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Smart as a Whip, Dumb as a Hoe Handle
Special to FreeRepublic ^ | 11 July 2008 | John Armor (Congressman Billybob)

Posted on 07/11/2008 3:22:54 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob

The great danger in offering unqualified praise to another person is they could turn around, do / say something really stupid, and make you doubt your original judgment. That’s why the greatest praise for public officials comes when they are safely dead. From that position, they are unlikely to offer any new, public embarrassment.

Still, it’s important to climb out on a limb from time to time.

There are three people whose bylines I always follow. I have never ceased to be impressed by any column I’ve read from any of these three gentlemen (in alphabetical order): Charles Krauthammer, Thomas Sowell, and Mark Steyn. The one I praise today is Krauthammer. By the way, I’ll save the public figure I am attacking, for last. Dessert first, liver and onions after.

Krauthammer’s latest column is “The Alter of Soft Power.” He begins with the incredible rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other long-held hostages from the hands of the FARC terrorists in Columbia. It was executed by the Columbian military without a shot being fired. American special forces played a critical role in the intelligence gathering that made the rescue work.

This was, he wrote, a classic example of “hard power.” That means using your military assets to get a result in a confrontation. “Soft power,” on the other hand, means negotiations, resolutions, mild sanctions, but nothing which would be called military or an act of war.

Krauthammer pointed out that in the six years that Betancourt was held in the jungle, all the governments of Europe repeatedly passed resolutions deploring the kidnappings, and urging Columbia to negotiate with the FARC captors. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez had offered to be a go-between. Only another use of “hard power,” a raid into Ecuador by the Columbia Army, revealed the truth.

In the Ecuador raid, Columbia killed a top official of FARC, but it also captured computers and their files which revealed that President Chavez was financially supporting FARC and working hand and glove with them. That use of “hard power” was attacked by European (and some American) supporters of talking with, rather than acting, against terrorists.

Krauthammer points out that “soft power” is the preferred action by many sources, including the UN and the G-8, against other groups of murderers including Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, the Sudanese so-called leaders in Darfur, and the dictators in what used to be Burma, who allowed untold thousands of their citizens to die in the aftermath of floods, rather than let in foreigners bringing help (but also lifting the veil of secrecy in that benighted nation).

As usual, Krauthammer made a logical, penetrating analysis of a major public issue. He offered clear, supportable truth, which needs to be pounded into the mushy skulls of many leaders around the world. It is a pathetic commentary that the UN refused, this very day, to support any sanctions to get rid of the murderous Mugabe.

And now we turn to the opposite end of the scale, stupidity in public.

A Dallas County Commissioner in a public discussion of failures of the County’s Central Collections, referred to it as a “black hole.” Documents and money were going into the Bureau, and never being seen again. One black Commissioner demanded an apology, and another one, Commissioner John Wiley Price said that “that type of language is unacceptable.”

Warming to his task, Commissioner went on to condemn in the hearing other terms he considered racist, including the difference between “angel food cake and devil’s food cake.” He also objected to the use of the phrase, “black sheep.” And he used the phrase, “Jew you down,” as an example of a “racist” remark he deliberately would not use, because he is so sensitive to such matters.

To put no fine point on it, Commissioner Price is as dumb as a hoe handle. “Black hole” is an astronomical expression which means a collapsed star with such high gravity that not even light can escape. It was an excellent metaphor for a failed public agency. It is also a reasonable description of the quality of Commissioner Price’s brain, not because he is black, but because he shows world-class ignorance.

The more people we have in the public sphere like Krauthammer, the better off we will be. The more we have who are like Price, the worse off we will be. And, anyone thinking of attacking me as racially prejudiced, before doing so, find out the racial backgrounds of the three people I praised so highly at the beginning.

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About the Author: John Armor practiced law in the US Supreme Court for 33 years. He now lives in Highlands, NC, and is working on a book on Thomas Paine. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu

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TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: blackhole; charleskrauthammer; dallascommissioner; krauthammer; racism; softpower
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Both of these separate subjects have been addressed on FR in the last two days. But no one has drawn the contrast between Charles Krauthammer and Commissioner Price. I thought y'all would find it interesting.

John / Billybob

1 posted on 07/11/2008 3:22:54 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob
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To: Congressman Billybob

I respect Krauthammer more than any other pundit. Also I like saying the name Krouthammer.


2 posted on 07/11/2008 3:30:45 PM PDT by DManA
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To: Congressman Billybob

Good choices, all.


3 posted on 07/11/2008 3:32:12 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

How is the book coming along?? I am looking forward to obtaining a copy of it to read..


4 posted on 07/11/2008 3:32:53 PM PDT by ThomasPaine2000 (Peace without freedom is tyranny.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Down here in the Metroplex, we learned long ago to disregard the mindless rants of John Wiley Price. Glad to see he's become a national (comic) figure. Outside of the city of Dallas, he has no credibility.

Think I'll stop and buy some devil's food cake on the way home. All in the spirit of race relations.

5 posted on 07/11/2008 3:36:55 PM PDT by Night Hides Not (John McCain is Lucy, McCainiacs are Charlie Brown, and the football is a secure border.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Krauthammer’s latest column is “The Alter of Soft Power.”

That'd be altar, John. =o)

6 posted on 07/11/2008 3:38:25 PM PDT by arasina (So there.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Your essay omits one crucial thing that that the ridiculous John Wiley Price and the sublime Charles Krauthammer have in common, for different reasons:

We want both of them to keep talking.

7 posted on 07/11/2008 3:42:11 PM PDT by FredZarguna (Thoughtcrime: coming soon to a presidential candidate near you.)
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To: arasina
You're right. Thank you.

John / Billybob

8 posted on 07/11/2008 3:46:12 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob ( www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: Congressman Billybob

What has always drove me crazy, since I was a kid, is that “black people” are brown. Shouldn’t calling yourself an inaccurate color be corrected. We aren’t white. They aren’t black.


9 posted on 07/11/2008 3:47:21 PM PDT by JmyBryan
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To: Congressman Billybob
Ooops. Can't say hoe! or devils food cake, or black hole! LOL
10 posted on 07/11/2008 3:47:39 PM PDT by fish hawk
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To: JmyBryan

We are all a shade of brown (mostly).


11 posted on 07/11/2008 3:48:16 PM PDT by JmyBryan
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To: JmyBryan
What has always drove me crazy, since I was a kid, is that “black people” are brown. Shouldn’t calling yourself an inaccurate color be corrected. We aren’t white. They aren’t black.

****************

I was thinking about this today. The entire issue and classification system seem flawed. I don't call myself anything but an American. I never say I'm a white American, or an Irish American, and so on.

12 posted on 07/11/2008 3:51:46 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: JmyBryan
I've long ago written that racial antagonisms would be defanged if both sides were required to use accurate descriptions. “Beige” versus “pink” sounds like an interior decorators’ debate, rather than the formula for a race riot.

John / Billybob

13 posted on 07/11/2008 3:59:33 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob ( www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Have we kidnapped any communists and kept them hostage for years, anywhere. If not, why not? (Gitmo doesn't count- enemy military insurgents ain't tourists)

Really, all sanctions are is a 'teeing-up' of the ball. The ball doesn't know when, but it's gonna be whacked.

What this world desperately needs is an Alpha male from the U.S. to keep these Beta boobs with bombs in line. Example: have we sent a dummy cruise missle to Mr. Dinnerjacket's compound, and if not, why not? He really needs to know who he's dealing with and his recent missle fireworks display demands a response.

Dinejad is no different than the dozen of other beta males who think they can replace us and then hump civilization and it's heirs into the straightjacket called Islam. Look, the Alpha male in a wolf pack would have already taken this punk's face off and made a point by now.

I figure, if you've got better plans than Mother Nature, produce 'em. Otherwise, you're just gonna piss her off.

Oh, as to these punk FARC in the jungle: if we have coordinates, we deliver some napalm and land a dud in Hugo's swimming pool, labeled "chlorine".

14 posted on 07/11/2008 4:07:06 PM PDT by budwiesest (Barack is going to lose by 37 states. He'll only take 20.)
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To: fish hawk

HA! I was just thinking if Sharpton saw the title his brain would be spinning trying to make a racial slur out of “hoe handle”.


15 posted on 07/11/2008 4:16:32 PM PDT by fishergirl (My warrior, my soldier, my hero - my son. God bless our troops!)
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To: JmyBryan

Yep, right now in the summer with fishing and working in the yard, I’m more of a medium cream coffee color. Sorry to say that in the winter, I’m about the color of an aspirin, lol!


16 posted on 07/11/2008 4:19:02 PM PDT by fishergirl (My warrior, my soldier, my hero - my son. God bless our troops!)
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To: Congressman Billybob

We Andorians are fond of the term "pinkskins."

17 posted on 07/11/2008 4:22:19 PM PDT by Enterprise (Let all Democrats have a half vote. They deserve it!)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Excellent article John. I agree with all you have said.

Krauthamer, Sowell, and Steyn are excellent writers and I always enjoy reading them. However, there was one article by Krauthamer that really threw me - where he said he believed that higher gas prices were a good thing. I understand his logic, but emphatically disagree. But that is the only thing I can remember ever disagreeing with him on. He absolutely is one of the most intelligent and insightful men out there. I love Sowell for his wisdom and plainspoken manner; and Steyn’s wit is unmatched, in my view.

That commissioner sounds like he is just dumb as a box of rocks.

18 posted on 07/11/2008 4:26:45 PM PDT by iowamomforfreedom (Drill! Drill! Drill!)
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To: fishergirl

I guess I can’t write that book I was going to write about gardening: How To Handle A Hoe


19 posted on 07/11/2008 4:45:57 PM PDT by fish hawk
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To: JmyBryan; trisham; Congressman Billybob
What has always drove me crazy, since I was a kid, is that “black people” are brown. Shouldn’t calling yourself an inaccurate color be corrected. We aren’t white. They aren’t black.
Speaking of Thomas Sowell:
Pink and Brown People and Other Controversial Essays (Paperback) by Thomas Sowell

20 posted on 07/11/2008 5:10:02 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The conceit of journalistic objectivity is profoundly subversive of democratic principle.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
guess nobody's books can be “in the black” anymore.
guess I can't be “in the pink” anymore.

I got a million more, but I chose to be niggardly when it comes to sharing.

Thanks John.

21 posted on 07/11/2008 5:14:34 PM PDT by stylin19a
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To: Congressman Billybob

Well, Price has hardly been niggardly in demonstrating his contempt for language.


22 posted on 07/11/2008 5:20:23 PM PDT by Postman
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To: stylin19a

Drat! Beat by a niggardly 6 minutes.


23 posted on 07/11/2008 5:22:13 PM PDT by Postman
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To: Postman
Well, Price has hardly been niggardly in demonstrating his contempt for language.

I don't think that Price is demonstrating contempt for language—to do that you have to be aware of the definitions of words and their etymology, which he plainly just doesn't know—and what you do not know about you cannot be contemptible about. He only demonstrates ignorance. Those who ACCEPTED his demands for apology should have told him of his error. By not doing so, THEY demonstrated contempt for the language.

24 posted on 07/11/2008 5:56:26 PM PDT by Swordmaker (Remember, the proper pronunciation of IE is "AAAAIIIIIEEEEEEE!)
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To: Swordmaker

Well, you’ve certainly made the matter crystal clear.


25 posted on 07/11/2008 6:39:46 PM PDT by Postman
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To: Swordmaker
One thing that amazes me about this affair, is the sheer ignorance Price displays by not knowing what the term "black hole" is. I don't expect him to necessarily understand the physics behind it, or even the history of the term, but one would think that in 2008, a man in his posistion, would at least know what it is. Living in the Dallas area, I know what a buffoon this guy is, but I'd never really considered that rather than being a race hustler, (like a cheap, local knock-off of Jessie Jackson), he might just be unbelievably stupid.

Speaking of black holes, I recall having seen articles about them recently, and some physicists are thinking they would probably be better described topograpically as donuts, rather than spheres. We're probably out of luck calling them black dounts though, as African-American police officers might take offense.

26 posted on 07/11/2008 9:59:15 PM PDT by zeugma (Mark Steyn For Global Dictator!)
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To: zeugma

Refer to them as Donuts of a Different Color


27 posted on 07/11/2008 10:02:22 PM PDT by woofie
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To: Congressman Billybob

I would have agreed with you about Charles Krauthammer without reservation. On the night of the Heller decision, speaking on Fox news, he agreed with Stevens dissent.


28 posted on 07/11/2008 10:34:44 PM PDT by Stentor (Obama supporters. Letting the little void do the thinking for the big void.)
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To: fish hawk

LOL!!!


29 posted on 07/12/2008 10:22:27 AM PDT by fishergirl (My warrior, my soldier, my hero - my son. God bless our troops!)
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To: iowamomforfreedom
That commissioner sounds like he is just dumb as a box of rocks.

Hey, what you got against rocks?
They're at least useful for something.

30 posted on 07/12/2008 12:11:54 PM PDT by mountn man (The pleasure you get from life, is equal to the attitude you put into it.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Texas County Official Sees Race in Term 'Black Hole'

So if it's 'angel food cake,' it's white. If it's 'devil's food cake,' it's black.

I had to retrieve Price's cerebral discussion of cake. I wonder if he objects to black power?

31 posted on 07/12/2008 2:06:18 PM PDT by neverdem (I'm praying for a Divine Intervention.)
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To: Stentor; Congressman Billybob; DManA; trisham; FredZarguna; iowamomforfreedom; zeugma
I would have agreed with you about Charles Krauthammer without reservation. On the night of the Heller decision, speaking on Fox news, he agreed with Stevens dissent.

I was wondering how Krauthammer reacted to Heller. That's what I expected, agreeing with the minority. He, George Will and Robert Bork are three usually good conservatives except on the Second Amendment.

"The hand of God moves in mysterious ways." If Robert Bork wasn't borked, Heller would have been 5 - 4 the wrong way. I thought Bork's replacement Anthony Kennedy would vote with the majority, but I was hoping Souter and Ginsburg would uphold an individual right view, like they did in the minority opinion in Muscarello where they joined Scalia and Rehnquist.

We dodged a bullet - BIG TIME!

I did some research on Krauthammer. If you haven't noticed, he uses a wheelchair. He's a psychiatrist by training, maybe via Harvard's hospital affiliates, IIRC. I was wondering whether he was a gunshot victim which might explain being wheelchair bound and dislike for the Second Amendment, but he wasn't. There was an accident, but I can't recall the cause, IIRC.

P.S. I was also wondering what was FReeper robertpaulsen's reaction to Heller. robertpaulsen hasn't posted anything since early April.

32 posted on 07/12/2008 3:24:04 PM PDT by neverdem (I'm praying for a Divine Intervention.)
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To: neverdem
Krauthammer was paralyzed in a diving accident.
33 posted on 07/12/2008 3:34:24 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham

Thank you. I was pretty sure it an accident.


34 posted on 07/12/2008 3:36:45 PM PDT by neverdem (I'm praying for a Divine Intervention.)
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To: trisham
On the subject of hyphenated Americans the great George Foreman said ‘If anybody calls me anything but an American-American I am going to slug him’.

That being said, some “Blacks” are so dark that they are almost purple.

http://es.geocities.com/sangarci_2003/BillDuke.jpg

Check out the great actor Bill Duke. That dude is DARK. Still a dark brown I suppose but as someone pointed out, we are almost all a shade of brown because we have the same melanin molecule that is the same color, some just have more of it than others.

35 posted on 07/12/2008 3:38:51 PM PDT by allmendream (shamelessly stealing clever FReeper lines without attribution!)
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To: allmendream
On the subject of hyphenated Americans the great George Foreman said ‘If anybody calls me anything but an American-American I am going to slug him’. That being said, some “Blacks” are so dark that they are almost purple.

********************

I'm with George. I have his grill, too. :)

Sure, some folks are darker than others. However, some who are of mixed heritage are paler than "whites".

36 posted on 07/12/2008 3:46:34 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham
Exactly right. We are all actually the same color, seeings as how the melanin molecule is the same in all people. Some just have more of it and are therefore darker. We are not different colors, just light and dark. ;)
37 posted on 07/12/2008 3:49:46 PM PDT by allmendream (shamelessly stealing clever FReeper lines without attribution!)
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To: allmendream

And some of us appear to have none, and burn to a shade of purple in the sun. Ack! :)


38 posted on 07/12/2008 3:53:14 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: neverdem
On the night of the Heller decision, speaking on Fox news, he agreed with Stevens dissent.

Not exaxctly.

He thought Stevens had the better of the Originalist argument; I will grant your point if we agree that it's pretty tough to see how you could take that position if you didn't believe a priori that there was no Individual Right. Personally, I thought Scalia demolished Stevens. The line about a mixed idiom of "filled the bucket and died," in Scalia's refutation is laugh-out-loud funny, and his description of the the reasoning behind Steven's split idiom as "Grotesque" was poetry.

Sometimes Homer nods. As solid as Will, Krauthammer and Bork are on so many things, they're simply wrong on this and on a few others. And sometimes even a blind pig finds a truffle: Lawrence Tribe was on the right side of this issue, hell, he's very publicly and very thoroughly reversed himself in coming over to the Individual Right side of the debate. Nobody's perfect.

Except -- of course -- me.

39 posted on 07/12/2008 6:48:38 PM PDT by FredZarguna ("To the Socialists of all Parties." Even those posting on FR.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Good post.

However, a mention of the Pelosi connection to this should have been included.


40 posted on 07/12/2008 6:53:29 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Hey John/Billybob,

I always look for your pieces on FR too. Thanks for all your contributions.
By the way, I’d add a fourth to your esteemed list - Wes Pruden. He has retired as Washington Times editor, but he still writes his bi-weekly opinions. Love his craftsmanship of words.


41 posted on 07/13/2008 2:05:07 AM PDT by A'elian' nation (Not all anthuriums are created equal)
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To: JmyBryan

“They aren’t black.”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

There are exceptions to this, I have known a few truly black people.


42 posted on 07/14/2008 8:55:37 AM PDT by RipSawyer (Does anyone still believe this is a free country?)
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To: allmendream
Still a dark brown I suppose but as someone pointed out, we are almost all a shade of brown because we have the same melanin molecule that is the same color, some just have more of it than others.

Except for albinos who have none.

43 posted on 07/15/2008 9:33:58 AM PDT by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: El Gato
Yeppers, albinos and some people I have seen whose skin looks so pale you can see the veins beneath because what melanin they do have is few and far between.

The point being that the same genes that make my skin “wop” brown are the same genes that make a black person's skin black. All the genes necessary to make a black skin color are present within the white population (and vice versa), but the chances of it coming about purely by chance are negligible. People from light skinned population just have a higher frequency of “melanin OFF” alleles at those genetic loci, and dark skinned populations have a higher frequency of “melanin ON” alleles at those loci.

44 posted on 07/15/2008 9:45:26 AM PDT by allmendream (If the New Yorker makes a joke and liberals don't get it, is it still funny?)
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To: neverdem
I seem to remember it being a diving accident.
45 posted on 07/15/2008 10:24:05 AM PDT by Reily
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To: allmendream
dog
46 posted on 07/16/2008 5:52:32 AM PDT by FreedomOfExpression (Dime: what you have left after filling the car with gasoline.)
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To: FreedomOfExpression

My lab is Dark Chocolate. He is a very good boy who likes to lay on peoples feet. I call it “laying down on the job”.


47 posted on 07/16/2008 6:07:35 AM PDT by allmendream (If the New Yorker makes a joke and liberals don't get it, is it still funny?)
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To: allmendream
My lab is Dark Chocolate. He is a very good boy who likes to lay on peoples feet. I call it “laying down on the job”.

I was going to insert a comment to the effect that if we were all considered flavors of chocolate instead of colors, there may not be less comments from the ignorant and the race baiters, but they would probably be a lot more humorous.

BTW, I like Labs. They are very friendly and pretty easy going, from what I've seen.
48 posted on 07/16/2008 6:48:19 AM PDT by FreedomOfExpression (Dime: what you have left after filling the car with gasoline.)
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To: Night Hides Not
Outside of the city of Dallas, he has no credibility.

Even when I lived in Dallas, I didn't think he had much credibility. Based on his logic, I should be offended by the saying "slim pickings". Like I tell my wife ..I'm in shape. Round is a shape. :^)
49 posted on 07/16/2008 7:35:31 AM PDT by jimmango
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To: Congressman Billybob

Excellent!

I would add Dr. Walter Williams to your list of columnists.


50 posted on 07/16/2008 10:03:01 AM PDT by Bigun (“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” —Voltaire)
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