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The Lynx suborbital spaceplane. Illustration courtesy XCOR, click image for more info.

Why are those dang liberal scientists always ag'n God fear'n American lov'n patriots? Do tell Salon:

One of the great political shifts in the past decade has been the move of scientists toward the Democratic Party, a casualty of the Republican Party’s war on reality. It’s not about politics for scientists, it’s about the fact that only one party accepts scientific findings on everything from global warming to evolutionary theory to what does and doesn’t prevent pregnancy. Only 6 percent of scientists identify as Republican, whereas 55 percent identify as Democratic.
Eric Hoffer said it succinctly: "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” There are components in the GOP coalition that have become an influential anti-science racket, and that's one big reason why scientists have been avoiding one party more than the other for years.
  • Axe Body spray bought 22 flights on XCOR's Lynx suborbiral spaceplane (XCOR CEO Jeff Greason intervierwed here at Daily Kos) and will be awarding them to 22 lucky winners. I'd link the entry reqs but last I checked the page had crashed and died.
  • Sperm whales are not known as the most affable of cetaceans, just ask Ishmael, so this is awful cute.
  • If you're new to the site or normally just look over the front page, make it a practice to scan the titles on the recommended list and community spotlight on the right margin. For example I found this delightful post by Troubadour on space science. You can also register a screen name here and write your own posts on this site, and it is 100% free.
  • Yes, I somehow had a massive heart attack despite being in decent shape, and usual scary thing you hear: I barely felt it. Cardiopathologists aren't sure of all the factors, why some people feel crushing pressure and others feel nothing, but what they do know is some people have more cross circulation than others and that may play a big role. BTW, if you're facing a heart cath in the near future? Fear not, less bothersome than a root canal. Oh, I had a slightly different reaction to imminent mortalilty than Carl Sagan.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Glad you're feeling better. And RUSH!!! (8+ / 0-)

    Loved seeing them at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn and at MSG last spring. Always good to see a Rush reference here at Big Orange. Also, please check out my new post on the Inaugural and Republican sadness over its effectiveness.

  •  Can't help it. (7+ / 0-)

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:19:43 AM PST

    •  Neptune and Back in 6 minutes (4+ / 0-)

      If I've got my gazintas right

      That's why a new number, care of NASA physicist Harold White, is so stunning: Two weeks. Two weeks to Alpha Centauri, he told io9, if only we can travel by warping space-time.
      But, as Dvorsky explains, White has recently come up with a new design for a warp drive, one that, theoretically, would require way, way less energy. "I suddenly realized," he told Dvorsky, "that if you made the thickness of the negative vacuum energy ring larger -- like shifting from a belt shape to a donut shape -- and oscillate the warp bubble, you can greatly reduce the energy required -- perhaps making the idea plausible." White believes that with his new design, warp drive could be achieved with the power of a mass that is even smaller than Voyager 1's. I'm not going to pretend that I have the faintest clue how this would work or how NASA would conceivably build such a thing, but the idea that physicists at NASA are even toying with it gives me hope that interstellar travel could one day be possible, even if this isn't how it is ultimately accomplished.

      I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

      by JML9999 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:02:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  HB III I'm a diehard Trekie from 1st season (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Horace Boothroyd III

      That intro is my favorite of all - brings back all the memories, from Shepard's flight on. Have the full version of the song on a CD and play it often.

      Thanks, now I can see the intro as needed.  ;0

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:25:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the link to the Salon article (12+ / 0-)

    I quite liked it except that the phrase 'One of the great political shifts of the last decade' struck me as being a bit off in terms of time scale.

    Although I do know some republican scientists the number is tiny and has been for a long time, much longer than ten years.  Things might be a bit different in the physical sciences as opposed to biology though.  One thing that doesn't get mentioned is that science is dependent on government funding.  

    "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge with hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

    by matching mole on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:20:39 AM PST

    •  On government funding that's been stagnant. (11+ / 0-)

      When Bush was elected and Congress (temporarily) stayed Democrat, they doubled the NIH budget, and Bush enthusiastically signed on.  That allowed for a huge boom of grad students and postdocs (of which I was the latter back in the early 2000s).  However, the budget has stayed stagnant, or cut ever since.  So all those bioscience grad students and postdocs...had no jobs once they got their credentials.

      Rather like the situation for Bachelors' students, but only worse.  One job I applied for had over a thousand qualified Ph.Ds trying for it, and while I eventually found a science job, it was as a technician, paying half a junior professor's salary.  Wage deflation?  I've lived it.

    •  Unfortunately Republicans have struk a deal with.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pelagicray, randallt

      the "Devil" of fundamentalism as part of their Dixiecrat strategy and thus to be a Republican a scientist has to swallow a lot of garbage and essentially give up the foundation of the disciplines. One also has to put up with a denigration of one's profession.

      No thanks!  When at least half of Republicans accept global climate change and evolution, based on empirical evidence I may change my mind, but the way thing are now I'm going to have to wait until Antarctica and Greenland have completely melted and Miami is under water.  

      •  Can't spell in the morning! (0+ / 0-)

        Struck not Struk! I did not strike the "c."

      •  Biblical literal-ism & science don't work together (0+ / 0-)

        unless a scientist is willing to step outside the accepted norms of their discipline.

        The old geologists making statements about current biology & the old biochemist making statements about climate science in public is just beyond hubris to me.

        Something that doesn't make good sense, makes bad sense. That means someone is being deliberately hurtful & selfish. Look for motives behind actions & words.

        by CA wildwoman on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 06:04:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree on the time scale. I've not seen hard (0+ / 0-)

      numbers on scientists but the premise agrees with some of my observations. The article also notes (my emphasis):

      In Merchants of Doubt, Oreskes and Conway laid out how the fields of environmental science and public health, not the social sciences, turned Republicans into anti-science warriors. They explain that it was during the debates over tobacco’s carcinogenic properties that conservatives began their assault on science, claiming a controversy where there was none in hopes of delaying government interventions that would depress the tobacco industry’s profits.
      We also have to be very conscious of just how we define "scientist" as well. One of the great hopes of the Creationists movement was a "scientist," a geologist no less and head of one of their institutes. He was an oil geologist that had been quite successful correlating fossil pollen and organisms with oil strata—strata he "believed" were laid down in Noah's flood.

      So, there were also people in the tobacco argument "doing science" with educations and positions as "scientists" being anything but scientists. They, as the recent Mother Jones article notes for sugar in "Big Sugar's Sweet Little Lies were not performing as scientists at all. They were doing "science things" with a prejudicial outcome in mind, i.e., not find the truth but defend an industry. They may be qualified as "scientists" doing scientific like things but in no way letting the experimental evidence go where it leads to reveal truth.

      The cited article puts it pretty well in this paragraph:

      Precisely how did the sugar industry engineer its turnaround? The answer is found in more than 1,500 pages of internal memos, letters, and company board reports we discovered buried in the archives of now-defunct sugar companies as well as in the recently released papers of deceased researchers and consultants who played key roles in the industry's strategy. They show how Big Sugar used Big Tobacco-style tactics to ensure that government agencies would dismiss troubling health claims against their products. Compared to the tobacco companies, which knew for a fact that their wares were deadly and spent billions of dollars trying to cover up that reality, the sugar industry had a relatively easy task. With the jury still out on sugar's health effects, producers simply needed to make sure that the uncertainty lingered. But the goal was the same: to safeguard sales by creating a body of evidence companies could deploy to counter any unfavorable research.
      A scientist may apply science to produce something such as a trasistor, applied science, and still be doing science. One applying "science" to obscure where science would lead is not a scientist at all. They are betraying science.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:14:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This country needs more scientists. (11+ / 0-)

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:23:37 AM PST

    •  And the scientists already here... (10+ / 0-)

      ...actually need JOBS.  The country needs to employ the scientists it already damn has.

      •  That's a curious comment. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        One thing I remember from the 2009 "stimulus" package was an influx of R&D money so large that it had some people wondering if the mechanisms for finding and protecting against scientific fraud were sufficient to the task.

        What gives?

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:13:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very little of it made it to the NIH. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Quite a bit of that R&D stimulus money got redirected to (like eveything else in the U.S. Government) defense.  But even biodefense was not doing all that well in 2009-2011; I tried to get a foothold there and nobody was even looking for postdocs.  And then the stimulus ended.

          When I left the NIH in 2011, shortly after the debt ceiling debacle, they were talking about letting go of 50% of their postdocs if the sequester was allowed to fully fall.  And the academic P.Is. I work with every day are bracing for when R01 grant "paylines" (percentage of grants funded) goes negative.

    •  No we don't. (0+ / 0-)

      According to the American Chemical Society, in 2011 only 38% of recent PhD graduates in chemistry were employed full time.  The numbers for other scientists probably aren't much better.  Of the people I knew back in grad school (all of whom earned PhDs in chemistry, physics, or biology) less than a quarter are still doing science.  The rest have been forced out due to the hideous job market where it is now customary for an unemployed PhD to send out hundreds of applications and fail to get a single offer.  This is not surprising since a PhD level job anywhere will have a hundred applicants at a minimum and it's been that way since 2008.  The jobs situation is not expected to improve any time soon either.  

  •  Glad you survived the heart attack. (13+ / 0-)

    Best wishes on your cardiac rehab.  I'm amazed at the number of people I know personally (irl and here) who are younger than 60, yet have suffered heart attacks.  Thank goodness you all got medical care.  Thank goodness for cardiac caths and stents and cardiac rehab. I'm glad you had insurance.  I hope it covers most of the expenses for you.

    Hoping to see you at the Lone Star Meet Up on March 2nd!

    "Maintaining a robust public health infrastructure will be critical to managing the potential health impacts of climate change." NCADAC Draft Climate Assessment Report January 11, 2013

    by politik on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:26:01 AM PST

  •  Lost my brother to a massive coronary... (7+ / 0-)

    just last week. It kind of makes all of us surviving siblings (of which there are 6) examine our own state of health. He was the oldest of us, but he was only 60.

    "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

    by RonV on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:33:36 AM PST

  •  All Authoritarian Governments (4+ / 0-)

    Rounded up "intellectuals" in their first waves of seizing power.

    The fact that scientists are moving toward the Democratic party, and the Rethugs are working on ways to seize control of government irrespective of popular will just seems par for the course for our future Amerika, when the likes of Ted Nugent as "der Commissar" come to be.  And all the scientists will be rounded up as enemies of the state.

    There -- how's that for a cheery Saturday morning thought :-)

    Welcome back DS.  Hey, reading in Wired that there is a dark matter detector northwest of Rome that is called DarkSide-5.  Any relation?

    The Meek Shall Inherit NOTHING -- Frank Zappa

    by LickBush on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:35:50 AM PST

  •  Glad it all worked out OK. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, Desert Scientist, randallt

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:38:47 AM PST

  •  As a survivor of a medical crisis myself... (4+ / 0-)

    ...I'm really, really glad you took it seriously and got yourself help in time!  DailyKos simply would not have been the same without you.

    I did read what you said about the parasites in one's life and getting rid of 'em.  I've actually been on BOTH sides of that equation.  While I don't deliberately try to guilt trip people or collect unearned gifts, my life being a perpetual set of crises post-colitis pretty much looked the same to my friends.

    Needless to say, I'm trying to change that.

  •  Faux Fascist Noise constantly bangs the... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    p gorden lippy, randallt, Major Kong

    ... anti-science drum, invariably portraying scientists as pencil-neck geeks.

    Any science-related topic is almost always introduced by their sniggering fratboy/blowup-doll anchors with the "scientist" brought on screen as a punching bag.

    I have been very disappointed/angry at Michio Kaku for appearing on Faux propaganda outlets, where he is invariably presented as the kooky loony science geek by a bunch of dumb fucks not fit to lick his intellectual boots.

  •  interesting that I have now had more than 1 close (5+ / 0-)

    brush with death, but I never felt any epiphany about living my life differently, as so many report. Glad to have survived a 1-car accident that involved a tree, and unbuckled seat  belt and some computer discs on the truck floor in the '90's. Whew, some breakage, but not fatal, though it easily could have been. Then that shortness of breath that truned out to bilateral pulmonary emboli a couple years back. Wicked close.

    But I never re-evaluated how I spend my time or attention, though I guess it did give me some perspective on priorities - but that may be an overstatement. I enjoy my life every day, love those I'm with, have a job that suits me well and keeps the wolves from the door. I live in a beautiful spot with trees and wildlife and a brook. I've always been thankful for those things, maybe because I've also had times without them.

    Appreciate what you've got, friends, while you have it, and do what you can to have things that matter to you.

    Very glad that you're still here with us, DS. Love your contributions, love the presence of scientific rationality here on this site. It's one important way that this site is so different from, say, HuffPo, which is chock full of scams and pseudo-science, diet crap and anti-vaccination stuff. Can't hack it over there, and I really don't need another place to learn things about pointless celebrity gossip.

    Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

    by p gorden lippy on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:56:38 AM PST

    •  Just had a heart scan 2 weeks ago... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      p gorden lippy, BusyinCA

      One of those preventive ones, and it came out great-- 0 calcium score and no blocked arteries. My.cholesterol numbers were also great, except for bring up the HDL a bit. Ditto for my blood sugar; all good.

      BUT: I am fat and I can see where my great good luck with health considering my obesity, might run out if I don't act ASAP to get in shape and take the pounds off. So in the last two months, I have been walking Mr. Montrose between a mile and two miles, and I've been much I eat. So.far, I have lost 10 pounds since November. And I tend to be supremely cynical about belief in my own efforts to bring about desired results... but maybe that's well?

      Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

      by Lucy Montrose on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:29:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Where HuffPo is really insidious is... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... if their discussion of emotional health and the mind-body connection. Thanks in part to them, I know worry that my years of stress and sorrow give me a risk factor for heart disease and cancer even worse, some of these sources say, than smoking. I worry about being more.susceptible to dementia when I'm older because of same, and I worry about some doctor marking people in traditional marriages as healthier than singles or those in unconventional relationships, because of reading HuffPo "science" about oxytocin and cortisol.

      The effect of reading about mind -body science has made me feel more inadequate than anything else; health physical and emotional turned into yet another Keep Up with The Joneses. Which is, as we all know; more.about commercialism than anything else; and that's HuffPo.

      Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

      by Lucy Montrose on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:42:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Scientists' partisanship (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    randallt, Lucy Montrose
    One of the great political shifts in the past decade has been the move of scientists toward the Democratic Party
    That would be a cool factoid -- one I could use in a variety of venues -- if it were true. Unfortunately, she gives no evidence in the post of an actual shift. Anyone know of any data on the matter?  

    Grew a mustache and a mullet / Got a job at Chick-Fil-A

    by cardinal on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:00:26 AM PST

  •  On heart attack prevention (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucy Montrose

    Watch the movie "Forks over Knives". Get and read the book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

    He makes a good case that the american diet is largely responsible for the heart attack problems in this country.

  •  Glad you're on the mend, 'Syde. (0+ / 0-)

    Also good to see more space stuff.  The tides of Science, I think, are beginning to turn for the better.

    Proponents of gun violence own guns. Opponents of gun violence do not own guns. What part of this do you not understand?

    by Liberal Panzer on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:18:36 AM PST

  •  Regarding The Axe/XCOR Story (0+ / 0-)

    You sure you want to use the term "crashed and died"?

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:31:39 AM PST

  •  What do you call a conservative with an education? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucy Montrose, Major Kong

    A liberal

    "My number one priority is making sure president Obama’s a one-term president." Mitch McConnell

    by macleme on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:37:28 AM PST

  •  Thought scientists historically tended (0+ / 0-)

    to lean left?

    A former roommate and his peers (a group of astrophysicists) left me with the impression that scientists have historically leaned left because most scientists desire to practice science that seeks advances that improve humanity, rather than ones that focus on making weapons for armies.

    Also, I thought they have historically leaned left due to religious dogma and persecution of scientific methods by religious authorities, Galileo for example.

    A hungry man is an angry man. (Bob Marley)

    by montanamatt on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:49:31 AM PST

  •  Why are those dang liberal scientists always (0+ / 0-)

    Hmmmm.....Maybe you should talk to Michael Shermer and set him straight:

    The real question is why do politicians and political agitators constantly war with science?

    The answer is no surprise:

    They like the science that supports their agenda, and hate the science that doesn't.

    Which, when you get down to it, isn't very scientific at all. Science, done honestly and well, tends to take us toward the truth , no matter how well or poorly it fits our politics.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:11:35 AM PST

  •  Re: Heart attack. (0+ / 0-)

    Stop that.
    Don't do it again.
    It is not acceptable behavior.

    Now get out there, listen to your doctors and stay healthy.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:16:47 AM PST

  •  NASA has begun certification process for (0+ / 0-)

    private crew carriers:

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:31:51 AM PST


    AND Adam and Eve frolic'd in the garden eating apples, and taking the occasional jaunt in their Flintstone yabba dabba doo car, I remember my favorite bible story, the one where the guy dies, and they put him in a cave, and 3 weeks later he emerges from the mouth of the cave, sees his shadow... 3000 more years of christianity.

  •  You sound annoyingly like John Wayne (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    "licking the Big C" - until it came back and whacked him in the ass, IIRC.

    Be humble and never forget Jim Fixx.

    Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

    by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:26:14 AM PST

  •  That Lynx suborbital plane is badass (0+ / 0-)

    Hopefully it won't get caught in a wormhole and send it's passengers to an alternate Universe.

  •  One reason to seriously pre-think catheterization. (0+ / 0-)

    Not to minimize the many benefits, but I watched my alert and otherwise healthy 88-year old mother have a desperately severe allergic reaction to the iodine dye during her first catheterization (just after her first sign of cardiac issues, mind you).  It almost killed her.  The malevolent MD who did the job didn't help, but that's another tale.  Her subsequent catheterizations and stent installations required heavy doses of steroids -- which drove wildly psychotic behavior for days after.  It is possible that the NPH-based dementia diagnosed within a year of the caths. may be associated, but we'll never know.  Congestive heart failure took her at age 93.

    One major reason I'm as "DNR" as one can be.

    Consider all the common foods able to cause fatal allergic reactions.  One must always be alert.  Always.

    This is all to say that no procedure involving injected dyes or anaesthesia is entirely danger-free.


    (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

    by argomd on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 10:11:28 AM PST

  •  You are one lucky duck, Stephen (0+ / 0-)

    Then again, so is my dad.  He, and two of his brothers had the same heart attack you did.  One did die before he hit the floor, and the other survived as well.  Despite wanting to shower before he was taken to the hospital(it was the middle of the night and he didn't want to stink when he arrived at the hospital, can you blame him?/eyeroll).  

    Anyway, Dad didn't go into work that morning because he had a golf tournament at the country club right across the river from the hospital.  He continued to feel some chest pain throughout the day, which he attributed at the time to indigestion.  He was literally the last person to leave the parking lot of the golf course when as he got into his van and sat down he felt like a blazing hot fire poker had been shoved into his chest.  

    He drove himself to the hospital, paying the toll to cross the river, and parking in a handicapped spot at the emergency room.  He coded blue in the ER, was shocked back to life before he was sent to the cath lab where they identified the clot, which had completely blocked the LCA.  

    A stent was inserted, which cleared the blockage.  He was on a ventilator and a balloon pump for a day after which he made a full recovery, with no damage to his heart.

    He scared the hell out of us, but he's alive, and now I and all of my male cousins(and there's a lot of us), are well aware of our need to keep an eye on our cardiac health as we age.  I for one am getting regular blood tests, and when I turn 40(ten years younger than my dad and his brothers), I'll be getting regular heart checks.

    I hope you'll be doing the same on a regular basis as well, and no matter what, if you feel something, say something.  Let someone know if something feels wrong, it could save your life.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

    by Adam Blomeke on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 10:28:00 AM PST

  •  Not Much New Under the Sun (0+ / 0-)

    That picture of the XCOR Lynx sub-orbital spaceplane is instructive of something, but I think it's mostly plagiarism (or design convergence if one wants to be polite).  The Lynx does not look much different than the USAF's X-20 Dyna-soar vehicle, which dates from the late 1950s/early 1960s.  While they never built a working model, the artists did produce some interesting sketches of what the vehicle in flight might have looked like.  The X-20 Dyna-soar concept planned on using a Martin Marietta Titan III booster.  I suspect that the materials available for constructing the Lynx have changed considerably, with many more plastics, ceramics and composites available than at mid-century, but the basic design seems to have changed very little.

    "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

    by PrahaPartizan on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:08:57 AM PST

  •  That's an interesting trio of posts about (0+ / 0-)

    your heart attack, Stephen.  But I do have to protest on behalf of tedious self-absorbed leaching sociopaths: all we want is all you got!  Stay healthy, man.

    Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

    "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
    -- Saul Alinsky

    by Seneca Doane on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:55:49 PM PST

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