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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.

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

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Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.

In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.

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US players comforting Iranian opponents after their World Cup match is humanity at its best

The politically charged match ended with several beautiful displays of genuine human connection.

US and Iranian players embrace after World Cup match-up.

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The Iranian team had some internal tensions of its own to deal with as players navigated the spotlight amid human rights protests in their home country and rigid expectations of their government. According to CNN, after refusing to sing the national anthem before its match against England on November 21, the Iranian team was reportedly called into a meeting with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and told that their families would face “violence and torture” if they did not sing the anthem or engaged in any other form of protest.

Hence, before the match against the U.S., the players were shown somberly singing the anthem. Then they got down to the business they were there for—trying to win (or at least tie) a soccer match to advance to the World Cup round of 16.

It was an exciting game, with the U.S. ultimately winning 1-0. But in the end, all of the intense competition and political tensions were superseded by some truly heartwarming acts of good sportsmanship and human kindness.

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Philadelphia is taking the city back to the past.

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Of course, the pay phones that many of us grew up were removed from public places years ago. There no longer seemed to be a need for them when most people had a phone in their pocket or in their hand. But it's easy to forget that not everyone has or wants that luxury. For some people, staying that connected all the time can be too much and for others, it's simply financially impossible to own a cell phone.

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Japanese soccer fans explain why they clean the stadium after a match.

Japanese fans at the World Cup tournament have been receiving praise for their admirable habit of cleaning up the stadium after their team's matches. It's commonplace to see Japanese fans, blue garbage sacks in hand, hanging back after the game to pick up the trash everyone has left behind in the stadium.

It's not the first time Japanese cleanliness has made headlines. Some schools in Japan don't even hire janitorial staff, as the students clean their schools themselves. Other than in specific educational programs such as Montessori (where practical skills and habits like cleaning and organizing the environment are incorporated into the pedagogy), that idea is practically unheard of in the U.S. But watching the Japanese fans picking up after a game, the automatic assumption that someone else is going to clean up after us feels like a mistake.

So what is it that compels Japanese fans to clean the stadium at the World Cup, despite the fact that there are people hired to do it already?

It generally comes down to one word: "atarimae."

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