The World’s Largest Dumpster Fire: Sponsored by the Trump Administration

(Today in Bullshit News)

oZuNwt

The United States as recently crossed the threshold from tiny, hobo fire on the side of the road into a full on dumpster fire that’s caught the entire city of New York up in a blaze that’s somehow, simultaneously, taking place in the middle of Super Storm Sandy’s younger sister, Superer Storm Sally. It’s actually quite admirable. In ten years, I have a funny suspicion that some kid in an 8th grade classroom will be doing a report on the “Russian-Collusion Scandal of 2017” and the rebirth of modern news and media, and everyone knows it too.

Thankfully for us, that kid is also going to have access to a GIF of Andersen Cooper rolling his eyes at Kellyanne Conway.

God is good.

But for now, let’s just talk about exactly how bad things have gotten over the last week by highlighting some of the best headlines from today’s media reports.

USA Today: Link:

Summary: This is really awkward. Like super awkward for literally everyone. Not only is he, a sitting president, talking about “tapes” (*gulp) but he’s also bad mouthing the Press again, all while saying that he can’t be on point and accurate all the time. This is so contradictory to everything he’s already said, it hurts. Plus, for a man that said Hilary Clinton should go to jail for “misleading the American people” this is incredibly perplexing. Apparently, it’s literally impossible to be right. I wonder what Hillary is thinking right about now.

Fox News:

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 2.05.37 PM

When Fox News is confused by a sitting Republican president, you know something weird is up. Coming from the “Trump Network” themselves,

When President Trump sat down with Lester Holt yesterday, he essentially altered the version of James Comey’s firing that his top aides have been pressing in public.

“I was going to fire regardless of recommendation,” he told the NBC anchor. The recommendation in question was a two-page memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who had been on the job for two weeks.

Once again, this is awkward. He’s changed his story again and that’s making a lot of this hard to justify. No matter what the timeline is here, it isn’t good. Like, literally, at all. If Fox News is having issues, then it’s not good.

Vox:

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 2.12.44 PM

Once again, this is a breakdown of Donald Trump contradicting himself on the Russian Scandal. At least Nixon was smart enough to keep his shit together, but this dude can’t. Not only has he now fully admitted that that’s why he chose to fire him, but he’s doubled down on it on Twitter.

Conclusion: At this point, this has nothing to do with being “Anti-Trump” or “Anti-Republican.” It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is or who you are. This is not okay. If Fox News is saying that it’s not okay, then there’s no possible way in hell that this is fine. Someday soon, the Russian Scandal is going to hit the American press just like Watergate did in the Washington Post in 1972. Now, all we have to do is wait.

Note: I use Allsides.com to find the stories used in this article.

The End of my Freshman Year

I have survived my first year of college! To break away from my normal political tirade, here are some things that I wish I’d known last year along with some updates to my life.

  1. It’s never as bad as you think.
  2. Be exclusive with your friendships. Not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone is going to.
  3. Go. Do the thing. You won’t regret it.
  4. You are going to fail. You will not have a 4.0 GPA. That’s not what college is about. In College they actually want you to learn. Be challenged. Get B’s.
  5. You know nothing. Learn from people that don’t.
  6. You will not always agree. People are going to hurt you. That’s why good things are so special.
  7. Every opportunity is a learning experience. Not every learning experience is positive. Learn from negativity.
  8. Fight for your dream. Own your dream. Fuck the haters.
  9. You don’t need to desperately find love. Don’t be that person. Let it come to you.

This summer, I will be interning with the Center for Disability Empowerment in Columbus, Ohio. I will also be (hopefully) photographing a bit for the ODP. One of my summer goals is to continue to save money and go on adventures. Another is to edit my novel so that I can send to agents. In between, I’m going to NYC, France, and Washington D.C. This is the summer I’ve always wanted. Enjoy it all.

Note to self:

Enjoy it all.

The AHCA Discriminates Against Me And Other Young, Sick People

As a 20-year old woman with three autoimmune disorders, legislation like the American Health Care Act is really risky for people like me in multiple ways. However, there is a part of the bill that no one seems to be taking seriously: Subsides based on age. This has been a staple of Republican plans recently that hasn’t gotten as much attention in the headlines as it should. Especially if you’re a young person that voted for Donald Trump.
Here’s why:
Right now, the Affordable Care Act covers people based on income. This is a problem for many middle class families because the ACA leaves out the idea that a family of five with a middle class income can’t always dish out thousands for health insurance. However, this approach based on age would be a new kind of killer, especially to young people and families just starting out. It’s also discriminatory to disabled young adults because it assumes that all young people need less healthcare. That’s not true.
Let’s say you turn 26, can no longer get health insurance from your parents and have a low-paying starting salary job. Under the AHCA, because you’re young, you have limited options for affording healthcare if you buy it on the private market (outside of work) because the subsidies you’re eligible for are automatically lowered. This means that young people who have the luxury to opt out of healthcare will do so, leaving healthcare providers with only the young and sick who actually need health care to live. Those people, like myself, will not only have to pay more because we’re young, but also because our healthy peers aren’t helping us out anymore by lowering prices. Health care costs would shoot through the roof for anyone with insurance, and the more this happens, the more people with little need will continue to opt out of the system.
That’s a death spiral just waiting to happen.
As for the pre-existing conditions debate, under the AHCA, states would be allowed to raise prices on people with pre-existing conditions by opting out of the system and receiving waivers instead. There are a lot of questions about what states would actually choose to do this and why, but the law is reliant on most states choosing not to do this. In this instance, Republicans are going after the “mandate” idea of the ACA, in order to attempt to give more power to the states like they usually do.
The issue is that people with pre-existing conditions cost much more than you could ever imagine. Putting “all the sick people” in a pool with only sick people will make it impossible for people like me to maintain medical expenses. States forget that their allocated funding won’t cover anywhere near the amount of money they need.
This is also largely missing the point of “affordable health care” in the first place. “Affordable Care” doesn’t mean “just affordable” for healthy people or “just affordable” for the sick. It means creating a system in which you pay for what you use but within reason. This was one of the issues with the ACA, because healthy people were paying far more than they should, creating a “health care gap.”
This legislation won’t fix that gap, it will just reverse it, and it doesn’t even address the actual issue at hand (which is that it’s not always affordable for people in the middle). Instead, it does away with young, sick Americans’ ability to get health care at a reasonable price by refusing them more subsidies. Simply put: Donald Trump promised affordable healthcare. His actions are guaranteeing the opposite for the next generation of Americans.
Find this Article Here: On the Huffington Post

My Bisexuality Is Valid: How I Found Myself In The Middle

My mother was flipping pancakes in the kitchen. As I stood next to her, I could feel the knot in my throat expanding — maybe, tightening. I was weighing my options. At the time, I was a sophomore in high school caught in between a couple of voices in my head. Finally, one won out. I took a deep breath.
“Mom,” I said, “I’m bisexual.”
She stopped flipping pancakes for a moment and asked me how I knew. I said that I just did ― that’s the best way to explain it. I called my father later that night, who was working in Tel Aviv, and told him too. He was much more dramatic than my mom, as usual, but still accepting. This was the reaction I’d been expecting, and the dream of any LGBTQ teenager. Even at my high school, in the white suburbs of northern Ohio, people initially seemed fine. This was before the Supreme Court decision, back when it was almost “cool” to fight for the LGBTQ community. Still, though, the people around me were generally ignorant about the spectrum of sexuality and so was I. But as I began to become more comfortable with my new found identity, I started to realize that people weren’t as accepting as they seemed.
It started with someone telling me that bisexuality was “just the first step to coming out as a lesbian” and was continued by multiple people mentioning that they’d “always known” I wasn’t straight. Whenever I corrected them, saying that I was bisexual, I was quickly given a look. To them, I was just another lesbian. That straight part of myself not only didn’t exist anymore, but my sexuality was assumed because of my short hair and less feminine style. It became exhausting to explain, and before long, all of the boys in the school were convinced that I was just gay. Eventually, I stopped explaining it.
Yes, I was a lesbian. That’s what everyone said I was, right? Maybe, I was the one that was wrong.
Around this time in my life, other things started to take root. I became incredibly ill and was almost completely withdrawn from the rest of my high school experience. Not only did I have a nonexistent sex drive, but I barely made it to senior prom. No girl, or guy, was asking me on a date anytime soon. I felt ugly and unlovable compared to my pretty, blonde high school friends. Whenever dances came around, I watched as the other girls were asked out on dates in cute and creative ways while all I got was chemotherapy and an appointment with my rheumatologist. For the next three years, whenever someone asked me about my sexuality, I said that I was a lesbian, knowing that I might not ever have to deal with it. It wouldn’t matter what my sexuality was if I died.
Until, one day, I started to get better. The day before I graduated high school, my life changed when I was given a drug that started to suppress my diseases. I spent the rest of the summer building myself back up, never even thinking about my sexuality until I got to college in the fall. The day before I left, my therapist told me that she hoped I would be able to explore my sexuality in college. I completely blew her off. I didn’t want to think about it.
It didn’t take very long for that the backfire, starting with an unexpected attraction to a boy that took me completely off guard. He was a close friend from high school, my best friend since junior year, who had been with me through everything. When I realized that I had lingering feelings for him, I immediately came clean over text message. I remember sitting in the common room of my dormitory, surrounded by my friends, with my head in my hands.
“I like a guy?” I said stunned, “What happened?”
“It is fine, you know.” One of the other girls patted me on the back, “You are allowed to like men. It’s not a sin.”
Over the next couple of weeks, I started to stumble around with the word ‘lesbian’ and slowly let it fade from my vocabulary. I had been so sure about my sexuality for so long that yanking my “lesbian flag” out of the ground was more difficult than I thought it would be. I stopped labeling myself to other people, and if someone asked what I identified as I told them that I was “leaving it open.”
Fortunately for my friendship with my best friend, I also decided to let that incident go and thankfully so did he. When I saw him over winter break he didn’t even bring it up. A couple of months later, when I asked him about it, he said that he’d always known that I liked men too.
“You’ve always clearly been attracted to guys, “he said. “I kind of thought you would come clean about it after a couple of years of college. You’re pretty stubborn though.”
He was right, of course. It just happened sooner than he thought it would.
After that, I decided to turn to my campus Pride organization for support. At first, I had a moment of panic. What if I wasn’t actually gay at all? What if this was “straight panic?” Would they all think I was lying about my sexual orientation? It didn’t take long for me to realize this wasn’t going to be the case. For the first time, I was around people who were really educated about the LGBTQ community and saw sexuality on more of a spectrum. Within a month, most of my friends were LGBTQ, and the more I spoke about what I had experienced, I realized that my confusion was okay. Amongst these people, sexuality came in all shapes and sizes, and while most of the group was LGBTQ identifying, a lot of allies of the community came too.
“No one is one hundred percent anything,” a friend told me one night at a meeting. “Except human, of course. Or, at least, I hope so.”
In a lot of ways, the LGBTQ movement has made amazing advances. However, just like everything else, people often try to simplify human sexuality into basic terms. Black or white. Straight or gay. Male or female. Looking back, I understand why this happened. The simpler a concept, the easier it is to sell to the general public. In 2014, getting people on board with basic “same sex marriage” was more important than ironing out all of the specific details of sexuality— because there are a lot of them. Currently, this is happening with the transgender community. The “bathroom” discussion often leaves out non-binary people or assumes that all transgender people have or will make a full transition to the opposite gender, forgetting that a lot of people fall somewhere in the middle. In the future, as the movement continues, more in-depth details of sexuality and gender will become more accepted in public as people are educated. Thinking that asexual, pansexual, or even bisexual people are nonexistent will become a thing of the past as visibility is increased.
In cases like mine, visibility can have a real life impact. Putting all sexuality in black and white terms can be harmful, especially for young people. Pushing a person in the “gay corner” is just as stressful as being pushed to be “straight,” because you’re leaving a part of yourself behind. For me, maybe gender has a lot less to do with my love life than I thought. That’s okay.
Accepting one part of myself doesn’t mean that I have to give the other one up. It also doesn’t make me “less” LGBT. The movement is based on love in a broad sense ― no matter how complicated people might make it to label or understand. The simple version is love who you love, and if it’s meant to be, then they’ll understand.
As for my family and friends, breaking the news has been a mixed bag. Honestly, most of them don’t know yet. I also had to have a conversation with my doctor about birth control, because getting pregnant was something that I never needed to worry about before. My disease makes that kind of complicated, but I don’t really mind. Overall, I’m happy with the way things have turned out. Right now, I’m dating a guy, but that could change. The person matters more than gender. Recently, when I told a close friend that I was dating a guy, her response was understandable.
“You’re dating a boy?” She gasped, “What happened?”
“Nothing happened,” I replied. “I just found myself in the middle.”
Find this Article Here: On the Huffington Post

I Am “Disabled,” And That Label Matters

The first time someone asked me about my handicap placard, I didn’t know how to respond. I was entering the local YMCA when an elderly man stopped me as I was getting out of my car.
“Why are you parking there?” He asked,” Some people actually need that.”
I stared at the man for a long time. For the past three years, I had been battling three autoimmune disorders that left me severely disabled for almost all of high school. At that moment, I was recovering from the ordeal ― finally properly diagnosed and able-bodied for the first time since I was fifteen. My face was swollen from Prednisone, but besides that, I probably looked fine to this stranger. Suddenly, I realized that this person didn’t know I was sick because I didn’t look sick anymore. The realization hit me like a brick.
Finally I mumbled something along the lines of “I’m disabled” before running inside trying to hide my tears. I could tell he didn’t really believe me, and looking back I don’t really blame him. That’s not the point of this story, though. What I said to him is actually what’s important. That was the first time I had ever knowingly spoken the word out loud.
Disabled.
I started toying around with what to call myself as soon as I realized that the diseases I have are chronic. Before being diagnosed, I thought about my illness like it was a cold ― “someday it will go away” ― because they didn’t really know what was wrong with me. This was made worse by people at church and school who told me to “get better”— as if the problem was going to someday disappear like the flu or even cancer. No one in my life seemed to understand that nothing was going to “fix me.”
That alone bothered me more than anything else.
When I started messing around with words, though, nothing fit at first. “Crippled” didn’t sound right for me. “Chronically ill” was kind of long-winded. Eventually, I settled on “disabled” — sure, I could go with that. I never actually said it out loud, though. At least, until that man asked me in the parking lot.
After that, I started saying it a bit more. Most people in my life knew what had happened to me; until I came to college in the fall. Then, I realized that I would have to explain it to the people around me and that the words I used mattered. It didn’t take me long to learn that the words I use to identify myself would shape how I’m treated and how I see myself.
The language behind disability is incredibly important and often forgotten by the able-bodied world. It’s a part of political correctness that people don’t think about until it effects them.
I am disabled; I have a disability. What am I?
I’m not the only person who has this question. In the Autistic community this is also a serious debate. Some people refer to themselves as being on the autistic spectrum, rather than simply being autistic. The difference in between saying that you are something and you have something is important when it comes to perspective. Saying that you have something implies that it is a part of you— just a bit of the bigger picture. Having something means that you own it, just like you have a car. When you say I am something, then you’re saying that you are it. I am this. Not only does that make it your number one identifier, but it also says that ‘this’ is what you are.
An easy, real life example of this is college majors and minors. People say “I am a political science major” rather than “I have” one, for a reason. Those two words tell a lot about a person’s view of themselves. This is equally as important in political correctness. Words matter because they represent how we claim experiences and perspectives. In a world that wants to say that disability is a negative, claiming this quality can be a radical notion.
Disability has always been a tricky topic in that regard. I’ve found that people often romanticize the idea that everyone is equal, forgetting that this kind of thinking has real-world implications. Believing that people are inherently all able to do the same things isn’t necessarily accurate when it comes to people with any kind of condition. The idea behind the philosophy has good intentions, but it ends up harming a person’s ability to leverage accommodation for themselves because it hinders the idea that not everyone can live in the same world.
A friend of mine with Cerebral Palsy recently had an experience with her trainer after he repeatedly told her to take “can’t” out of her vocabulary when she told him that she couldn’t do an exercise. This is incredibly ignorant, becuase it assumes that she’s “being lazy” instead of recognizing that her body literally can’t do something.
All “men” are not physically created equal. That’s okay. The concept behind disability is often misinterpreted to mean that ‘disabled’ people should be brought into the world rather than saying that the world should be made to accommodate them. The Americans with Disabilities Act and accommodation services don’t exist to make people the same, but instead attempt to adapt the world to someone so they can be successful on their own terms.
Today, nearly eight months after than man confronted me, when people ask me about my handicap placard I call myself differently abled instead. I am differently abled because I have a disability. That doesn’t have to be a disadvantage, but I do need to live in a world that’s a little bit different to be successful. That’s okay.
Also Find it Here: On the Huffington Post

If You Repeal Obamacare, You Are Going To Kill Me

”Have you thought about your health insurance yet?”
I was sitting in my rheumatologist office, the week after the election of Donald Trump, dangling my feet over the edge of the doctor’s table. I was in for my biweekly appointment and blood work, which has been a regular part of my life since my diagnosis of three autoimmune conditions in May. Appointments are a ritual of pokes and questions that I’m used to. This time was different, though. My health care provider was worried. So was I.
Around the time I turned 18, I found myself in and out of hospitals on a regular basis, fighting for my life instead of going to high school. My medical bills, just for the month of December 2015, were $81,500. Had I been kicked off of my family’s insurance at 18, not only would my family have been forced into bankruptcy, but I probably would have died. And even if I hadn’t, the college education that I’m getting right now might not have happened.
But I’m okay. Because the Affordable Care Act made my month-long ICU stay $0.
Unfortunately, though, as long as I live, the medical bills will never stop. The medication that I take every 28 days to keep me on my feet is $65,000 a dose―which is more than some people make in a year.
The Affordable Care Act makes it $50.
The ACA also ensures that I can never be rejected for having a preexisting condition, something that people in the disability community dreaded beforehand.
Our editorial team has added this item to your post.
The truth is, for an able-bodied person, it’s easy to make healthcare just another political issue to argue about with friends. The ACA has been so heavily politicized that its repeal was one of the hallmarks of the Trump campaign, which makes sense. The ACA is far from a perfect law in its current form. There are a large portion of Americans, who are able bodied, who are now forced to pay huge premiums that they cannot afford. That’s understandably upsetting, but there are ways to amend the law to fix that. But a full repeal is more than a death sentence to Obama’s legacy. It is literally a death sentence to millions of Americans with problems like mine.
I am a 19-year-old, female college student living on my parents insurance. You don’t know me. You never will. But I could also be your daughter. Your best friend. I know that there are inherent issues with the law that was supposed to be our saving grace, but for someone like myself, whose life depends on blood work and doctors’ visits, it is the thing that has kept me and many others alive.
These are the reasons that the disability community fears the Trump administration. For us, health care isn’t a political issue. It’s the difference in between getting up in the morning to go to work, and being on our deathbeds. Walking and running. Going to class and failing. It’s a mother being around for another Christmas. Parents paying for a dying child.
So, for a party so concerned with the life of the unborn, does mine carry equal value in your eyes?
Also Find this article here:  On the Huffington Post

Out of Many, One

When I think about women, the first person that I think about is my mother. As a young woman, in old video tapes. Complaining about making dinner. Me; laying on her stomach, watching TV comfortably on her bed.

Then my grandmother; painting oil on canvas. My sister; reading her favorite book. I think about my three cousins; playing cards and screaming at my brother “play faster!”

I think about the girls on my dorm room floor. Loud. Obnoxious. Colorful. So much of everything; all at once. I think about the woman that cleans the halls in my dormitory. The woman that makes my coffee at Starbucks. The woman that sits on the sidewalk brooding over a cigarette like a dragon with the eyes of a child. I think about the women who scream at me as I pass on the street about ‘saving the children’ and the ones that paint themselves with their own choice. Sometimes I think about the girls you never think about. You never want too. Becuase it’s too horrible.

If you ask any woman on the street what ‘womanhood’ actually means, you will never quite find the same answer — and yet you will at the same time. You’ll get the nervous laugh. Period jokes. Sex. Marriage. Kids; the decision to not have them. Every culture, religion, and race have something different that proclaims “this is what a woman is” for the whole wide world to see.

And yet, Womanhood isn’t definitive. It’s flexible but tougher than leather. It is so much and nothing at all. That’s the beauty of it all. Out of a sea of faces, somehow, we all look the same. We all want the same things. Happiness. Freedom. Sucess (whatever that means for you). It’s the way that we choose to get there, from our pasts to the present, and the events of our lives that make us different.

That’s really what it’s all about.

The Women’s March on Washington is about difference. It’s about accepting all women of size, shape, and color — but also recognizing that it is about being the same. There is so much to womanhood. The definition truly lies in being absolutely everything; all at once.

Out of Many, One.

Say Her Name: It’s Time to Respect Ethnic Names

Photograph by Kathryn Poe

“Have you heard from them?”

I clanked my fork on the table and it fell off the corner of my plate. I was struggling to hide my irritation. I knew what was coming.

“Dr. Iel-Eeliki should have called by now,”

I looked at my father and corrected my doctors name — a Pakistani immigrant. My father giggled like a child, said it incorrectly again, and continued eating.

That’s when I left the dinner table.

Over the course of the last two years, this doctor — this man — had spent hours studying literature just to keep me alive. Yet, my father couldn’t even take a couple of seconds to learn how to say his name.

This isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Growing up, I constantly listened while my white classmates mocked and butchered black, hispanic, and other ethnic names.

“Who would go through the pain of childbirth for 9 months just to name the baby Laquisha?”

“Why would you name your child Mohammad? This is America.”

“Your name is Pablo what?”

“How am I supposed to pronounce that?”

There is power in a name. Whether we like it or not, it is one of the most important identifiers in our lives. Entire brands are built on million dollar names like Kardashian and Trump. Barack Obama has been accused of links to terrorism just for having the middle name Hussein. When the newest Disney princess, Moana, proclaims in the movie“I am Moana” she is not simply claiming herself. She is claiming the weight and importance of her culture.

I am Kathryn Poe.

I am.

Think about that.

I understand that names are difficult — I myself am terrible at pronunciation — but they are important. Names are representative of culture and family history. When an ethnic name is ‘dumbed down’ for an American speaker, something beautiful is lost. American culture should absorb, not reject, diversity in every form. How can we argue that we, as a society, provide fair representation if we can’t even try to get a name right?

“It’s just too hard.”

Racism is a subtle beast.

If Tomi Lahren can call out Seal on Twitter for mispronouncing her name and get the full support of conservative America, then I expect them to defend Laquisha too.