The Boy Scouts has officially changed its decades-old policy to allow transgender kids to freely join the program. Enrollment will now be based on the gender a child or parent lists on his application to become a scout, instead of the gender on his birth certificate. Any child who identifies as a boy, regardless of their sex, can now become a scout. The policy goes into effect immediately. The Girl Scouts, a separate organization, has already accepted transgender girls into its program for several years.
President Barack Obama commuted the rest of Chelsea Manning's 35-year sentence Tuesday. Manning is a former Army intelligence analyst who was convicted of leaking classified material in 2013. Manning was arrested in 2010 for leaking 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks. Her sentence is longer than any other individual convicted of releasing classified material. As a transgender female, she has attempted to commit suicide twice while incarcerated in a male military prison and went on a hunger strike. Manning is expected to be released in May 2017. Obama has now shortened the sentences of more federal inmates than any other president.
The second-largest Tennessee lottery prize will be split among 20 co-workers at a metal manufacturing plant. The jackpot totaled $420.9 million. The 20 workers buy $120 worth of lottery tickets twice a week. They have been paying into the lottery for eight years — and it has finally paid off. Each of the workers will reportedly receive $12.7 million before taxes.
In an opinion piece published by CNN, President Obama wrote he wants to see manned missions to Mars by the 2030s. But getting there won't just be an endeavour by NASA. The President wants NASA to work with private companies to achieve this lofty goal. Last month, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk laid out his plan to establish a self-sustaining colony on Mars.
Preseason drama: Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand during anthem
1. San Francisco 49er's quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines after refusing to stand during the National Anthem at a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. Kaepernick hasn't stood up for the anthem during any preseason game in protest. He says won't "show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." According to an ESPN report, he's not planning on standing until he sees changes and he plans on exercising his First Amendment rights.
2. NBC analyst Rodney Harrison suggested that Kaepernick isn't really black and doesn't understand racism. Other critics have said that Kaepernick is disrespecting the military. Head coach Chip Kelly is planning on starting Kaepernick in the preseason finale Thursday night, for one last chance on claiming starting quarterback.
3. So what's a man to do?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
A new scientific study has confirmed the existence of a rocky planet named Proxima b. It orbits Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun. Proxima b is within the habitable zone of its star and may have liquid water on its surface. It is the closest planet that is potentially habitable to humans. The researchers hope its proximity will provide opportunities for "robotic exploration in the coming centuries."
Should burkinis be banned from the beach?
1. Three towns in France have now banned women from wearing the burkini, which is a swimsuit style preferred by Muslim women. The burkini — modeled after the traditional burka — covers everything on the body except the face, hands and feet. City mayors argue that the swimsuit does not follow French laws about secularism. Anyone wearing a burkini on the beach will be asked to leave and fined. Cannes city officials argued that the burkini is a "symbol of Islamic extremism." France has recently suffered from terrorist attacks, for which ISIS claimed responsibility.
2. However, some have argued that the ban infringes on fundamental rights. The Collective Against Islamaphobia in France said that associating all Muslim symbols with terrorism is illogical and would only lead to increased tensions between Muslim and Catholic communities. The group called the mayor's logic "shocking."
3. So, should the burkini bans in France continue?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
"Have you ever thought about how your political views are impacting your relationships? Whether it be a romantic relationship, work relationship, or friendship; this topic can sometimes be a deal breaker. I see a lot of people who post on Facebook or Instagram that they WILL NOT be associated with Trump supporters or they will befriend those who are supporters. I understand the passion that goes with this particular topic of conversation because it most certainly is heavy. That being said, I do not believe that this conversation should be brought up as an introduction or online with your Facebook "friends" or followers...
"Hi my name is Rachel, nice to meet you! Oh by the way, even though I like you as an individual, if you're voting for so-and-so I can't be friendly with you." Sounds weird in that context, ya? Not only does this make someone uncomfortable, it's isolating. You are now wrapped up in a little tiny box that only has people that agree with you (politically) in it. Congrats!
I have a lot of friends that disagree with me politically and often bring up politics when we're out... I will avoid the conversation completely, smile, and take a huge drink of my cocktail. I don't do this because I am disrespecting their opinion, I do this because I respect my relationship with that person more than discussing what side of the street we stand on.
I believe in America, our potential, and most importantly the men and women who fight for this beautiful place we call the United States of America."
Perceptions Of Her is a blog meant for all women alike. Our mission is to uplift, educate, and inspire women on a daily basis to help find inner creativity. Alex will keep you updated weekly on her favorite fashion trends, health & wellness tips, beauty products, and her experience having a full-time job in New York City. Follow @tweetsofher on social media for more updates! We hope you love the blog as much as we do. Cheers!
Need a ride in Austin, Texas, today? Forget about calling a car from Uber or Lyft. Both on-demand ride-hailing services have suspended business in Austin as a result of a city-wide vote that upheld stricter background checks for the apps. Despite spending more than $8 million fighting the ordinance, Uber and Lyft's legal might fell short. Austin voted to regulate Uber and Lyft like taxi services, thus instilling a requirement to run fingerprints as part of a comprehensive background check. Both Uber and Lyft worry that this requirement could transform their employee classification from contractor to actual employee, which would raise overhead considerably.
Should we raise the national smoking age?
1. While smoking is not near as popular as it once was, America's youth seems to be taking up the bad habit at a surprisingly high rate. To curb the trend, California has raised its legal smoking age from 18 to 21. Furthermore, on a national level, the FDA has announced plans to regulate e-cigarettes and cigars much like they regulate run-of-the-mill tobacco products.
2. California's new law had its fair share of objections, namely from the tobacco industry. Despite intense lobbying efforts, California Gov. Jerry Brown says the law "sends a clear message." Those who helped push the law through California's legislature hope to continue their efforts across the nation.
3. What do you think? Should we raise the national smoking age?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
North Carolina, Mississippi criticized for bathroom laws
1. North Carolina and Mississippi have recently enacted laws that would require residents to use the bathroom that matches their gender at birth. Supporters, including Republican candidate Ted Cruz, say these laws are necessary to protect citizens from “predators” who might use open bathroom policies to harm others. Many argue that these policies are “political correctness run amok."
2. In response, Paypal has halted its plans to open offices in North Carolina, pulling 400 new jobs from the state. Target recently announced that its stores will be adopting an open bathroom policy. Caitlyn Jenner protested the laws and Cruz’s statements by using the women’s bathroom in Trump Tower. Trump has said the bathroom laws are unnecessary. The American Civil Liberties Union says there is no statistical evidence of violence in bathrooms, as supporters are claiming.
3. So, are these bathroom laws necessary?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Somebody needs to get Donald Trump a broom, especially after sweeping all five states up for grabs in last night's Republican Presidential Primary contests. Trump pulled more than 50 percent of the vote in each of last night's contest, racking up almost 200 delegates in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware and Rhode Island. Trump out-performed the most recent polling data, suggesting that the base of Republican party is finally warming up to the polarizing candidate. Hillary Clinton also had a good night, winning four of the five contests against lone rival Bernie Sanders. If the next six weeks look like last night, we seem to be heading toward a Trump v. Clinton ticket.
Each year the U.N. publishes its World Happiness Report, which is determined by factors like life expectancy, freedom, lack of corruption and social support. Denmark, the small Scandanavian enclave with free healthcare and an impressive social safety net, nabbed the top spot . Despite our high per-capita GDP, the U.S. ranked 13th, besting comparable countries like the United Kingdom, but falling short to the likes of Canada, Australia and Norway. Burundi, a small East African nation on the brink of "massive violence," was named the world's Least Happy Country.
Is this year's election cycle so grating that you've contemplated crossing borders to escape headlines like "Donald Trump defends the size of his penis?" If so, you're not alone. After Super Tuesday, Google reported their highest-ever volume of searches that included the phrase "move to Canada," signaling that America's political landscape has some on the fence, literally. Twitter also observed the same phenomenon. As it turns out, moving to Canada is much easier said than done. Those wanting to flee North will need to qualify for a Canadian working visa, or of course, convince a Canadian to marry them.
Are the Oregon protestors patriots or punks?
1. It's been five days since an armed militia barricaded themselves in an Oregon federal building in retaliation to a federal judge's decision to imprison a pair of ranchers. The militia is prepared for the standoff to "last for years." The group has since deemed themselves "Citizens for Constitutional Freedom" and have called on other "patriots" to take up their cause.
2. The Internet has had a heyday with the militia, dubbing them "Y'all Queda" and sending them glitter bombs through the mail. But it's not all fun and games as federal authorities scramble to difuse the situation. Local residents near the standoff have kindly asked the militia to "knock this crap off."
3. So, is the Oregon militia a group of patriots or punks?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
The great divide: Can a Muslim be President?
1. A Muslim? As President of the United States? No way, says a handful of GOP primary election front runners. The conversation began when Donald Trump failed to correct an audience member who labeled President Barack Obama a Muslim during a Q&A session. As a result, more GOP candidates started to field questions regarding Muslims and the presidency. Ben Carson found it inconsistent with the Constitution, while Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called the questioning absurd.
2. Hilary Clinton was quick to get ahead of the issue, tweeting "Can a Muslim be President of the United States of America? In a word: Yes. Now let's move on." Bernie Sanders echoed her sentiments. Of course, with its No Religious Test Clause, the United States' Constitution is on top of it.
3. So, is this a non-issue? Or do some presidential candidates need a class in Constitution:101?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Ahmed Mohamed's arrest: Is fear outweighing our freedom of expression?
On Monday, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, a student in Irving, Texas was arrested by police for bringing a digital clock that he made to school, after one of his teachers suspected it to be a "hoax bomb."
Mohamed, a ninth-grade student at MacArthur High School, said that his hobby is inventing and he brought his clock to school in hopes of demonstrating his skills to his teachers. Instead, he was handcuffed by cops, questioned without his parents, and taken to juvenile detention.
The incident has created a social media uproar— the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed started trending on Twitter and has resulted in more than 100,000 tweets. Even President Obama joined in on the conversation, tweeting "We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great."
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.— President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015
It's hard to understand why the adults in charge didn't do a little more due diligence before they took him out in handcuffs (his English teacher decided it was a bomb, but his engineering teacher could have vouched for the device), and why they interrogated him without his parents. It's also hard not to wonder if their reaction would have been the same if his last name weren't Mohamed. Reasonable fears and an abundance of caution are admirable, but not at the expense of common sense. We live in a free country and that freedom requires vigilance, but it also requires that we master our most irrational fears, and respect the freedom of others, including Ahmed Mohamed.
Ahmed's story has a happy ending; charges were dropped and he's a social media star with invites to visit Facebook and MIT, so the trauma of today's arrest will probably be short lived. But not everyone caught up in a misunderstanding like this one fares so well in the end.
What do you think? Is fear getting the best of us? Or should authorities always assume the worst, no matter what?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.