Friday Morning News and Views

Good Morning Conflucians!! TGIF!!!!!!

I got back to Beantown last night around 7PM, after having been in Indiana for more than a month. The drive was very pleasant, with nice weather and minimal traffic through Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The first shock to my system came when I approached the end of the NY thruway and headed toward the Mass Pike. Suddenly, I was surrounded by lots of traffic, with cars switching lanes crazily and driving way too fast.

The Mass Pike is mostly a steep downhill grade for miles through Western Massachusetts. Just after I got on it, there was a sudden downpour–so intense that cars were pulling off the road. I turned into a rest area to wait it out. When I got back on the pike, I saw a magnificent rainbow arching over the highway–it accompanied me for miles as rain alternated with sunshine. The rainbow helped cushion the blow of returning from the rural beauty of Indiana to the urban gridlock of the Greater Boston metro area.

I already miss all the green open spaces of the Midwest. At the same time, I feel that I’m embarking on an adventure. Here I am, a woman in my early 60s, alone and unemployed, with no idea what I’ll be doing next. It’s a bit frightening, but also exhilarating.

Anyway, enough about me and on to the news!

As Dakinikat reported last night, the Senate once again rejected a jobs bill that would have provided some relief for desperate unemployed Americans and extended tax breaks for individual and small businesses. But the House and Senate have reached an agreement on a Wall Street “reform” bill. I’ll leave it to Dak to break down the contents of the bill, but I tend to be skeptical these days about what our “leaders” mean when they use the word “reform.” CNN has an analysis of the bill at the above link. And here’s the NYT take.

At The Nation, William Greider writes about the failure of our “leaders” to deal with the epic economic disaster they helped create when they sold their souls to the banks and corporations: Goodbye Keynes, Hello Hoover

Washington faces…a starkly underperforming economy in which 10 percent of the workforce are without jobs and income. Yet the President and Democratic Congress, spooked by the swollen federal deficits, are unwilling to do what Keynes prescribed in these circumstances—pump up federal spending enormously and run even larger budget deficits in order to force-feed a stronger recovery.

The results of this political decision will be tragic for millions of struggling families, but also potentially devastating for the Democratic party. Democrats are implicitly choosing to do nothing more to rescue the country from the deepening dislocations and lost output. Making mistakes can be forgiven, but not giving up.

The president and his lieutenants have evidently decided they have already done enough. Indeed, they keep reminding us they saved the country from something worse. Millions withhold their congratulations, since something worse is what they are now experiencing. The losses will last longer and multiply more widely so long as Washington declines to act more forcefully. Americans who never heard of Keynes will make their own judgments about whom to blame.

There’s lots of gossip in the news today. We already discussed the Enquirer story on Gore and the masseuse, but it is now hitting the corporate media. Howard Kurtz writes that the woman who accused Gore of attacking her tried to tell her story for $1 million, but the Enquirer refused to pay. Kurtz:

The executive editor of the National Enquirer says that the Oregon masseuse who made a sexual assault allegation against Al Gore asked the tabloid for $1 million but that the Enquirer did not pay her or anyone else in reporting the story.

Barry Levine said in an interview Thursday that the woman offered to sell her account through her lawyer but that “no money exchanged hands” and the paper conducted only a brief interview with her.

The Enquirer story was based primarily on documents.

Asked why the Enquirer published the piece despite the woman’s two-year delay in agreeing to be interviewed by authorities, Levine said: “We felt, if this was in legitimate police documents, that was a story that should be brought to the surface. We felt this was a significant story involving a very powerful man.” He said he had former police officers examine the reports to make sure they weren’t a “forgery” and felt “vindicated” Thursday when Portland authorities confirmed the authenticity of the documents.

The tabloid confirmed that Gore, who had just released the film “An Inconvenient Truth,” was in Portland at the time of the alleged incident to give a speech on global warming. The paper obtained the $540 bill — including a 20 percent gratuity — that the masseuse submitted to the Hotel Lucia, which retained her, along with her subsequent e-mail correspondence with the hotel.

Is it true? Who knows? But The Enquirer did help bring down John Edwards. Gore will probably have to deal with this somehow.

The other big gossip story concerns the “JournoList,” the e-mail list that all the big “progressive” blogger boyz belong to. Someone leaked some embarrassing comments from Dave Wiegel, who now blogs for the Washington Post.

Wiegel apologized for comments he made about Matt Drudge:

I’m a member of an off-the-record list-serv called “Journolist,” founded by my colleague Ezra Klein. Last Monday, I was deluged with angry e-mail after posting a story about Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) that was linked by the Drudge Report with a headline intimating that I defended his roughing-up of a young man with a camera; after this, the Washington Examiner posted a gossip item about my dancing at a friend’s wedding. Unwisely, I lashed out to Journolist, which I’ve come to view as a place to talk bluntly to friends….

- “This would be a vastly better world to live in if Matt Drudge decided to handle his emotional problems more responsibly, and set himself on fire.”

I apologize to Matt Drudge for this — I was incredibly frustrated with the amount of hate mail I was getting and lashed out. If he wants to link to this post with some headline accusing me of wishing death on him, I suppose he can do so. But I don’t wish that. I was tired, angry, and hyperbolic, and I’m sorry.

Politico writes that this is the third time “confidential” information has been leaked from the JournoList, and members are worried.

“People are feeling betrayed by whoever the leaker is, once again,” said Eric Alterman, the Nation columnist and journalism professor who is a member of the listserv. “I think it’s unwise to put anything on that list that you can’t defend in public. There’s no such thing as off-the-record with 400 people.”

But the off-the-record nature of the listserve has been closely guarded, to the point that a previous article by POLITICO’s Michael Calderone on JournoList last year got only a handful of the three dozen listserv members he contacted to share even basic elements of how the list functions.

“The list is confidential,” said one member who, in typical fashion, declined to be named for this article. “Whoever broke the confidentiality of the list obviously has no respect for some pretty basic journalistic norms. But I can’t talk about it because it’s supposed to be confidential.”

Here is the Fishbowl story that started this whole tempest in a teapot.

Honestly, who cares what these people say to each other on their hoity-toity e-mail list? This story just emphasizes how self-important these people are and how highjacked our “news” really is. Here are these people who consider themselves to be “intelligensia”–keep in mind that Kos is a member of this list–and they are deciding with each other in secret about what to report or blog about. As Katiebird might say, I spit on these people!

Back to some more important news. The Afghanistan war is back in the headlines after the McChrystal firing, and the WP thinks Petraeus will have a difficult time replicating his “success” in Iraq.

This week’s confrontation between a senior Army general and the president of the United States may have signaled the beginning of the end of the war in Afghanistan. In a year or two, President Obama will be able to say that he gave the conflict his best shot, reshaping the strategy and even putting in charge his top guy, the general who led the surge in Iraq — but that things still didn’t work out.

Then he can begin pulling out.

This is not a vote of no-confidence in Gen. David H. Petraeus, whom the president has selected to lead the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, replacing the disgraced Gen. Stanley A McChrystal. It is a simple recognition that the conditions Petraeus enjoyed in Iraq are far from present in Afghanistan, and that the key skills he brought to bear in the first war won’t help him as much in the second.

But Obama says he’s “confident” in his “war leadership.” And Politico claims that “Obama [is] losing Hill liberals” on
Afghanistan.

The Wall Street Journal, of all places, has an editorial on President Obama being “missing in action” on gay rights.

President Obama celebrated Gay Pride Month earlier this week by telling guests at a White House reception that he still favors full equality for gays and lesbians. But despite a steady trickle of small steps Mr. Obama has taken to promote gay rights, on the big issues he is a disappointment.

First and most obviously, Mr. Obama has not made good on his campaign promise to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, allowing the military to continue stalling. Despite his earlier assertion that leadership was the only thing required to abolish this long-discredited policy, the administration’s efforts have been lackluster.

The rest story is subscription only–if you subscribe, please share.

To me, the top story is still the BP oil gusher. I don’t believe we have even begun to see the ultimate effects of this ecological and economic disaster on our country and the world. We have now seen the first known suicide linked to the gusher. Alabama boat captain Allen Kruse shot himself a few days ago on board his boat.

Kruse put a bullet through his head this morning at a marina in Fort Morgan, Alabama. His boat was about to launch today and he was reportedly upset with the oil leak, the cleanup efforts and loss of income, and wondering how he would be paid for taking part in the Vessel of Opportunity program.

The local coroner ruled that the gunshot was self-inflicted. Kruse was found right on the captain’s bridge. He had no known health problems, and leaves behind a wife and four children.

“He had just let his deckhands off the boat and sent them to get something,” Baldwin County Deputy Coroner Rod Steade told the local newspaper, the Press-Register. “He was going to meet them at the fuel dock. They heard a pop and when the boat didn’t come around, they went back and found him.”

CNN has a story and video with interviews of Kruse’s friends and family.

those closest to him say Kruse’s life unraveled when the oil spill hit the Gulf waters where he worked. Authorities say deck hands found the 55-year-old dead in his boat’s cabin, with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, before he was scheduled to head out on the water Wednesday morning.

Friends, family and local officials say his death is another tragic casualty of the environmental disaster that has sent crude gushing into Gulf waters. And they’re worried others may be suffering in silence.

“There’s a lot of people on the edge. We feel hopeless. We feel helpless. We don’t feel like there’s an advocate out there,” said Tony Kennon, mayor of Kruse’s hometown of Orange Beach, Alabama.

Kruse was upset because he felt he and his boat were being used by BP not to help clean up the oil, but as a PR prop.

Marc and Frank Kruse said their brother would still be alive today if he had believed he was making an impact against the oil that was threatening the waters he loved.

Instead, he told them, cleanup boats were placed close to shore, just so onlookers would think work was being done.

“Madness. It’s just a dog and pony show,” Marc Kruse said. “Send them out. Ride around. Let everybody see them. Bring them back in.”

Government spokesman/coordinator Thad Allen originally claimed Kruse’s death was not linked to the BP oil gusher. My guess is this won’t be the last story like this we have to read.

Perhaps President Obama will say a few words after each tragedy before head to the golf course, the latest DC gala, or his next vacation. The rest of us are expected to live vicariously as we watch our “betters” having fun. I for one refuse to accept it! I won’t be beaten down by self-important prog bloggers and full-of-it politicians! Somehow we will survive all this.

What are you reading this morning? Let us know in the comments, and have a fabulous Friday!!!!!!
Wil

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112 Responses

  1. Moanin’ BB!

    Where did you get that pic?
    Right there you have the reason I have threatened to dump our little cat in a shark bassin. He simply will not stop to type stuff on my desktop.

    • Hi MABlue! I got the picture from google images. Cats just love to climb on tables and lie down on important papers. It’s what they do.

  2. and if it’s Friday, you know it’s time for the DUdies

    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/this-week-dudies/

  3. Glad you’re back safely, BB. I know your Mom was glad to have you with her during the first Father’s Day without your Dad.

    Economic news:

    1st quarter GDP drops to 2.7%.

    Geithner says the US can “no longer drive global growth.”

    Oh—-and Greece is selling some of its islands to rescue their economy. WTF?

    • Forgot one: Financial “Reform” passes committee. Breaking News: “Too big to fail” banks are still “too big to fail.” Woo-hoo!

      (I’ll respectfully wait for Dak to tell us what’s actually in that new bill, of course). :)

    • Thanks, Mary. It’s good to be back in that my time will be my own again. My mom lives on a regular schedule. I found it hard to do my usual on-line stuff while I was there. Other than that, I really miss the wide open spaces and I’m still hoping to move back out there. You can’t believe how much cheaper it is to live there!

  4. That JurnoList is fascinating. It certainly explains how they all write the same thing. Well, MSNBC did explain she “worked with WH on talking points about the oil-kill – but one has to wonder who, besides “journalists” posts there. Of course, the narcissism is astounding.
    The Gore story – who cares? Not much left to lose there.

    • Re the JurnoList—-they really DO think they’re the new royalty, dont’ they? All the while they’re calling others “Versailles.”

      Markos? I don’t see lotta results in the candidates he supported, do you?

      • Markos was always on the losing side, I think that is why he chose to jump on the band wagon with the other Obama peeps.

        • if you can’t figure out who the choice of the people is, then go ahead and support the biggest cheater.

    • Unwisely, I lashed out to Journolist, which I’ve come to view as a place to talk bluntly to friends

      They are supposedly so smart….but they haven’t figured out yet nothing on the web is private . They are pathetic ….and for many reasons. Considering his comment…one can see why and how we are afflicted with the ball scratching that passes for journalism .

    • Edge, that graphic graphic of Olbermann on Obama?
      You should ask your Photoshopper person to redo it the JurnoList crew.

  5. Hi BB, Conf & Co.

    Tragic about the suicide. Just tragic. I’m really wondering why BP is controlling the press down there? Also? Gore and this accident. They are still dumping the dispersant. One good thing, a ship has arrived down there from my alma mater here and we are huge on marine biology. This is an interesting piece on The Jones Act that would have allowed foreign help in?

    http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/2010-6-24-facts-about-jones-act-and-gulf-oil-spill/

    One thing, this event — is it an experiment? One can’t help wondering.

    If it is an experiment? That is about as unethical as it gets.
    SF Chron makes light of it, sort of…

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/06/25/notes062510.DTL

    hugs, Conf.

  6. Glad your back safe and sound BB!!

    • Thanks, Dak!! I’m starting to settle in. I unloaded the car, but still haven’t unpacked everything. I’m looking forward to getting out and working on my flowers. Lots of stuff is blooming.

  7. My favorite Morning Tweets:

    jeremyscahill

    the US government should create a database for Americans to search for their names on the assassination list. Or FB page

    Glenn Greenwald ggreenwald

    Most transparent ever: RT @jaketapper “I asked a similar q of Holder and he avoided it by not acknowledging the assassination program” half a minute ago via web

    and finally,

    jeremyscahill

    .@Shoq contractors now comprise 69% of the Department of Defense’s total workforce, not just combat.

  8. Whoever broke the confidentiality of the list obviously has no respect for some pretty basic journalistic norms
    That’s my favorite from the secret propaganda talking point list (aka, JournoList). Talk about irony. Leaking what’s going on with that secret cabal is in fact central to the existence of real journalism. I’m not surprised members of that list wouldn’t see that, or see the irony of the very existence of that list.

  9. BB, thank you for the round up! Glad you had a nice trip!

  10. “Whoever broke the confidentiality of the list obviously has no respect for some pretty basic journalistic norms. But I can’t talk about it because it’s supposed to be confidential.”

    Basic journalistic norms–are they kidding? Since when is a little frat club of self-important gossips “journalism?” It’s like Hollywood–they just keep giving each other ego-strokes inside their little artificial bubble.

  11. My comment got eaten if it can be rescued. Thanks :)

  12. I’ll be taking the empty Yuengling Lager cans over to the recycle guy Saturday so I’ll let you know if the price of scrap metal has gone up, down, or stayed the same.

    As you know this is my barometer on the true financial health of the United States.

    Somebody should find Hillary’s Reset button, relabel it Present then give it to Obama. Every time he is faced with a difficult decision (anything other that what syrup to have on his waffle) he can make a show of pushing it.

    • Keep us posted on the scrap metal barometer.

    • the whole waffle thing cracks me up. Here’s is why. It happened in Scranton where I have lived in or near on an off for most of my adult life (other than 11 years in florida). He went to a local diner which candidates do all over the U.S., no problem it is what they do.
      But everyone here knows you order the HOT OPEN FACED ROAST BEEF SANDWICH WITH FRIES AND GRAVY ON THE FRIES when you go to the glider diner in Scranton Pa.

  13. The Gore story: How timely to side line and silence Mr. Environment….apparently the divorce story wasn’t getting the job done.

  14. Good to have you back! This is one hilarious fake campaign add for a lighter moment,

    http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/24/quote-of-the-day-594/

    • That is pretty funny.

      From your link, I see that Dave Wiegel has been forced to resign by the WP.

      • for something he said about Matt Drudge?? if it was a slam on Hillary, he would have a Pulitzer by now

      • The comments were pretty funny. For right wingers, there’s a sense of humor there. :-)

  15. I spit on these people too. How many times have some of them remarked about the TV media all telling the same story?
    Now we know why they all glombed on to Obama and talked from the same script about Hillary, racism, etc…
    Sickening.

    • the thing that really irks me though is that so many people I know fell for it.

      • An obot relative explained ” I wanted to be for a winner! ” ….. alrighty then

    • And not only the msm telling the same story, but using the same language/words to do so (ie. brilliant, transformative, historical, change, hope, etc.).

  16. This is really saddening:

    http://motherjones.com/rights-stuff/2010/06/louisiana-fishermen-suicide-depression-abuse

    In next-door Plaquemines Parish, 11 domestic violence came in on one recent weekend, compared with 3 on a typical weekend. Cathy Butler, the woman who takes the calls, isn’t ready to attribute the spike entirely to the oil spill; it’s a hundred degrees outside, after all, and calls always increase a bit in the summer. The mayor of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, says they’ve had 320 percent more incidents of domestic violence since the spill. Whatever the cause, Butler is sure it’s gonna get worse soon. “The more people are out of work, the more trouble we’re gonna have,” she says. “Plaquemines Community CARE is offering help now, but we’re gonna need some more counselors. In the coming months, I’m gonna see a definite increase.” She says she is also seeing an increase in child abuse calls.

    • I’m not surprised. The psychological effects of this are going to be huge.

    • After a home teams loses, is also when more domestic violence is reported… This is that to the infinite power

  17. Did anyone hear BO’s gaff yesterday when he was with the president of Russia? Reminds me of GWB and the internetS.
    BO was running down the Russian’s CA schedule and mentioned his visit to TwitterS.

  18. Weigel has just resigned from WaPo.

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/wapos-dave-weigel-resigns-after-more-journolist-e-mails-surface/

    On another note, Moveon.org has recently pulled it’s Gen. Betrayus ad that was on their site for years. Now that Teh One has chosen him he’s no longer a villain.

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/moveon-org-removes-general-betray-us-ad-in-response-to-petraeus-appointment/

  19. markknoller

    WH says VP Biden will visit Gulf Coast next Tuesday to inspect oil spill situation. Will be in Louisiana & Florida panhandle. 5 minutes ago via web

    Wow, I feel better now …

    • There’s a video here about the show they are putting on when officials visit – they get a heads up and move all the resources at the PR site

      http://www.correntewire.com/any_questions_0

      from the transcript

      First we gotta understand this phrase: “Ponies and balloons.”

      Well, the only place I’ve ever seen “ponies and balloons” is at the circus. Right? At any rate, about a week and half in, I learned what “ponies and balloons” meant. “Ponies and balloons” means that every time an official is headed anywhere near here, they get a heads up.. All assets are deployed into the hardest hit areas. The official comes in, flies over, “good job, fellas” (waves), pats ‘em on the back. When that official disappears out of the hardest hit area, so does 75%-80% of the response.

      It’s happening. It’s happening every day. I’m watching it. I’ve seen it.

    • Do you think he’ll recommend drone attacks?

  20. shoot, that disturbance in the Gulf has now been given a 70% chance of development. I think I’m going to have to start using bottled water exclusively just to be safe.

      • How the Jones Act and Labor Unions are Blocking Oil Spill Cleanup (They keep saying that they haven’t gotten a waiver request yet many are in the water and no approval for the ships)

      • A general Jones Act Waiver was issued following Katrina yet there isn’t one here for the BP Oil Catastrophe??? What gives? Why the delay and why isn’t the White House issuing one ?

        • A general waiver of the Jones Act is not required…Another MSM story where the ‘facts” don’t come in the way of an “agenda”.

          46USC 101 et. Seq. (New Jones Act)

          “§ 55113. Use of foreign documented oil spill response vessels “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an oil spill response vessel documented under the laws of a foreign country may operate in waters of the United States on an emergency and temporary basis, for the purpose of recovering, transporting,
          and unloading in a United States port oil discharged as a result of an oil spill in or near those waters, if–
          “(1) an adequate number and type of oil spill response vessels documented under the laws of the United States cannot be engaged to recover oil from an oil spill in or near those waters in a timely manner, as determined by the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for a discharge or threat of a discharge of oil; and
          “(2) the foreign country has by its laws accorded to vessels of the United States the same privileges accorded to vessels of the foreign country under this section.
          **********
          From my reading, ADM Allen can make the call.

          • The question then becomes “What the h%ll are they waiting for??”

          • The question then becomes “What the h%ll are they waiting for??”
            **********
            That is the right question to ask the Admiral. Beyond possible political considerations, it’s possible that they can’t handle more ships and theur skimmed oil. The situation around spill is potentially quite dangerous and there is no experience with these number of ships in a potentially “explosive” environment. One very large drilling platform already burned and sank in a “controlled” situation, now there are huge amounts of flammable hydrocarbons in an “uncontrolled” environment.

            The fact that the media seems to be more interested in “agenda” rather than journalism combined with the continuing lack of information (cover up?) by BP and the USG only make the situation worse.

          • They seem to be passing the buck and no one is making the decision while those who have come to help sit idle in the water.

      • Dak,
        I watched this video at NQ and am busy posting this around as this needs to be viewed by all of us who care.

  21. >>keep in mind that Kos is a member of this list–and they are deciding with each other in secret about what to report or blog about.

    Kos was a member of another secret mailing list when his friend Jerome Armstrong was copping a plea for his involvement in the pump and dump craze on the internet in the 90s, and Kos actually asked people on the list not to write about Armstrong’s troubles. They didn’t.

    I don’t see much difference between the behavior of the lamestream media tribe or the so-called progressive blogger/journalist tribe. Just different targets, different protected groups.

    Carolyn Kay
    MakeThemAccountable.com

    • So, was this list operational during the primaries 08? Was that the way of “darkened videos” and “Palin’s baby is her grandchild” stories to jump from the internet onto the screen the same day? Inquiring minds…

      • I can only assume.

        Carolyn Kay
        MakeThemAccountable.com

      • Yes. Ezra admits he started the Journolist in 2007, carefully selecting who got invited.

        You can bet all those we-hate-Hillary “journalistic pieces” were co-ordinated.

        A**sholes.

  22. Delurking once again – I haven’t read much about the G8 and G20 summits on any blog. Are you aware that is occurring this weekend, and is costing the American taxpayer muchos dollars?

  23. >>The rest story is subscription only–if you subscribe, please share.

    A little trick for those who wish to read subscriber-only WSJ articles:

    Copy the article headline (in this case ➡ Obama Is Missing in Action on Gay Rights). Paste it into Google. The first Google link is usually the WSJ article. Click on that and you’ll be taken back to the fully-available article at WSJ.

    • I did not know that. Thanks!

      • You’re welcome. It works every time and sure comes in handy.

        This is expected to work as well for articles from the NYTimes when they go back behind the wall next year.

  24. Dakinikat, if you’re around and see this–what’s your take on this story?

    http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2010/06/barack_obama_takes_shot_at_bob.html

  25. I posted this late last night–normally I wouldn’t recommend Maddow (because normally she wastes her intelligence on being a progressive hack), but this was a segment worth watching. It’s on the opening of the Intrepid facility in Bethesda for treating traumatic brain injury and mental health, and no one representing the WH was there–

  26. So I’m guessing this is the same type of traumatic brain injury Big Dawg spoke about so poignantly during the campaign. And if Hiillary were in the WH, do we think no one from the WH would have been there for the opening?

  27. Apparently Weigel was seen hanging out at Huffpo’s DC office… interesting…

    http://thehill.com/blogs/twitter-room/other-news/105597-weigel-seen-at-huffington-post-office

    • Can ‘t let a talent like his go to waste. Can’t wait until he reinvents himself as a free speech martyr.

  28. Remember the Coffee Party? Obama WH and K-Street are having coffee parties too…
    NY Times:

    Here at the Caribou on Pennsylvania Avenue, and a few other nearby coffee shops, White House officials have met hundreds of times over the last 18 months with prominent K Street lobbyists — members of the same industry that President Obama has derided for what he calls its “outsized influence” in the capital.

    Read the rest:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/25/us/politics/25caribou.html

  29. I have to ask regarding the Gore matter:

    “The paper obtained the $540 bill — including a 20 percent gratuity — that the masseuse submitted to the Hotel Lucia,..”

    For one massage?? For how many hours?? “Enquiring” minds want to know!

    Even in an exclusive hotel, average massages do not usually run that much.

    djmm

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