Can an App Make a #NeverTrump Impact on November 8?


“Of all the compelling storylines involved in the buildup to November 8, one of them is the potential effect third-party candidates will have on final vote tallies in various states. The #ImWithHer crowd in say, California, which is trending solidly blue, probably isn’t sweating much. However liberals in Utah might be concerned about Evan McMullin, an independent conservative. The candidate is currently polling at 28 percent in the Beehive State, a definite threat to both Trump and Clinton.

I’d heard rumors of such systems in existence during previous national elections, but a tip from a friend and an article in Vox earlier this week made me aware of an app whereby Third-party Voters are “Trading Votes” with Clinton Voters to Defeat Trump.”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

Missing in Action: The Week’s Overlooked News Stories


Utah believes that Internet porn amounts to a public health crisis. Why did Ben and Jerry get sent to the clink? Cubs star Jake Arrieta causes an excited fan to lead Cincinnati cops on a field chase. And the “world’s oldest dog” makes bittersweet headlines. Here’s what might have escaped your attention this week….

While the nation grapples with a sharp increase in gun violence (see Chicago’s year-to-date numbers if you’re in the mood to be horrified), the threat of a Zika virus outbreak, and an uncertain political future, Utah has found a way to make our jaws drop with a sense of misplaced priority. The state believes pornography is a public health crisis. There was a ceremonial declaration signed by Governor Gary Herbert and everything. I’ve been to Utah and witnessed its beautiful climate and infrastructure firsthand. Is this a case of statewide First World problems? Click the hyperlink, read the story and decide for yourself.

As election 2016 rolls along, we continue hearing about all the things frustrating voters: there’s too much money in politics, voting rights are under attack, we need to stop ignoring climate change, our educational system is a mess. We could go on forever about the wealth of legitimate concerns. And now there’s a group ambitiously attempting to speak out on all of these issues and more. They are a group of protestors called Democracy Awakening, and they converged on Washington earlier this week. About 300 people were arrested including the co-founders of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have a history of speaking out about social and political injustice, quite literally putting their money where their mouths are. A quote from their website reads “It all comes down to a simple idea that we believe in whole-heartedly: if you care about something, you have to be willing to risk it all—your reputation, your values, your business—for the greater good.” We find that attitude pretty delicious!

Speaking of taking chances for something you care about, one Cubs fan risked his freedom on Thursday evening to be part of history. Ace pitcher Jake Arrieta pitched his second no-hitter in as many years, and a man in the crowd was seemingly so overcome with joy, he had to be a part of the on-field celebration. He did what fan’s of all sports have merely fantasized about in those high-octane moments. His 15 minutes of fame might come with a mugshot, but we can’t help but love the guy.

When you love animals and bring them into your home, they become family. If you’re like the team, you look at your fur babies everyday and think, as you gently pet them and look lovingly into their eyes, “I wish you could live forever.” While we know that’s not possible, we hope for as many healthy, happy years with our four-legged friends as we can get. One fortunate pet owner spent literal decades with his pup. Australian dairy farmer Brian McLaren got 30 years with his beloved dog, Maggie. That is not a typo. 30. Years. Unofficially dubbed the world’s oldest dog, Maggie passed away in her sleep this past Monday. We’re sorry to see her go but it’s clear she had a good long life and brought much joy to her family.

The Beehive State of Affairs (August 29, 2013)

I didn’t enter the world allergic to bee stings. Time was, the pierce of an angry wasp’s lance didn’t accomplish much more than giving some pain and briefly slowing my tomboyish romps. However, through repeated encounters in a variety of strange venues (a sting on the inner thigh in fourth grade whilst sitting on the school toilet, stepping on a bumble bee during an enthusiastic tetherball game at a neighborhood block party, drinking yet another surly insect out of an abandoned can of Coke), the allergy developed over time. For this reason, I carry two EpiPens with me wherever I travel. Because you never know.

This past weekend I journeyed to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend the annual conference of the National Federation of Press Women. I was a first timer, representing the Illinois affiliate as chapter President, and slated to receive two awards at the conference’s concluding banquet for my 2012 work: an honorable mention for theater criticism, and amazingly, recognition as the best personal blogger of last year. The latter of these trophies is especially humbling due to the high volume of competition as well as the tremendously personal nature of my writing in this forum. To be championed simply for articulating the most authentic version of myself is an honor of the highest magnitude.

I had no idea as my Southwest Airlines flight touched the Salt Lake City airport tarmac, that Utah was known as “The Beehive State.” Blame ignorance on a parochial school education that prioritized memorizing the books of the Old Testament above national geography. I assumed the nickname was a simple tribute to the can-do pioneer spirit of the state’s first Mormon settlers, until I encountered countless gardens and urban farms planted past and present in service of LDS naturalistic ideals. Wherever copious plants and flowers go, the pollinating swarms follow, and I spent many of my sightseeing minutes fleeing potential assailants while running uphill in insensible shoes.

In periods of quiet wonder and reflection, many of which I enjoyed as I wandered about the clean, well-planned downtown area of the city, I thought about the team efforts, the worker bee collaboration that led to my presence in that place, moment and time. Because there’s just no pretending I arrived there on my own. In fact in some cases, certain advocates (I am looking at you little sister), dragged me kicking and screaming into following my dreams. The professors, mentors and supervisors who took chances on me when I had no pedigree to warrant them, the loved ones who cheered me through successes and picked me up after embarrassing falls, the partners who suffered through erratic work schedules and meager pay, the strangers who commented and emailed their appreciation. Hell even the hecklers made me a better writer: more focused, determined and articulate in defending a rhetorical point. It truly takes a village to build a successful communicator.

I am not religious. I immersed myself in all things LDS on my trip and while I admire much about the Church’s civic pride and genuine commitment to helping others, there’s also much about the ideology I find objectionable. That said, the trope of the beehive led me to think of collaboration in a new way, no longer an idea from which to literally run, comprised of threatening organisms bent on killing me. Instead I am able to view it as a pleasant image, to hear the telltale buzz with welcoming ears, an ideal of cooperation easily accessible to one self-aware enough to recognize the shoulders they’ve stood upon to access places of pride and accomplishment. I don’t need an EpiPen to protect myself from the love and fortification of my support network, or even the jeering of detractors. Whether flowers or stings, I build strength and immunity to press forward.