Julianne Hough writhes, screams during so-called ‘energy treatment’

A video of the dancer shows her receiving a treatment called Network Spinal Analysis at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
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The Nuclear Family Is Still Indispensable
The nuclear family is disintegrating—or so Americans might conclude from what they watch and read. The quintessential nuclear family consists of a married couple raising their children. But from Oscar-winning Marriage Story’s gut-wrenching portrayal of divorce or the Harvard sociologist Christina Cross’s New York Times op-ed in December, “The Myth of the Two-Parent Home,” discounting the importance of marriage for kids, one might draw the conclusion that marriage is more endangered than ever—and that this might not be such a bad thing.Meanwhile, the writer David Brooks recently described the post–World War II American concept of family as a historical aberration—a departure from a much older tradition in which parents, grandparents, siblings, and cousins all look out for the well-being of children. In an article in The Atlantic bearing the headline “The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake,” Brooks argued that the “nuclear family has been crumbling in slow motion for decades.” He sees extended families and what he calls “forged families”—single parents, single adults, and others coming together to support one another and children—as filling the vacuum created by the breakdown of the nuclear family.[David Brooks: The nuclear family was a mistake]Yet the search for alternate forms of family has two major flaws. First, there’s evidence indicating that the nuclear family is, in fact, recovering. Second, a nuclear family headed by two loving married parents remains the most stable and safest environment for raising children.There are, of course, still reasons for legitimate concern about the state of the American family. Marriage today is less likely to anchor family life in many poor and working-class communities. While a majority of college-educated men and women between 18 and 55 are married, that’s no longer true for the poor (only 26 percent are married) and the working class (39 percent). What’s more, children from these families are markedly less likely to live under the same roof as their biological parents than their peers from better-off backgrounds are.But there is also ample good news—especially for kids.Today, the divorce rate is down, having fallen by more than 30 percent since peaking around 1980, in the wake of the divorce revolution. And, since the Great Recession, out-of-wedlock births are now dipping as well. Less divorce and less nonmarital childbearing means that more children are being raised in stable, married families. Since 2014, the share of kids in intact families has begun to climb, reversing a decades-long trend in the opposite direction. And as Brooks noted—citing research that one of us conducted at the University of Virginia—the nuclear family headed by married parents remains a personal ideal even among men and women who harbor no moral objections to alternative family structures.None of this suggests that scholars and social commentators are wrong to extol the role extended families can play in improving children’s lives. In her New York Times article raising questions about the importance of the two-parent home, Cross hypothesized that living closer to extended family may actually be helping protect black children “against some of the negative effects associated with parental absence from the home.” And, in Brooks’s evocative telling, the alternatives to the nuclear family hold enormous promise: “Americans are hungering to live in extended and forged families,” arrangements that “allow more adults and children to live and grow under the loving gaze of a dozen pairs of eyes, and be caught, when they fall, by a dozen pairs of arms.”Grandparents, for example, are sharing homes with children and grandchildren; single adults and single parents are forging novel alliances on websites like CoAbode, where, according to Brooks, “single mothers can find other single mothers interested in sharing a home.” These emerging arrangements not only afford people more freedom to choose their own ties that bind, but they also promise to fill the void left in the absence of a strong nuclear family.[Read: If the nuclear family has failed, what comes next?]There’s no question that “a dozen pairs of arms” can make lighter work of family life. Society should applaud those who step up to try to rescue adults and children left adrift in a nation where, despite promising trends, many children still grow up outside an intact two-parent family.But Americans should not presume that society can successfully replace families headed by married parents with models oriented more around kith and kin. Caution is especially warranted as extended families and communities struggle to foster upward mobility or to raise the next generation successfully in circumstances where the family once anchored by marriage has broken down in their midst.It turns out that the relationship between nuclear families and larger communities is more symbiotic than substitutionary; more interdependent than interchangeable. Whatever the merits of extended or other nonnuclear forms of family life, research has yet to show that they are entirely equipped to shoulder the unique role of a child’s two parents.Today, most multigenerational households—which include grandparents, parents, and children—contain only one parent. This often occurs because a mother has moved in with her own parent (or the reverse) following a divorce or breakup. According to the sociologist Wendy Wang, 65 percent of multigenerational families include a single parent. But research reveals mixed outcomes for such households.Sara McLanahan of Princeton University and Gary Sandefur of the University of Wisconsin have found that the average child raised by a “mother and grandmother is doing about the same as the average child raised by a single mother” on outcomes such as dropping out of high school or having a teen birth. And in the absence of both parents, children raised by their extended kin, such as an aunt or uncle, are significantly more likely to have, in the words of one study, “higher levels of internalizing problems”—including loneliness and sadness—compared to their peers raised by married parents. As for other emerging forms of family, such as forged families, there are well-founded reasons for skepticism about the role unrelated adults might play in raising a child. Over the years, study after study has detailed the many possible downsides to introducing unrelated adults, especially men, into children’s lives without the presence of those children’s married parents.This is because, sadly, adults who are unrelated to children are much more likely to abuse or neglect them than their own parents are. One federal report found that children living in a household with an unrelated adult were about nine times more likely to be physically, sexually, or emotionally abused than children raised in an intact nuclear family. All this is to say that, for kids, it matters if all the pairs of arms raising them include—first and foremost—those of their own parents.The positive effects of stable marriage and stable nuclear families also spill over. Neighborhoods, towns, and cities are more likely to flourish when they are sustained by lots of married households. The work of the Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson tells us that neighborhoods with many two-parent families are much safer. In his own words: “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor[s] of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.” [Read: Marriage has become a trophy]His Harvard colleagues, the economists Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren, have drawn similar conclusions about the relationship between the health of the American dream and the presence of two-parent families in a community. Working with a team of scholars, they found that black boys are more likely to achieve upward economic mobility if there are more black fathers in a neighborhood—and more married couples, as well. And for poor children of all races, Chetty and his team have found that the fraction of children with single parents in a given community is the strongest and most robust predictor of economic mobility—or its absence. Children raised in communities with high percentages of single mothers are less likely to move up. In other words, it takes a village—but of married people—to raise the odds that a poor child will have a shot at the American dream.The isolated nuclear family detached from all social support is simply not workable for most people. Married couples raising children—as well as other family forms—are more likely to thrive when they are embedded in strong networks of friends, family, community, and religious congregations.Likewise, communities are stronger and safer when they include lots of committed married couples. It’s good news, then, that the share of children being raised by their own married parents is on the rise. Extended kin can (and sometimes must) play a greater role in meeting children’s needs. But as any parent knows, when it comes to an inconsolable child, even a “dozen pairs of arms” from the village don’t quite compare to the warm and safe embrace of Mom or Dad.
Snap Into a Grass-Fed Organic Meat Stick
For most Americans, meat sticks have one face: Macho Man Randy Savage. The pro wrestler fronted the Slim Jim brand for much of the 1990s, flipping tables and crashing through ceilings in television commercials to implore young men to snap into dried sausage rods. Over several decades of marketing, Slim Jim had fine-tuned itself for a certain type of bro: one who delighted in the purposefully trashy masculinity embodied by WWF icons in neon-fringed leather and the mystery-meat gas-station snacks they love. The processed protein cylinders long dominated the meat-snack market, netting hundreds of millions of dollars in sales in the ’90s for the packaged-foods behemoth Conagra.As the new millennium dawned, however, American tastes and the whims of pop culture started to shift. People began to worry about processed foods and search for different flavors and ingredients in their snacks. Savage’s tenure with Slim Jim ended, and the brand launched new campaigns—most notably, a series of late-2000s ads in which a man dressed as a meat stick implored people to eat him. Slim Jim even temporarily changed its slogan from “Snap into a Slim Jim” to “Made from stuff guys need.” But growing up is hard. By late 2010, sales of the sticks had dipped, and even as they rebounded in the years afterward, executives fretted over teenage boys aging out of their products.Five years later, I did a double take while walking through a Whole Foods in Brooklyn. Out of the corner of my eye, I had spotted a pile of narrow, long tubes in single-serving plastic shrink-wrap—Slim Jim packaging, but with the sophisticated shades of organic groceries instead of the garish colors of snacks fighting for attention in convenience stores. I stopped to marvel at the sticks, made by a company called Vermont Smoke & Cure, and to quietly scoff at their audacity. Who would buy a gentrified Slim Jim as health food?The answer turned out to be a lot of people. Over the past decade, the gospel of meat and spice has not only endured, but flourished into a shelf-stable-beef extravaganza. Slim Jim’s sales have nearly tripled since their 2010 dip, and new companies have sprung up to offer organic, grass-fed, or minimal-ingredient protein batons virtually everywhere: corner stores, airport newsstands, office snack deliveries, the ads slotted between Instagram Stories. To put a meat snack in every hand, snack purveyors have pulled off a trick that might have seemed impossible in the days of the Macho Man: They transformed surplus beef into health food.[Read: The capitalist way to make Americans stop eating meat]Despite my initial incredulity at the thought of gourmet Slim Jims, curiosity won out. I started buying fancy meat sticks and jerky in airports—flying is stressful enough without a tummy full of chocolate and Cheez-Its. I’ve never had a meat stick that I’d regard as delicious, exactly, but plenty of them taste perfectly fine. They occasionally show up in my office’s snack stash, and they’re a better bridge to a delayed lunch than a tiny packet of organic animal crackers. They seem like no less reasonable a thing to have floating around at the bottom of my tote bag than a protein bar flavored like birthday cake.To understand why dried sausage sticks are all the rage, you have to look past their most famous American purveyor and into the fitness-centric enclaves on Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram. There, carbohydrate-skeptical plans like the paleo diet, Whole30, and the ketogenic diet, often called “keto,” have found an audience of millions in the past decade—1.7 million people subscribe to the keto subreddit, and more than 4 million Instagram photos have been tagged with #whole30. These diets vary in their exact restrictions, but they all posit that Americans have been sold a bill of goods on “health food,” and that sugars, starches, and low-fat processed foods should mostly be abandoned in favor of minimally processed protein, fat, and vegetables. While the actual science behind these diets varies, they've helped mainstream concerns that are in fact supported by considerable evidence.Read: The Keto diet’s most controversial championIn 2012, Pete Maldonado was caught up in the first gusts of the internet’s low-carb whirlwind while exercising at a CrossFit gym. He began to dabble in paleo eating, which lead him to a common realization for those who cut carbs: If you don’t have a full kitchen at your disposal and time to cook in it, avoiding them is basically impossible. Sugar shows up everywhere—even in conventional meat sticks and jerky, as a stabilizer—and particularly in the protein bars and powders marketed to people trying to build muscle. “There weren’t very many on-the-go convenient options, especially ones that were healthy,” Maldonado says. “They were candy bars for people who were into fitness.”Along with Rashid Ali, a fellow Florida-based CrossFitter, Maldonado founded the meat-stick brand Chomps. Its products are free of sugar and nitrates, which are common in conventional shelf-stabilized meat and verboten for many dieters. At first, Maldonado says, he and Ali expected to run Chomps as a side business while they worked day jobs. Things cruised along manageably for the first few years, as the company, like a lot of modern health-food brands, marketed itself directly to paleo and Whole30 adherents online. Then Uncrate, a popular website for men’s lifestyle recommendations, wrote an article about the Chomps sticks. “We got thousands and thousands of orders,” Maldonado says. “We realized that, wow, this isn’t a niche product. This is as general as it gets.”In 2016, Chomps got picked up by its first retail client, Trader Joe’s, and the company brought in $4 million in revenue. In 2020, Maldonado says, it is on pace to surpass $60 million in sales. Its clientele is mostly women in households that make more than $80,000 per year—exactly the people gas-station treats were never trying to attract, and people who might not want to bring a fistful of neon-encased meat whips to the office.Chomps is far from alone in its growth. Hershey bought the jerky upstart Krave in 2015 for more than $200 million, and food companies such as Chef’s Cut, Country Archer, and Stryve have also found a booming market for their sticks. As a genre, meat snacks—sticks, nuggets, jerky, and beyond—are expected by one industry analysis to become a $6 billion market in the United States by 2027. Much of those sales will continue to go to big brands like Slim Jim (whose parent company, Conagra, did not respond to a request for comment), but smaller companies can thrive in what the snack industry refers to as the “better for you” market, which traffics in “healthy” updates to old favorites. “The first thing consumers are going to look at might be the nutrition-facts label, but if it’s not that, it’s the ingredient list,” says David Walsh, a vice president of the industry trade group SNAC International. “The fewer the ingredients the better, and they want to understand all the ingredients as well.”This intense interest in ingredients isn’t just the result of changing ideas about health. Ideas are changing about snacks themselves. “Consumers are replacing meals with snacks, especially during the workday when they might not have time to run and grab a full meal,” says Chelsie Rae Lee, the chief revenue officer at SnackNation, a subscription service that delivers boxes full of miscellaneous snack foods to American companies (including The Atlantic). Indeed, Americans eat fewer traditional sit-down meals than previous generations did, so they need different kinds of snacks to take their place. Lee says that SnackNation’s meat sticks are so popular that the company launched what it’s calling the Marvelous Meat Lover’s Box, for offices that want to load up on protein.If you’ve read a lot about the popularity of plant-based proteins like Beyond Meat or the Impossible Burger, or about the growing anxiety over what America’s generous per capita meat consumption is doing to the planet or people’s bodies, it might seem counterintuitive that people intensely focused on their physical well-being and the provenance of their food would be fueling an explosion in bulk boxes of dried sausage. But an interest in fancy meat alternatives and in fancy portable meats are two sides of the same coin. Along with faux-burger technology, sales rates for protein-packed snacks made with chickpeas and beans have soared in recent years, but the vast majority of people seeking out those foods don’t seem intent on giving up meat; the rate of vegetarianism in the United States has been steady for decades. Instead, many Americans with disposable income are primarily concerned with making better, more informed choices about what they ingest. Someone who forgoes meat at dinnertime might also be someone who fishes a teriyaki-flavored free-range-turkey stick out of her purse for a mid-morning snack.By selling directly to consumers, small brands prepared to meet the baroque requirements of restrictive health regimens can build a following large enough to pry their way onto sought-after shelf space at major grocers. For most newer meat-stick brands, that means not just a limited ingredient list, but a good backstory of where their meat comes from and the life it lived. Maldonado was careful to emphasize that Chomps sources its beef, which comprises the trimmings from steaks and other retail cuts, from a sustainable, humane ranch in Tasmania. He found that American cattle were too mistreated.Even going to Australia and back for its beef sticks hasn’t been enough for Chomps to banish the ghost of Macho Man Randy Savage, though. The company’s products may contain only ingredients you can easily identify, but it’s hard to out-brand a burly man in neon leather selling ultra-processed treats. “This happens every time. I’ll get this sideways look when I’m explaining I’m making meat sticks, and then people are like, ‘Oh, do you mean like a healthy …,’” Maldonado laments. “And I’m like, ‘Yes, like a healthy Slim Jim.’”
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Our Founders Didn’t Intend for Pardons To Work Like This
GraphicaArtis / GettyOn Tuesday, President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor and Celebrity Apprentice contestant who was imprisoned for trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat. The president also pardoned the former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., the “junk-bond king” Michael Milken, and former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, among others. Each person had some connection to the president, a fact that the White House press announcement on the decisions made clear. Trump seems to view clemency as a way to reward celebrities and please his supporters.The country’s Founders did not intend for the clemency power to be used as a prize. Article II of the Constitution allows the president to forgive any federal crime, but just because he can does not mean he should.[Quinta Jurecic: Trump’s unpardonable challenge to the Constitution]The Founding Fathers had their own ideas about how the process should work; Alexander Hamilton provided the most famous rationales for the clemency power. In “Federalist No. 74,” he noted how the president must be able to make exceptions for “unfortunate guilt”; otherwise, the justice system would be “too sanguinary and cruel.” Additionally, Hamilton pointed out that presidents may need to use clemency to quell unrest or rebellion and thereby “restore the tranquillity of the commonwealth.”President George Washington pardoned two men charged with treason after the whiskey rebellion. On December 8, 1795, in his annual address to Congress, he said he was motivated to both show mercy and serve the public good. Washington’s use of these dual rationales set the clemency standard for his successors. Going forward, one or both ideas have implicitly undergirded most of the roughly 30,000 individual clemency decisions that have been granted by presidents one through 44. Each rationale has also been featured in a Supreme Court case: United States v. Wilson described a pardon as an “act of grace,” and Biddle v. Perovich described the pardon power as “part of the Constitutional scheme” and characterized clemency as a decision to be guided by “public welfare.”Using clemency to address a larger societal concern, Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson offered forgiveness to entice the Confederates to rejoin the Union. Harry Truman named a panel to recommend amnesty for Selective Service Act offenders after World War II. Both Jimmy Carter and his predecessor, Gerald Ford, offered amnesty to Vietnam War–draft offenders.[Read: The clemency process is broken. Trump can fix it.]Presidents have also granted pardons and commutations as “acts of mercy” to individuals—many anonymous—for a variety of federal offenses. Most recipients applied to the pardon attorney’s office within the Department of Justice and, months or years later, successfully received a pardon or sentence commutation. Recent examples include Olgen Williams, whom George W. Bush pardoned in 2002 for stealing money from the mail, and Charles Russell Cooper, a bootlegger pardoned by Bush in 2005. In 2017, Barack Obama pardoned Fred Elleston Hicks for illegal use of food stamps.Not all presidents have followed these rationales, though. History also shows that presidents—particularly recent ones—have abused clemency for their own personal or political benefit. In 1992, George H. W. Bush pardoned several Iran-Contra figures, including former Reagan Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, effectively relieving Weinberger of the need to stand trial, a boon to Bush, who may have been called to testify. Bill Clinton offered clemency to members of the violent Puerto Rican nationalist organization FALN, a controversial decision that some said he made to gain Latino support for the political races of his wife and Vice President Al Gore. Right before he left office, Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, a fugitive from justice whose ex-wife was a large Clinton donor. George W. Bush commuted the sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, sparing Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff a prison term. (Trump later pardoned Libby.) The presidents issued each of these clemency decisions after they were free from electoral consequences.President Trump began by pardoning former Sheriff Joe Arpaio for criminal contempt of court, after Arpaio refused to stop police practices that amounted to racial profiling. Trump mentioned his intentions at a political rally before granting the pardon three days later. Since then, Trump hasn’t looked back. Along the way, he has favored a host of well-connected, famous, wealthy, or partisan figures for presidential mercy. To his credit, Trump has not hidden from the press, Congress, or other institutions when exercising clemency. He makes a decision and then takes the heat, often noting that his clemency grants counteract an “unfair” criminal-justice system.Almost a year after Arpaio, Trump teased on Twitter a pardon for the conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who had violated campaign-finance laws. He pardoned D’Souza that same day, and then made comments that shifted clemency speculation to the TV personality Martha Stewart and to Blagojevich.Trump has also been swayed by celebrities. He commuted Alice Marie Johnson’s prison sentence after Kim Kardashian West visited the White House to advocate for her. He also pardoned the late African American boxer Jack Johnson in a grant pushed by the Rocky actor Sylvester Stallone.The usual procedure for petitioning for a pardon or sentence commutation is far less showy than Trump’s current process. Typically, after waiting a minimum of five years, applicants go to the website of the pardon attorney; download, complete, and submit the appropriate form; and wait. After a lengthy review—sometimes years—the result is usually the same for everyone: a denial. George W. Bush granted only about 2 percent of petitions for a pardon or sentence commutation; Barack Obama granted 5.3 percent; and—as of February 7, 2020—Trump had granted less than 0.5 percent of clemency requests.The former pardon attorney Margaret Love explains in her article “The Twilight of the Pardon Power” that one crucial reason so few clemency cases receive a positive recommendation is that “all but a handful of the individuals officially responsible for approving Justice Department clemency recommendations since 1983 have been former federal prosecutors.” In other words, because prosecutors in the pardon attorney’s office are reluctant to undo the work of their fellow prosecutors, presidents are rarely given a thumbs-up to pardon.[Garrett Epps: The self-pardoning president]The traditional role of the pardon attorney has been basically abandoned by the Trump administration, after the office assisted presidents for more than a century. As The Washington Post reported earlier this month, “Former White House officials describe a freewheeling atmosphere in which staff members have fielded suggestions from Trump friends while sometimes throwing in their own recommendations.” Moreover, “all but five of the 24 people who have received clemency from Trump had a line into the White House or currency with his political base.”Whether Trump is reaping significant personal benefits from his clemency decisions is unclear, but he does seem to enjoy the public’s reaction, even inviting two military clemency recipients onstage at a fundraiser late last year. With so many clemency grants to controversial figures like Arpaio, D’Souza, and now Blagojevich, he may be launching trial balloons to test public reaction to more serious pardons for his former associates, including Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and Michael Flynn.Along similar lines, Trump has twice tweeted about his understanding of the scope of the clemency power. In July 2017, he noted that he held “the complete power to pardon.” Roughly a year later, Trump tweeted that he had “the absolute right to PARDON myself.” Robert Mueller’s investigation and the impeachment trial are now both behind him. Still, it’s become apparent at this point in his presidency that Trump has used clemency to both gauge public opinion and stake out ground for a self-pardon, should he ever need one.
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Zillow's CEO Rich Barton built a huge site for real estate listings. But now he's shifting the company into a far riskier business, buying and selling homes.
This highway was once a tribute to the Confederacy. Soon, it will honor Harriet Tubman
A highway in Florida won't be keeping its name much longer after a county voted to change the name of a handful of "Dixie" highways to "Harriet Tubman Highway."
Ford: The world needs leaders who 'believe in science'
Harrison Ford says the fact that more people are addressing climate change is "very gratifying," although he believes countries need to elect leaders who "believe in science." (Feb. 21)
5 things to know for February 21: Russia, Roger Stone, coronavirus, Iran, Israel
Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.
'Miracle on Ice' 40 years ago was so great, TWO movies were made about it
The "Miracle on Ice" was a medal-round hockey game between the United States and the Soviet Union during the 1980 Winter Olympics was so unexpected and thrilling that it inspired TWO movies.