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Thread: Is the government in the United States Dysfunctional?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Is the government in the United States Dysfunctional?

    I thought that I would start a new thread so I did not hijack another after reading this comment.
    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    That's just a nice way of saying that Congress is a dysfunctional bureaucracy isn't it?
    While I think that most people are confused about the governing process in the United States, I think that not only is it needed, the US would completely fail without it. Additionally I don’t think that it is dysfunctional. I have a good working relationship with my state representative and I feel that for the location, he accurately represents his constituents regardless of his personal beliefs. Having said that, I think that some other places are not so well off, but when push comes to shove, our system could stand some improvement, but is still very effective.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Four Amendments & a Funeral
    [...]
    Shortly after Sanders finishes his remarks, the Rules Committee members scurry to begin what will be a very long night of work. To most everyone outside those nine majority members, what transpires in the committee the night before a floor vote is a mystery on the order of the identity of Jack the Ripper or the nature of human afterlife. Even the Democrats who sit on the committee have only a vague awareness of what goes on. "They can completely rewrite bills," says McGovern. "Then they take it to the floor an hour later. Nobody knows what's in those bills."

    One singular example of this came four years ago, when the Judiciary Committee delivered the first Patriot Act to the Rules Committee for its consideration. Dreier trashed that version of the act, which had been put together by the bipartisan committee, and replaced it with a completely different bill that had been written by John Ashcroft's Justice Department.

    The bill went to the floor a few hours later, where it passed into law. The Rules Committee is supposed to wait out a three-day period before sending the bill to the House, ostensibly in order to give the members a chance to read the bill. The three-day period is only supposed to be waived in case of emergency. However, the Rules Committee of DeLay and Dreier waives the three-day period as a matter of routine. This forces members of Congress to essentially cast blind yes-or-no votes to bills whose contents are likely to be an absolute mystery to them.
    [...]

  3. #3
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Depends on what the purpose of the government is supposed to be. If it is too enable corporations to do what they want then its certainly not disfunctional.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    On one had you criticize the government for being slow to react then you criticize them for pushing the clock...

    I admit that I do not fully understand your intentions behind continuously expressing your dislike for this style of governing process, but I think that your actions are similar to yelling at a brick wall because it is in your way. You can yell and holler all you want, the wall is not going to just pick up and move over because you say so. More so you never give any real tangible or possible solution to what you perceive as a dire problem.

    The United Sates of America has been using the same system for over 200 years. It has gone though several hurdles and challenges, including a great depression, several recessions, environmental disasters, terrorist and war attacks, threats, the assassination of several presidents, and many wars including a civil war and two world wars, only to rise up and become the world super power. With all that in just two centuries and still existing, they must be doing 100 times more right, than wrong.

    People from around the world come here because of the hope and freedom that the United Sates of America provides. Still to this day people from Cuba, Jamaica, and Porto Rico will risk their life in a rubber raft to float onto the shores of Florida, or millions more will climb around a fence just to escape Mexico. Even places like Detroit, which as an enormous Indian and Middle Eastern Population, still are seen by foreigners as a place that is better than where they are at now.

    You can criticize and belittle the system all you want. Is it perfect, no, but no form of governing, public or private is... and at least for me, I rather call the United States of America my home more than any place on earth.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  5. #5
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I think any system (public,government, business, etc) is dysfunctional (impaired or abnormal functioning) to a degree, because all man-made systems are created by men and therefore less than perfect.

    I think we have a good government from the local level to the federal level. Not perfect, but well-meaning and for the benefit of the people. Roads get built and maintained. Lands are set aside and managed for public benefit (parks, forests, rangelands, historic sites, monuments, etc.) Government works to ensure we have clean water and air (we could improve this if special interests would cooperate). We have an adequate (though I would argue too much) national defense. We have standards for decent housing. We have programs to help those who need help.

    We have people who work in government to help others. A pretty noble calling.

    We definitely could improve our governments. Our governments are as flawed as the people within them. Just as every system of private or public interests.

    So on one hand, Montana has a senator who takes lobbyists money with both fists, but on the other hand we have a senator who helped my wife clear up immigration problems that had stalled her efforts to become a citizen for months. Had a pursued a solution through non-governmental methods (got an attorney) it would have taken months and $$$. It cost me nothing and my wife is now a U.S. citizen. Government making government work better. I can live with that.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

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  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    On one had you criticize the government for being slow to react then you criticize them for pushing the clock...
    Pushing the clock in order to force votes on issues that the representatives themselves don't understand doesn't strike you as dysfunctional?

    This is not efficiency, this is rushing the job, and it allows politicians to pass laws whose consequences on the population no one is aware of. It can only be described with one word: tyranny.
    People from around the world come here because of the hope and freedom that the United Sates of America provides. Still to this day people from Cuba, Jamaica, and Porto Rico will risk their life in a rubber raft to float onto the shores of Florida, or millions more will climb around a fence just to escape Mexico.
    I don't think people are fleeing Porto Rico in rubber rafts since Porto Rico is part of the United States.
    You can criticize and belittle the system all you want. Is it perfect, no, but no form of governing, public or private is... and at least for me, I rather call the United States of America my home more than any place on earth.
    Fair enough, but you can love America without endorsing its system of government, which is more of a parasitic anti-America than anything else.

    Quote Originally posted by otterpop
    We have people who work in government to help others. A pretty noble calling.
    That's a disingenuous statement of the most vile nature. Anyone in the economy works to help others. Private enterprise works to help others. People who work in government may want to help others but their efforts only serves to harm others, directly or indirectly.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    That's a disingenuous statement of the most vile nature. Anyone in the economy works to help others. Private enterprise works to help others. People who work in government may want to help others but their efforts only serves to harm others, directly or indirectly.
    Disingenuous in what way? A false appearance of simple frankness? I was forthright and sincere in what I said, therefore I was not disingenuous. The sentence was simple and clear.

    If you interpreted my statement incorrectly, perhaps as Shakespeare wrote, "Methinks the lady doeth protest too much."
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

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    Quote Originally posted by jaws


    That's a disingenuous statement of the most vile nature. Anyone in the economy works to help others. Private enterprise works to help others. People who work in government may want to help others but their efforts only serves to harm others, directly or indirectly.
    Oh, otterpop. In the wonderful world of jaws, EVERY action by private enterprise is by definition good. And, EVERY action by government automatically evil.

    A large corporation dumps tons of poisons in the river, it's not said private busiensse's fault (because after all, the large corporation could be easily stopped by the tenant farmers and poor residents of the riverside towns if it were not for government). No, here, too, private enterprise is working beautifully. (There are no market failures, after all, that would allow a large out-of-town enterprise to dump all of its externalities. Market failures don't exist). It's the government's fault alone for not stopping the killing of the river.

    After all, there are so many successful examples in history of governmne--free societies creating wonderful societies. Of course, these examples exist in fiction, but....Hey, Somalia had a bitchin' cell phone network, so who needs government?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis

    People from around the world come here because of the hope and freedom that the United Sates of America provides. Still to this day people from Cuba, Jamaica, and Porto Rico will risk their life in a rubber raft to float onto the shores of Florida, or millions more will climb around a fence just to escape Mexico. Even places like Detroit, which as an enormous Indian and Middle Eastern Population, still are seen by foreigners as a place that is better than where they are at now.
    Oh good grief, call it what it is, the lesser of two evils.

    Until we impose very short term limits at all levels, totally revamp campaign "contributions/bribes", outlaw professional lobbying and make those elected idiots actually read what they intend to do, eliminate perks and big staffs of ass-kissers, eliminate any and all "gifts" to elected officials..... this country will be dysfunctional. Why? Stupid political appointments as paybacks. Pork. Bloated departments. I could go on and on.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by otterpop
    Disingenuous in what way? A false appearance of simple frankness? I was forthright and sincere in what I said, therefore I was not disingenuous. The sentence was simple and clear.

    If you interpreted my statement incorrectly, perhaps as Shakespeare wrote, "Methinks the lady doeth protest too much."
    You implied in your statement that people who don't go into government don't have noble intentions. Not only is this false, the business of government itself is not noble.
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Oh, otterpop. In the wonderful world of jaws, EVERY action by private enterprise is by definition good. And, EVERY action by government automatically evil.

    A large corporation dumps tons of poisons in the river, it's not said private busiensse's fault (because after all, the large corporation could be easily stopped by the tenant farmers and poor residents of the riverside towns if it were not for government). No, here, too, private enterprise is working beautifully. (There are no market failures, after all, that would allow a large out-of-town enterprise to dump all of its externalities. Market failures don't exist). It's the government's fault alone for not stopping the killing of the river.
    A government imprisons and executes thousands of people, it doesn't matter because the executioners had noble intentions, and the people can vote to stop them anyway. How do you respond against that?

    You keep making completely baseless accusations against a system you don't understand. The scenario you cite contradicts your point. The large corporation can get away with invading other people's property because the democratic government is protecting them and not the other individuals. They are acting through the government. The government creates the externality. The government is responsible for a government failure. Exactly what point were you trying to make?

    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    After all, there are so many successful examples in history of governmne--free societies creating wonderful societies. Of course, these examples exist in fiction, but....Hey, Somalia had a bitchin' cell phone network, so who needs government?
    Do you know how the system of monopoly nation-states came to be? It wasn't because the rulers had noble intentions. Find out and then tell me with a straight face it was for the best.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    You keep making completely baseless accusations against a system you don't understand. The scenario you cite contradicts your point. The large corporation can get away with invading other people's property because the democratic government is protecting them and not the other individuals. They are acting through the government. The government creates the externality. The government is responsible for a government failure. Exactly what point were you trying to make?
    The government did not create the externality-the private party did. Your argument that the pollution would not exist unless the government was not there is ludicrous. Unless you are a mutualist who is opposed to capitalism as well as the state, you still have the libertarian fallacy that ignores the pernicousness of concentrated private power. Because such concentrated power is not going away, and "competition" will not force oligarchic economic forces to suddenly stop polluting when their executives can get away with it.

    Well, you certainly don't seem to have a good understanding how planning, economics, land development, or public preferences work, so I'll take my lack of understanding of your libertarian nirvanna as not a bad thing.

    As for monopoly nationalism-sure. I understand how large unified states came about. Where I disagree is your idea that the confused chaos of a Renaisance Italy or an ancient Greece or a tribal chaos was all that successful as a system. You see the police as being murderous because the State monopolizes power. I see armed bandit gangs outside every fortified castle.

    Now: to be honest, I actually would increasigly agree with you that large imperial states are pernicious. 500 military bases. $2 trillion wars. Secrete assassination campaigns and slush funds in coutnries we are not even officially at war with. We in the United States need to recognize we may have made a mistake-the defenders of the Articles of Confederation may have been right.

    We may not be as far apart (on this issue) as you think-but I still believe these mini-states would be states, not libertarian private companies.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    OK Jaws, here is your moment to shine, your moment to prove that you are so right and those who don’t agree are so wrong… it is your moment to tell us what’s right.

    Jaws, realistically, what should the US do about what you call a dysfunctional government? I am not talking about suggestions like having space aliens take over, but something that can really happen in our life time. You seem to know what’s wrong with everything in life, how can us as Americans fix those problems?

    Not looking for an further explanation of the issues but actual solutions.

    “Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.” - Denis Waitley

    “Don't find fault. Find a remedy.” - Henry Ford

    “Focus on remedies, not faults.” - Jack Nicklaus

    “I must do something" always solves more problems than "Something must be done”. - Unknown Author
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  13. #13
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    The government did not create the externality-the private party did. Your argument that the pollution would not exist unless the government was not there is ludicrous. Unless you are a mutualist who is opposed to capitalism as well as the state, you still have the libertarian fallacy that ignores the pernicousness of concentrated private power. Because such concentrated power is not going away, and "competition" will not force oligarchic economic forces to suddenly stop polluting when their executives can get away with it.
    If the government were to create a system where you could buy your way out of murder, then the rate of murder quadrupled, would you say that the government is responsible? No. You would say it's a market failure where murderers are allowed to act illegally by the market. The same kind of twisted logic you apply to pollution. People are defenseless because the government took their ability to defend themselves away from them, and because they are being aggressed on by other people you blame a fictitious market failure when it is clear that there is no market in place in this situation.

    It's the same issue with your fictitious concentrations of private power. Large businesses have a competitive edge where there is a lot of irresponsible government regulations. With more regulations there are more fixed costs imposed on businesses, such as the need to hire lawyers to do anything, and thus businesses will merge and achieve greater size to cope with the problem. You see this and think "ah ah! it's the free market at work" when clearly it is the opposite problem.

    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    OK Jaws, here is your moment to shine, your moment to prove that you are so right and those who don’t agree are so wrong… it is your moment to tell us what’s right.

    Jaws, realistically, what should the US do about what you call a dysfunctional government? I am not talking about suggestions like having space aliens take over, but something that can really happen in our life time. You seem to know what’s wrong with everything in life, how can us as Americans fix those problems?
    America was founded on the following declaration:
    We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

    That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    Prudence indeed, will dictate, that Governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.
    I suggest that you simply apply this doctrine. Demand the right of anyone to secede from the United States and to live under the government of their own, individual choice. Abolish the monopoly over government held by the United States.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    If the government were to create a system where you could buy your way out of murder, then the rate of murder quadrupled, would you say that the government isn't responsible? No. You would say it's a market failure where murderers are allowed to act illegally by the market. The same kind of twisted logic you apply to pollution. People are defenseless because the government took their ability to defend themselves away from them, and because they are being aggressed on by other people you blame a fictitious market failure when it is clear that there is no market in place in this situation.
    What does your solution really mean? Why can the power to form governments pass regulations, etc not be part of the solution, a way fo solving the problem or defending ones self? Your "solution" implies armed tribes, ethnic gangs, neighborhoods, all armed to the theeth with the ability to "defend itself".. Even against large outside forces that are better armed, better supplied, and more organized. I'm sorry if I don't find that world very comforting.

    It's the same issue with your fictitious concentrations of private power. Large businesses have a competitive edge where there is a lot of irresponsible government regulations. With more regulations there are more fixed costs imposed on businesses, such as the need to hire lawyers to do anything, and thus businesses will merge and achieve greater size to cope with the problem. You see this and think "ah ah! it's the free market at work" when clearly it is the opposite problem.
    Balderdash. Your explanation is not the only reason for large concentrations of power. Standard Oil did not become a vast monoply in the 1890s only because of government regulations.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    What does your solution really mean? Why can the power to form governments pass regulations, etc not be part of the solution, a way fo solving the problem or defending ones self? Your "solution" implies armed tribes, ethnic gangs, neighborhoods, all armed to the theeth with the ability to "defend itself".. Even against large outside forces that are better armed, better supplied, and more organized. I'm sorry if I don't find that world very comforting.
    I feel certainly more comfortable in a world of many small gangs than a world where one large gang is armed with weapons that can annihilate an entire city at the push of a button. If recent history should have shown you anything, it's that being a large outside force with better arms, better supply and better organization is completely futile when attempting to dominate a much smaller country.
    Balderdash. Your explanation is not the only reason for large concentrations of power. Standard Oil did not become a vast monoply in the 1890s only because of government regulations.
    By the time Standard Oil's antitrust case was completed, its market share had already slipped to around 70% due to competition from such companies as Gulf Oil. It is thus completely irrelevant to your argument. It never had any power. It was always under intense competition.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    I feel certainly more comfortable in a world of many small gangs than a world where one large gang is armed with weapons that can annihilate an entire city at the push of a button..
    We'll have to agree to disagree. I don't find Somalia an appealing example (or Liberia, or Sierra Leon, or on and on and on.)

    Even your previous examples are not examples of stateless societies (Switzerland? Please. Swiss males are required to serve in the military-the primary gang of the country). You have no examples. You can only cite the failings of "government" while not providing, as M'skis up trhead demanded, any real world examples of successful non-state societies above the level of the unting and gathering band or primitive village (both of which had rigorous cultural rules that imposed far more restrictions on personal behaviro than the State).

    As for Standard Oil-why do you assume that Standard and Gulf would not have combined? There are many industries with such high capital entry costs that the inevitable trend of capital leads to consolidation.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    We'll have to agree to disagree. I don't find Somalia an appealing example (or Liberia, or Sierra Leon, or on and on and on.)

    Even your previous examples are not examples of stateless societies (Switzerland? Please. Swiss males are required to serve in the military-the primary gang of the country). You have no examples. You can only cite the failings of "government" while not providing, as M'skis up trhead demanded, any real world examples of successful non-state societies above the level of the unting and gathering band or primitive village (both of which had rigorous cultural rules that imposed far more restrictions on personal behaviro than the State).
    Hold on, Michaelskis did not ask for real world examples, he asked for a solution. I provided him with one. It is irrelevant that there is currently no real world implementation of this solution for the reasons I've already had to explain to Wulf9 several times. You can't demand positive proof in the face of missing evidence, and on my part I can't demand negative proof of it on your part. I could very well ask you to show me a real world example where such a system didn't work, and you would be totally mute on the subject. I don't do such a thing because I'm not completely irrational.
    As for Standard Oil-why do you assume that Standard and Gulf would not have combined? There are many industries with such high capital entry costs that the inevitable trend of capital leads to consolidation.
    Because there was nothing for Gulf's owners to gain from it. They were already winning over the market, why dilute the value of their property?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Foreigners shouldn't be allowed to comment on this thread.

    My response? More than many, less than most.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Foreigners shouldn't be allowed to comment on this thread.

    My response? More than many, less than most.
    \

    Good point. Why doesn't he endlessly complain about Canada's government, which is far more "socialist" than the US?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    \

    Good point. Why doesn't he endlessly complain about Canada's government, which is far more "socialist" than the US?
    The critique applies to both. If I got enraged at every instance of government stupidity in Canada I would be in a permanent state of rage. This includes those stupidities directly affecting me and my family.

  21. #21
    Politics give me a headache but mainly because it seems that things are out of control and everyone is out to help their cause and nothing gets fixed. Essentially making things that much harder.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    I suggest that you simply apply this doctrine. Demand the right of anyone to secede from the United States and to live under the government of their own, individual choice. Abolish the monopoly over government held by the United States.

    Jaws- I normally don't respond to your rants, but this statement is a tad over the edge. What you are proposing is anarchy. The problem is that anarchism has been tried and it failed. It disintergrated into violence. Government will always have a place because people cannot live peacefully together without it. If nothing else, government acts like the teacher that keeps 2 kids apart because they keep trying to beat the crud out of each other. There must always be a force that protects the rights of people, whether they appreciate it or not. It is a part of human nature for people to look out for their own best interest and take advantage of a situation irrespective of its consequences to other people. Corporations take this aspect of human nature to the extreme. Without government to curb this, the result is chaos. People and businesses need a stable environment in order to flourish. Government, when it is working right, provides this environment.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  23. #23
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    You implied in your statement that people who don't go into government don't have noble intentions. Not only is this false, the business of government itself is not noble.
    Jaws,
    As in most of the baseless and biased tripe you spout, you are wrong.
    I did not imply anything of the sort. I take it you must have gotten D's in reading comprehension.

    MODS: Get your yellow flags and possibly a red flag ready, and temporarily ban me if you wish. I cannot restrain myself any longer.

    JAWS,

    You have such a low opinion of what most Cyburbians and government in general I don't know why you come here other than the desire to tweak the tiger's tail from the safety of your computer. Why don't you just go the &$@* away?

    You are a myoptic bigot and an insufferable prick.

    Moderator note:
    (NHPlanner)

    You saw it coming. 24 hours to cool off. Please folks, no personal attacks.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

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  24. #24
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    Hold on, Michaelskis did not ask for real world examples, he asked for a solution. I provided him with one. It is irrelevant that there is currently no real world implementation of this solution for the reasons I've already had to explain to Wulf9 several times. You can't demand positive proof in the face of missing evidence, and on my part I can't demand negative proof of it on your part. I could very well ask you to show me a real world example where such a system didn't work, and you would be totally mute on the subject. I don't do such a thing because I'm not completely irrational.
    Your right... I did not ask for real world examples, because none exist. But I did ask for a realistic solution to what you perceive as a dire problem. Your quotation is well noted; however is not a realistic example. No group in the US can just over turn the government, so it is far from realistic. Furthermore, I now question our full understanding of constitutional law.

    As for Puerto Rico, it may be occupied by US as a territory, but until I see a 51 star on Old Glory, it is not part of the “United States”.

    I hope that you try again because I would be interested to see what answer you come up with. Until you do give a realistic solution, all I hear is a person with a concern whining about what they thing is a problem.

    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    Off-topic:
    The correct spelling is Puerto Rico. There, I feel better now.
    Thanks for the heads up.
    Last edited by michaelskis; 05 May 2006 at 10:51 AM.
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  25. #25
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    The correct spelling is Puerto Rico. There, I feel better now.
    RJ is the KING of . The One

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