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Old 08-30-2011, 11:07 PM   #941
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TBH I had more or less assumed she was Jewish until I read this, just based on her surname. That said I have not been following the election campaigns closely and know next to nothing about her.
It's not the notion that people (Jews or otherwise) who truly know nothing about her might guess a "Michele Bachmann" to be Jewish that I find non-credible. It's the notion that A) Jewish Republicans involved enough to be donors in the first place wouldn't know, and B) on top of that they'd tell some Romney fund-raiser, 'Sorry, I like Mitt and all but I gotta back the Jew.' If some Romney staffer(s) truly hold this impression, then my *guess* is they heard some reference to Bachmann as 'the Jewish candidate'--meaning, the one some Jewish Republicans prefer because of her strong 'pro-Israel' stance--and misinterpreted what was meant.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:29 AM   #942
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well, there is this

"I am a Christian, but I consider my heritage Jewish, because it is the foundation, the roots of my faith as a Christian."

Michele Bachmann, Jewish by 'Heritage' - Jeffrey Goldberg - Politics - The Atlantic

Jews are just a little slow on the uptake.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:29 AM   #943
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i think it's already been mentioned in here, but i just finished reading Ryan Lizza's piece on Bachmann in the New Yorker.

The Transformation of Michele Bachmann : The New Yorker

it's incredibly good. and i was particularly struck by this:

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In the fall of 1975, Bachmann enrolled at Winona State University, a small school in southeastern Minnesota, where she became more devout and tried to lead her dormmates to Christianity. There she met Marcus, whom, she has said, God called her to marry. She had a vision while praying “of me marrying this man in the valley where his parents have a farm in western Wisconsin.” According to Michele, Marcus was simultaneously having a vision about marrying her.

At the time, evangelicals were becoming a major presence in American politics. In 1976, like many other fundamentalist Christians, the Bachmanns supported Jimmy Carter, a born-again Baptist. The Bachmanns attended Carter’s Inauguration, in January, 1977. Later that year, they experienced a second life-altering event: they watched a series of films by the evangelist and theologian Francis Schaeffer called “How Should We Then Live?”

Schaeffer, who ran a mission in the Swiss Alps known as L’Abri (“the shelter”), opposed liberal trends in theology. One of the most influential evangelical thinkers of the nineteen-seventies and early eighties, he has been credited with getting a generation of Christians involved in politics. Schaeffer’s film series consists of ten episodes tracing the influence of Christianity on Western art and culture, from ancient Rome to Roe v. Wade. In the films, Schaeffer—who has a white goatee and is dressed in a shearling coat and mountain climber’s knickers—condemns the influence of the Italian Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Darwin, secular humanism, and postmodernism. He repeatedly reminds viewers of the “inerrancy” of the Bible and the necessity of a Biblical world view. “There is only one real solution, and that’s right back where the early church was,” Schaeffer tells his audience. “The early church believed that only the Bible was the final authority. What these people really believed and what gave them their whole strength was in the truth of the Bible as the absolute infallible word of God.”

The first five installments of the series are something of an art-history and philosophy course. The iconic image from the early episodes is Schaeffer standing on a raised platform next to Michelangelo’s “David” and explaining why, for all its beauty, Renaissance art represented a dangerous turn away from a God-centered world and toward a blasphemous, human-centered world. But the film shifts in the second half. In the sixth episode, a mysterious man in a fake mustache drives around in a white van and furtively pours chemicals into a city’s water supply, while Schaeffer speculates about the possibility that the U.S. government is controlling its citizens by means of psychotropic drugs. The final two episodes of the series deal with abortion and the perils of genetic engineering.

Schaeffer died in 1984. I asked his son Frank, who directed the movies—and who has since left the evangelical movement and become a novelist—about the change in tone. He told me that it all had to do with Roe v. Wade, which was decided by the Supreme Court while the film was being made. “Those first episodes are what Francis Schaeffer is doing while he was sitting in Switzerland having nice discussions with people who came through to find Jesus and talk about culture and art,” he said. But then the Roe decision came, and “it wasn’t a theory anymore. Now ‘they’ are killing babies. Then everything started getting unhinged. It wasn’t just that we disagreed with the Supreme Court; it’s that they’re evil. It isn’t just that the federal government may be taking too much power; now they are abusing it. We had been warning that humanism followed to its logical conclusion without Biblical absolutes is going to go into terrible places, and, look, it’s happening right before our very eyes. Once that happens, everything becomes a kind of holy war, and if not an actual conspiracy then conspiracy-like.”


i had always thought that the big baby-boomer cultural rift was over Vietnam and the rightful application of American power, and i feel that for many people, that's where it lies.

but for those on the cultural right, Vietnam is a side note. it really is all about abortion. that decision may have done more to polarize the American electorate than anything since ... well, when? the Civil War? and what's amazing is how clear and simple and clear cut the issue can be in some eyes, "do you believe in killing babies or not?" and then everything else falls into place after that.

it's like an alcoholic, or the true believer, who has their moment of clarity. and then everything after that moment is bent and shaped to justify and reinforce that moment.

not that there aren't individuals with supremely nuanced views on the topic, but as a cultural issue, and when speaking in politically necessary generalizations, this is a black or white topic. for many people it's their #1 issue.

nothing has influence politics in the past 40 years more than Roe v. Wade.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:33 AM   #944
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Rick Perry was also a Democrat at one point

By NBC's Carrie Dann

Gov. Rick Perry may face an old political ghost from his tenure as Texas Agriculture Commisioner -- a complimentary letter he wrote in 1993 to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton to urge her to consider the needs rural residents as she drafted what would later be derided as "Hillarycare."

In the letter, dated April 6, 1993, Perry wrote to Clinton, “I think your efforts in trying to reform the nation’s health care system are most commendable."

He went on to request that the health-care task force consider the unique needs of "farmers, ranchers, and agriculture workers, and other members of rural communities."

Perry campaign strategist Dave Carney told The Daily Caller, which first reported on the letter yesterday, that Perry would not have known the specifics of the policy at the time. "The letter was at the onset of her efforts before she proposed anything," he said. "No one could have imagined the horrible monstrosity she cooked up, in fact, not to be outdone until 'ObamaCare' years later."

It is true that the precise details of the plan were unclear at the time and the process of hashing out the policy was (now infamously) noteably opaque. But some of the broad goals of the legislation were being reported at the same time Perry was penning praise to Clinton.

According to a Los Angles Times report from April 5, 1993, the plan was designed to, in part:

* Guarantee that a uniform package of basic benefits will be available to everyone, although not all the uninsured will get this coverage right away. Among the basic benefits would be hospital and doctor services, including mental health care, and some prescription drug coverage.
* Create a standardized insurance form and bar insurers from refusing to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions, in order to enable people to change jobs-and insurers-without fear of losing coverage.
* Enact tort reforms to reduce medical malpractice litigation.
* Impose a price freeze on private-sector medical providers while the system of cooperatives is phased in, a process that could take three to five years.
* Phase in a requirement for employers to provide workers with health insurance, with government subsidies to help the smaller businesses.

Several of those objectives, including the mandate that employers provide health care for workers and the guarantee of universal benefits to everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions, are now objectionable to conservatives like Perry, who has said he wants to use an executive order to dismantle "Obamacare."

Asked if Perry would have considered "commendable" those goals, which were public at the time that Perry praised Clinton, Carney told NBC News that while "insiders" were speculating about the details, Perry was simply raising concerns about an important constituency.

"The letter is very clear," Carney wrote via email. "They were trying to reform health care and no one knew how awful the final product would become. Insiders may have speculated on what might come out of the process. Rural voices and concerns deserved to be included."
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:43 AM   #945
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Another republican candidate that was for it before they were against it.

Principals don't blow in the wind...
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:35 PM   #946
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Glad to see the economy being stimulated:

Adult Industry Prepares For 2012 GOP Convention
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Following an extensive remodel, the Penthouse Club in Tampa, Fla., is finally ready for next summer's Republican National Convention. Club operator DeWayne Levesque has installed two secluded VIP sections, which he hopes will help his club attract a bigger share of the 50,000 visitors expected to descend upon the city on Aug. 27 for four days of conservative politics and liberal partying. In addition to the club's new carpets and furniture, the private rooms are designed to provide cover so that camera-shy donors, politicians and aides can enjoy the strippers without fear of getting caught, he said.
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:48 AM   #947
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i believe this is what is known as a "Hitch Slap" -- and it made my morning:


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Rick Perry's God
Does the Texas governor believe his idiotic religious rhetoric, or is he just pandering for votes?
By Christopher Hitchens
Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, at 11:19 AM ET


I happened to spend several weeks in Texas earlier this year, while the Lone Star State lay under the pitiless glare of an unremitting drought. After a protracted arid interval, the state's immodest governor, Rick Perry, announced that he was using the authority vested in him to call for prayers for rain. These incantations and beseechments, carrying the imprimatur of government, were duly offered to the heavens. The heavens responded by remaining, along with the parched lands below, obstinately dry.

Perry did not, of course, suffer politically for making an idiot of himself in this way. Not even the true believers really expect that prayers for precipitation will be answered, or believe that a failed rainmaker is a false prophet. And, had Perry's entreaties actually been followed by a moistening of the clouds and the coming of the healing showers, it is unlikely that anybody would really have claimed a connection between post hoc and propter hoc. No, religion in politics is more like an insurance policy than a true act of faith. Professing allegiance to it seldom does you any harm, at least in Republican primary season, and can do you some good. It's a question of prudence.

Or is it? Since his faintly absurd excursion into inspirational meteorology back in the spring, Perry has begun to show signs of starting a religious auction on the right, with himself as the highest bidder. His "Day of Prayer and Fasting" on Aug. 6 took the form of a rally of the faithful assembled under the big tent of "The Response." It featured traditional groups like the American Family Association and also less familiar and even more consecrated outfits such as the "New Apostolic Reformation." More interestingly, it was the near-equivalent, in time and space, of Perry's announcement of his intention to run for the presidency. We are therefore justified in saying that religious rhetoric is not merely decorative or incidental to his campaign.

As usual, though, there is some built-in wiggle room. In 2006 he said that he believed the Bible to be inerrant. He also said that those who did not accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior would be going to hell. Pressed a little on the sheer wickedness and stupidity of that last claim, the governor did allow that he himself wasn't omniscient enough to be sure on such doctrinal matters. He tells us that he is a "firm believer" in the "intelligent design" formulation that is creationism's latest rhetorical disguise, adding that the "design" could be biblical or could have involved something more complex, but is attributable to the same divine author in any event. Whether he chooses to avail himself of the wiggles or not, Perry can be reasonably sure that the voting base of the theocratic right has picked up his intended message.

In this same auction, his chief conservative rivals are somewhat disabled. Mitt Romney is in no position, and shows no inclination, to campaign on matters spiritual. His own bizarre religion is regarded as just that by much of the mainstream and as heretical at best by the evangelical Christian rank and file. Advantage Perry—at least among Republican voters. Rep. Michele Bachmann, if she is still seriously considered as being in the race, can also only lose from the comparison: Her religious positions are so weird, and so weirdly held, that they have already made her look like a crackpot. (Or revealed her as such: the distinction is a negligible one.) And Perry, no matter what his other faults, does not look like a fringe or crackpot character. He has enough chops as a vote-getter and—whatever you think of the Texas "economic miracle"—as a "job-creator," that even his decision to outbid all comers on questions of the sacred and the profane can be made to seem like the action of a rational calculator.

And this is what one always wants to know about candidates who flourish the Good Book or who presume to talk about hell and damnation. Do they, themselves, in their heart of hearts, truly believe it? Is there any evidence, if it comes to that, that Perry has ever studied the theory of evolution for long enough to be able to state roughly what it says? And how much textual and hermeneutic work did he do before deciding on the "inerrancy" of Jewish and Christian scripture? It should, of course, be the sincere believers and devout faithful who ask him, and themselves, these questions. But somehow, it never is. The risks of hypocrisy seem forever invisible to the politicized Christians, for whom sufficient proof of faith consists of loud and unambiguous declarations. I am always surprised that more is not heard from sincere religious believers, who have the most to lose if faith becomes a matter of poll-time dogma and lung power.

My bet would be that, just as Perry probably wouldn't have tried to take credit if there had been rain after his ostentatious intercessions, so he doesn't lose much actual sleep over doctrinal matters, personal saviorhood, and the rest of it. As with his crass saber-rattling about Texan secession a season or so back, or his more recent semitough talk about apparently riding Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke out of town on a rail, it is probably largely boilerplate, and mainly for the rubes.

Which leads one to slightly rephrase the question above: Is it better to have a candidate who actually believes in biblical inerrancy and the extreme youthfulness and recency of the Grand Canyon, or a candidate who half-affects such convictions in the hope of political gain? Either would be depressing. A mixture of the two—not excluded in Perry's case—would lower the tone nicely.

Rick Perry and religion: Does the Texas governor believe his idiotic God talk, or is he just pandering for votes? - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:20 AM   #948
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can we also now say that GHW Bush was a great president, because his moderate policies that included raising taxes gave rise to the 1990s?
He does have 4 years left...

This all proves once again that judging the acts of a sitting president are often quite foolish.
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Old 09-05-2011, 03:08 PM   #949
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We sort of have to, though, don't we? We vote for or against a sitting president every other election.
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Old 09-05-2011, 05:43 PM   #950
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I know we do... it's the catch 22.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:52 PM   #951
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i believe this is what is known as a "Hitch Slap" -- and it made my morning:
I completely agree with his questions that you bolded, but I also don't find the observation at all surprising. Most religious people, just like most nonreligious people, are not particularly thoughtful or reflective individuals and their so-called beliefs are not really the result of much personal intellectual effort. Think of how many people say they're atheists "because" the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church disgusted them, or the sexism of [name of denomination] was so disillusioning etc. etc. ...those might be fine reasons for breaking ranks with some particular religious organization, but they're completely nonsensical as arguments for atheism properly defined. I tend to assume such individuals were never really theists in any particularly meaningful sense to begin with, just as they aren't atheists in any particularly meaningful sense now. It's more an assertion of loyalty to some particular social and cultural niche--"boilerplate" as Hitchens puts it (though that might be a willfully naive description itself, insofar as it seems to pretend such assertions aren't clearly recognized as socially, strategically consequential by both speaker and audience--you can be a thoughtful a/theist and still enjoy a rote show of dis/loyalty from someone you recognize isn't as thoughtful as you, because there's a camaraderie there that has nothing to do with abstract intellectual propositions).
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:44 PM   #952
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Looking like it's pretty touch-and-go whether Perry will actually attend the debate tomorrow, on account of the wildfires. Awful situation with plenty of potential to get worse; I hope no one here has been directly affected.
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:53 PM   #953
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Washington Post, Sept. 6
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The far-reaching economic plan that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney put forward on Tuesday relies heavily on the premise that the way to revive the economy is to get the government out of the way of corporations.

Romney’s prescription for the country’s ailing economy includes overhauling federal tax, regulatory, trade and energy policies. His is a collection of business-friendly ideas that fit neatly within the mainstream of the Republican Party, with a few innovative proposals sprinkled throughout, namely tougher stances on China and labor unions. “The right answer for America is not to grow government or to believe that government can create jobs. It is instead to create the conditions that allow the private sector and entrepreneurs to create jobs and to grow our economy. Growth is the answer, not government,” Romney said as he released the plan, called “Believe in America.”

That may be a questionable concept at a time when businesses are seeing record profits but have not put them into the kind of hiring and investment that could launch a national economic recovery. At the same time, polls show that voters are losing faith in the current administration, which has an expansive view of the role of government, and are demanding a new direction.
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Romney spoke without a prepared text under a banner that read, “Day One, Job One,” inside a sweltering North Las Vegas truck warehouse, laying out 10 actions he said he would take on his first day in the Oval Office that would create more certainty for businesses. They include five measures that would: lower the corporate tax rate to 25% from 35%; implement free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea; expand domestic energy exploration; consolidate worker retraining programs and turn them over to the states; and cut non-security discretionary spending by 5%. (President Obama also supports those three trade agreements, although he has been accused of dithering to satisfy the demands of organized labor.)

If elected, the former Massachusetts governor said he would issue five executive orders on Inauguration Day. They would roll back Obama’s health-care overhaul; eliminate Obama-era regulations; issue new oil-drilling permits; reverse a number of policies that favor organized labor; and sanction China for currency manipulation.
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Although aides said that Romney’s prescriptions would add certainty to the business environment over the long term, there was little that would immediately jolt an economy whose growth has been hampered by low consumer spending and an overhang of mortgage and other personal debt. It would take years for measures such as new free-trade agreements and leasing more land for oil drilling to have an impact on economic growth. That is a conundrum for both parties at a time when the imperative for fiscal austerity has made it all but impossible to propose new government spending as a stimulus.
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In introducing his plan, Romney unleashed a blistering critique of Obama’s economic stewardship and offered himself as the only Republican candidate with the management skills and business know-how to lift the country out of a long recession. At one point, Romney held up his iPhone to castigate Obama’s economic policies as outdated. “President Obama’s strategy is a pay-phone strategy and we’re in a smartphone world,” he said. “What he’s doing is taking quarters and stuffing them into the pay phone and he can’t figure out why it isn’t working. It’s not connected anymore, Mr. President.”

The Obama campaign was quick to respond. “Governor Romney repackaged the same old policies that helped create the economic crisis: boosting oil company profits and allowing Wall Street to write its own rules, more tax breaks for large corporations and more tax cuts for the wealthiest,” Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement.
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Old 09-07-2011, 07:58 AM   #954
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Has this been posted anywhere here yet?

Brilliant piece on the current state of US politics, posted here as it's mostly about the current Republican Party (by a recently ex-Republican operative):

Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult | Truthout
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:06 PM   #955
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Anderson Cooper: Mitt Romney's Job Creation Boasts 'Vague' (VIDEO)

Anderson Cooper sounded a very skeptical note about Mitt Romney on his Tuesday show.

Cooper used his "Keeping Them Honest" segment to examine Romney's leading theme about his candidacy: that his private sector experience gives him the tools to create millions of jobs. Romney unveiled a jobs plan on Tuesday that, in the words of the Associated Press, seeks to "reduce regulations and taxes on companies, sanction China over its currency practices and weaken the clout of labor unions." Romney says the plan will create 11.5 million jobs.

"We did some checking on Mr. Romney's repeated claims that his private sector experience uniquely prepares him as a job creator," Cooper said. "He says that a lot." he played clip after clip of Romney saying this, including one where he said that "tens of thousands of jobs" were created as a result of investments that his company, Bain Capital, had made.

"That figure, tens of thousands, is vague," Cooper pointed out. "And when we asked the campaign for specifics to back it up, we got no reply. In addition, some of Governor Romney's investments, while running Bain, are such that putting a number on jobs created is downright impossible."

As an example, Cooper mentioned Staples, which Romney put $2 million dollars into and which now employs 90,000 people.

"Should Governor Romney be credited with creating all 90,000 or just only a small fraction?" Cooper wondered. He also noted that much of Romney's private sector life consisted of laying people off to maximize profits, and played Ted Kennedy's famous 1994 ad which featured workers laid off by Romney's company speaking out against him.
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Old 09-07-2011, 04:40 PM   #956
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Has this been posted anywhere here yet?

Brilliant piece on the current state of US politics, posted here as it's mostly about the current Republican Party (by a recently ex-Republican operative):

Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult | Truthout
Irvine posted it in the Obama thread yesterday. As righteously outraged parting shots go, it's a good one; to me the most important part came right at the beginning where he decried "the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to raise upwards of a billion dollars to be competitive in the general election." There's no way Democrats can offer a durable alternative to the self-destructive GOP agenda he describes when they too are "infested."
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:55 PM   #957
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:21 PM   #958
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Here's a joke that doesn't even need a punchline:

Lawrence O'Donnell, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Eugene H. Robinson and the Rev. Al Sharpton walk into a TV studio to analyze a Republican debate...
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:45 PM   #959
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Oh my god YES!

My exact thoughts after seeing this on the news.
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:50 PM   #960
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the difference, though, is that Rick Perry is incredibly proud of executing 237 people, one of whom he knew was innocent.

party of life!
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