Monthly Archives: November 2015

“Freedom from Fear” by Hayden Collins

November 26, 2015 Hayden Collins
As families sit down together for their Thanksgiving dinner, some may remember an illustration by in which generations of a family are gathered around a table as the grandmother brings in a large turkey.  The painting’s title is “” and it was one of series that Rockwell painted during WW II.
Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell
Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell
In addition to being thankful for the blessings of food, families and friends, and our communities, recent world events remind us to be thankful for the freedoms of the U.S.  Another of the paintings in Rockwell’s series was called “Freedom from Fear.”  It is a freedom we still need to defend today.
A big difference between how Rockwell’s paintings were viewed during WW II and how they are seen today, is a reflection of the confidence of our nation that was depicted in them. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had given a speech about not being ruled by fear, that the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.  Our leadership then had an understanding of the effect of war and how it consumes nations; of what fear is, and how it consumes a society. For them, the U.S. was the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave – not the Home of the Fearful, and the Land Led by Fear.
At the end of WW II, our country and the world saw that evil was defeated when Hitler and the Axis powers were gone.  The problem was answered.  Our parents and grandparents, who saw themselves in the family members depicted in the “Four Freedoms” paintings, saw an image, an idea greater than a thousand words, although for each person those words are different.  They shared a common theme: those freedoms were what our country had been fighting for, they were the motivation for our goals, and the commitment for securing them was reinforced by the Allies’ victory.  They knew that absolute victory is eliminating the threat.  They had a lot to be thankful for.
Our leaders now are reluctant to provide answers.  Instead of clear commitments, we are now being led by polls.  But what we need is for our leaders to step beyond the emotions of the moment, and take the lead in setting the goals and objectives to eliminate the threat that the world now faces from terrorist activity.  Imagine what it would be like, next year at this time, if this problem was eliminated.  We need to realize that this is not a battle against – ISIS is just the current threat.  There will probably always be a reactionary or terrorist organization somewhere in the world.  Our leaders should recognize this and plan for it, identify the organizations, and position our nation to eliminate the danger.
The threat we are facing is a threat to our freedoms.   It is not only our fear of terrorist activity being carried out in our country, but the fear that’s being used by some of our leaders in their decisions and in the explanations they give for them.  We cannot respond to challenges or threats in fear.
We need leadership that will face our challenges boldly.  We need the same response to those who would take away our freedom through fear, whether in other parts of the world or here at home.  Absolute victory is eliminating that threat.  Let us be thankful for those that recognized this in the past and achieved victory.  Let us be thankful for the freedoms our Constitution gives us.  And let us be vigilant as we plan and prepare in order to protect our freedoms.

Dark Money and Marco Rubio, Money in Politics at a New Level

speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

No presidential candidate has relied on “” as much as Marco Rubio has this year.

has spent nearly $8.5 million on TV ads, making it the second biggest advertiser so far in the entire presidential race according to Kantar Media data. The group is paying for ads in early-voting states that feature Rubio, though they usually avoid openly calling for his . As a 501(c)(4) organization, the Conservative Solutions Project does not have to disclose its donors. But it is also expected to further the “social welfare,” not simply promote a single candidate.

Other candidates are benefiting from 501(c)(4) organizations — colloquially referred to as dark money groups — but, as Andrew Prokop of Vox notes, only Rubio has one that is airing TV ads. By contrast, Right to Rise Policy Solutions, a 501(c)(4) with ties to Jeb Bush, has focused on issuing policy papers. Rubio has only just started running his own campaign ads, but Conservative Solutions Project has been airing spots for weeks that feature footage of the Florida senator. Here are two of the CSP’s advertisements, both built around Rubio speeches, one on domestic policy, the other on foreign affairs.

(CREW) first spotted the fact that CSP’s advertising forms refer specifically to Rubio; CREW subsequently filed a complaint to the IRS, claiming that this political activity by the Conservative Solutions Project violated 501(c)(4) tax law. Fellow watchdog organizations Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 have followed suit, filing a separate complaint and urging the Department of Justice to investigate the Conservative Solutions Project, arguing that is simply set up to promote a presidential candidate — which would indeed be a violation of IRS rules.

This suggests that the Conservative Solutions Project may be primarily aimed at promoting Rubio as a presidential candidate. A New York Times editorial called the tactics “one of the most brazen” abuses of the campaign finance system so far in the presidential race.  

The Conservative Solutions Project is not alone. American Encore, another nonprofit controlled by a political operative who is backing Rubio, is now running TV ads in Iowa attacking Ted Cruz for his record on electronic surveillance issues. The commercial, which opens with footage of the Paris terror attacks, compares Cruz to Barack Obama and warns that he voted to weaken “our ability to fight terrorists.” American Encore, which ran also ads in the 2014 Arizona gubernatorial elections, does not disclose its donors.

As Prokop notes, Rubio has a history of being close to his top donors, such as Florida businessmen Norman Braman and Max Alvarez. But because of this group’s exploitation of its IRS status, we cannot know who might be funding the main source of pro-Rubio ads so far. Rubio has said that he wants “sunlight” that illuminates the identity of donors and spending. But instead, he is benefiting from dark shadows that keep voters from seeing who is helping him on his quest to win the White House.

Week After Armed Anti-Islam Protest, Hundreds Show Support for Irving’s Mosque

A woman and a little girl wandered into the demonstration from the mosque. (Avi Selk/TDMN)

Update 9 p.m.: IRVING — The forecasts began warning of rain almost as soon as Tonya Candenhead sent out the first invitations for Saturday’s rally in support of Irving’s mosque — planned after protesters took guns to the site last weekend.

Cadenhead wanted to show the world another side to her hometown, which had been making national news all year for acts of hostility and suspicion toward its small Muslim population.

Between the weather report and the political climate, the 31-year-old Starbucks barista imagined that she and a few friends would end up shivering in ponchos beside Esters Road.

But the storm fell short, and the response from Cadenhead’s neighbors exceeded her hopes.

About 200 people lined up outside the Islamic Center of Irving on Saturday afternoon. Cold but mostly dry, they stood for hours with signs of friendship and support for religious freedom, and they hugged worshippers who drifted over from the mosque.

A dozen men and women with long guns stood in the same spot a week earlier, convinced that the Quran preached violence and declaring that Islam must not be allowed to spread.

“It turned my stomach,” said Bob Maryan, one of many in Saturday’s crowd who had never been to a demonstration. He usually spends his days in downtown Dallas, working in corporate business development.

Behind him, a girl in a pink headscarf wandered through the crowd, mouth agape as people thrust flowers toward her.

“Holding guns where little kids study … it’s just being a coward,” said Maleeha Aziz, 22, who emigrated from Pakistan to Dallas about four years ago. Her sign read: “Terrorism, NOT in my name.”

A man from Syria stood a few feet away in the parking lot, smiling at the spectacle.

“I can’t speak English good,” he said, laughing. “I am new in America.” He was about to say more before a mosque official shooed the reporter away.

The Islamic Center sent out a news release welcoming Saturday’s demonstration, but its leaders were still on edge and had asked members not to talk to the media.

Tensions in Irving began to rise in January when rumor spread online that the mosque harbored an illegal Shariah court. The rumor was false, but it gained popularity after Mayor Beth Van Duyne made it part of a regional speaking tour.

Then in September, police took a 14-year-old Muslim into custody after he brought a homemade clock to MacArthur High. Authorities’ treatment of turned Irving into an international symbol of Islamophobia for many.

Fear of Syrian in the wake of the Paris terror attacks helped draw an anti-Muslim group, the Bureau of American Islamic Relations, to the mosque last week. And the Shariah court rumors prompted the group days later to distribute a list of Irving Muslims’ home addresses online.

BAIR stayed away from Saturday’s demonstration. Group spokesman David Wright said he didn’t consider the turnout impressive.

“Its easy to gather sheep, ask any Shepard!” he wrote on Twitter.

For Cadenhead, Saturday’s gathering seemed a natural response to the protest a week earlier.

“I saw a group of people were being mean, and my instant reaction was to be nice,” she said.

Aided by local and national news stories about Irving’s religious tensions, word of the rally spread virally until the RSVP listed included people from as far away as Austin.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” Sheila Reynolds said after her husband set up her wheelchair on the median. Her family drove 45 minutes from Alvarado into what they had expected to be near-freezing rain.

Not that they didn’t have refuge. Throughout the four-hour demonstration, mosque members invited demonstrators to warm up with platters of cookies and chicken shawarma inside.

They were greeted in the hall with words of thanks, and many stayed to mingle with their hosts until it was time for afternoon prayers.

Last week, when Irving’s Muslims looked east and knelt, armed men stood between them and Mecca.

This time, dozens of new friends faced east too.

Update 5:30 p.m.: The rally ended with no storms and no appearance by the armed group that protested the mosque last weekend. Though the leader of that anti-Muslim demonstration did tweet out a jab at today’s much larger event:

Original report: Exactly one week after a dozen armed protesters stood outside the Islamic Center of Irving to stop “the Islamization of America,” more than 200 lined the same sidewalk to support the mosque.

“It turned my stomach,” said Bob Maryan, who works in corporate business development in downtown Dallas, and had never attended a demonstration before.

As he watched the crowd swell along Esters Road, City Council member David Palmer couldn’t recall another demonstration of this size since he’d lived in the city.

But then, it’s been an unusual year for Irving, which has regularly found itself making national news for tensions with its small Muslim population.

First, a false rumor that the mosque was harboring a Shariah court intersected with City Council meetings and Mayor Beth Van Duyne’s public speeches. Then police arrested a 14-year-old Muslim boy who brought a homemade clock to school. Last week’s armed mosque protestors made news again a few days ago when they distributed a list of local Muslims’ home addresses.

Tonya Cadenhead, a Starbucks barista who grew up in Irving, organized today’s demonstration to show the country her hometown’s other side. She never expected the event to become so popular.

Tonya Cadenhead (center, pink) had never organized a demonstration before. Irving had rarely seen one so large. (Avi Selk/TDMN)

People from as far away as Austin signed up to attend the protest, which drew support from across the country and overseas. “It seemed like the right thing to do,” said Sheila Reynolds, who loaded her wheelchair into the car in Alvarado and made a 45-minute drive with her husband and daughter. She hadn’t been to a protest in 30 or 40 years, she said.

“Salaam Alaykum. Peace be with you,” read her sign.

In a cowboy hat and denim, Chuck Smith’s sign was simply a photo from last week’s demonstration: a masked man with a long gun following a Muslim woman down the street. “Brave? Really?” Smith had printed on the picture.

“Holding guns where little kids study … it’s just being a coward,” said Maleeha Aziz, 22, who immigrated from Pakistan nearly four years ago and was swallowed up by Saturday’s throng.

Chuck Smith, who drove from Cleburne, unloads a photo from last week's armed demonstration by an anti-Islamic group.

Cars honked nearly constantly as the crowd—from as far away as Austin and as close as down the street—stood for hours in the cold. Most had come expecting a freezing downpour though the rain had yet to come by the time Muslim worshippers began arriving for afternoon worship.

Inside, mosque officials had set up cookies, coffee and chicken Shawarma for their visitors, whom they invited to watch the prayer.

Last week, when the worshippers knelt, armed men stood outside between them and Mecca. This time, hundreds of well-wishers faced the same direction.

Veterans Don’t Get Free Dental, So This Mobile Clinic Is Offering It To Them For Free

Everyone loves a pearly white smile, but there’s more to clean teeth than just looks. Good dental hygiene benefits the entire body, as digestion begins in the mouth and strong, sturdy teeth are needed to adequately chew fibrous foods.

Tell that to veterans and they’ll certainly agree. Unfortunately, most are not receiving the benefit of dental insurance, which is offered only to veterans who are disabled.

To help remedy this conundrum, a mobile dental office has been offering free dental care to those who have served since January.

HuffPost reports that the fully-functional, 42-foot rolling “Mouth Mobile” dental care van – complete with a lab for making dentures – owns X-ray equipment and has two fully-functioning exam and treatment rooms. Of course, it wouldn’t run without its thousands of volunteer dentists and technicians.

Credit: Aspen Dental
The Mouth Mobile has provided $2.8 million in free dental care for roughly 4,000 this year.

, one of the largest dental care chains in the U.S., is the pioneer behind the “Healthy Mouth Movement.” This year, their focus was on helping veterans.

The business partnered with the nonprofit “Got Your 6” (which is military-speak for “watching your back”) and has been touring around America, offering dental care to retired service members in need.

Said Dr. Nicholas Miller, an Aspen Dental dentist, to WLNS News:

“It’s important we take care of the most urgent pain they are in and make sure we take care of all their needs in a limited amount of time.”

This initiative is certainly worth sharing, don’t you think?  Spread this news!

November 25, 2015, by Amanda Froelich

This article (Veterans Don’t Get Free Dental, So This Mobile Clinic Is Offering It To Them For Free) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and

Can World Leaders Reach Climate Change Deal?

Upcoming Paris conference will have a major impact how we live our lives and those of future generations.

About 40,000 negotiators from nearly 200 countries are descending on the French capital for the UN conference on or .

The decisions they make will have a major impact on how we live our lives and those of future generations.

Scientists have warned that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, we will pass the threshold after which climate change will become catastrophic and irreversible.

That threshold is two degrees Celcius above pre-industrial levels, and scientists say a rise in global temperatures must not exceed that figure by the year 2100.

But delegates face a number of problems. Although many countries have already made pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the run-up to COP 21, it is likely they will not be enough to slow global warming to two degrees.

The second problem relates to the differences between developed and developing countries. Developing nations want financial aid to help them implement the policies that will be a part of any Paris deal.

So, with so much at stake, can leaders reach an agreement in Paris?

Displayed with permission from Al Jazeera

Drone Pilots’ Bank Accounts, Credit Cards Frozen for Exposing US Murder

The U.S. Government failed to deter them through threats of criminal prosecution, and clumsy attempts to intimidate their families. Now four former Air Force drone operators-turned- have had their credit cards and bank accounts frozen, according to human rights attorney Jesselyn Radack.

“My drone operators went public this week and now their credit cards and bank accounts are frozen,” Radack lamented on her Twitter feed (the spelling of her post has been conventionalized). This was done despite the fact that none of them has been charged with a criminal offense – but this is a trivial formality in the increasingly Sovietesque American National Security State.

, , and , who served as drone operators in the US Air Force, have gone public with detailed accounts of the widespread corruption and institutionalized indifference to civilian casualties that characterize the program. Some of those disclosures were made in the recent documentary Drone; additional details have been provided in an open letter from the whistleblowers to , Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and CIA Director John Brennan.

“We are former Air Force service members,” the letter begins. “We joined the Air Force to protect American lives and to protect our Constitution. We came to the realization that the innocent civilians we were killing only fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS, while also serving as a fundamental recruiting tool similar to Guantanamo Bay. This administration and its predecessors have built a drone program that is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”

Elsewhere the former drone operators have described how their colleagues dismissed children as “fun-sized terrorists” and compared killing them to “cutting the grass before it grows too long.” Children who live in countries targeted by the drone program are in a state of constant terror, according to Westmoreland: “There are 15-year-olds growing up who have not lived a day without drones overhead, but you also have expats who are watching what’s going on in their home countries and seeing regularly the violations that are happening there, and that is something that could radicalize them.”


By William N. Grigg

“Black Lives Matter” Against “Blue Code of Silence”

Activists in US city of Chicago demand change in police culture to tackle killings of black youths by officers.

The organisers thought they’d attract a bigger crowd. The police prepared for thousands. 

But with a chill wind whipping off Lake Michigan, driving the rain into the faces of demonstrators, it was still an impressive turnout.

In just three days, church groups, trade unions and community organisations turned hundreds and hundreds on to the streets.

It was the biggest protest so far in Chicago, marking the death of .

Thirteen months ago the black 17-year-old was shot dead by police.

High on drugs and carrying a knife, several patrols were called to deal with the incident on the city’s South Side.

was one of the police officers to respond. Within eight seconds of arriving on the scene, he emptied his weapon in the young man from very close range. Sixteen shots.

Reports suggest one of his colleagues told him to stop before he reloaded.

The incident was captured on police dash cam. Repeated requests by the media in Chicago to have the video released were rejected, refused and fought in court.

Until Tuesday. Fourteen months after the fatal shooting. Then it was released. Silent and disturbing. And on the same day the local prosecutor decided Van Dyke should be charged with murder.

This protest targeted “Black Friday”. The busiest shopping day of the year in the US, the day after the traditional Thanksgiving holiday.

And they targeted Chicago’s ‘Magnificent Mile,’ Michigan Avenue. The city’s busiest shopping area, home to high-end designer stores.

At the front, veteran civil rights leader Jesse Jackson. He told me that the point of the protest was to make people sit up. They wanted the resignation of the city’s police chief. But they also wanted a change in the policing of the city.

“It’s not just the guy who shot him. The nine who watched him didn’t try to stop him,” he said.

“And also they did not report what had happened – that’s the culture. That’s the blue code of silence. It makes them less credible. We need a new police infrastructure and culture.”

Police wanted to restrict the protesters to one side of the street. But those who’d gathered spread across the wide boulevard, bringing traffic to a standstill.

As they reached the city’s famous Water Tower, there seemed to be confusion.

The intention was to close down the stores, to stop people shopping. There were some scuffles, but not more than pushing and shoving. And several of the crowd drifted away, the wet and cold too much.

But from one store it spread.

Demonstrators blocked the doors, stopping anyone getting in. And from there it moved further and further back up the avenue. Some shoppers had no ideas what was happening and couldn’t quite understand why they were being blocked.

They argued and pleaded, but the marchers stood firm. Others applauded them, saying that they had a right to express their anger and frustration.

In front of Top Shop there were about a dozen. Some old, some young. Some black. Some Asian. Some white. Some Hispanic. All adding their voices to the call for change.

One of the organisers told me: “We’re going to stop the money, the revenue which hurts the city and the state to show them this is going to hurt them in the long run.”

After several hours, and at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, the protesters moved on. Their point made. But with a promise to return.

A promise that this show of political and economic strength over the death of a black man at the hands of the police in the US will be repeated.

Until there is a change in the culture of policing in Chicago. And across America.

Displayed with permission from Al Jazeera

Oregon Gov’t Agency Refuses Food For Poor From Marijuana Group

The Eugene, OR, Department of Human Services refused food for the poor donated by Women Leaders in .

“We discussed in detail [with the DHS office in Eugene] how we would make it happen,” Lindsey Jacobsen, the executive director of WLC, told KATU. “And a few days later we got a phone call back stating that they wouldn’t be able to work with us due to too much time being spent on it.”

“It’s disheartening,” Jacobsen added. “We have lives just like everybody else, families, jobs. We’re just happy to be able to give back now that we have the opportunity to.”

Gene Evans, a DHS spokesman, told the TV station that it was the decision of the office, not the state or the agency itself, but it’s not clear why the state allowed the local office to refuse food for the hungry.

Mayor Sentenced to Prison for Corruption Reelected in Landslide

(ANTIMEDIA) shocked the political establishment after he was elected the next Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Why was his election so shocking? Because he was the mayor from 1991 to 2003—until he was convicted of 16 felonies, including racketeering, extortion, bribery, two counts of filing a false tax return, and eight counts of mail fraud. Ganim spent seven years of his life in federal prison as a result of the convictions.

Political pundits originally saw Ganim’s candidacy as a sideshow with no hope of electability, but the joke was on them. In September, Ganim defeated Bridgeport’s incumbent mayor, Bill Finch, by 400 votes during the Democratic primary.

Mary-Jane Foster, the Vice President of the University of Bridgeport, was Ganim’s closest opponent and lost the election by a landslide margin of almost 2 to 1. Imagine that—the voters preferred a convicted felon known for making backroom deals over an illustrious member of the community who has dedicated her life to education.

Foster was stunned by Ganim’s victory. “I couldn’t be more surprised. I expected that I would be elected the next mayor of Bridgeport. Voters were clearly willing to give Joe Ganim a second chance,” she commented.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy acknowledged Ganim’s triumph. “The voters have spoken, and I want to congratulate Joe Ganim on his victory. I am committed to moving Bridgeport forward, and, as I have said, I will continue to put the best interests of the community first,” he said.

Though unusual, a mayor being convicted of a felony does not automatically mean the candidate cannot win reelection. Marion S. Barry Jr., the former Mayor of Washington, D.C., was convicted of smoking crack cocaine in 1990 and sentenced to six months in prison. Barry’s arrest meant he could not run for reelection, but the voters brought him back to the mayoralty from 1995 to 1999.

In a showing of sheer political gamesmanship, Ganim was able to convince one of the FBI agents who originally arrested him in 2003 to endorse his campaign. Ganim was also endorsed by the local police union.

Ganim was gracious in victory. “We not only made history, we’ve defined a new course for this great city. Some will call this a comeback story, but for me, this is a city I feel I never left. I never stopped caring,” he said.

Time will tell if Ganim will go back to his old tricks, but for now, it seems the voters of Bridgeport prefer a man who admits to twisting arms over a more politically correct, docile candidate.

This article (Dirty Conn. Mayor Sentenced To Prison For Reelected In Landslide) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Lou Colagiovanni and Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. Image credit: DonkeyHotey. If you spot a typo, email

Major League Baseball Player and Girlfriend Host 17 Syrian Refugees for Thanksgiving

November 26

On Wednesday, Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle and girlfriend put on a Thanksgiving dinner for 17 Syrian in Dolan’s native Chicago. Before the event, here’s what Dolan wrote about it in the midst of a long and considered reflection on her blog:

Sean and I (along with my family) will join Syrian Community Network next week by hosting all of their refugee families for a big Thanksgiving dinner to welcome them to America.

If you live in Chicago, these people are your neighbors. They need winter coats, non-perishable food, children’s school supplies, and personal items too. If you can’t personally donate items or money, you can donate your time. You can help them build resumes, fill out job applications, or offer job training or English lessons.

You can donate to their fundraiser here or here.

If you’d rather give globally, you can also support by donating to the International Committee of the Red Cross. They are working directly with the refugee camps in , Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan.

[NOTE: The International Rescue Committee is also going to be hosting a Northern California Thanksgiving dinner with Syrian refugee families in the Bay Area. I encourage all of my Oakland friends to attend that. You can find more information about it here.]

And here’s a look at the event itself …

The lovely couple of note …

Because of ISIS specifically and political upheaval, in general, thousands upon thousands of Syrians have fled their homeland in recent months. How many of those refugees will be accepted into the United States has been a matter of significant controversy of late.

Regardless of where you stand on the larger issue, this is a good turn by Doolittle, Dolan and the others involved. As Dolan notes in her blog, the refugees who attended the Thanksgiving dinner were in the States long before the Paris terrorist attacks that called current US refugee policy into question.

Sean Doolittle and girlfriend Eireann Dolan recently turned a good deed for Thanksgiving.
and girlfriend Eireann Dolan recently turned a good deed for Thanksgiving. (USATSI)
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 “We thought we’d officially welcome them with one of our greatest American traditions, Thanksgiving.”

“Chicago is so lucky to have 17 Syrian refugee families now officially calling it home,” Eireann Dolan, Doolittle’s girlfriend, wrote on Instagram. “We thought we’d officially welcome them with one of our greatest American traditions, Thanksgiving. Thank you to Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Burke for joining the party! If you’d like to sponsor a refugee family in Chicago, link is in my bio .”

Syrian citizens have been fleeing the country for months, but the story has gained steam in the United States over the last few weeks following the Paris terror attacks when one of the attackers snuck into France with a group of refugees. A handful of U.S. states have said they will not be accepting any Syrian refugees. Here’s a full list of those states.

Doolittle has been with the A’s organization since being selected in the first round of the 2007 draft out of Virginia. He’s been an effective reliever since making his debut in 2012 though injuries derailed his 2015 season after he took over as the team’s closer in 2014.

Doolittle also keeps a spare burrito in his car in case of traffic. Tell me you don’t want Sean Doolittle to be your uncle/dad/neighbor/cousin/brother/best friend.