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Old 04-21-2010, 10:40 PM   #681
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And how do we enforce them? Through regulations.
No, laws aren’t enforced by regulations, but by law enforcement.

Laws regarding fraud, bodily harm, and property rights (in this case intellectual) should be sufficient if properly enforced. For instance, our current financial crisis is a result of improper enforcement of fraud – not by lack of regulation.

In the end, it was the regulators and not the free market that determined who survived and who didn’t. The coming regulations will probably secure their positions (after a few wrist slaps).
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Old 04-21-2010, 10:58 PM   #682
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For instance, our current financial crisis is a result of improper enforcement of fraud – not by lack of regulation.
You don't think it was a combination of both?

Why do you have so much faith in super-sized corporations?
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:07 PM   #683
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I hate to call you naive, but there are many major cities that don't even have charitable hospitals, and those that do often aren't that charitable.
There would be if you allowed dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donations and the costs of medical equipment, supplies, and medicine weren’t hyper-inflated by the current health care robber barons.

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Once again... "if there's a market" which really means 'if it's profitable', well guess what? It's not. Diabetes research is crucial, because like INDY said the far end is costly and deadly. BUT, where's the profit in preventitive disease control? There is none, especially when it's the poor that suffer the most.
The Lasik industry is an oft used example. It is a one-time fix and not covered by insurance (usually). Yet, through competition, Lasik is fast, reliable, and relatively inexpensive compared to insurance covered procedures of similar complexity.

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Free market is not an absolute answer, the sooner some figure that out the better.
No, but it is certainly better than government sponsored thievery.
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When it comes to healthcare the only solution I see is a combination. We're talking about human lives. Human lives should not be determined by profits, as a Christian I find it hard why so many on the right can't figure this out.
If history is any indication, the people "on the right" would be the largest contributors to the charitable hospitals or the organizations that fund them. I believe in the free market system because it fuels innovation and forces efficiency. In the end, that has a better chance of improving more lives.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:14 PM   #684
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You don't think it was a combination of both?

Why do you have so much faith in super-sized corporations?
Super-sized corporations are often created by regulations designed to keep competitors out of the market place. It’s a cycle: big corporation puts their man in office, man in office returns the favor passing regulatory reforms, regulatory reforms keep smaller companies from entering into the regulated space because of the cost of being regulated, big corporation becomes “too big to fail”

And as it turns out – the only “regulations” that we really needed are the current laws that protect the citizens from fraud, bodily harm, and property rights (including intellectual property).
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:33 PM   #685
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There would be if you allowed dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donations and the costs of medical equipment, supplies, and medicine weren’t hyper-inflated by the current health care robber barons.
I'm not sure how YOU can say this. The inflation comes from a free market mentality. Trust me, I use to work for one of those hyper-inflated medical device companies. Things would be worse if it was pure free market.
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The Lasik industry is an oft used example. It is a one-time fix and not covered by insurance (usually). Yet, through competition, Lasik is fast, reliable, and relatively inexpensive compared to insurance covered procedures of similar complexity.
INDY, Hannity, Rush all tried this one too, it must be in the handbook. It's an elective surgery!!! What part of that do you guys not get?

My mother was one of the first Lasik patients in the US, so I am very grateful, but guess what? It came from a combination of public and government funds.

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No, but it is certainly better than government sponsored thievery.
Thievery? I thought you understood the current insurance system?

Leaving your life up to profit would be thievery.

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If history is any indication, the people "on the right" would be the largest contributors to the charitable hospitals or the organizations that fund them. I believe in the free market system because it fuels innovation and forces efficiency. In the end, that has a better chance of improving more lives.
You would be wrong on the charitable aspect, that number is almost dead even... nice try.

"Fuels innovation and forces efficiency"? Ok, so you've avoided my one example of diabetes, I have many others believe me. So just answer that one example, how is the free market going to do this?
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:41 PM   #686
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Super-sized corporations are often created by regulations designed to keep competitors out of the market place. It’s a cycle: big corporation puts their man in office, man in office returns the favor passing regulatory reforms, regulatory reforms keep smaller companies from entering into the regulated space because of the cost of being regulated, big corporation becomes “too big to fail”

And as it turns out – the only “regulations” that we really needed are the current laws that protect the citizens from fraud, bodily harm, and property rights (including intellectual property).
True and false.

We could both go all day long showing examples of each.

The truth is, we live in a world where there are corporations that are "too big to fail".

Is that right? Is that just the free market way? Is that just a fact of capitalism?

You and I both know, the world is not black and white.

I'm sure now you realize how tied up some of these systems go, can you honestly imagine where we would be if we just let them go bankrupt(especially multiple systems at a time)? Be honest.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:47 PM   #687
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I'm not sure how YOU can say this. The inflation comes from a free market mentality. Trust me, I use to work for one of those hyper-inflated medical device companies. Things would be worse if it was pure free market.
Whatever this device is – if it they were charging higher than market prices, someone would come in with a similar device for a lower price.

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Leaving your life up to profit would be thievery.
Don’t we do this every time we visit a doctor? Leave our life up for profit as you say? Are they working at a loss?

This notion that regulators are these incorruptible, benevolent, altruistic, Assisi-type crusaders that are only looking out for the little guy is the naïve position. Trust me, you’re already leaving your life up to profit - unfortunately it is to those big bloated companies you despise protected by the regulators and lawmakers you love.

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You would be wrong on the charitable aspect, that number is almost dead even... nice try.
Call it a hunch then.

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"Fuels innovation and forces efficiency"? Ok, so you've avoided my one example of diabetes, I have many others believe me. So just answer that one example, how is the free market going to do this?
The free market would lower the cost of research across the board. Additionally, if you replaced bloated and corrupt organizations like the FDA with competing ratings type of agencies the cost of research would be lower still.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:57 PM   #688
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I'm sure now you realize how tied up some of these systems go, can you honestly imagine where we would be if we just let them go bankrupt(especially multiple systems at a time)? Be honest.
True - I'm not super critical of the steps taken by Bush/Obama to try and instill confidence in the economy and avoid world chaos. However, it is not capitalism that got us into this mess, but state sponsored capitalism.

Moving forward, strict enforcement of current laws regarding fraud and corruption is enough. Whatever this financial reform bill turns out to be will be sham meant to give lip service to companies like Goldman Sachs but will certainly do everything that only they and a few handpicked companies remain “too big to fail” – because only they are complex enough to handle the complex instruments created to maneuver the complex regulations…
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:09 AM   #689
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Whatever this device is – if it they were charging higher than market prices, someone would come in with a similar device for a lower price.
Medical device companies build in their R&D, marketing, etc into the cost of a device. The device I was selling was retailing at 6,000. It had been on the market over 30 years, the r&d was over, so they were actually building in the r&d of other devices. The device cost 75 to make. The only reason it capped out at 6,000 is because of regulation, due to a combination of insurance companies and device companies. They all settled on a price and said this is what we'll spend on such device. It wasn't regulated for 25 years. How does a free market help in such a situation?

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Don’t we do this every time we visit a doctor? Leave our life up for profit as you say? Are they working at a loss?
For the most part you're right, but why should this be the norm? Aren't we guaranteed "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"?

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This notion that regulators are these incorruptible, benevolent, altruistic, Assisi-type crusaders that are only looking out for the little guy is the naïve position. Trust me, you’re already leaving your life up to profit - unfortunately it is to those big bloated companies you despise protected by the regulators and lawmakers you love.
This I know. But I also know that without regulations it would be worse. Much, much, much worse.

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Call it a hunch then.

The free market would lower the cost of research across the board. Additionally, if you replaced bloated and corrupt organizations like the FDA with competing ratings type of agencies the cost of research would be lower still.
Please show me an example!!!

Let's say we did have competing rating systems. How are they constructed? Are they profit driven? Where is the checks and balances?
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:13 AM   #690
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However, it is not capitalism that got us into this mess, but state sponsored capitalism.
Once again, this just sounds like you have far too much faith in large corporations.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:26 AM   #691
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there are many major cities that don't even have charitable hospitals, and those that do often aren't that charitable.
This does remind me of a story one of my professors told us.

I went to a small, Catholic(in name only, lol) college in Vermont, and this guy taught Christian Healthcare ethics as well as a class called Work, Capital and God.

He is a relatively big name in Vermont academic and business circles, and he used to be on the board of a Catholic, read charitable hospital. It was set up as a non profit. Donations were a part of the revenue stream.

What did this board he was on suggest they do to cut costs? Get rid of the nurses' union and start treating less of certain diseases, etc.

I am not saying either move was right or wrong, just that "charitable" hospitals, when put in the same market of providing care, faced with the same realities of the system as every other for profit hospital, they will behave the same way.

They have to stay in business, after all. Have to pay doctors, nurses, pay for equipment, training, beds, etc. Doctors will not work for free.

As for donations covering the costs, donations move up and down with a lot of different variables(how do you think charitable giving is doing with 10% unemployment?) and are not a reliable, consistent and (relatively) predictable revenue stream.

At least with the current system, you know how much Medicare/Medicaid and private insurance companies reimburse for certain procedures and have a general idea of the breakdown of what you see at your particular hospital and in what volume and can budget from there.

As for a 1-1 tax credit as AEON suggested, it would probably help spur charitable contributions, but a lot of people still are not in a financial position to be able to wait until tax season to break even on any given contribution. If you are donating a significant amount to charity, the local real estate developer, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, the local software company owner or marketing executive, odds are your income is high enough that the tax credits, while nice and welcome, do not factor very much into the decision to donate.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:46 AM   #692
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Let's say we did have competing rating systems. How are they constructed? Are they profit driven? Where is the checks and balances?
Ratings agencies would be paid fees for their services, by the companies wanting to be certified. The more reputable the agency, the higher fee they can charge. The check and balance? Reputation and rule of law. If an agency has a great track record of rating correctly, the better its reputation, the better its profits. However, if they get charged with fraud or their ratings are off – their reputation (and their profits) will suffer
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:54 AM   #693
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Aren't we guaranteed "life" --
How do you interpret that? If we take it literally, then the government has failed every single person that has died since those words were put to paper – and will eventually fail both you and I – as we are certain to die.

In my opinion, it is referencing the government’s responsibility to protect us from harm at the hands of others.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:58 AM   #694
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As for donations covering the costs, donations move up and down with a lot of different variables(how do you think charitable giving is doing with 10% unemployment?) and are not a reliable, consistent and (relatively) predictable revenue stream.
Do you think it is possible that the free market system could be efficient and innovative enough to lower the costs across the board to a level that charity is only needed in the rarest, most dire occasions?
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:07 AM   #695
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Laws regarding fraud, bodily harm, and property rights (in this case intellectual) should be sufficient if properly enforced. For instance, our current financial crisis is a result of improper enforcement of fraud – not by lack of regulation.
In the end, it was the regulators and not the free market that determined who survived and who didn’t. The coming regulations will probably secure their positions (after a few wrist slaps).
Good discussion!

Though there was a significant amount of fraud that was flat out not enforced, the biggest causes of our financial crisis were subprime mortgages and the securitization of said mortgages(i.e. the derivatives market).

These 2 areas had one thing in common- they were unregulated!

1.)A subprime loan market that had always existed exploded in size throughout the early/mid 2000s. These little fly by night firms could hand out loans without any documentation or other standards required by more mainstream, regulated banks and by ethical, licensed mortgage companies who took the business seriously. My Dad did real estate from 1987 until he passed away a year ago, and between 2002 and 2005, he would always tell me that "anyone can get a mortgage now, they hand them out from crackerjack boxes, this is an accident waiting to happen."

The mortgages that originated from the regulated market had far, far less issues when it came to defaults, foreclosures etc than ones that originated from non regulated firms.

2.)Though 1 now ensured we had ourselves a foreclosure crisis, that in and of itself, though bad, is not necessarily a financial crisis(think early 90s mild recession, that started with a foreclosure crisis).

What led to the takedown of our entire financial system from this subprime mess was the massive securitization of the loans into complex financial instruments known as derivatives.

The derivatives market was $800 billion in 2004, exploded to $300 trillion in 2007 and is now worth nearly $600 trillion, and these are not typos! To put this in context, the value of stocks, bonds and bank deposits combined, in the entire world in 2008 was a mere $167 trillion!

Derivatives were explicitly barred from being regulated in the Gramm-Lech-Bailey act of 1999, co sponsored by an army, literally an army, of BOTH Democrats and Republicans, passed a Republican controlled Congress and signed by a Democratic President Clinton. Larry Summers, Obama's NEC chair, was heavily involved as treasury secretary, and I think he and Clinton have even gone as far as to apologize.

So in an era of deregulation like never seen before, accelerated by GW Bush in the 2000s, this crisis takes place.


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Super-sized corporations are often created by regulations designed to keep competitors out of the market place. It’s a cycle: big corporation puts their man in office, man in office returns the favor passing regulatory reforms, regulatory reforms keep smaller companies from entering into the regulated space because of the cost of being regulated, big corporation becomes “too big to fail”
Truer words have never been spoken! Very often, regulations, though they look benevolent and like they are designed to make sure AEON and U2387 do not get screwed, they are often written in a way that protects super-sized corporations(read those who pay for both parties' campaigns). I think the solution to this is campaign finance reform with teeth, something that actually takes the money out of the system. If the head of Goldman Sachs wants to contribute to Obama(which he has, big time), then let it be through his own personal account, un attached to the firm he runs and because he truly thinks Obama has the best policies.

Everyone has the right to contribute, sure, including super sized CEO taking TARP money, but when it comes to lobbyist/PAC contributions, the analogy I always make is "can you go up there and lobby a Judge?" "your honor, here is $5000 and a phone call to the Governor telling him what a great guy you are, and to reappoint you, now let me go free even though I robbed that store at gunpoint and stole Indy500's car?"

The Goldmann or the too big to fail companies are doing the exact same thing- here is some money from us, now please do not regulate us, and if you do, do it in such a way that keeps those pesky competitors the hell out of here!

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And as it turns out – the only “regulations” that we really needed are the current laws that protect the citizens from fraud, bodily harm, and property rights (including intellectual property).
Respectfully disagree. I think market concentration regulations, like anti trust, are greatly needed to prevent monopolies and excessive market concentration that often leads to super sized crony capitalist corporation X or Y being "too big to fail." You may say we have had those for years and firms are still too big to fail, and that is true. But here comes another place where you and I find common ground!


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No, laws aren’t enforced by regulations, but by law enforcement
These need to be enforced, and they should have been enforced a hell of a lot better than they were in the run up to the financial crisis. But again, who runs the SEC? It was former Wall street darling Chris Cox. Treasury? It was former Goldman big wig Hank Paulsen. Currently, with Obama, the Wall Street connections in that administration run extremely deep, most notably Larry Summers, who I like very much, just pointing out!

So ultimately, the law enforcers are appointed by the President after approval from Congress, both of whom depend on the people being regulated by said law enforcers to finance their campaigns.

That I think is the vicious cycle, and that is what leads to the often terrible, ineffective construction of regulations.

I am not saying all regulation is always good all of the time, as I stated above. There are bad regulations, as I said above, mostly due to the fact that these companies have such influence on the people writing them. Whose phone call is the President, regardless of party answering personally? Yours or mine? Or the CEO of Citibank? It is a matter of who they are accountable to, and when that changes, so too will the nature of regulations.

Then of course there are the regulations that are flat out stupid and ineffective- rent control comes to mind ( also trucking, airline, railroad and oil price regulations in the 70s), and regulations that are well intentioned but needlessly burdensome. I think a lot of this could be solved by streamlining agencies and looking hard at a principles based approach to regulation as opposed to a thousand or a billion page list of specific criteria that those regulated will no doubt find a loophole in!

I think Britain and some other countries have had a lot of success reducing costs of compliance, increasing efficiency and still accomplishing the goals of a regulatory agency through this principles based method.

Though it may seem that I really disagreed with a lot of what you wrote here, I really do not think we are that far apart!
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:19 AM   #696
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No, laws aren’t enforced by regulations, but by law enforcement.
Well, that is a form of regulating something, is it not?

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Laws regarding fraud, bodily harm, and property rights (in this case intellectual) should be sufficient if properly enforced. For instance, our current financial crisis is a result of improper enforcement of fraud – not by lack of regulation.
I'm with BVS, I'd say both of those were contributing factors to the current situation.

In theory what you say makes sense, and it sounds good. But what if the law enforcement fails? There's corruption in that, too.

And I'm still waiting for somebody, anybody, to answer this question:

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Besides that, nobody has ever come up with an answer to why they're not bothered about the fact that they're REQUIRED to have car insurance, but when it comes to health insurance, boy, that gets their hair up.
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:49 AM   #697
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I already posted this but the site was flaky...if it shows up twice, sorry...

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Good discussion!
Yes, I agree!

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Though there was a significant amount of fraud that was flat out not enforced, the biggest causes of our financial crisis were subprime mortgages and the securitization of said mortgages(i.e. the derivatives market).
The more we learn about the securitization process and the large parts of the derivatives market during the last 10 years – it seems that fraud was a major factor (fraud on those that did the bundling, the credit agencies, the accountants…etc). Is it fair to say the jury is still out to determine if it was lack of fraud enforcement, and not a lack of regulation that caused it? (not to mention it was the government that pushed for subprime mortgages – causing banks to take risks they wouldn’t ordinaly take – and it was the desire to get this risk off their own books and “out there” - that really led the likes of Goldman and Lehman to manage the CDO and CDS racket the manner in which they did.)

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My Dad did real estate from 1987 until he passed away a year ago, and between 2002 and 2005, he would always tell me that "anyone can get a mortgage now, they hand them out from crackerjack boxes, this is an accident waiting to happen."
Your father, God rest his soul, was obviously right on.
Again, isn’t this another example of fraud - committed by both the lenders and the borrowers (creative accounting, stated income loans)?
Unfortunately I have to go to bed, so I can’t address all your points (you made quite a few).

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Though it may seem that I really disagreed with a lot of what you wrote here, I really do not think we are that far apart!
I think you’re probably right.
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:55 AM   #698
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Besides that, nobody has ever come up with an answer to why they're not bothered about the fact that they're REQUIRED to have car insurance, but when it comes to health insurance, boy, that gets their hair up.
I believe you’re only mandated to cover liability for injuries and property damage done to others. I’m not quite sure I see the comparison. It’s about protecting the property rights of others. If you wish to protect your own property – you are welcome (and wise) to do so – but that isn’t compulsory.
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Old 04-22-2010, 02:00 AM   #699
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In theory what you say makes sense, and it sounds good. But what if the law enforcement fails? There's corruption in that, too.
True - law enforcement can fail - so why add yet another several layers to increase the opportunity for corruption? My point is, just because law enforcement fails - we shouldn't set up a host of other entities that will also fail. Simply hold law enforcement accountable.
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Old 04-22-2010, 02:10 AM   #700
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I did want to add that the last few pages have been very pleasant. BVS, Moonlit_Angel, and U2387 – all three of you have been courteous, respectful, and challenging (in a good way). I appreciate that. Thanks.

Now I'm really going to bed...Good Night!
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