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      04-04-2013, 11:55 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by MP0WER View Post
I have a friend who works for the government. His trademark phrase is Waste-Fraud-Abuse, mainly because he sees it every day.

Eliminate even just 50% of the waste and the fraud the abuse and we're in a much better place than we are now.
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      04-05-2013, 09:29 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
Not to beat this to death... but I remember a Congressional Budget Office report that said we could eliminate the Depts of Energy, Commerce, and Education, and save $600B/yr (remember Rick Perry in the debates? He brought this up, but couldn't remember the Dept of Commerce). Since Obama's been in office the debt has risen by $6T - if these had been eliminated in 2008, would the debt have risen by **only** $3.6T? That's not small change.
If we eliminated the US Military (all branches) we would save a hell of a lot as well. I mean sure it would tank our economy and make us vulnerable to threats but think of the savings!
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      04-05-2013, 11:57 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
Not to beat this to death... but I remember a Congressional Budget Office report that said we could eliminate the Depts of Energy, Commerce, and Education, and save $600B/yr (remember Rick Perry in the debates? He brought this up, but couldn't remember the Dept of Commerce). Since Obama's been in office the debt has risen by $6T - if these had been eliminated in 2008, would the debt have risen by **only** $3.6T? That's not small change.
I'm not trying to beat it to death either. But when i set out to restore a vehicle i don't paint it until removing the rust and damaged body panels. I don't slap a new motor in it without replacing all the fuel lines and cleaning out the fuel tank. Doing so would only garner the same results; poorly running, shitty looking car.

Call me crazy but i feel that the majority of our problems stem from W.F.A. There are whole government programs and entities that have been born from waste and abuse. Every year before their fiscal year ends we have to make quotes and invoice several government entities because if they don't spend it this year they won't get it next year. What kind of budgeting is that? How fast would all of us go out of business with that kind of budgeting? You can't even call that budgeting, that's just spending.

You know how many people i know who are retired military who are getting disability for things like tennis elbow, headaches and general joint pain? Maybe some don't call that fraud because the military approves it or something.
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      04-06-2013, 04:12 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
Not to beat this to death... but I remember a Congressional Budget Office report that said we could eliminate the Depts of Energy, Commerce, and Education, and save $600B/yr (remember Rick Perry in the debates? He brought this up, but couldn't remember the Dept of Commerce). Since Obama's been in office the debt has risen by $6T - if these had been eliminated in 2008, would the debt have risen by **only** $3.6T? That's not small change.
I don't consider eliminating the dept of energy, commerce, and education to be in the mainstream or centrist thinking I am suggesting, nor realistic whatsoever. We need to spend more on education, imo.

I mean comeon, the dept of energy handles our nuclear weapons program and energy conservation. Energy conservation is *utterly critical* to our future. Regardless of your feelings on oil vs renewable, etc - I think everyone can agree we should not be wasting energy. And conservation is largely about that waste.

And yes, I say this while driving a 15mpg car ;-) And I live in a place where I don't need heat nor air conditioning in my condo, so I don't have much room to talk.

But I applaud you for indeed suggesting an alternative that yes, does have a meaningful effect on the budget. I will not disagree with that.
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      04-06-2013, 04:27 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
Okay - I'm giving up on this "quote" thing - will try to respond to a couple and make sense:
Oh fine, make me do all the hard work ;-) I'm ready to give up on this particular line of debate after this purely because it is so #$!@# hard to write these replies. They really need to make this easier.

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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
Yeah, the *people* in hollywood pay the same in taxes, though. You are talking about corporations. I was talking about personal income taxes. And I am not sure hollywood gives out more local tax breaks than other areas do to attract businesses, auto factories, sports teams, etc. It's a pretty general problem.

Me: Yes - sorry - I was speaking of corporate tax breaks - both Federal and State. They get huge breaks, and only employ very few people.
I agree, and think the same applies to the other breaks I mentioned. Stadiums alone are totally absurdly packed with giveaways no city can really afford.

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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
I was being hyperbolic - I apologize. They don't lose everything, but they lose most everything. And those costs they can't pay are picked up by the rest of us already - instead of taxes, they are in higher premiums and device costs. The costs are already shared.

Agree - in an earlier post I mentioned that the high Medical Bankruptcy number is a myth. I've also worked with many hospitals that collect $.03-.09 per dollar, on their uninsured patients. They don't bother to sue, as there are no assets. And we all ultimately share the burden.
I'm curious as to your line of work now...

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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
There's two points in here, both of which I disagree with. One, people absolutely die because they lack coverage. Emergency care is one thing - long term chronic untreated conditions are completely another, and cause a lot more death than emergencies covered by laws.

Me: If you have assets and choose to roll the dice without insurance, you may lose those assets if you have a healthcare event. If you end up losing your assets, you then qualify for Medicaid, at no cost to you. So no one should end up dying because of a lack of care.
They shouldn't, but they do. Diabetes alone kills tons of poor people, when it should not and is totally manageable.

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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
Second, the health care across state lines thing is bogus. States regulate insurance. The regulations are different in every state. If you allowed this, insurance companies would cluster in the least-regulated and cheapest state, offering cheaper coverage that covers a lot less. This doesn't actually save any costs - it just makes it easier for insurance companies to game the system.

Me: It's illegal to live in one state, and buy insurance in another. So if you live in CT and must pay high premiums, you can't buy it from IA, which has low premiums. The law is what prevents insurance companies from clustering in a low-cost state. That law could be changed.
I think you missed my point - if this law was changed, it would open the door for gaming the system in ways that would further reduce coverage and encourage games by insurance companies. This isn't a workable solution.

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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
Medicare is not really managed at all, which is why people like it - they go get what they or their doctors want and there isn't really any oversight unless it gets excessive, but that's pretty rare. And see my other response regarding waste/fraud/abuse vs the built-in problems in pricing and payment that are really the root cause, illustrated in Steven Brill's book, if I recall his name correctly.

Me: Medicare is highly regulated - in payment and practice patterns for the Doctors. Which is why many docs no longer accept it - it is too much hassle, and the payments are too low. Same goes for Medicaid.
We're out of my knowledge sphere, so I'm willing to give up on this one. My understanding, however, is that doctors are underpaid for the services and there is extremely uncertain future payments due to the whole cuts that have to be avoided each year. I believe that is why doctors are refusing medicare patients. I don't think there is actually much practice pattern hassle, but again, I could be wrong.


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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
The problem is that isn't working. Relatively few college students pay the total cost of college out of pocket, so that connection is already tenuous, and the system preys on students. I don't see how guaranteeing what is now required to get a real career is out of control. The more we educate our citizens, the more money flows back in the end. It's the long game, so it's more difficult to draw the line from X to Y, but it exists.

I agree with reluctance to influence what people study, but I also think there might be something clever in that realm that I won't rule out.

Me: I think we are on the same track - about the education system preying on students - that was my point. I'd love to see the Unversity system go to an accountable model - where you pay them based upon getting a job, and perhaps a percentage of your first 10 years earnings - or something like that.
I agree with that.

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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
We need a system that retains financial incentives for drug companies while preventing gouging, or pricing that has nothing to do with market demand or forces. That market feedback loop is broken, and, imo, is the main problem.

Me: Agreed. But again, much of the problem is the government. The FDA takes years to get a drug to market, and the process is byzantine and expensive. The legal system allows unlimited lawsuits. These issues could be easily fixed.
The drug approval process could definitely be improved - I agree there. I don't think unlimited lawsuits are the problem though - I'll get to that in a separate post so that we can talk about it easier.

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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
Money that goes to salaries is not taken out of the economy. That money pays for things people need, which goes into those people's salaries and companies, etc. There is a multiplicative effect - the money does not disappear. The basic point remains - basic scientific research is on the whole helpful to society and bears economic and other fruit down the line, and it's problematic to pick apart individual studies or programs and ignore the whole.

Me: The first part of your statement reminds me of Nancy Pelosi saying that Unemployment Compensation actually stimulates the economy - I would disagree. I understand your second point.
The multiplier effect may be somewhat controversial, but suggesting it is some Nancy Pelosi thing betrays some bias.

You can make an argument, imo, that unemployment insurance does not help unemployment as much as it could. I don't think it is valid to say that it does not stimulate the economy. That money gets spent, immediately. That does have a stimulative effect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
I lived in Boston through the big dig, and have been there since, and it's a revelation. Sure it was absurdly expensive, but the benefit to both commuters and city dwellers with massive amounts of green space and parks and a waterfront no longer cut off from the rest of the city is immense. Ask someone in Boston whether the big dig was worth it, even at that cost - I don't think many would say no at this point.

I agree that diverting gas tax money and other money earmarked for transportation infrastructure is a bad idea, and we are paying for it now. I don't see how that is a reason why we should not have government still handle that side of things.

Me: Of course they love the Big Dig now - it was billions of Federal dollars, not City of Boston tax dollars! I hope they are enjoying that Lobster Roll on the lawn that we all are paying for, while the traffic flows under their feet. Thanks, Tip O'Neill!

My point about government handling infrastructure is that all the Stimulus money was supposed to be spent on infrastructure repair - whereas it should never have been allowed to disintegrate in the first place. It's becoming yet another overfunded, wasteful debacle...
I think large infrastructure investments are a good thing. You disagree about some of them. I don't think we'll bridge this divide so we should probably let it go.
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      04-06-2013, 04:34 AM   #50
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The effect of malpractice lawsuits on the medical industry

Relevant study that is pretty highly-regarded:
http://archive.sph.harvard.edu/press...s05102006.html

"The reviewers found that almost all of the claims involved a treatment-related injury. More than 90% involved a physical injury, which was generally severe (80% resulted in significant or major disability and 26% resulted in death). The reviewers judged that 63% of the injuries were due to error. The remaining 37% lacked evidence of error, although some were close calls. "

"Most claims (72%) that did not involve error did not receive compensation. When they did, the payments were lower, on average, than payments for claims that did involve error ($313,205 vs. $521,560). Among claims that involved error, 73% received compensation."

From wikipedia on tort reform:

"In 2011, data pooled from the industry by the publication Medical Liability Monitor indicated that medical malpractice insurance rates had declined for four straight years. The decrease was seen in both states that had enacted tort reform and in states that had not, leading actuaries familiar with the data to suggest that patient safety and risk management campaigns had had a more significant effect."

I contend - and this seems backed up by evidence - that the obamacare approach of trying to reduce medical errors is actually a more effective way to reduce the cost of malpractice lawsuits than cutting off the penalties of *successful* lawsuits.

California, among other states, makes the losing party pay the winning party's legal costs. This seems like a good way to reduce frivolous lawsuits. Reduce the costs to defend against them.

Discuss.
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      04-06-2013, 04:43 AM   #51
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debt, the deficit, etc

Some interesting links:

Choose your own fiscal cliff solution package:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...iff-adventure/

Chart on causes of the debt:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...s-now-updated/

WSJ build your own deficit reduction package:
http://projects.wsj.com/my-deficit-plan/

Similar NY Times app:
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...phic.html?_r=0
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      04-06-2013, 04:47 AM   #52
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Using the above NY Times deficit app, here's my suggestion. I still think my much more ambitious centrist agenda is superior, but based on some quick decisions, this would also "solve" the problem:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...oices=01t0h6lk

easier than I thought...

Feel free to pick apart my decisions. I believe the most controversial is that I am suggesting killing the bush tax cuts for all incomes - not just wealthy people.
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      04-08-2013, 10:11 PM   #53
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I don't consider eliminating the dept of energy, commerce, and education to be in the mainstream or centrist thinking I am suggesting, nor realistic whatsoever. We need to spend more on education, imo.

I mean comeon, the dept of energy handles our nuclear weapons program and energy conservation. Energy conservation is *utterly critical* to our future. Regardless of your feelings on oil vs renewable, etc - I think everyone can agree we should not be wasting energy. And conservation is largely about that waste.

And yes, I say this while driving a 15mpg car ;-) And I live in a place where I don't need heat nor air conditioning in my condo, so I don't have much room to talk.

But I applaud you for indeed suggesting an alternative that yes, does have a meaningful effect on the budget. I will not disagree with that.[/quote]
-----------------

Apparently only $4.8B of the $27.2B spent by the Dept of Energy goes to science - the areas you mentioned. And education is managed locally and at the state level - why do we even need a Dept of Education? Google "eliminate the Department of (fill in the blank), and you decide. IMO, the Departments can either be eliminated or extremely downsized.
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      04-08-2013, 10:44 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmcnulty
Relevant study that is pretty highly-regarded:
http://archive.sph.harvard.edu/press...s05102006.html

"The reviewers found that almost all of the claims involved a treatment-related injury. More than 90% involved a physical injury, which was generally severe (80% resulted in significant or major disability and 26% resulted in death). The reviewers judged that 63% of the injuries were due to error. The remaining 37% lacked evidence of error, although some were close calls. "

"Most claims (72%) that did not involve error did not receive compensation. When they did, the payments were lower, on average, than payments for claims that did involve error ($313,205 vs. $521,560). Among claims that involved error, 73% received compensation."

From wikipedia on tort reform:

"In 2011, data pooled from the industry by the publication Medical Liability Monitor indicated that medical malpractice insurance rates had declined for four straight years. The decrease was seen in both states that had enacted tort reform and in states that had not, leading actuaries familiar with the data to suggest that patient safety and risk management campaigns had had a more significant effect."

I contend - and this seems backed up by evidence - that the obamacare approach of trying to reduce medical errors is actually a more effective way to reduce the cost of malpractice lawsuits than cutting off the penalties of *successful* lawsuits.

California, among other states, makes the losing party pay the winning party's legal costs. This seems like a good way to reduce frivolous lawsuits. Reduce the costs to defend against them.

Discuss.
Agree that focuses on medical safety decrease malpractice settlements. But tort reform is also critical - the reason rates haven't risen is due in a large part to states which have enacted tort reform - the insurers are national, and the losses have dropped - allowing them to reduce premiums.

Also - I'm not familiar with the California law you cited, where the loser pays the winners attorney fees and court costs. I would be very surprised at this - it's called "English Rule" (because its how English law operates, and many other countries), and the Trial Attorney Lobby has kept it out of the American legal system, by and large.
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      04-24-2013, 05:19 PM   #55
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Oops

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily...7189.html?vp=1

Before we need to start handing out sanitary napkins, I am a card carrying member of the Republican party since 1996. I hate what conservatives and tea party members have done to my beloved GOP.

The real issue is this BS finger pointing, overstating minor issues, and preventing any form of bipartisan bill from passing that lay out a plan to address these issues over the long term. This is by BOTH parties. They are BOTH equally responsible.

We are all wrong, and we are all screwing ourselves over and it is pathetic we are doing this to ourselves.
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      04-26-2013, 03:40 PM   #56
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You just cited a yahoo (liberal) article saying Paul Krugman won (super liberal who is an idiot). You may be registered GOP but you're a McCain and Lindsey Graham type republican if you believe this BS. Krugman is only relevant to political elitists who have no idea where main street is. This guy is a joke in the real world. That whole article is a joke. We are doing exactly what Europe and Japan have done and they are in ruins financially. The dollar is only getting worse, unemployment is sky high, and our debt is unsustainable. Once the FED stops messing around with interests rates and printing crazy amounts of money hello hyper inflation and depression. Look at Krugman and tell me that dude isn't a squirrelly little nerd who got picked on his whole life. The dude is plain wrong but won't admit it because academics like him think they're right and can fix it their way (which has never worked).
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      04-26-2013, 03:42 PM   #57
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Oh and feel free to read the comments of that article where basically everyone is laughing at Krugman and the writer.
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      04-26-2013, 03:54 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reelop19 View Post
You just cited a yahoo (liberal) article saying Paul Krugman won (super liberal who is an idiot). You may be registered GOP but you're a McCain and Lindsey Graham type republican if you believe this BS. Krugman is only relevant to political elitists who have no idea where main street is. This guy is a joke in the real world. That whole article is a joke. We are doing exactly what Europe and Japan have done and they are in ruins financially. The dollar is only getting worse, unemployment is sky high, and our debt is unsustainable. Once the FED stops messing around with interests rates and printing crazy amounts of money hello hyper inflation and depression. Look at Krugman and tell me that dude isn't a squirrelly little nerd who got picked on his whole life. The dude is plain wrong but won't admit it because academics like him think they're right and can fix it their way (which has never worked).
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      04-27-2013, 09:57 PM   #59
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I don't understand what the argument is against the Tea Party. From what I see, they are trying to return to the original principles of small government, focused on the Constitutional powers. I read a lot of rage on the internet, but virtually no facts. Why the animosity? What am I missing?

This is not a loaded question - I'm seriously wanting to understand.
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      04-29-2013, 06:25 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
I don't understand what the argument is against the Tea Party. From what I see, they are trying to return to the original principles of small government, focused on the Constitutional powers. I read a lot of rage on the internet, but virtually no facts. Why the animosity? What am I missing?

This is not a loaded question - I'm seriously wanting to understand.
+1
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      04-29-2013, 02:44 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
I don't understand what the argument is against the Tea Party. From what I see, they are trying to return to the original principles of small government, focused on the Constitutional powers. I read a lot of rage on the internet, but virtually no facts. Why the animosity? What am I missing?

This is not a loaded question - I'm seriously wanting to understand.


+1!

Many people know the tea party movement from what the media portrays.

They dont understand many of the their principals lie in old republican conservative values.

Objectively, now there is very little difference between democrats and republicans.

I still find reading old Thomas Jefferson quotes fascinating. He was describing so accurately back then what is so relevant today. Kinda like Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged also.
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      04-29-2013, 09:00 PM   #62
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Isn't it amazing how our founding fathers had it together so many years ago and today's crop don't have a clue.
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      05-01-2013, 09:25 AM   #63
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An interesting article I found on Real Clear Politics today regarding a survey conducted about people identifying themselves with the Tea Party. The comments that follow are even better.

http://prospect.org/article/three-ne...bout-tea-party

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
I don't understand what the argument is against the Tea Party. From what I see, they are trying to return to the original principles of small government, focused on the Constitutional powers. I read a lot of rage on the internet, but virtually no facts. Why the animosity? What am I missing?

This is not a loaded question - I'm seriously wanting to understand.
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      05-01-2013, 12:51 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZaraGSPBMW
An interesting article I found on Real Clear Politics today regarding a survey conducted about people identifying themselves with the Tea Party. The comments that follow are even better.

http://prospect.org/article/three-ne...bout-tea-party

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
I don't understand what the argument is against the Tea Party. From what I see, they are trying to return to the original principles of small government, focused on the Constitutional powers. I read a lot of rage on the internet, but virtually no facts. Why the animosity? What am I missing?

This is not a loaded question - I'm seriously wanting to understand.
Interesting article - thanks for sending
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      05-01-2013, 01:00 PM   #65
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Isn't it amazing how our founding fathers had it together so many years ago and today's crop don't have a clue.
First of all, they didn't. Around 75% of the population couldn't vote, slavery, famine, constant attacks from natives and ongoing struggles with Britain. Secondly the population was less than 3 million people.

But yes, today's crop are rather clueless.
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      05-01-2013, 08:31 PM   #66
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First of all, they didn't.........

But yes, today's crop are rather clueless.
Yeah they did or we wouldn't be where we are today as a country.
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