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Will You Be Disappointed On Valentine's Day? Let This Flowchart Find Out For You

Mon, 2015-02-09 15:29
Are you human?

It's totally normal to feel like Valentine's Day has to be an unforgettably romantic experience. After all, jewelers, florists, restaurants and greeting card companies depend on it! But the notion that Feb. 14 must exceed our expectations of a standard Saturday night is cliché. Whether you're in a relationship or not, chances are you're going to feel a tinge of disappointment on Valentine's Day. But don't worry, because you're definitely not alone.

Even if you're in love or are perfectly happy being single, assuming that Valentine's Day is anything to fret over will only lead to some version of "womp, womp." Find out why with our flowchart, and remember, you don't need a cheesy holiday to spread the love:

13-Year-Old Fatally Shot In Chicago After Facebook Confrontation, Police Say

Mon, 2015-02-09 15:03
Chicago parents are mourning the death of their 13-year-old son after he was shot Sunday night, allegedly as the result of a confrontation between his sisters and another group concerning a social media post.

Anthony Diaz was shot multiple times around 10 p.m. Sunday in Chicago’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood, police told the Chicago Tribune. Authorities said Diaz had been using his cell phone to record an argument -- between his two older sisters, ages 15 and 17, and a group of individuals -- related to a Facebook posting. He was shot multiple times in the left side of his body about a block away from his home.

The group scattered after the shots rang out and, according to DNAinfo Chicago, Anthony’s sisters didn’t realize their brother wasn’t with them until they returned home. Anthony was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital about an hour after the shooting.

Ralph Otero, Anthony’s stepfather, told NBC Chicago the family had moved to the area from the Hermosa neighborhood last November in order to be in an area of the city they perceived as safer.

Otero told the station his son, an eighth-grader at Burbank Elementary, was “a good student" and "didn’t give us any headaches.”

An investigation into the shooting is ongoing. No one is in custody, according to DNAinfo.

The Chicago Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post.

Sunday’s fatal shooting comes following news that shootings and homicides in Chicago increased in January compared to the same month last year.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, police logged 28 murders in January, a 40 percent increase from the 20 murders logged in January 2014, though a decreased number from the number of killings reported in the city in both 2013 (40) and 2012 (38).

Anti-Racism and Feminism: Can They Co-Exist?

Mon, 2015-02-09 14:14
Anti-racism and feminism: Can they co-exist? For Chicago Foundation for Women that question is not an intellectual exercise. We have to answer the question with a resounding "yes" or surely we fail at our mission to lift up all women where we find them. But, answering with a resounding "yes," unfortunately, is an aspirational undertaking. Our work is not done on the issue and we need help to chart our course carefully.

To that end, Chicago Foundation for Women is hosting a "30th Anniversary Conversation: Race & Feminism. Where Do You Stand?" in the evening on Tuesday, February 10, 2015. RSVP's for the event have poured in. Registration is at capacity and is closed. Women in Chicago realize that this issue can be divisive, must be acknowledged, needs to be discussed and must be dealt with in an open forum where all voices are heard.

It is no wonder that the event filled quickly. The panel for the conversation features women at the forefront of the issue. Under the guidance of award-winning journalist and adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago, Sylvia Ewing, the panel and attendees will openly and frankly discuss the intersection of race and feminism ("intersectionality") across generations and cultures. Panelists include: Veronica Arreola, professional feminist, writer, and mom; Mikki Kendall, noted blogger on the issue of race and feminism and creator of the satirical yet serious hashtag, #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, which lit up the blogosphere in August 2013; Joy Messinger, Deputy Director of the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health and core member of Invisible to Invincible (i2i); and Ann Russo, Associate Professor in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at DePaul University whose work is committed to accountability and transformative justice.

This conversation will be a unique opportunity for women from all over Chicago to gather to do some "reckoning" in the name of feminism. I cannot say it better than writer Roxanne Gay:

While feminism is the belief that the rights of women are as inalienable as the rights of men, feminism, at its best, is so much more. No one assumes only one identity. We cannot consider the needs of women without also accounting for race, ethnicity, gender, citizenship, class, sexuality, ability and more. Such nuanced awareness, such intersectionality, is the marrow within the bones of feminism.

For Chicago Foundation for Women our goal is to adopt a feminism that is by definition intersectional -- meaning our brand of feminism is self-aware enough to see privilege where it lies, injustice where it lives and inequality when it holds back any woman from her goal, our goal. CFW works hard every day to meet women where they are on their journey and to assist them when assistance is needed and to listen to them when their voices need to be heard.

I hope to share with you next month some of those voices from the evening of February 10. Be sure to follow the #areuafeminist hashtag and participate in the LIVE EVENT TWEETUP.

My First Duke Game At Cameron Indoor Stadium

Mon, 2015-02-09 13:46
DURHAM, N.C. -- The smell of Cameron Indoor Stadium, on the campus of Duke University, is distinctive. The old wood in the stands is worn, and the arena is so intimate and well-constructed, you couldn't find a bad seat if you tried. Outside, the infamous barrage of students camped out in Krzyzewskiville don't mind the sub-20 temperatures at night. But many of them were not there for the Notre Dame game, but for the North Carolina game ... on Feb. 18.

Saturday, Feb. 8, meanwhile, was my first Duke game at Cameron, and I didn't know what to expect. I had visited during an AAU Tournament and played there during a basketball camp, but that was different.

In the pantheon of college basketball arenas, four stand out: Cameron; Allen Fieldhouse at Kansas; Rupp Arena at Kentucky; and Assembly Hall at Indiana. Cameron is the smallest. The crowd is led by the students, aptly deemed the "Cameron Crazies," who work together to distract the opposition while vehemently rooting on their beloved Blue Devils. Their well-synchronized blend of "Let's go, Duke," "More than double" and "Hi Jerian" during the opposition's starting line-ups have become patented "Crazy" chants.

Saturday, in a top-10 matchup versus a Notre Dame team that had beaten it 11 days before, Duke was in rare form, even for its mighty standards. A 42-7 first-half run ultimately resulted in a 90-60 win that surprised even the most ardent of Duke fans. "That was one of the best games I've ever seen from a Duke team, ever," my friend Dan Levitan, a 1970s Duke grad and longtime friend of Coach K, told me. "Incredible."

The ebbs and flows of a basketball game -- and I'm not merely talking about one at Cameron -- happen at any level. The game is a beautifully random sequence of events, made even better by the sensational blend of athletes that play it. For fourth-ranked Duke, its slew of talented athletes this season is sensational, as is its distinct home-court advantage. In fact, during college basketball's modern era, no program has enjoyed a better home-court record than the Blue Devils have.

Krzyzewski isn't just a coach these days, but an institution. The framework of the entire university is shaped by his program, and in turn, by Cameron Indoor itself. Etched in my memory is the slate of banners that hung in the rafters, one after another after another. Four national titles, 11 Final Fours, and Krzyzewski's latest accomplishment -- 1,000 career wins, an unprecedented feat and a banner that rightfully hangs all by itself.

After the game, I headed toward the media room to watch his post-game press conference. Local reporters peppered him with questions about his trio of freshmen, Justise Winslow, Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones. I listened to his answers, which were filled with insight and intellect. But I watched Krzyzewski too. I watched how he digested each question, an all-time great still just as invested in winning as he was in 1980, his first year in Durham.

"It was almost perfect," the 67-year-old head coach said of his team's execution in the 30-point drubbing over Notre Dame.

For this fan, though, a day spent at Cameron was indeed perfect.

Email me at 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.

Drew Peterson Allegedly Tried To Have Trial Prosecutor Killed

Mon, 2015-02-09 13:32

CHICAGO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - A former Chicago-area police officer in prison for murdering his third wife was charged on Monday with trying to hire a hit man to kill the prosecutor in his case.

The Illinois Attorney General's Office charged Drew Peterson, 61, with felony crimes of solicitation of murder for hire and solicitation of murder, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors allege that Peterson solicited a person to carry out a murder-for-hire plot against Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow between September 2013 and December 2014.

Peterson made an initial appearance on the charges on Monday in Randolph County Court, the county where he is in prison. A preliminary hearing is set for March 3.

In February 2013, Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison for the 2004 murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio during a contentious divorce.

Savio was found dead in a bathtub, and her death was at first ruled accidental. Suspicions were raised when Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007.

During the sentencing hearing two years ago, Glasgow said to Peterson, a former police sergeant in Bolingbrook, Illinois: "You're a cold-blooded murderer and I'll stare you down until I die."

The Peterson case was the inspiration for a popular Lifetime television network movie, "Untouchable," starring Rob Lowe as Peterson.

The Illinois state legislature passed a law, dubbed "Drew's law," in response to the case, loosening requirements for circumstantial evidence. (Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Sandra Maler)

Obama on the Right Faith

Mon, 2015-02-09 13:30
President Obama's recent speech at the National Prayer Breakfast has generated a lot of heated debate in the media and among both conservatives and liberal commentators. Whether there is a moral equivalence between the ongoing atrocities being perpetrated by ISIS, Boko Haram, Taliban, Al-Shabaab etc and the unimaginable evils committed in the past by popes, princes, and priests in the name of Christ is a matter which historians and theologians may never resolve. As President Obama pointed out in the same speech,

"There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith."

Every religion has the capacity to produce saints and reform sinners but the abuse of religion is all too common in all religions. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Buddhists can look at many dark spots in the history of their faiths with sobering thoughts and painful hearts. Most of the worst atrocities of history--wars, Holocaust, genocide, slavery, colonialism, bigotry, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia etc--have been partly legitimated through religious texts and interpretations. Many people today as a result of the abuses which they see perpetrated in the name of God question whether religion is a force for good. This is why Obama's call for a right faith, lived in humility, freedom and love should be commended. It is a message which is sorely needed in a world that is constantly in need of healing, justice, peace, reconciliation and the good of order.

I am convinced that the greatest threats to religion and a free society are false religious ideologies, religious extremism, religious intolerance and the abuse of religious authority and misleading religious orthodoxies. True faith leads to love of God and neighbor and love of the world of nature and all things for the sake of God and the higher good

Many scholars of religion, following the theories of Weber predicted especially at the beginning of the 20th century that the shaping of the future will no longer be defined through creeds, myths and sacred texts, but through political orthodoxies and secular social arrangements which were emerging in the West. Societies no doubt will tolerate the existence of religion but at the beginning of the modern era many Western sociologists like Weber and Durkheim predicted a decline in the influence of religion. However, the gods are not in retreat. Indeed, the gods are striking revenge in the world today as French historian of religions Gilles Kepel warned more than two decades ago. He notes that religion is staging a strange comeback after its marginalization in the West and globally in terms of growing religious fundamentalism and revivalism in most religions. But it is necessary to look once more at what one may consider the right faith or the kind of religion needed for our times.

The heart of every religion is love and the transformation of human hearts from selfishness and pride of self to loving and serving others without measure through humility and self-surrender

The ethical framework for this love is built on authentic human freedom, so that men and women can freely choose to act in such a way that their actions promote human and cosmic flourishing and give glory to God. The religion which will meet the requirements of the future will be a religion which promotes peace, love, friendship, compassion, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of fulfillment and responsibility, happiness within oneself and with one another. It will also be a religion which transforms human beings from within in order that they will create a harmonious and just community, embody regenerative ethics, fellow-feeling through a spirituality of intimacy with God and openness to all that is true, good, beautiful and loving in human lives and in the world of nature.

Religion also helps us to embrace the ambiguity of life and the complexity of evil in and around us with courage and hope. Authentic religion should move human beings to live for others, to give away the often self-destructive clinging to power, ego, possessions, and the religious presumption and wrong-headed certainty about the purity or superiority of the creeds and ways of life of one religious group over the others. Authentic religion should make people humble. It should lead to an understanding that life is short and fragile. Indeed, our true happiness lies not so much in defeating or suppressing the other but in lifting people up and standing together in bonds of friendship and love for the values and virtues which can heal the world and ennoble the human heart. True faith should inspire in religious adherents a life lived with and for others within a framework of mutual respect and responsibility.

Authentic religion should make us see every human being as our brother or sister and not our foes or rivals; there is something of who I am in the face of another. This is captured in the Golden Rule: Love your neighbor as yourself. The same message is expressed in the 42 traditions of An-Nawawi, "No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself."In the Muhabharata 5: 15-17 in Hinduism: "This is the sum of duty: Do not do to others what would cause you pain if done to you." In Judaism in the Talmud, Shabbat 312, we read: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. That is the entire law: all the rest is commentary." Buddhism, Udanavarga 5: 18: "Hurt not others in ways that you would find hurtful." African Traditional Religion, Rwanda, "What you do to others, these will give to you in return."( Religions for Peace: A Call for Solidarity to the Religions of the World,12-13).

Indeed, the measure of the value and validity of any religious act is whether it stems from love and transforms the individual into a loving and lovable subject of divine and human action. All religious acts should be judged by how they promote the ideal of love, justice for all especially those who are on the margins and create conditions for human and cosmic flourishing and make true and lasting peace and happiness possible for all people.

At the onset of the menace of Hitler, a sick and dying Sigmund Freud wrote a small book, Civilization and its Discontents, in which he bemoaned the irremediable antagonism between the demands of the instinct and the restrictions of civilization. Whether it is the death instinct that moves men and women to aggression or their egoistic self-satisfaction, the truth is that we need some self-renouncement individually or collectively to be able to live together in a common world where people, planet and prosperity can flourish. As Freud wrote:

"The fateful question for the human species seems to me to be whether and to what extent their cultural development will succeed in mastering the disturbance of their communal life by the human instinct of aggression and self-destruction."

We cannot reject religion because of the abuse within religions just as we cannot reject human beings because there are human beings who do terrible things. There is a hunger in every human heart; it is a hunger to love and to be loved in return; it is a hunger for meaning, to live for something higher than yourself, and to commit your life to the values that are life-giving, self-affirming and self-fulfilling, and values which will outlive us because they help to build up our lives, and that of our communities and the world

There is a hunger for connections. We want to live in communities and societies where we feel safe, accepted, and affirmed, and where the structures promote the highest aspirations of the human being for love and fulfillment. There is also a hunger in the human heart for transcendence. We all wish to reach for the skies, to touch and be touched by the Holy in the complexities of ordinary life; to go beyond ourselves, to unite ourselves with values and realities that are beyond us and greater than us. These values which we find in all religious and spiritual traditions are defeated by false religious ideologies, religious extremism, dogmatism, and any blind uncritical and unreflective faith. Right faith is the only path in our religious practices which can lead us to those values and virtues which we all admire in religious persons and in various religious traditions.

Sale of <i>Ebony</i> and <i>Jet</i> Photos Like Eating the Seed Corn

Mon, 2015-02-09 13:19
Johnson Publications of Chicago -- the parent company of Jet and Ebony magazines -- in hopes of raising $40 million, is selling off its photographic collection that contains more than five million of the most iconic images of African-American life and culture. That the venerable black-owned firm will "monetize valuable assets" reminds me of a saying I first heard from my Georgia farm-raised grandfather:

Don't ever eat your seed corn.

The beginning of my mindful journey to know as much as I could about African-American history, life and culture started when I was ten years old in the form of a photo in Jet magazine. It was September, 1955 when my semi-literate grandfather, who migrated to Harlan County, Kentucky in the early '20s to work in the coal mines, handed me the issue of Jet with the cover photo and story about Chicago teen, Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman. For me, and millions of others, young Till's horrifically disfigured head became the hallmark image of the world that Black Americans in my generation would see and live -- and try to change -- for a long time to come.

To really grasp how much Jet and Ebony influenced me as a small town black boy growing up in the '50s and '60s, you have to appreciate how much Mr. John Johnson -- who, with his wife, Eunice, founded the company in 1942 -- controlled the message of the magazines. In every issue, at all times, Jet and Ebony pressed the positive angle of any story, even to the point of being criticized by mainstream media of being little more than feel-good channels for Black Americans.

At the darkest times in segregated America, I could read any issue of Jet or Ebony and feel content that blacks -- that I -- could still excel in any human endeavor. Happy thoughts, cheer and optimism filled the pages. These signature Johnson Publications, in addition to another -- Negro, later renamed Black World -- were, to the Civil Rights Movement, what Facebook and Twitter are to contemporary social movements.

Over the years, I put my faith in Jet and Ebony to inform me of things that I was taught intelligent Black-Americans cared, or should, care about, always delivered with superb photographs framed inside an editorial perspective directed to the needs of America's black population, which was besieged by the special effects of racism. In my youth, I would deliberately look for these periodicals as essential fixtures on coffee tables in the homes of forward-thinking black people. I did so the same way my grandfather would judge the readiness of a watermelon by thumping it with his middle finger. Jet and Ebony -- for most blacks born between WWI and the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 -- were to the growth of black social consciousness and political awareness what rain and sunshine were to a healthy farm. A black-owned barber shop without frayed aged copies of Jet and Ebony was a sign of an imitation black barber shop.

All that changed at the beginning of the 21st century. Johnson Publishing Company sold an equity stake in the company to JP Morgan Chase. Similarly, Time Inc. bought 49 percent of Essence magazine in 2000 and absorbed the rest in 2005. Viacom Inc. purchased Black Entertainment Television (BET) a few years ago for $2.3 billion. But, by that time, BET's owners had exchanged the "E" to stand for entertainment rather than education.

It's to a point where the words "a black perspective" and "American media" can't fit in the same sentence. Ebony-hued diehards like me meet for coffee at the McDonald's and ruminate only to ourselves about the good old days. Farm-raised folk like my grandfather, those who advised: "Don't eat your seed corn!" are spinning in their grave sites; at least in the ones that have yet to fall victim to development, diversity, growth, inclusion, integration and progress. When will we learn that change is not the same as progress?

Ebony and Jet were like cultural heritage seeds that came through black hands and minds in America for 70 years. We ate some of the corn, and we kept some seeds to plant for the next generation to reap. Now the seed corn is being consumed. Our grandchildren will have nothing to put in the ground. The farm will be lost. Blacks will be poorer for this cultural loss, soon broke altogether -- all for the sake of money.

Chris Ware's Mayoral Quest

Mon, 2015-02-09 12:33

Chicago Police Officer Chris Ware is a write-in candidate for mayor. Photo: Jeff Kelly Lowenstein.

Chris Ware will never forget the incident that sparked him to run for mayor of Chicago.

He heard the shots that killed Walter Neely, a 25-year-old artist and father of two, on a warm August evening outside his home in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

Fifteen of them.

A veteran of close to two decades on the Chicago Police Department, Ware has worked in the gang and tactical divisions.

He's put dead bodies in bags.

He's endured the death of David Blake, a fellow officer and backfield mate on the Enforcers, the department's football team.

Nevertheless, the murder outside his front doorstep, and the 13 other bullets from the shooter that could have killed others in the neighborhood, shook Ware to his core and pushed him to take action.

He assessed the field of mayoral candidates seeking office for the fifth floor on City Hall.

He didn't see any other candidate talking about the city's chronic violence, or other key issues, the way he saw fit.

And he decided to join them.

Ware has not sought elected office before.

He didn't gather enough signatures to appear on the ballot.

Nonetheless, he is proceeding undaunted.

"I'm jumping in the pool, no toe in the pool," he said. "I'm going for the big seat."

Ware says he brings a number of credentials to sit in that seat for the next four years.

In addition to his years of service in the police department, the lifelong South Side resident whose Enforcer teammates used to call "Mighty Mouse", brings his work ethic.

For years, Ware worked security and helped coach wrestling at Bogan after completing his policing responsibilities.

He never tallied the hours, but knows the effort it represented.

"That's the same commitment I want to give the citizens of Chicago," he said.

Ware's vision for Chicago is grounded in the sense that people in all neighborhoods and from all backgrounds want the same essential things.

Safe streets and good schools.

Economic growth.

Businesses bringing jobs to the community.

Taxes that are not too high.

"What we're talking about is not rocket science," Ware says.

He has a number of programs and plans to get there.

Some, like boosting the presence of vocational education in the Chicago Public Schools, are familiar.

Others, like curtailing the red light program that was the subject of a lengthy Tribune expose, appear to be responding to recent media coverage.

And, still, others come from Ware's decades of experience in the community and his observations of what is happening in the city.

This includes Lots of Food, a plan to convert vacant lots in many of the city's distressed communities into gardens that can help residents of those neighborhoods be more self-sufficient, reduce their food costs and get much-needed people onto the street to have a positive presence.

Ware also mentioned Lots of Art, a program that would take those lots that are environmentally unsound for growing food and turn them into art spaces that could draw people from other neighborhoods to parts of the city to which they don't usually travel.

Such visits could stimulate opportunities for commerce and business development, according to Ware.

Perhaps the most innovative idea involves shipping containers that can be used for housing.

"We can use them on lots; we can use them to tear down existing frame houses that are no longer being utilized, or are not a viable, or are going too much to rehab," Ware said, adding that solar panels and wind turbines can be added to make the containers even more eco-friendly.

He asserted that there is a ready supply of containers along Route 55 and near 47th Street.

"There are some very magical things that happen with these containers," Ware said.

Some might say that magic would need to happen in order for Ware to topple incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel, but Ware insists he's seeking to do just that.

"My objective is ultimately to win," he said. "I don't see anybody coming with knowledge, insight and the ability to do greater things."

Threats And Targeted Intimidation Against Abortion Clinic Staff Have Significantly Increased Since 2010

Mon, 2015-02-09 12:19
Life for abortion clinic staff has become increasingly dangerous since 2010.

Published in October 2014, the Feminist Majority Foundation's 2014 National Clinic Violence survey found that abortion clinic doctors and nurses reported higher instances of intimidation tactics and stalking than in prior years. The research included 242 abortion providers nationwide, with participants such as Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Abortion Care Network and other independent, unaffiliated clinics.

The survey found that nearly 70 percent of abortion providers said they experience frequent harassment.

Abortion clinics also reported a 25.3 percent overall increase in "threats and targeted intimidation tactics" between 2010 and 2014. FMF researchers defined these threats and targeted intimidation acts as distributing pamphlets that personally threaten doctors, releasing personal information of staff, picketing homes of staffers, posting flyers that read "Killer Among Us" with photos of doctors' faces, and releasing doctors' personal information on the Internet.

The survey found that physicians reported increased stalking by anti-abortion protesters between 2010 and 2014, as well as many more instances of their personal information being posted on the Internet. Anti-abortion protesters are also creating more "Wanted" and "Killers Among Us"-type pamphlets, featuring doctors' and nurses' personal information as a means to threaten and intimidate staff.

Stalking increased from 6.4 percent in 2010 to 8.7 percent in 2014, and personal information being posted on the Internet as a form of harassment increased from 8.9 percent to 17.8 percent.

"The steep increase in the targeted intimidation of doctors and staff is striking and of great concern, as these types of true threats have all too often in the past preceded the use of deadly violence," the authors wrote, explaining why the use of these pamphlets is specifically unsettling. "Beginning in the early 1990s, an undeniable pattern emerged between the use of WANTED posters and the murder of the doctors named on the posters. Drs. Gunn, Britton, Slepian and Tiller were all murdered by anti-abortion extremists; all had been featured prior to their murder on WANTED posters with their home and clinic addresses and in some cases, their photographs."

While the survey didn't look at the reason for the uptick in threats in recent years, researchers gave an interesting explanation for why many abortion clinics experience high levels of violence and harassment in the first place. Abortion providers that are in close proximity to Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or CPCs, are "nearly twice as likely to experience higher rates of severe violence than a clinic not near a CPC," FMF wrote. Abortion providers located near a CPC were also more likely to experience more "frequent incidents of violence and harassment."

CPCs are organizations that advertise pregnancy services but do not offer abortions, contraception or prenatal care. Instead, their staff attempts to talk women out of having an abortion, often communicating medically inaccurate information about contraception and the effects of having an abortion.

Eleanor Smeal, founder and president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, told The Huffington Post that although FMF can't quantify how bad the effects of Crisis Pregnancy Centers are on abortion providers, she definitely believes CPCs are a large reason for these targeted threats and intimidation tactics. The organizations are part of a network of about 2,500 Christian-affiliated centers across the U.S., and most pop up near abortion providers.

These intimidation tactics don't just hurt and scare abortion providers, they also affect the patients these clinics treat. Women who may just be visiting the clinic for a routine checkup often have to walk through protests and blockades, and may themselves become the targets of harassment from anti-abortion protesters. Women who are visiting the clinic for an abortion procedure have to endure this intimidation while making the very private decision to terminate a pregnancy.

Adding to the concern, buffer zones -- areas designated around clinics to keep anti-abortion protesters a safe distance away from patients -- are crumbling around the U.S.

“I think the average legislator, and certainly the average citizen, has no idea what is really happening to the abortion providers who care for women’s comprehensive reproductive health. If they did, they would be truly horrified,” duVergne Gaines, an author of the report and the director of the National Clinic Access Project, told ThinkProgress.

Head over to the Feminist Majority Foundation to learn about their Clinics Access Project and how to help combat abortion clinic violence.

Publisher Of Ebony Shrinks In Search Of Growth

Mon, 2015-02-09 11:55
Johnson Publishing, parent company of Ebony magazine, has the weighty title of “curator of the African-American experience.” But the corporate base supporting that role keeps shrinking.

The company's recent decision to sell its historic photo collection is the latest example of downsizing, following the cancellation of Jet magazine's print version, the sale of Johnson's 11-story Michigan Avenue headquarters and the paring of its workforce by a third since 2007. Now it's trying to sublet one of two floors it rented at its new digs, after giving up a third earlier.

Gov. Bruce Rauner faced Democratic laughter during minimum wage increase proposal at Illinois State of the State speech

Mon, 2015-02-09 11:15
When Gov. Bruce Rauner suggested in his State of the State Address raising the minimum wage to $10 over seven years, Democrats in the audience laughed loudly. Is this a harbinger of Springfield gridlock to come? "When people are laughing at you... they don't care what you think and they're most definitely not listening," writes Rich Miller of Capitol Fax:

I don't believe I've ever seen a governor openly and loudly laughed at on the House floor. At least not while he was present...

Legislators erupted in loud applause when the governor proposed raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour. But when Rauner added "over seven years," their laughter was even louder, and longer. Democrats appeared to realize that they might've fallen for a bait and switch, and it was mostly downhill from that point on...

But it would've been much better for Rauner if he was booed last week. From some I've talked to, he may even have wanted that to happen. Being booed by the "entrenched elite" would've been a net positive for him with the general public. And legislators might've felt bad about booing him once they had time to reflect. Maybe they'd even feel the need to apologize for such a negative reaction.

When people are laughing at you, however, they don't care what you think and they're most definitely not listening.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois to see how this exchange could affect Rauner's leadership going forward.

The day after that showing of disapproval with the governor's minimum wage plan, the Democrat-controlled Senate passed a minimum wage increase bill which would raise the state's minimum wage to $9 by the middle of the year and $11 over four years. Though this plan is faster than Rauner's suggestion, it is still not as fast as voters indicated they wanted to see in November. Check out Reboot Illinois to see how else Rauner's and the Senate's propositions differ.

NEXT ARTICLE: The full text of Gov. Bruce Rauner's State of the State Address

Snowbound? What Are Your Favorite Warren Beatty Flicks?

Mon, 2015-02-09 11:07
Snowbound? Here, near the Illinois and Wisconsin border, or in Chicagoland, there are some 18 inches of snow. Freezing drizzle, ice, subzero actual temps and a lot of wind chill.

Are you planning on staying indoors? Get out your DVD collection, or surf Netflix. Here are my favorite Warren Beatty films. Do you agree or disagree? What are yours?

Reds (1981)

This is an epic three-hour drama, plus intermissions, with music by Stephen Sondheim. The movie shows why communism never caught on in the U.S.A. As someone who studied political science and drama in college, it's not only the politics of the film, but the drama, that intrigue. Plus, there is the most romantic screen close-up ever of a kiss and embrace between Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton, who were a real-life couple at the time of filming.

That embrace graces the movie poster, but it is even better on screen. Beatty won the Academy Award for Best Director. A surprise Henry Miller cameo appearance, the author most known for his once-banned book, Tropic of Cancer , discusses artistic freedom.

Splendor in the Grass (1961), directed by Elia Kazan.

This is a film for all parents, grandparents and teens. Beatty makes his film debut opposite Natalie Wood, who in turn received her first Best Actress nomination. The moral issues are still relevant today, if not more so in this age of AIDS. Ohio native, and comedienne trailblazer, Phyllis Diller does a standup bit, and Sandy Dennis of Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf (1966) and Up the Down Staircase (1967) makes her film debut alongside Beatty.

Dick Tracy (1990)

This movie got three Academy Award wins, including Best Original Song, composed by Stephen Sondheim and sung by Madonna. Producer/Director Beatty, who plays Dick Tracy, brought out the best in Madonna, her finest acting in a film. The ending, unmasked, is quite startling. Rounding out the all-star cast are Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, James Caan and Paul Sorvino, Mira's father.

The look of the sets, and the vibrant primary colors, make it seem as if the actors are just stepping off the pages of the comic strip. Beatty is said to have learned to read at age four from his dad reading the strip aloud to him as he looked on.

Love Affair (1994)

Released two years after Beatty married Annette Bening, this movie stars both. Art imitates life in this one. It is a charming remake of a remake of a remake. First up, in black and white, were Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer in 1939.

This was followed byAn Affair to Remember (1957) with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, and then Nora Ephron's homage, Sleepless in Seattle (1993).

Love Affair featured Katharine Hepburn at age 86 in her final movie role, after which she held the record with four Oscar wins.

Town and Country (2001)

The opening scene has Natassja Kinski in the forefront, sans serpent, her back to the camera, showing off her musical tattoos while playing the cello for the in-bed Beatty.

Two of my nephews signed up for cello lessons shortly thereafter. Andie MacDowell of Hallmark's Cedar Cove, comic Gary Shandling, Academy Award winning Diane Keaton, Dharma and Greg's Jenna Elfman, Laugh-In's Goldie Hawn, former NRA president Charlton Heston, true-to-form toting a rifle, all turn in first-rate performances as Warren Beatty gets his comeuppance, up on the rooftop!

Those are my favorite Warren Beatty flick picks. What are yours?

Lonna Saunders may be reached at

How Much Can a Roomie Really Save You on Rent?

Mon, 2015-02-09 10:37
Sometimes, having a roomie can be a big hassle -- some roommates don't do dishes, keep you up late or don't understand the concept of a common area. After experiencing one frustration after the next, you might decide you're done with the whole roomie thing.

However, one year of living solo might teach you something: Roommates save you money. This isn't just a couple of dollars, it's hundreds, which is money you can (and would probably love to) use elsewhere. Once you go back to an apartment with other people, you'll start saving a decent chunk of change which might be worth living with their quirks.

Not convinced? Let's talk numbers. Here's a look at the median rental rate by city and how adding a person or two to your lease can impact your budget for the better:

San Francisco

If you already live in or near San Francisco, you know the rent is insane. According to data from Lovely, the median rental rate for a one-bedroom place is $2,995 -- ouch! Now, having a place all to yourself overlooking the Bay Area sounds like a dream, but the price is too high for many to afford.

Adding a roommate to the equation, rent for a two-bedroom unit in San Francisco brings the median rental rate to $4,100 a month, which is $2,050 a person. Every month, you'll save money, 31.55 percent to be exact. In fact, that comes to $945 less every month.

New York City

Ahh the Big Apple! Notorious for having a high cost of living, New York City has a median rental rate of $2,935 a month for a one-bedroom, which isn't much better than its sister on the West Coast.

If you have the income to support a place all on your own, you might be totally down -- you know how to keep your dishes clean, thank you!

However, a roomie really does make a monetary difference. At a median rental rate of $2,900 per month, two-bedroom units can be split for $1,450 a person, saving you $945 every 30 or so days. What's more, compared to the one-bedroom price, a two-bedroom is 39.46 percent cheaper. Your budget will rejoice!

With that extra money, you can go out more, get drinks with your friends or shop on weekends.

Washington, DC

The capital city is booming as far as interest in living goes. Between good schools, interesting history and a thriving culture, Washington, D.C., has become a rental hotspot. However, if you decide to move into a D.C. apartment on your own, you should be ready to pay for the novelty. Are you ready for this? It's not pretty.

At a median rental rate of $1,895 per month for a one-bedroom, bachelor (or bachelorette) living may mean less of a man or woman cave and more of a shared environment. You can save $545.50 a month by sharing a combined rent of $2,699. Individually, you'd only be responsible for $1,349.50.


Chicago is a great place to live. Too bad many renters can't enjoy it by themselves. With the rent on a one-bedroom unit hovering at $1,575, living solo is just outside of some renters' budgets. If you sign a lease with a friend, your rent in the Windy City will be a mere $1,825, or $912.50 per person.

The savings will let you enjoy the city more completely, from going to a Cubs game to seeing live theater. Plus, Chicago has great bars and award-winning restaurants, and having extra room in the budget will open up these fun options for you.


Heading back to the West Coast, Seattle's rent may be cheaper than other cities on the list, but you'll still save a hefty sum by living with a roomie. In fact, Lovely's data revealed that you can reduce rent payments by 37.21 percent. Rent for a one-bedroom is $1,525, and the cost for a two-bedroom unit is $1,915. You'll pay $975.50 and save $567.50.

What could one do with that money? Probably take yoga classes and go on more brewery tours.

Los Angeles

The rent prices for a one-bedroom apartment in the City of Angels aren't so heavenly. Fortunately, by grabbing a roommate, signing a lease and getting over the little annoyances that come with living with another human, you'll save 26.86 percent.

The average rental rate for a single-person unit in this star-studded town comes in at $1,500.50 in LA whereas the cost is $2,195 for a two-bedroom. That means you'll pay $1,097.50 and save $403 a month.

As you can see, living with a roommate (whether you're in the most expensive cities or not) comes with undeniable budget benefits. In each of these cities, you'll save $400 or more every month just by getting a roomie. Not only that, but by living with someone, you'll have another person to talk to about your day and to cook dinner with -- hooray for roomies!

Methodology: Trends represented in the Lovely Rental Market report reflect Q4 2014 rental market data based on the comprehensive set of aggregated rental inventory posted on Lovely between January 2012 and December 2014, and is no longer active.

Prices reported are as indicated upon posting and do not capture the final pricing terms on closed lease agreements. In addition to Lovely's posting platform, Lovely Pro, Lovely obtains listings by partnering with over 70 external providers to populate its marketplace with rental listings.

Juvenile Arrested For Allegedly Mugging Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Son

Sun, 2015-02-08 09:26
CHICAGO (AP) — A juvenile has been charged in the December mugging of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's teenage son.

Police spokesman Martin Maloney told the Chicago Tribune the young suspect was arrested Saturday and charged as a juvenile with robbery and aggravated battery in the public way. His age and name were not immediately released, the Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The attack occurred near the Emanuel family's home. At the time, a spokeswoman for the mayor said his 17-year-old son, Zach, had injuries that required medical treatment.

A police report says one of the robbers put the teen in a chokehold and the second punched him, knocking him to the ground. The report says they took his cellphone and fled.

Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff, is running for re-election.

Joe Biden Stirs 2016 Speculation With Iowa Trip

Sat, 2015-02-07 10:34
WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden will visit the early caucus state of Iowa next week, stirring speculation once again about the possibility of a presidential run in 2016.

Biden will travel to Des Moines on Thursday to tout the Obama administration's policies on the economy at Drake University, the White House announced. The vice president will also participate in a roundtable at Des Moines Area Community College, where he will presumably discuss President Barack Obama's proposal to offer "free" community college to American students.

If Biden, 72, were to be elected president in 2016, he would take office at age 74, making him the oldest person ever to do so. Former President Ronald Reagan, the current record holder, assumed the office at age 69.

Biden said in an interview last month that there is "a chance" he will run for president in 2016, regardless of whether his fellow Democrat, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, decides to do the same, as she is expected to do.

“But I haven’t made my mind up about that," Biden said at the time. "We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then. There’s plenty of time."

The vice president has consistently ranked at or near the bottom in most early polls asking Democratic voters whom they would like to be their party's presidential candidate in 2016. In a recent poll of Iowa voters, Biden trailed both Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

The Significance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Sat, 2015-02-07 09:00
HIV/AIDS continues to plague the African American Community

Now in its 15th year, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is meant to spark conversations within our community and promote education about the disease, but why? With observance days like National HIV Testing Day and World AIDS Day, why is it important to have a day dedicated to the Black population?

HIV and AIDS affect African Americans, more than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. According to the CDC, 1 in 16 African American men and 1 in 32 African American women will be diagnosed with HIV in his or her lifetime. Despite advances in testing and protection, there continues to be more than 50,000 new HIV infections every year, with the majority, around 41 percent, belonging to African Americans.

Back in the '80s at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, I spent some years at the Urban League in New York City dealing with health issues for our youth. It was there that I was informed that a young man was infected with HIV and had a partner in one of our teenage pregnancy programs. He had infected both the young woman and her child. I realized that with teenage pregnancy on the rise back then, our young people were not using condoms as birth control, which made it clear that they were also at risk for HIV. Here we are, 30 years later, and although teen pregnancies have decreased nation wide we are still facing the same challenge with unprotected sex and our young people.

Why are the numbers so high?

One would expect that with so much education about HIV and AIDS people should know how to protect themselves and those they love from contracting this disease. One reason the numbers are high is that there are still many misconceptions about the disease. One of the most common misconceptions is that the epidemic is over. Yes, people are living longer and healthier lives thanks to advances in medicine, but the risk of contracting HIV is still high if proper precautions aren't taken. People are also visual, when we saw images recently of people dying from Ebola we understood it, in the '80s we saw people dying from AIDS and we understood it. Today, young people up to the age of 30 were all born before the AIDS epidemic and did not see the tragedy that occurred, so they have a different visual reference and think that the epidemic is either over or the disease is "not that bad." Finally, we have not been the best of public health servants and still have a lot of politics in this epidemic leading to homophobia, racism, and a lack of resources to the hardest hit communities for badly needed local agencies. So there is not as much out there as people believe in the way of support and education. The good news it that we can fix all of this.

What can be done?

The first step in reducing these numbers is to know your status. According to the CDC, more than 1.2 million Americans have HIV and nearly 1 in 7 don't even know they are infected. In 2015, there is no reason not to know your HIV status. For many, especially teens and young adults, cost of a test can be an issue. There are clinics that offer free testing in many areas. Enter your zip code here to find the location nearest to you.

There is also now an HIV test sold at drug stores that you can take in the privacy of your own home, which provides results in only 20 minutes. For those who are not fond of needles, this test uses oral fluid from a mouth swab, no blood necessary.

Those who are sexually active should be tested at least once a year. If you are engaging in any type of risky behavior, test more often and stop engaging in risky behavior!

Remove the stigma

Share your stories about testing. Open the conversation about safe sex. The more it's talked about as a routine part of wellness, the less intimidating it will be. Raise your voice on the issue in your community, whether in social media or directly with a friend or partner and even in church. Sex should not continue to be a taboo subject in our community -- after all, that is how we all got here.

College Students Think America Is Almost As Racist As It Was 25 Years Ago

Sat, 2015-02-07 06:30
One-fourth of college students say racism is no longer a problem in the U.S., the most in the 25-year history of polling by the University of California, Los Angeles.

Just 24.7 percent of incoming 2014 freshmen said they think racial discrimination is a thing of the past, UCLA's survey of 153,015 students showed. When the question was first posed in 1990, the rate was 18 percent.

Today's college students are more ethnically diverse than in the past, the annual survey released Thursday from the UCLA's Cooperative Institutional Research Program shows. Program director Kevin Eagan said that may be why the number who think racial discrimination is no longer an issue has increased only slightly in 25 years.

"Each year, you have more students who may have been subject to discrimination in their lives," Eagan explained to The Huffington Post. "That may play out in how they view this particular issue."

Jaleesa Jones, a senior at the University of North Carolina, said she's surprised so many students think racial discrimination isn't a problem. "I think that stance is willfully ignorant," she said.

Eagan and Jones both pointed to racial tensions exposed by the killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown as signs that racial issues continue to fester.

"We've watched black life be devalued on a national scale this past year -- not only through police brutality, which has always been an issue but is just now becoming highly visible, but through the subsequent vilification of the victims, mostly men and women of color," Jones said.

Almost nine in 10 students who were surveyed said they are more tolerant than most. Two-thirds said there's a "very good chance" they'll socialize with friends from different racial backgrounds.

The racial composition of neighborhoods where students come from also has shifted. In 2014, 61.6 percent of freshmen were from "mostly white" or "completely white" neighborhoods, down from 86 percent in 1983.

Freshmen today are more likely to believe they have a better ability to see the world from someone else's perspective than in the past, Eagan noted. That perception of empathy, he said, "may be subsequently influencing that discrimination is still a very real issue."

Obama Opens Up To Humans Of New York About When He Felt 'Most Broken'

Fri, 2015-02-06 18:03
On Thursday, President Barack Obama met with 13-year-old student Vidal Chastanet, who had been featured in the immensely popular photography project Humans of New York.

Obama sat down in the White House's Oval Office with Chastanet, his principal, Nadia Lopez, and Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton. During the visit, documented on the Humans of New York Facebook page, Obama answered questions about the challenges he's faced in life, including the moment when he felt "most broken."

“I first ran for Congress in 1999, and I got beat. I just got whooped," Obama said. "But the thing that got me through that moment, and any other time that I’ve felt stuck, is to remind myself that it’s about the work. Because if you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ --- then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path."

Read the full post below:

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));Post by Humans of New York.

Obama also described the influence his mother has had on his life:

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));Post by Humans of New York.

Read more on the meeting here.

Chicago Mayoral Candidate Denies He Said 'Whiteys,' Demands Apology

Fri, 2015-02-06 17:59
An African-American candidate in Chicago’s mayoral race is backtracking after he apparently said that he isn't prejudiced against "whiteys" during a Thursday speech.

Tina Sfondeles of the Chicago Sun-Times first reported that entrepreneur Willie Wilson made the racially charged comment during an address to the City Club of Chicago. The Sun-Times included audio of the remark in its story. The City Club has also shared a video of Wilson’s full speech (embedded below, remark at 19:10).

Willie Wilson in video from the City Club of Chicago on Vimeo.

In response to the report, Wilson told the Sun-Times that he did not say the word "whiteys" and that he considers the term offensive. Campaign spokeswoman Tracey Alston told the paper that Wilson said "whites" and suggested the Sun-Times misquoted the Louisiana-born candidate due to his enunciation. His campaign, which Wilson has largely funded himself, has demanded a retraction and apology, while the Sun-Times has stood by its reporting.

Wilson later told CBS 2 Chicago correspondent Jay Levine, "If I said something like that, that ain't me. How could it be me when I support, you know, white candidates?"

That latter comment appears to be a reference to his backing of now-Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) in last November’s gubernatorial election.

In a Friday interview with The Huffington Post, Wilson spokesman Gregory Livingston maintained that his candidate did not say, "To the whiteys here, I’m letting you know I ain't prejudiced." According to Livingston, Wilson said, "To the whites that is here ...,” a distinction that Livingston said is clearer if the tape of the remark is slowed down.

Prior to the remark, Wilson had been criticizing Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration on the issue of public safety and particularly a lack of diversity in the Chicago Police Department. He also called out the black members of the Chicago City Council for offering little pushback to Emanuel's proposals.

Sfondeles, the Sun-Times reporter, declined to comment to The Huffington Post.

As for Wilson's remark to CBS in which he seemingly acknowledged the comment, Livingston said, "Willie is a genuinely nice guy. He'd rather apologize for something he didn’t do than deny something he did."

Wilson is one of a handful of candidates challenging Emanuel in his bid for re-election. The first round of voting takes place Feb. 24. Recent polling has shown Emanuel near, but still short of, the 50 percent support level he will need in February’s election to avoid a runoff between the top two candidates on April 7.

Other challengers to Emanuel include Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti and perennial candidate William "Dock" Walls. Though the race is officially nonpartisan, the candidates all identify as Democrats.

Race -- specifically, housing segregation -- has been a topic largely ignored in the lead-up to the mayoral election, as the Chicago Reader pointed out this week. It did come up briefly during a candidate debate on Tuesday. As The Atlantic reported this week, some urban policy experts feel ending segregation could be key to fighting poverty in Chicago and other cities. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule this summer in a case that could undercut the federal Fair Housing Act.

In the latest poll of the mayor's race, Emanuel received 41.7 percent over Garcia’s 16.6 percent and Wilson’s 9.7 percent. Almost a quarter of likely voters said they remain undecided.

What's Working: All the News <s>That's Fit to Print</s>

Fri, 2015-02-06 16:50
There's an old saying in the news business, one that's guided editorial thinking for decades: "If it bleeds, it leads." That is, stories of violence, tragedy, dysfunction and corruption get top billing -- at the top of the hour, at the top of the computer or phone screen or above the newspaper fold -- driven by the assumption that these are the stories the public will be most drawn to watch or read.

This ethos is wrong, both factually and ethically. And it's lousy journalism. As journalists, our job is to give our audience an accurate picture -- and that means the full picture -- of what's going on in the world. Just showing tragedy, violence, mayhem -- focusing on what's broken and what's not working -- misses too much of what is happening all around us. What about how people are responding to these challenges, how they're coming together, even in the midst of violence, poverty and loss? And what about all the other stories of innovation, creativity, ingenuity, compassion and grace? If we in the media only show the dark side, we're failing at our jobs.

And, what's more, it turns out that we are also failing to give our readers and viewers what they want.

Last month in Davos we announced "What's Working," a global HuffPost editorial initiative to double down on our coverage of what's working. While we will continue to cover the stories of what's not working -- political dysfunction, corruption, wrongdoing, violence and disaster -- as relentlessly as we always have, we want to go beyond "If it bleeds, it leads." And to be clear, I'm not talking about simple heartwarming stories, or aw-shucks moments, or adorable animals (although don't worry, we'll still give you plenty of those as well). What I'm talking about is consistently telling the stories of people and communities doing amazing things, overcoming great odds and coming up with solutions to the very real challenges they face. And by shining a light on these stories, we hope that we can scale up these solutions and create a positive contagion that can expand and broaden their reach and application.

Not only is this good journalism; it's also smart business. It turns out that, contrary to the thinking behind "If it bleeds, it leads," people want more constructive and optimistic stories. As the number-one social publisher on Facebook, we've learned these are the stories our readers are most interested in reading and sharing. And our experience at HuffPost is not unique. Jonah Berger, a Wharton Business School professor and author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, dug deep in 2013 with his colleague Katherine Milkman into The New York Times' list of the most emailed stories over the course of six months. And what they found was that people were far more likely to share stories that stirred positive feelings.

Judgment has always been an essential part of the news business. But somewhere along the way our definition of what's news became synonymous with violence, mayhem and disaster.

And not only do the media seldom cover the stories of solutions and of what's working (largely relegated to the "hero" segment at the end of the local broadcast, or the feel-good profile buried in the Lifestyle section); at the same time we lavish plenty of attention on stories that are barely newsworthy. Last week, for example, our national conversation came to a screeching halt for hours before and after Mitt Romney held a conference call to announce that he would not be running for president.

"All the news that's fit to print," The New York Times' famed tagline, introduced in 1896 by the paper's publisher, Adolph Ochs, was an attempt to push back against the sensationalistic yellow journalism of the time. More than a century later, however, what's left out of much of the news isn't the news that's "unfit" to print but lots of actual news. The fitness/unfitness debate is obsolete and has largely taken care of itself. The new marching orders should simply be delivering "all the news." So how do we define what qualifies as "news"?

To begin, the news should accurately reflect the world we're living in. In The Guardian recently, Daily Mail deputy editor Tony Gallagher acknowledged that the media often falls short. "Crime is going down," he says, "but you wouldn't know that from looking at national media because we still cover the same number of crimes, the same number of murderous trials, so there is a danger that we are not reflecting the world."

In his book Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker showed that we are, in fact, living in perhaps the least violent and cruel period of human history. Again, this is not to whitewash the myriad big problems that do exist in our world. But for all the terrible things we see on the news, "there has been a decline in all kinds of organized conflicts, including civil wars, genocides, repression and terrorism," as Peter Singer wrote in a review of Pinker's book.

Just how far removed is our media coverage from reality? In the 1990s murder coverage increased more than 500 percent -- even as homicide rates dropped more than 40 percent, according to the Center for Media and Public Affairs.

Our world is full of crises, dysfunction and corruption, with often tragic human consequences. And we will of course continue relentlessly to cover all of them, from ISIS and Boko Haram to climate change, Ebola, youth unemployment and growing income inequalities. But even in these stories the picture presented needs to be much more complete. How people are responding, how they're reaching out to their neighbors, how they're rising to the occasion is far too often left out.

When we don't give the public the complete picture, there are multiple opportunity costs, including growing cynicism, resignation, pessimism and ultimately despair about the possibility of problems ever being solved. And when we do give people the complete picture, their response shows how hungry they are for it.

Sean Dagan Wood is the founder of Positive News, an online and print publication in the UK whose motto is "Inspiration for a change." In his TED Talk he laid out the stakes:

A more positive form of journalism will not only benefit our well-being; it will engage us in society, and it will help catalyze potential solutions to the problems that we face.

Other efforts abound, from the Washington Post's newsletter "The Optimist" and The New York Times' "Fixes" column to the Solutions Journalism Network and sites like Upworthy and NationSwell.

And as Chris Moody, Twitter's VP of data strategy, told me:

We see countless proof points on Twitter that positive messages have more engagement and obtain more reach on our global platform than negative content. We will release data-driven studies this year that prove this very point. The implications of these findings should be far-reaching, from how we think about creative and editorial content as well as how companies think about public engagement and customer service.

Restoring a sense of proportion to news by accurately reflecting the world's realities is most definitely not about reporting through rose-colored glasses. The term "compassion fatigue" has been used to describe the way serving readers an exclusive diet of negative images and stories causes them to emotionally withdraw. As Lisa Williams, a social psychologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, put it:

The more that we hear about events and suffering and trauma that pull at our proverbial heartstrings, the more likely that some of us just withdraw and no longer have that strong motivation to help.

And in her 1999 book Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell Disease, Famine, War and Death, Susan D. Moeller lays the blame, as her subtitle suggests, squarely with the media:

Compassion fatigue is the unacknowledged cause of much of the failure of international reporting today. It is at the base of many of the complaints about the public's short attention span, the media's peripatetic journalism, the public's boredom with international news, the media's preoccupation with crisis coverage.

And there is no reason that in-depth stories focusing on what's working should not be eligible for the highest journalistic honors. In 1943, for example, the Pulitzer Prize for public service went to the Omaha World-Herald for "its initiative and originality in planning a state-wide campaign for the collection of scrap metal for the war effort. The Nebraska plan was adopted on a national scale by the daily newspapers, resulting in a united effort which succeeded in supplying our war industries with necessary scrap material." The Herald's work was a perfect embodiment of What's Working: In the midst of a global crisis, its reporting brought an entire city together to collect literally tons of scrap metal for the war effort and, in the process, started a positive contagion among other papers across the country. The paper ran its own scrap-metal scavenging contest, even awarding young participants with "Scrap Scout" badges.

Another Pulitzer example comes half a century later. In 1997 the city of Grand Forks, North Dakota, suffered the worst natural disaster in the state's history: massive flooding followed by further destruction from blizzards and fire. For its coverage the Grand Forks Herald won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for public service, not just for documenting the devastation but for providing the whole picture. There are stories about volunteers traveling from miles away to the University of North Dakota's library, whose below-ground materials were threatened by floodwaters; of city-hall operations moving to the local Comfort Inn; and of the university offering housing, business space and day care to people whose homes had been destroyed. As the paper's Mike Jacobs and Mike Maidenberg wrote:

We must have wondered, all of us, whether any community anywhere had ever suffered so much, and yet we know that others have. Miraculously, we have been spared loss of life. Marvelously, we have found friendships we didn't know about, as strangers came to offer labor, called to offer shelter, reached out to offer strength.

We've all heard of copycat crimes. We want What's Working to inspire copycat solutions.

That's why we've partnered with Global Citizen to add an Action Button to stories across HuffPost geared toward What's Working, helping our readers take action on issues ranging from poverty to education. And while What's Working is a global initiative, we want each of our international editions to bring its own sensibility and expertise to coverage of solutions. That's why each edition will have its own name -- for instance, at Le Huffington Post in France it will be Ça Marche, and at the Brasil Post it will be Tem Jeito! And by translating the work of each of our editions, we'll be bringing news of those solutions around the world to start a broader conversation on what's working.

But we can't do it alone, which is why we're partnering with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to help educate and train the next generation of journalists to paint the full picture of the human story. Throughout the spring 2015 semester our editors will work with USC Annenberg students on a What's Working Challenge, encouraging them to apply the same reportorial rigor, substance and creativity to cover what's working as they do to all their best reporting. We'll help the students identify and shape these kinds of stories, and we'll help frame them for maximum impact online. We'll crosspost their best work -- in text, video and multimedia -- across all HuffPost's platforms. As Willow Bay, Director of the Annenberg School of Journalism and a senior editor here at HuffPost, says:

We want our students to change the world with their journalism -- but also to change the world of journalism. The What's Working Challenge offers an opportunity to do both.

As always, please use the comments section to let us know what you think.