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Posted at 6:19 PM ET, 01/18/2011

McDonnell, Allen have insulted Virginia's Civil War Confederate heritage, group charges

By Michael Ruane and Anita Kumar

Officials of the Sons of Confederate Veterans on Tuesday decried what they called a "tide of political correctness" among Virginia politicians who they said continue to insult the state's Civil War Confederate heritage.

Referring to what they called the nation's second war for independence -- "so often mislabeled the Civil War," said Michael Rose, commander of the organization's Virginia division -- the group accused Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and former U.S. Sen. George Allen (R) of failing to properly honor the state's Civil War past.

"For too long now, politicians like Governor Bob McDonnell and former senator George Allen have ignored, denied and even insulted our Virginia history and heritage," Rose said at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington.

"What we're asking people to do is just allow people to celebrate their heritage," said the organization's national commander, R. Michael Givens, of Beaufort, S.C. "After they're finished coming after the Confederate flag, they're going to come after the American flag."

Tim Nussbaum, a spokesman for Allen, who is expected to announce soon that he is running for Senate in 2012, did not return messages seeking comment this week.

The group also accused McDonnell of removing Confederate flags from the Confederate Memorial Chapel behind the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. That ongoing dispute has led to a lawsuit.

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said McDonnell did not order the flag to be removed. The agreement between the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, which leases the museum, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts stipulates that no exterior flags can be flown without approval by the museum, which oversees the property.

"It is an outrageous thing ... that governor McDonnell would order Confederate flags to be taken down at a Confederate chapel," said Richard T. Hines, commander of the organization's Jefferson Davis camp in Alexandria. "We think it's time to call a halt to that. History is history. To go back and rewrite is reminiscent of what was done in the Soviet Union."

The Sons of Confederate Veterans complained that McDonnell's "eleventh hour" proclamation honoring Lee-Jackson Day last week did not go far enough.

"We're pleased that ... even at the eleventh hour he finally did issue some statement honoring the great Virginians Lee and Jackson," said B. Frank Earnest Sr., the organization's Army of Northern Virginia commander. "I don't think it goes far enough."

McDonnell has apologized for declaring April 2010 "Confederate History Month," a declaration the group had requested in the spring. In September, McDonnell said he would declare April 2011 "Civil War in Virginia" month as he offered a second apology for his proclamation last year that failed to mention the role that slavery played in the state that was home to the capital of the Confederacy.

Allen had been a darling of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans for years. When he was governor, he designated April as Confederate History Month. He displayed the battle flag in his home as part of what he said is a flag collection. His high school yearbook picture shows him wearing a Confederate flag pin. But he distanced himself from those symbols as he pursued reelection in 2006 and considered a bid for the presidency in 2008.

This post has been updated.

By Michael Ruane and Anita Kumar  | January 18, 2011; 6:19 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, George F. Allen, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Comments

Do these people really have nothing better to do?

Posted by: jeffersonian1 | January 18, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Lee and Jackson were great Virginians? How delusional to call these two traitors great Virginians.

Posted by: bugrad | January 18, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

To make sense of this blog, the SCV has never opposed anti-lynching or anti-slavery measures. The writer of this article missed the point. Allen began moving away from Confederate history in Virginia while running for Senate (er. President) in 2006. To smooth off some rough edges for his campaign, he jettisoned the SCV, a group which he had been a longtime friend of. Many viewed his veering to the left as an insincere gesture. That includes many in the media. And it very well might have cost him his election.

Posted by: bragdonb1 | January 18, 2011 10:25 PM | Report abuse

To make sense of this blog, the SCV has never opposed anti-lynching or anti-slavery measures. The writer of this article missed the point. Allen began moving away from Confederate history in Virginia while running for Senate (er. President) in 2006. To smooth off some rough edges for his campaign, he jettisoned the SCV, a group which he had been a longtime friend of. Many viewed his veering to the left as an insincere gesture. That includes many in the media. And it very well might have cost him his election.

Posted by: bragdonb1 | January 18, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh for God's sake will you Confederates get over the fact that you lost the Civil War. You fought to protect slavery and you lost 150 years ago. Get over it.

Posted by: kinsman_bob | January 18, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Civil War Confederate heritage is noting more than celebrating evil treasonous insurgents bent on owning living human beings.

Posted by: johng1 | January 18, 2011 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Let's get this straight, it was the US Civil War, not the War Between the States, the 2nd War for Independence or the War of Northern Aggression.

Sorry Mr. Givens but no one is coming after the US flag. Men carrying Confederate flags tried that a long time ago and failed. I know which flag I am loyal to.

Posted by: rhc52 | January 18, 2011 11:24 PM | Report abuse

This is why I remember and so many others in the South too!!!

I remember how, each morning, he'd rise before us all,
and I'd hear his muffled footsteps, as he padded down the hall.
The many years he'd labored, had left his body bend and gray,
but Grandpa had a reason, for getting up each day.
A well-worn box sat on a shelf, beside his rocking chair,
I don't known where it came from, seems it always had been there.
Inside the box, a tattered cloth, of crimson, blue, and white,
and he'd gaze at it each morning, with tears that dimmed his sight.

On special days, he raised it still, on the pole outside our door,
and he'd tell us kids, in reverent tones what that tattered cloth stood for.
"The red reminds me of the Wheatfield, where Pickett's men were slain,
when seven thousand good men fell, amidst the bloodied grain."

"The blue, I guess, brings back to mind, the loneliness and cold,
of a Shenandoah winter, a thousand miles from home."
"And the pure white stars, well they're generals, for Jackson, Stuart, and Bee,
and that big one in the middle there, is for Robert Edward Lee!"

"Each bullet hole is a battle won, each tear is a comrade lost,
each stain if for a wounded friend, who paid the final cost."
Ol'Grandpa must have loved that flag, he stayed near it every day,
and so Grandpa took it with him, when he finally passed away.

And if there's a flagpole up in heaven, there's no tear in Grandpa's eye,
cause I know he's back in uniform, and his beloved flag flies high!

© 1994, Stonewall Productions, and Ronnie Hatfield.

Posted by: godex | January 19, 2011 12:24 AM | Report abuse

The old man was covered in tattoos and scars;
He got some in prison and others in bars.
The rest, he got workin' on old junk cars...
In the daytime.
They looked like tombstones in our yard
And I never seen him when he wasn't tired
And mean.

Posted by: blasmaic | January 19, 2011 3:10 AM | Report abuse

With no due respect, F:_:ck those traitors.

Posted by: Alsatian1 | January 19, 2011 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Are these people from another planet? Second War of Independence? What are these dudes smoking?

Posted by: UnknownHenson | January 19, 2011 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Definitely I think the Sons of Confederate Veterans should be able to celebrate the right to own other human beings, the right to deprive other human beings of the right to vote, the right to marry the person of their choice, the right to have their children attend schools of the same quality as those that white children go to, the right to reject science in favor of a peculiar form of theology, etc.

Over centuries, around the world, there are certainly a lot of people who gave their lives fighting for causes they believed in. But, as far as I know, except in the U.S. South, their descendants have stopped attempting to defend the indefensible.

Posted by: edallan | January 19, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

"so often mislabeled the Civil War,"
It's hilarious the Post would bother printing the remarks from such an obvious idiot.
the south lost, get over it.
Fight your own battles and stop trying to change history to suit you.

Posted by: MarilynManson | January 19, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I have long maintained that the re-enactments were simply practice: to see what went wrong last time, what the secessionists will do right the next time.

Celebrating the attempted dissolution of the United States of America always seemed bizarre. Reward those who support treason with out limited funds is absurd.

Posted by: cfow1 | January 19, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

The SCV people are living in the past. They want to honor the men who owned people, subugated their lives denying their the right given to ALL Americans not just the white ones.

Rewrite history, claim slaves fought for their masters of their own accord, try and spin what you will but we all know what the confederates wanted.

Posted by: ggant | January 19, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Get real. This is the SCV giving their buddies Allen and McDonnell some political cover.

Posted by: krickey7 | January 19, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Guess what? The war is over. Move on.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 19, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

SCV - Redneck, religious, nascar-watching, cousin-marrying, white trash hicks.

Posted by: kenk33 | January 19, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

It never ceases to amaze me as to the simple mindedness of many people today! History is like gold. In order to reach the nuggets of great worth it is necessary to to put forth effort and dig for truth. Once the wealth of truth is reached, you truly have a great treasure - one that can never be taken from you! Political Correctness has blinded the eyes of so many that they are willing to accept the easily found nuggets that have been placed around for the simple minded and lazy to gather and proclaim as truth - these nuggets are better known as "fools gold" and they accurately describe those who accept them as total truth. The truth of events leading up to the War is that slavery was an issue - but a minor one as it was the law of the land sat that time. For decades the South had been placed under the heel of unfair tariffs that were imposed on it by a tyrannical government in Washington that had drifted far from what the Founding Fathers of this nation had in mind. The South sought to preserve the Founder's intentions by forming their own government and peacefully separating from the errant one. Lincoln could not allow his "cash cow", the South, to escape so he instituted an illegal war. Lee and Jackson were Patriots as they sought to preserve what our Founders had established. They both loved God and saw to it that slaves of all races were taught to read, a dying art among all too many today. Oh yes, and on March 2, 1928 the US Senate acknowledged that the official name for the War between 1861 -1865 as "The War Between the States" in the Congressional Record, thus making this the official title for the said war. Do your own research instead of accepting the "fools gold" that has been placed around for the lazy and simple minded to accept - I think you will have your eyes opened, as did I!

Posted by: JSStones | January 19, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I do my best not to pay too much attention to "comments", but I couldn't let this one slide.
SCV are not "living in the past", they're trying to preserve it. The Civil War was a defining moment for our country and arguably one of THE most defining conflicts in world history, (think of all the inventions and progress in military medicine as a result of the Civil War).
It's easy for us to say now that these people were barbarians but that's 150 years of progress later.

Furthermore, General Robert E. Lee is recognized as one of the greatest military minds of ALL TIME, his strategies are still studied at West Point today - people that aren't total ignorant retards and know something about your country's history realize that he was no traitor to his country but recognized as a loyal patriot on both sides of the conflict

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

P.S. It's obvious that every "poster" here barely has a grasp or understanding of the Civil War, take the time do a little research and you'd be surprised how interesting it is, especially for us Washingtonians living with this history all around us

Posted by: ajiordano | January 19, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

President Eisenhower once received a complaint because he hung an image of General Lee in his Office. Here's that complaint and Eisenhower's response:

Dear Mr. President [Eisenhower]:

At the Republican Convention I heard you mention that you have the pictures of four (4) great Americans in your office, and that included in these is a picture of Robert E. Lee.

I do not understand how any American can include Robert E. Lee as a person to be emulated, and why the President of the United States of America should do so is certainly beyond me.

The most outstanding thing that Robert E. Lee did was to devote his best efforts to the destruction of the United States Government, and I am sure that you do not say that a person who tries to destroy our Government is worthy of being hailed as one of our heroes.

Will you please tell me just why you hold him in such high esteem?"

Sincerely yours,

Leon W. Scott, DDS
New Rochelle, NY

Below, and in response to the above letter, President Eisenhower simply explains why Lee is a worthy role model and American patriot worthy of respect and emulation. The silly notion that Lee should be viewed as a "traitor" is either extreme presentism and misunderstanding or an opinion motivated by ideology and politics.

August 9, 1960

Dear Dr. Scott:

Respecting your August 1 inquiry calling attention to my often expressed admiration for General Robert E. Lee, I would say, first, that we need to understand that at the time of the War Between the States the issue of Secession had remained unresolved for more than 70 years. Men of probity, character, public standing and unquestioned loyalty, both North and South, had disagreed over this issue as a matter of principle from the day our Constitution was adopted.

General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his belief in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history.

From deep conviction I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.

Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of this great American on my office wall.

Sincerely,
Dwight D. Eisenhowe

Posted by: stonewallbook | January 19, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Jefferson Davis = Traitor

He should have been executed for Treason against the United States of America.

Posted by: JTR555 | January 19, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Lee was a traitor. A graduate of West Point, then he put Virginia before the Union.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 19, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

At the very least, it was a civil war by the mere fact that the Union was preserved.

Posted by: jeadpt | January 19, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

“My own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on receipt of Lee’s letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and so valiantly and had suffered so much for a cause.” ~ General Grant on Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

“I turned about, and there behind me, riding between my two lines, appeared a commanding form, superbly mounted, richly accoutered, of imposing bearing, noble countenance, with expression of deep sadness overmastered by deeper strength. It is none other than Robert E. Lee! … I sat immovable, with a certain awe and admiration.” ~ Union General Joshua Chamberlain at Appomattox.

“He was one who, though famous, was not honeycombed with ambition or tainted with cunning or cant, and though a soldier and wearing soldier’s laurels, yet never craved or sought honors except as they bloomed on deeds done for the glory of his lawfully constituted authority; in short a soldier to whom the sense of duty was a gospel and a man of the world whose only rule in life was that life should be upright and stainless. I cannot but think Providence meant, through him, to prolong the ideal of the gentleman in the world . . . It is easy to see why Lee has become the embodiment of one of the world’s ideals, that of the soldier, the Christian, and the gentleman. And from the bottom of my heart I thank Heaven . . . for the comfort of having a character like Lee’s to look at.” ~ Union General Morris Schaff referring to Lee’s surrender at which he was present.

“For not to the Southern people alone shall be limited the tribute of a tear over the dead Virginian . . . we [Northerners] have claimed him as one of ourselves; have cherished and felt proud of his military genius as belonging to us; have recounted and recorded his triumphs as our own; have extolled his virtue as reflecting upon us – for Robert Edward Lee was an American, and the great nation which gave him birth would be today unworthy of such a son if he regarded him lightly. Never had mother a nobler son. In him the military genius of America developed to a greater extent than ever before. In him all that was pure and lofty in mind and purpose found lodgment. Dignified without resumption, affable without familiarity, he united all those charms of manner which made him the idol of his friends and of his soldiers, and won for him the respect and admiration of the world.” ~Excerpt from an editorial in the New York Herald the day after Lee’s death.

“Lee is the greatest military genius in America.” ~ Union General Winfield Scott.

"[Lee was] without any exception the very greatest of all the great captains that the English-speaking peoples have brought forth." ~ Teddy Roosevelt

Posted by: stonewallbook | January 19, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Feeling a deep connection to the Confederacy today, 150 years after the conflict, is tantamount to descendants of loyalists feeling connected to King George, his soldiers and colonial supporters on the sesquicentennial of the American Revolution in 1926. Can't there be fierce state and regional pride without the Confederacy figuring in? See my blog on the subject at http://blogs.forbes.com/craigsilver/

Posted by: CultureMulcher | January 19, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

TUCKER MARTIN:

Quite simply: If Governor McDonnell is DENYING that he is nor responsible for the removal of the Confederate Flags from in front of the Confederate Memorial Chapel (Richmond) - he can MOST CERTAINLY see that they are put back up!!!!

By doing so - he can PROVE that he is not responsible for their removal.

Posted by: aceback | January 19, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

GOD, Country, Family....Davis & Lee [dishonored all three]. I will support recognizing "confederate history" as long as it's "original intent" isn't changed. The confederates in today's climate would be known as "Terrorist".

Posted by: honkytonky1 | January 19, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

THE PELHAM CHAPEL - Is a Commonwealth of Virginia designated "War Memorial" and a Historic Landmark, built 1887 on the grounds of the 1st Permanent Soldiers' Home for Confederate Veterans in the South. The R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 Confederate Veterans formed in 1883 & Chartered in 1884. Their first business was to meet with the Union G.A.R. Richmond Post, Phil Kearney, to visit the National Cemetery at Seven Pines, and visit the Battlefields.

The meetings with G.A.R. Union Posts were numerous, and in 1884 C.S.A. General John B. Gordon and General Grant supported the Project of the Lee Camp to Establish a Soldiers' Home for Disabled and Destitute Veterans. Fund Raisers, both North and South, with Concerts in New York and D.C., along with Contributions ($500) from General Grant, W.W. Corcoran (Art Gallery) of D.C. and Others in Richmond raised enough money for 36 acres of land in Richmond. Cottages were built and in Jan 1885 the Soldiers' Home Opened.

The Lee Camp grew to membership of over 700 in Richmond, and included Legislators, Lawyers, Educators and Great Citizens. Camp accomplishments, Including the Soldiers Home were: Valued Leadership in the C.W. Monuments of Richmond, Grant Deed to the Battle Abbey (Va Historical Society) of 25 acres, Grant Deed to Confed Home for Women, and in 1933-34 a Grant Deed for the Va Arts Commn (VMFA) to build a Museum for Art (1934 Acts of Assembly, Chapt. 371) with Provisions of Protecting the Confederate Heritage of the Property and Against Expanding on the Grounds of the Old R. E. Lee Camp Soldiers' Home. In 1954 the Act was amended, and the VMFA Expanded on the Grounds of the Confederate Memorial Park. In 1991 Gov. Wilder removed the Chapel from the Historic Bldg. Dept, and Presented the Gift of the Deed to the VMFA (Ouchhh). In 2009-2010, the VMFA Expanded Again on the Grounds of the R. E. Lee Camp, without proper Legislative Authority and Against the Purpose of the 1934 Act of Assembly.

In 2010, under a Secret Meeting of the Board of Directors of the VMFA - the Museum decided not to Lease to the Lee Camp (who provided the "Original VMFA Grant Deed") the Pelham Chapel, or the "Virginia War Memorial" Under Duress and Pressure, a Lease was Offered to Lee Camp by the Governor of Virginia "with no CSA Flags on the Exterior" - as a Predicate for the Lease. If the Lee Camp did not accept the Lease they would lose the Chapel & Grounds Interpretation of the R. E. Lee Soldiers' Home Forever (Built by North & South).

Recently, Even A Virginia Flag has been Taken down by the VMFA, and an "OPEN" Flag Removed. Fencing and Barricades around the Chapel have prevented a free flow of Visitors for the Past Year. Incredulous! Flag Holders Even Removed by the Museum.

There's a Very Long History in this Complex Issue, and the Purpose Should always be Factual. For more Info.

http://www.myfamily.com/group/confederatechapelcampno1

Posted by: carolina_bob | January 20, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

It is important to continue to demand the truth be told about our ancestors, not the PC lies being used by some groups to feather their nests. Lee was certainly no traitor - he served the US many years inclding years away from his family fighting indians from posts in Texas. Most Confederates thought they were fighting a second revolution. Why cover up history? Why did the NAACP cover up the statue of George Washington at a MLK rally in SC?

Posted by: Texan65 | January 20, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

It is important to continue to demand the truth be told about our ancestors, not the PC lies being used by some groups to feather their nests. Lee was certainly no traitor - he served the US many years inclding years away from his family fighting indians from posts in Texas. Most Confederates thought they were fighting a second revolution. Why cover up history? Why did the NAACP cover up the statue of George Washington at a MLK rally in SC?

Posted by: Texan65 | January 20, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Martin L. King never tried to overthrow the government. Dr. King was for human-rights a GOD given right to every human being, but I guess when you have some men, i.e. those seeking to enslave a race for personal profit and free labor they think they are above even GOD. The truth be told, the "Confederates" ought to go somewhere and at the very least ask GOD's forgiveness for the EVILS they continue to seek and ask for "MERCY"!

Posted by: honkytonky1 | January 20, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

The prejudice against Confederate Americans who obey the laws and Constitution of the United States. While subjected to disenfranchisement, and denied equal protection under the Constitution of the United States after the last 150 years, is the most offensive hypocrisy of our nation. Equal rights only if we agree with what one mob says is not equal rights, it is Mob rule! The Confederate States defended themselves against usurpation, if it wasn't a threat then they would not have seceded. Since the Civil Rights movement, Confederate Americans have been under constant attack. Under the guise of equal civil rights for all, while condemning Confederate Americans with false images and propaganda of misinformation, of Northern Jim Crow and racial atrocities. Perpetuating that Southerner's, Confederate Americans are solely racists, as opposed to being more so than others. Racism is not color, culturally, or politically blind. The peace which brought our country together is being eroded by politically correct arrogance and ignorance. There will not be a country if we do not teach acceptance of each other. Confederate Americans as a group are not racists, the people who choose to hate them are. It is a flag and no flag ever called me Honky, Cracker,or Redneck!!! Confederate Americans are integrated through out America and the world. They are a multicultural diverse group of people descended from some of the worlds greatest people as well as a few rotten apples, who isn't!!! Confederates Americans deserve the same respect as any American who has given their all for this nation and they will continue to do so. Honoring Confederate Americans is American and they deserve equal recognition. Confederate Americans deserve the same fair and equal opportunity to celebrate our American history. Let the Flag fly give them recognition for heritage days, and month. Please help end the politically correct genocide of country.

Posted by: AmericanStatesmen | January 22, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse


The prejudice against Confederate Americans who obey the laws and Constitution of the United States. While subjected to disenfranchisement, and denied equal protection under the Constitution of the United States after the last 150 years, is the most offensive hypocrisy of our nation. Equal rights only if we agree with what one mob says is not equal rights, it is Mob rule! The Confederate States defended themselves against usurpation, if it wasn't a threat then they would not have seceded. Since the Civil Rights movement, Confederate Americans have been under constant attack. Under the guise of equal civil rights for all, while condemning Confederate Americans with false images and propaganda of misinformation, of Northern Jim Crow and racial atrocities. Perpetuating that Southerner's, Confederate Americans are solely racists, as opposed to being more so than others. Racism is not color, culturally, or politically blind. The peace which brought our country together is being eroded by politically correct arrogance and ignorance. There will not be a country if we do not teach acceptance of each other. Confederate Americans as a group are not racists, the people who choose to hate them are. It is a flag and no flag ever called me Honky, Cracker,or Redneck!!! Confederate Americans are integrated through out America and the world. They are a multicultural diverse group of people descended from some of the worlds greatest people as well as a few rotten apples, who isn't!!! Confederates Americans deserve the same respect as any American who has given their all for this nation and they will continue to do so. Honoring Confederate Americans is American and they deserve equal recognition. Confederate Americans deserve the same fair and equal opportunity to celebrate our American history. Let the Flag fly give them recognition for heritage days, and month. Please help end the politically correct genocide of our country.

Posted by: AmericanStatesmen | January 22, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

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