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Why Jeff Session Hates Stoners (or actually loves them)

So Attorney General Jeff Sessions (AKA the most powerful prosecutor in the US) sent a memo Thursday to all federal prosecutors telling them to ignore the Cole Memo. The Cole Memo was created under Obama’s administration and is what has protected states that are marijuana-legal from federal prosecution, since possession, distribution, growing, and usage is still illegal under federal law. Marijuana is categorized as a Schedule I drug. The criteria to be a Schedule 1 drug is that it has no medical benefits and basically only causes harm. Heroin, LSD, and ecstasy are all schedule 1 drugs. Jeff Sessions’ memo will allow federal prosecutors in states that ALREADY legalized marijuana to now prosecute marijuana users/ sellers/ growers/ and possibly prescribers as they would prosecute a heroin dealer or user. Currently, 8 states and Washington DC legalized recreational marijuana and 28 states have legalized medical marijuana.

Jeff Sessions has worm brain

someone in the room asked who’s in favor of repealing the civil rights act

So what is this little evil elf’s deal? Sessions has been anti-marijuana for his entire career and has voted to increase the penalties for drug offenses.  He is of the school of thought that harsher punishments reduces crime. We know that this is not the case, and anyone who can look at the war on drugs from a macro, socieo-economic perspective knows this. Session also believes that marijuana is a gateway drug. When Sessions was appointed, I was sick to my stomach knowing that in his worm-chewed, dementia-slop-brain, he “believes” in this anachronistic, anti-research, god-fearing “logic”. OR… maybe he just chooses to believe it because it lines up nicely with his campaign contributors.

So the thing that is scarier to me than the actual Sessions Memo, is that his highest campaign contributors are the Koch Brothers and military defense contractors. What on earth does that have to do with reinstating antiquated marijuana laws, you ask? Well, Sessions is a supporter of private prisons and expanding the militarization of police officers. In case you forgot, last February Sessions’ overturned the DOJ’s position under Obama of no longer contracting with private prisons. This is some real shit, y’all. Oh, and you know the type of inmate private prisons house? FEDERAL INMATES. PRIVATE PRISONS WILL DIRECTLY PROFIT FROM THE SESSIONS MEMO. (watch out, y’all, because privatization of county prisons is becoming more and more common). Jesus Christ. Also, can I just say that the fact that this is this so transparent and yet there’s no public outrage may be the bigger issue than this article, but man oh man, are we looking at a potentially really dark, really scary Hellworld future (And this is coming from someone who has tried to stay positive about our current state of affairs).

Listen, I’m feeling a little lazy and I don’t feel like spending a few hours totaling all the contributions I can find that Koch Industries have given to Sessions, but in 2016 alone they gave him $40,000. How are the Koch brothers tied into enforcing anti-marijuana federal law? Not only do the Koch’s give money to politicians, but they also fund ALEC and sit on the board.  ALEC is a group of corporations that get together, write bills that will directly profit them, and hands them over to their minions in congress to do their bidding. The Koch brothers have written and approved bills for congress (and passed by congress) to privatize prisons, to put more people in prison. Because private prisons can only profit if they’re full of inmates.

It’s not surprising that Trump also went back on his word about the Cole Memo. When Trump campaigned, he said he wouldn’t enforce the federal law, however he apparently changed his mind- Press Secretary Huckabee said today that Trump is completely for enforcing the federal law.

LUCKILY, many senators already have spoken up against Session’s memo, and they have a strong case. Plus, public opinion is pro-marijuana, currently 64% (!!) of American’s approve recreational marijuana. There are undoubtedly more pros than cons when it comes to legalized marijuana. The point of this article isn’t to list the benefits of legalized marijuana, but just real quick- my favorite point of legalization- it keeps people out of jail. Yes, yes, yes, we need to figure out how to combat the institutionalized racism that keeps people in jail for marijuana offenses, but that’s a different article.

How can we fight back? Stay woke. Look up who your federal attorney is. Write to their office, call their office, tell your friends and neighbors that this issue is bigger than just some stoners being paranoid that they feds are outside when they’re smoking a j.

What I Learned from Spending One Day w/ the Green Party

green party pic

Monday evening I attended the first meeting of the Lackawanna County Green Party. I’m not a registered Green Party member and am still part of the Young Democrats of Lackawanna County. However, after last night’s meeting, I sincerely am rethinking my political affiliation…

I have been learning about the Green Party only over the past month. I became interested when Jill Stein started showing increased polling and saw mainstream political articles sternly lecturing Bernie supporters that they better not support Stein. I did believe that Stein could hurt our country by aiding Trump by basically taking votes away from Clinton. This is a valid fear, however the mainstream media extremely exaggerates it. CNN, MSNBC, Politico, The Hill, WP, and NYT all have had some type of article where they demonized Bernie supporters who may be thinking of not supporting Clinton. In my opinion, this is a pretty shitty way of getting Bernie supporters to back the establishment that we have been fighting against.

So ANYWAYS. Monday night: I was at the Green Party meeting and Mr. Carl Romanelli spoke about his experience over the past 16 years as a Green Party member in NEPA and his run for US Senate in 2006. He spoke about the Green Party’s history which started in Germany in the 80s and spread throughout Europe. He also spoke about the Green Party’s history in NEPA and some of their accomplishments in the area, such as making the 7 Tubs in Luzerne County a public area.

I also met Jay Sweeney from Falls Township who is running for PA State Rep for the 112th District. Sweeney also has been active in the Green Party for the past 16 years and graciously gave me a copy of “The Green Pages”, the National Newspaper for the Green Party, which I wasn’t even aware of.

There were a lot of good take-aways from the meeting. Romanelli compared political parties to religion in the idea that almost everyone is born into one, but only through self-reflection and research can someone find the best fit. I see this a lot in some of my friends. They were raised a certain way, and to think differently, or attempt to explore different viewpoints is sacrilegious. Something else that Romanelli said which resonated with me was “America doesn’t so much need new ideas or pure hearts- we just need a new way of looking at things”. I agree with this wholeheartedly. I think a real change of perception, and a close examination of American values are crucial to our country’s fate of being the “land of the free”. A friend of mine, Alex Lotorto, explained the Green Party as the party that puts all social movements on the ballot.  I’ve been saying recently that I wish there was a “Progressive” party, and I think I found that affiliation last night.

green party group pic

look at these threatening people…

After the meeting I took a petition to get Jill Stein on the ballot in November in PA, and walked to a local bar to participate in their weekly trivia night. I thought this would be a good opportunity to gather signatures since this bar gets pretty busy. The first person I asked questioned me a lot, and asked me why I would try to get Stein on the ballot since it might help Trump. My response, which is my conviction, is that I really want to vote FOR someone, not AGAINST someone. I also want headway for the Green Party. WE NEED A THIRD PARTY. Things aren’t black and white. I’m fed up with establishment politics and am ready for a real change. I explained this in so many words.

Then I approached another friend who refused to sign it, saying that it would help Trump. I tried explaining that I see this effort as a way of gaining recognition for the Green Party, but she still didn’t want to sign. She said this was the first time she stood up for something, so I get it and respect her, and anyone else’s, refusal.

After an hour and a half into the night, I asked the woman next to me if she wouldn’t mind signing. This was a mistake. If I ever saw distinct party lines, it was within this conversation. She first accused me of not knowing what I was talking about, and that the Sanders’ campaign doesn’t teach its supporters how to answer questions. NOTE: She didn’t ask me any questions- this accusation was the first thing she said to me. I told her I respected her opinion and was happy to listen to her. She then continued to lecture me on not voting for Clinton because I should be supporting our first women president. This is an argument that I have a real issue with (ironically enough, I was asking for her help to get another WOMAN presidential candidate on the ballot) and deserves a blog post of its own. I can understand where this feeling comes from, but I can’t stand behind someone who I don’t believe in. This woman continued to question my intelligence and belittle me, and then reduced the Green Party to just a pro-marijuana group. I was happy to get out of the conversation as soon as possible.

This is the issue though. People are afraid of the unknown. America has had a two party system forever, adding a third (or a fourth! or a fifth!)  is a hard concept for people to swallow. But this is the route we need to go. Issues aren’t black and white, and our parties are as polarized as ever. There isn’t room right now within our political system for a revolution, which I believe is what we need. Our elected officials don’t live in the same reality of their constituents. There needs to be a change, and I believe supporting third party candidates is a good place to start. I haven’t changed my party affiliation yet, but the more and more backlash I get from within the Democratic Party makes me very tempted to do so. As someone who cares about real issues, not the surface value entertainment the media dishes up as news, the Green Party’s platform carries real weight.

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Cheesy personal reflection of 2015

IMG_0470 (2)

awww, i fucking love this picture

2015 was the year of emotions that don’t have words. I guess I could say it was a meaningful year? Maybe it was a life-defining year? Whatever it was, it was good.

2015 was, dare I say, the best and weirdest year of my life. I don’t feel guilty for saying or recognizing that either, which is a testament to how genuine I feel about 2015. For the first time since I can remember I can say that things are good in my crazy mind and heart. I think this feeling is what happiness is.

I feel wholeheartedly that I am right where I am supposed to be. And what an amazing feeling this is! I’ve never felt this before, and if you haven’t yet, please wait for it. This year I’ve experienced really crazy shit, and it all wound up being wound up in love.

Things that I did in 2015:

  • Got the most perfect dog in the world
  • Quit my job without having a plan for the sake of my mental health
  • Gained 15 pounds
  • Put out two EPs that I’m proud of
  • Went on a real vacation
  • Read the most I think I’ve ever read
  • Quit Smoking after 12 years
  • Started Grad School
  • Broke up with my boyfriend, the love of my life
  • Realized and relied on the beautiful friendships I’ve developed
  • Got engaged to the love of my life


And the major lesson of all of this was LOVE. So here’s what I learned about love:

I am so fucking lucky. I am so. fucking. lucky. I am so grateful. And I am so grateful for love. I’m grateful to experience love. I’m grateful that I was able to test love blindly and have the whole experience take me back to love. Phew. Because it could’ve been a close one if I kept my heart closed shut tight.

Oh, and gratitude IS love. I really learned that this year. Really feeling like where I am in life, studying and learning and really doing all I can to experience the whole wide world, well it’s easy to feel gratitude.

My fiancé is my best friend. He’s been my biggest supporter for the past 7 years (and that’s a hard job, because I’m really a crazy person in disguise) . We had a really shitty three months there, but we came out alive. And we came together in love. This heavy heavy metaphysical love. There’s no other way to describe it. And if you haven’t felt love like this yet, please wait for it and don’t give up. Because it’s the most important thing in life. And if you have it, keep it and cherish it, and feel the gratitude that you are lucky enough to experience this feeling that the word love can’t even justly define.

And I can’t wait for 2016! I can’t wait to learn as much as I can this year, I can’t wait to read as much as possible, I can’t wait to GO TO INDIA, I can’t wait to figure out how to plan a wedding, I can’t wait to plant my garden and explore beautiful NEPA with my dog. And I can’t wait to do it all with love and a grateful heart.

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My Dream Policy Paper to Positively Affect the Lowest 5th Quintile

Quintile Policy Vision: Anti-discrimination Job Hiring – Chelsea Collins- MSW Paper for Social Welfare, 2015. Marywood University.

United States employers will no longer be able to inquire about a prospective employee’s crime history on a hiring application. During the interview process a company may inquire about criminal history, but only if it directly affects the position applied for. For example, a person who has been convicted of a crime that has involved his license being revoked would be obligated to inform the employer if he was applying for a job that required him to operate a vehicle. The US Department of Labor will create a new division to audit businesses to ensure their compliancy to the policy and that they are not discriminating against people with a criminal background. The aim of this policy will be to end discrimination against ex-offenders and help this population gain employment.

The United States of America has the highest prison population in the world. Although the United States only makes up 5% of the global population, it is responsible for 25% of the global prison population. Currently, 2.3 million people are incarcerated. Roughly 3% of the US population, or 1 out of 31 adults, are under some type of legal supervision, whether that be incarceration, probation, or parole. (Southern Poverty Law Center [SPLC] n.d.) This broken system is multifaceted and needs its own set of policies and research to help aid in reform.

What often is not discussed is the case poverty that a criminal record can perpetuate. Ramakers et al.’s 2014 study reported that potential employers are only half as likely to call back a potential candidate who has a criminal record. In addition, the study found that those with criminal backgrounds earn on 10-15 percent less than their counterparts who do not have criminal records and have a slower earing rate over time.  If the subject of these facts were any population other than those with criminal records it would immediately be recognized as discrimination.

Institutional Racism can be seen when it comes to the demographics of prison population. Out of the 2.3 incarcerated, nearly 1 million are African Americans. African Americans are 6 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites.  Hispanics and African Americans disproportionally make up 58% of prisoners as of 2008 even though they only make up a quarter of the population. 1 in 6 African American men had been incarcerated as of 2002. If this trend continues one third of black men born today will be incarcerated. (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP] 2015)

It should be noted that these trends indicate the presence of the “New Jim Crow”. African American’s history of slavery has been modernized into the criminal justice system. The shift to a new penology also has made prisons less of a place for rehabilitation, and instead an institution that focuses on controlling prisoners as a way of risk management. Although many prisons do offer some type of job training or educational programs to increase prisoner’s prospective human capital upon release, they are more focused at keeping the peace of the institution.

These statistics of African Americans and Hispanics in prison ties into the disproportion of these same populations in poverty, only cementing their place in relation to America’s social stratification. In 2010 the poverty rate for African Americans was 27.4 percent, which is almost 3 times higher than whites. Hispanics had a poverty rate of 26.6 percent. (Karger and Stoesz, 2014) By comparing these percentages to the percentages of African Americans and Hispanics incarcerated it is easy to see the correlation between race, poverty, and incarceration. A public policy that helps ex-offenders gain employment will positively raise the income and employment rates for those in the fifth quintile.

This policy will have substantial short term and long term effects on the US’ welfare state. It will directly help those with a criminal history and their family. It will also improve their community by the presence of less discouraged workers spending time idle, which eventually may lead back to criminal activity. The policy will also help fulfill state and federal workfare requirements, and the amount of social wage that people collect will be less, since less people will be on welfare due to unemployment. After time, and on a much wider scale, this policy has the possibility to increasing the United States’ Human Development Index since more employed people will have more income.

The policy will aid to developing the institutional conception of social welfare, since money that would otherwise be spent on aiding the unemployed with criminal records now can be utilized on improving other programs, such as public education. It is a curative approach to poverty in the idea that it will aim to end chronic poverty by helping people gain work, and therefore also help reduce the current rate of recidivism.

At the workplace, the policy will help end economic discrimination between workers who have a clean record compared to those who do not, since this information will not be obligated to be disclosed. It also will help employers gain the best possible workforce. A person with a criminal record may be the most qualified candidate for a position, but in the past would be looked over due to their history. This policy will also help break the cycle all too often observed of generations of family members who have trouble with the law. The current generation will have the opportunity to set an example for future generations by not returning to jail and finding employment after release. By observing this example, future generations will have role models that are not constantly stuck in the revolving door of the penal system. This can help reduce crime in years to come.

Of course there will be opposition to this policy, especially from neoconservatives. The argument can be had that this will help reduce America’s welfare state by producing job holding citizens as opposed to creating a caste of unemployables.  Employers may be less than happy to implement this policy out of fear of hiring criminals. However, it should be stressed through campaigns promoting this policy that people who have been convicted of crimes are not products of eugenics and are not inherently bad people. Instead they are people who deserve basic human rights, along with the chance to achieve the “American Dream”. If the public’s view on those with criminal history can change, then the discrimination this population has endured can finally begin to erode. Larger corporations should also recognize that employing people who normally would have a very difficult time of finding employment as a type of commonweal and part of their corporate responsibility. This policy should in fact please proppants of the residual conception of social welfare school of thought.

It is predicted that there will be some possible negative effects of this policy, such as more incidents of workplace related crime; however the policy should be implemented and molded until it can successfully break the barriers of those with a criminal history who want to work. As with all radical ideas, this policy will take time for the United States citizens to accept, especially because it involves the realization that there has been a large population which has endured discrimination quietly.  By helping those who cannot help themselves, and changing and creating policies to raise the economic prospects of those in the lowest quintile, the United States will become a stronger and more united country.


The American prison population is one of the most marginalized communities. This can be attributed to the fact that the population is locked away behind thick walls, so the “out of sight, out of mind” mind-set can help ignore their existence. Another reason for their marginalization is that the majority of those effected by the penal system are members of the lower rungs of society; therefore their wellbeing it is not a priority of those in power. Although people who have criminal history have made mistakes, they should not automatically be denied the opportunity for success later in life. The fact that the majority of those who end up behind bars are poor and African American has something to say about how the United States cares about his population in general.  By not helping this population integrate back into society by the capability to find work is oppositional to social justice.

Social justice is a term which is defined best on an individual basis. My own idea of the concept is to do as much good for as many people as possible so that humanity is positively affected. Part of the NASW code of ethics is to work towards social and political policy in order to increase social justice. If a social worker losses sight of what the ultimate goal of the profession is, raising social justice, then they are not compliant with what it means to be a social worker.

In my professional life I hope to be a crusader for social justice. I hope to stay current with what is happening in the world around me in order to be aware of those who are in need. By working for a think tank or an NGO I hope that I will never lose sight of what it means to be a social worker and strive to consciously be aware of what my social justice mission is.


Karger, H. & Stoesz, D. (2014). American Social Welfare Policy: A Pluralist Approach. Seventh

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. (2015). Criminal Justice FactSheet. Retrieved September 28th, 2015 from

Ramakers, A., Apel. R., Nieuwbeerta, P., Dirkzwager, A., & Van Wilsem, J. (2014).

Imprisonment Length and Post-Prison Employment Prospects. Criminology, 52(3), 401-402. Retrieved from

Southern Poverty Law Center. (n.d.). Mass Incarceration. Retrieved September 28th, 2015 from

first blog post

I’ve always viewed blogs as somewhat narcissistic, and in all honesty I’m surprised that I took the jump to start my own. Perhaps I am just being egotistical thinking that other people may be interested in reading what I have to say. If anyone relates to any of my future ramblings then that would be pretty neat. If no one reads this, and it just goes down as one more fingerprint I’m leaving in the internet database then so be it.