted to full-time positions.

JMC Steel Group, a national pipe and tube manufacturer, has also hired students and alumni from City Colleges of Chicago—Richard J. Daley College.​ Emmanuel Oshodi-Glover, a student at the school, is one of the company’s recent hires.

Oshodi-Glover will complete his associate degree in May, but is already working full-time at JMC Steel. After work, he attends classes for three hours each night, and then starts his homework.

"Though it’s busy, I enjoy it," he says. "My time in the classroom has drastically increased my technical manufacturing skills."

Businesses are not the only ones interested in community college graduates. These students are also in high demand at four-year colleges.

Students with associate degrees have already proven they are not just ready for college, but committed to it, says Wray Blair, associate provost​ for enrollment management at Frostburg State University in Maryland.

"Community college graduates are often some of our strongest students," he says. "These students succeed and retain at a very high rate and are often positive campus role models."

[Make the leap from community college to a four-year university.]

The high quality of instruction at many two-year colleges is also an advantage, says Daniel Thompson, dean of enrollment management at St. Catherine University in Minnesota.

"Students who begin college in community colleges tend to be very well-prepared to continue and be successful on almost any four-year​ college or university campus," he said via email.

The University of Southern California accepted 824 community college transfer students in 2013, C.L. Max Nikias, the university’s president, noted in a recent op-ed in The Washington Post.

While USC has been recruiting community college students for decades, Nikias says the university has ramped up efforts over the last few years.

"The reality is that some students with the right combination of talent, creativity and personality will not begin their academic careers at a selective private university," he wrote. "Some of the most academically driven may hone their skills and prove themselves in a two-year program, emerging more motivated, more mature and hungrier than ever."

Trying to fund your education? Get tips, news and more in the U.S. News Paying for Community College center.

LOOK: Workers And Students Leave Jobs And Classes To Participate In Nationwide Walkout For Ferguson

Mon, 2014-12-01 14:22

At 12:01 p.m. EST on Monday, scores of demonstrators walked out of their schools, homes and office buildings to participate in a nationwide demonstration honoring Michael Brown and standing in solidarity with Ferguson, Missouri.

More than 80 cities, 30 states and 40 college campuses around the country were expected to participate. Students, parents, teachers and workers gathered at various locations at the specified time, which signified the time Brown was shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.

The day also marked exactly one week since a grand jury announced their decision to not indict Wilson in the shooting death of Brown -- which immediately sparked a series of protests around the nation.

Coverage of Monday's national protests was identified on social media by #Handsupwalkout and posts quickly populated under the hashtag showing images of large crowds protesting through city streets while chanting “No justice, no peace.”

During the demonstrations, some protesters held signs that read “Ferguson is everywhere. Police brutality and murder must stop" while others read “Jail killer cops.”

In New York City, protesters walked along streets and through Union Square as they chanted “NYPD, KKK, how many kids have you killed today?”

Meanwhile, across the country, demonstrators gathered outside an LAPD station in South Central Los Angeles. This was near the location where Ezell Ford, a mentally ill black man, was fatally shot by police officers the same night a grand jury announced its decision in the case of Wilson.

“This isn’t about #EzellFord or #Ferguson this is an epidemic across the nation,” one protester claimed.

In Illinois, protesters met on various college campuses throughout the state as well as in Hyde Park, which is located in the south side of Chicago. In Washington D.C., many gathered outside of the Department of Justice building and staged a “die-in” for four and a half minutes, which symbolized the four and half hours Brown’s body lay in the Ferguson street. One crowd leader also created a “safe space” where the crowd gathered in a circle to pray together and discuss solutions to ongoing issues between the cops and the community.

From the East coast to the West, here are photos of walkouts that took place around the nation:

(HuffPost’s Christopher Mathias, Matt Ferner, Christine Conetta, Kim Bellware, Christy Havranek and Chris McGonigal contributed to this report.)

Chicago Police To Begin Body Camera Pilot Program By Early Next Year

Mon, 2014-12-01 13:49

By Fiona Ortiz

CHICAGO, Dec 1 (Reuters) - The head of the Chicago Police Department, the second biggest in the United States, said on Monday its officers will start wearing body cameras and it will make other changes after a fatal police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, in August set off a national debate on race and policing.

Superintendent Garry McCarthy said body cameras will be in use by late January by police officers who volunteered for a pilot program, as soon as the department works out how to store the camera recordings.

"We have a lot of work to do in the post-Ferguson world," McCarthy said at a news conference.

Police departments around the United States have been using body cameras to make officers more careful about using force and to reduce complaints and lawsuits. President Barack Obama asked Congress on Monday for $263 million to pay for body cameras for police officers in response to the national uproar over the Aug. 9 killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

Like many other U.S. cities, Chicago has seen frequent demonstrations since Brown was killed. Protests surged last week after a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson, who resigned from the force this weekend.

Chicago police have shot and killed 100 people over the past 6 years. Although the shootings are almost always found to be legally justified, the City of Chicago has payed out millions of dollars in civil settlements to families of some people killed by the police.

About 80 percent of the people killed by Chicago police are black men, most of them young. The city's population is one-third African American.

McCarthy said he has also changed the way the police department tells the public about fatal police shootings.

Instead of the police union handling communications after a police shooting, McCarthy said, he has instructed district commanders to immediately release preliminary information about the shooting, to tell influential community leaders what happened and to hold community meetings.

"We had a couple police shootings after Ferguson and in almost every case we saw people protesting and in some cases trying to inflame the situation by putting out bad information. So it became really clear that we had to get better and quicker at putting out good information," he said. (Reporting by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Mary Wisniewski)

Looking For The Perfect Gift For Your Politics-Obsessed Loved Ones? Here's Your Guide

Mon, 2014-12-01 12:56
December has arrived, so it's time to start thinking about what to get your politically-inclined friends and family members. The Huffington Post has gathered some gift ideas for progressives and conservatives alike. The only one who has to know if the gift is given ironically or genuinely is you!

Past And Future Presidential Merchandise

For your nostalgic GOP family members, the Republican National Committee is selling this "I Miss W" T-shirt...

Nov. 4, 2016 is only 704 days away

So for that person eagerly anticipating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s as-yet unannounced presidential bid, the super PAC Ready for Hillary is offering champagne flutes and ornaments

And for that friend or relative who hasn't stopped believing, there’s baby merchandise in case former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney gives it another go...

And a bag for that special someone who isn’t ashamed to tote around their fondness for Dr. Ben Carson (and enjoys elementary school-style fonts)...

Who cares that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has insisted she won’t run for president?

Might as well use your gift as a gentle reminder that the recipient needs to obtain government-issued photo identification (if they live in a state that will require photo ID to vote next cycle).

Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction We Wished Was Fiction, Cook Books And Coloring Books

Here are some bargain-bin political memoirs for the person you don’t want to spend too much on (and better memoirs for the literate friend or relative you care more about)...

There's even a coloring book dedicated to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)...

And you can find holiday recipe inspirations from Ann Romney in “The Romney Family Table"…

Political Television Swag

For the "Veep" fan...

And those who want to dress (and drink) like Kerry Washington in "Scandal"...

And imagine what it would really be like with Frank Underwood of "House of Cards" in control, in real life.

Chicago's Archbishop Cupich Will Not Deny Pro-Choice Politicians Communion, Emphasizes Dialogue

Mon, 2014-12-01 12:31
Less than two weeks into his new job as the leader of Chicago’s 2.2 million Catholics, Blase Cupich sat down with CBS News to share his opinions on several hot-button issues.

Hailed as a “moderate voice” in American Catholicism who is seeking to tone down the rhetoric of the culture wars, Cupich weighed in on communion rights, immigration reform and gay marriage.

When asked by CBS’ Norah O’Donnell about whether he would deny communion to politicians who support abortion, Cupich emphasized dialogue and conversation instead of confrontation.

"I would not use the Eucharist, or as they call it 'the communion rail,' as a place to have those discussions or a way in which people would be either excluded from the life of the church," he said on “Face The Nation.” "The Eucharist is an opportunity of grace and conversion. It's also a time of forgiveness of sins, so my hope would be that grace would be instrumental in bringing people to the truth."

The Huffington Post reached out to the Archdiocese for clarification, but did not hear back.

Cupich’s softened approach stands in stark contrast to the position held by Cardinal Raymond Burke, a prominent conservative Catholic archbishop who has led campaigns to ban Catholic politicians who support abortions from receiving communion. He has been an outspoken campaigner against both abortion and same-sex marriage. He was also one of five cardinals who challenged Pope Francis’ welcoming attitude towards nontraditional and divorced couples.

Francis has re-appointed Burke twice -- removing him from the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops last year as well as transferring him from the Vatican’s supreme court to a ceremonial post in the Sovereign Military Order of Malta last month.

On the other hand, Cupich's focus on social justice issues may reflect Francis’ vision for a more welcoming church. In September, the pontiff married 20 couples at the Vatican, some of whom had co-habited or had children before marriage, signaling a shift toward forgiveness and inclusion.

According to Crux, Cupich has also tried to emphasize a “conciliatory approach” to these divisive issues.

During his interview, Cupich pointed to his desire to follow Francis' example.

"People do have a sense that the church is listening to them and also that [the pope] is speaking to their deepest desires and if I can in some way emulate that example then I think I am probably on the right track," Cupich said.

Also on Huffington Post Religion:


These 'Neighbors From Hell' Texts Show Home Is Where The Hate Is

Mon, 2014-12-01 12:22
Unless you live on a farm or you own a huge piece of land (lucky you), you have neighbors. Sometimes you love your neighbors (especially when they offer you a beer). But sometimes you really can't stand them. They're loud, they won't move their car and they still haven't returned your lawn mower.

Now you don't have to fume in silence. You can take solace in the wonderful Instagram account that is "Neighbors From Hell." Here are seven situations from the account we're sure all of us can relate to.

1. When they are not only asking you to be quiet, but also telling you that your daughter isn't talented.

Fostering the arts. #neighborsfromhell #nightmareneighbor

Een foto die is geplaatst door Neighbors From Hell (@neighborsfromhell) op Nov 11, 2014 at 11:46 PST

2. When you want to be a Good Samaritan but your neighbor wants to be the rudest person ever.

OMG! RIP Checkers. :/

Una foto pubblicata da Neighbors From Hell (@neighborsfromhell) in data: Nov 11, 2014 at 2:15 PST

3. When you were really just asking for a simple "Yes" or "No" answer but got a lecture instead.

So hostile.

A photo posted by Neighbors From Hell (@neighborsfromhell) on Nov 11, 2014 at 1:37pm PST

4. When your neighbors insist on being the ones to give your kids the sex talk.

"You're welcome." #yournightmareneighbors #nightmareneighbors #sexed

Een foto die is geplaatst door Neighbors From Hell (@neighborsfromhell) op Nov 11, 2014 at 12:44 PST

5. When you gave your neighbor a coat to borrow and you actually believed that they lost it.

OOPS???? #neighborsfromhell

Een foto die is geplaatst door Neighbors From Hell (@neighborsfromhell) op Nov 11, 2014 at 9:15 PST

6. When your neighbor decides to give you some unwanted advice on your breakup.

That's pretty harsh, dude. #neighborsfromhell

A photo posted by Neighbors From Hell (@neighborsfromhell) on Nov 11, 2014 at 5:28pm PST

7. And that moment when you finally realize your neighbor has been stealing your WiFi because they had to ask you an urgent request.

Sure, we all love The Walking Dead, but this takes a lot of nerve. #neighborsfromhell #walkingdead

Een foto die is geplaatst door Neighbors From Hell (@neighborsfromhell) op Nov 11, 2014 at 7:06 PST

Illinois restaurants: Differing minimum wages throughout the state would hurt our business

Mon, 2014-12-01 11:54
The race is on to raise the minimum wage in Illinois. The question this week appears to be whether lawmakers in Springfield will act first and prevent the Chicago City Council from creating an eventual $13 minimum wage that would be significantly higher than the statewide wage.

Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia says restaurants in Illinois need a consistent wage statewide and favors the Springfield approach.

Due to this broad experience, we support a reasonable, fair increase in the minimum wage. Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood introduced legislation earlier this year to raise the wage to $10.65 and hour. Although this would cost our members money, we voiced our support.

What we believe will be harmful to Illinois' economy is a patchwork approach that could lead to potentially three different wages in the 28 suburban communities that border Chicago's outer 17 wards.

See how Toia thinks different minimum wages throughout the state could hurt Illinois restaurants, one of the biggest industries in the state.

Other changes may in store for the state when Rauner takes office in January. Travis Akin of the Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch says Rauner needs to get to work to "shake up" the state's lawsuit climate. Akin explains that a high amount of lawsuits stagnates job growth and that the way lawsuits are dealt with in Illinois is "notoriously unfair." He says that Madison County and St. Clair County are ranked among the nation's top five "Judicial Hellholes" by the American Tort Reform Association. Read more of Akin's thoughts at Reboot Illinois.

Where to Fill Up Your Tank in Illinois for Low Gas Prices This Holiday Weekend

Sun, 2014-11-30 22:12
More Americans travel around the Thanksgiving holiday than during any other time of the year. According to the United States Department of Transportation, long-distance travel during the six-day Thanksgiving holiday period increases 54 percent. That's more even than the Christmas travel period, when long-distance travel increases only 23 percent.

The USDOT reminds us that it's not only public transportation hubs that see an influx of users-individual travel also shoots up during that time. Ninety-one percent of travel during this period happens in personal cars.

And although heavy media attention focuses on crowded airports and bus and train stations on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving, when personal vehicle trips are added to the mix the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) reveals that Thanksgiving Day is actually a heavier long-distance travel day than Wednesday.

All that driving around eats up a lot of gasoline, which eats up a lot of money. But there are ways to save money on gas, like figuring out which areas along your travel route might have the lowest prices, or even making a pit stop a few miles out of the way to save on the green.

AAA Insurance says that the 2014 Thanksgiving weekend will see the lowest gas prices in four years. The current national average price of a gallon of gas is $3.24, says says the current average price of a gallon of gas in Illinois is $2.90.

Check out which areas in Illinois have the highest gas prices as of the afternoon of Nov. 24 according to The prices may change as the holiday approaches.

See the complete infographic showing which parts of Illinois have the lowest gas prices leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday at Reboot Illinois:

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College Disciplinary Boards Impose Slight Penalties For Serious Crimes

Sun, 2014-11-30 21:53
The University of Toledo found a student responsible for his role in the stabbing death of his roommate, but he wasn’t expelled from the school or charged criminally.

The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh found a student responsible for sexual assault and gave him a written reprimand, kicked him out of his dorm for a month and ordered him not to have any minors as guests.

After Miami University found a student responsible for assaulting one woman and stealing another woman’s pizza on the southwestern Ohio campus, it placed him on probation and ordered him to write an essay.

Colleges across the country use campus disciplinary boards to pass judgment on students accused of violent crimes, including rape and assault. Sometimes, schools handle crime and punishment without ever reporting violations to police. Most cases never go to court.

Midway Airport Security Line Reportedly Over 1 Mile Long

Sun, 2014-11-30 13:24
Holiday travelers faced a literal nightmare on Sunday morning when the line for security checks at Midway Airport in Chicago was reportedly over a mile long.

KOMO reporter Denise Whitaker said that the line was 1.2 miles long. An airport spokespersonsaid that she wasn't surprised by the crowds.

“This happens sometimes,” Chicago Aviation Department rep. Karen Pride told the Chicago Sun-Times. “There was a period of time earlier this morning, between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., that lines were long because that is when most people are traveling for the holiday period.”

Twitter users posted pictures of the hellish scene. The end of the line was literally outside of the airport.

The line for TSA at Midway airport leaves the terminal, goes to city train stop, turns around and goes back in.

— TumbleDry (@TumbleDry) November 30, 2014

Back of the line? I don't think I'm at the airport anymore

— Brian B (@bblach99) November 30, 2014

#overheard in @TSA line @MDW #Chicago #midway "where's the line?" I just mapped it -1.2 miles long! #seriously

— Denise Whitaker (@deniseonKOMO) November 30, 2014

Ever seen this part of chicago midway airport? Me neither. I love security

— ★★★★ (@m__r_s) November 30, 2014

Twitter user TumbleDry said that it took 75 minutes to get through the line. According to ABC7 Chicago, the airport cleared up by 9 A.M.

Woman Shot By Ex-Boyfriend At Chicago Nordstrom Store Dies

Sat, 2014-11-29 23:46
CHICAGO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - A Nordstrom worker shot by her former boyfriend in a Chicago store died on Saturday, police sources said.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the victim as Nadia Ezaldein, 22, of Hialeah, Florida. The man, identified as Marcus Dee, 31, shot himself and was declared dead at the scene, police said. His place of residence was not known.

The shooting, on the second floor of the high-end retailer in the popular "Magnificent Mile" shopping district, sent Black Friday customers scattering from the store.

The woman's family said Dee had physically abused her throughout their relationship, and had harassed both the woman and her family since their breakup last December, the Chicago Tribune reported. (Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Dan Grebler and Clarence Fernandez)

College Presidents Promise To Help The Poorest, Then Do The Opposite

Sat, 2014-11-29 23:17
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Decked out in black tie and formal dresses, guests at Mr. Jefferson’s Capital Ball finished their salmon with horseradish sauce just as the band lured them onto the dance floor with classics including “Shout” and “My Girl.” Some of the people who paid up to $400 a couple to attend the event in the Grand Ballroom of the historic Mayflower Hotel joined in the Electric Slide.

The ball was more than just another Friday night party to ease Washington into the weekend. It had the commendable purpose of raising money for scholarships to the University of Virginia.

But not the kind of scholarships that go to low-income students based solely on their financial need. The proceeds from Mr. Jefferson’s Capital Ball are destined for merit aid for applicants who have the high grade-point averages and top scores on entrance tests that help institutions do well on college rankings. Merit aid can also attract middle- and upper-income students whose families can pay the rest of the tuition bill and therefore furnish badly needed revenue to colleges and universities.

As institutions vie for income and prestige in this way, the net prices they’re charging the lowest-income students, after discounts and financial aid, continue to rise faster on average than the net prices they’re charging higher-income ones, according to an analysis of newly released data the universities and colleges are required to report to the U.S. Department of Education.

This includes the 100 higher-education institutions whose leaders attended a widely publicized White House summit in January and promised to expand the opportunities for low-income students to go to college. In fact, the private universities in that group collectively raised what the poorest families pay by 10 percent, compared to 5 percent for wealthier students, according to the analysis by The Dallas Morning News and The Hechinger Report based on information the U.S. Department of Education released this month covering 2008-09 to 2012-13, the most recent period available.

Not only did the White House pledge schools raise their net prices faster for the poorest than for higher-income families on a percentage basis, the new figures show; nearly a third increased the actual dollar amount more quickly for their lowest-income than their higher-income students.

At the University of Virginia, for instance, the poorest students saw their net price climb $4,313 over that period, compared to $2,687 for students in the top earning bracket.

“Institutions need to remain vigilant in making sure that the students with the highest need have the highest access to aid,” U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell said when asked about the disparity between the promises made by institutions and their real-world performance.

The White House has scheduled a follow-up summit for Thursday on the issue of keeping college affordable for the lowest-income students.

At the first summit, UVA President Teresa Sullivan was among the leaders who pledged to help poor families afford the price of college. From the start of the economic downturn through 2013, however, UVA raised the net price for its very poorest students by 69 percent, more than three times faster than for wealthier students, whose tuition increased 21 percent, the federal figures show. And even since January, beginning with the class that entered this fall, the public university dropped a policy of meeting full need for the lowest-income students without requiring them to take out loans and now asks in-state families to borrow up to $14,000 over four years and out-of-state families up to $28,000.

“All too many elite, extremely wealthy colleges and universities that should be operating as engines of socioeconomic mobility are instead calcifying inequality,” said Michael Dannenberg, director of higher education at the nonpartisan think tank The Education Trust.

What’s “Net Price”?

Colleges are required to annually report their average net prices—the total cost of tuition, fees, room, board, books, and other expenses, minus federal, state, and institutional scholarships and grants -- to the Education Department. They must also break down those prices based on students’ family income, from the lowest -- $30,000 or less -- to the highest -- $110,000 or more.

There are limitations to the data. They cover only full-time freshmen who get federal grants, loans, or work-study jobs. The most recent figures cover the period ending more than a year before that January White House summit. And some schools dispute how net price should be determined and use their own calculations that are different from the federal formula.

But the figures give the only available picture of what students from different income brackets pay to study at the same university or college. The data also make clear that, while lower-income students at many of the institutions represented at the White House summit still pay less than higher-income ones, their net prices are rising faster on an inflation-adjusted percentage basis than the net prices charged to students more able to pay. In some cases, costs for the wealthier families are actually falling.

Even at the 36 taxpayer-supported public universities that signed the White House pledge, poor students paid an average net price of about $8,000 in 2008-09 and almost $10,000 in 2012-13. That’s a 25 percent increase. During the same period, wealthier students at those schools saw their average net price go from about $18,000 to $21,000, a 16 percent increase. The figures have been adjusted for inflation.

Universities “are giving lots of merit aid to kids who don’t need it,” and less financial aid to those who do, said Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan think tank The Century Foundation.

In fact, Kahlenberg said, “There are powerful incentives for universities to avoid admitting and enrolling low-income students. The way that universities compete is on prestige and on the U.S.News & World Report rankings, and you get no credit for having a generous financial aid program that brings in more low-income students.”

Colleges Respond

A UVA spokesman stressed that Mr. Jefferson’s Capital Ball is run by an independent foundation of alumni and other supporters, not by the university itself. He also said the elimination of the no-loan policy for low-income students was unavoidable because the cost of assisting them exclusively with grants had nearly doubled since 2008. Requiring all students to borrow is projected to save the university more than $10 million through 2018.

“UVA has committed to providing the necessary need but also needs to ensure that the program is sustainable,” the spokesman, McGregor McCance, said.

Heated protests over the changes, however, brought attention to the fact that, even as it was cutting the cost of providing financial aid to its poorest students, UVA was spending $12 million on a new squash facility and increasing its marketing budget by $18 million annually. Since then, a member of the Board of Visitors, Blue Ridge Capital president John Griffin, has pledged $4 million for scholarships for high-achieving low-income students and to seed an endowment for financial aid for top low-income undergraduates.

A few other universities and colleges that were represented at the White House “Improving College Opportunity” summit said their net prices for low-income students appeared to be increasing more quickly than they really have because they use different formulas than the federal government does to calculate whether or not a student has financial need.

For example, while the government takes into account only the income of the custodial parent in the case of a divorce, these colleges also factor in the income of the parent who does not live at home, and often the value of real estate and other holdings. This means they do not necessarily regard as low income the same students the federal government does, and may not provide them with much financial aid.

That’s one reason Claremont McKenna College said it appeared to have more than doubled its net price for its poorest students -- 10 times as fast as for their richer classmates -- in spite of also signing the White House pledge, spokesman Max Benavidez said.

“Moving from one formula in reporting aid to another completely different methodological formula may account for the misimpression of a large increase,” Benavidez said, though he would not provide the formula the college uses.

Another White House-pledge college that uses its own formula to calculate need, Oberlin, did provide specifics. While federal figures show it doubled the net price for its poorest students at a rate 10 times as fast as for the highest group, Oberlin’s own calculations -- which include the earnings of both parents in cases of divorce, making fewer students qualify as low income than the federal method—show that the net price for the poorest students hardly budged in the last three years and fell in 2012-13, said Debra Chermonte, dean of admissions and financial aid.

Nor are seemingly wealthier families always necessarily able to afford tuition without help. Some may live in places with high costs of living, leaving them less disposable income, or have children close in age who go to college at the same time.

“You might be making $200,000 a year, but you just got divorced and that’s a factor and this is a factor and there are other factors,” said Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University.

Another president, Patrick Leahy of Wilkes University, said, “There’s plenty of aid going to the $80,000 [earners] and below, but once you get to $80,000 it’s not like it’s some magic number and you can suddenly afford tuition.”
Other universities and colleges at which the net price for low-income students has shot up faster than for higher-income ones conceded that financial aid based on merit, as opposed to need, is increasingly important to their bottom lines.

“Tuition-driven schools like UVM must think holistically about the entire undergraduate population and use more merit aid than in the past,” said Enrique Corredera, spokesman for the public University of Vermont, another school that signed the White House pledge but has more than doubled the net price for its poorest students, from $4,500 in 2008-09 to $11,000 in 2012-13. Meanwhile, the net price for students in top income group stayed flat at $21,000 a year. “We do this to attract academically talented students, who play a significant role in determining our ability to attract other students.”

Corredera said wealthier students, whose families can afford to pay at least some of the tuition, also subsidize financial aid for their poorer classmates.

That subsidy is under attack in some states. The board of governors of North Carolina’s public universities, for example, is considering capping the proportion of tuition revenue that could be applied toward financial aid for low-income students, arguing that more affluent students shouldn’t be forced to cover the costs of their less affluent classmates. Iowa has already stopped its universities from using any of their in-state residents’ tuition toward financial aid.

Cuts in state allocations for higher education have also reduced the money available for financial aid for low-income students, said some other public universities, including the University of Arkansas.

“People who come from at-risk families are just as smart, just as talented as anyone else, and should have the same opportunities,” the university’s chancellor, G. David Gearhart, said at the time that he, too, signed the White House pledge. “A flagship, land-grant university should take this responsibility. It’s a big obligation but it’s one that is part of our heritage.”

Yet the University of Arkansas raised its net price for the poorest families by 9 percent while lowering it 6 percent for wealthier ones between 2008-09 and 2012-13. The lopsided changes in cost there came even before the Arkansas State Lottery Scholarship was cut last year by more than 50 percent, said university spokeswoman Laura Jacobs, threatening to reduce even more funding reserved for low-income students.

“There’s a glaring lack of political leadership around this in the states,” said Michael McLendon, professor of higher-education policy at Southern Methodist University. Rather than in need-based financial aid, McLendon said, “It’s politically popular to invest a lot of state money in merit-based aid. It’s very appealing to the middle class.” But, he said, “It’s not helpful for boosting higher-education access or completion for the poorest kids.”

There’s at least one glimmer of promise for critics of current aid practices. As the heat on this matter is being turned up, states, on average, slightly increased the share of financial aid they allocated for low-income students, as opposed to other students, in 2012-13, the latest year for which that figure is available, according to the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs.

On the other hand, the inflation-adjusted total amount of aid declined.

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education-news outlet affiliated with Teachers College, Columbia University, in collaboration with the Dallas Morning News and the Education Writers Association.

Related stories:
College, federal financial aid increasingly benefits the rich
Poorer families are bearing the brunt of college price hikes, data show
Spiraling graduate student debt raises alarms
College-rating proposal shines spotlight on powerful lobby
The real cost of college? It’s probably even higher than you think

Ferguson: Where Do We Go From Here?

Sat, 2014-11-29 12:03
The November 24th grand jury decision to not file charges against Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown sent shockwaves across the nation and made me, like many others, angry, frustrated and heartbroken.

Although I was disappointed, I was not surprised. Historically, there has been no justice for unarmed black males killed by white police officers. There are numerous black men who have fallen victim to the "shoot first, ask questions later" practices of authorities who, after investigations, were not held accountable for their actions. Now we must add Michael Brown's name to that list.

Many people took to the streets in and around Ferguson and in cities across the country to protest the grand jury decision. Most were peaceful in their response. However, a small group chose to vandalize, loot and set buildings ablaze. While I fully support peaceful protests, the destruction of property and endangering the lives of others is unacceptable.

All of us who value life and seek justice have an obligation to honor Michael Brown's memory with peaceful demonstrations and community action. Anything less undercuts his memory in a way even harsher than last week's decision.

Like many of you, I had hoped that Brown's death would not be in vain and that it would lead to a national dialogue about how to reverse this trend of deadly police force that disproportionately impacts communities of color.

I wonder, will we look back on the Brown decision for years to come with regret over the missed opportunity to push for real changes in the way law enforcement officers engage in our communities, regard Black men and value life? Will we address the lack of economic opportunities, troubling public policies and lack of meaningful civic engagement that dominates life in Ferguson? Or will burnt-out properties and shuttered business corridors become landmarks for that community's tragic shortcomings?

Where do we go from here to make sure these things don't come to pass?

At the Chicago Urban League we believe that, out of every situation that seems hopeless, there is an opportunity to dig deeper and work harder to find solutions. In Ferguson and in Black communities everywhere, particularly those where the police force doesn't mirror the community, we must demand that police officers treat everyone they encounter with basic human dignity, and enforce consequences against those who do not. We must tell our own stories and not leave them to individuals with unrighteous agendas and media outlets that are narrow-minded and limited in their thinking.

It's time to set some ground rules for how we're going to proceed going forward. First, if you're at the table, you must come in peace, not simply in anger. We have to make room for young leaders. They deserve to be respected and to be heard. And finally, we must commit ourselves to turning our conversations into meaningful, strategic community action.

Here are some proposed outcomes that a solutions-driven conversation can be built around:

1) Establish a national network of organizations that stand for justice and equality to support communities in conflict. Let's discuss ways we can bring together all groups who fight for equality, including the Latino community, the LGBT movement and women's rights groups to create cross-sectional dialogue on how we can collectively respond to unfair treatment by those in power or anyone who dares to deny their human value.

2) Advocate for economic opportunities in underserved communities. Discontent in communities such as the one Brown lived in grows out of lack of access to a quality education and good-paying jobs. We can eliminate the societal 'other' by ensuring communities of mostly Black residents aren't wanting for jobs and support for business ownership.

3) Encourage full civic engagement. When people don't exercise their right to vote, they are more than likely to be disenfranchised and treated unfairly. The prosecutor in the Brown case ran unopposed, for instance. We must encourage African American voters to turn out for every election and support candidates that have their best interests at heart.

Where do we go from here? What has happened in Ferguson can either move us forward or push us back. Most of its residents are reasonable, peaceful people who want change. But right now, the fact is whatever happens in Ferguson affects black people everywhere as it relates to this singular issue of deadly police force. Police can either continue to act aggressively toward us, and the black community can remain distrustful and bitter toward law enforcement. Or we can use our collective voice, our vote and our right as citizens to peacefully assemble to make sure Michael Brown didn't die in vain.

Andrea L. Zopp is president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League

1 Dead, 1 Injured In Shooting At Chicago Nordstrom

Fri, 2014-11-28 21:51
A man shot a female seasonal employee at a busy Nordstrom store in Chicago on Friday night before turning the gun on himself, police said.

UPDATE: Chicago Fire Dept. confirms one man is dead in Nordstrom shooting. A woman transported in critical condition. No ages yet.

— Rob Elgas (@RobElgasNBC) November 29, 2014

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, and the woman was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition, said Officer Jose Estrada, a spokesman for the Chicago Police news affairs office.

RT @CSTbreaking: UPDATE: Two people shot at downtown Nordstrom

— Craig Newman (@craignewman) November 29, 2014

The incident that left the 31-year-old man dead and the 22-year-old woman critically injured appeared to be related to a domestic dispute, Officer Estrada said. The man is believed to be the current or ex-boyfriend of the woman, Chicago Police Chief of Detectives John J. Escalante told the Chicago Sun-Times. The identities of the man and woman have not been released. [Update: The Chicago Tribune reports that the gunman has been identified as Marcus Dee. See below for additional details.]

The shooting at the Nordstrom store on the first block of E Grand Ave. in Chicago was reported shortly after 8:30 p.m. local time, police said. Photos posted on social media showed police responding. The store was evacuated following the shooting on Black Friday, witnesses told The Chicago Tribune. "It was a pow and a pow," alleged witness Michelle Smith said, "It was a stampede coming down the escalator," told the paper.

@redlineproject @WGNNews #chicago Police shutting down intersections near Grand Ave by #nordstrom

— Metracation (@metracation) November 29, 2014

Update, Nov. 29 -- The Chicago Tribune reports that the gunman has been identified as Marcus Dee, 31. The woman's brother told the Chicago Sun-Times that Dee had put the woman through "months of psychological torment" prior to the shooting.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Women in College Leadership

Fri, 2014-11-28 16:06
As you explore options for college, you are likely to ask about programs, affordability, facilities, housing, sports, and safety. Are you, though, asking about leadership?

I believe you should, for who leads our colleges and universities affects decisions from how endowments are invested to which academic programs are prioritized.

Demographics aren't everything. As a college president and a woman, however, I am aware that there are not many of us. According to a 2012 report on American college presidents from the American Council on Education, only 26% are women. Moreover, the rate of change has stalled since the 1990s. "report on American college presidents".

These figures reflect a more general social gender disparity that is important to address because female leadership is critical for building better, more balanced institutions.

A few years ago, a study out of Berkeley showed that companies with one or more women on their corporate boards are significantly more likely to engage in practices that are linked to corporate sustainability, "engage practices that are linked to corporate sustainability". By analogy, colleges and universities may perform better -- educate better -- with more women in leadership positions, including at the top and on the Board of Trustees.

Another kind of leadership to pay attention to as you research colleges is that of students. Here, too, the playing field is unsurprisingly lop-sided. A 2011 report on undergraduate women's leadership at Princeton "report on undergraduate women's leadership at Princeton" (under the leadership of President Shirley M. Tilghman) showed that undergraduate women were less likely to win the highest-level academic honors and fellowships and stand for visible positions like president of co-curricular organizations, even though women were outpacing men academically except at the highest levels and did a large portion of the important behind-the-scenes work for those organizations in which they participated. The report issued a number or recommendations, from leadership training and orientation activities for students to building faculty awareness.

Initiatives on behalf of undergraduate women such as those undertaken by Princeton are important, since leadership opportunities for women in college may correlate to leadership roles after graduation. But the representation of female leaders in college clubs as in corporate boardrooms ultimately benefits men and women alike. So, as you narrow down your choices for college, pay attention to who the leaders are.