hummingwolf: (My world is askew!)
So, the person who will presumably become the next president of the United States had a little tweetstorm which included the statement that people who burn the American flag should suffer some consequence like losing their citizenship or spending a year in prison.

There are just so, so many things going on here. One thing nobody seems to be commenting on: Trumpelthinskin apparently believes that loss of U.S. citizenship is roughly equivalent to spending a mere year behind bars. Seriously? Which prison was he thinking of sending them to--Guantanamo?

Anyway, many people are responding to this. Some people think that responding to DJT's tweets at all is a mistake: Trump Wants You to Burn Flags While He Burns Constitution
But why would he choose to pick this strange fight? Here is a case where the common complaint that he is distracting the public from unflattering stories rings true. Proposing a flag-burning ban is a classic right-wing nationalist distraction, and Trump has a number of ugly stories from which to distract: his plan for massive, unprecedented corruption, the extreme beliefs of his appointees, a controversy over a recount that highlights his clear defeat in the national vote....

Trump’s flag-burning tweet is a frightening moment not because his proposal stands any chance of enactment, but because it reflects one of the few signs that his dangerous and authoritarian politics is calculated, and not merely crazy.


While there may be some merit to that argument, there's also the fact that the person we expect to be sworn in as the next president apparently wants us to believe that a proposal to strip someone of U.S. citizenship for exercising their first amendment rights is acceptable in American political discourse.

David Frum asks on Twitter: If flag-burning merits loss of citizenship, what should be the penalty for a Nazi salute by a Trump supporter?

which seems like a valid question.

Regarding flag burning, here's a bit of the SCOTUS decision U.S. v. Eichman: "Government may create national symbols, promote them, and encourage their respectful treatment," Brennan wrote. "But the Flag Protection Act of 1989 goes well beyond this by criminally proscribing expressive conduct because of its likely communicative impact. We are aware that desecration of the flag is deeply offensive to many. But the same might be said, for example, of virulent ethnic and religious epithets, vulgar repudiations of the draft, and scurrilous caricatures [all of which the Court had deemed protected by the First Amendment]. 'If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.' Punishing desecration of the flag dilutes the very freedom that makes this emblem so revered, and worth revering."

Yes, I am aware that HRC also wanted to outlaw flag-burning. I'm not a fan of the idea when it comes from her either, though at least she's never proposed stripping someone's citizenship for the act.


Also, if you were wondering if a natural-born U.S. citizen could lose their citizenship, the answer is yes, but neither burning a flag nor getting on Trumpelthinskin's nerves is enough to do it:

Section 349 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1481), as amended, states that U.S. nationals are subject to loss of nationality if they perform certain specified acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. nationality.

More info here.

DJT isn't even president yet and he seems intent on proving in more and more ways every day that he is completely unfit for the office. This Is Not Normal. This Is Not Okay.
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
This Is Not Normal

The one thing authoritarians want you to do is to accept that their conduct is normal, even when it is not. They do not want you to yearn for a freer, less oppressive and less corrupt time, and they do not want you to think it odd when, say, a government agency is purged or a bunch of protesters are arrested and vanish into the prisons without ever seeing trial. They want you to think it is normal when the President is openly selling your interests out to a foreign power, or when he is using the levers of government to materially enrich and empower his family. The presumption of normality during abnormal times is one of the most powerful weapons the authoritarian has, and that is why it is so important to recognize how profoundly abnormal Donald J. Trump will be as president. So I assembled a list.





The Abnormal Presidency

I was going to quote a bit of this one as a teaser, but you should read the whole thing if you haven't already. Because, well, This Is Not Normal.
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
Lessons for Americans from the city that elected Rob Ford

"Dear Americans,

"Hello from Toronto. We promise not to be smarmy or condescending.

"It's just that we have some experience electing a uniquely unqualified bigoted demagogue whose stunted emotional maturity and tenuous grasp of reality caused people to fear for things they held dear. But while we can't pretend that our late former mayor was ever nearly as terrifying as your president-elect, there are sufficient similarities that it may be worth comparing notes...."

A Super Tuesday?

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 11:14 am
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
Dear Fellow Americans:

If you happen to live in a place where there are primary elections today, could you please consider voting for someone who's not a living cartoon or actively inviting comparisons to all the actual historical Fascists? I realize this is going to be more difficult for some of you than for others, but still--please try to find someone halfway decent on the ballot somewhere.

2016: The first year I've heard a Republican talk about moving to Canada if their own party's presidential frontrunner wins in November.
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
"If you ever doubt that C. S. Lewis was gifted with a prophetic voice, you need look no further for correction than Prince Caspian." Thus begins an opinion piece (which I got from the Inklings mailing list) which includes the question "Did C. S. Lewis foresee the rise of Donald Trump?"

I'm sharing this link mostly because I ended up getting sucked into multiple political conversations while I was out today; and, while I am delighted to know that my neighbors and friends all over the political spectrum--from Tea Partiers to mixed baggers and moderates to raving hippies--are nearly all in agreement that Trump should never ever be elected dogcatcher, much less POTUS, that still meant that I had to think about the clown for an extended period of time, which didn't help my headache. So now I'm sharing the pain.

Now I want more tea (no party).
hummingwolf: (two)
There seems to be some reason to quote this every other week and a quick search for it in my own journal didn't turn it up, so it's about time for me to post this passage here.


I am a democrat because I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the more dangerous I think it both to the rulers and to the subjects. Hence Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations. And since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic, held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated. In a word, it forbids wholesome doubt. A political programme can never in reality be more than probably right. We never know all the facts about the present and we can only guess the future. To attach to a party programme--whose highest real claim is to reasonable prudence--the sort of assent which we should reserve for demonstrable theorems, is a kind of intoxication.

--C.S. Lewis, from the essay "A Reply to Professor Haldane," as printed in On Stories And Other Essays on Literature
hummingwolf: Mathemagical animation made out of string. (Incredible String Thing)
Recent Republican jobs proposals, a short but enlightening list from Slacktivist.

I'd like to hear from my friends about the utility of these proposals, particularly any of my friends who might be dwarves in Florida.

(no subject)

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 05:57 pm
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
From Slacktivist: "Only a crazy person would take what we say seriously."

Every few years, tragically, some poor confused bastard fails to realize that it's all a big game, a pretense, a lie. He takes them seriously and he takes their words seriously and he behaves as someone who believes what they say. So Paul Hill murders a doctor in Florida. Eric Rudolph bombs the Atlanta Olympics. Scott Roeder guns down a doctor in church.

And each time this happens all of the people who have, for years, been suggesting that such violent resistance is obligatory recoil in horror at the sight of someone treating their words as anything other than the disingenuous lies they were always meant to be.



You know, I was thinking when I woke up this morning that with all the news coverage about Saturday's shooting, Julian Assange must be feeling terribly left out. So when the first thing I heard after turning on the news radio station was that Julian Assange had compared himself to Gabrielle Giffords, I greeted the news with a certain lack of surprise. Then again, given what Sarah Palin and other rightwing superstars have said about the Wikileaks crew, the statement may have a point. It's a point hidden underneath a gigantic, bloated ego, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
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I would love to have a government that takes the laws of the land seriously, not just when they apply to citizens or suspected terrorists, but most especially when those laws apply to the government itself. An administration that takes the Bill of Rights seriously and does not try to silence its opponents by redefining the meaning of "right" would be a novelty, though perhaps in light of recent history it may be too much to ask. The executive branch will always be tempted to believe itself above the law; the legislative branch will be tempted to ignore the Constitution in favor of new laws that appeal to the most vociferous voters; the judicial branch will be tempted to twist the Constitution's meaning to make it fit better with some political ideology. It would be a glorious and refreshing change if members of all branches of government at least tried to give lip service to upholding the law of the land, at least showed some evidence of remorse when caught in the act of defying the standards Americans have historically set for ourselves.

Here's hoping the new administration brings change in the direction of honesty and openness, rather than a mere shift in which team gets to act like it's above the law.
hummingwolf: Snowflake-like kaleidoscope images (Kaleidocoolth)
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Ahem. In the words of Nik Kershaw:

He was
Loud, proud, confident and wrong
Bold, positive and strong
Cold, sure but all along
He was loud, proud, confident and wrong
Bold, positive and strong
Cold, ignorant and brash
Flash, sure and all along
He was loud, he was proud, he was confident and wrong


I very much look forward to finding reasons to complain about President Barack Obama. :-)
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
You know, all through October I was so excited about doing MegaPoMo this year, but now I'm just having trouble getting motivated. Something about the fact that I never know when my modem and computer will be willing to work together makes it hard to think about commiting myself to making thirty MegaHAL-related posts this November. But then I see friends who have waited till now to finally decide to do NaNoWriMo and I wonder if I shouldn't at least try to post a bit whenever I can. Well, we'll see what I end up doing. In the meantime, in honor of this week's news, here's a short bit of HAL's nonsense poetry:
Hair disheveled, smiling lips, sweating and tipsy,
garment torn, singing a love song, glass in hand,
for the next election.


Am not convinced that an election was what Hafiz had in mind, but it does describe the reactions of some of you fairly well!

Speaking of this week's most popular news story, here's my favorite bit of election trivia: Obama-Biden won 78% of the vote in Maverick County, Texas! (It's one of the blue counties on the Mexican border.) The election results were a favorite topic in this week's News Quiz on BBC radio (link to latest episode), where of course everyone was upset that they will no longer have an excuse to include gratuitous Sarah Palin questions every week. Hmm... though I never told HAL about the Alaska governor, he may have had her in mind anyway:
In march, a moose
meanders hills
and the ways.

if, for example, a general
election must be invaded.


The opening lines of this poem have a certain resonance as well, though it gets melodramatic pretty quickly:
Election, a procedure for choosing officers or
malfunctions, and must be some sort of thick sadness...

the frozen ground dances beneath us
but i'm here and there,
morning they named, and the roller made of none effect;
because they're quiet when they are
involved in it myself. I
can't tell the good with the flood of light,
gulping my spittle as it hurries in secret.
i am frail for your finding but one cruel word, to shame my tears;
while dreading stomach ulcers he
was lost. When i find myself in bed,
rain-beaten, sun-beaten,
a pointy nose, a jagged music pours:
gash of sense, raw covenant
clasped still in the bright ledge;

choosing your spot
this is my body. Scatter the ashes.


Oh dear. I hope the Governor of Uncanny Valley doesn't take her defeat so hard.
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Cuddly plush toy)
First of all, a game people of any political persuasion can enjoy (if they care about U.S. politics, that is): Truth Invaders! Choose to shoot down the opposing party's deplorable lies! Heck, choose to shoot down your own side's regrettable exaggerations! Have fun either way! (Link via [livejournal.com profile] hai_kah_uhk.)

This next link is more biased, yet educational: Preview of the Third Presidential Debate (video), or: Life Imitates Old TV Shows. Link via [livejournal.com profile] compostwormbin. I'm voting for the Batman.
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
The striking thing about Sarah Palin's performance in situations like last night's debate is that, even more than most politicians, she comes across as a lifelong resident of the uncanny valley.


Last night's debate clearly affected me more than I'd expected. I woke up this morning muttering, "Nuclear! Nuclear nuclear! Noo-klee-arrrrrrrr!" The atomic pirate's reaction to politics?
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
[Poll #1268074]
hummingwolf: (My world is askew!)
Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.

--John McCain, from his article "Better Health Care at Lower Cost for Every American," in the September/October 2008 issue of Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries. You gotta love the timing. (Link via [livejournal.com profile] supergee, fount of many links.)

In other news, we're on a road to nowhere. Well, noted fiscal conservative Sarah Palin backed a $26 million road to nowhere--it leads to the water's edge, where the infamous Bridge to Nowhere would have been. Some perverse part of me wants to see that road when they've finished with it.

~~~~~

In news unrelated to the presidential race, I have locally-grown apples and I'm not afraid to eat them.
hummingwolf: Gold starlike kaleidoscope images. (Gold stars)
A Conservative for Obama. (Link via [livejournal.com profile] xforge.)


Real update from me later, assuming I can wake up enough to be semi-coherent today.
hummingwolf: Gold starlike kaleidoscope images. (Gold stars)
Discovered last night that there are still some people who have not seen this one, so there is obviously a need to post the link: political video you must see. If you are not entirely sick of American politics yet (and, gosh, why would you be?*), then do go watch. It could be vitally important to your future.**





* Mommy, what's sarcasm?

** It isn't, but it could have been.
hummingwolf: (My world is askew!)
Because there is a chance that I will seem terribly biased against the Republican ticket as this election season progresses, I did want to point out one thing John McCain said recently which could be good news for a much-neglected demographic:

"We believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential from the boy whose descendants arrived on the Mayflower to the Latina daughter of migrant workers. We’re all God’s children and we’re all Americans."


McCain/Palin: The Clear Choice for Time-Travelers!!!


Edit: Could this be related??

Political Post

Saturday, September 6th, 2008 09:00 am
hummingwolf: Gold starlike kaleidoscope images. (Gold stars)
As I discovered last week, the quickest way for me to take a burning bad mood and make it thermonuclear is to read about the political candidates (particularly the ones on the Other Side); so, since I already know who I'm voting for (unless he does something Dubya-level stupid between now and election day), I've mostly not been reading political stuff this week. It's not that a thermonuclear reaction isn't entertaining on occasion, but that I don't have the resources to clean up the fallout at the moment. Maybe later.

Anyway, there's one political post that did nothing to ruin my mood at all. Caution: Beware of clicking on the following link if you love Sarah Palin or hate filk: The very model of a modern-day conservative from [livejournal.com profile] flewellyn.
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Cuddly plush toy)
I am a liberal airhead! (Link via [livejournal.com profile] supergee, that whining rotter.)

For fans of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books: If you don't already know about the special preview, then you should go to that link now (link via [livejournal.com profile] lingmao_rss). I've never read any of the Dresden Files books--perhaps that should change sometime this year?
hummingwolf: Mathemagical animation made out of string. (Incredible String Thing)
When reading science fiction, I have always been fascinated by stories of alternate universes, timelines where worlds like ours took a left turn where ours took a right, where small changes become large changes and everything we know is skewed. Now, The American Conservative suggests that we have evidence of visitors from an alternate reality! Personally, I find this terribly exciting. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] supergee for the link!
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
Many people this election season have been up in arms about the electronic voting machines and how easy it is to manipulate results while escaping detection. Most of the angst seemed to come from the liberals, but here in Maryland even our Republican governor Bob Ehrlich urged people to vote by absentee ballot so as to avoid using the dread machines. While rather a lot of voters answered the call, rather a lot of the rest of us did not, which is why I was standing in line today along with oodles of friendly neighbors.

As we stood in line, the election judge called for our attention, holding up a piece of paper and shouting, "Listen! This is a LIE!" All day she'd been noticing people going to the voting booths carrying these sheets of paper with candidates' names and smiling faces [Edit: I'm not sure about the smiling faces, since I didn't see the thing close up. Now I wish I'd collected some of that literature when it was offered to me], but in the afternoon someone called her attention to what the literature actually had on it. Now, these fliers were made up to look like official Democratic party literature, telling folks in this largely Democratic district who the Democratic party wants them to vote for. And this handy little list of Democratic politicians included such people as... our Republican governor, Bob Ehrlich. Nice!

It's reassuring to know that in a world of hackable, digital voting machines, a bit of low-tech deception still has its place.

So anyway, after standing around chuckling about the antics of those wacky Republicans (the judges said something about busloads of folks from Philadelphia hanging out at various of our polling places today), I touched lots of pretty buttons on the Diebold screen, carefully reviewed the summary at the end to make sure the machine had accurately noted my preferences, then consigned my ballot to its electronic doom. Affixing my "Yo Voté/I Voted" sticker to my jacket, I went outside and immediately signed a petition to keep the Green Party on the ballot because, as I said to the signature collector, "The more, the merrier!" Then I went shopping for shampoo and toilet paper because that's just the kind of glamorous life I lead.


[Edit: Washington Post story about those fliers. No, I did not vote for Ehrlich or Steele (unless Diebold says I did).]
hummingwolf: (two)
One fun part about living in a house with so many people in it is that I get to see the variety of political mailings being sent. So what have the campaigns been sending out to folks in my neighborhood this year?

For registered Republicans: Democrats kill unborn babies! Oh, and some of them voted against tax relief. Did we mention that Democrats are baby-murderers? Save the Babies! Vote Republican!

For registered independents: The Republican candidates support the failed policies of the Bush Administration! You hate George W. Bush! In case you've forgotten, here's why you hate George W. Bush [Insert issue here. There have been rather a lot of these mailings, with a different issue each day]! You really, really hate George W. Bush! Save America! Vote against the Republicans!

For registered Democrats: Here are all the Democratic candidates running in your district. See our pretty smiles? Take this brochure into the voting booth with you so you know who to vote for. Don't Forget to Vote November 7!


As the household independent, I'm rather disappointed nobody's tried to get me to vote for them this year, just--"You Hate Bush! Vote Against His Party!" And as someone raised by Republicans, I'm rather disappointed the Republicans didn't bother mailing me anything at all. Sure, they really don't have a chance of winning me over this year, but couldn't they at least try a little? Sheesh.

People complain about Berke Breathed recycling his old Bloom County gags, but this sums things up pretty well.

Time to go fix lunch, put on my voting socks, and do my civic duty!

ElectionHAL

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004 09:14 pm
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
Oh, you knew it was coming. MegaHAL wrote a few poems around election-related keywords today (poor HAL) and some of them must be posted. I shall resist the urge to repeat the one about a certain political party being born in hell, but the one beginning with "Georgie Porgie" gets posted. (Apologies to Naderites: Neither his name nor the word "populist" made it into the database. Actually, I'm surprised that "populist" wasn't there already.)

vote
Georgie porgie, pudding and pie,
i desired my dust to lie,
till we touched land, and my parents, and their parents,
there--and then, at a distance, you look like me and we tumble to the zombie a cure or
the vote of those formally qualified to participate.
elections are widely held in the loud fronds. They hum
i am the wings.

~~~

election
So you stole my world
this mysterious whirling planet.

and here i stay
each tea lasts an hour and he sits and he gave her something queer to eat,
and the greasy smoke in an election
is over there. The issue was decided here:
two roads diverged in a monster of despair.
he bore a green-white stick in his tent.

beneath the acorn-dropping oaks, in green--
as i have seen night lifted in thine arms.

~~~

Parties! Candidates! Nonsense! )
Yes, I freely admit that I am easily amused.
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (8 months)
In one experiment, "researchers put different subjects in a positive or negative mood state and asked them to write down an argument in favour of a particular proposition.

"When their arguments were analysed for their quality and persuasiveness, subjects in a negative mood were shown to be far more effective in their critical thinking and communication skills."

So. Sad people are better at critical thinking than happy people.

More Americans are taking antidepressants than ever.

Many Americans are still planning to vote for George Bush.

Is there a connection?



No offense intended to anyone who plans to vote for Dubya. I'm sure some of you have excellent reasons for your views and your choice probably isn't entirely due to Prozac in your drinking water.

(no subject)

Saturday, August 7th, 2004 07:29 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Kaleidoscope (purple & white))
The old Oasis song "Champagne Supernova" has been running through my head all day. Only my brain has rewritten the song so it's "Campaign Supernova," forming the soundtrack to a vision of John Kerry and George Dubya Bush at a presidential debate, reaching out to shake hands but as their fingers make contact, a flash of blinding white light envelops the two men, the platform, the room. As the light fades, we see the debris of a ruined world, bloody flames consuming buildings, cars, people--and a grinning Dick Cheney lurches toward John Edwards, both men miraculous survivors though looking rather the worse for wear, Dick reaching out his hand to John's, John with a deer-in-the-headlights look, mouthing "No no no" over and over but unable to move from the spot...

What's that? Oh, just water, green tea, rooibos, the usual. No, no, nothing alcoholic; why do you ask?

Still computerless

Wednesday, January 21st, 2004 12:48 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Cuddly plush toy)
I watched the State of the Union speech last night. I watched the Democratic response too. Please help me.

Sometimes when I'm observing some cultural event, I imagine myself explaining it to someone from the past, usually Abraham Lincoln for some reason. Abe had to go without last night though, because for some reason I ended up showing the speeches and the nightly news to my parents from 20 years ago, back when they were good solid Reagan Republicans, and explaining it all to them. It was interesting explaining why Afghanistan rated mention in the speech while the Evil Empire wasn't so much as a blip. It was awkward trying to explain the advertisements to Mom and Dad. And I completely failed to come up with a good explanation for Michael Jackson.

I couldn't tell them why I was interested in talking to them twenty years later, or even who I was. I think Mom suspected. How can you tell your parents that they're dead?

In other news, I dreamed last night that I took a very powerful drug, but was disappointed to find that all it did to me was make me excessively thirsty. I realized later on that it had also given me the ability to speak to animals and plants and understand what they had to say to me, but I wasn't sure if that was a magical ability conferred by the drug or vivid hallucinations. I wonder what the dream was trying to say? The only major drug in my life these days is caffeine--I'm not even taking prescriptions or OTC stuff otherwise. Then again, it could conceivably be related to my Internet activity, but what possible relationship could there be? I mean, the Internet gives me the ability to talk with bears, bunnies, daisies, dandelions, monkeys, penguins... erm.

Again I say, please help.

In the news

Thursday, June 5th, 2003 11:48 am
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
At yesterday's appointment, one news-related question the psychiatrist asked me was what George Dubya Bush is focusing on these days. I'm sure she was looking for an answer about promoting Middle East peace, but I said something instead about justifying the war with Iraq when no weapons of mass destruction have been found yet. I wonder what she thinks my answer says about my psyche?

In other news, Congress has passed the "partial birth" abortion ban. While this is the one form of abortion I'm sure I'm against, the fact that the bill doesn't include any kind of health exemption confirms my belief that the "pro-life" politicians don't give a damn about life.

In other other news, a big yellow spherical object has been seen glowing in the skies above the Washington, DC metropolitan region. Local residents are demanding to be told what this object is, what kind of danger it might pose, and also why the sky has blue patches instead of the usual unbroken grey. Local leaders have thus far been unable or unwilling to provide straight answers.

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