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The Past and the Present (Thomas Sowell on Newt Gingrich)
Creators Syndicate ^ | December 20, 2011 | Thomas Sowell

Posted on 12/19/2011 9:59:22 AM PST by jazusamo

If Newt Gingrich were being nominated for sainthood, many of us would vote very differently from the way we would vote if he were being nominated for a political office.

What the media call Gingrich's "baggage" concerns largely his personal life and the fact that he made a lot of money running a consulting firm after he left Congress. This kind of stuff makes lots of talking points that we will no doubt hear, again and again, over the next weeks and months.

But how much weight should we give to this stuff when we are talking about the future of a nation?

This is not just another election and Barack Obama is not just another president whose policies we may not like. With all of President Obama's broken promises, glib demagoguery and cynical political moves, one promise he has kept all too well. That was his boast on the eve of the 2008 election: "We are going to change the United States of America."

Many Americans are already saying that they can hardly recognize the country they grew up in. We have already started down the path that has led Western European nations to the brink of financial disaster.

Internationally, it is worse. A president who has pulled the rug out from under our allies, whether in Eastern Europe or the Middle East, tried to cozy up to our enemies, and has bowed low from the waist to foreign leaders certainly has not represented either the values or the interests of America. If he continues to do nothing that is likely to stop terrorist-sponsoring Iran from getting nuclear weapons, the consequences can be beyond our worst imagining.

Against this background, how much does Newt Gingrich's personal life matter, whether we accept his claim that he has now matured or his critics' claim that he has not? Nor should we sell the public short by saying that they are going to vote on the basis of tabloid stuff or media talking points, when the fate of this nation hangs in the balance.

Even back in the 19th century, when the scandal came out that Grover Cleveland had fathered a child out of wedlock — and he publicly admitted it — the voters nevertheless sent him to the White House, where he became one of the better presidents.

Do we wish we had another Ronald Reagan? We could certainly use one. But we have to play the hand we were dealt. And the Reagan card is not in the deck.

While the televised debates are what gave Newt Gingrich's candidacy a big boost, concrete accomplishments when in office are the real test. Gingrich engineered the first Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 40 years — followed by the first balanced budget in 40 years. The media called it "the Clinton surplus" but all spending bills start in the House of Representatives, and Gingrich was Speaker of the House.

Speaker Gingrich also produced some long overdue welfare reforms, despite howls from liberals that the poor would be devastated. But nobody makes that claim any more.

Did Gingrich ruffle some feathers when he was Speaker of the House? Yes, enough for it to cost him that position. But he also showed that he could produce results.

In a world where we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available, the question is whether Newt Gingrich is better than Barack Obama — and better than Mitt Romney.

Romney is a smooth talker, but what did he actually accomplish as governor of Massachusetts, compared to what Gingrich accomplished as Speaker of the House? When you don't accomplish much, you don't ruffle many feathers. But is that what we want?

Can you name one important positive thing that Romney accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? Can anyone? Does a candidate who represents the bland leading the bland increase the chances of victory in November 2012? A lot of candidates like that have lost, from Thomas E. Dewey to John McCain.

Those who want to concentrate on the baggage in Newt Gingrich's past, rather than on the nation's future, should remember what Winston Churchill said: "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." If that means a second term for Barack Obama, then it means lost big time.



TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012; beautiful; gingrich; mustread; newtgingrich; reevaluategingrich; sowell; thomassowell
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1 posted on 12/19/2011 9:59:29 AM PST by jazusamo
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To: Jim Robinson; abigail2; Amalie; American Quilter; arthurus; awelliott; Bahbah; bamahead; ...
*PING*
Thomas Sowell

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Please FReepmail me if you would like to be added to or removed from the Thomas Sowell ping list…

2 posted on 12/19/2011 10:02:04 AM PST by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Newt doesn’t just have personal baggage. His “consulting” is just more of the same influence peddling and crony capitalism that is killing this country. Even if we get rid of Obama, the socialism that is advanced by the GOP as well as the Dems stays. We need to roll back the corrupt federal government now. We won’t be running against such a vulnerable opponent as Obama for many years to come and next time will be too late.


3 posted on 12/19/2011 10:05:31 AM PST by freedomfiter2 (Brutal acts of commission and yawning acts of omission both strengthen the hand of the devil.)
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To: jazusamo

Good for Thomas Sowell.

Exploding heads will be all over this thread.


4 posted on 12/19/2011 10:05:43 AM PST by Gator113 (~Just livin' life, my way~.. Newt/Palin-West-2012."got a lot swirling around in my head.")
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To: jazusamo
Sorry Dr. Sowell.

I voted the RINO ticket in 2008. Won't do it again.


 

5 posted on 12/19/2011 10:06:07 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS! This means liberals AND libertarians (same thing) NO LIBS!)
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To: jazusamo

Sounds like Sowell is endorsing Gingrich, more or less.


6 posted on 12/19/2011 10:06:07 AM PST by RockinRight (If you're waiting to drink until you find pure water, you're going to die of dehydration.)
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To: jazusamo

Nail on Head!!!


7 posted on 12/19/2011 10:06:33 AM PST by Laserman
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To: RockinRight

Yes, but Sowell as we all know is just another globalist statist Marxist RINO!!!!!!! /s


8 posted on 12/19/2011 10:07:04 AM PST by C. Edmund Wright (Moderator of Florida Tea Party Convention Presidential Debate)
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To: jazusamo
As I started to read the piece, I thought to myself, "I wonder where Sowell stands on Romney? As soon as I finish this, I'm going to do a quick search for Sowell on Romney."

Then Sowell beat me to the punch -- my favorite part of the essay! "... better than Mitt Romney." And goes on to elaborate on the dangers of "the bland leading the bland."

Though I don't regard Romney as "bland," I regard him as poison to the GOP and to our wonderful Republic.

9 posted on 12/19/2011 10:07:21 AM PST by Finny ("Raise hell. Vote smart." -- Ted Nugent)
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To: jazusamo
...the first balanced budget in 40 years.

I'm a bit disappointed that Dr. Sowell doesn't know that the budget hasn't been balanced (no increase in the national debt over the course of a fiscal year) since the Eisenhower administration.

10 posted on 12/19/2011 10:08:29 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Wow, where did you get that picture? I never saw that before. You mean Newt sat on a couch with Nancy Pelosi? Really? What a scoop? Do you work for National Enquirier? How did you get that super secret photo?

wow, what a story!!! What a scoop!!! Amazing the new info you can get here on FR!!!!


11 posted on 12/19/2011 10:09:14 AM PST by C. Edmund Wright (Moderator of Florida Tea Party Convention Presidential Debate)
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To: jazusamo
Can you name one important positive thing that Romney accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? Can anyone?

Positive? No. When he did manage to "accomplish" something, it was always a negative: Romneycare, gay agenda judges, and the destruction of the MA Republican party.

12 posted on 12/19/2011 10:10:24 AM PST by kevkrom (Separation of Business and State)
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To: jazusamo

One can firmly believe that Thomas Sowell is America’s greatest living intellectual and right about almost everything ... but still say, “Well, maybe, but ...” about Newt Gingrich.

I certainly want Newt to be all Dr. Sowell would wish, but I’m doubtful that he is.


13 posted on 12/19/2011 10:10:36 AM PST by Tax-chick (Two women in one house ... and one of 'em a redhead!)
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To: Gator113
Good for Thomas Sowell.

Exploding heads will be all over this thread.

Amen.

14 posted on 12/19/2011 10:11:14 AM PST by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: C. Edmund Wright

Are you being sarcastic?

Since I haven’t been Newtered, I can’t really tell.


15 posted on 12/19/2011 10:12:06 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS! This means liberals AND libertarians (same thing) NO LIBS!)
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To: Finny

The GOP in Congress prefer Romney - because; they can push/pull him around for four years - while still maintaining their own seats of power and privilege.

With Newt - they know he will push back - and that will be just too uncomfortable.

Term limits on Congress - checks & balances.


16 posted on 12/19/2011 10:16:55 AM PST by sodpoodle ( Newt - God has tested him for a reason..)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Congratulations!!! You won the award!

“I see dumb people...
... they’re everywhere...
... they walk around like everyone else...
... they don’t even know that they’re dumb...

And...
Some of them...like Responsibility2nd

...THEY POST HERE”


17 posted on 12/19/2011 10:17:33 AM PST by Gator113 (~Just livin' life, my way~.. Newt/Palin-West-2012."got a lot swirling around in my head.")
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To: Laserman

Here’s another mind-blowing NRO piece. This time by Mark Steyn.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/print/286068


18 posted on 12/19/2011 10:20:18 AM PST by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Laserman

Here’s another mind-blowing NRO piece. This time by Mark Steyn.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/print/286068


19 posted on 12/19/2011 10:20:35 AM PST by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Gator113

I see you’ve been Newtered also.

Look just because you settle for RINO # 2 does not give you the right to be a lying, manipilative, cheating scoundrel like Newt.

Oh wait. I guess it does. Carry on Newter.


20 posted on 12/19/2011 10:21:29 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS! This means liberals AND libertarians (same thing) NO LIBS!)
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To: sodpoodle
The GOP in Congress prefer Romney - because; they can push/pull him around for four years - while still maintaining their own seats of power and privilege. With Newt - they know he will push back ...

Excellent point. Thanks for stating it! It confirms my conviction that between Obama and Romney, Romney is the GREATER of the two evils.

21 posted on 12/19/2011 10:22:46 AM PST by Finny ("Raise hell. Vote smart." -- Ted Nugent)
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To: jazusamo
Excellent read. It is unfortunate that more people aren't clear, critical thinkers like Sowell. Obviously spewing outrage while beating on ones chest is easier.

Thanks for the post.

22 posted on 12/19/2011 10:27:04 AM PST by LuvFreeRepublic
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To: jazusamo

Good article. We are going with Newt.


23 posted on 12/19/2011 10:29:31 AM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

>> Are you being sarcastic? >>

HINT: Dr. Thomas Sowell would be able to figure it out all by himself.


24 posted on 12/19/2011 10:29:45 AM PST by C. Edmund Wright (Moderator of Florida Tea Party Convention Presidential Debate)
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To: Gator113

Those people want pretty picture perfection, and think that’s all that it’s going to take.

Getting rid of Obama isnt high on their priority list.


25 posted on 12/19/2011 10:31:51 AM PST by VanDeKoik (1 million in stimulus dollars paid for this tagline!)
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To: Responsibility2nd

You earned it, spammer. YOU should be very proud on the day that Obama takes the prize.


26 posted on 12/19/2011 10:32:26 AM PST by Gator113 (~Just livin' life, my way~.. Newt/Palin-West-2012."got a lot swirling around in my head.")
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To: Responsibility2nd
Has the owner of Free Republic been "Newtered?"

"Newt is a pro-life Reaganite."

-Jim Robinson

27 posted on 12/19/2011 10:34:09 AM PST by Chunga (What a load of codswallop!)
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To: VanDeKoik

“Getting rid of Obama isnt high on their priority list.”

Agreed... and neither is saving our country.


28 posted on 12/19/2011 10:34:49 AM PST by Gator113 (~Just livin' life, my way~.. Newt/Palin-West-2012."got a lot swirling around in my head.")
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To: jazusamo; Jacquerie; Jim Robinson
"Get wisdom, but with all thy getting, get understanding," (Proverbs4)

Dr. Sowell's insight reminds us that the liberties of millions yet unborn may rely on whether Americans can rediscover the essential ideas and concepts of 1776 and 1787.

At no time in America's history have those ideas been more threatened, more under attack, and more ignored by leaders in all branches of government.

Thanks to those citizens who rose up in what came to be known as a Taxed Enough Already Movement, more citizens, using new technologies to access the Founders' writings, are becoming informed about their nation's fundamental principles.

At this critical time, who better to lead us, warts and all, than a historian who actually has read and understands the underlying reasons why our liberties rely on Creator-endowed life, liberty and laws to protect them?

More contemporary ideas dealing with jobs and other mere "issues" are not enough to turn the tide of coercive power and control by government, no matter how compassionate or benevolent those who advocate them, may seem.

When Americans return to that one basic understanding of the Source of life, liberty and law, and the Founders' formula for self-government under "We, the People," freedom, opportunity, prosperity, progress and plenty will, in all likelihood, take care of themselves.

29 posted on 12/19/2011 10:36:12 AM PST by loveliberty2
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To: jazusamo

bttt


30 posted on 12/19/2011 10:36:52 AM PST by Matchett-PI ("One party will generally represent the envied, the other the envious. Guess which ones." ~GagdadBob)
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To: jazusamo
"The bland leading the bland."

Priceless!

31 posted on 12/19/2011 10:36:52 AM PST by CASchack
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To: jazusamo
In a world where we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available, the question is whether Newt Gingrich is better than Barack Obama — and better than Mitt Romney.

Gingrich is certainly better than Romney or Obama. The real question is "the alternatives actually available". I see Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum as preferable alternatives to Gingrich.

32 posted on 12/19/2011 10:38:34 AM PST by smoothsailing
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To: Gator113

If I gave a crap on how wrong you are - I would bookmark your goofy tagline and waive it in your face (Nyah-nyah-nyaaahhhh) when Sarah Palin endorses Mitt Romney.

Cause THAT will be funny to see.


33 posted on 12/19/2011 10:38:34 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS! This means liberals AND libertarians (same thing) NO LIBS!)
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To: Chunga

Yeah. He has.


34 posted on 12/19/2011 10:39:24 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS! This means liberals AND libertarians (same thing) NO LIBS!)
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To: Responsibility2nd
What makes you think he's being sarcastic? /s
35 posted on 12/19/2011 10:41:06 AM PST by Lakeshark
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To: Steelfish

SO GLAD for the Mark Steyn link.

PLEASE can you post it as its own thread? Especially in light of his former stance.


36 posted on 12/19/2011 10:41:23 AM PST by b9
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To: jazusamo

I posted my two cents on this matter last week, but unfortunately I was backed against the clock having to go offline to free up the telephone for incoming calls, and wasn’t quite as eloquent in the manner I wrote my thoughts, thus the commentary was pulled by moderator, and rightfully so I might say.

I was ticked off at those that want to place our Nation at risk discounting Mr. Gingrich as candidate for POTUS due to some indiscretions of which he has acknowledged with regrets over the years opposed to his vast experience at a time the experience is what we need in the leadership of this country. Experience that is lacking in each, and every single one of the other candidates, and yes even Rick Perry.

Much, but most certainly not all of the negatives we have been subjected to by various sources are disinformation from the war the Left waged against Mr. Gingrich back in the ‘90’s, and many believe those terrible lies especially the one about the hospital visit to his previous wife allegedly dying of cancer, and him wanting to discuss the divorce. It was BS. She lives. It was an operation to remove a benign tumor, and there was no discussion of divorce as reported by their daughter Jackie Gingrich Cushman who was there at the visit with her mom, and her dad.

THAT type of disinformation about Newt Gingrich is rampant on the internet, and is still promoted by his Leftist enemies.

He ain’t no Saint, but he IS a viable, and very qualified by experience leader with the credentials of his past history to prove that.

Thanks for the ping jaz.


37 posted on 12/19/2011 10:45:25 AM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: jazusamo

I am going with the person I want to be president in the primary, regardless of how “electable” he or she is. After the primary, it no longer matters who I wanted. I will have a choice of two. I will vote AGAINST the person who will destroy this country the quickest. Any one who does not do that supports Obama.


38 posted on 12/19/2011 10:45:38 AM PST by jim_trent
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To: jazusamo

Romney built a career on tricking democrats into voting for a republican..
NOW hes tricking republicans to vote for him before he caves to the democrats..

Romney “IS” the democrats secret weapon..
OK OK.. its not so secret anymore..


39 posted on 12/19/2011 10:45:49 AM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole...)
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To: b9

It has been posted before. I wouldn’t know Steyn’s “former stance.”


40 posted on 12/19/2011 10:46:05 AM PST by Steelfish (ui)
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To: C. Edmund Wright

lol


41 posted on 12/19/2011 10:47:48 AM PST by annieokie
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To: Steelfish

He says so in your link ~ he’s done a 180 in terms of his support for Newt.
Your link is dated today. Are you sure it’s been posted here as a thread?


42 posted on 12/19/2011 10:48:54 AM PST by b9
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To: DuncanWaring
From the article:

. . . Gingrich engineered the first Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 40 years — followed by the first balanced budget in 40 years. . . .

The federal budget was balanced in '98, '99, '00 and '01.
1998 minus 40 is 1958; (the Eisenhower administration)

43 posted on 12/19/2011 10:49:49 AM PST by skeptoid (The road to serfdom is being paved by RINO's, and Lisa Murkowski is their mascot.)
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To: C. Edmund Wright

Double HAHA


44 posted on 12/19/2011 10:50:14 AM PST by annieokie
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To: jazusamo

Sure, Sowell presents a lot of cogent points concerning achievements, but, c’mon, Mitt has great hair. So despite the fact that he’s never accomplished anything, lets nominate Mitt because he looks like what we think a president should look like. Even if he’s never given us any reason to vote for him. (smirk)


45 posted on 12/19/2011 10:52:01 AM PST by driftless2
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To: jazusamo
But how much weight should we give to this stuff when we are talking about the future of a nation?

I do think Sowell is too dismissive of these concerns, however. Personal judgement and behavior are important factors when awarding a position of trust and responsibility, even when not directly related to professional judgment and behavior.

The "baggage" question on Gingrich is a legitimate one from both the pragmatic "does it make him unelectable?" and philosophical "can we trust him?" positions, In order to throw support behind Gingrich, it is important to ask those questions and be comfortable with the answers.

46 posted on 12/19/2011 10:52:34 AM PST by kevkrom (Separation of Business and State)
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To: jazusamo

More clear thinking from Sowell. I agree with his priorities.


47 posted on 12/19/2011 10:54:38 AM PST by Interesting Times (WinterSoldier.com. SwiftVets.com. ToSetTheRecordStraight.com.)
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To: Responsibility2nd
So . . . . you'll vote Democrat??!!??

Newt is in no way like McCain.

48 posted on 12/19/2011 10:55:15 AM PST by skeptoid (The road to serfdom is being paved by RINO's, and Lisa Murkowski is their mascot.)
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To: Tax-chick
"doubtful"

I'm neither for Romney nor Gingrich, but I could imagine Gingrich telling the truth to the American public much more than I could Romney. Romney would easily roll over to make sure people liked him. Despite some of his past statements and actions (which he's since apologized for), I think Newt would be much more likely to hold firm to conservative principles than Mitt. That's not saying a lot, I'm just saying I'd trust that "zany" Gingrich more than I'd trust Romney.

49 posted on 12/19/2011 10:58:16 AM PST by driftless2
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To: Responsibility2nd

You’re an idiot.


50 posted on 12/19/2011 11:00:31 AM PST by Chunga (What a load of codswallop!)
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