A number of Black Friday-associated fights have broken out across the nation during one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with police having to break up brawls and open fire on suspects, and the Twitter hashtag #WalmartFights is tracking a number of the incidents.
A suspected shoplifter was shot in the arm on Thursday night after dragging an officer through a Kohl's parking lot in Romeoville, Ill., The Chicago Tribune reported, which apparently caused a "spectacle" but did not halt the shopping at the department store.
Police were responding to an alert of a theft in progress at the store, when they saw two suspects bringing a shopping cart out of the store. When an officer approached one of the suspects, the man got in his car and closed the door, trapping the officer's arm. The man then proceeded to drive away, dragging the officer with the vehicle, the report said, which led to another officer opening fire and shooting the driver in the arm. A total of three suspects were arrested in the incident. more >>
This year, the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving, a coincidence that last happened in 1888 and will not occur again for 79,043 years, according to Jewish sources. Jews and Christians agree that "Thanksgivukkah" is not a contradiction but a fortuitous connection between holidays that both celebrate thankfulness to God and religious freedom.
"AJC has not conducted a formal study, but my general sense is that I don't think anyone is stressed about Chanukah overlapping with Thanksgiving," Michael Schmidt, New York City director for the American Jewish Committee (AJC), told The Christian Post in an interview on Wednesday. "I think people are sort of playful about it, as shown in the term 'Thanksgivukkah.'"
Schmidt emphasized the thematic connection between the two holidays. "Hanukkah this year, which celebrates the revolt of Judas Maccabeus for religious freedom, very nicely aligns with the holiday of Thanksgiving, where the Pilgrims celebrated religious freedom," he said. more >>
Among the millions of families celebrating Thanksgiving this week are many Native Americans who see it as a time to come together and give thanks, but some are reminding their fellow citizens that there is very little understanding of indigenous peoples' history in the U.S., and that the path to reconciliation is still a long one to walk.
"It feels like our Native community is an old grandmother, who has a very large and very beautiful house. And years ago, some people came into our house, and locked us upstairs in the bedroom. Today, our house is full of people. They are sitting on our furniture, they are eating our food, they are having a party in our house. They've even come upstairs and unlocked the door to our bedroom, but it's much later, and we're tired, we're old, we're weak, we're sick, and so we can't, or we don't come out," reflects Mark Charles, a speaker and writer located on the Navajo Reservation in Fort Defiance, Ariz., in a video posted earlier this year titled "Being Native American in the US."
"But the thing that is most painful, is that virtually no one comes upstairs to find the grandmother in the bedroom. Nobody sits down next to us on the bed, and simply says: 'Thank you. Thank you, for letting us be in your house.'" more >>
Who were the Pilgrims that we remember every Thanksgiving? What factors led them to leave behind their lives in England and Holland? To what extent do the religious freedom motives that many in our country assign them actually factor into their motives to start the Plymouth colony? Answering these questions is the heart of Wheaton history professor's Tracy McKenzie's latest book, "The First Thanksgiving," where he attempts to set the record straight about our country's beloved, and at times misunderstood, holiday.
Interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Can you take us through some of the ways that the Pilgrims defy or exceed the expectations that we have historically put on them? more >>
A Florida Christian school has given a 12-year-old student a week decide to cut her hair or leave the school.
After Vanessa VanDyke reported that she had been bullied by classmates for her hair, the Orlando-based Faith Christian Academy (FCA) told the middle schooler that she could not keep it as is.
VanDyke, who has been attending FCA since she was eight, has no intention or desire to modify her hair to fit her school's wishes. more >>
In 2008, under the leadership of Governor Bobby Jindal, Louisiana launched an educational scholarship program in New Orleans. The Louisiana Scholarship Program, similar to Alabama's new scholarship program created by the Accountability Act, is designed to provide low-income students zoned for underperforming schools with opportunities to attend qualified private schools within the State. In 2012, Governor Jindal prioritized expansion of the program that is now available to students anywhere in the State. Over 5,000 students took advantage of the program in its first year.
In August, the U.S. Department of Justice petitioned a federal court to block the distribution of scholarships in Louisiana school districts that are restricted by desegregation orders. Out of Louisiana's 69 school districts, 34 are still operating under desegregation orders put in place during the Civil Rights Era. These decades-old orders evolved from lawsuits over segregation in public schools and require that school districts meet a variety of racial quotas and proportions in student body and administration. The court orders have no definitive end and are monitored by both the federal judge originally assigned to the case and the U.S. Department of Justice. However, there is very little readily available information on the status of these orders and school districts seeking relief face an uphill battle in even knowing where to begin the daunting process of seeking release.
The Justice Department's August filing asked the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana to stop the State from awarding any school vouchers or scholarships to students attending school in districts operating under federal desegregation orders unless and until the State receives authorization from the Court. In essence, the U.S. Department of Justice chose to prioritize the stringent, and in some cases arbitrary, race-based requirements of a nearly 40-year-old court order over the immediate opportunity for a low-income child to have a chance to pursue a better education outside of his or her assigned failing school. The irony is that a State-based study on the racial effects of Louisiana's scholarship program concluded that the school choice program either improved or had no impact on racial ratios within the schools. more >>