Think voting is for chumps? You might be interested in this system that some states are trying out.
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Open Primaries

Elections in almost all states in our country come down to primaries, where the candidate who actually makes it onto the final ticket is chosen by a small percentage of people.

In fact, in some states, you actually have to register for a specific party in order to vote in the primaries for given candidates.

In other words, if you want to vote in the primaries for Party X, you have to be registered as a Party Xer. Even if you don't agree with them.


That big yellow block of voters in the middle of the graphic above? Those are independent voters, which — per October 2015 Gallup Poll resultsmake up close to 42% of Americans. They often don't even get to participate in the primary, unless they register as one of the other parties. Ahem.

In fact, 50% of millennials don't register for either party. Hmmm...

An alternative? Let everybody vote in all primaries (also known as "open" or "top-two" primaries).

This means that the two people with the most votes advance from the primary to be on the general election ballot regardless of their party affiliations.

Guess what happens when you do that? Those party divisions and interparty conflicts as well as making the “other" party out to be all bad all the time — all of that goes away.

And — this is key — in order to be on the ballot, you have to appeal to all voters, not just those of a particular party.

Kinda sweet-sounding, isn't it?

Americans are unhappy with partisan politics and would love to be voting for people who will represent all voters, not just by party.

Three states and most municipalities use a nonpartisan election using the top-two primary system. California and Washington use it for all races except presidential, and Nebraska uses it for state and local races. And some other states have primary systems that allow independents to vote in a limited capacity.

What happens then is that elections become more competitive, and legislators have to work across party lines.

This way, it sounds like the American people win, doesn't it?

If you want to find out more, there's a growing movement to change this in every state and the national elections as well. The two-minute video below from Open Primaries gets into that, and it seems really appealing. Check it out:

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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