Sunday, January 31, 2010


#60. Write about a news story you have a strong opinion about.

Well, my news story can be found: here. It's an article about how Obama has made some comments about possibly repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding gays in the military.

I can't express how happy it makes me to hear that. I don't know if it will actually happen, but in my opinion, it's absolutely out-of-this-world absurd that this policy even exists.

Let me throw out a little bit of information before I go into my opinion.

  • The policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrates a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability."
  • On top of that, a national poll conducted in 2008 showed that 75% of Americans have no issue with openly gay people serving in the military. (Including 80% of democrats and 66% of republicans!)
  • There is evidence that over 65,000 gays are currently serving in the military, and there are over 1,000,000 gay veterans.
  • So far, since 1994, almost 13,000 gay members of the military have been discharged due to their sexual orientation.
  • The only 3 countries that are members of NATO who do not allow open gays to serve in the military are the US, China, and Russia. All other TWENTY SIX allow it.
Okay... so with those statistics out of the way, let's talk logic.

Oh wait, there is none. ;) But, okay, seriously-

First of all, I think it's outrageous that anyone with an IQ (or even without?) could think that someone who is gay would jeopardize the "high standards" of morale that the military apparently has. I can think of at least 5 other things that would/do jeopardize those "high standards". Including sexual assault in the military, military torture/interrogation techniques, etc. (Of course, those things are highly accepted in the military community, so they are hard to compare...) But, do openly gay people really pose a higher threat to morale than superior sexual assault, which has been documented time after time again, and these men get off time after time again...

I'm not even going to respond to the phrase "unacceptable risk to the high standards of [...] good order and discipline"... I'm pretty sure this has everything to do with the notion that gays (especially men) are overly sexual, lewd, are constantly "coming on" to everyone around them, etc. Again, all anyone can think about is the sexual act itself.

... So, if 75% of Americans are okay with people being openly gay in the military then why is it still against policy? I have no logical answer for this, except that I'm unsure how reliable these statistics are (it was a poll done by the Boston Globe)... and of course, the beliefs held by the majority of Americans are seldom represented in our laws and policies. However, this touches on a much huger issue than I am ready to get into at midnight on a Sunday ;-)

Basically, the absurdity of the policy still makes me wonder... I know that in the past, certain minority groups have faced ridiculous rules and restrictions. I know that all it took was FAITH that someday things would change and FAITH in the minorities themselves to believe that they had the power to make that change happen.

Sometimes I wish I could give myself fully to every cause that means something to me. But, being the busy college student that I am, it's hard for me to fight for change in everything around me that is meaningful to me. I have two friends, both I've known from separate times in my life, who are gay and in the army. One just returned from serving in Iraq, and the other is currently in Afghanistan. They cannot be obvious on their facebooks, they cannot make comments to other soldiers about their girlfriends (and in one case, partner- they have a child together!), or else they face discharge. These people, thousands of people, put their lives on the line everyday for what they believe in. It might not be what I believe in, but they stand up and are proud to be American soldiers... and just because they are gay, that makes it mean something less? That makes them less brave or less honorable or less hardworking?

I think not.

I applaud every single gay person in the military for having the strength and patience to put up with that discrimination. Their coworkers can receive packages that are obviously from their husbands or wives, while they must hide any cards, incriminating photos, gay-centered newspapers, etc. I can't even begin to tell you how sad and disappointed it makes me.

I truly hope that Obama is able to repeal this ridiculous, discriminatory policy... for the sake of gay members of the military and for the sake of our children and our future.

And some people, dance.

"For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. "

- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Beginning of the End.

"You have four years to be irresponsible here. Relax. Work is for people with jobs. You'll never remember class time, but you'll remember time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So, stay out late. Go out on a Tuesday with your friends when you have a paper due Wednesday. Spend money you don't have. Drink 'til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does..."-Tom Petty

Hard to believe that I've begun my last semester of college. This seemed so far away for so long, and it's truly bittersweet that I am at this point right now. I am excited to graduate and become a part of the "real world". At the same time, I can't imagine any other lifestyle than the one I've been living for the past four and a half years.

It's been an amazing experience. I don't want it to end. All I can do is make the best of my last four months as an undergraduate. Somehow, over the last 5 years, I have learned so much more than my textbooks and professors could teach me.

My internship is going very well... I promise I'll write more about it soon. It's been interesting beyond belief, and I've already made connections that I never dreamed I'd make in the first week. I'm working with an 11 year old boy who's sister has Neuroblastoma, and even just talking to him is teaching me things about myself and life.

Speaking of NB, there are a few people I'd like you to keep in your thoughts. Erik is 24 and has relapsed Neuroblastoma. He has an amazing spirit and way with words... his disease has progressed tremendously. Please hope for minimal pain, continued success with radiation, and lots of more time for Erik to spend with his family and friends. Sam is an adorable little boy who lives in CA... he was diagnosed 8 months after Liam was. Last week they recieved the news that there is liver involvement. Melina is in Vermont for treatment... her scans recently showed progression, however her parents are hopeful that her new treatment plan will be successful.

That's all for now... I'm off to run some errands, stop by my internship, and then attend my very last "first practice of the semester" ... I'm feeling so nostalgiac! Maybe I'll make a photo album of rugby sometime.

Hope you are all well!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I'm still alive...

I started my internship today... I promise I'll write an update about it soon. It was amazing. I also had a meeting with the research team I'll be working with... that went great too. I can explain that in better detail at some point.

Today it's 65 and sunny... Kim and I took the dogs for a long walk in the sunshine. We talked about how happy warmer weather makes us. It always puts me in a good mood... especially because it's the first sign of warmth after the temperature being in the teens and twenties up at home for the last month. After the walk, I felt really good (except that for some reason my knee is spazzing out again... ouch.)

I still have a ton to do today... and I'm already exhausted.

But, I am very very happy for a lot of different reasons. Just thought I'd let you all know that. I hope you're all happy too...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


By now, we have all heard and read about the devastation that is currently taking place in Haiti due to a 7.0 earthquake that hit around 5pm yesterday. I've been keeping up with the news feeds, and the death toll is expected to reach anywhere from 100,000-500,000.

If you can afford to donate anything, here is the International Response Fund that was set up by The Red Cross. This is a safe way to donate any amount, and know that all of it is going straight toward the relief fund.

I know of a girl in Greensboro who's family is hosting a huge Haiti-Relief Yard Sale this weekend, where all of the proceeds will go toward a relief fund. What a smart idea! I hope everyone continues to be this innovative and creative in their ideas to help.

Sending many prayers tonight to a country that is already underdeveloped and now full of chaos and despair.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Photos from today

Today Matt, me and another kid who we graduated with - Mo, went to the old Wanamaker's department store in the city of Wilmington to shoot together. The store is abandoned, it shut down probably a decade ago (I have slight memories of when it was open... whenever we rode by it with my grandparents, on our way to a restaurant in the city, I remember my grandmother telling me she bought her coats there...) I got some great shots, but it was FREEZING out! We kept having to take breaks and hop back in the car for a little to warm up our hands enough so that we could press buttons and control our cameras. I don't think I've been that cold in a long, long time! We brought along Matt's sister's dog... who was posing for me perfectly. She has the best ears ever. It was a great day - cold, but really fun and I learned more about my camera from Matt and Mo.