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Passions in Poetry

Supporting troops

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oceanvu2
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0 posted 10-31-2007 03:15 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Too often, it seems, references to "The Military" reduce it to some sort of abstract entity, as does the use of "personnel, troops, and units."

Our "Military" or any military, consists of individuals, not abstractions.  Some choose to lead, becoming officers and ranking NCO's, and the vast majority of individuals in any branch of the services rate at E4 and under.  But all are individuals, individually responsible for his or her actions.

Before too many hackles are raised, I state that I am not anti-military in the sense of being a conscientious objector, a choice I have to live with, or too naive to recognize that there are enemies of humanity (again, individuals), enemies of our nation, and enemies after you and me personally.  

In a perfect world, diplomacy "works."  But we live in an imperfect world.

How then, do we support our soldiers?  We bring them home.

Politicians and private citizens recognize that we owe our soldiers a tremendous debt of gratitude.  One way to express this gratitude is to stop sending them off to die because we need cheap oil.

And our responsibilities hardly end there.

We can support our soldiers, whatever the situation, by voting to raise pay to at least the federal poverty levels.  (The subsidized food and housing "benefits" don't count.  "Service benefits" are not a form of welfare.)

We can support our soldiers by adequately funding the Vetran's Administration hospital system.

We can support our soldiers by vastly expanding pro-active alcohol abuse programs and family preservation programs.  Alcoholism and divorce don't have to come with the "job," though both seem to come at much higher rates than in the general population.

We can increase the "college tuition" benefit to the point where it might actually enable someone to go to college.

The VA Guaranteed home loan program level is totally out of date and irrelevant.  We can support our soldiers by indexing the benefit to the average median home price.  This doesn't, and never has, insured that all vetrans can buy a home, but it will up the possibility for many.

We can ask our leaders to mandate a "decompression" program for soldiers returning from combat and seperating from the service.  

I don't know what the situation is today, but, in a common experience, I left Viet Nam on a Thursday, was "out-processed" on Saturday, flew home on Sunday, and went to work on Monday.  Not a very realistic approach.

We could support our soldiers in the particular instance of Iraq and the Middle East by subsidizing the development of the massive Canadian oil-sand reserves, until a better answer comes along.

Just some thoughts about supporting soldiers.

BTW, I served with the 23rd Infantry Division, (Americal Division) Chu Lai, Vietnam.  I'd give you my service number for those intereted in bona fides, but it is the same as my Social Security number.  Can't do it.

Jim


    

[This message has been edited by oceanvu2 (10-31-2007 03:52 PM).]

TomMark
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1 posted 10-31-2007 03:27 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

I agree.
Ron
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2 posted 10-31-2007 06:52 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I would agree with some of your points, Jim. But not many.

Military service, in my opinion, should remain a personal sacrifice, not become a well paid job. When I volunteer for something meaningful to me, whether it be the Marine Corps or my local church, I don't expect or want a great deal in return. I want to be treated fairly, of course, but I don't want what I'm trying to do cheapened by someone trying to put a price on it. Trust me, you couldn't possibly pay me enough, so please don't try.

If anything, Jim, I think I would like to see military service made less attractive.

I don't want kids joining because they don't like school or can't find a civilian job. Serving should be a privilege, not an escape from a life no one wants. Affordable homes, a good education, top notch training, sure, those should all be things that an American soldier can earn -- but with no less effort than they are earned in civilian life.

Personally, I wouldn't want to share a foxhole with someone only there to make a buck. Nor would I want my buddy questioning my reason for being there. In my experience, Jim, the trust is greater and the bond is deeper when we can collectively agree that military life sucks big green, uh, jawbreakers.


oceanvu2
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3 posted 10-31-2007 08:11 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Ron -- I should know better than drafting a responces "in the box."  Just lost a reasoned reply.

Just as well.  

I don't think any of my notions imply anything other than fair treatment.

I do wish the services would stop lying to kids about career potential and benefits that aren't really there.

I don't think I'm suggesting anything extraordinary.  And yes, true service can't be bought.  But promises can be honored.

And I would rather share a bunker with a buddy who was more concerned with saving his life and my life than feeding his kids and paying the rent.

And I still think the occupation of Iraq is folly, and we need to bring our men and women home now.

Let's see, ah, that makes me, and uh, Dennis Kuchinich, and at least a couple of million more...

Best, Jim
Huan Yi
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4 posted 10-31-2007 09:11 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Few young men
risk their life in war
for the GI bill.
At least none I knew.

.

PS


ďI do wish the services would stop lying to kids about career potential and benefits that aren't really there.Ē

The Marines in 69 didnít do that;
that much I know,
And I doubt anyone is fooled
now


PSS

War isnít as easy as it used to be
with the threat of an enemy just off shore.

.
oceanvu2
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5 posted 10-31-2007 09:59 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi John!

"Few young men
risk their life in war
for the GI bill.
At least none I knew."

I don't know of anyone who risked their lives for the GI bill either.

I do know that in 1969 the Bill was there and meaningful for those who risked their lives.

ďI do wish the services would stop lying to kids about career potential and benefits that aren't really there.Ē

"The Marines in 69 didnít do that;
that much I know,
And I doubt anyone is fooled
now."

The Army in '69 didn't make any bones about it either.  You got drafted, or enlisted, pretty much assumed it was going to suck, and it did.  The Marine Corps was and is a bit different, offering an opportunity to join an elite combat unit.  I'm not sure too many young soldiers volunteer for the Marines with the intention of becoming clerks, though I assume it happens.

"War isnít as easy as it used to be
with the threat of an enemy just off shore."

I think it was probably even tougher when the enemy was on shore during the Revolution, and tougher still when the enemy was us.  The Civil War was not particularly civil.

I'm trying to remember some of the easy wars.

The Spanish American War?  The incursion into Mexico?  The liberation of Grenada?  Our adventures in Haiti and Somalia?  I don't know, John...

You could be right about Cuba, though.  They've already taken Miami.  What's next, Minneapolis?

Best, Jim
.
Balladeer
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6 posted 10-31-2007 11:34 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Well, I'll say this against my better judgement because I can only imagine where this thread could lead.

My thoughts only....

With anything good comes responsibiity. A college degree requires study and sometimes working part-time jobs to get through. A marriage requires devotion, responsibility and work. The right to live in a country where one is free to achieve to the maximum of his abilities requires it's citizens doing their part, including it's protection.

I don't want kids joining because they don't like school or can't find a civilian job ...and whose fault is that, Ron?  The kids or the military?  Don't like school? Too bad. Many of us didn't like school that much. Can't find a job? I started by sweeping out a tavern. sure, those should all be things that an American soldier can earn -- but with no less effort than they are earned in civilian life.   Well, obviously, Ron, those kids who joined by not liking school or finding a job wouldn't put out that much effort in civilian life, wouldn't you agree?

Personally, I wouldn't want to share a foxhole with someone only there to make a buck  Ron, I think you know as well as I that, when bullets start flying it doesn't matter what brought you into that foxhole. The object is to survive. I could make the case that the man there for a buck has a stronger desire to make it through because he wants to get home and make more money, whereas the man there for God and country is willing to lay down his life for the cause. See how it can swing both ways?

Military service, in my opinion, should remain a personal sacrifice, Perhaps that's the difference between us, Ron. I never considered it a sacrifice. We all have different points of view. I'll clarify that by saying that I was a lucky one. For many it DID turn out to be a sacrifice - the ultimate one.

Ocenavu2, I am in complete agreement with what you say about the things that should be done for our troops. I think much IS being done but there is always room for more. The VA is excellent. Yes, when something wrong is found,  such  as Walter Reed,and  the newspapers get hold of it, it sounds like a horrible system. Things like that are the rare exceptions, not the rule. The VA has saved me almost half a million in hospital costs.When I speak of the care I get there to friends that go to private doctors and hospitals, it always turns out that the VA service is superior.

Bring them home? Definitely...but then we get into the areas outside of the military. With the oil we have in Alaska, offshore and in other areas we can be completely oil-independant and basically starve out the terorist froups in the Middle East, whose major funding comes from oil profits......but then the environmentalists would scream, wouldn't they? Who wants unsightly oil rigs miles out in the ocean to ruin the view of the passengers on the tourist boats? We need to be petitioning the government to do things that WILL bring them home and, when they do get home we need to make sure they get the care and treatment they deserve.

Ours is not to reason why, Ours is but to do or die....this is not part of the Constitution. It was written by Tennyson a long, long time ago. That may be the soldiers' only road but it's time for the rest of us to start reasoning why and do something about it.

[This message has been edited by Balladeer (11-01-2007 12:41 AM).]

Balladeer
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7 posted 10-31-2007 11:34 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

oops...double post
TomMark
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8 posted 11-01-2007 02:28 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Sir Ron is right in some way. I know that in wwi and WW2, many people left their jobs and joined the war volentarily. in Civil war, some paid others to do their duties too.

War is organized by Government. Personal judgement of justice sometimes has no place here.

You might get into the military for a significant "holy" reason but in reality one either get in by  drafting or dragged in by its benefit...nothing wrong about it. ( not everyone can do computer-pragraming   )

What if  one is in a silly war and  can not get out?

Now, it is war in Iraq...I do think that those young men shall come home and be rewarded whatever they deserve.  

Good war or bad war, win or loss...is to Government, not to individual soldiers. So I see no shame to  individual soldiers.

If American was invaded by Canada or Maxico, I would tell my children to fight or myself would go, all volentarily but not in a war that is so far away in another continent.

TomMark
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9 posted 11-01-2007 09:34 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

we shall paly the word of "Supporting"

Bush's support.... weapons and wrong information, flags and coffins.

War supporter's support...whoever fights with the evil is hero. what an honor. ( and the oil)

War againster's support...stop the war to save those American young boys' lives

I support the troops...I want them all safely back now.


Ringo
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10 posted 11-02-2007 01:59 AM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

quote:
How then, do we support our soldiers?

We allow them to win (which they are closer than they are being given credit for) and make sure that the dead, wounded, and "untouched" are not dishonored for their scarifices, as happened in your war.

quote:
Politicians and private citizens recognize that we owe our soldiers a tremendous debt of gratitude.

The majority of people do, in fact, realize the debt of gratitude that the military- both full and part time- is owed. In too many airports around the nation, people are lining up at the gates to applaude those returning from service, and in too many towns, the units, and individuals service members are being highlighted in patriotic holiday parades. Unfortunately, it is the majority of the mass media that refuses to believe this fact... and that is where most people get their news: from the newspapers and television reports that do not mention the fact that October was the lowest number of American deaths in Iraq in 3 years, or that we went an entire week in October without a single American casualty, or that there was an American Navy Seal awarded the MOH posthumasly. The American people get it. It is those in a position to shape American thoughts and opinions that, all too often, do not.


One way to express this gratitude is to stop sending them off to die because we need cheap oil.

And yet we pay the highest amount at the pumps than at any time in history. Where, oh Lord, where is this "cheap oil" people keep promising me I am getting from this war?
quote:
We can support our soldiers, whatever the situation, by voting to raise pay to at least the federal poverty levels.  (The subsidized food and housing "benefits" don't count. "Service benefits" are not a form of welfare.)

This year, a Marine at the same pay grade and time in service I was when I EAS'd will make $24753 this year, yet they don't pay for medical/dental insurance (I will pay $2400 this year with a $1500 deductable and an 80/20 co-pay), they have no deductable, They get $250,000 in life insurance for about $75/year (I pay $3000 for the same amount... to include myself, my wife, and my kids), they don't have to pay rent (the rent for a 1 bedroom apartment around here is around $6000/year), there are no utility bills (as opposed to my electric,when last I had an apartment 3 years ago were about $400/year, garbage is $280/year, and the heat was around $500/year) and I paid about (if I remember right) $.45 less per gallon for the gas to go into my motorcycle.
Now, doing the math on that means that the single Marine Corporal with 6 years in makes- in pay and benefits- $38758. I am busting my stones, trying to raise a girfriend and 5 kids (plus mine on the weekends) on around $35,000/year... and I have the other bills to take care of that he doesn't. Military benefits are not welfare... they are reward for putting his life, and his family's happiness, on the line.
quote:
We can support our soldiers by adequately funding the Vetran's Administration hospital system.

I would prefer to see that the VA acknowledges all of its vets. My father, the recipient of the Navy Cross, the Navy Marine Corps Medal, and a recommendation for the Silver Star, 4 Purple Hearts, and a 24 year retiree (spending an extra year to allow me to graduate from the high school on the Marine base we were stationed at) was listed by the VA as being a 3 year Marine with no combat time, and was- for that reason- denied free medical treatment for an Agent Orange-induced brain tumor.

quote:
We can support our soldiers by vastly expanding pro-active alcohol abuse programs and family preservation programs.

Today's military (as has the military for the past 25 years, that I know of) has a very active D&A program. This includes identifying potential service members that might need help and putting them through classes to help them recognize the process that they are going through. There is also a program in place wherein the service member who feels him/herself needing help with a D&A challenge can go to a specific member of the unit (called the drug exemption officer of NCO) and ask to be put through the system. This specific person (and only this person) can maneuver the service member through the D&A system without any official action being taken by command and with absolutely no information being put into the service memeber's record book. My reference for this is the fact that I was sent to D&A classes when it was discovered that I had a six-pack in my barracks room, and I eventually became the drug exemption NCO for my unit. My brother, a young Marine on float, was also "given permission" to attend the D&A classes when it was discovered that he was *gasp* getting drunk on shore leave.

quote:
We can increase the "college tuition" benefit to the point where it might actually enable someone to go to college.

My father actually got his history degree using his GI benefits.

We can ask our leaders to mandate a "decompression" program for soldiers returning from combat and seperating from the service... I don't know what the situation is today

Today, there are several programs in place to ensure the mental health of all military types. When I was doing my service in the Marines, we had a mass casualty that took its toll on all of the emergency workers, and left a few of us less than 100% emotionally. Everyone at the scene was given a group therapy session (broken into groups) and a few were given individual sessions to ensure that they didn't go off and shoot the McDonalds up or whatever. Yes, a few do slip through the cracks; however, that is the way it is in civilian life also.



What would you attempt to do...if you knew you could not fail?. www.myspace.com/mindlesspoet

[This message has been edited by Ringo (11-02-2007 06:34 PM).]

Balladeer
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11 posted 11-02-2007 08:58 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Well said, Ringo. Sometimes things that are condemned on generalities lose their value when actual facts are presented, which you have done in excellent fashion here.

I salute you and your father

(you mean soldiers today make more than the $91.00 a month I made when I was in? )
Ringo
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12 posted 11-02-2007 10:16 AM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

'Deer-
The day I got out, I was making 1080.20/month, and thought I was living largeness itself... I got a paper my last year in that showed how I made $22k in cash and benefits... today, my son- who is going into the service on Feb 7) is going to be making that his first day. I waited six years for that amount.
I think I hate my son.
lmao

What would you attempt to do...if you knew you could not fail?.
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Susan Caldwell
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13 posted 11-02-2007 10:30 AM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

I am kind of torn on this...

Once when I was in the commisary I saw a dependant wife paying for her groceries with food stamps.  

That bothered me.  And still does..but I haven't been active duty in over ten years.  I can only hope it's gotten better than that.

On the other hand, I did ten years active duty, most of that living in Base housing, getting free medical for myself, my 3 children and my husband.  I did okay.  We weren't rich but we were secure and comfortable.

I got out in '95.  Medically discharged.  Not totally my choice as I loved being an MA (MP).  But things happen.  When I got out I filed with the VA and I was approved for Vocational Rehabilitation (because of my medical condition I could no longer work in the field I had been trained).  I recieved 4 years of college for free.  The VA paid for my tuition, books and supplies.  Even the pencils and paper.  In addition I was given a certain amount of money (based on number of family members) per month to help live on.  I received my BA completely free.  After I graduated I was recruited by the Government for a job.  I took it and during my internship I recieved my masters, paid for by the government.  I paid only for my books.

By the way...my disability is only 10%.  

   Yes, I got a pretty sweet deal and I am very thankful for everything I received for my ten years active duty.  

"too bad ignorance isn't painful"
~Unknown~
TomMark
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14 posted 11-02-2007 04:10 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Ringo

"We allow them to win (which they are closer than they are being given credit for) and make sure that the dead, wounded, and "untouched" are not dishonored for their scarifices, as happened in your war."

I believe that those are the jobs of government. Government has to have a good strategy to win the war. Government has to give them credit and Government has to provide benefit for them.(so, part of the tax shall go to them)  I saw several homeless (they were in Vietnam war) in front of VA in San Diego by UCSD.  Government shall take care of them.

what are the supporting jobs for grassroot?

I say that The war is over and let those soldiers come back for Christmas!
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15 posted 11-02-2007 04:19 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Good story, Susan, and no doubt you are thankful the ways things worked out. The country should be thankful also for  people like you who dedicated yourself to service for your country for 10 years. You earned your benefits and I applaud you.
oceanvu2
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16 posted 11-02-2007 06:03 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Ringo -- We're not of the same opinion on much, and I do think your economic analysis is flawed.

More importantly, the treatment of your Father by the VA was despicable and, unfortunately, not unique.

Balladeer -- Your rosy picture of VA hospitals is appropriate in your case.  It is not appropriate in all cases.  It may depend upon the individual facility.  The Va Hospital in Phoenix saved my life.  The VA hospital in Los Angeles where I have been operated on 5 times, has kept me alive with stop gap measures.

This is what I saw while an in-patient six weeks ago:  Homeless people, presumably vets, sleeping in the bathrooms.  A Doctor whith a "thing" about junkie vets reaming a roommate's infected tracks without pain medication to the point where the man was screaming.  A post-major-surgery roommate screaming in pain because there was a policy in place FROM THE PHARMACY DEPARTMENT that the self clicked morphine pain relief machine could only be used for three days --and after that, a four hour wait for a "shot."  A heroin addicted roomate who kept his eight-balls at the bottom of his cigarette pack while having a lower leg removed from diabetes complications.  Not good stuff.

Susan-- I am glad the system served you well.  You earned it.  It also served me quite reasonably well, and I don't crab personally.  I do know that it does not serve all Vets equally.

Best, Jim
Ringo
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17 posted 11-02-2007 06:41 PM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

Jim- As most of the people on this site,I am willing to accept that we are of differing opinions, and I respect the fact that you are willing to respectfully accept that fact also. It is too bad that those to whom we have given the mantle of national leadership cannot acheive the same.
I would ask, though, how you feel my analysis is flawed. I never claimed to be the be all and end all of brain cells (actually, being a Marine, the opposite can be said. ). I would be very interested in where you feel I wen wrong.

What would you attempt to do...if you knew you could not fail?.
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Huan Yi
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18 posted 11-02-2007 07:23 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

oceanvu2


"War isnít as easy as it used to be
with the threat of an enemy just off shore."

I meant in the sense that lesser the proximity
to your own land, people here,  the greater the difficulty
to gather support.  For example,  I was just listening
to Joe Lieberman on NPR.  If the Iranian Republican
Guard trained extremists and then got them in
the U.S. and they killed hundreds of Americans at Fort Dix
or Quantico Iím pretty sure what the response would be,
but because those hundreds of American soldiers were
killed in Iraq it makes all the difference in so far as the response.
That the Iranian president has repeatedly declared the intent
to destroy Israel, (apparently Saudi Arabia doesnít feel
safe either), and that  even his moderates say they understand Israel
would respond to an attack with a response that would kill millions
and yet are determined since even then the Ďrevolution would go onĒ,
(sounds like WWIII to me), does not give Obama pause in pushing
a bill which would inform those Iranians of an increased distance
between their actions in preparation and any adverse
American military response.  

.
oceanvu2
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19 posted 11-02-2007 07:25 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Ringo -- Thank you for your considered response above.  We MUST, to be a democratic society, respect different viewpoints as the engine that drives democracy.  Without open debate -- as opposed to the current television silliness -- policy can neither be determined or move toward consensus, as opposed to policy by fiat.

This weekend, I will have time to respond with dissent to your economic analysis with the seriousness it deserves.

And please, dear all, do not think my "flaming" in the Alley negates either my love of country or my heartfelt brotherhood with all who are serving and who have served.

Back soon, Jim
oceanvu2
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20 posted 11-02-2007 07:33 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Huan Yi.  (I notice that you don't choose to call me Jim, though I sign my posts that way.  Whatever.)

Just as I miss the point of most of your poems and posts, I miss the point of this one, too.  Who the heck was talking about Obama?  Or maybe I'm just totally obtuse.

Best, Jim
Huan Yi
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21 posted 11-02-2007 09:49 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Hey Jim


Didn't know

John
 
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