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Trevor Noah's hot take on abortion and gun control from 2015​ (sadly) still holds up

Noah was still a new host for "The Daily Show," and knocked it out of the park with his signature wit we would all come to love.

Daily Show/Youtube

Trevor Noah as a host on 'The Daily Show'

A previous episode of "The Daily Show" addressed two hot-button issues at the same time: abortion and gun control.

It was one of the earliest tests for new host Trevor Noah, and he pretty much knocked this one out of the park. The segment began with a discussion about the pro-life movement's laser focus on making completely legal abortions really, really hard to get.

Noah started with the movement's push to defund Planned Parenthood on what turned out to be deceptive, altered, and debunked videos. And even he had to admit, pro-lifers are pretty great at what they do, given that they were able to get Congress to hold hearings based on ... nothing, really.


Of course, not all people in the pro-life movement are against gun control, and not all people who are against gun control are pro-life, but there is a certain significant — and confusing — overlap on those two issues that is worth investigating.

So Noah turned his attention to the mass shooting in Oregon — the 294th of the year — and how we as a country are once again discussing gun control.

If pro-lifers are so concerned about the preservation of all lives, Noah wonders, then why don't they support common-sense gun control measures?

There's no need for doctored videos. Gun violence statistics exist (and they're terrifying). Imagine if the pro-life movement rallied behind that?

Noah then brilliantly compared reactions from two "pro-life" presidential candidates on the Oregon shooting and on abortion.

First up was Jeb Bush on what happened in Oregon. He urged against reactionary gun legislation. "Stuff happens," he said.

But compare that to his recent comments on abortion — which is, again, totally legal:

Now that's a response fitting for a mass shooting.

Noah looked over to candidate Carly Fiorina for her thoughts on the Oregon shooting. Similar to Bush, Fiorina cautioned against taking any action on gun control until we know more about what happened.

Now compare that to her comments on abortion:

It's not clear whether pro-lifers are waiting for an even 300 mass shootings in 2015 — which, at the pace we're going, should be sometime in the next month or so — before taking action. But in the meantime, it's really hard to see the "pro-life" rhetoric as anything more than hypocrisy.

In closing, Noah posed this to pro-lifers: If you actually care about lives, do something about guns.

Redirect the energy, lobbying, and rhetoric spent on fighting a more than 40-year-old Supreme Court decision toward sensible steps to curb gun violence.

"They just need to have a superhero's dedication to life," Noah says. "Because right now, they're more like comic book collectors: Human life only matters until you take it out of the package, and then there's nothing left."

Watch the complete segment in the video below.

This article originally appeared on 10.06.15


Family

People are ready to throw down for an adorable little girl who just wants her pencil back

You have to hear Taylor tell her story to understand why this travesty of justice went viral.

As the nation helplessly watches our highest halls of government toss justice to the wind, a 2nd grader has given us someplace to channel our frustrations. In a hilarious video rant, a youngster named Taylor shared a story that has folks ready to go to the mat for her and her beloved, pink, perfect attendance pencil.



Instagrammer @tabgeezy shared a video of her daughter telling the story of how she put her perfect attendance pencil—the pink one that she had legitimately earned—in the classroom box of pencils to be sharpened. But when she went to retrieve it from the sharpened pencils box, all she found were plain yellow pencils. That's because Lizzie—who, by the way, had not earned a perfect attendance pencil because she had gone to CANADA—was using it. And not only that, but Canada Lizzie then lost Taylor's pencil in her desk, and her teacher was no help.


You have to hear Taylor tell it to understand why this travesty of justice has gone viral.

If you think this pencil battle is of no consequence whatsoever, think again. People on Twitter got hold of the video, and folks are rallying behind Taylor as if that pink pencil is our democracy and Taylor and Lizzie are the House and Senate.

"Lizzie" was trending on Twitter as people called out the little girl who went to CANADA and then dared to take Taylor's perfect attendance pencil.

There were some shout-outs to Taylor's classmate who understood what that pencil meant to her.

But Taylor's teacher certainly wasn't getting any love.

Twitter's collective reaction even started getting its own GIFs.

People had so. many. feelings. about baby girl getting back her pencil, about the way her mom and teacher dismissed it as "just a pencil," and about poor little Lizzie who probably still doesn't understand what all the fuss is about.

Why do we care so much? Adorableness aside, we're all a little burned out on politics and the methodical dismantling of our country's checks and balances, so maybe getting charged up over an adorable little girl's pencil injustice somehow feels cathartic.

Hope you get your pencil back soon, Taylor. We all need a little glimmer of hope that justice can, indeed, prevail.


This article originally appeared on 01.31.20

The Preussen Munster square off against the Würzburger Kickers

As a soccer match between German teams Preussen Munster and Würzburger Kickers went into its final minutes, a defender from the Kickers, 23-year-old Leroy Kwadwo, stopped to point out a problem in the stands.

A Munster fan was making monkey noises at Kwadwo, a black player of Ghanaian descent. It was a clearly racist heckling—an issue that has publicly plagued the international sport in various venues, even as recently as last week. But this time, the response from the crowd far outshined the racist in the stands.



First, the man was quickly identified by his fellow Munster fans and ejected from the game. While stewards escorted him from the stadium, the crowd chanted, "Nazis out! Nazis out!"

Some fans also stood and applauded Kwadwo and the player received supportive pats on the back from opposing team members as well.

This is how it's done, folks.

Kwadwo thanked fans via social media the next day for their "exemplary" reaction, the Associated Press reported:

"I was racially abused by one single spectator. It just makes me sad. I indeed have a different skin color, but I was born here in this wonderful land that has given my family and I so much and made so much possible. I am one of you. I live here and can live my calling as a professional with the Würzburger Kickers.

Something like yesterday just makes me sad and angry because everyone has to know, racism does not belong in OUR world. We all have the opportunity to oppose it and stop it if it happens."

Munster said it would seek to ban the racist fan from all German stadiums for three years, which is the toughest sanction the sport itself can implement. However, the man also faces legal consequences and is being charged with incitement.

"As repulsive as the monkey noises against the player were, the subsequent response from the rest of the spectators were so impressive," the Preussen team said in a statement.

According to CNN, Preussen Munster president Christoph Strasser said of the heckling: "It is not something that belongs on the soccer field and certainly not in our stadium. We don't want and need people like that here. We clearly distance ourselves from such statements and I apologized to the Würzburgers immediately after the game."

If we have to live with nasty racists in our midst, it's at least encouraging to see a huge crowd reject it with such immediacy and fervor. Nazis out, indeed.


This article originally appeared on 3.1.23

Family

9 things to know about kids in foster care. Plus an unforgettable view into their lives.

Foster care is a nightmare for some kids and their foster parents. For others, it's a blessing.

A clip from "ReMoved Part Two"



Zoe's story, "Removed," has been seen by millions of people.

It was previously shared by my amazing Upworthy colleague Laura Willard. We got just a tiny taste of what it was like for kids in foster care, right after being removed. Specifically, a little girl named Zoe and her little brother Benaiah.

My wife and I, foster parents for the past year, even shared the original with our adoption worker, who passed it along to the entire agency and, then, it took off like wildfire among those people as well.

This is part 2 of that story, and it hits hard.

(Yes, the video's on the long side at about 20 minutes. But it's worth the watch to the end.)

She describes her life as a cycle, interrupted by a tornado. She's a foster child. I don't think I need to say any more.


So ... let's accompany that with 9 uncomfortable — but enlightening — facts below. There are only nine bolded, but within those headers, there are several more facts.

1. There are an estimated 400,000 kids in foster care right now.

Some are awaiting adoption. Some will go back to their parents. Others will age out or, sometimes, run away.

2. Foster kids can suffer from PTSD at almost two times the rate of returning veterans.

And PTSD can mimic a lot of other mental illnesses, and it can manifest as nightmares, flashbacks, fight-or-flee responses, anger outbursts, and hyper-vigilance (being on "red alert" at all times), among other symptoms.

Image via Nathaniel Matanick.


3. The average age of a foster child is 9 years old.

They're just on that edge of childhood, and chances are, it's been a pretty messed up childhood at that. Trauma does that.

4. About half of all foster kids are in non-relative foster homes.

8% are in institutions, 6% are in group homes, and only 4% are in pre-adoptive homes. Read that again — only 4% are in pre-adoptive homes.

5. Some of foster children experience multiple placements. In some cases, eight or more.

That's eight homes that they move into — and out of. And just consider ... that means they lose not just adults and other kids with whom they are establishing a bond, but friends, schoolmates, pets.

Clip via Nathaniel Matanick


6. The average foster child remains in the system for almost two years before being reunited with their biological parents, adopted, aging out, or other outcomes.

8% of them remain in foster care for over five years. Of the 238,000 foster kids who left the system in 2013, about half were reunited with parents or primary caregivers, 21% were adopted, 15% went to live with a relative or other guardian, and 10% were emancipated (aged out).

7. In 2013, more than 23,000 young people aged out of foster care with no permanent family to end up with.

And if you add that up, year after year, hundreds of thousands of foster youth will have aged out of the system. What does that look like? "You're 18. You've got no place to live and no family. Good luck — buh-bye now!" One-quarter of former foster kids experience homelessness within four years of exiting the system.

8. Foster "alumni" (those who have been in foster homes and either adopted, returned to parents, or aged out) are likely to suffer serious mental health consequences.

They are four-five times more likely to be hospitalized for attempting suicide and five-eight times more likely to be hospitalized for serious psychiatric disorders in their teens.

Based on that set of statistics alone, it's in the public's interest (ignoring, for a second, the interests of those kids) to help them through their lot in life and spend resources making it all work much better for everybody before it gets to that point. Right?

So there's a lot to be angry about in this whole messed up situation. But this next thing? My blood boils.

What's one of the biggest risk factors in families whose children are placed in foster care?

Your guess?

Cruelty?

Drugs?

Sexual abuse?

Neglect?

The answer is ...

9. Poverty

Together with homelessness and unemployment, it's a main contributing factor. It happens all the time. The fact that it's far easier for a parent to be accused and investigated for neglect or abuse because of simple things like lack of access to a vehicle, or a working refrigerator, or the ability to get a kid to a doctor's appointment — that has a lot to do with this. Tie that to the link between drug abuse and poverty and between poverty and child abuse ... well, you can see where this is going.

And in a country where one-third of children are living in poverty (hint: the good ol' U.S. of A.), imagine how that affects the number of kids being removed and placed into foster care.

I'll end this with a bit of hope through my story.

My kids went through something a lot like the kids in the clip above before they came to live with us. We've been through the ringer in ways that we're going to have to talk about one day because it's not just that the kids have been challenging — they have — it's that the system itself has been more challenging.

The entire system — from agencies to government entities to social workers to even the schools — seems like it's designed to fail these kids and the families who are attempting to help. It's almost designed not to work. There, I said it.

But that doesn't mean we won't fight to make it better for everybody. We most definitely will.

Image from a photo by my wife, Robin.

As for us, we're just a few weeks away from becoming the legal parents to these kids, and we're extremely happy to be right here, making it happen. And they seem quite happy to be our kids. Along the way, we fell in love with them, and we can't imagine life without them.

But to be totally honest ... if we'd have known how hard it was going to be when we started this journey, and if we could somehow turn back the clock and NOT do it ... well, would we have actually gone forward with the process?

I take that back. I won't be totally honest here. I will simply let you decide.

Here are some places to help, if you're so inclined.

        • AdoptUsKids.org is a place to start if you're considering fostering or adopting.
        • My Stuff Bags is a really cool and inexpensive way to help foster kids by gifting them actual luggage, duffel bags, and more, so that they don't travel from home to home with garbage bags for their belongings — or nothing at all.
        • CASA for Children offers legal help and advocates for foster kids through a network of volunteers.

        This story was written by Brandon Weber and originally appeared on 07.17.15