+
More

Worried about the Supreme Court? Here are 6 things you shouldn't do and 3 you should.

Extremely unlikely doesn't mean impossible.

The Supreme Court's a pretty big deal, and with President Trump's second nominee about to enter the confirmation process, some are a little freaked out.

Adding members to the Supreme Court is one of the longest-lasting legacies a president can have. For decades to come, the Justices of the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) will shape the country and its laws in powerful ways.

That's enough to make anyone feel a little anxious, regardless of their political views. It's especially worrisome for anyone who has anything less than complete trust in Trump's judgment or worries about any of the specific issues (abortion rights, LGBTQ rights, civil rights generally) likely to come before the court in the near future.


In the wake of Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a lot of people are asking themselves what can be done to stop his confirmation. From the outside, it looks like a pretty hopeless endeavor. Even if every single Democrat votes against Kavanaugh, as long as Republicans stick together, he'll be put on the court.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to protesters in front of the SCOTUS on July 9 in Washington, DC. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images.

Ezra Levin, co-executive director of Indivisible Project and former Congressional staffer, used his Twitter account to share some advice for people opposing Kavanaugh.

After the announcement, there were a lot of ideas thrown out into the world to stop Kavanaugh's confirmation. Most of them were pretty bad, so Levin, also the former deputy policy director for Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), stepped in to give people an insider's look into how members of Congress make decisions and what influences them.

His list starts out with six things that aren't helpful.

After all, if you're going to engage in some activism, you want to be as efficient as possible. Levin urged people not to waste time trying to pressure senators outside of their states or members of the House, generally.

Petitions and "antagonistic" social media campaigns aimed at senators are usually just dismissed as "noise," and aren't likely to move any votes, either.

The last two items on his list are some of the most frustrating.

For one, there are no tricks the Democrats could pull on their own to stop Kavanaugh's confirmation like Republicans did with Merrick Garland. The Republican party was only able to do that because they had control of the Senate (which they still do).

And finally, as hard as it is, he urged people not to give in to apathy.

Enough with what won't work, though. Let's look at the three things Levin recommends people actually do.

Simply put, the only people members of Congress care about are their own constituents. Contacting your senators and letting them know that you want them to vote "no" on Kavanaugh's confirmation is a great place to start.

Levin also noted that there's definitely a hierarchy of effectiveness for getting messages to Congress: in-person messages and protests are at the top.

Beyond that, he recommended that people do things that will get local media attention. Protests are a great example of this. He then linked to a page on the Indivisible website where people can learn about events happening near them.

Levin understands that none of this is likely to actually stop Kavanaugh's confirmation. But he thinks it's a battle worth fighting anyway.

In an interview, he describes Indivisible's plan as a two-step strategy: First, Democrats need to try to defeat Kavanaugh's nomination; second, they need to take back control of the Senate. "If we defeat this nominee but fail to take the Senate, Trump will simply use the GOP senate majority to appoint a different extremist to the court," he says.

That means Democrats need to present a united front both in opposing Kavanaugh and at the midterms. "This is a big test of his leadership," says Levin of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)'s ability to get all Democratic senators on board. "He wants to be majority leader next year, so he needs to prove he can lead now."

Beyond that, Levin sees opportunities for Democrats to pick up Senate seats in Nevada, Tennessee, Arizona, and Texas. If Democrats don't lose any seats they currently hold, and they're able to pick up at least two of the four "vulnerable" Republican-held seats, they'll retake control.

Levin thinks that's doable, so Indivisible is lending its resources to the fight.

[rebelmouse-image 19398094 dam="1" original_size="750x475" caption="Ezra Levin speaks at a March 2017 rally outside the U.S. Capitol to urge Republicans to vote "No" on the "Trumpcare" bill. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MoveOn.org." expand=1]Ezra Levin speaks at a March 2017 rally outside the U.S. Capitol to urge Republicans to vote "No" on the "Trumpcare" bill. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MoveOn.org.

"Unlikely" doesn't mean "impossible," as history is quick to remind us.

A lot of extremely unlikely things have happened the past few years. Trump's election was considered extremely unlikely, until it wasn't. The Democrats' defeat of Trumpcare was considered extremely likely, until it wasn't. Picking up a Senate seat in Alabama was considered extremely unlikely, until it wasn't. Passing Medicaid expansion in Virginia was considered extremely unlikely, until it wasn't.

Stopping Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court is considered extremely unlikely, but stranger things have happened.

"Political life over the past two years has been defined by surprises — defeating Kavanaugh and retaking the Senate would just be two more surprises added to the list," says Levin. "Success isn't guaranteed, but if we give up, we will certainly lose."

Learn more about Indivisible Project here. For information on how to contact your senator, click here.

Science

Sustainably good news: Recycling is getting better and this family is showing us how

What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these stories as an invitation to do better?

Via Ridwell

Ryan Metzger and son Owen

There is no shortage of dire news about the state of modern recycling. Most recently, this NPR article shared the jaw-dropping statistic that about 5% of all plastics produced get recycled, meaning the rest of it ends up in landfills. While the underlying concerns here are sound, I worry that the public narrative around recycling has gotten so pessimistic that it will make people give up on it entirely instead of seeing the opportunities to improve it. What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these news stories as an invitation to do better?

Keep ReadingShow less
The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

Brendan Fraser dressed as Rick O'Connell.

Brendan Fraser might be making the greatest career comeback ever, racking up accolades and award nominations for his dramatic, transformative role in “The Whale." But the OG Fraser fans (the ones who watch “Doom Patrol” solely to hear his voice and proudly pronounce his last name as Fray-zure, for this is the proper pronunciation) have known of his remarkable talent since the 90s, when he embodied the ultimate charming, dashing—and slightly goofball—Hollywood action lead.

Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

Woman without an internal monologue explains what it's like inside her head

“She's broken my mind. I don't even understand what I'm not understanding."

PA Struggles/Youtube

An estimated 50-70% of the population doesn't have an internal monologue.

The notion of living without an internal monologue is a fairly new one. Until psychologist Russell Hurlburt’s studies started coming out in the late 90s, it was widely accepted that everyone had a little voice narrating in their head. Now Hurlburt, who has been studying people's "inner experience" for 40 years, estimates that only 30-50% of the population frequently think this way.

So what about the other 50-70%? What exactly goes on inside their heads from day to day?

In a video interview originally posted in 2020, a woman named Kirsten Carlson gave some insight into this question, sharing how not having an inner dialogue affected her reading and writing, her interactions with others and how she navigates mental challenges like anxiety and depression. It was eye-opening and mind-blowing.
Keep ReadingShow less
via Tod Perry

An artist's recreation of Jackie's napkin note.

A woman named Jackie pulled a move straight out of a romantic comedy recently, and it has the internet rallying around her potential love interest. Jackie met a guy at a bar and liked him so much that she gave him her phone number. Well, 80% of her number, that is.

The world heard about it on January 17 when Twitter user Henpecked Hal and shared a picture of the napkin with her partial phone number written on it. "My 22-year-old cousin met his dream girl at a bar and it's going pretty well,” Hal wrote in the tweet.

Keep ReadingShow less
Community

Native Siberian shares what daily life entails in the coldest village on Earth

See how the people of Yakutia, Siberia take showers, do laundry, go to school and more in minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man in the Yakutia region of Siberia takes an ice bath in minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For most of us, waking up to a temperature of minus 50 degrees would spell catastrophe. Normal life would come to a screeching halt, we'd be scrambling to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, school and work would be canceled and weather warnings would tell us not to venture outside due to frostbite risk.

But in the Yakutia region of Siberia, that's just an average winter day where life goes on as usual.

When you live in the coldest inhabited area on Earth, your entire life is arranged around dealing with ridiculously cold temperatures. Villages don't have running water because freezing pipes wouldn't allow for water treatment. Kids go to school unless the temp drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius (which is then considered dangerous). Showering involves spending hours stoking a fire in the bathhouse to create a steamy, warm room.

Native Siberian Kiun B. has created a series of documentary short films detailing what daily life is like in Yakutia's frigid winters. She was born and raised in Yakutsk, Siberia, widely recognized as the coldest city on Earth, where average winter temperatures hover around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As seen in her videos, smaller villages in the Yakutia region regularly dip down into the negative 50s, with the lowest recorded temp in the Yakut village of Oymayakon reaching a mindblowing minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

The popularity of Kiun's YouTube channel demonstrates how curious people are about life in such harsh conditions, as her videos have been viewed by tens of millions of people in the past year alone.

Check out this video detailing a day in the life of a family in a Yakutia village.

Can you imagine going out to use an outhouse in minus 40 degrees? Oof.

Another of Kiun's videos goes into more detail about how people shower and do laundry in the region. You might assume they wouldn't line-dry their laundry outdoors, but they do.

Watch:

What do people wear to protect themselves from the negative temperatures? Frostbite is a real risk, so it's important to have the right kinds of clothing and outdoor gear to stay safe and relatively comfortable.

Kiun shared some frigid fashion norms from Yakutsk, which include traditional fur hats and boots as well as lots of layers and down jackets.

However, there are some Yakut folks who see the cold as something to embrace. For instance, this man takes an ice bath out in the elements as a morning ritual. It's something he has worked up to—definitely not something to try on your own during a cold snap—but it still has to be painful.

(Seriously, please don't try this at home.)

The way humans have learned to adapt to drastically different environments, from the sweltering tropics to the Arctic tundra, is incredible, and it's fascinating to get a close-up look at how people make life work in those extremes. Thank you, Kiun B., for giving us a glimpse of what it's like to experience life in the dead of winter in the world's coldest inhabited places.

grayscale photo of woman in bikini

Facebook has been a great place for people to bare all when it comes to their emotions. But when it comes to bearing all with regards to bodies, Facebook has always seemed as if they’d rather people bare none of it. Facebook has received criticism for over-sexualizing breasts, but a new recommendation from Meta’s advisory board says the nipples can come out for nonbinary users.

Recently, Facebook censored two posts from a transgender and non-binary couple that featured the couple appearing topless. Even though their nipples were covered, an AI system took the photos down for “violating the Sexual Solicitation Community Standard” after they were flagged by a human user. The couple appealed to Meta, and the photos were reinstated, but it was enough to catch the attention of Meta’s oversight board, which advises Meta on content moderation policies, and is made up of academics, politicians, and journalists.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Ariana Grande wows TikTok with a stunning, stripped down cover of 'Over The Rainbow'

Grande is even currently filming a live adaptation of the musical “Wicked."

This pink sweater is everything.

Ariana Grande might be best known as a pop queen, but her musical theatre talents run deep. She was a performer on Broadway at the age of nine, long before she began racking up Grammys. And even throughout her adult career, she’ll wave that theatre kid flag once in a while, as she did for NBC’s “Hairspray Live!”

Grande is even currently filming a live adaptation of the musical “Wicked,” playing the role of Galinda, aka Glinda the Good Witch. While the movie might not release until Christmas of 2024, the singer treated fans to an early taste of Oz with a gorgeous rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” originally sung by Judy Garland in the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.”

Keep ReadingShow less