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Of all things, the freaking postal service should not be a partisan fight

Is anyone else tired of every single issue in the United States being manipulated and molded into a partisan football?

I've long agreed with George Washington's assessment that partisan fighting was our republic's "worst enemy," but I didn't anticipate that it would ever get this ridiculous. It's virtually impossible to voice an opinion on any subject without being placed into one of two distinct categories—left/liberal/Democrat or right/conservative/Republican—by hoards of people. It happens constantly on articles I write, though I've never once declared any allegiance to (or even preference for) a political party, I have voted for candidates from different parties for different positions, and I openly reject all narratives that force people into ideological boxes.

But I guarantee, because I am speaking in defense of the USPS in this piece, people in the comments are going to accuse me of being a "shill" for the Democratic party or being paid to push a "leftist agenda." This is what we've come to. Supporting the freaking post office—a long-standing institution universally beloved and relied upon by people of all political persuasions—is now a hotly debated partisan political stance.

No. I refuse to accept it.


We all know that the USPS has struggled with budget shortfalls, in part to a pension prefunding requirement from Congress, and that there is ongoing internal debate over how it should be run. The nature of the USPS is odd in that it isn't a business in the way we think of business, but rather an independent branch of the government—but one that isn't funded by the taxpayers. It's all a bit confusing and weird in the way it functions, but the bottom line—especially at the moment—is that it's a vital service for millions of Americans. In fact, the Postal Reorganization Act passed in 1971 states it plainly: "The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States."

The USPS was designed to be a non-partisan, non-profit public service provided by the government, though it isn't funded by the government. If it's struggling, why are we not bending over backwards to bail it out? Especially during a pandemic and an election year, when it's arguably more vital than ever?

Using taxpayer money, the U.S. has bailed out for-profit banks and we've bailed out for-profit car companies. Why have we done that? Because banks hold people's money—kind of important—and car companies employ a lot of people—also kind of important. Banks and car companies are big corporations that people tend to hate on principle, but we've bailed them out because so many of us rely on them.

In light of that fact, why not bail out the one service that 91% of Americans actually approve of? We live in a country where a huge portion of people hate the government in general, and yet the USPS is ranked as people's favorite government agency. And people literally rely on it for all kinds of things, not the least of which is medications.

NBC White House correspondent Geoff Bennett compiled a list of veterans he's heard from who are struggling with the massive slow down in USPS delivery.




So veterans and seniors and people who are disabled are being actively hurt by the slow-but-not-really-that-slow destruction of the USPS. Sure, there are reforms that need to take place in the running of the postal service to make it financially stable. But literally everything is turned upside down right now. This is not the time to make sweeping changes or cut overtime or dismantle sorting machines or remove mailboxes. How are any people okay with this?

It's not like there's nothing to be done. Again, we've bailed out far more problematic entities than the freaking post office. And the government is supposed to do the bidding of the people—that's literally the foundation of our republic. If 9 out of 10 of us approve of a service that nearly 100% of Americans use, there should be no question or debate about doing whatever it takes to keep it up and running. People need to be able to mail in absentee ballots during the pandemic and ensure they arrive on time.

The USPS handles all manner of private, secure documents, such as our drivers licenses, passports, credit cards, checks, etc. handles. It also moves 15 billion pieces of mail from Thanksgiving to New Year's in order to get people's holiday cards and present to them in a timely manner. All of a sudden now, in an election year, in a pandemic, we're going to act like they couldn't handle the entire election safely and securely?

Congress, please just do whatever needs to be done. You have my blessing to throw as many tax dollars at the USPS as is necessary to make sure this vital service operates at full capacity through the election. Voting by mail doesn't favor either party—everyone has the same opportunity to vote—so there's no reason for this to be a partisan fight. I live in a state that's had universal mail-in voting for more than a decade. We have a Republican Secretary of State (the position that runs the elections). We are ranked #2 in the nation for electoral integrity. There's nothing partisan or fraudulent about mail-in voting.

Ensuring that voters can safely vote so that we can have a functioning republic is something every American should be fighting for—and right now, that means fighting for the postal service.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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When I was younger I used to think I was dying or that I would get kidnapped by a random stranger, but I kept it to myself because I thought something was wrong with me. I thought that telling people would confirm this fear, so I kept it inside my entire life until I was an adult and learned it was part of ADHD and other disorders, such as OCD and PTSD. But it doesn't have to be part of a disorder at all—a vast amount of people just have intrusive thoughts, and a Twitter user, Laura Gastón, is trying to normalize them for others.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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