Sarah Palin (by Ann Coulter)

Wow, one of my favorite women writes about the other!  Courtesy of Time Magazine, Sarah Palin one of the most influential of 2008:

Sarah Palin was arguably the most influential person in 2008, but no one notices because she wasn’t influential enough to overcome the deficits of her running mate and win the election.

Until Palin, 45, burst onto the scene, Obama was headed for a Nixon/McGovern landslide. Palin may not have changed the election result, but she killed what otherwise would have been a rout.

John McCain was so preposterous a candidate (at least on a Republican ticket) that Palin was responsible for far more votes than the usual vice-presidential candidate. The biggest red flag proving her popularity with normal Americans is that liberals won’t shut up about her. Palin is a threat to liberals because she believes in God and country and family — all values liberals pretend to believe in but secretly detest. There’s a reason there’s no “Stop Olympia Snowe before it’s too late!” movement.

The American voter can be hornswoggled occasionally, but we can generally spot a real American, and that’s what Sarah Palin is. She really was a housewife who went into politics because she didn’t like the way her taxes were being spent. She really did take on the old-boy network — the oil companies and her own party — and won. And yes, she really did walk the walk on abortion when she found out she was carrying a Down-syndrome baby.

The combination of Palin’s attractiveness as a candidate and her ability to expose liberals made her a celebrity among Republicans. The only thing I have against her is that she threatens to surpass me in attracting the left’s hatred.

Coulter is the author of Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t…What?

I know I promised a blog on violence perpetrated by liberal activists, but I’ve been going non-stop since I made that promise. This is literally the first chance I’ve had to sit down and think about anything other than work, and I had to point something out. I will deliver on my promise, but for now, I think this is more pressing.

It’s come across the wires that the 2010 budget includes funding for continuing the enforcement of DADT. “Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue, don’t harass” was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1994 after he made a campaign promise to end the military ban on homosexuals in service. The same guy who promised to be a friend to the gay community gave us DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) shortly after DADT. Last year, during the heated presidential campaigns, Barack Obama made a promise to end DADT and the ban for good.

Considering how things have gone so far, should we really be surprised that he has not only not kept his promise, but has extended the life of the policy?

He promised change. What’s changed? He’s managed to nearly triple the national deficit with a pork-laden spending bill that the Associated Press has finally agreed had absolutely no basis in reality whatsoever. We thought Bush economic policies were bad with his bailout? I was pretty sure we wanted that crap to stop, yet Obama has handed out more bailout money since he entered office than Bush did in eight years. The man has only been in office for seventy days! He talked a big game about “applying some flinty Chicago toughness” to D.C. in regards to the weather, yet he can’t even do what he’s calling on the rest of America to do–turn down his own freakin’ thermostat. Where’s the example? Geez, at least Carter put on a sweater, lit a fire in the White House fireplace and did exactly what he expected everyone else to do.

Should it really surprise us that Obama hasn’t come close to carrying out the promises he made to the gay community? When Kerry was running against Bush, I told everyone to beware: he was NOT going to be the savior of the gay community. I said the same thing when Obama was running, and hardly anyone believed me. Now we’ve got some of the gay news agencies quietly sticking in the back pages the news that Obama isn’t keeping his promise after all. Why can’t we all just admit it? Another politician lied to gain our trust and votes. I’d rather vote for someone who isn’t going to lie to me about giving me my rights than a man who will get on TV, tell a slick lie, do it with all the conviction in the world and not care that he has no intention of following through.

Don’t ask, don’t tell–don’t mess with the way things are. Lord knows if he pisses off too many people he won’t get re-elected. We can’t have that, now, can we?

I’m gettin’ a little tired of being used as a damned bargaining chip. Mark my words, folks, that’s exactly what we are.

Coulter-Stalking Liberal Screams “Help Me!” During Arrest


If you ever wanted an example as to why women who marry conservative men have better and more orgasms, this video is all you’ll ever need to see.

Reports from various sources reveal that Mike Tracey; student at The College of New Jersey AND vice-President of the College Democrats stormed the stage that Ann Coulter was standing on during a speech more than a couple of times and was repeatedly warned by campus security.

Of course, he had to test the waters a final time and was removed from the speech and arrested.  The video; only 38 seconds long, shows no police brutality whatsoever and also explains the liberal way of turning virtually ANYTHING into “torture.”

Reports also indicate that the parents of this ninny are pissed and are fighting to get the charges removed. 

Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you one of the future William Ayers of the world.

We’re All Cowards

According to Attorney General, Eric Holder, we are a nation of cowards.  Yup.  You, me, everyone.  When it comes to race – we are cowards.  Holder says…..

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.”

I guess we can expect more of this type of garbage from the Obama administration.  But I don’t understand why.  Remember – the Messiah was supposed to heal all rifts, rescue the nation and lead us into the age of Aquarius.  Now it just seems that this bumbling administration has no idea where it is going or what to do.  Add to that the divisiveness being preached from the perches of the White House.  Obama might as well have appointed Rev. Jeremiah Wright to the AG position.

Michelle Obama thinks this is a “mean” nation – a nation which she was never proud of until her husband became the apparent Democrat nominee.  Mr. Michelle Obama, believes that we are a nation plagued by those bitter people clinging to guns and religion.  There is no hope or unification coming from this administration.  Just bitterness.  A bunch of people with chips on their shoulders.  But guess what folks?  These angry idiots are in charge now.

The thing that annoys me most about Holder’s comments is not just the subject matter.  Remember former Texas Senator, Phil Gramm?  He was torn apart by the MSM, thrown under the bus by Johnny Mac and eventually resigned as a McCain advisor.  His sin?  He said we were becoming a nation of whiners.  So, it’s worse to be a whiner than a coward?  I’ll never understand these things.

To be honest, one of the reasons that I don’t blog as much as I used to is because I am becoming more disenchated day-by-day.  There is so much hypocrisy in the mainstream media.  There is so much venom leveled against conservatives and Republicans in general.  I’ll admit to you – right now I feel a sense of political hopelessness that I have never felt before.  I know that things are not totally hopeless, but the events of the last few years sure can take the wind out of your sails as a conservative.

I often wonder what the point is of all of this.  Everyday we continue to move closer to European socialism and lose more and more of our liberties.  We’re spending ourselves into oblivion.  We have lost our regard for the value of life.  We have forgotten the lessons of 9/11 and want to negotiate with the Islamist thugs who want to kill us all.  It saddens me to see this all around me.

Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. oversaw the demise of communism as a form of government and socialism as an economic system.  Yet, we have now seen a resurgence of socialism in the West.  And while the US held strong against the socialist tendencies that nearly bankrupted Western Europe, we seem to have bought into this crazy experiment hook, line and sinker.  Even President Clinton was forced into accepting major welfare reform by the GOP.  That reform undid a great deal of the damage dating back to the overrated administrations of FDR and LBJ.  In the late 90s things looked great.  But look at where we are now.

We have reverted back to the failed policies of yesterday. See if you can balance democracy and socialism.  See if democracy can survive absent capitalism.  It won’t happen.  But Obama and his minions will destroy this nation trying to prove that such a system can work.  And if it doesn’t, you can be sure that democracy will be compromised in order to accomodate socialism.

Sorry for the rant.  I don’t mean to sound cynical. I’m just tired.  Tired of it all.  I’m trying to fight, but it seems that all I can do these days is rant and call it as I see it. I take heart in the fact that there are so many conservative folks blogging and opining online.  Conservative talk radio is strong and popular (for the moment anyway).  I sense some grassroots, but I don’t see it translating into much these days.

The most disconcerting thing of all is that Republicans allowed this to happen.  That really hurts me and you in so many ways.  Most of us are conservatives first and Republicans second.  Yeah, yeah.  But the GOP is our vehicle in government.  The revolution of 1994 is a distant memory.  The corruption and loss of direction that we saw from the GOP after 1994 led us to where we are now.  I don’t know when or if the next Reagan or Gingrich will surface and lead us out of the wilderness. I used to believe that all things were cyclical in politics.  But I’m not sure anymore.  Maybe we have moved irreversibly in a direction that will lead us down the path of destruction.

And perhaps Mr. Holder was correct.  And Mr. Gramm too.  Maybe we are a nation of cowards and whiners.  Egged on by the fear that was instilled in the American people by liberals and Democrats, we have apparently sold our souls to the Devil.  And now we will see the true hell that awaits unless we wake up and change things – fast.

We Are One

This Tuesday, Barack Hussein Obama will be inaugurated as America’s 44th President. He will be the first black man ever to hold the office. In the run-up to inauguration day, people all over the country have begun to cash in on Obama’s popularity. I saw an American flag with Obama’s mug on it the other day; this is extremely disrespectful and against the rules of the US Flag Code. To me, seeing that was as sickening as watching the Phelpsians kick my flag around at anti-military and anti-gay protests.

I love my country. Despite the fact that I strongly disagree with a great many people in it, I love my country and all it stands for. The election of Barack Obama has proven that the democratic process still works. Yes, even though I dislike the man I can say that he won the election fairly. But there are a lot of things that I’m not okay with, things that I would like to see American liberals address.

Such as inauguration fever. In 2004, when Bush was re-elected and we got ready for the inauguration party, liberals screamed that he was reportedly spending around $45 million on the inauguration ceremony and party. We’re at war, they argued, why is he spending so much? Obama has already spent $150 million on HIS inauguration and party, and nobody has made a peep about it. Three times as much as Bush in 2004–in the middle of a freakin’ recession, far worse economic times than in 2004–and nobody has a problem with this. Do you know what we could do with $150 million?

The droves that are supporting Obama are digging at the detractors, asking, “why can’t we just get along?” Where the hell was this sentiment when Bush was elected? You wore shirts that said, “killing 100 is terrorism, killing 50,000 is foreign policy” (a blatant lie, we never killed that many in Iraq–that was the insurgency’s fault) and put bumper stickers on your cars that said, “he’s not MY President.” You were completely unwilling to accept him and at times demanded that he be impeached for war crimes, an outrageous claim if ever there was one. Yet you want us to accept YOUR man, a guy who has admitted openly to socialist politics that could be just as bad for America as Bush’s failed economic policies. You want us to do what you absolutely refused to do.

We didn’t scream “stop the hate” when you dogged Bush. We didn’t call you names when you protested the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (calling your patriotism into question doesn’t count, kids). But somehow I’m a racist for believing we could do better than Barack Obama? You’re a hoot.

We are one. I’m not being sarcastic there, I mean that. WE ARE ONE. We are one nation, under God. We’re America. Even when we disagree, our Constitution and our law still holds true. I pitched my little fit after the election and got it out of my system. Now I wanna see what Obama is really going to do. During the campaigns, Obama promised a lot of things–chief among them ending the war in Iraq, closing Guantanamo Bay, and allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. Now he’s singing a different tune on a lot of the things he promised. He has admitted that it would be dangerous to simply close Gitmo and send the bad guys home; he’s not going to keep that promise. He’s admitted that Iraq cannot end overnight, and the troops won’t all be coming home on January 21. He has changed his tune on taxes, admitting that raising anyone’s taxes–even on the rich–during a recession could send us into a full-blown economic depression.

When I see things like this going on, I have hope that he won’t be as bad as I thought he’d be. Yet when I see massive crowds of people hailing Obama and practically treating him as the Second Coming of Christ, I have to wonder what’s next. I think we’ll survive; we’re America, we always do. But even James Madison said that it is the nature of a Democracy to eventually murder itself. What kind of place are we leaving to my nieces and nephews? Will they inherit a bigger mess? Will they look back on all of this and wonder why we didn’t do more to avoid what’s going on? I hope not. I sincerely do. I hope Obama proves us wrong and does better than he’s said so far.

Either way, we’ll still be America. I can at least have hope for that.

Hey! We’re On YOUR Side!

Via Michelle Malkin today, the news has come across the wires of the biggest blunder of the anti-Proposition 8 movement yet.  I had to take a break from my series on Israel for this one; it’s just too good to pass up.

Apparently, the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco, California, was badly vandalized sometime last night.  Black swastikas and anti-religious phrases and slurs were spray painted in red and black on the outside of the big white structure in the Castro district in outrage over the passage of Proposition 8 on election night.  This isn’t the first criminal act against a church since the passage of Prop 8, nor is it the first attempt to disrupt services at churches.  There’s just one great big glaring problem with what happened:

Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church is an open and affirming congregation.

That means they’re on our side.  They opposed Prop 8.  D’oh!

I like what Michelle had to say…“Does this mean the pastor endorses attacks on churches and individual donors who don’t share the sentiments of the No on 8 blacklisters and rainbow-fisters?”

Good God, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Step Aside Please

I’m going to join the growing chorus of conservatives asking that Republican leaders step aside to make room for true conservatives who will lead the GOP back to their roots (well, most of them anyway).  I supported McCain as a clear foil to the radical, leftist agenda of Barack Hussein Obama, and I was more enthused when he selected a true conservative, Sarah Palin, as his VP pick.

But now, the election is over, the Dems have near-total dominance of the legislative and executive branches and the outlook for the GOP is grim.  Time to make a change.  Apparently, change is underway in the House leadership with one exception – House minority leader, John Boehner.

Boehner is the only major GOP leader in the House likely to survive a shake-up in which GOP Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri and Conference Chairman Adam Putnam of Florida have already stepped aside. Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor is unopposed to replace Blunt as the No. 2 House Republican, while Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, a Christian conservative, is poised to replace Putnam.

Cantor and Pence are good news.  Cantor has a 97% ACU rating and is the only Jewish-Republican.  He is outspoken in his support of Israel and against the terrorist regimes in Iran, Syria and across the Middle East.  Pence is minority leader material.  He is a solid conservative, a former conservative radio talkshow host and a strong social/economic conservative in the Reagan mold.

I appreciate Boehner’s work and his tough position.  He is an anti-earmark Republican personally but hasn’t done enough to reign in his own party on fiscal matters.  He was too acquiescent to the White House in many of the matters that roiled conservatives in the grassroots movement.  He is being challenged by conservative California Rep. Dan Lungren.  But I’m not sure Lungren has what it takes in stature to lead the House GOP.  I’m not sure who would be the best replacement for Boehner although I think Pence should be making that run.

Things are more difficult in the Senate.  It’s hard to advocate against GOP Senate leader Mitch McConell.  He is a tough conservative and a parlimentary whiz dedicated to using every trick in the book to make things Hell for a Dem majority.  He does it well, and we can’t afford to lose him.  His 90% ACU rating is not off the charts, but I feel that, unlike Boehner in the House, he was very unhappy with supporting many of Bush’s suspect policies.  In the role of an opposition leader unchained to the White House, he will take on Obama with all of the pitbull vengance that he displayed when fighting against McCain-Feingold and persecution of tobacco and gun companies.  This dude will take the President to court.

It’s hard to argue against Senate GOP Whip, Jon Kyl (AZ).  He is 97% and is already threatening Obama on judicial appointments.  I don’t know that he is as much of a pitbull as Mitch, but we could live with him.  Conference Chairman, Lamar Alexander (TN) is lukewarm and needs to be replaced with a strong Conservative.

My sidenote on the Senate is this: there are several Republicans representing blue states and semi-red states who are forced to moderate their positions in order to achieve reelection.  I pray to God that Norm Coleman wins the recount in Minnesota, but he isn’t a conservative.  On the other hand, Saxby Chambliss in Georgia must win the runoff, but again, he isn’t exactly a strong conservative.  Then you have folks like Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe in Maine who are total RINOs.  The Congressional conservative leadership will emanate from the House until the conservative tide sweeps again (ie. 1994).

My final word on GOP leadership is in regards to the Republican National Committee.  Let’s take former Lt. Governor Michael Steele (MD).  Imagine a black conservative running the national party in the age of Obama.  How great is that?  He is a breath of fresh air and the exact thing we need at the top.  All other challengers should cede to Mr. Steele.

Sorry for the rambling analysis.  I thrive on this type of analysis, and I’m trying to regain some perspective after the devastating losses we saw this past election.  We will continue to see more unless we energize the base.  And we will not excite the base unless we have leadership that speaks to the base.  It’s time to return to fundamentals.

I will say to Steve – you were right about McCain, but I could not see dissing him in favor of Obama.  Now that the experiment has failed, we need to get back to basics and erradicate the lukewarm, elitist elements within our own party.  Unless we do, we will be doomed to another 40 years in the wilderness.

Proof of Palin’s Hope and Energy as our Next Reagan

CORRECTION Palin What's Next?

After a few days of liberals and John McCain urging all of us that it is now time to work together – as if we are all supposed to believe that after the way they treated our President for eight years, the media and many others seem to have a very different tenor towards Sarah Palin.

I’m begging you all, do not be fooled!  Rush urged the same of his listeners today.

This is the same media that gave us John McCain as a presidential nominee.

The day started of course with the anonymous McCain staffers portraying Palin as an uneducated and impossible-to-work-with superbitch.  The story started on Fox News last night and has ran through today. 


First, why would McCain staffers decide to say such things and leave the man they campaigned for to explain this?  I can see Keith Olbermann now: How could McCain continue to force this dangerous airhead on to America in good conscience?  She doesn’t even know that Africa is a continent!  John McCain and his two staffers for one day have reportedly earned the top three spots on Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” segment (assuming that Ann Coulter didn’t make him cry for saying “good evening” to a homeless man). 

In a sad effort to erase the fact that McCain himself was not a conservative and had no business on the top of the ticket to begin with – thus losing the election not only for himself, but for America as a whole, they decided to make up the most ridiculous stories about Sarah Palin so that they can relieve themselves of the responsibility of their own incapabilities. 

Aside for the fact that I owe McCain the respect as a P.O.W. and the “maverick” that the NY Times loved to call him, he is the most ignorant politician around who believes that “crossing the aisle” to work with left-wing nuts is in the best interest of the country.  In fact, if he and his entire camp of advisers were to convert to Democrats tomorrow, the overall level of effective political wisdom would go up for both parties.

If these things were even close to true, then these staffers and McCain himself have announced themselves the most dishonest and repugnant people available.  They’re either lying, or like with the entire election in general, were terrible at planning for the long-term. 

Their names should be exposed so we know to get rid of them along with John McCain who had no business running as the representative-in-chief for Americans who love conservatism as a whole.  Which way is he really dishonorable?  Is it because he kept someone on his ticket who didn’t know the difference between a continent and a country?  Or is it because he’s refusing to now step out and address these rumors?

Sarah Palin was the winner in this campaign the very first time we read the slanderous story in US News Weekly.  She won my heart the minute Obama sent hundreds of investigators to Alaska to try and discredit her massive tangible record of success.  She didn’t need the media on her side like Obama had.  She didn’t have billions of dollars in campaign funding like Obama had.  She didn’t have the most liberal voting record when it came to illegal aliens, voting against Bush’s tax cuts, and crafting a campaign finance bill with Feingold like McCain had.

Sarah Palin received a bashing from the media.  That was a great thing!  It means she appeals to more Americans and the left needed their help to tear her down.  It’s our responsibilities as real conservatives to properly detect the game-playing involved.  If this were 1984, we would be ganging up on Reagan if we were indeed counting everytime the liberal media portrayed him as either plain-stupid or senile.

McCain caused the loss.  If it weren’t for Sarah Palin, McCain would have lost by 20+ million or more in lieu of the mere seven million.  Want proof?  Examine every other “maverick” or “moderate” like Goldwater or Dole and review those losses.  Then observe Ultra-Conservative (or what liberals today call “neocon”) Ronald Reagan’s results of two landslides that put Barack Obama’s and Bill Clinton’s victories to shame.  Then come back to me and tell me that Sarah Palin is not ready to lead us in 2012 as Reagan was in 1980.

White Pride! White Power!

As I was trying to recover from the fits of laughter after talking to, quite possibly, the absolute dumbest human being I’ve ever talked to…it had to end at some point.  I was having an okay day until I had to stop at the local grocery store.  I was about ready to be happy about going to jail.  It’s gettin’ cold here, so I wore my black duster and cowboy hat.  I’m a Texan.  It might not be an Arizona thing, but where I come from, that’s cool.

I get done buying groceries for the weekend and head out to the truck and two black kids, likely not older than 17 or 18, stepped out immediately in front of me.  I mean, they were literally inches from the front brim of my hat.  One of them throws his arm out in the Nazi salute and says, “white pride, white power!” at the top of his lungs, naturally drawing the attention of everyone within earshot.

I’m absolutely clueless, so I said, “dude, what the hell are you talkin’ about?”  The other kid, already laughing, jabs a hand at my duster first, then at my hat (nearly knocking it off–NOT cool) and says, “what’s with the getup, cowboy?  You miss your KKK meeting?”

Oh, hell no.  Them’s fightin’ words, boy.

The first hand that came towards my duster again got smacked away, but before I could bury my palm in his chest like I wanted to, the cop stepped in and said, “alright, guys, leave ‘er alone, you don’t even know ‘er!”  I didn’t say another word.  When they mockingly goose-stepped past me and shouted “WHITE PRIDE!” again, I just walked away.  I could’ve given ’em a lecture, but why?  They wouldn’t have heard it.  These were two fine specimens of young black kids brought up to believe that everyone’s out to get them and that all white people are racists.

Four years?  I’m not sure I can take four years of this garbage.  Racism my backside.  The only racists I see are the ones crying about it.  The only racists who came out on election day were the Black Panthers.  And I’d really like to know why it’s okay for a black kid to wear a t-shirt with a raised fist and “black power” in big, bold letters, but somehow wearing my cowboy hat and duster–and simply being white–makes ME the goddamned racist.

What Have We Done?

A great deal was decided yesterday.  I’m not sure the vast majority of the country quite realizes the new gravity of our situation.  I’m likely the only one in my little gay family here in Arizona that voted for John McCain, and likely the only one who understands enough of history to realize what we’re facing.  That’s not a dog on my friends, because even though we wholeheartedly disagree I still love them all dearly; what’s far scarier than that is the fact that there are millions upon millions who, unlike my friends, had absolutely no clue why they wanted to vote for Obama, except for the fact that they wanted change.

But what change have we just voted for?  In 1959, a young upstart led his guerilla army into Havana, Cuba and overthrew the government.  Fidel Castro assumed power, promising change and prosperity without ever making concrete plans known to the public.  Before they knew it, the public wasn’t allowed to speak freely and the government controlled every facet of life, including the media.  The slightest public disagreement could land a Cuban in squalid prison conditions without a trial.  Sure, everyone had something.  But even to this day, in that society (as well as in China) one group does all the work and the lazy ones still get a share.  All this was Castro’s promised “change.”

Barack Obama has already admitted a desire to affect socialist ideals in American society.  When the now-infamous Joe the Plumber forced him to admit, “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” not only was he admitting a firm belief in wealth redistribution, but in the days that followed he openly castigated the major news outlets involved in spreading the story.  He banned them from his campaign jet and refused to give interviews to them ever again.  If this is a precursor to what we can expect during his presidency (including both his and Nancy Pelosi’s vocalized desire to bring back the fairness doctrine, essentially gutting the First Amendment freedom of speech), then maybe we deserve it.

Maybe we deserve four years of unadulterated liberal assault on our Constitutional freedoms.  Maybe the overwhelming millions who voted for any change regardless of reality will wake up the first time we’re attacked again, which I predict will happen within the first year of Obama’s presidency.  If not then, hopefully they’ll wake up after the second attack, which will be inevitable because Obama will do exactly what he promises–he’ll try to be diplomatic with murdering terrorists who believe it is their mandate from God to kill all the infidels of the world.

Maybe Steve is right, but if he is, and McCain’s liberal policies would have only made things worse, I still think Hillary Clinton is far less scary than Barack Obama.  I feel a dread as though we’re dancing our way to our destruction with smiles on our faces and nary a clue, happy all the while.  I’ve told my friends that I hope I’m wrong, and I don’t think they understand just how badly I’m hanging on to that hope.  For now, while I’m still free to say it, I’m going to take a page out of the Democrat playbook:

He’s NOT my president, nor will he ever be.

(PS: watch out this weekend for my first-ever vidblog.  I’ve got some choice words for the gay community’s role in this disaster, and I’m done being nice.)