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Picking These 5 High Seeds Could Ruin Your March Madness Bracket

Tue, 2015-03-17 12:54


Anybody can pick all four No. 1 seeds to advance to the Final Four. But if you know March, you know that rarely does the madness let that happen. Kentucky, for example, is attempting to go 40-0 and become the first undefeated national champion since Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers... in 1976.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the most vulnerable high seeds in those precious brackets. Don't forget to check out my five sleepers and five Cinderellas to consider as well.

VILLANOVA



Jay Wright (above) has done a marvelous job restoring the 32-2 Wildcats to national prominence. This team has a concentration of strong guard play, toughness and elite quickness. Last year, I picked 'Nova to bow out early and it did. While this team is surely a superior unit, there's one serious issue to consider. In the last six years, Wright is only 2-5 in the dance, and a big reason why is his team's lack of rebounding. This season, they rank 174th nationally, a brutal clip made worse by the fact that scoring is at a premium in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova will employ a suffocating zone press that extends full-court. Against quality backcourts with disciplined guards, that press is less effective, and Wright's team typically struggles with playing against size. The East region, with potential matchups against North Carolina State, Northern Iowa, Wyoming, Michigan State and Virginia, presents a litany of issues for the tournament's second overall seed.

NOTRE DAME



The Irish are playing their best basketball of the season, fresh off the first ACC Tournament title in program history (formerly of the Big East). Nothing against head coach Mike Brey, but we know his teams typically struggle in March. Notre Dame's biggest issue is bigness itself -- the team's size, or lack thereof. Zach Auguste is atrocious, and while freshman Bonzie Colson has had a nice year, he's only 6-foot-5. Jerian Grant (above) is the fearless leader and his do-everything ability (17 points, 7 assists) from the perimeter is a huge plus. However, Grant shot just 30 percent from 3 in conference play and is such an integral part of the Irish success that one off shooting game becomes very scary. Interestingly, the last ACC Tournament champion to reach the Elite Eight was Duke, when the Blue Devils won the national title in 2010.

LOUISVILLE



This is Rick Pitino's softest team in recent memory, and making matters worse is the recent dismissal of Chris Jones, the third-leading scorer. In essence, this is a two-man team filled with weak ancillary parts. Junior forward Montrezl Harrell and sophomore guard Terry Rozier (above, with 17 points per game), will have to go off for the Cardinals to make any sort of run. Both players are second team AAC All-Conference performers, but Harrell is prone to foul trouble and has not become the type of go-to post threat Pitino had hoped for.

Each of the past two seasons, Louisville ranked second in the nation in forcing turnovers. This year, though, they've hovered near 40th, speaking to the lack of toughness we are accustomed to seeing from Pitino's teams. As it is, the Cardinals lost five of their last 10 games, but three of those five wins came by 2 points or less. Over the back half of the ACC regular season, the Cards scored just 0.98 points per possession.

KANSAS



I've been way down on Kansas all year, and nothing changes with the surprising 2 seed. Aside from a potential Sweet 16 matchup looming with Kentucky, Bill Self could be staring a first weekend upset right in the face. His point guard, Frank Mason III, is adequate but undersized. Combo guard Wayne Selden Jr. hasn't made the necessary steps in year two. Self's best interior player, Perry Ellis (above), is not 100 percent healthy, nor is he a legitimate NBA prospect. Self has always had pros to rely on. This Jayhawk team simply doesn't have the talent to make up for his lackluster in-game coaching.

BAYLOR



Staying in the Big 12, Baylor is a 3 seed ripe for an upset. Head coach Scott Drew is highly stubborn in employing his patented 1-3-1 matchup zone, and it can be effective given Baylor's length. The tournament is about teams getting hot, though, and a hot shooting team that can spread out the zone presents a huge problem. Senior point guard Kenny Chery is a liability who turns the ball over a ton and shoots just 38 percent from the floor. The X-factor for the Bears is 6-foot-7-inch junior wing Taurean Prince (above), the team's leading scorer at 14 points per game. When Prince plays well, the Baylor offense clicks. When he struggles like he did in going 1-11 against Kansas in the Big 12 final, this is a club that really struggles to score in the half court.



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

Rahm Emanuel Still Vulnerable After First Chicago Mayoral Runoff Debate With Challenger Chuy Garcia

Tue, 2015-03-17 12:47
Snappy, scrappy and visibly tense are how Rahm Emanuel and his challenger, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, came across Monday night in the first of three live televised Chicago mayoral runoff debates.

Despite the incumbent mayor and the Cook County commissioner wasting no time slinging mud in the rapid-fire, hourlong forum that touched on everything from the city's ruinous finances to public safety and schools, no clear winner emerged.

Emanuel slammed his rival for being vague on how he would generate new revenue to ease the city's massively underfunded pensions or pay for more police boots on the ground. Garcia, meanwhile, hit back at the mayor for being an "out of touch" elite who failed to keep his promise of turning around city finances.

One of the critical issues the next mayor will face is debt: The city has a looming $550 million pension obligation for police and firefighters by year's end, as well as a dismal credit rating. (Moody's Investors Service downgraded Chicago to just two levels above junk bond status last month.)

Emanuel said he would look to city employees for help, asking for a pension reform in Springfield and opening a Chicago casino, the revenues of which he said would be dedicated to pensions.

When Garcia said he would form a commission to examine city finances, Emanuel criticized his rival: “Chuy, you laid out a commission, not a plan.” Garcia, however, noted the pension reform Emanuel mentioned is currently before the Illinois Supreme Court and said he believes they will be found unconstitutional.

"I'm not opposed to dealing with revenue questions of where we're at, but I'm opposed to moving forward with the current state of assumptions that's been provided by [Emanuel's] administration," Garcia said. "I believe there has been a lot of abuse with regards to subsidizing the rich and wealthy and disinvesting in the neighborhoods."

Another area where Garcia attempted to seize on the mayor's broken promises was crime. Emanuel claimed that crime was down -- a fact moderator and veteran political reporter Carol Marin corrected, noting that shootings are up -- and touted an increase in community policing.

"Everybody from [Chicago Police Superintendent] Garry McCarthy to the beat officer, everybody practices community policing," Emanuel said of his strategy, which has been criticized as mischaracterizing the true number of new police on the streets.

"You're the only one who believes that in Chicago," Garcia shot back. "That's the problem."

Garcia said the city's staggering shooting rate is proof the mayor's plans have not worked, adding, "[I've] been to more funerals for young people shot as a result of gun violence than the mayor will ever attend."

On education, both candidates agreed there should be no more school closures. Emanuel touted his success in bringing full-day kindergarten to Chicago schools, while Garcia noted, "You extend the day, but half of the libraries in schools don't have librarians. You extended the day with no resources"

After being forced into an unprecedented runoff in the Feb. 24 election, Emanuel has been using his well-stocked war chest of about $18 million to saturate the airwaves with campaign ads and mount a serious defense.

Garcia, meanwhile, has raised about $1.7 million for his campaign, mostly from labor unions and grassroots efforts.

Yet despite Garcia's backing from the influential Chicago Teachers Union, as well as black and Latino voters angry with the mayor for shutting down 50 public schools in 2013, a recent poll showed Emanuel claiming 55 percent of the vote to Garcia's 45, Reuters reports.

The candidates will meet for two more televised debates on March 26 and March 31 before the April 7 runoff election.

Family Of Jason Harrison, Mentally Ill Black Man Killed By Dallas Police, Release Graphic Video

Tue, 2015-03-17 12:28
(Reuters) - The family of a mentally ill African-American man who was shot dead by Dallas police last summer has released footage from an officer's body camera that recorded the incident, the Dallas Morning News reported on Monday.

The move comes as police across the country have come under increasing scrutiny for using deadly force, particularly against black men, in the wake of high profile killings of unarmed African-Americans in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.

The footage, released by the family of 38-year-old Jason Harrison and their attorney Geoff Henley and published by the Morning News, shows officers responding to the home of Harrison's mother the morning of June 14, 2014.

Harrison's mother had called for help to take him to a local hospital as he was in a mental crisis, suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, the Morning News reported.

In the video, Harrison's mother opens the door to the awaiting officers and he appears behind her twiddling a screwdriver. The officers immediately demand he drop the tool and within seconds fire several shots, killing Harrison.

Harrison's family in October filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and the two officers, who appear in the video to be white, arguing that he did not pose a threat, according to the complaint.

Dallas Police Department spokesman Lieutenant Jose Garcia said the case was forwarded to the Dallas County District Attorney's Office, the Morning News reported, adding that an attorney for the officers said they feared for their lives.

A representative for the police department could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

Former NBA Player Jay Williams On One Of His Darkest Moments: 'I Saw A Pair Of Scissors...' (VIDEO)

Tue, 2015-03-17 11:52
At age 21, Jay Williams had a life that most people only dream of: He was a rookie player in the NBA with a lucrative contract with the Chicago Bulls and a promising future. Then, in 2003, it all came to an abrupt halt when Williams got into a near-fatal motorcycle accident that ended his career and threatened his ability to walk again.

Suddenly, Williams found himself lost in more ways than one. Physically, his recovery was a struggle, and emotionally, the wounds ran deep. Basketball had been everything to Williams, but now he felt he had nothing. There were dark moments in the time after his accident -- including one in which Williams envisioned ending it all.

It was less than three months after Williams had been released from the hospital, and he had a rare moment alone in his apartment, as he tells Oprah in the above video from "Super Soul Sunday."

"I was praying a lot at that time. I bounced back from prayer to anger so quickly," he says. "I had no idea who I was, who I wanted to be, if I was going to be able to walk again or run again."

Williams' parents knew of their son's fragile mental state and always tried to be with him to offer their comfort and support. This particular time was different. "My parents did a really good job of not letting me be alone," he says. "I actually thought it was a sign..."

At the time, Williams says he was "very high" on morphine, which he believes impacted his judgment. "This is how delusional you can become when you're on a morphine tap," he says. "I saw a pair of scissors there, by the bed. I just remember thinking to myself, 'If I could reach those scissors, then I deserve not to be here.' Because they were put there for a reason."

So, Williams reached for the scissors.

"I grabbed the edge of the scissors with my pinky and I pulled it in," he says. "I remember sitting there just trying to take those blades and just pull them over my wrist -- over the tattoo that says 'believe' on my wrist, looking at it, saying, 'I don't believe in anything anymore.'"

In that moment, Williams had lost his faith. "I was angry. I always try to do things right, I'd be on time, I'd gone to charities. Just kind of thought, 'I can't believe you would do this to me," he says.

That's when Williams' mother came in and saw his with the scissors.

"[She] started screaming at me," Williams says. "Takes the scissors out of my hands and just grabs my hand, and starts to pray. And said, 'Promise me you're never going to hurt yourself again. You've been left here for a reason."

That last sentence jumped out at Williams, who couldn't understand why his life would have been spared. "What reason do I have to be here? To be made fun of? To be told by everybody that I'm a failure?" he wondered.

Still, his mother prayed. This is the type of unconditional love and support that Williams credits with helping him turn things around.

"It was the constant support of the people who loved me that really pulled me through those dark times," he says. "I don't think it was until later, a couple of years later, until I started going to counseling, started to try to go to church. I put my faith into something bigger -- and it was through my mother and my father helping me believe that [I was] left here for a purpose."

"Super Soul Sunday" airs Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on OWN. You can also stream the program live on Oprah.com/supersoulsunday or Facebook.com/supersoulsunday.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


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What do the state of Illinois and a boiling frog have in common?

Tue, 2015-03-17 11:35
Ever heard the one about the frog and the boiling pot of water? If you throw a frog into a pot of scalding liquid, it'll jump right out to save itself. But if you place the frog in the pot and then slowly turn up the heat, the frog will boil right along with the water--it won't know it's slowly dying.

Former Illinois resident John Cole explains why that science experiment could be a metaphor for Illinois' political and financial situation:

For years, the state's population has been like Illinois frogs sitting in their pot of water, with the fiscal temperature slowly but steadily being turned up by delusional politicians of both parties through excessive and irresponsible spending under the veil of trying to please everyone. Today, with boiling water all around, the real question is . . . will Illinois voters evolve and leap from the pot or take drastic measures to turn the heat down to save themselves, or will they simply let business (and politics) as usual continue, remain in the pot, and let the state slip into bankruptcy?

The potential for the Illinois frog to evolve has shown limited signs of hope and life recently. Electing a governor a) that hasn't made a lifestyle out of couching himself in the fantasy world of Illinois politics and living off taxpayers, and b) that fully understands the necessity for state fiscal reform, is a reasonable start, but is still just that . . . a start. Does he have all the answers? No - no one does. The only real answer we know today is "it can't continue the way it's been."

Read the rest of Cole's frog explanation at Reboot Illinois.

At the helm of that frog boil/Illinois' political situation is Gov. Bruce Rauner, whom Illinois technology professor Mark S. Schwendau says is not handling the position very well. Schwendau says his "jaw hit his chest" when he heard about Rauner's proposed budget cuts, and the professor said he doesn't understand Rauner's continued efforts to convince Illinoisans to get on board with his budget plans. Find out in which of two Republican camps Schwendau believes Rauner falls at Reboot Illinois.

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

The Only St. Patrick's Day Drinking Game That Could Actually Prevent You From Puking

Tue, 2015-03-17 10:16
There are plenty of St. Paddy's Day drinking games out there, but this one isn't meant to get you drunk. This is a backwards drinking game meant to kill your buzz and keep you sober should you do certain annoying things on St. Patrick's Day.

Have a good time today, but of course, stay safe. And try to follow these rules for optimum fun:

America's Best Irish Bars

Tue, 2015-03-17 09:35
Defining the qualities that make up a great Irish pub is a bit like trying to map a path to that elusive pot 'o gold -- you can feel it when you're on the right track, but the signs for how you get there are never the same.

Click Here to see the Complete List of America's Best Irish Bars

There are, of course, some obvious touchstones. A great beer list is generally regarded as a must -- with a barkeep that knows how to pull a proper pint -- and bonus points to the place that also boasts a solid list of Irish whiskeys. As for the look of the place, aside from the usual dark wood furnishings, it's all those tiny details that contribute to bar feeling as though it has been lived in -- right down to the regulars and barkeeps, each with their assigned places like pieces on a chessboard. Add to that, in certain cases, touches like TVs screening overseas football and rugby matches, or lives bands playing traditional tunes.

But most importantly, what counts in a great Irish bar is the atmosphere -- those pubs with that more or less intangible quality of a space that is at once cozy and raucous. They're charming and homey, but with a fun-loving spirit and just the slightest ounce of attitude.

So, in honor of St. Patrick's Day this weekend, here are 12 favorite Irish bars around the country.




Click Here to see the Original Story on The Daily Meal

-Maryse Chevriere,The Daily Meal

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This Horse With A Giant Rear Is The Strangest Work At Art Basel Hong Kong

Tue, 2015-03-17 07:56
Do you ever feel like contemporary art fairs are all the same? The seemingly endless influx of an oversized abstract canvas followed by a mirrored sculpture followed by an art historical throwback all becoming a somewhat exhausting blur?

Yang Maoyuan's 2014 sculpture "They are coming to Hong Kong," which made quite the impression at Art Basel Hong Kong 2015, is here to wake you up with a jolt.

Art Basel Hong Kong. Not sure.... 'They are coming to Hong Kong', Yang Maoyuan, 2014 pic.twitter.com/GrrsZh6zY0

— Gareth Harris (@garethharr) March 13, 2015


The Beijing, China-based artist is known for contracting and expanding the human form in his works, transforming familiar bodily contours into bulbous orbs and alien vessels. For this year's fair, however, Yang turned his sights on the equestrian configuration, blowing up a horse's rear end to the size of a furry hot air balloon. The Art Newspaper's Gareth Harris summed up our approximate reaction with the words "Not sure..."

Whether you find the mutated stallion intriguing, repulsive, or straight up perplexing, we're always happy to see artists shaking up the massive art maze with a heavy dose of weirdness now and again. Behold, the weirdest artwork at Art Basel Hong Kong 2015, hands down.

The U.S. States With The Most Yoga Studios Per Capita

Tue, 2015-03-17 07:01
More and more Americans are practicing their downward dogs. A whopping 20.4 million people reportedly practice yoga in the U.S., a significant increase from the 15.8 million yogis in 2008.

This is good news, considering all of the mighty perks of getting bendy. Yoga has been proven to increase flexibility, boost happiness and ease pain. Naturally, with an increasing number of yogis comes an increasing number of places to practice. Bikram, Ashtanga and Vinyasa studios can be found all across America, but are more concentrated in some states than others.

Hawaiihosts the most yoga studios per capita out of every state in the country, despite its minuscule population. This hardly comes as a surprise, since it is among the happiest states -- and yoga boosts happiness, remember? Yoga and Hawaii are like peanut butter and jelly. Plus, have you seen the views? Serenity seeps from Hawaii's core.

Of course, you don't have to move to the Aloha State to center yourself. The map below illustrates the amount of yoga studios per state capita. See how your state compares to the rest and then, might we suggest, do a little desk yoga. Namaste!

States by Yoga Studios per Capita | FindTheHome!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^https:/.test(d.location)?'https':'http';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://cdn1.findthebest.com/rx/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","ftb-widgetjs");

All Things Irish

Mon, 2015-03-16 17:06

If you're celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Chicago, have an Irish Burger at Lucky Strike (topped with bangers, white cheddar and Guinness bbq sauce). In Boston, Anna's Taqueria has a corned beef and cabbage burrito. And in New York, Trattoria Bianca is featuring, of all things, a corned beef and cabbage pizza.

Beyond all that inauthentic annual silliness, I've fallen in love with Irish poets and writers. As an MFA candidate in poetry at the New School in New York City, I'm now one of Colm Tobin's adoring fans and am crazy about Paul Muldoon, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and New Yorker poetry editor. Mr. Muldoon, a guitarist of some repute, is curator of Muldoon's Picnic -- a love fest of music, poetry, spoken word (and humor, of course) staged at the Irish Cultural Center here. It's sensual and delicious with an upcoming "Picnic" on April 13th. Equally exciting (and an idea for all cities as a way to connect their citizens) is the Irish Arts Center Book Day, when thousands of books by Irish writers are given away free in all the boroughs (until they run out) on March 17th.

I am also a fan of Irish soda bread and still enjoy a seductively simple three-ingredient pottage of pork shoulder and cabbage - a dish more famous in Ireland (I am told) than corned beef. Curiously, this recipe can be found in Low Carb 1-2-3, my low-cal, low-carb collection of recipes published ten years ago by Rodale (and still in print.) I am told it is authentic and known as "Irish Bacon" -- the traditional fare in Ireland served on St. Patrick's Day. The idea? A brined pork shoulder or Boston butt (with the bone) gets simmered with copious amounts of garlic until the sinews dissolve into obscurity. Into this broth a jolly cook sinks wedges of taut cabbage and boils them until their veins are tender and their leaves become silky, meanwhile passing the time with a Harp's or a Southwick. Then slice the pork thickly, recite some boisterous Irish poetry, and dig in.

While there are myriad books about Irish cookery on the market, The Best of Irish Country Cooking (Interlink 2015) by Nuala Cullen just arrived on my desk. It is fetching, with beautiful photography and sumptuous recipes. Her gratin of parsnips and pears scented with nutmeg; salad of lamb's lettuce and dandelion greens flecked with bits of crumbly blue; and lusty beef and mushroom pie deepened with Guinness and a surprise of anchovy, has me longing to cook. In the meantime, here is her recipe for a gorgeous-sounding savory Soda Bread with Onions. Ms. Cullen, the founding editor of the Irish Food Writers Guild, is an acclaimed culinary figure who has penned other books about Irish cuisine: Savoring Ireland and Irish Soups & Breads. I have not been to Ireland yet but will always remember that my best friend Arthur Schwartz (award-winning food writer and critic) told me the greatest steak he ever had in his life was in Dublin. Have a good St. Patrick's Day. You might consider celebrating all week. Buy some good Irish butter; cheddar, Irish whiskey...

Soda Bread with Onion (from Nuala Cullen)
This variation on classic Irish soda bread is especially good with pate.

1 large onion, finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
3 cups white bread flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2-1/2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons caraway seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet. In a heavy pan, cook the onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil until dark brown and crisp but not burned. Cool. Sift the flour and salt together. Add this, with the remaining 3 tablespoon olive oil, to the rest of the buttermilk. Add the onions and caraway to the flour. Make a well in the center and add the liquid. With a fork, mix it all together thoroughly, mixing lightly until you have a fairly smooth texture, but don't knead. With floured hands, shape the mixture into a round cake, cut a cross in the top, transfer to the baking sheet and bake about 40 minutes; until the loaf makes a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Let cool. Serves 6 to 8

Rozanne Gold is a four-time James Beard award-winning chef and author of Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs, Healthy 1-2-3, and Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease.

<i>First Wives Club</i> Musical Feels Like a First Draft

Mon, 2015-03-16 16:02
Faith Prince. Those two words served as the motivation for me to visit this pre-Broadway tryout of The First Wives Club: The Musical. I consider Prince among the very best musical comedy stars -- right up there with Carol Channing and Judy Holliday. The Tony-winning actress is the sort of artist who can spin comedic gold out of tin -- and do so in a way that's both grounded and human.

And boy, does she earn her oats in this wobbly musical adaptation of the hit 1996 film, which is based on the 1992 novel by Olivia Goldsmith. Playing the heart-broken but bold and brassy Brenda (the Bette Midler role), Prince overcomes material that strangely wrings most of the glee from the original source material.

If anything, it made me respect her more.

But, dammit, much like her character, she deserves better.

On paper, this property sounds like a no-brainer musical comedy. There's heartbreak, revenge, humor and friendship. It's a story of self-discovery and bonding. Sisterhood and soul mates.

And in a time when Broadway is overcome by star-vehicles, sophomoric humor and jukebox revues, it's refreshing to encounter a show that features modern, independent, ADULT, women. And along with Prince, Christine Sherrill and Carmen Cusak -- both vibrant, exciting actresses with huge voices whom I've seen in other shows and been mighty impressed -- round out the trio.

It's a grand leading cast. You want to root for these women.

However, as adapted by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, you spend most of the first act watching these actresses suffer through their emotionally abusive relationships caused by philandering husbands (among them, Broadway stalwart Greg Edelman, who does the best he can with a thankless part). And just when you think the second act will finally result in the payoff we so sorely need, it's sidelined by a cat fight between the woman, lazily constructed comedic caricatures (including a vaguely offensive "gay best friend" trope) and a slap-dashed finale.

It should be mentioned that this is a show that's been in development for a while. A previous incarnation debuted at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre in 2009. By many reports, it had Broadway hopes, too, but was put back on the shelf and re-tooled for this version. But what's onstage at the Oriental still seems very much like a work in progress.

There are moments where the show shines - most of them being non-sung scenes between the three women, which are too few and far between. Director Simon Phillips along with book writer Thomason might consider fleshing out these moments and sidelining all the unnecessary padding.

While the plot's inexplicably set in 1992 (if for no other reason than that's when Goldsmith's novel was set), designer Gabriela Tylesova runs with it, delivering some wonderfully over-the-top frocks for Sherrill (the Goldie Hawn role) to strut her stuff in, and peppering the stage with wonderfully tacky pop-art and Lucite furniture.

Finally, the music. The legendary trio of Brian Holland, Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier may have penned songs that defined the Motown era, but I'm not convinced it's the right sound for this musical. While powerfully delivered by Prince, Sherrill and Cusak, the toe-tappy, anthem-heavy score doesn't feel specific to these characters or their situation. And when the score does actually call for a no-holds-barred power-anthem finale, it backs away.

"The First Wives Club" plays through March 29 at the Oriental Theatre. (More information here.)

Domino's Pizza Offers 50 Percent Discount To Celebrate March Madness

Mon, 2015-03-16 15:41
Pizza and basketball go together like Shaquille O'Neal and a sea lion. That is, so long as you're not actually playing basketball, but are instead watching it from the comfort of your very own living room.

So get your game face on: This week, Domino's Pizza is offering a deal that'll make you want to jump up from the couch and shout, "Madness!" All pizzas ordered online will be discounted by 50 percent to celebrate the NCAA March Madness tournament.




According to the company's press release, the "deal is only available through Domino's digital ordering channels," which includes ordering at dominos.com and through your device at mobile.dominos.com. To take advantage of the deal, customers will need to use the code "50off" at checkout. The promotion will run through Sunday, March 24 and, since it only works online and via mobile, will ensure you won't miss any major game highlights because you'll only have to scoot your tush off the couch for a second when the doorbell rings. Whoomp, there it is!

H/T: Eater

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My Q and A With Cheri Mah, Who's Helping Top Athletes Elevate Their Game by Getting More Sleep

Mon, 2015-03-16 14:51
Top athletes are all about results. And as Cheri Mah has found, the world of sports is ahead of the curve when it comes to embracing one of the performance-enhancing tools that many of us overlook: sleep.

Mah is a researcher at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory, and her findings have made her a highly sought expert in the sports world. In answer to my questions, she shared her insights on how athletes at every level can boost their performance by getting more sleep, what's behind the recent surge in interest in athletes' sleep habits and how non-athletes can incorporate these lessons into their lives.

Describe your research on sleep and athletic performance.

My fascination with sleep in athletes began back in 2002 when several collegiate swimmers walked into the lab with wide grins, having set multiple personal records while on a sleep schedule to eliminate accumulated sleep debt. The aim of that study was to examine cognitive performance, not to boost athletic performance, but their success begged the question: Does getting extra sleep also enhance athletic performance?

Over the subsequent 10 years, my research has focused on the relationship between sleep and performance in high-performing athletes. At the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory with William Dement, M.D., Ph.D., the father of modern sleep medicine, my research has examined the impact of sleep duration and sleep quality on cognitive and physical performance in athletes across a wide range of sports.

The detrimental consequences of chronic sleep loss resulting in an accumulated sleep debt are well known; however, I've been intrigued with the opposite: investigating the potential benefits of getting extra sleep (sleep extension) and whether improving sleep patterns can positively impact functioning and enhance performance.

My research has been predominantly with collegiate athletes and has demonstrated that multiple weeks of sleep extension significantly reduces athletes' accumulated sleep debt and results in faster reaction time, decreased fatigue levels as well as improved athletic performance measures. More recently, a study of NFL West Coast vs. East Coast team matchups has shown a significant circadian rhythm advantage for West Coast teams in evening game outcomes over the past 40 NFL seasons.

Why do you think sports leaders are pioneering sleep research efforts?

Let's face it, sleep is frequently sacrificed and is the first thing to go when we're in a crunch for time. For professional athletes, sleep is often overlooked, and inadequate rest results in accumulating fatigue over a long season. Now add frequent travel back and forth across the country to further compound the situation. This scenario can be especially challenging, as I've found that not many sports teams have addressed sleep and recovery needs beyond the suggestion to "get a good night of sleep" the night before a game.

In the past few years, however, some professional sports teams have started to recognize that optimizing sleep is an untapped area of sports performance and can be a competitive advantage. In my opinion, several factors have spurred recent interest in athletes' sleep, including increasing general awareness of the importance of healthy sleep as well as new sleep research highlighting the necessity of adequate rest in athletes. As one example, a study of semi-professional tennis players has shown impairments in serving accuracy following sleep loss. On the other hand, my research studying several weeks of sleep extension has shown a 9-percent increase in both basketball free throw and 3-point field goal shooting percentages as well as faster sprint times in collegiate basketball players. In short, some sports teams are beginning to realize there are untapped benefits in improving their athletes' sleep, and applying findings from sleep research can provide a competitive edge.

How are professional sports teams incorporating sleep health into their training, and why?

Teams have different approaches, perspectives and extent of integrating sleep strategies into their training program. In general, in my experiences working with professional sports teams, it is essential to educate not only athletes but also coaches and staff on the importance of healthy sleep and the negative effects of chronic sleep loss.

A big challenge for teams is traveling and scheduling; many teams in fact have few if any strategies to optimize travel or scheduling. Some teams have started to evaluate schedules, such as considering the effects of circadian rhythms on performance and incorporating strategies to minimize the effects of jet lag. Some teams like the Warriors even choose to rest their players on the road.

Since one's report of sleep often differs from objective measures of sleep duration and quality, some teams have publicly acknowledged that they have incorporated objective sleep monitoring to help optimize individual athlete sleep patterns.

These are just a few examples of how sports teams are beginning to incorporate sleep strategies and leverage sleep science. I'll leave it at that for now and not go into the specifics, to respect the privacy of teams who view my work with them as an advantage.

What can all people learn from athletes on the importance of sleep?

You may not be a professional athlete, but healthy and adequate sleep is critical for everyone, not just on the weekend to "catch up on sleep" but on a daily basis. Whether you're a student studying for an exam, a working professional aiming to be at your best or a recreational athlete looking to up your game, prioritizing your sleep is key. I recommend taking a minute to evaluate if you are getting sufficient sleep each night, assess your sleep environment and plan to make one change to improve your sleep tonight!

College Presidents Are Still In Denial About Sexual Assault On Campus, Survey Finds

Mon, 2015-03-16 14:31
College and university presidents largely think their campuses are free of problems with sexual assault, a new Inside Higher Ed survey shows.

Seventy-eight percent of college presidents polled in the survey disagreed or strongly disagreed that sexual assault was prevalent on their campus, while only 6 percent agreed or strongly agreed that this was the case. In addition, three-fourths of presidents agreed or strongly agreed that their institutions were doing a good job protecting women from sexual assault, and nine in 10 agreed or strongly agreed that their schools provided appropriate due process for students accused of assault.

To conduct the survey, which was released Friday, Gallup polled 647 college presidents on behalf of Inside Higher Ed, the higher education trade publication.

The Department of Education is currently investigating 101 colleges and universities due to concerns that those institutions have violated Title IX, the federal gender equity law, in their handling of sexual violence cases.

The ever-increasing number of Education Department investigations follows a wave of students speaking out and highlighting colleges' and universities' inappropriate responses to campus rape cases. Multiple studies show that roughly one in five women are assaulted by the time they graduate from college. While conservative commentators have criticized that figure, each campus-based survey released in recent years has found a rate between one in 10 and one in three.

One-third of presidents in the Inside Higher Ed survey agreed or strongly agreed that sexual assault is prevalent on campuses nationwide, but 42 percent took a neutral position on the question.

| Create infographics

Inside Higher Ed's annual survey polls college presidents on trends in the news cycle, and the questions change each year, so there is no direct comparison to how the campus chiefs previously rated their schools on these specific issues. Last year, however, the survey found that not a single college president would say -- even anonymously -- that their institution wasn't handling sexual assault cases well.

This year's results come as the Senate is considering legislation that would increase the financial penalties the federal government can levy against schools that violate Title IX. To help explain their reasoning for the bill, lead co-sponsors Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) have recommended people watch "The Hunting Ground," a new documentary on campus rape that suggests college administrators have largely failed sexual assault victims.

One scene in the film is a montage of college administrators stating, "We take this issue very seriously," which the filmmakers described as "empty rhetoric" that schools routinely deploy when forced to confront their failings.

"We're in a stage of denial -- we know it's happening, the statistics are there," Annie Clark, a sexual assault survivor who appears in "The Hunting Ground," said about the Inside Higher Ed poll results.

Clark, who is a co-founder of the activist group End Rape On Campus, said college presidents who don't accept that sexual assault happens at their schools "are burying their heads in the sand."

"In order to have any real change, you need to accept that there's a problem, and we can't get to that real change unless they acknowledge it," she said.

The American Council on Education, which represents college and university presidents, did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post's request for comment.

The full list of colleges and universities currently under investigation by the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights for their handling of sexual violence is posted below.

101 Post Secondary Institutions Under Title IX Investigations by Tyler Kingkade

The Battle Between Stroller Moms and the CTA

Mon, 2015-03-16 14:08
"CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) policies and practices are currently discriminatory towards strollers." Apparently, stroller discrimination is rampant here in Chicago, y'all.

This is the opening line of Michelle Parker's online petition to the CTA where she demands that the CTA make changes to their current policies to make public transportation more "family friendly."

What's her beef? She states that the CTA has aided in the "Creation of a hostile environment for caregivers" who use strollers and that the CTA's "current policies encourage this (hostility) by suggesting open strollers are unsafe via recorded onboard messaging." She does not, however, provide any data to support that open strollers are actually safe.

She goes on to state that the current CTA stroller policies create "considerable safety issues for children, caregivers and other riders" and cause a "significant slowing of transit." To solve this problem, she proposes the following:

  1. Young children are allowed to remain in strollers for the duration of their rides.

  2. Designated areas for special needs on trains and buses clearly allow strollers.

  3. Drivers are instructed to always kneel buses for strollers and to promptly comply if asked to lower the ramp.

  4. Recordings and signage ask riders to accomodate (sic) strollers.



Did you catch the special needs part? That's because in her original petition, Parker compared strollers to wheelchairs (she has since removed it) and when she was interviewed by Red Eye Chicago, she stated "strollers are their wheelchairs." Did you cringe? Me too.

I do have issues with this petition. For one, strollers are not wheelchairs and shouldn't have the same rights. Disabled folks who use wheelchairs have rights that are protected by a federal law called the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the CTA has a legal responsibility to make buses accessible for wheelchairs whereas strollers do not have any legal protection and the CTA does not have any responsibility to make any concession for them.

But my main problem with this petition is that Parker didn't do her research. If she had, she would know that the CTA has one of the most lenient stroller policies of all the public transit systems in the country and that the majority of her requests are already part of the current CTA guidelines. In fact the CTA rule section on strollers is six paragraphs long whereas other metropolitan cities devote only one sentence. The first line of the CTA stroller rule section states: "Children in open strollers are welcome on the CTA..." It goes on to say that strollers should be kept clear of aisles and doorways and that the disabled have priority use of the Priority Seating area and that if those seats are not in use that open strollers may use that area. The rules also state that during busy times, strollers may need to be folded to accommodate other riders. And that riders may request use of the access ramp or lift during boarding and exit. This is in sharp contrast to Parker's assertion that the CTA's policies are discriminatory. Quite the opposite actually.

What's also noteworthy is that Pace, the transit authority that operates a mere few miles away from Chicago doesn't allow open strollers at all and has a firm fold-your-stroller-before-you-board policy that works for its riders. New York has the same policy as does Los Angeles. Back in 2011, Boston considered banning strollers from their transit system all together.

So why the inflammatory petition? Because there is actually a problem.

This petition sparked a lot of debate in the mom's group on Facebook where it was posted. Many were offended by Parker's statement that strollers and wheelchairs are equal. I'm not going to lie, I think that point is disgusting. But many ladies supported the petition, not because of Parker's view of strollers being similar to wheelchairs (even though shockingly a handful actually did), they supported it because they had lots of bad experiences on the CTA with their children and strollers.

Several stated that buses frequently refused to stop at designated bus stops when they were waiting with an open stroller. Others were asked to fold their strollers when boarding practically empty buses during non rush hour. A few stated that bus drivers and passengers openly threw shade at them when they asked that the ramp be lowered or the bus kneeled so they could board. Multiple moms stated they had seen other moms brought to tears by bus drivers and one mom shared a particularly disturbing account of being screamed at by a CTA bus driver for having her newborn baby in an open stroller, during off rush hour, in the middle of snowstorm, oh and he was sick and on the way to the doctor.

While I do not agree that the CTA is discriminatory, I think it's clear that drivers are not following the CTA's very clear policies. Refusing to stop is unacceptable as is yelling at riders. Being unfriendly about lowering the ramp when it's in the CTA guidelines that it's allowed is not cool either. But what seems to be at the core of the issue for many moms is the demand to fold up strollers when the bus is not running during rush hour and not full. The CTA's own policy allows this so why aren't drivers complying?

I also believe, unlike Parker, that blame is not with the CTA. Their guidelines fulfill almost all of her requests. The problem is with the bus drivers who are taking it upon themselves to divert from the rules established by the CTA and they should be reported and disciplined when they don't follow protocol. If enough moms file complaints and bring attention to individual incidences of mistreatment by drivers, the CTA will have to listen and they will have to assess and correct the issue.

I would encourage any mom that has an issue with CTA's drivers not following their own policies to write an email to the Assistant Secretary to the Board, Gregory Longhini (glonghini1@transitchicago.com) and include photos (the CTA website says non-commercial photography on buses is allowed) showing empty buses when they are asked to fold up. Report buses that don't stop. Turn in bus drivers who don't accommodate the use of the ramp as they are supposed to. Blow up his email until the CTA is forced to recognize the insubordinate behavior of its employees. But most importantly, read the CTA's policy and know your rights and speak up when drivers are not following protocol. The key is to make sure that drivers adhere to what the rules are and if we all stay vigilant we can make the system with work with us instead of against us.

Do you have any stroller rage with the CTA? Start a dialogue and share your story in the comments.

Aaron Schock's fall from grace is a new twist on an old theme

Mon, 2015-03-16 12:46
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Illinois) has seen his fair share of media scrutiny in recent weeks, all starting with a report that he had redecorated his congressional office in the image of PBS' period drama "Downton Abbey." Since then, he has come under criticism for possibly improper use of taxpayer funds on dinners, hotels, private jet flights and even concert tickets. The Better Government Association's Andy Shaw took a look at how Schock, a rising Republican star, fell out of favor. His ailment is not unique, says Shaw.

From Shaw:

Chronic hubris, caused by excessive exposure to fawning aides and constituents; loose rules and lax oversight; a grandiose sense of entitlement, and unrealistic feelings of invincibility.

The Rx? Multiple investigations and a suddenly uncertain political future for one of the Republican Party's rising stars.

Sadly, the problem goes well beyond Schock's use of public and political funds for helicopter rides and private plane trips to football games, concerts and staff weekends; pricey meals and hotel rooms; and a D.C. office remodeled to resemble Downton Abbey.

He got caught, thanks to the dogged digging of Washington reporters, including the Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet.

But legions of public officials bend the rules without being detected or held accountable because there aren't enough watchdogs shining a light on their alleged chicanery.

Check out what other examples of unencumbered political hubris Shaw and the Better Government Association have called out recently at Reboot Illinois.

Speaking of politicians and taxpayer money, Capitol Fax's Rich Miller wants Illinoisans to take a closer look at Gov. Bruce Rauner's plans for cutting childcare costs in the upcoming budget. Eliminating $108 million of spending, aimed at services that take place in a family home by a family member, looks like a good idea on the surface, but Miller wonders whether those cuts could end up costing the state more money in the long run. Check out how Miller makes that rhetorical leap at Reboot Illinois.

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

You Have A 1 In 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 Chance Of Randomly Picking A Perfect NCAA Bracket

Mon, 2015-03-16 11:59
March Madness is coming up, so we just wanted to remind you that there is basically no way you are going to pick a perfect bracket. Sorry.

Jeff Bergen, a mathematics professor at DePaul University, calculates that if you randomly fill out your bracket, you have a one in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 chance of doing so perfectly.

That’s one in 9.2 quintillion, for those of you too lazy to count, which explains why local rich man Warren Buffett felt confident enough last year to promise $1 billion to anyone that was able to do the near-impossible.


It would be easier to win the Mega Millions lottery two times in a row buying one ticket both times than it would be to get a perfect bracket,” Bergen said in a release by DePaul University. “Getting a perfect bracket is also the mathematical equivalent of picking the winning party of each presidential election through 2264.”

He added: “It would be more likely for the next 16 World Series to be won by the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox than it would be to pick a perfect bracket by guessing," which is a low blow to Cubs fans.

The calculation is actually fairly simple. Since there are 64 teams in the tournament, but you have to correctly predict who will win 63 games, since the eventual champion never loses. As one team loses and one team wins each game, you can then calculate two to the 63rd power, which is 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. Math!


This is what math looks like, folks. Soak it in.

People have taken issue with this calculation in the past, noting that very few people fill out a bracket do so without considering seeding, etc. “Nobody actually picks brackets this way; even very casual fans incorporate relative seeding,” Reuben Fischer-Baum wrote last year on Deadspin. “For all practical purposes, 1 in 9.2 quintillion is a terrible estimate of how hard it is to pick a perfect bracket.”

Bergen agrees that a little knowledge can go a long way. In fact, if you incorporate all your basketball know-how, he says you can bring your odds of filling out a perfect bracket all the way down to one in 128 billion.

And actually, at those odds, you'd be an idiot not to bet your life-savings.

Lucky Health Tips for Your Dog on St. Patrick's Day

Mon, 2015-03-16 11:47
St. Patrick's Day is fast approaching. Shamrocks, rainbows, beer, leprechauns, green rivers, and everything lucky -- this holiday has it all. Named after Saint Patrick, the most recognized patron saint (and snake remover) of Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is especially... shall we say 'festive'... in Chicagoland. However for pets, St. Patrick's Day can accidentally become unlucky and even dangerous for a number of reasons. Here are some guidelines for keeping your pet safe:
Alcohol
A little green beer on this holiday? Dogs should absolutely never be allowed access to beer or alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is toxic to pets and can make them extremely sick or even worse. If your pooch insists on joining in the festivities, you can buy or make your own doggie beverage. Try organic low sodium chicken broth in a frosty mug or bone broth poured from a growler (look! A beer-related meaning for the word "growler"...!). Or, if you want a 6-pack beer-bottle feeling, buy a doggie-beer such as Dog Beer or Bowser Beer. These non-alcoholic, non-carbonated treats can be a fun novelty for the human family, and won't harm the family dog. In general it's best to always be on the lookout for natural, organic and chemical-free ways to keep your pet healthy and happy.
Dye
Wear green or be pinched! We do not recommend dyeing even the most Irish of Wolfhounds green, but if your leprechaun insists, make sure to use non-toxic, all-natural, non-permanent vegetable dye. Be certain the coloring won't affect sensitive skin and is safe if your dog licks the fur after it's dyed. Murphy Oil Soap (liquid) is perfect as a safe, natural and non-drying dog shampoo to wash that green right out of their hair.
Clothing
At this time of year, there seems to be no shortage of St. Patrick's Day costumes to adorn your precious pet. When dressing your pet for the occasion, take a cute photo as soon as the outfit is on. Then if the costume becomes uncomfortable, you can undress your little shamrock and show the photo instead. Animals can become overheated when wearing clothing/costumes. Signs of overheating include panting, acting lethargic or looking anxious. Overheating occurs more rapidly if the pet is in the sun, on a hot day, or in a warm room. Offering plenty of fresh water, and a cool place in the shade can help, but if your pets seem hot or uncomfortable, let them get naked.
Special Events
Parades and parties will be happening all around town. They can be overwhelming and even hazardous to your pet. When taking your pet to parties, communicate with the host or hostess to determine (a) if your pet is welcome and (b) if there will be a "no disturb" area or room for your pet if she becomes agitated. Make sure other guests aren't tempted to offer unhealthy treats, foods or drink to your dog. Remember that other houses may not be dog-proofed. Table surfing or garbage picking in a bathroom or kitchen may be dangerously appealing to a dog. Pets at holiday parades should be leashed and properly restrained at all times for a parade of reasons.
Adopting
Looking for an Irish dog? Maybe an Irish Water Spaniel, Irish Setter, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Kerry Beagle, Irish Lurcher, Irish Toy Collie, Kerry Blue Terrier, Glen of Imaal Terrier, or an Irish Wolfhound? Whoever you might be looking for as your next four-legged companion, you can adopt an Irish breed at your local shelter or breed rescue. There are many deserving animals waiting to find a home. You'll both find that the luck of the Irish is with you!

Illinois' College Students Complete School at a Higher Rate Than Most of the Country

Mon, 2015-03-16 11:41
Even if Illinois' politicians don't have much they can boast about, Illinois' college students have plenty of reason to be proud about their college completion rates.

A new study says 73 percent of the state's four-year public college students complete their coursework within six years, compared to about 63 percent nationally, says a new study. That's the sixth-highest rate in the country-Iowa had the highest rate with nearly 80 percent of its students in four-year public institutions graduating in six years.

The study, released Feb. 24 and created by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, looked at the class of students that began their college careers in 2008, whether they finished at their starting institution or at another school. There were approximately 100,000 students who started college (at public schools, private schools and two-year schools) that year in Illinois. Students from that cohort, if they had graduated within four years, would have been part of the class of 2012. This study allowed for two extra years in study completion-it looked at graduation rates after six years.

Here are five states with some of the highest college completion rates in the country.

10. Pennsylvania-71.25%

9. Connecticut-71.57%

8. Minnesota-71.67%

7. South Carolina-71.86%

6. Illinois-73.20%


Check out the five states with the highest six-year college completion rates in the country at Reboot Illinois, including one state in which nearly 80 percent of all college students finish within six years.

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

NEXT ARTICLE: How much did Illinois colleges make in 2014?
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Powerful Photo Series Shows What It's Like To Be A Rugby Girl

Mon, 2015-03-16 11:35
Spanish photographer Alejandra Carles-Tolra captures women in traditionally "masculine" arenas. She has previously photographed female ROTC cadets and motorcycle riders -- and then she heard about the Brown University Women's Rugby Club.

After introducing herself to the coach and meeting the team, Carles-Tolra attended weekly practices and photographed the players in action. The powerful results show the physical strength it requires to be a woman who plays rugby.

"Through my work, I aim to bring a broader understanding of female athletes' identities, and to what it means to be a woman who performs in a male-dominated field," Carles-Tolra told HuffPost. "I hope the players see my photographs as a celebration of their strength and identity, which I believe play an important role in challenging the meaning of masculine sports, and pushing the boundaries of female identity."

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