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Drive 55, Try to Stay Alive (students film the results of going the speed limit)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution ^ | 3-3-2006 | Ariel Hart

Posted on 03/02/2006 7:29:00 PM PST by Turbopilot

They knew it was dangerous.

"We could have really been hurt," said one of the Atlanta college students after their experiment.

It won't win an Oscar, but 'A Meditation on the Speed Limit,' a short film that was the brainchild of college student Andy Medlin, is quite a hit.

Some strange scenes, including a car passing in the emergency lane, were the product of Georgia State students simply following the speed limit.

"I was pretty sure that I was doing something stupid," said another.

That may be true. But, young and brash, they had a plan.

They wanted to go the speed limit on I-285.

In four cars, on all four lanes, the students from Georgia State University and other local colleges paced the entire midmorning flow of Perimeter traffic behind them at 55 mph for half an hour. They call it "an act of civil obedience."

"I get a lot of tickets," said Andy Medlin, 20, the Georgia State student who came up with the idea. "The best way to expose the flaws in the system is by following it."

Thankfully, they survived unharmed, though much maligned. The eight students captured it all on video for a student film competition, and the five-minute piece has fired up the country this week on blogs, talk radio, and national news broadcasts.

"NPR was the first biter," said Jordan Streiff, 21, the group's experienced filmmaker and an Asian Studies major at Georgia State. "Initially, we were going to be on ABC's cable network and Web site, but overnight the traffic to the video spiked so they put it on World News Tonight."

The film, "A Meditation on the Speed Limit," was intended as a drama, but won best comedy for Georgia last month at the Campus MovieFest, a traveling movie competition. It will compete against other states' winners for a national title later this spring, said David Roemer, one of the film festival's founders.

In the meantime, driven by blog attention to the video that Streiff posted on Google, a national discussion has bloomed about what is legal and what is right. One of the filmmakers, Georgia State student Amanda Hunter, was interviewed about it on Neal Boortz's radio show on WSB.

"It's just so overwhelming," Hunter said Thursday, after leaving a midterm exam on Sufism and Islamic mysticism. "Jordan's calling me today like, 'Do you have time for CBS?' I called him back and he said, 'Don't worry about that now, just take your test.'"

David Spear, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said if the students weren't blocking emergency vehicles and were going the speed limit, "they didn't do a thing wrong." Spear added that the speed limit was lowered to 55 because it saves lives. "In Atlanta, the actual effect of it is we expect the people going 75 to move over so the people going 95 can have the right of way," he said.

There was little doubt what the students' companions on the road thought that sunny Friday in January. The video shows drivers' steadily mounting hostility to the blockade. Cars honk. They drive onto the shoulder to speed around the students. Obscene gestures are made. The money shot, however, was captured beautifully by Hunter, who stood with her camera on the Church Street bridge over I-285 to watch the approaching traffic.

What she saw was ... nothing. An empty highway, with one or two stray cars. And then, like the hordes on the horizon, over the rise come the students backed by a phalanx of cars, cars, cars. The film plays it for all it's worth, bouncing the image back and forth to the funky beat of the Guru Fish song "Plush."

"It was so fantastic," said Hunter. "I just started jumping up and down and going crazy. There's beeping horns and craziness."

Then it passed, Hunter said, and a woman driving on the bridge stopped and asked, "What was the point of all that?"

Hunter explained the project. It was to make people think, she said.

The woman amicably rolled her eyes, Hunter recalled. "It was kind of like, 'Oh, you kids and your statements.'"


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Georgia
KEYWORDS: badlaws; brats; civilobedience; donutwatch; selfinfatuatedbrats; speed; speedlimit
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"Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

1 posted on 03/02/2006 7:29:03 PM PST by Turbopilot
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To: Admin Moderator

I flubbed the title. Could you please either delete everything after the opening parenthesis or finish the descriptive statement I meant to add, which was "Students film the results of going the speed limit"? Thank you.


2 posted on 03/02/2006 7:30:43 PM PST by Turbopilot (Nothing in the above post is or should be construed as legal research, analysis, or advice.)
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To: Turbopilot

No sane person can drive in Atlanta.
I think they have a law against it...


3 posted on 03/02/2006 7:35:09 PM PST by sarasmom (I don't care who John Galt is, I just need his email address.)
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To: Turbopilot
It will be educational to red the real people's reaction to the experiment.
No. Not the traffic behind them, that is a sample skewed big time. And in more ways than one.
4 posted on 03/02/2006 7:36:31 PM PST by Publius6961 (Multiculturalism is the white flag of a dying country)
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To: Turbopilot
Snore.

Speed limits of 55 miles an hour on highways designed for much faster speeds are stupid. Not only are they a revenue enhancement device for government, they suit the Lowest Common Denominator of society, the dumb idiots that shouldn't be driving anyway. Only in America can some dumbass with nothing more than a heartbeat going on for them can get a driver's license.

They were lucky no one got shot.

5 posted on 03/02/2006 7:37:33 PM PST by Looking4Truth (FOR SALE: 1 slightly used U.S. Citizenship and SSN. Make Offer. Will trade for Matricula card.)
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To: Turbopilot
It's a good thing no one was killed trying to get around them... It also seems to me that the law requiring slower traffic to the right was being violated. They were definitely impeding traffic which is also illegal.
6 posted on 03/02/2006 7:37:58 PM PST by DB ()
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To: Turbopilot

"Spear added that the speed limit was lowered to 55 because it saves lives"

In Houston the EPA mandated that we lower the speed limit from 70 to 55 to lower pollution (even though it was shown it would not impact Houston's pollution problem). The speed limit was relaxed and raised to 60-65 in some areas but no posted limits of 70mph in city limits anymore. And not for safety. The city likes those tickets (for revenue).


7 posted on 03/02/2006 7:38:38 PM PST by weegee ("Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but Democrats believe every day is April 15.")
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To: Turbopilot
"It's just so overwhelming," Hunter said Thursday, after leaving a midterm exam on Sufism and Islamic mysticism.

If she is still alive and failed to detonate her suicide bomb, she failed the exam.

8 posted on 03/02/2006 7:39:12 PM PST by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 10-17)
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To: Turbopilot

60 should be the national speed limit.

Not 55, not 65.... 60.


9 posted on 03/02/2006 7:39:28 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: Turbopilot
Movie here
10 posted on 03/02/2006 7:40:17 PM PST by cabojoe
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To: Looking4Truth

Just one more clever attempt to destroy America by impeding commerce by the tree-huggers.


11 posted on 03/02/2006 7:40:32 PM PST by pankot
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To: SteveMcKing

Why?


12 posted on 03/02/2006 7:40:47 PM PST by Turbopilot (Nothing in the above post is or should be construed as legal research, analysis, or advice.)
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To: Looking4Truth

Good post.


13 posted on 03/02/2006 7:41:15 PM PST by miliantnutcase
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To: DB
They were definitely impeding traffic which is also illegal.

Too bad you can't cite politicians for impeding traffic. Otherwise the fines from that could fund the government.

14 posted on 03/02/2006 7:41:39 PM PST by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
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To: DB

Problem is, I don't think all states have that law (although I'm not sure about Georgia - though from having learned to drive there and living there for years it's certainly not enforced). Even better would be a law requiring you to keep right except to pass, but I don't think anyplace in the U.S. has such a law on multilane roads.


15 posted on 03/02/2006 7:42:29 PM PST by Turbopilot (Nothing in the above post is or should be construed as legal research, analysis, or advice.)
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To: DB
They were definitely impeding traffic which is also illegal.

Of the 4 vehicles, the 3 in the left-ish passing lanes could have been cited for impeding traffic, as they should have been passing. Not sure if it was "illegal" in a technical sense.

16 posted on 03/02/2006 7:42:37 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: Turbopilot

I witnessed a police officer on mototcycle do this one day (zigzagging on the highway to keep all 6 lanes compliant). He rode like this for a few miles and then sped off (breaking the law, ass he did to also take the lead of the pack). I witnessed his full ride and never saw any traffic condition to warrant his morning commute behavior.

And I never saw him ticket any offenders who attempted (unsuccessfully) to pass him by going faster than 60MPH.

He never turned his flashing lights or siren on.


17 posted on 03/02/2006 7:43:17 PM PST by weegee ("Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but Democrats believe every day is April 15.")
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To: pankot
Just one more clever attempt to destroy America by impeding commerce by the tree-huggers.

Shouldn't some blame go to the people who posted the speed limits in the first place?

18 posted on 03/02/2006 7:43:26 PM PST by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
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To: pankot

I should think that if obeying the law impedes commerce, it is the law that is wrong and not the citizens.


19 posted on 03/02/2006 7:44:00 PM PST by Turbopilot (Nothing in the above post is or should be construed as legal research, analysis, or advice.)
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To: Turbopilot

Personal opinion.... (or, "God's Word" to me!)


20 posted on 03/02/2006 7:44:04 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: DB
If they were driving at the legal speed limit, how were they impeding traffic? If anything they were impeding others from driving illegaly (speeding).

I made the mistake of driving home to NC from Tennessee via ATL. Never, ever again! To think I thought driving through the mountains of NC in the middle of the night with tractor trailors on my rear and no way of escaping them was bad.

Why is everyone in such a hurry all the time?

21 posted on 03/02/2006 7:45:59 PM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: SteveMcKing

"I Can't Drive 55", vintage Sammie Hagar.


22 posted on 03/02/2006 7:46:51 PM PST by wouldntbprudent (If you can: Contribute more (babies) to the next generation of God-fearing American Patriots!)
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To: Turbopilot
There was little doubt what the students' companions on the road thought that sunny Friday in January. The video shows drivers' steadily mounting hostility to the blockade. Cars honk. They drive onto the shoulder to speed around the students. Obscene gestures are made. The money shot, however, was captured beautifully by Hunter, who stood with her camera on the Church Street bridge over I-285 to watch the approaching traffic.

What she saw was ... nothing. An empty highway, with one or two stray cars. And then, like the hordes on the horizon, over the rise come the students backed by a phalanx of cars, cars, cars. The film plays it for all it's worth, bouncing the image back and forth to the funky beat of the Guru Fish song "Plush."

"It was so fantastic," said Hunter. "I just started jumping up and down and going crazy. There's beeping horns and craziness."

Then it passed, Hunter said, and a woman driving on the bridge stopped and asked, "What was the point of all that?"

Hunter explained the project. It was to make people think, she said.

The woman amicably rolled her eyes, Hunter recalled. "It was kind of like, 'Oh, you kids and your statements.'"

LMAO... I can see why this won best comedy.

23 posted on 03/02/2006 7:47:38 PM PST by Fruitbat
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To: SteveMcKing

God told you what the speed limit should be??

Well, I guess that doesn't make any less sense than the way they're set now. Personally, I heard Vishnu ordained exactly 6.45 rods per second to be the holy velocity.


24 posted on 03/02/2006 7:51:20 PM PST by Turbopilot (Nothing in the above post is or should be construed as legal research, analysis, or advice.)
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To: Turbopilot
David Spear, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said if the students weren't blocking emergency vehicles and were going the speed limit, "they didn't do a thing wrong."

The state DOT disagrees with those who think these folks did something illegal. The people who passed on the berm were, however.

25 posted on 03/02/2006 7:51:56 PM PST by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: Looking4Truth
Speed limits of 55 miles an hour on highways designed for much faster speeds are stupid. Not only are they a revenue enhancement device for government, they suit the Lowest Common Denominator of society, the dumb idiots that shouldn't be driving anyway. Only in America can some dumbass with nothing more than a heartbeat going on for them can get a driver's license.

Part of the problem here is yet another fruit and reflection of our marvelous "individual rights" oriented society with everyone's petty rights taking precedent over any common good.

There's no practical driving methodology or system as there is in Germany where you move to the right if you aren't passing. It's one big freakin' free-for-all here. It's a real blast too when you have policeman wannabes intentionally sitting in the middle lane of the Capital Beltway doing 55 during rush hour.

There's far too great an overemphasis on speed too. It's fine to be swerving in and out of both lanes to one side with a drink in one hand, cell phone in the other, and an open laptop and some office papers as long as you're not speeding. But heaven help you if you're paying full attention doing 69 in a 55! Then it's "shame on you!"

26 posted on 03/02/2006 7:52:33 PM PST by Fruitbat
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To: pankot
"Just one more clever attempt to destroy America by impeding commerce by the tree-huggers."

Did you not read the article or watch the video? The "tree-huggers" want the law changed and were proving that a 55 mpg speed limit was not suitable or reasonable.

If they had their way commerece would occur at a faster rate than can legally be accomplished under the current speed limits.
27 posted on 03/02/2006 7:52:55 PM PST by TSgt (Extreme vitriol and rancorous replies served daily. - Mike W USAF)
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To: Right Wing Assault

Of course the DOT agrees, but they kind of have to. It's not as though a DOT spokesman could say, "It's bloody insane to think you can go exactly 55 on 285, and the law that says you have to is meant strictly to let us increase revenue and give us an excuse for pulling over anyone we think is suspicious."


28 posted on 03/02/2006 7:54:35 PM PST by Turbopilot (Nothing in the above post is or should be construed as legal research, analysis, or advice.)
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To: Turbopilot
Even better would be a law requiring you to keep right except to pass, but I don't think anyplace in the U.S. has such a law on multilane roads.

Trucks can't be in the left lane in the central Texas area on I-35.

29 posted on 03/02/2006 7:57:11 PM PST by TXBubba ( Democrats: If they don't abort you then they will tax you to death.)
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To: TXBubba

Yes, sorry, I should have specified passenger vehicles. I've driven on many freeways that prohibit trucks from the left lanes of roads with more than two lanes; in fact, I believe trucks are prohibited from the left half of the lanes on 285.


30 posted on 03/02/2006 8:00:54 PM PST by Turbopilot (Nothing in the above post is or should be construed as legal research, analysis, or advice.)
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To: Turbopilot
Of course the DOT agrees, but they kind of have to. It's not as though a DOT spokesman could say, "It's bloody insane to think you can go exactly 55 on 285, and the law that says you have to is meant strictly to let us increase revenue and give us an excuse for pulling over anyone we think is suspicious."

The DOT could argue that their behavior was unsafe because, had an emergency vehicle needed to get somewhere at faster than 55mph, their actions would likely have prevented it from doing so (the emergency vehicle could have gotten stuck in traffic far enough back that the obstructors would have been unable to see it and yield).

Of course, another issue that needs to be considered is that if a certain number of cars per minute are entering a road, stopping distance will be proportional to speed minus a constant. Thus, under some traffic conditons, 60mph may be safer than 55mph.

31 posted on 03/02/2006 8:01:39 PM PST by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
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To: SteveMcKing

How about 62, so that Canadians on the way to Florida can just think "100 km/hr"?


32 posted on 03/02/2006 8:01:40 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: Turbopilot

I think it is the closest thing we have to a "stay right" law.


33 posted on 03/02/2006 8:03:16 PM PST by TXBubba ( Democrats: If they don't abort you then they will tax you to death.)
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To: SteveMcKing; azhenfud
Why exactly do you believe the national government should set a speed limit? Not exactly the stance of a limited government conservative...

You don't have to worry though. Republicans in the past have been there and ready to protect you from yourself. I'm sure they will be there in the future....

34 posted on 03/02/2006 8:03:45 PM PST by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: SteveMcKing

60 is fine.....for a minimum speed limit.

Restrict all vehicles over six wheels (that means you punks pulling trailers, too) to the right one or two lanes and make the left or leftward lanes car only and if you get hit in the rear, it's your fault for not going fast enough.

Ayn Rand beats the crap out of Chomsky, for sure.


36 posted on 03/02/2006 8:08:19 PM PST by 308MBR ("Ah fell in ta a bhurnin' ring o' far")
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To: TXBubba
Trucks can't be in the left lane in the central Texas area on I-35.

Since when? I've repainted the doors on my car several times after having them blown off by an 18-wheeler on I-35 in the San Antonio area. /humor

37 posted on 03/02/2006 8:09:19 PM PST by Sarajevo
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To: PleaseNoMore
If they were driving at the legal speed limit, how were they impeding traffic?

Nobody said the law was perfect. If you're doing 55 in the left lane of the Dan Ryan expressway in Chicago, you are nowhere near the requisite 80 miles an hour, and you can/will be pulled over for impeding traffic (as well you should be). Just because you're not breaking one law doesn't mean that you're not breaking another.
38 posted on 03/02/2006 8:09:25 PM PST by July 4th (A vacant lot cancelled out my vote for Bush.)
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To: Turbopilot

Your quote took my by surprise; I am in the middle of Atlas Shrugged right now. (Thanks to the recommendation of Freepers....I read Fountainhead last year.)

Now, whenever I hear news on the radio, Ayn Rand's words come to mind, as if they were a prophesy. It is very strange.

I've just begun section III, which is, thankfully, more optimistic. I am so glad that our society has not (yet?) succombed to her awful vision in Part II.

Great story about the filming of the speed limit. I only go a few miles over the speed limit, but my husband still says I drive way too fast. He's such a pokey guy.


39 posted on 03/02/2006 8:10:31 PM PST by Republicanprofessor
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To: pankot
Bush's Fault!!!!
40 posted on 03/02/2006 8:11:15 PM PST by 69ConvertibleFirebird (Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.)
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To: billbears
I did not say that the national government should set a speed limit.

All states should set the speed limit independently. That limit should be 60, in my opinion.

41 posted on 03/02/2006 8:13:05 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: 308MBR
"Ayn Rand beats the crap out of Chomsky, for sure."

When all is said and done, they are both authors of fiction.

42 posted on 03/02/2006 8:15:05 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: SteveMcKing
60 should be the national speed limit.

Based on what?

43 posted on 03/02/2006 8:15:42 PM PST by TheBattman (Islam (and liberalism)- the cult of Satan and a Cancer on Society)
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To: billorites

ping.


44 posted on 03/02/2006 8:15:49 PM PST by Republicanprofessor
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To: TheBattman

God told me.


45 posted on 03/02/2006 8:17:01 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: SteveMcKing

"Not 55, not 65.... 60."


The only people I see driving that slow are old people with bad eyesight and stupid people who can think fast enough to drive any faster.


46 posted on 03/02/2006 8:17:44 PM PST by CodeToad
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To: DB
It also seems to me that the law requiring slower traffic to the right was being violated. They were definitely impeding traffic which is also illegal.

According to the article, they were going to the maximum speed allowed by law in all lanes.

47 posted on 03/02/2006 8:20:32 PM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: CodeToad
"The only people I see driving that slow are old people with bad eyesight and stupid people who can think fast enough to drive any faster."

What can I say. Crash and die. It's just that attitude that kills.

48 posted on 03/02/2006 8:20:52 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: SteveMcKing

I drive faster. I have to get to work. I get little sleep as is. I'm not getting up a half hour earlier. Highways were designed for rapid travel. 80 is normal for me.


49 posted on 03/02/2006 8:22:10 PM PST by SALChamps03
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To: Looking4Truth

In this matter, Sammy Hagar speaks for me..


50 posted on 03/02/2006 8:22:13 PM PST by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
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