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How the Ski Industry is Working to Save Winter

The outdoor industry is upping its sustainability game, and the ski industry is no exception. Downhill skiing is notoriously known for its environmental impact?anywhere large amounts of people flock is bound to be a recipe for excessive waste. But?hitting the slopes may arguably be the?most carbon-intensive outdoor sport.

In particular, ski slopes use incredible amounts of electricity, from slope-side lighting?and fuel-intensive snow-making to keeping things toasty inside for patrons drinking their apr?s hot cocoas. But?energy isn’t the only hungry environmental monster. In the French Alps, it is estimated that yearly artificial snow production requires the same amount of water as would be used by 1,500 people. That’s a lot of water waste for just a little fake snow. And that’s not to mention the impacts of fake snow on the natural environment, which requires immense energy to produce, causes water displacement, and melts 2 to 3 weeks later in the season than natural snow, which postpones snowmelt. Scientists are still unsure about the ramifications of this.

No one can argue that ski resorts have a lot to lose when it comes to climate change and warming global temperatures. They rely primarily on a cold, snowy winter season, so it is in the industry?s best interests to do all it can to thwart a complete environmental meltdown. And that?s why ski resorts nationwide are looking to seriously green up their acts.

Many ski areas have pledged to do all they can to keep up with Paris Climate Accord goals, even though the US government has pulled out. Green building policies are being implemented for new condominiums in order to protect nearby animal habitats. Ski California has already set goals for water conservation, land preservation, increased clean public transit options and general increased efficiency and sustainability all around.?There are?plenty of?ways to reduce?the skiing industry?s carbon footprint, and that’s great for both skiers and the industry at large.

But the ski industry is looking to?get even greener.

Resorts across the country are working to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and make the move towards renewable energy. Jiminy Peak in Western Massachusetts runs one third of its energy needs (two thirds in winter) off of wind power, and they are looking to reduce their carbon footprint more and more each year.

Even more impressive, California ski resort Squaw Valley has just released its plan to go 100 percent renewable by as early as December 2018. The move from fossils to renewables by the ski industry is hopefully the first step in a larger shift in outdoor recreation towards renewable energy. After all, in order to play outdoors you need a healthy, clean environment to do it in.

If you love skiing but have a green conscience, it is important to choose your resort destinations carefully. Factor in airline travel, the resort’s sustainability practices,?the gear and food you buy, weather and anything else to make sure you aren?t adding to the problem. And if your local slope isn?t greening it up, talk to the manager, show them what some other resorts are doing and discuss ways you think?cleaner practices?could increase their slope?s economic and environmental viability in tandem. Let’s be real: increased environmental consciousness will pay off for all of us?on the long run.

Do you love skiing? What do you think you could do on your own to make your season pass less carbon intensive? Share your best ideas below!? ??

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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How the Ski Industry is Working to Save Winter

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Um, where did all of the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice just go?

Many have agreed that President-elect Donald Trump has some questionable ideas when it comes to climate policy. Today, we get to add anthropomorphized gym sock O’Reilly and known cup goblin Starbucks to that list!

On Wednesday’s episode of The O’Reilly Factor, he advised Trump on a number of items to consider as he prepares to take office. On this list:

“Finally, President-Elect Trump should accept the Paris treaty on climate to buy some goodwill overseas. It doesn’t really amount to much anyway, let it go.”

Well, the thing is, it does actually amount to a lot.

Here’s a confusing screenshot, because this action item appears under the heading “What President Obama Failed to Do,” when President Obama did, in fact, succeed in accepting the Paris Agreement.

On Thursday morning, a coalition of 365 major companies and investors submitted a plea to Trump to please, come on, just support the goddamn Paris Agreement, because to do otherwise would be a disastrous blow to the United States’ economic competitiveness. The list includes Starbucks (the nerve!!!!), eBay, Kellogg, and Virgin.

Anyway, Trump’s whole “refusing to acknowledge climate change” thing seems like a bad look.

See the original article here:  

Um, where did all of the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice just go?

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A woman who fought predatory oil and gas leasing on Native lands got the Presidential Medal of Honor.

Many have agreed that President-elect Donald Trump has some questionable ideas when it comes to climate policy. Today, we get to add anthropomorphized gym sock O’Reilly and known cup goblin Starbucks to that list!

On Wednesday’s episode of The O’Reilly Factor, he advised Trump on a number of items to consider as he prepares to take office. On this list:

“Finally, President-Elect Trump should accept the Paris treaty on climate to buy some goodwill overseas. It doesn’t really amount to much anyway, let it go.”

Well, the thing is, it does actually amount to a lot.

Here’s a confusing screenshot, because this action item appears under the heading “What President Obama Failed to Do,” when President Obama did, in fact, succeed in accepting the Paris Agreement.

On Thursday morning, a coalition of 365 major companies and investors submitted a plea to Trump to please, come on, just support the goddamn Paris Agreement, because to do otherwise would be a disastrous blow to the United States’ economic competitiveness. The list includes Starbucks (the nerve!!!!), eBay, Kellogg, and Virgin.

Anyway, Trump’s whole “refusing to acknowledge climate change” thing seems like a bad look.

Link:

A woman who fought predatory oil and gas leasing on Native lands got the Presidential Medal of Honor.

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Trump’s Racist Appeal Becomes More Explicit Every Day

Mother Jones

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I can’t believe I missed this, but I did:

During two separate discussions of Black Lives Matters protests on Tuesday, Donald Trump claimed that people have called for moments of silence for Micah Johnson, the gunman who killed five police officers in Dallas and injured nine others, without specifying who or where.

On an O’Reilly Factor segment….“I saw what they’ve said about police at various marches and rallies,” said Trump. “I’ve seen moments of silence called for for this horrible human being who shot the policemen.”

Trump repeated the claim Tuesday night, saying at a rally in Indiana, “The other night you had 11 cities potentially in a blow-up stage. Marches all over the United States—and tough marches. Anger. Hatred. Hatred! Started by a maniac! And some people ask for a moment of silence for him. For the killer!”

Josh Marshall:

This isn’t getting a lot of attention. But it should….There is no evidence this ever happened. Searches of the web and social media showed no evidence. Even Trump’s campaign co-chair said today that he can’t come up with any evidence that it happened.

….A would-be strong man, an authoritarian personality, isn’t just against disorder and violence. They need disorder and violence. That is their raison d’etre, it is the problem that they are purportedly there to solve. The point bears repeating: authoritarian figures require violence and disorder. Look at the language. “11 cities potentially in a blow up stage” … “Anger. Hatred. Hatred! Started by a maniac!” … “And some people ask for a moment of silence for him. For the killer.”

Trump’s explicit race baiting has been so normalized by now that we hardly notice this stuff. This kind of talk from a major-party candidate for president should be front-page news everywhere. Instead, it warrants a few words in various campaign roundups.

Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, foreigners of all stripes: they’re all grist for Trump’s crusade to convince white voters that they’re surrounded by rapists, murderers, terrorists, and assorted other predators who want to take their jobs away and impoverish them. It’s his whole campaign.

This is loathsome. For years it’s been clear that the Republican Party could only win by turning out an ever greater share of the white vote. But by 2012 they seemed to have done everything they possibly could: Fox News stoked the xenophobia, Republican legislatures passed voter ID laws, and outreach to white evangelicals had reached saturation levels. What more did they have on their plate? Now we know the answer: nominate a guy who doesn’t play around with dog whistles anymore. Instead he comes out and flatly runs as the candidate of white America, overtly attacking every minority group he can think of. That shouldn’t work. In the year 2016, it should alienate at least as many white voters as it captures. But so far it seems to be doing at least moderately well.

President Obama was right yesterday: America is not nearly as divided as the media makes it seem. But the only way for Donald Trump to win is to make it seem otherwise. That’s what he’s been doing for the past year, and the media has been playing along the whole time, exaggerating existing grievances where they can and inventing them where they can’t.

I’m not scared that America is such a hotbed of racial resentment that it’s about to implode. But I’m increasingly scared that Donald Trump can make it seem that way, and that the press—always in search of a dramatic narrative—will go off in search of ways to leverage this into more eyeballs, more clicks, and more paid subscriptions. There’s still time for us all to decide we should handle this differently. But that time is running out.

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Trump’s Racist Appeal Becomes More Explicit Every Day

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Future forests to be smaller, less majestic

Fe Fi Fo Bummer

Future forests to be smaller, less majestic

By on 21 Jan 2015commentsShare

To the list of ways climate change is slowly but surely rewriting the world as we know it, add “making forests less awesome.” A new study suggests that since the 1930s California has lost half of its biggest trees — those with a trunk over two feet in diameter — even in forests protected from logging and development. The study corroborates earlier findings that Yosemite’s pines are growing to smaller average sizes.

The researchers believe climate change is a major factor. Dwindling snowpack and rising temperatures mean plants have unreliable water supplies during the dry season, and they also lose water at a higher rate. Less water means trees aren’t growing as big.

The study, which surveyed 46,000 square miles of Golden State woodlands, found especially steep losses in Southern California’s forests, where the water deficit was most serious. But even tracts along the state’s foggy northern coast and northern Sierra high country suffered: The latter saw more than half of its largest trees vanish. From National Geographic:

Large trees in general appear to be more vulnerable to a water shortfall, [lead author Patrick McIntyre] said. Though it’s not clear why, one reason may be that in large, tall trees the internal hydraulic system that pumps water from roots to leaves is more susceptible to failing when water is short. Another factor could be that many of those trees sprouted centuries ago, when California’s climate was colder, said Jim Lutz, a Utah State University forest ecologist and lead author of the Yosemite study.

Since the study relied on surveys taken before the ongoing four-year California drought began, it’s hard to say how bad things now look for the state’s famous postcard giants, the sequoias and redwoods. But it’s almost certainly worse — and that means more than just a loss of wow factor:

Beyond their romantic grandeur, big trees play an outsized ecological role. They produce more seeds, resist wildfire damage, and store more carbon than their smaller brethren; rare animals such as spotted owls and flying squirrels live in their cavities.

Climate change isn’t even necessarily the most immediate danger. Add the pressures of a growing population, ongoing development, and overzealous fire suppression that leaves many small trees all vying for resources that would sustain a few large ones, and you have a future with far fewer giants in it.

Source:
California’s Forests: Where Have All the Big Trees Gone?

, National Geographic.

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Future forests to be smaller, less majestic

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Lead and Crime: Some New Evidence From a Century Ago

Mother Jones

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And now from the future to the past: specifically, the period from 1921 to 1936. Let’s talk about homicide.

James Feigenbaum and Christopher Muller recently published an intriguing paper that looks at the correlation between the introduction of lead pipes in American cities at the turn of the 20th century and the increase in the murder rate 20 years later. Southern cities, it turns out, mostly opted out of lead piping (mainly because they lacked nearby lead smelters and refineries), so F&M present separate results for northern and Midwest cities where the vast bulk of lead pipe construction took place.

Their basic results are on the right. Cities with at least some lead piping had murder rates that were, on average, 8.6 percent higher than cities with galvanized iron or wrought iron pipes. Other causes of death were mostly unrelated. Only the murder rates changed1.

Now, there are several things to say about this. On the positive side, this study avoids some of the confounding factors of other studies. Lead paint and gasoline lead, for example, tend to be concentrated in poor neighborhoods, which means that correlations with crime might be due to hyper-local socio-geographic factors rather than lead itself. But F&M’s study avoids this problem: lead piping generally served entire cities, so it affects everyone equally, not just the poor. And since the likelihood of using lead pipes was mostly a factor of how close a city was to a lead refinery (thus making lead pipes cheaper), there’s no special reason to think that cities which used lead pipes were sociologically any different from those that used iron pipes.

On the negative side, it’s risky to look solely at homicide numbers. This is because the absolute number of murders is small, especially on a city-by-city basis, and that means there’s a lot of noise in the numbers. This is especially true when you’re limited to a period of time as short as 15 years. There’s also the fact that this was an era when lead paint was widely used, and that’s very hard to tease out from the use of lead in pipes. Finally, there’s the usual problem of any study like this: what do you control for? The use of lead pipes is plausibly unrelated to anything else related to crime, but it’s impossible to know for sure. The authors do control for black population, foreign-born population, occupations, home ownership, and gender breakdown, and that reduces their effect size from 11.4 percent to 8.6 percent. Might some other control reduce it even further?

Plus there’s the anomaly of Southern cities. Very few of them used lead pipes, but some did, and their murder rates were essentially no different from any other Southern cities. Why? It’s possible that this is because their use of lead pipes was small (F&M have data on lead pipe use by city, but not on how much lead piping was used in each city). But it’s still odd.

Finally, there’s a fascinating aspect to this study: when you study lead and crime, you need to concentrate on young children, since they’re the ones primarily harmed by lead exposure. So you want to correlate lead exposure to crime rates 20 years later. As near as I can tell, F&M do this, but only by accident: their lead pipe data comes from 1897 but the earliest reliable homicide data starts in 1921. So the proper time lag is there, but as near as I can tell, it’s not really deliberate. They do mention the time lag briefly in their discussion of a confirming bit of evidence toward the end of the paper, but nowhere in the main body.

In any case, this is yet another small but persuasive bit of evidence for the link between lead exposure in children and increased rates of violent crime when those children grow up. Despite the study’s few weaknesses, it really is plausible that lead piping is exogenous to any other factor related to crime rates, and this makes F&M’s discovery pretty credible as a causal factor for the difference in murder rates between lead-pipe and iron-pipe cities, not just a spurious correlation. Interesting stuff.

1Actually, not quite. They tested for cirrhosis, suicide, heart disease, pneumonia, tuberculosis, auto accidents, influenza, diabetes, childbirth, syphilis, whooping cough, measles, typhoid, scarlet fever, train accidents, and malaria. All were uncorrelated except for cirrhosis and train accidents. The latter two are unexplained, though lead exposure actually is related to cirrhosis, and it’s possible that reductions in impulse control might lead to more train accidents. Still, a bit odd.

Link:  

Lead and Crime: Some New Evidence From a Century Ago

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We’re Not Just Reducing Demand For Electricity—We’re Destroying It

Mother Jones

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This story was originally published on Slate.

The Wall Street Journal had a good front-page article this week about the challenges facing the nation’s utilities. For the longest time, electricity sales and consumption went hand in hand with economic growth. In the last several years, not so much. Electricity retail sales peaked at 3.77 trillion kilowatt-hours in 2008, dropped in 2008 and 2010, recovered a bit in 2011, and fell in each of the next two years. The 2013 total of 3.69 trillion kilowatt-hours was down 2 percent from 2008.

The culprits are many: changes in the economy (less industry, more services), higher prices and low wages pushing people to cut usage, more people and companies generating their own electricity on their rooftops, and a renewed focus on efficiency. I’d add another factor, one that the Journal underplays: Utilities are confronting the prospect of significant and widespread demand destruction.

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We’re Not Just Reducing Demand For Electricity—We’re Destroying It

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Military experts are worried about climate change, and you should be too

Bring out the big guns

Military experts are worried about climate change, and you should be too

Shutterstock

America is coming under attack, say 16 retired generals and admirals, and the attacker is climate change.

In 2007, the Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board sounded an unprecedented alarm over national security threats posed by global warming. Now the group has been asked again to advise the U.S. government on climate-change risks, and again it says there’s lots to be concerned about. In a new report released on Tuesday, the retired military leaders say, “we validate the findings of our first report” and, in many cases, “the risks we identified are advancing noticeably faster than we anticipated.”

Here are some highlights from the report:

We believe it is no longer adequate to think of the projected climate impacts to any one region of the world in isolation. Climate change impacts transcend international borders and geographic areas of responsibility. …

In Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, we are already seeing how the impacts of extreme weather, such as prolonged drought and flooding — and resulting food shortages, desertification, population dislocation and mass migration, and sea level rise — are posing security challenges to these regions’ governments. We see these trends growing and accelerating. To protect our national security interests both at home and abroad, the United States must be more assertive and expand cooperation with our international allies to bring about change and build resilience.

And here are the six high-level recommendations for the U.S. government and military from the report:

  1. Lead the world as it tries to adapt to climate change.
  2. Factor climate-change impacts into all military planning and operations.
  3. Prepare for military operations in the melting Arctic, where new oil fields, fisheries, and shipping routes are emerging.
  4. Plan for increased stresses around water, food, and energy supplies.
  5. Incorporate projected climate impacts into the Department of Homeland Security’s plans for assessing risk and protecting infrastructure.
  6. Make military bases, facilities, and other infrastructure more resilient to expected climate impacts.

“This report contains some admittedly distressing findings in terms of political and social instability,” said retired Army Brigadier General Gerald Galloway, one of the authors of the report. “But amid the doom and gloom are some real opportunities to mitigate climate change and strengthen global security. Climate change is as much a catalyst for cooperation as it is one for conflict.”

As The New York Times writes, “Secretary of State John Kerry signaled that the report’s findings would influence American foreign policy” and “Pentagon officials said the report would affect military policy.”

But we’re betting it still won’t influence Republicans.

Watch a video that was released along with the report:


Source
National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change, Center for Naval Analyses
Climate Change Deemed Growing Security Threat by Military Researchers, The New York Times

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants: johnupton@gmail.com.

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Military experts are worried about climate change, and you should be too

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Military experts are worried about climate change, & you should be too

Bring out the big guns

Military experts are worried about climate change, & you should be too

Shutterstock

America is coming under attack, say 16 retired generals and admirals, and the attacker is climate change.

In 2007, the Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board sounded an unprecedented alarm over national security threats posed by global warming. Now the group has been asked again to advise the U.S. government on climate-change risks, and again it says there’s lots to be concerned about. In a new report released on Tuesday, the retired military leaders say, “we validate the findings of our first report” and, in many cases, “the risks we identified are advancing noticeably faster than we anticipated.”

Here are some highlights from the report:

We believe it is no longer adequate to think of the projected climate impacts to any one region of the world in isolation. Climate change impacts transcend international borders and geographic areas of responsibility. …

In Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, we are already seeing how the impacts of extreme weather, such as prolonged drought and flooding — and resulting food shortages, desertification, population dislocation and mass migration, and sea level rise — are posing security challenges to these regions’ governments. We see these trends growing and accelerating. To protect our national security interests both at home and abroad, the United States must be more assertive and expand cooperation with our international allies to bring about change and build resilience.

And here are the six high-level recommendations for the U.S. government and military from the report:

  1. Lead the world as it tries to adapt to climate change.
  2. Factor climate-change impacts into all military planning and operations.
  3. Prepare for military operations in the melting Arctic, where new oil fields, fisheries, and shipping routes are emerging.
  4. Plan for increased stresses around water, food, and energy supplies.
  5. Incorporate projected climate impacts into the Department of Homeland Security’s plans for assessing risk and protecting infrastructure.
  6. Make military bases, facilities, and other infrastructure more resilient to expected climate impacts.

“This report contains some admittedly distressing findings in terms of political and social instability,” said retired Army Brigadier General Gerald Galloway, one of the authors of the report. “But amid the doom and gloom are some real opportunities to mitigate climate change and strengthen global security. Climate change is as much a catalyst for cooperation as it is one for conflict.”

As The New York Times writes, “Secretary of State John Kerry signaled that the report’s findings would influence American foreign policy” and “Pentagon officials said the report would affect military policy.”

But we’re betting it still won’t influence Republicans.

Watch a video that was released along with the report:


Source
National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change, Center for Naval Analyses
Climate Change Deemed Growing Security Threat by Military Researchers, The New York Times

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants: johnupton@gmail.com.

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Military experts are worried about climate change, & you should be too

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Listen: Rush Limbaugh’s New Kids Book Features Pilgrims, Horse Snot

Mother Jones

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Searching for holiday gifts that will educate and entertain a special, impressionable someone? Look no further than these great works of children’s literature by conservative pundits.

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims (2013)

Author: Rush Limbaugh

Summary: A time-traveling substitute history teacher hitches a ride on the Mayflower.

Excerpt: “…maybe now would be a good time to time-jump back to modern-day America and get some seasickness pills.”

Don’t tell the kids: The pill-popping author once compared a 13-year-old girl to a dog.

Listen to El Rushbo read an exciting passage about the Pilgrim’s snot-drenched (skip to 1:30) passage to America:

A Is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women (2003)

Author: Lynne Cheney

Summary: Biographical sketches of famous ladies, including Rosa Parks and Sandra Day O’Connor

Excerpt: “D is for Emily Dickinson, our country’s greatest poet.”

Don’t tell the kids: Cheney’s debut novel, Sisters, features a racy lesbian scene.

Sweet Land of Liberty (2011)

Author: Callista Gingrich

Summary: A time-traveling elephant explores events in American history.

Excerpt: “Ellis the Elephant was a smart little guy, with a curly grey trunk, and a twinkling eye. He liked asking questions, he was eager to see how America became the land of the free.”

Don’t tell the kids: The Gingrich staffer who wore an Ellis costume at book signings was charged with blackmailing women with nude photos.

Callista Gingrich and a disappointingly well-behaved Ellis promo their book:

The O’Reilly Factor for Kids: A Survival Guide for America’s Families (2004)

Author: Bill O’Reilly

Summary: Papa Bear offers life advice to adolescents.

Excerpt: “Bullies are cowards…This chapter is for anyone who is being bullied, but it’s also for the fools who are bullies.”

Don’t tell the kids: Bill O’Reilly makes more than $10 million a year being a bully.

This book trailer captures just how “hip” and “with it” he is.

The Christmas Sweater (2008)

Author: Glenn Beck

Summary: Eddie discovers the true meaning of Christmas after getting an ugly sweater.

Excerpt: “Eddie shook his snow globe one last time and placed it on the dresser beside his bed. He watched the snowstorm swirl and thought about the one gift he wanted most for Christmas—a new bicycle.”

Don’t tell the kids: A pair of artisanal, selvage blue jeans from Beck’s personal brand sell for $129 a pair.

The perfect addition to the library in your family’s bunker!

Can’t Wait Till Christmas (2010)

Author: Mike Huckabee

Summary: Mike discovers the meaning of Christmas after prematurely unwrapping the new football he wanted.

Excerpt: “He had been counting down the days since July. And at the very top of his wish-list was a football. Not just any football—a brown leather J.C. Higgins regulation-size football.”

Don’t tell the kids: It looks like Huckabee regifted Beck’s Christmas story.

Dubs Goes to Washington and Discovers the Greatness of America (2011)

Author: GOP consultant (and ex-Clinton adviser) Dick Morris

Summary: A golden retriever gets lost in the capital while searching for a ball.

Excerpt: “If people are equal can it possibly be/That dogs are too…especially me?”

Don’t tell the kids: That whole toe fetish thing.

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Listen: Rush Limbaugh’s New Kids Book Features Pilgrims, Horse Snot

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