A viral photo of Kellyanne Conway sparks a debate about respect in the Oval Office.

"Does Seeing President Obama's Foot on the Oval Office Desk Make Your Blood Boil?" reads a September 2013 headline at The Blaze, Glenn Beck's website.

Conservative sites like Twitchy, Drudge Report, and others joined in, with some accusing Barack Obama of desecrating the Resolute desk. In many conservative circles, this photo was seen as proof that Obama didn't have respect for the Oval Office. As Joe Biden would have said, it was a BFD.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza.


On Monday, a photo of President Donald Trump's adviser, Kellyanne Conway, sitting with her feet on one of the office's couches sparked its own bit of decorum-related controversy.

And yeah, while putting your feet (and shoes) on a couch is something generally frowned upon by parents nationwide (sorry, Mom), is it really that important?

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP.

There's a lot of hypocrisy and selective outrage in the world of partisan politics. There's nothing new about that, and it's (unfortunately) not going away anytime soon.

Some of the same people who saw fault with Obama's foot on the desk had no problem when past presidents put their feet on the desk and have no problem with Conway putting her feet on the couch.

President George H.W. Bush in 1990. Photo by Carol T. Powers/picture-alliance/dpa/AP.

On the flip side, people who rushed to defend Obama's right to put his feet on the desk are indignant over the photo of Conway on the couch.

So what's this really about? Is the outrage really about Oval Office decorum?

No. Of course not. How Obama or Trump or Bush or Conway choose to sit in the Oval Office is meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

Context, however, does matter. A lot of the outrage over Conway's photo didn't stem solely from the fact that she had her feet on the couch but the situation in which she did it. As part of an administration with a less-than-stellar record on race and open support from white nationalists, maybe the president's meeting with leaders of some of the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities wasn't the ideal occasion for Conway to strike an informal pose.

But maybe instead of getting worked up about the little things — like whether or not an elected official wears an American flag pin or what type of food they eat (Obama's "fancy burger" or Trump's well-done steak with ketchup), maybe we should focus our energy on some of the other things that happen behind those closed doors.

Let's take some of the energy we put into being shocked about the White House furniture and refocus it on the bills and executive orders being signed by the president.

Whether it's Trump reinstating the harmful anti-abortion "Mexico City" policy, ordering the building of a southern border wall, or gutting safety regulations, the most important things we need to pay attention to in the White House have nothing to do with chairs or desks but rather pens and paper.

Photo by Ron Sachs - Pool/Getty Images.

So go ahead, Mr. President. Put your feet up if you'd like. History won't judge you by whether or not you scuffed the desk but by how you affected the lives of the more than 300 million Americans you govern.

Photo by Andrew Harrer - Pool/Getty Images.

If you've never seen a Maori haka performed, you're missing out.

The Maori are the indigenous peoples of New Zealand, and their language and customs are an integral part of the island nation. One of the most recognizable Maori traditions outside of New Zealand is the haka, a ceremonial dance or challenge usually performed in a group. The haka represents the pride, strength, and unity of a tribe and is characterized by foot-stamping, body slapping, tongue protrusions, and rhythmic chanting.

Haka is performed at weddings as a sign of reverence and respect for the bride and groom and are also frequently seen before sports competitions, such as rugby matches.

Here's an example of a rugby haka:

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

Keep Reading Show less
via Good Morning America

Anyone who's an educator knows that teaching is about a lot more than a paycheck. "Teaching is not a job, but a way of life, a lens by which I see the world, and I can't imagine a life that did not include the ups and downs of changing and being changed by other people," Amber Chandler writes in Education Week.

So it's no surprise that Kelly Klein, 54, who's taught at Falcon Heights Elementary in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, for the past 32 years still teaches her kindergarten class even as she is being treated for stage-3 ovarian cancer.

Her class is learning remotely due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, so she is able to continue doing what she loves from her computer at M Health Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, Minnesota, even while undergoing chemotherapy.

Keep Reading Show less