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Family shattered after raid, home loss
Chicago Tribune ^ | October 2, 2011 | Mary Schmich

Posted on 10/03/2011 6:20:37 AM PDT by Immerito

The Harris family's life began to unravel around dawn on the last day of August.

R.J. Harris, who is 77, was in bed when a noise jolted him awake.

Bam. What was that?

Bam. It sounded like an explosion.

Bam. The front door swung open and officers in masks swarmed inside, pointing rifles.

Police! Hands up! Police!

Harris' wife, an aunt, a son, a grandson, a granddaughter, a great-grandson and a cousin all bolted awake. From the floor above, where one of the Harris daughters lives with her family, came the blast and stench of smoke bombs.

Mr. Harris, standing in the middle of the house that he bought 41 years ago, that has lodged his large family through the neighborhood's gentrification, kept thinking: All you had to do was knock.

(Excerpt) Read more at chicagotribune.com ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: chicago; donutwatch; noknockwarrant; rjharris; swat; warondrugs; wod; wosd
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1 posted on 10/03/2011 6:20:41 AM PDT by Immerito
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To: Immerito

2 posted on 10/03/2011 6:23:26 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Immerito

So SWAT barges in with some animal crimes officers, go through all this hullabaloo and take 2 people and 4 dogs away for misdemeanors?

No wonder people are pissed at the cops. All of this time and money spent to bring in 2 people on misdemeanor animal cruelty/abuse charges? Sad.


3 posted on 10/03/2011 6:24:26 AM PDT by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: Immerito

NAZIs.

The War on Drugs is increasingly lookiing like Prohibition on steroids.

Innocent Americans are being harassed and devastated by a law-enforcement establishment drunk with power and Federal Funds

These cops REALLY hate dogs, don’t they?


4 posted on 10/03/2011 6:28:51 AM PDT by ZULU (DUMP Obama in 2012)
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To: Immerito
Why do police insist on going “SWAT” when a polite knock on the door would suffice?
5 posted on 10/03/2011 6:28:59 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: Immerito
From the article comments section, is a good summary:
The "facts" in  your article-

-at least 3 dogs were malnourished in this kindly home

-a veterinarian reported the situation to authorities, 
not neighbors

-a public park was co-opted as the "yard" of some adult 
Harris children -two with current criminal records

-a house full of adults had major building code and
 sanitation violations

Please tell me what neighborhood would ignore the obvious
problems here? Why should they?

Mr. Harris had long ceased to be neighborly and had 
retreated into his own troubled world.

Taxpayer money developed the park and maintains it. 
Neighbors clean it. But only the Harris'
use it. 
The Harris family appear to be a nexus of bad news in an otherwise-gentrifying neighborhood. Some neighbors finally decided that they were bad for property values and had to go.
6 posted on 10/03/2011 6:30:23 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (When you've only heard lies your entire life, the truth sounds insane.)
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To: Immerito
The Harris Family is guilty of owning a neglected home in a coveted neighborhood. They're guilty of being in a different social class of the new neighbors.
7 posted on 10/03/2011 6:32:45 AM PDT by liberalh8ter
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To: Immerito

Something seems to be missing from this article. 40 officers do not gas-bomb a house and storm it at night, over misdemeanor offenses listed. Futhermore, you cannot seize a home, over housing violations; there is this little thing called ‘due process’. If there were violations, you would simply arrest the violators; not seize the home. If there are dozens of housing violations - you provide sifficient time to address these violations (clogged gutters? really?)

Did the parents not pay their mortgage; and this was a raid/eviction effort? This article seems biased, in the extreme.


8 posted on 10/03/2011 6:36:29 AM PDT by Hodar ( Who needs laws; when this FEELS so right?)
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To: Immerito
This.
Crap.
Has.
GOT.
TO.
STOP!!!

9 posted on 10/03/2011 6:37:36 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Michael Moore: Aggressively Hypocritical and Smug About It.)
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To: Immerito

This is disgusting. I hope there is a happy ending to this and they get appropriate $ for this obviously desirable location.

Is there any recourse for this family?


10 posted on 10/03/2011 6:38:12 AM PDT by Dudoight
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To: PapaBear3625
The Harris family appear to be a nexus of bad news in an otherwise-gentrifying neighborhood. Some neighbors finally decided that they were bad for property values and had to go.

Yes, and absolutely ANY level of force is JUST FINE. Shoot, dawg, they should have nuked the site from orbit.

Just to be sure.

11 posted on 10/03/2011 6:39:00 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Michael Moore: Aggressively Hypocritical and Smug About It.)
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To: liberalh8ter

“The Harris Family is guilty of owning a neglected home in a coveted neighborhood. They’re guilty of being in a different social class of the new neighbors.”

Absolutely...this is so unfair.


12 posted on 10/03/2011 6:39:46 AM PDT by Dudoight
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To: Hodar
Something seems to be missing from this article. 40 officers do not gas-bomb a house and storm it at night, over misdemeanor offenses listed.

It seems like, these days, they do.

13 posted on 10/03/2011 6:40:19 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Michael Moore: Aggressively Hypocritical and Smug About It.)
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To: rarestia
Someone, either a Realtor, a home builder or an individual wanted that lot to build a new home on. Nasty way to get it, shame on them.
14 posted on 10/03/2011 6:41:33 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: Immerito

98% of cops give the other 2% a bad reputation.


15 posted on 10/03/2011 6:41:50 AM PDT by coloradan (The US has become a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: Immerito
The 40 officers on the scene....

Like most other cities there are just too damned many police that have too damned much time on their hands!

This would never had happened if there was a good community organizer on board like our esteemed president.

16 posted on 10/03/2011 6:42:44 AM PDT by IbJensen
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To: 2banana

Politeness doesn’t get you cool toys and more funding. I mean who wants to know which fork to use for the salad when they can kick in a door instead?


17 posted on 10/03/2011 6:42:52 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Immerito

Chicago thuggery at it’s finest.


18 posted on 10/03/2011 6:49:18 AM PDT by P8riot (I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop.....Eagle Scout since Sep 9, 1970)
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To: Immerito
Hey, at least this time they just stole some dogs instead of shooting them...
19 posted on 10/03/2011 6:51:43 AM PDT by WayneS (Comments now include 25% MORE sarcasm for NO additional charge!)
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To: Dudoight
It's always cheaper to run someone off than to pay them their price. Everyone has a price and I'm sure Mr. Harris has one. It's probably more than anyone wants to pay.

This isn't just a Chicago problem, if it's successful there, it will happen everywhere.

20 posted on 10/03/2011 6:51:57 AM PDT by liberalh8ter
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To: Immerito
What's going to happen when one of these thugs kicks a door. one day, and triggers 40 pounds of home made C-4, daisy-chained in 5 lb lumps, coated with a layer of 1/4" nuts?

You know it's coming, because even the Mexican border drug gangs aren't totally stupid.

21 posted on 10/03/2011 6:53:13 AM PDT by jonascord (Politicians should be pelted with human manure, weekly, to remind them of their worth to society.)
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To: Ditter

When a developer/city/county/state wants your land, you’d be amazed by what they’ll do to get it.

The local prime outlets mall was once a nice little neighborhood populated by mostly older folks who built their ranchers in the 50s/60s.

One by one, the owners either sold for a pathetic “offer” or said no.

Those who said no suffered incredibly unsafe, noisy, intolerable living conditions as the builders worked perilously close to their homes with massive equipment and blasting.

They eventually gave up the homes they’d worked so hard for their whole lives and hoped to retire in and left.

One old man stuck it out for several years.

The builders put a filthy runoff pond right in his backyard and then surrounded his house with construction debris.

Piles of dirt, rocks and rotting construction material so high you could barely see his house any more.

From what I heard, the stress killed him.

Two lane Maugans Avenue was was widened to four lanes a couple years ago.
Most of the houses’ front doors open mere feet from the road and heavy traffic, now, their yards eaten by county blacktop.

What they want, they’ll get...one way or the other.


22 posted on 10/03/2011 6:55:16 AM PDT by Salamander (Alice Cooper hit me with a stick.)
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To: jonascord
What's going to happen when one of these thugs kicks a door. one day, and triggers 40 pounds of home made C-4, daisy-chained in 5 lb lumps, coated with a layer of 1/4" nuts?

The Democrats will author a bill to ban civilian guns.

23 posted on 10/03/2011 6:55:23 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Michael Moore: Aggressively Hypocritical and Smug About It.)
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To: Immerito
"It's not the dogs," she finally said. "It's not us. They just want this property."

I think this cuts to the heart of the issue...

24 posted on 10/03/2011 6:57:02 AM PDT by WayneS (Comments now include 25% MORE sarcasm for NO additional charge!)
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To: jonascord

“coated with a layer of 1/4” nuts”

Plain or salted?

:)


25 posted on 10/03/2011 6:57:07 AM PDT by Salamander (Alice Cooper hit me with a stick.)
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To: Immerito
misdemeanor of being a felon in possession of non-neutered dogs

Desperados!

Mike

26 posted on 10/03/2011 7:02:13 AM PDT by MichaelP (The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools ~HS)
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To: Immerito

How did this end up in the Tribune?

The Tribune loves the police state.


27 posted on 10/03/2011 7:04:42 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: PapaBear3625
Nothing there merited such a raid. They could have knocked on the door to investigate the dogs. It's Police thuggery and arrogance...

Mike

28 posted on 10/03/2011 7:05:29 AM PDT by MichaelP (The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools ~HS)
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To: PapaBear3625

—The Harris family appear to be a nexus of bad news in an otherwise-gentrifying neighborhood. Some neighbors finally decided that they were bad for property values and had to go.—

If that is closer to the truth, this seems a little more acceptable, though I don’t know if Swat was really necessary.

I live in an area where some neighbors sound like the Harris family. That kind of thing works in a rural setting. Not so much in an urban or suburban setting. You have to get along or else.


29 posted on 10/03/2011 7:06:01 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: Salamander
Pathetic story! We live in an older neighborhood that is very desirable. We got a letter on Saturday from someone who is looking for tear downs on large lots. It gave us all the info he could get on our house, I guess from the tax rolls, Google Earth etc. It was kind of creepy knowing people can get that much info without much trying. Everything was correct except the tear down part, this is a 60 year old house but is in no way a tear down.
30 posted on 10/03/2011 7:06:48 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: Ditter

Go look at Zillow.com and see how much the world can know about your home.


31 posted on 10/03/2011 7:08:24 AM PDT by Salamander (Alice Cooper hit me with a stick.)
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To: PapaBear3625
Yep, I read it like that, too. Was lots of bad stuff going on. Neighbors had a absolute right to feel safe in their own homes and yards. What about them and their kids?

And, don't get me started on Pitbulls around children. Anyone watching Judge “Joe” Knows the folly of doing that!

32 posted on 10/03/2011 7:11:33 AM PDT by cpa4you (CPA4YOU)
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To: PapaBear3625

Since when are SWAT raids by 40 police officers justified to investigate allegations of poorly nourished dogs, allegations of trespassing and/or possible building code violations?

As for the claim that Mr. Harris had “retreated in to his own troubled world”, I will say this: So what?! Is that against the law?


33 posted on 10/03/2011 7:13:20 AM PDT by WayneS (Comments now include 25% MORE sarcasm for NO additional charge!)
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To: cuban leaf
You have to get along or else.

Or else WHAT? You'll get together with the neighbors and make up lies about me dealing drugs so you can sic a SWAT team on me?

34 posted on 10/03/2011 7:17:17 AM PDT by WayneS (Comments now include 25% MORE sarcasm for NO additional charge!)
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To: jonascord
What's going to happen when one of these thugs kicks a door. one day, and triggers 40 pounds of home made C-4, daisy-chained in 5 lb lumps, coated with a layer of 1/4" nuts? You know it's coming, because even the Mexican border drug gangs aren't totally stupid.

Why do you think SWAT prefers to kick down doors of the "Mr Harris"-types, rather than approaching real crack houses of real hardcore check gangs? Could it be that they do not want to face actual return fire or booby traps?

It would be pretty easy for the drug gangs to "send a message" to the SWAT unit, by having an informant tip them off to a drug house which is booby-trapped up the wazoo, and which goes off when the door is kicked in. They wouldn't even need C4 -- a few barrels of gasoline and some gunpowder would do.

35 posted on 10/03/2011 7:21:41 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (When you've only heard lies your entire life, the truth sounds insane.)
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To: PapaBear3625

So all of that justifies using SWAT?


36 posted on 10/03/2011 7:38:16 AM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Immerito

Wow, Chicago is bad enough but many of the responses are even worse. This is nothing but goverment approved theft, it is worse than the Kelo case.


37 posted on 10/03/2011 7:41:38 AM PDT by Ratman83
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To: WayneS

—You’ll get together with the neighbors and make up lies about me dealing drugs so you can sic a SWAT team on me?—

Depends on the neighbors - and you. Sometimes they do nothing. Sometimes they make up stuff. Sometimes they make a big deal about what is there.

Bottom line is that if you don’t like your neighbors and they don’t like you and you are a minority of one in a fairly densely populated neighborhood, staying there basically just makes you an a**hole.

Of course, this all assumes you are doing something to ACTIVELY aggrivate the situation as, apparently, this family was.

What kind of sane person would WANT to continuously be surrounded by neighbors who don’t like them? If you are that eccentric, you probably should find a nice piece of acreage where you don’t see your neighbors, except at Wal-Mart.


38 posted on 10/03/2011 7:45:41 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: PapaBear3625
The Harris family appear to be a nexus of bad news in an otherwise-gentrifying neighborhood. Some neighbors finally decided that they were bad for property values and had to go.

Fine, however SWAT teams in the middle of the night are not the way that these things are to be addressed in our society - this is an improper 'legal' recourse and I would agree that it is an abuse of power and their rights.

39 posted on 10/03/2011 7:47:54 AM PDT by Godzilla (3-7-77)
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To: Immerito

Ok, this story stinks, on several levels. But this is what I don’t understand. The owner of the homes is black. The story has gone national now. So why can’t the good Rev. Al, or Jesse Jackass Jackson, or Jimmy Habitat for Humanity Carter, get a group together to fix the code violations?
It says the friends of the family are getting together to throw a going away party. Why don’t they all donate a few materials, get together, and fix up the house?

It says in the story they can stay if they get the two homes up to code. In a city the size of Chicago, you can’t tell me there isn’t ONE group that couldn’t/wouldn’t help these people. Hell, all it would take is ONE church. In my little chunk of Texas, it’s not at all unusual for a church to help out in a situation like this, even if the people don’t go to church.

I admit, the homeowner has some real winners living in his house, but I do understand that he feels he has to help out his kids. He should also get out of the dog-pet thing, since no one in that house knows that you are supposed to feed your pets once in great while.

I just don’t understand....


40 posted on 10/03/2011 7:52:50 AM PDT by Sporke (USS-Iowa BB-61)
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To: PapaBear3625

“It would be pretty easy for ...”

With that kind of speculation you can justify the maximum amount of force for the most trivial of infractions.

So, you’d be ok w/cops surrounding your vehichle, getting you out of the car, onto the ground, strip searched, and cuffed before they tell you they pulled you over for not wearing your seatbelt?


41 posted on 10/03/2011 7:56:15 AM PDT by fruser1
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To: Immerito

I’m confused.

They DIDN’T shoot the dogs and threaten the lives of children and old people as they lay face down and handcuffed for hours?
They then followed up through the inspections dept. and destroyed the lives of the family by proxy?

The tactics are changing.


42 posted on 10/03/2011 7:59:16 AM PDT by READINABLUESTATE ((Most leftism can be traced to childhood birthday trauma))
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To: Immerito

This is an opinion column written by a leftist author. All of the relevant facts regarding illegal activities at the home in question are buried deep in the article. It’s pure spin.

Why on earth would you believe a single word of it?


43 posted on 10/03/2011 8:00:34 AM PDT by bornred
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To: Salamander
Wow, that's quite a wake-up call. Incredible site.

Ok, I checked out the house of this family. They could do quite well if the house sold. In fact, they could be financially well off. I'm not suggesting they give up their house, on the contrary. The old gent and his wife own it and have done quite well for themselves. Seems to me with all the people living in the place, somebody could fix the place up.

Nevertheless, 1850 N. Seffield Ave., in Chicago is worth $1,046,300. It has 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and was built in 1876. Not sure if this includes the 2nd house on the lot.

This family needs to find a lawyer quick before they move one thing out of the house. Once they fix the violatons, they should have no problems with the city and could remain in their home.

44 posted on 10/03/2011 8:07:35 AM PDT by mia
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To: 2banana
Why do police insist on going “SWAT” when a polite knock on the door would suffice?

To justify their existence and keep the SWAT members interested.

I've watched a few of the SWAT reality shows on TV.
It's amazing to me the way they get away with destroying some of the houses they hit.

45 posted on 10/03/2011 8:12:51 AM PDT by Vinnie
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To: cuban leaf
Of course, this all assumes you are doing something to ACTIVELY aggrivate the situation as, apparently, this family was.

How? By refusing to sell their property to Yuppies?

46 posted on 10/03/2011 8:13:42 AM PDT by WayneS (Comments now include 25% MORE sarcasm for NO additional charge!)
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To: bornred

What illegal activities?


47 posted on 10/03/2011 8:16:23 AM PDT by WayneS (Comments now include 25% MORE sarcasm for NO additional charge!)
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To: Salamander
"Go look at Zillow.com and see how much the world can know about your home."

...and the county assessors site will fill in any blanks left by Zillow....

48 posted on 10/03/2011 8:17:19 AM PDT by moehoward
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To: WayneS

—By refusing to sell their property to Yuppies?—

Maybe I’m missinformed. I didn’t see that in the article.

I did see the part about the park though. I’ve actually seen neighborhoods with those little kids park areas that actively keep out people that don’t live in the neighborhood. And they actually have the right to do it.

Because I know the article cannot give us every single tidbit of information, we all zero in on the stuff we find important and ignore the stuff we don’t. I zeroed in on several things:

1. Use of swat - that was repulsive to me.
2. The family basically monopolizing the park.
3. Condemned house.

One is bad, but not related to 2 and 3. We can all agree it needs to be stopped. But I’ve driven through neighborhoods where a bunch of well maintained homes surround a home with 4” thick moss on the roof. Cars on blocks in the yard, broken windows, plants growing in the gutters, siding panels actually MISSING, greese spots in the street where they park their “usually not running” vehicles, and a yard that has not been mowed or trimmed in years.

In the old days we would have just burned the house down, whether they liked it or not. Now you seem to have to start with Swat.

Bottom line - the family was innocent victims of Swat, and that was not appropriate. But if you want to live like uncivilized people you are going to have to find a neighborhood where your neighbors don’t care. That’s life and always had been.


49 posted on 10/03/2011 8:22:35 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: cuban leaf

Are you actually arguing that if someone is different from his neighbors it is acceptable for them to lie about him to the police, and that anything that happens to him is actually HIS fault because he is an “a**hole” for simply expecting his property rights be respected and/or for attempting to exercise his right to individual self determination??

Really?

That doesn’t strike me as a particularly conservative position.


50 posted on 10/03/2011 8:25:40 AM PDT by WayneS (Comments now include 25% MORE sarcasm for NO additional charge!)
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