+

The people of North Carolina are standing up to a new anti-LGBT law in a big way.

The response to North Carolina's new anti-LGBT law should give us hope.

Last month, the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, passed a nondiscrimination ordinance aimed at protecting its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents.

The ordinance simply said that Charlotte businesses wouldn't be allowed to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It was rolled into the city's existing nondiscrimination ordinance that protect people on the basis of race, age, religion, and gender.

Not exactly the most controversial thing in the world, right? Well...


Charlotte, North Caolina. Photo by Jon Dawson/Flickr.

Yesterday, the state legislature passed a bill that was signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory late last night, which nullified all city-level nondiscrimination ordinances across the state.

It also stated that in schools and government buildings, trans people would be forced to use bathrooms based on what their birth certificate (something that's extraordinarily hard to change) says. Oh, and it also wiped out city-level minimum wage laws. Ah, and it removed city-level protections on the basis of race and gender too.


In other words, it's a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad law.


The key argument in repealing the bill was that transgender women posed a risk to cisgender (non-trans) women in restrooms.

This despite the fact that in the numerous states and cities that have enacted inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances, no trans woman has ever used the law as a means to attack another woman. On the other hand, 70% of trans people surveyed have been denied access, harassed, or assaulted while trying to use public restrooms.


But the concern for women's safety is what Governor McCrory says influenced his decision to sign the hastily-passed bill.


It's an odd reason for the governor to cite, given the fact that Charlotte's ordinance didn't allow for "men" to use women's locker rooms anyway.


As their legislators worked to enact the most anti-LGBT law in the country, North Carolinians watched on, horrified. They began rallying around the hashtag #WeAreNotThis.

Some tweets focused on the irony of the lack of a democratic process in passing the bill.


Others cheered on legislators who spoke out against it.


Many others decried the legislature's use of "women's safety" as cover for a law that actually makes women as a whole less safe.

Some looked at the state's history (and the country's history) with legislating bathroom use.


And others simply expressed the disappointment of watching their state slide backward in time.

What's important to remember is that the actions of the state's lawmakers don't necessarily mean that the people of North Carolina are, as a whole, in agreement with them.

Gov. McCrory (who is running for reelection this November) and the state legislature have taken steps to undermine the rights of many North Carolina residents.

From here, it's a matter of what happens next. For those who believe the legislature was in the wrong, they can help work to elect replacements. For those who want to change the law, they can join efforts to challenge it in court.

The passage of a single bad law can be the beginning of necessary change; it doesn't need to be the end.

via FIRST

FIRST students compete in a robotics challenge.

True

Societies all over the world face an ever-growing list of complex issues that require informed solutions. Whether it’s addressing infectious diseases, the effects of climate change, supply chain issues or resource scarcity, the world has an immediate need for problem-solvers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

Here in the United States, we’re experiencing a shortage of much-needed STEM workers, and forward-thinking organizations are stepping up to tap into America’s youth to fill the void. As the leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education, FIRST is an important player in this arena, and its mission is to inspire young people aged 4 to 18 to become technology leaders and innovators capable of addressing the world’s pressing needs.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Marlon Brando on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1973.

Marlon Brando made one of the biggest Hollywood comebacks in 1972 after playing the iconic role of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” The venerable actor's career had been on a decline for years after a series of flops and increasingly unruly behavior on set.

Brando was a shoo-in for Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, so the actor decided to use the opportunity to make an important point about Native American representation in Hollywood.

Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Yaqui and Apache actress and activist, dressed in traditional clothing, to talk about the injustices faced by Native Americans.

She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

Keep ReadingShow less

Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

Keep ReadingShow less