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Purdue Takes A Stand For Free Speech, No Matter How Offensive Or Unwise

Fri, 2015-05-15 11:47
Purdue University has become the first public institution of higher education to adopt a free speech policy called the "Chicago principles," condemning the suppression of views no matter how "offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed" they may be.

The board of trustees passed a measure endorsing those principles on Friday. Purdue President Mitch Daniels plans to address some of the same points in his remarks at the Indiana university's commencement ceremony this weekend.

The Chicago principles were crafted and approved at the University of Chicago in January and has since been adopted by the faculty at Princeton University.

The free speech principles caught Daniel's eye when they were first released, he told The Huffington Post, and he saw the potential for them to spread to other campuses. He called officials at Chicago to ask permission to copy their statement.

"We didn't see how we could improve on the language," Daniels said. "That captures what we think is right here."

The Committee on Freedom of Expression, a faculty group at the University of Chicago, was organized in July 2014 following what the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) dubbed "disinvitation season" that spring, when student activists across the country attempted to block or un-invite controversial commencement speakers.

Then in November, students at the University of California, Berkeley, attempted to block Bill Maher from speaking at their winter commencement over his past comments about Muslims. Such an irony, the TV host couldn't help but note. Exactly 50 years earlier, Berkeley had been the home of the Free Speech Movement.

The Purdue policy states, "It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose." Nearly identical language appears in the Chicago version.

"We looked at it, our trustees looked at it. We said, you know, this says exactly what needs to be said. We're going to protect all kinds of speech, including the kind we think is ridiculous and completely wrong, and we're going to insist everybody else respect -- at least on our campus -- people's right to be heard," Daniels said.

Asked how he would respond if students attempted to un-invite a speaker at Purdue, Daniels answered, "I would politely tell them, 'Thank you for your advice, but no, we're not that kind of place.'"

University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey R. Stone, who chaired the free speech committee, said there was "consensus pretty much from the beginning on the basic principles" of the statement. Stone is excited to see other schools adopting the same ideas, especially in light of recent speech debates on campus.

"My own personal view is that the level of intolerance for controversial views on college campuses is much greater than at any time in my memory and that it is most unfortunate," Stone said. "College is a time to learn to deal with challenging, unsettling, and even offensive and hateful ideas. In the real world, we are inevitably confronted with these ideas, and college should prepare our graduates to know how to respond to such ideas courageously, effectively and persuasively."

Greg Lukianoff, president of FIRE, said that much of his career has been spent defending free speech against higher education administrators. But over the last two-and-a-half years, he said, "the language policing" started coming more from the students.

"It's really distressing to me and disappointing to me because I enjoy defending students," Lukianoff said.

He can't say what caused the change and hesitates to attribute it to social media, but he did concede the Internet has made it easier for students to interact only within "echo chambers" where they feel comfortable.

"You end up having people who are less prepared to deal with general, fundamental debate," Lukianoff said. Moreover, he expects to see battles over expression "get worse because so many other things are getting better," freeing people to give speech issues more prominence.

Purdue also plans to overhaul particular policies flagged by FIRE as potentially violating the First Amendment.

Both the Chicago and Purdue statements instruct community members to "not obstruct or otherwise interfere" with an opponent's speech, but leave open the possibility for the university to restrict defamation, genuine threats, harassment that "unjustifiably invades" privacy or "expression that violates the law."

"As we've said before, a university violates its special mission if it fails to protect free and open debate," Purdue trustees chair Thomas Spurgeon said in a statement. "No one can expect his views to be free from vigorous challenge, but all must feel completely safe in speaking out."

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What's the Most Popular State for Summer Vacations?

Fri, 2015-05-15 10:21
Courtesy (clockwise): Pixabay, Visit Dallas, Gatlinburg Tourism

Hotel search trivago.com analyzed the 100 most popular domestic destinations for travel this June, July and August (based on hotel searches) to find out which U.S. state will welcome the most visitors this summer.

Five states dominated the Top 100 destination list, collectively claiming 49 of the most popular spots!

Can you guess which state rules summer?

#5 - NEW JERSEY

Atlantic City, New Jersey via Pixabay


New Jersey may be small, but it puts up a big fight to attract tourists each summer - and it's working! Thanks to 130 miles of coastline, The Garden State is home to four of the 100 most popular U.S. summer vacation destinations with trivago users this year.

The 3 most popular New Jersey destinations:

1. Atlantic City
2. Wildwood
3. Cape May

#4 - TENNESSEE

Great Smoky Mountain National Park via Gatlinburg Tourism


Who knew Tennessee was such a popular place to vacation? Mountain and music lovers are flocking to the Southern state in 2015, which also nabbed four of the Top 100 domestic destinations for summer.

The 3 most popular Tennessee destinations:

1. Nashville
2. Pigeon Forge
3. Gatlinburg

#3 - TEXAS

Texas Star via Visit Dallas


The Lone Star state won't be "lonely" this summer. With eight of the 100 most popular vacation destinations in 2015, Texas is going to be a very busy place in June, July and August.

The 3 most popular Texas destinations:

1. San Antonio
2. Galveston
3. South Padre Island

#2 - CALIFORNIA

San Diego via Pixabay


California may have taken second place with travelers this summer, but being home to nine of the 100 most searched U.S. destinations isn't too shabby!

The 3 most popular California destinations:

1. San Diego
2. Anaheim
3. Los Angeles

#1 - FLORIDA

Miami Beach via Pixabay


The Sunshine State officially rules summer! By claiming 24 of the 100 most popular destinations with trivago users this year, Florida is by far the favorite U.S. state for summer vacations.

The 3 most popular Florida destinations:

1. Orlando
2. Miami Beach
3. Panama City Beach

For more summer travel information and inspiration, visit trivago Checkin.

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Obama On B.B. King: 'The Blues Has Lost Its King, And America Has Lost A Legend'

Fri, 2015-05-15 09:46
President Barack Obama released a statement Friday on the passing of blues legend B.B. King, saying there'd "be one killer blues session in heaven tonight."

King died on Thursday in Las Vegas at the age of 89, according to the Associated Press.

Obama famously sang "Sweet Home Chicago" with King at an event at the White House in February 2012. You can watch a clip of that moment above.

Read Obama's full statement on King below:

The blues has lost its king, and America has lost a legend. B.B. King was born a sharecropper’s son in Mississippi, came of age in Memphis, Tennessee, and became the ambassador who brought his all-American music to his country and the world. No one worked harder than B.B. No one inspired more up-and-coming artists. No one did more to spread the gospel of the blues.

Three years ago, Michelle and I hosted a blues concert at the White House. I hadn’t expected that I’d be talked into singing a few lines of “Sweet Home Chicago” with B.B. by the end of the night, but that was the kind of effect his music had, and still does. He gets stuck in your head, he gets you moving, he gets you doing the things you probably shouldn’t do – but will always be glad you did. B.B. may be gone, but that thrill will be with us forever. And there’s going to be one killer blues session in heaven tonight.

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Republicans Are Looking For A Few Good Losers For 2016 Races In Some Cities

Fri, 2015-05-15 08:29

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON, May 15 (Reuters) - When Republican Stefanie Linares ran for office in the deeply Democratic city of Chicago last year, she knew that her hard work wasn't likely to end in victory.

"I wasn't going to win, and I knew that going into it. It was just a platform to get our message heard," she said.

As she knocked on doors and handed out leaflets in affluent North Side neighborhoods, Linares acted as an ambassador for the Republican ticket as a whole, arguing that the Democrats who controlled state government were responsible for Illinois's fiscal woes.

The 31-year-old Hispanic lawyer lost her bid for the Illinois state Senate by a whopping margin. But Republican Bruce Rauner now sits in the Illinois governor's mansion, thanks in part to the efforts of local candidates like Linares who helped boost the Republican vote in the state's largest city.

Now Republicans are looking for a few more good losers like Linares as the 2016 presidential campaign gets under way.

The goal isn't necessarily to win these races, but to improve the performance of the Republican ticket overall and build a base for success over the longer term. That could help the party's presidential candidate as well - if he or she loses a city like Cleveland by a smaller margin, that boosts the chances of winning Ohio, a crucial swing state.

The Republican party fielded eight state legislature candidates in Chicago last year, its best showing in decades. All of those candidates lost, but Rauner won 47,000 more votes in Chicago's Cook County than the last Republican candidate did in 2010 - more than one-third of his margin of victory statewide.

"These sorts of things trickle up," said Caitlin Huxley, a Chicago Republican who helped recruit local candidates.


RED NEIGHBORHOOD, BLUE NEIGHBORHOOD

Huxley and other Republicans are seeking to erode a geographic polarization that has grown more pronounced in recent decades as Americans have gradually sorted themselves into ideologically uniform neighborhoods, with Democrats clustering in densely populated cities and suburbs and Republicans scattering to distant exurbs and rural areas.



In 1980, Republicans won 48 percent of the vote in the 100 largest U.S. counties, according to James Gimpel, a University of Maryland political scientist. In 2012, that share had shrunk to 38 percent.

That is an increasing liability. Republican George W. Bush carried the Cincinnati and Columbus metro areas when he won Ohio in 2004, but Obama won them both when he took the state in 2012. Bush won Colorado in 2004 thanks to his strong showing in the suburban areas around Denver; Obama won those counties, and the state, in 2012.

Fast-growing urban areas are turning states that were once solidly Republican, like Virginia and North Carolina, into battlegrounds and pushing formerly competitive states like Pennsylvania further out of Republicans' reach. Even in deeply conservative Texas, the state's four largest cities - Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin - voted for Obama in 2012.

Stung by their poor performance among Hispanics in the 2012 election, the Republican National Committee has tried to build bridges with minority groups, who mostly live in urban areas.

That's important, but it overlooks the affluent professionals who may already be sympathetic to Republican views on fiscal issues, said Jill Homan, a Republican National Committee member in Washington.

"Too often we have a conversation about who we need to reach," Homan said. "The conversation should not just be about who, but about where."

Homan and other urban Republicans say the party can make inroads by emphasizing issues of particular importance to urban voters: fighting corruption, managing complex transportation projects effectively, paring back regulations and encouraging charter schools and other alternatives to existing public schools.

"We need candidates and elected officials who actually have an urban agenda," said Cuyahoga Republican Party chairman Rob Frost, who pointed out that Ohio Governor John Kasich won the heavily Democratic county last year in his successful re-election bid last year after campaigning on the need to improve schools in Cleveland. Frost recruited four African-American candidates last year and is aiming to recruit more for 2016.

Democrats' dominance in urban areas means that Republicans can more plausibly blame them for shortcomings.

"There was more energy and more candidates in Chicago because there was a new hunger to change direction," said Chip Englander, who managed Rauner's campaign in Illinois and now is managing Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's presidential bid.


TALK TAXES, NOT GAY MARRIAGE

Some Republican activists say that if the party really wants to do better in urban areas, then it needs to tread more carefully on hot-button issues like gay marriage and abortion, which can alienate voters who tend to be more progressive on social issues.

"Straying from the party platform is expected in Chicago. If we held candidates to a litmus test, I'm not even sure I would be here," said Huxley, who heads the local chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay-friendly group.

But these outreach efforts can be sabotaged by more strident voices. Republicans marched in Denver's gay-pride parade in 2013, one of the city's biggest civic events, but sat out last year after blowback from other Republicans.

After Log Cabin Republicans were barred from a conservative conference and a state lawmaker said America was cursed for legalizing abortion, Denver Republican activist Earl Bandy concluded it was impossible to make inroads in his neighborhood. He quit the party a month ago.

"The brand is damaged. You can't start a conversation and say, 'Hi, I'm from the Denver Republicans.' That ends up with a door slammed in your face," he said.

In Chicago, Linares focused on issues like the state's ongoing fiscal crisis as she campaigned in gay neighborhoods like Boystown. She won the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune and established herself as a rising star in the Republican Party.

"She is, I believe, destined for greater things," said Huxley.

But those greater things won't happen in Chicago. Newly married and expecting her first child, Linares is planning to move to suburban DuPage County, where Republicans aren't quite so rare. (Reporting by Andy Sullivan, editing by Ross Colvin)

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Jimmy Fallon And Snoop Dog Are Keepin' It Real With Fake Arms

Fri, 2015-05-15 08:19
Fake-izzle armsizzle.

Snoop Dogg is apparently a very tough actor to work with, at least according to Jimmy Fallon. Thursday's "Tonight Show" featured a clip from Jimmy and Snoop's Canadian soap opera, "Jacob's Patience," the (fake) '90s show on which they co-starred, where Snoop refused to use his own arms. The arms might be fake, but it gets real.

Honestly, can we just have Snoop guest star on every show with fake arms? Seems like the world would be a better place.

"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" airs weeknights at 11:35PM EST on NBC.

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Jimmy Kimmel Serves Up Starbucks' New Mini Frappuccinos ... And We Do Mean MINI

Fri, 2015-05-15 07:40
$3.00? For this??

On "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Thursday night, Kimmel went out on the street to have people try Starbucks' new mini Frappuccino. Actually, he tricked them with a MUCH mini-er version. But people generally seemed to love the refreshing cold drink.

Until they were charged three dollars for it.

Funny how things sometimes become less delicious when your wallet is emptied in the process.

"Jimmy Kimmel Live" airs weeknights at 11:35PM EST on ABC.

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If Instagram, Facebook And Snapchat Started Dating

Thu, 2015-05-14 17:52
You don't want to go on a date with Instagram. Homegirl would be way too preoccupied with snapping photos of her food.

That's a key takeaway in a playful new sketch by YouTuber Emma Blackery. In the clip, Blackery imagines what it would be like if websites -- including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Tumblr -- went on actual dates. Facebook can't stop rambling on about people you may know, Snapchat has all of 10 seconds for you (typical) and Google+? Google+ is in severe need of some love.

Sounds about right.

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Science Confirms Your Company Should Pay You To Stop Smoking

Thu, 2015-05-14 17:41
Is money even more enticing to smokers than cigarettes?

This was the question at the heart of a new study from the University of Pennsylvania, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. In an effort to evaluate financial-incentive smoking-cessation programs, researchers looked at four different models of such initiatives in a clinical trial of more than 2,500 randomly assigned CVS Caremark employees and their relatives and friends.

One option allowed smokers to deposit, or "bet," $150 of their own money -- and only recoup it, along with a bonus, if they changed their behavior -- while another simply paid smokers who successfully quit. Another system put smokers into groups, and either offered higher rewards if more members of the group quit or gave successful quitters the deposits of group members who didn't kick their habit. The reward across all four programs was capped at $800. A separate control group received "usual care," which included counseling, information about the dangers of smoking and smoking cessation aids like nicotine patches.

People were much more likely to agree to take part in the reward-based programs -- 90 percent of participants who were asked to enroll in the plan said yes -- than the deposit-based ones, which had a 13.7 percent enrollment rate. And though participants were less likely to accept the deposit-based program, it yielded more success stories: 52.3 percent of participants who bet on themselves successfully abstained from smoking after six months, while only 17.1 percent of people in the reward-based program did.

Group-oriented rewards programs, the study reported, were not significantly more effective than individual-oriented ones.

Overall, all the financial incentive programs were more effective than usual care -- with a 15 to 16 percent sustained abstinence rate at six months, compared to 6 percent -- which, researchers argue, offers an important message for employers to consider.

"Because employing a smoker is estimated to cost $5,816 more each year than employing a nonsmoker, even an $800 payment borne entirely by employers and paid only to those who quit would be highly cost-saving," the study says.

As The New York Times notes, the study was the largest to date that has considered financial-incentive smoking-cessation programs. CVS intends to use the research findings to design a plan to get their own employees to quit smoking.

Still, there are caveats -- and challenges for any business hoping to adopt a smoking-cessation program -- associated with this promising research. The most effective program in the study was not particularly popular, after all. As Cass R. Sunstein, founder and director of Harvard University’s Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy, wrote in a NEJM editorial, the test will be making deposit programs more attractive to smokers who are attempting to quit.

“If that challenge cannot be met, reward programs are much better bets,” Sunstein wrote.

Cigarette smoking among U.S. adults has hit a record low -- as of 2013, about 17.8 percent of American adults smoke cigarettes, compared to 20.9 percent in 2005 and 42.4 percent in 1965.

Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned last year that the anti-smoking push is falling short of the federal goal of reaching a smoking rate of 12 percent by 2020 and the National Institutes of Health reports that smoking is still responsible for about 443,000 deaths each year.

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The Safest Place To Sit On A Train, According To Science

Thu, 2015-05-14 17:05
Tuesday's deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia, which killed eight people and injured more than 200, has turned the country's attention to railroad safety. But for those commuters questioning whether or not to board the next train, statistics may offer some reassurance.

According to the scientific journal Bandolier, the lifetime odds of dying on a passenger train in the U.S. are about one in 1,871,241. That figure was calculated based on population, as opposed to miles or kilometers traveled, or number of trips taken. But even if you take into consideration the miles traveled, the numbers are still low, as the overall fatality rate for long-haul passenger train service is around 0.43 fatalities per billion passenger miles.

"Train accidents are rare," Dr. Allan Zarembski, research professor and director of the railroad engineering and safety program at the University of Delaware, told The Huffington Post in an email. "Accident rate in 2014 was 2.2 accidents per million train miles (a train mile-is one train going one mile), this number has been declining steadily... In 2005, it was 4.14 accidents per million train miles."

Subways, buses and planes are even safer than trains, The Washington Post reported this week. Cars, on the other hand, have a fatality rate 17 times as high as the rate for train travel.

But if you are still concerned about safety -- or if you're just curious about which part of the train is the safest place to sit in the event of a derailment or crash -- science has an answer for that too.

On a passenger train, your safest bet just may be to sit in the middle cars, or one car behind the middle. After all, most collisions happen at the front or rear of a train, and the types of issues that cause derailments, such as broken rails or welds, tend to occur near the front of the train, according to findings cited by Live Science.

"The reason why some people say in the middle is very simple," Dr. Greg Placencia, an adjunct research assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering at the University of Southern California, told HuffPost in a telephone interview. "A lot of crashes come from the front, so the first two cars are usually hit the hardest. Some come from the back but they are not as usual... Far fewer crashes happen when the middle is hit directly."

Even if you can't get a seat near the midpoint of a train, there's another potential safety factor you might want to consider -- namely, which way your seat is facing.

"I personally prefer rear facing so that in most cases you are pushed into the seat in the event of an emergency braking application," Zarembski said in his email.

In other words, "it comes down to basic physics," as Placencia said. "When something happens, most of the time you have a problem when a train has to stop quickly... If I'm in a forward-facing seat, then I'm going to be pushed out of my seat. But if I'm rearward-facing, what happens is, I would be pushed back into my seat."

Of course, in the very rare event of a catastrophic crash like Tuesday's, there's no guarantee that sitting in a certain car or facing a certain way in your seat means you'll escape unscathed. But in other, less disastrous instances, it possibly could be a way to spare yourself some trouble.

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Michigan Town Lifts Pit Bull Ban After Heroic Pup Protects Owner From Domestic Abuse

Thu, 2015-05-14 16:49
Isis the pit bull is credited with protecting her owner, Jaimie Kraczkowski, from an abusive boyfriend -- and right after, got kicked out of town due to the city's ban on dogs of her kind.

Some two months later, and after a massive public outcry, Hazel Park, Michigan, is lifting its proscription on blocky-headed pups.

"We are really excited," said Courtney Protz-Sanders, director of Michigan's Political Action Committee for Animals, a group that advocated for this change. "We're happy."

The city is no longer enforcing its pit bull prohibition, and is allowing residents to register their pits, while alternative dog laws are under consideration.

Protz-Sanders said her organization is now working to ensure that any new laws aren't overly onerous toward pit bull owners -- and in the meantime, she said, Hazel Park residents with pits "are at least able to breathe a sigh of relief."

Mike Toma's dogs Puppy and Diesel. Photo: Mike Toma

One of those breathing easier is Mike Toma.

Toma has two pits -- Puppy, who is 15 years old, and Diesel, who is 2 -- and received a notice from the city not long after Kraczkowski's story went public, saying he had five days for his dogs to be removed from town.

At the time, Toma vowed to stay with his dogs and to protect them. But he also worried about his own limitations.

"I'm not in a financial position to pick up and move," he said. "I just feel this is very wrong."

Now, Toma told The Huffington Post, he's hoping the city won't impose difficult new restrictions on his dogs.

"But, I'm very happy we were able to get the ban lifted. It's definitely a step in the right direction," he said, adding that, through all this, his dogs seemed completely unaware of being caught up in any danger.

"I don't think they were too worried," he said.

Kraczkowski's ex-boyfriend, Jamie Dopke, pleaded no contest to domestic abuse charges on March 19, and is currently on probation, the Hazel Park clerk of court's office confirmed to HuffPost.

As for Kraczkowski and Isis: they are together, safely, in a brand new town.

"We have moved out of Hazel Park," she told HuffPost. "We are doing great."


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One Venn Diagram That Every College Graduate Should Give A Good Long Look

Thu, 2015-05-14 16:31
What a long, strange journey it's been. And you thought that was tough.

All across the country, college seniors are taking finals, packing up their stuff and preparing to walk across that stage. They'll grab that piece of paper they paid tens of thousands of dollars for and head out into the world, doe-eyed and full of optimism.

If they only knew what awaited them -- the wake-up call, the slap in the face, the bucket of cold water over the head that is adulthood. So here's a single Venn diagram which sums up adulthood for those graduates out there who are about to take that plunge:



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Best Illinois Counties For High Income Growth Potential

Thu, 2015-05-14 16:11
While many parents hope that their children have a chance to build better lives for themselves than their parents had, where those children grow up might have an impact on whether or not that turns out to be possible. A new study from Harvard economists called the Equality of Opportunity has found that a child's ability to improve economic prospects as an adult can be predicted by where he or she grows up and can be measured across genders and income levels.

The study looked at what a child of a particular gender or income level might be expected to make at age 26-and then how that outcome changes based on where they live.

Two Illinois counties stand out nationally at opposite positions-low-income children who grow up in DuPage County can expect to have a more than 15 percent earnings increase over their peers, the highest differential in the nation among the 100-biggest counties. Low-income children from Cook County, only miles away, have nearly the worst prospects (ranked 96th) for income mobility among the country's 100 biggest counties and can expect to make about 13 percent less than their peers as adults. In both counties, girls fare slightly better than boys compared to the population as a whole.



The area with the worst income mobility for low-income children is Baltimore. Children who grew up there can expect to make 17 percent less than their peers at age 26.

The margins vary throughout the state. The New York Times organized the data by county throughout the country. Check out the counties with the best and worst income outcomes for children based on how much more they'll make than other children in the same income categories in other regions across the 99th percentile and 75th percentile income brackets in Illinois, plus maps from the New York Times showing color-coded income outcomes for Illinois counties in each income bracket (red is less potential money, blue is more).

99th income percentile:



Best outcomes:

  • Jasper County, 8 percent more


  • Lawrence County, 8 percent more


  • Randolph county, 8 percent more


Worst outcomes:

  • McHenry County, 11 percent less


  • Kane County, 3 percent less


  • McDonough County, 1 percent less


75th income percentile:



Best outcomes:

  • Jasper County, 11 percent more


  • Cumberland County, 10 percent more


  • Shelby County, 9 percent more


Worst outcomes:

  • McHenry County, 8 percent less


  • Kane County, 5 percent less


  • Winnebago County, 2 percent less


Check out Reboot Illinois to see the earning potential for children who grow up in different counties in Illinois in the 25th percentile and 50th percentile income brackets at Reboot Illinois.

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

NEXT ARTICLE: 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites in Illinois in 2015

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Best Illinois Counties For High Income Growth Potential

Thu, 2015-05-14 16:11
While many parents hope that their children have a chance to build better lives for themselves than their parents had, where those children grow up might have an impact on whether or not that turns out to be possible. A new study from Harvard economists called the Equality of Opportunity has found that a child's ability to improve economic prospects as an adult can be predicted by where he or she grows up and can be measured across genders and income levels.

The study looked at what a child of a particular gender or income level might be expected to make at age 26-and then how that outcome changes based on where they live.

Two Illinois counties stand out nationally at opposite positions-low-income children who grow up in DuPage County can expect to have a more than 15 percent earnings increase over their peers, the highest differential in the nation among the 100-biggest counties. Low-income children from Cook County, only miles away, have nearly the worst prospects (ranked 96th) for income mobility among the country's 100 biggest counties and can expect to make about 13 percent less than their peers as adults. In both counties, girls fare slightly better than boys compared to the population as a whole.



The area with the worst income mobility for low-income children is Baltimore. Children who grew up there can expect to make 17 percent less than their peers at age 26.

The margins vary throughout the state. The New York Times organized the data by county throughout the country. Check out the counties with the best and worst income outcomes for children based on how much more they'll make than other children in the same income categories in other regions across the 99th percentile and 75th percentile income brackets in Illinois, plus maps from the New York Times showing color-coded income outcomes for Illinois counties in each income bracket (red is less potential money, blue is more).

99th income percentile:



Best outcomes:

  • Jasper County, 8 percent more


  • Lawrence County, 8 percent more


  • Randolph county, 8 percent more


Worst outcomes:

  • McHenry County, 11 percent less


  • Kane County, 3 percent less


  • McDonough County, 1 percent less


75th income percentile:



Best outcomes:

  • Jasper County, 11 percent more


  • Cumberland County, 10 percent more


  • Shelby County, 9 percent more


Worst outcomes:

  • McHenry County, 8 percent less


  • Kane County, 5 percent less


  • Winnebago County, 2 percent less


Check out Reboot Illinois to see the earning potential for children who grow up in different counties in Illinois in the 25th percentile and 50th percentile income brackets at Reboot Illinois.

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

NEXT ARTICLE: 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites in Illinois in 2015

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Family Of Black Teen Fatally Shot By Cops Upset Officer Won't Face Charges, Insists Boy 'Was No Threat'

Thu, 2015-05-14 15:47
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — A prosecutor said Thursday that he won't charge a white northeastern Illinois police officer in the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old black youth last month, saying the teen was armed and the officer feared for his safety.

Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim said an investigation that included the FBI concluded that Zion police Officer Eric Hill was justified in shooting Justus Howell on April 4, despite concerns of racial bias that arose after the county coroner reported that Howell had been shot in the back twice.

Howell, of Waukegan, met a man to buy a handgun but then tried to steal it, and Howell pointed the gun at the man during a scuffle, authorities said. Hill intervened and chased Howell through yards and an alley, then shot him twice when the teen turned slightly toward him with the gun in his hand, authorities said.

Hill, a nine-year police veteran, feared for his life and knew another officer was in the area, Nerheim said, adding that several witnesses said Howell had a gun in his hand.

"Officer Hill was justified in his decision to use deadly force ... Howell was armed and dangerous," Nerheim said at a news conference. "In the officer's mind ... he is responding to a shots-fired call."

Outside of the news conference, Howell's family disputed the decision not to charge the officer.

"There is no video or pictures of him actually holding a gun," Alice Howell, the teen's grandmother, told the Chicago Sun-Times. She previously compared the incident to another police shooting in South Carolina, in which a white officer was charged with murder after a video showed him repeatedly shooting a black man in the back.

Howell's mother, LaToya Howell, said she was upset that authorities said video showed her son appearing to turn toward Hill.

"I have seen that video," Howell said, according the Chicago Tribune. "There is nothing that suggests they should execute my son. His back was turned. He was no threat."

Zion police Chief Stephen Dumyahn Zion said he expects Hill to return to duty soon.

The county coroner found that Howell had small amounts of alcohol and marijuana in his body when he was killed.

Tramond Peet, 18, told investigators he met with Howell to sell him a handgun, but that Howell tried to take it without paying, Zion police have said. Peet said the gun discharged into the ground during a struggle and he released the handgun when he heard police cars approaching, according to police.

Peet told investigators that he saw officers running after Howell, heard them giving Howell commands and then heard gunshots. Peet was later arrested and charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Zion is a community of about 24,000 people along Lake Michigan about 45 miles north of Chicago, near the Illinois-Wisconsin state line.

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Is Chicago Chiraq?

Thu, 2015-05-14 15:13

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman William Burns are really upset about Film Maker Spike Lee's intention to film a movie about Chicago called Chiraq. It also appears that Alderman William Burns would like to take back the three million dollar tax credit the city provided to Spike Lee because the name of the movie is causing controversy. Mayor Rahm Emanuel should not be in a position to dictate what Spike Lee decides to name his movie. Remember that Rahm was exposed for arranging special scenes in the CNN Chicago-Land Mini Series.



Chicago has a long history of violence and more people have been killed in this city compared to the entire Iraqi War. Some critics may worry about how the city's reputation will be damaged, but its reputation is already damaged because violence is out of control. Chiraq is a good title for the movie because Chicago is a war zone, especially on the south and west sides. Thousands of African American youth have been killed over the last ten years and the homicide rate continues to climb. Spike Lee is a seasoned movie producer and there is a chance that he will show all aspects of the problem in Chicago. Hopefully the movie will have a good balance and show how some people are really trying to help reduce violence.



When you wage war on another country, you are expected to have some casualties, but not in one of the greatest cities in the United States. Chicago is the home of President Barack Obama and one of the best cities in the world. This city has a label being very violent because violence soars when the weather changes. Maybe the movie Chiraq will bring about a better understanding of why this city is so violent.



Chicago's violent history goes all the way back to the Al Capone and John Dillinger Days. I'm sure the Mayor of Chicago, back then, would not have tried to intervene in one of the Hollywood Producers from naming a movie Public Enemy or the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. The Chicago Police Department cannot stop the shootings on the front end before people are killed. The majority of violence prevention programs also appear after a killing. Hopefully the violence will end soon in Chicago, but the movie cannot and will not harm the city at all. The truth also stands for the Conceal and Carry Law in Chicago. The majority of shootings and killings are committed by people with illegal guns. There is no data to back up the fact that the legal gun owners are part of the gun violence problem in Chicago.

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Cicely Tyson, Oprah Winfrey Recognize African American Achievements In TV During Paley Center Tribute

Thu, 2015-05-14 14:34
The Paley Center for Media hosted a star-studded event Thursday evening celebrating the 35th anniversary of BET's launch, as well as the groundbreaking achievements of African-Americans in television over the years.

The guest list was basically a who's who of black America. Everyone from Oprah Winfrey, Cicely Tyson, Larry Wilmore, Tracee Ellis Ross, Lee Daniels, Kerry Washington, Michael Strahan and Phylicia Rashad. Winfrey kicked off the night with an opening monologue, during which she expressed her gratitude for the evolution of African-Americans contributing to some of today’s most successful shows on television.

“When I was growing up there were so few people of color on television, but when there was one of us we would end up missing it because we would be calling everybody else saying, ‘it’s coming on right now. Turn on 'Ed Sullivan.' It’s coming on,’” she said. “So part of the power of tonight’s event will be to appreciate and to honor our history as we continue to be an interval part of the entertainment industry.”

One of the evening’s many heartfelt moments occurred during Cicely Tyson’s speech in recognition of her illustrious career. The iconic actress went on to recall the time where she received backlash for her 1963 role as secretary Jane Foster on the CBS drama series "East Side/West Side." The breakthrough role -- which featured Tyson wearing a natural hair style -- marked a first for a black actress and sparked a nationwide hair movement.

“This has been a wonderful evening and an emotional evening for me watching the positive strides we’ve taken over the years. We’re not there yet, but we’re going to get there,” Tyson declared. “I have been especially moved by the moments that were a flashback for me… when I first appeared on the air with a natural and received barrels of negative letters that had to do with the fact that I was disgracing the role of the image of black women when I was in a position to glorify it.”

“Well, finally at last I am ecstatic to say that we as a race of people have come to recognize and accept the fact that our pride and glory is our hair... that doesn't mean you can't wear your hair the way you want to.”

Check out photos from the evening below:

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Jimmy Kimmel Sets His Sights On Public MIsbehavior With #FingerOfShame

Thu, 2015-05-14 13:28
So close, yet so far away.

Jimmy Kimmel recently launched a campaign to battle incosinderate public behavior. The movement is called "Finger Of Shame," whereby viewers take photos of their finger pointing at people acting badly in public. It ranges from individuals obviously not knowing where to pee to severe butt crack offenses.

Remember, all subjects are innocent until proven guilty in the court of late-show viewership opinion.

"Jimmy Kimmel Live" airs at 11:35PM EST on ABC.

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Chicago Public Schools Debt Gets Downgraded To Junk Status

Thu, 2015-05-14 12:49
CHICAGO (AP) -- Moody's Investors Service downgraded the debt of both the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District on Wednesday, a day after it downgraded the city's bond rating to junk status.

Moody's has given a Ba3 rating to the school district's debt, down from a Baa3 rating, saying the district faces "increased strain on its precarious financial position" due to last week's Illinois Supreme Court decision overturning state pension reform. It reduced the Chicago Park District's rating to from Baa1 to Ba1, one notch below investment grade.

The rating service's moves affect the school district's $6.2 billion in general obligation debt and the park district's $616 million in general obligation debt.

Jesse Ruiz, interim CEO of Chicago Public Schools, said the court's decision shouldn't have impacted the school district's credit rating, noting the rating agency did not downgrade the state when the court ruled the Legislature's restructuring of Illinois' pension obligations violated the state constitution. However, Ruiz said Moody's action reaffirms why lawmakers must make changes to help the school district address its financial crisis.

"Despite cutting more than $740 million from the central office and operations, we are projecting a deficit of $1.1 billion, driven by $700 million in pension costs," Ruiz said.

Moody's acknowledges school officials are working to find ways to cover increased pension payments but said "solutions remain uncertain."

A park district spokesman did not immediately return telephone calls for comment.

The bond rating determines how much governmental agencies must pay to borrow money, with a lower rating increasing the cost of borrowing.

When Moody's lowered the city's bond rating on Tuesday, it noted Chicago's tax base is "highly leveraged by the debt and unfunded pension obligations" of the city and overlapping governments.

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What Can Chicago Learn From Baltimore?

Thu, 2015-05-14 12:41
Could Chicago see the kind of angst viewed in Baltimore last month and Ferguson last year? One Illinois professor says racially charged civil unrest and dissatisfaction with police in Chicago might be inevitable.

Brian T. Murphy writes:

Most people agree that violence is not a reasonable means to achieving social change. But the unrest that transpired last week in Baltimore after the police-induced death of Freddie Gray -- albeit misplaced -- should not come as a surprise to us. It was readily predictable. This violence, though unjustified, was not unprovoked.

One night of civil unrest and one week of peaceful protests ensued when 25-year-old Freddie Gray died while in police custody. Freddie was handcuffed, shackled at the feet, placed in a police van unrestrained, and at some point suffered a severed spinal cord. Six officers are currently charged with a variety of crimes related to his death.

Of course, this unrest is not really about Freddie Gray. Freddie's death simply unleashed previously existing outrage in Baltimore, and once again exposed a pattern of policing that has consistently violated civil liberties.

Law enforcement is running out of excuses to justify why unarmed black civilians are dying at the hands of its officers: Either the victim was resisting arrest, or he was running, or he resembled the description of a dangerous man, or police thought he had a knife, or he looked suspicious. We have even reached the point where some now claim that a shackled black kid severed his own spinal cord.

A problem that seems to be amplified greatly in Baltimore is that mostly white, but also black human beings in police uniforms are put in a position of incredible authority, while they have operated in a vacuum of accountability.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.

Chicago also has another kind of problem on its hands: The increasing cost of the city's debt, as Moody's credit rating service downgrades the city's credit rating to "junk." The agency said the new rating came amid worries about the city's pension systems, for which the mayor now might have a harder time finding reforms after the Illinois Supreme Court deemed the state's pension reform law unconstitutional. Moody's suggested the city raise its taxes to deal with its financial difficulties, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel says not so fast. Read more at Reboot Illinois.

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

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No Charges In Fatal Police Shooting Of Justus Howell: Official

Thu, 2015-05-14 12:09

CHICAGO, May 14 (Reuters) - Prosecutors will not bring charges against a police officer in the northern Illinois town of Zion who shot and killed a black teenager in April, an official said on Thursday.

Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim said at a news conference that an investigation determined the shooting, which sparked protests and marches in the community 40 miles north of Chicago, was a justified use of lethal force.

Justus Howell, 17, was shot twice in the back. Police and witnesses said he was carrying a gun he had just stolen from another teenager in an illegal firearms sale. The gun went off as Howell and the other young man fought over it. Police were called by neighbors and Howell ran when the officers approached him, Nerheim said.

The shooting occurred at a time of tension around the United States over police use of deadly force against minorities. In recent months, cities from Baltimore to Ferguson, Missouri, also have seen protests and unrest over shootings, often of unarmed young men.

There were demonstrations in Madison, Wisconsin, this week after prosecutors ruled that a police officer would not be charged in the fatal shooting of an unarmed biracial teenager.

Cities from Baltimore to Ferguson, Missouri, also have seen protests and unrest over shootings, often of unarmed young men.

Nerheim expressed condolences to Howell's family and said he understood they were unhappy with the investigation.

Officer Eric Hill, who shot Howell, is a nine-year veteran and is on administrative leave, but is expected to return to active duty soon, officials said.

"He acted within our department procedures, he responded appropriately ... The department at this point stands behind him," Zion Police Chief Steve Dumyahn said at the news conference.

Dumyahn said the Zion police, like many departments around the country, are evaluating having officers use body cameras.

After violent unrest in Baltimore in late April, the chief prosecutor there brought criminal charges against six officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died from injuries sustained when he was detained. (Reporting by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Bill Trott)

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