Bad, bad people.

A few years ago I had a casual conversation with a Grosse Pointe cop, who defended his pension and salary, then added, “I’m a Tea Partier otherwise.” It was the first time, but not the last, that I heard this sort of cognitive dissonance, but so far I haven’t heard it again from any cops.

I hope, by now, that guy has gotten the damn message: These people are not his friends. In fact… Well, let’s let Charles Pierce sum it up:

Why are there not a million police officers on the National Mall right now, today, demanding that the Congress and the rest of the political elite take even the most gingerly steps toward disenthralling the country from its insane devotion to its firearms? Why are police officers not walking off their jobs in protest? Why are their professional organizations not raising holy hell about this? They’re on the very vanguard of what’s happening in this country. They’re not simply first-responders any more. They’re primary targets, for god’s sake. In Las Vegas, two of their brethren were specifically sought out and executed in a pizza joint. For all the talk we hear about how whatever the cops do to people we don’t like — the indigent, the black, the Occupy people — is justified by the peril of their jobs, for all the unfortunate souls who are tased to death, or shot, because some cop thought he was threatened by “something in the suspect’s hand” 100 yards away, for all the Amadou Diallos and Sean Bells who have to be gunned down because they posed some sort of “threat” to armed police officers, where’s the public pressure from the people in blue against the people who now actively hunt them down, and against the people whose livelihoods — political and otherwise — depends on the cultural and social climate that sustains the people who now are stalking cops in order to kill them at lunch? There’s been some movement, but do you know where some of them are? Spectacularly, some of them are on the other side.

I guess some people will say the couple who committed this atrocity weren’t really tea partiers. Whatever. When you go out of your way to drape the corpses of your victims with Gadsden flags, I’d say it’s beside the point.

Finally, if anyone has the gall to get up and say a good guy with a gun is what could have stopped these bad guys? I’m going to laugh them out of the room.

Oh, and in the Department of Of Course, it turns out the shooters have a connection to Indiana. Lafayette, specifically.

How was everyone’s Monday? I spent it starting at a screen and looking outside at the lovely sunshine, which I successfully got myself under at the stroke of 5. Dog walk, bike ride, gym, grillin’. Long evenings — this is what I’m talking about.

So, some bloggage? Sure:

The 2014 World Naked Bike Ride, a Flickr set from Portland. So much flab, so much tattoo ink. Clothes really do make the man — and the woman.

Also from Oregon, a wilderness wedding is threatened by wildfire, but the couple lingers for just a few more pictures. And gets at least one amazing one.

Finally, this is a long read, but a useful one: Dan Savage explaining the full circumstances of what happened when he became the target of some truly Orwellian transgender people.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events |

38 responses to “Bad, bad people.”

  1. Sherri said on June 10, 2014 at 1:11 am

    From Pierce’s post:

    Reached Sunday, the rancher’s wife, Carol Bundy, said the shooting and the April standoff against the federal government were not linked. “I have not seen or heard anything from the militia and others who have came to our ranch that would, in any way, make me think they had an intent to kill or harm anyone,” Carol Bundy said.

    After all, what would make you think that anyone carrying guns and calling themselves a militia had any intent to harm anybody?

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  2. coozledad said on June 10, 2014 at 6:41 am

    where’s the public pressure from the people in blue against the people who now actively hunt them down, and against the people whose livelihoods — political and otherwise — depends on the cultural and social climate that sustains the people who now are stalking cops in order to kill them at lunch?

    Similarly, where’s the movement in the armed services to interrogate and imprison the clowns who sent them to Afghanistan and Iraq? The Republican party will always be immune to attacks from the people it has duped. Maybe it’s the necessarily quiet attendant shame of recognizing you’ve been used like an ass rag.

    Or maybe the authoritarian mind just doesn’t have another gear to switch to.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 10, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Cops are complicated, contrary to most assumptions about them. They tend to have a liability around seeing so much dysfunction day in, day out (and night in, night out) that they can start to see everyone in terms of what’s wrong with them, and what they should be doing (in their opinion). In the juvenile court, there’s a phrase that gets tossed about in the hallways: “sounds like you need to go spend some time with normal people.” Our own particular hazard is getting to where you think all the children around us are being raised by wolves, and no one is taking care of their own kids “but want us to raise their kids for them!” That line will get you a “go hang out with some normal people tonight, okay?”

    There was an article in the NYT recently that has been getting discussed by many of my social service friends, about “the fugitive life.” It has a particular spin in the book being reviewed, but the wider point is linked to a broader phenomenon that the story of the two shooters made me think about when he made the comment about not having seen a dentist for almost twenty years.

    There’s a complex household related to a family in my church that’s recently moved back to the area from Oklahoma. They need help — but they are hiding, more economically than in terms of warrants, from unpaid utility bills, credit card debt, personal loan debt, evictions, and court restitution (we rarely pursue folks with warrants; it depends on how the restitution agreement was tied to the probation status, and if the case was closed before payment ended, non-payment can’t become a PV, so it just sort of hangs there indefinitely).

    It’s a sort of hiding in plain sight that puts people in broken-down trailers in unincorporated areas, or in over-priced appalling rentals where the utilities are “included” (because they can’t/don’t dare get them in their name), or doubled up in old farmhouses and urban tumbledowns that are marginally habitable. Add in all the men avoiding accounting on child support (77% of all CSEA orders in our county are 3 months or MORE in arrears . . . over three-fourths), and then the not-inconsiderable number who are side-stepping warrants that are not big deal manhunts, but will come up if your name or car get run by an officer: you have a big population that is living a fugitive life.

    And when I switch to the pastor hat, and they or more often a friend or family member for them asks if I can help, or the church can do something for them, it’s not $350 for a utility bill to prevent disconnection or even trying to put my hands on half of $800 for last month’s overdue rent, it’s over and over a four and even five figure sum that is standing in the way of actually changing their circumstances. ALL of these couples/families/complex households tend to become a stew of anger, frustration, and paranoia that often leads to Gadsden flags and Alex Jones’ “Info War” stickers on the barely running Toyota Corolla that doesn’t have a current registration but no one in the home has a valid license anyhow, but they drive it cautiously when it seems safe, dodging down side streets whenever they see a light bar on a car in the rear-view mirror. And they almost always have guns in the house, somewhere. It’s the only security they have, in their minds, because the police to them are just the ones who will lock them up or put them back into debt peonage if they run afoul of them. Call the police? No, but they all too often call 911 out of sheer pique.

    But when you talk to them about life, and choices, and the world, you can’t hardly call them liberal or conservative. They just want everyone to leave them alone, and they want someone to help them. They’ve got trauma in their personal histories and rebellion in all their interactions with authority figures ever since dad punched the elementary school principal when you were in third grade, and ever since you dropped out you’ve wondered what would have happened if, and what does it matter if I had?

    So you get another snake-skull tattoo in exchange for a bag full of locally sourced weed, head home with a case of Milwaukee’s Best perched on the handlebars of the dirt bike you bought at a neighbor’s yard sale, and pedal home shirtless feeling as safe from being pulled over by a cop as ever you might . . . but when that cruiser, shiny and filled with darkly gleaming toys and technology, passes you on the shoulder, and you watch its taillights fade in front of you, there’s nothing but bitterness in your eyes.

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    • nancy said on June 10, 2014 at 7:43 am

      That’s quite eloquent. Thread win very early today.

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  4. Dorothy said on June 10, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Hooo boy, Jeff. I have no words. But that was phenomenal.

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  5. Jolene said on June 10, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Very eloquent, indeed, Jeff. Your descriptions make the difficulties of people living on the edge very real. Your description and the Raw Story report, including the video at the end, make Miller seem pitiable–which wasn’t my first reaction.

    Still, I can’t help blaming the NRA and the Tea Party for teaching people that their failure to find a place in the world is somehow the fault of a tyrannical government. I mean, here is a young man wishing he could get dental care through Medicare. How did he get from there to thinking that any of his problems were going to be solved by shooting cops?

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  6. Suzanne said on June 10, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Just read the CNN story on the Las Vegas tragedy. It seems the person killed in Walmart had a concealed weapon (good guy) and tried to confront the killer couple (bad guys) but didn’t realize there were two. So, we had 3 armed “good guys” who couldn’t stop 2 armed “bad guys”. Lesson here?

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  7. Jolene said on June 10, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Dorothy, I have a question for you–or anybody else who’s been in the military or associated with it.

    When Josh was in Afghanistan, if you had gotten the sense through email or a phone conversation that he was not doing well–that he might somehow harm himself or others–would you have known who to call to let them know of your concerns?

    As you likely know, Bowe Bergdahl’s wrote to his father expressing his dissatisfaction with the military and its mission in Afghanistan, and his father replied saying he should follow his conscience.

    On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough (who is, in many days, a big-mouthed blowhard but, for some reason, I keep watching) said that when the father received this message he should have contacted the officers in Bowe’s unit to tell them that Bowe was in trouble and needed help rather than, seemingly, authorizing Bowe to do whatever he thought best.

    So, again, would your average military parent know who to call or have a realistic chance of being able to figure it out?

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  8. Jolene said on June 10, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Re the Portland pictures, have to admire the sense of humor of the guy who had a picture of an elephant’s face painted on his lower body. Eleventh row down, on the left.

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  9. brian stouder said on June 10, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Can you imagine the guy who shows up on the wrong day?

    It would be the classic nightmare scenario, in real life.

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  10. Julie Robinson said on June 10, 2014 at 10:47 am

    We are a downtown church with a free meal one night a week and also offer a few food bank vouchers and bus passes. Many recipients are grateful and thank us, many are surly that we won’t give them 1) gas $$$ for a family funeral out of state (we weren’t born yesterday) 2) $$$ to pay for a hotel room after they are evicted (somehow they found $$$ for smokes and drinks) 3) $$$ for their fines for having unaltered dogs (they are an unlicensed “breeder”). No doubt Jeff can tell exactly who is hanging around after church just to hit him up for $$$. Helping any one of these folks would require practically a full time social worker, and we have one for all of them.

    This story about Jerad and Amanda Miller makes lots of good points, such as what Suzanne mentions–all the good guys were carrying guns: Also troubling, many people in their lives saw seriously disturbing signs, but didn’t help or were unable to (her parents begged her not to marry him). Also, they were kicked out of the Bundy compound because Jerad was a felon and wasn’t supposed to have guns. Yet, somehow he did. I’d like to know how he obtained them.

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  11. Jolene said on June 10, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Julie, you and Jeff are teaching me something about the challenges contemporary churches face. Although I’ve certainly heard of churches doing fundraisers to help with, for instance, unexpected large medical expenses or the needs of a family that list its home in a fire, I’ve never heard of church leaders being asked to help with regular expenses such as rent or utility bills.

    Of course, I haven’t spent much of my adult life as a churchgoer, but, still, it surprises me. None of the many church members in my family have ever mentioned anything of this sort, but perhaps their churches are all simply too middle class to be confronted by such requests. Jeff, how do you respond in these instances?

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  12. Jolene said on June 10, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Those of you interested in Thai beef salad might be interested in trying this salad made with portobello mushrooms–the Thai flavors, but no beef. Sounds really good.

    Alex, do you have a link for the salad you mentioned yesterday. That particular combination sounded appealing,

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  13. brian stouder said on June 10, 2014 at 11:49 am

    It DID sound good, indeed.

    Further to the idea of people in need (whether silently or not) – there’s this story, which I think is tremendous, and which I am certain beyond any doubt will enflame the local contingent of Flying Monkeys of the rightwing airwaves…

    the lead (which seems slightly provocative, to me):

    How does free breakfast and lunch five days a week sound? For many FWCS students, that’s an option now. Monday evening, the FWCS School Board approved a new program. It will offer free meals to all elementary and middle school students in the district. Board members voted unanimously to approve the measure. They said it has many benefits, but above all ensures all students will have access to healthy and nutritious options.

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  14. brian stouder said on June 10, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Oregon mass shooting at a high school?

    They’re still in session?

    Aye yi yi

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  15. alex said on June 10, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Jolene, here’s one of Bittman’s that comes a bit closer:

    Although he has the red onion minced in this instance instead of cut lengthwise.

    Ah, just found it:

    The Thai beef salad recipe here is the first one I ever made, and although it doesn’t get terribly specific with proportions, the ingredients are all there and great in combination. (I learned just how many Thai beef salad recipes he has floating around out there when I tried to google others for guidance as to proportions.) The only thing I do differently is no sugar in the dressing, and as I’ve never tried it I’ve never missed it. I’ve experimented at different times by adding minced ginger once, minced garlic another time and diced sweet red pepper one time and each of those worked very well.

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  16. Jolene said on June 10, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Thanks, Alex. Now I just need to find the ambition to make one of these.

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  17. Connie said on June 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Brian, there is still another week or so of school here, where by law school may not begin before Labor Day. So your kids go to school in August, ours are still in school in June instead. Plus many districts have had to add a few days to make up for snow days. For my nearby teacher friend that is four days this year.

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  18. Dorothy said on June 10, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Jolene – excellent question. Yes before he deployed we went to a “Project Yellow Ribbon” event in February last year, about 2 months before we said good-bye to him. We were given lots of paperwork, fridge magnets, booklets, etc. with names and contact numbers offering help of multiple varieties. Most of it is aimed towards soldiers who are married and have children. But mental health specialists were on hand and they did encourage us to reach out if we had ANY concerns of any kind. One woman in particular, when she addressed those of us in one break out session who were all parents of soldiers, asked what our biggest concern was, and most of us were in tears when the first parent to put up his hand said “That he won’t come back.” She was well versed and extremely empathetic and I knew in a heartbeat that I would reach out to her if I needed to. I liked her a lot – and I could not say that about most of the people who spoke to us that day. Many seemed to be pinheads. I hated when they’d use incorrect grammar when talking. All I could think of was “This person holds a pretty high rank in the Army and he talks like THAT?!” But that’s just me.

    I’m happy to say I never felt the need to call anyone. If Josh exhibited any kind of unusual behavior or spoke of the kind of things Bowe Bergdahl had to his parents, I feel confident that my husband or I would have reached out to the local Army help, who then would have passed on the information to his commanders.

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  19. Jolene said on June 10, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Thanks, Dorothy. I knew that, as you say, the military does lots to support families with young kids, but am glad their programs include everybody. Sounds like it really gave you some comfort to know there was a place to call.

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  20. Sherri said on June 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Brian, schools here still have another week to go, too, because they don’t start until after Labor Day. There’s no law requiring it, but custom definitely does; every time the district does a survey about the school calendar, there’s overwhelming opposition to starting before Labor Day. Some nearby districts start before Labor Day, but usually only the week before.

    August is the best month of the year weather-wise here, so people are reluctant to give up the best month of summer. When I moved here, I was told that summer was July 5-Labor Day, and that’s not far off.

    I think the latest my daughter got out of school was June 25 one year, thanks to a snowy winter.

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  21. Judybusy said on June 10, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Jolene, the salad comes together pretty quickly. Ours last night turned out really well, as usual. We always add different vegetables, and use much more lettuce than what’s called for in my recipe. The meat is more of a flavoring than the main event. I am in the local master gardener program, and have a newbie under my wing. She came over last night to learn how to answer yard and garden line questions, and we had dinner first. We had a great time cooking together, then answering all sorts of gardening questions. And lunch was delicious!

    Dorothy, that’s great that there was so much support, and glad you never had to use it.

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  22. BigHank53 said on June 10, 2014 at 3:11 pm


    Felons obtain firearms in one of two ways: they either steal them (less common than you’d think, because getting caught is a real easy way to spend another few years inside and guns all have serial numbers) or they’re purchased as private sales from individuals. Licensed dealers have to run a background check and have the buyer fill out a federal transfer form*, but in most states an individual can sell a firearm to pretty much anyone, no questions asked.

    The big push to limit handgun sales was due to some Northeast police departments tracking crime guns and finding that 30% of them came from a single Virginia gun shop where a gentleman would stop by every two weeks and buy twenty Glocks, which he’d sell out of the trunk of his car as he drove up the coast. Perfectly legal, and if he charged his customers twice the retail price…well, I’m sure they all had their reasons for not shopping at a local dealer.

    *There’s a long story about how NRA has rendered that form nearly useless, if you need more reasons to drink.

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  23. Sherri said on June 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    We were talking about books the other day, and I just finished reading a really excellent one: Hild by Nicola Griffith. It’s a fictionalized account of the life of St Hilda of Whitby, set in 7th century Britain. Griffith does a fantastic job of bringing to life what living in the 7th century was like, as small kingdoms fought and old gods and Christianity vied for supremacy.

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  24. Jill said on June 10, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Requests of churches in this area are often from people who aren’t members. We get calls from people from all over. Some probably really need help. Others work the phones (or even show up) because they know that people who are pastors are sometimes soft touches, inclined to be very trusting. We had a woman come in looking for $$$, not knowing that I also work at a local social service provider. I asked if she’d checked with my agency and she claimed there was no help available. That wasn’t true (she hadn’t contacted the agency–) but it was just chance that I was the person she approached at the church. The agencies in our area work with the clergy council and encourage them to refer the people who come looking for assistance. When it’s a legitimate request, the agencies working together can cobble together more help than a single house of worship. But often the potential clients just move on to the clergy in another town.

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  25. brian stouder said on June 10, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    A school-day in 2014 America: (excerpt from

    Anxious parents waited for news that their children were safe. One couple, Craig Tuholski and Tawnjia Reimer, were talking with CNN affiliate KGW, about how agonizing the wait for news was, when Tuholski’s cell phone rang.

    “Is that Chris?” Reimer asked before letting out a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank God.”

    “That’s what we were waiting for,” Tuholski said after hanging up. A prayer vigil is being planned Tuesday night at Greater Portland Baptist Church.
    CNN first learned of the shooting through reports on Twitter.

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  26. Sherri said on June 10, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Forget guns; I want a right to bear Parmigiano-Reggiano!

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  27. David C. said on June 10, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Great, the FDA won’t allow cheeses to be aged on wood, but if you load your livestock with antibiotics to fatten them up and cause resistant bacteria, well they’ll pretty please ask the manufacturers if they would maybe consider, if it isn’t too much trouble not selling them without a vet’s approval. I guess the check from the cheese council didn’t clear.

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  28. alex said on June 10, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Sherri, they already outlawed Italian dry sausage made the real way. Nobody ever died from eating it, or for that matter Parmigiano or Reggiano, and you can probably find worse cooties in any factory vat of processed glop on its way to the dyes & essences department before it goes on to packaging and shipping and eventually to someone’s dinner table where it’s fed to children. Children!

    When the FDA does this kind of overkill it could almost make me into an anti-regulatory teabagger twit. No wonder people thought Reagan made good sense. This was the kind of anti-government story he loved to tell and it made him popular even with fairly intelligent folk.

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  29. Sue said on June 10, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I can hardly believe this. Eric Cantor lost his primary.

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  30. Suzanne said on June 10, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    I just heard that, Sue. Wow!

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  31. brian stouder said on June 10, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Wow indeed.

    Know-nothingism is on the march, it seems

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  32. Jolene said on June 10, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Stunning election result, indeed. Some analysts saying this is good for Hillary Clinton in ’16 because it means that GOP candidates will continue to have to tie themselves in knots to win the primary, thereby undermining their chances in November.

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  33. Deborah said on June 10, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    This Cantor loss is amazing. Did anyone predict this? I don’t remember reading anything about this possibility.

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  34. Jolene said on June 10, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    No, Deborah, the politicos on MSNBC and Twitter are all agog.

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  35. Jolene said on June 10, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Some good, succinct comments on the Cantor loss by Ezra Klein at this link:

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  36. Sherri said on June 10, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    The most important piece of info from Klein:

    The Republican Party has a serious data problem. In 2012, Mitt Romney’s internal polls were garbage. This year, Eric Cantor’s internal polls showed him up by more than 30 points. Something is deeply wrong with the GOP’s campaign infrastructure if the party’s presidential nominee and the party’s House majority leader can’t rely on their pollsters.

    It’s not just that they lose. It’s that they lose when they think they aren’t even in a close race.

    Reality always wins, no matter what you want. Sounds like the Republicans are hiring pollsters who tell them what they want to hear, not what is really going on.

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  37. alex said on June 11, 2014 at 12:09 am

    Sounds like the Republicans are hiring pollsters who tell them what they want to hear, not what is really going on.

    Surprising? When their voters watch TV that tells them what they want to hear instead of what they need to know?

    Wishful thinking, the great equalizer.Puts you at a disadvantage whether you’re a Christian or a Jew.

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