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Brown Blames 'Dysfunctional' Louisiana
AP via AOL News ^ | Sept. 27, 2005 | Lara Jordan

Posted on 09/27/2005 10:26:28 AM PDT by Rennes Templar

WASHINGTON (Sept. 27) - Former FEMA director Michael Brown aggressively defended his role in responding to Hurricane Katrina on Tuesday and put much of the blame for coordination failures on Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

"My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional," two days before the storm hit, Brown told a special congressional panel set up by House Republican leaders to investigate the catastrophe.

The storm slammed into the Gulf Coast on Monday, Aug. 29.

Brown's defense drew a scathing response from Rep. William Jefferson, D-La.

"I find it absolutely stunning that this hearing would start out with you, Mr. Brown, laying the blame for FEMA's failings at the feet of the governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans."

Brown, who for many became a symbol of government failures in the natural disaster that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, rejected accusations that he was too inexperienced for the job.

"I've overseen over 150 presidentially declared disasters. I know what I'm doing, and I think I do a pretty darn good job of it," Brown said.

Brown resigned as the head of FEMA earlier this month after being removed by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff from responsibility in the stricken areas.

Brown, who joined FEMA in 2001 and ran it for more than two years, was previously an attorney who held several local government and private posts, including leading the International Arabian Horse Association.

Brown in his opening statement said he had made several "specific mistakes" in dealing with the storm, and listed two.

One, he said, was not having more media briefings.

As to the other, he said: "I very strongly personally regret that I was unable to persuade Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin to sit down, get over their differences, and work together. I just couldn't pull that off."

Both Blanco and Nagin are Democrats.

"The people of FEMA are being tired of being beat up, and they don't deserve it," Brown said.

The hearing was largely boycotted by Democrats, who want an independent investigation conducted into government failures, not one run by congressional Republicans.

But Jefferson -- who is not a committee member -- accepted the panel's invitation to grill Brown.

Referring to Brown's description of his "mistakes," Jefferson said: "I think that's a very weak explanation of what happened, and very incomplete explanation of what happened. I don't think that's going to cut it, really."

Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., cautioned against too narrowly assigning blame.

"At the end of the day, I suspect that we'll find that government at all levels failed the people of Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama and the Gulf Coast," said Davis.

Davis pushed Brown on what he and the agency he led should have done to evacuate New Orleans, restore order in the city and improve communication among law enforcement agencies.

Brown said: "Those are not FEMA roles. FEMA doesn't evacuate communities. FEMA does not do law enforcement. FEMA does not do communications."

In part of his testimony, Brown pumped his hand up and down for emphasis.

Brown said the lack of a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans before the storm was "the tipping point for all the other things that went wrong." Brown said he had personally pushed Louisiana Gov. Blanco to order such an evacuation.

He did not have the authority to order the city evacuated on his own, Brown said.

When asked by Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky, whether the lack of an ordered evacuation was "the proximate cause of most people's misery," Brown said, "Yes."

Brown is continuing to work at the Federal Emergency Management Agency at full pay, with his Sept. 12 resignation not taking effect for two more weeks, said Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke.

Knocke said Brown agreed to stay at FEMA up to four weeks after he resigned to advise the department on "some of his views on his experience with Katrina." He said Brown, who is in a "transition" period, does not have any decision-making or management responsibilities.

"There is an important public benefit to ensuring that any pending projects, initiatives, commitments or records be properly passed off to staff," Knocke said.

Brown ran FEMA for more than two years.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Louisiana
KEYWORDS: fema; katrina; katrinafacts; michaelbrown; tellitlikeitis
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"My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional,"

"The people of FEMA are being tired of being beat up, and they don't deserve it," Brown said.

I wish W would talk like that.

1 posted on 09/27/2005 10:26:30 AM PDT by Rennes Templar
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To: Rennes Templar

Regardless of how the MSM trashes Brown for making that comment, the public will have a decidedly different view, because we all saw it in living color for five days.


2 posted on 09/27/2005 10:28:49 AM PDT by Dems_R_Losers (2,4,6,8 - a burka makes me look overweight!)
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To: Dems_R_Losers

Right, but the non-PC audacity of that guy! (give us more!)


3 posted on 09/27/2005 10:32:06 AM PDT by Rennes Templar ("The future ain't what it used to be".........Yogi Berra)
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To: Rennes Templar

"Brown's defense drew a scathing response from Rep. William Jefferson, D-La.

"I find it absolutely stunning that this hearing would start out with you, Mr. Brown, laying the blame for FEMA's failings at the feet of the governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans." "


He's got a point - Louisiana's congressional delegation should get some of the blame too. :)


4 posted on 09/27/2005 10:32:45 AM PDT by gondramB ( There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down .)
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To: Rennes Templar

By all accounts, FEMA, under Brown, did a better job in Louisiana than in previous disasters anywhere. The Dims are circling the wagons to protect their base - corruption, incompetence and graft.


5 posted on 09/27/2005 10:33:21 AM PDT by caisson71
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To: Dems_R_Losers

Brown may be a political appointee without the diplomas bureaucrats are so fond of but he's absolutely right in what he's saying, the ultimate fault lies with Blanco-Noggin. FEMA's role was redefined by the media to scapegoat the FEDS and Bush, in particular. If I'm Bush I welcome any review they want to make down the road but he was right to shoulder some of the blame (We can do better) to get the media off his back so he could get some work done now.


6 posted on 09/27/2005 10:35:40 AM PDT by vigilence
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: Rennes Templar
"Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., cautioned against too narrowly assigning blame."

Well, I'll be generous here and broadly assign blame then. I assign it to Ragin' Cajun Nagin, Bozo Blanko Blanco, and a host of supporting thieves and embezzlers otherwise known as Louisiana politicians. There, much better.

8 posted on 09/27/2005 10:36:42 AM PDT by Enterprise (The modern Democrat Party - a toxic stew of mental illness, cultism, and organized crime.)
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To: Rennes Templar
Louisianna was IS dysfunctional
9 posted on 09/27/2005 10:37:41 AM PDT by rockabyebaby (I'm not afraid to say out loud what the rest of you are afraid to admit.)
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To: Rennes Templar
As to the other, he said: "I very strongly personally regret that I was unable to persuade Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin to sit down, get over their differences, and work together. I just couldn't pull that off."

Both Blanco and Nagin are Democrats.

The sentence about both being Democrats does not prove him wrong as AP wishes. Nagin donated money to President Bush in 2000, and I believe supported Blanco's opponent.

10 posted on 09/27/2005 10:38:06 AM PDT by w1andsodidwe (Jimmy Carter allowed radical Islam to get a foothold in Iran.)
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To: gondramB
Brown's defense drew a scathing response from Rep. William Jefferson, D-La

Should Congress Critters CURRENTLY under investigation for Fraud in Louisiana REALLY be on these sort of panels?

It is like having the murderer's mother on his jury.

11 posted on 09/27/2005 10:38:16 AM PDT by msnimje (Hurricane KATRINA - An Example of Nature's Enforcement of Eminent Domain)
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To: Rennes Templar
Rep. William Jefferson, D-La

That should be William Jefferson, Democrat Louisiana

12 posted on 09/27/2005 10:39:04 AM PDT by b4its2late (I was only looking at your nametag, honest!)
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To: gondramB

This is the same Rep. William Jefferson who is under investigation by the FBI for political corruption and had massive amounts of cash found in his home when the FBI raided it before the storm. Then immediately after he commandeered Louisiana National Guard units to helicopter him into his home so he could "check on it"...more like pick up evidence (cash) to keep his butt out of jail. No wonder he's trying to lay all of the blame at Brown and FEMA's doorstep.


13 posted on 09/27/2005 10:40:07 AM PDT by vigilence
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To: Rennes Templar

good for brown. cant wait to see how the MSM spins this.


14 posted on 09/27/2005 10:40:19 AM PDT by beebuster2000
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To: gondramB

Is willie jefferson the politician who used the national guard to visit his home while people were waiting to be rescued?


15 posted on 09/27/2005 10:41:16 AM PDT by tarzantheapeman (Cindy and the Cranks - Moonbats Gone Wild!)
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To: Rennes Templar
Brown's defense drew a scathing response from Rep. William Jefferson, D-La.

"I find it absolutely stunning that this hearing would start out with you, Mr. Brown, laying the blame for FEMA's failings at the feet of the governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans."

Browns response in my fantasy world - "Congressman, I wish we could have assured a freezer full of federal cash for all the stricken in New Oreans, and two National Guard trucks and a helicoptor for every survivor."

16 posted on 09/27/2005 10:41:36 AM PDT by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: vigilence

Why did they invite this idiot to sit on the panel?


17 posted on 09/27/2005 10:42:28 AM PDT by tarzantheapeman (Cindy and the Cranks - Moonbats Gone Wild!)
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To: tarzantheapeman

idiot = willie jefferson


18 posted on 09/27/2005 10:42:59 AM PDT by tarzantheapeman (Cindy and the Cranks - Moonbats Gone Wild!)
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To: Rennes Templar

He's right, but he's the wrong messenger.

Actually, Bush is not the right messenger, either. What we need is an independent commission to say this. We need a commission with no politicians or DC staffers. We need former military, engineers, auditors, and organizational planners from private industry.


19 posted on 09/27/2005 10:44:11 AM PDT by Brilliant
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To: Rennes Templar

Yep, the lynch mob will be after Brown for telling the truth about Louisiana. Actually, "dysfunctional" is rather mild compared to what really goes on in that cesspool of corruption.


20 posted on 09/27/2005 10:45:02 AM PDT by billnaz (What part of "shall not be infringed" don't you understand?)
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To: tarzantheapeman
Is willie jefferson the politician who used the national guard to visit his home while people were waiting to be rescued?

Yes.... indeed he is.

21 posted on 09/27/2005 10:46:09 AM PDT by squirt-gun
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To: Rennes Templar

BUMP


22 posted on 09/27/2005 10:46:38 AM PDT by Carolinamom (Call Chuckie Schumer's office @202-224-6542 for your FREE credit report.)
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To: Rennes Templar

The fact of the matter is that everything in Louisiana south of Alexandria IS dysfunctional. North of Alexandria is just like living in America.

Everyone in Louisiana knows that.


23 posted on 09/27/2005 10:47:22 AM PDT by Skooz ("Political Correctness is the handmaiden of terrorism" - Michelle Malkin)
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To: Rennes Templar

Brown has nothing to lose so he is telling the truth.

Of course it wont fly the Dems in Louisianna will whitewash Blanco and Nagin and the Republicans dont have any testicles . But the truth is there for all to see.

Even the President just sits there taking pies in the face for Blanco' mismanagement and says nothing.

I am sick of New Orleans , the incompetence of its Mmayor the incompetence of the Governor of Louisianna, the racial accusations, the boondoggle over bids for repair, Landreau's demands for 250 billion dollars. The whole stinking mess. And I am especially sick of Republicans who say and do nothing while they are being shat upon.


24 posted on 09/27/2005 10:47:52 AM PDT by sgtbono2002
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To: Dems_R_Losers
Four days after Katrina hit New Orleans I left Tennessee with three other volunteers and a 16-foot trailer of food and medical supplies. We delivered our load to a FEMA shelter in Thibodaux, LA and then worked there for five days before returning home. None of the hundreds of evacuees I talked to blamed FEMA or Bush. A few blamed the City of New Orleans. Most blamed nature. I talked to one group of Oklahoma emergency medical personnel on loan to FEMA who told me they were at the Superdome with all their supplies and equipment the day after Katrina. They said when the levee broke they were ordered up onto elevated I-10 until the flood crested. After that, they could not get back to the Superdome so they moved everything to Thibodaux. FEMA set up an immediate safety net around New Orleans to meet the urgent needs of anyone who could just make it out of the flood. As far as I'm concerned, FEMA did an excellent and heroic job under the circumstances. The media--whose job these days concerns political interpretation more than the recording of history--has totally distorted this whole event.
25 posted on 09/27/2005 10:48:55 AM PDT by Brad from Tennessee (Anything a politician gives you he has first stolen from you)
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To: Rennes Templar

It's a damn shame he's getting so much grief for telling the truth.


26 posted on 09/27/2005 10:50:08 AM PDT by Keith in Iowa (Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?)
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To: w1andsodidwe

I read that Nagin used to be a Republican. Don't know if it's true.


27 posted on 09/27/2005 10:50:24 AM PDT by twigs
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To: twigs

Nagin is a former republican, donated to Bush, supported Bush in 2004, and supported Blanco's opponent in the Gov. race.


28 posted on 09/27/2005 10:52:57 AM PDT by Phantom Lord (Fall on to your knees for the Phantom Lord)
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To: Rennes Templar

W is doing something very shrewd right now. He is proposing federalizing disaster relief. OK, why? Simple, the left will oppose this with every fiber of their being. THE MILITARY!!!! IN their backyards!!!! They will protest and howl out of their raging hatred for Bush. Meanwhile, they will forget that they have just blamed Bush for not doing more in the face of these disasters.

In other words, the left is out their saying their usual: "Do something to protect us. . .just don't do anything."


29 posted on 09/27/2005 10:53:18 AM PDT by FlipWilson
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To: Keith in Iowa

Maybe he'll start a trend.


30 posted on 09/27/2005 10:53:52 AM PDT by Rennes Templar ("The future ain't what it used to be".........Yogi Berra)
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To: msnimje
"It is like having the murderer's mother on his jury."

Or Jamie Gorlick sitting on the 9/11 investigation.

31 posted on 09/27/2005 10:54:00 AM PDT by malia
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To: Chang the Mystical Warrior
...Stand tall Brownie. You did a heckuva job...
I concur.He's the only person thus far who has had the integrity and guts to shove it back down the throats of the Libs and MSM who have written the events of Katrina as if it were a fiction novel. What Republican will have his back? None I'm afraid.
32 posted on 09/27/2005 10:55:56 AM PDT by Shqipo (And so the great battle starts...)
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To: twigs
I read that Nagin used to be a Republican.

I believe that's correct. He switched parties prior to running for mayor.
33 posted on 09/27/2005 10:56:14 AM PDT by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: vigilence

BINGO YOU ARE A WINNER!!!!


34 posted on 09/27/2005 10:57:01 AM PDT by Nat Turner (DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME)
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To: vigilence

Drug money?


35 posted on 09/27/2005 10:58:58 AM PDT by Rennes Templar ("The future ain't what it used to be".........Yogi Berra)
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To: Rennes Templar
FEMA does not do communications.

Big mistake.

Communications (repeater & cell towers) are among the first things to go down in a weather emergency.

IMHO, FEMA should take a lesson from the military, and equip "mini-AWACS" planes to orbit overhead with repeaters that can be tuned to the frequencies used by both local and federal emergency services -- and cell phones.

36 posted on 09/27/2005 10:59:58 AM PDT by TXnMA (Iraq & Afghanistan: Bush's "Bug-Zappers"...)
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To: Dems_R_Losers; Rennes Templar

Brown is right.

Louisianna is dysfunctional. It's congressman can take all the humbrage he desires. At the end of the day, he's wrong and Brown is right.

Why can't GW say this? Because he still has to mobilize a state behind his leadership to get this job done. We've already proven that the governor couldn't mobilize a girl scout sale during cookie month.


37 posted on 09/27/2005 11:00:37 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: Rennes Templar

He's the designated scapegoat, so he might as well tell the truth and hurt some RAT feelings on his way out.


38 posted on 09/27/2005 11:01:43 AM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: Rennes Templar

Thats my main issue with W...He never speaks up for himself..There will be no more more elections..so the time is now for him to start attacking back! He needs to start with Ted Kennedy..and go on down the line.And realy hit that rat Bill Clinton. Here is Bush helping this loser gain back his reputation, and the man responsible for 9/11 has the nerve to backstab him.. SPEAK UP W! Im sick of fighting his battles when he does't even want to himself. very frustrating


39 posted on 09/27/2005 11:02:01 AM PDT by ADL2005
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To: b4its2late

Why does William Jefferson, D-La sound like William Jefferson Blythe, D-Ak ?


40 posted on 09/27/2005 11:02:10 AM PDT by printhead
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To: tarzantheapeman

Why? Every panel needs an imbecile that they can make jokes about in the cloakroom. His guilty defensive posture was delicious!


41 posted on 09/27/2005 11:02:40 AM PDT by Dionysius (ACLU is the enemy)
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To: printhead
Scary, ain't it? He's the one that commandeered a rescue boat to take him to his house so he could get rid of some evidence before the feds could get there. His "daughters" laptop......
42 posted on 09/27/2005 11:04:32 AM PDT by b4its2late (I was only looking at your nametag, honest!)
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To: Rennes Templar

I'm glad Brown is sticking to his guns on this one.


43 posted on 09/27/2005 11:05:37 AM PDT by GVnana
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To: ADL2005

He needs to be as tough on the Dims as he is on Al-Queda. Well maybe not that tough but you get my point.


44 posted on 09/27/2005 11:06:01 AM PDT by Rennes Templar ("The future ain't what it used to be".........Yogi Berra)
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To: Rennes Templar
Now, I don't want to defend FEMA and Brown, but he they functioned quite well last year inFlorida, and everyone should know that Louisiana is dysfunctional, it is not for nothing that NO and the delta is called "The Big Easy"
Louie Long lives
45 posted on 09/27/2005 11:08:15 AM PDT by munin
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To: ADL2005

If Bush blasts Blanco, he gives up a part of his ability to help the people of Louisiana.

He is putting the people of Louisiana above his desire for vindication.

He is a Christian and a great leader.


46 posted on 09/27/2005 11:10:20 AM PDT by patriciaruth (They are all Mike Spanns)
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To: vigilence
Some interesting stuff at this weblog

Apparently the first truck got stuck, so they ordered a second truck to his residence to rescue the first truck, as well as delaying a rescue helicopter for 45 minutes. They say he then emerged with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator, which the enlisted men loaded up into the truck. Okay...they found money in his freezer in the FBI sting and then he rescues a box the size of a small refrigerator? Robert Mueller...please pick up the courtesy phone...

47 posted on 09/27/2005 11:12:53 AM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: Rennes Templar
Nope. Something about funneling money to a Nigerian Vice-President in connection with a telecommunications company...a quote:

Legal documents indicate that one area of the inquiry centers on whether [Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)] violated a 1997 act that bars payments or attempted payments of cash or other items of value to a foreign official."

48 posted on 09/27/2005 11:18:53 AM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: msnimje; vigilence

Good point gentlemen. I didn't recognize the congressman's name. Brown couldn't afford politically to do it but wouldn't it have been cool if he could have said something like part of the problem was local congressmen more concerned with covering up evidence than surveying the damage and helping the people.


49 posted on 09/27/2005 11:20:33 AM PDT by gondramB ( There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down .)
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To: Rennes Templar
Well, guess Landrieu has to punch Brown now.

Knock that witch on her stuck-on-stupid @zz when she does Mr. Brown.

50 posted on 09/27/2005 11:23:57 AM PDT by libs_kma (USA: The land of the Free....Because of the Brave!)
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