When life gives you melons.
You may be dyslexic.
Wife: I told you not to get that Lego set, yet you did!
Husband: You are starting to sound like my ex-wife.
Wife: I didn't know you were married earlier...?
Husband: I wasn't.
Every state in America has its own unique culture, flavor, and quirks - including their names. State pride is alive and well from Alabama to Wyoming, but do you know the story of how your state got its name?
Here’s a guide to where all 50 state names came from – and what they mean!
Alabama comes from the Choctaw word albah amo meaning thicket-clearers or plant cutters.
Alaska has ties to the Aleuts with the words alaxsxaq, essentially meaning mainland.
Arizona has ancient roots as the Uto-Aztecan word ali sona-g, which was adopted by the Spaniards as Arizonac, meaning good oaks.
Arkansas is the French pronunciation of an Algonquin name for the Quapaw people, akansa.
California is truly a magical place. So magical in fact, it’s named after a fictional world invented by the author Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo, which Spanish explorers adopted when setting foot on the gold coast.
Colorado is another Spanish-influenced name that essentially means ruddy or ruddish. The name was first applied to the Colorado River for its distinctive color.
Connecticut, much like Colorado, was named for the river running through it. The word possibly stems from the Native American term quinnitukqut, meaning beside or at the long tidal river.
Delaware is also named for a body of water, but that body of water was named for Baron De la Warr, the first English governor of Virginia. The baron’s name is old French for of the war.
Florida taps into its Spanish roots by referencing Pascua florida, meaning flowering Easter, as Spanish explorers found the lush area during the holiday season. There's also a tie to the Latin word floridus, meaning strikingly beautiful.
Georgia may be known for its southern hospitality, but it’s actually named for King George II from Great Britain.
Hawaii comes from the Polynesian word hawaiki, meaning place of the Gods. It was, however, originally named the Sandwich Islands by James Cook in the late 1700s.
Idaho has notorious roots in the Athabaskan word idaahe, meaning enemy. It was originally applied to part of Colorado before being given to the Gem State.
Illinois has a silent "s" at the end, because it's of French origin. "Illinois" means "Land of Illini," giving a nod to the Native American population. "Illini" is the Algonquin word for "man" or "warrior."
Indiana, as you might expect, stems from the English word Indian. The Latin suffix tacked on the end roughly means "land of the."
Iowa comes from the Dakota word yuxba, meaning sleepy ones.
Kansas references the Kansa tribe, meaning people of the south wind. Makes sense for tornado alley.
Kentucky is yet another state named for the river running through it, inspired by the Shawnee word for on the meadow.
Louisiana, like Georgia, was named for a regent of the times, specifically, Louis XIV of France.
Maine has uncertain origins. Though it's worth noting that Maine was also the name of a traditional province in France.
Maryland is a tip of the hat from King Charles I to his wife Henrietta Maria. Some husbands give jewelry; King Charles gave naming rights to an entire state.
Massachusetts comes directly from the Algonquian word Massachusett that references the people living in the area, and means at the large hill.
Michigan is based on the Algonquin word meshi-gami, meaning big lake.
Minnesota, like many other Midwest states, comes from a Native American language. In this case, the Dakota word mnisota means cloudy, milky water.
Mississippi literally means big river in Algonquin Ojibwa, although it’s based on the French variation of the word.
Missouri relates to the Algonquin word wimihsoorita, which translates to people of the big canoes.
Montana has some Spanish flair that links back to the Latin mons, for mountains.
Nebraska stems from the Sioux name for the Platte River, omaha ni braska, meaning flat water.
Nevada comes from the Spanish name for the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountain range, which essentially means snowy mountains, or snowcapped.
New Hampshire is the first of many states and cities named as new outposts of other parts of the world. In this case, Hampshire was a county in Southampton, England.
New Jersey was coined by Sir George Carteret of the Channel Island of Jersey.
New Mexico is self-explanatory and based on the Spanish Nuevo Mexico. Although, did you know the Aztecs coined the word Mexihco for their ancient capital?
New York was named for the Duke of York and the future King James II.
North and South Carolina are named after a monarch, King Charles II, as Carolus is the proper Latin version of Charles.
North and South Dakota: The word Dakota, of course, describes the Dakota people, but it also means friendly or allies.
Ohio once again comes from a body of water, this time, the Ohio River. The Seneca Native Americans billed it as a good river.
Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw word meaning red people.
Oregon’s origin is less clear, although some scholars point to Algonquin as the source.
Pennsylvania was named after Admiral William Penn, under Charles II. It literally means Penn’s Woods.
Rhode Island has multiple name theories, including the idea that Dutch explorer Adrian Block applied the name Roodt Eylandt, meaning red island, to reflect the red cliffs of the region. Alternatively, it may come from the Greek island of Rhodes.
Tennessee comes from the Cherokee village name ta’nasi, but the meaning is unclear.
Texas is another old Spanish name from the word tejas, meaning friends or allies.
Utah has a short, spunky sound from the Spanish yuta, the name given to indigenous Uto-Aztecan people of the mountains.
Vermont has an elegant French sound and meaning – mont vert means green mountain in French.
Virginia and West Virginia are a Latin nod to sovereign Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen.
Washington is named for President George Washington. His surname means estate of a man named Wassa in Old English.
Wisconsin may come from the Miami word meskonsing, which was spelled by the French as mescousing and then shifted to ouisconsin.
Wyoming has origins from the Algonquian chwewamink, meaning at the big river flat. There is another theory, however, that states Wyoming comes from a word for mountains and valleys alternating.
My boss made me go into the office on Labor Day. Halfway through the day, he came in to check up on me and caught me having a beer.
He said to me, "You can't drink while you're working."
I said, "Oh, don't worry; I'm not working."
Dolly Parton has launched her own line of pet products called Doggy Parton.
Hopefully they'll do better than that baby food launched by the band, Poison.
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“There is no possible mediation. Yes to the natural family. No to the LGBT lobbies. No to the violence of Islam, yes to safer borders, no to mass immigration, yes to work for our people, and no to major international finance.” - Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s first female MP
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Inside the Woke Meltdown at One Domestic Violence Organization by Aaron Sibarium
Women Against Abuse discouraged black domestic abuse victims from calling the police. Yes, you read that right.
It was just two months after the death of George Floyd that one of the largest domestic violence nonprofits in the United States, Women Against Abuse, brought in several diversity consultants to conduct a racial-equity audit. The goal of the audit, Women Against Abuse told staffers, was to become "a fully inclusive, multicultural, and antiracist institution."
By November 2020, the organization, which is ostensibly devoted to "serving all survivors," was offering to pay "BIPOC" employees more than their white counterparts and discouraging black abuse victims from calling the police. Its employees were also at war with each other, bickering over whether Jews are a persecuted minority group and whether there is such a thing as a non-racist white person.
Those events prompted Nicole Levitt, an attorney with the group’s legal center, to file a discrimination complaint against her employer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that it "berated, humiliated, and subjected" her to "mandatory thought reform efforts."
"Women Against Abuse used to be liberal," Levitt told the Washington Free Beacon. "Now it’s illiberal."
This story is based on Levitt’s discrimination complaint, Women Against Abuse’s response to it, and materials from the equity audit that Levitt shared with the Free Beacon. It reveals how the leading domestic violence nonprofit in Philadelphia descended into dogmatism and infighting, obsessing over identity as domestic homicides in the city reached an all-time high of 43 in 2021—more than double the previous year.
That obsession manifested in avant garde policies that led the group far astray from its core mission. The policies weren’t just the product of employee activism, but of outside consultants—including Ragina Arrington, now the chief executive officer of the Clinton Foundation’s Global Initiative University, who since July 2020 has been helping Women Against Abuse conduct its equity audit.
Arrington began this work as a senior officer at Philanthropy Unbound, one of two diversity consultancies retained by Women Against Abuse in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The consultants soon injected race into every crevice of the organization, transforming it from the inside out.
Leftwing nonprofits across the country have undergone similar transformations. From the Sierra Club to the Guttmacher Institute to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Intercept’s Ryan Grim reported last month, progressive advocacy groups have "effectively ceased to function," as their outward-facing missions fall prey to internal tumult.
Women Against Abuse is a case study in how that tumult is generated, as activist employees bring in well-heeled diversity consultants who in turn empower the activists.
The consultants doing this work are increasingly mainstream, as Arrington’s institutional ascent demonstrates: She left Philanthropy Unbound for the Clinton Foundation two years after beginning work with Women Against Abuse, and has continued consulting for the domestic violence nonprofit from her new perch, creating a direct line between the two groups.
The Clinton Foundation did not respond to a request for comment.
In addition to Arrington, Women Against Abuse hired Crossroads, a diversity consultancy that specializes in dismantling "white supremacy culture." Formerly known as Crossroads Ministry, the consulting group has worked with a wide range of organizations—including the Presbyterian Church—to "institutionalize accountability."
The stakes of this consultant-led metamorphosis are high. Women Against Abuse provides a panoply of services to abuse victims, from housing and legal representation to child care, case management, and crisis counseling. It is also the primary domestic violence shelter in Philadelphia, according to materials from the audit reviewed by the Free Beacon, and helps the city government coordinate efforts to address domestic violence, which surged across the country amid the pandemic.
After the consultants got involved, however, Women Against Abuse began hosting presentations on defunding the police, whom it discouraged non-white victims of domestic violence from calling.
"It is often unsafe for Black victims, victims of color and immigrant victims to reach out to police for help," the group posted on its website in the summer of 2020, given the "inherent racism" of law enforcement.
"The police have never been the solution to violence against women," asserted one PowerPoint presentation, which staffers were required to attend in May 2021. The presentation—"Defund the Police: Safety Planning"—counseled a "restorative justice" approach to domestic violence that used "community-based organizations."
Women Against Abuse did not respond to a request for comment about whom victims should call instead of police.
The group also jettisoned its membership in the Sanctuary Institute—effectively an accrediting body for domestic violence nonprofits—which outlines best practices for working with trauma victims. The audit found early on that those practices were a "safe harbor from confronting white supremacy," according to a July 2022 PowerPoint presentation summarizing the audit’s progress, because they focused on comforting people—not on holding them "accountable to things like micro-aggressions and white supremacy behaviors."
"I’m concerned about them getting rid of that model," said Levitt, a licensed therapist who counseled trauma victims before she became an attorney. "Who knows what they’ll replace it with?"
The relentless racialism didn’t just affect Women Against Abuse’s policies, but also its office culture. In February, Levitt filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that her employer had created a "racially hostile work environment"—in part by asking white staffers to sign a statement affirming that "all white people are racist and that I am not the exception."
"In the name of ‘equity’ and ‘anti-racism,’" the complaint reads, Women Against Abuse "instituted race-focused programming under which employees are discriminated against, segregated, and barraged with negative racial stereotypes."
The group’s transformation began in July 2020, when the then-executive director of Women Against Abuse, Jeannine Lisitski, hired Arrington as a part-time diversity consultant.
"In a commitment to transparency (to counteract white dominant values like secrecy!) I’m reaching out to share an update about the work that we are doing as an agency to move closer to our goal to become an anti-racist organization," Lisitski emailed staff on July 15, 2020. As part of that work, Arrington would facilitate racial "affinity spaces for ongoing healing and conversation."
Lisitski also announced that the Women Against Abuse would be working with Crossroads to conduct a multiyear "equity audit," which Arrington would help to facilitate. The audit is ongoing to this day, according to the July 2022 PowerPoint, and Arrington has remained involved with it, serving as a liaison between Crossroads and Women Against Abuse.
The audit came as staffers were at each other’s throats over issues of race and identity—including the issue of whether Jews counted as an oppressed group. On July 23, 2020, a member of the legal center circulated an article about anti-Semitism in the Black Lives Matter movement. Levitt chimed in to endorse the article, writing that, with anti-Semitic violence on the rise, "I hope as an organization we would stand against this as well."
Her email elicited a torrent of vitriol from her colleagues, one of whom called it "a slap in the face of every brown and black person."
Anti-Semitism "is not woven into the fabric of American society," another staffer said. "White Supremacy is." Whatever fear Jews feel, the staffer added, is "nothing compared to what black Americans feel."
That was news to Levitt: She’d lived in Israel during the Second Intifada, she said in a follow-up email, where "I was personally shot at" and "some of my friends died."
Things went downhill from there. In November 2020, Women Against Abuse solicited applications for a "Racial Equity Audit Task Force" to help Arrington and Crossroads "eradicate" bias. True equality, the group made clear, would require white members of the task force to earn less than others.
"All task force members will receive a small stipend every pay period," Women Against Abuse told staffers in a November 10 email. "Due to the nature of this process and the additional emotional labor of unearthing many biases that negatively affect individuals with their shared identity, Black, Brown, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) staffers will receive a larger stipend."
"I was astounded they would do something so blatantly illegal," said Levitt, who included the incident in her discrimination complaint. Multiple civil rights laws, including Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, prohibit pay discrimination on the basis of race. Responding to the complaint, Women Against Abuse told the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that it would be ending the race-based stipend scheme.
The audit proceeded from the assumption that Women Against Abuse was steeped in racism—and that it was powerless to rectify that racism without the consultants’ help. "Your organization is caught up in a power arrangement that maintains racial inequality," a handout from Crossroads reads. "Your organization’s ‘solutions’ to racism are ultimately a part of the problem and do not affect change at a root level."
To come up with better solutions, Crossroads surveyed staffers in August 2020 on how Women Against Abuse "harmed," "exploited," and "disempowered" people of color. Several respondents singled out the Sanctuary Institute principles for criticism, according to the July 2022 PowerPoint from the audit. Others complained that the group’s legal center "centered around [a] criminal justice system that harms POC," and that Women Against Abuse expects staffers "to respond to upper management requests ASAP."
The audit also included a series of "skills-building sessions" moderated by Arrington, who spent each session dissecting a different aspect of "white supremacy culture." People of "all identities" could participate in the sessions, Arrington told staffers in an April 2021 email, because "white supremacy culture is a smog that we all ingest, digest, and push back out to the people around us." The constituent particles of that smog, her email continued, include a "sense of urgency" and "objectivity."
Though the skills-building sessions were optional, the racial affinity spaces were not, Levitt said. Arrington facilitated many of these spaces, including the legal center’s white affinity space, which in April 2021 drew up a "full value contract" it asked all white attorneys to sign.
The contract, a draft of which was reviewed by the Free Beacon, asked the attorneys to abide by 15 commandments. "Assume good intentions" was one. "Own that all white people are racist and that I am not the exception" was another.
Levitt refused to sign the contract—or attend any more of the segregated meetings.
"I found the idea of being separated into groups by skin color to be inherently racist and regressive, not to mention against the law," Levitt said. "I refused to take part in the scapegoating and demonizing of an entire race. Anyone with a sense of history will tell you that things didn't tend to go well when that happened."
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