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History of FreeRepublic

Posted on 10/30/2003 12:14:39 PM PST by dakine

Free Republic and Jim Robinson's Finances

Miscellaneous Free Republic Source: Free Republic Published: 07/15/99 Author: Jim Robinson Posted on 07/15/1999 01:02:53 PDT by Jim Robinson

Just trying to set the record straight.

Even though it's boring, I'll have to go back a few years to lay the groundwork for the story. Warning: it's boring so you might just want to skip this whole thing and go on to a real article... but for those of you who are spreading the gruesome rumors of Jim Robinson ripping off the FReepers, here's the real accounting of Free Republic.

During the 70's and 80's I worked as a programmer/analyst then division manager of a local computer service bureau. Over the years, I developed a series of accounting packages for agri-business companies. These packages were written for mini-computers using a fourth generation programming language that I developed myself. We had an installed base of a dozen or so farming companies and produce packers in California's San Joaquin Valley.

In 1988, the owner of the service bureau offered to allow me to purchase the software from the company on a percentage of gross revenues for one year basis and take over the existing client base. He also offered that I could take any of the programmers in my department who wanted to go with me. It had long been my desire to be in business for myself, so I jumped at the opportunity. Two programmers accepted my offer of equal partnership and ground floor opportunity and so we contributed $3,000 capital apiece, formed a corporation and into the computer business we plunged. In our first year, we grossed something in the neighborhood of a three hundred thousand and we were basically living hand to mouth, but we kept working at it. Within a few years and an awful lot of hard work, we were grossing a couple million per year and were earning a decent living.

In 1994 we decided that we wanted to expand the business so we did an initial public offering and raised some three million dollars on the NASDAQ. Our intent was to convert all of our software to shrink-wrap for Windows on the P/C and go nationwide. Well, we found that it was no easy task rewriting from the tested and true VAX VMS to the relatively untested and unstable P/C and we ended up paying several times the amount that we estimated for conversion and our roll out of the new software was delayed... first one year... then another. In the meantime, all of our clients and prospects were seeing our new prototypes and they wanted our new stuff. No one would buy our old software. Classic mistake. But long story short, we soon used up all of our new capital and the corporation was in big trouble.

To make matters worse, during the period of our IPO, my wife suffered a stroke which ended up leaving her entire left side paralyzed. And adding to that, my muscular dystrophy which had been progressing slowly for twenty years suddenly decides to accelerate. As I grew weaker, I could no longer travel by myself or even step up a curb to enter a client's building, much less climb stairs (many of our packing house customers had their offices upstairs over the plant). Plus, I had to spend ever increasing amounts of time at home helping my wife leaving less time for the office. So I began delegating more and more of my tasks to my fellow Officers and spending even less time at the company. It got so bad that eventually the board of directors invited me to step aside from my position as Chairman and CEO and turn the reins over to our President. I was given a one year consulting contract and a promise that I might be able to come back in as a Vice President after the company was re-organized. The company brought in some new capital through a private offering and the new stockholders brought in all new management. I was let go at the end of my contract.

In 1995 as we were desperately looking for a product to sell, we luckily acquired a new type of business... an internet service provider. This business was brand new, only 200 paying customers, and the founder had run out of cash so we picked it up and thought it would be a potential source of revenue. It was. It doubled or more in size every month. Eventually it saved our bacon because it was what attracted the private capital and then a later six million dollar offering (I was already gone by this time).

In the middle of 1996, I was forced into retirement. At the time, I only had about $40,000 value in my remaining stock (the company had lost about 95% of it's value), my wife was paralyzed, I was barely able get around, and we were lived in a big new house with an upside down mortgage (we had purchased the house before my wife's stroke and while I was still Chairman and CEO of a prosperous growing company which was about to go public and the future was all roses, uh huh).

So I continued on as a consultant for the company, but in October of 1996 my back got so bad that I could no longer stand or walk. I had surgery in December to repair a protruding disk and relieve the pain and numbness in my legs, but I was never able to walk again.

During most of the above time period (beginning sometime in '93 or '94) I had been following our new President's crimes and corruption spree by reading and posting to Prodigy's Whitewater bulletin board at night and on weekends. In September of 1996, I created the Free Republic website. Missy Kelly, who was a regular on Prodigy, sent me several articles and other info about the Riady's, the Lippo Group, the Rose Law Firm, and Clinton's crooked financing from the 80's through his election, and I also had info from Michael Rivero's Foster pages and I had some info on the phony drug war and our government's involvement with drug running through Arkansas, etc., and I set it all up on a series of web pages and just knew that if Clinton's corruption was exposed to the general public, no way would he be reelected. Hah!

After the corrupt sob was reelected, I became determined that I was gonna do all I could to see him impeached, so I wrote the forum software and launched the Free Republic forum in February 1997. I was the only poster for a few months, but I kept sending my URL to search engines and trolled the news groups by reposting articles from the forum and eventually I picked up a few readers... and eventually some of the readers got the courage to try posting.

The forum went well, and over the summer and through the fall of 1997 we continued to pickup more and more readers and we started accumulating a lot of hits. Sometime during that Fall, we had gained so many readers that our traffic began impacting my ISP (which was my old company which had been donating the resources for us). Our hits and our bandwidth usage was dragging down their system, so they eventually gave me an ultimatum to either pay them $700 per month or find another provider.

Well, I was near broke at the time, didn't have much income and this was just a hobby so I thought it was probably all over. Then one of our posters (The Duke) wrote me. He was using a network service for his company and he thought they could supply us with a dedicated server for as little as $300 per month. That was a reasonable rate, but I still couldn't afford it. The Duke suggested that we ask the readers if they wanted Free Republic enough to donate the money to pay the expenses and keep it running. So he ran a thread and sure enough, the readers said that it was important to keep Free Republic going and so they began sending in donations. I ordered the server and we were soon running. Thus the practice of reader funding of Free Republic was born. It wasn't that I was begging for money as some have alleged, it was because I did not have the resources to keep it going and yet the readers wanted it enough to pay our expenses.

The forum kept getting more and more popular, kept gaining more and more readers and kept requiring more and more time to support it. I was soon working on it full time and my HTML business (Electronic Orchard which I had formed to try to earn a living and stay afloat) began to suffer. I let the posters know, and they began sending more donations so that I could work full time on the forum and would have enough money to avoid personal bankruptcy. The forum was still just a hobby at this time. My income came from whatever HTML work I could find (not much), and from donors who sent me money as gifts and said to use it however I needed it, and from the remainder of my savings which I luckily had invested in Mindspring stock which was doing very well (Mindspring is an internet company and their stock did a ok).

Then sometime after we were on the new server (not sure about the timing here, may have been before) Matt Drudge discovered us and linked to our White Water topic. Now we start doubling every couple of months and soon our new server could not handle the load. The time delay became unbearable and the readers were becoming more and more frustrated and hostile. There was much public discussion about what to do to keep Free Republic alive and I did not have enough money left in my savings to buy a larger server and/or to commit to more bandwidth. Free Republic was just a hobby and had no revenue and no resources. How can I commit several thousand dollars per month for bandwidth when I'm already next to personal bankruptcy?

About this time, I was contacted by James Golden of TalkSpot who wanted to do an interview and ask a bunch of questions. I'm a quiet and shy kinda guy and hate interviews with the press so I turned him over to Connie Hair who had volunteered to handle these things for us. It turns out that he was interested in more than an interview. He wanted to find out whether we could work together. Seems he had a conservative talkshow and he was interested in expanding it and working with us. We let him know that we were in trouble and might not even be around much longer. Somehow over the next few weeks, Connie and Clarity had worked a deal with TalkSpot where they would provide the server capacity we needed and would supply me with a consulting contract so that I could earn a living while building Free Republic and Free Republic Radio on TalkSpot. Wow! What a miracle.

Connie had earlier asked me how much I would need to run Free Republic for a year, and I had estimated that with taxes and expenses I would probably need around hundred thousand or so. So that's what she asked for. And that's what they agreed to. They actually wanted to buy FR and hire me as an employee, but after having being in business for a decade, I was pretty set in my independent ways and would rather not have a boss. I said Free Republic was not for sale and so they agreed on the consulting contract.

Now we also had been contacted about this time by several media companies who questioned the fair use exemption to the copyright law and who were threatening to sue us for alleged copyright infringements. This prevented me from being able to convert my Free Republic hobby into a membership system which would have given us the funds to operate and me a salary so that I could survive while working full time on Free Republic. So, the TalkSpot deal was perfect for us.

And about this time, Lucianne Goldberg contacted us and we began negotiating a deal where we could market the Linda Tripp tapes on the internet. TalkSpot would've been the perfect vehicle for doing that. Lucianne was asking six million dollars for the marketing rights of the tapes. We didn't know what the market was, but we were willing to gamble that enough people would pay five dollars per tape to listen to Monica as she literally torpedoes a sitting President, and that we could collect enough money to pay the six million and then share in any profits over that amount. Well, as it turns out, the OIC turned the tapes over to the Congress who released them to the public so that deal fell through. Too bad. Free Republic would've made history and would have been funded for life (nothing sinister in this negotiation as some have alleged).

Also about this time, a man named Don Adams (not yet a FReeper) was viciously attacked by paid union thugs at an anti-Clinton protest in Philadelphia. We had been planning a protest in Philadelphia for several days prior and I figured that the Clintonites had gotten wind of that (they lurk on FR daily) and had arranged for the union goons to break up our protest. When I realized that this is what had happened, I got pissed and decided it was time to pay a personal visit to Mr. Clinton and tell him that we're fed-up and we're not gonna take this crap anymore and we're gonna see him impeached!

I announced on the forum that I was gonna go to the Whitehouse and protest the President's beating of Don Adams and so the March for Justice was born. It was originally just gonna be protest outside the Whitehouse but more and more people and groups got involved and so it had to be moved to Lafayette Park where there is more room available, and then eventually to the Washington Monument. Then the expenses began racking up. A stage, a sound system, security, porta-potties, insurance, etc. (the insurance bill alone was over $15,000). But the FReepers were willing and happy to send the money to pay for all this (actually we did not receive enough to pay all and we had a debt for several months after the event. The debt was funded by Bob Johnson and eventually all was paid back through sales of FReeper Stuff). Thus was born the idea of raising funds on Free Republic for projects... again at the request of the FReepers and not me begging for money as some have alleged.

Then the Washington Post and the LA Times file suit. Clarity volunteers to defend Free Republic. The FReepers decide to send donations to cover out of pocket expenses for the case (we've only received about six thousand, so far, but have racked up bills of several times that amount. We will be needing lots more). I had a choice of fighting or folding. The FReepers volunteered to send money so we could fight so fight we will. Again, I'm not begging. If the FReepers would rather not spend their money on this, we'll fold and settle.

Bob Barr calls. Duty calls and the FReepers go to Washington again. Boston conceives the idea of an ad in the Washington Times to urge the House to move on the impeachment. The FReepers raise something like $15,000 to pay for the ad and some additional artwork. We also raise some money to pay for the rally. Somewhere in here, we raise money to pay for the publishing of Alamo-Girl's Clinton Downside Legacy and to deliver a copy to each Senator. Gonzo contributes $6,000 dollars to the fund, which he had loaned to us previously to cover some of expenses of the MFJ and now says we should keep as a donation rather than pay back. Again, I'm not begging for anything... Boston and his group wanted the ad and wanted us to raise money on FR to cover it. Nothing sinister here. I'm still a hobby not a business. And not begging for money as some allege.

The House Impeaches, the Senate fails the people, abrogates their duty, Clinton walks. Then he threatens to take revenge on our brave Managers. The FReepers go to Washington again. And again Boston raises money for another Washington Times ad. Again, the FReepers wanted it. I did not beg.

Free Republic is still a non-profit hobby, but because of the lawsuit we are forced to file as a limited liability company so that we can continue to operate and not risk further personal lawsuits. We incur more legal and organizing expenses. I'm already being sued as Free Republic, Electronic Orchard and Jim Robinson personal. If I lose the lawsuit, the Washington Post et al, own me lock stock and barrel. My total life and everything I own is at risk here, but I'm not begging. If you guys would rather I fold Free Republic and settle this lawsuit, then I'm outta here. Nothing sinister.

During all of this time, there were many, many discussions both on line and off about how to keep Free Republic afloat. Many proposals were made and considered. Some were in favor of charging either a fifty dollar per year membership fee or perhaps a ten dollar per month posting fee. Proposals were made to incorporate, to sell stock, or to file for non-profit status and look for large donors. All kinds of things were proposed, discussed, talked over and most were finally rejected. There was nothing sinister about any of these proposals. We were simply trying to find a way to keep Free Republic going, get it on some sort of predictable and solid financial footing and to have a reliable way to pay operating expenses and salaries for a few people to work full time on the project. We've settled on forming a non-profit and looking for donors as well as possibly selling memberships in an association. The Free Republic forum, however, will remain free and open.

Throughout all this I'm estimating that we have received something over $100,000 dollars which was used as follows:

These are estimates (in round numbers) from memory. I did not necessarily account by project. Most of this was done as a hobby, but some as a not-for-profit company. I have not done a final accounting yet, and the company has not yet filed a tax return other than the required annual minimum tax. The first tax return will not be due until next April.

The March for Justice........... $30,000 The Judgment Day Rally..... $8,000 The Washington Ad, etc........ $10,000 The Treason Ad, etc............. $10,000 Legal Fees and filing fees....... $6,000 The House Managers............ $5,000 Travel and Lodging............... $8,000 Operating Expenses............... $15,000 Misc Expenses...................... $3,000 Corp Taxes........................... $1,000

Ending cash balance.............. $8,000 ($6,000 earmarked for legal defense)

Personally, I had a savings account (in stock) worth about $39,000 when I started all this. I had a house and two trucks and a house full of beat up furniture. I had debts including a 100% mortgage and other personal debts totaling approximately $220,000.

Today, I still have the same house and mortgage (which has decreased by barely a dent), the same beat up furniture, but only one of the trucks (an 89 GMC utility vehicle). I still have debts of approx. $220,000 and I still have some stock in my savings account. It has approx. doubled in value through price appreciation even though I have sold approx. seventy percent of my shares over the last three years (latched onto a great internet stock, MSPG!). That and the after tax proceeds from my consulting contract (I did use a portion of it to purchase new computers and other equipment for me and John), plus any gifts I received from donors is what we've been living on. Other than the equipment listed above, I have not purchased anything other than normal clothing, repairs and groceries and normal living expenses since 1995. We have not traveled or taken any vacations or even weekends off (other than my three trips to Washington with Free Republic). We do not eat out. A special night out for us is Chris runs out and brings back a pizza or some Chinese and rents us a movie. Chris lives at home and cares for us and he goes to college. My sister-in-law comes over every weekday to help Sheila bathe and dress and help with the housework. I'm not pleading poverty, but I ain't rich either and I'm only a heartbeat away from bankruptcy. Oh, yeah. I also do not have any health insurance and my medical bills are growing. Hillary where are you? (LOL)

Please understand that we're happy as clowns and I'm not complaining. We thank the Lord daily for all our blessings. The only reason I'm writing this is because I've been accused by several on this forum and last night in print on Salon, that I'm ripping off the donors.

Well, I'm working double shifts seven days a week for Free Republic and I'm not getting paid a whit. And I sure as hell am not ripping off anyone. If any of you want to donate to keep Free Republic on the air, I'll thank you for that and we will appreciate it very much, but I'm not gonna beg anyone for it. If we can not fund Free Republic, she goes under and that's that. Now if anyone else ever accuses me again of being a crook, just beware. I'm gonna hunt you down and beat you senseless with my cane.

Jim Robinson


TOPICS: Free Republic
KEYWORDS: adminlectureseries; faq; fr; freerepublic; freerepublichistory; frhistory; history; lexicon
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Thought would be a good time to re-post..Am I wrong in doing so?
1 posted on 10/30/2003 12:14:39 PM PST by dakine
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To: dakine
Well - you could've bumped the original.
2 posted on 10/30/2003 12:17:41 PM PST by TomServo ("Yes, I will take money from my dad's wallet and send it to Soupy Sales.")
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To: TomServo
Interesting. I didn't even know there was an original.
3 posted on 10/30/2003 12:18:52 PM PST by ConservativeMan55 (The left always "feels your pain" unless of course they caused it.)
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To: TomServo
No, old threads in the old format don't work with the new software. Those are read only, so bumping them is inconceivable impossible.
4 posted on 10/30/2003 12:18:56 PM PST by Lead Moderator
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To: Lead Moderator
Gotcha - thanks...
5 posted on 10/30/2003 12:19:38 PM PST by TomServo ("Yes, I will take money from my dad's wallet and send it to Soupy Sales.")
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To: Lead Moderator
That's a helluva profile page you have.
6 posted on 10/30/2003 12:20:32 PM PST by TomServo ("Yes, I will take money from my dad's wallet and send it to Soupy Sales.")
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To: dakine
Cheers to those heady days of 1998!

Impeaching a twice elected popular President? Only in America...

7 posted on 10/30/2003 12:21:35 PM PST by JohnGalt (And Even the Jordan Rivers' Got Bodies Floating)
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To: Lead Moderator
"Lead Moderator"

I've always wondered if there is a Gold Moderator and a Silver Moderator as well?

8 posted on 10/30/2003 12:22:03 PM PST by Mad Dawgg (French: old Europe word meaning surrender)
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To: dakine
James Golden.........RUSH'S BO SNERDLEY.......WHO KNEW!!!!!
9 posted on 10/30/2003 12:24:34 PM PST by OldFriend (DEMS INHABIT A PARALLEL UNIVERSE)
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To: JohnGalt
Impeaching a twice elected popular President

Sounds like you disapprove.

10 posted on 10/30/2003 12:27:55 PM PST by Nonstatist
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To: OldFriend
I've always wondered if there is a Gold Moderator and a Silver Moderator as well?

I wanna be the Chrome Moderator!

11 posted on 10/30/2003 12:28:25 PM PST by Flyer (You get more with a smile, a kind word and a gun than with a smile and a kind word)
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To: dakine
Hey, thanks for posting this. I had no idea....but have been curious....
12 posted on 10/30/2003 12:31:03 PM PST by tuckrdout
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To: Nonstatist
Only to you, Statist.

The 1998 Impeachment was the greatest conservative-libertarian populist uprising we will ever know.
13 posted on 10/30/2003 12:31:31 PM PST by JohnGalt ("neo"-- prefix meaning the oppisite of the word that follows, ex. "neoconservative")
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To: Flyer
I want to be the Plutonium Moderator (c8
14 posted on 10/30/2003 12:32:40 PM PST by Poohbah ("Would you mind not shooting at the thermonuclear weapons?" -- Major Vic Deakins, USAF)
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To: tuckrdout
bump for more exposure...
15 posted on 10/30/2003 12:32:45 PM PST by dakine
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To: dakine
I'm glad you re-posted. We all need to be reminded of the hard work the Robinson's do for us.
16 posted on 10/30/2003 12:33:05 PM PST by RightWingMama
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To: TomServo
That's a helluva profile page you have.

I've seen it before

17 posted on 10/30/2003 12:34:04 PM PST by South40
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To: Mad Dawgg
The Lead Moderator will becomes Gold Moderator when FR's Alchemy Branch perfects the philosopher's stone.
18 posted on 10/30/2003 12:34:22 PM PST by Sloth ("I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" -- Jacobim Mugatu, 'Zoolander')
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To: JohnGalt
Yea, but I thought you Birchers liked the fact that Klintoon was kind of isolationist-like. Pardon me if I misjudged you.
19 posted on 10/30/2003 12:35:36 PM PST by Nonstatist
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To: TomServo
("Yes, I will take money from my dad's wallet and send it to Soupy Sales.")

Don't bother. He'll just squander it taking Peaches to the ball game...and buying banana cream pies...heh heh heh.

FMCDH

20 posted on 10/30/2003 12:36:17 PM PST by nothingnew (The pendulum is swinging and the Rats are in the pit!)
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To: nothingnew
LOL!!
21 posted on 10/30/2003 12:39:32 PM PST by TomServo ("Yes, I will take money from my dad's wallet and send it to Soupy Sales.")
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To: Nonstatist
I am not a Bircher, Statist, and Clinton was an internationalist.

Clinton bombed a soveriegn nation of Orthodox Christians on an Easter Sunday lest we forget or let me guess you and your buddy Bill Kristol were excited to "crush Serb skulls."

Clinton was a leftwing neoconservative no doubt, but an internationalist all the same.


22 posted on 10/30/2003 12:40:35 PM PST by JohnGalt ("neo"-- prefix meaning the oppisite of the word that follows, ex. "neoconservative")
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To: JohnGalt
Hey Birch boy! Clinton wouldnt have invaded Afghanistan or Iraq or any country that was even remotely contected to "national interest"; thats very consistent with what you Buchananites are always babbling about.
23 posted on 10/30/2003 12:46:21 PM PST by Nonstatist
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To: dakine
Jeepers! Thanks for the post.
24 posted on 10/30/2003 12:47:36 PM PST by lilylangtree
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To: lilylangtree
You're welcome...bump for others!!
25 posted on 10/30/2003 12:50:44 PM PST by dakine
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To: Nonstatist
Statist, I am not a Bircher or a Buchananite, my profile is very clear; just click on the name is it so hard?

Both Bush and Clinton have and did tend to attack countries that could not actually fight back while leaving the real criminals of the DC tax regime untouched in Saudi Arabia and North Korea. Clinton, of course tended, to bomb countries where there was no national interest, Bush at least could make a case that he bombed countries based on the idea of national interest. On the otherhand, Bush has not brought the boys home from Serbia yet so its hard to just give him a free pass on that situation.


26 posted on 10/30/2003 12:53:04 PM PST by JohnGalt ("neo"-- prefix meaning the oppisite of the word that follows, ex. "neoconservative")
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To: dakine
I don't think so. It is necessary to remember the time and effort that it takes to keep freedom free. I salute JimRob for his perserverance and dedication.

If I have to pay to keep this site around, I will...and already do.

I encourage all FREEPERS and LURKERS to donate. $5/month gets you the best news service going. Seems that every story on the wires comes through FR and gets its own commentary, which usually hilarious and always insightful.

And, if you don't think that your contributions don't help, take a look at this statistic:

As of 10/30/2003...

Site Today 1 wk. Avg. 3 mos. Avg. 3 mos. Change
FreeRepublic.com 979 1,126 953 Down 40
DemocraticUnderground.com 5,648 6,650 5,018 Down 1,386

Source: Alexa.com

27 posted on 10/30/2003 12:53:56 PM PST by mattdono (Big Arnie; "Crush the democrats, drive them before you, and hear the lamentations of the scumbags.")
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To: mattdono
I should have added that this statistic is the ranking of FR on the Internet
28 posted on 10/30/2003 12:55:01 PM PST by mattdono (Big Arnie; "Crush the democrats, drive them before you, and hear the lamentations of the scumbags.")
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To: dakine
Not wrong, I think. There's lots of new blood lately and this may deflect a lot of repetitive questions. Might be time for a reposting of the FR lexicon and the HTML primer as well.

I'd forgotten what sort of a shoestring this place started on. Hard to believe.

29 posted on 10/30/2003 12:58:28 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: JohnGalt
leaving the real criminals of the DC tax regime untouched in Saudi Arabia and North Korea.

BirchBoy, I'm not a Statist. And as for the "real criminals", theres no way you AntiWar types would do anything whatsoever about the nutsoids in SA or NKorea. Just wash your hands and pretend the map ends at the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

30 posted on 10/30/2003 12:58:30 PM PST by Nonstatist
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To: Nonstatist
y'all need to take this off-line, I was hoping to give this some exposure....
31 posted on 10/30/2003 1:03:40 PM PST by dakine
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To: Nonstatist
LOL, Statist.

Letters of marque and reprisal, anyone?

The criminals of 9/11 would be long since dead, rather than hiding in the mountains of our Pakistani 'ally.'

You are with the folks who actually thought Iraq was a bigger threat than North Korea...LOL indeed.
32 posted on 10/30/2003 1:03:48 PM PST by JohnGalt ("neo"-- prefix meaning the oppisite of the word that follows, ex. "neoconservative")
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To: dakine
I've been accused by several on this forum and last night in print on Salon, that I'm ripping off the donors.

I just wonder how many millions of dollars has Salon lost for its investors. Didn't Salon mislead those investors and mismanage their company. Salon is worth pennies on the dollar. Who knows, there are probably some people out of the streets pushing grocercy carts around because of Salon.

33 posted on 10/30/2003 1:05:23 PM PST by Always Right
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To: dakine
I also posted this a couple years later:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/580057/posts

Is Free Republic a Fraud? Is it time for Free Republic to go away?
Free Republic | 11/28/01 | Jim Robinson


Posted on 11/28/2001 7:31 PM PST by Jim Robinson


Free Republic has had one helluva run over the last five years or so. We helped impeach one president and helped get another into office. We've been active in demonstrations and protests in nearly every city across the nation. We've participated in conventions, petition drives, activism campaigns and projects for dozens of conservative causes.

We've grown from a tiny web site with a few hundred posters and readers from the time of inception in 1996, to one with tens of thousands of participants today. Along the way we've made lots of great friends and, unfortunately, also made lots of bitter enemies.

We've grown from a small web site that I could manage myself on a part-time basis to a huge monster that has totally consumed all of my time and resources plus nearly all of John's time, plus the time and resources of many dedicated FReepers who volunteer or contribute large amounts of their own time and money.

The site is now consuming all of a 10 mbps dedicated line with two servers and we're still growing, and it consumes large amounts of money to keep all this running. In the early years, it only took a few thousand dollars per month to keep Free Republic on the air, but it is now costing over $20,000 per month to cover all expenses.

The major costs include approximately $8,000 per month for bandwidth, 3,000 for systems management and programming services, 7,000 for management, operating and administrative services, plus two or three thousand per month for miscellaneous office expenses, telephone, communications, repairs & maintenance, travel & lodging, postage, rentals, insurance, legal fees, accounting fees, etc., etc.

We anticipate a reduction in bandwidth costs next year as we renegotiate our contract (the market price for bandwidth has fallen recently), however, that will be more than offset by an expected increase in costs of our legal expenses. As most of you know, our pro bono attorney has left us and we've hired a new attorney to continue with our case, plus we have the suit against eschoir to pay for. My projections are that our regular monthly expenses for next year will be running in the neighborhood of $22,000 per month, or approximately $264,000 total for the year. This means we will need to raise approximately $66,000 per quarter.

Talking about making enemies, we've got several ex-FReepers and other detractors who are claiming on their anti-freeper web sites that I am ripping off the donors and that Free Republic is a fraud. Now, Free Republic is what it is, and it is definitely not a fraud. It is a conservative news discussion forum that encourages participation in politics and activism projects. It is not being billed as anything else. We are not selling or promising anything. And I am being up front about our operating costs. The costs of running Free Republic are what I've stated above and they are necessary to keep FR on the air. I do not have the financial wherewithal to operate this site without your help. If the majority of the FReepers feel that these costs are out of line or too much to bear or that Free Republic is no longer wanted or needed, then we will either cut it back or shut it down or do something altogether different.

I've also been criticized about not making our financials public. Well, the reason I do not want to do this is that I have been sued, both personally and as Free Republic, LLC. The people suing us want to bankrupt us and shut us down. They subpoenaed our financial records, but we refused to turn them over. The judge agreed that the plaintiffs have no right to the information, thus I have no intention of making any more of it public than I absolutely have to, until this lawsuit is resolved. You all know the amounts of money we raise if you follow the fundraising threads. It is all above board and out in the open. The totals posted by BadJoe are usually pretty close to the actual cash received and the amounts expended are pretty close to the amounts projected. No one is getting rich here and no one is being ripped off. The funds raised are being used for the purposes stated, and that is keeping this website on the air and that's it. Nothing fraudulent about it. Those who want to help fund us freely do so with nothing expected in return. Those who do not want to contribute do not have to.

There was a thread running this morning where people were making all kinds of accusations about Free Republic "hiding the truth" or whatever. These accusations are being made by Chuck Allan and others and fall along the same line with the accusations being made by some of the earlier banees or AFers including Mojo, Inspector Harry Callahan, Arator, keep U.S. Sovereign, TKEman and others. Some of these people are existing FReepers and some are banned. I am going to reinstate Mojo, Inspector Harry Callahan and Arator's accounts so they can join Chuck Allan, TKEman, K.U.S.S. and whomever else wants to get involved, and I invite them to come onto this thread and make their accusations public. As long as they do not go onto other threads and make a nuisance of themselves, I will let them have their say.

Like I said above, if it is time for Free Republic to go away so be it. Those who want to keep it going speak up. Those who want it to go away, tell us why. But if those who want it to be gone lose out in the debate, then I'd say they should just go away themselves, or, in the very least, shut up and quit whining about it.

Thanks,

Jim


34 posted on 10/30/2003 1:05:34 PM PST by Jim Robinson (Conservative by nature... Republican by spirit... Patriot by heart... AND... ANTI-Liberal by GOD!)
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To: dakine; Nonstatist
We need this post once per year minimum.

It would also be nice to add onto the history available.

Does FreeRepublic now completely support itself on freeper donations?

Is Jim Robinson doing ALL RIGHT? He deserves much more than that hack Drudge has made.

And...for "Nonstatist"...Yes, Clinton would have gone into Iraq and Afghanistan, but in such a way as to maximize human casualties and concentrate terrorist attentions on the US, rather than Iraq.
35 posted on 10/30/2003 1:06:14 PM PST by Maelstrom (To prevent misinterpretation or abuse of the Constitution:The Bill of Rights limits government power)
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To: Jim Robinson
Sir, I wasn't trying to cause any problems, I just remember that I received thanks from many of the new members when I re-posted this last year...
36 posted on 10/30/2003 1:09:06 PM PST by dakine
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To: Jim Robinson
Sir.

If I were rich, I'd fund this site myself.

I've sent money in the past, if I can find a way to better make ends meet, I'll send money in the future.
37 posted on 10/30/2003 1:09:11 PM PST by Maelstrom (To prevent misinterpretation or abuse of the Constitution:The Bill of Rights limits government power)
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To: Billthedrill
Might be time for a reposting of the FR lexicon and the HTML primer as well.

I agree... or post links to The History, Lexicon, and HTML Bootcamp on the FR front page, under a heading "For Newbies".

38 posted on 10/30/2003 1:10:29 PM PST by So Cal Rocket
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To: JohnGalt
The criminals of 9/11 would be long since dead, rather than hiding in the mountains of our Pakistani 'ally.'

LOL!! Whatever you say, BirchBoy. (Ye of such muscular foreign policy determination).

39 posted on 10/30/2003 1:12:43 PM PST by Nonstatist
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To: dakine; Jim Robinson
That's not the history of Free Republic. THIS is the History of Free Republic:




I remember the Good Old Days of Free Republic. It was the 1970's. You should have been on Free Republic back in the 1970's. It was all different back then. "Clinton's a liar" was named "Kennedy's a perv". Michael Rivero was posting a series debunking the moon landing hoax, and showing how Apollo 13 was likely crippled by a Soviet missile, not some 'center fuel tank' explosion. Fred25 and _Jim were urging the intiation of a brand-new great idea, the War on Drugs. "Senator Pardek" was only "Senator Pardeks Assistant"

People were criticizing President Jack ("Billy Blythe")Kennedy for shagging interns on the Presidential Seal and lying about it to his wife.

The new party called the Libertarians had been formed. The Libertarian Party 'brigadiers' were popping up all over the forum, and they were convinced their spoiler candidates would someday rule. Of course, they were wrong.

Jim Robinson had just put together the first conservative Mainframe computer. People would log in and post messages with punch cards and paper tape. For a while people were talking about whether a Fidel Castro should be removed from Cuba to be reunited with his father. Many people were lining up on either side of the issue. The big controversy on FR back then was whether marijuana should be outlawed. If pot was outlawed, by golly, only outlaws would have reefer!





I was around in 1946, and Free Republic was much better then. Jim Robinson had just purchased his shortwave radio he called "Free Republic".

At that time, we were all debating the Berlin Airdrop and the Marshall Plan. Everybody was upset about the recently deceased Franklin (Billy Blythe) Roosevelt, and thought the Marshall Plan was 'just another welfare handout to those useless furriners'. There was a third party, the Alf Landon Sunflower Chain Club party, or "Brigadiers" as we liked to call them, that mocked the mainstream candidates.

A+Bert, who at the time was only B-Bert, was very upset about the founding of Israel, and called anyone who supported it an Israeli Scum, son of a dog. At the time, we were helping out a nice young fellow named Fidel Castro get reunited with his father in Cuba. The newspapers made quite a fuss over it. We all grew bored.

The year before, a U.S. Army bomber B-25 crashed into Empire State Building. 13 died. Michael Rivero never bought the conclusion that the reason the aircraft crashed into the building was that the center fuel tank was empty. We all laughed at him and called him a conspiracy kook. But he was hot on the tail of another conspiracy; he said it was the Japanese that bombed Pearl Harbor! The Federal government was telling us at the time that Pearl Harbor's center fuel tank had spontaneously exploded. Meanwhile, Fred25 was advocating that we turn our mighty war machine from fighting Nazism to fighting marijuana smokers.





I remember Free Republic back in the late 1930's. It was much better then. Jim Robinson had just purchased his radio, and we would all key messages to one another in morse code. At that time, we were all debating the Second World War: Was it necessary to enter the war? Was Hitler a friend of Jews or not? Could we count on our friends, the Japanese, to help us?

Michael Rivero was asserting that the Hindenburg was brought down by terrorists, not by some 'center fuel tank' explosion. We all laughed and called him a conspiracy kook. Fred25 was arguing that we should go back to Prohibition, because we were right on the verge of winning.

At that time, we were all debating whether or not we should send a young man named Batista back to Cuba. People were lining up on both sides of the argument.





I tell ya, you should have been on Free Republic back in 1918. It was different back then. Sinkspur was only "Sink," not having yet earned his spurs. Michael Rivero was concerned mainly about the hypothetical explosion of the Titanic's center fuel tank, which was what sent it to the bottom, not some dang friggin' "ice-berg." Ancient_Geezer was simply Geezer. People were criticizing President Woodrow "Billy Blythe" Wilson, and hoping like hell that he didn't run for a third term (no 22nd Amendment yet). The "Bull Moose" Party 'brigadiers' occasionally surfaced, and dished out, well, a lot of Bull. For a while people were talking about whether a youngster with the last name of "Castro" ought to be returned to Cuba - people were lining up on both sides of the issue. And some were hoping that Prescott "P-Scott" Bush would run for President.

Jim Robinson had just invented the Free Republic system, which was a telephone switching system where people could call one another and chat about news of the day. The big controversy on FR back then, I tell ya, was whether booze should be outlawed. If booze was outlawed, by golly, only outlaws would have booze! And FR back then had a lot of these danged 'pro-prohibitionists' infiltrating.

We were all debating this new passing fad called Communism, which Russia had recently tried. We knew it would never last even 2 years. The Great War had ended, and we all knew that this war would make all future warfare obsolete. Michael Rivero told us that this would not be happening, and war would be in our future. We all laughed and called him a conspiracy kook.




See, people think Free Republic is cool now, but it was REALLY neat in the late 1700's! Free Republic was much better then, I thought. Jim Robinson had just purchased his moveable-type printing press, and we would all stand around awaiting our turn to print our message out. Then we would physically walk it over to a big bulletin board and pin in up. In order to keep track of which message went to which response, a piece of thread was used. That is how the term THREAD was born. Once in a while someone would get so mad at a persons message, they would set it afire. That is how the term FLAME was born. People who did not want to post messages would lurk in the shadows of the room, hoping to remain unnoticed. That is how the term LURKER was born.

At that time, we were all debating the first continental congress and whether we should be a Monarchy or a Republic. The Second Amendment was a very hotly debated topic. We wanted future generations to know we were protecting the right of INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS to keep and bear the arms of their choosing, so in order that there be no confusion as to our intention, we appended the phrase "A well-regulated militia being necessary to a free society,". We believed this phrase would completely strip any ambiguity out of the Second Amendment once and for all.

George "Dubya" Washington was destined to be our first president, but we were still all very upset about King (Billy Blythe) George III. It appears he was embroiled deep in corruption and sexual deviancy.

At the time, we were sending the very first Cuban citizen back to Cuba and the newspapers made quite a fuss over it. We all grew bored.

When the New Amsterdam armory had the explosive accident, lots of conspiracy theories were were circulated. The most reasonable explanation was that the Center Gunpowder Keg simply spontaneously exploded. Although there were 180+ witnesses that saw a flaming arrow arc into the barrel, authorities quickly discounted this improbable theory.





Free Republic WAS good in the 1700's, but I feel it really hit it's stride in the late 1400's. There was eager anticipation of the printing press in the early 1400's and great joy when Jim Robinson invented it, as that substantially increased the "baud" rate, known back then as the "bod" rate, which was the rate at which the FR monks could scribe FR messages. Jim set up his Free Republic printing room: When people would come over to the printing press room, they would need to toss a log into the fire to contribute to keeping the printing room warm. When someone did that, they were given a name and a password. Then someone would shout "Log In!". This is where the term LOGIN came from.

Many FReepers back then were greaty upset with the rule of King Richard "Billy Blythe" the Third, and were hoping that Henry "Dubya" Tudor would become King.

There was a lot of discussion about sending this guy named "Columbus" over to Cuba, but not many people knew where Cuba was back then anyway. I guess the education system had dumbed everybody down.

There were, of course, the ever-present debates over the old Magna Carta. Libral trash would occasionally get a monk to scribe some drivel about the Magna Carta being a "living document." The dispute over creation versus evolution was kind of boring, since there weren't any evolutionists. And there were debates about the damn War of the Roses, also known as the War Between Lancaster and York. Or the War of Lancaster Aggression. Yep, them was the days....

Of course, we sure had our share of disruptors! Only a few tens of years later, in the 1500's this dude with the screen name of Martin Luther was banned from FR after posting up to 95 "Theses" on the site all at once. JimRob pulled his posting privileges. But, he damn near crashed the system permanently. It got so bad that finally a couple of centuries later a FReeper named Swift had to invent the word "yahoo" so that eventually FR would have a backup site!





Ah yes. The good old days of Free Republicus in the year 0. Jimus Robinsonus had just developed this new thing called Pappyrus. He said with it, we could have a great time discussing the issues of the day. Those who Carved Stone Tablets sued him, if I am not mistaken. They sued him because of copying errors when he copied the issues onto the paper. They wanted him to copy the issues right, and they thought it was a violation that he made mistakes. That is where the term COPYRIGHT VIOLATION came into being.

Of course, there was a big problem with the Y-Zero-K problem. Jethrus_Tullus was the first to warn us of this problem. The Roman Numeral System was not Y-Zero-K compliant! All the Numerology experts were called out to come up with solutions to this problem. Nobody even knew why it was the year 0, but everyone panicked, stored up food and lamp oil, and the Roman Army was mobilized -- just in case.

I remember the time with great nostalgia. We were trying to overthrow Marcus (Billy Blythe) Antony because he was caught fooling around with that portly pepperpot Cleopatra. While the vote made it all the way to the Senate, the fellow Orinus Hatchus said that if he got his Republicus friends to vote for throwing peaches at him (IMPEACHMENT), his butcher would not give him his weekly free capon. He would be out a chicken. That is where the term CHICKEN OUT came from.

Remember Alburtus Gorus? Remember his stone carving, Earth Balanced on Atlases Shoulders? Remember how he said in this carving, that the biggest threat to mankind was the Chariot? What an idiotus maximus. A+Bert, who at that time, was F-Bert, heard that Moses was leading Jews in the desert, and since they were close to what would become Israel, he became very agitated, yelling "No Jews in Israel!". Also, Senator Pardek was first a Senator in this time, at the Roman Senate.

I also remember how Janetus Renus surrounded that Library Compound at Alexandria, where all those dangerous books were stored. I think she ended up burning 83+ people to death inside, just to get some tax money owed on the books. She was drunk most of the time and fell into the aquaduct tank. That is where the term TANKED came from. I guess they invented a weapon, later, with a similar name. Michaelus Riverus was the first to warn us all that it was not the central oil tank that exploded spontaneously, but that Renus might be culpable.

Then there was the big debate we had about Sword Control. Lots of left-wingers felt that only the Roman Army should have swords; we felt differently. The leftys were always complaining about Saturdus Nightus Speciali easily-concealable daggers, and also were all upset about the long-length Assault Swords, highpower weapins accurate to at least 4 feet!

Finally, the BIG DEBATE OF THE DAY! The conspiracy that killed Jesus! Janutus Renus worked closely with Pontius Pilate to sentence Jesus to death, and STILL no one called for anyone to throw peaches at her! Michael Rivero pursued this conspiracy doggedly, claiming the whole thing was really due to an explosion in a center fuel tank. It was a sad time, but one of great rejoicing among Christians every Easter.





The very first FReepers were the people who posted their "messages" as cave drawings. And, the big debate back then WAS creation versus evolution. The Cro-Magnons said that they were the ones who were created to be mankind. The Neanderthals disputed that, and said, "are we not men?" The debate raged on FR for thousands of years, mainly with links to old FR threads in long-abandoned caves. Incredibly, back then the system had NO TEXT, only graphics! From time to time that necessitated finding a new "hard wall" in another cave to store the messages for the discussion to proceed.

*sigh* And I remember it so well, like it was yesterday. THOSE were the good old days. The graphics were spectacular. I remember how we tried to overthrow Og (Billy Blythe) Rugtuk, when we found he had sex with a woman who wore a dress. No one really understood what a dress was, so we hurled rotten peaches at him. That is how the term IMPEACH came about. We hoped that the fellow named Ug (Dubya) Bugluh would take over in our tribe.

Remember the big debate we had about fire? Remember the big vote we had? If you wanted fire banned -- except in the hands of the government -- you would throw the left-side wing of a chicken into the pot. If you wanted fire to be available to the rest of us, you would throw the right-side wing of a chicken into that pot. That is were the terms RIGHT-WING and LEFT-WING came into being.

I remember the big conspiracy theories that would develop about the extinction of the dinosaur. Michael Rivero insisted it was a plot by people who were sick of repairing buildings destroyed by these dinosaurs. He called them Masons, and spoke endlessly of the Masonic Conspiracy.

Also, lots of kooks were talking about Global Cooling all the time. They said we should really start burning more wood to release more carbon into the air. What nuts.

Jim Robinson had just invented this new thing called Paint. He said, with it, we could write messages on these walls and have a great time debating matters of the day. 50,000 years later, I guess I agree!


An example of the first Free Republic messages.

40 posted on 10/30/2003 1:21:11 PM PST by Lazamataz (PROUDLY POSTING WITHOUT READING THE ARTICLE SINCE 1999 !!!!)
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To: Jim Robinson
I also owe you some interesting work I've worked on for this fundraiser. I never completed it in time. It's just too much to do in a few evenings. We'll be ready for the next fundraiser tho.
41 posted on 10/30/2003 1:22:26 PM PST by Lazamataz (PROUDLY POSTING WITHOUT READING THE ARTICLE SINCE 1999 !!!!)
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To: Nonstatist
The funny thing is that you are a statist relative to me so the moniker I hang on you, Statist, is 'ironic'.

I, however, am not a Bircher.

LOL, indeed, witless.
42 posted on 10/30/2003 1:25:50 PM PST by JohnGalt ("neo"-- prefix meaning the oppisite of the word that follows, ex. "neoconservative")
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To: Lazamataz
hahahaha....I have ONLY been around since early '98!!
43 posted on 10/30/2003 1:26:58 PM PST by dakine
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Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: dakine
No, you are not wrong. Thank you for posting this. I'm sure there are others like me who had no idea of how Free Republic was started and what it takes to keep it going. May God Bless Jim, his family, and all the people who bring us Free Republic.
45 posted on 10/30/2003 1:31:31 PM PST by SamiGirl
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To: dakine; All
That's ok, I was just bringing the record up to date. I should've added an "all" to the to list.

And in between the two posts above, I also posted this:

http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a39e34e5f619f.htm

Server downtime due to increasing load - should we have a fundraiser to upgrade?

Activism/Chapters Breaking News Announcement
Source: Free Republic
Author: Jim Robinson
Posted on 10/10/2000 10:14:07 PDT by Jim Robinson
Very sorry about the erratic behavior of our server lately. The daily traffic has been increasing slowly, but steadily for the last few weeks and I expect that it will continue to grow until after the elections. Looks like we're going to need some new hardware and also a redesign of our database. The current design is CPU and memory intensive under heavy load. This is going to require time and money. We wanted to hold off on any fundraisers until after the judge rules on the lawsuit, but I do not know if we can make it. The ruling continues to be delayed for first one reason and then another and I do not expect it to be good for us anyway. We expect that we will be enjoined from posting full text and also there will either be attorney fees or damages awarded. We will immediately ask for a stay of execution while we appeal, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

In the meantime we are struggling. I hate to ask, but we've done just about everything we can to keep the server running with the current configuration. I guess the choice will be up to you, the Free Republic participants. Should we raise the money at this time for upgrades, even though we know that the traffic may be reduced as a result of the imminent order and /or it that it will probably fall off significantly after the elections? Or do we continue to wait?

This upgrade will be fairly significant. We already have two servers, each with dual processors. The solution will be to add another dual processor server, beef up the existing servers with more memory and more disk, and upgrade the software. The additional server will be used to process database searches only, to take the load off the database posting and web traffic servers. There will also be fairly significant changes required in the software, the operating systems, and the network to implement the new configuration. John will have his work cut out for him to get all of this accomplished within a short period.

I really did not want to do this at this time and have been delaying the inevitable, but now looks to me like we either have to do it or get used to struggling every day with a server that is constantly subject to overload conditions. Being as how we skipped our September quarterly fundraiser, we are also desperate for operating funds, and we have some additional legal exenses coming.

My savings are now totally tapped out, so all funds used in the operation from this point forward will have to come from donations. So what do you say folks? Should we continue to scrape by or should we attempt the upgrade?





1 Posted on 10/10/2000 10:14:07 PDT by Jim Robinson
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46 posted on 10/30/2003 1:31:44 PM PST by Jim Robinson (Conservative by nature... Republican by spirit... Patriot by heart... AND... ANTI-Liberal by GOD!)
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To: Lazamataz
"Lazamataz - member since 13,462 B.C."

Newbie.

47 posted on 10/30/2003 1:36:00 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Jim Robinson
Scuse me puttin' my nose in here, and I'll add right off, I have not contributed financially because I cannot. Because of this, I do not use the place as much as I could, but I still lurk often.

Jim, the only thing wrong with these whiners is they feel hurt because they don't get their way. You know me, and know I know what I'm talking about...I hope you do anyway.

Bottom line, money is tight, and because there is a conservative in the big chair, folks are more or less content compared to the clinton years. Things get tough, do what everyone else in business does. Scale back if you can. But don't "Go away" because of some morons.

People are always going to bitch. It's in our nature unfortunately. Just step above it and carry on my man.

I wish no matter how high on the IQ spectrum one is, or thinks they are, another can't become too tactless in telling them to go p*ss off. Sometimes, it would be all it would take.

48 posted on 10/30/2003 1:36:51 PM PST by sit-rep
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To: Jim Robinson
Can you tell us the status of FR's current legal situation?

Also...how are we doing bandwidth/server-wise?

I know that as Free Republic gets mentioned more in the public eye, more people will sign up.

How are we doing?
How are you doing?
49 posted on 10/30/2003 1:37:26 PM PST by Maelstrom (To prevent misinterpretation or abuse of the Constitution:The Bill of Rights limits government power)
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To: Billthedrill
Heh heh heh heh.... :o)
50 posted on 10/30/2003 1:37:36 PM PST by Lazamataz (PROUDLY POSTING WITHOUT READING THE ARTICLE SINCE 1999 !!!!)
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