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Tilting at Windmills

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February 11, 2011

WHAT HATH FLORIDA WROUGHT?.... Atrios joked the other day that Floridians "elected Lex Luthor as their governor." That's a good line, in large part because it's hard not to wonder if Florida's new chief executive is some sort of super-villain.

At a highly partisan tea-party event on Monday, Gov. Rick Scott unveiled his first budget proposal, one that makes sweeping changes to state government by slashing billions in taxes and spending.

Scott proposed spending almost $66 billion -- $4.6 billion less than this year's budget. Scott also wants to eliminate 7 percent of the state's government jobs, which would mean about 6,700 state-worker layoffs. He wants even more cuts the following year.

Scott's plan is certainly unique. He thinks the state's unemployment rate will get better if he forces thousands out of work. He thinks the strained budget, already pushed to the breaking point, will get better if he slashes taxes -- mainly on corporations -- and denies the state $2.4 billion on revenue.

The governor's plan cuts billions from already-underfunded public schools, cuts billions from Medicaid, would close a third of the state's public parks, and would eliminate every penny of funding that currently goes to assist the homeless and prevent teen suicides.

Scott, a suspected criminal, has a larger vision also includes privatizing all public schools and prisons in Florida, and scrapping state support for public hospitals.

The budget plan was presented at a Tea Party rally, and Scott's warm-up speakers condemned President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while praising Judge Roger Vinson for his recent health care ruling.

The head of the Republican Party in Palm Beach County, Florida, recently told Time that Scott will soon prove to be "one of the most extraordinary national figures we've seen in years."

If by "extraordinary," he meant "far outside the American mainstream and 21st century norms," then sure, the description fits just fine.

In case you're curious, the answer is no, Florida law does not have a recall mechanism for governors.

Update: Apparently, Ed Kilgore covered similar ground in a post he wrote at the exact same time. Ed called Rick Scott's plan what it is: a redistributionist scheme.

Steve Benen 2:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (54)

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Comments

and he'll turn the state over to Omni Consumer Products (OCP)...

Posted by: golack on February 11, 2011 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

I live in KY, and there is a huge problem of drug dealers going to Florida (where the drug laws are more lax) and buying pain killers like oxycontin (here known as hillbilly heroin). Well, the gov's budget includes dropping a new drug database that would have helped to stop this practice. The new database was going to be funded by grants and donations. Not good enough -- out it goes. How many people is this guy gonna kill??

Posted by: estamm on February 11, 2011 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Hello, Florida? This is Karma speaking from the year 2000, will you accept the charges?

Posted by: doubtful on February 11, 2011 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

I think there are going to be LOTS of angry senior citizens in Florida.

I'm having trouble feeling sorry for any of them. They asked for this train wreck and they got it.

Posted by: fourlegsgood on February 11, 2011 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

CA has been the bellweather state since the 60's. For good and ill.

TX is looking at the wrath of "God" coming at them with their deficits. Coming soon to a theatre near you.

But FL may well be the real bellweather for the future.
We'll see how far the madness will be allowed to go before the people either hit the streets, or live in them.

People, think carefully, do some research - you usually do get what you vote for.
For good or ill.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 11, 2011 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

America has the most ignorant electorate in recorded human history.

The Dems bare some responsibility for running an awful candidate, but it still doesn't excuse the kooks in Florida electing someone who is for all intents and purposes a criminal.

Posted by: Holmes on February 11, 2011 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

There is a consequence to your vote, and it looks like the people of Florida will have to learn the hard way just what those consequences can be.

The tea party is a fad, not a movement. It will run it's course, but unfortunately, it will cause a lot of damage before it fades away (I'm guessing after Obama is re-elected).

Posted by: SaintZak on February 11, 2011 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Part of me says "good".

Congratulations, teabaggers! Finally, you are creating what the Founders wanted: letting the states experiment with a variety of policy options. Let us put disaster capitalism to the test, shall we?

My only fear is that, after Scott brings the state to the brink of collapse, some Third-Way wanker Democrats will rush in to take the heat off of Scott and let the Democrats be the fall guys.

Posted by: square1 on February 11, 2011 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Article: "The head of the Republican Party in Palm Beach County, Florida, recently told Time that Scott will soon prove to be "one of the most extraordinary national figures we've seen in years."

I can assure from my experience as a fed the Gov was a Medicare crook. The voters bought it, now they own it. Good luck. You're gonna need it.

Posted by: max on February 11, 2011 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

When Florida turns into a Mad Max reality show all those brainless retirees that voted in this criminal are gonna squeal like pigs when th inmates running the asylum bend em over.

Posted by: Gandalf on February 11, 2011 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Scott's plan is certainly unique."

How so? Isn't it basically the blueprint for Republican "governance" these days?

Posted by: Jurgan on February 11, 2011 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

You're great Steve, but suspected criminal? Really? Don't get too carried away with labels. Half term governor good, suspected bad, unless sufficient evidence and context is provided. All pols are suspected crooks anyhow. One or two sentences could explain Scotts issues, you know suspected criminal doesn't work.

Posted by: Justin on February 11, 2011 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

We reap what we sow. Hope the "garden" you Floridians planted works out well for you. For starters, in a State bursting with aged people, soon the sidewalks will be impassable with no public funds for repair. Good luck you cretins...

Posted by: stevio on February 11, 2011 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, this is exactly why I haven't crossed the Florida state line in about 10 years. Don't see why I should give my business to a bunch of douchenozzles.

Posted by: Southern Beale on February 11, 2011 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Justin: Calling that motherfucker merely a "suspected" criminal shows, in my opinion, a great deal of restraint.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on February 11, 2011 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't vote for him.

Lots of people seemed to trust that he really didn't know about his company's Medicare flim-flam.

Yeah, right.

He's going to sell the FL commons off to the highest bidders, then laugh at all the people who can't pay the new rents.

Posted by: Mark Wise on February 11, 2011 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Florida: Ireland with palm trees

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on February 11, 2011 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

This is what happens when voters confuse reality with a reality show, where they can cast their vote by cell phone @ $1.99.

Posted by: DAY on February 11, 2011 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

You know what? Fine. Let them do it. Let them run around taking credit for this new budget. Let them wreck the place.

Oh right, after it all goes to shit, they'll still blame the liberals.

Posted by: Nobody Important on February 11, 2011 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Part of me hopes he gets the budget exactly as he wants it. It's time for people to see what teabagging government looks like. I know the Democrats absolutely suck at playing to win and keep putting up DINOs as candidates. But after 8 years of the Bush administration's innumerable screwups and the rise of the teabaggers, any conscious citizen should realize that the conservatives only want government for the wealthy. It's clear as day and this is Exhibit A. I've grown up in a blue collar area all my life. I'm tired of its union members only voting for Democrats in national elections. I'm tired of senior citizens, who cling to their Medicare, vote for Republicans because Democrats want to fund public schools. I'm tired of people who vote for the right because they don't like gays or the poor. If this is what they want, I hope they get it. With no rescue for the state when it all goes down. I'm only sad for the children who weren't old enough to vote, and those at the bottom of our economic system who will get the disproportionate share of the pain.

Posted by: Christina Gubitosa on February 11, 2011 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with you Christina

Posted by: Gandalf on February 11, 2011 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still reeling that he won the election, not that I really was surprise, not with the horrible way that Sink ran her campaign.

He decried the the past years of how Florida was been run, interestingly enough, all when the Republicans were in control, and still has cozyed up to them after getting elected. He thinks you can run a government like a corporation, and I hope he learns that in a lesson that burns not only him, but the stupid fu, er, voters that voted for him.

And yes, there is little doubt in my mind that he is a criminal. The 5th amendment was about testifying in court. If you have to pull it while you're campaigning, then maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't be campaigning. But then, the idiots still voted for him.

This state was going down before his election. It's on an elevator to hell at this rate.

Posted by: Bryan Price on February 11, 2011 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody Important above is right. The GOP game plan seems to be to let their operatives in the statehouses decimate state governments and services and in 2012, when folks have had all the pain they can stand, Scott and Perry and all the other criminals will be on the TV screaming about how it's all Obama and the Democrats' fault. I say we change their name to the Mubarak Party.

Posted by: dalloway on February 11, 2011 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

I resent the implication that I'd make policy decisions this lame. I'm an evil genius, not a moron.

Posted by: Alexander Luthor, President and CEO of LuthorCorp on February 11, 2011 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

I live in Florida, and voted for Alex Sink, knowing with the craziness of the Tea party and the elderly Republicans here, Scott was going to win anyway. This state's public schools, police force, firefighters and other public servants were already suffering due to property tax reductions over previous years. Since we have no state tax, property taxes fund the majority of all our public services. The Republicans have been in charge in this state for decades, which is one reason our educational system is rated one of the worst in the U.S. Scott will only make it all worse....for everyone except the wealthy. There is going to be plenty of buyer's remorse in this state once his ridiculous policies come into play, and I, for one, can't wait to tell all the right-wingers I know who populate this area that payback is a bitch, ain't it?

Posted by: winddancer on February 11, 2011 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Wisconsin is up in arms right now because our new Gov just told state employees that he's ending their collective bargaining rights in July.

He has the national guard on call in case people protest.

Posted by: Margaret on February 11, 2011 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Look, Florida, and much of the South, is really a part of the Caribbean, and participates in some of its most charming cultural attractions as well as the retrograde and backwards kinds of governments that historically ruled the area. Remember, so much of the South was focused on the slave revolt in Haiti that fears of it shaped their draconian pro-slavery laws. The Citadel in South Carolina was actually built as a counterpart to le Roi Christophe's Citadel in Haiti (Christophe was one of the generals who led the revolt).

So Florida will become a banana Republic. They asked for it, they got it. And anyone who decides to stay and live there will live under a regime of corrupt, superrich leaders and the gangsters that enforce their power.

Posted by: jjm on February 11, 2011 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

so we're watching as Tunisians and Egyptians demand the ouster of the corrupt old government leaders that presided over economies where there's massive power and wealth in the hands of a chosen few, and the overqhelmingly young population has record unemployment and no safety net.

What do the Republicans think will happen here a few years after they implement their policies?

Posted by: g on February 11, 2011 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Bet he runs for president in 2016.

Bet he wins, too.

Posted by: Steve M. on February 11, 2011 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, according to Quinnipiac, a plurality of Floridians approve of what Scott is doing, though a lot aren't sure what they think yet. The plans for huge cuts to the state's workforce get a negative rating -- but only by 46%-42%

Our Galtian/corporate overlords have instilled in us quite a profound Stockholm syndrome....

Posted by: Steve M. on February 11, 2011 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

@ Bryan Price . I disagree to some extent . Remember Citizens United Plus Scott's own 70 million ( say it twice 70 million for a job that pays 200k ) did much to sway the uneducated mugwumps in Northern and Central Florida . The anti Sink ads started long before the Republican primary was over and continued nonstop at the rate of 10 an hour on all channels right up to the election . The best government money can buy . A friend of mine went to the budget rally as they held it in my city in central Florida (Eustis) and she said it was like a Klan rally minus the sheets with the crowd singing an ode to Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman to the words of My Girl. Of course on the TEEVEE after there was the traditional interview with a retiree teabagger who is on social security and medicare living in subsidized housing complaining about all them Gubbmint handouts. IT takes an exceptionally misinformed and manipulated population to elect a crook like Rick Scott . He is going to turn Florida into Arizona Lite .

Posted by: John R on February 11, 2011 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Most people can be told what would happen but because they have been so brainwashed by the right that they won't believe it unless they see it. A small, mean part of me want them to see and experience it.

So, if I didn't actually want to happen what would happen, I would be all for this. Then Scott, the Tea Partiers, conservatives and all those who want to pay less in taxes but want the same services could actually what would happened if their Utopian dreams come true.

The old adage of "be careful what you wish" for would have a shiny new example.

Posted by: ET on February 11, 2011 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK
Florida: Ireland with palm trees and shitty beer.

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave

FIZIXED FOR GREATEST ACCURACY!

Oh, and Florida will all be underwater in about, oh, 40 years, so screw 'em.

(Of course, conservatives will be paddling around in canoes, yelling and crying about how climate change is a hoax, but still ...)

Posted by: Mark D on February 11, 2011 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

This is a serious question: What are they going to do when the hurricane comes? I'm not talking metaphorically, I mean a Cat 4 or 5 right on Miami. Call out the state workers to help? Oops, don't have any of those? Call for help from the jack booted thugs in DC? Just pray we can all flee in our private jets? (All= all of the Gov type of people)

Posted by: Tigershark on February 11, 2011 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Florida has a lot more problems besides him. One dipshit governer taking a hachet to the budget isn't going to stop the developers, the hurricanes, or the grass fires. It isn't going to stop the unusually high percentage of elder occupying FL space from getting sick and dying. It won't stop the monetary gulf between the wealthy who own second homes in Watercolors shutting the house up for 6-7 months and leaving local businesses with part time income. It won't stop the insurance companies from jacking premiums sky-high on poorer communities to off-set the cost of replacing those luxury beachfront homes that keep getting destroyed and rebuilt. And it won't stop that state being on the front lines of climate change either.

Posted by: Skip on February 11, 2011 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Pennsylvania's new governor is lower key but shaping up to be pretty dangerous, partly because his crazy ideas fly under most people's radar and partly because many see him as avuncular. Not only is he proposing to privatize the PA liquor stores, a big money-maker for the state, but he's pushing and might actually get enacted a bill to provide vouchers for private and parochial schooling. Meanwhile, he's promised to close a huge budget deficit without raising taxes, which virtually ensures he'll gut public education funding one way or another (40% of the state budget).

Posted by: smintheus on February 11, 2011 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

"He thinks the state's unemployment rate will get better if he forces thousands out of work."

No he doesn't. He knows that high unemployment is good for business.

"He thinks the strained budget, already pushed to the breaking point, will get better if he slashes taxes -- mainly on corporations -- and denies the state $2.4 billion on revenue."

Nope. He just thinks that corporations will pay lower taxes. That's the whole plan.

Posted by: VictorLaszlo on February 11, 2011 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Alex Sink ran much better against Rick Scott than any of the other Democrats running for statewide office did against their respective opponents. Just not quite well enough.

Scott is proposing to, in effect, cut state and local public workers' salaries (including teachers) by 5% by raising their contributions to the retirement system (and lowering the state's). When unemployment is high, bosses can cut compensation. That's what a free market is all about.

Posted by: Housecalls on February 11, 2011 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps a state has to be sacrificed to the Teabagger madness for the rest of the country to wake up. Florida is an excellent candidate and may od us the service of stopping the cancer from spreading any further. While not a particular practicioner of schadenfreude, I might derive just a little enjoyment from watching Florida suddenly becoming a reliable Democratic state in the electoral college.

We have been expecting a very entertaining election cycle, and Florida looks like it will provide front row seats to the circus. The problem is after the elephants leave the ring who is going to be on the shovel brigade? And is there ever going to be a lot of shoveling to do.

Posted by: rrk1 on February 11, 2011 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Nah. It would take a liberal governor to turn our state into Detroit. Those "brainless retirees" aren't going to pay taxes year round in NY whether or not they live there. More than likely, the exodus from the northeast will continue and Florida will grow even larger.

Posted by: Rob on February 11, 2011 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Don't you just love all these ex-CEOs who say they need to address expense problems by cutting revenue. How long would they have stayed a CEO if they proposed that to their board?

Posted by: ComradeAnon on February 11, 2011 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

In response to tigershark - You did indeed ask a serious question about what will the new breed FL government do in case a Cat 4 or 5 hurricane barrels into a major FL population center. The answer of course will be nothing.

However, that "nothingness" will be dispensed with a stern reminder that the hurricane, which of course had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH A DESTABILIZED CLIMATE, was a judgment from God and was almost certainly due to the sins of some dastardly liberal, gay, or ethnic group. Especially if such group was poor, or belonged to a union.

Posted by: russ on February 11, 2011 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Scott's plan is certainly unique. He thinks the state's unemployment rate will get better if he forces thousands out of work.

That's weird. I swear I thought Obama had wanted the same strategy. Let me check....oh right here!
1) here's Obama's deficit commission saying the same thing (link: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/deficit-commission-cuts-target-federal-workers-american-taxpayers-111136309.html).

2) here's Obama's Treasury Secretary saying he'll cut workers too (link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-09/fannie-mae-freddie-mac-could-be-phased-out-under-treasury-s-housing-plan.html).

He thinks the strained budget, already pushed to the breaking point, will get better if he slashes taxes -- mainly on corporations -- and denies the state $2.4 billion on revenue.

Now that's weird too. Again, I just swear I thought I heard Obama just the other day saying the very same thing. Indeed, two weeks ago in the SOTU I did hear Obama saying he'll cut corporate tax rates without adding to the deficit.

(link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-26/obama-backs-cut-in-u-s-corporate-tax-rate-only-if-it-won-t-affect-deficit.html)
According to Bloomberg, it would be the first time in 25 years that corporate rates will have been cut.

Weird coincidences, I guess. Wonder if Gov Scott has been listening to Obama?

I guess it's okay when Obama does it but not okay when Scott does it because Scott's on the Red team.

You folks are so full of it sometimes.

Posted by: Observer1 on February 11, 2011 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Scott's plan is certainly unique. He thinks the state's unemployment rate will get better if he forces thousands out of work.

That's weird. I swear I thought Obama had wanted the same strategy. Let me check....oh right here!
1) there's Obama's deficit commission saying the same thing and wanting to cut 200,000 jobs.
2) there's Obama's Treasury Secretary saying he'll cut Fannie and Freddie workers too.

He thinks the strained budget, already pushed to the breaking point, will get better if he slashes taxes -- mainly on corporations -- and denies the state $2.4 billion on revenue.

Now that's weird too. Again, I just swear I thought I heard Obama just the other day saying the very same thing. Indeed, two weeks ago in the SOTU I did hear Obama saying he'll cut corporate tax rates without adding to the deficit. According to Bloomberg, that would be the first time in 25 years that corporate rates will have been cut.

Weird coincidences. I wonder if Gov Scott has been listening to Obama?

I guess it's okay when Obama does it but not okay when Scott does it because Scott's on the Red team.

You folks are so full of it sometimes.

Posted by: Observer on February 11, 2011 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

But if Republicans don't keep cutting education and producing stupid people, where will the future Republicans of America, the ones dumb enough to vote for criminals like Rick Scott, come from???

Posted by: TCinLA on February 11, 2011 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone should be clapping & celebrating, the voters of Florida are getting exactly what they wanted. How often does that happen?! Yay.

Posted by: glf on February 11, 2011 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

this is all a natural evolution of republicanism: rule of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich; turning the US into modern day feudalism.

Posted by: pluege on February 11, 2011 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Here we go again with Voodoo economics. I mean it works so well the 1st time. The silver lining is that Scott's misleadership will win Florida for Democrats in 2012.

Posted by: John Henry on February 11, 2011 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't this just evidence that their take-over is proceeding apace? Is there something else about this that's noteworthy?

Where did you think we were heading?

Posted by: Jim Pharo on February 11, 2011 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

> This state was going down before his election. It's on an elevator to hell at this rate.

For the rest of your life, there will be many Down elevators, and only urban legends of Up. That sound you hear is the ladder being drawn up by those who are Already In The Club of Reagan, may His Name Be Praised.

At the bottom of the Down elevators, it is very dark, and you are in a maze of twisty passages, all different. If you proceed, it is quite likely that you will fall into a Pit.

I smell a Wumpus.

Posted by: joel hanes on February 11, 2011 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Justin: "You're great Steve, but suspected criminal? Really? Don't get too carried away with labels. Half term governor good, suspected bad, unless sufficient evidence and context is provided. All pols are suspected crooks anyhow. One or two sentences could explain Scotts issues, you know suspected criminal doesn't work."

We have already been over this several times on these boards. Last May, the St. Petersburg Times/Miami-Herald's Politi-Fact website investigated allegations of criminal corruption against Scott (based on his opponent's charges during the campaign) and confirmed they were true. The Columbia/HCA board forced Scott out in 1997 when they could see the handwriting on the wall. A subsequent DOJ investigation resulted in a $840 million fine for laboratory fraud by Columbia/HCA during Scott's tenure. Fourteen felonies were involved. What was not widely reported was the DOJ finding included a requirement for an annual 7% audit of all Columbia/HCA Medicare hospital reports. Dubya's crooked Medicare Administrator, Tom Scully (former chief lobbyist for the for-profit hospital association), killed those audits in 2002 when another $3 billion in hospital billing fraud by Columbia/HCA was projected. The reason: HCA was founded by Bill Frist's older brother and father. Bill Frist was Republican senate Mayority Leader at the time. DOJ did nothing. This is the Rick Scott legacy and this is who he is. He admitted as recently as last Spring that "mistakes were made" in the way the corporation operated during his tenure and he regretted that. He was elected anyway. There's an old saying: "There's no fool like an old fool". Elderly Floridians are about to discover why old sayings are usually true.

Posted by: max on February 12, 2011 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK
I guess it's okay when Obama does it but not okay when Scott does it because Scott's on the Red team.

You might have a point, dear heart, if, in fact, it were actually "okay when Obama does it." Since it is not okay and those moves have been widely criticized on the left, I'm afraid that you, as usual, don't have a point, other than proving how much of an idiot you are.

But do keep coming back, won't you, dear? We do so love seeing living proof of just how stupid mindless partisans like yourself have become.

Posted by: PaulB on February 12, 2011 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Cool.
Libertarianism lab.
Privatize everything.

I'd expect a cluster f making Florida look like a third world nation. Opulent palaces and swarms of poverty stricken serfs scraping by.

Except that those in the middle that have enough to move to a different state, will begin to do so and those left behind will become increasingly Democratic.

The damage will be slowly reversed starting 8 years from now. Florida's economy will more closely resemble that of its low, low tax brother, Alabama. School rankings and health index will plummet.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on February 15, 2011 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Florida already has one of the highest crime rates in the nation, due to this state being a transient & weirdos-running-away-from-elsewhere magnet.

Most heartbreakingly, a high percentage of those crimes are crimes against children. I'm sure the rest of the country hears of those many high profile abduction cases that so often seem to come from FL, but if you ever looked at just how many missing children there are in this state you would be appalled.

I dread what looks to me like the ingredients for a worsening of this already poisonous environment.

Posted by: KL on February 16, 2011 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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