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What's Happening to Conservative Websites?
vanity | 3-7-07 | Bob J

Posted on 03/07/2007 6:57:43 PM PST by Bob J

I have diligently watched the rise in size and influence of conservative websites, including Free Republic, over the last 7-8 years. I have been shocked and concerned over the drop in traffic at the most popular ones over the last year or so. There was good growth up until 2006 but since then there has been a steady downtrend that would crash any other market.

Anyone have any ideas as to what is happening? I'm out of explanations. The deficiencies in alexa.com are noted, but even if the numbers aren't accurate you're still comparing off numbers to off numbers so the decline is consistent.



TOPICS: Free Republic
KEYWORDS: conservative; freerepublic; internet
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To: Bob J

As with most things in life, the creme rises to the top, the rest go sour...


201 posted on 03/07/2007 8:09:36 PM PST by FrankR (hillary is a bitter ex-hippie, obsessed with power ...show her the door.)
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To: chasio649
I can say that i have never clicked on that thread...proudly i guess.

Here's your chance. You know you want to.

202 posted on 03/07/2007 8:10:44 PM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: CWOJackson
You are a classic example of what most folks are talking about.

I pale in comparison to your nastiness, which is legendary.

203 posted on 03/07/2007 8:11:29 PM PST by Pelham (California, Mexico's HMO)
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To: JennysCool

I don't think this is something liberals can be blamed for. THINGS CHANGE. Times change...situations change. And if you don't want to change, that's fine. But that's how things become extinct. Sorry.


204 posted on 03/07/2007 8:13:50 PM PST by Hildy (RINO=RUDY IS NUMBER ONE)
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To: Pelham
LOL! Which is why you applauded a post that a lot of folks pointed out as indicated of a problem.

Don't be so modest. Now, if you'd care not to hijack the thread for your ego.

205 posted on 03/07/2007 8:15:00 PM PST by CWOJackson
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To: Bob J
Bob J wrote:

Unfortunately the libertarian vs. conservative thingy led to our first big blowout on FR...the Dec '98 "Night of the Long Knives"...heheh

There have been other nights of the long knives.

A number, myself included, were threatened with banning when we voiced opposition to the political hukster Alan Keyes, who has now left the GOP for the Constitution Party.

This left a bad taste in the mouths of some of the most intelligent Freepers, some of whom decided to go elsewhere.

Some of the damage to Free Republic was self-inflicted.

206 posted on 03/07/2007 8:15:58 PM PST by quidnunc (Omnis Gaul delenda est)
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To: Mr. Jeeves

"Probably the widening gulf of inconsistency between the stated philosophy and the real-life actions of the Republican Party got to be too much for many people."




Close enough.


207 posted on 03/07/2007 8:16:10 PM PST by ansel12 (America, love it ,or at least give up your home citizenship before accepting ours too.)
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To: Interesting Times

Wouldn't be prudent at this juncture ;)


208 posted on 03/07/2007 8:16:25 PM PST by chasio649
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To: Interesting Times

That thread has been one of the most depressing developments on FR in the time I've been here.. 2 years and 9 months.

Everytime that header pops up on Latest Posts, my spirit sinks.


209 posted on 03/07/2007 8:17:38 PM PST by La Enchiladita (Hunter/Poe 2008 "Once again, our government is on the wrong side of the border war")
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To: Bob J

How about this: A lot of conservatives has realized that they wasted their time the last 10 years fighting for GOP control of gov't, since the GOP has turned out to be bigger spenders than the dems ever were. Therefore, they have lost interest.


210 posted on 03/07/2007 8:17:48 PM PST by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: M. Thatcher
Please name names.

You're not one but would you like to be in the contending? You could be a runner up if you'd like. All you'd have to do is find someone who doesn't agree with you on an issue, call them a really bad name (retread, SOB, idiot, etc)

211 posted on 03/07/2007 8:17:54 PM PST by ozarkgirl (Duncan Hunter 2008!!)
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To: All

Going to have to leave for a bite, but I guess the next question is how do we keep FR relevent?


212 posted on 03/07/2007 8:18:21 PM PST by Bob J (RIGHTALK.com...a conservative alternative to NPR!)
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To: Bob J; All
The question would better be put as: Why are conservative websites still kicking the pants off liberal websites?

After years of fawning coverage by the MSM of liberal websites, those sites still can't best conservatives.

But, if you have an agenda, you might just look at half the equation.

213 posted on 03/07/2007 8:18:54 PM PST by kristinn
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To: COEXERJ145; Bob J
...but rarely did I see members threatening to kill each other over it. Immigration has people calling for violence, against both illegals and any member that doesn't agree with the border bots.

A related problem are posters who smear border control members with charges of inciting murder.

This is an echo of the hard left's old line of charging 'racism' to silence all debate, and it's equally dishonest.

214 posted on 03/07/2007 8:19:40 PM PST by Pelham (California, Mexico's HMO)
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To: quidnunc; Bob J

I have to agree with your post #115. In California we are losing so much ground because unelectable candidates are put up by the Republican party. We need redistricting and open primaries - otherwise it is just the fringe and often inept candidates that win the primary but lose out in the general.


215 posted on 03/07/2007 8:21:13 PM PST by Rabid Dog
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To: CWOJackson

Jackson, you win.

I have read you long enough to know that's what you live for.


216 posted on 03/07/2007 8:21:41 PM PST by Pelham (California, Mexico's HMO)
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To: Bob J
how do we keep FR conservatives relevant?

Fixed it...

217 posted on 03/07/2007 8:22:48 PM PST by Enosh ()
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To: Bob J

I, for one, just don't care anymore. Why bother? We lose at every turn. Bush stabs us in the back and is incompetent. Those in power can't fight the liberal left because they don't even try.

The borders are erased. Our soldiers are abandoned. Bush is a fool. The bureaucracy rules and is totally on the left. The majority of Americans are fools. We can't win.

It's bread and circuses and we are doomed. Fortunately the first to go will be the left when NY, and San Fran and DC and Chicago, etc. are nuked first.

And don't give me the pep talk. It's over.


218 posted on 03/07/2007 8:24:12 PM PST by Fledermaus (Who cares anymore?)
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To: Bob J
"Going to have to leave for a bite, but I guess the next question is how do we keep FR relevent?"

That question might be premature. It might be more revealing to ask what everyone will do if Guliani wins the Republican nomination then try to determine whether there is a common cause for relevancy.

219 posted on 03/07/2007 8:24:32 PM PST by CWOJackson
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To: Bob J

Free Republic is about the only conservative discussion web site I go to. My only complaint about the web site is when ever one expresses an opinion that might not lean the conservative way, people are quick to call you a troll, or other names, worst of all liberal. I like to play devils advocate on various topics, like the hypocrisy of some talk show host's, and other controversial events of the day. I am amazed how I will be called a moron without anyone ever addressing my points that I bring up. Don't get me wrong, some liberal sites like News hound are not any better, but I expect the name calling from those sites. I like to have good old fashion debate without being insulted. I think that might be why some of these conservative sites might be losing traffic.


220 posted on 03/07/2007 8:24:36 PM PST by hodaka
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To: All

It's kinda funny...folks on this thread are stating opposite reasons as to why site traffic is down. The same thing happens when folks give their opinion as to why the Republicans were defeated the last go around, whether or not Rudy is electable, and so on.

FR seems to be every bit as internally polarized as liberals and conservatives are nationwide. I think it's sad when no middle ground can be found even between center right and far right conservatives. I think it's safe to say that most posters here have more in common politically than not, but even minor differences in ideology are exaggerated to an absurd degree, and result in insult-laden arguments.

Add to that a paranoid atmosphere—people are labeled DU trolls and zotted far too quickly, in my opinion—and a degree of elitism toward newer posters—will I have to be signed up here for four years or more before I can safely post my thoughts?—and you have a site that is a bit on the unwelcoming side, to say the least.

If FR is a microcosm of the state of conservatism nationwide, then I fear conservatives are in for some serious pain come '08.


221 posted on 03/07/2007 8:27:48 PM PST by Mark-in-Kentucky (Check out my sites, www.spacebuffs.com and www.ageofantiquity.com)
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To: Fledermaus

And don't give me the pep talk. It's over.


Thanks for the cheery thought to go to bed on. :)


222 posted on 03/07/2007 8:28:23 PM PST by freedomfiter2 (Duncan Hunter: pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-border control, pro-family)
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To: Bob J

FreeRepublic needs a web 2.0 makeover with a better comment system. The community is great but the interface is dated.


223 posted on 03/07/2007 8:29:16 PM PST by dan1123
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To: Bob J

"If you Alexa didn't see you last year it also didn't see you this year."

People have become much more aware of, and concerned about, spyware and adware, and an ever-increasing number of internet users are inadvertantly "zapping" Alexa as a result.


224 posted on 03/07/2007 8:29:23 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: quidnunc
A number, myself included, were threatened with banning when we voiced opposition to the political hukster Alan Keyes,

I'm not sure what the context of your objection was but if it was the Illinois Senate campaign what would have been your point? He was running as a favor to the party. I don't even think he wanted to, and he got some real personal suffering as a result of it.

225 posted on 03/07/2007 8:29:52 PM PST by Tribune7 (A bleeding heart does nothing but ruin the carpet)
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To: dan1123

"FreeRepublic needs a web 2.0 makeover with a better comment system. The community is great but the interface is dated."

Go back to DU, troll.

:)


226 posted on 03/07/2007 8:30:08 PM PST by wolf24 ("It's always easy to rally the stupid.")
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To: La Enchiladita

Same here, I still think it's the best. I suppose I could check out the "alleged" others, but I like the discussion here when the nags aren't slashing anyone. :)


227 posted on 03/07/2007 8:31:43 PM PST by ozarkgirl (Duncan Hunter 2008!!)
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To: Bob J
1) As others have posted, the numbers are percentage of Internet users who visit the site. As there are more sites to browse yet still 24 hours in a day, the number of viewers to any particular site should fall. This is the same problem that has dogged network TV after the advent of cable.

2) Traffic on political-oriented sites tends to fall after elections. You see the same pattern with DU. They've been trending downward recently, too:


3) This forum hasn't changed with the times. For example, as far as I know, we can't post direct YouTube or video links in a thread. Even some of the dead tree sellers' websites have started to integrate video into their offerings.

4) Along the same lines, Free Republic has pretty much remained a forum and hasn't tried to branch out into other things, like adding personal blogs. Daily Kos' numbers have gone up a lot recently as they've added things like their Wikipedia ripoff. Keeping it simple has its advantages, though, and I'm not sure adding additional crap for the sake of adding additional crap is the right way to go.

5) There are a small but loud number of single-issue posters that try to bully those who dare question the party line on those issues. In particular, anyone who tries to explain that we're not at war with all Muslims, that the immigration issue isn't as simple as it sounds or that there may be a legitimate reason why a politician/judge/prosecutor is doing something we'd rather he not do usually gets attacked. And sometimes, the more you try to inject reason with researched and linked facts, the more personal attacks become. Those with thin skin or who have better things to do just leave the site and don't come back.

6) Conservatives have been defeated and are split. The so-called "progressives" have become better organized at researching and selling their spin while lobbing issue grenades that sometimes split the traditional conservative base.
228 posted on 03/07/2007 8:31:52 PM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: Bob J

All the old folks who believe in God and country are dying off.
A large portion of the younger citizens don't care.YET.


229 posted on 03/07/2007 8:32:09 PM PST by philetus (Keep doing what you always do and you'll keep getting what you always get.)
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To: Bob J

Perhaps REAL conservatives are not interested in threads about rudy, anna nicole, brittany or the dem leadership takeover....wait till the next election and watch the numbers.......


230 posted on 03/07/2007 8:33:44 PM PST by tioga
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To: Bob J

According the Dems they will be made illegal because they make fun of homosexuals.


231 posted on 03/07/2007 8:34:03 PM PST by lndrvr1972
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To: KoRn

Look at my signup date. rathergate brought me here as well.


232 posted on 03/07/2007 8:34:28 PM PST by processing please hold (Duncan Hunter '08) (ROP and Open Borders-a terrorist marriage and hell's coming with them)
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To: ozarkgirl

It can be entertaining when it isn't happening to you, but it's basically pointless and I think the diversion is deliberate.


233 posted on 03/07/2007 8:35:52 PM PST by La Enchiladita (Hunter/Poe 2008 "Once again, our government is on the wrong side of the border war")
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To: Tribune7
Tribune7 wrote: (A number, myself included, were threatened with banning when we voiced opposition to the political hukster Alan Keyes,) I'm not sure what the context of your objection was but if it was the Illinois Senate campaign what would have been your point? He was running as a favor to the party. I don't even think he wanted to, and he got some real personal suffering as a result of it.

The context was that Keyes is a political charlatan who runs for office not to win, but to use campaign contributions as his personal income.

234 posted on 03/07/2007 8:37:14 PM PST by quidnunc (Omnis Gaul delenda est)
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To: 68 grunt; Bob J
We are fully infiltrated with fifth columnists whose intent is to neutralized this, and all, conservative websites, They do this by pretending to be one of us. Like Norman Lear did with Archie Bunker. The intention of these phonies is to frustrate anyone who would like to participate, frustrate them to the point of ambivalence, or resentment. We're filthy with these scumbags.

Bob, I believe this to be very true, there are even some pretenders who have been here since 2000 that I still wrestle with.

Also, there have been some very devisive issues here (Terry, borders, Keyes, etc) and some new ones on the horizon (Rudy, Mitt) that will naturally drive some people away.

Conservatives are more principled than our lib counterparts, who will march in straight lines over the cliff together. Considering the amount of infiltrators and attacks we have had, it's a miracle we are still here and going strong. Credit to Jim for having the guts to stick this out, his way.

As you realized earlier, this is really a percentage of the available market, which keeps getting larger. FR is not growing along with the overall growth of the market, but the number of users is relatively stable.

Last, don't forget we are on the brink of 'Clinton II'...that should bring lots of activity back here as things get closer to crunch time.

235 posted on 03/07/2007 8:37:40 PM PST by NewLand (Always remember September 11, 2001)
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To: processing please hold

"Look at my signup date. rathergate brought me here as well."

It was a fun night when TankerKC and Buckhead dropped their bombs. I had the good fortune of "attending" those threads.....


236 posted on 03/07/2007 8:37:47 PM PST by wolf24 ("It's always easy to rally the stupid.")
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To: Fledermaus
We lose at every turn.

What are you talking about. The biggest conservative cause of the last generation was communism. Everyone -- including Whittaker Chambers -- was predicting it would win. It didn't, we did.

The biggest conservative issues of the last 10 years were abortion and 2nd Amendment. We've seen a sea change in public opinion in our favor on both those issues.

Dan Rather is gone, Katie Couric is in last place and the existence of media bias is accepted.

The only way to lose is to quit.

Bush stabs us in the back and is incompetent.

I guess you are still one of the few that get your news from the drive-by media.

The economy is doing well and we haven't been attacked at home since 9/11. We are winning the war on terror.

237 posted on 03/07/2007 8:40:31 PM PST by Tribune7 (A bleeding heart does nothing but ruin the carpet)
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To: Bob J

I'll bet LGF is up.


238 posted on 03/07/2007 8:40:57 PM PST by SwankyC
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To: mike_9958

what mess?....WHAT MESS?....BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA...you still drinking the koolaid about the Iraq mess? BWAHAHAHHAHAHA! Dude, you are a dying breed. Nuke that crap hole country and draw a line in the sand and say to the isalmists "cross this line and we nuke another country". Its the only thing the crazies understand; brutal force.


239 posted on 03/07/2007 8:40:57 PM PST by stuck_in_new_orleans
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To: Bob J

Thanks for posting this. Fascinating graph. Bump for later.


240 posted on 03/07/2007 8:41:23 PM PST by Kevmo (Duncan Hunter just needs one Rudy G Campaign Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVBtPIrEleM)
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To: All
Anyone have any ideas as to what is happening?

Free Republic seems to ban quite a few of 'legitimate' conservatives for silly reasons maybe close to 30% and it only seems to be getting worse as the issues make us more ornery and divisive.

241 posted on 03/07/2007 8:41:43 PM PST by whatisthetruth
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To: conservative in nyc
Looking at that graph by itself, it says the two sites are becoming mirror images of themselves.

I don't lurk there, but I've seen snippets of the insane crap spewed there.

Being a member of the Class of 98, I've seen the change in overall tone in here.

Botton line is that to anyone not sharing our ideology, the average lurker only has to touch on the immigration threads to see the dirth of intellect and the abundance of Archie Bunker rhetoric.

Goes to show you that when you have a large 'family', you get more crazy uncles.

242 posted on 03/07/2007 8:42:14 PM PST by DCPatriot ("It aint what you don't know that kills you. It's what you know that aint so" Theodore Sturgeon))
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To: Bob J

People have become very nasty Bob. We've both been here a long time and have gone through flame wars that would roast the skin off your back, but this is different. This is just nasty and there has not been the honest, intellectual debate just crash and slam.


243 posted on 03/07/2007 8:42:47 PM PST by McGavin999 ("Hard is not Hopeless" General Petraeus)
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To: quidnunc
The context was that Keyes is a political charlatan who runs for office not to win, but to use campaign contributions as his personal income.

So, the Illinois GOP screws up, can't get a candidate, calls in Keyes at the last minute for a completely no-chance campaign, and you bitch about it. And then you whine that the powers-that-be got mad at you.

244 posted on 03/07/2007 8:44:29 PM PST by Tribune7 (A bleeding heart does nothing but ruin the carpet)
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To: whatisthetruth

How would you arrive at 30% of conservatives being banned? What are the silly reasons?


245 posted on 03/07/2007 8:45:12 PM PST by Williams
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To: idkfa; Bob J; EternalHope; evilC; Interesting Times; Nick Danger
My bookmark goes right to the (FR) forum so Alexa doesn't even see me.

Same here, plus FR is my homepage on my laptop. How can we be sure Alexa "sees" us?

246 posted on 03/07/2007 8:47:32 PM PST by nutmeg (National Security trumps everything else.)
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To: Mark-in-Kentucky

Disagreeing on what is "conservative" was an issue when Buckley founded National Review in 1955, and it hasn't stopped since.

But when the site mods purge posters whose idea of conservative differs from theirs, the site loses traffic. And some of us remember large purges, which eliminated posters for stating opinions that are now standard here.

Some of these posters were members of long standing. I don't know if they would return if they were asked to.


247 posted on 03/07/2007 8:49:48 PM PST by Pelham (California, Mexico's HMO)
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To: La Enchiladita; carolinalivin
Everytime that header pops up on Latest Posts, my spirit sinks.

Which is one of the many reasons why I view this site by thread instead of by post, and refresh threads I'm interested in every now and then. It makes it much easier to weed out threads you don't care about.

But just because I don't care about the Anna Nicole saga (or any other particular issue) doesn't mean I don't think it deserves to be on this website. If people want to discuss something I'm not interested in, I don't have to click on the thread.

The one thing that really bugs me is one sentence article posts, especially from people who excerpt a misleading sentence or two in furtherance of an agenda.
248 posted on 03/07/2007 8:50:14 PM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: wolf24
It was a fun night when TankerKC and Buckhead dropped their bombs. I had the good fortune of "attending" those threads.....

Lucky you.

I love FR and it was a remedy for my cussing a blue streak. On yahoo political sites your cussing was only limited my your imagination. I could get Marines covering their ears and running for cover when islam was the topic. I was always fighting with them over Bush and islam. Yahoo political sites are not for conservatives.

I haven't been there for a year and a half of more, don't know if it's still like that now or not.

249 posted on 03/07/2007 8:50:33 PM PST by processing please hold (Duncan Hunter '08) (ROP and Open Borders-a terrorist marriage and hell's coming with them)
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To: La Enchiladita

You think they're deliberate trolls? I just thought they were 60 yr old women with too much money and too little to do. And with really nasty dispositions.... :)


250 posted on 03/07/2007 8:51:55 PM PST by ozarkgirl (Duncan Hunter 2008!!)
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