Budget cuts.

Beb said in comments yesterday that the Michigan State Fair felt “hollowed-out,” and that’s it in a nutshell. In this, our fifth fair together, Kate and I have an arrangement: We get there before noon, and I buy her a wristband that will allow her to ride all the rides she wants. When she’s done, we eat something and commence mommy’s fair, which is animals animals animals and whatever else looks interesting. This takes us through until late afternoon, mostly.

It didn’t this year. The horse barn was empty but for a couple teams of draft breeds. The sheep are bunking with the dairy cattle, the goats are in a tent, most of the rabbits had already hopped home. (There were plenty o’ pigeons, however, a hobby that has always interested me, kinda sorta — I guess I should leave some crackbrain pursuits for my golden years.) No freak shows. I turned on my heel and left the commercial building when I saw the right-to-lifers had set up a pamphlet display complete with color photos.

The Miracle of Life tent, while not as rockin’ as last year, was the brightest spot. Baby chicks, baby ducks, baby calfs, baby lambies and my favorite, baby pigs — what’s not to love? (Baby pigs are my favorite because Spriggy could look, from some angles, like a little Babe-type feeder pig.) Nothing was laboring, though, and except for the hatcheries, the miracles were not in progress.

We left by 4:30. Our last fair.

I did spend some time in conversation with a dairyman. For your information, Holsteins give the most milk, Jerseys give the richest, Guernseys are somewhere in between, as are Brown Swiss. I already knew that. But I figure you have to make small talk over a bottomless glass of chocolate milk (50 cents), and a man likes to talk about his work.

But even though there were numerous petitions scattered around, pleading with the governor to save the fair, I have no doubt they’re for nought — the longest-running state air in the country, pfft. I wonder what they’ll do with the buildings, many of which have that 19th-century Grange hall feel. My favorite is the poultry/rabbits/pigeon building, which has a wide central staircase between floors, all wood, painted so often the edges have taken on that rounded look you find in old hole-in-the-wall apartments. There’s a central courtyard with a pond, where the waterfowl hang out. A century of city children looked out over that courtyard and marveled at the sight of exotic Asian species of geese. No more. It’s like the end of “Charlotte’s Web.”

The TV reports were all from the Midway, of course. What a bunch of barking morons.

And you know I wrote that last sentence so I could use it as a transition, don’t you?

Barking morons I.

Barking morons II. A local angle (Fort Wayne): “I’m afraid there’s going to be some attempts at brainwashing,” said Amy Riecken, 31, whose two sons attend Imagine MASTer Academy, a charter school on Wells Street. “I’m very conservative, and what I’m hearing is this is going to be what can you do for President Obama. It feels like Hitler’s Germany to me or like we’re living in Cuba.” Arf! Arf!

Barking morons III. Singing morons, maybe.

Why do I keep agreeing to 9:30 a.m. meetings? I’m outta here. Have a great Labor Day weekend.

Posted at 8:45 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

46 responses to “Budget cuts.”

  1. Connie said on September 4, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Comment from TPM: How long did it take the right to go from: “if you criticize the President you are a traitor” to “School children should not trust the President.”

    Comments on article linked to at Moron I says it’s all really ACORN and Moveon using techniques from Saul Alinsky.

    I did read Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals as a college freshman whose second freshman comp class was called AMerican Radical Thought. And while I had not yet thought of librarianship as a career goal, the only part I truly remember was how to shut down your college library. First you check out as many books as your group can organize, then you return them all at once.

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 4, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Snow Leopard note from WaPo – http://is.gd/2Ss2A – i may not rush to grab it based on this; looking for other viewpoints.

    I love “Rules for Radicals” as a guidebook for making change, but it really doesn’t have a thing to say about governing. Which is the problem Axelrod is running into. Check Chicago sources: David has very little track record in advising governance, just running insurgencies. Ditto Rahm. Hope they have a few additional team members coming on board for the health care reform and energy pushes.

    But Alinsky isn’t problematic per se — well worth reading, and using. You just can’t reach consensus or run anything with his ideas, but that’s not what he was working on. That’s a different subject.

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  3. Julie Robinson said on September 4, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Since both parents came from farm families I was hauled along to many, many fairs, but they NEVER let me ride the rides. Should I sue?

    Our son went to the Indiana State Fair for a concert, and perusing the actvities, I noted they could take in a spay/neuter demonstration. As in the actual surgery. They passed on that one.

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  4. coozledad said on September 4, 2009 at 10:04 am

    They used to have fetuses in glass jars at the NC state fair, but not so much to get the pro lifers salivating as to awaken the prurient interest of the people who’d driven all the way to Raleigh from Burgaw. They had a lot of Siamese twins suspended in a yellowish formalin, and if I remember correctly, they were displayed in the same exhibit with the two headed calves. I wish I could say for certain these were not provided by the ag school at NC State, but similar horrors used to be prominently displayed at the nearby Museum of Natural History. The exhibit “Mummified Head of Young Indian Girl From Urn Burial” has probably been removed by now.
    The fair did have a pretty good collection of antique farm machinery, and at one point they had one of those huge early combines that would have been pulled by a team of forty horses.

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  5. Sue said on September 4, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Is this what Moral Bankruptcy Day looks like? I expected it to be more lively.

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  6. ROgirl said on September 4, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Do they still have music groups performing at the State Fair? I remember seeing The Supremes there when I was a kid.

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  7. Deborah said on September 4, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Has anyone read David Foster Wallace’s account of a visit to a state fair? Illinois state fair I think, or maybe it was Iowa. It’s a classic.

    I’m off to the gold rush country in California to visit family. Everyone have a great holiday weekend.

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  8. Deborah said on September 4, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Michael G,

    I just went back and read the comments from the previous post that I hadn’t read last night. Thanks for the recommendations. I know what you mean about breakfast being personal. I like things simple but good tasting. I’ll let you know how it goes when we get back.

    Off to the airport now.

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  9. moe99 said on September 4, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Al Franken at the MN State Fair:


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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 4, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Harper’s cover story — http://is.gd/2SF7U

    There’s a piece somewhere describing Wallace responding to a seminar at a college where a couple of students accuse him of snobbery and gratuitous nastiness, and he has some very interesting counter-perspectives, but i’m not finding it.

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  11. adrianne said on September 4, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Live animal surgery is still a draw at the Great New York State Fair.

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  12. jcburns said on September 4, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Jeff, I’m way excited about the under the hood improvements. Imagine, an OS upgrade that is leaner, faster, safer, sleeker. Nancy’s and my godson (yeah, we share one, times are tough) emailed me this morning (caution, geek speak ahead):

    my snow leopard disc arrived yesterday, and it’s really worked wonders almost all of my applications open in a single dock-icon bounce. [JCspeak] i added a kernel flag so that the macbook pro automatically boots with a 64-bit kernel. programs with lots of information like ical and mail took 3 and 2 icon-bounces, respectively, in 32-bit. however, booting into a full 64-bit mode got these programs opening on a single bounce, which is pretty awesome. [/JCspeak] i also like the stacks-alternative that lets you browse folders in a quick-look manner and the giant icons it allows you to see.

    …I think that means he likes it.

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  13. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 4, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Wow – the Franken video above that Moe posted is excellent. I also suspect it is much more typical of crowd response . . . when you have a well-informed, courteous legislator talking. Senator Al Franken is doing his job better than most, on either side of the aisle; well worth ten minutes (or two stretches of five).

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  14. beb said on September 4, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    ROGirl, I can’t recall hearing any ads for muscial acts at the State Fair this year but I tend to ignore ads. They still had music concerts at the Fair last year.

    We can assume that a year from now there will be a Sweet Juniper tour of the falling down fair grounds. The crafts building was always an interesting destination for my wife and me. Not so much the many cooking contest winners as alol the fabulous quilts on display. Those were some fine works of art.

    I listened to a bit of Al Franken’s impromtu town hall meeting at his State Fair. The browser craps out after a minute of downloading so I couldn’t hear the whole thing. It’s interesting to see how he handled the crowd, wasn’t making jokes or being hammy, but had a good idea of rebuttal topics. More to the point, while the woman asked if he was goign to vote for what the people wanted or what Obama wanted, Franklen refused to respond to that framing. Basuically he said everyone wants reform and he was going to vote for the best reform package, left Obama out of the answer to it didn’t incite Obama Derangement Syndrome. Smart Man. I wish he were my senator.

    Sue, I don’t think this is Moral Bankrupcy day, I think it’s the hang-over after MB day.

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  15. brian stouder said on September 4, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Connie – I gotta say, the idea of student agitators launching a pre-internet era “denial of service” attack by checking out lots and lots of books, and then returning them all at once STILL has me chuckling!!

    As for Moral Bankruptcy Day – I won’t tell you what I’m doing, but trust me, it’s morally bankrupt!

    I have a disgustingly morally bankrupt (soft core) porno sight that’s sure to make you laugh; we should save that for the Grand Finale of MBD.

    Regarding State Fairs – in 48 years I have never been to one. In fact, I have never been to the Allen County Fair…but my country girl wife has lead me to the Cass County Fair – which she grew up going to every summer

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  16. Jolene said on September 4, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    James Fallows has a short piece about Snow Leopard up at his blog on The Atlantic’s web site. Not a ver detailed statement, but he seemed pleased so far. He’s a power user, so will likely have more later.

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  17. Jolene said on September 4, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    WaPo has a great story by Alec MacGillis on the front page of its web site re how the provision regarding end-of-life counseling that gave rise to the “death panel” controversy came to be in HB3200. In short, a couple of hospitals in LaCrosse, WI had developed a process for encouraging people to develop advanced directives, with good results. That is, patients and families were satisfied that their wishes were being carried out, providers felt that they had done their best for their patients, and they were saving money. But they found that a thorough discussion of issues and options took as much as an hour of physician time, so they petitioned their legislators to include coverage for this service in Medicare and, voila, gave Sarah Palin an opening.

    But read the story. The details, including the financial implications, are fascinating. Once again, the noisemakers have driven common sense and economic rationality out of the room.

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  18. LA Mary said on September 4, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    I’m thinking about doing something completely decadent like going to Nordstrom Rack and seeing if they have any seriously marked down sandals. It’s the end of summer technically, but it’s not going to be anything like cold or even cool here for at least two months. If I see a pair for under 25 bucks, I might just go for it.
    I will probably leave my wired shut kid alone while doing this. Now I that I feel confident he can feed himself without choking and spraying chocolate Boost out of the spaces between his teeth, I’m going to have a wild time. His brother found a Kanye West song about having a wired shut jaw and that’s made him feel a lot better about things. Now it’s sort of cool.

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  19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 4, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Bad news from Ernie Harwell in the Freep today, re: cancer — prayers and thanks to him!

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  20. Danny said on September 4, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Jeff, I’m way excited about the under the hood improve­ments. Imag­ine, an OS upgrade that is leaner, faster, safer, sleeker. Nancy’s and my god­son (yeah, we share one, times are tough) emailed me this morn­ing (cau­tion, geek speak ahead):

    Um, you call icon bounce counting geek speak? JC, you know that true geeks talk about hanging hourglasses. Don’t you? Geesh!

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  21. Danny said on September 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Hey, if you lazy a-holes (hat tip to Van Jones) don’t get back to work, you’re going to be celebrating bankruptcy bankruptcy day!

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  22. John Wallace said on September 4, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Thank God it’s not just me who finds the transition from being critical of the President is un-American to don’t trust the President. THe remark in the Journal-Gazzete site from the woman (MORON) about this feels like we’re living in Hitler’s Germany, or Cuba… Wow, just wow. I felt the similarities to Hitler’s Germany under Bush the Younger. As for Cuba, they have better healthcare.
    I’m tired of listening to idiots ranting about Healthcare Reform equalling a surender of constitution rights. These same sheep bellied up to the bar and took a long cool drink of Flavor Aid and then willingly surrendered a huge amount of rights via the Patriot Act. They looked the other way when Cheney launched death squads, when they bullied Tom Ridge into unwarranted terror alerts. The same people who equate anyone who is against the “war on terror” to not supporting our soldiers. So it’s ok for so many brave and dedicated soldiers to die or come home crippled… But not to get sidetracked.
    I posted on a local news site that is basically regurgitated Glenn Beck and Rush “pillhound” Limbaugh nonsense that any parent who keeps their kid home due to this speech should be investigated by CPS for child neglect and possible mental health issues or paranoid delusions in the parents. That made me even more popular than usual in Ignorance, umm Indiana.
    To make things even worse some teachers here are opting to use lesson plans drawn up by the teabagger morons. Spelling might be an issue, and I imagine they will be drawn in crayon.
    I see a lot of ignorance and racism veiled as conservative doctrine.
    We are at a crossroads given this deep divide. I’m ashamed that these are my neighbors and even fellow Americans. I am disgusted that idiots tote guns to anti-Obama rallies… Just imagine if liberals did that in Crawford, Texas. The right wingnuts would want life in prison for the gun toters.

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  23. MarkH said on September 4, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Danny, as I check in on NN.C on a regular basis, I sometimes wonder how some here get anything done.

    Adding my thanks for the Franken post, too, moe. I have suspected for some time, going back to his conspicuous silence during the court dispute vs. Coleman, that I may have to change my tune on him. Is this guy actually going to turn into a statesman? Maybe. I still felt he postured during the Sotomayor hearings, but… Also, I hope that headline with the clip was in jest; the crowd was decidedly NOT angry. Some genuine listening going on there, on both sides.

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  24. beb said on September 4, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Sad news about Ernie Harwell. I didn’t grow up listening to him, but when I moved to Detroit my wife-to-be introduced me to listening to baseball and to Ernie Harwell in particular. He has a great voice for radio, and a smooth and informative delivery. I was sad when he retired from broadcasting, but geez, the man is 91 now. That’s a long, full life. And I imagine it’s been a life with few regrets. I wish him well in his final months.

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  25. Julie Robinson said on September 4, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    If going to lunch and a movie on a weekday afternoon is morally bankrupt, count me in. We finally had our Julie party, where 3 of us named Julie, Julie and Julia, went to see Julie & Julia. It felt like playing hooky. I strongly recommend seeing the movie with friends who like to laugh at movies. Someone in our household who shall go unnamed is embarrassed by my hearty laughing in the cinema. I’m not half as loud as Julia Child. Did anyone else who saw it want to come home and eat a stick of butter?

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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 4, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Ate. Well, melted into two cups of graham cracker crumbs.

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  27. velvet goldmine said on September 4, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Julie, there are no “sticks” in the movie. It’s pound by pound, baby!

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  28. sarah kenny said on September 4, 2009 at 5:08 pm


    Miracle of birth humans: Ick! Avoid!

    Miracle of birth little chickens: Awwww! Aren’t they cute!

    What a segue! Too funny!

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  29. nancy said on September 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Hey, everyone! What an amazing coincidence! “sarah kenny” has the same IP number as Dwight.

    I’m disappointed; usually I’m faster at catching him. It was the sex change that threw me off.

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  30. Little Bird said on September 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Deborah and I saw Julie & Julia a week or so ago, we loved it! I left wanting to cook something, anything! Instead we went to a french restaurant and had dinner. A word of advice to any who haven’t seen it; don’t go to the movie hungry. You will end up starving (and drooling) by the time the movie ends.

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  31. Sue said on September 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Damn, I knew it. I figured she was Dwight’s little sister.

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  32. Jean S said on September 4, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Dwight in a dress…is that morally bankrupt or just plain unpleasant?

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  33. coozledad said on September 4, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Shit. I’m disappointed, too. I visualized a patent leather domina with neatly filed teeth and a boob job in a decrepit Edwardian house stuffed with a carefully arranged assortment of bondage weapons.
    Fuck you, Dwight.

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  34. LA mary said on September 4, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Maybe Dwight’s always been woman. Dwight is her nom de blog. Whatever, there are definitely filed teeth and a boob job involved.

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  35. Connie said on September 4, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    I just thought she was a troll.

    And I took a vacation day today.

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  36. LA mary said on September 4, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    It’s about Obama at Occidental College. Interestingly, the date of the original story about him attending college on a foreign student scholarship was APRIL 1, 2009.

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  37. moe99 said on September 4, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    LA Mary: LOL! I wonder of Jefftmmo will reveal where he first learned of this urban legend?

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  38. MichaelG said on September 4, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    TKS, Mary.

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  39. Jolene said on September 4, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Hysterical, Mary. Thanks for posting.

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  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 5, 2009 at 12:06 am

    Very helpful, all. Thank you. And me always telling folks to check Snopes, too. The Daily Mail source wasn’t, and i am well and duly chastised. Still wish all candidates had to release their college transcripts as a matter of course, but that D in organic chemistry will come out sooner or later.

    I was wrong, wrong, wrong; mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

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  41. crazycatlady said on September 5, 2009 at 12:31 am

    Yea, we went in the Michigan Market at the State fair-Sarah needed to use the bathroom. Beb and I wandered around, and a lady at the “JESUS” booth said “Smile! Jesus Loves You!” I wanted to say “Yea, Jesus loves you but everyone else thinks you’re an asshole.”

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  42. crazycatlady said on September 5, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Grew up listening to Ernie Harwell. My grandparents never missed a game he called, and I looked forward to The Voice Of The Turtle every spring. Peace, Ernie.

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  43. Kirk said on September 5, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Harwell truly one of the greats, one of the guys who made baseball on the radio such a pleasure. He let you know exactly what was happening in a conversational tone and without bombast.

    I’ll never forget when he persuaded the Tigers to let Jose Feliciano sing the national anthem before a game of the ’68 World Series. His version, extremely tame by today’s standards, freaked out a lot of people who think there’s only one way to sing it.

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  44. Dexter said on September 5, 2009 at 1:14 am

    The outpouring of love for Ernie when he was fired in 1991 was so amazing and heartfelt that it simply crippled all the radio call-in shows. I was driving home from a UM football game that Fall and almost every caller to a show that was supposed to be dedicated to the football game turned instead to a full-out blubber-fest as people called in to cry on the radio. Later, the same mood permeated sports call-in shows right after 9-11-01, of course, but it took that kind of a tragedy to compare with Ernie Harwell’s firing.
    Mr. Ilitch fixed that when he bought the club from Tom Monaghan , hiring Ernie back.
    You can read of the old Brooklyn Dodgers , and how you did not need a radio, as you could hear radios from house to house as you walked on Flatbush Avenue and environs . Everybody had a radio and they were all tuned into the Dodgers. I remember the same thing in Michigan in the 1960s and 70s…Go camping anywhere in Michigan and you’d always be able to hear a car radio or transistor if the Tigers and Ernie were on the air. Hundreds of Michigan stations from Sturgis to the UP carried Tigers games. And, they’re good again, a fitting tribute to Mr. Harwell.
    Obviously, untreatable , incurable bile duct cancer may win this challenge, so keep Lulu and Ernie in your thoughts.
    “For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.” Ernie read this prior to every first Spring Training game in Florida.

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  45. Heather said on September 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Obama is trying to build an army of educated do-gooders! OH NOES!

    I guess now it’s OK to critique your government, when under Bush II it was all “America: Love It or Leave It.”

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  46. LA Mary said on September 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    I remember back in the early seventies, my best friend’s roomate at Columbia U. was brought in for questioning when someone heard him say that he wished Nixon would die. He was just bullshitting, no guns, no threats, nothing like that. Just some guys sitting around talking about VietNam and the next day the Secret Service is in the dorm.

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