If you're freaking out about the election, these 7 things might give you hope.

The conventions are over, and I'm still worried. I suspect I'm not alone.

Photo via iStock.


I'm a pretty simple guy. My needs are basic. I like walking in the park and taking naps. I like being able to say whatever I want and practice my religion without fear of harassment or prosecution. I appreciate when my black, brown, female, and LGBTQ friends and family members have basic civil rights. I want my country to be safe and respected in the world.

Unfortunately, that's all in jeopardy. Because this guy...

Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images.

...who has a well-documented history of bigotry against Mexicans and Muslims, who wants to transform NATO into a mafia protection racket, who plays footsie with white supremacists, who deploys anti-Semitic dog whistles, who publicly dehumanizes women, who voices hostility toward the First Amendment's protections of freedom of speech and religion, and who calls on a foreign government to hack his opponent's emails, could be our next president.

And the polls have gotten closer. Too close for comfort. Trump could actually win this thing.

But hope springs eternal! Hope never dies!

Hope, believe it or not, floats.

If you're as appalled as I am that Donald (freaking) Trump could be the leader of the free world come November, there are a few things that still make me optimistic that he never, ever will be:

I'm hanging on to these things for dear life. I hope they help.

1. The current polling — which shows Trump pulling into a tie — isn't necessarily how things are going to shake out in November.

Despite Trump's recent gains, as of July 29, FiveThirtyEight's "Polls Plus" forecast, which takes into account current polling and adjusts for historical trends, finds a 60% chance of the former "Apprentice" host going down in November.


Dear God, please be right, Nate Silver. Please be right. Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images.

According to Josh Katz and Kevin Quealy of the New York Times, the period surrounding the party conventions is one of "high polling volatility," and averages taken around this time tend to miss final result by nearly 8 percentage points. Trump, just off his vice presidential rollout and convention, is likely enjoying a similar bump to what both Mitt Romney and John McCain experienced four and eight years ago, respectively.

Still, even a 40% chance of Trump becoming president is way too high...

2. Which is why we should be grateful that Michelle Obama is such a boss that not even Trump will step to her.

You know that scene in a movie where the good guys are getting their asses kicked, and they're all huddled together in a room, and one of them says: "We're outnumbered. We don't have a chance." But then Samuel L. Jackson says, "Yes, we do." And he opens a closet door to reveal a huge, futuristic bazooka as warm, celestial light spills out from behind it?

That's basically what happened when Michelle Obama spoke at the first night of the 2016 DNC.

Image via CNN/YouTube.

You've already seen the highlights. You know how good she was.

She was so good that Trump, not one to shrink from a third-grade Twitter insult — who, indeed, tweeted attacks against nearly every other speaker on the stage that night — didn't dare deploy a comeback against the first lady.

For the next three and a half months, we have that bazooka in our arsenal.

I feel pretty good about that.

3. Karla Ortiz bravely took the stage at the DNC with her undocumented mother and challenged us all to do something about immigration reform.

What was the bravest thing you did recently? For me, it was yesterday when the deli I stopped at for lunch was out of regular Diet Coke, so I drank the caffeine-free kind instead.

For Karla Ortiz, an 11-year-old from Florida who likes doing science experiments and searching for rare rocks, it was risking her family's safety and security to call out Donald Trump's racist immigration policy in front of millions of people.

Karla Ortiz and her mother. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

"I don't feel brave every day. On most days, I'm scared," Ortiz said, proudly making everyone in the audience feel ashamed for complaining about the lack of detachable hangers in their hotel rooms just a few hours earlier.

"I'm scared that, at any moment, my mom and my dad will be forced to leave. And I wonder, 'What if I come home and find it empty?'" she said, ironically revealing that her guts are made of goddamn iron.

She said these things on TV, in full view of thousands of political foes of immigration reform, violent racists, and immigration authorities. The risk she took is scarily real, especially if Trump becomes president.

But she did it anyway. Because it's just that important.

If she can do that, the least we can do is tell our bosses we need to take a long lunch on Nov. 8 to go vote him the hell out of all our lives forever.

4. Non-Democrat Michael Bloomberg made the clarifying, simple, devastating case against Trump to independent voters.

Bloomberg is not a typical person. Like Trump, he's a billionaire. Unlike Trump, he definitely, actually is a billionaire.

He's also no one's idea of a left-wing fire-breather. He was a Republican mayor of New York City and is now a zealous independent.

In his speech at the 2016 DNC, he criticized both parties. But ultimately, he really stuck it to Trump, delivering, perhaps, the best one-liner of the week:

Ultimately, to defeat Trump, there just needs to be a constituency for sanity and competence. That's a low bar.

And I believe we can leap it with room to spare.

5. Ted Cruz pointedly refused to endorse Trump at his own convention, an inspiring move in its own right.

If there's one politician who I hope stays nearly as far away from the White House as Donald Trump, it's Ted Cruz. Pick 10 issues at random and Ted Cruz and I probably disagree on 11 of them. I think his program for America would make pretty much everything worse. Profoundly worse.

Thing is, Ted Cruz, for all his many faults, actually respects the Constitution. And in his speech at the RNC, Cruz refused, over a chorus of jeers, to endorse Trump.

"Vote your conscience," he said.

Yay? Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Whether it was revenge for Trump spending the last days of the GOP primary attacking Cruz's wife's mental health and suggesting with absolutely no evidence that Cruz's father might have helped assassinate John F. Kennedy, or simply an attempt to stand up for Cruz's (admittedly pretty messed-up) principles, it was invigorating and, yes, even inspiring.

Self-serving or not, if someone I disagree so intensely and so completely with can refuse to get behind Trump, it gives me hope that thousands (millions?) more like him are out there.

6. The stage at the DNC looked like the real America, not the "real America."

For years, politicians have sold us a story of a "real America." There are good things about this America — small businesses have a steady stream of customers there, the bunting is festive, and the desserts are really, ridiculously sweet. But ultimately, it seems to be an America that's pretty exclusively white, pretty exclusively Christian, and pretty exclusively rural — and occasionally suburban.

At the DNC, we saw a different — but just as real — America. That America includes:

Dozens of black, Latino, LGBTQ, and female officeholders from big cities and small towns across the country.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

A Muslim-American father, who spoke eloquently and emotionally about the death of his U.S. soldier son — and defended the Constitution against Trump's call to place an immigration ban on an entire religion.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

The first out trans woman to speak at a party convention.

Photo by Saul Loeb/Getty Images.

And, of course, the first woman ever nominated to run on a major party ticket for president, which — whether or not you agree with her politics or like her as a person — is still a pretty huge deal.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

That America isn't a story. It's real.

If it can hang together, then this thing should be in the bag.

7. Even though democracy can be scary — OK, terrifying — at times, it's still pretty great.

As bad as things seem, as horrifyingly close Donald Trump might be to the White House, the fact that we get to watch passionate people spend two weeks in July arguing via speeches, original songs, and funny hats about who would be a better president — and then actually getting to choose which one we like best — is pretty inspiring.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Just ask this guy:

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

...who on the third night of the DNC showed up to deliver a rousing defense of democracy.

He shouldn't even have to say it, but he's right.

You can disagree with this person's thoughts on the Second Amendment:

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Or with these people's feelings about Citizens United:

Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images.

But that doesn't matter even a little bit if you don't vote.

We don't have to sit around biting our nails. We don't have to worry about others making decisions about who's going to lead us without our consent. We don't have a king or a generalissimo or whatever. This is America, dammit.

And in America, we still have the right to choose.

Photo by Michael Owen Baker/Getty Images.

This November, let's make sure we use it to fire Donald Trump.

Click here to register to vote.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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