The dates and names change – but very often, the issues do not.
“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion about the means,” wrote Benjamin Franklin. “I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”
It seems Franklin would approve of Florida’s approach to helping others”
1. Florida Helps, Then Gets Out of the Way
Casey DeSantis writes in the Wall Street Journal:
As Florida’s first lady, and a mom with three small children, I’ve poured my heart and soul into finding better ways to help our state’s struggling parents and their children. I also understand government’s role must be limited, accountable and nonexclusive. Instead of creating more bloated bureaucracies, we must unite communities and work together to put parents and their children on a path to prosperity.
To learn how to maximize community collaboration outside government, I traveled our state and held roundtables with our faith-based communities, nonprofits, businesses and state and local government partners. I saw the passion of Floridians spending their time and treasure helping others. But unfortunately, many were working in silos.
To eliminate these silos, I’ve spearheaded “Hope Florida, a Pathway to Prosperity.” This innovative initiative seeks to maximize collaboration among our public and private sectors to help families. We want all hands on deck.
Within Florida’s Department of Children and Families, we’ve turned state employees into “Hope Navigators.” These employees, who once processed government payments within “the system,” now help parents identify barriers to their family’s prosperity, map out individualized plans, and make sure that the best nonprofit and private resources are a key part of the solution.
Additionally, for the first time in Florida, we identified a scalable way to activate the state’s faith and community-based organizations to meet the immediate needs of citizens who might otherwise rely on government. Through our CarePortal technology, Hope Navigators identify the needs of struggling Floridians and enter that information into a computer-based network. This allows nongovernment organizations, especially our communities of faith, to respond quickly.
CarePortal requests are typically entered and fulfilled only once. Why? We’ve found that once local community organizations learn of struggling moms, dads and their children, neighbors won’t let that family go hungry or homeless again.
2. How worried should we be about the mental health of tween girls?
From the Los Angeles Times:
Are today’s tween girls really more miserable than ever?
It sure seems like it.
By all indications, the incidence of depression and anxiety among all children has surged dramatically. In December, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned that the country is facing a youth mental health crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic. This followed the declaration of a national mental health emergency by the country’s leading experts in pediatric health, particularly among the most vulnerable — LGBTQ kids, disabled kids, Black, brown and Indigenous kids, and kids involved in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems.
This week, a psychologist suggested in a Washington Post essay that middle school girls are having the hardest time of all, especially since the pandemic.
“There is no shortage of possible causes,” wrote Jelena Kecmanovic, founding director of Arlington/DC Behavior Therapy Institute. “Overparenting, screens and social media, cutthroat academic and sports competition, political acrimony, social injustice, climate concerns, gun violence and virtual learning among others.”
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that emergency department visits resulting from suspected suicide attempts by girls age 12 to 17 had leaped by 26% in 2020 and by more than 50% in 2021 compared with 2019. The suspected attempted suicide rate for boys in that age group remained stable.
3. Texas megachurch with 14K members votes to leave UMC amid homosexuality schism
From the Christian Post:
A Texas megachurch has voted to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church due to the mainline Protestant denomination’s ongoing debate over homosexuality as over 200 churches in the Lone Star State are considering disaffiliation.
The Woodlands Methodist Church, a congregation with approximately 14,200 members located in Woodlands, Texas, voted on Sunday to leave the UMC Texas Annual Conference.
According to an announcement from the church, about 3,000 members gathered at the church on Sunday and about 2,678 members — or 96.3% of those voting — supported disaffiliation.
Senior Pastor Mark Sorensen posted a video on the church’s website saying that the vote affirmed that “we are united in one vision and one clear mission.”
“We are ready to move on past the division and the differences that have been an ongoing distraction in our denomination for far too long,” said Sorensen. “Remember, we are changing to stay the same. With this vote, we are preserving the ministry that we know and love.”
- Judge Rules Visa Must Face Child Pornography Lawsuit
From the Daily Citizen:
A judge ruled that Visa must face a civil lawsuit targeting the company for profiting from child pornography and sex trafficking.
U.S. Central District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney said that Visa was directly connected with MindGeek, a privately held Canadian company that runs Pornhub and other pornography video sharing services.
Carney wrote, “It is simple: Visa made the decision to continue to recognize MindGeek as a merchant, despite its alleged knowledge that MindGeek monetized child porn.”
The suit began in June 2021, as Serena Fleites and thirty-three other women alleged that MindGeek “knowingly benefit[s] from a sex trafficking venture by benefitting financially” and that many of the videos posted on its websites “depicted underage victims and victims of assault.”
- Nearly 8 In 10 Americans Believe U.S. Has A Two-Tiered Justice System: Survey
From the Daily Wire:
Nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe that there is a two-tiered system of justice in the United States, according to a new poll.
The “National Issues Survey” of more than 1,000 likely 2022 general election voters, conducted between July 24-28 by the Trafalgar Group in partnership with Convention of States Action, found that 79.3% of Americans believe that the United States has a two-tiered justice system, with one set of laws for political insiders and another for average Americans. Notably, large majorities in both parties agreed with the idea.
The survey asked respondents: “What is your opinion of the current state of the American justice system?” Nearly 8 in 10 Americans, 79.3%, responded that “[t]here are two tiers of justice in the American justice system: one set of laws for politicians and Washington D.C. insiders vs. one set of laws for everyday Americans.” Just 11.6% of respondents answered that “there is one system of justice with laws applied to all Americans equally.” Another 9.1% of American were unsure.
Breaking the results down by party, the survey found that strong majorities of both parties, and independents, believed in a two-tiered justice system.
- Biden signs burn pit legislation into law, expanding health care benefits for veterans
From CBS News:
President Biden on Wednesday signed into law legislation that expands health care benefits for veterans who developed illnesses because of their exposure to toxic substances from burn pits on U.S. military bases during their service.
The bill, called the PACT Act and named for Sgt. First Class Heath Robinson, is the largest expansion of health care benefits for veterans exposed to toxins in more than 30 years. It’s expected to extend eligibility for medical care to roughly 3.5 million veterans potentially impacted by toxic exposure.
“The PACT Act is the least we can do for the countless men and women, many of whom may be in this room for all I know, who suffered toxic exposure while serving their country,” Mr. Biden said in remarks before signing the bill. “This new law matters. It matters a lot.”
The president pledged the Department of Veterans Affairs will move “as quickly as possible” in processing and resolving claims from veterans seeking care.
- Snapchat Introduces Parental Controls Through New ‘Family Center’ Feature
From Tech Crunch:
Snapchat today is rolling out its first set of parental controls, after announcing last October it was developing tools that would allow parents to gain better visibility into how their teens used the social networking app. The update follows the launches of similar parental control features across other apps favored by teens, including Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.
To use the new feature, known as Family Center, parents or guardians will need to install the Snapchat app on their own device in order to link their account to their teens through an opt-in invite process.
Once configured, parents will be able to see which accounts the teen is having conversations with on the app over the past seven days, without being able to view the content of those messages. They’ll also be able to view the teen’s friend list and report potential abuse to Snap’s Trust & Safety team for review. These are essentially the same features TechCrunch reported earlier this year were in development.
- Polio vaccine boosters are offered to London children as the virus spreads
Children ages 1-9 in London were made eligible for booster doses of a polio vaccine Wednesday after British health authorities reported finding evidence the virus has spread in multiple areas of the city but found no cases of the paralytic disease in people.
Britain’s Health Security Agency said it detected viruses derived from the oral polio vaccine in the sewage water of eight London boroughs. The agency’s analysis of the virus samples suggested “transmission has gone beyond a close network of a few individuals.”
The agency said it had not located anyone infected with the virus and that the risk to the wider population was low. The decision to offer young children boosters was a precaution, it said.
“This will ensure a high level of protection from paralysis and help reduce further spread,” the agency said.
9. Congresswoman remembered for a life of Christian service
From World Magazine:
Dean Swihart and Jackie Walorski were on their first date at a 4-H fair in Indiana when he asked her an unusual first-date question: Would she ever consider selling her belongings and moving overseas as a missionary? She said yes.
It was 1994, and when Dean asked Jackie to marry him, she said yes again. The couple married the next year. Four years later, Jackie’s older brother, David Walorski, vividly remembers them pulling up to his house in their red Corvette and announcing their departure for Romania. They left their careers—Swihart as a high school music teacher and Walorski as a university fundraiser—sold their car, and headed overseas.
Walorski’s sense of calling eventually led her back to the United States and into the halls of Congress. Her life unexpectedly ended on Aug. 3 at 12:30 p.m. when the car she was riding in swerved across the centerline of an Indiana state highway and collided with another vehicle. She and two staffers—Zachery Potts, 27, of Mishawaka, and Emma Thompson, 28, of Washington, D.C.—died in the resulting crash, along with the other driver, Edith Schmucker, 56, of Nappanee, Ind.
Friends and colleagues WORLD spoke with remembered Walorski as a passionate advocate for life—from tending children in the villages of Romania to fighting for the unborn in Washington, D.C. Walorski’s approach to politics mirrored her work in Romania. She saw her role representing her Indiana district as a new mission field and applied a similar emphasis on Christian service, meeting tangible needs and advocating for children and families.
10.Little Leaguer Beaned by Pitch Comforts Distraught Pitcher
From the Daily Citizen:
The legendary major league baseball Hall of Famer, Henry “Hank” Aaron, once said, “In playing ball, and in life, a person occasionally gets the opportunity to do something great. When that time comes, only two things matter: being prepared to seize the moment and having the courage to take your best swing.”
If that sentiment is accurate – and few would dispute it – then two Little League competitors in a tournament game in Waco, Texas, recently lived up to Aaron’s observation by seizing an opportunity to teach the world how to treat one another in difficult circumstances.
Kaiden “Bubs” Shelton was the young pitcher on the mound for the team from Pearland, Texas, facing off against Isaiah “Zay” Jarvis of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the regional match that would determine which team would advance to Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the Little League World Series. It was one of those “win or go home” games.
Shelton and Jarvis had just met a couple days before their big game and had become instant friends, despite being on rival teams.