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Sen. TammyDuckworth takes Trump to task over his trans military ban.

The Purple Heart recipient isn't messing around.

Sen. TammyDuckworth takes Trump to task over his trans military ban.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) knows a thing or two about the military.

In 2004, while enrolled with the Illinois Army National Guard's Reserve Officers' Training Corps, Duckworth was called up and deployed to Iraq. She participated in a number of combat missions as the pilot of a Blackhawk helicopter before being shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade. As a result, she lost both legs and partial use of her right arm.

After recovering, she put her focus into Veterans Affairs activism, eventually landing the title of assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2012, she ran for Congress and won. In 2016, she ran for Senate and won.


This photo from 2010 shows Duckworth when she was assistant secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images.

When Donald Trump, a man who received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, attacked transgender service members, Duckworth responded as only she could: from experience.

With reports circulating that the trans military ban, first announced via tweet in July, is making its way through official channels and inching closer to becoming reality, Duckworth shared a blistering note on Facebook about unit cohesion, trust, and national security.

When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter after I was shot down, I didn’t care if the American troops...

Posted by Senator Tammy Duckworth on Thursday, August 24, 2017

"When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter after I was shot down, I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white or brown," she wrote. "All that mattered was they didn't leave me behind."

"If you are willing to risk your life for our country and you can do the job, you should be able to serve — no matter your gender identity or sexual orientation. Anything else is not just discriminatory, it is disruptive to our military and it is counterproductive to our national security."

Perhaps a war hero like Duckworth can get through to Trump.

So far it hasn't been enough for him that the Department of Defense commissioned a 112-page report on the effects of allowing trans people in the military, finding that there weren't any financial or medical reasons to ban them.

Maybe there's hope that the voices of actual trans people who have served in the military might sway the president's mind or that he can be convinced by his own words, which extolled the virtues of the military's "shared sense of purpose" that transcended our differences, adding, "All service members are brother and sisters."

Duckworth speaks at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

If all that fails, however, Duckworth is prepared to push for legislation that takes this decision out of his hands.

"If the President enacts this ban, which would harm our military readiness, the Democratic and Republican Members of Congress who oppose this discrimination must enact legislation that prevents it from taking effect," she says at the close of her statement."

There's no telling whether such a bill would have a shot of making it through Congress and avoiding a veto, but there's hope. After all, a surprising collection of otherwise conservative lawmakers stepped forward to criticize Trump's ban the day he tweeted it out. They may soon have the opportunity to take it beyond simple words and show their support through action.

Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
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The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

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via KrustyKhajiit / YouTube

Thomas F. Wilson played one of the most recognizable villains in film history, Biff Tannen, in the "Back to the Future" series. So, understandably, he gets recognized wherever he goes for the iconic role.

The attention must be nice, but it has to get exhausting answering the same questions day in and day out about the films. So Wilson created a card that he carries with him to hand out to people that answers all the questions he gets asked on a daily basis.

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Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
True

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

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Sometimes a politician says or does something so brazenly gross that you have to do a double take to make sure it really happened. Take, for instance, this tweet from Lauren Witzke, a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate from Delaware. Witzke defeated the party's endorsed candidate to win the primary, has been photographed in a QAnon t-shirt, supports the conspiracy theory that 9/11 was a U.S. government inside operation, and has called herself a flat earther.

So that's neat.

Witzke has also proposed a 10-year total halt on immigration to the U.S., which is absurd on its face, but makes sense when you see what she believes about immigrants. In a tweet this week, Witzke wrote, "Most third-world migrants can not assimilate into civil societies. Prove me wrong."

First, let's talk about how "civil societies" and developing nations are not different things, and to imply that they are is racist, xenophobic, and wrong. Not to mention, it has never been a thing to refer people using terms like "third-world." That's a somewhat outdated term for developing nations, and it was never an adjective to describe people from those nations even when it was in use.

Next, let's see how Twitter thwapped Lauren Witzke straight into the 21st century by proving her wrong in the most delicious way. Not only did people share how they or their relatives and friends have successfully "assimilated," but many showed that they went way, way beyond that.

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via WatchMojo / YouTube

There are two conflicting viewpoints when it comes to addressing culture from that past that contains offensive elements that would never be acceptable today.

Some believe that old films, TV shows, music or books with out-of-date, offensive elements should be hidden from public view. While others think they should be used as valuable tools that help us learn from the past.

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