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The Choice We Face [video]

New media is driving a fundamental shift in how we communicate at scale, and we will soon have to make a choice about how to move forward as a society.

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You Disgust Me

A introspective post about people who walk around looking at the world through their own narrow ideological blinders.

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Religious Hypocrisy – The Slippery Slope of Sexuality

This video is dedicated to the victims of last night’s shooting in Orlando Florida.

While the shooter was reported to be Muslim and affiliated with ISIS, it would be naive of us to think that the same thing cannot happen inside of Christianity or any other religion for that matter.


“All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people.”

Adolf Hitler


When we allow ideology to blind us from our humanity we find ourselves capable of justifying many behaviors, even murder. It’s happened before and we would be fooling ourselves to think it cannot happen again.

While the people in this video are not directly calling for the death of homosexuals, this type of rhetoric is what leads people to feel justified in their behaviors. Even as far as taking the lives of those whose lifestyles they disagree with.

It’s senseless, and none of us should stand for it.

The timing of this video is almost eery. I was working on it to publish this week as part of a post about the evolution of my ideology, and I decided to modify the video based on recent events.

I see all these posts from so called “Christians” condemning the Orlando Nightclub shooter as a Muslim. But hate speech is hate speech, and it’s naive to think that this type of behavior is limited to any specific religion.

As you will see in this video, there are no geographic or religious border on ignorance.

Share this with your friends to help increase awareness of these ignorant ideologies. Then share your thoughts on MediumFacebook or Twitter.


What do you think? Is this the true word of God? Or are we ramping up for a larger religious conflict? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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What To Do When A Local Web Developer Takes Credit For Your Work

Hello internet.

I wanted to share this story with you because something I saw on the web today really got under my skin and I thought it was something you should know about. Especially if you are looking for credible WordPress developers in the Sarasota market.

I recently googled Sarasota WordPress to see what would show up, and wouldn’t you know it, one of the top results was a small web development agency who was touting their awesome WordPress skills.

I’d tell you their name and link to their website, but as I explored their portfolio I found out that they were passing my work off as their own and I am not ok with sending my audience to people who feel comfortable stealing online.

Their portfolio with my work in it

Their portfolio with my work in it

You see, as one of the organizers of the local WordPress Meetup group, I love meeting other WordPress users. I love interacting with the WordPress community as a whole and learning more about the people and businesses who use this powerful content management system to manage their online operations.

Related: Learn more about WordPress

WordPress has changed my life so I am passionate about sharing that online toolbox with others. I also regularly give of my time and resources to the WordPress community. That being said, it is also something I do for a living, which is why I felt the need to share this post with all of you.

Because if we want people to respect us as digital entrepreneurs, we must start respecting ourselves and the work we put into our projects. And we cannot be ok with others passing that work off as their own. In any regard.

I was even more let down to see that the new web developer was not only taking credit for my work, but they were also shit talking the previous “web firm” aka – Me.

An excerpt from the new web developers website.

An excerpt from the new web developers website.

But that was not the case. What we have here is a client that does not understand the value of what they got and a web developer who apparently has no clue about how it all went down.

But then I thought to myself- Self, let’s not jump to conclusions.

I thought, maybe the new developer had gone in and made some major modifications, maybe they made some serious improvements and took the website to the next level, so I went and explored the site.

NOPE…

What I found was a website which was almost identical to what I had delivered… Which is when I really started boiling.

ICEpodz-portfolio

A screenshot of the website I designed for IcePodz back in 2014.

Actually, here is the case study I wrote about the project itself back in 2014 – And here is a link to the wayback machine with a record of that article going back to 2014.

It shows the work I put into the website and includes a detailed explanation along with images that describe how I optimized the design of the website, improved the page layouts and simplified the ordering process.

As I explored the “new” website vs what I delivered, I saw no major changes or updates to the design, layout, navigation, etc. However, the developers website claims graphic design, responsive web design, ecommerce, etc. as services provided.

Sarasota Web developer misleading people about work they did

At the top of this image you can see the services they are claiming on this web project.

In actuality, the only thing that has been added to the website was a blog, and a page about their new product which is just a picture of a flyer, not an actual page on the website. Not to mention that the articles on the blog don’t have any content in them. They are empty articles, inside a barebones blog, on a content management system that was built for blogging. Which leaves me wondering…

What the heck did the developer do to feel like they deserved to throw this website in their portfolio as a project they produced?

And while I do not typically put my pricing information on blast, in this instance I feel it is necessary in order to clear the air about why this stuff really bothers me.

You see, I built the original IcePodz website for $1,500 dollars. In 5 days.

I was at a point in my career where I need to grow my portfolio, and was willing to work for a fraction of what I was worth because I was trying to build my consulting practice and wanted to add a company that I thought had a cool product to my portfolio. Silly me to think a client could ever understand the value of what they were getting when I was giving it away so cheap.

I spent countless hours working with the client, invited them into my house and even tried to train them on how to use WordPress. We even recorded an hour long screencast showing them how to navigate their new website. I showed them how to add content and took the time to explain the why behind what we were doing. I put real effort and hard work to build them that website and to have someone else claim it as their own, or dismiss my efforts in order to make themselves look better is disingenuous at best.

I gave the client the best work I could inside of their budget and time constraints, and any objective observer would see that I delivered a website that was beautiful and dynamic and delivered on everything that I promised the client.

Obviously the site was nice enough for this guy to think it belonged in his portfolio. But no part of this is acceptable in my book, and I felt I needed to say something about it.

It is our responsibility as web professionals to build value in each other’s work, not diminish it. We should be looking for ways to bring more credibility to our industry, not steal from it or those who are bringing that value.

So to the asshole who is claiming credit for my work…

I see you. And you have been warned. I sent you a personal message yesterday, and now I am calling you out publicly.

Either credit me with the design, or better yet, take the site off of your portfolio entirely. Because I looked at the rest of your work, and it is clearly above your skill set. You are deceiving potential clients, misrepresenting your abilities, and outright lying to anyone who visits your website.

You would also do well to remember that Sarasota is a very small city and most of us in the local tech world know each other. Just ask yourself if any of this is worth the impact it might have on your reputation as a web developer. Locally, and online as a whole.

Anyway, rant over. You have officially taken up too much of my time.

Goodbye internet. Until next time.


Anyway, what do you think? How would you have handled this situation? What would you do if this was you? Has this ever happened to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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The Never Ending Quest for Purpose

This article is a modified version of a post I made in my journal a while back. If you enjoy it, please share it with a friend who might need to hear the same words.

It’s how I make my living, and it’s the best compliment you could ever pay me.


The last six years have been the most difficult years of my life.

At 32, I am already acutely aware of life’s finite nature, and I often find myself questioning the purpose of my entire existence.

I’ve always been a deep thinker, but sometimes you need time to pass in order to clearly see the points on your path towards purpose. To be able to look back and realize how many of those little moments ended up becoming the beginning of something much bigger.

Exploring those thoughts is what prompted me to start this blog, and has allowed me to learn more about myself than I ever wanted to know. It has been the best therapy anyone could ever ask for and recently, it allowed me to understand how much certain events have changed the entire trajectory of my life. A picture that only became clear to me ten years after its full effect had been felt.

Long after the decision to drop out of college or the nights I wasted drinking and gambling the pain away in a pool hall as opposed to dealing with the pain directly.

Long after my first move to Florida, or any of the other seemingly random decisions which have lead me to my current path.

A path that was riddled with impulsive behavior, squandered success, missed opportunities, marriage, divorce, financial hardships, and five cross-state moves.

I’ve worked as a lifeguard, spent almost 10 years as a “sales-slave”, almost subjected myself to a career as an empty suit, and even spent some time as a kitchen bitch. Add in some questionable character decision, and well, let’s just say that the university of life has taught me some pretty interesting lessons.

A lost soul searching for purpose.

Most people look at this set of “experiences” and use it to define who they think I am, or what they think I am capable of.

They see a college dropout who had a few good years in insurance sales, and hasn’t been able to keep a job since. They see a smart kid with some potential, but they fail to see the real me.

They don’t see the tenacity it takes for a 20 year old to move 1,000 miles from home, with nothing more than $100 bucks in his pocket and a desire to change the world. They do not see the unending desire to do, to be, someone… something… special.

Related: 7 Reasons Why You Will Never Do Anything Amazing With Your Life

They don’t take the time to get to know the guy who failed in life at 27 and had to move back home to mommy’s basement for 2 years while getting back on his feet.

They don’t appreciate the humility and desperation I felt after learning about my ex-wife’s affair, the struggles with addiction, and the lack of communication which ultimately led to our divorce.

They do not understand the amount of time I spent alone, lost, and depressed. They can never know what it feels like to come that close to ending it all.

Which is why I share these personal posts publicly

Because I feel like not enough of us walk around willing to be weak. Willing to show off the pain in order to allow others an opportunity to find strength in that weakness.

As if we were not allowed to share these parts of ourselves with the world. As if we might become too powerful if we all realized that we are all fractured in one way or another.

If we could relinquish the fear of what others think of us, or how we might be judged, and then came together as a powerful Frankenstein of individuality. A collective of miscellaneous parts, all with the same purpose.

But the popular world we live in forces us to hide these parts of ourselves, from everyone. As if the world saw them only as ugly scars instead of looking at them as a beautiful part of what defines each of us as individuals.

For me, these experiences are what give me the strength to stand here in front of you, naked, but not afraid!

Which leads me to the purpose of this post

One of my more popular articles over the last few years deals with the concept of finding your real world superpower.

If I could have picked my superpower, it would have been the ability to fly, or control time. Instead I was given the ability to leverage my art and my words in a way that allows me to instantly share my unique thoughts and ideas with millions of people all around the world.

Which in its own way, is kind of like traveling through time…

It’s a power which leaves me feeling inexplicably driven to produce. To create and devour information.

Like a human version of Google, I aim to ingest as many thoughts and ideas as I can, in order to more clearly form my own opinions. Because the more I test my so called “crazy thoughts”, the more I realize that they might not be that crazy after all.

As if the more I share, the more I realize that we are all the same. And in that quest, I have found my purpose.

In the idea that I might be able to openly explore the struggles in my life in an attempt to help you find direction in yours. In the idea that I might inspire even one other person towards their path, and that they might in-turn, do the same for someone else.

So I’m not sure where this path will lead me over the next few years, but I’ll keep pushing forward in order to see it through to the end. If only for the fear of turning around, only to find that I was closer to completion than I am in retreat.

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Start Here – Everything you need to know about Raymmar.com

Learn everything you need to know about where we have been and where we are headed here at Raymmar.com.

Time & Rhythm – By Joel Eschenbach

This post was submitted by Joel Eschenbach of Notion Design as part of my 30 Days of Thought Creative Writing Challenge.


Time is a measurement

It’s a tool that we use define the constant expansion of the universe. It puts a framework on something we don’t understand, a movement that never stops. Time is constantly pulling us forward, forcing us to change whether we like it or not. Time reminds us that we are headed somewhere and that we can look back and see where we’ve been.

We track time, we manage time, we try to control time, we try to make the best use of time. But like any other linear measurement system, it just tells us the same thing over and over. We say things like “time flew by” or “time stood still” – all the while knowing that time itself, the way we’ve defined it, hasn’t changed – just our perception of it.


“If we’re honest at the deepest levels, we’re afraid of time.”

– Joel Eschenbach –


Time is our frenemy

Time fights us every year. The older we get, the more we are aware that time is against us. When we were young, time couldn’t move fast enough… “I can’t wait until Christmas!”, “My birthday is only a week away!”… My kids are constantly asking me about future events and looking forward to time moving as fast as possible in their favor. But then at some point, we grow up and are faced with our mortality.

That’s when the quest begins. We begin fighting the curse of time on our bodies and minds. We work harder and faster, we try to eat better and workout, we invent all sorts of ways to trick ourselves into thinking that time has no affect on us. We discuss and fight over things like eternity, afterlife possibilities, and what happens after our lifetime is over to give meaning to time.

Time is a distraction

We’ve all had those moments (maybe more times than we’d like to admit) when we are here, but not here. When we are with the people we love but our mind is thinking about the future or the past. We time travel constantly in our minds. I think it’s part of the reason that time travel is so fascinating to our modern culture.

We think back to things we could have done differently in the past or, if you’re like me, constantly imagine the possibilities of the future.

Then, there are those other moments in life, the times when you are aware. When your mind/heart/soul/spirit are present and you feel and sense everything on a much deeper level. Cultures and religions throughout history have defined these experiences many different ways. Whatever you want to call it, being present in the moment is an amazing experience. It’s VERY HARD, but worth practicing.

Time has no beginning or end

Like a race, we sometimes think of time as having a start and a finish line. But really, it’s just that we started measuring time – and there may come a time when we stop measuring it. Even before the universe existed, time did – and long after us it will keep moving.

Our own lifetimes become the center of our personal universes. Even though we try hard to understand time and space objectively, at some point, it will always come back to our own lives. This is not a bad thing. It helps us define our existence. It gives us a way to think about our days that makes sense. It gets us up in the morning and tells us when to go to bed at night. It helps us classify and organize our experiences and gives us a measurable framework to look ahead to the future and cite from the past.

But, there might be something better than time…

What about rhythm?

The day begins, the day ends. The seasons come, then they go. There’s birth, then death. The leaves are green and vibrant and then they fade and fall to the ground. We breathe in and out. We work and play, strive and rest. We live and then we die. There is a rythym to everything.

What if we could view our lives and everything in our universe as a rhythm? Time has it’s place and is necessary, but rhythm… Rhythm gives us balance. It gives us a way to be present in the moment AND have times to think about the future. It allows us to stop obsessing about time and immortality and gives us the space to rest.

Our lifetime is a big metaphor for our small daily lives. We experience little deaths and new beginnings all the time, and rhythym gives us the assurance that the pendulum will always swing back again. What if instead of managing time, we worked towards a healthy rhythm in our lives? One that’s less defined by our phones and watches, but more defined by what’s important to us and others.

Time might be our enemy, but rhythm is our friend. The hope that even bad days will end and new ones will begin. The hope that years of difficulty will be followed by years of peace. The hope that pain is just one half of the story. We might measure our time in days, months, and years, but we measure rhythm in the back and forth, the push and pull, the give and take.

And, if the rhythm of the universe is true, we might find that when we reach the end of our time here, it might be just another beginning.


This post was submitted by Joel Eschenbach of Notion Design as part of my 30 Days of Thought Creative Writing Challenge.

Do you have something to say about time? Register for the challenge today, share your thoughts with us, and have your work featured right here on Raymmar.com

Watch the creative prompt that sparked this conversation.

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Join Me for 30 Days of Thought

Join me for 30 Days of thought to connect with your inner artist and challenge your creative thought process. #AskHardQuestions

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30 DoT Writing Prompts

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How Writing Changed My Life And Why You Should Start A Blog

An in depth article that explains how a single blog post changed my life, and why you should start building your own personal online brand.

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Will I Ever Have To Teach My Kids How To Drive?

A short video that explores the idea that in the near future, we may no longer have to teach our children how to drive.

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Homeless Guy In Sarasota Practices Piano Instead of Panhandling

Meet Steve. He’s homeless, but instead of panhandling for money, he works when he can, and practices piano in his spare time.

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Raymmar & Chill – Lots of New Videos!

Explore my videos and get an inside look at our software startups, advice for how to build your own digital business, and random rants about life.

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What It Means to Be Unhireable

After blowing the first Unhireable Podcast, I’ve decided to release the individual segments as separate videos.

This first one is a deep dive into what people think it means to be Unhireable.

To get a diverse range of opinions, we went out to the Mall at UTC (and promptly got kicked out), stopped by the HuB to ask some entrepreneurs, sat down with the founder of Sarasota Day, and even interviewed a few randoms out on the street. All with the specific intent of finding out what people think it meant to be unhireable.

It’s part of a long term project we are working on here at Raymmar.com, and is an idea we will be exploring further in our future videos.

Were you surprised by any of the answers?

What do you think it means to be Unhireable?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Five Things I Learned From F**king Up My First Live Podcast

  • NSFW – Language & other things your boss won’t want you to see while you’re at work. 
  • Skip to 1:16 to get past the blue disclaimer screen of death.
  • Skip to 4:23 to get into the meat of the opening. (It’s actually a pretty good podcast once you get past the technical miscues.)

Tonight we tried to run our first live podcast. It didn’t go so well.

It’s kind of ironic actually. We pre-produced a funny intro video that showed us screwing up the live stream, and then actually screwed up the live stream. We thought it would be a funny way to open up our new live segment, but it turns out the joke was on us.

At the end of the day, we did run into some technical difficulties, but the truth is that we should have been more prepared.

In typical Raymmar fashion, I wanted to go all in, without really knowing the depth of the water I was jumping into. But don’t worry, I’m a good swimmer. Over time, I know this will all get better, and even though we screwed up, we did a lot of things right.

To be completely honest, my biggest concern was letting all of you down. Those of you who wanted to watch, but couldn’t. Those who set aside time to be there and then found a blank screen when you showed up. I want to personally apologize for that. This is all part of a learning process, and I appreciate your patience as we figure it all out.

And even though we did not “succeed,” we did learn a few lessons from fucking up our first live stream.

1: Test Everything… Twice

We thought we double checked everything, but in the end, it was something simple that did us in.

We tested the ability to broadcast live before the show and it worked perfectly. Then, in an effort to optimize the production process, I decided to use the auto broadcast feature on the encoding software we are using. Whoops.

After realizing that the broadcast had not begun on time, we tried again a few times manually, finally getting it to start streaming, but inadvertently starting the stream in a new feed instead of sending it to the previously scheduled event on YouTube. This created a new URL for our broadcast, which meant we actually did broadcast live last night, but unfortunately not many people saw it.

2: Give Yourself Twice the Time

If this is your first time trying to produce a show live, you should plan on spending twice the amount of time you think it is going to take you, if not more. There are all sorts of hidden hurdles that will jump out to derail you so make sure you give yourself enough time to navigate all of the obstacles that are bound to pop up.

Tyler and I worked our assess off in the weeks leading up to this live stream, trying to produce a few of the segments ahead of the show, but timing them up, cutting them just right, and packaging everything up for the live broadcast was more time consuming that we initially expected. And although we messed up big time, we did get a few things right, and I look forward to learning more on the way towards the bigger vision.

3: Keep It Simple Stupid!

We tried to complicate the show in an attempt to tell a better story. But at the end of the day, those complications cost us the quality we were looking for. Moving forward we will simplify the entire process to eliminate some of the moving parts.

Additionally, I feel like as I am typing these “lessons,” I am just repeating things to myself that I knew before we started. I guess I just thought we could pull it off, and to be honest, we almost did. Unfortunately, in the world of live broadcasts, “almost” is about as good as not-at-all.

4: Keep it Short

In retrospect, trying to do a full hour for our first live stream might have been a little too ambitious. We may need to take some time to build our audience before too many people devote an hour of their day to tune in live.

We definitely should have spent more time working on shorter segments, producing them ahead of time, and then getting a feel for how to string them all together over time. Instead we tried to cram a months worth of work into a week and a half. This leaves the podcast feeling a little scatter brained. Not to mention, the fact that I am the talent and the producer, which made it hard for me to direct my focus completely in one place.

Moving forward, we will stick to telling short stories, and then we will start a recap show where we talk about all of the content we have created since our last recap. Maybe we start this once a month, and slowly move  towards a more regular show schedule.

5: Practice Practice Practice

We were under the gun to get all of the content produced ahead of time, and at the cost of doing one thing right, we did it all wrong. We left ourselves no time for a dry run, or dress rehearsal. We should have failed inside of test run, not on live airtime.

At the end of the day, I think we were just a little too ambitious here, and I think we learned some valuable lessons, even if we did screw some things up.

And if I am being completely honest, I think this makes for a way more interesting start up story.

For those who made it all the way down to this part of the article, then you might want to bounce around the first show below. We’re not going to make a big stink about it, but I am going to leave it up as a reminder of where we started.

We also think it might be a good faith gesture to our audience, to show that this is all part of a learning curve, and that we are planning on sharing everything on this journey with you. Even the shitty parts.

So stay tuned, I promise this will all get better as we go.

Until then, thanks for your patience.

Regards,

Raymmar-logo-Enfold-blue

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Young Professionals Speak Out About Affordable Housing in Sarasota

Reactions from Sarasota Young Professionals about a recent survey where 46% of local YP’s were thinking about leaving town due to the lack of affordable housing.

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Introducing The Unhireable Project

Welcome to the ground floor of the ray.do network. Learn more about our new podcast, and how you can get involved here at Raymmar.com

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Why I’m Supporting A Gay Rights/Equality Event

If you had asked me a few years back to attend the Annual Harvey Milk Festival, I would have looked at you a little weird. I would have told you that I think homosexuality is unnatural and that I wouldn’t be attending because I did not agree with the lifestyle.

Watch a short video from the most recent Harvey Milk Festival. Courtesy of Sarasota Underground.

I might have referenced a gay person that I was somewhat familiar with and claimed to not have a problem with their sexual preference, but deep down, there was a piece of my brain that made me feel really uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality. The part of me that society has trained to feel that way, the part that hates the thought of two members of the same sex finding happiness inside of an intimate relationship with one another.

But that part of me is dying fast. And I can’t tell you that it is gone completely or that it ever will, but I have a whole new perspective on many things in life. And the amount of fucks I give about how people decide to explore their sexuality is quickly fading.

And honestly, what kind of world are we living in, where the things that happen in the privacy of of our own bedrooms, among two consenting adults, is anyone’s business other than that of the people who are in the room doing it. And more importantly, who the hell am I to tell anyone, where, when or how they should play with their private parts.

“But homosexuality is immoral and wrong!” Said some religious reader somewhere!

Oh yeah, says who? The bible? Your church? Your government?

Related article: Is everything you know about religion wrong?

Who the heck are they? And why have we let them into the most intimate parts of our private lives? Are we so incapable of ruling ourselves that we have deferred every one of our decisions to the approval of others?

Are we not just people living inside of small communities? Are we not all human? Do we not still preserve the right to think and act on our own? Have we lost the ability to mind our own business? Have we stopped managing our own lives and shifted towards the idea of collectively managing the lives of others, and in turn, lost control of everything?

And what kind of world are we building for our children? One where we are still free to think and act on our own? Or one that is managed by mandate? A world where our decisions are dictated to us? One that leaves us always worried about the opinions of someone else. Always letting someone tell us what to do, what to say, and how to say it.

So you see, I may not support the entire LGBTQ movement, but I wholeheartedly support my gay friends. I support their right to believe in whatever they believe in. I support their right to gather, and celebrate and have sex with whoever they want… As long as it’s not with me.

Because what right do I have to claim free speech, if I am not willing to support those who speak freely?

What right do I have to talk about liberty if those are around me are not encouraged to live freely. And what right do I have to tell you, or anyone for that matter, how to live your life?

Because that is equality.

Because that is the level playing field that America was supposed to be. Not this doctored up version of democracy that is starting to feel more and more like fascism.

So I am supporting the Harvey Milk Festival and my friends who help pull it off every year. With my words and with my wallet, and I would ask you to consider doing the same. Mostly because they need it, but more importantly, because America needs more people who are willing to stand up for what they believe in, even if that means defending someone else’s right to do something you might not completely agree with.

 

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30 Things I learned After Writing Something New On My Blog Each Day For 30 Days

What I learned while writing my #30DoT

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God Sent Me To Piss The World Off

People get so offended when you challenge their thought process. Me? I live for it.