Working for the “Common Good”

Labor Day found me reading many things about current unionism in this country. My son, Adam sent me one article from the Jacobin I found disturbing. It states that during the Democrat National Convention this year four major labor unions broke from the AFL-CIO Labor Caucus and caucused separately. These four are the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and both teachers unions the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). If you notice three of these organizations use the terms, federation and association instead of the word union. It is as if the word, union is a dirty word. The article states this about the four unions positions, “it’s part of a broader shift in American labor — a drift away from class-conscious unionism, unionism that believes fighting corporate power and the 1 percent is an unavoidable necessity.”

It seems these unions are concerned with serving Wall Street instead of their members and the public. These unions are embracing neoliberalism (a modern politico-economic theory favoring free trade, privatization, minimal government intervention in business, reduced public expenditure on social services) along with Republicans and Democrats like Hillary Clinton. Union leaders have been silently standing by while neoliberal politicians in both parties have chipped away at the rights of union members. While the NEA and the AFT leaders are getting in bed with neoliberals their rank and file members are fighting back.

In 2012 the Chicago Teachers Union members went on strike not just for themselves, but for increased public services that benefit the community. They didn’t negotiate for just wages, benefits and safety issues. They realized that if they fought for things to benefit and support the community the community would support them. Other union actions like this and also conferences on this idea have cropped up around the country. It is known as, “Bargaining for the Common Good.” With the growing inequity in this country I believe such actions are necessary. Rank and file union workers (and even more so their leaders) need to realize that workers and community have many shared goals and that they need to come together in solidarity to strengthen their communities and further democracy.

Most of the info I was reading over Labor Day focused on how union membership has been declining for decades. Most statistics showed U.S. union membership at 14.8 million (11% of the U.S. workforce). Article after article was pessimistic saying unions are outdated and no longer a source of any chance for meaningful change in this country. I have been known to be pessimistic sometimes (I’ve been accused of smelling flowers and looking around for a casket) but I’m optimistic that unions can make real change. That won’t happen with unions becoming neoliberal but it will happen when unions join in bargaining for the “Common Good.” Think of it another way, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has 5 million members, with that number they own and control a large number of our lawmakers. Whether you agree with their agenda or not their organization gets the job done. Seems to me that 14.8 million people working for the common good should be able to better their communities and guide the hands of a lot of lawmakers. What are we waiting for?

Dropkick Murphys: “Workers Song”

“The Warriors Code”

“Unions have been fighting the 1 percent vs 99 percent fight for more than 100 years. Now the rest of us are learning that this fight is also OUR fight.” ~ DAVE JOHNSON, “Labor’s Fight is OUR Fight”, Campaign for America’s Future

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No Tranquility in a FOX NEWS World

Mrs. E. and I were having a late lunch in Bar Bill Tavern in East Aurora, NY. We were sharing a beef on weck (the proper way with lots of horseradish) and some wings. Bar Bill is famous for these two things and deservedly so. All of a sudden, I almost choked on my Molson draft in a frosted mug. That was because of the extremely loud conversation of two men and a woman all in their seventies who were sitting behind us. One guy said, “That damn Obama just gave those terrorists in Iran $400 million of our tax dollars.” The Woman said, “It just proves “Obamie” is a Muslim terrorist who is trying to give our country to ISIS.” The other man loudly chimed in, “That bastard never had a job before he became president and knows nothing about doing an honest day’s work.”

My head snaked around to stare at them. At that point, Mrs. E. kicked my ankle under the table. She said, “Don’t get involved, you promised me you wouldn’t talk about politics on this trip. Also, I don’t want you to get your blood pressure up.” She had a point as I had promised no political talk on the trip; I’d also forgotten to pack any blood pressure pills. I wanted to tell my tavern neighbors that; President Obama had been the director of the Developing Communities Project, a Chicago Catholic Church based-community organization. From 1985-1988  he set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants’ rights organization. He also helped steelworkers who had lost their jobs. He helped them get training and aided in finding them jobs. I can relate to that because as a former steelworker I was in that position in 1999 when the plant I worked at closed. I didn’t get much help in getting back into the job market. I would really have appreciated a community organizer like Barack Obama. Conservatives who belittled Obama for being a community organizer just don’t realize what an important job that can be to people in need. I’ve known some community organizers and it is a difficult and underpaid job. The old timers behind me had been talking about a terrible supervisor they worked for at a construction company. I guess they were luckier than me and retired without ever being forced to change careers.

President Obama also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago law School for twelve years. He directed Illinois’s Project Vote that had ten staffers and seven hundred volunteer registrars; it registered up to 400,000 unregistered African-Americans. It led Crain’s Chicago Business to name Obama to its 1993 list of “40 under Forty” powers to be. Obama then spent three years at a 13-attorney law firm that specialized in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development. Obama spent eight years in the Illinois State Senate. He then spent fours year in the US Senate before becoming president. That resume sounds like he did plenty before becoming president to me. Had I not feared being kicked again by Mrs. E. I would have stated Obama’s resume to the table behind me. I would have added that I bet all of their resumes added together wouldn’t have even come close to President Obama’s resume.

I reminded myself of why I had come back to visit East Aurora for the third time. It is a town where a hero of mine established an Arts & Craft community. I find the same peace that my hero, Elbert Hubbard found here in 1895. Here at Bar Bill Tavern in East Aurora I was having that peace disturbed by a few know nothings that get their info from FOX NEWS. I took a deep breath and tried to meditate and remind myself how tranquil I always feel in East Aurora, NY.

At that moment two men in their late 60’s sat down at the bar on the other side of us. One said very loudly, “I saw on the news that our government and that damn Obama just gave $400 million of our money to his terrorist pals in Iran.” The other man said, “I haven’t seen the news in the last few days but I’m not surprised by anything that ahole Obama does.” As I stared at them Mrs. E. waved down our waiter to get our bill. I would have given all of these folks who seem to get their news from FOX or right-wing radio these facts: The US did not pay a $400 million ransom to Iran. It was actually money Iran paid for weapons in 1979. The weapons were never delivered, so the US was actually refunding Iran its own money (plus interest) as required in a lawsuit.  The Iranian government spun the story to make it look like a ransom payoff for some U.S. hostages. Of course FOX NEWS and other conservative media also spun the story to make it look like  President Obama was paying ransoms.

I had thought someday about retiring somewhere like beautiful East Aurora (which is also not far from the picturesque Grand Canyon of NY) because I feel at peace there. I am now reminded some people will always eat the apple that snakes like FOX NEWS sells and F#*k up your paradise. I guess I’ll switch gears and try to find a very remote cave to retire to.

Hal Walker: “Home in Ohio”

“Praise Song”

“The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

“Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.” ~ Elbert Hubbard




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God’s Going Out of Business Sale

James Dobson says the Obama’s transgender guidelines

are an effort to sow chaos in order to impose tyranny.

Elbert “Gene” Spriggs is founder of the Twelve Tribes,

preaches that black people are meant for slavery

and that all homosexuals should be put to death.

The church also believes in the subjugation of women

and in severally beating and abusing children.

Wayne Bent founder of Lord Our Righteous Church,

was convicted of criminal sexual contact of a minor

in 2008 and was sentenced to 18 years in jail.

Graham Caprill former leader of Christian Herald New Zealand,

was sentenced to nine-year in prison after multiple charges

of child sexual abuse against girls under twelve.

Jung Myung Seok South Korean religious sect leader and founder

of Providence was convicted for raping several of his followers.

Ervil LeBaron leader of a group of polygamous Mormon fundamentalists,

was convicted of involvement in the murder of two people

and plotting to kill another person in 1981.

Jeffrey Lundren head of a branch of the break away

Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints,

was executed in 2006, for multiple murders.

Reverend Jim Jones leader of the Peoples Temple

committed suicide with a gun after he orchestrated

the mass suicide cyanide poisoning

of 909 of his followers including 304 children.

Heaven’s Gate founder Marshall Applewhite, and 38 of his followers

committed suicide in order to abandon their terrestrial forms

and gain access an imagined UFO behind comet Hale-Bopp.

Fred Phelps the leader of Westboro Baptist Church

protested at the grave sites of our soldiers killed in the Middle East.

He said they were being killed by God because of the acceptance of gay rights.

Swami Premananda of Tiruchirapalli an Indian religious leader,

was convicted and sentenced to two life sentences

for the rape of 13 girls and murder in 2005.

Paul Schafer the former head of Chile-based Colonia Dignidad

was convicted and sentenced for sexually abusing 25 children.

Yahweh Ben Yahweh the head of Nation of Yahweh,

convicted for Federal racketeering charges

and conspiracy involving 14 murders.

Dwight York head of Nuwaubianism, was convicted in 2004

of multiple RICO, child molestation, and financial reporting charges

was convicted and sentenced to 135 years in prison.

Jim Baker creator of PTL was convicted of fraud and conspiracy charges

after illegally soliciting millions of dollars from his followers.

Luc Jouret a founder of the Order of the Solar Temple was convicted

in Canadian Federal Court of conspiring to buy illegal handguns.

Henry Lyons Former President of National Baptist Convention USA,

was convicted for both racketeering and grand theft.

Sun Myung Moon –Leader of the Unification Church,

was imprisoned for criminal tax fraud in the 1980s

Benny Hinn admits that he’d like to kill his critics

with a “Holy Ghost machine gun.”

His wife Suzanne tells churchgoers, “You know what you need?

A Holy Ghost enema right up your rear end.”

Canadian-born televangelist Todd Bentley says that God told him

to kick a woman in the face in order to heal her.

Kenneth Copeland a billionaire preaches the prosperity gospel.

He claims there is something wrong if a Christian doesn’t become rich.

Televangelist Mike Murdock asks his TV viewers to donate $1,000.

He says that if you donate with a credit card God will erase the donor’s debt.

In 1991 Jimmy Swaggart’s second prostitute-related scandal occurred.

He was pulled over driving erratically and his passenger was a prostitute.

Swaggart told his church, “The Lord told me it’s flat none of your business.”

I haven’t even gotten to the Catholic priest pedophiles.

It’s hard to take God seriously with these crazies for representatives.

Let’s look at this insanity from a business perspective.

God you need to view these tragic happenings as a businessman.

You’ve hired some really terrible people as employees.

You would think that the inventor of humans

would be the ultimate Human Resource Director.

You may do other things well but you need training at hiring.

Why aren’t you learning from your mistakes and growing as a boss?

One subpar employee can throw an entire business into disarray.

Bad hires create lower morale, interruptions to the businesses work flow

and negative perceptions about the business, all of which negatively affect

daily productivity and service quality in the end.

God, you need to give your hires clear performance objectives.

You’ve got to do some damage control before believers

decide to jump ship and shop around for a competing deity.

Get rid of these evil employees who say they represent you.

Make an example of them to get other employee’s attention.

Perhaps, spontaneous combust them at a meeting of all your employees.

If feeling more compassionate, give them some type of severance package,

and a retirement plan and permanent vacation in the lowest region of Hell.

It is time to get your business back on track before it’s too late.

I don’t really want to attend your going out of business sale.

I don’t need any used halos, trumpets, harps, angel gowns

or souvenir pieces of Saint Peter’s rusty gate.

Max Gomez: “Rule the World”

“Ball and Chain”

“I’m not the last of the old bosses. I’m the first of the new leaders.” ~ Richard J. Daley


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Haters in the Name of Their God

700 Club,” televangelist Pat Robertson reacted

to the massacre at an Orlando gay club by saying,

that liberal LGBT rights advocates have aligned

themselves with radical Islamists and are now

reaping exactly what they have sown.

Pastor Steven Anderson reacted to the terrorist attack

at the Orlando, Florida gay nightclub by happily announcing

that “there are 50 less pedophiles in this world.”

He added, “The bad news is that a lot of the homos

in the bar are still alive, so they’re going to continue

to molest children and recruit people into

their filthy homosexual lifestyle.”

He claimed that gun owners and pastors are the real victims

of the tragedy, predicting that the government will use the massacre

to confiscate firearms, demonize Christians and outlaw hateful speech.

And we all know that hate speech is an important part of fundamentalist religion.

Like the hate speech of Pat Robertson after 117 people died in Hurricane Sandy.

He claimed Sandy happened because of growing acceptance of homosexuality.

This is the same Pat Robertson who advised a caller to his TV show

to go ahead and divorce his wife that was suffering with Alzheimer’s.

Fundamentalist Muslim cleric Abdul Qadeer Baksh

stated that in a perfect world gays would be killed.

Kansas Pastor Curtis Knapp told his church members

the government should start killing homosexuals.

Maryland Pastor Dennis Leatherman said his flesh

kind of likes the idea of killing all the gays.

Pastor Jeff Sangl of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle cheered a child

who sang, “ain’t no homo going to make it to Heaven.”

This in the same town where a fifteen year old killed himself

after being bullied for being perceived of as gay by his classmates.

Pastor Sean Harris says if a son shows what is perceived as effeminate behavior,

a parent should beat him and squash him like a cockroach.

North Carolina Pastor Charles Worley told his congregation,

that gays should be interned in concentration camps.

The late Fred Phelps was pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church.

He and his members protested at U.S. soldiers funerals.

They claimed God was letting our soldiers die in wars

because gays were getting rights and that “God hates fags.”

Billy Graham’s son Franklin warned that God was going

to send the floods of Noah because of gay marriage rights.

These religious leaders believe God hates all the same people as them.

Thusly, they were all created in God’s image,

I believe God loves so he doesn’t preach hate.

It is religion, which is of man that preaches hate.

I’d suggest these “religious men” try to follow that whole

love one another and judge not lest yes be judged thing.

Phil Keaggy: “What a Day”

Phil Keaggy: “River is Rising”

“Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.” ~ Garrison Keilor





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Great Again?

Students at Burns Middle School in Mobile, Alabama

were recently subjected to a “racist math test.

The test included counting how much money

drug dealers, pimps and their ho’s made.

Also, things about gangs, drive by shootings,

how many girls a boy knocked up, drive by shootings

and how much a daily crack habit costs.

Hispanic and black names were used in the questions.

Dr. Bob Hughes an associate dean at Seattle University

and a woman who was an administrator were sitting at a Starbucks.

They were both dressed in professional attire as it was a work day.

A white man neither of them knew,

while walking out the door

spit on Hughes female friend.

He then yelled out, “fucking nigger bitch.”

He repeated, “That’s right, fucking nigger bitch.”

Patrons of the Starbucks sat silently going about their business.

In a Starbucks in Washington, D.C., a Muslim woman was called,

“a worthless piece of Muslim trash” and a “terrorist” by a white woman.

She poured something on the Muslim woman,

and stated she was planning on voting for Donald Trump,

who would send Muslims “back to where you come from.”

At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor the words

“Stop Islam” and “Trump 2016” were chalked,

in a common area at the school for all to see.

The school refused to remove them citing “free speech.”

Similar chalkings saying, “torture Muslims were found at UCSB.

“Stop Islam” was written at the Fine Arts Building at UMassachusetts.

Statistics indicate that over half of Muslim students

under the age of 18 have experienced religious-based bullying.

In fact, Muslim students are twice as likely to be

the target of bullying than other students.

Rep. Susan Lynn (R) Tennessee lawmaker was caught distributing

a hate filled anti-Islam DVD to her colleagues in the Tennessee house.

Sarker Haque, owner of the Fatima Food Mart in Queens,

was assaulted by a 55-year-old white man

who said “I kill Muslims” during the attack.

Denise Slader is an employee for the California Department of Corrections.

She was caught on video attacking two Muslim men praying in a public park.

Two Muslim women who wearing headscarves

were violently attacked by angry Islamophobes in Tampa.

An Iranian-American in California was killed by a white supremacist.

in Houston in a Palestinian-American man was killed

by a man who told him to “go back to Islam.”

Samson Woldemichael, an Ethiopian-American Uber driver

from Charlotte, North Carolina, was brutally beaten

by a passenger who mistakenly believed he was Muslim.

Haneen Jasim, a 22-year-old pre-med student at the University of Cincinnati,

was nearly run over on campus by a man who cursed and called her a “terrorist.”

Mariano Talavera carrying an American flag,

walked into the Islamic Center of San Antonio

during morning prayers and began wiping his boots

on prayer mats while shouting insults and obscenities.

Three Bronx boys attacked a six-year old Muslim girl

tearing at her hijab and beating her while calling her “ISIS.”

A man tried to rip off a Muslim college student’s hijab

at a parking lot near San Diego State University.

A Brooklyn postal worker insulted and spat on two Muslim women.

He told them he was going to “burn their temple down.”

A 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of deliberately

setting fire to a mosque in Coachella Valley, California.

The Islamic Center of Pflugerville, near Austin,

was smeared with feces and pages torn from the Qur’an.

Pamphlets bearing Ku Klux Klan imagery and asking readers

to “support gay bashing” and deporting what it called

“mud people” were left outside a Florida Mosque.

In Boston 2 men brutally beat up and urinated

on a homeless Latino man saying Trump was right.

Fans of Andrean High School in Indiana held up a picture

of Donald Trump and shouted chants at Latino players

on their opposing team chanting, “Build a Wall,”

“No comprende” and “Speak English.”

Four days earlier and 400 miles away in Adel, Iowa

Perry High School and Dallas Center-Grimes High School

competed in a basketball game with a similar incident.

Nearly half of Perry’s student body is Hispanic.

“Some students from Dallas Center-Grimes

began the chant of “Trump, Trump Trump.”

Perry won the game, and were taunted,

with chants of ‘USA, USA’ and “Mini-Mexico.’

The Perry Bluejays who are going to the state tournament,

said they have heard the same chants from 3 other schools.

After being chased through the streets of Staten Island

by a group of mostly white young men who shouted racial slurs,

16-year-old black teenager Dayshen McKenzie collapsed and died.

Jane a black Northwestern University student contacted an Airbnb host

in Charlotte, North Carolina about a temporary place to stay.

She received these racists’ messages from Todd Warner the rental’s owner,

“This is the south darling.”  “Find another place to rest your nigger head.

In Asheville, North Carolina, 25-year-old Cassandra McWade,

was in an accident in which a semi-truck hit her car.

She is disabled with psoriatic arthritis, impaired mobility,

early stage Crohn’s disease and severe fibromyalgia.

She called for help and tow truck driver, Ken Shupe arrived.

He describes himself as being a conservative Christian.

Upon seeing a Bernie Sanders sticker on her bumper,

he told her he wouldn’t tow her and then drove off.

Since the start of the presidential election cycle,

there have been approximately 180 reported incidents

of anti-Muslim violence, including: 12 murders;

34 physical assaults; 49 verbal assaults or threats

against persons and institutions; 56 acts of vandalisms

or destruction of property; 9 arsons; and 8 shootings.

A North Carolina man pleaded guilty Friday to forcibly

removing a Muslim woman’s head scarf during a flight

between Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He stated, “Take it off! This is America!”

He then pulled her hijab all the way off.

The racist who are committing these hate crimes

don’t see them as crimes given the current political climate.

They actually think those who oppose their hate-filled conduct

are committing a huge crime they label as political correctness.

You can call us politically correct criminals if you want,

but the majority of us Americans reject

your efforts to make America great again.

America will become great again when you racists

return to the rock you crawled out from under.

Rucka Rucka Ali:  “Trump”

“Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.” ~ Gore Vidal


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Investing in Hate


When the Soviet Union was fighting Muslims,

in a long terrible war in Afghanistan,

the USA was backing the Muslims.

So, I was told to hate the Soviet Communists

and support the Afghanistan Muslims.

Then it sucked when the Soviet Union

went and broke up into separate countries.

Because then I was expected to quit hating communists

and switch my hate over to hating Muslims.

Should I be against peace in the Middle East?

If peace breaks out, it will exhausting

to start from scratch hating

some other nation’s people.

This tennis match of back and forth

hatred for other inhabitants of Earth,

wouldn’t go on as much if peace paid

as well as hatred and war.

With nations leaders lacking self-esteem,

their bully boy tactics aren’t going to change.

As I approach retirement I know I’ll be set,

if I find a 401K plan invested in flags and drones.


Tommy Smothers: “Who Do I Have to Hate to be Your Friend?”

Smothers Brothers and George Segal: “The Draft Dodger Rag”

“Hate is a lack of imagination.” ~ Graham Greene

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Dysfunction Junction

GOP Speaker Ryan wants to remove the provision

of the president’s signature health care legislation

that prevents insurance companies from denying care

to those people with pre-existing conditions.

Polling shows these protections are among the law’s

most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Paul Ryan wants to increase the profit margins

of health insurance companies, big contributors to him.

He wants to serve their interests not the public’s interest.

House Republicans are working on a plan to cut funds to a program

which provides students at low-income schools with free lunches.

It would eliminate 18,600 schools and 8 million children from the program.

234 House Republicans voted yes and 183 Democrats voted no

on a resolution that would let financial advisers

represent  their own interests instead of their clients.

Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder should be held criminally responsible

for the lead contamination in Flint, Michigan’s water supply.

Documents show that people all around the governor

were sounding the alarms, but he continued to ignored them.

The only infrastructure that interests conservatives are

building new stadiums and constructing new prisons.

The Maine Legislature voted overwhelmingly to override

Maine’s Republican Gov. Paul LePage veto of  a bill

to increase the availability of a drug overdose antidote.

Le Page felt saving the life of drug addicts was not worth

the five dollars that the life saving drug, Narcan costs.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee has signed

an anti-LGBT bill that will allow counselors and therapists

in the state to turn away clients who are gay or transgender.

Former Republican Senator from South Carolina Jim DeMint

who is now president of the conservative Heritage Foundation

admitted in an interview that the reason for Voter ID is simply

to elect more Republicans and suppress Democrats’ votes.

A unanimous decision by Oklahoma’s conservative criminal appeals court,

has ruled that if a rape victim is incapacitated by alcohol

and has oral sex forced on her, it’s not a criminal act.

Ohio’s Republican Governor Kasich has been quoted as saying,

girls who don’t want raped shouldn’t drink.

Former House Speaker Republican Dennis Hastert

was sentenced to 15 months in prison in his hush-money case.

He paid hush money to former high school wrestlers

he had molested when he was a high school wrestling coach.

Republican Rep. Tom DeLay, the former House majority whip

wrote a letter to the Chicago federal court that tried Hassert saying,

Dennis Hassert is a man of “strong faith” and “great integrity.”

Rep. Tom DeLay was the first congressional leader ever to be indicted.

He was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and illegal campaign financing.

He now runs a conservative political campaign consulting firm

with the very ironic name, First Principles LLC.

Republican politicians love the private sector and hate government.

They claim the government is messing up the whole country.

I would certainly agree with them that government is making a mess of things.

Especially since, the fact is Republicans are actually

the goddamn government for most of the nation.

Republicans control both houses of Congress,

have total control over the legislatures

and governorships of 23 of our states.

A Pew survey found that the public’s dislike of the Republican Party

has spiked to levels not seen in nearly a quarter of a century.

Only 33% of the American public has a favorable view of them.

The GOP calls thinks they are the Family values party.

Only if it is a badly dysfunctional family

with an alcoholic, abusive, angry self-righteous,

racist, misogynist, homophobic, bullying husband.

The Democrats are the battered but completely

submissive apathetic spouse who just acquiesces.

Democrat politicians are too busy hanging onto what little we have

to bother coming up with much-needed  fixes for our nation.

That makes us the mistreated, powerless and ignored kids.

R.I.P. Prince

Prince:“Colonized Mind”

“Act of God”


“Must be nice to be a Republican senator sometimes, because you get the fun of breaking sh*t and the joy of complaining the sh*t you just broke doesn’t work.” ~Jon Stewart




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