Friday, March 14, 2014

Scott Brown Moves Toward Senate Bid in New Hampshire

Scott Brown Moves Toward Senate Bid in New Hampshire

Scott Brown Moves Toward Senate Bid in New Hampshire

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Former Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown will announce late Friday that he’s formally exploring a campaign to return to the Senate, but this time representing New Hampshire, a person familiar with his decision confirmed to TIME.

New Hampshire Republicans were abuzz Friday with the expectation that Brown would take the first step toward a 2014 Senate bid against incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen by forming an exploratory committee. He’s expected to make the announcement late Friday afternoon during the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua.

"The last three days, all signs have been pointing towards him getting into the race," said Fergus Cullen, a former state GOP chairman, noting that Brown has made campaign donations to county and city Republican committees in the state to the tune of almost $30,000. "That ought to accomplish the goal of buying some friends and probably muting any dissident voices."

If Brown ultimately decides to run, his name recognition—New Hampshire is part of the Boston media market—will make him a tough challenger to Shaheen, brightening Republicans’ prospects of picking up the seat. It could make it easer for Republican to retake the Senate in the midterm elections, and will at least divert Democrats' focus from tough races in Arkansas, North Carolina, Louisiana and others, and sap the nearly $3.5 million Shaheen has in campaign cash. Brown, who moved to New Hampshire, would have to face criticisms that he’s a carpetbagger. And first elected to the Senate as something of a moderate, he could also still face a GOP primary challenger.

Brown won a major upset victory in a 2010 special election for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat, but lost in 2012 by seven points to liberal firebrand Elizabeth Warren in the most expensive Senate race in American history.

After moving to the state for what he said were family reasons, Brown has popped up in local media sporadically. A month ago, a shirtless Brown graced the front page of the state's largest daily newspaper as he participated in the Penguin Plunge, the proceeds of which go to the Special Olympics. He will have some outside help to aid what has been so far a mostly quiet, inside game: The Republican super PAC American Crossroads will launch a $600,000 ad buy next week against Shaheen, Politico reports.

Cullen said Brown could do well with Republicans even though he just moved to the state in December (he had a vacation home in New Hampshire before then). "The people who use it weren't going to vote for him anyway, whether that's in the primary or the general [election]," Cullen said. He advised Brown to emulate the strategy Hillary Clinton used when she moved to New York and ran for Senate there in 2000, a campaign that started with a high-profile listening tour across the state.

"My advice would be don't pretend something that you're not,” Cullen said.

‘Fit Mom’ Still Wants You To Feel Inferior and Kind of Lazy

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 11:03 AM PDT

Did you miss her? Probably not.

Exercise enthusiast and professional provocateur Maria Kang—that’s ‘Fit Mom’ to you—has posted yet another controversial photo to her Facebook page. The image is covered in hot pink arrows pointing to specific parts of her body, annotated with details about her successes (“not a trainer, athlete or fitness model”), struggles (“stretchmarks”), and many admirable qualities (discipline, focus, faith) all while maintaining a sheen of condescension—she’s literally glowing in her photo.

AdWeek reports that the new photo is part of a promotional push for Kang’s new website: The project, which purports to be a ‘movement,’ features women of all shapes and sizes, along with recipes, exercises and profiles of realistic female role models. The site also sells “what’s your excuse” tank tops, alongside a calendar featuring “real every day moms.” The effort is admirable, but the question remains as whether Kang can stop focusing on her favorite subject—look no further than her photo-heavy Facebook page—to make her dream a reality.

Kang became an Internet sensation last year after a picture she posted of herself posing in workout clothes with her three young children under the banner “what’s your excuse?” went viral. The ensuing flurry of coverage led to TV appearances, a sorry/not sorry apology to the entire Internet, a temporary ban from Facebook and even an essay written for TIME about how the “fat acceptance” movement is harmful.

This new salvo in her never-ending campaign to remind mothers of all the desirable qualities of discipline and hard work that they probably don’t have will probably launch another Internet frenzy and a new round of clarifications for Kang. It’s a wonder she has time to work out at all.

Quiznos Files for Bankruptcy

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 10:56 AM PDT

The sandwich chain Quiznos filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday, but said it would continue operating as it cuts into its heavy debt.

The company had tried to set itself apart with toasted subs. It oversees almost 2,100 franchise locations worldwide and will continue to toast those subs as it cuts more than $400 million in debt and makes improvements for the future, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The bankruptcy filing has been in the making for two years, the Journal reports. Quiznos, which has a reputation for high operating costs among franchise owners, has had to shutter thousands of stores.


Doctors’ New ADHD Frontier: Diagnosing Adults

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 10:49 AM PDT

When Peter Coyne's 6-year-old son was diagnosed with ADHD 12 years ago, Coyne, 53, hardly knew what the disorder was. So he decided to read up on it.

"Suddenly I thought, 'oh my God,' this is what I've had my entire life," says Coyne, a designer at a public relations firm. He flashed back to his younger years in school. He never thought he was stupid, but as classes progressively required more reading and attention, he suffered.

"It was frustrating. I used to think, maybe I don't try hard enough. Maybe I don't care. Maybe I'm lazy," says Coyne. He scheduled an appointment with a psychiatrist, and Coyne got his own ADHD diagnosis the same year as his son. He finally had an answer for why he was the way he was. It was a relief.

The number of adults taking ADHD drugs rose by more 50% between 2008 and 2012, according to a report out this week from pharmacy management company Express Scripts. In 2001, 0.5% of adults ages 20 to 44 were on ADHD drugs, says Dr. David Muzina, vice president of specialist practice at Express Scripts. It crossed the 1% mark for men in 2004, and for women in 2005, and has been steadily rising ever since.

Parents educating themselves for the past decade about a problem that afflicts more and more children has led to greater awareness about the disorder. "What commonly brings someone in is they see their child being evaluated and recognize symptoms in themselves," says Dr. Len Adler, the director of adult ADHD at New York University's School of Medicine.

But diagnosing adults isn't the same as diagnosing children—it's harder. Since adults in general deal with a greater cognitive load than kids, there's a fine line when it comes to distinguishing stress overload from legitimate ADHD symptoms. According to the DSM V, adults and children are assessed based on long list of symptoms for both inattentiveness and hyperactivity. Kids must meet six symptoms in each category for a period of at least six months, while adults need only meet five in each for the same time period—since adults tend to learn to cope and lose some of the more obvious symptoms with age. Some of the symptoms sound like your average overworked adult: difficulty with organization, easily distracted, unable to sustain attention, fidgeting, talking too much, interrupts often.

Most importantly, though, adults need to show that the roots of their disease took hold in childhood. "The consensus is that you cannot develop ADHD as an adult. You must have had symptoms in childhood," says Dr. Joseph Austerman, a children’s psychiatry and psychology clinician at Cleveland Clinic. But ascertaining that is inherently problematic, since reporting often comes from the distracted adult in question. Significant others or parents are sometimes consulted, but the amount of information physicians can assess for adult patients is limited compared to that for children. Research has found that, among adults with ADHD, only 11% are diagnosed and treated.

The alarming rise in medication among children and adults has skeptics questioning the accuracy of so many diagnoses. Many also point to the successful marketing push from big pharma, which in 2012 saw profits nearing $9 billion for stimulant medications, compared to $1.7 billion just a decade ago, according to a report from The New York Times. And that's from what has been predominantly a kids market. Online quizzes from ADHD advocacy groups can also prompt adults to seek help. "There's no denying there's a strong possibility that these numbers speak to clinicians' proclivity to easily prescribe these medications to adults who are asking for them," says Dr. Muzina.

While there may be growing cases of questionable ADHD diagnoses, for those who do have the disorder, it's a relieving answer to a confusing and frustrating childhood. Men, who are more commonly diagnosed with ADHD, struggle more with holding down jobs and relationships.

"People at my age, we learn to adapt," says Coyne. "It's not like I can't sit in my chair anymore. Now, I am just distracted."

Dr. Muzina estimates that ADHD drug use in adults will grow by 25% over the next five years. But the chicken or egg question prevails. "The part that we are concerned about is how much of this drug use is related to over-diagnosis and over-treatment of symptoms that aren't really a condition," Dr. Muzina says.

G.R.L. Give the Ultimate Kiss-Off in “Ugly Heart”: Listen

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 10:15 AM PDT

Initially cobbled together to replenish the ranks of burlesque impresario Robin Antin's Pussycat Dolls, the women of G.R.L. had enough talent and panache to convince Antin they merited existence as a brand new group, making their debut as part of The Smurfs 2's soundtrack with the bubbling dance-pop of "Vacation." Now preparing their debut album with a all-star team of producers — Dr. Luke, Cirkut, Max Martin and Darkchild, among others — the group has pivoted into moonlit, guitar-oriented pop for their new track, sneering kiss-off "Ugly Heart."

The song's packed with undeniable Dr. Luke flourishes, the kind he's used to build a fortified pop kingdom, but is rendered even more vital by the chemistry G.R.L.'s members share: just a few singles into their career, their work is ringing with the sort of camaraderie it takes lesser groups entire albums to build. Jerks come and go, but friends like this stick around forever.

Jennifer Lopez’s Music Video for “I Luh Ya PaPi” Objectifies Men — And Maybe Women, Too

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 10:03 AM PDT

Yesterday, when Jennifer Lopez premiered the video for her new single “I Luh Ya PaPi,” she introduced more than a clip of singing and dancing. In an intro scene, the video concept is up for debate; Lopez vetoes proposals to film at a carnival or a zoo, especially after it’s noted that if she were a guy, the conversation would be about yachts and half-naked girls. “Why do men always objectify the women in every single video?” asks one of her friends. “Why can’t we for once objectify the men?”

Then, things get weird.

What follows seems at first to be a fantasy of the video the women propose: a run-down of music-video tropes — and past J. Lo incarnations — with the genders reversed, all set to the super-catchy track. She walks through a mansion morning-after scene strewn with underwear-clad men, is waited on by speedo-wearing pool boys, watches shirtless dudes wash her car and dances on a yacht full of sunbathing hunks. The camera lingers on their abs, and one car-washing guy even (hilariously) scrubs his crotch with a soapy sponge. That’s pretty much what music videos full of half-naked girls look like, and it deftly underlines the point about ladies wanting to have fun (of the looking at sexy people variety) too.

But pause the video around 3:55.

What’s weird is that during the verse contributed by rapper French Montana, all the tropes Lopez set out to mock come right back. The part where he stands there (fully dressed, unlike the speedo dudes) while Lopez struts around him in short shorts is one thing; it’s her video, she’s choosing what to wear, she’s supporting the featured artist on her track, and presumably she wants to look sexy — so that’s how she does it. It’s a little bit of a strange choice considering the video’s theme, but, sure. The thing that really stands out is that there are also two backup dancers who act as decorative objects for his appearance. They don’t play characters, they don’t really show off any particular dance skills, you can barely see their faces — it’s pretty much a textbook case of the “video vixen” objectification that’s derided in the video’s intro.

This isn’t the first time in recent memory that an artist has tried to satirize the video status quo and not gone all the way. In November, Lily Allen’s “Hard Out Here” video went in a parallel direction and was roundly criticized for — in her detractors’ view — making a point about objectifying women by inadvertently objectifying people of color. Lopez’s video is more fun and less biting, but they’re pretty similar situations: in both cases, good intentions were obvious, but the artist didn’t go quite far enough.

In Lopez’s case at least, a video that doesn’t have any women objectified would be the result of seeing her idea through — but she could even go a step beyond that. If she and her girlfriends are upset enough about women being objectified in music videos to make a whole video skewering that tradition, why respond by objectifying other people? Yes, objectifying men does make a satirical point — and that car wash scene is pretty funny, because car wash scenes are always funny — but not objectifying anyone would be a more sophisticated solution to the problem they identify. Still, Lopez is a pro at music videos, so perhaps she’s identified something about the state of that industry that explains why she didn’t take it to that logical conclusion. For now, if “I Luh Ya PaPi” is any indication, even the almost-equality she references is destined to remain a fantasy.

Man Sentenced to 249 Years for 1991 Temple Slaying

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 09:50 AM PDT

(PHOENIX) — A man convicted of killing nine people, including six monks, at a Buddhist temple in metro Phoenix was sentenced Friday to 249 years in prison.

The sentence given to 39-year-old Johnathan Doody came after he was convicted in his third trial.

Doody was one of two men convicted in the robbery and killings at the Wat Promkunaram temple west of Phoenix in August 1991.

It was one of Arizona’s most notorious crimes.

The six monks, one nun and two helpers who died in the robbery were shot in the back of the head, their bodies found arranged face-down in a circle.

Doody maintains he’s innocent.

A friend of Doody’s was sentenced to life in prison in the case and testified that the crime was was Doody’s idea.

College Offers to Pay Students to Take Year Off

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 09:39 AM PDT

(MEDFORD, Mass.) — Colleges are paying students to take a year off after high school to travel, volunteer or do internships.

A new program at Tufts University and existing ones at a handful of other schools aim to remove the financial barriers keeping cash-strapped students from exploring different communities and challenging their comfort zones instead of jumping right into college.

The “gap year” program starting this fall at Tufts will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can often add up to $30,000 or more.

Although gap years are more popular in Europe, they have started to gain traction in the United States. About 40,000 Americans participated in gap year programs in 2013, an increase of nearly 20 percent since 2006, according to data gathered by a nonprofit called the American Gap Year Association.

In 2009, Princeton University began offering applicants gap-year aid based on need. Nearly 100 students have participated, volunteering in Brazil, China, India, Peru and Senegal.

The University of North Carolina offers $7,500 to gap year applicants, while students at Wisconsin’s St. Norbert College can receive financial aid based on need, although airfare isn’t covered.

Lydia Collins, a 19-year-old Tufts freshman from Evanston, Ill., said she took a gap year because she wanted to see what was outside of the classroom before committing to four more years of school.

“A lot of kids are very burnt out after high school,” Collins said. “Taking this time to be with yourself and see yourself in a new community and light will only help you to succeed in college.”

Collins worked in microfinance in Ecuador through the poverty-fighting group Global Citizen and said the experience inspired her to pursue international relations, something she would not have known about beforehand.

Students who take part are able to see the world beyond the bubble they grew up in and return to school with a better perspective of their future, said Holly Bull, president of the Center of Interim Programs, which counsels students on taking gap years. Bull said the benefit of the structured time away from school is too valuable to exclude lower-income students.

“Students return to the classroom more focused, independent and confident,” said Bull, who took a gap year herself to Hawaii and Greece. She said the students also tend to have less trouble adjusting to dorm life.

Jeremy Rotblat, a 19-year-old Princeton freshman from Cherry Hill, N.J., said his experience volunteering at a hospital in Senegal better prepared him for college.

“This experience taught me that everything I learn in the classroom will be able to help me when I leave Princeton,” Rotblat said. “It is easy at times to question the purpose behind all the school work. But seeing the value firsthand encourages me to push myself academically.”

Students selected for Tufts’ 1+4 program will be able to defer their admission for a year while still remaining tied to the university through video chat and email. Tufts is planning to work with organizations including Global Citizen, City Year and Lift — which offer volunteering positions in areas such as education, economics, health and the environment — to create packages that fit students’ financial needs, including travel and living costs.

Patrick Callan, founding president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, applauds the gap year experience but said structure is key.

“Sometimes, for less motivated students, taking a year off could lead to them never coming back,” he said, adding that students that go in without concrete goals can be sidetracked from their studies. “You need to come in having a plan.”

For Collins, working in a foreign country away from her family and friends was a reality check.

“After that experience,” she said, “I can definitely take on college. It’s nothing now.”

Girl Scouts Take a Break From Selling Cookies to Bust Shoplifters

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 09:38 AM PDT

Fueled by the power of Thin Mints, Texas Girl Scout troop 129007 took a break from selling cookies outside a grocery store to fight some crime. (I spy a made-for-Disney movie in the making).

The girls told a local news station that suspicions were raised when they spotted a man sneakily pushing a full shopping cart out of the HEB grocery store. The girls went to the store employees who found out that the man and an accomplice were stealing upwards of $2,000 in merchandise.

"He was stealing a lot of stuff," said Girl Scout Hailey Matthews. “We caught the bad guy.”

But at the end of the day, it was still all about business. Crime fighting inspired the HEB staff to go outside and buy some Samoas. Said Hailey, “I was excited that she bought $100 worth of cookies.”

Jimmy Fallon’s “First Lick” Video Spoofs Viral Ad of 20 Strangers Kissing

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 09:29 AM PDT

Last night, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon broadcasted “First Lick,” a parody of the viral video “First Kiss,” directed by Tatia Pilieva, that was supposed to portray 20 strangers kissing for the first time. While Internet users were disappointed to learn that “First Kiss” was not spontaneous at all — and, in fact, an advertisement for WREN, the Los Angeles-based womenswear brand — Fallon’s version with puppies and kittens slobbering over each other will never disappoint.

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Here is the original WREN video, which boasts 47.3 million views since it was uploaded to YouTube on Mar. 10:

WATCH: 20 Strangers Were Asked to Kiss For the First Time and It Was Strangely Beautiful

MORE: Why That 'First Kiss' Video Now Feels Like A Bad First Date


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