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Oprah Crashes An 'OWN Show' Interview (VIDEO)

Thu, 2014-05-08 09:28
We've seen Oprah have plenty of surprise guests over the years, but on a recent airing of the new web series "OWN Show," she was the one who dropped in unexpectedly.

"Master Class" Executive Producer Jon Sinclair had Skyped in from Chicago's Harpo Studios to join "OWN Show" host Ami Desai and discuss Justin Timberlake's appearance on the upcoming season premiere of "Master Class." Sinclair was in the middle of explaining what qualifies the 33-year-old Timberlake as a "master" when he seemed to get distracted by something off camera. "This is funny," he says. "I think we have a special guest."

Suddenly, Oprah comes into frame. "Hello!" she says, taking a seat on the couch next to Sinclair.

"This is Ami," Sinclair says, introducing the host. "We're talking about 'Master Class.'"

"I heard you were," Oprah says to Sinclair. "I called you and they said you were here.'"

Desai quickly recovers from her shock and continues asking the two about Timberlake, one of the younger "Master Class" guests. Oprah echoes Sinclair's explanation for why Timberlake embodies a "master."

"One of the reasons why we thought he would be a good master, and he proved to be one, is because his level of self-perception, self-awareness and actualizing that is so keen that he's not just traveling through his life as a superstar," Oprah says. "He's a real artist who is thoughtful about his place in the world and what it took for him to get there."

Also during the interview, Oprah reveals which other Grammy-winning artist she'd love to see on the next season of "Master Class" and explains why she was originally looking for Sinclair before crashing the interview.

"Oprah's Master Class" premieres with Justin Timberlake on Sunday, May 11, at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

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34 Crazy Thrift Store Finds That You'd Pretty Much Have To Buy

Thu, 2014-05-08 09:18
Thrift stores can be home to some seriously crazy finds. And that's exactly the reason we love thrifting. You just never know what you might find. Your reaction is often half horror that such a thing exists, and half wonder about how to get it to the register without drawing too much attention.

These are those finds...



1. Crazy Cat Lady Action figure.


Now with Foo-Foo grip!



2. Shoes filled with tiny doll parts.


Shoe designer: "How about we put doll parts IN THE SOLE!"
That person's boss: "I LOVE IT!"




3. Three-man purple floral fleece.


Who said you can't by friendship in a store?



4. Abraham Lincoln cologne.


Emancipate your inner Lincoln.



5. Diorama photo featuring real cats in real-life human situations.


"Fluffy was a straight-A kitty... until he fell in with a bad crowd."



6. Creepy child painting.


When in doubt, parents, always go with the photo portrait.



7. Leslie Nielsen as a naked, pregnant Demi Moore.


Leslie Nielsen would definitely have approved.



8. Doge tee.


Probably the quickest purchase-to-donation turnaround we've ever seen. Regret will do that.



9. Jesus showing off his soccer skills.


To be fair, there are a lot of soccer players named Jesus.



10. Fancy purple suit.


Because you need to look your best for your next encounter with Batman.



11. The Super Kegel.


Looks not-so-gently used...



12. Huge floral tie.


Potato for scale?



13. Painting of an elegant cat couple.


"Presenting, Nip and Mittens von Yarnballshire."



14. Nicholas Cage School of Acting tee.


Enrollment would be off the charts.



15. "Catflexing." Exercise using your cat.


Like regular workout equipment, except completely uncooperative.



16. Painting of two dogs and LSD.


Was the artist on LSD, or did he paint the dogs as if they were on LSD? Important questions only raised at your neighborhood thrift store.



17. Old lady(?) mask.


Exists only to scare the wits out of people who are were once your friends.



18. Wooden figurines plus... accessories.


Well, those are... fun.



19. Copy of "Marriage Without B.S."


We were unaware that Midwest psychiatry was a field of its own.



20. Furry scale.


You should at least be comfortable while your scale gives you the harsh truth.



21. Figurine of an old lady, uh, sewing up a young boy's pants?


She looks a little too ho-hum about this.



22. Bowling alley computer.


"Can you believe no one bought this yet?"



23. "Nuke a godless communist gay baby seal for Christ" tee.


Must-buy.



24. Kool-Aid brand sneakers.


OH NOOOOOOOOO!



25. Old troll mask.


Anyone have a bridge that needs looking after?



26. Another elegant cat painting.


"Presenting, Lord Sprinkles Red Dottington."



27. Animal hoof lamp.


Not what most people think of when you say leg lamp.



28. Obama's Last Day countdown clock.


Still not made in Kenya.



29. Crazy looking ventriloquist dolls.


In case you're low on nightmare fuel.



30. Giant sneaker.


Let's just make sure it fits. Can you wiggle your toe?



31. All-black last supper painting.


Probably closer to reality than a Jesus who looks like The Dude though, right?



32. Figure of monkey staring surprisingly into a mirror.


That moment when your human catches you checking yourself out.



33. Cat emerging from banana tee shirt.


Cat performance art. Oh crap, we might have just started that trend.



34. Rocks with faces.


For when you want to show off your garden and give someone a heart attack.

49 Million Americans Go Hungry, Despite So-Called Recovery

Thu, 2014-05-08 09:05
Dan Ryan and his wife make a combined $2,700 a month, an amount that is too high for them to qualify for food stamps but too low to feed them and their three children.

After the rent -- $1,200 for a three-bedroom apartment in Gloucester, Massachusetts -- and electric, cable and heating bills are paid, the amount left over for groceries, including non-food items like paper towels and laundry detergent, is just $125 a week.

“I often worry we won’t have enough to eat,” said Ryan, 49, who used to make $70,000 a year as a chef in Boston before developing cancer. The cancer caused nerve damage in his right leg that eventually disabled him.

So the Ryans go to a food pantry every week to pick up free groceries. The shopping bags full of vegetables, bread, milk and eggs help a lot, Ryan said, but many weeks the pantry is low on supplies -- and sometimes shelves are bare.


Dan Ryan and his wife, Tammy Walsh-Ryan, who works full time at a local nonprofit (left), must visit a food pantry every week because they can't afford to buy enough food to feed their family, including Reese, 19, and Kurt, 8 (center), and Sally, 15 (right, with Kurt).

“Times are tough for everyone, including them,” said Ryan, who now receives $1,300 a month in Social Security benefits from the government. “It’s never a guarantee you’re gonna get enough to last through the week when you go.” On weeks when the food pantry can’t provide, the Ryan family eats dinners of just pasta and bread.

Although the U.S. is said to be in the midst of an economic recovery, the percentage of Americans lacking consistent access to food has been stuck at the same level since 2008, the heart of the Great Recession. Congress hasn't helped matters any by deciding to slash food stamp benefits at just the wrong moment.

As of 2012, the most recent year for which data are available, there were about 49 million Americans who, like the Ryans, were “food insecure,” meaning they have limited access to sufficient amounts of food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Interviews with several food banks around the country suggest things haven't really improved since then.

A new report from the hunger relief charity Feeding America throws the nation’s struggle with hunger into an even starker light. The report, titled "Map the Meal Gap 2014," broke the USDA’s data down county by county, giving a more nuanced picture of food insecurity. The report reveals that there are 16 counties in the U.S. with more than 100,000 “food insecure” children -- a number you might expect to see in a developing country rather than the world’s wealthiest nation.

Though the percentage of Americans without enough nutritious food has stayed level in recent years, food costs are rising steadily for those people: The Feeding America report found that, on average, people struggling to afford food said they needed an extra $15.82 per person per week in 2012, up from $14.35 in 2011.

Look: Feeding America's interactive map shows how many Americans lack consistent access to good food, county by county. Roll over a state for more details. (Story continues below.)



All but one of a dozen food banks and food pantries around the country contacted by The Huffington Post on Monday said the number of people they serve has remained at record highs even after the recession officially ended in the summer of 2009.

“The famous quote from John Kennedy is that a rising tide lifts all boats, but there are some people that just aren’t rising,” said Martha Henk, executive director of the East Alabama Food Bank, which distributes groceries to low-income people through its 190 food pantry members.

In 2010, Henk said, the East Alabama Food Bank distributed 3.8 million pounds of food to its member agencies. Last year, that amount rose to 4.5 million pounds. “And there’s more need than we’re even able to reach,” Henk said.

The Open Door food pantry, which the Ryans visit in Gloucester, said it had experienced a 96 percent increase in requests for food assistance since 2008.

Several food pantries contacted by HuffPost cited recent food stamp cuts as a primary reason for the continued high demand. A farm bill passed by Congress in February slashed $8 billion over 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The cuts are estimated to reduce benefits for 850,000 households nationwide.

Many conservatives caution against equating food insecurity with hunger. “The two concepts cannot be taken to mean the same thing,” said Heritage Foundation policy analyst Rachel Sheffield, pointing out that the USDA’s numbers for Americans living with “very low food security” (the phrase the agency uses to describe the condition it used to call “food insecurity with hunger”) are much lower than those for mere food insecurity.

“The problem gets made to sound much larger than it is,” Sheffield said.

One reason the numbers of Americans without enough food remained so stubbornly high in 2012 may be the dramatic rise in energy and food prices the previous year. Energy prices rose 6.6 percent in 2011, compared with 0.5 percent in 2012, according to CNN, while food prices rose 4.7 percent in 2011 and only 1.8 percent in 2012.

It’s hard to predict if things will get better this year. There are mixed signals on unemployment and poverty, two of the key drivers of hunger. Unemployment is down from this time last year, but poverty has stayed mostly level over the past six years.

When asked how to fix the problem of so many Americans having uncertain access to food, Map the Meal Gap's lead researcher said more people should be encouraged to sign up for food stamps. "We need to try to remove the stigma that's often associated with participating in SNAP and try to make it easier to enroll," said Craig Gundersen. "In the absence of programs like SNAP, food insecurity would be much worse in the U.S."

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article said incorrectly that the Open Door food pantry visited by the Ryan family is run by a local church. The food pantry was founded by a local church, but later became a community organization with no religious ties.

49 Million Americans Go Hungry, Despite So-Called Recovery

Thu, 2014-05-08 09:05
Dan Ryan and his wife make a combined $2,700 a month, an amount that is too high for them to qualify for food stamps but too low to feed them and their three children.

After the rent -- $1,200 for a three-bedroom apartment in Gloucester, Massachusetts -- and electric, cable and heating bills are paid, the amount left over for groceries, including non-food items like paper towels and laundry detergent, is just $125 a week.

“I often worry we won’t have enough to eat,” said Ryan, 49, who used to make $70,000 a year as a chef in Boston before developing cancer. The cancer caused nerve damage in his right leg that eventually disabled him.

So the Ryans go to a food pantry run by a local church every week to pick up free groceries. The shopping bags full of vegetables, bread, milk and eggs help a lot, Ryan said, but many weeks the pantry is low on supplies -- and sometimes shelves are bare.


Dan Ryan and his wife, Tammy Walsh-Ryan, who works full time at a local nonprofit (left), must visit a food pantry every week because they can't afford to buy enough food to feed their family, including Reese, 19, and Kurt, 8 (center), and Sally, 15 (right, with Kurt).

“Times are tough for everyone, including them,” said Ryan, who now receives $1,300 a month in Social Security benefits from the government. “It’s never a guarantee you’re gonna get enough to last through the week when you go.” On weeks when the food pantry can’t provide, the Ryan family eats dinners of just pasta and bread.

Although the U.S. is said to be in the midst of an economic recovery, the percentage of Americans lacking consistent access to food has been stuck at the same level since 2008, the heart of the Great Recession. Congress hasn't helped matters any by deciding to slash food stamp benefits at just the wrong moment.

As of 2012, the most recent year for which data are available, there were about 49 million Americans who, like the Ryans, were “food insecure,” meaning they have limited access to sufficient amounts of food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Interviews with several food banks around the country suggest things haven't really improved since then.

A new report from the hunger relief charity Feeding America throws the nation’s struggle with hunger into an even starker light. The report, titled "Map the Meal Gap 2014," broke the USDA’s data down county by county, giving a more nuanced picture of food insecurity. The report reveals that there are 16 counties in the U.S. with more than 100,000 “food insecure” children -- a number you might expect to see in a developing country rather than the world’s wealthiest nation.

Though the percentage of Americans without enough nutritious food has stayed level in recent years, food costs are rising steadily for those people: The Feeding America report found that, on average, people struggling to afford food said they needed an extra $15.82 per person per week in 2012, up from $14.35 in 2011.

Look: Feeding America's interactive map shows how many Americans lack consistent access to good food, county by county. Roll over a state for more details. (Story continues below.)



All but one of a dozen food banks and food pantries around the country contacted by The Huffington Post on Monday said the number of people they serve has remained at record highs even after the recession officially ended in the summer of 2009.

“The famous quote from John Kennedy is that a rising tide lifts all boats, but there are some people that just aren’t rising,” said Martha Henk, executive director of the East Alabama Food Bank, which distributes groceries to low-income people through its 190 food pantry members.

In 2010, Henk said, the East Alabama Food Bank distributed 3.8 million pounds of food to its member agencies. Last year, that amount rose to 4.5 million pounds. “And there’s more need than we’re even able to reach,” Henk said.

The Open Door Food Pantry, which the Ryans visit in Gloucester, said it had experienced a 96 percent increase in requests for food assistance since 2008.

Several food pantries contacted by HuffPost cited recent food stamp cuts as a primary reason for the continued high demand. A farm bill passed by Congress in February slashed $8 billion over 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The cuts are estimated to reduce benefits for 850,000 households nationwide.

Many conservatives caution against equating food insecurity with hunger. “The two concepts cannot be taken to mean the same thing,” said Heritage Foundation policy analyst Rachel Sheffield, pointing out that the USDA’s numbers for Americans living with “very low food security” (the phrase the agency uses to describe the condition it used to call “food insecurity with hunger”) are much lower than those for mere food insecurity.

“The problem gets made to sound much larger than it is,” Sheffield said.

One reason the numbers of Americans without enough food remained so stubbornly high in 2012 may be the dramatic rise in energy and food prices the previous year. Energy prices rose 6.6 percent in 2011, compared with 0.5 percent in 2012, according to CNN, while food prices rose 4.7 percent in 2011 and only 1.8 percent in 2012.

It’s hard to predict if things will get better this year. There are mixed signals on unemployment and poverty, two of the key drivers of hunger. Unemployment is down from this time last year, but poverty has stayed mostly level over the past six years.

When asked how to fix the problem of so many Americans having uncertain access to food, Map the Meal Gap's lead researcher said more people should be encouraged to sign up for food stamps. "We need to try to remove the stigma that's often associated with participating in SNAP and try to make it easier to enroll," said Craig Gundersen. "In the absence of programs like SNAP, food insecurity would be much worse in the U.S."

Raising Our Voices: Join the Global Moms Relay

Thu, 2014-05-08 08:24
This post is part of the Global Moms Relay. We have reached our initial goal of 275,000 social media actions, which has led to Johnson & Johnson donating $275,000 to help improve the health and well-being of moms and kids worldwide through the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), Shot@Life and Girl Up, in support of the UN's Every Woman Every Child initiative.

One of the greatest gifts my mother gave me was a sense of unconditional loving. This meant that as I was going for my dreams, I knew that if I failed, she wouldn't love me one bit less. And that made me less afraid to fail. I also learned about generosity from my mother, whose bigheartedness was infectious. She approached life by liking everybody, and because this feeling of connection and trust is contagious, everybody liked her right back.

Sunday is Mother's Day, and while I feel my mom's spirit every day, she is especially present in my life at this time of year. And whether our mothers are still here with us or not, there's no better time to tap into the gratitude we feel for them and join the movement to improve the health and well-being of mothers and babies everywhere. That's the goal of the Global Moms Relay. In partnership with the United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson and BabyCenter, The Huffington Post is putting the spotlight on the ways we can bring new opportunities to women and children around the world.

In his blog post launching this year's Relay, the UN Foundation's Aaron Sherinian recalls a common scene from his childhood: His mother, a quilter, would gather with other moms to stitch and share stories about everything from their own lives to the big issues facing the world. "As I grew older, I realized that these moms weren't talking for the sake of talking or to help the time pass by more quickly," he writes. "They knew that by coming together and raising their voices, they could make a real difference -- and they did."

The Global Moms Relay is all about bringing together those voices and making a real difference by harnessing the power of social media. The Relay is partnering with three organizations around the world that are committed to this mission:

  • Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), which delivers important health information to new and expectant mothers in India, Bangladesh and South Africa using mobile phones. Launched by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011, MAMA aims to prevent the more than 800 maternal deaths due to childbirth or pregnancy-related complications that occur every day.


  • Shot@Life, a campaign to raise awareness about the cost-effective and lifesaving potential of vaccines for children in developing countries.


  • Girl Up, which helps American girls raise awareness and money for United Nations programs that help improve the lives of adolescent girls in developing countries, from helping more girls go to school to improving access to clean drinking water.


We launched the Relay on March 7, the day before International Women's Day. Since then we've heard from a range of voices -- women and men -- putting the spotlight on different aspects of motherhood: Melinda Gates on the single most important lesson her mother taught her; Queen Rania of Jordan on the potential of mothers to transform Jordan into "a more prosperous, equitable and cohesive nation"; Annie Lennox on coming to understand the difficulties her mother faced as a young mother in 1950s Scotland; Amanda Peet on how a trip to Kenya showed her the impact of vaccinations on mothers and children; former Johnson & Johnson marketing manager Esmeralda Villanueva de Ramírez on her transformative experience working with young women in Venezuela, which has one of Latin America's highest adolescent pregnancy rates; PreK12 Plaza CEO Ana Roca Castro on the lessons she learned from her single mother, who only had a sixth-grade education; Webs.com CEO Haroon Mokhtarzada on the universal nature of the maternal instinct; Global Moms Relay co-chair Lynda Lopez on her admiration for single mothers and the urgency of supporting mothers in need; and photographer Anne Geddes on what she learned from photographing pregnant women from all walks of life.

There's still time to join the Relay. Through Mother's Day we have an opportunity to give and not only improve the lives of women and children around the world but enrich our own lives in the process.

When we flex our giving muscles, the process begins to transform our own lives, because however successful we are, when we go out in the world to "get things," when we strive to achieve a goal, we are operating from a perceived deficit, focused on what we don't have and are trying to obtain -- until the goal is achieved. And then we go after the next goal. But when we give however little or much we have, we are tapping into our sense of abundance and overflow.

I joined the Global Moms Relay to tap into that sense of abundance, to pass on the unconditional loving my mother gave me, and to celebrate the example set by countless mothers around the world who are working to enrich the lives of their children. And I hope you'll join the movement too. And to all the mothers all around the world, Happy Mother's Day.

Johnson & Johnson is donating up to $375,000 to the Global Moms Relay and beyond to help improve the health and well-being of moms and kids worldwide. They've donated $275,000 so far; help us raise another $100,000 by using the Donate a Photo app* and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 when you upload a photo for Shot@Life or Girl Up, up to $100,000. You can help make a difference in seconds with a snap of your smartphone. Every 20 seconds a child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease. Just $1 provides a measles or polio vaccine for a child through Shot@Life, a campaign to raise awareness, advocacy and funds to get vaccines to the children who need them most. Share this post with the hashtag #GlobalMoms, and visit GlobalMomsRelay.org to learn more.

The United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenter and The Huffington Post created the Global Moms Relay with the goal of improving the lives of women and children around the globe.

*Johnson & Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes and developed the Donate a Photo app for iOS and Android to allow users to donate a photo to one of those causes once a day. Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal or the donation period ends. If the goal isn't reached, the cause will still get a minimum donation.


How to Properly Cash in on the Charter School Movement

Thu, 2014-05-08 08:22
Since the president has declared this week National Charter School Appreciation & General Ain't Charters Swell Week, you are probably thinking, "How can I be part of the charter school excitement?"

In the past, many charters were launched that focused solidly on providing unique and exciting educational experiences for their communities. These schools were innovative. These schools were connected to their communities. These schools were icing on the public school system cake. And these schools were run by chumps. There's only one question you need to answer to gauge the success of your charter school -- am I making money.

Here's how to properly cash in on the charter school movement.

Diversify!

Not the school -- your portfolio. Set up multiple companies. Create a holding company that owns the building, and charge the school rent and facilities fees. Create a school management company, and hire yourself to run your school. Form your own custodial contracting company. Write your own textbooks, and then sell them to yourself. Buy a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and set yourself up as a lunch concession with ten dollar sandwiches.

Don't Overlook the Obvious

"Non-profit" just means "not wasting money by throwing it away on stockholders." Taking money hand over fist that you can't call profit? Just put it all in a big wheelbarrow and pay it to yourself as a salary. There's no legal limit to what you can be paid as the charter school operator. The only limits to your salary are the limits set by your own sense of shame. If you have no shame, then ka-ching, my friend. Ka. Ching.

Ain't Too Proud To Beg

Have a fundraiser. When you wave schools and children at people, they fork over money like crazy, whether you actually need it or not. The only way it could work any better would be if you found a way to work in the American flag and puppies.

Students Are Marketing Tools

Students have a job at your charter, and that's to make your charter look good and marketable. If they won't do the job, fire them. If they aren't for sure going to graduate, fire them before senior year (100 percent graduation rate makes great ad copy). If they are going to create bad press for disciplinary reasons, fire them.

Students Are Also The Revenue Stream

The other function of students is to bring money in while not costing any more than is absolutely necessary. Never take students with special needs (unless you can use them to make the school look good without incurring extra costs). If a student will require extra disciplinary or academic intervention, fire him.

Always remember, however, that students need to be fired during Firing Season -- late enough to hold onto the money they bring, but early enough that they won't hurt your numbers.

Only Use McTeachers

Personnel costs will eat up your revenue. Make sure your teachers are young, cheap, and easily replaced. Remember -- with the proper programs in a box, teaching requires no more training and expertise than bagging up an order of fries. Why pay New Cadillac wages when all you need are Used Yugos. It should go without saying, but they should never, ever be allowed to organize. Keep them too demoralized to cause trouble, and if someone insists on causing trouble, fire her. Pro tip: TFA can be a great source of people who don't even want to be teachers and will gladly take themselves out of your way.

Remember -- You Are A Public School

You are entitled to public money, public resources, public buildings, public anything you can get them to give you. Never pay a cost out of your pocket when you can get the taxpayers to foot the bill. You also want to accent the "public" in your marketing, as it helps reduce parents' reluctance to screw over the actual public schools.

Remember -- You Are A Private School

Never let anybody see your financials, ever. This is your business, and nobody -- especially not the taxpayers who pay you -- is entitled to know anything about how you run it. "Transparency" is a dirty, dirty word.

In general, rules are for chumps. Make sure you are only playing by the ones that best serve your ROI.

Make the Right Friends

It's true that not everybody can afford to buy, say, an entire legislature or the governor of a state, but even outside of New York, it's possible to use the giant pile of money you've accumulated to help important people understand what a great public service you're performing.

We've come a long way from the days when charter school operators made the mistake of thinking that their schools should focus on educating young men and women. In Modern Times, we better understand that a well-run charter operation can contribute to an important job -- the business of taking money away from undeserving taxpayers and putting it in the hands of the deserving rich. By focusing on the One True Function of charter schools -- making money -- you can develop a robust business that will make it possible for you to send your own children to real private schools that provide the kind of education that, thank goodness, you will never try to incorporate into your own charter operation.

Cross-posted from Curmudgucation.

Father And Son Duo Find A Gaudy Way To Post Bail

Wed, 2014-05-07 17:11
Posting bail is hardly a glamorous affair, but a father-son duo accused in a $33 million tutoring scam paid for their freedom in a way that would make Liz Taylor proud.

Rather than using cash like mere plebs, Jowhar Soultanali, 58, and son Kabir Kassam, 34, opted for the currency of pirates, posting bail Wednesday with a stash of diamonds and rubies, the Sun-Times reports.

The Chicago-area millionaires ponied up diamond and ruby rings and earrings and other property worth $500,000 each to the U.S. District Court. The Sun-Times said the pair also agreed to hand over deeds to five homes, three luxury cars and other valuables.

The two face multiple counts of bribery and mail fraud.

As owners and operators of the suburban Chicago Brilliance Academy Inc. and Babbage Net School Inc. tutoring companies, federal prosecutors say the men made a massive payday by bilking school districts in 19 different states out of millions.

Through their companies, the men allegedly overcharged for sub-standard services to after-school programs meant to bolster achievement in low-income and underperforming schools and falsified performance data, according the federal complaint.

Soultanali and Kassam are also accused of using cash, strip club visits and lavish cruises to bribe public school officials into ignoring poor performances reports of their tutoring companies snapping up more federal and state funds to pay for their services.

The men have yet to enter a plea, but if convicted, they could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of bribery and a maximum of 20 years and a $250,000 fine for each count of mail fraud.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange Maintaining the Status Quo in Chicago Public Schools

Wed, 2014-05-07 16:34
Karen Lewis (former CPS teacher), elected president of the Chicago Teachers Union, proposed an idea to generate funding, to improve Chicago Public Schools and our city. Her idea is to place a small tax on shares bought and sold at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In an interview published in the Sun Times, Lewis said:

"This is an opportunity to actually make heroes out of these (wealthy) people. Instead of everybody being angry at them about their money and their greed and all these other things. This is an opportunity for them to say, 'You know what, we're part of the city. We love this city. We'd like to see the city work. We'd like to be a part of the process and this isn't going to be enough to make us want to go.'"

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange issued a statement in response to Lewis, saying in part, "...we do not believe the way to accomplish a strong public school system is through singling out futures traders with a tax more than 200 percent higher than what the average trader pays to buy or sell a futures contract..."

For those non-math people like myself, 200 percent higher sounds like a lot of money, but in reality, if shares were currently being taxed 33 cents they would now be taxed about 67 cents more to make it a $1 tax. Saying something is 200 percent more is just a fancy way of saying something is tripled.

Sixty-seven cents more to improve our schools, which in turn improves our whole city.

In the same interview where the Chicago Mercantile Exchange claimed it basically couldn't afford to pay 67 cents more, the Mercantile Exchange spokesperson said, "The CME Group absolutely believes that our hometown of Chicago should have a strong, world-class public education system."

So the Chicago Mercantile Exchange wants a world-class education system yet will not give a minute fraction of its wealth and revenue to actually make this a reality?

Please keep in mind that the Mercantile Exchange gets millions of dollars per year in tax breaks. Meaning that all the money that they are not paying in taxes that would go to improving our city and in part our schools stays in their pockets making them even more wealthy.

This my friends is what maintaining the status quo looks like in plain sight.

Teachers and schools are blamed for anything and everything wrong with education. Yet, when teachers demand more money for our schools and our students, we are labeled as greedy and the ideas we have to improve education are dismissed.

As an educator in CPS for the past seven years working in the Englewood neighborhood, it is painfully obvious that schools need more funding.

Schools need support (i.e. financial resources) for our city to truly give ALL of our students a "world class" education.

Last year Chicago Public Schools reduced the budgets by about $2,000 per student. In a small school like mine that translates to about $400,000 that we lost just last year. In larger schools that number is in the millions of dollars that schools once had that they no longer have to use for school staff, supplies, field trips, and the overall functioning of a school.

In my school cutting $400,000 translated into supplies being cut, technology not being repaired and seven people who no longer work in our building. That means there are seven less adults (teachers, security, tech coordinator, and a teacher coach) that can no longer work with students and help make their education and safety better.

So the Chicago Mercantile Exchange claims it wants a "world class education" for the students of Chicago, but in the same press release basically says it can't find 67 more cents to invest per transaction for the youth of Chicago to better our city.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is just following the lead of our mayor, who claims he wants what is best for the kids, yet takes TIF money that is supposed to go to our schools and neighborhoods and builds stadiums, parks, roads that benefit downtown while also sending his kids to a private school that has everything that all our schools should have.

Like Rahm Emanuel the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is just providing lip service claiming it cares about kids, while maintaining the status quo of Chicago and keeping this city a tale of two Chicago's -- one for the rich and one for everyone else.

Or as I like to interpret the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's quote, it just comes down to (millions of) dollars for the rich and pennies for our kids.

Loyola University Hiring Ex-Vactican Ambassador Despite Sexual Harassment Allegations

Wed, 2014-05-07 15:48
Accusations of sexual harassment are trailing a former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican who is set to take a post at one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation.

Miguel H. Diaz will join Loyola University in Chicago this summer, leaving behind the University of Dayton in Ohio, where last year he was accused of sexually harassing a married couple who were fellow UD professors, according to a new report from the college and Inside Higher Ed.

The Catholic theologian and married father of four is accused of "making various sexual requests and references to sexually explicit feelings," according to a letter from the UD provost to the alleged victims that Inside Higher Ed obtained this year. According to the publication:

A “preponderance of evidence” led the outside attorney to conclude there was “reasonable cause to believe that some of [Díaz’s] conduct constituted sexual harassment that created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment,” according to a letter sent to the alleged victims by Dayton’s general counsel.

Loyola first announced in February that Diaz and his wife would assume faculty positions at the university in the coming year.

A Loyola spokesman would only confirm to the Sun-Times that Diaz's contract is set to begin July 1, but that “the university doesn’t comment on personnel decisions."

UD was similarly tight-lipped about the accusations about its soon-to-be-former faculty member, telling the Sun-Times the university is "prohibited by federal law from discussing the details of Title IX cases and cannot comment on personnel matters.”

Meanwhile, more than half of UD's tenured faculty cast ballots of "no confidence" in the University Provost Joseph Saliba after Inside Higher Ed published letters outlining UD's response to the allegations against Diaz. According to The Dayton Daily News, faculty were complaining about "administrative and governance issues."

Diaz was reportedly told to avoid any contact with the married couple and would face termination if another claim was brought against him.

At schools around the country, administrations are increasingly facing criticism from their own faculty and students over the way issues related to faculty misconduct -- particularly sexual misconduct -- are handled.

Loyola's neighboring school, Northwestern University, is facing a series of lawsuits related to allegations of a professor, Peter Ludlow, sexually harassing a student.

Ludlow is expected to take a position at Rutgers University in New Jersey. News of the lawsuits has prompted protests from Rutgers students over the school's hiring policy.

Most recently, West Virginia University is facing a lawsuit for allegedly mishandling a sexual harassment case involving the chairman of the school’s Department of Neurosurgery.

Groom's Chance Encounter With Photographer Paul Octavious Ends Best Way Possible

Wed, 2014-05-07 14:14
Imagine this: The day before your wedding, you happen to run into a famous photographer. Being a huge fan of his work, you happen to mention you're getting married and then -- because the photographer is so cool -- he just happens to show up to your wedding the next day to surprise you.

No, it's not a pipe dream. That actually happened.

Chicago photographer Paul Octavious went to lunch with a few friends this past weekend when his waiter, Judd, mentioned what a huge fan he was. Judd mentioned that he was getting married the very next day at City Hall and that he and his partner, Scott, were just talking about what a dream it would be to have the Paul Octavious shoot their wedding.

Octavious, who posted the entire story to his Instagram, simply laughed, but then Judd joked, "So what are you doing tomorrow?"

Normally, that would be the end of it. But in this case, Octavious decided to make the couple's dream come true and actually showed up to City Hall to take some photos. He posted the one below to his Instagram, writing, "Scott was completely surprised, Judd was excited, and I was honored to photograph such a wonderful moment. This shot is the escalator to marriage court."





To read the entire story in Octavious's own words, click here.

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Kristin Cavallari Gives Birth To Baby Boy Jaxon Wyatt Cutler With Jay Cutler

Wed, 2014-05-07 13:42
Congrats go out to Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler!

The couple welcomed their second child, son Jaxon Wyatt Cutler, on Wednesday, May 7, Us Weekly confirms.

"Welcome Jaxon Wyatt Cutler 7lbs 11oz 5/7/14," the proud mommy wrote on Instagram, along with a photo of her hospital bracelet wrapped around a pair of suede baby booties.



Jaxon joins big brother Camden, 1.

“The second time around, you know exactly what to expect and we’re just ready,” Cavallari told People recently. “This one, I’m like, ‘Let’s get him out here, I want to see him, I just want to hold him and see what he looks like.’ I’m just really excited more than anything.”

The NFL Draft Sleepers You Can't Afford Not To Know

Wed, 2014-05-07 12:18
If the NFL draft has taught us anything over the years, it's that it remains an imperfect science. High draft picks can disappoint (e.g. Oakland's JaMarcus Russell and Rolando McClain), low draft picks can overachieve (e.g. Seattle's Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Bobby Wagner) and undrafted players can shock the world -- think Dallas' Tony Romo and Cole Beasley. The draft "sleeper" is as coveted by GMs and scouts alike as anything, and if we do say so ourselves, previous editions of this column -- with names like Russell Wilson, Doug Martin, Terrance Williams, Giovani Bernard, Tyrann Mathieu, Eric Reid and Robert Woods -- have delivered.

With the 2014 draft kicking off this Thursday in New York City, let's take a look at the key sleepers to watch for this year. And don't forget about the record 98 juniors who entered.

Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

Last year marked the first time that no running back was selected in the first round since the common draft began in 1967. Sankey has emerged as one of college football's most productive, if not flashy, running backs (1,870 yards rushing ranked second in the Pac-12). A jack of all trades, what he lacks in elite straight-line speed (4.47 40), he makes up for in toughness, quick feet, vision and pass-catching ability.

Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana

Latimer is finally stating to get the proper recognition for a guy who runs in the mid-4.4s and possesses a 39-inch vertical leap. With prototypical NFL wideout size at 6-foot-3, the former Hoosier will need to refine his route-running and escape of press coverage, but he could be special down the road.

Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois



Forget the small-school pedigree: Ward (above, at left) is a ball-hawking safety who plays downhill with superb football instincts. He will make an impact right away, albeit defensively or in the return game, where he was one of college football's best, regardless of the level.

Jeremiah Attaochu, DE, Georgia Tech

Attaochu is a big-time athlete who uses dynamic quickness on the edge to rush the quarterback. He's not a perfect prospect because his technique leaves more to be desired, but value-wise, he can become a terrific asset out of the second or third round.

Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

Latimer may be the most hyped receiver from the Big Ten Conference, but Robinson proved himself the most prolific. According to cfbstats.com, he had 10 receptions of at least 40 yards in 2013, tied for most in the country and ranked second in yards per catch. In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Robinson said, "Just knowing how to run a route and what you want to be accomplished from each position [is what I have worked on]." With good size (6-foot-3 and 220 lbs.) and feel, Robinson should become a solid NFL player with day-two value.

Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona

Carey is another early entrant who might fall to the fourth or even fifth round, but that just makes him more of a steal. A natural runner who moves the pile and has experience lining up in the slot under Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez, Carey will make an offensive coordinator very happy. At 5-foot-9 and 207 lbs., he isn't a burner (4.7 40), but he plays faster than that and his production (1,885 yards to lead the Pac-12, 19 TDs, 22 100-yard games for his career) is undeniable.

Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU

Van Noy, a two-time Third-Team All-American, is an absolute monster. He tackles everything, flies around the field and displays an excellent ability to read and diagnose plays. The former BYU star, who stayed in school through his senior year rather than going pro, will get on the field immediately as a rookie, and as a plus athlete will contribute.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State



There isn't another receiver in this draft like Benjamin, who at 6-foot-5 and 240 lbs. runs pretty well and represents an excellent red-zone target (he caught the game-winning TD in the BCS title game). Questions persist about his erratic route-running, but from a talent perspective, Benjamin is really special. He can even morph into a hybrid tight end, lining up all over the field. Speaking with HuffPost before the draft, Benjamin gushed about superstar receivers Calvin Johnson and Alshon Jeffrey and spoke about his own versatility: "I can run every route a small guy can. I can get open ... [I want to] impose my will on the game ... A guy's not going to be able to jam me at the line."

Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana

Tripp is a wonderful athlete who will find a way to contribute with his intelligence and natural tackling ability.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois

The 6-foot-2 Garoppolo is hardly a household name, but don't be fooled: He has legitimate NFL qualities (very quick release, accurate, throws the slant, good athlete), and while he's certainly a project, we could very well be looking at a starter three or four years down the road. Fairly or not, it's hard to avoid comparing Garoppolo to Tony Romo, the former Eastern Illinois standout with whom Garoppolo shares a certain swashbuckling style.

Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming



Another sleeper at receiver in a draft loaded at the position, Herron, an L.A. kid who should have been a Pac-12 recruit, is a smooth runner with frontline speed (he ran a 4.35 40) and nice hands. Herron is rising, and could go as high as the third round. His big play ability at 5-foot-9 will allow him to contribute immediately, as will his toughness and his willingness to go over the middle.

Tre Mason, RB, Auburn

Mason has everything you want in a starting NFL running back: tough, fluid and smooth runner, productive (1,816 rushing yards, 23 TDs), can pass-protect and is extremely athletic (position-best 38.5-inch vertical). Mason, who torched Florida State for 195 yards, reminds us a bit of Tampa Bay star Doug Martin and will play immediately as a rookie.

Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State

Guards don't necessarily get the blood flowing, but Jackson is one of the most versatile linemen in the draft. He started 52 games in the SEC and should enjoy a long, successful career regardless of where he ends up.

Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina



Ellington's 5-foot-9 stature, tremendous skill set and overall toughness remind us strongly of Darren Sproles, though Ellington is not a guy who will carry the ball a ton. During his final two seasons of SEC play, Ellington -- who also played college basketball -- caught 89 passes for 1,375 yards and 15 touchdowns, and there is no reason why he can't be just as dynamic at the next level.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern

McKinnon, at 5-foot-9 and 200-plus, is one of the draft's premier athletes. He ran a lighting 4.37 40 at the combine, already blocks extremely well and can play multiple positions. He is one of the rising names right now, regardless of position.

Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama

Though Norwood lacks the gaudy statistics, he will find a home and stick because of his high character and football acumen. Having thrived at the highest level of college football, Norwood is a proven winner who can become a solid No. 2 or No. 3 NFL option in the right fit.

Storm Johnson, RB, Central Florida



Blake Bortles was hardly alone in the Golden Knights' backfield -- he was flanked by a really, really good runner in Storm Johnson. Look out for Johnson somewhere in the fourth or fifth round, and then watch him star on the field next season. At 6 feet and 209 lbs., the only reason Johnson might slip is his lack of speed (4.6 40 at the combine), but he is a physical, interior runner who understands how to attack gaps.

Email me at jordan.schultz@huffingtonpost.com or ask me questions about anything sports-related at @Schultz_Report and follow me on Instagram @Schultz_Report. Also, be sure to catch my NBC Sports Radio show "Kup and Schultz," which airs Sunday mornings from 9 to 12 EST, right here.

Which 2014 NFL Draft Headliners Could Prove The Biggest Busts?

Wed, 2014-05-07 12:11
Everybody is an expert in the days leading up to the NFL Draft, which kicks off May 8. Even those who have no idea how the new format works have strong feelings about whom their team should pick. And whom should your team pick? Whom should they avoid? Because those who show the most potential sometimes prove to be the biggest disappointments, here are a few candidates who need a second thought:

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

The good? Bridgewater ran a pro-style offense at Louisville, where he was remarkably accurate, winning 30 games over the past three years, including a memorable performance in the dominant 2013 Sugar Bowl win against an overhyped Florida team. But physically, Bridgewater is a very slight 6-foot-2, hovering a tad over 200 pounds. He isn't especially fast, and after not throwing at the combine, he had a miserable "pro day" that left scouts questioning his first-round billing. Bridgewater doesn't have a big arm or striking leadership abilities, but he does boast a better second-half quarterback rating when trailing than both Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles. But if a player like Geno Smith can go on Day One, so can Bridgewater.

Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Evans is ranked as the first or second receiver on most national boards. At 6-foot-5 with tremendous ball skills, he has the size and physical strength to become a consistent red-zone threat. Among the top 20 wide receiver prospects in the 2014 class, he had the highest percentage (25.4) of passes caught beyond 25 yards, per ESPN.com. Evans proved to be Manziel's favorite target, amassing 69 catches as a redshirt sophomore. A lack of frontline speed appears to be his primary drawback. He ran the 40 in 4.53 seconds at the combine, which is not bad, but doesn't compare to that of someone like Clemson's Sammy Watkins. The NFL has become an "after-the-catch" league for wide receivers, so Evans may well turn into a decent pro, but for him to go in the top 10 would be a monumental reach.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington



Seferian-Jenkins came to Washington three years ago as the top-ranked tight end recruit in America. At 6-foot-6, he is a colossal human being with excellent feet and big, strong hands. But somewhere along the way he put on some unnecessary weight and lost his burst. As a junior he dropped a ton of balls and didn't show much interest in blocking. And while he led all FBS tight ends over the past three seasons with 19 touchdowns inside the 20, he also has a DUI arrest to his name. As a potential first- or second-rounder, he screams bust.

Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Ebron has gotten a lot of attention as a player cast in the Jimmy Graham mold, and he could be a top 15 pick. On paper, Ebron makes a ton of sense: He stands 6-foot-4 plus, ran a combine best 4.6 in the 40 and is a gifted route runner. However, like Graham, Ebron doesn't block, and he didn't dominate in the red zone the way an elite tight end needs to.

Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Carr's numbers (50 TDs, 8 interceptions) are through the roof, but those numbers benefited greatly from the Bulldogs' style of offense and their slate of opponents. But the 6-foot-2 Carr does offer an intriguing skill set: He has the arm strength and accuracy (just as his brother David does) to make some of the toughest throws, and Derek ran a pro-style offense early in his career under former coach Pat Hill. Former NFL head coach and current NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci told HuffPost, "He's the most pro-ready QB in this draft. ... He's very grounded, maybe the best arm in this draft class, and climbing the board fast." But while he's demonstrated that he has the toughness to play through injury, Carr seems to struggle with decision making and his footwork when under pressure. In the bowl game against USC -- the only legitimate defense Fresno faced all year -- Carr completed a season-worst 54 percent of his passes and tossed two TDs with a pick.



Email me at jordan.schultz@huffingtonpost.com or ask me questions about anything sports-related at @Schultz_Report and follow me on Instagram @Schultz_Report. Also, be sure and catch my NBC Sports Radio show, Kup and Schultz, which airs Sunday mornings from 9-12 ET, right here.

Ever Want to Know How the State Spends Your Tax Dollar? Now You Can.

Wed, 2014-05-07 11:53


You pay taxes to the state every year. It's our duty as citizens to open the checkbook and give to Illinois, along with local governments and the federal government.

But at the state level, what exactly are your tax dollars going for? For every dollar you pay in taxes, how much of that goes to a particular service?

We broke it down for you. Our infographic shows which percentage of a dollar goes to fund which service, according to Gov. Quinn's proposed 2015 budget.

CHECK IT OUT HERE

While we're talking dollars and cents, how about a common sense and honest debate about our money. Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek breaks down the latest in the ongoing "watch-your-wallet" saga for Illinoisans.

READ HER PIECE HERE

Chef Pete Coenen of The Gage

Wed, 2014-05-07 11:42
In a city with so many award-winning restaurants and outstanding bar programs, there are still very few places where one can belly up to the bar and have great food. Restaurants have heightened their game, but bar food? Not so much. This is why I have been wanting to interview Executive Chef Pete Coenen of The Gage, one of Chicago's very best gastropubs, for a while.

The Gage restaurant has been thriving on Michigan Avenue for seven years, a shining star among a dearth of good street level restaurants in an area mostly catering to tourists. It has a loyal and consistent crowd, and I don't think I have ever been there when it has been slow. With fondue as an option for pub fare, it is no wonder why.

Though born in Korea, there is surprisingly little Asian influence in Chef Coenen's dishes at The Gage. His culinary pedigree is sure to be the reason. He has a degree in the Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University, was a sous chef at The Ritz Carlton in St. Thomas, USVI (a AAA Five Diamond resort) and was as a sous chef at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Blufton, South Carolina (a Forbes Five Star property). Just prior to joining The Gage, he worked as a junior sous chef at Chicago's Michelin-starred BOKA restaurant.

Coenen grew up on the campus of Berkshire School, a private boarding school in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, where both of his parents were teachers. There, the majority of his meals consisted of cafeteria-style food, yet he would look forward to every Saturday night when his father prepared steak on the grill, which he served with potatoes and endive. This weekly ritual ignited Coenen's love for food and motivated him to explore a career in the culinary arts. He began cooking, and never looked back.

I asked him about the preparation it takes to be a successful chef. "It doesn't matter where you're from as long as you begin your career learning, not necessarily from a famous well known chef, but from a chef who is highly knowledgeable, organized and disciplined. From there it's up to one's self to delve into their craft and take it to where ever they want to go. "

Since Chef Coenen is not from Chicago, I wondered how his experience here has compared to his time in other cities and resort towns. "Chicago is Incredible! For such a big city, it feels very small. Everyone knows everyone, hears everything. It's a great vibe for the city. You don't find that in smaller cities and towns, which seems weird. "

Chef expanded on his experience thus far at The Gage restaurant. "Being in the location we are in and being higher volume, people just assume it's a tourist trap with typical pub fare. Once they come in, they realize something a little bit different is going on. We set a standard in Chicago for these types of [Gastropub] restaurants. Once spring and summer fully hit, you will see a very local and market driven menu."

True enough. When we filmed in his kitchen, he was preparing Spring Pea Soup with Ham Hock Consume and Poached Quail Egg (see video below), along with Brioche Encrusted Halibut over Asparagus in a Bacon Cream sauce. He was finessing these recipes in preparation for the May 12th Dinner Party when he will cook for Wilco Drummer and Composer/Percussionist Glenn Kotche, The Mix's Kathy Hart of "The Eric and Kathy Show," Goodman Theatre Actor Marc Grapey and the audience in attendance. The dishes were bursting with freshness, with an eye on subtlety.

Chef Coenen ended our interview on a motto that fuels him throughout the long hours in the kitchen and the continuous research that goes into creating original dishes. "Life is short, so cook what you love, and love what you cook." Amen to that.

U.S. Companies Often Assume Black Job Applicants Do Drugs

Wed, 2014-05-07 11:03
More than any other group, black job applicants are being turned away by U.S. companies under the implicit assumption that they are using illegal drugs, according to a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

The study’s author, University of Notre Dame economics professor Abigail Wozniak, looked at how hiring practices differ between states with laws that incentivize or encourage drug testing and states with laws that limit or do not require such testing. She found that pro-testing legislation has a “large” and positive effect on black employment and wages, especially among low-skilled black men.

As the chart below shows, enacting pro-drug testing laws improves the share of blacks working in what Wozniak terms high-testing industries, while leading to a decrease in the share of whites working in such industries.



In states that enact anti-testing laws, the opposite proves true: Limiting drug testing appears to hurt black applicants much more than it hurts whites.



The findings imply that companies in states without pro-testing laws are, subconsciously or not, assuming black job applicants are guilty of using illegal drugs until proven innocent. In Wozniak’s opinion, drug testing can therefore help “non-using blacks to prove their status to employers, even as the drug war linked blacks with drug use in the popular imagination.”

“A common assumption is that the rise of drug testing must have had negative consequences for black employment,” Wozniak writes. “However, contrary to what one might expect, the rise of employer drug testing may have benefited African-Americans.”

But in a phone interview with The Huffington Post, Wozniak cautioned against interpreting the study as proof that employers are explicitly discriminating against black applicants.

“The results don’t look like what you would call typical old-school racism,” Wozniak told HuffPost. “The research in the paper suggest that the bias is coming in more subtle ways.”

“Instead of looking really hard at every applicant, they [employers] have these impressions that they go by," she continued. "Testing gives them a rule of thumb that avoids this bias.”

That “rule of thumb” appears to help. A lot. In fact, Wozniak found pro-testing laws increase the share of low-skilled, black men working in high-testing industries by up to 30 percent and raise their wages by 12 percent compared to anti-testing states.

Enacting no laws hurts black candidates too, according to Wozniak's study. When compared to low-skilled, black men in states with no drug testing laws, low-skilled, black men in pro-testing states saw their employment increase by 7-10 percent and their wages increase by 3-4 percent.

Tamar Todd, a senior staff attorney at the Drug Policy Alliance, compared the findings of the study to the disproportionate incarceration rates among black Americans because of the war on drugs. Multiple studies have found that while blacks and whites in the U.S. tend to use drugs at similar rates regardless of race, blacks are much more likely to be arrested for drug-related offenses.

“It reflects what we know,” Todd said of the new study.

Racial bias has long been known to play some role in the job application process. In 2003, two NBER research fellows published a paper finding that resumes with names that occur frequently among the white population were much more likely to lead to callbacks for an interview than resumes with names that occur more frequently among the black population.

Maurice Emsellem, a program director at the National Employment Law Project focusing on criminal records and employment, said drug testing could help fight such subconscious stereotyping.

“Employers are walking around assuming that somebody has a criminal record,” he told HuffPost. “So it’s dispelling criminal notions.”

When companies don’t test for drugs, who is likely to get the job instead of a passed-over black applicant? According to Wozniak’s research, it’s white women. In fact, women as a whole actually appear to be the big losers of pro-testing legislation.

“[T]he impacts of pro-testing legislation are uniformly negative,” Wozniak writes. “High testing industry employment, large firm employment, and benefits coverage all decline for women by about 1.5 percentage points.”

According to 2007 data from the Department of Health and Human Services, 42.9 percent of employees reported that tests for illicit drug or alcohol use occurred at their place of employment during the hiring process.

Wozniak hopes that as a result of her study, people will begin to see drug tests and other available job-search tools not as inhibitors to minorities, but rather as ways for employers to fight their own implicit racial biases.

“Many people may assume that drug testing is harmful and that it makes getting a job more difficult,” Wozniak said. "But I think the evidence is strong that that’s not true for African-Americans.”

Cutest. Interstate Shutdown. Ever.

Wed, 2014-05-07 11:03
Two Canada geese and their five goslings caused a major ruckus on a Chicago-area expressway during Tuesday rush hour.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the family of geese were first spotted waddling down the westbound Interstate 80/84 by a traffic camera in northwest Indiana, according to WGN.

The geese caused massive delays and at one point even prompted police to shut the highway down entirely during their trek that crossed the Indiana-Illinois border.

LIVE VIDEO: Police are escorting a family of geese along interstate near Chicago. Watch: http://t.co/SlAPzTlGwu pic.twitter.com/sxjHoGwpEH

— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) May 6, 2014



POLICE ESCORT: Some geese are causing traffic problems - walking along I-80/94 near Calumet Av. pic.twitter.com/cTHXbCIw90

— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) May 6, 2014


"It was a very happy little family, just walking along the highway," Donna Siebert, who witnessed part of the family's journey, told ABC Chicago.

The geese spent two hours moving along the interstate, occasionally veering into traffic, before an Indiana state police trooper -- who's been nicknamed the "geese whisperer" -- helped lead them across all five lanes of traffic, according to ABC.

The geese finally wound up off the expressway and in a nearby neighborhood.

JET Magazine Shuts Down Print Magazine, Transitions To Digital Publication

Wed, 2014-05-07 10:44
After 63 years, Johnson Publishing Company will no longer be printing JET magazine.

The newsweekly is officially transitioning over to digital at the end of June 2014. Although the company will publish a special print edition annually, the legendary African-American publication will be available on a weekly magazine app and will support "video interviews, enhanced digital maps, 3D charts and photography from the JPC archives."

In a press release issued on Wednesday, Johnson Publishing Company chairman Linda Johnson Rice made a statement about the choice to shift from print to digital:

Almost 63 years ago, my father, John Johnson, named the publication JET because, as he said in the first issue, ‘In the world today, everything is moving faster. There is more news and far less time to read it. He could not have spoken more relevant words today. We are not saying goodbye to JET, we are embracing the future as my father did in 1951 and taking it to the next level.

The announcement of the shift comes on the heels of another big change at the company. JET's former editor-in-chief Mitzi Miller was recently named editor-in-chief of EBONY Magazine, succeeding Amy DuBois Barnett who served in the role since 2010. Former JET senior editor Kyra Kyles has been named the digital editorial director to lead the magazine's transition.

8 Horribly Sexist Lessons Learned From Newly Unearthed Vintage Newsreels

Wed, 2014-05-07 08:28
When it comes to backwards ideas about women, vintage print ads weren't the only pieces of media history that served up casual sexism by the truckload.

Earlier this month, British Pathé (formerly known as Pathé News) dropped its 85,000-video collection of historic films on YouTube, most of them mid-century newsreels from the U.S. and the British Empire.

Mixed in with the archaic lingo (have you ever heard baldness described as having "a scanty thatch?") and zany predictions about the future, the footage depicts both important events and slice-of-life moments -- and plenty of cringeworthy attitudes toward women.

Sexism remains all-too-common in modern media, but at the very least, wolf-whistling and leering commentators now seem as hopelessly anachronistic as black-and-white newscasts.

Here are 8 horribly sexist messages we spotted in the pile:

1. "There's only one way to keep warm: strip down to your bathing suits -- that is, if you're a girl!"



2. Never let the actual news get in the way of some pervy ogling.



3. Sporting events involving "the fairer sex" naturally devolve into catfights.



4. Spa advertisements must convince men that beauty treatments "aren't that bad."



5. Companies think a "Most Beautiful Fatty" competition is an effective marketing campaign for plus-size clothing.



6. A "Mrs. America" is completely necessary so that women "tied to the chores of the housewife" could get in on the beauty pageant fun. Sexism squared.



7. The only useful analogue for women playing contact sports is "a bargain sale."



8. Seminars for "aspiring fathers" must be held for men...who already have children.

Occasionally, British Pathè news clips showed sexism cutting in the other direction. This useful seminar teaches "Papa How To Be Mamma," lest his wife undo the shackles of domesticity long enough to step away for a moment. ("The main thing is food: A baby should be fed!"):

The Risks to U.S. Water Resources From Climate Change

Tue, 2014-05-06 21:44
Water and Climate Change: Snapshots from the New National Climate Assessment

After three years of intensive effort, research, writing, and review by hundreds of climate scientists, the latest update of the U.S. National Climate Assessment was released today. It includes many long, carefully prepared sectoral and regional studies, and covers the massive range of effects of climate change on the nation, including both changes already observed and expected in the future.

There are hundreds of pages of information, observations, projections, and conclusions to absorb -- almost all of it bad news. Here, in short form and in the actual wording from the NCA (with page numbers from the "Highlights" summary report), are some of the most important conclusions related to U.S. water resources:

  • Agriculture, water, energy, transportation, and more, are all affected by climate change." (p.33)


  • Climate change is already affecting societies and the natural world (p. 32)


  • Climate change affects more than just temperature. The location, timing, and amounts of precipitation will also change as temperatures rise. (p. 29, Figure)


  • "There are significant trends in the magnitude of river flooding in many parts of the United States. River flood magnitudes have decreased in the Southwest and increased in the eastern Great Plains, parts of the Midwest, and from the northern Appalachians into New England." (p. 26)


  • Heavy downpours are increasing nationally, especially over the last three to five decades. The heaviest rainfall events have become heavier and more frequent, and the amount of rain falling on the heaviest rain days has also increased. Since 1991, the amount of rain falling in very heavy precipitation events has been significantly above average... The mechanism driving these changes is well understood. (p. 25).




  • Figure 2.18 from the National Assessment: The map shows percent increases in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events (defined as the heaviest 1 percent of all daily events) from 1958 to 2012 for each region of the continental United States.

  • "Risks of waterborne illness, and beach closures resulting from heavy rain and rising water temperatures are expected to increase in the Great Lakes region due to projected climate change." (p. 36)


  • Flooding along rivers, lakes, and in cities following heavy downpours, prolonged rains, and rapid melting of snowpack is exceeding the limits of flood protection infrastructure designed for historical conditions. (p. 38)


  • "Water quality and water supply reliability are jeopardized by climate change in a variety of ways that affect ecosystems and livelihoods." (p. 42)


  • "Annual precipitation and river-flow increases are observed now in the Midwest and the Northeast regions. Very heavy precipitation events have increased nationally and are projected to increase in all regions. The length of dry spells is projected to increase in most areas, especially the southern and northwestern portions of the contiguous United States." (p. 42)


  • The Northeast has experienced a greater recent increase in extreme precipitation than any other region in the U.S.; between 1958 and 2010, the Northeast saw more than a 70 percent increase in the mount of precipitation falling in very heavy events. (p. 70)


  • "Short-term (seasonal or shorter) droughts are expected to intensify in most U.S. regions. Longer-term droughts are expected to intensify in large areas of the Southwest, southern Great Plains, and Southeast." (p. 42)


  • "Climate change is expected to affect water demand, groundwater withdrawals, and aquifer recharge, reducing groundwater availability in some areas." (p. 42)


  • "Changes in precipitation and runoff, combined with changes in consumption and withdrawal, have reduced surface and groundwater supplies in many areas. These trends are expected to continue, increasing the likelihood of water shortages for many uses." (p. 42)


  • "In most U.S. regions, water resources managers and planners will encounter new risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities that may not be properly managed within existing practices." (p. 42)


  • "The effects of climate change, primarily associated with increasing temperatures and potential evapotranspiration, are projected to significantly increase water demand across most of the United States." (p. 43, Figure)


  • "Compared to 10 percent of counties today, by 2050, 32 percent of counties will be at high or extreme risk of water shortages." (p. 44, Figure)


  • The annual maximum number of consecutive dry days (less than 0.01 inches of rain) is projected to increase, especially in the western and southern part of the nation, negatively affecting crop and animal production. (p. 47, Figure).


  • Indigenous communities in various parts of the U.S. have observed climatic changes that result in impacts such as the loss of traditional foods, medicines, and water supplies. (p. 49)


  • Climate change impacts on ecosystems reduce their ability to improve water quality and regulate water flows. (p. 50)


  • In the Southern Plains, projected declines in precipitation in the south and greater evaporation everywhere due to higher temperatures will increase irrigation demand and exacerbate current stresses on agricultural productivity. (p. 77)


  • "Snowpack and streamflow amounts are projected to decline in parts of the Southwest, decreasing surface water supply reliability for cities, agriculture, and ecosystems." (p. 78)


  • "Increased warming, drought, and insect outbreaks, all caused by or linked to climate change, have increased wildfires and impacts to people and ecosystems in the Southwest." (p. 78)


  • "Tourism and recreation also face climate change challenges, including reduced streamflow and a shorter snow season, influencing everything from the ski industry to lake and river recreation." (p. 78)


  • "Changes in the timing of streamflow related to changing snowmelt are already observed and will continue, reducing the supply of water for many competing demands and causing far-reaching ecological and socioeconomic consequences." (p. 80)


  • "Observed regional warming has been linked to changes in the timing and amount of water availability in basins with significant snowmelt contributions to streamflow. By 2050, snowmelt is projected to shift three to four weeks earlier than the last century's average and summer flows are projected to be substantially lower. (p. 80, for the Northwest)"


  • "On most [U.S. Pacific] islands, increased temperatures coupled with decreased rainfall and increased drought will reduce the amount of freshwater available for drinking and crop irrigation. Climate change impacts on freshwater resources will vary with differing island size and topography, affecting water storage capability and susceptibility to coastal flooding. Low-lying islands will be particularly vulnerable due to their small land mass, geographic isolation, limited potable water sources, and limited agricultural resources." (p. 84)


  • "Snow accumulation in the West has decreased, and is expected to continue to decrease, as a result of observed and projected warming." (p. 87)


  • Although some additional climate change and related impacts are now unavoidable, the amount of future climate change and its consequences will still largely be determined by our choices, now and in the near future. There is still time to act to limit the amount of climate change and the extent of damaging impacts we will face. (p. 96)

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