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Politics Aside, President Obama Just Beautifully Articulated What America Is

I'm not suggesting that I agree with all of Barack Obama's policies. In fact, I think a good number of them are detestable, ineffective, and sometimes even frightening. I believe in being relentlessly critical of power, no matter who wields it. You might even say I'm something of a cynic. That, however, is why even I couldn't help but giggle with delight at most of the President's second inaugural address. Really, he is an outstanding orator — one of our very finest. And he gets just about everything right in this speech. Sure, you might say, it's just empty rhetoric, just some pretty but shallow words floating above the reality of broken government and a divided America. But hearing the President speak so confidently and righteously about this country… well, it gives me hope.I know, I know — that's, like, his “thing." But there's so much more truth in this speech than vacuous slogans or shallow public image-crafting that even cynics like me are forced, begrudgingly, to remember that hope is real and reigns eternal. If you don't, you're doing it wrong.

Politics Aside, President Obama Just Beautifully Articulated What America Is




At 2:08, and with a charming turn of phrase, President Obama humbly reminds us Americans that the Constitution isn't some computer program that the Founding Fathers simply pressed “Run" to make magically work forever.




At 3:29, to the shock of everyone except Alex Jones, Obama admits he is a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary and intends to establish something he calls “Socialism with American characteristics." Just kidding. Actually he just says that America isn't about letting oligarchs gamble away the nation's wealth while letting disadvantaged people die in the gutter, all in the name of some mutated “liberty."





Plus, at 4:00, he basically says that conservatives are right about a lot of things.




At 6:27, he says some really reasonable things that reasonable people probably all found really decent and reasonable. Too bad those sorts of people don't have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.




At 7:10, Obama delivers a really great line that atheists and believers alike will swoon at.




At 8:15, you can hear the sound of every member of Congress's mind being blown, all at once.




At 9:13, you can hear the sound of every Ayn Rand-worshiping economist's mind being blown, all at once.




At 9:52, President Obama says something really important and good that you should agree with unless you don't understand that scientists aren't, in fact, magicians who conjure up whatever they want.




At 11:07, President Obama says something about “perpetual war," and every human being should hope he's being sincere.




At 13:22, he says something so amazingly beautiful and good that he spontaneously blasts off from the stage and up into the Canon of Great Orators.




At 14:27, President Obama acknowledges, finally, that the struggle of LGBTQ* folks are irrevocably part of any broader fight for civil rights. If only I could make text roar with applause.




At 16:30, President Obama drops some truth on our miserable Congress yet shows some stunning humility.



No matter what ideology you subscribe to, no matter what you think of the President's policies, this speech is worth watching and worth taking seriously. Watch it, share it.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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