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How These 4 Major Companies Are Tackling The Autism Unemployment Rate

Thu, 2015-05-07 08:42
For adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, employment prospects are often disappointingly few and far between.

According to a 2013 report published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the underemployment starts early. Just over 50 percent of young adults with ASD worked for pay outside the home within eight years after they finished high school. And when they did, the work was part-time and low-paying more often than not. Only about 20 percent of young adults with ASD worked full-time at either a current or a most-recent job, and their average pay was just $8.10 an hour.

In total, the combined unemployment and underemployment for young adults with autism is estimated at 90 percent nationwide. People with ASD were said to have a worse “no participation” rate of unemployment than any other disability group tracked in a separate 2012 study from Washington University in St. Louis.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. As noted in a 2014 report published in the Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, some people with ASD possess a number of particular traits and attributes that are in-demand among employers, such as excellent visual perception and the ability to remain highly focused in certain situations.

Recognizing this, increasing numbers of businesses large and small are stepping up to not only recruit and employ adults with ASD, but to do so in a way that provides adequate support to ensure their talents and skills are put to use in an effective and sustainable way, benefitting both employer and employee.

There is a long way to go, according to Leslie Long, vice president of adult services at the national ASD advocacy group Autism Speaks, which late last month launched TheSpectrumCareers.com, a jobs portal aimed at promoting inclusive employment of the autism community.

“More progress needs to be made because there’s a whole population of individuals that need competitive employment,” Long told The Huffington Post. “We need to have a continued, sustained discussion on this topic.”

Below are examples of the work several major companies are doing to foster workplaces that are inclusive of people with ASD. Long is hopeful their work will inspire others to take similar steps.

"I still want to see the impact," Long said. "The leadership on this has to be across the board, at all levels for a change to happen."

1. Freddie Mac

In this July 13, 2008, file photo, Freddie Mac Corporate Office are seen in McLean, Virginia.

McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance firm Freddie Mac has been hiring recent college graduates with autism as paid interns through a partnership with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network since 2011. The graduates come from fields including computer science, mathematics or finance. ASAN helps the company train managers who help the interns acclimate to corporate life and also assists with crafting job descriptions for the company.

In a 2014 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Aaron Cohen, the firm’s first full-time hire as a result of the partnership, said, “[I]t’s a good fit for me. I like number crunching; that's always something I've liked doing.” Cohen, a data analyst in the firm’s information-technology department, has Asperger’s syndrome.

Stephanie Roemer, Freddie Mac’s diversity manager, told Reuters in 2013 that the program has been a success.

"Historically, there seemed to be a certain perception of this population as being incapable of performing corporate level work,” Roemer said. “In reality people on the spectrum offer so much to an organization ... willing to think outside of the box and view this cadre of talent as a 'value add.’”

2. Microsoft

The Visitor's Center at Microsoft Headquarters campus is pictured July 17, 2014 in Redmond, Washington. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Last month, Microsoft announced it is launching a small pilot program where it will hire people with autism for full-time positions in collaboration with Specialisterne, a Danish firm that assists with job training for people with autism. The program will begin in May with 10 candidates.

“Microsoft is stronger when we expand opportunity and we have a diverse workforce that represents our customers,” Mary Ellen Smith, the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant’s corporate vice president of worldwide operations, wrote in a company blog post on April 3. Smith's 19-year-old son was diagnosed with autism when he was 4 years old. "We believe there is a lot of untapped potential in the marketplace and we are encouraged by the strong level of readiness from the vendors who cater to this segment."

Microsoft previously hosted a hackathon aimed at developing new tech tools that could help families dealing with autism.

3. SAP

A general view of the headquarters of SAP AG, Germany's largest software company on January 8, 2013 in Walldorf, Germany. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

German software company SAP is another major firm that has partnered with Specialisterne to help people with autism find employment opportunities. In 2012, SAP launched the pilot version of its Autism at Work Initiative in India and later expanded it to Ireland. In India, according to Specialisterne, six people with autism have been hired as software testers. SAP offices in the U.S., Canada and Germany are now using the program, too.

According to the San Francisco Gate, the company’s eventual goal is that 1 percent of its global workforce will be people with ASD.

Jose Velasco, the head of SAP’s U.S. autism initiative, told the Gate that the company remains committed to the program’s continued rollout to the Czech Republic, Brazil and elsewhere “because of the business value and innovation promise it delivers.” 

“This is not about social responsibility or philanthropy,” Velasco continued. “SAP values the unique skills and abilities that people with autism bring to the workplace.”

4. Walgreens

In this Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 photo, people pass the Walgreens store in New York's Times Square. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Walgreens, based in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, is another corporate leader when it comes to this issue. The company employs a high number of individuals with autism and other disabilities at a distribution center in Anderson, South Carolina, which it opened in 2007. The pilot program in Anderson had such strong results -- the facility turned out to be the company’s most productive, and more than 200 other companies have toured it -- that Walgreens expanded the model to other distribution centers.

The program was spearheaded by Randy Lewis, formerly a senior vice president of the company. Lewis’ own son, Austin, has autism.

"People come to me and say, will this work in my environment? Yes, it will. This is not just a good thing to do, the right thing to do. This is better," Lewis told ABC News of the Anderson facility in 2008.

In addition, Walgreens has built a mock store in Evanston, Illinois, as part of a workplace training program for individuals with ASD and other disabilities. It established the program in partnership with the Have Dreams Academy.

Walgreens intends to hire and train more people with autism to work in its stores.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story included the incorrect first name of the Freddie Mac intern.

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Man Charged In Killing Of Illinois Student Selling Car On Craigslist

Thu, 2015-05-07 08:17
HAZELWOOD, Mo. (AP) — A St. Louis man has been arrested and charged with murder in the slaying of a 19-year-old Illinois college student who went missing while trying to sell his sports car on Craigslist, authorities said.

Capt. Tim Fagan of the Florissant, Missouri, police department said at a news conference Wednesday night that 24-year-old Michael Gordon was taken into custody Tuesday and was being held at the St. Louis County jail in lieu of $1 million bond. Gordon has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Taylor Clark, a sophomore engineering student at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

Fagan, the deputy commander of the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis and lead investigator in the case, said police arrested Gordon after his name was found in emails Gordon traded with Clark about the car Clark was trying to sell. Investigators said the two did not know one another before they met.

Police say Gordon is an employee of a truck driver training center in the St. Louis suburb of Hazelwood, Missouri, not far from where Clark's 2007 Nissan 350ZX and body were found Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether Gordon has an attorney.

Clark, who is from the southwestern Illinois town of St. Jacob, was reported missing by family members on Monday. Authorities say he was last seen by his girlfriend.

"Our hearts and minds are with Taylor Clark's family and friends as they cope with this tragic loss," SIU-E Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe said in a statement issued Wednesday. "At a time of the year when the new spring season brings the promise of brighter days ahead, and commencement provides unending potential for so many of our students, it is truly sad that Taylor had his bright future taken away."

The Belleville (Illinois) News-Democrat reported that Clark worked at a convenience store in Troy, where a candlelight vigil was scheduled for Wednesday night. A similar vigil was held Tuesday night on campus.

Clark's death comes during the same week as a Monday court hearing in St. Charles County in which a 23-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison for fatally stabbing a 45-year-old St. Louis man during an encounter and planned robbery in 2012 that was set up through a Craigslist ad. On the same day of the hearing, Fairview Heights, Illinois, police unveiled a "safe exchange zone" on its parking lot, complete with security cameras, to help citizens safely broker online transactions with strangers.

"You never know who it is you're contacting," Fagan said. "Precautions should be taken."

___

Associated Press reporter Jim Suhr in St. Louis contributed to this report.

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Follow Alan Scher Zagier on Twitter at http://twitter.com/azagier

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

Decade Of Change For College Students: Less Religious, More Diverse And Lonely

Thu, 2015-05-07 06:43
America's college students have become less religious, more stressed and overwhelmingly in favor of marriage equality over the past decade. Campus life has grown more complicated, with soaring complaints of sexual violence and students so captivated by social media that they're hanging out less with friends. And, with many students now burdened by a lifetime of student loan payments, graduation no longer provides a tidy passage from school to career.

For The Huffington Post's 10th birthday, we looked at how life for college students has changed over the past decade, digging deeper than last year's look at how pop culture has changed on campus since 2005. Here are some of the big developments:

College Students Are Less Religious

UCLA's massive annual Cooperative Institutional Research Program survey shows a growing number of students have no religious preference -- a trend that extends to religious schools. The survey typically includes responses from about 150,000 first-time, full-time students at more than 200 colleges and universities.

The number of freshmen who select "none" for their religious preference increased to about one in four in 2014, from about one in six in 2005. At the same time, the proportion of students at Catholic colleges not identifying with any religion rose to 14.9 percent in 2014 from 10.6 percent a decade earlier, the survey showed. At other religious colleges, the number nearly doubled, to 17.4 percent.



Students Are More Stressed, Depressed And Alone

The proportion of freshmen saying they "occasionally or frequently feel overwhelmed" by all they had to do jumped to 34 percent last year, from 24 percent in 2005. Only half of last year's freshmen consider themselves "above average or better" in emotional health, continuing a skid from 63 percent in 1985 and 54 percent in 2005.

Denise Hayes, president of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors in 2011, theorized at the time that the declining emotional health was connected to financial pressures.

"College tuition is higher, so they feel the pressure to give their parents their money's worth in terms of their academic performance," Hayes said then. "There's also a notion, and I think it's probably true, that the better their grades are, the better chance they have at finding a job."

Kevin Eagan, director of the UCLA program, told HuffPost this year that he sees a link between declining emotional health and time students' spend socializing. Students are more stressed, Eagan said, "because they're not allowing themselves to find the release from all of the stress." The proportion of students who said in the UCLA survey that they spent 16 or more hours a week socializing with friends dropped by nearly half, to 18 percent in 2014.



Schools Are Finally Offering Drug Treatment

Colleges have greatly expanded their approach to drug addicts on campus. The number of on-campus drug recovery programs has grown from 10 a decade ago to 135 in 2015, according to the nonprofit Transforming Youth Recovery. The vast majority started in the past five years.

These collegiate recovery initiatives are designed to support students who have sobered up and are looking for a support community. Transforming Youth Recovery said that by June 2014, it had "provided toolkits, assistance and $590,000 in seed grants to 59 colleges and universities striving to find and mobilize collegiate recovery assets that already exist."

Colleges Are Now Forced To Address Sexual Violence On Campus

The number of complaints alleging colleges and universities mishandled sexual violence on campus has soared since 2013, following a wave of student activism and increasing attention from federal officials. The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights has opened a record 120 investigations into 110 colleges, as of May 7, 2015 -- up from 55 schools under review a year earlier. A decade ago, sexual assault was obviously happening on campus, but there was virtually no national conversation about it.

An Education Department official said its Office of Civil Rights did not identify sexual violence as "a distinct subset of sexual harassment cases in its database until FY 2009," when the Obama administration took charge. Education Department data shows the annual number of complaints to the Office of Civil Rights nearly doubled to 9,989 in 2014 from 5,533 in 2005. The office received 854 complaints of sexual violence, harassment and gender discrimination in 2013 and 2014.

"I hope we will look back at these days as the bad old days, where our kids were too regularly raped, and when sexual violence was too much a part of the coming-of-age experience," Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department, told The Huffington Post in an interview. "I’d like very much for my two daughters, who will be in college in 10 years, to be able to focus on the life of the mind, as distinct from the life of the body."

With the growing number of allegations that colleges failed rape victims, accused students are fighting back with lawsuits, claiming they were falsely accused or denied due process. At least two Office of Civil Rights investigations have been prompted by grievances from students accused of sexual violence.

"We have to said to schools in our guidance that all students involved needed to be treated fairly -- that means respondents as well as accusers," Lhamon told HuffPost, adding, "I hope very much that no one glosses over that. It's very important."



Some students say schools still too often punish offenders with a wrist slap, or allow them to transfer to a different college. Activists said they hope that as the country pays more attention to campus sexual assault, reforms will hold schools accountable and improve the criminal justice system.

College Enrollment Swings With The Labor Market

The raw number of college students enrolled each year has continued to increase, but the percentage of high school graduates going straight into higher education has not.

The percentage of high school graduates moving immediately to college has mostly hovered between 61 percent and 69 percent since 1993. The number has slumped in recent years, and some experts suspect that may be due to an improving labor market.

College Enrollment By Race Has Changed.

Latino and Hispanic students have made the biggest increases in the proportion of students enrolled in higher education, increasing to 2.9 million in 2012 from 1.8 million in 2005, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Education.

The portion of students who say getting a better job was an important reason for college jumped to 86 percent in 2014 from 72 percent in 2005, according to the UCLA survey. This response had been mostly stable for decades, but rose significantly after the Great Recession began.

The Debate Over Whether College Is Still Worth It

Over the past decade, mounting student debt and a tough economy have fueled conversations about whether college is worth it.

Billionaire investor Peter Thiel started the Thiel Fellowship program, which provides thousands to students younger than 20 to drop out of school and pursue an entrepreneurship venture. Governors -- especially Republicans -- have been pushing schools to show graduates are career-ready, or to do more to push students away from liberal arts degrees that don't promise high salaries. President Barack Obama weighed into the debate in 2014, noting that "folks can make a lot more potentially with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree. … You can make a really good living and have a great career without getting a four-year college education."

However, the data on earning potential still says going to college is almost always worth it over the long term.

Struggling Borrowers

A growing number of graduates with student loans feel they have no other option than to go on strike against making their loan payments.

In 2005, Congress narrowly approved a financial services reform package that made it nearly impossible to discharge private student loans in bankruptcy. Federal student loans can't be cleared by bankruptcy under a 1976 law. What's more, nothing caps monthly payments on student debt.

As student loan debt now tops $1.2 trillion nationally, up from less than $400 billion in 2005, borrowers still can't refinance their loans to make repayment easier. And with the recent collapse of the large for-profit chain Corinthian Colleges resulting in thousands of students with debt to pay but no school to attend, the pressure is mounting for the government to intervene.

Changes In College Textbooks, For Worse And For Better

The cost of college textbooks has skyrocketed almost as fast as tuition, according to the Government Accountability Office. Textbook prices soared 82 percent in the decade that ended in 2012, roughly three times the rate of inflation, GAO said.



Student Public Interest Research Groups are pushing back, advocating open-source electronic textbooks they say could save students hundreds of dollars per semester. Electronic versions have already been adopted by more than 3,000 faculty nationwide, according to the Student PIRGs. Electronic textbooks could save students $1.42 billion each year.

Open-source textbooks cut the need for glossy print editions and can erase big publishing houses from the picture. The cost to produce them is far less, and updates can be made when needed. Essentially, it's like switching from printed encyclopedia collections to Wikipedia.

Pilot programs at some large universities have showed that converting classes to "open educational resources" can yield tremendous savings for students. One program at UMass-Amherst that cost $60,000 saved an estimated $851,530 for students. Another at Kansas State University that cost $96,250 up front resulted in $1.11 million in student savings.



Gay Marriage, Global Warming Are Settled Issues

Only "far right" students still believe same-sex marriage should be illegal, according to UCLA's survey. But even among that group, 44.3 percent either “agreed somewhat” or “agreed strongly” in marriage equality. Eighty-four percent of "middle-of-the-road" and 93.9 percent of "liberal" students believe in same-sex marriage rights.

"There are so few students in that far right group that they're not having a huge effect on the overall number -- it's largely not even an issue for today's college students," Eagan said. He predicted the survey will stop asking that question soon because students have become so overwhelmingly supportive of LGBT marriage rights.



A similar trend plays out for global warming. A majority of college students think it's an important issue the federal government should address, but not to the same extent as same-sex marriage.

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

Celebrating HuffPost's First 10 Years by Looking to the Next 10

Wed, 2015-05-06 17:30
It's May 9, 2005. A guy named Barack Obama is entering his fifth month as a U.S. senator. Benedict XVI has just become pope. Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" occupies the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and Britney Spears and Kevin Federline have recently tied the knot and sworn their everlasting love.

And a website called The Huffington Post is born.

We launched that day, a Monday, to decidedly mixed reviews; as I remember it, critics were lining up to predict it wouldn't last. One hour after we launched, a reviewer compared HuffPost to a combination of Ishtar, Heaven's Gate and Gigli. A year later she emailed me and asked if she could blog for the site, and of course I said yes.

In the ensuing 10 years we've made a point to say yes as much as possible, taking risks, embracing challenges and always seeing ourselves as a work in progress. Along the way we've changed dramatically, constantly evolving and innovating while staying true to our DNA, which, from Day 1, has been to inform and inspire, to entertain and empower. Today we're a combination of a global platform where people -- both known and unknown -- with something interesting to say can say it and a global Pulitzer Prize-winning journalistic enterprise with investigative reporters all around the world. On HuffPost there is no hierarchy; on the front page a post by French President François Hollande can appear next to a post by a college student with an interesting idea.

The Huffington Post's first tagline when we launched on May 9, 2005, was "Delivering news and opinion since May 9, 2005." Now it's been long enough that the tagline works in a different way.

But we've had a lot of slogans since then, like "Self-expression is the new entertainment," "Ubiquity is the new exclusivity" and "Social is the new front page." At some point, after much discussion, my co-founder Kenny Lerer prevailed, and we called ourselves "The Internet Newspaper," although we have long since stopped being just that, moving from providing just news and opinion to doing much more -- to helping people live the lives they want, not just the lives they settle for. At which point we began urging people to sleep their way to the top -- literally.

We've done a lot of reminiscing during our anniversary week, but our real focus is on looking ahead. That's why the theme for our 10-year anniversary is "The Next Ten." To celebrate this milestone, we're rolling out a range of special projects, launches and events -- the high and the low, the serious and the playful -- and all of them have something to say about where we're coming from and especially where we're going.

First, there's our mobile Web redesign, the ultimate reflection of our belief that mobile is the future, and the future is happening now. We want to offer our audience the best possible experience, and our team of mobile strategists, designers and engineers has been working with our agency partner, Code & Theory, to make that happen. And since we'll have 15 international editions in 10 languages by the end of the summer, our redesign supports translation across all these editions. That means all HuffPost readers around the world (half of our audience comes from outside the U.S.) will have access to the best of what we're producing and linking to and everything our bloggers are doing around the world. As always, we'll continue to iterate (and iterate, and iterate) based on what we learn, and desktop and tablet redesigns will follow.

As part of our 10-year coverage, we will have deeply reported profiles of some of the most influential figures of the moment, whose stature is only likely to increase in the next 10 years: FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Department of Justice prosecutor Vanita Gupta, anti-corruption activist and former New York gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout, socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, CREDO Mobile Political Director Becky Bond, Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson, campus sexual assault activists Annie Clark and Andrea Pino, climate change activist Karen Diver and reform-minded Congressman Adam Schiff.

And since at HuffPost we've always wanted to go beyond raising awareness to actually having in impact, we've partnered with CrowdRise to spotlight 10 causes we care about deeply, from LGBT rights and homelessness to drug policy and poverty. Check out all the causes here, and consider donating to a project that resonates with you.

To spread around the birthday love, we're featuring videos of ten 10-year-olds who were born on May 9, 2005. Check out the adorable and hilarious videos of kids sharing their thoughts on HuffPost ("It's a newspaper on Facebook," one child says), what's great about being 10 ("double digits," says another) and their wishes for themselves, their loved ones and the world.

On Saturday, May 16, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., the HuffPost Politics leadership team, Ryan Grim, Sam Stein and Amanda Terkel, will be speaking about HuffPost's origins and evolution and some of the biggest stories we've covered, including Sam's recent interview with President Obama.

We are also launching a series around the theme of "The Next Ten" featuring an incredible group of bloggers, all of them members of HuffPost's extended family, some of whom have been with us from the very beginning. We asked experts to look forward to the next decade in their respective fields. There's Robert Reich on class inequality, Kofi Annan on global democracy, Peter Diamandis on technology, Craig Newmark on media ethics, Matthew Cooke and Adrian Grenier on criminal sentencing, Christina Aguilera on the hunger crisis, Bill McKibben on environmental action, Adam Grant on meaningful work, Glenn Beck on media, Janice Min on the future of the celebrity magazine cover, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen on connectivity, Marc Benioff on innovation and civic engagement, Queen Rania of Jordan on preserving moral progress amidst technological progress, Bishop T.D. Jakes on the next 10 years in faith and many, many more.

It's also an amazing video moment for HuffPost. Since launching in August 2012, HuffPost Live has garnered 2.2 billion views, featured nearly 28,000 guests from more than 100 countries and won three consecutive Webby Awards for online video. But it's about so much more than the numbers. HuffPost Live has taken the secret ingredients that make HuffPost HuffPost -- the playfulness and unpredictability, the sense of occasion -- and put them on the air, opening up the conversation in ways we couldn't have imagined back in 2005. And now, with The HuffPost Show, we're taking a smart, satiric look at the week's top news stories, featuring a blend of provocative commentary, panel discussions, edgy digital videos and interviews with guests from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Russell Crowe and Tig Notaro.

And we are doubling down on video, expanding our original video offerings to include long-form series and documentaries and approaching a time when 50 percent of HuffPost content will have a video component. Among our highlights are HuffPost 10, a series of 10 short films from 10 different storytellers about the 10 people, things and ideas that are making the world a better place, and What's Working, reporting on people making positive changes around the world. We'll also be launching Culture Shock, based on the theme of how to thrive in the workplace that we have been covering relentlessly over the past year, which will look at the ways companies are innovating in the office. We're living through an amazing time, when more than 35 percent of American companies offer some sort of stress-reduction program, sleep and meditation are finally being seen as performance enhancers and companies are seeing that the long-term health of the bottom line and the health of their employees are in fact very much aligned.

Above all, in the next 10 years we are determined to reimagine journalism with our What's Working global initiative, taking it beyond the tired "If it bleeds, it leads" approach. We will of course continue covering the crises, the stories of violence, tragedy, dysfunction and corruption, but we're dramatically increasing our coverage of stories of innovation, creativity, ingenuity and compassion, because we believe we owe it to our readers to give a full picture of what is happening in the world. At the moment we talk about media coverage inspiring a lot of copycat crimes. We also want to produce the kind of journalism that inspires copycat solutions.

We are also thrilled to publish the first-ever feature from HuffPost Highline, our long-form project run by Rachel Morris and Greg Veis, who joined us four months ago from The New Republic: Duncan Murrell's extraordinary profile of Amaris Tyynismaa, a 13-year-old running prodigy who suffers from Tourette syndrome. HuffPost Highline will be a home for ambitious and creative long-form digital storytelling -- from profiles and essays to long-form interviews and investigations -- and starting in June we'll be publishing one long-form feature every week.

I'm grateful to everyone who has been a part of HuffPost from Day 1: our 850 editors, reporters and engineers around the world; those who are part of the HuffPost mafia who have left and gone on to build great new things; the boomerangers who left and came back; and our almost 100,000 bloggers around the world. Together they have gotten us to this point. And I am especially grateful to everyone who has read, viewed and shared what we're doing on HuffPost. We are here because of you.

So here's to the next 10. Now please enjoy these birthday messages from some members of our extended HuffPost family:

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What Will Happen to American Jobs, Incomes, and Wealth a Decade From Now?

Wed, 2015-05-06 17:14
What will happen to American jobs, incomes, and wealth a decade from now?

Predictions are hazardous but survivable. In 1991, in my book The Work of Nations, I separated almost all work into three categories, and then predicted what would happen to each of them.

The first category I called "routine production services," which entailed the kind of repetitive tasks performed by the old foot soldiers of American capitalism through most of the twentieth century -- done over and over, on an assembly line or in an office.

I estimated that such work then constituted about one-quarter of all jobs in the United States, but would decline steadily as such jobs were replaced by new labor-saving technologies and by workers in developing nations eager to do them for far lower wages. I also assumed the pay of remaining routine production workers in America would drop, for similar reasons.

I was not far wrong.

The second category I called "in-person services." This work had to be provided personally because the "human touch" was essential to it. It included retail sales workers, hotel and restaurant workers, nursing-home aides, realtors, childcare workers, home health-care aides, flight attendants, physical therapists, and security guards, among many others.

In 1990, by my estimate, such workers accounted for about 30 percent of all jobs in America, and I predicted their numbers would grow because -- given that their services were delivered in person -- neither advancing technologies nor foreign-based workers would be able to replace them.

I also predicted their pay would drop. They would be competing with a large number of former routine production workers, who could only find jobs in the "in-person" sector. They would also be competing with labor-saving machinery such as automated tellers, computerized cashiers, automatic car washes, robotized vending machines, and self-service gas pumps -- as well as "personal computers linked to television screens" through which "tomorrow's consumers will be able to buy furniture, appliances, and all sorts of electronic toys from their living rooms -- examining the merchandise from all angles, selecting whatever color, size, special features, and price seem most appealing, and then transmitting the order instantly to warehouses from which the selections will be shipped directly to their homes. So, too, with financial transactions, airline and hotel reservations, rental car agreements, and similar contracts, which will be executed between consumers in their homes and computer banks somewhere else on the globe."

Here again, my predictions were not far off. But I didn't foresee how quickly advanced technologies would begin to make inroads even on in-person services. Ten years from now I expect Amazon will have wiped out many of today's retail jobs, and Google's self-driving car will eliminate many bus drivers, truck drivers, sanitation workers, and even Uber drivers.

The third job category I named "symbolic-analytic services." Here I included all the problem-solving, problem-identifying, and strategic thinking that go into the manipulation of symbols - data, words, oral and visual representations.

I estimated in 1990 that symbolic analysts accounted for 20 percent of all American jobs, and expected their share to continue to grow, as would their incomes, because the demand for people to do these jobs would continue to outrun the supply of people capable of doing them. This widening disconnect between symbolic-analytic jobs and the other two major categories of work would, I predicted, be the major force driving widening inequality.

Again, I wasn't far off. But I didn't anticipate how quickly or how wide the divide would become, or how great a toll inequality and economic insecurity would take. I would never have expected, for example, that the life expectancy of an American white woman without a high school degree would decrease by five years between 1990 and 2008.

We are now faced not just with labor-replacing technologies but with knowledge-replacing technologies. The combination of advanced sensors, voice recognition, artificial intelligence, big data, text-mining, and pattern-recognition algorithms, is generating smart robots capable of quickly learning human actions, and even learning from one another. A revolution in life sciences is also underway, allowing drugs to be tailored to a patient's particular condition and genome.

If the current trend continues, many more symbolic analysts will be replaced in coming years. The two largest professionally intensive sectors of the United States -- health care and education -- will be particularly affected because of increasing pressures to hold down costs and, at the same time, the increasing accessibility of expert machines.

"We are now faced not just with labor-replacing technologies but with knowledge-replacing technologies."



We are on the verge of a wave of mobile health applications, for example, measuring everything from calories to blood pressure, along with software programs capable of performing the same functions as costly medical devices and diagnostic software that can tell you what it all means and what to do about it.

Schools and universities will likewise be reorganized around smart machines (although faculties will scream all the way). Many teachers and university professors are already on the way to being replaced by software -- so-called "MOOCs" (Massive Open Online Courses) and interactive online textbooks -- along with adjuncts that guide student learning.

As a result, income and wealth will become even more concentrated than they are today. Those who create or invest in blockbuster ideas will earn unprecedented sums and returns. The corollary is they will have enormous political power. But most people will not share in the monetary gains, and their political power will disappear. The middle class's share of the total economic pie will continue to shrink, while the share going to the very top will continue to grow.

But the current trend is not preordained to last, and only the most rigid technological determinist would assume this to be our inevitable fate. We can -- indeed, I believe we must -- ignite a political movement to reorganize the economy for the benefit of the many, rather than for the lavish lifestyles of a precious few and their heirs. (I have more to say on this in my upcoming book, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few, out at the end of September.)


This post is part of a series commemorating The Huffington Post's 10 Year Anniversary through expert opinions looking forward to the next decade in their respective fields. To see all of the posts in the series, read here.

___________________
ROBERT B. REICH's film "Inequality for All" is now available on DVD and blu-ray, and on Netflix.

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Watch Stephen Colbert Make A Delightful Fool Of Himself In 1992

Wed, 2015-05-06 16:58
Get a load of Stephen Colbert in 1992.

In a black and white clip posted Wednesday, Colbert performs a goofy acrobatic routine with Amy Sedaris and Joe Dinello in a Second City sketch. Splitsider notes that it was Sedaris' final show at Second City Northwest (but the three would later reunite on "Exit 57" and "Strangers with Candy").

Some impressive physical comedy, no?

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the Tumbleweeds!

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Chicago Police Torture Victims Finally Get Reparations

Wed, 2015-05-06 16:44
Chicago City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a landmark ordinance that sets aside $5.5 million in reparations for victims of police torture from the 1970s to the early-1990s -- the era of disgraced police Commander Jon Burge.

The more than 100 young black men, victims of Burge and his "midnight crew," were subjected to beatings, suffocation, electrocution and other abuse in order to force their confessions.

“Jon Burge’s actions are a disgrace -– to Chicago, to the hard-working men and women of the police department, and most importantly to those he was sworn to protect,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement Wednesday. “Today,
we stand together as a city to try and right those wrongs, and to bring this dark chapter of Chicago’s history to a close.”

The reparations fund has been years in the making, and reached a vote during the final meeting of City Council's current session.

Victims with a "credible claim" of police torture under Burge are eligible for up to $100,000 in reparations, and their families may receive assistance for college tuition, job training, mental health care and counseling.

The reparations package also includes a public acknowledgement of torture committed under Burge, a formal apology by City Council, a permanent memorial recognizing the victims, and the addition of the Burge case to the eighth grade and 10th grade history curricula for Chicago Public Schools.

“Chicago has taken a historic step to show the country, and the world, that there should be no expiration date on reparations for crimes as heinous as torture,” Steven W. Hawkins, Amnesty International USA’s executive director, said in a statement. “The United States is a country desperately in need of a more accountable police force. Passing this ordinance will not only give long-overdue reparations to survivors, it will help set a precedent of U.S. authorities taking concrete measures to hold torturers accountable."

Amnesty International said the reparations package marks the first time that survivors of "racially motivated police torture" have been granted compensation.

The city's budget crisis, however, means that reparations will only go to victims and their families if the victim is still living. Over the years, lawsuits and the legal defense for Burge and his crew have cost Chicago taxpayers roughly $100 million.

Burge was fired from the department in the early '90s, and in 2010 was convicted of perjury for lying about torturing suspects in his custody. He was sentenced to prison.

Last month, Burge finally broke his silence and spoke to a police-run blog, writing, "I find it hard to believe that the City's political leadership could even contemplate giving 'Reparations' to human vermin like them."

Burge, who has been released to a halfway house and currently lives in Florida, was able to keep his pension despite the Illinois attorney general's attempts to strip him of it following his conviction.

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'Key & Peele' Have The Secret To African Americans Avoiding Racism

Wed, 2015-05-06 14:53
Imagine that!

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have figured out how African Americans can avoid racist treatment by police! No, the solution doesn't exist in this world, but rather in an imaginary realm called "Negrotown." In Negrotown, African Americans can walk down the street without being hassled, catch a cab with ease and even wear hoodies in broad daylight!

Once again, in this sketch from the "Key & Peele" Season 5 premiere, the duo has found a funny way to address some very serious concerns about race in the U.S., and we have a feeling this won't be the last time. Definitely looking forward to more.

Season 5 of "Key And Peele" premieres July 8 on Comedy Central.

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These Honest (And Brilliant) Sex-Ed Quiz Answers Got A Teen Suspended

Wed, 2015-05-06 14:11
Now this is how you respond when your partner objects to condoms.

Last week, Imgur user dogsandcatsandlemursohmy posted what she claims is her younger sister's responses to a sex ed quiz. She wrote that her sister, then aged 14, was suspended for her sassy comebacks to any objections a sexual partner might raise to using a condom, like "Don't worry, I'm on the pill" and "I'd be embarrassed to use one."

View post on imgur.com

The user wrote that her younger sister was suspended mostly for the language she used in the responses, not her incredible, empowered attitude.

"She's an extremely amazing young lady," dogsandcatsandlemursohmy wrote in a comment. "I'm so proud of the woman she is becoming."

A young woman who can think of so many ways to stand up for herself when it comes to safe consensual sex is absolutely worth celebrating.

h/t Distractify

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House hears Rauner's Turnaround Agenda plan

Wed, 2015-05-06 13:19
Of the dozens of reforms contained in Gov. Bruce Rauner's Turnaround Agenda, adjusting the system for compensating workers who are injured on the job generally was considered the easiest to accomplish.

But a rare, day-long hearing before the entire Illinois House on Tuesday provided the best indication yet of the resistance Rauner will face as he tries to make passage of his pro-business agenda the starting point for budget negotiations with the Democrats who control the Illinois General Assembly.

The hearing was a rare procedure called a Committee of the Whole, in which an entire legislative chamber gathers to hear witness testimony on an issue. The hearing was scheduled by House Speaker Michael Madigan presumably as a show of force to Rauner as highly contentious budget negotiations get under way in Springfield. Rauner in February issued a budget plan that proposes to close a $6.2 billion gap solely by cutting spending.

The cuts are severe, and Rauner has told his Democratic counterparts that he will negotiate on possible new sources of revenue to avoid some of the cutting only after the General Assembly passes his Turnaround Agenda. Other components of that agenda include controversial measures like creating non-union right-to-work zones, passing a new pension reform plan, placing a term limits constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot and passing another amendment to remove pension protection language from the Illinois constitution.

Amid those ideas, adjusting a system that had undergone an extensive overhaul just four years ago seemed the most politically feasible of the bunch.

At least it seemed that way until Tuesday.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.

Some Illinois mayors are worried about Rauner's Turnaround Agenda for Illinois because they worry it could leave their towns with unfunded mandates--rules they must follow but no state money to ensure compliance. Nancy Mathieson explains at Reboot Illinois why these worries keep some Illinois mayors up at night.

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

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Illinois Sinks into Position as One of Five 'Sinkhole States'

Wed, 2015-05-06 13:01
This article is a guest view by Dannie Mahoney, the media relations manager with Truth in Accounting and State Date Labs.

It feels like driving around Chicago, all you see is pothole after pothole caused by winter weather. They're terrible for your car, and the traffic caused by construction to fix them is just as frustrating.

It seems to be an unending situation -- much like the state of Illinois' accumulation of debt.

The 'Sinkhole States'

While financial conditions in many states have shown improvement in the years after the recession that began in 2008, the economies of Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey continue to deteriorate.

These five states are being called "sinkholes" by Truth in Accounting, a nonprofit think tank in Chicago that analyzes state data, because they have the highest debt per taxpayer after available assets are tapped. Here is a chart from TIA's sister website, State Data Lab, comparing the increase in debt from the recession until recently, for the five sinkhole states.



'Taxpayer Burden'

In 2013, each Massachusetts taxpayer was liable for $28,000 in debt per person. In New Jersey, each taxpayer was responsible for paying $36,000 in liabilities. Each Illinois taxpayer was on the hook for $43,400, and each Connecticut taxpayer was liable for $48,100. Hawaii taxpayers were responsible for paying $27,000 per person in unfunded debt, the lowest per capita amount among the five sinkhole states.

'Taxpayer Burden' is each taxpayer's share of their state's debt after setting aside capital-related debt and assets. Remaining debt is primarily unpaid pension and retirement health promises.

These five states are now in this dire financial situation because they did not make sufficient contributions to their state pension and retirement health care funds when they had the funds available to do so. This debt should be of grave concern to the citizens of these states.

According to a recent Standard & Poor's Rating report, the nation's been on the road to recovery for several years. However, as the nation moves up and out of this recession it will also eventually cycle down, and into the next recession. The past eight recessions since 1961 have occurred once every 6.6 years, on average, and 2015 is six years since the last recession.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois to find out how much where Illinois' economy ranks in comparison to the rest of the country and what accounting practices got the state into this debt mess.

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

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

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

Illinois Sinks Into Position As One Of Five 'Sinkhole States'

Wed, 2015-05-06 13:01
This article is a guest view by Dannie Mahoney, the media relations manager with Truth in Accounting and State Date Labs.

It feels like driving around Chicago, all you see is pothole after pothole caused by winter weather. They're terrible for your car, and the traffic caused by construction to fix them is just as frustrating.

It seems to be an unending situation -- much like the state of Illinois' accumulation of debt.

The 'Sinkhole States'

While financial conditions in many states have shown improvement in the years after the recession that began in 2008, the economies of Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey continue to deteriorate.

These five states are being called "sinkholes" by Truth in Accounting, a nonprofit think tank in Chicago that analyzes state data, because they have the highest debt per taxpayer after available assets are tapped. Here is a chart from TIA's sister website, State Data Lab, comparing the increase in debt from the recession until recently, for the five sinkhole states.




'Taxpayer Burden'

In 2013, each Massachusetts taxpayer was liable for $28,000 in debt per person. In New Jersey, each taxpayer was responsible for paying $36,000 in liabilities. Each Illinois taxpayer was on the hook for $43,400, and each Connecticut taxpayer was liable for $48,100. Hawaii taxpayers were responsible for paying $27,000 per person in unfunded debt, the lowest per capita amount among the five sinkhole states.

'Taxpayer Burden' is each taxpayer's share of their state's debt after setting aside capital-related debt and assets. Remaining debt is primarily unpaid pension and retirement health promises.

These five states are now in this dire financial situation because they did not make sufficient contributions to their state pension and retirement health care funds when they had the funds available to do so. This debt should be of grave concern to the citizens of these states.

According to a recent Standard & Poor's Rating report, the nation's been on the road to recovery for several years. However, as the nation moves up and out of this recession it will also eventually cycle down, and into the next recession. The past eight recessions since 1961 have occurred once every 6.6 years, on average, and 2015 is six years since the last recession.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois to find out how much where Illinois' economy ranks in comparison to the rest of the country and what accounting practices got the state into this debt mess.

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

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

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Watch These Moms Flip Out When Their Kids Prank Call Them With Bad News

Wed, 2015-05-06 11:02
What a great gift!

Mother's Day is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate the woman who brought you into this world than to scare the bejeezus out of her? Elite Daily had young adults call their moms and reveal some terrible news, like, "I was arrested for public urination" and "I missed my birth control and I think I'm pregnant."

Their reactions are about what you would expect from a concerned mother who also isn't afraid to call her child an idiot.

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Feminists Have Taken Over #HowToSpotAFeminist, And It Is Glorious

Wed, 2015-05-06 10:56
When conservative radio host Doc Thompson started the hashtag #HowToSpotAFeminist over the weekend, he wasn't really talking about how to identify people who believe in social, political and economic equality of the sexes.

Instead, he sought to make fun of anyone who dared identify as a feminist. Thompson retweeted many responses from men's rights activists and other deeply confused people offering up negative stereotypes about feminists -- namely that they are all hairy, preachy harpies with "daddy issues" who exist to put men down.

However, actual feminists have co-opted the hashtag to spread awareness about what "the f-word" really means, and it's incredible. Some tackled the definition, while others took down stereotypes about what a feminist looks and acts like.

Here's how to spot an actual feminist. MRAs, take note.

#HowToSpotAFeminist Look in the mirror. Do you believe in equality for all people? If yes, congratulations! You have spotted a feminist.

— The UnSlut Project (@UnSlutProject) May 5, 2015


#HowToSpotAFeminist: Look for the kind, opened minded individual who sees the importance of gender equality... aren't they just the worst?

— JamesChats (@JamesChatsTV) May 6, 2015


She's the one who supports other women in the struggle for equality #howtospotafeminist

— Katha Pollitt (@KathaPollitt) May 5, 2015


#HowToSpotAFeminist holding her head high, wearing whatever she likes, confident gaze, generally acting like a human who deserves respect.

— sylva (@queenfeminist) May 6, 2015


He's awesome. #HowToSpotAFeminist pic.twitter.com/hoKZD5M8CM

— Elizabeth Plank (@feministabulous) May 5, 2015



#HowToSpotAFeminist I'm one!

— Kristen Schaal (@kristenschaaled) May 5, 2015




#HowToSpotAFeminist doing things in a safe consensual relationship you can't even dream out

— Sydette (@Blackamazon) May 6, 2015


"If you stand for equality, then you’re a feminist"-our Goodwill Ambassador @EmWatson tells you #HowToSpotAFeminist: http://t.co/q92Qh4va83

— UN Women (@UN_Women) May 5, 2015


#HowToSpotAFeminist Hey, guys, it's me, here! Still joyful, still a human being with quirks, still committed to human rights & dignity.

— Erin Matson (@erintothemax) May 5, 2015


Shifting culture, policy, and media towards equality 24/7. #howtospotafeminist

— jamiaw (@jamiaw) May 5, 2015


I don’t need femimss #HowToSpotAFeminist ?

You cannot. You will never even know she is there. Until it is too late.

— WomanAgainstFeminism (@NoToFeminism) May 5, 2015


#HowToSpotAFeminist: they support #reprorights, #reprofreedom, and full equality for all.

— NARAL (@NARAL) May 5, 2015


#HowToSpotAFeminist starter pack pic.twitter.com/ymEYTE13tn

— Richard Hine (@richardhine) May 5, 2015


Misandrist & Feminist are not synonymous. If you're uneducated about it, Google is a great friend. Free. Open 24/7. #HowToSpotAFeminist.

— mockingly derisive (@xeaux) May 5, 2015


#HowToSpotAFeminist ? Mmm how do you spot a descent person who believes in the equality of all humans ? Mmmmmmmmmm

— gswaggroom (@girumbishu) May 5, 2015


#HowToSpotAFeminist we don't have reflections due to an ancient vampire curse. We also leviate and discuss trivial things like equality.

— Butt Medler (@OreoSpeedwagon_) May 6, 2015


Do you think that 51% of the population should have it slightly worse than 49% the population? No? Well, okay then. #HowToSpotAFeminist

— Jenny Jaffe (@jennyjaffe) May 6, 2015

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Eating Bugs Has Never Been More Popular, But Will It Ever Go Mainstream?

Wed, 2015-05-06 09:21
A future in which cricket chips could be found on the shelves of an American grocery store next to their potato- and corn-based peers might not be that far off -- or at least that’s the hope of a number of start-ups selling food products that incorporate edible insects as key ingredients.

So far, there are energy bars made with cricket flour, chocolate-dipped and candy-coated worms, cricket cookies and cricket crackers, which were backed in a successful $33,000 Kickstarter campaign this month. Caterpillar sushi and mealworm tofu are also in the works.

Many of the insect-based food products already on the market were developed in response to a massive 2013 report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations that pushed for edible insects to be more widely considered as a global food source thanks to their many benefits.

Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, isn’t particularly unusual when considered on a global scale. Nearly 2 billion people around the world, particularly in parts of Central Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America, already eat insects regularly and have been doing so for years, the FAO report also noted. The most popular varieties eaten worldwide are beetles, caterpillars, bees, wasps and ants.

Among the benefits most frequently cited by entomophagy advocates are that the bugs are high in protein and are generally more sustainable and environmentally friendly than other animal proteins, according to the FAO report. Further, insects convert feed into protein more efficiently than chickens, cows or pigs -- not to mention they emit fewer greenhouse gases and less ammonia, and also require less land and water.

So, what's the holdup in the Western world? A new paper published in the journal Food Quality and Preference argued that current strategies to focus on insects’ environmental and nutritional benefits are falling short. Instead, the authors suggest, the insects should not be treated as something that must be "hidden" and should also be presented in a way that's pleasing to all the senses -- as all food should be.

"Insects have to find their own place, not as a substitute for chicken, or hidden in a cookie, but as insects, celebrated for what they are," wrote researchers from the University of London, Nordic Food Lab, and Oxford University.


Scorpion skewers are displayed as a vender waits for customers at a street stall Friday Jan. 6, 2012 in Beijing, China. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

There is also an ick factor to consider, too. Julie Lesnik, an anthropology professor at Wayne State University who specializes in entomophagy, told The Huffington Post that many Westerners have been taught from a young age to associate insects with the spread of disease or to think of them as agricultural pests, “a stigma translated into disgust and then we don’t eat them.”

Further, from an evolutionary perspective, Lesnik notes that when humans first arrived in both Europe and America, it would have been covered in ice to such a degree that insects were not available as an edible resource. Today, thanks to our colder winters, most insects are still not available year-round, compared to the warmer climates where bug-eating is much more commonplace.

As such, attempting to compare munching down on fried scorpions in Thailand to the same practice taking hold in the United States is like comparing apples to oranges, or, aphids to roseslugs. As Lesnik argues, there is no example of a people group who overwhelmingly stopped or drastically cut back on eating an affordable, readily available protein (such as beef) in favor of a more expensive, less available one (such as crickets).

“It doesn’t exist,” Lesnik noted. “What exists is people eating insects as a primary or major source of protein over an entire culture’s history. When you look at these populations, there’s no analogue to what we’re trying to do up here.”

The lack of a roadmap for "entopreneurs," as they've been coined, has made a trial-and-error approach par for the course.

When Rose Wang co-founded Six Foods with her Harvard roommate Laura D’Asaro, with the goal of creating and selling insect-based food products in 2013, they got started by ordering food-grade crickets and other insects from pet stores and farms, frying or baking them before giving them to people to try. Some tasters thought were into it, but most “freaked out," according to Wang.

Their experimenting eventually led Wang and D’Asaro to try grinding roasted crickets up and incorporating them with a bean flour to make tortilla chips, which they’ve branded as Chirps.

“The form really affected the way people responded to the idea,” Wang told HuffPost. “With chips, most Americans can identify it as something that’s very comforting and close to home. It makes you feel good that you’re eating it and it’s familiar and crunchy, compared to something a little bit more close to the insect itself.”


Six Foods' Chirps chips.

The product got off the ground in part thanks to a successful $70,000 Kickstarter campaign in May 2014 and customer response has been encouraging, even if one early potential investor told Wang their product was “the worst idea I’d ever heard.” The chips are currently sold online and at Cambridge Naturals in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in three flavors: aged cheddar, hickory barbecue and sea salt.

This year, the company is focused on getting its product into “as many stores as possible.” When they hold demo events in retail spaces, Wang says more than half of those they encounter walk away with a bag. But will they return for a second or third? Wang thinks so.

“We’re starting to see shifts in peoples’ minds after we started telling people about the benefits [of eating crickets],” Wang told HuffPost. “People stopped and actually listened and we feel like we’re watching the change happen in front of us little by little. We believe the ‘Why crickets?’ will get people to keep coming back and buying our products.”

Kevin Bachhuber, the owner and founder of Big Cricket Farms in Youngstown, Ohio, is even more optimistic. One year after he launched his food-grade cricket farming operation, he said they are currently seeing “a demand that is 100 times what we could possibly supply.” The farm is currently working to up its production in an attempt to keep up with an overwhelming level of interest from restaurants, distributors and start-ups.

“Just know the demand is there now,” Bachhuber said.


In this Nov. 16, 2010 photo, Shawna Guidry, production manager for crickets and mealworms at Fluker's Cricket Farm, holds a young cricket that she pulled from a bin in Port Allen, La. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Despite that demand, there is still good reason to question whether enough Westerners will adapt their diets to include insects in a meaningful way.

Brian Wansink, a professor of marketing and the director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, told HuffPost he believes insect-based products will fail to gain much of a foothold with consumers unless they move beyond marketed and perceived as novelties.

Instead, Wansink suggested that these start-ups “focus on the actual attributes or benefits it could have as an ingredient besides the fact that the product comes from a cricket,” such as the the sustainability benefits when compared to other proteins.

“For crickets to take hold, they have to be tied to some unique benefit or it has to be positioned as some kind of image product,” Wansink continued.

Companies like Six Foods will also need to come to terms with having a higher price point than more traditional proteins thanks to the significant subsidies received by producers in the beef and soy markets. Currently, Chirps chips are sold at a price of $15.99 for three 5-ounce bags, more than four times the average cost of a comparable amount of beef.

“Crickets will never be as cheap as beef unless the government realizes the potential and they help with this movement,” Lesnik said. “There’s only so much little start-ups can do without the government stepping in, but it’s hard to imagine a future where cricket lobbyists will get these benefits for cricket farmers.”

Still, Bachhuber believes the possibilities are real, even if noshing on crickets is no panacea. He hopes other start-ups will emerge who will experiment with other edible insects -- such as Rhino beetles or leafcutter ants, which are said to taste like bacon -- served in unusual ways ranging from grab-and-go snacks to gourmet preparations worthy of four-star restaurants.

“Crickets are not the miracle cure to all the food problems, Bachhuber said, "but they’re a neat trick and a well-established dietary component that fits well into existing food systems -- fit into it, not replace it."

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You Should Pay Someone To Build Your Facebook Page ... If You're Not Very Bright

Wed, 2015-05-06 08:15
Your grandmother would probably do it for you for free.

Come on, people. If you're struggling to build a Facebook page for yourself or for your business, we just have to ask a few questions. Is your business making buggy whips? Did you just update your store space with those new fangled electric lights? Do you still regret casting your vote for Calvin Coolidge?

WTFark has an outstanding video tackling the "Facebook page construction services" out there. Basically, you should be able to handle a Facebook page on your own.

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The Education Department Has A Huge Backlog Of Sexual Assault Investigations That's Still Growing

Tue, 2015-05-05 20:48
Two new reports show the U.S. Department of Education has been hit with a massive increase in complaints about schools' handling of sexual violence over the last few years. Meanwhile, the number of staff in the department's Office for Civil Rights has been dropping. The predictable result: a growing backlog of cases.

"We are standing a bit in front of the fire hose," Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department, told HuffPost.

Three Democratic senators said Tuesday that the latest data show why Congress needs to increase appropriations for the department.

The number of Title IX sexual violence complaints received by the department jumped from just 20 in fiscal year 2009 to 123 in fiscal 2014. As of April 8, 2015 -- a little over halfway through the current fiscal year -- the department had received 68 such complaints.

However, the number of staff has been falling at the Office for Civil Rights, which is tasked with enforcing Title IX. In 1985, the office had 788 full-time employees and received 4,981 Title IX complaints. By last year, its total staff had decreased to 544, while it received 9,989 complaints. (Title IX covers a range of gender equity issues in schools, including sexual violence, sexual harassment, parity in athletics and denial of benefits.)



The influx in complaints has led to more investigations -- shooting up from 55 colleges under scrutiny a year ago to 109 as of this week -- and the length of time it takes to finish these reviews is growing.

The new data come from two Education Department reports: a response letter prepared for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), which was publicized on Tuesday, and an annual report to Congress released last week.

"This data underscores that more must be done to address the backlog of ongoing Title IX investigations into how college campuses handle sexual assault, including the UVA investigation that has been pending since June 2011," Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said in a statement Tuesday, highlighting the ongoing inquiry at the University of Virginia.

Boxer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) also released statements calling for greater Education Department funding.

President Barack Obama's proposed fiscal 2016 budget would increase the Office for Civil Rights' funding by 31 percent to $131 million, which the Education Department has said it would use to hire 210 full-time employees.

The department's stated goal is to close Title IX investigations within 180 days. In its letter to Boxer, the Office for Civil Rights described the sexual violence cases as more complex and cautioned that such cases may raise "systemic, campus- and institution-wide issues" that take longer to fully review.

In sexual violence cases that resulted in a "substantive" closure, the investigations typically took around a year to complete from 2009 through 2012, according to the Boxer letter. That time increased as the number of complaints grew in 2013, and by 2014, sexual violence investigations at post-secondary institutions had stretched to an average of 1,469 days.

The Office for Civil Rights wrote that it hopes to close cases faster as it concludes some of the oldest investigations and if Congress increases its appropriations.

Lhamon said that her office's increased workload is partly of its own making. "We knew when we issued the guidance we did in 2011 calling out sexual violence as a civil rights issue, we knew that would increase the visibility of the issue," she said, referring to a Dear Colleague letter that detailed colleges' obligations regarding sexual violence on campus.

The attention focused on sexual assault allegations through student protests and the White House task force on campus rape has also led to more formal complaints.

The Office for Civil Rights staff have said in the past that their priority is taking corrective action, rather than punishing a school. In the Boxer letter, they note they have "experienced positive results" on that score using their ability to threaten federal funding if an institution doesn't fall in line.

The Boxer letter also noted that the number of "forcible sex offenses" in annual college crime statistics has nearly doubled from 3,264 in 2009 to 6,016 in 2013.

Colleges are required under the federal Clery Act to track and disclose the number of crimes, including sexual assaults, reported each year to the school. Ongoing investigations into possible Clery Act violations, which are not handled by the Office for Civil Rights, are not disclosed to the public. Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently told The Huffington Post that the department is considering releasing the names of schools under Clery compliance reviews.

Title IX Sexual Violence Complaints

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'Serial Stowaway' Mariyln Hartman Arrested At Chicago Airport Last Month

Tue, 2015-05-05 20:17

(Reuters) - A woman notorious for sneaking onto commercial airline flights was arrested at Chicago O'Hare International Airport late last month after she was found in a restricted area without a ticket, police said on Tuesday.

Marilyn Hartman, 64, was taken into custody on April 24 after police determined that she had no ticket and no official business or reason to be in the terminal, said Officer Barri Lemmon of the Chicago Police Department.

Hartman, who had been observed loitering near a ticket counter in the airport's international terminal, was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass and ordered to appear in court on May 29, Lemmon said.

Hartman, a retired legal secretary, has gained national attention for hanging around airports without tickets and attempting to board flights.

She has been arrested multiple times and sentenced to jail including last year in California after sneaking onto a Southwest Airlines flight from San Jose to Los Angeles.


(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Eric Beech)

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Remember, This Is What You're Actually Celebrating On Cinco De Mayo

Tue, 2015-05-05 17:01
Put down the salt and lime. Pick up a history book.

For most people in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo is about tequila shots and margaritas and everything that we think is 100 percent pure Mexico, but really is more just an excuse to party one more day out of the year. In reality, Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of Mexico's victory over the French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

If we celebrated every day in history when the French were defeated in battle ... well, national productivity would be at an all-time low, and late-night drunk food consumption would be at an all-time high. So, just remember that as you start partying on Cinco de Mayo. There's a reason to celebrate, but it's not sombreros.

Even though they're cool.









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Kent State: 45 Years Ago

Tue, 2015-05-05 16:45
It was May 4, 1970. We were high school seniors in Greater Cleveland, when Kent State exploded on a Monday, a mere 45 miles away, 45 years ago. Four students killed, nine wounded by National Guard gunfire. It's as if it were yesterday.

"How could this happen in America?," I thought at the time, harkening back two years earlier to my summer of 1968 in France, when Czech students took to the streets as Soviet tanks rolled through, crushing Czechs' reforms. I was studying the French language and culture under the auspices of the Utah-based Foreign Study League. My parents had scrimped and saved to give me this opportunity. But at age 15, in Evian, France, we foreign students, were a little too close for comfort to Soviet-overrun Czechoslovakia for our families back home.


Photo Credit: US State Department's website. Czech youths holding Czechoslovakian flags stand atop of an overturned truck as other Prague residents surround Soviet tanks in downtown Prague on Aug. 21, 1968. (AP Photo/Libor Hajsky/CTK)

I could see the apprehension give way to relief in my Bohemian grandmother Laura's eyes as I came down the plane's stairs safe and sound, returning home to Cleveland that August, escaping the tumult taking place in her mother's (my great-grandmother's) homeland. No doubt remembering, too, when her son (my father), returned home to Cleveland the summer of 1945, having survived the fighting in Europe during WWII. I was wearing a floral blazer with a white lacy shell underneath and a matching periwinkle blue pencil skirt with nylons and polished penny loafers. In those days, people wore their Sunday best when flying. As we hugged, I saw the tears in grandma's eyes with my parents standing nearby.

Now I have a nephew, a freshman, attending Kent State with campus commemorations open to the public, taking us back in time to those fateful noontime shootings. For the first time in 2015, a Kent State president, newcomer Dr. Beverly Warren, addressed the crowd on this anniversary date.

Tonight, I will phone a high school friend who started her freshman year at Kent State, a few short months, following the shootings. At our high school prom with our dates and nosegays, the preferred floral arrangement then, she wondered if she had made the right decision to attend Kent State, a decision she reached mainly because of the scholarship assistance which she would forfeit if she didn't go. She wasn't the only one sitting around a prom dinner table that night on their way to Kent State in September, second-guessing themselves.

Five years later in 1975, I found myself doing news reports from Cleveland for Westinghouse Broadcasting, also known as Group W, on the Kent State federal civil trial, where the parents of those killed along with the students wounded by National Guard gunfire were seeking money damages.

A high school friend sitting on a beach with her transistor radio propped up to her ear, dropped me a note, saying she had heard my Kent State trial reports on WINS-AM, an all-news New York City radio station. For a cub reporter, that was quite a thrill, yet bittersweet. When Kristin heard me on-air for the first time, I was reporting such a sad saga stretching back to our high school days together, a time when we dreamed of going to Seven Sister colleges far away from Cleveland, called "the mistake on the lake" in those days, and then we did.

A radio announcer from rival station, WERE-AM Radio in Cleveland, shouted into the microphone, "Not a penny," in relaying the news that a Cleveland jury had found in favor of the guardsmen and the governor. Years of appeals ensued going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court with many twists and turns along the way.

But what hurt most that day to my 20-something ears, was what I overheard the middle-aged anchormen saying to each other off the air in WJW-AM Radio's newsroom, the birthplace of rock 'n' roll, and where I anchored the afternoon news, the first woman to anchor and report news in that station's 50-year-history. Most were my father's age, some even my grandfather's age. They were delighted the parents of the students killed and the wounded students didn't get a penny and weren't shy about saying so aloud. So much for being objective journalists.

In 1980, around the tenth anniversary of the shootings, I interviewed wounded student Alan Canfora for Group W's WIND-AM Radio in Chicago. Canfora had been saved from death by an oak tree that took the bullets for him when the National Guard opened fire. I had also interviewed Canfora for an Akron, Ohio station, country music station, WSLR-AM "Whistler" Radio in 1978, just months before an out-of-court financial settlement was finally reached. The parents of the dead students reportedly ended up getting $15,000 each, the student paralyzed for life from bullets shot at him $350,000, the other three wounded students got amounts ranging from $15,000 to $42,000. Lawyers fees and court costs totaled $75,000.

Living in Canton, Ohio not far from Kent State, my uncle's dying wish was to live to celebrate his 90th birthday on Friday, May 1st, 2015 with his family all around. He did. A few days later, he breathed his last breath at 4 AM on May 4th, the anniversary of Kent State. Makes you think. A lot.

A woman from my college alma mater, Sherrilyn Ifill, Vassar '84, a cousin of PBS' Gwen Ifill, heads the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. She talked about possible solutions to the unrest and violence in the streets of Baltimore on CBS' Face the Nation , Sunday, May 3, 2015.

Wonder how my uncle who died after a lengthy illness on May 4, 2015, a psychiatrist by profession, would have commented on Baltimore. On my blog. Or over the phone. As he often did.

In Baltimore. Not the same National Guard troops as at Kent State. Different bodies in those uniforms. Different buildings destroyed in protest. Different cities. Different issues being protested. Yet in some ways, all the same. Making a difference. Or not.

From long ago, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young's protest song, "Ohio", written to tell Kent State's tale.



Lonna Saunders may be reached at lonna2@ msn.com.

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