The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, February 7, 2016.

New York Times: "Robin Chandler Duke, a rags-to-riches grande dame who married an ambassador and became one of America’s best known advocates for women by championing reproductive rights and international family planning, died in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday. She was 92."

New York Times: "Defying warnings of tougher sanctions from Washington, North Korea launched a rocket on Sunday that Western experts believe is part of a program to develop intercontinental ballistic missile technologies."

White House Live Video
February 5

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Public Service Announcement

New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Timess: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

New York Times: "Twitter is experimenting with introducing a longer form of tweet, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans, in what would be another gradual move away from the simplistic design sensibility that the service was originally founded upon. The project, which internally has been referred to as 'beyond 140,' is still in its testing phase and is not set to be introduced until at least March...."

Washington Post: "Four newly discovered elements managed to squeak their way in[to the periodic table] just before the end of 2015, filling up the table's seventh row and marking the first additions since 2011." CW: Since I know squat about chemistry, let me say here -- in the fullness of my ignorance -- that the periodic table should stick with elements that occur in nature. If chemists want a "sub-periodic table" to show off their lab-created, unstable elements, let 'em have it. I don't see how an "element" can be artificial. Anyone who knows what s/he's talking about is free to set me straight.

TPM: "Twitter announced Thursday it's bringing back Politwoops, the popular gaffe-tracking transparency tool that tracked politicians' deleted tweets, after unceremoniously killing off the service earlier this year.... Twitter revoked developer API access for the project, a venture of The Sunlight Foundation and The Open State Foundation, in August 2015."

If you are interested in what George Lucas thinks about the "Star Wars" series & other stuff, you can find out here, presuming Charlie Rose doesn't monopolize the conversation (okay, silly presumption). ...

... Later Lucas said he was sorry he said some of those nasty things.

... Hank Stuever of the Washington Post: The "final episodes of 'Downton Abbey' are among the show’s best since the first season — and they’ll reassure those hoping for the happiest possible endings for nearly every character."

BBC News: "A monument from a temple in the ancient city of Palmyra destroyed by so-called Islamic State (IS) is to be recreated in London's Trafalgar Square. The 2,000-year-old arch is all that remains of the Temple of Bel, part of the Syrian Unesco World Heritage site, captured by militants in May. It will be recreated from photographs, using a 3D printer. The institute behind the project hopes the arch will draw attention to the importance of cultural heritage." ...

... John Brennan & Sarah Knapton of the (Irish) Independent: "Ireland's saints and scholars were descended from farmers and bronze metalworkers from the Middle East and modern-day Ukraine, scientists have found. Researchers have sequenced ancient Irish human genomes for the first time. They discovered mass migrations to Ireland thousands of years ago resulted in huge changes to the ancient Irish genetic make-up. A team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen's University Belfast made the findings, which show a massive shift in our genetic mix over the course of just 1,000 years. They believe the genetic influxes brought cultural change such as moving to settled farmsteads, bronze metalworking - and may have even been the origin of western Celtic language." ...

... CW: One trouble with denigrating certain ethnic groups: we're all cousins. Sorry, "white" people.

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Friday
Apr272012

The Commentariat -- April 28, 2012

President Obama's Weekly Address:

     ... The transcript is here.

Gail Collins just nicks the tip of the iceberg on the privitization of education, but it's enough to infuriate me. If you want to talk war on everything, the war on public education is perhaps the most scandalous, because it is, to borrow a phrase from Obama, winning our future. That is to say, our future is losing. CW: BTW, it may be coincidental, but ever since I wrote a column (which nobody liked) in the NYTX criticizing Collins for wasting her NYT real estate on frivolous stuff, Collins has written mostly substantive columns.

Kevin Drum: "Can the government provide healthcare more efficiently than the private market? There's no simple answer to that, but a couple of recent data points suggest the answer is yes." This is an interesting post in that Drum cites studies that indicate both Medicare & Medicaid costs are actually holding steady or decreasing. This was news to me.

Paul Krugman: "Obama, far from presiding over a huge expansion of government the way the right claims, has in fact presided over unprecedented austerity, largely driven by cuts at the state and local level. And it’s therefore an amazing triumph of misinformation the way that lackluster economic performance has been interpreted as a failure of government spending." With a chart to prove it. ...

... Here's Krugman on NPR; includes summary of the interview.

How to Control the Narrative. Glenn Greenwald doesn't like it: "This is what the Obama administration does over and over. It’s a flagrant abuse of its secrecy powers. It uses anonymous leaks to selectively boast about what it does and thus shape media narratives and public understanding of its conduct (also called 'domestic propaganda'). But it then simultaneously insists that the whole matter is classified — Top Secret — when it comes time to be subjected to any form of legal accountability or have its assertions publicly tested."

Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "Obama campaign officials have asked the president’s elite donors and fund-raisers to donate to [Hillary] Clinton’s defunct presidential campaign committee, with the goal of retiring $245,000 in debt left over from her 2008 White House bid. As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton is barred from engaging in political activity or actively fund-raising for herself." Naturally, there's a tit for tat.

CW: Sorry, forgot to post this yesterday. Peter Baker of the New York Times: "President Obama plans to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 13 people, including Bob Dylan, John Glenn, Toni Morrison and John Paul Stevens, the White House announced Thursday." Post includes complete list of honorees.

Richard Ryan & William Ryan in the New York Times: "In this month’s issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, we and our fellow researchers provide empirical evidence that homophobia can result, at least in part, from the suppression of same-sex desire.

Steve Kornacki of Salon: "After a week of public squabbling, both [Scott Brown & Elizabeth Warren] publicly released several years of tax returns earlier today, and it turns out their incomes aren't very different. According to the Boston Globe's report, Brown and his wife (a former television reporter at Boston's ABC affiliate) took in $510,856 in 2011. The total for Warren and her husband: $616,181. Their 2010 returns tell a similar story, with Brown reporting around $840,000 in income and Warren about $955,000. Those totals put each of them near the top of the income scale. There's a wider gulf in earlier years, before Brown's 2010 Senate victory, which he parlayed into a lucrative book deal."

Suzy Khimm of the Washington Post: "On Capitol Hill, Democrats are aggressively pushing the case that Republicans are now waging a 'War on Women' on three legislative fronts. First, they are blasting House Republicans for their proposal to block changes to the Violence Against Women Act.... Second, they've cast the GOP proposal to lower student rates by taking money out of Obamacare's prevention fund as another 'assault on women.' ... [Third,] Senate Democrats are planning to hold a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which 'would put more pressure on employers to prove that differences in wages are not rooted in gender difference.' ..."

Meanwhile, in ...

... Right Wing World

The Presidential Race

We’ve always encouraged young people: Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business. -- Mitt Romney, rich person with rich parents, like so many of us ...

Steve Benen chronicles Mitt's lies of the week; 15th in an extraordinary series.

Alec MacGillis of The New Republic: President Obama may use climate change to smoke out Willard Romney and his climate change denials turns; it could play well with upscale voters who think Romney is appealing.

Local News

Believe me, there is [sic.] a lot of good and hardworking people that work for the state. They are not the problem. The problem is the middle management of the state is about as corrupt as you can be. Believe me, we’re trying every day to get them to go to work, but it's hard. -- Gov. Paul LePage (RTP-Maine) ...

... Eric Russell of Bangor Daily News: LePage "offered no proof of corruption, no data to back his case that these managers don't work and he didn't identify a specific department. He did go on to talk about how most of these employees are not appointed by him and are protected through union contracts."

News Ledes

New York Times: "The latest high-level talks on ending a diplomatic deadlock between the United States and Pakistan ended in failure on Friday over Pakistani demands for an unconditional apology from the Obama administration for an airstrike. The White House, angered by the recent spectacular Taliban attacks in Afghanistan, refuses to apologize."

New York Times: "The recently retired chief of Israel's internal security agency said Friday night that he had 'no faith' in the ability of the current leadership to handle the Iranian nuclear threat, ratcheting up the criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak from the defense and intelligence communities."

New Rules. New York Times: "... the Secret Service ... announced on Friday that it had tightened its rules for staff members traveling in foreign countries."

AFP: "A leading Chinese activist who escaped from house arrest last weekend is now under US 'protection' and Washington and Beijing are in talks over his status, an overseas rights group said Saturday. Chen Guangcheng, who has been blind since childhood, fled last Sunday with the help of his supporters from under the noses of dozens of guards and subsequently recorded a video alleging abuses against him and his family."

New York Times: police chiefs from 250 American cities gathered in Washington this week to focus on disparities in gun violence among cities.

AP: "Calling it an 'oversight,' George Zimmerman's attorney said Friday the neighborhood watch volunteer did not disclose that a website had raised more than $200,000 for his defense, even though his family told the judge they would have trouble coming up with his bond.... Florida Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester said he wanted to know more about the money."

AFP: "A Ukrainian court adjourned until May 21 on Saturday the new tax evasion trial of the jailed ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko, who is on hunger strike, on account of her failing health. The unexpected decision came as Western concern mounted over the fate of the fiery opposition leader after she stretched her fast into a ninth day to protest an alleged beating at the hands of three prison guards."

Reader Comments (13)

Poor Mittens. He really doesn't get it.

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Poor Mitt RawMoney. He really doesn't get it.

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Poor Mitt RawMoney. He really doesn't get it.

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Poor Mitt RawMoney. He really doesn't get it. (sigh)

Do NOT delete this. It deserves repetition.

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Thanks for sharing Boehner doing his best Nixon "I am not a crook" impression. However, even a lame sound bite suffices to convince those who dearly desire, without being blamed, to rein in those heretics who are contemplating sex for non-Catholic League-approved purposes, even when the attempt to squelch the sinners creates some collateral damage.

Actually, now that I think about it, those salacious mouth-breathers deserve to have to listen to el Rushbo--for eternity.

April 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

An astute commenter (Huffington Post) wrote this regarding
Maine's Governor LePage latest bit of stupidity in his continuing series of knee-jerk thinking.

"Just remember, it costs taxpayers on AVERAGE twice as much to PRIVATIZE Government services.

The idea, that you can contract private, un-regulated, PROFIT driven companies and expect them to operate more efficiently FOR TAXPAYERS is ludicrous. BUT the right has convinced millions of Americans it is TRUE. "

It more than applies to the points Gail Collins made in her column. Somehow, 'privatization' has been sold as 'no cost' to the gullible public—who do they think pays the cost for the privatized jails? The inmates? Who pays for the Charter Schools? The magic money fairy? Who buys the myth that privately run school 'hire' better teachers than public schools?

Unfortunately, too many have. Wake up, people!

April 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

"Can the government provide healthcare more efficiently than the private market? There's no simple answer to that..." Yes there is! Simply deny payments for medically worthless procedures and fix a pricing schedule that allows for a maximum of 25% more than any other country charges for the same procedure. My favorite, an appendectomy in Germany $3285, in the US $13,123. And there would be a huge improvement in the US economy when surgeons would have to give up their Mercedes for a Ford.

April 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

When Romney repeats lies such as asserting that President Obama has "apologized for America" why doesn't the press challenge him to cite specifics? This question is rhetorical.
But it sure would be refreshing to see an energized media that doesn't just act as dutiful scribes.

April 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Re. Eduction. Roosevelt created the CCC and put three hundred thousand unemployed young people to work in three momths.
We could create the Teachers Conservation Corps and put an assistant in every class room to minister to those that have trouble keeping up. What a wonder it would be to have a whole bunch of children that could read, write and do sums.
Taking educated young people and giving them experience and a salary would be expensive but the result would be priceless, an economic stimulus and better prepared students and workers.

April 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

@ Jack: such a coincidence––last night after watching Boehner's little hissy fit I turned to my husband, shook my finger, and in my best Nixonian voice said, "I am NOT a crook!"

Romney's continuel lies amaze me along with the lack of the right to hold his feet to the fire. They, these republicans, evidently think it just doesn't matter, that the public doesn't know any better. When the debates start Obama will have such a treasure trove of goodies to work with. When Mitt's father, George, was a presidential candidate for the 1968 elections his truth telling did him in. He had backed the Vietnam War, but after going over there to see first hand he concluded he has been "brainwashed,"––and he finally let that loose––and for that he lost. Here we have the opposite with son Mitt, whose fabrications become his facts until faced head on––he, too, will lose...I hope.

I agree with Marie that the war on education is the most scandalous and the vultures who are making big bucks from mucking it up need to be exposed. There have been some exposés re: these private on-line colleges, but there needs to be outrage.

April 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

The canard of privatization has been given serious legs because here again the press have failed miserably to do their job.

The right has been pushing this for decades. Remember Ronald Reagan and then Ross Perot whining about how government should be run more like a business? Well first, the only real business Reagan had ever been in was the creation of fantasy. Ross Perot got rich because lucrative government contracts allowed him to develop data systems that he then went on to make a fortune with after his work with the government was concluded. There is absolutely no way he would have been able to develop those systems on his own nickel. We paid for it. You and me. Then he took what he learned while raking in our money and made a fortune. You know what? Good for him. But for him to turn around and stoke the fires of hatred and loathing for the government by ripping it for not being "business-like" was not just disingenuous, it was repulsive.

And so, the idea that government services could be provided better by the private sector has taken hold because no one has ever challenged it.

Are private sector enterprises more efficient? Maybe. Sometimes. But clearly not always. Why didn't GM see that giant gas guzzlers would kill its business? Hmmm? Would GM still be around if Obama hadn't stepped in and helped? And remember Chrysler? The government bailed their asses out too and then Lee Iaccoca, without EVER mentioning the help he got from unions and federal government went on to fashion himself as the savvy businessman who "saved Chrysler." Bullshit.

As Krugman and many others have pointed out many, many times, government is NOT a business. It does things business could never do. Would we have gone to the moon without the government? Would we have a interstate highway system? The Hoover Dam? The TVA? Can you just imagine postal service handled by a private business? You may never get mail because your house might not be on a profitable enough route. Same with bus services. Same with pretty much everything else. If it doesn't return a profit at a certain level, they won't do it. So close thousands of public libraries. Close schools. Shut down unemployment centers, public hospitals, the FDA, hey what a boon to Big Pharma!

Would any of these things or many more be in our lives if Republicans had their way and worked everything like a business? It's not even a rhetorical question. We've already had a president--the CEO president--who operated the government as if it were his own private corporation. George W. Bush.

See how well that turned out.

Any more questions?

April 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus

Gov. LePage continues to embarrass most Mainers with his thoughtless remarks (and terrible grammar). But not all of us. The other night, while tending bar, I had the misfortune of having to over hear a couple people praising LePage's "straight-talk" and "bluntness". Seems neither of them has any trust in "smooth talking politicians". Both were military people, one headed to Afganistan. After two drinks they started talking about how they'd like to see President Obama's school records....Thank goodness they left, or I'd have been forced to cut them off!

April 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGail Leiser

On further thought, just consider exactly what kind of education children might receive from for profit corporations. Maybe decades ago when many corporations were somewhat standalone, there might have been a small chance that actual education could be the goal (stick that in your Funk and Wagnalls) but today when corporations are wholly owned subsidiaries of larger fish who themselves in turn owe obeisance, fealty, and profits to even bigger multi-nationals?

Nope.

So here's how it works.

Edu-corp, a private educational management company owned by some multi-national which in turn trades in a variety of investment instruments, decides that a science text book by Good Science Publishers, has too many references to human based global warming. Since a substantial portion of the parent corporation's quarterly earnings comes from introducing enormous amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, it's very likely that they will opt for the science textbooks developed by Texas Oilman's Press which states that there is no such thing as global warming. Also, if some group threatens to boycott some other industry they own, they might come to an understanding with them and force all their schools to purchase textbooks written by The Fundamentalist Christian Way Publishing company which declares that...well, you can guess for yourselves.

As for that conversation that Gail overheard, it wouldn't matter if those patrons saw Obama's school records. Upon seeing the record of a superior student, they would assume that it had been doctored because no nee-gro could ever be that smart.

Sorry, but there really is no rational reason for so many to hate Obama like they do apart from blank, unholy racial hatred.

And we all know, haters gonna hate.

And maybe run our schools too.

April 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus
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