When Elizabeth Warren came to Washington — not the first time, as a bankruptcy expert, or the second time, to oversee the bank bailout during the Great Recession — but the third time, when she was elected to the United States Senate, she wanted to solve a growing problem: student debt.
During her campaign, against Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Warren had talked a lot about student loan debt and making college more affordable. She had run television ads about it, saying young people were “left drowning in debt to get an education.” So, as her Senate office began to staff up, the boss wanted to roll out a policy proposal to bring down the cost of student loans. Her staff did what they always did when working for Warren: They looked for the best existing plans and the best data to show her the root causes of the problem. What they found was lacking.
There were plenty of policy experts on K-12 education, but relatively few were focused on higher education, and even fewer were focused on student loans. The number of ideas floating around to fix the problem was minuscule.
Policy development in Washington normally runs through think tanks. Think tanks need to raise money for policy programs. But since there was no money devoted to developing a policy to relieve student loan debt, there were relatively few experts in Washington on the issue at the time. So Warren hired a top academic expert to develop student loan debt relief policy on her staff.
In the seven years since, Warren has become the most active politician in America when it comes to investigating, transforming and eliminating student debt. As the problem has grown, her proposed solutions grew. She started by fighting to lower interest rates and pushing the Obama administration to investigate for-profit colleges with high default rates, and she slowly reached the point where it was time to push for the near-total elimination of student debt.
This is how Warren has pushed the boundaries of progressive policy since coming to Washington. Instead of relying on the traditional D.C. think tank world, she made her office into her very own think tank. This vast, over-qualified policy team then consulted with a kitchen cabinet of legal academics, economists and other scholars outside the Beltway. Her goal all along has been to craft and sell policies to help solve one overarching problem: inequality in American society.
“It looks like we’re trying to solve a lot of different problems, but we’re only trying to solve one problem,” said Jon Donenberg, who is now the policy director for Warren’s presidential campaign. “It’s the rigged system; it’s the corrupt government and economy that only benefits those at the top. Every solution flows from that.”
Now Warren’s policy-first politics is the unlikely fuel for her bid for the White House. Her steady release of detailed yet easy-to-digest policy papers became a meme and rescued her campaign after a rough first few months. Though the campaigns of other candidates originally dismissed her focus on policy as a way to appeal to an irrelevant niche, many now grumble that her policy rollouts get far more media attention than those of other presidential candidates. She now sits among the top tier of contenders in the polls and fundraising — all while eschewing big-money fundraisers.
It’s no surprise that her focus on policy has catapulted Warren back into serious contention. Digging into policy solutions for overlooked problems and explaining it in digestible soundbites is what she has done since the publication of her first book, “As We Forgive Our Debtors,” an empirical study of bankruptcy that completely changed how academics viewed the issue.
“This is what she’s been doing her whole life,” said Georgetown Law School professor Adam Levitin, a former Warren student at Harvard Law School.
But Warren’s approach is unique. If elected president, she won’t be testing out a new policy process in office. She’ll bring one that’s been tried and tested in her offices for nearly a decade.
She’s been doing it since even before her Senate run. A decade ago, she ran the Congressional Oversight Panel overseeing the 2008 bank bailout. It was a temporary post on a hot-button issue likely to anger powerful figures in both political parties. That made it hard to attract staff from the typical pool of Washington applicants. But Warren attracted policy experts to work with her. She connected them to her world of policy-oriented legal academics.
“That’s kind of where you can start to see her build a policy shop,” said Levitin, who also worked for Warren on the oversight panel. “And then she was able to build on that model when she went into the Senate.”
Warren’s Senate office was built entirely around policy, with the largest such team in Congress. She hired an investigations team to research issues she was considering pushing or to continue to build the case for legislation she had introduced. The team, whose members had sterling academic credentials — one of the office’s first health care staffers had a doctorate in pharmacology — consulted with academics that Warren read and talked to to help guide her policy thinking.
“They were just a conduit for people who had 50-year careers working in whatever the field was and had literally written the textbook on it,” said Graham Steele, a former staffer to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) who’s now working on a team at Stanford School of Business that Warren consults with for policy advice.
Other Senate offices would consult with her staff on policy development because they knew it was the best team around, according to Steele. Or sometimes her office would hear from Warren’s kitchen cabinet of academics about a particular bill.
She is really ― and I want to contrast this with every other member of Congress I’ve worked with — she gets it, she gets down and dirty in the weeds like nobody else.Georgetown Law School professor Adam Levitin
“There’d be a D.C. consensus, and then her office would come to you and say, ‘Hey, we’ve heard some concerns about this particular bill, and I’d love to put you on the phone with this person who’s like the foremost expert on whatever this issue is,’” Steele said.
Warren doesn’t totally eschew the D.C. think tanks — many of her ideas come from the Roosevelt Institute, which is largely a traditional Washington think tank except for the fact that it’s based in New York. There’s also the Great Democracy Initiative, where her former policy staffer Julie Morgan – the student loan expert armed with a Ph.D. and law degree Warren hired back in 2012 ― and her former counsel Ganesh Sitaraman craft policies in the Warren mold. And she’s open to ideas from places like the Center for American Progress, where Sitaraman is a fellow, and Demos, where her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, was previously the chair of the board of trustees. But it’s relatively rare for her staff to think the ideas emerging from think-tank land are the best ones out there.
The goal of think tanks is to prove their worth to donors by having politicians adopt their ideas. That means they mostly assemble and pitch ideas politicians are likely to adopt, and it can be hard for them to push the type of ideas that have been banished from polite conversation in Washington, even if that’s where the data leads them.
“It’s actually not very think tank,” Levitin said of Warren’s policy process. “It’s actually remarkably non-think tank-y. I think that that can be kind of refreshing”
The academics Warren consults are all focused on empirical policy research, the kind that Warren pursued in her academic career. They include MIT’s Simon Johnson, Stanford’s Anat Admati, Cornell’s Robert Hockett and Saule Omarova, the University of Georgia’s Mehrsa Baradaran, Ohio State University’s Darrick Hamilton and Georgetown Law School’s Levitin. She also has former staffers she consults, including Sitaraman, now a professor at Vanderbilt Law School.
Baradaran first came into contact with Warren’s team in 2013 as they looked at writing legislation to allow the U.S. Postal Service to operate as a public bank. They had read Baradaran’s research on how banking practices and laws had increased the racial wealth gap and sought her out. Today, Baradaran continues to offer advice for Warren’s policy team on how to close the racial wealth gap as it relates to Warren’s banking, housing and child care plans.
What really sold Baradaran on Warren and her policy team was something very simple.
“They read,” she said. “That’s something that can’t be overemphasized enough because it really contrasts starkly to me with the rest of the members of Congress all over the spectrum. People just don’t engage with or read, not only just not academic work, but other work in general.”
Take special counsel Robert Mueller’s “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election,” which lawmakers have said they didn’t read because “It’s tedious,” “It is what it is,” and “What’s the point?” Warren read it. She came to the conclusion that President Donald Trump obstructed justice and followed the clear message of the report: that only Congress can do something about a president breaking the law. She called for the House to launch an impeachment inquiry.
She also read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2014 article for The Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations,” and reached out to the author to discuss it. “She had read it, she was deeply serious, and she had questions, and it wasn’t like, ‘Would you do XYZ for me?’” Coates told The New Yorker in June. Warren is the only 2020 candidate to talk to him about the issue, he added — and he thinks she’s the only candidate who is really serious about it.
Warren’s plan to levy a 2% tax on fortunes above $50 million stems from reading the work of University of California, Berkeley, economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. Their research found that the current wealth inequality in the U.S. is the result of the growth of wealth among the top 0.1% of households caused by policy choices in Washington. Warren’s team reached out to Saez and Zucman in January to help craft her wealth tax. The two economists also worked on her corporate tax proposal and her plan to reduce overseas tax avoidance by the wealthy.
“She is really ― and I want to contrast this with every other member of Congress I’ve worked with — she gets it, she gets down and dirty in the weeds like nobody else,” Levitin said.
Sometimes Warren gets her policy from her own reading, but other times it bubbles up from her staff’s research. She makes sure to direct them toward answering the questions she always asked herself in her academic career.
“The two questions Elizabeth asks the most often is: ‘What’s driving the problem?’ and ‘What does the data say?’” Donenberg said. “If you don’t have answers to those two questions, it’s time for you to go.”
When all the research is complete and the policies appear done, Warren has one final task. It must be possible to explain every policy that comes out of her office in practical language to anyone.
She asks staffers to consider, “How can I tell the story about this that people will understand?” according to Levitin.
When she ran the Congressional Oversight Panel, every 100-page report her office put out first went to her desk, where she would write a one-page plain-language explanation for the press and the public.
“Her unusual strength is being able to translate really complex problems into a way that an ordinary person can understand them,” Levitin said.
She rocketed to political stardom by deftly explaining why the 2008 financial crisis happened in appearances on “The Daily Show.” And she’s using her policy plans not only to show what she’ll do as president to shrink the yawning inequality gap in the country but also to reveal her character and seriousness to voters.
“Issues are merely a vehicle to portray your intellectual capacity to the voters … a vehicle by which the voters will determine your honesty and candor,” then-Sen. Joe Biden, who’s now one of Warren’s major rivals in the Democratic presidential primary, said in his first major interview in 1974.
A woman says she is scared to go out after enduring a “terrifying” encounter with a man wearing a gimp suit in a dark village lane.
She was walking in Claverham, Somerset, when she saw “someone charging at me in a full black rubbery suit”.
The man advanced towards her “grunting and breathing heavily” before fleeing the scene, she said.
Police said there had been a small number of reports of a man jumping out at people in the area.
Officers were called to the scene at about 23:30 BST on Thursday and used a helicopter and sniffer dog in an unsuccessful search for the man.
The victim, in her 20s, said the experience had “hugely affected” her, and she had chosen to speak to the BBC as she was concerned it may happen again.
“I would never forgive myself if this happened to someone else and I hadn’t said anything,” she said.
‘Going to get attacked’
Describing the events that happened on her evening walk, she said: “I was walking along with my torch and looked up to see someone charging at me in a full black rubbery suit and managed to take a picture.
“He kept coming towards me and was touching his groin, grunting and breathing heavy.
“As I tried to take a step back he was right in front of my face and he put his leg forward. I was just trying to assess the situation in my head quickly.”
“Everything was running through my head. I thought: ‘This is it, I’m going to get attacked’.
“I was looking round thinking, oh my god.”
The woman, who did not wish to be named, remembers pushing and screaming at the man, before he started running backwards to the main road.
An Avon and Somerset Police spokesperson said: “We’re aware of concerns relating to a man acting suspiciously in the Claverham/Yatton area.
“While we’re keeping an open mind about the motive for these incidents, it’s clear the individual responsible is deliberately attempting to cause alarm to the men and women he’s approaching.
“While no-one has been hurt during the incidents, we fully appreciate the distress these actions have caused victims.”
Note: Amazon Prime Day is over, though some of these deals remain (as of midnight, July 18). Our Post-Prime Day deals guide and Deals from Amazon Rivals will live on until July 18-20. As always, we hope we helped you sift through the sales madness and find great products. Check the WIRED Gear section for the latest news and reviews.
The discount fest that is Amazon Prime Day is chugging along until Tuesday, July 16, ends on the West Coast, and a lot of people will probably pick up a discounted Amazon Device, like the retailer's Echo speakers, equipped with its Alexa Voice Assistant.
Google isn't thrilled with that. It would rather you purchase one of its Google Assistant devices instead. To sway you, Google is hosting its own mini Prime Day.
We here at WIRED wish you the best, no matter which smart home ecosystem you choose. (And honestly, you're fine if you choose none at all!) But from a usability standpoint, we prefer Google Assistant to Alexa. Google answers common questions more capably, and its setup process is simpler and friendlier for any third-party devices you may want to add to your smart home. Many Google devices are on sale, but these are our favorites.
Note: When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read more about how this works.
When a man has penetrative sex with a woman without her consent, that’s rape. But what if a woman makes a man have penetrative sex with her, without his consent? That’s not rape under the law of England and Wales, but the author of a new study of the phenomenon says perhaps it should be.
Her latest study, published this week – based on one-to-one interviews with 30 men between May 2018 and July 2019 – explores in greater detail the context in which forced penetration occurs, its consequences, and the response of the criminal justice system.
All the participants were anonymised, but I will call one of them John.
John says the first sign that something was wrong was when his partner started to self-harm. After a particularly frightening incident he rushed her to A&E for treatment. The couple spent hours discussing possible psychological causes.
About six months later instead of harming herself, she trained her sights on John.
“I was sitting in the living room and she just came in from the kitchen, punched me very hard on the nose and ran off giggling,” John says. “The violence then started happening quite regularly.”
She tried to get help from her GP, John says. She had some counselling, and she was referred to a psychologist – though didn’t attend the appointment.
She’d come home from her job “and basically demand sex”, he says.
“She would be violent, and it got to the stage that I dreaded her coming back from work.”
On one occasion John woke up to find that his partner had handcuffed his right arm to the metal bed frame. Then she started hitting him on the head with a loudspeaker from the stereo system beside the bed, tied up his other arm with some nylon rope and tried to force him to have sex.
Scared and in pain, John was unable to comply with her demands – so she beat him again and left him chained up for half an hour, before returning and freeing him. Afterwards she refused to talk about what had happened.
Not long after that she became pregnant, and the violence abated. But a few months after the baby was born, John again woke one night to discover that he was being handcuffed to the bed.
Then, he says, his partner force-fed him Viagra and gagged him.
“There was nothing I could do about it,” he says.
“Later I went and sat in the shower for I dunno how long… I eventually went downstairs. The first thing she said to me when I went into the room was, ‘What’s for dinner?'”
When John has tried to tell people about it, he says he has often met with disbelief.
“I’ve been asked why I didn’t leave the house. Well, it was my house that I’d bought for my kids. And the financial side as well, I was so locked into the relationship financially,” he says.
“I still get disbelief because it’s like, ‘Well why didn’t you hit her back?’ I get that quite a lot. Well that’s a lot easier said than done.
“I wish I’d run away a lot sooner.”
Find out more
Listen to Katie Silver and Alex Skeel discuss Siobhan Weare’s research into forced penetration on the BBC Sounds podcast, The Next Episode
Aspects of John’s story are repeated in the experiences of some of the other men Dr Weare has interviewed. One of her findings is that the perpetrator in “forced-to-penetrate” (FTP) cases is often a female partner or ex-partner (her research focuses only on forced penetration involving men and women), and that the experience is frequently one element in a wider pattern of domestic abuse.
The experience of disbelief is also mentioned by other interviewees.
“You must have enjoyed it or you’d have reported it sooner,” one man says he was told by a police officer.
Another participant said: “We’re scared to talk about it and embarrassed, and when we do talk about it, we’re not believed, because we’re men. How can a man possibly be abused? Look at him, he’s a man.”
Weare’s other findings include:
Men are often ashamed to report FTP experiences – they may report domestic abuse without mentioning the sexual abuse
The mental health impact can be severe, including PTSD, thoughts of suicide and sexual dysfunction
Some men report being repeatedly victimised – some experienced childhood sexual abuse, some had endured varying types of sexual violence from different perpetrators, including men
Many had overwhelmingly negative perceptions of the police, criminal justice system, and the law
One myth Weare’s research dispels is that forced penetration is impossible because men are physically stronger than women. Another is that men view all sexual opportunities with women as positive.
A third myth is that if men have an erection they must want sex. In fact, Weare says, “an erection is purely a physiological response to stimulus”.
“Men can obtain and sustain an erection even if they’re scared, angry, terrified etc,” she says.
“There’s also research that shows women can respond sexually when they are raped (e.g. have an orgasm) because their body is responding physiologically. This is an issue for both male and female victims that is not discussed enough, but there is clear evidence in this area.”
A number of the participants in Weare’s 2017 study reported FTP experiences after getting extremely drunk or high, and being unable to stop what was happening.
One of those interviewed for the new study describes going home with a woman after a night out clubbing, and blacking out after being given what he suspects was a date rape drug. He says he was then forced to engage in non-consensual sex.
Another describes being coerced into sex while working at a holiday camp one summer, while he was a student. A female co-worker had discovered a letter he had written to a boyfriend, and threatened to out him as gay unless he slept with her.
She thought that if he had sex with a woman “this would transform my life and I would be straight”, he says. As he had not come out to his friends, family or co-workers he felt that he had no choice but to comply.
Weare says that most of the participants in the latest study regarded their forced-to-penetrate experiences as “rape”, and some were frustrated that it would not count as rape under the law of England and Wales. There was frustration also that British society would most likely not recognise it as rape.
“Talking about the fact that your ex-partner used to get drunk and force herself on you, rape you essentially, it’s like most blokes’ fantasy isn’t it?” said one of the participants.
“Down the pub, you know, she gets a bit drunk, she gets a bit frisky ‘Yay! Oh that would be fantastic! I would love a bit of that!’ No you really wouldn’t, you bloody wouldn’t. It’s not the way that you think it is.”
One of eight recommendations made in the latest study is that reform of the law of rape to include FTP cases requires “serious consideration”.
You may also be interested in:
When Hannah Price was sexually assaulted as a student, she felt unable to report it. She has since discovered she is far from alone – and that sexual assault may be far more common on campus than official figures suggest.
Meet Dejbox, a French food delivery startup that tries to avoid busy cities in order to accommodate people who really need a new lunch option. The company is a food delivery startup that designs its own meals and works with other companies to cook them, sell them and deliver them.
“Corporate headquarters are more and more often far from city centers. But what about lunch options for those areas?,” co-founder and co-CEO Vincent Dupied told me.
Answering this question creates logistical challenges more than anything else. It’s hard to cover wide areas that are spread out all around busy cities, such as Paris, Lille and Lyon. And Dejbox has made some radical decisions that set them apart from well-known companies, such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats or even Frichti.
Each delivery person drives a truck with 100 to 150 meals. This way, they can deliver to multiple offices during one run. It means that customers can’t just order something and get it 30 minutes later.
They need to complete their order before 10:30am or 11am to get it for lunch time. And, of course, you also can order multiple days in advance in case you don’t want to think about lunch for the rest of the week.
When it comes to sales, Dejbox tries to spot the most promising companies to pitch them the service. After that, multiple employees usually order from Dejbox every day. It means that delivery persons carry multiple meals and leave them in the kitchen or at the reception desk.
“Our delivery persons are a bit like mail carriers, they have the same itinerary every day and their own clients,” Dupied said.
That’s why Dejbox wants to empower its delivery staff as much as possible. They’re all full-time employees and they get monthly reports telling them how much revenue they’ve generated for the company.
This combination of low customer acquisition cost, low unit economics and high lifetime value has been working well. Partech first spotted them at the end of 2015 and invested a tiny $560,000 seed round (€500,000). Dejbox was only delivering 80 meals per day in the Lille area back then.
The startup quickly expanded to Paris and Lyon with the same focus on corporate headquarters in boring areas. In March 2017, Dejbox raised a $2.3 million Series A round (€2 million) from Partech and Leap Ventures. The company launched in Bordeaux a few months later.
And the company is quite transparent when it comes to metrics. During the first ~18 months, the startup generated $1.4 million in revenue, $4.5 million in 2017 and $11.3 million in 2018 (€1.2 million, €4 million and €10 million, respectively).
This year, the company plans to generate $22.5 million in revenue (€20 million) and open in two new cities — Nantes and Grenoble. Dejbox now delivers to 10,000 people every day.
In our screen-addled age, blue light is an unavoidable part of daily life. It radiates from your work desktop, your smartphone, and even the energy-saving LED lights you installed in the kitchen.
While research into the negative health effects of blue light is not fully conclusive, it has been linked to various ailments from cancer and diabetes to heart disease, obesity, and poorer sleep. To add to that list, scientists presenting at this year’s conference of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) say that blue light can trigger excessive sugary snack consumption – at least in rats.
The study found an hour of blue light exposure at night (aka: just enough time to watch an episode of The Crown or precisely six-tenths of Finding Nemo) led to elevated blood sugar levels and increased sugar consumption among male rats. The researchers note that their glucose-tolerance levels changed post-exposure – a warning sign of pre-diabetes.
Over the course of the study, the rats had their choice of nutritionally balanced food (i.e. standard rodent food), water, lard, and sugar water. When exposed to blue light at night – even for as short a time as one hour – they drank more sugar than when not. The rats were tested following a night of blue light exposure but more consistent exposure levels could result in weight gain and a diabetes diagnosis.
Though it is important to note that these observations were made in rats (and male rats specifically), the researchers warn that a similar process could be at work in people (and men, in particular) who are tied to their screens.
“Limiting the amount of time that we spend in front of screens at night is, for now, the best measure to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of blue light,” said Anayanci Masís-Vargas from the University of Strasbourg, France, in a statement. “In case it is necessary to be exposed to devices at night, I would recommend the use of apps and night mode features on the devices, which turn the screens more orange and less blue or the use of blue light filtering googles that are already available in the market.”
While the study has thrown up some interesting results, future studies will hopefully confirm whether or not the findings can be replicated in humans. As we have found time and time again (often to our detriment), animal models are a useful but not necessarily fool-proof method of biomedical research and what may be true in rats (or mice) may not be true in humans.
What’s more, many studies (including the one here) limit the trials to one sex, usually male. In practice, this may mean the results apply less to women than they do to men.
It might also be worth remembering that while blue light has received a lot of negative press lately, it’s not all bad. Indeed, the vast majority of blue light exposure comes from the sun and during daytime can boost attention, reaction times, and mood. The problem comes at night when it can push the circadian rhythm out of whack, making it harder to sleep.
Rahul Khurana, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, recommends limiting screen time two to three hours before bed – or switching to a nighttime setting if necessary.
After four congresswomen faced racist attacks last week, we asked Guardian readers to share inspiring lines from poems and literature about overcoming hate
After a chant of send her back broke out at Donald Trumps rally in North Carolina last week, the Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar responded by posting several lines from the Maya Angelou poem Still I Rise on Twitter.
Prime Day is finally here, which means it’s time to fill your house with the latest and greatest gadgets without breaking the bank. Whether you’re looking for new speakers, an upgraded TV, high-tech kitchen appliances, or anything in between, Amazon has you covered. More specifically, if you’re on the lookout for Amazon Prime Day’s KitchenAid Mixer deal, look no further. The must-have appliance is on sale right now, which means you can order it on the cheap and add it to your kitchen.
Still, whether you’re a dedicated Prime member or someone who’s just trying it out, you’ll be able to partake in the Prime Day deals, like the KitchenAid Mixer.
Now, let’s talk about the KitchenAid Mixer. At the time of publication, the 5-quart artisan design series with glass bowl costs appliance normally costs $459.99, but the Prime Day flash sale has it going for only $239.99, which is nearly 50% off the normally pricy appliance.
Keep in mind that there are three colors on sale: Azure Blue, Candy Apple Red, and Sugar Pearl Silver. As of publication, the silver color is selling the fastest, and the red color has the most units still available. No matter which color you get, saving 50% off the must-have kitchen appliance is still a steal.
See? It’s a pretty great deal. If you’re hoping to take advantage of it, you better act soon. As always, Prime Day doesn’t last forever. This year’s event longer that last year’s, though. Those of you who shopped in 2018 might remember the event being 36 hours long. Believe it or not, this year’s Prime Day will last 48 hours and end at 11:59 p.m. PT on July 16. That gives you just enough time to search for your fave appliances without feeling the need to rush through your shopping spree.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A 75-year-old Louisiana woman who founded an African American history museum was discovered dead in the trunk of a car, and police said Saturday that investigators were working diligently to find those responsible.
Baton Rouge police Sgt. L’Jean McKneely said investigators were still waiting for a coroner to determine a cause of death for Sadie Roberts-Joseph after her body was found Friday afternoon.
The Advocate reported Roberts-Joseph was the founder and curator of the Baton Rouge African American Museum, which she started in 2001. The museum sits on the campus of New St. Luke Baptist Church, where Roberts-Joseph’s brother is pastor.
“Ms. Sadie was a tireless advocate of peace,” the Baton Rouge Police Department posted on its Facebook page, adding: “Our detectives are working diligently to bring the person or persons responsible for this heinous act to justice.”
Roberts-Joseph also organized an annual Juneteenth festival at the museum, marking the date June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers delivered belated news to Texas that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all Southern slaves free. The document had been finalized more than two years earlier.
The museum features African art, exhibits on growing cotton and black inventors as well as a 1953 bus from the period of civil rights boycotts in Baton Rouge. It also has prominent exhibits on President Barack Obama, whose presidency Roberts-Joseph cited as an inspiration to children.
“We have to be educated about our history and other people’s history,” Roberts-Joseph told the newspaper in 2016. “Across racial lines, the community can help to build a better Baton Rouge, a better state and a better nation.”
Beatrice Johnson, one of Roberts-Joseph’s 11 siblings, lives two doors down from her sister’s home on a quiet street in Baton Rouge. She said Roberts-Joseph would come by every day. Johnson said her sister came over Friday because “she had mixed some cornbread, but her oven went out, and she brought it here to put in the oven.”
Gesturing toward her kitchen, Johnson said: “The bread is still there. She never came back to get it.”
Life as an adult can be tricky, and we’ll pretty much embrace anything that makes it easier. Here are a few low-key genius hacks that will solve those everyday problems you didn’t even know had solutions.
Use this plastic wrap travel hack to save your luggage from leaky bottles.
There’s no horror equal to that of unzipping your suitcase and find a puddle of shampoo at the bottom. Avoid that scenario by using this clever travel hack: unscrew a bottle top, place a small piece of plastic wrap over the opening, and screw the cap back on. Done.
Make your own tablet display with a few Command hooks
You don’t need an expensive wall-mount system for your tablet. All you need is a handful of Command hooks, according to some Reddit users. Simply attach two of the non-destructive hooks to your wall to support the bottom of your tablet and another one above — and upside down — to keep your device from falling forwards. Slide your tablet in from the side and you’re ready to go.
This Band-Aid hack will make your life so much better.
You probably know the struggle of trying to wrangle a Band-Aid around the tip of your finger. This hack, outlined by 5-Minute Craft, solves the problem by cutting the side tabs lengthwise. They can then overlap and stay more securely on your finger. Perfect for those nasty paper cuts.
Use a piece of spaghetti to light hard-to-reach candle wicks.
When you can’t quite reach the wick of a candle that has burned low, light up the end of a piece of spaghetti. You’ll then be able to bring the flame to the wick with ease and without burning your hand on an upside down lighter or match.
You’ve been peeling Post-Its wrong your whole life
Hate the way Post-its tend to curl at the ends after you peel them from the stack? Instead of grabbing the bottom of a note and pulling it upwards, grab the note from one of the top corners (on the sticky end) and pull sideways, according to Reddit. The note will leave the stack smoothly and be perfectly flat.
Don’t throw out those mini liquor bottles when they’re empty.
Chill your wine in the glass with a few frozen grapes.
Don’t want to wait for an entire bottle of wine to chill in the fridge but can’t stand the thought of watering down a glass with ice cubes? Plop in a few frozen grapes and you’re all set. If you don’t have frozen grapes on hand, other frozen fruit like strawberries or blueberries work as well.
Use towel racks to keep your pot lids tidy
If storing your pot lids on your pots isn’t an option, use this towel rack hack to keep yourself from losing your mind every time you open your kitchen cupboards. Just mount one or two racks on the inside of your cupboard doors to secure the lids and keep them organized.
Keep kids happy in the shade with a DIY sandbox
Fill an old tent with sand and toss in a few shovels to keep your kids (or yourself) occupied for hours. The tent provides protection against the sun and keeps the sand contained without the need to nail together an actual wooden box. And when the fun’s over, cleanup is a breeze.
Always know if your eggs are fresh with this hack
Never throw out perfectly good eggs again. Just place your eggs in a bowl of water and notice how they behave. Very fresh eggs will lie on the bottom fully on their sides. One-week-old eggs will sit at an angle on the bottom of the bowl. Stale eggs that are two to three weeks old will rest on the bottom of the bowl with their rounded ends towards the surface. Very old eggs will float.
Flat irons work on more than just hair
You can spruce up a wrinkled collar, cuff, or dress hem without an iron. Set your straightening iron on its lowest setting and use it to smooth away fabric wrinkles. You may want to test the iron on an inconspicuous area of the fabric first.
Use a bobby pin to help you save money on toothpaste.
Take a photo of your luggage before you leave for the airport
If your stuff is lost or damaged by the airline in transit, this will make it easier for officials to identify your bag or help you prove that the damage was not there before your flight, according to Lifehacker. Be sure to take photographs of the contents as well.
If you ever find a lost wallet or drivers license, just put it in a mailbox to return it
The postal service will return any motor vehicle license or government issued ID that has an address on it. Simply stick it in any mailbox, no envelope or postage required, according to Lifehacker. However, the person on the receiving end will have to pay the cost of postage to get it back.
This also works for wallets, though you might want to check in with the local police department first to see if anyone has reported it missing.
Keep your dog’s paws safe with the five-second rule.
It’s smarter to order one large pizza rather a couple mediums
If you do the math, an 18-inch pizza is actually more pizza than two 12-inch pizzas, according to this mind-blowing thread on Reddit. Spend a few more bucks on a large instead of doubling your expense on two 12-inch pies.
If you have to use a hotel iron, test it on a towel first