Lufthansa jet narrowly avoids crashing in German windstorm

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:39 PM GMT on March 05, 2008

A Lufthansa Airbus A320 with 137 people on board nearly crashed at the Hamburg, Germany airport on Saturday, March 1, as the pilot struggled to land the airplane during high winds kicked up by winter storm "Emma". If you don't have a fear of flying, take at look at the remarkable video an amateur photographer captured of the landing. It's been uploaded to and YouTube. As seen in the still images captured from the video (Figure 1), the pilot attempted to land the aircraft with a strong crosswind blowing from right to left. The crosswind is so strong that the drift angle of the aircraft (the difference between where the nose is pointed and the actual track of the airplane along the runway) is about 20 degrees. As the pilot touches the wheels down, he kicks the rudder to straighten the airplane out, and at that moment, a strong gust of wind lifts up the right wing, pushing the left wingtip of the aircraft into the runway. The pilot is skillful and lucky enough to avoid having the airplane cartwheel down the runway and explode, and aborts the landing attempt. You can see the blast of the engines kick up a cloud of dust on the left side of the runway as he goes to full throttle for a "go around" (thanks to Jeff Weber of UNIDATA for making the correct analysis of this dust cloud). The plane landed safely on its second attempt. Do you think the passengers were praying during that second landing? I do! Only minor damage was done to the left wingtip, and the plane was back in service by the next day.

Figure 1. Still photo of the Lufthansa jet (left) as it approached the runway. Note sharp angle between the direction the airplane's nose is pointed, and the track it is taking along the length of the runway. Strong winds of 40 mph gusting to 63 mph were observed at the airport that afternoon. Right photo: the left wingtip of the jet scrapes the runway as a big gust of wind hits. Image credit:

The weather that led to the near disaster
The initial press reports indicated that a wind gust of 155 mph hit the aircraft as it tried to land. That sounded rather dubious to me, so I took a closer look at the weather conditions that day. The only way a wind gust of that magnitude could have been generated would be from a powerful microburst flowing out from the base of a severe thunderstorm. The world record strongest thunderstorm microburst occurred on August 1, 1983, when winds of 149.5 mph were clocked at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington D.C., just five minutes after President Reagan landed there aboard Air Force 1. So, a 155 mph wind gust is possible, but it would be a new world record.

Figure 2. Visible satellite image from 10:20 GMT Saturday March 1 2008. Winter storm "Emma", a 960 mb low pressure centered north of Hamburg over Norway, has pushed a cold front through Germany. A strong northwest to west-northwest flow of air coming off the North Sea (red arrows) brought sustained winds of 36 mph, gusting to 56 mph, to Hamburg, Germany. Image credit: University of Bern, Switzerland.

Were there severe thunderstorms near Hamburg on March 1 that could have generated such a wind gust? A powerful low pressure system (Emma) with a central pressure of 960 mb passed to the north of Hamburg, Germany that morning, dragging a strong cold front through in the late morning (Figure 2). After cold frontal passage, the wunderground history page for Hamburg at 12:50 GMT, five minutes before the time of the incident, shows sustained winds of 35 mph, gusting to 56 mph. A temporary wind reading of 40 mph, gusting to 63 mph, also occurred. The temperature was about 45°F, with occasional rain. This is classic post-cold front weather, and is not the sort of environment where severe thunderstorms with strong microbursts occur. Later press reports corrected the 155 mph wind gust, reducing it to 56 mph. Apparently, the aircraft's landing speed was 155 mph. In any case, the plane was operating very near to the maximum crosswinds an Airbus A320 is permitted to land in--38 mph, gusting to 44 mph. There are questions whether air traffic control should have used that runway for landings, and whether or not the pilot should have attempted a landing in those conditions. There is an interesting discussion at the discussion forum where some pilots weight in on the near-disaster.

Winter storm Emma did considerable damage across Germany. Six people died in weather-related automobile accidents, power was cut to 150,000 homes, and high winds ripped the roof off of a school in Hesse. In neighboring countries, 260 buildings lost their roofs in Poland, flooding collapsed a bridge in Romania, and in the Czech Republic, 92,000 people (about 10 percent of the population) lost power.

Jeff Masters

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1053. weatherboyfsu
2:18 PM GMT on March 10, 2008
And if your closed minded and only looking at what you want to look at(the northern hemisphere), you can make any conclusion you you are doing now! In case you didnt know, there is a southern hemisphere.....It is located below the equator!

Go to the "The Glenn Beck Radio Show", you can access on the internet.....He did an hour long interview with some world renowned Scientists from Austalia which is a country in the southern hemisphere near the southern pole.

And one more thing, I usually dont agree with Mr. Glenn Beck, but when he's right, he's right.........
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1052. latitude25
2:24 PM GMT on March 10, 2008
forgot the link

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1051. latitude25
2:19 PM GMT on March 10, 2008
1036. BahaHurican 9:43 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Now I'm replacing every bulb in my house, little by little. I agree we can do more.

Baha, be sure and read what the EPA says about handling those bulbs.

Fluorescent Light Bulb Information

The lamp contains a small amount of mercury, but you can clean this up yourself if you do the following:

Do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the breakage. This will spread the mercury vapor and dust throughout the area and could potentially contaminate the vacuum.
Keep people and pets away from the breakage area until the cleanup is complete.
Ventilate the area by opening windows, and leave the area for 15 minutes before returning to begin the cleanup. Mercury vapor levels will be lower by then.
For maximum protection and if you have them, wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the sharp glass.
Carefully remove the larger pieces and place them in a secure closed container, preferably a glass container with a metal screw top lid and seal like a canning jar.1 A glass jar with a good seal works best to contain any mercury vapors inside.2
Next, begin collecting the smaller pieces and dust. You can use two stiff pieces of paper such as index cards or playing cards to scoop up pieces.
Pat the area with the sticky side of duct tape, packing tape or masking tape to pick up fine particles. Wipe the area with a wet wipe or damp paper towel to pick up even finer particles.
Put all waste and materials into the glass container, including all material used in the cleanup that may have been contaminated with mercury. Label the container as “Universal Waste - broken lamp.”
Remove the container with the breakage and cleanup materials from your home. This is particularly important if you do not have a glass container.
Continue ventilating the room for several hours.
Wash your hands and face.
Take the glass container with the waste material to a facility that accepts “universal waste” for recycling. To determine where your municipality has made arrangements for recycling of this type of waste, call your municipal office or find your town in this list municipal collection sites (MS Excel format) (pdf format).
When a break happens on carpeting, homeowners may consider removing throw rugs or the area of carpet where the breakage occurred as a precaution, particularly if the rug is in an area frequented by infants, small children or pregnant women.
Finally, if the carpet is not removed, open the window to the room during the next several times you vacuum the carpet to provide good ventilation.
The next time you replace a lamp, consider putting a drop cloth on the floor so that any accidental breakage can be easily cleaned up. If consumers remain concerned regarding safety, they may consider not utilizing fluorescent lamps in situations where they could easily be broken. Consumers may also consider avoiding CFL usage in bedrooms or carpeted areas frequented by infants, small children, or pregnant women. Finally, consider not storing too many used/spent lamps before recycling as that may increase your chances of breakage. Don’t forget to properly recycle your used fluorescent bulbs so they don’t break and put mercury into our environment.
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1050. Weather456
10:15 AM AST on March 10, 2008
Storm Lashes the West Coast of Europe
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1049. Patrap
9:18 AM CDT on March 10, 2008
GOES WV Loop of the Tropical Basin Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140128
1048. biff4ugo
2:05 PM GMT on March 10, 2008
Keep the name calling out of this blog please, at least be creative.

As for climate change... Look at the glaciers, or where they were. I don't know what "natural" cycle you are on but when ice that is thousands of years old is melting at accelerating rates you are not looking at any historical cycle.

If you can live on cacti, algae, and jellyfish you may be naturally pleased by the climate changes.
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1047. Patrap
9:07 AM CDT on March 10, 2008
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140128
1046. weatherboyfsu
1:54 PM GMT on March 10, 2008
Good morning folks,

Looks like this weather blog is at its best again today and look whose in the middle of it again........

It takes two people to argue.........Move on!!!!!!

By the way, the earth is warming, on its own, in the northern hemisphere.....But, the southern hemisphere is cooling.....

The Antarctic is surrounded by more ocean ice than ever before recorded in modern history. Its all a natural cycle which we are apart of. Man has very little to do with changes in our climate in the short term. In the long term he has almost nothing to do with it.

Man will destroy himself long before the earth! You can take that to the bank and put your money right next to Al Gore's!!!!!!!!
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1045. Patrap
9:02 AM CDT on March 10, 2008

March 10, 2008
The rotating service structure has been rolled away from space shuttle Endeavour in a major milestone leading up to launch. The liftoff of Endeavour on the STS-123 mission remains on schedule for 2:28 a.m. EDT Tuesday, March 11.

The movement of the enclosed gantry clears the way for the loading of about 500,000 gallons of supercold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants into the orange external tank this evening.

The rotating service structure provides weather protection to the shuttles at the launch pad and gives technicians access to the shuttle.

The current weather forecast calls for only a 10 percent chance atmospheric conditions will delay the launch, with the primary concern coming from a slight chance of a low cloud ceiling around Kennedy.

The flight is commanded by Dominic Gorie with Gregory H. Johnson serving as Pilot. The crew also includes Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan, Robert L. Behnken, Mike Foreman, Garrett Reisman and Japanese astronaut Takao Doi.

The crew will deliver the first section of the Japanese-built Kibo laboratory and the Canadian Space Agency's two-armed robotic system called Dextre.

STS-123 is an international mission combining the expertise and experience of several countries working together to create a working 'home' in space.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140128
1044. Buhdog
1:58 PM GMT on March 10, 2008
I mentioned it on Friday when the storms were rolling into South Florida......The Peace and Calusahatchee river have some weird climatolgical effect on storms coming in. Everytime these fronts approach(now matter how strong a line) the energy splits and we hardly get a thing. All we got in Cape Coral the other night was a couple hours of rain. There was a split right in the middle of line and we watched it on radar happen! I did blog this on Friday and it happened just that way. Can anyone explain this Phenom? Anyone who live in the Ft Myers area can attest to this....there seems to be an area of protection around the coast to I-75 in our area.
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1043. Weather456
9:04 AM AST on March 10, 2008
Infrared Eye Pattern

Surrounding Infrared Temperature - White (-70C)


Eye Temperature - Off White ( 9 to -30C)

Eye Adjustments - 0.0

DT No. 6.0

MET No. 6.0

Final T No. 6.0/115/927

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1042. Weather456
8:06 AM AST on March 10, 2008
Simply beautiful

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1041. Weather456
7:29 AM AST on March 10, 2008
Storm Synopsis...

A 954 mb deep storm is currently pusing over the island of Ireland, producing gale-storm force conditions over the Atlantic between 45N and 54N...from 13W to the coast of Europe. Expect winds in excess of 50 knots and swells of 23-35 ft. Gale warnings with dangerous seas, all craft should excercise extreme caution over these seas. The storm is forecast to push into the Europe later today bringing heavy wind and light to moderate rain (1-2 in per hr) to the Southern United Kingdom and Northeastern France. After which, the storm will weaken and move into the North Sea, bringing moderate (20-30 knots) wind and light rain (less than 1 in per hr) to parts of Belgium, the Netherlands and Northern Germany and Denmark on Tuesday (there time) or 00Z-06Z Tuesday.

UK Storm System.....Image taken last night by NOAA-17 satellite

Storm battering the West Coast of Europe with high winds, heavy surf and rain.

Ocean scene live surf web cam
Lahinch, Ireland

Current Infrared Satellite Imagery

The GFS forecast showing a much weaker, but strong, storm over the Southern North Sea. Countries along the coast include Belgium, the Netherlands and the Northeast corner of Germany. Image valid 00Z 11 Mar 2008.

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1040. beell
10:49 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Really has been long time no see. I guess I cried wolf on the severe potential for S TX. I'll get over it lol.

Look forward (sorta) to a chat or two during Hurricane Season if not before. Hope you and yours are well and take care.
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1039. KoritheMan
10:28 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Pretty well-defined eye with Kamba.
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1038. BahaHurican
5:52 AM EDT on March 10, 2008
Well, I'm out. Have a good morning and a great day, everyone!
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1037. BahaHurican
5:43 AM EDT on March 10, 2008
1034. Altestic 2:59 AM EDT on March 10, 2008
Cricket... cricket...

Could it be that bloggers are . . .[duh duh duh] asleep?!?!?! lol


we've been watching two storms in the Indian ocean, one of which has already made one landfall and may be poised to make another.

Recent satpic of Indian Ocean:

Look at Kamba (on the right). Good thing that's forecast to stay out to sea . . .
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1036. BahaHurican
5:33 AM EDT on March 10, 2008
1013. MichaelSTL 11:32 PM EDT on March 09, 2008
And anyway, many of the changes are for the better - for example, compact fluorescents do cost more (I am sure many people only see the store price and shy away from them) than incandescents, but they use less energy and actually save over the long run (they are everywhere in my house, we only have incandescents where they have not been replaced/used up yet - and not a single CFL has had to be replaced yet either, and after several years).

They're also cooler, on average, which makes me REALLY happy in the middle of summer. I bought a few on spec about 15 months ago. Now I'm replacing every bulb in my house, little by little. I agree we can do more.

1032. ycd0108 1:04 AM EDT on March 10, 2008
You "dingalings" remind me of listening to "skip" on a CB radio: all fired up about opinions and ready to fight because you will never actually meet each other. Is this what the best internet blog has come to?

Hey. We have had "ready to fight" in here on occasion since I started reading this blog years ago. Nothing new. I'm actually amazed the politics got restrained to 12:30 a. m. . ..
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1035. KoritheMan
8:26 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
It's not hurricane season, there's not really much else to talk about here

...Severe weather anyone?
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1034. Altestic
2:57 AM EDT on March 10, 2008
Cricket... cricket...



This blog is slower than a snail trying to lift a turtle.

Seriously, I know it's not hurricane season but still...

And to the guys mad at the political comments recently, I don't see their point. It's not hurricane season, there's not really much else to talk about here...unless you want to talk about sports or something which is even more off-topic.
1033. katadman
12:12 AM CDT on March 10, 2008
Hey, Beel. long time no see. Hope your wrong about the severe weather, but have a feeling that we'll have some pretty violent storms by morning.
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1032. ycd0108
4:59 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
You "dingalings" remind me of listening to "skip" on a CB radio: all fired up about opinions and ready to fight because you will never actually meet each other. Is this what the best internet blog has come to?
I do not think that.
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1031. beell
4:48 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
If anybody is going to be up all night, might keep an eye on the radar in deep S TX. Most ingredients seem to be present for severe surface based storms. Just need some lift.
Any combination of upper divergence, dry line (which is now showing up on some sfc charts) or the surface low may be enough. Cap looks breakable if not already eroding.
Call me cautious. Might be after sunup anyways.
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1030. Ivansrvivr
4:35 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Patrap, i was thinking more like tin foil and pool acid.
1029. Patrap
11:20 PM CDT on March 09, 2008
Sometimes ya gotta give a dose of reality Ivan...
Oil and Vinegar will mix better than Politics and weather in a Met blog.
And leave less mess too.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140128
1028. TampaSpin
4:20 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Last one:
Published: December 27, 2007
China, which makes one-third of the world’s steel, said Wednesday that it would introduce export tariffs on some steel products and increase rates on other items to rein in a record trade surplus and cut energy consumption and pollution.

A new 10 to 15 percent tariff on stainless-steel sheets will be imposed on Tuesday, along with a new 15 percent levy on steel tubes and a 15 percent tariff on cold-rolled sheets, the ministry of finance said in a statement. Existing tariffs on the export of other products, including carbon steel billets and pig iron, will be raised.

China, seeking to curb its trade surplus, cut tax rebates and raised duties on some steel shipments this year. Last month, the European Union threatened to impose tariffs to shield its producers, including ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel maker.

“We had expected the government to keep tax policies unchanged next year as exports have been falling,” said Ma Haitian, an analyst with the Beijing Antaike Information Development Company, referring to steel shipments. “Still, the government raised the tax barriers as it’s apparently under pressure from the E.U. and the U.S.”

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1027. Ivansrvivr
4:13 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Patrap, from 1 independent to another, I agree w/ you 100%. Still as I said before, my comment was not intended to spark a political debate. As I said before please feel free to discuss any politics you like on my blog so the nice folks here can chat about weather. if not then let's just agree to disagree.
1026. Patrap
11:12 PM CDT on March 09, 2008
Been fun,relaxing..and exciting.But I hear dem cookies and Milk a calling.Its my weakness. I must attest to that.
Gnight all.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140128
1025. TampaSpin
4:12 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
1024. Patrap 4:12 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Well.,to be sure dissent is expected.
AS sure as its the right of the people to vocalize their thoughts into speech.

PatRap, well said!
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1024. Patrap
11:10 PM CDT on March 09, 2008
Well.,to be sure dissent is expected.
AS sure as its the right of the people to vocalize their thoughts into speech.

Many have died for that right in this Great Country for centuries. I can diss the Man in the Oval Office all night and day.
I respect the Office.
But this man hasnt .
Im full grown. Hell,Ive been in tougher spots than a Blog skirmish. LOL
Folks bash Politicians vocally Like a Baker Cracks eggs,what you dont seem to grasp is that we can.
In reality,your upset cause hes your Partys man. Thats cool too.
But dont think you can police the thoughts and rights of Fellow Americans just because you dont like what they saying about a sitting President.

Comedy careers are built on such things.

No bad feelings here. But I didnt bring the subject up..I just roll with the flow and give my opine..

Its my right.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140128
1023. TampaSpin
4:04 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
China’s labour laws
Published: January 10 2008 09:44 | Last updated: January 10 2008 20:23

Is it payback time for Chinese workers? The country’s massive labour force, whose low wages kept the lid on global inflation for much of this decade, will this year benefit from a raft of new employment laws – raising the spectre of higher prices for consumers everywhere.

New labour laws make it harder to fire workers or rely on casual labour. This, together with an enhanced role for labour unions, hits at the core of employers’ modus operandi: Baker & Mackenzie reckons manufacturers rely on temporary staff for 80 per cent of their labour force, and even in some IT companies the figure is over 50 per cent. Not all of these will need to be replaced: there are some waivers and enforcement may not be stringent. Even so, more permanent contracts will end up being written on superior terms, including welfare insurance payments and improved discretionary benefits. Higher salaries are a given; even without legal changes wages are forecast to rise 10-15 per cent this year.

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1022. TampaSpin
3:45 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Gang im not here to get in a fight but, 65 management employees was released on friday from a major US company because of all the regulations that are in place to prevent them from producing a product that competes across seas. The Chinese Gov. just employeed a law that increased the price of imports by nearly 25%. Wait tell these effects hit the US in 6 months. Global warming inaccurrate statements without sufficient evedience is careless. Can we make a differece and save our climate, of course we should, but lets use the assests we have, that we can use without having government stopping free enterpise because of Global warming theroies. Patrap i appoligize and did not mean to attack you. You are a hero as those are that serve this country. But, I will not disgrass any President no matter the party.
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1021. weatherboykris
3:45 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
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1020. Patrap
10:44 PM CDT on March 09, 2008
YA can hear the wheels a smoking too..LOL

Thought Police, dey eberywhere..

Your State Tax dollars at Work..where?

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140128
1019. weatherboykris
3:42 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Tense silence ensues....
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1018. Patrap
10:35 PM CDT on March 09, 2008

LSU Earth Scan Labs Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140128
1017. weatherboykris
3:33 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
1012. TampaSpin 3:32 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Patrap keep your liberal thoughts and thinking my friend and you might become a wanna be president like Hillary someday.

Hey Mr. Neocon....he's freakin' right. Just accept the fact....our prez is an oil guy...oil's shooting up...he's friends with the Saudi' the math jackass. Patrap's a good guy and not some drone. Turn the volume on Fox News down so you can concentrate, and think about what he's saying.

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1016. Patrap
10:32 PM CDT on March 09, 2008
Look out, Spring is a coming soon. Maybe..Kinda..Still alil iffy.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140128
1015. Ivansrvivr
3:22 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Just to make clear, the focus of my comment was about Dr. Grey. without whom hurricane forecasting would be 20 yrs behind in accuracy and knowledge not politics. It is not my desire to have a political firestorm on the main blog. If someone of his or even Dr. Masters importance to hurricane forecasting, I would come to their defense no matter what group was doing the attacking. That was my only intent. Anyone who wants to discuss that subject further please do so on my blog and not on the main blog. Thanks!!!
1014. Skyepony (Mod)
3:26 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Rant on Patrap:)

Good stuff with the model verification for last year..

Gfs & Ukmet beat the Nogaps & gfdl. The gfdl had an unseasonably bad year. Dship & Lgem were the intensity winners. The new HWRF did terrible on intensity but faired well on track.
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1012. TampaSpin
3:27 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Patrap keep your liberal thoughts and thinking my friend and you might become a wanna be president like Hillary someday.
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1010. Patrap
10:24 PM CDT on March 09, 2008

Look, When I came into office,Oil was what? 31-32 dollars a Barrel?

We got them by the nads Sheik, hell,they dont even remember that 15 of the 911 Hijackers were Saudi's.
We diverted that with the Saddam/Iraqi thing, they dont even care.

We gonna go for 110$ a BBl this week. I'll have my peeps call yer peeps..
Lovely new Hair dye your using, it dont even look Fake attall..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140128
1009. Patrap
10:19 PM CDT on March 09, 2008
LOL...I didnt vote for the Bonehead thats been leading this train wreck for 8 years.
Ive seen 10 Presidents come and go.

Im ashamed to even mention his name. I watched his lame ass fly over me and lotsa others Sept 4th 2005 while we were very busy 4 days Post-K.
Then watched his Lil spiffy Silver Jet with the Flag on the rudder, turn Neast..and just cruise on away Back to D. C..

At least after Betsy here in 65, Lyndon Johnson was in New Orleans in the Flooded 9th ward 30 Hours after the Cane. With a flashlight up to his face in a Public School in the middle of the night saying.."I am Your President, I am here to help."

Thats how one leads ..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140128
1008. TampaSpin
3:19 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Last thing, NO degree means nothing to me, if good judgement is not used and facts not stated correct without evedience to back up only theroies.
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1006. TampaSpin
3:14 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
When it starts to run out you gotta be kidding
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1004. TampaSpin
3:13 AM GMT on March 10, 2008
Sorry to and if i did offend the democrates and the green heads.
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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