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The States With The Most Gun Violence: 24/7 Wall St.

Sun, 2014-06-29 11:22
As mass shootings continue to appear in the news, many Americans and state leaders are asking how to address the problem without restricting constitutional rights.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks the number of gun-related fatalities — including homicides, suicides, and accidents — in each state. The frequency of firearm-related deaths varies widely across the U.S. Firearms were associated with just 3.0 deaths per 100,000 residents in Rhode Island in 2011, the lowest gun-related fatality rate of any state. Louisiana, on the other hand, reported 18.8 firearm-related deaths per 100,000 residents, the most of any state. 24/7 Wall St. examined the 10 states with the highest gun-related death rates.

Click here to see the states with the most gun violence.

Suicide is the leading cause of gun-related deaths across the nation in recent years. Of the 32,351 firearm deaths in 2011, nearly 20,000 were suicides. In all but one state with the most gun-related deaths, suicide accounted for the majority of fatalities. Six states — Alaska, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Montana, Arkansas, and New Mexico — reported more than 10.0 firearm-related suicides per 100,000 residents, versus the national rate of 6.2.

24/7 Wall St. discussed the CDC’s figures with John Roman, senior fellow at the Urban Institute, an economic and social policy think tank. Roman explained the probability of accidents, suicides, and domestic violence goes up in homes with guns. Americans are “three times more likely to have a suicide in a home with a gun than [they] are in a home without a gun.”

According to Roman, “The overwhelming trend is that strong gun law states have seen dramatic declines in violence. Weak gun law states have not seen the same decline.” While stricter gun laws lead to less violence, Roman noted, this relationship is not exactly straightforward, because people may purchase a gun in one state and bring it into another. “As long as there are weak gun law states, even strong gun law states will see gun violence.”

Federal law controls some aspects of firearm regulation, but for the most part, state legislatures choose to what extent firearms are governed. None of the states with the most gun violence require permits to purchase rifles, shotguns, or handguns. Gun owners are also not required to register their weapons in any of these states. Meanwhile, most of the states with the lowest rates of gun deaths require a permit to purchase a handgun.

In a number of these states homicide and violent crime rates were also particularly high. Gun-related homicide rates in all but three of the 10 states with the most firearm death rates were above the national rate of 3.6 homicides per 100,000 residents. Louisiana, the only state on this list where homicide accounted for more gun-related deaths than suicides, reported 9.4 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2011, more than in any other state.

Although not necessarily gun related, violent crime, overall, was higher in many of these states. Seven states reported at least 420 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2011, versus the national rate of just 386.3 violent crimes per 100,000 residents that year. There were more than 600 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in Alaska, second only to Tennessee. Some specific crimes were even more likely in many of these states. Six of the 10 states reported more than 3,500 incidents of property crime per 100,00 residents, for example, versus a national rate of just 2,908.

According to Roman, politics and culture often influence gun ownership. In fact, a majority of the states with the most deaths from guns are politically conservative. They are also states with residents that tend to be comfortable with carrying and owning guns.

Economic factors also appear to be related to firearm death rates. The poverty rate in seven of the 10 states with the most gun violence was above the national rate of 15.9%. New Mexico and Mississippi, the states with the first and second highest poverty rates in the nation of more than 20%, were among the states with the most gun violence.

Educational attainment rates also tended to be lower in states with the most gun violence. The percentage of residents who had attained at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2012 was lower than the national rate in all of the 10 states with the most gun violence.

Based on CDC data, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 states with the most firearm-related deaths in 2011, including suicides, homicides, and accidents.Firearm death rates represent the CDC”s age-adjusted figures, to avoid distortion in states with large populations of young people. We also considered 2012 data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) on the time between a gun’s purchase and its involvement in a crime. Violent crime data are for 2011 and are from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report. Poverty and income figures are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey. Information on firearm policies for each state are from the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Institute for Legislative Action.

These are the states with the most gun violence, according to 24/7 Wall St.:

Obama To Seek Border Aid; Pelosi Visits Texas

Sun, 2014-06-29 08:21
BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — President Barack Obama will seek more than $2 billion to respond to the flood of immigrants illegally entering the U.S. through the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas and ask for new powers to deal with returning immigrant children apprehended while traveling without their parents, a White House official said Saturday.

With Obama looking to Congress for help with what he has called an "urgent humanitarian situation," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi visited a Border Patrol facility in Brownsville that held unaccompanied children. More than 52,000 unaccompanied children, most from Central America, have been apprehended entering the U.S. illegally since October. "The fact is these are children — children and families," Pelosi said. "We have a moral responsibility to address this in a dignified way."

Obama plans to make the requests of Congress in a letter to be sent Monday, the White House official said. Details of the emergency appropriation, including the exact amount and how it will be spent, will come after lawmakers return from their holiday recess on July 7, said the official, who was not authorized to speak by name and discussed the requests on condition of anonymity.

Obama will also ask that the Homeland Security Department be granted the authority to apply "fast track" procedures to the screening and deportation of all immigrant children traveling without their parents and that stiffer penalties be applied to those who smuggle children across the border, the official said. Obama's requests were reported first by The New York Times.

In Brownsville, Pelosi said she holds little hope that Congress will pass comprehensive immigration reform this year but that politics should be set aside.

"A few days ago I would have been more optimistic about comprehensive immigration reform," Pelosi said. "I thought that we had been finding a way because we have been very patient and respectful of (Speaker of the House John Boehner) trying to do it one way or another. I don't think he gives us much reason to be hopeful now, but we never give up. There's still the month of July."

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's surprise primary loss this month almost certainly doomed the chance for an immigration overhaul in the GOP-controlled House this year. Cantor, R-Va., had spoken in favor of citizenship for immigrants brought illegally to this country as youths. But he lost to a political novice who made immigration the race's central issue, accusing Cantor of embracing "amnesty" and open borders.

This past week, a leading House supporter of policy changes said legislative efforts on the issue were dead. Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, who's been one of the most bullish Democrats about the chances for action, said he had given up. Boehner's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.

Republicans have criticized Obama's immigration policies, arguing they've left the impression that women and children from Central America will be allowed to stay in the United States. The administration has worked to send a clear message in recent weeks that new arrivals will be targeted for deportation. But immigrants arriving from those countries say they are fleeing pervasive gang violence and crushing poverty.

The Border Patrol in South Texas has been overwhelmed for several months by an influx of unaccompanied children and parents traveling with young children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Unlike Mexican immigrants arrested after entering the U.S. illegally, those from Central America cannot be as easily returned to their countries.

The U.S. had only one family detention center in Pennsylvania, so most adults traveling with young children were released and told to check in with the local immigration office when they arrived at their destination. A new facility for families is being prepared in New Mexico.

Children who traveled alone, like those visited by Pelosi in Brownsville, are handled differently. By law, they must be transferred to the custody of the Health and Human Services Department within 72 hours of their arrest. From there, they are sent into a network of shelters until they can be reunited with family members while awaiting their day in immigration court.

Also Saturday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said up to 2,000 unaccompanied immigrant children could be transferred from overcrowded facilities in McAllen, Texas, to his county by the end of next month. He said the plan is to have youngsters spend about three weeks in the North Texas county before hopefully being placed with relatives who are elsewhere in the U.S. The federal government will cover the costs, Jenkins said.

Meanwhile, Pelosi said immigrants' cases should be handled on a case-by-case basis.

"We don't want our good nature abused by those who would misrepresent what's happening in the United States on the subject of immigration to affect how we deal with a refugee problem," she said.

The situation is drawing attention and politicians from both parties to South Texas. While Pelosi was speaking in Brownsville, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, appeared with the first lady of Honduras, Ana Garcia de Hernandez, in McAllen.

Next week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman and Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte is scheduled to lead members of that panel to the Rio Grande Valley, and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, is scheduled to hold a field hearing Thursday in McAllen.

Pelosi said she came to Brownsville at the invitation of local U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela to find out what Congress can do to help.

___

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Washington and AP writer Will Weissert in Dallas contributed to this report.

17 Movies That Get Summer Right

Sun, 2014-06-29 07:58
"Wet Hot American Summer"

"Wet Hot" is the perfect camp movie, whether you've been to camp or not. David Wain's brilliance is best immortalized in Christopher Meloni's relationship with the fridge, a trip into town gone awry and Elizabeth Banks' burger breath.

"The Parent Trap"

Pre-everything Lindsay Lohan is a dream. Dare we say the 1998 remake of "The Parent Trap" is better than the original 1961 version starring Hayley Mills? But the updated Disney film has so many good movie montages. There's that incredible bridal photoshoot, the classic camp prank war and a terrible hiking trip with the evil almost-stepmom. Plus, "The Parent Trap" taught all tweens two very important lessons: all you need to pierce your ear is a needle, an apple and an ice cube, and Oreos are best eaten with peanut butter.

"Do The Right Thing"

Spike Lee's seminal film is set in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn on the hottest day of the year. "Do The Right Thing" was nominated for two Academy Awards, earned controversial but fantastic reviews and highlights racial tensions that are still relevant 25 years after the movie's release. Summer's never been so real.

"Camp"

Your artsy friend who went to Stagedoor Manor for one summer probably made you watch "Camp" at a sleepover. It's a feel-good movie about theatrical outsiders before "Glee" was even a thing. Plus, there's a straight-up insane Anna Kendrick cameo.

"Moonrise Kingdom"

Wes Anderson's symmetrical summer camp saga is all about precocious young love. "Moonrise Kingdom" has every necessary ingredient to make it an Anderson classic: Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, a super nerdy protagonist and Roman Coppola credits.

"It Takes Two"

"It Takes Two" is prime Steve Guttenberg in the early '90s. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen star as "identical strangers" trying to set up one of the girl's wealthy father with the other's -- an orphan -- lovable caseworker, played by Kirstie Alley. The girls meet at summer camp and decide to get rid of terrible Clarice. It also features the best food fight in cinematic history. (Sorry, "Animal House.")

"Heavyweights"

Fat camp rules in "Heavyweights," where Ben Stiller is a terrifying exercise freak-turned-camp director. Things we love: A young Kenan Thompson and his buddies made "the blob" the ultimate lake toy, and Paul Feig plays a counselor who, in the off-season, lost a ton of weight and gets made fun of for being skinny.

"Dirty Dancing"

Botched abortions, water dancing, "No one puts baby in a corner," etc. "Dirty Dancing" is the classic I-hate-my-parents-on-this-summer-vacation film and Patrick Swayze is the only way to get through it all.

"Friday The 13th"

Sometimes, camp is full of murderers, or rather, one killer. The Camp Crystal Lake counselors just want to get it on, but instead they ignite a "death curse." Summer fun for the whole family.

"Indian Summer"

Eight adults head back to their summer home, Camp Tamakwa, and get thrown back into all the love, freedom and fun they felt 20 years before as campers. Alan Arkin plays camp director to some of 1993's finest stars: Elizabeth Perkins, Matt Craven, Diane Lane, Bill Paxton and Kimberly Williams-Paisley.

"Meatballs"

From Ivan Reitman and Harold Ramis, "Meatballs" launched Bill Murray's career as a movie star, and showed us just how ridiculous sleepaway camp can be. It's a classic '70s screwball comedy featuring girls girls girls, short shorts and dorky guys who triumph outside of the big city.

"Camp Nowhere"

When a group of kids create a fake summer camp staffed by Christopher Lloyd, viewers are treated with chaos and early-'90s hilarity. The tweens -- Jessica Alba's included! -- trick their parents into sending them away to what the adults think is camp, and even fix up a faux visiting day. It's basically every antisocial 13-year-old's dream come true.

"Adventureland"

Post-grad Jesse Eisenberg returns to work at the amusement park near his parents' house, falls in love with Kristen Stewart's character and screws around with Bill Hader and Martin Starr. The sweet, sad, tragicomedy makes you miss your hometown, but not enough to go back there for the summer.

"Dazed And Confused"

"All right, all right, all right." The first day of summer vacation is full of possibilities and hope, especially if Parker Posey is drenching you in condiments. Chock full of incredible one-liners, now-classic bong hits and young Matthew McConaughey, "Dazed And Confused" gets everything about leaving high school just right.

"Stand By Me"

The summer of 1959 will always be about "Stand By Me." Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, Wil Wheaton and River Phoenix star in the ultimate coming-of-age '80s film that launched its stars' careers -- some tragically doomed -- and became the template for hundreds of movies about teens.

"Jaws"

You may never get the "Jaws" theme song out of your head, but Steven Spielberg's classic tale of terror on the beach is a summer keeper. Shot mostly on Martha's Vineyard, the beautiful scenery is almost enough to distract you from the man-eating shark. Just kidding, this is "Jaws." You're never going swimming again.

"Addams Family Values"

Even Wednesday Addams had to go to camp. The "Addams Family" sequel follows the Addams kids as they get booted off to camp by accident. Obviously they don't mesh very well with the other campers and try to escape. Classic Addams mayhem -- like attempted murder -- ensues.

These Are The Most Generous Cities In America

Sat, 2014-06-28 10:32
A new study found America's Emerald City is filled with people who like to click their gifts away to charitable causes.

Seattle took the top spot on Blackbaud's sixth annual ranking of the Most Generous Online U.S. Cities in 2013. The report tracked per capita online giving rates for 265 American cities with populations over 100,000, looking at donations processed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013.

And it seems as though America's selflessness is going viral. A different study conducted earlier this year by M+R’s Benchmarks found that donors in the U.S. gave more online last year than ever before.

Check out the list below to see if your city landed in Blackbaud's top 10:

10. San Francisco, California


9. Bellevue, Washington


8. Cincinnati, Ohio


7. Arlington, Virginia


6. Ann Arbor, Michigan


5. Cambridge, Massachusetts


4. Washington, D.C.


3. Atlanta, Georgia


2. Alexandria, Virginia


1. Seattle, Washington


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Teen Handcuffed And Beaten For A Week In Chicago Basement By Family

Fri, 2014-06-27 19:58
CHICAGO (AP) — A 15-year-old Chicago boy was handcuffed in a basement by relatives who subjected him to a week of beatings with a belt and doused him with buckets of ice water, police said Friday.

Jose Quilabaqui, 40, and Carlos Quizhpi, 53, were ordered held in lieu of $90,000 bail after a court hearing Thursday. They've been charged with felony kidnapping. Police Department spokeswoman Janel Sedevic said their motive was to punish the boy for misbehaving.

"The victim was struck with a belt to various parts of his body and he was subjected to buckets of ice water being poured over his body and being bathed with a garden hose," Sedevic said.

Prosecutors said Quilabaqui is the boy's father and Quizhpi is the boy's godfather.

A cousin of the teen, Diana Bermeo, defended the men, saying the boy had become involved in gang activity and that they were trying to protect him and keep him off the streets.

"It started out with him being gang-affiliated and then the drugs and stuff," she told WMAQ-TV. "My uncle, to protect him, he did what he could and to prevent him from going out at night and avoid him dying out in the street."

The teen escaped from the basement in the northwest side Albany Park neighborhood on Monday, a week after he was confined there, and contacted police, Sedevic said. He was hospitalized and released.

It was not immediately clear if the pair have attorneys. Their next court date is July 2.

10 Nostalgic Photos That Capture The Disappearance Of An American Icon

Fri, 2014-06-27 19:39
Photographer Brenda Biondo has spent the last 10 years documenting a disappearing icon of the American landscape: playgrounds. From geodesic climbing domes to those swirling metal slides that never failed to scorch the backs of your legs, she captures what's left of childhood in the 20th century.



Unlike the playgrounds and parks of today, Biondo's images frame the caricature-themed see-saws and coil-spring cars that made sandpits and gravel sanctuaries so magical to kids of the early to mid 1900s. Born out of the Progressive Era's reform movement -- a utilitarian effort that, among other things, sought to keep children out of the streets and dangerous urban settings -- the "reform park" gave rise to surprising feats of mid-century design.

But as safety standards have evolved over the last few decades, the pieces of playground past have begun to disappear. "As safety standards trickled down over the past 25 years, schools, cities and day care centers have been quietly replacing swing sets with all-in-one climbing structures that child-development experts say promote both physical fitness and social skills," USA today reported back in 2006.

I’d say probably half the equipment has been taken down since I took photographs of it,” Biondo explained to Colorado Public Radio.

"The structures that defined [playgrounds] -- towering metal slides, spine-jarring seesaws, expansive climbing gyms -- are now being hauled off to the scrap yard as schools and towns renovate their playgrounds," Biondo writes in her book, Once Upon A Playground. "When I took my own kids to local playgrounds and realized the loss, I decided to document as many of these remaining icons of childhood as I could."

Once Upon A Playground covers six decades of outdoor beauty, spanning 1920-1975. Filled with over 170 personal photos and 65 historical images, the piece is a tribute to the lost innocence of swing sets and jungle gyms. Snapped from emotive perspectives, and dripping in bold hues, the portraits transform equipment into anthropomorphized characters, and send us back in time to the days when a rusted basketball hoop sent us into a fit of elation.

Check out a preview of Biondo's work here and let us know your thoughts on the throwback imagery in the comments.





Once Upon a Playground is available through ForeEdge from University Press of New England. All photos copyright Brenda Biondo.

The Only Thing Better Than Taking A Bath: Adorable Animals Taking Baths

Fri, 2014-06-27 15:08
When was the last time you took a bath? You probably can't even remember. Well, we are here to remind you that baths are awesome, relaxing and sometimes kind of stressful.

And in case you need some major cleansing inspiration or a reminder, look no further than these adorable animals demonstrating how to best take advantage of bath time. So sit back, run the water, and start taking baths as seriously as these awesome critters do.

So you're contemplating taking a bath...



Yes, it does feel a little unfamiliar.





And tubs can feel mighty cramped if you're not, y'know, the size of a toddler.



But then you remember: BUBBLES!



Which are awesome...



... even if you accidentally eat some.



You forgot how much you love bath toys.



And, er, bath mates.



Hey, it's nice to have someone to wash your back.







And those other hard to reach spots.









There's no denying it. Baths make you feel so fresh.



And so clean.



Clean.





You're so relaxed you may fall asleep...



Then you realize you may have stayed in the bath for too long. The water's cold.



You've gotten all pruny.



Wait, you forgot to actually wash yourself.



And yet you don't... want... to... leave.



Because baths, you've been reminded, are the best.




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WATCH: A Shark-Deterrent Wetsuit (And It's Not What You Think)

Fri, 2014-06-27 14:54
Ocean swimmer Hamish Jolly wished there was a wetsuit that could keep sharks at bay -- so he invented one. Find out how he did it, and how you could apply the same techniques to create an innovation of your own.

We want to know what you think. Join the discussion by posting a comment below or tweeting #TEDWeekends. Interested in blogging for a future edition of TED Weekends? Email us at tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com.
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This Is How Skyscrapers Play Peek-A-Boo

Fri, 2014-06-27 13:06
For most of the past week, much of lakefront Chicago has been shrouded in a very thick, very eerie fog like something out of a horror film, allowing the bulk of its iconic skyline to pull a vanishing act.

The situation has a relatively simple weather explanation but has, nonetheless, set the scene for some incredible photos of the city.



Incredible photo taken by our @cbschicago helicopter pilot of the fog over #chicago #boggeddowninfog pic.twitter.com/kZC4KD7Lp8

— nwsgrl (@nwsgrl) June 27, 2014


Holy fog Batman!!! I'm exploring #Chicago on this cool morning until my tour guide @EllieBodner awakes. pic.twitter.com/eiI75NnUkD

— Suzanne Boyd (@SuzanneBoyd) June 21, 2014


Chicago-area fog advisory extended, but no flight cancellations reported so far: http://t.co/0piXTvhdsn pic.twitter.com/rxkqTySoh5

— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) June 21, 2014


Dense fog advisory in effect for Chicago http://t.co/K0mGLUrz3o pic.twitter.com/Zgu30dHbSO

— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) June 27, 2014


@JimCantore - Here's what the fog rolling over #Chicago last night looked like from @SkydeckChicago > pic.twitter.com/zMkjzX9DYe

— Nick Ulivieri (@ChiPhotoGuy) June 27, 2014


AccuWeather meteorologist Frank Strait explained to the Chicago Sun-Times that the extremely foggy conditions are largely due to the fact that Lake Michigan remains unusually cold for this time of year -- the result of the historic, record-breaking "polar vortex" the city experienced this winter.

In addition, Strait said, when the high-moisture air mass currently over the region moves over the lake, it causes fog to develop rapidly. From above, it looks like a giant cotton ball has swallowed up the city:

@NASA modis satellite image of fog on Lake Michigan hugging the coastline yesterday. #Chicago pic.twitter.com/MltzLMGDqS

— Chris Dolce (@chrisdolcewx) June 27, 2014


According to the National Weather Service, the city has seen quadruple the normal amount of fog and low cloud cover in recent days, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The foggy conditions caused a number of flight delays and cancellations at Chicago's Midway and O'Hare airports.

Other cities along the still-chilly Great Lakes have also seen much more fog than usual for the same reason.

Duluth, Minnesota, has also been coated with fog:

Incredible fog at 4pm here in #Duluth as it thickens .. 1/4 mi. pic.twitter.com/W0HIpGdsGl

— Daniel Dix (@DDwx) June 22, 2014


As has Muskegon, Michigan:

Dense fog in Muskegon with 1/4 mile visibility. #wmiwx pic.twitter.com/EJbLw40Fr8

— Aaron Ofseyer (@aaronofseyer) June 26, 2014

It's Official: The United States As A Nation Has Gone World Cup Crazy

Fri, 2014-06-27 12:55
The Germans may have bested Team USA in the World Cup group stage, but it turns out the real winner of Thursday's thrilling USA-Germany match is ESPN. Despite the noon Eastern start time, the match drew in enough viewers to score a 6.7 U.S. household rating -- the second-highest rating and third-most viewed ever for a men’s World Cup match on ESPN, according to the press release issued by the network.

Online, ESPN was even more popular. The release says 1.7 million concurrent viewers were logged on to WatchESPN. That's more than the number that signed in to watch the most recent Super Bowl, Forbes reports.

Read the full press release here.

The spike in viewership -- to which workplaces around the nation no doubt contributed -- was so great it crashed ESPN's streaming service during the first half of the match.

Spanish-language Univision, meanwhile, boasted to Techcrunch.com that their live stream "absolutely did not experience any outages” when a record 750,000 concurrent viewers were logged on to their free internet stream.

The World Cup has proved to be a ratings bonanza for the networks, thanks to both the tournament's Prime Time scheduling and American's soaring interest in soccer.

Sunday's 6 p.m. Eastern USA-Portugal match was seen by a record-breaking 18.2 million viewers making it the most-viewed soccer game in American history.

America's Coolest Rooftop Bars (PHOTOS)

Fri, 2014-06-27 12:50
When the golden hour hits on summer evenings, a ritual unfolds in cities across America: cubicle dwellers rush for the exits; lines form waiting for elevators to open; and social media is flooded with images of backlit skyscrapers and bright cocktails. It's rooftop time.

The coolest rooftops, like D.C.'s Jack Rose -- with a 1,400-plus spirits collection that encourages policy wonks to unwind -- have a way of amplifying your typical bar experience. Drinks are more piquant, conversations a tad more interesting, the sunsets and fresh air intoxicating. They provide a vertical respite far from all the life that happens on ground.

One taste, and you may never come down.



--Nate Storey

See All of America's Coolest Rooftop Bars

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<i>Corn's-a-Poppin'</i>: A Strange Case for Film Preservation

Fri, 2014-06-27 12:16
I had the darndest experience at the movies recently. I saw Corn's-a-Poppin', a presentation of the Northwest Chicago Film Society, which, proclaims its website, "exists to promote the preservation of film." Films capture the past uniquely, and few are as unique as Corn's-a-Poppin'. It is a singular viewing experience, and how many movies today can make that claim?

Produced seemingly on a shoestring in 1956 with a no-star cast, Corn's-a-Poppin' is an hour-long country-swing musical about Thaddeus Pinwhistle, whose popcorn empire is in jeopardy. To boost sales, he produces a half-hour TV variety show, oddly enough called the Pinwhistle Popcorn Hour. Spoiler alert: The PR man behind the TV show is actually in cahoots with Pinwhistle's competition and, like Max Biyalistock in The Producers, schemes to sabotage the Popcorn Hour. It's up to the show's announcer Johnny Wilson and his pre-teen sister (Little Cora Rice, a dynamo) to save the day with some surprisingly catchy tunes, like "Running After Love," "Mama, Wanna Balloon" and "On the Way to Mars."




Like I said, it's the darndest thing. But here, as radio legend Paul Harvey used to say, is the rest of the story. Corn's-a-Poppin', a regional independent film, was produced in Kansas City by budding talent who got their starts with Calvin Company, the Midwest's biggest and most innovative producer of industrial films. One of those budding talents was Robert Altman, who co-wrote the screenplay. Yes, that Robert Altman; the M*A*S*H, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Nashville Robert Altman.

Altman felt about Corn's-a-Poppin' the way George Lucas feels about the dread "Star Wars Holiday Special." Perhaps to his relief, the film was consigned to obscurity. It is rarely cited in articles or books about the filmmaker. The original camera negative is presumed lost. But Altman's participation put this this already unclassifiable artifact atop the Northwest Chicago Film Society's preservation to-do list. All told, the public screening was the culmination of a seven-year process, which got a boost last year with a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to produce a full photochemical preservation of the film. A duplicate negative was created from two of the few surviving 35mm release prints, one of which the Northwest Chicago Film Society fortuitously acquired in an estate sale and the other from the Wisconsin for Film and Theatre Research.

Does Corn's-a-Poppin' rate all the time, money and effort to ensure its posterity? I've made it this far in life not even knowing it existed, but now having seen it, I can't get "On the Way to Mars" out of my head. Those who are proponents of the auteur theory have drawn a throughline from Corn's-a-Poppin' to Nashville and Prairie Home Companion with their country and folk music soundtracks.

"The film marks an important transitional step in Altman's career and is a fascinating rarity that reveals a lot about regional independent filmmaking and the energetic, creative milieu from which its co-screenwriter, Robert Altman, sprang," observed Shannon Kelley, Head of Public Programs for the UCLA Film and Television Archive, in a statement.

But beyond that, when it comes to preserving America's cinematic heritage, I am reminded of the tagline for "That's Entertainment": "Boy, do we need it now."

A Library of Congress study last year revealed that 75 percent of the nearly 11,000 silent films released by the major studios have been lost forever. And it's not just vintage films. The most recent preservation cause celebre is the 70mm roadshow version of John Wayne's epic, The Alamo, which is reportedly in desperate straits but seems caught in a Catch-22. The studio, MGM (not alone in this mindset), does not seem willing to spend the money required to save the film, Wayne's sole directing credit. But it doesn't want outsiders to take on the job either, lest it makes the studio look bad.

But it begs the thought: Never mind long lost classics such as Orson Welles' original cut of The Magnificent Ambersons. How many other singular, surprising films like Corn's-a-Poppin' are out there? Will they be found in time before they disappear?

This story originally appeared on millionairecorner.com

Federal Appeals Court Rejects Torture Survivor's Case

Fri, 2014-06-27 11:43
As declared by the United Nations in 1997, June 26 is International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Unfortunately, the U.S. Court of Appeals may have set an alarming precedent for torture survivors around the country with its decision for victim Darrell Cannon late last month.

On May 27, the court shocked Cannon and his supporters by opting to deny him full compensation for the brutal treatment he incurred at the hands of the Chicago Police Department starting in 1983. Led by the notorious Commander Jon Burge, who was fired from his position in 1993 and convicted of perjury in 2010, the Chicago Police victimized at least 120 African-American suspects over the course of two decades, including Cannon, who was tortured before being imprisoned unjustly for 24 years. Despite a number of other survivors receiving millions of dollars from the city of Chicago, Cannon was left with almost nothing--suggesting that the U.S. legal system is all too willing to abandon survivors behind a smokescreen of denial and victim-blaming.

Cannon's lawyers argued his case in front of the three-judge federal appeals court in January of 2013. After sympathizing with Cannon's situation at oral arguments, the court withheld its decision for 16 months. Then, in a stunning reversal of form, it rejected his appeal in a lengthy opinion written by the very judge who had most strongly backed Cannon's position during the arguments.

Cannon's criminal case

Darrell Cannon's 31-year quest for justice began in November 1983, when he was arrested for the murder of a drug dealer by a contingent of midnight-shift detectives who worked for Jon Burge. They allegedly dragged him to a police car, where Cannon says Detective Peter Dignan told him that they had a "scientific way of questioning n*ggers." When Cannon refused to talk, he says Sergeant John Byrne, who was Burge's self-admitted "right hand man," and Dignan took him to a remote site on the far southeast side of Chicago, where they enacted a mock execution. After pretending to put a shell in his shotgun, Cannon recounts that Dignan forced the barrel of the gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger. Dignan allegedly repeated this action two more times. On the third, Cannon says he believed that the back of his head had been blown off.

When Cannon still refused to confess to the murder, he says, Byrne and Dignan threw him into the backseat of their car, pulled down his pants, and repeatedly shocked him on the genitals with a cattle prod. Racked with pain, Cannon agreed to cooperate; after the torture stopped, he withdrew his agreement. Cannon alleges that Byrne and Dignan then administered another round of electric shocks, this time shoving the cattle prod into his mouth. Cannon then relented and gave a false confession that implicated himself in the murder.

During his trial in 1984, Cannon moved to suppress his confession because it was given under torture, but the motion was denied by Cook County Circuit Judge Thomas Maloney. (Maloney would later go to federal prison for taking bribes.) Later that year, Cannon was convicted, but his conviction was reversed on appeal, due to racial discrimination during jury selection. Cannon was then held in prison for a decade on murder charges; finally, in 1994, he was re-tried, only to be re-convicted after Maloney's successor, John Morrissey, denied him the right to introduce newly uncovered evidence that included 28 cases of Chicago Police torture, including 16 in which Byrne and Dignan were accused of abusing other African-American suspects. On appeal in 1997, the Illinois Appellate Court ordered the trial court to conduct a new hearing on Cannon's motion to suppress his confession, at which time he could introduce the newly uncovered torture evidence. In doing so, the Court strongly condemned the prosecutors' arguments, saying, "In a civilized society, torture by police officers is an unacceptable means of obtaining confessions from suspects."

Back in Cook County Criminal Court, Cannon's lawyers presented evidence of other acts of torture by Byrne and Dignan. They also produced a 1990 Chicago Police Department Report that officially found that there was "systematic" torture and abuse under Burge. The same report noted that Byrne and Dignan were "players" in Burge's pattern and practice of barbaric cruelty. Cannon's lawyers also offered a previously suppressed 1994 CPD report that specifically found Cannon had been tortured by Byrne and Dignan, as well as expert psychological evidence that further corroborated Cannon's claims of torture.

In 2004, the prosecution dismissed Cannon's case altogether, likely on the unstated grounds that Cannon's confession had indeed been made under torture. However, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board refused to release him because of a parole hold from a prior conviction. Finally, in 2007, after two parole hearings and an order from a Cook County Judge, Cannon was released from prison after serving 24 years--nine of which he served in Tamms supermax prison.

Cannon's civil case

After his criminal case was dismissed in 2004, Cannon filed a torture and wrongful conviction lawsuit in federal court. But he faced a significant hurdle. In 1986, while in a rural southern Illinois prison, Cannon had filed a handwritten damages complaint alleging that he was tortured by Byrne and Dignan. In response two years later, the city of Chicago offered him a nuisance value settlement amounting to $3,000. Cannon's court-appointed attorney--a general practice lawyer who had never worked on a civil rights case, let alone one about torture--advised him to take the deal. Cannon received $1,247 of his settlement; his lawyer took the rest. And as part of the deal, he signed a broadly worded release that included all claims related to his torture that might arise in the future.

When Cannon filed his second damages suit after being released from prison, the city and police defendants attempted to dismiss it. They argued that Cannon's paltry 1988 settlement agreement prevented him from seeking more compensation against city officials on all of his claims. Meanwhile, starting in 1989, evidence began to surface that the city of Chicago had engaged in a widespread campaign throughout the last decade to conceal Burge's sadistic practices. In 2006, Judge Amy St. Eve held that this cover-up constituted a fraud by the police defendants and the city--thereby nullifying Cannon's 1988 settlement. In other words, had Chicago not engaged in concealing the reign of torture by Burge and his cronies, Cannon might have found it much easier to argue that he, too, had been included in the string of victims, and to demand more compensation as a result.

In July 2007, the Chicago City Council held hearings on the Burge torture scandal. There, several Council members, along with U.S. Member of Congress Danny Davis, publicly urged Mayor Richard M. Daley to settle all of the outstanding torture cases, including Cannon's. Within months, the city had settled four of the five cases for a total of $19.8 million--and offered Cannon nothing. Instead of settling, the city poured extensive legal fees into further contesting Cannon's case.

Then, in 2011, Judge St. Eve reversed her prior ruling. This time, she sided with the city, deeming the cover-up irrelevant to the issue of fraud. Cannon knew he had been tortured, she said; therefore, he had not been deceived and was not entitled to anything more than his scant original $1,247.

Cannon appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and in January 2013, a three-judge panel of that court heard oral arguments in the case. Led by Judge Ilana Rovner, the court repeatedly upbraided the city's attorney. Rovner herself passionately rebutted the lawyer's assertion that the police defendants simply denied that they tortured Cannon, stating that "they didn't just deny--they lied, they cheated, they committed fraud, they committed cover-ups."

"Here are the facts," she continued. "These officers take a man with a prior murder conviction. Then they lie, then they torture him into making a statement that leads to a second murder conviction, then they lie about it, then they destroy evidence, then they engage in this incredibly lengthy cover-up with other city officials. You've got to help me. [On] [w]hat planet does he have a [fair hearing] in the courts under those circumstances?"

As the beleaguered city lawyer concluded his argument, Judge Sarah Barker, a former U.S. attorney from Indiana, focused on the insufficient settlement given to Cannon in 1988: "[G]iven all the things you know now and all the corruption that came to light ... don't you think that it's a thin reed on which you're attempting to hang your resolution to say, given all of that, $3,000 is a fair settlement?"

The Federal Court of Appeals decision

On May 27, 2014, the Appeals Court, in a lengthy opinion authored by the same Judge Rovner, upheld the District Judge's decision. In its opening paragraph, the court set the tone for its decision:

This appeal casts a harsh light on some of the darkest corners of life in Chicago. The plaintiff, at the time of the events giving rise to this suit, was a general in the El Rukn street gang, out on parole for a murder conviction, when he became embroiled in a second murder. Among the defendants are several disgraced police officers, including the infamous Jon Burge, a man whose name evokes shame and disgust in the city of Chicago.

After reciting a version of the facts that highlighted the details of Cannon's criminal case while forgoing any recitation of the voluminous record of cover-up that supported his claim, the court proceeded to reject, one by one, all of the arguments that Judge Rovner and her fellow panel members had previously embraced.

The court held that Cannon was bound by the provisions of his 1988 release, and he had thereby forfeited his wrongful conviction claim. Moreover, it refused to acknowledge that this settlement was the product of fraud. In doing so, the panel ruled that although Cannon "knew that Byrne and Dignan were lying" when he signed the release, and that these officers "surely would have lied about torturing others," Cannon and his court-appointed lawyer purportedly could have "pursued other avenues" to obtain evidence that there was a pattern and practice of torture by the officers who tortured him. Obviously, Cannon and his lawyer would have been working against a wide-ranging campaign to cover up Byrne and Dignan's torture--but the court, after emphasizing this fact during oral arguments, refused to acknowledge its determinative significance in its written decision.

Furthermore, the panel went so far as to erroneously assert, in the face of a strong evidentiary record to the contrary, that all of the city's efforts to cover up the evidence of torture came after Cannon settled his case. In doing so, it also minimized the breadth and depth of the cover-up and the role of high-ranking officials in it, essentially reducing the decades of perjury by Cannon's torturers in numerous cases to a "he said, they said" controversy.

The court then highlighted Cannon's criminal history, noting that he was a gang leader and a "convicted murderer out on parole" at the time of his arrest.
"It is difficult to conceive of a just outcome given the appalling actions by almost everyone associated with these events," wrote the panel.

In conclusion, the court rightly asserted that the case "casts a pall of shame over the city of Chicago," singling out "the police officers who abused the position of power entrusted to them" and the "city officials who turned a blind eye to (and in some instances actively concealed) the claims of scores of African-American men that they were being bizarrely and horrifically abused." Even so, however, it refused to find that Cannon's $1,267 net settlement was unfair.

"What the officers did to Cannon was unconscionable," the court now intoned. "The settlement was not."

The pall of shame darkens

Even as the court acknowledged the systematic torture of African-American Chicagoans, however, its emphasis on Cannon's criminal history implied that his gang membership and prior murder conviction somehow negated his treatment at the hands of city police. In doing so, it effectively blamed Cannon for his own ordeal. Considering that Cannon has now devoted his life to quelling gang violence as a CEASEfire supervisor, his case has become a focus of Amnesty International's Global Campaign Against Torture--and that Byrne and Dignan narrowly escaped indictments for perjury--such justification seems particularly ill-founded. On June 9, Cannon's lawyers asked the full court to reconsider the three-judge panel's decision, a request that is very seldom granted.

The U.S. Court of Appeals' decision, though gut-wrenching, is, unfortunately, an all too common phenomenon, particularly with regard to Chicago's torture history. Over the past 40 years, state and federal courts as well as prosecutors have very seldom been open to providing fair justice to the African-American survivors of Burge-related police torture. More than 100 were sent to prison--a dozen to death row--on confessions tortured from them. At least 20 remain there, some 25 to 30 years later. While relatively few have been fairly compensated for their torture and wrongful convictions, many more, like Darrell Cannon, have received either nothing or a mere pittance.

In Cannon's case, had the highest federal court in the Midwest ruled in his favor, it would have been unequivocally declaring that the Chicago police torture cover-up reached up to the highest levels of the local power structure and had lasted for more than three decades. And just as importantly, it would have likely aided others who were put behind bars by Burge, Byrne and Dignan, and sent a message to the city that it should fairly compensate all Burge torture victims. But in an all-too-familiar display of failing judicial courage, Judge Rovner and her colleagues chose to retreat instead. Their failure to do the right thing leaves us, once again, to contemplate the words of comedian and people's philosopher Lenny Bruce, who once famously said, "In the halls of justice, the only justice is in the halls."

G. Flint Taylor is a founding partner of the People's Law Office and has represented numerous survivors of police torture, including Andrew Wilson and Darrell Cannon, in Chicago for more than 25 years.

How to Become Your Local Bar's Favorite Regular

Fri, 2014-06-27 11:33
So you've finally found it, that special watering hole you'd like to call your very own. Maybe you haven't felt this way about a bar since your first in college, when you stumbled nightly across campus to slam back penny pitchers with your buddies and fondle the Golden Tee machine. Maybe you've just moved to a new town and had to leave behind your favorite dive and the only bartender you've ever loved.

Click Here to see the Complete List of How to Become Your Local Bar's Favorite Regular

Whatever the case, once you find a bar you jive with, the best thing to do is stick with it. Don't roam the streets looking for cheap substitutes when you've found "The One."

Why would you want to be a regular at a bar? Isn't that for sad mailmen in '80s sitcoms?

Absolutely not. There are a plethora of advantages to hanging out at a spot "where everybody knows your name." The first is that, as a regular, you know when the specials are. Monday night $3 margaritas, happy hour two-for-ones, the world is yours when you've been hanging at a bar long enough to become familiar with the deals.

You'll also be in the loop when it comes to things like trivia nights, movie viewing parties, and local bands, so you never have to deal with crippling FOMO (fear of missing out). And finally, it's pretty cool to have a bar to chill at without an entourage. Sometimes you need a drink and all your friends pass.

When you're a regular, the bar's always full of friends: bartenders you're on a first name basis with, other regulars, and cool new people you're not scared to talk to because this is "your" bar.

If you've got a spot you love, but you're not sure how to break through to "regular" status, read on for our Dos and Don'ts. You'll be the life of the party in no time!



Click Here to see the Original Story on The Daily Meal

-- Emily Alford, The Daily Meal

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This Shop Wants You To Fall In Love With 'Nerdtella' Coffee -- That's Nutella And Nerds

Fri, 2014-06-27 11:14
Born out of a Sydney coffee shop with an obvious sugar addiction, we present you "The Nerdtella bomb."



This bizarre new food mashup sounds kind of horrible -- but it has us shamelessly intrigued.

Starting July 1, Piccolo Me will serve up a solid mixture of Nutella and Nerds on a stick alongside its lattes. Patrons will be instructed to drop the sugary stick into their drink, wait a minute to allow the chocolate-hazelnut-and-artificially-flavored-fruity-candy mixture to liquify, stir it a bit for good measure and fearlessly take a swig.

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Coffee purists will be scandalized, probably, as culinary adventurists rejoice in another iteration of lowbrow food mingling with the highbrow. It's also worth noting that Piccolo Me has been bottling plain ol' Nutella iced coffee for a while -- which, to be fair, doesn't sound so different from an iced mocha or a Frappuccino.

We're not sure what prompted them to take it to the next level. But we commend their strange efforts.

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Can You <i>Really</i> Afford A Home In Your City? NPR Has A (Great) Chart For That

Fri, 2014-06-27 10:52
More often than not, the typical American home costs between one and two times as much as the typical family income. In other words, where incomes are higher, home prices tend to be higher, and vice versa. But what if you live in San Francisco or Detroit? Well, then that's just not the case, and this chart from NPR can prove it. Not only does it show you the most extreme examples, like Honolulu, where a home costs almost 5.5 times the average household income, and Decatur, IL, where a home costs less than one time the average household income, but it can give you the ratio for any metro area in the country that's of interest to you.





So, go ahead and find out: Are the houses cheap where you want to live?

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Why It Makes No Sense to Cut the Minimum Wage

Fri, 2014-06-27 10:30

On the eve of signing the Fair Labor Standards Act 76 years ago, which established the minimum wage, Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed a nation weary from a Great Depression spawned by the forces of reckless greed, exploitation and speculation.



Only a year before, FDR had called for a special session to pass the legislation in the midst of a titanic fight that looks and sounds very much like what's playing out today in places like Illinois.



The people were on his side. But FDR faced massive opposition from corporate interests. Doomsayers claimed that the 25 cents increase per hour sought by Roosevelt would maroon a struggling economy. Using his powers of persuasion, and leveraging the strong support from the public against "starvation wages," FDR eventually prevailed.



On the eve of signing the minimum wage into existence, FDR had a response for his political enemies, whose opposition to his efforts for working families bordered on mania:



"Do not let any calamity-howling executive with an income of $1,000 a day [...] tell you -- using his stockholders' money to pay the postage for his personal opinions that a wage of $11 a week is going to have a disastrous effect on all American industry."



Today, running for governor is Bruce Rauner, who doesn't make $1,000 a day -- he makes more than $1,000 per minute, and has echoed the same sentiments expressed some eight decades ago.



Like the pessimists FDR faced, Rauner inaccurately claims that raising the minimum wage would have a disastrous effect on the Illinois economy. This assertion comes after he advocated lowering the Illinois minimum wage from $8.25 per hour to the federal level of $7.25 per hour.



I recently signed into law legislation that will raise our state's minimum wage to $10.50 per hour by 2018.



States like Vermont understand that working people can't support their families on the current minimum wage, and a modest increase will give these families a boost and contribute to our economy by getting just a little more money into the pockets of people who will spend it in their communities.



We did this because we understood that FDR -- and your own Gov. Pat Quinn -- was as right about the minimum wage just as Mr. Rauner is dead wrong now.



In his Tribune editorial, Rauner claimed that raising the minimum wage would make Illinois less competitive. In fact, raising the minimum wage provides more Americans with more money to spend and invest, which increases economic activity and growth. Even more, studies show that raising the minimum wage makes workers more productive and helps businesses retain profitability -- just look at Gap Inc.'s decision to raise the minimum wage voluntarily for its employees.



Here's another fact about a minimum wage hike -- it's good for women. Women account for about two-thirds of workers whose incomes would rise by increasing the minimum wage. Illinois is in a stronger economic position when women are in a stronger economic position.



What will put Illinois at a disadvantage are Republicans, like Bruce Rauner, who stand in the way of progress. Governor Quinn is not only a leader making progress, but he is someone that is doing the right thing because he knows that no one working 40 hours or more a week should live in poverty.



Decades ago, FDR chose the right path for our country and prevailed in the face of opposition determined to block a fair wage for our workers. That same opposition, sadly, is alive and well today thanks to Bruce Rauner. But Governor Pat Quinn, like other Democratic governors around our country, will continue to fight for what is right for Illinois, and will have the people on his side.

Did Police Do All They Could In Wisconsin Suitcase Bodies Case?

Fri, 2014-06-27 10:07
The arrest of a former police officer this week after the discovery of two women's bodies stuffed into suitcases and dumped in Wisconsin has raised questions about the investigation. Chief among them: Did police do everything they could to locate one of the victims, a mother who vanished in November, before she turned up dead?

Laura Simonson, a 37-year-old mother of seven who was reported missing Nov. 22, was discovered dead on June 5 inside a suitcase near Lake Geneva, in southern Wisconsin. The body of a second woman, who police haven't publicly identified, was inside another suitcase.

Steven Zelich, 52, of West Allis, Wisconsin, was arrested Wednesday on two counts of hiding a corpse. According to police, Zelich has confessed to involvement in Simonson's death. Investigators haven't elaborated.

Police knew soon after Simonson disappeared that she had been in Zelich's company, a source close to the investigation told The Huffington Post on Thursday. Simonson was last seen leaving her mother's Farmington, Minnesota, home on Nov. 1, police said.

"They knew from the beginning who she left with," the source said, adding, "There was a trail that was left behind. There was, without a doubt, hard physical evidence [of] where she was. [Authorities] were aware of it from the beginning. I don't know why they didn't follow up on it sooner."

Zelich, according to the Nexis public records database, once worked as a police officer in West Allis, near Milwaukee. WISN 12 News reported he resigned in 2001, after allegations of misconduct involving a prostitute. No criminal charges were filed.

Jennifer Reitz, spokeswoman for Geneva police, who are leading the investigation into the discovery of the bodies, on Thursday declined to discuss whether authorities had made attempts to contact Zelich prior to his arrest. She also declined to confirm whether authorities were aware of an April 18 classified ad that appeared in Wisconsin Super Ads. The ad, placed anonymously, accused Zelich of holding Simonson captive. The ad read, in part:

"Steven Mark Zelich is a sadist who has enslaved a petite female named Laura Jean Simonson. He keeps her naked, handcuffed, shackled, and caged. He has no intention of ever releasing this poor woman who suffers from various mental disabilities. She has been whipped and tortured by Steven Mark Zelich since November 2, 2013. Laura is the mother of 7 young children and has not been allowed by Steven to contact them in any way. The police have not been able to locate where Steven has Laura imprisoned. Please join our effort to find and free Laura Simonson."

The ad alleged that Zelich had profiles on a website involving dominance and submission. It included a cellphone number for Zelich, which The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tied to a contact number for him at Legalshield.com, where he reportedly works as a contractor. An email address attributed to him also appears on a Yahoo online discussion board titled "MasterB Slave Club."

A January 2012 post attributed to the same email address read:

"I have just joined the group, with the hope of finding an owner (male/female/couple). I seek no limit no release enslavement, imprisonment, captivity, animalization...ideally in a farm/caged situation. If this level of control interests you, please feel free to make contact."

Authorities at a media briefing on Thursday didn't confirm Zelich's online activities. They said they were investigating his possible involvement with bondage websites.

Jerrie Dean, an advocate for missing persons, wrote about a possible connection between Zelich and Simonson in a Jan. 24 story for Missingpersonsofamerica.com. Dean repeated information from the Wisconsin Super Ads item and compared Simonson's disappearance with the three women who were held captive in Ariel Castro's Ohio home for 10 years.

Dean told HuffPost on Thursday that authorities were aware of the information in her article.

"The police did go talk to [Zelich], and he said he left her on her own and she wasn't there," Dean said of Simonson.

CASE PHOTOS: (Story Continues Below)


Farmington, Minnesota, police Detective Sgt. Lee Hollatz told The Associated Press that Zelich had long been his "No. 1 person, by far, of interest" in Simonson's disappearance.

Police on Thursday said they believe Simonson was killed in Rochester, Minnesota -- more than four hours by car from Lake Geneva. Detectives reported recovering potential evidence of Simonson's death at a hotel there on June 24, after hotel employees recognized Simonson's photo and contacted police. Hotel records indicate Simonson and Zelich stayed in the room on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, authorities said.

Hollatz told AP he discovered soon after he began investigating Simonson's disappearance in November that she had gone to the hotel with Zelich. But all he had was a missing person's case until the bodies were discovered, he said.

"I saw Laura as a vulnerable adult because of things in her life that she was dealing with," Hollatz told AP.

Authorities have tentatively identified the second victim in the case, but haven't released her name. Investigators said Thursday they believe she was killed in Wisconsin, but did not elaborate.

Zelich was held in the Walworth County Jail without bond. He was scheduled to appear in court Friday.

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NBA Draft Winners And Losers

Fri, 2014-06-27 09:37
The 2014 NBA draft wrapped up last night, and this year's players may just be the most talented group since the LeBron, Wade and Carmelo class nearly a decade ago. But this year is not without its question marks: Will Andrew Wiggins become the next Kevin Durant? Is Joel Embiid the next Olajuwon or the next Oden? And who is the big second-round steal?

It may be just a tad early, but let's take a look at the winners and losers of Thursday's 2014 NBA draft.

Winners

Philadelphia 76ers

Maybe tanking was the right move after all. Philly not only gets a potential superstar with the third pick in Embiid, but also nabs the best player out of Europe in Croatian power forward Dario Saric, a fantastic talent who can really score. Then, Philly gets the draft's premier wing defender in Clemson's K.J. McDaniels, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year who can guard three positions. I would have loved to see them keep Elfrid Payton, but to get a future first-rounder makes sense. It's also smart to pair Embiid with Nerlens Noel, giving the 76ers two highly athletic bigs who can play together.

Shabazz Napier

Napier isn't merely liked by LeBron James; Pat Riley is apparently a fan as well. Miami getting Napier from Charlotte once again shows us the ineptitude of Michael Jordan, but it is also a victory for Napier. He is a proven winner who will have a chip on his shoulder for going No. 24. Moreover, if LeBron does remain in Miami, Napier will have the perfect running mate who will appreciate his remarkable playmaking ability.

Denver Nuggets

What a day for the Nuggets: Before the draft even started, they went out and got Arron Afflalo from Orlando and then nabbed former Michigan State star Gary Harris. Harris, still just 19 years old, is an instant offense guy and a true combo guard who could wind up being one of the real steals of this entire draft.

Utah Jazz



Utah gets two big time talents in Aussie point guard Dante Exum (above) and Duke standout Rodney Hood. The duo is a huge boon for a team that suddenly looks pretty decent, with second-year point guard Trey Burke and the developing Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors. The beauty of Exum is that at 6-foot-6, he can legitimately play off the ball while sharing the ball handling and facilitating duties with Burke. Hood, as you learned, is as humble as he is versatile, and that is saying something for a 6-foot-8 kid who shoots 42 percent from 3.

Doug McDermott

College basketball's best player gets picked 11th and winds up with a Chicago team that clearly targeted him as its guy. The Bulls are in desperate need of an offensive infusion, and McDermott, who averaged 27 points per game last year, is just that. We can point to his defensive limitations, but this is the one system in the league where that shortcoming can be hidden enough to maximize his rare scoring prowess. Plus, he is a four-year college guy who will play right away. Overall, a huge night for McDermott.

Orlando Magic

Orlando gets two major upside picks in forward Aaron Gordon and point guard Elfrid Payton, one of the real gems of this class. Both are terrific athletes, especially Gordon, who tested off the charts at the pre-draft Chicago combine and will fly down the floor alongside Victor Oladipo. Payton, despite the small-school pedigree (Louisiana-Lafayette), is a dark horse Rookie of the Year candidate who can really go.

Boston Celtics

I'm not a huge Marcus Smart guy, but to get him at six has real value, and then to get Kentucky swingman James Young at 17 is impressive. Both have legit All-Star ability, and Young -- who parlayed an excellent NCAA Tournament into going in the top 20 -- may become a left-handed Paul Pierce type of player in time. He can score the ball in spades and has the massive 6-foot-8 frame to go along with it.

Los Angeles Lakers



Every single frontcourt player for LA enters free agency, including Pau Gasol, and GM Mitch Kupchak snagged power forward Julius Randle with the seventh pick. The 19-year-old Randle -- who will endear himself to fans by talking a big game -- might be the most NBA-ready player in this draft not named Jabari Parker, and he has both the upside and the floor to go along with. The Lakers also got Mizzou combo guard Jordan Clarkson at 46, another name to watch because of his offensive versatility.

San Antonio Spurs

Kyle Anderson may one day morph into a better version of Boris Diaw, so maybe it's only fitting that coach Gregg Popovich takes him 30th overall. The Spurs will find a way to mask Anderson's athletic limitations while exercising his dynamic skill set at 6-foot-8.

Losers

Nik Stauskas

This outcome was just a really strange fit for one of my favorite players in the entire draft. Stauskas heads to a Sacramento team that just last year took former Kansas wing Ben McLemore. Stauskas is a better, far more polished version, but this remains a team without a true point guard, which now has two 6-foot-6 shooters who need the ball to be effective.

Minnesota Timberwolves



Another draft where the Wolves blew a real opportunity. Zach LaVine is as green as a ninja turtle and a project that this team simply doesn't have the time to wait on. Right now, LaVine is merely a superior athlete who can make 3s, but not much else. His shot selection and defensive breakdowns will become a serious issue, as will Glenn Robinson II, Minnesota's second-round pick. Robinson is another project who is light-years away from becoming a legitimate NBA player.

New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans could have had the 10th pick if not for the Jrue Holiday deal one year ago. The Pelicans need to add help around Anthony Davis -- and with the talent on the board at 10, it would have been the perfect time to do so.

Noah Vonleh

Vonleh would have been a top three pick in most drafts, but instead slides to Charlotte at nine. Now, he will have to play alongside last year's lottery pick Cody Zeller, another former Indiana star. Vonleh is a big-time talent who could become a star. However, he remains very raw, and Charlotte has a way of not developing guys.

Toronto Raptors

This was not the draft to swing for the fences at 20, but GM Masai Ujiri did just that, selecting Brazilian forward Bruno Caboclo. Caboclo is another major talent with real upside, who remains light-years away from developing into an NBA player. Frankly, Toronto doesn't have the time to wait.

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.

How Well Do You Actually Know English Slang? Take This Quiz To Find Out

Fri, 2014-06-27 09:09
English is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world. Why is it then that two native speakers can carry on a conversation without having a clue what the other is saying?

The answer: slang. Or jargon, lingo, patois, colloquialisms, what-have-you, etc.

The U.S. certainly has its fair share, but the fact is we're missing out on a whole bunch of vibrant words and expressions you'll only find in the north of England, or in some small town in Nova Scotia, to name just two places rich in their linguistic intricacies. Ever heard Australian slang? It's awesome, or "ripper," as they might say.

So, how well do you know your English-speaking slang? Match the definition (found in italics) to the slang words in this quiz to find out.

Check out the answer key at the end and you might just learn a few new turns of phrase:

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