9 Signs You're From The Coal Region

9 Signs You're From The Coal Region

I miss where I came from and when I visit the nostalgia sweeps me off my feet, tugging at my heart because there really is no place like home.
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No matter what city or town you are from in the coal region, there are several undeniable signs that you grew up there. You can leave and move near the city, like me or you can stay there your whole life. The coal region leaves its mark on you, whether you like it or not. You can never truly leave it behind and honestly, you wouldn't want to because it's a huge part of who you are. Here are 9 signs you grew up in the coal region of Pennsylvania:

1. You speak hick.

The accent. It's one of the many tell tales signs you are from the coal region. When you move away, you try to lose your accent but sometimes, when you are relaxed and comfortable, it slips out. Ya'll feel what I mean?

Another part of it is actually understanding what people mean. It's like a whole new language because others look at you like you're crazy when you reply back to the hick speak. It's hard to describe but it follows you around, like a ghost of your past.

2. Knoebels was the shit.

If you were never at Knoebels, fix yourself. It's one of the best places ever. Every year, my family would rent a cabin at the theme park and we would stay for a weekend full of fun. Some of my best memories are from Knoebels, though I still refuse to go in the haunted house.

Knobels was fun and everyone went there for family trips and even reunions. Maybe this summer, I'll go back and enjoy the swimming pools with rope mazes. Of course I'll go on Twister, the wooden roller coaster that scares you to death because you're sure you're going to die when it breaks. But you go on anyways! May the odds be in your favor!

3. If you didn't have a license you were stuck at home all weekend.

If you were one of those sad kids that never got their license then good luck having a social life. If you did have a license you had to beg your mom to let her drive your car.

"Moooooooom, please! I have to go to Jess's house for our 'project'!"

The worst thing about living in the coal region is that Walmart was a thirty minute drive away and there was literally no fun things to do. Two shitty bowling alley's: one you had to keep track of your own score (Who even does that?) and the other was shady AF. You had the movie theatre but you were poor and used all your allowance on books. Oh, wait. Was that just me? *shrugs*

4. There are huge coal quarries, literally in the middle of everywhere.

You're driving up 940, enjoying the scenery when all of a sudden there is huge coal quarries. They were always working to fill them or there were just random machines sitting there. You could count the times you saw them on with just one hand. The one's by Stockton mountain, you had to guess if to was actually moving or if you were jus seeing things. I still don't know which it was.

5. Sorrento's was the place to eat.

Sorrento's wasn't even that good but you went there all the time for the pizza. It was cheap and didn't taste terrible. There was their competition, Garlic Knot, that you went to for fancier occasions, like when you didn't want to see bugs and dirt on the floor. Sorrento's was kinda shady and you definitely didn't touch any white powder but the food was good and it was fun to hang with your friends at.

My preference was Garden Chen, the Chinese place. Their shit was poppin'. It still makes my mouth water. I miss it so much but found Chinese near me that does the job!

6. The Laurel Mall was the Friday night hangout place.

If you weren't at the movies then you were at the Laurel Mall. You wouldn't buy anything or have any real money but you would walk around that mall for hours, surrounded by the drama that was going around about who was dating who and why. The mall was the cool kids hangout every Friday, to be someone you had to be there.

7. You get a special day off when hunting season starts.

I'm not sure if hick land still does this but for the first day of deer season we had off and all the murders in training would go shoot things. I would pray to hear that they missed their target and when I found out they didn't I knew they would have their heads stuffed and hung on the wall. You can't walk for more than two feet without running into a house that has tons of dead animals stuck on the walls. It's disturbing.

8. It's Duck Dynasty, but like worse.

Duck Dynasty is such a huge thing where I'm from. Hicks attract to hicks? Maybe. It's racist and stupid but it relates back to just how the coal region is. Like the characters, people exhibit some really weird behavior around home. Unsweetened tea is a huge staple, just like in Duck Dynasty. Almost everyone voted for Trump because poverty is a real thing and most people up there are close minded and uninformed. You have hope though because there are teachers out there to teach the kids to dislike a racist, homophobic, and xenophobic leader. Just don't talk politics with anyone over thirty wearing camouflage. You'll just hear, "Make America Great Again!" being yelled at you.

9. You're proud about where you came from!

You make jokes about the drugs and the accent but you know you are proud of where you came from because all these things shaped you to be who you are. The people, the hicks, the community, the schools, everything contributed to you becoming who you are today. I'll admit, I booked it the second I got but only because growing up there showed me I wanted more from life. I wanted to find my own home where my kids can one day write an article about how their hometown shaped them.

Once a White Havian, Hazeltonian, or Freak Lander, always a White Havian, Hazeltonian, or Freak Lander! I'm proud that I was raised in the coal region and you should be too!

I miss where I came from and when I visit the nostalgia sweeps me off my feet, tugging at my heart because there really is no place like home.

Cover Image Credit: blogs.ft.com

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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An Escape Raft From Trump

How a declaration of resistance is really a plot to escape blame

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How does a person come back from being part of a great injustice? I'm not talking about how a person recovers from being a victim of a great wrong, nor am I referring to the process of judging those who perpetrated the act. No, what I want to know is how those who aide and abet such actions, those who collaborate and stand idly by, come back into the fold of civilized society without being held to account.

A few weeks ago there was an anonymous Op-Ed in the New York Times from a senior White House official. The piece caused a great stir because it alleged a great conspiracy within the president's administration by even its most senior members to thwart the worst impulses of the president and keep the nation on a relatively sane track. Much of the coverage has focused on trying to identify the author of this controversial piece or praising those brave souls in the administration who are a part of the resistance. I was among this crowd until I started reading a bit further about this article and what it represented. With that further exploration I came to realize that what I took for a reassuring statement to the American public was actually something much more sinister.

How does a person come back from being part of a great injustice? This is the question that is currently haunting the leaders of the Republican Party as they grapple with the Trump presidency and the taint it casts upon their party. As the increasingly impending likelihood that Democrats will take back Congress and ramp up investigations, not only into Trump himself, but also the upper echelons of his administration and even members of Congress, Republicans are searching for any way to avoid blame before this impending storm of controversy and negative stigma hits.

This is where the op-ed and its cynical ploy comes in to play. While I have little doubt that there is a faction in the White House that attempts to curb the president to some degree, I do not for a moment believe it could be called a resistance or the actions of so-called 'adults in the room.' The point of the Op-Ed was not to give voice to this faction, but to control the narrative of Republicans in the White House, to tell a story about otherwise good people who work for this horrible man, but do it because they are preventing someone worse from coming along and doing something really bad. It's a convincing tale all things considered and its been proven to work in the past. Clichéd as it is to bring up Nazis with the Trump administration, in this particular case it fits, many Nazis after the war told tales of honorable Germans who were only doing things out of their patriotic duty and with the belief that if they didn't carry out orders someone else much worse would. It was convincing enough that thousands of former Nazis never received any meaningful form of punishment and lived out the rest of their days never having to atone for their participation in some of the greatest crimes in human history.

The thing about the 'preventing worse things from happening' argument both then and now is that it is complete and utter B.S. Many Germans knew what the Nazis were doing was wrong the same way as many Republicans know what Trump is doing is wrong, they just don't care because it gets them what they want, which is usually power. After some initial hesitation, Republicans were all too eager to embrace Trump and what he represented like moths to a racist, sexist flame. They endorsed and stood by him on the campaign trail even as his behavior set new lows for conduct, as his supporters unlashed a new hatful undercurrent into the party, and as shocking allegations about his personal conduct came out. Even as president when his capacity to lead has been shown on numerous occasions to be insufficient for the office, and his past activities are being revealed as startlingly criminal in nature, they stand by and affirm their support until the end.

Such stubborn loyalty might be commendable if it wasn't to such a horrible man who does such horrible things, except for that fact that it is illusionary. Republicans loyalty to Trump only lasts as far as it brings them power. And now that Trump's star is starting to fall and the voters are preparing to make their displeasure clear at the ballot box, they are seeking to distance themselves from him as fast as possible. The op-ed is simply the first step, to introduce the idea that Republicans were never that invested in Trump in the first place and were always present in opposing him, just not in any open or accountable way. They hope that their efforts coupled with the public's intense dislike of Trump and his close cohorts will allow history to repeat itself and they can get away scot free without their involvement ever coming to light.

We as the American people need to stop this narrative right here at the start and recognize it for what it is, a cynical ploy by a bunch of greedy, corrupt cowards trying to save their own skin as their boss takes the fall. We cannot allow them to succeed in this; we cannot allow them to escape justice. In the name of all those that have been harmed by this administration, in honor of all that has been endangered by their lust for power, they must be held accountable.

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