Jan. 24th, 2017

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dhrachth reblogged your photoset and added:

Townhalls don’t take place everywhere.  They’re usually in major markets, during contentious election cycles.  If you’re in a less populous area, there might not be enough votes to make it worth the politician’s while to go there.  If you live in a staunchly red or blue state where your rep usually runs unopposed, you won’t see them either.

I think it’s an exaggeration to say calls and letters don’t matter.  They do tally them up and the counts for and against something are taken into consideration.  A personal appearance just has more impact.  So if you can, you should.

Also, even if there aren’t townhalls in your area, there are probably local government meetings, things like City Council meetings, that are open to the public.  And local politics do matter.  I’ve been a city employee for 15 years and there are a lot of decisions that greatly affect the whole city that are basically decided by a couple dozen people who show up and voice their opinions.

I don’t know. I have yet to see a single mention anywhere in my life of any such kind of meeting. Clearly, they happen in NY; that’s where the dude in the linked-to video is from. I just don’t know how to find out where. Hopefully my local action group that now emails me six or seven times a fucking day will tell me if anything comes up, because I’m fucked if I can figure out where else to look. I live in New York State’s second-largest city, so it’s not like there isn’t population density; we’re a distant second, but we’re second. 

I just keep seeing posts that are like “don’t write letters! don’t send emails! you’re wasting your time if you’re not doing this X thing!” and that’s super upsetting. I have anxiety and hearing-processing issues that mean that I often just plain don’t understand conversations conducted out loud, and memory problems that mean I often can’t remember what was agreed-upon by the end of the conversation, so me making a phone call is like a fucking horrorshow. (Just this moment I discovered that an Adulting phone call I made twelve days ago must have not gone well because a thing was supposed to have been transferred and hasn’t been, and I’m absolutely positive that I must not have understood something at the time, and I’m furious about it because I went over it like ten times because I knew I wasn’t going to get something right, and I begged them to let me do it in writing and they said it was impossible, and I’m fucking furious about it and already starting to make myself gag with anxiety about having to call them again.) 

One of my best buds from high school is a journalist and a huge huge part of her job is that she goes to every meeting. School board meetings, town and city government meetings, etc. She has filed more Freedom Of Information Act requests than you can shake a stick at. And she has observed, before, how few people are often present at meetings where very, very important decisions are made. So I do know that.

But I don’t know when or where the meetings that would affect me are, and I don’t know how to find out. And this is why nobody’s at them. 

Some of my testiness, though, is that I’ve made the apparently grave Tumblr boo-boo of following people I like, rather than just people who post content I’m interested in, so I see the same fucking thing over and over and over and over, and I’ve seen this goddamn post about four hundred times by now and it’s starting to feel like a personal condemnation of my inability to Take Effective Action.
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This must be a follow-up to something, but I never got a link. You can’t send links in asks, so that’d probably be why. I’ll try Googling this set of instructions and see what I can come up with when I’m feeling less overwhelmed by all of it. 

It’s just– what’s the point. If you have less than a billion dollars’ net worth, you don’t get any kind of political access. I’m at the point now where I feel like democracy is a lie. So maybe I need to focus on my postcard-writing for a little bit, and start blocking every post I see that says writing letters is futile the first time instead of the 335th time it comes up on my dash.
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“Some years ago, I was stuck on a crosstown bus in New York City during rush hour. Traffic was barely moving. The bus was filled with cold, tired people who were deeply irritated—with one another; with the rainy, sleety weather; with the world itself. Two men barked at each other about a shove that might or might not have been intentional. A pregnant woman got on, and nobody offered her a seat. Rage was in the air; no mercy would be found here.

But as the bus approached Seventh Avenue, the driver got on the intercom. “Folks,” he said, “I know you’ve had a rough day and you’re frustrated. I can’t do anything about the weather or traffic, but here’s what I can do. As each one of you gets off the bus, I will reach out my hand to you. As you walk by, drop your troubles into the palm of my hand, okay? Don’t take your problems home to your families tonight—just leave ‘em with me. My route goes right by the Hudson River, and when I drive by there later, I’ll open the window and throw your troubles in the water. Sound good?”

It was as if a spell had lifted. Everyone burst out laughing. Faces gleamed with surprised delight. People who’d been pretending for the past hour not to notice each other’s existence were suddenly grinning at each other like, is this guy serious?

Oh, he was serious.

At the next stop—just as promised—the driver reached out his hand, palm up, and waited. One by one, all the exiting commuters placed their hand just above his and mimed the gesture of dropping something into his palm. Some people laughed as they did this, some teared up—but everyone did it. The driver repeated the same lovely ritual at the next stop, too. And the next. All the way to the river.

We live in a hard world, my friends. Sometimes it’s extra difficult to be a human being. Sometimes you have a bad day. Sometimes you have a bad day that lasts for several years. You struggle and fail. You lose jobs, money, friends, faith, and love. You witness horrible events unfolding in the news, and you become fearful and withdrawn. There are times when everything seems cloaked in darkness. You long for the light but don’t know where to find it.

But what if you are the light? What if you’re the very agent of illumination that a dark situation begs for?

That’s what this bus driver taught me—that anyone can be the light, at any moment. This guy wasn’t some big power player. He wasn’t a spiritual leader. He wasn’t some media-savvy “influencer.” He was a bus driver—one of society’s most invisible workers. But he possessed real power, and he used it beautifully for our benefit.

When life feels especially grim, or when I feel particularly powerless in the face of the world’s troubles, I think of this man and ask myself, What can I do, right now, to be the light? Of course, I can’t personally end all wars, or solve global warming, or transform vexing people into entirely different creatures. I definitely can’t control traffic. But I do have some influence on everyone I brush up against, even if we never speak or learn each other’s name. How we behave matters because within human society everything is contagious—sadness and anger, yes, but also patience and generosity. Which means we all have more influence than we realize.

No matter who you are, or where you are, or how mundane or tough your situation may seem, I believe you can illuminate your world. In fact, I believe this is the only way the world will ever be illuminated—one bright act of grace at a time, all the way to the river.“

–Elizabeth Gilbert
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(Originally posted 1/23/2017)

The White House has shut off its line for public comments (202-456-1111). Calls to the switchboard (202-456-1414) are redirected to recordings suggesting we post comments on line or on Facebook. I have tested this myself and yes it’s true.

Send them paper. Letters. Postcards. Deluge them. Separate postcard for every issue you’ve got. Note your state/voting district/zip code if you do not wish to disclose your name. Be polite. Be endless.

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500


FYI: you can buy stamps online from USPS.gov! They do charge shipping, but if like me, you do not have a convenient post office (I know!! i live in a giant city and drive twelve miles each way to work and there’s no post office anywhere along the route. there’s one like, two miles from my house in the opposite direction, but when I’m unmedicated like this, going off my route takes like, weeks of planning unless someone goes with me and nobody here will, so.)– this is a way to just get them.

AND in the course of discovering that, I discovered that there is a series of Forever stamps that is JUST about National Parks!
In fact, almost every series of Forever Stamps is to commemorate something that the Trump administration has vowed to destroy/defund/discontinue. 

Isn’t that profoundly disturbing? 

Anyway, I was already going to send postcards, so this just makes me feel a little less shitty that this is the only kind of activism I seem to be capable of. 

My postcards are going to be so goddamn polite. And endless. 
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Found Cat aficionados: sister just sent a snow day picture of her cats, because she was so excited that they’re putting up with one another. Foreground is Wednesday, who is BB in the story; background is Remi, who I changed to a boy and renamed Artoo.
The real question: does Poe share my sister’s taste in bedcoverings, or does he decorate in more subdued colors?

The real real question: why can’t I have a fucking snow day?? *pout*
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cont from previous as. My concern is that it won’t tell me the information I really want to know, which is what votes are upcoming, so I can call my senator/representative and tell him my opinion before he can vote on it. I’m a little shaky on “how a bill becomes a law” but I’m assuming that knowing when a bill leaves committee is roughly the same thing. Do you know of a way to track either of those things?

This is a really good question and I have no fuckin’ clue. Anybody know of a way to find out what bills/resolutions/etc are going to be voted on before they’re actually voted on? I noodled around for about five minutes but couldn’t find anything other than the Senate Executive Calendar which doesn’t seem like the right thing.
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UGH indeed, that adulting phone call I made thirteen days ago that took so much effort and psyching-up on my part in fact had to be re-made again today. I sent them an email last night from the contact form on the website, and they sent me back an email today that was just the same fucking form they sent me two weeks ago that I filled out and sent back in, only blank again, from a do-not-reply email address, with no further explanation.

I’d cut this, for whining and length, but apparently I can’t insert cuts anymore because Tumblr’s code is apparently broken so, sorry I fucked your dashboard folks, apologies. 

So I had to psych myself up and call, and it was only because I’m doing this for Dude, who needs me to have done the thing so he can do a thing, that I did it– I was shaking with anger and confusion and frustration, and I had to go into the other room and call them, and I did the thing I hate, where I get all Shrill White Lady, and my voice was all shaky and I was like I aM fuRIous, and the guy was like oh it’s because the paperwork wasn’t complete, and I’m like in what way, and he’s like oh the form is right here, and I was like yes because i sent it thirteen days ago, and he was like well sometimes it takes a couple of days to– and i was like THIRTEEN THOUGH and he was like yeah ok, it’s going through now, no problem, I promise, and i said CLOSE MY ACCOUNT and he said yes ma’am. 

And then I got back to my desk, shaking all over and upset and then freaking out that I was probably too mean to the guy and all, and there’s an email from them, but they’re stupid and you have to log into a thing to read their Secure Emails and fuck them, so I waited until I got home and wasn’t at work and just checked it just now and it’s like “the paperwork wasn’t complete for this and that reason and we can’t yadda yadda” and I just sent them back a nastygram, much more articulate because I’m much more articulate in writing, that said “I followed your instructions to the letter and also it was TWO WEEKS AGO were you never ever going to tell me you needed anything more?” and also “if I still need to do something and you don’t tell me what IMMEDIATELY I am going to tear you a new asshole” only without swearing, and also also, “I spoke to a guy on the phone who said it was fine so if it is not fine you had better make peace with your God”, only of course more business-formal.

So just. Never use Wells Fargo for anything ever, if you can absolutely help it.

But i mean.

Every bank ever is full of the exact same shit.

I just think there’s a special place in hell for organizations that force you to do things out loud when you don’t understand spoken communication very well and also WHO THE FUCK RELIES ON FAXES IN THIS YEAR OF OUR LORD 2017 and now I am going to go and drink a whole lot.

I hate the goddamn telephone, I hate to be That Millennial but for the record I was like this before there were cellphones, and Let Me Tell You was it ever awkward.
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honestly i never thought id see the day that people on this hellsite are trying to woobify fucking george w bush

ah yes we have reached critical mass, which is where someone is honest to god calling george w bush word for word a “cinnamon roll”

My sister was deployed to Iraq twice under GWB’s administration because of his fake fucking bullshit war, and on her second deployment her logistics unit was deployed alongside a cavalry unit and they came up with an informal agreement that if they lost people to an IED they’d switch off and take care of each other’s wrecked vehicles so they wouldn’t have to handle the remains of anyone they’d been close to, and naturally the cavalry lost a lot more guys than the logistics folks (although she did have a close friend die in several pieces; the majority of him made it to Landstuhl but he never regained consciousness and died before his wife’s flight landed) so she spent a not-insignificant amount of her deployment cleaning out human remains from vehicle wreckage and she told me that most of the time the pieces they recovered fit into sandwich-sized bags and it was a struggle to fill enough of the bag so that the family would have something to bury


and I don’t CARE if he’s sorry


and I hope he BURNS IN HELL

shut the FUCK UP about cinnamon rolls or I WILL COME FOR YOU


and this isn’t even TOUCHING the losses on the other side, losses we don’t even know, losses we’ve been prevented from finding out but losses that have justifiably radicalized an entire generation. This is JUST my TINY piece of it. 

He has wrought incalculable evil in this world and has done nothing to atone for it. He can make his personal peace however he wants, but until he’s up there on the world stage advocating for meaningful action in some way, I don’t give a fuck. He had power and he misused it. He could maybe still access some power, could maybe use a platform to mitigate his past evil, and he hasn’t. 

He can apologize in person to people if he wants. Let those people forgive him or not. Don’t fucking tell me how to fucking feel. 
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oh man I’m upset and fired-up and fucked-up from today enough to tell you all this little personal incredibly stupid bit of TMI:


I hate George W Bush so much, so much, that on the night Obama was elected, my dude and I drank like, a handle of bourbon in celebration

and my dude said, we should get rid of Bush

and I was like what? we just did? what?

and he was like no no this’ll be great

and he went into the shower and drunkenly shaved off his pubes

and I did the same, I went and shaved myself completely bald, i mean the whole thing, all of it

and I have never grown it back, I have kept it completely shaved this entire time

and every time I’ve been in the shower and picked up the razor

I have thought about how glad I was to get rid of Bush

every time

And I had a crisis this week and said to dude, what are we going to do now, and he said, I don’t know (he’s kept his up too, it’s not just me, we’re a united household in this)

and I still haven’t decided. But eight years, more now because it was on election night, eight years I’ve spent with this weekly little mantra, shaving my thang while thinking about how glad I am to be rid of Bush.

I don’t know what to do now. I actually cried in the shower with the razor in my hand the other day because I don’t know what to do and I am still so fucked-up over how incredibly, numbingly horrifying eight fucking years of George W Bush was.

I don’t know what to do.



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