Precinct 333

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Kerry Uses Marines As Prop

John Kerry forced himself upon a party of dining Marines at the Wendy's in Newburgh, N.Y., on Friday. As the foursome were dining, the candidate decided to use them as a photo-op prop, peppering them with questions which the Marines answered in curt fashion. Upon his departure (and to his credit, he did thank them for their service to the nation), the Marines were more than willing to express their true opinions.
"He imposed on us and I disagree with him coming over here shaking our hands," one Marine said, adding, "I'm 100 percent against [him]."

A sergeant with 10 years of service under his belt said, "I speak for all of us. We think that we are doing the right thing in Iraq," before saying he is to be deployed there in a few weeks and is "eager" to go and serve.

The Marines — all of whom serve at nearby Stewart Air Force Base — wouldn't give their names.

Well, I guess that shows where the men in uniform stand on the "war hero" candidate.


Friday, July 30, 2004

Outrage -- Marine's Murderer Paroled

Marine Lance Cpl. Tarron Dixon survived his tour of duty in the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War. At age 23, he had served 5 years in the Marine Corps. He came home to his family in Houston on June 4, 1991.

And was murdered by a group of teenage white supremacist scum on June 6, 1991.

Now one of the killers is being released on parole, having served only 13 years of his life sentence. What is worse, Dixon's parents were denied the opportunity to speak at the parole hearing. Because nobody bothered to notify them that there was to be a parole hearing for Donald Riley.
Riley, 19 at the time of the shooting, had three drug-related convictions and was on parole when he and other Brazoria County teens came to Houston to, as Riley told police in 1991, "(expletive) with some niggers."

Riley, John Carrillo and Jorey Thomas were each convicted of murder and given life sentences. Carillo and Thomas will not become eligible for parole until 2009.

A fourth defendant, Robert Jason Folks, was convicted on a lesser charge.

But the Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the deadly weapon finding that was part of Riley's conviction, meaning he had to serve only a quarter of his sentence — life sentences are called 60 years for parole purposes — before becoming eligible.

A quarter would have been 15 years, and Riley has served 13. "Good time," credit for good behavior in prison, made up the extra two years.

It shocks me that this has happened. It's time to contact Governor Rick Perry and flood him with calls over this miscarriage of justice. His online contact form is here. His telephone number is (512) 463-2000. He may be contacte by fax at (512) 463-1849. And his address is Governor Rick Perry, Office of the Governor, P.O. Box 12428, Austin, Texas 78711-2428.

Why am I making this an issue? Because this killer should have never seen the streets again. Because Cpl. Dixon's parents should have been able to fight this travesty of justice.

And because Tarron Dixon's daughter will turn thirteen before too long, and will never be paroled from the sentence of life without knowing her father.

UPDATE: According to the Houston Chronicle, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles will meet with Cpl. Dixon's family this week and reconsider their decision. This is in accordance with state law that mandates the board meet with victims and their families at any time before a parolee is released. It is to be hoped that they will change their decision. You can contact the board here.

Also, this little tidbit appears at the end of the story
Meanwhile, a hearing is set for Oct. 14 on a writ of habeas corpus filed by Riley's attorneys seeking to overturn his conviction based on newly discovered evidence they said indicates he did not commit the crime.

A substantial portion of that evidence was presented to the parole board before its vote, said attorney Bill Habern.

I'm betting the evidence is a fraud, and hoping he doesn't get a new tial. In the mean time, I'll hope for a revocation of the earlier parole decision.


Moore Farenheit 911 Lies

Fictumentary maker Micheal Moore is a (big fat) liar. Or at least that is the claim of the fine folks at the Pantagraph, the daily newspaper in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois.

Moore uses the paper's front page from December 19, 2001, as proof that George W. Bush lost the 2000 presidential election (he didn't, not according to the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and every recount of Florida). The paper Moore uses has the headline "Latest Florida recount shows Gore won election". Guess what -- no such story appeared in the paper that day, much less on the front page.

So the paper did some research and found that the headline had run some two weeks before -- over a letter to the editor. Rather than headline news, it was the sentiment of one reader, and represented only that reader. And far from being the lead story, it was tucked inside the paper with the rest of the letters. Moore didn't even use the right typeface in his fake front page.



Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Hey, Michael -- Just Drive North!

Michael Moore thinks Canada and Canadians are better than the United States. So much so that he was even willing to invoke the name of the divine before a crowd of leftists.
"Thank God for the Canadians," Hollywood Mickey told a cheering crowd, including many Americans.

"They're just like us — only better!" said the filmmaker, who's been known to call his own countrymen, folks who made him megarich, "stupid."

"They like us," the puffy pontificator continued about his dear Canadians. "They just wish we would read a little more."

Michael, if you think that Canada and Candadians are so much superior to us mere Americans, might I suggest that you transfer your bank accounts to Montreal, and then pack up and move. I bet you could even get Canadian citizenship.

But that was not, of course, the only thing he had to say. It seems that those of us who disagree with him on the issues are "hate-triots" who "believe in the politics of hate-triotism".
"Most Americans, in their heart, are liberal and progressive. It's just a small minority of people who hate, they hate, they exist in the politics of hate, they don't believe two consenting adults should have the right to be in love and share their lives together and be legally protected by the state," Moore said to applause.

"They are not patriots; they are hate-triots, and they believe in the politics of hate-triotism. Hate-triotism is where they stand, and patriotism is where real Americans stand. And that is the truth and that needs to be reported," Moore added.

Actually, Michael, the majority of Americans do not support homosexual marriage, and polls are mixed on whether or not a majority supports civil unions. Most of us are willing to tolerate homosexuals, but not to grant marriage rights and the associated benefits.

He continued
"I don't know what it is with right-wingers and Republicans. They seem to have hijacked over the years the word patriotism and the American flag -- these things -- and it's an odd thing because the true patriots are those that believe the important thing is to ask questions," Moore said.

I believe that folks like you called us a "vast right wing conspiracy" and "right-wing nut jobs out to overturn the results of an election" when we asked questions during the Clinton Adminsitration. Apparently only liberal questions qualify as patriotism in Moore's eyes.

It got better.
"The right wing -- that is not where America is at -- the majority of Americans are liberal and progressive when it comes to the issues," he said.

"Every poll shows that the majority of America believe in women's rights, the majority of Americans want stronger environmental law, the majority of Americans want gun control laws, the majority of Americans are pro labor," he added.

Yes, but you want gun ban and confiscation laws, not gun control laws. You want environmental regulations that value finger-long fish over people, and birds over workers. And we are pro-worker -- but fundamentally differ on what that means, since we believe it means letting workers keep more of their money and to decide whether or not to belong to a union, two things you and your liberal buddies oppose.

Interestingly enough, he notes that he has received no death threats following the release of his recent fictumentary, Farenheit 911. This stands in contrast to the treatment that the Left gives conservatives.

I could go on and offer more analysis of Moore, but why bother. Let me sum it up by saying that a guy who says that Canadians are better than Americans, a guy with a history of calling Americans stupid, ends up by calling those who disagree with him "anti-American." Seems to me that the word better applies to him.

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt posts the text of Moore's ravings here. Bring a (hot) air-sickness bag.


Tuesday, July 27, 2004

No Secret Ballot For YOU!

John Kerry and John Edwards have come out against the secret ballot, that fundamental electoral element that ensures each voter can vote his or her conscience without fear of intimidation or retaliation. Well, not in presidential elections -- in union representation elections. They prefer that workers be subjected to coercive "card check" programs in which union and management conspire to force acceptance of union representation.

This situation is particularly common in the Big Three automobile companies and their suppliers, where management waives the secret ballot election and then turns over personal information on all employees to the union. What follows is a series of letters, phone calls and home visits -- and often acts of vandalism and violence -- designed to "persuade" resistant workers to join. Once fifty percent of the employees have signed union cards, the union becomes the official representative of all workers, and automatically receives dues from the paychecks of unwilling workers.

Congressional supporter of the secret ballot, Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.), puts it very well when he says
"Hard-working folks deserve the right to a fair and secret
election, not the threats, arm-twisting, and shakedown tactics that come
with 'card check' campaigns."

Seems to me that if the unions were really out to REPRESENT the workers instead of shaking them down for dues, they would support the secret ballot. The fact that they do not support it speaks volumes.

Some 80% of newly unionized workers in the AFL-CIO are organized through the card check rather than the secret ballot. One wonders if the number of newly unionized workers would be so high if all had the opportunity for the secret ballot. More to the point, one has to ask how many of those workers would refuse to unionize under a national Right-to Work Law, defending the First Amendment right of every worker not to be forced into involuntary association with a union.

UPDATE: While perusing this morning, I came across this piece that does a good job of explaining union abuses of the card check system from the inside.


Monday, July 26, 2004

Heinz Kerry to Reporter -- "Shove It!"

Teresa Heinz Kerry, the foreign-born billionaire wife of presumptive Democrat nominee John Kerry, addressed the Pennsylvania delegation to the Democrat Convention last night. In it, she decried the loss of civility in American politics.
"We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics," she told her fellow Pennsylvanians at a Sunday night reception at the Massachusetts Statehouse.

A few minutes later Colin McNickle, editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, inquired about which "un-American activities" she was referring to. That was the point at which the fireworks began. According to USA Today,
Minutes later, Colin McNickle, the editorial page editor of the conservative Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, questioned her on what she meant by the term "un-American," according to a tape of the encounter recorded by Pittsburgh television station WTAE.

Heinz Kerry said, "I didn't say that" several times to McNickle. She then turned to confer with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and others. When she faced McNickle again a short time later, he continued to question her, and she replied: "You said something I didn't say. Now shove it."

Now to be fair, Heinz Kerry did say "traits" rather than "activities", so there was a misquote. But McNickle did quote her in a substantively correct manner, and she refused to respond to that question. Some reports also indicated that she screamed for McNickle to "Shut up!" during the outburst. Apparently that is the attitude of Heinz Kerry towards the free press, something that didn't exist in the Third World hellhole where she and her European family helped exploit the black majority and where it still does not exist .

But what is interesting is the response of issued on her behalf.
A spokeswoman for Heinz Kerry later said, "This was sheer frustration aimed at a right-wing rag that has consistently and purposely misrepresented the facts in reporting on Mrs. Kerry and her family."

Interestingly enough, the spokeswoman couldn't be troubled to give one example of a misrepresented fact, or a response to the legitimate question asked of the Mozambique-born wife of the soon-to-be anointed Democrat candidate for President of the United States. And it is an important question, as it cuts to the heart of the attitude of the Democrats towards First Amendment protected political speech and freedom of the press.

Also interesting is the response of the presumptive 2008 candidate.
Asked about the exchange on CNN's American Morning, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday, "A lot of Americans are going to say, 'Good for you, you go, girl,' and that's certainly how I feel about it."

Apparently the Hildebeast (who will address the convention tonight, along with her husband, Billzebubba) has no respect for the media, most of which acts as lapdogs to the liberal Left. Independent voices are to be shouted down. I hope that she is wrong in her assessment, and that the American people have more respect for freedom of the press and the presence of diverse voices in the marketplace of ideas than the Democrats do.

I am particularly interested in a couple of points. First, no one seems concerned that the Foreigner cannot even remember what she said in a speech minutes before. Is this a sign of mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, or dishonesty, or the arrogant belief that the "little people" have no right to question her?

Second, Democrats were particularly outraged when Dick Cheney directed an expletive towards Pat Leahy in what everyone admits was a private conversation. Where is their expression of outrage at the Alien's abuse of a member of the media at a public event -- and her return for a second round after the initial outburst. It appears calculated to me.

Third, no less than the NY Times expressed serious concern at Jenna Bush's act of silliness when she stuck her tongue out at reporters and photograhers while riding in the presidential limousine. There was discussion in grave tones of the negative manner in which this reflected on her father and his campaign. If such a normal act by a 22 year old is such a source for concern, will this apparently hysterical attack by a "woman of mature years" who has decades of political experience behind her be treated in a similar manner by the media?

By the way, Colin McNickle will be blogging at the Democrat Convention this week.

UPDATE: A tip of the hat to the fine folks at Southern Appeal for Joel's entry on this little affair. It links to Pittsburgh television station WTAE-TV's story on the incident. It contain's two items of note.

The first is a part of her speech to the Pennsylvania delegates.
"I remember a time when people in political parties in Pennsylvania talked to one another and actually got things done," said Heinz Kerry, whose first husband, Republican Sen. John Heinz of Pennsylvania, was killed in a plane crash in 1991. "We have to go back to those days when we can do things properly, for the people need it."

"My prayers for you, for me, for the country, for the world, are that we keep this at a high level, with dignity, with respect and with a great idealism and courage that took our forefathers to build this great nation," she said.

We see how long the dignity lasted on her part.

The second is the response of her husband, the presumptive nominee.
Kerry, speaking in Orlando, Fla., where he was to hold a town hall meeting Monday, told reporters, "I think my wife speaks her mind appropriately."

So apparently Kerry thinks that lying about the content of a just-completed speech and verbal abuse of a reporter for seeking a clarification of remarks is appropriate. How very telling.

It also contains the very classy statement issued by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
"Colin McNickle did just what any good reporter does -- he asked questions. And the question he posed in this instance was legitimate," said the statement by Editor Frank Craig. "The tape of Teresa Heinz Kerry's speech shows she used the word 'un-American,' even though she denied it. It is unfortunate that she ruined what was an otherwise good message by resorting to exactly the type of tactics she was criticizing."

Yep, that just about covers it.


Silencing of Dissent in Boston Leads to Lawsuits Against Ridge and Secret Service

The Christian Defense Coalition had the permits in hand for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights. Their plans were to march to the site of their prayer vigil, bringing their pro-life message to the very door of Senator John F. Kerry. But the Secret Service stepped in and closed the public sidewalks of Boston to the group on Sunday, despite the city permits. The result is a lawsuit against Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and the Secret Service, demanding that the First Amendment rights of the protesters be respected and their previously authorized protests be allowed to proceed.

These actions seem to be a part of a pattern which has developed in Boston, especially as it regards the diverse coalition of pro-lifers. Dissent is not allowed -- or at least not where it might embarrass the Democrats or make them uncomfortable. Protesters are limited to a fenced-off "free-speech zone", out of sight or hearing of delegates, the media, or the public.

Funny, I thought all of America was a free speech zone.


National Certification? I Think Not!

I just thought I'd take a look at the "right-wig rag" that Teresa Heinz Kerry attacked. I found this article on national teacher certification, and thought I'd examine it for right-wing bias or attacks on the Heinz and Kerry families. I didn't find any. But I did find some interesting stuff.

Frankly, the article is something of a puff-piece for the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, which has developed and administers the program. Now on the one hand, I like this. Getting the government out of certification has the potential to improve matters. But I do not know that this is the right method -- especially since the hwole thing was developed though the use of a lot of federal grant money.

First, the process requires that a teacher already be experienced and working in the classroom. That means that they are already certified by the state (or more than one state, as I am). When you consider, for example, that my Texas certificate will never run out (I was grandfathered under the lifetime certification law before it was replaced -- I'm going to let the Illinois certificate lapse since I don't plan on returning), there really isn't an incentive for me to seek additional certification. And since I will STILL have to meet the requirements of any other state I might choose to move to, there seems to be no particular incentive there, either. The whole thing is redundant.

Second, there is the time involved. It takes THREE YEARS to complete the process. Good God! That tells you right there that the requirements are cumbersome, time-consuming, and more effort than most reasonable people are willing to deal with. I teach school during the day and my night class, plus do my day -to-day stuff around the house and try to maintain a good and loving marriage to a wife with health problems. Where, exactly, am I supposed to find the time to do this? It does not exist for most of us. And then you get to start all over again, since the certification is good for only 10 years.

Third is the cost, $2300. Even if you consider that grant money is out there, it will likely cost the average teacher over $1000 to get this certification. Given the level of teacher salaries in many states, that is impractical. And the return on the investment is minimal, as most districts do not offer much of a salary increase (if any) for those who do get the national certification.

Fourth, I've looked at the standards for my own field. Oh, and that link is to the summary, not the 84-page PDF document of the standards for the certificate. I love the little things like this
II. Valuing Diversity

Accomplished teachers understand that each student brings diverse perspectives to any experience. These teachers encourage all students to know and value themselves and others.
Sounds like more PC liberal gobbledygook to me, which I confirmed by reading the full explanation in the manual, written in typical Educational Bureaucratese.

No, I won't be seeking this certification -- even though I already do 90% of what the standards say I should. I'm more interested in teaching my students well than in getting another piece of paper to hang on my wall. And I will keep hoping for a better, more practical alternative to come down the road, one which will meet the needs of both students and teachers, in both the public and preivate sectors of education.


Sunday, July 25, 2004

Bias in Academia Leads to Ignorance in Classroom in Pittsburgh

A lot of newspapers participate in "Newspaper in Education" programs. The Houston Chronicle does locally. In Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review offers newspapers to schools for academic use.

That is where Community College of Allegheny County English instructors Vicki Doerr and Margaret S. McDermott enter the picture. The pair have strongly objected to the school accepting copies of the Tribune-Review because of its "bias" and "yellow-journalism". The paper would corrupt the minds of students, and cause significant long-term harm to the students.

Consider this gem from Doerr to a colleague who opposed her move to keep "right-wing views" from the classroom:
I agree with you fully that considering various points of view is most important. Unfortunately, the Tribune-Review is one-sided, and that is my complaint. A conscientious teacher would have to supplement it with another publication, and if conservatism is what one seeks, surely The Washington Post, Commentary, or The Economist, even National Review (magazine) would have better samples.

The Washington Post a bastion of conservatism??????????????? Talk about being out of contact with reality!

Will the school be using the paper in classes? It is hard to tell. But I hope that anyone who finds themselves in a class taught by one of these ladies flees to the Registrar's Office to request a schedule change. Staying in the class would jeopardize your educational balance.


Liberals Can't Blame Islam For Anything

Much talk has gone on in the last few days regarding the Sudanese genocide currently underway.

Waht I find interesting is the inability of the media to properly state what is happening. Muslim Arabs from the north are raping, torturing, and killing blacks from the southern part of the country -- Christian blacks -- with the full support and cooperation of the govenrnment. So, too, does Ted Byfield of the Calgary Sun.
This omission is not an oversight. It's a matter of deliberate policy. If terrorists murder several hundred people in a nightclub, or an office tower, or a theatre, and loudly proclaim, as they always do, that they're doing this for Allah, the news services will not describe them as "Muslim terrorists."

"We have to remember," says one liberal editor, "that one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist." More-over, to identify them as Muslims would reflect badly on the millions of law-abiding people in the western world who are Muslims and are not terrorists.

More to the point, Byfield continues,
The policy itself creates a journalistic fraud, and a dangerous one. It's not just that the reader is being inadequately informed. The reader is being misinformed.

What's going on in Sudan is a religious war. Yet it's being presented as a nationalistic one.

The Christians are identified as "rebels," the Muslims as "the government" or "the militia."

So the Guardian's policy automatically biases the story. Christian communities throughout the world are far more likely to sympathize and send help to their fellow- Christians than they are to a movement of "rebels," otherwise unidentified.

Spot on commentary. Good job!


Former Malaysian PM Declares Grad Students Property of the State

Well, here is one more way we are superior to every other country -- in the USA, we belong to ourselves (at least until the DNC gets its way). The former dictator of malaysia has a different way of viewing things.

Malaysian students abroad should be regarded as national intellectual property and countries that want to keep them should be made to pay compensation, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

“It costs the Government a lot of money to send our students overseas. The foreign countries choose the best among our overseas graduates to work in their land.

"They should pay us for having taken away our graduates to work, since by right, their training and knowledge should be called intellectual property and we had paid for it,” said the former prime minister at Multimedia University's fifth convocation here Sunday.


Liberal Vandal Caught

Houston has been plagued by a liberal vandal for these last few weeks, armed with a stencil and a spray paint can. He has been tagging downtown and the University of Houston with his anti-Bush message for a couple of weeks now. The suspect, Jeffery Paul Cummings, is accused of doing $3000 worth of damage to buildings and walks at the UH main campus -- and is suspected of more damage to streets and buildings downtown.

This leads me to ask -- what is it with liberals and paint that leads them to do something so stupidly destructive? This guy. Anarchist taggers. The College Democrats back when I was at Illinois State University, who used exterior housepaint for their "Shadows of Nuclear War" demonstration because "since it is water-based it should wash right off with a hose." Do they truly believe that their right to free speech extends to destroying property that they do not own?


Democrat Convention Schedule -- Day 1

With thanks and acknowledgements to David H. Roberson and the fine folks at The Libertarian Enterprise.


Noon: Welcome and Call to Order—Terry McAuliffe

12:10 p.m.: Invocation—The Rev. Al Sharpton

12:15 p.m.: Luncheon Speech—"The Key to True Democracy: Fighting the Influence of Special Interests," by Sen. Ted Kennedy. (Special thanks to our luncheon sponsors, the AFL-CIO and the United Auto Workers.)

12:35 p.m.: Two Minutes Hate (Please watch the front telescreen in the convention hall.)

12:37 p.m.: Domestic Policy Address—"The Bush/Cheney Plan to Sell Us All as Slaves to Big Corporations," by Al Gore, rightful President of the United States

1 p.m.: Concurrent Educational Sessions—"Understanding the Constitution"

Conference Room A—"The Bill of Rights," by Sen. Charles Schumer. (Why the phrase "the people" means "the people" everywhere except in the Second Amendment, where "the people" means "the National Guard.")

Conference Room B—"Women's Rights," by Sen. Hillary Clinton. (Why "a woman's right to choose" applies only to abortion, and does not mean that a woman can choose what school her child attends, or how her government-mandated retirement funds are invested.)

Conference Room C—"The Right to Vote," by Rep. Rahm Emanuel. (With special focus on understanding the 2000 elections in Florida, where problems with a ballot approved by a Democratic election official in Florida's richest county prove decisively that Republicans stole the election by disenfranchising the poor, especially voters of color.)

2 p.m.: Two Minutes Hate

2:02 p.m.: International Affairs Address—"The Kerry/Edwards Team: Restoring World Respect to America," by Sen. Tom Daschle. (This exciting session will feature an endorsement of the Democratic candidates by Fidel Castro, via satellite from Havana; Jacques Chirac, via satellite from Paris; Kim Jong-il, via satellite from Pyongyang; and Osama bin Laden, via videotape from an undisclosed location.)

2:30 p.m.: Special Celebration of American Art and Culture (Courtney Love, 50 Cent, Michael Moore, and Howard Stern present a thrilling and inspiring performance exemplifying the very best America has to offer.)

3 p.m.: Foreign Policy Session—"War, Terrorism, and the Democratic Commitment to Protect America," introduced by Rep. Charles Rangel

3:05 p.m.—Roll Call of Democratic Military Heroes Throughout History, read by former General Wesley Clark

3:06 p.m.—"How to Stand Up Against Islamic Militants," by former President Jimmy Carter

3:30 p.m.—"A Multinational Approach to Fighting Terrorism: Following the Example of Spain and the Philippines," by Sen. Tom Daschle

4 p.m.: Two Minutes Hate

4:02 p.m.: Democratic Party Values Address: "Bush and the Religious Right: Apostles of Bigotry and Intolerance," by the Rev. Jesse Jackson

4:30 p.m.: Special Entertainment—"Death to Bush, the Imperialist Warmonger," original music performed by Sheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks

4:35 p.m.: Afternoon Plenary—"Honoring Diversity: Acknowledging and Respecting the Variety of Views Within the Democratic Party," introduced by Sen. John Edwards

4:40 p.m.: "NAFTA, the Patriot Act, and the Iraq War: How They Threaten the Principles Valued by All Americans," by Sen. John Kerry

5:20 p.m.: "NAFTA, the Patriot Act, and the Iraq War: Why I Voted to Support These Important Efforts," by Sen. John Kerry

6:00 p.m.: Dinner Recess (Delegates may attend buffets in Conference Room A, B, or C. Special thanks to our dinner sponsors: Greenpeace, PETA, and the People's Republic of China.)


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