If you're already gushing at the possibility of a Democrat victory in the coming midterms, Ari Berman at Rolling Stone cautions that Republican-held states have devised a lot of nefarious ways of suppressing the vote. Mainly Mr. Berman concentrates on Wisconsin, once the home of great American public servants like Bob LaFollette and William Proxmire, but now a right-wing swamp of extreme gerrymandering, vote suppression, and dark money political contributions. But here's a ray of hope: maybe the Supreme Court heard about 2011 Republican lawmakers saying "ignore the public comments" while mulling the Wisconsin gerrymandering case?
Here's another corrective to your enthusiasm: Ryan Grim and Lee Fang at The Intercept describe how actual populists in U.S. House races have to run against the Democratic establishment before they can run against (beatable) Republican incumbents. You'd think Pennsylvania state Democrat poobahs, in particular, would have far less credibility after their lousy showing in 2016 (seriously, who could possibly care about getting Katie McGinty's endorsement?), but they're still around, saying Democrats have to appeal to Republican moderates who will never vote for them rather than the left-leaning and left-behind economic populists who otherwise wouldn't vote for anyone. What's the definition of insanity again?
Bill McKibben at The Nation presents "Three Strategies to Get to a Fossil-Free America," wryly adding that "none of them rely on Washington to do anything useful." Here they are: getting states and localities to move to renewable power; blocking new fossil-fuel projects like gas and oil pipelines and fracking wells; and stop the flow of bank money to fossil-fuel projects. I laughed out loud at the part where folks actually installed fields of solar panels on Keystone XL's path.
In a peripherally-related note, The Straight Dope describes the phenomenon of the "fatberg," or the massive, dense blob of cooking oil and other waste that tends to block off sewer lines. The biggest culprit in the creation of the "fatberg" isn't that turkey grease you dumped down the sink (though it doesn't help!), but the massive amount of used cooking oil restaurants dump into sewers. Sadly, the only idea advanced to stop the fatberg -- converting cooking oil into energy -- is over a decade old already, and some enterprising small-town or big-city mayor should already have made it the great work for which they'll always be remembered.
Finally, Araz Hachadourian at Yes! magazine describes the "time bank," where good Americans who might be short on cash trade hours of services instead. Folks might swap mowing the lawn for a good food dish, for example -- and no money changes hands. Some 500 of these banks exist across America, and I suppose today's "conservatives" would decry them as TEH SOSHULIZM!!!!, even though they consist of people signing and fulfilling contracts with each other without the assistance of some governmental body, which would ordinarly sound like something after a conservative's own heart.