Rabbi who works next door to couple who pointed guns at protestors says they've been notorious 'bullies' for years
via Mondoweiss / Twitter

Patricia and Mark McCloskey caught the public's attention back in June when they were photographed waving guns at Black Lives Matters protesters who peacefully walked past their St. Louis mansion.

After the incident, photos of the couple waving their guns while dressed like they just got back from the country club quickly became a cultural Rorschach test.

Liberals mocked them for exemplifying the irrational fear that some affluent white conservatives have of people of color. Their overreaction to the peaceful protesters appeared to mirror the type of unnecessary violence against people of color that caused the demonstrations in the first place.


To many conservatives, the couple were an example of proudly-armed Americans standing their ground against a frightening mob.

The couple is currently facing weapons charges for brandishing guns at protesters.

Twitter twitter.com

The couple were used as political pawns on night one of the Republican National Convention on Monday. The couple made a speech from their home that was a blatant attempt to instill fear in the the suburban electorate.

"What you saw happen to us could just as easily happen to any of you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country," the couple said in a speech.

"Make no mistake: No matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats' America," Patricia warned.

The message was very simple: White people should be afraid that their quiet neighborhoods will be overrun by angry mobs of protesters, unless they vote for Donald Trump who will stop the protests. It's like they haven't noticed that protests have been going on since March and Trump has yet to stop them.

After it was announced that the couple was to speak at the convention, a rabbi that works at St. Louis' Jewish Central Reform Congregation, the synagogue next door to the McCloskeys' house, had to speak up.

"It's so upsetting that they have a national audience," Rabbi Susan Talve told Forward, a nonprofit Jewish publication. "It's upsetting we make heroes out of people who hate."

The rabbi's rocky relationship with the couple started back in 2013, when the congregation placed bee hives along a fence that sat six inches inside the McCloskey's property line.

The hives were there to produce honey for Rosh Hashanah, a Jewish new year celebration. On the holiday, Jewish people eat apples and honey to usher in a sweet new year.

via David Malouf / Flickr

Without even consulting the rabbi or the synagogue, the McCloskeys bashed all of the bee hives and left them to sit smashed on the fence. "He could have picked up the phone and said, 'Hey, those beehives are on my property,' and we would have happily moved them," said Talve.

The children of the synagogue wept after hearing about the destruction of the hives.

The temple has raised bed gardens where it grows thousands of pounds of fresh produce to help local food pantries. "We were going to have our own apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah!" she said.

But the McClosekys didn't stop there, they sent a note to the synagogue saying they'd face legal action if they didn't clean up the smashed hives.

"Civility," Talve said. "I'm willing to speak out now because there's such a lack of civility that's happening, and I don't feel like I can be a part of that, and silence is complicity."

"They are bullies," Talve said. "The fact that they're speaking at the convention is a win for bullies."

The fact that the McCloskeys were happy to speak at the Republican National Convention in support of Donald Trump isn't a surprise. Of course a couple known for being bullies would be big fans of the bully the currently lives in the White House.

Pexels
True
Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.