January 03, 2014
— Ace Originally published September 4, 2013. I've got a few more of these for the weekend and then that'll be it for the old posts.
No Matter How Hard We Run, We Can Never Escape Our Childhood Breakfast Cereals
I don't want to admit this, really, but -- and what you're about to read is pretty much actually true -- since I was a child, I've had a strong revulsion to Kaboom cereal, due to what may be called a early-childhood type of social dysmorphia.
And, ultimately, self-hatred.
You say you've never heard of Kaboom? You think I'm making Kaboom up?
Well let me explain this. You've heard of Apple Jacks, right? Sure you have. Everyone has.
I wanted to be an Apple Jacks kid.
Apple Jacks kids had so much fun in the commercials. Fresh-faced, healthy, and free, and hopeful for the future. Singing and dancing and just loving on their Apple Jacks.
And the cereal was awesome too. I had it once in a Snack-Pack that fell off a truck.
But there were no commercials for Kaboom.
It was just a dirty little secret, like massage parlors and the back room at a pawnbroker's.
That's why you never heard of it.
But Kaboom kids know. Kaboom kids understand.
Apple Jacks was for winners.
Kaboom was the cereal of The Defeated
December 27, 2013
— CDR M
I cringe thinking that this is in our future. Which is having a worse year, Obamacare or NHS?
— Ace Last week a federal district judge agreed with Larry Klayman that the NSA's suspicion-free bulk data collection on every US citizen was almost certainly unconstitutional. He enjoined the NSA from collecting the data under this program, but then immediately stayed his own ruling, so as to allow the case to proceed to appeal before enforcement began taking place.
Now a federal judge for the southern district of New York* rules that the same program is "lawful."
The judge to rule in the government's favor characterizes the government's policy of Let's Clean All The Data as merely a "counter-punch" against terrorism.
Pauley said that if the U.S. government had the phone data collection program before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, it could have helped provide critical clues. He said that so-called telephone metadata might have permitted the NSA to notify the FBI that one of the terrorists was calling a Yemeni safe house from inside the United States.
The government learned from its mistake and adapted to confront a new enemy: a terror network capable of orchestrating attacks across the world, Pauley wrote. It launched a number of counter-measures, including a bulk telephony metadata collection program a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data.
Politico quotes more from the opinion. Having found the program lawful, the judge states that is up to the political branches to decide if the program should continue.
"This blunt tool only works because it collects everything," Pauley said. "The collection is broad, but the scope of counterterrorism investigations is unprecedented."
He said the mass collection of phone data "significantly increases the NSA's capability to detect the faintest patterns left behind by individuals affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations. Armed with all the metadata, NSA can draw connections it might otherwise never be able to find."
"The question for this court is whether the government's bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. This court finds it is. But the question of whether that program should be conducted is for the other two coordinate branches of government to decide," he said.
Part of the judge's findings is that this program is effective in stopping terrorism. That is far from clear. The government makes many vague assertions about the efficacy of the program, but offers very few verifiable examples of terrorist actions thwarted.
And one former NSA employee says the flood of data is nearly useless -- with so many terabytes of data collected from random citizens, the Agency is drowning in data but has no clear idea how to swim through it all.
William Binney, creator of some of the computer code used by the National Security Agency to snoop on Internet traffic around the world, delivered an unusual message here in September to an audience worried that the spy agency knows too much.
It knows so much, he said, that it can't understand what it has.
"What they are doing is making themselves dysfunctional by taking all this data," Mr. Binney said at a privacy conference here.
The agency is drowning in useless data, which harms its ability to conduct legitimate surveillance, claims Mr. Binney, who rose to the civilian equivalent of a general during more than 30 years at the NSA before retiring in 2001. Analysts are swamped with so much information that they can't do their jobs effectively, and the enormous stockpile is an irresistible temptation for misuse.
Drew has previously criticized the argument which the judge now endorses. Although section 215 of the Patriot Act, by its own terms, only permits the government to snoop in three categories of cases, it is argued that these classes are merely "exemplars," just some for-example fer-instances of whom the government may spy on. The specification of these three categories of permitted spying is not, the government argues, a limitation on its power, but merely a jumping off point for whichever powers it thinks would be useful.
As Drew says:
The criteria outlined in (b)(2) of Section 215 are the only cases in which the Congress has authorized the production of records (within the Patriot Act/FISA Court). In order to collect the records of someone the government has to be able to show that they fit into one of those three categories. This isnt optional. It isnt an invitation to find ever wider definitions that would eventually ensnare EVERY America who uses a cellphone. Its the law. Full stop. End of story
To say they are nothing more than the noodlings of the Congress or a jumping off point for an active and imaginative executive branch implies a level of possible lawlessness that is breathtaking. Congress gave a specific grant of authority to the executive here; that they didnt rule all other possible grants out doesnt mean the executive can simply claim those other situations are OK too. If that were the case, why bother picking 3? Or any? Congress isnt a consulting firm with expertise in investigative lines the Department of Justice might not have thought of. Its a lawmaking body that either says you can or cant do certain things.
The full decision is here, which is 53 pages long, but many pages of that are about non-essential procedural questions (such as standing) that a reader may skip to get to the heart of the ruling. Drew says it's doable (but I haven't read it yet myself).
Gabe sends this helpful comparison between the holdings of Judges Leon and Pauley. For example:
On Smith v. Maryland, a 1979 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed police to collect phone records from a suspect in a robbery case without a warrant:
Judge Leon: In Smith, the Court considered a one-time, targeted request for data regarding an individual suspect in a criminal investigation, which in no way resembles the daily, all-encompassing, indiscriminate dump of phone metadata that the NSA now receives as part of its Bulk Telephony Metadata Program. Its one thing to say that people expect phone companies to occasionally provide information to law enforcement; it is quite another to suggest that our citizens expect all phone companies to operate what is effectively a joint intelligence-gathering operation with the government.
Judge Pauley: Clear precedent applies because Smith held that a subscriber has no legitimate expectation of privacy in telephony metadata created by third parties. Inferior courts are bound by that precedent. Telephones have far more versatility now than when Smith was decided, but this case only concerns their use as telephones. The fact that there are more calls placed does not undermine the Supreme Courts finding that a person has no subjective expectation of privacy in telephony metadata.
* Corrected. I stated that Pauley was a DC Circuit Court judge. He isn't. Thanks to Drew and Gabe for correcting me.
— Ace South Dakota is one of those states that should be routinely electing two conservative Senators but which generally doesn't. With longtime Democrat Tim Johnson finally retiring, the state is a key battleground in the fight for control of the Senate.
But that won't be easy. A Libertarian candidate is drawing 11% of the vote.
And now, curiously enough, as the Democrats' political position deteriorates further, it gets even harder. An allegedly "moderate" former Senator, Larry Pressler, who endorsed Obama in both 2008 and 2012 (I guess he was very impressed by his first term!), is joining the race as well.
Geraghty notes the state is R+10. But even an R+10 state can go Democratic with not one but two challengers for the right-leaning vote.
Thanks to @drewmtips.
— Ace "Kung Fury."
You know you wanna. more...
— Ace The last time Piers Morgan said "Bring it on," he said it to Megyn Kelly, who was about to begin her show competing in Morgan's time slot.
It turns out this is just a standard Piers Morgan taunt. And lately he's been taunting Australian cricketeers. Australians keep beating English cricket teams, and Piers Morgan acts all upset about that, because soft pudgy aging men with no athletic ability think it makes them seem youthful and athletic if they act like children when they root for sports teams.
So, in some kind of dare, Morgan took pitches from an Australian pitcher, who beaned him with every throw, except for one to the head that Morgan barely dodged (by falling on his ass).
I suppose he thought he looked gutsy taking the punishment. I think he looked pretty foolish and stupid. Why would a man with any kind of dignity or sense just take 80 mile per hour pitches to the ribs?
Full injury list post @BrettLee_58 showdown - cracked wrist, bruised rib, and massive egg on back of head from...the throw-down guy.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 27, 2013
I think maybe the answer is simple. Morgan, like Michael Eric Dyson, is a clownish provocateur, subscribing to the theory that any attention is good attention. Although their official job titles may vary, their actual function and self-definition is Professional Wrestling Villain.
Like Andy Kaufman. But he was doing it as some kind of ironic commentary (perhaps understandable only to himself). Idiots like Chris Matthews, Piers Morgan, Michael Eric Dyson, Ed Shultz and the rest of the progressive professional slobberknocker circuit are doing this because that's how they get on TV and get paid.
Below, Piers Morgan gets beaned a whole heck of a lot.
— Ace Originally published March 1, 2013. I've changed the actual caption Iowahak uses to a slightly different one. And, Open Thread.
Iowahawk said something yesterday (which he's said before, but he reminded me of it yesterday) about The New Yorker's cartoons.
You know those drab, vague watercolor black-and-white cartoons skewered on Seinfeld for never making any sense?
Iowahawk proposed that every New Yorker cartoon -- every one -- could be made funnier by replacing its caption with:
Is it true? Well let's test this proposition under strict laboratory conditions. Let's do Science. more...
— andy The podcast crew took the week off, but the archive of previous episodes is always available for your enjoyment.
Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to listen to this new feature of the blog we launched mid-year. It's averaging around 3,000 listens a week between the download channels (RSS/iTunes/direct) and the streaming channel on Stitcher. We hope we've provided some thought-provoking insights and amusement, but mainly amusement, along the way.
In 2014, we plan to add some specialized podcasts, starting with a guns/2A one that should debut early in the year, and we'll of course be continuing the main one with our lineup of guests from around the Interwebs.
Thanks again for listening, and be sure to submit your questions & comments here: Ask the Blog
Open thread in the comments.
— Gabriel Malor Some of ya'll asked some questions in the comments to my Obamacare and Religion post.
Emile Antoon Khadaji asked:
Does ACA's purported lack of severability come into play with any of these challenges?
Short answer: no.
Long answer: no, of course not. For some reason, the question of severability has been batted around since the first Obamacare lawsuits. I'm not sure where the idea started that the statute needs a severability clause or it all fails if any single part of it is found unconstitutional, since that has never been the law. There are, quite simply, no consequences from the lack of a severability clause. The courts will still try to preserve as much of a duly passed law they can, if any one part of it is found unconstitutional.
For example, should the contraception mandate be held unconstitutional, that obviously doesn't affect the Medicaid mandate, the individual mandate, the subsidies, the exchanges, etc. etc. On the other hand, should the subsidies be knocked down in that litigation, it's possible (not probable, but possible) that the individual mandate itself as well as the exchanges will fall, since the Obama administration has argued that one can't survive without the other. Note, even if the individual mandate were to fall in this manner, many other parts of Obamacare would survive, including the Medicaid expansion, numerous taxes, etc.
Frumious Bandersnatch asks:
Excellent post, Gabe. Some of the comments provoke me to make a bleg.
There's a lot of hate in the horde for Roberts. (There are elements of the horde that have no forgiveness for apostasy. No matter how brilliant a Peggy Noonan column is there will be five comments saying the scrunt still has Obama's dribble on her chin from 0.
Roberts called OCare a tax, when O had insisted it wasn't a tax. That was a big fuck you to Obama. What is u pardonable around here is that Roberts didn't sieze an opportunity to get the right result (he coulda killed it dead!) by striking down the signature law of a (then) popular president. So he said, fuck you, it's a tax, have fun with it. And he let a structurally flawed monstrosity launch itself into the world where its flaws and failings can be exposed and attacked by other actors. And that's working.
So, here's my bleg. If you share this general sentiment can you make a post about it that's a lot smarter than I could do?
Sorry. I don't share that sentiment. Chief Justice Roberts wrote an outstanding decision in the Obamacare case and then lost his nerve. Justice Scalia signed his name to Roberts' first opinion, Justice Kennedy read it from the bench as their joint dissent -- an act signalling deep disapproval of Roberts' actions. Roberts wrote a new decision holding that the individual mandate passes constitutional muster as a tax, something that wasn't even in the realistic expectation of any of the parties and that decision is now the law of the land.
There's one thing to like about the Chief Justice's decision and that's the determination that the individual mandate was not authorized under the Commerce Clause. That's good. Conservatives have been trying to rein in Congress' Commerce Clause overreach for decades. So we got that. But justifying the individual mandate as a tax was so patently a dodge by the Chief Justice that it damaged the Court's legitimacy in all eyes -- which was exactly what the Chief was trying to avoid.
I don't think there's any reason to believe the Chief Justice was playing n-dimensional chess. It appears, particularly given the gibberish in the tax portion of his decision, that he simply lost his nerve. As I wrote shortly before the decision, ironically defending Roberts from the accusation that he was an activist judge, "The Roberts Court doesn't even come close to overturning the number of laws that its three predecessors did. . . . One could even creditably call the Roberts Court the most restrained, incrementalist Court of the modern era." Alas, Roberts turned out to be too incrementalist for my taste.
— Gabriel Malor FRIIIIIIDAAAAAAY!
Ken White aka @Popehat on speech and outrage.
The academic boycott of Israel continues to go not-so-well for the idiot group that proposed it.
How Obamacare Costs Michigan: among other things, "when Jan. 1 arrives there will actually be less people who have health care coverage than there were when Obamacare was passed." He means "fewer," but you get the point.
Have a great weekend.
— Open Blogger
- Oregon Man On Meth Fights Off 12 Cops While Masturbating In A Bar
- Fracking Helps Lower Gas Prices Across The Country
- Affordable Care Act Not So Affordable
- Hunger Games: 10 of the 15 Wealthiest Counties In America Are D.C. Suburbs
- What To Do When Obamacare Unravels
- Landrieu Adopts Risky Strategy In Attempt To Hold Senate Seat
- Connecticut Gun Owners Wait In Line To Register Their Guns In Compliance With New Law
- The World In Crisis
- Town Votes To Not Raise Taxes, Local Gov't Guts Police Force, Townspeople Create Own Community Force
- Argentina Launches A Rocket While Its Infrastructure Collapses
- The Sledgehammer Justice Of Mandatory Minimum Sentences
- Japan Officially Enters Cold War With China And South Korea
- Democracy In The Tobacconist's
- It's All About The Settlements Stupid
- Novel Circuit Shrinks Laptop Chargers
- Professor Admits Faking AIDS Vaccine To Get 19 Million In Grants
- A Tale Of Two Millennials
- Piranha Attack In Argentina Leaves 60 Injured
- Santa Obama Drops A Lump Of Coal On America
- Justified Season 5 Full Length Trailer (autoplay video)
- In Case You Missed It, 7 Minute Mini-Sherlock Episode
December 26, 2013
"We in the United States may not believe that we are engaged in an ideological struggle with anybody, but other people are engaged in an ideological struggle with us. We in the United States may not believe that there is any real threat to our longtime alliance structures in Europe and Asia, but other people think those alliances are vulnerable and have set out to undermine them. ...We are intellectually, economically and militarily unprepared to contemplate Great Power conflict, let alone engage in the hard work of renewing alliances and sharpening strategy. But History is back, whether we want it to be or not. Happy New Year."
I said in an earlier post, and I'll say again here: The Left makes inroads into institutions, while conservatives abandon them. Theirs is the better tactic. Or, as I've also said before, Leftists have horrible ideals and great tactics; conservatives have great ideals and horrible tactics.
Heh. At this point I don't even know what parts of the law will still be operative later this week. And Obama probably hasn't decided that yet either.
In the great tradition of American civil disobedience, President Barack Obama is defying a law. It's just one that he himself lobbied for, signed, and lost a house of Congress over. Even Henry David Thoreau would be hard-pressed to understand this one.more...
— Open Blogger
Mayor Ford Courts The Vitally-Challenged Vote In Toronto
OK, so the media chatter we've all heard about Rob Ford is that he's Toronto's crack-smoking, hard-drinking mayor who consorts with prostitutes and makes racist remarks.
And apparently, he's the only Canadian politician in the entire country who indulges in scandalous behavior. This is according to the American media who never seem to report on the failings of other public officials north of the border.
So it's only Ford who's guilty, right?
For more on this story, we switch you now over to our AoSHQ Canadian news correspondent, 'andycanuck' in the Great White North. Andy, what can you tell us about Toronto's controversial mayor?
"Crack mayor" is a fiscal con who has limited tax increases to the (imaginary) 1.5% inflation rate, cut spending by half a billion, ended or lowered city fees and brought city unions to heel, making him the best mayor I've known in Toronto in my adult life.
The leftist media especially the 9th-grade-level-written NYT wannabe, the Toronto Star, that was pissed off that their candidate, a married gay "ex" coke-head who lost $1-billion through incompetence trying to put the province's medical records onto a single database when he was a Liberal cabinet minister (where he was knows as Furious George by underlings over his violent temper) lost in a landslide to the not-quite-our-class-dear, overweight Rob Ford so they've been after him and his family since the day after the election.
BTW, the married gay mayoral candidate stage-managed finalization of the adoption of a black kid for the day of the election that, ha-ha, he lost; and recently his 'husband' went missing for half a day and was found wandering in a stupor (to coin a phrase) in a section of the city known for its crack houses---a story the MFM has shown surprisingly little interest in investigating. A MFM that has also been ignoring a Liberal mayor charged with massive corruption; the lesbian Liberal premier (the province's "prime minister") who is currently in a billion-dollar-plus scandal; and a Liberal former deputy minister of education for Ontario and close friend to the lesbian premier and the federal Liberal Party's leader, Justin Trudeau, who has been arrested for kiddie pr0n possession and creation
Thank you for that report, andycanuck.
— Ace He does have a point.
Asked if his vigorous defense of Snowden suggests he's "crossed a line" from journalist to advocate, he responded:
Every journalist has an agenda. Were on MSNBC now, where close to 24 hours a day the agenda of President Obama and the Democratic Party are promoted, defended, glorified, the agenda of the Republican Party is undermined. That doesnt mean the people who appear on MSNBC arent journalists, they are.
He said that every journalist has a viewpoint and he doesnt hide the fact that he finds Snowdens decision to expose the NSAs surveillance programs heroic.
I think the point is not so much about MSNBC and what happens here, Welker said in defense of her employer, but more that sometimes when you talk about Edward Snowden you do defend him, and some people wonder if that crosses a line.
Sure, I do defend him just like people on MSNBC defend President Obama and his officials and Democratic Party leaders 24 hours a day. When Welker pushed back that not everyone on MSNBC does that 24 hours a day, Greenwald conceded that its not everybody, but a lot of people do.
Video at the link.
Joy Reid, an Obama-loving MSNBC HappyParrot (TM), immediately got all butthurt that the Greenwalds Clan had offered an accurate observation about her network. And soon after, she got snippy that Mediaite had merely reported her previous snippiness.
Andrew Kirell quotes a previous criticism of MSNBC by the Greenwalds Combine...
One finds more vibrant political debate in the average conference room of the DNC than one does on Bashirs show. Its a staple of cable news that regular access to the show depends on ones eagerness to agree with the host as much as possible, but Bashir lowers this dynamic to never-before-seen depths, where one is obligated not only to flatter all his views but he himself. Almost every segment is like watching parrots in a pet shop compete over who can more faithfully mimic the other. Its really quite creepy.
At the bottom of that post, Kirell demonstrates the "creepy" tendency of MSNBC guests to parrot whatever it is their host just claimed in a video supercut called "That's Absolutely Right, Martin [Bashir]." Among the parrots caught happily re-chirping Bashir's nonsense is MSNBC guest Joy Reid.
Meanwhile, another MSNBC idiot claimed that Christians' love for Jesus was "homoerotic." He then said he himself wasn't suggesting that, after he himself just suggested it.
And, Open Thread, unless there's some big news coming up. I'm half-daying it. It's kind of a gyp when Christmas falls on a Wednesday.
— Ace What I really hate about the Internet and cheapo reality-tv wave is that it really makes it terribly easy to waste time.
Reality TV is so cheap to produce they can bang out a show about any premise. They don't need to draw in a large audience to make a profit. So that means they can micro-target whatever particular thing interests a niche audience.
Like the eight reality tv shows about auctioning off the contents of abandoned lockers. Or HGTV's and DIY's six thousand shows about home repair and flipping houses.
Cable TV is becoming more like the Internet -- a quickie burst of shallow information and entertainment which you need no context for, need no investment in, and which you can watch in five minute intervals and then just walk away.
And that makes it very, very good at providing people (like me) with a low-cost, low-investment way to waste precious time, never really realizing how much time is being wasted until one realizes one just spent five hours watching "Holmes Makes It Right."
— Ace Congress isn't in session, and the President is taking a well-deserved 17 day vacation. So there isn't much news, apart from the manufactured kind.
The news isnt that the GOPs leading on the generic ballot; thats been true in several polls since November, when the botched ObamaCare rollout dropped an atomic bomb on Democratic numbers so powerful that even veteran number-crunchers like Charlie Cook trembled at its glory. The news is that the comparative stability of Healthcare.gov over the past month hasnt healed those Democratic wounds...
He links Conn Carroll, who notes the GOP is on track (on track, mind you) for another wave election. Quoting CNN, he finds that Obama's claim that Healthcare.gov is "fixed" hasn't fixed the Democrats' deteriorating position:
Two months ago, Democrats held a 50%-42% advantage among registered voters in a generic ballot...
But the Democratic lead evaporated, and a CNN poll a month ago indicated the GOP holding a 49%-47% lead. The new survey, conducted in mid-December, indicates Republicans with a 49%-44% edge over the Democrats.
The Democrats' 50-42 advantage was temporary, of course, due to the media's pile-on over the shutdown, but the Democrats had had leads throughout the year.
But since Obama declared his stupid website "fixed" (apart from it being mostly nonfunctional, of course), Democrats have actually.. lost further ground.
CNN's poll finds Democrats losing support almost exclusively with men (falling from 46% to a woeful 35%), while continuing to own the women's vote (54% slipping down, meaninglessly, to 53%).
But their previous poll found that almost all loss of support for Obamacare (not the same as Congressional Democrats, but these two things should obviously be closely related) was coming from women deciding to flip from supporting the law to opposing it.
What that means, I don't know.
Hit the first link to see multiple trendlines showing the same basic phenomenon -- Obama and Obamacare lose big support in October and November, and then support begins to climb after the site is "fixed"... but climbing only to a new normal of relatively low support.
And, while the public isn't quite as harsh on Obama and Obmacare as it was three weeks ago, it's also trending towards the GOP as far as Congressional races.
December 27, 2013
— Ace Originally published January 24th, 2007. January is considered a holy month for "The Winter People." more...
January 02, 2014
— Ace This was a frequent joke from 2007 to 2010. It still comes up occasionally.
Mostly it was used with terrorists' deaths. I think this was the first one, or at least it's what a search turns up as the first "But Mostly" headline, from August 2nd, 2007:
Sad: Glasgow Bomber/Self-Immolator Dies Of Heart-Ache and Burns, But Mostly Burns
A few of the headline gags below, starting with the early ones, and then skipping around for the better ones. I stopped the joke because, well. I ran out of new things to say after ten repetitions.
But that didn't stop me. That never stops me.
Remember, a MacGuffin is the thing the hero wants but that the audience doesn't really care about...
Don't comment on the old posts themselves, or you'll get banned as spam. more...
December 26, 2013
— Ace Good Lord.
No artist or political commentator ever went broke selling provocations that play into unthinking people's resentments and vague feelings that they should have more than they do.
The article was originally posted at the Daily Bulletin.
John Zachary, the artist, told me the acquittal in July of George Zimmerman, who fatally shot the 17-year-old African-American in 2012, struck him as a worthy subject for Christmas comment.
For one thing, the backdrop to the Christmas story is the slaughter by King Herod of all infants in Bethlehem, a barbarous attempt to kill the Messiah.
This additional information is from Breitbart (the first link):
Zachary described that when looking for pictures of Trayvon "one of the teenager lying dead on the pavement particularly tore at him. 'What if Jesus was lying there bleeding to death? I was kind of thinking of that,' Zachary said."
The title of the nativity "art" is called " 'A Child is Born, a Son is Given,' the wording outlined in red formed from a pool of blood at Trayvons feet."
You can tell the "Artist" is just sick about what happened to Trayvon Martin:
"I thought this would be more controversial, but I come to find out people dont really like people gettin shot, Zachary said with a chuckle. They may not agree what to do about it, but they agree its a bad thing."
December 31, 2013
— Ace Originally published February 16, 2012. This one was suggested by MWR.
Asylum -- the studio which would later make Sharknado -- is a terrible studio whose movie ideas seem to come primarily from dares.
They announced this horrific movie, and I began to wonder: Do they ever turn down any movie pitches?
Don't comment on old posts, by the way. The system will ban you for spam. That's why I'm republishing this in a new post. more...
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