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The balancing act: Butterflies are not free

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From page A4 | December 16, 2013 | 53 Comments

Every year on the first day of November Monarch butterflies arrive by the millions to the fir forests of central Mexico, except this year. Normally more than 60 million appear like magic, but this year they didn’t arrive until a week later and then in record low numbers, some saying fewer than 3 million. In fact, the 60 million from the year before was a low number.

Entomologists believe they may know the answer and it is not just pesticides. It may be the loss of native vegetation in the United States. Monarchs migrate yearly from Canada, across the United States central plains to Mexico and it’s what’s happening in the United States that could be jeopardizing the Monarch butterfly, farming.

Because of the federal government’s mandate for biofuels (read ethanol), the demand and the price of corm has skyrocketed and with that demand, native plants like milkweed have been destroyed in favor of planting millions of acres of new corn to meet this demand.

As reported in a recent New York Times article, studies show that between 60-90 percent of Iowa’s milkweed has been plowed under for corn and other farm plants. Milkweed is an important source of nectar for the Monarch butterfly.

Another example of the road of good intentions paved with unintended detrimental consequences. And why the push for ethanol? It had two intentions, the reduction of being energy dependent on foreign oil and a second intention of “combating global warming by reducing carbon dioxide,” the alleged main culprit of global warming.

Our president says if we don’t “combat” global warming we will subject ourselves to more severe and frequent hurricanes. If he said it once, he said it a hundred times. I guess he ignored the latest weather news, which said that the hurricane season this year (it closed on Nov. 30) was the mildest in 75 years. For the last eight years we were warned of massive destructive hurricanes only to find that the last eight seasons have been extremely mild in a historical context.

Or perhaps he keeps ignoring the continuing data that world temperatures are in decline for nearly the last 20 years. And this is occurring in spite of CO2 continuing to rise, reaching 400 ppm, up from about 280 ppm a hundred years ago and it is continuing to rise at the rate if 1.5 ppm annually.  And you think he only lied about health care. The question for our president should be when does he tell the truth?

Even more interesting is the frightfully cold weather the Northern hemisphere is suffering. In the last seven days there were 205 record snowfalls, 969 low maximum temperatures, 203 low temperature records and only 17 new high temperature records and 61 high minimum temperature records. It has been a cold week and many of those record snowfalls were in Texas and it’s not even winter yet. I don’t need to tell you that Northern California has recently suffered from record low temperatures as well.

Global sea ice is at its highest level in 25 years and the Arctic ice extent is the highest in 10 years. Alaska is being pummeled in snow and Italy is also suffering from arctic winds and heavy snowfalls. And if that isn’t enough, heavy ice in Antarctica has delayed the Aurora Australis ice breaker on its return to Hobart. So where is the global warming? It sounds more like the beginning of the next Ice Age. And this is how they start. With sunspot activity at record lows, it sounds like the world will be facing more cold weather for at least the next 10 years.

And ethanol is a poor fuel to begin with. It is water intensive to produce. It has an energy density a third less than gasoline. It is expensive and because it is hygroscopic it is difficult to transport and damaging (corrosive) to internal combustion engines. The only reason for ethanol is politics. In a free market there would be no ethanol. We have been hearing of the promise of dirt cheap ethanol from cellulosic materials like switchgrass for years. Once at an automotive dinner about five years ago, an allegedly knowledgeable reporter claimed cellulosic ethanol would be cheaper (and as plentiful) than gasoline by 2011. The breakthrough was just around the corner. Yeah, sure. Here we are three years after her claim was to come to fruition and the corner is farther away than ever.

Ethanol is just another reason why the government should stay out of decisions about products. When it comes to the marketplace, all the government seems to do is mess it up. And as to foreign oil dependency, it’s at its lowest level in decades, because of new American oil technology. U.S. oil production is approaching its highest level in decades and we are now exporting petroleum products at the highest rate. Meanwhile we are going to lose one of nature’s most beautiful beings.

Larry Weitzman is a resident of Rescue. 

Larry Weitzman

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Discussion | 53 comments

  • Phil_VeerkampDecember 14, 2013 - 8:23 pm

    One named Jimmy lies in the I 40 median in West Texas. RIP, Jimmy.

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  • anonymousDecember 14, 2013 - 8:33 pm

    Mazel Tov!

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  • ShiksaDecember 14, 2013 - 8:52 pm

    Mazel Tov 2 U 2

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  • Phil_VeerkampDecember 14, 2013 - 10:52 pm

    LINK - AGENDA 21

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  • cookie65December 16, 2013 - 5:53 am

    It isn't just the northern hemisphere experiencing below record cold. The Antarctic set an all time record low ever recorded about a week ago just weeks ahead of the summer solstice for the southern hemisphere. Follow the money. The global warming fraud is the greatest confiscation and transfer of wealth scheme ever concocted. The return on investment is staggering. The investment is little more than repeating a lie over and over again to massive numbers of ignorant lemmings who refuse to ever think for themselves, indoctrinate kids from birth and the return is literally trillions of dollars confiscated from producers. Leftism is always in need of a demon, and they stumbled on to the most elaborate and profitable demon imaginable with the man made global warming fraud. Power, control and money. Just another example of what makes leftism the most vile, evil, damaging, disgusting mythology in all of human history. The ideology of destruction. Too bad this is a family show and I can't illustrate the real truth about how depraved leftism really is. Add Monarch butterfly's to the mass graves that leftism is responsible for.

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  • cookie65December 16, 2013 - 9:30 am

    Here is another kick in the teeth to the fairytale pixie dust alternate reality propaganda that comes from the left. This one is from one of the their own. Camille Paglia has developed some intellectual honesty over the last decade or so. http://ideas.time.com/2013/12/16/its-a-mans-world-and-it-always-will-be/print/

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  • Dink LaneDecember 16, 2013 - 10:35 am

    In our heart of hearts we know that something has changed. In our heart of hearts we know that puking toxins in the air does something to our air. Look at China, un-regulated, un-restrained.......... Does anyone really think burning carbons is GOOD for the environment? (Not even Larry's weather/science-man)...... It's easier to let the lies go unchallenged.... How does one argue with people who say.... "No it's not warming.... It's getting colder, or wetter, or stormer." ...... It's like arguing with my mother-in-law..... no basis in facts.... just passion...

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  • cookie65December 16, 2013 - 10:43 am

    When did carbon become a toxin? The carbon that is released exists because it was absorbed from the atmosphere by what ever carbon based fuel we now find it in. Which means it was in the atmosphere in prior geologic time periods and those time periods flourished with life. How do you think we ended up with mountains of coal and oceans of oil?

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  • Dink LaneDecember 16, 2013 - 11:14 am

    Carbon has 4-avalable electrons.... to bond with other molecules such as hydrogen and oxygen.... we don't want carbon in our lungs pulling the oxygen out .... Radioactive isotopes are carbon based..... Carbon is a basic substance.... and it can be toxic.... I guess it calls for a "real" scientist and not a weatherman kind of scientist..... Maybe that's why the communist (China) just landed on the moon and the Americans are counting their nickels to buy milk....

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  • rodDecember 16, 2013 - 1:39 pm

    Dink-with-no-facts “ Literally thousands of laboratory and field experiments have conclusively demonstrated enriching the air with carbon dioxide stimulates the growth and development of nearly all plants. They have also revealed higher than normal CO2 concentrations dramatically enhance the efficiency with which plants utilize water, sometimes as much as doubling it in response to a doubling of the air’s CO2 content. These CO2 induced improvements typically lead to the development of more extensive and active root systems, enabling plants to more thoroughly explore volumes of soil in search of the things they need. Consequently, even in soils lacking sufficient water and nutrients for good growth at today’s CO2 concentrations, plants exposed to the elevated atmospheric CO2 levels expected in the future generally show remarkable increases in vegetative productivity, which should enable them to successfully colonize low-rainfall areas that are presently too dry to support more than isolated patches of desert vegetation.” “Elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 also enables plants to better withstand the growth-retarding effects of various environmental stresses, including soil salinity, air polution, high and low temperatures, and air-borne plant pathogens. In fact, atmospheric CO2 enrichment can actually mean the difference between life and death for vegetation growing in extremely stressful circumstances. In light of these facts, it is not surprising that Earth’s natural and managed ecosystems have already benefitted immensly from the increase in atmospheric CO2 that has accompanied the progression of the industrial Revolution; and they will further prosper from future CO2 increases”. HLSteward PHD Climatology, Univ.Brisbane.

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  • Dink LaneDecember 16, 2013 - 4:05 pm

    I couldn't find your H.L. Stewart (one was a diet Doctor?).... I believe you got your facts from some where. So I went to NOAA Global Monitoring Division to see if these "established facts" you cited were any where else........ REMEMBER: It is NOT a proven theory if NO ONE else can reproduce the same results...... NOAA says that CO2...... HIGHER.... making 'infrared radiation" HIGHER (Skin Cancer type radiation)...... Now here is the problem with your theory..... Carbon --> 4 available electrons.... Oxygen needs 2 --> 2 Oxygen molecules use the 4 electrons.... Therefore..... NO available electrons...... How can Hydrogen attach (needed to make water)?..... CO2..... does not create water .... It's been years since I studied chemistry.... but one thing I do know.... Sitting in a room with just CO2 will kill you.... Why would we WANT to upset the balance? So Oil companies can profit? Why have we walked away from common sense to protect oil companies?

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  • rodDecember 16, 2013 - 5:29 pm

    Dink, you have a problem with English? HL Stewar 'D'.... And "Literally thousands of laboratory and field experiments have conclusively demonstrated enriching the air with carbon dioxide stimulates the growth and development of nearly all plants" Doesn't sound like a theory to me. No need to create excess CO2, but we don't have to panic about it either. For every negative scenario, there are just as many benefits that few seem to recognize, might want to check into that.. or are U just beguiled with Gore? Please no soapbox science... I had chemistry. oceanography, meteorology..yadayada too. Great point on CHINA & nickels, can't nail liberalism any better than that one!

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  • rodDecember 16, 2013 - 5:40 pm

    I'm for natural gas.. Bridge Fuel to the future. (til we have fuel cells). Oil has sulphur probs and Coal has 2x the CO2 /BTU... and NG needs NO refining... it can be used and transported ANYWHERE. Oh and sitting in a room with just O2... will kill U too... great oxidizer.. and extremely flammable. but U knew that right?

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  • Dee#1December 16, 2013 - 2:28 pm

    Hmmm, I don't suppose this could have any effect on the current weather? Naw, the sun's activity has no consequence. -----The sun's peak of solar activity this year will likely be the quietest seen in at least 100 years, say NASA scientists who watch Earth's closest star daily. Sunspot numbers are low, researchers said, even as the sun reaches the peak of its 11-year activity cycle. Also, radio waves that are known to indicate high solar activity have been very subdued.-----http://www.space.com/19131-sun-solar-space-weather-2013.html

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  • CookieMonsterDecember 16, 2013 - 5:53 pm

    All of this leftist environmentalist crap makes me want to puke! We should have no environmental restrictions at all so we can compete with the Red Chinese! Those tree-hugging leftist commie muslim punks can drive their Priuses to hell as far as I'm concerned!

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  • Foaming at the MouthDecember 16, 2013 - 6:40 pm

    Why Cookie, you sound like you're Foaming at the Mouth!

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  • PatriceDecember 16, 2013 - 6:44 pm

    You are stupid!

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  • Phil VeerkampDecember 16, 2013 - 7:02 pm

    LINK - Phil ponders Patrice

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  • rodDecember 16, 2013 - 8:12 pm

    is that legal?

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  • cookie65December 17, 2013 - 9:08 am

    Truth be told I am probably more of a conservationist than you. But the creation of a federal leviathan with unlimited, unanswerable powers totally outside of the authority of the Constitution, the citizens and their elected representatives free to make laws meant to obliterate freedoms based on some religious zealotry is less than a stone's throw away from the same principles used by hitler to exterminate 6 million people.

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  • T-RayDecember 16, 2013 - 9:56 pm

    Dink, your understanding of chemistry is very limited. Yes carbon has 4 valence electrons. Pure carbon is very stable. It is very difficult to oxidize. Try burning some pure carbon sometime. Your body is 65% oxygen, 18% carbon, 10% hydrogen, 3% nitrogen, etc. Carbon is a fundamental building block of all living things. The entire field of organic chemistry is the study of carbon based compounds. Activated charcoal (carbon) is used as an absorbent/filter. You can eat it and it will not harm you. CO2 is not toxic but being heavier than air (N2/O2 mixture) it can displace air resulting in death. Likewise pure N2 can displace the O2 in the air and result in death. CO2 just like H2O is a necessary component of life but like too much H2O it can kill you. But it takes a lot more than a few 100 ppm. It is a well known fact that greenhouses increase CO2 levels to promote plant growth. I have not heard of greenhouse operators dropping dead. As Rod said CO2 has its beneficial side. It is the UV rays in solar radiation that cause skin cancer because the photon energy is high enough to cause molecular decomposition, i.e. it can break the skin molecules. Infrared radiation emitted by atmospheric CO2 does not cause cancer. Its photon energy is 30 times weaker. All it can do is vibrate the atoms in the molecule or spin the molecule You feel thermal radiation as heat but the additional atmospheric radiation emitted by CO2 is so infinitesimal that you will not feel it. Finally do not confuse pollution with the release of CO2. They are two totally different things despite what the EPA says. Otherwise, we will have to label you a polluter.

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  • Phil VeerkampDecember 16, 2013 - 10:05 pm

    T-Ray, ten to one Dink cannot read from, Dink, your understanding . . ." to ". . . we will have to label you a polluter." And if I am wrong I'll go double or nothing he will not understand and, hence, he will call you an ignorant disinformation trolling operative.

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  • T-RayDecember 16, 2013 - 10:18 pm

    Phil, I will admit to being a ringer but I am no troll. I do have some knowledge of chemistry and physics. I also grew up in corn country in the Midwest. While I am sure that some of my old classmates and even some relatives are making money selling corn for alcohol, it is a poor source of energy. Corn is very hard on the soil both from a erosion and a nutrient aspects. If we overcrop the soil to produce corn for energy, we will eventually pay. It will be one of the unintended consequences.

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  • Phil VeerkampDecember 16, 2013 - 10:31 pm

    T-Ray, how about rotating Soybeans and corn. No-till via glyphosate. Will that still be a net soil loss?

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  • Phil VeerkampDecember 16, 2013 - 10:43 pm

    . . . as Phil deftly opens the GMO door and quickly ducks the incoming gluten free organic-Monsanto-free cream pie . . .

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  • T-RayDecember 16, 2013 - 11:03 pm

    Soy beans are another row crop that permits soil erosion. They are a legume hence fix nitrogen. Crop rotation is a key to good soil health. The traditional Midwest crop rotation was corn, oats, alfalfa. The alfalfa was sowed at the same time as the oats and grew the first year under the oats until the oats were combined. The next year, the alfalfa was harvested. Two cycles of this followed by one year as pasture was the traditional 7 year rotation. Now most farms do not have livestock hence do not need the pasture and with it the natural fertilizer. Also with the current high prices of corn, it is too enticing to increase corn acreage at the expense of crop rotation. Rotation does other things besides resting the soil. A field that is repeatedly planted in single crop will generate pests specific to that crop thus necessitating increased pesticide use. Even here, I move my sweet corn from one year to the next.

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  • Phil VeerkampDecember 17, 2013 - 6:37 am

    T-Ray, "Soy beans" is pigeon Spanish which translates roughly to," I am full of it".

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  • cookie65December 17, 2013 - 8:09 am

    Dink, it is a simple question and is scientific in every regard. How did the oceans of oil and mountains of coal end up in the ground? I know you don't like the answer because the scientific explanation eviscerates the carbon/man-made global warming fraud and exposes the carbon tax scheme for the extortion that it is.

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  • MartinDecember 17, 2013 - 8:30 am

    cookie65 for 2016

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  • PatriceDecember 17, 2013 - 9:26 am

    Yes, then only white, slave owning landowners would govern. Oh, the good ole days.

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  • cookie65December 17, 2013 - 11:08 am

    We have more people today enslaved by free money and government handouts then we ever did by free labor. Again, you support the slavery imposed by white, wealthy landowning leftists who treat people like they are their personal property and not free citizens. The crash test dummy didn't tell a group of leftist plantation resident's "they gonna put y'all back in chains" to encourage their independence and freedom from government enslavement. Have you seen the enrollments so far on the latest government enslavement program, ocommycare? Keep, in what extremely limited mind you have, "enrollment" doesn't mean purchased. 45 states haven't reached 10% of their enrollment goals. Sounds like people are rejecting your version of freedom. http://www.enrollmaven.com/

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  • PatriceDecember 17, 2013 - 11:51 am

    The ACA will succeed and this is all the extremist worry about and waste so much time with besides making it a hardship for the poor and people of color to express their right to vote. Worried the ACA will be popular, worried the poor and people of color will vote. I look forward to the fight of the Tea Party and all their anti-government mouthpieces in their attempts to go back to the white, slave-owning landowner days. Your good ole days.

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  • EvelynDecember 17, 2013 - 12:08 pm

    Patrice: I totally dispute the notion that there is a nexus between opposition to ACA and a desire to return to white, slave-owning landowner days. Though not having the prescience to predict ACA's ultimate success or failure, it does seem to me that the writing of this extraordinarily complex legislation by the benefiting industries coupled with I.R.S. enforcement does open up plenty of scope for reasoned opposition.

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  • cookie65December 17, 2013 - 1:08 pm

    Evelyn, you know it, I know it, everyone on planet earth knows it, there is no correlation between opposition to obamacare and any of the other old tired worn out accusations coming from those who have no other defense. The charge of racism, bigotry and all the other lame insinuations have worn thin and that account has long been overdrawn. But keep in mind, when dealing with individuals of such limited intellect they truly have no other response. It seems they are the ones obsessed with "color". Dr. Ben Carson is adamantly opposed to obamacare as are many others who the left despises for their willingness call the left for the enslavers that they are.

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  • EvelynDecember 17, 2013 - 1:24 pm

    Cookie: In this instance, the public ABSOLUTELY is being spoon-fed their ACA talking points. In this instance, reason has fled the door. In this instance, party-political adherence commands indifference to fact. Wherever, I ask, does someone come up with "racism" as the reason for rejecting Obamacare? THIS woman, who is either a shill or an idiot (a word I seldom use) says "ObamaCare Is The New N-Word". How many people -- of ANY political persuasion -- are ruled by such TV gurus?

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  • PatriceDecember 17, 2013 - 3:07 pm

    Whatever, Evelyn. I was responding solely to Martin's post "cookie65 for 2016". This is what came up with the thought of your mentor being a leader.

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  • EvelynDecember 17, 2013 - 3:41 pm

    Patrice: Who is my mentor?

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  • cookie65December 17, 2013 - 3:19 pm

    I vote idiot......

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  • cookie65December 17, 2013 - 3:21 pm

    Look at it this way Evelyn, the more you encounter those who represent the slobbering leftist base the more opportunity you will have to use the word idiot. They do not possess the ability to think for themselves.

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  • MartinDecember 17, 2013 - 11:56 am

    It is the old get rid of the blue jay syndrome, feed them daily for months on end and then don’t feed them they will squawk and peck at your window until you feed them. If you can put up with the racket for a few days they will leave the safe haven and find another way to feed themselves. Like maybe going to work for minimum wage until they acquire something better. “Why work for a living when everything is handed to you.” Mind me this isn’t for everyone, but there are a lot of freeloaders out there that could be doing something more than warming the couch, fraud has run unchecked for to long.

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  • Dink LaneDecember 17, 2013 - 12:09 pm

    Wal-mart store opened.... 600 job openings..... over 25,000 people applied.... lines around the block....... Martin: From your nice warm cozy house.... it's so easy to say "They are takers" when YOUR family is warm and fed..... and theirs is NOT...... I pray that you never have to go through what they are experiencing.... I don't think you could handle it....

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  • cookie65December 17, 2013 - 12:31 pm

    You voted for it.

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  • cookie65December 17, 2013 - 12:54 pm

    Dink, a simple, even basic economics 101 question for you. When you have 25,000 people applying for 600 positions what happens to the cost of filling those positions?

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  • MartinDecember 17, 2013 - 12:45 pm

    Dick, I have been there and done that, have never depended on anyone but myself I have always found a way to provide for my family, even if it meant selling items that I treasured. Our government is making it harder and harder to make a living! but I won't cave on my belief that independence is virtue. I do believe that there are plenty that needs help but I feel that it should be for the ones that can't provide for themselves and family

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  • Phil VeerkampDecember 17, 2013 - 3:24 pm

    Cookie, do you think "poltroon" is over-the-top inappropriate?

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  • cookie65December 17, 2013 - 4:12 pm

    Absolutely not Phil. In fact it is most fitting for one who takes zero responsibility for all we have witnessed over the last 5 years and cannot even tell the truth about the lies told to pass ocommycare.

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  • PatriceDecember 17, 2013 - 4:04 pm

    "someone incapable of running a lavatory, never mind a country." This too fits with my response to Martin's 8:30 am post. Laughable though that you ask the No. 1 over the top character if your name calling is over the top. ha

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  • cookie65December 17, 2013 - 4:22 pm

    Running a lavatory would at least be something to put on the blank resume pages. Agreed, it isn't nearly as complicated as running a lemonaide stand, but what do you expect when you vote for symbolism over substance. Empty headed people are prone to electing empty headed people.

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  • Dink LaneDecember 17, 2013 - 4:52 pm

    So you admit you voted for Baby Bush... :-)

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  • PatriceDecember 17, 2013 - 4:55 pm

    And you know all about electing empty headed people since George is about as emptied headed as they come...worst president in history. As far as resumes, yours compared to mine, again, laughable.

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  • cookie65December 17, 2013 - 5:18 pm

    The two of you expose your unrestrained BIGOTRY better than I could have hoped for. You both, without any reservation express your extreme hatred for Bush because there is no restriction for doing so and yet if someone even questions obama both of you throw out the race card without hesitation. You both take pathetic to an entirely new low.

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  • PatriceDecember 17, 2013 - 6:18 pm

    I never have expressed any negativity toward Bush on this site until now. You use the word hate so easily. I do not hate anyone. Disrespect, yes. You are the big time mouth that immediately expresses over the top venom for any that do not see the world in your chip-on-the-shoulder way. And the Bush puppet was elected twice and pushed this country of the edge.

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  • MartinDecember 17, 2013 - 7:42 pm

    Pushed it to the edge? President Obama has taken the brakes off and let it slide over the edge up the next hill and down again. He has lied about everything just to implement his dream, I guess if you keep repeating the lie it will become the truth and the truth is he is winning we are all going to be piled up at the bottom of the cliff. This man has no inclination of what harm he and his lefty’s are doing to this country, you can’t give away the farm and expect it to prosper; the breaks have got to be put on and if that means cutting the spending on some of his favorite programs then so be it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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