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Well if the world is going to see my letter, I just have to stress the ingenious writings of superbabe deluxe "Jenny Blue". Besides her wonderful weekly astrology chart, she is also a wonderful writer. check out her stories & wonderful commentary on her homepage. All you jojo pseudo jack booted lesbians have a lot to learn from her.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Simultaneously, and perhaps synchronicitously Jennifer Blue and I (who are both Aries) have both decided to change our roles here at The World's Magazine. This week's is her last weekly forecast. Henceforth, she'll only produce monthly 'casts. And I won't be Editor anymore....
Rico, Austin, TX, USA:
Oh... a small piece on Bush's "record in Texas" on education. Seems he and his Republican pals killed a liberal Democratic bill session before last that would have required schools to ensure their buildings were environmentally sound--you know, no Legionnaire's disease in the air vents. Because it would cost the taxpayers "too much money," they passed a voluntary, non-funded bill. As a result 60% of the school buildings in Texas are themselves potential deadly weapons, never mind the increasing number of drop-outs packing concealed weapons heading back in to get revenge for those goddamned TASS tests. Hill Elementary School in Austin had to be abandoned last week because it had become a "sick" building and was making its young scholars feel like so many moldy, steamed hot dog buns. Yeppers, the Shrub's record in Texas on education and the environment should indeed be scutinized for what it portends when Georgie Porgy gets his fingers in the Presidential pie. And if Texas were a country I do believe we'd be in the top five most polluting countries in the world. Oh, please let's talk about yer record in Texas Mr. Bush. Oh, yer not responsible for the pollution? That's just the results of our booming economy which I have nothing to do with as one of the constitutionally weakest executives in the 50 states. I just set the tone. Indeed, the non-wealthy in Texas hear the dolorous death knell for justice (Texas, the death penalty capital of the West, applies it compassionate practice of death by injection to persons who could safely be described as underprivileged; the WIC program in Texas still ranks near the bottom if not the bottom of state contributions for women and children in need of financial assistance--George proposed cutting off funds entirely if a woman kept having children after she got on welfare, but lord knows if the condom failed he wouldn't let her get an abortion if it was up to him unless she was raped by an escapee from the largest prison system in the country famed for its compassionate clubbings and dog-baiting of chained inmates and its just-funning, Ku Klux Klan costume party to celebrate our DPS black brother's birthday--he really looked like he was enjoying it), environmental protection (I've covered that), and responsible education (well, if you don't consider the physical buildings themselves, at least three of the elementary schools in Austin rank as high quality schools--none of the junior high or high schools do--and this is in the city known as the most literate in the USA). So, damn, like I said, let's talk about yer record, Georgie. It's the only record you got since that cocaine thing was expunged, so let's jaw.
From Mitzi Kay T., Memphis, TN USA:
I need to see one to comment. See previous E-mail for address, etc. What I would like to comment on is McCaffrey's stand on Methadone Maintenance. He needs to make up his mind one way or another, however, I believe he is on the right track. Take it from me, a methodone clinic participant for over 6 years now, who is a new home-owner, just promoted at work making more than in life, financially secure, and happier than I have ever been in life. Why do people want to mess with the 'status-quo'? Mr. McCaffrey needs to look at the monopoly that my clinic in Memphis, TN has in that it is the only Methadone provider in a 200 mile radius, including the State of Mississippi, which offers NO assistance whatsoever to its' addiction population. And without a doubt, there is a definite problem in Mississippi. No more than in Tennessee or anywhere else, but a real problem which needs to be addressed. However, my main concern at this juncture is the addicts of Tennessee - Memphis in particular. We recovering, in- treatment addicts can and do contribute as meaningful members of society on a daily basis. We are no different than those with cancer or any other disease. Why can't we get even a minute piece of respect which comes with trying to do something about your problem? At least any and EVERYONE at the clinic is aware of a problem and attempting to do something about it. Try looking around you and the persons who know but do nothing. Thank you for listening. If you would like to respond to me write to email@example.com. i would prefer that the clinic not know I am complaining. They would play dirty. Not joking. They would kick me off as being a troublemaker.
John McG., Dallas, TX, USA:
Right on the mark. Your most insighful point is how poorly the process works to identify the best of breed for the electoral process. A full 60% of the voting public is now identifed as independent. I suspect that within the next 10 years a new political party will emerge to tap into this group. And the Ross Perots need not apply -- these people do not feel disenfrancisied just free thinking and want something better type mindset.
And for improvements?:
1) Keep the regional primaries process. They do provide some focus to local issues. However they could be spread out a little more.
2) Include a 'no confidence' selection on every candidate. If no confidence wins, the candidates of that party are eliminated and a new slate would need to be picked. This would eliminate the extremists of the world from making a political bid. It would also help the political parties in showing clearly in an early regional primary that of W,X,Y,Z only W & Z are capable of going forward. Time to purne the tree.
3) Open primaries in all states. The purpose of the primary system is to find the best candidates for the country. At the present time all the primary systems do is prop up the political parties. I don't care who the top two candidates are, say democratic, I just want to get the best man/woman to pick from for the job. That is what our process is suppose to be about.
4) My last is a little radical -- eliminate political ads. Yes this has 1st admendment impacts that scares even me. But, the present tone and nature of the ads being run do not assist in making an informed decision. They are attack, they are negative, and they lack any relevant substance. A good alternative might be the elimination of the 3rd party ads which for the most part are supported by commerical interests. The Supreme Court has ruled that there are limits to 1st admendment rights as it applies to commercial speech. Maybe it is time to utilize it.
Very tired and want the process to work.
"You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take." - Wayne Gretzky
ÝFrom Wolf DeVoon, The Jungle, COSTA RICA:
SUBJECT: Hey, man, you made my day
Like we used to say in the joint, "don't come half-steppin" is real good advice.
I love the way you write. That's for real.
ÝFrom Timothy M, (No City Provided,) USA:
Rod, forgive me I am sure you have covered this to great extent. Is the web a bigot? Or does it matter? When I build a web site I never think of race. I think of demographics in term of age, sex but never race. I like to think of the web a safe place from racism. I am not talking in term of access, but users only. I know access to computers is an issue too but I am only talking about those who are connected. The story I sent to you made me think long and hard, did it you? I did enjoy the story and I found it very funny but, there was an under tone too, that makes you think. If you covered this in other articles let me know I would like to read them if you have them in your archive.
As always, it's a pleasure to talk with you.
ROD RESPONDS: Timothy,
Tough, tough question. You may have read Julia Breznick's piece last week over at the main Andover News Network (http://www.andovernews.com/) about the "Whiter Shade of Pale" of too much of the Web. She got some interesting comments. Think about it: do you know of any other Black Web columnists of any prominence except me?
How many Native American, Black, Latin, Asian Web publishers (other than me) can you think of whose sites you've visited. What about people of color being written about as "dot.com" millionaires?
And this *does* have to do with access and *economics* in this country and the global economy. In the ITMJ archives are a few pieces from maybe two years ago on the "digital divide." I stopped talking too much about it because most of my readers, as you might imagine, didn't want to hear it... And is that racist? You be the judge.
At G21 I've gotten laudatory comments from people like the ADL, and the Simon Wiesenthal center for some of the coverage we've done on bigotry. Some of it was edgy and daring because my writers were willing to interview the bigots themselves.
So I guess my short answer is: yes. Until we address the economic inequalities which are the underpinning of racism, we leave it institutionalized.
From Darryl C., Hershey, PA, USA:
It takes a long time for guys like us to really understand and see that women, by and large, are much more emotionally ruthless than men. Men are capable of and can commit horrendously violent act but women will cut you, watch you bleed and then swear they had nothing to do with your loss. The problem with guys like us is that since we would never treat anybody like this we are emotionally unprepared to accept it when someone treats us the way your friend did regarding your visit. I have learned to protect myself now by simply cutting people like this - emotionally ruthless women and emotionally distant men - out of my life. I may look back but I won't go back.
I still want the gossip, old man, on Peggy and the first marriage. You're digressing.
Murphy's First Law of Technology:
"You can't tell which way the train went by looking at the track."
ROD RESPONDS: Darryl,
I hear you on emotionally ruthless women... Maybe that's part of my isolation problem. I'm beginning to think so.
And I'm not entirely digressing. I give up a lot on the marriage in Glass House this week. There ain't much more to tell on Peggy than I already have. I consider that topic covered as much as it should be...
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I note your treatise in the discourse in the rights of man. Most of your piece I reach the same conclusions in a different fashion. That is ok. What I typically gristle at is the supposed 'law of nature' that is so easily bantered about. Most come to the considered opinion that is the dog it dog mentality when it has a different connotation when originally quoted: Natural Law as stated in The Second Treatise of Civil Government, Chapter II Of the State of Nature.
'A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection, unless the lord and master of them all should, by any manifest declaration of his will, set one above another, and confer on him, by an evident and clear appointment, an undoubted right to dominion and sovereignty.'
Now this was quoted in 1690! by none other than John Locke the progenterator of the Founding Father's thoughts. One could, for our day, extend this concept to either sex. In fact Locke himself addresses this -- 'For the end of conjunction, between male and female, being not barely procreation, but the continuation of the species; this conjunction betwixt male and female ought to last, even after procreation, so long as is necessary to the nourishment and support of the young ones, who are to be sustained even after procreation, so long as is necessary to the nourishment and support of the young ones, who are to be sustained by those that got them, till they are able to shift and provide for themselves. This rule, which the infinite wise maker hath set to the works of his hands, we find the inferior creatures steadily obey.....' And finally on the parental relationship:
'Children, I confess, are not born in this full state of equality, though they are born to it. Their parents have a sort of rule and jurisdiction over them, when they come into the world, and for some time after; but it is but a temporary one. The bonds of this subjection are like the swaddling clothes they art wrapt up in, and supported by, in the weakness of their infancy: age and reason as they grow up, loosen them, till at length they drop quite off, and leave a man at his own free disposal. '
Locke goes on for another 6 chapters to the development of a civil society. Locke, concludes that the individual lends but never surrenders his/her Natural Law of equality to the extent that the greater good of the whole leads to a just and equitable adjucation of the laws set forth by the governed.
Where I have a problem with typical American liberal thought is that the government is the only means for the redistribution. Other means maybe available. Personal observation has led me to the conclusion that application of government fiat in the redistribution of wealth ends in failure. The poor remain so, the middle class is squeezed and the rich opt out through legal loopholes. Nothing is ultimately achieved. Ironically, most Americans do not remain poor for long, generation to generation, anecdotal evidence aside. America's ultimate failure will not be treatment of the poor, but a failure to engage the rich in stewardship of this country for the good of all.
"You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take." - Wayne Gretzky
From Ed. C., (No City Provided,) USA:
Fortunately, I was distracted by the call of the real world and therefore have(hopefully) mellowed my thoughts a bit.
Women running the show:
Like every guy, I occassionaly get kinda bent over this situation. However, I know in my heart that women have a different agenda then men, in most things. Especially biological functions. Everything Peggy did to "run the show", was, maybe, an effort to keep you happy, or at least maintain some kinda of a consistent status quo. From what you tell, she did things the right way, in that she made things copathstetic. Better yet, she allowed the workers to fear/loathe her, so that you would still be the good leader. She knew that it was easier to pull the string to where it needed to go, then to try pushing it where she wanted it to go. Sometimes good wives are like that, they play the heavy and they set the standards for the household;in fact, I have long maintained(in a truly old-fashioned and downright chauvinistic manner) that household cleanliness standards and children's educational standards are more of a reflection of the "lady of the house's" standards, then it is of the man's standards. Women almost always know who they have to look out for, in this order:themselves, their children, their mate.
Or maybe you prefer Larry Flint's version: whoever controls the pussy, controls the world.
Regarding you and skirt chasing:
Confession is cool, it's all the rage. Spiritualists, atheists, hypnotists, proctologists (just had to throw that shit in,LOL),John McCain? - everyone wants to bare their souls and tell all. I think it is a method that is being employed by many to show their humanity and commonality in this increasingly convoluted society. What race are you?Mixed....what religion are you?Mixed....What drugs have you taken?Mixed.... What screwed-up human relationships have you fostered?Many.
A big cry a la Sly Stone," Eye-hi, am every day people!" Lots of guys think about chasing every shirt that turns their fancy; me, I always wonder if it isn't just a convenient excuse for completely destroying an already malfunctioning relationship. Why repair, when you can replace?
Or it could stem from deep-seated resentments developed during their formative years, you know, like potty training, Oedipus complex,etc.
I'm truly sorry your Mom decided to bail on your existence: I haven't.
Keep It Real,
Home: the place you want go to, when you are somewhere else.
You bring up some very interesting points in the way of end user support and help desk functions. I too believe that the end user should be assisted whenever possible. However there are constraints and limits:
1) Developers need to code to whatever the corporate standard is. Too many a time I have noticed an application developed on nonstandard platforms or software. Usual excuse is that it is expedient to do it this way. WRONG! The backend costs will eat the company alive.
2) Quite honestly help desk is a thankless job. It is low pay. Viewed as low value. Has high turn over. Is under funded. Companies do not consider help desk part of their core mission.
3) The typical end user on hire does not recieve any training in how to use the network, or information delivery systems before being sent to work. How much more productive would an end user be if they received a week of hands on training from the training dept on where and how to use the systems that bind the company?
So I guess my point is there is enough blame to go around. The help desk unfortunately becomes the dumping ground for all the IT problems (e.g. s--- rolls down hill.). Nor is solving the problem an easy thing to do. Companies need to be willing to train workers, which they are not. "Lets hire a contractor with the sklls, they will pick up the culture OJT". Be willing to invest in Help Desk, which they are not.
Look at two items -- help desk budget and training dept budget. Both are usually last in the budget totem pole of finance. Remember that people vote with their feet and corporations vote with their budget. If you're in a corporation that spends accordingly then the results reaped are justly deserved.
"You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take." - Wayne Gretzky
DAHRL STULTZ RESPONDS: "1) Developers need to code to whatever the corporate standard is. Too many a time I have noticed an application developed on nonstandard platforms or software. Usual excuse is that it is expedient to do it this way. WRONG! The backend costs will eat the company alive. "
What? IT ignores their own standards? Gosh, and to think that all of the IT managers spent three days at some off-site meeting at a golf resort in order to write them.
I agree that the backend costs will be high. Maintenance, in particular, will be a bear. However, we all tend to try and use what is comfortable or convenient versus what is dictated. That's human nature. Contrary to users' perceptions, IT troops are human. IT is populated by geeks who like to use the latest and greatest; IT departments always seem to be way behind technology wise. Actually I don't fault the geeks in this -- the only way to stay employable is to upgrade your skill set. There is not much demand for Cobol programmers with 1 year of experience 20 times.
The problem, as I see it, is that IT managers are out of touch with what their troops are doing. What ever happened to MBWA? (For you youngsters, that is Management By Walking Around.) Back when managers actually pried themselves out of their offices and meetings and walked around and talked to their troops in their offices and cubes, they knew what the hell was going on. Unfortunately, today that is not the case, MBWA has been replaced by MBSBOBIM - Management By Sitting On Butt In Meetings.
"2) Quite honestly help desk is a thankless job. It is low pay. Viewed as low value. Has high turn over. Is under funded. Companies do not consider help desk part of their core mission. "
I agree with what you say. Companies need to wake up and realize that the help desk can help them. This is the one communications channel that is available to them to their customers - whether that is internal or external customers. You're in big trouble if you don't listen to your customers and fix their problems.
I know one IT Director that would start off his monthly all-hands meetings gleefully announcing that the Help Desk had handled 500 more calls (with the same number of people) the previous month. Huh? Sure his help desk troops were doing an okay job, but 500 more calls to me says that the rest of his organization stank. If the rest of his organization was doing their job right and using the information that was available from the preceding month's help calls, the help calls should be going DOWN, not up.
"3) The typical end user on hire does not recieve any training in how to use the network, or information delivery systems before being sent to work. How much more productive would an end user be if they received a week of hands on training from the training dept on where and how to use the systems that bind the company?"
I agree that there is a problem; I disagree with your solution. The ultimate person responsible for a new hire's "hit the ground running" success is his boss. Instead of dumping the poor slob into a cube and saying "read these manuals", some thought and action should have happened before the new hire arrived.
While training material from either training or IT should be available and helpful, learning the ropes from a mentor within the department is best, IMHO. It's just not possible to send a new hire to class on their second day (the first day is spent signing papers in HR). Typically, there will too few people for a class and they will all be from different departments with different needs.
IT should have general training materials available. Shoot, make it a part of the HR orientation. Definitely put it up on the intranet - that's the best training support mechanism to come along. It works. I know. I've put up such basics as "How to obtain mainframe access and which ones you need", "How to sign onto TSO", "How to use Dispatch", "Company Acronymns and Definitions". I get kudos from not only new hires, but also from old timers who say, "Gee, I didn't know you could do that."
I am not a trainer by function or title, I'm a programmer that is a user advocate. If the user needs it, I'll do my darnest to give it to them - whether it is "my job" or not.
The last time I looked, everyone that parks in that parking lot outside my building all work for the same company. Our job is to do the right thing for the company - not just for my department. Training is every ones's responsbility. Some of us just take it more seriously than others.
"Look at two items -- help desk budget and training dept budget. Both are usually last in the budget totem pole of finance. Remember that people vote with their feet and corporations vote with their budget. If you're in a corporation that spends accordingly then the results reaped are justly deserved..."
John, Business 101 says that you have to save pennies from many places in order to have dollars to spend elsewhere. Look at it from the CEO's perscpective: Fuel prices have soared. Do you realize how many thousands of gallons of jet fuel the corporate aircraft burn?
"You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take." - Wayne Gretzky
Are you sure about that quote? Seems like that could also have been said by John Wayne.
Wow, takes courage, insight, and knowledge that the unknown future holds more than the assumptions which you see now, and can sorta kinda envision would be the future.
From Marckus T., San Francisco, CA, USA:
You G21 "swan song" is much too close to home. Some time later, I'll explain what I mean by that; mainly the mother thing, and being ambushed.
You are in transition, but do not seem to feel like the captain of your current fate, so I'm backing off from showing up in your e-mail very much right now. But I'm still out here, wishing you well.
From Gabriela S., (No City Provided,) VENEZUELA:
I know I'm going to miss you, I have 8 months receiving your publication and by now I'm sure I't wont be the same, I understand too that nothing is static forever, but those are a few lines for you (that weekly since then) who have been in touch with me:
Thanks for all those precious thoughts you shared with me, because they are a part of you... I wish you all the best wherever you go and whatever you do. Don't forget that whenever a door is closed there will be an openning window...
Good luck and be in touch if you can, is amazing how world goes round... Maybe someday you'll come to Venezuela... Then remember you left a friend here.
ROD RESPONDS: Gabriela,
Thanks so much for taking the time to write me and your kind words. I won't be going completely, I'll remain the publisher. (I can't completely give up my "baby.") I just won't have such an active hand in the day-to-day design and editorial issues, Wolf DeVoon will be doing that from Costa Rica.
I'll also try to continue the personal saga which has begun in "My Glass House" as often as I can.
Maybe one day I shall make it to Venezuela. I've always considered it an interesting country. I've encouraged Wolf to seek writers from South America, as well. Let's see what develops.
From Peter G., New York, NY, USA:
Subject: Re: Going, Going, Gone aka Charlie Brown and footballs!
Hey Rod: I'm sorry to hear you'll be stepping aside, but happy that you'll be doing other things you love.
I read your story "The Difficult Kind". Really great. I can relate to it on a lot of different levels. I have a similar situation with my stepfather who actively dislikes me; it doesn't help that he's a five-year old trapped in a 75-year old's body!! I'm now learning to just ignore him and not pursue any kind of relationship with him, because, bluntly he's a jerk with extremely poor social skills and I've tried for 19 years to have some kind of father-son relationship, but no go. Time for me to move on, neh?
Anyway, I MAY be coming to Balto-Wash next month. Maybe we can go out to dinner or something. I'll keep you apprised.
From Lynda D-M, (No City Provided,) VT, USA:
I believe a theory that I learned a long time ago; that artistry and neurosis ON THE SURFACE share a common thread; that the artist or sufferer withdraw from others in order to better relate to them. Certainly you and other artists must spend solitary hours in order to draw closer, in order to communicate. And neurotics withdraw from others under the ILLUSION that they will be order to better relate. From the short time I've known you, it seems to me that you alternately revel in and are hurt by the space you maintain between yourself and others. But like the lover (of God, or another person) or the artist, you must maintain that space, for it is within that space that your love, or art, leaps. No space= no leap, no art, no communication. If however, you were neurotic, you would withdraw in order to absolutely deny any space between you and the beloved, which botches the whole thing in an attempt at intimacy. You are thrashing, but so beautifully, so articulately, that I believe you attract other 1)readers, 2)lovers to 1)your writing, 2)yourself. And so, to me, you alternately disappear in order to appear more clearly, but suffer from the magic. Just like a sybil, forced by your clan to sit drugged over the temple (!) abyss, prophetic, answering questions, telling the truth, and who knows,to us dummies, perhaps weaving lies also. Bleeding too. The sybil is privileged, sacred, but not everybody wants to sit up there.
Subject: Don't buy gasoline from April 7-9th
Last year on April 30,1999, a gas out was staged across Canada and the U.S. to bring the price of gas down, and it worked. It's time to do something about it again.
Only this time lets make it for three days instead of just one. The so-called oil cartel decided to slow production to drive up gasoline prices. Lets see how many Canadian\American people we can get to ban together for a three day period in April, NOT TO BUY ANY GASOLINE, during those three days.
LETS HAVE A GAS OUT. Do not buy any gasoline from APRIL 7, 2000, THROUGH APRIL 9, 2000. Buy what you need before the dates listed above, or after, but try not to buy any during the GAS OUT. If you want to help, just send this to everyone you know and ask them to do the same. We brought the prices down once before, and we can do it again.
Come on North America lets stand together. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!
From Zach Love, et lia, the Dead Pool, Los Angeles, USA:
Hey, kids, what's happening?
We'll tell you what's happening, March Madness is happening. You may or may not care about the annual college basketball insanity that culminates in Final Four Weekend, but we do. A lot of people we know (including us) get in on pools of various kinds where you try and predict the winners of each match-up, and it makes the games a little more fun to watch. We thought it might be cool (for those of you who know what we're talking about) to have a little Battle of the Brackets between us Poolsters. So, we've created a stiffs.com group within the huge online pool that ESPN runs, and there's room for 50 people to play against each other. We're even throwing in a t-shirt as a prize, 'cause there sure as hell ain't much chance of getting any of what ESPN's offering. Not that it's impossible, or anything, but there are something like 400,000 basketball psychos competing for that stuff.
While we've got you here, and since sending this costs us money, you know that we're taking entries now for The April Lee Jr., right? You've still got a few weeks before the deadline, but you probably don't want to miss out on a chance for that $1000.00 Grand Prize, so don't blow it. The place to be when you're ready to rock is http://stiffs.com/junior.html and it's open 24 hours, seven days a week. That's really all we've got to say this time around, except that we'll be in Vegas for the opening weekend of the tournament. Don't get miffed if we miss a few updates while we're gone, and keep in mind that we'll be thinking of you!
Zachariah Love, Commissioner
Greg Hicks, Head Bartender
and Drew Scharlatt, Mute
The Lee Atwater Invitational Dead Pool
http://stiffs.com - A really neat site.
From Diamond D., Higganum, CT, USA:
March 6, 2000
Dear friend of liberty,
Our electronic march on Washington supporting the withdrawal of the United States from the W.T.O. begins today. Representative Ron Paul and four other members of the U.S. House submitted a privileged resolution (H.J. Res. 90) this afternoon directing the United States to withdraw from the W.T.O.
Representative Paul stated, "Let's call a spade a spade. The W.T.O. is nothing other than a vehicle for managed trade whereby the politically connected, campaign contributors and fat cats get the benefits of exercising their position as a preferred group. Preferred that is, by the Washington and international political and bureaucratic establishments."
Dr. Paul also stated, "It is an egregious attack upon our national sovereignty, and this is the reason why we must vigorously oppose it. No nation can maintain its sovereignty if it surrenders its authority to an international collective. Since sovereignty is linked so closely to freedom, our very notion of American liberty is at stake in this issue."
To join our electronic march, please go to http://www.StopWTO.org.
Liberty Study Committee
If you have a question or comment, please mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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