GOP Losing Patience With Obama?

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Barack, Democrats, Legislation, Republicans

That’s apparently the word from The Hill, but…umm, yeah, it’s been 10 days folks.

The scoop…

Republicans wrapped up their retreat Friday by signaling they are losing patience with President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) criticized the new administration on Friday, saying it had promised to reach out to Republicans on the Capitol Hill, but then offered an economic recovery package that included few, if any, proposals from the minority party.

Romney, who helped write the House Republican substitute voted down Wednesday afternoon, said enough of the rhetoric, it’s time for Obama to act.

“Meeting with someone is not negotiating, meeting with someone to say ‘here’s my plan, take it or leave it,’ that is not negotiating, that is not reaching out,” Romney told reporters after his lunchtime speech.

Okay, first off, that’s not what Obama has been doing and Romney knows this. Obama took out a few things that Republicans wanted and has signaled that he’s willing to do more. Also, 33% of the stimulus is made up of tax cuts. True, they may not be the exact type of tax cut that the Republicans want, but the party that’s out of power can’t dictate to the party that’s in power how to cross the Ts and dot the Is. That’s not how it works.

So Romney is seriously warping what Obama has done, said, etc. This isn’t surprising since we know he’ll run in 2012, but it’s disappointing.

Here’s more about House Republicans…

Boehner noted he made it clear to Obama after the vote that Republicans would remain united if the final stimulus bill did not include tax relief increases and cut down on government spending.

But Boehner seemed to place most of the blame with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) when he said he was realistic about how much a new president, 10 days into his term, can do when faced with powerful forces at the other end of Pennsylvania Ave.

Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) agreed.

“President Obama is saying one thing – Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are doing another, that’s at the end of the day what we’re dealing with,” Cantor said. “Either they are going to be about a real stimulus bill or they’re not. They’re nothing but the biggest spending plan to come across the House floor. Period.”

Again, this simply isn’t true.

Pelosi and Reid are taking things out at the behest of Obama, who has talked to the Republicans. But they’re not just going to automatically roll over if they think something should be in the bill.

Also, sooner or later the GOP is going to have to wake up to the fact that they’re not going to get the stimulus bill that they want. Will they get bits and pieces of what they want? Sure, and the bill looks like it’ll be revised in the Senate this week to include more GOP ideas. But if they honestly expect to be writing this legislation after they stood watch on one of the worst economic collapses in our nation’s history, they’re just not being realistic.

More as it develops…


This entry was posted on Saturday, January 31st, 2009 and is filed under Barack, Democrats, Legislation, Republicans. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

22 Responses to “GOP Losing Patience With Obama?”

  1. Mike Says:

    It’s funny how the tax cuts in the stimulus are spun as being included as a concession to Republicans. Let’s not forget that Obama promised to lower taxes. It’s true that some Democrats don’t think they are a good idea (and thus love to blame Republicans for them), but it’s clear that Obama does think they are a good idea. So that doesn’t count as a concession to Republicans.

    Secondly, I’ve noticed that it is a tactic of both sides to introduce bills with provisions designed to be dropped in order to appear to be compromising. It seemed to me the Democrats were a little too ready to drop the funding for family planning.

    However, I think you are right that Obama has signaled he is willing to cut more out that is not stimulus, and I hope he and the Democrats do. The bill is still way too bloated.

    I don’t think Republicans are expecting to be able to write the bill. But I don’t think Democrats should expect them to vote for a bill they don’t think will be good for the country, in the name of bipartisanship.

  2. mp97303 Says:

    The only way the republicons will be happy with Obama is if he bows to their will and then bends over and grabs his ankles for Rush.

  3. gerryf Says:

    The problem, Mike, is that we can hardly take the Republicans seriously when they say they want to cut spending after spending money like they have in the last 8 years.

    I’m sorry, but everything they say simply comes across as politics and hypocrisy.

  4. Mike Says:

    Gerryf, who’s talking about cutting spending? We’re talking about not increasing spending by hundreds of billions of dollars.

    As for the “Republicans did it so we can do it to”, I agree that Republicans have been irresponsible in their time, but I would remind you that we’ve had a split government for the past 2 years.

    But beyond that, please show me a bill that the Republicans tried to get passed that spends 290 billion dollars on things that are not related to the purpose of the bill. According to the CBO, 35% of the spending in the bill will not take place until after 2010 (that’s a pretty generous measure too, in my opinion). That is not stimulus, and there is no excuse for it, and it should not be part of this bill. Some of it may be worthy, but we should take the time to debate it on its own merits and not rush it through along side of true stimulus spending.

    You might try to point to the huge amount that the Iraq war has cost us. You would be right, except that Republicans did not try to hide that spending in a bill intended for other things. And, when you consider this one vote will cost us more than the entire Iraq war has cost us, that is really something.

    I couldn’t care less about party affiliation. This is our country we are talking about here. If the bill is bad, it’s bad, and I don’t care who proposed it. The Republicans are right to try to make it better, and right to oppose it is not worth it’s cost. Bringing up the fact that they may have been wrong before is irrelevant.

    So no, the “they did it so we can do it to” argument, besides being childish in a time when we should be putting off childish things, doesn’t fly with me.

  5. Justin Gardner Says:

    Mike,

    Don’t you think it’s a touch cynical to think Dems spent the time drafting spending proposals to then simply dropping them as a matter of strategy? And let’s remember that they were dropped at the behest of Obama, not Congressional leaders. Pelosi publicly argued for them.

    And so far I haven’t seen Repubs backing away from anything. They simply keep asking for more concessions for their support.

    Also, as far as not wanting to write their own bill, well, they already did. And they tried to pass it too. Obviously it was a symbolic gesture since they knew it had no chance of passing, but they’ve said repeatedly that bipartisanship means they get to write the bill too.

    Listen, I think it’s fair to say that the majority of Republicans would vote against the bill because it doesn’t fit into their ideology, but every single one of them? Where’s your speculation as to why that happened? The Republicans are just principled, but the Dems are pulling tricks? Come on now…

    Also, “way too bloated” in what ways? Please cite some examples.

  6. Mike Says:

    Justin,

    Maybe it is cynical, but I don’t think it is unwarranted. If I were drafting a bill that I knew would have to go through some compromise, it would be a natural tendency to try to make it one-sided so that, even after compromising, I’d still come away with the majority of what I want. Perhaps they didn’t include specific items to remove later, but they certainly weren’t shooting for a middle-ground solution either if they’re trying to get things like family planning in there. Like I said, I noticed that on the Republican side when they were in power. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with cynicism except from people who are only cynical about one side.

    So in that spirit I’ll agree with you that there were probably some Republicans that wanted to support this bill, but voted against it because of pressure from their party, or because of fear of voter backlash in conservative areas. So no, I don’t think it was entirely motivated by principle.

    As for “way too bloated”, I’ve already talked about how the CBO says that 35% (which is 290 billion dollars) will not be spent until after 2 years from now. There’s no reason that number should not be very close to 0%. To be fair, I would not go as far as the Republicans and say we need it to be mostly tax cuts. I would be fine with the stimulus package as it is, if it took out the programs that will not cause immediate spending. I would also be fine with those programs being debated as separate bills. Since there is no rush for those items, I see no downside to that. The only reason I can see to include them in this bill is to get them passed with little debate. But there goes my cynicism again…

  7. Mike Says:

    By the way, I think I didn’t make one thing clear:

    I agree with you that Romney’s criticism of Obama is somewhat mistargetted. For the most part, I believe he is sincere in his desire to work with Republicans. It is the house and senate leadership that deserves most of the blame here.

    My main point is, whoever is to blame, Republicans are right to oppose this and should not be pressured to support it in the name of bipartisanship, or because they did little to curb spending before.

  8. Justin Gardner Says:

    No. I don’t think Republicans should be pressured to support it in the name of bipartisanship and I didn’t say that in the post. I’m taking exception that Republicans are impatient with Dems and saying they aren’t being cooperative. I mean, are they serious with that?

    As far as all the spending happening immediately, I understand and respect the worry, but I do think that there’s a big risk to only freeing up a small bit of money and it not making a difference. And then trying to free up that additional money would become impossible. And when you look at historical economic data you’ll see that we we’re starting to pull out of Great Depression, but then started cutting spending again and the economy depressed again. But then WWII came around and we were able to turn it around. So I think bold action taken quickly is needed.

    Last, I’ll admit to being VERY cynical about Romney. He has made a career out of speaking out of both sides of his mouth, and not in a bipartisan way. But that’s just me. I know people who like him too.

  9. ExiledIndependent Says:

    Ok, we need to get to a point of clarity here. Obama promised a different kind of government, one of true bipartisan-reaching-across-the-aisle-ship. And what we’re seeing here, in probably the biggest, most influential bill of Obama’s entire political career, simply isn’t that. So Justin, while you may say that the GOP can’t expect this and shouldn’t count on that, isn’t that what Obama promised? A seat at the table, a voice in the direction? Being handed a piece of crap legislation and then saying, “Yeah, we might be able to take out a couple things,” isn’t this new golden era of government promised during the campaign. It’s politics as usual.

    So, a question: is this administration simply a well-spoken version of same-old same-old or is it really something new?

  10. gerryf Says:

    My point is–(well one of them anyway)–if the Republican want to be seated at the table and work out a bipartisan bill, they have to come to the table willing to do some work.

    Instead, what we are seeing is a republican party bereft of ideas that has suddenly found religion on spending (“Deficits don’t matter; Reagan proved that.”–Dick Cheney) and is pushing for more tax cuts for the wealthy and business after the last several rounds have gotten nowhere.

    You know what I want the Republicans to do? I want them to sit down and say things like, “OK, let’s be honest here; we can buy all the condoms in the world and it will not improve the economy. Instead, let’s take that money and do —- THIS with it.”

    If the answer is to gove THAT money to wealthy people or businesses in tax breaks, color me skeptical. I want them to tell me how that is going to help–specifically, because it hasn’t. No business every says, well, I am getting a tax break, I’m going to go hire a couple employees.

    It’s simply, businesses hire employees because the employee will bring in more than he or she costs. Tax cuts for millionaires don’t result in increased hiring and neither do tax cuts for businesses. It’s a lie the GOP has been perpetuating for decades as a way to avoid paying for their fair share of taxes.

    If any GOP has a real plan for jump-starting the economy I’m not only going to listen, but support him. So far, all I hear is, “They won’t listen to our plans to continue the same policies that don’t work. Boo-hoo.”

  11. Brian in GA Says:

    “If the answer is to gove THAT money to wealthy people or businesses in tax breaks, color me skeptical. I want them to tell me how that is going to help–specifically, because it hasn’t. No business every says, well, I am getting a tax break, I’m going to go hire a couple employees.

    It’s simply, businesses hire employees because the employee will bring in more than he or she costs. Tax cuts for millionaires don’t result in increased hiring and neither do tax cuts for businesses. It’s a lie the GOP has been perpetuating for decades as a way to avoid paying for their fair share of taxes.”

    Wow! No business has ever paid a tax, they simply collect them from the people who buy their products and services on behalf of the government and make the transfer to the treasury. But don’t let that little economic fact stand in the way of a good story.

    May I suggest a little light reading beginning with “Basic Economics” by Thomas Sewell.

  12. gerryf Says:

    And no business has ever taken a tax cut and then lowered its prices or paid more to its front line employees. Instead, tax cuts for businesses end up as $35,000 toilets you cannot even crap in as decoration for executive offices.

    I never asked for a tax increase–I simply said not to give them a tax break just because they happen to be a business as if tax breaks are some magical cure for all that ails this country.

    Wake up man, everything you’ve been led to believe is a lie. Reagan not only cut taxes, he raised them. Reagan, Bush and Bush are responsible for almost all of the debt in this countries entire history. Republicans abandoned fiscal conservatency a long time ago.

    You have so surrendered the thinking part of your brain to the likes of Thomas Sowell whose entire life’s work is being repudiated right now by the disaster of the the GOP’s bankrupt policies. No thanks, I’ll pass on Sowell’s “Basic Economics”

    When Sowell can actual bring himself to write something that isn’t conservative dogma, I may give him a chance, but no one takes him seriously except for Limbaugh, Mark Levin and apparently you.

  13. Mike Says:

    gerryf, I somewhat agree with you. I do wish the Republicans had more ideas than just tax cuts. However, I would make the following points:

    1) They are bring up some additional points. See http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/18258.html.

    2) If the choice is between spending money on things that will help, spending money on things that won’t help, or not spending the money at all, I vote for the latter. So therefore if someone objects to a particular part of the bill, they are not necessarily obligated to come up with something better. “Something better” could just be not spending that money, although I agree that ideally they would have a better way to spend it.

    3) I understand your point about tax cuts not creating jobs, and I don’t necessarily advocate more tax cuts in this package. I’d be happy with the package as is, just minus some of the stuff that isn’t stimulus (I’ll be posting some specifics on that on my own blog). However, I object to your blanket statement that tax cuts don’t create ANY jobs. I think you would agree that people who have more money are more likely to start or grow business than those who have less money. So clearly, letting people keep more of their money would have a least some positive effect on jobs.

    Also, the kind of tax cuts I would be in favor of as stimulus would be those that specifically give tax cuts for job creation, such as payroll tax cuts. This would lower the cost to employ someone. You are absolutely right that jobs are created when the value of that employee exceeds the cost to employ them, so lowering the cost to employ them should result in more jobs.

    However, it is debatable whether lower taxes is better or worse than other methods of stimulating the economy, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say that it has no job creation effect.

  14. Brian in GA Says:

    Gerryf, I see your class envy peeking through. I would suspect you do not own a business? Perhaps a government employee? If you do own a business, has it ever turned a profit or do you employ others? If so, have you ever had a conversation with your CPA at the end of the year?

    I find it interesting that you state that tax cuts do not create jobs when in my profession, I have seen exactly the opposite. You see, I provide businesses with loans for capital equipment. It is amazing at the end of he year as I take the phone calls from every size business and they state that they need to purchase equipment before year end because their accountant said they made a profit and they wish to invest the profit into their business instead of paying more taxes. Given the fact that they get a tax deduction for equipment purchases or “investing” in their business.

    Then they go and buy things like bulldozers, computer systems, xray machines, lasers for medical practices, copiers, new ovens, and manufacturing equipment. Then, get this, they even hire folks to run the new equipment! Did I mention that the folks that sell them the equipment make a living, plus the folks who build it, and all of the other folks who build the components that went into making the equipment, all those people have jobs also? all of their success connected to the millions of individual decisions to invest rather than pay more in taxes helps our economy grow!

    So please, like I said, revisit some basic economic theory guys in who creates jobs and get over your ignorant partisan class envy arguments about how evil businesses are. Yeah, Thane and others like his mindset are dinasuars and deserve to go extinct but they are the exception, not the rule. That mindset is like advocating closing down Wallstreet based on the Bernie Madoff’s of the world. Give me a break. Why would you think that the government would be more proficient at creating jobs than a private market without government corruption and bloat? I assure you, $35,000 toilets might be the norm in military contracts but it is not the norm in MOST of American business and if you think it is, you live in a different reality than most.

    This current government mindset is about how many new government jobs can we create and which producers of the country can we get to pay for it all…..and nothing more…than securing a voting block.

    So when you state that tax breaks don’t help create jobs….I am sorry…but you simply or uninformed or refuse to see the truth. either of which is dangerous if you are an American voter.

    Where is John Galt?

  15. NYCtek Says:

    Brian, I own an S-corp, and I say you DONT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. Your logic is as flawed as “Joe the Plumber” bitching about the tax burden on money he never made.

    Tax breaks for small businesses like mine are a GAME that we play with the IRS to get as much extra profit into our pockets as possible. If I want new laptop computers or an SUV they are purchased through the corporation and deducted from taxes.

    No jobs are created. My shareholders get a bigger dividend, say a few hundred bucks, which probably gets spent on strippers and liquor for all I know. A few hundreds or thousands of dollars will NOT pay the salary of an employee.

  16. Jim S Says:

    Ah, a libertarian. That explains much about why there’s so little rational thought and so much blind faith in businesses in Brian’s posts.

    assure you, $35,000 toilets might be the norm in military contracts but it is not the norm in MOST of American business and if you think it is, you live in a different reality than most.

    Of course they don’t spend that kind of money on toilet seats. They spend it on salaries and bonuses for executives and writers of fiction called traders.

    Most basic economics is basic stupidity that thinks that human institutions can be evaluated like physics. They can’t.

  17. Brian in GA Says:

    JIm, if you think I am here to defend credit derivatives or other hocus pocus, you are sorely mistaken. Those who perpetuated this should be allowed to fail but that was not allowed to happen.

    The problem is that our economy is not free. Otherwise, the traders schemes that you speak of and I agree on would have been allowed to self destruct as those foolish models were not sound business practices. And every fool who practiced this voodoo of swapping CDO’s would disappear with them. New business models with sound principles would rise from the ashes as those who buy 35k toilets are ran out of the corporate world, never to be seen again.

    But alas…Government steps in to save the foolish and hence there is no destruction that leads to a different way of doing things. The CEO’s are saved from themselves and re-assigned to the boards of new corporations, their reputations intact as they are connected and their relationships with key government officials ensure their place as first in line at the government trough. So their skillset is in demand as government confiscates our money and they know how to get their hands on it.

    Their replacements at the corporations they decimated are new task masters as the Feds buy up the stock of the once great companies and hence, a new master called government is now calling the shots as to when new corporate jets are bought and when and where sales meetings are scheduled!

    Don’t argue against a free economy and then point to what has happened as proof a free economy does not work because our economy is anything but free markets. Failure is a …no…THE vital component that makes a free market economy work. Without it….we would just call it “government” because with government, the worse the results of an operation, the more money is thrown at it in hopes that it will get better. I give you public education as a prime example, more money, worse results.

  18. gerryf Says:

    Mike,

    You’re right. To state tax cuts have no impact on job creation is a gross exageration. Of course it does, to some extent. But no business says, “Oh, we’re getting a tax cut, let’s add some employees.”

    I’m with you totally. I think a lot of this bill is total garbage. I want a healthy, rational GOP to contest it and make it into something much better. So far, all I am seeing is the same old GOP whiners and I just don’t have any faith in them. Purge the GOP leadership, install new leaders who not only have fresh ideas, but are not encumbered with the baggage of the last 15 years so they can be taken seriously.

    And sorry Brian,

    I can’t speak to your experience, but how often does that new equipment your talking about really result in new hires? I mean expansion? You and I both know that a lot of this equipment is replacing old equipment. We’re not talking about the exception to the rule that you claim–we’re talking about what occurs most often.

    Productivity has increased tenfold in the past 30 years while wages and employment have stagnated. Meanwhile, the top 10 percent wealthiest people in the country have concentrated more an more of the wealth.

    There’s no getting around it, Brian–the policies of the last 30 years have been good for a few and bad for most. That’s no class envy–that is stupid economic policy. Listen, I hope you’re wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, but ultimately the engine of the economy is the middle class. You can only consume so much and at some point all you are doing is consuming money. Consumption on a large scale drives the economy, not consumption by a few wealthy people.

    That does the nation as a whole no good. It is an ignorent economic policy that leads the same place every other great society has gone–ruin. Build wealth in the middle class and everyone prospers. Declare war on the middle class and everyone ultimately will suffer.

    You just don’t get it.

    I want a stimulus bill that invests in infrastructure, because our infrastructure is in bad shape. Why, because foolish GOP policies have cut taxes too much and driven up deficits. They did this intentionally to starve social programs they didn’t like. They put off general maintenance so now the bill coming due is higher than it should have been.

    I want a tax policy that encourages GROWTH/EXPANSION, not just consolidation of wealth.

    This bill is not that. The Dems are using the opportunity to restore and enhance programs while they are still riding high and while i would actually support many of these things outside of a stimulus bill, I don’t want them in here. But the Republicans have so screwed up their party through greed and malfeasance, they cannot be taken seriously as they now stand.

    Does anyone really believe that the GOP stands for
    * Low taxes with balanced budgets (after blowing the budget for 8 years, 6 of which they had complete control of the Presidency and Congress);
    * Strong national defense (when all they did was create policies that have put us more at risk);
    * Engaged foreign policy (when they’ve engaged in cowboy diplomancy and to heck with allies);
    * Protection of the environment (I cannot even believe they have the balls to make that claim); and
    * Less government interference in individual lives (when all they’ve done is imposed social conservative values on the entire nation).

    The GOP has become a joke. It’s time for Boehner and the others around him to step aside and let some others step up.

  19. gerryf Says:

    Brian,

    On that we agree–blaming the free market is wrong because we do not have a free market.

    But extolling something we cannot achieve is just as foolish. We will never see a free market. So defending a true free market has no place outside an economics class because we will never achieve it.

    So, we deal with what we have.

    Once again, it goes back to the failed ideology of the GOP for the last 30 years. You want a free market, or something approximating it? Then the first thing you need is players.

    Our social and tax policies have encouraged consolidation to the point where we don’t have enough players, we lack competition and some corporations have become too big to fail.

    And now we have bailouts because without bailouts we have catastrophic failure of the economy. The policies of the last 30 years could have only led to this place and its shortsighted people clinging to the idea of a free market (but who really were clinging to the idea of wealth accumulation and consolidation) who brought us here.

  20. Brian in GA Says:

    Ahh..I see logic has left the building but emotion has filled the room.

    There is no free market and it is all the GOP’s fault.

    Well then, obviously the only answer is a further move toward socialism. I mean, look at the shining examples of productive countries that have made that move. Their standard of living has certaily surpased that of America over the last 30 years..no? Wait a second can somone point to that country for me, I can’t seem to locate it.

    I am no party boss and can point to failures on both sides of the isle. I always try to look to the Constitution and principles of freedom of choice when making a decision. I only wish we had government that would do the same. Where is Jefferson when you need him?

    NUMBER: 30729
    QUOTATION: I sincerely believe … that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.

  21. Snarkless J. Harden Says:

    I truly appreciate Jim S. comment as honest and forthright, to wit:

    Most basic economics is basic stupidity that thinks that human institutions can be evaluated like physics. They can’t.

    That is so refreshing Jim and I appreciate it.

    Supply & Demand = Stupid!
    Monetary Policy = Stupid!
    Dimishing Marginal Returns = Stupid!
    Time value of Money = Stupid!

    Milton Freidman, Von Mises, Hayek, Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, Richard Poser, Lawerence Summers, Murray Rothbard — ALL OF THEM…TOTALLY STUPID RETARDS….

    Jim S….brilliant.

  22. NYCtek Says:

    Sorry Snarkless J, Harden, but neoclassical economics might be the twinkle in the eye of the men you mention, but its TIRED and ANTIQUATED.

    “Economists tend to focus on markets or aggregate outcomes instead of observing individual behavior. Neoclassical economists have argued that evolutionary or “market forces” tend to select naturally the most “fit“ actors. Hence, neoclassical economic theories are based on assumptions that (competitive) markets provide an environment that involves incentives for economic actors to learn optimal behavior, on average, in the long run. In this line markets are thought to “heal“ the cognitive imperfections of actors through evolutionary forces, compelling most of them to behave “as if” they were rational. According to Joseph Stiglitz, “Economics as taught in America’s graduate schools …. bears testimony to a triumph of ideology over science.” Recently more and more critics have raised their voices against the way Economics is being taught. On the subject Mark Blaug says: “Economics has increasingly become an intellectual game played for its own sake and not for its practical consequences for understanding the economic world. Economists have converted the subject into a sort of social mathematics in which analytical rigour is everything and practical relevance is nothing.”

    There are other theorists out there Snarkless, and they did a heckuva better job of predicting the current economic collapse than any of the old white men you mentioned. So in that respect, by 21st century standards, they are in fact Stupid.

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