Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all. ~~Hypatia
Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all. ~~Hypatia
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They thus function as shortcuts to long drawn out arguments, save us time in research, and let us feel sublimely satisfied that we have done our part to enrich the grey matter in thousands of heads.
Yes, we have wild dreams don’t we?
The trouble is, that like every shortcut, we try to use it all the time, even when we are going in the opposite direction, because we are en mass, lazy. Lazy breeds error Louise, or didn’t you know that. And if my meanderings through the Facebook hallways is any indication there is plenty of arrested thinking going on out there in the Internets.
Breaking News: ALL MEMES AREN’T TRUE, IN FACT PROBABLY MOST OF THEM AREN’T.
See, creators of memes are sometimes well-meaning people who look shit up and then save you the trouble of doing the same. They create these precious memes that say so much with so little. But not all creators are well-meaning. Some are just snotty kids with lots of time to screw around, and they too create memes. Except these memes aren’t vetted for accuracy. Their only point is to superficially make some “point” that is amusing, or anger provoking, or otherwise successful in making your nod your head in any direction as long as it’s vigorously.
And these memes, the gawd-awful not true ones create havoc among the mostly rusty and ill-experienced body politic. For some reason, I end up trying to correct this nonsense, at least as to those that piss me off the most.
And I end up arguing with idiots.
And that is boring, irritating, and not worth my time.
So for once and for all:
This was accompanied by a lead in that said, “This is what every country or city should feel and mandate!!”
Now folks. First of all, this meme is a hoax, a common problem on Facebook these days with fact being stranger than fiction. In fact the original hoax started with it being a Belgian mayor.
Several posters exuberantly agreed, however, one explaining to me that “they should not impose their values on the majority of this country.” When I asked who “they” were, and what values she was speaking of, a huge silence ensued. I tried to explain that dietary laws of one’s religion are not “values” but actual laws, the same that Jews have engaged in for centuries.
Of course the meme is harsh, cruel, and would not seemingly reflect the beliefs of any thinking normal person, but thinking normal people aren’t posting and agreeing with it either. Non-thinking folks are, because they have bought into the Fox Noise scare machine.
Seemingly the poster and those who so happily agreed, forget that back in our time in the 60’s we all had meatless Fridays in the cafeteria at school year round because we respected the dietary laws of the Catholic church. Protestants went along even though their faith traditions carried no such restriction.
Somehow with Muslims it is different. The conclusion is obvious.
This one refers to “illegal aliens” or now refugees. It similarly is nonsensical.
There is no doubt that vets are being denied a good many benefits, but there is no relationship between that and either undocumented workers or refugees.
When we talk about veteran benefits, we talk about increases in pay, increases in disability pay, better services at VA hospitals and clinics, better educational opportunities, perhaps in grants and loans, better job opportunities such as preference in the job pool. We may talk about the availability of food stamps, something used by thousands of vets to get by. These issues have nothing to do with immigrants or refugees.
There are no benefits coming to either. Neither group is entitled to food stamps, assistance, medical health care insurance, or anything else.
It is a false dichotomy. When prodded, posters and those in agreement refuse to explain what veterans are not getting that these other groups get instead. That is because they cannot answer. They just find the meme soothing to their anger.
Their anger arises because they have bought into the hate machine that is Fox and other right wing fanatics who tell them that immigrants and “others” take their jobs, use up their tax money on free stuff the government gives them, and destroys their culture (meaning the way white folks like to do stuff). None of this is true of course, but Fox and right wing crazies depend on deflecting the real anger of how American operates back on victims of the system rather than the perpetrators (business oligarchs who control government).
The point is, the meme creator knew that using veterans in the meme would get immediate sympathy. We love to tout our love for the troops. We aren’t so good at touting our hatred of war as a solution but we sure wave flags at the wounded. So the veterans is the “victim” and the immigrant the “bad” guy as the meme creator intended.
The fact that there is no logical nexus between the two is irrelevant. A statement is made and hopes to find fertile ground in the untilled soil of the average non-thinking American.
3. Perhaps the silliest of them all is the perennial “war on Christmas”always resurrected in November of each and every year and harped on by Fox and the rest of the right wing babblers.
A string of seemingly defiant posters and commenters all shout dramatically, “Merry Christmas” and feel that they have done as much as anyone who hid a Jewish person in their attic during World War II.
Except folks, it’s all in your imagination.
The first question I ask is “who is telling you you can’t say Merry Christmas”? Silence.
“They are trying to change our values.” Who? Silence.
Who has ever objected to your use of the phrase Merry Christmas? “Someone has. . . .”
Silly folks, this crap goes back to the late 50’s and the John Birch Society. It rose again under the tutelage of Foxy Noise and is brought up every year.
The truth is that SOME businesses find it PROFITABLE to use more generic terms (INCLUSIVE?) to refer to the holidays in the hopes of engendering a BROADER clientele who will come shop for the “holiday”. Unless you work for them and are constrained in how you speak to customers so as to abide by this PROFIT DECISION, you are not similarly constrained.
You may shout Merry Christmas all day and night and the secular police won’t be knocking at the door. There is no secular police. There is no “they”. There are no “values” at stake here.
So take your Starbucks cup and paste on some fake snowflakes and tell yourself that now Jesus is happy and shut the fuck up.
Look, memes are fun. They can be informative. But they can be both misleading and deceiving. We all make mistakes. We live in a world where truth is stranger than fiction oftimes and insane memes can sometimes be absolutely true. We have all been caught by hoaxes. We all must be more diligent.
There are serious issues that confront this country and this world. Poverty in all its ramifications stifle the best that humanity has to offer in favor of the few who live easily and can devote their time to discovery. Climate change threatens us all. The rule of oligarchs endangers every so-called democratic system. We are woefully under-educated in other people, other places, and other ideologies and faith systems. We need thinking meaningful conversations on these and many other issues.
We don’t need to waste time on hating the OTHER. We don’t need to waste time on non-existent dangers. We need to focus our meagre free time on information that is truthful and enlightening.
Take a moment to think before you post. Cuz I’ll be foaming at the mouth and leave nasty remarks if you don’t.
See, I can’t seem to learn the concept. I heard a bit about the returns last night of some of the elections. I figure, well, that ups the ante. More like fifty percent of the damn country is so damn crazy that they are fit for tie-down jackets.
Kentucky, home of the 4 times married, childed by various men, new princess of Christianity, Kim Davis, can bite me.
After all that we have shown to be the GOP mantra of give to the rich, take from the poor, and hate every blessed thing that is not white nor male, this is what we get? Then to top it off, Rethuglicans revel in the bliss of plain old adultery, with dirty gay sex on the sly while protesting that them sexual perverts belong in jail, and screaming “one man one woman” while whispering, “in any quantity you like.” Have a mistress? Pregnant? Oh, tell her to abort, and then turn on a dime and decry single mothers who can’t keep their vaginas in check. Need a man for that huh?
So Kentuck hires itself a loon who is tea drunk and promises to roll back the Medicaid increase from Obamacare and thereby throw out up to half a million people back to being “uninsured.”
I think you all deserve each other.
Hey I’m the first to accept that reality is often a shade or two off what any of us thinks, but shit, this is insane.
Vitters hasn’t been set on a rowboat at the mouth of the Gulf and given a franc should he be lucky enough to float there without a paddle.
You all are nuts.
I recall some years ago, reading a first hand account of a woman who was able to extricate herself from a dangerous fundamentalist church. Her guts told her that the pastor’s propensity to wale on kids to “beat the love of God into them” was wrong. But the pastor continued to terrorize her with visions that her “gut” was in fact Satan who was whispering that evil in her mind.
She eventually got free of the church, but she said the little voice of doubt was still there.
See, no matter what you believe or think is real, there is always somebody out there rainin’ on your parade. There is always that doubt.
Folks, that doubt is what politics thrives on. Fox Noise is expert at planting, watering, and fertilizing that doubt EVERY DAY. It never wilts, that doubt.
There are a hell of a lot of folks who are calling for the death and defeat of ISIS. Hell there are a lot of folks who are calling for the death and defeat of all Muslims. That’s what fear does. It causes you to lose your humanity. Fear becomes the intractable determination to end the subject of your fear.
You don’t stop to examine the validity of the fear.
You just fear. And then you hate. And then you twist it all around until it becomes justified by whatever the hell you believe in.
My anger is volcanic at this point. I am tired of arguing with people (and I do use the term loosely), who can’t get past their high school civics class in terms of actual knowledge. I’m tired of arguing with people who wouldn’t know introspection if it tore their leg off.
I just realized something.
I’m 65 1/2 years old. Soon I’ll be, God willing (no I don’t believe that at all but it always sounds good), 66. It does not matter much to me what most of y’all do about most anything. I won’t live long enough to see it impact me negatively.
I got a husband, a great home, loving pets, a great city to live in, friends abound, just enough in all the right places. I got money. I got brains that still function mostly normal most of the time. I have curiosity that knows no limits. I have the ability to create stuff that makes me happy.
It does not matter to me if you all want to vote away your health care.
It does not matter to me if you want to vote away your right to control your bodies.
It does not matter to me if you all want to work for the MAN living in his shacks at the edge of the factory, and buying from the company store.
It does not matter to me what you do in regards to gay rights, marijuana, transgender rights, income inequality, help for the poor, protection of the arts, the environment.
None of it matters to ME. I ain’t gonna live long enough.
I’ve fought the good fight for better than ten years. I’m tired. Nobody listens, nobody cares, because stupid shit like “positive mantras” about how to get more sales in your job are vastly more important than clean drinking water or whether whales should be held in captivity no matter how benevolent captivity is made to appear.
You care about how much you pay in taxes and only barely care where it goes, unless directed to hate some group of people for making them higher and for the “wrong things” like other people.
More people in this country claim allegiance to Jesus while condemning “welfare queens” and people who might be lazy. They nary bat an eye while telling me they will pray for my sick soul as they divorce their third wife and avoid child support cuz it’s hard to make it with a new family and all.
You elect people who candidly tell you they hate the job, go as little as possible, but beg you to install them in a job that takes twenty-four hours a day just to keep even. And they are pretty sure you will oblige.
One asshat tells you that he learned more from God about the inner workings of the human body than from the physiology class he obviously ignored. He is considered by the very savvy electorate to be the most trustworthy of all the candidates, while Politifact wonders when he will tell his first TRUTH about ANYTHING.
Another candidate did this all for a lark and found himself at the top of the heap. Now he’s taking it serious. Seriously?
Another is a Dominionist intent on turning Merika into a new theocratic state, something the Pilgrims were hot to do, but were prevented eventually by a few elite men who figured their goose might be cooked with that sort of government.
The list is lengthy. In fact if you check into those “waiting in the wings” there is no limit to how stupid candidates have become.
How does one jerk in the House convince another jerk in the House that he can be speaker if the entire party gives up any intent to engage immigration reform? Write off the entire Hispanic population in one fell swoop. Not worth it, since of course the first jerk and probably the second, would love to deport ’em all were it feasible, and even if not.
Not that they personally give a rat’s ass. They don’t. But they found it profitable for running a campaign on. Them wetbacks–stealing your jobs, using up your taxes, making everyone all brown, with their Spanish, with their Customs, with their kids who will make my white privilege kids not so privileged? I mean there are memes going around that blame whatever is perceived as lacking in “veterans rights” on “illegals” who are I guess getting it instead.
Which brings me to the last point, or not.
Do you actually read them? I know they sound all smart and all. But if you actually think about it, about 10% of them are not even logical. Yet when I try to explain that to you, you get all huffy, and tell me that that’s my opinion.
Which makes yours, what equally right?
‘Fraid not, bozo.
And if you don’t know why, I sure ain’t explaining obvious no more…Loll around in your stupid.
We live in a culture where what feels right is right contrary to every piece of evidence. It remains right, because you need it to be so, because you poor deluded asshat, you can’t live in a world where it isn’t true. You don’t have the guts or fortitude to push on and figure out what is true.
So, I’m done with it.
It’s making me angry. My husband keeps asking, “what can I do?”
Nothing. Because nothing can fix stupid.
I just need to stop wasting my preciously dwindling time trying to bring coherent thought to those who haven’t ever experienced it.
Not that I’m a genius. I can prove that I’m not. I just have a brain that connects to my heart, and all this stupid stuff hurts. That’s the rub. It hurts because we know what is truth in general, yet we can get none of the brain dead to see it. And they never will.
If I were younger, I’d study work-arounds. I’m old, so I’m just opting out. You know. hippie style. Gonna just make me a garden and smile at the flowers. I live far enough inland that the rise in sea level won’t affect me.
And then again, in a week, I may feel better…
Don’t count on it.
I’ll write, but of what?
Didya watch it? I know, only the truly masochistic would. I did. Well, to put it honestly, I listened, preferring to stare at the slow slinking demise of the New York Mets for some reason, while I listened to the chatter of the squirrels in Boulder.
Now I have to admit. it was full of all the boring nonsense one would expect but it had its moments. I rather thought that notes were being passed among the contestants: Please guys, don’t beat up on each other. It’s Hillary who is the enemy!” Most forgot, usually because it was so much easier to attack the silliness that passed for policy among the “I just wanna be President” crowd.
Well, if you insist.
Let’s start with the undercard, where the refuse from the wars have gathered to lick their respective wounds of NOBODY CARING and pontificate as if at a child’s tea party, of what “might have been.”
For the life of me, I can’t remember half of the four that graced the screen, dressed up in their Sunday best, with every cowlick plastered down. I do remember Bobby (not my real name) Jindal, and his protestations that one need look no further than Louisiana to see the fine results of Republican economic policy. I was forced to agree with Bob that, yeah, I had not seen an uptick in suicide rates in Louisiana, so he must be right. All was well in Louisiana.
A tiny thing called facts, tend to dull Jindal’s luster however, as Louisiana is floundering economically and is especially in trouble when it comes to health care and education. But no matter, Jindal assures us that it’s really all just smoke and mirrors and all is really really okay.
But the real star was Ms. Lindsey, who wants to be president like more than getting a new puppy even. He told us so repeatedly all night. “Please make me your president!” he shouted at every opportunity.
You see, Ms. Lindsey is very upset. Ms. Lindsey was a JAG officer way back when, and spent a bit of time in Germany, defending hapless GI’s who found themselves at the wrong end of military justice. After that he joined the Guard, and rose to Colonel. Still the fly boys ridiculed the hapless not-homosexual soldier with his lack of “combat” duty, so of course Lindsey became a flaming Hawk, joining forces with Angry Old Man McCain, to bitch and moan about how things should be done in their “man’s army.”
Based on this understanding, Lindsey popped up at every question with some version of “PLEASE MAKE ME PRESIDENT AND I WILL STOP THIS CRAP”, crap being defined as whomever seems (in Lindsey’s estimation) to be kickin’ our butts. What remained unsaid, but was clear was what he really meant, “PLEASE MAKE ME PRESIDENT SO I CAN KILL SOMEBODY, ANYBODY, AND STOP THE SOLDIER BOYS FROM RIDICULING ME! I’LL SHOW THEM!”
Moving upstairs to the main event, well, the hilarity ensued, the face palming was inevitable, and we knew from the beginning we would get our moneys worth. Would Trump attack Carson? Would Carson be awake? Would Jeb strut naked and show his balls off? Would Huck plead for Ms. Davis to be vindicated? Would Christie bellow and look Mafia-ready? Would snot come from Theodore’s nose when he snickered? Would Marco tell us all over again about his “family story of arriving in Nirvana on the good ship Freedom?
We were not disappointed.
They say that no politician quits a campaign for any reason except the money is gone. Well that’s not entirely true, but close enough. Kasich we must assume has reached that point. He took on both Carson and Trump, calling their candidacies essentially crazy. He didn’t just say they were unqualified, he said they were crazy. He is not crazy he insisted. He’s done stuff. All the stuff that needs to be done, he’s done. But then everyone says they have done stuff up there on the stage.
Kasich led the charge of attack against fellow combatants. The others looked on hopefully but with a careful non-committal face, waiting to see how he did. The punches glanced off both of the crazy duet, and Kasich made reservations for his “holiday to get over losing”.
Now that “sorta establishment character” Kasich was disposed of, Jeb, licked his lips and thanked mother again for her words of wisdom, “dammit, Jeb, can’t you be a man like your brother?”, and leveled his eyes at brother Marco and let him have it. “If you can’t do your job in the Senate, maybe you should just resign!” Jeb! grinned and waited for all the pets to come his way, “good boy Jeb!”
Alas, Marco had his prepared retort at the ready. You never complained about John Kerry or Barack Obama when they too off time from their Senate duties!” he whined. Jeb! blinked. Mom never told him what to say next. So he blinked again. Marco smiled, and snuck another lick of his lollipop.
By now the others were getting restless. Theodore was prancing in the wings waiting to impress the hell out of no one with a rendition of “I was proud to lead the fight. . . .” NOT noting that he lost every battle. He got attention by yelling at the commentators who seemed an odd collection of forest creatures brought forth to “outdo Fox”at being Fox.
Theodore shook his mighty finger at the panel of questioners, and cried, “Foul! You ask mean questions!” he pouted. “Why if our answers seem insane, it’s not our fault. It’s your crazy questions that are the problem.”
Fear captured the crowd. You could hear the whispers among the handpicked stupid, who had all clearly admitted by oath in front of people that they were Republicans. “It’s just like Fox says, the MSM is just all in the pocket of the left. Can’t trust them. Can’t listen to their demon lies.” Theodore grinned, his job complete.
But what captured me utterly last night was one question and one answer. I doubt it did others, but it struck me so hard that I was literally jaw-slacked gobsmacked.
Question: There’s a hedge fund manager that bought the rights to a drug and then upped the price by 700% because he can. Do you think the government should step in, and how, to rectify this?
Ben gave some answer, that reflected his limited understanding of market economics. Mostly he shied from endorsing that anything should be done.
Well, that’s not what I expect from a doctor. Surely not one who engaged in some of the most delicate and serious of medical procedures–operation on the brains of infants.
What should I expect from a doctor?
“You know, I’m a doctor. For many years I operated on the brains of very small children. I entered medicine so I could help people, and I found helping the most vulnerable among us very rewarding. It’s no exaggeration to say that I have literally held a person’s brains in my hands. The idea that any person would deliberately deny a human being, a child, a life-saving drug because their family could not afford it, is an obscenity to me. I’m not sure how we should regulate such behavior, but I know that nobody should ever not receive a life-saving drug or procedure because they can’t pay for someone’s desire to become rich.”
That’s what a normal person would say wouldn’t they?
Ben Carson is not normal. He’s not even close. There is something very very wrong with that man. I’m not sure too many saw that.
My take on it all?
Fervent Wish: That Ms. Lindsey gets a hand up and gets in the adult debate next time. I wanna hear more of his “PLEASSSSSEEE make me President!”
So what was your impression?
REFRESHER COURSE ALERT!!!
Recently I got a friend request from a dude I recognized immediately as a nut. His Facebook icon was “Ted Cruz in 2016.” As I said, a nut.
Now, I should know better, but I could hardly turn down the chance to tell him he was an idiot before he unceremoniously “defriended” me could I? So I hit, the friend button and began a rather torturous journey into lala land or the land of the not-quite-right-in-the-head folks.
I picked up a good half dozen to eight “defenders of the stupid” and proceeded to get into a number of fights immediately. As one would expect, all the trite Fox/crazy right memes came to the fore. Since most of the arguments were on gun rights, I got the usual, “guns don’t kill people”, and criminals aren’t gonna obey the laws, and variations on those themes.
After lengthy logical argument and citing of actual facts, I was confronted with the usual right wing nothingness. One guy just posted funny pictures and called me Sherry McMoron and quote, “liberish”, as if that sealed the deal on my inconsequentialism.
And the point is, that when people are “out there in the ether” there is no point in argument. They aren’t capable of arguing, except for a “you stupid troll” between burps from the beer guzzling.
When you see somebody who is absolutely clueless, beware. You think you can patiently start at A and proceed slowly and deliberately to Z and when you are finished they will smile, and say, “I get it now. Thank you, I’m going to read more carefully from now on.”
But they don’t. They say, “you stupid troll,” and scratch their nether regions, smile and the mini thrill and reach for another Budweiser.
This will always happen no matter your level of debate and logic skills. And the reason is simple, if not understood by most. It’s not you. It’s not your argument. It’s their brain.
Study after study shows that the conservative brain is a brain that lives in fear of the bad world it is surrounded by. It cannot make sense of it all, and it feels threatened. Simple answers that package their fear and put it away is what they yearn for and gravitate toward. The are frightened and they are insecure in this big world. Small and simple answers that assure them that all will be right, captures them faster than any fact or logical deduction ever could.
They will cling to what is familiar, reassuring, and safe every time over logical argumentation that leaves them feeling insecure and unsure. It is not how they want to think, it’s how their brains function. It’s called compartmentalization. It allows the victim to ignore all contrary information and when necessary isolate contradictory beliefs behind walls that keep the conflict at a minimum. (I believe in creationism, while at the same time encourage my niece to get gene therapy for her cancer diagnosis, never bringing to the fore that gene therapy is a result of evolutionary biological research.)
Eventually we all come to realize that “there is no point” in arguing with such types, but we continue, at each new juncture, and with a different right wing nut case in the cross hairs, we fall victim to trying again. And we get the same result.
Lest we be declared insane for trying to get a different result from the same activity, we have to finally admit that such is a waste of time.
EXCEPT THAT. . . .
Facebook is a unique forum. We all have friends on Facebook, and they exist in a variety of forms–relatives, old old friends we have moved far from, new friends, eternal friends, coworkers, associates, church friends, organization friends, and the list goes on to infinity. These myriads of “friends” bring forth a variety of individual talents.
I am graced with some great Facebook friends and I owe them a debt of gratitude. They have taught me so very much. Their passion, while not necessarily mine, has served to inform me on many a subject I would be unaware of without them.
I would never know how cruel and awful housing small whales and dolphins in small tanks is, alone and without their families. I would never know about the issues regarding Monsanto, and Tyson and other vile corporate entities that endanger our health in the chase for the almighty dollar. I’ve had my theological foundation firmed, and loosened by a couple of theologians I know.
I could go on for a couple of pages. You see, I know all sorts of people in the Facebook way, and by and large, I’m enriched from the experience. The people I disagree with, remain small, but more importantly they are vehicles for dissemination.
Here’s where I tie this all together. . . .
While it is unprofitable in general to get into discussions with right wing crazies en mass, isolated encounters in otherwise friendly terrain, does serve a purpose. And that purpose is, they give one the excuse to lay out all the arguments that you can muster on an issue.
Rather than be the usual waste of time that we have encountered in large groups, in small ones, you don’t get overwhelmed. Much like big corporations make it hard to be sued by “papering” the opposing counsel with so many requests, demands, depositions, discovery, endless motions and so forth, when six or eight people are all ganging up on you, well, most people don’t have TIME to respond properly.
Responding improperly does more harm than good.
Why does this matter?
Because in every group, there are outsiders, people who live on the fringe, reading but almost never uttering a word. They are not crazies, but they aren’t politically aware either. They are busy living their lives, and barely bump into most of the political and social issues of our day. They do however, at leisure, read posts and comments, blogs and so forth.
They are not ideologically motivated. They are bright people, normal in every sense of the world except they aren’t much interested in the body politic or how it functions. Until it waylays them personally (and many it never will), they don’t get involved.
But, they do read. They do comprehend. They do get logic, and they do check out links. They will listen to a cogent argument and if not offset by superior information going in the other direction, they will agree with you.
They won’t deliver fliers in their neighborhoods or make phone calls for a candidate, but they will vote (if not too inconvenient) and they will vote consistent with the facts as they have come to understand them.
They are your audience always.
You have to trust that they are there. They are, I assure you. Every once in a while I get a message or email from one of them, telling me they have “lurked” for some time, and agree or have been led to agree to this idea or that.
Those are the people you are writing and talking to. They don’t have time to do the research you do, but they appreciate it. They can tell the difference between your citation to reputable sources and the other sides reliance on “common sense”.
They recognize that common sense to the right wing is akin to “what I want to believe is true because it makes me feel better.”
Your efforts are thus not offered in vain. Remember that you talk not only to who is directly before you, but all those who are within eye or earshot.
What it means for me personally, is to try to remember, (no matter how angry I often become at intransigent thinking), that calm, factual offerings are much more successful that bombast and snappy retorts that serve to explain only how loathsome the right wing fanatic can be.
So I thank all those who have taught me so much on Facebook. And I am thankful for Facebook which provides that unique platform allowing me a cornucopia of “friends” that insure a range of opinions, talents, passions, and hard facts.
The post is powerful, more powerful than you think. So do be mindful of the audience out there, ephemeral as it may appear. This is your job. They depend on you for accurate information on an unimaginably wide source of things. Surely you can offer your services on a few of them?
Make a difference!