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Chicago's Summer Beauty Guide

Wed, 2015-07-08 03:47
You didn't just survive a soul-crushing winter only to be broken by a mascara-melting summer. (You know it's coming, right?) Fear not: With a few easy swaps and tricks, you can master the art of summer beauty. Here, our quick and easy guide for keeping things fresh and cool from now until next snowfall. (Whenever that may be.)

Look To Lemons

Say No To Shine

Change Up Your Makeup

Make Your Own Face Spray

Apply Sunscreen The Right Way

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Chill Out With Peppermint

More from PureWow

31 Life-Changing Beauty Hacks
The Right Lipstick For Your Skintone
28 Hairstyling Tricks Every Woman Should Know
22 Tips For Really Pretty Nails
How To Get Summer Radiant Skin
Easy Ways To Fake A Flawless Tan

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Mothers Helped Troubled Neighborhood Stay Shooting-Free During Violent Chicago Weekend

Tue, 2015-07-07 16:46
A group of mothers who patrolled Chicago's streets with a message of peace helped keep one of the city's most violent neighborhoods free of shootings over an otherwise violent holiday weekend.

Mothers Against Senseless Killings volunteers donned bright pink shirts and walked throughout the South Side neighborhood of Englewood over the long weekend. As the weekend ended, no shootings had been reported in the neighborhood. During the July 4 holiday weekend last year, the Chicago Tribune notes, at least 10 people were shot, including three who died, in the police district that includes Englewood.

It’s impossible to attribute this year's reduction to any group or effort, but it would be hard to deny that the mothers and other community groups, along with the police district’s officers working extended shifts, made an impact.

Tamar Manasseh, the mothers’ group leader, grew up in Englewood, but now lives in Bronzeville. She told The Huffington Post that the mother-patrollers took to the streets to protect the neighborhood’s children. They were surprised the neighborhood remained so peaceful.

“When you start treating people like people again, and not like animals, people behave like people, parents behave like parents and the darnedest thing happens: Kids start acting like kids and they stop shooting people,” Manasseh said. “But it’s a marathon and not a sprint. It’s not just about the kids putting down the guns, it’s about the kids never picking them up to begin with.”

The effort started June 29, when Manasseh called the group together to try to prevent retaliation for the shooting death of 34-year-old Lucille Barnes, DNAinfo Chicago reported.

The group plans to continue marching through Labor Day, when Chicago Public Schools’ Safe Passage neighborhood program resumes. Manasseh said the group has seen a “small trickle” of new volunteers from media coverage and hopes more community members will join.

“We have to become more proactive rather than reactive, but it can’t work if the community doesn’t get involved,” Manasseh said. “This is a people-driven movement, not just an organization, it’s a movement, and a movement needs people. Anyone can do it.”

Another group with a role in Englewood's quiet weekend was the Target Area Development Corp., which received a grant to hire community members, train them in conflict resolution and assign them to the streets as part of an initiative called “7-11 H.I.T.,” short for “Health Informed Training Intervention,” according to the Tribune. That program runs through the end of July.

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Don't Be Fooled By 'Taste' - New Flavors Are Frowned Upon in Chicago

Tue, 2015-07-07 16:03
Chicago likes to shackle food-truck operators.

Food trucks can't operate within 200 feet of a brick-and-mortar business that sells food. Food trucks must have a GPS tracking device so government officials know where they are. Food trucks can only sell food in 35 city-approved, specifically designated locations.

But from July 8-12, 60 vendors will serve food from stands - outside, from carts, tents and trucks at the city's 35th annual Taste of Chicago.

Most of the vendors are brick-and-mortar restaurants, such as The Purple Pig, Lou Malnati's and Billy Goat Tavern & Grill. Fifteen food trucks, some of which also have a brick-and-mortar presence, will be at the food festival as well.

Though brick-and-mortar restaurants and food trucks will be comingling at the festival, their relationship remains tumultuous.

In 2012, the city approved restrictive new rules that limited proprietors' ability to do business in the city. A year later, Emanuel joined the Food Network on its show "The Great Food Truck Race" for an episode titled "Chicago is a food truck kind of town."

"We remain committed to creating the conditions and opportunities that will allow this industry to thrive, create jobs and support a vibrant food culture across Chicago," Emanuel said in a 2013 statement.

Rahm's words don't line up with the consistent actions he and other city leaders have taken for years. The truth is, Chicago isn't a food-truck town - it's a special-interest city, where political connections reign supreme and organic innovation is seen as a nuisance that would upset the established order of things.

Those backing the city's restaurants make no secret that the main driver behind the city's oppressive rules is to protect established businesses.

Alderman John Arena, 45th Ward, who cast the only "no" vote on the 2012 ordinance, said: "A brick-and-mortar restaurant lobby got ahold of [the ordinance], and it was stuffed with protectionism and baked in the oven of paranoia."

So while Rahm's words describe a city that welcomes food-truck innovation with open arms, his actions prove the city wants to keep the industry on a short leash.

"Opening and operating a food truck in Chicago is somewhere between difficult and impossible," said Robert Frommer, an attorney for the Institute for Justice. "The city has put together a menagerie of rules that seem almost intended to make it as hard as possible to open up and be successful."

Taste of Chicago offers an illusion of a city where powerful players coexist with new flavors. But this veneer is far from reality. Once the festival packs up and Grant Park clears out, Chicago will go back to normal: a brick-and-mortar oasis, shielded from competition from outsiders.

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One Goal: What the Cup-Winning Blackhawks Can Teach the Champions of Working People

Tue, 2015-07-07 15:22
When the Chicago Blackhawks secured the Stanley Cup championship in mid-June--the team's third in five years--hockey fans all across Illinois rejoiced. And when the Blackhawks cavalcade made its way through the streets of downtown Chicago a few days later, some two million elated supporters lined the sidewalks and packed Soldier Field where the victory rally was held.

Just about everyone recognizes that the Blackhawks, like Chicago's other sports teams, are a vital part of the city's esprit de corps--and its economic infrastructure. The same kind of fervent fandom and economic reverb can be found in virtually every city in America that has a pro sports team.

Every season these professional athletes play their hearts out, exhilarating, often electrifying, their hometowns. Often overlooked in all the cheering, however, is one core reality of the sports world: All these venerated players are also union members.

Think about it. At a time when the corporate elite is waging an unprecedented war on the very existence of labor unions, some of the best-paid employees in the nation hold fast to their right to collective bargaining.

Over the years, team owners have tried every possible tactic to break athletes' unions, but they haven't succeeded yet. Players have seen enough close up of the avarice of their bosses to hold to the fundamental union precept that, "We're stronger together."

The pervasiveness of unions in professional sports offers a frontal challenge to the right-wing argument that unions undermine individual initiative and collective productivity. Who could doubt that these athletes give it their all every time they suit up? Who could argue that these teams don't function with an extraordinarily high level of discipline and efficacy? Who could claim with even a modicum of credibility that unions are impeding the triumphs of the teams we root for?

In fact, the opposite argument can be made--that having a union that assures fair treatment helps to improve player morale and team cohesion.

That same argument holds even greater weight for employees who aren't sports superstars. The more workers can have the respect and fairness that a union helps to ensure, the more they are motivated to concentrate on the jobs before them and give that work maximum effort.

The economic benefits of unions for workers are undisputed. Unions helped to build the American middle class, and unions today are critical to sustaining it. A recent study by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median earnings of union members are nearly $10,000 higher than those of non-union workers.

But it is that very fact--that unions raise wages--that has spurred the efforts of the big-money class to obliterate unions entirely. Despite the fact that income is ever more concentrated at the very top--with the richest 5% now controlling more wealth than 90% of the people in this country--the super-rich are bound and determined to drive down the wages of average working people, including right here in Illinois.

The good news is that it's not just professional athletes who are "stickin' to the union." More and more, working people all across this country and in every sector are standing together against the assault on their basic right to have a voice at work.

Here in Illinois, we've demonstrated unprecedented unity in packing city council and county board meetings from one end of the state to the other to block Bruce Rauner's efforts to force local governments to endorse his anti-union "Turnaround Agenda." And union members in state government have stood up by the thousands in recent weeks to resist Rauner's attempt to take away their right to have a voice on the job.

Perhaps most encouraging, more and more young people are joining labor's ranks. A recent poll found that favorability for unions was highest of any age group among those 18-24. And the pro-union vote by employees at Gawker Media is an important indication of the potential role of unions in new sectors of the economy.

But unions will only be there for the workforce of today--and tomorrow--if more of us are prepared to do all we can right now. Like the Blackhawks, we have to focus on One Goal: standing up against the ruthless assault that is now underway not just on labor unions, but on the American Dream of fairness for all, that unions have been so critical to building and sustaining.

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Beware the summer tax hikes, Illinois

Tue, 2015-07-07 14:39
Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek looked at five new or increased taxes Illinois and Chicago residents could be subjected to by the end of the summer:

If you happen to live in Chicago, you could easily be facing four or five tax increases.

1. Chicago just started imposing a 9 percent tax on audio and video streaming services including Netflix and Spotify. If you're a minimum wage worker, that ought to take a nice bite out of the minimum wage increase to $10 an hour the city's politicians were so pleased to give you.

2. Chicago and suburban Cook County residents could be paying a higher sales tax in short order as Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle tries to persuade a majority of county commissioners to put back on the one-cent increase she built her first campaign around dumping. Preckwinkle says she is pursuing the tax increase because she can't get state lawmakers to sign off on her pension reform plan for the county.

3.Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is talking about a property tax hike of up to $250 million for public schools and, Crain's Chicago Business notes, he could need at least another $328.6 million to cover Chicago police and fire pension funds, too. Property tax experts considered a range of options and projected the public safety pension funds could require tax hikes that ranged from $77 to $224 for the owner of a $250,000 home, depending on who it's structured. Chicago is the biggest, but we know there are scores of other communities around Illinois with police and fire pension funds also in dire straits.

4. And then there's Illinois. Perhaps you've been caught up in the bluster between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and you've been enjoying picking sides rather than picking apart the policy?

Well, pick at this: a tax increase sure seems to be baked into whatever resolution may come, whenever that might be.

Check out Reboot Illinois to find out what Doubek says all these new taxes mean.

Illinoisans won't know exactly what'll be going on with their taxes in the coming year until the governor and the General Assembly come to a budget agreement in Springfield. So far, there is no end in sight, and the state government shutdown is starting to negatively impact Illinois residents who need the most help from the state. Check out Reboot Illinois to find out how unavailable funding is affecting Illinois' foster children, disabled and poor residents.

NEXT ARTICLE: Best of the best: The top 10 hospitals in Illinois

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A Salute to Egg Rolls and Forever Friendships

Tue, 2015-07-07 11:53
"There are other places in Chicago to get good egg rolls. You're being ridiculous!"

This was my husband's comment to me as I rushed out the door to pick up my final carry-out order from my all-time favorite Chinese Restaurant, Kow Kow. Located in Lincolnwood, Illinois, just minutes from Chicago, Kow Kow has meant so much more to me than incredible egg rolls and fabulous Mongolian Beef. After being in business since 1949, Kow Kow closed in June, 2015.

When I think of my two best friends, Shana and Stacy, I can't help but think of Kow Kow. I met Shana on the first day of kindergarten in the sandbox. We met Stacy in 1982 at the start of third grade. We formed an unbreakable bond and have remained best friends for over 3 decades. Shana and Stacy are the kinds of friends that all women dream of having--lifelong, forever friends who know you better than you know yourself because they have seen you grow; ones who, no matter how different you become, are there to carry you when you are too weary to walk.

I immediately conjure up images of Kow Kow dinners, when I reflect on growing up together. In high school, there was rarely a problem that couldn't be made better with egg rolls. Shana and Stacy would pick me up and we'd head straight to Kow Kow in Shana's green Dodge Colt, the Indigo Girls blaring all the way. Hearing the crisp egg roll crackle open and dunking it into the bright orange syrupy sweet and sour sauce made everything better. We would nestle in the back of the restaurant, all cozy in the red leather booth and laugh for hours.

Anytime we came home from college, I would barely drop my bags in the door before Shana and Stacy were outside my house, honking the horn. That was my cue to race out and head to Kow Kow. If two of us went without the third, the owners would ask, "Where's your other friend?"

As we entered adulthood, Kow Kow remained a constant in our friendship. Through the good and bad, we always celebrated or drowned our sorrows in fried rice, won ton soup, egg rolls and Mongolian beef.
Hours after giving birth to my son, Shana came to visit me in the hospital. With egg rolls and Mongolian beef from Kow Kow in hand, she declared, "I thought you might be hungry!"

"Shanee- I love you, but I just had a C-section, much as I would love to, I can't eat that right now."

"No? Really? Are you sure? Okay, I guess I'll eat it then. Can't let this go to waste. Do you mind if I use your hospital bed tray....after I hold the baby of course!"

Three years later, after I gave birth to my daughter, I suffered grave complications, which were partially masked by my scleroderma; the autoimmune disease I've had since I was a child. 15 days after my daughter was born, Shana called Stacy, who was living in New York. She was weeping uncontrollably and told her, "Stace- the doctors just removed Lisa's colon. It's really complicated, but they're saying she's not going to make it. I don't know what's going on, but they're telling us to say goodbye to her. They keep saying she's not going to pull through."

Stacy was an actress in a traveling theatre troupe. She booked the first flight to Chicago and arrived the next morning. Days later, it became evident I would survive the aftermath of the surgery, but that I was to be nourished through a feeding tube and then, later through TPN. Shana made a deal with herself; she was not going to eat Kow Kow again until I was able to eat it with her.

Shana may not have put this unthinkable moratorium on her beloved egg rolls, had she known how prolonged my illness would be. I spent 218 days in the hospital. Much of that time Shana and Stacy made tremendous personal sacrifices to be by my side. Stacy moved into my house for a month and took care of my kids. Shana, who gave birth to her first child shortly after my catastrophic surgery, cared for my two children on countless occasions and still drove to the hospital most nights to visit me.
My road to recovery was slow and I hit many roadblocks along the way. Six months into my illness, the doctors began to allow me to drink clear liquids. I would carefully sip broth and feel the warm sensation enter my belly. I then watched it travel out my G-tube (a tube that had been inserted in my abdomen) and spill into a collecting canister.

As soon as Shana learned of this latest development, she couldn't contain her excitement.
"Lis- I'm so happy they're letting you eat again! I'll pick up Kow Kow and head straight to the hospital!"
It took a lot of explaining for Shana to understand why I couldn't eat egg rolls, even if I "just chewed it and let it go straight out my G-tube."

I tried convincing Shana that she could go ahead and eat from Kow Kow without me. She absolutely refused. 8 major surgeries, 2 tracheotomies, and 9 months of physical rehabilitation later, Shana and I ate that Kow Kow meal together.

That was nine years ago. Since my recovery, the three of us have resumed our fine Kow Kow traditions. Last year, Shana's husband was diagnosed with throat cancer (thankfully, he is now cancer-free). He underwent a hellish treatment and could barely eat anything. Guess what? He ate the Kow Kow egg rolls I would drop off for him.

Through divorce, cancer, deaths of loved ones, near-fatal illnesses, and countless celebrations, Kow Kow has always been our special place. It never occurred to us that one day, our tradition would come to an end.

I knew we had to have one final send off. As I drove to pick up Shana, I saw the most spectacular rainbow I've ever seen in my life. Its vertical (yes, vertical) iridescent colors shimmered through the clouds. Being the sappy, insane person that I am, I decided that rainbow held tremendous significance.
I made Shana take pictures of the rainbow, the highway exit sign, the parking lot, and the interior and exterior of the restaurant. Turns out, we weren't the only two sentimental loons. Kow Kow was jam packed with patrons dining and taking pictures. I heard grown men saying, "This is bringing tears to my eyes. We've had so many good time here."

Shana, Stacy and I said goodbye to a piece of our history together. Kow Kow was a special place that was intricately woven into the tapestry of our friendship. As my own children grow up, I can only hope they'll find their own Kow Kow with their forever friends. Their friendships, like mine, will undoubtedly go on, even without our golden egg rolls at the end of the rainbow.

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'Do You Secretly Hope You Will Win?' On Raising Multifaith Children

Tue, 2015-07-07 11:24
Last year, I had the honor of filming a tribute for our community's Holocaust Memorial Center dinner. As the lights and microphones were being set up around my house, I had the opportunity to have a wonderful, winding conversation with the director. I mentioned that my children were at faith formation at our church, leaving the house abnormally quiet for an hour. This mention, in the midst of talking about Judaism and the Holocaust, naturally led to a discussion of how we were raising our children. As soon as I mentioned that we were raising them in both the Catholic and Jewish faiths, she asked a question that I am sure many have thought of, but only an inquisitive documentary director would ask: "Do you secretly hope you will win?"

Rather than being offended by her bluntness, I was refreshed by the honesty of the question. In viewing our life surrounded by the tenets and teachings of two faiths, it would be all too easy to start keeping score.

"We went to church last week, so we have to go to synagogue this week."

"Why are there two mezzuzot on the walls, but only one cross?"

"We are celebrating more Jewish holidays than Catholic ones, we have to skip holidays."

But in a multifaith house, it is about developing a religious identity not fomenting a competition of faith.

I replied to my interviewer honestly, "I would never think of them picking Judaism as winning or of them picking Catholicism as losing. I do not think it is necessary to their lives to choose between religions. They will believe whatever they believe, as we all do. When they grow up, I just hope they can walk into a synagogue or a church and feel comfortable and at home." And I smiled, because I knew I truly believed what I was saying.

The deeper truth is that it took me a long time to get here. Faith is a journey, as are relationships. A multifaith marriage can feel like those two journeys colliding, sometimes in unexpected and painful ways. Years ago, when the boy and the girl that now sleep in their beds were just dreams to us, the idea of raising Catholic kids took my breath away in an existential religious crisis. Baptism? Never. Faith formation? No way. Perhaps, back then, I did believe that there would be winners and losers in this battle of faith.

But something changed for both us. We went from an interfaith relationship to a multifaith marriage. At our wedding, a passage from Ruth was read. "Your people will be my people and your God my God." We took this to heart. Our family is Jewish and Catholic. We share a common identity. Yes, we have differences. But those differences are not nearly as significant as the world would make them out to be. I am a parishioner at a Catholic Church -- though I do not believe in the divinity of Jesus. My husband is a congregant at a Jewish synagogue -- though he remains a dedicated Catholic. We belong to our communities. We refuse to be strangers, to be separate, to be excluded.

This is a journey where the possibility of winning and losing lurks before us -- but not in the way my interviewer thought. I would not win if he chooses Judaism. And my husband will not win if she chooses Catholicism. We will win if we raise these two perfect children to understand that they come from two faiths with traditions and teachings that span thousands of years -- and if they continue to travel on their journey of faith formation in whatever direction it leads. And we will lose if we were to allow our faiths to be pitted in a competition against each other so our home was a place of contention instead of one of love and kindness. "Do you secretly hope you will win?" Yes, I do hope we will win.

A version of this post was originally published at

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Illinois Is One Of The Best States To Earn A Living In The Country

Tue, 2015-07-07 09:41
Illinoisans rarely are surprised when they hear bad economic news about the state. But a new study shows that Illinois scored high in one important area related to jobs and business--the state ranked in the number five in the nation for the best place to make a living in 2015.

The rankings, released by MoneyRates, were based on average wages in the states, state tax rates, cost of living, unemployment rates and incidents of workplace injuries. Based on these statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Tax Foundation and other sources, the report shows which states have the overall best conditions for making enough money to live comfortably.

The states in yellow on this map were ranked among the best to make a living, while the states in green were ranked among the worst. Click on the map for more details:

Check out Reboot Illinois to see what order the 20 best and worst states appeared in and which numbers contributed to those scores for each state.

Sign up for our daily email to stay up to date with Illinois politics.

NEXT ARTICLE: 10 Illinois laws every resident should know

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Virtual Reality Job Interview Training Helps Veterans With PTSD Find Work

Tue, 2015-07-07 09:09
Job interviews are already stressful enough -- there's a reason there are more than 10 million Google search results for the terms "job interview" and "stress." But for veterans who are also dealing with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions, the experience can be triggering in a way that leaves far too many of them jobless.

In an effort to address this, a new job-interview training program developed by a software company is aiming to help veteran job seekers dealing with PTSD improve their interview skills and, hopefully, get hired.

The program, called Job Interview Training with Molly Porter, was created by SIMmersion and inspired by an algorithm the company developed in order to deliver interview training to FBI agents. According to Vice's Motherboard, a user launches an interview with Molly Porter, the human resources professional who kicks off the session by asking common interview questions, including those that a veteran might have particular trouble responding to, such as questions concerning employment gaps. Users are able to choose from between some 10 and 15 responses to each question and the interview will proceed.

At the end of each session, users can review their transcript and read feedback about how they could improve their performance next time and interviews get more challenging as users progress through the training.

The results of a recent Northwestern University study of the software, published this month in the journal Psychiatric Services, have been astounding.

Study participants, including both veterans with PTSD and a mood or psychotic disorder and civilians with a severe mental illness, who completed the software training were twice as likely as those who had not to receive a job offer within six months. When that comparison controlled for intelligence, recency of last job and mental health diagnosis, those who completed the training were nine times more likely to achieve a similar outcome.

Further, a Northwestern story on the study noted, the more training sessions the users completed, the more likely they were to receive a job offer within a shorter amount of time.

One participant in the study, Adam Navarro-Lowery, whose PTSD had previously gotten so severe that he was both unemployed and homeless, told the Chicago Tribune that the training helped him build confidence in the job search process. He is currently working as a residential leasing agent.

“You realize there’s hope,” Navarro-Lowery told the Tribune of the training. “When I was done, I felt like I had an edge.”

The program costs $89.95 for unlimited access for individuals online and can also be accessed through institutions like job training centers.

The SIMmersion program is not the first time virtual reality platform specifically targeted to veterans with PTSD. A system for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has already been distributed to dozens of clinics and hospitals through a partnership between Virtually Better and the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies.

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Girl And Guy Prank Complete Strangers With Some Extreme PDA

Mon, 2015-07-06 17:19

Definitely putting the P in PDA.

Farah Brook, the comedian who went around Grand Central Station trying to kiss total strangers, is back with a new video, this time showcasing some very public displays of affection to a lot of unsuspecting New Yorkers.

In honor of International Kissing Day, Brook and a guy friend innocently asked total strangers to take a picture of them. The couple then proceeded to get extremely affectionate while the stranger looked on, unsure of what to do next.

Eventually, some strangers just simply walk away, awkwardly (and hilariously) laying the camera down on the ground, while Brook and the guy continue to go at it.

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How To Defend Yourself Against A Shark Week Fan, Because They're Convo-Killing Machines

Mon, 2015-07-06 14:17
Da-dum ... da-dum ...

Shark Week is here again -- and for us non-Shark Week folk, that means suffering through a week of people yammering on and on about how awesome Shark Week is. And it potentially means the death of thousands of otherwise rich and lively conversations about anything else it doesn't even matter what OMG.

You need to know how to defend yourself against a Shark Week fan, so pay attention, it could save your life.

Avoid eye contact!
Shark Week fans take eye contact as a sign of interest.

Don't thrash around!
If you see a Shark Week fan, don't move -- THEY SENSE MOVEMENT WITH THEIR EYES. If they see you moving, they'll identify you as another human being who they can discuss Shark Week with.

If you're spotted, get in a defensive position!

Resist the urge to stab or impale them!
Because then you'll go to prison. And not just for a week. You'll be experiencing Shark Life.

If you must attack them, go for the gills!
Note: Assume most die-hard Shark Week fans have had cosmetic surgery to get gills. They're super proud of these, so if you strike them here, they will probably leave you alone.

Fool someone into entering the conversation, so you can escape!
That might not seem nice, but you what? THE ANIMAL KINGDOM ISN'T NICE.

Void your bowels!
This is a final option, but they will go away.

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During budget shutdown, Illinois comptroller says only a court order can authorize payments

Mon, 2015-07-06 13:25
Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger want a Cook County judge to make clear what can and can't be paid by the state comptroller's office without a state budget in place.

Madigan filed a motion in Cook County Circuit Court that seeks a court order authorizing the comptroller's office to, among other things, issue paychecks to state employees.

"The Illinois Constitution clearly states that without a budget, the state's authority to fund government operations and services is severely limited. I am bringing this action to ensure that legally supported expenditures can continue to be made and to address the question of how the state payroll is legally managed during the budget impasse," Madigan said in a statement.

Munger, the state official in charge of the state's checkbook, said that while she has authority to continue paying some bills under existing court orders, most day-to-day expenses including payroll for state employees are another matter.

"Without an appropriation or a court order we will be unable to continue payments to non-profits, social services and small businesses that are not covered by the court orders that I just mentioned for their new Fiscal Year 2016 expenses," Munger said in a press conference at the Thompson Center in Chicago. "These are organizations that have been receiving expedited payments from our office for fiscal '15 due to existing hardships... They will likely be among the first to feel the pinch because we are more current with them on our payments and we do not have an appropriation to pay them for any of their new fiscal '16 bills."

Munger said the state currently is $5 billion behind in paying its bills for FY 2015, and payment for services provided during FY 2015 still can be issued. That means it could be many weeks before some service providers -- who are accustomed to long waits for payment of their bills -- feel the effects of not being paid for bills submitted after the July 1 start of FY 2016.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois to learn more about Munger and Madigan's plans for paying state employees.

As the budget stalemate drags on, watch this conversation about the state government shutdown to learn more about the public relations wrangling between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan:

NEXT ARTICLE: Best of the best: The top 10 hospitals in Illinois

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Grateful Dead End 50-Year Career With Moving, Magnificent Final Show | Rolling Stone

Mon, 2015-07-06 12:02
"I have spent my life/Seeking all that's still unsung/Bent my ear to hear the tune," sang Phil Lesh last night, harmonizing with colleagues new and old, on "Attics of My Life," the final song of a fraught, moving, ultimately magnificent five-night, two-state Fare The Well concert series — billed as the final shows that the surviving members of the Grateful Dead will ever perform together. The final concert was also the run's strongest, showcasing a new band hitting its stride precisely as it was set to retire. The new guys — Phish's Trey Anastasio, RatDog's Jeff Chimenti and returning moonlighter Bruce Hornsby — found equal footing and perfect sync with original band members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzman and Mickey Hart. It was clear from the opener, "China Cat Sunflower" into "I Know You Rider," one of the band's most emblematic and potent pairings. When Anastasio and Hornsby, not Weir or Lesh, traded lead vocals on the former, it felt like a torch was passed. And when the 70,000 fans sang "I know you rider/Gonna miss me when I'm gone" during the latter, it was like they were singing those words to each other.

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Did your state lawmaker vote for Illinois' temporary budget?

Mon, 2015-07-06 11:47
With Illinois' state government no-budget shutdown in full swing, House Speaker Michael Madigan proposed a temporary 30-day budget July 1 that didn't pass in the House. A separate Senate bill did pass with no support from Republicans. The Illinois News Network's Mark Fitton explained:

The state Senate on Thursday passed a measure to provide about $2.2 billion for "essential services" for the month of July, but that bill apparently will not see action in the Illinois House until next week at the earliest.

With entirely Democratic support, Senate Bill 2040 passed on a vote of 37-0. Eleven Senators voted present and another 11 did not vote.

A similar bill failed when it came up four votes short of the necessary 71 in the House.

That does not necessarily mean House Democrats won't be able to pass the Senate version, as the Democrats had four members absent on Wednesday.

With all Democrats in attendance, they could pass the Senate bill on to the governor -- who does not support it -- if each Democrat stays on board.

Thirty-six votes in the Senate and 71 in the House are also sufficient for a veto override.

Republicans led by Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative Democrats have been unable this spring to reach a deal on a budget for fiscal year 2016, which began Wednesday.

As a result, a partial government shutdown is expected to begin this week and intensify if July continues to pass without an agreement.

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D.C., Chicago in Dead Heat Over Veteran Homelessness

Mon, 2015-07-06 09:56
Two of the country's most politically savvy and competitive cities are now in a tight race to end veteran homelessness by the end of the year.

In the nation's capital, a small group of advocates is shaking things up on the ground and energizing city decision makers and service providers to get to the finish line on time. Before Chicago, that is.

Last week, local and national leaders gathered at an event at the Mount Pleasant Public Library sponsored by Veterans Now DC, a local veteran advocacy group. All signs point to the fact that D.C. has the resources to do the job, but the push will be hard.

Veterans Now DC's boot-camp, all-hands-on-deck approach has made it possible to both expedite and maximize housing placements. In 2015 alone, the group has averaged 61 placements a month, which is truly remarkable in a destination city with so much pressure on the housing market.

In all, over 1,000 veterans have been housed since the group first assembled in August 2013.

One of Veterans Now DC's greatest strengths is their infectious enthusiasm for the cause. There was plenty of it on display in the room last week.

Advocates like Linda Kaufman (Community Solutions), Richard Cho (U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness), and Kristy Greenwalt (DC ICH Executive Director) delivered powerful speeches. When they had finished, everyone in the room had their marching orders, and the goal looked more achievable than ever.

Last year, D.C. signed on to First Lady Michelle Obama's Mayoral Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, an indication of local commitment to solve this issue. For many in the country, the failure to address homelessness is regarded as "immoral."

Greenwalt reminded the audience that Mayor Muriel Bowser remains fully committed to ending veteran homelessness in Washington and referenced the recent increase in D.C.'s homeless services budget.

Additionally, the Department of Veterans Affairs is spending an extra $1 million on rapid rehousing in the city this year.

Veterans Now DC is not just about motivating people. It has also developed a systematic approach to identifying individual needs among veterans and new ways to meet these needs.

Using powerful assessment tools, like VI-SPDAT,* and drawing from the new virtual Coordinated Entry System for single adults, the group has been able to determine that just three in 10 veterans need permanent supportive housing, while five in 10 need only rapid rehousing services, a shorter and less costly intervention. The remaining two in 10 veterans typically receive general housing help from the city and mainstream resources, which do not include services.

The group also works on the proven assumption that many veterans experiencing financial challenges manage to find housing on their own, taking pressure off the system from the onset.

Of the close to 1,300 veterans the group originally identified, an estimated 380 are currently still unhoused, which means the next six months will be crucial if D.C. is to beat Chicago in the race to end veteran homelessness.

Both challengers acknowledge the other city's strengths on the system and resource sides. And both have great momentum and highly energized advocates. The race is likely to heat up even more in the fall, as the year-end deadline approaches.

Of course, D.C. advocates are not really hoping that Chicago runs out of "wind," but some of them wouldn't mind beating the Windy City, even if only by a day.

Wishing fair winds to both teams, I'm amazed by the results being brought about by these new ways of energizing systems in homeless services. We're certainly trending on the ground all over the country as we build these initiatives to end homelessness everywhere and for everybody in the U.S.

*Vulnerability Index & Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool

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Bill Murray Takes In Final Grateful Dead Show In Chicago, And Why Not?

Mon, 2015-07-06 09:54
Like the Grateful Dead song says, just keep truckin' on, Bill Murray.

The Illinois native took in the Dead's final show of its "Fare Thee Well" tour at Chicago's Soldier Field on Sunday. And because he's Bill Murray, he got noticed by Twitter users.

If Bill Murray likes the @GratefulDead, shouldn't you? #FareTheeWell #Dead50

— Jeff Tobin (@Run4Roses) July 6, 2015

The Grateful Dead formed in the mid-'60s when Murray was a teenager.

For both band and funnyman, what a long, strange trip it's been.

Y'all!!!! @BillMurray is there!!!!! #nevermissasundayshow #dead50 #GD50 #FareTheeWell

— Miss Manda (@the_miss_manda) July 6, 2015

H/T Uproxx

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Chicago Boy Amari Brown Among 3 Dead, 27 Injured In Just 8-Hour Span

Sun, 2015-07-05 14:14
In just an eight-hour span during the Fourth of July weekend, gun violence in Chicago left three people dead and 27 wounded. Amari Brown, a 7-year-old boy on the city's West Side, was the youngest of the fatalities.

Those 30 shootings came between 9:20 p.m Saturday and 4:45 a.m. Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Amari had spent the day celebrating with family and riding his scooter up and down the block where he lived with his grandmother and several other relatives in Humboldt Park. Just before midnight, a gunman opened fire outside a relative's home where Amari and other children were playing, hitting both the 7-year-old and a 26-year-old woman in the chest.

Amari was pronounced dead at an area hospital about two hours later. Police told the Chicago Sun-Times neither Amari nor the woman was the intended target.

Amari Brown, killed a few min before midnite. Mother asks killer @WGNNews, "why did you take my baby away from me?"

— Randi Belisomo (@RandiBelisomo) July 5, 2015

Family described Amari as "a sweet, sweet little boy" who loved to joke and dance, and who "had a big imagination."

“It’s crazy. Like who would shoot a 7-year-old? He got shot in the chest. Who would do that? To a baby?” Amari's grandmother Vedia Hailey told the Sun-Times. “All the kids that are getting killed out here -- it’s crazy. When is it going to stop?”

No arrests have been made. Family members will hold a press conference Sunday afternoon to call for Amari's killer to turn himself in.

During the same eight-hour span in which Amari was shot, the other shooting deaths included two 26-year-old men shot in separate incidents on the Northwest Side and the far South Side.

As of Sunday afternoon, a total of nine people were killed and 35 injured since the long holiday weekend started Thursday afternoon, according to DNAinfo Chicago. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy had promised "all hands on deck" during the holiday weekend to avoid a repeat of last year's Fourth of July shooting levels.

In 2014, 82 people were shot, 14 of them fatally.

Chicago has already tallied more than 220 homicides so far this year, at least 200 of which have been from shootings, according to RedEye Chicago's Homicide Tracker.

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Poll: Duckworth Leads Kirk by 16 Points

Fri, 2015-07-03 07:22
If U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) emerges as the 2016 Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, incumbent Republican Mark Kirk faces an enormous challenge holding onto his seat, a new poll suggests.

A June 23 survey of 598 likely 2016 Illinois voters commissioned by The Illinois Observer's e-newsletter, The Insider, found that Duckworth leads Kirk 43.8-27.3% or 16.5 points.


The poll, conducted by Chicago-based Ogden & Fry, had a significant 28.9% of voters undecided.

The survey had a margin of error of +/- 4.09%.

Kirk's weakness vis-à-vis Duckworth seems to be explained by a dismal job approval rating.

The poll found that just 16.9% of likely voters approved of Kirk's handling of his job and 31.1% disapproved, but a whopping 52% were undecided about his job performance.

Ogden & Fry was the only firm to predict Governor Bruce Rauner's 5-point victory over Governor Pat Quinn in 2014 and the firm accurately predicted the results the 2015 Chicago mayor's race. In it's last weekly survey on April 3 of that contest, Ogden & Fry estimated that Rahm Emanuel would grab 56.6% and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia 43.4%. The actual results saw Emanuel win 332,171 votes or 56.23% and Garcia, 258,562, or 43.77%.

The survey comes on the heels of Kirk's embarrassing gaffe on June 11 in which he referred to fellow Republican Senator and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as the "bro with no ho." Graham is unmarried.

A predictable media firestorm ignited and Kirk was forced to apologize for the private remarks that were caught on a live microphone, but not before Duckworth and her Democratic allies pounced and attacked the first-term senator for his comments.

The new poll stands in contrast to a December 18, 2014 We Ask America survey of 1,003 voters commissioned by The Illinois Observer in which it showed Duckworth with a miniscule ½ point lead over Kirk, 45.59-45.02% and 9.39% undecided. That poll had a +/- 3.09% margin of error.

Since December, Kirk's support has shifted to the "undecided" column.

Kirk and the Illinois Republican Party view Duckworth, a second-term congresswoman from Hoffman Estates, and an Iraq war hero, as their toughest general election opponent. The Illinois GOP regularly pummels Duckworth in a flood of press statements.

Before Duckworth can focus on Kirk, she faces a primary challenge next March from Chicago Urban League president Andrea Zopp, who was recruited by ex-White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, but a May 16 poll of 1,051 Democratic primary voters commissioned by The Illinois Observer found that Duckworth lead Daley's candidate by 45 points, 50.1-.05%. Still, this week Zopp's campaign leaked that it had already raised $665,000, a formidable sum.

Meanwhile, in the current survey, Kirk can take solace in the fact that Duckworth has failed to add to her support since December and has, crucially, not crossed the 50% mark - so far.

Additionally, Kirk holds a substantial cash advantage over Duckworth at the moment. In the first quarter of 2015, Kirk raised $1,000,000; spent $210,100; and ended with $2,833,151 in the bank. Duckworth raised $155,443 for her new senate campaign account; she transferred $1,047,134 from her House campaign fund; spent a negligible $4,183; and had $1,198,000 in the bank at the end of March.

Still, in March, Washington D.C.'s insider publication, The Hill, ranked Kirk, who is firmly backed by Governor Bruce Rauner, as the most vulnerable senator in the 2016 cycle.

Nothing in our new poll challenges that ranking.

Stay tuned.

David also edits The Illinois Observer: The Insider, in which this article first appeared.

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4th Of July Things You'll Rethink On The 5th Of July

Thu, 2015-07-02 15:54
It's the day after that you might remember the most.

We all look forward to having a great time on the 4th of July. But what we don't look forward to is the day after, when perhaps we're feeling an enormous amount of regret for things that transpired on our nation's birthday.

Here are some things we will definitely rethink for next year's 4th of July.

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The Upper Peninsula Is Completely Underrated, And We Have The Photos To Prove It

Thu, 2015-07-02 14:54
In Marquette, a remote Michigan beach town further north than some parts of Canada, the only thing more enchanting and boundless than the views of Lake Superior is the sky above it.

Most of the year, the northern coast of the Upper Peninsula is too cold for the average person to sit for hours marveling at the scenery, though weather won’t deter locals and hardy adventurers like Marquette's own nature photographer Shawn Malone.

And when her city does get its few months of warmth, coinciding with increased hours of daylight, Malone rarely strays from behind the camera, even to sleep. She's determined to capture all of the beauty the North Country has to offer.

That’s how she ended up documenting the spectacular variations in the sky over Lake Superior in one 24-hour period last month, catching bright stars, moody clouds and the vibrant colors of both the Northern Lights and a double rainbow.

Malone, who owns the gallery Lake Superior Photo in downtown Marquette, usually travels all over the region. But on June 22, she shot from a public beach near her house. The resulting six images below show the constant changes you learn to love in the Great Lakes region and serve as a reminder of just how captivating they can be -- doubly true when you see them in person.

June 22, 12:11 a.m.

The first sky scene Malone photographed was of the Milky Way, a few minutes after midnight.

A university town, Marquette is the largest city in the UP, but it is still relatively small and mostly surrounded by wilderness. The lack of noise pollution and open view of the sky over the endless lake make for excellent stargazing, with plentiful beaches to choose from for nighttime viewing or daytime lounging.

June 22, 5:54 p.m.

Soon, it was officially morning, and Malone captured the sunrise. "We are down to four hours of dark sky time for night photography," she wrote in an email. "Twilight lasts after midnight around the solstice, and first light [appears] as a glow before 4 a.m."

June 22, 8:15 p.m.

In the evening, storm clouds hung heavily over Lake Superior. But the soft, diffused light and calm waters make for a serene view.

June 22, 8:47 p.m.

When the clouds broke that evening, they left two rainbows. Storms aren't uncommon on Lake Superior, but the rapidly changing conditions means you aren't likely to be stuck with bad weather for long.

June 22, 9:19 p.m.

A little later, the cloud had receded further, creating a perfect backdrop for the sunset.

There aren’t many places where you can watch the sun rise and set from the "same" direction -- the Upper Peninsula is truly a magical place. During summers in the UP, Marquette gets views of sunrises from the northeast and sunsets from the northwest, both visible over Lake Superior. "It is so welcome and appreciated after six-month winters," Malone said.

June 22, 11:57 p.m.

Less than 24 hours after Malone began taking photos of the Milky Way, she was back at home, seemingly done with photography for the day. But when she took her dog out, she found the mesmerizing green and purple aurora borealis and grabbed her camera. There aren't too many places in the United States to get such clear views of the Northern Lights -- outside of Alaska, anyway.

You can't entirely prepare for flashes of unexpected beauty on the shores of Lake Superior, but there are ways to improve your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. And if you're unsuccessful, you're still bound to see some dramatic scenery.

“Lake Superior has a reputation of many moods,” Malone said. "The unobstructed, wide-open horizon ... is exhilarating and contemplative at the same time.”

If that's 24 hours, imagine a long weekend.

All photos courtesy ©Shawn Malone/LakeSuperiorPhoto.

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