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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.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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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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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.

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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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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