Supermarket cat holds ‘book signing’

Image copyright Book Guild
Image caption Garfield, now 12, has been visiting the supermarket since 2012

A cat that gained 5,000 Facebook followers after making a supermarket his second home has been “signing” copies of a book about his adventures.

Ginger tom Garfield took a liking to Sainsbury’s in Ely, Cambridgeshire, after the store was built on his old stomping ground.

The co-author Cate Caruth said copies of the book – What’s THAT doing There? – sold out in half an hour.

Garfield “signed” his book in Ely Library with a paw-print stamp.

It was modelled on his real paw.

Garfield, now 12, first started visiting the store after it was built in 2012 on a meadow opposite the flat where he lives with owner David Willers.

Image copyright Tali Iserles
Image caption Garfield was “banned” from using the escalator to get to the rest of the supermarket

His favourite spot was a sofa in the Virgin travel shop in Sainsbury’s lobby, and he often tries to get into people’s cars outside the store.

Fans of the cat posted photos of him at the supermarket and at one point his owner had to ask people to stop feeding him as he was becoming fat.

A Facebook page set up with photos of the cat in the supermarket has a following of more than 5,500 fans from places as far away as the United States, Canada, Australia and Russia.

Image copyright Ginny Phillips
Image caption A second print-run had to be done after the book sold out “within hours”, owner David Willers said

A book of his adventures and misadventures has now been written by Mr Willers with Suffolk author Cate Caruth.

The title – What’s THAT Doing There – refers to Garfield’s reaction when a fence was erected across his favourite meadow ahead of the supermarket being built.

Image copyright Ginny Phillips
Image caption Garfield was not happy when a shop was built on his favourite stomping ground
Image copyright Ginny Phillips
Image caption The book fictionalises a number of the cat’s adventures in the store
Image copyright Cate Caruth
Image caption A paw-print stamp was made for the book signing

The book tells how Garfield was once banned from the store for scratching a customer who became a little too familiar – and many of his other adventures.

In the book he is called Garfield Abercrombie Reginald Fergusson, but as that was “far too much like hard work… everyone just called him Garfy”.

“It is a little familiar of people,” Garfy would always think, “but I suppose I can live with it,” he says in the first chapter.

Image copyright Cate Caruth#
Image caption Garfield took the book signing in “his stride” said co-author Cate Caruth
Image copyright Cate Caruth
Image caption Garfield was very relaxed during the book signing and “lapped up” the attention

Speaking after the book signing on Saturday, author Ms Caruth said it was a “big hit.”

“Garfield took it all in his stride, posing for photos with his fans and inspecting the library services with great care.

“It was non-stop for two hours and we sold out of books in half an hour” she said.

Image copyright David Willers
Image caption Garfield’s proud owner has had a tattoo of his cat on his leg

Related Topics

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-47567853

30 Hilarious Comics With A Clever Twist By Tango Gao (New Pics)

A couple of years ago, we shared a publication with you about a talented Chinese artist Tango Gao (also known as Shanghai Tango) who creates thought-provoking yet still light and fun illustrations without using words. 

If you fancy visual and intellectual humor, you don’t need to look anywhere further because you are up for a treat! Tango, whose real name is Gao Youjun, did not stop creating witty illustrations since the last time we wrote about them here on Bored Panda. No, Tango is back with a sequel to his art which is both simple and minimalistic, yet profound in the message it sends.

Tango began creating these illustrations back in 2010 when prompted by a friend, he decided to develop a habit of drawing daily (that’s an excellent habit to pick up). Now, he delights his 108,000 followers on Instagram with light-hearted and sometimes challenging illustrations on daily basis.

Scroll down the page and see for yourself!

#1

Pets are always there for us, especially when it comes to putting smiles on our faces.

#2

You can become whatever you want in life.

#3

“Excuse me, may I see your baby?”

#4

#5

New Year’s resolution for 2019: let’s ditch the bra.

#6

Possibly, a new idea for a SnapChat filter?

#7

Up Next: The Secret Life Of Toiletries – Behind The Scenes.

#8

A love letter written in hundreds of heartbeats.

#9

#10

Mood rings are so last year. Meet mood mustache. Perfectly edible as well.

#11

That moment when someones tries to insult you, but you have achieved an excellent ability to deflect all things negative.

#12

#13

Despite the friendly smile that this polar bear wears, we would say the illustration definitely falls outside of the light-heartedness spectrum. Time’s ticking, what are your thoughts?

#14

#15

#16

#17

New Year’s resolution #584.

#18

Who knew that music played by accordion could be so tear-jerking?

#19

All that matters is perspective!

#20

No one wants to be the third wheel. Certainly not on Valentine’s day…

#21

#22

#23

This leaf will definitely go places.

#24

“Get a tattoo that means something to you” doesn’t quite have the same ring here…

#25

#26

One cigarette a day keeps the doctor away. Or how does that saying go?

#27

#28

“In the beginning, God created the sky and the land.”

#29

#30

Pareidolia: seeing faces in unusual places.

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/funny-comics-shanghai-tango-part-two/

What The Left Gets Wrong About Bernie Sanders And Elizabeth Warren

Socialism is having a big moment in America. After a surge in popularity during the financial crisis of 2008, the long-verboten political label at last lost its toxicity after Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential run and the election of democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in 2018. Among self-identified Democrats, socialism is now more popular than capitalism, reflecting a trend that has been evident among young voters for years.

Bankers and billionaires are, of course, desperate to reverse this political tide. Eyeing the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, the CEO of one giant bank recently told Politico that the party’s nominee “can’t be Warren and it can’t be Sanders.” To plutocrat Michael Bloomberg, Sanders is a “demagogue” preaching “unreason,” while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will transform the United States into a “non-capitalistic” system where “people are starving to death,” like “Venezuela.”

The rhetoric from the 0.01 percent is more than a little overheated. But for most people, Warren and Sanders hail from the same left flank of the Democratic Party ― both are supporters of enacting Medicare for all, breaking up the banks and dramatically increasing taxes on the very wealthy.

And yet in liberal and left-wing political discourse, the idea that Sanders and Warren are philosophical companions has become unfashionable. Jacobin, The New Republic, Splinter, BuzzFeed, The Week and The Guardian have all emphasized the supposedly critical ideological distinction between the two candidates: Sanders is an avowed socialist, while Warren wants to reform capitalism.

“As soon as the next president takes office, they will likely face intense pressure from powerful interests, especially big business,” writes Zaid Jilani. “The choice between Warren and Sanders may very well determine if that president confronts those interests with careful reasoning and principled advocacy or the force of a mass movement.”

“The two senators disagree over the best method to give the working classes a leg up,” according to David Dayen. “You can restructure markets so everyone benefits, or you can break down the market system, either eliminating the profit motive or giving everybody a public option.” For Jacobin founder Bhaskar Sunkara, Warren aims at “seeking to construct better policy but not an alternative politics,” rejecting “the class-struggle, worker-centric approach of Sanders.”

For once, the big-brain intellectuals have it wrong, and the delusional, selfish plutocrats are right. Whatever Warren and Sanders say to establish their political brands, the two senators do in fact represent a very similar way of thinking about politics. That’s why billionaires hate them both.

It’s true: You won’t find any videos of Warren singing “This Land Is Your Land” with a bunch of shirtless Soviets in the 1980s. And Sanders never slogged through troves of household bankruptcy data looking for the most common sources of middle-class financial strain. There are real differences between the two candidates (technically Bernie hasn’t announced yet). But these are differences of temperament, style and strategy. Sanders and Warren, in fact, see the world in very similar ways.

The trouble for leftish intellectuals is a confusion over the terms “socialism” and “capitalism.” Both words are extremely flexible, and their meanings shift with political currents. In an American context, it has never been easy to distinguish between socialism and reformed capitalism ― and committed capitalists have denounced both with vigor. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was condemned as a socialist by congressional Republicans. In the 1940s, American conservatives viewed the social safety net in Britain and the Stalinist Soviet Union with almost equal alarm. By the 1950s, Herbert Hoover had concluded that the words “liberalism” and “socialism” really just meant the same thing.

So, yes, Bernie Sanders has long been a champion of labor movements, protest marches and democratic socialism, while Elizabeth Warren is an academic wonk who talks about restoring competition to markets and making capitalism more accountable. But when it comes to their most detailed policies to date, both support an array of trust-busting, tougher regulation, wealth redistribution, public options and, where appropriate, nationalization.

It depends on the problem they’re trying to solve. In practice, they end up supporting an awful lot of the same solutions. In addition to Medicare for all, breaking up the banks and taxing the rich, both Warren and Sanders are advocates of a federal job guarantee, postal banking and a bill making it easier for workers to unionize.  

All of these proposals transfer money and power from the super-rich to the not-rich. Take postal banking. About 32.6 million households rely on a check-cashing service, payday lender or other expensive, small-dollar financial bottom-feeder at least once a year, according to the FDIC. On average, these households earn about $25,500 a year and spend nearly 10 percent of their income ― $2,412 ― on these sketchy financial products. That’s over $82 billion going from hard-up homes to predators every year. You can deal with payday lenders a lot of different ways: ban them, regulate them or, the preferred tack of Warren and Sanders, have the government make them obsolete. If every household can get a low-fee bank account with the Post Office, they won’t have to turn to legalized loan sharking to get by. That’s bad news for payday loan executives, like ACE Cash Express CEO Jay Shipowitz, who made almost $4.5 million in 2004 alone. Is postal banking socialism or reformed capitalism? Yes.

In America today, the super-rich not only control an outrageous share of the national wealth, they also exercise a degree of political power incompatible with basic democratic principles. The choice for Democrats in 2020 is not really about policy minutia ― it’s about power ― who has it, and who doesn’t. And both Sanders and Warren have proved they are willing to confront the powerful and attack their sources of power. We can call this socialism, New Deal liberalism or Jeffersonian democracy ― whatever the label, it’s a critical ideological test for anyone who wants to be the next president of the United States.

Running for re-election in 1936, FDR noted that the “economic royalists” of “business and financial monopoly, speculation” and “reckless banking” all counted themselves among his political “enemies.”

“Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today,” Roosevelt said. “They are unanimous in their hate for me ― and I welcome their hatred.”

For today’s Democrats, that’s the ticket.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-elizabeth-warren-left-wing-democrats_us_5c522b53e4b0ca92c6dd0ce6

‘Too few’ poor white university students

Image copyright PA

More than half of England’s universities have fewer than 5% of poor white students on their books, says an analysis of university entry figures.

The report, from the National Education Opportunities Network (Neon), shows white students from deprived areas in low numbers in many top universities.

There are 3% at the University of Oxford, compared with 28% at Teesside.

The study says too few universities have clear targets to recruit white working-class students.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has previously warned of the risk of communities feeling “left behind”.

The study, from an organisation promoting wider access into higher education, calls for a “national initiative” to tackle the educational underachievement of disadvantaged white youngsters across schools, colleges and universities.

The university figures show the problem in recruiting white students from poorer backgrounds – and how many universities have very low proportions of them.

It warns that fewer than a fifth of universities have targets for admitting more poor white students – and that there are only “variable” efforts to improve participation.

Even if a target of 5% of poor white students were to be set across universities, it would mean another 10,000 students going to university, says the research.

Missing out

The study looks at white students from so-called “low-participation neighbourhoods” – areas where few people usually go to university.

In total numbers, white students, of all social backgrounds, are the biggest group going to university, show figures from the Ucas admissions service.

But in terms of a proportion of the population, white youngsters are less likely to go to university than Asian or black teenagers.

The latest application figures, for courses in the autumn, show that applications from white students are declining, while they are increasing for Asian and black youngsters.

Cutting across this is a widening gender divide – with women much more likely than men to apply to university.

When these factors combine, it means that white, working-class men become among the most under-represented groups in university.

The study says projects to widen entry into university might need to be “redefined”.

Wide divide

The report shows a starkly divided picture in where poor white students are likely to attend.

They are particularly likely to take higher education courses in local further education colleges.

Among those going to university, 70% go to new universities, with low numbers going to some high-ranking institutions.

Image copyright Getty Images

Cambridge has 2%, Warwick and Bristol 3%, Durham 4%.

At University of Sunderland, 27% of acceptances are from white students from deprived areas and the figure is 22% in Staffordshire University.

The numbers are particularly low in London universities – many of them 1% or 2%.

But these figures might be affected by the high overall levels of young people in London going to university – much higher than elsewhere in England.

‘Left behind’

Because of such high entry rates, even from deprived youngsters, there are relatively few “low-participation neighbourhoods” in London, or young people who would fall into this category.

The high cost of living in London could also deter some poorer students from elsewhere from coming to study in the capital.

Graeme Atherton, report co-author and director of Neon, warned of “big variability” in the chances of different groups to get to university.

“We need to know more about why this variability exists and do more to eliminate it,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Universities UK said that universities were “committed to widening access to higher education and ensuring the success of all their students, regardless of their background”.

The spokeswoman for the universities’ organisation said that “18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged areas in England are more likely to go to university than ever before” – and that this could be further helped if the government restored “maintenance grants for those most in need”.

Mr Hinds has highlighted the importance of supporting education in communities that might feel “left behind”.

In a speech in the autumn, Mr Hinds said: “White British disadvantaged boys are the least likely of any large ethnic group to go to university.

“We need to ask ourselves why that is and challenge government, universities and the wider system to change that.

“It’s vital that we do this to make sure that no part of our country feels as though it has been left behind.”

Related Topics

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-47227157

Fetishizing books is not the same thing as loving reading

Disclosed book on a table. Close-up.
Image: Getty Images

If you follow a lot of people who watch a lot of Netflix, then you’ve probably spent a lot of 2019 so far watching them argue about books. Specifically, about Tidying Up with Marie Kondo‘s approach to books.

“Keep your tidy, spark-joy hands off my book piles, Marie Kondo,” gasped The Washington Post. “Marie Kondo, back off! Why this book hoarder refuses to tidy up,” declared Cnet. On Twitter, some bibliophiles expressed shock and horror, while others reacted to that shock and horror with snark and bemusement

Kondo’s method for books is exactly the same as her method for pretty much anything else you might find in a home, like clothing, sporting goods, or kitchen gadgets. Yet it’s only the books that have provoked this level of disgust, and that’s because a lot of people have no chill when it comes to what other people might be doing with their books. 

Though this particular Kon-troversy is new, it’s really just the latest in a long series of book-related outrages over the years. 

Last year’s was the collective hand-wringing over backwards bookshelves. Before that was the outrage over books getting cut up for crafts. There’s been huffing over shelves curated by color and selfies over piles of open books, and disagreements over whether a large stack of unread books is cause for pride or shame

What all of these scandalous actions have in common is that they don’t actually affect anyone at all but the person making them. Instagram influencers aren’t sneaking into your home to rearrange your shelves, and Kondo isn’t signing legislation to outlaw large book collections. (She actually encourages you to keep your books if the thought of discarding them makes you mad.)

Why, then, do some bibliophiles get ranty at photos of spine-in books, or see red when a Kondo client throws another novel in his discard pile?

For many, it has to do with what books represent. Books don’t exist solely to spark joy! Books are objects of wonder, and souvenirs of our personal journeys! Our collections reflect our tastes and our personalities, and express them to any curious visitors who might come looking. They’re not mere decorative pieces or functional tools, and only a non-reader would treat them as such.

Books may mean a lot to some readers, but they don’t mean the same thing to all readers.

Or maybe they would. 

Books may mean a lot to some readers, but they don’t mean the same thing to all readers. A skimpy shelf could mean someone hates books, or simply that they prefer ebooks and libraries. An overstuffed one might be just as self-consciously curated as a streamlined one. Those spine-in volumes could belong to someone who loves reading and favors a minimalist aesthetic.

There’s a difference between loving reading and fetishizing books. While there’s nothing wrong with the latter, it’s worth acknowledging the difference — if only so we can collectively stop flying into a blind rage whenever some Facebook rando shares a photo of the secret book safe they just DIYed. 

There are exceptions and caveats, of course. Books that are rare or very old should probably be saved and preserved. Newer books could probably be donated or recycled, rather than trashed, for the sake of the environment. It also goes without saying that I’m talking here about personal collections; it’s obviously a much bigger problem if the government starts burning books, or a public library reorders them all by color just for the ‘gram. 

As a general rule, though? Mind your own books, and let other people mind theirs. 

If you can’t wait to KonMari some boring books out of your life, have fun tidying up. If you’d rather die by a billion paper cuts than let go of even one single volume, hold on to them for as long as you’d like. If you’d like to stock up on vintage volumes you won’t read to make yourself look smarter, or if you love judging people by their book collections — honestly, knock yourself out. 

Whatever you decide to do, though, remember that it’s not the bound stacks of printed paper that matter. It’s what they do, what’s inside them, and what they mean to you that does. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to cut everyone else a break for whatever they’re doing with their own piles of paper. 

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/books-marie-kondo/

Disney reaches out to terminally ill Avengers fan

It’s a sad, sad day for fans of the “world’s cutest dog.”

On Friday, the owners of Boo the Pomeranian announced on social media that Boo died in his sleep at the age of 12. The precious and beloved pup has hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook and Instagram, and several books written about him.

Though Boo’s humans are “heartbroken,” they explained they’re hopeful that Boo will soon be reunited with his best friend Buddy, who died in Sept. 2017.

“I brought Boo home in the spring of 2006 and so started the greatest, most heartwarming friendship of all time. Shortly after Buddy died, Boo showed signs of heart issues. We think his heart literally broke when Buddy left us. He hung on and gave us over a year. But it looks like it was his time, and I’m sure it was a most joyous moment for them when they saw each other in heaven.”

“We find comfort knowing that he is no longer in any pain or discomfort. We know that Buddy was the first to greet him on the other side of that rainbow bridge, and this is likely the most excited either of them have been in a long time,” Boo’s owners explained.

After the news broke, Boo’s many fans mourned his death online and offered love and gratitude to his family for sharing his journey.

“Since starting Boo’s FB page, I’ve received so many notes over the years from people sharing stories of how Boo brightened their days and helped bring a little light to their lives during difficult times.  And that was really the purpose of all this,” Boo’s owner went on.

“Boo brought joy to people all over the world. Boo is the happiest dog I’ve ever met. He was so easy going that we never had to bother with training. He made the manliest of men squeal with delight over his cuteness and made everyone laugh with his quirky, tail wagging personality.”

Boo’s humans then proceeded to thank all of the loving fans, doctors, therapists, and animals hospital staff members that both Boo and Buddy encountered over the past 10 years.

Rest in peace, Boo. You will be missed.

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/boo-internet-pomeranian-dies-from-broken-heart/

The 2020 Cadillac XT6 is the brand’s next big thing

(Cadillac)

Cadillac is filling a big hole in its lineup with its first large crossover SUV.

The XT6 will slot between the XT5 and Escalade when it goes on sale later this year, giving Caddy a direct challenger to vehicles like the Acura MDX, Infiniti Q60, Lincoln Aviator and Audi Q7.

It’s part of the automaker’s shift away from cars towards utilities, and will essentially replace the CT6 and XTS full-size sedans in showrooms.

(Cadillac)

Related to the Chevrolet Traverse, the three-row XT6 is powered by a 310 hp 3.6-liter V6 engine matched to a 9-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel-drive. General Motors recently announced plans to put Cadillac on the forefront of its electric vehicle strategy, but the XT6 won’t be the model leading the charge.

(Cadillac)

The XT6 debuts a new look for Cadillac, with slim horizontal headlights that are reminiscent of the Escala concept of 2016. A long list of standard and optional electronic driver aids that includes an infrared night vision camera, fully-automatic parking and an adaptive cruise control system with stop and go capability.

(Cadillac)

It also gets the latest version of Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system, which pairs a touchscreen with a knob controller that can be jogged around like a joystick for added functionality. Power folding third-row seating is standard and each row gets two USB ports.

With the XT6 and the recent introduction of the compact XT4, Cadillac is doubling the number of its utility offerings in showrooms.

Pricing will be announced closer to when the order books open this spring, but its competitive starts in the $45,000 to $50,000 range.

Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/auto/the-2020-cadillac-xt6-is-the-brands-next-big-thing

This 11-year-old U.S. citizen has been separated from her asylum-seeking mom for 222 days.

11-year-old Yeisvi Carrillo, an American citizen, has been in foster care for more than 220 days after being forcibly separated from her mother at the border.

Vilma Carrillo and her husband were living in Georgia in 2006 when Vilma gave birth to their daughter, Yeisvi. They lived there for about a year as undocumented farm workers in onion fields and warehouses before returning to their home country of Guatemala to care for Carrillo’s ailing mother in 2007.

A few years later, Carrillo’s husband grew violent. Carrillo was brutally abused, burned and beaten with increasing intensity, to the point that Yeisvi worried that her dad might kill her mom. That’s when Carrillo decided to return to the U.S. with her daughter and seek asylum.

In an interview with Upworthy, Shana Tabak, Executive Director of the Tahirih Justice Center in Atlanta, the legal non-profit who is representing Carrillo in immigration court, describes Carrillo’s abuse as “severe.” “Her four front teeth were punched out by her abuser,” Tabak says. “She was pulled by her hair, naked, wearing her underwear. Years of this. She finally decided that she feared too much for her life to stay.”

In May, Vilma and Yeisvi crossed the border in Arizona and requested asylum. That’s when they were forcibly separated.

Within 15 minutes of being held, border officials recognized that the 11-year-old Yeisvi was a U.S. citizen. They called in officials from the state of Arizona and told them that they couldn’t detain the girl because of her citizen status.

“They had Vilma sign papers relinquishing her custody of her daughter for 90 days,” says Tabak.  “Vilma did not understand what she was signing because she does not read or write in any language. She’s an indigenous Mam speaker, who at the time spoke very little Spanish and no English.”

Then her daughter was torn from her, Tabak says. “She was crying and screaming so much that Vilma fainted and lost consciousness, and when she woke up her daughter was gone.” Yeisvi was put into foster care and Vilma was transferred to Irwin Detention Center in Atlanta.

It’s now been more than six months since the mother and daughter have seen one another.

In a cruel twist, Carrillo was flown to Texas for reunification in July, when the government was required to reunite separated families. Then she was told, “No, not you.”

As if being separated from your child by half a continent isn’t painful enough, Carrillo briefly thought that she and Yeisvi were going to be reunited when a judge ruled that families who had been subject to the government’s policy of detaining children separately from their parents must be reunited by July 26, 2018.

“In advance of the July deadline the authorities thought that she was qualified for reunification,” says Tabak. “So she and nine of her friends here from the Irwin Detention Center were taken to Texas to be reunited with their daughters. One by one, she watched them all be reunified. She kept asking, ‘What about me? What about my daughter?’ and they said, ‘No, not you,’ and then they sent her back here.”

Carrillo went to court without an attorney, without an interpreter who could understand her, and without the asylum documents that had been prepared for her by an attorney. Those documents were in a backpack when she was transferred back to Georgia from Texas, and she wasn’t allowed access to that backpack in time for her hearing. She said, on the record, “I don’t understand what’s happening and I don’t have my documents,” but the judge denied her asylum petition. That denial has been appealed by Tahirih Justice Center lawyers.

Carrillo’s lawyers also submitted a request for humanitarian parole for her so she could be released and reunited with her daughter, says Tabak. But the ICE director in the Atlanta field office refused.

Tabak explains that the federal government has the discretion to release her during the appeals process; they’re simply choosing not to.

“Vilma has no criminal history, so she is not subject to mandatory detention. So under the law, Vilma is being held at the discretion of the federal government. That’s why we submitted a request for humanitarian parole. That’s why we applied for bond. Because these are decision points where the federal government, if it were doing its job properly, would evaluate the evidence and make a decision as to whether or not she should stay, and provide an individualized determination of—if they decided to hold her—why they will hold her. But in this case, we are getting no explanation as to why they are holding her. They’re just holding her.”

Carrillo’s lawyers have filed a habeas petition challenging the constitutionality of her detention.

Carrillo could be deported and her daughter could be made to stay in the U.S., basically forcing permanent family separation on both an asylum-seeking mother and an American citizen.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration adopted a new policy that says domestic violence generally can’t be used as grounds for asylum, which makes Carrillo’s case harder to appeal. She’s also in Atlanta, Georgia, which Tabak says is the worst place in the United States to be an undocumented immigrant.

“It’s known as an ‘asylum free’ zone,” Tabak says. “Across the country, any immigrant who finds themselves in court and applies for asylum has about a 43% chance of getting asylum. In Atlanta, they have a 2% chance. So this is a terrible place to be applying for asylum.”

Ironically, although the domestic violence Carrillo and her daughter fled from isn’t eligible grounds for asylum, that same violence could result in the unthinkable—a permanent separation in which Carrillo could lose custody of her daughter. The courts could potentially decide that it’s too unsafe to send Yeisvi—an American citizen—back to Guatemala, meaning she would have to stay in the U.S. in foster care.

There are many possible outcomes to this case. The state of Arizona, where Yeisvi is living, must do what’s in the best interest of the child, but there’s no way for Yeisvi to legally stay with her mother while she’s in detention. As of now, Carrillo is in jeopardy of losing her parental rights completely, solely because ICE is choosing to keep her detained.

Temporary separation following domestic violence and a harrowing journey is traumatic enough. Taking an 11-year-old’s mother away from her permanently when she’s already been through so much would be outright cruel.

Carrillo’s story is gaining national attention and prompting celebrity advocacy.

Penn Badgley, an actor and musician best known for his roles on CW’s “Gossip Girl” and the Lifetime-turned-Netflix show “You,” has taken an active role in Tahirih Justice Center’s advocacy work. He accompanied Tabak on a visit to Carrillo at the Irwin Detention Center on December 14.

“I expressly do not believe that every problem is made better by adding a celebrity,” Badgley told Upworthy in an interview. He does, however, believe we all need to use our voices to speak up for justice and to elevate the voices of those who are being harmed by our laws and policies. He says:

“There are a lot of really hard-working and intelligent people who are hitting the books to figure out, okay, where is the legal justification for this treatment of other human beings? They’re seeking asylum. It stands to be repeated, that is not a crime. If anything, they’re victims of crime before they come here. They’re seeking safety. They’re seeking refuge. These are fundamental principles this country is supposed to have been founded on…Our country claims to be a beacon of hope and light and justice in the world, and yet we have many stains on our historical record. These are deep, blood-red stains. If we want to be Americans, which ones do we want to be?”

Badgley says that instead of devolving into talking points, there are some fundamental questions that we as Americans need to be asking ourselves:

“What do these borders mean? What do they mean if they inflict criminal abuse upon people fleeing criminal abuse? If reaching our borders is bringing the same kind of harm or abuse to human beings fleeing abuse, what are we doing? What do these borders mean? What are we trying to protect? If we’re trying to protect our integrity as a nation, we actually might be doing a great job of undermining our integrity.”

Badgley has used his social media accounts to help advocate for Vilma Carrillo and her daughter, sharing a petition to tell ICE to release Carrillo and reunite her with Yeisvi.

Carrillo’s story is unique, but it highlights problematic policies and attitudes toward immigration and asylum.

Tabak says she’s seen a shift during her career in immigration and human rights law, which has resulted in some unprecedented actions on behalf of the U.S. government.

“The federal government has been trying to erect a border wall to prevent people from seeking the asylum that they are entitled to under the law,” says Tabak. “Short of getting the permission from Congress to erect a physical wall, the government is doing everything it can to erect a legal wall for clients who are trying to access protection under the law.”

Tabak also points out some of the issues that make the asylum process harder for people like Vilma Carrillo:

“The issues that we’ve seen for a long time in Georgia are the issues that are now relevant across the country. We’re seeing failures of due process, like in Vilma’s case. We’re seeing judges with pronounced and overt bias against our clients. We’re seeing disregard for expert testimony on mental health and trauma. And those are phenomena that have existed in the Atlanta courts for many many years and currently we’re seeing that spread across the country. In addition, I think that some of the choices that the current federal government has taken are simply unprecedented. The choice to separate parents from children as a deterrent, it was contemplated under previous governments, but it was never carried out. That simply is unprecedented. It is in clear violation of international law.”

Advocates for Carrillo hope to get a hearing to reunite Vilma and Yeisvi by Yeisvi’s 12th birthday on December 20. Here are ways everyone can help:

Join those calling for Vilma and Yeisvi’s reunification by signing and sharing this Change.org petition. Make a donation to support the work of Tahirih Justice Center or other non-profits that help represent immigrant families in court. And finally, use your civic voice to remind the U.S. government that asylum is a legal human right and that #familiesbelongtogether.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/this-11-year-old-u-s-citizen-has-been-separated-from-her-asylum-seeking-mom-for-222-days

All The Laws You Should Know About That Go Into Effect In 2019

2019 will see the enactment of a slew of new laws across the country (in California alone, more than 1,000 will be added to the books). In some states, minimum wages will go up, guns will be harder to obtain, plastic straws will get the boot and hunters will get to wear pink for a change.

Here are some of the noteworthy laws going into effect this year:

Tighter gun restrictions in several states

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last February, thousands of protesters across the nation demanded stricter gun control measures.

In the wake of the shooting massacre at a Parkland, Florida, high school last year, California passed several measures to prevent domestic abusers and people with mental illness from obtaining guns. Californians who are involuntarily committed to a mental institution twice in a year, or who are convicted of certain domestic violence offenses, could face a lifetime gun ownership ban.

Under an expanded Oregon law that went into effect on Jan. 1, domestic abuse offenders or people under restraining orders are banned from owning or purchasing a gun. In Illinois, authorities now have the right to seize firearms from people determined to be a danger to themselves or others. A similar “red flag” law will go into effect in New Jersey later this year.  

At least six states — California, Washington, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois and Vermont — and the District of Columbia are raising the minimum age from 18 to 21 for the purchase of long guns this year, CNBC reported.

Washington state will also be enforcing several other gun control measures, including enhanced background checks, secure gun storage laws and a requirement for gun purchasers to provide proof they’ve undergone firearm safety training.

New ‘Me Too’ laws

AP
In 2018, the Me Too movement spurred many people to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse — and prompted several states to pass new laws targeting sexual violence.

Several states are taking aim at workplace sexual harassment. California has banned nondisclosure provisions in settlements involving claims of sexual assault, harassment or discrimination based on sex. California employers will also no longer be allowed to compel workers to sign nondisparagement agreements as a condition of employment or in exchange for a raise or bonus.

By the end of 2019, publicly held corporations in the Golden State will also need to have at least one woman on their board of directors. Depending on the size of the board, corporations will need to increase that number to at least two or three female board members by the end of 2021.

In New York, all employees will be required to complete annual sexual harassment prevention training. Larger businesses in Delaware will have to provide such training to their workers, and legislators and their staff in Virginia will need to undergo such training every year.

Minimum wages get a boost 

Though the federal minimum wage has languished at $7.25 since 2009, at least 19 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Washington, will be raising their minimum wages this year. Each will boost its minimum wage to at least $12. Some cities like New York, Seattle and Palo Alto, California, will see their wage floors increase to $15.

So long straws and stirrers!

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Under a new California law, restaurant customers will have to explicitly ask for a plastic straw if they want to use one.

As public awareness mounts of the hazards of plastic waste pollution, cities and states around the country have been targeting a major source of the problem: single-use plastic products like straws and food containers.

A new law in New York City bars restaurants, stores and manufacturers from using most foam products, including takeout containers, cups and packing peanuts.

Eateries in the District of Columbia are now prohibited from giving out single-use plastic straws and stirrers. In California, restaurant patrons will need to ask explicitly for a plastic straw if they want to use one. Restaurants can be fined $25 a day for serving beverages with plastic straws that aren’t requested by customers.

Former felons in Florida can head to the voting booth

ASSOCIATED PRESS
In November, Florida voted to approve a ballot measure that enabled more than 1 million former felons to regain their voting rights.

On Jan. 8, Florida will restore the voting rights of all former felons except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense. Some 1.4 million possible voters will be added to the rolls — an addition that could have a significant effect on elections in the swing state.

Utah implements strictest DUI law in the country

Utah has lowered its blood alcohol content standard for drunk driving to 0.05 percent — the lowest limit in the country.

Under the new law, a driver who exceeds that limit and causes the death of another person will be charged with criminal homicide, a felony offense.

As CNN notes, all other U.S. states have a blood alcohol concentration limit of 0.08 percent for noncommercial drivers. Since at least 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board has been pushing to lower the limit to 0.05 nationwide. 

Pets to get more rights in California

Pets in California will no longer be treated by courts as physical property in divorce cases. Instead, judges can decide who gets custody of the family pet.

Under a separate California law, pet stores will no longer be allowed to sell cats, dogs or rabbits that aren’t from animal shelters or nonprofit rescue groups. That law, which took effect on Jan. 1, also requires that store owners maintain proper documentation of the backgrounds of the dogs, cats and rabbits they sell.

Hawaii legalizes physician-assisted suicide

Hawaii’s new law allowing physician-assisted suicide took effect on Tuesday.

Tobacco targeted in several states

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Some states and cities are taking aim at tobacco products this year.

Smoking will be banned at all New Jersey public beaches and parks starting in July.

In New York City, a new ordinance bans pharmacies from selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. And Massachusetts has raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Nonbinary people can list their gender as ‘X’ in NYC

People who identify as neither male nor female can now list their gender as “X” on birth certificates in New York City.

New Jersey requires all residents to have health insurance

A health insurance law in New Jersey that came into effect on Jan. 1 requires residents to maintain coverage or pay a penalty. It’s the second state in the country, after Massachusetts, to enact an individual health insurance mandate.

Vermont is paying remote workers to move there

In an effort to promote economic growth, Vermont has offered to pay some remote workers to relocate to the state.

Qualified applicants can each apply for up to $10,000 in funding. The state has earmarked $500,000 for the initiative, The Associated Press reported.

Hunters in Illinois can wear pink if they want to

Not into the usual “blaze orange”? Hunters in Illinois can now wear equally eye-catching “blaze pink” under a new law.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) said the new shade could be even more effective in helping hunters stand out.

“[In the fall] we’re hunting in trees and in some fields, there are orange leaves. There is orange in the background, so it’s not always easy to see orange,” Rauner said, according to the Illinois News Network. “So we’re adding blaze pink to be one of the colors.”

Ohio kids will soon be required to learn cursive

In an age of text messaging and email, Ohio is attempting to keep the handwriting tradition of cursive alive. A new state law will require students to be able to write in cursive by the end of fifth grade. 

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/new-laws-2019-us_us_5c2c195fe4b0407e9085d41f