Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

Thursday, April 08, 2010

LEE
by HARLEY

Its been one year since Lee, passed on.

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Damm, i Really miss ya.

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Posted by HARLEY on 04/08/10 at 06:02 PM in • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Breaking Point

No republic has long outlived the discovery by a majority of its people that they could vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. - Alexander Tytler (supposedly)

And now:

Tax Day is a dreaded deadline for millions, but for nearly half of U.S. households it’s simply somebody else’s problem.

About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That’s according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.

The is the culmination of years of tax change, especially the EITC and Bush’s tax cuts, which essentially eliminated the bottom tax bracket.  Obama’s tax cuts were the icing on the cake.  Of course, this could bite the poor in the ass, since, as part of Obamacare, the IRS plans to withold tax refunds for people who don’t get insurance.  But I’m sure that “fix” is coming.

One caveat: this is income tax.  Social Security and Medicare taxes are still taken out of people’s paychecks.  But the Left has long agitated to reduce those as well.

We are in a dangerous place.  Half the public can now simply vote themselves money out of the other half’s pocket.  While I’ve long though Milton Friedman’s idea of replacing welfare with a “negative tax” was a good idea*, I think this is going too far.  No one should be exempt from paying at least a small amount for the running the nation.  I don’t care if it’s a $2 poll tax.  People should not be given the impression that this is a free ride.  Because, inevitably, the ride will crash.

(*I was reading up on this the other day and realized that the sharp drop in poverty we had in the 90’s happened because Clinton and the GOP, in an ass-backwards way, enacted Friedman’s idea.  The EITC was the negative tax.  Welfare reform ended the entitlement status.  And, as Friedman had predicted decades earlier, poverty dropped.  Strange how he never got any credit for it.)

In related economic news, the Heritage Foundation released their index of economic freedom rankings.  The US has slipped below Canada, dropping out of “Free” and into “Mostly Free”.  You have to get down to Barbados before you find someone who dropped as sharply.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/07/10 at 07:32 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

This one is for you Hal…

Guess what Hal? Obama has just done another thing I approve off. Props to the guy for ordering this:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday. Mr. Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and spent years in the United States as an imam, is in hiding in Yemen. He has been the focus of intense scrutiny since he was linked to Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., in November, and then to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man charged with trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25.

American counterterrorism officials say Mr. Awlaki is an operative of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the affiliate of the terror network in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They say they believe that he has become a recruiter for the terrorist network, feeding prospects into plots aimed at the United States and at Americans abroad, the officials said. It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing, officials said. A former senior legal official in the administration of George W. Bush said he did not know of any American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president.

There has to be a price for betraying your country and siding with the enemy. Obama’s and his team got this one right. Wish Bush had done something like this when he needed to. Sometimes this kind of violence is the best answer or choice in a whole range of shitty ones. I wonder how the MSM or the elft will feel about this though…

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/07/10 at 05:29 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics   The Religion of Peace™   War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

“Some Say It Was This Motor Factory That Broke The Bank”
by

I’ve taken a dump on Detroit before, and Lord knows I’ll do so again, but really, this is getting pathetic.  Someone needs to put this city out of its misery (from the Detroit News, posted at Mish’s blog):

Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council must reduce the size of government and slash the city’s budget deficit to stave off bankruptcy or state receivership, according to a report released Monday.

Without draconian cuts and changes aimed at downsizing government, the city could end up with a “possible” general fund deficit between $446 million and $466 million to its $1.6 billion budget.

That’s an overdraft of appx. 28%, kids.  Think it’s going to be enough?  I doubt it (posted at the same link):

The deterioration of the economic base of the city has accelerated. There were an estimated 81,754 vacant housing units (22.2 percent of the total) in Detroit before the recession; that number increased to an estimated 101,737 (27.8 percent of the total) in 2008.

The average price of a residential unit sold in the January through November, 2009 period was $12,439, down from $97,847 in 2003. (Yeeowch!--Emphasis mine) Remaining businesses and individuals are challenging property tax assessments on parcels that have lost value and, in some cases, cannot be sold at any price.

More than half of employed city residents work outside the city limits; the metro area has the highest unemployment rate of the 100 major metro areas in the U.S.

Stick a fork in this city, it’s done.  Detroit is quickly becoming a real-life version of Starnesville--the only difference is that it took about 30 years instead of 12.

Posted by on 04/07/10 at 05:28 PM in Decline of Western Civilization   Life & Culture   Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

LGF Goes There

I’ve cut LGF and Charles Johnson quite a bit of slack over the last year.  I can understand the concern about fringe elements getting involved in the Tea Party movement, especially when the GOP is doing stupid crap like declaring Confederate History Month while stripping out any acknowledgement of slavery.

(It’s not that I’m opposed to CHM per se or am unaware of the debate over the causes of the Civil War.  I lived in Virginia when this started, so these arguments are old hat.  It’s that doing this paints a big fat bullseye for race-baiters and makes those really fringe elements stay with the conservatives when they should be shown the door.  It plays right into the hands of the Left Wing Echosphere.)

Anyway, Johnson’s post today really takes the cake on tea party race hysteria.  I’ll wait while you click.

Yes, the current Tea Party is exactly like 1950’s protests.  Except for the explicit racism.  And the Klan worship.  And the frequent and open use of the N-word.  And the support for segregation.  And the violent assaults.  And the support of the power structure.

But opposing taxes and bailouts is the same thing as opposing integration, right?  Right?

Update: The Virginia Governor has fixed the CHM proclamation.  Ta-Nehisi applauds.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/07/10 at 08:46 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Obama’s new non-nuclear and non-anti-Islamic radicalism policies..

I heard about Obama’s new nuclear policy a day or two ago, but decided to get more details before commenting on it. I should have gone with my first instincts and just pointed out then that this idiotic new policy was madness masquerading as progress. When even the usual MSM DNC talking point outlets like the NYT are asking if the new policy disarms America, you can bet that’s the end result, if not the end goal and plan, in the first place. Think about it. The people that have now decided America will literally take forever to decide on a response and get the options from lawyers, if they can respond to any WMD attacks in kind at all. These people and this new policy are completely undermining the MAD (mutually assured destruction) philosophy that have prevented a nuclear exchange by the powers that be, first during the Cold War with the USSR, and then in the new world that came after their inevitable fall. These are the same people that have vehemently objected to any and all US efforts to create some kind of missile defense, and have argued that it was because they firmly believe that if we got such a defensive system, it would undermine the MAD principle and lead to bad choices if not another arms race. But what they are pushing for is disarmament – that’s what the end game is, and Obama has made no bones about it – and whether they admit it or not, this policy has now have literally done away with the concept of MAD. WTF? In order to deter the use of WMDs from others - only stupid liberals live with the idiotic angst that it will be the evil US that will start Armageddon - we will now make our response to a WMD attack to not only be even more unclear, but now also limited? Again, WTF? Bye, bye MAD. No changes for defense, but changes that make us not just weaker, but invite attack, that’s progress!

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/07/10 at 08:01 AM in Decline of Western Civilization   Deep Thoughts   Left Wing Idiocy   The Religion of Peace™   War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Hallelujah! Freedom of more than just porn on the net..

I have been busier than a one legged man at an ass kicking contest, and have not posted much lately, but I had to take some time to the fascistic power grab by the friends of the leftist in charge under the guise of promoting Net neutrality. It seems we got spared a drastic reduction of our rights to freedom of speech by the courts which were wise enough to tell these collectivist twits trying to shut up the opposition to take a hike.

The Federal Communications Commission does not have the legal authority to slap Net neutrality regulations on Internet providers, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. A three-judge panel in Washington, D.C. unanimously tossed out the FCC’s August 2008 cease and desist order against Comcast, which had taken measures to slow BitTorrent transfers before voluntarily ending them earlier that year. Because the FCC “has failed to tie its assertion” of regulatory authority to an actual law enacted by Congress, the agency does not have the power to regulate an Internet provider’s network management practices, wrote Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Tuesday’s decision could doom one of the signature initiatives of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a Democrat. Last October, Genachowski announced plans to begin drafting a formal set of Net neutrality rules--even though Congress has not given the agency permission to do so. That push is opposed by Verizon and other broadband providers.

Julius Genachowski is tight with Obama. Real tight. And this Net neutrality thing was targeted specifically at the blogosphere and especially those that have not drank the kool-aid. If you think this wasn’t such an attempt, but actually something noble, let me point this out for you:

The FCC’s 2008 vote to punish Comcast stems from a request from Free Press and its political allies, including some Yale, Harvard, and Stanford law school faculty.

That’s this Free Press. Check out their About Us Page for the details there. It reads like the usual marxist bull claiming impartiality but literally giving away the heaping pile of dung from the wafting and unavoidable stench you find in all these “progressive” agents.

Free Press is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, quality journalism, and universal access to communications.

What they promote, and this Net neutrality bill proves it, is the concept that the only ideas and communication that should be allowed is that which they want: the “progressive” or marxist one. When they use the term “democracy” they refer to it in the same way as the Soviets, North Koreans, East Germans, Cubans, and several collectivist holdovers such as Chavez, refer to it: meaning it is anything but. They are a hard core anti-capitalist bunch that agrees with Obama’s agenda of destroying our economy.

Somehow I don’t believe that this rebuff will stop them from trying to control the internet. After all, if it was not for that dastardly internet, people would have to believe the DNC propaganda that the usual MSM outlets spout off as news, with no recourse to the real facts or truth, and that’s what this is all about, in the end.

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/06/10 at 12:45 PM in Blegging   Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Collateral Murder?

This video, from Wikileaks, is burning up the blogosphere.  Please watch before you comment.

The Left is, predictably, calling this a cold-blooded murder while the Right is, predictably, calling it justified.

As usual, I’m in the middle.  This wasn’t cold-blooded murder; nor was it a routine engagement that the Left is blowing out of proportion.  I would estimate that 90% of the people commenting on it have not actually watched the fucking thing.  Because if they had, they would not be making such definitive statements.

First, there is a context missing from the video and the Left’s analysis.  There had been a report of small arms fire in the area.  Additionally, while the journalists were not carrying weapons, several men in the group were.  A report of small arms fire, a group of men, some of them armed.  Was firing on them an unjustified decision?  I don’t think so.  It’s easy to comb through the video and identify cameras that were mistaken for weapons.  But the Left is not being honest about this.  In the heat of battle, with an insurgency going on, would you have positively made that identification?  Would you have staked your life on it?  Can you really tell, without prompting from the video, that that’s a camera and not and RPG?

Second, what happens later in the video is disturbing.  The helicopter pilots actively hope that the wounded man will reach for a weapon so they can finish him off.  They assume the van to be filled with more insurgent and fire on it.  However, none of those men appear to be armed.  This appears, on first blush, to be people stopping to help the injured.

However, again, this is a decision made in the heat of battle.  If the helicopter pilots wait until an RPG comes flying out of the back of the van, it’s too late. It’s tragic, but it does not, to me, seem like murder.  They didn’t deliberately kill innocent people; they responded erroneously do a difficult situation in which the enemy is known to pose as innocent civilians. (Update: I was reminded, after posting this, that firing on those tending to wounded is illegal, unless their PIDed as combatants.  More here.)

(I would also note that the soldiers who arrive later, who have a much clearer view of what’s going on, carry the children out of the van and take them to a hospital.  The video makes a big deal out of their using a local hospital instead of the US hospital.  But it doesn’t spell out how badly they were hurt or what happened to them.)

Third, the stone-walling and cover-up is, indeed, appalling.  Indeed, it is the refusal to provide the video that has fed Left-wing raving about deliberate murder, savagery and blood-thirstiness.  Someone in the Pentagon needs to figure this out: covering up collateral damage feeds conspiracy theories.  Awful things happen in war.  The American people will accept this.  But even the faintest whiff of a cover-up feeds the Left.  Be honest.  Bad shit happens in war.  The US military is the best in the world at minimizing it.  We have restrictive ROE and train our soldiers well.  But bad shit still happens in a war.  If you don’t like it, don’t go to war.

Finally, this is demonstrating why Wikileaks is useful and why the government is so determined, through overhauling the internet, to stamp it out.  This video was under FOIA request for two years.  What other things might we find out?  Not just about war, but about healthcare, the deficit and White House machinations?

Update: You must read the second letter here, where one of Sullivan’s readers provides the background that the video leaves out.  I’m not going to defend the cover-up.  But the actions seem less and less like “murder” and more and more like “tragic accident”.  Of course, that’s not stopping Glenn Greenwald from saying we do this all the time.

Update: And this.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/06/10 at 06:29 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, April 05, 2010

Maddow Blurs The Truth

I don’t know how much you can tolerate of Rachel Maddow; my half-life is about 27 seconds (I’ve been building an endurance).  But LGF has her latest piece of Republican BS (I can’t figure out how to embed).  In case you don’t have the patience, the centerpiece is about a couple of “fake scandals”—the ACORN scandal and Climategate—and Republicans creating their own reality.  But Maddow creates a little alternate reality of her own.

Specifically:

The House of Commons has concluded their investigation into Climategate.  Their conclusion was that the CRU did not tamper with the data or interfere with the peer review process.  Despite grumbling of wanting to do the latter, they never acted on it.  Case closed, right?

Not quite.  The Commons investigation is just the first of several.  There are other reports still outstanding.  And they did conclude that the CRU failed to comply with FOI requests.  Contra the Left, this is not a bullshit charge to justify the investigation.  Failing to comply with FOI request is against the law.  If an oil company failed to comply with FOI request, I doubt the Left would think it was nothing.

As for ACORN, she’s talking about Attorney General Brown’s investigation in California.  Brown, in return for not filing wiretapping chargers against O’Keefe, got copies of the unedited tapes.  The picture his report paints is far less damning.  O’Keefe went in dressed in a suit and tie, not a pimp outfit.  And the story they told was that Giles was trying to escape an abusive pimp and O’Keefe was her boyfriend.  One ACORN employee even called the cops on them. So a bunch of bullshit, right?

Not quite.  Maddow clearly didn’t bother to read Brown’s report.  Much of the “exoneration” of ACORN is self-serving testimony from ACORN employees, not stuff on the actual tape.  What was on the tape was still, if not damning, pretty darning:

O’Keefe and Giles asked for advice on how to avoid getting caught for running a brothel.  Stewart suggested they look for housing in an area where people would not mind the presence of prostitutes.  O’Keefe stated that they would be running an “international sex business” and he planned to use the money from the business to finance a future political campaign.  When asked her thoughts on that situation, Stewart told O’Keefe the couple needed to hook up with someone “on the international sex business level” and that “ACORN doesn’t deal with that.” Giles mentioned that she was thinking about setting up a “classy” prostitution business with a front of a spa.  Stewart said the couple needed to speak with people who work in the sex business, not ACORN.  Giles claimed that although she was a prostitute and wanted to carry on as a prostitute, she was afraid to speak to others in the sex business.

...

Stewart, expressing sympathy for Giles, offered to do Giles a personal favor.  She said she would see if anyone she knew could provide advice on setting up and running the business, including local pornography magnate Larry Flynt.  O’Keefe asked if Stewart was going to judge them for prostituting underage girls.  Stewart explained that she would not judge them because underage girls had been trafficked overseas for years, she was not involved in it, she could not control it, and Giles said that she wanted to help the girls.  Stewart was very complementary of Giles for having the courage to try to escape her oppressor and help the El Salvadoran girls.  She asked the couple to contact her later that week for the results of her research.

So, yeah.  They didn’t exactly throw them out.  Also, ACORN did not exactly “call the cops”.  One ACORN employee, since fired, contacted his cousin, a police officer and asked him to look into it.  Commendable, but hardly sending in the vice cop cavalry.

Brown concludes that ACORN employees did not aid or abet criminal activity, since there’s a pretty strict definition of what “aiding and abetting” entails.  However:

Employees outside California made suggestions for disguising profits from the illegal enterprise and for avoiding detection by law enforcement authorities.  Clearly, the worst behavior was exhibited by the Baltimore employees who advised on how to falsely report the profits of their sex business and report underage prostitutes as “dependants.” To a somewhat lesser degree the Washington, D.C. employees provided inappropriate advice, as did the employees in the Brooklyn office.

In short, the California AG concluded that California ACORN did not technically violate the law but other ACORN chapters probably did.  This is not exactly the burning exoneration that Maddow makes it out to be.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/05/10 at 03:23 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, April 04, 2010

He Is Risen

I hope everyone out there had a Happy Easter. Although I’m not a Christian, I celebrate Easter in my own way: read a little of the New Testament, have an Easter Egg hunt with Sal 11000 Beta, then watch Ben Hur and Life of Brian back to back.  That sentence probably encapsulates my entire attitude toward religion.

I’ll be back tomorrow to gripe about Obama’s mortgage nonsense.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/04/10 at 05:52 PM in Life & Culture  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, April 02, 2010

Stand and Deliver

Jaime Escalante died earlier this week.  The name may sound familiar to you.  He was the man who taught calculus to inner city kids and was portrayed in the movie Stand and Deliver.  At one point, his school was producing more AP math students than all but four other schools in the entire country.

Read his entire amazing story at the link above.  It’s inspiring and will give you a good feeling going into the weekend ...

Until you read about the aftermath of his stunning success.

In any other field, his methods would have been widely copied. Instead, Escalante’s success was resented. And while the teachers union contract limited class sizes to 35, Escalante could not bring himself to turn students away, packing 50 or more into a room and still helping them to excel. This weakened the union’s bargaining position, so it complained.

By 1990, Escalante was stripped of his chairmanship of the math department he’d painstakingly built up over a decade. Exasperated, he left in 1991, eventually returning to his native Bolivia. Garfield’s math program went into a decline from which it has never recovered.

Reason has a great article here, which reviews the history and compares reality to the movie.  Escalante worked very hard to accomplish this, it took many years to build his success and he had a lot of help from a motivated principal who gave him the freedom to succeed.  For their good work, they were run out of the school.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/02/10 at 08:34 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Slicing the Startups

Chris Dodd, who bears as much responsibility for the recent fiscal catastrofuck as anyone, has a financial reform bill moving through Congress.  Lest anyone doubt that the purpose of regulation is to strangle small businesses in favor of big ones, check out what investors are saying:

There are three changes that should have a particular effect on angel investors, a catch-all category which includes everyone from friends and family members who invest in a startup, to unaffiliated wealthy individuals, to side investments made by venture capitalists acting on their own.

First, Dodd’s bill would require startups raising funding to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and then wait 120 days for the SEC to review their filing. A second provision raises the wealth requirements for an “accredited investor” who can invest in startups — if the bill passes, investors would need assets of more than $2.3 million (up from $1 million) or income of more than $450,000 (up from $250,000). The third restriction removes the federal pre-emption allowing angel and venture financing in the United States to follow federal regulations, rather than face different rules between states.

The consensus—even among investors who supported Obama—is that this would destroy Silicon Valley.  It would put huge roadblocks in front of startup business.  And I don’t know if you were paying attention to the recent financial shenanigans, but startup companies were not the problem.  Big fucking banks with lots of Congressional support were the problem.

Dodd is a joke.  He has a reputation as a serious senator who knows the financial business.  But he has been completely in the pocket of big business. It was Dodd, you may remember, who made sure that AIG bonuses were protected in the bailout then feigned outrage over those provisions.  He is matched in the House by Barney Frank, another Democrat proclaimed as some kind of business regulation guru who is so covered in big business pocket lint, that he is frequently mistaken for Bigfoot.

This idea that the Democrats stand up for the little guy is complete hogwash, as the insurance-industry-written, pharma-industry approved, doctor-bought healthcare bill proved.  But the media has yet to adjust their autotext.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/02/10 at 04:30 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Drill, Barry, Drill

This is interesting:

President Obama’s decision, announced Wednesday, to approve new oil and gas drilling off U.S. coasts for the first time in decades reflects a high-stakes calculation by the White House: Splitting the difference on the most contentious energy issues could help secure a bipartisan climate deal this year.

In what could represent the biggest expansion of offshore energy exploration in half a century, Obama announced that he will open the door to drilling off Virginia’s coast, in other parts of the mid- and south Atlantic, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and in waters off Alaska. At the same time, he declared off-limits the waters off the West Coast and in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, canceled four scheduled lease sales in Alaska and called for more study before allowing new lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

I’ve been neutral on new drilling.  On the one hand, I’m all in favor of free enterprise.  On the other hand, the idea that domestic drilling will give us “energy independence” is an illusion of people who don’t know how energy markets work.  I can also see some value in husbanding these resources until prices get really out of control.

This sound like a decent compromise.  It’s really hard to read anything negative into this, not that certain people won’t try.

(I’ve actually become convinced that there is no Republican Party anymore.  There’s just a computer that looks at AP press releases and run a script to generate their response.  Its designed like so:

President Obama, in a desperate attempt to recover from his failed [[insert whatever policy is polling lowest right now]] plan, has called for [[insert latest Obama trial balloon, which is probably similar to some policy Republicans have been flogging for years]].  It is reckless to engage in such extreme left wing policy when the American people are besieged by unemployment and job uncertainty.  Republicans support a program of tax cuts that will get the economy moving.

Seriously, I don’t have to read press releases anymore.  Are we sure the GOP is actually working and not in bondage clubs?)

Anyway, I fear that the GOP is about to get outfoxed again.  As the article notes, this is the first stage in trying to get climate change legislation through.  Allowing limited drilling will soften up the populace and Blue Dog Dems.  If the GOP plays this badly, the result will be the hideous Waxman-Markey cap and trade system that will further hamstring the economy.  Are they going to wise up?

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/01/10 at 09:06 AM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

April Humor

I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to think of something to run as an April Fool’s gag, but nothing really works.  With this Administration, it sometimes feels like every day is April Fool.

But I won’t leave you hanging for humor.  Here is a clip of Hank Johnson worrying that Guam will tip into the ocean.

The best part of this clip, I think, is Admiral Willard maintaining a straight face.

Johnson is the man who replaced Cynthia McKinney.  Must be something in the water in the district that, uh ... shit ... that I grew up in.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/01/10 at 07:40 AM in Fun and Humor  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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