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Memorial Day Awakening- 2015

Tue, 2015-05-19 13:08
This post is written by my father, Arnold Stieber who was infantry in the Army stationed in Vietnam from 1970-1971. He is currently the coordinator of the Chicago chapter of Veterans for Peace.
An awakening . . . to summer festivities and the anticipation of warm weather and fun, picnics, a holiday - that's what Memorial Day is for most. Some will march in parades or stand on the sidelines waving flags and unwittingly support the military model of conflict resolution by violence. There will be words like "heroes" and "bravery" and "God bless America".

The Chicago Memorial Day parade is Saturday 5/23. It's billed as the largest Memorial Day parade in the nation. As an Army, infantry veteran of the U.S. war against the people of Viet Nam, I attended the parade in 2013 with several members of Veterans For Peace. We were expecting to see a somber memorial parade that recognized the death and destruction caused by war. Instead we saw militarized police and fire departments, military groups and military vehicles. At least 80% of the parade was hundreds and hundreds of children, in military uniforms, proudly marching behind military banners. We were overwhelmed with sorrow.

Why were so many child soldiers in the parade? We found that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the most militarized public school system in the nation. Using terms like "service" and "leadership" and counting militarism as physical education, CPS has encouraged, and sometimes forced, 10,000 children, from middle school and high school, to learn to honor the military model of conflict resolution by violence, and CPS has plans for more.

Our research revealed that militarization of public education is a national epidemic, but most people are unaware of it. The ones who acknowledge it think the military provides a "way out" for many children, and that militarization provides "discipline" and "skills". We found CPS pointing to test scores at military "academies" (CPS has six of them) as proof that militarization is good for children.

ChicagoVFP concluded that educating the public would be our thrust and our first step would be to speak at CPS Board meetings. We theorized that we could make contacts and take advantage of the fact that CPS videos all meetings, archives them on their web site and rebroadcasts them on public TV. We added a Facebook page - DeMilitarizeCPS. We undertook a crowd funding initiative.

We distributed a Position Paper to the CPS Board, Rahm Emmanuel and the community. It reads in part, "The military model is conflict resolution by violence. The military model is following orders without question. The military model is humanly, environmentally and financially expensive. The military model is the antithesis of democracy. . . . If children are taught that the military model of conflict resolution by violence is the right way, and they are given recognition and special treatment for participating, and parents and the community encourage them, they will participate. Children do not have the maturity to question. Children do not have the mental strength to challenge the culture. It has been said that children do better academically in military academies. Children thrive when they are given opportunities, resources and recognition in any environment. Give them opportunities, resources and recognition in a music academy, a science academy, a poetry academy, or a traditional classroom, and they will thrive."

Make Memorial Day an awakening day. Explore the fallacy and myths of war. Explore what you are being told. Explore what your children are being told. Explore your fears. Join us in promoting "Education Not Militarization" for the children and this nation.

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Amy Schumer Goes Inside The World Of Child Beauty Pageants

Tue, 2015-05-19 12:50
The "Little Miss Hot As Balls Pageant." Charming.

It was only a matter of time before "Inside Amy Schumer" covered the very strange world of child beauty pageants. In "Babies & Bustiers," Amy stars as a 6-year-old with Benjamin Button disease -- it's not called that, but work with us here -- who aims to dominate the pageant circuit with the help of her overbearing mother, played by the very talented Jennifer Coolidge.

If anyone can rip the world of "Toddlers & Tiaras" a new one, it's Amy Schumer.

"Inside Amy Schumer" airs Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.

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Here's How LeBron And The Cavs Are Handling Life Without Kevin Love

Tue, 2015-05-19 12:16
When Cleveland lost Kevin Love to a devastating shoulder injury, likely for the remainder of the playoffs, we were left wondering how the Cavaliers offense would respond. Would it stall without Love's ability to spread the floor? How would an expanded role for Tristan Thompson affect LeBron James and Kyrie Irving's pick-and-roll games, along with their smaller driving lanes? A few games against an undermanned Chicago team provides hardly enough evidence to predict what will happen against Atlanta in the Eastern Conference finals, but Cavs head coach David Blatt has admirably adjusted his offense to maximize his current roster's strengths. Here's how he's done it.

Blatt has employed LeBron at the power forward more often, allowing his team to go small and naturally gain quickness and speed. The result has been additional post-up opportunities for James. Such is the case here, when James goes to his preferred block and makes a gorgeous move on Jimmy Butler:

LeBron's effect as a four man is also felt on the defensive end. He can't do it for 40 minutes -- because of the beating subjected to playing Joakim Noah (or Al Horford and Paul Millsap) every possession -- but James proves he is an adept defender even when undersized.

Blatt knows that without Love, his half-court offense will suffer, despite making quality adjustments. One way to overcome lulls in the half-court is to consciously push tempo. Against the Bulls, Irving and James consistently attacked in transition, applying additional pressure on a team that thrives as a half-court defensive unit. In these two clips, both from the series-ending Game 6 victory, we see one-man fastbreaks, first from Irving and then from James:

Then, we see Irving make a contested early shot-clock jumper followed by a open three off of a LeBron pass in transition. The theme here? Easy offense before the defense has a chance to get set.

In essence, this is how the Cavs want to play from an offensive standpoint without Love. Create enough high-quality opportunities in the uptempo game, and the half-court offense will do the rest. Speaking of the half-court, the emergence of seldom-used 24-year-old reserve combo guard Matthew Dellavedova proved enormous against Chicago. A terrific shooter, Dellavedova scored 19 points in Game 6. But it's the way he did it that could prove so useful moving forward against the Hawks. As he showed during a fantastic four-year collegiate career at Saint Mary's, he is highly effective in the high ball screen. In addition, Blatt employed an Erik Spoelstra-Miami Heat special from LeBron's days in South Beach: the small-on-small ball screen. With LeBron as his ball handler, Blatt uses Dellavedova in the pick-and-pop -- exactly how he would use Love. The result, though it may look much different, is identical: a wide-open triple for a 40 percent three-point shooter.

Irving's ability in screen-and-roll has been prodigious since his rookie year. He reads the defense impeccably well, and just as important, he possesses the necessary timing and accuracy as a passer. While Thompson has a far more limited skill set than Love, he's a superior athlete and a capable finisher around the basket. In this particular play, we see Thompson roll hard to the hoop and finish with a dunk off a splendid pass from Irving. While Love would most likely have popped to the perimeter for a three-pointer, Irving still makes it work.

This is a Hawks team that won 19 consecutive games at one point. But it's also a team that really struggled to shoot the three against Washington, particularly its most feared long-range sniper, Kyle Korver. Perhaps more importantly though, Atlanta defended extremely well all season, ranking fifth in the league in field goal percentage against and sixth in three-point percentage against. The challenges for Cleveland to create ample looks is intensified without Love, but as it showed against Chicago, hardly impossible. There's also this little nugget on James: He hasn't lost before the NBA Finals since 2010 and has won five conference finals in six attempts.

Email me at or ask me questions about anything sports-related at @Schultz_Report, and follow me on Instagram @Schultz_Report.

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6 Things Billy Corgan Doesn't Like

Tue, 2015-05-19 12:05
In a small "secret room" on the 25th floor of the Virgin Hotel in Chicago, rock icons Marilyn Manson and Billy Corgan sat before an audience of a few dozen fans and journalists on Monday for a press conference "town hall-style chat", moderated by The AV Club's Sean O'Neal, ahead of their upcoming co-headlining tour titled the End of Times.

And while the conversation didn't veer to the End Days as some might have assumed, Manson and Corgan covered a lot of ground during the hour-plus event, answering fan questions and, particularly in the case of the Smashing Pumpkins singer, going on lengthy diatribes on various topics related to the music industry. As a result, we learned a lot about the Chicago-area native and wrestling and tea aficionado, particularly a few of his pet peeves, while Manson, perhaps surprisingly, tended to offer a more positive outlook on things.

Here are a few things Billy isn't into:

1. Being called "weird."

"I disagree with the assertion of weird. ... I don't think there's anything weird about being an artist," Corgan said after O'Neal introduced the pair as "two of the weirdest artists of the last 25 years." ["I'm with him on that one," Manson added.]

2. [Manson's ex-girlfriend] Rose McGowan.

"I suppress Rose McGowan," Corgan said amid a conversation about Manson's memories and their early impressions of each other. "She's suppressed in my mind." [Manson went on to say that Corgan once wrote a "very strongly worded letter" to him urging that "you should not be with this girl, she will ruin your career."]

3. Hipsters.

"I'm sort of anti-hipster. I didn't like hipsters in the '80s," Corgan said. "I don't like anything that's parochial, meaning this group decides what's cool and what's not. That's antithetical to what I believe in. ... Hipster culture pegged my band very early on as not being 'cool enough' whatever the fuck that means."

4. "Play the record" nostalgia tours.

"When people talk about nostalgia, it's their version of nostalgia, which by the way is really fucking boring," Corgan said. "Look how many bands now for five years have been doing the 'play the record.' Do you hear a big buzz about that stuff? ... Everybody's done it, everybody's ran to that tilt, so now what? What qualifies as nostalgia, I don't know?"

5. "Greatest hits" sets.

"Why people go to a show isn't to hear a 'greatest hits' record, they go to a show to see something that says there's a reason I'm in this particular spot on this night to see this person or these people," Corgan said. "If you don't believe in that, you don't really believe in rock n' roll. You don't really believe in the stuff that we believe in. ... If you don't believe in that, you're not really a fan, you're a curator of a library and we just happen to be one of the books in the fucking library. I'm just not into that vibe. I reject that."

6. Justin Timberlake, apparently.

Corgan repeatedly teased Manson for listening to a surprising amount of tunes from the *NSYNC alum as part of his pre-show backstage playlist. [Manson said he is particularly fond of "Only When I Walk Away."]

Watch the entire chat below.

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If You Think About It, David Letterman Basically Invented YouTube

Tue, 2015-05-19 11:36
Lists? Stupid human tricks? The evidence is convincing.

David Letterman is hanging up his late-night mic on Wednesday, and it will surely leave a void in the comedy landscape. Letterman inspired countless actors and comedians in his time on TV, inventing hundreds of bits that are still copied to this day.

But here's one other thing that you may not have considered: According to Cracked, David Letterman basically invented YouTube. Think about it: numbered lists, humanizing celebrities with comedy, pet talents?

This guy was WAY ahead of his time.

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Your Human Resources Department Wants You To Know What Is And Is Not Okay Office Behavior

Tue, 2015-05-19 10:21
Can I smoke pot in the office? ... No? Okay, but what if I really want to?

Today's office environment can be a tough one to navigate. Offices are much more open and free form, leading some people to be perhaps a little too loose with their behavior. Above Average asked a human resources director to clarify just what types of behaviors are okay in an office setting.

Wearing pants to work? Yes. Wearing only pants to work? No.

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The 7 Most Underrated American Food Cities in 2015

Tue, 2015-05-19 09:21
By: Dan Gentile

Credit: Flickr/Ben Ferenchak

When people think of America's culinary capitals they usually look to the coasts: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans all regularly top the lists of the best American food cities. But hiding in the "flyover states" and in "harbors-that-not-many-people-live-in" is a cache of culinary talent that's just as worthy of sinking your teeth into.

We've already touched on seven of these underdog cities, but our country's cupboards are hiding so much more deliciousness and so many cities' scenes have exploded in the past year, so we thought it worthwhile to give props to seven more gastronomically obsessed towns. And to show just what makes each great, we tapped a local writer to share what makes that food scene unique. Here are seven cities you'll immediately want to visit.

More: Every State in the USA, Ranked by Its Food/Drink

Credit: Flickr/Tony Brooks

Baltimore, MD
"While at a recent wedding in Boston, someone told me 'I like Baltimore, actually.' When I asked him why the 'actually,' he admitted that 'I went there thinking it was going to be a crap hole, and it was actually awesome.' This discovery may have come as a surprise to him and those who only know us from episodes of The Wire, but, as anyone will tell you who's spent time in B-more, it's the hidden gem of the East Coast, and we like it that way.

Baltimore is like a petri dish that's been left to its own devices. It sits there just out of the spotlight until you take off the lid and realize all of the crazy stuff happening inside. The art, music, and food scenes are filled with thriving communities that not only don't frown on experimentation, but expect it. And when you consider the relatively cheap cost of living (for chefs and eaters alike) and the cornucopia of food sources that surround the city -- from the many farms within a 15-minute drive to the endless bounty that is the Chesapeake Bay -- it's evolved into, if you'll excuse the pun, a scene ripe for the eating.

Most notably we have James Beard finalist Cindy Wolf and 2015 winner Spike Gjerde, the former of which is serving up beautiful plates at the white-tableclothed Charleston, while the latter has been a patriarch of farm-to-table cooking at Woodberry Kitchen a half decade before it was watered down into a Chipotle ad campaign. But that's just the start. Over 40% of Baltimore Magazine's top 50 restaurants weren't even around five years ago, with many opening within the last two or three years. Tiny, chef-owned spots like Puerto 511 (Peruvian) and Bottega (salt-of-the-earth Italian) are the perfect examples of people living out their dreams, Union Brewing is turning out national award-winning suds, nose-to-tail butchery (and cooking) is going down at spots like Clementine and Parts & Labor, and that's just the tip of the iceberg because we can't give away all our secrets." - Ryan Detter, freelance food writer at City Paper

Don't miss: Smoked/fruit-glazed ham hock at Parts & Labor (if it's on the menu), pork belly eggs Benedict for brunch at Dooby's, the mezcal with ghost pepper tincture Ring of Fire cocktail at Bookmakers Cocktail Club, anything from Chef Chad Gauss at The Food Market

Credit: André Natta

Birmingham, AL
"Birmingham's post-barbecue and country club food scene started in 1982 with Frank Stitt and Highlands Bar & Grill. Although I visit and review hundreds of restaurants a year, Highlands is the yardstick by which I measure. It boasts the trifecta of service, ambiance, and food. Highlands soon begat many other restaurants in Birmingham and around the South.

I took Jerry Shriver, the food critic of USA Today, to Highlands several years ago and he was raving about it. Then I said, 'Yeah, Jerry, but if you really want to eat, and I mean EAT, you need to visit Niki's West, which is next to a truck junkyard on Findley Blvd. They have 75 vegetables from the farmers' market every day, everything that will swim, crawl, jump, or fly, and the best banana pudding on the planet.' Jerry hemmed and hawed about going, but the next week my father called and said, 'Morgan! Did you see that Niki's West was ranked one of the top five restaurants in the WORLD by USA Today?!' I said, 'Let me guess the writer...'

From high-end to low-end, there's an expectation of freshness and quality in Birmingham because we are so close to the food that we produce. That proximity, plus Southerners' love of the outdoors, farming, and hunting, plays right into the current food scene, with its emphasis on fresh, quality, and local. And really, that's what Birmingham has been about for years." - Morgan Murphy, author of Bourbon & Bacon

Don't miss: Highlands' baked grits with country ham, mushrooms & fresh thyme, pimento grilled cheese BLT at MELT, cornmeal-dusted catfish at Ollie Irene, hickory-smoked duck breast at Little Savannah

Credit: Flickr/Yuya Sekiguchi

Boulder, CO
"Boulder residents would likely be surprised to find their town on an underrated food city list. And it's not only because Bon Appétit magazine picked Boulder as America's Foodiest Town in 2010. Take a walk down Pearl Street in downtown Boulder, and you'll see what the magazine folks saw.

Start at Frasca Food and Wine, where co-owners Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson and Bobby Stuckey have two James Beard Awards. Stuckey is one of 118 Master Sommeliers worldwide, as are six other Boulder residents. Not bad for a town with a population of 100,000 and change. Head West (toward the mountains) and make another stop at OAK at fourteenth, where local meats, vegetables, and even luscious Colorado peaches take a turn in the restaurant's wood-fired oven.

Veer a block or so off Pearl to find the Black Cat, whose chef-owner, Eric Skokan, raises the restaurant's vegetables (including heirloom dent corn for GMO-free polenta), as well as ducks, pigs, and beef cattle on his farm on county-owned land preserved for agricultural uses. This year, Skokan released a cookbook, Farm Fork Food, that he edited on his smartphone from the seat of his tractor. Or try The Kitchen, which has nourished relationships with local organic farmers since it opened in 2004; its nonprofit Kitchen Community builds school gardens, placing more than a 100 in Chicago, where it also recently opened a restaurant to positive reviews. You also might want to try Salt, where the food is local, seasonal, and GMO-free.

Food, health, and sustainable agriculture have a long, intertwining history in Boulder. The bustling Boulder County Farmers' Market, also near Pearl Street, got its start in 1987. The town that popularized herbal tea and tofu also had a strong hand in craft beer, with Boulder County boasting 40 breweries and counting. After you've taken in the scene, do what Boulderites do: eat and run (or hike or bike). There are trails just a few steps away from those amazing restaurants.

And if that's not enough for you, go East a couple of miles and find Top Chef winner Hosea Rosenberg's Blackbelly, which received well-deserved national attention when it opened last year." - Cindy Sutter, Daily Camera food editor

Don't miss: Pekin Paradise Duck Breast with ginger black rice, citrus-spiced macadamia nuts, yogurt, and house-made hoisin at OAK at fourteenth, whatever's in season at Black Cat, tasting menu at The Kitchen featuring the likes of a grilled Koberstein Ranch steak

To find out which 4 other cities round out the list, head over to!

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The Most Iconic Restaurant in Every State (and DC)

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Academic Integrity and/or Winning Football? The Moral Dilemma of Academically Elite Colleges with Division I Football Teams and the Special Case of Northwestern

Tue, 2015-05-19 09:05
Ohio State star quarterback Cardale Jones' famous tweet in 2012, "Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL We ain't come to play SCHOOL classes are POINTLESS," was shocking only in its candor; everyone understands that, as the NCAA President put it, the student-athletes in the major conference schools "come to college to play sports while earning a degree." The double standards that govern the admission, education and safety of revenue-generating athletes are allowed to continue because such a dual regime appears to benefit all concerned: the athletes can focus on the sports they want to play; the schools profit mightily from their play; the public enjoys near professional competition and the faculties' and regular students' academic bona fides remains largely uncontaminated. Defending this system against those who object that a special regime for athletes undermines what college is supposed to be about, the NCAA promotes the concept of the student-athlete, a PR strategy that everyone has come to realize defies what it has traditionally meant to be a student.

Everyone that is but the handful of Division I schools that count themselves among the academically elite of American universities, including, most prominently, Stanford, Cal-Berkley, Michigan, Duke, Vanderbilt and Northwestern. To them, the student-athlete is far from mythical; it is a proud reality. To prove that reality, however, these schools need to explain how they have resolved a fundamental contradiction: on the one hand, the elites know that in order to compete effectively they must lower their standards not only for their students' academic performance, but also for the physical risks inherent in school-sponsored student activities. On the other hand, to admit to such lower standards would compromise their claims that they are in fact academically superior and equally concerned for all their students' safety. One might hope this contradiction would generate at least a serious discussion as to whether these schools should do more to protect not only their players' health and education, but also their core educational mission. Instead, the schools have responded with a combination of puffery, disregard and denial. Officials who do acknowledge the fact of dual standards for revenue-generating athletes are quickly rebuked, as University of Michigan's new President learned when he was forced to recant his impolitic observation that the school's recruited athletes are not as qualified as the other students.

As the special case of Northwestern illustrates, the contradictions will persist as long as the conflicts of interest endemic to the structure of Division I football persist. Without governance reforms that will put the players' education and safety ahead of the coaches' and schools' money-making priorities, the academically elite Division I colleges' claim to a higher ground is pure hypocrisy.

The special challenges Northwestern faces in claiming to be the true home of the scholar-athlete.

Northwestern, where I have taught in the law school for 40 years and chaired the faculty government, has long claimed itself the true home of the scholar-athlete. The administration, therefore, suffered rude awakenings, first, when the football players decided that a union authorization vote was needed to protect them from their own program and, second, when the NLRB hearing officer found that football's monopolization of the players' time and regimentation of their lives made them more like employees than students. Instead of seizing these challenges as a wake-up call for collective fact-finding and soul-searching as to how better to uphold the School's core values, Northwestern officials are appealing the NLRB decision and professing the righteousness of their program. They have claimed to the NLRB not only that their football players' grades, graduation rates and post-graduation employment prove their academic parity with other students, but also, incredibly, that the School admits its football players for their academic, rather than their athletic, prowess. They refuse to release the aggregate admissions scores that would substantiate this claim, which is belied by the fact that the coaches travel the country to recruit high school players with the most athletic prowess, that the players are given special counseling, tutoring and monitoring services to help them pass their courses, and that the players are overrepresented in departments offering what most students consider less demanding majors.

But, even if the football players had the same academic motivation and credentials as other students, the crucial question would remain of whether they are able to take advantage of the opportunities other students have to pursue the goals of a liberal education. Those goals require great universities to do more than graduate employable students. They must seek to empower their students to explore their intellectual and esthetic passions, to test their capabilities, to risk taking wrong paths, to think critically from diverse perspectives and to reflect on who they are and who they want to become, or, as summarized by University of Chicago President Robert Hutchins, who abolished the School's once powerful football program in the 1930s, "education is not to reform students or amuse them or to make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellects, teach them to think straight, if possible." The question of how even the most academically motivated football players can focus on these goals of a liberal education when they must work half the year for up to 50 strictly programmed hours a week on an exhausting, punishing sport and then train for that sport the rest of year is one that schools which claim to prioritize academics should no longer be allowed to conveniently ignore.

Northwestern is a prime exemplar of Division I schools' failures to adequately protect their football players' health.

That university presidents do ignore this question should not, however, be surprising. They would not be presidents if they weren't practical people who appreciate the job-threatening costs if they were to challenge Division I football's massive economic and cultural power for the sake of the amorphous, long-range benefits of upholding the players' equal opportunities for a liberal education. More than traditional cost-benefit analysis is needed, however, to rationalize what even the NCAA now recognizes is football's substantial risk of permanent brain damage. Even if it could be assumed that students in their late teens and early twenties could meaningfully appraise the still unfolding risks from concussions, subconcussions and the everyday collisions endemic to football, our society does not normally condone individuals' voluntary submission to the risk of being battered and maimed without a significant public interest. Here, the players have an interest in playing a sport they presumably love and the universities have an interest in profiting from their play, but the public interest ultimately comes down to no more than spectator satisfaction. College presidents have not seen fit to address this fundamentally moral challenge to their football programs, perhaps worried that embarrassing analogies to the spirit of the Roman coliseum might become too evident. The comparisons, however, would become less embarrassing if the schools would at least begin to take seriously their responsibility for the terrible risks they encourage their football players to take.

Here, all Division I schools must share in the NCAA's blame for having disregarded safeguards against concussions that medical organizations have been demanding for over a decade. Were these schools now finally to recognize that they do owe their players a duty not only to provide the best medical practices, but also to mitigate any post-graduation mental, physical and economic harms resulting from their football injuries, they would be doing far more than following concussion protocols of uncertain effectiveness. As a first step, they would study football's long-term health effects on their former players and then after identifying those with mental and physical disabilities plausibly linked to college football offer them appropriate health insurance and compensation.

If Northwestern is any example, however, owning up to a responsibility for their football players' physical risks is exactly the opposite of what the schools are doing. By requiring its football players to sign "acknowledgment of risk" forms, which it is so far refusing to make public, Northwestern appears to be trying to deny any responsibility for the harms football has caused its players. Whether it will thereby escape having to make the type of compensatory payments that the NFL is having to pay to its brain-damaged former players, Northwestern's approach sacrifices moral principle for profit. In telling its players in effect 'you are adults who know the risks, so don't look to us if you don't like the consequences,' the University appears oblivious to a critical difference between it and the NFL. On the one hand, pro-football players with the help of their union and sports agents are handsomely compensated for subjecting their brains to the risk of life-threatening injuries; on the other hand, Northwestern not only takes most of the money it makes from similar risk-taking by its players, it is fighting hard to deny them independent representation under the pretense that its only priority is player safety. But, that is manifestly not the case

Only systemic governance reforms will protect football players' health and education from their schools' and coaches' conflicting interests.

In campaigning to pressure his football players to vote against the union, Coach Fitzgerald is quoted as promising to get them whatever they need. What they need, however, is not ad hoc, piecemeal measures strategically offered to placate their sporadic discontents. What they need, instead, is thorough systemic changes in the management of their football program so that the players' health and education take priority over the many competing interests that are endemic to the structure of Division I football. Most of what coaches do to win and what colleges do to increase football revenues have potentially adverse effects on their players as well as on the schools' academic values; for example: the longer and tougher the practices, the better the chances the team will win and the coaches and schools will make more money, but the greater the chances the players will be injured and denied educational opportunities; Similarly, coaches and schools benefit and players sacrifice the more games played, the sooner injured players are returned to play, the easier athletic scholarships are pulled and the less schools spend on player health care and insurance coverage. The seriousness of these types of conflicts for players' health has been underscored by the recent revelations of schools' widespread underreporting of concussions, of coaches' pressuring medical staff to approve sidelined players' return to play, of the subjectivity of sideline medical judgments which gives cover to such approvals, of the high percentage of injuries during practices and of the pervasive secrecy that shields coaches and staff from outside scrutiny as to the impact of their practices. Finally, on the academic side, by lowering the standards for their players' admission and education, the schools increase their chances of winning by increasing their pool of eligible players, but all at the cost of their academic values.

In giving the power to decide what are and are not academically sound and medically safe practices to those whose financial interests depend on winning games, Division I schools are violating the fundamental principle of corporate and governmental risk management that risks should not be managed by those who will profit from more risk. Without predetermined lines that a university has determined it will not cross for the sake of winning, human nature and history teaches that such lines will be drawn in ad hoc ways that will end up putting the deciders' interests ahead of everyone else's. Unless coaches and administrators can cite evidence that they as a professional class are somehow immune from the conscious and subconscious motivations of economic self-interest, then, prudent management and a respect for the well-being of football players requires that line drawing and enforcement authority be vested in a body whose members do not have a financial stake in how they draw and enforce the lines that should never be crossed.

In refusing to recognize any conflicts of interest in its football program's operation, Northwestern's President points to its faculty sports oversight committee as sufficient independent protection for the football players' welfare. Such committees, however, make a charade of both independence and oversight. Their volunteer members are appointed by the President, they have no authority to override coaches or effectuate policy changes and at Northwestern are even explicitly barred from having any involvement in the operations of the athletic department.

Sadly for believers in the social importance of faculties' independent exercise of their highly cultivated powers of analytical reasoning, even when free of Administration oversight, they have acted more as football cheerleaders than as guardians of their students' educational and physical welfare. After Northwestern's football program's dysfunctions had been exposed by the players' call for a union vote and the NLRB's findings of their treatment as employees rather than students, the School's faculty government rejected calls even to look into whether the players needed greater protections. In this regard, Northwestern's faculty is typical of other Division I schools. Whether owing to self-interest, disinterest or plain boosterism, Division I faculty bodies' failure to challenge their Administrations' cliché-ridden defenses of their football programs represents a failure in their essential function of upholding the truth-seeking norms of academic inquiry and critique. Just as it has taken the external pressures of lawsuits, press reports and law enforcement to remedy major abuses in Division I football, meaningful reform in how schools operate their football programs will require acceptance of oversight by truly independent multidisciplinary committees that can establish and enforce academic and health standards untainted by the conflicts of interest inherent in the profit-making motives of coaches and administrators.

Such committees, of course, in light of Division I football's inherent violence and time demands, could not be expected to eliminate all health and educational disparities between the football players and other students. Nevertheless, if their first task were to determine what baseline educational and health needs are necessary in order for all students to have an opportunity for a liberal education in as safe an environment as football allows, it could make a real difference by forcing coaches to accommodate what they believe is needed to field winning teams to those baseline requirements. Furthermore, as an added benefit, by providing a school-based check on coaches' and administrators' incentives to profit at their players' expense, an independent, authoritative oversight committee focused only on protecting the players' welfare and the school's academic values should reduce the occasions for the notoriously inconsistent, dilatory and unpredictable imposition of NCAA sanctions.

If coaches come to believe they cannot effectively compete within the constraints of those baseline educational and safety requirements, then the presidents and trustees will no longer be able to hide behind the myth of the student athlete and medical uncertainties as to who and how many players will actually suffer permanent brain injury. Instead, they will finally have to confront openly the question that goes to the heart of what universities should be about: why do big-time football's benefits outweigh its known and potential harms to the school's academic values and the players' health and education. Critics may be right that the lack of a principled answer to this question won't matter because the financial and public relations benefits of football are simply too great for the leaders of Division I universities, whether academically elite or not, to cede any of their control over football to those who do not have winning as their primary mission.

Nevertheless, the presidents of the elite universities still identify themselves as committed academics and their trustees by and large profess their belief in both the ideal of the scholar-athlete and the values of a liberal education. In this, there may be a glimmer of hope that at some point they will no longer find tolerable the contradictions between their football programs and their values as teachers, scholars and responsible school administrators. Then, maybe they will find the will to implement the reforms that can become models for all Division I school leaders who no longer want to tolerate a double standard for their football players' health and education. Unfortunately, for that point to be reached, we may have to wait until the progression of academic scandals, health tragedies and threats of massive liability becomes too great for the public to tolerate.

John Elson is Emeritus Professor of Law at Northwestern University.

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The Most Unusual Deaths By State, In One Map

Tue, 2015-05-19 09:04
What are the most distinctive deaths by state?

Researcher Francis Boscoe of the New York State Cancer Registry set out to answer that question by analyzing the deaths in each state from 2001 to 2010. Out of a total 136 causes of death, Boscoe pinpointed the number one reason people in different states died that was distinct from the United States’ general population. Now keep in mind that these aren’t the most common deaths in each state. Instead, think of these deaths as the ones that a state had in a disproportionately high number compared to the national average.

The map, Boscoe explained, is a good way to illuminate potential hidden health care disparities or crises in different states. For instance, Florida had 15,000 deaths from HIV, while Texas had 679 deaths from tuberculosis. The causes of death also call attention to special hazards that can come from living in certain states; both Alaska and Idaho had unusually high death numbers caused by air and water accidents, while coal-mining states like West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania had unusually high numbers of deaths caused by pneumoconiosis -- otherwise known as Black Lung Disease -- and other chemical effects.

Disturbingly, three states (Oregon, Nevada and New Mexico) had unusually high numbers of deaths caused by "legal intervention," or deaths caused by law enforcement.

Other notable insights include the fact that Michigan had largest number of unusual deaths recorded: 37,292 deaths from “atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” or hardening of the arteries that lead to heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease. Montana, with the least amount of distinctive deaths, recorded 11 deaths by progressive nephritic and nephrotic syndrome, or kidney disorders, over the nine years surveyed.

But what Boscoe found most interesting were those deaths caused by diseases that are either completely preventable or medically curable. For instance, Louisiana had 22 deaths from syphilis, but that number should actually be closer to zero because of how much we know about syphilis and how to cure it.

“A project like this (a map, specifically) is a good way to draw attention to such issues,” Boscoe concluded.

The study was published online May 14 in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, which is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal on chronic disease.

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Psychologist Will Head Chicago Jail Where A Third Of Inmates Are Mentally Ill

Tue, 2015-05-19 06:00

By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO, May 19 (Reuters) - A clinical psychologist will be appointed head of Chicago's Cook County Jail, the nation's second-largest jail where a third of the inmates are mentally ill, officials announced on Tuesday.

Nneka Jones Tapia will become executive director of the jail on May 26, county officials said. Tapia, who has been with the sheriff's office since 2013 and oversees mental health strategy, replaces Cara Smith, who will become chief strategy officer for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

Cook County houses an average of 9,000 inmates daily, of which 25 percent to 35 percent suffer from mental illness, according to a spokesman. That number has grown in recent years as the number of mental health facilities fell, jail officials said.

Officials said Tapia is the first mental health professional to be appointed to head a large jail. Cook County is the nation's largest single-site jail - Los Angeles County has more inmates but multiple sites, said Dart.

"I think I can bring a wealth of knowledge to the staff in understanding the inmates," Tapia said in an interview.

Most of the mentally ill inmates in the jail are charged with low-level, non-violent offenses, such as trespassing and drug possession, and some get into jail just to receive treatment, Tapia said.

Dart said that since the 1960s, the number of beds in Illinois' state-run psychiatric hospitals has fallen to fewer than 1,500 from 35,000, which is why there are so many mentally ill people incarcerated.

"When a third of your population is mentally ill, you sure as heck better have someone who understands that at the top," said Dart.

A prison monitoring and criminal justice reform organization praised the move.

"Having someone in a leadership position with those kinds of credentials makes a lot of sense because so many of the issues in the jail have to do with mental illness," said Jennifer Vollen-Katz, executive director of the John Howard Association.

In 44 states, the largest institution housing people with severe psychiatric diseases is a prison or jail, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center, a Virginia-based non-profit that focuses on eliminating barriers to treatment for the severely mentally ill.

"We should be keeping people with mental illnesses out of jails and prisons in the first place," said Center spokeswoman Jamie Mondics. She said having a focus on the problem is "a great step." (Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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Rahm Emanuel Reverses Position On Policy That Would Affect Chicago-Based United Airlines

Mon, 2015-05-18 16:55
CHICAGO -- In a move that shows why Chicago's called "clout city," United Airlines may have used its political influence to strong-arm Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) into reversing his stance on an air-travel measure he previously supported.

The Open Skies policy allows international airlines to fly to the U.S. without any governmental interference in establishing routes, airfare and other operational factors, as a means of promoting economic competition, tourism and trade. Over the last two years, several Middle Eastern airlines, including Emirates and Qatar Airways, have signed Open Skies agreements with the city of Chicago to offer nonstop flights between Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Dubai and Doha. Emanuel has heralded the presence of the airlines, as they contribute to his desire to mold Chicago into a larger economic force and a more “global” and “world-class” city. Part of this involves ambitious goals to increase international tourism to the city.

“Chicago is pleased to welcome Qatar Airways' world-class service to our global gateway, O'Hare International Airport. This new international air service creates additional economic opportunities, increases tourism to our city and strengthens Chicago's cultural and business connection to the world,” Emanuel said in a press release in 2013.

Likewise, he championed the arrival of Emirates last year as another addition to Chicago’s “global connectivity.”

But this month, Emanuel appeared to abruptly pull his support from these airlines. In a letter to the U.S. Departments of State, Transportation and Commerce, he called out the Middle Eastern airlines for allegedly violating the Open Skies agreements, saying that their governments unfairly subsidize the airlines. The letter went on to argue that the subsidies provide too much competition to American airline companies -- including United, which is headquartered in Chicago and has its largest hub at O’Hare.

“In the past, I welcomed the expansion of Qatar and Emirates to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and while I continue to encourage international airlines to bring their flights and passengers to our city, I have serious concerns about the unfair government subsidies and benefits the Middle East carriers have received and the impact on the U.S. airlines,” Emanuel wrote in the letter.

Emanuel, who was sworn in for a second term on Monday after facing a runoff election, has received almost $140,000 in campaign donations from United since 2011.

In addition to its political clout, United is a major contributor to Chicago’s economy, employing over 14,000 people in the city, including in its downtown corporate office and its O’Hare operations office. United is also a member of Emanuel’s World Business Chicago, a collaboration between the city and Chicago-based corporations to promote economic globalization.

However, the company is angling toward a larger presence in Houston. Last week, Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport broke ground on an expansion to the airport, supported by United. Ever since United merged with Houston-based Continental Airlines in 2010, the company has started basing more of its major flights in Houston.

Emanuel’s office and United could not be reached for comment.

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The Most Audacious Burger List

Mon, 2015-05-18 16:37
It's National Burger Month and Eat Drink Lucky has curated the ten best burgers in honor of the occasion. We looked for a certain bravado, an audacity of flavor and a gung ho approach to this most humble of dishes. Here is the list for you, get ready to be hungry.


#1 The Greene Burger at Stanton and Greene, Washington DC
This bacon studded badboy from Stanton and Greene has two 6 oz. bacon infused beef patties with smoked gouda and MORE BACON: bacon aioli and crispy bacon. Then add onion rings and put all this deliciousness on a pretzel bun.

#2 Terlingua at Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Austin, TX
Head to Hopdoddy Burger Bar for the Terlingua in honor of National Burger Month. Angus beef, chile con carne, Fritos (but of course, we must have Fritos), Tillamook cheddar and some of that Sassy Sauce.

#3 The 420 at Boston Burger Co, Boston, MA
The 420 Burger at Boston Burger Co.'s has got a lot going on. For one thing, it's got noodles, and we all love noodles. The 420's decked out with American cheese, bacon, golden BBQ sauce, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, french fries AND mac & cheese bites. Oof.

#4 The Dipster at Park and Co., Denver, CO
Everyone secretly (or even openly, we know you bring it to every potluck party) loves French onion dip. At Park & Co. they've come up with The Dipster, featuring a Harris Ranch beef patty or Rock River Ranch buffalo patty, with French onion dip, bacon, and of course, potato chips. Cause you can't have French onion dip without potato chips.

#5 Apocalypse Now at Nosh Kitchen Bar, Portland, ME
It's the apocalypse. In a burger. Nosh's Apocalypse Now burger is topped with American cheese; crispy pork belly; smoked bacon (yeah, we're with you so far) BUT THEN: foie gras paté, mayo and cherry jam. On a grilled brioche bun to add some class.

#6 Ramen Burger at Ramen Burger, New York, NY
This takes your dorm room staple to new heights. Ramen Burger's Ramen Burger is made with a USDA Prime ground beef chuck patty sandwiched between buns made from freshly cut ramen noodles. Add in a special shoyu glaze, and you've got yourself a tasty burger.

#7 Hawkins Special at Hawkins House of Burgers, Los Angeles, CA
The Hawkins Special at Hawkins House of Burgers is a challenge we're ready to take on. They make that baby with three patties, three eggs, bacon, hot link, chili AND pastrami. Yup, all that plus a side of fries (large, what else) and a drink, and we're set for the day.

#8 Ringmaster at Straw, San Francisco, CO
"Why can't you have a burger on a donut?" That's a common refrain in Eat Drink Lucky's offices. Well, thanks to The Ringmaster at Straw you can have your burger, and donut, and eat it too. Don't just stop with The Ringmaster though (organic ground beef, melted cheddar and jack cheese on a house-made glazed donut bun) add maple-glazed bacon, a fried egg and avocado FTW. And get hand-cut fries too.

#9 Hot N Smoky at Burger Bar, Chicago, IL
We like it hot and smoky. Fortunately, at Burger Bar, you can get it just like that with the Hot N Smoky. It's a BBQ beef burger with smoked pulled pork, a grilled hot link, Tillamook cheddar, smoked habanero BBQ glaze and cucumber onion slaw.

#10 The Trotter at Lil' Woody's, Seattle, WA
The Trotter concludes our Audacious Burger List with its to-die-for combination of caramelized onions, apple, chopped Hills bacon and horseradish sauce for a kick.

Comment below and share your favorite burgers with us -- and if you live near one of these audacious burgers and haven't had one yet, go for it, and tell 'em Eat Drink Lucky sent you!

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College Campuses Are More Trans-Inclusive Than Ever, But Still Have A Long Way To Go

Mon, 2015-05-18 16:25
A unique, very small group of students who shared a particular struggle in their path to a diploma was among the millions of the nation’s college graduates who tossed their caps into the air this past weekend.

That group is those students who identify as transgender, or gender non-conforming, gender-fluid or any other number of terms that continue to crop up describing those who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Although ever-increasing numbers of college campuses and universities across the country are instituting new policies that are inclusive of trans students -- such as the all-female Smith College’s move earlier this month to open its admissions policy to include transgender women -- the deck is largely still stacked against this oft-overlooked student population.

“By and large, campuses today want to be LGBT-friendly,” explained Shane Windmeyer, co-founder and executive director of Campus Pride, an advocacy organization working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students. “They sometimes know what the ‘B’ stands for, and when it comes to the ‘T’ there’s still a huge learning curve to even understanding and being aware, much less having trans-inclusive policies.”

The problems start early for trans and gender non-conforming youth looking forward to a college education. As reported by the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, published in 2012 by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, trans youth experience alarmingly high levels of harassment, physical assault and sexual violence. The harassment is sometimes so disruptive that nearly one-sixth of survey respondents reported leaving school in grades K-12 or in a higher education setting.

Nearly one-fifth of respondents to the survey also reported being denied gender-appropriate housing in a higher education setting, while 5 percent were denied campus housing altogether. Eleven percent of respondents also reported that they lost or could not receive financial aid or scholarships because of their gender identity or expression.

Once on campus, trans students also sometimes face obstacles when it comes to changing their gender markers and preferred names on university records; to accessing safe restrooms that reflect their gender identity both in a housing setting and around campus; and to accessing student health insurance coverage inclusive of trans-related surgeries, such as hormone therapy or gender confirmation surgery. Only one college in the U.S., the University of Arizona, has developed a transgender studies program that will allow trans students to learn about their own history.

All of these concerns are just part of a much larger problem, according to Eli Erlick, a student at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, and a trans activist -- she is the director and co-founder of Trans Student Educational Resources, a youth-led group that is working to transform the educational system for trans and gender non-conforming students.

“Transgender people are often denied access to education,” Erlick told The Huffington Post. “It’s very unfair and there’s a huge need for comprehensive reform.”

Eli Erlick, the creator of Trans Student Educational Resources, says even well-meaning campuses still have a lot of work to do when it comes to being truly gender-inclusive.

Erlick argues that even the schools that have done a better job than others on trans inclusion have often been more reactionary than proactive, with many schools only being pushed into action after an out trans student has a negative on-campus experience. Still other schools may enact trans-inclusive policies but don’t follow through with them in a meaningful way.

“Most colleges don’t pay enough attention to this until they have a student negatively affected by policies they may or may not have, but we’re encouraging colleges to solve problems before they happen,” Erlick continued. “The change is happening very fast, but there’s a long way to go.”

The majority of the schools that have already taken action on creating a safer and more welcoming climate for trans students are located in urban or progressive areas that have typically already been working on gay and lesbian issues for some time, Windmeyer noted. His organization’s ranking, published in 2012 in partnership with Advocate magazine, listed the nation’s 10 most trans-friendly universities and campuses, half of which were located in New York, New Jersey or California.

But schools in other parts of the country are also taking positive steps to make their campuses more trans-inclusive, often thanks to an out trans or gender non-conforming faculty member or student pushing for change.

Among them are the University of Pennsylvania, which leads the way in gender-affirming health care and has hosted an annual Trans* Health Conference for the past 13 years. The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor’s Spectrum Center offers comprehensive information on gender-inclusive restrooms and housing options on campus, as well as opportunities for trans students to travel to conferences to connect with other students. And the University of Vermont attracted national media attention earlier this year when it adopted a new policy of allowing students to officially identify their preferred pronouns, including a gender-neutral option, through the school registrar’s web portal.

The University of Pennsylvania is recognized by advocates as one of the nation's best campuses when it comes to trans issues.

Still, Southern, rural, conservative and historically black campuses have been slower to take action, Windmeyer says, though not for a lack of students wanting it. As more and more young people are thinking about gender in non-binary terms, Windmeyer argues schools ought to take action sooner than later -- not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because he believes being inclusive benefits a campus's bottom line, too.

“We still live like we’re in the 1960s when it comes to trans issues and we’re way behind,” Windmeyer said. “It is slow work and there are more and more gender non-conforming, non-binary trans people who are young who are expecting a safe learning environment, so colleges have to play catch-up very quick.”

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To The Person Who Is Reading This Open Letter About This Open Letter

Mon, 2015-05-18 16:12
Let me first say, thank you.

This open letter hasn’t had an easy life. It started out as nothing. The bills were piling up. Family and friends had lost faith in its ability to get done.

And slowly with the help of a few good samaritans like yourself, it’s blossomed into the series of words that you’re reading right now.

You saw this open letter hitchhiking around on the information super highway and instead of driving past it, you stopped and you gave this little open letter a chance. Counted out by so many, this open letter had no one to turn to, and you stepped up.

You didn’t clap for my super un-athletic kid playing sports. You didn’t pay for my expensive Starbucks drink which, let’s be honest, I only get on the slight chance someone in front of me will pay for it. And you didn’t leave me a smile as a tip, which my student loan officer continues to refuse as payment.

The truth is, you didn’t have to click on this open letter at all. And you didn’t have to read this open letter, which thanks you for reading this open letter you didn’t have to click on. But despite the adversity placed in your path, you forged ahead and proved that you did read this open letter.

It’s not a perfect open letter, and will never claim to be. And yet, like people, that’s what makes open letters great, the imperfections. But you know what is perfect? Your curiosity.

Thank you.

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Anderson Cooper Fooled By Satirical News Site Clickhole

Mon, 2015-05-18 15:09
In his defense ... actually, we got nothing. No defense. Come on, Cooper.

On Monday afternoon, CNN's Anderson Cooper tweeted out a serious reaction to a Clickhole story about something he allegedly said at a college graduation, not realizing that Clickhole is a satirical site from the same people who bring us The Onion:

Very quickly, the Internet swarmed on Cooper and his inability to know 100 percent of all things in the universe. He shortly after sent out a tweet admitting his mistake:

Okay, other media folks, we think Anderson Cooper is high profile enough that the rest of you will now know better. No excuses from here on out.

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America's 25 Best Barbecue Chains

Mon, 2015-05-18 14:54
Barbecue is one of those foods that's fiercely regional. In Texas, it's all about the beef; in Carolina, the focus is pork; and so on. Thankfully, there are great barbecue restaurants all across the country with multiple locations that are spreading the barbecue gospel far and wide. We surveyed nearly 10,000 folks from across the country, and these are the 25 chains that received the most votes.

Click Here to see America's 25 Best Barbecue Chains

Chains tend to get bad raps, because (for the most part) they rely on production lines and cost-cutting measures to deliver food that's as inexpensive and quickly-made as possible (think pizza chains versus an actual pizzeria). But when it comes to barbecue, there's really no way to cut corners. Because if you cut corners with barbecue -- by using low-grade meat, for example, or employing artificial means to give it smoky flavor -- people will know. And not only will they know, they'll get angry. You can screw around with burgers or pizza, but you can't screw around with 'cue.

All the owners of the restaurants on our list keep this fact close to heart, and it comes through in the food they serve. In order to assemble our ranking, we created a survey with 67 chain barbecue joints and asked the public to weigh in and vote for their favorites. Nine thousand, six hundred, and seventeen votes later, there was a clear champion.

Choosing a favorite type of barbecue is a subjective matter, but I think we can all agree that when done right, there's nothing on earth that's more delicious. And while some of these chains specialize in Texas-style barbecue and others focus on St. Louis, we should be mighty thankful that they've decided to expand and grace parts of the country that might otherwise not have access to great barbecue. So loosen your belt and read on to learn which 25 barbecue chains are America's best.

#25 Dickey's BBQ Pit

Photo Credit: Dickey's

With more than 470 locations in 42 states, Dickey's, founded by Travis Dickey more than 70 years ago, is the world's largest barbecue franchise. Each location pit-smokes its meat on the premises, and free kids' meals are still offered every Sunday. While it's certainly old-fashioned, that's more the result of an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. Meats are served by the pound, and include Southern-style pulled pork, hickory-smoked brisket, honey ham, spicy Cheddar and Polish sausages, pork ribs, chicken, and turkey breast. There are no frills at Dickey's, just solid, honest-to-goodness barbecue.

#24 City Barbeque

Photo Credit: City Barbeque

With six Ohio locations, two in Kentucky, and one each in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Indianapolis, City Barbeque has been dishing up award-winning craft barbecue since 1999. Meats are smoked upwards of 18 hours, and while the owners don't claim to hew to any particular region's style, they're really representing the best of all worlds -- and doing it well. Brisket, pulled pork, pulled pork with slaw, turkey, pulled chicken with Alabama white sauce, and smoked sausage are sold on a bun, on their own, or by the pound, and St. Louis-cut ribs come slathered in their classic barbecue sauce. Sides and desserts are scratch-made daily; don't miss the gumbo, hush puppies, or banana pudding.

Click Here to see the Original Story on The Daily Meal

Dan Myers,The Daily Meal

More Content from The Daily Meal:
The Dos and Don'ts of Outdoor Entertaining
Between-Season Centerpieces
50 Best Burger Recipes
America's Favorite Pizza Chains
Want to Throw the Perfect Outdoor Party?

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The Case of Former University of Illinois Football Player Simon Cvijanovic Points to Need for Independent Players' Association

Mon, 2015-05-18 14:17
Is the college sport system set up to provide the kind of independent review necessary to protect the interests of big-time football and basketball players who perform in the multi-billion dollar college sport industry? Given what is happening at the University of Illinois following a former football player raising issues regarding player mistreatment, the answer to that question is no.

On Sunday, May 10, 2015, Simon Cvijanovic, a former offensive lineman for the University of Illinois football team, made one of his first forays onto Twitter, giving voice to his experience as a player there. About playing football at Illinois, Cvijanovic wrote:

I'm not gonna just keep quiet while players suffer. I didn't want this to get out because I love my school. But they seem not to care.

When interviewed by the Chicago Tribune, he went on to say about playing at a Big Ten institution:

It's a stressful environment. It's a dangerous culture. We don't talk about how we're mistreated because we're then 'not a team player' and 'soft'.

Player health and safety issues were among the chief concerns raised by Cvijanovic in his postings. He wrote:

I stopped playing football because of my physical health. I was asked to push myself past pain until I didn't want to play anymore.

He further alleged that the coaching staff had mistreated players by threatening loss of scholarships if players didn't toe the line and in one instance, abusing a player physically at practice, while demanding that players compete when injured without licensed staff support.

The University's initial response to the allegations was a proposed investigation by athletic director, Mike Thomas. However, in a press conference held less than 24 hours after Cvijanovic's allegations became public, Thomas seemed to be actively working to discredit Cvijanovic while offering unqualified support for the coaching staff and program.

Following an inquiry by the National College Players Association challenging the degree to which an investigation undertaken by Thomas could be done without bias given his public statements in support of the program, the University announced that Chicago-based law firm, Franczek Radelet, had been retained to conduct an independent review of the situation.

Here too, however, the question of who is representing the interests of the players goes unanswered. The firm itself is hired to represent the interests of the University of Illinois and its employees, not the athletes.

The law firm selected by the University to conduct the independent investigation is Franczek Radelet, a firm known for its robust work in the higher education sector. Notably, however, according to a description on the Franczek Radelet website, the firm is also

... a powerful advocate for employers and a formidable adversary to unions. We provide creative and effective solutions to challenging labor relations problems. We aggressively pursue client goals at the bargaining table, in arbitration, and in the courtroom. We work with non-unionized employers to develop and implement effective strategies for preventing and defeating union organizing campaigns. We are a respected adversary -- unions know we'll anticipate both their negotiation tactics and campaign plans.

Was it mere coincidence that a firm with this kind of pedigree was chosen or was there a strategic reason stemming from the fact that Cvijanovic called for players at the University of Illinois to unionize? College sport officials still remain unsettled after football players at another Big Ten school, Northwestern, signed union cards in February of 2014 and were declared by the regional National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to be employees with the right to collectively bargain (a decision currently under review).

In the press conference University of Illinois Athletic Director Thomas held last week, his stance on unionization surfaced. Mirroring the talking points issued to college sport administrators by the NCAA following the action of the Northwestern football players last spring, he said, "A lot of time and resources are invested in them. I don't see student-athletes as employees, and I certainly don't think unionizing is the right approach." So rankled by the prospect of college football players unionizing that legislatures in two Big Ten "states" -- Michigan and Ohio -- have sought to bar college athletes from being employees, doing so with little public dialogue and without players like Cvijanovic being informed that such legislation was being proposed. Could the University of Illinois through this investigation be engaging in a similar preemptive strike?

While the answer to that question will unfold in the days and weeks ahead, the actions taken by the University of Illinois validate in dramatic fashion what Cvijanovic observed to the Twitter-sphere, and what prompted Northwestern football players to sign union cards. As Cvijanovic pointed out, "There is no one to speak on behalf of the athlete."

Ellen J. Staurowsky is a professor of sport management at Drexel University and co-founder of College Athletes' Rights & Empowerment Faculty Coalition (CARE-FC).

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The 33 Best Ice Cream Shops in America

Mon, 2015-05-18 13:15
By: Kevin Alexander and Liz Childers

Few things in life are better than eating an ice cream cone on a hot day. Like maybe finding your soulmate. Or learning how to do the dance moves from Will Smith's Men in Black. And since we can't help you with your dating life or teach you how to take a walk with me, we opted to just eat all of the ice cream over the past year, in everywhere from college-town creameries, to desolate stretches of Maine, to BROOKLYN (?!?). We kept many from our original list of 21, and tried to get in some old-school legends we missed, and some new-school spots just waiting to be legendary.

So just throw on your classiest pair of elastic-waisted jeans and get ready to indulge your eyes in picture after picture of frozen perfection. And, as Will Smith said in the '90s, don't jeer us, we're fearless. Except in the comments section.

More: The Best Burger in Every State in America

Credit: Flickr/Penn State (edited)

Berkey Creamery
University Park, PA
Don't worry new high school graduates: if you act now, you can still transfer to Penn State by second semester, which is plenty of time to spend your dining hall dollars strictly on the cheddar, yogurt, ricotta, sour cream, chocolate milk, ice cream, and sherbet that basically pours out of Berkey. The university's creamery makes 225,000 gallons of the frozen goodness annually, and its short course boasts Ben & Jerry (THAT Ben & Jerry) as alumni. The only downside is their strict no-mix policy when it comes to choosing cone flavors. But, remember, you're about to transfer here, so you have so much time left to put on the freshman 15 (plus more?) via Black Cow (vanilla with root beer sherbet swirl) and blueberry cheesecake (blueberry swirled into cheesecake ice cream).

Credit: Natalie Gay/Thrillist

Creole Creamery
New Orleans, LA
With an old local bakery's neon sign still mounted over its doorway, Creole Creamery looks like a soda fountain -- and, with a hot-pink interior reminiscent of an old-school parlour, that impression doesn't alter much once you step inside. The flavors, however, do step outside the box with a surprisingly tasty avocado and a refreshing, fruity peach Riesling, but stay old-fashioned, with their signature Creole cream cheese. The ice cream uses an old-style farmhouse cheese -- think sweet, more spreadable cream cheese -- and whips it into the ice cream. The result is velvety smooth, refreshing ice cream that's just about the only thing that can help you survive a New Orleans August.

Dairy Joy
Weston, MA
I've been eating this ice cream since before I had teeth, so yes, some of the love for Dairy Joy is clearly nostalgia-based. But the other is that they simply make some of the best soft-serve ice cream in all of New England. Sure, it is annoying that they're only open seasonally and they close as soon as it gets dark out, and you usually have to go sit on the logs over in the corner of the parking lot because it's so crowded, and lick your Java Berry or Creamsicle quickly lest it melt all over your hand. But that just kind of adds to the charm.

Credit: Flickr/Anders Mellbratt (edited)

Fairfax Scoop
Fairfax, CA
Back 14 years ago when Ray Martin first opened his tiny Scoop, there were no other locally sourced organic ice creams being peddled around Marin. And yet Ray insisted that all of his ingredients from the berries to the honey in their famous honey lavender to the red chiles in the fantastic cinnamon/ginger/chili Controlled Burn come from local purveyors, and you can watch him or his employees ladle their homemade waffle batter onto the press for the cones and waffle cups. Yes, it's small, and cramped, and the line is often stretched out around the block. But it's ever so worth it.

Credit: Shanley Cox/Thrillist

Glacé Artisan Ice Cream
Kansas City, MO
Once you realize that Glacé is the brain-freezing dessert project from the same man plopping neon, metallic-hued sweets into boxes at Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates, and then go back a little further, and learn that Elbow did stints along the Vegas Strip, including a stop with Emeril, then this ice cream wonderland begins to make a great deal of sense. Don't come expecting a scoop of plain ol' vanilla. Rather, think a little higher for the rosewater vanilla. And then just ignore that anyway because you can get a scoop of goat Cheese & cherries. Or blackberry chocolate flake. Or peanut butter and jelly. But, still, appreciate the beauty of rosewater vanilla.

Clumpies Ice Cream
Chattanooga, TN
Fifteen years in the business, Clumpies was opened by the son of a third-generation candy maker, who turned the family's sweet tooth to the freezer section. Working in small batches, the creamery keeps things simple -- mostly -- with rich and creamy flavors, like chocolate chocolate chunk and butter pecan. And then not-so-simple with tongue-tingling, Pop Rock-infused Tutti Frutti ice cream. This does have candy-making genes, after all.

Credit: Flickr/Geoffrey Kirk

Hodgman's Frozen Custard
New Gloucester, ME
Picture driving through Maine with your grandparents every summer and stuffing yourself with lobster rolls and fried clams and blueberries and L.L.Bean fleeces. And then, even though you are so full that you actually wish the elastic in your Umbros stretched a little more, you stop at this little roadside who on Lewiston Road in New Gloucester and opt for the vanilla in a cone, expecting that it will be just like the normal ice cream you've eaten. And you'd be wrong. The frozen custard is thicker and creamier and somehow stays on your tongue longer. It's delicious. Oh yeah, and this was my summer ever year until I got too old to wear Umbros. Which was sometime after I was 17.

Credit: Drew Wood/Thrillist

Izzy's Ice Cream
St. Paul, MN
It's rare that you see anyone described as an "upbeat ice cream specialist" on a Google description, but that is pretty apt for Lara Hammel and Jeff Sommers, both Minnesota natives, and owners of Izzy's. As a lawyer and a teacher, they had no experience when they opened 15 years ago, but studied hard, and now the name rings out for pretty much anyone in the Twin Cities. We're partial to some of their signature flavors, like the cereal milk with baked Kashi in the mix, as well as the addictively spicy Norwegian chai.

Cliff's Homemade Ice Cream
Ledgewood, NJ
This Jersey spot is an all-encompassing tug at the nostalgia strings from the atmosphere to the flavors. Looking exactly like it was opened in '75 -- it was -- this is a drive-in ice cream stand, rather than a parlor. Park, go up to the window, and start the very long process of choosing from 11 soft ice creams and 60 hard, hand-dipped ice creams. You should, eventually, get the strawberry, because you're at the kind of old-school spot where you feel like you should but also because it's award-winning, and then grab a seat at the picnic table. When you finish and lick the melting strawberry off your hand, go back again for the double dark chocolate fudge crunch, sit back down, and maybe pretend you're 8 years old again. This is the spot to do it.

Credit: Kailley Lindman/Thrillist

Margie's Fine Candies
Chicago, IL
If your father created a cradle in the back of a candy case to literally raise you in an ice cream parlor, you'd have some pride too. And that's exactly what happened with Peter George Poulos Jr., who owns the legendary ice cream shop in Chicago, open since 1921, and known for their hot fudge sundaes. If you go, don't mess around: go straight to one of those old-school booths with the tableside jukebox, put on something by Chubby Checker, and cover your face in fudge as if you're applying war paint. Oh, and then eat the ice cream too.

Fat Cat Creamery
Houston, TX
Yes, you can get into the whole locally sourced from Texas farms thing. And yes, their packaging is all compostable down to their damn spoons made of cornstarch. But your stomach and taste buds won't know that. All they'll know is that you're eating a flavor called Waterloo strawberry buttermilk made with strawberry jam, buttermilk ice cream, and Waterloo Texas gin, and you never want to stop. Unless you get the milk chocolate stout. Or one of their incredible seasonal flavors (and yes, the rumor was true: they did have an Easter-themed malted milk ice cream with Cadbury Egg pieces inside).

Credit: Jeff Miller/Thrillist

Burbank, CA
Fun fact: a quenelle is a shape that fancy restaurants often use to make your ice cream or sorbet look appetizing. Even more fun fact: you can't get the ice cream at Quenelle in the quenelle shape. But their loyal customers don't care, because when you have everything from blueberry pie ice cream to monthly rotating flavors like Red Bull/vodka popsicles (bring your ID) to hand-dipped apple pie ice cream bars you can cover in a brown butter glaze with graham cracker streusel, there's something for everyone. If it wasn't clear that they're not a traditional ice cream shop, you won't find sundaes or milkshakes on the menu. But you can find local brewery Golden Road's IPA in ice cream form. Yeah, you're gonna need to bring that ID for sure.

Bi-Rite Creamery
San Francisco, CA
We've said it before, as they're on our list for the second straight year, but if you see someone lining up on 18th street in the Mission at, say, 2 p.m. on a Wednesday, it's not a protest against tech. It's the line for the original Bi-Rite opened across from the market in 2006. Their Straus Family Creamery dairy ice creams are perfection, whether you get them in the original Mission store by Dolores or over in NoPa inside the newer Bi-Rite Market. Either way, it's worth waiting for. On a weekday morning.

Credit: Flickr/Philip Leara

Ted Drewes
St. Louis, MO
Before Shake Shack came along and made the whole "concrete" thing popular nationwide, there was Ted Drewes. The family has been selling frozen custard for more than 80 years, and -- even more strange but nonetheless awesome -- "Christmas trees for over 50 years." So even if you're just there to purchase a tree under which you will put wrapped boxes of Micro Machines, you might as well get one of their amazing concretes, especially the Twisted Caramel, since the crumbled pretzels add just the right saltiness to that caramel.

Credit: Grant Beachy/Thrillist

The Chief
Goshen, IN
Maybe it's the hand-painted sign that simply says "The Chief." Or the simple red and white decor. Maybe it's their fantastic version of that weird Midwest flavor "Blue Moon," which kind of tastes like blue raspberry and vanilla, but is neon enough that you'd think it was created during an EDM concert.

Ample Hills Creamery
Brooklyn, NY
Before Brooklyn was teeming with moms pushing babies in strollers and dudes wearing fedoras and moms pushing babies wearing fedoras in strollers, it was teeming with cows. And while those cows are missing -- as are the hills Walt Whitman famously waxed about -- Ample Hills pays tribute to the era from its two-story Gowanus creamery. Everything is made on-site -- seriously, they are a registered dairy plant -- and the result is delicious concoctions, like peppermint ice cream that's loaded with dark chocolate-covered mint patties and regular favorite, the Munchies, a pretzel-infused ice cream packed with Ritz crackers, chips, more pretzels, and M&M's. Plus, there's the basics, like strawberries and cream, meaning there is a flavor for every Brooklyn fedora wearer.

Did your favorite ice cream spot make it into the other 17? Find out, only at!

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3 Ideas on Dealing With Illinois' Pension Crisis

Mon, 2015-05-18 11:37
Now that the Illinois Supreme Court has said that the state's 2013 pension reform law won't fly, Illinois finds itself in a difficult position. How to (legally) reform the state's pension systems in a way that saves money and maintains the necessary components of the pensioners' benefits?

Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek outlined a few ideas:

So, now what?

We've compiled a boiled-down guide to the ideas being offered up and debated to help with the Illinois' worst-in-the-nation pension debt.

1. Raise taxes.

Quick backgrounder: Gov. Bruce Rauner has avoided talk of taxes and demanded cuts first since he took office, but he did talk, in his campaign, about expanding the state's sales taxes to services. He also promised only that the temporary income tax would drop back fully at the end of his four-year term. Supreme Court justices seemed to be chiding lawmakers for letting the income tax rate drop to 3.75 percent from 5 percent on individuals.

Pros: Raises money quickly.

Cons: Hated by taxpayers. Tends to drive away people and job-supporting businesses, making it more difficult to raise enough revenue. An income tax increase in 2011 did not make much of a dent in our debt.

Likelihood: With super-majority Democrats in control and the court decision making clear many other options would be considered unconstitutional, the probability of tax increases rose dramatically.

2. Re-write the constitution; lower benefits for future work.

Quick backgrounder: Rauner recently has suggested paying lower-cost benefits to current workers for their future work and re-writing the constitution to make that move legal.

Pros: Rauner's budget staff estimated it could save $2.2 billion this year if implemented.

Cons: Doesn't help with past debt. Likely would prompt a lawsuit, as the Supreme Court seemed to strongly indicate retirement benefits granted to a worker on day 1 of employment are due that worker through life.

Likelihood: Questionable. Will take time. For Rauner's idea to work, it would require a three-fifths vote of both the Democratic-led House and Senate to pass a constitutional ballot question. That question could not go to voters until November, 2016. At that election, three-fifths of voters casting ballots on the amendment would need to approve it, or a majority of all those voting in that election.

3. Negotiate with labor unions; agree on a "consideration" swap.

Quick backgrounder: Democratic Senate President John Cullerton previously had suggested the reform law was unconstitutional and instead offered a swap of sorts referred to as "consideration" in contract law. He'd previously suggested offering workers a choice between sweeter health care or sweeter pensions, but now is suggesting workers could opt between getting compounded 3 percent yearly cost-of-living adjustments without those future pay raises counted in their pensions, or they could continue to count pay raises in retirement benefits but get lower non-compounded yearly raises.

Pros: Might have a better chance of avoiding legal challenge. Could save $1 billion annually.

Cons: Doesn't save as much as the reform law just rejected. Will unions be willing to deal?

Likelihood: House Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman was non-committal; Rauner's spokesman expressed a willingness to work with the General Assembly. Could be part of a grand compromise.

Read about four more possible options at Reboot Illinois, including a few ideas you might not have heard before.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is reassessing his own pension reform ideas after the Supreme Court's opinion came down. He told reporters in Springfield May 14 that he and Senate President John Cullerton both are working on developing new ideas that are definitely strong enough to pass constitutional muster. Rauner said the government is ready to move forward with several ideas all at once.

"We are feverishly endeavoring to come up with a solution that we have a high confidence level that will pass constitutional muster, because we can't afford to spend years in court and up with, like we did here, with no real change. We can't afford that," he said.

Read about what else Rauner discussed at the Capitol at Reboot Illinois.

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How States Are Putting The Overdose Antidote Into The Hands Of Ordinary People

Mon, 2015-05-18 11:11
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — At the front of a classroom, health worker Cheryll Moore demonstrates "the nod" — a jerk of the head forward and then quickly back — a telltale sign of heroin use, though not necessarily of an overdose.

"In that scenario, they can go either way," she said. "I would not leave them alone."

After an hour or so of instruction that includes spotting signs of a life-threatening overdose, the class of ordinary people — couples, co-workers, parents, retirees and others — leaves with two vials of the prescription heroin antidote naloxone, better known by its brand name, Narcan.

It's part of an effort to make naloxone available to more people than just police, paramedics and the addicts themselves.

Because of naloxone's effectiveness in nearly instantaneously bringing overdose victims back from near-death, New York and a handful of other states are making the lifesaving drug available to virtually anyone willing to be trained to use it, hoping to better the odds it will be there when needed.

"Just in case," said casino worker Diane Colby, as she left the class with her Narcan. "You never know when there could be an incident. You never can tell." Like some others in the class, she said she doesn't know any addicts, but wouldn't necessarily be surprised to come across drug use where she works.

New York, California, Illinois, New Mexico and Washington are among the states that have passed laws to provide legal protections for prescribers who work with programs providing naloxone to laypeople. Proposed federal legislation would extend the protections nationwide.

New York also is among states no longer requiring a patient-specific prescription for the drug, instead allowing drug-prevention programs to share naloxone with trained recipients.

Since making the change last year, New York state says it has trained 10,000 laypeople on the use of the drug, sending them home with a rescue kit containing Narcan and a nasal atomizer used to spray it in an overdose victim's nose. The state Health Department pays the $50 to $60 cost of the kits.

"We want as many people to have it as possible," said Dan O'Connell, a director at the Department of Health, adding the state also is moving toward stocking high school health offices with the drug, in the same way they keep EpiPens on hand for life-threatening allergies.

They will join the ever-growing ranks of "community responders" to the unceasing opioid abuse seen in their various walks of life.

Deaths from prescription painkillers quadrupled from 1999 to 2010. In 2013, nearly 2 million Americans either abused or were dependent on opioids, and more than 16,000 people died from the prescription variety, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 8,000 other deaths involved heroin, to which many addicts migrate after becoming addicted to legal drugs.

Communities around the country responded by equipping police and other first responders, as well as addicts and their families, with naloxone. Officials said the effort to expand the reach of the drug was due to its effectiveness and lack of side-effects, and because there was no basis to early fears that better access to naloxone would increase heroin use or stop people from calling 911.

Nationally, there were 188 known community-based naloxone distribution sites in 15 states and the District of Columbia in 2010, the most recent year available, a CDC report published in 2012 said. Together, the programs trained more than 53,000 addicts, their families and friends and recorded more than 10,000 overdose reversals, according to the report, which endorsed community training as part of broader drug-prevention strategies.

But cost has been a concern, especially with the price of naloxone doubling over the past year or so. In March, Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Rancho Cucamonga, California, which makes the nasal version, told The Associated Press the increase was due to more expensive raw materials, energy and labor.

State officials in New York and Ohio have negotiated discounts of $6 per dose off the Amphastar price but fears that higher costs could hinder access remain.

"It worked very much as advertised," said Shannon Curry-Izzo, who found herself administering Narcan on a bathroom floor after having just assisted at an April training session in Buffalo.

"It took about a minute for them to come to. They woke up very groggy, very confused," said Curry-Izzo, who manages a syringe exchange program. "This was my first time. I'm very glad that I was able to be there."

In Buffalo, Erie County's first few training sessions filled so quickly, generating wait lists, that officials scheduled a dozen more classes for between May and October.

Among the lessons in class are assembling the atomizer and depressing the plunger with enough force to create a mist, with the goal of spraying half a dose up each nostril. Narcan can also be injected. Trainees also learned they should leave some space between themselves and the patient after giving the dose because a drug user could become combative while in withdrawal, or physically ill.

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