Category Archives: Politics

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I had originally chosen the Seven Lions Middlelands set as my current jam, but sadly YouTube had to take it down due to copyright infringements… So! Here’s the set I loved the most next from Middlelands (which I’ve already listened to again twice since then).

Currently jammin’ to: Illenium at Middlelands 2017 set

Illenium is an amazing artist whom I highly recommend anyone to check out. :)

Life as Karen knows

I had a different post in the makes, but I scrapped it for this one because I wanted to change the focus. It’s been awhile since I last updated about my life (almost two months), aside from my last post focused solely on the death of my friend, so I figure its best to mention how life’s been treating me before rambling on about other things. More than likely this will be a really long post considering I have two months of stuff to write about.

Originally, I planned to head back to Arlington/Dallas mid-May and be at home for a couple months before I found a place in Dallas to live closer to school. I had already informed my work place of my last day, but due to multiple other coworkers also leaving, I was asked if I would be willing to stay longer. As I didn’t have exact reasons to be in Dallas (aside from some weekend events and trips that I had planned) and I was going to try to get a job over the summer anyways, it seemed easier to just keep the job I already had so long as enough hours were provided to make it worthwhile (and that my friend, whom I am staying with, is okay with me staying around longer). In the end, that’s exactly what they provided to me (the hours) and thus my stay in Austin (slash my friend’s place) has now extended to the end of July.

While it hasn’t been too difficult, and I greatly enjoy the extra time spent in Austin, it definitely did mess with some of the plans I initially planned to be at. Now I’m back in this every other weekend in Dallas schedule again. Some of it was just for traveling from Dallas (DFW airport) rather than actually doing things there, but some was also being in Dallas.

I’ll probably miss some things in recent events that have been happening, but I’ll try my best to be true to my blog idea aka personal tracking of my life events (for everyone else to see as well). Last time, these were the things I said I was looking forward to: Middlelands, Atlanta visit, climbing more, volleyball, trying Franklins BBQ, visiting Hamilton Pool, and seeing lots of friends. I haven’t actually been able to climb more yet (did buy shoes though), or play volleyball much, or visit Hamilton Pool, but I have seen friends, gone to Atlanta, attended Middlelands, and tried Franklins BBQ finally. I also went to Portland, checked out a remote part of Greenbelt, night time kayaked to live latino music, and had a scattering of birthday parties, small concerts, and events (like Mother’s day). So again, warning that this post will probably be pretty long, but cool if you’re bored and wanna read all about my life. Or just scroll for pictures. :)

Fun with friends in Austin

A big surprise came in the form of meeting up with an old friend from Emory that I hadn’t seen (or even talked to) in five or six years who was down in Austin for a wedding. Consequently, I got to try out some places I’d never been in Austin, like Veracruz tacos, Radio coffee and bar, JuiceLand,  swimming in Greenbelt off some random path, and the Botanical Gardens. Who knew I’d see more of Austin from someone coming to visit from Austin?

Swimming in Greenbelt was definitely the highlight. A short hike entering from some random neighborhood and we found ourselves at a lovely pool of water/stream. Wejumped off the cliff into the cool water which wasn’t too cold despite this still being late April (and the weather was maybe high 70s?). We had brought some Veracruz tacos with us to eat there and had Radio coffee while waiting for the food beforehand.

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the crew going swimming to Greenbelt!

Afterwards we ate at Tan My which had pretty good bun bo hue (well, I just tried some didn’t actually order anything), and I consequently found out one of the newfound friends was dating my current roommate’s old co-worker (that I had met before long ago). Once again somewhat proving how small the world sometimes feels.

We went to Graffiti Castle (or the Hope Outdoor Gallery as it is officially called now) as well as the Botanical Gardens afterwards. I’d always wanted to go to the Botanical Gardens (mostly to Pokemon hunt XD) but it was still… an experience I guess. Whenever i think of botanical gardens, I think flowers. I’m not sure if maybe it was still too early or what, but I feel like I had to try really hard to find some flowers (literal flowers ;)). In the end, at least I can say that I’ve gone. We did some hiking to the 360 bridge as well, but only to the overlook.

It was a fun time, filled with outdoor activities and food, which is exactly what I like. Plus I got to catch up with an old friend and meet new ones.

Lots of birthdays, some going away parties, one Mother’s Day, and many other scattering of events (Corona Electric beach party, ARMNHRM at Kingdom, etc) occurred in various fashion. I’d go into all of them more but I’m not trying to dictate my whole entire life up here (well, I kind of am, but not to that extreme).

One other Austin highlight recently was that I finally got to kayak! It was actually an evening/night time kayak event with live Latino music serenading us as well. The weather couldn’t have been any nicer, honestly. I had an amazing time on Lady Bird Lake and enjoyed some wine, beer, and finger foods (grapes & mangoes). There were also some people who got onto the band’s platform and salsa danced. It really made me want to get better at salsa dancing. Maybe someday I’ll find a partner to do that more with ;) maybe.

The Road to Middlelands

Let me start by saying these events aren’t exactly in chronological order, so while the swimming in Greenbelt happened in late April, the kayaking happened this past Friday night, and Middlelands occurred in eary May, to give you an idea. So apologies ahead of time if this somehow gets confusing in terms of timelines. Anyways.

I know it’s kind of bad to do, but I totally have no problem with talking about how amazing Middlelands was to people who didn’t go. It’s been probably the best music festivals I’ve ever attended. The music, the people, everything was near perfect and most times better than I expected. My one regret was getting drunk enough to forget to go to Big Gigantic on the first night. Who knew taking big gulps of vodka early on would keep me drunk the whole night? In the end, I missed one of the more unique artists that I really wanted to see, but regardless of missing Big Gigantic, all the shows I did catch easily make Middlelands one of the best festivals ever attended. This is not just an opinion I hold, but honestly many attendees felt this way as apparent through many blogs, posts, groups, people, etc that I’ve read and talked to after the festival. Some felt that way having gone to many festivals in the past, and some felt that way from it being their first festival. Honestly, if you didn’t know what PLUR really was before, you could’ve definitely learned about it at Middlelands. It was really that kind of feel.

Middlelands 2017 music festival

some of the Middlelands peeps I was hangin’ with that weekend :)

And the music, I could relive that whole weekend again with just that music. So many amazing artists, and some that surprised me in expectations. My favorite set, as I said earlier in this post, was Seven Lions with Illenium coming in close second. But other sets, like Bassnectar, Alice in Wonderland, and Louis the Child were also incredible. I also learned about a few new (to me) artists like Quix and Ephwurd, both of whom were amazing live as well.

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my favorite stage at Middlelands! where Illenium and Seven Lions killed it

I honestly probably could have made a whole post about Middlelands alone, but I’ll refrain. I’ll just post pictures and relive in them and the uploaded sets from then. I will say that I’m really sad it won’t be at the Texas Renaissance Festival anymore due to some locals complaining about the noise. I very much hope it will stay in Texas, but I know where ever it ends up being held, it will still be amazing. This year’s is basically legendary (in my book), and if it stays in Texas I’ll probably be back again. Sherwood, I’m looking at you!

Atlanta, aka Dallas and Houston mixed together

Back in undergrad, I made some life long friends during my time in Resident Life as an RA. We decided that five years after we graduated, we would all meet up for a reunion in a city we’d never been to (at the time, it was decidedly Seattle), and each of us would bring X, Y, and Z. I think mine was bringing a husband or something, and my other friend was like a pet bird, and another was a foreign wife, or something weird and crazy. In the end, we didn’t go to a new city but back to Atlanta (though I, as previously mentioned, have now been to Seattle anyways), our old stomping grounds, and none of us brought any of the decided things (which we all forgot anyways), but we did have our reunion. Additionally, it was one of my friend’s birthdays that weekend, so we reminisced, did an escape room, watched some stand-up comedy, and checked out old and new Atlanta places.

escape room atlanta

we almost finished. Last puzzle :(

I’m so grateful for my friends, both the ones I gained at Emory and the ones before and after. It’s always tough to stay in touch when everyone lives everywhere else (Atlanta, Chicago, Japan/Boulder, etc), but I’m glad that we’ve still made attempts to stay in contact and connected to each other. I’ll be seeing them again later this year for the first one of us to get married, but we planned to once again meet in 5 years at the latest. I hope we’re able to keep our promise again. :)

The hike to Portland (or really, in)

Another city I’d never been to and another activity I’d never really done has once again been accomplished: I took a 13+ mile hike in Portland, Oregon last weekend. I was actually somewhat worried about my physical capabilities for the hike, but surprisingly handled it well. I guess I’m in better shape that I think? Or more like I can stay active for a lot longer than I give myself credit for. Either way, it was a wonderful experience. Portland is very lush and beautiful. Such amazing views and nature feels. Naturally, we also toured around some food places and caught really by chance events, like their Starlight Parade and a random Trump/”freedom of speech” white supremacy rally and consequent anti-rally/protest. It was one of the most spontaneous (aka a nice way to say unplanned, but not necessarily unpleasant) trips I’ve recently taken, but still had some great times.

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the lovely Portland hiking group being fancy :)

I’ve never been a part of a rally or a protest (at least not physically), so it was pretty interesting to see. There was an enormous crowd for the protest while the rally itself seemed much smaller. I think that’s actually pretty reflective of America as a whole, but that’s another can to be opened a different time.

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some signs at the rally (but from the protesters)

The Starlight parade (which is part of their International Rose Festival, but has nothing to really do with roses?) was pretty cool too. We only caught parts of it because we had reservations at this whiskey library bar, but we did see a slew of DeLoreans parade through decked out with lights. As you can imagine, the parade is held at night time and features lots of floats with pretty lights. There was also quite a few high school marching bands, to my surprise.

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there was a bit in the parade that was just DeLoreans :)

To sum up what we did in Portland, we hiked, ate lots of food (mostly decent but to be completely honest Seattle was better, sorry), drank a variety of alcohol (we went to a bar which provided tasting shots 4 for $5, one of which you could choose a wasabi vodka), and part took in some local recreational fun. We actually ended up checking out their Japanese garden and Rose garden, both of which were cool. Seeing all those beautiful roses was actually pretty cool. If I were to go back to Portland, I’d definitely want to just go for hiking and camping. There are so many trails you can go on and so many beautiful views to be seen. Plus, the weather was really nice (when we were there).

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a Great Pyrenees meet up at the market!

Check out the actual hike pictures here. For some reason, WordPress won’t properly show the pictures from Instagram on my post. And I’m too lazy to figure it out.

If you didn’t already know, Portland is for some reason famous for its strip clubs. We didn’t go to any, but had a very interesting lyft driver who kept talking about the perverse side of Portland and its strip clubs, particularly one that was vegan. So I guess Portland is lots of hiking and strip clubs. I think I’ll just stick to the hiking parts though.

Another interesting part (coming from Texas) of Portland is the people. We went to a Thai restaurant, and all the workers (cooks, dishwashers, etc) were white while the owner/some servers were Asian. It was weird and that’s how it was everywhere. It came to us not exactly as a surprise, but just so different from where we come from. It was also weird how extreme the sides of Portland people are. There are some really nice, open-minded people there, and then there are some really white supremacy extremists too. Definitely unexpected. Anyways.

Given how much I had to go through, I tried to condense and not ramble too much about everything. Usually I like to post personal thoughts and what not, but the length of this post is already pretty high up there so I’ll refrain this time. Maybe I’ll make a post later for just thoughts. Maybe. I’m surprised I didn’t talk much about the recent amazing food I’ve been having (which definitely still happened in Portland and elsewhere, just didn’t write about it.) Well, maybe I’ll just post on IG or something. ‘Til another time! :)

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Time for some sunblock

Currently jammin’ to:

I found that I enjoy sharing music and hopefully others enjoy the music I share. I don’t always post where or how I come about these music selections that I put on my post. Sometimes they’re a new song I came across (new to me, not necessarily new in general), and sometimes they’re a song I currently really like. Once in awhile, it might just be a song that really fits the post or whatever thoughts are on my mind, and it’s possible that the song itself is what started my thought to blog process anyhow. In any case, I guess what I’m trying to get at is that this song is one of those times that I random found it (on Soundcloud as reposted by Dirty South) and really liked it (and thought others, whom might perchance upon this blog, would like too). But I digress, to the rest of this post.

A few weekends ago, I was having a becoming typical Friday mid-morning wait for the Megabus to take me from Austin to Dallas. Leading up to that day, the weather had been a bit rainy, but the day itself was sunny with some clouds. Given the slightly warmer but cool weather I experienced early morning to class, I was wearing shorts and some Toms while waiting in the growing heat. I was probably only out there for about fifteen minutes, but within that time I could feel the heat rays burn upon my feet. I tried to walk around in a very small circle (since I was waiting in a line, so I couldn’t exactly get out without losing my spot), but ultimately there was little I could do to protect my poor feet from getting roasted. I saw later that day that those fifteen minutes was enough for me to brandish a Tom’s tan line on my feet.

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A faint, but visible shoe tan.

I’m not one for getting a tan. I don’t prefer or want to be darker; I actually am quite happy to be what many would consider pale or fair skinned. Is this really Asian of me? Probably. But I think it has less to do with my heritage and more to do with what’s medically proven to be what’s good for me. It’s not that I dislike having a dark skin tone, as I have definitely been quite tan before and been perfectly fine with it too, but rather the fact that comes with knowing the damage I am doing to my skin, especially for the future. Now I know that everything in some way probably gives you cancer (even sunblock can give you cancer), but I’ll take my risks getting it from sunblock and not from burning my skin. I’d like to not look 60 when I’m sixty, and I’m pretty sure there is a correlation to tanning and looking more aged as you get older. Additionally, I don’t like tan lines, so not getting a tan altogether tends to eliminate that chance. So when fifteen minutes in April causes me to get a shoe tan already, all I think is “Texas”. Except I don’t know if I should sunblock it up or bring an umbrella for the rain. Texas, please decide if you would like to be rainy and disgustingly humid or hot and dry. I’d prefer the latter simply because I hate humidity, but knowing which to prepare for (at least on a daily basis) would be nice. Anyways, there’s not much to this point aside from ranting that I dislike tan lines and the health consequences of tanning. I do, actually, love laying in the sun. I love the feeling of the sun soaking my body in warmth. I just don’t want to get dark or old-looking doing it.

On other news in life, my school semester is winding down! I mentioned it previously, but this semester has probably resulted in the best grades I’ve ever had in my classes on any given semester since probably high school or earlier… So far I’m looking like straight A’s (at least for two classes that is pretty much guaranteed, two more still have finals). For that, I am quite happy. I’m also happy that the two labs I applied for (to do research over the summer and into the fall) both accepted me, leaving me with probably little summer time to do anything outside of school-related things and maybe a part-time job. Despite the upcoming busy schedule I’ve decided to set for myself, I am happily looking forward to all of it as well as a couple of weeks (after next Saturday) of relaxing and even a trip to Mexico (first time!). Confirming discoveries or (even more) finding new research has always been an interest of mine. One of my labs is heavily researched based, while the other is more clinically based, so I feel as though I am getting the best of them: deeper research into topics I enjoy and clinical opportunities to evaluate and possibly treat patients of the same population I would potentially be working with in the future. Now if only my bank account will hold up.

On another note, I finally got to go camping (and fishing!) for the first time last weekend. It was only a two day one night trip, but it was still fun to go hiking on the muddy trails and attempt some fishing. Some things I learned: starting a fire with damp wood is not very likely, paper plates burn pretty well,  and apparently its prohibited to gather wood in Texas parks (as even the fallen branches in the parks are protected by the law). Fishing is kinda neat, though I unfortunately did not catch anything the few times I casted. Sleeping outside on damp ground with little cushion while squeezing in a 3 person tent with a 6’4″ person? Uncomfortable to say the least. It was a beautiful night minus the mating frogs and random howling, but unfortunately foam mats (which thankfully were offered by friends) and sleeping bags provide only minimal comfortableness. And yet I’d still want to do it again. The night sky at Meridian State Park wasn’t as lit up as Perdernales, but we were still able to see Jupiter and Mars and the big dipper and the North star (along with other stars). I definitely want to go camping again. Just maybe with some better cushioning for the tent.

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Long exposure picture of the night sky at Perdernales Falls State Park
(photo credits to Osniel Rives)

As for the rest of this post, I’ll probably end up being a bit controversial and opinionated, so if you want to just have a brief-lighthearted random read, I’d stop here. For those who are interested in what is contemplated in my head, continue on.

I thought it couldn’t be true and that we weren’t stupid enough to really consider it, but ultimately (and very sadly) the Republican party has dropped down to one terrible nominee. To be fair, I’m not sure there was any decent nominee in the first place, so I suppose the gig is a bit rigged, but still. I didn’t think it would be possible, and yet it became true. I still don’t think the Republican party will win, and yet I am concerned. I didn’t think he would win nominee and yet he has, so how wrong could I be about him becoming president? What kind of future would that mean for the United States? What kind of message does it say to the rest of the world about us? The president is suppose to be a representation of our country, a leader of our people, and in a sense a reflection of our beliefs. Obviously we have parties that have opposing views so not everyone will always feel the best representation of themselves is the current president, but my concern becomes urgent when I think of how many people are out there that feel that Donald Trump represents who they are, what they believe, and what they want to happen in the future? Obviously enough to allow him to win the nomination, and yet where are the ones who don’t feel that way? Where are the people who disagree and don’t feel that he is who they are? And why are they not voting? For those who don’t vote, that representation of our American community is lost. I still believe the majority of Americans do not hold the same beliefs as Donald Trump, but I do find that that the majority is not necessarily representing themselves and their opinions to reflect that. Unfortunately, that’s just as bad as choosing someone who doesn’t represent you. When you decide to not speak up for yourself, you harm both yourself and those whom you actually do side with. I remember reading from a friend of mine that he saw a man on the trains of Chicago talking for the past three weeks that he didn’t care who you voted for (Trump, Cruz, Sanders, Clinton, etc), but that you just voted. Make yourself count; do your part as an American citizen that is capable of voting. To me, don’t complain about a broken or unfair system if you’re not doing anything to make it better. Even voting counts as doing something. Rant on that over (for now).

I had another topic that was highly controversial (and I myself also felt a bit torn on it), but I decided to refrain from speaking upon it. To provide some insight, it was about the consumption of dog meat and some recent posts and comments that I saw on Facebook related to it. I discussed it earlier with someone, and while that conversation was perfectly agreeable, I still find that I would prefer to refrain from making additional comments.

And with that, I have completed another returned post! I’m hoping I can write maybe every other week if not more, but we’ll see. Have a good day. :)

Breathe in for luck

I’ve never been good at answering what “my favorite song” is when people ask. Often I say whatever is the most recent song I’ve been introduced to that I really like at the moment, but I would never actually be able to say it’s my favorite. One of those times I said the song Clarity by John Mayer. It remains one of my favorite songs in a way, but there are plenty of other songs out there that transcend its brilliance and consistent, reoccurring enjoyment to me. Such is the case for my “featured” song(s) this time:

“Don’t Wait,” “Hands Down,” and “Vindicated” by Dashboard Confessional

It’s no surprise that I just had a Dashboard Confessional day/moment a few days ago and now I’m featuring their songs in a blog post. As to which is my absolute favorite of theirs, I don’t even know. Vindicated, Hands Down, and Don’t Wait all have a place in my music favorites, it just depends on what kind of mood I’m in for which outweighs the other momentarily. I’ve gone back to each of these songs throughout the years frequently. Only recently did I take Vindicated off my jammin’ playlist, Don’t Wait I had a moment where I constantly listened to it sometime ago, and Hands Down is just a classic to me. I can’t imagine trying to rank them, and I won’t. They are all beyond amazing to me, and they will probably always remain that way. (Of course, there are other amazing Dashboard Confessional songs that I prefer over the others at times, but these are going to be the constants and main ones I think.) Hello my emo teenage high school self. I don’t miss the angst, but I do sometimes miss just laying there listening to music like this and wailing the lyrics. Oh wait, I still do that. :)

Side note: I tried to look for proper versions of each song on SoundCloud to add here… yeah I heard some pretty terrible covers no offense to those who tried. @_@ So uh, if you don’t already know these songs, go youtube a good copy or something. @___@

Life is Music is Life

Slowly I feel like I’m turning my blog into a music blog! Where I really just talk about whatever music I’m recently digging or whatever music I feel like “featuring” or talking about. I don’t mean to become a music blogger, especially since I know I can’t actually keep up with music well/fast enough to actually keep up with it, and honestly I have random, inconsistent sources of music that sometimes provides me with super popular songs (like when I get songs via listening to Pandora) and sometimes just other songs I’d never known before (randomly through friends, this goes to old and new songs). In any case, the beginning of each post, unless it’s a rant or something, will probably still continue to “feature” some song or songs, but otherwise perhaps I will try to hold back on all the other music chatter. Maybe. But then again, music is such an integral part of my life that it’s hard to not include it. And honestly my blog is sort of whatever I feel like thinking, and I guess frequently its about music, or at least the things I’d like to share tend to be about music. Haha, so for all those who subscribe or read this random stuff, bare with me. I’m probably going to go music on you frequently still.

Politics schmolitics.

I’ve never considered myself well versed in politics. Even now, I still don’t think I am. This is why I used to not like talking about politics (well to be honest I sort of still don’t like talking about it, but I’m more willing for particular subjects), simply because I don’t like fighting/conversing about subjects which I really have little awareness/knowledge about. For a long time, I chose to live under a rock about these things. Even now, I still sort of live under a rock, but I sometimes peek my head out as you can see with some of my previous posts. And of course, because of social media, a growth in friends who do actually give two cents, and 8+ hours 5 days a week spent staring at a computer screen, you slowly just start reading about what’s going on in the world. I still don’t know much or anything about foreign policies, I haven’t really read Obama’s whole green or environmental policy acts, and there are still quite a few things else-wise I don’t actually take much time to read about. The things I guess I do read tend to be things that I strongly believe in or that directly affect me, like women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and the troubling legal (and misguided) perspective of rape culture. I do, however, get intense about some other subjects too that randomly come up. As of late, it’s felt like a huge battle for women’s rights, in the essence particularly of reproductive/abortion rights. I could get into it right now, but I feel as if I should restrain just to keep this part somewhat relevant to my point, that while I dislike politics and dealing with it, I have found that being inactive is sometimes just as bad or worse than those who actively insist the opposite of what I believe. Each vote technically counts, and each voice technically is worth something. So if all these people are going to rally against what I believe, I feel as if I need to rally to what I do believe, especially if I believe in it so strongly. Besides, sometimes it’s just about educating and maybe influencing someone to see what you see. Am I necessarily correct? Well, I suppose it technically is debatable (or else we wouldn’t be talking about it in politics so much), but I of course think what I believe is the right or rational thing to believe. Regardless of this, I guess I mean to say that I, who have never truly given much energy into talking about politics and avidly avoided it for much of my life, have become more of an activist on particular subjects simply due to my strong belief in them as well as my realization that I can do more than I think just by talking about it. Whether it just educates, changes someone’s mind, or just stimulates someone else to also be more proactive about their beliefs, I don’t know, but doing nothing is comparable to supporting the opposite of what you  believe (not completely as bad all the time, but sometimes equal). Because of that, I’ve become a bit more involved, a bit more outspoken, and a bit more knowledgeable about the issues as they come through. Recently, it seems like there’s been a huge focus on abortion again. Not just in Texas, but North Carolina, Ohio, everywhere. Not that I’m super against raising these issues as they need to be raised, but I feel as if there are even more important things to be fighting than trying to restrict abortion or close down abortion clinics. Maybe this is because of what side I agree with, but don’t we have mercury/pollution problems in Texas? Shouldn’t we worry about the state of our health care? What about our environmental policies? Oil? Commerce/market? Things that affect ALL citizens rather than half the population? What I guess I think is, don’t you have anything better to do than to keep trying for abortion laws when clearly we keep trying to stop them too? In any case, I didn’t mean to go into rant mode so I’ll stop, but honestly let’s focus on some overarching problems for those of us who are actually alive now before we tackle the decision of potential future people who have yet to be created or conceived. Seriously.

Personally…

So I stated before I’d been extra social as of late. Well my mom came home and that suddenly went on halt for a few days hahaha. I guess it’s not all that surprising, I wanted to make time for my family since it’d been over a month since my mom left. Plus a few of the people I had been hanging out with left to other cities/states, some permanently and some temporarily, so that automatically made my chances of being extra social slow down. Still, I try to do some stuff here and there. I finally got to see one of the summer movies that I wanted, though surprisingly it wasn’t one of the two I thought it would be. Went and watched World War Z with some friends (A.Avalos and the Chans) which lived up for the most to its hype. There were some scenes I remember thinking “eh, that was a bit unnecessary” and there were some that I was wishing for a bit more out of, but overall it was good. Now I get to read the book and be even more amazed and then perhaps a little less amazed at the movie. Still, I figured I’d watch the movie first so I wouldn’t compare how amazing the book was to it and therefore still enjoy both.

Additionally, semi-new developments in the whole car insurance stuff. And by semi-new I mean that I’m still going no where with insurance paying out especially because now they’re saying they’re “waiting for the insurer’s car pictures” which I remember reading that excuse on BBB as a complaint so more than likely it’s just a stall excuse to never pay out. So! I’ve been in the market to a new car probably since my inspection is coming up and I doubt I can pass… Currently looking at a 2010 and up Nissan Altima. Preferably in Black, White, some shade of Grey, or in the metallic brown but that seems like it’s only available in the newest models sadly. (The color looks much better than it sounds.) I guess I’ve been in a brown mood because I keep finding brown colored things really nice. XD But anyways!

Aside from discovering new music and attempting to connect with new and old friends, not much else has been happening! I am relearning that I clearly function best on 6 hours of sleep (or less?) because this past week while I’ve been getting 7-8+ hours of sleep I’ve consistently been tired at work and wanted to nap right after getting home. So I guess I should try for six hours… Which is weird, but not something I haven’t noticed before. Guess my REM cycles just fall like that. :shrug:

Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday/weekend. And a final note: Happy Birthday to my dad. Even though he’ll never read this and he’s also in Taiwan so it’s no longer his birthday over there, I still wish him the best. He’s done a lot for me even if I struggle with him sometimes. Love you dad, thanks for all you’ve done for me and the family.

/end.

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Manslaughter for Stillbirths and Miscarriages? Let’s think realistically

WARNING-RANT: This post may be highly explicative, opinionated, uncomfortable, biased, and many other potentially “not nice” things. If you are faint of heart, NOT OPEN-MINDED, stupid, illogical, or some other form of “I only consider my opinion as valid and I’m always right,” please just stop reading now and don’t even bother trying to leave a comment or engage me in any sort of “discussion.” I’m not interested in arguing with people who are not actually willing to listen to my opinion with an open mind, and I don’t like talking to stupid people, or people who only think he/she is right. So yeah, if you have opinions on this subject, EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT THE SAME AS MINE, as long as they are intelligent and rational, bring ’em on.

This article just makes me angry. RANT.

Maybe it’s because I’m a woman? Maybe it’s because I’m pro-choice? Maybe it’s because I’m hearing past what sounds good and thinking about what it will actually, REALISTICALLY do? Or what is probably/possibly the best answer, maybe I’m a combination of all of those plus some other stuff mixed in too. Either way, I can’t seem to wrap my head around this idea: manslaughter for still births and miscarriages if the should-be mother is found having used illegal drugs during pregnancy. Where is this coming from? THIS ARTICLE (click the link, yo) states that Mississippi has indicted a then 29-year-old woman named Nina (the article has the full names, but I’m shortening for ease) for manslaughter under the idea that she “willfully, unlawfully, feloniously, killed Hayley Jade Buckhalter, a human being, by culpable negligence” when she gave birth to a stillborn baby girl (that she clearly had named Hayley Jade before she gave birth).

Here are some of the facts: Nina was tested positive for methamphetamine, she had a stillborn baby girl, Mississippi manslaughter laws were not intended to apply in cases of stillbirths and miscarriages, Mississippi has rejected four times through 1998 to 2002 proposals that would set specific penalties for damaging a fetus by using illegal drugs during pregnancy, and that SOME OTHER STATES (not Mississippi) defines manslaughter as the “killing of a human being, by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another” as well as another that includes “an unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth” in the OTHER state’s definition of human beings.

The argument that is made for her manslaughter charge is that the meth detected caused the stillborn baby’s death.
A quote from the article “the cause of any given miscarriage or stillbirth is difficult to determine, and many experts believe there is no conclusive evidence that exposure to drugs in utero can cause a miscarriage or stillbirth.”
A few more things to note from the article: Alabama prosecuted two women (Amanda and Hope) in January for “chemical endangerment” of a child, under a 2006 law which punished people who expose children-not fetuses-to illegal drugs. Amanda, from Alabama, gave birth prematurely to a baby boy who died shortly after. She was tested positive for meth and then charged; the other Alabama woman, Hope, gave birth to a healthy baby boy, but was charged when marijuana and cocaine was found in his system.

You can read the whole article to get the full gist of it all, but otherwise that about sums up the majority of what the other side (because it is not my side) is arguing. Basically, using illegal drugs while pregnant which results in a stillbirth or a miscarriage is considered manslaughter. For Alabama, it’s considered “medical endangerment” if any drugs are found in the baby or the mother/mother-to-be’s system, and in a smaller related case against 16-year-old Rennie, she is charged with “depraved heart murder” from a stillbirth when an autopsy claimed a small amount of cocaine caused the death.

So here’s the MAIN issue I have with this: this isn’t about drug use, this is about ABORTION. What these lawyers who are arguing to prosecute these women are REALLY arguing for is the idea that a fetus is a full human even before being born. Basically, this is a back way alley to pave the idea that you’re human once sperm meets egg. As the lawyers who are defending Nina say, Nina and Rennie are collateral damage to the abortion wars in Mississippi, a state which, unsurprisingly, is one of the most anti-abortion states in the country (oh really? I wouldn’t have ever guessed). So yeah, this isn’t actually about caring for whether or not the women are using drugs, but really trying to make a case that abortion should be illegal. Great, way to have the right focus guys.

Dislike number 2: Do you REALLY think that these women who are pregnant and use drugs are going to want to come forward and do something to HELP the baby? Do you REALLY think this won’t INCREASE ABORTION rates? Yes, perhaps a FEW people will be discouraged to use drugs, but honestly? NO, they won’t. They will seek an abortion, whether by legal means or illegal means. They will be desperate to not be charged with MANSLAUGHTER, enough to RISK going to non-sterile environments and attempting ILLEGAL and UNETHICAL procedures through UNLICENSED people to get an abortion (Philadelphia anyone?!), they will REFUSE “prenatal care or drug addiction treatment, or from sharing important information with their doctors, for fear they may be reported.” That quote right there is backed by medical groups and public health groups INCLUDING the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. These people who are the most specialized in this field of prenatal care and pregnancy, these people are telling you that making it MANSLAUGHTER or “chemical endangerment” or “depraved heart murder” or whatever will just make pregnant women do something WORSE. They won’t seek help, they won’t want to have the baby, a baby they may have very well much have wanted to originally have (such as in the case of Nina at least), and they will go to more extreme means to do something WORSE due to FEAR of prosecution. You want people to stop using drugs while pregnant? THIS WON’T HELP. You want people to stop getting abortions? THIS ENCOURAGES THEM. Women will become AFRAID, not to take drugs, but to GIVE BIRTH. Sure, it’s true, some women may be more inclined to NOT take drugs, but I doubt that “some women” will counteract the amount of women who will choose to do more extreme measure, who will be fearful of giving birth. THOSE women will grow much more than the amount of women who won’t do drugs by this ruling. Think about it, if they were already going to use drugs before then, you really think they’ll stop because of fear of prosecution? No, they’re going to use the drug, and then do something about the baby because of fear of prosecution. THAT’S what’s going to happen.

Problem number 3: Here’s something more against the idea of Alabama’s ruling of “medical endangerment” in that what is considered medical endangerment is limited to what exactly? Smoking is terrible overall, but legal to do and a women has a right to smoke while pregnant and it would probably not fly in court if she were charged with “medical endangerment” for smoking while pregnant even though it could potentially cause issues to the baby, just like any drug you may take. As the lawyers argue, “smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, exercising against doctor’s orders, or failing to follow advice regarding conditions such as obesity or hypertension” could all be considered “medical endangerment.” Supreme Court Justice Leslie D. King is stated in the article saying “Doctors say women should avoid herbal tea, things like unpasteurized cheese, lunch meats. Exactly what are the boundaries?” And were we to define them to legal drugs, does it makes sense that smoking, which is legal, has worse consequences than marijuana, which is illegal, but wouldn’t be prosecuted as marijuana could be for “chemical endangerment.” Yes, there are of course dangers to doing any sort of drugs while pregnant, but again, there are a lot of dangers that you should avoid during pregnancy, like alcohol, and you wouldn’t get charged for “medical endangerment” for drinking while pregnant. In the case of Hope, her son was born healthy and yet she was charged because he had marijuana and cocaine in his system. Yes, there may be future consequences because of those drugs having been in his system, however had he been born without those things but Hope drank like a fish while pregnant, she wouldn’t be in the charge situation but her baby could have the same or worse consequences for the future. And again, where do we really draw the line? Should, when I’m pregnant, not drink herbal tea? Or should I avoid areas that have high risk of second hand smoke in order to not pollute my baby (and myself) with the risks? Or just never step out of the house so I don’t get more pollution than I already do in my daily life? What’s the line here? “Chemical exposure” is any illegal drugs that can be traced within your body during pregnancy or soon after, but not to the other harmful toxins and drugs we choose to take? Seriously, if it’s about the harm to your baby/body, then it’s easily argued that smoking has more harmful problems than something like marijuana, or how pollution exposure clearly harms the body as well. Either way, this case is clearly full of holes.

There are a few other issues I can go on about, but my main point is that this doesn’t do anything towards helping babies or drug users, it just deters women from wanting to have babies and MAYBE makes some female (yes, female only) drug users think twice, and only when they’re pregnant. If you REALLY want to help make babies safer based on prenatal care, think of other ways. If you really want to criminalize drug users for the crimes they committed, which is use illegal drugs, do that then, but do not assume that you can FULLY link drug usage to death of a fetus when miscarriages and stillbirths could be for numerous reasons, of which could have been drug use but not necessarily just that. You should be trying to help people get over their drug use. And if you want to fight against abortion, fight against abortion, don’t do things which would increase its desirability. Fear of prosecution “may cause a mother to seek an abortion that she might not have otherwise have sought.”

I’m a pro-choice person, but I don’t want women to be choosing to abort a baby just ’cause they don’t want to be prosecuted for having done some drugs. I personally have never done any drugs (except marijuana, which I tried in Amsterdam where it’s legal), I’m all for helping people not use it or get off it, but I don’t support this way of attempting to do it, especially since it isn’t about drug use, but about abortion (which again, will just increase from fear). Think about what it actually does, not what it sounds like it would do.

And seriously, let us women be! If we want to have a baby, we will have a baby! And if we don’t, you better sure as hell give me a good reason why I should if you’re gonna ban abortion/contraception/everything which could prevent me from becoming pregnant/having an abortion/baby (by the way, I do want kids in the future). But by all means, I encourage you to read the article, formulate your own opinion, and if you have intelligent thoughts on it which you’d like to share with me in a CIVIL and RESPECTFUL way, by all means please do.

And let me just end with this, Mississippi state laws allow legal abortions, so “if a woman can legally terminate an unwanted pregnancy… how can she be jailed for unintentionally ending a wanted one?” Seriously though, you wanna fight drug abuse, fight it in a different way. You wanna fight abortion, make sure you’re fighting it, not something else, and make sure that as you do that you aren’t increasing the likelihood of a woman getting an abortion.

/end.

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The Manipulation Game

DISCLAIMER: This is highly opinionated post, especially coming from me, and so comments/criticism/etc are appreciated only when intellectually and respectfully constructed. Stupid responses may be deleted/unapproved (and no, I’m not going to delete it just because it goes against my view, I’m going to delete it because I think what you just said was stupid/ignorant/does not add to this potentially debatable topic). Thanks.

I suppose the first thing to address here is what the manipulation game is exactly. And while it’s not a real “game,” it is indeed a strategic, though also crude and messy, battle or fight. From its initial creation, it was warned to be divisive and harmful to the population at whole, and yet it was absolutely inescapable. Now, it is nearly impossible consider life, society, or the future without this game, but still it seeds a divide that slowly causes destruction.

Of course, what I’m talking about is politics. While I model my idea from American politics, I think I can somewhat assume that as a whole politics (in other countries and what not) are disastrous in any place. I realize that political parties are sort of created due to categorizing people into what they generally value, and in idea should be perfectly fine. But in practice, and coupled with power, it becomes much more messy and dysfunctional.
Here’s where I (don’t) get into my own political views, of which I cannot claim one side or the other. I have ideals that may match Republican view points and I have ideals that match Democratic view points, to play into the whole categorizing thing. I suppose in this installment of ranting or what not, I’m mostly siding with so called “Democratic” views. I wouldn’t consider it Democratic, maybe liberal or maybe not-religious, or not-conservative, or not-religiously conservative, but I want to clarify that I wouldn’t consider myself Democratic. (Again, I don’t claim any category.)

Initially, I was going to title this “I Hate Politics,” because I always have disliked discussions (which always turn to arguments) of politics, but I ended up changing the name to what it is now because despite any negative feelings associated with politics, I have begun to recognize its impossibility to disregard politics for any goverened society. While my dislike for politics has not subsided, I have become a bit more actively involved, or at least more aware, than I used to be, and thus my dislike is still there, but at least my involvement makes me hating politics seem like a hypocritical statement. Regardless, my clear dislike is apparent when I call it a manipulative game, but at least not as extreme. Onwards!

Why do I call it manipulative? I feel like this is obvious, but I suppose I should clarify my own viewpoint and standing since my “obvious” is really my opinion. While there are clear reasons why we have debates, and many political debates ARE controversial (even if I don’t think some of them really should still be), often what drives political standing or points isn’t the points that are being made (if any), but the 1) bashing of the opponent’s comments 2) the money raised and spent to win people over whether by presentation/impressiveness or whatever 3) the use of emotional imagery, such as dogs or famous people, to basically advertise their campaign support and 4) many other forms of manipulating. I had a conversation with someone I knew in high school who worked on the Mitt Romney campaign and he mentioned they did research to find what motivates people, with results such as dogs, or Clint Eastwood, etc. So, of course, by using the research they may have made advertisements using dogs or have Clint Eastwood speak for them at a political rally/etc (hah). Now I suppose I should have said this in the begining, but either way, I will recognize the legitimacy in doing such things. People are motivated by dogs? Then yeah, an advertisement with dogs may motivate people to buy your product (or in this case, vote for you) and that makes sense. I don’t have qualms to the ideas of how to advertise. It’s all one big manipulation as to “why you should do this” (in shopping, it’s why you should buy it! in politics, is why you should vote for whoever!). I think my problem with using such tactics is, again, it takes away from the point of the controversial issue. Because ultimately what matters is your opinion of the ISSUE, not how you feel about some dog or because some famous person you really like supports/denies the issue.

Thus, this is why I call it the manipulation game. Because while there ARE some people who do actually listen to the points and take them into consideration before forming an opinion, there are many (perhaps more than the other?) that don’t. There are many people who take snippits of tidbits said by one person or the other, and just assume everything based off that. There are those who don’t try to learn about both sides, or actually listen to both sides, and only stick with their opinions.

I think what you should realize is that regardless of how you feel, a vast population both supports you as well as doesn’t support you, and if this many people can be so conflicted, it should be learned on both side why they feel or see it this way. You don’t feel passionate about useless or unimportant things. Once that is done, however, it ultimately becomes a choice of importance to each person I think. If you’ve understood both (or all) sides of the story, then you just have to choose which one you think is more important. By choosing one over the other does not mean the other isn’t important, it does mean that it isn’t as important as the one you did choose, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t important to you. And ultimately, all I would ask for is that you make a choice with clear understandings of all points and understandings of the arguments. Well actually, I’d also tack on trying to be as unjudgemental/etc (don’t stereotype and such) as possible when listening as well. And of course I also know I don’t know everything about both sides, but still I feel like I try to take a fair and unjudgemental viewpoint to any argument first before eventually formulating my own… But anyways… examples! (Or example, as it ultimately became.)

Marriage & Civil Unions

The hot on-going debate about what is called same-sex marriage is something felt strongly by many people on both contending sides (and the even broader fight on discriminating against LGBTQ community). To get it out of the way, I support same-sex marriage as I support the LGBTQ community, and I am heterosexual and have never tried or desired any sort of non-heterosexual relationship. I have been to church, though I wasn’t raised with one, and at one point considered myself a Christian. To be clear though, I am not well versed in the Bible/religious doctrines of Christianity (or any other religions really) and I do not claim to be any sort of religious expert. I know basics and I know about some of the arguments used in this fight, just as I know the basics and some of the arguments used on the other fight.

While I hate to basically make the fight seem like it’s only between (conservatively) Christian/religious people and the LGBTQ community and its supporters, ultimately that is fairly true. I have not met many people who are against same sex marriage who can make any sort of valid argument against it without making it religious. And here are some of the arguments I’ve heard:

  1. same sex marriages aren’t ideal for raising kids (in all sorts of ways)
  2. it goes against the natural order of the world (male/female needed to procreate)
  3. it sets a bad example on kids

And because this is highly opinionated and my opinion (and to express my opinion is why I’m even bothering to put myself out here and write about it), I’m going to reject these ideas. Here’s why:

  1. Research that suggests kids have the best growth environment when both parents are together are not discriminating male and females only, and if they are it is because of the lack of ability (with a small sample pool) to actually test/research for same sex couples. But current research that have tried to see if there is any difference between same-sex couples raising kids and heterosexual couples raising kids have not found any significant differences, only when one partner is missing from the picture. So two “fathers” or two “mothers” would be better for the child than a single father/mother, and thus this argument isn’t true/valid.
  2. No animals besides us humans have gay intercourse or partners? False. There is a huge literature of research that says opposite, such as the case in rams and dolphins. And though wikipedia isn’t “credible,” here’s where you can find more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_displaying_homosexual_behavior
    and if you want credible, check it’s sources. So no, it’s not unnatural to have homosexual relationships. If anything, it’s more natural than most of the food you eat.
  3. The only “example” you might be saying is “bad” from two same sex parents is that kids might initially think all familys are like that. In which case you don’t have to worry, as emotional attraction is NOT A CHOICE, those kids will be attracted to whoever they naturally are to be attracted to. Also, so much reinforcement of male/female partnership parenting is apparent in practically all children literature and shows as well as reinforced at school that it’s hardly likely that they won’t ever see heterosexual parents/couples. So what IS the bad example? A bad example is a drunkard or drug addict or many other examples that are bad examples. And yet they are able to get married so long as they marry the opposite sex. I think you make a weak argument, if you can even count it as one, with this one. Bad examples? Look around you. Society sets a bad example everywhere, from the skinny and make-up filled stereotypes of beauty to our highly sexualized perversion of females or our quick judging racists comments after watching movies that egg on racism with stereotypical non-white bad guys. Or the expressed sympathy to RAPISTS and blame (or lack of concern) towards the victim of rape. I mean seriously, BACKWARDS MUCH? But that particular rant is for later. Either way, you want to consider bad examples? I think you should look at all the people who get married and then get divorced not even a year later. A bad example is that you won’t allow the freedom of happiness to everyone, and only selectively give it away. What values are YOU teaching YOUR children? Because I don’t think a gay couple would teach them to be close-minded like you.

These are some of the fights that people like to bring up without necessarily tying it to religion. Of course, it could be argued coupled with religion, but the lack of religion could be “argued” as well (not that there are any good arguments in here anyways, as I just refuted them all).

As for the religious argument, I think you forget that church and state are separate entities for a reason, that other people can have a different religious view than you (after all, don’t you think ANYONE who isn’t Christian is a sinner? What makes those non-Christians allowed to marry when gays aren’t? Actually, let me back this up. EVERYONE is a sinner, because humans are born with sin (original sin y’all, c’mon), so if YOU can marry despite being a sinner, than ANYONE can, regardless of to whom.), and that a person’s marriage has NOTHING to do with you! The most astounding thing about the religious argument is that you sin when you try to deny anyone a marriage! The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin? It also says that only the Lord can judge and punish accordingly, that He loves all his children, that he has a plan for everyone, that you should treat everyone with kindness, and so many other things that the Bible/God/Lord/Jesus/etc say AGAINST discrimination, racism, judging, what you are doing to the LGBTQ community. I think you should reflect on what you do, because while homosexuals may MAYBE sin by being homosexuals (I don’t agree with this, but whatever) based on a few quotes in some of the scripture, I think MORE of scripture (if not the whole Bible) is based on the idea that God is almighty and benevolent, that you should love and treat everyone equally regardless of where they come from or who they are or what they did. That all people are sinners and one over the other is not better or worse (and even if so, only God can judge which is better or worse). I think you miss the point of The Bible and God’s sacrifice of his own son if you think you can use it as a tool to keep other individuals from following their own hearts and paths that God laid down. I think you forget that these people that you discriminate and hate against are also children of God, your God, created the same as you are to him. I think you mistaken your placement on Earth if you think you have any more rights or are a better person or more worthy of God or whatever just because you are heterosexual, because you’re not. You’re just as sinful, unworthy, and unredemptive as most everyone else in the world in the eyes of God. That you read his scripture daily, attend church all the time, praise and listen to his words, donate generously to the church and world, and maybe even sacrifice your life to him is nothing if still you judge another of His children lesser than yourself when they’re not.

Before people jump me, let me state (or re-state, because I feel like I may have already stated this at one point or another) that I am NOT very religious. While I have claimed to be Christian before (as to where I stand now, I can’t say), I am not the most knowledgable about Christian faith/religion/practice/etc. That being said, PLEASE DO TELL ME if something I said is NOT taught in the Bible. I think everything I mentioned IS, INDEED, taught through scripture. Love, compassion, forgiveness, repentance, etc. This is, of course, based on MY understanding of the Christian religion. I also recognize that not ALL Christians believe that all gays deserve to go to hell, and in fact perhaps only some of the extremists wouldn’t even give 2 cents about reading this (as they’ve probably already skipped down to the bottom to tell me I’m an idiot or something by now if there are any of those reading this), but due to the prevaling argument that still (for whatever reason) has momentum against same-sex marriage being spoken with Christian religious undertones/examples/reasons, I generalize. Again, I know there are people who aren’t Christian who are anti-gay marriage, but their arguments then wouldn’t be through the doctrine. Again, I realize other religious affiliations also argue against it, but they don’t make as much of an impact against it. And again, I realize not all Christians/people of Christian belief feel this way.

Regardless of your religion, you have no argument that validates a right to take away someone else’s legal rights to marriage. Religion and law are separate entities, and MARRIAGE, as much as it has been traditionally religious, is ultimately a LEGAL document, not a religious one. After all, there is hardly any purpose to marriage but for the legal benefits that it observes anymore. What may have originated to share work load and benefit from partnership may have been adopted by the church as well, but it is equally adopted into the legal system in an aspect not related to the church.

I could go on, but I feel a lull in my head even trying to argue this currently. I suppose it’s due to my time gaps in completing this post. Oh well.

I was also going to rant on about the Jodie Arias case, or more on rape culture, but I think one issue is enough (and I lack the resolve and motivation I originally had when I thought of writing about it). Sigh, I guess this means when that want comes I should jump on it before it disappears a few days later after a lull of reading about it huh?

On a different note, I watched the MAKERS documentary, which basically talks about women in America that helped feminism grow (or not grow). It was pretty interesting, and I think ultimately I can call myself a feminist, but because I feel a strange negative connotation to it (it’s a man’s world…) I often reject the idea of me being a feminist. But after watching those documentaries, I think I have embraced the inner feminist in me. I won’t say that I jump on the bandwagon completely, but I’m definitely a feminist, just not an extreme/big one perhaps…? I dunno.

I had more to write, but I think it’s best to just post as should because I’ve clearly started losing my flow for this post. If you want the short version of this post: freedom and equality for all includes the LGBTQ community, which means the option to marry who they want. There are no reasonable/good arguments against legalizing gay marriage. Religious arguments are just that, RELIGIOUS. They have NOTHING to do with the contract that two people enter into with the legal system. So please, even if you don’t agree with people’s life choices, that doesn’t mean you have the right to keep them from having that choice.

/end.

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