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King Solomon's "throne" -- or for something completely different.

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  • King Solomon's "throne" -- or for something completely different.

    Ran across this recently

    Source: The Strange Story of 'King Solomon’s Throne’ Found in Jerusalem


    Did a group of amateurs unearth a monumental Iron Age toilet seat over a century ago in the heart of biblical Jerusalem? A modern-day archaeologist lifts the lid on a bizarre mystery

    Over a century ago, the fifth earl of Morley, Montagu Brownlow Parker, made an unusual find in ancient Jerusalem, shortly after which he was chased out of the city by angry mobs baying for his blood.

    Captain Parker’s digging operations, from 1909 to 1911, were documented in the book “Jerusalem sous terre” by the Dominican monk Louis-Hugues Vincent. The book was translated into English, “Underground Jerusalem: Discoveries on the Hill of Ophel (1909-1911),” by one Theodore Andrea Cook. There were discrepancies, and scholars have been scratching their heads over some of the purported finds ever since.

    Anybody who reads French will have known for over a century about the extraordinary find by the earl, an army officer of the British Grenadier Guards. If you are confined to Queen’s English, however, you are only now learning about a monumental Iron Age toilet seat that Parker and his team of absolute amateurs – nary an archaeologist among them – unearthed in the heart of biblical Jerusalem, in a pile of collapsed ashlar blocks not far from a monumental city gate.

    But neither the French nor the English versions of the book include a sketch of the discovery, which is now being published for the first time by Prof. Shimon Gibson of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and he himself has been digging in Jerusalem for decades.

    In the most recent issue of the peer-reviewed journal Palestine Exploration Quarterly, Gibson traces the fantastical, hilarious story of the “Throne of Solomon”: from its discovery by Parker and to its partial publication by Father Vincent, the role played by Cook the translator, and on post-Victorian prudishness ("An Iron Age Stone Toilet Seat (the ‘Throne of Solomon’) from Captain Montagu Brownlow Parker’s 1909–1911 Excavations in Jerusalem: Palestine Exploration Quarterly: Vol 0, No 0).


    Oh the shame of it…

    To begin with, the excavation was bizarre, as Gibson describes in detail in the peer reviewed journal, published by the Palestine Exploration Fund, which was founded in 1865 and focuses on academic research dealing with the southern Levant.

    The whole thing began with a Finnish spiritualist named Valter Juvelius who purported to know “the situation” of the lost Temple treasure (Haaretz knows it too – it’s lost). Parker raised vast amounts of money and set out to excavate ancient Jerusalem with his friends, not one of whom had any background whatsoever in archaeology. Land was purchased on the eastern slope of the “City of David,” above the Gihon Spring, Gibson relates.

    It did not go well. Whatever Juvelius alleged to know, treasure did not ensue; the graves of the great legendary kings Solomon and David were not found, Hezekiah’s tunnel was cleared and there were other achievements, but Parker was unsatisfied.

    Given his lofty aspirations and the stuffiness of society at the time, the discovery of an ancient toilet seat in the Ophel (which literally means the “bulge”) in the southeastern part of ancient Jerusalem may not have felt like adequate compensation.

    In any case, in his frustration Parker overstepped his bounds and, still hoping to make a find of biblical proportions, he foolishly started to secretly dig inside the Temple Mount. However, as Gibson explains, they were caught red-handed.

    As other colonials have done, Parker had miscalculated in thinking that by hiring locals to dig (and setting up a soup kitchen in Silwan, and other gestures), he would secure their support for his endeavors. It did not. He had also corrupted local officials – nothing new there, Gibson adds.

    The locals were outraged and, far from seeing him as a benefactor, they held him to be a thief. The fate of thieves in the Middle East is, in contrast to Parker’s Temple Mount excursions, no secret, and in April 1911 he had to flee the city for his personal safety.

    And that was that for the excavation in Jerusalem by Parker, though Father Vincent – an incumbent at the local French Dominican biblical school (the Ecole Biblique) – continued work on recording for a few more months. But all was in vain, though personally Vincent did hope his friend would return and resume work.

    Parker himself made no records of the dig and his archaeological efforts were met with howls of contempt by contemporary scholars. Vincent did write up the excavation’s results, in French; Cook translated the book into English, with Captain Parker’s help, and this is how the discrepancies arose – or so Gibson believes, based on reading previously unpublished archival documents. Cook and Parker were close, and one or both of them appears to have amended the English version.

    Vincent noted the differences, fretted at inaccuracies in the French version, notably in maps and drawings, and published a series of four subsequent articles in late 1911 and 1912 in French.

    None of the above included the sketch of the toilet seat that Vincent sent to Cook for putative inclusion in a new edition of “Underground Jerusalem.” Other drawings had been published, but not this one. Why had it been left out? Maybe the editor’s prudishness, Gibson suggests.

    For sure, its purpose was not in doubt. When it was found, it was “at once saluted by our village workmen as the ‘throne of Solomon.’ I fear its destination was at once more private and more naturally necessary,” which is the way Vincent put it in the English edition. He was much more explicit in the French version, although no drawing was included.

    Maybe the workers were being ironic (or sycophantic, knowing what Parker was looking for), but in any case Vincent was able to identify the find. “He correctly adduced it to be an installation associated with a ‘water closet,’” Gibson writes.

    Vincent described the toilet seat in great detail in French, but the same text did not appear in English. Maybe it had been edited out by the puritanical earl or his translator Cook.

    Gibson kindly provides the first-ever full translation of the missing material into English, including this gem by Father Vincent: “However, the strangest piece, discovered almost at the level of the virgin soil … is a monumental water closet seat. I implore the clemency of all readers for the presentation of this indiscreet piece of furniture,” the purpose of which he had no doubts whatsoever.

    Since there is hardly any direct evidence for the great kings, there is obviously no direct evidence whatsoever that the ancient lavatory had been used by Solomon himself, as the workers boasted, to Vincent’s amusement.

    But let’s be clear: this is not the only toilet found from the biblical era in Jerusalem.

    The evacuation route

    In support of the thesis that what Parker and his team of abject amateurs found was a toilet seat and none other, Gibson elaborates on the archaeology of human “evacuation” procedures in antiquity.
    It is possible that the hoi polloi had to find relief behind convenient clumps of vegetation, but so far Gibson counts no fewer than 13 stone toilet seats from the Iron Age II in the context of the Kingdom of Judah – and no less than seven, including this newly unveiled one, in archaeological layers of ancient Jerusalem, in the City of David, from the late eighth century B.C.E. to 586 B.C.E.

    Things really hit the fan over a putative toilet seat found in a supposed pagan shrine at Tel Lachish. Researchers rarely miss an opportunity to poo-poo their distinguished colleagues’ theories, and in this case the provocative suggestion was that the toilet had been deliberately placed in the shrine to defile it, in the framework of religious reforms under King Hezekiah, who reportedly aimed to stamp out idolatrous beliefs and centralize worship in the Jerusalem temple.

    Some scholars agreed that the specific site had been a shrine – for the worship of an unknown deity – but didn’t agree it had been defiled because it wasn’t actually a toilet seat.

    Others said it wasn’t a shrine at all. The renowned archaeologist Aren Maeir, for one, said he thought the interpretation of a toilet was reasonable but the rest, the desecration of a pagan temple, he took to be a bit of a stretch.

    Debate also ensued following the discovery of a similar facility in an Iron Age estate at Armon Hanatziv in Jerusalem, outside the Old City: toilet seat or not? It looks like one, albeit with a rather small aperture, suggesting that Iron Age relief involved good aim – but in this case they didn’t just find a seat, they found a whole lavatory complete with a “septic tank,” itself filled with fecal matter beneath the seat, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority’s excavator, Yaakov Billig.
    The thing is that this “septic tank” was no such thing, and it would have had to be emptied from time to time.

    And not all of these toilet seats were found “in shitu” at the excavated sites. Gibson elaborates on biblical toilets at length, noting that some appear at farms and military towers near Jerusalem. He also mentions the case of the one from Khirbet er-Ras, near the present-day biblical zoo in the Rephaim Valley of Jerusalem, on which he reported himself. The strange thing is that after its discovery in the course of a survey, it quickly disappeared. Clearly, someone was in great need.

    In any case, the toilet seats of yore were not like today’s lavatories and Gibson reconstructs what they were probably like to use – and they were not all for sitting on comfortably. Some seem to have been more like Near Eastern toilets, where one squats over the aperture. But though we have technologically advanced over the last 3,000 years, today’s toilets definitely do not perform one of the functions some of those did, according to his speculative reconstruction.

    “The more developed type of seat had a slightly raised area in the front with a triangular or circular depression and with a groove that extended back and beneath the seat and into the underlying cesspit,” he writes. And what was that groove for? Possibly to support the male jewels while a person was moving their bowels, “which raises intriguing questions in regard to sanitary perceptions on daily purity at that time.”

    That it does. He notes the absence of any evidence of basins or nearby cisterns for washing the hands after doing the deed – not that people today always do that, despite knowing why they should.
    It also bears adding that various studies have identified intense parasitic infestation in peoples of yore. Whipworm and tapeworm eggs have been identified in the cesspits of the people of biblical Judah, which could speak of unhygienic habits, or sheer ignorance of how these parasites spread.

    Gibson also talks about potsherds possibly being used for subsequent wiping, but maybe they didn’t bother in those days. If they did, it would definitely have been a tough scrape.


    Source

    © Copyright Original Source




    Below is the Abstract from the paper An Iron Age Stone Toilet Seat (the ‘Throne of Solomon’) from Captain Montagu Brownlow Parker’s 1909–1911 Excavations in Jerusalem:


    ABSTRACT

    This paper reconstructs the history of the publications relating to the results of Captain Montagu Brownlow Parker’s 1909–1911 excavations in Jerusalem, comprising the English and French versions of the book Underground Jerusalem by Père Louis-Hugues Vincent, and four articles by that same author appearing in the pages of Revue Biblique. The significant part played by the English translator, Theodore Andrea Cook, is shown, and as it transpires, he is the reason why archival materials relating to the Parker expedition eventually ended up in the Palestine Exploration Fund’s archives. Importantly, an unpublished drawing by Vincent of an Iron Age stone toilet seat, which had been referred to by the excavators as the ‘Throne of Solomon’, was found among these archival materials. The paper investigates thirteen similar parallel stone toilet seats from the Iron Age II and examines what is known concerning issues of sanitation during that period in the Kingdom of Judah.


    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

  • #2
    Shouldn't this be in the Poop Deck?


    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Sparko View Post
      Shouldn't this be in the Poop Deck?

      The suggestion doesn't exactly bowl me over.

      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
      "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
        Ran across this recently

        Source: The Strange Story of 'King Solomon’s Throne’ Found in Jerusalem


        Did a group of amateurs unearth a monumental Iron Age toilet seat over a century ago in the heart of biblical Jerusalem? A modern-day archaeologist lifts the lid on a bizarre mystery

        Over a century ago, the fifth earl of Morley, Montagu Brownlow Parker, made an unusual find in ancient Jerusalem, shortly after which he was chased out of the city by angry mobs baying for his blood.

        Captain Parker’s digging operations, from 1909 to 1911, were documented in the book “Jerusalem sous terre” by the Dominican monk Louis-Hugues Vincent. The book was translated into English, “Underground Jerusalem: Discoveries on the Hill of Ophel (1909-1911),” by one Theodore Andrea Cook. There were discrepancies, and scholars have been scratching their heads over some of the purported finds ever since.

        Anybody who reads French will have known for over a century about the extraordinary find by the earl, an army officer of the British Grenadier Guards. If you are confined to Queen’s English, however, you are only now learning about a monumental Iron Age toilet seat that Parker and his team of absolute amateurs – nary an archaeologist among them – unearthed in the heart of biblical Jerusalem, in a pile of collapsed ashlar blocks not far from a monumental city gate.

        But neither the French nor the English versions of the book include a sketch of the discovery, which is now being published for the first time by Prof. Shimon Gibson of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and he himself has been digging in Jerusalem for decades.

        In the most recent issue of the peer-reviewed journal Palestine Exploration Quarterly, Gibson traces the fantastical, hilarious story of the “Throne of Solomon”: from its discovery by Parker and to its partial publication by Father Vincent, the role played by Cook the translator, and on post-Victorian prudishness ("An Iron Age Stone Toilet Seat (the ‘Throne of Solomon’) from Captain Montagu Brownlow Parker’s 1909–1911 Excavations in Jerusalem: Palestine Exploration Quarterly: Vol 0, No 0).


        Oh the shame of it…

        To begin with, the excavation was bizarre, as Gibson describes in detail in the peer reviewed journal, published by the Palestine Exploration Fund, which was founded in 1865 and focuses on academic research dealing with the southern Levant.

        The whole thing began with a Finnish spiritualist named Valter Juvelius who purported to know “the situation” of the lost Temple treasure (Haaretz knows it too – it’s lost). Parker raised vast amounts of money and set out to excavate ancient Jerusalem with his friends, not one of whom had any background whatsoever in archaeology. Land was purchased on the eastern slope of the “City of David,” above the Gihon Spring, Gibson relates.

        It did not go well. Whatever Juvelius alleged to know, treasure did not ensue; the graves of the great legendary kings Solomon and David were not found, Hezekiah’s tunnel was cleared and there were other achievements, but Parker was unsatisfied.

        Given his lofty aspirations and the stuffiness of society at the time, the discovery of an ancient toilet seat in the Ophel (which literally means the “bulge”) in the southeastern part of ancient Jerusalem may not have felt like adequate compensation.

        In any case, in his frustration Parker overstepped his bounds and, still hoping to make a find of biblical proportions, he foolishly started to secretly dig inside the Temple Mount. However, as Gibson explains, they were caught red-handed.

        As other colonials have done, Parker had miscalculated in thinking that by hiring locals to dig (and setting up a soup kitchen in Silwan, and other gestures), he would secure their support for his endeavors. It did not. He had also corrupted local officials – nothing new there, Gibson adds.

        The locals were outraged and, far from seeing him as a benefactor, they held him to be a thief. The fate of thieves in the Middle East is, in contrast to Parker’s Temple Mount excursions, no secret, and in April 1911 he had to flee the city for his personal safety.

        And that was that for the excavation in Jerusalem by Parker, though Father Vincent – an incumbent at the local French Dominican biblical school (the Ecole Biblique) – continued work on recording for a few more months. But all was in vain, though personally Vincent did hope his friend would return and resume work.

        Parker himself made no records of the dig and his archaeological efforts were met with howls of contempt by contemporary scholars. Vincent did write up the excavation’s results, in French; Cook translated the book into English, with Captain Parker’s help, and this is how the discrepancies arose – or so Gibson believes, based on reading previously unpublished archival documents. Cook and Parker were close, and one or both of them appears to have amended the English version.

        Vincent noted the differences, fretted at inaccuracies in the French version, notably in maps and drawings, and published a series of four subsequent articles in late 1911 and 1912 in French.

        None of the above included the sketch of the toilet seat that Vincent sent to Cook for putative inclusion in a new edition of “Underground Jerusalem.” Other drawings had been published, but not this one. Why had it been left out? Maybe the editor’s prudishness, Gibson suggests.

        For sure, its purpose was not in doubt. When it was found, it was “at once saluted by our village workmen as the ‘throne of Solomon.’ I fear its destination was at once more private and more naturally necessary,” which is the way Vincent put it in the English edition. He was much more explicit in the French version, although no drawing was included.

        Maybe the workers were being ironic (or sycophantic, knowing what Parker was looking for), but in any case Vincent was able to identify the find. “He correctly adduced it to be an installation associated with a ‘water closet,’” Gibson writes.

        Vincent described the toilet seat in great detail in French, but the same text did not appear in English. Maybe it had been edited out by the puritanical earl or his translator Cook.

        Gibson kindly provides the first-ever full translation of the missing material into English, including this gem by Father Vincent: “However, the strangest piece, discovered almost at the level of the virgin soil … is a monumental water closet seat. I implore the clemency of all readers for the presentation of this indiscreet piece of furniture,” the purpose of which he had no doubts whatsoever.

        Since there is hardly any direct evidence for the great kings, there is obviously no direct evidence whatsoever that the ancient lavatory had been used by Solomon himself, as the workers boasted, to Vincent’s amusement.

        But let’s be clear: this is not the only toilet found from the biblical era in Jerusalem.

        The evacuation route

        In support of the thesis that what Parker and his team of abject amateurs found was a toilet seat and none other, Gibson elaborates on the archaeology of human “evacuation” procedures in antiquity.
        It is possible that the hoi polloi had to find relief behind convenient clumps of vegetation, but so far Gibson counts no fewer than 13 stone toilet seats from the Iron Age II in the context of the Kingdom of Judah – and no less than seven, including this newly unveiled one, in archaeological layers of ancient Jerusalem, in the City of David, from the late eighth century B.C.E. to 586 B.C.E.

        Things really hit the fan over a putative toilet seat found in a supposed pagan shrine at Tel Lachish. Researchers rarely miss an opportunity to poo-poo their distinguished colleagues’ theories, and in this case the provocative suggestion was that the toilet had been deliberately placed in the shrine to defile it, in the framework of religious reforms under King Hezekiah, who reportedly aimed to stamp out idolatrous beliefs and centralize worship in the Jerusalem temple.

        Some scholars agreed that the specific site had been a shrine – for the worship of an unknown deity – but didn’t agree it had been defiled because it wasn’t actually a toilet seat.

        Others said it wasn’t a shrine at all. The renowned archaeologist Aren Maeir, for one, said he thought the interpretation of a toilet was reasonable but the rest, the desecration of a pagan temple, he took to be a bit of a stretch.

        Debate also ensued following the discovery of a similar facility in an Iron Age estate at Armon Hanatziv in Jerusalem, outside the Old City: toilet seat or not? It looks like one, albeit with a rather small aperture, suggesting that Iron Age relief involved good aim – but in this case they didn’t just find a seat, they found a whole lavatory complete with a “septic tank,” itself filled with fecal matter beneath the seat, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority’s excavator, Yaakov Billig.
        The thing is that this “septic tank” was no such thing, and it would have had to be emptied from time to time.

        And not all of these toilet seats were found “in shitu” at the excavated sites. Gibson elaborates on biblical toilets at length, noting that some appear at farms and military towers near Jerusalem. He also mentions the case of the one from Khirbet er-Ras, near the present-day biblical zoo in the Rephaim Valley of Jerusalem, on which he reported himself. The strange thing is that after its discovery in the course of a survey, it quickly disappeared. Clearly, someone was in great need.

        In any case, the toilet seats of yore were not like today’s lavatories and Gibson reconstructs what they were probably like to use – and they were not all for sitting on comfortably. Some seem to have been more like Near Eastern toilets, where one squats over the aperture. But though we have technologically advanced over the last 3,000 years, today’s toilets definitely do not perform one of the functions some of those did, according to his speculative reconstruction.

        “The more developed type of seat had a slightly raised area in the front with a triangular or circular depression and with a groove that extended back and beneath the seat and into the underlying cesspit,” he writes. And what was that groove for? Possibly to support the male jewels while a person was moving their bowels, “which raises intriguing questions in regard to sanitary perceptions on daily purity at that time.”

        That it does. He notes the absence of any evidence of basins or nearby cisterns for washing the hands after doing the deed – not that people today always do that, despite knowing why they should.
        It also bears adding that various studies have identified intense parasitic infestation in peoples of yore. Whipworm and tapeworm eggs have been identified in the cesspits of the people of biblical Judah, which could speak of unhygienic habits, or sheer ignorance of how these parasites spread.

        Gibson also talks about potsherds possibly being used for subsequent wiping, but maybe they didn’t bother in those days. If they did, it would definitely have been a tough scrape.


        Source

        © Copyright Original Source




        Below is the Abstract from the paper An Iron Age Stone Toilet Seat (the ‘Throne of Solomon’) from Captain Montagu Brownlow Parker’s 1909–1911 Excavations in Jerusalem:


        ABSTRACT

        This paper reconstructs the history of the publications relating to the results of Captain Montagu Brownlow Parker’s 1909–1911 excavations in Jerusalem, comprising the English and French versions of the book Underground Jerusalem by Père Louis-Hugues Vincent, and four articles by that same author appearing in the pages of Revue Biblique. The significant part played by the English translator, Theodore Andrea Cook, is shown, and as it transpires, he is the reason why archival materials relating to the Parker expedition eventually ended up in the Palestine Exploration Fund’s archives. Importantly, an unpublished drawing by Vincent of an Iron Age stone toilet seat, which had been referred to by the excavators as the ‘Throne of Solomon’, was found among these archival materials. The paper investigates thirteen similar parallel stone toilet seats from the Iron Age II and examines what is known concerning issues of sanitation during that period in the Kingdom of Judah.
        That must be the reason for the slang phrase of being "on the throne"!
        "It ain't necessarily so
        The things that you're liable
        To read in the Bible
        It ain't necessarily so
        ."

        Sportin' Life
        Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

          That must be the reason for the slang phrase of being "on the throne"!
          Do you really need to quote the entire OP just to post a one line comment?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sparko View Post

            Do you really need to quote the entire OP just to post a one line comment?
            Why not?
            "It ain't necessarily so
            The things that you're liable
            To read in the Bible
            It ain't necessarily so
            ."

            Sportin' Life
            Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

              Why not?
              1. We all know what the OP says.
              2. It makes people have to scroll through a ton of text just to read one line.
              3. Bacon.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                Do you really need to quote the entire OP just to post a one line comment?
                Only if you want to get to the bottom of it.

                I'm always still in trouble again

                "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                  Only if you want to get to the bottom of it.
                  I think I will sewer for wasting my time!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                    I think I will sewer for wasting my time!
                    When urine trouble, wipe them out.

                    I'm always still in trouble again

                    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                      When urine trouble, wipe them out.
                      You just have to roll with it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                        You just have to roll with it.
                        Or else it'll drain you.

                        I'm always still in trouble again

                        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                        "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                          Or else it'll drain you.
                          It's the only thing you can poo.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                            It's the only thing you can poo.
                            Which can make you feel flushed and down in the dumps.

                            I'm always still in trouble again

                            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                            "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                            Comment

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