The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Shakesville Arms'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

I have to wrap up early this afternoon, because I'm helping out a friend with something. Hope everyone has a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday!

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by icicles.

Recommended Reading:

Brittney: [Content Note: White Supremacy; misogynoir] Black America's Hidden Tax: Why This Feminist of Color Is Going on Strike

Ragen: [CN: Fat hatred; diet talk] Diet Ad Bingo

David: [CN: Rape culture] Revenge Porn Boss Wants Google to Remove His "Identity Related" Info

Monica: [CN: Transphobia; violence] Black Trans History Is Inspirational

Jim: [CN: Homophobia; Christian Supremacy] South Carolina Christian College Bans Homosexuality After Two Athletes Courageously Come Out

Diamond: Ferguson Organizers Receive Human Rights Award

Laura: The Makeup Artist Who Turns Faces into Superhero Drawings

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting on the ottoman, looking at me
Zelda, patiently waiting to see what we'll be doing next.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

David Bowie: "Heroes"
Live in Berlin, 2002.
Plus some chit-chat at the beginning.

You know, watching this video, and his HAPPY JOYFUL FACE at the end, as he holds out the mic to the audience, singing along to this song he must have performed literally thousands of times, I feel like David Bowie just totally knows the secret to doing life LIKE A BOSS.

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

RIP Leonard Nimoy. Sob. His final tweet: "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP." Sobbbbbbbbbbbb.

[Content Note: Guns; death; self-harm] Last night, at least eight people, including the shooter, were killed at multiple crime scenes in rural Missouri. Details about what appears to be a shooting spree are sparse at the moment, but police have promised to provide more information today. What we know at this point: "Police say that a juvenile girl called the police at approximately 10:15 p.m Central on Thursday to report a 'disturbance' at the home. When she heard gunshots, she immediately fled to a neighbor's house. Police found two bodies at the home. Later, five other bodies were found at three other residences in Tyrone." The shooter is thought to be a 36-year-old man.

Aliza Worthington on "The Incredible Oscar Moment Almost Everyone Missed." Just go read the whole thing.

[CN: Religious intolerance] Shaker KatherineSpins sent this chart/article on the state of religious freedom around the world along with the note (which I'm sharing with her permission): "It's interesting and I'm spending time staring at it. I am all for freedom of religion, with the important detail that it needs to include freedom FROM religion—and I'm not sure where that fits into this particular chart. It's not the same thing as hating someone for their religion, and I think the two may be elided in this analysis."

Madrid's Prado museum is working with Estudios Durero, a Basque design company specializing in the fine arts, "to create elaborate 3-D replicas of key works" of art for their new "Touching the Prado" exhibit. Instead of relying on standard 3-D printing, Estudios Durero "have developed a technique that they call 'Didú,' which allows them to produce works that are both rich in texture and color. 'You have to remember that not everyone who is registered blind can see nothing at all,' said Cristina Velasco, the head designer at Estudios Durero. 'Many have some at least a little vision. For this reason, we knew we had to replicate the original colors as closely as possible. This ruled normal 3-D printing out as even the most advanced 3-D printer still cannot come anywhere near reproducing the colors and shades of a masterpiece.' While keen to keep the exact details of their process a secret, Velasco explained that it involves taking a high resolution image of a painting and then working with the blind and partially sighted members of the team to identify which details need to be emphasized to provide reference points for a blind person's hands. For instance, the eyes of a painted figure always need to be made concave rather than convex to provide a universal reference point for blind viewers."

[CN: War on agency] This is really terrific news: "Four Oregon lawmakers Thursday introduced the Comprehensive Women's Health Bill, intended to ensure access to affordable, full-spectrum reproductive health care for every woman and transgender man in the state. The bill, if passed, would make Oregon the first state in the nation to ensure every state resident is covered for every type of reproductive health care, including abortion, under all forms of insurance. Backed by a handful of local groups, the bill is part of a larger progressive legislative effort announced Thursday that will also tackle sexual assault and domestic violence issues."

Oh great: "The Supreme Court's About to Hear a Case That Could Make Partisan Gerrymandering Even Worse." The best thing about that outcome is how partisan gerrymandering could make the Supreme Court even worse.

I love this so hard: Bolivian old ladies' handball league to stay fit and socially active. "Before each match, the [women, some of them great-grandmothers] warm up while singing songs from their childhood and the match itself incorporates native Andean music."

Cool: "The Photography at CERN Is Helping Solve the Mysteries of the Universe," and, in turn, "some really interesting questions are raised about the nature of photography."

And finally! Here is a beautiful tale of Rolo the rescue dog who found his forever home with a human who understands him. Having rescued two dogs with "behavior problems" who became dogs that everyone loves to pieces, this one hit me right where I live. ♥

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Llamas: The Musical

If you weren't on the internet talking about the color of a dress yesterday, you might have been talking about two escaped llamas [note: video may autoplay at link]. Once the llamas, who were eventually safely captured, were on the loose, all llama hell broke out on Twitter, with a million amazing puns, jokes, hilarious but also amazingly clever racial insights (after the black llama was caught before the white one), and, of course, #LlamaFlicks.

screen cap of tweet authored by me reading: 'Y Tu Llamá También. #LlamaFlicks'

In case you missed all the fun, here is the only video of the chase you need, care of Fox 10 Phoenix:

Video Description: Sped-up news footage from above of the llamas on the llam, dodging people and traffic and all attempts to catch them, and always staying together, until the black llama is eventually captured. The white llama lasts a while longer, but is finally lassoed. All set to Rossini's "The William Tell Overture."

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This F#@king Guy

[Content Note: Climate change.]

If you're not familiar with Jim Inhofe, here are two things you need to know about him:

1. In 2012, he published a book titled The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, in which he laid out his genius theory about global climate change: Because "God's still up there," the "arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous."

2. He is a Republican Senator from the state of Oklahoma, and he is the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Just perfect decision-making from the Republican Party, as always: Appoint a guy who believes global climate change is a hoax to lead the Senate Committee on the environment.

Yesterday, during a debate on the Senate floor, Inhofe "opened by showing pictures of an igloo his daughter's family built during a snowstorm five years ago, when he said 'the hysteria on global warming' began. Then Inhofe reached into a bag he had brought with him and pulled out a robust snowball."

Video Transcript beginning at 0:08, after C-SPAN intro:

Inhofe, an older thin white man, stands on the Senate floor, with a giant picture of an "igloo" sitting on an easel behind him and a snowball sitting in a plastic bag in front of him.

He says, as he reaches into the plastic bag: "—of national attention, in case we have forgotten, because we keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmest year on record." He pulls out the snowball and holds it up in his hand. "I ask the chair: You know what this is? It's a snowball. And that, just, from outside here. So it's very, very cold out. Very unseasonable. So, here, Mr. President—catch this!" He tosses the snowball (which was caught by a Senate page, offscreen). "Mm-hmm!"
So, basically, the Republican chair of the environment committee just threw a snowball "to the president" to prove that global climate change is a hoax, because he has all the scientific sophistication of your conservative uncle who posts shit on Facebook like, "If global warming is real, then why is it so cold outside?!"

There ain't enough heaving sigh in the world for this fucking guy.

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Blue and Black? Or Gold and White?

image of a striped dress hanging on a rack

When you look at this picture, do you see a blue and black dress, or a gold and white dress? Or maybe something sort of in-between, like light blue and orange?

In case you didn't celebrate your net neutrality last night by joining in with the entire internet to weigh in on the color of this dress, let me fill you in: Some people look at the above picture and see a blue dress with black stripes, and some people look at the above picture and see a white dress with gold stripes. And people are very convinced that they are right!

(The dress is actually blue and black.)

One might be inclined to suggest that what someone sees depends on the light and color settings of the posted photo, except here's the thing: If you've done this experiment with other people in the room with you, or with people looking at the exact same photo on social media, different people will look at the same photo and see different things!

In fact, even looking at the same version on the same site at different times can yield different results. Last night, I looked at the same image at different times, and I would see blue and black one time, and gold and white another.

It seemed to me that what colors I saw depended on at what I'd been looking just before, and in what light. And that makes sense, based on Wired's explainer of the science:
The fact that a single image could polarize the entire Internet into two aggressive camps is, let's face it, just another Thursday. But for the past half-day, people across social media have been arguing about whether a picture depicts a perfectly nice bodycon dress as blue with black lace fringe or white with gold lace fringe. And neither side will budge. This fight is about more than just social media—it's about primal biology and the way human eyes and brains have evolved to see color in a sunlit world.

Light enters the eye through the lens—different wavelengths corresponding to different colors. The light hits the retina in the back of the eye where pigments fire up neural connections to the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes those signals into an image. Critically, though, that first burst of light is made of whatever wavelengths are illuminating the world, reflecting off whatever you're looking at. Without you having to worry about it, your brain figures out what color light is bouncing off the thing your eyes are looking at, and essentially subtracts that color from the "real" color of the object. "Our visual system is supposed to throw away information about the illuminant and extract information about the actual reflectance," says Jay Neitz, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington. "But I've studied individual differences in color vision for 30 years, and this is one of the biggest individual differences I've ever seen." (Neitz sees white-and-gold.)
Right now, looking at the image of the top of the page, I see dark blue and black. What do you see?

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Open Thread

image of a rainbow over the Copper River

Hosted by a rainbow over the Copper River.

This week's Open Threads have been brought to you by rainbows over rivers.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker themiddlevoice: "What music are you currently listening to that you think is just awesome?"

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Shaker Gourmet

Share your favorite recipes, solicit good recipes, share recipes you've recently tried, want to try, are trying to perfect, whatever! Whether they're your own creation, or something you found elsewhere, share away.

Also welcome: Recipes you've seen recently that you'd love to try, but haven't yet!

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Not Bad Fortune. Bad Choices.

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

Last month, I wrote about the processing of sometimes decades-old rape kits in Detroit, and how the dangerous indifference to processing them let at least 100 serial rapists continue to victimize people without consequence.

Now, a similar finding comes out of Houston, where evidence from 6,663 previously untested rape kits has "produced 850 hits in the FBI's national DNA database" and resulted in 29 people being charged so far.

Of those charged, six are alleged to have committed other rapes while their DNA went untested, the Houston Chronicle reports. "It did happen unfortunately," District Attorney Devon Anderson said. "We are eagerly looking forward to prosecuting those rapists, those repeat rapists."
"It did happen unfortunately." Unfortunately. That rapists who could have been identified if only the rape kits done on survivors—who did what we're told we're supposed to do; who reported and subjected themselves to invasive investigative procedures in a very dark moment—had been processed has fuck-all to do with "bad fortune" and everything to do with bad choices.

The bad choices of politicians who don't support proper funding; the bad choices of law enforcement departments who don't urgently request the necessary funding; the bad choices of a criminal justice system that doesn't prioritize victims; the bad choices of the entire rape culture and everyone who upholds it; the bad choices of rapists.

[H/T to my friend Jordan.]

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Right now, all the occupants of the Republican Clown Car 2016 are making their cases at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2015. CPAC is a yearly conference that yields all kinds of gems from conservatives, and today's gem comes to us care of Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina, whose entire repertoire seems to be shouting at Hillary Clinton about how she's flown on lots of airplanes, too, but has "actually accomplished something."

"Like Mrs. Clinton, I too have traveled" the globe, Fiorina said of the former secretary of State. "Unlike Mrs. Clinton, I know that flying is an activity, not an accomplishment."

...Fiorina pleased the crowd by declaring every foreign policy move by the Obama administration and its former secretary of State had weakened America's standing around the world.

"Mrs. Clinton, please name an accomplishment," she said.
image of Hillary Clinton text messaging, to which I've added text reading: 'Not running HP into the ground J/K! How many free texts ur plan got?'

Listen, I do not think Hillary Clinton is above criticism, despite the fact that I was TOTES IN THE BAG 4 CLINTON (when I wasn't busily being TOTES IN THE BAG 4 OBAMA), but I don't care how much anyone dislikes Hillary Clinton: Surely we can all agree that the suggestion she has accomplished nothing, during her tenure at State or anywhere else, is patently absurd.

But, by all means, double-, triple-, and quadruple down on this strategy, Republicans. I'm sure calling her an incompetent no-account will go over great with voters in a nation that consistently cites Hillary Clinton as one of the most respected women in the world.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound curled up on the loveseat, with his long tail lying beside him, almost the same length as the rest of his body
Dudley and his impossibly long tail.

If you're thinking: Um, don't greyhounds usually have shorter, thinner, curled tails? You are correct! They do! But no one sent the memo to Dudley's genetics. Which means he's always a shoo-in for "longest tail" at the greyhound picnic games.

* * *

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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Quote of the Day

"No one—whether government or corporate—should control free open access to the Internet."—Federal Communications Commission Chair Tom Wheeler today, after the FCC "approved the policy known as net neutrality by a 3-2 vote."

The policy helps to decide an essential question about how the Internet works, requiring service providers to be a neutral gateway instead of handling different types of Internet traffic in different ways — and at different costs.

..."The landmark open Internet protections that we adopted today," Wheeler says, should reassure consumers, businesses and investors.

Speaking at a news conference after the vote, Wheeler says the new policy will "ban blocking, ban throttling, and ban paid-prioritization fast lanes," adding that "for the first time, open Internet rules will be fully applicable to mobile."
"Today is a red-letter day," said Wheeler. YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!! *throws confetti*

image of Tom Wheeler, an older white man, holding hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, a black woman, and Jessica Rosenworcel, a white woman
At the start of a meeting today to decide the issue of net neutrality, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler,
center, holds hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel
at FCC headquarters.
[Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

[Content Note: There is a strobe-light effect in this video.]

Tina Turner: "Simply the Best"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

My thanks again to everyone who weighed in yesterday!

[Content Note: Terrorism; death; descriptions of violence] This is utterly breathtaking: Following is the entirety of a Reuters story on another suicide bombing in Nigeria, likely carried out by Boko Haram: "A suicide bomber at a bus station in northeast Nigeria's Borno state killed at least 17 people on Thursday, a military source and an allied local vigilante said. A second bomber tried to detonate his explosives in the same bus station in the town of Biu, but was stopped by the crowd and beaten to death, vigilante Ibrahim Jaton said." That's it. Two sentences, on an unimaginable horror. I cannot begin to fathom what the people of this region are going through right now.

In good news: "Workers in legal, same-sex marriages will now have the same federal job protections as those in [different]-sex marriages, regardless of where they live, thanks to a rule change by the U.S. Labor Department. The change, announced this week, revises the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in United States v. Windsor, which struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act provision that interpreted 'marriage' and 'spouse' to be limited to [different]-sex marriages for purposes of federal law. ...The Labor Department's rule change updates the FMLA definition of 'spouse' so that an eligible employee in a legal same-sex marriage will be able to take FMLA leave for his or her spouse regardless of the state in which the employee resides."

[CN: Terrorism; violence] "Jihadi John" has been identified "by the Washington Post and the BBC to be a man named Mohammed Emwazi. ...The Washington Post cited friends and others familiar with Emwazi's case in its report identifying the suspected Islamic State executioner. The BBC did not cite its sources. British officials declined to comment on the reports. NSC spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement that the U.S. 'will not comment on ongoing investigations and therefore are not in a position to confirm or deny the identity of this individual.'"

[CN: War] The ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia may be holding: "Ukrainian troops towed artillery away from the front line in the east on Thursday, a move that amounted to recognizing that a ceasefire meant to take effect on Feb. 15 was holding at last. The military showed reporters seven or eight guns being towed away from the front at the village of Paraskoviyvka north of the government stronghold of Artemivsk. Earlier, Reuters journalists saw a larger convoy of 30-40 vehicles also towing guns away from the front on a highway. The move was Kiev's most direct step to acknowledge that the ceasefire was finally holding, a week after suffering one of the worst defeats of the war at the hands of rebels who initially ignored the ceasefire to launch a major advance."

[CN: Class warfare; addiction] At Think Progress, Bryce Covert and Josh Israel look at "What 7 States Discovered After Spending More Than $1 Million Drug Testing Welfare Recipients." If you guessed: Wasting money and "increasing stigma around both welfare and drug use," give yourself a thousand points!

Donald Trump says he's totes for sure definitely serious about running for president again in 2016. No word on whether Tronald Dump will also be running again.

Wow! "A monster black hole powering 'the brightest lighthouse in the distant universe' has been discovered that is 12bn times more massive than the sun, scientists have revealed. The extraordinary object is at the centre of a quasar—an intensely powerful galactic radiation source—with a million billion times the sun's energy output."

Here is just a great video of a bat eating a banana. And then being so done eating a banana.

And finally! This story about a girl in Seattle who receives gifts from the crows that she feeds in her garden is one of my favorite things I've read in ages! Lovely. Crows are the best.

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And Again

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism. Video may autoplay at second link.]

Earlier this month, I linked to a piece ("Washington Official Fears 'Another Ferguson' After Cop Shooting Video Goes Viral") about the police killing of Antonio Zambrano-Montes in Pasco, Washington. Despite what the video at the link seems to show, cops say that they tried to use a Taser on Zambrano-Montes, who they say was throwing rocks at them, before shooting at him 17 times, hitting him at least five times.

Now, Zambrano-Montes's family has filed "a $25 million claim against the city of Pasco alleging that three officers killed the unarmed man 'execution style.'"

Zambrano-Montes, a 35-year-old Mexican national, was shot on February 10, in a case that has sparked local protests and anger at what some say is another example of police brutality and excessive force against an unarmed man who is a minority.

...The suit claims Zambrano-Montes was unarmed "with his hands out where they could be seen."

"He had his back to the officers," the claim said. "At this point, the officers started shooting."

At a news conference Wednesday, Kennewick Police Sgt. Ken Lattin told reporters, "We do know this from the preliminary autopsy report, there were no shots in the back."

The Tri-City Special Investigations Unit is still reviewing video to see if there was anything in Zambrano-Montes' hand when he was shot.

When processing the scene that night of the fatal shooting, Sgt. Lattin said at a news briefing, "I think it's safe to say there was a rock found next to his body."
This is the essence of the defense of the officers who killed Zambrano-Montes: "After two officers were struck with rocks—at least one of them as large as a softball—police said the officers resorted to deadly force."

Because obviously the only way to stop a man from throwing rocks—at least one of them as large as a softball!—is to shoot at him seventeen times in the middle of a busy intersection.

I mean, sure, accidentally shooting a bystander was totally a concern, but that's just the chance you've gotta take when they might get hit with a rock. Especially one as large as a softball.

I honestly just don't even know what to say anymore.

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Phenomenal Girls

Via Kimberly Foster at For Harriet, this video of black girls reciting the first verse of Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman" for Nickelodeon, in celebration of Black History Month, is 100% THE BEST:

Video Description: Piano music. A male voiceover, over text onscreen saying the same thing, says: "Nickelodeon celebrates Black History Month. Presenting "Because of Them We Can." Honoring Maya Angelou, poet."

A young black girl with two long braids, dressed (as are almost all the girls) in a white t-shirt, hoop earrings, and a string of pearls, looks directly into the camera and says: "Pretty women wonder—" then over video of a young black girl wearing a black and red headwrap, peeking from behind a black-and-white journal notebook "—where my secret lies."

We see a tiny black girl, shot from above so we see the top of her head, standing next to a black woman, who's cut off at the waist in the shot, and another young black girl says in voiceover: "I'm not cute—" the tiny girl looks up at her mom (?) with big brown eyes, playing with the pearls she's also wearing "—or built to suit a fashion model's size."

Cut the the young black girl who was speaking, who is now speaking directly to the camera: "But when I start to tell them—" She's then seen bending over and whispering into the tiny girl's ear, and the tiny girl makes a scandalized face! "—they think I'm telling lies."

Cut to one of the girls stretching out her arms, one arm toward the camera: "I say: It's in the reach of my arms!"

Cut to one of the girls spinning with her hands on her hips, her pearls swinging: "The span of my hips!"

Cut to one of the girls marching: "The stride of my step!"

Cut to one of the girls pursing her lips, then breaking into a smile: "The curl of my lips!"

Cut to a slightly older black girl wearing a multicolored headwrap, looking directly in the camera and smiling: "I'm a woman."

Cut to a tiny black girl, who stands with her hands on her hips, looking directly into the camera: "Phenobamally!"

Cut to a teenage black girl with braces, wearing an orange and white headwrap, looking directly into the camera: "Phenomenal woman."

Cut back to the girl with the braids: "That's us!" A sequence of four of the younger girls pointing at themselves. Then: A young girl in a blue and green headwrap looks up from writing something and smiling. In voiceover, one of the girls says: "Because of them, we can."

Male voiceover: For more information on Maya Angelou, visit Nick-dot-com-slash-thanks.

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[Content Note: Rape culture.]

Hey, remember Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin? Well, in case you've somehow managed to scrub his odious existence from your mind, he's pretty awesome! He's got lots of cool ideas about women and rape and abortion!

A few years ago, he lost the Missouri Senate race to Senator Claire McCaskill, for mysterious reasons lost to the sands of time, but now we might have the chance to get to know him all over again, because he's thinking of primarying Missouri's Republican Senator Roy Blunt!

"I have not ruled anything out," the 2012 nominee said, according to The Hill on Wednesday. "I think there is a high level of dissatisfaction among conservatives, that they have to some degree been pushed out of the Republican Party. The sentiment is there. The Tea Party is skeptical and wants some fresh blood, not just the same establishment guys."
Good luck to Todd Akin and the Missouri Tea Party, who will definitely be bringing a lot of fresh new ideas to modern politics.

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