She railed against gerrymandering in an epic tweetstorm. We should all listen.

"Anyone got a minute to talk about gerrymandering?" Laura Moser, a candidate running for the 7th Congressional District seat in Texas, asked her Twitter followers on Dec. 3, 2017.

Candidate Laura Moser. Photo courtesy of Laura Moser for Congress.

Gerrymandering may sound like a silly term coined in an episode of "Seinfeld," but as Moser explained, it's anything but.


In a fiery tweet thread following her initial question, Moser spelled out why gerrymandering is, to be frank, the absolute worst.

Moser's district in Houston — like many across the U.S. — has been heavily gerrymandered. That's why its voting boundaries look like this:

To be sure, as Moser pointed out, there are even more bizarrely shaped districts across the country. Take this one in Chicago, for example.

Then there's the entire state of North Carolina, which gerrymandering's turned into the weirdest blue-and-red jigsaw puzzle imaginable.

But Moser's own 7th District in Texas is still pretty bad.

Not every odd-looking boundary is suspicious, of course. Naturally formed borders like rivers may alter district boundaries a bit, Moser explained.

But when specific blocks within neighborhoods have been redrawn to conveniently slip into different districts? It makes you wonder, she tweeted, "Why ... is one block of Linkwood Drive excluded from the district?"

"Or here, in my neighborhood of West University: why are half of Pemberton and Fenwood in a different district?" she asked.

Like, honestly, Houstonians, what is happening with Jersey Village? As Moser pointed out, things there are getting "pretty baroque."

Nope, a drunk guy didn't map out the 7th District in Houston (or any of these other districts).

"If it seems like whoever drew these lines must have been drunk, think again: this is part of a very calculated campaign," Moser tweeted.

And race (read: racism) has a lot to do with it.

Gerrymandering has the potential to significantly dampen the political power of neighborhoods of color (or those that are poor or younger).

This is how it works:

Basically, gerrymandering is the manipulation of voting district boundaries by politicians to give their party an advantage on Election Day. In other words, politicians can quietly redraw district lines to consolidate or split up certain voting blocs — based on race, religion, socioeconomic status, education level, etc. — to favor their own candidacy or party.

Both parties are guilty of applying this trickery. But the GOP has held majorities across most state legislatures where district boundaries are decided since 2010, and they've abused this ethically challenged privilege far more than their Democrat counterparts.

Take Wisconsin, for example. After Republicans in control there redrew district lines in 2011 — packing left-leaning voters into certain areas when it was politically advantageous, then spreading them out when it wasn't — a court ruled the actions were an attempt to cement an electoral infrastructure favorable to the GOP.

The proof's in the pudding, after all: In the Wisconsin election held after the new district lines went into effect, Republicans won just 48.6% of votes for the state assembly, yet still earned a 60-to-39 seat majority.

The Supreme Court heard arguments for the case in October 2017. The court's decision will likely affect gerrymandering laws for decades to come.

In Houston, Moser argues, "minority" voters are being corralled into districts to give Republicans a larger advantage.

"But WE ARE THE MAJORITY. In Texas and in the nation," she wrote. "The majority of decent Americans who believes in fairness, in treating people with respect."

Her Twitter thread struck a chord with many voters concerned about how gerrymandering will affect votes in Houston — and the rest of the country. As of this writing, the thread has been retweeted nearly 17,000 times.

Moser credits the tweet's virality to people waking up to an increasingly rigged system.

"I hope we can start fighting for the most basic of principles, one that everyone, regardless of party or region, race or income, can agree on: every American should have an equal vote," she says. "If we want citizens to get involved in our democracy, we better make sure it really is a democracy."

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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