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Archive for July, 2022

In 2015, John Bel Edwards scored a direct hit on the gubernatorial aspirations of then US Sen. David Vitter with his now famous “prostitutes over patriots” TV ad that sank Vitters’ campaign by informing voters that the senator had ABANDONED A VOTE honoring US war veterans in favor of waiting for a call from a prostitute.

For all intents and purposes, it was the death-knell for the Vitter campaign.

Luke Mixon, who is challenging incumbent John Kennedy (who, ironically, succeeded Vitter) would do well to follow the Edwards example.

You see, Kennedy on Wednesday of this week (July 27) likewise abandoned war veterans, though it was not for pleasures of the flesh so much as it was just another example of marching in lockstep with the demented Repugnantcan policy of funding the war machine while screwing (figuratively, not literally) veterans.

Kennedy was among 42 Senate Repugnantcans who blocked an otherwise bipartisan bill that would expand health care access for military veterans exposed to the Army’s own toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just in case you missed it, here it is again: John Neely Kennedy turned his back on US military personnel just when they needed it the most.

Oh, he wasn’t alone, by any means. Every. Single. Repugnantcan. Member. Of. The. Louisiana. Congressional. Delegation. Voted. No.

Every. One. Louisiana’s House Repugnantcans – Steve Scalise, Clay Higgins, Mike Johnson (the Marine veteran with the tattoo), Julia Letlow, and Garret Graves – each voted No last March 3 even though the full House passed the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.

Some promise.

Democrat Troy Carter was the only Louisiana member to keep the promise by voting for the bill.

In Wednesday’s vote, only eight Repugnantcans had the cajones to buck the party: Marco Rubio of Florida, John Boozman of Arkansas, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Jerry Moran of Kansas, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Shelley Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, and even Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska took a walk and didn’t vote.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York was among three Democrats voting No.

Only 34 Repugnantcan House members broke ranks to vote for the bill last March.

It’s worth repeating that none of the Louisiana Repugnantcans had the courage to stand up to the party and support our veterans who need medical attention for damage done by the open-air combustion of trash and other waste in burn pits that is a common practice of military operations, the environment and soldiers’ health be damned. Among the materials incinerated in burn pits were human waste, paint, metal cans, food waste, unexploded ordnance, lubricant products, plastics, rubber, wood with the use of jet fuel as an accelerant. Service members who were exposed to these toxic chemicals are often plagued with life-threatening diseases and illness.

The measure was considered essential to provide increased health care services and disability benefits for veterans suffering from exposure to the burn pits. It would have streamlined the VA’s chronically snail-paced review process to recognize toxic exposure as a cost of war.

It goes without saying that the vote, seen largely as Repugnantcans’ obsession with revenge for being outplayed by Democrats earlier in the week to win passage of a $740 billion package that will increase taxes on the wealthy and invest in climate change and health care. In other words, it’s the same old tit for tat game played by oversized egos while what’s best for the country again manages to be relegated to back-of-the-bus status.

The outrage sparked by the vote and the ensuing thoughtless FIST BUMP between Ted “Cancun” Cruz (R-Texas) and Steve Daines (R-Montana) may have caught cocky Repugnantcans off-guard. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-New York) was MORE THAN A LITTLE BLUNT in calling the action “total bulls**t. This is the worst form of politicization I’ve literally ever seen.”

Actually, Sen. Gillibrand, it’s merely validation of what writer Mark Leibovich said in his caustically humorous examination of the nation’s Capital in his book This Town: Washington is “predicated on the perpetuation of conflict, not the resolution of problems.”

One of those veterans of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria is Luke Mixon, a graduate of the US Naval Academy who flew more than 3000 flight hours over 17 years, earning three Air Medals in the process. He is a graduate of the prestigious Strike Fighter Weapons School, aka TOPGUN and completed his military service as Commanding Officer of the Navy’s F/A-18 Squadron based in New Orleans.

Among other things, Kennedy “actively blocked efforts to get Hurricane Laura and Ida victims necessary resources to recover from the storms, he has stalled critical funding to upgrade our crumbling infrastructure, and he even voted against funding to support Louisiana families,” according to Katie Bernhardt, chairperson of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “We could not be happier to see a decorated veteran step up and answer the call to serve his country once again by fighting back against failed Sen. John Kennedy.”

Yes, Bill Cassidy also voted against the bill to help veterans. He deserves scorn as well.

But he’s not up for reelection this year; Kennedy is.

So, if Luke Mixon is smart and has a taste for going for the jugular, he will rip a page from the John Bel Edwards Play Book and fully exploit the fact that Kennedy chose “Party Politics over Patriotism.”

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There’s something intrinsically sick about an obsession over what someone is reading.

Michael Lunsford and his Citizens for a New Louisiana don’t want a “new” anything. They want control over others’ thinking. It’s the openly espoused agenda of the national Repugnantcan Party as so often expressed by the likes of Ron DeSantis.

It’s really unfortunate that this group finds it necessary to concentrate its efforts of censorship and repression in the name of Christianity and decency. It seems that he and his organization are pulling their talking points directly from the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy which, among other things, advocates the killing of gays and total domination over women – especially sexually.

Lunsford has never to my knowledge advocated killing anyone but he has spewed unfounded – and libelous – accusations toward decent, honest people who probably have a greater understanding of the real teachings of Christianity than he could ever hope for.

The man is an agent of hate and vitriol. It’s as simple as that. He’s sounding much like this idiot Nick Fuentes on TikTok, who actually calls for the burning of women at the stake. (Reader discretion advised: language)

Lunsford claims he wants a “new Louisiana,” and that’s commendable. There are so many areas in which this state could improve: teacher pay, healthcare, literacy, poverty, hunger, environment, corruption, crime, gender pay discrepancy, and the list could go on indefinitely.

But instead, he chooses to zero in on an effort to ban books – censorship – in open violation of the First Amendment.

My question to him is this: Why are you so concerned about what kids might read? As I said in an earlier post, straight kids more than likely aren’t interested in reading books about a kid with two daddies at home. And if a kid is gay, you ain’t gonna change him by banning books.

Lunsford probably (I don’t know this for certain) subscribes to the debunked belief that gays can be changed to straight through counseling and rehabilitation.

They cannot and let me say this unequivocally: Absent harassment from people like Lunsford (and, regrettably, me, when I was in high school), gays are probably happier and better adjusted psychologically that most of us straights who seem to find so much time to fret about gays and what other people are doing in the privacy of their homes.

I know several gays (one, a dear friend, recently died of a heart attack and I miss his humor and his terrific intellect) and they are, without exception, well-adjusted, productive, and creative.

Lunsford is so terrified that children will be adversely influenced – or molested – by gays. Here are the facts: in as many as 93 percent of abuse cases, the child knows the person already and 47 percent of abusers are family members. How are you going to protect against that, Lunsford?

Of course, as one might expect, a study conducted by the BAPTIST PRESS predictably says that gays are more likely to molest kids. But a likely more reliable source, the NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE, says that the risk of adult gays molesting children ranges from 0 to 3.1 percent.

If Lunsford is so concerned about protecting children, maybe he should take a look at the real sources of porn for kids: the Internet and cell phones. Porn is widely accessible online and kids do send sexually explicit photos to each other on their phones.

But you see, he can make more noise and garner more financial support by keeping his fight local and taking on innocent school librarians. That’s really low and sleazy.

Because of the Repugnantcan intellect of people like Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Ted “Cancun” Cruz, Donald Trump (who the hell ridicules people with physical deficiencies?), and Lunsford, we have moved perilously closer to the mentality of a third world country.

As an illustration of how obsessed Lunsford is with his Quixotic library quest and to what absurd level he is willing to take his fight, he actually posted on Facebook a message that he is holding books he “unilaterally” (read: arbitrarily) removed from the Lafayette Public Library and that the public is invited to come to his office to view the books – “Appointment recommended.”

Could that be because he first wants to be sure he’s through reading them?

I don’t know. It’ probably a rhetorical question.

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Were they not so frightening, the people behind Michael Lunsford’s Citizens for a New Louisiana would be almost comic in their efforts to stymie our basic freedoms.

Almost.

But they’re not, you see, because like their co-conspirators at the national level, the objective of the Repugnantcan Party is to strip us of our right of expression, our right of association, our right to read what we choose, and our right to watch which movies and television shows.

Extreme? Alarmist? Scaremongering? Call it what you wish but tread carefully before you call it specious hogwash. It was no less a personage than Henry Kissinger who said even paranoid people have real enemies.

The Supreme Court, now so heavily weighted to the right, has already struck down two important, long-standing fundamental rights: women’s right to control their own bodies and the rights of those convicted of crimes to APPEAL THEIR CONVICTIONS on the basis of poor legal representation, a ruling that removes the final safeguard against wrongful convictions and executions of innocent people.

Justice Clarence Thomas has hinted that the court may well also take a second look at same-sex marriage, voting rights, and even something as personal as contraception. Thomas himself could also be affected should the court take under consideration interracial marriage (then again, he may see it as an opportunity to rid himself of wife Ginny).

Sens. Rick Scott and Lindsey Graham have also intimated that the sharp reduction or perhaps even the elimination of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Likely to remain undisturbed, however, are laws THAT ALLOW GIRLS TO MARRY at ages at young as 12 in Massachusetts; 13 in New Hampshire; 14 in North Carolina; 15 in Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, and Utah – all with parental consent and some with judicial consent. In all, 32 states and the District of Columbia generally have established 16 as the minimum age for marriage for females.

That is, or course, because women have long been considered chattel property in this country. Women weren’t even given the right to vote until 1920 when the 19th Amendment was ratified. And if you don’t think I’m right consider that the national GENDER PAY GAP shows that men earn between 18 percent and 19 percent more than their women counterparts in similar positions.

Of 50 states and the District of Columbia, Louisiana ranks 49th, just ahead of Utah and Wyoming, with a pay gap of 27 percent. A male’s average pay in Louisiana is $55,428 compared to $40,442.

So now, we have Michael Lunsford and his Citizens for a New Louisiana setting its agenda for combatting any tax issue, censoring the content offered by libraries and generally dictating other facets of our lives.

In its mission statement posted on its Web page, Citizens for a New Louisiana ostensibly advocate for transparency. But its been difficult to learn who the non-profit’s financial angels are because by law, they’re not required to divulge that. Nice. Transparency in everything except where they get their money.

We do know that one of his backers is a property management executive named Will Mills, III. Mills doesn’t just support Citizens for a New Louisiana, however. He has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into various political campaigns, including $78,500 to the Repugnantcan Party of Louisiana, $9,500 to Public Service Commissioner Mike Francis, and $7,500 to Attorney General Jeff Landry who has participated in a spate of lawsuits ranging from environmental issues to overturning the 2020 presidential election. He even sued a reporter over the reporter’s audacity to request public records.

They preach transparency on the part of others but exempt themselves.

And make no mistake, they’re coming after every library in the state. They have only contempt for the First Amendment while holding the Second Amendment up as a sacred right. They want it both ways and the next logical step (as already articulated by this group) is public school curricula.

As already articulated by former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the goal of the Repugnantcan Party is to gut public education and replace it with a system of private and charter schools so that they may set their own curricula that will exclude mentions of the Civil War, the struggle for civil rights, gender equality and anything else they find “objectionable.”

This struggle over library books is just the first shot across the bow of individual rights, folks. Get ready. This is for the long term.

Below is the mission statement of Citizens for a New Louisiana lifted from their Web page:

MISSION

Fostering prosperity in Louisiana’s overall economy by simplifying complex issues, promoting TRANSPARENCY in LOCAL GOVERNMENT, and providing sound public policy insights based on thorough research and conservative principals.

principal

prĭn′sə-pəl

adjective

  1. First or highest in rank or importance. synonymchief.
  2. Of, relating to, or being financial principal, or a principal in a financial transaction.

principle

prĭn′sə-pəl

noun

  1. A basic truth, law, or assumption.
  2. A rule or standard, especially of good behavior.
  3. The collectivity of moral or ethical standards or judgments.

Michael Lunsford, who also named the wrong school in Livingston Parish, might wish to visit a library to take a look at a dictionary to learn the proper usage of the word principle.

(Full disclosure: I am the last one to poke fun at incorrect usage of words. I’ve done so myself, but I just couldn’t resist puncturing the ego of someone of such self-importance as Lunsford.)

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MEMO

To:         Every single parish, university, and public school library in Louisiana

From:    Michael Lunsford

               President, Citizens for a New Louisiana, and alleged author,

               Radical Right-Wing Repugnantcans,

               And self-serving demagogues

Message:           

We’re coming for your books, your meetings, and your jobs. If we have to destroy your reputation to accomplish our objective, we will not hesitate to do so. We have no principles or delusions of decency.

Strong? Perhaps. Offensive? Maybe. Accurate? Absolutely.

He has already managed to stack the Lafayette Parish Board of Control (“control” being the key word here) and he’s set his sights on Livingston Parish. His is a campaign being carried out, ironically, in the name of decency. It’s anything but decent, as evidenced by the personal attack on middle school librarian in Livingston Parish, Amanda Jones:

Something tells me you’d better be able to prove this. The alternative is you would be wise to lawyer up. Libel can be an expensive lesson.

Probably wouldn’t have too much influence on that 6-year-old kindergartner since Amanda Jones works at Live Oak Middle School. It’s a math thing; you wouldn’t understand.

Uh, just for the record, genius, wrong school. The gymnasium at Live Oak Junior High was hit by lightning and was destroyed by the ensuing fire. “This woman,” as you so dismissively referred to her, is the librarian at Live Oak Middle School, a couple of miles away. Get your damn facts straight before you go shooting off your bigoted, misinformed mouth.

Make no mistake. Michael Lunsford is on a campaign of censorship and he won’t stop until he’s smeared, libeled, and besmirched every librarian who stands in his way and he may well be coming to your parish, your school, your university next.

And he’s got money – and the Repugnantcan Party – behind him in his efforts.

What kind of reptilian, slithering, lowlife would attack a person he doesn’t even know, probably has never met, like this?

I’ll tell you who. A coward who doesn’t even have the courage to attach his name to his libelous attacks. He hides behind anonymity in his online defamations while putting on an angelic demeanor in public.

He is, in short, your typical Repugnantcan operative, sticking his nose into people’s lives in such as manner as to be as disruptive, as destructive, and as vile as possible while carrying out his vulturous campaign.

For more on Lunsford and his organization, go HERE to read the thorough work of journalist for the Lafayette publication The Current, by Leslie Turk.

Lunsford got shot down in Livingston Parish last week but rest assured, he’ll be back. His kind don’t take no for an answer and they’re persistent to the point of being more than a little nauseating.

Yesterday, in Lafayette, the Library Board of Control, appropriately “controlled” by Lunsford’s handpicked appointees, attempted to fire head librarian Cara Chance but the board, headed by President Robert Judge who was obviously in over his head when it came to conducting a controversial meeting, withered under the protest of a crowd of a roomful of Chance supporters.

Judge, read a two-page opening statement (which he neglected to make available to attendees or the media) that was difficult to hear in the back of the room. But he took a shot at the reporting of the Acadiana Advocate (sister publication to the Baton Rouge Advocate), which he described as “inaccurate, as usual.” When a public official says something like that, it generally means the reporter has scored a direct hit.

What Judge was going to such lengths to deny was that Chance was being considered for termination over her resistance to banning objectionable books. It was, he said, for insubordination, for which board member David Pitre, in the most indignant manner he could muster, declared he had no patience for. Well, bully for him. Apparently, he had all the patience in the world for Judge’s misdirection and obfuscation.

Because, make no mistake, this was all about censorship. The insubordination charge, which surfaced only minutes before the meeting started, was pure and unadulterated B.S.

This was a power play with Lunsford’s fingerprints all over it. And this wannabe powerbroker doesn’t even reside in Lafayette Parish – he lives in St. Martin, not that any of that matters to him.

Backed by local property managers Will Mills, III, Jeremiah Supple, and attorney Steven Durio (Durio’s name cropped up in my book Murder on the Teche, about the 2010 murder of New Iberia orthodontist Dr. Robert Chastant), Lunsford and his Citizens for a New Louisiana, managed to defeat a critical school tax proposal back in 2017 and a library tax the following year.

Interesting name for his group, considering there’s little “new” about the same old power politics of Louisiana where those with the bucks manage to roll over everyone else.

Did I mention that Mills and Supple are property managers? Could it be honest convictions and pure intentions that moved them to support Lunsford’s opposition to the library tax or could it have been some underlying reason like say, the defeat of any tax would lower the taxes on their property holdings? Nah, that couldn’t be it.

The self-appointed guardians of all that is decent are hell-bent on protecting our young-uns from the evils of the flesh by not allowing them access to those sinful books that dare mention the existence of gays or even the mention of sex or (gawd forbid) satanic or (gasp) critical race theory.

Critical race theory? Hell, we can’t be teaching kids about how their granddaddies hurled insults and even rocks at little black kids who just wanted to go to a decent school with bathrooms that worked and classrooms that were heated in winter. We can’t let them know our police turned vicious dogs loose on blacks and that college students (also our forebears) poured milkshakes over their heads at the lunch counter. So, let’s keep books like Ruby Bridges Goes to School and Martin Luther King and the March on Washington the hell outta our liberries. (Ruby Bridges integrated William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960.)

Lunsford, obviously encouraged over the success of defeating the library tax quickly immersed himself in another controversy the following year over a proposed themed Story Time at the library and managed to kill that project as well. The ACLU entered the picture over that s**t storm and won a lawsuit against the parish, which only served to further enflame Lunsford and his buddies.

Citizens for a New Louisiana managed to block a Black History presentation after Lunsford, through the Parish Council, managed to stack the Library Board of Control with his group’s lap dogs, who took things a step further by banning any theme display at the library.

That’s when Chance insubornated (we’ll pretend that’s a real word) herself by daring to erect a display that included the mention of gay marriage and the board went bananas, popping a blood vessel or two or three in the process.

It attempted to get Library Director Danny Gillane to axe Chance, but Gillane went on vacation or abstained or something and punted to the board which called yesterday’s meeting.

Here’s the real irony that many in attendance seemed to miss:

Chance was scheduled for major surgery today (Tuesday, July 26) and asked the board to delay Monday’s meeting until she recovered well enough to participate. It summarily refused.

But on Monday, when it came to facing down an angry crowd that was in no mood for chicanery on the part of the board, it cratered like a soggy paper cup and voted to defer action until next month, thereby delaying action on the board’s terms and not for any courtesy shown Chance.

And Lunsford? Well, he was a no-show.

As for Amanda Jones at Live Oak Middle School? She ain’t taking the crap thrown at her lying down.

She has filed criminal complaints against Lunsford and Ryan Thames, that “anonymous” person who posted his hit piece under the clever moniker Bayou State of Mind.

That’s exactly what it’s going to take – fighting back. These slugs cannot be allowed to attack decent people with impunity. Alex Jones of Infowars is learning that lesson as I write this. He is in court in Austin, Texas, right now to defend a defamation lawsuit over his idiotic claim that the victims of Sandy Hook were actors. If there’s a shred of just remaining in this world, he should lose his shirt – and baggy pants.

As for libraries featuring books about gays and CRT, I will take the latter issue first. The fight for equal rights is part of this country’s history. It’s legitimate to have kids learn about it. The very idea of one man “owning” another is repulsive and repugnant. Yet this country condoned it, even to the point of considering a black as a fraction of a man. Talk about hypocrites. Whites refused to acknowledge blacks as equals but allowed, no required, black nannies to nurse white babies and while slave owners fathered children by black slave women.

I can see where some would not want kids to learn that part. I understand why we wouldn’t want our children to know that our ancestors practiced such double standards. The truth hurts.

If you don’t already know, I am steadfastly against censorship in any form. If marijuana is supposed to be a “gateway” to harder drugs, then censorship is no less a gateway to further erosion of our basic freedoms. It’s guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and is every bit as important as the Second Amendment. Never forget that. If you don’t like a book, then damnit, don’t read it. It’s that simple. If your kid isn’t gay, he isn’t gonna read gay literature. If he is gay, you ain’t gonna change him by banning some book. Get that through your head, Lunsford.

As for gays and porn in the libraries? Has Lunsford ever heard of the Internet or cell phones? Kids today send nude photos of themselves to the opposite sex over their Smart Phones and they can get all the internet smut they can handle with the click of a mouse.

And to tell you the truth, I’ll bet you some of those morality marshals have taken a peek or two at a few online porn pages themselves.

I will be having more on this subject, I promise you.

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Karma. That bitch.

What Gov. John Bel Edwards could not – would not – do, her gambling addiction did.

Oh, Karen Carter-Peterson leaves a legacy, all right, even as she is charged in a bill of information on a single count of WIRE FRAUD, stealing from the Louisiana Democratic Party that she ostensibly led, to feed the hungry beast at the gaming tables.

The state senator who blocked the appointment of Louisiana’s top gaming regulator – not over a political matter or a philosophical difference, but for reasons rooted in her own weakness and her insatiable attraction to the casinos.

She resigned from her state senate seat earlier this year, in the middle of the legislative session, in fact, in the apparent hope that that would enough to keep prosecutors from her door.

It wasn’t.

While she was siphoning off money from the party and from her campaign funds, she was systematically DESTROYING the Democratic Party which she was elected to lead back in 2012. LouisianaVoice published a story about her FAILURES as a party leader back in November 2017.

In her nine-plus years at the helm, she stacked the State Democratic Executive Committee with her own appointees and then, once she had the votes to do so, had her board approve her an annual stipend of $36,000, plus expenses. She paid her sister $13,000 for two months’ “organizational/grassroots consulting work” in 2015 and placed Stephen Handwerk in a $100,000-a-year position even as parish executive committee membership positions went unfilled and state party membership declined.

Gov. Edwards wanted desperately to replace her at the head of the party, but he didn’t dare do so for fear of alienating his solid black base of support. Because of his impotency in placing strong leadership, the party has limped along, badly crippled in an already crimson red state.

She made a run for Congress to replace US Rep. Cedric Richmond in April 2021, but lost to State Sen. Troy Carter.

In resigning in April this year, she said she had received treatment for depression and addiction and that she had managed to refrain from gambling, which she described at the time as an “insidious” disease which she said was the single biggest cause of suicide.

On Wednesday, her attorney, Brian Capitelli, issued a statement in which he said, “She is sincerely remorseful for her compulsive behavior resulting from this addiction and has made full repayment of funds used as a result of her addiction. She has been forthright, honest, and cooperative with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in their investigation.”

It seems like we’ve heard that song and dance before. And aren’t they all remorseful – after they’re caught? The next step in the two-step process is usually to find religion.

She paid $50,000 in restitution to the state Democratic Party on Wednesday. It remains to be seen whether or not that was “full repayment,” as her attorney claims.

Why she found it necessary to dip into party and campaign funds is something of a mystery, given that she is quite wealthy in her own right. Of course a gambing addiction has a way of eroding wealth.

Last year, Carter-Peterson put the kibosh on the reappointment by Edwards of Ronnie Jones as chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

A quirk in the law allows a single lawmaker to veto an appointment if the appointee lives in the legislator’s district and Jones had the misfortune to have been residing in Carter-Peterson’s district at the time. Because she had been caught sneaking into a casino after she had voluntarily placed her name on the list of people prohibited from entering a Louisiana casino.

Jones is convinced that Carter-Peterson blamed him for the news leak of the incident, but she would never admit that was the reason. Instead, she said the board needed new blood and that Jones was “too close” to the industry he regulated.

Jones, who has since moved to Virginia, didn’t buy her explanation.

“I believe the consensus sentiment is that I spent 45 years in public service and served with honor, dignity, and integrity,” he said.

“The jury is still out on Sen. Peterson.”

Prophetic words, indeed.

Some might even call it karma.

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