Tag Archives: Congress

Promises, Promises

seeds and stems

The end of spring session draws near.  It is almost summer break.  Everything needs to be done RIGHT NOW!  I can appreciate that as a procrastinator myself.  However, I was writing basically the same article last  year.  I wrote to my State Representatives to beg them to take mercy on the suffering Pennsylvanians who could be treated by cannabis.  Last year SB1182 passed the Senate and just needed the House to vote.  Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis passed the Pennsylvania Senate.  The House just needed to vote.

That bill died with the end of session. Now the next legislative session is heading home for summer break without passage of medical marijuana.  SB3, a re-working of SB1182, passed Senate months ago.  I was promised it would pass by the end of June.  The Speaker of the House Mike Turzai sent it to the Health Committee instead of voting on it.  Rep Turzai once ran away from medical marijuana advocates.  Ran away.  I watched the video, it was something else.  Rather than even listen to the medical marijuana advocates, he ran away.  He pushed that bill away too.

My Representative Pat Harkins says he supports SB3.  It doesn’t matter.  Rep Matt Baker, Chairman of the Health Committee, promises to let it die.  He takes money from pharmaceutical companies and he denies states rights when it comes to medical marijuana.  He is a Republican from Tioga. I’m not surprised if you haven’t heard of it before.  I’ve lived in Pennsylvania for nearly 38 years and I had never heard of it before.  Matt Baker sits on top of SB3.  It’s not on any agenda.

I am involved with several online advocacy groups.  A few days ago, word went around that State Rep. Nick Miccarelli, also Republican, District 162-Ridley Park, decided/was convinced to file a discharge resolution to circumvent Mr. Matt Baker.  He spread the word that he would file this uncommon, but legal, discharge resolution on Friday, June 26, 2015.  Mere days before the end of the semester.

We celebrated the news!  We got tingly with excitement.  We didn’t need to let one man stonewall the will of the people.  Polling consistently shows more than 80% of Pennsylvanians approve the immediate passage of medical marijuana.  Maybe it would happen, this time.

Now, straight out of left field, State Rep Ron Marsico, Republican from Dauphin County 105 District, says he will introduce his own bill to legalize medical marijuana.  He promises this bill will go to the House Judiciary Committee for immediate passage.  He heads the Judiciary Committee so, he might have some pull there.  The Judiciary Committee has been holding hearings and interviewing patients for months.  They would rather control the future of medical marijuana than not.  Time for the Hail Mary Pass.

None of my advocate friends of medical marijuana knew about this.  We have been calling our Representatives all day.  I noticed the bill was not yet introduced.  He just promises introduction.  Who will flinch first?

There are more than a few doubts about Representatives Marsico’s motives.  We are waiting to read the language of this promised bill. His official press release says that the bill would “support a narrow, regulated measure that allows compassionate use of medical marijuana but takes special precautions against abuse or diversion of marijuana for non-medical purposes.”

I am happy for any movement on the issue.  Baby Steps, baby!

If you know a single, seriously ill person, don’t you want them to try whatever helps?  Cannabis is easy.  It grows like a weed.  There’s already a cultural shift nationwide.  PA is not exactly a forerunner here.  There are hundreds of successful businesses to learn from in the 23 states with medical marijuana.  We can still be in the top half of the country, Lucky Number 24!

Marsico’s official release promises no more than 5 medical marijuana companies to be throughout the state.  That’s good enough for me.  Erie is the third or fourth largest city in Pennsylvania, depending on how you count.  We are sure to be included in the five.  Five is better than zero.  Five is infinitely better than zero.  Mathematically it can’t even be defined how much better it is.  I will take any bill to start.  Of course, the cities will get the marijuana first.

Erie used to be an industrial powerhouse, a beautiful “gem city” on the naturally protected Presque Isle Bay.  We used to be a fresh-water fishing capital, and a necessary link on the Great Lakes Shipping chain.

Now there are more empty building than I care to count.  The city is demolishing blighted homes full time.  They tear down houses every day.  Many, many, empty factories sit crumbling.  I imagine them awash in green.  All the jobs and medicine to treat all the sick people could be grown here.   Pennsylvania needs jobs.  Governor Tom Wolf promises Pennsylvania is “Open for Business.”  Look around the country, money is being made hand over fist in Colorado (and Washington and Oregon and Alaska.)  They are giving the residents tax refund checks.  My friend who lives in Colorado can buy legal marijuana with her tax refund checks.  She did.  The state of Colorado approves!

I just want less seizures.  I just want to go to my son’s soccer game without having a seizure, getting confused and disoriented, and then sleeping the rest of the day away.  There are centuries of medical evidence, published in well-respected scientific journals.  Marijuana can help prevent and lessen the severity and frequency of seizures.  There are centuries of evidence.  I am not making this up.  I have discussed this with my doctors.  They all agree.  None of my numerous doctors have disagreed.  They all gauge their responses, as we “live in the wrong state.”  But nobody has flat-out told me I am wrong.  Just living in the wrong state.

Dear Pennsylvania House of Representatives, you could change that today.  Do the right thing.  My friend’s mother recently lost her fight to cancer, medical marijuana came too late for her.  Don’t let it be too late for the rest of us.
Any day now…

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My Green Testimonial

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I wish I was able to attend the Pennsylvania Senate Hearing on SB 3 and medical cannabis.  I would have loved to submit my own testimony.  Seizures prevent me from driving.  It’s too dangerous.  I could not be there to show the Senators how sick I am, to tell them how desperate I am for treatment.  I wish that I could bring my children so they could tell you how scary it is for them when I have a seizure.  They could describe my seizures to you better than I can.  I have no memory of my seizures, I am here and then I am gone.  It’s terrifying.  I can’t predict when I’ll stop & stare, shake & fall.  I fear falling down the stairs.  I’m terrified of spilling boiling water on myself or drowning in a tub. These are rational fears for an epileptic.

I can give up driving, but I can’t give up cooking and doing any of the million little things in my life that could kill me.  Just being alive is a fearful thing. Everything is okay, until it’s not.  I could not even count the number of times I have fallen out of bed.  50,000 people die every year from epilepsy.  I live in fear everyday.  My seizures are intractable and incurable.  I take thousands of dollars of anticonvulsants every month.  I have seizures every month.  I cannot predict when I will lose consciousness and scream and fall down.

There is a safe, natural treatment. It’s been used to treat seizures for centuries. More studies are not needed. Cannabis stops seizures. I just want to slow my overactive brain. 3 million Americans have epilepsy.  Less than half of us have access to cannabis.  The Epilepsy Foundation is in full support of Medical Cannabis.  Anything that prevents seizures is a miracle.  It’s all we want.  Consciousness.  Not one more second lost.  We can’t wait.  Seizures kill.  Cannabis can save lives and is saving lives right now.  I don’t want to leave The Commonwealth.  What choice do we have?  Passing SB 3 is crucial.  People are dying while we wait.  Please don’t let me die.  It is cruel to withhold medicine.

Please don’t overlook the millions of Pennsylvanians who are suffering from the many other illnesses that can be help by cannabis.  I also suffer from IBS.  I had my left ovary (2004), my uterus (2011) and most recently, my gallbladder removed (June 2014).  I know something about pain.  I know that cannabis is a better choice than many addictive pharmaceuticals. We can’t let paranoia and reefer madness prevent ALL the sick people from getting the cannabis they need.  Whole plant and all.  Real compassion does not judge who gets treatment or not.  Everybody deserves to feel better.  And to have less seizures.  My seizures are intractable & incurable. There is no cure for epilepsy. I will have it for the rest of my life, until it kills me.

Maybe you have spoken with parents who have children ravaged by seizures. I think it would be great if you spoke to the children of parents who are ravaged by seizures. Ask my children what it’s like when mommy has a seizure; I don’t remember. I have to piece it together based on bruises. Ask my 9 year old son why he covers my eyes when he sees flashing lights. My daughter is ten and she will have many stories to tell you. Recently, I had several seizures & hit my head in front of my daughter. I may have given myself a concussion. It would not be the first, nor will it be the last. At least I did not fall down the stairs. It’s hard for them to see me have seizures. It must be the scariest thing in the world.

Give ALL our sick citizens the chance to feel better. Please. I beg you. People are dying while we wait. I don’t want to die in front of my children.

Cannabis is not the same as heroin. We need to stop pretending that it is. Heroin is a killer. Nobody is dying from cannabis. End Cannabis Prohibition!

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No Common Sense For The Commonwealth

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I have long been a silent supporter for medical marijuana.  But I was afraid to really speak out.  I was a Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” kid.  Would the moms shun me at the school if they knew?  It was safer to stay silent.  So what happened?  Charlotte Figi happened.  When Charlotte’s Web hit the news I cried.  I was so happy to see this beautiful little girl reclaiming a life that she almost lost due to seizures.  I was so happy for her and her family.  And then I cried for my children… They have to live with a mommy who sometimes screams and falls down.  That is the worst effect of my epilepsy: my kids have to see me have a seizure.  If you’ve seen a seizure you know, it’s pretty much the worst thing in the world.  If you haven’t, lucky you.  I hope you never do.  Unless you work in Harrisburg or DC: I would love to have a seizure in front of you.  You will be rightfully frightened.  Seizures change everything.

Parents in Colorado and New Jersey and Pennsylvania are fighting to get their children marijuana.  How could I stay silent?  It IS a matter of life and death.  Seizures kill.  Epilepsy is a terrible disease that holds us in a cold grasp until we die. People die from seizures and seizure related injuries everyday.  Over 50,000 Americans lose their life every year.  For me it’s all about seizures, everything in my life is about seizures.

Medical marijuana can SAVE lives.  The Epilepsy Foundation supports medical marijuana.  The nation’s largest epilepsy organization is advocating for marijuana.  That’s huge!  The seizure preventing effects are visible and undeniable.  ALL epileptics need access to this natural medicine that is recommend by Surgeon General nominee Sanjay Gupta and my personal doctors.  I’d like it if Pennsylvania would allow me that courtesy.  23 other states would.  I’m tired of my government treating me like a criminal.  I’m not a bad person.  I just want to have less seizures.  I want to stay conscious at ALL times.

The Pennsylvania Government denies that there is any valid information in the hundreds of studies not done in Pennsylvania.  All the scientific literature does not matter to them.  They insist that they would have to re-do the studies here.  But they won’t do the studies.  Science doesn’t matter to them.  The fact that the federal government has a patent on cannabis (Patent #6630507) means nothing to my so called Representatives.

I read the studies.  The information is there for the taking.  The internet grants us immediate access to governmental documents and scientific journals.  I am convinced.   Marijuana has been known for CENTURIES as a treatment for epilepsy.  Why should I suffer for being born in the wrong century and state?  I just want to be able to grow a plant and stay conscious.  Marijuana can help.  There is anecdotal evidence.  There is scientific evidence.  I’ve had too many seizures to just sit by and wait for Pennsylvania to grow up.  For years I suffered in silence.  I felt so alone in my unstable state of consciousness.  I thought that nobody understood me until I met other people living with epilepsy.  I need to educate the world about my deadly, deadly disease.

I was diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy was in 1997.  I was 20.  I went to bed with a headache and woke up in the hospital, talking to my mother on the phone.  She asked me where I was.  I didn’t know.  I had no idea why I was on a phone.  The last I knew I was sleeping.  I could not believe that I had a seizure and was in the hospital brought by ambulance.  It was the first time, but not the last.

They kept asking me what kind of drugs I was on.  That made no sense.  I don’t take drugs. I had taken a biology exam and came home to sleep.  They tested me.  No drugs.  I was confused and angry.  I had another seizure coming out of the bathroom holding the warm container of my own urine.  I don’t remember much else.  Days later I saw a Doctor.  I can’t remember his name, he was just the first of dozens.  He told me I had Idiopathic Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.  It was a diagnosis that I could barely understand despite my years of college anatomy and physiology.  He also said Seizure Disorder but I liked that term even less.

I understood I had a seizure or I was trying to understand that. But I didn’t really believe it.  And I certainly didn’t believe that just because I had one seizure meant that I was going to have another.  I was wrong.  Poor Past Katie, she was so wrong.  That wasn’t my first seizure.  It was just the first time somebody saw me have a seizure.  Over time, as I learned more about my seizures, I realized I had hundreds of un-diagnosed seizures.  I have had seizures my whole life.  I will have them for the rest of my life.  Hopefully they won’t kill me.  I think that every day.

My diagnosis  has not changed over the years.  It’s still Idiopathic (Unknown cause) Temporal Lobe (part of the brain on the side, controls memory and emotions and so much more) Epilepsy (lots and lots of uncontrolled burst of electricity in my brain.)  There is still no reason, no cause, no warning when a seizure might happen.  My brain has too much electricity.  Yee-Haw!  It’s a rodeo!

I’ve gone years without seizures.  Ah, the good years; the sweet seizure-free years.  The longest I went without a Grand Mal (a massive, convulsive, secondarily-generalized seizure) was seven glorious years.  Now I am happy for seven days sometimes.  It’s been 14 days today.  I am finally feeling normal again.  My body has more or less physically healed from the last seizure.  The depression has lifted.  But who knows for how long?

This year the record is 42 days seizure-free.  Then I ended up in the hospital with gallbladder disease and had a cluster of seizures in June. They played fast and loose with my seizures in the hospital.  They gave me so many different injections and bags of saline and radioactive isotopes.  I don’t know what they gave me.  I had a seizure in the bathroom.  I bit my tongue and bled all over myself.  I wandered the halls and looked for my husband whom I had sent home.  I couldn’t remember doing that.  I was dazed and confused: lost in the hazy aftermath of a seizure.  At least I didn’t fall out of bed that time.  I woke up covered in blood and vomit and had no idea why.  Nobody in the hospital knew.  They don’t know how to treat me.  There is no way to treat me after a seizure.  All I can do is sleep and wait for my brain to reboot.  Seizures are exhausting, for days, for weeks at a time.  It’s not just the half hour that I lost, it’s everything that comes after.  My most recent seizure brought me a bruised rib.  But I didn’t fall down the stairs!  I fell into the banister instead.

I would try any plant that could help.  I’ve tried all sorts of minerals and supplements that I found referenced in the medical texts as a treatment for epilepsy.  Marijuana comes up again and again.  There is enough evidence for me and 85% of Pennsylvanians.  But I don’t have safe access to the strains that are curing epilepsy.  Charlotte’s web isn’t available in Pennsylvania.  The variety matters.  Think of marijuana like peppers.  You wouldn’t say that an Orange Sweet Bell Pepper was the same as a Ghost Pepper.  Jalapenos aren’t the same as Banana Peppers.  They are all different strains of the same plant.  Plants are like that.  When you are in a state with marijuana prohibition, there is no choice but one: whichever one your Dude has at that point in time, which changes all of the time.  Nobody else wants to consume marijuana that won’t even get you high. Children in Colorado are allowed to but I’m not.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania doesn’t trust me to live my adult life and make decisions about my body by myself with the advice of my doctor.  More than one doctor would prescribe me marijuana if they could.  I have been told more than once.  Neurologists talk about it with me at length.  We are all hopeful for “new” treatments.  But I am in the wrong state for that.

Is Pennsylvania part of the United States or not?  Nearly half the country would allow me medical marijuana.  It’s as free and clear as beer in Colorado and Washington.  But not Pennsylvania.  I am stuck here in the prohibition years.  No medicinal plants for me.  My seizures don’t matter to the legislators of Pennsylvania.

Seizures are being prevented. How can you allow us to go without treatment?  It is a cruel and unusual punishment.  

And that’s why they call us Pennsyltucky.

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FIRE CONGRESS

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I am so angry about my so-called government today.  I want to tamp down the rage, but it’s been boiling over for two weeks already.  For TWO weeks our government has stopped working, ground to a crushing stop by a bunch of whiny-ass white men.  Congress has but one job, TO RUN THE GOVERNMENT.  They are not doing their jobs.  We need to fire them.  Any other employee would get fired if they tried to shut their business down for no reason.  You have to pay your bills or suffer the consequences.  At least I do.

My aunt is working for FREE because she works for the VA.  Her mentally ill vets still need care.  That’s right, mental health care for our Veterans is considered non-essential.  That’s how mass murders happen; when sick people who have access to weapons go off their meds.  She has to go to work, paid or not.  I hope she’s got all her hay already.  She also has a farm, cows and horses that need to be fed.  That is EXPENSIVE.  I hope she’s all stocked up now.  Her animals could starve if she runs out of food and hasn’t been paid.  Seriously, think of that: horses starving because of the government shutdown.  Because that is happening right now and worse…

Children are going hungry because their Head Start programs are deemed unnecessary.  Head Start! Our most vulnerable citizens, CHILDREN are suffering because Congress is playing chicken with our country.  Childcare is non-essential?  Ask any parent what they think about that.  Without childcare people can’t go to work.

My cousin is furloughed without pay.  She can’t even check her work email.  She got half a paycheck last week from the time she worked before the shutdown.  She probably won’t get another paycheck.  October is half over; November’s mortgage will be due soon.  This is happening to millions of hard working Americans who just want to go to work.  It’s damaging to think of oneself as non-essential.  And we are finding out more and more every day that the people who are not are work, are missed.  There are thousands of government programs that have been taken for granted.  You only miss something once it’s gone.

We are missing USDA inspectors who inspect our food and who can access the damage to farmers in the mid-west that just suffered massive losses due to a harsh early snowfall.  Cows suffocated under the snow and the government officials that need to deal with it are at home, unpaid.  Thousands of people’s futures wait in the balance.  I hope our Pistachios are clean.

The entire fleet of Alaska Crab Fishing Boats is currently waiting, only half afloat.  The King Crab season is about to open and nobody has the permits to fish.  If they don’t fish, millions of dollars of income will be lost.  That is money that cannot be recouped.   The Russian Fleet will catch all the crab and all the sales to Asia and the US.  Thousands of people’s fortunes rely on this King Crab fishing season.  They are all ready to go, just say the word.  Let them do their job.  Captain Keith Colburn of Deadliest Catch fame was in DC begging Congress to just let them fish.

Meanwhile, it’s still Hurricane season.  The Gulf Coast isn’t going to be spared from inclement weather just because it is an inconvenient time.  Federal Emergency workers were considered non-essential.  They are not essential until there is an EMERGENCY.  Unfortunately emergencies are not something you can predict.  You need to be ready to react instantly, not a few weeks after the shutdown damage has been undone.  Because the shutdown is damaging everything that works on a time table and requires supplies.

I’m worried about our Astronauts in space right now.  NASA is unnecessary.  Thankfully they are on an INTERNATIONAL space station, I’m sure the Japanese and Italian astronauts will share their oxygen and water if it comes to that.  I hope that no meteorites enter our atmosphere though.  NASA usually checks on that for us.  Or rather, they used to.

All science is non-essential.  Even the Center for Disease Control is shutdown.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel the need to risk people’s lives just because Congress can’t agree.  I hope we don’t have an epidemic.

Our government research base at the South Pole is non-essential.  People could FREEZE if supplies don’t make it to the South Pole.  Seriously, FREEZE.  If you leave all that equipment unattended through an Antarctic winter, it will ALL be lost.  Millions of dollars have already been spent getting everything there, we can’t just abandon it!  The South Pole will take it ALL.  It makes me sick.  The House Gym is open, but we are shutting down the South Pole.  Which is more important to you, American Citizen?  Is it really more important for Paul Ryan to lift weights or to allow the SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN APPROVED CONTINUE?

I’m voting with science every time.  I will never vote for the abs.  Let Paul Ryan work out in his own private gym that he most likely already has.  Or let him pay for a membership at a public gym like the rest of us.  By the way, he’s still getting paid.  Meanwhile, people could FREEZE and all of our scientific equipment could be lost.  Congress might not care about the South Pole, but I do!

I care about the cows and the vets and the crabbers and astronauts and the MILLIONS of Americans who are out of a job right now. The people being hurt by Congress aren’t rich people, they are the hard working Americans who voted those clowns in.  Congress doesn’t have to suffer.  They get paid and have health care and a private gym.  Well, the rest of us are drowning here.

We need to fire Congress!  I have always been an advocate for voting, but I am ready to explode now.  They can’t be allowed to run our country into the ground like this!  We need to FIRE CONGRESS, each and EVERY one of them!

America PLEASE! I know none of us are happy now.  This government shutdown is hurting us ALL.  Remember this.  Remember who did this to our country.  VOTE.

Pennsylvania House Representative Mike Kelley and Senator Pat Toomey, consider yourselves fired.

Now open up my government and let my kids watch the Panda Cam!

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Congress vs. Roe vs. Wade

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Eight men and ZERO women have been meeting behind closed doors in the House of Representatives.  The so-called Judiciary Sub-Committee on Constitutional and Civil Justice is deciding the fate of my uterus.  Fuck that shit!  I can’t help but swear profusely.  No women are included in a debate about women’s bodies?!  How is this okay??  That is not “Justice.”  That is bullshit.  Today, in the 21st century, women are still being shut out from making major decisions about their own bodies.

This is Republican Trent Franks’ brainchild that should have been aborted.  Until he has a uterus, he should not be allowed to make these sorts of sweeping decisions.  My body.  Not yours.  These men have no idea.  They simply cannot know.

Dear Congress, if you can carry a fetus, then you can make your own decisions about what to do when you get pregnant.  Otherwise, get the hell out of my vagina.

I have been lucky to have never needed an abortion.  But there are times that if I had gotten pregnant, I could have had one.  That’s my right.  Not only when I was raped.  Not only in cases of incest or when a woman’s life is at stake, but always, every day.  A man can never know what all the circumstances are unless he is in the shoes of a young, scared, pregnant girl who will be disowned or a sick, tired, poor, woman with more kids that she can take care of.  You do not know what it’s like.  And you do not get to make these decisions for people other than yourself.

How would you like me to put restrictions on masturbation?  Every sperm is sacred; every sperm could be a baby.  Where are we going to draw this line?  Running straight down through my vagina but around your penis?  I don’t think so.   Women have the right to decide what goes on inside of our own bodies.   Whether you like it or not.   Whether you think it’s moral or not.

You are free to hate abortion as much as you want.  Make your fucking signs and protest the abortion clinic, that’s your right.  But to have that abortion clinic is also my right.   Fetuses do not have rights; they cannot live outside of a uterus.  That uterus is attached to a woman though, and she is alive and does have rights.  She can decide to do whatever she wants to her own fucking body.  Right or wrong.  Morals are not universal, we all believe different things.  You cannot legislate your morals onto my body.

Making these laws aren’t saving any lives, they are KILLING women.  Recently a young woman died because she was denied chemotherapy because of an abortion ban in Dominican Republic.  She died.  And she is just one of thousands of women who have died due to lack of adequate and safe access to abortions.  All the men get to live.  And who is going to take care of these fetuses when the mothers die?  Oh wait, nobody, because a fetus can’t survive without a uterus, without a mother.

There are already too many unwanted children in this world.  Children are starving and being beaten because they are unwanted or their parents are unable to take care of them for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that all children deserve to be loved and wanted.  Not just fetuses.  But alive girls too.  Pregnant girls too.

If abortion is murder, and if that woman is damned to hell, what do you care anyway?  That is each woman’s very own cross to bear, not yours.  It’s none of your damned business.   If you think that’s true, let them go to hell.  They’ll certainly see you there, Trent Franks.

I’m sorry that Congress doesn’t think that I’m grown up enough to make decisions for myself.  They will receive my petitions and not my votes.  And I am a voter, midterm primary elections and all.  Women are the majority.  52% of the world has a uterus.  And along with that uterus comes the right to decided what we may or may not want up in there.   I do not want the House of Misrepresentatives up in my or my daughter’s vaginal canal.

I am so freaking mad I could punch one of these House Misrepresentatives right in his dick.  Represent that motherfucker!  I thought we settled this matter in the 1970s.

Ladies of America, if you like your vagina, stand up and shout!  Let’s riot this bitch!  That’s not a threat, that’s a promise.  I will vote you out.

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