Re: Reading Group

1

I have now read BTWAM and would be very interested in a reading group. It's very short and not divided into many sections, so we'd need to think about how to do that.

It was very emotionally affecting - the more so because reading it almost felt intrusive on a Black conversation.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 8:57 AM
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Let's make it something by someone who has no meaningful connection to the blog, because that part was weird and awkward for me and obviously I matter most. I've bought the Coates book and am also reading Black Jacobins but think only snark is doing the same. Everyone should, though; fantastic and by someone very dead.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:01 AM
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I agree with 2.1.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:02 AM
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I think you all should read Das Kapital.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:10 AM
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The Black Jacobins is great. I was on a big C.L.R. James kick years ago. The C.L.R. James Reader is interesting in that it follows his evolution from doctrinaire communist in the 30s and 40s through his later stuff in the 60s. The early work is interesting in that you just don't read people gushing about Lenin's superior intellect and insight into human affairs these days. Or at least I don't.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:13 AM
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I think we should go back to Heidegger. Just a little more focused effort and Being and Time will make perfect sense!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:14 AM
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5.last: I'm reading Doris Lessing's memoirs now and her thoughts on her version of that evolution are very interesting. I'll have to keep my eyes open for the Reader!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:15 AM
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Wait, who was connected to the blog? Paul? Or Heidegger? How?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:30 AM
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One of the front page posters, not saying which one, is Hannah Arendt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:32 AM
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One of the front page posters, not saying which one, is Hannah Arendt.

Heidegger, on the other hand, is just a commenter.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:35 AM
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There's also James's cricket book, Beyond a Boundary, which is supposed to be among the best books on sports ever written. (It's largely I think about race and cricket, rather than a particularly exciting match or the like; I know virtually nothing about cricket but would be willing to give it a shot.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:40 AM
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Oh, wait, was 2 in reference to LB's review of the legal associate novel that suffered the flaws characteristic of the genre, and was also independently bad?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:45 AM
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8: Paul is married to one of Unfogged's earliest commenters.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:45 AM
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11: Have you watched Lagaan? It's about race and cricket plus the songs are probably catchier than any James can provide.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:46 AM
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13: ah, thanks. Didn't realize that.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:48 AM
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Follow up: If we did BTWAM, are there ~5 commenters who would volunteer for sections? If I can get that lined up, up front, then let's go for it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 11:47 AM
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I can't do a reading group, but I just read Franco Berardi's Heroes, , which looks at mass murder/suicide as a sympton of "semiocapitalism" and which is kind of wacky (what are the status of these truth claims, one wonders) and provocative-in-a-good-way.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 12:53 PM
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I've got one volunteer! (VTSOOBC). Do I hear a second?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 12:55 PM
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||

Sorry for the OT, but this is driving me nuts, and there's no active politics thread.

In April, Nate Silver posted an article arguing that the '16 Presidential election is a tossup. I don't completely agree*, but I take his argument, and certainly there's too much time between now and then to say strongly one way or another. One of his arguments is that, to the extent that Obama's popularity will impact HRC's support, that popularity (specifically approval ratings) has been in "the mid-40s for most of his presidency"**.

Today, he writes about Biden's noncampaign, and includes a footnote linking back to the previous article and saying, "To me, the general election still looks like a tossup." And here's where I get grumpy, because I was pretty sure his approval ratings have gone up of late. So I checked, and I'm right. Eyeballing the table, Obama spent basically all of 2014 with disapproval around 53% and approval around 42-43%, for a net around -9%. Then starting around New Years, the numbers converged, and he's spent most of 2015 with a 45-50 spread, cutting his net disapproval in half. Looking at specific polls, he had one poll in March '14 that had approval/disapproval tied (looks like a fluke, but there it was). In the next 13 months - right up until the time Silver wrote his original tossup article - not a single other such poll appeared. Since then, there have been 13 polls with him tied or even net positive.

And here's the thing: Silver's a Bayesian, right? So, over the past ~12 weeks (and with movement starting a couple months before then), one of the facts/trends he identified as significant has changed by a fair amount, but he hasn't changed his conclusion at all, which I'm pretty sure isn't how it's supposed to work.

So is he bullshitting or just lazy? Either way, I'm annoyed.

*I think that the Party of Trump needs favorable conditions to win a broad turnout election, not just neutral conditions

**Looking farther back, that's bullshit, or at least tendentious. Using 42.5-47.5 to define "mid-40s": he never dropped into the mid-40s for the first 18 months of his presidency; he was back out for roughly 5 months after they killed Bin Laden, then for roughly 15 months from the beginning of 2012. Also, he's been below the mid-40s for a couple stretches. So, of his 78 months so far, he's been in the mid-40s for 34. Is that "extraordinarily stubborn"? Now, if you just say "the 40s", then it becomes pretty accurate: he's never been below 40, and since 10 months after the inaugural, he's only been above 50 for a few months. But of course that's not Silver's claim, nor his explicit premise. n.b., my quote of him rearranges his phrasing, but it's all his words and meaning.

||>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:01 PM
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He might be a little lazy to not do the math to figure out how much slightly less of a toss-up this is than it was four months ago, but that does seem like a lot of effort for a small gain.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:04 PM
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This is worse than a 40-comment pre-hijack, because it is a thread where we're actually trying to cooperatively build and get a project off the ground. A very fragile thread. You sir, are trampling all over baby flowers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:06 PM
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I checked and 19 is less than 40 with greater than 95% certainty.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:07 PM
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17: Bifo rocks!! One of my kind of guys. Not wack at all at all!

Carry on. True thing that Coates is moving all to Paree? Good on him


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:09 PM
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21: But at least I'm not destroying any marriages!

20: I just feel as if some acknowledgement that conditions have shifted HRCward* would be appropriate. I mean, it's not like he's famous for his prose or insider access.

*I suppose you could argue that her declining favorability with Independents cuts the other way, but it's his job to figure that out, not mine. Part of my annoyance is that Obama's ratings were his #1 argument, so it seems important to pay attention to, not handwave away.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:24 PM
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Reading groups grow by the inch and die by the foot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:26 PM
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heebie, I'll summarize a chunk if I have to but I'm not particularly thrilled about it. Deal?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:27 PM
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1.5 volunteers!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:32 PM
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I'll do a chapter of between the world and me.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:38 PM
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2.5!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:40 PM
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I have an unlimited appetite for summarizing things. Count me in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:44 PM
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Are cell phones down everywhere or just everywhere around me? What is happened?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:45 PM
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There's a local outage, urple.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:45 PM
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Or maybe larger than local. Only my Urpleville facebook friends were complaining.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:46 PM
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I'll do a chapter of between the world and me.

"Roberto Tigre, Author of Between the World and Me" is a great story.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:47 PM
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33: thx. Note not just att (I don't have att)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 1:49 PM
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The book group seems to be getting itself together, so I'll take a step down JRoth's rabbithole. Silver knows better than nearly anyone that we vote by states, not as a single nation. It doesn't matter how many people in Texas disapprove of Obama's invasion plans: HRC is going to win in CA, NY, and a bunch of other identifiable places. She's likely not to win in the Confederacy* and Great Plains. The only polling that matters is in, what, 6 or 7 states. I'm not going to click through to see if that's what he was doing, because it doesn't sound like he was doing that.

It's way too early for any kind of polling or horserace stuff about the general anyway, which means NS is either trolling or filling a content whole. Which are not exclusive.

* A plugged in DC friend tells me that there's some CW in favor of a prominent Hispanic Texan as HRC's VP. If so, it's probably not enough to get Texas purple on this go-round, but there's a future in making choices like that.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 2:23 PM
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Anyone who threadjacks or helps has actually committed to summarizing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 3:12 PM
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But actually, minivet and/or one other person would probably be sufficient.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 3:14 PM
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She's likely not to win in the Confederacy*

I don't know. I'd say she's likely to win Florida and Virginia, and has an even shot at North Carolina. That's 57 EC votes right there (or 42 without NC).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 3:48 PM
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Certainly, I'm in.

I thought there was in fact a fair amount of predictive power in national polls since there's enough uniformity in the national electorate that state results tend to swing in similar magnitudes on average. Obviously if there were swing state polls with the same detail that would be better, but there may well not be.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 4:55 PM
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I think you could do (and in fact, have already done) a lot better than me. But if I have to commit in order to make it happen, I can take on a chunk of BTWAM.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 6:47 PM
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And now that I have fulfilled the requirement of 37, am I allowed to admit that I'm getting genuinely enthusiastic about Hillary? It's increasingly possible that I will vote for her over Bernie.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 6:53 PM
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43

Care to elaborate?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 7:10 PM
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40.2: Indeed, part of Silver's argument against the existence of a "Blue Wall" or whatever it's called, is that any trend that puts Obama's "extra" states in play also makes the critical ones vulnerable. That is, it's not as if there were 300 EVs that Obama won by 5 points, and then 70 (or whatever) more that he won by slim margins. Rather, it's a fairly smooth curve, and if the popular vote is within a point or three, both parties have plausible paths to 270.

That said - and this is unrelated to my earlier point - I only buy a weak version of this claim, that if it's a big year for the GOP, the Dems don't hold any magic EV buffer. I think that the tilt of things is such that, in a year with tossup fundamentals, Dems holds the advantage. And it's not like this is some blind partisan claim: would anyone deny for a second that off-year elections favor Republicans for the next few cycles?

It would be awfully weird if the Electoral College just happened to work out such that a 50.0001% popular vote advantage for either side translated reliably into an EC win. I think it's a lot more likely that, in a given timeframe, one party or the other needs 51% (or even more) of the PV to translate into an EV win. I mean, Gore won the PV by a fraction (0.5%), but if not for FL shenanigans, he'd have won the EV by 45 votes. 2004 kind of worked the other way, but that's literally the only PV win by the GOP in 20 years (2.4% gap), and also the only legit EV win. So, again, all we know is that, if the GOP wins the popular vote by a couple percent, they'll win the Presidency. I don't find that a bold statement.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 7:54 PM
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42: It's hard to argue against anything she's done as a candidate (except from a position of startling naïveté). She's taken the right positions and said the right things, and she's pretty consistently gotten left of whatever positions have been presumed of her. Frex, incarceration was supposed to be tricky, because of Bill's role in the '94(?) crime bill. Instead, she pretty much threw Bill under the bus, acknowledged that she'd been wrong, and called for a big fresh look. I feel as if that's been her approach on every domestic issue. The only foreign issue I can think of, TPP, she's at least talked about tacking left.

Basically, this is the un-DLC campaign. I was going to say, "If she'd run like this in '08, who knows what would have happened," but honestly, I don't think there was a frankly liberal base for her then. On the war, yes, but I don't think this raft of other issues were in play (I ended up rereading an old argument with stras from late '07, and it's striking how little was expected of Obama for him to prove his liberal bona fides; Iraq aside, he ran well to the right of where HRC is this year. Some of that is his doing*, but most of it is grassroots IMO - OWS, #BlackLivesMatter, etc).

*meaning, as President he's pushed the conversation, especially of late


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 8:03 PM
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45: I can see that, but it makes me wonder we're just moving back to the "tack to base for primary, to center for general" pattern, and the DLC hippie-punching traditions we're used to will end up being seen as a 25-year historical aberration.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 8:32 PM
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I have limited time to read for the next couple of months (bootcamping), but I would be interested in doing Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything some time, mostly to engage with her political arguments.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 8:39 PM
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I've started watching Veronica Mars. I figure if I want a discussion group, I'll search for essear's comments.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:08 PM
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I'd be in on Coates readings. I feel like I should read his first book, too. My participation is probably contingent on the library hold lists, though.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 9:17 PM
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Is it really a tossup whether the GOP is going to win the national vote by 2%? Of course it isn't.

I misspoke about the Confederacy: FL and VA are worth polling, because if HRC can win them, she wins the election. Neither should be taken for granted, by either side. I guess I don't have any confidence at all in NC; that's probably bias. (I'd like to see HRC win here, but she's not going to put any effort into it, and our governor's race is a much bigger deal anyway.)

I haven't been following how well candidate recruitment for the Senate has been going. I hope some folks who can really give a good race are emerging in those blue states with red senators up for re-election.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08- 4-15 11:33 PM
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I'm in for the Coates book.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 5-15 4:46 AM
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46: That would be fucking nice, wouldn't it?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-15 6:16 AM
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This is probably a bad idea, since we can't even spell his name correctly.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 5-15 6:46 AM
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43: I sign on to 45 in its entirety, and I'd like to elaborate a bit on the footnote:

as President he's pushed the conversation, especially of late

The question for Obama was always whether he'd succeed in being a transformative president in the way that Reagan was.*

While Reagan did a lot of damage in his eight years, his vision wasn't anywhere near fully realized until Bush II, and the Reagan Revolution is still playing out in the Republican Party. Reagan's influence will be obvious on the debate stage Thursday night, 35 years after his election.

I think there's room to be optimistic that Obama has changed the trajectory of the Democratic Party, and that Hillary isn't going to backslide.

What Obama hasn't done (yet) is change the opposing party the way Reagan did with the Democrats. We're still waiting for the Republicans to hit bottom, and there's no telling how long that will take.

But Hillary offers hope that the Democrats have hit bottom. Sure, she will tack right later, but in addition to being further left today than Obama was in 2008, she's further left than her husband, if not in 1992, then certainly in 1996.

Like her husband, she seems prepared to lead in the context of which way the political winds are blowing. But with Hillary, it's looking increasingly like that's a good thing.

*In all cases, when I talk about Obama and Reagan, I'm really talking about the movements behind them.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08- 5-15 7:14 AM
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parsimon brought up Go Set a Watchman and I started to sort-of defend it -- anyway, Ursula LeGuin wrote something about it that mostly says what I thought about it.

http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Blog2015.html#102Watchman


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 5-15 1:58 PM
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Brave new experiment: I'm personalizing my phone keyboard based on the Unfogged comment RSS feed. It only goes back a couple weeks, though, so that might not be enough of a sample to get everything.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 6-15 11:43 AM
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56 How so?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 6-15 12:00 PM
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How to what part?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 6-15 12:28 PM
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If I watch the republican debate tonight, will I be entertained or infuriated? (Both, obviously, of course, but which emotion will predominate?)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 6-15 12:35 PM
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Oh, I see it's only on cable, and not streamable online? Nevermind, I guess I don't need to worry about whether I'd be entertained or infuriated if I watched it.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 6-15 12:38 PM
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58 How are you personalizing your keyboard? I don't use the RSS feed, maybe if I did this would become self-evident.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 6-15 1:08 PM
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61: SwiftKey will, if you let it, go into your Gmail, Twitter, and various other accounts and read all the text to come up with better predictions for what you're about to type. I noticed it also had an option for RSS feeds.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 6-15 1:11 PM
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You'll never have to fully type out Mutombo again!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 6-15 1:16 PM
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livin the dream


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 6-15 2:46 PM
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In the unlikely event that anyone else is in the same position I was in in 59/60 and actually wants to watch the debate, this seems to work:

http://www.hulkusc.com/watch-fox-news-live-streaming/

(It may be malware, I don't know. No warranties.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 6-15 5:02 PM
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If there's one channel I feel good about streaming illegally, it's Fox News.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 6-15 5:38 PM
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Reading groups appear to be popular with escort services.

[By tomorrow, this comment will probably make no sense.]


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-20-16 12:43 AM
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Escorts Bangalore reads kind of like Brautigan.

"In Bangalore, the escorts were done and done again as my life was done in Bangalore."


Posted by: Swope FM | Link to this comment | 11-20-16 3:16 AM
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I like to read such news. You can always find something new.


Posted by: www.london-escorts.org | Link to this comment | 11-20-17 6:54 AM
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