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Guitar Frets: Environmental Enforcement Leaves Musicians in Fear
WSJ ^ | August 26, 2011 | ERIC FELTEN

Posted on 08/26/2011 9:26:29 AM PDT by yoe

Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson's chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company's manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. "The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier," he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.

It isn't the first time that agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come knocking at the storied maker of such iconic instruments as the Les Paul electric guitar, the J-160E acoustic-electric John Lennon played, and essential jazz-boxes such as Charlie Christian's ES-150. In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in a case with the delightful name "United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms."

[snip] It isn't just Gibson that is sweating. Musicians who play vintage guitars and other instruments made of environmentally protected materials are worried the authorities may be coming for them next.

[snip] If you are the lucky owner of a 1920s Martin guitar, it may well be made, in part, of Brazilian rosewood.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Tennessee
KEYWORDS: crushfedgov; ebony; ecofascism; envirofascism; epa; failuretopaytribute; gibson; gibsonguitars; govtabuse; guitar; laceyact; marxistcoup; obamunism; overreach; rarewoods; righttowork; rosewood; tyranny; unions; wood
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1 posted on 08/26/2011 9:26:30 AM PDT by yoe
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To: yoe

They’ll take my 60’s D-18 from my cold, dead hands.


2 posted on 08/26/2011 9:31:57 AM PDT by Second Amendment First ("Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..." - Thomas Jefferson.)
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To: yoe

Yeah, this is kooky


3 posted on 08/26/2011 9:34:08 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: yoe

If you see an old timey piano with ivory and ebony keys in someone’s house, especially if they are a liberal, who do you call to sic the feds on them?

Just curious.


4 posted on 08/26/2011 9:34:55 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: yoe

Interesting article. I don’t travel with my vintage Guild bowback. However, my son-in-law frequently travels with one of his guitars, some of which have some age on them. I will send him a copy of the article. I feel about my Guild the way Charleton Heston felt about his guns: from my cold, dead hands.


5 posted on 08/26/2011 9:35:05 AM PDT by p. henry
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To: yoe

This is what happens when you continue to manufacture a quality American product in the NON-UNION South.

If my next Les Paul is built overseas I’m going to put my foot so far up Holder’s a** he’s going to cough shoe laces!


6 posted on 08/26/2011 9:36:05 AM PDT by The Toll
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To: yoe
This must be WAY more important than catching ILLEGALS and TERRORISTS who are in our country and determined to kill us.

Or...maybe Gibson forgot to pay up their protection money to the DNC?

7 posted on 08/26/2011 9:38:02 AM PDT by unixfox (Abolish Slavery, Repeal The 16th Amendment!)
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To: yoe

First they came for the guitar makers, but I wasn’t a guitar maker so I did nothing . . .


8 posted on 08/26/2011 9:39:03 AM PDT by Maceman (Obama: As American as nasei goreng)
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To: yoe
If you are the lucky owner of a 1920s Martin guitar, it may well be made, in part, of Brazilian rosewood. Cross an international border with an instrument made of that now-restricted wood, and you better have correct and complete documentation proving the age of the instrument. Otherwise, you could lose it to a zealous customs agent—not to mention face fines and prosecution.

And if you happen to have a 1958-1960 Gibson Sunburst Les Paul made with now restricted wood, this could be the loss of an instrument worth close to a half a million dollars.

9 posted on 08/26/2011 9:39:14 AM PDT by Gena Bukin (Perry/Rubio 2012)
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To: yoe
You could mark that up to hypocrisy—artsy do-gooders only too eager to tell others what kind of light bulbs they have to buy won't make sacrifices when it comes to their own passions. Then again, maybe it isn't hypocrisy to recognize that art makes claims significant enough to compete with environmentalists' agendas.

It seems a disproportionate number of musicians are liberals, and it might be entertaining (pun intended) to see how they put themselves into a self-contradictory pickle, however a stalwart few use their axes for conservative purposes. (Shameless plug: see my "Redneck Revolution".)

And I would disagree on principle with the imperious, draconian way in which even the most well meant of scarce material regulations are carried out. It doesn't matter whether it's my political friend or enemy who suffers the most from it, it's just plain wrong. Paperwork errors, in particular, ought to be granted an ample chance to be corrected before deeming an otherwise permissible imported item verboten. And if an insignificant portion of a composite item can't be documented as compliant and can be removed without damage, that should be the only part that is barred from completing the import process.

10 posted on 08/26/2011 9:42:31 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: GraceG

” If you see an old timey piano with ivory and ebony keys in someone’s house, especially if they are a liberal, who do you call to sic the feds on them? “

Alright, DFU now has to write an Envirowacked parody of “Ebony and Ivory”. Somebody let me know when it’s up.


11 posted on 08/26/2011 9:46:48 AM PDT by Humble Servant
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To: unixfox

This looks like a battle in which both contenders are dug in, not a case where someone “forgot” to pay a bribe.


12 posted on 08/26/2011 9:49:21 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: yoe

This makes no sense. I am a woodworker and I can go down to the hardwood dealer right now and buy Ebony. It costs about the same thing as gold per ounce but I can buy it. I don’t use any tropical woods because a lot of them are harvested illegally but come on. This is ridiculous.

“When those who produce need permission from those who produce nothing, you know your country is doomed” Paraphrased from Atlas Shrugged.


13 posted on 08/26/2011 9:53:15 AM PDT by albionin
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To: doug from upland

Hey Dou-oug! They’re playing your song!


14 posted on 08/26/2011 9:53:37 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: albionin

Sounds like they were acting as their own importer and skipping the middle man. Whatever agency was certifying the wood at the source end, and it sure looks like it was being done in good faith, must not have met every fiddly little regulation.

I bet your dealer pays la mordida to somebody.


15 posted on 08/26/2011 9:57:04 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: HiTech RedNeck

That is true. I remember watching part of a concert by John Denver on PBS (don’t judge) and he was using a guitar made of curly Koa wood. Koa is a rare timber that only grows on the Hawaiian islands, IN THE RAIN FOREST.


16 posted on 08/26/2011 9:57:49 AM PDT by albionin
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To: yoe

Why would they confiscate old guitars from before the wood was illegal?

The trees are long dead man, that makes no sense.

And yes, also cold dead hands, et al...


17 posted on 08/26/2011 9:57:55 AM PDT by dk88 (Keep your laws off my body)
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To: p. henry

This applies to instruments of all ages. I have a “Coodercaster” Strat, with an Ebony fretboard. Ebony And Ivory!


18 posted on 08/26/2011 10:01:11 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: dk88
Why would they confiscate old guitars from before the wood was illegal?

They won't if you can prove that it is pre-ban. However, if your paperwork is not accepted by the customs man you're screwed.

19 posted on 08/26/2011 10:04:10 AM PDT by Second Amendment First ("Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..." - Thomas Jefferson.)
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To: yoe

In the world of government regulatory agencies, the accused is guilty until proven innocent.


20 posted on 08/26/2011 10:09:33 AM PDT by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I guess I should read the whole article.

And the administration wonders why there are no jobs in this “recovery”.


21 posted on 08/26/2011 10:11:27 AM PDT by albionin
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To: yoe

Next they go after gun manufactures that use Cocobolo (Rosewood). Admin flat out nutz. Wish Holder lived in Irene path. He’d get a taste of wood alright.


22 posted on 08/26/2011 10:13:39 AM PDT by Pit1 (Can't wait for Sarah to announce. Will be an earthquake.)
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To: yoe

And we actually pay people to do this? No wonder the government is drowning in debt. Gad! This country is most certainly insane if we continue to put up with this sort of thing.


23 posted on 08/26/2011 10:15:34 AM PDT by pepperdog (Why are Democrats Afraid of a Voter ID Law?)
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To: pepperdog

The gummit has bloated itself to the point of being well nigh unwatchable. Too much stuff going on.


24 posted on 08/26/2011 10:18:59 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: Gena Bukin

Why are these enviro laws being used retroactively???

More harassment from NObama & Holder???


25 posted on 08/26/2011 10:23:38 AM PDT by ridesthemiles
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To: The Toll

“If my next Les Paul is built overseas”

The Feds won’t allow it to be imported. No LP for you!


26 posted on 08/26/2011 10:26:28 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: ridesthemiles

This isn’t a _resident. This is an emperor!


27 posted on 08/26/2011 10:26:28 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

They’re just going to yawn and wave through anything that comes on a Chinese ship. Fellow travelers respect one another, after all.


28 posted on 08/26/2011 10:27:51 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: yoe

Did they shoot any dogs and flashbang the assembly line workers on the way in? I know those ... wood violators ... can be a shifty sort.


29 posted on 08/26/2011 10:31:35 AM PDT by Steel Wolf ("Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master." - Gaius Sallustius Crispus)
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To: ridesthemiles
Why are these enviro laws being used retroactively???

Technically, they're not. However, the law can be enforced so heavy-handedly that it will be up to the owners of vintage guitars to prove that their guitars are vintage.

This means if grandpa wills me his beloved 1959 Gibson Les Paul (thanks gramps!) and I left the country with it, in order to not lose this priceless instruments to customs upon returning, I would need to have documentation attesting to it being vintage. Would grandpa's receipt be good enough? Who knows. Would I need George Gruhn to provide me with a detailed appraisal (that he charges hundreds of dollars for)? Who knows.

30 posted on 08/26/2011 10:38:57 AM PDT by Gena Bukin (Perry/Rubio 2012)
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To: Steel Wolf

Well Good God man!

They weren’t simply threatening and intimidating voters at a polling place, they were working and paying taxes and employing people and fostering the arts! And thought they could get away with it ... not on Holder’s watch

Unbelievable ...

Kind of off topic:

Why does it take 6 bluegrass musicians to screw in a light bulb?

One to hold it and 5 to complain because its electric (~).


31 posted on 08/26/2011 10:42:24 AM PDT by justapicker (I don't want the cheese, I just want out of the trap)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

You’re probably right. Sure hate to “loose” my ‘63 Sho Bud with the Rosewood aprons if I had to play a gig in Canada though! That would make me mute and irrevalunt!


32 posted on 08/26/2011 10:45:28 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: justapicker

keyboard spew alert


33 posted on 08/26/2011 11:13:08 AM PDT by SteveH (First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.)
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To: Second Amendment First; yoe
They’ll take my 60’s D-18 from my cold, dead hands.

Likewise for my 1950 Gibson C-1.

34 posted on 08/26/2011 11:14:27 AM PDT by SteveH (First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.)
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To: justapicker
they were working and paying taxes and employing people and fostering the arts

And during the Bush administration, let it not be forgotten.

35 posted on 08/26/2011 11:24:19 AM PDT by AndyJackson
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To: yoe

“All your fretboards are belong to us!”


36 posted on 08/26/2011 11:29:28 AM PDT by WayneS (Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. -- James Madison)
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To: albionin

Right. And look what happened to him. He angered our mother earth and he paid the ultimate price!

;-)


37 posted on 08/26/2011 11:33:23 AM PDT by WayneS (Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. -- James Madison)
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To: justapicker

Good joke!


38 posted on 08/26/2011 11:35:35 AM PDT by WayneS (Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. -- James Madison)
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To: yoe
I was researching this law a little bit. Apparently, the Lacey Act of 1900 (designed to protect species from overhunting and prevent the interstate transportation of certain plants) was expanded in 2008 to include logging.

I was going to blame this on Bush but...

He vetoed the Farm Bill that this expansion was attached to. Twice! (Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.)

Bush's veto was overridden by congress.

Yep. Guitar players can truly blame the democrats for this mess.

39 posted on 08/26/2011 12:25:34 PM PDT by Gena Bukin (Perry/Rubio 2012)
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To: justapicker

That’s good!

I host a monthly Bluegrass show and there was some criticism of one of the bands because the Bass player had an P-Bass.


40 posted on 08/26/2011 1:18:21 PM PDT by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: Humble Servant

Ebony... and Ivory...
Used to sit together on my piano keys
Till the EPA came and set them free!


41 posted on 08/26/2011 2:32:00 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: yoe

The Feds are silent, but in a statement yesterday Gibson’s chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company’s manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. “The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier,” he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle. This time the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assholes claim Gibson violated an India law covering wood exports. WTF??? We enforce other country’s laws??? This raid was pure U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service theft. Juszkiewicz claims the shut down of the factories cost Gibson $1 million in lost production on top of whatever was seized.

Juszkiewicz and Berryman bought the failing Michagan company in 1986 for $5 million. It had sales that year of $5 million. Over the years the company has expanded its product lines by purchasing other companies. For example: Gibson owns Baldwin. Current sales are near $500 million and half of those sales are exports. Obama and his Marxist buddies must be pissed over this Capitalist success.

There is something else that is very fishy too. Last year Gibson was rated by Glassdoor.com as the #1 worst employer in the nation. ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/21/worst-companies-to-work-f_n_397565.html?&slideshow#comments ) This is BS. No CEO in his right mind would want to piss off the experienced artisan instrument makers the company needs. Auto Zone was #4. I’m a Auto Zone customer and I’m certain the very helpful employees here are not unhappy. In addition, Juszkiewicz has raved about the help and cooperation he got from employees after the Nashville plant was flooded last year.

In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in the case “United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms.” Juszkiewicz says the wood is worth a million dollars. There has been NO civil or criminal case filed by the Justice Dept.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service picked a fight with the wrong guy. He won’t roll over and play dead... He enrolled at the General Motors Institute in Flint, MI, a five year co-op engineering college. Sponsored by GM’s Delco division, he gained experience in a variety of different jobs at Delco’s 6,000-employee electronic components plant in Rochester. Putting his musical skills to work, he worked his way through school playing guitar - a Gibson, of course - in various rock bands playing for parties and weddings.

After graduating with honors, he worked at Delco Products for two years as product manager while studying for an MBA in night school at the University of Rochester. He completed his MBA at Harvard University on a General Motors Fellowship.

Juszkiewicz then joined the New York firm of Neiderhoffer, Cross and Zeckhauser, Inc., a pioneer in the area of middle-market deals, where he rose to the position of executive vice president of mergers and acquisitions. He left the firm in 1981 and, with two former Harvard classmates (David Berryman and Gary Zebrowski), acquired Phi Technologies of Oklahoma City. Within one month he turned the struggling technology firm into a highly profitable company.


42 posted on 08/26/2011 6:00:02 PM PDT by KyGeezer
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To: yoe

You can sleep good tonight knowing the feds are on the J-O-B making sure America is protected from evil guitar manufacturers. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gibson just said screw this and moved their operation to China.

Obama, no job is safe.


43 posted on 08/27/2011 1:54:24 PM PDT by hattend (If I wanted you dead, you'd be dead. - Cameron Connor)
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To: yoe

I work in the environmental cleanup field and have seen how ridiculous the original laws were (and expensively wasteful of taxpayers money). They were finally revised to some degree of sanity.

However, the laws the USF&WL people are operating under are totally nuts and so are the people who enforce them to the 99th dot of the text of the law.

These people are on legal drugs and nothing except a new Republican-controlled Congress and president will change it.

The nuts are running the asylum (and the good people who work under them are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs - the typical Obama regime response to whistle-blowers and honest investigators).

We need a complete overhaul of all our environmental laws, from NEPA/EPA to the Endangers Species List and importing of endangered woods. A grandfather clause with teeth must be included in any revision in order to protect innocent guitar/instruments owners.

I loved my old $15.00 Stella guitar. You could knock a house down with it (we tried too and nearly succeeded), but it still sounded good afterwards.

When is this environmental extremism going to end? How many Americans are going to be put out of work by the environmental fascists before this issue is fixed?

Nov. 2012 can’t come soon enough for me.


44 posted on 08/28/2011 11:45:36 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: HiTech RedNeck

“It seems a disproportionate number of musicians are liberals, and it might be entertaining (pun intended) to see how they put themselves into a self-contradictory pickle, however a stalwart few use their axes for conservative purposes. “

Music is an abstract in many ways and that is how libs think. Most conservatives are “black and white” type of thinkers who take a “just the facts” approach to things. Great for politics and issues of right and wrong. Not so great for creativity.

That is NOT to say that Conservatives aren’t creative. Far from the case. Just that the lib mindset is geared more to thinking in a less structured ‘outside the box’ way. Then there’s the drugs and groupies...

And yes, I know some will misinterpret what I meant ;)

Normie
Conservative wannabee musician.


45 posted on 08/28/2011 11:48:47 PM PDT by Norm Lenhart
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To: yoe

Job killing POS in the Oval Office and all of his administration. Here is your change America.


46 posted on 08/29/2011 1:16:59 AM PDT by soycd
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To: SteveH
KEYBOARD
SPEW
ALERT!


47 posted on 08/29/2011 3:10:46 AM PDT by rlmorel ("When marching down the same road, one doesn't need 'marching orders' to reach the same destination")
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To: Maceman

48 posted on 08/29/2011 3:11:46 AM PDT by rlmorel ("When marching down the same road, one doesn't need 'marching orders' to reach the same destination")
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To: yoe
New Geico ad shows what leftists will be doing for music after the environmental whackos put all of the musicians other than horn players in prison for hardwood frets:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ind3MaJ7gw

49 posted on 08/29/2011 4:40:52 AM PDT by steveshoveler
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Time to shed some weight.


50 posted on 08/29/2011 5:23:32 AM PDT by Bulwyf
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