Saturday, February 07, 2009

Consider the alternative theory of Creation-ism 

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Friday, February 06, 2009

I'm vaguely unsettled by the Mencia disinvitation 

The interesting but unanswered question about this Carlos Mencia kerfuffle is... why is he here? Why does he want to start a business in New Orleans and participate in Carnival, after he made those stupid jokes?

Two months ago I quoted some 2007 email correspondence between Ashley Morris and Carlos Mencia, and then I wrote:

The man who was telling New Orleanians to "move far from danger" because he "actually wanted to save lives" is now opening a restaurant in New Orleans.

This is actually interesting to me. I'd love for someone to ask Mencia if he's had a change of heart about rebuilding New Orleans, because I think there's an outside chance that Ashley's email-- despite containing the phrases "I can only hope that an earthquake kills your entire family" and "the only way you can feel our pain is by having your family die"-- had something to do with it. Mencia (to his credit) responded to Ashley's email, sincerely stating that he wanted save people's lives by telling them to move from danger. But then, a couple years later, Mencia's wearing a fleur de lis sweatshirt* in front of a Super bowl audience and investing in a new restaurant in New Orleans.

I'm intrigued.

Of course I can think of a long list of better candidates to be Marshall of Orpheus than Carlos Mencia... Stormy Daniels, for one... It was certainly a mistake to pick him, but I'm not celebrating his subsequent disinvitation. Like many, I thought he made some offensive jokes about New Orleans after Katrina. But I didn't like to hear that there were safety concerns that arose because of Mencia's jokes. That's vaguely unsettling to me. When this controversy came out, I would've loved to have seen Mencia explain himself, admit it he had a "Dee dee dee" moment, do a mea culpa and, I dunno, announce that he would perform some benefit shows throughout New Orleans where he would welcome all hecklers.

This idea of "vetting" and disinviting the C-list celebrities who ride on floats during Carnival... like I said it's vaguely unsettling to me. Carnival shouldn't be about that. I mean, my gracious, I've at least laughed once or twice at Mencia. I've never, ever, ever been even momentarily entertained by Jim Belushi. Belushi is crushingly benign. To me, Val Kilmer is funnier than Jim Belushi. Hell, the offensive anti-New Orleans jokes that got Mencia disinvited are funnier to me than Jim Belushi on his best day. But that's beside the point. On Lundi Gras, Belushi's "float personae" may be extremely entertaining, and that's all that will matter during the Dionysian unity that is Carnival.

Again, I think it was a mistake for Orpheus to invite Mencia. And while I thought Mencia's Katrina jokes were ignorant, I'm vaguely unsettled by the disinvitation he received. Given that he was already invited, I can imagine better ways the Krewe of Orpheus could've handled the controversy than to immediately cast Mencia off and say that they will enhance their vetting procedures when they select future C-list celebrity candidates. (That was obviously the "safe" play in this situation, but I can imagine better scenarios.) Again, I would love to hear Mencia explain why he had an apparent change of heart about New Orleans. And yes, I harbor the hope that Ashley's email had something to do with it.

It's difficult to articulate why I'm vaguely unsettled by the Mencia disinvite, but I suppose my radical anti-censorship views are meshing with my idealization of Carnival as a dionysian unity. I don't think going down the path of increased Carnival "vetting" will be very fruitful. I definitely like the idea that even a C-list celebrity can be a "parade deity" during Carnival-- exulting on a float, throwing beads to throngs of New Orleanians, unified in glee. I like that I'll be excited over Jim Belushi-- if only for a moment.

For example, need we be reminded that Woody Harrelson's invitation to ride in Endymion in 1991 was rescinded by Ed Muniz because Woody attended an anti-war protest with Ron Kovic? Will enhanced vetting lead to more decisions like that?

Another example: I see that Kid Rock is Grand Marshall of Muniz's Endymion parade this year. Kid Rock has made a career of glamorizing drugs and creating stupid words like "Bawitdaba". Recently Kid was sentenced to do community service after getting into a fight at a Waffle House, and complained that a talented soul like himself was too good to pay for his error by shovelling snow. Like Mencia, Kid Rock comes off as an ignorant clown. But lately Detroit-native Kid Rock has taken to recycling Skynyrd and performing in front of a Giant Confederate flag.

Offensive? Ignorant? Should he be vetted and perhaps disinvited over this?

I'm inclined to give entertainers and celebrities a wide berth when it comes to Carnival. During the parades, I think we should forget about all that crap, and just try to find the best C-list celebrity that's available.

So, here's what I'd say to Mr. Mencia: why not take this opportunity to explain yourself to New Orleans and perhaps find a way to redeem yourself? Then, if all goes well, maybe next year you can ride in one of the parades. That doesn't mean I won't dress up as Aquaman that night, but that also doesn't mean I won't try to catch one of your beads, either.

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Sorta related: Anntichrist Coulter links to the censored Youtube vids of Bill Hicks' last appearance on Letterman before he died. He committed the sin of making jokes about pro-life advocates, and Letterman recently had Hicks' mother on and apologized for removing the performance from the show's telecast.


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* Probably just a meaningless coincidence, but since I pointed it out I'm going to read into it for all its worth.

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A paltry few government jobs, financed by China 

T-P:
The partisan battle over President Barack Obama's stimulus package intensified Thursday, just as federal officials reported higher-than-expected claims for unemployment benefits.

Well, the "battle" should intensify further after today's hideous employment report showing six hundred thousand jobs lost during the last month of the Bush era, plus upward revisions to job loss totals in previous months. As Ritholtz notes, "For the first time since records began in 1939, there were three consecutive months of 500k+ job losses... Household survey showed a record 1.24 million job plunge (Since data began in 1950)". Again, where are the conservatives who waved the household survey numbers around during the mid 2000's, claiming it was evidence of the great "Bush Boom", and claiming the payroll statistics were undercounting the development of a vast "E-Bay nation" of self-employed entrepreneurs?

If we should judge a war by the peace that follows it, should we judge a "boom" by the recession that follows it? I don't know. Something to meditate on...

The T-P article continues

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, rejected Obama's arguments that the Bush administration tax cuts were a failure.

"History shows us that tax cuts have proven to grow the economy and increase revenues to the federal government while also creating jobs," Scalise said.

That's an interesting claim! Let's assess it in terms of recent history by comparing revenue growth after the Clinton tax increases of 1993 and after the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.

And those 2008 numbers are preliminary, they will worsen with future revisions. The chart below is from 2006, the apex of the so-called Bush Boom, and it uses the Office of Management and Budget's (rosiest?) revenue projections.



Those 2000-2011 numbers will also worsen dramatically, but I wanted to show you how the comparisons looked during the "best" of the BushBoom era.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who on Wednesday failed in his attempt to trim more than $50 billion in spending from the $900 billion Senate stimulus package, said he worries the extra spending will put the country on a spiral of deficit spending for many years to come.

Isn't it funny how Republicans only act like fiscal conservatives when they are out of power? Not that trimming $50 billion from $900 billion will avert a "spiral of deficit spending" anyway, but isn't that rhetoric a nice touch? I wonder what Vitty-cent said to his so-called conservative colleagues in 2005 when he (and Landrieu) presented their $250 billion Gulf Coast recovery proposal in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita? ("There's no pork in this! Why are you guys suddenly concerned with deficits? This is an emergency, we need to act quickly!")

"I'm afraid the president is reverting to partisan campaign rhetoric rather than forging bipartisan solutions. I don't know anyone -- Democrat or Republican -- who wouldn't trade in the current economy for the job growth that the Bush, Reagan and Kennedy tax cuts produced," Vitter said.

Vitty-cent, we're in a recession that started in December 2007. Bush left office a couple weeks ago. The current economy IS the one that Bush's tax cuts produced, you high-hung nincompoop!

So now, according to Vitty-cent, Bush-- Bush!-- is in the conservative pantheon of tax-cutting job growers. Recall that while he campaigned in 2000, Bush promised to create 5 million jobs between 2001-2004. He ended up with around zero net jobs. (I know, I know, "Nobody [except for those insiders at the Japanese embassy] could've predicted... etc".)

Now, if we include the preliminary January employment numbers in Bush's total (as we should), his net increase is around 2.3 million jobs over 8 years. That's less than a quarter of the net jobs total that occurred during the Carter Administration. In other words, more net jobs were created during one year of the one-term Carter Administration than during the entirety of the two-term Bush administration! Yet Vitty is now looking back on the Job growth during the Bush years as some sort of high point!

The reason? Bush cut taxes by $2.1 trillion and it is imperative for conservatives to revise history to make these tax cuts look "successful", especially in terms of revenues and job growth.

The simple truth is that the tax cuts were not successful. They were a failure. The tax cuts did not do what was promised in terms of revenue growth or job growth. (James Livingston goes much further, arguing that the tax cuts for the wealthy actually helped cause the current financial crisis.)

Do you want to know the dirtiest little secret about the nature of the job growth during the Bush Presidency? Look at the middle chart in this NYT graphic showing the growth in Federal Government jobs during the Bush administration versus Private Sector job growth. Then compare it to the Clinton administration. (Btw, this chart is a year old. The disparity is far greater now. Click to enlarge.)

In sum, what did the tax cutting Bush era deliver to us, in net terms? A paltry few government jobs... financed by China.

Vitty, you high-hung nincompoop, stick to the shit you know.





Well I don't know much about economics or Honeybees... but I suppose I could look into some matters where I do have expertise.

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The Witch's Brew thickens 

link!

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"Both" 

From Chaos Digest we learn of this important news story.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-- A surveillance picture released by police Wednesday afternoon shows a man armed with what appears to be a small Klingon sword, holding up a 7-Eleven convenience store.

That same man robbed another 7-Eleven store store a half-hour later, and remains at large...
...
The clerk [at the first 7-Eleven] told police a white man in his 20s, wearing a black mask, black jacket, and blue jeans, entered the store with a weapon the clerk recognized from the Star Trek TV series.

The robber demanded money and left with an undisclosed amount.

A half hour later, police received a call from [the second] 7-Eleven... where a man matching the previous description entered the store with a similar weapon. He also demanded money from the store clerk. The clerk refused and the robber "transported" himself out of the store on foot.

Both clerks described the weapon as a Star Trek Klingon-type sword, called a "bat'leth."

It sounds as if these two clerks have a lot in common. I wonder if they know each other somehow, or if they are planning to watch the conclusion to the "Blood and Fire" episode, coming online this month.

Of course, hot liquids are the logical treatment for such robbers.



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My favorite Star Trek episode is "Plato's Stepchildren".

Fast Times-related YRHT posts:

I feel like Spicoli...

Phoebe Cates has left the pool

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Talkin' bout the... (pt 2) 

T-P:

A 22-year-old man shot by New Orleans police on New Year's Day was struck nine times by bullets to the back of his body, according to an autopsy by the Orleans Parish coroner's office.

In all, the autopsy shows that Adolph Grimes III was wounded 14 times by gunshots, including three graze wounds and a tangential wound to the upper left forehead.

Exactly where and how many times Grimes was hit was a matter of dispute in the days after the shooting, with Orleans Parish Coroner Frank Minyard describing 12 wounds to Grimes' back and legs. NOPD Superintendent Warren Riley countered that characterization, saying he believed Grimes was hit in the front, on the side under the arm and "near the back."

The autopsy protocol by Dr. Samantha Huber, a pathologist with the coroner's office, shows nine gunshot entry wounds in the back of Grimes' body, with some bullets also exiting the body. There were also two graze wounds to what could be described as the back of Grimes' arms.


WDSU:

Grimes' family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the New Orleans Police Department on Tuesday. Police Superintendent Warren Riley told WDSU he will not comment on the case.

Then why did he dispute the coroner's report in the first place?

Riley has said the officers were in a group -- three women were acting as holdup decoys and six men were covering them -- when a shooting was reported at a club in that area.

He said the officers saw a black car leaving the club's neighborhood, and Grimes was in a black car parked about four blocks from the club.

There's a troubling lack of information about this case. I hesitate to comment on it. For example, I don't know what a "holdup decoy" is. And where the hell is the ballistic test on Grimes' firearm? But what I do know seems extremely disturbing and suspicious.

One more nugget from the T-P:

Riley has described the incident as a "gun battle" started by Grimes as unmarked vehicles approached him in his car on Gov. Nicholls Street. Police have said Grimes fired the first shot at the officers, who were wearing street clothes. Seven officers returned fire, police said.

I mean, I can imagine a scenario where Grimes perhaps thought he was about to get jacked by people (women?) who he didn't know were plainclothes police, and he stupidly took a shot at them and they returned fire hitting him once in the front of the body, and he fled from his car and the police all fired at the same time, inflicting all the fatal wounds on Grimes' back and head.

Yeah, maybeeee.

But if that's the case, do the police believe that they got their man? Hell, if Grimes was itchin' for gunplay, then perhaps he was crazy enough to drive down to the club 4 blocks away earlier that night and take a shot at someone else.

Yeah, maybeeeeee.

But under that scenario, you basically have to believe that Grimes-- an employed father with no criminal record and a registered gun owner-- drove in from Tejas to celebrate New Year's with family and friends, and while waiting in the car for his cousin to arrive decided, for reasons unknown, to take the first shot at some people on the street.

Read the family's complaint of the NOPD's "tortuous actions" and public relaions cover up here. Try not to vomit when you read about the NOPD cuffing Grimes and saying they "apprehended" the suspect as he was lying dead on the sidewalk.

If that ballistics test shows that Grimes hadn't discharged his firearm... all hell is going to break loose.

As it should.

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Talkin' bout the pig... (pt 1) 

Today's front page T-P article (not online yet) titled "Nucor wavers on building plant" begins:

The head of [Charlotte, N.C.] steel manufacturer Nucor Corp. said Wednesday that imminent U.S. policies dealing with the economic downturn and climate change could affect the company's decision to build a major [$2 billion pig iron] plant in Louisiana.


Our whiz kid governor Bobby Jindal happened to be in Charlotte yesterday, but he was speaking to a conservative think-tank, not meeting with Nucor officials. Instead, Jindal's highly compensated State Sec. for Economic Development Stephen Moret responded to Nucor's hesitation, saying

If I could have one wish granted for this project, it would be to have the national-global economy firm up a little bit.

"One wish"? I guess that's why Moret gets paid the big bucks. He has that sophisticated "Jiminy Cricket" approach to economic development. If the global economy could just improve a bit, we could land this thing!

Since this $2 billion pig iron plant is in jeopardy partly because of "imminent U.S. policies" regarding climate change, and since Jindal is touring the country offering his conservative wisdom, a natural question would be:

What is Jindal's position on global warming and its man-made causes?

You don't hear Wonder Boy talk so much about this issue, do you? In a quick search, I couldn't find a statement on the issue, so if you have any links to his position on climate change, I'd be much obliged if you put them in the comments.

Does Jindal believe global warming is occurring? If so, does he think that man-made carbon emissions are a large cause of this warming? Does Jindal believe that this warming is significant enough to have severe consequences for Louisiana's coast? What should we do about it? Can we do something about it?

We don't hear much from Jindal on this issue, but it seems now is the time for him to pipe up. The serious economic ramifications of this issue are only going to intensify over the coming years, especially for Louisiana, so it's time to get serious and confront this head on. We need to know where Jindal stands on this. Is he a global-warming skeptic (like he is about evolution)? Does he have an "alternative theory" to global warming that he would like to advance? (Hopefully that alternative theory would be more sophisticated than "Oooh, it's real cold outside today. How can global warming be real?")

The CEO of Entergy, one of Louisiana's two Fortune 500 companies, had this to say recently:

Increasing temperatures caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are connecting the fate of many of Louisiana's coastal communities to melting ice fields and glaciers in locations 10,000 miles away from us.

As recognized in The Times-Picayune's recent series on Louisiana's disappearing coastline, events in faraway places like Greenland and Antarctica are dramatically impacting our part of the world.
...
Saving Louisiana's coastline and way of life will take much more than money to rebuild wetlands, barrier islands and floodwalls. It will require an energy policy that invests in technology to reduce or eliminate carbon emissions from coal plants and offers the world a solution to carbon emissions. And the time to act is now.
...
If we can't solve the problem globally, we can't solve it anywhere. And south Louisiana will be the first to go.

While Entergy supports policies to cut greenhouse gases, it is regrettable that their desire to refit the dirty Little Gypsy coal plant goes in the "exact opposite direction" of that position.

I think Louisiana's leaders should remind us where they stand on the global warming issue. Is it a problem? And will policies to curb greenhouse gases only cost Louisiana jobs, or will they be part of a global movement that will help save our coast?

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Thanks, banks 

WSJ:

Most U.S. banks tightened lending to consumers and businesses in recent months, an ominous sign for an economic recovery pegged to easing the flow of credit to borrowers.
...
Deepening trouble throughout the financial system and the economy has spurred banks to become more cautious about lending practices, directing loans to the most creditworthy customers. The tightening policies are weighing on economic activity and threatening to worsen the recession, which is entering its 15th month.

The government has rolled out numerous programs to grease credit flows to businesses and consumers. The first half of the $700 billion financial-sector rescue to the banking system was intended to spur more lending from financial institutions. But with banks proving slow to ramp up lending, lawmakers now want to place requirements on firms that receive taxpayer funds.


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"We see TARP as an insurance policy. That when all this stuff is finally over, no matter how bad it gets, we're going to be one of the remaining banks."

-- John C. Hope III, Chairman of Whitney National Bank

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Thank you, Mr. Herbert 

Great first few paragraphs from Bob Herbert's NYT column:

I wonder what it will take to get this country serious about repairing and rebuilding its crumbling and increasingly obsolete infrastructure.

The catastrophe in New Orleans didn’t do it. Yes, that was an infrastructure tragedy. As the historian Douglas Brinkley wrote in his remarkable book, “The Great Deluge”:

“What people didn’t yet fully comprehend was that the overall disaster, the sinking of New Orleans, was a man-made debacle, resulting from poorly designed levees and floodwalls.

People still don't "fully comprehend" this fact.

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The Heat in the sky 

"Mystery" solved?

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Today's stupid post at First Draft 

If you must, here.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Jesuspeed 

In the local paper's classified ads, I noticed a print advertisement for "jesuspeed on Youtube.com".

My first thought was "Jesus... Peed?! Why take out an ad to mock the Nazarene like that? I mean... of course he peed. Everyone pees. There's no doubt that the Divine Counselor had to make an untold number of pitstops in between his sermons. Granted, he was probably too dehydrated to pee during his crucifixion (despite the vinegar toddy) but I'm sure-- many other times-- Jesus had to take a whizz. For example, I doubt his fisherman friends had a bathroom on that boat... which means there's divine pee in the Sea of Galilee. Nonetheless, what sort of sick individual would make an internet video of Jesus peeing? And why would they take an ad out in the Times Picayune to promote such a thing? Do they not fear the lake of eternal hellfire?"

Curious, I looked up jesuspeed on the Youtubes and was surprised to find nothing about urination. In fact, jesuspeed seems to be a collection of videos by one of the ministers who likes to hold crosses in the French Quarter and save souls during Carnival.

For example, here's a link to "Bourbon St. Interview #43"[!], which currently has 17 views.

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Historical memory like a Steele trap 

From TPM we learn that RNC Chair Michael Steele declared that "Not in the history of mankind has the government ever created a job."

This is happy news, and I'll tell you why. Since Gov. Bobby "Reagan" Jindal declared not one but two "hiring freezes", the state government appears to have hired over 4,200 government employees at a cost of nearly a quarter billion tax dollars. If government has never created a job, then that erroneous 4,200 number can be corrected, and that $250 million can be put to other uses... like luring the next big auto plant to the gret stet.

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Recognition of Draft Stormy movement broadens 

Update!

Politico:

Remember the Craigslist ad seeking a female with “a history in some aspect of the adult entertainment industry” to run against that Louisiana senator whose past isn’t so clean, David Vitter?

Well, it seems someone has been found who meets this ad checklist. Her name? Stormy. Porn star Stormy Daniels. There’s a whole “Draft Stormy” movement online, in bright LSU colors even, at www.draftstormy.com. (She’s from Baton Rouge and in porn — why not?)

Wonkette (H/T to Clay):

We can’t figure out if the people behind “Draft Stormy” want her to be a Republican or what. They mention “libertarianism,” so Go Ron Paul. Basically we’ll promote anything to make the Vitter re-election campaign a national joke, so that maybe the idiot people* of Louisiana will elect somebody else to the Senate. Why not a porn star?

* Your editor was born and raised in New Orleans, so those of you in Louisiana with the rare talent of typing can save your butthurt emails for another time.

Gambit Blog: Stormwatch 2010
===

Mosquito Coast:

Now I am a fairly progressive female, however I am not stupid. But the denizens on the Beltway are, and I damn-gar-on-tee that the minute Stormy storms the steps, that the politicos will be falling all over her voluptuous front side, and maybe, just maybe, we can get something done in this backwater state.


Roger's Rants:

Someone has started a web site seeking to recruit porn star and Baton Rouge native Stormy Daniels to run for senate against U.S. Senator David Vitter.
...
I'm wondering if the site isn't just someone's idea of a joke. It actually reminds me of something I may have done in college had I been tech- savvy at the time.

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California Über Alles 

Mellow out or you will pay.

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Unexpected synergies 

"Synergy" and "efficiencies" are the buzzwords surrounding the $1.2 billion academic medical complex planned to be built on a lower Mid-City neighborhood.

Dr. Fred Cerise, who oversees health-care services for Louisiana State University, said the state's plans to build adjacent to the new VA hospital would save $400 million over 25 years by allowing the two hospitals to share certain functions.

"I think we lose critical financial and clinical efficiencies" by not building next to the VA, Cerise said.

I hear there are potential synergies in combining laundry and power plant operations, too. But I believe there are even more areas of savings than that.

No one talks about the synergistic efficiencies which may be obtained by combining Gov. Bobby Jindal's exorcism talents with any phantasmagoric pest-removal needs that may arise at the new hospitals.

Consider the expenses of this hospital in England:

Staff at Derby's new City General, soon to be renamed the Royal Hospital, which is built on the original City General site, claim a black-clad figure wearing a cloak is stalking the corridors and wards.

Senior manager Debbie Butler has now reportedly briefed the terrified employees via email, explaining that they have hired an exorcist to come and rid the £334 million hospital of their unwanted visitor.

She explained: "I'm not sure how many of you are aware that some members of staff have reported seeing a ghost.

"I'm taking it seriously as the last thing I want is staff feeling uneasy."

She added: "I don't want to scare anyone any more than necessary, but felt it was best I made you all aware of the situation and what we are doing about it.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Blog Flair 

Pearlgirl Deuce delights in pressing this button to make unicorns and rainbows appear. She prefers to express herself with, on average, thirty-seven pieces of blog flair. The bare minimum is fifteen.

Cornify


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Thanks to 3 Pipe Problem.

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