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This is Mike Rawlings, the mayor of Dallas, Texas.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.


And if there's one thing Rawlings is certainly not afraid of, it's Syrian refugees.

In an interview with MSNBC on Nov. 21, 2015, Rawlings voiced concerns about how we're responding to the terror attacks earlier this month in Paris — namely, that some leaders are reacting in-line with how extremists want them to.

"ISIS wants us to be divided on this issue," he said, later noting that "ISIS is no more Islamic than the Nazi senior staff was Christian."

"ISIS wants us to demonize these Syrian refugees," he said.

In indirect fashion, Rawlings was referring to the several presidential candidates and governors (including his own state's) who've come out in support of a ban on Syrian refugees in the wake of the attacks.

But then, Rawlings said something truly ... well, out of the box.


Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

When asked if he had any safety concerns about allowing refugees to enter the country, he got candid:

"There is never a 100% guarantee [of keeping terrorists out], and safety is my #1 concern, as it is [Texas] Governor Abbott's. We've got to make sure [those entering the country] are safe. This is a 21-step process to get in. 18 to 24 months to jump through these hoops. This is a serious issue. I am more fearful of large gatherings of white men that come into schools [and] theaters and shoot people up, but we don't isolate young, white men on this issue." (Emphasis added.)

Yeah ... it's that last part that's really got the Internet abuzz.

And yeah. Rawlings actually ... he made a really great point.

Hear me out. I'm not saying anyone should fear all white guys (#NotAllWhiteGuys), and I certainly don't think the mayor is, either. But Rawlings is simply alluding to the fact that in the U.S., you actually are more likely to become the victim of a white male terrorist than an Islamic jihadist, statistically speaking.

Since 9/11, 48 people have died from radical right wing terrorist attacks while 26 have died from jihadists.

Throughout the past 14 years, nearly twice as many people in the U.S. have died at the hands of white supremacists or extreme anti-government terrorists (such as Dylann Roof, who murdered nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, this past summer) than at the hands of jihadists (like the terrorists who bombed the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing four), according to a study released in June by the New America Foundation.

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio hinted at that same statistic during a recent interview with NPR, according to CNN.

"I mean, since the beginning of the Bush administration when we were attacked, September 11th, we've not had any major terrorist attacks in this country. We've had individual crazy people ... they look more like me than they look like Middle Easterners — they are generally white males — who have shot up people in movie theaters and schools. Those are terrorist attacks, they're just different kinds of terrorists." (Emphasis added.)

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

In total, 48 people in the U.S. have died from radical right wing terrorists since 9/11 while 26 have died from jihadists. Although those facts may make some people uncomfortable, they certainly don't lie.

With his statement, Rawlings wasn't trying to imply white people are scary.

But white supremacists and extremists are just as much of a threat, if not more so. And yet, we do nothing to prevent all white men from accessing guns or even prevent white men with a history of extremism from accessing guns and weaponry. Rawlings was pointing out how ridiculous it is to fear (and ban) Muslims and Muslim refugees based on the harmful and false premise that many of them are extremists attempting to infiltrate the U.S. through our refugee resettlement program.

The good news is, there's no shortage of mayors from across the country who, like Rawlings, are committed to helping Syrian refugees.

Rawlings is one of 18 U.S. mayors, all part of the Cities United for Immigration Action initiative, who penned an open letter to President Obama, applauding his efforts to accept Syrian refugees and noting their cities will certainly accept more.

Mayors from cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Baltimore agree: Refugees aren't violent, and we should be doing more to help them.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

"It sends a horrible message to the world," New York's Bill de Blasio said of some governors' refusing to take refugees, according to CNN.

"It means we're turning our backs on the people who are the victims of terrorism. We're not going to turn our backs on children and families. It's not the American way. It's certainly not the New York City way."

In may have taken Rawlings making a bold statement to point out a surprising reality, but I'm glad he did.

After all, facts should be the guiding light of our policymaking. Not fear.

“This is a big issue, and we as a nation must step up and make sure we're secure," Rawlings told MSNBC. "But we must not do things that change the soul of who we are as well."

True

The last thing children should have to worry about is where their next meal will come from. But the unfortunate reality is food insecurity is all too common in this country.

In an effort to help combat this pressing issue, KFC is teaming up with Blessings in a Backpack to provide nearly 70,000 meals to families in need and spread holiday cheer along the way.

The KFC Sharemobile, a holiday-edition charitable food truck, will be making stops at schools in Chicago, Orlando, and Houston in December to share KFC family meals and special gifts for a few select families to address specific needs identified by their respective schools.

These cities were chosen based on the high level of food insecurity present in their communities and hardships they’ve faced, such as a devastating hurricane season in Florida and an unprecedented winter storm in Houston. In 2021, five million children across the US lived in food-insecure households, according to the USDA.

“Sharing a meal with family or friends is a special part of the holidays,” said Nick Chavez, CMO of KFC U.S. “Alongside our franchisees, we wanted to make that possible for even more families this holiday season.”

KFC will also be making a donation to Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit that works to provide weekend meals to school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

“The generous donations from KFC could not have come at a better time, as these communities have been particularly hard-hit this year with rising food costs, inflation and various natural disasters,” Erin Kerr, the CEO of Blessings in a Backpack, told Upworthy. “Because of KFC’s support, we’re able to spread holiday cheer by donating meals for hunger-free weekends and meet each community’s needs,” Kerr said.

This isn’t the first time KFC has worked with Blessings in a Backpack. The fried chicken chain has partnered with the nonprofit for the last six years, donating nearly $1 million dollars. KFC employees also volunteer weekly to package and provide meals to students in Louisville, Kentucky who need food over the weekend.

KFC franchisees are also bringing the Sharemobile concept to life in markets across the country through local food donations and other holiday giveback moments. Ampex Brands, a KFC franchisee based in Dallas, recently held its annual Day of Giving event and donated 11,000 meals to school children in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

If you’d like to get involved, you can make a donation to help feed students in need at kfc.com/kfcsharemobile. Every bit helps, but a donation of $150 helps feed a student on the weekends for an entire 38-week school year, and a donation as low as $4 will feed a child for a whole weekend.

Celine Dion spoke directly to her fans on social media.

Celine Dion has shared the devastating news that she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome.

In an emotional video to her fans, the 54-year-old French-Canadian singer apologized for taking so long to reach out and explained that her health struggles have been difficult to talk about.

"As you know, I have always been an open book, and I wasn't ready to say anything before. But I'm ready now."

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Adam Sandler and Brendan Fraser for Variety's "Actors on Actors."

There are few actors in this world as universally loved as Brendan Fraser and Adam Sandler. So when the two sign on to interview one another, you can bet that people are going to be thrilled.

During one of Variety's “Actors on Actors” segments, the two swapped stories of being in the entertainment business—from the movie “Airheads," which they both starred in, to more recent projects like Sandler’s “Hustle” and Fraser’s “The Whale.”

It’s clear that these two respect and admire each other’s work. Sandler applauded Fraser’s career-long stride of making bold and interesting choices, and especially commended him for his starring role in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale,” which has been hailed as a major comeback for the “Mummy” franchise star.
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Tenacious D performs at the Rock in Pott festival.

The medley that closes out the second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album is one of the most impressive displays of musicianship in the band’s storied career. It also provided the perfect send-off before the band’s official breakup months later, ending with the lyrics, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

In 1969, “Abbey Road” was the last record the group made together, although “Let it Be,” recorded earlier that year, was released in 1970.

At first, the medley was just a clever way for the band to use a handful of half-finished tunes, but when it came together it was a rousing, grandiose affair.

Arranged by Paul McCartney and producer George Martin, the medley weaves together five songs written by McCartney, "You Never Give Me Your Money," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight” and "The End," and three by John Lennon, “Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam."

Fifteen seconds after the medley and the album’s conclusion, there is a surprise treat, McCartney’s 22-second “Her Majesty,” which wound up on the record as an accident.

Jack Black and Kyle Gass, collectively known as Tenacious D, recently reimagined two of the songs in the medley, "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "The End," for acoustic guitars for a performance on SiriusXM's Octane Channel. Like everything with Tenacious D, it showed off the duo’s impressive musical chops as well as their fantastic sense of humor.

The truncated version of the medley was also a wonderful tribute to the incredible work the Beatles did 53 years ago.

Warning: This video contains NSFW language.

Joy

13 strangers became stranded at an airport, so they set off on a road trip together

The unlikely friends went viral online after documenting their 10+ hour journey.

@alanahsotry21/TikTok

From strangers to friends in one night.

Sometimes the greatest friendships are born out of the most unlikely circumstances.

Thanks to a canceled flight, 13 complete strangers found themselves stuck at Orlando International Airport on their way to Knoxville, Tennessee, with no way to get to their destination.

What started off as a disaster quickly turned around into an impromptu adventure, as the determined group banded together to rent a minivan and drive more than 500 miles from Orlando to Knoxville. Along the way they documented their travels, and the story was quickly picked up by news outlets like CNN, spreading like wholesome viral wildfire online.


The band of merry travelers hailed from different parts of the U.S. and Mexico, and didn’t all speak the same language. Plus each had their own reason for wanting to get to Knoxville. One college student was trying to make it back in time for her final. Another was hoping to tour her dream college with her mom and dad. A well-known farming influencer was set to deliver a keynote speech at a conference. A mother wanted to go fight for custody of her son, while another woman wanted to meet a friend to help her move. Others were just there to have fun.

Regardless of their differences, their road trip created unexpected community and a memory they won't soon forget.

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