Saturday, December 15, 2007

Just Three Statesmen Left in Senate: Others Are political Hacks

Three men, and only three voted NO on giving the Military-Industrial Complex billions more of our tax dollars to fritter away as they see fit. Ninety others kowtowed. The Senate vote was 90-3.

Senators Feingold of Wisconsin, Byrd of West Virginia and Sanders of Vermont voted to stop the flow of billions of tax dollars to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon , General Dynamics, United Technologies and TRW Inc.

Only three. The others paid the piper.

So much for our republic.

An Interesting Holiday Card

Christians Against Christmas

Bruce David Forbes is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church and author of the book, Christmas: A Candid History. The Blade reported on his views this morning. Forbes talks of several groups of Christians who do not believe in this holiday, contending that has pagan roots. Further, these folks find little credence in the story of the Nativity as reported in two references in the New Testament. Apparently the Puritans charged people with sin if they celebrated it in colonial time.

Many fundamentalist churches put on gala nativity scenes with lots of music, lights and spectacle. Odd that they seem to glamorize this holiday so intensely when, in fact, most of the 'story' is mythology borrowed from earlier times and pagan religions.

Odd, too, because many fundamentalists like to regularly slap 'sin' and damnation' onto anybody who doubts any line of the bible. Yet, they laud this thinly documented story. Of course, if the boy named Jesus had had an ordinary birth, like other boys at this time, then the prophesies about him would not be valid and their claim, Son of God, would be even more in doubt.

Strange, too, that when the nativity scene is packed away for another year, Joseph never gets another nod in the New Testament and Mary makes only one or two cameo appearances. One of them is a rebuke of her by Jesus himself. So much for family values.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fantasy Island: The dwindling refuges of creationism

I love that title. It belongs to William Saletan in a December 2005 op ed for Slate. He says in this piece:

Fundamentalists have lost the media, the colleges, and the science academies. The battleground has been reduced to public schools, and creationism has been reduced to intelligent design—a pathetic, agnostic, empty shell. Creationists can't teach a dogma, so they "teach the controversy." They accept more and more of Darwin's theory, narrowing the dispute to isolated systems—the eye, the flagellum, the blood-clotting system—that they say Darwinism can't explain. They just want science to stop short of denying God's possibility. A little bit of mystery, a parcel of unspoiled divine wilderness, is all they ask.

This 2005 story was linked from today's article, Cultural Selection: The evolution of evolution. I read the same article on a science website as he: Are humans evolving faster? Saletan quotes from the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences:

It concludes that human evolution has accelerated in the last 40,000 years and particularly in the last 10,000. One reason is that population growth has increased the temporal rate of mutations and selections. But in the case of humans, the authors note, "Rapid population growth has been coupled with vast changes in cultures and ecology … creating new opportunities for adaptation." Such "rapid cultural evolution" has "created vastly more opportunities for further genetic change, not fewer, as new avenues emerged for communication, social interactions, and creativity."

There is also a link to a fascinating study of the evolution of a Jewish sect, "Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence." The study concludes that what had happened to Jews was, as the authors put it, "natural selection, stemming from their occupation of an unusual social niche."

Is it coincidental that this report and the biblical report center around the people of Israel? Fascinating science like this is being reported every day and it is hard to keep up with all of the new discoveries that scientists bring us.

Sadly, the ID folks huddle in their church basements and lament this science and wail and cry over these new discoveries. Which is fine with me, as long as they do it in the basement rather than out in the open, making fools of themselves.

Rich Bitch About Taxes; Pentagon Out of Money

Two things for certain: death and taxes. My previous post about the Federal Inheritance tax drew some angry comments from two folks who think the rich pay too much tax. Both Republicans, not surprising. Patriots too. They love America. It's paying tax that irritates them. Especially having to pay tax on money they inherit: they want the whole enchalada.

The Pentagon will lay off 100,000 workers in a few weeks: seems there isn't enough money to pay for them and for the soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. The till is emptying fast. Apparently the $500,000,000,000 of tax-payer dollars has been spent fighting the two Bush Wars.

Were this a mom and pop store, the OUT of BUSINESS sign would have been freshly hung on the window. Were this a corporation, heads would have rolled. But this is the people's money so what the hell, who cares?

Apparently rich folks. That 1% who control 48% of the money in America. Mr. Bush had been good to them, making sure that their share of taxes were lowered on a regular basis. Just check the gift registry at the White House this Christmas.

"Gimme more!" is hardly a Christian demand as Jesus told his disciples to sell everything before joining him. "Gimme more!" is hardly a patriotic demand either. Imagine if folks in the colonies refused to fund Washington's army. Imagine if during WWII folks didn't plant victory gardens and collect tin and limit their meat intake so that the troops would have enough food to fight them 'over there.'

Just this morning we read that, to avoid another Bush veto, a war tax on big oil, unable to overcome a Republican filibuster against the new taxes, had to be removed from the bill. Republicans sure know how to protect the billion dollar corporate interests.

Guns or butter? For the GOP is is guns and butter. "Gimme more!"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Major Error By FirstEnergy Caused Much Pain and Anguish

They shut her power off and told her she had a $600 electric bill to pay. Her 7 children and her mother huddled around the small kerosene heater to try to keep warm. They lit candles so that the school-age children could do their homework. For two full weeks in freezing weather, FirstEnergy refused to restore the power to this family.

I wrote about this situation here and about her 14-year-old autistic son whose clothes caught fire trying to warm himself in this article. This afternoon my wife discovered, while visiting the boy in the hospital, that FirstEnergy made a gross error and she did not owe $600 at all! The $600 was from the previous tenant who left town without paying it.

What Fortune 500 company operates with this incompetence?

This family has suffered a great deal at the hands of FirstEnergy. Two weeks of living in a house as cold as a meat locker because of incompetence! An autistic boy needing skin grafts because he was so cold he leaned on the stove to warm his bones, literally.

I hope Anthony J Alexander, CEO of FirstEnergy, has some discomfort of his own over this debacle. Fortune 500 Corporation? Sure!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New Jersey Ends Capital Punishment

Old Sparky will sizzle no more. The New Jersey state Senate voted by 21 to 16 to replace executions with life in prison without the possibility of parole for the worst offenders. The lower house is widely expected to follow suit tomorrow and convey the bill to Jon Corzine, the Governor, for signature in January. He has long favoured scrapping the death penalty.

Don't you just wonder who those 16 'no' votes were from? I bet I could make some fairly accurate guesses.

First I'd guess that most if not all were Republicans because, as we all know, they are the party that is 'tough on crime.'

Next, I'd guess that they are right-of-center Christians, perhaps evangelicals. After all, the Bible says...

Last, I bet they are angry folks, bitter about something in their personal lives.

I wonder how close to the truth I came?

Here's another question that just popped up in my brain: Which state will be the LAST state to ban capital punishment? Come on, think, think hard.... OK, here's a clue: remember the years 1995 - 2000 Do you need another one? Think nasty, think vengeance, think preemptive war...

Bush Plays Scrooge 2nd Time: Vetoes Children's Health Bill

I'll say a phrase and I dare you to keep a straight face. Want to try? OK, here you go and really try hard no to laugh................compassionate conservative.

Sorry, you laughed, but then so did 999 other people who looked at this.

Remember when the naive Texas governor first used it back in 2000? I laughed then, too. Did you? Slick phrase, but silly and meaningless as we have come to experience. The man and his party haven't an ounce of compassion in them. We've all experience that reality for the past 7 years.

Jester, yes. Trickster, of course. Spinner, naturally. Liar, absolutely. Fraud, for sure. Compassionate conservative-- I know, you just lost it again.

Greenland Melt Accelerating, According To Climate Scientist

"Bah Humbug! There's no proof that there is any climate change going on. It's all a left-wing conspiracy!"

Remember those right-wing lunkheads a few years back? Well, they actually are still around but a few of them have had their minds changed. If Al Gore had not said it, many more right-wingers would have accepted the truth much earlier.

Damned Al Gore. He's just doing this to keep his name alive so that he can run for president in '08.

Ya, for sure! It's nothing but a political scheme.

Oh, how I love to rub it in from time to time. They are sooooooo righteous and they never say they were wrong. Never. You might want to laugh at these jackasses but they really aren't worth the effort. Dinosaurs living in the 21st century. And they are all around us.

Reminds me of that old poem:

The dinosaurs are not all dead,

I saw one the other day raise his head.

He turned his head and looked my way.

Then opened his mouth and began to say:

"Tell me, have all the lunkheads died out yet?"
"Oh , no Mr. Dinosaur, there are lots still alive," I said with regret.

Can America Afford Another 'Gosh, Shucks' President?

America cannot afford another southern governor, especially another 'Aw, shucks' kind of guy. We've been living that nightmare for seven ugly years now.

Up pops Mike Huckabee on our TV screens: smooth talking southern guy with not many passport stamps. Shucks, he's a likable sole, ain't he? Kind of shallow but, what the hell, he has a nice smile. Church-going man, too; a former minister. Praise Jesus. Likes war and guns too. Doesn't care much for gays. Folks with AIDS either, as he said back in 1991, he'd like to corral them all in a pen to protect us from their infection. None too bright on the scientific level apparently.

Gosh, won't it be fun to have another 'regular guy' in the mold of George Bush running our country for another 4 or, praise God, 8 long years? I think he ought to pick Tom Tancredo as VP to keep that Darth Vader tradition alive as well.

Tom and Huck! Downright folksy.

Another Bush Lackey Going to Congress in NW Ohio

Negative advertising works. The citizens of Northwest Ohio can vouch for that fact. Our TV's have screamed negative, negative, negative at us for the last month. The ultra conservative Republican Bob Latta ran them against his GOP primary candidate, then just changed the name of his opponent and ran them in the special election. Those black and white, grainy photos, the somber voice-over, the fear mongering, labeling and name-calling spelled victory for Latta last night.

He painted himself as an ultra-conservative toady of Bush and the folks in Ohio's 5th Congressional district loved him. He won each of the 16 counties. His TV spots cast his latest opponent as an ungodly abortionist, illegal alien-loving liberal, while he stood in front of a church with his wife and family. The bobblehead voters believed it all.

As the map shows, these 16 counties were not all solid Bush '04 counties, yet his message of strict conservative 'values' swept him to victory.

What that says about the up-coming presidential battle next year is any one's guess. Three factors must be noted about this special election: his opponent was a woman, his father was a well-known politician and the weather was awful. Yet his sweep cannot be overlooked as the state gears up for the '08 election.

One thing is crystal clear: conservative voters do show up at the polling booth come rain or shine.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vote in Jobs With Justice Grinch of the Year Contest

Jobs with Justice is holding their Grinch of the Year contest and you are invited to vote. There are 4 candidates plus room for a write-in vote. This year's candidates are:

SMITHFIELD Chairman Joseph Luter III
VERIZON BUSINESS VP for Human Resources Bob Toohey
AMERICAN AIRLINES President and CEO Gerald Arpey

Vote here.

Tom Tancredo: Another Right-wing Marshmallow

"Bomb the hell out of Mecca! That will teach those islamofascists who's boss!" Tom Tancredo, the warmonger. The man still looking for WMD's in Iraq. The man who supports our troops 100%.

Hates Mexican immigrants too. He was the only GOP candidate absent from the Spanish-speaking debate a few days ago. Swell guy.

No doubt he has a flag in every room of his house. Yet strangely, he was absent when called up for service in Vietnam. Reminds me of Dick Cheney. Seems that young Tom fought hard to stay out of 'serving our country in a time of war.' He asked for a 1-Y deferment from serving in Vietnam. Why? Because he claims that he was treated for mental illness while in high school.

Go Tom Go! You DO support the troops, as long as it isn't you in that army khaki. What a fraud, like most of the bellicose right-wingers. They all love long as it is some other kid doing the fighting and dying.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Colorado Church Shootings

I don't often comment about sensational news such as the shootings at the two Colorado churches, but I am drawn to this shocking story by the comment in the YahooNews story that the family was "very, very religious." They report that the gunman was identified as Matthew Murray, 24, who was home-schooled in what a friend said was a deeply religious Christian household.

A homegrown, white terrorist, one of a string of young men who have opened fire on schools, shopping centers and now churches. The model is Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber who killed 167 men, women and children in an act of right-wing terrorism.

Eric Rudolph, whose targets included two abortion clinics, a gay and lesbian night club, and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, was another white man driven to terror. Some anti-abortionists think of him as a hero.

Of course, the KKK still lives on as knots of angry white men spew their hate at blacks and Jews across the nation. Apparently they have given up their lynching habits.

Two white teens slaughtered many at Columbine High School in the nation's deadliest school shooting. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold armed themselves to the teeth as they methotically carried out their plan and suicides.

White supremacists John William King, 23, Lawrence Russell Brewer, 31, Shawn Allen Berry, 23, dragged James Byrd to death behind a pick-up truck in Jasper, Texas.

Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney, were convicted of the hate-crime murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay student attending the University of Wyoming.

In Red Lake Minnesota, Jeff Weise, 16, killed his grandfather and companion, then arrived at school where he killed a teacher, a security guard, 5 students, and finally himself, leaving a total of 10 dead.

In Pennsylvania, 32-year-old Carl Charles Roberts IV entered the one-room West Nickel Mines Amish School and shot 10 schoolgirls, ranging in age from 6 to 13 years old, and then himself. Five of the girls and Roberts died.

All angry white men. Homegrown terrorists. Sick men with access to weapons.

And some people in this nation are worried about Mexicans coming across the border. Of course, they do have brown skin.

Autistic Boy in ICU Unit: FirstEnergyCorp Incompetence

He is now in the Intensive Care Unit of St. Vincent Hospital , a burn victim. The 14-year-old autistic inner city boy tried to warm up because of his cold house and his clothes caught fire. As I reported in an earlier post, FirstEnergy [Toledo Edison] had shut off the power to his house, and due to their incompetence in restoring the power, the autistic boy, still chilled to the core, used the oven for heat and caught his clothes on fire. He has 3rd degree burns on his arms and chest and is in need of skin grafts. He will remain in ICU for another week.

I wrote about this family a week ago [here] and today we were informed of the burned boy's condition. In that post I reported that the FirstEnergy bill and fine was paid on a Friday afternoon, but, due to much incompetence by Toledo Edison, was not turned on until afternoon on Tuesday. That afternoon I met the boy and could not believe how cold his hands were- they felt like the hands of a corpse!

The furnace at his rental house took a long time to bring the temperature back up from near-freezing and apparently his autism failed to warn him of the dangers of his action.

The $1.6 billion profit earned by FirstEnergy in the 3rd quarter comes at quite a human cost.

Supreme Court Eases Sentencing on Crack: Bush Appointee Disagrees

The Supreme Court on Monday said judges may impose shorter prison terms for crack cocaine crimes, enhancing judicial discretion to reduce the disparity between sentences for crack and cocaine powder. By a 7-2 vote, the court said that a 15-year sentence given to Derrick Kimbrough, a black veteran of the 1991 war with Iraq, was acceptable, even though federal sentencing guidelines called for Kimbrough to receive 19 to 22 years.

In a separate sentencing case that did not involve crack cocaine, the court also ruled in favor of judicial discretion to impose more lenient sentences than federal guidelines recommend.

Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.

No doubt there is an uproar today on the right-wing talk shows, FoxNews, and blogs. "They" will be back on the streets to sell more drugs and rob more stores. The 'they' are, of course, the black inner city males who are the 'curse' on our society. Of course, most of the right-wingers don't live in the inner city or, for that fact, in cities at all. But they will scream and holler at this SCOTUS decision.

It feeds their racism.

Al Gore, the Peace Prize and Dickens

"Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," said Scrooge. "But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!"

- Dickens, A Christmas Carol

How proud Al Gore looked this morning on live television as he received the Noble Peace Prize in Oslo, standing among the other recipients. Dignified, smiling, he arose from his chair and shook the hand of the other co-recipient, and accepted this august award for his doggedly firm stance on global warming and its consequences.

One can only dream, as Scrooge did, of what the past might have been if things had been different.

I contrast this proud moment to that of the man who won the White House; a man filled with arrogance, self-righteousness, swagger, and, above all, foolishness. And lies and death, destruction, and ultimately shame.

Peace be with you, too, Al Gore. You have lifted our troubled nation on this proud day from the morass in which we find ourselves.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Nancy Pelosi Kowtowed on Waterboarding in 2002

The Washington Post reports today:

In September 2002, four members of Congress met insecret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

So Ms. Pelosi, waterboarding met with your personal standards? Apparently she, like so many Americans just after 9-11, were so filled with rage and fear that standards of morality were nixed and the 'blind eye' became the norm. Violence begets violence.

As so many warmongers have said : "9-11 changed everything!" Apparently even morality standards.

Huckabee Outed on His Homophobia

That good Christian man, the one who wraps his arms around Jesus, apparently is a hypocrite, but who is surprised? Quite a few evangelicals fall into that category as they pick and choose- smorgasbord style- the teachings of Jesus that fit their agenda. There ought to be limits on 'love your neighbor.'

Homophobia and other crotch politics is a big stumbling block for many born-agains. Although Jesus never excluded anyone from his embrace, the current batch of righteous ones build walls of separation for some people. Literally!

No kidding. Literally, like that apartheid Israeli fence. A news story on YahooNews tells of the somewhat-less Jesus-filled man who literally wanted to fence in folks with HIV. They report:

In 1992, Huckabee wrote, "If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents."

Leper colonies. Bells around their necks. "Keep away for I have HIV!"

The report continues:

"In light of the extraordinary funds already being given for AIDS research, it does not seem that additional federal spending can be justified," Huckabee wrote. "An alternative would be to request that multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor (,) Madonna and others who are pushing for more AIDS funding be encouraged to give out of their own personal treasuries increased amounts for AIDS research."

Love one another.

Luke 17:12 - 19
As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?“ Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Who Was the 2007 Deep Throat Who Saved Us?

W. Mark Felt was the Nixon-era Deep Throat who leaked information about the Nixon cover-up to the press that ultimately led to the resignation of Richard Nixon. He only revealed his identity in 2005, apparently afraid of some long-held fear of reprisal. His bravery saved our nation. Too bad that George Bush didn't grab one of those Medal of Freedom pins and pin it on him as he did to Rumsfeld.

Who is [are] the newest savior[s] of our nation over in the CIA? Clearly one or more brave senior members of that staff threatened to leak the NIE Report on Iran to the press if the Bush Administration did not release it. There is no doubt in my mind that Bush was forced to release it.

The right-wing talking heads and bloggers, fed by the White House PR Team, are right now castigating the report, hoping to save this president from the same fate as Nixon. As I type this, a bevy of Republican talking heads are making the rounds on the Sunday morning shows, spinning that report, watering it down, picking out parts of it to keep the fear alive, the fear that will keep the masses afraid, very afraid.

Hopefully in my lifetime, the name or names of these brave and patriotic Americans will be revealed. They along with Mr. Felt ought to be memorialized in statues on the White House lawn.

The Lunkheads Still Are With Us

update Dec. 10 below

Their minds are like steel doors, unable to be opened to any fresh and differing ideas. 'Stubborn' doesn't quite get it, nor 'stupid.' They appear normal, walk with a regular gait, and even speak well. Unless, of course, you press a button. Then, like one of those talking Christmas dolls, the pre-programed message spews out and plays over and over.

Surely we all know these lunkheads; I've got one as a brother-in-law. Quite a smart chap, he, unless I press his button, then he becomes a mindless buffoon, reciting the pre-programmed
message over and over again.

Each Saturday we in Toledo are able to read that usual pap from op ed columnist for The Blade, Jack Kelly. He has two pre-programmed messages- Democrats are bad and the Bush War is good. On C-span's Washington Journal each morning three or four of the callers regularly lay down the same script only verbally. One this morning told us that we need to bomb the hell out of the insurgents and those Americans against the war ought to be deported. Sure.

I suppose it all began with the excellent propaganda piece produced by the Bush/Cheney PR Team before the preemptive invasion. Fear, flags, lies and patriotism. That's the recipe, simple stuff to make, with long-lasting effects. Apparently, very long-lasting for lunkheads.

There are blogs, too, that are run by these lunkheads. I stumbled into one just yesterday right here in Toledo. KoozNews. Be sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date before clicking over there! Your brain may become infected. He has links to Rush, Coulter, Beck, Savage and Drudge and FoxNews so you may already suspect some brainwashing.

The blog administrator is a 'producer for Toledo’s # 1 news talk radio station. Have been producer for the station going on almost four years. Trying to attain my goal of becoming a talk show host dealing with political issues.'

He has no chance of that here in Toledo. One of his heroes is the recently-dumped former WSPD Radio personality, Bob Frantz. Bob was booted out due to his extreme right-wing views. Luckily he landed at a cesspool station in Cleveland where he continues to spew his hate. Toledo didn't have enough hard-core bigots to sustain his ratings.

Maybe Mr. Kooz would have a chance on WPOS-FM, the Christian radio station in the Toledo market. After all, his biography begins with this: A born-again Independent Baptist believing Christian with political leanings toward Libertarian and Republican values. Believer and supporter of strict interpretation of the Bible and U.S. Constitution. I believe all people are born into sin and in need of Salvation through The Blood of Jesus Christ. Man must acknowledge sin and repent and accept the gift of of Christs’ death on the Cross for the sins of man. I believe in the Trinity of God The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. I believe the Ten Commandments should be displayed in every public building including schools.

Apparently Mr. Kooz believes that folks here in the Toledo market want to hear about Jesus and Bush, Cheney and the Bible, Rumsfeld and the Ten Commandments, waterboarding and the blood of Christ.. Surely he would attract all of the evangelicals in the area who need to have their heads reprogrammed from time to time.

Here's an interesting line in the bio: 'I believe the United States is in moral decline due to its continual removal of the Christian God from personal and public life.'

I know, I know, some of you are snickering and I did too, but you have to remember that he is one of those lunkheads of which I spoke at the top of the page. He's pre-programmed to the propaganda's four: fear, flag, lies, and patriotism. Only those very vulnerable are still 'with the program,' so to speak. America's moral decline is because of 'those' people, 'that group,' but clearly not with the ruling junta, the warmonger-in-chief. After all, George Bush is a born-again Christian. Praise Jesus and pass the ammunition.
update Dec. 10
The poor man with the KoozNews blog has posted a rebuttal of this post but doesn't have the courtesy to post my comments there. Of course you can't see my comments, but he does tell his meger set of visitors that 'they are inappropriate.'
I invited him over here where the air is fresh and the posting is free and open, but he refuses, enjoying his closed little fortification with the 'comment moderation' tool.
Too bad, Koozman, that you have to hide like that. But then, slick right-wingers are quite like that as we all have come to understand.

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