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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Getting serious for a moment

I'm very sorry Brittney Gilbert resigned, but, frankly, I don't think I did anything wrong here. Let me walk you through the events as I saw them. After that, I don't really care if you agree or disagree with me. I just want you to hear it from my perspective.

On Tuesday evening, I received an email informing me that a blogger who worked for an ABC affiliate in Nashville had republished the following from a winger blog:

Smantix remembers blogger Steve Gilliard:

It goes without saying that the term “house negro” gets bandied about with great frequency against anyone of seemingly African descent when they are on the Right. Be you Clarence Thomas, Condoleeza Rice, Michael Steele, or J.C. Watts, you can expect a Harry Belafonte, a Danny Glover, or yes - even a Steve Gilliard to call you out for being the race traitor that you are. The sell-out, Oreo cookies who do Whitey’s bidding and put a black face on racist policies that would otherwise be rightly called out for what they are. Uncle Thomas and Aunt Thomasinas alike.

But really, who is doing whose bidding in those situations? Can Howard Dean call Condoleeza his “do right answer mammy who be smart”? Can James Carville call out Clarence for collard greens?

Which brings us to today’s marquee morbidity. The tragic, untimely death of Donk House Negro and all around bigot Steve Gilliard. Who knew that boiling bacon grease in a spoon and mainlining it into the neck vein was bad for your health?

I like Steve. I considered him a friend. This pissed me off.

I immediately clicked on the link to see if that was the full quote (it was) and saw that the post was titled: "Teaching Libs a Lesson." I assumed Ms Gilbert was sharing the quote because she thought it was witty or funny.

I then decided to check out other posts to see if Gilbert was the prime blogger or just some nut in the blog's "diary section." I learned that she was the main blogger and didn't see anything that would suggest that she's a liberal r otherwise providing evidence that the post about Steve may have been republished for it's ironic value.

So, what I was faced with what appeared to be a blog sponsored by an ABC affiliate in a red state approvingly publicised a right wing attack on my friend even as his family was preparing for his burial.

I responded by writing one of my letters. I addressed it to the station's news director, an anchor, Ms. Gilbert, and one of the station's advertisers. After sending the email and publishing it, I went off and worked on the Club Wellstone and GOP Heaven I'm building in Second Life. It's going to be pretty cool.

Later, I checked my comments and for some reason decided to check those at Nashville is Talking, something I seldom do because of time constraints. I argued with a few people there, but after learning that Gilbert might have reposted the crap for it's ironic value, I removed all of the contact information from my post. I didn't want to see her get fired if it was unintentional, but I also thought she owed Steve's friends and family an apology, so I have no regrets about leaving the post up.

I added an update to the post at that time, asking her to apologize. The language I used, "Apparently, Brittney is just plain fucking stupid" reflected what I felt was the gravity of her mistake.

The next morning, someone emailed me Aunt B's post, which basically said that Gilbert was important to the liberal blogging community in Nashville. I immediately posted that information in an effort to stop anyone else from writing the station demanding that she be fired. Again, I had removed the contact information long before then.

I still believed that Gilbert should own up to her mistake and apologize.

I learned she resigned an hour or so after that. She says that it wasn't because she was forced to resign. For that I am thankful. Being stupid is not a firing offence.

She finally apologized in her resignation letter. I'm glad she did.

That's all I'm going to say about this, although I will continue to resist efforts to paint me as a misogynist because of it.

Update: I apologise to Ms. Gilbert for calling her stupid. That was uncalled for.

30 comments:

  1. Jesus. Keeping going with this shit, and in-character no less, isn't it fucking tedious? You've pushed a liberal blogger in a southern state to cut bait. Ready to move on?

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  2. Weird. Thought I was (re)posting that to the last post, after you deleted my previous comment and disabled anonymous comments (a useful feature of blogger for people who aren't always signed into their gmail accounts).

    I assumed Ms Gibson was sharing the quote because she thought it was witty or funny. Yeah, assumptions fuck people over alot in blogs. It was a big clusterfuck, and Brittney seemed ready to quit for a while anyways, from what I gather. I wouldn't have imagined that the impetus would be a misunderstanding by a fellow traveller, but so it goes.

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  3. We know that your motives were pure, Sir.

    My heartfelt condolences on the loss of your dear friend. I know that I haven't been around much lately, but my thoughts and concerns are always with you and the Corps.

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  4. Maybe you know the parties concerned, so maybe I can ask:

    Is Lynsster a sockpuppet? She has the same pacing and feel and other characteristeristics that I see in Brittney's posted comments on TCP down pretty cold.

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  5. For what it's worth, Lynnster is absolutely positively NOT a sock puppet. She's real. She lives in Memphis and she is a friend of Brittney's and a good friend of mine.

    this is the kind of assumptive thinking that leads to confusion and discord.

    I have a blog on Wordpress. This stupid blogger comment 'machine' makes me type my old blogger address in.

    I'm real as well!

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  6. Pushing those Overton Windows again, Sherman? Or just doing the Orwellian/Goebbels/Bush Big Lie technique where conservative is "liberal", slavery is "freedom", and the Geneva Conventions are "quaint"?

    Brittney got nailed for the same reason that Melanie Morgan will no longer be invited back on the News Hour, why Rush Limbaugh blew his Monday Night Football shot, and the same reason that Ann Coulter lost her USA Today gig: She thought she could spew vile, untrue garbage and get away with it. Period.

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  7. I'll just say a couple of things here. Something weird is going on with the date/time stamps on the article and the comments.
    Surprisingly few comments. Because no anonymous?
    The original Brittney post was badly done. I see little value in what she was doing.
    She must have had other reasons for quitting. If not then she's probably better off doing something else.
    I just don't get the misogynist claim at all.

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  8. She thought she could spew vile, untrue garbage and get away with it.

    Brittney didn't "spew" anything. She linked to a post.

    Get your facts straight.

    By linking to the post she was doing one of the requirements of (what was) her job. People here have a problem with how she presented the link, but the post wasn't her post and she didn't write it. Even everyone on JG's site will confirm that.

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  9. Awww, silly rabbit- unlike a light bulb, there's no way to unscrew a pooch.

    The one thing notably lacking in your precious little account is where you e-mailed her for clarification. I see a great deal of "assuming" and half-assed blog searching, but it never seemed to have occurred to you to write a simple e-mail to a)a total stranger who writes a blog you b) by your own admission never read, and ask for clarification.

    Instead, you unleashed your horde of mental defectives on her. Do you really expect credit for removing her contact information?

    Congratulations, you're slightly better than Michelle Malkin.

    Just remember- next time you see some disclaimer on a product and think "What sort of idiot needs that?"

    It's an idiot like you, kitten.

    (And incidentally- being an out, liberal feminist in Tennessee takes more balls than you'll ever have, and that includes in your mouth.)

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  10. General Sir,
    Though I've not gone to Gillard's as oft I did in the past, he was always part of the dialog online.

    To me it bears emphasis that Gillard's writing was about the technical details of what we faced in Iraq, and how it was foreshadowed with poor planning and policy, in past decades, by Britain.

    Steve never made the posts about race or ethnicity when i read him, he had opportunity to speak with the voice of authority, but his focus was upon the facts on the ground and how they could compare to established history.

    There's a lot more to the man, he was engaging in person, matched by guarded measure. Thus much of who he really was could surface in writing without the full picture forming.

    Jo Fish at Demvet first mentioned Gillard that I'm aware, and linked his viewpoints, and they had much to discuss in terms of content and history to the topic of ur current wars.

    Steve's writing transcended any one particular ethnic point of view to me, it was about something bigger than any one of us, it was about America and world history and where our country was going.

    It just so happens all the diverse and plural roots of our land connect when discussing the topics he brought forward. We didn't need to higlight one view at the time, because the premise of what he wrote was that we're all in an effort to make better policy and a better future for America in the world community.

    -Mr.Murder

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  11. Pushing those Overton Windows again, Sherman?

    Overton WTF? Looking it up, I can't see as how you're using it correctly...maybe you don't understand the concept? Oh Christ, who fucking cares anymore.

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  12. is this thing working?

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  13. Ah, I have successfully made the transition here from the "it's okay we don't care who you are" comment zone.

    Sir Real:

    Since the bulk of your brilliant comment is mere repetition of issues that have been beaten to death on the blog I will leave them be.

    However, two things you should know.

    1.) It was I, who said "kitten" (well typed it, actually) and, gosh, it just didn't seem all that pejorative a term at the time. I was slightly surprised to find that it had become a word that resonated with the same sound as, say, bitch, to some who read it. Oh, wait, that's right it's because we're all misogynists, ganging up on that poor Brittney person. I get it now. Next time I'll be sure to use some unequivocally vile language so as not to be misunderstood. I'll also try to offer some "invisible context".

    2.) Contrary to your assertion (one echoed by several of Brittney's supporters); the General does not keep us on leashes, nor does he "sic" us on anyone. We are all quite capable of doing things on our own. In fact I can be at least as foul mouthed and nasty as you, without really working at it. As to being a mental defective, I've had several psyche evals over the years and, to date, I'm depressingly sane and fairly well balanced--my bad.

    I'm curious, do you really think that the General is "slightly better than Michelle Malkin"? He will be delighted to hear that he is held in such regard by you and your peers. He has long been an admirer of Michelle's. As for removing Brittney's contact information, I don't think he's achieved Ms. Malkins chops yet, in that regard. I think the "contact information" that she was showing on her website some time back was home addresses and phone numbers, that sort of thing. We're not there yet, but we are constantly striving to improve our skills.

    Your last comment:

    "And incidentally- being an out, liberal feminist in Tennessee takes more balls than you'll ever have, and that includes in your mouth"

    puzzles me. Who is an "out, liberal feminist in Tennessee", Britney or you? Just wondering.

    I hope that you can clean up that potty mouth of yours, you fucking clown.

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  14. Demo, I think Sir Real is a hit and run commenter and not to be taken seriously. I mean to say I read the dear Sirs post and cant make heads or tails of it. I thank you for taking on the trolls. it's been hard work and you do it well. T and I thank you.

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  15. (And incidentally- being an out, liberal feminist in Tennessee takes more balls than you'll ever have, and that includes in your mouth.)

    Personally, I always think it's cool when self-identified feminists can enjoy a little gay bashing.

    The dirty little secret of many of our top feminist blogs (twisty, pandagon, ...) is that many glbt bloggers don't think terribly highly of them, regardless of how much posing they do as defenders of all of our civil rights against the Patriarch.

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  16. Being a (at best) an infrequent reader here, I was wondering ... where's the Open Letter to the writer at 6 meat Buffett, where the post ripping Steve's work originated?

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  17. Joe Powell,

    Thank you for finally opening up this line of questioning. Unlike the thousands who only read half of an inaccurate sentance before deciding they grasped the issues well enough to comment here, you've obviously done your homework.

    I chose to post about Brittney rather than 6meat because I'm a B-ist. I hate people whose names begin with the letter "B." I'm angry that activist judges force our children to attend school with them. I wish we were allowed to bar them from resturants where good decent people with names that begin with respectable consonants take their families. I'm apalled that they are allowed to intermarry with us and that they are allowed to adopt children.

    I hope my answer was helpful to you.

    Please come around more often. We need more deep thinkers like you.

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  18. General JC -

    thanks. your reply was as clear as an unmuddied lake, sir. As clear as an azure sky of deepest summer, sir. You can rely on me, sir.

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  19. General, Sir:

    Are you headed for the "D" List people any time soon? Just give me a heads up so's I can legally change my blognomen to ZZZZemocommie.

    Joe Powell:

    Hows about we write one together and all of Brittney's Spears and the General's Hateful Misogynists can sign it at a peace conference, after which we will sit around and sing "Kumbyah"?

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  20. Brittney's error, which she acknowledged to be an error in the post in which she resigned, was failing to consider how her post might strike a reader unfamiliar with the general content of her blog or her political orientation. Such a reader would not be in a position to know she was citing smantix's post as an example of despicable and moronic behavior by a right-wing blogger. She traced this mistake, credibly enough, to carelessness and fatigue resulting from the demands of her gig as a paid blogger. (A gig she was thrilled about and now, of course, no longer has.)

    Is the error decisive evidence that she is "stupid", as you have called her a second time? Surely someone who sincerely thought it was (as opposed to someone who pretended to think so in order to save face) would be, well, stupid.

    In the post in which she resigned, Brittney took the blame for the mistake. She also showed an ability to take up a perspective other than her own, and to think about how her actions might have looked from that perspective. This is a fairly rare commodity, inside the blogosphere or out. More common would be someone who "just want[s] you to hear it from my perspective", and doesn't "really care if you agree or disagree with me."

    One of the most useless features of human nature is a tendency to refuse to back away from a negative first impression of someone in the face of new information, and indeed to just dig in one's heels and hate all the harder. Liberals ought to be especially mindful of this disposition, given its central role in fueling the us-vs-them-ism that lies behind conservative social and political attitudes the world over. It's amazingly depressing that many of the apparently liberal commenters of this liberal blog turn out to partake so deeply of this tendency.

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  21. Jason:

    I've read Brittney's resignation letter a couple of times now and it seems to be more about how much fun and how much hard work it was and boy, it's easy to get things wrong when you're overworked and well, I can tell you, lower lip is quivering.

    Look, forget about me, forget about the General, forget about all of us vile bastards who just can't see past our own egos, who can't admit we are wrong, etc.,.

    Think about how swell the Gilliard family must be feeling about now. Their beloved, Steve, who probably had as many ardent supporters as Brittany (his blog was popular, too) blogged on his own dime (well, that and the dimes that were given to him by his admirers. Now it seems that Steve has lost his job AND his life, bummer, man.

    So, while the Gilliard family prepares for Steve's last trip to church somebody decides it is cooly ironic to publish an excerpt from and link to the website where a really hateful piece of shit written about that man originated.

    Oh, yeah, I feel bad about thinking ill of Brittney.

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  22. democommie,

    I've read Brittney's resignation letter a couple of times now and it seems to be more about how much fun and how much hard work it was and boy, it's easy to get things wrong when you're overworked and well, I can tell you, lower lip is quivering.


    Here might be a good place to remember the truism that how things "seem" to you is a function not only of how things are, but of how you are. For what it's worth, how your reading of Brittney's post seemed to me is absurdly uncharitable.

    Think about how swell the Gilliard family must be feeling about now...while the Gilliard family prepares for Steve's last trip to church somebody decides it is cooly ironic to publish an excerpt from and link to the website where a really hateful piece of shit written about that man originated.

    There is a genre of blog that involves bringing to the attention of liberal readers repellent or idiotic remarks by conservatives. In this genre, the rule of thumb seems to be that the worse the remark makes the conservative look, the more reason there is to quote or link to it. Accordingly such blogs have often in the past drawn attention to conservatives celebrating or fervently wishing for the deaths of perceived political opponents.

    It is no doubt true that seeing these references would cause pain to the loved ones of the targets. Is that a reason for the blogs in this genere to abandon this practice? It may well be.

    But the salient point is that Brittney's post was an (admittedly inept) post of this type. Once one realizes this (as I, like everyone else, didn't initially realize when I followed JC's link to the post), there's no justification for continuing to single her out for ridicule and outrage.

    No doubt, though, you can persist until the end of time in coming up with descriptions of Brittney's behavior that make her look like a horrible person. Why you should wish to provide such good evidence for the accusation at the end of my previous comment, I don't know.

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  23. Nicely done, genius. Wile E. Coyote's got nothing on you.

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  24. Jason, Jason, Jason:

    What are we going to do with you, top cat?

    Dude:

    "There is a genre of blog that involves bringing to the attention of liberal readers repellent or idiotic remarks by conservatives. In this genre, the rule of thumb seems to be that the worse the remark makes the conservative look, the more reason there is to quote or link to it. Accordingly such blogs have often in the past drawn attention to conservatives celebrating or fervently wishing for the deaths of perceived political opponents."

    I think a sentence or two's worth of words is missing from that paragraph.

    Brittney's blog wasn't just a blog, it was joined at the hip with ABC (not a matter of conjecture). In fact it wasn't actually Brittney's blog, she was the paid employee of the blog's owner. I don't care WHAT she posted, I care HOW she posted it. She could have run a post that said I like taking it in the ass from somebody or that I eat small children with pico de gallo--as long as she was clear that she thought it was reprehensible crap. Absent any qualification by her or, with a headline, such as, "Boy, democommie really digs being a bottom" or "demo's new Mexican cook book" it really isn't all that clear that she's, "bringing to the attention of liberal readers repellent or idiotic remarks by conservatives." It might, in fact, be read as a deliberately provocative post that was in serted for its sensationalist value.

    Jason, I would invite you to read, very carefully every single comment I made to see if even one of them is actually addressed to Brittany (after the horrible, scurrilous screed in which I referred to her as, gulp, "Kitten"). I'm as close to being certain about this as I can when I say you won't find any. Will you find some that mention her and her actions--absolutely. Are they insensitive and accusatory? maybe and yes. I am not singling her out for ridicule and rage. I don't even think she's a horrible person. That she has been mentioned in so many posts is due to the fact that so many folks have made comments about the General's conduct being beyond the pale. Her conduct is the proximate cause of the General's action in this case. Hard to refute the criticism without making her part of the argument.

    Apparently Brittney is gone from NiT and onto something else. I don't really care what she does next, good luck to her. I am still somewhat puzzled that she has not offered a genuine apology to the Gilliard family for her thoughtlessness. It's just about accountability, Jason. When she decides to take responsibility, not say, "I take responisbility" she will hve my respect until then she has my wishes for a good life.

    "One of the most useless features of human nature is a tendency to refuse to back away from a negative first impression of someone in the face of new information, and indeed to just dig in one's heels and hate all the harder. Liberals ought to be especially mindful of this disposition, given its central role in fueling the us-vs-them-ism that lies behind conservative social and political attitudes the world over. It's amazingly depressing that many of the apparently liberal commenters of this liberal blog turn out to partake so deeply of this tendency."

    Jason, I almost hate to say this, but it's too inviting. I know you are, but what am I? I feel no common cause with people who think I am going to overlook such boneheadedness in the pursuit of comity. That's what put that assclown W in the WH.

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  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  26. Democommie,

    I don't care WHAT she posted, I care HOW she posted it. ...it really isn't all that clear that she's, "bringing to the attention of liberal readers repellent or idiotic remarks by conservatives." It might, in fact, be read as a deliberately provocative post that was in serted for its sensationalist value.

    I'm aware that the intent of Brittney's post could easily have been misread. It's also clear that this was Brittney's error, not the fault of any readers who were initially misled (like you and me and Jesus' General). I made exactly these points in my first comment. The gist of that comment was that Brittney's mistake does not warrant calling Brittney "fucking stupid" or any of the other invective that have been hurled at her after the nature of the mistake became clear. Your noting, once again, that she made this mistake is not even the beginning of a response to this point.

    Jason, I would invite you to read, very carefully every single comment I made to see if even one of them is actually addressed to Brittany (after the horrible, scurrilous screed in which I referred to her as, gulp, "Kitten"). I'm as close to being certain about this as I can when I say you won't find any. Will you find some that mention her and her actions--absolutely. Are they insensitive and accusatory? maybe and yes.

    I'm not going to read through your various comments to verify the truth of this denial. Because, of course, it's irrelevant: where do I say anything with respect to which it matters whether you are directly "addressing" Brittney instead of "mentioning" her?

    Just a sidenote, but I get the sense that you think my initial comment was primarily directed at you in the light of your "kitten" thing. While I share the view that patronizing language that could have no conceivable purpose but to emphasize the fact that Brittney is only a woman is super-lame, I wasn't thinking about that in particular when I wrote my comment. I only became aware today that you are being pilloried at Feministe for that comment. (A word of advice, though. Your approach to responding to criticism about the "kitten" comment, which partly involves pretending that the critics think your using "kitten" is not merely bad, but the worst thing ever--oh, those over-wrought, whiny feminists!--is so painfully obvious it really doesn't do you much help.)

    I feel no common cause with people who think I am going to overlook such boneheadedness in the pursuit of comity. That's what put that assclown W in the WH.

    I'm not sure exactly what you're making an analogy to here: maybe the past tendency of Washington Democrats to ineffectually seek "compromises" with the Bush White Hourse, or the anti-partisanship gibberings of the David Broder types. I agree that both of these things suck (though I don't share your view that they were the crucial factors in Bush's elections).

    I find it hard to believe, however, that the moral you draw from the suckiness of these two things is so general that it actually applies to our current topic. What's the moral? Don't give anyone the benefit of the doubt? That must be murder on your personal life: "I'd really like to believe you that you didn't mean your remark to be hurtful---were it not for the fact that that's the very attitude that got Bush elected. So go to hell, kitten!"

    Finally, in reply to my little discursus on the reluctance of people to revise bad first impressions, you write:

    Jason, I almost hate to say this, but it's too inviting. I know you are, but what am I?

    Nice try, but no go. It's true that I have a negative first impression of you as someone who is unwilling to revise a negative first impression in the face of recalcitrant information. But before I could be accused of the same thing, you'd have to actually, y'know, stop being that way.

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  27. Jason:

    You should read the General's note two posts after this one.

    He's a good guy, he asked us to stop. I'm doing as he asks.

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  28. Jason:

    You should read the General's note two posts after this one.

    He's a good guy, he asked us to stop. I'm doing as he asks.


    Y'know, I'm so out-of-the-loop with respect to blog-commenting that I didn't even know until moments ago that there was a far busier discussion going on in parallel with the other commenting system.

    My knowledge of Jesus' General is mostly restricted to his handling of the Brittney affair, which, I must admit, makes me sad. But I'll take your word on his being a good guy.

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  29. [Pot-meet-kettle irony alert!]

    I hope that you can clean up that potty mouth of yours, you fucking clown.

    [/Pot-meet-kettle irony alert!]

    *wooooosh*

    Who was that masked hit-and-run commenter?

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  30. Off Colfax:

    You out in Denver? I spent most of my life there (going to Tech School out at Lowry AFB) from December, 1968 till March, 1969.

    My irony is very unsubtle. I was surprised no one picked up on it till now.

    No more comments from me, by request from our Leader, request--not command.

    I'll check out your blog (I sneaked a peek).

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.