June 30, 2010

Phew!
— Ace

Sorry that took so long -- I actually was out and had no idea there was a problem. The moment I saw emails alerting me to it, I wrote to Pixy, and he fixed it three seconds.

Sorry about that.

Posted by: Ace at 05:57 PM | Comments (51)
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Overnight Open Thread
— Maetenloch

Kathleen Parker: Obama Is Our First Woman President

barack_obama_in_drag.jpg

So claims Kathleen Parker. And since Clinton was already our 'first black president' I guess Obama had to be something else.
It isn't that he isn't "cowboy" enough, as others have suggested. Aren't we done with that? It is that his approach is feminine in a normative sense. That is, we perceive and appraise him according to cultural expectations, and he's not exactly causing anxiety in Alpha-maledom.
So what exactly makes him so feminine according to Kathleen Parker? Well pretty much this:
When he finally addressed the nation on day 56 (!) of the crisis, Obama's speech featured 13 percent passive-voice constructions, the highest level measured in any major presidential address this century, according to the Global Language Monitor, which tracks and analyzes language.
And that plus being passive about the oil spill is about all she offers. Which is pretty weak even by the MoDo standard. Then she dances around a bit about whether this is a good thing.

Of course it could just be that he's not very good at actual leadership and his speeches tend to be airy-fairy and formulaic. But then Kathleen could never admit to that. more...

Posted by: Maetenloch at 05:04 PM | Comments (627)
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Andrew Sullivan Is Not Merely Insane, But No Longer Lucid
— Ace

Let me distinguish between what we might call emotional insanity -- from which he clearly suffers -- and a derangement of the intellect, which produces non-lucid thinking.

I'm drawing a distinction between those who are emotionally disturbed but keep the basic integrity of their intellectual-level reason, and those who lose the latter, too. more...

Posted by: Ace at 11:35 AM | Comments (510)
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Report: Kagan Also Lobbied AMA To Change Position On Partial-Birth Abortion
— Ace

If the law's on your side, argue the law.

if the facts are on your side, argue the facts.

If neither is on your side -- lobby friendly industry groups to change their reporting of the facts.

Now, according to a report Americans United for Life furnished to LifeNews.com, Kagan’s lobbying for changes to medical associations’ positions while in the White House is further evidenced by an email found in her White House documents.

...

Kagan discussed with other Clinton administration officials whether the AMA could reverse its policy saying there is not an identified situation in which partial-birth abortion is the only appropriate method of abortion. The AMA also noted ethical concerns with partial-birth abortions and said that it should not be used unless it is absolutely necessary.

“We agreed to do a bit of thinking about whether we (in truth, HHS) could contribute to that effort [convincing the AMA to reverse their policy]," Kagan wrote in the email.

Testilying.

Posted by: Ace at 10:15 AM | Comments (145)
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Slublog: Andrew Sullivan Vs. The Truth
— Ace

Sullivan is outraged at Breitbart's offer to buy old emails from a 400 person list.

Slublog notes Sullivan had no problems pouring through Sarah Palin's hacked emails.

Or, of course, starring in Raiders of the Lost Uterus.

I'll also note that Sullivan was among the first to publicize Levi Johnson's claimed (absurd) recollection of stuff he'd overheard Palin saying in her own home.

Bonus! David Frum Defended By... David Brock, Charles Johnson, and Andrew Sullivan. Hawkins notes that gallons of irony spilled here but not a drop splashed upon these fine gentlemen.

David Frum did fire back, but honestly, just between you, me, and all the other people who will read this today, I initially wasn't planning to respond because it was well...very weak tea. It was like Frum wrote the response while he was really sleepy or something. So, what's the point of rehashing the same old argument, right?

However, something happened that turned me completely around on the idea of doing a post. Blogs started supporting Frum -- but, not just any blogs. Andrew Sullivan from the Daily Dish, Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs and David Brock's Media Matters all spoke up to defend David Frum.

Hey, wait a second. There's something about those three websites....Let's see, they're all liberal. They all hate anything and everything conservative. They all stick up for Frum -- which, and this is probably breaking some heretofore unknown corollary of Godwin's law, but for a "conservative" to be defended by all three of those websites is like a liberal being praised by Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Daniel Ortega. Gee, it's almost like there's something else. Oh, yeah -- didn't Andrew Sullivan, Charles Johnson, and David Brock all used to be on the Right before they flipped and started attacking everybody on their own side? Now, they're all defending David Frum who's making a name for himself by attacking people who are supposed to be on his side? Ah, that's probably just coincidence. Still, maybe it's just me, but isn't it a wee bit odd that all of these websites that spend their days ceaselessly venting their spleen at all things conservative, are all sticking up for David Frum? Weird, isn't it?

He notes that as they praise Frum, they attack conservatives like Erick Erickson, which tends to support Hawkins' belief that, um, Frum's not really a conservative.

One thing I found funny in Frum's lame post -- he claimed Hawkins' problem with Frum was the Frum engages in "too much self-criticism."

If only.

Frum rips into every other conservative. That's not self-criticism, Frum. That is in fact criticism, but it is, you know, outwardly directed.

By that standard I engage in too much "self-criticism" by riding Frum's ass.

"Self-criticism." If that doesn't give the game away. Because every movie, book, or play which savages the right is sold as being important for "questioning our own beliefs."

But they're not questioning "our own" beliefs. Such works question other people's beliefs, not the authors', and not the intended audiences' either. The beliefs being challenged reside safely outside the theater's walls, while the beliefs of everyone within the auditorium are nicely flattered and reaffirmed.

I can't take this extremely liberal habit of terming one's cheap attacks on others as some kind of brave and ruthless philosophical examination of one's own beliefs.

Has David Frum ever confessed a doubt over his own position on, say, gay marriage? No?

Then shut up with the "self-criticism" crap, idiot.


Posted by: Ace at 09:18 AM | Comments (211)
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Shock: Sotomayor Lied In Her Confirmation To Appease Republicans
— Ace

She indicated she agreed with the Heller decision, but, shock of shocks, immediately joined a dissent that denied the central finding of the Heller majority.

Gee, I wonder if Elena Kagan might do the same thing.

What document?

In Fairness... She didn't lie so much as deliberately mislead.

Contrast that with her Senate testimony: "I understand the individual right fully that the Supreme Court recognized in Heller." And, "I understand how important the right to bear arms is to many, many Americans."

I don't know how hard the GOP pressed her on that; either way, she'd refuse to answer.

But once burned, twice shy, or so it should be.

Kagan's statements about "understanding" opinions should be taken as deliberately misleading.

Posted by: Ace at 08:57 AM | Comments (66)
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Elena Kagan: Well, That Looks Like My Handwriting On That Memo, But Gee I Don't Know What You're Talking About
— Ace

Dear Lord.

The memo, reported yesterday by National Review, has caused a stir in conservative circles because it appeared that Kagan, then a White House policy aide, put words in the medical group’s mouth in order to soften its position on the controversial procedure. But when Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch brought the subject up with Kagan, he had a hard time getting her to admit that she did, in fact, write the document in question.

“Did you write that memo?” Hatch asked.

“Senator, with respect,” Kagan began, “I don’t think that that’s what happened — ”

“Did you write that memo?”

“I’m sorry — the memo which is?”

“The memo that caused them to go back to the language of ‘medically necessary,’ which was the big issue to begin with — ”

“Yes, well, I’ve seen the document — ”

“But did you write it?”

“The document is certainly in my handwriting.”

Emphasis added. This is not just politics (which, for whatever reason, we're supposed to pretend we don't take into account). This is demonstrating a clear preference for deception over truth.

The original shenanigans were the first proof of unethical and shady behavior. And now her Vinnie Barbarino act -- "What? Who? Where?" -- is further proof of her fundamental determination to lie and game the system.

She is without candor -- a key prerequisite for a lifetime judicial appointment.


More at the link, via Gabe.

Sounds like she got some interview prep from Hillary Clinton, who famously claimed she didn't remember Whitewater, despite having herself billed hours on it, because she only knew it by its three-letter billing code and never once heard the word "Whitewater."

Posted by: Ace at 08:12 AM | Comments (125)
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Full Chris Christie Quote Is A Lot More GOP-Friendly Than First Advertised
— Ace

"Whatever that process is."

What I support is making sure that the federal government [plays] each and every one of its roles: Securing the border, enforcing immigration laws, and having an orderly process -- whatever that process is -- for people to gain citizenship."

He added: "It's a very easy issue to demagogue and I'm just not going to participate in that."

Christie said more resources -- specifically, "money" -- were needed to support federal law enforcement and border security, along with "having a clear understandable law that people can follow."

"Until you have both of those...you're not going to fix the problem," he said.

Posted by: Ace at 07:49 AM | Comments (117)
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Portland Police on Al Gore: There Is The "Possibility" Of A Prosecution For Sexual Assault
— Ace

Is this real?

I have been pretty skeptical. But...

She says she has evidence of the attack, including DNA from a pair of pants she was wearing that night four years ago.

Okay, so test it already!

I know they don't have a sample of Gore's to compare it against, but any male DNA on the pants would be enough to push the case forward, at least as far as getting a warrant for a sample of Gore's.

If it's just sweat, though, what does that prove? She was a masseuse; of course she was touching Al Gore, and he's a big fat lumpy sack of fat, so of course he was sweating like a fevered castrati boar.

It's only real proof if the DNA in question is, uh, the effluent from the second chakra.

Al Gore Poetry... from garrett.

One thin September soon

A masseuses hand disappears

Beneath the sheet

Vapors rise as
Fever settles on my lower abdominals
Make my bone dissolve

Slow strokes from the moobs to belly
Ice fathers floods in your pants
A hard tug and my recount comes quickly

Then my throat is parched
Your hand is placed near wood
For the VP's celebration

Unknown creatures in my shorts
Take their leave, unload!
Gynecologists ready their stirrups

Passion seeks a 2nd Chakra release
The belle wants a tip?
On the hill I was the most Hung

The client cries
The hour of release has arrived
Here! Is my tool.

Posted by: Ace at 06:59 AM | Comments (179)
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Top 10 Things Obama Can Do In Gulf, Apart From "Sucking It Up With A Straw"
— Ace

Unfortunately, the list does not include "Work on my putting" or "Sing-a-long with Sir Paul."

So this might be out of Obama's wheelhouse.

Still, here are few things he can do with a penstroke, which I trust even he is capable of doing.

Here are two related ones:

4. Release the S.S. A-Whale: The S.S. A-Whale skimmer is a converted oil tanker capable of cleaning 500,000 barrels of oil a day from the Gulf waters. Currently, the largest skimmer being used in the clean-up efforts can handle 4,000 barrels a day, and the entire fleet our government has authorized for BP has only gathered 600,000 barrels, total in the 70 days since the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The ship embarked from Norfolk, VA, this week toward the Gulf, hoping to get federal approval to begin assisting the clean-up, but is facing bureaucratic resistance.

As a foreign-flagged ship, the S.S. A-Whale needs a waiver from the Jones Act, but even outside that three-mile limitation, the U.S. Coast Guard and the EPA have to approve its operation due to the nature of its operation, which separates the oil from the water and then releases water back into the Gulf, with a minor amount of oil residue. The government should not place perfection over the need for speed, especially facing the threat of an active hurricane season.

...

7. Waive or Suspend EPA Regulations: Because more water than oil is collected in skimming operations (85% to 90% is water according to Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen), operators need to discharge the filtered water back into the Gulf so they can continue to collect oil. The discharged water is vastly cleaner than when it was skimmed, but not sufficiently pure according to normal EPA regulations. If the water has to be kept in the vessel and taken back to shore for purification, it vastly multiples the resources and time needed, requiring cleanup ships to make extra round trips, transporting seven times as much water as the oil they collect. We already have insufficient cleanup ships (as the Coast Guard officially determined); they need to be cleaning up oil, not transporting water.

Note that 85-90% is not about the purity of the cleaned water, but of the water that is collected.

With the stroke of a pen Obama can waive this ludicrous requirement and permit skimmers that merely scrub 99% or even 98% of oil from water.

But apparently he thinks it's better to have the oil washing up on our beaches.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Alex approaches, and may hit Texas, and it's already pushing oil up on Gulf shores.

Rough seas generated by Hurricane Alex pushed more oil from the massive spill onto Gulf coast beaches as cleanup vessels were sidelined by the far-away storm's ripple effects.

The hurricane was churning coastal waters across the oil-affected region on the Gulf of Mexico. Waves as high as 6 feet and winds over 25 mph were forecast through Thursday just off shore from the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

In Louisiana, the storm pushed an oil patch toward Grand Isle and uninhabited Elmer's Island, dumping tar balls as big as apples on the beach.

"The sad thing is that it's been about three weeks since we had any big oil come in here," marine science technician Michael Malone said. "With this weather,we lost all the progress we made."

...

Dozens of vessels that were being used to combat the oil spill were tied to docks Tuesday as Alex, more than 500 miles away, approached the Texas-Mexico coast. Most days, the fleet would have been skimming oil from the Gulf and ferrying workers and supplies. But the hurricane turned many people fighting the 11-week-old spill into spectators. And they will be for days.

Well whatever we do let's make sure we leave the oil out there until we can Batman ourselves up a miracle machine together that will do better than 99% purity. We really need to hold out for the EPA's 99.9985% standard, even if it kills us.

There are millions of gallons of oil in the Gulf right there that didn't need to be. They are just there because of bureaucratic stupidity, and Obama's utter lack of interest in the issue.

Posted by: Ace at 06:14 AM | Comments (186)
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Chris Christie: The GOP Needs To Rebrand Itself As The Credible Party of Fiscal Conservatism... And Support A Clear Path To Citizenship For Illegals
— Ace

Eh, not sure if this is disqualifying per se, as most politicians, including border-enforcement types, talk up this possibility at some point.

He is down on the Arizona law, though.

On the hot-button topic of immigration reform, he said he has long declined to “demagogue” the issue as a former U.S. Attorney, because “I come from law enforcement and it’s not an easy issue.”

But he did intimate that he thinks stringent state-by-state laws – such as in Arizona – are the wrong approach, and added, “I think President Obama doesn’t do this at his own risk because it’s affecting the economy in the country…to me, I think the president’s really gotta show the leadership on this.”

“This is a federal problem, it’s gotta have a federal fix,” he said. “I’m not really comfortable with state law enforcement having a big role.”

He said that without border security, enforcement of existing laws and a “clear” path to legalization for immigrants, there would never be a fix.

No one seems to talk about a clear path to legalization that is not citizenship.

Other countries have large guest worker programs. Why can't we?

Why do we have this childish insistence that it be all-or-nothing?

I know the Democrats want "all" because they want more voters. And unions either want them to be full citizens so they can more easily draft them into the movement (and grab their dues).

But why can't Republicans push back and offer a larger -- not huge, but larger -- guest-worker program? Two years, four years, whatever, and then either go home or get another extension?


Posted by: Ace at 05:53 AM | Comments (197)
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CBO: Deficit To Reach 62% This Year; But Don't Fear, It Will Stabilize At 67%
— Ace

Actually it could go to 90% if current spending levels are maintained (plus inflation) and the Bush tax cuts are extended.

Hm, I wonder, I do wonder, which of those two Obama will choose to abandon.

By contrast, GDP has averaged "a little above" 36 percent per year over the past 40 years.

Posted by: Ace at 05:46 AM | Comments (23)
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Top Headline Comments 6-30-10
— Gabriel Malor

Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars?

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 04:20 AM | Comments (79)
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Wednesday Financial Briefing
— Monty

A few stray rays of sunshine managed to break through the gloom yesterday.

The Ramona, CA Pie Auction and Barbeque fundraiser is set for July 17. Ingenuity! Community! Fair play! It brings a tear to the eye, especially in the benighted Land of the Boned -- California.

In other heartening economic news, a plucky young entrepreneur is starting a small single-proprietorship services business in Exeter, Maine. [UPDATE: I am told that this is actually Exeter, New Hampshire.] Although only a start-up, it has brought in more profit in the last month than the entire state of California made all last year. I see big things ahead for this firm!

But alas, these few stray beams could not dispel the thick black thunderclouds that stretch from horizon to horizon. Lightning flashes, and thunder rolls, leaving a huge echo in its wake: Doom! Doom! Doom! more...

Posted by: Monty at 02:01 AM | Comments (109)
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June 29, 2010

Research 2000: What We're Going To Reveal Could Be The End of the Daily Kos
— Ace

Pushback.

Now, what I think could have been the end of the Daily Kos was the assertion that R2K gave Kos good numbers but then Kos changed them, thus creating the suspiciously non-random patterns.

What they really say, though, is that the scandal about Kos is about owing people money, which isn't a good thing, but it's usually not the kind of thing that destroys someone's credibility.

The liberal blogger fired the pollster earlier this month and said he intends to sue in coming days. His State of the Nation polls tracked the favorable and unfavorable ratings for national elected leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Del Ali, president of Research 2000 in Olney, Md., said he could not respond to the specific allegations Tuesday and referred questions to his attorney, who did not return a call seeking comment.

“I can tell you, we’re fine. What we’re going to reveal, that will be the end of the Daily Kos,” Ali said. “I can say, it has to do with people owing money.”

Still, here's hoping for some popcorn-worthy stuff.

Via Gabe's Twitter feed.

Caution on Falsified Data Claims? Someone in the biz notes that R2K was considered one of the least accurate polls, and asks, "If they were just faking data, couldn't they have averaged Gallup and Rasmussen and faked something closer to accurate?"

Also questions whether some of the offered proofs of falsification are particularly strong.

One thing that I don't get is this paired-odds and paired-evens business. If you have an even number, and split it, you have to get both even numbers or both odd numbers. That's what an even number is.

The polling person also suggests that with sample sizes of 2500, subgroups of 600 or 800 should still yield decent results with a not-too-bad margin of error.


Posted by: Ace at 04:37 PM | Comments (154)
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The One True Overnight Thread
— Maetenloch

Groovy Tuesday - LSD, Psychedelics, the ONT and You

Here's a totally groovy anti-drug film from the 70's that tries to be 'with it' with the kids. It's narrated by Tommy Roe who's best known for his 60's hits "Sheila" and "Dizzy". The music and bongo transitions are a nice touch. And is it me or do most of the kids in this film have an odd drawling accent? Maybe it's bad acting, just a regionalism or maybe teenspeak really has changed over the last 40 years.

So don't do drugs kids. Or else you'll up like the people in this video wearing bad fashion, saying goofy things and having to chat with a ginger psychologist with a pornstache.

more...

Posted by: Maetenloch at 04:24 PM | Comments (618)
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Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA): "Our Borders are Quite Secure
— Dave in Texas

Ever seen a Congressman bored with his constituents?

Call me crazy here, but I don't think Pete is all that concerned about border security (or his re-election bid, which is safe).

But for the record I'll note that while condescending and arrogant, he didn't threaten to throw the Minuteman out the window.

When you shut up and learn something, he might be willing to talk to you.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 02:58 PM | Comments (118)
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Blame the EPA: Dutch Oil Spill Response Ships Could Suck 99% of Oil From Gulf, But Can't Get Approved, Because EPA Demands 99.9985% Purity
— Ace

And blame the dreamy-headed idealists.

And blame everyone who allowed this to come to pass.


Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn't good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million -- if water isn't at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it. As U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the clean-up operation, explained in a press briefing on June 11, "We have skimmed, to date, about 18 million gallons of oily water--the oil has to be decanted from that [and] our yield is usually somewhere around 10% or 15% on that." In other words, U.S. ships have mostly been removing water from the Gulf, requiring them to make up to 10 times as many trips to storage facilities where they off-load their oil-water mixture, an approach Koops calls "crazy."

The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer -- but only partly. Because the U.S. didn't want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.

A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out.

Unconscionable. Unconscionable.

I read, two weeks ago, two things I could not comprehend:

1) Kevin Costner's oil-separating machines worked

and

2) Kevin Costner's oil-separating machines still had to be cleared by the EPA for use

What? What?

Now I understand: These machines work (and the Dutch machines), but as neither offers the 99.9% purity the EPA demands, it's better to let the coasts be destroyed and the fish killed for a generation.

Note: I am guestimating the 99% figure. The article doesn't specify how clean the Dutch vehicles scrub the oil. I think 99% sounds about ballpark, given that the article says "nearly oil-free."

Can It Get Worse? Just maybe it can.

Posted by: Ace at 02:49 PM | Comments (560)
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Not Quite Overnight Thread
— Ace

Some Shanghai robots doing some kind of kata. BTW: I don't know if this is real or what. Update: These are the droids you're looking for.

From Engadget.com, which also has the same robots set to a jauntier song.

Found on ArchaeoBlog, which notes the "hobbit" remains likely indicate a separate species, and weren't just a bunch of short, weird-looking humans.

And: Flyin' car. Almost. Really it's another roadable aircraft, but it's actually going into production, having won a special exemption from the FAA.

And, wonder of wonders, the iPhone may soon be available on Verizon.

From WickedPinto and JackStraw.

Posted by: Ace at 02:08 PM | Comments (54)
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Another Video Slams Obama on Spill Response
— Ace

At RightChange.com.

Brutal.

Oil Spill Timeline from RightChange on Vimeo.

If only there were a crisis for which the correct solution was to play golf... -- from t-bird.

The RNC's attempt is below. I often find myself critical of the RNC's ads for the same reason: They try to sell things lightly, through humor. Often this is an effective technique, but some things are more serious than that, and if you try a soft-sell cutesy-funny ad it seems like you, the ad's author, are no more serious than Obama.

I know the first ad is very tough, very dramatic, and maybe that's a turn off, but on some of these you have to go hard, and not try to soften it too much with humor.
more...

Posted by: Ace at 12:48 PM | Comments (112)
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