Halloween Costumes: To Bee or Not to Bee Sexy



By Carley Campbell and Isabella Gonzalez, 16, Staff Writers


October 25, 2017

It’s that time of year again. Time for yet another sexy Halloween costume article. Sexy Halloween costumes are a strange element of the season, with plenty of examples to choose from, like for instance—bees.

Above we have a bee costume. Let’s stop for a second and ask ourselves a few questions: Why do sexy bee costumes exist? What’s wrong with dressing like an actual bee, not a sexualized insect? What possessed a costume designer to create a sexual bee costume?

While dressing up and looking sexy on Halloween can be fun for some, the lack of choices for girls who don’t want to dress that way is not. Bees are just the tip of the iceberg; there are numerous examples both online and in stores of Halloween costumes that are unnecessarily sexualized.

Halloween is that special holiday where anyone can transform into whoever or whatever they please. Whether that means letting some skin show or covering up from head to toe, people have the right to dress in whatever they feel best in. After all, holidays are all about having a good time.

If you feel like no costumes are calling your name, a nice alternative is making your own costume! It can be challenging and intricate, like making a suit of armor, or something simple and sweet like a t-shirt that says “ERROR 404 CAN’T FIND COSTUME.” It can be whatever you want it to be! So don’t be afraid to embrace the zaniness and imagination of Halloween this season. And ask yourself, “to bee or not to bee” when it comes to strangely sexual costumes. Should it or should it not be sexualized?

Photo credit: HalloweenCostumes.com



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Winamax acquires Bet-at-home’s Italian market concession


winamax-bet-at-home-italy-online-pokerFrench online poker operator Winamax has made a big bet that Italian politicians won’t block plans to share poker liquidity among European Union regulated markets.

This week, Italian gaming affiliate Agipro News reported that Winamax had acquired the Italian online gambling concession of Bet-at-home, the German subsidiary of French operator Betclic Everest Group. The report offered no indication what price Winamax paid to obtain the concession, nor why Bet-at-home decided la dolce was no longer so vita.

Winamax’s French-licensed site withdrew its services from Italy in 2015 due to “the Italian legislation on gaming.” But recently, Winamax has signalled its eagerness to return to the Boot, including the signing this month of a sponsorship deal with Mustapha Kanit, Italy’s all-time live poker tournament winner.

Winamax’s renewed interest in Italy’s online poker market isn’t necessarily based on how the market is currently performing. Online poker has been on a negative trajectory for some time, posting another 10% year-on-year revenue decline in 2016, although recent monthly figures have been slightly more encouraging.

No, Winamax’s interest is more likely due to the online poker liquidity sharing deal signed this summer between Italy and three other EU regulated online gambling markets: France, Portugal and Spain. None of these poker markets is particularly thriving (unless your name is PokerStars), and licensees in all four nations are expecting a performance boost from the deal.

But Italy’s participation in this fearsome foursome is anything but assured. Earlier this month, some Italian politicians began making noises about “an immediate intervention” intended to “prevent the continuation of this project,” which they claim will increase money laundering activity while decreasing consumer protections.

Winamax appears suitably confident that Italy will go ahead with the deal as written. Italy’s government was supposed to open a tender for new online gambling licenses in September but this process has met with as-yet unexplained delays. These new licenses reportedly won’t take effect until early next year but Winamax apparently isn’t interested in waiting.

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Degrassi Features Gender-fluid Character



By Ashley Fowler, 18, Staff Writer


October 24, 2017

The Degrassi franchise (which first showed up in the late 1970s and includes several different TV shows) has continued its trend of tackling difficult topics relevant to teens. The latest season of Degrassi: Next Class, seen on Netflix, features the coming-out story of a nonbinary teen. This makes Degrassi: Next Class one of the first shows to have a main character identify as gender-fluid.

Yael, the nonbinary character, struggles with their gender identity before the episode where they become familiar with the terms “genderqueer” and “gender-fluid.” Earlier in the season, they begin to bind their breasts and question their identity as female. Eventually, Yael kisses their friend Lola, thinking their confusion may stem from being gay. After determining that they aren’t gay and still like their boyfriend Hunter, Yael explains to Lola, “I feel in between. I don’t feel like a girl, or what everyone thinks is a girl. I don’t like makeup and stuff like you do. I really, really hate my boobs. But I don’t feel like a boy either. And I’m definitely not gay.” Lola then introduces the words “genderqueer” and “gender-fluid” to Yael, explaining that they are for someone who doesn’t feel male or female. Yael is happy to have found names for the complex feelings they were experiencing regarding their gender.

Although many viewers were happy with the show’s willingness to feature a nonbinary character, some complained that Yael is played by cisgender actress Jamie Bloch. According to the show’s co-executive producer Matt Huether, the idea for Yael to come out as nonbinary developed once Bloch had already been playing the character for multiple seasons. He says in an interview with the online publication Vulture, “Yael starts out the series as cisgender presenting. To be honest, for the first couple of seasons we knew…that Yael would be uncomfortable with [their] own body and self, but we didn’t know what the endpoint was yet.” Huether elaborates, saying it wasn’t until the producers visited a Toronto high school’s queer–straight alliance that they found inspiration for Bloch’s character development.

Television has an awesome opportunity to destigmatize marginalized groups within our culture and bring about awareness and change. To viewers who may not identify as male or female, watching Yael’s experience and acceptance by friends may encourage others to understand their gender identity. Seeing nonbinary people represented in books, TV shows and other media can break down some of the barriers that prevent people from being open about their gender identity. It can also encourage all viewers to think critically about issues that marginalized groups, such as nonbinary people, face today.



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    Sentencing hearing: Absolute Poker’s Scott Tom never inhaled


    absolute-poker-scott-tom-sentencing-marijuanaAbsolute Poker (AP) co-founder Scott Tom and former US President Bill Clinton have at least one thing in common: neither one of them inhaled.

    CalvinAyre.com has obtained the transcript of Tom’s September 28 sentencing hearing, which saw US Magistrate Judge Barbara C. Moses order Tom to spend a week in jail after he pled guilty to a single misdemeanor count of transmission of gambling information. (The full transcript can be read here.)

    In case anyone needs a refresher, Tom and his step-brother Brent Beckley founded AP and its sister site Ultimate Bet, both of which went belly-up shortly after the April 15, 2011 Black Friday online poker indictments. Were it not for outside funds contributed by PokerStars’ former owners, AP’s customers would still be waiting to be reunited with their account balances.

    One of the early items raised in the hearing by Tom’s attorney James Henderson was a correction to “one minor problem” in the pre-sentence investigation report that even Henderson admitted was “not of particular relevance to today’s proceeding.”

    Henderson noted that the report’s claim that “five years ago Mr. Tom had smoked some marijuana or something.” This had led the Court to impose a drug testing regimen, with Tom being tested “10 or 12” times, all of which he passed with flying (yellow) colors.

    Henderson said his client had informed him that the report’s pot-smoking claim was “incorrect information” and that Tom “has never used marijuana.” It’s worth noting that Tom was most likely not hooked up to a polygraph machine at the time he made this statement.

    Tom’s insistence on asserting his lifelong ability to ‘just say no’ reflects recent attitudes at US border crossings, in which many an overzealous Barney Fife has questioned would-be tourists if they have ever – and we mean ever – smoked pot. Believe it or not, in today’s America, merely confirming that you once got hot-boxed in the back seat of a Chevette in junior high school can potentially bar one’s future entry into the country for five years.

    TOM “REGRETS” RENOUNCING CITIZENSHIP
    And Tom is considered a foreigner in US eyes, having renounced his US citizenship “many years ago,” although Henderson said that’s a decision that Tom now “regrets.” AP’s operations were largely based in Costa Rica, but Tom took up residence in Antigua – which lacks an extradition treaty with the US – after US authorities began actively targeting online gambling in 2006.

    Henderson said Tom has been “trying to arrange to get back in the United States pursuant to visas in the future.” Tom still has family in the US, although his mother died during the period in which he was reluctant to set foot on US soil.

    ABSOLUTE DISAGREEMENT WITH FATHER OVER BAIL MONEY
    Tom’s father is still alive and was the source of the $100k that Tom was required to post at his bail hearing in February. The sentencing hearing revealed that there is sharp disagreement between Tom and his father regarding whose money this is.

    Henderson told the court that Tom had inherited the $100k “from his grandmother” and that he’d given it to his father “to hold for him because he was obviously out of the country experiencing these legal difficulties.” Henderson said that Tom’s father “is now contending that that is his money.”

    This poses a problem, because the release of this money was intended to provide a good chunk of the $300k that Tom was ordered to forfeit as part of his plea deal. Tom brought $25k to the hearing that he intended to pay toward this forfeiture.

    Henderson said his office was working on resolving ownership of this $100k to ensure it didn’t go “back to the father and have that money disappear,” but Judge Moses took it upon herself to place the $100k into a trust account pending the resolution of the dispute.

    LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
    As for the rest of the forfeiture amount, Moses left it up to the government to establish a payment schedule. How Tom will afford it was also addressed, with a mention of Tom’s Antigua-based business – a celebrity party boat recently profiled by Flushdraw’s Haley Hintze – that Henderson assured Moses had “survived the hurricane problem down there.”

    Moses inquired about Tom’s former residence in Costa Rica as another potential source for raising the forfeiture funds. While the “fairly nice home” is currently generating rental income, Henderson claimed it “appears to be basically unmarketable” based on the fact that a home of equal value just down the street had been on the market “more than three years” without a single offer. Tom “just can’t make [his CR house] liquid at this point.”

    In delivering Tom’s sentence – which included the surprise seven-day jail stint – Moses said his AP involvement “does indeed appear to be the only significant blemish on an otherwise law-abiding life” and that Tom had “demonstrated that you are capable of living a law-abiding life for a sustained period of time.”

    But Moses emphasized that Tom “did commit a crime. That’s why you’re here. You pleaded guilty to a crime … It is a misdemeanor, to be sure, which has immigration and other consequences, but a misdemeanor is a crime. I cannot ignore that.”

    Tom’s sole statement during the hearing is reprinted below in its entirety:

    “Your Honor, I very much regret the choices I’ve made, and after years of isolation and time to think, I realize I needed to come and face the Court in the US to try and move forward with my life. I hope you can consider my apology, and I look forward to returning home to a productive life.”

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    Celtics NBA title odds suffer with likely loss of Hayward for season


    The Boston Celtics appeared to be a legitimate threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers this season with the addition of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward in the offseason.

    Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

    However, Hayward was able to play about five minutes in Tuesday’s regular-season opener between the teams before suffering a dislocated ankle and fractured tibia that will likely keep him out the entire year.

    Celtics NBA title odds suffer with likely loss of Hayward for seasonBoston is now a smaller threat to win its 18th NBA championship at +1200 odds, up from +800 earlier.

    The Celtics still hung tough with the Cavaliers before falling 102-99 after Hayward left the game, but they then proceeded to lose 108-100 to the Milwaukee Bucks in their home opener on Wednesday. They are expected to get an $8.4 million injury exception to use on a replacement for Hayward, although there are no players currently available who can fill in for the All-Star who was just entering his prime as a big-time scorer.

    Cleveland remains the +450 second choice to win its second NBA title in three seasons behind the defending champion Golden State Warriors, who are strong favorites to repeat at -150.

    The Cavaliers have some injury concerns of their own with point guard Isaiah Thomas (hip) sidelined until at least December. Thomas was acquired for Irving along with Jae Crowder back on August 22. Until he returns to the court, the oft-injured Derrick Rose is filling in for him at the point.

    The Western Conference is a lot more loaded than the East, and some of the top contenders there probably wish they were competing with Cleveland and Boston instead.

    The Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets are also +1200 to win the NBA championship this year like the Celtics. Oklahoma City has made the biggest moves since last year, bringing over two stars from the East this offseason in an effort to help reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook make a title run.

    The Thunder picked up Paul George from the Indiana Pacers and Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks in separate trades and hope their new Big Three will jell enough to dethrone the Warriors.

    The Spurs still have the NBA’s best coach in Gregg Popovich and will need to keep MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard healthy first and foremost. In addition, the Rockets traded for point guard Chris Paul to form an All-Star backcourt with James Harden, who may be better off moving back to shooting guard.

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    Crisis Pregnancy Centers: The Illusion of Choice



    By Sarah Emily Baum, 17, Staff Writer


    October 19, 2017

    When my friend Jenna* called me crying, terrified she was pregnant at sixteen, I knew I had to get someone else to help her because I was definitely not qualified to handle this.

    In the chaos of it all, I made what could have been a catastrophic error. I absent-mindedly Googled the Planned Parenthood texting hotline and clicked the very first link that popped up.

    Later, I realized it was a “priority ad”; someone had paid for it to be the first thing on the search page as a way to attract desperate young girls like Jenna, who wouldn’t have the wherewithal to vet their sources first.

    So when Jenna sent me screenshots of the conversation between her and a “pregnancy crisis counselor,” I was completely blindsided by the type of “unbiased support” they provided.

    Take a moment to calm down, the counselor said. Think about your baby, a little heartbeat in your belly. You wouldn’t want to kill your baby, would you?

    In my rush to help Jenna, I had accidentally directed her to a “crisis pregnancy center.” Also known as CPCs, these “clinics” are in actuality fronts for anti-choice organizations, marketing themselves as legitimate medical facilities. CPCs will often set up shop near established Planned Parenthoods or reproductive health centers, and offer things like free pregnancy tests to lure people in. But once inside, CPCs are notorious for spreading misinformation and using anti-choice scare tactics to frighten young girls into making a decision that may not be right for them.

    That’s why dozens of organizations from across the country are joining the movement to promote awareness of CPCs. From October 23rd to 28th, over 40 organizations will be participating in a week of action to insist on straightforward, accurate reproductive health care.

    Join the conversation with #ExposeFakeClinics and learn what you can do to expose fake clinics. Together, we can fight for a world where women will be empowered to make the reproductive choices that are right for them.

    *Jenna is a pseudonym used to protect the identity of a teenager who lives in Oklahoma.



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    Love Your Body!



    By Libby Atkins, 17, Staff Writer


    October 18, 2017

    October 18th is Love Your Body Day! Don’t forget to love your body this fine Wednesday (and every day). The campaign, created by the National Organization for Women, aims to bring awareness to the narrow and unrealistic standards of female beauty that media—such as TV, movies and advertising—as well as the fashion and beauty industries present. More importantly, Love Your Body Day is a chance to empower girls and women by spreading positive messages about being healthy and loving yourself!

    It’s unfortunately super normal to have self-esteem and body image issues. But when you hear someone telling you to “love yourself” or “feel great about your body,” you are not instantly going to be cured of all the negative thoughts you may have about your body. We’re taught that there must be something wrong with the way we look if we look differently than the models and actresses we see on TV and in magazines. How amazing would it feel to be confident, secure and happy with our bodies?! So, on this Love Your Body Day, we compiled some tips on how to feel better about the beautiful body you have!

    TIP #1: Send yourself positive messages.

    This tip comes to you from Sex, Etc. writer Bells, 15, of Livingston, NJ. “When I’m trying to love myself more, I take time to look in the mirror and name all the things I like about my body. Little things that I find adorable and unique. It helps to give me an optimistic view to balance out the pessimistic view I might have of my body.”

    TIP #2: Imagine what your good friends would say and think about you.

    Another one of our writers, Emma, 17, of Caldwell, NJ says that it was eye-opening when she realized how dramatic and negative her body-image was. “The things I’ve been insecure about are things that I never noticed in other people,” says Emma. “I would never insult my friends’ appearances the same way I insult my own. I’ve come to realize that I need to stop judging my looks so harshly, because I don’t deserve that type of treatment.”

    Once we begin to quiet those self-hating voices in our minds, we can start to replace them with more positive ones. Learning to love yourself and your body is an ongoing process. Why not start by proactively building ourselves up by internalizing good messages about the beautiful way we look?

     



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    WATCH: Angelina Jolie's doctor shares tips on how to prevent breast cancer


    Transcript for Angelina Jolie’s doctor shares tips on how to prevent breast cancer

    is breast cancer awareness month join the by surgical breast cancer specialist founder of the pink lotus breast center, Dr. Kristi funk and she’s here to tell us all about the new trends in breast cancer treatment offering hope and I can’t help but see everybody here, fellow thrivers, I don’t use the word survivors. That are here and bless you. For the continued work tt you do, always feel uplifted being in your 3re7bs. What’s the biggest headline. Biggest headline, better screenings so 3D mammography available in breast centers everywhere. I love this technology especially for dense breasted women where those cancers get camouflaged and hide behind the breast tissue. We’re finding 34% more breast cancers with 17% fewer false positive callback. Oh, my gosh. That’s why it’s more effective. Think of them like a loaf of raisin bread which who doesn’t, smash that between two plates and you tell me, find the raisins, that’s your typical digital. Now same squishing in radiation, sorry, ladies but there’s your 3ding I’m seeing 15 slices of bread and suddenly, whoop, there’s the raisin. Oh, my gosh. When you put it like that it makes perfect sense. You were asking me before we went on the air diagnosed in 2007 with breast cancer, triple negative. Did you have family history, you asked. No. I was shocked to find out 80 to 85% of women who are diagnosed, no family history. No family history. We’re always told about heredity. It is a myth if you look at everybody only 90 to 95% mash I mean 90 to 95% don’t like you have any family history or it’s from — 5% to 10% is from an inherited mutation so you have 85% of the people with not a single relative with breast cancer so 5% to 10% we can blame on genes, 5% to 10% is crazy bad luck like getting caught in a mass shooting. You don’t understand it. 80 to 85% we understand, 1.7 million invasive breast cancers being diagnosed this year. Over 1 million of them I know how to control and prevent. Let’s talk about that because you’re going to help us do that because some of it starts with our diet as we — look at these beautiful people in pink. Oh, yes. Come on over. Show us. It begins with the diet. It begins can the diet. Nutrition, exercise, so much stuff we can control. The caped superhero of all superfoods is broccoli. The ingredients in these vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts are masterminds at seeking and destroying cancer cells. Moving on, berries. So I love antioxidants in berries, blueberries, blackberry, free radical involve vengers so berries make cancer cells commit suicide. It’s called apoptosis. I blend a cup a day into a shake. Frozen berries release polyphenols faster so it’s one that’s better frozen. Some amazing superfoods. Turmeric. I’ve heard of that. I put that in my eggs. A quarter teaspoon a day. Did you know it is 2,000% more bio available with two thing, piperine, combine it with and fat soluble so need some fat with your egg, well, the yolk will have it but I put a tablespoon of ground flack seeds. It’s anti-estrogen. This, I’m sure nobody knows what it is. A study looked at over 31 foods. Everything we eat from twinkies to apples, okay. This was at the tippy top of the antioxidant scale. The Indian gooseberry. — No. So the Indian gooseberry comes in powdered or liquidform. A tablespoon of this in my shake every day. 75 times more potent than goej XI berries. Why is soy here? We’ve heard you are not supposed to have it in your diet. It’s a myth. We don’t know what that does this your body, stay away. Wrong, wrong, wrong, five huge studies since 2009 show if you consume particularly whole food soy so soybeans, tempeh, miso, anti-estrogens in your body, 60% less breast cancer, 29% less death from breast cancer from survivors. My goodness. Only 30 seconds left. One thing I want to say, plant, how they help actually, simple things in your home. So pinklotus.com, forward slash bulletproof. They absorb toxins from the air. Did you know that? Things we want to think about in terms of what you can do in your home, we’ve got all of these endocrine disrupting compounds, edcs and ago like estrogen and touch them all day. Gas pump, paper receipt, wash your hands every day before you eat. Plain old soap is better than anti-bacterial. All right. She could go on and on.

    This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.



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    Sands Bethlehem sets table revenue record as private equity group kicks casino’s tires


    sands-bethlehem-table-game-revenue-recordA New York-based private equity group says it’s preparing to make an offer to buy the Sands Bethlehem casino in Pennsylvania.

    On Friday, Allentown-based independent television channel WFMZ-TV reported that New York City private investment group Keating & Associates was preparing an offer for Sands Bethlehem, the Las Vegas Sands property that is the state’s perennial top table game earner and its number-two slots performer.

    Keating’s chief strategist Alex Fredericks told the station that “we suspect in the next 30 days we’ll tender a very serious offer.” Fredericks said the portfolio of his “relatively new” group did not currently contain any casino properties.

    Regardless, Keating appears smitten with the US casino industry, and Fredericks claimed that Keating was trying to establish an east coast casino beachhead before expanding to Las Vegas and Miami (where casinos currently aren’t legal, but what the hey-hey).

    Sands Bethlehem has been on the block for a while now, with a $1.3b bid by rival MGM Resorts falling through this spring. It’s unclear whether Keating has this kind of financing at its disposal, and not everyone is convinced Keating’s Bethlehem bid is serious. Sands Bethlehem reps have yet to comment on the report.

    Keating’s name recently surfaced in media reports claiming that the group had made a $225m bid to acquire the mothballed Revel/TEN casino in Atlantic City. That report has been denied by Revel/TEN’s owner, Florida developer Glenn Straub, who also denied similar reports about a Colorado-based firm reaching a deal for the casino.

    Fredericks told WFMZ that Keating was preparing to finalize its Revel offer, and insisted that Keating’s co-chairman Jeff Keating had indeed met with Straub, whose denials were explained away as a “business ploy.”

    SANDS SETS TABLE REVENUE RECORD IN SEPTEMBER
    Meanwhile, Sands Bethlehem continues to dominate the monthly table game revenue charts. Figures released Monday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board showed Sands well out in front with nearly $22.7m in table revenue in September, a year-on-year improvement of nearly 17% and a new personal best for the property, eclipsing the $21.9m the venue reported in April.

    Parx Casino in Philadelphia retained its traditional table bridesmaid role, generating just over $15m (+6.8%), while SugarHouse ranked third with $9.4m (+7.4%). All told, only two of the state’s 12 casinos were in negative table territory for the month, and the statewide total gained 9.9% to $75.6m.

    Parx is traditionally the state’s combined slots and table revenue king, but Sands Bethlehem’s record table run allowed it to eclipse Parx in September, albeit by the narrowest of margins. Sands Bethlehem earned a combined $47.5m in September, $59k higher than Parx.

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