Trump in Kentucky: What’s With the Shirts?

Trump held a Keep America Great Rally in Kentucky today. The official reason for the campaign stop was to stump for the GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Matt Bevin and the other Republicans running down-ticket. 

Before we get into that, though, can we talk about how everybody on the dais behind Trump is wearing the same shirt? In many instances, the shirt has been put on over other clothes. Because there’s no way that was a planned stunt, right? I mean look:

Photo credit: The Hill

Okay, back to the “substance” of the rally:

For those who aren’t familiar with Bevin, Vox has dubbed him “among the country’s most unpopular governors.” Bevin seems to hate teachers and Medicaid recipients but loves him some Trump. During today’s rally, Trump returned the love by describing Bevin as “a total pain in the ass, but that can be a good thing!” 

In terms of substance, this rally wasn’t all that different from Friday’s rally in Mississippi. He hit all of the same talking points. I am slightly bitter that we didn’t hear anything about California’s Governor refusing to fight forest fires by “cleaning up the leaves.” For me, that’s right up there with his previous explanation of clean coal: “They take the coal and they clean the coal and you have beautiful clean coal!”  We did hear about how Trump is saving us money by yanking us out of the Paris Accords (it won’t) and how he (not his team, he) defeated ISIS (he didn’t) and how he saved Iran and made it into a totally different country (nope). 

Today’s Tweet Thread is a little short. I was a few minutes late to the live feed of the rally. Then, near the end I got a phone call. Before writing this post, though, I did go back and watch the tail end of the speech that I missed and here is what I would have tweeted:

Trump is praising Lou Dobbs for saying that he [Trump, not Dobbs] is the greatest President in the history of the country including George Washington and Abe Lincoln. I call BS.

Did…did Trump just claim he invented the word “loophole”?

We will always protect you with pre-existing conditions and we will protect you with pre-existing physicians! I’ve never said that before! I just thought of that! It’s true!  Hooooo boyyyyy.

Democrats have launched an unrelenting assault on people of faith! *Goes on to brag about how he made it okay for adoption agencies and foster programs to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ parents. 

Trump is bragging that he “fixed” Iran. Oh honey.

Trump: We’re going to land on the moon so we can go to Mars! $10 says dude thinks that’s where Astronauts have to stop to use the bathroom.

Trump: The people who founded Kentucky loved their families, loved their country— Me: The country they ran away from? That one? 

Oh! Also, I figured out Wakelet and was able to turn today’s rally thread into a “story” over there. Here it is for those of you who want to read the thread without having to deal with Twitter. 

Finally, I want to send shout outs to Chris, Josh, Glenn, and Jim for donating to my fundraiser! I love you glorious humans to pieces and am incredibly grateful for your support!

If you’d like to contribute to my fundraiser so I can keep writing these things and taking care of stuff, here’s a link to the GoFundMe page I set up for it. If GoFundMe isn’t your thing, I also take Kofi, Venmo, CashApp, and PayPal. Those links are over on the support page

Thanks for reading!

Trump Rally: Tupelo

There was a MAGA/KAG rally in Tupelo, Mississippi today. Trump was scheduled to start speaking at 8pm EST. He didn’t actually start speaking until about 8:45pm EST. This is not unusual. He almost always starts speaking late. I know that running a little behind schedule is typical for big events like this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these speeches started so late because of tantrums or because dude wants to really hammer home the “45” thing. Or both! Probably both.

Originally I was going to copy my live tweets over here for a blog post because I know that not everybody loves going to Twitter, but wow. There are a lot of tweets.

The short version is: there was nothing new in this speech. It was his usual complain, lie, lie, lie, complain, lie, lie, forget where he was, forget what he was talking about, try to riff, lie, lie, lie, LOCK HER UP, lie, lie, brag about himself while lying, forget where he was, forget what year it was, forget who his opponent was in 2016, decide he ran in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and potentially 1988 and won every last one of those races “easily, so easily”, lie, lie, lie, lie, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, wander around clapping for himself. [End Scene]

If you want to read the tweet thread, you can do so on Twitter. You don’t need an account or anything to read through the feed because my account is public–though if you wanted to create an account for yourself and then follow me, I wouldn’t be sad.

Hopefully by Monday I’ll have time to find a good Storify replacement. Remember Storify? I miss it. I’ve heard good things about…Wakelet? Is that what it’s called? I’ll play around with it a little bit tomorrow and see if I can figure it out.

Oh, and before I forget, thank you to Taylor, Kelli, Kevin and my Mom for donating to my fundraiser! I appreciate it so much!

Help Me Write More Stuff?

TL; DR: I do not have enough work to cover expenses and my ability to focus on multiple projects is likely to get worse before it gets better.

I’m doing a fundraiser over at GoFundMe. Here’s a handy link!

If GoFundMe isn’t your style, or you’d prefer to donate directly, I also accept PayPal, CashApp, Venmo and Kofi! Here are handy links for those!

***

Hi there. For those of you who are new here, my name is Erin. I’m trying to raise money to cover expenses for the next couple of months while I try to help you all make sense out of the increasingly chaotic mess that is our government, impeachment(s) happening within it, and work with my doctor to get my mental health back on track (as on track as it can be, anyway).

Here’s the long version (or you can skip ahead to the plan and the rewards info):

I adopted the politics and policy beats during the 2016 Presidential Campaign. The goal was to inform and analyze in a way that readers would find entertaining…and, okay, I wanted them to understand the policies at play behind all of the shouting. After the election I turned my attention to the administration that took over the White House and did my best to keep up with all of their shenanigans so that people who voted for them could understand why the rest of us were freaking out so hard. 

It didn’t take long for the administration to spin so far out of control that keeping up with them was near impossible, especially when I had to do it around my freelance writing/editing schedule and school.

I’m currently a student at Penn State, majoring in Law & Society. Okay, technically I’m a student on hiatus for the fall term because it turns out I couldn’t quite swing the tuition in time to start classes. But hey, that just meant there was more time to churn out freelance stuff and keep up with all of the Trumpian hoopla that has exploded all over our government, right?

You’d think, but you’d be wrong.

As Trumplandia has gotten more intense and chaotic and life has gotten more expensive, freelance work has been slowing down. This always happens at this time of the year. I’m still doing as many projects as I can, but it’s not nearly enough to cover the bills on a good day and it’s even worse now that my brain chemistry has gone wonky again.

This is the part where we take a minute to talk about brain weasels. 

I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in 2015 and started on a medication regimen right away. For the most part, the medication did its job and I was able to wrangle my brain weasels successfully without hampering my productivity. 

I’m not exactly sure when my meds stopped working. My doctor and I have adjusted my dosage level but it’s clear that I need to switch to something new. Doing that involves multiple trips to the doctor, a referral to a psychiatrist, testing, all sorts of time and energy consuming stuff. 

Yikes.

So. What does this have to do with you?

THE PLAN

I need to prioritize if I’m going to make it through the rest of the year. What I’d like to do is focus on two things for the months of November and December.

  1. My Mental Health
  2. My Political Writing

In order to do this, I need help. 

Professionally what I’d like to do is focus on being awesome for the couple of regular clients I have right now and put the rest of my work energy toward building a portfolio of current political/policy writing that I can use to help bolster my marketability next year when the clients are hiring again. (And, yes, build that Patreon some of you have been after me to start for years.)

Personally, I’d like to have the freedom to be able to schedule doctor’s appointments and tests and give whatever meds we try a chance to really work so that I can be a productive member of society again. 

To accomplish these goals, I need to find a way to pay for my bills over the next couple of months. This is where I’m hoping you can come in. 

THE MATH

In order to stay financially in the black through the end of 2019, I figure I need to raise $2500. Obviously, a percentage of that (I figure it will be around 4%) will go toward GoFundMe fees. The rest will cover the rent for my storage unit, my car, gas, and insurance payments, and my phone bill, with a bit of a cushion in case of emergencies or expenses that pop up (like changing the oil in my car, which I forgot about until just now). Here’s how it all breaks down:

Obviously, since it’s the end of October, this is going to be a rolling fundraiser. That’s one of the perks of using GoFundMe—I don’t have to have a definite deadline. If I can get $300 by the end of Halloween (that’s today!) I’ll be able to jump into the work 11/1 and start showing you some progress toward my goals. The more I bring in up front, the more of the project will be committed to the books for those who might want to wait a bit before investing/donating.

THE WORK

If I actually reach my goal, here is what I can promise you:

Tweet threads of all of the rallies, Congressional hearings, floor debates, official speeches and pressers I can get access to.

Consolidation Blog Posts for those of you who don’t want to deal with Twitter

3x week Political/Policy Blog Posts through the end of 2019

2x week Personal Blog Posts through the end of 2019

However many Videos get commissioned

YOU GET STUFF!

I don’t want you to just give me money. I want you to get something in return. When I’ve done fundraisers in the past, I’ve had good luck with offering rewards like doodles, haikus, etc. I’d like to do some of that again, but I’d also like to involve you in my writing/publishing process as much as possible. I’d like you to feel more like investors than donors. What does that look like?

Rewards

3 x 5 B & W Doodles 

  • Electronic delivery: $5
  • USPS delivery: $7

Haikus (electronic delivery)

  • Written: $5 
  • Written & Illustrated $10 

Haikus (USPS delivery)

  • Written: $6
  • Written & Illustrated $12

Snail Mail Letter $5

Monthly Snail Mail Letter (November, December, January) $10 (Limit 10)

Investments (each comes with a bio and a link to a site/cause of your choosing)

Blog Post Sponsorship: $50 (Limit 30)

Blog Post Commission (topic of your choosing, though I’m retaining the right to veto): $100 (Limit 15)

Video Blog Post Commission (5 minutes max): $200 (Limit 6)

FULFILLMENT

Everything will be mailed by 12/31/2019 (except for the January monthly snail mail letter, which will be mailed by 1/10/2020)

Finally:

THANK YOU for reading all of this! Thank you for any help you can spare to send me. The world is literally on fire right now and you choosing to support me when there are so many others who are in worse predicaments is humbling and I will be forever grateful.

 Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!

THANK YOU!


Been a while, eh?

Wow. It’s been like a year and a half since I updated this space. At which point do I just rip it down and start all over? Or maybe put up alllllllllllllllllllll of my archives and just go on from there?

I don’t know what to do. I do know that I’m getting the itch to write and get excited and make things again–an itch I haven’t felt in a long time–so that’s good, right?

Anyway, here’s an update! Let’s hope it won’t be a year and a half before the next one.

Also, wow. WordPress is suuuuuuuper weird now. I think I might like it?

Not Doing the Thing

You know how you have a blog and you want to write on the job but then things happen and you don’t write for many many months and when you come back you feel like you have to write a long explanation of everything that has happened since your last update?

Yeah…I’m not doing that.

But here’s a picture of my cat!

Poppy face!

Trying New Things

One of my biggest issues with our current socio/political environment is just how f*cking fast everything happens. I’m working on a few larger stories but in the meantime on this here blog? Even the crickets have gotten bored and moved on.

This, as you all already know, really bugs me. I’m super active on Twitter but when it comes to sitting down and taking the time to type out more than 140 characters at a time? Somehow that never ends up happening. I mean, if I’m writing I might miss a breaking development! There are, like, half a dozen a day now! I have to keep up!

Okay, look: I know I really don’t. And I’m working on cutting the cable news cord a little bit at a time. It’s sort of like trying to cut through a super well-done steak with a plastic spoon but I’m trying.

…I feel like there could be a super witty marrying of that simile and the spoon theory but I probably won’t think of it until about an hour after I hit publish on this.

Last night I realized that, like so many projects I take on, I am making all this way harder than it needs to be. I’m stressing out about creating original content on Twitter. And original content on Medium. And original content here.

WTF, Self. Why not just work once, post thrice?

One of my current favorite Twitterers (Tweeters?) is @AlexandraErin (and if you’re not following her you really need to fix that. She’s amazing). She writes primarily on Twitter, creating these awesome threads full of insight and information. Sometimes she writes long-form too but she’s very open about her preference for Twitter.

I spend most my time on Twitter too, but I’m also very conscious of the fact that Twitter is not everybody’s jam. So, I’m going to try something out for the next couple of weeks: I’m going to try creating posts out of the things I tweet. Sometimes it will be pretty basic, like what you’re about to see. Other times I might add some context, summation, long-form friendly stuff. I don’t really know yet. Let’s see how this goes first. Ready?

Here is my Twitter coverage of today’s White House Daily Briefing via Storify because I wanted to try that out and see how it went.

 

 

Fundraiser Update!

I published a quick update on the fundraiser itself (have you filled out your form yet?) the other day but wanted to write something longer here.

Thing The First: I’m Moved!

The day after the (fully funded within 24 hours holy crap thank you!) fundraiser launched, I went over to my new landlord’s office and signed my lease. The day after that I moved in!

Thing The Second: The New Place

The new place is four-ish blocks from my old place so I didn’t move far, but this new apartment is worlds different than the old apartment:

  • Building is far more secure: key fobs, on-site security, etc.
  • It’s around 200 sq ft bigger (a change that has been a surprisingly tricky adjustment).
  • I finally have a view! Instead of looking directly into my neighbor’s living room (old place) now I look out at Marquam Hill (where OHSU lives). My apartment gets natural light! I don’t have to leave my apartment to see the sky anymore!
  • Instead of hoarding quarters, the laundry room in this building accepts debit cards and the machines will text me when they’re done. The laundry room has easily three times as many machines, too.
  • The building has its own gym for residents! I have big plans to use it. Y’know, later.
  • Regular bathtub! Claw footed tubs are gorgeous but getting into and out of them when you’re short? I do not miss it.
  • SO MANY ELECTRICAL OUTLETS. My old apartment had five electrical outlets, total. I have more than that in my new kitchen.
  • Radiator instead of tiny forced air heater.  I don’t have to use it much because the building is well insulated so I stay pretty warm (I’m wondering how this will pan out in summer).
  • Full sized refrigerator and stove/oven! The foodies will be disappointed to learn it’s electric and not gas, but meh. I can make more than three cookies at a time!

Price-wise, I’m not paying that much more for the new place than I was for the old place. The difference works out to about $50ish, depending on how the utility costs shake out.

None of this would have been possible without all your help. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for helping me get out of what turned out to be a not great place and into somewhere safer and better. And that brings me to the very best thing about this new place.

I loved my old apartment. I really did. It was a weird old building and my apartment definitely had its share of quirks and I think that’s part of the reason I loved it there. Probably the biggest reason I loved that weird tiny place so much is because I worked hard and saved up and found it/afforded it all by myself. I’d never been able to do that before and accomplishing that goal made me feel really proud of myself.

I’m going to love this new place more. Not because it is so much better, amenity-wise, but because when I look around this space, I see you. Which sounds cheesy, but stick with me. My living here is a direct result of an amazing and supportive community having my back. It is literal and physical proof that I’m not and don’t have to be my own little self-sustaining island. This is something that I’ve known for a while now, but as someone who with a brain that likes to tell some really mean lies? Being able to see proof that my brain is lying? Is a really big deal.

So, again: Thank You. Times a millionty billionty googleplexes infinity squared. Forever and ever, amen.

Now fill out the form so I know what to make for you!

Woo! A Fundraiser!

The short version of the back story: I have to leave my beloved weird little apartment in the wacky little building I currently love and I have to leave quickly. Don’t worry, I’m fine. The law isn’t after me or anything…at least not yet. Who knows what will happen after the inauguration when the likelihood of just existing with my biology will become a crime all by itself.

ANYWAY

I have to move. Fast. And because I do some of my best work when I’m forced into stressful emergent situations, I have already found and been approved for an apartment nearby. I won’t even have to leave my neighborhood–if I can cobble together the money I need for movers and the security deposit, pet deposit and the variety of “surprise” fees I will inevitably be charged when I sit down to sign the lease.

GET TO THE POINT, SELF.

As loathe as I am to admit it, I need your help. I have a good chunk of what I need to get in the door already in the bank. Unfortunately I can’t pay the rest with my winning personality (I checked) so I’ve started a fundraiser over on YouCare. Wait! Don’t click that yet!

To make this more fun for everyone (and easier on my psyche), I’m offering rewards for different levels of donations because I would so much rather earn this help if I can. Here are the details:

Get Fun Rewards!

Snarkedoodle $5-$15: I will create a small (4x6ish in size) doodle and send it to you.

  • B&W scanned and emailed: $5
  • B&W real life mailed $10
  • Color scanned and emailed: $10
  • Color real life mailed $15

Silly Handmade Valentine: $20, sent via USPS (for non-US orders, please add a few extra bucks to cover international shipping and send me a message to let me know where you want it sent!)

Blog Post: $100 You pick the topic (within reason). The post will be published on Snarke.net. If you would like to publish the post on your own site Add $10 and send me a message letting me know!

YouTube Video: $200 (limit 5) You pick the topic (within reason). The video will be posted on my own YouTube channel, Snarkeable. If you want to publish it on your own channel, add $25 and send me a message letting me know!

Make sure you send a message including the best way to contact you—email, Twitter, Facebook so we can work out the details! Some of these might take longer to deliver than others. Valentines will need to get mailed by Feb 8 to get to their recipients in time so they’ll take priority. I expect to get the rest out by the end of February/Mid-March.

Thanks! Thanks thanks thanks!!

Okay, you can click over now. Go forth and order some fun stuff! Put me to work for you! Please? 🙂

 

Chelsea Manning Will Be Set Free

One of the few things that we can be sure about in today’s United States is that if President Obama does something, the Republicans are going to hate it. It won’t matter what it is, they will hate it because he is the one that did it. Forever and ever Amenalenadingdong.

Today the big news out of the White House is President Obama commuting the rest of Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence. Predictably, the GOP are screaming themselves silly over it.

Chelsea Manning, for those of you who don’t remember, is the soldier who leaked a crap ton of classified and sensitive diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks in 2010. She was convicted of Espionage in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Many believe that Chelsea is a hero to be admired and even emulated. Others insist she is a traitor of the worst kind. I? I…don’t know.

I have mixed feelings about Chelsea Manning. On the one hand, I do believe that her actions put many in harm’s way. There is no doubt, though, that her actions have also likely saved many more. I know that I think far higher of her than I do of Edward Snowden or Julian Assange.

However I feel about Chelsea Manning and what she did, I do know that I am glad that President Obama commuted the rest of her sentence (provided Our Lord and Miser Fake n’ Bake doesn’t try to revoke it in a few days). I am glad she is going free. And though this will likely make many of you angry, I am also glad she was not fully pardoned.

That probably sounds harsh, but look: whether or not we like them or agree with them we are governed by a set of laws. And the military’s code of law is incredibly strict for a reason. Chelsea Manning knew what those laws were and she broke them. Was she brave to do so? Absolutely. Was what she did necessary for the protection of the greater good? Probably. Was her heart in the right place? Totes.

It’s easy to sit here in our bubbles and say that Chelsea should have been offered the same compassion and understanding that is offered to other people who break the law and aren’t sent to prison because their intentions were to serve the greater good, and to wax poetic about Kohlberg and the Heinz Dilemma.

A) Chelsea Manning was not tried in civilian court where the Heinz Dilemma could come into play.

B) Even if she was, war is not as simple as a broken window.

In moral/ethical cases the question is not only whether the ends justified the means but whether the ends outweigh the means. There is no doubt that a life is far more valuable than a window, as a window is easily replaceable and a human life is not.

War is not a broken window pane that can easily be replaced. Blasting out information to millions of people who don’t have the necessary qualifications or background to understand it properly is irresponsible and dangerous. In saving many lives Chelsea also put many lives at risk and likely ended quite a few, too. She knew that lives could be lost because of her actions. She took those actions anyway. She deserved to face some sort of consequence.

I do not think, however, that she deserved to face the consequence she was served. 35 years in a men’s prison because of a system that hasn’t yet caught up to science could be argued as extreme (and likely even extremely prejudiced). Forcing her to stay in that prison even after multiple suicide attempts? I’m pretty sure that’s considered cruel and unusual. And I’m glad she will soon be free.

Commuting the sentence might not seem like much to those who believe she deserves a full pardon. But hopefully if that’s how you feel you can take some comfort in knowing just how badly it pissed off the other side. Remember: they didn’t get their way, either. Personally I’m a fan of the solution that found the middle ground between the two extremes–and does so with respect to the law, not just how something feels.

I’m really going to miss having a President who cares about how all this stuff works.

Traditional New Year’s Day Post!

via GIPHY

2016 is over and I feel like I should be super happy about that, but I can’t quite let my guard down just yet. While I’m not a horror movie fan, I’ve seen enough to know that this is likely the part of the movie where everybody gets all giddy because they’re “finally safe” just before the monster pops back up for one last ultra-gruesome murder. I guess the good news is that usually after that happens everybody gets serious and kick ass and, unless the movie makers have hopes of a franchise (which, let’s face it, most do), go flipping nuts in their zeal to kill the monster. They go full scorched earth on its ass and while I don’t want to lose anybody or anything else to one of the worst years ever, I do kind of want to kick last year’s ass in a big way.

Starting with this blog post.

Just kidding. It’s New Year’s Day. I’m tired. And in the middle of doing laundry. And I’m hungry. But it is the tradition among those of us who make things or aspire to make things that we take some time on this day to talk about what we did last year and what we want to do in the following year. So, without further ado…

(Every time I say that, the Looney Tunes theme plays in my head.)

Let’s talk about 2016.

2016 was an epic poonado of a year. We lost so many and so much. Every loss hurt more than the last. I’m not going to list them all here because we’re all well versed in our losses and rehashing them here won’t help anybody.

Plus, 2016 did have some goodness in it. Beautiful art was created and hilarious jokes were told. Relationships were started. People I love got married. People I love got engaged. People I love created new people to love.

After almost a decade apart, I got to spend time with both of my older brothers this year and good conversations and adventures were had.

I did some merch. I went to some shows. I saw a few movies. I read a bunch of books and discovered some new authors to follow. I went back to school (very part time).

And though I lost many heroes, I found some new ones too.

Probably most importantly this year, I finally found…my calling? My purpose? I guess? It seems super weird to call it that. But it kind of fits. In less pretentious terms, I got fed up with the major media outlets totally fubarring their election and policy coverage and decided to do it my own darned self. I did this primarily on twitter though I did manage to eke out a few blog and Facebook posts along the way. And you all helped support this sloooooooow ongoing shift from “if it pays me I will write it” to “I’m a political writer and independent journalist.”

So. That’s 2016. It was a rotten year in so many ways, but it’s important to remember that some wonderful stuff happened too.

So. 2017. What’s Next?

My biggest hope for 2017 is that there is more good than bad. The challenge here is absolutely going to be remembering that “good” does not always look simple or happy or even make us smile. This year “good” is going to be ugly. It will look a lot like fighting. And shouting. And demanding. And sometimes it will feel terrible and it will hurt. We’ll have to remind ourselves over and over again that Stephen Sondheim is right: Nice is different than good.

For my part, I’m hoping to contribute more. And because I think we should all play to our strengths when we’re figuring out how best to defeat the dark side, for me that means more words on pages. It means using the time I spent mired in “the other side” to inform and educate and not just shoving those memories down and hoping to forget them. It means getting comfortable with my discomfort. That part is going to suck, but it will be worth it. Hopefully.

Personally? Yes, I did make resolutions thank you for asking. I don’t always make them but this year I thought it might be a good idea.

–More outside, less in.

–More water, less soda.

–More movement, less sitting.

–More reading and music, less TV.

–More blogging, less retweeting.

–More facts, less speculation.

–More people, less screens.

What are you hoping for this year?

And now for all the self promotey awkwardness! Here’s my Twitter. Here’s my Facebook. Here’s where you can send monetary support, if that’s a thing you want to do. Please follow, like, share, all that good stuff!