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Here's Where Singles Are Actually Looking For Love (And Not A One Night Stand)

Tue, 2014-08-26 16:49
Let's be real -- trying to navigate single life in a world dominated by swiping left or right (ehem, Tinder) can be about as much fun as stabbing yourself in the eye.

It's often hard to tell if people are truly looking for love or are more interested in a one-night stand. As it turns out, where they live may have something to do with it.

Clover, a dating app that launched earlier this year, asked 15,000 of their users if they were on the site to look for new friends, hookups, casual dating, or a long-term relationship. They then broke down the results by city and state.

Los Angeles was the most popular city for hook-ups, and New York City topped the list for long-term relationships. See how the rest of the country fared in the infographic below:


Credit: Clover

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eBay State Map Reveals All Your Neighbors' Quirky Shopping Habits (And Yours, Too)

Tue, 2014-08-26 16:12
While you'd like to blame that compulsive purchase of rainbow-colored Adirondack chairs on a moment of mid-winter delirium, the state where you live might actually offer more insight on your shopping habits.

According to an infographic created by eBay, the items people purchased the most over the last year can be categorized by state. Virginians, for example, have purchased their share of patio and gardening supplies, while their neighbors in North Carolina are racking up on baby gear. We're partial to vintage home decor (though eBay has our home state of New York pegged otherwise) and it appears that Arkansas and Illinois residents are into decorating, too.

Check out what your neighbors are buying in the infographic below.



h/t Mashable

Judges Blast Indiana, Wisconsin Gay Marriage Bans

Tue, 2014-08-26 15:53
CHICAGO (AP) — Federal appeals judges bristled on Tuesday at arguments defending gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin, with one Republican appointee comparing them to now-defunct laws that once outlawed weddings between blacks and whites.

As the legal skirmish in the United States over same-sex marriage shifted to the three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, more than 200 people lined up hours before to ensure they got a seat at the much-anticipated hearing.

While judges often play devil's advocate during oral arguments, the panel's often-blistering questions for the defenders of the same-sex marriage bans could be a signal the laws may be in trouble — at least at this step in the legal process.

Attorneys general in both states asked the appellate court to permanently restore the bans, which were ruled unconstitutional in June. Its ruling could affect hundreds of couples who married after lower courts tossed the bans and before those rulings were stayed pending the Chicago appeal.

Gay marriage is legal in 19 states as well as the District of Columbia, and advocates have won more than 20 court victories around the country since the Supreme Court ordered the U.S. government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages.

The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to take up a case, but Utah and Oklahoma cases were appealed to the high court and Virginia's attorney general also has asked the justices to weigh in. Appeals court rulings are pending for Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, while appellate court hearings are scheduled next month for Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, and is expected soon in Texas.

Richard Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, hit the backers of the ban the hardest. He balked when Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson repeatedly pointed to "tradition" as the underlying justification for barring gay marriage.

"It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry — a tradition that got swept away," the 75-year-old judge said. Prohibition of same sex marriage, Posner to the Wisconsin attorney, derives from "a tradition of hate ... and savage discrimination" of homosexuals.

Posner, who has a reputation for making lawyers before him squirm, frequently cut off Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher, just moments into his presentation and chided him to answer his questions.

At one point, Posner ran through a list of psychological strains of unmarried same-sex couples, including their children having to struggle to grasp why their schoolmates' parents were married and theirs weren't.

"What horrible stuff," Posner said. What benefits to society in barring gay marriage, he asked, outweighs that kind of harm to children?

"All this is a reflection of biology," Fisher answered. "Men and women make babies, same-sex couples do not... we have to have a mechanism to regulate that, and marriage is that mechanism."

Samuelson echoed that, telling the hearing that regulating marriage — including by encouraging men and women to marry — was part of a concerted Wisconsin policy to reduce numbers of children born out of wedlock.

"I assume you know how that has been working out in practice?" Judge David Hamilton responded, citing figures that births to single women from 1990 to 2009 rose 53 percent in Wisconsin and 68 percent in Indiana.

While the judges seemed to push defenders of the bans the hardest, they also pressed the side arguing for gay marriage about just where they themselves would draw the line about who could and couldn't marry.

Would they argue in favor of polygamy on similar grounds, pointing to the emotional toll on children in families with multiple mothers or fathers, asked Judge David Hamilton, a President Barack Obama appointee.

"If you have two people, it's going to look like a marriage," said Kenneth Falk of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. "If you have three or four, it doesn't. ... There's no slippery slope."

Among those following the arguments in court was plaintiff Ruth Morrison, a retired Indianapolis Fire Department battalion chief. She said that because Indiana won't recognize the woman she married in another state as her wife, she wouldn't be able to pass on pension and other benefits if she dies.

"Now Indiana tells us our promises are only good if our spouses are of the opposite sex," Morrison, wearing a fire department uniform, said during a rally ahead of the hearing Monday night.

A voter-approved constitutional amendment bans gay marriage in Wisconsin. State law prohibits it in Indiana. Neither state recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. The lawsuits that led to Tuesday's hearing in Chicago contend that the bans violate the U.S. Constitution's equal protection guarantee.

Despite the seriousness of the hearing, there was some levity.

At one point, visibly uncomfortable Samuelson struggled to offer a specific reason for how gay marriage bans benefit society. He then noted a yellow courtroom light was on signaling his allotted time was up.

"It won't save you," Judge Ann Claire Williams, a Bill Clinton appointee, told him, prompting laughter in court.

Samuleson smiled, and said: "It was worth a try."

Is Pat Quinn's Reelection in Trouble?

Tue, 2014-08-26 13:31
As the Ilinois governor's race marches ever closer to the November election, both candidates have nine weeks of hard campaigning ahead of them. But Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's road might have gotten just a bit harder, writes Madeleine Doubek.

A report from Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza found that the Illinois Department of Transportation did not follow may not have followed proper anti-patronage rules for much of Quinn's tenure as governor, plus the former transportation secretary said "neither I nor my staff were in a position to reject the recommended positions."

Doubek writes:

"I can just imagine the (Republican candidate Bruce) Rauner ads to come, comparing Quinn to his predecessor and running mate, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is serving time in a federal prison on corruption charges. Remember the ads Blagojevich used against his Republican opponent, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, dancing the polka with then-imprisoned former GOP Gov. George Ryan? Ah, all's nasty fair game in Illinois politics."

But is Rauner in the clear?

"Quinn's camp suggests Rauner also is ethically challenged because of problems at nursing homes and other companies run by his private equity firm, but it remains to be seen whether that notion sticks. On the other hand, I've heard several Republicans say they still don't feel like they know or trust Rauner or believe he understands and can run a government."

Both candidates had campaign backup from national political leaders this week. Vice President Joe Biden made his way to Chicago to help drum up support for Quinn, while New Jersey Governor and Republican Governor's Association Chairman Chris Christie made his way to Illinois to stump for Rauner. What does the presence of possible presidential candidates mean for the Illinois gubernatorial candidates?

Chris Christie Says Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn Is 'Miserably Unpopular,' 'Failed'

Tue, 2014-08-26 13:21
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Monday had harsh words for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), calling him a "failed" governor and accusing Illinois' Democratic leadership of "using every trick in the book" to fend off a challenge from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.

Speaking to a crowd of campaign volunteers at Rauner's downtown Chicago campaign headquarters, Christie said Democrats' push for same-day voter registration for the Nov. 4 election in Illinois was a sign that "the governor is in the toilet and needs as much help as he can get," the Chicago Tribune reports. Ten other states are moving to allow same-day voter registration this year.

Christie, a potential presidential candidate, went on to call Quinn a "miserably unpopular" governor who has "failed" in his leadership of the state, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Last week the non-partisan State Board of Elections determined that the Green Party had not gathered enough valid petition signatures to put a candidate on the ballot, but Christie claimed the successful qualification of Libertarian candidate is a sign that local Democrats are attempting to stack the deck for their incumbent.

"You people in Illinois make New Jersey people blush," Christie added Monday, the Sun-Times reported. "Every obstacle that can be placed in front of Bruce by the establishment in this state will be placed in front of him. The great news is he's strong enough to overcome those."

While in Chicago, Christie also attended a fundraising event for the Republican Governors Association, of which he is chairman.

Vice President Joe Biden was also in Chicago on Monday and appeared at a minimum wage roundtable event alongside Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as well as a Quinn fundraising event.

"Governor, if there's anybody I know who starts off with his gut and heart when people are concerned, it's you," Biden said to Quinn after the roundtable, according to NBC Chicago.

The showdown between Quinn and Rauner, a wealthy venture capitalist running for public office for the first time, is expected to be one of this fall's most closely contested and expensive gubernatorial races. The latest HuffPost Pollster composite of polling on the race indicates Rauner currently has a seven percentage point edge over Quinn:

Jennifer Hudson Talks Lesbian Rumors And Gay Fans Ahead Of 'JHUD' Release

Tue, 2014-08-26 12:03
When it comes to public speculation on her sexuality, Jennifer Hudson doesn't care what people or the media thinks.

The singer-actress, 32, tells PrideSource's Chris Azzopardi that she faced that type of scrutiny after she appeared on the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards alongside Macklemore and Mary Lambert during a performance of the hit marriage equality anthem, "Same Love."

"People were like, 'Is Jennifer trying to tell us something?' Hey, I wasn't, but if you wanna think that, it's all right with me," she said. "When I got the call [to do that performance], I was like, "Oh my God, I definitely wanna do this. A powerful statement is being made and I wanna be a part of that."

Nonetheless, Hudson admires "the independence and the confidence" of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

"I'm so inspired by that, and I feel like, for me, that is my connection," she said. "I've never understood, gosh, what does the gay community see in me? You know what I mean? Because again, I grew up around a lot of that and that's the world that embraced me first, so that I've never fully gathered."

As for the enduring LGBT appeal of her "Dreamgirls" anthem, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," she noted, "A lot of gay men I've met, they're like, 'In my heart, I am Effie.' I relate to Effie, and I think that's part of the connection. It's a real situation that we all go through."

Hudson is gearing up for the release of her third studio album, "JHUD," on Sept. 23.

Read the full interview with Jennifer Hudson in PrideSource here.

Who Cares If Burger King Is Pro-Gay When It's Hurting Every One of Us?

Tue, 2014-08-26 11:54
I'm really getting tired of companies, politicians, donors and other entities using their support of LGBT rights -- something much easier to do these days -- as a way to pose as progressive, often as a PR move to blunt criticism of a bad record or even nefarious actions. And it's time that LGBT activists stop letting them get away with it. At this point, many of these entities need us more than we need them. Let's demand more.

The latest is Burger King, which only weeks ago unveiled "The Proud Whopper" to support LGBT pride -- receiving accolades from many LGBT activists -- but now is fleeing to Canada, buying up Tim Hortons, following other American companies engaged in so-called tax inversions, all to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Who cares if Burger King wraps its Whopper in the rainbow if the company is hurting the American economy, American taxpayers and American workers, including LGBT workers?

Last week I wrote about GOP megadonor Paul Singer, the hedge-fund billionaire who says he supports marriage equality and has given money to LGBT groups and GOP politicians who already support LGBT rights. But he's done nothing to actually take down the scores of viciously anti-gay Republican politicians -- by, for example, backing pro-gay GOPers in primaries -- and is giving millions to anti-gay candidates via right-wing groups and super PACs. While the super PAC he founded is backing a meager seven GOP candidates who already support LGBT rights -- and getting puffy media pieces written about it, which make it appear as if the GOP is more pro-gay than its record bears out -- he's doing everything he can to make sure the GOP gains more House seats and takes control of the Senate. That will only hurt LGBT rights and all progressive causes.

It's not just Republicans. It was a major triumph when marriage equality was passed in New York in 2011, pushed hard by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and gay activists should be thankful. But in the years since, Cuomo has been less than progressive and has sucked up to big business, hurting workers -- and now isn't even getting endorsed by New York's major labor unions. All the while he and LGBT supporters have used his marriage-equality win to give him progressive bona fides. But budget cuts and diminishing workers' rights hurt all of us, gay and straight, and Cuomo shouldn't get a pass and be allowed to use LGBT rights as cover.

Back in 2012 the largest LGBT group, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), gave its Workplace Equality Innovation Award to Goldman Sachs, one of the very Wall Street firms that made billions during the economic crisis, in which millions of Americans lost their jobs and their homes -- and many still haven't recovered. Among other things, Goldman benefited directly from the government's financial bailouts, getting $2.9 billion alone from its client, AIG, after it received government relief. The award was simply tone-deaf on HRC's part, doing the wrong thing at the wrong time -- but it was the right time for Goldman Sachs and its PR operation, which needed to soften the company's image. As Andrew Beaver wrote at the time:

In 2012, honoring a New York company for being good to its gay employees is like congratulating it for a passing second grade, since New York City has strong anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT people, and most of New York's banking industry has policies protecting LGBT employees. Let's be clear: HRC honored Goldman for money and prestige on Wall Street.

The fact that Burger King so publicly supports LGBT rights shouldn't matter. We should be past the point of being giddy over a nice wrapper. Corporations that dodge paying U.S. taxes while making billions from American consumers are wreaking havoc. We should all be sending a message to the fast-food giant that it is hurting America -- gay America, straight America, all of America.

Fewer Pain Pill Overdoses In States With Legal Medical Marijuana

Tue, 2014-08-26 11:40
States that have legalized marijuana for medical use have lower rates of prescription painkiller overdose deaths than states that have not, new research suggests.

In a study published Monday in the latest issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that although overdose deaths from opioid painkillers -- like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin -- have increased in the U.S. over the course of the last decade, they were 25 percent lower in states that implemented medical marijuana laws than other states. The reason for the association was unclear. The study was led by researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

"Prescription drug abuse and deaths due to overdose have emerged as national public health crises," Colleen L. Barry, senior author of the study and associate professor in the health policy and management department at the Bloomberg School, said in a statement. "As our awareness of the addiction and overdose risks associated with use of opioid painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin grows, individuals with chronic pain and their medical providers may be opting to treat pain entirely or in part with medical marijuana, in states where this is legal."

The researchers used death certificate data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the rate of opioid overdose deaths between 1999 and 2010 in all 50 states. They then took a close look at the states that had implemented medical marijuana laws during that same period.

By 1999, only three states had enacted medical marijuana laws -- California in 1996, and Oregon and Washington in 1998. By 2010, 10 more states had also passed medical cannabis laws. Nine additional states have legalized medical marijuana since 2010, but those states were not examined, as they were beyond the scope of the study date range.

The study reveals that states with legal medical marijuana had a 24.8 percent lower annual average painkiller overdose death rate than states without those laws. It also shows that in the years following the legalization of medical cannabis, the association was stronger over time -- in the first year of legalizing medical cannabis, painkiller overdose deaths were nearly 20 percent lower in states with the laws than without, and nearly 34 percent lower five years later, on average.

"It's important to note that this isn't a 25% decrease in rates, but a 25% lower rate than was expected," Dr. Marcus Bachhuber, the study's lead author and a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Huffington Post.

About 60 percent of all opioid overdose deaths occur in patients who have legitimate prescriptions for the drugs, according to the CDC. In 2009, overdoses from prescription pain relievers resulted in the deaths of more than 15,000 people in the U.S.

"The proportion of people receiving prescription opioids to treat pain has almost doubled in the past 10 years," Bachhuber said. "Chronic or severe pain is the main reason for which people report taking medical marijuana in states that make this information public."

A growing body of research appears to suggest that marijuana use can be effective at pain relief. And while the drug is not without some health risks, in at least 10,000 years of human consumption, there have been no documented deaths as a result of marijuana overdose. While the cause of opioid overdose can vary from person to person -- due to strength of the dose and user tolerance levels -- a relatively small amount can lead to an overdose. By contrast, a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC in a joint in order to be at risk of dying, according to a 1988 ruling from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

It remains unclear exactly why this association exists between state medical marijuana laws and fewer opioid overdose deaths.

"During the study period, states were implementing a variety of policies to improve prescription painkiller safety, such as prescription monitoring programs, laws allowing pharmacists to request ID before giving out medications, and laws creating more oversight of pain management clinics," said Bachhuber. "We controlled for these policies, but it's possible that there were policies that we missed. Or, there might have been harder to measure changes such as increased awareness of and education about the issue of opioid overdoses, or changes in health trends, that were unrelated to medical marijuana laws but occurred in those states around the same time."

The researchers conclude in the study that although more investigation into the relationship between medical marijuana laws and fewer prescription narcotic overdose deaths is needed before specific policy conclusions can be formed, medical marijuana laws could one day be part of policies to prevent overdose.

"As more states pass these laws it will be important to continue collecting information and update our results," Bachhuber said. "On an individual level, I think many medical providers now struggle in figuring out what conditions medical marijuana could be used for, who would benefit from it, how effective it is, and who might have side effects; some doctors would even say there is no scientifically proven, valid, medical use of marijuana. There is definitely a need for more studies to help guide us in clinical practice."

The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Center for AIDS Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The 21 Best Mexican Restaurants in America

Tue, 2014-08-26 10:25
From tiny holes-in-the-wall to mom-and-pop joints to upscale tortilla temples, great Mexican joints take many shapes and sizes -- but no matter where you go, you'll find the same warm, inviting... tortillas. And smiles too, though that's less important.

So, to pay homage to those Mexican restaurants out there that are doing it right (outside of killer nachos and burritos), we compiled this handy list of the 21 best in the country. There are no tacos-only places here -- just spots where you can kick back, relax, enjoy a good margarita or three, and have some of the best damn Mexican food of your life. Read on, amigo:


Credit: Guaymas

GUAYMAS
Tiburon, CA
What you're getting: Pescado Veracruzana
This seaside, Mexican village-inspired grill not only has a killer view of the San Francisco Bay, but it's also making full use of the bounty of the surrounding sea in its authentic dishes, like one of the best whole fishes (Pescado Veracruzana) you can find North of the Border. You can watch the ferries come into Tiburon's harbor out on their extensive patio space, and steer their signature sizzling fajitas to your own personal harbor (your mouth) along with any one (or more) drinks from their extensive margarita list.

More: These are the 16 best burritos in America



TACOS - TEQUILA - WHISKEY
Denver, CO
What you're getting: Lengua tacos
About three years ago, a food truck named Pinche Tacos would always attract eye-popping lines whenever they'd park around Denver. Luckily for Denver (and humanity), they changed the name, opened two brick-and-mortar locations over the course of a few years, and added an arsenal of small-batch tequilas with which to pair their already legendary tacos (and tostadas and appetizers). And, oh, the tacos. A mouth-watering sweet-and-sour pork belly "agridulce". A triple-cooked crispy lengua along with avocado, tomatillo salsa, and guajillo honey mayo. A shrimp & scallop joint with avocado crema and lime. The restaurant claims they're all "pinche good", and they ain't lying.


Credit: Empellon Cocina

EMPELLÓN COCINA
New York, NY
What you're getting: Melted tetilla cheese with lobster
The folks behind Empellón already distinguished themselves in the NYC Mexican scene with their exemplary taqueria, but when they opened their second location, Empellón Cocina, in the East Village, they took their game to a whole other level. The classy, white brick interior provides a potent backdrop to their colorful array of small plates (think Manila clams with chorizo rojo and toasted vermicelli noodles), tacos, and a serious selection of salsas and moles, like their much-lauded pistachio guac. Head Chef Alex Stupak, formerly of Wylie Dufresne's molecular gastronomy powerhouse WD~50, obviously knows what he's doing.


Credit: Arthur Mullen

TOPOLOBAMPO
Chicago, IL
What you're getting: Any three items off the tasting menu
If you try and make a list of the best Mexican restaurants in America and don't include Rick Bayless's modern Mexican kitchen Topolobampo, you're closing your eyes to what is one of the most innovative restaurants in America, period -- Bayless has spent extensive amounts of time all across Mexico, finding new inspirations for truly loco dishes that are grouped on his menu back home in categories like "Vibrant", "Complex", and "Ancient". The dishes -- other than those select adjectives, duh -- defy categorization, and can be paired with any of the same drinks (read: awesome margaritas) that're available at their neighboring restaurant, Frontera.


Credit: Flickr/Lian Chang

LA SUPER-RICA TAQUERIA
Santa Barbara, CA
What you're getting: Tacos de adobado, a horchata
A Santa Barbara institution for many years, La Super-Rica is well-known for being one of the haunts of culinary legend Julia Child -- in fact, she publicized the fact that it was her favorite Mexican restaurant. Her influence can still be felt there today, both in the quality of the food (an enormous menu of tacos, tamales, and refreshing Mexican drinks like horchata) and in the sheer length of the line that can often stretch to 30 minutes or more to get in the door. Once you finally cross the threshold, there isn't much room to sit, but that won't stop you from enjoying the gorgeous, simplistic authenticity of their tacos de adobado. It sure didn't stop Julia.


Credit: El Charro Cafe

EL CHARRO CAFE
Tucson, AZ
What you're getting: El Charro Carne Seca
No other Mexican restaurant can boast as much historical excellence as El Charro Cafe, which was opened back in 1922 and is the oldest one in continuous operation by the same family -- and they also invented the effin' chimichanga. They're known for their carne seca (dried beef), which is literally dried in a cage on top of the restaurant, but you can't go wrong with any of their enchiladas, burritos, and quesadillas, all of which are made with the same aplomb that defined them over 90 years ago. The service here is impeccable, too -- obviously, there are more than a few reasons why they've been in business for so long.

There's still 15 more of the best Mexican restaurants in the country -- and we guarantee you'll be hungry after you see the food they're cooking up. Check them all out on Thrillist.com!

More from Thrillist:

These are the 21 best food trucks in America

The 33 best BBQ joints in America

Follow Thrillist on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Thrillist

Beloit Mindset List Reminds Us How College Freshmen View The World

Tue, 2014-08-26 08:49
Every year, Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin, releases its Mindset List to give a snapshot of how the incoming freshmen class views the world. The list for the Class of 2018:

---

Most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1996. For these students, Tupac Shakur, Carl Sagan and Tiny Tim have always been dead.

---

1. During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.

2. Since they binge-watch their favorite TV shows, they might like to binge-watch the video portions of their courses too.

3. Meds have always provided an option.

4. When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon.

5. "Press pound" on the phone is now translated as "hit hashtag."

6. Celebrity "selfies" are far cooler than autographs.

7. The Daily Show has always been the only news program that really "gets it right."

8. Hard liquor has always been advertised on television.

9. Ralph Nader has always been running for president of the U.S.

10. They never sat glued to Saturday morning cartoon shows but have been hooked on FOX's Sunday night "Animation Domination."

11. The water cooler is no longer the workplace social center; it's the place to fill your water bottle.

12. In their lifetime, a dozen different actors have portrayed Nelson Mandela on the big and small screen.

13. Women have always attended VMI and the Citadel.

14. FOX News and MSNBC have always been duking it out for the hearts and minds of American viewers.

15. Pepsi has always refreshed travelers in outer space.

16. Hong Kong has always been part of China.

17. Courts have always been overturning bans on same-sex marriages.

18. Joe Camel has never introduced one of them to smoking.

19. Bosnia and Herzegovina have always been one nation.

20. Citizens have always had a constitutional right to a "dignified and humane death."

21. Nicotine has always been recognized as an addictive drug requiring FDA oversight.

22. Students have always been able to dance at Baylor.

23. Hello, Dolly: Cloning has always been a fact, not science fiction.

24. Women have always been dribbling, and occasionally dunking, in the WNBA.

25. Ads for prescription drugs, noting their disturbing side effects, have always flooded the airwaves.

26. Hell has always been associated less with torment and more with nothingness.

27. Whether to embrace fat or spurn it has been a front-page debate all their lives.

28. Parents have always been able to rely on a ratings system to judge violence on TV.

29. They never tasted the "texturally enhanced alternative beverage" known as Orbitz.

30. There has always been "TV" designed to be watched exclusively on the web.

31. The Unabomber has always been behind bars.

32. Female referees have always officiated NBA games

33. There has always been a national database of sex offenders.

34. Chicago, a musical about a celebrity getting away with murder, has always been popular on Broadway.

35. Yet another blessing of digital technology: They have never had to hide their dirty magazines under the bed.

36. U.S. Major League baseball teams have always played in Mexico.

37. Bill Gates has always been the richest man in the U.S.

38. Attending schools outside their neighborhoods, they gather with friends on Skype, not in their local park.

39. While the number of Americans living with HIV has always been going up, American deaths from AIDS have always been going down.

40. They have no memory of George Stephanopoulos as a senior White House adviser.

41. The PGA has always offered handicapped golfers a ride - reluctantly.

42. "African-American vernacular English" has always been recognized as a distinct language in Oakland, California.

43. Two-term presidents are routine, but none of them ever won in a landslide.

44. The family has always been able to buy insurance at local banks.

45. One route to pregnancy has always been through frozen eggs.

46. They have probably never used Netscape as their web browser.

47. Everybody has always loved Raymond.

48. "Salon" has always been an online magazine.

49. The rate of diagnosed diabetes has always been shooting up during their lifetime.

50. Affirmative action has always been outlawed in California.

51. Boeing has never had any American competition for commercial aircraft.

52. U.S. soldiers have always been vaccinated against anthrax.

53. "Good feedback" means getting 30 likes on your last Facebook post in a single afternoon.

54. Their collection of U.S. quarters has always celebrated the individual states.

55. Since Toys R Us created a toy registry for kids, visits to Santa are just a formality.

Here Are The Rules To Buying Alcohol In Each State's Grocery Stores

Tue, 2014-08-26 06:33
Prohibition may have been repealed in 1933, but you'd barely know it from some of the alcohol laws still on the books in various states. The legacy of the 18th Amendment lives on in state restrictions on when and where alcohol can be sold, and the production of distilled spirits for personal consumption remains illegal by federal law (though you can make your own beer and wine, as long as you're mindful of certain bylaws). Also, the U.S. is one of the few countries that makes you wait until you're 21 to legally drink.

Without a doubt, one of the most confusing and frustrating aspects of these long-standing alcohol restrictions is trying to figure out what kind of booze you can buy in a given state's grocery stores. And then figuring out whether you can do it on Sundays.

So we decided to help you with just that. Consider this a definitive guide to buying booze at your local shop.





Blue laws, a holdover from colonial-era rules that mandated church attendance on Sundays, are laws that prohibit the sale of alcohol or other items on that day. As long as states can prove that such laws serve a secular purpose (since they can't force you to go to church anymore), courts have held that blue laws are perfectly OK. Some states also prohibit the sale of alcohol on election days.

Cops Called After Airline Passengers Fight Over Seat Recline, Force Plane To Land

Mon, 2014-08-25 16:57
NEW YORK (AP) -- Airline passengers have come to expect a tiny escape from the confined space of today's packed planes: the ability to recline their seat a few inches. When one passenger was denied that bit of personal space Sunday, it led to a heated argument and the unscheduled landing of their plane, just halfway to its destination.

The fight started on a United Airlines flight because one passenger was using the Knee Defender, a $21.95 gadget that attaches to a passenger's tray table and prevents the person in front of them from reclining.

The Federal Aviation Administration leaves it up to individual airlines to set rules about the device. United Airlines said it prohibits use of the device, like all major U.S. airlines. Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air take the reclining mechanisms out of their seats, leaving them permanently upright.

The dispute on United Flight 1462 from Newark, New Jersey to Denver escalated to the point where the airline decided to divert to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, according to Transportation Security Administration spokesman Ross Feinstein.

Chicago Police and TSA officers met the flight, spoke to the passengers - a man and a woman, both 48 - and "deemed it a customer service issue," Feinstein said. The TSA would not name the passengers.

The plane then continued to Denver without them, arriving 1 hour and 38 minutes late, according to the airline's website.

The Federal Aviation Administration can impose a civil fine of up to $25,000 for passengers who are unruly. In this case, no arrest was made, according to airport spokesman Gregg Cunningham.

The fight started when the male passenger, seated in a middle seat of row 12, used the Knee Defender to stop the woman in front of him from reclining while he was on his laptop, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak.

A flight attendant asked him to remove the device and he refused. The woman then stood up, turned around and threw a cup of water at him, the official says. That's when United decided to land in Chicago. The two passengers were not allowed to continue to Denver.

Both passengers were sitting in United's Economy Plus section, the part of the plane that has four more inches of legroom than the rest of coach.

Illinois Ranks Low on Quality of Life for Disabled People

Mon, 2014-08-25 15:47
For the eighth year in a row now, Illinois has been at the bottom of an annual study that rates how well each state in the U.S.'s Medicaid programs serve its citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD).

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) announced the findings in its 2014 report, "The Case for Inclusion," which assesses states that offer the best and worst services for those with ID/DD. The amount of spending on Medicaid is not a factor.

"The Case for Inclusion shows how well each individual state is performing overall; how each state matches up against other states regarding key data measures; and, most importantly, the top performing states with policies and practices that should be replicated," according to the report.

UCP graded all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, on the following five categories to come up with overall rankings. Here's how Illinois' ranked for each category:

Promoting independence: 49

Tracking health, safety and quality of life: 11

Keeping families together: 47

Promoting productivity: 36

Reaching those in need: 43

Illinois consistently has made the bottom of the list since UCP began the study. It also was one of 12 states that did not meet the 80/80 community standard, "which means that at least 80 percent of all individuals with ID/DD are served in the community and 80 percent of all resources spent on those with ID/DD are for community support," according to the report.

Check out the list of the top 10 best and worst states at Reboot Illinois to see where Illinois ranks against other states, plus recommendations from the report's authors on how Illinois and other states can improve in services for its disabled citizens.






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Chicago Police Fatally Shot 2 Teens In Separate Incidents Hours Apart

Mon, 2014-08-25 14:48
Two men were fatally shot in two hours by Chicago police officers in separate incidents Sunday evening. Both men, police say, were armed.

DNAinfo Chicago reports that police responded to a call of armed men in the street in the city's Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side about 7:10 p.m. When officers approached a group of men who matched the description given, one of the men ran away.

After officers gave chase, police say the man pointed a gun toward one of them and the officer opened fire, killing 19-year-old Roshad McIntosh.

In a separate incident less than two hours later in the South Side neighborhood of Auburn Gresham, two police officers on foot patrol responded to the scene of a shooting that had wounded three people, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Police say the officers saw an armed teenager standing above someone lying on the ground, and that they opened fire on him after he pointed a gun at the officers, the Tribune reports. It is believed the man was 17 or 18 years old; he has not been identified as of Monday afternoon.

Both shootings are now under investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority.

Police say a handgun was recovered from the scene of the Lawndale shooting, but community members who assembled at the scene are presenting a very different version of what happened to McIntosh on social media, with some reportedly saying McIntosh was complying with police when he was shot. About 50 people are said to have assembled for a rally near the scene of the shooting amid heavy storms early Monday afternoon.

NOW: Justice for #Roshad vigil @ Francisco & Lexington in #Lawndale. #CPD murdered #Roshad McIntosh last night #FTP pic.twitter.com/E9fEiklweZ

— Santo Peregrino (@Santo_Peregrino) August 25, 2014


The killings come at a time when nationwide scrutiny of police-involved shootings is high in the wake of the killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, earlier this month. Brown was laid to rest at a funeral Monday morning.

Statistics on police-involved shootings are difficult to come by -- there is no national database of police shootings, as Deadspin pointed out last week while introducing their attempt to build one.

In an analysis of 2011 police shootings published by retired FBI agent and former criminal justice professor Jim Fisher last year, Chicago was home to the highest number of police shootings, though other cities surpassed its per-capita shooting rate.

Michael Brown Funeral Filled With Cries For Justice

Mon, 2014-08-25 13:28
ST. LOUIS -- A massive crowd gathered at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church on this brilliantly sunny day to grieve an 18-year-old they called "Mike Mike," whose death at the hands of a police officer has sparked huge protests in the small city of Ferguson over the past two weeks.

Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, was shot by Police Officer Darren Wilson, 28, on Aug. 9. Brown's death and the protests that followed have put a spotlight on police violence, militarization of local law enforcement and racial profiling. The calls for justice for Brown have been folded into a broader movement in the greater Saint Louis area -- and around the country -- for improved relationships between police and the communities they are supposed to protect.

Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., asked protesters to pause demonstrations Monday, requesting instead a "day of silence" as his family laid the teenager to rest. Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been assisting Brown's family, also requested a day of peace.

"We don't want anything tomorrow to happen that might defile the name of Michael Brown," Sharpton said on Sunday. "This is not about our rage tomorrow. It's about the legacy and memory of his son."

Inside the church on Monday, the pulpit was flanked by floral displays and photographs of Brown. Nearly all of the mourners at the service were African-American, and at least 600 members of Brown's extended family were reportedly in attendance. So too were Sharpton, filmmaker Spike Lee, Rev. Jesse Jackson, officials from the White House and a plethora of local politicians. The sanctuary was full, and people -- both mourners and media -- spilled into overflow rooms.

Madonna Kincade of Florissant told The Huffington Post she and many others took a day off work to attend the service.

"I guess [I came] for him, to celebrate his life," she said.

Debra Lusain -- a nurse who attended the service "in memory of Michael Brown" and others, like Trayvon Martin -- said when her brothers were growing up, they were "constantly targeted" by the police.

"I think it's a little excessive. They're supposed to be professional," Lusain said.

Pastor Timothy Haynes Sr. of the Outta Love Christian Baptist Church echoed that sentiment, telling HuffPost he came to the funeral to "show my support for what's needed in the community." Haynes said "the police force ought to be held to those same standards" ordinary citizens are expected to follow.

Just after 11:30 a.m., after remembrances by several family members and a reading of Psalms 27 ("The Lord is my light and my salvation -- whom shall I fear?") -- Charles Ewing, Brown's great uncle and a pastor in nearby Jennings, took the pulpit.

"We called him the gentle giant. We called him Big Mike. We called him Mike Mike," Ewing said. "Michael Brown's blood is crying from the ground, crying for vengeance, crying for justice."

Ewing referenced Trayvon Martin, the shooting victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School and Columbine High School, and the victims of "black-on-black crime."

"There is a cry being made from the ground!" he said.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is working on behalf of Brown's family, assured the crowd he'd keep fighting for justice.

"We will not accept three-fifths justice," Crump said, referencing the Three-Fifths Compromise. "We will demand equal justice for Mike Brown Jr."

Gov. Jay Nixon had planned to attend the funeral, but released a statement on Monday morning saying he would not, "out of respect for the family, who deserve time to focus on remembering Michael and grieving their loss."

Security for the event was being handled by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police.

Matt Sledge reported from St. Louis. Ryan J. Reilly and Paige Lavender reported from Washington, D.C.

This post has been updated with additional comments from funeral attendees.

Illinoisans see the legal limits of their constitution

Mon, 2014-08-25 11:46
Following last week's ruling from the First District Court of Appeals in Chicago that said a question about whether or not a legislative term limits amendment to the Illinois constitution could not appear on November's ballot, Illinoisans have come face to face with the limits of their state constitution.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board even said this: "People of Illinois, an appellate court has spoken: Your constitution is stacked against you."

It's an accurate statement in more ways than the Tribune editorial board intended. The Illinois Constitution is designed to protect itself from amendments with grassroots origins. The authors of the 1970 constitution and the voters who ratified it made a clear statement: Constitutional amendments offered to voters should, with one narrow exception, come from elected lawmakers, not ordinary citizens.

In Illinois, constitutional amendments are limited to changing the structure and procedure of the legislature. The court ruling said this amendment was too broad, especially in that it had several other provisions in it that had nothing to do with term limits. What are all the legal ins and outs of such a decision, and what would be the ramifications if our constitution could be changed that way?

While the ruling might be bad news for those in favor of term limits and good new for those against them, almost all Illinoisans can agree that a housing market in decline is bad news all around, even when the symptoms can look like good news at first. A new report from RealtyTrac found that Illinois had the highest discounts on foreclosed houses out of every state in the country. This is good for buyers who want to scoop up the foreclosed homes at low prices, but RealtyTrac Daren Blomquist said this could be an indicator of a much bigger problem in the Illinois market.

The Best Time To Book Your Thanksgiving Flight Is NOW

Mon, 2014-08-25 11:13
It's almost the most wonderful time of the year -- and therefore the most horrendous travel weekend of all time.

To ensure a leg up on the travel competition this Thanksgiving, it's best to book your ticket NOW -- or more specifically, this Tuesday around 3 p.m.

Travel website Hipmunk crunched the numbers from historical travel data to find that travelers will save an average of about $140 if they book Thanksgiving flights before Labor Day. The average round-trip Thanksgiving flight will cost $424 this week -- and from there, prices will rise an average of five percent during the last week of September, 17 percent during the last week of October and 32 percent the week of Thanksgiving.

So get your tickets now, while they're hot.



While Hipmunk found that this week will be best to book your flight, airfare expert Rick Seaney has an even more specific timeframe in mind. Tuesday afternoon around 3 p.m. is when flights are at their absolute cheapest, according to his years of research. That's when most airlines launch their sales and start competing with each other to offer the lowest prices.

As far as which day to fly, it's historically cheaper to fly on Thanksgiving Day itself than on the day before (no surprise there). Avoid returning on Saturday or Sunday if you can -- according to Hipmunk, that's when 88 percent of travelers make their return trips.

So whether you're headed home or somewhere far away to escape your crazy aunt, the bottom line remains the same: buy your Thanksgiving flight before Labor Day gets underway this weekend.

...and get pumped, because Christmas travel is just around the corner, with all its costs and chaos. 'Tis the season!

How are floods and Illinois government connected?

Mon, 2014-08-25 10:55
The weather has been wet in Illinois this week, with rain-inundated streets enough to set off middle-of-the-night emergency alert flood warnings.

But it's not just the rain that Illinois has to thank for its flooding tendencies. The state's rivers, infrastructure and landscape all play their parts. Sustainable water advocate Pete Mulvaney wants to know who is going to fix the state's mess so floods don't continue to flow in at every heavy downpour.

Illinois has 966 publicly owned waste water treatment plants, 1,742 regulated community water supplies[1] within 33 major watersheds. To regulate these assets, we have local utilities, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, State Water Survey, Department of Natural Resources and various health departments. Then there are the Feds--the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency. While managing water is no small task, getting all these agencies to coordinate is an even bigger challenge. This quagmire of management agencies fractures the water cycle--and too often undermines our ability to respond in times of crises-leads to inefficient use of resources and buries solutions in a byzantine bureaucracy.

How the state can more efficiently manage its water resources will be among the topics Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican governor nominee Bruce Rauner will address at the Metropolitan Planning Council's Annual Luncheon on Aug. 28. I'll be interested to hear their ideas because solving these issues in Illinois will not be easy.

Illinois' problems with governments and floods don't stop there. Back in 2010, Iroquois County Board Chairman Rodney Copas says, the Ford-Iroquois County Health Department funneled federal flood-relief funds into the homes of its own employees. Plus, he and Edgar County Watchdogs' Allen Kirk says the same health department double-billed federal grants and the county's Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, spend department money on personal items and mishandled county contract bidding. Check out the story of how one anonymous
whistleblower put a stop to it.

The Future Of Fast Food Is A Quality Burger Served By A Worker Who Is Paid Well

Mon, 2014-08-25 09:58
When your grandchildren go out to lunch many years from now, they'll probably still be able to order fast-food burgers and fries, but the meal -- and the people serving it -- will likely be very different.

Decades ago, McDonald's was the quintessential American restaurant. Now, as the "golden arches" fall out of favor -- the chain's U.S. eateries have suffered from months of flat or negative same-store sales, an important metric of a retailer's health -- a new type of burger joint is taking its place.

These "better burger" restaurants, a category that includes Shake Shack, Smashburger and Five Guys, are known more for their quality offerings, trendy aesthetic and exclusive air than for low prices. The group makes up just 4 to 5 percent of the burger segment, but its sales are growing at a rate of about 16 percent, according to Darren Tristano, an executive vice president at food research firm Technomic. At the same time, the burger industry overall is contracting by about 0.8 percent, adjusting for inflation.

As Shake Shack reportedly prepares to ride that wave of popularity into a successful initial public offering, the question remains whether the company can maintain another one of its signature initiatives: treating its employees well.

A Shake Shack employee serves up burgers and fries at the Madison Square Park location.

In the service industry, private companies are more likely to offer meaningful jobs that pay well than their public counterparts are, according to Zeynep Ton, a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management who does research on low-wage jobs.

Public companies "have more short-term pressure from their investors," said Ton, the author of The Good Jobs Strategy.

Indeed, John Pepper, the co-founder of burrito chain Boloco, told The New York Times last month that when he raised wages at his restaurants to $8 an hour from $5.15 several years ago, he didn't have to worry as much as his public competitors about maximizing profits immediately. The NYT story, which highlighted restaurant chains that pay their employees above average, also featured Shake Shack, where workers reportedly earn at least $9.50 an hour and the median pay is $10.70.

Despite public companies' focus on maximizing profits, it's not unheard of for them to pay well, Ton said. She cited Costco and its co-founder, Jim Sinegal, who was known for standing up to investor pressure for lower wages.

Ton argues that companies that treat their employees well, such as Shake Shack and Costco, actually gain an edge over competitors. Her research shows that training workers and paying them a decent wage means they're more likely to be knowledgeable about products, answer customers' questions and ultimately drive sales.

"Investment in people could be a huge success driver," Ton said.

For Shake Shack, there's an added incentive to keep treating workers well: It's one of the reasons customers flock to the restaurant. Tristano of Technomic said by paying more, Shake Shack attracts better and more experienced workers who add another element of quality to the eatery besides just the food. That helps to differentiate the company from more traditional fast-food chains, which have been criticized in recent months for their low wages as well as their cheap and unhealthy food.

The Shake Shack experience is "far more memorable," Tristano said. "When you're charging more and you're certainly paying more rent because you're in great locations, you have to treat your employees with the same respect. You have to have the service level that brings the whole thing up full circle."

The line outside the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park on a recent weekday afternoon.

Indeed, Shake Shack's reputation for quality lured customers from as far away as France to its half-hour-long line on a recent afternoon. Those asked all agreed they would never wait for food at a traditional fast-food eatery such as McDonald's.

Robby Wecksler, a 21-year-old Cornell University student waiting in line with his friends, cited the quality of the staff specifically as one of the big reasons he comes to Shake Shack, adding that it always seems clean and "well managed."

"The focus on the customer service is definitely noticeable," he said.

In addition to attracting customers, paying workers well helps to create a positive buzz around the company, which could help it make money and deliver good returns to shareholders. Estimates currently put Shake Shack's revenue around $100 million a year. A Shake Shack spokesman declined to comment on "any rumors or speculation around going public."

The eatery's public relations approach has successfully attracted so-called earned media attention (like that New York Times story), which puts less pressure on the company to pay for advertising, according to Aaron Allen, the founder of Aaron Allen and Associates, a restaurant consultancy group.

The strategy mirrors that of other successful restaurant chains such as Chipotle and Starbucks, which try to highlight their ethical streaks by emphasizing things like employee benefits and a commitment to quality ingredients.

Neither have had trouble living up to shareholders' needs. Sales at stores that were open at least a year -- a closely watched measure of retailer health -- grew 6 percent at Starbucks and 17.3 percent at Chipotle last quarter.

"This is a testament to the value of modern-day public relations," Allen said.

A Foundation for Change in Post-Ferguson America

Mon, 2014-08-25 08:57
The slaying of Michael Brown has cast a tragic pall over race relations in America, and the faces of his heart-broken parents provide the emblematic image of the summer of 2014. It should have been otherwise.

As the investigation into the facts of this horrifying incident proceeds, we are left with the painful, inescapable realization that our justice system has brutally failed once again, for there can be no justification whatsoever for the police slaying of an unarmed young man. The preliminary forensic evidence adds further outrage to the public reaction, and we are left to wonder how a travesty of justice of this magnitude could occur in the 21st century. Have we learned nothing from numerous incidents of police overreaction resulting in tragedy in recent years?

The tragedy was compounded by the release of a video, which appeared to be intended to discredit the victim and suggest that somehow killing him was justified. We have seen the outrage from people responding to the video. But where is the human decency and shame of those who would use such a video to try to whitewash the slaying of an unarmed young man?

There is no mystery, however, as to why the community has risen up in outrage. And yes, rioting, looting and destruction of property are unacceptable, if understandable, responses. In the words of my father, Martin Luther King, Jr., "violence is the language of the unheard."

But it is absolutely critical that community leaders and activists put an end to the rioting, because the credibility of the protest depends upon it. As my father shared in a speech he delivered in 1960, "if we ever succumb to the temptation of using violence in our struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness." Conversely, the American Civil Rights Movement demonstrated time and again, it is possible to set an example of dignified protest that can win the support of the public for a good cause, but only with a firm commitment to nonviolence.

The overwhelming majority of those in Ferguson who have protested the slaying of Michael Brown have demonstrated peacefully, despite the negative character of the media coverage. Indeed, most of the protesters should be commended for their commitment to nonviolence and the creative techniques they have used to raise consciousness about this injustice, including the raising of arms above their heads and saying "Please don't shoot," as Michael Brown is reported to have done just before he was slain.

I am also encouraged that some white citizens have also participated in the nonviolent demonstrations, earnest in their participation in protesting against racial injustice. It's my hope that the character of the demonstrations will be strengthened in the days ahead by enhanced multi-racial participation, along with an ever-increasing commitment to nonviolence. Americans of all races have a stake in the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ferguson and in strengthening the integrity of our system of justice.

Among the reforms needed to prevent such travesties of justice in the future, it is essential that law enforcement personnel be better-trained in practical nonviolent alternatives to threatening and assaulting suspects. Police departments across the nation must develop nonviolent "rules of engagement," so that they don't reflexively respond to suspected crimes with violence. This will require more in-depth training in the behavioral psychology of conflict-resolution, so police have tried and true techniques of preventing and de-escalating violence.

Law enforcement personnel should also be more closely screened for attitudinal problems with respect to people of different cultures. After acknowledging that most law enforcement personnel are fair-minded and do a difficult job, it only takes one exception to create a terrible tragedy. Racial insensitivity and outright racism among law enforcement personnel is still a major concern of people of color in their communities, and there is an urgent need for greater understanding and bridge-building in police-community relations.

In addition to a stronger focus on better training for law enforcement, America urgently needs programs to provide jobs and educational opportunities in economically-depressed communities. With teenage unemployment rates approaching 50 percent or more in many communities, it is not surprising that many young people become vulnerable to violence. We can put millions of America's idle young people to work helping to repair and restore America's deteriorating infrastructure, public utilities and transportation systems. Nothing would revitalize the nation's sagging economy more than such a commitment. It's hard to imagine a major project that would do more good for our young people --- and our country.

Granted, it is hard to imagine such reforms being implemented in the current political climate, in which needed change is routinely obstructed by congressional gridlock. But the current legislative paralysis should not be accepted as a permanent reality. An increase in voter turnout by 15-20 percent in underserved communities would shake up incumbents in Congress and motivate them to embrace a more bipartisan and constructive spirit. They would surely get the message that a new day of elevated expectations for them has arrived, and their continued service as elected officials depends on their embracing a real commitment to cooperation. For this to happen, citizens must take the lead in mobilizing voter registration, education and turnout programs on a scale yet unseen across the nation.

Above all, the people of Ferguson, law enforcement and citizens alike, and every American community must aspire to forge a new unity based on mutual respect, understanding and goodwill. One way to meet this challenge is for communities to initiate creative projects to help develop a culture of nonviolence, like The King Center is doing with our "Choose Nonviolence," "Nonviolence 365" and "N.O.W. (Nonviolence Opportunity Watch) Encounter" initiatives.

As my father said, "The aftermath of violence is bitterness. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of a beloved community." This is the way forward to end the current climate of violence and despair --- and to a new era of progress and hope for our country.

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