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Thread: Government Shutdown and the Affordable Care Act

  1. #41
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer biggentleben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornhead View Post
    The tried and true "crazy person" argument. Show me the crazy. Asking Congress to live by the law as originally written until Obama unilaterally exempted them? Removing a tax on medical devices that actually improve healthcare? Funny how simply enrolling in Obamacare has been an ordeal despite ample time to prepare and less online traffic than anticipated. A taste of the incapable bureaucracy come.

    And if the Left is so weary of appeasement, why the concessions to some of the most brutal thugs in the world? Obama reached out to the new leader of Iran for discussion but won't afford the same courtesy to democratically elected leaders in his own country. I find that far more illuminating than this silly article.
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  2. #42
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    In terms of Christianity and Obamacare I would say that a majority of the religions are Christian in name only. Paul, Martin Luther, John Calvin et al founded religions based on what they believed Christianity to be.
    Mike wants wins might better know where the money goes but there is a large percentage that goes into events that happen because of nothing the person did wrong. Many cancers, juvenile diabetes, any disease associated with genetics, influenza, etc. Some thing we didn't have a clue about and caused harm to people, cigarettes to the WWII fighters for example. Preventative medicine is a good thing. As a society I have no problem us paying for it. We pay for a lot of bad stuff that never happened to us. We pay for a lot of things to prevent bad things from happening to others. I will probably never visit Acadia National Park. I pay a miniscule amount to that and other places I will never see. That should be part of society. Healthcare should be no different.

  3. #43
    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
    Well, I won't venture into the religious aspects of the discussion.
    But I will say that the Republicans are being childish.
    You don't have to like the law, but the process should be respected.
    The law was passed by Congress.
    It was upheld by the Supreme Court.
    It was upheld by the People when they overwhelmingly re elected President Obama.

    Again, people don't have to like the law, that is okay.
    But, respect the process, don't throw a tantrum like a little kid just because you didn't get your way.
    I would add that about 1.3 million more people voted for Democrats over Republicans for seats in the House of Representatives, but the Republicans won more seats as a result of gerrymandering.

  4. #44
    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    That's good, the question is - how much is this going to impact people 25-35 who are least likely to need health insurance, already strapped with much higher student loans than previous generations, and are likely not yet on a true career path but trying to make ends meet? Or the people working 2 or 3 jobs, one of which for benefits?

    This law is largely funded off of their backs, I have serious reservations about how that's going to play out economically. Ben's example above works fairly well for that.
    The law is also funded by taxes on people with high incomes and medical device manufacturers.

    "Individuals with annual incomes higher than $200,000 and couples who make more than $250,000 a year will face two new taxes — a 0.9-percent increase in the 1.45-percent Medicare levy on earnings above those income thresholds and a new 3.8-percent tax on investment income. Together, these two taxes are expected to raise about $318 billion over the next decade — roughly half of the law’s new tax revenue."

    As a capitalist and small business owner, I am happy to pay these taxes. It makes me feel good to contribute to helping people who would otherwise be uninsured. The idea of saving people who have curable diseases appeals to me.

    I agree that there are serious issues relating to student loans. I believe that inflation will eventually make such loans easier to repay. I also believe that we need to rethink our economy to deal with the fact that there are going to be millions less jobs as time passes, due to automation. The good news is that robots and computer programs will be doing more and more as time passes. The bad news is that millions more jobs will be going away. For the sake of younger people, I think that we need to work hard to make sure there will be jobs that allow them to prosper, but I don't think that this is a good reason for them to not participate in the ACA.

    Does anyone know if student loan payments count in computing the subsidies under the ACA?

  5. #45
    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornhead View Post
    The tried and true "crazy person" argument. Show me the crazy. Asking Congress to live by the law as originally written until Obama unilaterally exempted them? Removing a tax on medical devices that actually improve healthcare? Funny how simply enrolling in Obamacare has been an ordeal despite ample time to prepare and less online traffic than anticipated. A taste of the incapable bureaucracy come.

    And if the Left is so weary of appeasement, why the concessions to some of the most brutal thugs in the world? Obama reached out to the new leader of Iran for discussion but won't afford the same courtesy to democratically elected leaders in his own country. I find that far more illuminating than this silly article.
    The medical device industry enjoys very high profit margins and the excise tax of 2.3% seems like a fair price to pay for having millions more potential end users. This is less than the 3.8% additional tax that high income people will be paying.

    As for giving courtesy to the Tea Party, this works both ways. A majority of Americans voted for Obama and for Democratic candidates for both the Senate and the House. Due to gerrymandering, the Republicans retained the House, which does not seem very democratic to me -- more like a perversion of democracy.

  6. #46
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    I agree that there are serious issues relating to student loans. I believe that inflation will eventually make such loans easier to repay. I also believe that we need to rethink our economy to deal with the fact that there are going to be millions less jobs as time passes, due to automation.
    A couple things - first, automation has been a threat since the first factory was built. The issue isn't going to be the number of jobs but the reduced hours, pay, and security of full time positions. Its going to force people to work much harder to earn the same pay at (most likely) a time in their life they need health care the least.

    Secondly, inflation isn't going to change the loan problem. The loan problem was caused by the implementation of the program itself and the ludicrous notion of having virtually no accountability for colleges in keeping rates down. The program is nothing more than a slush fund for universities that has actually made the affordability of college LESS than what it was. I personally believe that impact has been a huge factor on a number of industries that are used to having more spending power available to 22-35 year olds.

  7. #47
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Also Glunn, you should note the phrasing of your link: "tax" revenues. The fees and issues I'm talking about aren't technically taxes. TheDems worked very hard to muddy those waters to sell this.

    So I'm sure there is a sizable chunk of the official taxes coming from the rich, it's the other penalties no one wants to call taxes that concerns me.

  8. #48
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Did I just read the word "appeasement" and talk about how opening up a conversation with the Iranians is a bad thing?

    I just got baited.

  9. #49
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    A general point: I have a hard time believing that Jesus would endorse capitalist economics. Now, maybe to his detriment (I would say because capitalism was necessary to generate massive wealth), but nonetheless.

    So a healthcare system that does quite little about the for-profit nature of the enterprise seems inadequate.

  10. #50
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornhead View Post
    The tried and true "crazy person" argument. Show me the crazy. Asking Congress to live by the law as originally written until Obama unilaterally exempted them? Removing a tax on medical devices that actually improve healthcare? Funny how simply enrolling in Obamacare has been an ordeal despite ample time to prepare and less online traffic than anticipated. A taste of the incapable bureaucracy come.

    And if the Left is so weary of appeasement, why the concessions to some of the most brutal thugs in the world? Obama reached out to the new leader of Iran for discussion but won't afford the same courtesy to democratically elected leaders in his own country. I find that far more illuminating than this silly article.
    It says a lot about the current state of the GOP that Obama can open negotiations with "brutal thugs" but not the opposing party in this country.

    This law passed Congress. It was upheld by the Supreme Court. The people of this country re-elected Obama despite the GOP platform of "stop Obamacare".

    As Shane said, respect the process. The minority GOP doesn't get to hijack the government just because they don't like something (and I don't even like Obamacare much).

  11. #51
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/us...anted=all&_r=0

    This is pretty illustrative.

    Why even talk to people who have been planning and scheming in every way possible to undermine you?

  12. #52
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    To be fair, both parties have played a significant role in getting to this point. But the Republicans around about 95% to blame for this particular situation.

  13. #53
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    To be fair, both parties have played a significant role in getting to this point. But the Republicans around about 95% to blame for this particular situation.
    Yep. There is no way to objectively look at this situation and say it is Obama's fault.

    The GOP tried and failed to overturn this bill 51 times, for crying out loud.

    I don't like Obama at this point (his drone strikes and hawkish nature re: privacy and security have completely turned me against him) but let's call a spade a spade here. The GOP is completely out of line right now and we'll all be better off if the American public tells them as much next election. This country badly needs to get back to the point where the GOP moderates are allowed to influence the party and not be cast to the side in favor of the fringe lunatics.

  14. #54
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    I wish someone could explain to me how a Christian could oppose the Affordable Care Act.

    In the New Testament, Jesus clearly advocates the importance of helping poor people:

    Matthew 25:34-36 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me."

    Mark 10:21-22 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

    Mark 12:41-44 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."

    Luke 14:12-14 He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

    Luke 16:19-25 "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.' But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.


    How can any Christian oppose the implementation of the Affordable Care Act? Someone please explain this to me.
    As a Christian, the first thing I need to clearly state is that your understanding and use of Scripture is incredibly poor. Proper exegesis always takes the passages in question within their appropriate context. Jesus's commands to Christians to take care of the poor do not obligate Christians, non-Christians, or otherwise to forcibly remove wealth from the people to redistribute it to others. These passages are not a call for a government sponsored healthcare or anything of the sort... as a matter of fact, they have nothing to do with government at all. They are a personal call to sacrifice.

    Likewise, the call here says nothing of forcing everyone to make sacrifices. As a believer, I give a large portion of my income to various Christian charities, so much so that it hurts, which I do in large part because of the passages above. This does not obligate you to do the same, nor does it obligate me to support the government's attempt at doing this.

    I get the need for social justice, and I will not argue if you were to state that the church has been lacking in this area for some time, but to conclude that because Jesus says we should give means that we should support a deeply flawed program that does nothing to address the actual causes of this mess (and greed plays a real big one here as the health system has been engineered in such a way to allow for several groups of people to create and take advantage of cash cows) is beyond silly.


    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    I also cannot understand how a non-Christian could oppose this. Previously, any uninsured poor person could always get FREE treatment at the local emergency room. This is very inefficient and helps explain why some hospitals can charge $50 for an aspirin or some other item what costs less than a dollar. The cost of poor people going to the emergency room gets passed on to many of the people who oppose the Affordable Care Act, and it is indisputable that emergency rooms are a very expensive and inefficient way to provide care. For example, if someone has curable cancer, wouldn't it be better to give them chemo once a week than pay for the 10 or 20 emergency room visits until they die? Do I even have to ask what Jesus would say?
    Nothing is free. The first problem I have is what is being assumed here and in a few of your other posts. We do not have a right to healthcare. We have a right to exist, and in our nation, we have a right to liberty (at least that's what our propaganda says, reality is a bit different)... Liberties, I'd add, that are being stepped on both by the Affordable Care Act, and walking into emergency rooms and demanding free care. What's not being said here is that there's a cost problem.

    Costs have spiraled out of control, and no one is looking into why it is that this is the case. There was a day, not all that long ago, where people paid for a doctor just as they paid for a plumber. You didn't have a 3rd party payer, and if you couldn't pay, you typically worked something out with the doctor. Medicine wasn't all that expensive. Something has changed. Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry personally, and having family members involved in various parts of the medical industry, I can tell you for certain that this is a system that is in desperate need of reform from the inside out. There are large groups of people benefiting from it in ways that make them very rich and have done so on the backs of everyone else. They can do that because they've created conflicts of interest, barriers to entry, unnecessary regulation, etc. in order to increase their profits... and they've been able to act unchecked.


    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    And to those who say that this is socialistic, it seems to me that Medicare and Social Security are more socialistic. The Affordable Care Act, like Romneycare (which seems to be working in Massachusetts), is based on creating competition among private insurers. This approach was invented by Republicans, and initially opposed by Democrats who preferred a single payer solution, modeled on Medicare.
    They are all socialistic, and personally I'm against all of them. Of course I'm neither a Republican or a Democrat.

  15. #55
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    And to the civil libertarians, your rights end when you ask me to pay for your failure to provide for your own economic costs. If you drive without car insurance, others will have to pay if you get into an accident and cripple someone. Don't ask me to pay for your health care, unless you genuinely cannot afford it. Yes, I admit that there is a part of me that would not mind seeing some Tea Party adherents experience poetic justice by dying of curable cancer because they were too irresponsible to buy medical insurance, but deep down I agree with Jesus on this.
    I missed the part where Jesus weighed in on health insurance. If you want to know what the Bible says, it calls us to care for the needy within our family first and for the church to handle those who have no family to take care of them. I Timothy 5 provides a good example of this, as Paul makes it clear that it's my responsibility to take care of the needy in my family and the church's responsibility to take care of those who have no family to take care of them. I'm not a tea-party guy, and truth be told, most of them probably have insurance, recognize that economic system is setup in this country to destroy the middle class, and just want to keep what little they have left. I agree that I shouldn't ask you to pay for my healthcare if I can afford it.

    I'll take it a step further, I should not be asking you to pay my medical bills at all. I know it sounds uncaring, cold, or even inhumane, but healthcare is not a right. The rich have always been able to get better healthcare than the poor, and if I cannot afford to pay for the options on the table, then I need to look into less expensive options.

    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    And to the Republicans who complain that this does not apply to Congress and the Executive Branch, I agree with that. On the other hand, how many women and children would you like to die of cancer next year because they cannot afford treatment? And you might want to read Luke 16:19-25 again. Do you really want to argue with St. Peter at the gates of heaven that you let poor people suffer and die because the legislation was not perfect???
    The ones who will be arguing with St. Peter at the gates of heaven are going to be the ones that did nothing while expecting the almighty government to do everything. Again, I've read Luke 16 many many times. This is a personal call. A call for me to give, to do so sacrificially, and make a difference. It has nothing to with affordable healthcare. When the Bible discusses subjects such as the future, worry, etc. it says something along the lines of "do not worry about what tomorrow will bring". Read Matthew 6 when you have a chance. Jesus commands his listeners not to worry about food and clothing etc. as God will take care of them. When it discusses things like sickness, it commands us to pray, lay hands, and anoint with oil (see James 5). It does not call me to force you to pay my medical bills.

    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    Almost every civilized foreign country (and Massachusetts) has government supported health care. So far, God has not rained hell storms on these places. Instead, many of these countries have better results than we do in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality and other important measures of success.
    Almost every civilized foreign country has no military obligations and lets the US do it for them. It's pretty easy to have free healthcare when someone else is spending more than a trillion dollars a year keeping you safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    One thing that I believe everyone can agree on is that there is lots of room for improvement in the law. If not for the lobbyists in Congress, I think that this would have been a much cleaner, simpler and less expensive statute. What I would love to see would be for the Republicans and the Democrats make amendments that cut costs, but unfortunately the lobbyists seem to be able to block changes that might reduce the profits of their clients -- companies who are making a killing with profit margins on medical devices and drugs that far exceed what they would get if Medicare and insurance exchanges were allowed to negotiate prices in an open market.
    It isn't just the lobbyists, though they are a huge problem. The system itself is broken. It starts with the idea of having a 3rd payer, but that is hardly the only problem. That right there eliminates the concept of personal responsibility for healthcare. It takes it to a convenience. We don't sit down and look at healthcare in terms of what we can afford, or not afford. We don't even look at it as true insurance. There was a time when insurance policies were for catastrophic events. That has long passed and now they cover everything, and make me responsible for nothing. Costs were a lot lower back then, and ironically, if you couldn't afford to pay, people still managed to find a way to work things out.

    Likewise, there's no competition. Because of this, providers can charge what they want for their services. They don't have to publish their rates, so the same procedure can cost a vastly different amount of money from one provider to the next. A few years back, when I was my own employer, I had only a major medical plan with an HSA. My son had a sore throat and was going to need a throat culture. I called a provider to find out what they charged for the procedure. They refused to tell me (even though I was going to pay cash for it)... Refused. I was told that the rate "depends". In most other industries, this practice would be blatantly illegal and borderline fraudulent.

    There's large barriers to entry all over medicine as well, and these are also created to keep the supply of doctors low so as to increase the price. It also keeps the cost of pharmaceuticals high as well, not to mention the conflicts of interest that exist there too.

    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    Finally, I am concerned that doctors and other medical professionals have been squeezed and may become more squeezed unless they can get a fairer share of health care revenues. Unfortunately for them, their lobbying power is no match for the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and insurance companies. This has been getting worse for years, and I don't think that the Affordable Care Act will make much of a difference either way, but this is something that I think that people should really worry about.

    What do you think?
    Most medical doctors I've met are quite well off... far better off than I am, and I am doing quite well for myself. I don't think they are being squeezed. The ones being squeezed are the rank and file support people. My brother in law is an MRI tech. People like him get crapped on all the time. He doesn't make a lot of money, and his employer restricts his hours to 32 hours a week so they don't have to pay him benefits. His employer is a hospital that is one of the largest publicly traded hospital systems in the country, bringing in billions a year in revenue. There's one expansion project after another where he works. And the Affordable Care Act isn't going to fix that.

  16. #56
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    I don't think that this is about what people are allowed to believe. I do think that history proves that unregulated capitalism would be disastrous. I also think that it's pretty clear that Jesus would be in favor of laws that allow poor people to have access to affordable health care, even if this means reducing the profit margins of insurance companies to 10 to 20% per year.
    I agree with your premise that capitalism needs to be regulated, but the ironic thing is that what we have going with the affordable health care act does nothing to actually regulate it. As a matter of fact, the regulation that exists is setup in such a way as to make it more expensive and allow for certain individuals to pillage the system. Regulation has stopped being about right and wrong and is instituted in a way to make people rich at the expense of others. Neither party is regulating it in a healthy way.

    As for your second premise, Jesus went out of his way to avoid political issues. His enemies tried on more than one occasion to trap him there. His only advice on politics was to pay Caesar what is Caesar's and to pay God what is God's.

  17. #57
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    I agree that there are serious issues relating to student loans. I believe that inflation will eventually make such loans easier to repay. I also believe that we need to rethink our economy to deal with the fact that there are going to be millions less jobs as time passes, due to automation. The good news is that robots and computer programs will be doing more and more as time passes. The bad news is that millions more jobs will be going away. For the sake of younger people, I think that we need to work hard to make sure there will be jobs that allow them to prosper, but I don't think that this is a good reason for them to not participate in the ACA.

    Does anyone know if student loan payments count in computing the subsidies under the ACA?
    Inflation is one of the system costs that we rarely discuss, or understand. It's the reason why people do not save. Their purchasing power is reduced. Inflation is just another tax, and while it may make loans easier to repay down the road, that only works if your income keeps up or exceeds it. The problem is that for the last decade income has been stagnant, and adjusted for inflation, incomes are dropping. Inflation is one of the big things destroying this economy and at one point, your dollar won't be worth the paper it's printed on.

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    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    Yep. There is no way to objectively look at this situation and say it is Obama's fault.

    The GOP tried and failed to overturn this bill 51 times, for crying out loud.

    I don't like Obama at this point (his drone strikes and hawkish nature re: privacy and security have completely turned me against him) but let's call a spade a spade here. The GOP is completely out of line right now and we'll all be better off if the American public tells them as much next election. This country badly needs to get back to the point where the GOP moderates are allowed to influence the party and not be cast to the side in favor of the fringe lunatics.
    We will be better off when the American people send both parties packing. Not until then.

  19. #59
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
    We will be better off when the American people send both parties packing. Not until then.
    Well, yes. But you cut out the biggest tumor first.

  20. #60
    Speediest Moderator All-Star snepp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    Well, yes. But you cut out the biggest tumor first.
    Unfortunately it's going to take more than a little cutting to get rid of that growth.
    "Maybe you could go grab a bat and ball… and learn something. Maybe you will get it."
    - Strib commenter educating the elitists on the value of RBI's

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