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Passions in Poetry

Is the New Bill Stimulating or Pork?

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Bob K
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175 posted 02-21-2009 06:14 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Ron,


quote:
  Bob said:
Einstein's notions about "right" and "wrong" in terms of his theory of relativity, on the other hand, did depend on proof.

Ron replied:

Not really, Bob. That's why, a hundred years later, it's still call the Theory of Relativity?




     Because it has proof, Ron, we are talking still about the Theory of Relativity and not the next most likely contender.  We are also talking about a theory that was presented as a theory to cover specific phenomena and not others.  Einstein knew its limitations, and he never attempted to call it other than a theory to cover general and special relativity.  He was sorely vexed by theories that were somewhat at odds with his own and which also showed experimental validation.  He and Heisenberg were unhappy with each other.  He and Bohr were friendly rivals through their whole lives.  Quantum mechanics still has experimental validation, even if it seems only recently, when folks were actually able to reproduce the defraction grid thought experiment that had for so many years been spoken about as a fait accompli.

     The Theory of Relativity retains its status because it has not been disproven and because the experimental data on  ó at a minimum ó the degree of deflection of light is exactly as Einstein calculated it would be around stars.  We depend on this in much of our astronomical calculations today, and this is how we are able at time to locate binary suns and sometimes planets in distant solar systems.  It is also through Einstein's theory of relativity that we have first been able to theorize the existence of black holes and then locate them.    Einstein theorized these things, experimental work confirmed his theory.

     That is why Einstein's work remains a theory and not an interesting footnote, like the Ptolemaic theory of spheres, cycles and epicycles, which was very useful for quite a long period.

     This is why, I repeat, "Einstein's notions about "right" and "wrong" in terms of his theory of relativity, on the other hand, did depend on proof."  Did, and still do.  

     You also seem to be suggesting that there is some hall of certified scientific facts to which scientific theories go when they grow up.  I would like to buy a ticket and take a tour; where do I write?

Sincerely yours, Bob Kaven

    


Bob K
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176 posted 02-21-2009 07:41 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Brad,

          It's a pleasure to speak with you again.   I've missed our conversations.

     Let's see if we're talking the same language here.  I think, pretty much, yes.  "Good and bad are determined by the community?"  I think so.  I don't know that this should be the case, but that's another question.  Different communities have very different ideas about what is the right thing and what is the wrong thing in terms of values.  Wars are fought for these issues.  The Albigensians were wiped out by the Catholics over this sort of issue in the 13th century.  Shi'ia and Sunni.

     True and false are matters of scientific judgement.  These are things that are open to test, confirmation or disconfirmation.  They are determined not by the world but by the best feedback we can obtain from it at any one given time, subject to revisitation as our methods of understanding grow more sophisticated.  These things, though, admit the outside world into the internal process of reality testing, and bases the decisions on that feedback from the data the world returns to us.

     And yes, in this situation, though by no means in all or even the majority of situations, I believe that Ron made this error.  I usually find myself in agreement with him.

     Why, you ask, is it a problem to go along with the consensus in this case in determining the course of action the folks here should follow?  Why should we trouble ourselves with looking for actual data that we can use as a reality check on our assumptions that one course is better than another?

     And how does this mesh with the lack of leftist material on this web Site?

...

     In other words, sooner or later you've got to understand that all the answers that you've tried to apply and all the information that you think you have may be lacking some important dimensions.  Even if you begin to look real hard under the street light now, and bring in even more people to shine lights under the street light, you've made some assumptions that haven't worked, and you need to step back and re-evaluate why.  

     You need to ask yourself about the quality of your information.

     Let me offer an example.

     Huan Yi, a few postings above, has made an interesting contribution about the Fannies, Mae and Mac.  Much of the material from (pardon me for saying it) the right has made a great deal out of this, and representatives of that wing have tried to lay blame ó without any contest by the way in these pages ó on the Democrats.  If the Democrats aren't guilty of this, they've certainly done other things wrong, by the way.  My object isn't to prove them faultless.  It's to suggest that information isn't getting through here that should be getting through here in evaluating the effectiveness of the policy of each party.

     What hasn't been offered by the right ó not by its supporters here at PiP, but by the news sources that should be supplying them with accurate facts ó is what percentage of the loans in the bad market just passed were from the Mac and Mae, and what percentage came from the steamrollered deregulation package driven by the president and his banking and credit card company friends.  Nor would the explosion have been possible without the packaging of these mortgages in large funds by these same banking establishments that drove the credit deregulation package through the congress.  And repealed the consumer banking protections that had been in place since Roosevelt got them passed during the great depression to ensure that crises such as this didn't happen.  Whoops.

    15%, by the way, from Mac and Mae, as far as I can tell.  The rest from the Republican deregulation package that even the Democrats should be humiliated for not filibustering.  

     And there is one reason why it's important to have information from more than a single side of the political spectrum.  In this case, it's the left that's overlooked.  When I was in social work school, I had the unenviable task of pointing out conservative values to liberals, of which I are one.  I caught a mauling there too.  

     I found two basic principles seem to apply.

     If you're only talking to those who agree with you, you're starving your audience.  If those who disagree with you have no point, you're not listening hard enough.

     Not paying attention to verifiable truth; and not, for that matter, seeking it out, leaves us certain of ourselves without any particular basis in reality.  We become the smokers surprised by COPD or the drivers who think that they drive better with a drink or two to loosen themselves up, and who are sure that seat belts will be a death trap for them if they ever get in a  wreck.

     Sometimes these folks are right.  They smoke for a lifetime and run marathons till they're 105.  Two drinks turn them into Sterling Moss, and if they have any less they will die simply by turning the key in the starter, and the guy in the passenger seat next to Mr. I Need To Be Free gets cut in half by a rogue seat belt during a fender bender.  These things do happen.

     But this isn't a good way to plan your life, is it?

Sincerely, Bob Kaven

[This message has been edited by Ron (02-21-2009 07:55 PM).]

Bob K
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177 posted 02-21-2009 07:49 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



quote:


Bob, the thread is littered with things we don't like. You have search engines. How about YOU bringing in things you don't like about it? If you can't find any, then it will be assumed that you can't find any at all that bear scrutiny. If you can, then we can learn something from your viewpoint. We've done our homework. Feel free to do yours.....




     The reason I made the offer, Mike, is that I found little specific in the upset, and much that was too general to be tackled in a systematic way.  At this point, I haven't enough familiarity with the bill to offer specific criticism, nor have I claimed that I did.  You, on the other hand, have complained in such a fashion that I thought you actually had specifics.  If I'm in error, pardon me; there's nothing particularly wrong with generalized blowing off of steam.  I do it myself all the time.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
Ron
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178 posted 02-21-2009 07:50 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I think we're operating under a different definition of the word theory, Bob.

There's an awful lot of collaborating evidence to support Einstein's theories of relativity, especially the Special. There is not, nor is there ever likely to be, proof.

But that's neither here nor there. You're still wending your way around my real point. I can't care who Einstein is until long past the point where I care whether his arguments were cogent. Political or philosophical arguments must pass the same test.


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179 posted 02-21-2009 11:10 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Bob, you don't need to read the bill. Type 'stimulus pork' into your search engine and there will be plenty there for you to research. If you want to be involved, then you can make the effort to research, like we did. Saying, "bring them to me and I'll determine if  I feel they are valid or not" won't cut it. It's better when we ALL research.
Bob K
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180 posted 02-22-2009 03:04 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Mike,

       This assumes we all agree that everything is pork.  Heck of an assumption, isn't it?  Especially since you haven't offered a lot of specifics in the accusations so far.

     I was, for example, somewhat taken aback to see your  comments about Obama's lack of response to Katrina.  Last I heard from you ó even though I disagreed at the time ó the Republicans had done a stellar job and everything was wonderful down there.  Any complaints on my part were only Democratic sabotage and fabrications.  Do I remember this incorrectly?

     A couple of years later, I find out you've felt there was apparently a terrible disaster down there, but it's all the fault of the Democrats because they've done nothing about it in the last month. I should pay no attention to the little Republicans behind the curtain.  Or something to that effect.  Wow!

     And you say there's nothing in the spending bill about this, and that's a terrible thing.  (By the way, if there's  nothing in the spending bill to help with that stuff, then it is a terrible thing.  We agree on that.  The sooner the better for the good of the country.)  If not now, then it should happen as soon as the negotiations across the aisles will permit it.  I'm sure there will be hold-ups on both sides.

     Since you report you don't know what's in the bill yourself, a few references from people who at least claim they do know what's in the bill would be useful.  Not Fox, please; and The Wall Street Journal, which used to be dependable outside its editorial pages has, since it was bought by Murdoch, ceased to be a reliable source of unbiased information.  This is a great loss.  

     The nature of a spending bill is to spend money, however.  It's supposed to spend money.  The question is not whether it's pork or not.  The question is whether the spending is money that will get the economy cranking again in an effective way.  Money paid out to poor folks in the form of cash, food stamps, education and the like is a good economic investment, as is money targeted to infrastructure.  These things essentially get the economy moving again very directly.  The money that we put into these things stimulates the economy quickly because poor folks need to spend quickly; they're one step ahead of the wolf.  They need to buy groceries, they need to invest in retraining, they need to buy healthcare and shoes and clothes.  They aren't able to save a lot of money for capital investments.

     Tax cuts for the wealthy has apparently in recent years taken money out of the economy.  The treasury has apparently lost money on each dollar of these tax cuts, unlike the tax cuts forty years ago.

     We really do have different notions here, Mike, about Pork.  In this case, the country makes a profit on it.  During the last administration, the money was channeled to people who took it abroad or took it out of circulation or took a profit on these government windfalls.  We lost $.30 on the dollar of the tax cuts we gave to the wealthy.  Not good governance.  Here we have some chance ó and it's not a sure shot by any means ó to turn things around.

     I personally doubt it can be done in two years or even four, but with luck a good start can be made in that time.  Assuming that we as a country can be as good a starter engine as we've been a brake on things.  The Good Lord willing and the Crick don't rise.

Sincerely yours, Bob Kaven
moonbeam
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181 posted 02-22-2009 04:01 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam



quote:
You, we (Bob and Brad) have to look for arguments that work, that get us through this crisis quickly and with as little pain as possible.


~sigh~

Why do people seem to assume that the usual rules of behaviour somehow don't apply to national and international economies?  (Which are after all an amalgam of individual and group choices; essentially human choice).

If you or I make a BIG mistake (especially if made wantonly and greedily) we expect to pay for it with punishment, or pain.  And generally we learn from that pain.  It happens in nature it happens in society it happens in the most personal of arenas.  So why not in our economies.

You think it's good for the future to "get through" this crisis with as little pain as possible?  You don't think that artificial quick fixes, which potentially compound the mistakes already made, may not store up much worse down the line?

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182 posted 02-22-2009 09:55 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

A couple of years later, I find out you've felt there was apparently a terrible disaster down there, but it's all the fault of the Democrats because they've done nothing about it in the last month

Ah, my friend Bob, you can twist a statement faster then a drunk can twist a swizzle stick. Please point out where I claimed that the hurricane disaster was the fault of the Democrats lack of action in the past month. I've tried to give you the benefit of the doubt by looking at my previous statement in several ways and yet I still can't imagine how you could make a statement like that. What I DID say was that Obama is making speeches about the problems with post-Katrina rebuilding is due to lack of republican action when, in fact, after signing this humongous spending bill covering everything from golf carts to hooker control, he did not include one penny directed to those efforts. He's like the man on the street looking at the woman lying on the street and saying "Gee, somenody should do something." If he were so converned about the republican not helping enough, maybe he could have thrown somebody a bone out of the 800 billion. Wouldn't ya think?

This assumes we all agree that everything is pork.  

Exactly. That's why I suggested you do a little searching to into the pork aspects of the plan. Instead, you spend ten times the amount of time to talk around actually investigating than you would have by actually checking it out yourself. That's fine. Nothing here is obligatory and homework is not a requirement but we are also not going to bring offerings to you on platters with hopes of being receiptients of your judgement. In other words, if you want to be a part of the construction, grab a shovel and dig in.....

Grinch
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183 posted 02-22-2009 11:04 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

As Iíve pointed out Mike none of the bill can be described as either pork or earmarks - every item meets the criteria of either creating\saving jobs or stimulating the economy and no items discourage competition.

http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum6/HTML/001790-4.html#90

Bob K
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184 posted 02-22-2009 03:50 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




Dear Mike,

quote:


Please point out where I claimed that the hurricane disaster was the fault of the Democrats lack of action in the past month. I've tried to give you the benefit of the doubt by looking at my previous statement in several ways and yet I still can't imagine how you could make a statement like that.




quote:


What I DID say was that Obama is making speeches about the problems with post-Katrina rebuilding is due to lack of republican action when, in fact, after signing this humongous spending bill covering everything from golf carts to hooker control, he did not include one penny directed to those efforts.



Sincerely yours, Bob Kaven
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185 posted 02-22-2009 04:46 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Thank you, Bob, for reaffirming my explanation although I'm not sure why you went through the trouble.
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186 posted 02-22-2009 05:05 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Grinch, that's fine. If your criteria for the importance of the items in the stimulus bill is that they create spending, then fine. That would have to mean there is NEVER pork since anything that could be associated with pork would involve monies spent, which would automatically disqualify it from being pork.  Anything the governments does involves spending money so I suppose we have been in a perpetual stimulus package since the beginning of the country. In that case, Bush was an incredible economy stimulator, I must assume you agree with.

If, however, you lend any credence to the opinions of the hundreds of economists who claim that pork in the bill actually exists, or credence to the democrats that acknowledge that pork actually does exist,or Obama himself who was reportedly irritated about the amount of pork Congress put in the bill, then perhaps you  may want to reconsider.

...or you may continue seeing it anyway that satisfies your intent. Whatever....


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187 posted 02-22-2009 05:56 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Mike,

All bills arenít designed to stimulate the economy and generate\save jobs. This one was, and as long as anything in it can be shown to fulfil the criteria for which it was conceived it canít be described as pork.

quote:
If, however, you lend any credence to the opinions of the hundreds of economists who claim that pork in the bill actually exists, or credence to the democrats that acknowledge that pork actually does exist,or Obama himself who was reportedly irritated about the amount of pork Congress put in the bill, then perhaps you may want to reconsider.


A hundred economists? Out of how many? Donít answer that because it doesnít really matter, the chances are that none of them predicted the hole we find ourselves in, or worse still they probably dug half of it, which makes that particular argument from authority pretty redundant.

The Democrats? You yourself keep telling people that they donít know what theyíre talking about so why should I listen to them?

Obahma? You mean that bloke youíve been trying to portray as an unqualified President and a possible liar? Nah, Iíd rather trust my own judgement thank you very much.

There is no pork in the stimulus bill, there are lots of odd provisions but none of them are porcine.

moonbeam
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188 posted 02-22-2009 05:59 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Mike, have you any idea how funny you sound

As someone uninitiated into the arcane mysteries of the P word, the snappy porky dialogue here is wayyy more entertaining than Coronation Street.
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189 posted 02-22-2009 06:36 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Very well could be, moonbeam...

What I find REALLY funny is the lengths and double-talk people will employ to not call a horse a horse or the avenues of evasion traveled to get to Bias Boulevard. It's been entertaining and I thank all participants.

grinch, you are right. The economists don't matter, the democrats don't matter and Obama's words don't matter. They are all wrong while you are correct. After all, you are MENSA.

Always a pleasure hearing from the Two Ronnies
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190 posted 02-22-2009 07:00 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
They are all wrong while you are correct.


Sounds pretty much like it to me.

Unless you can give me an example of pork Iíve overlooked - Iíve dealt with the golf carts, Iíve explained the bee insurance, is there anything else you've mistaken for pork?

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191 posted 02-22-2009 07:12 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Nope, I'm done. There is no doubt you are much smarter than you are making yourself out to be, so obviously you're just having fun trying to pull chains. I'll pass....enjoy yourself
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192 posted 02-22-2009 08:08 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

A horse is a horse, Michael, and you are one of the smartest men I know.
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193 posted 02-23-2009 03:45 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

That should surely be Pinky and Perky, Mike - ROTF

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinky_and_Perky

Anyway Grinch, I demand to be the short one who sits in the chair and rabbits on and on about nothing very much.    

Mike, I didn't mean to offend, but you have to admit that there's something slightly amusing about this mildly unsavoury fixation with pork.  Or maybe it's just my awful mind.

Ron, am I allowed to ask Denise if she lives in a convent?


[This message has been edited by moonbeam (02-23-2009 05:10 AM).]

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194 posted 02-23-2009 02:52 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Yes, moonbeam, it is in your mind.

No, I didn't take your earlier comment to be offensive...but your last one is out of line. Don't let your desire for a comical moment overpower your respect towards others. Me, you can target whenever you want.

Denise, thank you
Bob K
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195 posted 02-23-2009 03:32 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Mike,

          Moonbeam's comment did not seem out of line to me, unless you're reading it very differently than I am.  

     I thought it was about being sheltered, and I'm puzzled at any other reading you might give it.  You and I say things more starchy than that as affectionate Hellos on occasion.  Perhaps I was raised in a convent?  But I don't follow.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
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196 posted 02-23-2009 03:47 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Me, you can target whenever you want


He was targeting you Mike.

Denise said you were the smartest man she knew and Moon was wondering if she lived somewhere where men were thin on the ground.

At least, thatís how I read it.

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197 posted 02-23-2009 03:52 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

The calvary to the rescue?

Bob, if you don't get the point to him comment, I'm not going to waste time trying to explain it....the conversation is silly enough.
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198 posted 02-23-2009 04:02 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Ah, the third musketeer show up

Yes, I got the point, grinch and, of course, the barb at me was cute. But basically telling Denise that, if she thinks I'm smart, she must not get out very much is basically hinting to her that she must not have a very good idea about what smart is....which, in effect, calls her dumb or, at least, naaive. Since she was not involved in this little string-pulling and simply made that comment shouldn't qualify her as being a target of insinuations like that.

Anyway, I'm done with it. The musketeer motive has become so obvious I'm not interested any longer. I'll go watch some Benny Hill re-runs instead. THAT was a funny Brit.
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199 posted 02-23-2009 04:02 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
The calvary to the rescue?


Are you planning a crucifixion Mike?

 
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