Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Brief Lesson on the GOP

I was motivated by tonight's GOP debate to spend the day doing research and expanding my knowledge. Here are some of the things I have found. Sadly, I have barely glossed the surface. My apologies that I had to stop to be productive doing other things. I started at www.ontheissues.org and then tracked down the real sources too. I've done some of the research for you. All you have to do is read what I wrote. I have left out my opinion in the name of education. Please let me know if you want links because I will gladly provide them.

Ben Carson (on homosexuality): "Carson had asserted Wednesday morning on CNN's "New Day" that homosexuality is a choice because people 'go into prison straight -- and when they come out, they're gay,'" (CNN Mar 2015).

Ted Cruz (on VAWA): Ted Cruz was one of 22 to senators to vote against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act because “the law is an unnecessary overreach by the federal government, and that it represents a "feminist" attack on family values.” (The Atlantic Feb 2013). VAWA’s key provisions include requiring college campuses to educate students about gender-based violence, preventing LGBT victims from discrimination, grant funding for law enforcement, prosecutors, and victims of sexual assault, youth violence prevention, and alternate housing options for victims (whitehouse.gov Feb 2013).

Mike Huckabee (on homosexuality): “Public debate today is filled with arguments that, not long ago, would have been dismissed as ridiculous and insupportable. Consider homosexuality, for instance. There have been homosexuals in every human culture. But until recently, who would have dared to suggest that the practice should be accepted on equal footing with heterosexuality?” (from his book, “Character Makes A Difference”, 2007).

Mike Huckabee (on gay adoption): “‘Children are not puppies. This is not a time to see if we can experiment and find out, how does this work? You don't go ahead and accommodate every behavioral pattern that is against the ideal. That would be like saying, well, there are a lot of people who like to use drugs, so let's go ahead and accommodate those who want who use drugs. There are some people who believe in incest, so we should accommodate them. There are people who believe in polygamy, so we should accommodate them.’” (Huff Post June 2010). Side note: “Children of same-sex couples fare better when it comes to physical health and social well-being than children in the general population, according to researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia,” (Washington Post July 2014).

Mike Huckabee (on birth control): “"If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it," (Washington Post Jan 2014).

Rand Paul (on gay marriage and adoption): "If we have no laws on this people take it to one extension further. Does it have to be humans? I see the thousands-of-year tradition of the nucleus of the family unit. I also see that economically, if you just look without any kind of moral periscope and you say, what is it that is the leading cause of poverty in our country? It's having kids without marriage. The stability of the marriage unit is enormous and we should not just say oh we're punting on it, marriage can be anything." (MSNBC June 2013).

Rick Santorum (on gay marriage): "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [gay] sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does.” (Associated Press April 2003).

Rick Santorum (on homosexuality and sodomy): “I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts. I have absolutely nothing against anyone who's homosexual. If that's their orientation, then I accept that. The question is, do you act upon that orientation? So it's not the person, it's the person's actions. We have sodomy laws and they are there for a purpose. Because, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family,” (USA Today April 2003). Side note: “Sodomy is defined as anal or oral intercourse between human beings, or any sexual relations between a human being and an animal, the act of which may be punishable as a criminal offense,” (legal-dictionary.com) (yes sodomy technically includes blow jobs).

Marco Rubio (on marijuana):  "Here's the problem with that question in American politics: If you say that you did and suddenly there are people out there saying 'Well, it's not a big deal. Look at all these successful people who did it. I don't want my kids to smoke marijuana. And I don't want other people's kids to smoke marijuana. I don't believe there's a responsible way to recreationally use marijuana,” (Huff Post May 2015).

Rick Santorum (on marijuana): “Colorado is violating the federal law. And if we have controlled substances, they're controlled substances for a reason. The federal law is there for a reason, and the states shouldn't have the option to violate federal law,” (Huff Post May 2015).
Donald Trump (on drugs): “I’ve never taken drugs of any kind, never had a glass of alcohol. Never had a cigarette; never had a cup of coffee,” (his book “The America We Deserve”, July 2000).

Ben Carson (on evolution and creationism): "Those of us who believe in God and derive our sense of right and wrong and ethics from God's word really have no difficulty whatsoever defining where our ethics come from. People who believe in survival of the fittest might have more difficulty deriving where their ethics come from,” (Washington Post May 2012).

Rick Santorum (on climate change): “Is the climate warming? Clearly over the past 15 or 20 years the answer is yes. The question is, number one, ‘Does man having a significant impact on that?’ And number two, and this is even more important than the first, ‘Is there anything the United States can do about it?’ And the answer is clearly, no. Even folks who accept all of the science by the alarmists on the other side, recognize that everything that's being considered by the US will have almost--well, not almost, will have zero--impact on it given what's going on in the rest of the world. Why would you do something and with people admitting that even if you do something, it won't make a difference?” (CNN Jan 2015). Side note: He also voted yes on defunding renewable and solar energy in 1999.

Donald Trump (on climate change, which by the way is not the same as weather): “It’s snowing & freezing in NYC. What the hell ever happened to global warming?” –Tweet from Mar 2013 “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” –Tweet from Nov 2012 “It's really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!”—Tweet from Oct 2015

Rand Paul (on the environment): He voted no on “The National Endowment for the Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes Act would provide steady funding that universities, non-profit organizations, and government agencies can count on every year to support research and restoration projects. It would be funded primarily by dedicating 12.5% of revenues from offshore energy development, including oil, gas, and renewable energy. Revenue is generated through offshore lease sales and production based royalty payments. Funds from the Endowment would be distributed through a competitive grant program to fund projects to restore habitat, manage fisheries, plan for sustainable coastal development, enhance ocean monitoring and research activities, acquire coastal properties for preservation, and relocate critical coastal infrastructure.” Side note: Rubio and Cruz also voted no.

Donald Trump (on the EPA): Environmental Protection, what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations,” (Huff Post Oct 2015).

Friday, August 14, 2015

Back To Crazy

Well, my summer in Denver is coming to a close. I think it was a pretty good summer; it was very relaxing. It may have been too relaxing...I was able to do my research (which is why I stayed here in the first place) and I worked at a restaurant for some extra money. I went to the gym almost every day because I had a great lack of excuses. But other than that, I had virtually no responsibility. Most of my days and nights were full of Netflix. I should have counted the hours I spent watching Netflix. It would be appalling to see that grand total. I finally watched all of Friends (Monica is my soul sister), I watched Dexter (Deb is my other soul sister), I finished the last season of Glee (and cried a lot), I also watched Blue Mountain State (hahahaha), and I fell madly in love with Once Upon a Time (and madly in love with Captain Hook). Now I'm halfway through 30 Rock. Not to mention that I caught up on my Disney movies, horror movies, and relationship and nature documentaries.

Despite the endless hours of TV, I also accomplished a few awesome things. I hiked two 14ers and conquered the Incline. I won a team race with my uncle (yay Uncie and the Munchkin!). I learned how to actually cook some edible food that isn't scrambled eggs and pancakes from a box. Best of all, I had time to myself. With that time, I taught myself how to be happy being alone. I gave some thought to my future and all I hope to accomplish. I think I've grown a lot this summer. I'm becoming an adult and learning how to actually survive with little help or supervision. So I watched a lot of Netflix, but I also know that this summer, I've become a different and better person.

But now, it's time for me to go back to my crazy fast paced life. Tomorrow morning I leave to return to the city of broad shoulders and damn how I have missed that place like crazy. A Portillo's hot dog, a Lou Malnati's pizza, Brookfield Zoo, the Lakefront...they're there waiting for me. I hope they haven't changed one bit. When I was living in Chicagoland, I was pretty indifferent about it. It took being away for me to realize just how fabulous Chi-Town really is. I also get to see my puppy, my family, my new nephew (technically cousin but whatever), my friends from high school, and many other people who I've missed too. The slow pace is over, because for the next 10 days my schedule is jam packed with family and friend fun.

After that, I get on a plane to Orlando with my mommy to see the ocean, Hogwarts, and I will finally be returning to the happiest place on Earth after all of these years. I guarantee that when I see that castle I will cry from being so happy.

From Orlando, it's pack to Denver. I'll move into my new dorm, start training for Orientation, and then I'll be trying to make it through Orientation. Hopefully, I'll have a positive impact on these incoming students and I just really hope that they love DU as much as I do.

From here on out, my life will be busy and hectic again. I'll probably have a few stress meltdowns and I may or may not cry a couple times, but I cannot wait to have it all back.

Monday, July 27, 2015


If this summer has taught me anything it's how to be alone. It hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. I definitely miss my family and some people from high school, and I miss my college girls like hell. But I like to think that I've made the best of the situation.

I spend a lot of my time working in one of two psychology labs or at a restaurant, and the rest of my time is spent watching Netflix. Yet, I still get out there and do things that I want to do. I've seen movies by myself (Inside Out and Trainwreck--both were great). I've gone shopping by myself. I've eaten at restaurants by myself. I've even gone to the Denver Nature and Science Museum by myself.

Most recently, I couldn't find anyone to go see Hunter Hayes on the Wheels Up Tour with me, so I took matters into my own hands. There was no way in hell I was gonna miss Hunter. I drove out to the venue and spent a few minutes trying to find a good parking space. Luckily, I found a good one (for free) and then I literally ran up to the roof of a nearby parking garage. The parking garage was just tall enough to see over the back fence and I had a pretty great view of the stage. I could hear every word, as well. To make it even better, the sun was setting over the mountains right behind him. That's something I wouldn't have seen if I was actually in the perimeter of the venue. 

I'm really happy that I've taken the initiative to do whatever it is I want to do. I used to sit around and wait for other people and if I had no one to do something with, then I wouldn't do it. Now I do what I want and nothing stops me. All that being said, I can't wait for my squad to get back to Denver so I can get into trouble with my girls again. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Adventure Time

While the greater part of my summer has been spent with my new best friend (Netflix), I have also been getting out there and enjoying this beautiful state. Most recently, I hiked my first 14ers and conquered the Incline.

During the first days of July, I was camping with my fabulous aunt and uncle. One of the good (and exhausting) things about them is that they always push me to get off my ass and actually do outdoorsy things. On the first day of camping, we climbed Mt. Sherman (14,035'). Honestly, it was not as bad as I expected. After summiting, a giant storm cloud began to appear. When you're on top of a mountain, you are a huge target for lightning so we hurried down. The top of the mountain was obviously very rocky, so hurrying is a lot more difficult than it sounds. The highlight of the climb came when Kona (their dog) slipped out of her leash and slid down a steep patch of snow. At first she just tried to run, but when her legs couldn't keep yup, she just slid for dear life. She seemed scared, but it was still so freakin' adorable.

The next day, we climbed Quandary Peak. This hike was more difficult, but I think that is just because my legs were a bit sore from the previous day. The trail was much more crowded because it was Friday and Quandary is more popular. There were mountain goats on the side of the trail and cute little mountain rodents running in and out of the rock. The view from the top was even better than Mt. Sherman. As bad as my legs hurt on the way up, the view at the finish line was completely worth it.

This past weekend I had a little impromptu trip to Colorado Springs to spend more time with my aunt and uncle that are (surprisingly) not sick of me yet. On the night that I arrived, we went over to Barr Trail. As my uncle was busy running and training for the Ascent, Ash and I hiked up for 40 minutes (about 2 miles) and then we ran all the way back to the car. It ended in a massive and disgusting blister on my foot, but running down a mountain trail was exhilarating.

The next morning, Ash and I went back to Manitou for my first go at the Incline. Looking at it from the bottom, it doesn't really look like that big of a deal. When I was told that it was only a mile, I figured ~oh it's just a mile that's no big deal at all~. Reality check: it was officially the worst and most difficult mile of my life. I seriously underestimated that baby. It was way harder than it looked. It kicked my ass, but then I kicked it back and made it to the top. The Incline is now added to the list of things I accomplished, but never thought I could.

I've been training for a half marathon, climbing 14ers, conquering the Incline...I really like the new version of me. As much as I sometimes hate any form of physical activity, it has really given me a new found confidence and appreciation. 

Let the adventures continue! But for now, it's back to Dexter. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Love Wins

On this day, I am incredibly happy to be an American. Marriage equality is FINALLY a reality for all couples and it has been a long time coming. It's absurd to me that it has taken this long. Canada has had it legalized for over 10 years (just another reason why Canada is waaaay ahead of us). I am insanely excited for all of the loving couples that will now be accepted by every state. This also brings me hope that the LGBTQIA people I love will have relief from the persecution and hatred that they have endured throughout their lives.

I am ecstatic that the overwhelming opinion on this ruling is one of joy. Yet, there are still people out there who are upset and this often comes from religious reasons. My religion is very important to me and it always has been, but my beliefs tend to not match what is commonly preached by the Church. I firmly believe that if I was a lesbian, my God would still love and protect me just the same. I believe that God loves every single person on this planet if they are willing to love him back. These are just my beliefs, but the true fact of the matter is that religion has absolutely no place in determining the outcome of marriage equality. The Church does have the right to not marry same-sex couples under the law of God, but the Church has absolutely no right to deny these marriages under the law of America. Due to the cruelty and hatred portrayed by the Church on many occasions, I cannot imagine any same-sex couple wanting to be married in the Church anyway, so I don't think a gay couple asking to be married by a church would be a problem. When the Church interferes and says that same-sex marriage should not be allowed or worse when legislators use religion as support in their argument against it, we are attempting to force our beliefs onto others. When religion is used in government to support (or dissent) an argument, the faith is being compromised and imposed on other people. The same can be said for cases like abortion, which is why I have developed a completely non-religious argument for my beliefs on that issue. Catholicism and Christianity are a choice. Sexuality and love are not.

To those that say that same-sex marriage ruins the sanctity of marriage, I have a few words for you specifically. What about a person that has been divorced 3+ times? What about someone who cheats on his or her spouse and has an affair? What about someone who is married to a person they despise? Do these not ruin the sanctity of marriage? If marriage is truly about love, then allowing people who love one another to be married under the law only preserves its sanctity.

Today is a great victory for all Americans, gay, straight, and everywhere in between. Some people have waited their entire lives for this day and future Americans will be born into a country where love triumphs over labels. I could not be more grateful.