Designated Driver of North America

Right-Wing War on Women: Rick Perry Wants Poor Women to Die, Apparently

Every move that Texas governor Rick Perry is making lately will adversely affect poor women’s lives, enough that they could find themselves in a life and death situation.

Gov. Perry Tries to Spin Women’s Health Cuts, Texans Push Back:

On March 8th Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced he was moving ahead with killing off the popular and very successful Women’s Health Program. Now Texans are demanding Gov. Perry answer for this plan.

In a state where more than one-quarter of the women are uninsured the Perry administration’s move is nothing short of needlessly risking women’s lives. The Medicaid Women’s Health Program provides preventative care, including cancer screenings and contraception, to more than 130,00 low-income women each year.

But instead of seeing an opportunity to make the lives of the women in Texas better, Gov. Perry sees an opportunity to push women to the sidelines. In the last few months the state legislature passed a budget slashing the state’s family planning program by more than two-thirds, a cut that eliminates health care for 160,000 women per year. These cuts also affect services including life-saving Pap smears, clinical breast exams and birth control.

I guess that’s one way of solving the poverty problem: just kill off all the low-income women. And soon enough, any children they’ve already had will starve to death. Or — y0u know — end up in prison where they belong.

Rick Perry is a poor-woman hater. And a good Christian man!


March 12, 2012 Posted by | * Anti-every-family-but-theirs, * War against women | | 2 Comments

Right now I hate Alberta

Evolution classes optional under proposed Alberta law:

A controversial Alberta bill will enshrine into law the rights of parents to pull their children out of classes discussing the topics of evolution and homosexuality.

The new rules, which would require schools to notify parents in advance of “subject-matter that deals explicitly with religion, sexuality or sexual orientation,” is buried in a bill that extends human rights to homosexuals. Parents can ask for their child to be excluded from the discussion.

“This government supports a very, very fundamental right and that is parental rights with respect to education,” said Premier Ed Stelmach.

The public secular school system allowing religious people to pick and choose which parts of human rights and rational thought are going to be exercised in the public square??

They don’t like scientific facts, and they hate homosexuals, so instead of having to notice any of them, they can just walk around with their hands over their ears going “Lalalalala, I can’t hear or see you!”

Christian Shari’a law! Enshrined right into a secular state!

I am beyond disgusted. Today I hate my home province more than I can possibly express.

I wish all those bigoted, anti-democratic, narrow-minded wingnut Christian Taliban neo-Cons would move to Iran where they belong and where they can impose all their anti-human beliefs on each other to their hearts’ content.

May 1, 2009 Posted by | * Anti-democracy, * Anti-every-family-but-theirs, * General government stupidity, * Neo-Con Stupidity, * War against Homosexuals, * War on Science | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rick Warren is a Christian liar

Good little Christian pastor Rick Warren was on Larry King on CNN, on April 6. Here’s a transcript. Please note his remarks a little over halfway down in the transcript:

I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist. I never have been, never will be.

During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never — never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.

Then go watch this YouTube video of Rick Warren endorsing and supporting Prop Hate, and encouraging people to do the same:

A big thank you to Tonya J for the heads-up on this.

April 12, 2009 Posted by | * Anti-democracy, * Anti-every-family-but-theirs, * War against Homosexuals | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bill O’Reilly has blood on his hands

And so do all the other right-wing public hate-talkers. They wanted people to take their hatred to heart, to take action?

Well, they got their wish.

As reported on the Orcinus blog, the man** who shot up a Universalist Unitarian Church in Knoxville, TN last July did it because he was inflamed by a right-wing anti-progressive writer. (**who I refuse to name and give him the publicity; he deserves to have his name utterly forgotten)

The Orcinus blog tells us:

Many of us intuited at the time that [name extracted]’s rampage was exactly the kind of rancid fruit that would inevitably take root in an American countryside thickly composted with two decades of hate radio bullshit, freshly turned and watered with growing middle-class frustration over the failing economy. That suspicion that [sic] was verified in the days that followed, when police searched [name extracted]’s apartment and found it filled with books and newsletters  penned by Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and other right-wing hate talkers.

And then the man’s “manifesto,” released as he was justly sentenced to life in prison for murder, was released. And we read this:

Know this if nothing else: This was a hate crime. I hate the damn left-wing liberals. There is a vast left-wing conspiracy in this country & these liberals are working together to attack every decent & honorable institution in the nation, trying to turn this country into a communist state. Shame on them…

This was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg’s book. I’d like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I know those people were inaccessible to me. I couldn’t get to the generals & high ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote in these traitorous people. Someone had to get the ball rolling. I volunteered. I hope others do the same. It’s the only way we can rid America of this cancerous pestilence.

I thought I’d do something good for this Country Kill [sic] Democrats til the cops kill me…Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them Each [sic] little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is to kill them on the streets. Kill them where they gather. I’d like to encourage other like minded people to do what I’ve done. If life aint worth living anymore don’t just kill yourself. do [sic] something for your Country before you go. Go Kill Liberals.

God damn you, Bill O’Reilly. God damn you, Rush Limbaugh. God damn you, Sean Hannity. God damn you, Bernard Goldberg. God damn you for creating the first of what could be many mass murderers.

And God especially damn you, Ann Coulter, you who proclaimed loudly to your stupid, gullible, hate-filled sheeplike followers, that all progressive liberals should be regarded as traitors, rounded up, and executed.

No European fascist could have done better.

Behold the fruit of your labours, you evil vultures with slavering, cannibalistic jaws and blood dripping from your hands.

February 14, 2009 Posted by | * Anti-democracy, * Anti-every-family-but-theirs, * Neo-Con Stupidity, * Neo-Con violence | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Proposition Hate donors, and Google Maps

Oh my. Look at what someone has done: created a mashup of Google Maps and the publically-available list of donors to California’s recent Proposition Hate 8 campaign to destroy gay and lesbian marriages and their families.

Every flag posted on one of the three maps for San Francisco, Orange Country, and Salt Lake City — waitaminnit, since when was Salt Lake City in California, dammit?? Ahem. As I was saying, every flag on each map represents one donor to the Prop Hate campaign.

Click on a flag, and the donor’s name comes up. It also lists who they work for, and how much they donated, each time they sent money. The flag is pinned to their address. You could walk up to their door if you wanted.

Is this an invasion of privacy? I’ve been mulling this all morning and have decided: NO. This information is already available to the public. Every bit of it.

And frankly — when someone has supported a campaign to destroy their fellow citizens’ rights, destroy their marriages, destroy their families — these anti-family-values people ought to be proud to stand up and be counted in public. Proud to stand up and look the people whose lives they’ve tried to destroy straight in the eyes.

Go. Click for a while. Know these people.

January 23, 2009 Posted by | * Anti-every-family-but-theirs, * Equal marriage, * War against Homosexuals | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

They’re skating in hell today

You’d better sit down for this.

Bush signs gay rights bill

Call it a Christmas present for gay and lesbian couples. President Bush signed the Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act of 2008 (WRERA) two days before Christmas. The new law makes it mandatory for businesses to roll over retirement benefits to a same-sex partner in the event of the employee’s death. …

You wonder how somebody decent was substituted for George Dubya at this late date. Maybe it’s a secret part of the Obama transition; they got to insert a human being as a placeholder till Obama could make it official.

Whatever the case, this is no deathbed presidential conversion. Gays and lesbians are rejoicing, but I’m wondering, in the back of my mind, what the catch is, that hasn’t been publicized. I hope I’m wrong.

Still. It’s a step forward. Can’t wait to read about Bush’s base tearing into him with every vicious fang they possess. Should be fun.

December 30, 2008 Posted by | * Anti-every-family-but-theirs, * Equal marriage, * War against Homosexuals | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gays eat soup! What atrocity will they commit next??

Oh. my. GOD!

Campbell’s implies that gay people eat soup!!

Campbell Soup bought two 2-page ads in the December and January issues of The Advocate, the nation’s largest homosexual magazine. The ads promote their Swanson line of broth, and one of the ads highlights the lives of two lesbians, who are portrayed as being married, along with “their” (**) son. Other ads feature chefs from New York City.

Gay people eat soup! How dare they? Why doesn’t someone stop them? How did things get to this point?? Why hasn’t someone stopped them before they went this far?!?!

Won’t anyone think of the children??

(** By the way, a word to the Very Stupid People at the American (Anti-Every-)Family(-But-Theirs) Association: the son is as much “their” child as any adopted child even in your brand of family. Remember that, bigots.)

(Also by the way – I like this article much, much better: Campbell’s Soup Covers Itself With Honour.)

December 25, 2008 Posted by | * Anti-every-family-but-theirs, * War against Homosexuals | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sometimes the Karma just writes itself; or having a taste of your own medicine

One  of the big, big financial backers of last week’s ballot Proposition to ban equal marriage in California was the Mormon church, which urged its members to send money to the campaign trying to strip these citizenship rights from their fellow citizens.

Not surprisingly, those citizens whose rights had finally been recognized after a long struggle, and now have been ripped away from them again with the support of this church, this bastion of the traditional one man-one woman marriage (and yes, that is sarcasm; read their history!), have gotten very upset. So they’ve started picketing Mormon temples in southern California.

And when they show up, the police shut the temple doors and prevent anyone from getting in — including Mormon couples arriving to have a Temple wedding that will make their marriage eternally sealed.

There’s an account of this activity in this article in L.A. Weekly: “Los Angeles Protests Stop Mormon Marriages.”

As the article says:

On Thursday, thousands of “No on 8” protesters, most of whom were probably unaware of the importance of a temple, shut down the Los Angeles Mormon Temple on Santa Monica Boulevard in Westwood. For the entire day and into the night, the iconic building was surrounded by Los Angeles Police Department officers, who sealed off its perimeter so no one could enter or exit. “No on 8” supporters will demonstrate again in Westwood on Sunday.

One rather feels like yelling, “NOW YOU KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE, OPPRESSORS!”

This church should have its tax exempt status utterly ripped away from it for blatantly and deliberately pushing politics as an official body (a big no no, legally and constitutionally). And of all people, this church should know what it’s like to be persecuted because one’s beliefs and practices don’t follow the norms of the surrounding majority. And it’s a fact that plural marriage is still in Mormonism’s holy books, described as an eternal decree of God, however they pretend it isn’t there these days. (It’s still in my copy of Doctrines & Covenants, at least, and since they proclaim that God’s word is eternal, well…)

But when one sees this church (and others, of course, like the Southern Baptists) keeping their tax status even though they are essentially political institutions these days, and when you see the crashing, self-righteous, oppressive, tyrannical hypocrisy of a church like the Mormon church that strips citizenship rights from their own fellow-citizens — you have to feel vindicated when they finally get a taste of their own medicine. Maybe if they were still experiencing full-fledged persecution themselves, they’d be reminded that they do not have the right (as American citizens or under God) to persecute other citizens.

For info on filing an IRS 501(c)(3) complaint against the Mormon church for its unconstitutional political activity, see this blog. Information about a great book by an American lawyer, arguing that equal marriage is constitutional, can be found here. And of course, I once again recommend my essays on equal marriage in this blog, starting here.

November 10, 2008 Posted by | * Anti-democracy, * Anti-every-family-but-theirs, * Equal marriage, * Religion, * Theocracy, * War against Homosexuals | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arguments against equal marriage: #5 Equal marriage could change society drastically

The argument here is that equal marriage will change society too much and will be too disruptive. The argument sounds plausible at first, implying that this change should be made gradually, slowly adding rights and freedoms until complete equality is finally reached.

Except that, oddly, most advocates of this position never seem to be saying, “Let us give gays and lesbians equal marriage, but do it slowly, step by step.” No, their main argument seems to be, “This would change society too drastically, so let’s never do it at all.”

Which should be an instant red flag to anyone who’s paying attention. Because it demonstrates that it’s not the “disruption of society” they’re really worried about, at all. If that were their big worry, they would surely welcome the solution of making the change, but making it gradually. But they don’t welcome it. In fact, speaking anecdotally, I have heard far more gay and lesbian marriage advocates arguing for the gradual approach than heterosexuals. The problem gets addressed with agreement by gays and lesbians, and the heterosexuals ignore this. Because most of the people who use this argument do not want a solution to the perceived “problem”. They want to put a stop to the change altogether.

We should also point out that “A Law Changes Society Drastically” is no argument in itself to refrain from making a law. Society changed drastically when women were given the vote. Shall we rescind the vote for women? Society also changed drastically when the Canada Health Act was passed. When Alberta or Newfoundland joined Canada. When Worker’s Compensation was introduced.

In fact, society changes in one way or another with every single law passed in this country. (Kind of the whole point of any law, in fact.) Shall we refrain from making laws? Shall we repeal every single law ever made by parliament (or Congress), because it changed society?

It is clearly not “drastic change” that should be the criterion for whether or not a law should be made. Societies are apparently quite willing to undergo drastic change in some cases. So other considerations are far more important.

When Member of Parliament, John McKay, spoke against equal marriage while the debate was going on in Canada prior to legalization of equal marriage, he used many of the arguments we have already demolished: the gender requirement is paramount (despite how a same-sex couple actually functions the same way an opposite-couple does in these relationships); biological children have to be privileged over mere “legally recognized” children [implication: adoptees!], and so on. We already know how much weight these arguments carry, which is very little.

He also said this (see his entire speech here:

Margaret Somerville, the noted secular medical and legal ethicist, argues that the Government of Canada is proposing to change an inherent feature of a social institution. I would say that it is a critical feature. I would say it is a sine qua non, that which cannot exist without it: the opposite gender requirement. Doing so, Somerville argues, will have a direct impact on the life of the social institution, radically re-engineering marriage and directly affecting the work it does in society.

We’ve seen some of this before, as we discussed the “Differences” argument. Again, there is no weight to that part of it. But perhaps we should address something else he says on the same subject:

First, marriage will no longer act as a unique forum for interplay between men and women in which the gender gap is bridged to create stable bonds between men and women. Marriage is easily the best way in which men relate to women and is easily the best way in which women relate to men.

My response to this is an incredulous — WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH HOMOSEXUALS?? When a man is gay, Mr. McKay, he is simply not going to “relate to women” in the way you’re talking about. Ever. Period. Denying this man the right to marry the person he does relate to in that way is going to improve the way heterosexual men and women relate to each other…how, again…?

This is, plain and simple, either a stupid argument or a very evil one. McKay is arguing that if you deny homosexuals the right to marry, why then, they’ll finally straighten up and marry the opposite sex like they’re supposed to, dammit. Stupid, stupid argument, taking no account of the facts, but certainly acting as Mr. McKay’s wish fulfilment. It is clearly the existence of gay people at all that he is objecting to here, because in fact, he speaks as though they do not exist at all. They are not, and cannot be, any part of his “bridge between man and woman” argument. He has wiped them out of consideration altogether.

And he gives no reason why, when two men can marry each other, marriage cannot still be a “bridge” between some other, heterosexual, man and a woman. Why would men and women suddenly stop the interplay they now do, by way of marriage, if two guys down the street who they’ve never met have a similar interplay going on??

So back to McKay’s main complaint, stemming from that “interplay” he was talking about between men and women in marriage, which is apparently threatened by having the same “interplay” happening between two women or two men. The problem seems to be that in places where equal marriage has been introduced, he is right — heterosexuals seem to get married less. He cites his first example:

The Netherlands has had same sex marriage for the last five years. It should be noted that in the first three years of that bill, marriage declined among heterosexuals by 10% each and every year, and in the last year of 2004 it declined between 3% and 4%. There seem to be no other factors to explain this sudden drop in heterosexual attachment to the institution of marriage. Marriage is now dead in Denmark and 61% of children are born outside of marriage.

Two things. First: Denmark is a separate country from the Netherlands (and has not legalized equal marriage). So what is it doing here?? It’s irrelevant, unless he merely mis-spoke, which is a possibility.

Secondly: he hasn’t contrasted these statistics with the statistics for heterosexual marriage prior to legalizing equal marriage. Were the percentages steadily going up before legalization, and did a sudden turnaround? Were they going down, and this just continued that trend? He gives no context, no before-and-after, nothing. And what is that ten percent OF, by the way? Does he mean there were ten percent fewer marriages by number count, compared to number count in previous years? (E.g. 90 marriages that first year, compared to 100 the previous?) Perhaps there were fewer heterosexual individuals of marriageable age in the country to begin with, in those years, which would lower the numbers whether or not gay people got married. We don’t know, and McKay doesn’t give us that context. Or does he mean that of the eligible heterosexuals available to be married, 90 percent of them did get married that year, whereas 100 percent married the previous year? We don’t know, and he gives us no context.

His other example, Quebec, is somewhat bizarre:

Quebec has had a form of civil union for a number of years now. Fewer and fewer heterosexuals are marrying. Fifty-eight per cent of children in that province are now born outside of marriage. All evidence suggests that children born outside of marriage have poor socio-economic outcomes and require far greater intervention by the state to compensate for parenting shortfalls. The birth rate in Quebec is demographically not sustainable and its population is contracting as in the Scandinavian countries. Absent in immigration, the contraction would be catastrophic: few marriages, fewer children; fewer children, fewer marriages.

Um…it sounds like his big complaint about Quebec is that marriages are not acting as the baby-making machines he wants them to be. And he wants native Quebecers to sustain the population — not those damn immigrants. (“Oh, Mr. McKaaaay! Jacques Parizeau on line one…!”)

(Psst! By the way. This “diminishing population if not for immigrants” problem has existed for a while in Canada already — well before the very first province legalized same sex marriage. So don’t go blaming the hets’ lack of baby-making on the gays, please.)

McKay also ignores the fact that if children growing up with two married parents is what helps society be stable — two married gay parents can fill that bill just fine. What a lovely solution! But no — he wants heterosexual married parents, period. The children of gay parents DO. NOT. COUNT. And he will not allow gay relationships to be legalized so that their home can be as stable as any married heterosexual relationship. He assumes that there is an intrinsic difference in internal function, between a gay married relationship and a heterosexual mariage relationship.

Which there is not. Apart from — do I even need to repeat this? THE GENITALS. (*sigh* How monotonous this obsession is getting.)

But apart from all that, as I said, his main complaint appears to be that if gay people marry, heterosexuals apparently don’t want to, though he has far from proven this to begin with. Let us say, though, that he is right: If gay people marry, fewer heterosexuals want to.

My reply to this? “SO WHAT”?? This is gay people’s fault because…? And they should be denied equal rights therefore, because…?

If heterosexuals’ relationship to the very idea of marriage is so fragile that allowing more citizens to marry will blow their own commitment to marriage right out of the water — THAT IS THE HETEROSEXUALS’ PROBLEM. It is not gay people’s job to babysit them, or to sacrifice their own rights so the heterosexuals’ fragile and uncertain commitment to marriage can retain the illusion of being strong.

If some heterosexual people can look next door at the two men married to each other, and think, “Harumph! I think I won’t get married after all, then” this whiny, self-centered, foot-stomping, pick-up-your-toys-and-go-home attitude is something those heterosexuals need to grow out of, and they should stop getting their noses out of joint because someone else has joined what they seem to view as their elite little club.

I repeat: their immature attitude toward marriage is NOT THE HOMOSEXUALS’ PROBLEM. Gays and lesbians have no problem whatsoever in recognizing the supreme value of marriage. That’s why they want to get married; they know how important it is, or they’d be satisfied with mere “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships.” It is the heterosexuals who refuse to value it, and treat it like a toy that they’ll throw away if they’re forced to share.

There is no reason to deny this citizenship right to homosexuals, because the heterosexuals can’t grow up and view marriage in a mature way. Let the heterosexuals deal with their own problem attitudes, and stop blaming everyone else for it.


March 3, 2007 Posted by | * Anti-every-family-but-theirs, * Equal marriage, * War against Homosexuals | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Arguments against equal marriage: #4 Just use a different word from “marriage”

This argument usually goes like this: “If you really must allow legal status to these relationships, fine. But at least use a different term for them, like “Civil Union” or “Domestic Partnership.” Because traditionally, the word “Marriage” has always referred to a one man/one woman relationship. And we’d like to keep it that way, because, well, a man/woman relationship is different, and furthermore, implies a sanctified relationship.”

We have already dealt with the “sanctity” argument. And we’ve already looked at the “differences” argument and shown it to be a smokescreen for something else. But it returns here in a slightly different guise, because the underlying preoccupation tends to rear its head over and over, pretending to be different arguments. We’ll get to that in a moment.

But first, there’s one other little matter to clear up: the claim that “marriage” has always been defined as a “one man/one woman relationship.” In actual fact, the term has also referred to a “one man/several women” relationship. This definition has not been confined to one country or one religious group, either; polygamous marriages have existed in Judaism, in Islam, in Hinduism, in Mormonism, from China to India to Arabia to North America, and throughout all centuries.

So already the definition of “marriage” isn’t nearly so cut-and-dried as it’s made out to be in this argument. These objectors are already playing with the definition, and picking-and-choosing which parts of the historical definition they favour, and which ones they’ll quietly slip under the rug. Not a single one of them ever seems to argue FOR the “one man/several women” formula, even though it, too, has been one traditional definition of marriage.

Nor do these people argue for another “traditional” form of marriage: the financial or business transaction whereby the bride is a means to an end — usually financial gain for the groom’s family — and where the bride is essentially a piece of property herself, passed from one family’s ownership to another’s. Most of these objectors do not argue for this type of business/marital transaction, nor for the long-standing tradition of arranged marriage.

They are very particular about which marriage “traditions” they actually want. What they actually mean by “traditional definition of marriage” is “marriage as it is practised by men and women in modern North America and Europe.”

Okay, then. What tends to make a marriage, as most people think of it in modern North America and Europe? Most of what makes a relationship a “marriage” rather than a “platonic room-mate” situation has to do with how the relationship functions.

A marriage tends to be a relationship of commitment, nurturing, support, sharing, in both sickness and health, and in good times and bad times. Sex is involved, but is only part of the complete relationship. A marriage frequently involves complete families, with children and pets and mortgages, taking out the garbage and doing the dishes, and even the white picket fence. There is usually some element of shared values, interests, and goals as well.

Now. What part of that description cannot possibly apply to two men living together, or two women living together, but can only-and-exclusively apply to the very selective man/woman combination that these objectors favour?

Logically, one must surely say, if it walks like a marriage, looks like a marriage, and quacks like a marriage — it’s a marriage. Those who watch a gay or a lesbian couple functioning in this way — functioning in the identical way to a heterosexual marriage — and yet don’t want to call this relationship a marriage, have got to be thinking of a marriage as something else. Their definition of what is “essential” to the definition of marriage cannot possibly include all that love, commitment, nurturing, shared goals, daily living, and the picket fence. Because gays and lesbians can — and do! — do all of that, as much as any heterosexual couple can and does.

So what other possible difference can there conceivably be, to make the heterosexual relationship a “marriage,” but the homosexual relationship a “domestic partnership”??

Oh. Oh no. Not that again??


That is the only possible difference. Thinking exclusively about genitals again! It’s the genitals that make the marriage — not the commitment and the love and taking the kids to school and paying the bills and planning for the family’s future. All of that, apparently, is superfluous. If two male sets of genitals are bumping together, then according to these objectors, this is nothing like a heterosexual marriage — even if 99.999% of everything else functions identically!

These people concentrate on the word — “marriage” — the surface, the superficial externality — to the exclusion of ALL OF THE CONTENT in the relationship. All the content of the relationship is nothing. All that matters is the genitals.

Have you ever heard of anything more shallow and superficial than that? And those anti-gay heterosexuals — obsessed with sex again. Perhaps they really ought to see a therapist about that little problem.

So. The “use a different name” argument? Ludicrous. Doesn’t stand scrutiny at all. Toss it out the window.


Arguments against equal marriage: #5 Equal marriage could change society drastically

March 3, 2007 Posted by | * Anti-every-family-but-theirs, * Equal marriage, * War against Homosexuals | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment