the business of thug politics

It’s October. The leaves are starting to fall from the trees, we finally had a crisply cool night, the political attack ads are starting, parties are fighting duels to the death…yes, dear readers election season has arrived in Chester County.

Ready or not, here they come.

Both parties have issues. Both parties have problem children…even as candidates. Neither party has a straight slate anywhere you can vote for, unless you choose to cast your vote with a blindfold on. Personally I find that unadvisable, but it’s the choice of the individual to be an informed voter.

On a county and local level, politics should be more about the individual and less about the Washington political machines. Washington DC isn’t just a political swamp, it’s a political cesspool, so do yourselves a favor and learn to tune out DC and look at local and state candidates as individuals.

Elections have consequences. In many municipalities in Chester County, residents are bitching about managers and solicitors and so on. Ummm HELLO? Who do you think HIRES these people? Politicians. Elected officials. And when it comes to managers especially, they also direct them on how to act on certain things and don’t kid yourselves otherwise. Solicitors march to the beat of a different drummer, like the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code. That outdated tome is the work product of state elected officials isn’t it?

So what’s the point here? Elections have consequences so do your damn homework so you know whom to blame for what. Don’t just say it’s so and so’s fault. That is YOU in the voting booth casting your vote so do your homework! Learn what the candidates stand for, who they are, and to whom they are beholden. Don’t just vote a straight ticket because someone told you that is how you are supposed to vote. And don’t say that doesn’t happen because I literally heard a poll volunteer in another county long, long ago escorting an elderly person to the poll and they said “Ignore these people. You just vote the way we told you to.”

Yes seriously. And don’t act so surprised that it happened. It happens all of the time. If people volunteering for elections or who are committee people can’t be the way they should be, why listen? I have to tell you with a few notable exceptions I have liked most committee people from both parties over the years.

To vote is a privilege and a right in this country, use it wisely.

But election season also means thug politics. I was an attempted victim again yesterday. Someone just didn’t have a conversation with me, it was an attempt to bully or even worse depending upon how you interpret it. And it wasn’t the first one this season. There have been several unpleasant encounters.

If you are a blogger, thug politics is nothing new. By our very DNA most politicians and bloggers will not get along all of the time or even some of the time. It’s just the way we’re made and that’s ok. But to try to stomp all over someone’s First Amendment rights for not agreeing with you like a nodding bobble head doll? Oh come on and oh hell no.

Politicians even on a local level are public figures. Even former politicians because they used to hold office. Look at past U.S. Presidents as an example. Think of how long some of them have been out of office and still people talk about them. It’s still the nature of the beast.

Politics is an ugly business. That’s probably why I talk about it sometimes. I just don’t think it should be. Yet here we are.

Chester County needs political balance in my opinion. I don’t think that exists. And both political parties need to get their damn houses in order. When the infighting of each party becomes apparent to even the average and mostly uninterested Joe on the street, it’s a problem. And it’s not an attack the residents and bloggers and reporters kind of a problem. It’s a get your political house in order kind of problem.

Once upon a time I thought city politics was the nastiest and worst out there. I am beginning to think it’s not. We don’t live in the land of Stepford, people. We are NOT all supposed to think alike. It’s WHY this country was founded wasn’t it? For political freedom and doesn’t that include the right to be an individual and not a bobble headed Stepford dweller?

Whatever happened to the theory of the worthy opposition? Whatever happened to actual public service? Why is everything starting to seem agenda driven?

As residents of whatever political party we should want better for where we live. We should resist Washington politics taking over on a most local level. We need balance and fairness. And when politics gets nasty and thug-like we aren’t getting balance or fairness are we?

As the voting plurality, we deserve better. We deserve independent thinkers and people who epitomize public service. We deserve elected officials who answer to all of us equally, not just select factions.

I don’t have the answers and I am not telling all of you how to vote, just to use your vote wisely and do your homework.

the continued desecration of chester county

So Ship Road today. Pipeline Alley. It’s hideous and outrageous.

This pipelines aren’t benefiting us, they are benefiting people in Scotland making plastics and wherever the hell else they are shipping dangerous explosive things through pipelines. They are of course also benefiting corporate America. And I think select politicians.

Driving up Ship Road today it made me wonder if Terence Farrell has seen this? After all isn’t he the county commissioner who was overheard commenting negatively on the county litigation involving pipelines? That’s what people are saying so I have to ask does he expect us to vote for him in November ?

I haven’t asked him personally about this, but I know all these politicians read anything put out mentioning their name between now and election day so perhaps he’ll set the record straight and put out an official statement?

What is happening in Chester County and elsewhere is criminal. We live here. Where we call home is being destroyed and we are all being put at risk.

Our homes are our castles until pipeline comes through.

I don’t find that acceptable do you?

the continued desecration of chester county

So Ship Road today. Pipeline Alley. It’s hideous and outrageous.

This pipelines aren’t benefiting us, they are benefiting people in Scotland making plastics and wherever the hell else they are shipping dangerous explosive things through pipelines. They are of course also benefiting corporate America. And I think select politicians.

Driving up Ship Road today it made me wonder if Terence Farrell has seen this? After all isn’t he the county commissioner who was overheard commenting negatively on the county litigation involving pipelines? That’s what people are saying so I have to ask does he expect us to vote for him in November ?

I haven’t asked him personally about this, but I know all these politicians read anything put out mentioning their name between now and election day so perhaps he’ll set the record straight and put out an official statement?

What is happening in Chester County and elsewhere is criminal. We live here. Where we call home is being destroyed and we are all being put at risk.

Our homes are our castles until pipeline comes through.

I don’t find that acceptable do you?

oh yes, summer is ending and elections are coming…

Elections are coming up and I think I need to clarify things with campaigns. I occasionally will write about a candidate if I either know them personally or meet them organically.

Or I will write about politicians if I think they are such bad news based upon past behavior that I think people need to know so they make an informed choice. So far I have three candidates who fit into this category. Two for this coming November, 2019 and one for the spring primary of 2020.

I don’t get “set up” to meet people and then write about them if that makes any sense.

I am an independent so I am not beholden to either political party and if a particular candidate from a particular party gets a thumbs up from me it’s because I have met them organically and they struck a positive chord with me.

I wrote about a candidate over the weekend and I have already been contacted by other campaigns of all levels of office. I don’t want to be rude or unfair but this is my thought process and I do not deviate from it. I do it my way, on my terms, and if I want political matchmakers involved to make an introduction, I do the asking.

And the reason is simple: in years past I have had candidates literally sent to my door who were door knocking. I was used by those candidates for a good word. Once my good word was out there, they were done. I will not be used again. Been there, done that, got the proverbial T-shirt.

I have met and conversed with lots of interesting people over the years including one First Lady whom I still wish would run for office. I was introduced and spoke with many amazing people at the RNC 2000 which was held in Philadelphia. There I was a media relations volunteer so I had the added education of being able to interact with top national and international media. You learn from all of these people if you pay attention.

Also one reason I have been fortunate to meet all sorts of interesting political people over the years is I am open to meeting people from both political parties. I don’t think because someone is a Democrat or because someone is a Republican that they are going to be a good or bad person based on their political persuasion.

I also am of the opinion that I don’t care what level of office nationally, locally, or regionally you’re running for, you should be able to have a conversation with an ordinary person like me who doesn’t write you big lovely donation checks.

I personally look for candidates that I think can be independent of their respective political parties. Sometimes my instincts are right, other times my instincts have been wrong. I am thinking in two cases from last year I am not sure I made the right decision so I may be correcting that decision with future votes.

I am not someone who donates to political campaigns. I have never done it, and I don’t believe in it. If someone wants my vote, they can earn it the old-fashioned way and talk to me.

As Americans one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to exercise our power of the vote. And I encourage everyone no matter where they live to vote independently. I used to have a friend who would literally say to her other friends “Tell me how I should vote in this election.”

Do not count on the opinions of others.

Don’t be a sheeple.

Become informed on your own. Learn about your candidates and don’t just pull the lever because you are one party or the other.

The last days of summer are upon us and the midterm elections soon to follow. Do your own homework. Make informed decisions.

Don’t be politically Stepford.

My biggest thing with the political process in this country is we need more balance. One party over the other having supreme power is not healthy for us as Americans. We need moderation and an end to political extremism.

Happy Monday!

lieutenant governor john fetterman blocked moi on twitter

blocked by john

Oh my! Should I wear it as a badge of honor? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman of the Commonwealth of PA has blocked moi on Twitter. My first ever gubernatorial blockage!!!

Yes, really.  And honestly? I tweet at Donald Trump and Real Housewives significantly more than him which isn’t saying much because I don’t tweet at any of those folks or Trump much.  Mostly where Big Orange is concerned, I try to pretend he isn’t on Twitter. (Keeps the blood pressure down.)

But even Big Orange hasn’t blocked me on Twitter.  But John Fetterman has apparently. It’s like he wants me to write a blog post about it. Especially amusing since there seems to be some legal precedent stating elected officials cannot block constituents on social media, especially if they use social media to inform constituents? And Lt. Gov. Lurch might not like my Tweets, but I am a constituent, yes? Something about that pesky thing known as the First Amendment, perhaps?

I do not know precisely when I was blocked (I discovered it today) because I don’t include him in tweets very often. I think he is like an empty paper bag with even less substance. I never even wrote a blog post about before about our Lieutenant Governor because he has always seemed a little creepy to me.

I have no problem with ink but his date and numeric tattoos are utterly creepy to look at.  And I am fascinated and always slightly puzzled how the man can never get a shirt that fits properly at the collar.  Or how a politician can look so uncomfortable in a suit, or even  as a politician.

I remember when he first came onto the political scene that I took note of him.  It was that 2016 U.S. Senate attempt.  Then I promptly forgot about him until Tom Wolf starting trotting him out for his last election.

Wolf is a true Rendell Democrat and we’ll leave it at that.

Now what had I tweeted and how often at John Fetterman? The answer is not much and it was mostly pipeline related.  Those pipelines are ruining where I call home and in my humble opinion are too problematic and too damn dangerous.  And for what all this risk to residents? So people a few miles up the road can get sinkholes, the people in East Goshen suffer from inadvertent returns on Boot Road, other people can get their water wells ruined, miles and miles of countryside get raped and pillaged and for what? So a company that should not have PUC utility status can ship gas and “other hydrocarbons” overseas to make plastics in places like Scotland? And don’t forget exploding refineries that then immediately go out of business, right? Or property values that go down due to pipeline syndrome, right?

Compared to a lot of what I see on Twitter, I barely nipped at Big John’s ankles.  I pulled as many  tweets as I could find, and like I said, there weren’t many.  I have screen shots so you can see:

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John Fetterman did kind of make campaign promises about pipelines to people in Chester County and elsewhere.  Once he got elected, what has he done?  Here are some pipeline and Fetterman things I found on Facebook:

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Here is what the ACLU had to say in January of this year:

Court Rules Public Officials Can’t Block Critics on Facebook

By Vera Eidelman, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project
JANUARY 9, 2019 | 12:00 PM

One of the core purposes of the First Amendment is to allow people, regardless of their views, to hold the government accountable through expression. So, if your elected representative has an official Facebook page where she invites comments, can she block you from commenting because you criticize her work?

According to a federal appeals court, the answer is a resounding no.

On Monday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the interactive portion of a public official’s Facebook page is a “public forum,” so an official cannot block people from it because of the opinions they hold.

And then this happened today ironically:

Wall Street Journal: President Trump Can’t Block Twitter Users, Federal Appeals Court Rules
Practice of blocking users violates free-speech protections, judges say
By Corinne Ramey
Updated July 9, 2019 4:03 pm ET

A federal appeals court in New York ruled President Trump’s practice of blocking some users on Twitter violates the free-speech protections of the First Amendment.

Tuesday’s ruling stems from a 2017 lawsuit filed by Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute on behalf of seven people who had been blocked by the president’s @realDonaldTrump account.

Here is a report also from NPR:

NPR: U.S. Appeals Court Rules Trump Violated First Amendment By Blocking Twitter Followers
July 9, 20193:38 PM ET
VANESSA ROMO

A federal appeals court in Manhattan says President Trump cannot block critics from his Twitter account, calling it “unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.”

In a 29-page ruling on Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a lower court’s decision that found that Trump violated the First Amendment when he blocked certain Twitter users, because he uses his Twitter account “to conduct official business and to interact with the public.” By preventing critics from accessing his feed, the president is barring them from participating in what the judges deemed a public forum.

“[The] First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees,” the judges wrote.

So I guess Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is more special than the sitting President? (However, I can’t say either would honestly win any popularity contests, can you?)

Now mind you, the reaction from some Twitter-vomitors was amusing.  One guy said to me he would block me too and I was a “conservative big oil hater.” Oh how that made me giggle.  I am an independent and a moderate but  I’m not anti-oil, I’m anti-pipeline in Pennsylvania, there’s a difference. Above all else I am an independent thinker and I’m proud of that. But to the intellectually limited who haunt Twitter I am either that or an  evil Liberal or a former RINO (Republican in Name Only).

Seriously, Twitter is the last bastion for total freaking craziness.  That is why over the years I have been active then not active on Twitter.  Twitter is like a weird free for all where grown men seem to think it’s OK to call women a Facist C-U- Next-Tuesdays. Yes, someone did actually do that.

Do I really, really care if John Fetterman blocked me on Twitter?

No.  Because in the stratosphere of politics in PA, he’s temporarily trendy at best.  He’s like that dress you know you shouldn’t have bothered buying that will be out of fashion before you even get to wear it enough.

But there is the principle of the thing here.  The First Amendment allows freedom of speech and the ability to address your government. It’s not selective or subjective.

First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

At the end of the day I know I did not do anything so terribly awful or profanity laced that I deserved to be blocked.  I am a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, therefore one of his constituents whether he likes it or not. And whether I like him or not, which I really do not on principle. He’s a phony baloney. And he sucks up to that Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing so often people probably actually do throw up a little every time they see him fawning.

And am I so powerful he decided to block me? Oh hell no. I actually just think it’s because he doesn’t like to be reminded of things he said he would do and hasn’t, and he must hate being reminded about his pandering to Chester County residents devastated by the pipelines just so they would vote Wolf-Fetterman last election, right? besides, I am a blogger which is always an easy target for politicians because everyone knows bloggers are really Cyborgs, right?

So John Fetterman, I am not so politically naiive and honey have I got your proverbial number.  You keep on going on your “listening tours” with your selective politically male hearing.  We’ll remember the truth come the next time you want to run for something. 

Meanwhile, I will continue to look at the little plastic troll dolls many friend got at a tag sale and marvel how they all sort of resemble John Fetterman.  

This post was brought to all of you courtesy of the First Amendment and to all a good night.

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another apocalyptic spring

I remember when my husband and I were dating and I would make the trek from the Main Line to Chester County on weekends. Sometimes I would come out Route 3 and turn onto Route 352.

Once I hit 352 it would start to get green and lush as I made my way out. I traveled part of that same route today and it is a war zone.

This is what the pipelines give us. There is not anything positive or good about them. They rape the land, scar the landscape and ship out gas and “other hydrocarbons” to places like Scotland to make plastics.

We the residents of Chester County and all of the other counties get to assume all sorts of risk. But these pipeline companies are like an invading army and they just keep marching. It’s all about the money, honey, and we simply don’t matter.

I haven’t written a pipeline post a long time. But today seeing another apocalyptic spring thanks to Energy Transfer or Sunoco Logistic or Sunoco or whatever they may call themselves, the words have come tumbling out.

There is always some problem with the pipelines and residents hold their breath and pray their wells will survive, sinkholes won’t open up, and that nothing will blow up.

Pipeline company told to repair, restore all damaged streams, wetlands

By Paul J. Gough

Reporter, Pittsburgh Business Times

May 15, 2019, 7:35am EDT

A subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners is being ordered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to restore or repair dozens of streams and wetlands that it said were either eliminated or altered by the construction of the Revolution Pipeline.

DEP said ETC Northeast Pipeline LLC violated Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Laws, Dam Safety and Encroachments Acts, the Oil & Gas Act of 2012 and regulations over erosion, sediment control, dam safety and waterway management. The order came out of its probe into Sept. 10, 2018, explosion in Center Township, Beaver County.

MAY 21, 2019 | 8:30 AM

Federal pipeline safety regulators issue warning on floods and subsidence

The PHMSA advisory bulletin says pipeline incidents caused by erosion have increased in the eastern U.S.

Susan Phillips

Citing a number of recent incidents, including one in Pennsylvania, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, sent a warningto natural gas and hazardous liquids pipeline operators earlier this month detailing the dangers of flooding and heavy rain events.

The advisory points to “land movement, severe flooding, river scour, and river channel migration” as causes of the type of damage that can lead to leaks and explosions. It outlines current regulations, and details requirements for insuring safe pipeline construction and continued monitoring once a pipeline is in operation.

APRIL 29, 2019 | 4:33 PM

UPDATED: APRIL 30, 2019 | 11:48 AM

Sunoco buys two homes at Chester County site of Mariner East 2-related sinkhole

State and county documents show company paid $400,000 each for properties

Jon Hurdle

Sunoco Pipeline bought two homes on Lisa Drive, the Chester County development and pipeline construction site where residents have been tormented by sinkholes since late 2017, according to state and county documents obtained on Monday.

The documents said Sunoco agreed to buy the homes and land of John Mattia and his next-door neighbors, T.J. Allen and Carol Ann Allen, for $400,000 each in transactions dated April 18.

A Realty Transfer Tax Statement of Value filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue records a “total consideration” of $400,000 for each of the properties.

The home sold by the Allens is estimated with a market value of about $300,000-$330,000, according to listings by Zillow and Realtor.com. The value of the former Mattia home is estimated at about $340,000, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage….Two of the Lisa Drive residents, Russell and Mary March, and another nearby homeowner sued Sunoco in March 2018, claiming the company had negligently drilled through porous rock near their homes without recognizing that sinkholes would likely result, and ignoring the results of a geotechnical investigation there. The suit was settled but the terms were not disclosed.

The company’s activities at Lisa Drive have been shut down twice by regulators on the grounds that public safety is endangered by construction of two new pipelines – Mariner East 2 and 2X – plus the operation of an existing natural gas liquids pipeline – Mariner East 1 – on a geologically unstable site.

State Impact PA does a LOT of coverage of the pipeline horror show and you can CLICK HERE to read some of the coverage.

Look at what pipelines has already destroyed and you understand why we don’t want anymore pipeline companies coming to town. This is why we are so uneasy about Adelphia, for example, and can’t figure out why municipalities where Adelphia will be in Chester County don’t appear to be particularly proactive on behalf of their residents.

Yesterday my friend Ginny Kerslake did not prevail in her bid to be a candidate for Chester County Commissioner in the fall. The Democrat party chose to endorse others over her. That is our great loss.

Ginny is a true warrior in this pipeline hell. A courageous, educated and ethical voice. In the fall, the woman the Democrat party decided to back will ask for your vote and tell everyone she is as dedicated as Ginny. She is not. Political opportunism is not community caring. Fortunately Josh Maxwell prevailed and he will get one of my county commissioner votes.

I know I got off on a pipeline/political segue there for a minute, and I am sorry, but it was also on my mind because the pipelines in Pennsylvania have indeed become a political hot button topic. And I think any politician that wants our vote has to prove they support residents a.k.a. people over pipelines. You know, like State Senator Andy Dinniman.

I was so sad traveling part of the pipeline path today. I feel like I am 100 million years old because I can remember where a certain tree one stood or where I used to watch a man mow his lawn when I drove by.

Energy Transfer/Sunoco has bought pain and sorrow and a path of destruction. As Pennsylvanians we deserve better. Our homes are our proverbial castles and all these pipeline companies do is destroy.

People over pipelines. Pass it on.

the company you keep: gossip and politics

I think I sometimes truly grow weary of the politics of politics and all it entails including gossip….locally. Sometimes I find people that are perfectly nice becoming collateral damage because they are judged quite literally by the company they keep, right or wrong.

Ahh yes, the old adage you are judged by the company you keep. I remember my own mother telling me that when I was a teenager, and I remember scoffing at the idea. Then I remember being in my mid 20s and figuring out exactly what she was talking about and it was one of those a-ha moments that sometimes your mother is right. A friend of mine and I were talking about it recently and they said their mother said to them “show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.”

(Please don’t tell my mother I said she was right about something LOL, I will never hear the end of it.)

Anyway, this friend came to me to talk about a tsunami of really unpleasant social media. She’s not someone I know real well but I have known for a few years. I met her when she lived elsewhere and I was first out here. She’s been living for the past few years in a place in Chester County where I have a lot of friends. Only I don’t know if her experience has been so friendly all of the time while living there.

This person is fast becoming what I can only describe as collateral damage in a power struggle that she should just be left out of. But it’s kind of hard when you live in a small community. My friend’s opinions are strong, which I respect because I have some pretty strong opinions at times.

My friend is a very loyal person, and she has formed friendships in this community that I would not personally choose for myself, but it’s her decision. And I dance around the subject of these people with her because I don’t think it’s fair for my perspective to influence or taint hers. But if I was going to be dead on honest I would have to say that I hope these people remain good and decent people towards her. I have to admit I don’t know if they are capable of it, but that’s just my opinion, and I hope I am wrong.

This power struggle which exists for very good reasons can be contentious enough at times that it is literally like a battle of the Hatfields and the McCoys. And sadly, the people this person has aligned herself with have indeed hurt other people I care about. They have also come for me on occasion because I have my own opinions on things. But because I don’t live in the middle of all of them, I can be more objective at times and say I just don’t like them.

But this person whom I know, is again, literally being judged by the company she keeps. And I understand why, but it’s Christmas and I just wish everybody would let up a bit.

Chester County is an amazing place to live. Her residents have amazing heart. However, when it comes to politics and local shenanigans, it gets ugly. I have seen it in municipality after municipality. I used to think nothing could get more upsetting than Main Line or Delaware county gossip and politics… Until I moved to Chester County. Local politics can be a bloodsport out here, but can we say one of the roots of the cause can be when folks deal out good old-fashioned shady assed behavior?

I’m no fool, and I have my battle scars from just a few years living here. I’m outspoken and I’m a blogger. I don’t think you’re supposed to be either in the minds of some people. You are simply supposed to be some form of a Stepford wife. Or a bobble head.

I have done my time over the years of being the subject of gossip for being outspoken and a blogger and this whole theory of knives and knitting needles. And I have been the target of behavior that is so incredibly malicious and hurtful directed at me mostly because I was different than they were, or even because I just did not like them.

I think adult social bullying is the worst, and I truly think that a lot of people don’t even realize they are doing it. Another friend of mine and I were discussing this recently. She lives down on the Main Line and she noted that a child who was sadly very bullying towards classmates in school had parents who exhibited the exact same behavioral patterns towards adults.

Suffice it to say, human beings can be so incredibly cruel to one and other.

I think 2018 will go down in the history books as a year where everyone was totally mean to each other. I think a lot of this has to do with the stage that has been set in Washington DC , truthfully. People are so angry from coast to coast, and here in our little corner of the world you see it as well.

It’s Christmas. And my wish for Christmas as far as this nonsense goes, is a hope it just at takes a cease-fire at a minimum. Just slow your roll and stop being so mean to one and other. And you know what? I’m taking myself to task here as well. I haven’t been as nice this year as I should have been.

Just because someone doesn’t share in your exact ideology and belief system it doesn’t make them a bad person. And yes, even if they are friends with people you can’t stand it doesn’t make them a bad person.

In this life, we are all judged by the company we keep. And we also need to pause and remember we can’t control the actions of others we can only control the actions of ourselves.

Peace on earth, good will towards men, remember?

Thanks for stopping by.