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Built with bondage (Mega reparations barf alert)
The Raleigh News and Observer ^ | June 26, 2005 | JIM NESBITT

Posted on 06/26/2005 8:25:20 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost

The high-profile disclosure of Wachovia's historic ties to slavery and the public apology recently offered by its chairman provide a graphic example of the ongoing campaign to force America to confront its racial misdeeds.

Driven by the growing number of states and cities that require companies doing business with them to disclose whether they or their predecessors profited directly or indirectly from slavery, Wachovia's admission that banks it acquired in Georgia and South Carolina either owned slaves or accepted them for collateral raises a crucial question:

Do modern-day American businesses have a duty-bound debt to the descendants of black slaves who helped build this nation?

This question rings with heavy resonance in North Carolina and the rest of the old Confederacy: On the eve of the Civil War, most of the nation's 3.95 million slaves lived in the South, U.S. Census figures show.

From Colonial times until the end of the Civil War, the profits of Southern cotton plantations, railroads, brickyards and pottery-makers were fattened with slave muscle. Also profiting were Southern banks, including two Wachovia predecessors: the Georgia Railroad and Banking Co., formed in 1833 to build a rail line between Augusta and Atlanta that relied on slave labor, and the Bank of Charleston, where slaves were used as loan collateral. At least three Charleston board members, including the bank's first president, were slave owners.

Some see the question of corporate accountability for historic ties to slavery as a crucial segment of a larger quest reparations for the descendants of slaves and a resumed national dialogue about slavery, segregation and the legacy of social problems rooted therein.

"There's a tradition in the United States of ignoring the past and not feeling accountable for anything done in the past if it wasn't done by you as an individual," said Bill Fletcher Jr., president of Trans-Africa Forum, a Washington-based nonprofit that researches the effect of U.S. policy on Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. "What reparations say is that the conditions we're living under today are the consequences of decisions and actions taken many years ago, the consequences of which have not been addressed."

Others see corporate mea culpas -- by Wachovia and others -- in the harsher light of craven self-interest. They say corporations are looking to hook fat government contracts and enhance their images while politicians and interest groups are using the stain of slavery as a shakedown tool.

"It's nothing more than a sham and a charade," said Mychal Massie, a columnist and Internet radio talk-show host associated with the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank. "It's as morally opprobrious as slavery. The difference is, slavery was legal."

Such thunderous contempt obscures the more measured criticism of others who worry that the push for reparations and corporate responsibility will spawn a backlash against blacks. They also fear a potential grab for money that could short-circuit the more expensive and politically difficult need to address the full range of problems plaguing black Americans today. Those problems include illiteracy and illegitimacy, higher health and crime risks, as well as lower test scores and economic opportunities.

"All of those problems are devastating problems, but they're not civil rights problems," said Walter Williams, a conservative columnist and former chairman of the economics department at George Mason University. "I don't believe corporations are responsible for any current-day problems. They can make charitable donations to any cause they choose and do so, but I don't see them responsible for solving a great deal of the problems facing the black community."

Even academics who believe the twin oppressions of slavery and segregation are at the root of many of the problems facing blacks today worry about the repercussions of the push for reparations and accountability.

"There's a political problem here," said Glenn Loury, a Boston University economics professor who ran its now-defunct Institute of Race and Social Division. "This is like a shortcut to getting the country to do the right thing. The really correct thing for the United States to do is devote resources to eradicate the impact of the long shadow of slavery and Jim Crow. Unless we do something about those problems, the other actions don't mean very much."

When it comes to reparations and corporate accountability, he says, there's a key problem: All of Colonial and antebellum America -- not just the Southern cotton planter or railroad baron -- was economically entangled in slavery. That makes the cost of compensation for slavery enormous. Economists peg it at between $1.4 trillion and $10 trillion.

"Once you start asking the question of who's got dirty hands in the slave trade, where does the question end?" Loury said. "The whole economy in the mid-19th century was deeply enmeshed in the commerce in human chattel. This is a sixth-degree of separation sort of thing. How many steps will it take to connect the average resident of Boston to the slave trade? I'd argue it doesn't take much."

That point is illustrated in the exhaustive study that Wachovia commissioned to trace its corporate roots. The research was required under a Chicago ordinance because Wachovia was seeking to provide financing for a public housing project that will garner the nation's fourth-largest bank an estimated $20 million in federal tax credits. Although Wachovia's most overt examples of slave ties are the Georgia and South Carolina banks it now owns, the study also showed that nine of its other predecessors also profited from the slave trade. Those include the Farmers & Mechanics Bank of Philadelphia, the Bank of Baltimore and the Philadelphia Bank, which later became the Philadelphia National Bank.

The study, by The History Factory of Chantilly, Va., showed that these banks profited in a variety of ways, including having founders, directors or customers who owned slaves; doing business with slave owners; and by investing in bonds issued by slave states, cities and the U.S. government, which permitted slavery and profited from it via taxes.

Seven researchers spent roughly 1,800 hours poring through old accounting ledgers and other records, said Wachovia's Scott Silvestri, who would not disclose the study's cost.

"We've got a diverse work force, and we're in 15 states, so we decided to take this very seriously," he said. "We don't just want to do a cursory review and just come up with one or two findings. ... It's something more and more cities are requiring. So, in that sense, other companies will have to do the same thing."

The Chicago ordinance that requires a review of corporate history to unearth ties to slavery does not mandate compensation for such ties. Nor does a similar bill introduced into North Carolina's General Assembly this year. That bill is bottled up in committee.

But the lack of a mandate doesn't mean there isn't an explicit expectation of some sort of quid pro quo. Wachovia has been talking about partnering with community groups that preserve and teach black history, Silvestri said.

In Louisiana, J.P. Morgan Chase, the nation's second-largest bank, has pledged to set up a $5 million scholarship fund to make amends for a predecessor in that state that received thousands of slaves as collateral before the Civil War. J.P. Morgan also disclosed its ties to slavery in a filing with the city of Chicago and publicly apologized.

When Aetna Insurance's historic ties to slavery were disclosed in 2002, the company quickly said it had invested $36 million in the black community in the past 20 years, targeting minority-owned business initiatives, community partnerships, economic development and other areas.

Columnist Williams condemns the actions of Wachovia and J.P. Morgan as corporate cowardice.

"A lot of CEOs want to maintain peace and do business with a city, and they're cowards," he said. "If I were a CEO, I'd say, 'OK, we'll just not do business.' It's a hustle. ... There's no victims of slavery alive today, and there are no perpetrators of slavery alive today. It's a way of getting money."

William Ferris, associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC-Chapel Hill, sees a connection between the debate about reparations and corporate accountability and the manslaughter conviction last week in Mississippi of a former Ku Klux Klan leader for masterminding the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers. All, he said, are attempts to come to grips with the historic wrongs of slavery and segregation.

"Race is the Achilles' heel of both our region and our nation," Ferris said. "We've got to come to terms with race and our history if we're going to move forward."

The national need to address this historic injustice makes it worth the risk of having corporate accountability and reparations get bogged down in symbolic gestures and the hustle for money, said Ferrel Guillory, director of the Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life at UNC-Chapel Hill.

"Symbolism is important, and we should never say it isn't," Guillory said. "Even public relations is important. In apologizing for ties to slavery, it doesn't bother me that a bank is doing this because they want more black customers. People always act from some combination of self interest and some broader sense of societal purpose."

TransAfrica's Fletcher agrees.

"It's better to have the imperfect dialogue than none at all," he said. "It's important to have open disclosure because it's very important to understand that we're standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, and sometimes they did very naughty things."

Staff writer Jim Nesbitt can be reached at 829-8955 or at jnesbitt@newsobserver.com. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.

© Copyright 2005, The News & Observer Publishing Company, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Company


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: poorpitifulme; stupidreparations; victimology
This is the main article. There are several supporting op/ed pieces that go with it.
1 posted on 06/26/2005 8:25:21 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost
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To: Constitution Day; Alia

An NC ping, if you please.


2 posted on 06/26/2005 8:26:16 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: Lee'sGhost

Those that have investments in Wachovia now have to consider if those assets are at risk because of Wachovia's admission.


3 posted on 06/26/2005 8:28:00 AM PDT by Semper Paratus
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To: Lee'sGhost

bump to read later


4 posted on 06/26/2005 8:29:53 AM PDT by meema
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To: Lee'sGhost

The debt has been repaid. The blacks were freed at the cost of blood and lives of 100,000s of men, mostly all white.

The debt has been repaid thru education grants, minority grants, welfare and other plantation programs.

The debt is not owed because I am not a descendant of anyone in America at the time and I own noone. No illegal or legal immigrant post 1860 were slave owners. And, let us not forget, there is Liberia, the new black African paradise.


5 posted on 06/26/2005 8:30:52 AM PDT by Prost1 (New AG, Berger is still free, copped a plea!)
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To: Lee'sGhost

I'd say something smart a* like, I can't reply because I am busy figuring out how to repay for sins I didn't commit - but instead I'll comment that there are some who would be not be satisfied until we have a Mugabe here who would seize every white-owned property and turn it over.

Come to think of it, the Kelo v New London SCOTUS ruling may provide ammo to some industrious leftist infatuated with Mugabe who can convince your city or county fathers that a greater public good is served by you turning over your 40 acres to another group.


6 posted on 06/26/2005 8:32:42 AM PDT by bwteim (Begin With The End In Mind)
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To: Semper Paratus
No, no, no. According to the bill's sponsor, Rep. John Conyers, there would be no negative impact at all.

THE N&O: Are you at all afraid the requirement might drive away prospective vendors?

JONES: No, especially because the legislation has no penalties. Many of these corporations already have foundations and charitable giving. Worst-case scenario, if they have any conscience at all, they can say, "Let's focus half of this giving on this segment of the population that has made us a multibillion-dollar corporation."

-----

See. No problem. No consequences.
7 posted on 06/26/2005 8:34:08 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: Lee'sGhost
Compare the "plight" of the slaves' descendants with the joy experienced by the descendants of the folks who escaped the slavers and stayed in Africa. Then tell me again what the people, who are simply the same color as the slavers, owe.
8 posted on 06/26/2005 8:37:02 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Free Sirhan Sirhan, after all, the bastard who killed Mary Jo Kopeckne is walking around free)
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: Lee'sGhost
Do modern-day American businesses have a duty-bound debt to the descendants of black slaves who helped build this nation?

This question raises a crucial answer: No.

10 posted on 06/26/2005 8:40:26 AM PDT by IronJack
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To: Lee'sGhost

Let's see, in order for them to get shipped here they first had to be captured by their own people, If they want free land so bad let them go back to Africa and reclaim land there. Oh wait, they can't, they would be shot, again by their own people.


11 posted on 06/26/2005 8:41:51 AM PDT by TGOGary (I would blow my brains out before ever wearing a blue beret!)
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To: IronJack
I'm still waiting for the euphemistically named African Americans to THANK the white America that freed them from slavery, died doing it, gave them equal rights, gave them and continue to give them welfare, etc., etc., etc. . .
12 posted on 06/26/2005 8:45:45 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: Lee'sGhost
Can they collect reparations from the corrupt Nigerian politicians who've stolen $220 BILLION dollars in western aid? Seems they'd have plenty of money to share, and since African leaders were complicit in the capture and sale of their kinsman to slave traders, well...
13 posted on 06/26/2005 8:47:04 AM PDT by Jokelahoma (Animal testing is a bad idea. They get all nervous and give wrong answers.)
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To: Lee'sGhost
..disclose whether they or their predecessors profited directly or indirectly from slavery.."

Which group representing slave descendants do I petition for reparations for the death of my great-great grandfather who was a Union Army conscript that died in a Confederate prison camp. My family never owned slaves. They were just a bunch of immigrant miners and dirt farmers.

Robert Johnson (BET) is a billionaire. He's probably feeling a little ashamed of all the money he's stolen from European-Americans. He must owe my family something. Or Oprah. She be rich. How about Magic Johnson? Will Smith. Chris Rock. Snoop. Fitty Cent. Aight then. Don't be axing me bout no mo damn reparations.

14 posted on 06/26/2005 8:52:07 AM PDT by WideGlide (That light at the end of the tunnel might be a muzzle flash.)
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To: Semper Paratus
Those that have investments in Wachovia now have to consider if those assets are at risk because of Wachovia's admission.

Correct. And if I were a stockholder, I would raise holy hell at the next shareholders meeting. The board that rolled over for these shakedown hucksters would be out on its butt. And I would pull every dime I had out of that company and its banks.

This kind of cowardice should be punished surely and swiftly.

15 posted on 06/26/2005 9:03:52 AM PDT by IronJack
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To: bwteim

". . .the Kelo v New London SCOTUS ruling may provide ammo to some industrious leftist infatuated with Mugabe who can convince your city or county fathers that a greater public good is served by you turning over your 40 acres to another group."

They can have my mule when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.


16 posted on 06/26/2005 9:09:01 AM PDT by righttackle44 (The most dangerous weapon in the world is a Marine with his rifle and the American people behind him)
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To: Lee'sGhost

Some form of reparations from slave owners may have been a good idea c. 1865, but broaching it today is complete silliness.

One could make a very good case that the death of around 1,000,000 white Americans and the tremendous destruction of Southern properties during the Civil War was a reparation paid in blood.

I'd love to hear Jessie Jackson answer to why a white American with roots to a 1910 immigrant, should pay reparations to a "black" American with predominantly Carribean immigrant roots, for something that happened here before 1865.


17 posted on 06/26/2005 9:18:40 AM PDT by SampleMan
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To: bobbdobbs
The problem is that the hearts of those who benefited from slavery have to be changed before reparations can be considered. It cannot be forced by legal or legislative act, else hell break loose. It seems to me to be right for those who benefited from a now realized injustice, to be made whole by those who benefited. It would be very difficult to determine those groups. And there are lots of historic grievances to consider. But there is no reason to throw up ones hands in the air because it is difficult.

Today, we have computers. With them, we can reconstruct a history of those who benefited and enabled, and those who lost through a system of slavery, which is now known to have been immoral and inexcusable. With those reconstructions, let us assess those who benefited, and from their excess profits, lets compensate those who suffered from the economic effects of their slavery.

But we also need to address other forms of oppression, totally immoral and currently illegal - race discrimination, sexual discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, cultural discrimination, class discrimination, religious discrimination, facial feature discrimination, height discrimination, weight discrimination, age discrimination, sense of humor discrimination, aggressive-passive discrimination, good-fellowness discrimination, chance or accident of birth discrimination, luck discrimination, etc.

It is essential that every aspect of one's inherited profit or loss be computed on some giant electronic computer, and their current morally correct equivalent economic position be determined, then fair compensation to be adjudicated for award to the "losers" by the "winners" in the unfair competition saddled on them by the past.

Egad! It is about time!

18 posted on 06/26/2005 9:34:36 AM PDT by GregoryFul
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To: Lee'sGhost

Since the majority of black slaves to the Northern Hemisphere went to CUBA, then any and all discussions of "reparations" must begin with what CUBA is going to pay to Africa.


19 posted on 06/26/2005 9:53:04 AM PDT by LS (CNN is the Amtrak of news)
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To: Lee'sGhost

Given that the Democrat Party is 100% complicit both in slavery and Jim Crow laws, I wonder when Howard Dean will announce that the party will take all the money in its coffers and contribute it to the Rainbow Coalition.


20 posted on 06/26/2005 10:42:02 AM PDT by Maceman (The Qur'an is Qur'ap.)
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To: Lee'sGhost

But I thought bondage was just another alternative lifestyle....


21 posted on 06/26/2005 1:44:45 PM PDT by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: bobbdobbs

Do I dare say that you haven't considered my proposition in a serious manner?


23 posted on 06/26/2005 8:15:53 PM PDT by GregoryFul
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: Lee'sGhost

I think most African Americans would be more than willing to thank white America for ending slavery IF the aftermath of Jim Crow and lynchings hadn't taken place.That is what leaves such a bitter taste.
As for reparations,the David Chapelle skit said it all!Hell,96% of black income is spent with NON BLACKS so the jewelry stores,cruise lines,BMW dealerships,etc. would go to town on a reparations day!


25 posted on 06/26/2005 8:45:06 PM PDT by Riverman94610
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To: Lee'sGhost; TaxRelief; Alia; 100%FEDUP; 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; ~Vor~; A2J; a4drvr; Adder; ...

NC *Ping*

Please FRmail Constitution Day, TaxRelief OR Alia if you want to be added to or removed from this North Carolina ping list.
26 posted on 06/27/2005 5:07:52 AM PDT by Constitution Day (Member: Evil Smelly Anthracite-Hearted Budgie-Crushing Christer Kill-the-Ayrabs Yokel Confederacy.)
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To: GregoryFul

"facial feature discrimination"

Yes! I'll be rich!!!


27 posted on 06/27/2005 5:29:21 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: Riverman94610
". . . IF the aftermath of Jim Crow and lynchings hadn't taken place."


I see little difference in terms of oppression between slavery and Jim Crow or institutionalized racism of the north. If you look at US history in its entirety blacks come out way ahead on the positive side than the negative. That's where it would be nice and smart if blacks in this nation could step back for a change and say something like, "Yeah, there was a lot of bad that happened, but thank God we live in America where such a change could take place and thank you to those who are not black who helped in our struggle."
28 posted on 06/27/2005 5:37:02 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: Constitution Day

Thanks!

"Budgie?"


29 posted on 06/27/2005 5:37:41 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: Lee'sGhost
I knew that would raise some questions. :)
"Budgie" is what the Brits call a parakeet.

Anyway the phrase is from this Lileks blog:
James Lileks: YOUR STUPID GENES! STUPID! STUPID!

30 posted on 06/27/2005 5:44:36 AM PDT by Constitution Day (Member: Evil Smelly Anthracite-Hearted Budgie-Crushing Christer Kill-the-Ayrabs Yokel Confederacy.)
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To: Lee'sGhost

Just say "Hell no!!!" to reparations. Any explanation beyond that is either too deep for those demanding reparation to understand, or something they will ignore with all their might.


31 posted on 06/27/2005 8:40:32 AM PDT by F.J. Mitchell (Actually, the Koran is the perfect book for swearing in congenital liars- it "is" their bible.)
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To: F.J. Mitchell

"Actually, the Koran is the perfect book for swearing in congenital liars- it "is" their bible."

Good one.


32 posted on 06/27/2005 8:48:24 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: Lee'sGhost

Thanks.


33 posted on 06/27/2005 8:59:13 AM PDT by F.J. Mitchell (Actually, the Koran is the perfect book for swearing in congenital liars- it "is" their bible.)
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To: Lee'sGhost; hellinahandcart
"What reparations say is that the conditions we're living under today are the consequences of decisions and actions taken many years ago, the consequences of which have not been addressed."

Oh BEEE ESSSS!!!

34 posted on 06/27/2005 9:00:54 AM PDT by sauropod (Polite political action is about as useful as a miniskirt in a convent -- Claire Wolfe)
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To: Lee'sGhost
Driven by the growing number of states and cities that require companies doing business with them to disclose whether they or their predecessors profited directly or indirectly from slavery,

Shades of the anti-Apartheid movement in the 1980s. First, it was the Ivy League schools that demanded that none of its investments be in companies that did business with Apartheid states. This resulted in the absolute ruin of Rhodesia and South Africa, and would result in our ruin in the U.S. if we let history repeat.

35 posted on 06/27/2005 9:02:44 AM PDT by The_Media_never_lie
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To: The_Media_never_lie
Shades of the anti-Apartheid movement in the 1980s.

Bingo.

36 posted on 06/27/2005 5:24:48 PM PDT by Alia
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To: GregoryFul
LOL!!! You got the sound of others people's money on the brain, pal. And all of it carefully worded under a subjective interpretation of "oppression". It's all about money. And there is no end to swindle and whining. It's a con game. "Changing the hearts" eh? Suggesting what? That if folks don't see the world the way you do.. whatcha recommend? "Sensitivity programs", penalties and possibly lobotomies? This ain't no brave new world you are suggesting; but one which brings back racketeering, big time.

Suggesting a secular "one world religion" are you?

37 posted on 06/27/2005 5:30:56 PM PDT by Alia
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To: Alia

I guess you did not read through my posting - I was trying to be sardonic.


38 posted on 07/24/2005 6:47:37 AM PDT by GregoryFul
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To: GregoryFul

It took you a month to tell me this? Anyway, glad you did.


39 posted on 07/24/2005 10:54:37 AM PDT by Alia
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To: Alia
I find myself spending entirely too much time on FR when I login, so I do so infrequently.
40 posted on 07/24/2005 11:54:55 AM PDT by GregoryFul
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To: Lee'sGhost

What is most frightening about this whole reparations scam is the fact it is NOT uniformly met with peals of Homeric laughter!


41 posted on 07/24/2005 11:58:58 AM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: GregoryFul

I resemble your first comment. ;> I have myself on a timer...


42 posted on 07/24/2005 4:16:19 PM PDT by Alia
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