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New website layout; long, ranty political reflections 
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Updated the site. Going with the vertical navigation approach so that I don't have to condense sections as badly.

I want to add a lot more sections: translations, other project info pages, etc. So the layout should help.

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I'm also debating whether or not I should dabble in politics / religion a bit on the site. The obvious downside is offending at least 40% of people right off the bat; which is why most (including myself in the past) avoid it.

I'll touch on why below. Any insight from others here, especially those who disagree, would be greatly appreciated; but feel free to skip the rest if you like. If you do respond, please avoid one liners and ad hominem attacks.

I apologize for posting this here. I realize this isn't the appropriate forum for this, but I don't have my own board, and I desperately need to get this off my chest already. If ZSNES mods strongly object to having this here, I'll delete this and look into making my own forum. If not, I'll keep this civil and lock if necessary.

Nov 4th though really caused me a lot of joy (shattering racial barriers) and sorrow as I'll discuss below, hence the lack of posts from me lately, and it'd be nice to have an outlet to reflect on for that.

Full disclosure for the below: I'm a political centrist, asexual and strong agnostic, but with ~8 years of attendance at Christian schools, so quite well informed. As such, I consider myself to be in a unique position to look at these issues without bias.

My main concern at the moment is with LGBT rights. Florida, Arizona and Arkansas' results were not the least bit shocking to me. But California's passing of Proposition 8 was unbelievably unnerving -- it being the flagship of the American "left" and all. If they can't stop an amendment there, then they can't stop one anywhere. And the amendment vs revision legal challenge, though very compelling, will never succeed: one need only look at People v Frierson and Rose Bird to see that. And reversing this decision -- it will be a revision, requiring 2/3rds of the legislature and a super majority vote. Yes, it's easier to take rights away than to restore them in our great democracy.

Seeing a slim majority of 4% take away the rights of a minority, in the name of religion no less, really breaks one's faith in the concepts of America that I was taught: that is, equality for all, and separation of church and state. We look back and see Brown v Board of Education ("separate but equal"; the obvious parallel being "civil unions"), and stand aghast at the ignorance of the past, we do the same for Loving v Virginia (anti-miscegenation), which 80% of Americans supported before said ruling, and on and on. Allowing a slim majority to attack a suspect minority breaks one's faith in democracy. Yet without it, you're left with rule by the few (eg Supreme Court); and man is mostly incapable of being impartial (case in point: Antonin Scalia.) So in a way, it can be even more dangerous than majority ("mob") rule.

I strongly feel that it's the primary 21st century civil rights battle here. It is of course, a less severe one that in the past, which is at least somewhat comforting. But issues such as hospital visitation rights, medical decisions and inheritance are very serious issues. It makes me sick to my stomach that people are being denied these rights in a so-called free country.

It is said that those who stand silent only help the oppressors. I'm having a lot of trouble standing idly by and doing nothing. An obvious abuse of my position, and I realize the futility of trying to convince anyone on issues regarding politics and religion, but if I could convince even one single person ... or gain a clearer understanding myself, then I believe it would be worth the alienation of those who strongly disagree with me.

I can also see the religious side of this argument, as well; it clearly goes against most religious teachings, and that is something very deeply embedded in peoples' consciences. Though Arkansas' blocking same sex couples from adopting children (in a state with tens of thousands of children in foster care); and states like Ohio blocking even civil unions, shows the issue is about much more than just the definition of marriage alone.

Seeing so-called Christians preach using Leviticus of all books, or the often-controversial and over-stepped-bounds writings of Paul the Apostle, and completely ignoring the teachings of Christ himself (eg John 8) is also deeply saddening. When the majority of religious tenants are incapable of even following their own beliefs consistently ... what does that say for religion? Seeing references to Sodom and Gomorrah, destroyed for lacking hospitality -- not for being gay; are they even reading the bible they profess to believe?

Choice versus genetics -- I do not know. I can only say that I sure as hell didn't consciously choose my (lack of) orientation. There's no biological or even hedonistic basis for that. In the end, it shouldn't even matter.

I can understand the biological processes that cause revulsion in many just thinking about it: obviously deeply rooted in that life's primary purpose is simply to reproduce.

Procreation is an obvious factor, yet the argument falls apart by allowing seniors and infertile couples to wed. Another red herring is biology vs bigotry: it has been observed in nature (penguins, for instance); and if anything, it's a form of natural population control, which cannot sustain exponential growth on our limited resource planet. Being socially acceptable would not cause otherwise straight individuals to become gay. Only allow those in the closet to come out more freely. And even if it were a biological or genetic trait -- it is immediately terminable and self-limiting. By very definition, it cannot be passed on to further offspring.

Protection of "traditional" marriage also fails scrutiny. What "tradition"? The oldest recordings on marriage show it to be about property issues, and the Catholic church refused to honor the concept for a long while. So the American tradition? The same one that gave us anti-miscegenation? And what of divorce and remarriage? One would reason that preventing promiscuity of same-sex couples by way of marriage commitment would also be a good thing: both in terms of reduction of STDs (AIDS most predominantly), and benefiting society as a whole. But maybe they're right in teaching accepted standards. Maybe it will decay society a bit. Maybe miscegenation did, too. Without a crystal ball, we cannot know.

Exposing children to this is also a ridiculous argument: they will be regardless, and wanting to teach children discrimination is an abhorrent ideal. Seeing parents throw their kids on the street, and Mormons having their kids subjected to physical torture, how could you argue that teaching them compassion for those different than them is a bad thing?

Polyamory would obviously be the next battle -- and indeed, I can see no justification for suppressing that, either; so long as benefits did not stack. Nor with incest (sans genetic procreation concerns) if fully consensual, and with no abuse of power. Beastiality and pedophilia are obvious and appalling red herrings used for ad hominem attacks. There is no justifiable consent in these situations.

Ultimately, the government should not be involved in marriage at all. But it is. It should at least not use what many wrongly consider a religious term, preferring unions. But it doesn't. And it's far too late to change either of those. Arguing for either logical resolution to this issue is pointless, as they are demonstrably impossible to achieve at this point.

The worst part is I can see no compromise possible from either side. It's an impasse, and you're trampling on others no matter what you choose. This has farther reaching consequences than just LGBT issues. But toward progressivism and underlying equality itself. Even after 232 years, we still have rampant bigotry in this country. Will that ever end? Ever? What civil rights issue will arise next? And how about after that? And then?

That the old predominantly oppose and the young approve is not at all surprising: biology itself shows us that man's brain becomes solidified and less accepting of change as we grow older. That clearly extends to social mores. And when you consider that only forty years ago, gays were arrested and committed to mental instutitons for their "heinous acts", you can also see that increased exposure is partially responsible for changing stereotypes in the eyes of youth.

The education divide is also not surprising, with less educated opposing, and more educated approving: bigotry's closest friend is ignorance.

Seeing African Americans vote at ~78% to suppress a minority in particular is truly painful. Using the exact same religious arguments that were used to oppress them barely forty years ago for their justification. Is man incapable of learning from the past? Is religion and country truly impossible to separate? And seeing gays' outright racist hostility over this is equally alarming. You cannot be pro-equality and discriminate at the same time.

Unlike blacks or women, this minority is incapable of ever gaining majority status by the sheer nature of not being able to reproduce.

Even though this particular issue doesn't even affect my life personally ... this issue is really shaking my faith in mankind, democracy, everything ... it's exceptionally depressing on a grand scale.

In a way, I suppose it could. Despite being asexual, I still don't desire to live and die alone: hence, I have lived with my roommate now for several years. I'd put our relationship as strongly platonic in that I would make extraordinary sacrifice to help him. Consider it gay if you like -- I clearly have no hangups over that -- but his gender is of zero concern to me. Marriage is too strong a function, and I don't give a shit about tax breaks or religion (if any god condemns me for who I am when it hurts nobody else, it is clearly not fit for worship in the first place, and my conscience could not allow me to submit while others would suffer); but I would hate to not be able to visit him, should he ever go into an ICU. In my "great" state of Ohio, it's illegal to even approximate marriage rights like hospital visitation. What a sick world we live in that "privileged" rights are even needed to see a loved one in the hospital.

Ultimately, I feel I need to get involved in some form of political activism and stand up for those who cannot do so alone. Be that my website, or perhaps asking to speak in front of a church (as if.) But what good can I do? I look at this issue and I see attacks flying back and forth from both sides, but neither side actually responds to the other. How do we get all people from both sides to listen, instead of just speak?

And then there's the issue of what activism is even needed? Waiting for social mores to adapt, while clearly the most humanitarian, could you imagine if Martin Luther King decided to stay home? If Rosa Parks decided that sitting in the back of the bus wasn't really a big deal?

And to complain about using the courts ... had we not done so, a black person and white person would most surely still not legally be able to wed. It's a good thing Obama's parents resided in Hawaii, and not Virginia.

It seems sweat, tears and even bloodshed is a necessary catalyst for progressive change. And yet at the same time, these actions all clearly polarize the opposition even further.

Am I the only one who sees these issues so clearly? Or am I just a fool with no real understanding at all?

That this even needs to be discussed, that some things actually need to be said, disheartens my hope for humanity. I can understand not preferring something, even reviling it -- but to go so far as to take away anothers' rights when it doesn't affect you? How is this even possible for a rational-minded individual? I hope I live to see equality for sexual orientation in the US, but I'm starting to doubt that I will. I mean, Lawrence v Texas was only five years ago, and you can still legally be fired by an employer just for being gay.

Too much pain ... maybe I should just get some anti-depressants and forget about it all. Hell, it'd have the added bonus of possibly helping my OCD.

In closing, please check out my new website, www.byuuforpresident2012.com/
Thanks for reading.


Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:51 pm
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My two cents, even if they're a bit fatalistic:

People have always fought against each other; sometimes they form groups to better fight against someone else. I don't think it can be changed; each generation is new and history lessons are boring.

Faith is alright IMO, but religion is politicalized faith. What most people get from it (feeling of identity / belonging to something) is just regular group think ("us vs. them") and a stimulation of the religious synapses. Don't expect too much logic here. Logical thinking is only one of the brain's modes, and it can always be deactivated if necessary (fight-or-flight, falling in love etc).

Science and history is what really sets us apart from past societies. Maybe some day science will find out how the brain and the mind really works, so that people stop confusing things.

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Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:37 pm
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Ah, the tyrany of the majority. Civil rights issues should never be on a ballot because most people are ignorant assholes who cannot accept that people are different than themselves. They cling to their religion in an attempt to compensate for their own insecurities. In turn, most religious organizations exploit these insecurities to drive their agenda of controlling the populace. I am glad that when I was younger that the church I went to is the opposite of this (they embraced gay marriage several years before it was legal in Canada), as a young person is heavily swayed by the influences around them.

In Canada, the situation appears to be the opposite of what happened in a place like California. In the different provinces the ban on gay marriage was challenged, and in every case it was deemed unconstitutional. Seeing this, the Paul Martin government moved to make it officially legal across Canada, as the definition of marriage is part of the national government duristiction. When this bill was passed, it was possibly one of the most interesting moments in Canadian history. The Liberal government was in a minority situation and could be defeated if the Conservatives and Bloc Quebeqois joined forces. The gay marriage bill was an almost sure thing, as there was enough support in the opposition ranks to pass the bill (with the NDP and most of the Bloc supporting it, offsetting the 30 or so Liberals who opposed it with most of the Conservatives). The only problem was that the final vote on the gay marriage bill happened after the 2005 budget bill, a matter of confidence. The Bloc and Conservatives opposed the budget, while a deal was struck with the NDP to support the bill. Earlier in the spring, the Conservatives said they would not defeat the government over the bill, however when the gay marriage bill vote came to happen after the budget bill. The numbers were such that the budget would be defeated by a single vote, so former Conservative leadership candidate Belinda Stronach "crossed the floor" and joined the Liberals, causing a tie on the budget. With a tie, it was broken by the speaker, who was a Liberal. With the budget passed, the gay marriage bill passed as well. A year and a half later, when the Conservatives gained power, there was a vote to bring up the debate again, but it was soundly defeated.

Gay marriage has been legal in Canada for over three years, and despite some outcry by Alberta (the Texas of the north), the world hasn't fallen apart here. However, I am not certain that the bill would have passed if it was brought as a national referendum. A lot of people were very uncomfortable with gay marriage being made legal, while many others were apathetic. It was not those who opposed it that I would be worried about, it was the apathetic not bothering to get why this issue was important. The apathetic population is the most dangerous thing to democracy. They are swayed enough by negative advertising to not vote. They rarely educate themselves enough to truly understand the impact on government on their lives. I don't think they realize the implications of regressive social laws that are being passed. Although they may not see the banning of gay marriage affecting them, with the success of banning gay marriage, maybe the radical social conservative will think of other things to ban. Maybe they will exert control on the media? Maybe they will put restrictions on non-religious people?

All in all, I feel sorry for you byuu, that you and your special friend may not be treated fairly because of the tyranny of the majority. Although the election of Barack Obama is seen as a real indicator of change, he doesn't want to recognize gay unions either - citing religious beliefs. He certainly won't be as bad as a Republican president, but the progressive people are going to have to continue to fight to ensure that they are not squashed.


Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:53 pm
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I just wanted to say that I'm pretty sure there are a lot of homosexual people who also want to have children. And they often succeed, either through sperm donation or a surrogate mother. And there are obviously many cases in which a homosexual person has had children before coming out of the closet. Furthermore, if there is some genetic component to sexual orientation, that genetic component could certainly be passed on to subsequent generations even if a parent did not express homosexuality. As in, there are lots of times when a child is homosexual but a parent is not. See what I'm getting at here?

Just for the record, it is my belief that the best possible family situation in which a child can grow up is with their two biological, loving parents. If that situation is not available, then two loving parents of any sex or sexual orientation is far better than any of the other alternatives.

I find the relationship between morals, ethics, and laws very interesting. I think there's really only two ways to go about it: either 1) any action (including surrounding circumstances) can be objectively defined as right or wrong. Obviously this requires some kind of codified system of right or wrong behavior (i.e. laws); or 2) every single person has a right to their own subjective morality.

Given the present state of society and the apparent requirement of laws for a successful community/country, then the question is really just how much each individual is able to tolerate the laws not matching up with their own personal morals.

Change is slow. Very slow. If the current generation is overwhelmingly in favor of more sexual (orientation) freedom, then as that generation enters politics and older generations exit, we may eventually have change in favor of sexual freedom.

One thing I will be interested to see is the increasing power of Latinos in our society/government. To the extent that being of (for example) Mexican descent correlates with being Catholic, we may see some interesting changes in what morals are legislated into law.

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Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:40 pm
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I would like to offer the perspective of someone from the Netherlands, where Christianity (and perhaps religion in general, though I'm not sure) is in the minority. Being bisexual and strongly atheistic despite living across from a church, it always amazes me to see 40% of our voting population supporting a centrist Christian party, as I have no religious relatives or friends. Apparently about 70.000 people in the Netherlands (out of 16 million) are strongly Christian, and from what I hear they are very protective of and outspoken about their beliefs, yet so many are apathetic or unsure enough, or so convinced of Christian 'morality' that they still vote for a party lead by people who believe the Earth was created 6000 years ago. Even so they are in the minority, and with our system of coalition governments a lot of good laws have been passed - gay marriage is legal, drugs are legal to a limited extent and I believe euthanasia (is that right?) and abortion are legal as well, although these issues keep coming up and are easy red herrings for religious people in other countries. On the other hand racism seems at a high despite or perhaps because of the large numbers of first- or second-generation immigrants who live here and the economic instability. Recent political parties such as the TON (Proud of the Netherlands, ironically) are obviously playing to people's prejudices and fear in this regard.

Personally I am against dogma of any kind, religious or otherwise, and I believe that religion is simply unnecessary. Perhaps in the dark ages, Christianity really was a bastion of morality to guide the savage masses, but today there is no point to it. People often take comfort in the thought that their loved ones live on in some way, or that bad people go to hell for their sins, but I believe in human emotion and the strength of will (Nietsche's übermensch if you will, and not the twisted Nazy version). When one of the most important people in my life died earlier this year I felt strengthened by the fact that I did not have to turn to religion to find myself and to find happyness again. He lives on in me and in my memory and everyone who's life he touched, and with the knowledge that I will not forget the lessons he taught me, that is enough. For me, meaning in life comes from human accomplishment in science and in civilisation: in shedding dogma, indoctrination and prejudice.

I like to think as the ideal scientist. In discussion I often seem to reach a point where people ask me: but surely you/scientists don't question -everything-? And I say that yes, we do, because that is the only way to make progress. Religion on the other hand is a way to stop asking. Indeed faith itself is a way to stop asking, and personally I've found (to my boyfriend's dismay) that I have great difficulty with the concept.


Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:41 pm
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live with who you want, love who you want, have sex with who you want, and don't give other people shit for being who they are.

the fact that dogma states that i'm wrong about that is why i can't in good conscience consider myself catholic, even though i myself mostly fit in quite nicely.

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Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:03 pm
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Thanks for the responses. Obviously a very difficult subject to discuss without offending others.

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former Conservative leadership candidate Belinda Stronach "crossed the floor" and joined the Liberals


A one person majority? Wow. I had erroneously believed it to be a larger margin than that.

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Although the election of Barack Obama is seen as a real indicator of change, he doesn't want to recognize gay unions either - citing religious beliefs.


I'm not so sure. I feel he just doesn't want to risk political suicide. Executive control is more important in the long term battle. But yeah, who really knows. Either way, Bush left him enough problems as it is. I wouldn't expect much -- probably just ENDA passage.

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See what I'm getting at here?


Yes, true enough. Research data on surrogate mothers would be interesting to see.

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from what I hear they are very protective of and outspoken about their beliefs


"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who like to pray, standing in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you that they have already received their reward."

Guess they missed that part :/

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or that bad people go to hell for their sins


That's a tough one for me, too. I couldn't take comfort in anyone being subjected to eternal punishment; let alone simply for choosing the wrong faith out of the straw hat. That was pretty much the #1 reason I abandoned my own faith. Believing in eternal punishment makes it abhorrent, and not believing in it makes it inconsequential.

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I like to think as the ideal scientist.


That's pretty much how I try to think. But I really do want to see both sides. I refuse to believe 52% of Californians are simply bigoted or unaware of their own Bible teachings. There has to be something I'm missing (I've read opinions on both sides for a while on this).

I'd very much value opposing responses to my points: be it here or in private message. I'll keep an open mind -- I'd feel a lot better if I could see that a rational mind could justify unequal rights under the law. And if it really can be justified against Jesus' own teachings about loving thy neighbor, not judging others, etc.

I still probably won't agree, but at least I could understand it better and respect others' beliefs more.

The majority vs minority issue and its democracy implications, I fear, is impossible to solve. It seems our only hope there is human intellectual evolution.

I'm also unsure what I should even do. It pains me to keep silent about this, but all options seem futile: people ignore peaceful protest and reasoning, people oppose middle-grounds and want it their way all the way (as well it conflicts with the very concept of equality), and violent protest just polarizes people more. But being silent seems like the absolute worst thing I could do ...


Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:39 am
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the fact that the LGBT community has fought hard for marriage means the church was successful in giving out the kool-aid.

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Mon Nov 10, 2008 3:12 am
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Here's my two cents:

I'm gay and cannot stand liberals. Go figure...


Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:13 am
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Most people have the opinions that are most convenient for them to have. Throughout our lives we're being conditioned to have certain things that we don't question because they're obvious things to us. Yet if a person critically analyzes some of these "obvious" opinions that (s)he's conditioned to have, a lot of the time (s)he'll find that they just don't make sense at all or are hypocritical even. Most people won't (or perhaps can't even) question these things. They're obvious. They don't need questioning.


Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:19 pm
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I'm also debating whether or not I should dabble in politics / religion a bit on the site. The obvious downside is offending at least 40% of people right off the bat; which is why most (including myself in the past) avoid it.


Everyone is entitled to free speech, so I reckon byuu you should do it. Plus, it will be quite interesting to see your political views as I know we agree on many things (though we argue also over the most trivial things).

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My main concern at the moment is with LGBT rights. Florida, Arizona and Arkansas' results were not the least bit shocking to me. But California's passing of Proposition 8 was unbelievably unnerving -- it being the flagship of the American "left" and all. If they can't stop an amendment there, then they can't stop one anywhere. And the amendment vs revision legal challenge, though very compelling, will never succeed: one need only look at People v Frierson and Rose Bird to see that. And reversing this decision -- it will be a revision, requiring 2/3rds of the legislature and a super majority vote. Yes, it's easier to take rights away than to restore them in our great democracy.


Yeah. "Land of the Free", my arse. For this is coming from a foreigner, but America doesn't sound as free as people make it out to be. Every minority group should have rights. Actions like what California are doing is just getting rid of them. Quite saddening to say the least.

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Seeing a slim majority of 4% take away the rights of a minority, in the name of religion no less, really breaks one's faith in the concepts of America that I was taught: that is, equality for all, and separation of church and state.


Teah, thats another thing I agree with. Church and state. In Australia, also, there is no real separation of church and state, and it really drives me mad seeing things driven from a religious perspective. For instance, the introduction of a country-wide ISP-level porn filter (basically equivalent to the Great Firewall of China), lobbied by some religious conservatives, funnily enough. Guess what? The bill passed and the filters are now in testing. Lovely. :roll: Not to mention, adult games (like uncensored versions of GTA San Andreas) being banned. Which is pure idiocy for adults that want them. Like me.

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When the majority of religious tenants are incapable of even following their own beliefs consistently ... what does that say for religion? Seeing references to Sodom and Gomorrah, destroyed for lacking hospitality -- not for being gay; are they even reading the bible they profess to believe?


That drives me nuts too. The hypocrisy is utter insanity.


Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:56 pm
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I'll sum up my thoughts:

1. I will never understand why their is such strong opposition to civil rights. Who does it hurt to allow gays to marry for example? Are two loving gay parents really going to produce a worse off kid then then the state would had the child not been adopted? I view the arguments against such civil liberties as weak.

2. The United States is far from free. The only freedom you really have is the freedom to live in your house or apartment, go to work and meld with society in your daily life, and generally not be bothered if you conform to the rules. That's better than you get in some lesser off countries, but it's far from a free nation.

3. Poor separation of church and state is what I view as a fundamental problem with the US. Too much morality in laws and decisions of many political officials are closely tied to their religious views. This country is so heavily tied to Christianity I don't know if it's possible to fix it. Though I can say this heavy tie greatly clouds judgment for the good of all the people. What's good for Christianity is no necessarily good for the people. ;)

4. Verdauga Greeneyes, your tone sounds a bit condescending against those with strong religious views. I'd image you may think differently if you so strongly believed in God and his will as do those people. To them there is a necessity. It IS necessary. You talk of religion as though it's just a comfort and morality blanket. But if person truly believes in God, heaven, hell, etc.. why is it just a blanket? Such people believe it to be just as true as your non belief.

5. Obama's viewpoint on gay marriage was to leave it to the state and/or religious organizations. Basically he's taking a neutral stance on a federal level. I'm not sure what I think about that. I can see both good and bad in that.


P.S. The new page design works for me. I appreciate the pixel independence. Nice CSS3 vs. image compromise for the rounded corners too. I thought I'd throw a compliment your way since I'm usually a web development thorn in your side instead. ;)

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Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:24 pm
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I haven't read everything, and that's bad, but I am saying some stuff anyway.

I had a huge post but I deleted it because it got sidetracked.

So, summing it up, here goes;

People should be able to do and believe what they want, that's free will.
Free will is violated by ruling or organization, but free will is what allows it to exist and therefore has to allow it to exist, as must true freedom.

So true freedom either did, does, or will exist (and not exist) in one form or another. (imo, everything should have a shot at existence.)

Religion organizes.
Government, Monarchy, Money all organize..
But they have to exist.

So either one day we have to drop all this, or we started out with none of it and really did develop it and are now stuck with it.

Or it's a loop and we lose it and get it back and so forth. (I actually feel more comfortable with this, as it would give existence more chances to play out every possible aspect, including survival of great catastrophe and then perhaps one day the chance that we will cease to exist, which I imagine would be the last thing to happen. After not existing for a while, I'm sure we will have to again though.)

I believe in an Existent being that is projecting itself into lower dimensions and each dimension limits what can be projected, therefore only showing out sections of it, and that everything is sections of that being. (My best idea of "God".) And I'm grateful that it exists, since its why everything and we exist. If it doesn't, I'm still grateful to exist, for whatever reason that may be. And I believe that if I'm "wrong", that's okay because I still had to be wrong, that's how things work.

And someone has to be right, at least once.

Then, or maybe once we did, we can get a shot at everyone getting it wrong.

(oh I thought you should know the byuu statement WAS here but I typed moar)

And I'm cool with anyone doing what they want to go for it, I think doing the right wrong and even neither thing is the right thing to do. (Then again, it could be the wrong thing, or both, or neither. Or all of those, or none of them. Then probably both and none of them. And then, there was pie.)

Wow second attempt and that still feels sidetracked.

ANYWAY

byuu I like your site, though imho it could use a itty bitty ittttty splash of color.
Itty bitty.
Itty bitty witty.


Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:06 pm
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byuu wrote:
I'm also debating whether or not I should dabble in politics / religion a bit on the site.

I thought you already had a software licenses section. :)

Nightcrawler wrote:
I'll sum up my thoughts: [...] 4. Verdauga Greeneyes, your tone sounds a bit condescending against those with strong religious views. I'd image you may think differently if you so strongly believed in God and his will as do those people. To them there is a necessity. It IS necessary. You talk of religion as though it's just a comfort and morality blanket. But if person truly believes in God, heaven, hell, etc.. why is it just a blanket? Such people believe it to be just as true as your non belief.

"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart." -- Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)


Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:27 pm
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Nightcrawler wrote:
4. Verdauga Greeneyes, your tone sounds a bit condescending against those with strong religious views. I'd image you may think differently if you so strongly believed in God and his will as do those people. To them there is a necessity. It IS necessary. You talk of religion as though it's just a comfort and morality blanket. But if person truly believes in God, heaven, hell, etc.. why is it just a blanket? Such people believe it to be just as true as your non belief.

Sorry, I tried to avoid sounding like that because I know it won't help anyone and if anything, it undermines my argument. I'm not saying all religion ever is is a comfort and morality blanket, however I think that if you take away indoctrination, that's all that remains. There is no logical justification that I have seen for any religion, as they are all based on tautologies and circular logic, and to me logic is something very important. I respect people's right to believe, as long as they don't claim to be logically justified in doing so or try to impose their beliefs on others (including their children, who are after all the most defenseless).


Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:36 pm
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sinamas wrote:
Most people have the opinions that are most convenient for them to have. Throughout our lives we're being conditioned to have certain things that we don't question because they're obvious things to us. Yet if a person critically analyzes some of these "obvious" opinions that (s)he's conditioned to have, a lot of the time (s)he'll find that they just don't make sense at all or are hypocritical even. Most people won't (or perhaps can't even) question these things. They're obvious. They don't need questioning.


Very insightful, thank you. That indeed seems to be the crux of the problem. It pretty much writes off the old as a lost cause -- and means we need to figure out how to properly teach children, with or without their parents' permission, the actual tenants of their faiths.

Or better yet, of this country.

h4tred wrote:
Actions like what California are doing is just getting rid of them. Quite saddening to say the least.


At the very least, they could at least require a super majority and legislator approval. You know, like they do to restore rights.

h4tred wrote:
Guess what? The bill passed and the filters are now in testing.


Yeah, that sounds awful. I guess the Australian government hasn't heard of encrypted proxies (Tor, etc) or VPN. As usual, the law will only harm the innocent. The people violating the law already use all these tricks.

I guess that rules Australia off my list of places to possibly emigrate to.

Nightcrawler wrote:
The United States is far from free.


Pretty much. All that bullshit in public school amounts to brainwashing.

Nightcrawler wrote:
What's good for Christianity is no necessarily good for the people.


You'd think people would catch on after they used it to justify slavery, and then anti-miscegenation, and then women's suffrage, and then ... but no. Most shocking is that even most African Americans can't seem to realize this.

Nightcrawler wrote:
Basically he's taking a neutral stance on a federal level. I'm not sure what I think about that. I can see both good and bad in that.


There's already federal-level discrimination: the Full Faith and Credit Clause guarantees that marriage in one state is to be recognized by all others. The "Defense of Marriage Act" actively targets and discriminates against same sex couples. And a Democrat (from Arkansas -- I'm sure you're shocked) signed it into law.

Nightcrawler wrote:
P.S. The new page design works for me.


It breaks up pretty badly in IE6. But it's still readable. I'll probably just leave it alone. Or redirect to a near-blank stylesheet for them. I'm so damn sick of IE.

The rounded corners thing looks best in Safari, where it has anti-aliasing for them. Kind of choppy in Firefox.

blargg wrote:
I thought you already had a software licenses section.


:P

----------------------------------------

Expounding upon my religion argument:

Most of the schools I went to followed the belief that Christ allowed Gentiles (Christians) to follow Noahide Law, as well as his teachings; and that he allowed Jewish people to follow the full Mosaic Law.

Now, Mosaic law is pretty clearly anti-same sex; eg Leviticus. It also states that God's laws are eternal, so there is no logical basis in the Takakh / Old Testament to pick and choose which laws to follow.

So, if someone wants to follow Mosaic Law fully; I can respect that. Yet I've never heard of anyone wanting to pass a constitutional amendment banning Red Lobster (as directed by Leviticus 11:9-12 -- "Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.")

An abomination -- just like homosexuality. And there are dozens of these: laying with your wife during her monthly cycle, shaving, wearing cotton/polyester clothing, stoning disobedient children, and on and on.

Anyway, most Christians (who are the largest proponents of equality bans) follow Noahide law.

In Noahide law, there are no rules about homosexuality. Some Christians state that Genesis 2:24 ("For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.") is the rule against it.

This was basically in reference to Adam and Eve. And obviously, with only one of each sex, being gay wouldn't be a very good survival instinct. It makes a strong justification for incest, though. If Seth's son was Enos, and Adam & Eve had only three sons, who do you think Enos' mother was? Awkward ...

Anyway, how people read "gays are evil and should be stopped at all costs" from that verse is beyond my comprehension.

Christ's own rules were pretty much to love thy neighbor, judge not lest ye be judged, let he who is without sin cast the first stone, etc -- ultimately just accepting him as your savior as the only real absolute requirement for salvation. It conflicts with Christians' anti-gay zeal. Note: Christ's rules does not mean Paul's pro-Mosaic Law letter to the Romans. And if you want to follow Paul (who never even met Jesus, according to most believers, and because it's never said that he did in the Bible, and because his geography was way off according to scholars -- see evil pigs running to the ocean to drown, etc), then it's only logical to follow Mosaic Law itself.

I can understand some tenants being too ignorant to realize that. But it seems the vast majority of them, including the pastors who preach hate, do not realize it. How is this possible? Am I missing something?

Overall, it's pretty obvious that God doesn't approve of gays (as well as thousands of other things like eating pork: see Leviticus 11:7-8, "And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you."), so why is homosexuality singled out so voraciously if not due to bigotry and revulsion?

Verdauga Greeneyes wrote:
There is no logical justification that I have seen for any religion, as they are all based on tautologies and circular logic, and to me logic is something very important.


Most interesting to me is when they clam up when you speak about the roughly dozen or so other religions with the virgin birth, the savior, the resurrection, sharing Christmas day, the god and devil, etc.

And most of these pre-date Christianity by a significant margin. One example off the top of my head is Zoroastrianism: God = Ahura Mazda, Jesus = the Shaoshyant, they even have their version of Moses.


Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:46 pm
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I see the whole marriage argument as being part of a larger whole.

A society, any society, exists based upon assumptions and rules that smoother the interactions between people. These assumptions and rules are what make it possible for the notion of property to exist, for currency to have meaning, and for people to work cooperatively.

A society lives and dies by its ability to teach each successive generation productive rules for interactive. Of course these assumptions and rules change with each generation. Not all of the strongly-held assumptions and rules are productive/generative. In a sense, societies are like organisms - the undergo a form of selection for survival. Not all traits of a society have survival value.

Our society, as far as I can tell, is sick. With each passing generation, I think people are getting ruder, more wasteful, less respectful of competent authority (competent - I'm not preaching blind authoritarianism here), and less educated.

Divorce rates have skyrocketed over the past several generations (over 60% since 1967). The divorce rate is both a cause and a symptom of this societal decline. It's easy to point to, but isn't itself the primary driver of the problems. The lack of stable families I think are one of the largest contributing factors to our societal decline.

Look at our overcrowded prison system. How many of them came from stable families and homes? Looking at the numbers available, and taking them with a helping of salt, it's still hard to discount the effect of a stable home on crime rates.

When I think about the word marriage, I don't think so much about churches and priests. I don't think so much about tax cuts and legal rights. I think of it as the central way in which this society knows how to teach the next generation the rules we're supposed to live and work by.

And, given that it is a social institution, "rights" don't come into it. There's no "right to marry", whether you're straight or gay. So don't even start talking about "denying rights". It's a social institution, it's society's choice.


Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:30 pm
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DataPath wrote:
And, given that it is a social institution, "rights" don't come into it. There's no "right to marry", whether you're straight or gay. So don't even start talking about "denying rights". It's a social institution, it's society's choice.


Although I agree with you that marriage is a social institution, what I don't agree with is that popularity should always govern the rules of our society. (perhaps you're not saying this, but the quoted sentence implies it) But if not popularity, then what? Perhaps governments should adhere to a certain system of ethics, such as virtue ethics. I believe the only rights should be forfeit are those that deny the rights of others.

To give a perhaps silly but relevant example, should a car only be allowed to start if the occupants are all wearing seat belts? Certainly the car should have a function to alert us to the fact that we've forgotten to put on our seat belts, but should we be forced to wear them? After all, if we do crash and die because we didn't wear our seat belts, it's our own fault. Of course our family and friends would be devastated and this is a reasoning we should be made aware of (if we aren't already), but I don't think this is a reason to take away our right to drive without a seat belt.

Should a business owner be allowed to deny an ethnic group access to his establishment? Certainly many of us would be disgusted by his decision to do so and refuse to go to the establishment, so it is not in his best interest to do so, but it is after all his property. What if the establishment was the only one of its kind around for many miles and denying access to a certain group would end up killing them? Then it would become equal to manslaughter (denying people the right to live) or even murder, and it should not be allowed.

I don't know if a consistent framework can be made that follows these fairly simple tenants, but it's the best option I've heard so far.

PS: if anyone recognizes these examples, yes, I'm paraphrasing, though I've also thought about it myself.


Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:20 pm
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DataPath, a well reasoned argument overall.

DataPath wrote:
Look at our overcrowded prison system. How many of them came from stable families and homes?


I believe roughly half of them came from minor drug offenses.
I have zero interest in marijuana, nor do I particularly wish to interact with people while they are stoned, but I do know it's about as dangerous as alcohol. Surely the costs of outlawing it outweigh the benefits by this point.

DataPath wrote:
And, given that it is a social institution, "rights" don't come into it. There's no "right to marry", whether you're straight or gay. So don't even start talking about "denying rights". It's a social institution, it's society's choice.


I see rights and equality as the same. If you let group A do something, assuming it has no directly quantifiable harm on others and consent exists from all involved, not letting group B do the same comes off as discrimination. The problem is not people peacefully discriminating, it's when the government helps them that it concerns me.

However, you do have a great point overall. If it's truly about the kids, I think a wonderful system would be that you are granted the federal and state level benefits when you are a couple and are currently raising a child (whether by birth/insemination or adoption). The rights do not exist or go away otherwise. You can thus think of them as rights of the child, and not of the couple in the relationship. If anything, it'd encourage parents to work even harder not to divorce.

And if one is against gays having kids ... TFB. There have been no unbiased studies that show same sex couples to be worse parents or raise worse-off kids. If a child is shown to be in bad care with any kind of parents -- take them away. That simple. Feel free to discriminate who gets kids when there aren't more kids in foster care than parents wanting to adopt.

What benefits the child (tax breaks) and what benefits unions (hospital rights) should be separated. Hell, hospital visitation rights should not even require marriage in the first place. That's common fucking sense. What the hell were they thinking with that one?

The problem with all these great ideas, are that the majority will not go for them just to make things fair for a minority that they despise. They like the tax benefits. They like the right not to testify against each other. They like inheritance benefits. They like hospital visitation rights. And they hate the group that doesn't currently get them. They will never compromise.

I reject the idea that the majority should have a say in the equal treatment of all citizens.

Verdauga Greeneyes wrote:
But if not popularity, then what? Perhaps governments should adhere to a certain system of ethics, such as virtue ethics.


We have something similar to that now:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.


Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:37 pm
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byuu wrote:
And if one is against gays having kids ... TFB. There have been no unbiased studies that show same sex couples to be worse parents or raise worse-off kids. If a child is shown to be in bad care with any kind of parents -- take them away. That simple. Feel free to discriminate who gets kids when there aren't more kids in foster care than parents wanting to adopt.


Well, it would also be difficult to produce unbiased studies until it was already quite popular. Because at the moment, the majority of same-sex couples that are full-time parents (meaning that I'm not counting visitation rights, etc) will have become so after a great deal of effort, and against the social grain. Whereas a not-so-insignificant number of hetero couples as full-time parents will have arrived in that role by default ("what's contraception?" or "hey, we're 17, in love, and very very horny. let's get married").

As far as taking kids away from bad parents, I'm not sure I'd trust the government to that job. We already have laws against the worst and most obvious problems, and they still don't do such a good job.


Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:50 pm
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I wish the government had nothing to do with religion, marriage, or any kind of union.

there shouldn't be any legal benefits or rules about it at all.

frankly, it seems to me that the only reason this is an argument at all is because homosexuals want the same legal benefits (including visitation etc, the whole nine yards) as everyone else, and religious people just want to maintain their personal views on what a sacred marriage is (aka, the whole thing about marriage in the first place is a religious ceremony and beliefs. If you don't believe in all of that, there is no reason [besides legal] to bother with all those formalities, you would simply live together)

if the government stayed out of it, both could be happy, people could live together and do what they wanted and everyone would be happy. And it would only be called "marriage" when someone shared the belief and wanted to go through the whole ceremony.

The only foreseeable problem here that I can think of is kids. I do think kids deserve a stable home. I have a friend that grew up without his parents, he grew up with his two single aunts. I'm not making a judgment call on same sex marriages at all here, but he always said he wished he could have had a dad or a dominant male parent figure in his life because he felt like he missed out on a lot growing up that you can only do with dads. I'm sure the same could be said about not having a mom.

just a few thoughts. In short I dislike the government and politics in general, and don't like them taking action in social and civil environments.

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Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:03 am
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Panzer88 wrote:
religious people just want to maintain their personal views on what a sacred marriage is


But:
A) it's inconsistent with their own religious tenants
B) it's inconsistent with the US constitution
C) many states ban even civil unions, only ~6% more of the population approves of that than equal marriage
D) at least one state even bans same sex couples from adopting

There's demonstrably more at play than just religious convictions.

Panzer88 wrote:
I'm not making a judgment call on same sex marriages at all here, but he always said he wished he could have had a dad or a dominant male parent figure in his life because he felt like he missed out on a lot growing up that you can only do with dads. I'm sure the same could be said about not having a mom.


You know, that's probably the first argument that I can actually feel empathy for. I can count the number of times I've seen my father on two hands -- and though my view at the time was that you can't miss that which you never had -- yeah, that really did suck. Wondering how different things could have been.

The grounding of being raised by both sexes probably is good for the well-being of the child.

I still feel it'd be better for a same sex couple to adopt than to have them in foster care, at least. I could see that justifying preference to straight couples in adopting. I could also see people worrying that same sex couples would fight that law, too; but that would obviously be stupid given that supply of children vastly outstrips demand of adoption.


Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:39 am
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byuu wrote:
Panzer88 wrote:
religious people just want to maintain their personal views on what a sacred marriage is


But:
A) it's inconsistent with their own religious tenants
B) it's inconsistent with the US constitution
C) many states ban even civil unions, only ~6% more of the population approves of that than equal marriage
D) at least one state even bans same sex couples from adopting

There's demonstrably more at play than just religious convictions.


Perhaps, but I didn't say what they were thinking had to make sense, just that's what they think.
Sure there are people out there that are just assholes, but those kind of people are everywhere, it was the only conclusion that seemed to make any sense to me, but perhaps you are right, perhaps there is more to it than that.

What I was arguing for was not for the way things are now, but for everyone to have equal benefits such as visitation etc, and have no taxation or inheritance benefits of being married, that would level the playing field so it's more about love and companionship and less about money and politics for both parties in the argument.
byuu wrote:
Panzer88 wrote:
I'm not making a judgment call on same sex marriages at all here, but he always said he wished he could have had a dad or a dominant male parent figure in his life because he felt like he missed out on a lot growing up that you can only do with dads. I'm sure the same could be said about not having a mom.


You know, that's probably the first argument that I can actually feel empathy for. I can count the number of times I've seen my father on two hands -- and though my view at the time was that you can't miss that which you never had -- yeah, that really did suck. Wondering how different things could have been.

The grounding of being raised by both sexes probably is good for the well-being of the child.

I still feel it'd be better for a same sex couple to adopt than to have them in foster care, at least.


yeah, I mean it's not an argument over same sex marriage, it's an argument that lacking a mom or a dad isn't ideal.

and I will totally acknowledge that this world is far from ideal, that doesn't mean an ideal doesn't still exist though.

I don't know why I am talking about this as I am not really fully arguing against what you are saying, although I will say that any kid who doesn't have a "normal" family life will certainly miss it, just because they don't have it doesn't make them blind to those around them.

I guess I bring it up because if i ever plan to have kids I want them to feel like they've got a home anchor. Maybe I'm misled, who knows. Whatever the case, discussion is always a good thing.

and yeah, the foster system does suck, I dislike it in general and social workers, a necessary evil I guess. I just wish that families would take care of their own, if someone's parents die their aunt and uncle, or grandparents or older brother or sister should take care of em. and I'm really not a fan of divorce either, people need to take care of their own damn kids and think responsibly before they have sex. Hell, even if a teen does get pregnant I'd rather her parents raise the kid than just killing it or putting it in the foster system.

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Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:46 am
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Panzer88 wrote:
frankly, it seems to me that the only reason this is an argument at all is because homosexuals want the same legal benefits (including visitation etc, the whole nine yards) as everyone else, and religious people just want to maintain their personal views on what a sacred marriage is (aka, the whole thing about marriage in the first place is a religious ceremony and beliefs. If you don't believe in all of that, there is no reason [besides legal] to bother with all those formalities, you would simply live together)


At least in California, the only legal benefit that homosexuals would receive (as I understand it) would be a tax break (although maybe some kinds of health insurance don't provide benefits in that case, either).

Most of the arguments I hear (dratted media bias) are impassioned cries to not make bastards out of the children of 120,000 gay and lesbian couples. The arguments are for legitimacy. To have their union recognized.

While these types of arguments pull on the heartstrings, in all practicality, you can't legislate social legitimacy. They're disingenuous, and at least as far as media coverage is concerned, they're manipulative.


Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:05 am
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DataPath wrote:

At least in California, the only legal benefit that homosexuals would receive (as I understand it) would be a tax break (although maybe some kinds of health insurance don't provide benefits in that case, either).

Most of the arguments I hear (dratted media bias) are impassioned cries to not make bastards out of the children of 120,000 gay and lesbian couples. The arguments are for legitimacy. To have their union recognized.

While these types of arguments pull on the heartstrings, in all practicality, you can't legislate social legitimacy. They're disingenuous, and at least as far as media coverage is concerned, they're manipulative.


that can't be the whole story, I'm sure not all homosexual couples want kids, there has to be more to it than that.


On a less related sidenote as a reply to one of byuu's previous statements, although probably many African America's see the similarity in the civil rights of different minorities, just as many probably do not care. (the same could be said about any people group, I'm no racist, there are bigots and ignorant among all peoples)
The sad truth is that, just because a group of people is discriminated and seeks civil equality, does not mean everyone in that group of people really believes in civil equality.
They can be as big of bigots as the next group, they just want equality for themselves, not necessarily for everyone.

And this is exactly what you have observed byuu. Even though they should see and take action more than anyone, many of them don't.

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Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:13 am
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