Found: 126 records....
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Thursday February 23, 2017 @ 01:53:50 AM mt

'SNL' takes Trump's 'SEE YOU IN COURT' tweet to 'The People's Court' where it belongs.




Last night's "Saturday Night Live" took the president's "SEE YOU IN COURT" tweet and put the promise just where it belongs: on "The People's Court."

Knowing that Trump usually tunes in to watch "SNL" each week, using some airtime to explain to a "TV president" how checks and balances really work is actually a smart, gutsy move.

The sketch pitted Baldwin's Trump against the three Ninth Circuit judges (played by Kyle Mooney, Vanessa Bayer, and Pete Davidson) who refused to reinstate the Muslim travel ban on Trump's familiar home turf of reality TV shows. The president was there to request "broad, unchecked power" and was mad the judges were "mean to him."

"You know, earlier a woman asked me to award her joint custody of a snake, and she had more of a case than you," Cecily Strong's Judge Marilyn Milian told him.

Watch the sketch below:


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Thursday February 23, 2017 @ 01:53:50 AM mt

LOL: Melissa McCarthy brought 'Spicey' back to 'SNL' with Kate McKinnon as Jeff Sessions.



The president really isn't going to like this sketch.


According to himself, Donald Trump loves women. What he reportedly does not love, however, is when women play men especially men he has put into positions of power.

Although Alec Baldwin (and his impeccable Trump impression) was hosting, the most recent cold open on "Saturday Night Live" featured the return of Melissa McCarthy as White House press secretary Sean Spicer chewing an allotted one piece of gum, using Barbies to explain the Muslim ban, and terrorizing members of the press with a motorized podium. It seemed designed to be everything Trump hates.

Since reports of Trump's distain for McCarthy's Spicer impression broke last week, rumors and casting suggestions have circulated as to which other members of Trump's administration could be played by women on "SNL." Kate McKinnon as newly appointed United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions was an unexpected but totally welcome addition to the roster and one that undoubtedly got under the president's skin.

Even the part of the briefing that became a QVC-type ad for Ivanka Trump's jewelry and accessories seemed designed to make the president uncomfortable. Not because Ivanka's products were being advertised (Trump's made it clear how he feels about that), but because of who was wearing them.

With McKinnon in costume as Sessions and unable to step into Kellyanne Conway's shoes to recreate her recent breach of ethics, McCarthy's Spicer filled that role, speaking highly of the brand in front of the press, even wearing "Ivanka's" bracelet and heels. If Trump's recent comments on the need for his female employees to "dress like women" are to be believed, the sight of his press secretary being played by a woman wearing heels and a sparkly bracelet must be infuriating to him.

When the most powerful person in the country is a man with a deep need to control his appearance and the appearance of those around him, sometimes the only way to remind him that the citizens don't work for the president and that the president works for the citizens is to constantly refuse to comply with his demands. It would be even more hilarious if it weren't so necessary.

Live, from 2017: Women can wear whatever the hell they want.


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Wednesday February 22, 2017 @ 10:13:41 PM mt

These last moments of the Standing Rock protest will break your heart.




This is the end of the Standing Rock camp. For now.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

After a Trump administration executive order, the Army Corps of Engineers ordered protesters to vacate the camp by 2 p.m. local time on Feb. 22, 2017. Authorities were set to physically remove everyone in the way of the Dakota Access Pipeline's construction upon sacred Native American land.

In a symbolic gesture, the protesters set fire to their camp.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

People have said their last prayers, and offered cedar to the sacred fire and are also burning these structures we have ceremonially built, so they must be ceremonially removed, Vanessa Castle of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe told the Seattle Times.

Here are some images of those last moments.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

We can still stand with Standing Rock and help them as they take their struggle from the ground to the courtroom. For more information, visit the official Standing Rock Sioux Tribe site.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.


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Wednesday February 22, 2017 @ 05:30:38 PM mt

Immigrants make America great and one organization has the data to prove it.



It's time to change the conversation about immigration from walls to bridges.


President Donald Trump has been busy making changes to our immigration system for better or for worse.

Between the border wall, "deportation force," and travel ban, Trump is taking bold action to address our country's broken immigration system. His focus on removing undocumented immigrants and making it more difficult to enter the country legally, however, may actually make things a lot worse.

Donald Trump signs an executive order to start the Mexico border wall project. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

Immigrants are essential to the U.S. economy, and deporting millions of them will only weaken us as a nation.

Trump's assumption is that immigrants are a drain on the country and its resources, but the data just doesn't back him up. A new resource from New American Economy, a group of more than 500 mayors and business leaders across the political spectrum, makes a strong case for immigration reform by highlighting just how much immigrants do contribute to the economy.

Protestors speak out against Trump's immigration policies at the Milwaukee County courthouse in Wisconsin on Feb. 13, 2017. Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images.

In 2014, immigrants in the U.S. earned $1.3 trillion and paid more than $329 billion in taxes. Immigrants play a vital role in making America function. In other words: Without immigrants, we're sunk.

Image via New American Economy.

As members of Congress are heading to town halls, NAE rolled out a new Map the Impact website to help measure immigrant contributions, broken down by congressional district.

Simply type in your address, and the interactive feature will show you some fascinating local immigration information, as well as how immigrants affect state and local economies.

Here's a look at my congressional district, Illinois' 9th. Screenshot from New American Economy.

Immigration reform is long past due. The proof is in the fact that the "right way" to immigrate is often inaccessible to many.

Lots of factors play into this, such as whether a person is able to get a visa (which, at times, may be backlogged by years if not decades) or whether they have an American relative sponsor who can sponsor them for a green card. But it's not as though there's some sort of "line" people can get in to wait their turn.

A newly sworn-in U.S. citizen leaves a naturalization ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb. 15, 2017. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

While undocumented immigration is an issue that needs to be addressed, the solution is not as simple as kicking people out and telling them to come back in "the right way." Undocumented immigrants have a strong net benefit on our economy, contributing to systems they'll never benefit from, such as Medicare and Social Security, and paying more than $20 billion in taxes each year.

A woman holds a sign as she protests President Donald Trump's plan to build a border wall along the United States and Mexico border on January 26, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images.

It's time to shift discussion away from deportation forces and travel bans and toward finding humane common-sense solutions and that's where you come in.

When your member of Congress comes home for a town hall, let them know that immigration reform matters to you. NAE has a great social media toolkit with shareable graphics, and they encourage supporters to make videos sharing their #ReasonForReform.

Let's get away from some of the harmful myths that dominate discussion around immigration and get to work creating a country where we can all thrive.


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Wednesday February 22, 2017 @ 05:30:37 PM mt

When their reps ignored requests for town hall meetings these constituents got creative.




The U.S. House and Senate broke for a recess this week with the expectation that representatives will return to their states and districts to engage with constituents.

Recent town halls have been packed, loud, and passionate as citizens push back on the Trump administration's executive orders, troubling Cabinet picks, and the Republican-led efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Representatives have left events early, snuck out the back door, or simply refused to schedule anything, forcing their constituents to find them.

But people around the country are fighting back and demanding town halls.

As they should. Congresspeople work for you. Here are 11 creative options constituents have tried so far to get their representatives' attention.

1. Guest of honor won't RSVP? Hold the party without them.

Yes, having your representative attend a town hall would be ideal, but if they can't or won't show up, host the event without them. It's still an opportunity for constituents to meet, share concerns, and mobilize for action. Constituent-led efforts in Tampa, Florida; Loudoun County, Virginia; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Vista, California, are underway this week.

2. Take the town hall to them!

If your rep won't schedule an event, take your concerns straight to them. That's what constituents of Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Devin Nunes did when they gathered outside a fundraising dinner the Californian Republicans were attending in Bakersfield and demanded a town hall.

Constituents gather, hoping to share their concerns with McCarthy and Nunes and push them to schedule official meetings. Photo by Lynn Scotts Runyan, used with permission.

3. Write a song and make a music video.

That's what the people of Martin County did. Their parody of Meghan Trainor's "Dear Future Husband" asked Rep. Brian Mast (R-Florida) to come to Martin County for a town hall meeting. Mast announced a veteran's town hall in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday (ignoring the song's request), but it's a start.

4. Get other people to keep an eye out.

Rep. Paul Cook (R-California) hasn't yet held an in-person town hall, and his district is starting to get worried. They have a website devoted to finding him, and a creative search party taped a few missing flyers to milk cartons at a local store. Can't hurt right?

5. Sign and send!

Citizens around the country are signing petitions requesting their representatives come home to host an in-person town hall. This petition to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) has more than 20,000 signatures. A similar petition to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) has more than 32,000.

Gardner (left) and Blunt (right). Photos by Alex Wong/Getty Images and Mario Tama/Getty Images.

6. Make a video message ... or several.

Twitter user @madeline_says has made and sent multiple requests to her congressman, Rep. David Rouzer (R-North Carolina). Whether on her way to work or after a run, Madeline has made time to reach out to her elected official. It's a shame he can't be bothered to do the same for his constituents.

7. Book a standing appointment with your representative, whether they asked for one or not.

Following last year's election, the people behind the grassroots group Tuesdays With Toomey host protests every Tuesday at the Pennsylvania senator's offices across the state. Someone even brought a sousaphone. Things are getting serious.

8. Say it with flowers or maybe a nice card...

For Valentine's Day, Twitter user @TechnicallyADoc asked Sens. Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham (both R-South Carolina) out on a date to discuss health care. Scott piggybacked on Rep. Mark Sanford's town hall on Feb. 18, but no word from Graham.

9. ...or perhaps thousands of cards!

You know what's better than one card? Thousands of postcards delivered to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan requesting an in-person town hall in his southeastern Wisconsin district.

We're gonna need more trucks. Photo by iStock.

10. Make your message larger than life.

If the 70,000\+ postcards don't get Ryan's attention, this billboard in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, may do the trick.

11. A surefire way to get your representative to come home? Vote them out.

If they refuse to listen, if they refuse to meet, if they refuse to acknowledge they work for everyone and not just the people who put them in office, then let them know you will do everything within your power to relieve them of their post.

If they're not up for the challenge of being an elected official in the age of resistance, then find and support someone who can. Maybe it's you!


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Tuesday February 21, 2017 @ 11:35:06 PM mt

Mannequins are getting a much-needed makeover in a colorful new exhibit.



Let's be real: We had an actual mannequin challenge in this world way before the viral video craze.


Have you looked in a clothing store window lately?

Our fashion industry is everywhere and constantly evolving. Our seasons change, our styles change, our trends change. So why don't our mannequins change too?

Designer Rebecca Moses is stepping up to give the mannequin industry a much-needed makeover.

In her exhibit "Imperfectly Perfect," Rebecca has created a collection of mannequins that better reflect who we are as a culture today. She's using it as a way to celebrate fashion, visual art, mannequins, and diversity.

Gone are the days of every mannequin with the same shape, size, and blah look. These mannequins are bold, diverse, and champions of their own unique individuality.

All images below via Rebecca Moses, used with permission.

Some of her mannequins have a crooked nose or one eye that dips down. You'll see mannequins with a mole on their cheek or frizzy hair. No two look the same, but all are equally distinct.

Every single one carries the attitude of: Isn't it great to be indescribable?

"We've come out of a huge world of reconstructing ourselves to be some ideal that society has inflicted upon us," Moses says. "I believe that we have to embrace what we have our imperfections are really what define us."

Moses knows that our differences are what make us who we are. She's celebrating them.

She based the idea of her mannequins on a collection of paintings of women she created. The project took two years to put together from the sculpting of the mannequins, to the designing of their clothes, to the painting of their bodies. The final result can be seen on display at Ralph Pucci International, a contemporary design and art showroom, in New York City.

"I really do think that mannequins have to evolve," Moses adds. "Fashion today is not really about clothes as it is about the characters that wear the clothes and define their style."

You could go as far as to say that giving mannequins a more realistic reflection of what people look like might be more important than the clothes they're trying to sell.

It's widely known that dissatisfaction with one's appearance, especially for girls, begins at a very early age.

The NYC Girls Project reports that by middle school, 40-70% of girls are dissatisfied with two or more parts of their body, and that body satisfaction hits rock bottom between the ages of 12 and 15. And while 63% of girls agree that the body image represented by the fashion industry is unrealistic, nearly the same amount admit to comparing their bodies to fashion models. Those standards that are often not even real can be severely damaging to girls' self-esteem.

From dolls to billboards to mannequins, showing more realistic versions of the human experience can make a positive impact.

Moses hopes her exhibit will serve as a small step to empowering women of all ages to embrace who they are.

She also points to the divided times we live in right now and why it's more important than ever to be inclusive and to celebrate the uniqueness we each bring to the world. We all have something to contribute: our vision, our talents, our voices.

"Owning who you are can give you the confidence to choose your path in life," she says. "We all need that inner confidence."


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Tuesday February 21, 2017 @ 11:35:06 PM mt

This veteran found a creative way to talk about his PTSD with his child.




Army veteran Seth Kastle had everything going for him when he came home from serving 16 years overseas. That's why it was so confusing to him when his life began to fall apart.

He had a job, a loving wife, family, and friends. He knew things would be different when he moved back to Kansas, but he didn't think they'd be that different. But he felt an extreme anger building up inside, a fire inside his chest that he couldn't explain or get rid of.

Kastle was unknowingly suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event like war.

"I waited until it was too late," he says. "I didn't even know what PTSD was."

Seth Kastle on the far right. Image via Seth Kastle, used with permission.

Kastle struggled for years without getting help, pushing away his loved ones including his wife. There were outbursts at work. He was drinking too much. It all started to add up.

"There have been a thousand times looking back where my wife should have left me," he says.

Image via Seth Kastle, used with permission.

Kastle and his wife stuck it out, though, and Kastle began to find ways to get through his battle.

He tried going to VA group therapy, but because of the time slots he could attend, the groups were all full of Vietnam veterans who were 30 years ahead of Kastle in their reintegration process. It wasn't the most helpful for his current state of mind. Eventually, he was able to find a therapy resource that worked, and it helped him get back on his feet and keep his marriage and life intact.

But he still wasn't sure how to talk about what was going on, especially with his little girl.

PTSD resources to help you broach the topic with kids were lacking online. So, one day, Seth came home from a bad day at work, sat down, and wrote a story about his experience with PTSD in 30 minutes.

Then, he filed it away on his computer not intending to ever see it again.

It wasn't until a close friend and fellow veteran published a book that Kastle was inspired to keep going with his own story.

Image via Seth Kastle, used with permission.

Kastle created the children's book titled "Why Is Dad So Mad?" to help explain to his 6-year-old daughter his struggles with PTSD.

And when it was published, he read it to his daughter for the first time.

"Theres a section in the book where I describe the anger and things associated with PTSD as a fire inside my chest," he says. "After I first read the book to my daughter, I remember her saying, 'I'm sorry you have a fire in your chest now, Dad."'

"She was 4 at the time. Thats something Im always going to remember."

Image via Seth Kastle, used with permission.

His daughter isn't the only one putting the pieces together from the book. Kastle receives frequent emails from appreciative parents trying to explain PTSD to their own children.

And that gives Kastle all sorts of feelings, mainly because he never intended for his words to be for anyone but his own kids.

Image courtesy of NBC News.

"Why Is Dad So Mad?" has been such a success that he decided to co-write another version with his wife, who is also a veteran, called "Why Is Mom So Mad?"

Kastle hopes to help break the taboo on PTSD and start conversations about it with loved ones.

"Theres a stigma associated with PTSD, and a lot of it is the warrior culture and masculinity that you need to be able to handle this," he says. "And if you can't, its because you're weak."

But that's not true, and Kastle says that if our military members have more resources to help talk about PTSD, reintegration back into home life could be a lot easier.

According to the PTSD Foundation of America, 1 in 3 troops returning home are getting diagnosed with symptoms of PTSD, but less than 40% will ultimately seek help.

The stigma, shame, and discrimination around mental health issues is damaging for those who face symptoms as well as those who are close to them.

We all play a role in tackling outdated views on mental health, and we can help shift attitudes by educating ourselves, listening more, and showing support to those who need it.

Kastle admits that it was extremely hard to walk into the clinic that first time, but seeking out that resource ultimately changed his life.

Image via Seth Kastle, used with permission.

More support and resources for our vets will create more success stories like his.

"I can easily admit that every piece of my life is better now that I took that step," he says.

And, now, the man who didn't even know what PTSD was, is using his voice to educate a younger generation on it. That's how you chip away at a taboo.


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Tuesday February 21, 2017 @ 11:35:06 PM mt

Fewer kids are attempting suicide. We may have same-sex marriage to thank for it.




Legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S. may have literally saved American lives.

In a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers at Harvard and John Hopkins universities examined the rate of youth suicide attempts in states before and after same-sex marriage laws. They found legalizing same-sex marriage was associated with a marked decrease in youth suicide attempts.

Before same-sex marriage was legalized, 8.6% of high school students in the study reported a suicide attempt. After, the overall rate dropped by 0.6 percentage point a 7% decrease. The effect was even higher in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning youth, who saw a 14% decrease.

The researchers analyzed Centers for Disease Control & Prevention data from over 750,000 self-reported surveys covering a 16-year period between 1999 and 2015, when the Supreme Court legalized marriage in all 50 states. Whether an individual identified as trans was not included in this analysis.

The decrease in suicide attempts was concentrated around the time each state legalized same-sex marriage before the nationwide ruling.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in young people. LGBTQ youth are especially at risk.

It is the second-leading cause of death in people ages 10-24 years, according to the CDC.

Lesbian, gay, and bi youth are four times more likely to have a suicide attempt, according to the study. Trans youth may be at even greater risk.

As to why the numbers dropped, it's possible that legalization communicated to young people that they really are equal.

That's what study leader Julia Raifman told PBS NewsHour.

While the study wasn't designed to get into the nitty-gritty of individual psychologies, we know social stigma can play a big role in a person's mental health. Anti-marriage laws may have represented a kind of structural, state-sponsored stigma in young people's minds.

By legalizing same-sex marriage, the states may have effectively removed that stigma.

Today, though some advocates fear for LGBTQ rights under the new administration, same-sex marriage is the law of the land.

The Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in all states back in 2015. President Trump has promised to uphold this ruling and other LBGTQ rights, but some advocates are still worried about what the new administration and a GOP-controlled Congress will mean.

Nevertheless, no matter what happens, the numbers are hard to argue with. It really does look like this saves lives. In fact, the authors estimated that same-sex marriage will mean 134,000 fewer suicide attempts per year.

Regardless of political views, I think everyone can agree that reducing adolescent suicide attempts is a good thing, Raifman said.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.


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Tuesday February 21, 2017 @ 07:49:28 PM mt

How a chance discovery let us listen to these Holocaust refugees' songs one more time.




David Boder carried with him a state-of-the-art wire voice recorder and 200 spools of steel wire tape. It was all he needed to capture the voices of an entire people.

It was July 1946 and Boder, an American psychology professor, was on a boat headed to a Western Europe that was just beginning to recover from World War II. He was going there to talk to refugees and Holocaust survivors.

A group of young Holocaust survivors at a home in Hampshire, England, in late 1945. Photo by Keystone/Getty Images.

The year before, as the Allies advanced through Nazi territory, they freed prisoners from the concentration camps. Though technically free, many of the prisoners did not have homes to return to, and instead they ended up in refugee camps throughout Europe.

Boder had a few simple goals. His mission was academic recording how living through something like the Holocaust changes someone's personality but it was also humanitarian. He wanted to help preserve these people's oral histories.

By giving them a voice, Boder, an immigrant himself, hoped his recordings would encourage Americans to accept Jewish immigrants.

Boder worked at an incredible pace for the rest of the summer, traveling to four different countries and interviewing at least 130 different people. Toward the end of his journey, he was interviewing as many as nine people a day, recording not just their stories, but also religious services and songs.

He used up every single inch of wire.

Since 1967, researchers at the University of Akron in Ohio have been the keepers of a portion of Boder's spools. Recently, they decided to digitize their collection.

Most of Boder's work has survived to the present day, but one of his spools, known as the Henonville songs (named after the refugee camp in France where they were recorded) had long since disappeared. People assumed it had been lost to time.

But as researchers at the university's Cummings Center for the History of Psychology were going through their archives, they discovered that one particular canister had been mislabelled. The Henonville songs were rediscovered.

Getting the songs off the spool wasn't easy. It would take more than a year.

Though the university had a number of wire voice recorders, none of them would work with the spool. Producer James Newhall finally found a compatible model through coworker Litsa Varonis, who spotted one on eBay and got her husband to fix it up.

The new recorder mid-modernization. Image from The University of Akron.

Even then, it took considerable tweaking to get things right. In the end, they were able to revive the lost recording.

"That we could give the world the melody to a song sung by those sentenced to their death ... is remarkable," said the Cummings Center's Dr. David Baker.

The discovery of these songs was shared with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which now has a digitized copy of the spool for its collection. You can listen to some of the lost Henonville songs below.

Fraytik oyf der Nakht (Friday at Night)"

This song was performed in Yiddish by Yuel Prizant. In it, the singer reminisces about their family coming together the night before the Sabbath. A version of the song, with lyrics and a translation, is available here.

"Undzer Shtetl Brent (Our Village Is Burning)"

This song was sung in Yiddish by Gita Frank. At the beginning of the recording, she says that the composer's daughter would sing it in the cellars of the ghetto in Krakow, Poland, to inspire resistance against the Germans. Both the composer and daughter were later killed.

Frank also tweaks the song's original refrain from "our village is burning" to "the Jewish people are burning." The original song's full translated lyrics are available here.

"Unser Lager Steht am Waldesrande (Our Camp Stands at the Forest's Edge)"

This recording, also by Gita Frank, is a German rendition of the "anthem" of the Brande forced labor camp, where about 800 Polish Jews were forced to build the Reichsautobahn, or highway system.

It was common for Nazi administrators to make prisoners sing songs as they worked or moved.

In the song, Frank sings about how the camp stands at the edge of a proud, snowy forest. In the morning, various companies of men march to the build site (the Brande camp had both male and female prisoners). At night, a guard stands watch.

A version of this song's lyrics in German is available here.

Songs were provided by and used with permission of the University of Akron's Cummings Center for the History of Psychology.


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Tuesday February 21, 2017 @ 07:49:28 PM mt

A comic about hard work and depression that everyone should read.



"I do not know what my identity is when I am not working."


Many of us seem to be trapped in a capitalist dichotomy of our work as the measure of our personal value and the need to express ourselves on our own terms and schedule.

Sometimes, that schedule is not so efficient. It runs in a bit of a cycle, too it's not like being depressed has ever made anyone a particularly efficient person.

I'm an autobiographical cartoonist, among other things, although my work seems to vary between adventure girl to angry feminist to anxious potato. I often write at the intersection of race and the immigrant experience, although it is essentially inextricable from my identity as a brown immigrant woman.

For this one, I wanted to write about how I've somehow managed to root my identity in productivity and the corresponding depression that comes when I do not feel I am being productive.

All illustrations by Shing Yin Khor.

This comic originally appeared on Shing Yin Khor's blog. You can see more of her work on her website or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr.


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