social and political issues III: for political and social preoccupations
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No, it is not. My friends there are all very dismayed. My best friend will arrive here today from there and I am looking forward to picking her brain about what is happening there.
So I feel like I don't have the knowledge to even ask this question right, but I'll do it anyway: to what degree are the army leaders scared of Islamic parties in a way that roughly lines up with the way they're portrayed in the west, and to what degree are they just cynically trying to consolidate power?
I know those are inseparable. I really did ask that question badly.
I don't know how the military feels about Islamists as opposed to other people, as the Islamists are all over the map really, from Salafists to relatively moderate folks, and some of them are more or less OK with the Army, I would assume.
Of course the military is being awful and are trying to consolidate their power and have no intention of letting the system in Egypt become civilian. It has always been more or less a military dictatorship with the fig leaf of a tame parliament. This is how they intend it to stay. I feel so bad for the Egyptian people who gave the Army such a lot of benefit of the doubt when Mubarak stepped down. It was obviously misplaced and I thought so at the time, but it took a while for them to figure it out.
I don't understand why everyone gets so misty about the army; it seems to be almost a universal thing (the Germans being an exception?). Like, the fact that they pull people out of flooded towns doesn't make wanting to wield death for a living any less twisted. Why do we hope for the best from them ever?
I think in Egypt's case they had forgotten that there is no real difference between the internal security forces and the actual military. They were used to oppression from the former and forgot they are actually run by the latter.
The military expertly manipulated this false dichotomy during the January/February uprising, and was able to position itself as the people who refused to fire on demonstrators and acted better than police/internal security, and heroically took over the country from the corrupt leaders (who, lest we forget, were all from the military too, at least Mubark was and so have all the other presidents been).
Also, Egypt has national service so most males in Egypt have served in the armed forces and may feel some sort of camaraderie with them because of that.
Do you think mandatory service may make the military culture less insular and self-serving than one manned entirely by volunteers?
I've been interested in/curious about North Korea for a while, now. Does anybody have any thoughts on Kim Jong-un, and whether we can hope for any improvement over his father's regime?
I've just ordered Nothing To Envy: Real Lives in North Korea, which I've been wanting to read since I first heard of it.
I'm sure North Korea is paradise now, especially with their mandatory military service, which has made them less insular.
The kid's obviously a monster, but I can't help but feel that a Swiss education in the 21st century has to have left him more open to openness than his dad. Maybe? I know it's not really his decision. But capitalism had an awfully charismatic decade when he was in his formative.
8: It's an interesting question. Many countries have some form of national service requirement and it does mean that most of the male citizens (and female, in some countries) have an experience in the armed forces and feel some sort of affinity to its members. At least, its rank and file. I spoke to an Israeli woman once, when I lived in Nigeria, about this, and I remember her saying that regardless of how you feel about politics (which we kinda avoided, since my ex was Egyptian) serving in the military is something that draws people closer together. I've often wondered though why national service can't be mostly non-military, and whether it would be a good thing for US kids. I know it differs a lot from country to country, there are many models out there.
But the military leadership is going to be the same regardless, I would think. Which I guess was more your question. I was more thinking about the civilian's perception of the military, than the military's perception of itself.
>12 anna_in_pdx: I think an important aspect of that, as you sort of say, is what the military is considered to be for, right? If you're, like, Swedish, and you get first-aid and rescue training, run some laps, learn to shoot and throw a grenade, perhaps get a start on your welder's ticket, and sit in on some classes on military history and lest we and we pray it never and etc., that seems pretty all right, provided there's a Zivildienst-type alternative. On the other hand, to require people to belong to institutions like the US and Israeli militaries that are out there committing crimes against humanity seems pretty twisted.
Thank God for the Swedish army and their pocketknives. Or was that the Swiss?
I just looked up the Swedish Army. Apparently they are abandoning conscription and moving to a professional model! At least, so the wiki entry says. It also looks like there is a recruiting website up.
My dad (re)joined the Canadian army at 37. Maybe I'll go him one better.
Reminds me of the discussion I had with a multiple tour U.S. Marine that he understood that the idea of WMD's in Iraq was BS before the invasion, but he wasn't serving for the country and or the cause, but simply to make sure his brothers-in-arms made it home safe.
I sometimes have those kinds of conversations. I remember talking to a friend who had been an administrative manager for Army bases most of his working life. +20 years. And he was against the Iraq war because a lot of people were. But, he was so loyal to the Army as an institution that there was no way he would agree they should leave because "if they withdraw improperly it will kill soldiers." Well staying there killed soldiers too. He was unable to think about the issue in terms of anyone else but the Army and its people. It was kind of frustrating.
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piece of ass
Thrilla in Manila
first black president
Juiblex, the Faceless Lord
It's an honour just to be nominated, says excremental remainder.
I have no idea what just happened there. That angel's been in my family sixty years and she's always gotten her shit together before Christmas. Here's what she was supposed to look like:
Occupy Wall Street in winter:
Thomas Frank, a very bright guy, on where we are and why:
>30 copyedit52: he is bright, and I agree with him on most points, but I'm not sure I understand this opposition he draws between "populism" and university-educated "professionals." Given that 40% of Americans have a post-secondary degree, according to http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/11/06/ashe, isn't there major overlap between the two? He doesn't seem to be using "professionals" to mean "technocrats," or "people in professions requiring certification (doctors, lawyers, etc.)"; he seems to be using it to mean roughly "university-educated Americans, especially in liberal-leaning places." Which given the 40% figure, seems to kind of queer his argument.
(Unless, and this is something I've wondered before, "populist" in the US context doesn't mean "popular and/or crowd-pleasing, with some skew to the right and/or to lower-SES people," but something more like "catering to a rabid bunny-torturing fringe.")
An interesting article from Al Jazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/01/20121312591520271.html
I guess I have to learn to post these things. I put it on Farcebark, since you just have to press 'share'.
This "growth mentality" is everywhere -- from the college where I work, to the county I live in, to the state to the country -- if we don't grow, we decay. What's wrong with nurturing something good and making it better, not bigger?
I speak of the limits of growth. But to be serious, there IS something serious to this business. My human on Earth good years, the reproductive ones and the providing/protecting/teaching ones began about the time I stopped growing, and they stretch, to be fair, over two to three decades (I should be a redundant mouth to feed by now but the kids are still only 6 and 8), which means the only measure I trust, the biological imperative, suggests that indeed sustainability is the key.
my simplistic take on the need for growth lie has always been based on the original US lie, the self-serving gridpattern growth for survival that ate so much of Mexico and north India the First. This much of course was largely borrowed from colonialists, borrowers themselves.
And by the way, yes, Constantine was a Serb if genetics tell us anything that has to do with nationalism...
You guys, I can't take any more of this stupid election year. I will vote in November but I don't want to hear anything about the election until I have my ballot in hand. Someone shoot me now. Or maybe offer me sanctuary in some far off place where they don't care about and aren't covering the US clown show.
I sure wish we were like other countries that have mandated really short election seasons. It seems like our politicians here are in permanent "running for office" mode and are never in "elected civil servant doing their job to serve their constituency" mode.
I came here to get away from a lot of what I don't like in the U.S., and though the worst of the music followed me, and NATO tailed me, and I didn't manage to stop the wars, I don't have to suffer what you are suffering, Anna--it is indeed far far away. The result is I follow it with disgust and amusement without existential pain...that comes with the daily headlines the place generates.
Anna--you are not going to vote in any republican primary, right? Ignore all of them until November. A couple of months ago I was challenged with "So you are going to vote for Obama no matter what?" No, but I am not going to vote in a republican primary so I will not worry about any of them until they decide who will be on the ballot and then I will decide for whom I will vote.
I tell myself not to pay attention. The demagoguery this year is the worst I can remember, and that's saying a lot.
It may be worth paying attention if it looks like some basic rights will be revoked (abortion, gay rights). I hope the insanity hasn't reached that extent.
Rick, I pay attention to the reality of our situation here, but not to the day to day, ins and outs of this primary. You can only listen to a cacophony for so long.
My point about paying attention is that it is only worth getting aggravated if one is going to choose among the republican candidates in casting a vote in a republican primary election. Then one would want to cast a vote for the person who aggravates the least. Since I will not be voting in a republican primary election, I mostly tune it all out. I don't believe in getting aggravated unnecessarily. Once the republicans have decided on a candidate, then I will pay attention to what he says because I will vote in the general election.
On a slight tangent, when one votes in a primary, it is actually voting for delegates who have committed to vote for a particular candidate for at least the first go around. After that, they start negotiating to actually set the party platform and to choose the actual candidate. Ron Paul says he is staying in the race because he wants to influence the platform, and potentially, influence the final choice of candidate by releasing delegates to vote for someone else at the convention. Of course, this only works if someone does not run away with the primaries.
Just turn off the TV, the radio (even NPR), and only read the local section of the newspaper if you want to avoid the Republican bs -- personally, I'm going to vote for Obama no matter what, and I sometimes find the GOP shooting themselves in the feet mildly amusing. I send MoveOn.org and Planned Parenthood a modest amount of money each month and sign most of their online petitions, and I vote. I've been really pissed off and somewhat activist at times in my life, but politics is more game than reality to me now -- and a game that I'd prefer to watch when I'm interested than ever play again.
It seems an awful dilemma these days with the monstrosities on the Republican right and the choice being Guantanabama, lover of drones and extradition.
I suppose a voter has to vote for Obama just to make sure planned parenthood survives and such organizations as MoveOn remain legal, but it is a terrible choice.
Well, the choice is between right and far right, so it's not ideal, but we have to keep pushing.
As a resident of an early primary state, the effort to avoid the muck is immense. I'm glad Herman Caine was eliminated early because he was already calling me several times a week. Now Newt thinks I'm his girl. That man has a face like a cat's asshole (no offense, Murr).
For now, it's audiobooks in the car (or my daughter's radio station, which is top 40 and marginally better than listening to the veiled racism and open distain for the poor) and BBC Radio 4 at home.
Laughing quietly and relatively long, if I remember correctly. Sort of the grown-up, or perhaps more thoughtful, version of LMFAO or ROFL.
Yes that is it. Rick H. invented it, and I started the campaign to use it instead of LOL on the Salon. :)
I definitely live in the wrong state. This just up before the Tennessee legislature. I cannot believe such an action is being considered.
The Tennessee legislature is considering a bill (HB 1153) proposed by David Fowler President of FACT (Family Action Counsel of Tennessee). This bill says it is OK to bully homosexuals if you are politically, religiously, or even morally opposed to homosexuality. It also demeans anti-bullying programs in school and other places as well. They are building this bill on the First amendment. But according to Article 19 with the Freedom of speech comes certain restrictions, including when that speech becomes hateful and/or offensive to a certain group of people.
Hoo boy. I believe some other states (I think I heard W. Virginia?) have done something like this to water down anti-bullying laws. Kind of like the religious exception to contraception permitted to churches to deny coverage to their employees.
Hopefully this bill will not pass and there will be an outcry against it.
>59 anna_in_pdx: what are the consequences of bullying under these types of bills? We were just talking about this at my house last night; I don't believe we have anything like it in Canada (might be wrong), but my girlfriend's song seems to feel the threat of a stern talking-to from your parent would be sufficient to keep most kids in line. I don't feel like that was true when I was in school, but kids do seem to be nicer, more sensitive, and for good and ill less concerned about standing up for themselves, these days.
Here the parents of students so-inclined would not give their kids a strong talking-to.
Seems like it depends on what "bullying" means and who gets to control speech - speakers or auditors - and to what extent and when a government may step in to shut someone up. I recognize that the proponents may not be acting in good faith, but there is a legitimate issue. I'd carefully scrutinze the content of the speech and to what extent the speech was directed at a particular individual if I was tasked with enforcing a bully rule. Schools have a bit more control over speech, as they should for legitimate reasons of maintaining order and the learning environment, but that must have some limits too. Its interesting to see where people come down on that when you change the facts around. Bong Hits for Jesus was an especially stupid example. Maybe a better example, maybe not, would be could a kid wear a Bad Religion shirt to school? (The insignia is a crossed out crucifix.) You can come up with these examples all day long. I don't envy the job of a school administrator.
There's an interesting report here:
Some advocacy sites claim that the state laws about bullying are mere pandering, asking schools to enforce various standards but providing no funds for them to do so.
Only in this crazy, upside-down country where wealthy, white men are the only real victims, can the idea exist that bullying is a Christian activity.
Based on my experience here, asking the speaker to desist does nothing. If anything it ups the ante. Asking a school official to intervene ups the ante even further. Fundamental Christians are backing this bill.They claim Christian beliefs are the targets. Bullshit. If anything, people bend over backward to accommodate Christian viewpoints here.
Actual text of the bill. http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/SB0760.pdf
Limiting bullying/hostile environment to threats or causing of physical harm or property damage is a bit too restrictive since you can make a target of someone without going that far.
The part that is most responsible for the uproar, I imagine, is the section that states "materials or training that explicitly or implicitly promote a political agenda, make the characteristics of the victim the focus rather than the conduct of the person engaged in harassment, intimidation, or bullying, or teach or suggest that certain beliefs or viewpoints are discriminatory when an act or practice based on such belief or viewpoint is not a discriminatory practice as defined in 4-21-102(4)."
A manners and empathy-based approach seems like the best to me: the most likely to be effective and the least likely to offend anyone. Calling the fundamentalists out on their beliefs/conduct is either okay because calling people out on things we don't agree with is okay, or its not. Seems like both sides on this suffer a bit from wanting to save their cake but also wanting to eat it.
67: But not all bullying is created equal. Some is just more serious than other. I think the issue has gotten press as certain non-normative kids (gay/transgender for the most part) have been at greater risk for suicide especially in states like this. I have not heard of any beleaguered fundamentalist christian kids being taunted by atheists to the point that they killed themselves, but maybe I just don't read the right papers. Creating a safe environment for everyone, and naming the various groups that comprise "everyone," does not really constitute a threat to fundamentalism as you can still believe in your heart that a group is going to hell, you just aren't allowed to make them miserable at school.
Does a safe educational environment include an evironment where you can express thoughts and opinions in a responsible way, even if someone else feels wounded by that? Even if your opinions are wrong?
The point here is that we do not have equal opportunity in Tennessee. This bill leaves a door wide open to further tie the hands of principals and teachers to curb bullying hate speech regardless of who the targets are. I taught for 20 years at the college level. This bill merely creates an umbrella to protect bullies of any kind. I wouldn't want Christian-baiting any more than I would want other kinds of baiting. And this bill came to being within a particular context. In middle school, I was bullied mercilessly for being an atheist. I did not talk about my atheism to other students. My atheism came up in a benign way, when each student was asked about their religious preferences. At thirteen, I was devastated although I made a point of presenting a strong front.
Being the "egghead" in a small rural school I was regularly made fun of in various ways but only really physically bullied once and I certainly remember it but it did not make me very upset, but I think I came out of that experience lucky because I moved to the big city at 15 and had a wonderful time in an urban high school that more than made up for these petty things.
Kids can be cruel to each other and are. But I think if they are taught about bullying and how it can affect others they can become better people. I know that now a lot of those rural people who used to bully / taunt people like me, grew up to recognize how bad bullying is and they are upset about it. bullying does not just hurt the victim, it hurts the bully. I even had one guy contact me on Facebook, lo these 30 years later, to apologize, which really touched me. And I notice it is those rural people now who talk about bullying on Facebook and want to do something to combat it.
More on Tennessee politics: the good reputation of slavery is not to be denigrated.
In Tennessee, it is legal to carry guns in bars. The sponsor of that bill was recently arrested for drunk driving.
"We seek to compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth ..."?!? Tennessee education obviously didn't do them much good.
But Ur, if there is no god, where did guns come from? And Christians? And bullies? (They even have their own tavern)
If they're learning from textbooks like this one, it's no wonder they're crackpots.
Yes, While we would think it is funny, in fact it is chilling: whatever advance we make in science and rational comprehension of the weird and beautiful world around us, it still can be swept away in just one generation, if the forces of religious evil take the overhand...
heard in the car today, Tom Waits, an old song, the line went something like 'we don't get a devil and just a god when he's drunk'
And the craziness never stops in Tennessee
Recently, Tennessee State Representative Richard Floyd threatened to "stomp a mudhole" into any transgender woman who uses a public restroom in Tennessee.
"Stomp a mudhole," according to Urban Dictionary, means "to beat them to near death or to otherwise hurt someone to the point that they can not fight back."
I think he's actually a good example of my points that the bill too narrowly circumscribes what is prohibited and that you want to be careful how much power you give schools to control speech since its just as likely, or maybe more likely than not, that it is a guy like that who you are giving the power to.
stomp a mudhole? so they can relieve themselves there? more importantly, how do you 'catch' transgender women using public restrooms?
Rick, details, details. It is the thought (maybe thought is not the right word) that counts.
If those guys put as much effort into solving problems that they do into being offended by theoretical possibilities...
Well ... there is talk of demanding that every woman carry her birth certificate with her proving that she was female at birth. Just another way to control women if you ask me.
I don't know what has gotten Tennessee lawmakers' nuts in a wad recently, but here's the latest from Tennessee State Senator Stacey Campfield: Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community -- it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall.
My understanding is that it is virtually -- not completely, but virtually -- impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex...very rarely transmitted.
Why do I live in Tennessee? So I can get mud stomped whenever I contradict "conventional" knowledge on homosexuality.
And query - If I have sex with a male monkey (not Stacey Campbell or the Newt) is that considered heterosexual intercourse? And if it is, am I protected from AIDS. Should I demand that the monkey wear a condom?
THE prime minister in belgium is openly gay. Is it à first ?
Nobody cares anyway
Lisa, no that is the sad and outrageous part. I am not making any of this up. And Mac, yes the monkey is consenting.
One woman retaliated against the vulgar Tennessee state senator and is being celebrated for it.
What a maroon, and the thing is, it is not just silly and funny but it hurts vulnerable people who need services. Imagine an uneducated woman in Tennessee who contracts HIV/AIDS from her husband who had caught it from a prostitute, and thinks that only gay people can get it, and makes all kinds of assumptions about her own health because she heard this interview. Especially since the earlier you test for HIV and find it the better you can manage the virus.
Today I got an email from Planned Parenthood saying that they used to get funding from the Susan Komen foundation (a US-based huge, very corporate-supported initiative against breast cancer) to give low-income women breast screenings. Now because right-wing people are against Planned Parenthood they have managed to convince the Komen foundation to stop funding this so Planned Parenthood will have to further scramble for funding to continue offering this service. It is so sad that people would like to do something that definitely is going to hurt low-income women because they are trying to make a political point. I think these people just hate women.
No more Bistro for Mr. Stacey. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been signing petitions and writing letters.
I heard a radio nutbag going on about it and comparing Stacey's experience to the civil rights campaigners sitting at a whites only lunch counter at Woolwrths in 1962.
Stacey is the real victim here, people! Fight for his right to be a douchebag and to opress others.
>105 Jesse_wiedinmyer: ...off to send that woman some money for her next campaign...
>109 Jesse_wiedinmyer: Thanks for the link. I signed it. I will NEVER understand how some people continue to support such misogynistic issues.
That was one of my daily posts to facebook today. Several people 'like' it. Actually Sabina Rama, an Albanian and Taro Imamura, Japanese, like it so far.
You are on Facebook!!! So am I. Are you listed under Rick Harsch? PM me so I can message you to see if you will be my friend.
Yeah, um, I would like to see your FB posts, both of you. Search for Anna Shook.
Ooh, ooh, we can hook up Facebook too? Surely there is a way for Librarything to do that... what no app?
ooh ooh we can hook
up facebook to library
thing too--what? no app?
not Al Suzyu
Back to politics. Link goes to a picture of the Congressional committee debating whether employers in the US should have the right to deny any sort of health coverage based on their personal religious biases.
I can only assume this particular "amendment" that allows this loophole in our health coverage will be soundly defeated, but boy it is disgusting that these guys think they even have a right to talk about what is OK health coverage for the laydeez and what isn't.
Just don't go to work for one a member of the religions that don't believe in medical care at all - oh, well, in that case parents of children who die because they didn't receive medical care are charged with murder - at least in Oregon. So, apparently religious freedom is not so absolute unless it allows you to restrict your female employee's right to choose.
Hey I had not thought of that contradiction. Yeah what about people who really truly have a religion that prohibits all medical intervention? I guess they have it made in the shade and should all open businesses and not offer any medical insurance at all.
On sex and sexual orientation:
How about Michele Norris's Race Card Project: http://michele-norris.com/the-race-card/
The coming plutocracy ... slightly dated but a taste of things to come.
When this bulletin that Citigroup initially released to select investors appeared on the internet, Citigroup worked extremely to suppress it and threaten those who posted it with lawsuits.
I'll have to put that on my nook to read it, but I believe that we, the rest of the people, have become unimportant to the 1% and that they have already taken power.
A social issue very close to home: As a result of budget cuts in my State, the interlibrary database has been shut down. I used to have the catalogs of hundreds of local libraries - at my fingertips.
137: times change and library budgets can come back. I will hope for the best. Are you in Cali?
No, Connecticut. The whole program (interlibrary loan shipments) must be very expensive. 'Don't know if those interlibrary loan mailing services were cancelled. I never used that part of the service. I don't live in a particularly large State, after all. I preferred to look up TBR volumes and grab them from the stacks of various local town libraries, myself.
But how expensive can it be to maintain a database? Yeesh...
I'm really glad I had painstakingly transcribed some of the more convenient book locations into my LT library notes!
http://www.politicalcompass.org/index sets the political compass for various political parties and politicians on a quadrant that measures left versus right but also authoritarian versus libertarian.
The interesting thing is most of the more left of the main political parties in the Uk, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and Obama, Biden and Clinton are in the right wing authoritarian quadrant, albeit not as far up it as their right wing opponents.
You can also plot your own political compass against famous people.
I come out more libertarian than any classical composer, more left than Mandela, more libertarian than the Dalai Lama.
Economic Left/Right: -5.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.18
I don't agree with much on that page, but hey, a quiz on teh internets, who can say no...
Economic Left/Right: -9.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.33
At least it graphs me as far away as possible from Hitler, Stalin, Thatcher and Milton Friedman, and equally so! Not sure I belong or want to be in the same boat with Gandhi, though.
How are they calibrating it? What's the maximum left and right, and up and down? It seems like depending on how you wanted to divvy it up, you could place anybody in any quadrant you wanted.
Also, some of those questions ... "Military action that defies international law is sometimes justified." I'd feel a lot better about answering that if I knew whether we were talking about, like, George Bush or the Tamil Tigers.
And like, "Mothers may have careers, but their first duty is to be homemakers." I happen to strongly agree, but for fathers too. You know?
(Economic Left/Right: -10.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.38:)
HOW did you manage a redder score than mine, Martini!?! HOOOOOOW
I must have clicked on some of the unqualified Agrees or Disagrees.
The questions assume an American worldview, that always annoys me.
Heh heh heh.
What I wanna know is how I scored so high on libertarian. I support state intervention in most things.
Yes, exactly the most annoying thing--they slapped the "libertarian" label on attitudes I'd regard as socially tolerant and/or humanistic. Whereas I think of "libertarianism" as the belief system of idiots (having never met anyone of the ilk who didn't fit that description).
I guess that's what happens when you try to separate the social from the economic.
Just about where the Dalai Lama is, pretty centrist, which I think is where small c conservatives are.
Economic Left/Right: -5.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.36
Left for American - and center right for European Standards
As far as Asia is concerned, LOL , I am close to Ghandi !
Economic Left/Right: -5.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.08
Left of the Dalai Lama.
I did the test too - where is my Mars Bar?
Economic Left/Right -9.88
Social Libertarian/ Authoritarian -6.97
So relieved to be left of Francois Holland and much less authoritarian.
I am sitting on the biggest, fluffiest smug-cloud that ever wafted through the universe.
I took the test. Another Libertarian. My score was identical to that of the Dali Lama.
yeah, some of the questions really are retarded. WTF does this mean?????
Those with the ability to pay should have the right to higher standards of medical care.
economic/left right -7.25
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