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Life is Good, So Why Do We Feel So Bad?
Wall Street Journal ^ | 13 June 2008 | GREGG EASTERBROOK

Posted on 06/13/2008 5:04:17 AM PDT by shrinkermd

...The case that things are basically pretty good? Unemployment is 5.5%, low by historical standards; income is rising slightly ahead of inflation; housing prices are down, but the typical house is still worth a third more than in 2000; 94% of Americans do not have threatened mortgages...most that do will keep homes.

...Inflation was up in 2007, but this stands out because the 16 previous years were close to inflation-free; living standards are the highest they have ever been, including living standards for the middle class and for the poor.

All forms of pollution other than greenhouse gases are in decline; cancer, heart disease and stroke incidence are declining; crime is in a long-term cycle of significant decline; education levels are at all-time highs.

Sure, gas prices are up, the dollar is weak and credit is tight – but these are complaints at the margin of a mainly healthy society.

Yet the mood of public discourse is four-alarm panic. A recent CBS News/New York Times poll showed "Americans' views on the economy and the general state of the country have hit an all-time low," with 81% saying the nation is on the "wrong track" – the worst-ever number for this barometer. Some 78% told pollsters the U.S. is worse off today than five years ago, the highest percentage to say this since the CBS News/New York Times survey began tracking the question in 1986. Watch any news channel, listen to any political debate, read any pundit. The consensus is we're headed to hell in a handbasket.

Increasing pessimism from the news media is surely a factor – and the media grow ever-better at giving negative impressions. Now we don't just hear about threats or natural disasters, we see immediate live footage, creating the impression that threats and disasters are everywhere.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: economy; optimism; pessimism

1 posted on 06/13/2008 5:04:17 AM PDT by shrinkermd
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To: shrinkermd

because its an election year and the newsmedia want people to feel bad.


2 posted on 06/13/2008 5:08:25 AM PDT by Perdogg
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To: shrinkermd

Serious fiat money inflation on the horizon. We’re not there — YET!

“Blood running in the streets. Mobs of rioters and demonstrators threatening banks and legislatures. Looting of shop and home. Strikes and unemployment. Trade and distribution paralyzed. Shortages of food. Bankruptcies everywhere. Court dockets overloaded. Kidnappings for heavy ransom. Sexual perversion, drunkenness, lawlessness rampant. The wheels of government are clogged, and we are descending into the vale of confusion and darkness. No day was ever more clouded than the present. We are fast verging on anarchy and confusion. (George Washington in a 1786 letter to James Madison, describing the effects of fiat paper money inflation then ravaging America in the pre Constitutional period.)

“The annihilation (of the paper money) was so complete that barber shops were papered in jest with the bills; and sailors, on returning from cruises, being paid off in bundles of this worthless money, had suits made of it, and with characteristic lightheartedness, turned their loss into frolic by parading through the streets in decayed finery which in its better days had passed for thousands of dollars.” (Contemporary writer, Breck, 1786)

“Paper money polluted the equity of our laws, turned them into engines of oppression, corrupted the justice of our public administration, destroyed the fortunes of thousands who had confidence in it, enervated the trade and husbandry, and the manufactures of our country, and went far to destroy the morality of out people.” (Peletiah Webster, 1786)

The equally serious prospect of Barack and Mickey Obamalamadingdong in the White House come next January.

$4.00 a gallon gasoline.


3 posted on 06/13/2008 5:09:47 AM PDT by Dick Bachert
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To: shrinkermd

24/7 attacks by the media have finally beat down the American public. I have a feeling that the American people with someday soon long for these days because they were so good in retrospect.

About three years ago or so I was at a conference in Atlanta with a friend a coworker. Our was in the hotel attached to CNN Center. She is a Dem by party ID, but open minded and loves to hear my thoughts on things. We were dining the food court at CNN, so naturally Headline News was on. I said, ‘watch’ while we sit here they do nothing but criticize Bush and the GOP. In that next 45 minutes, they did stories on Abu Garib (even though the event was only news about two years earlier, attack on the middle class, failed war, etc, etc, etc. The entire news cast was anti-Bush. This was at a time where the economy was doing quite well and opinions on the war were still in our favor, but you would never know it from the news.

Long story not so short, the American people were eventually worn down by the non-stop attacks. It is no wonder that public opinion polls reflect the exact agenda that the Dems and media were pushing relentlessly for 5-6 years. Tell a lie enough times, it becomes truth.


4 posted on 06/13/2008 5:14:21 AM PDT by ilgipper
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To: shrinkermd
income is rising slightly ahead of inflation;

That presumes that the inflation rate is being accurately calculated and reported. The price changes I've seen are a lot more than the official rate.

5 posted on 06/13/2008 5:15:58 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (the Clinton dream of being a two impeachment family goes right down the drain. - Letterman)
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To: Perdogg

That, and we’re spoiled. Any little blip in our life style, and we go to pieces.


6 posted on 06/13/2008 5:16:40 AM PDT by Coldwater Creek
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To: shrinkermd
case that things are basically pretty good?

Spin spin spin. I look at my particular situation. I got a raise this year that came nowhere near the rate of inflation. My company also eliminated bonuses, even though our division is quite profitable. So I've seen about a $5,000 loss in effective purchasing power this year. I imagine a lot of other middle-class people are in a similar situation. Pretending otherwise is just going to get a lot of conservative candidates a hammering in November.

7 posted on 06/13/2008 5:16:50 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: shrinkermd

Why do we feel so blue?

Two reasons, and here they are: 1) $4.00 a gallon gasoline; 2) The War in Iraq. Americans hate long wars.

There you go!


8 posted on 06/13/2008 5:18:45 AM PDT by RexBeach
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To: shrinkermd
I read two highly disturbing items in my paper the Kansas City Star before I threw in down in disgust. One, an article about girls dancing at a “Change the Truth” celebration. The other a story about teachers and administrators in California telling students one of their fellows had died in a drunk driving accident to “teach them how it feels.” And then saying no, it was just an exercise, he really hadn't died.
9 posted on 06/13/2008 5:19:09 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heros have always been cowboys--Reagan and Bush)
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To: shrinkermd

I suspect it is because many Americans feel that things are out of control in very subtle ways. Immigration is not being controlled (despite cosmetic enforcement), unelected judges can make laws by fiat, inflation is up more than the stats indicate, and some groups are more equal than others (increasingly, white America is on the short end of the stick). Our fiscal house is also way out of wack—we are spending too much. Most people know that, but still want their goodies. There is also a crisis of identity, which PC has robbed us of—are we sure who we are anymore? Lastly, in the face of all this, Government seems powerless to halt these trends; in fact, in most cases, the Government actually promotes them. It increasingly bows to the will of the UN and other unaccountable organizations.

Basically, it is a feeling of unease that the pillars of our society are eroding despite the outward signs of health. Without sounding too much like Cassandara, every generation goes through this, but the center seems to hold. Of course, the Roman empire took 200 years to fall.


10 posted on 06/13/2008 5:29:35 AM PDT by rbg81 (DRAIN THE SWAMP!!)
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To: ilgipper

Everything has been a Bush bash for the past 8 years since he stole the election from the high priest of green Al Gore.

And Bush was silent and let the lies perpetuate when he could have gone on the domestic offensive to wipe out liberal idiocy. We all kept wondering why he didn’t hit back at the Dems and libs. We all wondered why Bush had a GOP majority in congress and failed to push through anything on his table, instead settling for bi-partisan appeasement of the loud left.

Does anyone else see the weakness of the Bush Administration beyond the WOT? Even the Supreme Court has rebuked the detention of terrorists.
Bush has allowed this to happen and the country is getting ready to go down to a real mess if the Rat NObama gets elected. People have no clue about how bad and hard times can get because they want their cake and want to eat it too, without paying for the flour and sugar.


11 posted on 06/13/2008 5:30:42 AM PDT by o_zarkman44 (No Bull in 08!)
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To: shrinkermd

Oh I don’t know. Maybe it due to $4.00 a gallon gas, no will to drill for our own oil, skyrocketing food prices, terrorists, illegals and polar bears having more rights than we do, and 2 of the biggest @ssholes running for the highest office in the land whos only previous job experience is being part of the worst rated Senates in US history!


12 posted on 06/13/2008 5:34:35 AM PDT by Bommer (A Third Party can win when Republicans and Democraps stand for the same thing!)
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To: rbg81

Pretty much every responsibility our government has assumed to protect us, enforce our laws, defend the border, inspect food or whatever has been defaulted on.

People are so ignorant because they keep asking government to fix all the problems, when our government is unable to handle the current load. A lot of stuff is broken.
But as long as we have a house in the burbs with two cars and a middle class job, we shouldn’t complain, right?


13 posted on 06/13/2008 5:35:24 AM PDT by o_zarkman44 (No Bull in 08!)
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To: shrinkermd

A lot of Americans feel bad because of the presstitutes in the screaming media spend their time reading everything without humor or beauty. Their minds are dark hallways where doom and gloom reside.


14 posted on 06/13/2008 5:39:38 AM PDT by tillacum
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To: Coldwater Creek

“That, and we’re spoiled. Any little blip in our life style, and we go to pieces.”

We have a winner. People take for granted how blessed we are in this country. We complain when gas prices go up, yet there are many in the world who are wondering if they’re going to get to eat today.

God Bless America...I am so lucky!


15 posted on 06/13/2008 5:40:50 AM PDT by Slapshot68
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To: shrinkermd

The MSM makes a deliberate effort to bum everybody out, and they succeed. So much so that I don’t watch them anymore lol


16 posted on 06/13/2008 5:40:52 AM PDT by visualops (artlife.us . nature photography desktop wallpapers)
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To: shrinkermd

Many here are falling for the media hype, as well. ;)

As for me and my house? Nope. We’re making more money and paying less in taxes (due to smart investing and self-employment and tax cuts), we have health insurance that we pay for, a full pantry and freezer, three paid-for vehicles, available fuel for said vehicles and a small. manageable mortgage on our farm. We have kids in college that are paying their own way. We have a little water in the basement due to our terrible flooding, but the walls aren’t caving in or anything.

You know how Rush always says people aren’t worried about themselves, but they worry about their neighbors not making it? I look at my neighbors as dopes if they’re not making it here in America. Roll up your sleeves and get busy!

These are HARDLY Hard Times. I know Hard Times, and these are not them! :)


17 posted on 06/13/2008 5:41:24 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: RexBeach

If Americans hate long wars, what were our troops doing in Germany, Italy, Spain, England for 60 years and what are our troops doing in Japan and Korea all these years after armed conflict? HMMM?


18 posted on 06/13/2008 5:45:22 AM PDT by tillacum
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To: Perdogg
because its an election year and the newsmedia want people to feel bad.

because its another Bush year and the newsmedia want people to feel bad.

Sorry Perdogg I had to fix it!

19 posted on 06/13/2008 5:46:45 AM PDT by angcat (Indian name "She who yells too much")
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To: Bommer
The gas prices are the same as this from NY state politicians. Americans beat back the amnesty deal last spring, but our pols are just as thieving and corrupt as ever. It's time to get back on the phones and let them know that we want our own oil drilled, we want technologically advanced nuke power, and we want them to stop the cheap circuses they put on in D.C. because we no longer believe any of their lies and scams. This cigarette tax happened to one segment of the population. The gas prices are hurting everybody, but both come from the same place. The neverending funnel of taxes into the hands of the thieving, lying politicians. CALL THEM UP AND MAKE THEM STOP IT!

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local&id=6182865

20 posted on 06/13/2008 5:48:40 AM PDT by ishabibble (ALL-AMERICAN INFIDEL)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Dear Diana in Wisconsin—

Love it! You are a true American!


21 posted on 06/13/2008 5:48:45 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heros have always been cowboys--Reagan and Bush)
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To: yldstrk

I am blessed with a “can-do” attitude, but others can easily develop one. After 20 years in the Army, every DAY in civilian life has been a cake walk. :)

People are such whiners and so easily manipulated by outside forces. *SIGH*


22 posted on 06/13/2008 5:51:00 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: tillacum

We’re not fighting in any of those locales.


23 posted on 06/13/2008 5:51:05 AM PDT by RexBeach
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To: shrinkermd
My bro said: "Have you ever seen it so bad?

I gave him the employment stats...The fact that I was working and paying my bills and so were all my friends. Then I told him to look around...in his fridge, in his closet, at his garden...and tell me "How bad are things for people who have "work ethics"? and not a "gimme ethics".

24 posted on 06/13/2008 5:51:11 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (N)
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To: RexBeach

My reason:

This is an election year and no matter who wins-conservatives lose.


25 posted on 06/13/2008 5:51:36 AM PDT by antisocial (Texas SCV - Deo Vindice)
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To: antisocial

Well, yes, it’s not a very good choice of candidates, is it?

I might write in Alf Landon!


26 posted on 06/13/2008 5:52:56 AM PDT by RexBeach
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To: Slapshot68

Absolutely though I am not from America I could say the same thing about Britain. Though like America we are going through a credit crunch, petrol (gas) is sky double the cost of yours and inflation is not keeping pace with our salaries in real terms despite what the the figures say. Food in particular has risen out of all proportion.

Saying all this though we have much to be thankful for.


27 posted on 06/13/2008 6:07:32 AM PDT by snugs ((An English Cheney Chick - Big Time))
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To: shrinkermd

Miserable people must constantly have things to be miserable about, then they’re happy.


28 posted on 06/13/2008 6:09:22 AM PDT by dfwgator ( This tag blank until football season.)
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To: shrinkermd

Why do we feel bad? Because America is losing the blessing of God. I walk into the local Wegmans, a store that markets to the upscale. Overflowing abundance everywhere, but people walk around with scowls on their face shooting daggers at any person trying to make friendly eye contact. The last thought in their mind is to give thanks to The Almighty for this bounty. This is just my POV.


29 posted on 06/13/2008 6:11:16 AM PDT by stevio (Crunchy Con - God, guns, guts, and organically grown crunchy nuts.)
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To: shrinkermd
I don't feel bad, in fact I feel good.

My job is going well, I have lost some 30-35 pounds by working out and eating better (less), my pets are healthy, my wife loves me and God is looking out for me and mine.

No matter who is elected in November, life will go on, the world will not fall apart.

My wife told me once, the only thing I have any real control of is my attitude and like her, I choose to see the good things in life, not the bad, I choose to have an upbeat attitude, and not fall prey to the negative influences of others.

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!
30 posted on 06/13/2008 6:12:58 AM PDT by The Louiswu (Just say NO... to Hillary and O'Bama)
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To: stevio

I think you hit on it, stevio. America is turning its back on God and though material prosperity still exists, the spiritual death of this nation has begun. True peace and joy exists only when a nation has its eyes on God.


31 posted on 06/13/2008 6:28:56 AM PDT by Arkansas Toothpick
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To: snugs

“Though like America we are going through a credit crunch, petrol (gas) is sky double the cost of yours and inflation is not keeping pace with our salaries in real terms despite what the the figures say.”

I have relatives in Northern Ireland who were telling me how much they were paying for gas these days. I don’t dare bring up our $4/gallon as a gripe. lol


32 posted on 06/13/2008 6:33:02 AM PDT by Slapshot68
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To: shrinkermd
Looks like many even on this forum are buying the MSM scenarios of doom and gloom.

Now we don't just hear about threats or natural disasters, we see immediate live footage, creating the impression that threats and disasters are everywhere.

BTW This has been the single most effective tactic the left has in their arsenal in pushing global warming IMO. I got sick of seeing weather disasters on TV years ago. But most Americans buy the hype.

33 posted on 06/13/2008 6:37:35 AM PDT by what's up
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To: Slapshot68

I feel fine. Yes, gas is expensive, and I think milk has gone up. Everything else seems about the same to me.


34 posted on 06/13/2008 6:55:09 AM PDT by A_perfect_lady
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
>I am blessed with a “can-do” attitude,<

You should have joined the SeaBees!

35 posted on 06/13/2008 7:03:12 AM PDT by B4Ranch (Having custody of a loaded weapon does not arm you. The skill to use the weapon is what arms a man.)
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To: shrinkermd

It’s not too simple to figure out: when a Dem is the prez, things are wonderful, and Americans never had it so good. When a Republican is prez then things are awful. It’s not anymore complicated than that.


36 posted on 06/13/2008 7:21:24 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
"hard times"

I have to agree. I grew up poor, and I know what not having much is like. I just don't get todays Americans (including many posters on this forum) who would rather whine than try to improve their lives. At any rate my message to the whiners is QUIT YER WHINING!!! I DON'T CARE! If your life is not what you'd like, try to make it better. But at any rate QUIT COMPLAINING!!!

37 posted on 06/13/2008 7:28:24 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: snugs
"thankful"

My wife is from England, and she keeps in contact with her kin who still live there. I visited Britain two years ago. It appears to me, although you pay approximately double for everything that we pay, most Brits are living pretty good. Certainly my in-laws are. When I tell that to the whiners on this forum who think gasoline should be a dollar a gallon, I'm met with scorn. "What does that have to with America" they screech at me.

What it means is Americans pay far less for essential services than most western countries. But we whine a lot more.

38 posted on 06/13/2008 7:34:54 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: The Louiswu
"negative influences"

Thanks for a great post. I wish everyone had your attitude.

39 posted on 06/13/2008 7:36:26 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: driftless2; The Louiswu; Diana in Wisconsin

Boy its nice to see your posts here. What a whiney, miserable lot Americans are becoming. Economic cycles come and go, but to act as if the “bad times” will last forever is just as silly as believing “good times” will continue forever. They never do, and today’s “bad times” would be considered “good times” by most of our ancestors. So some will have to go without the newest gadgets or buy a more fuel efficient vehicle until this cycle ends. Oh the horrors!


40 posted on 06/13/2008 7:42:26 AM PDT by VegasCowboy ("...he wore his gun outside his pants, for all the honest world to feel.")
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To: driftless2

They can..it’s free - and it makes life much easier to bear.


41 posted on 06/13/2008 7:51:49 AM PDT by The Louiswu (Just say NO... to Hillary and O'Bama)
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To: VegasCowboy
I drive an eight year old Ford Focus that is still in pretty good shape, my wife and I live in a house that we can afford and each week the first things we buy at the grocery story is a bag of rice and a bag of potatoes. We talk alot, we laugh until our sides hurt and we read.

Each night we go to bed happy and at peace knowing each day we tried our best and took care not to hurt anyone.

We live simply (by today's standards) and we are happy.

We'll never get rich, but we'll pass on knowing we have enough friends to carry our caskets and that is rich enough for us.
42 posted on 06/13/2008 7:56:30 AM PDT by The Louiswu (Just say NO... to Hillary and O'Bama)
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To: VegasCowboy
"bad times"

You've got that nailed partner. Even my eldery pappy told me he's never seen things so bad. Pappy grew up during the Great Depression and is currently living in a house ten times better than the one he grew up in. But I know a lot of other people who've echoed my father's sentiments. These people have more than I do, and I'm living pretty good right now. I grew up in the fifties, and I know what not having much means. Americans have just become too spoiled.

43 posted on 06/13/2008 8:07:08 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: shrinkermd
My life is bad because I'm waiting for my wife and daughter to come home from the hospital; then I'll be living with them in my in-laws house while my daughter recovers from her grafts.

Once I get them home to OUR house, my life will, once again, be idyllic.

44 posted on 06/13/2008 8:16:55 AM PDT by Little Ray (I'm a Conservative. But I can vote for John McCain. If I have to. I guess.)
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To: The Louiswu
My wife told me once, the only thing I have any real control of is my attitude and like her, I choose to see the good things in life, not the bad, I choose to have an upbeat attitude, and not fall prey to the negative influences of others.

Exactly.


45 posted on 06/13/2008 9:07:57 AM PDT by rdb3 (Upward, onward, beyond...)
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To: driftless2
<< ...when a Dem is the prez, things are wonderful, and Americans never had it so good. When a Republican is prez then things are awful.>>

Good news for a Dem prez: Front page above the fold - Bad news buried elsewhere.

Good news for Repub prez: Buried elsewhere - Bad news on front page above the fold.

46 posted on 06/13/2008 12:05:22 PM PDT by OnRightOnLeftCoast (I'm Republican because I don't qualify for welfare)
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To: shrinkermd; IrishCatholic; Normandy; Delacon; TenthAmendmentChampion; Horusra; CygnusXI; ...
 




Beam me to Planet Gore !

47 posted on 06/15/2008 8:09:57 PM PDT by steelyourfaith
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