It wasn't just Trump that got Congress to reverse its spectacularly shady ethics move.

On Jan. 2, just a few hours before new members of Congress were set to be sworn in, the House Republican caucus voted to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. The outcry was fierce and immediate.

Speaker Paul Ryan. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Critics blasted the secrecy of the move. Watchdog groups on both sides of the aisle expressed their disapproval. Democrats hammered Republicans for reversing themselves on President-elect Donald Trump's pledge to "drain the swamp."


The next morning, the caucus voted by unanimous consent to restore the original rules for the OCE.

Some attributed the turnaround to a series of critical tweets from Trump, which questioned the timing of the decision — without addressing whether the change was a good idea on the merits.

Trump referred to the watchdog committee's practices — which permit the public to register concerns about House members' potentially corrupt dealings — as "unfair." But he went on to suggest that the OCE shouldn't be Congress' top priority.

Just as critical to the effort to reverse the rule change, however, were the hundreds of critics on both sides of the aisle who urged ordinary people to speak out.

Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch blasted the move as "shameful," "shady," and "corrupt."

Others urged citizens to call their representatives and provided resources...

...including the direct phone numbers of individual House members.

One North Carolina representative said his office was inundated with calls from constituents demanding the GOP reverse course.

Other congress members told reporters a similar story.

After the reversal, a congressman from Idaho said, "I could have told you last night when we left this would be undone," downplaying Trump's influence on the decision.

Democracy works best when people hold their elected representatives accountable for trying to sneak shady things past them.

Nerp! Sry. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

We voted for the Congress we voted for. That's not going to change for at least the next two years. But we can still do our best to let them know we're watching them, and that we vote.

Trump's tweets are shiny, so it's no wonder he's getting much of the credit for moving the needle. Mass public outcry, however, certainly didn't hurt when it came to getting this thing undone.

It's not terribly surprising that a bunch of Americans would be upset about their elected representatives trying to change the rules to make it easier for them to get away with sketchy, corrupt things. Perhaps more surprising is that those same members of Congress are listening to us when we tell them how pissed we are — even if they're doing it to preserve their own butts.

The lesson here?

Call. Call. Call. It can't hurt. And it could help make politics in America just a tiny bit more honest and transparent.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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I occasionally get asked by mothers of young children what the secret is to raising great teenagers.

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Really, the first thing that I will tell you is to disbelieve the myth that teenagers are sullen, angry creatures who slam doors and hate their parents. Some do that, but the overwhelming majority do not. Every one of my kids' friends are just as happy and fun as my kids are, so I know it's not just us.

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The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

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