Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Tour of Homes

BooMamaChristmasTour

Merry Christmas everyone! This is my first year participating...I apologize for being so late but I hope you enjoy the decorations. May your 2009 be filled with good health, peace, and happiness.

























Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Man, it has been so busy that I haven't been on here in about a month to make updates. The holidays are always so busy for me, but luckily I have about a week of downtime now. :) I'm not sure if the reason I have downtime is good (I twisted my ankle, and per doctor's orders, I'm not allowed to exercise for a month or so). This, of course, is so hard for me, since I'm starting to feel stir crazy. I absolutely love working out...it's my stress release. I've never been one of those yoga type girls...I need to feel like I'm sweating (a LOT) in order to feel like I've exercised, so I stick to spinning classes, aerobics, step, cardio, etc. I'm what you would call a cardio junkie, with the occasional weight lifting here and there when I remember.

Anyways, I wish you and your families out there a very Merry Christmas...may the true meaning of Christmas be remembered this holiday season, and may your 2009 be filled with peace, good health, and happiness.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Elton John: Where Prop 8 went wrong

Read away! Have I mentioned lately how much I *love* Elton? :)

Elton John: Where Prop 8 went wrong

NEW YORK — Elton John, accompanied by his longtime partner, David Furnish, had some choice words about California's Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage that passed on Nov. 4.
In December 2005, John and Furnish tied the knot in a civil partnership ceremony in Windsor, England. But, clarified the singer, "We're not married. Let's get that right. We have a civil partnership. What is wrong with Proposition 8 is that they went for marriage. Marriage is going to put a lot of people off, the word marriage."
John and Furnish, and their two cocker spaniels, Marilyn and Arthur, were in town for Tuesday's annual benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
"I don't want to be married. I'm very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership," John says. "The word 'marriage,' I think, puts a lot of people off.
"You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships."
The dinner, held at Cipriani Wall Street, was hosted by CNN's Anderson Cooper and featured a performance from Gladys Knight. John's foundation gets a four-star rating, the highest available, from CharityNavigator.com, and John, in his speech, called for a national AIDS policy.
What does the annual gala mean to him? "It means we get to see our friends on the East Coast who support us so much. It's a staple event for us on our calendar in America. We do the Oscar party on the West Coast, and we do this on the East Coast."

Friday, November 14, 2008

A girl's best beauty aid is a near-sighted man

Today has been somewhat of an odd day. I'm not quite sure why. It has just felt a little bit off. *queue Twilight Zone music* Maybe it's because the Santa Ana winds are furiously blowing here in Southern California and the fire storms are just starting up again (there's a fire brewing in Montecito).

I have a wedding tomorrow. I usually look forward to weddings but this one I have been dreading, partly due to the fact that I haven't felt too good this week and because I have this sneaking suspicion that I'm starting to get sick. The only redeeming thing about that is that I haven't eaten much, so I'm sure I will look fabulous in my dress. On top of that, I have decided to go ahead and do my makeup myself, since I've been told that MAC (where I had previously booked an appointment) basically turns you into a clown since they like to pile on the makeup. Now clown makeup would be appropriate for Halloween, but I am going to a fancy schmansy wedding at a grand hotel. So no clown makeup for me. I did my makeup for the last wedding I went to and I looked pretty darn good, and no one ran away screaming at the sight of me, so I'm assuming I have enough skills to get me by. Besides, I'm firm believer that makeup should *enhance* what you naturally have, and not let the world know that you are, indeed, wearing layers of caked-on gunk.

With that said, I'm only going to get my hair done and my nails done (I'm taking my mama with me tonight to get them done...I love going w/her). I scoured the Internet for hair ideas and I finally settled on lose waves/curls and volume for tomorrow...I printed this pic and will take it with me:



I think it would look good given I have the same length, color, and texture hair as this celeb (Kim Kardashian). Luckily, I do not have the same ample behind, lol. And I have the same skin tone and eye color, so I think this pic gives me a good idea of what my final result will look like. For those wondering, my dress is a deep purple color (think eggplant) with gold beading along the neck line and waist. What I love most about it is that it's SUPER comfy, which is awesome because I hate dresses that are so restrictive that you can only eat a celery stick the entire night and not even dance comfortably, or even attempt to catch the bouquet. ;)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Your Rights END When You Trample on Mine

So I get in my car this morning to go to work, and I notice that my 'YES ON 8' sign that I had posted on my front lawn has mysteriously disappeared. Those liberals! I love how they take down signs without any thought that they are trampling on my right to free speech. Now you might say, are you sure someone took it? Yes, I'm sure. Last week I found a piece of paper with 'H8' (Hate 8) stuck to my sign. I certainly don't go around taking down 'No On 8' signs...everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion. We will never have a perfect world where we all agree, but we must respect all views regardless.

I found this picture online that I thought was funny and appropriate to my situation. This is NOT my sign, but someone else took great pride in making it, lol:



And here's yet another view of those hooligans taking down signs, lol:



Friday, October 24, 2008

Dangerously Cheesy!

I'm eating Cheetos and tomato soup for lunch right now...ha. Remember kids, do as I say, and not as I do. ;) Happy Friday!

Oh, while I was googling an image for Cheetos, I came across this fellow blogger site which makes me wonder if I should ever consume them again. Sometimes ignorance is truly bliss.

And for those who are truly Cheetos fanatics and can't get enough of that processed yumminess, there is now Cheetos flavored lip balm for you too. Wrong and disturbing? Yes. But as my mother says, here in America, you can pretty much find a market for anything and consumers who are willing to buy and try everything just once. Ahh, capitalism at it's finest.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

For Us Women

This is so true! I was reading the comics this morning while having my cereal and wanted to re-post this since it's how we women view this time of the year. What's funny is that last night, I finally portioned out and packaged all the Halloween candy I'd bought for work into small treat bags because I'd opened a bag early and kept eating it. I ended up packaging every last chocolate piece so now there's no chocolate around to tempt me. As they say, out of sight is out of mind.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Election Season

Yes, it's election season so I am shamelessly plugging my views in my blog. You might not agree with me on certain issues, which is fine, but I can comfortably sleep at night knowing that I've made the best decision for myself. As a conservative Catholic voter, I understand the economy and the job market and things in the economic sphere are important issues, but when the fundamental values of society start getting redefined as are happening in this election with some of the propositions, then those must take precedence over issues affecting our pocketbooks.





And with that, I say: GO McCAIN! :)

Propositions 4 & 8

Vote YES on Proposition 4 and YES on Proposition 8.

About Proposition 4
In California, a girl under age 18 can’t get a tan at a tanning salon, a cavity filled, or an aspirin dispensed by the school nurse without a parent knowing. But a doctor can perform a surgical or chemical abortion on a young girl without informing a parent. Proposition 4 will require a doctor to notify at least one adult family member before performing an abortion on an under-18-year-old girl.
Medical professionals know that a young person is safer when a parent or family member is informed of her medical situation. Someone who knows the girl and cares about her future can help her understand all her options, obtain competent care, and work through the problems that led her into the situation to begin with. On a daily basis, older men exploit young girls and use secret abortions to cover up their crimes. More than thirty states currently have parental/family involvement laws like Proposition 4 in effect. States which have laws like Proposition 4 have experienced real reductions in pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among young girls.

About Proposition 8
Proposition 8 is simple and straightforward. It contains the same 14 words that were previously approved in 2000 by over 61% of California voters: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Because four activist judges in San Francisco wrongly overturned the people’s vote, we need to pass this measure as a constitutional amendment to restore the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

Voting YES on Proposition 8 does 3 simple things:

  • It restores the definition of marriage to what the vast majority of California voters already approved and what Californians agree should be supported, not undermined.
  • It overturns the outrageous decision of four activist Supreme Court judges who ignored the will of the people.
  • It protects our children from being taught in public schools that “same-sex marriage” is the same as traditional marriage, and prevents other consequences to Californians who will be forced to not just be tolerant of gay lifestyles, but face mandatory compliance regardless of their personal beliefs.

Gay Men Support Prop 8!

Source: http://www.californiaconservative.org/
Oct. 10, 2008
The following letter was written sent to the Los Angeles GLBT Community Center by a friend. He and his partner are gay. Along with their parents and extended family, they will vote Yes on Proposition 8. Here’s why.
We are two men in our mid-40s living in Los Angeles County. We have been in a committed relationship since October of 1996. We have no plans to get married and we believe our domestic partnership papers are sufficient to protect our rights. The recent ballot measure about gay marriage has prompted this letter from two-otherwise reasonable people in our community.
Growing up as a boy, I (John) was raised in small rural, San Joaquin Valley town just south of Stockton, CA. I am the oldest of four boys; I was raised on a dairy farm and attended the same schools that my mother and father attended. We had many of the same teachers. My mother and father have been married for 47 years.
My three brothers and I were raised in a “born again” Christian home, just like my nine aunts and uncles, by my grandparents who lived down the dirt road. In 1984, I left home and joined the LAPD. Now retired after 23 years of service, I still live in Los Angeles County. A lot has changed since I left home.
In June, 1991, I came out of the closet publicly, on CNN, after (the Rodney King arrest). To say this public announcement caused my family hardship is an understatement. I did not talk with my father for over 3 years and during one argument we were on the verge of physical violence and nearly went to blows.
Thank God we worked things out.
Today and since 1996, my parents gladly welcome my domestic partner Robert into their home. We have slept together in my parents’ home, they sat next to him at my retirement party in June, and my father has encouraged us to adopt children. I have nothing but respect and love for my mother and father.
My three younger brothers all got married and had kids.
I am the only gay child.
When my brother lost his wife to a massive stroke in 2007, I was the first person they called for help - John the cop – the gay brother from LA.
When another brother lost his wife after a long illness this year, I was the first person called for help during the crises. My deceased sister-in-law and brother are loyal born-again Christians, yet my partner and I have been welcomed into their home. I felt it an utter privilege to speak publicly at my sister-in-law’s funeral and publicly applaud her loving personality.
Before my presentation, my mom made a simple request of me: “Please don’t mention Robert as your domestic partner – it will offend a lot of people in the church.”
I warmly smiled, hugged my mom, and said, “Sure thing Mom, no problem.”
I was glad she made this request because my desire to honor my loving sister-in-law was more important than some shitty “politically correct” gay term.
By now, I am certain militant people in the GLBT community are screaming and yelling at the notion I would give in to such a request. People like this in our community just don’t get the meaning of the word tolerance.
My partner, Robert, was raised in a Catholic home. His large family from Mexico remains strongly tied to their Catholic upbringing. Robert’s mother would attend mass two and three times a day if she could drive to the church.
She never learned how to drive.
While our relationship has never been openly discussed, his family has NEVER-EVER acted in an unkind way towards me. Most of the time they take steps - overt steps to include me into their family’s activities. Yes, they know we sleep together, but our relationship is a non-issue with them.
Now that Prop 8 has come up, various people in our circle of family and friends have been asking lots of questions to us about the ads they see on TV. One topic that has come up multiple times in my conversations is the image of the ultra anti-Catholic Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, whose mockery of Christianity is legend in not only the gay community but mainstream society.
Above, two “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” in their Catholic-mocking garb and make-up are photographed attending a mass offered by San Francisco Archbishiop George Niederauer, in the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church.
As a gay man, I am well aware of their community activism and their fundraising. However, these good deeds are over shadowed by their continuous goading tactics of the religious community. It’s kind of like when a cop gets caught beating the crap out a suspect – nobody ever cares that he was a Medal of Valor winner. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have long made a practice of mocking the Catholic Church in general and religious women (nuns) in particular.
I find this type of action deeply offensive and disrespectful. Can someone from my own damn community explain how I can “justify” this type of behavior to my family, friends, or my partner’s Catholic family? While many in San Francisco and West Hollywood (and certainly the Sisters themselves) finds this amusing, my family, my partner’s family, and others do not.
My family lives only 50 miles from San Francisco. What if these assholes showed up at my parents’ church? What if these dirt bags showed up at Robert’s Mom’s church and sat next to his mother dressed like this? I can tell you what would happen – the gay community would have two very pissed off gay men just looking for a way to strike back!
So, our position on Prop 8 now is as follows: We encourage our family and friends around us to “vote their hearts, values, and religious beliefs.” Whatever they choose we will respect and honor their choice. As for us, we intend to Vote YES on Prop 8 because we dislike the bastards who misjudged us and our values as members of the GLBT community.
Both our families will also Vote YES on 8. People who engage in tactics like these do not reflect or values, beliefs, or speak for us. In fact, these activists do not represent the over 109,000 gay couples, raising approximately 50,000 kids, living out in “mainstream society” in California.
People like us.
Our country was founded on “religious freedom” and it has been written into our national and state constitutions. The pilgrims came to this country searching for religious freedom. Religion is rooted deeply into our national heritage and for anyone to think we are going to change this - well, it’s crazy for the GLBT community in California to believe that we are going to change these institutions without a fight, or by winning a few court battles.
The backlash we face is significant, but the activists never thought about this.
Churches have a RIGHT to worship in peace as they choose. NOBODY has a right to disrupt, intimidate, protest, or disrespect these services, no matter what their agenda is. While I may not agree with many of the Church’s doctrines and teachings, out of respect and tolerance I remain humble, quiet, and respectful during the proceedings.
I take great offense to anyone in MY community who demands the “right” to get married, yet thinks nothing of trampling the rights of others to worship in peace as they choose and believe.
Proposition 8 has forced us and others like us to make a choice: A choice between “going with the flow” and voting as gay men OR protecting our families values, their right to worship in peace, and their right to their religious institutions (like marriage).
We have news for many in our community: When our community condones, supports, or tacitly approves of such baiting tactics, then you can bet we will cross lines. We will protect our families and all the beliefs they hold dear regardless of what mainstream West Hollywood or San Francisco will be doing.
Prior to this ballot measure, we were really indifferent to the whole matter. However, as voters and as a gay couple it has now gotten personal. We are now being asked to make a choice between our families and our community.
We have news for all those angry-bitter people in our community; we choose to protect our family from the gay activists who threaten our families’ beliefs and religious institutions. This is a no-brainer.
While the Sisters are the most visible example, they are NOT the only examples in our community who engage in religious baiting tactics.
Come November 5th, 2008, it is time our leaders in the GLBT community (like you) come together, rethink these practices, and address this matter. Not only is this counterproductive, it is certainly not a good example of tolerance – the same tolerance we as a community demand. Over the years, I have found these actions offensive and it was for these reasons I avoided events where “the Sisters” appeared.
We do NOT make donations to this community organization.
GLBT community groups who engaged in this type of provocative action should be publically denounced by senior members of our community, GLBT churches, and the more mature members of the GLBT community. The improper actions of a few are not a good representation of the community as a whole. Yet, the actions of a few will probably lead to the ban on gay marriage in the State of California because they have consistently cross the lines of good taste and respect which has angered the well-funded and well-organized religious communities across the USA.
They have certainly alienated more responsible members of their own community, and caused us to cross the lines and vote YES on Prop 8.
Sincerely,
John & Robert
Southern California

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama's Abortion Extremism

Opinion: Robert P. George on 'Obama's Abortion Extremism'
By Robert P. George 10/16/2008

The Witherspoon Institute

Sen.Obama's views on life issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research mark him as not merely a pro-choice politician, but rather as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket.

PRINCETON, N.J. (Witherspoon Institute) - Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.Yet there are Catholics and Evangelicals-even self-identified pro-life Catholics and Evangelicals - who aggressively promote Obama's candidacy and even declare him the preferred candidate from the pro-life point of view.

What is going on here?

I have examined the arguments advanced by Obama's self-identified pro-life supporters, and they are spectacularly weak. It is nearly unfathomable to me that those advancing them can honestly believe what they are saying. But before proving my claims about Obama's abortion extremism, let me explain why I have described Obama as ''pro-abortion'' rather than ''pro-choice.''

According to the standard argument for the distinction between these labels, nobody is pro-abortion. Everybody would prefer a world without abortions. After all, what woman would deliberately get pregnant just to have an abortion? But given the world as it is, sometimes women find themselves with unplanned pregnancies at times in their lives when having a baby would present significant problems for them. So even if abortion is not medically required, it should be permitted, made as widely available as possible and, when necessary, paid for with taxpayers' money.

The defect in this argument can easily be brought into focus if we shift to the moral question that vexed an earlier generation of Americans: slavery. Many people at the time of the American founding would have preferred a world without slavery but nonetheless opposed abolition. Such people - Thomas Jefferson was one - reasoned that, given the world as it was, with slavery woven into the fabric of society just as it had often been throughout history, the economic consequences of abolition for society as a whole and for owners of plantations and other businesses that relied on slave labor would be dire. Many people who argued in this way were not monsters but honest and sincere, albeit profoundly mistaken. Some (though not Jefferson) showed their personal opposition to slavery by declining to own slaves themselves or freeing slaves whom they had purchased or inherited. They certainly didn't think anyone should be forced to own slaves. Still, they maintained that slavery should remain a legally permitted option and be given constitutional protection.

Would we describe such people, not as pro-slavery, but as ''pro-choice''? Of course we would not. It wouldn't matter to us that they were ''personally opposed'' to slavery, or that they wished that slavery were ''unnecessary,'' or that they wouldn't dream of forcing anyone to own slaves. We would hoot at the faux sophistication of a placard that said ''Against slavery? Don't own one.'' We would observe that the fundamental divide is between people who believe that law and public power should permit slavery, and those who think that owning slaves is an unjust choice that should be prohibited.

Just for the sake of argument, though, let us assume that there could be a morally meaningful distinction between being ''pro-abortion'' and being ''pro-choice.'' Who would qualify for the latter description? Barack Obama certainly would not. For, unlike his running mate Joe Biden, Obama does not think that abortion is a purely private choice that public authority should refrain from getting involved in. Now, Senator Biden is hardly pro-life. He believes that the killing of the unborn should be legally permitted and relatively unencumbered. But unlike Obama, at least Biden has sometimes opposed using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion, thereby leaving Americans free to choose not to implicate themselves in it. If we stretch things to create a meaningful category called ''pro-choice,'' then Biden might be a plausible candidate for the label; at least on occasions when he respects your choice or mine not to facilitate deliberate feticide.

The same cannot be said for Barack Obama. For starters, he supports legislation that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life citizens from having to pay for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and are not the result of rape or incest. The abortion industry laments that this longstanding federal law, according to the pro-abortion group NARAL, ''forces about half the women who would otherwise have abortions to carry unintended pregnancies to term and bear children against their wishes instead.'' In other words, a whole lot of people who are alive today would have been exterminated in utero were it not for the Hyde Amendment. Obama has promised to reverse the situation so that abortions that the industry complains are not happening (because the federal government is not subsidizing them) would happen. That is why people who profit from abortion love Obama even more than they do his running mate.

But this barely scratches the surface of Obama's extremism. He has promised that ''the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act'' (known as FOCA). This proposed legislation would create a federally guaranteed ''fundamental right'' to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, as Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia has noted in a statement condemning the proposed Act, ''a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined 'health' reasons.'' In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors, state and federal funding restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs. The pro-abortion National Organization for Women has proclaimed with approval that FOCA would ''sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.''

It gets worse. Obama, unlike even many ''pro-choice'' legislators, opposed the ban on partial-birth abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature and condemned the Supreme Court decision that upheld legislation banning this heinous practice. He has referred to a baby conceived inadvertently by a young woman as a ''punishment'' that she should not endure. He has stated that women's equality requires access to abortion on demand. Appallingly, he wishes to strip federal funding from pro-life crisis pregnancy centers that provide alternatives to abortion for pregnant women in need. There is certainly nothing ''pro-choice'' about that.

But it gets even worse. Senator Obama, despite the urging of pro-life members of his own party, has not endorsed or offered support for the Pregnant Women Support Act, the signature bill of Democrats for Life, meant to reduce abortions by providing assistance for women facing crisis pregnancies. In fact, Obama has opposed key provisions of the Act, including providing coverage of unborn children in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), and informed consent for women about the effects of abortion and the gestational age of their child. This legislation would not make a single abortion illegal. It simply seeks to make it easier for pregnant women to make the choice not to abort their babies. Here is a concrete test of whether Obama is ''pro-choice'' rather than pro-abortion. He flunked. Even Senator Edward Kennedy voted to include coverage of unborn children in S-CHIP. But Barack Obama stood resolutely with the most stalwart abortion advocates in opposing it. It gets worse yet. In an act of breathtaking injustice which the Obama campaign lied about until critics produced documentary proof of what he had done, as an Illinois state senator Obama opposed legislation to protect children who are born alive, either as a result of an abortionist's unsuccessful effort to kill them in the womb, or by the deliberate delivery of the baby prior to viability. This legislation would not have banned any abortions. Indeed, it included a specific provision ensuring that it did not affect abortion laws. (This is one of the points Obama and his campaign lied about until they were caught.) The federal version of the bill passed unanimously in the United States Senate, winning the support of such ardent advocates of legal abortion as John Kerry and Barbara Boxer. But Barack Obama opposed it and worked to defeat it. For him, a child marked for abortion gets no protection-even ordinary medical or comfort care-even if she is born alive and entirely separated from her mother. So Obama has favored protecting what is literally a form of infanticide.

You may be thinking, it can't get worse than that. But it does.

For several years, Americans have been debating the use for biomedical research of embryos produced by in vitro fertilization (originally for reproductive purposes) but now left in a frozen condition in cryopreservation units. President Bush has restricted the use of federal funds for stem-cell research of the type that makes use of these embryos and destroys them in the process. I support the President's restriction, but some legislators with excellent pro-life records, including John McCain, argue that the use of federal money should be permitted where the embryos are going to be discarded or die anyway as the result of the parents' decision. Senator Obama, too, wants to lift the restriction.

But Obama would not stop there. He has co-sponsored a bill-strongly opposed by McCain-that would authorize the large-scale industrial production of human embryos for use in biomedical research in which they would be killed. In fact, the bill Obama co-sponsored would effectively require the killing of human beings in the embryonic stage that were produced by cloning. It would make it a federal crime for a woman to save an embryo by agreeing to have the tiny developing human being implanted in her womb so that he or she could be brought to term. This ''clone and kill'' bill would, if enacted, bring something to America that has heretofore existed only in China-the equivalent of legally mandated abortion. In an audacious act of deceit, Obama and his co-sponsors misleadingly call this an anti-cloning bill. But it is nothing of the kind. What it bans is not cloning, but allowing the embryonic children produced by cloning to survive.

Can it get still worse? Yes.

Decent people of every persuasion hold out the increasingly realistic hope of resolving the moral issue surrounding embryonic stem-cell research by developing methods to produce the exact equivalent of embryonic stem cells without using (or producing) embryos. But when a bill was introduced in the United States Senate to put a modest amount of federal money into research to develop these methods, Barack Obama was one of the few senators who opposed it. From any rational vantage point, this is unconscionable. Why would someone not wish to find a method of producing the pluripotent cells scientists want that all Americans could enthusiastically endorse? Why create and kill human embryos when there are alternatives that do not require the taking of nascent human lives? It is as if Obama is opposed to stem-cell research unless it involves killing human embryos.

This ultimate manifestation of Obama's extremism brings us back to the puzzle of his pro-life Catholic and Evangelical apologists.

They typically do not deny the facts I have reported. They could not; each one is a matter of public record. But despite Obama's injustices against the most vulnerable human beings, and despite the extraordinary support he receives from the industry that profits from killing the unborn (which should be a good indicator of where he stands), some Obama supporters insist that he is the better candidate from the pro-life point of view.

They say that his economic and social policies would so diminish the demand for abortion that the overall number would actually go down-despite the federal subsidizing of abortion and the elimination of hundreds of pro-life laws. The way to save lots of unborn babies, they say, is to vote for the pro-abortion-oops! ''pro-choice''-candidate. They tell us not to worry that Obama opposes the Hyde Amendment, the Mexico City Policy (against funding abortion abroad), parental consent and notification laws, conscience protections, and the funding of alternatives to embryo-destructive research. They ask us to look past his support for Roe v. Wade, the Freedom of Choice Act, partial-birth abortion, and human cloning and embryo-killing. An Obama presidency, they insist, means less killing of the unborn.

This is delusional.

We know that the federal and state pro-life laws and policies that Obama has promised to sweep away (and that John McCain would protect) save thousands of lives every year. Studies conducted by Professor Michael New and other social scientists have removed any doubt. Often enough, the abortion lobby itself confirms the truth of what these scholars have determined. Tom McClusky has observed that Planned Parenthood's own statistics show that in each of the seven states that have FOCA-type legislation on the books, ''abortion rates have increased while the national rate has decreased.'' In Maryland, where a bill similar to the one favored by Obama was enacted in 1991, he notes that ''abortion rates have increased by 8 percent while the overall national abortion rate decreased by 9 percent.'' No one is really surprised. After all, the message clearly conveyed by policies such as those Obama favors is that abortion is a legitimate solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancies - so clearly legitimate that taxpayers should be forced to pay for it.

But for a moment let's suppose, against all the evidence, that Obama's proposals would reduce the number of abortions, even while subsidizing the killing with taxpayer dollars. Even so, many more unborn human beings would likely be killed under Obama than under McCain. A Congress controlled by strong Democratic majorities under Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would enact the bill authorizing the mass industrial production of human embryos by cloning for research in which they are killed. As president, Obama would sign it. The number of tiny humans created and killed under this legislation (assuming that an efficient human cloning technique is soon perfected) could dwarf the number of lives saved as a result of the reduced demand for abortion-even if we take a delusionally optimistic view of what that number would be.

Barack Obama and John McCain differ on many important issues about which reasonable people of goodwill, including pro-life Americans of every faith, disagree: how best to fight international terrorism, how to restore economic growth and prosperity, how to distribute the tax burden and reduce poverty, etc.

But on abortion and the industrial creation of embryos for destructive research, there is a profound difference of moral principle, not just prudence. These questions reveal the character and judgment of each man. Barack Obama is deeply committed to the belief that members of an entire class of human beings have no rights that others must respect. Across the spectrum of pro-life concerns for the unborn, he would deny these small and vulnerable members of the human family the basic protection of the laws. Over the next four to eight years, as many as five or even six U.S. Supreme Court justices could retire. Obama enthusiastically supports Roe v. Wade and would appoint judges who would protect that morally and constitutionally disastrous decision and even expand its scope. Indeed, in an interview in Glamour magazine, he made it clear that he would apply a litmus test for Supreme Court nominations: jurists who do not support Roe will not be considered for appointment by Obama. John McCain, by contrast, opposes Roe and would appoint judges likely to overturn it. This would not make abortion illegal, but it would return the issue to the forums of democratic deliberation, where pro-life Americans could engage in a fair debate to persuade fellow citizens that killing the unborn is no way to address the problems of pregnant women in need.

What kind of America do we want our beloved nation to be? Barack Obama's America is one in which being human just isn't enough to warrant care and protection. It is an America where the unborn may legitimately be killed without legal restriction, even by the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion. It is an America where a baby who survives abortion is not even entitled to comfort care as she dies on a stainless steel table or in a soiled linen bin. It is a nation in which some members of the human family are regarded as inferior and others superior in fundamental dignity and rights. In Obama's America, public policy would make a mockery of the great constitutional principle of the equal protection of the law. In perhaps the most telling comment made by any candidate in either party in this election year, Senator Obama, when asked by Rick Warren when a baby gets human rights, replied: ''that question is above my pay grade.'' It was a profoundly disingenuous answer: For even at a state senator's pay grade, Obama presumed to answer that question with blind certainty. His unspoken answer then, as now, is chilling: human beings have no rights until infancy - and if they are unwanted survivors of attempted abortions, not even then.

In the end, the efforts of Obama's apologists to depict their man as the true pro-life candidate that Catholics and Evangelicals may and even should vote for, doesn't even amount to a nice try. Voting for the most extreme pro-abortion political candidate in American history is not the way to save unborn babies.

*****

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is a member of the President's Council on Bioethics and previously served on the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He sits on the editorial board of Public Discourse.

This article is reprinted and republished with the explicit permission of the Withersoon Institute. Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good is an online publication of the Witherspoon Institute that seeks to enhance the public understanding of the moral foundations of free societies by making the scholarship of the fellows and affiliated scholars of the Institute available and accessible to a general audience.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Statements on Abortion

NOTE: Click title above for link to full text.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news this week, you can’t have missed the justifiable furor by the Catholic Church over U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s statements about the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion (and mind you, she's Catholic...or should I say, a buffet Catholic).

Pelosi made her comments in an Aug. 24 interview with Tom Brokow on “Meet the Press.” In case you somehow missed it, Brokow said that Democratic Presidental Candidate Barack Obama had said that the question of when life begins was “above his pay grade.” Brokow asked Pelosi if she had an answer to this question.

Pelosi, who told Brokow she was “an ardent, practicing Catholic,” incorrectly stated that the doctors of the Catholic Church had been unable to make that distinction; and that it shouldn’t impact on a woman’s right to choose.

Here are some of the responses by various Bishops and Church leaders:

Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop Chaput’s statement said, among other things, that “ardent, practicing Catholics will quickly learn from the historical record that from apostolic times, the Christian tradition overwhelmingly held that abortion was grievously evil. In the absence of modern medical knowledge, some of the Early Fathers held that abortion was homicide; others that it was tantamount to homicide; and various scholars theorized about when and how the unborn child might be animated or ‘ensouled.’ But none diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early Church closely associated abortion with infanticide. In short, from the beginning, the believing Christian community held that abortion was always, gravely wrong.”

New York Cardinal Edward Egan“What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age. ... Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being ‘chooses’ to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.”

Fargo Bishop Samuel Aquila“Catholics who support so-called abortion rights support a false right, promote a culture of death, and are guided by the ‘father of lies’ rather than by the light and truth of Jesus Christ. Out of respect for the teaching of Jesus Christ and the Church, any Catholic who supports abortion rights has placed himself or herself outside of visible unity with the Church and thus should refrain from receiving Holy Communion. Catholics have a responsibility to study the teaching of the Church on human life and when life begins. … I ask all of you in your presentations, teaching, or preaching to state the truth of this teaching in an unequivocal manner.”

Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan“The teachings of the Church on abortion are consistent and unambiguous, and it is very disturbing to hear someone who claims to be a Catholic distort these teachings and sow seeds of confusion among the faithful by attempting to relativize the right to life.

“There can be no compromise on this issue. ‘Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2272). ‘Those who are excommunicated... and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.’ (Code of Canon Law 915).

“Those Catholics who take a public stance in opposition to this most fundamental moral teaching of the Church place themselves outside full communion with the Church, and they should not present themselves for the reception of Holy Communion.”

EWTN’s Father Mitch Pacwa (on his show, “Threshold of Hope”)
“[J]ust because St. Augustine was not sure about when the soul, the rational soul, was put into a human being,…that does not mean that you may therefore conclude that you can kill the child. If you are ignorant and you don’t know, then you go on the side of safety and protecting rights. You don’t bomb a city where there might be a lot of civilians. You don’t do that. You say, ‘Well, I’m not sure.’ Then, be on the side of safety, protect the lives of the innocent, the non-combatants.

“The same with the unborn children. You must also go on the side of your ignorance to say that ‘Then, if I don’t know, then I’ll protect all the more. I don’t want to act while I’m ignorant.’”

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Peace


I'm finally at peace. I can't go into what brought it about, but I take refuge in knowing God knows what I need (and not what I want) and will provide me with what I need when He deems the time is right. I trust in Him completely and will stop worrying about my future. No words can explain what I feel or how I feel...I just feel peace. I have total trust in the Lord that he knows what is best for me and what I need. He knows me better than anyone else, so why wouldn't He give me what is best for me when the time is right?

I leave you with a Renewal Prayer that I found and liked:

Lord Jesus,
give us the humility wherever pride reigns,
pardon wherever offense abides,
grace wherever sin abounds;
we pray to You;
Jesus Christ, risen Lord, have mercy on us!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hope

This is amazing...it makes me realize we are all a part of something bigger, and that maybe, just maybe, there is hope in this crazy world of ours. Happy viewing (and dancing!).


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

San Francisco Revisited

I was up in San Francisco again for the 4th of July and spent it eating, shopping, and sleeping.

Check out some of the cute buys I got:

Burberry Scarf
http://www.burberry.com/



Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection Speedy (but in blue instead of red)
http://www.louisvuittion.com/



And what trip to SF would be complete without some fabulous dining? Here are some of my recommendations. I think my true calling in life was as a food critic. ;)

Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant
http://www.roysrestaurant.com/
575 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94105

This restaurant (there's also an L.A. location) has excellent Hawaiian fusion food and smaller portions so you don't feel stuffed when leaving. I ordered the scampi pasta. Here's a peek at their molten chocolate cake, their most-recommended dessert:



First Crush
http://www.firstcrush.com/
101 Cyril Magnin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

This is a smaller wine bar/restaurant that offers flats (a set of small wine samples instead of ordering 1 glass so you get a variety of tastings with your food). Their desserts are awesome. Here's a banana chocolate concoction that I ordered:



Zazil
http://www.zazilrestaurant.com/
845 Market St. # 400
San Francisco, CA 94103

This restaurant serves fusion Mexican food. You MUST have the guacamole appetizer if you go: it comes with hot corn tortillas (not corn chips) which are fresh and to die for! And their desserts are delicious. I had their flan.





Cocola Bakery/Cafe845 Market St.
Westfield's San Francisco Shopping Centre
San Francisco , CA 94103

Probably my favorite place for lunch in all of SF. This cafe serves pastries, cakes, desserts, salads, gourmet coffee drinks, and sandwiches. I would probably go here for lunch every day but would gain weight from all the fabulous desserts. Just viewing their desserts in their sugary gorgeousness is enough if you don't order any. The sandwiches and salads are tasty and fresh. Go here if you want a unique cake or fabulous pastries you won't find elsewhere.





Top of the Mark (Mark Hopkins Hotel)http://www.topofthemark.com/
Number One Nob Hill
999 California St.
San Francisco , California 94108

Fabulous jazz club with a HUGE martini menu (over 100 to choose from). Legendary since its opening in 1939, it sits atop the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill and has amazing 360 degree views of the city on a clear night.



Boudin
And, of course, I had to eat at Boudin again, the sourdough bakery. I think I ate there twice for lunch in the short span of 4 days. Their bread bowls and variety of soups are delicious. Try the tomato soup or french onion. I would say clam chowder, but I hate clams.



Friday, June 6, 2008

Political Version: Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

BARACK OBAMA:
The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The chicken wanted CHANGE!

JOHN MC CAIN:
My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialog with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON:When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure -- right from Day One! -- that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.......

DR. PHIL:
The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his 'CURRENT' problems before adding 'NEW' problems.

OPRAH:
Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

GEORGE W. BUSH:
We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

COLIN POWELL:
Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road...

ANDERSON COOPER - CNN:
We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

JOHN KERRY:
Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

NANCY GRACE:
That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN:
To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART:No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS:
Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY:
To die in the rain. Alone.

GRANDPA:
In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS:
Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE:
It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON:
Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES:I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of the Chicken. This new platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^(C% ........reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN:
Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

BILL CLINTON:
I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE:I invented the chicken!

COLONEL SANDERS:
Did I miss one?

DICK CHENEY:
Where's my gun?

AL SHARPTON:
Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tim Burton's Voodoo Girl


Her skin is white cloth,
and she's all sewn apart
and she has many colored pins
sticking out of her heart.

She has a beautiful set
of hypno-disk eyes,
the ones that she uses
to hypnotize guys.

She has many different zombies
who are deeply in her trance.
She even has a zombie
who was originally from France.

But she knows she has curse on her,
a curse she cannot win.

For if someone gets
too close to her,
the pins stick further in.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Dozen Ways to Get to Know Your Real Partner: The Signs Are All Around You

I found this article on yahoo and really liked it-- simple yet to the point.
--------------------------------------------------------------
A Dozen Ways to Get to Know Your Real Partner
The Signs Are All Around You

By Stacy D. Phillips
Special to Yahoo! Personals
Updated: May 27, 2008

1. Protocol: First or Second? Whether it's walking through a door, ordering dinner, or taking a bite out of the freshly baked cookies you have made together, if your partner always have to go first this could indicate self- centeredness. Are you willing to always be the giver?

2. Politics: Liberal or Conservative? How your partner views what is right or wrong in a political sense tells you a lot about his or her deep inner beliefs about society, and ultimately, the way he will approach your relationship issues. Will his views cause a rift in your relationship?

3. Television: Sitcoms or News? If his tendency is to watch "escape" TV programs versus "newsy/event" oriented ones, you can learn a lot about one's intellect. Do you want a mate who can keep up with your every day interest in what is going on in the world or a person you can run away with to avoid the world we live in?

4. Money: Flash or Stash? If your partner throws money around while dating, he might well be reckless with your joint finances when you move in together. Do you want to hook up with a tightwad or splurger?

5. Stress: Freak or Peak? Under Pressure, does he go to pieces or rise to the top of his game? If the answer is the former, every minor incident in your relationship might become a crisis. Do you like a lot of drama?

6. Conversation: About You or Him? As you first get to know each other does he always talk about himself first or you? If he is usually the topic priority do not expect that to change. Can you subordinate yourself to the world revolving around him?

7. Pets: Warm or Aloof? Believe it or not, the way in which he treats animals will not be dissimilar to how he treats your children. How do you want him to treat your loved ones?

8. Communication: Listens or Ignores? If you have something you want to talk about and he tunes you out as a general rule, can you cope?

9. Strangers: Kind or Rude? How he treats those they do not know (waiters, grocery clerks) often reflects on how he will treat people in general, including you, shortly after the glow wears off.

10. Priorities: Family or Work? You can tell almost immediately where a person's preferences lie in terms of what comes first (a family member's illness or a business trip) by the choices he makes when faced with an "either/or" situation. Do you care if he leaves on the next plane to present the such-and-such report if you or the kids have pneumonia?

11. Appearance: Fat or Fit? How he regards his appearance screams loudly about his sense of self-esteem. Those who eat sensibly, workout reasonably, and who take pride in their appearance are the ones who have a great sense of self. Does he really have self-confidence or might it be a front?

12. Faith: Strong or Weak? If you want a peak at his soul, learn more about his spirituality, or lack of it. What your partner believes deep down is often what shapes the way in which he conducts his day-to-day affairs. What is your mate's "words to live by?"

Friday, May 2, 2008

People don't change; you just never really knew them...

It's so strange how people appear initially one way and then turn out to be completely different.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Not Even a Nibble of the Big Apple

I lead a tortured existence. Really, I do. So I got into a top school that I wanted to get into but it's so incredibly expensive and located in one of *the* most expensive areas in the U.S.: Manhattan. Now, mind you, I have been wanting to study at this school for the longest time and live in Manhattan for the longest time, and I'm getting exactly what I want, but I'd have huge, outrageous, phenomenal amounts of debt when I graduate from grad school and I'd be entering a field where you could potentially make a lot of money, but it's very rare. I'd have to be extremely lucky, make really good connections, and basically be in the right place at the right time while trying to get myself through school.

It's strange...I never thought I'd actually have to make this decision because I didn't think I'd get into such a competitive school. But here I am, having to actually think about this, and the sad reality is that it probably won't happen because I can't justify putting myself in that much debt when graduating from a much less known school with the same degree type is just as good and acceptable because in this field, employers don't really look at the school name; they look at mainly your experience and internships.

Then again, I could be in NYC, meet the man of my dreams who happens to be fabulously rich and could afford to put me through school or pay off my outrageous debt. Ahhhh, unrealistic, I know, but hey, a girl can dream, right? I can't help it...I have this sick fascinating with NYC and I feel so pulled to that city every time I visit. I'm meant to live there for some period of my life...I know it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The heart is the only broken instrument that works


The greatest ironies of life: having the right person at the wrong time, having the wrong person when the time is right, and finding out that you love someone after that person walks out of your sight...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Warning Signs He's About to Bail

I created this list based on past experiences...enjoy and feel free to comment and/or add your own.

1. He meets many of your friends, but he has yet to introduce you to any of his.

2. He makes no mention of you to his family. In other words, they have no idea you exist.

3. His daily phone calls start getting replaced by text messages, if even that.

4. When you suggest an activity to do in the future, he neither confirms wanting to do it or denies being to do it (i.e., relationship limbo)

5. Five minutes after he calls you and leaves a voice mail, you call back to find that his phone has been turned off.

6. He can only talk at very specific times throughout the day that somehow always correspond to when you're busy.

7. He flakes on plans, repeatedly.

8. He can't make up his mind on when to hang out.

9. He suddenly becomes very busy.

10. He doesn't answer specifics when you ask him how his day was-- he speaks of everything in general terms so you feel like you're in the dark.

11. He stops telling you his future plans.

12. He's not as talkative as usual.

13. He can't have a conversation for more than 10 minutes without telling you he'll have to call you back.

14. He tells you that he'll call back in 10 minutes and that turns into 3 hours instead.

15. Your weekly date night vanishes-- he doesn't seem to want to hang out anymore like routine.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! May the peace of the resurrected Christ be with you.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Be cafeful what you wish for; you might just get it all...

There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone...

A friend sent this to me and I thought it was really beautiful and relevent to my life right now, and especially because Valentine's Day is coming up next week. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone,
To have a deep soul relationship with another,
To be loved thoroughly and exclusively,
But God, to a Christian, says,
"No, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled, and content with being loved by Me alone,
With giving yourself totally and reservedly to Me,
With having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone,
Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found,
Will you be capable of the perfect human relationship that I have planned for you.
You will never be united with another until you are united with Me alone,
Exclusive of anyone or anything else,
Exclusive of any other desires or longings.
I want you to stop planning,
Stop wishing,
And allow Me to give you the most thrilling plan existing,
One that you cannot imagine.
Please allow Me to bring it to you.
You just keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things.
Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I Am.
Keep listening and learning the things I tell you.
You just wait. That's all.
Don't be anxious.
Don't worry.
Don't look at the things you think you want,
You just keep looking off and away up to Me,
Or you'll miss what I want to show you.
And then when you are ready,
I'll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than any you could dream of.
You see, until you are ready and until the one I have for you is ready (I am working even at this moment to have you both ready at the same time),
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me,
And the life I prepared for you,
You won't be able to experience the love that Exemplified your relationship with Me.
And this is the perfect love.
And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love,
I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your relationship with Me,
And to enjoy materially and concretely,
The everlasting union of beauty, perfection and love,
That I offer you with Myself.
Know that I love utterly.
I Am God.
Believe it and be satisfied."

--St. Anthony of Padua

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Crossroads

If you had to choose between love and the dream career you've always wanted, which would you ultimately pick?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger Dies


Heath Ledger is dead. I can't believe it. I just heard the news. So young; he was only 28 and had a two-year old daughter. He had just finished shooting the next Batman movie and was starring as the Joker in it. :( May he rest in peace.

Friday, January 4, 2008

It's a fruit, you know

I was eating lunch just now and thought to myself how I don't really like tomatos, yet I've been eating them my whole life. I thought this as the tomato slipped out of my sandwich and I didn't bother to pick it up and eat it. Random, I know.

Anyways, Happy New Year! Hope it was delightful and that your 2008 is off to a good start.
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