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Ten Lessons I Hope Every Pet Owner Learned from the Chicago Canine Influenza Outbreak

Fri, 2015-04-17 15:17
1. Establish a relationship with your veterinarian. When your pet is ill, you want to be able to call your veterinarian and schedule an examination appointment as soon as possible. During this Chicago Canine Influenza crisis, no current Animal Medical Center of Chicago client was ever told that we would not see his/her coughing pet the same day. We saw over one hundred respiratory cases in the last 3 weeks.

2. Don't choose a veterinarian based on cost alone. Choose a veterinarian that is knowledgeable and attentive to your concerns. When your pet is sick, you want your veterinarian to diagnosis and treat your pet quickly and successfully. At my practice, every Canine Influenza patient we treated survived.

3. Don't share dishes. Don't allow your pet to drink out of communal water bowls in front of well-intentioned restaurants and store fronts. These communal bowls are potential cesspools that could make your pet sick. Additionally, don't let your pet eat out of the open cookie or food bins at pet stores that are strategically positioned for their taking. Other dogs, most likely, have been grazing there too!

4. Spray forward. If you and your infectious pet are riding in an elevator, as you depart the cab spray the inside with an aerosol disinfectant. If you're walking down an apartment hallway, use an aerosol disinfectant spray to minimize spread of this viral disease. Canine Influenza virus is easily destroyed by most disinfectants. At Animal Medical Center of Chicago, we have gone through dozens of containers of Lysol Disinfectant spray during these past few weeks.

5. Think twice before taking your pet to high-density pet areas where there is a high probability of being exposed to an infectious disease. Are you willing to take this risk?

6. Make sure your boarding, daycare or training facility is clean and insures only healthy and vaccinated pets enter the facility. I think it is imperative that these facilities require a biannual medical release from their veterinarian for entry.

7. Keep pets current on vaccines to reduce the likelihood of acquiring an infectious disease. Ask your veterinarian what vaccines would be best for your pet based on his/her lifestyle. Don't ask the clerk at the pet store or your dog walker which vaccines your pet should have. Would you ever ask the cashier at your grocery store what vaccines you should give your child?

8. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if your pet is ill. Waiting a few days to see if your ill pet may recover on his/her own is not always wise. Within 24 hours, dogs with Canine Influenza can rapidly progress from dogs with simple runny noses to dogs with severe difficulties breathing and high fevers. I strongly believe my clients' early recognition of their pet's ill heath and seeking immediate medical care saved their pets' lives.

9. It's never a good idea to take a puppy that has not completed his/her vaccine series to a pet store, dog friendly park, grooming parlor, daycare or boarding facility. The chances are high that this puppy could get sick from spending time there. I recommend minimizing a puppy's exposure to infectious agents until 10-14 days after their last immunization date.

10. Wash your hands after petting other dogs to minimize transmission of this invisible viral disease to your pet.

Hands down, this was the worst infectious outbreak in my 29-year veterinary career. I want to congratulate the Chicago pet owners for listening to our professional advice and being so proactive with their pet's health. I believe their willingness to keep their pets isolated from other dogs definitely saved pet's lives and reduced the number of ill pets. Great doctor and client collaboration!

Dr. Donna Solomon is a veterinarian at Animal Medical Center of Chicago and invites you to email her your questions or future topic ideas to

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Cardinal Francis George Dead: Retired Chicago Archbishop Dies At 78

Fri, 2015-04-17 14:29
Cardinal Francis George, the former archbishop of Chicago, died Friday at the age of 78 after a long battle with cancer.

George's successor, Blase Cupich, confirmed the news Friday afternoon.

"A man of peace, tenacity and courage has been called home to the Lord," Cupich said. "Cardinal George’s life’s journey began and ended in Chicago. He was a man of great courage who overcame many obstacles to become a priest."

In a statement, Monsignor Michael M. Boland, president of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, said, "Today we mourn the loss of an incredible leader, guiding spirit and loyal friend. Cardinal George had compassion for all. You saw this compassion in his eyes as he visited with the poor and most vulnerable in our communities."

He was a wonderful mentor to many, including me. He always supported the work of Catholic Charities and it was an incredible blessing to have his leadership help guide us for 17 years. He helped us tackle some of the most difficult issues facing our communities, always with faith and concern for the poorest of the poor. He exemplified our call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, showing mercy and kindness to all and leading by example.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said in a statement: "Francis Cardinal George was the spiritual leader of millions of Catholics in and around Chicago and touched the lives of countless others through the Church's schools, pastoral care and social services. He shepherded the Church through some of its most trying times, but leaves behind a strong community of faith that has tremendous positive impact on the people of Illinois, regardless of their creed. Diana and I pray that he rest in eternal peace.”

George was admitted to Chicago's Loyola University Medical Center in March for evaluation after ending treatment for kidney cancer.

He said in January that doctors had "run out of tricks" and that he had shifted his focus to his quality of life, rather than finding a cure. He had stopped receiving an experimental drug treatment in December.

George stepped down as leader of the Chicago Archdiocese in November.

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Rhymefest Says Friendship With Kanye Hasn't Changed Over The Years: 'He's The Same Guy'

Fri, 2015-04-17 14:10
Before Kanye was a stage-crashing, Kim-loving, globe-trotting hip-hop superstar (and tabloid fixture), he was a fellow Chicago rapper who wanted to jump Che "Rhymefest" Smith for talking smack, Smith recalled on HuffPost Live Thursday.

The two men would go on to become friends and collaborators, winning a Grammy in 2005 for co-writing the track "Jesus Walks."

"He's the same guy -- just a lot richer and a little more outrageous," Smith told HuffPost Live's Ricky Camilleri.

These days, Smith and West are still friends who collaborate on not just music but also philanthropy: Smith is the creative director for Donda's House, the artist development program for Chicago youth that West co-founded and named after his late mother, Donda West.

"I think one of the great things about the people we work with from Chicago is that we all come from a similar -- even though we come from different backgrounds -- we have a similar struggles," Smith said.

In addition to his childhood friendship with West, Smith talked about growing up without his father, later as an adult finding him homeless on the street and ultimately forgiving him for his years of absence, chronicled in the documentary "In My Father's House," which debuted Thursday at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Watch the full clip of Rhymefest's moving interview on HuffPost Live.

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11 Things To Watch Out For In The 2015 NBA Playoffs

Fri, 2015-04-17 12:41
The 2015 NBA Playoffs are here. The Atlanta Hawks locked up the 1 seed in the Eastern Conference weeks ago, as did Golden State out West. Defending champions San Antonio have now made the postseason trip for 25 of the past 26 years. And with their win over the Spurs, Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans earned their first playoffs berth in four years.

Let's take a look at some plays, people and trends to watch for during the playoffs.


John Wall made a pretty sizable leap in his fifth year, becoming a more consistent perimeter shooter and better offensive weapon. The former No. 1 overall pick posted career highs in both assists (10) and field goal percentage (45 percent). But both he and the Wizards are most lethal playing the transition game.

John Wall with the impressive 360 layup to stun Matt Barnes and the LA Clippers. #Wizards

— NBA Vines (@VinesNBA) March 21, 2015


Another must-watch point guard in the playoffs is Stephen Curry, who has not only become the game's premier point, but might become an MVP as well. What makes Curry's shooting so special is actually his handle. And his rare ability to shoot on the move, even with just the slightest time to get the shot off, is downright spectacular.

Steph Curry just BROKE Chris Paul's ankles on a double-crossover. #Warriors #Clippers

— NBA Vines (@VinesNBA) April 1, 2015

Stephen Curry plays tricks on 4 Clippers and then hits a fade-away 3-pointer

— NBA Vines (@VinesNBA) March 9, 2015

Steph Curry is so cold man

— Sports Vines (@TheSportsVines) March 5, 2015


If this play draws flagrant in the postseason, we'll all be disappointed.

Matt Barnes got a flagrant foul for this! Back in the 90s that's just a love bump!

— Sports Vines (@TheSportsVines) March 15, 2015


Tony Parker is scoring the fewest points in the paint this season that he's ever compiled, but that doesn't mean his pick-and-roll combo with Tim Duncan has suffered. The Spurs will lean on Kawhi Leonard for scoring, but the two-man game between Parker and Duncan -- or Manu Ginobili and Duncan -- remains as important as ever to this offense. In fact, in San Antonio's past 25 games, the team has achieved nearly the same offensive efficiency as it did during last year's playoffs, per ESPN Stats & Info.


We could show you a lob, but this dunk is simply too good. One of the question marks in the West is whether the Clippers are a legitimate threat. But what's not up for discussion is the Chris Paul-Blake Griffin pick-and-roll, which is nearly unstoppable -- especially when Doc Rivers can spread the floor with J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford. It's a big reason the Clips rank second in the league (behind the Warriors) in field goal percentage and rank third in three-point percentage. But Paul has yet to achieve real playoff success, and this might be his best chance to change that.


James Harden had one of the best years from a shooting guard we've seen in quite some time. His splits are downright scary, and with all due respect to Curry, Harden might be the most exciting isolation player in the league. We don't know what to make of Houston, but we can certainly look forward to seeing a lot of this.


As I wrote this week, Anthony Davis led the NBA in player efficiency, and firmly belongs in the MVP discussion. New Orleans is unlikely to mount much of a challenge against the Warriors, so enjoy him while you can. In his third season, the 22-year-old Chicago native has ranked first in blocks -- for the second straight year -- and became a go-to threat from 18-feet and in.


Atlanta's transition game is fueled by two things: the sensational end-to-end speed of All-Star point guard Jeff Teague, and the threat of multiple weapons filling lanes. In this case, All-Star forward Al Horford is rewarded for running the floor.

In these next three clips, we see the benefit of three-point bomber and All-Star Kyle Korver. Not only does Atlanta run offensive sets entirely for him, but his teammates know how to locate him on the floor, either for screens or kick-out threes.


We could show you a LaMarcus Aldridge turnaround, but instead we'll show you a couple triples. How many 4s and 5s can do this?


Damian Lillard is dirty.


Take your pick with highlights, but this one is pretty good. If the Cavs want to make a run, LeBron has to be on point in the speed game.

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

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12 Unsolved Murders in Illinois since 1974

Fri, 2015-04-17 11:07
While it is the job of police in Illinois to solve crimes committed in the state, not every crime ends with an explanation and a conviction. The Illinois State Police has a list of 24 unsolved murders since September 1974, in hopes that it may lead to new information, tips or leads from the public.

Here are the details surrounding 12 of those unsolved crimes from the Illinois State Police website. If anyone has information regarding these cases, specific contacts are listed for each unsolved crime. Emails can be sent to or by contacting your local ISP District.

24. Atkinson

  • Where: Inside her Atkinson home

  • When: Sept. 9, 1974

  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Mary Ann Becker (15,000 reward)

On Sept. 9, 1974, between the hours of 5:45 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., Mary Ann Becker was discovered dead inside her home in Atkinson. The circumstances of Mary Ann Becker's death resulted in a homicide investigation involving multiple police agencies. The investigation into Mary Ann Becker's death is currently ongoing. Mary Ann was a 16-year-old high school student in Atkinson at the time her life was taken.

23. Normal

  • Where: 602 S. Fell St. Normal

  • When: Dec. 23, 1975

  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Carol Rofstad (1,000 reward)

Carol Rofstad, who was 21 when she was killed, lived in Normal while attending Illinois State University. She was found beaten unconscious about noon Dec.23, 1975, outside her sorority house at 602 S. Fell St. The suspected murder weapon, an 18-inch piece of railroad tie, was found nearby. Rofstad wasn't found until roughly 12 hours after the attack. She died Christmas Eve as a result of head injuries.

Two men, one of whom carried a club, were seen between 10 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. on Dec. 22, 1975. Both were white males and between the ages of 18 and 25.

At the time of the attack, most students had already left campus for the holiday break. Instead of returning to Elk Grove Village, though, Rofstad had stayed in the Twin Cities to work at a retail store. Money was found in her purse and there was no evidence of sexual assault. Two women, in the sorority house, neither saw nor heard anything unusual.

Anyone with information in this case can call the Normal Police Department at (309) 454-9526, or Crime Stoppers of McLean County at (309) 828-1111.

22. Massac County

  • Where: Near Macedonia Church Rd and US Highway 45 in Massac County

  • When: March 30, 1984

  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Lisa Ann Carnes

Carnes' body was found in a field in rural Massac County near Macedonia Church Road and U.S. Highway 45.

Anyone who has information that may be helpful in solving this crime is asked to contact ISP Sergeant Chad Brown at (618) 845-3740, extension 282.

21. I-88, 120 miles west of Chicago

  • Where: Near mile marker 28.5, off of I-88 approximately 120 miles west of Chicago

  • When: May 20, 1986

  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Kathleen A. Goebeler, aka Kathleen Johnson

On May 20, 1986, ISP District 01 responded to an area of abandoned railroad tracks located on the south side of I-88, milepost 28.5, wherein a citizen had discovered the decomposed skeletal remains of a white female now identified as Kathleen A. Goebeler. Kathleen's maiden name is Johnson. Her last known address was Mckees Rocks, Penn., which is a suburb of Pittsburgh. Kathleen was last seen between April 11th and 18th, 1986, in Mckees Rocks, Penn.

It is known that Goebeler would hitch-hike as a means of transportation. Goebeler was known to have worked in strip clubs in the Pittsburgh area, Atlantic City, N.J. area and possibly the northwest West Virginia area.

Geographic information regarding the area wherein the female was found: I-88 is an east/west tollway which connects the Quad Cities with Chicago, Illinois (very rural in nature). This location was approximately 120 miles west of Chicago. At the time of death, I-88 was still Illinois Route 5, a four-lane highway. The body was found approximately 45 feet south of the roadway across a barbed wire fence in a sparsely wooded area.

If you have any information please contact Special Agent Nate Macklin 815/632-4012 Ext. 229.

20. Jarvis Township, Collinsville

  • Where: Lebanon Road, 1/10th of a mile west of the Troy and O'Fallon Rd. in Jarvis Township, Collinsville

  • When: July 20, 1990

  • Case details: Homicide investigation of unidentified female

On July 20, 1990, at 1:25 p.m., an unidentified, white female body was found in a bean field approximately 40 feet north of Lebanon Road, 1/10th of a mile west of the Troy and O'Fallon Road in Jarvis Township, Collinsville. The victim's death resulted from multiple cutting and stab wounds to the neck and torso; her fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries were missing. Evidence of surgical removal could not be determined. No defensive wounds were found on the victim. The body appeared to have been placed at the site two to three days prior to discovery.

Anyone with any information regarding the identification of the unidentified victim is urged to contact Detective Leonard Suhre, Madison County Sheriff's Department at (618) 692-4433 or (618) 692-0871.

19. Lawrence County, Miss.

  • Where: I-44 in rural Lawrence County, Miss., between Springfield and Joplin, Miss.

  • When: Aug. 23, 1992

  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Tammy J. Zywicki

On Aug. 23, 1992, Tammy J. Zywicki departed Evanston for college in Grinnell, IA, where she was expected to arrive that evening. Later that day, Zywicki's car was found by an Illinois State Trooper and ticketed as being abandoned. On Aug. 24, 1992, the vehicle was towed by ISP. On that same evening, Zywicki's mother contacted the ISP and advised them that her daughter had not arrived at college. On Sept. 1, 1992, Zywicki's body was located along Interstate Highway 44 (I-44) in rural Lawrence County, Miss.,, which is located between Springfield and Joplin, Miss. She had been stabbed to death.

Zywicki was reportedly last seen with her car on I-80 at mile marker 83 in LaSalle County between 3:10 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Aug. 23, 1992. It was also reported that a tractor/trailer was seen near Zywicki's vehicle during this time period. The driver of the tractor/trailer is described as a white male between 35 and 40 years of age, over six feet tall, with dark, bushy hair. Some of the victim's personal property is known to be missing, including a Cannon 35mm camera and a musical wrist watch with an umbrella on its face and it played a tune.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact S/A Jorge Fonseca, ISP at (815) 726-6377 Ext 286.

18. Jefferson County

  • Where: Wayne Fitzgerald State Park in Jefferson County

  • When: Jan. 24, 1993

  • Case details: Homicide investigation of unidentified female

On Jan. 27, 1993, the head of a white female was found in a wooded area in the Wayne Fitzgerald State Park in Jefferson County. Postmortem examination revealed the victim had approximately shoulder length reddish-brown hair.

Analysis by the University of Illinois Anthropology Department indicated the victim's age ranged between 30 to 50 years. Unusual skeletal characteristics of the skull and upper front cervical vertebrae indicate the victim suffered from chronic spasmodic torticollis, or wryneck, a condition which causes stress on the muscles which are responsible for maintaining upright head posture. Evidence of a healed traumatic lesion on the skull suggests this condition may have been preceded by head trauma; this would have resulted in the victim maintaining a leftward tilt of the head.

Anyone with any information that would help identify this unidentified victim is urged to contact Jefferson County Sheriff's Department at (618) 242-2141 or ISP, M/Sgt Myron Pansing at (618) 542-1137.

17. Williamson County

  • Where: Crab Orchard Lake in Williamson County

  • When: June 29, 1993

  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Keith L. Brown

On Feb. 3, 1993, the wife of Keith L. Brown, 34, of Buckner, reported her husband was missing. Brown's blue 1989 Plymouth hatchback, (IL. Reg. KWA682) was located two days later in a remote area near Crab Orchard Lake in Williamson County. On June 29,1993, Brown's skeletal remains were found in a hay field near Crab Orchard Lake by a farmer. Brown had been shot several times.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Master Sergeant Stanton Diggs, ISP, at (618) 542-2171 ext.8090.

16. Elgin

  • Where: I-90 in Elgin

  • When: July 24, 1993

  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Carmen Charneco (5,000 reward)

Carmen Charneco was found murdered on July 24, 1993 on I-90 in Elgin. The ISP is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of Edwin Acevedo Rodriguez, a 42-year-old Hispanic male.

Rodriguez is a wanted fugitive who fled the Elgin area in July 1993 and is wanted for questioning in the death of Charneco. Rodriguez should be considered armed and dangerous. Rodriguez has a history of drugs and weapons and has been identified as a member of the street gang "Maniac Latin Disciples." Rodriguez has relatives in and has been sighted in Brooklyn, Bronx, New York, New York and the areas surrounding Aguada, Aguadilla Puerto Rico. He was also sighted in Hialeah, Florida. Rodriguez is a Puerto Rican male, approximately 5 feet, 3 - 5 inches tall, with black hair and brown eyes. When last seen, his weight was approximately 132-150 pounds, but this description is dated. Rodriguez has several tattoos including ones on his left and right thighs, right arm, forearm, and shoulder.

The attached photograph shows Rodriguez as he looked in 1993 (the last photo shows what he might look like today).

15. Decatur

  • Where: House for sale in Macon County

  • When: Aug. 5, 1994

  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Sherry Lewis (10,000 reward)

On Aug. 5, 1994, 30-year-old Sherry L. Lewis, a Decatur realtor, was found deceased in a Macon County residence that was for sale which she had an appointment to show. The family of Sherry Lewis is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the murder.

Anyone with information regarding the Lewis murder should contact the Macon County Sheriff's Office at (217) 424-1337.

14. Cook County

  • Where: Sanitary Shipping Canal, one mile east of Routes 83 and 171 in Cook County

  • When: Oct. 10, 1994

  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Jeffery W. Archer

The ISP, District Chicago Investigations is seeking assistance regarding the death of Jeffery W. Archer. He was last seen leaving his 1990 Plymouth Voyager, Illinois Registration TU5880 on Oct. 10, 1994, at approximately 5:00 p.m. in the area of 6900 South Wolf Road, Indian Head Park. His body was recovered on Oct. 16, 1994, from the Sanitary Shipping Canal, one mile east of Routes 83 and 171.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact ISP Zone 1 Investigations at (847) 608-3200 to provide any additional information.

13. Nokomis

  • Where: 527 South Maple, Nokomis in Montgomery County

  • When: Nov. 1, 1995

  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Shana M. Jaros

The ISP, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, and the Nokomis Police Department are seeking assistance regarding the homicide of Shana Marie Jaros, of Nokomis. Just before 7:00 a.m., on Nov. 1, 1995, Jaros' deceased body was discovered in her apartment of one week at 527 South Maple, Nokomis. A neighbor reported she heard a scuffle in Jaros's apartment at approximately 4:46 a.m. The neighbor did not observe anyone leaving the victim's apartment immediately thereafter. Jaros received more than 50 stab-cutting wounds from just above her breasts to her neck. Death resulted from massive blood loss.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Sergeant Mike Sheeley, ISP, District 18 Headquarters at 217/324-2515; or Analyst John Roman, ISP, Field Support Section at (888) 375-9611, or

Check out Reboot Illinois to see 12 more recent unsolved crimes, including deaths in 2010 and 2007. Remember to contact the Illinois State Police with any information about these unsolved crimes.

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

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Northern Illinois University Offers Class On 'Game Of Thrones'

Fri, 2015-04-17 10:06
DEKALB, Ill. (AP) -- Northern Illinois University is offering a course this semester on the HBO series "Game of Thrones."

The University Honors Program calls the class "Game of Thrones, Television and Medieval History" and students can take the course for honors credit, The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle reported ( ). The popular cable television show, based on books by George R.R. Martin, is in its fifth season.

"It represents aspects of the Middle Ages much more realistically than other media depictions that purport to be more accurate," co-professor Valerie Garver said. "It stands out because it comments on the human condition in a way that seems real to people. It's a really good example of a piece of modern culture that draws on how the past impacts the present."

The course's syllabus includes readings and watching episodes of the show. Students also see presentations on how the show relates to modern cable technology, history and current events.

NIU plans to offer the class again next spring, Garver's co-professor Jeff Chown said.

"There was tremendous demand. I think the class filled up in about an hour," Chown said.

Junior accounting major Alex Weier said the show is deeper and more in-depth than many realize.

"The themes of the show are reality-based themes, where good doesn't always beat evil," he said. "It keeps you on your toes."

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Injecting Your Meat with Flavor

Fri, 2015-04-17 07:33

As many barbecue pros know, injecting is the most efficient way to add flavor and moisture to smoked, barbecued, or grilled food. Think of injecting as marinating from the inside out.

Let me explain. Rubs, spice pastes, and glazes sit on the meat's surface. Marinades penetrate only a few millimeters into the meat. Brining and curing solutions do reach the center, but require several days or weeks to do so (a process that takes up major real estate in your refrigerator). Injecting gets the flavor to the center of the food in seconds with the push of a plunger.

Many injectors look like oversize hypodermic needles. The syringe (plastic or stainless steel) typically comes with a 2- to 4-ounce capacity--enough for most barbecue projects. Use it for injecting broth, melted butter, or other liquid seasonings. For thicker flavoring mixtures (like pesto or jerk seasoning), invest in a wide mouth injector--often sold with a metal spike for making a deep hole in the meat in which you inject your spice paste.

To use an injector, fully depress the plunger and insert the needle in the injector sauce. (Some needles are closed at the end but have holes along the sides. Make sure the perforations are fully submerged in the sauce.) Pull the plunger back to fill the syringe with liquid. Plunge the needle deep in the meat, then depress the plunger slowly and steadily. (A quick plunge may send streams of injector sauce squirting in the opposite direction.) Withdraw the needle gradually.

Alternatively, minimize the number of holes you put in the meat by angling the needle in two or three directions using the same entry hole. Continue injecting until liquid begins leaking from the holes, indicating the meat cannot hold any more. For easier clean-up, work over a rimmed baking sheet.

So what should you inject with your injector? The short list includes broth or stock, melted butter or olive oil, cognac or whiskey, hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce or soy sauce, or a combination of these ingredients. For a touch of sweetness, add fruit juice or molasses or honey. (Warm the latter in a saucepan of simmering water so they flow easily.)

As for the target, good candidates include large cuts of meat, like whole hogs, hams, and pork shoulders, whole turkeys and chickens, briskets, etc., plus intrinsically dry meats like pork loin, lamb leg, beef round roast, and double thick pork chops.

Get more tips on injecting, recommended injectors, and an injector sauce recipe, at

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Steven Raichlen is the author of the Barbecue! Bible cookbook series and the host of Primal Grill on PBS. His web site is

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Notre Dame, Stung By 'The Hunting Ground,' Is Under U.S. Investigation For Sexual Harassment Cases

Thu, 2015-04-16 23:02
The University of Notre Dame, which the documentary "The Hunting Ground" prominently accuses of botching rape cases, is the subject of a U.S. Department of Education civil rights investigation into complaints that sexual harassment victims were tormented by the school's bewildering system for handling sex cases.

The Catholic university, which on Friday plans to screen the documentary on its campus in South Bend, Indiana, has been under investigation by the department's Office of Civil Rights for nearly two years, and hasn't publicly disclosed the probes. Two 2013 filings, obtained by The Huffington Post, portray the school's complaint process as a confusing mire of inaccurate information and dodged responsibility, bouncing victims along for months without explanation.

Notre Dame has called "The Hunting Ground" inaccurate and says the film fails to acknowledge the school's efforts to combat sexual violence. The film highlights the case of Lizzy Seeberg, a student at nearby Saint Mary's College who committed suicide in 2010 after reporting that a Notre Dame football player violated her. "The Hunting Ground" argues that Notre Dame didn't promptly investigate Seeberg's case, and that campus police officers were told not to contact football players.

Notre Dame released a statement before the film's showing, praising discussions generated by documentary. But the school said the film is "wrong in unsupported and inaccurate assertions that the university sought to suppress crime statistics and shield athletes from investigators."

Notre Dame did not respond to request for comment about Department of Education investigation. The students involved in the complaints asked to remain anonymous to avoid retaliation.

The revelation that Notre Dame is under federal review shows that the Education Department is investigating many more U.S. colleges and universities for their handling of sexual harassment than was previously known. The department's Office of Civil Rights had said previously that it is investigating the handling of sexual assault cases at 105 colleges and universities.

But Notre Dame hasn't appeared on the department's list because the tally only notes investigations involving sexual assault -- and not sexual harassment. The Education Department confirmed Thursday that its Office of Civil Rights is investigating 137 colleges and universities for their handling of either sexual violence or sexual harassment cases.

Both complaints allege that Notre Dame failed to thoroughly investigate sexual harassment cases, and that victims struggled to get officials to explain the process. Multiple officials weren't clear on what constituted retaliation under Notre Dame policies, and students reporting sexual harassment were sent in different directions to report their concerns, the complaints allege.

One student said she was told she hadn't made a formal Title IX complaint after she had emailed details of several incidents to three administrators. Administrators promised to investigate one academic department based on a student's testimony, according to the complaints, but then decided not to proceed.

One of the complaints alleges that the school's Title IX coordinator told a student she had never dealt with a student-on-student sexual assault case. The administrator also was said to have asserted that Notre Dame wasn't bound by 2011 Education Department guidance on sexual violence because it was "opining on what in an optimal universe, universities would do."

The Office of Civil Rights concluded a similar probe of Notre Dame in 2011, saying the school had "not always clearly instructed as to the processes that would be followed after a report of sexual misconduct or sexual assault was made." The lack of clarity served as "a source of confusion" for victims, the probe concluded. The university told federal officials at the time that it would ensure its policies and procedures reflected the Education Department's 2011 guidance.

Kirby Dick, the Academy Award-nominated director behind "The Hunting Ground," said the complaints against Notre Dame show that the school's improvements have been insufficient.

"Interviews with more than two dozen sources including current and former students, current and former employees as well as parents confirm that Notre Dame has a history of mishandling sexual assault cases, discouraging survivors from reporting and shielding athletes from investigators, all of which suppress crime statistics," Dick said.

Dick said he applauds Notre Dame for screening the “The Hunting Ground” on its campus and hopes the film spurs "the reforms needed to best protect students."

"The Hunting Ground" examines cases at other schools also under investigation by Department of Education, including Florida State University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Harvard Law School.

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Should the Police Be Armed?

Thu, 2015-04-16 19:44
The cellphone video "reality footage" just doesn't stop. Black men are shot, killed, handcuffed. The shortcomings of their prematurely terminated lives soon become public knowledge, vaguely justifying the shocking wrongness of the officer's action -- always poisoning the grief.

The family, the loved ones, the sympathetic sector of the American (and global) public demand "justice." Even when they get it, or sort of get it, in the form of an arrest or some official expression of regret, the victim -- the human being they valued -- is still dead.

Nothing changes.

At least it seems as though nothing changes, but of course change, in the form of outrage, revulsion, disbelief -- and, ultimately, awareness -- is stirring in the collective mind. How it will manifest in the form of specific social policy is, of course, unknown. The status quo, after all, has plenty of defenders -- and they're armed.

And being armed is primarily a liability, a surefire means, so to speak, of increasing one's insecurity. Socially, we cling to this insecurity, roiling matters immeasurably. Given this, how do we even begin to have the serious conversation we need to have about who we are and how we need to change -- a conversation that goes as deep as a bullet?

Here's one place to begin: Should the police be armed?

I ask this mindful of the enormous controversy it instantly sets off. An alternative, but related, question is simply: What sort of policing do we actually want? Right now we straddle a terrifying polarity: community policing, in which officers serve and have accountability primarily to the public they work with and protect; or militarized policing, in which officers have accountability primarily to an entity, "the state" or some other interest, that is separate from the neighborhood they patrol.

The latter is mostly what we have, especially in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. The images of policing in these neighborhoods are mostly the shocking videos that capture instantaneous death sentences handed out for minor misbehavior. But there are counter-images as well, such as that of Chris Magnus, the police chief of Richmond, Calif., joining a protest last December and holding a sign that proclaimed: "Black Lives Matter." He stood holding the sign for four and a half hours, the amount of time Michael Brown's unattended body lay on the sidewalk in Ferguson, Mo.

"The whole point of holding the sign," he said, as quoted recently at Aljazeera America, "was to acknowledge that relationships can be better between police and communities of color, that that happens through dialogue and communication and relationship building."

Dialogue, communication, relationship-building... This isn't what we think of as cop talk. But this is the essence of community-based, community-accountable policing. Can you imagine? Policing based on mutual respect? It's the opposite of racial profiling. It's the opposite of the army-of-occupation scenario the media endlessly purvey. With this sort of M.O., unarmed policing -- the sort of policing that actually exists in Great Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and New Zealand -- becomes, perhaps, imaginable. First, of course, one needs to be able to imagine a source of strength and authority beyond the barrel of a gun.

Community-accountable policing has another problem in the United States as well. I was alerted to it by an offhand reference in an excellent article on British policing by Jon Kelly, which ran in the BBC News Magazine in 2012. Kelly noted at one point: "But to most inhabitants of the U.K. -- with the notable exception of Northern Ireland -- it is a normal, unremarkable state of affairs that most front-line officers do not carry guns."

In Northern Ireland, the British police would be more like an occupying army, making unarmed policing a bit awkward, you might say. Here in the USA, the police tradition is rooted in the control of "enemy" populations, having its origins, as historians have pointed out, in Southern slave patrols, New England and Midwestern "Indian constables" and other armed squads with a mission to suppress non-citizen (and generally non-white) populations within our borders.

Such history is terrifyingly apparent in every video of a police officer shooting a black man in the back that gets posted on YouTube. It's the scenario of an army of occupation in us-vs.-them mode, utterly separate from the community it's "protecting," maintaining a semblance of order through sheer armed domination. This is militarized policing, combined with racism; it's the opposite of community policing.

Complicating these historical roots is modern-day militarism and the war metaphor that acts as a substitute for thought among so many powerful people. For instance: "In 1934," Auandaru Nirhani writes, "FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover would attach the concept of war to policing when he declared the first 'war against crime.'"

Other pretend wars, including the Reagan-era "war on drugs," along with a bellicose foreign policy, have further militarized domestic policing, especially in recent years, as the Defense Department has begun dumping its excess military hardware on local police departments at bargain-basement prices. And police officers turn more and more into soldiers in an occupying army.

"I see the police conducting themselves in a highly militaristic fashion on routine patrol activities -- and I know that's what they're doing because I come from that world," Thomas Nolan, a criminology professor and former senior policy analyst with the Department of Homeland Security, told Travis Gettys, writing for Raw Story. "What I experience and what people on the street experience is a palpable, tangible sense of fear, and that is that we are unsafe if police need semiautomatic rifles to protect us and to keep us safe."

Indeed, when police carry semiautomatic rifles, no one is safe. When we wage endless war at home, especially when we wage war entwined with historical racism, no one is safe. Video surveillance and an overabundance of cellphones are no substitute for a national embrace of community policing, gradual disarmament and a reverence for every life.

- - -
Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound (Xenos Press), is still available. Contact him at or visit his website at


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When Dove's 'Choose Beautiful' Campaign Gets Remade For Men, It's All About #SizeMatters

Thu, 2015-04-16 15:56
It's a big decision.

This month Dove launched a new campaign "Choose Beautiful" that challenged women to consider their own looks and either walk through a door labeled "average" or one labeled "beautiful." As you can imagine, it was a much-talked about experiment on social media.

Cue Funny or Die with a parody that replaces the female subjects with men and asks them to make an equally tough decision on how to describe their bodies: Do you have an "average dick" or a "big dick"?

Without further ado, watch a bunch of men wrestle with what might be the most trying question of their lives.

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Chef Homaro Cantu: Creative Genius and Giver of Gifts

Thu, 2015-04-16 13:11
Chef Homaro (Omar) Cantu said yes to everything. He was a believer in possibilities, in people, in change. An inventor, a creative genius and a leader in molecular gastronomy, as well as a Michelin-starred chef, Cantu believed that one person with one idea could change the world, and he moved through the world spreading his determined passion to everyone he met. This is why his death this week at 38, declared suicide by hanging, makes no sense. Cantu was a fighter. Cantu was a champion. Cantu was an optimist. He gave so much, and helped so many. How is this tragedy possible?

But even Atlas could only carry so much. With a lawsuit on his shoulders, the exiting of Executive Chef Richie Farina from Cantu's prized Moto Restaurant, along with the building of his new Berrista Café and the pending opening of his brew-pub, Crooked Fork, Cantu certainly had more than his fair share on his plate. Still, this question lingers: how could a man who touched so many lives and lent a hand to so many feel so alone that he perceives his only option is to take his own life?

This question lingers and gnaws at me and cripples my heart because I was one of the people that Chef Omar Cantu helped.

In early 2010, as a no-name, new-to-journalism, one-woman production company, I asked Cantu, a complete stranger to me then, if he would be my first TV interview for my new show, Fear No ART Chicago, which I hoped would appear on WTTW, but I wasn't certain. He said yes without hesitation and cleared an entire afternoon for the shoot in the "lab" downstairs at Moto. In addition, he was dedicated to getting his team in front of the camera so that their skills and talents could be highlighted.

In the show segment below, you see Cantu as cool as ever despite my nervous and novice nature. He was my first on-camera interview.

Fast forward to the end of 2011. I wanted to launch a new show that would be both a live event and a live stream, filmed for later airing. It would be a celebrity, roundtable talk show over food cooked by a prominent chef. The live audience of 150 would be eating and joining in the conversation via Twitter, so it was also sort of a flashmob dinner party. I told Cantu that I hadn't worked out all the details yet, but I asked if he would be my first guest chef.

Just as he had done before, Chef Cantu said yes without a moment's hesitation and became the first chef, along with Richie Farina, on The Dinner Party. In fact, I don't even know if The Dinner Party would have come so far so fast if Chef Cantu hadn't been the first chef on the show, jump-starting it into high gear by granting it his creative and culinary stamp of approval. To boot, he even introduced me to The Dinner Party's first sponsor.

Chef Homaro Cantu on the first The Dinner Party, making his classic Cigar Sandwich, January 2012.

Our paths continued to cross over the years and we became friendly through business. I interviewed him for this publication when his Miracle Berry Cookbook came out, and I worked with him briefly on The Trotter Project. We saw each other on the red carpet for the screening of The Hundred Foot Journey and at the opening of Berrista. We would exchange emails from time to time. The most quintessential Omar email came last fall and went something like this: 'Hey, let's do that thing we were talking about doing the last time we met.' Omar had so many ideas I don't think even he could keep track of them all.

He reached out in late February 2015 and talked about doing something fun with Berrista on The Dinner Party. But when news hit of a lawsuit in March, I made the classic mistake of someone who is not in the inner circle or even in the medium circle. I thought it best not to reach out because he had too much going on in his world, too much noise and too much headache, and surely he would have a team of family, friends, lawyers and chefs all at his side.

While he most likely did have that large team around him because I know he was loved, in hindsight I can see that this was THE time to reach out, THE time to say, 'There are probably people much better equipped to help you than I, but I am here to lend a helping hand in any way I can, as you have so often done for me.'

Oh, how I wish I could say that now.

Instead, I say this and hope it can be heard: It may have felt like it, Chef, but you were not alone. There are so many people, including myself, who believe in you still. You touched the lives of so many, and your creative shoes will never be filled. Your pain is our loss, and our sadness. Rest in peace, creative genius and giver of gifts, you will forever be missed.

In lieu of flowers, the Cantu family asks that donations be mailed to:

Cantu Children's Trust
1555 Sherman Avenue
P.O. Box 177
Evanston, IL 60201

Services for Chef Cantu will take place Friday at St. Viator Parish, 4170 W. Addison St., with visitation from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with Mass beginning at 1 p.m.

For the full history of Chef Homaro Cantu's life and career, click here.

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Illinois Gov. Rauner's budget cuts and corporate tax breaks are confusing to some.

Thu, 2015-04-16 10:51
"For all these agencies to get a letter on April 3, Good Friday and Passover, it was a real kick in the gut." Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge

"This experience right now is like watching an arsonist criticize the fireman for the manner in which he put out the arsonist's fire." Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine

"It's not easy for me as a mom or parents in general to say they need help raising their child, in my case my children. But when you have a child with autism, or children with autism, especially severe autism, you have to ask for help. You can't get by without asking for help. And (The Autism Project) is our hope." Whitney Rikas, mother of two autistic children

Those quotes sum up the emotions in the Capitol over Gov. Bruce Rauner's April 3 cut of $26 million in social service programs, including an end to state funding of an autism program used by thousands of autistic Illinoisans and their families.

At a hearing before the Senate's two appropriations committees Tuesday at the Capitol to discuss the cuts, all sides vented their frustrations.

To Democrats, it was the "Good Friday Massacre;" a double-cross by the Republican governor after securing their votes on emergency budget bills. They voted for those bills at Rauner's behest because, they believed, they contained assurances that programs like The Autism Project would be protected.

To Republicans, it was a painful yet necessary act by an administration that, for the first time in 12 years, will not play numbers games or push this year's expenses into next year. It was the Democrats' fault for passing a budget last year knowing that it did not have enough money to get the state through the year. Filling the $1.6 billion hole they created meant hard choices.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.

Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek also shared her two cents on Rauner's plans of cuts and credits in an effort to balance the budget.

Doubek addressed an public letter to the governor:

Dear Gov. Rauner:

Congratulations, you've now been our fearless leader in Illinois for 90 days. And yes, fearless fits, doesn't it?

You didn't waste much time delivering the bad news on the budget and showing Illinoisans exactly what it means to spend only what the state takes in, or less. It means pain. Deep, gut-wrenching pain....

...To the people watching from the silent middle, many of whom do want to see you succeed, it didn't make much sense when you cut off $26 million in funding to people who help needy teens, immigrants, developmentally disabled children and adults, and those with HIV and AIDS. And then soon came word that you'd granted $100 million in business tax credits. You said the credits were negotiated by your predecessor and you were fulfilling them because of "an issue of credibility with the business community."

The optics are bad, governor. All those poor, sick and needy people and those who love them have an issue of credibility with you now. Your press staff said it had to be done to solve the budget mess Democrats created last year. You didn't create that mess, but you will be blamed for some of these cuts.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.

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

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The 10 Most Beautiful Neighborhoods In America, Ranked

Thu, 2015-04-16 10:00
By: Gianni Jaccoma


A lot of what makes a neighborhood noteworthy has to do with the people who live there -- be they tons of hipsters, yuppies, or the sexiest people on Earth. But as much as these interesting citizens influence their environments, some parts of town stand on their own as more aesthetically pleasing, more architecturally interesting, and more drop-dead-gorgeous than the rest of the city.

To that end, we've combed our great nation from coast to coast and ranked 10 'hoods whose curbside appeal is undeniable. From East Coast historic districts to West Coast sea cliffs, these are the most beautiful neighborhoods in America.

Credit: Flickr/Larry Lamsa

10. Capitol Hill
Denver, CO
Following the construction of the State Capitol Building in the 1870s, many of Denver's wealthiest citizens decided to set up an opulent enclave of mansions in the surrounding neighborhood, building their own "Millionaire's Row." Many of these towering homes were demolished during the Great Depression, but houses like the Fleming-Hanington House and Alfred Butters House still remain -- others, like the Capitol Hill Mansion Bed & Breakfast and the Molly Brown House Museum, have found second lives in the years that followed.

A more recent section of the neighborhood, nicknamed "Poet's Row," features a slew of Art Deco-styled apartment houses that bear the names of famous literary figures, from Mark Twain to Emily Dickinson. Built for the middle class following World War II, these apartments are (unsurprisingly) popular among the city's younger, bohemian crowd.


9. Victorian Village
Columbus, OH
With their eclectic mix of architectural styles, ranging from Second Empire and Italianate to Gothic Revival and Queen Anne, the houses that line Victorian Village's streets are anything but cookie-cutter. Standouts like the Sells Mansion, with its Richardsonian Romanesque styling and intricate, Moorish detail work, add further bursts of character to the neighborhood, while the iconic Goodale Park to the south -- donated in 1851 by the first doctor to live in Columbus -- serves as a lush, green anchor to the entire neighborhood.

Credit: Flickr/Rob Shenk

8. Savannah Historic District
Savannah, GA
As the oldest city in Georgia, it's only fitting that Savannah contains one of the largest historic districts in the nation, spanning from Gwinnett Street to the Savannah River. This landmark 'hood was designed around a grid of 22 individual park squares and has half of Forsyth Park falling within its boundaries, making live oaks decked with Spanish Moss an integral part of the area's allure. The buildings themselves are nothing to sneeze at either (after all, moss and pollen might make you sneeze), sporting a melange of architectural styles from Gothic to Regency, as well as exquisite ornamental ironwork.

Credit: Flickr/Michael Casey

7. Hyde Park
Chicago, IL
The Hyde Park area served as a setting for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, and following the event's staggering success, this formerly quaint neighborhood became a prized locale for development. Many of the luxury hotels constructed along the lakefront still stand, although they've since been turned into apartment buildings and condos. Hyde Park's also home to Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic Robie House, probably the finest example of Prairie School architecture in existence.

Most of the original buildings constructed for the 1893 Exposition were destroyed over the years, and the enormous Palace of Fine Arts (now The Museum of Science and Industry) is actually the only remaining structure from the White City. You can, however, still visit the Wooded Island in Jackson Park -- designed for the Exposition by Frederick Law Olmsted, it was reconstructed after being vandalized during World War II.

Credit: Flickr/javacolleen

6. Sea Cliff
San Francisco, CA
You might've expected to see the Painted Ladies of Haight-Ashbury here, but beyond those multicolored Victorian houses, there isn't a whole lot of "beauty" to be had in the Haight -- unless you find head shops, hippies, and tourists particularly beautiful. If that's the case, well, stop reading this list and get your eyes checked and your head examined.

Sea Cliff, by comparison, offers incredible views of the Golden Gate and the bay, crammed with striking, million-dollar homes owned by the likes of Sharon Stone, Metallica's Kirk Hammett, and the late Robin Williams.

This pretty, scenic district is private, too: it's essentially off-limits to tour buses and vans, forcing tourists and gawkers to drive themselves (or hoof it) if they wanna see how much house Kirk got for his Master of Puppets money. Answer: it's a lot.

To find out which beautiful neighborhoods snagged the top 5 spots, head over to!

More from Thrillist:

The 9 Most European Cities Not in Europe

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Producer Brian Grazer: 'Empire' Is 'Better Than Any Other Success I've Had' (VIDEO)

Thu, 2015-04-16 07:25
If you don't know Brian Grazer, you at least know of his work. The veteran Hollywood producer has worked on films like "Splash," "A Beautiful Mind," and "Apollo 13," not to mention hit television shows including "Arrested Development," "Friday Night Lights" and, recently, "Empire." Grazer's body of work is impressive -- his projects have been nominated for 43 Academy Awards and 149 Emmys -- but he tells Oprah that "Empire" might in fact be his greatest success.

"I have to say, it's cooler and better than any other success I've had," he tells Oprah in the above video from "Super Soul Sunday."

"Empire" premiered in January on FOX and was the network's highest rated debut in years. Viewership kept increasing week after week, and celebrities such as Reba McEntire have been vocal about their obsession with the hip-hop drama. In other words, "Empire" has taken off, with its success even impressing its own executive producer.

"It was explosive," Grazer says. "It was immediate and explosive.... Beyond that it has this sort of awe factor -- like every week, three crazy things are going to happen with the characters -- it's sort of cool."

The actors playing those characters also bring weight to the series, from Terrence Howard to Taraji P. Henson. Grazer also credits their unique power and talent with contributing to the show's runaway success.

"It's got great actors that are Oscar-nominated-caliber actors," Grazer says. "It's very special."

Also in the interview: Grazer explains how he first met his producing partner, Ron Howard.

Grazer's full "Super Soul Sunday" interview airs Sunday, April 19, at 11 a.m. ET on OWN. You can also stream the interview live on or

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Hillary Clinton Takes Firm Stance On Driver's Licenses For The Undocumented After Slip-Up In 2008 Race

Thu, 2015-04-16 06:00
WASHINGTON -- Javier Sandoval, a 44-year-old resident of Santa Rosa, California, drives at least 15 miles per day to get to his work as a day laborer. Until this year, he was doing so without a driver's license -- not by choice, but because he couldn't get one.

Sandoval, like nearly 2.5 million other people in California, is undocumented. He was barred from obtaining a driver's license until this year, when the state opened up eligibility to those in the country without legal status. Sandoval took a written test -- he said he earned a near-perfect score -- and a driving test. On March 26, he received his license.

It's a small piece of identification. But it's changed his life immeasurably.

"I'm very, very glad that this is happening now," he said. "The people that are here, we don't drive for pleasure. We drive because we need to work."

Sandoval is one of many workers benefiting from evolving views over whether undocumented immigrants should be allowed to receive driver's licenses. Ten states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have embraced the idea, concluding that the policy is economically sound, humane and better for law enforcement. Most of those laws were approved in 2013. That such progress has occurred with relatively little controversy is all the more remarkable when one considers how the debate began.

Eight years ago, it was the topic of driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants that first tripped up the seemingly inevitable presidential candidacy of then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.). During an October 2007 debate in Philadelphia, Clinton was asked whether she supported the efforts of her home-state governor, Eliot Spitzer, to pass a bill authorizing those licenses. Spitzer was arguing that it would make the roads safer since undocumented immigrants with licenses would more likely to get insurance and cooperate with police.

But Clinton had fits with the question. She said the New York proposal "makes a lot of sense," before adding that she did not support it. Her Democratic primary opponents on the stage let her have it, accusing her of deliberate vagueness and of wanting to have it both ways on the issue.

Then-Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) interrupted her answer: "No, no, no. You said yes, you thought it made sense to do it." Dodd opposed driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. Then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who supported such licenses, quipped that he couldn't "tell whether she was for it or against it."

About two weeks later, Clinton had a settled answer. "As president, I will not support driver’s licenses for undocumented people," she said in a statement, adding that she would push for broader immigration reform.

But the damage was done. Clinton's opponents sensed a vulnerability and attacked her from there for being too calculating in her positions.

As she makes her second bid for the presidency, Clinton's position is far clearer and decidedly different. "Hillary supports state policies to provide driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants," a campaign spokesperson told The Huffington Post.

The driver's license issue is still politically fraught. Demographic changes that have made the Latino vote more important have helped shift the scales. But most Americans don't agree with the policy, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted this month. The survey found that 64 percent oppose driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, while 26 percent support the idea. Democrats are split, with 43 percent in favor and 46 percent against. Eighty-one percent of Republicans oppose allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.

Among Latinos, a slight majority of 52 percent favor driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, while 34 percent are opposed and 14 percent are not sure. Latinos typically rank immigration-related issues as more important than do American voters overall.

Where the policy has advanced, perhaps unsurprisingly, is in states with large Hispanic populations, including Colorado and California.

"I've seen a pretty big seismic shift in terms of attitudes towards immigrants," said Colorado state Sen. Jessie Ulibarri (D), who championed the driver's license law that went into effect last year.

It's not just the pressure of Hispanic voters that has moved these policies forward. Law enforcement officers have urged politicians to approve driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. They and others recognize that licenses improve access to insurance and make people more comfortable reporting accidents and other issues to police, according to Tanya Broder, who has tracked driver's license access in her work for the National Immigration Law Center.

"It really came down to a common-sense public safety rationale," Broder said. "Just making sure that all of the drivers on the roads are trained, tested, licensed, insured and accountable for their driving histories and driving records seemed to make sense from a public safety perspective."

There are less obvious benefits, too. California has seen a significant increase in registered organ donors this year, which officials have attributed to the new driver's license law.

Opponents of the laws, however, are skeptical about how much good they do and critical of the notion that people in the country illegally should be allowed state-authorized benefits. Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, questioned why supporters of driver's licenses consider it a positive that licenses help undocumented immigrants get to work, since undocumented immigrants aren't legally authorized to hold jobs. He said the licenses could aid people in establishing false identities.

"It makes it easier for people to get away with violating the law," Mehlman said.

Even in states that permit driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, there are still plenty of lawmakers who disagree with the policy. The Republican-led New Mexico House of Representatives voted in February to repeal the 2003 law authorizing the licenses. That bill is likely to die in the Democrat-controlled state Senate.

Colorado Republicans, meanwhile, slashed funding for the program earlier this year, forcing all but one of the original five offices that were distributing the licenses to shut down. At the end of March, the state Senate approved additional funding, although only for three offices.

Estrella Ruiz, who volunteers with the Hispanic Affairs Project in Grand Junction, Colorado, said that the collective effect of Republican efforts is that undocumented immigrants have to endure longer wait times to get their license. It was already an lengthy process, beginning with the difficulties of setting up an appointment, she said.

"You had to have lots of patience to get through," Ruiz said. "Sometimes it would take up to 20 minutes of refreshing, refreshing, refreshing the page so you wouldn't lose the appointment."

Illinois, which began offering driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants in 2013, has also had problems with long wait times, said Fred Tsao, policy director at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

One place where the driver's license policy didn't progress at all was Clinton's home state of New York. In 2007, then-Gov. Spitzer dropped his efforts to move the bill, citing widespread public opposition. Advocates there are still fighting to get lawmakers to reverse course.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted April 10-12 among U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the poll's methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov's reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

Ariel Edwards-Levy contributed reporting.

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Video Of Chicago Police Shooting Of Teen Won't Be Released: Police

Wed, 2015-04-15 19:43
CHICAGO (AP) — Months after a teenager was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer, the city is still refusing to release the dash-cam video of the fatal shooting and didn't even show it to aldermen Wednesday before they approved a $5 million settlement with the family.

The October 2014 shooting death of Laquon McDonald hasn't generated the same kind of national attention as other recent high-profile confrontations involving officers. After some, in such places as South Carolina, Oklahoma and Arizona, video was released that quickly went viral. In approving a settlement even before McDonald's family filed a lawsuit, some members of the Chicago City Council disagreed on whether releasing the video could spark the kind of angry protests seen elsewhere. While Danny Solis said making it public could "fan the flames," fellow Alderman Howard Brookins said fear of demonstrations or riots shouldn't drive the decision.

"I need this to stop, (and) if you don't show the video and this continues to happen then we're still heading down that path," he said.

Authorities say McDonald was wielding a knife and refused to drop it when officers followed him for several blocks. Another officer who responded to a call for backup fired the fatal shots. That officer, who hasn't been identified, has been stripped of his police powers and put on desk duty, but no decision has been made on whether he'll face criminal charges.

Although the city's attorney had cited the video in arguing for approval of the settlement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel explained Wednesday that police and the FBI are withholding it because it is "central to their investigation." In a statement, city officials said they were "confident this video will be released at the appropriate time when their investigation is complete."

But pending investigations haven't prevented other law enforcement departments from releasing video of contentious and, in many cases, deadly recent encounters involving officers.

Police in North Charleston, South Carolina, released dash-cam video that showed an officer making a routine traffic stop and the suspect running away. That video was released only after a witness' cellphone video went viral showing the officer later shooting the suspect in the back. The officer has been charged with murder.

A reserve sheriff's deputy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was booked on a manslaughter charge this week after video recorded on a sunglass camera was released to the public showing an officer tackling a suspect before a shot rang out.

And on Wednesday, dramatic dash-cam video was made public of a Marana, Arizona, police officer plowing his cruiser into a rifle-toting robbery suspect at high speed. The officer has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing.

Even in Chicago, where the department has been dogged by a reputation for police brutality, security video from a tavern helped convict an off-duty police officer who was could be seen in 2007 pummeling a female bartender — an incident that many have speculated wouldn't have resulted in charges if not for the video.

Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor who has studied the city's police department, said videos like the one showing McDonald's death must be released if the department ever hopes to shed its reputation for excessive force, particularly in black neighborhoods.

"Regaining the trust of the community, particularly the black community, starts with honesty and hiding a potential execution is the kind of thing that destroys trust," Futterman said.

Policies regarding requests for such video vary sharply from state to state, said Dan Bevarly, interim director of the Missouri-based National Freedom of Information Coalition. In North Carolina, for example, many departments deem body-cam footage "training video" for other officers to watch. As a result, they can claim that an exemption from the state's FOIA law and refuse to release it.

Video of a fatal police shooting taken from a stun gun's camera is an important piece of evidence in the pending homicide case against a Pennsylvania police officer, and so far the prosecutor has declined to release it to the public.

And even in states that appear to lean toward opening records, police departments can keep video private, including in Florida, which has claimed about 1,000 exemptions, a total far higher than the number claimed in other states, Beverly said.

In contrast, Bevarly said Seattle's department has a reputation for openness and often posts video on YouTube "before anyone even asks."


Associated Press writer Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pa., contributed to this report.

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Federal Authorities Investigating Chicago Public Schools Contract

Wed, 2015-04-15 19:40
Federal authorities are investigating whether Chicago Public Schools improperly awarded a contract to a training academy that formerly employed the head of the school system, Catalyst Chicago reported on Wednesday.

The investigation focuses on a $20.5 million no-bid contract awarded to a development academy for principals and other school officials by CPS in 2013. CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, whom the Chicago Tribune reported has not been accused of wrongdoing, worked at the academy before being hired by CPS in 2012.

Catalyst Chicago noted that the no-bid contract raised questions in 2013 because of its size.

"No-bid contracts should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances that demand highly specific skills in a short time frame,” Andy Shaw, president and CEO of the Better Government Association, told Catalyst Chicago in 2013. “It's too early to say if this one qualifies. But Catalyst has raised enough other questions to merit a review by the CPS inspector general."

The CPS inspector general did in fact open an investigation into the contract, but declined to comment to Catalyst on whether that investigation was still ongoing.

The Tribune reported that CPS is considering appointing an interim CPS CEO while the investigation was ongoing.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during a press conference on Wednesday that he was not sure exactly what the focus of the investigation was. When asked whether he still had confidence in Byrd-Bennett, whom he appointed in 2012, Emanuel said that he couldn't comment until he had more information on the investigation, according to the Tribune.

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Twice the Burden: Low-Wage Employers Cost Taxpayers Billions in Public Assistance and Lost Tax Revenue

Wed, 2015-04-15 16:57

On Tax Day, while working Americans contribute their part to keeping the country running, many companies that pay low-wages will exploit a loophole in the tax code that that allowed them to write off taxes on over $66 billion in executive compensation pay between 2007 and 2010.

The way the U.S. tax code is written now, performance-based bonuses and stock options for chief executives can be deducted from taxable corporate income. The more performance-based compensation the businesses pay to their executives each year, the less the companies owe in federal taxes.

That's why Democrats in Congress are trying a two-pronged approach to increase wages and boost the economy. There is now a bill in the works to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour -- an increase that meets with the approval of an overwhelming number of Americans, including a majority of Republicans.

Democrats are also proposing to fix the tax code by ending tax giveaways for companies that don't increase wages for their rank-and-file workers. Instead of rewarding companies for giving millions of dollars in stock options to their CEOs, an updated tax code would encourage companies to pay their workers a livable wage.

Companies like McDonald's and Walmart rake in billions in profits each year and return nearly as much to their shareholders. Their employees, however, are paid so little that accepting charity or public assistance becomes vital to making ends meet. As a result, taxpayers subsidize these companies' low-pay practices to the tune of billions of dollars each year in low-income public programs.

In fact, low wages in the United States cost taxpayers a stunning $153 billion on average every year. Underpaid workers are forced to rely on public assistance programs like food stamps, Medicaid, the earned income tax credit and Children's Health Insurance Program to support themselves and their households, according to a report this week by the University of California Berkeley Labor Center.

That's why thousands of workers are joining together on April 15 to call for $15 an hour and the right to form a union. These workers -- including fast-food, home care, retail, child care, and airport workers and adjunct professors -- are the same people who turn to public assistance to make ends meet. They are striking at a time of record income inequality -- created in part because wages have stagnated for the last 30 years, and also because the tax code has shifted to benefit the wealthiest and burden the rest of us.

The day of strikes builds on growing momentum for higher wages nationwide. It is expected to be the largest mobilization by workers seeking higher pay in U.S. history. Launched just two years ago, the "Fight for $15" movement has helped set a new standard for wage increases in both the private and public sector. Recently,Aetna, First Green Bank, C1 Bank and Moo Cluck Moo all announced or began implementing minimum pay rates to levels that can make a difference in the lives of their workers. Cities and localities have also acted to substantially increase minimum wages. Seattle and San Francisco already began phasing in minimum wage rates of $15 earlier this year.

Responding to pressure from workers, companies like Walmart, McDonald's, Target, Gap, and others have raised wages -- though not by enough to cut into their workers' reliance on public assistance.

The thousands of workers who are striking on Tax Day are right to demand a greater share of the profits that corporations gain because of their labor. It's time to restore that fundamental promise of America that working hard will lead to a better life.

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What People Are Really Saying When They Complain About 'Black Lives Matter' Protests

Wed, 2015-04-15 16:32
Protesters gathered in cities across the U.S. on Tuesday, in the latest round of demonstrations against police violence, misconduct and mistreatment of minority communities.

In New York City, an estimated crowd of 400 participants marched across Brooklyn Bridge, on their way south from Manhattan to Brooklyn. A plainclothes policeman reportedly drew his firearm on a crowd of demonstrators after allegedly being attacked. Both officers and protesters reported injuries in the resulting fracas, which ultimately ended with 42 arrests.

In what has become a common display of disobedience at these demonstrations, protesters also reportedly hopped the bridge's pedestrian barrier and ran across vehicle lanes, snarling traffic. Similar scenes unfolded at protests around the nation Tuesday, as demonstrators streamed out into major thoroughfares and slowed or blocked cars from passing. These acts are almost always illegal, and the widespread disruption they cause has become a regular point of criticism, particularly from people outside the movement.

These resulting complaints and others, though, often tend to be shortsighted and selfish. Those complaining miss the broader point about why these protests are happening in the first place, and show that some people's support of this movement is entirely conditional on their not being personally affected by it in any way whatsoever.

Obviously, nobody likes to be inconvenienced, and particularly not during an evening commute, which in all likelihood sucks as it is. And yes, brunch might be more pleasant if it wasn't interrupted by someone reading off the names of African-Americans killed by police. We understand that some people feel these are massive intrusions on their lives. But maybe it's time they understood that this is what their complaints sound like.


"I'm fine with protesting, but why don't they protest in front of a police station or another approved location instead of blocking traffic?"


"I'm fine with protesting, as long as I'm not forced to see it, hear it, acknowledge it, be at all inconvenienced by it or challenged to do anything about it."


"Protesting is pointless. It doesn't make a difference."


"Protesting is pointless because I don't see any immediate change and my life is comfortable enough that I'm happy to continue accepting the status quo."


"I agree that 'Black Lives Matter,' but disrupting my commute will only turn me against these protests."


"I agree that 'Black Lives Matter,' but every little piece of my daily life matters more."


"I understand why people are protesting, but regular people would be more likely to support them if the protests didn't mess up their daily lives."


"I understand why people are protesting, but regular people were totally on the verge of being shaken out of their complacency until protesters inconvenienced them with their tactics. Pretty much, it's the protesters' fault that the public is still overwhelming apathetic."


"I support the right to protest, but why don't people get out and organize voters instead? That's how change is supposed to work."


"I support the right to protest, but can't people just trust that a system that has failed to address these injustices for decades will one day eventually fix them? Also, I choose not to pay attention to any efforts beyond these protests because I actually don't care that much."


“I know people are angry, but why don't they propose some solutions instead of just messing stuff up?"


"I know people are angry, but I haven't been paying any attention to the protesters' demands so I'll just pretend they don't exist."


"I'm against police brutality, but these protests only make people more sympathetic to police."


"I'm against police brutality, but any disruption to my daily life should be treated as a criminal offense possibly deserving of physical suppression and excessive force."


"I get that people are upset, but breaking the law in protest of other violations just seems counterproductive."


"I get that people are upset, but why don't they just ask politely for change? Also, I have absolutely no clue what civil disobedience is all about."


“Protests are a fundamental right, but I don’t like that they're costing cities millions of dollars in police overtime.”


“Protests are a fundamental right, but balance sheets are more important than #BlackLivesMatter. Also, I choose to ignore the millions of dollars cities spend settling police brutality lawsuits, or on arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating people of color for petty crimes.”


"I'm against these injustices, but until #BlackLivesMatter becomes #AllLivesMatter, the movement won't experience widespread support."


"I'm against these injustices, but I can't support any movement that doesn't make me feel like I have a personal stake in it. Also, I totally don't see race or color."

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9 Things The IRS Would Tweet On Tax Day If It Were Cool

Wed, 2015-04-15 16:23
The IRS is the hottest Twitter account since @CIA. At least, it could be.

Listen, you expect that the IRS's Twitter feed is not going to be very exciting, and THEN ... well, it's not. It's a pretty standard government social media feed. Heavy on info, light on fun. But we're pretty certain that if the IRS could let loose on social media, they would have a Twitter account that looks more like this:

Oh, also don't audit us, IRS, please and thank you.

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