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In 1990, President George H.W. Bush passed the Americans with Disabilities Act — a law put into place to ensure the equal rights of nearly 60 million disabled Americans nationwide, including myself.

Now, almost three decades later, the GOP-led government wants to shut it down.


People participate in the inaugural Disability Pride Parade on July 12, 2015, in New York City. Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.

U.S. House representatives were set to approve a bill on Feb. 8, 2018, that aimed to weaken the ADA by eliminating incentives for business owners to comply with the law mandating equal access to public places.

But some congressmen argue the decision to strip the ADA would take away the very thing this law grants to disabled Americans: equality.

"Right now, the way the ADA is structured, the reason why businesses are going to comply is that they might be sued," said Jennifer Mathis, director of policy and legal advocacy for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington, D.C. "Once you take that away, that’s it, there’s no consequence. If you’re a business, there’s no reason why you need to worry about making yourself accessible."

The ADA ensures businesses take steps to be accessible to people with disabilities. Without it, it could mean limited access, job displacement, or drastic pay cuts for disabled Americans.

Under one proposed change, disabled individuals would have to provide business owners with a written notice if there’s a lack of accessibility to enter the business or with the services they offer. Business owners would have 60 days to acknowledge the problem, and an additional 120 days to make substantial changes. In short, people with disabilities would have to wait a total of 180 days to re-enforce their civil rights.

If the business owners fail to comply, they can be sued. Proponents of stripping the ADA say that the lawsuits are already out of control. Some lawyers looking for payouts conduct what are called "drive-by lawsuits" — suing businesses for a misplaced sign or ramp out of place to make a quick buck.

Yet these lawsuits are already happening and are evidence that the current legislation needs improvement more than further rollbacks.

As an American woman with cerebral palsy, I'm scared of what I stand to lose.

Today, I have the same rights as any other American, able-bodied or not. I can hold my job as a journalist and writer. I earn a decent wage. I have a right to enter all businesses: everything from shopping malls and restaurants to hotels and grocery stores.

What happens to my life if businesses don't have to create ways to help me access them?

I think about the long road I’ve taken to earn my place as a contributing member of society. If the GOP does take the ADA away, they’re taking my livelihood, and millions of others', with it.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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