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Monday, September 15, 2008

09/15/08 RTM MEETING NOTES: Greenwich Boys' And Girls' State Commission




Daniel Kelly Leads The Represenitive Town Meeting In The Pledge Of Allegance.


The Greenwich Boys And Girls State Delegation Was Introduced To The RTM Tonight.


The Fourteen members were chosen by the American Legion Post #29. The Delegation represented Greenwich High School and the Town Of Greenwich.


This year Dan Kelly put the spotlight back on Greenwich, as a result as Boys Town State Govenor and his selection to attend Boys State Nation.


Mr. Kelly was elected a State Senator by his Town and later chosen as a nominee for govenor.


Mr. Kelly won the election by six votes.


BET Chairman Steve Walko, Rich DiPetra, Greg Furmin, Dean Gross Livvy Floren and a few RTM members of the program.
PLEASE SEE:
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09/15/08 RTM Meeting Notes: Moderator Tom Byrne Asks RTM To Suspend The Rules And Combine 8 RTM Items Into One Vote


The Combined Vote Had The Following Effects:


JILL OBERLANDER
M. MICHAEL WARNER


These persons were appointed were appointed alternate members of the labor relations committee.


TO ACCEPT A $600,000 GIFT FROM THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF GREENWICH TO RENOVATE THE BRUCE PARK PLAYGROUND


The Junior League's Boundless Playground, is a new initiative this year, and will develop a playground in conjunction with Greenwich Parks and Recreation Department that will be accessible to all children and their caregivers, regardless of ability or special needs to allow them to play and discover together.


The playground will will have a ribbon cutting ceremony next year and will mark the Junior leagues 5oth Anniversary.


The Original JLG Bruce Park Playground Gift Was Made In 1993.


The JLG set out to enhance the playgrounds in Greenwich. The JLG’s “Playground Pals” initiative resulted in a partnership with the Town to renovate the playground at Bruce Park, for which the RTM accepted a $250,000 gift from the JLG in 1995.


At the time of the installation, the Bruce Park playground was considered state-of-the art and unique, and was one of the few playgrounds serving families with children of all age ranges from toddlers to pre-teens. Today, the Bruce Park playground is still one the largest, most frequently used playgrounds within the Town.


After years of heavy use, the Bruce Park playground needs renovation. The JLG / Town would like to again create a renewed, modern playground at Bruce Park, incorporating the latest in playground philosophy and design brought on by the:


advent of universal design principles
advances in understanding how children develop
growing population of children with special needs in the community
need for total family activities.


Boundless Playground


The JLG has become a member of the Boundless Playgrounds program.


Boundless Playgrounds, founded in 1997 and based in Connecticut, is the first national, non-profit organization dedicated to helping communities create extraordinary playgrounds where all children, with and without disabilities, can develop essential skills for life as they learn together through play.


A Boundless playground isn’t just another playground.


And it isn’t a playground just for children with disabilities. It is a new, modern playground designed for the needs of all children and how they play.


The difference between a Boundless playground and a traditional playground is in the subtle design features that one might not notice, but that make a profound difference to a child or adult with special needs, such as:


a) Every child can reach the highest play level
b) Play structures are configured to support all children’s development
c) Pathways and surfacing are universally accessible
d) Cozy gathering and away spaces provide a rest from the action
e) Equipment such as swings with back support
f) Sensory-rich and ground level play activities


Boundless Playground assists communities in vendor selection and playground design and certifies completed playgrounds as “Boundless.” There are more than 120 Boundless playgrounds in over 20 states and Canada and dozens more are currently in development.
Further information can be found at http://www.boundlessplaygrounds.org/.


Other Key Elements of the Proposed Bruce Park Playground


For this project, the JLG hired TO Design LLC, a New Britain, CT-based landscape architecture and civil engineering firm whose associates are recognized for creating landscape designs that preserve and embrace natural features.


Furthermore, TO Design is known for creating playgrounds that incorporate progressive, universally inclusive Boundless features.


Key characteristics of the newly designed playground are:


The preservation of Bruce Park’s beautiful bucolic features as large mature trees, rock outcroppings, and the view to Smith Cove;
The footprint remains the same with no expansion into the surrounding rock ledge buffer area;
A generous amount of passive and active recreation areas, including ample seating with benches and picnic tables, and open spaces to throw a blanket and relax;~
Cost-effective design using existing bathrooms, ADA compliant pathways, water fountains, and parking lots (which will be restriped for additional handicap parking spaces);
Play areas that evoke the park’s history as a Native American Siwanoy and Boy Scouts camp site;
The majority of the playground will be accessible to all children, the elderly, and others with special needs.


Financials


Playground


The playground’s renovation is valued at $750,000.

In 2007-08, the Town RTM approved $150,000 from the CIP budget for the renovation of the Bruce Park playground.


In addition, through the JLG’s own town-wide fundraising efforts, such as the Enchanted Forest and Touch a Truck, the JLG has committed $150,000 from its own funds for the renovation.


Further, the JLG has also added an important partner to the project, The United Way of Greenwich.


The United Way is marking their 75th anniversary in serving the Greenwich community.


In celebration of this important anniversary, United Way is joining the JLG on this project, which demonstrates both the JLG and United Way’s commitment to many common causes, including children and the elderly.


Thus, the United Way has matched the JLG contribution sum of $150,000.
Finally, the JLG is raising the remaining $300,000 through grants, foundations, and corporate and individual donors as they have done in their previous capital-intensive projects.


The JLG has raised over half the amount at $155,000 towards the goal.
Thus, at this date, the total Bruce Park renovation project is nearly 90% funded.


Previous Brick Donors


The donors from the 1995 playground renovation project will continue to be recognized. The new playground design has incorporated the existing donor bricks to be used once again in a beautiful pattern among the pathways throughout the playground.


Maintenance


In addition to $700,000 for the playground renovation itself, the JLG will establish and manage an equipment maintenance fund in the amount of $50,000 for repair and upkeep during the 10-year life expectancy of the playground.


JLG/Town Permits Granted


In July 2008, the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved Municipal Improvement status and the final site plan for the renovation at the Bruce Park playground. Prior to the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval, in April 2008, the Board of Selectmen granted Municipal Improvement status for the project, also in April 2008 the Board of Parks and Recreation granted its formal approval as well.


Community Support


The JLG formed an advisory committee to ensure broad community input to the project. The following are members of the Bruce Park Boundless Playground’s Community Advisory Board:


Stuart Adelberg, President & CEO, United Way
William S. Dunster, Town of Greenwich Board of Parks and Recreation
Doug Fainelli, Former Principal Old Greenwich and Dundee schools
Honorable Livvy R. Floren, Connecticut State Representative
Icy Frantz, Community Advisor and Author
Laurel Ross, President, Abilis/ARC
Dr. Benjamin D. Roye, Orthopedic Surgeon, Greenwich Hospital
Katherine Quinn, Educational Advisor, Eagle Hill School
Alice Stuart, Abilis/ARC Board Member
Alison Troy, Community Advisor and Former Chair of Playground Pals
Martha Zoubek, Bruce Museum Board Member And Resident


In addition, the JLG has conducted relevant research and held meetings with service providers and parents of children with special needs in order to understand the community needs regarding the renovation of the Bruce Park playground.


Timeline


Upon RTM gift acceptance the JLG/Town Parks & Recreation Department will break ground in October 2008 and begin construction. The playground will be closed until the ribbon cutting ceremony in the spring of 2009.


Reconstruction of Riversville Road Bridge and possible road realignment, from Sherwood Avenue to 700 ft. south of bridge


WHEREAS, the Town of Greenwich has published a legal notice display ad, mailed a news release to a number of officials and agencies, and mailed a formal letter to abutting property owners, announcing a public information meeting on the proposed STP Rural Minor Transportation project known as Riversville Road Bridge Reconstruction, Town Project No. 05-13; and


WHEREAS, a public informational meeting was held on June 14, 2007, at Greenwich Town Hall from 7:00 PM to 8:30 P.M., at which meeting residents had an opportunity to voice their concerns; and


WHEREAS, the Southwestern Regional Planning Agency has selected this project as a regional priority and to utilize federal funds for right-of-way, preliminary engineering and construction activities; and


WHEREAS, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) has considered the concerns of the residents from the public informational meeting and finds that the proposed Riversville Road Bridge Reconstruction is in the best interest of the Town of Greenwich, and will promote the health, safety and general welfare of its residents and provide for convenience and safety of the motoring public.


WHEREAS, the Town of Greenwich, based on the above information, and by virtue of this resolution, hereby fully supports the proposed project.


$200,000 Given To The “Art Barn (Greenwich Emergency Medical Services - GEMS Station)”.


This was the first appropriation of the evening.


The Art Barn is located on Lower Cross Road next to the Parkway School and is used by GEMS as a remote response location.


The rehabilitation of the Art Barn has a long history.


The first request for funds, $500,000, was part of the FY04/05 budget.


Because of issues with the Parkway School well, which serves both the school and the Art Barn, the project was delayed until the school wells were brought up to code.
The first request for bid for the actual rehabilitation occurred in December 2005 and this plan called for demolishing portions of the building to reduce the square footage and then rehabilitate the remaining structure.


Because the existing building was designed for a different use, major alterations had to be undertaken for it to accept the GEMS function.


The resulting plan, which totally renovated the interior, left many of the areas in a non-conforming state as compared to present day standards. The subsequent competitive bid to undertake this work came in at $965,000 and was nearly 100% over the original estimate.


In an effort to reduce the cost of the project, a plan was devised to replace the existing structure with a new building at the proper square footage.


The estimated cost of this new option, $880,000, was lower than the bid value of original rehabilitation plan while providing a modern conforming structure.


An additional appropriation for $380,000 was approved as part of the FY07/08 budget to provide funds to undertake the new plan.


Unfortunately, this new plan, which included demolition of the existing structure, met with opposition due to the building’s age.


DPW met with the Historic District Commission to work out a compromise. In September 2007, a plan was agreed upon to demolish all of the existing building additions except the large barn structure which would be rehabilitated and connected to a new two bay vehicle garage.


This plan was competitively bid in June 2008; the low bid came in at $861,689.


The account status of the project has minimal funds remaining and requires at least a 20% contingency fund to cover any construction change notices that may be encountered.


Further, the architectural service for the redesign effort requires an additional $26,300.


Allowed The Greenwich Police Department to accept a monetary donation from Greenwich Emergency Medical Services (GEMS) in the amount of $8,000. This donation will be used towards the purchase and installation of a boat crane to be used for rescues.


This is kind of a stange item, because the Town Funds GEMS. The Non-profit GEMS is basically giving the town it's own money back. This is sort of like an accounting transfer that is being called a donation.


This is an $8,000 monetary donation from Greenwich Emergency Medical Services to be used towards the purchase and installation of a crane. The crane will be installed on Police Boat #124 and will be used to remove injured persons from the water.


GEMS paramedics accompany our marine personnel on weekends, holidays, and special events and recognize the need for a crane. This device will allow personnel to safely extract patients from the water without causing further injuries. GEMS has graciously offered to contribute $8,000 to assist in acquiring the crane.


In September of 2006 the Police Department received approval to transfer $14,000 from the Federal Asset Forfeiture account to purchase a Hydraulic Marine Davit; however, we were unaware that amount did not allow for installation. Since that time costs for materials have increased, and the currency exchange rate versus the Canadian dollar has worsened.


The total amount required for purchase of the crane, including shipping and installation, is $24,939. The combined funding from GEMS and the Police Department will leave a shortage of approximately $2,939, which will be absorbed by the Marine Section maintenance account.



THESE COMBINED ITEMS PASSED 182 - 2


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09/15/08 RTM Meeting Notes - Janet Lockton Stands Alone.


Janet Lockton Was Like A Candle In The Wind As The Sheepole On The RTM Overwhelmingly Approved Putting Paul Marchese Back On The Planning And Zoning Commission.


Paul Marchese Worms His Way Back On The Planning And Zoning Board


The Planning And Zoning Board Will Remain Unbalanced.


Architects And Real Estate Investors Will Continue To Rule The P&Z.


Developers Win The Day!!!!!


There Will Be No Neighborhood Focus On The P&Z Commission.



There was much debate on if Paul Marchese had a conflict of interest on a former property that has involved the town in another messy lawsuit.


It was noted that P&Z Commission members admitted at a public hearing that mistakes were made on the property.


Another P&Z Commission member said the property was "too far along" and we can't "stop it now.


The unbalanced and ineffective planing and zoning committee did not do a site plan review before the property was 75% complete.


The horribly biased Planning and Zoning Committee has too many interrelationships between members and Mr. Marchese.


The whole zoning commission should be scrutinized carefully.


How about those outrageous monstrosities towering over Soundview Drive?


How could they have approved that development?


What about the really horrible development at the Stanwich School?


This outrageous development is happening in too many single family home owner's backyards all over Greenwich.


Ethical as well as legally-established Town codes are being shattered with all the rocks that are being blasted and trees that are being stripped as property owners pursue their inflated dreams.


Years a go a few RTM members warned everyone about Frank Mazza and the Hamilton Avenue Building Committee and the Sheepole of the RTM mocked them and remarked how they stood alone and now had no credibility.


The Sheepole Of The RTM Did Not Listen And Frank Mazza Was Overwhelmingly Approved For The Hamilton Avenue School Building Committee And The Glenville School Committee.


How soon we forget.


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09/15/08 News Link From Greenwich Post - The Perfect Coarse For Glenville Parents Who Are Forced Their Little Ones Across Town To Another School




Parents have separation anxiety, too. The first day of school can be stressful not only for a child, but also for parents. Parents learn how anxiety can affect their child’s behavior during this transitional period during a discussion-based program lead by Carine Goor.


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09/15/08 Greenwich Time News Links For Monday



Behind The Times:


Greenwich Time Editor David Warner Is Still Clueless About School Board Member Michael Bodson's Hamilton Avenue School Email Concerning Mold















Please See Greenwich Post Story:



PLEASE ALSO SEE:





It looks like Bill Clark at Greenwich gossip was right to call the local daily rag the "Yellowich Time". Just read these "so-called" news stories that sound like reguritated Town Hall press releases:

Ferry policy roils waters

By Neil Vigdor

Yielding to complaints from residents about overcrowding at Island Beach, the town is rethinking its ferry policy as it applies to nonresident passengers.

Overall, ferry ridership increased by about 16 percent from 2007 to 2008, according to figures released this month by the parks department, which reported 47,836 passengers from the start of service on June 15 through Aug. 31.

About one out of every four ferry passengers was either a nonresident, a guest of a resident or a resident without a season beach card, the figures show. The town does not distinguish between the three groups.

Members of the Board of Selectmen are calling for changes to the town's ferry policy, saying they have been inundated with complaints from residents about the loss of tranquility and solitude at Island Beach and nearby Great Captains Island.

"The feedback has been all negative. Nobody is happy with the current policy," Selectman Peter Crumbine said.....

Translation: Don't You Worry About A Thing Peter Crumbine And The Board Of Selectmen Are Going To Fix The Problem They Created. They Are Doing A Great Job!!!!

District hopes school choice will ease overcrowding

By
Colin "Rah !!! Rah !!!! Rah !!!! Go BOE !!!" Gustafonson

School officials may allow families to send their child to an elementary school outside their neighborhood, in hopes of that redistributing students would help the district meet class size caps.

Superintendent of Schools Betty Sternberg asked school board members at a Thursday workshop to consider a "school choice" option she said would help the district prevent overcrowded classes, while saving money by avoiding adding an extra section when classes are too big.

Under the board's current guidelines, the district is required to add a section and hire a new teacher - usually at about $75,000 per year - every time a school exceeds class-size caps by even one or two students.

Under the proposed system, the district could grant a transfer to parents who want their children taken out of an overcapacity school and placed in a school where space is available.
The system, which would only be open to elementary school families, would be voluntary. The number of transfers would be limited to the number of students that exceed the cap.

"A hard cap sets a very hard limit," said John Curtin, the district's superintendent of research and evaluation. For reasons of efficiency, the district needs to have the "flexibility to move children to schools where there's extra space," he said.....

Translation: Don't You Worry About A Thing Betty Sternberg And The Board Of Education Are Going To Fix The Problem They Created. They Are Doing A Great Job!!!!

Ham Ave., borrowing on RTM agenda

By Colleen Flaherty

Members of the Representative Town Meeting will officially trade in beaches and barbecues for appointments and appropriations tonight, with their first post-summer huddle.

The Hamilton Avenue School building project, into which the town has pumped $30 million since 2005, will likely receive an additional $700,000 appropriation to pay for additional change orders - albeit grudgingly, said Joan Caldwell, moderator pro tempore. "As disgruntled as people are," she said, "if we don't pay the contractor, the job won't get finished."

"I believe the money will be appropriated," she added.

"Let's not even go there," said District 8 chairman James Boutelle, asked to comment on the appropriation request, which last week increased from $500,000 to $700,000.

But, he said, "It's inevitable. Our priority is getting the school open. At this point, it's not the money, it's the delay."

The school renovation project is several months behind schedule, with Hamilton Avenue School students now dispersed to other schools until work is complete.

Both cash and time bothered RTM moderator Thomas Byrne enough to predict some sort of formal review of the debacle, whether by the RTM or another body.

"I don't think we've experienced a construction project quite like this," he said. "Certainly some effort has to be made within the town to understand it."

Translation: Don't You Worry About A Thing One Day In The Future The Sheepole Of The RTM Are Going To Stand Up To The Hamilton Avenue Building Committee. This $700,000 Is Going To Fix Hamilton Avenue School And The Children Are Going To Be Be In Ham Ave In Early October !!!!!!


The RTM And The Building Committee Are Doing A Great Job!!!! The Building Committe Asks For Exhorbanant Sums Of Money And The RTM Overwhelmingly Approves Frank Mazza Flushing The Money Down The Toilet !!!!!!

Republicans gear up for November races

By Meredith Blake

Overlooking the Sound, feasting on lobsters and fried clams, town and state Republicans gathered to get energized for a contentious election season.

More than 100 Republican leaders, such as U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, Lt. Gov. Mike Fidele, and, Rep. Livvy Floren, R-149th District, and supporters met yesterday at Greenwich Point for the 73rd annual GOP Clambake, the longest running political event held in town.

"This is typically the kick off to the political season," said State Senator William Nickerson, R-36th District "And this is a particularly important year."

With Shays, up for re-election, and Nickerson, and Rep. Dolly Powers, R-151st District, not seeking reelection, there are many seats being challenged.

Riverside investment chief L. Scott Frantz is running for Nickerson's seat and longtime Greenwich resident Fred Camillo is running for Powers.' Shays is being challenged by Greenwich resident Jim Himes for the Fourth Congressional District.

"It all starts here," said Chris Healey, chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party.
And with the national election heating up and the recent Republican convention, state Republicans said there is a lot of excitement within the party.

" I haven't seen the Republican party this energized in many years," Healey said.

Translation: Don't You Worry About A Thing !!!!! The Republican Party Is Energized By The Financial Crises They Created !!!!! Forget About That 401k You Really Didn't Need It Anyway !!!!! Social Serecurity Will Take Care Of You And Your Family !!!!! Everything Is Just Fine !!!!!

Racers speed down Avenue in soapbox derby

By Meredith Blake

The town's first soap box derby in 23 years drew hundreds of fans to Greenwich Avenue Sunday, to watch 24 budding racers take their small handmade cars from Starbucks to Richards.

The event was part of the kick-off for the 75th annual United Way campaign event, Septemberfest. The racers, who were each sponsored by a business and raising money for a charity, spent weeks building the cars and practicing.

"It was a lot of work, but so much fun," said Gabrielle Liflander, who was racing for the Jewish Family Services.

Wearing helmets, each contender entered their car, painted in bright colors from pink to tiger stripes, ready to roll down the Avenue, with only a small steering wheel and brake.

"It was actually a lot of fun and exhilarating driving in the car," said Shamiek Tomoney, 13 who came in third place.

Getting used to maneuvering the vehicle was pretty difficult initially.

"It felt weird at first. It took some time to get used to," said Riverside resident Nick Lacey, 10. "It felt like you were driving and having never driven a car before, but I really liked it."

Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich, friends and family made buttons with the driver Sean Thomanen, 11, on them as they chanted his name in the final race. Boys and Girls Club was the charity that he was sponsoring.

"It was absolutely amazing," said his mother Cathy Landy. "It was so cool seeing all of the people cheering."

Translation: The Town's Non-Profits Show The Recreation Department How To Bring New, Inovative And Exciting Family Programs To Greenwich !!!!! Maybe We Should Let Non-Profits Take Over A Few Recreational Programs.

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09/15/08 Greenwich Is In The Eye Of The Financial Storm (Updated)


Greenwich Is In The Eye Of The Financial Storm !!!!


Republican Deregulation Hits Home


Perhaps John McCain Wants Some Change

As Voters Face Loss Of Savings And Forclosure


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Wall Street Is Rocked To The Core


Lehman Is The Largest Failure Of A US Bank


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Southwest Connecticut Will Lose Thousands Of Jobs


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Surprise !!!!
GE Hits 52 Week Low !!!!!!


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Continued Conservatism??????


The Federal Reserve Has Been Doing A Great Job !!!!


Yeah, Right And The Hamilton Avenue Building Committee Has Been Fiscally Responsible Too!!!!


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Conflict Of Interest:


Will Henry Paulson Bail Out Goldman Sachs as The Dominoes Fall This Weak


Jim Himes Hopes So !!!!


Will The RTM Let Paul Marchese And His "Appearances" Return To Planning And Zoning


Paul Marchese Will Worm His Way Back In To Planning And Zoning.


The Status Quo Will Remain In Place


The RTM And The FED Will Not Be Shaken Up


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Greenwich resident and Lehman Brothers Chief Executive Officer Richard Fuld Jr Is Not Being Having A Baaaaaaaaaaad Day !!!!!!!


So Much For Political Insurance.


"Richie Rich" Fuld And Lehman Brothers Have Donated Generously And Equally To President Bush and John McCain to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton


CEO's subprime bets undermined Lehman
The Age
... Squash Player The New York City-born executive played squash for US international teams and has a court in his Greenwich, Connecticut, home. He hates to lose, Ball said. Fuld earned a BA from the University of Colorado and an MBA from New York ...



New York Daily News

BY RICH SCHAPIRO Lehman Brothers said it was headed for bankruptcy early this morning after marathon talks failed to come up with a plan to rescue the ...

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Please See:


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It's Getting Ugly Out There:

More Blood Flows From Hedge Funds And On To The Streets Of Greenwich......





The Fed Is Doing A Great Job!!!!!

Paulson Is On TV Every 15 Minutes Scaring The Hell Out Of Everyone:


Fed Injects $70 Billion of Reserves to Banking System, the Most Since 9/11
Bloomberg
... for short-term funds ``dramatically increased,'' said Michael Darda , chief economist for MKM Partners LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut. ``If the Fed puts enough liquidity in the system, the funds rate will come down. It may actually trade below target ...





Bank of America pulls Merrill out of soup


Myiris.com, India


The bank pulled out of talks to acquire Lehman Brothers Holdings, the beleaguered securities firm. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of ...





U.S. dollar, overseas markets tumble
Globeinvestor.com
... the decisions that are reliant on a public bailout," said Alan Ruskin, chief international strategist with RBS Greenwich in Greenwich, Connecticut. "For many, but not all, this is an impossible lesson to learn in the middle of the worst financial ...

Republican's Say This Must Be Stopped Before The Interlocking Web Of Financial Service Hits A Real Financial Powerhouse Like Goldman Sach's
If Goldman Goes Down The Jim Himes Campaign Is Toast
We Will Soon See If Goldman Bought Enough Political Insurance
Goldman Sach's Has Donated Generously And Equally To President Bush and John McCain to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.


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