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ZOT!!! How do we get fed to the kittens?
MSNBC ^ | 01/09/2004 | Martin Wolk

Posted on 01/09/2004 3:05:21 PM PST by Whatodo

Friday’s disappointing employment report did little to derail forecasts of strong growth this year but gave fresh ammunition to critics who complain the Bush administration has failed to achieve its chief economic goal — job creation.


The unemployment rate fell in December to 5.7 percent, its lowest level in nearly a year – but only because 309,000 people dropped out of the labor force, according to government data. Employers added a scant 1,000 jobs last month, a barely perceptible number in an economy of 130 million workers and far short of the 127,000 net new jobs analysts had been expecting. The Labor Department also revised away 51,000 jobs that had been reported in previous months.

“It’s a lousy report any way you look at it,” said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s Corp. “Employment has been up five months in a row, but all five months together add up to about one normal month of growth. We’re just not getting any kind of job growth despite the strength we’ve seen in GDP.”

The figures were especially disappointing considering the surge in gross domestic product that began in mid-2003 and more recent evidence of growth. Weekly claims for new unemployment benefits have fallen to their lowest level in three years, and surveys have led analysts to predict that businesses at last are boosting hiring after the long jobless recovery.

“The popular, man-in-the-street, ground-level view of the job market is that is still stinks,” said Bill Cheney, chief economist for John Hancock. “All of us forecasters were getting a bit complacent, and it turns out the man in the street was probably right.”

President Bush and others in the administration chose to focus on the improved unemployment rate, which has fallen from a peak of 6.4 percent in June.

Bush, speaking to a forum on small business, said economic indicators were “very strong” and called the drop in the unemployment rate a “positive sign.”

Labor Secretary Elaine Chao acknowledged that job creation last month was “less robust than forecasters projected” but said Bush’s economic policies are working. In a written statement, she called for congressional action on Bush’s “six-point plan” to boost employment by streamlining government regulations, limiting “excessive” lawsuits and extending tax breaks that are scheduled to expire.

Stock prices fell and bonds soared, sending market interest rates sharply lower. The weak demand for workers is keeping wage inflation in check and makes it even more likely that the Federal Reserve will not begin raising short-term interest rates until next year, analysts said.

GUIDE Key economic indicators

Click an indicator name to learn more Period Latest Prev. • Consumer Confidence Dec.* 91.3 92.5 • Retail sales Nov.* 0.9% 0.0% • GDP Q3* 8.2% 3.3% • ISM Index Dec.* 66.2 62.8 • Factory Orders Nov.* -1.4% 2.4% • Unemployment Rate Nov. 5.9% 6.0% • Employment situation Nov.* 57,000 137,000 • Consumer inflation Nov. 1.1% 1.3% • Housing starts Nov.* 2,070,000 1,980,000 • Home sales Nov.* 7,142,000 7,459,000

back to list | next CONSUMER CONFIDENCE Recent figures Dec.* 91.3 Nov. 92.5 Oct. 81.7 Sept. 77.0 Aug. 81.7 July 77.0 June 83.5 May 83.6 April 81.0 March 61.4 Feb. 64.8 Jan. 03 78.8

What is it? Consumer confidence is considered important because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. The monthly Conference Board survey is one of the two most closely watched indicators of sentiment. Based on a mail-in survey sent to about 5,000 households. Results are converted to an index and expressed in comparison to the 1985 average of 100. Source: The Conference Board

back to list | next RETAIL SALES Recent figures Nov.* 0.9% Oct. 0.0% Sept. -0.3% Aug. 1.0% July 1.4% June 0.9% May 0.5% April -0.3% March 2.3% Feb. -1.4% Jan. 03 0.4% Dec. 1.4%

What is it? A broad measure of consumer spending trends. Includes sales of motor vehicles, clothing, food at both grocery stores and restaurants, electronics, building materials drugs and other items. Expressed as a percent change from previous month, adjusted for seasonal variations but not price changes. Source: Census Bureau

back to list | next GDP Recent figures Q3* 8.2% Q2 3.3% Q1 2003 1.4% Q4 1.4% Q3 4.0% Q2 1.3% Q1 2002 5.0% Q4 2.7% Q3 -0.3% Q2 -1.6% Q1 2001 -0.6% Q4 1.1%

What is it? The gross domestic product is the broadest measure of the economy, comprising the value of all goods and services produced in the United States. It is reported quarterly with frequent revisions. Generally expressed as a percentage change from the previous quarter in "real" or inflation-adjusted terms. Economists presume real GDP is capable of growing at an annual rate of about 3.5 percent over the long term. When GDP declines over a sustained period of time the economy is considered to be in recession. Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis.

back to list | next ISM INDEX Recent figures Dec.* 66.2 Nov. 62.8 Oct. 57.0 Sept. 53.7 Aug. 54.7 July 51.8 June 49.8 May 49.4 April 45.4 March 46.2 Feb. 50.5 Jan. 03 53.9

What is it? The first major indicator reported each month, considered a reliable assessment of how the manufacturing sector is performing. Based on a survey of executives done by the Institute for Supply Management, formerly known as the National Association of Purchasing Management. Responses are compiled and reported as an index number. A reading above 50 percent indicates the manufacturing sector is expanding, while a reading below 50 indicates it is shrinking. Source: Institute for Supply Management

back to list | next FACTORY ORDERS Recent figures Nov.* -1.4% Oct. 2.4% Sept. 1.4% Aug. -0.3% July 2.0% June 1.9% May 0.3% April -2.6% March 1.5% Feb. -0.5% Jan. 03 1.6% Dec. 0.3%

What is it? Data on new orders for manufactured goods, adjusted for seasonal variation, offer a good indicator of the manufacturing sector's health, closely watched because it is the most volatile part of the economy. Expressed as percent change from previous month. Source: Census Bureau.

back to list | next UNEMPLOYMENT RATE Recent figures Nov. 5.9% Oct. 6.0% Sept. 6.1% Aug. 6.1% July 6.2% June 6.4% May 6.1% April 6.0% March 5.8% Feb. 5.8% Jan. 03 5.7% Dec. 6.0%

What is it? One of the best known and most politically powerful economic indicators, the rate is calculated from a monthly survey among a sample of about 60,000 households. The rate is adjusted for seasonal variations, but unlike most economic statistics it is never revised. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

back to list | next EMPLOYMENT SITUATION Recent figures Nov.* 57,000 Oct. 137,000 Sept. 99,000 Aug. 35,000 July -57,000 June -83,000 May -76,000 April -22,000 March -151,000 Feb. -121,000 Jan. 03 158,000 Dec. -211,000

What is it? Represents the month-to-month change in jobs on payrolls of the nation's business, government and non-profit establishments. Generally considered a more accurate indicator of labor market health than the unemployment rate. Analysts estimate the economy should add about 150,000 jobs monthly to keep up with the nation's growing work force. Based on a sample of 300,000 establishments employing nearly a third of the nation's workers, the figure is adjusted for seasonal variations and frequently revised. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

back to list | next CONSUMER INFLATION Recent figures Nov. 1.1% Oct. 1.3% Sept. 1.2% Aug. 1.3% July 1.5% June 1.5% May 1.6% April 1.5% March 1.7% Feb. 1.7% Jan. 03 1.9% Dec. 1.9%

What is it? The most widely known and used measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index is based on the price of a "basket"of goods including food, beverages, fuel, medical care and clothing. Value refers to year-over-year change in "core" prices, excluding volatile food and energy categories. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

back to list | next HOUSING STARTS (seasonally adjusted annual rate) Recent figures Nov.* 2,070,000 Oct. 1,980,000 Sept. 1,931,000 Aug. 1,831,000 July 1,890,000 June 1,844,000 May 1,745,000 April 1,627,000 March 1,742,000 Feb. 1,640,000 Jan. 03 1,828,000 Dec. 1,815,000

What is it? A good indicator to assess demand for housing and construction industry health. Represents the number of new residential buildings, including single-family and multifamily homes, where construction was started. Expressed as a seasonally adjusted annual rate. Construction was started on 1.7 million new residential structures in 2002, the highest level since 1986. Source: Census Bureau.

back to list | next HOME SALES (seasonally adjusted annual rate) Recent figures Nov.* 7,142,000 Oct. 7,459,000 Sept. 7,817,000 Aug. 7,650,000 July 7,275,000 June 7,030,000 May 6,931,000 April 6,854,000 March 6,538,000 Feb. 6,795,000 Jan. 03 7,029,000 Dec. 6,973,000

What is it? One of the bright spots of the economy in recent years, driven at least in part by historically low mortgage rates. Figure represents the sum of new and existing single-family home sales, expressed as a seasonally adjusted annual rate. In 2002, a record 6.5 million homes were sold. Sources: National Association of Realtors, Census Bureau

* preliminary figures • Printable version

Critics of Bush’s economic policy, including his Democratic rivals for the presidency, were quick to pounce on the report as evidence that last year’s huge tax cut package had failed to achieve the White House’s stated goals for job growth, which called for 510,000 new jobs in 2003. The economy has lost 2.3 million jobs over the past three years including 74,000 jobs last year.

“With the recovery that we’re supposed to be in, adding 1,000 jobs is pathetic,” said Democratic hopeful Richard Gephardt, campaigning in New Hampshire. “It’s nothing short of pitiful and pathetic. This is truly a jobless recovery.”

"Democrats need issues, and this number today keeps the issue alive for them," said Greg Valliere, chief strategist for Schwab Washington Research Group. "It's probably Bush's greatest domestic vulnarability, that job growth just doesn’t pick up."

To be sure, nobody was predicting the economy was in any danger of reversing course, and some analysts suggested the latest payroll numbers may be understating the strength of the labor market, partly because of seasonal factors related to sluggish holiday hiring.

Retail employment fell by 38,000 last month, suggesting that the usual seasonal layoffs in January also will be lighter than typically seen in past years. That could result in a spike of new jobs next month, said Tony Crescenzi, chief bond market strategist at Miller Tabak & Co.

“We’re not in a downward spiral or anything like that,” agreed Cheney. “I don’t think there’s anything else that would suggest the economy is heading down again. I don’t even think the job market is heading down again.”

But he said the failure of the economy to create job raises the risk that economic models, including those used by the White House, seriously underestimate the growth rate needed to boost employment. And he said the weak job growth is likely to shake confidence and make the economy more vulnerable to an external shock.

Crescenzi and some others said the payroll numbers are failing to capture a surge in self-employment and small-business hiring that show up in the separate household survey, which is the source of the unemployment rate.

But Wyss said such structural changes are not necessarily to the benefit of workers, because they imply less job security and fewer fringe benefits.

“You can look at the payrolls or the household survey and they will give the same message -- that this recovery is still a fairly slow-motion event in terms of job creation,” said Ed McKelvey, senior economist at Goldman Sachs. “Companies are being extraordinarily careful in how many people they put on the payrolls.”

John Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia Securities, said the weak job growth is mixed news for financial markets, suggesting the consumer spending will be weaker than expected but profits could be stronger because of surprising productivity growth.

He said Democrats are justified in challenging President Bush to do more to generate job growth rather than simply cutting taxes and waiting for the business cycle to take over.

“From my personal perspective, you’ve turned the corner” from an economy that was losing jobs to one that is adding jobs, he said. “But it’s not like a Nascar race where you’ve turned the corner and are accelerating out of the turn. You’ve turned the corner and you’re still going at the same mopey speed.”

TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: 10acrebutt; albatross; blastedtodust; blowntobits; brainparasites; dessicatedcorpse; dessicatedmind; electricenema; jaroftrollsouls; jugoflostminds; kcwashere; kittenchow; lostinmensroom; nextcontestant; soldmysoul2hillary; troll; trollsinmyshorts; zot; zotforbrains; zottedtocharcoal
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To: Whatodo
Unfortunately, productivity is going through the roof during the same time we need jobs created. Those two things are counter-current to one another.

But increased productivity also is very good for business as it decreases the bottom line. This allows businesses to accumulate capital which they then turn around an invest in expansion. Usually that expansion means more jobs.

Fiscal and monetary policy take years to manifest themselves in the labor market. (Unless, of course, you spend money on federal work programs - which ultimately are an artificial and baseless manner in which to grow a labor market because there is no real demand.) Bush's tax cuts and the low interest rates are having a good effect that will probably manifest itself as a hot job market within the next 12-24 months. I honestly can't see it happening much faster than that.

Also, the job market of the 90's was driven by the emergence of new technology. Right now, no new innovations are poised to make a massive impact on our lives. I personally think that an aggressive space program is a good start (although I'd also like to see a deregulation of space which would open it to private investment). Other potential innovations could be fuel cell technology, next generation virtual reality, safety technology (related to terrorism), etc.

We'll see what emerges...
21 posted on 01/09/2004 3:19:06 PM PST by bolobaby
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To: Whatodo
Because when peoples' stock portfolios go up, they feel richer and spend more, which creates more jobs. It worked great in the late 90's until the stock market bubble collapsed. It seems like that cycle is beginning to repeat itself.

These sort of boom/bust cycles transcend whoever happens to be in office at the moment.
22 posted on 01/09/2004 3:19:21 PM PST by ambrose
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To: chudogg
We hire more Viking Kitties...
23 posted on 01/09/2004 3:19:38 PM PST by WinOne4TheGipper (The Democratic Party: Without an electoral mandate for almost 28 years.)
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To: Whatodo
The Government numbers are wrong on job creation. They are missing emerging business doing the majority of hiring. The reason 309,000 dropped off the roles is because the people who never intended to go back to work, their unemployment benefits ran out. That is why is was stupid for congress to extend the unemployment benefits.

In the 90's many older worker delayed retirement and many women jumped into the workforce to earn quick money. When they got layed off, they collected unemployment- of course, as long as they were "looking" for work. When the congressional extended benefits ran out, they were all of the sudden, not looking for work.

24 posted on 01/09/2004 3:19:38 PM PST by 11th Commandment
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To: Ecliptic
A 1,000 new jobs is better than 0 new jobs or a minus 1,000 new jobs. If we had 25,000 new jobs, you would still complain. New jobs is just one among many factors to look at as for as the economy. The TREND in new job is just as important.

The trend needs to be stronger. A lot stronger. The economy needs to produce about 150,000 (that's what the estimates were for todays numbers) new jobs a month to keep up with new entrants into the job market. If it were 25,000 that would only qualify as "not as bad" as 1000, but still bad.

25 posted on 01/09/2004 3:22:07 PM PST by Orangedog (Remain calm...all is well! [/sarcasm])
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To: 11th Commandment
Exactly! Did you notice that when congress extended unemployment benefits they were actually creating an unprecedented artificial increase in unemployment numbers???
26 posted on 01/09/2004 3:23:30 PM PST by bolobaby
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To: Whatodo
One thing I didn't see were figures for those who decided to the the boss where to "stick it" and be their own boss! You don't have to work FOR someone if you don't want to.......GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!
27 posted on 01/09/2004 3:23:40 PM PST by dirtbiker (Solution for Terrorism: Nuke 'em 'till they glow, then shoot 'em in the dark!)
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To: Spruce
(Beer is God's way of telling us He loves us and wants us to be happy)

LOL! And a big Idaho baked potato is God's way of letting us eat 1/4 lb. of butter at one sitting.

28 posted on 01/09/2004 3:23:57 PM PST by yankeedame ("Oh, I can take it but I'd much rather dish it out.")
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To: Whatodo



29 posted on 01/09/2004 3:24:11 PM PST by chudogg (
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To: Whatodo; All
First of all, recognize that the "Official" end of the recession, October 2001, is bogus, based only on a "rebound" in the Hydonically cooked GDP.

Best to use the Stock Market in it's leading indicator role.

The SM bottomed in October 2002, ans retested the lows in March, 2003.

Using standard "Leads and Lags", we should recognize that the Economy hit bottom sometime in the 2 Quarter 2003 to the 4 Quarter 2003.

Hence, we are 'bumping along the bottom' employment wise, and probably will for the rest of 2004.

This outlook Jibes with the most recent Federal Reserve Board Minutes from October [always delayed 45 days], where the consensus is that significant hiring won't occur until well into 2005.

BTW, I have had considerable experience with these things since we were responsible for forecasting Commercial and Industrial Loan demand, as well as forecasting the Asset and Liabilities Accounts for several New York Banks.

30 posted on 01/09/2004 3:24:39 PM PST by Lael (Bush to Middle Class: Send your kids to DIE in Iraq while I send your LIVELIHOODS to INDIA!)
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To: Whatodo
Thank you kindly.

The economy has been getting better for the last year. Economic expansion has been robust. Inflation, interest rates and unemployment figures are all looking good. OTOH, job creation has been slow. After the WallSt bubble busted, the nation went into recession and the events of 9-11 occured, employers have been extremely reluctant to engage in new hires. The figures released today continue this trend of a jobless recovery. Overall, things are looking good. The Bush tax cuts have made a significant difference in kick starting the US economy. But the business cycle is a more critical factor in how the US economy recovers from this downturn period.

31 posted on 01/09/2004 3:24:47 PM PST by Reagan Man (The few, the proud, the conservatives.)
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To: Whatodo
I held back until the zot was official this time. I DID NOT write this, just so you know.

You swine. You vulgar little maggot. You worthless bag of filth. As we say in Texas, I'll bet you couldn't pour p!ss out of a boot with instructions on the heel.

You are a canker. A sore that won't go away. I would rather kiss a lawyer than be seen with you. You're a putrescent mass, a walking vomit. You are a spineless little worm deserving nothing but the profoundest contempt. You are a jerk, a cad, a weasel. Your life is a monument to stupidity. You are a stench, a revulsion, a big suck on a sour lemon.

You are a bleating foal, a curdled staggering mutant dwarf smeared richly with the effluvia and offal accompanying your alleged birth into this world. An insensate, blinking calf, meaningful to nobody, abandoned by the puke-drooling, giggling beasts who sired you and then killed themselves in recognition of what they had done. I will never get over the embarrassment of belonging to the same species as you. You are a monster, an ogre, a malformity. I barf at the very thought of you.

You have all the appeal of a paper cut. Lepers avoid you. You are vile, worthless, less than nothing. You are a weed, a fungus, the dregs of this earth. And did I mention you smell? Try to edit your responses of unnecessary material before attempting to impress us with your insight. The evidence that you are a nincompoop will still be available to readers, but they will be able to access it more rapidly.

You snail-skulled little rabbit. Would that a hawk pick you up, drive its beak into your brain, and upon finding it rancid set you loose to fly briefly before spattering the ocean rocks with the frothy pink shame of your ignoble blood.

May you choke on the queasy, convulsing nausea of your own trite, foolish beliefs. You are weary, stale, flat and unprofitable. You are grimy, squalid, nasty and profane. You are foul and disgusting. You're a fool, an ignoramus. Monkeys look down on you. Even sheep won't have sex with you.

You are unreservedly pathetic, starved for attention, and lost in a land that reality forgot. And what meaning do you expect your delusionally self-important statements of unknowing, inexperienced opinion to have with us? What fantasy do you hold that you would believe that your tiny-fisted tantrums would have more weight than that of a leprous desert rat, spinning rabidly in a circle, waiting for the bite of the snake?

You are a waste of flesh. You have no rhythm. You are ridiculous and obnoxious. You are the moral equivalent of a leech. You are a living emptiness, a meaningless void. You are sour and senile. You are a disease, you puerile, one-handed, slack-jawed, drooling, meatslapper. On a good day you're a half-wit. You remind me of drool.

You are deficient in all that lends character. You have the personality of wallpaper. You are dank and filthy. You are asinine and benighted. You are the source of all unpleasantness. You spread misery and sorrow wherever you go. You smarmy lagerlout git. You bloody woofter sod. Bugger off, pillock. You grotty wanking oik artless base-court apple-john. You clouted boggish foot-licking twit. You dankish clack-dish plonker. You gormless crook-pated tosser. You churlish boil-brained clotpole ponce. You cockered bum-bailey poofter. You craven dewberry pisshead cockup pratting naff. You gob-kissing gleeking flap-mouthed coxcomb. You dread-bolted fobbing beef-witted clapper-clawed flirt-gill.

You are a fiend and a coward, and you have bad breath. You are degenerate, noxious and depraved. I feel debased just for knowing you exist. I despise everything about you, and I wish you would go away.

I cannot believe how incredibly stupid you are. I mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard stupid. Stupid, so stupid it goes way beyond the stupid we know into a whole different dimension of stupid. You are trans-stupid stupid. Meta-stupid. Stupid collapsed on itself so far that even the neutrons have collapsed. Stupid gotten so dense that no intellect can escape. Singularity stupid. Blazing hot mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. You emit more stupid in one second than our entire galaxy emits in a year. Quasar stupid. Your writing has to be a troll. Nothing in our universe can really be this stupid. Perhaps this is some primordial fragment from the original big bang of stupid. Some pure essence of a stupid so uncontaminated by anything else as to be beyond the laws of physics that we know. I'm sorry. I can't go on. This is an epiphany of stupid for me.

After this, you may not hear from me again for a while. I don't have enough strength left to deride your ignorant questions and half baked comments about unimportant trivia, or any of the rest of this drivel. Duh. The only thing worse than your logic is your manners. I have snipped away most of what you wrote, because, well... it didn't really say anything.

Your attempt at constructing a creative post was pitiful. I mean, really, stringing together a bunch of insults among a load of babbling was hardly effective... Maybe later in life, after you have learned to read, write, spell, and count, you will have more success. True, these are rudimentary skills that many of us "normal" people take for granted that everyone has an easy time of mastering. But we sometimes forget that there are "challenged" persons in this world who find these things more difficult. If I had known, that this was your case then I would have never read your post. It just wouldn't have been "right". Sort of like parking in a handicap space. I wish you the best of luck in the emotional, and social struggles that seem to be placing such a demand on you.
32 posted on 01/09/2004 3:24:53 PM PST by WinOne4TheGipper (The Democratic Party: Without an electoral mandate for almost 28 years.)
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To: Whatodo; Poohbah; Constitution Day; wjcsux; hchutch; 4mycountry
If we want to win this election we have to have an answer, otherwise voters won't buy it.


33 posted on 01/09/2004 3:25:10 PM PST by dighton
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To: Whatodo
One Willie is enough.

You have violated Robot's Rules of Order and will be asked to leave the Future immediately.

34 posted on 01/09/2004 3:25:44 PM PST by TommyUdo (The Democrat Party--Proudly Pimpin' off Po' Folk Since 1964)
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To: yankeedame
And a big Idaho baked potato is God's way of letting us eat 1/4 lb. of butter at one sitting.

Don't forget the sour cream ;)

35 posted on 01/09/2004 3:26:24 PM PST by Orangedog (Remain calm...all is well! [/sarcasm])
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To: Whatodo
Clearly this is George Bush's fault...... as is global warming, 911, the federal DEBT, world-wide terrorism and phen phen.
36 posted on 01/09/2004 3:26:28 PM PST by PISANO (God Bless our Troops........They will not TIRE - They will not FALTER - They will not FAIL!!!!!)
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To: chudogg
Oh man... that sucks... he raised an interesting discussion. I can't say I agree with that ZOT, troll or not.

Occassionally I think we all should be challenged so we can reiterate and reinforce our arguments.
37 posted on 01/09/2004 3:28:05 PM PST by bolobaby
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Some of us are a bit pudgy. That's Bush's fault, too.
38 posted on 01/09/2004 3:28:21 PM PST by WinOne4TheGipper (The Democratic Party: Without an electoral mandate for almost 28 years.)
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Comment #39 Removed by Moderator

To: Whatodo
Follow the rules for posting articles next time. Include the source and the URL in the places provided and don't editorialize in the headline.
40 posted on 01/09/2004 3:29:53 PM PST by Ronin (Quos amor verus tenuit, tenebit.)
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