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Dominant Players

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When Vera Menchik entered a 1929 tournament, a male competitor mocked her by suggesting that a special 'Vera Menchik Club' would be created for any player who lost to her. When the tournament began, he promptly became the first member of said club, and over the years it accumulated a large and illustrious roster.
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jrdn
2876 days ago
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This comic not including Go saddens me a little.
jonta
2876 days ago
I agree!
loveactuary
2876 days ago
any idea what distinguishes red from grey lines?
gazrogers
2876 days ago
The red lines seem to be for players who were the best in the world at some point in their career.
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5 public comments
JayM
2876 days ago
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.
Atlanta, GA
IdleGod
2876 days ago
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Typical of modern XKCD. Take something interesting and then throw in some condescending, childish swipe at how everyone else isn't as "progressive" as Randall.
mooglemoogle
2876 days ago
I'm not sure what you mean here. Just about everything he says seems to be factual. The bit about the reason women aren't as dominant in chess being because of sexism and such could potentially be considered speculation but it's almost certainly not far off the mark.
Ironica
2875 days ago
What he means is, this hurts his feelings, because he wants to feel like he got everything in life fair and square by being the best there ever was, not because he has inborn advantages.
IdleGod
2875 days ago
Well thank _GOD_ you were here to tell me what I thought, otherwise my poor privileged brain could never tell. To address the actual question, modern XKCD has devolved from humourous with insight into condescension with completely non-humourous appeals to being "progressive" and "social-justicey". It's lost any appeal it once had, except for humourless drones.
mooglemoogle
2875 days ago
I kind of see where you're coming from (I don't agree with your conclusion but that's probably because I agree with Randall in most of those cases) but I think your sense of scale might be a bit exaggerated. I went back 25 comics (to 1367) and found 4 (5 if you including today's) which I think would fit your description. 1370, 1379, 1385 (this one was a maybe), and 1386. I think the rest are more toward the humorous with insight side. So I think it's far from completely non-humorous.
IdleGod
2875 days ago
Yea, I may be a bit hyperbolic. I just don't exactly like being hit on the head with being told what I should care about socially from a comic that is otherwise interesting and insightful.
Dadster
2875 days ago
Sorry IdleGod I do not agree with your view of XKCD's evolution (or devolution as you say). That's it.
KrstnnHrmnnssn
2874 days ago
Yeah, I don't see any childish swipes either, in this or mooglemoogle's examples.
adamcole
2873 days ago
OH MY GOD! SOMEONE CREATED SOMETHING AND PUT SOME OF THEIR OWN VIEWS INTO IT!
IdleGod
2873 days ago
Hey look, a humourless drone.
diannemharris
2876 days ago
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Fuck you Randal for not labeling CHESS (Men). Men are not the default. * edit Ok I was wrong the first chess chart does have a women on it* Now F Him for not labeling the Y axis. :)
bcs
2876 days ago
The chess chart is not all me. Your insult is invalid.
jramboz
2876 days ago
The Chess (ELO Rating) chart includes both men and women. Judit Polgar appears on both charts.
aranth
2876 days ago
...but it's not just men. There's a woman in both chess sections.
pberry
2876 days ago
Internet Outrage strikes again. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/06/fashion/social-media-some-susceptible-to-internet-outrage.html?_r=4
srsly
2876 days ago
This was my initial reaction, too. I was surprised that Monroe would make such a 101 mistake, so I'm glad it was my oversight rather than his.
peterrecore
2875 days ago
Wait, why are you mad about the chess graph but not the basketball graph?
diannemharris
2875 days ago
The basketball graph specifies the NBA
peterrecore
2874 days ago
Women are allowed to play in the NBA, even though the WNBA exists. Just like they are allowed to play in open chess tournaments, even though women only tournaments exist. We just haven't seen the basketball equivalent of Judit Polgar yet :-)
llucax
2876 days ago
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I wonder how the efficiency rating is measured in basketball
Berlin
dukeofwulf
2876 days ago
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Player_Efficiency_Rating#Calculation
raorn
2876 days ago
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Alt text: When Vera Menchik entered a 1929 tournament, a male competitor mocked her by suggesting that a special 'Vera Menchik Club' would be created for any player who lost to her. When the tournament began, he promptly became the first member of said club, and over the years it accumulated a large and illustrious roster.
kousha
2876 days ago
Kobe?
zippy72
2875 days ago
Given my proficiency at the game, I'd be a member of the 'some-random-Internet-commenter-who's-never-played-chess-before-and-still-isn't-quite-sure-what-the-"horsey"-does Club'

My answer to "What are some must-have emacs additions" on quora.com

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jrdn
3022 days ago
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Reverse Identity Theft

35 Comments and 52 Shares
I asked a few friends whether they'd had this happen, then looked up the popularity of their initials/names over time.  Based on those numbers, it looks like there must be at least 750,000 people in the US alone who think 'Sure, that's probably my email address' on a regular basis.
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jrdn
3140 days ago
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I have actually gotten job offers (plural), presumably intended for whatever evil doppelganger of mine doesn't know his email address.
nderksen
3139 days ago
Same here. I politely emailed them back advising them to phone the candidate instead. Also had an issue with someone setting their alternate email for their Yahoo account to mine, then they guy kept on emailing support asking why they weren't getting a response. Tried to get Yahoo support to understand but because I didn't have the responses to their security questions they ignored me. So annoying.
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30 public comments
opheliasdaisies
3134 days ago
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Happens all the time. It's interesting what you can piece together of peoples' lives from mistaken emails.
NYC
Skotte
3136 days ago
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My email address has "Cheeze" with a Z instead of an S. I imagine the owner of the "Cheese" address gets a lot of my mail fFrom fFamily who don't notice the Z.
Rochester, Earth
therealedwin
3136 days ago
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This happens to me all the time with my gmail.
Seattle, Washington
cbenard
3136 days ago
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Happens all the damn time to me.
Plano, Texas
ksteimle
3136 days ago
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Looking at you, Ken and Katie...
Atlanta
MEVincent
3137 days ago
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I've even got a number in mine and have still collected a guy in FL and a guy outside London.
Manassas, Virginia
hansolosays
3137 days ago
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I got an excellent pancake recipe this way...
Norfolk, Virginia
jeffjacobs
3137 days ago
Apparently someone who doesn't know their email address is getting their house remodeled. Lots of appointments for new bath fixtures and curtains
sleepwalker
3118 days ago
I received mystery college acceptance letters. Eventually Samuel caught on and sent me a message himself asking about it. Also. er,would you be willing to share the recipe?
hansolosays
3118 days ago
here ya go.... Okay, Chuck. Here it is. Prepare to become a legend. The trick is to blend the dry ingredients thoroughly and beat the wet ingrediients together separately.. Then CARESS the wet ingredients into the dry. Don't overmix them because it will make them tough. Preheat griddle to 375. Mix together. 2 Cups Flour 1 tsp soda 1 tsp salt 4 Tbsp sugar In another bowl beat together 2 cups Buttermilk 2 Tbsp oil 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla Gently mix wet and dry ingredients together. Grease griddle -- Make smaller pancakes 1\4 to 1/2 cup batter. Turn when bubbles pop and do not close. (Hint: You may want to slightly increase the amount of sugar and vanilla according to your taste.) Once you master this recipe, people will beg you to make your pancakes at family get togethers. It really spoils them. Thanks again for a great time. It was so good to see you again.
zippy72
3138 days ago
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My namesake is the British ambassador to Iraq. If this happens, it could be interesting...
FourSquare, qv
pberry
3138 days ago
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This is my inbox.
Chico, CA
ravenel
3139 days ago
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Oh my God yes.
ÜT: 40.673477,-73.975108
ktgeek
3139 days ago
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I have this happen constantly. Makes me sad that I got in on gmail so damn early. Just means a lot of "spam" gets bit bucketed.
Bartlett, IL
librarinerd
3139 days ago
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I actually keep a file with all the people whose e-mail I get and their actual e-mails. I know which e-mails to forward to Pennsylvania and which to Texas...
Nilbog
wmorrell
3140 days ago
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ALL. THE. TIME. There are at least four distinct individuals who at one point or another believed they owned my email address.
tedder
3140 days ago
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this is why I have my own domain name. Never happens.
Uranus
WebWrangler
3139 days ago
Yep. Had my own domain for 14 years now. Never happens to me either
vincemulhollon
3139 days ago
Yeah, whatever, said John Smith. For me not so much of a problem.
superiphi
3136 days ago
you are never safe! I have iphi.ne/com/org -get tons of emails meant for Lphi.
jakesutton
3140 days ago
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My problem is younger people with my name.
United States
wyeager
3140 days ago
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My favorite are the photos of bass that some guy caught and tried to send to his brother. I may not have any brothers but I do know a nice looking bass when I see one.
Blur Area
zwol
3140 days ago
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This T-shirt will only get more common as time goes on.
Pittsburgh, PA
jonathanpeterson
3140 days ago
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firstname.lastname here. That limits how much I get. The good news is that the Wharton School is convinced that I'm an MBA alumni. I'm sorely tempted to order a "replacement" MBA diploma.
rjstegbauer
3140 days ago
I can still get first.last@anywhere.com for probably forever. I have an uncommon lastname and now uncommon first name.
toxotes
3140 days ago
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Somebody with my last name and a *different* first initial signed up for phone service with my email address last week.
dianaschnuth
3140 days ago
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Or if your email is [last name] + @gmail.com...
Toledo OH
schnuth
3140 days ago
Kia still sends me emails for Uncle Charles. Ugh,
leilers
3140 days ago
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This happens to me All. The. Time. So far I've collected a professor in Arkansas and someone who works at the CDC in Atlanta and a Tea Partier. It's BIZARRE.
Northern Virginia
sleepwalker
3118 days ago
Your inbox sounds like a very strange place. Not sure I'd want to visit, much less live there.
NielsRak
3140 days ago
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Don't know what you're talking about... :)
oliverzip
3140 days ago
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The worst being this who sign up to xbox live and can use unvalidated email addresses and then are reduced to begging you to have their account back.
Sydney, Balmain, Hornsby.
jtgrimes
3140 days ago
reply
Alt text: I asked a few friends whether they'd had this happen, then looked up the popularity of their initials/names over time. Based on those numbers, it looks like there must be at least 750,000 people in the US alone who think "Sure, that's probably my email address" on a regular basis.
Oakland, CA
jscartergilson
3140 days ago
reply
Seem familiar?
MaryEllenCG
3139 days ago
GAH. YES. And mine's not even (first initial)(last name).
rascalking
3140 days ago
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THIS. ALL THE TIME THIS.
Wakefield, MA
Lythimus
3140 days ago
I still can't believe it's good that I was too young and stupid to get my name for a gmail address when it was in invitation-only mode.
ScottInPDX
3140 days ago
reply
Or just the last name. I get tons of mail not for me.
Portland, Oregon, USA, Earth
kipthegreat
3140 days ago
or [firstname].[lastname]. i have a very uncommon first name (Kip) but i get mail for a mormon firefighter in california and a boy scout leader in arkansas and a heating&air guy in arizona. but surprisingly i've never gotten mail intended for my dad, who has the same name as me
lrwrp
3140 days ago
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Experience dis all the time.
??, NC

Prenda Law's Attorneys Take The Fifth Rather Than Answer Judge Wright's Questions

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All of my coverage of Prenda Law is collected here.

Today the Prenda Law enterprise encountered an extinction-level event. Faced with a federal judge's demand that they explain their litigation conduct, Prenda Law's attorney principals — and one paralegal — invoked their right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. As a matter of individual prudence, that may have been the right decision. But for the nationwide Prenda Law enterprise, under whatever name or guise or glamour, it spelled doom.

Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here

The crowd gathered early outside of the courtroom of United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II. As before, the spectators included journalists, former Prenda defendants and their lawyers, law clerks and externs, interested citizens, and Electronic Frontier Foundation activists. The little crowd went awkward-party-foul silent when a team of lawyers and nervous-looking men in suits filed into the courtroom. Some of us glanced at the chart that attorney Morgan Pietz created to see if we could match faces. We soon saw that we could. Bets regarding who would show up in response to Judge Wright's Order to Show Cause were won and lost with some good-natured cursing.

A swarm of attorneys quickly checked in with the court clerk and took their places. On one side, attorneys Morgan Pietz and Nicholas Ranallo Renallo looked calm. They had boxes of materials they wouldn't need, and notes they wouldn't have to consult. On the other side of the room, eight attorneys prepared to answer Judge Wright's questions, mostly for naught. In the gallery, Brett Gibbs — unhappy witness at the last hearing before Judge Wright — sat looking sallow and grim. Paul and Peter, the Hansmeier brothers, sat together, looking ridiculously young and out-of-place. Paul Hansmeier's face was beefy-red. John Steele looked conspicuously slick and immaculate in an impeccable suit, like a corporate executive in a bad Robocop sequel. Paul Duffy, Mark Lutz, and Angela Van Den Hemel stared straight ahead.

Not With A Whimper, But A Bang

At a few minutes past the hour the door to chambers slammed open and Judge Wright marched out and took the bench. Before he sat he strode back and forth once behind his chair, surveying the gallery and running his tongue over his teeth. Then he sat, and called the case. Attorneys announced their appearances — Brett Gibbs, Paul Hansmeier, John Steele, Paul Duffy, Angela Van Den Hemel, and Prenda Law all had counsel, but Peter Hansmeier and Mark Lutz did not. When Paul Hansmeier's attorney announced Mr. Hansmeier was present, Judge Wright asked where he was. Paul Hansmeier stood. "Front row," ordered Judge Wright, stabbing a finger at the first row of benches behind Hansmeier's attorney. John Steele received the same treatment, and sat next to Hansmeier. One of the attorneys pointed out that Peter Hansmeier and Mark Lutz were present but not represented. "Welcome, sir," Judge Wright said to Peter Hansmeier, not entirely convincingly. "Is there an Alan Cooper — any Alan Cooper present?" asked Judge Wright, referring to allegations that Prenda Law had stolen the identity of a Minnesota caretaker to serve as an officer of dummy clients. No such person was present.

Judge Wright wasted no time. He announced that he was "pleasantly surprised" that the people he had summoned had arrived. "It should be clear this court's focus has shifted dramatically from litigation of intellectual property rights to attorney misconduct — such misconduct as brings discredit to the profession," he began sternly. "I have questions for those present — including Mr. Steele. Mr. Steele can choose to answer those questions, or not."

Steele's attorney rose and said, in light of the "concerns" that Judge Wright had raised at the March 11 hearing, and "serious allegations" made by Judge Wright, Mr. Steele would be invoking his Fifth Amendment right to decline to answer questions. I expected a murmur in the courtroom, but there was a silence like after a thunderclap. "The word fraud was used," said Steele's lawyer. "It should have been," shot back Judge Wright. Steele's lawyer gamely continued, saying that Steele was also precluded from answering by the attorney-client privilege. "You think there is a difference between these clients and Mr. Steele?" demanded Judge Wright, referring to allegations that the Prenda Law plaintiffs were mere dummy entities concealing attorney interests in the cases. Steele's lawyer said there was a real difference, but Judge Wright was clearly unconvinced. He made it clear, though, that Steele didn't have to answer questions. "He doesn't have to answer if he thinks it may incriminate him," said Judge Wright. "I'm not saying that the answers would incriminate him," protested Steele's lawyer, thus muddying the question of whether his client was entitled to take the Fifth, "but you leave my client with no choice."

Judge Wright grew steadily and visibly more outraged. "I want to know if some of my conjecture is accurate — and the only way to know is to have the principals here and ask them questions. This is an opportunity for them to protect themselves," he said. But Steele's lawyer confirmed his client would exercise his right to remain silent. Attorneys for Paul Hansmeier, Paul Duffy, and Angela Van Den Hemel confirmed their clients, too, would invoke their rights to remain silent. Judge Wright did not — unless I missed it — confirm whether Peter Hansmeier or Mark Lutz would answer questions.

An Opportunity To Be Heard

Heather Rosing, appearing for Paul Duffy, Angela Van Den Hemel, and Prenda Law, rose and asked Judge Wright for an opportunity to present "about a half hour" of argument on the points in his Order to Show Cause. Look: when you are a lawyer, representing a client, you have to stand up. You have to hold your ground even in the face of a furious federal judge. When a judge is yelling at you, however unsettling it is, you have to hold fast and remember you are there to represent the interests of your client against the terrible power of the court. Heather Rosing stood up, and has my admiration, whatever I think of her clients.

Judge Wright was uninterested in hearing legal argument, as opposed to testimony or evidence. "My clients have a right to a reasonable opportunity to be heard," Ms. Rosing protested. "Excuse me?" thundered Judge Wright, probably thinking — not unreasonably — that Ms. Rosing's clients could have filed briefs in advance to address any legal arguments they had, and that Ms. Rosing's clients have been evading questions for months. Judge Wright began to count off the questions he wanted answered. "I'm looking for facts," he said. He wanted to know who directs Prenda Law's litigation efforts, who makes its decisions, whether there is another Alan Cooper, and what happens with the money Prenda Law makes from settlements. Ms. Rosing answered (wisely, and properly) that she could not personally testify to those things. Why, Judge Wright demanded, did Prenda Law conceal its attorneys' financial interest in the cases? "There's no evidence that they have an interest," Ms. Rosing protested. "Excuse me?" Judge Wright boomed even louder. Were there windows, they would have rattled. "Have you read Paul Hansmeier's deposition?" he demanded, referring to the bizarre deposition in which Paul Hansmeier failed to explain Prenda Law's shadowy owners or flow of funds. "I have," Ms. Rosing said, but stood her ground.

Ms. Rosing suggested that she might file a brief addressing her arguments. "Do so," said Judge Wright acidly. "We're done," he said abruptly, and stormed off the bench. The whole hearing took about fifteen minutes.

Death Comes For Prenda Law

The significance of today's hearing cannot be overstated.

Yesterday I wrote about the tools Judge Wright had at his disposal to sanction or otherwise punish Prenda Law's principals. It appears to me he likely won't invoke his contempt power, but the other remedies — his inherent sanctions power, and referrals to state bars and to the U.S. Attorney's Office for criminal investigation — remain available. I expect a detailed written order.

By invoking their Fifth Amendment rights, Prenda Law principals John Steele, Paul Hansmeier, Paul Duffy, and paralegal Angela Van Den Hemel have avoided incriminating themselves. In light of the evidence adduced — evidence that Prenda Law may have created sham entities to conceal its lawyers' interest in litigation, and may have misled courts across the country — that was very likely the smart thing to do. I might have advised it myself if I were representing them. With respect to their individual exposure to potential criminal consequences, it stops things from getting worse, which is often an attorney's first task.

I'm a criminal defense attorney. I cherish and support the Fifth Amendment. Its invocation here was completely lawful. But its invocation will have catastrophic consequences for the Prenda Law enterprise, which cannot possibly continue. When they appeared today, John Steele, Paul Hansmeier, and Paul Duffy were not merely individuals facing the overwhelming power of the state. They were also officers of the court and, according to the testimony of Brett Gibbs, the very attorneys who directed nationwide litigation for the Prenda Law enterprise. Judge Wright ordered them to answer for the conduct of that enterprise in his court, as he had the right and power to do. Their invocation of their Fifth Amendment rights in the face of that order is utterly unprecedented in my experience as a lawyer. In effect, the responsible lawyers for a law firm conducting litigation before a court have refused to explain that litigation to the court on the grounds that doing so could expose them to criminal prosecution.

However well grounded in the individual rights of Steele, Hansmeier, and Duffy, the invocation eviscerates their credibility as lawyers and the credibility of Prenda Law as an enterprise in every court across the country. I expect that defense attorneys will file notice of if in every state and federal case Prenda Law has brought, through whatever guise or cutout. The message will be stark: the attorneys directing this litigation just took the Fifth rather than answer another judge's questions about their conduct in this litigation campaign. I expect federal and state judges across the country will take notice and begin their own inquiries. Moreover, Prenda's lawyers may face adverse consequences from the invocation in Alan Cooper's counterclaim against them. A defendant's exercise of the right to remain silent can't be used against him or her in a criminal case, but it often can in a civil case.

Some inquiries will come quite quickly. In the Northern District of California, where Prenda Law's Paul Duffy is fighting Morgan Pietz's demand for attorney fees in a case Prenda Law tried to dismiss, Paul Duffy has asked to appear by telephone, but Judge Edward Chen has rejected the request and ordered Duffy to appear in person on April 18, 2013. Duffy will once again have to decide whether to assert his Fifth Amendment rights. Moreover, he likely now has an irreconcilable conflict with his putative client. He may seek to withdraw before April 18.

The consequences for the individuals behind Prenda Law may arrive slowly — particularly by the standards of Twitter and anxious blogs. But they will come — and they may come from many directions at once.

Prenda Law may still be standing. But it's dead.

Prenda Law's Attorneys Take The Fifth Rather Than Answer Judge Wright's Questions © 2007-2013 by the authors of Popehat. This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. Using this feed on any other site is a copyright violation. No scraping.

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jrdn
3338 days ago
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Just astonishing what's going on in this case.
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toxotes
3338 days ago
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This story has been *amazing*.