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The New York Times adds its voice to the chorus crying out for action on climate change.

The news that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the most important global warming gas, have hit 400 parts per million for the first time in millions of years increases the pressure on President Obama to deliver on his pledges to limit this country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

America cannot solve a global problem by itself. But as Mr. Obama rightly observed in his inaugural address, the United States, as both major polluter and world leader, has a deep obligation to help shield the international community from rising sea levels, floods, droughts and other devastating consequences of a warming planet. In his State of the Union speech, he promised to take executive action if Congress failed to pass climate legislation. ...

Mr. Obama has a firm grasp of the climate issue, and no one doubts that he cares about it. But as is often the case with this president, the question is whether he will exhibit a sense of urgency to match his intellectual understanding.

Unfortunately, instead of taking immediate and necessary action on an issue that threatens our economy, our security and the lives of millions in America and around the world, the administration is much more concentrated on addressing all the little nonsense items that have been declared "scandals". So when you're watching that next superstorm closing on an American city, remember that we did manage to fire an IRS administrator who had done nothing wrong. That'll be comforting, I'm sure.

Come on in. Let's see what the rest of the punditry made a priority.

Maureen Dowd predictably offers a cliche riddled wallow in the pseudo-scandal trifecta that displays all the joy of a three year old torturing ants.

Stephanie Coontz takes off the rose colored glasses to take a truthful look into the past.

In personal life, the warm glow of nostalgia amplifies good memories and minimizes bad ones about experiences and relationships, encouraging us to revisit and renew our ties with friends and family. It always involves a little harmless self-deception, like forgetting the pain of childbirth.

In society at large, however, nostalgia can distort our understanding of the world in dangerous ways, making us needlessly negative about our current situation. ...

Happy memories also need to be put in context. I have interviewed many white people who have fond memories of their lives in the 1950s and early 1960s. The ones who never cross-examined those memories to get at the complexities were the ones most hostile to the civil rights and the women’s movements, which they saw as destroying the harmonious world they remembered.

Your nostalgia busting read of the morning.

Vikas Bajaj looks into just how much consumer choice can help horrible working conditions (and even more horrible deaths) overseas.

The deaths and injuries of thousands of garment workers in Bangladesh raise the question of how American and European consumers might assert their power to change appalling factory conditions half a world away. Stop buying clothes made in Bangladesh? Look for labels from other countries, like Indonesia, where conditions might be a little better? Seek out “sweatshop free” clothes, like “fair trade” coffee?

Unfortunately, there are few good answers. A boycott of goods from Bangladesh would probably be counterproductive. It could deprive some of the poorest workers of jobs and income that provide a step up from farming or manual labor. Recent attempts by groups like Fair Trade USA to provide certification for sweatshop-free clothing have gained little traction with retailers or consumers.

Research shows that some American shoppers would prefer and pay more for clothes from factories that don’t exploit workers. The problem is that most brands and retailers offer very little information about how their products are made.

Dana Milbank self confessed Republican, looks at how the GOP is handling the "scandals."
It has been only a few days since two administration scandals — the IRS harassment of conservative groups and the Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press phone records — dropped into the Republicans’ lap. But instead of turning public outrage to their advantage, Republicans have already begun overreaching, turning legitimate areas of inquiry into just some more partisan food fights.

Consider Thursday morning’s circus on the east lawn of the Capitol, where Republican lawmakers gathered with tea party leaders to declare their thoughts on the IRS scandal.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), mother of the House Tea Party Caucus, said her constituents are demanding, “Why aren’t you impeaching the president?”

The only thing wrong with Milbank's statements? There is no real scandal. The IRS never "harassed conservative groups" and if there's outrage that goes beyond the Sunday talk show circuit, I haven't heard it. Other than that, he's right about the GOP crazy train.

Carl Hiaasen does think that asking groups with Tea Party in their name to submit to questions to show they are not political groups was an abuse of power, but mainly he finds the whole regulation ridiculous.

IRS supervisors were wrong to single out local Tea Parties when there’s a host of flagrant, big-time violators controlled by supporters of both major political parties.

The gimmick of choice is Section 501(c)(4) of the revenue code. Groups receiving that golden designation are allowed to collect unlimited contributions without paying taxes.

They’re not banned from political involvement, but by law they’re supposed to be “primarily engaged” in activities promoting “social welfare” and “the common good” — not partisan politics.

It’s a total farce.

Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS spent untold millions of dollars on behalf of Republican candidates while attacking Democrats during the last election cycle. On the other side, Priorities USA spent a fortune helping Democratic candidates while trashing Republicans. ...

No such pious fervor exists for investigating and exposing the fraudulent status of large groups like Crossroads GPS and Priorities USA, which collectively take in hundreds of millions of dollars.

They’re not “social welfare” organizations worthy of a tax exemption. They’re wealthy partisan advocacy machines with purely political missions — to promote their candidates, and to influence voters.

They are prized by both parties as safe and bottomless repositories for huge campaign donations, which is why you don’t see congressional leaders declaring war on the 501(c)(4) charade.

The one thing Carl's leaving out, and the media never seems to acknowledge: it was complaints about groups of this sort during the previous cycle that generated the new group to examine these applications in the IRS' Cincinnati office, and that office just happened to get running just as Tea Party applications began flooding in. Never put down to malice what can be adequately explained by coincidence. Unless you're Fox News.

Doyle McManus has a theory for why presidents take a bruising in their second term.

What is it about presidents' second terms that makes them seem so scandal-ridden? Simple: The iron law of longevity. All governments make mistakes, and all governments try to hide those mistakes. But the longer an administration is in office, the more errors it makes, and the harder they are to conceal.

Just ask Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton or George W. Bush, all of whom spent much of their second terms playing defense. ...

Inevitably, the president's Republican critics reached for historical comparisons: It's another Watergate, said some. Another Iran-Contra, said others. To the hyperbolic Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Benghazi alone was worse than Watergate and Iran-Contra combined, "times maybe 10."

There are actually two interesting articles at the San Francisco Chronicle, but since they have the Great Digital Pay Wall of San Francisco around their op-Ed page, there's not much point in linking there.

An article in The American Journal of Medicine puts a new twist on medical Marijuana.

There are limited data regarding the relationship between cannabinoids and metabolic processes. Epidemiologic studies have found lower prevalence rates of obesity and diabetes mellitus in marijuana users compared with people who have never used marijuana, suggesting a relationship between cannabinoids and peripheral metabolic processes. To date, no study has investigated the relationship between marijuana use and fasting insulin, glucose, and insulin resistance. ...

We found that marijuana use was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR, and smaller waist circumference.

In other words, despite the munchies, marijuana users tend to be thinner than non-users, and the results of this study indicate that marijuana may decrease the high insulin levels often associated with the onset of diabetes. Can the marijuana diet be far behind?

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I remember the 50s and riding one bus while (39+ / 0-)

    kids of a different color rode another to a different school.  I remember the dual water fountains and bathrooms.  I remember the Jim Crow era and the enormous waste of human potential it represented while it reinforced racial stereotypes.  I can remember walking the unpaved streets of "The Quarter" and watching naked children playing in the mud puddles.

    However how much has changed?  I note my daughter had several "white" churches refuse to rent her space to have her wedding once they met her and her fiancee.  I note the local mayor got in hot water when he sold the timber screening The Quarters.  Once the timber was cut, the neighborhood of tumbledown houses and decrepit trailers (owned by white landlords) were visible to tourists on the local highway to the beach.

    I note a local town built two parks, financially breaking the town, one for each race though they furiously deny why a town of 370 people would build two very different parks on either end of town  

    •  Our school district built a new, modern school in (10+ / 0-)

      1952, the year I started kindergarten. In the entry to the cafeteria/library stood a marble contraption that looked like a rather large fountain. It was intended that children would stand around it to wash their hands. I vaguely recall some "worries" about the need for a separate facility for black children, but it was eventually determined to be okay because no black children attended our school and none were likely to move into our neighborhood. (I've always believed the neighborhood school tradition was camouflage for segregation.) The fountain never worked right and was taken out a couple of years later.

      The first crack in my eventual split from "the church" came when I was in 7th grade. A black family wanted to join our congregation. The all male "voters assembly" determined the family should be allowed to join and sit wherever they liked, but they could only receive communion on the Sundays when individual cups were used, not from the common chalice. The pastor refused to inform the family of that decision, so the president of the voters assembly performed that chore. Until they day he retired, the pastor was never fully forgiven for taking that stand. I credit him  for having made liberals of those of us in his confirmation class that year. Others blame him.

      Ah, yes, the 50s.

      •  our school being in SC did not face integration (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        until 1968 (from memory); I remember the first days of integration.  While there was no overt hostility that I remember, there was an automatic assumption that African American transfers were naturally and innately inferior.

        Maybe that came as a result of whites associating on a daily basis with sharecroppers on their farms and working shoulder to shoulder with them in the fields

    •  wait for changing of the guard (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      One big problem with school is many people who were involved with desegregation still hold positions of authority.  They say things like how much better it was back when schools were segregated.  They still think that there is a difference between a black kid, a white kid, and an hispanic kid.  And culturally maybe there is, but, you know, everyone can learn and succeed.  A hispanic was the head of AMD for a while, during the time when it was kicking Intel ass both in the market and in the courts.  And course a black man, some say half,is black.

      This does not even touch on the problem that in the south way too many teachers are imported from places where the majority of students are white, to places where the majority of students aren't.  Again, kids are kids, we love them and treat them all equally, but some people have trouble adjusting to people who look different.

  •  Good morning, Mark (12+ / 0-)

    Excellent Sunday round-up!
    That nostalgia article was quite interesting to me, especially  this:

    According to physicians of the era, acute nostalgia led to “mental dejection,” “cerebral derangement” and sometimes even death.
    I have a friend who suffers from clinical depression and has lost some very close members of her family over the years, and her very down periods always seem to follow an anniversary where she lost someone she loved. She longs for the days she spent with her nephew, forgetting about  the realities of his drug use, his arrests, and the upheavals he caused across the family.
    When it's the anniversary of her dad's death, she remembers tiny short moments she spent with him as "Daddy's Girl" and forgets that after her parents' divorce, he was largely absent until she was in her 20s  (I'm sure I'll do the same when my own Dad passes).

    Now it makes more sense to me somehow.

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Sun May 19, 2013 at 04:10:10 AM PDT

  •  Come on Obama....throw the GOP an anchor..... (16+ / 0-)

    introduce some climate change legislation.

  •  So true, Doomsday makes everything else seem oh (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jilikins, Pinto Pony, rktect, foresterbob

    so inconsequential.

    "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

    by Kvetchnrelease on Sun May 19, 2013 at 04:40:31 AM PDT

    •  End Times never live up to the hype (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat, murrayewv, zozie

      I have lived through a half dozen End of Times in my life and there have been a couple of dozen such events predicted in the course of our national history.

      The best explanation for why Doomsday is such a bust each time it comes around is from one such doomsayer back in the 70's when the universe did not end on the day he predicted.  He shrugged and opined that the world had truly ended as he predicted but everyone was so busy with mundane matters that they did not notice.  (this is quite a come-down from crowds giving away all their possessions, donning white robes and waiting for Judgement Day on various hillsides)

      •  Are you dismissing climate change threat? (0+ / 0-)

        If you're pooh-poohing the risk to millions of species on this planet, including our own, you're living with blinders on. This isn't like nonsense before. It's happening before our eyes...and actually much more quickly than first forecast. THe planet won't be able to suppor the 7 billion we've got, much less the 9 billion we'll have when it gets really bad in 15-20 years.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

        by FischFry on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:22:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  nopers; I have been working on this issue since (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          1984 in terms of watershed preservation.  I am referring to the extreme Fundamentalist view that we should not worry about climate change because we are in the End Times and hence the planet will last long enough for the people here.  they are expecting Armageddon within our lifetime and command the ear of many members of Congress.

    •  I suppose its kind of like being on death row (0+ / 0-)

      and not having any place you can appeal to that is going to hear you. Eventually I guess you either get used to it and just go back to getting on with your life till you die, or you hope against hope that there is an out somewhere.

      What we have done so far isn't reversible, we have to live with that for the next few thousand years, but we still could imagine a solution.

      I imagine getting everyone on the planet to make the necessary sacrifices to their desired quality of life as similar to organizing all the individual cells of your body to work around a malfunctioning brain without actually thinking about it.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sun May 19, 2013 at 05:25:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More like quitting smoking? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SueDe, murrayewv

        The only thing that gives me any grounds for hope is the resilience of living things. (I've always liked Malvina Reynolds' song "God bless the grass, that grows up through the cracks. . . .") If you stop smoking, your body immediately begins replacing old damaged cells with new healthier ones. So we could (in theory, politics aside) stop inflicting damage and the earth's natural processes would begin the healing. I like to think that my small actions are at least helping to slow down the damage. But I fear the planet's natural processes may not result in an ecosystem that humans can survive in.

        •  "an ecosystem that humans can survive in." (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          And that's the bottom line - not whether life on earth can survive, or whether the planet can survive - but whether the human race can survive the damage we've done.  So far we've severely pissed off Mother Nature; her wrath becomes more evident every year.  And she always reserves the right to bat last.  The flowers, in one form or another, will continue to bloom, and the worms and beetles will continue to till the earth.  But if we continue to abuse of the environment, there is absolutely no guarantee that we will still inhabit the earth.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Sun May 19, 2013 at 06:27:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You won't have flowers without pollinators (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            maryabein, FischFry

            Humans aren't going to make it unless we are willing to go all in and give up all the cheap fossil fuel energy we depend on to drive to work, go shopping, grow our food, make our plastics, all the dirty coal that becomes clean electricity.

            Just moving our cities to high ground to stay ahead of the rising sea levels we are already committed to will take more than our GNP every year for the next 30 years.

            Our population is still rising because every religion wants its followers to continue being more fruitful and multiplying faster than the next. We still see it as a good thing that affordable health care will make us all live longer and reduce infant mortality.

            After all the oceans die and all the rain forests are burned down to make room for us to grow more cattle so we can have more cheeseburgers, we will begin to notice that all our glacial fossil water has melted away and there is nothing left to irrigate our crops.

            We don't have time to wait for alternative energy to be fully developed before we pull the plug.

            Certainly going after tar sands to keep the status quo a little longer isn't the answer.

            When we go we will take pretty much everything that walks or crawls, swims, flys, or breathes oxygen with us.

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Sun May 19, 2013 at 07:33:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  What about the lost species? (0+ / 0-)

          How do extinct species recover? What about the species that depend on them? A massive DNA cloning reclamation project? We can't even find the money to build high-speed rail or provide the money for the alternative energy projects we'll need ASAP to avoid al the rest of that nonsense.

          Might life, in general, prevail? Sure. Look what happened after the great prehistoric extinctions. However, also look at what happened even at the top of the food chain then.

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

          by FischFry on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:26:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  All of the salvating and handwringing over (5+ / 0-)

      Scandalgate is roughly comparable to Nero fiddling while Rome burned, the total indifference and indeference to the meltdown of the environment.  Keep your eye on what the insurance companies are doing; it will be telling because that's where money and disaster collide.

      Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

      by judyms9 on Sun May 19, 2013 at 05:56:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the roundup, Mark! (7+ / 0-)

    Enjoyed the Stephanie Coontz article very much.  She's right about selective memory influencing nostalgia.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun May 19, 2013 at 04:52:19 AM PDT

  •  Choose your own Sunday show adventure (11+ / 0-)

    You are the producer for one of our Sunday shows.  You can either

    (a) invite Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and former Representative Bob Inglis (R-SC) to have a discussion on climate change action and the potential for a carbon tax in light of the fact that atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide just passed 400ppm


    (b) invite John McCain back to the show to talk about BENGHAZI.

    Hahaha, that's not a fair choice.  Of course you'll choose (b).....


  •  Come on, man. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat, TerryDarc

    These scandals haven't been the reason the administration has done bupkiss on limiting emissions.  Two of them are only weeks old.

  •  Obama stiffed the press from day 1 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo, TerryDarc

    David Cay Johnston, the prize winning tax journalist, was on this week

    he was talking about the IRS "scandal"

    he had been an investigative journalist since Nixon was in office

    he called the White House 8 days after Obama's first term to the White House press office. I believe he worked for the NY Times then because he was there for many years.

    He asked for the name of who he was speaking to. They refused to give their names. That had never happened to him and he had been making calls to the White House since the Nixon administration.

    He said that people in the press have had similar treatment.

    What is needed is to get names associated with statements and get that in print. Reliance on press releases gets the story out that the administration needs told, not what they don't want to be told.

    I was not aware of this friction with the press. They have maybe awakened with the AP scandal.

    Many, many people have made the point that the information to the press has been much restricted by the Obama administration intimidation of stories that they don't want released.

    "The Other IRS Scandal": David Cay Johnston on Dark Money Political Groups Seeking Tax Exemption

    excellent interview with much more about what is going on

    •  Thanks for the link (3+ / 0-)

      that was an interesting interview. Not sure how I feel about it - I might be less inclined to give a direct quote considering the press has become Bullshit Mountain & odds are high that my words will be twisted to match the headline.

      Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

      by hulibow on Sun May 19, 2013 at 05:36:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  agree bullshit mountain, but an essential role (0+ / 0-)

        another link is by the atty of NY Times for pentagon papers

        they were classified top secret but he says they were not secrets

        his interview is on the web site

        Bradley Manning faces life in prison and none of his postings were even top secret

        Obama set new levels of the amount of material classified

        people like Thomas Drake who pointed out explicit fraud, waste and abuse in NSA contracts were indited under the espionage act and have suffered under the full weight of the state

        the point of this is that ANY ONE WHO TELLS WHAT THE GOVERNMENT wants secret, can be squashed

        the leaks to the press are way, way down

        this is extremely serious and hopefully the press will realize that they are being treated like Muslims have for some time

        the press is waking up - but will they stand up?

  •  Reading a snippet of commentary over at the (7+ / 0-)

    Almost Diamonds blog, I ran across the idea that discourse and discussion are not always the best courses of action when you are dealing with people who either have no intention of attempting to reach any sort of synthesis of ideas or compromise on policies or else whose sole goal is to implement their own agendas no matter the cost.  This is the problem with many Beltway pundits and with Talking Heads Sunday; they assume that every issue that has two sides has two sides of equal value and worth and deserving of equal time.  So often this is far from the truth.

    Bit off topic but also found on same site a bio of a guy who wrote the first American medical manual on birth control in 1831.  For this bit of public service, Charles Knowlton served a prison term at hard labor:  
    Amazing how little progress some people would have us accomplish as they oppose Planned Parenthood today

  •  CNN has reported on their newest PBO approval (4+ / 0-)

    poll conducted AFTER the events of last week -- 53% approve, UP from 51% in April.

    Still, a majority of people agree with Republican reaction to "the scandals."

    •  the stock market is up..... (3+ / 0-)

      unemployment is slowly going down, people are starting to realize the approach Obama has was working, even if slowly, while the approach europeans used was bad.  The deficit is decreasing because taxes were raised, making the hostage crisis of the Republicans on the deficit limit postponed for a few more months, which throws off their schedule.  Sure, Syria is bad, but no one wants to intervene.  Obama is generally moving things along in the right direction.  Not fast enough for my taste, but slow enough that it is harder and harder to whip up the frevor.  And then something like gay marriage turns around and changes things very quickly, but it is a movement growing since the Stonewall days.  Overnight revolution through gradual change.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Sun May 19, 2013 at 08:21:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even A Dim Light (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Looks bright against the blackness of night.

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

      by TerryDarc on Sun May 19, 2013 at 08:29:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In the late 1950s (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    we lived in Barstow, California (my dad was a Marine). I remember at least two instances (probably 4th or 5th grade) where friends I made in school, one a black boy whose name I no longer remember, one a hispanic girl named Esther, were people I wanted to have come to our house or I to theirs after school. In each case, when we asked our respective parents, there seemed to be too many logistical difficulties involved. At the time, I thought nothing of it (in large part because we lived in on-base housing and it was pretty isolated from where civilians lived), but looking back on it, I wonder.

    And then of course my dad was transferred to Albany, GA in 1960, which was a completely different kettle of fish. There simply were no non-white kids in our schools there, so the issue never came up.

  •  Sorry, but this is REALLY annoying: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    There are actually two interesting articles at the San Francisco Chronicle, but since they have the Great Digital Pay Wall of San Francisco around their op-Ed page, there's not much point in linking there.
    So, there are two interesting articles, but you won't even give the slightest hint as to what they're about, who wrote them, other possible sources for them, why they're interesting, or links for those who can get around the paywall?

    Sorry, Mark, but compared to your normally exemplary work, this is really sloppy.  If you're going to invoke something, give us a clue about it.

    Tom Smith Online
    I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

    by filkertom on Sun May 19, 2013 at 08:25:29 AM PDT

  •  We know the answer to this one. (0+ / 0-)
    the question is whether he will exhibit a sense of urgency to match his intellectual understanding
    ...of climate change.

    The president is too busy being urgent about reducing the deficit and cutting Medicare and Social Security.

  •  It's Worth Pointing Out Again (0+ / 0-)

    That the capitalist, corporate media's agenda overwhelmingly represented in the APR (except for Monday with Meteor Blades) isn't the working class's agenda.  This raises the question of why the APR usually echos and amplifies their message.

    If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:02:59 AM PDT

  •  Keystone XL Pipeline (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    If President Obama really wants to do something about reducing pollution, he can start with rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline. Let's watch and see what he does with that for an indication as to how sincere he is about doing something about global climate change.

  •  If Bachmann seriously believes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that the President has committed an impeachable offense, she has a responsibility to take action as a member of The House. It would be great for someone sometime to just call her on that.

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:54:38 AM PDT

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