Why are you so biased?

Steve

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Everyone's biased. Anyone who says that the opinions they hold are strictly subjective is a liar (or maybe I'm being biased against Vulcans :) ). What I thought would be interesting would be to get a little of why you guys think you are who you are. Are you a product of just being raised in a particular family, or was there a specific, pivotal event in your life that provides a filter?

This comes from the health care thread, where I was told that I believe everyone is a victim. I don't believe that's true, but I do admittedly get very protective of the welfare of the working poor, and it absolutely affects my opinions and positions on subjects like social security and health care.

A lot of my opinions and perspectives on public service and social welfare programs are based on my experience working within and around many of them. But I got into that line of work because there was a period of time in between the military and college when I spent what happened to be one of the worst Winters in a long time in Bellingham, WA in a rat infested studio apartment with a communal bathroom. I had no heat and no oven/range because both were natural gas and I couldn't afford the deposit. I also didn't have a microwave. So, I couldn't even eat top raman. I walked everywhere because I couldn't afford gas or insurance to drive, and was literally making plans for my imminent eviction and homelessness when I finally got work stacking lumber at a cedar finishing plant.

I have an IQ of around 150. I'm from a middle class family. I was (am) neither a drug addict nor an alcoholic, am an honorably discharged veteran and as far as I know, have no mental illness that would preclude me from working. I was 22, and the only two jobs I'd ever really had at the time were McDonalds and the Air Force, so I didn't have a lot of experience going for me. I was desperate and it showed in the interviews, and every job I didn't get made it even more likely that I wouldn't get the next one.

So, in the end, I'd been out of the military for 4 months, had gone from 195 lbs to under 150lbs and I was faced with the prospect that unless I got a job, I'd be homeless. It was eye opening. I didn't then, nor do I now, consider myself to be a victim. I never stopped looking for a job. I never stopped trying to figure out solutions to my problems. But I realized then, and have seen over and over, that sometimes s*** happens.

As I look at things like health care, unemployment, social security, and just about anything else, I am extremely sensitive to the plight of the working poor in our country. These are people who work, often in multiple jobs, who get paid very little and usually receive ONLY what benefits are required by law.
 

elder999

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What I thought would be interesting would be to get a little of why you guys think you are who you are. Are you a product of just being raised in a particular family, or was there a specific, pivotal event in your life that provides a filter?
.


My parents marched on Washington and Selma. My dad was a lifelong Democrat, served on the New York City Civil Rights Commission in the sixties, and, as Senior Protestant Chaplain for the New York State prison system, was a tireless and lifelong advocate for prisoner's rights. My grandmother was the first "woman of color" to graduate from the Hunter College School of Social Work. My granddad went to Columbia, wrote snarky letters to the New York Times in support of civil rights, American Indian causes, and generally liberal-if not leftist- issues. My mom was ridiculously poor growing up, the daughter of a union coal miner, who became a nurse, then a shrink.....

I'm black, Indian,well educated, and upper middle class-if not what many would call "rich."

How can I help but be so biased???:lfao:
 

Bill Mattocks

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Everyone's biased. Anyone who says that the opinions they hold are strictly subjective is a liar (or maybe I'm being biased against Vulcans :) ). What I thought would be interesting would be to get a little of why you guys think you are who you are. Are you a product of just being raised in a particular family, or was there a specific, pivotal event in your life that provides a filter?

I don't know. I know that in my family, it was a given that people worked for a living, and that nobody gave anybody anything.

This comes from the health care thread, where I was told that I believe everyone is a victim. I don't believe that's true, but I do admittedly get very protective of the welfare of the working poor, and it absolutely affects my opinions and positions on subjects like social security and health care.

A lot of my opinions and perspectives on public service and social welfare programs are based on my experience working within and around many of them. But I got into that line of work because there was a period of time in between the military and college when I spent what happened to be one of the worst Winters in a long time in Bellingham, WA in a rat infested studio apartment with a communal bathroom. I had no heat and no oven/range because both were natural gas and I couldn't afford the deposit. I also didn't have a microwave. So, I couldn't even eat top raman. I walked everywhere because I couldn't afford gas or insurance to drive, and was literally making plans for my imminent eviction and homelessness when I finally got work stacking lumber at a cedar finishing plant.

I have an IQ of around 150. I'm from a middle class family. I was (am) neither a drug addict nor an alcoholic, am an honorably discharged veteran and as far as I know, have no mental illness that would preclude me from working. I was 22, and the only two jobs I'd ever really had at the time were McDonalds and the Air Force, so I didn't have a lot of experience going for me. I was desperate and it showed in the interviews, and every job I didn't get made it even more likely that I wouldn't get the next one.

I guess my circumstances were different. Maybe I was lucky.

I am from a similar background as you. Raised in the cornfields of Illinois, parents not college graduates, middle-class, not a druggie or a boozer, did the Marine Corps thing twice, and I don't know my IQ score, but I suspect it's way high up there. I put myself through college after the military - no GI Bill when I was in the service, so I paid with student loans and I am *still* coughing up $400 a month to pay that off at age 49.

But I started working at 13 - my first job I had to file a tax return for, anyway. Detasseling corn in the summer. I always had jobs, though. Mowing lawns, babysitting, delivering newspapers.

By the time I was 15, I had a work permit to allow me to work part time (anything under 40 hours) per week at a gas station as a pump jockey. I worked summers full time; usually had two jobs; one pumping gas and another cleaning out bars in the early mornings. I bussed tables at a hotel restaurant. My dad had two jobs too - he worked in data processing and tended bar at night. It was pretty much always that way. It's how I grew up.

By the time I joined the Marines at 18, I had had lots of jobs. When I got my first security clearance, it was a chore remembering all the places I'd worked and when. My annual Social Security statement looks like a rap sheet, it dates back to 1973. When I got out, I immediately got more. I was a security guard at a hotel, I worked security at an aerospace defense plant. I was an adult newspaper delivery guy. I worked for a newspaper in Omaha recruiting and training carriers. I was an electrician's apprentice until they figured out I was color-blind. I delivered computer print-outs. About the only thing I never did was wait tables, but I would have done that too, if that's what had been out there.

I often could not find a single full-time job, so I'd string together part-time jobs and sleep in shifts. I'd work four hours, sleep two, then work another four hours, sleep four hours, and so on. It wasn't that hard, I was young and could take it.

So, in the end, I'd been out of the military for 4 months, had gone from 195 lbs to under 150lbs and I was faced with the prospect that unless I got a job, I'd be homeless. It was eye opening. I didn't then, nor do I now, consider myself to be a victim. I never stopped looking for a job. I never stopped trying to figure out solutions to my problems. But I realized then, and have seen over and over, that sometimes s*** happens.

When I needed a job, I just went and got one. I always assumed I'd be hired - why wouldn't I be? And I usually was. I interview well, I'm easy to get along with, I am confident and give that off.

As I look at things like health care, unemployment, social security, and just about anything else, I am extremely sensitive to the plight of the working poor in our country. These are people who work, often in multiple jobs, who get paid very little and usually receive ONLY what benefits are required by law.

Eh, I went without health insurance for long periods of time. My mom talked me into buying private health insurance at one point; it cost half my pay and I nearly could not pay my rent. Screw that noise, I dropped it. Eventually I got a full time job with the PD, and I had health insurance again. Good thing, but I somehow got by when I didn't have insurance.

I've been from the bottom to the top and back again several times now. I had to start completely over again at age 30, after becoming divorced and losing everything but my car and my cat and my clothes, and I lost the car right after that. I've had my apartment burglarized when I didn't have two sticks to rub together, lived in a flophouse in downtown Denver and a rented room in Detroit twenty years later. I've seen my share of problems and sorrows and man, that's just life.

Once in my life I asked for help. Newly married, we didn't have a dime and we ran out of food. I asked for food stamps. We were turned down - we were college students even though it was summer time and it was doubtful we'd be returning in the fall given that we had no money. Never mind, food stamps are not allowed for college students, even during summer break. OK, we figured out a way around that - I got a second job and we managed.

I dunno; I would not say my life has been all that hard, but I haven't been given anything, either. My parents left me nothing, my relatives are as broke as I am. Life goes on.

I don't have a problem with the working poor; I've been the working poor. I just never had that much of a problem finding a job of some kind or another. I knock on wood saying that - anything could happen anytime. But what do you do? For every decent person who deserves a helping hand, there are 72 guys who will take and take and take because it's easier to take than to work for a living. I don't want to support those others, and I don't know how to separate the one from the other. I'm going to be 50 this year and I have no retirement income set up - a paltry amount in my 401(k) that won't pay for six months' rent in a flophouse. No children to mooch off of. I don't know what we'll do; but we'll get by. Probably work until I die; oh well. Life goes on until it doesn't.
 

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I was "working poor" too. While in college, married with one on the way, living on a minimum wage job I depended on public medical programs, food stamps and public assistance. I worked, I got by, I kept "moving up" to better jobs that had insurance and enough pay to pay my own way. I joined the military. I eventually got into law enforcement and have been "moving up" steadily there too. I have no problem with "helping" people in similar circumstances. I do have issues with "helping" people who show no intent of working their damnedest to move up and get off of the public teat.
 
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Steve

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Thanks, guys. Archangel, I'm right there with you.

I appreciate the responses. I do want to say that this isn't my only bias. I put it out there as an example of a specific bias I have and what I believe is where it comes from. It was a period in my life that shaped a particular view I have.

What I'm hoping to read are some of your own biases and where you think they came from. The idea is to acknowledge our biases as such. If nothing else, it would be interesting to know a little about where people are coming from on different topics. Not just "working poor." What about health care? Gun control? Whatever? Do you guys all share the same politics as the rest of your family? If not, why not? I'm curious. How did you come to the beliefs you have?

Bill, for what it's worth, I'd had a lot of jobs, too. But the only "official" job I'd had was at McDs. I worked there from the time I turned 16 and legally able to apply until I graduated. :)
 

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Gun control? Lived in a rural area. Raised shooting and hunting. Never was "afraid" of guns..actually formed some of my strongest memories of "male bonding" and family tradition around hunting. Control criminals with some "common sense" justice vs grabbing law abiding citizens guns.

One sister who is apolitical and another who is an NEA card holding, Tree hugging science teacher, Prius driving liberal..but I love her and we trade barbs about politics but never fight over it. Live and let live.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Gun control? Lived in a rural area. Raised shooting and hunting. Never was "afraid" of guns..actually formed some of my strongest memories of "male bonding" and family tradition around hunting. Control criminals with some "common sense" justice vs grabbing law abiding citizens guns.

One sister who is apolitical and another who is an NEA card holding, Tree hugging science teacher, Prius driving liberal..but I love her and we trade barbs about politics but never fight over it. Live and let live.

I got my first shotgun at age 10. I'm the liberal in my family. They're just right of Atilla the Hun.
 

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This comes from the health care thread, where I was told that I believe everyone is a victim. I don't believe that's true, but I do admittedly get very protective of the welfare of the working poor, and it absolutely affects my opinions and positions on subjects like social security and health care.

A lot of my opinions and perspectives on public service and social welfare programs are based on my experience working within and around many of them. But I got into that line of work because there was a period of time in between the military and college when I spent what happened to be one of the worst Winters in a long time in Bellingham, WA in a rat infested studio apartment with a communal bathroom. I had no heat and no oven/range because both were natural gas and I couldn't afford the deposit. I also didn't have a microwave. So, I couldn't even eat top raman. I walked everywhere because I couldn't afford gas or insurance to drive, and was literally making plans for my imminent eviction and homelessness when I finally got work stacking lumber at a cedar finishing plant.

As I look at things like health care, unemployment, social security, and just about anything else, I am extremely sensitive to the plight of the working poor in our country. These are people who work, often in multiple jobs, who get paid very little and usually receive ONLY what benefits are required by law.
This is something that people from the outside just can't understand. America is one of the world's richest nations. It holds itself of as the beacon for the free world. People from poorer nations want to get to America because it is the land of opportunity.

There is very little data about the distribution of wealth in America. There is one source, the Survey of Consumer Finances, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Board, that does provide data from 1983.
These data suggest that wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small number of families. The wealthiest 1 percent of families owns roughly 34.3% of the nation's net worth, the top 10% of families owns over 71%, and the bottom 40% of the population owns way less than 1%.
Don't you find this is kind of scary?

In other countries some of the wealth at the top is skimmed off to better care for those that are struggling. All these posts show that there are times when you need help but that help is sometimes not available. At the present time we read of all the people losing their homes. How can a country as rich as the US allow this to happen? :asian:
 

elder999

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Gun control? Lived in a rural area. Raised shooting and hunting. Never was "afraid" of guns..actually formed some of my strongest memories of "male bonding" and family tradition around hunting. Control criminals with some "common sense" justice vs grabbing law abiding citizens guns.

One sister who is apolitical and another who is an NEA card holding, Tree hugging science teacher, Prius driving liberal..but I love her and we trade barbs about politics but never fight over it. Live and let live.


Mom's dad had to poach in Wyoming, to keep food on the table, sometimes....Mom could never countenance my bringing rabbits home. Dad's dad wrote articles for Field and Stream, they were both heavy on the bird hunting-something I could never really get into-and deer. Dad was totally into pistols.

Dad and his dad were both Episcopal priests, and liberals-and certified gun nuts.
 

Carol

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What I'm hoping to read are some of your own biases and where you think they came from. The idea is to acknowledge our biases as such. If nothing else, it would be interesting to know a little about where people are coming from on different topics. Not just "working poor." What about health care? Gun control? Whatever? Do you guys all share the same politics as the rest of your family? If not, why not? I'm curious. How did you come to the beliefs you have?

My parents weren't much for indoctrination. She raised my sister and I with the importance of good citizenship, and many current events got discussed, but they were often quiet about what their individual views are. I think our parents made deliberate efforts to educate us without indoctrinating us. To this day, my mom won't tell me who she votes for...although I can usually make an inference from dinner table discussions when I visit.

My mom is more liberal than I am. We definitely have our disagreements. She loathes guns, I'm a strong supporter. She is rather quick to make generalizations about types of people that she doesn't like. Recently my mom has begun denigrating Fox News viewers as a whole. When I said "well, I watch Fox News sometimes," she's quick to say "That's different, you know how to form an opinion," (!!) Ironically enough, sister and brother-in-law are more conservative than I am...my brother-in-law innocently bought her one of Glenn Beck's books for Christmas in December. Hilarity quickly ensued. :lfao: I guess I don't have much of an issue with people that have opinions other than mine as long as there's a point where we can agree to disagree. I've learned a lot from people who think differently than I do but I draw the line at a debate getting personal.


Many of my views have changed over time. I've been a member of each major party at one time or another (but not at the same time). I side with the American right on some matters, with the American left on others, but I'm not a particularly good water carrier. I perceive, think, wonder, analyze, discuss...this has taken my views to different places...and I don't think my journey is anywhere near done. :)
 

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This is something that people from the outside just can't understand. America is one of the world's richest nations. It holds itself of as the beacon for the free world. People from poorer nations want to get to America because it is the land of opportunity.


Don't you find this is kind of scary?

In other countries some of the wealth at the top is skimmed off to better care for those that are struggling. All these posts show that there are times when you need help but that help is sometimes not available. At the present time we read of all the people losing their homes. How can a country as rich as the US allow this to happen? :asian:

Oh there IS help available, but its HELP..it's not designed to allow you to live the lifestyle of the rest of the gainfully (as in make enough to not need it) employed and it's not meant to be permanent. As to wealth..I see quite a few people here who qualify to be "poor" but still have cars, televisions, video games, computers, cell phones and the like. "Poor" can be a relative term here
 

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holy smoke giving a ten year old a shotgun :O

Be a long post to explain where all my beliefs came from but most of why i am what i am is because of my experiences in life.
 

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Gonna try to parse this down and not make it a life story.

My mother is white and my father is black. I was raised, I guess you could say lower middle-class, my father a postal clerk and my mother an R.N. (making no where near what she would make today). Total house hold income by the time I graduated was maybe 80k a year, I think. And that's gross income. I had one brother five years older then me.

I think a lot of my perspective comes from the fact that my brother and I are so different. Starting in school, he never fully utilized the gifts that he had. We would be in a checkout line at a store and he would add up the cost of the groceries faster then the cash register (before the days of digital). And yet, he got kicked out of school, sent to another state to go to school so he would stay out of trouble, went into the Navy and did nothing, has two children who he never sees, is years in arreage on his child support, and only comes around if he wants something, even if it's only to use my PS3.

I used his example to not be him. I was studious in school, stayed out of trouble, to include never having even experimented with illegal drugs, had sex only once before I was 20 years old, did not get anyone pregnant until I was married, and now am a police sergeant.

My mother, in the traditional wifely ways, never talked about politics or religion, though she is Christian and I attended Lutheran schools up through high school. My father is a liberal who loves Keith Olberman. I am a conservative. Neither my father nor I trust the government in general, but for entirely different reasons.

Back to my brother, however, I find it interesting that two people can come from the same background, but turn out so different. The only thing, as I am not a genetic scientist or anything like that, for which I can explain the differences between us is our wills. He could have chosen to be a better person, but he didn't. He could still choose to do so, but he doesn't. I, on the other hand, have been told by an excellent psychiatrist that one of my problems is that I don't know how to relax because I am always thinking about how to do something better.

That is my bias. I know that there are individual circumstances which, through no active part of their own, are beyond their control. I feel for them, and would do whatever I can for them. But after a certain point in life, it is mostly up to you, and those around you who care, to help you make your life better. It is ridiculous, in my opinion, to force others to do for you what you don't want to do for yourself. And for those people that do, they tend to view themselves as victims.

My grandmother was the first black teacher in her school district. This was during the late fifities, early sixties, in a city in Ohio which was heavily racist. But instead of complaining, she went to school and got her Master's degree, knowing that the district requirement of a Bachelor's degree would not be enough to get her in. She kept her family together through many struggles. I just don't think that, in America today, there are too many legitimate excuses.
 

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Thats a good story, Kenpo. I mean - i feel sorry for your brother. But i mean its good in the sense that free will has a part to play in stuff too, not that its 'good' what happened. Dont want people to misunderstand me.
 

Bill Mattocks

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holy smoke giving a ten year old a shotgun :O

It was normal where I came from. I hunted pheasant and rabbit with my dad from a very early age. It was a .410 single-shot shotgun. I kept it with the shells in my bedroom closet. Here I am nearly 50 - never shot anyone accidentally. Never had an 'accidental discharge'. Never felt the gun calling me to murder people. I know, it's impossible; some of my wife's family member's have insisted that sooner or later, I'll get mad about some tiny thing and go on a killing rampage because I have easy access to firearms.
 
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Steve

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Another bias I have is very pro-veteran. I'm proud of the service my family's had over the years. My dad and mom are both vets, as are all three of my brothers. Between the 6 of us, we've been in or around every combat theater since Korea. My Great Uncle Vernon was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross and a Croix de Guerre, and in my direct line we've got vets back to Gettysburg and marching with General Sherman on Atlanta. We have a prominent wall in my house with portraits and pictures of family members in uniform.

We have so many vets in my family that, while I'm VERY pro-vet in many ways, I'm also not inclined to consider veterans as above reproach. Where issues are related to veterans benefits (particularly disabled vets), I don't believe that it's moral to pinch pennies. But at the same time, there's a trend in our country right now to use the term "veteran" as a synonym for "hero." I don't know that I agree. There are scumbags in the military, and cowards, too.

I hope that makes sense. Basically, I just don't give someone a free pass because he or she is a veteran. It's just one part of the whole.
 

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Another bias I have is very pro-veteran. I'm proud of the service my family's had over the years. My dad and mom are both vets, as are all three of my brothers. Between the 6 of us, we've been in or around every combat theater since Korea. My Great Uncle Vernon was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross and a Croix de Guerre, and in my direct line we've got vets back to Gettysburg and marching with General Sherman on Atlanta. We have a prominent wall in my house with portraits and pictures of family members in uniform.

We have so many vets in my family that, while I'm VERY pro-vet in many ways, I'm also not inclined to consider veterans as above reproach. Where issues are related to veterans benefits (particularly disabled vets), I don't believe that it's moral to pinch pennies. But at the same time, there's a trend in our country right now to use the term "veteran" as a synonym for "hero." I don't know that I agree. There are scumbags in the military, and cowards, too.

I hope that makes sense. Basically, I just don't give someone a free pass because he or she is a veteran. It's just one part of the whole.

I agree. But I have to say that I do give the Vet more of a "benefit of the doubt". Not a "free pass" by any means and I have given some lectures to Vets who have tried to use their status to influence my professional decisions...but I do grant them some courtesy in light of their service.
 

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Another bias I have is very pro-veteran. I'm proud of the service my family's had over the years. My dad and mom are both vets, as are all three of my brothers. Between the 6 of us, we've been in or around every combat theater since Korea. My Great Uncle Vernon was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross and a Croix de Guerre, and in my direct line we've got vets back to Gettysburg and marching with General Sherman on Atlanta. We have a prominent wall in my house with portraits and pictures of family members in uniform.

We have so many vets in my family that, while I'm VERY pro-vet in many ways, I'm also not inclined to consider veterans as above reproach. Where issues are related to veterans benefits (particularly disabled vets), I don't believe that it's moral to pinch pennies. But at the same time, there's a trend in our country right now to use the term "veteran" as a synonym for "hero." I don't know that I agree. There are scumbags in the military, and cowards, too.

I hope that makes sense. Basically, I just don't give someone a free pass because he or she is a veteran. It's just one part of the whole.

Now that you will have to tell us more about sometime!

Bill, if your in-laws insist you are going to go on the rampage with your shot gun do they realise then how much they annoy you? :)

One of my shift partners insists he's not baised because he hates everyone the same.
 
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Steve

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Archangel, I do, too. I definitely give vets the benefit of the doubt. I do not, however, presume that someone is a hero just because they were in the military. I'm certainly not a hero and it would diminish the actions of true heroes if I claimed to be in their company.

But, if nothing else, military service demonstrates at least some sense of a calling greater than oneself. We don't push the military at all on our kids, but still couldn't have been prouder when my son told me he was joining the Marine JROTC at his high school. He's on the armed drill squad, and I have to say, he's a handsome young man in his uniform! :) While I do hope he joins the military, I'm hoping he'll be smart and go to college first and accept a commission.

Now that you will have to tell us more about sometime!
In WWI, near Bantheville, France, he led his platoon in advance of his battalion to capture two enemy machine gun nests. He was wounded early, but continued to lead his men until the machine gun nests were captured and the battalion could continue its advance. He was Legion of Honor, as well. Very neat story.

Here's a pic. If I'm not mistaken, the ribbons on top are in order DSC, Croixe de Guerre and then Legion of Honor:
vernon.jpg
 

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Thanks Steve! worth recounting and well worth remembering.
 
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