Posted: 4:36 am ET
Updated: 4:57 pm ET: Thanks everyone for the notes and the help. ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ For those asking, I don’t want to deal with a fundraising right now but I hope to have an update down the road for funding the blog. DS
This blog marked its 9th anniversary last month but we could not celebrate it so we’ll officially mark it today. Now we are nine, but who drank all the wine?
Some of you are aware that I was wrestling whether to shut down this blog, or go on a hiatus while I attend to some personal matters — I may need to sell the old house, go back to school — yada, yada, yada real life happening yada. I confess I also need a mental health break. I’m not eating right, I’m not sleeping right, I have a recurring nightmare that I’m living inside a reality show and most distressing of all, my bathroom weighing scale is screaming, “Help me!”
Since Diplopundit’s funding ended last month, I thought I’d take a break this week and while at it, also attempt to find funding for the blog from private sources. I thought maybe I’ll be back in a month or two, but then I also thought, maybe I won’t be back. I know. I know. This is bad timing for an existential crisis but the last six months have not been spectacular for my health!
Then a weird thing happened over the weekend. Some “very senior people” at the State Department interrupted my April Fools’ Day celebration. Seriously. Who does that on my favoritiest day of the year? If you haven’t heard what happened, see Aww, @StateDept Sends Official Take Down Request For April Fools’ Day Cable. Apparently, the April Fools’ cable “hit a nerve” somewhere in Foggy Bottom. Let’s just pause here for a minute. “Very” senior folks at the State Department put somebody to work on a Saturday afternoon, paid him overtime/comptime to get him to tell an aging blogger to take down an April Fools’ Day blogpost.
Holymoly macaroni! And no one thought this was a waste of taxpayers’ money?
This is the same State Department that in April 2016 celebrated its fifth annual “Free the Press” campaign to mark the importance of a free and independent media in the days leading up to World Press Freedom Day. For five years of the campaign, the Department highlighted journalists and media outlets, including bloggers who were censored, attacked, threatened, intimidated, imprisoned, or otherwise oppressed around the world. The State Department spokesperson called on governments to protect the right to freedom of expression; and emphasize the United States own commitment to promoting freedom of expression here in the United States and around the world.
Fast forward to April 2017 and the 7th Floor somebodies ordered Public Affairs to have me pull down an April Fools’ Day blogpost. Free the Press my foot! What are they going to do next, complain that the blog is “disturbing the peace” or that I’m “blogging without a permit?”
Them folks over there don’t even have people to do the Daily Press Briefing, but they have people during the weekend to try and intimidate a blogger? Over a blogpost about reused paper towels and weekly flushes. Secretary Tillerson’s advisers have some rather misplaced priorities. If they keep at this, it won’t be long before their poor judgment would soon rubbed fully on the secretary’s leadership and management of the oldest federal agency in the union. Wait, that’s already happening?
Here’s a tip for Foggy Bottom newbies: I do not, I repeat, I do not work for the Secretary of State, the State Department, USAID, BBG, or any of the federal alphabet soup. Diplopundit is a private blog. I am conducting public discourse as a private citizen. I do not get promotions, I do not have paid vacations, I just sit on the wall and watch.
Anyway, Yogi said that when you come to a fork in the road, you should take it. So I did. I don’t know yet what I’ll do for funding the blog, but I know I don’t like being bullied. Hey, I’m the watcher on the wall; maybe frazzled for now, and blogging maybe a tad sporadic for a bit — but here to stay, folks.
Posted: 11:11 pm PST
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Yes, I’ve got stretch marks and all, and my eyes are growing bad, but I’m so thrilled to be here!
OneFSO, TwoFSO, and 373 blog angels made sure I made it to my 7th birthday. FS blogs Diplo-Denizen, SadieAbroad, @FS_Problems, Foreign Service Test, some affinity groups and pals on Twitter helped spread the word. Thank you all for helping save this one blog! Apologies if that sounds a tad dramatic but I would not be here now without the small village of people who care.
I must confess that it feels good to be back! Did I realize that doing something else just wasn’t as much fun? Of course!
A bit of housekeeping —
The GoFundMe folks informed me late last week that they’ve officially moved the funds and I should have it sometime this week. I’ve been called a worrywart and I supposed I am. So I am especially grateful that I can devote time and energy here with one less thing to worry about this year.
I also want to thank Eric S. for helping me cross the T’s, and Michelle for her patience and assistance in helping me dot the I’s (get better soon!). Many thanks to the fantastic Abi Daker (http://www.abigaildaker.com) for the panoramic line drawing we have on the banner. Appreciation also to Lloyd of Embassy Risk Management, and Philip and Kalina of Silver City Mountain Resort, our two main sponsors here.
Finally, there’s a Diplopundit forum in the works. It needs a few more tweaks. Once ready, I will start sending out invitations to the blog’s supporters so you all can check it out and join if you want to.