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

Dear Parents Everywhere Screw Princess Culture Once And For All

http://bit.ly/2KEoaNB
Cataloged in Family / Parenthood

Dear Parents Everywhere — Screw Princess Culture Once And For All

The following is an essay that explains my motivation for writing the children’s book You Are Not A Princess (And That’s OK!).

The moment I learned I was pregnant, I grew excited to read to my unborn child. Books mean a lot to me, and I was eager to share my favorite narratives with my kid. To re-experience the joys of a story through the eyes and ears of a fresh human specimen—what a delight!

But something deeply disturbing happened as I sorted through old copies of the children’s books my parents had tucked away for so many years, hoping for grandkids. I realized quite quickly that a lot of books for kids are riddled with not-so-subtly sexist messages.

Let’s face it: Amelia Bedelia is a well-meaning idiot. And the gender norms baked into the Frances books and so many others are strikingly outdated. In one study published by the journal Gender & Society, 6,000 children’s books released between 1900 and 2000 were evaluated. Researchers found that male central characters were almost twice as likely to be featured as female ones, an imbalance that exists whether the characters are human or animal. 

As a new mom, I crave better, more equitable stories for my daughter, and I know I’m not alone. I have friends who regularly change the words while reading books aloud to their children, haphazardly censoring the sexism as they go.

Saskia Wariner

Last week, I had lunch with a girlfriend whose 12-year-old niece recently asked her to watch The Little Mermaid. My friend sat in discomfort as she digested what unfolded on screen: “A prince falling for a woman who literally has no voice!”  she wondered. In the midst of the #metoo movement, the issue of consent at the heart of Sleepy Beauty’s “awakening” by a prince has also come into focus.

And the list goes on.

The fact is that many beloved classic children’s books and films are highly problematic, or at the very least, no longer relevant.

While Disney executives struggle to find the right balance in modernizing classic princess characters to salvage longtime profitable franchises, I say screw princesses altogether. Screw princess culture and the toxic lessons it teaches our sons and daughters. Screw the lazy damsel-in-distress plotlines underlying so many “romantic” narratives from decades past.

What is a princess, exactly? Someone entitled, by birthright or marriage, to a tiara and a relatively easy, glamorous life. No matter how many layers you add to her personality or trials you throw her way, a princess is still, effectively, a super-privileged girl by way of birth or nuptials. By romanticizing the life of princesses, we teach young girls to aspire to something unattainable (unless you’re Meghan Markle, I guess), and, well, silly. It’s like teaching your kid economics by encouraging them to play the lottery.

Becoming a princess doesn’t involve developing valuable skills, or figuring out how to live a life of purpose. Of course, neither does becoming a unicorn. But unicorns are vehicles of imagination that lack any real world ties whatsoever.

The solution? I don’t know! 

But, I figure, we might as well start by writing some updated stories to read to our kids, thereby providing them some better role models.

Saskia Wariner

In a frenzy of inspiration during pregnancy, I wrote my debut children’s book: You Are Not A Princess (And That’s Ok!), which is now available for pre-order. This book is a manifesto for modern moms and dads and their kids. It’s about the importance of understanding the difference between dreaming, and reality. It’s about developing a sense of self-worth rooted in your authentic desires. It’s about grit.

Above all, You Are Not A Princess (And That’s Ok!) is about rejecting the limitations of being a princess. I truly hope your family enjoys it, and the progressive message it reflects. If we want to raise our girls and boys to be more evolved, we need more modern books for babies and kids.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/melanie-berliet/2018/11/dear-parents-everywhere-screw-princess-culture

50 years ago, Douglas Engelbart’s Mother of All Demos changed personal computing forever

Douglas Engelbart's famous 1968 "Mother of All Demos" was recreated by Mikel Rouse in March 2015, who performed in a musical rendition of the Demo at Stanford University.
Image: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Imagine someone demonstrating a jet plane 15 years before Kitty Hawk. Imagine someone demonstrating a smartphone 15 years before the first cellular networks were even launched. Imagine someone demonstrating a controlled nuclear chain reaction 15 years before Einstein formulated e=mc2.

On a crisp, overcast, and breezy Monday afternoon in San Francisco on December 9, 1968, before an SRO audience of more than 2,000 slack-jawed computer engineers, a soft-spoken engineer named Douglas Engelbart held the first public demonstration of word processing, point-and-clicking, dragging-and-dropping, hypermedia and hyperlinking, cross-file editing, idea/outline processing, collaborative groupware, text messaging, onscreen real-time video teleconferencing, and a weird little device dubbed a “mouse” — the essentials of a graphical user interface (GUI) 15 years before the first personal computers went on sale.

But the presentation was more than seemingly disparate demonstrations of experimental computer operations. What Engelbart and his team had created from scratch was a holistic system designed to extend human communications capabilities, tools to augment human intellect — hence the presentation’s official prosaic academic title, “A Research Center for Augmenting Human Intellect.” Engelbart’s presentation would later be more appropriately dubbed “The Mother of All Demos.” 

What made Engelbart’s rather dry (in retrospect) presentation so jaw-dropping and vastly influential was that in 1968, computers were industrial and room-sized, could be operated by just one user at a time, were used primarily for number-crunching à la Hidden Figures, generally didn’t include CRT displays, and were rarely seen in the real world. The unified and collaborative concepts and functions Engelbart calmly demonstrated seemed as futuristic as Star Trek (at the time in the midst of its first run on NBC), except he and his team had brought them to real life. Computer scientist Alan Kay, who defied a case of the flu to fly in from L.A. to attend, said the Demo was “like Moses parting the Red Sea.”

The Demo wasn’t just a momentary flash of brilliance. It is the Magna Carta, the Rosetta Stone, the Declaration of Independence of personal computing.

The Demo wasn’t just a momentary flash of brilliance. It is the Magna Carta, the Rosetta Stone, the Declaration of Independence of personal computing. It has inspired, ignited, and influenced the development of every piece of personal-computing software and hardware since. The overarching philosophical functionality of everything we do on a PC, tablet, or smartphone dates back to Engelbart and the Demo.

This Sunday, the Demo’s 50th anniversary, Engelbart’s daughter Christina will lead a day-long TheDEMO@50, the Engelbart Symposium at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, “exploring the past, present, and future of Engelbart’s profound legacy.” Presenters will include web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, internet pioneer Vint Cerf, along with other computer and internet luminaries, as well as original members of Engelbart’s team. Next Wednesday, December 12, at 6 p.m., there’ll be a Solving Today’s Great Problems? Lessons from Engelbart’s Demo @50 conference, also at the CHM. Both events will be live-streamed. There are also commemorative scheduled in England and Japan.

Aside from the pure audacity of the concepts presented at The Demo, Engelbart’s entire conceptual development approach is unique in the history of innovation. Most engineers start with a technical challenge to solve, with functionality and consequences secondary, sometimes accidental, considerations. But Engelbart started from the opposite direction. He studied how we think, how we work, and how we collaborate, then envisioned and created the hardware, software and programming systems necessary to enhance the collective IQ. 

Many enormous achievements spring from the innocuous. For Engelbart, the spark for his life’s work was a magazine article he read on an isolated island in the South Pacific 23 years earlier. 

‘As We May Think’

Engelbart was the middle child of three, born in Portland, Oregon, on January 30, 1925. After the death of his father in the mid-1930s, the family moved to the small neighboring town of Johnson Creek. He graduated from Portland’s Franklin High School in 1942 and attended Oregon State University (then known as Oregon State College) in Corvallis for a year when he was drafted. He joined the Navy and became a radar technician.

Douglas C. Engelbart in 1968.

Image: APIC/Getty Images

In September 1945, Engelbart found himself sitting in a Red Cross library – actually, a hut built on stilts – on the Philippine island of Leyte. “It was quiet and cool and airy inside, with lots of polished bamboo and books,” Engelbart later recalled. Engelbart was entranced by an article in Atlantic Monthly by Vannevar Bush, the founder of what would become Raytheon, then science advisor to the President, the man who talked Franklin Roosevelt into initiating the Manhattan Project. The article was titled “As We May Think,” and it explored how machines had and would aid human intellect. In the article, Bush described an automated collective memory machine dubbed memex, “a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility… an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.” Bush’s combined human/technological concepts would haunt and then inspire Engelbart.

After the war, Engelbart returned to Oregon State and earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1948. His first job out of college was at the Ames Research Center, run by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the precursor to NASA, in Mountain View, when what would become Silicon Valley was still filled with orchards.

In 1951, Engelbart got engaged, which ignited thoughts about his life’s direction and career goals. “He had an epiphany,” his daughter details. “He started measuring how many minutes he had left in his career, and figured he had five million minutes he would have to invest. He decided in that moment to maximize the effect of his career toward the betterment of mankind, and how tools could support that goal.”

Engelbart’s radar-screen-watching experience merged with Bush’s ideas of how tools could aid human intellect, and he envisioned people sitting in front of display workstations “flying around” in a computerized information space. 

To pursue his vision, Engelbart quit his job at NACA and returned to school, earning his master’s in 1953 and a Ph.D. in 1955, both in electrical engineering with a specialty in computers from the University of California at Berkeley. He stayed on at Berkeley as an acting assistant professor, but his ideas pushed him to a more suitable position at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI, now SRI International) in 1957.

A prototype of Engelbart’s first computer mouse.

Image: APIC/Getty Images

“He spent two years studying a new field, ‘augmenting the human intellect’ — language, tools, methodology, organizational transformation, organizational strategy,” Christina explains. “He studied each thread to develop a common framework, regardless of the vertical discipline.” 

Engelbart’s studies resulted in a seminal October 1962 paper, “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework,” that described “a new and systematic approach to improving the intellectual effectiveness of the individual human being. A detailed conceptual framework explores the nature of the system composed of the individual and the tools concepts and methods that match his basic capabilities to his problems.” 

Prominent among these tools was the computer.

At SRI, Engelbart established an Augmentation Research Center (ARC) lab, and built a team of young engineers that he guided, but didn’t command. “If someone had an idea and his idea wasn’t the best and he understood the difference, he’d jump on the other idea and apologize for not grasping it sooner,” his daughter says. “He didn’t have ego involvement — it was never ‘my way to the highway.’ He’d stick with the discussion until he could understand the disconnect. He was committed to find a win-win solution.” Employing this low-key collaborative style, Engelbart and his team began to develop computers, software, and programming to transform his visions into physical digital reality.

One of these technologies was hypermedia, the linking of one piece of digitized data to another, developed independently but simultaneously in 1964 with East Coast-based Ted Nelson, who actually coined the terms “hypertext” and “hypermedia.”

But hypermedia was just one part of a larger integrated system. The foundation of Engelbart’s system was the NLS (oN-Line System). Developed in 1963-64, the NLS was one of the first computers to offer what was called “two-dimensional editing,” direct editing of text, with human-first console and desk ergonomics developed by Jack Kelley of Herman Miller Research (yes, the chair people). Then, in late 1967, Engelbart acquired the first time-sharing computer, the Scientific Data System SDS940 mainframe that enabled his entire team to work on the systems they were building from separate workstations.

To help navigate the NLS, Engelbart started to experiment with “screen selection” devices — pointers to navigate information presented on the NLS display — including a light pen, a foot pedal, a knee apparatus, even a helmet-mounted device. Engelbart finally came up with a pointing device that would physically traverse a desktop on two small wheels, one turning horizontally, one vertically, each transmitting rotation coordinates to determine the location of a floating onscreen pointer he called a “bug.” In 1963, ARC lead engineer Bill English built one of these rolling pointers from Engelbart’s sketches. Encased in a carved-out wooden block with perpendicular wheels mounted in its underbelly, it had only one red-tipped button – that was all there was room for. Someone lost to history started calling it “the mouse.” Engelbart and his crew experimented with additional buttons, working all the way up to five, before settling on three by early 1968. 

The Demo 

Engelbart prepares for the Demo at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium (now the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium).

Image: The HEnry Ford Museum

By March 1968, word about Engelbart’s work was becoming a topic of conversation around Stanford and the nascent and still small West Coast computer industry. “He was a real connector type of person,” his daughter says. “He was always meeting and calling up to meet people. People visiting the Institute would be brought by to see what was happening in the lab, and he had already been giving demos to explain what they were doing. He figured it was better to show what they were doing rather than write about it.”

The biannual Fall Joint Computer Conference posters for Engelbart’s presentation went up, and a buzz began. Engelbart’s reputation prompted show organizers to find a larger space for his presentation, settling on the San Francisco Civic Auditorium, now named for concert promoter Bill Graham, next door to Brooks Hall where the conference was being held. 

There was just one problem: the ARC lab at SRI was 30 miles away from San Francisco in Menlo Park. While his NLS console and workstation were sort of portable, the rest of the lab’s gear was not, especially the SDS940 mainframe. 

Herman Miller designers collaborated with Engelbart to create custom office furniture in time for the demo, including this custom swivel keyboard console with space for mouse and keyset, mounted on a Eames-style captain’s chair.

Image: ARC Bootstrapper 

In Adam Fisher’s new book “Valley of Genius,” English explained the unique long-distance communications he helped set up for the Demo: 

What we did was lease two video circuits from the phone company. They set up a microwave link: two transmitters on the top of the building at SRI, receiver/transmitters up on Skyline Boulevard [in Woodside] on a truck, and two receivers at the Civic Center. That was our video link. Going back we had two dedicated 1,200-baud lines: high-speed lines at the time. Homemade modems.

Engelbart had little clue as to the import of what he was about to present — as far as he was concerned, he was far from finished — and so made no provision to preserve it. But at the last minute, someone said, “We have these cameras,” which were then rigged to film the Demo for a thankful posterity. There are two minor cuts during the video; this is where the film cannisters were changed.

Looming above the stage was a 22 x 18-foot screen that would magnify what Engelbart was doing on his terminal. Engelbart was casually seated on the stage below the screen to the right of the audience. He was clad in the requisite white shirt and tie with a black boom mic dangling over the right side of his face and the thick NLS keyboard/mouse console draped across the arms of his chair. After some introductory remarks on the unique nature of the presentation, apologizing for his seated posture, and his hopes that all would proceed smoothly, Engelbart summarized his thesis.

“If in your office, you as an intellectual worker were supplied with a computer display backed up by a computer that was alive for you all day and was instantaneously responsible…” Engelbart nervously paused then corrected himself — “…responsive to every action you had, how much value could you derive from that?”

That sounds like a silly question now, but in 1968, the idea of a computer on every desk was absurd, something out of The Jetsons. Then things got weird.

Engelbart began by displaying a pedantic list of groceries and errand locations, using the mouse to move the “bug” cursor to click on words to reveal hyperlinked layers below. By pointing-and-clicking, he smoothly rearranged, reordered, recategorized, and restructured lists and sub-lists – demonstrating what Engelbart called “information structures,” sort of a combination of word processing and free-form spreadsheet editing and sorting.

To attendees, it looked as if whatever digital magic Engelbart was performing was accomplished right on stage. But every keystroke and mouse movement Engelbart made on the NLS console keyboard and mouse in San Francisco was instantly transmitted back to the lab’s SDS940 mainframe back in Menlo Park. Video cameras captured Engelbart’s manipulations on the system’s CRT, and everything was then again instantly beamed back to and projected on the Civic Auditorium screen — all with virtually no lag.

XKCD Cartoon honoring Doug Engelbart and his 1968 Demo

Image: XKCD

During the second half of the Demo, Engelbart established a videoconferencing connection with software engineer Jeff Rulifson back at the ARC Labs in Menlo Park. Engelbart and Rulifson provided a tour of the lab, showing and describing how the video conferencing was accomplished, and engaged in a video conversation while simultaneous editing documents. The pair engaged in a brief “bug fight” when both tried to edit the same document. The pair also demonstrated an early version of email, which was more like what we think of as text messaging.

Everything worked perfectly, with only a minor, quickly corrected audio glitch late in the demo — a stunning achievement in itself in this pre-internet age, and a marvel considering the technology available at the time. 

During the presentation, you could hear a pin drop, except when Engelbart made some wry observation. To those who thought the whole thing a hoax — and there were many skeptics — Engelbart invited anyone interested to come visit the lab. After thanking his 17-man team and apologizing to his wife and daughter for his monomaniacal dedication to his work, the crowd erupted into a lengthy standing ovation.

Legacy of the Demo

While an epochal event in computer and technological history, the Demo was just the beginning for both Engelbart and the acolytes he had inspired. 

Engelbart’s NLS was the first host attached to the decentralized interconnected computer network being developed by the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), which was a co-sponsor of the Demo and with whom Engelbart had worked closely. On October 29, 1969, Engelbart’s lab was at the receiving end of the first message transmitted over ARPANET, which would eventually lead to the inception of the internet. SRI commercialized the NLS, which was used by hundreds of organizations.

Over the next few years, a half dozen or so of Engelbart’s SRI team members including English and Rulifson were recruited by the newly established Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center). These ARC alumni, along with other engineers who attended or were inspired by the Demo and Engelbart, developed the Alto, the first personal computer equipped with a GUI and a mouse. In December 1979, Alto was seen by Steve Jobs and other Apple engineers, who adapted its GUI, WYSIWYG, and mouse ideas for the LISA and then the Macintosh. The Mac, of course, then inspired Bill Gates to develop Windows OS. Every OS since is imbued with Engelbart’s human augmentation concepts.

Douglas Engelbart in 2002.

Image: Tom Munnecke/Getty Images

And unlike other innovators who experience one or two “Eureka!” moments before moving on to another project or challenge, the idea of how computerized tools aid how we think and collaborate became Engelbart’s lifelong pursuit. In 1989, Engelbart and his daughter formed the non-profit Bootstrap Institute, which was renamed the Doug Engelbart Institute in 2008, and is now run by his daughter.

Engelbart was awarded 20 patents and was the recipient of myriad awards and honors including the PC Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award (1987), the IEEE Computer Pioneer Award (1993), the Lemelson-MIT Prize (1997), induction into the Computer Hall of Fame and the U.S. National Medal of Technology, presented by President Bill Clinton (2000), the Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition (2005), and induction into the Consumer Technology Hall of Fame in 2012. 

Engelbart may have died on July 2, 2013, but his work lives on in every point and click we make.

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/mother-of-all-demos-douglas-engelbart-50-years/

Indiana governor says passing hate crime law ‘long overdue’

FILE – In this Dec. 6, 2018 file photo Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks about his agenda priorities for the upcoming legislative session, in Zionsville, Ind. Holcomb wants Indiana off a short list of five states that do not have a hate crimes law. But as the annual legislative session in this deeply conservative state nears, some caution that the debate could spiral into a bitter culture war. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings File)

The spray-painting of a swastika outside a suburban Indianapolis synagogue this summer was the final straw for Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who quickly called for Indiana to join the 45 states that have hate crime laws.

“It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s long overdue,” Holcomb said Friday during an interview with The Associated Press. “I’m convinced the overwhelming majority of Hoosiers feel the same way.”

As the annual legislative session draws near, though, some warn that such a proposal could spark a bitter cultural debate that would bring unwanted attention to the deeply conservative state, much like the 2015 religious objections law that critics widely panned as a sanctioning of discrimination against the LGBT community and that drew a stiff rebuke from big business.

“If this is a big, knock-down, drag out, ‘RFRA-esque’ discussion, it is not going to help anyone,” said House Speaker Brian Bosma, using an acronym for 2015’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was signed into law by Vice President Mike Pence when he was Indiana governor. “We need to do it in such a way that’s not a net negative and brings undue attention to our state.”

Bosma would know. The Indianapolis Republican helped shepherd a bill to “fix” the law through the Statehouse — steps that were taken only after businesses protested, groups vowed a boycott and the state was lampooned on late-night TV.

An overwhelming majority of states have hate crime laws, which vary to some degree but generally allow for stiffer sentences to be given to people who are convicted of crimes motivated by hatred or bias. Only Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Wyoming and Arkansas do not.

What remains to be seen is what sort of law might be palatable to Indiana legislators — whether it would be open-ended and general or whether it would specify characteristics that would be covered, such as race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, which is what Holcomb wants.

While many business leaders support the governor’s call for a hate crime law and view the absence of one as a sign of intolerance, many religious conservatives, including some rank-and-file legislators, see it as an unnecessary exercise that could lead to other unwanted social changes.

For years, they’ve stymied efforts to put a hate crime law on the books, arguing that judges can already consider factors such as bias when determining sentences.

“Nobody is for hate crime, but it’s a Pandora’s box,” said Ron Johnson, who leads the Indiana Pastors Alliance and believes Christians are persecuted by gay rights supporters. “It opens the door to all the rest of this craziness that we are seeing.”

Some conservatives argue that adopting a hate crime law would create a “protected” class of citizen and grant additional acceptance to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Another common refrain among lawmakers who oppose the idea is that it would target “thought crime.” All crimes are bad, they say, regardless of what motivates them.

Holcomb says “nothing could be further from the truth.”

“You want to have a moronic thought … that’s your right,” he said. “But when it becomes a criminal action, you’ve crossed the line.”

For those who have received intimidating threats driven by hatred or bias, the issue is far less abstract than many critics portray.

Across the U.S., the number of reported hate crimes increased by about 17 percent in 2017, according to the FBI. In Indiana, the number has fluctuated in recent decades, ranging from about 40 to over 100 crimes per year that would fit the description.

But those figures depend on how law enforcement agencies categorize crime, which can be subjective, and how many of them report their statistics to the FBI, which can fluctuate.

Indiana has a complicated history when it comes to prejudice and bigotry. The state was a stop along the Underground Railroad, but in the 1920s, local politics was dominated by the Ku Klux Klan, with some estimates indicating that one-quarter of the native-born white men were members.

In the 1960s, Indiana-born author and diplomat John Bartlow Martin described the state in a memo to Robert Kennedy as “suspicious of foreign entanglements, conservative in fiscal matters, and with a strong overlay of Southern segregationist sentiment,” according to Indiana historian Ray Boomhower.

Aside from the synagogue vandalism that prompted Holcomb to publicly call for a hate crime law, activists say graffiti swastikas have been appearing in more public places. Last year, a man pleaded guilty to battery after authorities say he attacked a woman in Bloomington while shouting racial slurs and trying to remove her headscarf.

And Matthew Heimbach, of Paoli, has become a prominent figure in the white nationalist movement, once spearheading a group that described itself as “fighting to secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

David Sklar, assistant director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, said the only reason anyone should worry about a hate crime law “is if you are a criminal.”

“Will passing a hate crime statute ultimately stop a hate crime from happening? Chances are probably not,” Sklar said. “But it is equally important to make sure that a person receives the right amount of jail time and for the state to say, ‘We will not tolerate these things and we will make our laws reflect that.'”

Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/us/indiana-governor-says-passing-hate-crime-law-long-overdue

New Hot Toy Lists for 2018 from SproutScout.co

Looking for toys for kids both young and old? SproutScout.co has put together 30 guides for parents and grandparents to find the *perfect* gift this Christmas. Each list has ten options to help you find exactly what your child/grandchild will want to find under the tree.

The Top 10 Best Current Marvel Toys

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The Top 10 Best Learning Toys For Toddlers And Young Children

The Top 10 Best Drones For Kids

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The Top 10 DC Comics Toys For Older Kids And Teens

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The Top Ten Best Ball Pits For Home Use

The Top Ten Best Doll Houses For Children Of All Ages

The Top Ten Best Electronic Pets For Kids

The Top Ten Best Pretend Play Toys For Toddlers Who Love To Mimic

The Top Ten Best Robot Toys For The Family

The Top Ten Best Soft Toys For Babies, Toddlers, And Kids

The Top Ten Best Toy Car Kits, Tracks and Playsets

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The Top Ten Coolest Nerf Guns

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This CEO thinks it’s crazy to work more than 40 hours a week

If you didn’t know better, you’d think Jason Fried is more of a slacker than a CEO.

Despite this — or rather, he would say,because of it — Fried has run a very profitable and growing business for two decades.
He cofounded Basecamp (formerly 37 Signals), which offers a web-based project management tool that lets all team members seethe same information, documents, deadlines, assignments and updates. It helps dispense with unwieldy email chains, interruptions and status update meetings.
    Fried, who just had his second child, alsohas found the time to write a few critically acclaimed books.
    The latest is called “It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work,” which The Economist said is “the best thing on management published this year.”
    In it, he and coauthor David HeinemeierHansson, also a Basecamp cofounder, call BS on workaholic managers and owners, even if they pay lip service to their employees’ need to have a life.
    “Workaholism is a contagious disease. You can’t stop the spread if you’re the one bringing it into the office,” they write.
    They reject the concept of company as “family” andthe rallying cry of “whatever it takes” for anything other than a true work emergency.
    CNN asked Fried about his work philosophy and what family life has taught him about business.

    What do you say to business owners who worry that adopting your approach would just mean they’d get beaten by the competition?

    I’d say why would you think that? I’d say if you’re not getting enough sleep, enough rest, and enough perspective from other things in your life besides work, you’ll just be beating yourself.
    If the only way to beat the competition is to outwork them, well there are only 24 hours in the day anyway. If you can work them all, so can someone else.
    The competition doesn’t beat you, and you don’t beat them, by working more hours or forgoing more sleep. You do well by making smart decisions, being strategic about what you say yes and no to, and understanding your customer better than anyone else.
    Treating people well, keeping employees happy, and creating an environment where people can do their best work is yet another thing you’re in control of that’ll help you do well.
    Plenty of people have worked themselves to the bone with nothing to show for it. It’s not more work that’ll get you ahead, it’s the right work on the right things the right way.

    What penalty is there for someone who works too many hours at Basecamp?

    There’s no formal penalty, but we’ll kindly remind them that no one expects, or wants them to be putting in more than 40 hours a week.
    We’ll ask them why they feel like they need to put in more hours than that and then help them remove the nonessential things from their day so they don’t feel like they have to work longer than they should.
    There’s nothing in anyone’s best interest in working longer than necessary, and an 8-hour day is plenty of time to do great work.

    Who offered you the most helpful advice on business and life?

    I listen to a lot of people, absorb a lot of things, and am influenced by all sorts of approaches. But as far as business goes, my father’s advice is the best I’ve ever gotten: “No one went broke taking a profit.”
    I’ve held this close to my chest and make sure Basecamp, my company, has been profitable since our first year. Next year marks our 20th year in business — all 19 so far have been profitable.

    What has marriage and parenthood taught you about work?

    That eight hours is plenty of time for work! That life outside of work is incredibly rich and rewarding. Why would I ever want to squander that kind of time to put in another unnecessary hour at the office?
    Being a parent is also the best crash course on time management and figuring out what’s truly important in life.

    What do you know today that you wish you knew in your 20s?

    That most things you worry about aren’t worth worrying about.

    How many hours of sleep do you get?

    Right now between seven and eight. I aim for eight, but we just had our second baby so nights are a bit tough at the moment.
    The book “Why We Sleep” has really impressed upon me that sleep is the most important thing you can do to improve every aspect of your life. I highly recommend reading it.

    How much vacation do you take a year?

    About three weeks in total. But over the summer months (May through September) everyone at Basecamp works four-day weeks, so we all have three-day weekends for a few months. So add those days in as well and we all get an extra dose of time off.

      What’s your favorite podcast and why?

      Currently, “The Peter Attia Drive”. I’ve always been fascinated with medicine. I really enjoy his take on things, his clarity, the brilliant guests he has on, and how out of my depth it all is.

      Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/06/success/jason-fried-basecamp-work/index.html

      Savage Bride Reads Fianc’s Cheating Texts At Wedding Betches

      Australian brides are f*cking savage. Remember that chick who pulled a Cady Heron on her sisters so they’d gain weight in time for the wedding? Well, she’s looking totally sane after Whimn, the same website she spilled her guts to, has shared the story of yet another bride with absolutely zero chill. Welcome to your weekly dose of insane brides, possibly my favorite thing the internet has ever provided. Get ready, because this bride is going to make Cady Heron over here look like Mother Teresa.

      Our savage bride in question is a woman named Casey. The night before her wedding, Casey received a text message that honestly sounds like it was written by Georgina Sparks. It was basically a sh*t ton of screenshots of unfaithful messages and selfies with the caption, “I wouldn’t marry him, will you?”

      It turned out Alex, the dude Casey had been with for six years was having a major affair. (*Adds to ever-growing list of why I have trust issues.*) Note, Casey changed his name for the purpose of this story, which is extremely gracious of her and shocking considering what she did next.

      This extremely savage bride got up the next morning, fully got ready for her wedding, walked down the aisle, and then READ THE TEXT MESSAGES OUT LOUD INSTEAD OF HER VOWS. WTF!?

      “There will be no wedding today,” she said to her guests. “It seems Alex is not who I thought he was.”

      She then began reading the receipts, which included cringeworthy messages like, “This weekend. You and I. It is on, hot stuff. Bring your A game.” Which… ew. I think I’d break up with someone simply for using the phrase “hot stuff” in earnest. The texts also included sh*t like, “Your body is f*cking incredible. And sh*t do you know how to use it. I wish my GF had half the skills you do.”

      Does this dude read the creepy paperback erotica books they sell at the grocery store? Like, where did he learn to say this sh*t? Vom.

      Apparently, Alex dipped TF out of the ceremony, and Casey invited everyone to stay and party. “It was certainly not the wedding day I had planned, but to our credit, it was one hell of a party.”

      Sounds fake, but okay. I just feel like if this happened to me or literally anyone I know, there would be some more consideration before just like blindly believing everything a stranger says and hashing it out in front of 200 of your closest friends and family. Casey wrote that she didn’t even need to investigate and “just knew.” Ooookay, girl.

      Then again, if your trust in your relationship is so broken that you don’t even have to investigate a bunch of suspicious texts to know they’re true, it’s probably a sign you shouldn’t be getting married in the first place. Anyway, if anyone reading this has pulled off some devious plot against their fiancé, wedding party, or anyone involved in your nuptials, can you just like… gimme a heads up? Literally just spill that tea right into my inbox or into the comments section of this article. (For real, email justthetip@betches.com with your wedding horror story, and maybe I’ll write an article about you.) I’m tired of having to hear this sh*t through the grapevine. SMH.

      Images: David Thomaz / Unsplash; Giphy (3)

      Read more: https://betches.com/?p=42132

      George RR Martin says that Daenerys would benefit from reading ‘Fire and Blood’

      George RR Martin says that even Daenerys Targaryen should be reading his new book
      Image: WireImage

      A lot of Game of Thrones fans are still slightly upset that George RR Martin took time to write a 700-page book of Targaryen history, when he should be spending all waking hours finishing The Winds of Winter. 

      But, we now know that Fire and Blood does contain important information relating to GoT. And Martin just emphasized again that Fire and Blood is not just a bone he’s throwing his fans to get them to leave him alone for a while. 

      In an exclusive video published on Esquire, Martin said that even Daenerys herself should probably give the book a read to better understand how to play the game of thrones. 

      “This is a book that Daenerys might actually benefit from reading,” Martin said. 

      Image: Courtesy of HBO

      Fire and Blood is Martin writing as Archermaester Gyldayn, resident of the citadel in Oldtown, Westeros. And though Daenerys is busy elsewhere getting people to bend the knee, she would really benefit from a reading trip to the citadel. 

      “She has no access to Archermaester Gyldayn’s crumbling manuscripts,” Martin told Esquire. “So she’s operating on her own there.” 

      But he says that this text holds important information for the Mother of Dragons. “Maybe if she understood a few things more about dragons and her own history in Essos, things would have gone a little differently,” he adds. 

      If we all promise to read Fire and Blood, will you please finish the other one already, George?

      Read more: https://mashable.com/article/george-rr-martin-fire-and-blood-daenerys/

      House Democrats promise action on LGBTQ rights bill

      FILE – In this Sept. 6, 2018, file photo. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Just ahead of a midterm election they hope will deliver them a majority, House Democrats are promising to prioritize anti-discrimination legislation that would for the first time establish widespread equal rights protections for LGBTQ individuals. Pelosi says she will introduce the Equality Act as one of her first orders of business if Democrats retake the House in November. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

      Just days ahead of a midterm election they hope will deliver them a majority, House Democrats are promising to prioritize anti-discrimination legislation that would for the first time establish widespread equal rights protections for LGBTQ individuals.

      Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recently said she would introduce the Equality Act as one of her first orders of business if Democrats retake the House in November. Pelosi made the announcement at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, telling the crowd the issue of equal rights for the LGBTQ community is “personal.”

      The 1964 Civil Rights Act already bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. The Equality Act, if passed, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the law and expand those protections beyond the workplace. It would outlaw gender discrimination in places like restaurants and retail shops, in seeking housing, using health care and social services, applying for a loan or participating in the jury selection process.

      About 20 states and the District of Columbia currently have local gender and sex non-discrimination laws on the books.

      The House bill has 198 co-sponsors, including two Republicans. But no Senate Republicans have signed on, and social conservatives oppose the legislation. And even if the bill cleared Congress, it would still have to be signed by President Donald Trump, who has aligned himself closely with religious conservatives.

      Still, Democrats plan to move forward with the bill if they win the House majority, teeing up a test of the GOP’s willingness to block it.

      Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said the legislation will be given a low bill number, meaning it would be among the first pieces of legislation to be introduced. Hammill described such a designation as “a place of honor.”

      The Equality Act is a far-reaching piece of legislation, decades in the works, that would safeguard the LGBTQ community against discrimination and bias. It was introduced in both chambers of Congress in 2015, where it died in committee, and reintroduced in 2017, but has not been voted on.

      “This is a very simple proposition,” said Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., the lead sponsor of the bill in the House.

      “We have a long history in our country of prohibiting discrimination and promoting equality. It’s the founding principle of our country, and I believe the vast majority of people in our country think discrimination is wrong. In many ways Congress has to catch up to where the American people are.”

      A narrower bill to bar gender discrimination in the workplace, called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, passed the Senate in 2013 with 64 votes, including 10 Republicans. But then-House Speaker John Boehner, a vocal opponent, opted not to bring it to a floor vote.

      Even if the Equality Act were to pass a Democratic House, its future in the Senate — where 60 votes are typically needed to advance legislation — would be uncertain.

      Some of the Republican senators who supported ENDA are out of office or will be come January. Five remain in Congress now: Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio, Dean Heller of Nevada, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who recently bucked her party to become the only Republican to vote against the controversial confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

      Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., the main sponsor of the Equality Act in the Senate, said he’s optimistic that shifting public attitudes on gay rights will propel the bill forward. He noted that in 2015, two years after ENDA stalled in Congress, the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.

      “This is what we need to accomplish. It is way past time to end discrimination across the board,” Merkley said. “I find it astounding that here we are in a situation where you can now take your marriage certificate from state to state, but if you travel with your partner, in one you’re treated as a citizen with full rights, and in the next, you’re treated as a second-class citizen.”

      Merkley said soon after the midterm election he’ll begin reaching out to Republican senators to discuss the legislation. But so far they’ve been hard to convince: All 47 sponsors of the Senate bill are Democrats.

      He sees one big sticking point for gaining Republican support: A provision in the bill forbids any employer or retailer from using the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed in 1993, to justify withholding services based on gender or sexual orientation. The law, which received bipartisan support, barred the government from interfering with the rights of religious practitioners. But more recently the law has been used to protect the rights of business owners to refuse service based on religious beliefs. In one 2014 case, the Supreme Court found that chain craft store Hobby Lobby, founded by religious evangelicals, didn’t have to provide its employees with contraception coverage for religious reasons.

      The Trump administration has pursued policies in line with that law when taking steps to roll back protections for LGBTQ individuals, including rescinding guidance for schools on how to treat transgender students and attempting to bar transgender individuals from serving in the military. The administration is also considering a proposal to limit the definition of gender to include only one’s sex at birth, according to The New York Times, prompting outrage from LGBTQ advocates.

      Religious and conservative organizations have been vocal in their opposition to the Equality Act.

      Mary Beth Waddell, senior legislative assistant for conservative group Family Research Council, likened it to government-sanctioned discrimination against religious people.

      “The current law in civil rights and the protected classes are inborn and unchangeable characteristics like race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, etc., and religion, which is expressly protected under the constitution,” Waddell said. “What the Equality Act does is it turns it on its head and allow the government to impose a belief system about sexual decisions and sexual behaviors on the nation.”

      Waddell said if the bill comes up for a vote, the group will “certainly be part of the opposition.”

      One advantage for supporters of the Equality Act is that it has overwhelming support from the business community. Since it was first introduced, major corporations including Apple, Dow Chemical Company, Amazon, General Electric Co. and more than 100 others have signed on to endorse its passage.

      “Unlike virtually any other omnibus civil rights bill, the Equality Act had corporate support from the day of introduction,” said Deena Fidas, director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Workplace Equality Program.

      Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/us/house-democrats-promise-action-on-lgbtq-rights-bill