www.FamilyEntertainer.com  Joe Gandelman

      The Moderate Voice

A political independent and moderate's irreverent comments,
     analysis and links on important stories in the news.
      Written by veteran journalist
- Joe Gandelman -
    who is now a fulltime ventriloquist.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004  

OUR MOVE IS PERMANENT: As of today you'll go to our revamped blog at Typepad if you type in www.themoderatevoice.com and this blog now becomes home to our early archives of some 1,300 posts. It may also be used for special writing projects.


(1)If you're here, it means you book marked it with the old blogspot address.

(2)If you used a link on another website, please let us know via email which website so we can contact them to have them update their link.

But from now on The Moderate Voice will be at www.themoderatevoice.com (our fowarding address which we have changed as of today). With the exception of special projects, NO NEW POSTS will be put on this site. So come visit us at our new home!

See ya!
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:30 PM

Sunday, May 16, 2004  

WE'VE MOVED THIS BLOG...at least temporarily.

A reminder of our note below: CLICK HERE TO GET TO OUR BLOG since the blog you're now visiting will be in suspended animation for a while (probably a long while) until some technical problems are solved.

All new posts will be done at the NEW address which -- again -- you get to by CLICKING HERE.
Later this week it'll be set up so that by typing our regular address www.themoderatevoice.com it'll take you right to the new address.

Sorry for the inconvenience...but this change will halt the problems that so many readers emailed us about.

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:06 PM


DETOUR: Due to continued technical problems here The Moderate Voice will be experimenting with a new address. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NEW ADDRESS for the preliminary version of our makeshift new blog.

Do continue to type in www.themoderatevoice.com to get to this blog. The fowarding changeover will made made later in the week.

If you have a link on our site, we'll be adding all inks at the new address later -- and expanding our blogroll to add reciprocal links to those who request them (plus a few others of our own).

If you scroll down you'll see that whole parts of previous posts have now appeared in boldface. That coupled with severe loading problems a few weeks ago have brought us a slew of reader complaints and we're going to make this switch at least for a while.

This blog here at Blogspot will remain intact just in case and even if the switch is permanent it'll remain as a archieve plus a spot for special writing projects that are on the drawing board.

But CLICK HERE WHEN YOU VISIT THIS SITE to get to the new address and new postings.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:56 AM

Saturday, May 15, 2004  

NOTE TO READERS: We are having continued problems here at Blogspot. The latest (if you scroll down) is whole sections of old posts showing up in boldface. We have not done any editing on these. Please bare with us on this...it's as unacceptable to us right now as it is to you. Original posts will resume on Sunday...but you may see some in boldface.
We have had serious problems here now for three weeks.

Hopefully this latest problem will be resolved soon. JOE GANDELMAN
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:16 PM

Friday, May 14, 2004  

WHOOPS! WE MADE A BOO-BOO!!! We're still over at Dean's World -- and will be posting over there today (back to normal here on Sunday).

But yesterday we gave you a link to CLICK to see our posts over there...and it lead you back this page! Sorry! This time, we'll give you the RIGHT one. To see what we posted yesterday and today, just click here or if you want to exercise your fingers type in www.deanesmay.com.

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:14 AM

Thursday, May 13, 2004  

HEED OUR ADVICE!!!!!!!!!!!! Here's why you should never put your picture on the Internet...
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:16 PM


I haven't seen it yet but the unspeakably cruel video of the beheading of Nick Berg is being viewed on the Internet by many. Here's one reaction to what is becoming one of the most widely viewed "snuff films" in history.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:07 PM


IS PRESIDENT BUSH'S CAMPAIGN IN SERIOUS TROUBLE? The New York Times and the Washington Post think so. We still think it's too early, although you easily state these facts:

(1)The adminitration isn't getting much good news these days.

(2)The Kerry campaign is uninspiring...But if the news trend continues as it is, unless he badly stubs his toe John Kerry could be a viable option for many voters.

(3)On many issues the administration seems behind one or two beats on properly responding. They've been hurt by delays and denials as much as by revelations.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:51 PM


"AHHNOLD" continues to dominate the California political scene as a force almost bigger-than-life -- as much the "star" of state politics as he was in the movies...and highly convincing in his new role as governor. One of his key tactics is to run rings around the politicosl, essentially planning to governor without them if they don't go along with his plans. Would The Moderate Voice mislead you on this? Nope. Read this...
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:39 PM


(NOTE TO READERS: We have no idea why part of this post has gone into BOLD FACE. It is one of our many problems here at blogspot, notwithstanding the impressive upgraded package. There's no symbol on our editing to show why it's in boldface...but it is NOT intentional and we apologize. Stay tuned for changes here, hopefully later next week....)

HE'S BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK: Democrats will be thrilled, Republicans appalled, and Rush Limbaugh's nonstop references to "Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton" will actually have relevance once again.

President Bill Clinton has delivered his memoirs (all 900 pages of them) and is now showing signs that at 57-years-old he does not intend to vanish from the political scene. In fact, based on his recent behavior it's safe to predict that within a short time his wife Hillary and Democratic presumptive nominee John Kerry will be upset that they're being upstaged by Sean Hannity's favorite reference point.

An article by the Washington correspondent of England's Independent contains some tantilizing tidbits, such as Clinton's decision to open up both verbal barrels against President George Bush:

On Tuesday evening, he ripped into his successor for neglecting the real menace of Osama bin Laden to go after Saddam Hussein, and for gratuitously turning world opinion against America. "We had unanimous support for going into Afghanistan, they [the United Nations] participated in the hunt for Bin Laden and supported giving an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to open his country to weapons inspections," Mr Clinton told a business gathering in New York on Tuesday night. "We were in good shape. What happened?"

What happened was the Bush team's obsession with toppling Saddam, he claimed, regardless of the facts about Iraq's WMD and Baghdad's non-involvement in the 11 September attacks. It was an unprecedented volley. Former presidents largely follow a code that sees them keep quiet about the performance of their successors. But Mr Clinton appears ready to re-enter the fray and his book will give him the platform to do so.

"I've been in writer's jail," he told his audience. "For three months I've been reliving my life - and it was hard enough the first time." But now, the 900-page volume My Life is ready. In barely three weeks, the hoopla will start, at a convention in Chicago. Then comes a worldwide tour to accompany publication in late June.

We can expect to see some of the following:

(1)Democrats love Clinton and he will be out on the hustings. Despite all the conspiracy theories about him and Hillary wanting to sandbag John Kerry's tepid campaign, the former President craves an audience and loves political battle. He'll be out there to help the Kerry campaign.

(2)Republicans will try to link Clinton to Kerry. UPSIDE: There are some independent voters and (that vanishing breed) conservative Democrats who are happy Al Gore didn't win because Bush came down so strong on terrorism. DOWNSIDE: Some voters long for the happier times of the Clinton years...especially the economy. So it'll be a wash if the GOP uses Clinton.

(3)Clinton's book will probably be one of the most successful ex-president memoirs and suck up a lot of summertime media attention that would otherwise go to Kerry.

(4)If Clinton takes an activ e role in going after Bush (either on his own or in a surrogate role) and he is joined in his criticism by former President Jimmy Carter it again could influence on swing voters. Various pollsters and experts note that there are fewer swing voters around but in a close election they will be more vital than ever.

(5)Clinton's real value to the Demmies will be as a talking head. He can get on virtually any news show or news magazine he wants to. Will he use this access to go after the Bush administration aggressively? And what would the Bush administration's response be...and how would that response impact the election?
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:27 PM


NEW POSTS WILL APPEAR LATE TONIGHT due to all day and early evening schedule today in Salinas.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:32 AM


GOOD BY "FRASIER" ("WAHH!" or "THANK GOD!"): Finally someone expresses our view about Kelsey Grammar.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:27 AM


Here's the real buzz, honey.........
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:23 AM

Wednesday, May 12, 2004  

ARE BLOGS GOOD OR BAD? Are blogs a new form that competes with, supplements or undermines journalism? You can get some answers by listening to an NPR show featuring David Adesnik of Oxblog (one of The Moderate Voice's favorite blogs) by clicking here.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:43 PM


THEY SAW THEM: And they were revolted.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:18 PM


SO HOW IS THE LIBERAL TALK SHOW RADIO NETWORK AIR AMERICA DOING? It truly sounds as if they are blowing it, and we aren't referring to the top executive resignations and problems with some radio stations. Their problems are more profound.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:10 PM


ARE ALL ARABS IN THE MIDDLE EAST DANCING IN THE STREETS WITH JOY BECAUSE AN AMERICAN WAS DECAPITATED? Not all: some consider it barbaric. And it's more than one lucid voice.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:56 PM


IN THIS CASE IT WAS THE HUSBAND WHO WAS FRIGID: From Reuters:"A Portuguese woman confessed to murdering her husband and hiding his body in a kitchen freezer for three years, Lusa news agency reported." If she wanted him stiff she could have given him Viagra.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:46 PM


MORE ON NICK BERG'S LONG NIGHTMARE..DOES THIS NEWS STORY REVEAL HE WAS TARGETTED?: More details are coming out about the illfated journey of Nick Berg, who was beheaded by terrorists in a public execution carried via the Internet (and further spread by websites and talk shows).

A story in the Washington Post, among other things, reveals the 26-year-old American who had gone to Iraq to help rebuild the war-torn country was visited by the FBI three times in an Iraqi jail.

And this story seemingly suggests an answer to the question: how did Berg disappear? Was he just plucked off the streets? Read this...and see if it doesn't sound to you as if someone TIPPED OFF THE TERRORISTS about his religion (we have added our own italics):

    In interviews here, two friends who saw Berg after he was released from detention said he told them he had been arrested at a checkpoint in Mosul when Iraqi police examined his U.S. passport and noticed an Israeli stamp. Travel documents indicating an individual has been in Israel have long sparked suspicion in the Middle East; many Arab countries routinely refuse entry to travelers whose passports bear stamps from Israel.

    'He said, 'You want to hear an interesting story? They thought I was a spy because I had a Jewish last name and had an Israeli stamp in my passport,' ' said Hugo Infante, 31, a Chilean freelance journalist. 'He wasn't [upset]. It was like an adventure for him.'

    Aziz Taee, 40, an Iraqi business associate of Berg's who has lived in the Philadelphia area for most of the past 20 years, said Berg 'was in a taxicab after midnight, stopped during a routine check. The police saw in his passport the Israeli stamp.' "

WHAT IT SUGGESTS TO US: Someone in the police tipped off the thugs who picked him up and butchered him. Which means terrorist forces in Iraq maintain strong ties with "moles" in Iraq's security forces. In other words, this tidbit suggests he wasn't just picked up off the street randomly. Like journalist Daniel Pearl who suffered the same exact fate, his religion had much to do with his fate.

FOOTNOTE: After seeing the glee with which they slaughtered this young man, can any sane person suggest that these terrorists would not hesitate for second to explode a nuclear device if they got their blood-stained hands on one? Their goal is a body count.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:08 PM


NOT EXACTLY A COINCIDENCE: Jeff Jarvis notes a fact that seems to get lost in the media coverage: Nick Berg, the young American beheaded on camera by his extremist Muslim terrorist captiors in Iraq, was Jewish...as was journalist Daniel Pearl, also beheaded by his extremist Muslim captors.

Writes Jarvis:"Listenening to NPR and the BBC on the way to work this morning, I heard no mention at all that Berg was Jewish. Is that just bad reporting? It could not be more relevant: Al Qaeda selects American Jews for execution. Let's call Nazis Nazis."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:45 PM


MCCAIN FOR DEFENSE SEC? John Kerry says his first chioce for Secretary of Defense would be Republican Arizona Senator John McCain. Smart move: McCain remains one of the most respected figures in American politics.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:22 AM


IS THE NEOCONSERVATIVES' MOMENT IN HISTORY IS OVER? Columnist, talk show host and former third party candidate Patrick Buchanan thinks so and spells it out in a column titled "Time for Truth."

Granted, Buchanan has consistently opposed this administration's policy, favoring instead more of an America First policy rooted in being pickier about wars and an underlying dispute with U.S. policy towards Israel. But he makes a convincing case that a key moment in history has now ended:

    The neoconservative hour is over. All the blather about "empire," our "unipolar moment," "Pax Americana" and "benevolent global hegemony" will be quietly put on a shelf and forgotten as infantile prattle. America is not going to fight a five- or 10-year war in Iraq. Nor will we be launching any new invasions soon. The retreat of American empire, begun at Fallujah, is underway.

Is Pat jumping the gun? Maybe not.

There's a sense that there's a lot of institutional rethinking going on these days -- that the original assumptions on which recent U.S. policy was formulated may have been seriously flawed. The Moderate Voice personally feels the jury is still out, but Buchanan sees it differently:
    With a $500 billion deficit, we do not have the money for new wars. With an Army of 480,000 stretched thin, we do not have the troops. With April-May costing us a battalion of dead and wounded, we are not going to pay the price. With the squalid photos from Abu Ghraib, we no longer have the moral authority to impose our "values" on Iraq. Bush's "world democratic revolution" is history.

He offers some suggestions, all of which in one way or mean withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq or from "any Arab country that wishes us to leave."
    A presidential election is where the great foreign policy debate should take place over whether to maintain U.S. troops all over the world, or bring them home and let other nations determine their own destiny. Unfortunately, we have two candidates and two parties that agree on our present foreign policy that is conspicuously failing.

Indeed, this is a point that Democratic and Republican partisans refuse to believe...although we cast it in a far different light than Buchanan: there is a basic CONSENSUS between the two parties' leadership on U.S.foreign policy's basic outline and on American goals. To Buchanan, Ralph Nader and Howard Dean supporters that may not be a good thing. But to the majority of Americans it may be.

But all that can change. As we've said here many times, external events more than ever seem in control of U.S. policymakers' -- and the electorate's -- choices.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:06 AM


DID THE IRAQI PRISONER PICTURES CAUSE A BEHEADING? The Centrist Coalition's Rick Heller thinks it's a possibility. And he explains exactly why.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:38 AM


TRYING TO CREATE KARMIC BALANCE BY SPREADING THE GOOD: How do you make sense of the beheading of Nick Berg? While you're sorting that out you can do something to help strenthen the good.

An attempt to make a small contribution to create some balance in the world is underway via a non-partisan, nonideological attempt to raise money for a family with special needs. Some conservative bloggers are spearheading this fundraising drive to raise $10,000 in three days as a specific antidote to inject some good into the world following the unspeakable evil of Berg's death.

The money will go to fund college for children from a special family. Read the details here -- and you'll want to hit the Pay Pal donation button. We all leave little footprints during our lives and this is a chance to leave some nice, big ones...so some young people from a courageous family with hefty challenges ahead can leave their own. Help equalize the see-saw between good and evil -- no matter which party you support.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:25 AM

Tuesday, May 11, 2004  

THE BUTCHERING OF AN AMERICAN: SALINAS,Ca: I heard the news on the radio with a sinking feeling bordering on nausea.

It was the news about Nick Berg being beheaded in Iraq by the latest incarnation of fascists that brave World War II veterans such as my father, Richard, thought they had exterminated a half century ago.

The horror I felt was akin to when I was a kid and first saw King Kong -- the scene where Kong's face appears in the New York hotel window, lustily looking at Fray Wray. But, besides that horror, I felt a bile-spewing sense of utter anger and rage.

On the tail end of a 400 mile drive, as I went north on 101, I still had an unceasing sense of sickness and pain...and for a while I couldn't figure out why.

Then, suddenly, it dawned on me. I knew.

I realized I truly grieved for an idealistic 26-year-old who had to experience such indescribable horror in the last minutes of his all-too-short life; grief for all the young kids for whom I perform who must constantly live under a growing physical threat in a mega-violent world where they'll have to make stark choices for decades in a life-death battle to wipe out murderers wrapping themselves in religion; plus grief as I heard shameless, self-serving posturing from both sides of the U.S. the political spectrum, not missing a solitary beat in their unrelenting attempt to score points to elect "their" man to the White House..

911 was devastating. Daniel Pearl's death was sickening and haunting. Yet, Berg's seems somehow sadder, more shocking and more sickening than Pearl's death because the last few weeks of his life were filled with such frustration, anxiety, horror and pain.

There are lots of news stories about Nick Berg, a supporter of the war who had gone to Iraq to try and do some work for the Iraqis and for his company. In a nutshell: first he was arrested by the Iraqi police. FBI agents told his parents he was in jail. By April 5 his parents filed suit in federal court in Philadelphia, claiming that their son was being held illegally by the U.S. military in Iraq. Clearly, the parents were frantic in trying to get their son out of there and, by all accounts, he wanted to leave by then, too.

And then this strange story gets stranger, according to the Centre Daily News. In a report published before Berg's death it reported:

The next day, April 6, Nick Berg was released. He told his parents he had been riding in a taxi on March 24 when he was arrested by Iraqi officials at a checkpoint in Mosul.He told his parents he had not been mistreated Nick Berg said he would come home through Jordan, Turkey or Kuwait. But by then, hostilities in Iraq had escalated, and Michael Berg said they have not heard from their son since.

The Bergs have hounded the State Department, the FBI and the International Committee of the Red Cross, seeking information. Michael Berg said the State Department sent an official to Nick Berg's hotel, where an employee told the official they had not heard of him. The Bergs hired a private investigator, who talked to an American hotel guest who said he remembered Nick Berg.

Sometimes, they tell themselves their son "is a resourceful fellow who can take care of himself," Michael Berg said."Other times we think perhaps he was dead on April 10," he said. "My worst fear is that I'll never hear anything."

So this 26-year-old with personal ideals and modest business aspirations was released. And just think of the sense of relief he must have felt that he'd soon be going home....

Then he was captured by terrorists.

Those final days and moments must have been hell. Just think about it as you read this:
The video showed five men wearing headscarves and black ski masks, standing over a bound man in an orange jumpsuit similar to a prisoner's uniform who identified himself as Nick Berg, a U.S. contractor whose body was found on a highway overpass in Baghdad on Saturday.

Sitting in a chair, Berg made the following statement: "My name is Nick Berg, my father's name is Michael, my mothef's name is Susan,"” the man said on the video. "I have a brother and sister, David and Sarah. I live in ...Philadelphia."

The video then changes to a scene of masked men, with Berg sitting in front of them.After reading a statement, the masked men were seen pulling the man to his side and putting a large knife to his neck. A scream sounded as the men cut his head off,
shouting "Allahu Akbar" "God is great." They then held the head out before the camera.

Just another death? Not quite:

(1)This 26-year-old man was slaughtered like an animal by people wanting to make a political statement. If they could make one by killing you, me, your infant daughter,
your son, and your grandmother they most certainly would. The death of Pearl, an Italian contractor, now Berg, is clearly part of a pattern. Expect more of them. Possibly LOTS more. It gets them publicity and spreads fear.

(2)Some politicos and commentators on the left immediately suggested it was cause and
effect. Their "WE TOLD YOU SO!" attitude stemmed from their contention that Berg was murdered in retaliation for the way Iraqi prisoners were abused by American prison guards. And that is indeed what Berg's killers said, except it doesn't make sense:

If there had been no guards' scandal they wouldn't have taken him out for a nice dinner and camel ride and released him.

Berg was doomed to be butchered on some pretext the second he was caught.

(3)Some politicos and talk show hosts on the right began inching towards the position that this somehow negates the scandal over how Iraqi prisoners were abused -- and that it shows Iraqi prisoners deserve it. Or suggesting that since American guards didn't cut anyone's head off then what happened to Iraqis prisoners was not that bad and the inquiry should be dropped or buried.

So let's be blunt:

The fascists masking themselves in religious rhetoric gleefully holding up a head sliced off a terrified, screaming young American moments before contrast starkly with the smug jailers in the photos humiliating Iraqi prisoners in one important way.

The terrorists will be cheered by many on the Arab Middle East street and won't face consequences unless governments rub them out. The American guard jailers will be tried, punished -- and likely shunned. And that'll happen because Americans value law and life.

But even with all the political implications I return to one all-encompassing thought: those stressful last weeks of Nick Berg in a foreign land, under arrest, kidnapped, then having his young life ended in such a horrorific way.

We can't forget our values in the Iraqi prisoner scandal; we can't forget our goals in the war against terrorism. And we can't forget Nick Berg.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:06 PM


Now you can walk a mile in John Kerry's shoes (from world famous shoe designer John Hawkins).
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:43 PM


If It's True How Could That Date POSSIBLY Be Of Any Significance?: Josh Marshall writes: "There is chatter in Pakistani intelligence circles that the US has let the Pakistanis know that the optimal time for bagging 'high value' al Qaida suspects in the untamed Afghan-Pakistani border lands is the last ten days of July, 2004."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:08 PM


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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:48 PM


IS JOHN KERRY REALLY DOING MUCH BETTER THAN SOME POLLS INDICATE? That's what Democratic analyst Ruy Teixeira argues here, citing specific data that he says shows Kerry gains overall and on specific issues. He concludes: "Bush is running out of options. And, as Bush is sinking, Kerry is cranking up his campaign. Stay tuned."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:36 PM


MAN BITTEN TO DEATH BY SEXUALLY AROUSED HORSE: Rosie O'Donnell on the rampage? Nay...(The Real Dummy thanks Steven Taylor aka Poliblogger for the tip).
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:27 PM


HEAVY READING: Bill Clinton sent a 900 page memoir to his publisher. And that's just the part where he discuses what "is" is.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:12 PM