Monday Musings: FEA Endorses Crist, Matt Gaetz’s reefer madness, Infrastructure development, Anti-Americanism and Islam in India post election , RPOF (again) obstructs redistricting investigation

gaetzmarijuanaThe Florida Education Association endorsed Charlie Crist for Governor on Saturday. The recommendation was long expected. The state’s teachers’ union has been concerned about the continued assault on public schools under the Scott Administration and the current legislative leadership. However, many activists have questioned the FEA’s endorsement based on Crist’s previous record on issues related to public education and teacher tenure. The union endorsement is arguably the biggest catch yet for Crist though many viewed the announcement as a formality.   – KK  @kkfla737

Rep. Matt Gaetz recently gave away the game when it comes to Florida conservatives and medical marijuana. Last week, Gaetz the Younger intimated to the Northwest Florida Daily News that his “Charlotte’s Web” bill co-sponsored by Rep. Katie Edwards is exactly what many of us thought it was: a weak-tea gambit to undermine real medical marijuana reform. In a sophistic non sequitur, Gaetz told Tom McLaughlin:

 I hope passage of the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act shows people we’ve done the responsible thing and that legalizing euphoric marijuana for functionally recreational purposes would be unnecessary and undesirable.

The 88 percent of Floridians in favor of medical marijuana support more than an extremely narrow program allowing children who suffer from repetitive seizures to take a non-euphoric pharmaceutical drug derived from marijuana, as provided for in the Gaetz-Edwards bill. Although it’s a mitzvah that these children will rightly get medicinal relief for what ails them, the Legislature will almost certain discover in November that Charlotte’s Web is indeed a Gaetzway drug to stronger stuff. -RR @ryanrayryanray

The Republican Party continues its attack on the civil liberties of Florida voters, claiming before an appellate court that reapportionment-related documents properly available to the public are proprietary trade secrets. Though The League of Women Voters of Florida, et al. v. The Florida House of Representatives, et al. and Rene Romo, et al. v. The Florida House of Representatives, et al., Florida Supreme Court cases we’ve written about before, establish a principle of legislative privilege seen in most other states, not even that could shield Florida Republicans’ sordid secrets from becoming public domain. So they’ve stooped to a new legal low: claiming that material related to perhaps their most important constitutional duty — drawing the polities in which we vote, essentially creating communities of interest with the borders they demarcate — is their own personal intellectual property.  

The Legislature, overseen by the state Supreme Court, is accorded the right to draw districts — not Republican consulting firms. Florida voters reaffirmed this in 2010 by passing the Fair Districts amendment. To claim that documents germane to the process are private property is an insult to democracy. Here’s hoping the Terry Lewis’ Second Judicial Court teaches them that crucial civics lesson over the next two weeks. – RR @ryanrayryanray

The porous state of America’s infrastructure is hindering our recovery and if we are going to get serious about building an economy and infrastructure fit for 21st century, the conversation must start with an infrastructure bank, be it at the national level or the state however the latter seems the more probable as Congress seems distracted by Benghazi. There is hope however. Last year, the Us Senate brought up the The BRIDGE Act sponsored by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) and cosponsored by a host of others that would create such an institution. I’ll be looking at this idea in depth in the coming weeks. – JS @JustinSnyderFL

Concerns are abound about the election of Narendra Modi as Indian Prime Minister. Modi previously been denied a Visa to the United States by the Bush Administration for his alleged role in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the state of Gujarat where he was the Chief Minister. The United States has continued to keep Modi on a sort of “blacklist” since. This weekend, President Obama extended an olive branch stating as a head of state, Modi now could travel to the United States.  Modi was elected largely by younger people (similar to Obama in the United States) who are tired of corruption and politics as usual. However, many of these voters seem to have ignored the Prime Minister designee’s alleged history of religious and ethnic bigotry. No question exists that Modi’s adherence to free market principles moved his state forward economically in a nation that was becoming largely stagnant economically due to corruption and bureaucratic control but his rise to power does have historically dubious parallels in twentieth century Europe. The hope is that Modi who claims he had no anti-Muslim bigotry is telling the truth even though the record and even some of his previous public statements tell otherwise. But this weekend younger Indian voters and many in the Indian press attacked the United States for its alleged bigotry for denying Modi a Visa. This to me is an ominous sign about India’s near future. As for us, the United States was fighting two wars in Muslim countries at the time  when Modi’s Visa application was denied with troops on the ground in highly dangerous situations. The Bush Administration did the right and just thing but some in India seem to feel hate speech and hate crimes are less serious than we do here in the west. – KK  @kkfla737

This article from Harvard Economist Umairh Haque is the most provocative thing I’ve read in a while: is there such thing as too rich? Via Harvard Business Review

Imagine a bountiful forest. And then — no one can say quite why — a small handful of the trees suddenly grow tall. Much taller. They became so tall and strong and broad that they block the sunlight from all the other trees. The other trees begin to wilt, and wither, and disappear. Their roots crack, and split, and turn to dust. And one day, not long after, even the roots of the tallest trees can find no water, can grip no soil. They begin to fall. Soon the whole forest becomes a desert… When societies allow the rich to grow into the super-rich, they are limiting what those societies can achieve.” – @umairh

  – –JS @JustinSnyderFL

44 comments

  1. Reepak · ·

    The characterizations of Modi and India here are 100% biased. How is pointing out the double-standard of the United States who kills Muslims freely on one hand and then denies a visa to someone who allegedly but did not really do the same anti-American? How was the visa rejection justified?

    Also your reference to Europe in the twentieth century is completely over the top.

    In some quarters anyone who defies the US is considered a threat to global peace. This blog here has already begun that narrative.

    Such a pity, you carry an important family name. Too bad you’ve become just another Yankee cowboy. For the record your grandfather is thought to have supported Modi.

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    1. This is b/s with all due to respect. India is sunk without positive engagement with the US. The anti-colonial mindset of some Indians has held the country back. We don’t need a positive relationship with India, the way India needs us.

      Also to say we never think beyond our own welfare may have come straight from Soviet and Maoist textbooks.

      We were the ones who SACRIFICED to liberate the world from fascism. When Britain fought alone, we armed them. When the Soviets were attacked we helped them. When we were attacked by Japan, we agreed that Germany had to be defeated first.

      George W. Bush is far from my favorite American, but we were trying to mend fences in the Muslim world. We were at war ill-advisedly in Iraq and had been attacked and went into Afghanistan may I remind you with the strongest possible backing by India’s then BJP Government who had been funding Karzai and the Northern Alliance prior to 9/11. So we were allies at the time in that war. Bin Laden and his allies were responsible for the hijacking of the IC flight in 1999 and then the Parliament bombing.

      When Modi wanted to come to the USA we had lots of troops stationed on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Allowing an anti-Muslim hate monger into the country would have threatened the lives of our troops. If that is considered selfish, I’ll take selfish.

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      1. Reepak · ·

        please spare merge land of the free home of the brave bullshit.

        Like me you are Indian-American. Unlike me you put the propaganda of America far beyond the welfare of your mother country. I noticed that with your handling of the diplomatic situation last year when the US was totally in the wrong yet you started attacking Indian society claiming it was full of sexism and racism. India cannot be racist based on our own experiences. Gandhi led the fight against racism. This was at a time when United States was still heavily segregated.

        You claim to be a student of history yet you certainly skew things that suit your biases.

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      2. We haven’t had racially inspired violence in the US (outside the south)like India continues to have since right after WWI. That’s a hundred years.

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      3. How was India not in the wrong? The diplomat violated US labor laws and then tried to claim diplomatic immunity to violate our laws. All we did was enforce our laws when the exploited maid complained.

        India’s reaction and the anti-Americanism it ushered in was very telling about how upper class and politically connected Indians feel about working people. It was a shameful episode for India and very revealing to me as someone who thought Indian attitudes had progressed into the 21st century.

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      4. Gandhi would be rolling over in his grave if he knew what had happened in his home state of Gujarat. He was a peace lover and wanted harmony between the races and religions. I need not remind you a Hindu fundamentalist belonging to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh the direct forerunner of the BJP was the assassin.

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    2. Kill Muslims freely? Show me some proof of that.

      Here in the United States we have laws against hate crimes. I can attest from my trips to India, anyone can make any statement about any ethnicity and get away with it. Men can also rape women and get away it in that country. That’s part of Hinduveta I suppose.

      Religious fundamentalism of any accord is dangerous.

      As for my Grandfather I don’t know if he was for Modi. He shared my frustrations about Congress, and corruption. But as a believer in secular India, I have no idea where he stood.

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  2. Indian Guy · ·

    I hope that the next Government under the Hon’ble Narendra Modi refuses to engages with the USA as a strategic partner. I wish to see the USA desperate to see PM Modi asking for visa to US to promote bilateral economic relations. USA never thinks beyond its own welfare and selfish pursuit.

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    1. This is b/s with all due to respect. India is sunk without positive engagement with the US. The anti-colonial mindset of some Indians has held the country back. We don’t need a positive relationship with India, the way India needs us.

      Also to say we never think beyond our own welfare may have come straight from Soviet and Maoist textbooks.

      We were the ones who SACRIFICED to liberate the world from fascism. When Britain fought alone, we armed them. When the Soviets were attacked we helped them. When we were attacked by Japan, we agreed that Germany had to be defeated first.

      George W. Bush is far from my favorite American, but we were trying to mend fences in the Muslim world. We were at war ill-advisedly in Iraq and had been attacked and went into Afghanistan may I remind you with the strongest possible backing by India’s then BJP Government who had been funding Karzai and the Northern Alliance prior to 9/11. So we were allies at the time in that war. Bin Laden and his allies were responsible for the hijacking of the IC flight in 1999 and then the Parliament bombing.

      When Modi wanted to come to the USA we had lots of troops stationed on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Allowing an anti-Muslim hate monger into the country would have threatened the lives of our troops. If that is considered selfish, I’ll take selfish.

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  3. Campaign Consulting 101 · ·

    Ryan you do realize the Democrats are knee-deep in the redistricting mess as well? I firmly believe documents to be released will show that the Democrats including Senate Leader Nan Rich who now is running for Governor, House Leader Ron Saunders and the FDP Chair Rod Smith were only too happy to try and make a deal.

    Be careful what you wish for.

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    1. It’s in the public interest for all the above and more to come out — we hope it does.

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    2. Dems in 14 · ·

      The allegations of a proposed deal were utter b/s spread by the RPOF to try and spread blame and guilt for violating the law.

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  4. A Democrat in the Wilderness · ·

    Crist’s endorsement by the FEA speaks of the absolute desperation and moral bankruptcy of that organization. As a south Florida Democrat I have no respect for the organization. They sold out Kendrick Meek and now sold out any principle.

    The next time they lobby legislators on vouchers or pay raises or tenure the legislator should just point to Crist’s endorsement as proof of their duplicity. The next time they threaten a primary against a sitting member the sitting member should ask if being a Republican with a decade or more of supporting vouchers means they’d be backed instead!

    The Teacher Tenure link you put up is very useful. I hope people realize where Crist was before he was getting smoked by Rubio in a primary.

    I have followed the Indian Election on CNN. I believe Modi is bloody racist. The U.S. and U.K. are playing dumb by suddenly letting this ethnic rights violator get away with murder and take office. Ultra-nationalist India are doing a disservice to the world. Could this be a Nazi Germany redux? I fear it will be. Much like Hitler his ascension to power is legal and the west is trying to make amends.

    As a Jew I weep for the Muslims in India today. I hope they don’t suffer the same fate we did.

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    1. Dems in 14 · ·

      Nan Rich’s candidacy is killing the party. Those who support her are forcing the party to be neutral when the FDP should be out there promoting Crist like FEA will now.

      Those continuing this futility of Nan Rich don’t realize the damage they are doing to our chances. Her selfishness and those of some of her supporters will be responsible for a Scott win.

      One must wonder if they are being paid by the republicans.

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      1. One must wonder if they are being paid by the republicans.

        This is a completely baseless allegation and quite frankly I am tired of seeing it.

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  5. Cheryl · ·

    The FEA has maintained its influence in the legislature by doing pragmatic things like this.

    Any time when other left-leaning groups have zero influence with the legislature have no influence on the political process the teachers union has continued to be a major force.

    The trial lawyers in fact our much more marginal than they were a decade or two ago. Morgan is an independent power but as an entity the attorneys are less powerful or relevant than ever.

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    1. Well said, though we hope that over the next few cycles a wide range of left-leaning groups are influential in the legislature.

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    2. Susan Smith · ·

      “Pragmatism” to one is “Sell Out” to another. If you want to know why more people are registering NPA, this is it.

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  6. Redistricting is a mess. I have no doubt the Ds tried to cut a deal. But which Ds? I bet it was the legislators and not the FDP itself.

    The FDP was lawyered up and ready to go.

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  7. Get Real! · ·

    FEA like any other special interest group is just trying to protect their access.

    I agree that this endorsement could be used in the future by a Democrat who wants to vote for teacher tenure of former vouchers to but the line and say you really don’t care about those issues.

    But I think it is fairly obvious CC flipped these issues. He must be totally against vouchers to have gotten the endorsement.

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  8. Fla Dem · ·

    Did the FEA have a questionnaire or examine prior statements or voting records like this site has prior to making the call for Crist?

    Just wondering… If they had I assume he must have really sweet talked them to get the endorsement.

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    1. Susan Smith · ·

      Apparently not.

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  9. Florida Desi · ·

    The India relationship is the strategically important relation for USA Kartik unlike what u claim. However writing is clear on the wall that it will be difficult for west and USA to have cordial relationship with a leader with tainted past and his association with fascist organisations of Sangh Parivar. It is ominious as you claim. Fascist Hitler like past Modi has.

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    1. Sure it is strategic but India isn’t the center of the universe as some arrogant Indians like to claim these days. We remain the leading global nation, the guardian of human rights and democracy around the world. Sure some of that has been undermined thanks to Bush but we remain a nation of laws and decency whereas India alternates from being a great hope for the world to being run by an angry mob prone to manipulation and corruption.

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  10. Realist · ·

    FEA has sold out its values.

    Plain and simple.

    So Nan Rich isn’t going to win.

    Still long-term loyalty and credibility mean more than anything else.

    The FEA lost that by making this decision before the primary.

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  11. Go Charlie Go! · ·

    The FEA wants to win. Shouldn’t we all?

    Why some democrats insist in engaging in the futility of fighting old battles again and again beyond comprehension.

    Nan Rich is a dud. A tired defeated marginal candidate who had no business running for governor. Her quirky candidacy would have been ended a year ago if not for the screaming of Susan Smith the not so subtle advocacy of this website and “writer,” the nonsensical endorsement of fringe left groups that are largely ineffective, the over bearing offensive aggressiveness of the leading conservative freshman democrat Katie Edwards and the republican funded progressive choice being run by a woman in Washington DC with no history of Florida ties.

    When the votes are counted and Rick Scott is reelected we have the above perpetrators to blame.

    I hope kartik and his friends enjoy four more years of Rick Scott.

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    1. So you advocate gagging dissent and critical analysis and not actually having an open debate about the future of the party?

      Also the fact you named five different people/entities you suspect of backing Senator Rich means her candidacy is not as marginal as you claim. Sure Crist is the presumptive nominee but to peg everyone as Republican stooges is really disingenuous and getting tiring/old.

      You are also a coward lobbing bombs without using your real name.

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    2. Go Charlie Go! · ·

      So you are fine with being a republican stooge and forcing Scott back on us?

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      1. I still fail to understand this logic. If someone could actually walk me through how a primary hurts Crist please explain it. The field was cleared for Alex Sink and it did not help at all. Right now we see Governor Crist as I wrote the other night not as confident or self-assured as he has been in the past.

        Today, we have a situation where our presumptive nominee needs some real fine tuning and seasoning. A primary and having to win over activists and those with doubts only helps him come the fall.

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  12. Go Charlie Go! · ·

    Hey Indians don’t bother fighting with Kartik!

    As someone who has known him for 15 years his views on foreign policy are simple – The US and NATO are always right, Russia is always wrong and Indians/Chinese are envious of the west.

    He’s living in the freaking 1980s still. Leftist on economics opposing tax cuts and obsessive on the environment while hoping the US builds an empire which will allow the country to naturalize soccer players to win the World Cup and have enough defense contracts to see Delta Airlines Boeing built planes at every remote outpost on the third world. He wants to make sure everyone is using Dell computers and speaking English also!

    This is his vision. His world view. No need to argue because the US is always right and has a divine right to rule.

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    1. You are a coward. If you know me so well, why don’t you use your real name. These are NOT necessarily my views. I STRONGLY opposed the Iraq War. I may have said Chinese were envious of the west 15 years ago but do not believe that anymore. Also I have NEVER advocated empire, simply the US as a force for good and the spreading of liberal values abroad.

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    2. Go Charlie Go! · ·

      Right intervene all over the globe to promote “liberal” ideals and they’ll throw flowers at us as liberators.

      You’ve watched one too many Hollywood movie about World War II.

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      1. No intervene where human rights are being abused and American interests are at stake.

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  13. As a political party we have a real problem.

    We are consistently so desperate to get through the next election we are never talking or thinking about the long-term consequences of our actions.

    I firmly believe Charlie Crist will be our nominee and do not think Nan Rich is a very good candidate. I am neutral in this primary and have not decided who to vote for.

    My greatest concern is the long-term disaster that awaits us if Crist loses. We have taken a party switcher whose sole ideology is getting elected and essentially retooled the entire party around him.

    As this blog continues to point out regularly we have the worst record of any major political party in this part of the country. So in our desperation we have done something incredibly desperate and now the party apparatus has made it clear that any opposition to this desperate measure means you’re not a good Democrat.

    To me this is a disaster waiting to happen. The gamble may pay off and Crist gets elected but there is a 50% chance the gamble will fail badly and Crist will lose of the Democratic Party will be an even worse shape than it currently is.

    Considering we are in a permanent minority status at the state level we should be looking at ways to rebuild this party systematically over the course of the next 4 to 6 years. Instead once again the party has to always eggs into one basket and it is a deeply flawed basket.

    I hope Crist wins in the fall. But be warned that if he does not we are going to be in the worst possible shape of any major political party in a swing state is this country in a long long time.

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    1. Susan Smith · ·

      Excellent analysis.

      Like

  14. Grumpy old man · ·

    Everything KK has said about Modi and India = truth.

    He got denied a us visa because he’s a fascist. Simple and plain.

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  15. The next time the FEA And local teachers unions get all fired up about €10 or vouchers the obvious comeback will be this endorsement.

    So while short-term it may look okay because Crist will be nominated long-term he could lose the general election and they would’ve shot their credibility from here on out

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  16. Get a clue · ·

    This whole debate is so stupid.

    Anyone who really believes the Don Quixote Nan Rich candidacy is helping the Democrats is a fool.

    You can throw up theories about how primaries help candidates but we have a candidate that his one statewide on populist and progressive ideals before.

    This website has consistently misrepresented Charlie Crist’s record. That is the reality. He was always a liberal Republican and has not changed that much. The Republican Party moved away from him but he is ideologically pure. He is a progressive populist.

    The Nan Rich candidacy is giving the Republicans an opportunity to beat up on Crist while forcing the party to remain neutral and forcing Charlie to spend money in the primary. You are naive if you do not believe the Republicans are pumping money into pro rich efforts. You are totally naive or perhaps simply lying if you do not believe those backing Rich aggressively have not made some sort of deal with the Republicans.

    I would not be surprised if this website itself is being funded by the GOP. We have seen signs in recent times that this site may be more Democratic than it was previously as it has been fair to the governor Crist. However this website continues to attack the Florida Democratic Party on an almost daily basis and has refused to talk about how marginal the Rich candidacy is and how she is a Republican tool.

    Her candidacy is not in the margins it is outside the margins. It is to be perfectly blunt an effort undertaken by Republicans to damage and infiltrate the nominating process we have in our party.

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    1. I can assure you we have never taken a penny from GOP interests.

      Were you around when Crist was Governor, AG, Ed Commissioner or in the Florida Senate?

      I was. I know his record. I don’t mind him and admit he is the only Republican I have ever cast a vote for statewide office in one of his previous runs.

      You are the one completely misrepresenting the Crist record.

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  17. Ronald · ·

    I want to win really badly also.

    Maybe we could get Jeb Bush to switch and to run as a Democrat next time? Create a whole Bush-Crist caucus in the FDP?

    The Democrats are WORTHLESS in this state. A desperate bunch of LOSERS.

    Sorry someone had to say it.

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  18. Modi's Won · ·

    Oh Kartik love you to death but don’t deny reality regarding the Indian Election and your family.

    How do you react to this editorial from your grandfather?

    http://www.narendramodi.in/justice-krishna-iyer-praises-shri-narendra-modi-welcomes-his-appointment-as-pm-candidate/

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    1. Reepak · ·

      Kartik? Your thoughts?

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      1. I think the corruption of Congress got to my grandfather who believes in honest public servants.

        As for Modi we will see if he governs differently than his prior hard edged rhetoric.

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  19. Pink Slip Rick???

    Whatever happened to them!

    Maybe when they realized Charlie was going to be our guy they all left the state! I would if I were them!!!!!

    Like

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