Collateral damage.

If you don’t spend your late-winter Sundays rooting through the comments on posts here, then you’ll want to read this Yahoo Sports piece on the Steubenville rape case. Unlike the entirely predictable outrage from the usual suspects, this gets to the heart of the matter:

The boys drank. They drove around. They went to each other’s houses until 2, 3, 4 in the morning. They exploited permissive parents who let the party continue. They, according to so many locals, knew there were bars that would serve them, liquor stores that would supply them and adults who would look the other way. They were football players being football players.

They slept wherever and whenever they crashed, preferably with some girl. Any girl.

They were allowed the freedoms of young adults, yet lacked the maturity to handle that freedom.

I expect we’re all aware of towns like this; there are probably hundreds of them from sea to shining sea, and not necessarily in forgotten places like Steubenville, where it seems journalists are required to note that the team “serves as a point of pride for the city dealing with economic hardship after the collapse of the steel industry.” Rundown ex-steel towns are like this. Affluent suburbs are like this. Big cities. Small towns. And it’s not just football. Hockey, baseball, just about any sport played by young men draws these insane adult cults of enablers who set up situations like this. It only takes a spark. There are lots of those.

A couple years ago there was a minor dust-up in GP, a failed coup against one of the coaches, engineered by parents who felt their boys weren’t getting the playing time they deserved. One was said to be gunning for his kid to break a pass-receiving record, and felt the coach was holding the kid back. It died down pretty quickly, but it made me think of the stories Kirk would tell about Art Schlichter’s dad, back when his son was playing high-school ball. We all know how that story turned out.

Every so often I read that football will soon cease to exist, because of the head-injury issue, that in a couple decades we won’t believe we ever let young men smash their heads against one another with such dire potential consequences. I don’t believe it. It will always live in places like Steubenville, and a lot of others, too.


How was your weekend? The sun came out Sunday, and I dragged Alan out for a walk up and down the Dequindre Cut, a pleasant but chilly two-mile stroll. We were practically the only people on it, which always leaves you feeling a little weird, even on a Sunday, in Detroit. However, there was at least one security guy patrolling and, this being Detroit, there’s an emergency call station about every 50 feet, and no, I’m not kidding.

Because we were in Detroit, we missed Ryan Gosling, who apparently was in Grosse Pointe at the same time. He’s directing a movie. Dunno if he’s staying around there, or shooting, or just wanted a Starbucks and happened to be nearby. The story says Christina Hendricks is one of his actors. Woot. I’d much rather see her buzzing around the Pointes, and I know a lot of men would, too.

Speaking of Joanie, the season 6 promo photos, in living color.

I’m sort of sad Hunter Thompson is dead, because he would have done a great job at CPAC. Roy’s clip roundup will have to do.

And now it is Monday. Sigh. I hope your week goes quickly, if you want it to.

Posted at 12:45 am in Current events |

93 responses to “Collateral damage.”

  1. Dave said on March 18, 2013 at 4:10 am

    Didn’t know this:

    Sept. 3, 2002: The body of Schlichter’s 65-year-old father, John M. “Max” Schlichter, was found in a Clintonville pool. Police called the drowning an apparent suicide.

    Ever know anyone from Massillon? Those people are nuts about high school football, I guess I never got it, making heroes out of kids and it just has to be worse today. You know this has gone on forever but with today’s specialization and the camps and the expectation that to make it, you have to work at it year around, to the detriment of learning some real life skills, or even playing other sports. I’d bet most of the Steubenville team looks around town and sees football as their way to the top and think of themselves as young gods who can do no wrong. Or did, anyway. I’ve been wondering about the coach, how much enabling has he done over the years, he’s been head coach for awhile.

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  2. Dave said on March 18, 2013 at 4:12 am

    Sometimes, I wish the edit were available, I really meant to change “way to the top” to something else, another trite phrase like “way to get the heck out of Steubenvile” anyway, I doubt they’re all so full of themselves that they all think they’re going to the top.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2013 at 6:58 am

    I’d love to say more about high school football and the culture of enabling when it hits the juvenile court level, but I can’t figure out how to be specific enough to be useful and not push my own sense of what the confidentiality statement we sign means. If a parent or kid could reasonably say a description of an event or situation I mentioned here was necessarily about them and no one else, I don’t tell the story.

    But parental enabling is the most devastating obstacle I can encounter. Denial we can work through, and low expectations can be rebuilt, but a parent who clearly knows exactly what their child (17.75 year old males who shave inclusive) did, and is willing to say anything whatsoever to help ensure that no consequences apply to their darling offspring — they are correct in assuming that you can brazen your way through a great deal given the rules and guidelines and law in a juvenile court. Which is why sometimes you just have to file a motion to common pleas as an adult.

    What can be said: there’s an eerie parallel between parents who are fiercely & grimly determined to lie, deny, and cry their way into getting their child off in the face of undeniable evidence of an offense — they come in two clusters, made up of parents of football/baseball/lacrosse players, and drug-addicted parents whose kids are involved in the same demi-monde mom & dad are. Interesting, no?

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  4. Suzanne said on March 18, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Jeff(TMMO), I’ve run into quite a few of those parents over the years. Until my kids were middle schoolers and beyond, I would not have believed the number of parents who either have no clue whatsoever what their kids are doing or the number who know but turn a blind eye because what the heck, my kid’s popular. It is mind boggling to me how many parents will buy booze for their teens and my kids have told me that I’d be shocked at how many kids they knew who smoked dope and drank with their parents. An underage drinking charge is often seen as a badge of honor “Oh, you know how kids are…” wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
    And then there are the parents who assume their kids will sleep around. I remember one young woman who told my daughter that her mom was upset she was going to prom with a good guy friend because prom night is when she was supposed to lose her virginity and now, that was not going to happen.

    So the Steubenville mess did not surprise me in the least. What was an almost pleasant surprise is that someone is actually being punished.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2013 at 8:33 am

    DeWine says it’s not over, and I’m encouraged by that.

    Clueless parents, and even the willfully clueless (yes, there’s a difference) I can deal with. It’s the “oh, they’re gonna do it, so let’s just sit here and smoke and drink with them, because then the other kids know who’s looking out for them and they’ll come hang out here instead of at some empty house” parents that I have trouble finding words for in my response.

    Because whatever you just thought, no, I’m probably not able to say that. Officially speaking.

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  6. beb said on March 18, 2013 at 8:35 am

    The two inches of snow Saturday morning kind of put a damper on the weekend. My wife and daughter went to a baby shower for our niece who’s having twins. The due date is in June but the guessing is that she’s so huge that she might delivery in mid-May.

    I was reading another account of the Steubenville verdict which mentioned that one of the convicts complained that his life was over. No, I think his sentence was two years or under 21, because he was tried as a juvenile. If he had been tried as an adult I’m sure the sentence would have been 10-20 years. Then his life would have been over.

    I haven’t been following CPAC closely but I am amazed, as always, how self-inflicting conservatives are about their wounds. Sen. Portman of Ohio suddenly discovers he has no issue with gay marriage — because he son came out as gay. Because Portman’s compassion extends only to his family, the twitterverse has come out wishing that the children of conservatives be stricken with serious medical issues, or extreme poverty so that there would be a little more compassion in government towards people in those situations. The other ironic moment was when a panel on how to reach out to blacks fell to argument that slavery was good for blacks because their owners feed and clothed them… The whippings, amputations, raping of slave women, the long hours of backbreaking work, not mentioned as much.

    And they keep saying that their message is good, they just need to tweak the messaging somehow.

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  7. beb said on March 18, 2013 at 8:37 am

    If Jeff ever wants to write a book on the problems of juvenile courts and mediation, I’ll read it.

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  8. alex said on March 18, 2013 at 9:09 am

    In reading about that CPAC race forum, I’m not sure which I find more disturbing—the a-holes touting the time-honored southern canard about the beneficence of slave holders or the blacks calling themselves “Frederick Douglass Republicans” who “forgive.” I’m sure Douglass’ forgiveness was about letting go of bitterness so that it didn’t eat him alive and was not an embrace of politics that were antithetical to his interests. I cannot fathom why people would let themselves be used as such window dressing.

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  9. 4dbirds said on March 18, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Teens, drinking, guns. This happened only a couple of blocks from where I live.

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  10. brian stouder said on March 18, 2013 at 9:32 am

    I cannot fathom why people would let themselves be used as such window dressing.

    The whole “Frederick Douglass Republicans” canard is just laughably disingenuous; or willfully dishonest.

    The hard-right sons of bitches have always savaged Lincoln (see Joseph Sobran, for example).

    To be fair, I suppose Mitt Romney’s fatal honesty on that video tape reveals that the Republican party now advocates color-blind, equal-opportunity oppression.

    Their idea of “makers” is pretty monochromatic (and monied); but “takers” cover the rainbow

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  11. Jenine said on March 18, 2013 at 9:43 am

    @Suzanne (4): Yes, I keep being surprised that the boys were charged and convicted. Maybe we’re inching ahead in terms of not blaming the victim.

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  12. MarkH said on March 18, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Suzanne, Jenine, to be fair, the prosecutor for the case was out of Columbus and the judge was assigned from the Cincinnati area. Authorities knew the only way for justice (conviction) was to eliminate the local Steubeville factor.

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  13. coozledad said on March 18, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I cannot fathom why people would let themselves be used as such window dressing.</i.
    At every level, the Republicans have a lot of scam startup money to throw around. The faith-based initiatives grift brought a few cons into the fold who would have otherwise hit the glass ceiling bilking a few hundred parishioners of their social security checks- the Republicans hoped they would siphon off votes by whipping up anti-gay sentiment through the black megachurches. To some extent they succeeded in North Carolina, where the legislature has begun nullifying the voting rights act, as well as clearing fracking permits for the rich shale deposits of southern Durham*.

    We had a bunch of Republicans weasel into our Democratic party meetings prior to the 2012 primaries to denounce gay marriage. A few of them were black pastors on the faith-based initiatives tit. They spoke about "The lessons of Sodom and Gomorrah" or "We won't even be able to preach Romans." Pure Republican fundie boilerplate.

    As my wife says, the Constitution was drafted to keep that aisle-rolling tongue-speaking trash at a comfortable remove from policymaking, and the lessons of Selma are the ones people need to remember.

    In short, Racist party is racist.

    *Nothing much there really. They just scheduled it near the top of the legislative agenda to piss liberals off. It's like a frat breaking into a car to take a dump on the front seat.

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  14. coozledad said on March 18, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Fuck. Thought I closed the Eye-talics.

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  15. Jenine said on March 18, 2013 at 9:53 am

    @MarkH: But it was not allowed to be hushed up as a local matter. That is different.

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  16. Dorothy said on March 18, 2013 at 9:56 am

    A sad weekend in so many ways. We decided to stay home from church Sunday. I was having a bit of a grumbly tummy, and the t.v. was left on while I lay on the couch. I hadn’t realized the verdict in the Steubenville case was going to be carried live around 10 AM and so we saw the whole thing. The sobbing defendants were a sight to behold and yet I could hardly muster any pity for them. When Ma’lik approached the victim’s family and then spoke directly to “Mr. and Mrs. ____________” I was kind of stunned, as the media had not (and still has not) revealed the girl’s name. I’m glad I haven’t heard it repeated in any subsequent stories. I’m glad for the verdict and the jail time they have to serve, but I hope the whole story will be a very sobering lesson for not just Steubenville but all over the US.

    The second sad story was about the Seton Hill lacrosse team’s tragic bus crash. The coach who died is the same age as my daughter. She’s a graduate of Duquesne, where my nephew and his wife also graduated, and all three of them were secondary Education majors. I am not sure if they knew Ms. Quigley (the deceased coach). My nephew and his wife graduated a year ahead of her. We were in Pittsburgh on Saturday and Seton Hill is east of Pittsburgh, so the breaking news was all over the place that day.

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  17. Jolene said on March 18, 2013 at 10:14 am

    4dbirds, that is a terrible story. And, of course, the comments section is becoming a free-for-all re the rights of gunowners.

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  18. adrianne said on March 18, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Movie coming out soon on Jackie Robinson, called simply “42,” may be an education to some folks about the persistence of racist b.s. well into the 20th century. And some of the worst treatment that Jackie faced came at the hands of alleged sports fans from Syracuse, N.Y.

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  19. Dave said on March 18, 2013 at 10:41 am

    4dbirds, my daughter-in-law grew up in Stirling, she and my son now live in Leesburg and are getting ready to move into a home in Ashburn.

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  20. Danny said on March 18, 2013 at 10:43 am

    One of the most striking stories of an athletically talented kid with overbearing parent leading to tragedy is that of Toddy M., aka Todd Marinovich:

    He has really turned things around, but I listened to an interview with him last year where he explained how at one of his many low points, he was shooting up drugs (speedballs, heroin and coke, I believe)in a stall in the locker room bathroom at halftime while the coach was giving the halftime pep/strategy talk. This was during an NFL game.

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  21. MarkH said on March 18, 2013 at 11:08 am

    That’s true, Jenine, as you rightly point out. And the story in Yahoo does credit the local police investigators for not letting that happen. They knew they needed outside help on this.

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  22. Bitter Scribe said on March 18, 2013 at 11:12 am

    I think that’s actually a winning strategy for the GOP: Latch onto a dead black person, the deader the better. We’ve seen some of this with Martin Luther King, who was “really” against affirmative action and for gun rights (except possibly in the case of the guy who, you know, shot him to death). Douglass will work out even better because he’s been dead a lot longer.

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  23. Charlotte said on March 18, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Jenine — Yahoo might not be blaming the victim, but CNN sure is:

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  24. LAMary said on March 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

    While it might be pointless, I continue to fight the good fight over my son using marijuana. He has a medical marijuana card, which I gather is ridiculously easy to get. He’s nineteen, so legally I can’t do anything about it, but I can continue to tell him that it’s not ok to alter one’s consciousness whenever there’s nothing going on that he thinks demands his complete sober attention. I would be doing the same thing if it was beer that he was consuming. He has friends whose parents smoke with them and provide alcohol so I’ve viewed as deeply uncool.

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  25. Catherine said on March 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    A friend who’s a pediatrician almost dropped the dime on another parent last fall. She asked her daughter why the boy at the party looked kind of out of it. “Oh, he’s got a concussion — it’s his third one this season, so he’s out of football for the rest of the season.” Turns out his dad is the assistant coach of the football team. Two more points: 1) He’s a NINTH grader; 2) pretty much no one in that league is even going to play in college, much less professionally. THREE concussions in three months is the bar for taking him out for the season? I just do not understand football parents.

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  26. Danny said on March 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Mary, you being viewed as “deeply uncool” for this is deeply cool to me. Sadly, things are probably only going to get worse in this regard, what with all of the legalization laws passing and hitting the books.

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  27. Jeff Borden said on March 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Regarding Frederick Douglass, one of my public speaking students a few years ago did a report on a speech he delivered to an audience of white abolitionists on the Fourth of July. The gist of his speech was that Independence Day meant nothing to him when so many of his brethren were still in chains. It was something of a shocker, of course, as the white folks had assumed Mr. Douglass would laud them for all their wonderful work on his behalf. Douglass clearly was a complicated man, but the idea he would embrace the Republican Party as it now exists is as absurd as the conservative claim that Martin Luther King Jr. would be a Republican these days.

    Part of me genuinely enjoys watching the GOP come apart at the seams, but another part of me worries greatly about what will be hatched. Other reports I read about CPAC suggested that the Randian libertarian folks tended to be youngish and didn’t much care about the social issues like abortion and gay marriage, while the older attendees were all over the social shit. Since Rand Paul is literally the only Republican talking about a diminished military and diplomatic presence in international affairs –not for any great embrace of peace but because it’s so damned expensive– it’s easy to see a super-hawk stepping up for 2016. God, all we need is another group of hardline dumbasses like the crew in W.’s administration back in the White House.

    Voters are fickle. After eight years of a disappointing Obama administration –hamstrung by both a bad economy and a totally recalcitrant opposition– they might well go for a new face from the right. We can’t afford another Bush term. The damage from the last one will last a generation.

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  28. coozledad said on March 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    So LA Mary’s son should go to jail? It’s not an issue for the prison industrial complex to insert itself into, no matter how much of a cash cow it is for them.

    I smoked pot when I was a kid. I quit when it became obvious what dorks were attracted to the whole “watch me roll this joint” subculture. It reminded me a lot of doctor’s kids jerking off over what brand of guitar their daddies bought them. In fact, the marijuana subculture had a fuck of a lot of doctor’s kids with several guitars each. Another big buddyfuck, with slightly fewer assholes than the cocaine culture. Where the two intersected, they were simply grotesque.
    But the only people I met who were jailworthy assholes were a.) biker slime selling the shit to b.) doctor’s kids and c.) cops who were helping the bikers distribute.

    These are the conditions modern sumptuary laws are designed to perpetuate. It has fuck all to do with any notion of freedom, or protection of the young.

    A society rooted in binge drinking isn’t at liberty to proscribe marijuana.

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  29. Prospero said on March 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Malkin goes all Mean Girls on Ashley Judd. Via Donald Trump???

    I played football in high school and never considered acting like that. Neither did Matt Saracen, or Riggs. Blaming football for theat sort of shit is knneejerk nonsense. The fault lies in the adults living vicariously.

    Borden: Maybe voters will have the sense to see that GOPers in the House failed ever to vote on four substantial jobs and infrastructure bills sent them by the White House, while the voted 35 times to repeal ACA. Or maybe Amurrcans are just fracking stupid. Who votes for these morons, and I mean no insult to morons. And peope that will vote for Aqua Buddha are people that believe that foreign aid is some sizable sum. Idiots.

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  30. MarkH said on March 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Danny didn’t say a word about anyone going to jail. I’m sure he was referencing a further unleashing of a dope scourge. But I won’t speak for Danny.

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  31. coozledad said on March 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    The converse of “legalization” is a set of sumptuary laws which find sentencing and incarceration rates for poors and blacks out of step with those for wealthy whites, who are rarely prosecuted under the existing system.

    Illegal pot= jail time in most people’s America.

    What in this equation do you fail to understand?

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  32. Danny said on March 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Mark, right. Derrick is just being is old axiomatic self (Must Disagree with: Danny, Jeff, MarkH, mark, Pilot Joe).

    Mary is right to hold the bar high for her son and to encourage him to not go down the road of recreational drug usage. Life is hard enough without introducing that dynamic. Wanna argue the other side of that? Feel free, I like a good chuckle as much as the next guy.

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  33. Danny said on March 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Yeah, a lot of people in California go to jail for pot. It’s a ticket, dummy.

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  34. coozledad said on March 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Mark, right. Derrick is just being is old axiomatic self (Must Disagree with: Danny, Jeff, MarkH, mark, Pilot Joe).
    I’m just trying to get a leash on that dope scourge.

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  35. coozledad said on March 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    California decriminalized in 2009 because their jails were overflowing with people booked for simple possession, Shithead.

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  36. coozledad said on March 18, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Scratch “shithead” and make that “utterly disingenuous lying rightwad trollbag”.

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  37. Danny said on March 18, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Wrong, again. Under an ounce has been decriminalized since 1975, double-dummy, doo-doo head.

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  38. coozledad said on March 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    On February 23, 2009, Assembly Bill No. 390 – California: Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act was introduced by California State Assembly member Tom Ammiano, a Democrat representing California’s 13th State Assembly district.[11] The passing of this bill would legalize marijuana in California. This bill would also tax and regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana. The state’s tax collectors estimate the measure would bring in about $1.3 billion in new revenues a year plus cost savings from prisons.[12]
    On September 30, 2010, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law S.B. 1449, a bill that decriminalizes the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. The bill reduces simple possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction. This would eliminate the need to appear in front of a court and would treat possession of less than 28.5 grams like a traffic ticket, punishable by $100.[13]

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  39. utterly disingenuous lying rightwad trollbag said on March 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    I take it back. Lawdy, Lawdy, I has SEEN the light. Let’s completely legalize marijuana. It’s FOR THE KIDZ for cryin’ out loud!!!

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  40. Prospero said on March 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Cooze, the major problem was the ridiculously long sentences dictated by “three strikes” statutes, sttupidest laws ever not written by ALEC. The USA has long placed pot in the same legal category as heroin and morphine. Senseless.

    I’m assuming that aside from Aqua Buddha, who thinks Obama is planning drone attacks in the USA (and that isn’t paranoiac looniness at all) people seem to think Shock and Awe is a preferable means of swacking terriss. Is collateral damage likely? Assuredly, but not like the thousands of residents of Sadr City that died in the first three days of Shrubco’s illegal assault on Iraq. IOKIYAAR.

    And that sure seems like a misused “axiomatic” to me. Which part of “received wisdom” comes into play? What exactly was aphoristic about anything cooze said? But it is a cool word.

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  41. Michael said on March 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Spotted Ryan Gosling at D’Mongos on Friday night. The few times I’ve spotted celebs at Restaurants of bars I believe in leaving them alone. Exception – Sigourney Weaver when she was in town shooting “Prayers for Bobby” The line “I love your work” sounded lame but that was all I had.

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  42. utterly disingenuous lying rightwad trollbag said on March 18, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Props, I use “axiomatic” in the mathematical-proof sense of “if A, then B.” In that sense his disagreement with whatever is said by certain people is axiomatic.

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  43. Sherri said on March 18, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    The major forces behind the legalization of marijuana in Washington were the ACLU, the NAACP, and El Centro de la Raza, the major Latino civil rights organization in Washington. Whatever the case in California, in Washington, it was about ending the senseless practice of putting people, especially minorities, in jail for possession of marijuana.

    It’s still illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess and use marijuana, same as it is with alcohol. I find it funny that the same people who complain about the government trying to take the place of the family when it comes to say, sex education, suddenly seem to want the government to act in loco parentis with drug prohibition.

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  44. Charlotte said on March 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I’m young enough that I’ve always known people who smoke dope — I don’t get why it’s illegal when alcohol isn’t. The driving test issue is a little tricky, but the only driving issues I’ve seen (post medical-MJ legalization) is you sometimes run into people driving really really sloooowwly down East River road. Usually while there’s a gorgeous sunset going on. Which reminds you that we live in a beautiful place, and you should slow down and take a look. I’ll take that over drunk drivers any day.

    Plus, I’m becoming fond of an evening toke now that the change is upon me.

    That said, I’m with LA Mary in being uncool. I’d be breaking heads too if someone was overindulging and not being productive and getting on with their life. Hiding out, whether via video games, booze, dope, or say, Tolstoy novels, is not conducive to the difficult task of growing up and getting a life.

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  45. Peter said on March 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Sorry for the TMI, but this wasn’t a good weekend at my neck of the woods: Copper, our 8 year old golden doodle, died yesterday. He’d been sick for a few weeks, but took a turn for the worse on Friday, and he died about an hour after they finally figured out he had cancer, not that we could have done anything about it anyway.

    Well, he brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. Whenever I would walk him and the young kids would ask to pet him, he’d lay down and show his belly for them to pet.

    Here’s a parting photo – he happened to get sick the day after this shot was taken.

    /Users/perdelyi/Desktop/Copper .pdf

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  46. Scout said on March 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Although I’m guessing what I’m about to say will be deeply unpopular given the comments so far, I’m going to say it anyway. Pot should be legal. It’s ridiculous it isn’t, given that alcohol is. I’ve seen too many people kill themselves and others while under the influence of the legal stuff. Pot – can’t think of anyone, ever. Additionally, hemp has many amazing uses as well. Also. Too.

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  47. Scout said on March 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Peter – so sorry for your loss. Damn. It’s so hard to lose them. RIP, Copper.

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  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Pot should be legal . . . but it isn’t. Acting as if it is doesn’t make it so. Once it’s legal, use of it falls into the same abuse/responsible use categories as firewater and barley pop. Which I think is LAMary’s point.

    Hat tip to Dorothy and our other many lurkers from Kenyon just north of me:

    And thank you, Beb. Someday.

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  49. Heather said on March 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I was kind of anti-pot-legalization until a couple years ago, when I realized how many smart and hard-working people I know who smoke it on a regular basis with little or no physical or mental harm. The people who abuse it will do so either way. Interestingly, it seems like it’s mostly males who smoke it on the regular, at least among my crowd. Doesn’t seem to have the same effect on the female brain, but I’m no scientist.

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  50. Prospero said on March 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Legislation banning pot is idiotic. It should have been legalized years ago as a replacement for tobacco crops, regulated and sold as is liquor, and taxed. The whole country would have been better off. I know people argue that pot has similar health damage to theat of cigarettes, but who’d ever smoke two packs a day of joints? And any comparison of deriving while stoned with driving while drunk is odious, and it’s bullshit.

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  51. coozledad said on March 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Good blog for a host of reasons not limited to this discussion:

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  52. LAMary said on March 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Hey, I’m 60 and I’m young enough to have always known people who smoke pot. Nothing new there. I used to smoke it and my son knows this.
    And I completely agree that it’s stupid that pot is illegal and alcohol is legal. But I’m saying that it’s stupid that my completely healthy son can get a marijuana card and stay stoned whenever he isn’t at work. If he was drunk I’d be just as unhappy about it. Forget the physical effects. It’s the state of being checked out of reality that I have a problem with. I lived the first third of my life with alcoholics and it was no fun. I know smoking weed doesn’t do the same things. You don’t see people starting fights or getting mean when they smoke weed. They do act stupid though. They aren’t very reliable or quick on the uptake. They don’t make well reasoned decisions. Or even sort of well reasoned ones.

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  53. Judybusy said on March 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Peter, I am so sorry to hear about your dog.I’m glad he wasn’t sick a terribly long time. I’m still sad about the cat who went on to the great catnip field in November–but I know it will be much worse when the dog goes–hopefully many years from now.

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  54. paddyo' said on March 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Here in Colorado, our Legislature is wrestling with the various logistics of legalization, though the law we passed in November (1 ounce or less is legal) doesn’t make it legal to burn one right out there in public.

    But one of the biggest struggles (I mean, besides whether the Justice Department comes in and tries to enforce the federal prohibition here in a state where we’ve had legal medical marijuana “dispensaries” for years now) is how to come up with a “driving-while-high” standard. They are attempting to do it, with some level of blood content — 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, which I can’t begin to understand, straight or stoned.

    On top of that, there’s the how-much-do-we-TAX-pot discussion, which has advocates warning that if the tax is too (pardon the expression) high, it’ll drive the legal business back underground.

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  55. paddyo' said on March 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Argh! Sudden attack of Italicitis! Sorry . . .

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  56. Bitter Scribe said on March 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I’ve never understood why “decriminalization” is supposed to be some sort of panacea. WTF does it even mean? If there are no criminal penalties for possessing the stuff, but there are for growing and selling it, how does that help?

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  57. mark said on March 18, 2013 at 4:10 pm


    Good luck to you with your son, Mary. What you describe is more than a little unusual and troubling. You might try Al-Anon for information and advice/support. It’s free and anonymous, so little to lose if it doesn’t help.

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  58. 4dbirds said on March 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Peter so sorry about your dog. Dogs are such good friends. I’m a relatively new dog owner and never really ‘got’ dogs until my daughter brought home a couple of Chihuahuas. I couldn’t imagine life without them. Don’t even want to think about it.

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  59. Prospero said on March 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    I can’t see a picture of Elisabeth Moss without thinking of her playing the precocious kid that explained sex to one of the kids’ grammar school grades.

    I wouldn’t recognize Ryan Gosling were I to trip over him. Nor Tatum Channing or whatever that beefy guy’s name is. I doubt I’d recognize Jake Gyllenhall. To paraphrase Norma Desmond, the stars have gotten smaller.

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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Just because I know many here will delight in it, a shot over the shoulder of Holland Taylor, who is portraying Ann Richards on Broadway, with a couple of Ann’s old friends:

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  61. Prospero said on March 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Ann Richards was hell on wheels.

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  62. Jolene said on March 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Great pic, Jeff (tmmo). I’ve heard that play is pretty good. I think it was first presented in DC at the Arena Stage Theater, and has been touring until its recent Broadway opening. Cecile Richards, who is Anne Richards’s daughter and head of Planned Parenthood, said it was like getting to spend a couple more hours with her mother.

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  63. Jolene said on March 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Looking again, I’m also taken with what a nice picture of Bill and Hillary this is. After everything, she still adores him.

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  64. Prospero said on March 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    It’s all because he’s the black guy. And a creitn GOPer admits it.

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  65. Prospero said on March 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Newticles goes entirely off the rails at CPAC. How do serious people take this loony for a viable presidential candidate? Nutjob.

    Some great Ann Richards quotes:

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  66. Prospero said on March 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Ann Richards on how to be a good GOPer:

    You have to believe that those privileged from birth achieve success all on their own.
    You have to be against all government programs, but expect Social Security checks on time.
    You have to believe…everything Rush Limbaugh says.
    You have to believe society is color-blind and growing up black in America doesn’t diminish your opportunities, but you still won’t vote for Alan Keyes.
    You have to be against government interference in business, until your oil company, corporation or Savings and Loan is about to go broke and you beg for a government bail out.
    You have to believe a poor, minority student with a disciplinary history and failing grades will be admitted into an elite private school with a $1,000 voucher.

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  67. Linda said on March 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    The whole high school football players as smalltown gods reminds me of another scandal in Glen Ridge, NJ, in which a bunch of affluent jocks gang raped a mentally handicapped young women. The book that came out of it, Our Guys, by Bernard Lefkowitz, spells out pretty much every point you made, with a dollop of class prejudice thrown in. Everyone should read it, even though it’s tough to read.

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  68. Prospero said on March 18, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Did anybody else notice $Palin didn’t have her required bendy straw when she did fellatio on that Big Gulp? Rich Lowry wasn’t sitting up straight for that on, he was creaming his mom jeans. But what the hey, she told a subtle joke about her tits and Todd’s dick. Funny lady.

    Linda, that sort of anti-jock mindlessness also set off the Duke rugby fracas, which was pure prosecutorial bullshit in the long run.

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  69. Prospero said on March 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    $Palin goes down:

    What an ahole.

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  70. alex said on March 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    My sympathies, Peter. I still get misty when I think about my dear old dog, who departed this life on August 14, 2011.

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  71. Charlotte said on March 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Sympathies Peter — We’re in the twilight years here as well — two aging bird dogs, quite arthritic — 10 and nearly 13. I dread the inevitable.

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  72. Prospero said on March 18, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Next time some GOPer idiot tries to claim Pretzeldent Shrub didn’t fuck over the American economy by the single stupidest trick possible, i.e. running a war on two tax cuts, describe this to ’em.

    Peter: It is horrible to lose a dog compatriot. Copper was a golden-poodle cross. I’d expect smart, energetic and extremely playful, along with loyal to a fault and absolutely trustworthy, which all dogs are. A bounder. I love big dogs.

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  73. Bitter Scribe said on March 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Linda: Yes, “Our Guys” was a great book about a very disturbing story. One of the defense lawyers referred to the victim, a teenage girl with the mental capacity of an 8-year-old, as “a plain pig.” If he wants to see a pig, he need look no further than the nearest mirror.

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  74. LAMary said on March 18, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Mark, I don’t think it’s that unusual. Too many of his friends seem to be the same way, and that’s part of the problem. Weed is cheap and easy to get. Much easier for a 19 year old than getting a beer.

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  75. Dorothy said on March 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    I am so sorry about your sweet Copper, Peter. Augie and Husky at my house send their sloppy dog kisses, too.

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  76. Jolene said on March 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Some interesting things on the blogs at The Atlantic today. Ta-Nehisi Coates has been studying French and is taking his first trip abroad. He is terrified at the prospect. (He has written about his terror and, mote generally, about learning French before. If you scroll down through his blog, you’ll find more on these topics.)

    James Fallows is collecting material reflecting upon the very bad decision made to invade Iraq. And Jeffrey Goldberg has planned for President Obama an ideal day in Israel that does, indeed, sound very appealing.

    Check them all out at

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  77. Jolene said on March 18, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Sympathy from me too, Peter. Sam, the only dog I ever had, has been gone for years, but I miss him as much as the day I had to say good-bye.

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  78. MichaelG said on March 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I’ve been out of town and without a computer for the last three days. I had a job in Fullerton. Unwisely, unthinking, I booked myself into an Embassy Suites only three blocks or so from Disneyland. What a horrid experience. You have to see some of these Disney freaks to believe them. I wish I hadn’t.

    My condolences, Peter. The down side of having pets really is a downer.

    I think you’re cool, Mary. I really have no idea of what the best way to deal with your son is but I hope everything works out well and soon.

    Dexter from yesterday. That track in Marysville is a little 1/4 mile dirt bullring. I’ve never been there. There were plans for a while to build a big track to include both oval and road racing but it died out. The local oppo was too much. Mi Lai. I was up near Hue in March of 1968.

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  79. Jolene said on March 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    As you probably have heard, the GOP announced today a $10 million effort to attract minority and women voters, as well as other rebranding efforts. Will be interesting to see how these efforts turn out. If history is any guide . . .

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  80. LAMary said on March 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    The weed thing with my son is frustrating because I know several things for sure about him. He’s fundamentally very moral, in the best way, with a strong sense of what’s fair. The only time I had to go to school because he was in a fight was when he got into it with someone who used the word “retard.” He knows I had a brother who was retarded…that was the word we used then…. and he knows it’s not a word to be used to taunt someone. He’s also a really hard worker with no fear of getting dirty, getting tired, or working long hours. He’s also smart in a good way. If he doesn’t get something he’s not afraid to ask for more information. He’s not afraid of asking what might be considered dumb questions.
    So that’s why I wish he was always functioning at 100%. Because when he does he’s awesome.

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  81. LAMary said on March 18, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    And sympathies about your dog, Peter. I still tear up when I think about my Charlie, who has been gone for 18 years. My first dog as an adult and my best companion and friend for years.

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  82. Deborah said on March 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    So sorry Peter, it’s hard. Tomorrow is exactly one year since we had to put our cat to sleep. Hard to believe it has already been a year. Her littermate sister is still with us and is bereft because my husband and I are both in Santa Fe right now. It is so hard to leave her. We have a guy who comes in twice a day to feed her and he spends time with her but she knows when she sees the suitcases by the door exactly what’s up and she gets super depressed. We took her with us when we came out here for the Christmas holidays for 3 weeks but because it will be only 1 week we hate to do that to her because it upsets her too. She will be 16 in October.

    It’s been kinda tense here since my husband arrived because he left his laptop at security at Midway, with all of his work, basically his life on it. He arrived here in Santa Fe and unpacked his carry-on when he realized it. It has been frantic calls ever since. Still no resolution. I can’t even imagine what I would be feeling if it happened to me. He was so preoccupied with the routine of putting your shoes, belt etc back on that he totally forgot to get his laptop out of the bin. What a nightmare.

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  83. alex said on March 18, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    $10 million effort to attract minority and women voters, as well as other rebranding efforts. Will be interesting to see how these efforts turn out.

    If it’s anything like the CPAC conference, should be comical. Tonight on the local news saw the leathery little 5’00” blowhard chair of our local GOP on the air talking about minority outreach. To his credit, when a local Republican mayoral candidate a few years ago had an outside group running anti-gay ads on his behalf, this GOP chair asked him to renounce them because this sort of thing wasn’t in keeping with our local tradition of inclusiveness. I have to say I give him high marks for that. And there are plenty of local Republican office holders—prosecutor, recorder of deeds, county commissioners—who frankly don’t deserve to be tarred with the same brush as the worst of their party. But he’s on a fool’s errand at best. The Republican party can lick my gay ass for all I care, but I’m at this point a steadfast Democrat and it’s not going to make any difference. I do hope, however, that the party at the national level will become as courageous as our local chair when it comes to disavowing and condemning hate speech. Those people need to be reminded that they lost the Civil War and need to fucking get over it. They’ve lost the Cultural War as well, and no we are not going to spend the next 150 years indulging them as if they’d ever had a legitimate beef in the first place.

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  84. Dave said on March 18, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Condolences on Copper, this month marks two years since we lost our beloved Desi and there are still times I think she’s going to come walking in.

    I spelled Sterling Stirling? Good grief.

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  85. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Repeating myself from Facebook: Many are saying “the Steubenville rape trial should have been handed up to adult court.” I would respectfully demur. There’s a surge of interest in seeing more and more cases, with younger and younger defendants, referred to adult jurisdictions, and this trend is rooted in a belief that the law and courts and justice are largely about retribution. They are not. Retaliation and consequences are part of the justice system, but they are not its heart, nor the main intention of it. Penitence, and reform, and corrective/restorative action are what the law intends to facilitate, which is why we once had penitentiaries and reformatories and correctional institutions. Retribution is the sugar rush of justice, but it doesn’t feed the body politic well at all, and can’t sustain it: for that, you need solid food with lasting value. We need restorative justice, not because it’s kinder and gentler, but because it works — while punitive measures can confine and forestall new or repeated harm, they do not heal or repair what has been done. For that you need restorative justice.

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  86. Kirk said on March 18, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    And today, two idiot teenage girls in Steubenville are in jail, charged with threatening the rape victim.

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  87. Prospero said on March 18, 2013 at 10:33 pm


    I don’t think I’d worry too much. Liking work and working hard is something in the genes. Jeff (tmmo) reminds me of the case of the Savannah, Georgia kid that had consensual sex with a girl that happened to be white when he was black. The kid did nothing wrong but ended up in jail for a long time. Should have stuck with Lakeisha instead of Britney.

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  88. Danny said on March 18, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Jeff, not to argue, but I am wondering about the rape aspect. I’ve heard that recidivism rate amongst sex offenders is extremely high and that there is very little hope of reform.

    On another topic. I’ve been paying a little bit of attention to this story and it looks like this could get very interesting. Especially with the Benghazi emails.

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  89. brian stouder said on March 18, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    a little bit of attention is more than that ball-of-nothingness story warrants.

    Is there any “there” there? ‘Cause I didn’t see anything.

    Remind me to tell y’all about an all-time first for Pam and I…actually TWO all-time firsts for me, and one for her, in Toledo, Ohio this past Saturday night.

    (how about THAT for a straight line?!)

    Peter – no fun; and Mary – sounds like you’re fighting the good fight, as all good moms do

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  90. Prospero said on March 18, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    Librarians, WTF?

    Can’t say enough about blaming rapes on footbll. That is bullshit. The idea that a aamily or group could man a samll group feel just impwrviouseto rape charges. Sure, that prabably happens. But surely antirape shit is more than likely to check in. I would say my brothers and I would have eaaten the crap out of guys like this.

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  91. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    You and your brothers cut quite a swath back in the day, I gather.

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  92. Danny said on March 18, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    How someone cannot understand the potential significance of the hacking of senior current and ex-government officials’ emails, some of which were marked “confidential” is beyond me.

    If only we knew the truth of the meaning behind Romney’s blighted-flag lapel pin, all would be well. {snort}

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  93. Danny said on March 19, 2013 at 12:02 am

    That sure looks like a misused “impwrviouseto” to me, but it is a cool looking word.

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