For some Americans, it feels like the country is in tatters. For others, life is good and a recovering economy means a dream house.
Black-owned barbershops are more than just places to get a shave and a haircut. Their position in American culture is well-known: They're places to talk about the events of the day, to swap stories -- and, according to Vassar College history Professor Quincy Mills, to let African-American men become entrepreneurs.
But it took barber shops the better part of a century to reach that quintessential place in black community life. Mills tells that history in a new book called Cutting Along The Color Line. Mills says the history of these barber shops is deeply entwined with the history of slavery.
In the 19th century, he says, most black-owned barber shops served wealthy, white clients -- businessmen and politicians.
"The black barbers were in many cases enslaved men, but also free blacks," Mills explains. Barbering became a way for some African-Americans "to find some little pockets to sort of figure out how they could at least earn a little bit of money, and control their time -- which of course was what slaves did not have control over."
That shifted in the late 1880s and 1890s, when a younger generation entered barbering. They were born after emancipation and specifically opened shops in black communities to serve black men.
Now, Mills says, it's hard to know what the place of black barber shops will be in our new, constantly changing economy. The current political rhetoric is all about jobs -- and black barber shops simply don't employ many people. On the other hand, Mills points out that it's comparatively easy to become a barber. To open an entire shop only costs about $150,000. Because of that, he says, maybe their direct economic impact is not the most important thing.
"So barbering still serves as that avenue for men, whether they want to own a barber shop or just work in [one]. But also, barber shops provide this sort of central hub, if you will, for communities across the country to understand the nature of their respective communities. And so I would argue that's just as vital to an economy as is the number of jobs one can generate."
After collapsing on her kitchen floor, Munoz was hospitalized and kept on life support despite her wishes. A Texas law protects a hospital from liability as long it keeps a pregnant patient on life support.
Ever felt like you can't get through the workday without something popping up on the screen and killing your flow? An email pops up, or you get a Facebook notification, or a link on Twitter just calls out to be clicked?
If that sounds about right, you are certainly not alone. Gloria Mark is a researcher at the University of California Irvine, where she studies how office workers can do their thing more efficiently.
She says the ideal work setting is one "where people would focus on one task for a period of time, where they could take short breaks every so often."
One of her short break recommendations might come as a surprise: Facebook. Mark explains that it's all about the quickness of your time on the social network.
"Facebook does not require a lot of focus," she says. "It's very different from a face-to-face interaction, which requires a bit of a commitment. The more of these small interactions through Facebook, the happier people are at the end of the day."
Email, on the other hand, can be a momentum killer. Mark says that's because they take too much time. Emails often contain a request: "Please explain X, or please take care of Y." They make you busy, but not happy.
"We did a study where we cut off email in an organization for five days. We found that without email, people were significantly more focused, and they were significantly less stressed."
The reason why: Without emails, the office workers in her study spent more time talking face-to-face. Stopping by someone's office or stepping out for a coffee is a great way to give your brain a rest. So cut out the email if you can, she says. It'll make you happy.
Food pantries are bracing for higher demand from their communities in the coming weeks. National hunger organizations say the best way to help is to give money to local food banks and pantries instead of donating food.
The 2011 outbreak killed 33 people in 28 states. The Colorado farmers were sentenced to five years probation and six months of home detention.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin attracted national attention this month when he devoted his entire annual State of the State speech to heroin addiction in Vermont. As the state expands addiction treatment services, it's also trying to come to grips with one of the most difficult and emotional aspects of the problem: pregnant women addicted to opiates.