Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm just lazy

Oh hai blog peeples! UR still here?


So....yeah....blogging. Once upon a time, I had oodles amounts of time to blog AND actually had things to blog. I could make all kinds of excuses as to why I haven't blogged in a gazillion years (like, I've been busy with work, volunteering, starting my own business or that I've been too focused on watching all of Battlestar Galactica) but really, it just comes down to me being lazy. Well, that and global warming. Let's blame all our problems on global warming!

Anywho, I really am going to blog more. Really! To show you how serious I am, I will give you a list of things I have thought about, started writing, or twittered about blogging:

  • Sarah Palin (shocking, I know)
  • Gay rights (even more shocking, I KNOW)
  • Kiss-in's (not to be confused with Kiss-ing)
  • "A Guide on How to Ruin a State in Just 18 Months" by G. Herbert
  • Why I gave this blog the title I did (which will introduce nicely my blog on...)
  • Watchmen (the movie, specifically, not the graphic novel)

I may come up with other things over the next few weeks but I feel this is a nice, slow start to get me back into the blogging regularly. I know the 2 & 1/2 readers left are as excited as me about these thoughts. I won't let you down!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Hot, Flat & Crowded

(Author's note: I wrote this the day after seeing Thomas Friedman but for whatever reason, forgot to publish it).

The other night I attended the lecture of one of my most favorite journalists, Thomas Friedman. It was well worth the $10 and even though I forgot my book to have him sign, it was still a memorable time.

Most people know Friedman from his column in the New York Times but I much prefer his books. In The World is Flat, he talks about the benefits of globalization to the United States and other countries world wide. My strong support of globalization makes me a bad Democrat, I've been told; but those who told me probably never read this book.

In his new book, Hot, Flat & Crowded, Friedman discusses how, because more and more people around the world are becoming more like Americans, our world is literally becoming hot, flat and crowded.

Hot, because of the very serious and very real threat on our world of global warming. Friedman joked that Al Gore needed to write the first sentence of his Op-ed on global warming as: "I'm sorry. I was wrong. Global warming isn't happening as I said in my movie. It's happening MUCH more quickly."

Flat, because more and more people around the world are becoming "middle class." They are becoming more like us Americans, specifically our middle class. The larger this group becomes, the more resources we will use more quickly which leads to...a increase in global warming.

Crowded, because of a serious increase of the world's population. The more people, the flatter and hotter it becomes.

Friedman discussed the solutions to these problems and fears that people just don't care enough to change. That, and because our culture almost forces us to make things as easy and as cheap as possible. His argument is that saving the world isn't easy. It can be cheap, in the long run, but we must be committed for the long haul.

One of the major solutions, Friedman argues, is that we need to seriously reduce our dependence on foreign oil (surprise!) and invest our time and energies (literally) into new Energy Technology (ET). His theory is that the country that first develops the best, most cost efficient and practical ET's will become the new Superpower (my word, not his). America has long been the leader in new ideas, technology and ideologies. This won't last long the more our world becomes hot, flat & crowded, however.

Our economy is already seriously strained so could you imagine if another country (Japan or India) were to come up with new ET's and suddenly jobs and money WORLDWIDE will all be funneled to them? What would our country end up looking like?

There is a lot to think about after reading any of Friedman's books. Listening to him inspired me and I only hope I can actually do enough to help.

But I guess all revolutions happened with single people all working together.

Monday, January 26, 2009

where have i been

I was only chastised for a moment on Inauguration night because I don't blog anymore. But I do have good reasons so here I am, sharing them with you.

First, I lack internet at home. Yes, I could purchase it, but i'm much too lazy after years of using "free" wireless. The fact that I had to move recently also has not helped my blogging efforts. I'm typing this on my BlackBerry which is not easy. Also, I no longer can blog at work. I actually have a job WHERE I DO WORK. Crazy, huh??

Second, I have found myself apathetic about politics. Like any good politician, i'm full of shit. I realized in September that I have worked for so long and got nothing in return. Because I never did anything for myself, I ended up getting screwed. I have long encouraged people from all walks of life to become engaged in the political process but have found myself over the last few months stepping farther and farther from it.

Third, i'm not seeing any real change. Yes, I was ecstatic on Tuesday and even cried a little bit. But the excitement didn't come until late Monday night. I've been searching for about a month now for an editorial cartoon by the Trib's Pat Bagley that showed 2 rabid Obama supporters wondering where the change is. His appointments are less than thrilling. Yes they are 1000% times better than Bush's people and yes they'll do an amazing job, but they are establishment people; Clintonites and real Washington insiders. I didn't support Hillary because she WAS the machine. I expected more from Obama and couldn't help but feel a little bit betrayed.
The tipping point for me was...

Fourth, the decision to terminate the 50 State Strategy. We Democrats have a problem: we're too busy playing defense that we never have time to play offense. Under Dean's leadership, we stuck it to them. We won in places (like Utah) where it wasn't possible to win before because of the massive grassroots efforts of the 50 State Strategy. This strategy worked. It was a huge factor in getting President Obama elected. I knew Hillary would have dismantled the project as soon as she was the nominee but I never expected this from Obama.

2008 was a great year for Democrats up and down the ticket (except for here in Utah but I'll get into that in another post). Barack Obama helped, but the groundwork was laid by state and county parties across this country. Full time, paid staffers in every state was a hard pill for many to swallow but they gave it a chance and by God, IT WORKED!

I've expressed these feelings with many friends who just don't understand. I know how hard it is to run a party and I know that it's not done by just one person. The beauty of the 50 State Strategy is that it required and demanded the help of everyone who cared about taking their country back. The decisions weren't left up to the party elders anymore. It gave people a reason to care about politics again and helped them see the Democratic Party was no longer sitting on the sidelines. We, as a party, stood up and fought back.

I worry about the future of our party. Our country is in very capable hands, just like it was when President Clinton was in charge. But look what happened after him. That was our fault--we were too busy playing defense and had no time for the offense.

I can't care anymore. I spent too much time and energy and sacrificed a big part of my life caring about the party.

I love being a Democrat and will always be one. Seriously though, we need to pull our heads out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama

Sounds pretty nice, doesn't it?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My personal protest (2008 Election Thoughts, Part 3 of 3)

The biggest disappointment to me in the 2008 Elections is the passage of California's Prop 8 (and those in Arizona and Florida). I expected the propositions in Florida and Arizona to pass but not California's. I mean, California is the liberal bastion of the West and ALWAYS bucks the political norm. They kick out their Governor every few years and elect MOVIE STARS for hell's sake! There was absolutely NO WAY, in my mind, that Prop 8 would pass. I became a viral campaigner by constantly posting things on Facebook, Twitter and a couple of blog posts here as to why Prop 8 should fail. I figured it was the least I could do since I couldn't physically go there and canvass or donate money. And today, I vow that my disappointment will be turned into action. I will fight alongside my GLBT friends and family until the fight is over.

I've had a few friends ask me why this issue means so much to me since I'm not gay myself and the only (and best) thing I can honestly come up with is this: It's not fair that I can get married to a man I love while my gay friends can not. You see, I can find any man off the street, take him down to the Clerk's office, and obtain a marriage license. But my gay friends who have been in a monogamous, committed relationship for YEARS can't. They live as married couples; a few even went to California to get married but because they love someone of the same gender, their relationship isn't recognized by the government as "valid." This completely breaks my heart and I don't want my daughter to live in a world where true equality does not exist.

I haven't written overtly personal posts on this blog because that is what my private blog is for. But this issue has made me realize why I am involved and why I care about politics the way I do. And I want the whole world to know my feelings. That is why, today, Saturday, November 8, 2008, I officially submitted my resignation to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (hereinafter referred to the Mormon Church or the Church).

I stopped believing in the Church when I was 12 years old. A big deal, as was recently pointed out to me. But as a dutiful daughter, I continued to go until I turned 18 when I left home. I briefly returned a few years later when I became pregnant but only to placate my mother. Now, almost 20 years later, I am ready to make a complete break.

When my friends started resigning from the Church a few years ago and encouraged me to do the same, I honestly didn't see much point. I mean, I didn't attend services anymore (with the occasionally baby blessing/baptism) and no longer believed ANYTHING they taught. I figured, why resign? The church's stance on Prop 8 helped solidify to me why I absolutely had to resign. You see, when the church talks about XXX million members, they were counting me in that number. So a church of XXX million members (including me) was supportive of Prop 8. I've seen what the church's teachings have done to my gay friends. I've seen them destroy families and preach hypocrisy. It is time for me to say no more being counted. While I don't believe the church's involvement is the sole reason Prop 8 passed, they certainly had a large hand in it. Below is the resignation letter I sent.

This letter is my formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it is effective immediately. I hereby withdraw my consent to being treated as a member and I withdraw my consent to being subject to church rules, policies, beliefs and 'discipline'. As I am no longer a member, I want my name permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the church.

My resignation should be processed immediately, without any 'waiting periods'. I am not going to be dissuaded and I am not going to change my mind. Also, I expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect and with full confidentiality.

My decision to resign from the church began 20 years ago with the deciding factor being the church’s position on families. While the church teaches “Families Are Forever,” I have observed nothing but continual assaults on my family. It began when I saw the way local church leaders treated my parents when I was 12-years-old; it was so mean-spirited, we began going to another ward and my father turned inactive. At this time, I began to question my belief in all the teachings of the church, and not just those on compassion and loving thy neighbor.

The next experience occurred when I became an unwed mother at 21. The whispers behind my back (and in front of me) as well as ostracizing by church members only confirmed what I had learned on my own: that any family that did not conform to “Church Standards” was sub-par and not a real family.

However, the act by the church that has caused me to finally officially submit my resignation occurred this year when church leaders felt the need to attack people I consider to be my current family. The church’s long-held stance on gay marriage reached a disgusting level this year with the vocal and active support for the passage of California’s Proposition 8. The Jesus Christ I believe in loves all His Children, regardless of who they are—black or white, gay or straight, single or married. I can no longer tolerate having my name on the records of a church I find detestable in their proactive pursuits to take away rights from a group of people I love and support. You will never know the anguish and heartache these “teachings” have had on members of my family and I no longer want my name on your records.

After today, the only contact I want from the church is a single letter of confirmation to let me know that I am no longer listed as a member of the church.

A lot of this is formal stuff required for all church resignation letters. If you would like to learn more or would also like to resign from the church, visit

The movement for complete equality for all citizens is the civil rights movement of my generation. I plan to be there every step of the way--protesting, letter writing, blogging, speaking out, and "turning the hearts of the father to the children." (I have no idea if I quoted that scripture correctly as I've never actually read them. Please tell me if it's right).

I hope you'll join me.

Election 2008, Localized (Part 2 of 3)

My excitement over the win of Barack Obama turned bittersweet around 2 AM Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. While talking to my friend Chris via BB email, we both realized that the Democrats would not reach 60 seats in the Senate, but we'd come VERY close. This made us both really sad and Chris found an interesting paradox: it didn't matter where Obama won, many Democratic Senate candidates got a higher percentage than him while some really struggled. I had a really hard time with this (and still do) because, while we made some amazing gains in both houses, I'm disappointed in the electorate.

Barack Obama's central campaign message was that it takes all of us to create change. He knew that real change only happens from the bottom up--not the top down. And yet, millions of new voters on Tuesday didn't take his words truly to heart. Yes, they registered and voted for him. Yes, I'm SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS as I've worked tirelessly over the years to get more people civically engaged. But people who only vote for the Presidency and no other races really frustrate me. I know there is about a 10% drop on down ballot candidates but for millions of American who are craving change not to vote for every office--regardless of party affiliation, makes me wonder. Were they just caught up in the hype? Will they ever vote again? What kind of change do they really want?!

President Obama will do amazing things for our country, I have no doubt. However, he could do many more amazing things with 60 Democrats in the US Senate. And, with more progressives and candidates for change at the local level, EVEN MORE good things will happen in this country. But we won't really know or see that.

Here in Utah, we didn't see much change and I'm very frustrated with this and take a lot of it very personally. I know I shouldn't, but I just can't help it. Democrats took out the very insulated, very wealthy Republican Speaker of the House. BY A LANDSLIDE. We had an amazing (it's my favorite word today) group of candidates of which I helped recruit and counsel. We had more paid staff and a top-notch field plan. We spend A LOT of money (which I won't discuss on this blog). But we only picked up 3 seats in the House, kept the same number in the Senate, & now have a majority on the SLCounty Council.

I take this very personal because I can not help but wonder, "What if?" What if I had stayed on as Chair? I built upon an organizational groundwork that was laid for me and was leading the county in the right direction. It was virtually destroyed when I didn't run for re-election and I truly believe that if I had stayed on, we would have won more seats.

I can't change the past and I will stop having regrets someday. I dunno, maybe I'm used to disappointment on Election Day and just had to find something to be disappointed in (I didn't even have ONE alcoholic drink--which has NEVER HAPPENED!). I've taken a break from direct political work but I now realize that we can never stop working or fighting to make our cities, counties and our country great. Barack Obama is a giant step for creating a better world. Now, we must all do our part to ensure it stays that way.

My 2008 Election Thoughts (Part 1 of 3)

[I have many feelings about Tuesday ad the subsequent election results and don't want to dilute any of these feelings so I will be posting 3 separate posts regarding the 2008 Election.]

Unlike many Americans, my life has not been better the last 8 years. Yes, not all of it was directly related to the Bush "Presidency" but there were many policies he supported that hurt my family (CHIP comes to mind...). Once I decided on Barack Obama as my choice for President before the February primary, everyday I became more and more empowered and excited with his philosophy and plans for the future of America.

Needless to say, I was elated with his landslide victory Tuesday night. I mean, I knew he'd win, but I didn't know he'd win so big! I'm very excited about the future of our country and know that Barack Obama is the right person to lead our country at this precarious time.

President Obama...sounds pretty awesome, doesn't it?!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Really, I don't care who you vote for; JUST VOTE!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Unfair and just wrong

I just found out that today is "Write to Marry Day" from my friend Jere's blog.

Since I only have 40 minutes left in this day AND since I wrote about my thoughts on Prop 8 already, I'm going to just leave you with this:

My Twitter Feed.

I started posting a tweet a day about why people should vote No on Prop 8. I also post other random tweets and I lost track of what number I was on, but still, 12 reasons to vote No on Prop 8. WHAT MORE COULD YOU ASK FOR??

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who this election is really for

This election isn't for me. It's not for my daughter or even her daughter yet to come.

It isn't about Barack Obama or Joe Biden or even John McCain and Sarah Palin.

This election is about all of us. It always has been. Many have accused Barack Obama of being just another politician who only has ideas and no real solutions. He's talked a lot about change and how that change will help our country. Watch this video and listen. Notice how Obama doesn't just say that HE will provide the change, but that WE will provide the change.

Barack Obama provides more than just hope and change. He provides the forum for all of us to create change in our community that will lead to a better life for all of us. In the history of our country, all momentous occasions occurred due to the efforts of everyday, extraordinary Americans. That change can and will happen again on November 4th. You won't want to miss it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Housing First, Housing Works

I started work as an AmeriCorps volunteer this month. When I filled out my application, I had no idea what I would be doing. I have been placed with the Homeless Youth Resource Center and while I haven't officially started there yet, the issues and people I'll be working with will be unlike anything I've done in my life. When I interviewed for the position, the director said that I was overqualified for the position. I didn't think so because while I have worked in many capacities over the years to assist those in poverty, I have never worked directly with them. I'll save my personal experiences for another post because after today, I realized how fortunate I have been.

Today, as a part of my training, I attended the 5th Annual Housing Summit for the state. About 7 years ago, a national movement started to figure out what the causes of homelessness are and to figure out solutions to stop and prevent them. 2-3 years ago, Utah (and many other states) realized that the solution to homelessness is not providing more services to homeless individuals and families (i.e. shelter, food, state/federal services) but to first provide housing. Housing leads to jobs which leads to self-sufficiency which leads to stability and so on and so on.

For over 20 years, our country has neglected the homeless--or at least turned away from the problem. One of the presenters from a suburban county today said that no city in her county wanted to provide transitional housing for chronically homeless individuals; they refused to believe that homeless people live in their cities. What I learned today is that, by providing housing for people, we are giving them a new lease on life. Having quality, safe housing affects every aspect of our lives.

Our keynote speaker today was Philip Mangano, Executive Director of the U.S. Intra-agency on Homelessness. He said that for years, the government only thought of homelessness as an economic issue. But over the years, non-profit organizations started to realize that it was a moral and spiritual issue. Today, he was proud to say, both government and non-profits realize that it encompasses both moral and economic benefits. This has lead to the creation of good public policies to help end homelessness which helps the community, the homeless, and the taxpayers.

This correlation can best be viewed in a recent study done here in Salt Lake. The study simply showed that placing the chronically homeless in supportive housing saves lives and money. 8 of 39 chronically homeless men were placed into housing. Collectively, these 39 men logged 15,000 nights in jail, an average of 837 arrests annually, 433 bookings and 155 ambulance calls which cost taxpayers $2.6 million. The 8 who were provided housing show a 655 average drop in bookings and a 55% reduction in jail time. 7 of the 39 died, which may have been prevented.

Simply put, the message of today's conference was "Housing First, Housing Works." It's immoral that anyone in our country should have to live without shelter--something that most of us take for granted. I certainly have. There are many reasons people are homeless just as there are many solutions. Housing is only one of the solutions to solving poverty. But it's the most important and very step that needs to take place.

I hope that my work over the next year with the HYRC will provide me with the opportunity to directly make a difference in someone's life. One day within my lifetime, I know that homelessness will cease to exist due to the efforts of the people like those I met today. Our country may not be able to solve a lot of problems, but we can solve this one.

Mangano said the mission of the ICH is, "A Home for Every American." This, he said, is perfection.

Can you imagine a world of perfection?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Don't eliminate marriage for anyone.

To me, providing equal rights to everyone isn't about providing special or better rights to a person. It's about being fair.

You see, it's not fair that I have the ability to go to the Clerk's office whenever I want and get married. It's not fair that I can visit my [future] husband if he were to ever be in the hospital with a fatal disease and my gay coupled friends can not. It's not fair that my husband and I would enjoy the thousands of benefits that comes with being married while gay couples are required to spend hundreds of dollars to create legal documents to enjoy the same rights. And sometimes, even these legal documents are not enough.

To me, marriage is more than just a religious ceremony and more than just a legally binding document (although, these are very important). Marriage is about joining the lives of two people who love and have chosen each other to spend their lives together. I have the freedom to marry whomever I want and it's only fair that this is extended to everyone--regardless of sexual orientation. To me, it's a basic matter of fairness.

I don't live in California. Maybe, some day I will. I only have a few friends who live there, gay and straight. This issue transcends the borders of one state. No one should be treated differently no matter what the issue. Singling out one group of people and denying them the freedom to marry isn't fair in whatever state you live.

We all expect to be treated fairly in every regard of our lives. Sometimes, we don't even know such fairness occurs. To many Americans, the freedom to marry is just a given, accepted way of life-it's taken for granted. But what about the thousands of gay Americans who don't have this freedom? The freedom to marry provides security, dignity, and respect for all. Everyone deserves the same freedoms and rights; from the right to vote to the right to live free, from freedom of religion to the freedom to marry.

What happens in California on November 4th will affect us all. Fairness and equality will either be destroyed or preserved.

As a straight, non-Californian, why do I even care? Because I can't fathom what it would be like if the government came in and took one of my freedoms away. I'd be pissed (although, you'd think I'd be use to it under our current "President"). As a single person, my marriage is obviously not being threatened by said government. But as a human being, my sense of decency and fairness is. As a mother, I want my child to live in a world where everyone is treated fairly. This is one step to creating a world I will be proud to leave her.

Look, I don't admit to know everything nor do I understand all the legalities that this issue entails. I do know what fairness is. So do you. If you, or anyone you know lives in California and believes in fairness for all, I encourage you to vote no on Prop 8. If you're already planning on voting no, go donate some money. Volunteer. Make some phone calls. They need it. This is a fight that you can be proud of investing in.

Don't eliminate marriage for anyone.

P.S. Make sure you're registered to vote. This election is the most critical one my generation (and the one younger than me) will EVER face. In California, you have ONE week to register. DO IT NOW.