5 Fast And Easy Ways To Be A More Informed Citizen

5 Fast And Easy Ways To Be A More Informed Citizen

Prove Winston Churchill wrong.
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Winston Churchill once said that the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.

This philosophy unfortunately seems to be true at times and is highlighted in videos like this one that Jimmy Kimmel Live produced back in 2013 about whether people preferred Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act (newsflash, they’re the exact same thing).

So how can we combat the ignorance? The easy answer is to just get informed. In today’s fast-paced 24-hour news cycle, that may seem hard. However, there are easy, fast ways to get the news and become a better, more educated voter. Here are five of those ways:


1. NPR One

National Public Radio sounds boring, but it’s actually one of the best ways to stay in the know about all the latest happenings. NPR One is an app you can download for free off of the app store, and it will play random segments put together by the NPR team that is uploaded early that morning. Every time you open the app, it will automatically play the hourly newscast which is usually under five minutes. I often listen to this while I’m getting ready in the morning, and it gives you things to talk about for the day!


2. NYT Now

The New York Times is easily one of the most respected names in journalism. It’s great that they now have a free app that gives you a “morning briefing.” You can read what you need to know for the day, and how it may affect the world. It takes under five minutes to read, but it is very comprehensive and even comes with a “back story” that goes more into depth about a particular news story.


3. FiveThirtyEight’s Significant Digits Newsletter


FiveThirtyEight is one of my absolute favorite websites for keeping up to date with politics. This is a statistical journalism news source that gives you great analysis of statistics from everywhere from politics to sports. This also has a daily newsletter called “Significant Digits” written by the hilarious Walter Hickey. This newsletter gives you the stats you need to know for the day and is chock-full of little quips by Mr. Hickey. This newsletter is a great and easy way to start the day.


4. theSkimm

theSkimm is a more recent daily newsletter that is gaining a lot of popularity. Unique in its use of vernacular and “plain english,” theSkimm also is a summary of what you should know for the day. Another reason I love it is that it takes the time to explain to you the background of various events and why you should care about them. It’s extremely easy to read and I would strongly recommend it for newcomers that want the stay informed, but don’t want something difficult to understand.


5. Vox

Vox’s motto is “Explain the news,” and boy, does it accomplish just that. Like theSkimm, Vox will take the time to explain complicated issues to its readers, as well as producing fun, visually stimulating videos. Known for its articles entitled “Questions You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask,” Vox will take the time to break down complicated issues in a non-condescending way to its readers. Vox is one of my absolute favorite news sources and it should become your favorite, too.


Technology has made it all too easy for us to become better informed citizens. Take ten minutes of your time each day to help prove Winston Churchill wrong. America will be better for it.

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

https://secure.img1-ag.wfcdn.com/im/d5ea3c03/resize-h2000-p1-w2000%5Ecompr-r85/3021/30217778/Express+6+Volt+Cordless+Bagless+Handheld+Vacuum.jpg

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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We're All Thinking It, I'm Saying It: Too Many People Are Running For President

I'm all for options, but man, do we really need 24? I mean, I can barely pick a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins let alone a potential President.

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There are, currently, 23 Democrats running for President. On the Republican side, there's, of course, Trump, but only one other candidate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Democrats have a whole range of people running, from senators to congressmen, a former vice-president, and even a spiritual advisor. We can now say that there are DOZENS of people running for President in 2020.

Joe Biden has been leading the pack for quite some time now. He was even leading polls before he announced his campaign. Although he is the frontrunner, there really is no big favorite to win the nomination. Biden has been hovering around the mid-30s in most polls, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. Other minor candidates in the hunt are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris.

After the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats have become electrified and have a mission to take back the White House after winning back the House of Representatives in 2018. There are so many people running in 2020, it seems that it will be hard to focus on who is saying what and why someone believes in something, but in the end, there can only be one candidate. This is the most diverse group of candidates ever, several women are running, people of color, the first out gay candidate, and several more.

There could be a problem when it comes to debate time. I mean, the first debate is next month. Having around 20-plus people on stage at the same time, debating each other kinda sounds like a nightmare. How can someone get their point across in the right amount of time when someone else is going to cut them off? Debates are usually around an hour and a half. So, if you divide it up, each candidate would get just under five minutes to speak. That would be in a perfect world of course.

Democrats seriously believe that they can beat Trump in 2020. They say they have learned from the mistakes of 2016, and have the guts and the momentum to storm back into the White House. By July of next year, there will be only one candidate left. Will they be able to reconcile the divide during the primaries? We will see. It will surely be a fun election cycle, so make sure to have your popcorn ready and your ballot at hand to pick your favorite candidate, no matter what party you lean towards.

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