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By Nancy Stohs, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (TNS)

Nobody likes to be wrong.

But if you believe the Internet, you’ve been doing many things wrong YOUR WHOLE LIFE.

Packing your suitcase, removing a trash bag, untying knots, breaking in shoes, even breathing. And, of course, so many of those tasks you perform every day in your kitchen.

Perhaps you’ve felt the humiliation (or had an “aha” moment or two) watching videos about some of these ubiquitous little “we know better” posts on Facebook.

I’d been saving links to a few of them — who doesn’t love a good time- or mess-saver? — when I decided, heck, I should put them to the test. Here are the thumbs-up and thumbs-down results from my morning of research:

THUMBS UP

Muffin-Poached Eggs: This one worked like a dream and couldn’t be easier. Just break an egg into a muffin cup, place in a 350-degree oven and “poach” for 10 to 15 minutes.

I did mine in a nonstick, standard-size muffin pan (no greasing needed), and at 15 minutes the whites were firm and the yolks were part runny, part set — and of course, shaped in a perfect circle.

If you want your egg to fill out an English muffin for a breakfast sandwich, you’ll want to use a jumbo muffin pan; adjust the baking time accordingly.

Halving Cherry Tomatoes En Masse: No more one at a time for me! Here’s how this works: Arrange the tomatoes close together in a single layer on the flat side of a plastic lid (stem end down keeps them in place and assures nice cross-cuts). Cover with a second plastic lid, flat side down. (You could also use plates.)

Applying gentle pressure on top with one hand, horizontally slice between the lids with a sharp knife through all the tomatoes. Keeping the knife level is the only tricky part.

The Bacon Weave: This is fun. You might want to watch the Food & Wine video on this one or at least check out our step-by-step photos.

Basically, you cut a package of bacon strips in half crosswise, and then, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, weave six of those strips at a time into a tight square. Make as many squares as you want, then place a metal cooling rack on top to keep them in place.

Place in a 350- to 400-degree oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes, depending on temperature and how crisp you want your bacon. (I did mine at 375 degrees 20 minutes but might try 400 degrees next time.)

Then just blot off the grease, and it’s sandwich ready.

Peeling A Banana: Ha — who can’t do this? Well, if you’re still peeling from the stem end, you’re doing it all wrong. Not only is peeling from the bottom easier (once you’ve pinched the end), you don’t have any of those pesky “strings” to deal with.

And according to the many know-it-alls who post this trick, it’s how the monkeys do it.

Eating A Cupcake Neatly: Basically, you twist the cake part to produce two halves. Then you place the bottom half on top of the frosting to create a cupcake “sandwich.” Result: frosting in every bite, and no frosting mustache.

I was skeptical that this method would work with cupcake-shop cupcakes, with their mile-high caps of frosting, but lo and behold, it did. (But it’s still too much frosting!)

THUMBS DOWN

Stemming A Strawberry: This called for inserting a skewer into the strawberry from the bottom and poking out the leafy stem through the top.

I used a short wooden skewer. You need the pointed end to get into the berry, but to force out the stem, you need to then re-insert the skewer flat end first. Hassle.

Other tips, I noticed later online, call for using a drinking straw. That didn’t work any better. I’ll stick to my handy little stemmer. Or a good sharp paring knife.

Peeling Kiwi (Avocado, Mango) On The Edge Of A Glass: The sped-up video I watched online made it look so easy. Just cut the kiwi or avocado in half, or slice off the mango on both sides of the pit, then run it down the side of a glass drinking glass to remove the flesh in one piece.

Ha! Perhaps after lots and lots of practice.

I tried one kiwi half, then another, and another, each time leaving at least half the fruit inside the skin. I finally took a spoon to the last kiwi half — much easier.

After that I wasn’t about to risk messing up a perfectly good mango or avocado.

Photo: Young Sok Yun via Flickr

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Eric Holder

The failure of major federal voting rights legislation in the Senate has left civil rights advocates saying they are determined to keep fighting—including by suing in battleground states. But the little bipartisan consensus that exists on election reform would, at best, lead to much narrower legislation that is unlikely to address state-level GOP efforts now targeting Democratic blocs.

“This is the loss of a battle, but it is not necessarily the loss of a war, and this war will go on,” Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general and Democrat, told MSNBC, saying that he and the Democratic Party will be suing in states where state constitutions protect voting rights. “This fight for voting rights and voter protection and for our democracy will continue.”

“The stakes are too important to give up now,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which for years has operated an Election Day hotline to help people vote. “Our country cannot claim to be free while allowing states to legislate away that freedom at will.”

In recent weeks, as it became clear that the Senate was not going to change its rules to allow the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to pass with a simple majority, there have been efforts by some lawmakers, election policy experts, and civil rights advocates to identify what election reforms could pass the Senate.

“There are several areas… where I think there could be bipartisan consensus,” said David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, in a briefing on January 20. “These areas are all around those guardrails of democracy. They are all about ensuring that however the voters speak that their voice is heard… and cannot be subverted by anyone in the post-election process.”

Becker cited updating the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which addressed the process where state-based slates of presidential electors are accepted by Congress. (In recent weeks, new evidence has surfaced showing that Donald Trump’s supporters tried to present Congress with forged certificates as part of an effort to disrupt ratifying the results on January 6, 2021.) Updating that law could also include clarifying which state officials have final authority in elections and setting out clear timetables for challenging election results in federal court after Election Day.

Five centrist Washington-based think tanks issued a report on January 20, Prioritizing Achievable Federal Election Reform, which suggested federal legislation could codify practices now used by nearly three-quarters of the states. Those include requiring voters to present ID, offering at least a week of early voting, allowing all voters to request a mailed-out ballot, and allowing states to start processing returned absentee ballots a week before Election Day.

But the report, which heavily drew on a task force of 29 state and local election officials from 20 states convened by Washington’s Bipartisan Policy Center, was notable in what it did not include, such as restoring the major enforcement section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was removed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. It did not mention the Electoral Count Act nor growing threats to election officials from Trump supporters.

“This won’t satisfy all supporters of the Freedom to Vote Act, but this is a plausible & serious package of reforms to make elections more accessible and secure that could attract bipartisan support,” tweeted Charles Stewart III, a political scientist and director of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab. “A good starting point.”

The reason the centrist recommendations won’t satisfy civil rights advocates is that many of the most troubling developments since the 2020 election would likely remain.

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Politico Magazine published an article Thursday that perfectly embodies the failures of tabloid-style political journalism to address the fundamental dangers facing the country: “145 Things Donald Trump Did in His First Year as the Most Consequential Former President Ever.”

“In ways both absurd and serious, the 45th president refused to let go of the spotlight or his party and redefined what it means to be a former leader of the free world,” the article sub-headline states, sitting above a colorful image containing a photo of a smiling Trump and images that have defined his post-presidency, including his second impeachment, golf clubs, and a vaccination needle.

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