Woot! We won!

It looks like the T-SPLOST bill was defeat­ed by a land­slide. I’m so glad! That thing was a total boon­dog­gle. My baby girl and I spent the day togeth­er and one of the very first things we did was go vote against it!

We had a good lunch togeth­er and a frozen yogurt treat. She indulged me, so I final­ly got to go to In Stitch­es, too. They have the most incred­i­ble selec­tion of fibers! I picked up my first Glo­ri­ana silks for a char­i­ty stitch­ing project.

Now I’m exhaust­ed, but hap­py. It was a good day!

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Get Out and Vote!

Plinky asked, “When was the last time you vot­ed in an elec­tion? Will you vote this year?”

Elec­tion 2012 but­ton

I vot­ed in a coun­ty ref­er­en­dum regard­ing a one-cent sales tax a few months ago. I vote in every elec­tion, so of course I’ll vote this year. Why wouldn’t I vote? Men and women have died to win me that right, and I would be will­ing to fight and die for it as well. I’m not so fool­ish as to waste a chance to have my say in impor­tant mat­ters whether at the coun­ty or nation­al lev­el.

The pres­i­den­tial elec­tion is espe­cial­ly impor­tant, because of the GOP’s war on women and the fact that I find San­to­rum espe­cial­ly insane. Rom­ney seems the best of the Repub­li­can evils, but that isn’t say­ing much. I’d much rather see Oba­ma re-elect­ed than any of the Repub­li­cans in office. It’s obvi­ous that most of the oppo­si­tion to the Pres­i­dent is based on racism, pure and sim­ple, which is an ugly, ugly thing (but not sur­pris­ing to this life­long south­ern­er).

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On Politics

Plinky asked, “Where do you fall on the polit­i­cal spec­trum?”

Pro­gres­sive Gifts

That depends on where you’re stand­ing. In Europe, I’d be con­sid­ered con­ser­v­a­tive, appar­ent­ly. In the U.S., I’m pro­gres­sive, so I’m con­sid­ered a flam­ing lib­er­al.

I agree with the lib­er­tar­i­ans on some issues, like gun con­trol (it means hit­ting what you aim at).

I also think that any decent soci­ety takes care of its peo­ple in far more ways than just hav­ing a strong mil­i­tary force. Uni­ver­sal health care (not insur­ance, CARE), strong con­sumer pro­tec­tions and con­sis­tent, fierce envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion are just a few of the things that need to come from the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment with­out inter­fer­ence from any oth­er enti­ty — includ­ing state gov­ern­ments.

I live in Geor­gia, where there’s talk of the state gov­ern­ment cre­at­ing a pan­el to review every fed­er­al law and decide whether or not to allow that law to be effec­tive in Geor­gia. That’s a vio­la­tion of the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion, as I under­stand things, as fed­er­al law is sup­posed to super­sede state law. Georgia’s state gov­ern­ment is pret­ty free and easy about vio­lat­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion, as evi­denced by the state house recent­ly pass­ing a bill to post the ten com­mand­ments in every pub­lic build­ing in the state (includ­ing every pub­lic school). There’s an excel­lent chance that the state sen­ate will pass it, too, because any­body who votes against it will be in trou­ble with the con­ser­v­a­tives in their dis­tricts.

Decent edu­ca­tion is impor­tant, too, and it’s too impor­tant to be left up to states like Geor­gia, Alaba­ma, and Mis­sis­sip­pi. It isn’t pos­si­ble to have an insti­tu­tion­al edu­ca­tion that’s as good as a home edu­ca­tion, since most peo­ple leave the edu­ca­tion of their chil­dren up to the gov­ern­ment, it is espe­cial­ly impor­tant for the future of our coun­try that the job be done right.

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The Hateful Tea Party, Its True Origins, and President Obama’s Accomplishments

I was chal­lenged in com­ments on a friend’s Face­book wall yes­ter­day “pro­vide us with a spe­cif­ic exam­ple of Tea Par­ty hate ful (sic) speach and some thing good that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has done for our coun­try.” The com­menters there also claimed that “THE TEA PARTY HAS NO REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS” and seemed to be under the impres­sion that it is a grass roots move­ment, which is a claim friends of mine have also made. Rather than post this infor­ma­tion in more than one place, I decid­ed to make one post in my blog and refer to it in the future.

First, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has accom­plished plen­ty of things dur­ing his term. I start­ed to make my own list, then decid­ed that it’s fool­ish to rein­vent the wheel. The most com­pre­hen­sive list I’ve found is here: Accom­plish­ments of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. While some peo­ple may not think some of those things are accom­plish­ments, I doubt there’s any­one who can argue with all of them. I’d add to the list the fact that Osama bin Laden is dead. That hap­pened dur­ing Obama’s pres­i­den­cy. His peo­ple were able to keep a lid on the infor­ma­tion about bin Laden’s where­abouts and the oper­a­tion long enough to get that bas­tard. The fact that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell pol­i­cy in the mil­i­tary is over is pret­ty damned impor­tant, too.

Those accom­plish­ments look much bet­ter, too, when you real­ize two things:

  1. The IMF informed Pres­i­dent Bush that they intend­ed to audit the U.S. back in June 2008. Bush just put them off until the end of his term.
  2. While Oba­ma is often blamed for the mas­sive deficit, that’s inac­cu­rate. The 2009 fis­cal year began before Oba­ma even took office, and the bud­get for that year was almost entire­ly deter­mined by the Bush admin­is­tra­tion. There was an 88% increase in spend­ing dur­ing the years of the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, com­pared to only a 7.4% increase dur­ing the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. That’s why Bush inher­it­ed a $128 bil­lion sur­plus from Clinton’s last bud­get, and bequeathed a $1.4 tril­lion deficit to Oba­ma.

I know per­fect­ly well that the tea par­ty (no caps) was orig­i­nal­ly billed as a grass roots move­ment about fis­cal issues and against big gov­ern­ment. Yes, gath­er­ings to sup­port Ron Paul’s 2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign were called “tea par­ties,” and those issues were cen­tral to his cam­paign.

How­ev­er, there was appar­ent­ly no talk of a Tea Par­ty (note the caps) dur­ing those gath­er­ings, and after Oba­ma was elect­ed, the name was co-opt­ed for anti-Oba­ma ral­lies by Repub­li­can oper­a­tives, led by Dick Armey and mouth­piece Rick San­tel­li. Of course, if they’d said, “We’re orga­nized by lob­by­ists for big busi­ness, because guys like Steve Forbes and the Koch broth­ers don’t want mid­dle class peo­ple to have help pay­ing their mort­gages!” then mid­dle class peo­ple wouldn’t have been as like­ly to get involved. So the fic­tion of a “grass­roots move­ment” was care­ful­ly main­tained.

Even for those who might not believe that Free­dom­Works, the Koch broth­ers, etc. have always behind the Tea Par­ty, it must be dif­fi­cult to deny that “grass­roots” cer­tain­ly isn’t what the Tea Par­ty is about now. Any­one who wants to argue about it has only to look at Michelle Bach­mann, Rick Per­ry, and and their Chris­t­ian Domin­ion­ist views to know that. Of course, Per­ry also claimed in his book that Social Secu­ri­ty is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruled oth­er­wise in 1936, and Bach­mann signed a pledge that claims that blacks were bet­ter off when they were slaves, so their cred­i­bil­i­ty rat­ings are suf­fer­ing, as far as I’m con­cerned. By the way — that pledge thing is pret­ty darned racist, to me, and the rest of Bachmann’s well-known his­to­ry gaffes aren’t mak­ing things any bet­ter.

Michelle Bach­mann (head of the Con­gres­sion­al Tea Par­ty Cau­cus) worked for the IRS as a tax attor­ney before quit­ting to be a stay-at-home mom. So she’s nev­er had a job that doesn’t come with a gov­ern­ment pay­check, but she’s sup­pos­ed­ly against big gov­ern­ment? How very hyp­o­crit­i­cal. Bachmann’s hus­band runs a clin­ic that takes fed­er­al mon­ey to pro­vide a form of ther­a­py to “cure” homosexuality—therapy that isn’t approved by the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion or the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion or, actu­al­ly, any accred­it­ing board. If any­body wants to tru­ly cut out gov­ern­ment waste, then pay­ing for that sort of thing should be stopped right away, and psy­chol­o­gists who file for reim­burse­ment for it should lose their licens­es and be arrest­ed for fraud. (Homo­sex­u­al­i­ty was ini­tial­ly sug­gest­ed for removal from the Diag­nos­tic and Sta­tis­ti­cal Man­u­al as a dis­or­der in 1973, and com­plete­ly removed by 1986. Dr. Bach­mann, if he actu­al­ly is a psy­chol­o­gist, should know that.) Michelle’s remarks about homo­sex­u­al­i­ty include such love­ly bits as say­ing that it’s “of Satan.” Yes, that’s big­otry.

Steve King (R-Iowa, mem­ber of the Tea Par­ty Cau­cus) has demon­strat­ed big­otry in his attacks against Barack Oba­ma before his elec­tion because of his mid­dle name (Hus­sein) and the fact that his father was Mus­lim. He has also shown him­self to be a racist by mak­ing claims that Oba­ma favors blacks—with­out pro­vid­ing any sub­stan­ti­a­tion, of course. His misog­y­nist vot­ing record speaks for itself.

Louie Gohmert (R-Texas, mem­ber of the Tea Par­ty Cau­cus), is a birther (crazy enough right there), who equat­ed homo­sex­u­al­i­ty with bes­tial­i­ty, necrophil­ia, and pedophil­ia dur­ing a debate on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (video clip). He also made a stu­pid­ly racist remark when com­plain­ing about one par­tic­u­lar bit of fund­ing — the infa­mous “moo goo cat pan” joke that fell flat. (He’s got so much crazy that we could spend a lot of time talk­ing about him. I imag­ine even the Tea Par­ty would be hap­py to lose him alto­geth­er. Search on “ter­ror babies” and you’ll see what I mean.)

One of King’s bud­dies in the Tea Par­ty cau­cus, Phil Gin­grey (R-Geor­gia), went to the Mex­i­can bor­der with King on a fact-find­ing mis­sion, and put his racist foot in his mouth by claim­ing that his desire to end birthright cit­i­zen­ship isn’t moti­vat­ed by xeno­pho­bia because, “if I had to choose from immi­grants across the globe, my favorite alien would be our His­pan­ic and Lati­no res­i­dents com­ing from across the South­ern bor­der. On June 22, 2011, Dr. Gin­grey, an OB-GYN, said: “Democ­rats like to pic­ture us as push­ing grand­moth­er over the cliff or throw­ing some­one under the bus. In either one of those sce­nar­ios, at least the senior has a chance to sur­vive. But under this IPAB [Inde­pen­dent Pay­ment Advi­so­ry Board] we described that the Democ­rats put in ‘Oba­macare,’ where a bunch of bureau­crats decide whether you get care, such as con­tin­u­ing on dial­y­sis or can­cer chemother­a­py, I guar­an­tee you when you with­draw that the patient is going to die. It’s rationing.” He knew per­fect­ly well that he was lying, but Repub­li­cans want to con­trol the way the mon­ey is spent, rather than to per­mit a non-par­ti­san board to con­trol it and achieve any cost sav­ings. You would think a fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tive would be in favor of cost sav­ings, but it doesn’t work that when polit­i­cal pow­er is at stake.!

At the state lev­el, we have Alaba­ma state sen­a­tor Scott Bea­son refer­ring to blacks as “abo­rig­ines.” After open­ing a speech by say­ing that “ille­gal immi­gra­tion will destroy a com­mu­ni­ty” he closed it by advis­ing his lis­ten­ers to “emp­ty the clip, and do what has to be done”.

David Bar­ton hangs out with sev­er­al Tea Par­ty fig­ures—Rick Per­ry is spend­ing Labor Day week­end with the guy. He claims on his tax records that he is an expert on African-Amer­i­can his­to­ry, but when ques­tioned about the fact that he reg­u­lar­ly address­es white suprema­cist groups (who adore him) he tried at one point to claim that he didn’t under­stand their lean­ings. One of his main claims is that Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. made no sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the civ­il rights move­ment and that he and Thur­good Mar­shall should be removed from our his­to­ry books. Newt Gingrich’s spokesman, Rick Tyler, said, “I think David Bar­ton is one of the most knowl­edge­able teach­ers on Amer­i­can his­to­ry.” (Inter­est­ing, as Gin­grich is a for­mer his­to­ry pro­fes­sor him­self, and Bar­ton is only an “ama­teur his­to­ri­an.”) He’s pop­u­lar with Bach­mann, Beck, and Mike Huck­abee, too.

Then there’s just about every­thing Glenn Beck says — the man is anti-semit­ic, racist, homo­pho­bic, misog­y­nis­tic, you name it. He seems to adore com­par­ing any lit­tle slight against him­self or Fox News to the Holo­caust. If his man­i­curist slips up an caus­es dis­com­fort, she’s prob­a­bly accused of being Men­gele in dis­guise, or at least a descen­dant of his. He has stooped so low as to attack the president’s chil­dren and refer to the First Lady as the president’s “Baby Mama.” Any­one who cares to do so can find plen­ty of videos of him any­where, but I refuse to link to them. I don’t think there are any clips in which he opens his mouth that aren’t offen­sive.

Matthew Vad­um is a colum­nist who is extreme­ly sup­port­ive of the Tea Par­ty. He recent­ly pub­lished an arti­cle claim­ing that “Reg­is­ter­ing the Poor to Vote is Un-Amer­i­can”, equat­ing vot­er reg­is­tra­tion to giv­ing the poor “bur­glary tools.”

By the way, if you haven’t seen all the signs car­ried at Tea Par­ty ral­lies depict­ing the Pres­i­dent as a mon­key, or a witch doc­tor, or Hitler, then you haven’t been pay­ing atten­tion. There are plen­ty of places where I could find more, but I’ve had enough more than enough expo­sure to nas­ti­ness for one day.

Any­one who reads this post can no longer say that they’ve nev­er heard of any­one asso­ci­at­ed with Tea Par­ty say­ing hate­ful things, or that they’re not aware of any­thing that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has accom­plished dur­ing his pres­i­den­cy.

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Why make an exception for rape and incest?

I always look for­ward to Dr. Mar­ty Klein’s Sex­u­al Intel­li­gence newslet­ters, so I was tick­led to see one in my inbox today. But one of the head­lines took me by sur­prise: End Rape & Incest Excep­tions to Stu­pak Abor­tion Ban. Dr. Klein always has excel­lent analy­ses, and this one is no excep­tion.

If you’re against repro­duc­tive choice for so-called “moral rea­sons” (as if any­one get­ting an abor­tion or sup­port­ing its legal­i­ty isn’t “moral”), be con­sis­tent. If killing a fetus or even a fer­til­ized egg wan­der­ing around a woman’s body is the same as killing a per­son (the posi­tion of every anti-choice activist), why should it mat­ter how the fetus or fer­til­ized egg got there? Why is a fetus’ right to live dimin­ished because its father was a rapist or a sadist? After all, we don’t say the chil­dren of such men have few­er rights than oth­er chil­dren.

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Stupak is back! Time to call your legislators again!

This time it’s in the Sen­ate, folks. In case you just crawled out from under a rock, I’m talk­ing about the Stu­pak-Pitts amend­ment to the Afford­able Health Care for Amer­i­ca Act that was orig­i­nal­ly intro­duced in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives by Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bart Stu­pak of Michi­gan and Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Joseph Pitts of Penn­syl­va­nia, along with a long list of Con­gressper­sons. The bill tried to keep any fed­er­al funds from being used to pay for an abor­tion, but was also word­ed in such a way that it would have pro­hib­it­ed women from pur­chas­ing pri­vate cov­er­age to cov­er abor­tions. That’s a ridicu­lous restric­tion on the repro­duc­tive free­dom of every woman who needs health care, and an even fur­ther eco­nom­ic restric­tion on what pri­vate cit­i­zens can pur­chase with their own funds. Women would be los­ing cov­er­age they have now!

The let­ter I sent to my Sen­a­tors last month was, like every­thing I send to Sen­a­tor Isak­son, not read as far as I could tell, because his office just respond­ed with a form let­ter bab­bling about his reli­gious beliefs. That’s a bit bet­ter than Sen­a­tor Cham­b­liss’ office, at least, which doesn’t even do that much. Still, that form let­ter was some­thing of a straw break­ing this par­tic­u­lar camel’s back, and it inspired me to write anoth­er let­ter back to Sen­a­tor Isak­son, one that he hasn’t respond­ed to at all. I’m not ter­ri­bly sur­prised, as I asked that he not respond at all if his only response was going to be anoth­er form let­ter. Still, writ­ing it pre­pared me, to a cer­tain extent, to respond to the alert going out about the renewed Stu­pak amend­ment, which is why I men­tion it here.

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Happy November!

I fig­ure it’s past time I check in again. Obvi­ous­ly, I’ve giv­en up on the Blog365 thing. I did make it 9 months or so, at least.

Katie turned 18 at the end of Octo­ber, so she vot­ed in the elec­tion for the first time. I’m real­ly tick­led that her first time was so his­toric! We’ll all be vot­ing in the Sen­ate run-off too, of course. I real­ly hope Jim Mar­tin makes it.

I turned 42 this week. I nev­er do under­stand peo­ple moan­ing about get­ting old­er, reach­ing a par­tic­u­lar age. It’s cer­tain­ly bet­ter than the alter­na­tive, right?

I haven’t been read­ing near as much late­ly, because my eyes don’t want to focus and I have trou­ble con­cen­trat­ing. I’m re-read­ing C.J. Cherryh’s For­eign­er series, since it’s eas­i­er to fol­low some­thing famil­iar.

I fell into watch­ing NCIS some­how, prob­a­bly because I got all caught up on all three CSIs. I’ve watched True Blood, but I don’t like it near­ly as much as the orig­i­nal nov­els by Char­laine Har­ris. It’s much dark­er, and nobody is near­ly as nice/sympathetic. I don’t even like Sook­ie much, Sam Mer­lotte is an ass, and Jason–goddess, why give that waste of flesh so much screen time? Why all the added empha­sis on sex and sub­stance use? As usu­al, the South­ern accents are abom­inable.

I start­ed watch­ing sea­son 3 of Dex­ter, but I’m just not enjoy­ing it as much as the first sea­son, for some rea­son.

So then I was lured into watch­ing Crim­i­nal Minds, large­ly due to Eliz­a­beth Bear’s reg­u­lar episode reviews (post­ed to her LJ).

At this very moment, Sam and Katie and I are watch­ing the first DVD of Car­nivàle. That is one weird, but beau­ti­ful, show. The preach­er char­ac­ter looks a lot like our friend James Jow­ers.

Sam and I watched Iron Man Fri­day night, I think it was. It was fun, but loud. Good thing I didn’t try to see it in the the­ater!

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Not Dead Yet

I’ve been almost whol­ly AFK1 for a bit, due to feel­ing even worse than usu­al. I’ll be enter­ing “make-up posts” tonight to catch up. Usu­al­ly, I’d do them in order, but this one is too top­i­cal for that.

I real­ize that McCain has claimed to have already won the pres­i­den­tial debates tonight. Wow, his truthi­ness is spec­tac­u­lar­ly crap­py, isn’t it? But for those who plan to watch any­way, FactCheck.org has a nice lit­tle Debate Spin Anti­dote. It’s worth the few min­utes it takes to watch it.You might find the FactCheck Wire handy dur­ing the debate, too.


1 Away From Key­board

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McCain Blogger Flubs His Roll

If you’re a gamer, you’ve prob­a­bly heard the hoorah by now. Michael Gold­farb, a blog­ger on McCain’s offi­cial cam­paign site added a lame anti-gamer slur to his rinse-and-repeat “but he was a POW!” bull­shit. Sam (and many oth­ers) respond­ed to the twit (who keeps com­ments dis­abled on his blog–afraid of a lit­tle com­men­tary, Gold­farb?). This isn’t the first time McCain’s peo­ple have attacked their oppo­nents with com­ments about D&D, either, as some of the folks on Boing Boing have point­ed out.

Gold­farb was respond­ing to a post on the Dai­ly Kos that called McCain on his pla­gia­rism dur­ing a media event this week­end. The DK blog­ger has a nice response.

Gold­farb has sup­pos­ed­ly apol­o­gized, but odd­ly enough, his “apol­o­gy” isn’t post­ed on his blog, or any­where else on McCain’s site as far as I can tell. If he isn’t man enough to make the apol­o­gy in the same venue in which he post­ed the attack, that says a lot about him and the entire McCain cam­paign.1


1 None of it is sur­pris­ing to me, but it is still telling.

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TotD: Controlling the Public

Wag the Dog, any­one?

Wag the DogThere have always exist­ed three ways of keep­ing the peo­ple lov­ing and loy­al. One is to leave them alone, to trust them and not to inter­fere. This plan, how­ev­er, has very sel­dom been prac­tised, because the politi­cians regard the pub­lic as a cow to be milked, and some­thing must be done to make it stand qui­et.

So they try Plan Num­ber Two, which con­sists in hyp­no­tiz­ing the pub­lic by means of shows, fes­ti­vals, parades, prizes and many paid speech­es, ser­mons and edi­to­ri­als, where­in and where­by the pub­lic is told how much is being done for it, and how for­tu­nate it is in being pro­tect­ed and wise­ly cared for by its divine­ly appoint­ed guardians. Then the band strikes up, the flags are waved, three pass­es are made, one to the right and two to the left; and we, being com­plete­ly under the hyp­no­sis, hur­rah our­selves hoarse.

Plan Num­ber Three is a very ancient one and is always held back to be used in case Num­ber Two fails. It is for the ben­e­fit of the peo­ple who do not pass read­i­ly under hyp­not­ic con­trol. If there are too many of these, they have been known to pluck up courage and answer back to the speech­es, ser­mons and edi­to­ri­als. Some­times they refuse to hur­rah when the bass-drum plays, in which case they have occa­sion­al­ly been arrest­ed for con­tu­ma­cy and con­tra­ven­tion by stocky men, in wide-awake hats, who lead the stren­u­ous life. This Plan Num­ber Three pro­vides for an armed force that shall over­awe, if nec­es­sary, all who are not hyp­no­tized. The army is used for two purposes—to coerce dis­turbers at home, and to get up a war at a dis­tance, and thus dis­tract atten­tion from the trou­bles near at hand. Napoleon used to say that the only sure cure for inter­nal dis­sen­sion was a for­eign war: this would draw the dis­turbers away, on the plea of patri­o­tism, so they would win enough out­side loot to sat­is­fy them, or else they would all get killed, it real­ly didn’t mat­ter much; and as for loot, if it was tak­en from for­eign­ers, there was no sin.

A care­ful ana­lyst might here say that Plan Num­ber Three is only a vari­a­tion of Plan Num­ber Two—the end being gained by hyp­not­ic effects in either event, for the army is con­script­ed from the peo­ple to use against the peo­ple, just as you turn steam from a boil­er into the fire-box to increase the draft. …

The pas­sage is by Elbert Hub­bard, from Lit­tle Jour­neys to the Homes of the Great, Vol. XIV: Great Musi­cians, Chap­ter 8: “Lud­wig van Beethoven”. I can’t hon­est­ly see what it has to do with Beethoven in par­tic­u­lar, but per­haps that would become clear in con­text.

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