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[Snowbird] Now, with winter, comes that unique genus known as the snowbird.  Snowbirds (a step away from tourists) are a hardy breed, steeped in tradition. They’re known to congregate at Publix and Winn-Dixie where food shopping takes on a whole new meaning.  Here in the aisles packed with people like so many sardines in a can and the inordinately long checkout lines, entire family histories are discussed, the state of the nation is debated, battles are fought and wars are won.  This is topped only by Monday morning at Walgreen’s where coupon-laden snowbirds gather up the latest bargains in bulks that put a Costco to shame.  I should add here that historians credit our winter neighbors with the discovery that dinner can actually be consumed at 4pm without any ill side effects.

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How easily we forget The TSA made a statement that soon we will be able to carry knives on the plane, as they want to focus on explosives. It wasn’t explosives they used to take over the planes on 9/11 was it? Even  the Airlines are against this new, brainless idea.

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A new display welcomes visitors to Big Pine Key. This genuine Key Deer is on front of Springer’s Bar at the curve. Stop by and say Hi to Bob and Virginia. 

[“catch cats that are contributing to the demise of a species their own computer models say cannot be saved”] True, but the reason they are trying to save them in the face of extinction is that the longer they can save a species the better chance some way to assure their survival will be found. We have to look to the future in all things for us to survive. 

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The next meeting of the Big Pine Computer Club is coming up this Saturday, March 9, 10 am at the senior center. Bulletin Board

[“No dredging sea grass”] Only the Army Corp can ok or deny it!
BurdinesSitting peacefully at Burdines watching all the different boats cruise up and down reminded us of the times we went up and down the intercoastal waterway and enjoyed such great times. I am so happy for all the business in the Keys to see them full of customers, they have such a short time to make any real money that I try not to even worry at the traffic and crowds and just be thankful that business may be here next year for me too! The lower Keys and the expensive sewers will put so many more under. As an old timer, Big Piner, I fear we will all go back to the days when we had to go to Key West or Marathon for groceries. Be prepared for even more increases in cost of living down here because that is the only way “they” can make it. You should smile and be happy when you see the crowds as that is the one thing that will keep things affordable down here.

I cannot understand the love of Cruise ships as those on them seem to buy a T-shirt or two and run back to the ship for their free dinner. It has turned Key West into a flea market of junk shops. Those tourists who fly or drive down and spend a week down here must put more dollars into our economy. And don’t forget the group of us who own down here and pay more taxes on our property (not homesteaded) gladly for the months in the sun. We all contribute to the lifeblood of the Keys. Try to wrap your arms around and see the good in the economy down here — it is tourism! 

The last time I needed a battery put in my car the AAA had to make two trips. After I showed him where the battery was he had to take off the front fender to put the new battery in.

Towns don’t need tanks: the ACLU vs. swat teams, shock cuffs, flashbangs, bearcats and drones. Link

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Want to see a Jersey Girl? Go to Jersey Girls Gentlemen’s Club. Link

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[iCrook] Lisa Druckemiller the former Monroe County technical services director pleaded guilty to two felony theft charges on Wednesday, but sentencing could be held up because her attorneys are still trying to show that the county administrator was involved in the crimes.  

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[Tourists] You mean the cheapos from the midwest who park their campers in people’s yards and use them as bed space? You mean those fine folks who show up for Happy Hour to eat and drink on the cheap? You mean those folks who the TDC says are our lifeblood yet seem to balk at every event that costs money?

I’m glad the spring breakers are back, at least they’re fun to look at!

[Laid Back Dudes] I actually know of one retired Keys couple (snick, snick), originally from New York City, who spends the better part of each morning watching the Today show as it is televised live from Rockefeller Center.  As Matt and Al shiver uncontrollably outside the studio, the couple sip their coffee contentedly in their screened-in veranda, the sun gently warming their faces as they recall the long ago daily trek through the frozen tundra of Manhattan with a bemused and satisfied look on each of their faces. During the hurricane season, the weather channel becomes our primary source of information.  In the winter, it becomes a top source of entertainment.  

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To the guy who said women hate women is crazy. When a woman has a problem she can always talk to another woman. When a man has a problem he just has another drink!

Comet making closest approach ever of Earth. Link

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[Crook] Military fraud netted some $178K. Obese Deputy Jason Strong allegedly stole, sold back bullets in Iraq before joining Sheriff’s Office.

Before the tar and feather people arrive at my doorstep, let me state that in my neck of the woods, sarcasm reigns as one of the sincerest forms of flattery.  It is with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek that I’ve jotted down these observations.  

I’ve had the good fortune to befriend quite a few snowbirds and without exception they’re wonderful neighbors who truly love the Keys.  Especially those of you reading this column.  You’re the best!  Now, on the other hand, the tourists (since this seems to be the hot topic this week) – but, wait, that’s fodder for another day. 

an_credit card montage2[Credit Card Crooks] I read this about a couple weeks ago, and then checked my cards for the little Wi-Fi signal icon on each one. I found none w/that signal on them, but I was determined to watch for it when my cards came in on renewals. Well, yesterday I got my Chase Slate card and there it was! My first time to see it. I’ll not activate that card after seeing this. I guess I’ll go to the bank and see if I can replace it with a non Wi-Fi (Radio Frequency Card). Video 
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[Flagler’s Conch-rete Bridges] The cement itself was barged in from German as no American company could make cement that hardens under water.  
Marathon Zipline project moving ahead, despite County rebuke. Link

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TSA will allow small knives (2 ⅓” blade) on planes once more. Now I can take a multi-function tool with me again. Those tools are so damn handy, I really missed them when in a pinch for a tool. 

Why all the negative Jersey comments? I’m a native Floridian who currently lives in NJ. People are entitled to say what they want. As far as Jersey Girls are concerned, we have some of the most beautiful, intelligent girls in the world, but not as nice as San Francisco though. 

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[TraumaStar] I’m old. There’s a good chance I will need Trauma Star someday. I’m old. I have no kids in school, but half of my taxes go to educating your kid. Keep your hands off my Trauma Star.

[Coke Ad] This is simply amazing engineering. I think these are Purdue’s finest engineering students.  I’d like to share a coke with you. Three minutes of pure entertainment created by some engineering students. Outside the box, like a Rube Goldberg if you’re of a certain age to know who Rube was. Link 
Woman hides drugs, gun in private parts. Link 
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church-and-state“The Lord is Not On Trial Here Today” is a Peabody Award-winning documentary by Jay Rosenstein that tells the compelling personal story of Vashti McCollum, and how her efforts to protect her ten-year-old son led to one of the most important and landmark First Amendment cases in U.S. Supreme Court history — the case that established the separation of church and state in public schools is just as relevant today as then! Link
Sad news, guitar great, Alvin Lee passed this morn after complications from “routine” surgery in Spain. He was 68 and boy, could he play! R.I.P.- Jam on brother
Alvin Lee / Ten Years Later – I’m Going Home / 1978 

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[Gun Control]  Fla. Senate proposal would require bullet buyers to take anger management course. Link

I never made a frigging dollar from a tourist!
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[Crooks] I’ve been following the Balfour-Beatty property tax issue with a great deal of interest. I find it difficult to believe that the state Legislature would consider legislation to exempt Balfour-Beatty from paying their share of local property taxes. The residents of Monroe County and others affected by this issue should be outraged. Do they realize that they are going to have to make up the difference in revenue? In my opinion, this entire issue smacks of corruption and should be investigated. State Rep. Holly Raschein and others involved in this scandal should be recalled.
an new jersey[Stereotyped Jersey Girl] I am a proud Jersey girl (born in New Jersey). I fit none of the stereotypes that appear in posts here. Sadly, stupid TV Shows like “Jersey Shore” and “Jerseylicious” promote these stereotypes. I am guessing that most of the comments blaming a Jersey girl are from people who have never been there to see for themselves that we are all not fat, stupid etc. I have spent the last 15 years coming to the Keys and I have seen much bad behavior, from tourists and locals alike. So please do not use the term Jersey Girl as the catch phrase for all that is bad or in bad taste. And let’s’ not forget one of the best songs of all time by
Tom Waits – Jersey Girl
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[ “I hope that you will never have to experience what was done to my people by your ancestors” ]  Unless you are 200 years old, you have as much right to bellyache about native Americans being driven out as the blacks do about slavery.  You didn’t live it.  Neither did I.  

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How to make a butterfly island bed. Link 

The hottest thing at Burdines was a server named Sophia. Is she still there? She was the only reason I ever went there.

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[Wind Insurance] State Rep. Holly Raschein says she intends to be a House co-sponsor of a Senate bill that calls for a permanent Monroe County appointee to the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. board of directors. Link

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Pelican and gull found in Keys with beer cans around their necks. What the hell is wrong with people? The guys that did this are the same types who support that IKC ass. Link

County narrows BP settlement money to two projects: sewers and canals. Woohoo! Link

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Killer bee news in Fla: Man killed by killer bees! Link

I keep having this recurring dream. Every time, I’m driving and I run some old snowbirds off of US-1 into the ditch, shoot them in the neck, light their vehicle on fire, and am found at the scene laughing as their slow-driving, no-turn-signal-using, seemingly-lost-on-the-only-frickin-road-in-the-damn-county asses burn to a crisp. What do think it means?
Bird abuse on BPK. Link 

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[Spring?] I power washed the pontoon boat last Sunday hoping for Spring, but now we’re getting slammed again by a storm 12″ or so. 

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Use cash unless the ink smears! 
medicine6-Smart phones will change medicine. Buy Stock in this now! Video after ad. 
[Beer Can Collars on Birds] Lovely. CNN picked up this story, now the world will know the lower Keys for the worst thing imaginable. For all the great things we have and do here, it’s a shame this gets the attention. Let’s hope karma does a major number on those responsible – I’ll be looking for the gull and pelican poop encrusted car on US1. Link.
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[“Explain to me the term Jersey girl”] I’ll bet that post was from the same person who didn’t understand why Deer is used instead of Dear.

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[Controlled Burn] BPK fire set by dirtbag quelled quickly. Link

[“Are the girls from New Jersey bad? Are they overweight? Just what is it”] All of the above and more! For me it’s just attitude, and their’s sucks.  
R.I.P. Charlie Brooks, a community activist who helped found the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District and served on its board, died Sunday from a heart attack. He was 81.
[No Name Electric]  The quality of life and the environment on this little island would be greatly enhanced simply by shutting down those non-regulated, noisy, inefficient and polluting gasoline and diesel generators that are used as backup to solar.  Either eliminate all generators, which will really degrade the quality of life, or allow the people to tie to the grid. To delay a decision by doing another useless study is really getting old. The only people who win are the consultants and the lawyers.

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Hugo Chavez dead at 58. This proves socialized medicine doesn’t work because no one in America ever dies of cancer.” ~Maybe Sarah Palin
This interview was filmed two hours before Hugo Chavez‘s death. Lawrence Wilkerson, Collin Powell’s former Chief of Staff, states that the U.S. is isolated in Latin America, not Venezuela and Cuba. Further, that Obama should have the courage to normalize relations with Venezuela and Cuba. Link
The Washington Post has turned on President Obama, WSNBC can’t spin it to make it better, it’s hard to find anything good being said about President Obama. Buyers remorse is running hot & heavy throughout his supporters. America is starting to see President Obama in a very different light. It brings me no joy to know we have years of President Obama to suffer through & years of hard work repairing his damage.

President Barack Obama’s approval rating has fallen 7 points in the past five days, bringing him back down below 50 percent in Gallup’s poll. Link

A winter storm barely laid a glove on Washington and yet our federal government had to shut down with so much that should be done.
[Chavez put his people first] Ha! I’ve got a pal in Venezuela who could give you an alternate viewpoint on that.  Also the news reported Chavez’ estate is worth a couple billion.  His people got crumbs.
[Chavez] The naivete of some posters is absolutely astounding, the poster states that the difference between American presidents and Hugo Chavez was that Chavez put his citizens first while American presidents put Corp’s. first, yet when Chavez died, the poverty in Venezuela was at an all time high and while this was happening under his relatively short regime he himself had rose from fairly poor circumstances to amass an estate of over two billion dollars, in total amassing this money by outright theft all done under the umbrella of typical socialism, to unthinking left wing folks rhetoric is everything, reality is ignored. Is it really that difficult to understand whose private wealth benefited the most under his leadership? This has been the case in every instance where Socialism or it’s first cousin communism has been practised invariably under the guise of helping the downtrodden while in reality the ones running the corruption are the only ones benefiting.
Whoa, wait a minute. FTR, our all knowing fact man, explained years ago that the sea waters are not rising. Because he is never wrong, what’s this about his recent comment about sea level rise? Once FTR sets forth “his” facts, I sleep well at night.
Now that the stock market hit an all time high, everyone who’s ever called Obama a socialist has to admit he’s really bad at it.  ~Bill Maher
FTR says that the rich are paying more in taxes now. Sure, but only because their income has skyrocketed as well. Link
Now that Chavez has kicked the bucket before age 60 despite numerous visits to to the Workers’ Paradise, do you think that maybe Michael Moore will rethink his mancrush on the Cuban healthcare system?  Nah, I doubt it.
Its interesting how the Tea Party Zealots seem to be split of what they really support. We’ve been reading on here how our own far right members simply think the shine rises and falls with Rick Scott Floridas Governor. recently we had a week of praise heralding the magnificence of the Governor. They told us hes a Tea party member thru and thru. Now that Rick has endorsed a Medicade expansion plan the rats are starting to jumping the ship. Henry Kelley the Tea Party leader went as far as to say hes trying to determine how hes going to pay for the surgery to remove the knife planted in his back. Rick Scott is moving towards the center and I appreciate the support hes getting from our own far right posters. Its as if they realize the center is really where Americans reside.We just had a week of praise for Mr. Scott here on the C.T. and its refreshing to see them move to the center and praise the Governor for doing so.
The Governor’s proposed budget of $74.2 billion is one of the largest in Florida history and includes a $2,500 across the board pay raise for teachers. This is rare air folks. Scott is now for medicade expansion, teacher bonuses, and Obama care now.
This proves what I have been saying for over a year. Obama does it and there will be hell to pay. A Tea party member does it and he gets praises on high here in the C.T. with a long daily diatribe of how great he is.
Some members of the tea party are worried because now Gov. Rick is having regular meetings with environmental groups but they feel he is not consulting with them. Thats according to the same Mr. Kelly the head of the Fort Walton Beach Tea party. I applaud The Tea Party Governors move to the center. I may even have a cup of Lipton myself.
[Obama Bad] This pretty much sums up the results of O’s pathetic, dishonorable, socialist regime. We’re in a sad state and I hope something happens pretty soon that changes the dynamics of this. Worst recovery ever. Link
[Hypocrites] Do you have to be crazy to be a Republican congressman these days, where in your world it is OK to attack and invade a country that didn’t attack you while getting thousands killed, and it is OK to torture people, but it is not OK to use a drone to kill someone who is out to kill you and yours? 
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Senate delays negatively impacting our Judicial system. Link
[FTR:”I wonder if those two posters gave any thought whatsoever that those nearly 2000 wealthy persons will no longer have to pay any taxes to the USA?”] Uh, yeah FTR, I did. Now we’ll have room for 2000 immigrants that will pay taxes!
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FTR said, “I wonder if those two posters gave any thought whatsoever  that those nearly 2000 wealthy persons will no long have to pay any  taxes to the USA?”

A: FTR said nothing of these people being wealthy. He just said,  “After 3 years of the Obama presidency and his new tax laws, 1,781  Americans kissed America goodbye and renounced their citizenship.”  So now it’s just the wealthy ones who jetted? Is it only the wealthy  people that matter to FTR? Is it only the wealthy who’s words or  actions hold any sway for him? I’m betting, “yes.”

B: Wealthy or not, it sounds like these quitters weren’t fans of  paying taxes in the first place or else they wouldn’t have breezed  outta Dodge. WhatEVER will we do without the taxes of these nearly  2000 cowards who sh*t their pants when there might be some more taxes  on the horizon? I guess without their contribution to the tax pool,  we won’t be able to buy the equivalent of 3 government-funded Hyundai  hatchbacks. I wonder how much money it takes to pick up and leave the  country? Especially for these supposed wealthy people and all their  things? Do you think the moving costs might out-weigh any additional  taxes they had to pay?

FTR’s linked-to source for these so-called facts is a  dubious, right-leaning web blog. Why did he not just link to the  article they were gleaning from in the London Telegraph? Link here:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/9904314/Americans-renouncing-  citizenship-to-become-British-thanks-to-tax-rise.html FTR says these  people that renounce their citizenship will not be paying the U.S.  any more taxes. But, if you read the actual article in the London  Telegraph, you’ll find that’s not entirely true. “Even if a US  citizen earns all their income in Britain they are liable for tax in  their home country which can lead to unusual tax situations arising,”  said Diane Gelon- a US tax and immigration lawyer based in London.  The piece also mentions that US citizens are expected to pay capital  gains tax to the US government if they sell a property in Britain  which is their main residence. How are we not getting anymore of  these cowardly escapees’ taxes again, FTR? (P.S. Nothing in the  article about only wealthy people expatriating.)

Why did you link to this wacky website and not the London Telegraph  article itself, FTR? Did you want us to see this blog so we could  read the articles from Christian evangelists negating evolution? I  breezed through that article briefly the same way I read FTR’s  posts– for the pure ridiculousness of it. The tail end of the anti-  evolution article read thusly:

“The burden of proof lies with the believer in evolution, but he  can’t deliver, because anything that is said to be observable when it  comes to Darwinian evolution is conjecture, and that needs the  exercising of faith. They believe in their evidence. We can point to  ours.”

If I have to explain what’s wrong with that statement, then what’s  the point of an explanation at all? When someone says scientific  evidence doesn’t count, but you can point to the bible for real  truth, it really doesn’t make your website terribly respectable. I  don’t mind pro-religion, but anti-science is what gets me.

Other articles in this wrong-winger blog are titled, “The growing  case for impeachment of Obama”, “Civil War Within 8 Years?” and  “Arrest Joe Biden now!”

If this is what you peruse daily, FTR, I can see why your mind is  garbled radio static.

The website he linked to featured this fun advertisement from the… *ahem*… Patriot Health Institute.

FROM THE RIGHT

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A tip of the FTR fedora to the gas field fracker who has assured us that he is not gassy, and does not pass gas.  It’s comforting to know that being a fracker is the stuff of a rewarding and honorable career. He certainly seems to be a proud and happy fracker. However the knowledge that he is a chronic passer of water is somewhat disconcerting. But whatever, he does have a sense of humor and seems to be engaged in an honorable profession.

anti-chavez-protest7Part 1) Chavez is dead. Some Americans were enamored of him. Some compare his reign to that of Obama.  Some say that Chavez was the better man because he favored the “masses” but that Obama favors the “corporations.”

It is absolute fact that Chavez and Obama share some attributes. Both were/are consummate politicians. Each had/has a strong charismatic and dominating personality. Each was/is blessed with the gift of powerful oratory. Each had/has the ability to win the adoration of the “masses”. The adoration of the masses translates into powerful and Machiavellian political machines. Their loyal followers held their leader in near cult like devotion.

Chavez was an unabashed true believer in Socialism. Obama’s developmental years were spent in close association with, and studying with Socialists.  At least one of his mentors was a Communist.  Chavez and Obama promulgated a Utopian dream. When the Venezuelan masses accepted that gauzy dream, Chavez engaged in the methodical destruction of his nation’s democratic institutions and the free market. Chavez was an abject failure as the chief executive of his nation. He plunged his nation into political and economic chaos.  Chavez left his country in far worse shape than when he became ruler. Obama is a work in progress.

On ascending to power Chavez methodically rigged elections, he demonized and crushed his adversaries in the Venezuelan legislative branch and in their courts. Ultimately Chavez, who was unable to tolerate criticism, by bullying and economic assault, silenced the voices of opposition. Both Chavez ans Obama enjoy(ed) a malleable and adoring mass media.

Can you see any parallels in the foregoing between Chavez and Obama?

The Chavez tactic of demonizing and punishing his enemies and lavishly rewarding his sycophants inevitably led to massive government inefficiency and corruption. Chavez was an incompetent leader and an even worse economist. Sound like anyone you know?

Venezuela, like America, is blessed with massive petroleum reserves. Pre Chavez blackouts were unheard of, now they are frequent. Pre Chavez the economy of Venezuela had a thriving free market. Now prices are controlled and even food items are often scarce. Very recently Venezuela has been forced to again devalue its currency; this time by 1/3rd.

The corruption and economic chaos wreaked on Venezuela by Chavez has inevitably led to a massive increase in crime. It is claimed that the nation’s murder rate has quadrupled

Let’s hope and work hard to avoid the fate of Venezuela coming to America. Any eyes wide open observer can find many parallels between Chavez’s M.O. and the Obama presidency. Chavez had 16 years to destroy his nation’s economy and it’s Democracy. Obama has been in power for 4, he is a work in progress.

drone7Part 2) Hopefully you have read the recent spate of news that chronicles the eruption in the use of unmanned Arial vehicles (UAV’s) here in America. Currently there is a growing interest in our American government’s use of UAV’s to monitor our lives.  Now we know that UAV’s (Predator B model) was designed by Homeland Security to be able to determine if a subject under its surveillance is armed, and to track any cell phone usage.

That in and off itself may be disturbing to some, but yesterday’s news should be disturbing to all.  Mr. Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, has opined that the President has the authority to use a UAV to kill here in our own homeland.

Imagine that, the  American government killing Americans on American soil on the order of the Executive Branch of our government without arresting, charging, prosecuting, and convicting the subject. Without that conviction being subjected to judicial review. Imagine that, Americans killing Americans without even a trace of judicial or Constitutional review. Damn, even the ACLU is agast at the idea.

One might make the argument that police officers often kill subjects who are engaged in behavior that presents the danger of great bodily harm or death to the officers or to others, but those episodes are always happen in an instant of conflict.  After the episode, each episode is subject to probing and complete judicial scrutiny.  Police officers do get charged and convicted for unlawfully taking human life. I know that for an absolute certainty because I’ve investigated and been a part in the prosecution of several such incidents.

The Obama Administration defends the use of drones to kill Americans ought to be working with terrorists.  “These strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.  Deer Friend, imagine that, Obama and his minions are ready to kill Americans, on American soil because a government employee “thinks” that the subject MAY be working with terrorists.  Deer Friends, that is truly chilling; we should all quake. I have real trouble wrapping my mind around that concept! I pray that you share that view.

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Part 3) It sucks that Obama can set thousands of illegal aliens free, buy millions of dollars worth of TSA uniforms at a cost of $1k per uniform, spend multi million$ flitting around the nation on vacations and executive propaganda tours, but he chooses to slam the door on kids who want to tour the White House. It is his choice. The cost of operating Air Force one for only two hours equals the cost of operating the White House tours for a year. Fortunately House Leader Boehner has assured us that he will keep the Capital open. What the frack happened to Mrs. Obama’s sweet speechifying that assured us that the White House is the “People House?” Obama wants only to punish anyone who has the courage the courage to deliver economies to our governance, or who has the temerity to oppose his will.

Respectfully submitted: FTR@bellsouth.net