Thursday, September 18, 2014

Facebook Won't Budge On Drag Names

Despite meeting yesterday with several Bay Area drag personalities, Facebook is sticking by its "real name" requirement. Tony Meverick reports at Buzzfeed:
Activists said they remain angry with Facebook after leaving the hour-long meeting with only little progress, as the company refused to budge on changing its long-held policy requiring users to show their legal names on their personal profiles. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Facebook spokesperson Andrew Souvall said that despite the discussion with activists, the company will continue to emphasize the importance of requiring all users to display their “real names.” “We had a good discussion with the group about their perspectives on our real name standard, and we stressed how the standard helps prevent bad behavior, while creating a safer and more accountable environment,” Souvall said in the statement. In recent days, activists have publicly challenged the policy, saying that it severely impacts people in the LGBT community who for one reason or another, choose not to use their given names. Drag queens said they were negatively impacted by the policy because using their legal names could isolate them on social media, seeing as they are widely known in their communities by their stage names or chosen names.
At the meeting Facebook admitted that the drag accounts were deleted after complaints. Previously it had been claimed that the accounts were only found after changes to a Facebook algorithm. For now, Facebook has reinstated the drag accounts for two weeks to give users time to decide about changing to their legal names.

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CDC Launches New HIV PSA Campaign

The Centers For Disease Control has launched a new PSA series titled "HIV Treatment Works."
More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. This campaign features people from across the United States who are living with HIV talking about how sticking with care and treatment helps them stay healthy, protect others, and live longer, healthier lives. This campaign shows how people living with HIV have overcome barriers to get in care and stay on treatment. On this website, you will find information encouraging people living with HIV to get in care and stay on treatment, as well as resources on how to live well.
More videos in the series are at the link.

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SF Supervisor: I'm On Truvada

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener has become the first elected official to publicly disclose that he is taking Truvada as a daily HIV preventive. Josh Barro reports at the New York Times:
“A much larger segment of gay men should be taking a close look at PrEP,” Mr. Wiener, who represents the same Castro-based district once held by Harvey Milk, said in an interview on Wednesday. “I hope that my being public about my use of PrEP can help people take a second look at it.” According to data from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, there were 359 new H.I.V. infections in the city in 2013, 86 percent of them among men who have sex with men. Authorities including the World Health Organization and San Francisco’s health department say they believe that PrEP is a good strategy to cut new infections among gay men. But PrEP has been slow to catch on. According to data from the city, there were fewer than 1,000 active prescriptions for Truvada as PrEP in San Francisco at the end of 2013.
The Board of Supervisors will hold a meeting today to discuss increasing the number of people taking Truvada.

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Open Thread Thursday

Have you ever been physically gay-bashed?

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PHILADELPHIA: Catholic High School Fires Coach Over Gay-Bashing Attack

One of the suspects in last week's brutal mob gay-bashing of two gay men has been fired by the Philadelphia Catholic high school where he was a basketball coach. Most of the attackers are believed to be former classmates at the school. Via NBC Philadelphia:
Police say the man, who has not been officially charged, is a person of interest in last Thursday’s assault on two gay men. Police are in the process of interviewing several persons of interest after they released surveillance video and photos of a group of men and women who may have been involved in the attack. Sources told NBC10 some of the alleged attackers were alumni of Archbishop Wood Catholic High School in Warminster, Pa. A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia told NBC10 that one of the persons of interest was also the assistant basketball coach at Archbishop Wood. “He was not a teacher at the school but serving as a coach on a contract basis. He was terminated this evening and will not be permitted to coach in any Archdiocesan school,” the spokesperson said. “We expect all those who work with students in our schools to model appropriate Christian behavior at all times.”
The school has released a statement denouncing the attack.
Earlier today, Archbishop Wood High School became aware that some of its former students were allegedly involved in the assault of two men in Center City last week. This afternoon, administrators communicated with the entire Archbishop Wood school community to make it emphatically clear that the school does not, under any circumstances, tolerate or condone the violent and hateful behavior displayed by those who took part in this senseless attack. Administration also stressed that Catholic schools are centers of learning where students are expected to treat each other in a Christ-like manner at all times and that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. The actions of those who took part in the attack are reprehensible and entirely unacceptable. They are not an accurate reflection of our Catholic values or of Archbishop Wood High School.
(Tipped by JMG reader Str8 Grandmother)

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Air Force Drops "So Help Me God"

After an atheist airman complained that he was denied reenlistment because he refused to say the "so help me God" portion of the oath, the Air Force has dropped that requirement.
Following a review of the policy by the Department of Defense General Counsel, the Air Force will now permit airmen to omit the phrase, should they so choose. That change is effective immediately, according to an Air Force statement. “We take any instance in which Airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in the statement. “We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our Airmen’s rights are protected. “The Air Force will be updating the instructions for both enlisted and commissioned Airmen to reflect these changes in the coming weeks, but the policy change is effective now. Airmen who choose to omit the words ‘So help me God’ from enlistment and officer appointment oaths may do so.”
The Air Force was the only military branch with such an oath.

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Scotland Goes To The Polls

Via the BBC:
People in Scotland are voting on whether the country should stay in the UK or become an independent nation. Voters will answer "Yes" or "No" to the referendum question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" With 4,285,323 people - 97% of the electorate - registered to vote, it is expected to be the busiest day in Scottish electoral history. Votes will be cast at 5,579 polling stations until 22:00 on Thursday. The result is expected on Friday morning. Strict rules mean the BBC - in common with other broadcasters - is not allowed to report details of campaigning until after the polls close. Once the polls have closed, ballot papers will be counted in each of Scotland's 32 local authority areas. These will include votes cast from the 789,024 postal vote applications, which was the largest volume of registration for postal votes ever in Scotland. After votes have been tallied, the counting officer in each area will communicate the result to the chief counting officer Mary Pitcaithly in Edinburgh. With her approval they will then make a declaration of the result,.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

MISSISSIPPI: Gov Uses Hate Group To Intervene In Gay Divorce Case

Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has filed to intervene in a same-sex divorce case before the state Supreme Court.
The high court said Monday that it would hear the case instead of assigning it to the Court of Appeals. Tuesday, justices approved Bryant's motion to intervene. It's unclear if the court will hear oral arguments or when it might rule. In 2013, DeSoto County Chancery Judge Mitchell Lundy Jr. ruled that the Mississippi Constitution and statutes prevented him from granting a divorce to Lauren Czekala-Chatham and Dana Ann Melancon. The women married in San Francisco in 2008 and bought a house in Mississippi before separating in 2010. They could divorce in California, but Czekala-Chatham says she shouldn't be treated differently than straight couples. Melancon objected to the divorce but later agreed to a binding settlement splitting the couple's property even though the divorce was denied. It's possible the state high court could await guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court. Wesley Hisaw, Czekala-Chatham's lawyer, told The Associated Press Wednesday that the nation's high court may agree to hear Utah's appeal of a ruling striking down that state's ban on gay marriage.

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Boy George Talks 1984 Pop Music

Via Rolling Stone:
While we were working on our list of the 100 best singles of 1984, Boy George popped by the Rolling Stone offices and offered his thoughts on a few of our selections. Watch the "Karma Chameleon" (Number 22!) singer remember hits like Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." – "It was so American and so rousing!" – and U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)" – "They were just amazing, amazing." He also tells us of the time he went to Radio City Music Hall to check out Madonna's first major tour and ends by explaining why the success of some of these records could never be repeated. Later, he discussed why 1984 was "the year of more" and how Culture Club was also in competition with bands like Wham! and Duran Duran. "I think all artists have a nemesis," George said. "When George Michael came along I was like, 'He's called George? That's not allowed!"

(Tipped by JMG reader Mike)

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Concerned Women To SCOTUS: Gays Are Too Powerful To Claim Discrimination

Concerned Women for America have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of Utah's ban on same-sex marriage. According to the brief, gay Americans are far too politically powerful to deserve the heightened level of legal scrutiny that would support claims of marriage discrimination.
Amicus agrees with both the Petitioners’ and Respondents’ view of this case: this Court should grant the Petition and address, not only the Due Process claim, but also the Equal Protection claim. In so doing, heightened scrutiny must be rejected because homosexuals are not a suspect or quasi-suspect class, since - among other reasons - homosexuals are not politically powerless. This Brief demonstrates this by documenting that homosexuals have achieved direct political power; acquired important political allies; raised significant funds from their own community, from labor unions and from corporate America; obtained support from religious communities; and moved public opinion in their favor.
The brief goes on at great length to cite President Obama'a gay pride proclamations, his employment executive order, the major corporations that back LGBT rights, the openly gay US delegation to the Sochi Olympics, the repeal of DADT, the passage of the Hate Crimes Act, and other examples of LGBT triumphs. In other words, we've already too damn successful to possibly claim discrimination.

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New Yorkers Line Up For Pop-Up Central Perk Cafe On Friends 20th Anniversary

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Friends and at this writing hundreds are lined up in the West Village to enter a pop-up version of the show's Central Perk coffee house where they can sip from those "stupid big cups which, I'm sorry, might as well have nipples on them." Lots of Friends memorabilia is on hand including the original Central Perk couch, a box of Smelly Cat kitty litter, and the porn video Buffay The Vampire Layer. The only human memorabilia on site is Gunther. Poor Gunther.

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GOP: Our Road To Flipping The Senate

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PHILADELPHIA: Gay-Bashing Mob Were Former Classmates At Catholic High School

Via NBC Philadelphia:
Authorities expect the suspects in a brutal attack in Center City to turn themselves into police Wednesday, a day after a reality television star shared a photo depicting the alleged assailants online -- causing a social media firestorm to erupt and leading a popular satire Twitter account to uncover the identity of the suspects. The suspects, who sources tell NBC10 were classmates at Archbishop Wood Catholic High School, have yet to surrender to authorities by midday Wednesday -- a day after Greg Bennett, a one-time star of the Real Housewives of New Jersey sparked a public outcry to find the attackers on social media. Members of the group -- some of whom stood by while their friends punched and kicked the 27- and 28-year-old victims in the face, head and chest -- began contacting investigators late Tuesday through their attorneys so they could turn themselves into police, according to multiple sources. The Citizens Crime Commission is offering $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case, while another Center City restaurant -- Pennsylvania 6 -- is offering a $10,000 reward.
From the school's mission statement: "As children of God, all members of our Gospel-based community are entitled to mutual respect and will be prepared to make responsible moral and ethical decisions based on our Catholic faith. A moral obligation to social justice, steeped in our Catholic teachings, is necessary to make informed decisions about the social, political, and economic aspects of Catholic life. The right choice will respect the dignity of a person while recognizing the needs of our global community."

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Sean Hannity: Liberals Want To Make It Illegal To Tell Kids Being Gay Isn't Normal

"You guys want to tell parents what they can and cannot do. For example, is it gonna become illegal if a parent teaches kids the politically incorrect view that being gay is not normal? Or that the parent says — whatever the parent wants to teach the kid that you would disagree with? I think we’ve gotten to the point where, if we don’t politically correct our kids, we might as well hand our kids over to the government the day that they’re born and let them raise them." - Fox New host Sean Hannity, saying that arresting NFL star Adrian Peterson for brutally whipping his four year-old son is a slippery slope to banning parents from telling children they shouldn't be gay.

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Erasure - Paradise

Erasure's new album debuts on Tuesday and today the full album is streaming on USA Today. One track jumps out from their review:
"I love that Eurotrance sound," Bell says. "It was another one of those uplifting songs." Paradise also has that sound, perhaps something Giorgio Moroder would have imagined. "I really love all his work with Donna Summer," Bell says. "I love the feeling of those arpeggiated synths, rhythms just going on. Or the sequences going on and vocal on top. That's sublime. Especially with Donna. She reached her peak with that. That was the idea behind Paradise. I was channeling Donna quite a bit — and Grace Jones, as well."
Sounds a bit more Cerrone than Moroder to me, especially the album version. Erasure plays DC this weekend and concludes the current tour in New York City on New Year's Eve.

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HRC Goes After Brian Brown

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Archdiocese Of Washington: Disordered Gays Must Stop Having All That Homo Sex

"The Scriptures are very clear in unambiguously declaring homosexual acts as a serious sin and as disordered. 'Disordered' here means that they are acts that are not ordered to their proper end or purpose. Sexual acts are, by their very nature, ordered to procreation and to the bonding of the mother and father who will raise the children conceived by their sexual intimacy. These ends or purposes have been intrinsically joined by God, and we are not to separate what what God has joined. In the Old Testament, Scripture describes the sinful and disordered quality of homosexual acts by the use of the word 'abomination,' and in the New Testament, St. Paul calls homosexual acts 'paraphysin' (contrary to nature). There can be no sexual intercourse for any who are not in a valid heterosexual marriage. We cannot give approval for it; we do not have the power to do this, no matter how insistent, forceful, or even punitive the demands that we do so become. This will not change because it cannot change. Sadly those of unalterable same-sex attraction have no recourse to marriage. But all of us bear burdens of one sort or another, and not everyone is able to partake in everything life offers." - Father Charles Pope, writing for the Archdiocese of Washington.

RELATED: Two weeks ago Pope denounced the New York City St. Patrick's Day committee for authorizing an "anal sex celebration." Shortly after I publicized that column, the Archdiocese deleted it from their site.

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PHILADELPHIA: Twitter Sleuthing Hero In Gay Bashing Case Speaks To Media

Twitter user FANSINCE09 spoke anonymously by phone to Philadelphia's Fox affiliate this morning after being credited with spearheading a crowd-sourcing social media campaign that identified the mob that brutally attacked a gay couple on a Center City street. According to FANSINCE09, the suspects went to high school together and had been enjoying a reunion dinner prior to the attack. Lawyers for the suspects reportedly contacted Philadelphia detectives late last night to arrange their appearances for questioning. No arrests have yet been made.

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Headline Of The Day

Today might be the last day of the United Kingdom as we've known it. CNN reports that last minute polls remain in a dead heat.
Politicians are making their final pleas to Scottish voters Wednesday, the last day of campaigning before they head to the polls to vote on independence. Opinion polls put the two sides neck-and-neck ahead of Thursday's historic referendum, which could see Scotland split from the United Kingdom. The latest poll of polls, released Wednesday by ScotCen, an independent research center, shows "no" at 51% and "yes" at 49%, with "don't know" voters excluded. It is consistent with results over the past week or so, which have indicated the race is too close to call. Polls suggest around 8% of voters remain undecided, making their votes crucial to deciding the outcome of the referendum.

As the vote nears, emotions are running high on both sides of the divide. There were chaotic scenes as Labour Party leader Ed Miliband met with members of the public on Tuesday, forcing him to cut short a meet and greet. Prime Minister David Cameron pleaded on a visit to Aberdeen this week for Scotland to stay in the union. If they leave there will be no return, he warned, saying, "This is a once-and-for-all decision." Cameron will face tough questions over the effectiveness of the pro-union "Better Together" campaign if Scotland opts to leave, with critics accusing the main parties in Westminster of complacency over the vote. They have also questioned the promise of more powers for Scotland if it stays, warning that England and Wales should not lose out.
Separatist movements around the world are hanging on every bit of news out of Scotland.

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Catholic League: We're Still Boycotting Those Anti-God Bullies At Guinness Beer

"We are now half-way to St. Patrick’s Day, and many will be tipping a few in anticipation of the March 17, 2015 parades and celebrations. For several reasons, the Guinness boycott must continue. First, we should remember that this corporate bully tried to shove its secular agenda down our throats by punishing the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade for not allowing gays to march under their own banners in 2014; it pulled its sponsorship. Its goal, which is supported by its friends at Irish Central, is to sever the religious moorings of the parade. Second, it announced its boycott on the eve of the parade, swindling pub owners to stock up on its stout before pulling the trigger. Third, even though a gay group will be marching in the 2015 New York parade, Guinness is not promising to renew its sponsorship: it wants more homosexual units to march before getting on board again. If it were to succeed, it would turn the parade into a diversity free-for-all, thus eviscerating its Catholic heritage. Guinness has no monopoly on St. Patrick’s Day anyway. It’s time we sent them a message and told them to get lost." - Bill Donohue, writing for the Catholic League.

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FLORIDA: Miami-Dade County Advances Trans Rights Bill In Unanimous Vote

The usual "men in dresses will invade public restrooms" crackpots were apparently caught flat-footed in Miami-Dade County yesterday. Via the Miami Herald:
Gay rights activists prepared for a political skirmish Tuesday at Miami-Dade County Hall. They wore matching T-shirts, arrived early and filled several rows of the commission chambers in support of legislation expanding protections to transgender people. But no one — in the audience or on the dais — showed up in opposition. Commissioners gave unanimous — though preliminary — approval to amending the Miami-Dade’s human-rights ordinance to ban discrimination on the base of “gender identity” and “gender expression.” The law applies to public places and government services, as well as to employment and housing in the county as a whole. “This update that we’re working on would ensure very basic protections for a very vulnerable part of our community that many take for granted,” said Charo Valero, field organizer for SAVE, Miami-Dade’s leading gay-rights organization that has been pushing for the legislative change.
A similar bill was pulled last year in the face of opposition. The current bill gets its next hearing in November.

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Poll: Homocon DeMaio Tied In House Bid

Via the San Diego Union-Tribune:
Democratic Rep. Scott Peters and Republican Carl DeMaio are in a virtual dead-heat in San Diego’s 52nd Congressional District election, according to a new poll of likely voters. The poll conducted by SurveyUSA for U-T San Diego and 10News asked respondents who would get their vote if the election were held today with result giving Peters 47 percent and DeMaio 46 percent. Just 7 percent said they remain undecided. DeMaio led Peters by 7 points in a similar poll conducted three months ago. “This is a real fight to the finish and a battle to see which of these two are better able to turn out their supporters in better numbers,” said Jay Leve, SurveyUSA founder and editor. DeMaio wins 80 percent of the poll’s self-described Republicans, 10 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of independents. Peters is supported by 87 percent of respondents who identify as Democrats, 16 percent of Republican respondents and 41 percent of independents. The independent voters represent the largest bloc of undecideds at 16 percent, according to SurveyUSA. Self-described moderates favor Peters over DeMaio by 58 percent to 36 percent.
RELATED: Back in May, DeMaio's campaign office was trashed in a break-in that investigators now suspect was done by his own staffers.

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Brolin - Swim Deep

From the press materials:
Following on from his Flags Mixtape, which appeared at the start of 2014, Brolin releases a brand new track, Swim Deep. The track is the first to emerge from sessions with producer Raffertie, as the two finish work on Brolin’s debut album, expected early 2015. The video for Swim Deep, directed and produced by Phoebe Arnstein, features three couples as they allow cameras to capture their tender post-sleep moments. Each graceful shot captures the lyrical intimacy of the song, to gorgeous, enveloping effect
Lovely and simple.

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Dems To Advertisers: Drop Rush Limbaugh

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched a campaign calling on advertisers to drop Rush Limbaugh.  Via Politico:
Today's blast email from DCCC Chairman Steve Israel asks supporters to sign a petition calling on Limbaugh's sponsors to pull their advertising from his program. The effort comes after Limbaugh protested an Ohio State policy instructing students to get verbal consent before having sex because, Limbaugh said, "no" sometimes means "yes." "How many guys, in your own experience with women, have learned that no means yes if you know how to spot it?" Limbaugh said. "Are these [policies] not lawsuits waiting to happen?" Wrote Israel, "Comments of this offensive nature are inexcusable... Rush Limbaugh is advocating for the tolerance of sexual assault. He should be taken off the air immediately." The email then directs recipients to a form where they are required to fill out their email address and have the option of supplying the DCCC with their zip code.
Twitchy is ever so pissed about this "fascist" move.

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Taiwanese Animators On Scotland's Vote

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Billboard Of The Day

Via Nashville television station WSMV:
In Portland, TN, a towering billboard quotes a Leviticus passage from the Old Testament: "You shall not lie with a man as with a woman. It is an abomination." Ronnie Monday, a Vietnam veteran, is the man behind the message. He commissioned the billboard and paid for it with donations from some friends. It has been up for four months. "When the president came out and indicated that he thought that gay marriage was OK, that was pretty much the last straw," Monday said. Love it or hate it, residents will have to get used to it. The contract on the billboard has been renewed for another six months. "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And he says it's wrong. And in my opinion, that's what it is, it's wrong," Monday said.
Dan Savage reacts:
When we bring up God's holy ban on eating shellfish or His loving command to kill your daughter if she isn't a virgin on her wedding night—passages in the Bible that Christians ignore—we're told that those passages are in the Old Testament, silly, so they neither apply nor matter to Christians because Jesus. Leviticus 18:22 goes on to say that men who lie with men as with women should be put to death. (Can't you just feel the love for people, people?) But if someone else were to put up a billboard in Portland proclaiming that all women who aren't virgins on their wedding nights should be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)—or that adulterers like Mark Sanford and David Vitter must be put to death (Leviticus 10:10) or that women should be forced to marry their rapists (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). Basically: It's fair game for them to use the Old Testament to beat up queers, but it's not fair for queers to use that same Old Testament to highlight their hypocrisy.

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Viral Video Of The Day

Via E! Online:
Meet Luke and Adam Monastero. These two 21-year-old fraternal twins from Canada have each known they were gay for years but didn't tell each other until recently. Then they decided to come out to their parents at the same time—and record the whole thing. "They think Luke is gay. They have an idea, but they have no idea about me, like not a single clue," Adam said in the introduction. Luke and Adam placed a hidden camera in their kitchen to catch their parents' reaction to the news, and while initially freaking them out by saying that they have "shocking" news, it turned out to be a great thing.
The clip below has been on YouTube for a month but it apparently went viral in the last few days and now has nearly a million views.

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