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Is Poverty Really The Result Of Bad Luck?
Forbes ^ | 12/03/2013 | John Goodman

Posted on 12/26/2013 6:46:14 AM PST by SeekAndFind

On Thanksgiving eve, a Nicholas Kristof editorial instructed us on how to think about poverty in The New York Times. The main reason there is poverty, he tells us, is bad luck.

We don’t choose our parents, after all. Or the household or neighborhood we are born into. Here are a few of his observations, with my emphasis added:

“As Warren Buffett puts it, our life outcomes often depend on the ‘ovarian lottery.

[T]he difference between being surrounded by a loving family or being homeless on the street is determined not just by our own level of virtue or self-discipline, but also by an inextricable mix of luck, biography, brain chemistry and genetics.

[S]uccess in life is a reflection not only of enterprise and willpower, but also of random chance and early upbringing.”

So what’s the solution to this problem? It is apparently very simple: All we need is love. (Kristof’s column is actually titled “Where Is the Love?”) And just in case you are not motivated in that way, Kristof draws on the work of Harvard professor John Rawls to give a rational philosophical reason to spend more on welfare programs.

But before getting into that let’s pause for a moment. Is being born really a matter of luck? Doesn’t that take willful activity on the part of two parents? And is the inability of parents to support their children really a matter of luck? Or is it the result of bad habits and undisciplined behavior?

Let’s grant that some people do have bad luck. But bad luck usually strikes randomly. Absent hurricanes and tornados, we don’t expect misfortune to befall entire neighborhoods ― to say nothing of entire cities.

Kristof’s particular focus is on Food Stamps, given the debate in Congress over whether to cut spending on the program. So let’s concede that misfortune can cause some people to be hungry.

(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: badluck; poverty
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1 posted on 12/26/2013 6:46:14 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Bad luck and poor choices. But mainly poor choices.


2 posted on 12/26/2013 6:52:20 AM PST by DoodleDawg
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To: SeekAndFind
It's partly the ovarian lottery, but then, what is poverty? The ovarian lottery also controls expectations to some degree. A child born to a billionaire has different life expectations than a child born in a small village in Sudan.

And it is actually possible for the latter to live the happier life.

3 posted on 12/26/2013 6:52:40 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: SeekAndFind

Bad luck, a failure to learn from past mistakes, not having the integrity to own up to those mistakes, and generally doing stupid crap to being with...

Yeah... I’d say there’s more than just one variable at play here and no... Love alone ain’t gonna fix it.


4 posted on 12/26/2013 6:53:26 AM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Bad luck?

Well, I suppose losing lottery tickets, of which 99.99% are losing tickets can be considered bad luck.

But hey, the losers are supporting our schools since that is what ALL states with lotteries used to convince their citizens that the money would be used to fund.

5 posted on 12/26/2013 6:58:32 AM PST by N. Theknow (Kennedys-Can't drive, can't ski, can't fly, can't skipper a boat-But they know what's best for you.)
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To: DoodleDawg
Bad luck and poor choices. But mainly poor choices.

Yes, and sometimes it's others's poor choices as well (see Detroit).

6 posted on 12/26/2013 6:59:39 AM PST by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: DoodleDawg

Poverty is the culmination of a series of poor choices,
by those in poverty now and their parents.


7 posted on 12/26/2013 6:59:47 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: DoodleDawg
But mainly poor choices.

Bingo! Doing the same stupid sh!t over and over again pretty well guarantees you will end up broke.

As far as bad luck, that's what family is for - to tide you over when you get a streak of bad luck. Of course, "progressives" and their enlightened policies have seriously damaged the family as we know it.

8 posted on 12/26/2013 7:00:13 AM PST by Hardastarboard (The question of our age is whether a majority of Americans can and will vote us all into slavery.)
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To: SeekAndFind

This sounds like an argument against the American Dream where anyone can rise up form poverty to become rich or the president. You can’t make it so give up seems to be the message to me. It could also be a message to an migration bill that the illegals need our help, which will turn int their staying poor.


9 posted on 12/26/2013 7:01:09 AM PST by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Poverty is mostly the result of sin. People do bad things and bad things happen to them. Not from Karma, but from the police, their family members, co-workers, and bystanders. If you smoke crack someone will shoot you for it or the money. If you sell pot, you might go to jail. If you slap the old lady around, you get a handcuff. Nothing like drug addiction, a bullet in the chest, or a police record to create poverty. And, not just in the person with the handcuff on, but their family members as well.

Sure there is bad luck. But that is not what causes the ghetto poverty in the US. It is caused by sin.

10 posted on 12/26/2013 7:03:59 AM PST by anton
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To: Dead Corpse

>> Love alone ain’t gonna fix it.

Of course not; according to the St. Nicholas (Kristoff) School of Thought, the fix also calls for buckets full of tax dollars redistributed by an all-powerful, all-knowing federal government.


11 posted on 12/26/2013 7:04:25 AM PST by Nervous Tick (Without GOD, men get what they deserve.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Ah, the old “Do we have free will?” question. Liberals always seem to come down on the side of “No.”


12 posted on 12/26/2013 7:06:09 AM PST by Cyber Liberty (H.L. Mencken: "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.")
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To: SeekAndFind
Poverty is finacially relative, according to those around you , either by geographic location or nationality.
Disagree ? <
Then compare the poverty of those who live in Detroit
with those who live in poverty in North Korea.

13 posted on 12/26/2013 7:06:42 AM PST by Tilted Irish Kilt (Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. -- James Madison)
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To: cuban leaf
A child born to a billionaire has different life expectations than a child born in a small village in Sudan.

Abject poverty in undeveloped countries usual results from tyranny among leaders and religion (islam).

There is usually a steady flow of charity but such is stolen and resold for cash by the leaders in said country.

14 posted on 12/26/2013 7:07:56 AM PST by RoosterRedux (The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing -- Socrates)
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To: Nervous Tick

Liberal logic. “If things are bad, use government to make them worse so you feel better about how things were...”


15 posted on 12/26/2013 7:07:58 AM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Bad choices and a lack of education. Poor schools combined with in many Black schools a disdain for learning leaves the “graduates” or drop outs without the basic skills needed to hold even menial jobs. Case in point Rachel, the 20 year old high school senior testifying at the Trayvon Martin trial. Being on the government dole also virtually assures poverty. For example the poorest county in the US is Shannon county, SD, the Pine Ridge Indian reservation, where every person is a ward of the government getting cash government allotments, free medical care, free education including college, mostly free government housing and food stamps.


16 posted on 12/26/2013 7:08:55 AM PST by The Great RJ
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To: DoodleDawg

I think America’s corporations have moved far, far too much American businesses to China.

America is sloping down, rapidly.

All of us, will be hurt, unless American businesses return.

Bring back US jobs. Build up America once again.


17 posted on 12/26/2013 7:09:06 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network (Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, bring him back...)
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To: SeekAndFind

Upbringing matters - and that is a function of culture.

So everybody stop hiding behind diversity and crying racism and get off yer duff and straighten out your act.


18 posted on 12/26/2013 7:09:36 AM PST by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: SeekAndFind

The Kristoff line of thinking seems to lead more to the Sanger/PP line of thinking, or perhaps the forced sterilization of the poor.


19 posted on 12/26/2013 7:10:34 AM PST by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: DoodleDawg

Poverty, like wealth, is passed down from one generation to the next. But not because of circumstances.

The actual inheritance is not of physical wealth, or lack of it, it is in the attitude of just what wealth IS, and the care and nurturing of what is, at best, a fragile and uncertain art, preservation of capital.

Simply handing an unsophisticated and relatively ignorant individual a pile of cash is a recipe for making the value of that pile of cash evaporate, providing no lasting economic value. Oh, a few people right around the unfortunate inheritor of all this supposed wealth may do very well economically, but unless they, in turn, apply this new-found wealth to serious growth, then the cash flow continues to disappear down a bottomless pit. My own father, in his pithy way, called this “p*ssing it all away”.


20 posted on 12/26/2013 7:11:48 AM PST by alloysteel (Those who deny natural climate change are forever doomed to stupidity. AGW is a LIE.)
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To: mountainlion
Detroit is a "has been" location , but you can move elsewhere .
North Korea is a "never was prosperous" location , and a contolled population who can't move towards properity.

21 posted on 12/26/2013 7:13:09 AM PST by Tilted Irish Kilt (Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. -- James Madison)
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To: SeekAndFind

Poor people make poor choices...and it is nothing following the 10 Commandments can’t solve


22 posted on 12/26/2013 7:14:26 AM PST by goodnesswins (R.I.P. Doherty, Smith, Stevens, Woods.)
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To: SeekAndFind

My parents both grew up with poverty such as few in modern America can imagine - but they grew up in families, were raised with discipline and taught to work. None of the kids lived in poverty as adults.

My wife was born in the Philippines, and knew poverty greater than any American I’ve met - but she also grew up in a family. Some of her brothers are alcoholics who continue to live in poverty. If you send them money, they buy booze. But she and several of her sisters grew up as hard workers, and those sisters have all done well. A couple of brothers have also done well for themselves in the Philippines.


23 posted on 12/26/2013 7:15:01 AM PST by Mr Rogers (Liberals are like locusts...)
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To: SeekAndFind
I like the Robert Heinlein quote:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as "bad luck."

24 posted on 12/26/2013 7:16:51 AM PST by kosciusko51 (Enough of "Who is John Galt?" Who is Patrick Henry?)
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To: SeekAndFind
Particularly because I'm fairly widely traveled both in the US and foreign countries (First World *and* Third World) there's so,so much I could say about poverty...including poverty here in the US.But I'll just say this...in East Africa I've seen little black kids with orange/red hair,big swollen bellies and little stick legs...three of the classic signs of desperate,long term,malnutrition.OTOH,we in the US have the *fattest* "poor" people on the face of the earth.

To this nation's "poor" I say (paraphrasing Sgt Barnes's great line in Full Metal Jacket) "Poverty? What do y'all know about poverty?"

25 posted on 12/26/2013 7:18:36 AM PST by Gay State Conservative (Osama Obama Care: A Religion That Will Have You On Your Knees!)
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To: SeekAndFind
It can be. Let's not get utopian about any economic system (including ours).
26 posted on 12/26/2013 7:20:45 AM PST by Zionist Conspirator (The Left: speaking power to truth since Shevirat HaKelim.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I was born dirt poor in Kansas to a father who drug himself out of poor status. I did the same.


27 posted on 12/26/2013 7:20:46 AM PST by umgud (2A can't survive dem majorities)
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To: SeekAndFind

There are a lot of factors in this equations of which luck is a large one. However, I believe the main factor is education of the child. That includes parenting and schooling.


28 posted on 12/26/2013 7:20:57 AM PST by oldbrowser (Obamacare is a microcosm of his presidency, and the entire marxist fantasy.)
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To: SeekAndFind
“Life at the Bottom, The Worldview That Makes the Underclass” by Theodore Dalrymple. An excellent book that explains that a lack of virtues creates poverty rather than poverty leading to a lack of virtues. It is a thoughtful book that captures your attention with examples drawn from the author's experience as a prison doctor and psychiatrist.
29 posted on 12/26/2013 7:22:26 AM PST by Teotwawki (For a person to get a thing without paying for it, another must pay for it without getting it.)
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To: anton

Poverty in many places is due to bad economic systems of government, or to a society where access to education or advancement is denied. My grandparents were dirt poor during the depression. One grandfather was lazy, but the other was not. Both grandmothers were hard workers. All the kids learned to work hard. The lazy grandfather also drank, but discretely - his kids usually didn’t figure it out until in their teens.

I’ve never met anyone who knew my grandparents on my Dad’s side who didn’t like and admire them. Every one of their kids grew up successful, and all of them adored their parents. But they were poor, and their Dad struggled to find work during the Great Depression. After one of my uncles died, the oldest brother felt free from his promise of silence and told the younger kids that the now-dead brother sent most of what he made during the depression years home to support his siblings getting an education. Only the parents and oldest brother knew of his sacrifice, and they all had promised not to tell.

A lot of modern poor are poor due to sin, but I’ve also hired guy to do work around my place who worked darn hard for minimal pay. They just didn’t have the skills to make more money. They are not bad guys, just guys who lack skills that will allow them to make more.


30 posted on 12/26/2013 7:23:55 AM PST by Mr Rogers (Liberals are like locusts...)
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To: Gay State Conservative
But I'll just say this...in East Africa I've seen little black kids with orange/red hair,big swollen bellies and little stick legs...three of the classic signs of desperate,long term,malnutrition.OTOH,we in the US have the *fattest* "poor" people on the face of the earth.

You know how schools have "foreign exchange" students? I propose "foreign exchange poor people." We bring some of those malnourished kids and families over for a year and we send them some of our fat poor for a year. Wouldn't that be interesting?

31 posted on 12/26/2013 7:26:05 AM PST by Right Wing Assault
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To: SeekAndFind

A single black mother has two children. One says she wants to do more, doesn’t get knocked up, finishes high school, moves on to college, becomes a professional. Sister gets knocked up at 16, keeps it, has another kid by 18 to get her own apartment.
One breaks the cycle of poverty, though probably helps out her mother and sister and sister’s kids. The other perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
Same womb, different outcomes because of different choices.

Two boys act up and act out as tweens. Given the choice of jail and military school, one goes to school and the other joins the military. From military school to military, one gets a good course correction and moves on to employment and a chance at a decent life. The other goes from jail to living with friends to jail to infrequent minimum wage jobs. Different choices, different outcomes.


32 posted on 12/26/2013 7:29:53 AM PST by tbw2
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To: DoodleDawg

Poor choices, amplified by laziness and lack of self-respect.


33 posted on 12/26/2013 7:32:46 AM PST by NEMDF
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To: RoosterRedux

Yes.

However, my point is that, although some have more opportunity than others, that opportunity usually is accompanied by higher expectations, both internal and external.

And I don’t feel the need to wipe out “poverty”. Rather, I feel the need to wipe out hunger and disease. There are some very happy poor people and very miserable rich people.

By today’s standards, Laura Ingles’ family (Little House on the Prarie) was destitute. They wouldn’t describe it that way, though.


34 posted on 12/26/2013 7:34:38 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: umgud
I was born dirt poor in Kansas to a father who drug himself out of poor status. I did the same

I was born into a family with two parents who had a "drug" problem.....................They "drug" my sorry butt to church every Sunday. (And I thank them for it.)

35 posted on 12/26/2013 7:35:07 AM PST by Graybeard58 (_.. ._. .. _. _._ __ ___ ._. . ___ ..._ ._ ._.. _ .. _. .)
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To: SeekAndFind
<
36 posted on 12/26/2013 7:35:57 AM PST by tired&retired
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To: DoodleDawg

btt


37 posted on 12/26/2013 7:36:44 AM PST by KSCITYBOY
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To: SeekAndFind

really the way I see it, it’s a total crap shoot.

I have seen people born into rich families acting like complete monsters or hapless; on our block we have a daughter who inherited the house, which was formerly nice and now it is not obvious from the outside but inside is trashed.

I am familiar with people born into southern pverty, you could see through the cracks to the dirt below, who have worked their way into the upper middle class.

I have seen the daughter of a multimillionaire flake out and need electroshock therapy for mental health issues.

I have seen liars and thieves prosper and good people get ripped off.

Who knows?


38 posted on 12/26/2013 7:39:33 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: SeekAndFind

Short term poverty can be bad luck, long term poverty is bad decisions.


39 posted on 12/26/2013 7:43:45 AM PST by discostu (I don't meme well.)
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To: cuban leaf

I completely agree with your point about happiness having an inverse relationship with wealth. That has, with very few exceptions, been my observation with the humans I have known.


40 posted on 12/26/2013 7:56:56 AM PST by RoosterRedux (The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing -- Socrates)
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To: SeekAndFind

Does anyone want to wager that IQ scores have no effect on income levels?


41 posted on 12/26/2013 7:57:43 AM PST by monocle
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To: SeekAndFind
Some people like to gamble,
But you, you always lose.
Some people like to rock 'n' roll,
You're always singin' the blues
You gotta nasty disposition,
No one really knows the reason why,
You gotta bad, bad reputation,
Gonna hang your head down and cry...


You got bad, bad luck
Bad, bad luck
You got bad, bad luck
Bad, bad luck
Thirteen's my lucky number,
To you it means stay inside.
Black cat done crossed my path,
No reason to run and hide.
You're looking through a cracked mirror,
No one really knows the reason why.
Your enemies are gettin' nearer,
Gonna hang down your head and cry...


You got bad, bad luck
Bad, bad luck
You got bad, bad luck
Bad, bad luck
Some people go to church on Sundays,
others they pray at home.
You tell them that there ain't no God,
that they're better off standin' alone.
You're always scratchin' at the eight ball,
No one really knows the reason why.
You get to the top and then you fall,
Gonna hang down your head and cry.

Social Distortion - Bad Luck

42 posted on 12/26/2013 8:05:17 AM PST by machman
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To: SeekAndFind
If you want to be poor, do what poor people do.

If you want to be rich, do what rich people do.

I have come to the conclusion that persistence is more important than intelligence.

43 posted on 12/26/2013 8:27:33 AM PST by super7man
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To: SeekAndFind

Success is often obtained by playing a poor hand well.


44 posted on 12/26/2013 8:32:20 AM PST by SamAdams76
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To: super7man

RE: If you want to be rich, do what rich people do.

How does one do what George Soros does?


45 posted on 12/26/2013 8:39:04 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Fwiw, my Dad always said ‘seems the harder I worked, the luckier I got’.


46 posted on 12/26/2013 8:48:16 AM PST by AllAmericanGirl44 (Wishing all a very Merry Christmas)
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To: SeekAndFind

It’s not just nature, nurture, or luck. People have free will. Their personal choices also determine their destiny.


47 posted on 12/26/2013 8:48:59 AM PST by mjp ((pro-{God, reality, reason, egoism, individualism, natural rights, limited government, capitalism}))
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To: SeekAndFind

Prov 23:17, Psalm 73:3

Don’t envy the prosperity of the wicked or desire to be like them.


48 posted on 12/26/2013 8:58:03 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: SeekAndFind

It’s called LBJs “Great Society”. Making generations of people dependant on Government. Giving them the “it’s ok, the government will take care of you” mentality.


49 posted on 12/26/2013 9:01:54 AM PST by crazydad (Obamamohamed is a traitor)
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To: SeekAndFind

My father often said that you don’t have a choice of the cards you get dealt in life, but you get to play them any way you want.


50 posted on 12/26/2013 9:02:33 AM PST by jim_trent
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