First up, some good news. At long last, we designed merch for Patreon. We let you vote on it, and you voted for mugs, and I personally, am obsessed with them. At the $25/month level, you can get the “You Can Do Hard Things” mug in the picture above, designed by our team. Your money goes to support the small but mighty staff here at APW, and helps pay their health insurance during this crisis.

This also seems like a good time to note that the $20/month levels and up get our monthly Patreon community call. It’s become one of the favorite parts of my months, and I’m starting to make amazing new friends. Recent conversations have included: weddings, public policy, Sally Hemmings’ life, feminism and sex work, and quitting your job. We joke that our conversations go everywhere they can go, and it’s so nice to have an hour each week to talk to people with absolutely zero agenda. So join us there for $20/month, or add $5 and get this great mug. Those dollars mean so much to us.

And now, the bad.

It’s 2020, and I’ve gotten accustomed to the fact that things can always get worse, I guess. As you all probably know, California is on fire. I’m not really sure how else to say it. I’m a native Californian who grew up a football field away from a mountain, and did fire evacuations so many times as a kid that what you grab is drilled into me on a soul level. But what is happening right now feels different. I woke up on the wee hours of Wednesday morning smelling smoke, and by mid-day the state was burning. Rare summer lightning storms lead to so many fires (called Fire Complexes, because there are so many fires in particular areas that they’re starting to merge), that it’s hard to even read a fire map. Add to the fact that California has used nearly unpaid inmate labor (yes you read that right, and it’s as horrible as it sounds) to fight fires. And due to prisons being locked down because of COVID, we don’t have enough firefighters, because our system was built on sand. The smoke is so thick in the East Bay that our whole team is trying to figure out where we can go, what routes are free, and where the fire might move. 2020! The gift that keeps giving.

It’s your open thread, let’s hit it!


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