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Democracy

Chris Murphy perfectly explains why the new bipartisan agreement on gun safety is so important

Joe Biden says it “would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades.”

chris murphy, bipartisan gun control, senate gun control

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy.

Americans are far too familiar with the mass-shooting cycle. After the feeling of horror lifts, we ask ourselves, "Why won’t someone do something?” Then after thoughts and prayers are showered upon the victims' families, there’s some discourse in Washington but the topic soon fades from consciousness after it becomes clear that our elected leaders refuse to do anything substantial to stop the violence.

When Congress did nothing after Sandy Hook, many of us reluctantly accepted that the unique form of terror that are school shootings as a normal part of American life.


However, a bipartisan group of senators has announced they’ve come to a compromise that, if passed, would enact a series of reforms that could significantly reduce gun violence in America. What’s encouraging about the legislation is that 10 Republican senators, the number needed to pass the law in the senate with full Democratic support, have signed on to the compromise.

According to Politico, President Biden said it “would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades.”

The compromise doesn’t include a ban on assault rifles, even though, according to a study cited in the Austin American-Statesman, the one in place from 1994 to 2004 made mass shooting deaths 70% less likely.

Democratic Senator from Connecticut Chris Murphy still sees it as a groundbreaking piece of legislation on an issue that has seen little progress over the past 30 years.

Murphy has been one of the most vocal supporters of reforms to protect Americans from gun violence after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre happened in his home state.

"The fact of the matter is that we've reached a compromise over the weekend that will save lives," he told MSNBC. "This does allow us to break this log jam and it allows us to be set up for future success. But the content of this compromise, in and of itself, will save lives."

Murphy provided an outline of the compromise in a press release on June 12. “Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons.”

The proposals contain legislation that would empower states to enact “red flag” laws to prevent people who are “a significant danger to themselves or others'' from acquiring firearms. It also expands access to mental health services for people in underserved areas.

The bill would also keep weapons out of the hands of those who've been convicted of domestic violence and include enhanced background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21. These checks would consult local law enforcement and take mental health records into consideration.

The new legislation may prove controversial among die-hard conservatives but aligns with most Americans' views. An ABC News/Ipsos poll from June 5 found that 70% of Americans “think enacting new gun control laws should take precedence over protecting ownership rights.”

Senator John Cornyn of Texas has been Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s emissary to the talks and he feels Congress is under a lot of pressure to take action after the Uvalde mass murder in his home state, according to Politico, which quoted Cornyn as saying “it will be embarrassing” if nothing happens this time.

While some gun safety advocates may find the bill disappointing because it doesn’t include a ban on assault rifles, they shouldn’t allow perfect to be the enemy of good. Murphy sees the compromise as a way to lay the foundation for future gun control legislation.

He told MSNBC that it's a means to "test the theory" that Republicans won't lose support for backing legislation that curbs gun violence and "will allow us to build on this."

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Education

School removed a quote from a Holocaust survivor, unintentionally proving his point

"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim."

Elie Wiesel at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2008.

A school principal in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia, asked the librarian to remove a poster featuring a quote by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel because it violated the district’s “advocacy” policy. This story was first reported by WHYY.

The poster was removed two days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“If I didn’t take it down, I knew there would be consequences that could impact me,” Matt Pecic, the school librarian said. “It’s a horrible feeling. And you feel like you have to do something that you don’t agree with.”

The controversial policy says that district employees may not “advocate” to students on “partisan, political, or social policy matters,” or display any “flag, banner, poster, sign, sticker, pin, button, insignia, paraphernalia, photograph, or other similar material that advocates concerning any partisan, political, or social policy issue.”

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Pop Culture

Buffy Sainte-Marie shares what led to her openly breastfeeding on 'Sesame Street' in 1977

The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.

"Sesame Street" taught kids about life in addition to letters and numbers.

In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.

The Indigenous Canadian-Ameican singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.

But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.

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Health

This company makes it easier than ever to enjoy guilt-free fairly traded coffee

Thanks to Lifeboost, good coffee can be good for everyone.

Unsplash

Lifeboost coffee

Americans love coffee. Like, we really, seriously, truly love it. According to one recent survey, 75 percent of U.S. adults drink coffee at least occasionally, while 53 percent—about 110 million people—drink it every single day. For some, coffee is an essential part of their morning ritual. For others, it’s something they enjoy when they hit the proverbial wall in the late afternoon. But either way, millions of people use coffee to boost energy, focus, and productivity.


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Pop Culture

Linda Ronstadt's 1970's ballad is a chart-topping hit once again thanks to 'The Last of Us'

The iconic 70s song "Long, Long Time" was an integral part of an unforgettable episode that fans are calling a masterpiece.

Linda Ronstadt (left), Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett (right)

HBO’s emotional third episode of the zombie series “The Last Of Us” became an instant favorite among fans, thanks in no small part to Linda Ronstadt’s late 1970s ballad, “Long, Long Time.”

Using the song as the episode’s title, “Long, Long Time,” moves away from the show’s main plot to instead focus on a heartbreakingly beautiful love story between Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett), from its endearing start all the way to its bittersweet end.

The song makes its first appearance during the initial stages of Bill and Frank’s romance as they play the tune on the piano, just before they share their first kiss.

We see their entire lives together play out—one of closeness, devotion, and savoring homegrown strawberries—until they meet their end. The song then plays on the radio, bringing the bottle episode to a poignant close.

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Joy

34-year-old man is learning to read on TikTok in series of motivational videos

His reading skills have improved so much that he plans to read 100 books this year.

@oliverspeaks1/TikTok

Oliver James is the biggest star on BookTok.

With over 125,000 followers, 34-year-old Oliver James is a star in the BookTok community. And it all started with a very simple goal: Learn to read.

For most kids, school is a place where they can develop a relationship with learning in a safe environment. For James, school was the opposite. Growing up with learning and behavior disabilities subjected him to abusive teaching practices in special education, which, of course, did nothing to help.

"The special education system at the time was more focused on behavioral than educating," he told Good Morning America. "So they spent a lotta time restraining us, a lotta time disciplining us, a lotta times putting us in positions to kinda shape us to just not act out in class."

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