Category: Politics

Dear Netflix: I still heart you

July 12th, 2011 — 10:13pm

So, I like many other Netflix users, received a disheartening e-mail today about a change in the Netflix pricing. Now, instead of receiving streaming and DVDs together at one price, each service is offered separately and charged separately.

Currently, I have 5 discs out at a time and I get free streaming for the pretty price of 34.99, plus tax. Starting in September, I will have the same service for 35.98, plus tax…barely a dollar increase for the same service.

The cheapskate that I am would normally be outraged at being charged more for the same service, but if I liken it to cable service, Netflix comes out the winner. For years Time Warner had effectively screwed me over by increasing their prices as much as ten dollars a month for receiving the exact same service, without having reasons as valid as Netflix’s.

What reasons, you ask? How about multi-fold increases in the customer base, all running off the same servers and all needing to increase the contracts with the studios? Sounds like a fair reason to increase a bit for the least profitable services.

What’s not profitable, you ask? How about the people paying 16.99 for 3 discs at a time and also a service that people who have no discs pay for 7.99? If you do the math, it only makes sense to differ the services as the folks paying 16.99 are getting far more than anyone else on line.

Now, someone like me at the higher echelon of Netflix service barely feels in the increase at all. In fact, it feels like a decent and expected increase for the cost of service and I don’t remember this big a stink when the previous year’s price increases came to light. That said, if you were paying just 16.99 for 3 discs at a time, you have been rather hosed, but seriously…why are people losing their minds over this? Did no one ever expect that Netflix prices were eventually going to increase over time?

It’s unfortunate that if you originally paid less than $20 for an awesome service that you now have to pay a whopping 8 dollars more than you did two months earlier, but when you consider the alternative, you are still paying far less than you did for cable.

If you are pressed for cash, then decide what you use more. Are you really taking advantage of all three discs at your house at the same time you stream movies and TV shows? If not, take advantage of one of the brilliant other offers available, like 1 disc at a time for 15.98, for example, and stop crying. If you do use all three discs and stream like crazy, then be advised that the gravy train stops here.

I, however, not being cheap when it comes to my Netflix love, feel very little of this new chain of events and, honestly, if a price hike is what it takes to keep Netflix service great and keep them from moving their call centers to abroad, I’ll pay an extra dollar or eight any day.

1 comment » | On Me, Politics

What is happening in China??

May 24th, 2010 — 2:21am

I mean, besides the obvious…

I’ve long since had “issues” with China, from their deplorable human rights record, to the way they devalue their currency and to the way they pretend to be on par with the Western leaders of the world, yet refuse to take the responsibilities that come with that when it comes to giving aid and correcting environmental problems. I have no issues with the Chinese as a people or their long, immeasurable history; I just cannot stand their government.

Recently, scores of young children have been murdered in their classrooms by random men who, for one reason or another, wish to take out their grievances against the world on innocent children.

What fascinates me about these reports of children being murdered in their classrooms, is that it was not much more than a year earlier that China claimed that US should not point fingers when it came to human rights records, since we were apparently being murdered in the streets at daylight.

In case you forgot:

The 9,000-word Chinese report depicts a bleak picture of the US, saying violent crime is a widespread threat to people’s lives, property and personal security.
The American people’s economic, social and cultural rights are not properly protected, say the Chinese, and many young Americans “have personality disorders”. (Source)

While I am sure Harlem at night may not be the best place to take an evening stroll while unarmed, but last I checked our five-year-olds could attend school without fear that random intruders would break into the building and stab their teachers and classmates to death. That’s why we have got all those metal detectors and cops in our schools!

What has also got me even more troubled than usual about China is its massive GDP and undervalued currency that live beside its astounding poverty rate. There are close to 500 million Chinese living on less than $2.00 USD a day. China’s bootleg industry alone should allow the communist state to have one of the highest standards of living in the world. Instead, an emerging “middle class” is receiving some of the benefits of global success and the corrupt government officials continue to reap the majority of all that comes into China. I simply cannot imagine that a country that rules global exports could have close to have of its population living at or below the poverty line. Even worse, China takes little regard for the environment and allows more than 200 million of its own people to drink polluted water. Eventually, a nation that is intent upon building multiple New York-sized cities within its borders, must take a serious action on human rights and the very same things it claims Americans worry needlessly.

I will give China some props, however, as they have seemingly been far more forthcoming with internal news than they have been in the past. So, I congratulate the government for making some headway, but some of us Americans who are apparently cowering daily in fear of everything have long, long memories.

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Oh, the irony!

July 9th, 2009 — 11:44pm

First, the article:
Now, my previous post:

I had originally planned this gushing, love-filled post about Michael Jackson (and, surely that will follow in the days to come), but this is current and reeks of a hypocrisy so blatant, that I could not allow it to pass without mention.

Not six months ago, China went on a rampage in their accusations over America’s abilities to curtail violence and racial discrimination and yet, here we are. A part of me wants to laugh at the irony, but my stomach is so turned by anger that I cannot manage it.

The US may (and does) have its problems, but as a testament to being who we are, Americans, we do not sweep under the rug that which we do not want the rest of the world to see. As a world leader, we do not have that luxury. Yet, even through our various problems with racism and violence, the US still values diversity and freedom. We recognize that our citizens come in all shapes sizes and colours and we are united in the states, not under a single racial identity, but by our love of freedom and of the republic that affords us said freedom.

I will admit that uniting one billion people under a single identity is most likely a daunting exercise (which makes one wonder what why it is even necessary), but to deny citizens their right to love and explore their respective cultures and histories speaks on every way China fails as it attempts to usurp the United States’ place as a leader in the world.

Again, I find it laughable that six months ago, China was boldly pointing the finger at the US over racial hatred and violence and yet, China’s in-house problems stem far deeper than they currently in the States. I do not presume to say that the US does not suffer from the sporadic racially-motivated span of protests, but here in the US, it is at least politically incorrect to presume that one “race” of people is the model and all “lesser” ethnicities represent everything undesirable. In China, Han Chinese are encouraged (via promises of success and wealth) to move into regions that are populated mostly by minority ethnic groups and, essentially, supplant them. These minorities, who are holding onto their culture, their language, their religion and their way of life, are already kept in near government-sanctioned poverty for simply being who they are and yet, the Chinese government wishes to take away even the small lifestyles that they have.

I do not harbor the delusion that the US had not done the same in the past (e.g. ousting of Native Americans from their lands, annexation of Mexican lands), but we have not committed the same atrocities while appearing on a global stage and trying to pretend that everything is sunshine and roses on the home front.

With its own people killing one another over something as simplistic as “racial” harmony and China cracking down on any forms of protest and (God-forbid) expressions of religion, now would be a splendid time for those UN reports about the continued deterioration of China’s human rights’ record to come around again.

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Oh…this is rich.

February 27th, 2009 — 10:59am

My disgust for China has been mounting over the past few years, culminating to near outrage in August 2008 and has been teetering there ever since. What riles me this morning is China’s obvious mudslinging in a report drafted just two days after we (the US) published a report that stated the obvious: China’s human rights conditions have worsened. However, China feels it appropriate to claim that violent crime is so sweeping in the US that we are terrified every day that we will be murdered on our way to work.

Crime, unfortunately, is a part of civilization and humanity and I find utterly laughable that China of all places would have the gall to publish a report condemning violence in the US when China refuses to make available the same kinds of statistics. Are they honestly going to produce a report saying the US is drowning in its own violence when its own country is even larger and far, FAR more of its citizens (if we even dare call those with no voice in their government and no venue for dissent such) are living under a poverty so great that few others could stomach it? But, take this into consideration, it is not only the US who finds China’s human rights record to be lacking; the UN on whole says the same.

There is an old saying about no ailments afflicting communist nations…because they simply refuse to report them. Who says that the level of crime in China is not equivalent to that of, or even greater than that found in the US? Regardless of a few signs allowed to appear in front of the cameras here or there, China does not allow its people the right or the ability to disagree with the government and it crushes any attempts to do so time and time again. It also sees its people gathering under the name of God to be likened to some kind of treason and Christians suffer in China almost as much as they would in Muslim countries. The government refuses to allow its own people unfettered access to the world’s greatest invention, the Internet, lest its people get some “crazy ideas” about democracy and dissent and it invites other countries to see its “progress,” only to mask the true pain and suffering of its people to paint as rosy a picture as possible for itself, but we are to believe that a country, who only twenty years ago would murder its own people in the streets to keep them from outpouring any discontent, is so devoid of violence that they can condemn the US for its issues with race and violence? Someone other than me has to see this as madness!

Their claims that racism is gripping the US to the point that we are pulled to our knees was the only part of their “he said/she said” that caused me to laugh. Of course we are going to have issues with race in our country. Few others were established in the manner that we were, few others manage the demographics that we do and the few that do resemble the US in establishment and demographics suffer from the same problems. People will find any reason to discriminate each other, just look at the UK where in some places there are simply not enough “different” people around so they poke fun at redheads. Discrimination is a human plight that effects all nations. I will take this moment to drag up Yang Peiyi’s brush-off again and ask if China really thinks that their government’s open preference for “whiter” Chinese over more “yellow” or even brown Chinese is somehow different from general racism in the US.

Previously, I kept my mouth shut when China had the nerve to “instruct” the US to stabilize its economy since they were at least giving the appearance that they were doing something about the companies that had intentionally added melamine to powdered milk (although, the fact that these companies even thought they could get away with outright deception and murder is a slam for China’s improved human rights claim) and also because they were, in some sense, correct; the world economy is dependent on the strength of the United States. If we fall, everyone falls. If we suffer, everyone suffers, so it is our duty as Americans to keep the world from falling into a depression. Now, however, I am convinced China has proved itself incapable of truly becoming the world leader it wants to be and, as I am an American who can do or say what she wants because of the rights guaranteed to me (in writing!), I can see no reason to speak with the proverbial kid gloves when it comes to China. It claims that the US should “stop acting as a human rights guardian,” but enlighten us China: If not us, then who? You?

I cannot say that China has not made any improvements in the last twenty years. They have and I am sure they have experienced more progress than deterioration of their citizens’ rights, but for them to even consider asking the US to look our “human rights issues” instead when the US is, more or less, an open book in regards to history and our current social climate…well, I find that to be a bit rich.

2 comments » | Politics, Rant


February 3rd, 2009 — 5:44pm

Honestly, I really am an optimist; I just hate being surprised. A part of me hopes and wishes that the Obama Presidency (Man! I just don’t like the sound of that) will turn our country down a brighter path, but less than a month into this the cup looks amazingly half-empty and I can only nod my head and sigh as I think, “I knew this was going to happen.”

As Obama is being heralded as the first “black” president for the US, the stakes are incredibly high. While no presidency (that I know of) has managed to escape drama, strife and broken promises, it normally is not seen so soon after the inauguration. Everything he does reflects on the black community as a whole; whether it a sheds positive or negative light is up to him and the people with whom he chooses to surround himself, but I’m still aggravated that his decisions, his mistakes and even his triumphs reflect on me.

Anyone who believes that racism is over in America since Obama went into office is a nut who either has been spending too much time on or has been living with their head firmly jammed into the sand for the past fifty years. I admit America has come far as a nation, but not nearly as far as we could be and would be if it were not for people holding up their racism under a guise of “tolerance” and simply “helping” the downtrodden while ensuring that they remain such through government-sponsored, antipodal efforts such as affirmative action and welfare.

I write today, not because I feel that any failure of Obama’s reflects failure upon my dark skin, but simply because we are only a fortnight into this presidency and already we can see Obama’s inexperience and basic ineptitude causing him to choose to surround himself with less than worthwhile persons. Again, at heart, I am an optimist. My hope is that all of this will blow over and America will pull itself out of its self-dug trenches, but…I also hate surprises.

Edit (9:06PM): At least he’s man enough to admit it, but Wow! Even I would not have said it like that.

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I can haz pseudo-Interwebs wit in my House Speaker nao?

January 14th, 2009 — 10:53pm

As with many people, I have not been following politics as closely as I had pre-Nov 4, 2008, but every now and again, I run into things that just make me laugh out loud…in utter disgust.

First things first:

Obama…you baffle me, too. I mean honestly! A liberal politician may walk around stating that he wants what is best for the “average American,” but when he says it from his vehicle that is more suited for the Gaza strip than a DC roadway and probably cost more (considering the absolute necessities like leather and maple interiors) than most “average Americans” will ever see in their lifetimes, the words are simply…blank, lifeless, hollow.

Now, I totally understand the necessity for having something safe tote around the man elected to the nation’s highest office, but must it be a Cadillac on top of the million plus dollars spent on making it drivable even with flat tires?

Nancy Pelosi has made me sick to my stomach for a long time. As a matter of fact, she irritated me even before I realized I was a Moderate and this just makes me dislike her even more. Nothing pisses me off more than to see people stepping into garbage about which they nothing in a wild attempt to maintain “popularity.” It is like choosing a tattoo in a parlour just because it looks cool without realizing that particular image has any cultural significance; in short, it’s just plain ignorant.

Most noteworthy quote of the article:

“The cats are very popular on the Internet, as is Rickrolling, and we thought this would be a way to bring some attention to it,” said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly.

You people don’t know your audience and, furthermore, you are attempting to meddle into affairs that are so beyond anything the “old-liberal-trying-to-stay-hip” set could possibly understand that you can’t even hear just how stupid you sound.

RickRolling is old news. It became old news when Astely got into the act (Link, and no, it’s not an intended RickRoll) and, as any self-respecting troller of the Interwebs knows, once an Internet meme grows so popular that the people who don’t spend every waking moment of their lives online know about it, it is no longer cool. Pelosi and her crew can’t possible see this and that is why they FAIL. A Pelosi RickRoll = Epic Fail.

Gah! Obama, quit pretending you are the great provider to the people whilest you are ferreted around in an unnecessarily “pimped out” car purchased with the hard-earned dollars of the Americans for whom you claim to be providing. Nancy Pelosi, all your Interwebs are belong to us, so STFU, GTFO and LOL! stop the charade, b/c we kno u liek dont kno nuthin; we all know you’re no different from any other old white woman trying to “understand” a culture that does not include or want her. Stop the madness, people! Stop it now!

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The people have spoken! Why is no one listening?

November 13th, 2008 — 10:47pm

I must put in my two cents on this matter. I must. Proposition 8 in California.

Proposition 8 in California does not forwardly affect me in any way. My state put this down somewhere around 60/30 back in 2004; Ohio may fall blue every once in a while, but we are not that “progressive.” Regardless of the fact that Prop. 8 does not concern me, I watched the results of it with bated breath, even more so than with the presidential election.

What is key in this issue is that I really don’t know where I stand on it. I know what the Bible says about gays in general, I know what Jesus also says about loving everyone (Matthew 22:36-40) and I remember my past rants about changing the definition of a “union” to help alleviate some of these problems without ever having to touch the (nowadays often symbolic) institution of marriage. I know and remember all of this, but none of it matters at all when it comes to Prop 8. NOT. AT. ALL. The only thing of consequence in Prop 8 is the fact that the will of the people was actively overruled by five individuals who felt they knew better than the majority of the state.

This is not the first time the voters of California have encountered this particular issue on their ballot. Twice before this year, the voters saw this issue on the ballot and twice the voters voted in one direction, specifically against gay marriage. In 2008, five people took the law into their own hands, defying the will of the people and essentially distorting any image that ours is a country of the people, by the people and for the people. This, and this alone, is what destroys me every time I think about Prop 8.

I may not get so heated when I take time to ponder this if the results of the current vote and previous votes had not been so one-sided, but they are and so I am. The people made a decision twice before this, these far-reaching judges overturned the people’s decision and, once more, the people have come to the same conclusion. It was not as if the people were incensed over a narrowly-winning proposition and the judges had to step into the fray to cast that “so-called” deciding ballot to quell the masses on either side. These judges simply made a decision that echoed in the ears of all US citizens only to have the people, by a majority, return their former decision.

The US voting system, in most cases, is very simple; the one who gets the most votes wins. This means that if 50.000019% of the people vote in one way or another, that percentage will win. Is this always the best of measures? It depends on how you look at it, but it is a fact and a necessary cog of democracy. In California, the people came together, cast their ballots and voted against gay marriage, yet several years later, five judges felt they knew better than the majority of the people and took it upon themselves to overturn the will of the people!

Let’s break this down into terms that anyone should be able to understand.

Barack won over McCain in the US presidential election by a 52-48% margin. If we were to apply the same circumstances in California to the general election, five out of nine Supreme Court judges could decide that they know better than the majority and…that’s right, overturn the will of the people and name John McCain as President of the United States, even though the people had spoken. Imagine the Supreme Court doing so, not just after the election, but say, a year or two into Obama’s presidency.

Unbelievable, no? Thankfully, our electoral process does not allow something like that to happen, but no such protection is afforded to people of California. The people voted against same sex marriages and five people, not a caucus of judges, not several sets of judges from various circuits and districts, not a series of congressmen and women directly elected into office and subject to voter scrutiny every few years, FIVE people decided that they know better than the majority and reversed the will of the people. As an American citizen, I am outraged!

This goes well beyond issue itself. I don’t really care how the people voted at this point. What matters here is that the people voted and those judges out-stepped their jurisdiction to overturn the will of the people! I will say it again: five judges overturned the will of the people!!! Where is the ACLU on this one? These judges are trampling the very essence of democracy and there is no one screaming about the real issue! I would be just as outraged over this if the people had voted for gay marriage and five judges decided that the people did not know best and overturned that decision. It makes no difference what the issue is. What matters here is that the will of the people had been disregarded by a select few and if it can happen there over one issue…it can happen in any state over any issue.

Just imagine it: The people have decided on fewer taxes. Bam! Five judges can say the people don’t know what is best for them and reverse the will of the people to allow unwanted taxes fall upon the people. The people have decided that they want harsher sentences for sexual offenders. Bam! Five judges can say the people don’t know what is best for them and reverse the will of the people to let sex offenders off with lighter sentences since the “prisons are already too full.” The people have decided that they want capital punishment, looser gun laws, less government interference in their daily lives, and so on and so forth. Bam! Five judges can say the people don’t know what is best for them and reverse the will of the people to turn our once great nation into a socialist empire headed by a series of “judges” who all know what is best for the people.

Does this sound irrational? Does this sound utterly far fetched? If anyone had told me a year earlier that five judges could overturn a decision decided upon, not by over-zealous politicians, but directly by the people, I too would have called these scenarios far fetched. And, yet…here we are.

Further investigation into the results of California’s Proposition 8 have unveiled the need for a poignant correction. It was not actually five judges who overturned the people’s decision. The California Supreme Court consists of seven, not nine judges. And, so, it is even worse…On May 15, 2008, four people, not five, overturned a decision made by the majority. The whole thing stinks even stronger with one less person over-stepping the bounds of the judiciary.

1 comment » | Politics, Rant

The bailout who helped no one

November 13th, 2008 — 9:33pm

I’m not going to spend hours writing about how much the government bailout irks me in way I never thought possible; that’s for others to do and, believe me, they have done so well. I just want to take a minute to examine a specific issue that comes in the wake of the bailouts.

Every corporation is now sitting at the government’s doorstep with their hands out waiting for their piece of the pie and meanwhile, things on which my tax dollars should be spent, like federally-funded rape crises centres for example, must go on as if the government was not handing out a penny to anyone.

Columbus, Ohio is currently sitting in the midst of what will soon be an all-out panic over a serial rapist who is stalking women and attacking them in the mid-morning hours. I have been covering the story since I first saw it on the news, (so conveniently, but importantly after SVU aired), and was somewhere near horrified to read this article on my news feed. Everyone from sleazy insurance companies to irresponsible banks to simply the greediest amongst Americans is getting their piece of Crap Sandwich 2.0, but something on which tax dollars could be and should be validly spent has to go without funding. It’s just…I don’t think there is really a word in English that really describes how awful it is. A rape crisis center has to shut its doors from lack of funding because the government can’t find less than a million to toss at something that actively helps the victims of mankind’s most horrible crimes, but…AIG gets billions and billions to send their most senior staff to million-dollar spas to work out the kinks in their shoulders they received after doing absolutely nothing to ensure their company did not fall into the state in which they found themselves.

Most days I expect that the government wastes my money on things like welfare that keeps the already downtrodden as low as they can get, while never helping the people who do actually “need a little help.” Most days I expect that I will wake up to find that the world really must be close to Armageddon because there doesn’t seem to be any other reason for horrors I had read about the previous day. Most days I expect that when even I feel like I need to research getting my concealed carry license to protect myself from the crazies that lurk, (unchecked by the government that should have caught these problems when these monsters were children) just around the corner, that we are heading in a bad direction as a country. Most days I expect a lot, but some days…

Some days…I just don’t get it.

1 comment » | Politics, Rant


November 5th, 2008 — 12:08am

*Please note: Barack Hussein Obama is half Kenyan and half white and as such does not fit my definition of Black American, but I will use the term “black President” without this bias…for the time being.

I’ll say this first just to get it out of the way and make this clear: I did not vote for Barack Obama.


Throughout my high school years, I would read my science and history textbooks and say to myself, “I hope something new happens when I am alive.” or “I wonder what will make the history books in my lifetime.” Looking back, I cannot really remember on what I used to ponder when I answered these non-questions, but I know I can say, I never, in a million, billion years, would have thought I would live to see a black…er, um…mostly black president of the United States. I think I can remember saying in the not too distant past that the only way America would have a *black President is if he, emphasis on he, was a conservative to really help those who would only vote on race find themselves in a quandary, and yet…here we are.

Although am I still incredibly skeptical of his abilities and what he will actually accomplish in his time in the White House, I saw this image on my computer and almost burst into tears:



To think that I…meI would see a black president in the United States Oval Office at the age of 24 and not at 86 telling my grandchildren about the number of times “we came close,” but never saw it. It is quite easy to get caught up in the absolute glee that…I won’t say bombards because that word just doesn’t feel right at this time, but you get the idea… me right and left and I feel oddly conflicted by it. I’m “happy” it happened, but disgusted (once again) that my choice for a leadership position in my country has not been chosen. I voted for McCain/Palin, but there is something that is simply exciting at having a dark-skinned president and a First Lady who looks like me (except for those crazy, weird eyes of hers…).

At some point in the afternoon, I just said to myself, “You know, I don’t even care because we’re screwed either way.” but while I tossed and turned in my bed last night, I prayed for one thing and one thing only: “Jesus, please let America make the right choice.” Not put a Republican in the White House. Not put a black person in the White House. Simply that we, as Americans, make the right choice.

I still think the fact that we had our first female VP on the ballot will go utterly unnoticed, but I still think Sarah Palin is great and I’m glad she was cleared on those bogus charges. I still think that Hillary would have made a better candidate and, the more I think about it, I think the fact that she was not the Dem’s choice made me a little bitter, driving me from “moderately conservative” to “full-blown conservative.” I still think I did the right thing by voting for the person I thought would make the best president and not voting because of race. But, I will save all of that for another night.

I’ll save the rantings about the Dems cheating in key states, about how he could possibly represent the worst instance of affirmative action the nation has ever witnessed or about the fact that I’ll be singing the “Blue State Blues” for the next four years for another post. Tonight is just for…wow.

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China: appearance vs. reality

October 19th, 2008 — 12:34am

I’m still aggravated by the whole Yang Peiyi/Lin Miaoke thing from the Beijing Olympics in August, but reading this just brings that aggravation to a whole new level:

I focus plainly on these lines:

Suppliers are believed to have added the banned chemical, normally used in plastics, to watered-down milk in order to make it appear higher in protein.

Again, we see China putting “appearance” before reality and, this time, paying dearly for it. While I know it may seem simplistic to compare Yang Peiyi’s brush off with tainted milk that had killed four children, the fact is, this stresses the same exact problem. Instead of taking the steps to ensure that they had a quality product, they (China) took a short cut to make people believe what they were presenting was something more than it was. This is unfortunately telling and I’m just saddened that families just trying to live through communist oppression have to almost fight for their children’s lives.

During the earthquakes that ripped through the country, we saw another appearance China gave its citizens: The focus here is that all the other structures surrounding the school, hotels and places intended to bring income to the country, survived when the school, as it turns out, was built poorly. It placed the school in a “safe” area only to build it with “unsafe” materials and shoddy workmanship so that when it was placed to the test, it failed miserably and again, China’s families must suffer the effects of their government’s insistence on putting appearance ahead of reality.

I’ve been disgusted a lot in the past few weeks, but this just leaves a taste in my mouth that I just can’t remove.

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