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Daniel Kurtzman

Sarah Palin's Turkey Pardon Fiasco

By November 21, 2008

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Palin Pardons Turkey, Hilarity Ensues You have to watch this video to believe it. Sarah Palin appeared at a Wasilla turkey farm to engage in the time-honored practice of pardoning a turkey for Thanksgiving.

Everything went fine, until she gave an interview afterward. That's when a worker in the background shoved a couple of turkeys neck-first into a death grinder while Palin yammered on, seemingly oblivious to the carnage unfolding behind her.

We've learned that when Palin talks, disaster follows, but usually it's not this vivid. It brought to mind the infamous wood chipper scene in Fargo.

Kill Me Watch the surreal video, but beware, it's not for the squeamish.

This hilarious cartoon by Mike Lukovich from last week now seems brilliantly prescient.

David Letterman presents the Top 10 Sarah Palin Excuses For the Turkey Slaughter

See also: Bush pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey

More Palin Humor:
Funny Palin Pictures
Funny Palin Videos
Idiotic Palin Quotes


November 21, 2008 at 5:34 am
(1) Pete says:

Sarah Palin truly has the reverse Midas touch. Everything she attempts to do ends up being a complete embarrassment. Let’s keep her away form the Lower 48 for the good of the nation.

November 21, 2008 at 9:31 am
(2) Meg says:

I hope this at least makes people think about what they are eating. Not just for Thanksgiving, but year round,,,,,,,,,,,,

November 21, 2008 at 11:29 am
(3) walkaway says:

I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us at Christmas.
Disemboweling live reindeer in front of the baby Jesus?


November 21, 2008 at 12:41 pm
(4) Heather Marshall says:

Wow…you mean they have to KILL the turkey before all of you eat it on Thanksgiving??? Shocker!

November 21, 2008 at 1:27 pm
(5) Cas says:

I guess Joe the Plumber was becoming old hat and she needed another Joe the something in her speech (in this case, Joe the Turkey Killer).

November 21, 2008 at 1:40 pm
(6) steve says:

Sarah Palin is truly a gift from God… for us Democrats. Note to Republicans: you’re right, she’s the greatest! She’s the future of the Republican Party! Keep her front and center!!!

November 21, 2008 at 1:52 pm
(7) succubus says:

We don’t even need Tina Fey or Saturday Night Live anymore. Palin has now fully devolved into self-parody.

November 21, 2008 at 1:58 pm
(8) Alice B. says:

She should do stand-up comedy. A Bush/Palin ticket would have been hilarious.

November 21, 2008 at 2:04 pm
(9) Kathleen says:

That Mike Luckovich cartoon is my favorite cartoon of the year!!!!

November 21, 2008 at 3:25 pm
(10) jd says:

Well, I guess GOD slammed the Senate door in her face with Wright’s loss, and then kicked her in the ass with this video.
Glad you have a sense of humor, big guy!

Back in the 70′s, we were watching one of those inane TV news bits, where the reporter was in a pen ‘interviewing’ a turkey (and implying that the bird was dumb to be around for Thanksgiving). My friend jumped up and turned the sound off, saying ‘who looks stupid NOW!’ (with the ‘funny’ vocal track off, it looked like it was some dope with a mike trying to get the bird to answer his questions)

November 21, 2008 at 4:54 pm
(11) Robert Heppe says:

How do you think we get the 100′s of thousands of Turkeys we eat on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas, or for that matter, all of the other meat we eat throughout the year?

What hypocrites.

November 21, 2008 at 5:38 pm
(12) Charles M. Johnson says:

Hey Robert,

We know how we get the turkey. That does not mean we want to see it, especiall less than a week away from Thanksgiving. She is a dufus.

November 21, 2008 at 10:26 pm
(13) ohboypalinagain says:

Heather, great point. I have to say, when I first heard about McCain picking her, and found she was an avid hunter, I was squeamish, but in reality, I’m not vegan, so SOMEONE is killing the food I eat, and it probably doesn’t have even a 10th of a quality of life before it ends up on my plate than the moose and caribou have in running free til they’re killed.

However, at first I thought the turkey was dead, but it looks like it’s shaking around in the Fargo wood chipper – WTF? I can’t believe she would have continued on with the interview if she’d known a live turkey was being killed in that way.

What I don’t understand is, why would a turkey be put in a wood chipper anyway? Even if a turkey was being ‘ground’, wouldn’t they take it’s feathers off? It doesn’t make sense. That’s why I really don’t think she knew exactly what was happening, and if she did, then she deserves the wrath she’s getting, because that’s just fucked up. At least kill the poor thing first. (The guy looks like something from Deliverance, though…creepy!) It was surreal watching it.

Whatever anyone says about her, though, being a bimbo, etc… No, she’s not particularly my type, she’s a little too Midwestern hokey, but she DOES understand (and has VERY successfully implemented) the principles of the Republican party, which are that the money we make should be OUR money, and WE should have the right to decide how to spend the bulk of it, NOT the government! (if you look at videos of her at the Alaska debates, though, she doesn’t seem so ‘aw shucks’ as she is now, she’s just a normal person) I think she needs some coaching from people willing to be honest about things. Either way, there is a serious contingent of people who are wild about her, and if she helps the Republican party to get back in gear, I’ll support her. This country is not Marxist/socialist, and the economy of ‘entitlements’ doesn’t produce the society it aspires to, it just creates lazy welfare recipients and ‘producers’ who don’t want to have to work harder to keep less of what they earn just so the lazy non-producers can receive undeserved benefits. It’s the REAL party of HOPE, because it focuses on the strengths of the INDIVIDUAL, not compartmentalizing people into ‘voting block’ groups, which is the HYPE (and NOT hope) of the Democratic/liberal party.

November 22, 2008 at 4:20 am
(14) ron says:

Dear Lord. Between the caribou, moose, and turkeys, is any animal safe from this woman? Somebody stop her before she kills the Easter Bunny.

November 22, 2008 at 9:27 am
(15) tickled says:

For more fun pickin’ on Palin check out my short short play “Feelin’ Swoosie” on myspace

November 22, 2008 at 9:31 am
(16) tickled with the light on says:
November 22, 2008 at 9:57 am
(17) BOONHEAD says:


November 22, 2008 at 3:51 pm
(18) Bearman says:

I feel sorry for how she has been treated. But then again it couldn’t stop me from thinking it was funning and creating a cartoon about it. See it at Bearman Cartoons Blog

November 22, 2008 at 6:01 pm
(19) jesse says:

People are so desensitized to the animals they shove in there fat faces you should see a cow die if you found this disturbing this is exactly why people should go hunting

November 22, 2008 at 10:35 pm
(20) Jerry says:

The responsibility for this is the press, not Palin. The media would be sure to redirect a camera so there would not be a backdrop to embarrass a liberal. When you are a conservative you have to be on constant guard of how the media will try to get you.

The area used for press conferences for the U.S Attorney General has a nude statue. When conservative John Ashcroft was Attorney General, they media would position the shot so the genitals would be near Ashcroft’s face. When Attorney General’s Office put a curtain up to stop the media from doing it, the media ran a deceptive story not mentioning the above fact and painting Ashcroft as a prude.

Newsweek gave Obama 11 flattering covers including one making it appear he had a glowing halo. Palin’s one cover photo is a quarter of her face and unretouched extreme close-up showing with the picture angled up her nose. The photographer of McCain’s cover photo on The Atlantic bragged she deliberately retouched to make him look sinister.

If that isn’t enough liberals want to censor the one medium favorable to conservatives, talk radio.

The famous liberal, H.G. Wells who like the liberal New Republic praise Mussolini in the 1930′s, did well when he coined the term Liberal Fascism because liberals so admired Fascism. We live with Liberal Fascism today.

November 22, 2008 at 11:49 pm
(21) Gracen says:

I’m sorry, but someone should be fired over the Palin turkey interview.

It seems that everyone out there is reacting as though something was wrong with Sarah for not having eyes in the back of her head. In fact, there was something wrong with the producer and the camera operator. I am an amateur photographer, and I know that your picture is only as good as your background. It’s like hunting… you alway need to be aware of what’s behind your target. This is Photography 101, and even I could have made Sarah look better than this.

But the producer is even more culpable. At least the camera operator managed to get the picture. The producer made Sarah look like a complete buffoon. This is clearly a case of media incompetence, or worse, yet another instance where the media has maliciously tried to make Sarah look incompetent.

It did not work on me. I know Sarah, and I also know how it works on the “safe” side of the camera. The videographer and the producer should not be so safe. KTUU should fire someone, or apologize, or both.

November 23, 2008 at 2:16 am
(22) Proud liberal says:

In case some of you didn’t get this part, she was asked repeatedly by the camera man beforehand if she was sure that she wanted the turkey slaughter scene as a backdrop to the interview. She knew what was going on, and her reply? “No worries”. But of course, her stupid choices are again the fault of the ‘liberal media’. So easy to blame moronic behavior on liberals, isn’t it? Come to think of it, isn’t everything the fault of liberals?! Wow, there are some seriously deluded people out there. Get over it trying to blame everyone else and accept that all this is, yet again, an act of stupidity that is purely Ms. Palin’s responsibility.

November 23, 2008 at 8:48 am
(23) Chris says:

It’s not about accepting the hard realities of where dinner comes from, we all know that. The point is it’s a surreal place for a politician to give an interview moments after doing the traditional turkey pardon, it shows a complete lack of disciplined message and a complete lack of professionalism.

November 23, 2008 at 10:23 pm
(24) Gracen says:

“Proud Liberal” should not be so proud… completely missed my point. I did not defend Sarah’s conservatism, or blame liberalism, or accuse the media for being liberal. Just set aside her conservatism, her message for a moment and you might see what I mean. As an exercise, turn down the volume completely on the video and watch. Watch carefully. Speaking as a photographer, you never position someone… anyone… against a background like that. To most people, the background is offensive. Because of the visual composition, it looks as though she’s looking into the picture at the action and is positively giddy over the carnage.

Turn up the volume, and SURPRISE! She’s not talking about death after all. The producer and videographer entirely blew it. The created visuals did not support the point of the interview – it distracted from it. Sarah’s politics are irrelevant at this point. The same would be said it Sarah were a liberal touting the virtues of women’s choice. What’s worse, the emotionally charged visuals made her look stupidly callous. Just look at the knee-jerk reaction of all those repulsed by the interview.

I know Sarah. She’s not callous. (Excuse me, did I hear any of you self-righteous armchair critics mention you know her… guess not. She hunts, sure. It’s a cultural thing. But anyone who has grown up on a farm or as a sportsman knows about meat. It comes from animals. Now, I don’t fish or hunt because I thing butchering is gross, but that’s my choice. and I don’t think those that do harvest meat, wild or domestic, are callous. The producer of that video, however, either by incompetence or maliciousness, made that judgement of her. It was mean, deserving the kind of condemnation that Sarah is receiving. That is not what I call good.

It does not matter if Sarah agreed to the venue or not. She did not see what the camera saw, and it made her look inhuman. The videographer saw it and did it anyway. For KTUU to make Sarah look like that was just wrong. You simply don’t degrade someone, anyone… liberal or conservative, that way and get away with it.

November 23, 2008 at 11:05 pm
(25) Jim says:

You people need to grow up and realize where things come from. Whats wrong with seeing it? You had better learn how to do it or you may starve with the Obama Recession that’s on it’s way.

You so called men just need to grow a pair.

Hope your ready for Obama’s change. Change will be all we have left after the


November 24, 2008 at 1:54 am
(26) An Editor says:

Umm… Jim this is for you. I think most people understand where their food comes so quit talking to us like we’re children and quite your republican fear mongering telling us we’re going to starve…good lord where do you people come from.

Gracen, I’ll take this oportunity as I have on a couple other sites you decided to cut and paste on…so shall I:

Oh dear god are you really that naive? Maybe just god damn retarded. Are you seriously blaming the photog and producer??? Allow me the next :30 to really publicly flay you like the turkey behind her…

As a news photog/Documentary editor for the last 25+ years you are out of touch with reality to think that it was their fault. By your logic…..they placed her there on purpose “to make her look a fool” and do the interview. Ok…so by your logic then she is really that god damn clueless that after she’s “pardoned a turkey” for the feel good news piece that is usually run to make everyone feel good about humanity she “fails” to notice she’s standing in front of this scene..the noise alone should make her aware of what’s going on. She had to walk to he mark. She didn’t just magically appear on her mark after picking up her blight of the earth Starbucks from the local strip mall..

The fact of the matter is this. You are absolutely clueless and blindly following along like way too many americans these days. Do you really think she just showed up at the turkey farm by herself???? People like this have handlers. Many in fact. EVERY SINGLE MOMENT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA IS A CAREFULLY SCRIPTED EVENT. PERIOD. I’ve interviewed junior secretaries and school class presidents that have a better understanding of how to conduct interviews. To think that the camera man just arbitrarily decided to put here her is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. She knew exactly what she was doing which makes it even worse. If anyone fu@#$ up and should be fired it’s her handlers or your precious Palin herself.

Good god, I need a beer after that tirade. Some people amaze me. Oh and by the way….I’m not a liberal nor did I vote for Obama. (just in case you wanted to fall back on your stupid defense of “liberal”)

November 24, 2008 at 7:48 am
(27) Jerry says:

Sarah is too trusting of the media jackalls. This is true of most people who are raised in rural America. It is not her committed enemies she has to fear, but the MSM who pretrend to be her friends.

November 24, 2008 at 11:27 am
(28) Max says:

For me as an interested yurpin, looking at the big nation from outside the whole thing is simply funny.
To watch her standing in front of this guy working retaredly through his quite special to do list and show what she really is: a very average person with a lot of work and simple dreams. PURE COMEDY
I think in the end it is quite honest from S/P not to pretend o be shocked by animals dieing, and I even believe she is thankful for the ‘health of her family’ and ‘responsible for the turkey’ and shocked by how hard it is to serve as butt of the media and the internet community (aka. running for V/P). If things go on like this I will really start to like her, mainly because she is so intellectualy harmless in a neat way.
It is amazing just how she does not get how things work and that even though it does not worry her that all the turkeys die and bleed, she should not be filmed with dieing animals anymore. It’s cute she doesn’t seem to understand that of course people know where the meat comes from – but hey we do not talk about this, especially not on thanksgving, do we?
She is a great present to the comedians of the US – her instinctlessness and happy princess behaviour are plainly great!

November 24, 2008 at 11:42 am
(29) An Editor says:

Um what on god’s green earth are you talking about Jerry??????

Last I checked she had a degree in BROADCAST JOURNALISM and even worked in the business as an anchor!!!! She knows exactly what she’s doing…or at least what she thinks will work best for her and as we’re seeing more and more….she just honestly doesn’t. Maybe in the Wasilla strip malls this will make all the rural folks happy but you just don’t do this and expect the general public to say it’s a feel good piece.

Too trusting???…good lord, please try to think a little more about this stuff. Too trusting rural folks? Last I looked Wasilla is actually a suburb of Anchorage. If there is anyone that is the “too trusting rural person” it’s the poor guy behind her just trying to do his job and now articles are calling him the “leering serial killer type guy.”

November 24, 2008 at 12:14 pm
(30) Xr says:

“MSM discovers where food really comes from. Blames Palin.”

November 24, 2008 at 2:49 pm
(31) Ben says:

I don’t get the joke.

Was she supposed to pardon ALL the turkeys?

November 25, 2008 at 8:54 am
(32) Jerrry27 says:

Too trusting rural folks? Has anything changed since the Kremlin said in Feb 1961 that the John Birch Society must be destroyed and in the months that followed all major newspapers in their food chain followed with almost verbattim articles?? The food chain we should be talking about is the feed bag our wannabe intellectuals are looking into.

November 25, 2008 at 1:48 pm
(33) Alan Z says:

It is important to highlight the way the media had been showing Sarah Palin to the World.
In this situation, she pardon one turkey in a slaughter house, however the employees in the slaughter house continue to work (or how do you people think that the Thanks Giving turkey dies), so I don’t see nothing wrong with this. Some people complains about not having enough jobs in America and now people complains and makes that ugly ughhh face, when they see this video, well that is the food supply chain.
Going back to Palin and the media, I think it is enough of attacking people they way the media is doing it with Palin, however this only shows that people can be manipulated, as a high percentage of people dislikes Palin because of the information that is shown. At the end this situation only gets to one conclusion, we’re getting appart from each other, again, don’t get fooled by that we should be only one America, with our differences, but focussing in the right things, while all of you complaint about Palin, some other people are getting rich by the bailout and nobody says nothing.
For those in the big cities compaining about the video, please visit the rural areas or the food processing plants to understand the process of placin food in your tables, for those that already knows about this, give a break to Sarah, as you can see yourself in the mirror and probably will see a person that can make mistakes or you think that the other candidates are gods and perfect? Think for a moment

November 26, 2008 at 3:53 am
(34) Gracen says:

This is for you, An Editor: Read my responses on that other site. All of them. You should be uncomfortable to know that the FBI cleared a “god damn retard” for my kind of work. I’ll save you the time and spell it out for you here: “I never made this about liberal/conservative ideas. The makers of the Palin turkey interview should not be fired for their politics. They should be fired for their unprofessionalism.” Considering Brian Tomes’s comments to Inside Edition yesterday, I’d have to agree with myself. BTW, Brian is the guy harvesting turkeys in the background. I wasn’t there… you weren’t there… but Brian was there. He saw it with his own eyes. Choose wisely who you will believe.

I think I’ll give him a call tomorrow and see if I can buy him a cup of coffee. I’ll show him what you wrote about me. That should give him a good laugh. Take care, An Editor.

Oh one more thing. Ever heard of a zoom lens? A wide shot? A medium shot? A close up? A one shot? A two shot? Of course you have. You know as well as I do that the only one who knew what was in the frame was the photographer. Don’t try to fool another photographer. I see right through you. I see.

November 26, 2008 at 4:12 am
(35) Gracen says:

HEY, AN EDITOR… One more thing. Wasilla is not a suburb of Anchorage, and proud of it. The only thing between here and there is forty-two miles of highway and a few lesser towns… and about a hundred cold and hungry moose. Boy howdy, son, do you know anything out of personal experience? ADVISE TO EVERYONE ELSE: Take neither political opinions, nor road directions from An Editor. He seems to make it up as he feels like it.

November 29, 2008 at 12:11 pm
(36) Mara says:

Walkaway said it all. She’s pathalogical.

December 2, 2008 at 3:02 pm
(37) Ed says:

You don’t have to be an editor, photographer, or have anything to do with news to realize that wasn’t the best place to do an interview. You can rattle off a bunch of lenses, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientest to stand back there when they are setting up the camera and say, hmmm, maybe we should move.

Of course the camera person is going to catch something happening in the background if it makes good news, because news is their business. If two different news stations shot that scene and one didn’t have the turkey handler in the background, which one do you think people will watch? People can keep blaming the MSM all they want and say how liberal they are. No one has been able to prove this to me. Find me 10 things the MSM gives the conservatives a hard time about and I will find you 10 things the MSM gives the liberals a hard time about. As an independent, I keep a close eye on this. A FOX camera person would have done the same thing if given the opportunity. The same thing would have been done if Barak Obama was giving an interview in the same spot. The argument about this being the liberal MSM’s fault is not even remotely convincing.

December 11, 2008 at 8:25 pm
(38) Gracen says:

You’re right, Ed. You don’t have to be an editor, photographer, or have anything to do with news to realize that it wasn’t the best place to do an interview.

But a video editor or a photographer might know that I didn’t rattle off a bunch of lens types. I named one. The rest were descriptions of what subject matter is contained within the frame of the image created by that one lens. Because these things matter, these shot types are denoted in film scripts and teleplays. But in video journalism, it is the responsibility of the camera operator to set the shot according to the story, and unless the camera is feeding a picture to a field monitor, the camera operator is the only one who can see the shot. Ed, if you don’t know the difference between a lens type and shot type, from where Sarah was standing you probably wouldn’t recognize different lens settings and their resulting shots either.

No one would, for that matter. From the front, a zoom lens set to a “one shot” looks just like a lens set to any other kind of shot. Sarah, as well as everyone else on that shoot with one notable exception, could not tell what was covered by that camera lens. Ed, try to follow me now… with Sarah in front of the lens, who was behind the lens? No, try again, it was not Sarah and her journalism background. No, it wasn’t her handlers. No, it wasn’t democrats or republicans, or liberals or conservatives, or Buddha or Jesus Christ. It was a trained, experienced, responsible, professional photographer with the power to represent or misrepresent Sarah.

I see your point about being in the right place at the right time. I would love to have been doing a report on aviation breakthroughs, and see the Hindenburg disaster. That would be an example of catching the unintended news. But that is not the case with the Sarah Palin turkey interview, and here you make my point for me: if two different crews were working side by side, they might have caught the same interview but with very different framed backgrounds. One might include the turkey handler, the other might not. It is the difference that is significant, it is the shot that makes the difference, and it is the crew that makes the shot. One video conveys the governor’s views on state issues, the other video conveys the governor’s lack of sensibilities. One crew catches the story, the other crew botches the story and creates a completely different story, all by virtue of the camera angle.

The Hindenburg disaster was not the camera operator’s responsibility because the catastrophe was not created by the camera operator’s shot. But the disastrous turkey interview was the camera operator’s responsibility because the catastrophe was created by the camera operator’s shot. However, in your little world, was Sarah and her people responsible for the shot? Yes? Does that mean that the camera operator was responsible for Sarah’s interview answers? Or is Sarah responsible for everything gone wrong, including earthquakes and floods? What color is the sky in your world? Don’t be absurd.

If the KTUU crew set out that morning to get the story of holiday humor and Alaskan politics, then they are only guilty of botching the story. They are human, they made mistakes too. They blew the state politics angle with their shoddy camera work. However, those who took the footage and ran with it created an entirely different story having nothing to do with the holiday or Alaskan politics. In doing so, they committed something far worse than botching the story, because any journalist who creates rather than reports a story always, always, always does so with a certain amount of prejudice. Prejudice is like kryptonite to journalists – it kills integrity, and integrity is the media’s only superpower.

MSNBC created their report from the recycled KTUU footage for what unarguably seems to be mere entertainment value. Entertainment, not the news, was “their business”. It was created with a certain anti-Palin prejudice to entertain those in their target audience who share the same prejudice. Their goal was to keep viewers, and to make money from advertisers, not to report and inform out of a sense of civic duty. It was exploitive, not at all lofty, in my opinion. Like the camera crew who took the footage, MSNBC did not report, they portrayed. They did not catch the news, they created it. That is not what I call good, and your agreement with them is like applauding a guy who drives a bus into a crowd. I expect better from them. I expect better from you.

BTW, I never said anything about MSNBC being liberal. They were simply abusing their media power to denigrate a public official for mere entertainment value. Again, I agree with you: they did it because that’s what people will watch. And, granted, A FOX camera person may have done the same thing if given the opportunity with Barak Obama giving the interview in the same spot. And it would have been just as wrong. I have no double standards.

Fault Sarah for the choice of venue if you like, but there is enough fault to go around. As far as the argument about this being MSNBC’s “fault”, tell me who is at fault for MSNBC’s editorials, if not MSNBC’s editors? Who is at fault for the camera operator’s work, if not the camera operator? Ed, who is at fault for your prejudiced views affecting your clear perception of this particular communication artifact rather than the other way around (as the news is supposed to do), if not you?

What do you stand to gain if Palin ends up looking like the fool and the media gets off scott-free, if not some satisfaction that the media’s reputation is intact? Meanwhile, I am speaking as a visual communicator advocating a higher standard of excellence. I have nothing to gain by doing so, I only have my permission to be professionally shoddy and mediocre to loose. You see, I don’t want the media to just look good. I want the media to be good. How do I define that? I don’t excuse the media for putting out what the “people will watch”, as you put it, and calling it “news”. I want the impartial truth. If what MSNBC presented was the impartial truth, then a dozen other camera crews working beside KTUU’s would convey essentially the same truth, regardless of their camera’s point of perspective or their lens’s focal lengths, or their personal prejudices or political bias. But that simply isn’t so.

Sarah was too trusting, and not nearly savvy enough. KTUU was too sloppy, and not nearly professional enough. MSNBC was too prejudiced, and not nearly impartial enough. You, Ed, were too gullible, and not nearly vigilant enough. And I am probably being too idealistic by thinking any of that will ever change.

December 30, 2008 at 11:06 pm
(39) Chris says:

Gracen…you are trying to communicate with the ignorant. Anyone sensible can tell that you are on the right track in your descriptions of the situation. The problem is that all of those that read your messages are liberal dipshits… I suggest we both go do something productive so that we can contiue to fund these others… Liberal – Sombody So Openminded that their Brains Fell Out…

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