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wellst0nev0ter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 04:11 AM
Original message
MnDOT feared cracking in bridge but opted against making the repairs
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Structural deficiencies in the Interstate 35W bridge that collapsed Wednesday were so serious that the Minnesota Department of Transportation last winter considered bolting steel plates to its supports to prevent cracking in fatigued metal, according to documents and interviews with agency officials.
The department went so far as to ask contractors for advice on the best way to approach such a task, which could have been opened for bids later this year.

MnDOT considered the steel plating at the recommendation of consulting engineers who told the agency that there were two ways to keep the bridge safe: Make repairs throughout the 40-year-old steel arched bridge or inspect it closely enough to find flaws that might become cracks and then bolt the steel plating only on those sections.

Fears about bridge safety fueled emotional debate within the agency, according to a construction industry source. But on the I-35W bridge, transportation officials opted against making the repairs.

Officials were concerned that drilling thousands of tiny bolt holes would weaken the bridge. Instead, MnDOT launched an inspection that was interrupted this summer by unrelated work on the bridge's concrete driving surface.



Read more: http://www.startribune.com/10204/story/1339411.html



The story also says the 35E bridge also has the same problems as the 35W bridge, which is troubling since I just used that route a few hours ago.
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murielm99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 04:28 AM
Response to Original message
1. If they have any sense, they will close
the 35E bridge.

This was just such a horrifying incident. My thoughts and prayers are with the injured, the families of the dead, and everyone there. It has to be frightening for those who escaped, and those who use that bridge.

Most of my family is in Minnesota. My dad called me right after the accident, and he sounded shell-shocked.

Minnesotans, if they don't close 35E, raise hell with them. And please don't drive on it.
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IronLionZion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #1
9. Do you know how many river bridges we have here in MN?
Just in the metro: 35E, 77, 94(Mississippi and St. Croix) , 694, 35W (Minnesota river in the south), 494, and many more. That doesn't include any of the many overland bridges and ramps.

The loss of the 35W bridge is putting a serious strain on traffic. I wish I lived closer to my coworkers but I'm still going to try carpooling with them anyway.
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LTR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #1
17. The Lexington Bridge is a new structure
Edited on Fri Aug-03-07 10:52 AM by Fighting Irish
It replaced an older bridge built in 1965. The replacement is only a few years old. No need whatsoever to close it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexington_Bridge_%28St._Pa...
http://www.visi.com/~jweeks/bridges/pages/ms08.html
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eyepaddle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #1
18. The 35 E bridge is not a steel deck truss bridge, plus
it has undergone a complete rebuild in the last 3-4 years. This included adding lanes to it--that bridge is probably one of the safer ones to drive on.

I'm a lttile suspicious of the 94 bridge myself--it was built at about the same time as 35W so it has probably a similar fatigue life. I've never gotten a look at its underside so I don't know what style was used.
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FogerRox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #18
31. The design of the i35w bridge IMHO is whats important
that can change the fatigue life very easily.

"...having a roadway wider than the truss is definitely a problem as it violates the basic strength of the truss design, IMHO makes for a weaker design... Think of it in the context of load transfer..... seems very ineffective to me. IMHO one would have to have the road deck be supported by a separate truss system prependicular to the main trusses to properly transfer load from the edge of the 8 lane road deck/trusses to the main trusses. As built this design does not include this road deck truss, thusly cannot transfer load effectively to the main truss."

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/2/221827/0328
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youngdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #1
36. Why? It's a COMPLETELY different type of bridge, and is much younger
:shrug:
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Eurobabe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 05:49 AM
Response to Original message
2. Just wondering, did they use Chinese steel in those repairs?
This has been bugging me since I heard about that accident. It's no shocker that the US has been importing cheap steel, etc. from China these days too.

http://www.worldsteeldynamics.com/digest/March%202007
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TX-RAT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 07:55 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. The Feds and states frown on using non-domestic products.
Non-domestics are allowed but only if the bid comes in 25% less than the lowest domestic bid. In TX we're part of the buy America program and thats the requirements.
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ChairmanAgnostic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #2
19. who supplied it is not the issue.
the issue is WHAT was supplied. brittle, inappropriate steel, (Cheaper, readily available?) the wrong grade of steel, or steel that claimed to be meeting the specs but didn't?

even worse, this bridge structure looked pretty minimalistic. most bridges, (check out Chicago's river crossings) are way overengineered. Most bridges crossing a large river like the MS are substantially overengineered, but this one did not have that look.
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jayctravis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #19
25. I agree....
There was a slideshow on CNN's site showing the bridge before it collapsed and highlighting different parts of the structure.

The whole thing was supported by the road at both ends, and propped on four concrete columns in the water.

The part where the bridge was connected to the columns was tiny. I was thinking it looks like when you slide a piece of cardboard under a table leg to prop it up and steady it. If one of those structures failed and slipped off the column it pulled the whole rest of the bridge with it, breaking at all the weak points.
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bigworld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
40. Probably not in 1967.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 06:23 AM
Response to Original message
3. "There were people over there that were deathly afraid ...
"There were people over there that were deathly afraid that this kind of tragedy was going to be visited on us,"
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 08:47 AM
Response to Original message
5. Oh, boy -- that's bad. nt
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Bitwit1234 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 09:09 AM
Response to Original message
6. Well Phew-lenty needed that stadium
to brag about next year when the trashy republicans arrived for the convention. And he also took 2 million to PROTECT them when they came. You know they meant more than producing his own people.
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efhmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
7. Why didn't they opt for public safety no matter how they did the work,how
Edited on Fri Aug-03-07 09:13 AM by efhmc
long it took or how much it cost?
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FredStembottom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. ANd pay for it all by taxing the wealthy!
....and corporations - just like we did in the 50's when the interstate system was built.
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snappyturtle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 09:24 AM
Response to Original message
10. THANK YOU! I'm going to im my daughter after writing this.
She is in the Cities and goes everywhere.....29, foot loose and fancy free! I hate to say it but she is not a news person....so I'll pass this distressing news on to her. K&R
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Hong Kong Cavalier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 09:32 AM
Response to Original message
11. I think the article implies they have already repaired the 35E bridge.
"The Lexington Bridge (I-35E over the Mississippi River), that was a fracture-critical bridge. MnDOT moved that up pretty aggressively. What was happening on the Lexington Bridge was crack migration in the steel in the I-beam."

(Emphasis mine)

I think MnDOT already performed repairs on the Lexington Bridge.
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northernsoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. I recall a lot of work being done on the 35E bridge a few years ago
no idea if that made it any safer or not, however.
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Hong Kong Cavalier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. Me too. It's my path to work.
So naturally, I'm concerned.
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northernsoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #15
21. I know what you mean
I worked in Eagan for about a year and a half. That bridge is much longer and farther up. Be safe, friend.
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Hong Kong Cavalier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #21
37. I will. But, honestly, what can I do?
It's my route to work. And it's not like they'd let me inspect anything down there (like I'd know what I was looking for, anyways.)
And the hover conversion for my '07 Dodge Caliber is about two-hundred thousand dollars. And a quick trip in Doc Brown's DeLorean to 2025 to get the parts.

So I'll just pay attention to what work they've done on the Lexington bridge (it's a rather new bridge, and not the same design as the 35W bridge.)
and just wonder, as I'm passing over the mighty Mississippi with the Saint Paul skyline slowly scrolling south on my right, whether the bridge is safe.

Or dig a tunnel from my apartment to my work. Yeah, that'll work.
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shain from kane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #12
20. Then their crime is compounded. Correct me if I am wrong, but same age, same design.
Edited on Fri Aug-03-07 11:16 AM by shain from kane
One's bad, the other's bad.
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Hong Kong Cavalier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #20
24. It's not the same as the 35W bridge.
And it's fairly new, and been maintained and repaired recently, too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexington_Bridge_%28St._Pa...

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MnFats Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #11
38. it's the cayuga bridge that worries me...35E near downtown st. paul
it gets very heavy traffic of all types and i read SOMEWHERE that it is of a similar design to35W across town
will try to find a link but quoted parties worried in particular about that bridge.
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truth2power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 10:05 AM
Response to Original message
13. I heard on NPR this a.m....
Diane Reim show, Fri. news wrap-up. Eleanor Clift and some other folks. All of them were dithering about how there was no really serious problem with the bridge, 50 out of 100 isn't really that bad blah blah.

This is directly contrary to everything I've read, with links. I don't understand why Eleanor Clift, of all people, would want to minimize this.

I don't have any hope, anymore. Pawlenty should have his @$$ nailed to the wall on this, but it won't happen. They're all in it together. :(
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Eleanor Clift is a.....
I can't stand Eleanor Clift. An apologist.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #14
29. Eleanor Clift isn't what she used to be . . . a very long time ago -- neither is NPR --!!!
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CreekDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #13
44. Eleanor Clift is fine, but like all pundits, essentially useless
If anything has contributed to the dumbing down of our culture, I think it's punditry which is based on the premise of former journalists, who are not now in the trade, expounding on subjects they don't actually report on anymore. Worse, expounding on the structural integrity of a bridge is even more hopeless.

Pundits have frankly got to go --all of them.

If you want to know something important, ask someone who actually has reason to know what they're talking about. Asking former journalists their opinion on a technical matter is stoooooooooooopid, period.
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EnKrypt Donating Member (4 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
16. Our Minn GOP Governor Had His Chance and He Blew It
I blogged this on my site and I'm still upset.

Being a native Minnesotan I can tell ya; 1.) no, there wasn't any Chinese imported steel to build it. The bridge was built 40 years ago, not 4 months ago. 2.) I-35W is currently closed and it's reaking havoc with our traffic congestion. Minnesota already ranks in the top 5 for worst traffic in the country and now that 35-W is gone, it's going to be worse. 3.) The disaster is compounded by the fact that Minnesota's legislature is 100% controlled by the DFL. Since January 2007, Minn DFL has twice tried to bring up a Transportation Bill that would have begun to solve this kind of crisis.... And our Governor Pawlenty, a Republican of course, vetoed it. Our Lt Governor Carol Molnau, is also the Commissioner of Transportation for the State. So while she sits and grins for the cameras, she's just as big a part of this nightmare as is Pawlenty.

If you visit the editorial section of the Minneapols Star-Tribune, the section is crammed with letters and editorials screaming about this fact.

On the night of the disaster, my partner and I stared at this horror and both of us said about the same time: The DFL tried to address it...and Pawlenty vetoed it!!!

So I went off and blogged it. What did I get? Read the comments section: It's crammed with Right Wing Nutjobs who demand that I "shut up" and they're calling me a "douchebag" and that I should be ashamed of myself.

It's maddening. The Republicans have taken this entire thing too far and too long. Read the blog... let me know if I should "shut up" or yell even louder.

EnK
http://fruitfly.wordpress.com/2007/08/02/minnesotas-col... /
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PoconoPragmatist Donating Member (449 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #16
22. Yell Louder!! Give 'Em Hell, Erik!! n/t
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ben_meyers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #16
28. Minnesota has a 2 billion dollar budget surplus!!
Edited on Fri Aug-03-07 12:30 PM by ben_meyers
From that RW MPR,
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2006/11/28... /

State predicts $2 billion budget surplus over next three years
by Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio,
Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
November 29, 2006

It has nothing to do with tax cuts, it has to do with CYA state officials with their heads up their asses!
They had the money to address this problem and choose not to do it.
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mcg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #16
41. Is Pawlenty now lying about the bridge?
from this article (Independent Television News Limited)
http://itn.co.uk/news/1c295b0f5f2f8a0d1cbe2bde87b34093....

... Governor Pawlenty said the bridge was inspected in 2005 and 2006 and the Minnesota Department of Transportation found no structural defects. ...

Looks like somebody's lying.


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mcg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. Quotes of Pawlenty claiming "no structural defects or deficits identified"

from http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/08/02... /
...
"It's a somewhat unique structure in the way that it was designed," Pawlenty said. "It was inspected both in 2005 and 2006. There were no structural deficiencies identified in the bridge according to MnDOT. There were some cosmetic or minor repair items that needed some attention but no structural defects or deficits identified in the bridge." ...

"They notified us from an engineering standpoint the deck may have to be rehabilitated or replaced in 2020 or beyond, but no immediate or noted structural problems with the bridge," Pawlenty said. ...

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mcg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. 2006 inspection report: 'Fracture Critical' configuration, problematic 'crossbeam', fatigue cracking
from
http://www.dot.state.mn.us /

from the 2006 inspection report:
http://www.dot.state.mn.us/hottopics/35w/06_br_%209340%...
...
BRIDGE INSPECTION RECOMMENDATIONS
This recommendation listing refers to specific areas where fatigue cracks and other
deficiencies were located during the 2006 inspection. Bridge inspection lists these
deficiencies in the highest priority first.
Long Term Repair Recommendations
The long term plans for this river crossing need to be defined with replacement, redecking,
etc. Due to the Fracture Critical configuration of the main river spans
and the problematic crossbeam details, and fatigue cracking in the approach
spans, eventual replacement of the entire structure would be preferable.
If bridge replacement is significantly delayed, the bridge should be re-decked. The
design of the main river spans do not allow for deck widening. Any re-decking
contract should also include a complete re-painting of the superstructure,
elimination of the hinge joint in span #2, and reconfiguration of the deck drainage
system.
Depending on the projected date of bridge replacement, the bridge deck will
eventually require a partial overlay repair contract. The expansion joints should also
be replaced.
...
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ben_meyers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 11:17 AM
Response to Original message
23. Mean while they spent billions
On a choo choo train that goes nowhere and carries no one. Is it any wonder people and businesses are leaving that state as fast as they can?
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dflprincess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #23
27. We need more of those "choo choo" trains
The ridership has exceeded all estimates. They're building a parking ramp at the 28th Avenue Station because the lot is always full on weekdays. As far as I'm concerned, the train is the only way to get downtown.
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Highway61 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
26. Our entire infrastructure is old and falling apart.....BUT
we have money for IRAQ!!!!!!!!!! :grr:
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
30. This is the very basis of why capitalism is suicidal --
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
32. We have a similar truss bridge in Monte Rio CA that our county knows is unsafe
Edited on Fri Aug-03-07 01:24 PM by EVDebs
and yet they're planning on putting a wastewater/sewer pipeline across the underside of this truss bridge ! Incredible. People have put this info into the EIRs on these projects but the knuckledraggers who are "in charge" must have decided this was a "done deal" and would force the small number of locals into going along with this !

See picture at

http://www.russianriverhistory.org/index.cfm?action=pho...

Stop the insanity !
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aint_no_life_nowhere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 01:31 PM
Response to Original message
33. Doesn't this sound a little like the New Orleans levees?
And the fact that there were reports includings ones from the Army Corps of Engineers that discussed the structural problems in the levees and the need to repair them before Katrina hit (whereas ChimpCo said the levees breaking could not have been anticipated).
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MnFats Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #33
39. amen. Bush hates the people of the mississippi River...nt
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bjb Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
34. stupid
My mailman just delivered my mail and we were discussing the bridge. His answer is to get rid of all welfare to pay for the new bridge!
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. Then people could die of starvation instead of falling off bridges
I would go for cutting military spending myself (for the record I am Canadian, so I don't actually have a say in it).
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tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #34
45. Was he talking about corporate welfare?
Because corporate welfare dwarfs all other welfare put together.
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