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7 Laundry Hacks That Save Time, Money and the Planet

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Laundry is a drain on the modern green household. It sucks up energy, water, and time — three things very precious to any eco-warrior. Fortunately, technology has some excellent solutions to our laundry problems. Here are seven laundry hacks that help you make sure your washer and dryer are doing their part for the planet.

1. Upgrade to an Energy Star Model

If your current washer and dryer are more than 10 years old, upgrading them will save you significant time doing your weekly laundry and also reduce your utility bills. Energy Star–rated washers can reduce your water use by 45 percent and your energy use by 25 percent. An Energy Star–rated dryer will save you around $245 in energy costs over its lifetime. If upgrading isn’t an option yet, be conscientious about using your current washer’s settings correctly. If you have water level settings, make sure to set your washer to the lowest one. If not, always use the correct load size setting — small for small loads, medium for medium loads, and so on. You could save more than 1,200 gallons of water per year.

2. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

Almost 90 percent of the energy a washer needs is used to heat water. If you wash your clothes in cold water, you’ll cut down your energy use significantly and save $66 or more a year on your energy bill, depending on the amount of laundry you do. New high-efficiency (HE) washers clean just as effectively with cold water. Make sure to use a specially designed HE laundry detergent.

3. Select the Fastest Spin Speed

Choose the fastest spin speed your washer (and your clothes) can handle. The faster the washer spins, the more water is whisked out of the load, and the less time it needs to spend in the dryer. Be sure to use this for towels, if nothing else.

4. Take Advantage of Sensor Features

Load and moisture sensors will intelligently adjust your washer and dryer cycles. Load sensing assesses each load you put in the washer and determines how much water is needed to clean it properly. Similarly, moisture sensors are more efficient than setting a timer on your dryer. These sensors can tell when your clothes are dry and stop the machine, reducing your dryer’s energy use by about 15 percent.

5. Opt for Models That Use Less Water

Traditional top-loading washing machines fill up the entire tub with water and rub clothes against the agitator in the middle of the tub. New top-loader models don’t have an agitator — they flip and spin clothes through a stream of water instead of filling the whole tub, which significantly reduces water usage. Front-loading washers tumble clothes to clean them instead of using an agitator. Either option is an eco-friendly choice that will reduce the amount of water you use to do laundry.

6. Turn Down the Dryer Heat

Longer drying cycles on a low heat setting use less energy. Be sure to clean the filter in between loads to keep the dryer in top working order.

7. Toss a Tennis Ball into the Dryer

This old-school trick really works. When you’re drying large, bulky items — such as down comforters, jackets, blankets or pillows — throw in a couple of new tennis balls with the load. The balls bounce around in the dryer to separate the waterlogged, heavy material, which reduces drying time and energy usage.

Follow these laundry hacks to take advantage of today’s washer and dryer features that save time, energy and water for a super-green laundry routine.

Jennifer Tuohy is an earth-conscious mom who writes for The Home Depot on a variety of green, tech, and parenting topics. She provides advice on easy, simple ways to be greener when doing your laundry. To see a selection of Energy Star-rated washers and dryer like the ones Jennifer mentions in this article, visit The Home Depot here

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7 Laundry Hacks That Save Time, Money and the Planet

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Everyday Items That Could Contain Lead

Contaminated water is not the only way we areexposed tolead. This toxic metal lurks in a wide variety of products that we’d otherwise think were harmless.

One exposure one time isn’t going to cause a problem, of course, especially at very low levels. But repeated exposures over time from multiple sources could create a threat, especially to young children whose brains and organs are still developing, and to pregnant and nursing women. Here are some of the most commonand least expectedways we may be exposed to lead on a daily basis.

Paint – Lead used to be added to paint, both what we used to paint our homes inside and out, and also the paint that was used in offices, schools and industrial buildings. The use of lead-based paints for homes, children’s toys and household furniture was banned in the U.S. in 1978. But lead-based paint is still on walls and woodwork in many older homes and apartments, reports the Mayo Clinic. Most lead poisoning in kids results from them eating lead-based paint chips.

Household Dust – Homes that have lead-based paint on the walls, doors and window frames often have lead-contaminated dust. Kids wouldn’t eat dust en masse, but they’d pick it up on their hands when they crawl around on the floor. It can also get into their food, and anyone can inhale fine lead-tainted dust particles.

Water Pipes – Even if the source of the water isn’t contaminated the way it is in Flint, Michigan, the pipes and plumbing fixtures in your home could be soldered with lead, and that can release lead into tap water.

Imported Canned Food and Imported Hard Candies– Though lead solder is banned from canned food produced in the U.S., it is still used when food cans are made in some other countries. Lead can also be found in wrappers used on imported candy.

Toys – Imported toys may contain high lead levels that are especially dangerous for the kids who play with them and might chew on them. Blocks, dolls and action figures may be painted with lead-based paint, and little metal pieces may be held together with lead solder. Cheap toys sold in vending machines and large volume discount stores are often contaminated as well, reports the New York Department of Health.

Traditional remedies – Lead is a naturally occurring metal that comes out of the earth’s crust, so remedies made from some herbs could be contaminated. The Mayo Clinic warns against using azarcon or sea coral, which is a Hispanic remedy for upset stomach and other digestive ills; litargirio or litharge, a powder used as a deodorant in the Dominican Republic; ba-baw-san, a Chinese herbal remedy for babies suffering from colic; and daw tway, a digestive aid used in Thailand that contains high levels of lead and arsenic.

Soil – Lead paint and dust can settle into the soil surrounding a painted building, then get easily picked up when it’s walked on or when kids play in it. I was shocked to discover high lead levels in the yard where my kids played because the garage next door had been painted, sanded, repainted and sanded many times over. All that dust and flaking paint settled right in my garden and yard!

Pottery, ceramics, china or crystal – Glazed terra cotta pottery often contains lead. It’s beautiful, but shouldn’t be used for food. China and crystal may also be made with lead. If you make pottery or stained glass or refinish furniture, the products you use could also contain lead.

Eyeliner and lipstick – Kohl is a traditional cosmetic used as a dark eyeliner. It also may contain very high levels of lead. Be wary if you use kohl that is imported from the Middle East or India.Studies have been finding lead in lipstick for years, reports Mother Jones. In 2007, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found lead in 61 percent of products tested.

Venison and other wild game – People can be exposed to lead by eating wild animals that were shot and killed with lead shot and lead bullets. “Recent research indicates that small lead fragments are often present in venison from deer harvested with lead bullets,” reports the New York Department of Health. “These particles of lead can get into your body when you breathe or swallow, and lead dust can get on your food and other items that you eat, drink, or put in your mouth.”

Vehicle batteries and other industrial uses – The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that approximately 804,000 workers in general industry and an additional 838,000 workers in construction are potentially exposed to lead, primarily as a result of the production, use, maintenance, recycling and disposal of lead material and products. Exposure also occurs during renovation or demolition of structures painted with lead pigments.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

The Centers for Disease Control offers these helpful suggestions to prevent kids from lead exposure.

If you suspect your home is painted with lead paint, do not try to remove it yourself. Use a trained lead contractor, whom you can find by going here.

Choose what you eat very carefully. Avoid imported canned food and candy and wild game unless you can somehow verify it is lead-free.

Choose cosmetics and personal care products produced in the U.S. or Europe, rather than in Asia, the Middle East or South America. You can also buy eye make-up and lipstick specifically formulated without lead.

Contact your local water utility to find out how and when they test for the presence of lead in the water. You can also get a Lead Check Test Kit to test yourself on solid surfaces.

Related
How to Tell if Your Water is Contaminated with Lead
Lipstick is Full of Metal and Lead: Why Use It?

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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Everyday Items That Could Contain Lead

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I Still Think Trump Will Lose

Mother Jones

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Just for the record, I haven’t changed my mind: Donald Trump will not win the Republican nomination for president. At some point fairly soon, the other candidates are going to take off the gloves and really go after him. When that happens, Trump will have to fight back in a fairly ordinary way. Insults on Twitter will no longer be enough. Eventually the attacks will stick, Trump will do something dumb, and his support will drop.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. I don’t know who’s going to hit him hard. I don’t know which attack will stick. I don’t know what kind of mistake Trump will make. I don’t know what will finally bring Republican voters to their senses. But something will.

Unless, of course, the Republican candidates continue to inexplicably shuffle around morosely and simply accept their fate as pathetic losers. It’s hard to believe that’s what’s happened so far, and hard to believe it will continue. But I guess it’s possible. Maybe what the GOP really needs is an institutional-size Prozac. Or Viagra. Or something.

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I Still Think Trump Will Lose

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National Review Is Against Trump, But it Probably Doesn’t Matter

Mother Jones

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National Review has finally released its big anti-Trump issue. A bevy of conservative stars contributed to the issue, and they complained about Trump’s boorishness, his ignorance, his bullying, his libertine personal life, his racism, his narcissism, his love of dictators, his vitriol, and the fact that he’d probably lose to Hillary Clinton. But the most common complaint was simple: Trump is no conservative. Here are a few snippets:

The Editors: Trump’s political opinions have wobbled all over the lot. The real-estate mogul and reality-TV star has supported abortion, gun control, single-payer health care à la Canada, and punitive taxes on the wealthy….Some conservatives have made it their business to make excuses for Trump and duly get pats on the head from him. Count us out. Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.

Glenn Beck: While conservatives fought against the stimulus, Donald Trump said it was “what we need”….While conservatives fought against the auto bailouts, Donald Trump claimed “the government should stand behind the auto companies 100 percent”….While conservatives fought against the bank bailouts, Donald Trump called them “something that has to get done.”

Mona Charen: One thing about which there can be no debate is that Trump is no conservative—he’s simply playing one in the primaries. Call it unreality TV. Put aside for a moment Trump’s countless past departures from conservative principle on defense, racial quotas, abortion, taxes, single-payer health care, and immigration….Is Trump a liberal? Who knows? He played one for decades — donating to liberal causes and politicians (including Al Sharpton) and inviting Hillary Clinton to his (third) wedding. Maybe it was all a game, but voters who care about conservative ideas and principles must ask whether his recent impersonation of a conservative is just another role he’s playing.

David Boaz: Without even getting into his past support for a massive wealth tax and single-payer health care, his know-nothing protectionism, or his passionate defense of eminent domain, I think we can say that this is a Republican campaign that would have appalled Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan.

Brent Bozell: Until he decided to run for the GOP nomination a few months ago, Trump had done none of these things, perhaps because he was too distracted publicly raising money for liberals such as the Clintons; championing Planned Parenthood, tax increases, and single-payer health coverage; and demonstrating his allegiance to the Democratic party.

Erick Erickson: In October 2011, when many of the other Republican candidates were fighting Barack Obama, Donald Trump told Sean Hannity, “I was Obama’s biggest cheerleader.” Trump donated to both the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign, as well to Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and other Democrats. In 2011, according to the website OpenSecrets.org, “the largest recipient of Donald Trump’s political spending has been the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee with $116,000.”

Dana Loesch: I love conversion stories. I have my own, from when I became a conservative 15 years ago. But I’m not running for president. Donald Trump is. And his “conversion” raises serious questions. Trump wrote in his book The America We Deserve that he supported a ban on “assault weapons.” Not until last year did he apparently reverse his position. As recently as a couple of years ago, Trump favored the liberal use of eminent-domain laws.

David McIntosh: For decades, Trump has argued for big government. About health care he has said: “Everybody’s got to be covered” and “The government’s gonna pay for it.” He has called for boycotts of American companies he doesn’t like, told bureaucrats to use eminent domain to get him better deals on property he wanted to develop, and proudly proposed the largest tax increase in American history. Trump has also promised to use tariffs to punish companies that incur his disfavor. He offers grand plans for massive new spending but no serious proposals for spending cuts or entitlement reforms.

Whew! But will it do any good? Probably not. The kind of people who read National Review are already convinced that Trump is a menace. Trump’s fans, by contrast, are far more likely to have heard of Rush Limbaugh than William F. Buckley or Edmund Burke. And Rush thinks that Trump is great.

At the moment, everyone is eagerly awaiting “Trump’s reaction” to NR’s destruction derby. I sure hope they’ve never asked him for money in the past. In any case, I’m sure he’ll just write them off as establishment losers who are jealous of his success and afraid they won’t get invited to his inauguration. Still, at least the editors of National Review will always be able to say that their magazine has lasted a lot longer than the Trump magazine.

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National Review Is Against Trump, But it Probably Doesn’t Matter

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Why Does Everyone Still Treat Donald Trump With Kid Gloves?

Mother Jones

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As many, many people keep pointing out, no one has really taken on Donald Trump. Nor does anyone seem likely to start. Trump has somehow developed a myth of invincibility: nothing anyone says ever hurts him, so why bother trying?

But this is ridiculous. No one has ever really tried. The other Republican candidates tiptoe around, uttering only milquetoast criticisms, and nobody cares what Democrats have to say. But if there’s anything Trump has shown us, it’s the fact that presidential contenders can be a whole lot blunter than we ever thought. So why not really go after him? I can think of at least half a dozen avenues:

His serial affairs, divorces, and remarriages to models and actresses.
His obvious lack of religious faith.
His miserable financial record: bankruptcies, lawsuits, failed businesses, refusal to pay vendors, etc.
His endless penny ante shilling (Trump steaks, Trump University, Trump mortgages, etc.)
His many, many liberal beliefs held as recently as a decade ago.
His absurd penchant for lying.
The “bone spurs” that kept him out of the Vietnam War.
His abominable charitable record
His risible habit of naming everything after himself.

I’m not suggesting that somebody ask him about this stuff. That will just produce the usual hot air. Nor am I thinking of routine “contrast” ads. I’m thinking of full-bore, kick ’em in the nuts, Willie Horton style ads. Ones where you get to frame the attack in as vicious and unfair a way as you want. Ads that will really hurt him.

Would it work? Beats me. But it’s hard to believe that no one is even bothering to try long after it’s become obvious that he’s not going to collapse on his own. There’s a ton of money sloshing around the Republican primary this year, and Republicans aren’t especially noted for conducting touchy-feely campaigns. So why is Trump being treated with kid gloves?

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Why Does Everyone Still Treat Donald Trump With Kid Gloves?

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Are Immigration Agents Defying the President?

Mother Jones

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As you all know, the Supreme Court has agreed to rule on the legality of President Obama’s 2014 immigration program—Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, or DAPA. Like DACA, the “mini-DREAM” rule that Obama established in 2012, DAPA codifies the president’s ability to direct prosecutorial resources by explicitly telling immigration agents to do what they’ve mostly been doing anyway: ignore undocumented immigrants who have clean records and have been in the US for a long time. The key word here is “mostly.” Nearly all immigrants who fit the DAPA criteria are left untouched, but immigration agents continue to randomly deport some of them. Over at the New Republic, Spencer Amdur makes an interesting argument that this is at the core of the legal case:

As the administration tries to rationalize its immigration policy, the biggest challenge has actually come from within….In 2011, the head of ICE, John Morton, issued a memorandum directing agents not to focus their limited resources on immigrants with clean records, long-time residence, and families in the United States….Morton issued several of these “priorities” memos, and line-level agents almost universally ignored them, continuing to deport immigrants with deep roots here and no convictions.

….Later in 2011, the administration instructed immigration prosecutors to close cases of people who were not priorities for deportation; little changed. In 2012, the administration asked agents to stop sending detention requests to local police for immigrants without criminal records. Still nothing.

….This pattern of defiance is not mentioned in any of the briefs or court decisions in United States v. Texas. But it was an essential antecedent for DAPA, which effectively forces immigration agents to follow the previous policies….This is the elephant in the courtroom. The lawsuit is not just about the balance of power between the president and Congress, as the briefs suggest. It’s about democratic control of the police. Do our elected officials have the right to control the enforcement bureaucracy?

The fact that this isn’t mentioned in any of the briefs suggests it’s not taken seriously by anyone. Should it be?

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Are Immigration Agents Defying the President?

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Lets All Agree That Apostrophe’s Arent Necessary

Mother Jones

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German Lopez says that “apostrophes offer an exciting opportunity to show other people how smart and educated you are”—which all by itself makes it worth learning how to use them. For example:

Another common issue is irregular plural words, like children and teeth. For these words, you add an apostrophe and an s — so children’s toys and teeth’s roots.

Live by the apostrophe, die by the apostrophe. My middle-school English teacher beat into us that only humans can possess things. Animals too, I suppose. Or countries. But in any case, never inanimate objects. So it’s “roots of teeth,” because teeth don’t own roots.

Of course, some young punks think this is a dated rule that makes no sense, and they go around merrily giving inanimate objects possession of everything. This is appalling. Of course this rule makes no sense, but that’s the whole reason that good grammar demonstrates how smart and educated you are. If we did what made sense, we’d eliminate the apostrophe entirely since it’s never necessary for comprehension. But that way lies anarchy.

Anyway, everyone1 loves to argue about grammatical minutiae, so have a beer and get to it in comments.

1Actually, not everyone. But my readers sure seem to like it!

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Lets All Agree That Apostrophe’s Arent Necessary

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Ted Cruz vs. Donald Trump: Who Is the Least Charitable?

Mother Jones

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McKay Coppins tells us that Ted Cruz is “facing questions” about his lack of entirely Christ-like generosity:

In a series of interviews this week, political opponents and pastors alike suggested Cruz — an avowed Baptist who is aggressively courting evangelical voters — has flouted the Biblical commandment of tithing in his personal life….According to personal tax returns released during his 2012 Senate bid, Cruz contributed less than 1% of his income to charity between 2006 and 2010 — a far cry from the 10% most evangelical leaders believe the Bible demands.

Well, Ted had all those loans from Goldman Sachs to pay off, so he probably didn’t have much to spare for tithing. Anyway, those loans were used for the greatest possible gift to the Lord: Ted Cruz’s ascension to the Senate.

Of course, Cruz is Mother Theresa compared to his competition:

Tax filings of the Donald J. Trump foundation show Trump has made no charitable contributions to his own namesake nonprofit since 2008. Without an endowment, the fund has continued to give grants only as a result of contributions from others.

….Pressed by the AP on the details of his contributions, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks provided a partial list of donations that appeared to correspond with the foundation’s gifts — indicating that Trump may be counting other people’s charitable giving as his own.

“I give to hundreds of charities and people in need of help,” Trump said in an emailed response to questions from the AP about how he tallied his own philanthropy. “It is one of the things I most like doing and one of the great reasons to have made a lot of money.” The Trump campaign did not respond to a request that it identify donations that Trump himself gave.

More here. Obviously Trump is lying about this, but that’s hardly even noteworthy anymore. As near as I can tell, he’s congenitally unable to tell the truth about anything related to his finances. I mean, this is a guy who’s using other people’s money for his supposedly self-funded campaign and who claims to this day that he did great with his Atlantic City casinos.

But he’s somehow invulnerable anyway. As best I can figure it, Trump (a) never goes to church, (b) has never read the Bible, (c) is unusually stingy, and (d) lives a personal life of serial affairs with younger women followed by serial divorces. But somehow lots of evangelicals think he’s a Godly man anyway.

Cruz, on the other hand, is the son of a guy who runs the Purifying Fire International ministry—a preacher so evangelical he seems ready to explode at times. Cruz went to a Baptist high school; he talks about religion interminably; and he attends church regularly. But somehow lots of evangelicals have abandoned him for Trump.

Strange times.

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Ted Cruz vs. Donald Trump: Who Is the Least Charitable?

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Sarah Palin Is Such a Creep

Mother Jones

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I know I said that last night’s Palin-palooza would “hold me for a year,” but I guess I was wrong. Palin’s son Track was arrested Monday on domestic violence charges, and today Palin addressed this:

My own family, my son, a combat vet having served in the Stryker brigade… my son like so many others, they come back a bit different, they come back hardened, they come back wondering if there is that respect… and that starts right at the top.

I’m not happy with liberals who use Track’s problems as a way of snickering at Sarah. Yes, when you use your kids as campaign props, you open yourself up to some of this. But parents do their best, and kids sometimes have problems. Whatever Track’s problems are, he and his family should be allowed to deal with them in their own way.

That said, if you decide to use your son’s problems as a political cudgel, you can hardly expect to others to hold back forever. Palin should be ashamed of herself.

But leave Track alone anyway. He doesn’t deserve outsize attention just because his mother is such a creep. I only hope he gets the help he pretty obviously needs.

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Sarah Palin Is Such a Creep

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Donald and Sarah Barnstorm Iowa

Mother Jones

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Oh God. I know I shouldn’t do this. I know I shouldn’t post snippets from Sarah Palin’s endorsement speech for Donald Trump just because they amuse me. But I’m weak. So, so weak. Can you find it in your hearts to forgive me? Please please please? Thanks. Here goes:

On national security: I’m in it, because just last week, we’re watching our sailors suffer and be humiliated on a world stage at the hands of Iranian captors in violation of international law, because a weak-kneed, capitulator-in-chief has decided America will lead from behind. And he, who would negotiate deals, kind of with the skills of a community organizer maybe organizing a neighborhood tea, well, he deciding that, “No, America would apologize as part of the deal,” as the enemy sends a message to the rest of the world that they capture and we kowtow, and we apologize, and then, we bend over and say, “Thank you, enemy.”

Ed note: Actually, our sailors violated Iranian waters and were released after 16 hours. Nobody in the Obama administration apologized for anything.

On Islam: Are you ready for a commander-in-chief, you ready for a commander-in-chief who will let our warriors do their job and go kick ISIS ass?….And you quit footin’ the bill for these nations who are oil-rich, we’re paying for some of their squirmishes that have been going on for centuries. Where they’re fightin’ each other and yellin’ “Allah Akbar” calling Jihad on each other’s heads for ever and ever. Like I’ve said before, let them duke it out and let Allah sort it out.

Ed note: Um, which is it? Is Trump going to kick ISIS ass or is he going to withdraw and let Allah sort it out?

On Donald Trump’s family values: Oh, I just hope you guys get to know him more and more as a person, and a family man. What he’s been able to accomplish, with his um, it’s kind of this quiet generosity. Yeah, maybe his largess kind of, I don’t know, some would say gets in the way of that quiet generosity, and, uh, his compassion, but if you know him as a person and you’ll get to know him more and more, you’ll have even more respect.

Ed note: Actually, Trump married a model; started an affair with a younger actress; dumped the model; married the actress; started an affair with an even younger model; dumped the actress; and then married model #2. There’s no telling how long this one will last.

On Trump’s fiscal rectitude: He, being an optimist, passionate about equal-opportunity to work. The self-made success of his, you know that he doesn’t get his power, his high, off of OPM, other people’s money, like a lot of dopes in Washington do. They’re addicted to OPM, where they take other people’s money, and then their high is getting to redistribute it, right?

Ed note: Actually, Donald Trump loves other people’s money. That’s why he’s been involved in no less than four bankruptcies: because he borrowed lots of other people’s money and then squandered it.

On her future career as a hip hop artist:

No, we’re not going to chill. In fact it’s time to drill, baby, drill down.
Cops and cooks, you rockin’ rollers and holy rollers!
Right wingin’, bitter clingin’, proud clingers of our guns, our god, and our religion….Tell us that we’re not red enough?
Yes the status quo has got to go….Their failed agenda, it can’t be salvaged. It must be savaged.
The main thing, the main thing, and he knows the main thing….He knows the main thing, and he knows how to lead the charge.

Ed note: Not bad! Let Dre produce and she might have something here.

OK, that should hold me for another year or so.

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Donald and Sarah Barnstorm Iowa

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