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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

Why Do Republicans Love Lawsuits?
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2004 4:47pm PT  

The GOP is making legal threats against Rock The Vote for their "Draft Your Friends" campaign to help register young voters. AMERICABlog has the scoop and the evidence. Once again, it's the rich fat cats who claim to oppose all those "frivilous lawsuits" who again, are resorting to such tacticts when it suits their purpose.

Is Rock The Vote using scare tactics to sign up young voters? Perhaps. Are those scare tactics worse than the scare tactics Bush/Cheney has been using regularly? Certainly not. Is there good reason to make certain that young voters understand the possibility of a Draft in their future before voting in this election? Definitely.

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In our Personal Story Segment Tonight...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2004 4:23pm PT  

Following up my previous article on this as promised, I've now finished reading both O'Reilly's pre-emptive complaint against Andrea Mackris, and her sexual harassment complaint against him. (Be forewarned, that sexual harassment complaint is very explicit and detailed!)

Of course, everyone deserves their day in court, but as I pointed out in my previous item on this, that is not a courtesy that either Fox or O'Reilly have gone out of their way to give to other public figures, though they are clearly tougher on folks who are not "Fox Friendly" than they have been on, say, Rush Limbaugh's legal woes.

When I heard O'Reilly's statement this morning on his radio show (mirroring closely his website's "Talking Points" for tonight's show and Fox's Press Release on the matter) describing the matter as "extortion" which required him, therefore, to file a pre-emptive complaint, I figured there had to be a lot more to this particular story.

There is. And this is going to get ugly. You've been warned.

Now I'm not an attorney, but unfortunately, I've had first hand experience about what bad folks do when they've done wrong, realize their actions have put them in legal jeopardy, and they are either unwilling or unable to extricate themselves from the matter via good-faith settlement, negotiation or admitting of wrong doing. They try to make the first strike with a pre-emptive lawsuit and put their accuser on the defensive. From what I can tell from the two now-filed complaints in this matter, that seems to be what O'Reilly (with the powerful Fox legal juggernaut at his disposal and hoping to protect the prized jewel in their crown) is attempting to do.

Based on O'Reilly's own complaint, and the detailed quotations from Markis' complaint, there's good reason to believe that tape recordings exist in this matter! From O'Reilly's complaint...

The draft complaint contained several lengthy block quotes of statements that O'Reilly allegedly made to Mackris. The length of the quotes and the specific verbiage used made it appear that Mackris was taping O'Reilly during the conversations.

Of course, O'Reilly would have been able to denounce those quotes as false or made-up if he knew them to be inaccurate. He does not do so in his complaint. Instead, he relies on painting his accuser as an extortionist, claims that "there were no physical or sexual assaults or other unwanted touchings" and then spends the bulk of the complaint attempting to dismiss her claims since, he charges, she did not follow Fox's own Sexual Harassment Policies which require that a manager be notified of any such incidents.

The fact that tapes may exist here, could be fatal to what will likely turn into an attempt to crush the woman's character (see my previous post on this).

That is not a good thing for O'Reilly who, according to the accuser's complaint, is described in rather graphic details as having what amounts to a near-obsession with vibrators, masturbation and phone sex in a large number of conversations over several months and years. Verbatim "monologues", allegedly spoken by O'Reilly over the phone to Mackris are transcribed in the complaint, as well as continual suggestions that she purchase a vibrator and participate in phone-sex sessions with him.

Without audio tapes --- if, in fact they exist --- and what appears to be a few third-party witnesses to some of this, though they are friends of Mackris' and thus could be seen as less than impartial, this thing could well be another classic "He Said/She Said" thing. Were that the case, I'd think O'Reilly and Fox would not have opened themselves up so broadly by filing a pre-emptive complaint against the woman, relying instead on their own advantage of controlling both the airwaves and the media reaction to this story.

At least one other tidbit gives me reason to believe there's more to this than the "extortion" picture O'Reilly and Fox are hoping to paint. Mackris reportedly was working for O'Reilly, on both his Radio and TV shows, at a salary of $93,200 a year in a position that she was quoted as describing to be everything she had trained for during her years in college. By all accounts, she was thrilled to hold the job. So why would she risk all of that when, according to both complaints, she was neither fired or threatened with same by O'Reilly? It would be quite a gamble if she knew there was no truth to her allegations and she was simply seeking a large "extortion" payoff.

Lastly (for now), in addition to the specific quotes from my earlier piece, I'll leave you to ponder this rather detailed (non-sexual, sorry) account of O'Reilly's alleged claims about what would happen if any of this kind of behavior ever got out:

On or about April 13, 2004, during dinner at Milos, Plaintiff ANDREA MACKRIS again told Defendant BILL O'REILLY that she would return to work on "The O'Reilly Factor" only if he no longer engaged in inappropriate conduct. Defendant agreed: "Of course, because then you'd be working for me and I'd have power over you, so that couldn't happen, that wouldn't be fair." When Plaintiff reminded Defendant that he had done the same thing to other women who worked on "The O'Reilly Factor," and that he should be careful or they might tell someone, O'REILLY vehemently threatened with words to the effect:
If any woman ever breathed a word I'll make her pay so dearly that she'll wish she'd never been born. I'll rake her through the mud, bring up things in her life and make her so miserable that she'll be destroyed. And besides, she wouldn't be able to afford the lawyers I can or endure it financially as long as I can. And nobody would believe her, it'd be her word against mine and who are they going to believe? Me or some unstable woman making outrageous accusations. They'd see her as some psycho, someone unstable. Besides, I'd never make the mistake of picking unstable crazy girls like that.

See my previous piece for more on that conversation. And remember, O'Reilly's own complaint admits that the woman may have tape recordings, they don't seem to deny the allegations at all, but rather go out of their way to say that there was no "physical" harrassment, and that Mackris didn't follow Fox's in-house Harassment Policy. So, look out for what's likely to come out of this one.

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By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2004 3:09pm PT  

Contacting the advertisers makes a difference. The advertisers are paying attention. Once again, here is the link to a database of Sinclair advertisers, with information on how you can contact them to let them know your displeasure with their partisan use of your public airwaves.

Since I saw my insurance company, State Farm, listed in the database, I shot off a letter last night to politely let them know I was displeased with them doing business with Sinclair under these circumstances and would consider taking my business elsewhere if they continued to do so. Here's what they wrote back today:

Thank you for contacting State Farm regarding our television advertising.
State Farm purchases national advertising time with the major television networks.

Many local stations, including Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation's television stations, are affiliates of the networks and carry network programming. State Farm does not buy national advertising from Sinclair.

As a company, we take great care to be sensitive to programming that some people may find offensive. We monitor programming content rigorously. State Farm is non-partisan and does not endorse any candidate or political party. Reflecting these practices, State Farm does not, nor do we plan to, place national advertising on programs which are partisan in nature such as "Stolen Honor."

We value customer opinions and treat these matters with the utmost importance. Once again, thank you for contacting State Farm to share your opinion.

That's good news! Buy State Farm insurance! And keep up the good work! Sinclair's stock prices seem to be plummeting around all of this (see chart at top-right), which is also good news! You may want to check in with your Mutual Funds as well --- here's a list of the major funds invested in Sinclair --- to see if they may be invested in Sinclair (SBGI) and sell 'em off if so! The epicenter for the Sinclair Boycott is at this blog. Keep an eye on it.

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A Fair and Balanced Look at Sexual Harassment charges against Bill O'Reilly
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2004 2:17pm PT  

Hubris is a funny, yet often predictable, thing. Last February on this blog, I asked:

Any idea what the coming Fall of O'Reilly will be? Live boy? Dead girl? Married to his own mother?

Well, it looks like I was wrong. His downfall is a Live Girl. Looks like there may be several of them at that. I was close anyway.

Though I know that these charges have not yet had their day in court, that never stopped Fox News from covering similarly unsubstantiated charges against their political enemies like Bill Clinton or CBS or others (Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson etc.) so I see no reason why turnabout isn't fairplay.

To that end, I've been reviewing O'Reilly's pre-emptive complaint filed this morning, and his accusers complaint also filed today. I will be updating you shortly after I've finished reviewing the materials, but for the moment, I'd say things don't look too good for Mr. No Spin. I'll explain why in an follow-up shortly after I've finished my review.

For the moment though, O'Reilly has the upper hand with three hours of national TV and Radio per day on which to make he's case, and he already began to do so at the beginning of his radio show this morning. As well, he has the enormous resources of the Fox News and Newscorp legal team and their friends in the powerful body politic that will undoubtedly use every resource to defend him as long as possible.

To that end, consider this passage from the Plaintiff's complaint which quotes O'Reilly at a dinner meeting:

"If you cross FOX NEWS CHANNEL, it's not just me, it's [FOX President] Roger Ailes who will go after you. I'm the street guy out front making loud noises about the issues, but Ailes operates behind the scenes, strategizes and makes things happen so that one day BAM! The person gets what's coming to them but never sees it coming. Look at Al Franken, one day he's going to get a knock on his door and life as he's known it will change forever. That day will happen, trust me."

During the course of this conversation, Defendant BILL O'REILLY bizarrely rambled further about Al Franken: "Ailes knows very powerful people and this goes all the way to the top." Plaintiff queried: "To the top of what?" Defendant responded: "Top of the country. Just look at who's on the cover of his book [Bush and Cheney], they're watching him and will be for years. [Al Franken's] finished, and he's going to be sorry he ever took FOX NEWS CHANNEL on."

For those just jumping in, further info on Roger Ailes is here. There is reason to believe the quotes above may have been tape recorded, and thus, available soon. More on that later.

In the meantime, as you see above, O'Reilly, Fox and Friends will have a huge PR and Power advantage in this case. I, however, will be looking out for you. Stay tuned as we help you decipher from the facts from the spin.

DEVELOPING...

Related BRAD BLOG Updates on this story:
10/13/04: "Bad Vibrations for Bill O'Reilly"
10/14/04: "O'Reilly - In Our Unresolved Problem Segment..."
10/19/04: "O'Reilly - In the Personal Story Segment Tonight..."
10/20/04: "O'Reilly's Case Gets Weaker: Mackris files additional charges."

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Wednesday Night in Tempe!
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2004 10:41pm PT  

Come on by tomorrow evening to toss in your play-by-play, snarky comments, or revealing insights as the final Presidential Debate unfolds in real time from Tempe!

We'll have an Open Thread as we've done for the previous debates, and hope you'll come by and join us! From the Right? From the Left? We don't care! Just glad to get your on-the-fly thoughts!

Debate starts at 9pm ET (6pm PT for us Left Coasters) and I'll try to open up the thread about a half hour or so before showtime!

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Wednesday Night in Tempe!
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2004 10:38pm PT  

Come on by tomorrow evening to toss in your play-by-play, snarky comments, or revealing insights as the final Presidential Debate unfolds in real time from Tempe!

We'll have an Open Thread as we've done for the previous debates, and hope you'll come by and join us! From the Right? From the Left? We don't care! Just glad to get your on-the-fly thoughts!

Debate starts at 9pm ET (6pm PT for us Left Coasters) and I'll try to open up the thread about a half hour or so before showtime!

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The Right Repeats the Lie
...And so it goes.
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2004 6:08pm PT  

Matt Drudge, the Internet's top Smear Queen and disseminator of horseshit has been at it again all day. A testament, perhaps, to how much trouble they must feel like Bush is now in.

At the very top of the page, and with no attribution or link to follow up, Drudge has been screaming this all day with the mocking headline "BE HEALED":

Edwards Stem Cell Vision: 'We will stop juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other debilitating diseases... When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.' Edwards made the unprecedented campaign promises during 30-minute speech at Newton High School gym in Newton, Iowa...

I do not have access to Lexis/Nexis, which has a more complete archive of news articles, so I welcome anyone who does to look deeper into this, but so far, the only account I've been able to find on the net quotes Edwards very differently!

In "Central Iowa's Daily Newspaper" the Times/Republican Edwards is quoted saying this instead:

"We will do stem cell research," he vowed. "We will stop juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other debilitating diseases. America just lost a great champion for this cause in Christopher Reeve. People like Chris Reeve will get out of their wheelchairs and walk again with stem cell research."

Now that quote is quite a bit different than the one Drudge uses, again, without any attribution whatsoever.

Of course, Rush and the Rightwing Bloggers have had their panties in a bunch all day repeating Drudge's version of the quote to millions of Americans. Haven't watched Hannity & Colmes yet tonight or listened to Hannity's radio program today, but anybody wanna bet our friend Hannity feels free to repeat the bullshit as many times as possible today?

Bush/Cheney '04: If you can't win honestly, just make shit up.

UPDATE: CNN has given credence to Drudge by repeating his version of the quote in a story headlined "Frist knocks Edwards over stem cell comment". Did CNN indepently verify the quote before they asked Frist about it? Or are they continuing their lazy track record of simply accepting whatever Drudge tells them?

UPDATE: As predicted, Hannity played the clip from Edwards' speech on Hannity & Colmes, and though it seems a bit closer to Drudge's quote, it was very tightly edited. Jumping in mid-sentence at both the front and back of Edwards' sentence. Hannity's quote:

{ABRUPT EDIT} ...the work that we will do, when John Kerry is President. People like Christopher Reeve are gonna get outta that wheelchair and walk again... {ABRUPT EDIT}

Still seeking a more complete, unedited, version of the speech. I've contacted Tom Owens, the reporter who wrote the Times/Republican piece to see if I can get further info. Will let you know what I hear back.

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Inaugural Presentation!
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2004 2:17pm PT  

Credit where credit is due. There's a reason why Sean Hannity makes the big bucks.

Thus, the BRAD BLOG is proud to announce and award today our inaugural "Sean Hannity Excellence in Spin" Award!

This distinguished award recognizes not only Excellence in Spin, but all of the qualities that such an ignominious distinction also embodies! Including but not limited to:

· Party Loyalty Before Country.
· Adherence to Talking Points under Extreme Duress.
· Complete Disregard for Truth in Political Discourse.
· Discarding of all Personal Credibility, Morals, Ethics and Standards in favor of The Cause.
· And last but not least, Disingenuousness Above and Beyond the Call of Duty!

...all compressed into the most economical, direct and straight-forward presentation for public consumption.

The namesake and inaugural winner of this distinguished honor, of course, goes to Fox News Channel and ABC Radio Network's Sean Hannity for the following hardball question/statement as "asked" --- in a single breath --- of a Bush Campaign Consultant on last night's Hannity & Colmes: (emphasis added to give recognition to purposeful distortions, talking point bullseyes and out and out lies in a single/statement question!)

"This is becoming a dangerous trend. Um, I think when you look at John Kerry's record over the last 25 years; The fact he wanted the nuclear freeze, now he wants to fight a sensitive war, then he wants to get rid of this "nuisance" as he says. Now explains why he voted against most major weapons systems. It now explains why he wanted to get rid of intelligence, cause he doesn't understand the nature of the threat. Somebody needs to say this: John Kerry is not fit to be the Commander-in-Chief of this country, at this time. Is the President gonna say that?" --- Sean Hannity, Hannity & Colmes, 10/11/04

Wow! Smartly done, Mr. Hannity! This award is named after you for a reason! Congratulations!

How does he do it? It's easy! With no true core beliefs, a complete absence of personal ethics and no moral core, you too could be our next "Sean Hannity Excellence in Spin" Award Winner! Get to work, Bill O'Reilly! You're losing ground!

(By the way, still looking for a nickname for this Award and open to suggestions! "The Shawnee"? "The Spinny"? "The Dizzy"? "The Frisby"? "The Kooly"? "The Smarmy"? "The Slimy"? Send us your suggestions!)

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By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2004 12:10pm PT  


Don't be afraid.
Just click it.
Then be afraid.

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More from the 'American Shame' File.
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2004 11:57pm PT  

I don't even know what to write about this one.

Read it yourself, and perhaps you can answer the question that AMERICABlog aptly asked about it..."Who are we anymore?"

I have no idea how to answer that question at this point. This isn't my America.

But as an American greater than I (Howard Dean) used to say..."You have the power! You have the power! You have the power!..."

Take it back November 2nd. Your conscience --- and grandchildren --- will thank you.

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Worth the mouth they come from.
Another sordid chapter from the 'Anything to Win' File...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2004 11:39pm PT  


BUSH: I don't see how you can lead this country in a time of war, in a time of uncertainty, if you change your mind because of politics.

That was then (last Friday's Debate).

This is now (today's LA Times)...

The Bush administration plans to delay major assaults on rebel-held cities in Iraq until after U.S. elections in November, say administration officials, mindful that large-scale military offensives could affect the U.S. presidential race.
...
"When this election's over, you'll see us move very vigorously," said one senior administration official involved in strategic planning, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Once you're past the election, it changes the political ramifications" of a large-scale offensive, the official said. "We're not on hold right now. We're just not as aggressive."

It's the credibility, Stupid.

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Oh, yeah...he's a 'conservative' alright.
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2004 10:35pm PT  

Catching up on a few items I've had sitting around...From Debate #2, Dubyanocchio said:

BUSH: Non-homeland, non-defense discretionary spending was raising at 15 percent a year when I got into office. And today it's less than 1 percent, because we're working together to try to bring this deficit under control.

I realize I may be naive, but surely there's must be some "rationale" for his "1 percent" number. Perhaps there's some Freepers around who can explain to me how he managed to use that number, in public, and on national television, without it being an out and out lie.

Kevin Drum did some digging, and has more details, but basically, these seem to be the numbers for increases in discretionary spending, according to the Congressional Budget Office, over the last six administrations:

Non-Defense Related Discretionary Spending

Nixon/Ford: 6.8% per year
Carter: 2.0% per year
Reagan: -1.3% per year
Bush 1: 4.0% per year
Clinton: 2.5% per year
Bush Jr: 8.2% per year

Quite a different story than the tale spun for America last Friday night. And one that should make any real conservative (not the fake Bush conservatives, apparently) shudder.

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...And Your Country in the Bargain.
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2004 3:41pm PT  

I've been too busy of late with a few non-blog realted deadlines to give the proper coverage to the story of the 62 ABC Affilliates being ordered by their owner, the rightwing Sinclair Broadcast Group, to run an anti-Kerry propoganda documentary in the days before the election on all of their local ABC afflilliate stations.

Sinclair is the same group that ordered their affilliates not to run the Nightline broadcast in which Ted Koppel read the names of those killed in Iraq. At the time, Sinclair did so because they charged, without even seeing the broadcast in question, that the show was "motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq," and charged that "ABC is disguising political statements as news content."

Apparently that concern only applies to the political statements that Sinclair Broadcast Group themselves don't wish to force their afflilliates to make.

As I say, I've not been able to adequately cover this story. It's a very important one for you to follow however and help educate folks about. So I'm gonna point you towards both Josh Marshall who has some good coverage today (read the linked article, and the one below it) as well as Left Coaster who has more detail and what you can do to help put a stop to this egregious abuse of the public airwaves for political gamesmanship by the Republican Media Elite who control it!

If there's one thing I believe we've all learned over these last few months (and four years); Democracy is not free. Vigilance and hard work is sometimes required to maintain the very democracy that our Government claims (often quite cynically) to be trying to defend. You (yes, you reading this) must do something on occassion to keep these cretins and cynics honest and to keep your democracy flowing.

UPDATE: The Boycott of Sinclair is on! Here is a list of Sinclair's advertisers and contacts for them! Let them hear from you! BE CLEAR AND DIRECT, BUT BE POLITE WHEN MAKING CONTACT!

UPDATE: More from Marshall pointing out how the "documentary" in question is actually an hour-long anti-Kerry spot actually made by the SwiftBoats Vets for Bush!

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A BRAD BLOG Prediction...
(Worth the 'Internets' it's Printed On?)
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2004 12:55pm PT  

I've warned you many times about taking polls with a grain of salt by noting that only the Zogby poll has come close to being right over the last two elections (their final poll in 1996 was within within one-tenth of one percent of the final results that year).

So though I pay attention to trends in the polls, I would warn you to not give them to much credence. That said, Zogby's latest daily tracking poll has Kerry widening his lead over Bush to 3 points with the numbers currently at 47%-44% averaged over the last three days.

And all of that said, I'll tell you my personal opinion that, barring a number of potentional external events, and there are quite a few possible, I am now predicting a Kerry landslide. That's right, a landslide. All Battleground States will go to Kerry (including Florida) and a number of "solid red states" to boot.

I don't often make predictions, as it's a perilous game that usually comes back to bite the predictor. Not to mention that predictions are like assholes because everybody's got one. I understand that could well be the case here. But what fun is life if you don't go out on a limb occassionally?

The main reason for my prediction is that the polls, even Zogby's, I believe, will proven to be entirely off again this year as they currently fail to account for the huge number of newly registered voters (mostly Democrat and ticked off about a myriad of things) and the enormous number of underground and unpolled folks who either don't own, or don't answer polls via land-line telephones (by law, cell phone users cannot be polled).

As I mentioned above, however, there are still a healthy number of mitigating factors (those "external events" I alluded to), that could still well come into play in the 25 days between now and Election Day and which could serve to effect my current prediction. They would include the effects and/or possibilities of (in no particular order of probability):

A major Kerry or Edwards screw-up on the trail or in the final debate.
Dirty tricks by Karl Rove and Clan which we know are on the way.
October Surprises (like Bin Laden captured or killed) by Karl Rove and Clan which we know are on the way
Terrorist attack in America. Unlikely between now and the election, but which you likely will be increasingly "warned about" by Bush's Public Officials none the less right up to and on Election Day.
GOP steals the election through various means of voter fraud (including electronic voting) in any number of states.

If none of the above materialize to any great extent, this is Kerry's race at this point. The "Liberal" media has not yet figured it out, so you haven't yet heard much of the above from the talking heads. No clue if they'll figure it out or not prior to the Election.

Sorry to you folks who believe in "jinxing" things, but I'm calling 'em here as I see 'em. Feel free to go on record in comments to tell me how I'm wrong or what I'm missing here.

UPDATE: Latest Gallup Tracking Poll now shows Kerry over Bush by 2 points (50% to 48%)! Notable mostly because this same poll had Bush up by 13 points just over three weeks ago!

UPDATE: And, oh yeah, forgot to mention. The Dems take back the Senate in the bargain as well.

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Fighting for Truth, Justice and the America Way
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2004 12:25pm PT  

Over on the Rightwing Hate site Free Republic, the top destination on the Internets for Bush Supporters, the webmaster has had to delete several posts apparently about Christopher Reeve. These are a few selections (courtesy of Digby, who has more) that were not deleted by the "America Loving Freepers":

"Wonder if Hell is handicapped accessible.."

"I'm sorry, but I have no compassion for this man. He suffered a terrible injury through his own fault and, instead of accepting it, he lashes out in anger against Bush."

"Contrary to mythology, he sunk into bitter, violent anger, pouring every ounce of derision he possibly could on Christianity and America. And then he simply died."

"Is there no level of filth to which these Dems won't sink?"

"You think you're cynical? I am wondering if Clark Kent would possibly pull the plug on himself in a desperate attempt to "matyrize" the stem-cell issue and help Kerry?"

"Reeve seemed like a nice chap until he got involved with the pro-death wing of the democrat party. We can't always get what we want, but we often get what we deserve."

"The fact is, Mr. Reeve spent his last days using his fame and access to champion the murder of unborn children."

"He was not willing to let a fetus stand between him and his goalpost."

"Sure hope he was a saved man. Otherwise right now he is roasting in hell."

Classy.

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