Author Archives: Jack

Lincoln and Obama: American Romanticism

By Jack Kelly

 

As the long awaited movie ‘Lincoln’ virals’ its way across the U.S. in the virtual flesh, we Americans are being eagerly invited to participate in the oldest of our traditions: American Romanticism.

Such repeated rituals reverberate in every part of our collectives souls.  Sports, politics, and even historic crimes cannot escape the lexicon known as American Romanticism.  Dead rock stars are transfixed in our generational essense.  We debate historical records in sports because it connects to our fundamental past.  We celebrate Washington and Columbus without complete context of their faults.  The founding fathers are looked upon as diety’s; godlike figures described glowlingly with zero utterance of the very warts splashed upon their figuatory skin.

We dismiss their faults not as an ode to ignorance, but because of the theivery it would cause with our aggregate euphoria.  To speak ill of them, is essentially admitting this whole American experiment was built on quick sand.  Truth be told, their warts like ours, make us and them larger than life.

America essentially works and exists, because we believe that it does.  It is a physicall figment of our hopeful imagination.  It is as much a part of our soul as it is a place on a map.  Forever trying to perfect the founding mission while fixing the unfortunaly tragic imperfections along the way.  It is sometimes complicated and horrific, but something inside us demands we continue on for the destined perfection.

American romanticism officially reflects a time period in the 18th century and narrows the actual phrasing around literature and a cultural concept of early, progressive optimism which separated itself from the Puritans in an independently revolutionized America.

But, I am not speaking of such American Romanticism, although I find it useful and for all my fellow inquisitives’, follow the link to inspire your curious soul.

The romanticism I speak of is more human and emotional in its origin.  It is a widely held practice in singular terms amongst ourselves.  One could argue it is the rope that binds us to one another.  An official summarization of romance says “Romance is the expressive and pleasurable feeling from an emotional attraction towards another person associated with love. In the context of romantic love relationships, romance usually implies an expression of one’s strong romantic love, or one’s deep and strong emotional desires to connect with another person intimately.”

This defined romance can and is applied to the history of our country, in all aspects.  As an emotional species, we desire connectiveness.  While inherently violent and territorial, our tribal instincts instruct us to find commonality with one other.  Our violence only emerges upon threat or loss of the vital aspects we need to survive.  Perdition of ‘romantic’ or sexual interest, or access to food and shelter, will inspire violent urges in us.

But the beautiful and aww inspiring quality many of us have is the ability to feel love and inspiration.  That love, or romance helps us not only stay united, but infuses us with a need for it.  It is the evolutionary progress our species continues to transfer to the next generation.

This romantic gene if you will, demands we feel hope and happiness when acts of kindness are witnessed.  Just as our genes can usher us to act violently upon threat, these same genes help us drive towards one another by initiating shots of endorphins pulsating through our bodies.

The movie Lincoln certainly acts as the syringe of that necessary component of romanticism we all desire and collectively need.  Our image of Lincoln rightfully evokes positive feelings.  It makes us proud of who we are as a country.  This is our President who freed the slaves and won the civil war.  He united us not only as a country, but further progressed our species into a place we need to reach; continued connectivesness.

As some of you shall see when watching the Spielberg flick, President Lincoln had to romantically arouse and fight for the 13th amendment.  He not only had to fully recognize the power of the presidency and what that power could accomplish, but he had to use American romanticism on people to get it passed.  Whether it was a racist old democrat he tried to convince to switch his vote in honor of his dead brother or some in his cabinet of the virtue of the 13th; Lincoln understood emotional appeal was necessary.

The reelection of President Obama is a fulfillment of that romanticism.  Outside of all of the issues and the nuanced varieties that presented themselves during the campaign, an Obama victory was almost guaranteed.  Although Republicans who read this may seethe with anger at such a thought, an Obama victory was apparent for a long period before election day.

President Obama represented something much more to our combined spirit as a country.  He was the first African American president and provided clear, significant progress from the time of slavery and the civil rights era. The emotional attachment we have as a country to his presidency is embedded into the fabric of our assembled soul.  For him to have lost, he would have had to have done something horrendously awful.

He was our country’s triumphant pride and joy.  An achievement of democracy and luminous progress for the rest of the world to follow.  His election will historically evoke good feelings.  100 years from now, it will be studied like Lincoln’s actions.  Sure, what Lincoln achieved in actual policy will most likely, not be replicated by any future president, and certainly not Obama.

But as far as a reflective moment?  The Obama election certainly provided the necessary euphoric lift we collectively needed.  So we protected it and him form a loss that would have been devastatingly difficult for history to explain.

So as we flock to the theaters to see Lincoln and participate in good old American romanticism, remember, the reelection of President Obama had a touch of this as well.

And regardless of how much you may have liked or disliked the result, our hearts and genes are filled with love and a yearning for an understanding of one another, All of this and much more, ensured it would happen.

Lincoln and Obama connect us all via American Romantacism

Fatum!

 

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Craigslist: A Criminal’s Playground

By, Amy M. Voltero

 

Wikipedia defines Craigslist (styled craigslist) is a classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, items wanted, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums.

Craig Newmark began the service in 1995 as an email distribution list of friends, featuring local events in the San Francisco Bay Area, before becoming a web-based service in 1996 and expanding into other classified categories. It started expanding to other U.S. cities in 2000, and currently covers 50 countries.

Ten years ago, bank robbery was the most popular crime, flooding US newspapers. Today, statistics are down from 30% to a mere 2%. (Uniform Crime Reporting Program) Most people would tell you that robbing a bank is the dumbest thing a person could do. 50% of all robberies are unsuccessful due to getting caught at the scene or later being identified and arrested from security cameras. (Steve Thompson, Yahoo)  Maximum penalties can be up to 20 years unarmed and 25 years armed.

In 2009 when I was out of work, I would surf Craigslist looking for potential jobs. I sent out dozens of emails daily, hoping a prospective employer would be drawn to my resume. I got numerous responses for Administrative Assistant positions via email, with the job requirements. One job requested that I collect outstanding funds from delinquent account holders. I was to collect payment and deduct $500 commission for myself and wire-transfer the remaining funds to the company’s account. I don’t think so!! I reported it to the Police and to Craigslist.

Another incident occurred when a friend was also looking for a job through a Craigslist advertisement. A moving job for a middle aged doctor, moving from Boston to Thailand. His ad was very extensive regarding his traveling back and forth from Back Bay to now relocating overseas. He was willing to pay $500 up front for gas and or moving truck expenses. Once communication and confirmation was established between the doctor and my friend, the doctor would send a check via fed ex for the moving expenses. Once my friend received the check, he was to email the doctor for the next set of instructions, including the address of the apartment to be moved. When the check arrived, my friend was surprised to see the amount for $3500.00 and drawn on a bank he had never heard of. My friend had been unemployed since the recession, and didn’t have that kind of money in his bank account. Eventually my friend contacted the police and informed them about his recent experience. He brought the check and correspondence to the police station and the officer on duty verified that the check was indeed phony.

Sometimes criminals get lazy and use out right robbery as their means of collectivity. In recent news, a man was robbed in Boston after posting a laptop for sale on Craigslist. He was robbed at gunpoint for his cell phone and laptop. The perpetrator was later identified and arrested. The police traced the perp from an email address used.

Who can forget Phillip Markoff, the infamous “Craigslist Killer?” Philip Haynes Markoff (February 12, 1986 – August 15, 2010) was an American medical student who was charged with the armed robbery and murder of Julissa Brisman in a Boston, Massachusetts hotel on April 14, 2009, and two other armed robberies. Markoff maintained his innocence of all charges and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. A grand jury indicted Markoff for first-degree murder, armed robbery, and other charges. On August 15, 2010, Markoff committed suicide in Boston’s Nashua Street Jail, where he was being held in custody awaiting trial.

The media have referred to this murder and other murders as “Craigslist killings” because the killer was alleged to have met his victims through ads placed on Craigslist, two of whom were offering erotic services. (Wikipedia)

These are just a few cases of how resources for the world are abused by the millions of desperate criminals, infesting the internet and our communities. During a time when our nation is subjected economic hardship, these predators are victimizing people of unfortunate standards. Some of us may fall for their tactics due to personal vulnerability and end up worse in the end than we were before. Buyer Beware! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Next Passage is courtesy of Craigslist:

You can sidestep would-be scammers by following these common-sense rules whenever using craigslist:

DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON – follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.

NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is likely a scammer.

FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.

CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer “buyer protection” or “seller certification”

NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)

AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL “GUARANTEE” YOUR TRANSACTION.

DO NOT RENT HOUSING WITHOUT SEEING THE INTERIOR, OR PURCHASE EXPENSIVE ITEMS SIGHT-UNSEEN – in all likelihood that housing unit is not actually for rent and that cheap item does not exist.

DO NOT SUBMIT TO CREDIT CHECKS OR BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR A JOB OR FOR HOUSING UNTIL YOU HAVE MET THE INTERVIEWER OR LANDLORD/AGENT IN PERSON.

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Purdue Pharma: The Nino Brown Of Oxycontin And Heroin

 

By Jack Kelly

 For movie buffs and cultural enthusiasts, Nino Brown is an infamous, cold-hearted drug dealing character played brilliantly by Wesley Snipes in the Mario Van Peebles film New Jack City.  In the film, Nino Brown pioneers a crack dealing empire that brings him immense profits while simultaneously destroying his community in New York.

On the surface, the tale of Brown is a familiar one.  Drugs are bad and people such as Nino Brown are evil, however charismatic and subtly seductive they may be. Throughout out the movie, Brown strategisizes with fellow ‘investors’ and convinces them that crack, as a product will be a smart investment.  Because as Brown describes it, people of his community are down trotted peons who need a lift, and crack will provide this.

Well, Brown’s plan was executed to a degree that would make Gordon Gekko blush.  As Brown predicted, his New York City neighborhood had an insatiable appetite for crack and profits soared making investors happy.  In fact, investors were so enthusiastic about the business, they decided that an expansion was in order.

So Brown engineered a hostile takeover of a dense, New York city public housing unit and “insourced” the production of crack.  a factory of workers were recruited from the surrounding community.  Brown even started giving turkey’s out during thanksgiving, a la Robin Hood.  Sounds good right?  Give Brown all your money for a little crack, but don’t worry, the turkey will taste good on Thanksgiving.

As one could imagine, profits increased, but so did the destruction of the community.  Sure, Brown and his investors were making a killing, but crime started to soar and his community was devoured beyond recognition.

One particular individual, an older gentleman took exception to Brown and confronted him on several occasions.  But as Brown stated, he was an entrepreneur, a natural extension of the message for upward mobility provided by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Of course, it was statement born of nonsensical horse shit.

In the end, Brown was arrested, but because of a tricky legal maneuver was not convicted.  But alas, Brown was shot and killed by that old guy who he rendered a useless pain in the ass earlier in the movie.

So how does this compare to Purdue Pharma you may ask?  Well a lot, only the difference being is legality and mainstream acceptance.  One is protected by the federal government and socially accepted by all of us, whereas a non-fictional Brown would be vilified outside of the Harlemesque borough he commanded.  Executives at Purdue are lauded as entrepreneurs; good business people who are allowed to legally invest and splurge their tremendous earnings.

But like brown, their earnings were garnered through pain and destruction of hundreds of thousands of lives at the cost of hundreds of millions.

 

Recently, I came across an excellent piece written by Erin Baldassari for the Boston Phoenix about Oxy’s and Purdue Pharma.  This was as detailed an article I have ever seen and deserves greater bulging eyeballs pouring over its content.  Over the past decade, we have become accustomed to horrific stories of Oxy’s in the U.S. In television shows, documentaries and various forms of literature, the horrors of this pill have been tabulated.

Except, these stories have largely avoided the big fat elephant in the room residing not in Afghanistan or some foreign outpost easily disdained.  This place of dystopian dreams is in the nondescript state of Connecticut.

As Baldassari highlighted, the Oxy epidemic was no accident.  It was a calculated money grab perfectly planned by individuals who want us to believe a pill containing large amounts of oxycodone (a very similar chemical to heroin and the main ingredient in percocet) would somehow be non-habit forming.  Despite thousand of years worth of evidence to the contrary demonstrating how addictive opiate laced substances are, Purdue tries to maintain a posture of “AWW shucks, sorry, we really didn’t mean all that destruction.”

But like Nino Brown, Purdue had a reason to cause such destruction and it is called cold hard cash. And there is a lot of it.  Let us look at the stats Baldassari states:

“Purdue raked in billions for its flagship pain medication OxyContin — despite federal indictments that resulted in hundreds of millions paid out in legal judgments, following a highly publicized 2007 court battle. Nor did the legal outcome slow the drug down — Purdue’s Oxy profits soared from $800 million in 2006, the year before the federal settlement, to over $3 billion in 2011.”

Purdue, like other cowardly companies or certain elected officials who wish to shield themselves from responsibility, complained of unfair reporting and put suffering cancer patients out in front to defend them.  They started a PR campaign, rigorously defending their product as a public good.  Legitimate people were pimped out in front of cameras talking about Oxy’s being a life saver.

From a PR standpoint, it is a brilliant, yet tired practice.  Sure, it certainly put adversaries in a precarious position, because who wants to take something away from people suffering from cancer?  Not me or anyone else with a moderate sense of humanity.

However, the dirty little secret is this:  We have more than enough opiate pain medicine on the market.  In fact, here is a list: Percodan®, Percocet® Roxicodone®, Tylox® OxyContin® Lorcet®, Vicodin® Zydone® Tylenol 3® Fiorinal® with Codeine Fioricet® with Codeine Demerol® Darvon®, Darvon-N® Wygesic® Duragesic®, Actiq® MS Contin®, Avinza® Dilaudid® Dolophine® Lortab® Phenaphen® with Codeine 3 Stadol® Talacen® Talwin NX® Ultram®.

Here is what this lengthly list means in laymen terms. There is enough opiate laced pain medicine to drill anyone into submission.  In addition, all of these mentioned medicines can be digested in a variety of forms including pills, patches, injections and even lollipops.  Yes lollipops!?

From a personal standpoint, this is an important story that must be told.  I personally became hooked on Oxycontin in the year of 1998 and eventually, like many of my peers moved onto heroin.  I have seen so many die over the years and have heard of many more.  It has caused destruction most are afraid to truly admit.  Especially on the east coast, the Oxycontin epidemic is truly an epic dark paradise.

Some may think this plague has not affected them and they would be wrong.  Unpaid emergency room visits and the dramatic rise in infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C and B are indirectly related to rising health care costs.  Increasing of police as a result of communities who have suffered from wide spread addiction, has caused taxes to rise to combat the resulting crime.

Purdue Pharma is protected under the same guise as many of the corrupt policies that harbored several companies on Wall Street.  Purdue, like the Wall Street guys, have enormous power and influence.  Lawmakers are terrified to take them on for fear of an aggressive pursuit of political castration, with weapons of money and granting of seed dollars for investigations to dig up any dirt existing on a lawmaker.  So they do nothing and play ball.

Does this mean everyone who worked for Purdue is evil or bad?  Of course not.  But the group of people who allowed this drug to hit the streets, simply put, have blood on their hands.  I know, I known, their defense is a simple one.  How is it their fault? How could they know this would happen?  Well my answer is simple, if not poetically charged in the self-ritiousness of an American idiosyncrasy.

 Oxycontin, as previously mentioned, is an opiate and thus means it is a federally controlled substance.  It is not Aspirin and a greater responsibility is tasked with those who bridle and dispense it. So either Purdue Pharma was to incompetent to sell Oxycontin to begin with or they knew exactly the destruction it could cause and looked the other way.

Regardless, someone should have went to jail, but it never occurred.  Well, unless we count the addicts and Dominican heroin dealers who sold dope when Oxy’s became to expensive.  But they are bad and evil right?!  I forgot that socially acceptable part.

So what was the real reason for Purdue to create Oxycontin?  Well, like Nino Brown it was all about the money, or as Randy Moss would say, Straight Cash Homey!  But maybe a quote from Nino Brown actually says it all and summarizes the sad state of affairs our country has dwindled into and clearly explains why Purdue Pharma got away with raping and pillaging their own country:

Nino Brown: Im not guilty. *You’re* the one that’s guilty. The lawmakers, the politicians, the Columbian drug lords, all you who lobby against making drugs legal. Just like you did with alcohol during the prohibition. You’re the one who’s guilty. I mean, c’mon, let’s kick the ballistics here: Ain’t no Uzi’s made in Harlem. Not one of us in here owns a poppy field. This thing is bigger than Nino Brown. This is big business. This is the American way. 

Sadly, he is right

For the walking dead, hope resides within you. Today is the day, the fight is over. A soul is such a beautiful thing to retrieve~ Some addict who has tasted the good life

 
Oxycodone
Oxycodone
Hydrocodone
Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen
Codeine
Codeine Phosphate/Butalbital/Caffeine/Aspirin
Butalbital/Acetaminophen/Caffeine/Codeine Phosphate
Meperidine
Propoxyphene
Propoxyphene and Acetaminophen
Fentanyl
Morphine
Hydromorphone Hydrochloride
Methadone
Hydrocodone and acetaminophen
Acetaminophen and Codeine
Butorphanol
Acetaminophen/Pentazocine
Pentazocine
Tramadol

 

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Stephen Wallace To Speak: “REALITY GAP – What Parents Don’t Know And Teens Aren’t Telling

By Abby Gray
Local Parent Debbie Evans, CHAD (Charlestown Against Drugs, a neighborhood in Boston) and CSAC (Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition), along with other community leaders and volunteers, bring renowned scholar, Stephen Wallace, to Charlestown!
What if you, a Parent,  could have better insight into what is really going on with your tween/teen?  What if you could better understand the issues that our youth face on a daily basis as they relate to drugs, alcohol and sex?  Those were some of the thoughts running through my friends head when she started reading “REALITY GAP – WHAT PARENTS DON’T KNOW AND TEENS AREN’T TELLING” by Stephen Wallace. She then thought, “What if we could get Mr. Wallace to come talk to us parents and our community about his book, research and experiences with teens?
Putting together a list in her head of organizations to partner with in Charlestown, Debbie Evans immediately contacted CHAD (Charlestown Against Drugs) and CSAC (Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition) to see if they were interested. They were very interested in bringing Mr. Wallace to Charlestown too. Local Mom & CSAC Board Member, Marjorie Ringrose, brings up a very poignant observation,  “In survey after survey, our teens tell us they want more communication with their parents. More, not less. But when it comes to risky behavior, we parents, often feel at a loss for what to say, how, and when. We hear that times have changed since we were teens. But do we really know how much? Do we know enough about what our kids are experiencing, right now, to have the meaningful conversations our teens tell us they want to have with us?”  On October 11, 2012, at the Knights of Columbus, 545 Medford Street, Charlestown, parents of teens will have the opportunity to hear Stephen Wallace in person speak about the issues we are all concerned about as parents of adolescents; and we will be able to ask him questions to help us better communicate and understand our children.
Mr. Wallace comes to Charlestown with a great deal of experience.  He is the senior advisor for policy, research, and education at SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), where he served as national chairman and CEO for more than fifteen years. He is also associate research professor and director of the Center for Adolescent Research and Education (CARE) at Susquehanna University and the director of counseling training at the Cape Cod Sea Camps. Mr. Wallace has been honored by the White House, the American Camp Association, SADD, and Susquehanna University for his tireless work on behalf of our nation’s youth.  Stephen has contributed to two books on youth development and is the author of the acclaimed book Reality Gap: Alcohol, Drugs, and Sex—What Parents Don’t Know and Teens Aren’t Telling.

As parents, no matter what socio-economic background, address in town, or ethnicity, we all want to see our children into adulthood safely. Times have changed greatly in the 20-30 years – and they change more every single day. The drugs that appear on the streets, the new ways adolescents communicate via text and code, and the lack of awareness about sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy prevention is huge threat to our children. Collectively, we can do something about it. It begins with attending Stephen Wallace’s presentation and Q&A session on October 11th that provides parents with a “behind-the-scenes” look at today’s adolescence experience. Wallace aims to empower parents to play an even more influential role in the choices that their children make, emphasizing key parent-child communication and how to make it work.

The program will be presented at the Knights of Columbus, 545 Medford Street on October 11, 2012. The doors open at 6:30 and Mr Wallace will begin his presentation promptly at 7:00 PM.  For more information, please email Ms. Evans directly at dge@michaelsward.com or call her directly at (617) 306-8631.
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Obama VS Romney: Round 1

By Jack Kelly

Last nights Presidential debate was a clear win for Republican nominee Mitt Romney.  But the big question is will it actually mean anything? Will this victory by Romney move the polls in any meaningful way?  Specifically, heading into last nights debate, Romney was behind, but disregard the national polls, which demonstrate the race to be much closer than it actually is.  For example, Obama has a clear lead in Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as consistently leading in Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Nevada and Colorado.  If Obama simply wins Ohio and Wisconsin, it virtually assures the election for him.  Even after last night’s debacle, I am not sure Ohio and Wisconsin will shift in Romney direction in a noticeable way.  It may give him Florida and Virginia, but it wont matter.  Romney really needs either Ohio or he needs to run the table out west, which is still challenging because of his horrific disadvantage with hispanics voters.

However, Obama needs to wake up!!

The President could have ended this campaign last night.  He never mentioned the vicious secret 47% video of Romney or even made a substantial counter to the dozens of outright lies Romney stated.  Obama seemed disinterested and annoyed.  Was he tired, angry, or sick of the burden of “being President?”  Who knows, but the big reason he lost last night was because of his lack of fight and passion.  Although this seems to have been strategic by the Obama campaign and I believe it was a good one at least intially, there should have been a plan B.  Obama should have intuitively seen the Romney momentum.  Although, sports analogies in reference to politics and life are off putting and unrealistic, consider this one; Obama went into last nights debate with a 21 point lead in the fourth quarter.  Like many football teams ahead in the 4th quarter, he tried to run out the clock with a cautious running attack.  But after going 3 and out, 2 times in a row, mixed in with a Romney touchdown, Obama should have shifted and become more aggressive while still being cautious.  Meaning start mixing some good, short throws in there to help get a much needed first down to stop the bleeding.

But Obama kept running the ball and Romney scored another touchdown.

There is no doubt, Romney won this debate, but it is not without some problems for him going forward.  Half the stuff he talked about was either made up or a drastic change from previous positiones he held, even up until last week in one case.  Also, something I garner will cause more trouble for him in the coming days, is his comment on Big Bird.  Romney, sounding like a douche bag, insinuated to Jim Lehrer he would ‘fire’ Big Bird’ and Lehrer, in a move meant to reduce our national debt.  Although some in the country may agree, a majority of people like PBS and especially love Big Bird and by extension, Elmo and the Muppets.

Make no mistake, it was a dumb thing to say by Romney that partisan democrats will highlight over Twitter and Facebook in the coming days, thus ever so slightly hurting Romney’s momentum.

So here is the lesson going forward for Obama and Romney.  For Obama, wake up and fight for that job you have.  Demonstrate to people the fire and passion that inspires the masses towards you.  Show America you want another four years.  Next time Romney punches, hit him back with the force of a Tyson-in-his-prime punch.  Translation: stop being Mr. nice guy all the time.  Romney is trying to take your job, cut his hand off or otherwise he will take it.

For Romney, stop talking about Big Bird and don’t tell the moderator you would fire him.  For most of the night he seemed somewhat human and showed fight, but he still came off as a douche bag with the PBS comment.  Otherwise, he should try and capitalize on this perceived good performance and try and move the needle in Ohio.

Bout 30 more days to go!  Long live the Republic!!!

 

 

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