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Florida Vouchers Channel Millions to Anti-LGBTQ Religious Schools
A state-funded voucher program in Florida that helps students attend private schools sent $129 million to schools with anti-LGBTQ policies last year alone, an Orlando Sentinel investigation has found.
The money went to pay tuition for 20,800 students at 156 private Christian schools with homophobic or transphobic stances, and “that means at least 14 percent of Florida’s nearly 147,000 scholarship students last year attended private schools where homosexuality was condemned or, at a minimum, unwelcome,” the Sentinel reports. Thousands of schools participate in the program, which has been in existence for 20 years.
Eighty-three schools have policies denying admission to students known to be LGBTQ and providing for expulsion if their identity is found out. Another 73 “call being gay or transgender a biblical sin but do not explain how those views play out in admissions or student discipline decisions,” according to the paper.
Religious right groups are masquerading as churches to hide how they spend their money
Increasingly, religious right organizations that don’t resemble a church in any sense are declaring themselves to be just that. The reasoning is simple: by doing so, they no longer have to file publicly accessible documents detailing how they spend their money and how much they pay their leaders.
According to Ministry Watch, an independent group that monitors Christian charities, “more tax-exempt organizations that clearly are not churches are claiming the church exception. These organizations are using this exception to keep not only the government, but also donors, from seeing how their money is being spent.”
11 brutally honest reasons millenials don't want kids
When it comes to embarking on the journey of parenthood, lots of millennials are saying, "Meh. No, thanks."
According to data from the Urban Institute, birth rates among 20-something women declined 15% between 2007 and 2012. Additional research from the Pew Research Center reflects a longer-term trend of women eschewing parenthood as the number of U.S. women who choose to forego motherhood altogether has doubled since 1970.
This trend is fascinating, in part because there's long been a taboo associated with people (particularly, women) choosing to opt out of parenthood. Women who choose not to have kids have been referred to as "shallow" and "self-absorbed," and even the pope has said the decision not to procreate is fundamentally "selfish."
In an effort to find out why so many young people are really deciding against parenthood, we solicited dozens of responses from our audience via Tumblr and Google Forms. The responses we received from people of all sexes and identities reveal that there are myriad reasons why people are opting out of parenthood — and all of them are equally valid.
So Long, California? Goodbye, Texas? Taxpayers Decide Some States Aren’t Worth It
Two years after President Trump signed the tax law, its effects are rippling through local economies and housing markets, pushing some people to move from high-tax states where they have long lived. Parts of Florida, for example, are getting an influx of buyers from states such as New York, New Jersey and Illinois.
Many people saw their overall taxes go down after the 2017 law was passed. But the law had two main changes making it tougher to live in high-cost, high-tax states, especially compared with lower-taxed options. It essentially curbed how much homeowners can subtract from their federal taxes for paying local property and income taxes, by capping the state and local tax deduction at $10,000. It also lowered the size of mortgages for which new buyers can deduct the interest, to $750,000 from $1 million.
These changes have the biggest impact on a sliver of the population who have high incomes and live in expensive areas. They tend to have white-collar jobs and the ability to pick up and move. Many own their own businesses, work remotely or are nearing retirement.
Critics say the changes have hurt everyone who lives in high-tax states, by taking a bite out of tax revenue. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for example, panned the state and local tax cap last year. “It has redistributed wealth in this nation from Democratic states—we’re also called blue states—to red states,” he said at the time.
Two Houses Is Better Than a Divorce
Getting married is like voluntarily committing oneself to ride a tandem bike forever with no real destination. When one person gets tired, the other has to pedal harder or the entire operation collapses, and most divorce proceedings are just both partners yelling that if the other had pedaled hard enough then the bike would still be moving. Perhaps the appeal of living apart together (LAT) is avoiding this pressure for married couples to constantly synch up and operate in tandem rather than operating as separate entities that come together when it suits. LAT seems like an ideal solution for many of the problems that arise over the course of a marriage, affording the opportunity to be responsible for one’s own bike without having any reason to critique anyone else’s peddling.
Black Woman Dies After Waiting Hours in ER for Help
It is often suggested that women, especially black women, go ignored and/or unseen due to implicit bias in the American healthcare system.
Such may have been the case for Tashonna Ward, a 25-year-old day care teacher from Milwaukee who died Jan. 2 while trying to find a doctor to help her, USA Today reported.
Ward waited for over 2 hours in the emergency room of Froedtert Hospital before leaving to find faster help. She collapsed and died shortly after and now her family is looking for answers as to why she wasn’t seen sooner after she reported severe chest pains and trouble breathing.
“How can you triage someone with shortness of breath and chest pain and stick them in the lobby?” said Ward’s cousin, Andrea Ward. “Froedtert needs to change their policy.”
Homeless People Are Facing More Punishments For Existing, Report Finds
“There is no comprehensive data on the extent of criminal justice debt owed by poor people, but experts estimate that these fines amount to billions of dollars,” the report found. “These fines, if unpaid, can result in incarceration, even though so-called debtor’s prisons have been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
It’s a financial loss for cities, too, the report argued. Studies in multiple municipalities have found that governments save money when they help house homeless people instead of spending money to incarcerate them or hospitalize them with conditions linked to living unsheltered.
Supreme Court lets stand ruling that protects homeless who sleep on sidewalk
People with mental health issues ‘need more help with money’
The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute surveyed nearly 500 people with mental health problems and found that 64% of them felt they would have recovered more quickly if they had had help with their finances.
The institute says people with mental illness are being left to fall into damaging cycles of money issues and worsening mental wellbeing because they’re not given crucial information about how their condition can increase the risk of financial difficulty.
Did you know, for example, that someone with OCD is ‘six times more likely to have serious money issues’? Or that an experience of any mental health issue makes you three and a half times more likely to be in debt?
Those with depression are five times more likely to experience serious financial struggles, as the condition’s low moods and poor concentration can make managing finances feel impossible, while bipolar disorder’s manic episodes can increase the risk of excessive and impulsive spending.
Chinese tourists are opting out of travel to the US in favor of the rest of the world
In 2018, Chinese tourists made nearly 150 million trips around the world, spending a colossal $277 billion. More than $36 billion, or about 13% of that sum, was spent in the US, with Chinese visitors spending it up in Hawaii, Hollywood, and other big-ticket US destinations.
Since the start of the trade war, however, Chinese tourism to the US is down by more than 8%. The number of Chinese visitors stateside is waning—due to geopolitical pressures, a strong dollar, and the seductive call of the rest of the world.
First class is fading fast. Here's why that's bad news for economy travelers, too
First class isn't what it used to be, at least according to frequent airline passengers like Bonnie Friedman. She's been flying in the front of the plane for years and has witnessed the slow and sad decline of premium service.
"It was never fabulous," says Friedman, a communication consultant who lives on Maui. "But in the last three or four years, it has most definitely lost what little luster it had. The planes are cheaply made, the seats are smaller, the bathrooms almost too small to get into — and I’m a small person."
In first class. Yes, first class.
Friedman, like a lot of other air travelers, has noticed a marked decline in premium service. Seats have shrunk. Leg rests vanished. The food is barely edible, and the service is unacceptable.
And let's be clear about what we mean by first class: We're talking about domestic flights and generally excluding the competitive transcontinental flights, where airlines still make a half-hearted attempt to put the "first" into first class.
Student, 21, and her boyfriend, 23, are 'banned from an Air Asia flight from the Philippines' and left stranded at the airport over her severe nut allergy
In the future, only the rich will be able to escape the unbearable heat from climate change. In Iraq, it’s already happening
At a time when European countries are enduring some of the highest temperatures ever recorded, and as extreme weather becomes more common, Baghdad offers a troubling glimpse into a future where only the wealthy are equipped to escape the effects of climate change.
You are not a brand
Say the term “personal brand.” Go ahead, I dare you. It’s cringe-worthy, right? I feel dirty just typing it.
That’s normal. Being a “brand” is sort of a gross concept, best reserved for commodities, cattle, and corporations—not people.
Humans aren’t hashtags. We’re complicated and nuanced. We have personal and professional lives. We’re moms and dads, partners and children, professionals, friends, and all the other stuff, too. We have different but authentic features of our personalities that we share on a day-by-day basis. Our quirks and flaws are part of that package.
That’s complicated in the age of social media. Not standing out carries serious risks when it comes to our professional lives, particularly if (like me) you’re part of generation X. How do you communicate you’re “all that and a bag of chips” without coming off like a poseur?
Why wealthy parents who bankroll their adult children are hurting them
For some wealthy parents, the pressure to extend their social and financial status to their adult children can be overwhelming.
The recent college admission scandal revealed shocking things parents were willing to do to secure spots at top schools. But those same motivations drive some parents to bankroll their kids' lives into early adulthood, often to the detriment of the family.
"How many times have we seen in wealthy families where the breadwinner is so inundated with making a living and providing for a family, that love, intimacy and closeness are shown through financial means," says Dr. Alex Melkumian, a psychologist and financial therapist.
Support that keeps a young person living above their means can undermine their independence and create deep insecurities.
Who hears your Siri recordings? Report says contractors could be listening
Voice assistants like Apple’s Siri record your voice once the service is activated and sometimes mistakenly capture personal moments. The Guardian newspaper reports that sometimes human contractors listen to these recordings when computers can’t decipher them. An Apple spokesperson tells NBC News that a “small portion” of Siri requests are analyzed to improve the service.
Cory Booker: A handful of companies make most of our food. We need to end big food mergers
We must restore competition to the marketplace so our farmers and ranchers can once again have the opportunity to share in the prosperity that open, transparent and fair markets provide. And that means that Congress must pass comprehensive legislation ensuring our antitrust laws are tailored to today's markets, and federal agencies must once again aggressively enforce our existing antitrust laws.