Friday, October 31, 2008

Offensive Ads

I know that I had promised that my next blog would be about how same-sex marriage would fundamentally change society, and I will address that this weekend, but at the moment there is one issue that I feel I must address immediately--the most recent advertisements for the "No on Proposition 8" campaign. I am not sure if anyone else has seen the most recent ads, but I was appalled by their content when I saw them televised while watching the news last night.
There are two new ads running which literally left me shocked and entirely offended. I cannot imagine any decent person with a brain not being offended by these ads. Let me explain.
The first of the two ads has Senator Diane Feinstein speaking of how she has seen discrimination before and that anyone who votes "Yes" on prop 8 is simply discriminatory. The second ad shows Japanese-Americans in internment (concentration) camps, followed by footage of physical abuses of African Americans in the 60s during the civil rights movement, while the commentator speaks of the discrimination of all who support a "Yes" vote on prop 8.
I take great offense to this message and find it quite hypocritical of those who are airing it. Essentially, they are saying anyone who supports traditional marriage between a man and a woman is morally equivalent with racists and xenophobes who have beaten and incarcerated people. I cannot understand how the average citizen would not be deeply offended by this comparison. Anyone who feels that a child should have the right to have a mother and a father is now considered a vile monster of the worst sorts? Unbelievable!
These ads promote hate and anger towards those who support a "Yes" vote on proposition 8. Quite ironic considering that it is coming from a campaign that claims to promote tolerance.
I shall be waiting for the "No on 8" campaign to start running ads against both Barack Obama and John McCain, considering they both support traditional marriage as being between a man and a woman. After all, how can we have someone in the office of the Presidency who would be so morally corrupt!
And what about the rest of America? I suppose that the majority of Americans are morally corrupt for believing marriage to be a sacred institution designed for a man and a woman.
I honestly believe that these latest ads will backfire on their own campaign as most Californians will recognize the vitriol and intellectual dishonesty behind it. If not, then let this be a warning to the rest of America--anyone who believes in tradional values will be demonized and will be discriminated against by those who pretend to irradicate such discrimination.
I seriously cannot understand how people who promote family values which actually support and build up a positive influence in society can be deemed evil. . . A great example of calling good evil. . . I guess that I have to hand it to the "No on prop 8" campaign on this one issue--they certainly know how to fulfill scripture!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Fundamentals of Marriage--the core argument of Prop 8

Between all of the information presented from both proponents and opponents of proposition 8, it is easy to fall prey to a focus on the tangents of the issue rather than the core. As the final days before the election pass, I feel that it is necessary to return to the core issue concerning the definition of marriage. While side issues may prove interesting, it is the core of the matter which matters most.
There have been many comments left upon my blog by individuals who are both pro and anti proposition 8. I appreciate each of you taking the time to leave comments, and I have left all of them on my blog for all to read. There have been individuals who have made astute observations for both sides of the issue. There have also been individuals who have made comments that are inflammatory for both sides of the issue. I should like to respond in a respectful manner, recognizing that people are entitled to their opinions and that while our opinions may differ, we may be civil to one another. At the end of the day, we are all Americans, we are all human beings, and we are all children of God. I hope that each of you will take the time to read through the entire argument that I am about to present. You are free to comment and I will be sure to read and consider your arguments. What I do ask is that each person who reads this entry, will do so with an open mind and an open heart, simply considering the perspective from which I am coming, making an attempt to understand my perspective, just as I will attempt to understand others perspectives in return.
Let me preface my remarks with this one fact: I do not support nor harbor any ill-will toward anyone who happens to be gay or lesbian. I am religious and sincerely believe that every human being is a son or daughter of a loving Heavenly Father who cares for each of his children, whether they be gay or straight. I am not homophobic and I do not live in an isolated bubble of conservative values. I am acquainted with many individuals who happen to be gay or lesbian. I have been camping with and slept in the same tent as an acquaintance who happens to be gay--believe me, I do not fear such people and I do not treat them differently. That having been said, I am in support of a "YES" vote on proposition 8, and I honestly feel that it does not make me intolerant, bigoted, hateful, homophobic, anti-gay, or any other derogatory term that some have labeled me. Nor do I believe that voting "Yes" on proposition 8 denies anyone of any basic human rights. Allow me to explain.
To come to an understanding from both sides of the issue, we must first and foremost explore what constitutes the institution of marriage. A simple appeal to the dictionary states: "Marriage (n): the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife." This has been the basic definition of marriage for thousands of years, recognized by billions of people, and extending through a multiplicity of cultures. Marriage, traditionally, has been a religious ceremony, which has been extended into civil practice. Many view the institution of marriage as a sacred covenant between a man and a woman, in connection to God. ". . .Marriage between a man and woman is ordained of God and the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of his children" (The Family: A Proclamation to the World). The primary purpose of a traditional marriage in a Judeo-Christian society is to promote chastity (according to the laws of God), promote procreation between a man and a woman (the perpetuation of the species), provide the optimal environment for child-rearing, create a stable financial environment for an individual who may choose to stay home in order to rear children, to teach and promote the time-honored and tested values that promote one's greatest chances for success and happiness, and for a man and woman to enter into a covenant with one another to love, support, and cherish one another, whereby they may work together in the process of perfecting one another in the pursuit to become like one's Heavenly Parents. Obviously, this is not what everyone thinks of marriage, but it is certainly the roots of its institution. Knowing this, we may begin to understand why some feel that the institution of marriage is under attack.
Nobody denies that there are inherent qualities that are unique to both men and women. There is much that the sexes have in common, but there are also many differences. The optimal care of children, the ideal, the standard, as is proclaimed both by God and nature is for a child to have both a mother and father. David A. Bednar states, "[Gender] in large measure defines who we are, why we are here upon the earth, and what we are to do and become. For divine purposes, male and female spirits are different, distinctive, and complementary. . ." (Ensign Magazine, October 2008, 67). While there is much good that a same-sex couple may bring to a child's life, there are innate qualities that are complimented by two parents of the opposite sex that cannot be duplicated from a same-sex couple. Every child deserves to be reared in such an environment. It is the optimal environment and will afford the child the best chance for happiness and success. Some would argue that there are families with single parents--the tragedy that comes with the death of a parent, divorce, out of wedlock births, and etc. We sympathize with such, and many single parents are doing a remarkable job with the circumstances that they have been given. But just because single parents exist, does not make single parenthood the standard nor the ideal. It would be ludicrous for us to promote single parenthood to children. Can you imagine: "Sally, when you grow up you should strive to be a single mom." That is not to say that we are degrading single mothers or single fathers. We appreciate the work that they do. But it is not the standard--it is not the goal. We should promote the institution that will best accommodate the needs of children. That institution is marriage between a man and a woman. Likewise, it is ill-advised to promote same-sex marriage. This creates a new standard for which individuals may strive--a standard that is not the optimal.
Some claim that by denying marriage for same-sex couples we are denying one of their basic human rights. This is an interesting argument and I can understand why they would think this way. On the surface it has the appearance that human rights are being violated, but the reality is to the contrary. In a comment to one of my blogs, Merrie stated: "Is Proposition 8 a human rights argument or a legal rights argument? Let's look at the differentiating characteristics between the two. 
1) Human rights are considered to be of a purely moral or ethical character, which hold that we obtain certain rights from nature that cannot be legitimately modified by any legislative authority. 
2) Legal rights are considered to be of an artificial, man-made character, which are arbitrary human constructs, created by legislative authority and always subject to change. 
Proponents of Proposition 8 assert that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and therefore is a divine or natural right. Opponents of Proposition 8 assert that marriage is a man-made concept and therefore subject to legislative change.
This leads us to [the] essence of the argument: should human/natural rights take precedence over legal rights? In the case of Proposition 8 the answer is an unequivocal yes." If one is still not convinced that same-sex marriage is a legal right rather than a human right, then we must consider this question: is it a human right for a child to be reared by both a mother and a father? I proclaim that it is. Just as one would say that human rights are being violated by disallowing same-sex marriages, another may say that human rights are being violated by denying a child of a mother and a father. After all, same-sex marriage is man made while child-bearing is natural and requires both a male and female. Whose rights then trump the other? If there are two rights that seem conflicting in nature we must side with the rights of a child over the rights of an adult. The child is still developing and needs the protection of the law, whereas an adult, relatively speaking, can cope with the situation without any adverse effect.
Furthermore, marriage is an institution. Like all institutions there are requirements that are associated with the institution. For example, a university is an institution. Not everyone may obtain a degree simply at the wanting of one. Each individual must follow the rules, procedures, and requirements to obtain the desired degree. Some choose not to pursue a degree while others may not have the natural ability to obtain a degree, yet we do not say that universities are denying human rights to those who do not participate. Only those who have followed the requirements of the institution are permitted to dress in the ceremonial gowns and participate in the graduation, having their degree conferred upon them. Universities do not lower their standard in order to be inclusive. Rather, they strive for the optimal performance of those who choose to participate. we do not call them intolerant, bigoted, prejudiced or the likes simply because there are those who do not have the ability to participate. Marriage, likewise, has its own requirements. These requirements are not meant to be prejudiced or mean-spirited any more than a university or any other institution's requirements are designed. They are in place in order to create the optimal environment for a child's upbringing, to foster love in a traditional family relationship, and to promote the design and function that God has deemed essential to the destiny of humanity throughout the eternities. There are those who may not like for what this institution stands. But that is no reason to change the fundamentals of the institution.
An individual's rights are not impeded by disallowing same-sex marriage. As Jennette has pointed out on her blog: "Registered domestic partners share the same legal rights, protections, and benefits as married couples under the California Family Code Section 297.5." This is already in place for same-sex couples. Why then must we redefine marriage? All rights and privileges have been extended to same-sex couples and they have equal protection under the law. Hence, there is no need to fundamentally change the institution of marriage. There is no need for redefining marriage. After all, what purpose does the redefining of marriage serve?
Lastly, think on this argument. Let us turn the table to see this issue through another lens. There are many institutions and causes that exist throughout the world. Some good and some bad. Let's take one that many feel is a just cause--a free Tibet. While many may work to bring about human rights in Tibet and allow its people its own autonomy, it is not the same as the movement to promote gay and lesbian rights. Now imagine if those people promoting a free Tibet, having generally the same motivation in promoting human rights, decided to demand that their movement be titled "gay and lesbian rights" and to use the existing symbols and platforms of the gay rights movement. This would fundamentally change what it means to promote gay and lesbian rights. It would change the focus from one group, who has established their ideals and what they choose to promote, to a new set of ideals. Those promoting a free Tibet might claim, "you can still promote your values while we promote our own," but the effectiveness of the message would be lost, drowned out by a new philosophy or movement. So it is with marriage. By redefining marriage, the message of marriage is lost, the sanctity is lost, the foundation is lost, and hence marriage is truly under attack.
Keep in mind, this is just one perspective on marriage, and obviously one that is rooted in religion. There are others who promote "YES ON PROPOSITION 8" for other reasons, many of which are not religious at all. The point is this, everyone must research the issue carefully, looking at all angles, and vote according to both knowledge and conscience. Whether that is a "Yes" or a "No" is up to the individual. My humble plea is that we do not change the traditional meaning of marriage. I truly believe that it is ordained of God to be between a man and a woman and anything other mocks marriage and by extension mocks God. While I understand the opposition's argument that we should not impose our beliefs upon another, I do not see how their promotion of same-sex marriage is anything different than imposing their own beliefs upon another in return. This is truly an issue of morals, values, and ideals, and each of us must figure out where we stand.

*In my next blog I shall address a comment left on one of my blogs asking how same-sex marriage will fundamentally change society.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Misleading Comments of Jack O' Connell--California Superintendent of Public Schools

In recent commercials, Jack O' Connell, the California State Superintendent of Public Education has made some interesting comments with which I, as an educator and citizen of this great state, would like to take issue. As a teacher of English Language Arts, it is my job to instruct students in the use of language, and to explore its uses in written or verbal communication. Here is what I have discovered in the sophistry of Mr. O' Connell's remarks:
Mr. O' Connell states, "Proposition 8 has nothing to do with schools or kids. Our schools aren't required to teach anything about marriage." I suppose that Mr. O' Connell is making this statement based on an argument over semantics within the California Teaching Content Standards. It is true, to my knowledge, that there is nothing in the actual wording of the content standards that says "requires" in connection to the word "marriage." But there are a lot of standards that would lead to the teaching of marriage in public schools, which, in fact, are required. Furthermore, it is preposterous to think that Mr. O' Connell really knows what is going on in each school district across the state of California and within the individual school sites and classrooms. Each district, while conforming to the standards, creates its own curriculum in connection to the standards. Each district adopts its own textbooks and creates its own pacing guides which cover specific standards and themes. How can he claim that some districts do not have themes dealing with family and marriage? Has he visited each district and reviewed the individual documents? Furthermore, textbook publishers will be pressured to include works dealing with same-sex marriage by special interest groups who will undoubtedly sue the textbook publishers for discrimination if they refuse to include such diversity (we have already seen them sue other individuals who have been opposed to their position--see the link to the NPR article on my previous blog).
The proof of Mr. O' Connell's errors may be found from his own website. Granted, it will take a lot of digging in order to find the information that you are searching for (which the average voter will not be willing to do). As such, I have done a little, though not entirely exhaustive, digging myself. If we explore the document "HEALTH EDUCATION CONTENT STANDARDS FOR CALIFORNIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS (Kindergarten through Grade 12)" we will discover the following standard for Grade 1: "Describe how members of a family have various roles, responsibilities, and individual needs" (Standard 1.1.G.4). While this standard does not mention marriage, it does mention the role of family members, which implies marriage, and will lead to a discussion on the roles of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and etc. If same-sex marriage is passed, this will include the teaching of two mothers or two fathers in the roles of families. Either Mr. O' Connell is not aware of this state standard or he chooses to play ignorant over what it really means. If he is not aware, then he is simply uninformed with the falsehood he has made in his latest commercial (which is completely irresponsible of a public official). If he is aware of the standard, then he is straight lying to the people of California (which is completely shameful and a cause for removal from office). Other standards that do not explicitly say "marriage" but would lead to its discussion include: Grade 3, Standard 3.2.M.5, which states, "Describe internal and external factors that affect friendships and family relationships," Grade 5, Standard 5.1.G.6, which states, "Recognize that there are individual differences in growth and development, body image, and gender roles." and others include Grade 5 standards 5.1.G.7 and 5.2.G.11; Grade 7/8 standards 7/8.1.G.8, 7/8.2.G.15, and 7/8.5.G.30. And these are just a few within the Health Education strand. If we were to look at the History standards and the English Language Arts standards, we will not find anything that states "marriage" in the standards themselves, but an event such as adopting same-sex marriage will be one that is considered important enough to adopt into history books (thus being taught in public schools) and will be justified in reading materials for language arts (if parents object to stories that contain characters involved in same-sex marriage, they will have no right to act on their objection because it is state law). These stories could be introduced at any grade level and nobody would have a right to object. I have a friend who teaches 2nd grade who has informed me that she has already come across such a story in a supplemental reading book. While the story is not mandatory to read, there would be nothing that parents could do if a teacher chose to read such a selection. Hence, while the opposition to prop 8 claims that it will not be "mandatory" to teach same-sex marriage in public schools, they knowingly cannot say that it will not be taught in public schools. The reality is that some classrooms will teach it while others will not. If your child happens to be in one of the classrooms that teaches it, you have no right to object.
Furthermore, same-sex marriage will be taught in lessons dealing with tolerance. Unfortunately, there will be no tolerance for those who are opposed to the practice. Students will be taught that anyone who expresses disapproval over the practice would be considered intolerant, ignorant, hateful, and a bigot (I've already been branded such by people who oppose my views. I do not call them such names because I am respectful of other people's points of view. It is unfortunate that so many who claim to be advocates of tolerance are, in fact intolerant to dissenting points of view).
Needless to say, same-sex marriage will radically change the fundamentals of our society. Opponents of prop 8 claim that same-sex marriage will not affect anyone. They are wrong. Use your reason and inform yourself on the issue and VOTE YES ON PROP 8.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Difficulty of "Rights" Based Arguments

I am a firm believer in protecting human rights. I imagine that most human beings would agree that basic human rights are not to be compromised or denied to anyone. However, in Proposition 8 we have a proposition which pits rights against rights. Opponents of prop 8 claim that gay and lesbian rights are being violated by upholding traditional marriage. This message is resonating with many Californians as is seen in the latest polling data which shows support for "NO on Prop 8" at 52% and "YES on Prop 8" at 44%. What people are failing to recognize is that voting "No on Prop 8" is also violating peoples' rights. Let me share with you a few examples:
1. Voting against traditional marriage will lead to teaching same-sex marriage in public schools and will deny parents of their rights to determine what is appropriate to teach their children. This is proven by the one model we have in the United States: Massachusetts. The courts in MA have ruled that parents have no right to pull students from schools when teaching same-sex marriage. Parental rights are being denied as a result, as also is the right for children to grow up in a state of innocence.
2. Voting against traditional marriage will lead to religious rights being denied. Once again, in MA, Catholic Charities was denied their rights as a religious organization to act upon their religious principles of helping the less fortunate. By MA law, Catholic Charities was forced to offer equal adoption of children for both same-sex and heterosexual couples. Placing children in a home with a mother and a father is their religious right, yet the courts said it was discriminatory. Not willing to compromise on its religious teaching, Catholic Charities was forced to close its adoption agencies in MA. This is stripping people of their rights to practice their religion and is also stripping children of their rights to be reared in a home with a mother and a father.
3. Voting against traditional marriage will lead to a loss of freedom of speech. People who fundamentally oppose the practice of homosexuality will be deemed discriminatory. Teaching our own children our own valued principles will be considered hate speech, and intolerant.
The opposition will state that I am being paranoid, but the reality is that these things have already begun to occur both in MA, CA, and elsewhere around the country. Please take a minute to read this article from NPR and learn for yourself.
Please consider the big picture. I truly want human beings who happen to be gays or lesbian to be happy, but not at the expense of traditional marriage which has been practiced for thousands of years, and not at the expense of others' rights. Read up on the issue and vote accordingly.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


The California Teachers Association (union) is designed to offer protections to teachers' employment. They extract heafty dues from each paycheck with the promise of protections from such things as false accusations (providing legal representation) and the likes. As a teacher, I have no problem with having part of my paycheck used in a pool to protect employment rights of fellow teachers. However, when these funds are used for political purposes, especially ones that do not relate to teachers themselves, it is quite disturbing. The CTA has donated approximately 1.25 million dollars to the "No on Proposition 8" campaign and has allowed the "No on Prop 8" campaign to claim that teachers are opposed to the proposition. As a teacher and a member of the CTA I am appalled that my hard earned money is being used to promote a political agenda with which I do not agree and is saying that I support a "no" vote on proposition 8. All of their adds say that California teachers oppose the proposition. Well, I am a california teacher and I support a "YES" vote on proposition 8. What they should claim, if they are honest, is that the liberal teachers union, who is raiding teachers wallets, is opposed to the proposition, not the teachers themselves. I have no doubt that many teachers are lining up on both sides of this issue--let the teachers speak for themselves, not the union which we disagree with more often than not.
In response to the CTA's decision, many parents will be protesting by keeping their children home from school on Monday, October 27th. Here is the information that has circulated via email:

Parents throughout CA are keeping their kids out of school on 10/27/08 to counter the actions of the CA Teachers Union. CA schools are paid on average $33. per student per day for attendance. The goal of 100,000 kids missing school for one day erases the donation made by the Teachers Union and sends a message that parents will hit them where it hurts to protect our children. We're being asked to call the schools to let them know why our children will be absent on Monday. The "sit-out" will be announced at each of the YES ON 8 tour bus stops through the media. Please pass this along to every parent you know in CA."

In reallity, this action will not hurt the union financially (they make their money off of the teachers' set salaries), but it will send a message nevertheless. As for myself, I will be going to work on October 27th--it is my duty and responsibility to my profession and my students, but I must say, I would love to see a whole lot of empty desks (and if I had children of my own, I would keep them home that day in order to send a message of my own dissatisfaction with the CTA for supporting politics to which I am fundamentally opposed).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Proposition 8 Rallies

For those of you who live in Southern California and support "Yes on Proposition 8," there are a few rallies scheduled of which you may wish to be a part.
The first is this coming Saturday (October 25th) at 9 a.m. We will be meeting at the gazebo at Flowers Field (San Antonio Park) located on the corner of Mountain Ave. and 24th Street in Upland. From there, different groups will go to different locations (street corners) to rally support for the proposition (bring your signs if you have them).
The second is a much larger rally that will take place on Saturday, November 1st from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Supporters of "Yes on 8" will be lining Euclid (in Upland) from the 10 Freeway all the way up to 24th street (I will personally be on Euclid between Arrow Hwy and 9th Street). We will need as many people as possible to attend in order for this feat to be pulled off, so please invite your friends and family that support prop 8, spread the word, and come out and join us so that our voices may be heard in supporting traditional marriage, preserving parental rights, religious freedom, and free speech.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Political Season

To my readers (the few that dare to visit this site), I must forewarn you that all of my blogs between now and November 4th will be political in nature. I will return to happier and lighter topics after that date. In the meantime, feel free to comment on anything-I won't be offended by people who disagree as long as it is done in a respectful manner.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Yes on California Proposition 8

Back in March I learned of a California Supreme Court ruling that overturned the vote of California citizens in 2000 that established marriage in California as being only between a man and a woman. I wrote a blog that addressed the issue, pointing out the danger of courts legislating from the bench and making the case that same-sex marriage is inappropriate. This blog may be viewed here.
There has been much said about proposition 8 from both proponents and opponents of the proposition. The latest ads from those who are promoting gay marriage is that those who are promoting traditional marriage are using scare tactics to sway voters opinions. What the "Yes on Proposition 8" coalition is highlighting is, in fact, scary for our society, but it is true. Hence it is not truly a scare tactic--it is the truth. This video presents the reality of what will happen if same-sex marriage is legalized. It is an actual account of what has happened in Massachusetts where same-sex marriage has already been legalized.
Furthermore, we can see how the issue is already affecting education in California as is seen in this article.
Make sure that you are informed and vote according to knowledge that you have gained, not just on people pulling on the heart-strings for couples to be "happy." I guarantee that there have been plenty of happy gay and lesbian couples throughout history who have been such without being married (I have a hard time believing that gay and lesbian couples in the past have been moping around in some sort of depression because they were not married).
Vote YES on proposition 8--it is not discriminatory--it is simply protecting our own values and beliefs.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Voting Party Li(n)es

by Brett Hall

Between lies is loyalty found in one letter,
Cherished by the elephant and ass,
And while they think the fourteenth makes them better
Their actions prove that on it they both pass.
For voting party li(n)es is rather simple--
No thought be needed time and time again.
To think for you each party may prove ample,
Just punch the card for party li( )es to win!

Alright, now that you've read my latest political poetry, it is time to return to the humors of the 2008 election cycle (though it be a dark humor). So, I have heard both candidates in their speeches, debates, and ads. The latest farce that both Obama and McCain have dropped like a bone to the salivating voters is the need for America to "Pay our teachers more." This makes me laugh to see both pandering to the American public on an issue that the President has little to no control over. They drop such lines so that the American people will think, "Oh, yes, my candidate is for education. It is important to them and they support teachers in what they are doing for America's youth and future." Okay, so I am a teacher--I wouldn't object to a pay raise, but the argument is truly ridiculous! Think about it. How many teachers are there in America? Now think about the government increasing all of their paychecks. . . and from where do they plan to get this money? Seriously, that would be billions upon billions of dollars a year to take on such a feat. Ah, taxes! Like I said, I wouldn't object to a pay raise, but to force others to pay higher taxes in order to pay me more when I am doing alright on what I make. . . that just doesn't seem fair to me. . . especially during an economic crisis. What makes it even more ridiculous is when one considers that public education is funded primarily through the state in which the teachers are employed. about 93% of all funds alloted to schools come from state government. That means about 7% of all funds comes from the federal government. So, what is a presidential candidate thinking when he makes such a statement as "lets pay our teachers more money"? What they are thinking is, "I can dupe these stupid Americans into giving me their vote over an issue that I have absolutely no control over." Shame on Obama and shame on McCain for being so blatantly deceptive!
Education is primarily a state matter. Only governors and state senators have the right to make such statements as they are the one's who have the means by which to legislate such measures. And even then, it is up to school boards to use whatever additional funds they might receive from government in the actual use within public education.

. . . Politicians! They are certainly an interesting breed. . .