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Why Bad Relationships Happen to Good Women

Wed, 2014-10-15 15:11
I'm an optimistic single.

I personally believe that there are more good guys out there than bad, and that the typical single guy isn't on the prowl to scam and hurt women. The typical guy, much like the typical woman, is just searching for a connection that he can believe in.

Unfortunately, I feel as if I'm in the ignorant minority with my "most guys are good" train of thought, as bad relationships are popping up all around me. Two of my friends are divorced; and one of my close friends recently had a relationship experience that knocked the optimism out of her.

My friend "Donna" discovered that her boyfriend of two years was actually someone else's husband of 9 years. Despite seeing this guy several nights a week, the truth of the matter was that he had a family, and Donna was just his sidepiece.

I've met Donna's ex, and when I saw the two of them together, I envisioned a hideous bridesmaid dress in my future, and I told her so. Donna's married man had fooled me, too; when everything crashed and burned between them, I wondered, are some women magnets for bad relationships?

Probably, especially after leaving a bad relationship suggest Helen Goldberg and Amy Loeb, authors of Sex Esteem: The Secret Struggles of Wives and Side Chicks.

The authors state that the cycle is a vicious one: A bad relationship experience is likely to damage a woman's self-esteem, and a woman with low self-esteem is more likely to enter into a bad relationship.

As for my friend, Goldberg doesn't believe that a woman can unknowingly date a married man for years, she tells me.

"Men are good at compartmentalization, but they're not that good," she says.

If there are certain areas of his life that you don't have access to, for example, his friends, family, home-front, etc., those are definitely red flags. If you can only see him during certain hours, or if you only have a cell phone number for him after you've decided to date each other exclusively, you should have an inkling that he is committed to someone else.

Co-author Amy Loeb adds that some women are co-conspirators in the deceit. "We wear blinders, especially if the loving is good," she says. "Men are crafty, yes, and we help them by choosing to ignore the red flags in the relationship. If we're comfortable, and we like the guy, we're going to wear our blinders and hope for something more."

Ultimatums, temper tantrums and all hell breaks loose if our relationship demands are not met, of course. Eventually, we dust ourselves off and throw ourselves back into the dating game -- but if we make that move too soon, we can end up in the Heartbreak Hotel once again Goldberg warns.

"You can't predict whether or not a guy will be bad for you," Goldberg states. "However, if you run away from one bad relationship and jump into a new one, you'll miss the red flags. You'll appear desperate, and you'll continue to attract the emotional predators who are no good for you."

Perhaps we would all be better off if we didn't callously fall in love, but instead strategize to land the relationship we truly wanted.

This relationship strategy would include a thorough background check for our suitors and a realistic expectations checklist for ourselves. We would welcome the courtship and friendship that good relationships are made of before we jumped into the sack.

And above all else, we would date with our eyes wide open, no blinders allowed.

Cops Chase Drugs Suspect Bryan Duffy Through Chicago Marathon

Wed, 2014-10-15 14:29
CHICAGO (AP) -- Authorities say a wanted man attempted to flee pursuing officers by blending into the sea of Chicago Marathon runners.

WLS-TV ( ) reports Bryan Duffy of Chicago ran from police officers Sunday after they approached him. Police say the 29-year-old man jumped into a group of marathon runners in hopes he could make an escape. But police were ultimately able to tackle and arrest Duffy.

Police say the man was carrying 10 capsules of MDMA, also known as Molly or ecstasy.

Duffy is charged with possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest. He was also charged with reckless conduct for endangering the marathon runners.

His bail is set for $10,000.

85 Colleges Are Now Under Federal Investigation For Sexual Assault Cases

Wed, 2014-10-15 14:21
Eighty-five higher education institutions are now under investigation due to concerns with how the schools handle sexual violence on campus, the U.S. Department of Education told The Huffington Post on Wednesday.

Of the current investigations, 55 began in 2014 and nine were added in the past two months. The Education Department began publicly disclosing its Office for Civil Rights investigations of colleges for sexual violence in May, when the overall total was 55.

The most recent schools to fall under federal scrutiny include Grand Valley State University in Michigan and Marlboro College in Vermont, which had investigations started Oct. 6; Drake University in Iowa and Valparaiso University in Indiana, both opened Oct. 3; and the California Institute of the Arts and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, for which inquiries began Sept. 30.

Any school that receives federal funding, which is nearly all of them, is required to abide by the gender equity law Title IX. Court precedents and federal officials have established that, under Title IX, colleges must address and eliminate sexual violence and harassment on campus, regardless of whether police are involved in a case.

Investigations can arise from complaints filed against colleges or be launched proactively by the Education Department.

The student who filed a complaint against CalArts told Al Jazeera America that school officials questioned her about her drinking habits and the length of her dress when she filed formal charges with the college against her alleged rapist, and administrators asked her whether she climaxed during the assault. CalArts found the accused student responsible for sexual assault and suspended him for a year. It denied an appeal from the victim, who publicly identified herself only as "Regina," for a harsher punishment.

(READ: Fewer Than One-Third Of College Sexual Assault Cases Result In Expulsion)

CalArts also did nothing to stop the accused student's classmates from harassing Regina after her report, said SurvJustice, a nonprofit survivor advocacy group that helped Regina file the complaint.

"The men who intimidated, harassed, and stalked me for reporting the assailant are in the same classes as me this semester," Regina said in an email to The Huffington Post. "If the school won't even protect me from those students, how can it promise to keep me safe when the man who raped me returns to campus?"

CalArts issued a schoolwide email addressing sexual assault on campus on Oct. 6, after the college knew it was under investigation. However, it did not tell students about the federal inquiry.

CalArts spokeswoman Margaret Crane said the school takes sexual misconduct "very seriously" and considers safety a "top priority," but said she could not provide any additional information. Crane did not say why the school didn't tell students about the investigation.

(READ: Many Universities Don't Want You To Know How They Punish Sexual Assault)

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln did address its campus earlier this month about the complaint that resulted in its investigation. It insisted the school "took timely and appropriate action" in the case and noted the offender was no longer at the school.

A law student who filed a complaint against Valparaiso University in September accused the school of not informing her about interim measures it put in place for her and her alleged assailant. Valparaiso has said it can't comment on the case, but "strives to protect its students from sexual assault."

Marlboro spokesman Matthew Barone told HuffPost its investigation was the result of a complaint and the school is in the process of providing information to the OCR. Both Drake and GVSU told HuffPost their investigations were the result of complaints against the universities, and that they are both committed to ensuring their campuses are safe for students.

Schools with Title IX violations can lose federal funding, though that's never happened in higher education. OCR investigations typically result in a resolution agreement stipulating changes the school must make to address sexual and gender-based violence.

Need help? In the U.S., visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN. For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center's website.

OCR Sexual Violence - Open Investigations - Higher Ed - 10-15-14 by Tyler Kingkade

5 Things Your Landlord Wants You to Know

Wed, 2014-10-15 13:20
In the world of renting, the relationship between a landlord and a tenant can be a tricky one. The reality is, a landlord wants what's best for their investment property and that means they want you, their beloved tenant, to know a few important things, so the time you spend under their roof is a great one!

Here are the five key things every landlord wants their tenant to know:

1. Everyone Wins When You Read Your Lease
This sounds so simple and basic, but you wouldn't believe how many people that have never actually read their entire lease agreement. Upon first glance, it's an unending list of paragraphs and jumble, especially if your building or home is managed by a property manager or large company. But within all those pages, the tenants can learn not only what is expected of them, but what is expected of the landlord. Knowing your rights and the rules helps you avoid issues before they become problems. Most leases have very specific guidelines for every category: rent payments, late penalties, tenant utility responsibilities, noise issues, additional occupants policy, proper notice for vacating, procedure for repair requests etc. Understanding the lease allows you to to avoid costly extra charges and keep you protected from giving the landlord reason to financially penalize you or worse ... evict you. Take the 15 minutes to read your lease -- it is a win/win for everyone.

2. Landlords Don't Want to Charge You Late Fees or Returned Check Fees
Do you think that landlords love to receive all those late fees and other charges from you? They don't. They also really hope you not are late each month or bounce checks so they can up-charge you extra fees. No matter how much more they are receiving because of your inability to manage your finances, it not worth the hassle of chasing you down for the overdue rent and bounced funds. The bottom line is they will charge you, and if you do not pay all due rent and fees, at some point they can evict you. But trust me, it costs you far more than it bothers them. Late fees can range from 5-10% of your rent, and banks are charging huge fees for returned checks these days. Consistently racking up those fees can cost you an enormous amount of money each year. And it can set you up for eviction proceedings, which will then also affect your credit score and your ability to rent elsewhere.

3. Pet Stains Will Cost You Far More Than You Think
We love our dogs and cats, and thankfully, many apartment buildings will allow them. However, the big shocker always comes when a tenant moves out and he or she is hit with a huge repair bill. Why? Well, that little stain on the wall-to-wall carpet may seem pretty small to you. However, pet urine seeps deep into carpet and into the padding below. Your landlord is not going to be able to rent that apartment to the next tenant with pet-stained carpet. And unfortunately for you, most of the time the entire room of wall-to-wall carpet and padding will have to be replaced. What about those shiny hardwood floors? Even more expensive to repair. Pet urine will soak into hardwood and leave dark stains that often cannot be sanded out. Actual planks will need to be replaced. So whether you have carpet or hardwood, your deposit will become a distant memory if sweet little Fido has one too many accidents.

4. Your Deposit Is Not Your Last Month's Rent
More and more landlords are now asking for first month's rent, last month's rent, and a security deposit when you move into an apartment. That is a lot of money. On a $1,900/month apartment or house, that comes to $5,700--just to move in! Sometimes, you get lucky and you'll be asked for only your first month's rent and the security deposit up front. But this is where you can get yourself into a lot of hot water down the line. Many tenants assume that your deposit money can be used as your last month's rent. Wrong. It is a security-damage deposit. Something completely separate. Refusing to pay your last month's rent by offering up your deposit can ultimately cost you far more than that rent payment. You will be slapped with a notice of eviction and late rent charges. This can potentially ding your credit, destroy your ability to use your current landlord as a reference for your new apartment, and open you up to legal action. Plan ahead, don't get stuck short for cash -- allocate enough funds so that when it is time to move, you have enough for the upfront fees for your new place, as well as enough to cover your current obligations.

5. If You Are a Good Tenant, Landlords Don't Want You To Move
If you are quiet, nice, clean, and pay your rent on time, chances are you're considered a good tenant. Good tenants are valuable. One of the biggest costs associated with being a landlord is the apartment turn-over process when a tenant moves out. There is lost rent for any time the unit is not occupied, cleaning costs, and high-dollar improvements to be made. Yes, landlords need to continually raise rents to keep up with the increased costs of running the building, taxes, insurance, etc., but if you do some homework and determine that you are paying close to the current market rent, you may be able to make a case to forgo a rent increase this year or at least come to a compromise. If your landlord is asking for a 5% increase on a $1,500 rent ($75.00/month), he won't want to lose you over that $75.00. You may be able to ask to split the difference or even skip the rent increase entirely this year.

Illinois governor candidates focus on, clash over jobs, violence at debate

Wed, 2014-10-15 12:48
At Tuesday's Illinois gubernatorial debate, candidates Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner clashed about issues important to the African-American community, such as jobs, education and dealing with violence in communities. The debate was held at at the DuSable Museum of African American History on Chicago's South Side.

Under questioning from Perri Small of WVON-AM 1690, CBS 2 political reporter Jay Levine and Chicago Tribune business reporter Corilyn Shropshire, Quinn and Rauner hammered home the themes that have defined this race. For Rauner: Quinn is inept and ineffective in fostering business growth; he's part of an old political system that needs to exit. For Quinn: Rauner is too wealthy to understand average citizens' concerns; his business success has brought him wealth while hurting those on lower rungs of the economic ladder.

Check out the full debate and highlights at Reboot Illinois.

Many aspects of the future of Illinois depend on which candidate is ultimately elected in November, but Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek says that no matter if Quinn or Rauner is elected, Illinoisans should be prepared for higher taxes.

Doubek writes:

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn told the Daily Herald in his endorsement interview that he'll try to make the temporary 5 percent income tax increase permanent, something Republican governor nominee Bruce Rauner now is highlighting in his latest ad. Quinn doesn't like to talk about it too much, but he's called for making the tax permanent since March. He probably figures if he wins, he's got a mandate to increase taxes and raise the minimum wage.

Rauner will be hiking taxes, too. Rauner said he would add sales taxes onto scores of services that haven't been taxed yet. The budget plans he's offered do not add up, with the personal income tax rate set to drop to 3.75 percent in January, so don't be surprised if he tries to take more of our money if he wins, too. He's said he hopes to drop the income tax rate back down to 3 percent over four years.

See the rest of her thoughts on taxes and the election at Reboot Illinois.

'Dear White People' Director Justin Simien: 'Closed Cultural Loops' Cause Blackface Parties

Wed, 2014-10-15 12:32
From the University Of Florida to the University of California, Irvine to Arizona State University, insensitive blackface videos, images and parties continue to pop up at colleges across the United States.

Partygoers don baggy pants, throw on their finest grills and even paint their skin a dark hue in pursuit of a good time and playful parody. While these parties attract fiery criticism nearly each time they take place, they seem to be pervasive within the university party scene.

Director Justin Simien, who explores the complexity of the black experience at an elite university in his upcoming satirical film “Dear White People,” weighed in on the controversial practice in a HuffPost Live interview on Tuesday.

"It happens in these closed cultural loops, and it happens when people are not necessarily trying to make black people feel bad," Simien said. "It is a combination of being ironic, celebrating and kind of being ignorant to the experience of the other."

Ultimately, Simien concluded that blackface parties are a manifestation of a lack of understanding among racial groups.

“It comes down to the fact that we as a culture are so unwilling to see ourselves in people who don’t look like us," Simien exaplined. "If we found a way to be a little bit more open in that respect, they would have enough black friends and say, 'You probably shouldn’t throw this party on Martin Luther King Day, and you probably shouldn’t Instagram about it because Gawker will pick it up and this will be a blight on this college campus.'"

Check out the full HuffPost Live conversation with ‘Dear White People’ director Justin Simien and actress Tessa Thompson here.

Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live's new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!

Best Pizza Places in the U.S.

Wed, 2014-10-15 10:57
Top chefs and legendary bakers are among the new breed of pizzaiolo who are just as fanatical about the temperature of their ovens as they are about the provenance of their ingredients. Here, F&W names the best places for pizza around the country from these new guard spots--including a Bay Area pizzeria that uses locally-milled flour--to century old East Coast institutions.

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Jeff & Spencer Tweedy Talk & Perform on The Interview Show

Wed, 2014-10-15 10:22
Jeff and son Spencer Tweedy join Mark Bazer on The Interview Show to talk about their new album, "Sukierae," as well as about autographing Dominick's receipts, a band called Sexfist and much more. Plus, they perform "You Are Not Alone," a song Jeff wrote for Mavis Staples.

Filmed at The Abbey Pub Sept. 12, 2014. Thanks to Ben Chandler and Adam Peindl. Next Interview Show is Nov. 7 at The Hideout.

Honoring Our Gorgeous and Efficient Skyline: Retrofit Chicago Commercial Buildings Awards

Wed, 2014-10-15 09:56

Tonight the Retrofit Chicago Commercial Buildings Initiative is having its first awards ceremony, honoring one building and three building engineers who have contributed most in the early years of the program to unleash the power of energy efficiency across Chicago's iconic skyline.

NRDC is proud to be sponsoring the event, along with the Joyce Foundation, and is proud of the work we've done with many partners to launch and guide the Commercial Buildings Initiative. Today, forty seven diverse buildings, including some of the oldest and most venerable in the city, and some of the newest as well, have joined the program pledging to reduce their energy use by 20% over five years. Together, the partners have made substantial technical and financial resources available to ensure that the buildings are able to succeed. We recently documented the key elements of this partnership in a report designed to show other cities how to engage building owners and managers in a similar effort.

In the first 1.5 years of the program, the first wave of participating buildlings reduced their energy use by a collective 7%, which means 28,000 fewer tons of carbon being emitted each year, and avoids more than $2.5 million in energy costs. That puts the project on track to hits its five-year goal. More importantly, the leading buildings are developing strategies and gaining experience that can lead to similar improvements in the thousands of buildings across the city, and in the building owner's broader portfolio of buildings across the country.

We look forward to announcing the winners tonight and will tell you much more about them in a blog on Switchboard to follow immediately after the announcement.

"Red White and Blue skyline" image by jmogs via Flickr highlights two commercial building initiative participants: Adler and Sullivan's Roosevelt University - Auditorium Building at 430 South Michigan Avenue (the white building) and CNA Headquarters at 333 South Wabash Avenue (the red building).

This post originally appeared on NRDC's Switchboard blog.

Lost in Translation: The Hammond, Indiana, Police Brutality Case

Wed, 2014-10-15 08:57
During a stop for what should have been a routine seatbelt ticket, things turned violent. On September 24, 2014, midafternoon, Hammond police pulled over Lisa Mahone because she and Jamal Jones, who was riding in the front passenger seat, were not wearing seatbelts as required by state law, according to police. Ms. Mahone's children, ages 14 and 7, were in the backseat. What happened next would have at one time been a verbal or testimonial matter of dispute. Hammond police officers smashing a car window and then Tasing and arresting Mr. Jones, would normally end up as a "he said/they said" disagreement between the police and the now-accused Jones. (He is charged with resisting law enforcement, failure to aid an officer and not wearing a seatbelt now.)

As a former public defender, I can remember being assigned to a misdemeanor call in what was then called Branch 28 on Monroe and Racine in Chicago. My more seasoned partner in the courtroom told me when I first started there that if I saw a client in the lock-up with injuries, I could be certain that he would be charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest or assault on an officer, depending on how badly he had been injured. I didn't want to believe it, but it turned out it was true. It was also true that sometimes my client had resisted arrest or assaulted the officer. But sometimes the defendant would get hurt by police just for not having the "right attitude." Oh, and being black or brown didn't help the client much either. When there would be a swearing contest between the accused and the police, unsurprisingly, the police would win. After all the defendant was biased and the officer was just doing his or her job, and it is a dangerous job at that.

Back then there would have been no independent witness, and so there it would stay. The officer could have been right, wrong or somewhere in the middle, but nothing would happen to that officer even if he was in fact in the wrong.

As the former Chicago police commander Jon Burge torture scandal has shown, it can take hundreds of victims and decades of abuse before anyone begins to believe that police are human and sometimes do wrong. But in this case things are a bit different, because there is a witness, in the form of a video (actually, allegedly, two) -- one taken by the teenage son of Mahone, who was a backseat passenger in the car, and one taken by officers (which they have yet to release).

In the video that was released, you see Mr. Jones handing the ticket he received for not having insurance to the officer and then some conversation occurs. The police say that he was reaching for something in the backseat and they thought it might be a weapon. Mr. Jones (according to the civil rights law suit that is now pending) says he was getting what the police asked for out of the backpack behind him. What the video shows next is the officer smashing the window in with his baton, grabbing and Tasering Jones; you hear the 7-year-old crying. Looking at the video, it is difficult to see what would cause the police to be in fear, other than Jones' refusal to exit the car. He refused, he says, because he was afraid to. Where does such a feeling come from? It comes from history. We unfortunately have a long history of police misconduct and abuse, sanctioned by law in the past and by practice more recently, of mistreatment of minorities by police.

What happens when there is a long history of a community feeling that the police are not there to help them, but to hurt them? When the police feel that every dark face is dangerous? When the public has long believed the police on this issue? Ferguson, Missouri, happens. And not only that but the killing of Michael Brown (an unarmed black teenager) by a white police officer it is seen differently depending on who you are. Minorities feel that racism plays a large part in their lives; white people feel it is over and if there is race discrimination it is against white people.

Perhaps the advent of cameras will help us all to see better, to understand another perspective, and maybe we can hold everyone -- citizens and police -- equally accountable.

This Is The State Of American Art

Wed, 2014-10-15 08:56
It's a basic assumption in certain circles that life ends west of the Hudson River, and doesn't start back up until Los Angeles. But there is one place even the prickliest coastal snob seems unable to resist: Crystal Bridges, the largest museum to open in the country's interior in a generation.

Funded by Walmart heiress Alice Walton, the show-stopping shrine to American art drew headlines the moment it opened in tiny Bentonville, Arkansas, simply for the fact of its existence. Five years later, the talk is about the art inside those famous glass walls.

In the latest issue of Huffington magazine, we take a look at the museum's current headline-getter. Unlike comparable exhibitions, "State of the Art" features artists who've often never made it into a museum before. To find them, two of the museum's staffers -- president Don Bacigalupi and curator Chad Alligood -- traveled 100,000 miles around the country. It was a curatorial adventure unlike any before, equal parts buddy comedy, great American road trip, and cultural reboot.

Above, SotA artists Vanessa L. German and Andy DuCett join Bacigalupi and Alligood in the HuffPost Live studios to discuss how it all went down.

Latino Votes Must Be Earned, Just Like Everyone Else's

Wed, 2014-10-15 07:25
An increasingly divisive debate is raging among politically engaged Latinos right now over how to respond to our political leaders' incapacity to reform our immigration system. This should worry politicians in general and Democrats in particular.

The frustration has simmered for years, but President Barack Obama offered the latest catalyst last month when he delayed a promised decision, for a second time, to use his executive authority to offer deportation relief to undocumented immigrants. During that time, tens of thousands of people will be deported, often slapped with a criminal charge of illegal entry and thrown in jail before being expelled.

The White House said it delayed the decision to avoid undermining vulnerable Democrats in several hard-fought Senate races in the upcoming midterm elections.

The move frustrated Latino groups across the board, from grassroots activists to the establishment politicians who make up the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. That should worry the White House, because many of these people helped in one way or another to propel Obama to office in 2008 and again in 2012, when Obama won a whopping 71 percent of the Hispanic vote.

Some, like Presente Action, have encouraged Latino voters to oppose Democrats perceived as anti-reform. Others, like Carlos Garcia of the organization Puente in Arizona, have urged Latinos to simply boycott the midterm elections if deportation relief isn't forthcoming, sending the message that Hispanic votes can't be taken for granted.

The idea of boycotting elections understandably concerns other Latino advocacy groups that have spent years on the ground trying to boost turnout among Hispanics, which remains notoriously low. Groups like the National Council of La Raza and Voto Latino have instead encouraged Latinos to realize their political power by showing up at the ballot box.

"Only by building our segment of the electorate can we change the bad politics practiced by both major parties that now stands in the way of needed policy changes on immigration reform and other issues," Maria Teresa Kumar, the president of Voto Latino, wrote in an article for MSNBC on Monday. "Our strength comes from voting for ourselves and not for politicians or political parties."

The vote is one of the most important keys to political power our representative system offers. The prospect that some potential Latino voters are so disillusioned that they won't make use of it should disturb us.

Some in the Democratic Party feel unfairly targeted, given that many Republicans have driven Hispanic voters away in droves by embracing harsh anti-immigration policies and offensive rhetoric. Since the child migrant crisis this summer, even one-time GOP leaders who backed reform, like U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) or John McCain (R-Ariz.) have now retreated, instead pushing to end the president's 2012 policy of deferring deportation for people brought here illegally as children.

But the fact of the matter is that if Democrats aren't energizing Latino voters, they should blame themselves.

They should blame themselves for failing to pass immigration reform when they controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency. They should blame their president for repeatedly declining to weaken the deportation apparatus that causes so much harm to the Hispanic community. They should blame the president's refusal, for a second time, to keep his word about following through on executive action on immigration in the face of Congressional gridlock.

When Democrats retreat on immigration reform, it leaves few options for Latino voters who care deeply about that issue. If those voters can't find candidates that reflect their values, it may be hard to convince them to cast a ballot for its own sake.

When polls indicate a crisis of confidence in the U.S. Congress, we generally lay the blame on our representatives for causing the problem -- not the electorate. But when Latino voters show the same crisis of confidence, many point their fingers at the voters rather than the officials who have done a poor job representing their constituents.

Any democratically minded person should want Hispanic political engagement and voter turnout to rise as high as possible. But when Hispanic voters stay home to oppose both major parties, that isn't always apathy -- sometimes it's a form of political protest, and one that both parties should take seriously. Latino votes, just like everyone else's, should not be taken for granted. They must be earned.

Pork Industry Defends Use Of Antibiotics In Livestock After PBS 'Frontline' Report

Tue, 2014-10-14 23:01

By P.J. Huffstutter

CHICAGO, Oct 15 (Reuters) - A leading U.S. pork association will use an online marketing campaign to counter a critical television documentary on antibiotics use in livestock, pointing consumers to industry-funded websites that defend the practice, according to an association email.

The National Pork Board sent out an email about the strategy to food and agriculture officials in advance of Tuesday evening's PBS Frontline program entitled, "The Trouble with Antibiotics."

The industry was taking steps to "monitor, engage and respond to any and all media coverage of this story," Jarrod Sutton, vice president for social responsibility at the National Pork Board, said in the email seen by Reuters.

One of those steps is to use "Paid Search Engine Optimization (SEO)," according to the email. SEO is a widely employed marketing tactic that aims to get a website to show up higher in a search engine's results for particular search terms.

"The industry will tie any consumer searches for 'PBS Frontline' and 'Antibiotics' to the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance site, Food Source," the email stated. "Included in these searches will be the terms 'pork, antibiotics and Frontline.' In those cases, users will be directed to the National Pork Board and [National Pork Producers Council] NPPC site"

Sutton told Reuters the email was just notifying "our customers and consumers" of something they might find of interest.

Sutton, whose email outlined how the pork board was working with livestock commodity groups and others, told Reuters that "SEO is an emerging way to best direct consumers to accurate and publicly available information."

Sutton and the National Pork Board did not answer questions about specifics of the SEO effort. It is not clear when the SEO effort would start. A Google search of these terms by Reuters on Tuesday did not list any of the sites mentioned in the email in the first 10 pages of search results, nor to ads leading to those sites.

Officials for U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and NPPC could not be reached for comment on Tuesday evening.

Search engine marketing can vary. Some companies use optimized key words and other techniques to rise to the top of standard search results, while others pay for ads on a search engine's pages. Some firms attempt to "game" search results - a practice that Google Inc and others guard against.

A preview video on PBS' website showed a series of video clips of farms and scientific labs and questioned whether "decades of antibiotics in our farm animals" may be linked to antimicrobial resistant bacteria.

Scientists fear the widespread use of antibiotics on farms may be a factor in the rise of "superbugs" - bacteria that grow resistant to drugs and infect humans.

In 2003, U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced plans to evaluate every new animal drug based on the drug's potential to create superbugs. A Reuters review of FDA data shows the agency has not reviewed the vast majority of animal drugs now on the market, because most were approved before 2003. (Additional reporting by Brian Grow in Atlanta; Editing by Ken Wills)

Teen Arrested For Tipping Waitress With Feces-covered Money

Tue, 2014-10-14 18:59
A teenager's $2 tip to a restaurant waitress brought new meaning to the term "dirty money," because the bills were allegedly covered with fecal matter.

The suspect, a 17 year old in Muncie, Indiana, was charged with battery with bodily waste, reports.

The incident happened Sunday afternoon after the Brothers Bar & Grill waitress left the bill at a table where the unnamed teen sat with three members of the Ball State football team.

The teen reportedly emerged from the restaurant's bathroom and put money into the waitress' black folder.

According to police, the waitress saw the suspect laugh when she picked up the check and smelled a “foul odor.” She said two of the bills were covered in a brown substance that she later realized was fecal matter, the Ball State Daily reports.

Police were summoned and arrested the boy. He was later released to a guardian. Because he is a minor, his name is not being released.

His three companions were Ball State defensive back Darius Conaway, defensive lineman Kennan Noel and linebacker Nicholas Isaacs.

The Ball State University associate athletic director released a statement concerning the incident.

"We…find the alleged actions deplorable. We are continuing to collect information on the matter and will refrain from further judgment until then," he said, according to

The money left to the waitress isn't the only thing that stinks at Ball State. The football team is currently 1-5.

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Obama To Campaign For Democrats In Maryland And Illinois Gubernatorial Races

Tue, 2014-10-14 18:58

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, who has largely limited his campaign appearances to fundraisers ahead of next month's elections, will hit the stump in the coming days on behalf of candidates in Maryland and Illinois, a White House official said on Tuesday.

Obama will appear at a campaign event on Sunday in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, for Anthony Brown, the state's Democratic candidate for governor. Opinion polls in the usually reliable Democratic state have tightened in recent weeks between Brown, and Republican candidate Larry Hogan.

Also on Sunday, Obama will travel to Chicago in his home state of Illinois to attend a campaign event for Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, who is in a close race with Republican challenger Bruce Rauner.

Republicans are hoping to capitalize on Obama's weak approval ratings to make gains in this year's midterm elections. (Reporting by Steve Holland, editing by Peter Cooney and G Crosse)

Producers Discuss Moving the Needle in Music at AES Conference

Tue, 2014-10-14 18:22
In the evolving and ever-changing music business, the one thing that still remains constant and the common thread shared among this award-winning producer panel is integrity in the music and art, as well as serving the artists. This past Saturday at the AES Convention, music industry executives and professionals gathered for the Grammy SoundTables producer panel on "Songs that Move the Needle," featuring Alex Da Kid, Don Was, Michael Brauer, Niko Bolas, No I.D., moderated by Ed Cherney.

The panel kicked off with award-winning producer and engineer Cherney, reflecting on what brought him into this business in the first place despite its hardships with declining record sales. "I love music and would have worked for free just to be near the music and in the studio. I dedicated myself to be open, honest, giving, and have integrity and serve the artist," said Cherney.

Grammy award-winning producer Alex Da Kid shared his musical journey that started in London with his professional training as a football player that influenced and impacted his transformation music recording.

"It taught me how to put your all into something," said Da Kid. "I thought my life was laid out in front of me and then I fell out of love."

During a challenging time for Alex, his friend gifted him with the digital music editing software Fruity Loops that changed his life forever and ignited his musical journey to becoming a musical genius of our generation discovering talent that moves today's culture from Imagine Dragons, Skylar Gray, X Ambassadors, Jamie N Commons and Candice Pillay.

"This program taught me how music was constructed and changed the way I perceived music," said Da Kid.

He later decided to pursue a degree in music "just to be around and closer to the people doing it." It is obvious this is his life's calling and now he's broadening his business from being a record label owner of KIDinaKORNER, publisher, songwriter and producer, to film, TV, digital, technology to create a new platform for music and artist development that helps build fan bases and a direct to consumer platform.

"I want to wake up every morning and be inspired - I am grateful to have complete creative freedom every day is different for me since I have so many interests."

Da Kid shared his process in developing the hit song "Radioactive" with Imagine Dragons that remained on the top Billboard charts for 80 weeks.

"There are no boundaries anymore and that's what is exciting to me," said Da Kid. "We broke the song at alternative - at first no one really got it - we took rock and gave it a twist and added a hip hop element to it."

No I.D.'s musical lens was shaped by his environment and upbringing in Chicago.

"I see music through a life culture perspective - whether negative or positive - the rich history in Chicago made me a student of music early on, more than a creator. I don't think if I grew up anywhere else I would have the same perspective."

No I.D. started off as a house music DJ. "Being a DJ artist, produced musician, tech geek and loving the study gives me perspective to keep reinventing myself. It frees me up to apply what I learned and not be boxed into what I should do."

When asked about being Kanye West's mentor, a nickname he received over the years, he shared that it wasn't his intention and goal. "Where we grew up, there were no outlets to learn. I was his outlet and a male figure to bounce off creative ideas and other life and music discussions.

For No I.D., sharing knowledge and learnings from life experience is key. "What you pass down from what you know is better for your legacy than what you do for yourself."

Blue Note President Don Was also shared his insight wearing both hats on producing and running the label where he's worked with everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Norah Jones.

"Everyone's got their own way of doing this - what brings me the most joy is working with artist who have a strong vision and are eloquent in how they express it musically," said Was. "I like to create a situation to make them feel comfortable and loosen them up."

Inspired by Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones growing up, Was later had the honor of working with his childhood music idols.

"I learned a lot from them," said Was. "When you create music that helps people make sense and gets them through their own lives, it's a beautiful feeling. I feel responsible to help artists make records they want in a climate where selling tracks to consumers is no longer a viable business."

Rahm Emanuel's Re-Election Chances Just Improved

Tue, 2014-10-14 17:08
Despite the fact that his local approval ratings have been dismal for some time now, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's chances for reelection in 2015 just improved.

First came the announcement Monday afternoon that Emanuel's primary rival, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, will not be running for mayor.

Lewis had yet to formally enter the race, but was seen by most pundits as the challenger with the best shot at defeating Emanuel in the mayoral election Feb. 24.

The fiery union leader was hospitalized on Oct. 5 and it was reported by both the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune that she is suffering from a cancerous brain tumor, reports that the Lewis exploratory committee has not confirmed.

Her exit from the race took place the same day that campaign contribution limits in the contest disappeared thanks to an Illinois state law that voids contribution caps should any candidate contribute at least $100,000 to their own campaign within a year of the election. Conservative candidate William J. Kelly topped that amount Monday with a $100,000 donation toward his mayoral campaign.

The Chicago Tribune notes this move will allow supporters of Emanuel, who has already raised over $9 million toward his reelection effort, to contribute beyond what they've already kicked in at or below pre-existing contribution caps.

The remaining mayoral challengers include Ald. Robert Fioretti, community activist Amara Enyia, former alderman Robert Shaw and police officer Frederick Collins. Fioretti, the best-known candidate in the race to date, has so far raised just under $400,000, according to the Tribune.

Dick Simpson, a University of Illinois-Chicago political science professor and former alderman, told HuffPost that he expects the campaign contribution limit change will benefit both Emanuel and Fioretti, though the incumbent mayor will likely get a bigger boost via more of the large-sum, out-of-state contributions he received during his 2011 campaign.

Another high-profile rival of the mayor's, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, already announced in July she would not be running for mayor.

The filing deadline for Chicago's mayoral race is Nov. 24, giving leeway for additional candidates to submit petitions but little time to lay the groundwork needed for such a major campaign, Simpson said. He expects Fioretti to remain the highest-profile challenger to Emanuel in the 2015 race.

"You can't decide today to run for mayor and be a credible candidate," Simpson said.

When Misguided Cops Turn The War On Weed Into A War On Growing Things

Tue, 2014-10-14 14:57
If law enforcement officials around the country are going to continue cracking down on marijuana grow operations, especially in heavily armed, unannounced raids, maybe they should consider hiring a botanist or two.

Earlier this month, Dwayne Perry of Cartersville, Georgia, was startled out of his bed by a low-flying helicopter. Moments later, WSB-TV reports, heavily armed officers and K-9 units with the Governor's Task Force for drug suppression showed up, apparently believing they were about to make a weed bust. What they found instead: okra. The vegetable.

Perry was confused and frightened by the incident. The officers were "strapped to the gills," he told the station. While Perry claimed his reputation may have been damaged by the mistake, he said he also realized that his life was put in danger because of it.

While law enforcement often trumpets successful anti-drug operations, agencies are less eager to admit when drug raids are marred by tragic miscalculations. Law enforcement's heavy-handed tactics have led to the death or injury of a number of innocent victims. Earlier this year, deputies threw a stun grenade in the crib of a 19-month-old, resulting in severe burns to the child. The sought-after suspect wasn't home at the time, and the officers ultimately avoided charges, with the sheriff suggesting the accident was unavoidable.

In another recent incident, a 59-year-old was gunned down by a SWAT team in a no-knock raid, as he believed his home was being burglarized for the second time in as many days. Officers were operating on a tip given to them by a meth addict.

Getting it right isn't always easy, but when the consequences of getting it wrong can be so dire, errors understandably attract criticism. Many of the stories below are the result of a combination of poor plant identification skills, questionable tips from the public and rushed or unprofessional conduct by law enforcement. These mistakes, even when made with the best intentions, show the risks associated with a war on drugs that often prioritizes harsh prohibition of both marijuana and other drugs over concerns for public safety, civil liberties and due caution.

Weed, But Not That Kind

The war on drugs has long been a cash cow for local law enforcement agencies that receive funding based on the number of arrests and the value of assets forfeited during drug busts. Critics claim this system of incentivization can make officers see what they want to see -- perhaps a grove of marijuana plants -- rather than what is actually there -- say, a field of giant ragweed.

In 2001, members of the Texas Capital Area Drug Task Force -- a controversial federally funded anti-narcotics unit that gained notoriety when it botched a number of high-profile raids in the early 2000s -- forced its way into a residence, after a circling helicopter said it had spotted a large marijuana grow operation on the property. Entering with guns drawn and without a warrant, the officers aggressively confronted the house's occupants, including a Vietnam veteran and a widow. Behind the house, the offending plant they found was ragweed. The mistake led to a lawsuit, which was eventually settled for $40,000.

It would be one of three botched raids by the task force in under a year. Two of the raids led to innocent fatalities, and eventually resulted in the task force being taken over by the governor's office.

Giant ragweed (seen in the file photo above) is not marijuana.

In 2010, cops in Corpus Christi, Texas, were similarly duped by an innocuous weed when they uprooted, tagged and transported 400 plants from a city park, believing it was marijuana. The plant was actually horsemint, meaning that taxpayers footed the bill for some glorified yard work that day.

Texas police are not the only ones to have been perplexed by herbs in the past. In 1994, officers in Connecticut mistook oregano, apple mint, catnip and other plants for marijuana after entering a vacant grocery store with a warrant to confiscate weed. They found no drugs.

The War On Gardening

Adlynn and Robert Harte, two former CIA employees living in Kansas, opened their door on April 20, 2012, to find a team of sheriff's deputies armed with assault weapons and bulletproof vests with a warrant to search their house for marijuana. The Hartes and their two children were detained and held at gunpoint while law enforcement raided their house. They found three tomato plants, one melon plant and two butternut squash plants growing in a basement hydroponic gardening setup built by Harte and his 13-year-old son, whom officers reportedly accused of being a pothead.

Harte stands next to his now-defunct indoor garden in the basement of his home in Leawood, Kan., Friday, March 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

In November 2013, the Hartes filed a lawsuit against county officials, including the sheriff, alleging the only intelligence that could have led to the raid was a trip by Harte and his son to a gardening store and his wife's "brewing of loose tea leaves that they discarded in the trash." The lawsuit, seeking $7 million in damages, claims deputies failed to do a proper investigation to follow up on whether the family was actually growing marijuana.

The Hartes aren't alone in questioning whether such police techniques don't risk effectively criminalizing gardening. A few states over in Illinois, Angela Kirking, a face-paint artist, was also caught up in part of the same multi-state garden store operation last year. Three weeks after being observed by an officer leaving a local shop with a "green plastic bag containing unknown items," Drug Enforcement Administration agents, guns drawn, raided her house before 5 a.m., eventually turning up enough marijuana for a misdemeanor possession charge.

Kirking claimed she had visited the garden store to buy fertilizer for a hibiscus plant, and sued to have the search warrant thrown out. She argued that an innocent trip to a garden store shouldn't have served on its own as grounds for an investigation, which included officers rooting through her trash to find a small quantity of marijuana stems and examining her electric bills to conclude they were higher than normal. A county judge later ruled against Kirking.

Fiasco At The Garden of Eden

In August 2013, police in Arlington, Texas, conducted a SWAT raid on the Garden of Eden, a small organic farm that had clashed with its neighbors, who claimed the property wasn't clean enough.

The Arlington Police Department also reported receiving complaints that marijuana was being grown on the premises, a tip they pursued with aerial surveillance and a visit by an undercover officer that led to an unsubstantiated claim that a resident of the farm was in possession of marijuana. Despite the seemingly flimsy evidence, police then conducted a 10-hour raid, in which employees of the farm were reportedly handcuffed and held at gunpoint for at least 30 minutes. Officers came away with "17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants ... native grasses and sunflowers." No weed.

The would-be drug bust was itself a total bust, but police officials defended their actions because the militarized crackdown did lead to the correction of code violations, for which the city took the Garden of Eden to court earlier this year.

A Middle School Marijuana Grow Operation?

That's what police apparently thought they might find when four armed agents, backed up by a helicopter, showed up to the Camino de Paz Montessori School and Farm in Cuarteles, New Mexico, in 2010. After asking to inspect the school's greenhouse, in which students were growing plants as part of a math and science lesson, officers found tomatoes. The incident led some to question whether these sorts of raids were an appropriate use of funds.

You Say Tomato, They Say Marijuana

In Canada in 2008, armed Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided commercial fisherman Bruce Aleksich's business, expecting to uncover a large marijuana grow operation. They handcuffed everyone in the place and left them on the ground for more than an hour, Aleksich said. After checking the premises and vehicles for drugs, all the police could find were tomatoes. In a very un-Canadian exit, officers reportedly left without so much as an apology.

No tomato plant is safe.

Tomato and marijuana plants are similar in that they both have green leaves.

Okra (Again)

In another case of mistaken identity in 2002, La Porte Police Department officers who, according to the Houston Chronicle, had "experience identifying marijuana plants," obtained a search warrant for 88-year-old Irene Gilliam Hensley's property after being unable to tell the difference between okra and pot.

This is not marijuana. With five thick leaflets of varying sizes, the okra leaf actually looks significantly different from a pot leaf if you look at it at all.

Officers conducted the raid after receiving a tip that Hensley's grandson was growing marijuana. The information reportedly came from a 15-year-old cousin with whom Hensley's grandson had been feuding.

Questionable tips or eyewitness accounts often serve as the basis for botched or unnecessary drug raids. In 2008 in England -- where police response to marijuana cultivation is arguably less militarized than in the U.S. -- police received a tip that shopkeeper Amrat Kanji was growing pot in the attic of his store. Officers reportedly entered his business and rudely kicked customers out before heading upstairs to find the offending shrubbery, a curry leaf plant.

Curry leaves. Way to go, boys.


Hibiscus doesn't look much like marijuana, but police confusion led to a scary incident for landscape contractor Blair Davis in 2004. Davis said he was headed to answer a knock at the door when it flew open and an officer pointed a gun at him and told him to get on the ground. Around 10 members of a county task force proceeded to enter his house and question him about the plants in his yard, none of which were marijuana. The officers left after an hour, leaving only a "citizen's information card." Davis said the officers could have used additional training in marijuana identification.

This is a Texas Star hibiscus bush. It only looks like marijuana if you really, really want it to.

The Canadian war on drugs can boast a still more aggressive crackdown on a flower patch, when in 2012 Alberta police confiscated more than 1,600 "marijuana" plants -- that were actually Montauk daisies. Officers reportedly made the bust without first consulting a local unit that's dedicated to investigating marijuana grow operations. Presumably, those officers would have known the difference between marijuana and a daisy plant.

Enough Kenaf

One might be able to excuse initial confusion here, as kenaf -- a plant that grows in stalks and is traditionally used for its fibers -- has leaves that look somewhat like those of a marijuana plant.

In Mississippi in 2005, however, Marion Waltman didn't even get a chance to plead his case before police officers began cutting down more than 500 kenaf plants that he was growing as deer food. There may not have been much he could have done, as officers conducted a field test on the plants that suggested they weren't marijuana, and then proceeded with the operation.

Waltman later sued the sheriff for destruction of $225,000 in property. The case made it to federal court, where a judge ruled that Waltman hadn't shown that the mistake was "deliberate indifference" on the part of the sheriff and his deputies, and that they were therefore protected by qualified immunity.

Your Weed Smells Of Elderberries

In 1992, a Florida family claimed they were "cursed at, threatened at gunpoint and ordered to lie face down in their yard while two dozen deputies swarmed their property" looking for marijuana and growing equipment. The search, conducted without a warrant, came when a deputy followed up on a tip and found what he thought to be marijuana. It was an elderberry bush, which explains why officers found no evidence of drugs or drug-related equipment.

Seriously, this looks nothing like marijuana.

The family sued the police department for the mix-up and eventually agreed to a $40,000 settlement that came complete with a public apology by the county sheriff.

When A Plant Isn't A Plant At All

Officer Claude Weinert's first police raid was a complete failure. Responding to a report of a fire in a south Chicago suburb, Weinert spotted what he though was a marijuana plant growing in the second-story window of a house. He got a search warrant, his first as a cop, and returned with "two patrol officers and three plainclothes narcotics officers" to conduct the raid. The bust turned up a plastic plant, covered in lizards. The homeowner's son had purchased it as a place for the family's seven pet lizards to hang out.

The Nose Knows

In Quebec in 2011, officers learned the importance of conducting a thorough investigation before authorizing a raid. Despite having thermal imaging that they said suggested the home of Oliver MacQuat was a marijuana grow operation, police said they based their initial suspicions on a strong, skunky smell, often associated with weed. In the end, however, the culprit was an actual skunk that lived under the family's shed. MacQuat filed a suit following the raid and eventually settled out of court.


And in England in 2011, a couple in their late 50s drew police attention after neighbors reported that teenagers had been asking to buy marijuana at their house. After allowing a drug squad into their back yard, the confusion was proven to be the result of a patch of moss phlox in their backyard, which apparently smells enough like weed that it fooled a drug-sniffing dog, as well as a number of teens looking to get high.

This Is The Painting That Saved Bill Murray's Life

Tue, 2014-10-14 14:31
Whether he's crashing bachelor parties, nailing surprise karaoke performances or golfing in Internet-breaking PBR pants, Bill Murray never ceases to surprise us. And that's exactly what he's done with a touching story from the early days of his career.

This week, the Chicago Sun-Times' Cindy Pearlman notes the Illinois-born actor, who's in Toronto promoting his latest film, "St. Vincent," credits a painting at the Art Institute of Chicago with saving his life.

After his first experience on a stage did not go well, Murray has said, he headed toward Lake Michigan thinking, "If I’m going to die, I might as well go over toward the lake and float a bit." Before he reached the water, however, he arrived at the Art Institute and saw the "The Song of the Lark," a painting that truly moved him.

The painting, by 19th-century French realist painter Jules Breton, depicts a young peasant woman working in a field at sunrise.

(Photo by APIC/Getty Images)

During a February press conference in London, where Murray was promoting "The Monuments Men," he said: "I thought, 'Well there's a girl who doesn't have a whole lot of prospects, but the sun's coming up anyway and she's got another chance at it.' So I think that gave me some sort of feeling that I too am a person and I get another chance everyday the sun comes up."

The Breton painting isn't the only item in the museum that has been tied to the former "Saturday Night Live" star. A 17th-century Dutch chiaroscuro woodcut that's part of the museum's collection bears an eerily striking resemblance to the actor.

Why FOMO and MOMO Are Making You Feel Friendless

Tue, 2014-10-14 14:13
This article was written by teen reporters from The Mash, a weekly publication distributed to Chicagoland high schools.

By Elani Kaufman, Lincoln Park and Charlie Connelly​, Riverside Brookfield

It’s Friday night, you have no plans and you’re taking a break from binge-watching Netflix to scroll through your Instagram feed when you see it: a photo of your friends hanging out without you.

Why didn’t anyone invite you? Why does it look like they’re having so much fun? What are they doing later? Should you text them? What if no one responds?

Sounds like a classic case of FOMO.

FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” is a form of anxiety that causes people to feel like they’re missing out on something—a party, outing or social event. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as, “Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”

And yes, the acronym was added to the publication last year. But just how serious is FOMO?

“I absolutely think that this is a significant issue for adolescents,” said Jonathan Pochyly, an adolescent psychiatrist at Lurie Children’s Hospital. “The concept of (FOMO) is something that I am familiar with and talk with kids about, no question about it.”

According to a study by JWTIntelligence, 47 percent of teen millennials (13-17 years old) feel uneasy or nervous when they learn friends or peers are doing something they’re not. Forty-one percent said they spread themselves too thin to avoid FOMO. Sixty-five percent said it’s important to keep up a certain image on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

“FOMO doesn’t make me feel good because I see everyone else doing stuff and most of the time it’s my friends, and I’m just sitting at home doing nothing,” said Jones freshman Emmy Brewer.

The anxiety doesn’t just strike on the weekends. Patricia McAvoy, a social studies teacher at Mather, said the constant need to check social media is alarming—even in the classroom.

“Social media is an issue in class as (students) are constantly checking their phones for updates,” McAvoy said. “They feel a one hour class without being in contact is an issue, which I find a little over the top.”

Pochyly said the ease of today’s technology is both beneficial and hurtful to teens’ feelings.

“(Technology) is one of the things that makes life special for adolescents these days,” he explained. “There’s a lot of focus on what everyone else is doing. It became a trend and now that’s the thing to do, so there’s pressure to maintain that and keep up with it.”

As social media feeds constantly update with statuses about where friends are, what they’re doing and photos of them doing it, it’s easier than ever to feel left out.

But what about those rare instances when social media goes quiet—when even the most savvy Facebook users can’t figure out what their friends are doing? There’s a word for that, too: MOMO, or “mystery of missing out.”

MOMO is the hunch or feeling that you’re missing out on something, but you just don’t know what it is. Let’s say your best friend is “busy” on Friday night but doesn’t post a single photo, update or check-in on social media. There’s no hard proof that you missed out on anything, but the feeling of not knowing could cause anxiety.

“I constantly think that my friends are doing something without me when they don’t respond to a text or when I surf the Internet and they haven’t posted anything in a while,” said Riverside Brookfield senior Jake Lucas. “It’s a ridiculous feeling that I know I shouldn’t be having, but it still happens nonetheless.”

To combat FOMO and MOMO, Brewer said she uses a direct approach. If she starts feeling left out, she takes matters into her own hands.

“I usually just call people and talk to them,” she said. “I’d be upset for a bit, but then I realize that I should be reaching out to them.”

Oak Park and River Forest senior James Cullinane said he fights off FOMO by living in the now.

“If I’m hanging out with my friends around a bonfire, or even just sitting at home on my couch, I think it’s best to stay off social media and focus on what you’re doing in the moment,” Cullinane said.

Other teens like Riverside Brookfield senior Renee Kunkel stay completely disconnected from social media to avoid FOMO and MOMO.

“Sometimes I do feel like I’m out of the loop a little bit, but while I’m doing something in the moment I never have the urge to be doing something else,” Kunkel said. “I’ve always tried my best to be a person who lives in the moment.”

There’s no doubt that FOMO and MOMO will continue to affect teens, but Pochyly said he believes these feelings are simply side effects of growing up.

“These types of interactions with people are, by their very nature, a function of kids being more independent, seeking out connections with other people, moving away from just being a child in a home, and moving toward adulthood,” he explained.

In other words, sometimes growing up means not being invited to the party of the year or not being allowed to go to the sleepover on Saturday.

“You have to have the mentality that who you are with and what you are currently doing is the most important thing to you at the moment,” Cullinane said. “Otherwise, you’re putting yourself in a state of mind you really don’t want to be in.”

What’s the difference?

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
Seeing photos or posts on social media that make you feel like you’re missing out on fun.

MOMO (Mystery of Missing Out)
Wondering what you’re missing out on when no one’s shared any photos or posts on social media.

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