Showing posts with label Dignity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dignity. Show all posts

October 5, 2020

What Type of Sick Puppy

What type of sick puppy puts a girl in a caged pen with the dog?

This was in a woman's clothing/fashion store in the local mall. 

There is something really screwed up with people's thinking and our culture. 

Even if this lady likes to pet the dog, this is horrible messaging!

We need a serious reset on how to treat women and show them proper respect!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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September 30, 2020

Presidential Debates Sink To New Low!

If you thought the Presidential Debates couldn't get any worse than 2016 with "Crooked Hillary."

Last Night with "Sleepy Joe" hit rock bottom!

From BOTH candidates, the lack of coherent answers, coupled with constant interruptions, yelling, put downs, and name-calling was so completely discouraging and disgusting. 

Came away feeling like we were at a Mixed Martial Arts tournament rather a Presidential Debate for the United States of America.

What has happened to our great nation?

We are becoming the laughing stock to the entire world. 

If we can't conduct ourselves with dignity, courtesy, respect, and integrity towards each other, how can we lead this country, let alone the world?

May G-d help us to find our footing again, to unite around the noble principles and values of freedom, diversity, equality, democracy, capitalism, and human rights for which this country was founded, and change the awful political sinkhole of divisiveness, strife, and sheer indecency that we are caught in.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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December 18, 2019

Woman In Gold, Gold, and More Gold

What an amazing painting featured in the movie, Woman In Gold.

The painting is called the Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer I and was commissioned by her adoring husband. 

That face! And surrounded by everything in gold yet you can still clearly make out her stunning dress. 

I've never seen anything like this: the vividness and the majesty of it. 

Honestly, I think there is a resemblance to my beautiful mother, Gerda Blumenthal who was also from Germany. 

The interesting history on this is that it was stolen by the Nazis from the Jewish owners in the Holocaust, but was finally returned to their family in America that succeeded in suing Austria for it back.

This is truly one of the greats! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Gustav Klimt [Public domain])
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February 10, 2019

The Not So Civil Service

At one time, it was considered a great honor to work for the Federal government, and people fought for the jobs and to take the civil service exam. 

The Civil Service was not only a term, but also a reality filled with honor, dedication, and devotion to one's country. 

Working for the Federal government meant interesting and exciting work opportunities not only defending our great nation, but in making it just and prosperous, and literally a beacon of freedom for the world. 

While no one became rich working for the government, you could make a stable living, build tenure over your service, and finally receive a pension upon retirement. 

Over the course of almost 20-years of my federal career, I have had the opportunity to serve in positions that I only could have dreamed about as a child, and to feel such pride in serving. 

But it seems like times have taken a turn for the worse either willfully or through neglect:

- From Capitol Hill to the Executive Department, we see the extremus of polarization and endless obstacles to getting anything done.  

- With each change in administration, aside from a change of leadership and direction at the top of each Department, the workforce is seemingly accused of subversion for the other side and turned on itself. 

- Just recently, we've seen the longest federal government shutdown lasting 35 days and with hundreds of thousands of Federal workers required to work without pay at the time. 

- We have also seen many years of pay freezes--with not even a meager cost of living adjustment (COLA), while the overall economy is booming!

- The pay for grades at the upper levels are hitting up against the Congressional limits with multiple pay steps being the same pay and no increase for career advancement or growth of responsibilities. 

- Employees have been forced to endure the A-76 outsourcings, threats of disbanding entire agencies, demands to reduce the size of government, and hiring freezes even while serving a larger population requiring ever more services. 

- There have been limitations on the power of employee unions, and an ongoing series of tightening of benefits from CERS to FERS and continuing thereafter requiring greater employee contributions and what feels like ever less benefit payouts. 

- Staff are threatened with firing in a short(er) period of time for making a small number of mistakes to a host of "conduct" issues that may or may not be true, and may at times be the outcome of poor leadership rather than problematic employees.

- The system for employment grievances and judging these has gone without a quorum for the longest period on the books and the backlog of cases continues to build. 

While no system is perfect, and there are bad apples on every side, there clearly seems to be a devolution of the federal service, and what this means for governing and for our defense and prosperity is yet to be fully felt. 

For me, serving the Federal government has been one of the greatest honors and has been many of the best years of my life. My wish is for others going forward to have a positive and productive experience as well. 

Perhaps with an appreciation and true respect for the millions of good men and women that serve our country--from the front lines to the back offices--we can once again create a system that is equitable, fair, and just and that inspires the world-class results we needs for our nation and our people. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 31, 2019

Respecting Native Americans

So I don't know what went down with the students from Catholic Covington High School and the Native Americans in the video that was widely circulated the other day.

People claiming all sorts of racism and hate, and others saying nothing happened--usually the truth is somewhere in between. 

In light of this, I wanted to share this awesome painting, and say we should absolutely respect the Native Americans and do everything we can to help them. 

These are the indigenous people that were here long before we ever were, and let's just say that they suffered and lost a lot when the first Europeans arrived on these shores. 

We are all G-d's children, and no one acting with integrity and peacefully should ever be mistreated or disrespected, no one! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 3, 2017

Crumbs Are For The Birds, Not The Workers

Since the days of slavery, workers have had very little in terms of rights or protections. 

The rich and powerful capitalist employers hold all the cards.

Like this poster says:
"Which Shall It Be?
Duke: 'If you demand your rights, no more crumbs from my table.'
Working Man: 'Give me my rights and keep your crumbs.'"
The capitalist owners enjoy being able to give "trickle-down economics" to the average working man. 

Basically, it's just crumbs from the rich man's table. 

And if you don't like it, and you want rights, protections, and more...tough luck, and no more crumbs for you!

But the little guy who breaks his back to earn his daily bread, wants his dignity and respect more than the crumbs from the "capitalist pig" taking advantage of him.

Trickle-down is bullshit!

Crumbs aren't going to raise the standard of living for the working class. 

We need living wages, social and income equality, and workers rights and protections to keep the little guy from being bulldozed by the rich and powerful. 

Certainly, there are many rich and powerful people that are good and generous, but not everyone is that that way. 

And we can't have mistreatment of people by those wielding a whip over them.

Yes, workers need to perform and conduct themselves professionally--that is their job.

But workers shouldn't be taken advantage of with poor wages, little to no benefits, and miserable working conditions (including bullying, harassment, and hostile work environments). 

Remember that in life tables can get turned and the rich and powerful can become the poor and the weak.  

Therefore, pay and treat your workers as you would want to be paid and treated. 

No one is so big as to be untouchable by G-d. 

Money and power will not save anyone from illness, accidents, disasters, and misfortune.

The only thing that does save people is good deeds, kind words, compassion, faith, and prayer. 

Crumbs are for the birds, dignity and respect are for the people!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 16, 2017

The Folly of Bullies

So there is an issue with people not treating other people with respect and dignity in life and at work.

Today again, the Wall Street Journal reported that "Companies Wake Up To The Problem of Bullies at Work."

This is leading some organizations to issue "Codes of Civility" for people to act like mensches and treat each other nicely. 

Adults are just so like children--with work bullies not all that different from schoolyard bullies.

Why do people need to elevate themselves on the backs of others? 

Isn't it better to join hands and work together as brothers for the betterment of all.

Bullying anyone at work or at home doesn't benefit anyone, including the bully!

I read today in Psalms 37: 35-36:
"I have seen the wicked in great power and spreading himself like a green tree. Yet he passed away, and behold, he was not; I sought him, but he could not be found 
[But] Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright for the end of that man is peace."
How can people forget that the true "big boss" is G-d Almighty in Heaven.

And He judges us for a good or not so good end. 

We are all just flesh and blood and we all answer to the One That Was, Is, and Will Always Be!

Isn't it obvious that we're here to learn to act with lovingkindness to one another.

All are imperfect, but treating each other well is how we get closer to G-dly perfection. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 22, 2017

Treating The Homeless With Dignity

I love this organization, Think Dignity.

They do hands-on advocacy and activism to help the homeless. 

From providing them storage lockers, bathrooms, showers, haircuts/shaves, clothing boutique, hygiene products (e.g. tampons etc.), drinking water, legal services, and more.
While others looks away, they jump in to actually do something real. 

They actually bring mobile showers to them!

The video show on the left, one person living a regular life with a home, job, and everything they need, and on the right, another person down on their luck, homeless and needy.

Both are G-d's creatures--one just needs a fresh start!

At the end of the video, it says:

Don't Look Away.
Think Love.
Think Hope.
Think Strength.
Think Worth.
Think Dignity. 
I hope you are truly moved in the same way that I am by this organization and their beautiful mission and meaningful outreach activities. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 15, 2017

Management Is A Privilege

So some people have this notion about management that is all wrong. 

- Management is not a right or entitlement.

- Management is a wonderful privilege!

The privilege comes with responsibility and is earned by knowing how to manage and treat your people right.

That means:

- Acting with integrity

- Treating people fairly, with dignity, and respect

- Showing you value them

- Helping to develop them

- And of course, achieving results together!

I heard it said well like this:
"If you don't treat people well 
you won't be a manager for long."
Again, it's a privilege, not a right, to manage and lead others. 

Those who abuse their privilege and people--it's like the cycle of life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 7, 2017

The CEO and The Janitor

Wow, I heard a powerful story from a colleague that I wanted to share.

The colleague's father was a industrial psychologist and he would go into some relatively big organizations to improve the functioning and culture. 

One of the things that he would do is get the CEO and the janitor in the same room together. 

And he would say:
"Both of you have vital jobs in the organization and you need to appreciate each other!"

At this point, the CEO and the janitor would be looking around the room super quizzically.

And the psychologist would to the janitor and say:
"The CEO's job is critical, because without the CEO, we wouldn't have the leadership and vision for the organization to be successful, and you wouldn't have a job and salary.

Then he'd turn to the CEO and  explain:
The Janitor's job is critical, because without the janitor, we wouldn't have a clean and functioning building and facilities for everyone to do their jobs and be successful, and you wouldn't be able to come to work ever day."

It's really amazing that despite all the fancy titles, corners offices, and rich compensation packages for some, really everyone in the organization is vital in their own way!

We need to remember that when we deal with others that they are human beings--in the image of G-d--and we need to treat all with the utmost dignity and respect for both who they are and what they contribute. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 9, 2017

Third-World Office

So hooray for paper towels. 

A good workspace is definitely conducive to productivity and morale. 

That means cleanliness, open collaborative spaces, quiet work areas/offices, ample supplies, and obviously good technology. 

I've been in world-class institutions in terms of their mission, but that were third-world in terms of their work conditions. 

In one place, the bathroom toilets kept getting clogged with paper towels, so they got rid of them altogether, which forced the employees to use toilet seat covers for hand towels--yes, believe it!

Of course, at least we had running water, but there was also often flooding in the cubicle areas and the windows were nailed shut--high-tech security, not. 

In another place, in the private sector, I remember a new CFO coming in and being so cheap that he actually got rid of the milk and creamer from people's coffee. 

Talking about pennywise and dollar foolish. 

Don't these institutions get that the way you treat people impacts the way they respond to their work.

How can we be the Superpower of the planet and can't provide decent, normal work conditions to our workers. 

It goes without saying that treating people with respect, dignity, and value should be happening all the time, but doesn't.

We're not even talking six-figure bonuses and stock options either--just treat people like human beings and not indentured slaves or cattle. 

Wake up America--you're people are worth working plumbing, paper towels, and some milk and creamer for their coffees and really a heck of a lot more than that. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 8, 2017

Robotics Help The Paralyzed Stand And Regain Mobility


Some of the best work being done in robots to help disabled people is from Dr. Amit Goffer of the Technion University in Israel. 

ReWalk is a robotic battery-powered exoskeleton with motorized legs and hips that enable paraplegics to walk, turn, and even climb and descend stairs again--and is FDA cleared as of 2014. 

And UPnRIDE is a wheeled auto-balancing robotic device that enables quadriplegics to stand and be mobile. 

The inventor, Dr. Goffer, is himself paralyzed from the waist down due to an accident 20-years ago.

This has inspired him to create these absolutely amazing robotic devices to assist all disabled people who are wheelchair bound. 

Approximately 1% of the people are wheelchair bound that's 70 million

And surely, many more especially in the developing world need wheelchairs and don't have them.

So these amazing robotic devices have the incredible capacity to help so many people stand and regain their mobility and dignity again. 

These are nothing short of miraculous and a new beginning for so many people suffering from spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, palsy, strokes and more

Being able to stand again is not only psychology healthy and helpful for mobility, but it may aid in preventing secondary conditions that wheelchair-bound people can suffer, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, loss of lean mass and difficulty with bowel and urinary functions.

ReWalk has also received approval for coverage from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for those qualifying and with spinal cord injuries. 

Hopefully, this is just the beginning for helping people around the world. Mobility is life! ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to The Times of Israel)
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December 16, 2016

Death With Dignity

It is amazing that still in the 21st century there is not widespread acceptance and legality of physician-assisted suicide. 

Even the term voluntary euthanasia (from the Greek meaning good death) is still considered taboo--similar to using the term radical Islamist.

People are afraid to call a spade a spade and deal with life's complexities and harsh realities. 

All through history, mankind had the code of conduct and honor that when someone (person or animal) was mortality wounded by nature or in battle, they would be "put out of their misery."

This is called COMPASSION!

Yet, in modern-day civilization, extremist PC-ness (politically correctness) dooms even such a basic fundamental act of decency toward one another. 

Like with radical Islam, the fear of saying it and admitting to a war against extremist and murderous religion ideology cannot be fathomed and so "leadership from behind" mandates that we close our eyes and pretend the boogeyman isn't really in the room--even if it means continuous losing in the global war on terror. 

Similarly, with euthanasia, poor excuses for leaders fear that once the genie is out of the bootle, people will just be committing arbitrary acts of suicide left and right. 

Unfortunately, these weak people in leadership positions are not leaders, but rather cowards who force others to suffer whether by the hands of terrorism and war or by the unnecessary and cruel suffering for people with the most horrible illness and disabilities in society. 

In 1988, "Dr. Death," Jack Kevorkian, provided assisted suicide to someone with the horrible, Lou Gehrig's Disease, and in turn, he had to spend 8 years in jail for second-degree murder.

Fortunately, there are now already 5 U.S. states where "physicians cannot prosecuted for prescribing medication to hasten death", where individuals that "have a terminal illness as well as a prognosis of six months or less to live." These include: Oregon, Vermont, Washington, California, and Montana (when mandated by a court ruling).  

Similarly, overseas in Switzerland, associations like DIGNITAS, provide services "accompanying dying patients at the end of their lives and assistance with suicide."

The person must have a: 

- "terminal illness" and/or an 
- "an "unendurable incapacitating disability" and/or 
- "unbearable and uncontrollable pain."

The end is made reasonable and humane by having a in-depth evaluation, followed by at least 2 face-to-face meetings with doctors, getting a prescription for the medicine, setting a mutually agreed date, having loved ones at their side, and self-administering the fatal dose of Sodium Pentobarbital (NaP), usually 15 mg by swallowing or administering by gastric tube or intravenously.

The medicine is "lethal, fast-acting, and completely painless"--after taking it, the patient falls asleep within a few minutes and passes peacefully. 

Having seen my own mother suffer horribly with Parkinson's Disease, I know that voluntary euthanasia would not only have been the merciful thing to do, but the right thing to do to help people. 

Political correctness and fear of doing what needs to be done is no excuse for prolonging the suffering of those that want to exercise their right to die and who deserve their final peace. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 28, 2016

Suicide Office To-Dos

So at times, organizations send out notices to their staff with self help suggestions or organizational resources that are available.

One such case is for suicide prevention. 

For example, if you are thinking about suicide, perhaps you should contract the employee assistance program.

It's a good idea to reach out to employees when the messaging is done in a way that makes employees feel they are genuinely cared about and needed, and substantial help is available to them.

People contemplating suicide are in a desperate state of mind and proper handling is nothing less than a life or death situation.

Going to the extreme to make a point for a moment, office reminders about suicide prevention should never be selfish or cavalier, such as:

- Remember to turn the lights out.

- Set your out of office message on.

- Have you done a knowledge transfer to ensure a smooth transition?

If employees are coming away feeling like the organization is just sending out a form message or treating their feelings and situation lightly or in their own interests (such as to remove/reduce liability) that is apt to make things worse and not better.

Please treat employees with genuine dignity, respect, caring, and humanity, and offer them substantive help when they need it.

There are families depending on them and they love and need them. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jason Kuffer)
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August 23, 2015

Shopping At CVS Florida Style

So I am posting this with permission of my wife.

This is how people walk around in CVS in Florida. 

This is not how people dress in CVS in Washington D.C. even on the hottest August days. 

It is really weird how people seemingly change their entire conception of appropriate and modest dress (code) just because they can. 

I remember when at least people coming off the beach would put on a wrap or towel or something.

Uh, not anymore--the feeling of freedom has been extended quite some to the point of this becoming all too blase. 

Maybe this is similar to the trend of some women in Times Square in New York who are going around topless with nothing but some paint even though there are families with children that frequent that touristy area. 

Perhaps it would be nice to leave a little mystery for everyone involved. ;-)
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October 9, 2014

Mickey Isn't Smiling On Everyone

Orlando, as you know, is home to Disney's amusement park, one of the biggest employers in the area--70,000 people.

That's nice you say...only Bloomberg reports that Orlando has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation @ 20%--and that's not amusing!

Even though Disney just upped their minimum salaries to $10 an hour, they have thousands on the rolls (ride operators, bus drivers, maids, etc.) earning less than $25,000 a year (and that is similar to 40% of all the jobs in Orlando), and for that even Mickey Mouse couldn't buy any cheese.

Funny though that Disney costs a family of 5 about $1,500 for a 4-day pass, and they just earned a profit for the quarter of $2.2 billion.

Maybe next time you go to the fun house at Disney, you'll think for a moment that it's really a house of horror for tens of thousands of hardworking, decent people. 

Mickey Mouse is a louse and Donald Duck is a F-unny character, indeed.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 10, 2014

Disability Rights - To Life Or Death

I read today in the Wall Street Journal an editorial by Joni Eareckson Tada--which I couldn't have disagreed with more. 

Let me start by saying that I have the greatest respect for Ms. Tada who is herself a quadriplegic and has overcome unbelievable challenges to become a huge successful author, radio show host, and advocate for disabled people. 


Yet in the editorial, she rails against those with disabilities that choose death over life and the laws that would enable this. 


She says, "first it was assisted suicide," and now it's unlawful birth suits after a child was born with severe disabilities that could have been genetically screened for, and an upcoming Belgium law that may "legalize euthanasia for children with incurable diseases--who, with the support of their parents or guardians, ask to die."


Ms. Tada calls these out as some sort of incredible "double standards" vis a vis the "freedom and dignity that the ADA [Americans With Disabilities Act] championed"--she says that "instead of helping the disabled live full lives, new laws seek to help them die."


While I appreciate her sentiments, I cannot agree with them--not everyone is Ms. Tada who decided she wanted to live and was able and fortunate to do what she has done.


This is a free country and people deserve the right to decide for themselves, making an informed and a well-thought out decision and with their loved ones, if they are too young, old, or otherwise unable to make the decision anymore for themselves. 


Having seen the ravages of disability, especially with my own mother, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease and other ailments, I cannot believe that anyone would try to force life on someone who has endless pain and suffering and wishes only for their final peace. 


Ms Tada asks, "What type of society do we want?"  She goes on claiming that "if we are seeking a good society then we do well to defend the rights of the helpless-not nullify their rights," yet this is exactly what Tada is advocating by seeking to nullify their right to end their suffering. 


If it amazing that people will "put down" a sick dying animal to relieve it of it's suffering when it is beyond cure, but we don't show the same mercy to fellow human beings when they are in the clutches of death and torment.


There is most certainly a time when it is enough pain, enough disability, when there is no more hope, and the most decent human thing we can do is free the person from their intolerable suffering.


Life is a wonderful thing if it can be lived, but if it is a living hell, then we should be merciful and let people go to their final resting place without the anguish that only they can ever really understand.


(Source Photo: here with attribution to GizM ()17)

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September 24, 2013

Cancel Out Those Tremors


This is a wonderful new product available from Lift Labs.

It is a spoon for people that suffer from hand tremors, like those from Parkinson's Disease. 

With tremors, a person has trouble lifting the spoon to their mouth and doing it without spilling.

With Lifeware, the tremors are said to be reduced in trials by 70%!

The spoon is battery operated and it has sensors for the tremors and performs countermeasures to stabilize itself. 

It does this with technology including an accelerometer and microprocessor to actively cancel out the tremor. 

In the future, additional attachments are forecasted, including a folk, keyholder, and more. 

The special device was made possible through a grant under the NIH Small Business Innovation Research Program.

An awesome advance for Parkinson's patients to be more self-sufficient and live with dignity despite such a debilitating illness.

Thank you to the engineers at Life Labs (and to the NIH) for bringing this stabilization technology to those who really can benefit from it.
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September 4, 2013

What Will Do You For Cake?

I remember a joke the guys use to tell back in college...about how you can't have you Kate and Edith too.

Cake and eat it too...get it? 

Here is a link to my article in Public CIO Magazine called "How Hungry Are You?"

It's about how some people will literally sacrifice their souls for success, while others put their humanity and decency above it. 

Hope you enjoy!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 22, 2013

Live A Good Life, Choose Right


Whether you're Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or any other religion, I think this is a great music video on living an introspective life, choosing right from wrong, and replacing guilt with inspiration. 

We are all confronted every day with situations that are tests of our moral fiber and courage to do what's right--not necessarily what is easy,

We should choose carefully, consciously, and with a mind toward the master of the universe who watches over us. 

While we don't control everything that happens, we can definitely make a difference in the world by the way we conduct ourselves to our G-d and to each other. 

Listening, caring, being sensitive to others, treating others with respect and dignity, trying to help wherever and whenever we can--we can all make a positive contribution. 

Well done with the music video to remind us of what's important--thank you Maccabeats!
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