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The Union-Tribune has sent a memo to its staff, saying that it is looking into renting out space in its building. Some potential renters have already looked at the fourth and fifth floor, say the new owners, Platinum Equity. (The fourth floor houses the library, photo lab, and photo library, which could be difficult to move. The fifth has the cafeteria along with executive offices.) "With the reduction in staff over the past few years, clearly there is unutilized office space" at headquarters, says the memo. According to a June 24 story in Forbes.com, U-T employment, once 1,422, will soon be down to 572. The newspaper is "cratering," one source tells Forbes. Platinum Equity got the Mission Valley building for roughly 60% under assessed valuation. I have thought all along Platinum intends to vacate and sell the building for a good profit when the market turns (or to a speculator before the commercial real estate market turns). I still believe that is the strategy, but renting out space in the interim would make sense, although the building was constructed as a one-company, one-purpose structure.

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Comments

Ponzi July 2, 2009 @ 3:03 p.m.

Don, I know this is off topic, but many of your readers also post comments on SignOn San Diego. For some reason they have disabled all the posts in the past 48 hours even though Disqus(the 3rd party comment system) is working fine on other customers sites. This has happened before and it seems like when they get tired of moderating they just shut the comments down.

If there anyway to get a reply from them about why their comment system is always haywire?

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WhatGoesAround July 2, 2009 @ 3:18 p.m.

Don, I think it will be a logistics nightmare to have "renters" in that building, but plenty of businesses make bad decisions because, well, just because they can! Maybe when the Watchdog Institute gets off the ground, they can rent some of that space. Hey, why not?

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Don Bauder July 2, 2009 @ 4:05 p.m.

Response to post #1: I have heard such reports before. I don't know the reason for the posts being disabled. I don't know how I could get information on that. The company doesn't respond to my queries. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 2, 2009 @ 4:17 p.m.

Response to post #2: I agree that renting out part of that building would be a logistical nightmare. That's especially true of the 4th and 5th floors, which are being considered for leasing. I am quite suspicious of that Watchdog Institute plan. If it hooked up with SDSU, could it do reporting on the governor, AG, or any pol? Of course not. I'm not sure it could cover the City, because San Diego has financial arrangements with SDSU. Think of the implications: if its people go off the U-T payroll, then set up shop at the U-T, using U-T facilities and personnel, and feeding its copy to the U-T, is it really an independent institute, as it claims? Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell July 2, 2009 @ 7 p.m.

Is the U-T Library large? Does it have reference materials and books of historical significance worth saving? I assume the librarians were among the first to be let go.

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Don Bauder July 2, 2009 @ 7:49 p.m.

Response to post #5: Librarians have been cut back sharply. I believe I heard they are down to two. They must have had at least 12 at some point, maybe more. There are a lot of reference materials and equipment in the library. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 2, 2009 @ 8:50 p.m.

The UT website is reporting Herb Klein has died at 91.

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Don Bauder July 3, 2009 @ 6:31 a.m.

Response to post #7: Yes. I noticed. Best, Don Bauder

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JustWondering July 3, 2009 @ 6:44 a.m.

Sad news on the passing of Herb Klein. I doubt even in death he'll get any rest. After leading the SDUT for more than 20 years he's been witness to the paper's slow painful decline. Once a proud well written daily, now not much better than a supermarket tabloid.

I suspect Mr. Klein is already spinning before getting into the grave over the demise of the "Ring of Truth" in favor of sensationalism at any cost.

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JustWondering July 3, 2009 @ 7:07 a.m.

On a slightly different subject but connectedly to business at the SDUT. I read a letter published by the Voice of San Diego written by Greg Levin, former City of San Diego Comptroller. Levin, who worked his way up through the city's financial operations left city employment in late December 2008. His unique insight, gained from years of working with and understanding the City's financial working of the city, tells us the SDUT's Watchdog hit piece on city paper is greatly flaw and inaccurate. I suspect, if anyone should know it would be him. This also makes me wondering how the editor ultimately responsible, Karin Winner, is weathering the storm of legitimate criticism aimed at her and newest tabloid, the SDUT.

Here's the link to LEVIN's Letter:

http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/articles/2009/07/03/letters/132ut2070209.txt#info (you'll need to scroll up a little after following the link)

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Don Bauder July 3, 2009 @ 7:30 a.m.

Response to post #9: There are several sides to every story. When a person has just died, usually only one side gets prominent play in the media. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 3, 2009 @ 8:04 a.m.

Response to post #10: Levin's assertion that City Hall bean counters "value the role of the press in democratic and open government" is absolutely hilarious. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 3, 2009 @ 8:19 a.m.

On a slightly different subject but connectedly to business at the SDUT. I read a letter published by the Voice of San Diego written by Greg Levin, former City of San Diego Comptroller. Levin, who worked his way up through the city's financial operations left city employment in late December 2008. His unique insight, gained from years of working with and understanding the City's financial working of the city, tells us the SDUT's Watchdog hit piece on city paper is greatly flaw and inaccurate.

Mr. Levin could hardly be called "unbiased" though.

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JustWondering July 3, 2009 @ 10:35 a.m.

I certainly agree the SDUT Watchdog three part story printed above the fold report was bias. SDUT agenda against unionize labor is well known. That's why this series of reports belonged on the editorial pages not news.

The SDUT stooped to new lows in an effort to sell newspapers with the net result more subscription cancellations.

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Don Bauder July 3, 2009 @ 11:54 a.m.

Response to post #13: Agreed. Who could say Levin is unbiased? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 3, 2009 @ 11:56 a.m.

Response to post #14: Yes, the U-T has been quite contemptuous of organized labor. I am not sure about the new owners, Platinum Equity. This buyout firm has solicited and received millions of dollars of labor union money. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 3, 2009 @ 1:16 p.m.

Don, how well did you know Klein?

And can you give us some inside background on him, such as demenaor towards co workers and so forth.

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Don Bauder July 3, 2009 @ 5:51 p.m.

Response to post #17: Unfortuntely, I knew Klein well. We were adversaries. He was head publicist and lobbyist for the football stadium and ballpark subsidy scams. He never understood that, as editor of Copley Press, this was a screaming conflict of interest. As a columnist, I opposed those scams, and as things have turned out for San Diego's finances, I am glad that I did. He tried to get me fired throughout the period. He did succeed in getting me suspended without pay for a week. But Helen Copley stood up for me. Actually, Klein tried to get me ousted long before the pro sports scams. I was trying to establish tough reporting on the business pages. He disapproved of that, of course. In his mind, somebody in business was always right, and the reporter or columnist was always wrong. People thought of him as a kindly, mild-mannered man, but he wielded a very sharp machete. I have the deep scars to prove it. Herb Klein never knew the difference between public relations and journalism. He was a skillful PR man/lobbyist, but his title was editor. This is one of the reasons for San Diego's fiscal woes. Best, Don Bauder

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pedrochavez1114 July 3, 2009 @ 8:31 p.m.

Don,

Keep up the fight. Don’t make it easy for the scammers to give away what belongs to us. Keeping the torch lighted for the folks that practice living in a free world ain’t for the light hearted…

You got it, baby!

Here’s a short – Chicano style – poem about the stuff elected officials do as they salute others with somebody else’s hat, giving away what belongs to us and to our children and the children of their children. I wrote it sometime before I left San Diego for Dallas in 2003.

The sign off – at the end of the lines – was the standard “excuse me” of Chicano writing back in the good old days when things weren’t so good after all.

Sombrero Ajeno

Los pinches politicians, wantin’ to look good, give away our money, our kids’ herencia. While sucking from a sow’s seno, sucking dry her teats, with no clemencia, they still have the gall, the balls, to call me their friend, as they go around our town tilting their sombrero ajeno.

To all the rich friends they know, they offer what is ours. Our future, our stricken tesoro. Our land, the last piece of the main. A Navy’s row of wasted homes. To pay for the unsold tickets at the football field, to give them a deal on their loan. A tax break, our city for a song.

 Con safos, maestros.
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WhatGoesAround July 4, 2009 @ 3:42 a.m.

"One of the greatest sources of comfort to me is knowing that I have lived long enough to be vindicated. I've outlived all of my enemies, but I've also outlived all of my friends."

  • George Seldes, American investigative journalist (at age 102)

Don, almost 10 years ago during interview #1 for a job at the U-T, I was asked to explain why I had resigned from an earlier position with another San Diego employer. I told the HR recruiter that I had learned of the dubious legality of the operation, and said (naively I know now), "You can ask Don Bauder. I am sure he knows about this bunch of crooks."

Just a little tribute to you.

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Don Bauder July 4, 2009 @ 5:50 a.m.

Response to post #19: Very good poem. It captures what is going on today. Those with the highest incomes suck corporate welfare from governments that should be spending the funds on those with the lowest incomes. Governments subsidize projects that fatten the rich and exclude the poor. Subsidized pro sports facilities are just one example. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 4, 2009 @ 5:53 a.m.

Response to post #20: Mentioning my name was no way to get hired at the U-T. I would love to know if you were rejected. If you were, it may have had something to do with your citing my name. In any case, I appreciate your comment. Best, Don Bauder

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WhatGoesAround July 4, 2009 @ 1:43 p.m.

Don, yes, I was hired, and the rest is, as they say, history. However if invoking your name would have cost me the job, I wouldn't have wanted it anyway. So glad you are still in the game.

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Don Bauder July 4, 2009 @ 4:03 p.m.

Response to post #23: Still in the game. And the game is getting hotter. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 4, 2009 @ 4:14 p.m.

So glad you are still in the game.

By WhatGoesAround

Don is not only still in the game, he is now head referee.

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Don Bauder July 4, 2009 @ 7:51 p.m.

Response to post #25: As referee, I wear white and black stripes. Some mistake me for a skunk -- the perennial skunk at the garden party. Best, Don bauder

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WhatGoesAround July 5, 2009 @ 11:27 a.m.

Don, speaking of screaming conflict of interest, here's an interesting newspaper business model:

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=7987328&page=1

What will they think of next?

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Visduh July 5, 2009 @ 4:40 p.m.

Regardless of where you fit on the political spectrum, you need to be skeptical of any newspaper, TV news programming, magazine, (or blogger.) These financial stresses on daily newspapers could kill any remaining journalistic integrity at any time. That link in Posting #27 is just the most recent episode, but it will not be the last. The "inside the beltway" crowd that gets its marching orders from the Washington Post has long been harshly criticized by the right. If the Post is doing things like that, the left had best start watching the Post, too.

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Don Bauder July 5, 2009 @ 5:03 p.m.

Response to post #27: Yes, the Washington Post really caught hell for that one, and justifiably so. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 5, 2009 @ 5:08 p.m.

Response to post #28: Right you are. The staggering losses will engender less media credibility. There is a rumor that the reason Sarah Palin quit so abruptly as Alaska governor is that she has been offered a job at a fabulous salary with Fox. Figures. She is also going to write a book. (The young man who impregnated Sarah's daughter is writing a tell-all book.) Remember, these are rumors about Sarah. She may have been indicted, too. Or something else may have happened. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell July 5, 2009 @ 8:48 p.m.

Palin should cash in while she can. Her looks are fading fast.

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Don Bauder July 6, 2009 @ 5:57 a.m.

Response to post #31: I hadn't noticed that Sarah's looks are fading. That's because I seldom see politics on TV. You can't blame her for getting some lines on her face. She was the laughingstock of much of the nation in her VP campaign. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 6, 2009 @ 1:04 p.m.

Palin should cash in while she can. Her looks are fading fast.

By Burwell

Who's looking at Sarah?

I have my eye on Brystol!

(that is a joke kids-Brystol is far too young for me, but she is good looking).

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Don Bauder July 6, 2009 @ 2:17 p.m.

Response to post #33: You would not only get in trouble on a statutory charge, but also have a young one to feed. And you would have to leave San Diego and go to Alaska. Cast your eyes elsewhere, SurfPuppy. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 6, 2009 @ 8:29 p.m.

You would not only get in trouble on a statutory charge, but also have a young one to feed. And you would have to leave San Diego and go to Alaska

LOL.... Brystol is 18 though.

I don't think Palin is cut out to be VP or President, but she sure does not deserve the bad rap eveyone lays on her.

Me and Palin are opposites politically, but I think she brings many other things to the table for HER party-GOP.

Me, I hate both the GOP and the Democrats-one is a shill for BigBusiness and the other is a shill for public employee unions...........I'm a Lou Dobbs Independant.

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Don Bauder July 6, 2009 @ 11:15 p.m.

Response to post #35: Well, you shouldn't be ogling an 18-year old either, SurfPuppy, even though it won't get you thrown in jail. I disagree on Sarah Palin. It is a disgrace to the nation that somebody with her empty intellect ran for VP and could have been in line for the presidency had McCain won. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 7, 2009 @ 7:38 a.m.

I dont think Palin was devoid of intellect.

Was she qualified to be VP or President-No. But she was given a bad rap. Many of the things that were printed about her intellect and intelligence (or lack thereof) were flat out falsehoods. (I can't believe I am actually defending her-because her ideology is so opposite of mine).

A good example was that Palin did not know Africa was a country or could not find it on a map. That was just one example of a smear against here that was proven to be 100% false.

I didn't vote for Palin and I'm not here to defend Palin, because I agree she was not the best choice-but she was certainly not the bimbo many have made her out to be.

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Don Bauder July 7, 2009 @ 9:38 a.m.

Response to post #37: I have seen only portions of the interview with Katie Couric, along with commentary about same. I watched the debate with Biden. Yes, things can be taken out of context, but both looked pretty grim to me. Best, Don Bauder

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WhatGoesAround July 7, 2009 @ 10:14 a.m.

I agree with SurfPuppy. Palin's politics are mostly anathema to me, but I also believe she is smarter than she came across in the media. New York and Washington DC (and even in some respects, San Diego) have a standard they expect for sophistication -- and sometimes, external appearances of sophistication cover for lack of intelligence. I honestly believe Sarah Palin is intelligent, and she will be vindicated eventually.

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Don Bauder July 7, 2009 @ 6:42 p.m.

Response to post #39: Vindicated of what charges? The generalization that she simply does not have the savvy in domestic or foreign matters to hold the position of the presidency? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 7, 2009 @ 9:55 p.m.

NOTE: According to the publication Editor & Publisher, the Union-Tribune has ordered a content management system -- an integrated, single-database system to handle the entire workflow, from content gathering to pagination (computerized layout) to online delivery. Under previous management, the U-T for years dawdled on installing pagination to the point that it had almost had a crisis for lack of material availability for its antiquated system. This order does reinforce the idea that the new ownership actually wants to run the newspaper, at least for a significant period. Since it bought the U-T essentially for the discounted value of real estate, there was concern that the new ownership wanted to flip both the real estate and the newspaper quickly. Best, Don Bauder

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WhatGoesAround July 7, 2009 @ 10:11 p.m.

Don, many, many Presidents of the United States have come and gone and done their best (and sometimes not their best) in the face of domestic and foreign challenges. Just in the foreign arena, their "best" includes involvement in two World Wars, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the arms race, Korea, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam ("the best and the brightest"), Watergate, Iran Contra, Iraq, etc, etc. Let's not forget "I never had sex with that woman," William Jefferson Clinton - a true patriot. So, in the "savvy" department, I say Sarah Palin has as much potential to screw up as the first 44, including the still relatively untested Barack Obama. Can you seriously say that Harry Truman had the "savvy in domestic or foreign matters" required to take over after Roosevelt died? I say not at all, but I don't think anyone asked that question when he was FDR's running mate. There is a double standard for the Presidency, which I hope will be finally broken before the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment - women's right to vote.

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WhatGoesAround July 7, 2009 @ 10:33 p.m.

Don, regarding the Atex system purchase -- perhaps in order to flip the newspaper, they have to spend some cash to "renovate" the operation, otherwise, not sure who would purchase it in the future without pagination.

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Don Bauder July 8, 2009 @ 10:03 a.m.

Response to post #42: I would say Palin has more potential to screw up, but you make a good point. Some of the disastrous errors you cite, such as Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Korea, were the designs of bureaucrats ensconced in the Washington establishment. The Cuban invasion was planned under Eisenhower but attempted under Kennedy. Some of the other disasters emanated from the White House. Iraq was disingenuously promoted from the Oval Office. Clinton's sexual adventures came from Clinton's own zipper problem. The final decisions on Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- right or wrong -- were made by Truman. I would rather have someone there whose intellect I can admire. FDR, TR, Eisenhower, Truman, Obama and arguably Kennedy had/have that intellect and judgment. Lack of intellect, combined with a Machiavellian VP, did George W. Bush in. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 8, 2009 @ 10:06 a.m.

Response to post #43: You may well be right. The move may have been nothing more than polishing the car before putting it on the used car market. The absence of pagination would not be the only roadblock to flipping the newspaper. Once the real estate has been flipped, what else is there as an attraction? Best, Don Bauder

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HellcatCopley July 8, 2009 @ 4:39 p.m.

UT Bigwig Paul Bridwell recently decided that Security was a waste of money in Mission Valley. Now the parking lot guards are gone and only a single officer is on duty per shift. The security detail in the main office has been replaced by the HR receptionist.

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Don Bauder July 8, 2009 @ 8:45 p.m.

Response to post #46: Yes, security personnel have been sacked, I understand. A big gate will be going in, or has gone in. Best, Don Bauder

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WhatGoesAround July 9, 2009 @ 10:08 a.m.

Response to post #44. I'll let it go for now. If I could meet Sarah Palin and have a conversation with her, I believe I could settle this intellect question, for myself at least. I still say that evidence of genuine intellect can be elusive, especially when history has favored men's dominance in national and international politics, and when one's politics are a lightning rod for controversy. Although I imagine several Presidential historians have drawn their own conclusions about Presidential intellects, I think this topic might be deserving of a fresh examination.

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WhatGoesAround July 9, 2009 @ 10:16 a.m.

Comment on post #46: Wow oh wow oh wow. The incredible shrinking newspaper organization. I bet a lot of people at the U-T are in shock. Wow oh wow oh wow.

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SurfPuppy619 July 9, 2009 @ 1:29 p.m.

UT Bigwig Paul Bridwell recently decided that Security was a waste of money in Mission Valley.

Why would a paper even need security?

Have there ever been threats against the UT? I would suspect nothing out of the norm.

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Don Bauder July 9, 2009 @ 1:31 p.m.

Response to post #48: It's said Katie Couric was shocked at answers Palin gave her, but that may be a canard. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 9, 2009 @ 1:33 p.m.

Response to post #49: U-T people have been in shock for a couple of years. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 9, 2009 @ 1:35 p.m.

Response to post #50: When I worked at the U-T, there were oodles of security people. I remember joking to employees that nobody on the editorial staff had any information or insights worth protecting. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell July 9, 2009 @ 11:38 p.m.

Response to post #31: I hadn't noticed that Sarah's looks are fading. That's because I seldom see politics on TV. You can't blame her for getting some lines on her face. She was the laughingstock of much of the nation in her VP campaign. Best, Don Bauder

==========

Palin should shoot her nude portfolio now before her looks fade further and she winds up looking like Nancy Pelosi. Palin could pose naked wearing a coonskin cap with an 18" Buck knife between her teeth. If Palin's political career goes down the tubes several years from now, she'd be able to sell the portfolio to Playboy for several million.

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Don Bauder July 10, 2009 @ 7:18 a.m.

Response to post #54: If Playboy would print nude shots taken several years earlier, careers of many fading stars could be resurrected. Hugh Hefner is showing his age (I suspect he is in his 80s); maybe he should insist that the only pictures shown of him should be from 40 years ago. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 13, 2009 @ 9:49 p.m.

Palin should shoot her nude portfolio now before her looks fade further and she winds up looking like Nancy Pelosi. Palin could pose naked wearing a coonskin cap with an 18" Buck knife between her teeth.

By Burwell

LOL...... I can picture that right now!

There was a report out today that Palin's hair stylist said she was losing her hair during the campaign because of stress.

As for Hugh Hefner, he is a walking cartoon and is really nothing than a dirty old man who pays women to be his "girlfirend", which in reality makes them straight up prostitutes.

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Don Bauder July 14, 2009 @ 6:39 a.m.

Response to post #56: Someone should pass Burwell's perceptive suggestion on to Hefner. He could use her as a centerfold, clad just as Burwell described. Best, Don Bauder

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