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Ms_Lara

Ms_Lara

Ms_Lara

Ms_Lara

Latest posts by Ms_Lara (see all)



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I haven’t written on Amplify in a while. It’s been so long, in fact, that I had trouble figuring out how to actually post a new blog post. But I have something important I’d like to say:

There is too much hate. And David Kato was killed from it.

There have been several blog posts (particularly here on Amplify) about the anti-gay sentiment in Uganda, a country which has welcomed controversial homophobic legislation. In Uganda, there was a "report" published that listed the names, pictures, and address of 100 gay citizens, …

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 Ernesto Dominguez got it right when he wrote

We may not understand the impact of our words, but it is clear that these words push folk away…

He goes on to write that when we use hate speech to degrade those who are HIV positive, we add to the social stigma that comes along with having HIV. And as a result?  People don’t get tested. They think that going to get tested means that they “sleep around”, or that they’re “slutty”.

The other day I was going …

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I haven’t blogged on Amplify in a while (way too long!) but I’m proud to say I am BACK and with an AWESOME story for you all!

I recently came back from San Antonio where I and several other of my colleagues, plus Sarah (shout out to Advocates for Youth!) conducted a workshop called "Let’s Talk About Sex". The turnout was simply great: there were over 60 (I almost want to say perhaps over 70) participants. The number of people who showed up is important for a few reasons: it provided us with an understanding of how many …

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A recent study that included over 400 guys ages 18 to 67 found that many men refuse to wear condoms because they don’t fit right. Some men claim the condom often breaks, so they opt not to wear one at all. Others claim the condom is too big, and their egos wont allow them to buy a "small" or a "medium" at their nearest pharmacy.

Well, that’s a problem. And here’s why:

1) The fact that the condom might break shouldn’t deter men from wearing one and protecting themselves. …

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This is such GROUND BREAKING news, folks. The American Psychological Association has just declared that psychologists should NOT be telling gay people that they should turn straight.
 
…..*cricket, cricket, cricket*
 
But seriously, this progressive step is interesting in that the APA is encouraging these psychologists to consider "multiple options": celibacy to switching churches.
 
That brings me to my next point: I disagree. I mean, are there really multiple options to being gay? I can’t see how being celibate can somehow reverse your sexual orientation or downsize …

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As most of you may have heard, Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped in 1991, when she was just 11 years old.
 
The details of the crime are so intense, so gruesome, so disgusting and malicious, that I will not go into extreme detail. I will tell you this though: there is a facebook group, Jaycee Lee Dugard – she had it coming, that is calling the victim a liar and "a slut".
 
One of the many comments on the group wall is: "I’ve been watching the news …

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“Marriage eludes high achieving black women"

What does that headline say to you? Before I delve into the article itself, let’s explore the implications this headline has to offer: either marriage discriminates, or high achieving black women aren’t getting married. 

I’ll go with the latter.

Even when I asked my boyfriend what he thought the headline meant, he said "[The headline implies that] marriage is hard for successful black women." So, before I even read the article, I had this preconceived notion that this was going to be based …

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It’s a little weird that the federal government is so concerned about our sex lives. I mean, does that freak anyone out? Because if it does, then do not visit www.4parents.gov.
 
I was sitting on my couch, watching the TV when a commercial came on encouraging parents to talk to their kids about sex. I thought to myself: "How great! Finally we can encourage parent-child communication about teen sex!" I mean, I know my own parents skipped out on the whole conversation entirely, so I can see …

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The other day I was walking with my 12-year-old cousin into the train located in a predominantly white area to get to my class at Columbia University, 20 minutes away from my house. Those on the train stared as I held my cousin’s hand, assuming that my cousin was my very own daughter. I spoke to my cousin about school and whether or not she’s excited to enter high school next year. The white man and woman in front of me simply stared. They felt disgusted.

Their body language led me to

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Do you want to know something….startling? Something scary? Something that should ignite fear, and possibly congressional action?
 
Nearly half of HIV-infected youth are completely unaware of their status.
 
According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 22 percent of sexually active high school students are tested for human immunodeficiency virus. I can enumerate reasons why many students opt not to get tested. It could be one of two reasons:
 
1.)    The student may not believe there is a need to get tested.
2.)…

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Last week, for the entire week, I was in Central Jersey at Girls State. The purpose of the program is to allow young women from across New Jersey to form their own state government, by electing city councils, town mayors, county officers, a state party chairwoman, and lastly, a Governor. I mean, the concept of this program is pretty great; I had a great time campaigning and helping my friends campaign for their candidacies. I ran for Governor.
 
Now, as a candidate for Governor, I wasn’t able to …

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How many women reading this blog have gotten the three Gardasil shots? If you haven’t gotten it yet, schedule an appointment with your doctor and get it. Gardasil can help prevent cervical cancer and four types of HPV. As of right now, it’s the only vaccine (in the world!) of it’s kind. The CDC recommends that women ages 9-26 get Gardasil.
 
According to their website:
 
HPV is a common virus
  • HPV is a virus that can affect both men and women.
  • HPV usually has no signs

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I’m feeling a little inspired, a little ambitious, and heck, perhaps a little more liberated. I’m in the middle of reading A Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti. Trust me when I tell you that you need to go to Barnes and Nobles right now and get this book. Just buy it. Don’t ask questions.
 
Throughout the book, Valenti presents the question of virginity. What is virginity? Is it really “sacred”? When a teenage girl loses her virginity, does she lose her innocence? Is she no longer pure? According …

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This is disgusting. There aren’t enough words in the English language to properly denounce the act of killing another human being because they work to preserve a woman’s right to choose. The abortion debate has plagued this country in so many ways; it has destroyed the very fabric of the American lifestyle. For centuries women have been mishandled, mistreated, and politically ignored. Women have been harassed, abused, raped, and killed. 150 years after the Seneca Falls Convention, when men and women drafted up the Declaration of Sentiments (which declared …

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I cannot grieve with you enough at the fact that an eight year old transgender student can no longer attend Catholic school. I’ve been to Catholic school. I’m relatively religious myself. But seriously? A condition that can never be predetermined should not be reason enough for the administration of a religious institution to suspend—no, expel—a student.
 
According to this news article:
The child’s case recently came to light when her parents met with a leader of the Omaha Catholic Archdiocese to talk about transitioning the student into

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LOL I love blogging on Amplify for many reasons. I learn more and more about the world around me, and—perhaps most importantly—I get to verbalize my every belief. There is no such thing as “Cristina, shut up!” in here. There is no such thing as “Cristina, you’re not making sense,” in here.
 
My blogging experience allows me to voice my opinion on wonderful news, terrible news, confusing news and stupid news. Take for example Roy Den Hollander. Roy is a men’s rights lawyer with a big mouth and …

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Wayne Anthony Ross, the most controversial, divisive, polarizing man possible to have been selected to be Alaska’s attorney general had a few interesting things to say this week.  He always seems to have interesting things to say, and each time the gaffes just pile up. It’s interesting….

Take for example the "Lima Beans" story.

Representative Lindsey Holmes asked Ross how he would view cases involving homosexuality, you know…him thinking they’re “degenerates” and all, and writing it in the Alaska Bar Newsletter.  Ross responded:

“Let me give you an analogy.

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Now I’m a fan of happy relationships. I’m a fan of healthy relationships. Dude, I’m a fan of relationships…period. But, one thing that I would never support (nor adhere to), is treating my partner like a child. This article on CNN blatantly describes the story of a woman who tried parenting techniques on her husband….and they worked.
 
This is interesting because…I don’t know. Imagine your partner treating you like their child? Creepy…

According to the woman in the article:

When Greg walked in the door that evening, late

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This weekend I was in Atlanta, GA and went to "Bodies: The Exhibition" downtown.  The exhibit itself was really amazing and thought provoking– actual cadavers stripped of their skin in order to show the muscles, nerves and the ways of the human body. The exhibit is meant to show us how as humans, we tend to take our bodies for granted, when they are truly amazing.

Still however, I was bothered that all the specimens were male, with the exception of the reproductive exhibit, where there was one female

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It’s been official for a while, folks. There were more babies born in 2007 than in 1957, the year witnessing a Baby Boom. The reason? The increasing rate of teen pregnancies.
Now, let’s see. Anyone who dares argue that teen pregnancies are decreasing due to abstinence only education should be slapped with take-home-pregnancy-test.  The figures, printed in USA Today, are preliminary, but show a 4.32 million-baby tally for 2007, more than the 4.30 million babies born in 1957.
 
Even at the low point in

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In the MSNBC article entitled “Single, Pregnant, and Panicked”, we are given a scenario: a highly intelligent working woman meets with an old friend and, after a few drinks too many at a bar, finds herself in bed with him. She had just gone through a break up, so she stopped taking birth control pills. She takes a vacation to the Swiss Alps, where she gets a phone call from her sister: the working woman was laid off her job. A few months after that night, and …

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The other day I was in DC conducting research on the REAL Act for my government paper. Fun, right? ….Anyway.
 
I made a few appointments with some very interesting Congressmen and Senators. Among these influential people was Senator Brownback from Kansas. I met with a member of his staff (who shall remain anonymous) and we discussed comprehensive sex education. According to her, “kids don’t want to have sex.” That’s funny…
 
Moving on. She also said that the Senator’s office doesn’t believe in funding anything sex related, as …

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This world can be a really interesting place. A woman with 14 kids suddenly gained national recognition in a day. Yet her fame was most definitely NOT congratulatory. No, no, my friends. Because it would be crazy to wish a mother of 14 “good luck.” Nah, instead we give her death threats.
 
And still the craziness continues. A Roman Catholic archbishop says the abortion of twins carried by a 9-year-old girl who allegedly was raped by her stepfather means excommunication for the girl’s mother and her doctors.…

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Possession of marijuana. That’s a pretty plausible reason to get apprehended for, eh? Now…what about "possession of contraception"? Yeah….arrest me for having condoms.

Last friday, about 12 people got arrested for having weed in their lockers. Now, my first reaction to hearing this was "ahahhahahaha ROFL lol LMAO." While that may have not been the most mature reaction, it came naturally. The school administration then felt it would make perfect sense to raid everyone’s locker, to ensure there are no illegal substances/weapons in there. I have many many condoms in my locker …

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During school my friend and I got into a very heated discussion about abortion. My friend, whom I did not know was a fervent social conservative, got relatively angry. Whoops! The conversation went somewhat like this:

Me: Ultimately, the fight to rearticulate reproductive justice will rest with us liberals. After all, conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Jerome Corsi are far too busy promoting hateful rhetoric and referring to us as “baby killers.” Indeed, for a group that cares a great deal about the sanctity of life, anti-choicers have repeatedly opposed comprehensive

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Hey y’all.

This is more of a news post rather than a blog. I got an email from the Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom. It reads as follows:

We’re announcing a very special project to let the world (or maybe just a few key decision makers) know that young people of faith support comprehensive sex education.

To participate in our little online jaunt, do the following:

1. Take a picture of yourself holding a sign that says "I AM [INSERT FAITH TRADITION or the word SPIRITUAL or AGNOSTIC] AND I

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Two days ago, my friend and I were talking about something that happened a few years ago: a men’s group sued a women’s shelter for discrimination. I couldn’t believe it. I did my research, and to my dismay, it was true.

It’s outrageous, but it happened: ten emergency shelter organizations in Southern California have been sued by individuals affiliated with the National Coalition of Free Men. The lawsuit alleged that these ten organizations engage in unlawful gender discrimination by not allowing men into their shelters for battered women and children. As a …

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What to pink panties and a radical hindu group have in common?
 
Thousands of Indians, many furious over a recent assault on three women in a pub, are vowing to fill bars on Valentine’s Day and send pink panties to a radical Hindu group that has labeled outgoing females “immoral.”
 
How awesome is that? According to MSNBC:
 The women said their mission was to go bar-hopping on February 14 and send hundreds of pink knickers to Sri Ram Sena, the militant Hindu group that has said pubs

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Join the Impact has partnered with numerous national LGBT youth groups to launch the campaign Tell Three. The campaign encourages youth to open up about being LGBT. Why take part in the campaign? Take it from them:
Why is this important? It’s important because California voted to get rid of marriage rights for our community. It’s important because 29 other states have done the same. It’s important because LGBT people get fired from their jobs just for being who they are, kids get beat up in school for

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This is what TV advertising aimed at men looks like: Two fetching young women, sitting in an outdoor cafe, begin to argue about the merits of Miller Lite beer. The argument quickly escalates into a hair-pulling, clothes-ripping brawl. The women, now half-naked, tumble into a fountain, then somehow wind up rolling around together in wet cement. The naughty male fantasy concludes with one saying to the other, "Let’s make out!"

And this is what it looks like aimed at women: A beautiful young woman is getting married and asks …

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When most people think of reproductive justice, they automatically think of accessibility to EC and abortion. In reality, reproductive justice goes beyond that; it is about having the right to choose when to have a baby…and how many babies you want.
 
According to a BBC article I read two days ago, authorities in China report that seven in ten of the nation’s women would like to have more than one child. The report was based on a government survey, conducted in 2006 but released only now, that found …

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I, for one, am not having wild sex like these "professional studies" may suggest.

How many times have your parents questioned you about your sex life? How many times have they gotten worried about you engaging in risky sexual behavior?

 
Oh no, my baby’s having sex!
 
No, mom…I’m not.
 
Many studies over the past few years have always proved that young people are engaging in risky sexual behavior. Well, duh. These studies have also made young people look…quite frankly…like horndogs. They’ve declared us “the most sexually …

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So MSNBC is currently running the following, terrifying headline:
 
The Pill makes women pick bad mates

Oh dear. What do they mean? Does The Pill cause women to seek out narcissistic jerks? Emotional wrecks? Abusers? Fans of Two and a Half Men?
While several factors can send a woman swooning, including big brains and brawn, body odor can be critical in the final decision, the researchers say. That’s because beneath a woman’s flowery fragrance or a guy’s musk the body sends out aromatic molecules that indicate

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According to FOX news, the Pentagon recently disclosed homosexuality as a mental disorder. There are other organizations as well, like NARTH, who offer therapy and scientific evaluations for those who identify as homosexual. OK so homosexuality has become increasingly controversial…but let’s shed light onto a man named Gary McFarlane, a Christian sex therapist.
 
Gary McFarlane refused to work with a gay people because he felt encouraging gay men to have sex went against his Christian beliefs.
 
According to Telegraph.com.uk,
 
Legal experts suggested the ruling had left

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Tell me something: what does being a “cougar” mean? When my friend and I were discussing how older people tend to be more attracted to younger people, we began a discussion about cougars and men. According to the heavily reliable urbandictionary.com, a cougar is “an older woman who frequents clubs in order to score with a much younger man.”

But the word “cougar” has numerous negative connotations with it. Take, for example, the fact that cougar is often times associated with the huge ferocious and vicious cat (duh). I …

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Over this holiday break, I took it upon myself read something that would offer insight—insight I can bring with me into the New Year. In my reading of He’d a Stud, She’s a Slut, I learned of 50 double standards between men and women that plague society in daily life. It doesn’t even mention the fact that men make more money than women, or how health care (which, statistically speaking, women utilize much more) costs are becoming wildly unpractical, or even how women make up only a measly …

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As 2009 approaches us, it’s important to rid yourself of the unfortunate events that occurred in 2008:
            Proposition 8
            Gay adoption ban in Arkansas
            Pastor Warren to deliver the invocation at the Inauguration
            Lesbian woman raped by four men in California
            High Schools still teaching abstinence only
            EC made available over the counter, but not to anyone under 18
 
The list goes on. I want you to understand that these events can be countered with collaborative–and even single–action. None of us are …

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Your high school years are perhaps the best years of your life; I say this because I have not yet gone to college. But along with SAT preparation and AP testing, comes the beginning stages of exploring your sexuality and experimentation. While the “high school night life” is no where near the college night life, it still encompasses the basic party amenities: alcohol, drugs, sex, and loud music.
 
Alright I’m going to cut to the chase: the other night, my friend went to a party, got trashed, had …

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I did not just dedicate two of my high school years slaving over this historic election, ensuring that my candidate of choice would cushion my beliefs, interning with this campaign office, and protesting outside of the Capitol with a gay rights picket in my right hand, just to see my work crumble at the Inauguration Ceremony. Now that President elect Obama has chosen Pastor Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration, I’ve become justifiably angry.

Hear me out…

Although I personally believe Obama made the move to please …

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I never thought it would happen to me…primarily because I always viewed myself as a respectable young woman. But then…out of no where…I heard it.
 
“Oh, you’re getting a tramp stamp.”
 
A tramp stamp, eh?
 

It all started last year when I began contemplating getting a tattoo. I wanted a gavel with the venus sign in it. My friend later told me that people would question my heterosexuality and that every man would find themselves intimidated by my feminist ink. Uh…does my sexuality truly concern anyone? …

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I wake up, go to school, walk home, and head to work. On my way to work, I stop at my local drugstore, CVS. Being the healthy eater that I am, I get a coke, original Sunchips, and MAYBE some vanilla Oreos—if I’m feeling daring. For many years CVS remained one of my best friends…until two days ago, when I found out that CVS locks up condoms in underrepresented communities. You heard me. In predominantly Black/Latino communities, otherwise known as “the hood”, CVS will lock up its condoms—the …

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At Fair Lawn High School in Fair Lawn, NJ, a freshman was raped by a senior last week.

As a student at Fair Lawn High School, I have to express my disappointment in one form or another. Fortunately, the young woman is now safe and pressing charges against the senior guy. Aside from the legal issue of the situation, however, there is a social issue that we must deal with: there is the occassional ignorant person who comes along the road and says, "well, she shouldn’t be wearing those short skirts."…

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Two things:

  • -More teens are engaging in anal sex
  • -Anal sex used to be illegal?!

A recent report by Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center has announced that more and more teens are engaging in anal sex–"particularly those who have recently had unprotected vaginal sex." Let’s speculate this, shall we?

Being a high school student myself, I hear young people discuss their personal sexual encounters a lot. They tend to think that by having anal sex, they can avoid the "what if’s" that are often times associated with unprotected vaginal sex. …

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I recently read an article about an HIV outbreak at Normany High School in St Louis, Missouri. Before I begin, I’d like to state that my sympathy goes out to all of the HIV positive students.

Apparently, the superintendant of the district sent letters to all parents, informing them of the HIV outbreak in their child’s high school. The district is also offering free and confidential HIV testing. 97% of the students opted to get tested and the results will be coming sometime this week.

What angers me, however, is this:

As

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I just got back home from co-facilitating the Girl Scouts National Conference with Sarah Audelo, Trina Scott, and my sister, Amy. There were 1,300 girl scouts from across the country; all of these young women were so empowered and they gave off such a positive vibe.

I helped out with several workshops including HIV Advocacy and Keepin’ It Real. The Keepin’ It Real workshop revolved around healthy vs. unhealthy relationships. It focused on the 5 characteristics tha truly define a healthy relationship: RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, LABOR, CARING, and UNDERSTANDING. I was definitely surprised …

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Okay youngin’s,

Listen to this one: I went to several health classes last week and taught the freshman and sophomores about safe sex and HIV prevention. In fact, a lot of students were interested in what I had to say–primarily because there weren’t any adults in the room. The health teachers reviewed what I planned to do, and they agreed to step out of the room. They agreed to allow me to answer questions the students might have. The students would have never asked questions if they knew the teacher would …

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During the past few months, I’ve experienced feelings of shame, disgrace, and uneasiness. I cried every morning for the little girl that I lost by the minute. You see, I’m recovering from an abusive relationship. Although I do have a stronger sense of realization, I am incredibly shameful to have spent a year and a half with a guy who I barely knew. But, aside from my personal experience, I want to ensure that no young woman goes through what I went through.

So this is my calling for all high school age …

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After having attended the Urban Retreat this past weekend, I must thank Advocates for Youth for all the progressive work they have committed themselves to. As a high school organizer, I’m really excited to work with you all this year, and I’ve already begun planning a PTO meeting!

 

So, a big thank you to AFY and know that you’ve got my support! AFY carries a huge impact on youth through out the country–an impact too large to describe. I was looking at all the resources you’ve provided me this past weekend, and I feel …