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Posted by jmowreader in General Discussion
Thu Dec 16th 2010, 09:29 PM
Dick Armey, founder of the teabag movement.

The award is to the person who'd affected the world the most, for good or evil. Naming Armey would have done two things: it would have pointed out the one person who's most responsible for the impending doom our nation faces, and it would have, for all time, killed the meme that the teabag movement is grassroots.
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Posted by jmowreader in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Apr 03rd 2010, 08:01 PM
There's a thread about Chinese drywall on the LBN forum. In it there's a lot of strange information, such as the concept greed brought that rock to our shores. Someone in that thread urged me to write an article about drywall. Without further ado, here we go.

Begin at the beginning
In 1894, Augustine Sackett patented "Sackett Board." He interleaved wool felt paper with gypsum plaster to produce boards 36 inches square by 1/4" thick. Sackett tried selling it as a wall finish (similar to what drywall is used for today) to people who really hated using it--the edges crumbled and it looked terrible. Then a plasterer thought, "what would happen if we put Sackett Board on the wall and plastered over it?" It turned out to install faster than wood laths, and took plaster better. Sackett was soon making all the board he could. In 1901, Sackett was making almost five million square feet of board.

A slew of innovations followed until, at long last, they came to the board we know today: it's four feet wide, has wrapped, tapered edges, is "air entrained" to make it lighter, and comes in four basic thicknesses: 1/4", 3/8", 1/2" and 5/8" with 1/2" the most commonly used. It is faced with either recycled paper or fiberglass. It was named "drywall" to differentiate it from a plastered "wet wall," and it's also called "plasterboard" because it's made from plaster.

It got popular during World War I, and the Army is to thank for this. The Army wanted naturally fire-resistant and fireproof building materials for barracks construction, and drywall delivered. When these contractors worked on civilian projects, they chose drywall: they knew it and liked it, and continued to use it. Later, the post-WWII building boom permanently cemented (pun not intended) drywall's place as a choice building product.

How drywall works
I know, I know..."screw it to the wall and mud the joints and screwholes." Now let's talk fire performance.

Drywall protects from fire because each gypsum molecule is bound to two water molecules. When the stuff is exposed to fire, the gypsum releases the water, which helps to retard the fire. So...if your house catches fire, replace all the drywall, m'kay?

Tell me about gypsum
Gypsum is the heart of drywall. It's calcium sulfate. Bear that in mind: there's SUPPOSED to be sulfur in it, but it's supposed to be bound up with calcium and oxygen. Two popular places to get this are by mining it and by recovering it from coal-fired power plants. By cleaning the ash of free sulfur and such wonderful contaminants as mercury and arsenic, a wonderfully pure gypsum can be recovered from coal smoke. Some places recover it because it's legally required, others because drywall companies will buy it. Go back two sentences and read the first four words. Commit them to memory.

Now tell me about Chinese drywall
During the Bush administration, two factors collided to cause a drywall shortage in the US. First was the building boom, where people were throwing up houses as fast as they possibly could, (Most observers don't add house flippers to this problem; perhaps they should. There were a lot of people flipping houses then and they were using a lot of drywall.) The second were the hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. The only way many builders could complete projects on time was to purchase foreign drywall--and most of it came in from China.

The drywall was made out of improperly cleaned flue-sourced gypsum. The free sulfides stayed in the material and eventually started going into the air, where they corrode metals and cause health problems.

Is Chinese drywall a threat to the US gypsum industry?
A container of dtywall has 680 sheets of board in it and costs from $5000 to $7500 to move by ship from China to the US. You can walk into any Home Depot in America and buy a sheet of drywall (which, incidentally, is proudly made in the USA) for $5.62. At that price, one container of drywall will sell for $3821.60--a net loss of $1178.40 not counting the cost of making the board, profit for the manufacturer, trucking it to the port, trucking it to a US warehouse then finally carrying it to a store and selling it. (And forget the idea you can just put more board in the container. Twenty lifts of drywall weigh 40,800 pounds. Add the container and you're very close to being at maximum legal weight for a truck on American roads.) People go into business to make money, so no you won't see this stuff darken our doors again.

How to tell you have itIf you have a garage check it. Most people just firetape garage walls and leave them, so look at both sides of it. You're looking for the words Made In China or Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin (KPT). A lot of times it's on the back of the sheet. Sometimes it's not there, so go to alternate means: check copper items like wiring, plumbing and air conditioning condensers.

I can't answer what to do if you have it. Gutting the house is too expensive. Sellling is a minefield. Suing is a worse one. Walking away from the house will destroy your credit. As I said, there's no good answer, sorry.

Walls and Ceilings Online,

The author of this piece was in the building materials trade for six years, including the period when the Chinese drywall was coming into the US market.
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Posted by jmowreader in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Feb 09th 2010, 12:35 PM
Is there ANYTHING in a charter contract that prevents the operator from taking the school private?

I just had this really weird thought. A charter is a school that gets public funding, but is run by a private company. Thanks to Bush's and Obama's love of charters they are getting quite a bit of money--more, possibly, than a similar public school.

Omni Educational Products gets a contract to run all the schools in Centerville. Acme is a for-profit corporation. They wrote profit expectations into their contract. Omni gets all of Arne Duncan's supplemental money for several years. Come May 2015, Omni has a press conference and announces that since the contract with the schools has not met Omni's profit expectations, they are cancelling the contract, taking the school system private, and any Centerville parent who wants to send their child to an Omni school can come up with $5000 per year, per child.

Is this something that could happen, and are there any ways to stop it?
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Posted by jmowreader in The DU Lounge
Mon Sep 15th 2008, 08:01 PM
presented without comment:
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Posted by jmowreader in The DU Lounge
Sun Aug 24th 2008, 08:29 AM

I swearz I did not make this!
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Posted by jmowreader in The DU Lounge
Sun Aug 24th 2008, 08:29 AM

I swearz I did not make this!
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Posted by jmowreader in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Jul 12th 2008, 07:37 PM
Dear Motorist:

Safety is the most important goal of the Division of Motor Vehicles. To ensure the safety of the citizens of our beautiful state, we have contracted with Quick Buck Traffic Services, Inc., whose state-of-the-art traffic cameras provide 24-hour traffic monitoring services to over 250 American cities.

On July 19, 2009, you or a person driving your car passed by the Quick Buck traffic inspection system located in the 200 block of East Water Street. The following violations were noted:

1. Traveling 38mph in a zone posted for 35mph: $100 fine
2. Violating the state stop sign regulation by standing for 15 milliseconds less time than the law prescribes: $100 fine
3. Left headlight exceeds state maximum brightness by 50 lumens: $50 fine
4. Right headlight exceeds state maximum brightness by 45 lumens: $50 fine
5. All four of your tires have tread depth 0.02" less than the state-mandated minimum: $75 fine per tire, or $300 total fine
6. Car paint insufficiently waxed, thereby diminishing the beauty of our city: $50 fine
7. Car exceeds number of dents allowed by two: $25 fine per dent, or $50 total fine
8. Cheap-ass stereo that thumps too much: $100 nuisance fine
9. Listening to Nickelback: $100 fine for lack of taste in music
10. Car leaks oil: $100 pollution fine
11. Bag of weed in glovebox: $500 fine
12. Receiving blowjob from girlfriend while driving: $250 morality fine, plus we sent a picture of her to your wife

Total fines: $1750

The Quick Buck Automatic Appraisal System determined the market value of your car to be $1650.

Please place your car keys and $100 in the enclosed envelope with this printout, affix $19.50 in First Class stamps and drop into any mailbox.

Thank you for doing business with the city!
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Posted by jmowreader in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Apr 01st 2007, 11:19 AM
Dear God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha and the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

On this day of days, we seek your divine providence in a matter of grave urgency to the entire world.

We ask you to keep a very few men and women--just twenty-two in number--safe, warm and healthy at least until 2008.

These people are the only thing standing between that most evil of men, our president, and the global disaster he intends to start to enrich his corporate masters.

All of these people are Democratic senators from states with Republican governors. As you well know, if a senator dies before his term expires his governor chooses his replacement.

Our heavenly fathers, please do keep and protect Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein from the evils of the world, for their governor is the Terminator and we just can't imagine in our wildest dreams what sort of nightmare he'd pull out of his ass.

Please hold Christopher Dodd and Joseph Lieberman to your breast in these dark days. Lieberman ain't much to look at and he's pretty much a Republican anymore anyway, but should one of you decide to call him home before we're rid of Shrub we're doubly screwed. So even though we don't really brag on Lieberman much anymore, we still gotta have him. And yes, we know he should be vice president under a Democratic leader now. We're awful sorry about that and ask you for your forgiveness for our wanton ways.

Lord, if you do nothing else this morning please put the Shield of Righteousness in Bill Nelson's hand, for his governor is our numb-nuts president's brother. He is as evil as he is stupid and his stupidity knows no bounds. Shrub or Jeb, take your pick, they're equally bad. We have no idea what kind of a mess Arnold Schwarzenegger would dump on the country even as we know it would be bad, but we know exactly what kind of a lunatic Jeb Bush would come up with.

We ask you to keep Mr. Daniel Akaka and Mr. Daniel Inouye especially warm in these trying months. They are from Hawaii, the warmest and most beatiful of all states, a state so beloved that newly married couples flock to it to celebrate their romance. Hawaii has fallen into the trap of Republican governorship. She at least appears to be sane but you can never tell and we don't want to have to.

Let us bless a plate of Ramen noodles and ask that Evan Bayh feel the warmth of your noodly goodness, for his governor worked for both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Anyone who would put up with both of those evil fuckers can be relied upon to pull out a total maniac to replace a relatively high quality Democrat, and we don't want that to happen.

The land of ten thousand lakes also has ten thousand right wing lunatics, every one of them salivating for the chance to replace either Amy Klobuchar or Carl Levin. Please love them and protect them from harm's way.

Lord, we beg of you to protect Claire McCaskill, your faithful servant. Her governor is a right-wing nutcase who thinks every rapist should be a father. Naturally, we as Democrats feel differently and we're sure you do too, so help us in any way you can.

We ask you to keep Kent Conrad, Byron Dorgan, Tim Johnson and Ben Nelson close to your breast; they are all good Democratic senators from largely unpopulated states that have right-wing governors, none of whom need any encouragement to give George Bush a free hand to finish destroying the nation.

Lord, we know that you have probably given up on Nevada. It is a den of iniquity and everyone knows it, but it's represented by a man who's turned out to be a fine avatar of Christian virtue, Mr. Harry Reid. Please ignore for a moment your feelings about the snake pit he comes from and keep him healthy and well-fed.

We're also pretty sure you've given up on Rhode Island too, but we really wish you would not. Please protect Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse from small planes and large men named Karl.

We finally come to Vermont. Lord, I don't know what to tell you about Vermont. It's full of old hippies and new communes who got together and put a Republican in the governor's mansion. Yes, these people can be screwed up. Anyway, keep Patrick Leahy and Bernard Sanders close to you in these trying times.

We thank you and praise you, oh Lords and Deities. In Your names we pray.

Amen, Allah Akhbar, Buddha Be Praised and Ramen.
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Posted by jmowreader in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Apr 01st 2007, 10:38 AM
In the 1999-2000 time frame, the Republican Party sold us this real great candidate. George W. Bush was his name.

He was a small businessman. He had met a payroll. He knew what it was like to put food on the table. (Even though he said it as "putting food on your family." But we all knew what he meant.) He was a governor. He was a rancher. He was a veteran--a fighter pilot. He loves dogs. He was a guy you'd like to sit down and have a beer with. He was actually a pretty good guy.

Unfortunately for us, that George W. Bush was out of stock on the date of delivery, and we got the AWOL, coke sniffing, drunk driving liar who starts unprovoked wars, scares the shit out of people riding as passengers in Cessnas he's flying, and reads children's books during terrorist attacks.

Brian Schweitzer is the George W. Bush we were sold. Not the George W. Bush who's managed to kill more Iraqis than Saddam ever did. Nor the Bush who has restored the good name of Richard Nixon, but...

* the Bush who's a pilot. Schweitzer holds not only a FAA Commercial certificate but an aerial pesticide applicator's license. Crop dusting comes right after combat and Alaskan bush flying on the list of ways to go out and get yourself killed in an airplane. Only the bravest pilots ever attempt it.

* the Bush who's a rancher. Schweitzer has held title on five working ranches since he returned from the Middle East and still owns at least one. He is the only governor who ever had to ask the National Governors Association to reschedule its orientation classes because they interfered with his inoculating and castrating the calf crop. They call Bush "all hat, no cattle." Schweitzer is the other way around--it's well known that Schweitzer is a cattle rancher, but I searched for about half an hour for photos of Brian Schweitzer and found exactly one with him wearing a hat at all--and it's a baseball cap with the name of a feed company printed on the front. A "gimme cap," they call it--they're promotional items and you get one by saying "hey, gimme one of those hats"--and it's what farmers in the Northwest actually wear at work. I'm not entirely sure he owns a cowboy hat at all.

* the Bush who's a man of the people. There are forty-nine statehouses in America that have metal detectors at the entrance. The one that does not is in Montana. Schweitzer's "open door policy" states that anyone can attend his meetings. Anyone. Somewhere on the internets is an anecdote about a family of tourists who knew Schweitzer allows anyone who wants to, to have lunch in the snackbar at the statehouse. They thought this would be a wonderful thing to do, so they took their lunch and their children into the statehouse. They found an open room with a large table in it. Schweitzer walked by, saw them eating in there, and had a 20-minute conversation with them. Finally they asked him what he did for the state of Montana. Turns out they were actually eating their lunch in the governor's conference room.

* the Bush who's a businessman. Schweitzer built the world's largest dairy farm in Saudi Arabia--one of the hardest places in the world to irrigate. He also did a lot of wheat fields over there.

* the Bush you can have a beer with. It is conjectured that if you ever tried to have a beer with Bush he'd drink yours too; Schweitzer celebrated the reopening of the famous M&M Bar in Butte by hand-delivering its liquor license, then drank two shots of Jameson's whiskey. At ten in the morning. (And no, he didn't fly himself back to Helena after the two shots of whiskey, like Bush would have. "But gee, Laura, how was I supposed to get the plane home?")

* the Bush who's a dog lover. Schweitzer's border collie is named Jag, and he accompanies the governor everywhere he goes including onto the state airplane.

Schweitzer's not just George Bush the way Bush ought to be. He's got a plan for energy independence that might actually work. He's trying to get a sensible lobbyist reform plan started. He will shut down the war. And he actually studied in college.

The reason Brian Schweitzer will win the presidency in 2008 isn't because he's not a politician, it's because he's such a good politician you don't see him doing it. People say they want a president who's not a politician. Well...guess what. Someone who's not a politician was put in the White House in 2001 and you see where that got us. What they don't want is an obvious "politician."

Heads up, though: Schweitzer does have a skeleton in the closet. A gentleman named Leroy Schweitzer was the leader of the Montana Freemen ( ). In 1996, the Freemen held an 81-day standoff with the federal government that eventually landed Leroy Schweitzer 20 years in the federal pen. Well...Leroy Schweitzer is one of Brian Schweitzer's 61 (no shit) first cousins. Brian Schweitzer claims to be related to over 2000 people in Montana alone and the name isn't uncommon in the northwest, so having one or two that go bad isn't really a big problem , but the Party of Your Family Values would have a field day with it. This could work to our advantage, though...lots of freepers sympathize with people like Leroy Schweitzer, and they might actually be stupid enough to believe Leroy's white separatism could have possibly rubbed off on Brian and made him worth voting for.
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Posted by jmowreader in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Feb 06th 2007, 05:00 PM
Let me man who doesn't use Meth, or straight man who cooks out in his garage...which one does Jesus hate worse?

I know which one the fire department hates worse.
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Posted by jmowreader in The DU Lounge
Fri Aug 25th 2006, 07:02 PM
At 3pm today, pResident Bush signed an executive order placing the United States on the Metric System.

This order calls for all measuring tools to be converted to metric within 90 days. All road signs will be updated with metric measurements. All citizens are to surrender their traditional measuring devices to their local police departments and replace them with metric devices within 30 days. Over 300 new prisons will be constructed to house Measurement Offense violators.

According to White House press secretary Tony Snow, even more far-reaching changes are soon to take place. "We think old habits die hard, and we'll have to jail millions for the felony of measuring in feet and inches. So we legalized marijuana and turned all the Marijuana Criminals loose. They're still going to hell, but we need their beds right away."

When asked why the change was made so suddenly, Snow became defensive. "The pResident found out that the German chancellor's penis is bigger than his is. So now we're on the metric system, and the pResident has a solid seven and a half. Take that, you lousy quiche-eating foreigner!"

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, when told of this monumental change, said, "I think pResident Bush's manhood is longer than mine, but..." (holds fingers three inches apart) "a penis seven and a half centimeters long? Daaaaaamn..."
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Posted by jmowreader in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Fri Aug 11th 2006, 04:42 PM
Today's paper was all covered up with news of this Huge Plot To Blow Up Airliners, as one might expect.

It got hysterical when they started discussing binary explosives. Said the paper, the terrorists could mix ANFO, the blend of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil that was used to destroy the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, on a plane.

Give me a Fucking Break, okay?

ANFO is a mining explosive. You make it in a trough by saturating explosives-grade ammonium nitrate (the crystals are graded for size) with number-two diesel. And generally, you use a wooden stirrer that looks like a hoe to stir it up. Then you drill a big hole in the thing you want to blow up, put a stick of fuzed dynamite in the bottom of the hole, and pack as much ANFO as you can tamp in there into the hole. Finally, you get back 100 yards and set off the dynamite, which sets off the ANFO. It's not exactly a secret how to make this explosive, but it's not for small-scale use.

(Timothy McVeigh's ANFO was formulated with nitromethane for added kick. This is why it's so damn hard to buy nitromethane anymore.)

So let me really expect me to believe that the terrorists can get all of these things onto the airplane:

a bag of ammonium nitrate prills
a can of diesel
maybe some nitromethane, if you want a nice potent ANFO bomb like Timothy McVeigh had
a stick of dynamite and a detonator for it
a trough
a stirring device
a tamper
something to tamp it into, like a concrete form tube

Then you expect me to believe you could open the bag of ammonium nitrate, open the diesel, dump AN into trough and diesel on AN, stir the product together, build a bomb and set it off without all the rest of the passengers beating you half to death, then throwing you out the back of the plane?

You couldn't bring any of that shit onto the plane BEFORE George Bush invented terrorism, so what makes supposedly rational journalists believe you could do it now?
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Posted by jmowreader in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Mon May 15th 2006, 10:20 PM
There's a very old joke about an author who receives a rejection notice from a publisher. "Parts of your manuscript are both good and original. Unfortunately, the parts that are good are not original, and the parts that are original are not good."

So it is with pResident Bush's latest attempt at public speaking. Thanks to DUer newsguyatl, I was treated to a Bushism-free version of his address.

Bush isn't the first world leader to come up with a scheme like this. A little East German guy named Erich Honecker--who was chief of construction troops in August 1961--devised it first. Bush's speech wasn't so much an outline of his plans to strengthen the border against illegal immigration as it was his announcement that he plans to rebuild the Berlin Wall.

We can't call it the Berlin Wall because it isn't. Let's call it the Bush Wall.

The proposals Bush laid out tonight are far-reaching:

* Construction of the Bush Wall.
* Issuance of biometric identification cards, probably to every person who is legally entitled to be in the United States and eventually including US citizens.
* Massive increases in Border Patrol staffing.
* National Guard infill of Border Patrol units while new Patrol agents are recruited and trained.
* Improvements in deportation procedures.

So far so bad. Except for the fact that we're trying to keep people out and not in, this looks very much like the work of East Germany's Border Command Central--the unit responsible for securing the Berlin Wall. And then it gets curious:

* Guest worker program.

This is really the strangest part of the whole program. It shows how utterly clueless the administration really is on this problem. Under this program, a Mexican who's willing to pay for a criminal background check can apply to be a guest worker. As a guest worker he'll be employed at a legal wage with a company that will pay the employer's share of his unemployment and worker's comp payments and withhold his federal and state income taxes and FICA payments. He's going to do this because, according to Mr. Bush, there are jobs Americans won't do.

That sounds great until you understand that the reason Americans won't do these jobs is that, for the most part, they're never offered them. An illegal will work for three or four dollars an hour--good money in parts of Mexico--and you don't have to pay unemployment or worker's comp on them. And if they get injured at work...hey, no problem, you can just fire them even if they weren't at fault.

Bush knows this. He has to.

Don't believe that Bush is serious about curbing the illegal immigration problem, because he isn't. Please note that in his entire speech he never once spoke of penalties for hiring illegal immigrants. He spoke at length of some really bizarre scheme for allowing illegals to become citizens, starting with an unspecified "meaningful penalty for breaking the law" followed by a requirement that they "pay their taxes." I feel that most illegals, given the choice of paying a large fine plus a hefty back-tax bill (and remember, the IRS charges interest) then waiting for a number of years to be sworn in as citizens, or continuing to take their chances, most will continue to take their chances.

The only nod he made toward the corporations who employ illegal aliens was a mention of this new biometric identification card. With it, no employer will ever have reason to not know the legality of the workers he employs. It sounds great, right? Actually it doesn't. We already have usable methods to determine the legality of workers. The problem isn't forged documentation. It's day labor, where a worker toils all day and receives an envelope of cash that night and the foreman does his best Willy Wonka imitation and tells his workers, "I don't want to know your names; I can't see where it would make a difference." It's lettuce growers telling their field boss to "get you a truckload'a wetbacks to work these three fields." It's the guy running the rubber baby buggy bumper factory who hires undocumented workers because they know that if they call OSHA about the ten-foot-wide puddle of toluene diisocyanate three feet from the boiler, the boss will call the Migra. Bush didn't discuss any of the reasons people hire illegals. He never will.

If he wants to address illegal immigration he's got to go after the source of the problem--tens of thousands of small businesses who don't want to file paperwork or pay $5.15 per hour to their employees. Drying up the souece of jobs will do far more to stem illegal immigration than asking illegals to pay ten to twelve years worth of back taxes.

The speech was a failure. Like everything else in his life.
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Posted by jmowreader in The DU Lounge
Sat Apr 29th 2006, 04:56 PM
I got a call from the returns desk. "Can you come up and verify a door?" Some guy who claimed to be a contractor brought this door back.

Here's a helpful household hint, kids: If you're trying to return an entry door to a lumberyard, it should not look like this if you want them to accept it:

1. Door should not be painted forest green on the front.
2. Door should not be painted glossy antique white on the back.
3. If door is painted forest green on the front and antique white on the back, door should not have severe brush marks in the finish and big globs of other-colored paint all over it. Nor should there be white circles that are approximately the same size as lock rosettes around the lock bores.
4. Door should not be mounted in the frame with three screws per hinge when the door had four in each hinge when you got it. Further, the screws shouldn't have stripped heads, they shouldn't be mounted at an angle and they probably should all be the same color.
5. Door should not have one piece of new brickmould, one that was split and glued back together, and one piece that's rotten at the bottom.
6. Door should not have darker, cleaner area in the middle of it that's approximately the size of a poster.
7. The tape that held the poster to the door shouldn't remain on the door.
8. Door probably shouldn't have foot-shaped dent next to the lock bores.
9. Lock bores shouldn't be sitting at an angle.
10. When these doors leave the store there's an identification tag on each door frame leg. When one of them says the door is made by "Masonite" and the other one says the door is a "Premdor," there's something wrong.
11. The compression weatherstripping around the door shouldn't look like it's six years old.
12. I can tell when you've glued together a split door frame leg. Especially when it's right at the lock mortises.

In other words...if someone kicks your door in and you come to the store for a new one, we are not going to give you all your money back if you bring in the old one.
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