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“United” States of America?

NOT REALLY By Liz Gunn || We live in a divisive age. I find myself in the minority when I don’t pick a side on an issue. I don’t mean an ongoing issue, like equal rights or abortion. I mean isolated incidents like what happened (and is still happening) in Ferguson or…

NOT REALLY

LIZ GUNNBy Liz Gunn || We live in a divisive age. I find myself in the minority when I don’t pick a side on an issue. I don’t mean an ongoing issue, like equal rights or abortion. I mean isolated incidents like what happened (and is still happening) in Ferguson or some offhanded remarks from our President or Governor.

Thanks to social media and the real-time news cycle, it is expected of those who participate to have an opinion. There is no room for ambivalence. And to be honest, I do feel pressured to make my opinion known.

Not that I think anyone is holding their breath in anticipation of my remarks, it’s just part of the strange world we now live in. I feel that by not sharing an opinion, when nearly everyone else is, I’m allowing people to assume what my opinion might be.

I’m an opinionated person. Surely you have picked up on this by now if you’ve read any of my previous posts. I don’t shy away from sharing my feelings on matters of varying importance, but to be honest sometimes I just don’t have an opinion.

It is in fact possible not to have an opinion, right? According to trusty old Webster’s, the definition of the kind of opinion I’m talking about is, “a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter.” But lately I find myself having a hard time forming a solid opinion on matters of public interest.

Take Ferguson, for example; I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’ve read and seen so much on the topic that at this point I almost feel like I was there. But the truth is, I wasn’t. And it doesn’t feel right to place blame when no one truly knows how things went down.

The only opinion I have is that it’s just a terrible situation for all involved; both families, the people of Ferguson and for America. I’m so thankful my child isn’t old enough for me to need to explain this to her. One day she will be, though, and I highly doubt this sort of thing ends with Ferguson.

Maybe it’s because the older I get the more I realize that there are very few, if any, clear cut answers in life. Maybe it’s because I feel like I actually know less now than I did 15 years ago…or at the very least, I’m more self-aware about what I don’t know now than I was in my twenties.

Social media and the real time news cycle have changed the way we respond in situations like this. When 9/11 occurred in 2001, I was a senior in college and had no way to publically and instantly share my feelings. I was forced to wait, to sleep on it, to talk face to face with my roommate and later my friends and family.

I had no idea how anyone else felt about it the minute it took place. I had no idea, until years later, that some people had different theories on how and why this happened than what we were told via network news. In today’s world of instant, sometimes knee-jerk, reactions and platforms that are free and often anonymous, where people can share opinions so quickly, it has drastically changed things.

Sometimes it helps to see what other people think about something. Maybe they offer a point of view you hadn’t thought of. It’s even better when they provide facts you weren’t aware of.

The flipside of this equation is that with so much information coming from so many different places now, people are lazy. People read headlines and not stories. People see their like-minded friends take a stance on something and suddenly they feel compelled to jump in without really knowing the facts. People share stories that have not an ounce of truth to them, unknowingly contributing to mass misinformation.

I’ve been guilty of at lease one of the above offenses. You know you have, too. This is just an observation of mine that gets reinforced every time there is breaking news. I don’t see social media or ratings driven news channels going away, so  I guess this is just our new normal.

The least we can do is refrain from commenting, from passing judgment, from taking sides until we actually have a clue about the facts. I know sometimes it feels good to be first, but it feels better to be accurate. This obviously is advice news outlets should abide by, but it would help tremendously if the general public did the same.

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69 comments

Buz Martin November 28, 2014 at 9:25 am

I’m with you on Ferguson. It’s a tragic mess, all of it, but I cannot say with any certainty whether or not that cop did the right thing. I can’t say that because I was not there, and thus did not experience it from his POV, nor did I witness the event. I’ve followed it all pretty closely, and have still seen nothing that can pin down exactly whether or not he was guilty of acting as an executioner rather than a good agent of law enforcement.

I don’t feel as pressured as you do to express an opinion, however. The hell with that. Anybody who wants to make an issue of what they may perceive as my ambivalence on that or any other issue can go pound sand.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein November 28, 2014 at 9:58 am

TBG cannot say with absolute certainty that the cop did the right thing, either…though most of the evidence supports this. TBG can say that the cop didn’t just roll up on Mr. Brown and start shooting ala the State Trooper in Columbia several months ago.

TBG CAN say with absolute certainty that Mr Brown did a bunch of wrong things.

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Dancing In the Streets November 28, 2014 at 10:26 am

And I sure am the Hell glad that “officer” Wilson was making sure he wasn’t walking on the street!

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The Shield of Honor November 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Yep, hero’s in blue each and every one of them. Keeping the streets clear of jaywalkers for the betterment of society. Defenders of the cigarello’s.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein November 28, 2014 at 10:08 am

Anybody who wants to make an issue of what they may perceive as my ambivalence on that or any other issue can go pound sand.

TBG doesn’t know why…and frankly doesn’t care why some consider him to be ignorant and/or apathetic…

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9" November 28, 2014 at 10:21 am

We love you just the way you are.You’re,uh….special

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Bible Thumper November 28, 2014 at 10:13 am

Sometimes the answer is in the murky middle. Darren Wilson didn’t commit a crime, but mishandled the situation.
Can’t say Wilson was racist, but both may Wilson and Brown may have carried racial baggage into the incident that lead to the tragic result. If two people fear and distrust each other, then any confrontation is more likely to result in violence.
Any incident that becomes national news is bound to draw trouble makers. This one has drown its share of hoodlums.
People make a big deal about the militarization of the police, but the violence that has occurred has not been against protesters. The violence has been by “protesters” destroying businesses and property.

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nitrat November 28, 2014 at 10:49 am

The middle is not murky. The world has always been varying shades of gray. But, some people see everything in stark blacks and whites and with total certitude. Those are the people who don’t understand that all fruitful, peaceful human interaction is dependent on compromise, which has become a dirty word to way too many.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein November 28, 2014 at 12:37 pm

all all fruitful, peaceful human interaction is dependent on compromise,,…

NO fruitful, peaceful human interaction is dependent on compromise.

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9" November 28, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Rough divorce?

TontoBubbaGoldstein November 29, 2014 at 9:04 am

Nah.
TBG was just giving nitrat a hard time for criticizing folks for seeing things in “stark blacks and whites” and then following it up with a pretty stark black/white assertion.

TontoBubbaGoldstein November 28, 2014 at 10:04 am

Liz,
It is way too much to expect most folks to have an opinion, much less a correct opinion, on everything. That’s only one of the myriad reasons y’all are so fortunate to have TBG as a regular commenter.

: p

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FastEddy23 November 28, 2014 at 10:50 am

Ooooohhh, Yeah!

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SCBlues November 30, 2014 at 5:01 pm

“That’s only one of the myriad reasons y’all are so fortunate to have TBG as a regular commenter.
And at times a constipated one as well . . .

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RogueElephant November 28, 2014 at 10:10 am

I attended a seminar a couple of years ago where the guy addressing the group said “the extremes determine the center.” Looking back on things since I have been noticing news and politics I have seen the left take control of the media and academia. Back in the sixties this shift began with Vietnam and the great society. It has only gotten worse. People who once considered themselves to be moderately conservative now find themselves on the right wing nut classification for having long held views and beliefs. Politicians like JFK and Reagan are closer together and both would be conservatives today . Progressives have gained the upper hand since the “free lunch” crowd of the great society came along. This country had a defining moment in Nov. of 1964, it took the wrong course then and has festered for forty years. One of our founding fathers, Jefferson I think, said something to the effect that when a people realize they can vote for the govt. to “take care” of them the republic is lost. Everybody says Obama and the Dims are the problem. They are not. They are simply a result of the great society plus forty years of rot. We as a country are at, if not past, a tipping point where the takers, which includes both the parasite class as well as the govt. contractor types have gained a majority at the voting booth. This past election could be a turning point but the real turning point will be in 2016. If the voters vote for the “free lunch” progressives we are doomed as a free country.
For all those Liberaltarians who want to pull our horns in and let the world float , consider this; Someone is going to be the “super power” in the world. It has always been so and will always be so. Is it better for it to be the USA or would you rather have China, Russia, or who knows what ? As distasteful as sending our best and brightest to these shit hole countries is, is it not better than letting a China or Russia dominate the world ? What would be the result of that?
Anyway, the country and the world are in a mess brought on by the weakness of our leadership. Look at how big the mess has gotten in six years of ineptitude and gridlock. The original topic of Ferguson is but another example of the break down of the country due to “progressivism”. There really is a right and a wrong. Always has been and always will be.

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9" November 28, 2014 at 10:15 am

On the other hand,Nixon and Goldwater would be seen as too ‘liberal’ for either party

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Gee! by Golly! WOW! November 28, 2014 at 10:29 am

You think this shits original doofus?

Hell Barry Goldwater was blowing this cow manure off Fifty years ago!

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Longer Than You Think November 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Sorry, RE, but this shit didn’t start six years ago with Obama and “the Dims.”

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Tazmaniac November 28, 2014 at 4:38 pm

I wish the common sense center would wrest control of the Country back from the Far Left and Right fringes. They are sucking all the air out of the conversation room.

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Self Delusions are Funny November 28, 2014 at 5:16 pm

And of course,two Republicans like you and Rogue R represent the “common sense center.”

That would actually be funny if it wasn’t so sad that two Right Wingers like the two of you actually believe that of themselves.

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idcydm November 28, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Fish in a barrel are scarey!
Dancing In the Streets
The Shield of Honor
Self Delusions are Funny
Longer Than You Think
Gee! by Golly! WOW!
It’s flowing

All one and the same troll.

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Trolling Republicans November 28, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Ah ,but you’re not a “troll” are you?

Just a member of the “common sense cente.”

Funny,and typical of your ILK.

idcydm November 28, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Don’t you wish you could edit…*common sense center*…fixed it for you.

Tazmaniac November 28, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Just one of the Anarchists/Socialists/Communist trolls that are too scared to put a name or history to their stupid comments. I may not agree with the left leaning posters on here, but I can respect that they are willing to put their id on what they say.

idcydm November 28, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Reminds me of the Ferguson protesters wearing mask.

Fish in a barrel are scarey! November 29, 2014 at 9:36 am

Nope.

He’s got you running around in circles. I would never name myself “Trolling Republicans” because I troll everyone, not just one group.

IDK who that is.

Tazmaniac November 28, 2014 at 5:43 pm

You obviously are too stupid to click and read my posts to know you are full of crap, something that can’t be said of your comments. Did you ever stop to think you are so far left that the center looks far right to you? I’ll bet my positions are more center than yours but your to chickenshit to identify yourself, even with a nickname, for anyone to know.

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Trolling Republicans November 28, 2014 at 6:33 pm

“Too” chickenshit

See edited that for you.

Know how helpful you “common sense ” centrists are!(see fellow”centrist” idcydm’s helpful edit earlier)

As to reading your posts?I have.They are uniformly RIGHT WING,nothing wrong with that,but spare me the “common sense center” routine.Your’re no such thing.

As for me?I NEVER claimed to be part of this”common sense center” as you would define it.

Finally,I would submit that “Trolling Republicans ” is no worse a nickname than “Tazmaniac.”

Tazmaniac November 28, 2014 at 5:53 pm

BTW genius, I was a registered Dem until they put Al Gore up.

Never go full retard! – Kirk Lazarus

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Trolling Republicans November 28, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Damn that Al Gore.Drove you kicking and screaming into the Republican Party Eh?

That’s rich “centrist.”

And labeling one who disagrees with you an”anarchist,Socilaist,Communist?”

Why ,I guess that’s some just some of that “Common Sense Center” talk shining through!

Like Rogue R,YOU know “right from wrong” don’t ya

Bo?

9" November 28, 2014 at 10:12 am

That’s the downside of social media,24/7 TV and the Internet.Sensory overload.Too much information equals no information.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein November 28, 2014 at 10:16 am

That’s the downside of social media,24/7 TV and the Internet.Sensory overload.Too much information equals no information.

9″ kvetching about TMI….

lolz

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FastEddy23 November 28, 2014 at 10:53 am

Mmmmm … and on top of that, one’s Bull Shiite Detector must be set pretty nearly always on Stun.

It is quite handy to have a resource of the intellectual magnatitude of TBG in order to recalibrate and sight in said Detector.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein November 28, 2014 at 12:32 pm

It is quite handy to have a resource of the intellectual magnatitude of TBG

*Blushes*

You’re being to magnanamous.

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It's flowing November 28, 2014 at 4:22 pm

I was think he had too much ex-lax, but then again, potato or potahto?

It's flowing November 28, 2014 at 4:23 pm

*thinking

FastEddy23 December 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Unintentionally, I’m sure … :>)

tomstickler November 28, 2014 at 10:16 am

Views can differ on what happened on Canfield Ct. in Ferguson, but what happened in the Grand Jury room has been revealed — and it is not pretty.

Grand jurors were given a copy of the Missouri statute on use of deadly force that said police could shoot a fleeing suspect. Just before the final witness, Darren Wilson was to testify, prosecutors informed jurors that the US Supreme Court had changed that law, but did not bother to explain how it had been changed.

Unfortunately prosecutorial misconduct is almost never investigated, let alone punished, but this case will be studied in law classes for years.

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Fish in a barrel are scarey! November 28, 2014 at 4:27 pm

I know that I’m overwhelmed by fear when someone is running from me, to the point of shooting them before they get too far away so that I don’t remain afraid forever.

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Mike at the Beach November 29, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Moot point. Sloppy, but moot. In Wilson’s case, Brown was suspected of a felony (a couple, actually) and the case could easily be made that he would pose a risk to the community if he escaped. The old law was ruled unconstitutional, but shooting fleeing felons was not. Of course, since Brown wasn’t fleeing to begin with it’s less relevant.

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Smirks December 1, 2014 at 9:43 am

and the case could easily be made that he would pose a risk to the community if he escaped.

It may not matter to this case, but I wouldn’t give cops a green light to shoot at just any suspected felon running away from them.

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Mike at the Beach December 1, 2014 at 9:49 am

It matters to every case, but you and I don’t make the rules. SCOTUS does, and they say that certain fleeing felons need shootin’…

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idcydm November 28, 2014 at 11:10 am

The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory. ~ Thomas Jefferson

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Bible Thumper November 28, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Climate Change?

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Mike at the Beach November 29, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Excellent. In the sociology / psychology world we also refer to this concept as “confirmation bias.” It’s very real, and is becoming more so with the advent of the information age. The stratification and polarization of media and internet outlets surely seems to support the theory.

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Ranting Before It Ends November 28, 2014 at 12:28 pm

And you are under 30 years of age … .. . The USA and society is about to shipwreck. In my old life, I have never seen it this bad before. Everything is full of corruption, crime, greed, egomaniacs, and narcissist; especially in South Carolina government. Even current, gouges on gasoline prices in SC …. 40 to 50 cents less in many areas of SC that are selling the exact same gas from the exact same refinery batch. Government crapheads who are over-paid do nothings (see it in government all the time) ….. Our money thrown around to special interest and then funneled back into the pockets of white collar criminals (and not much is done about it). Harrell slapped on the back of the hand when he should have been sent to prison for LIFE … yadda yadda yadda …. Its all a mess everywhere …. and Obama certainly has set an example of just how infested with crime government really is ….. and Haley continues to dupe the stupid with her charm and bleached white teeth. No doubt in my mind, she is a full blown psychopath.

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Bible Thumper November 28, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Most things are better now than thirty years ago. The main thing that makes it worse now is that now you’re old.

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Shot A Rabbit November 28, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Better now? HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAAAA … My Backside!!! You’re so full of crap, it must run out of your bunny ears, too! HAHAHAHAAHAA!

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Bible Thumper November 28, 2014 at 7:11 pm

1. The crime rates are lower.
2. We think because of recalls that cars are less safe, actually we are driving more miles with fewer deaths.
3. People are living longer. We are surviving illnesses that use to be a death sentence.
4. Information is more available than ever and cheaper than ever and have ways to exercise my free speech rights.
5. Air pollution has reduced in the last thirty years.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! REMEMBER, YOU’RE SUPPOSE TO GIVE THANKS.

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Peter Pickle November 29, 2014 at 9:51 am

Yeah, but those are all things the liberals have done. Damn ’em.

Bible Thumper November 29, 2014 at 2:08 pm

The Libs make the regs. The Repubs make it happen.

Smirks December 1, 2014 at 10:05 am

The Libs make the regs. The Repubs make it happen.

All I ever hear from Republicans is “Abolish the IRS! Take out the EPA! Kill the Department of Education and get rid of Common Core! Repeal Obamacare with no replacement! Stop Dodd Frank! Don’t bring back Glass Steagall! Privatize Social Security! Cut welfare! Block grant Medicaid! DEREGULATE! DEREGULATE! DEREGULATE!”

Cars are safer because of big gubmint regulations requiring safety features and crash tests. People live longer because of medical advancements, many of which are tested out or discovered at hospitals tied to public universities. Information is more available thanks to government-invented Internet going across government-subsidized telecommunications infrastructure. Air pollution is down because of the EPA, same as water pollution and even soil pollution.

It stands to reason that the party clamoring for “smaller government” is in direct opposition to the above. It stands to reason because any country where the government doesn’t regulate or mandate these things, they typically don’t get done.

The only thing the Republicans “make happen” is giving the rest of civilized society one giant headache.

Bible Thumper December 1, 2014 at 10:17 am

All those good things happen in countries with a vibrant, healthy private sectors and competitive political systems where people are free to complain about -“the IRS! Take out the EPA! Kill the Department of Education and get rid of Common Core! Repeal Obamacare with no replacement! Stop Dodd Frank! Don’t bring back Glass Steagall! Privatize Social Security! Cut welfare! Block grant Medicaid! DEREGULATE! DEREGULATE! DEREGULATE!”

Slartibartfast November 30, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Nixon?

9" November 30, 2014 at 11:57 pm

You Can’t Lose What You Never Had

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iutwA_dsfxE

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9" November 28, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Good points.Haley is the worst thing that’s happened to,SC in my lifetime.I haven’t missed any elections since 1972,until this year.Most people in SC might as well be completely illiterate,that’s how dumb this country and especially this state have become.People have forgotten the importance of reading books,and the English departments in universities across the US are dwindling.For me,expatriation is looking like the best option,which some of my friends have already done.

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Smirks December 1, 2014 at 9:52 am

For me,expatriation is looking like the best option,which some of my friends have already done.

Best start now, if things go tits up in this country and people start trying to leave in droves, it’s going to be a lot harder to get out.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein December 2, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Best start now, if things go tits up in this country and people start trying to leave in droves, it’s going to be a lot harder to get out.

The Dogsled Rule:

If you ain’t the lead dog…the view never changes.

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E Norma Scok November 29, 2014 at 5:15 pm

You should kill yourself now; you know… before the apocalyptic rush.

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Mike at the Beach November 29, 2014 at 10:43 pm

…and zombies! Don’t forget the zombies!

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Da Dregs November 30, 2014 at 3:42 pm

“Government crapheads who are over-paid do nothings (see it in government all the time)”

And know nothings, but posing as experts. You should see it from the inside. You simply cannot imagine. Approving whatever the well-off or well-connected want. Or whatever is easiest if there is no outside pressure.

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SCBlues November 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm

“. . . and Haley continues to dupe the stupid with her charm and bleached white teeth.”
Hilarious! Love it!

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????????? December 1, 2014 at 10:36 am

You compliment is so kind, but I am no longer under 30… :(

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xx November 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm

@Lyz – Would you please forward this article to Mr. Obama?

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????????? December 1, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Oh I like to think Obama is a regular FITS reader…don’t you? :)

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xx November 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm

@Liz – Ferguson is a Public Relations nightmare. The government authorities, mayor, governor and law enforcement continue to mishandle the situation.

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Soft Sigh from Hell November 29, 2014 at 2:47 pm

If the horizon-to-horizon droves of doofusdom in America ever united in agreement–on anything–that is when we would really be in trouble.

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E Norma Scok November 29, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Lulz..you feel pressured to make an opinion.

By whom?

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Gregory Geddings December 1, 2014 at 7:45 am

“The problem with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” -Bertrand Russell

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