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Ramblings from a Southern liberal, Boomer, single parent, grandmother, reunited birthmother, cancer survivor, pop-culture observer, retired teacher

Most dramatic lymphoma posts are from June 2002 - February 2003 archives.

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The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I cannot go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree, but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

--Theodore Roethke


Joy's Updates - Straight from the Horse's Mouth.
Wednesday, March 31, 2004  
Actual Test Questions and Answers

I agree with what Michael wrote in his comment, and even though I require some memorization, most of the test questions are discussion. I want them to analyze and apply what we read for class. Here are a few examples from the latest test. I got some unintentionally hilarious answers to the Moby-Dick questions.

1. If Moby-Dick is a novel symbolizing the conflict between good and evil, discuss who or what symbolizes good and evil, Captain Ahab or Moby-Dick. Explain why and give reasons based on what we read and discussed in class.

Some students included these as part of their answers: 1 - Captain Ahab is evil because Moby-Dick is an innocent whale, and Captain Ahab bothered him. Captain Ahab shouldn't have put his leg in the ocean because he was just asking for it. Moby-Dick symbolizes good in this novel because he's just a big fish. He doesn't know any better. 2 - Moby-Dick was just trying to live his life, but got tired of being hunted and finally snapped. 3 - Moby-Dick ate and killed Ahab, the boat, and the crew. 4 - Moby bit Ahab's leg (wham!) and ivory peg leg (double wham!).

For the most part, they gave good answers to this but with a few odd statements thrown in. Many of them are on first-name basis with Moby.

2. Which of Thoreau's essays influenced Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.? Explain this in terms of why Thoreau wrote the essay, under what conditions, and how it specificially had an impact on the manner in which the leaders organized their protests. Include Kohlberg's stages of moral development in your discussion.

I also include quotes for them to tell who wrote them, the piece it's from, and what it means. Some of these answers are interesting, too.

This one generated some strange conclusions:

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by statesmen and philosophers and divines."

They did well with this one though:

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

Except for "listen to your own music but at a distance."

3:14:00 PM

Tuesday, March 30, 2004  
Questions You Never Thought You'd Be Asked After You Left School

I've told students that no one will ever ask them these questions but that they'd need to know how to think. So now I'll ask some of those questions. I have millions of them.

1. Who was the Autocrat of the Breakfast Table?
2. What is "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in" from and who wrote it?
3. Who was the subject of The Belle of Amherst and name the actress who played her?
4. Who wrote Spoon River Anthology? What is the premise for it?
5. Give a comma rule.
6. Whose last words were "moose" and "Indian"?
7. What are verbals and give the function of each.
8. What did the A stand for in The Scarlet Letter and how did its meaning change?
9. What was the first state to secede and the last to go back into the US? What was the last state to secede and the first to go back in?
10. What is The Crucible about, who wrote it, and explain why it has that title?

8:29:00 PM

Sunday, March 28, 2004  
Spring Break Repaired

Well, spring break is over. I really like this modified year-round schedule with two week breaks after each quarter and eight weeks of summer vacation. It helps to have some time off during the school year. I did get some things accomplished besides my social functions. I like being a lady who lunches. The house shows some progress which helps, too.

There haven't been comments on here for a while, so I'm not sure if anyone is reading this. Reminds me of teaching on those days when no one listens. How about a comment that includes zodiac sign, eye color, and Chinese year you were born. What else could we mention? I'm a Libra with green eyes and a wet blanket (water sheep).

1:21:00 PM

Friday, March 26, 2004  
Friday Trivia Quiz

Join in and answer any or all of the questions you want to. Be right or be witty! They are from the Pop Culture version of Trivial Pursuit.

1. MOVIE - What 1987 supernatural thriller featured Lisa Bonet as a voodoo priestess with an appetite for raw chicken? (I actually saw this - about as good as it sounds, too.)
2. MOVIE - What 1990 flop is chronicled in painful detail in the book The Devil's Candy?
3. TV - Who was the original host of The Wheel of Fortune?
4. TV - Which Smallville regular also appeared in a Superman movie?
5. MUSIC - What rap group starred in the 1987 movie Disorderlies?
6. MUSIC - What Tom Petty song became a hit for Johnny Cash in 200?
7. S&G - What longtime Dallas Cowboys coach was famous for wearing a fedora on the field?
8. S&G - What outdoor sport was simulated by the original Nordic Track exercise machine? (a quasi-sports question I know!)
9. BUZZ - What late singer did Howard Stern poke fun at causing a Texas judge to issue a warrant for his arrest?
10. BUZZ - What city elected Sonny Bono as its mayor?
11. FAD - What do we see sizzling in the "This is your brain on drugs" ads?
12. FAD - Which foul-tempered comic book character had the slogan "Trapped in a world he never made"?

11:26:00 AM

Tuesday, March 23, 2004  

No Judging Amy tonight. Not even reruns!


Murine means mice, so wonder why the eye drops are named Murine? Wouldn't have been the same if named bovine, canine, feline, or lupine, I guess.

My house smells musty possibly because of all the "musts" I keep uttering. They can actually fill a house and become a presence.

I used to call them that so much that Brian thought the actual names were the futility room and futility bills. He answered "futility room" when someone asked what that was, and they thought he was really precocious. I thought he was, too, but for different reasons. After a while I got tired of answering all his questions that went on almost all the time he was awake, it seemed, and would start making things up. When he was three or so, Brian came into the kitchen and asked what special occasions were. I told him it was a rock band. He left the room and returned a while later, puzzled, and said he just didn't understand because on TV they said to eat dessert only on special occasions. Oddly, he's turned out to be fairly well-adjusted and with a love of words. He also questions quite a bit of what I tell him.

1:10:00 PM

Another Article

Posted on November 25, 2003, Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, wrote an amazing editorial in the latest issue of the magazine pointing out some of Bush's most dubious accomplishments during his tenure as president. Here are just some of the many facts Carter puts forth.

2 - Number of nations George W. Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into office. 10 million - Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, setting an all-time record for simultaneous protest.

$100 billion - Estimated cost of the war in Iraq to U.S. citizens by the end of the year.

104 - Number of American combat deaths in Iraq between May, 2003 (when Bush landed on an aircraft carrier and declared an end to the open conflict) and the middle of October.

0 - Number of American combat deaths in Germany following the Nazi surrender in May, 1945.

0 - Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home that the Bush administration has allowed to be photographed - presumably to keep the spotlight off fatalities in Iraq.

53 - Percentage of Americans who doubt that the Iraq war was worth the cost.

$28 billion - Amount of proposed cuts to veterans' benefits in the congressional Republicans' budget resolution for fiscal year 2004 (In the end they cut only $6 billion).

$6,000 - Amount of proposed increase - opposed by Bush - in benefits to families of soldiers who die in combat.

$127 billion - Amount of U.S. budget surplus in fiscal year 2001, the year Bush became president.

$374 billion - Amount of U.S. budget deficit in fiscal year 2003.

#1 - Record for most bankruptcies filed in a single year (1.57 million) set in 2002.

#1 - Set record for biggest two-year point drop in the history of the stock market during the first half of a presidential term.

$200 billion - Approximate aggregate amount of state budget gaps in the past three years, the highest figure since WWII.

1.6 - Percentage increase in economic growth since Bush took office, the slowest rate of increase over the equivalent period for any administration in 20 years.

58 million - Number of acres of public lands Bush as opened to road building, logging and drilling.

200 - Number of public-health and environmental laws Bush has worked to downgrade or weaken since taking office.

2.4 million - Number of Americans who lost their jobs during the first two and a half years of the Bush administration.

9 million - Number of workers unemployed as of September, 2003.

#1 - The administration is well on its way to being the first since Herbert Hoover's to preside over an overall loss of jobs during its complete term in office.

0 - Number of Bush Court of Appeals nominees who have endorsed the legal foundation of Roe vs. Wade.

#1 - Has assembled the wealthiest cabinet in U.S. history.

$10.9 million - Average wealth of the members of Bush's 16-person Cabinet.

$42,000 - Average savings members of Bush's Cabinet are expected to receive this year as a result of cuts in capital-gains and dividends taxes.

$42,228 - Median household income in the U.S. in 2001.

$116,000 - Amount Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to save each year in taxes.

9 - Number of members of Bush's Defense Policy Board who also sit on the corporate board of, or advice, at least one defense contractor.

43.6 million - Number of Americans without health insurance as of 2002.

$300 million - Amount cut in December 2002 from the federal program that provides subsidies to poor families so they can heat their homes during the winter.

#1 - First American president to ignore the Geneva Convention on warfare (by refusing to allow inspectors access to U.S.-held prisoners of war).

90 - Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on September 26, 2001

50 - Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on October 15, 2003 (I have since read that that number is down in some polls to 45% approval).

12:59:00 PM

Sunday, March 21, 2004  
Political Articles

Good article by Arianna Huffington. So is this one by someone else about Bush. Since I've been in a terrorist organization for over 35 years (the NEA), I might as well make the most of it.

1:07:00 PM

Too Funny!

I just read this on iwon where I check the TV listings. My horoscope is on there every day. This one cracked me up. I've been following this advice for way too long! Little do they know!


Send your partner off to do some errand and grab some real solitude. Maybe shooing the children out to play is your idea of quality time. Nurture yourself in this hard-won complete privacy. If you waste the opportunity on some low-priority task, you'll be sorry. Sorting your junk mail doesn't come anywhere near satisfying your spirit. Even if you hate clutter or loose ends as much as the next person, you can deal with them against all the usual background noise. Show yourself how much you value your self. It's been some time since you last did anything like this.

11:55:00 AM

Saturday, March 20, 2004  
Quiz of Trivia

1. MOVIE - In Speed, what is the lowest speed the bus can go without blowing up?
2. MOVIE - What did Roberta Glass's (Rosanna Arquette) husband sell for a living in Desperately Seeking Susan?
3. TV - Whose daughter plays Joan in the UPN sitcom Girlfriends?
4. TV - What is the original name of the E! network?
5. MUSIC - What does CBGB stand for?
6. MUSIC - What is the name of the creature that graced every Iron Maiden album cover?
7. S&G - What auto event held in February marks the beginning of the NASCAR Winston Cup season?
8. S&G - What owner supposedly broke his hand fighting with two fans after his team lost Game 5 of the 1981 World Series?
9. BUZZ - What type of headwear does rocker Fred Durst typically wear?
10. BUZZ - What name is rapper/actress Dana Owens better known as? (finally one I know!)
11. FAD - What is "the forbidden Dance"?
12. FAD - What movie is the number one box office success of all time if you count tickets sold, not money made?

9:19:00 PM


The trivia quiz will be posted later today. I'm going to Charlotte to the bicentennial celebration with Mother. Famous people will be there. Pictures will be taken. Conversations will be frequent.

ps. The celebration was interesting. I'm glad I went. Rick Hollis did a good job writing the profiles of the honorees and helping organize it. The theme was heroes. Veterans were honored; the Army National Guard band played; the memorial was unveiled which was designed by Julian Norman; and sons of Dickson County were honored from various fields. Tom Beasley represented business, Bob Clement politics, Anson Mount the arts, and Oscar Robertson athletics. "The Big O" is definitely a role model who has done so much more than his already impressive basketball career. It is an honor to associate him with our county. He became emotional during his speech when he gestured to his aunt Rosalla Bell Daniel and said, "my heart" when he was saying what this county meant to him.

It started on the lawn of the court house but was moved inside when it started raining. My pictures were too far away to show much. Earl would have known how to do it. I posted three of them after some editing to help you see anything. The first one is on the court house lawn. On that row facing us are Bard Young who portrayed Montgomery Bell, four county officials, Anson Mount, Rick Hollis, Regina Bruce, Yvonne and Oscar Robertson, Bob and Mary Clement, Wendy and Tom Beasley, Marilyn and Steve Field, Martha and David Shepard, and Robert Cullom. The Renaissance Center Singers are behind them. Marvin Corlew was the emcee. John and Anita Luther were sitting in front of me a bit. Some of you might recognize others in the photo. I did the best I could getting Oscar Robertson's picture to appear closer than I was, so it's not that clear. Anyway, there are a few pictures that worked somewhat. The ones of Anson and the others didn't do that well.

11:51:00 AM

Friday, March 19, 2004  
Marriage and Other Controversies

It's bad enough to be from the state that brought us the Scopes Monkey Trial but now this in the same county!

I don't know why anyone cares who someone loves as long as they are consenting adults and aren't hurting anybody. The same things being said about same-sex marriage were said about interracial marriage. Then Loving vs Virginia changed the law. I'm not sure that the government needs to be as involved in marriage as it is anyway.

As for the "sanctity of marriage" phrase that's being bandied about, way too many people have laughed in the face of that one. The short-term "marriage" of Brittany Spears and other spontaneous, drunken Las Vegas weddings, green-card marriages, merging of family business marriages, and all the strange reasons men and women are allowed to marry each other don't exactly seem that holy.

So what we have is a situation that makes people uncomfortable. As a person who made the ultimate sacrifice of giving away my baby because of other people's discomfort at the time, I have no tolerance for this. In reality, there was no other reason for what I had to do in the climate of a small town in 1963 where I'd have been treated differently and my daughter shunned. If I'd kept her and moved, I'd have had to make up lies to explain not having a husband. Things changed after ten years, but the damage would have been done. It was too much for me to fight against, so I understand what it's like to do something that society disapproves of and to pay the price for it. Also the stress of secrets and lies takes its toll.

The typical "reason" opponents give is that the Bible says it's wrong. Must be nice to have a built-in answer for everything and not have to think for themselves. I think there are probably a lot of things the Bible lists as wrong that don't exactly apply now. Admittedly, I don't know much about the Bible since we didn't go into it in depth in the Methodist Church where I grew up attending, but what about this list that was sent to me by a relative?

The Presidential Prayer Team is currently urging us to "Pray for the President as he seeks wisdom on how to legally codify the definition of marriage. Pray that it will be according to Biblical principles. With many forces insisting on variant definitions of marriage, pray that God's Word and His standards will be honored by our government." Any good religious person believes prayer should be balanced by action. So here, in support of the Prayer Team's admirable goals, is a proposed Constitutional Amendment codifying marriage entirely on biblical principles:

A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women (Genesis 29:17-28; II Samuel 3:2-5).

B. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives (II Samuel 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chronicles 11:21).

C. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deuteronomy 22:13-21).

D. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden (Genesis 24:3; Numbers 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Nehemiah 10:30).

E. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce (Deuteronomy 22:19; Mark 10:9).

F. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law (Genesis 38:6-10; Deuteronomy 25:5-10).

G. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your father drunk and have sex with him (even if he previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female (Genesis 19:31-36).

The Presidential Prayer Team has a website where I notice they sell quite a bit of merchandise. I believe in prayer, which is why I think we need to be careful with our words and intentions. So much of what I'm seeing lately isn't my idea of what Christianity is supposed to be.

12:38:00 AM

Thursday, March 18, 2004  
Department of Excuses

Since I've often said I could write a book titled 1001 Cop-Outs for Any Occasion, I've managed to come up with an excuse every day not to work on the house. Monday I had a dentist appointment and then visited Melissa and Brendan, as you know. I took a nap when I got back because I could, I suppose. Tuesday I had an appointment with the internist I like so much, David Ross. I had to go early to get bloodwork done and then return at 10:00 for my appointment. There were errands to run and conversations to have at Kroger. The mother of a close friend from school died, so I went to the funeral home. Afterwards, I had dinner with some friends and stayed to visit. Wednesday I went to the funeral, and then Mother and I went to lunch. That warranted another nap. Today I was again a lady who lunches and shops. Yes, nap later on. This brings us to tomorrow, which is Friday. See how easy it is?

I've listened to one and a half books on tape while doing a few things around the house. Perhaps I'll vacuum and clean some things tomorrow. It could happen. I thought about that column Erma Bombeck wrote that made the email rounds about things she'd change if she had her life to live over and know how much time with family and friends means.

11:36:00 PM

Monday, March 15, 2004  
Ides of March

Mother went with me today to my appointment with the dental hygienist in Green Hills. Then we went to see Melissa and Brendan. We went to Calypso for lunch and had a good time. Brendan loves crowds and really works the room checking things out, making eye contact, flirting, and totally enjoying it. It was good to see them again. I took some pictures and added them to the photo album.

10:36:00 PM

Friday, March 12, 2004  

Still from the pop culture edition .... any suggestions for other editions? I have the regular ones as well as a few others, but I'd have to walk to the back room to get the titles. Perhaps I'll add them later on.

1. MOVIE - What 1995 feature starring Dustin Hoffman capitalized on the public's fears about Ebola? (now that M is working for the CDC we can have the inside scoop on all kinds of things)
2. MOVIE - What producer of hits like Flashdance, Top Gun, and Crimson Tide died in 1996 of heart failure attributed to drug use? (don't know him)
3. TV - What villainess desperately wanted to get her hands on Freddie, the magical talking gold flute? (some of you will know this)
4. TV - Which M*A*S*H spin-off featured Colonel Potter, Klinger, and Father Mulcahy?
5. MUSIC - Who scored a Top 100 hit in 1984 with the single "Make My Day"?
6. MUSIC - What is it that Debbie Gibson just can't shake?
7. S&G - What pitcher claims he had a hangover when he pitched his perfect game in 1998?
8. S&G - What Cleveland Indian was suspended for 10 games in 1994 for playing with a corked bat?
9. BUZZ - What rock band did writer/director Cameron Crowe's wife co-found?
10. BUZZ - What comedian set himself on fire while experimenting with illegal substances?
11. FAD - What walks down the stairs alone or in pairs?
12. FAD - What hygienic item became a 70's gift craze once it was attached to a string?

7:20:00 PM

Best Laid Plans Dept.

Here I am beginning my spring break armed with books on tape, firm resolutions, and plans to clean and organize this house! I'm going to do as much as I can during this time and will keep you posted on my progress. It's a sort of buddy-system, confessional, intervention kind of deal. No excuses unless I come up with some really good ones. I checked out books by Pat Conroy, John Grisham, and Tony Hillerman, which should get me started. Wish me luck!! I've planned and promised before so let's hope I follow through this time.

6:33:00 PM

Thursday, March 11, 2004  
High School Boys

You know the conversation isn't going to improve after being asked, "Ms. Durham, do you know how to get chewing gum off a desk?"

So I just looked at him, waiting for the rest of it. Then he said, "I wanted to see how gum would stick to someone's jeans, so I put a big blob of it on the seat. Then things went terribly wrong."

"I can see that," I said.

Then he explained, "The gum stuck to the seat and spread out. I think it's going to take steam to remove it. I'll clean it off tomorrow. Just set it aside. Don't worry! I'll take care of it."

I told him I'd get the janitor because they have supplies to clean all kinds of disasters in school and that he might make it worse trying to clean it himself. At this point I wasn't as stern as I should have been because he was so sincere about it yet managed to explain it humorously (to me anyway). I was glad he admitted it and told me so no one else would sit in the desk before it was cleaned. It was in his own desk, too, which I find odd in light of his experiment.

When I rode the elevator this morning I wondered what some of the buttons would do and almost pressed two of them. The one with the bell icon on it was dismissed since I was afraid it was some kind of alarm that would make a loud noise all over the school . I still wonder about two other buttons and might press them after school today.

The class that Gum Boy is in was watching Finding Forrester today as a reward. I feel compelled to bribe them sometimes. During the movie one of them shouted out, "Ms Durham, he said James Lowell!" and others voiced their agreement. We just studied those Fireside Poets, so it was fresh in their minds.

During the lecture earlier in the week, I told them that Longfellow was the only American to have a bust in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey in London. Then I asked them what a bust is. One of them said it was being arrested, another that it was a chest, another that something was broken. I asked them to think about the fact that there was a bust of Longfellow in a building that has a section called Poet's Corner and decide if their answers made much sense. They agreed that they didn't. Eventually someone said it was a statue from the shoulders up. They eventually understood that it was an honor for Longfellow.

This is what I do all day. It's more interesting than some jobs. At least I get to laugh at them sometimes.

1:56:00 PM

Saturday, March 06, 2004  

I need to get out and about and make some more pictures. The photo album needs to be updated for sure. I do have a couple Sally took at Amy's baby shower I can add since I forgot to take my camera. They're in the new photos section of the Photo Album.

I added a search engine which doesn't seem to work. Not sure why though. It's at the bottom of the blue column on the left.

11:59:00 AM

Trivia Time Again!

Here we are again with another quiz just for you.

1. MOVIE - What two Steven Spielberg films are named only with initials?
2. MOVIE - Who played the Nikita role in Point of No Return, the American remake of La Femme Nikita?
3. TV - What non-English-speaking Japanese duo had their own variety show with comedian Jeff Altman? (how is it I've never heard on any of these? I'm getting old!)
4. TV - Who was the last original Law & Order character to leave the show? (Brendan and I like this show - he loves the theme song and dances to it)
5. MUSIC - What does Don McLean drive in "American Pie"? (this I know the words to but no one will let me sing it to them)
6. MUSIC - What Alice in Chains singer died in 2002? (who?)
7. S&G - What are the coordinates of the lower-right space in the game Battleship? (Janey and I used to play this too, but I'm oblivious to coordinates unless they are right in front of me)
8. S&G - What Dodgers pitcher gave up home runs number 71 and 72 to Barry Bonds in his record-breaking 2001 season? (they can do this? how, Michael?)
9. BUZZ - In what state did Kim Basinger own an entire town? (this I know ... how did it turn out ... did she sell it back to someone or what?)
10. BUZZ - What activist is known for his rhyming speaking style? (has he ever had a real job?)
11. FAD - What type of unisex shell jewelry peaked in the early 70's?
12. FAD - What underground cartoonist often used the phrase "Keep on Truckin'" in his work? (vague memory ... what did he draw?)

11:32:00 AM

Thursday, March 04, 2004  
This 'n That

I'm sure Lord of the Rings is good, but watching them win eleven Oscars got boring. It tied with Titanic which I hated. I've already ranted about that and won't go into it again now. Fantasy and science fiction aren't what I like to read, so I never really got into Tolkein although I have heard how good his books are when people are aghast that I haven't read them. I tried. I graded many book reports on them. I choose to read other things. That's all. Perhaps I'll rent one of the movies (the first one would make sense in case I like it and decide to watch the others), but I don't like to look at Elijah Wood even without the makeup and am not sure I want to see all those elves and other characters. We all have different tastes. When Boston Public, Judging Amy, or West Wing was on, Earl asked me why I watch drama since all they have are problems. He has a point, but that's what I like along with comedies that don't appeal to teen-aged boys. I get enough of that at school.

I sent for my transcript from UT-Martin in order to jump through one of the No Child Left Behind hoops so I can be classified a highly-qualified teacher. Of course, I'm an undocumented teacher who is in a terrorist organization according to the Secretary of Education. We're either for 'em or against 'em. Right?

5:16:00 PM

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