FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
March 26, 2014
FOX PHOTOS/Getty Images

Sure, those sweaters and hats your grandma knits you are great. But a new case study suggests that the process of knitting is even better than the result.

Sarah Huerta, who was diagnosed with PTSD after her brother died, found a creative outlet in knitting that relieved her pain and sadness. Huerta isn't alone: In a recent study of more than 3,500 knitters by The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81 percent of knitters with depression reported feeling happy after knitting.

Recent studies have also shown similar effects in subjects who participate in other forms of crafting and creative activities, including quilting or crossword puzzles. "Crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain," said Jacque Wilson at CNN. "It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by aging."

Participating in crafts isn't a replacement for grief therapy, but it may help those in pain find an outlet to deal with their sorrow. And as an added bonus, you'll be the one giving homemade gifts next holiday season. Meghan DeMaria

3:07 p.m. ET
Mike Windle/Getty Images For EPIX

The makers of a new Katie Couric documentary on gun violence apparently deceptively edited an interview with gun rights activists to make them appear stumped by her question, The Washington Free Beacon reports. About 20 minutes into the documentary Under the Gun, Couric asks members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, "If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?"

The response? Dead silence, for about nine awkward seconds:

That's not how it really went down, though, according to activists who contacted the Free Beacon. In audio provided to the website, Couric's question is actually quickly met with answers, and the back and forth lasts about four minutes:

The gun rights activists have called the segment "unbelievable and extremely unprofessional." "[Couric] intentionally removed their answers and spliced in nine seconds of some prior video of our members sitting quietly and not responding. Viewers are left with the misunderstanding that the members had no answer to her question," Virginia Citizens Defense League president Philip Van Cleave said.

When asked about the edits, Nora Ryan, the chief of staff for EPIX, which is airing the documentary, said that the channel "stands behind Katie Couric, director Stephanie Soechtig, and their creative and editorial judgement." Jeva Lange

2:57 p.m. ET
John Moore/Getty Images

What Donald Trump's campaign likely thought was a brilliant plan to take down Hillary Clinton was quickly foiled Wednesday afternoon when a Trump spokeswoman did some errant emailing.

While Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks meant to respond to an email from Trump adviser Michael Caputo requesting that a researcher at the Republican National Committee "work up information on HRC/Whitewater as soon as possible" for "immediate use and for the afternoon talking points process," she ended up replying to Marc Caputo — a reporter at Politico. With the mistaken click of a button, the entire email thread — and, subsequently, the scoop on Trump's next plan of attack — was dropped into Politico's inbox.

RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer has defended the request for information on Whitewater — the Clinton scandal stemming from a failed real estate venture in the 1970s — as nothing more than "just another example of Republican campaigns up and down the ballot looking to us for the best information." Neither Spicer nor Hicks provided any further clues as to when or how Trump will be using that requested information, though it goes without saying his coming attack will involve the word "crooked." Becca Stanek

2:31 p.m. ET
iStock

Eleven states are represented in a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday against the Obama administration, challenging federal guidelines that require schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.

The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Wichita Falls, Texas, is in response to a directive released earlier in May by the Obama administration, which critics say oversteps the government's bounds. The lawsuit accused the administration of trying to turn schools and workplaces into "laboratories for a massive social experiment."

On Tuesday, the Justice Department and North Carolina filed competing lawsuits concerning a law in the state that bans transgender people from using bathrooms that don't correspond to the gender identified on their birth certificate. Jeva Lange

1:56 p.m. ET
iStock

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams insisted Wednesday that the city will be ready for whatever the Republican National Convention may bring, be it protesters or riots. "A lot has been said about whether or not Cleveland is prepared for the RNC in about 50 days here. I have to tell you, we are prepared. I can't stress enough that we are prepared for this," he said.

The city attorney, Richard Hovarth, also announced temporary regulations for the area around the convention, including a ban on bringing lumber, fireworks, explosives, drones, ice chests and coolers, or ladders into the vicinity. Guns, noticeably, were not explicitly banned, although Ohio is an open-carry state.

The city has also bid for sets of body armor, conversion vans to transport prisoners, 2,000 sets of riot gear, 10,000 sets of plastic handcuffs, night vision goggles, motorcycles, and a horse trailer.

While violence is no certainty, riotous protests did break out Tuesday in New Mexico at Trump's first campaign rally in two weeks, with people throwing plastic bottles, burning Trump T-shirts, and hurling rocks at the police. Some heading to Cleveland this July have gone so far as to take self-defense classes similar to those given to journalists before they go into war zones. Jeva Lange

12:43 p.m. ET
iStock

Civilians awaiting rescue in Raqqa, the Islamic State's de facto capital, might not actually be that thrilled about their impending liberation. That's because, as CNN reports, given the choice between liberation by the predominantly Kurdish (and U.S.-backed) Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and rule under ISIS, Syrians in Raqqa may actually choose to "throw their lot" behind the terrorist group. As one tweet from the activist group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently put it, the "strategy of taking Raqqa by SDF ... [may] push a lot of people to join ISIS."

While the inhabitants of Raqqa may not quite be enjoying life since ISIS seized the city in 2013, ethnic tensions have Raqqa's Arabs leery of their potential liberators:

Backed by the United States, the Syrian Democratic Forces are a coalition of Kurdish, Assyrian, Christian, Arab tribal and other forces. But they are dominated by the Kurdish YPG, the Popular Defense Units. In other words, it's a Kurdish armed force with a multi-ethnic façade, and the Arabs of Raqqa could well be worried about their intentions in a post-ISIS Syria. [CNN]

The conundrum is one deeply rooted in history. The Kurds have long been suspected of trying to create a separate state from Syria and Iraq, CNN notes, which has Raqqa residents wary; when they see a predominantly Kurdish force coming to clear the countryside north of the city, the question arises of whether they're truly coming to rescue them, or just to take their land. Thus far, the SDF has promised its efforts are not aimed at the city itself.

Head over to CNN for the full back story on the current situation in Raqqa. Becca Stanek

11:28 a.m. ET

The Obama family's tenure in the White House isn't quite over, but they're already planning their post-presidential digs. News broke Wednesday that the first family reportedly has plans to lease this 8,200-square-foot pad in the Washington D.C. neighborhood of Kalorama come January:

The Obamas announced in March that they would be staying in D.C. after President Obama's second term ends to let their younger daughter, Sasha, finish high school.

The house — which is owned by NFL Executive Vice President of Communications Joe Lockhart and his wife, Giovanna Gray Lockhart, the Washington editor of Glamour — last sold in May 2014 for $5,295,000. It sits on about a quarter-acre of land and has nine bedrooms, eight-and-a-half bathrooms, and a spacious backyard.

If that one picture wasn't enough, head over to The Washingtonian to get a peek inside the house, too. Becca Stanek

10:35 a.m. ET
STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages

The 2020 Republican primary schedule may look quite a bit different from this year's process if party leadership gets its way with rule changes at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer.

Following a chaotic nominating process and looking toward the possibility of the first contested convention in decades, the GOP is beginning to consider a substantial overhaul of the way it picks presidential candidates. In one proposal, Iowa and New Hampshire would retain their early voting status, but each would be paired with a rotating selection of other states from their region — Iowa with Minnesota in 2020, for example, and then with South Dakota in 2024.

Other suggestions are more radical, like abolishing these states' unique position altogether in favor of a fully rotating calendar of primaries which gives voters in all 50 states a chance to be early deciders every few years. One thing seems certain, though: Nevada will likely lose its early position on the primary calendar thanks to alleged "irregularity" and disorder at the state's 2016 caucuses. Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads