In 2020, Our Bitterly Divided America Needs to Recommit to the Golden Rule | Opinion – Newsweek

As we move full speed into the election of 2020, we can feel the pull toward division, domination and revenge in our politics. We write this as two veterans of America's culture wars who fear that this round of battle could lead us toward violence.

As political activists we both know something about trying to bridge the divisions in politics. In 1998, Joan Blades, watched our nation polarize over the impeachment of the President. She co-founded MoveOn.org as a bipartisan effort to move the nation toward healing and away from division. Earlier that same decade, Rich Tafel, a minister living in Massachusetts saw the increasing brutality of a culture war between the far left and religious right. He jumped in to bridge the divide by launching Log Cabin Republicans in 1993.

More than two decades later, we have joined forces as a Democrat and Republican to bridge the divide again. Rich is now a pastor and leads the American Project at Pepperdine School of Public policy that seeks to find healthy path for the conservative movement. Joan has co-founded an open source, scalable, left-right dialogue model called Living Room Conversations that is being used in faith communities, schools, libraries, by video and yes, in living rooms, to connect people across the country.

Today we are working to fight the pull toward division and hatred by looking to a core teaching of all the major faiths. "Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you."

This past November, the National Institute for Civil Discourse organized a Sunday dedicated to bringing the Golden Rule into our political life. Churches across the country preached on the ways houses of faith could lead in bridging the divide in our nation by employing compassion, curiosity and forgiveness.

Simply reminding ourselves that in our political life we should treat others as we would want to be treated is a great start.

Last month, leaders from across the political spectrum gathered for a virtual "Living Room Conversation" to go beyond partisan affiliation and get to the deeper teachings in all of our traditions. People of faith are not only called to love one another. They are also reminded that we are all created in God's image. Faith communities have a unique ability to provide a sanctuary for all voices to be heard.

The hateful rhetoric and disrespect so prevalent in our politics may tempt us to opt out and give up, but people of faith, rooted in practices that see the divine in all humanity, can help lead our country to a healing and respectful place in this moment when we need it most. Politics is causing more and more Americans to perceive people on the other side as the enemy...and as less intelligent, less kind, less human. Extreme political polarization has been used as a tool to justify unthinkable atrocities throughout history. We must own our responsibility for our division and change our course. Faith communities are showing leadership in this change by asking communities to see the divinity in everyone.

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Fr. John Crossin reflect, "Meeting with someone who is made in the image of God should produce a feeling of profound respect, and an expectation that we might grow from the encounter, even if we begin in disagreement. Since we are all children of God, the common good involves mutual respect. Respect, not agreement, is the key."

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This is not the first time our country has faced internal challenges. We have come through serious divisions before this moment, and we can do it again. The key is to call on the better angels of our nature to help guide usto remember our common humanity as we meet this emergency with care for each other and for our country. The words of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, written from the Birmingham jail almost 60 years ago, are addressed to us in this hour: "We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."

What George Washington called the Great Experiment has been a beacon of hope for two centuries. As members of the oldest modern democracy in the world, we need to do better. The good news is that long tradition guides usteaching us to treat others as we would like to be treated.

Joan Blades is a Co-founder of MoveOn and Living Room Conversations. Reverend Richard L. Tafel is Minister at Church of the Holy City & Founder of Log Cabin Republicans.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.

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In 2020, Our Bitterly Divided America Needs to Recommit to the Golden Rule | Opinion - Newsweek

Make Trump face the consequences of his lies – Brookings Register

Having seen very little evidence that Republicans were challenging Trump, I emailed my three congresspeople in February 2019 that my No. 1 concern regarding Trump was for the millions of people (some of them my friends) when they are forced to see that they were wrong to believe Trumps many lies and all they heard on Trumps favorite news network.

Everyone knows the crushing pain of admitting to the betrayal of someone theyve staunchly defended.Its hard. Its much easier to hang on to the investment of hope, but at some point continued defense is counterproductive; it diminishes your confidence and the faith others have in you.It would be best to seek out the truth and learn better ways to evaluate.I invited them to start by applying the golden rule. Its simple really. Its a call for empathy; to put yourself in the other persons shoes. The golden rule isnt do to others before they can do it to you.

Trump lies often and recordings prove it. He believes lying has always worked for him. It appears Trump doesnt factor in consequences; perhaps hes seldom had to suffer them. So many loyal appointees have been abandoned when they detracted from his own reputation. He knows he can throw out a catchphrase and repeat it ad infinitum and his people will accept it as truth.

The bully calling you stupid every day doesnt make it true; him telling his Mom that he didnt do it, doesnt make that true. If your best friend assured you that he had your back, would you still defend him when he lost all your money, made fun of your kid or compromised your wife? Do you want your children to learn that its okay to lie if it gets you what you want? How do you argue for truth if you support Trump? Will any defendant in court be able to win by yelling Hoax! Witchhunt!? When history looks at Trump and documents all his transgressions, will you be proud?

It was my hope that my three congresspeople would step up and recognize the consequences of their support for Trump.In October 2019 I mentioned my secondary concern.

Their support since day one has emboldened Trump to wield presidential power without fear of consequences. One need only to look at the increasingly crazy diversions he threw out when embarrassing acts turned up. I suspected that as he saw the end of power approaching he would order outrageous things to happen and no one would be able to stop him. I believe the deal with Turkey was the first of those things. In one call with Erdogan he betrayed the Kurds, rewarded Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iran, abandoned our diplomats and confirmed to all our allies that the U.S. can no longer be trusted and has no standing on the world stage. People died, families were displaced.

Sure, they werent Americans, but they were people who had been led to believe America supported them just as people all over the world had been assured for decades. There was outrage but no one acted, so, golly, there must be a lot more people around who get money from America and dont give anything back. Whos next? Maybe Ukraine? Congress didnt notice that they werent sent their funds. Wow, Putin really hates Ukraine. Maybe this can be finessed. What next? Pick a fight with Canada, pull troops out of South Korea? So many options and no one willing to stop Trump.

Impeachment was inevitable. Republicans, by ensuring that the Senate does not approve the impeachment, are confirming to Trump that he is a dictator much like Putin, Xi and Kim, when in reality all his actions indicate that he is really Putins puppet. I regret their inability to step off of this path, but it is not too late to redeem themselves.

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Make Trump face the consequences of his lies - Brookings Register

KHS to honor Martin Luther King Jr. this month – State-Journal.com

The Kentucky Historical Society will have a celebration to honor Martin Luther King Jr. later this month.

King, who was born on Jan. 15, 1929, was a renowned civil rights leader during the 20th century.

Kentucky students, community leaders, government officials and citizens are invited to the celebration, which will be at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History on Wednesday, Jan. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. The Kentucky Historical Society has held similar events in the past.

The theme of this years event, according to a Facebook post from the historical society, is about asking all to to consider the Golden Rule as a moral underpinning to Kings civil rights and justice work. How was that principle deployed then, in Kings mission, and where should we and our society deploy this viewpoint now?

Admission is free, but seating is limited. Earlier in the day, the Kentucky History Center and Museums will have hands-on activities, a community art project, special performances and a volunteer fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact 502-564-1792 or khseducation@ky.gov for more information.

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KHS to honor Martin Luther King Jr. this month - State-Journal.com

John C. Morgan: Making and keeping New Year’s resolutions – The Mercury

Every year around this time I make resolutions for the next year, and every year when I check back, I find I have failed to keep most of them, especially the ones which would require the most effort.

In checking my resolutions for 2019, no wonder I didn't do well. I vowed to lose twenty pounds, go to the gym at least every other day, finish a few manuscripts, and tune out the thousands of fake tweets from politicians. I didn't keep a single vow.

But this year I decided to stick to a single promise: Keep it simple. It will get complex all by itself. I'm beginning with a pledge I made last year to unpack what the title of this column implies how best to live (what the philosopher Socrates defined as the goal of ethics) and keep it simple and practical.

Here are a few practical lessons for how to live ethically.

Treat others as you wish to be treated.

This is the gold standard (or Golden Rule as it is sometimes called) for ethical behavior. I have found it in many cultures and periods of history in different words but with the same meaning. The basic idea is to be compassionate with yourself and others because this is the glue that keeps us whole and healthy.

Don't project onto others your own weaknesses.

Most of us project onto others what we most fear in ourselves. Hence, someone who finds fault with others usually cannot accept the faults in themselves. The best way to handle such persons is to ignore them.

Follow the rules you should have learned in childhood: Don't lie, cheat, bully, or make others miserable.

When children do so, they are sent to their rooms or must sit in the corner. Perhaps we should apply the same tactics to adults when they lie, cheat, bully or make others miserable. We'd need a lot of chairs in corners to do so.

Accept responsibility for your own mistakes and don't blame others.

Those who blame others for their own errors never learn how to grow. They get stuck and stay in an infantile stage, often angry, seldom accepting themselves, lost in negative emotions.

Assess others not only by what they say but more importantly by how they act.

If a person claims to be honest but constantly lies, then you have a clear picture of who they are.

And here's a general rule for taking stock of a person. Ask yourself the most basic ethical question: if you had a child, would you want him or her to grow to be like the person you are assessing? It will tell you all you need to know about how to live. And go another step: Are you the kind of person you would want a role model for children?

I am making a copy of these vows and keeping them in my wallet to look over from time to time to see how I am doing.

John C. Morgan is a columnist and teacher of ethics. He can be reached at everydayethics@yahoo.com

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John C. Morgan: Making and keeping New Year's resolutions - The Mercury

Naperville prayer event envisions ‘world where everyone belongs’ – Chicago Daily Herald

A long-standing prayer event in Naperville will stress a vision of unity against racism during its 2020 World Peace Day Interfaith Prayer Service.

The service, based on the theme "2020 Vision: Seeking a World Where Everyone Belongs," is set for 2:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Wentz Hall on the campus of North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Ave.

As organizers prayed over how to focus the event, Tom Cordaro, justice and outreach minister at Naperville's St. Margaret Mary Parish, said they kept coming back to the hurt that lingers from two racially charged episodes last fall.

In October, a multiracial group of 18 children and adults was asked to switch seats at Buffalo Wild Wings in Naperville because staff members told them two white customers did not want to sit next to black people. In November, a student at Naperville Central High School posted an image of a black classmate with the heading "Slave for Sale (NAPERVILLE)."

"The evil of racism is still alive and still in the hearts and minds of people," Cordaro said.

So organizers with an interfaith group of religious leaders invited someone who has been working against hate and racism for years to be the service's keynote speaker. Regina Brent, founder and president of Unity Partnership, will give a 25-minute speech about the theme of belonging.

"That came pretty easy to me," said Brent, of Aurora, whose Unity Partnership nonprofit works to build relationships between police and minority communities, engage youth and conduct outreach.

"We have to speak in general to all faiths through love, understanding, through the golden rule, through generosity, through patience and kindness," she said. "And let the audience know that we must lean on one another for strength, for healing and to bring about joy."

Brent, a member of DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lisle, said she has attended the World Peace Day prayer service in the past and praised its efforts to teach that "everybody is a child of God."

Before Brent speaks, representatives of several faith communities will offer brief prayers, many of which will come in the form of songs.

For one example, singers from the grass-roots group United for Peace will perform a peace song in Hindi, "Saath Chale Hum," which means "Let's Walk Together."

To conclude the free event, there will be what Cordaro described as a "communal affirmation of commitment to community and compassion."

In English first, then in languages including Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi and Punjab, the crowd together will say, "Everyone is welcome."

A reception will follow with food, coffee, conversations about faith communities and information about getting counted in the 2020 census.


Naperville prayer event envisions 'world where everyone belongs' - Chicago Daily Herald

RTW: Peace and joy to all in our communities – Olean Times Herald

The holiday season has passed and the days are beginning to grow longer. Shorter days and long dark nights have always weighed heavily on the human race. And as the days began to lengthen and our early ancestors realized the world was not coming to an end, they celebrated.

Those celebrations evolved over time into Yule, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa, to name a few. It is no strange coincidence that during a period of darkness we celebrate, and that those celebrations all have strong elements of light to them.

As a Freemason, darkness weighs heavily upon me. Not the darkness of short days or snowstorms, but the darkness of ignorance, selfishness, prejudice and hatred. That is why I and my brother Masons seek light again, not the light of long days and sunshine, but the light of knowledge through education, the light of civility, the light of charity and the light of your faith, however you believe.

When we have learned to accept the fact that we are all children of the same father and that the golden rule is central to every religion of the world, then we may learn that others of different religions (or no religion), of different races or nationalities or gender, are worthy of our respect and love.

And when we have learned and put into practice the 110 rules of civility that brother George Washington put down on paper more than 250 years ago, then the light of Freemasonry is no longer an external light that shines upon us, but is instead an internal light that shines from us.

This is the time of year when we need to get off social media and stop spreading hate, dissension, incivility and prejudice. Instead, feed the poor; cloth the needy; pass the hat for the less fortunate; visit the sick and shut-ins; call on old friends; spend time with family; repair old divisions in your personal life.

Celebrate the faith of your own acceptance but remember to respect other faiths.

There is a saying that the Shriners have: No man stands as tall as one who stoops to help a child.

Aside from my wife and family, the greatest gift ever given me was in the low light of three burning candles: my membership in the greatest fraternal organization the world has ever known, the brotherhood of Freemasonry. Without that light, I would never have known or be associated with so many fine men the world over, while through my membership in other Masonic Orders, such as the Order of the Amaranth, I have also come to know so many outstanding men and women throughout the world.

They have become my friends, mentors, examples and extended family in whom I put my complete trust and faith.

So when I said Merry Christmas to anyone during the holiday season, I was not espousing any religion, but rather my wish for you was a season filled with the basic tenets of Freemasonry, friendship and brotherly love. And may the profound blessings of your chosen deity be showered upon you and your family.

With acknowledgement to the Reverend Brother David Ritchie of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin, peace and joy to all.

(Bruce E. Kenney lives in Olean.)

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RTW: Peace and joy to all in our communities - Olean Times Herald

Religious People Think Democrats Will Strip Our Rights Because It’s True – The Federalist

White evangelicals fear atheists and Democrats would strip away their rights. Why? asks a recent op-ed in the Washington Post. The op-ed author, Paul A. Djupe, a professor at Denison University and scholar with the Public Religion Research Institute, offered two completely out-of-touch reasons.

The first is because thats what theyre hearing, quite explicitly, from conservative media, religious elites, partisan commentators and some politicians, including the president. The second is an inverted golden rule, meaning white evangelical Protestants express low levels of tolerance for atheists, which leads them to expect intolerance from atheists in return.

Its not about projection or an authoritarian impulse. Religious conservaties worry atheists and Democrats will strip their rights because they have repeatedly witnessed attempts, typically by Democrats, to strip them of their religious liberties.

Examples of Democrats attempts to gut religious liberties abound. Perhaps the most high-profile example was the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) federal mandate in 2011, as part of the Affordable Care Act, mandating that certain employers provide all FDA-approved contraceptives, including abortifacients, in their health insurance plans. The narrow religious exemption did not include religious nonprofits such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order of nuns that manages homes for the elderly poor across America, nor businesses such as Hobby Lobby.

A district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled against the Little Sisters of the Poor, and it was only in 2016 before the U.S. Supreme Court that the liberties of the religious order were secured. Hobby Lobby won in a separate 2014 case.

This is hardly the only recent example. Over the last decade and a half, a number of jurisdictions, including the state of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., have targeted Christian adoption agencies that refuse to place children with same-sex or unmarried couples. Many of these adoption agencies have since closed.

The pro-choice organization NARAL, a prominent supporter of Democratic candidates, opposes conscience laws that allow medical practitioners to exempt themselves from activities that violate their religious beliefs, such as abortion or euthanasia.

Several Democratic presidential candidates have declared their support for legislation that would prohibit employers including Christian schools or organizations from maintaining rules about their employees sexual behavior. When the media reported that Vice President Mike Pences wife Karen had taken a position at an evangelical Virginia school that prohibits employees and students from homosexual behavior, left-leaning secular media ruthlessly attacked her. A cake baker in suburban Denver, despite the U.S. Supreme Court upholding his religious liberty in 2018, is still facing harassment by the state of Colorado.

Federal law still prohibits employers discriminating based on a persons religious beliefs or affiliation, but conservative Christians can read between the lines. If city, county, and state governments are willing to target people for their bigoted beliefs, and if left-leaning judges seem increasingly willing to rule against religious liberty, its hard to imagine governments will be objective, neutral arbiters in their hiring practices toward religious conservatives.

Much the same can be said regarding many of our nations education institutions. If a university either explicitly promotes or willfully ignores leftist activism that seeks to silence opposing viewpoints such as Middlebury Colleges treatment of Polish academic, politician, and devout Catholic Ryszard Legutko its fair to assume such institutions will not be hiring anyone who reminds them of Legutko. Wed be foolish to think this doesnt also apply to woke companies.

Djupes research polled a cross-section of American society, more than 2,500 people, which included a variety of religious and political beliefs. Respondents were asked whether certain selected groups should be permitted to exercise various liberties, such as giving speeches in the community, teaching in public schools, or running for public office.

As evidence of tolerance among atheists and Democrats, Djupe and fellow researcher and political scientist Ryan Burge discovered that 65 percent of atheists and 53 percent of Democrats who named Christian fundamentalists their least-liked group were willing to allow them to engage in three or more of these activities. This, Djupe notes, is a higher proportion with tolerance than the overall sample and a higher proportion than white evangelicals. Ergo, Djupe and Burge conclude evangelicals fear atheists and Democrats not because these groups intend to restrict their rights, but because religious conservatives aim to do this to their political enemies.

Perhaps, though, restrictions on conservative Christians giving speeches, teaching in public schools, or running for public office are not theoretical. Across the United States over the last generation, real-life people of faith have suffered the infringement of their religious freedom. Whether or not those doing the infringing are atheists is unclear, but they are almost always on the political left.

This is why white evangelicals are afraid Democrats will attack their religious liberty because they already have been for years.It also largely explains why this same demographic remains electorally wedded to Republicans, including President Donald Trump.

Notice that in almost all the above examples, it has been the judicial branch slowing the tide of anti-religious liberty initiatives. This has been the case even when activist judges at one level are overruled by more conservative judges at a higher level of the court system.

Trump is appointing right-leaning federal judges at rapid rates. Thus far, he has appointed 50 judges to circuit court benches, double what President Barack Obama had achieved at this point in his first term. Judges, many religious conservatives wager, may be one of the most effective means of safeguarding religious liberty.

None of this is news. Conservatives, and certainly religious conservatives, have been talking for generations about the need for a conservative judiciary to prevent attacks on Americas most treasured freedoms. That liberal mainstream media and secular academia are allied in deflecting attention from this truth in favor of research aimed at maligning religious conservatives demonstrates how out of touch they remain. Who says they learned something after the 2016 presidential election?

Casey Chalk is a columnist for The American Conservative, Crisis Magazine, and The New Oxford Review. He has a bachelors in history and masters in teaching from the University of Virginia, and masters in theology from Christendom College.

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Religious People Think Democrats Will Strip Our Rights Because It's True - The Federalist

Will relations between the UK and EU improve in 2020? – The New European

PUBLISHED: 20:35 04 January 2020

John Kampfner

French president Emmanuel Macron (L) meets with German chancelor Angela Merkel (2-R) and British prime minister Boris Johnson (R) at the United Nations headquarters. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP).


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A golden rule of diplomacy is you don't choose who you deal with. For almost all European leaders, Boris Johnson would be just about the last person they would want to face across the table. But that's who they've got.

A man previously known as a buffoon and a chancer has just secured a mandate that most of his interlocutors would die for. He is going nowhere for at least five years. He will use his majority to embed a populist government in his name and a Brexit that will bear little resemblance to the relationship they enjoyed with Britain.

It is a distasteful and unhappy state of affairs. But they will have to get used to it.

Signs are that they already are. The first clue (or rather lumbering thud) from the prime minister was his decision to enshrine into law the UK's final departure from the EU on December 31, 2020.

It won't be a full exit. It will encompass just the bare bones of the areas previously covered by the EU, but for domestic political reasons that's all he wants.

"We are well advised to take seriously that the UK does not intend to go for an extension of the transition, and we need to be prepared for that," acknowledged Sabine Weyand, the director general of the EU's trade department. "That means in the negotiations we have to look at those issues where failing to reach an agreement by 2020 would lead to another cliff-edge situation."

It is not just the limited scope of future cooperation that is concerning. It is the tone and manner. As Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach, pointed out, Johnson looked set on a "harder Brexit than we anticipated". The UK, he said, appeared to want to undercut the EU on food, health and product safety.

The Brits don't bother to hide it. Presenting his EU Withdrawal Bill to the new and pliant House of Commons before Christmas, Johnson said it "paves the way for a new agreement on our future relationship with our European neighbours, based on an ambitious free trade agreement. This will be with no alignment on EU rules, but instead with control of our own laws, and close and friendly relations".

Downing Street's calculation is that the more it alarms Europe, the more concessions it will extract. At the same time, they want to relegate the negotiations to a lower level of priority for parliament. After all, trade talks around the world are supposed to be dull.

The EU is quite happy for the negotiations to be unexciting. It has been less than impressed by the British grandstanding over the past three-and-a-half years, the finger wagging, the rudeness, the lack of preparedness seen as symptomatic of a political culture that prizes rhetoric over hard graft and good sense.

They know that the closer the negotiations get to next autumn's deadline the more Johnson will play to Britain's Dad's Army stereotype. The fastest trade deal the EU has secured was with South Korea. That was concluded in 2009 after more than two years of often difficult talks. It took another two years to come into force.

They also know that he will have to choose between two options. It is binary. Any duty-free, quota-free deal would need to contain guarantees of a level playing field in areas such as state aid and competition, environmental and labour law and taxation.

This would go beyond requirements set in recent deals with Japan or Latin America because they are further away and less economically integrated with the EU than Britain.

If he sticks to his vision of Singapore-on-the-Thames, to his no-alignment mantra, he can. But he will then haveto face trading with the EU on WTO terms.

As it has already shown, in its dealings with Johnson and with Theresa May before him, the EU is unfazed by the threat of a breakdown in negotiations. Both sides will suffer, but it knows the UK will be hurt more.

A skeleton deal is likely to focus only on tariffs and quotas in goods. There will be little scope for agreement on services - which are far more important to the UK economy - or on regulation of data flows.

Britain sends roughly 45% of its exports to the EU. Its continued role as a global hub for multinationals - on which so much wealth has been created since the 1990s - will be undermined if it finds itself subject to border controls and tariffs in its dealing with the European continent.

Global companies have for some time been staking out Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Dublin and other cities as an alternative. Several have already moved parts of their operation, or relocated their European headquarters, there.

The area that Johnson and his aides are most confident about in their new pick-and-mix approach to cooperation is security.

It is no coincidence that he made his first trip abroad as super-charged majoritarian prime minister to Estonia, to visit British forces. They are serving as part of Nato's Enhanced Forward Presence, alongside those of France, Denmark and Estonia itself, on the Baltic state's frontline with Russia.

This is just the sort of collaboration he wants to highlight as part of the UK's "global" ambitions. He did, of course, meet Estonia's prime minister on his whistle stop visit.

It would have been rude not to. But the main aim was the photo opportunity for the folk back home, serving food to the squaddies.

Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and the other leaders will have to find a way of working with Johnson, whether through gritted teeth or more warmly than that.

They have been schooled in the art of humouring quixotic populists in their years of dealing with Donald Trump. They've learned that trying too hard doesn't work (the French president's love-in with his US counterpart on Bastille Day didn't get him anywhere), nor does the German Chancellor's icy stare.

They will be pragmatic, taking what they can, giving where they have to. The UK is already far more aligned with its EU neighbours on the key foreign policy issues of the day - climate change, Syria, Russia and China - than it is with Trump. All this marks a return to 19th century arrangements, away from the Bretton Woods dream of international organisations. It worked for 75 years, which isn't a bad run.

The future European choreography contains two paradoxes. The first is that the one partner the Germans have most in common with in Europe is the UK.

Merkel sees much more eye to eye with the Brits (alongside the Dutch and the Nordics) on economic policy than she does with the French. The second is that Merkel and Macron do not get on.

He is frustrated by her caution. She is not enamoured of his flamboyant gestures. However, they know that this relationship is pivotal to both countries.

During a dinner for British diplomats and thought leaders in Berlin earlier this year, Germany's justice minister at the time, Katarina Barley (whose father's side comes from Lincolnshire), gave this candid warning: "Even if we agree with you in the future, we will always be more distant, because family comes first and you are no longer family."

The pain is real, but they have already moved on.

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

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Will relations between the UK and EU improve in 2020? - The New European

HE’S BACK! As predicted, ‘Affluenza Teen’ spoiled brat Ethan Couch busted for drug test while out on probation for killing 4, paralyzing 1 -…

Ethan Couch, the Texas man who killed four people during a drunken car crash when he was a teen, has been arrested again, according to jail records.

ABC News reports that Couch was booked into the Tarrant County jail on Thursday. Couch reportedly tested positive for THC after mandatory drug testing, which is a direct violation of his probation. Judge Robb Catalano, in Criminal District Court No. 2, signed Couchs probation violation warrant.

How do you protect your children from predators? Join Nancy Grace and a team of world-class experts for the online course Justice Nation: Crime Stops Here.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Couch, now 22, killed four people in 2013 after a drunk driving crash off of Burleson-Retta Road in Tarrant County. Couchs blood-alcohol level on the night of the crash registered at .024.

Former Texas District Judge Jean Boyd gave Couch 10 years of probation and rehabilitation after a psychologist testified that the then-teen suffered from affluenza. The term defines a person who grew up in a wealthy environment and didnt have the same rules and consequences as the rest of society.

While testifying during Couchs trial, Psychologist G. Dick Miller coined the term affluenza and pushed for Couch to enter a drug rehabilitation program instead of jail.

Instead of the golden rule, which was do unto others as you would have them do unto you, he was taught we have the gold, we make the rules at the Couch household, Miller said, according to the Washington Post.

The light punishment sparked outrage across the country, which pushed Couch into the national media spotlight.

Slain victims of the 2013 tragedy include:

The crash also left numerous people injured, including victim Sergio Molina, who suffered a permanent brain injury and was paralyzed from the waist down.

I believe he is genuine: As 4-time killer affluenza teen prepares to walk free, a friend of one of the victims says Ethan Couch is a changed man

One of the stipulations of his probation was that Couch to abstain from drinking alcohol. Within a few years of his conviction, a video surfaced showing someone that appeared to be Couch engaging in a game of beer pong with others.

As the video quickly gained attention, Couch and his mother, Tonya Couch, snuck away from their Tarrant County home in the middle of the night and fled to Mexico. Within a few weeks, mom and son were caught in Puerto Vallarta, a Mexican resort town in Jalisco.

Upon his return to the U.S. in 2016, Couch was sentenced to serve two years behind bars. He was released last year under the stipulation that he adhere to probation rules, which, in part, indicated that he could not use alcohol or drugs.

Check back for updates.

For the latest true crime and justice news,subscribe to the Crime Stories with Nancy Grace podcast. Listen to a related episode.

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[Feature Photo: Ethan Couch/Police Handout]

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HE'S BACK! As predicted, 'Affluenza Teen' spoiled brat Ethan Couch busted for drug test while out on probation for killing 4, paralyzing 1 -...

Letter: Why Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham should recuse themselves from Trump impeachment vote – Greenville News

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Letter writer says previous statements disqualify Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham from serving as impartial jurors in the Senate impeachment trial.

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William Byars, Letter to the Editor submission Published 5:46 p.m. ET Dec. 29, 2019

Recent statements from US senators have shown a disheartening level of cynicism never before displayed by Congress members involved in impeachment proceedings.

Both Senate leader MitchMcConnell and SC Sen. LindseyGraham have made it abundantly clear they have no interest in even attempting impartiality in the Senate impeachment trial.

One way of defining impartiality is to say it is the application of Jesus' Golden Rule to any adjudication. Specifically regarding impeachment, it involves imagining how one would vote on impeachment if a president of the other party had committed the same offenses as the one who is on trial.

Openly bragging about refusing to do one's best to be impartial toward such a solemn responsibility is a display of a seriously corrupt attitude about governing. This behavior insults jurors throughout our court systems, on whom we depend to uphold the mutual trust that underpins our society.

McConnell and Graham should both be pressured heavily to recuse themselves from voting on impeachment.

William Byars


Read or Share this story: https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/opinion/2019/12/29/why-mcconnell-graham-should-recuse-themselves-trump-impeachment-vote-opinion/2755606001/

Dec. 29, 2019, 5:46 p.m.

Jan. 1, 2020, 1:15 p.m.

Dec. 29, 2019, 5:23 p.m.

Dec. 29, 2019, 5:39 p.m.

Jan. 1, 2020, 12:01 p.m.

Dec. 29, 2019, 5:18 p.m.

Continued here:

Letter: Why Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham should recuse themselves from Trump impeachment vote - Greenville News

FRANKEL: The Golden Calf of Identity Politics Must Be Destroyed. Jewish Lives Depend On It. – The Daily Wire

Generally, politicizing tragedy is a scourge that should be avoided. But sometimes, the cause of the tragedy is so obvious that it becomes impossible not to trace it back to politics.

For the last few years, parts of New York, including much of New York City, have become hotbeds of anti-Semitic attacks against Jews at random, ranging from beating Jews in the streets to throwing bricks into synagogue windows.

However, this week saw a new, unprecedented wave of anti-Semitic attacks in New York. An elderly Jew was beaten by a Latino assailant in broad daylight in Midtown Manhattan. A few days later, a homeless black attacker hit a Jewish woman in the face with a bag of groceries in front of her son. And over the weekend, multiple Jews were stabbed by an African-American attacker near a Monsey synagogue during a Hanukkah celebration.

This is horrifying, to say the least. I grew up in Monsey. To say I never thought Id see the day a tragedy such as this one would occur in my own hometown is an understatement.

But this should cause Jews, both in New York and throughout the country, to truly question who in power has their best interests in mind. And its becoming increasingly obvious that, try as they may to deny it, it is the Left that truly has no interest in helping to stop this epidemic of anti-Semitism.

To his credit, however, after the Monday attack, far-left New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted the following:

Still, leftists, even Jewish ones, pounced:

One may wonder why Jews would be upset by this. After all, it seems insane that Jews would be against the notion of protecting their own co-religionists. But the Lefts obsession with race and identity politics leads directly to this logical conclusion.

To the Left, African-Americans and Latino Americans are a perpetual victim class, no matter the progress each community makes over time. As such, leftists feel a visceral guilt about these communities and will excuse any action in which people of these ethnicities participate. And even though Jews are a minority as well, their disproportionate success in America puts them on a pedestal above other minorities, such as African-Americans and Hispanics. As such, leftists will side with the supposed oppressed group, no matter what the truth actually is.

Even The New York Timesadmitted the conundrum for progressives in fighting anti-Semitism, noting that [I]t is the varied backgrounds of people who commit hate crimes in the city that make combating and talking about anti-Semitism in New York much harder.

How else do you explain New Yorks new law abolishing bail, which clearly will lead to spikes in crime, rampant witness intimidation, and more criminals out on the streets? Or the fact that the endorsement of Rev. Al Sharpton, infamous for his role in the Crown Heights riots of the early 1990s and the 1995 Freddys Fashion Mart massacre, is a de facto gateway to qualifying for the Democratic Party presidential nomination? Or that Democrats in the House leadership have met with the anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, and none have denounced him as the racist he so clearly is?

The answer is that intersectionality and identity politics are sacred cows to the Left. It is a golden rule that the color of a perpetrators skin is always more important than the actions they take. As such, as long as the culprit is not a white supremacist, as white Christian males are on top of the intersectional totem pole, Jewish blood becomes cheap to the Left.

We as Americans cannot let this stand. The cancer to the civil society that is identity politics must end now.


FRANKEL: The Golden Calf of Identity Politics Must Be Destroyed. Jewish Lives Depend On It. - The Daily Wire

4 Retirement Planning Rules to Live By – The Motley Fool

Retirement is a pleasant prospect to look forward to, but if you go into it carelessly, you may wind up miserable and cash-strapped rather than laid-back and content. To give yourself a better chance of landing in the latter scenario rather than the former, you'll want to follow these important rules.

Ideally, you'll have amassed a sizable IRA or 401(k) balance, or both, over the course of your working years. But how much monthly or annual income will you actually be able to get on a sustainable basis from your retirement accounts?

If you don't establish a yearly withdrawal rate and see what it means in terms of your savings balance, you won't have a clear sense of the lifestyle you can afford once you stop working.

Many financial experts suggest starting your calculations with the 4% Rule, which advises people to withdraw 4% of their savings balance in their first year of retirement, with adjustments in subsequent years to account for inflation. Follow this guideline, and even if your retirement lasts for three decades, you shouldn't run out of money.

Still, some advisors think that withdrawal rate is too aggressive, especially for people who retire early or who have low-risk, bond-heavy asset allocations, in which case 2.5% or 3% may be more suitable. Others suggest that you could be cheating yourself by taking out too little at 4%. Starting off with a 5% rate can lead to success too, especially if you're willing and able to make adjustments to your lifestyle during down markets.

Either way, find a withdrawal rate you're comfortable with, apply it to your savings, and see how much income it gives you.


For example, a retirement account balance of $400,000 may seem like a lot of money, but 4% of that is just $16,000 in annual income. Keep that number in mind as you make key decisions such as where you're going to live during retirement, whether you'll work part-time, and what sort of expenses to commit yourself to.

Though Social Security helps millions of seniors keep up with their living expenses, the benefits the program provides aren't enough to live on. They'll replace about 40% of your pre-retirement income if you're an average earner, but most seniors will need around twice that amount to live comfortably.

If you're nearing retirement without much savings, it could pay to extend your career a bit to boost your nest egg, and also, to allow you to hold off on claiming your benefits for as long as possible. For each year you delay filing for Social Security past your full retirement age (up until age 70), you'll boost the size of your monthly benefit payment by 8%.

Many seniors are shocked to learn the degree to which they're still on the hook for taxes in retirement. But if you've housed your investments in a Traditional IRA or 401(k), and not a Roth version of those accounts, then you'll pay taxes any time you take withdrawals from them. You'll also pay capital gains taxes on profits you take from stocks in traditional brokerage accounts, not to mention taxes on interest income, or earnings from any part-time job you take. And if you're a moderate earner or higher, expect to pay federal taxes on your Social Security benefits. State taxes may apply to those benefits, too, depending on where you live.

Retirees are 40% more likely than the still-employed to fall victim to depression, and much of that comes down to being bored. Rather than risk that fate, long before you leave the workforce, start developing up with a plan for how you'll spend your days, and make sure it's a reasonable one given your anticipated retirement income. For example, if you're looking at about $20,000 a year in Social Security income and another $20,000 from your investments, you may have a reasonably easy time paying your bills, but you probably won't have enough money to travel every other month. Make sure your ideas align with your financial circumstances, and if they don't, think up lower-cost alternatives.

Retirement can be a rewarding but challenging period of life. Follow these rules when you're planning for it, and you'll be less likely to get caught off guard by your situation when your golden years roll around.

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4 Retirement Planning Rules to Live By - The Motley Fool

Techilicious with Rajiv Makhni: How to have a healthier relationship with your mobile phone this ye… – Hindustan Times

In 2017, I wrote a column called Phone Slaves. I based it on research done at that time on what phone addiction was doing to us. I asked the question, Do you own your phone or does your phone own you? I quoted statistics from the study, including how 58 per cent of us use our phones while using the toilet (!), and 81 per cent check our phones during a wedding ceremony, while making out (!) and at a funeral! I gave solid tips on how to restrict this and wrestle some phone-life balance in your life. I thought there was enough shocking evidence in all of that to make a difference. I was wrong!

The New Study

Recently, an even bigger and more extensive study was done by smartphone maker Vivo and CMR that threw up even more frightening statistics. I posted some of those numbers on social media.

Im going to turn that study into a quiz that you must take honestly. Im also going to give you the stats from the Vivo/CMR study. Tell me where you stand (see below).

The hand-on-my heart quiz

1. How many hours a day do you think you use your phone? (An average Indian spends over 1,800 hours a year on their smartphone. Five hours a day!)

2. Can you spend five minutes having a conversation with friends/family without checking your phone? (A third of the respondents felt they cannot.)

3. How many minutes from the time you wake up to the time you grab your phone? (More than 50 per cent couldnt resist checking their phone within five to 15 minutes)

4. What do you do most on your phone? (Messaging and social media. WhatsApp closely followed by Facebook and Instagram.)

5. Whats your main trigger to keep checking messages/social media? (Seventy-six per cent check photos and videos/check how many likes and comments their posts got.)

6. Do you...

Feel compelled to constantly check your smartphone? (About 42 per cent do.)

Feel isolated if your phone isnt with you? (About 39 per cent do.)

Feel nervous if you run out of battery or leave your phone at home? (About 34 per cent do.)

7. Can you...

Survive without your phone for more than four hours? (Sixty per cent said they couldnt.)

Switch off the phone for over 24 hours (Never, said 96 per cent.)

Switch off from social media (Impossible, said 66 per cent, due to not getting updates or fear of missing out,)

How did you fare? Most people I ran this quiz by did much worse than even the study. The smartphone is the greatest communication tool of all time. Lets make sure we use it and not get used by it.

Here are things you can do right away to have a massive impact.

Dont do a digital detox and abandon your phone completely. That makes it much worse since youll obsess and fret.

Use a phone usage monitoring app that tells you the total time you used your phone, number of times it was unlocked and minutes spent on each app with a real time ticking clock.

Dont charge your phone in your room. When you dont see it, your need to check it reduces dramatically.

Ban phones any time the family or more than two people are together. Ban it from meals, the dining table and any family time.

Put all your social media apps, messaging app or any app that has a counter on it in a folder on the last screen. That short circuits your need for constant checking.

Allocate a total screen time for everyone in the family per day (two hours is the golden rule). Stick to it yourself to set an example.

Check yourself before you check your phone. As you reach for your phone, ask yourself: am I expecting something earth- shatteringly urgent? The answer is usually no. Put the phone back.

Sounds tough. But it isnt. Youll be shocked by what you get in return. Actual, real, meaningful time spent with real human beings.

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

Techilicious appears every fortnight

From HT Brunch, January 5, 2020

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Techilicious with Rajiv Makhni: How to have a healthier relationship with your mobile phone this ye... - Hindustan Times

What To Wear In January: 5 Failsafe Outfits – FashionBeans

While the festive period does have its upsides (admittedly mostly food and booze-related), it also has a tendency to leave us all feeling a little sartorially sapped come 1 January. When youve spent the past month flitting between questionable novelty jumpers, cocktail attire and literally anything with an elasticated waistband in the days following Christmas, its easy to forget how to dress like a normal person.

What did you actually wear on a daily basis before all of the December madness? Our advice would be not to dwell on that, because while January may not be anyones favourite month, it is a time for reinvention and self-betterment. Yes, that often comes in the form of talking yourself into buying a reusable coffee cup or actually considering going to a spin class, but it can involve your wardrobe, too.

January is the best time of the year to play with some new looks and with that in mind weve pulled together a few failsafe, winter-friendly options to get your wardrobe mojo back. From tactile tailoring to stylish gym gear, heres what you should be wearing to kickstart the new year in style.

Wed all rather be sipping pina coladas on a beach in the Maldives than donning four layers just to step out of the front door, but sometimes in life youve got to take the rough with the smooth. In this case, literally.

Textured layering is what winter style is all about, but while most men have mastered the art of incorporating it into their casual wardrobes, tactile tailoring is often cause for confusion.

Our advice would be to keep things relaxed. For example, an unstructured blazer, sans shoulder pads, is always going to look better in a thick, textured fabric as opposed to thin plain wool. Textured tailoring is more casual by definition so keep the rest of your outfit in line. Think suede shoes over leather, a more varied colour palette than simply grey, navy or black, and some nice heavy knitwear to finish things off.

Even if the closest youre going to get to any sort of Alpine activity this January is taking the dog out for a spin around the park, theres comfort in knowing that your clothes are equipped to deal with whatever the elements can throw at them.

In one of our favourite developments in modern menswear, functional gear is now fashionable, meaning you can get kitted out in practical, outdoorsy garb and not come off looking like Bill Oddie.

Layering is key to keeping warm and dry, so combine a waterproof shell with an insulated mid-layer for best results. Down is great for the latter thanks to its unrivalled warmth-to-weight ratio. For full protection, throw in a pair of Gore-Tex sneakers, too. Theyre a big footwear trend as we head into the new year and will keep your feet dry in all those January downpours well definitely be getting.

You probably think January is all pouring rain, biting cold and soul-crushing greyness, and youd be right. However, for that very reason its also the perfect time to shop for a new big coat, which is never a bad thing.

Its tempting to reach for something simple and understated, but veering out of your comfort zone and investing in a statement piece can be a good way to inject a touch of fun into a time of the year that is typically anything but.

From bold, block colours to tastefully eye-catching prints, a big coat with personality should be top of every style-savvy mans January sale shopping list. How you wear it will largely depend on the type of coat, but the golden rule when playing with any sort of statement piece remains the same: let the loudest garment do the talking while keeping everything else nice and subtle.

From thick, duck-canvas chore coats to heavy Japanese denim, classic workwear was built with warmth and durability in mind. Its not technical, its not refined, but it does what it says on the tin and looks damn good while doing it.

The key to nailing it in winter is all down to layering. Four layers is a good number to aim for, including outerwear, to really create a sense of depth. Think T-shirt or long-sleeve, a fishermans knit or crew-neck, a gilet or overshirt and a chore coat to top things off.

For the bottom half, stick to quality denim, preferably selvedge, and some sturdy leather boots. Accessorise with a fisherman beanie and a casual, everyday timepiece.

Heaving your bloated carcass off the sofa and back into the gym after Christmas and New Year is never easy, but investing in some top-tier athletic gear can act as a bit of an incentive to get back on it.

Things like gym tights, compression tops, running gloves and and a hi-vis windbreaker are winter training essentials that will make that initial frigid jog or gym session just that little bit less painful.

In our experience, brands like Under Armour, Nike and New Balance are making some of the best and most reliable gear out there. However, for those keen to tighten the purse strings after a month of rampant spending, Uniqlo also has a very respectable range of workout clobber at prices that wont clear you out even further.

Go here to read the rest:

What To Wear In January: 5 Failsafe Outfits - FashionBeans

Senators who cant be impartial on impeachment should recuse – cleveland.com

If theres one thing most Americans have in common, its fairness. Fairness is really, Doing unto to others as you would have them do unto you. The Golden Rule.

However, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, we are now engaged in a great societal Civil War, testing American fairness. Was the Impeachment process fair?

No, say Trumpists, no witnesses against the Bidens were called to testify. But then it wasnt Joe Biden or his son that were being impeached, and even if they had committed some kind of crime (no proof of that has ever been found just unfair allegations besmirching their good names), it would not change what President Donald Trump did in what is now the most famous attempted and documented quid pro quo in history.

So, despite the Impeachment brought in accordance with our Constitution, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in preparing for a trial, is working with the defense team to prepare for it -- as if the foreman of a jury and some jurors can work with a defendant and be fair. Such jurors would be dismissed by any judge.

In fairness, no senator of either party who has already reached a verdict should sit as a juror in the trial. Its the American way.

Mel Maurer,


Read more here:

Senators who cant be impartial on impeachment should recuse - cleveland.com

Children can make their own resolutions. Keep them simple and fun – Chicago Daily Herald

The new year signals a time when most of us pause and consider ways to improve ourselves with lofty intentions for the coming year. This year, we enter a fresh decade whose very time stamp -- 2020 -- conjures exciting, futuristic possibilities for resolutions and change.

With children in mind, the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages families to imagine together how to live a healthier life in the coming year. The AAP offers suggestions for children of all ages, recognizing that goals to develop lifelong habits must start with small steps -- such as cleaning up toys, brushing teeth regularly or making a new friend.

"It's a great moment to step back and look at the big picture," said Dr. Shelly Vaziri-Flais, a Naperville pediatrician who talks to her own children about the "Golden Rule" of treating others as you want to be treated. "Even for a 7- or 8-year-old, it's not too early to teach them to take a moment, step back and reflect and realize that, in relationships, you get what you put into it. If you are a good friend, you will have good friends. And that goes for siblings, too."

For the new year, Vaziri-Flais encourages families to resolve to put away the electronics before bed and read a story together every night, even if it takes only five or 10 minutes or you pick up a graphic novel rather than a traditional book. Reading helps children develop empathy as they put themselves in the mind of the book character, she said. The simple act of reading together builds warm relationships and can become a cherished wind-down activity before bed.

From as early as preschool, children can make resolutions such as learning how to help clear the table after eating, picking up their toys or letting a parent help them brush teeth. Or perhaps a child pledges to be friendly to all animals. Parents can also encourage small children to make a resolution to talk with them or another trusted adult whenever they need help or are scared.

Older children, between ages and 5 and 12, may consider finding a sport or physical activity that they enjoy and commit to doing it at least three times a week. They could resolve to wear the right protective gear, such as a helmet when riding a bike, skateboard or scooter.

"Whether it's reading or physical activity, keep it fun," said Vaziri-Flais, who encourages parents and children to cook together, too. "Healthy eating, too. Make it fun. If you mix it up, hopefully they'll become interested in trying new things."

Other resolutions for school-age children may be:

I will keep my personal info safe and not share my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the internet. Also, I'll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without asking my parent if it is OK.

I will try to talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I have a problem or feel stressed.

I'll do my best to follow our household rules for video games and internet use.

Preteens and teens might resolve to drink soda only on special occasions, and to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables a day.

Teens could consider choosing educational, high-quality and nonviolent TV shows and video games that they enjoy and spending only one to two hours per day on these activities. Young people can be encouraged to volunteer in the community.

Other potential resolutions for teens:

When feeling angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find helpful ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or talking about my problem with a parent or friend.

When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about choices with an adult whom I can trust.

When I notice my friends are struggling, being bullied or making risky choices, I will look for a trusted adult so that we can attempt to find a way to help.

I will be careful about whom I choose to date.

I will treat the other person with respect and not force them to do something they do not want to do. I will not use violence. I will expect to be treated the same way in return.

I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco-cigarettes, drugs or alcohol. I will also avoid the use of e-cigarettes.

I agree not to use a cellphone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.

While it might be tempted to give up after resolutions are broken, Vaziri-Flais encourages families to keep up the momentum and not be too hard on themselves. For instance, "if you don't hit your goal of reading together for 15 minutes a night you make it to 8, that's OK," Vaziri-Flais said. "It's better than zero."

AAP offers more on New Year's resolutions at its website for parents, HealthyChildren.org. Go to: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/Pages/Healthy-New-Years-Resolutions-for-Kids.aspx.

Children's health is a continuing series. This week's article is courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics. To check out more information, please visit HealthyChildren.org.

More here:

Children can make their own resolutions. Keep them simple and fun - Chicago Daily Herald

OMG, I Want to Rent This House: Barbados – The Daily Beast

OMG, I Want to Rent This House spotlights the most spectacular and unique homes that you can actually stay in. From open-air villas to an adult treehouse, we explore all the places that you should book for an unforgettable getaway.

Atelier Villa Barbados, Barbados on Vrbo: You've made it through the year, survived the long, crazy decade, and even weathered the holidays with your weird uncle Joe. You owe it to yourself to ring in the new year in styleand, by style, we mean a mansion of ones own in paradise.

This not-so-modest chateau named the Atelier proudly takes its place among the premier properties in the Barbados neighborhood known as the Platinum Coast. This island in the West Indies is the refuge of many a billionaire, and many of those live in this aptly nicknamed enclave on the western coast overlooking the cerulean waters of the Caribbean Sea.

But before you and your dwindling bank account (it is gifting season, after all) get intimidated by the potential of filthy-rich neighbors, rest assured that rather than shelling out $3.6 million for the Atelier, which is currently on the market, you can pay a more reasonable four figures a night to live like the lap of luxury is the only lifestyle you've ever known. (After all, every successful mogul knows the golden rule is fake it til you make it.)

Built in 2012 by the London architect Alistair Downie, who has worked extensively on the island, Atelier has embraced its coastal location with an entry path lined with palm trees that leads to a modern mansion that is all double-decker spaces, gorgeous natural views framed by walls of glass, and so many terraces. Were talking nearly 1,000 square feet of outdoor sitting space from which to engage in that most historic of vacation activities: vegetating.

Atelier sits atop a ridge, but it is never more than a few minutes from a beach, the closest of which is the sought-after sandy shores at Reeds Bay only a 10-minute walk away. (Please be advised, the return trip is uphill and takes double the time. While staff including a housekeeper, laundress, and cook are all included in your stay, a sherpa for your beach gear is not.)

But if going places on your own two feet did not make it into your vision for your dream holiday, never fear. Just consider the Atelier your personal doomsday bunker and contain your limited movements to within its very luxurious walls. On your property, you not only have the usual vacation amenities (four bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, and divine living and dining areas clad in an aesthetic that the home's owner-cum-interior designer calls tropical modern), but it also features what can only be described as a natural paradise within this island paradise.

First in the check-list of how to create a Utopia is the scenery. Usually when you have a house on a ridge with a view, you have other properties in your periphery. But Atelier is perched on the edge of a gully that drops down about 50 or 60 feet, with unobstructed, panoramic views of the ocean and lush tropical greenery, the homes agent Chris Parra told Mansion Global.

Residents of Atelier not only can enjoy the views afforded by the environmentally protected gully that sits between the property and the beach that is filled with mahogany trees, monkeys, and frogs, but they can also wander the half-acre garden on the property that has been filled with plants indigenous to the island. Most importantly, it is also a protected spaceprotected for your private enjoyment.

When you're done playing Eve in the Garden of Eden, there are the less natural, but no less divine environs to take advantage of. Were talking about the pool (infinity, naturally) and the roof-top terrace where you can eat some chef-prepared delicacies and lounge your preciously empty days away.

After the excess of the holidays, it can be hard to justify fresh expenses, even modest ones like a new mansion. But after the rollercoaster of the 2010s, youve earned a break, as long as you make it a rental. Just remember: act like youre the Billionaire Queen of the Barbados and nobody will know the difference.

Book Your Stay: Atelier Villa Barbados in Barbados: $3,370/night via Vrbo

Read more here:

OMG, I Want to Rent This House: Barbados - The Daily Beast

Heres how to make space for the new stuff this holiday – KTAR.com

(Pixabay Photo)

We are a society built on stuff.Many of us are lured by the call of the wild SALE! SALE! SALE! Some of us are fashionistas and must have the latest trends. Others are techno junkies and need the latest and greatest gadgets.Some of us simply cant remember where we put things. So, we bring more stuff into our homes stuffing our closets and drawers.

Decluttering and staying organized is similar to losing weight and keeping the weight off,saiddeclutter coach and professional organizer,Rachel Winter,founder andowner,Happy Home Organizers, LLC.Its all about healthy habits and lifestyle. You can put in all of the hard work with exercising and eating well, but if you dont maintain your efforts after you have reached your goal weight, the pounds will slowly begin to creep back, and youll be back where you started.

(Shutterstock Photo)

The One In, One Out Rule will help keep your home organized. Its one of the Golden Rules professional organizers live by. Every time a new item comes into your home, a similar item must leave. For example, for every new shirt that comes in, an old one comes out. New purse? Bag an old one. New pair of shoes? Give a pair their walking papers.

Organizing is one giant puzzle. Each item is a puzzle piece, Winter said. The one in, one out rule is basically stuff equilibrium.

Winter organized the home of Leza, whose story and Tucson house were profiled on an episode of A&Es Hoarders, Season 9, episode 3. She teachers her clients to live by 3 Golden Rules in staying organized:

Rule 1. Home for Every ItemRule 2. Like with LikeRule 3. One In, One Out

My organizing-ism is your stuff has to fit your space, she said. Its okay to bring in something new. But where is it going to live? If you are already tripping over things, where is the new stuff going fit?

Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase a place for everything and everything in its place. That is the goal, the mantra of professional organizers. That is why people hire them to create a system of order.

When looking at your stuff, ask yourself, do you use it, wear it, love it? If not, why are you keeping it? It can be a struggle to get rid of things, especially if they hold sentimental value.

Among the items Winter tends to see a lot of that generally do not have sentimental value is batteries scattered throughout her clients homes. This is an impulse buy. One of those things people forget they have . . . because they dont know where they are.

One of her clients had 34 nail clippers!

(Shutterstock Photo)

Clothes, Shoes and Accessories We all need new clothes and shoes every now and then. With most garments, if you havent worn it in a year, donate it.

Makeup and Toiletries Use them up and throw away expired make up and perfume/cologne that has turned. As for the free make-up bags, use them to store. . . batteries.

Magazines & Books Read and recycle. Better yet, subscribe to the digital versions.

CDs & Videos Do you even have a VCR anymore? A lot of folks have ditched their DVD and CD players for streaming. Clean out the entertainment center and take the videos and CDs to a resale shop. At least you can get a few bucks for them.

Linens January White Sale! Skip it. If you have plenty of good linens and towels, donate the worn-out ones to an animal shelter.

Candles Unless you live off the grid, are a dozen partially used candles necessary? Melt and consolidate them. Take the wick out when the wax is melted down to liquid. Add it to another jar if its not completely burned to the end. Clean and recycle the empty jars.

Food & Spices Bulk buying can be tempting. Be creative with recipes and use what you have.

Drinkware Have a mug from every city you visit? More tumblers from sporting events than there are athletes? Stop traveling and going out (just kidding). Donate.

Dishes Unless these have sentimental value, such as your grandmothers china set or you entertain a lot for very large groups of people, you probably dont need three, four or five sets of dinnerware.

Cookware Invest in pull-out shelves so you can easily see what you have.

Tools & Extra Materials Keep your garage and workshop organized so you dont have to run to the hardware store for another special hammer, drill bit or screws because you cant find what you already have. Donate tools, extra lumber, or other materials to high schools that have a construction Continuing Education Program (CTE). You may even get a tax donation letter. Call 1-800-352-4558 to find a school in your area.

(Shutterstock Photo)

When you ignore the rule, it just becomes one thing in, one thing in and it becomes overwhelming. The bottom line, according to Winter, is that you can keep whatever you want as long as it fits in the house and it has a devoted home.

Abide by the rule. Keep clutter under control and stop wasting your money on say, nail clippers and batteries.

Call Happy Home Organizers, mention Rosie and get $50 off a minimum of five hours of home organization.

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Heres how to make space for the new stuff this holiday - KTAR.com

SHERRY MULLEY MACDONALD: A wish for the new year – Cape Breton Post

From the time I was a young child my parents impressed upon me the importance of being kind and showing respect to others.

Unfortunately, now more than ever, we are witness to or hear stories of people being anything but kind.

I have to be in Sydney on Mondays each week and while there, I often take advantage of the opportunity to do a little shopping. Recently I was picking up a few groceries.

The young girl that was ringing me in was obviously in training. She made a mistake on the register and had to call for assistance. The woman who answered the cashiers call for help arrived quickly.

The cashier was trying to explain to her supervisor what she had done. The person charged to help address the situation was obviously annoyed and spoke to the young cashier in a manner that I felt was disrespectful. I could see the cashier was getting upset by the tone in the supervisor's voice.

I felt uncomfortable listening to how the young cashier was being spoken to and I felt bad for how she was made to feel. The cashier apologized to me for the inconvenience, I assured her everything was fine, it was not a problem.

My husband Ed was with me that day and was waiting in the car. He was not witness to what had happened. I began telling him the story about the young cashier and how she was spoken to. He agreed it was a very unfortunate thing for me to have witnessed and for the young cashier to have experienced.

We discussed how it seems that some people these days are just so quick to anger and how they lack the ability to show compassion and understanding.

Ed shared with me a story he had heard on the news about a young woman who worked as a politician in the U.K. She was doing great work for her constituents and by all accounts seemed to love her job. Unfortunately, according to the report, she became the target of a hate-filled campaign that had people on social media calling her all sorts of inappropriate things. The hate-filled messages went beyond just wishing ill will on the politician, they were targeting her small children as well. Unwilling to accept any further criticism, the young politician resigned from her position.

Unfortunately, now more than ever, we are witness to or hear stories of people being anything but kind.

I am not one for social media, I dont have a personal Facebook account. I am not a member of Twitter or Instagram.

As a business owner and journalist, I can only assume that somewhere in the stratosphere exists criticism aimed directly at me as well. I choose not to go looking for it.

The question remains, what makes people think they have the right to be unkind to others?

Whether that be face to face, as with the young cashier, or via social media.

Have people forgotten the Golden Rule?

I truly believe to be happy in this world we need to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Whether an individual's values are based in Christianity or not, extending the right hand of fellowship is not that difficult. Exercising patience and understanding is easy for those of us who choose to live a life of kindness and understanding.

Without question, a large majority of the population displays kindness on a daily basis, especially here in Cape Breton. Islanders are known for their generosity and willingness to offer help where it is needed. Unfortunately, it is most often the actions of the unkind that get the most attention.

My wish for the new year is that we try a little harder to treat each other with respect. Try not to be so quick to react to the person who cuts you off at the intersection. If the lineup at the bank or grocery store is longer than you would like it to be, rather than complain, spend the time in polite conversation with the person in line next to you. If your boss is being extra demanding remember that they are people too. We never know what is going on in the lives of others.

The opportunity to show kindness exists all around us. The next time you have the chance to say or do something nice for someone please take advantage of it, you will be glad you did.

Sherry Mulley MacDonald is an author and freelance journalist. She is a lifelong resident of the Northside with an affection for the community in which she lives. If you or someone you know has an interesting story to tell contact sherrymulleymacdonald@hotmail.com.

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SHERRY MULLEY MACDONALD: A wish for the new year - Cape Breton Post