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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"They Broke it and Won't Fix It"

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Owners drop Freedom Tower name

From Chris Kokenes CNN
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The agency that owns the space where the World Trade Center towers stood is freeing itself of the term "freedom" to describe the signature skyscraper replacing the buildings destroyed on September 11, 2001.

The change from Freedom Tower was revealed Thursday at a news conference where the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced the signing of the first commercial lease in the building to a Chinese company. The building is expected to be completed in late 2013.

"We've referred to the primary building planned for the site as One World Trade Center -- its legal name and street address -- for almost two years now, as well as using the name the Freedom Tower," said Stephen Sigmund, a spokesman for the Port Authority, in a statement released to CNN. "Many will always refer to it as the Freedom Tower, but as the building moves out of the planning stage and into full construction and leasing, we believe that going forward it is most practical to market the building as One World Trade Center."

The rest of the story can be found here:

Now, as far as I am concerned, the real story isn't about dropping the Freedom Tower name. It's about the first tennant! "...the signing of the first commercial lease in the building to a Chinese company." Really? A Chinese company? I am bothered by this for two reasons. First off, I can't believe that the first tennant to sign wouldn't have been an American company, and the second reason is because I feel like America is being bought up by foreigners... in particular, the Chinese.

Now, I realize this is only a lease, but it brings up the point of the Chinese and American property.

Our federal government has now granted to China, this power to "take"our homes and businesses in the event the US Gov't defaults on its debts.
This is an entirely different topic, but a real eye opener regarding China and American ownership.

I don't have a problem with foreigners, or foreigners buying land, property and business in America, I have a problem with the quantity being purchased.

I feel like pretty soon America will be "owned" by foreigners, but governed by Americans. How long will that work? How will foreign ownership affect home prices, employment etc.?

Now, for all you bloggers who love to scan the Internet for "factual" evidence to disprove anything I have said, go for it. I am no expert. I just know what I have heard, read and seen throughout the years.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

"The Number Zero, Brought to You by the Party of N-O"

The DNC just released a pretty brutal -- not to mention funny -- video mocking the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives for releasing a budget with no numbers in it.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Free Speech or Inciting a Riot?

I've become increasingly disturbed by the chatter that's been floating around among the right wing hate mongers. Don't get me wrong here; their whacked out ideas and propaganda are truly laughable. What concerns me is the number of misguided-misinformed-head in the sand-pick your own label- folks out there who have or may buy into their bullshit. Does anybody recall a dude by the name of Timothy McVeigh? The "ideas" being tossed around by right wing pundits as of late are the very same "ideas" that McVeigh acted out upon when he destroyed the Alfred P Murrah building and ended the lives of innocent men, women, and children.

More recently, a disgruntled individual in Tennessee went on a rampage and burned down a church after being incited by the rants of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glen Beck. I tire of those who defend these blowhards, accusing myself and others of trying to silence free speech. I will stand beside them and defend their right to free speech, but I would also caution them that screaming "fire" in a crowded theater crosses a line from constitutional right into criminal activity.

Here's a taste of what these folks have been up to recently:

First up, from greenisthenewred.com, is roundhouse-kicked-in-the-head-too-many-times nutjob Chuck Norris. Good guys wear black, that's why we generally see Norris in any color but:

Chuck Norris says it may soon be time to violently overthrow the U.S. government, and he’s organizing “cells” around the country. In his column at the far-right WorldNetDaily, he cites the national debt, Obama administration, and a lack of religious values, as reasons for putting out his call to action:
How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution?
A popular viral urban legend has been circulating around the "internets" that purports to explain how strong and powerful Chuck Norris is via silly boasts. An example: "Chuck Norris's tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried." That one might be true, I could see him holding back his tears because "cancer patients need to suck it up and pull themselves up by their bootstraps"! Norris says that Texas will be leading the new revolution that he calls for; he quotes Sam Houston, he remembers the Alamo, he promises to “run for president of Texas,” and… wait, it keeps getting better! He says he and Fox’s Glenn Beck (who says the Obama administration will put conservatives in FEMA internment camps) have organized a telecast called “We Surround Them,” in which “thousands of cell groups will be united.”

And, from inside the beltway, comes the congresswoman from outside of reality, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Uranus). In response to legislation that she opposes, Bachmann compared Washington, D.C. to “enemy lines” and urged her supporters to become “armed and dangerous” and fight a “revolution” against cap and trade legislation:

BACHMANN: And really now in Washington, I’m a foreign correspondent in enemy lines. And I try to keep everyone back here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington. […]

I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.

I seem to recall several recent years where peaceful war protesters were attacked and arrested by the police for non-violent protests against the actions of their own government. I wonder what would have happened if they had made statements similar to the ones above? On second thought, I'm pretty sure that I already have the answer to that one. . .

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Portia De Rossi "Apologizes" for Marrying Ellen

Portia De Rossi appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" last night and brought with her a new PSA she made about gay marriage. Despite being a gay rights activist, it was an apology to all the Prop 8 supporters who were put out by protesting same-sex marriage. Watch:

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama on The Tonight Show

Another first from Barack Obama - first sitting president to appear on the Tonight Show:

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Conservadems - Maddow on Bayh

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Obama Pursues AIG Bonuses

THEY will call it flip-flopping. THEY will call it sticking your finger in the breeze. *I* call it a president who doesn't stay the course when the bus is heading off of the cliff. *I* call it. . .leadership:

Faced with a growing chorus of national outrage, the Obama administration has changed its position regarding the $165 million in bonuses that AIG is distributing to the small group of employees whose risky trades brought the company to the brink of collapse. President Obama today excoriated AIG, saying the company was in its present position because of "recklessness and greed"

Thank God we're not still represented by a smirking "stay the course" bonehead in chief who refuses to alter his view when the situation demands it. Some progressives may have their noses a bit out of tilt over some decisions made by this president, but at least he is willing to listen to the people and change course without prejudice when it is called for.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tale of a Cabbie

TaxiThe Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn’t realize was that it was also a ministry.

Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, and made me laugh and weep.

But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night. I was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partyers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town.

When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away.

But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation.

Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.

So I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute”, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knick-knacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

“It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good boy”, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered.

“There are other passengers”.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware - beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

From via

Some background info on the cab driver story.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009


Size matters

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Nite Retro

My favorite Santana tune:

And the runner up:

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Hooverville" revisited


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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

FOX Poll: Obama Preferred over Reagan

Reaganomics officially dead?

According to a recent FOX News poll, 49% of viewers believe that Barack Obama's economic policies are the right medicine for our ailing economy versus 40% who prefer the failed policies of Ronald Reagan. From Talking Points Memo:

The poll also contains some really interesting questions about taxes, which in total make even clearer a classic rule of polling: It can all depend on how the question is phrased.

Check out this question, clearly intended to get an answer that voters prefer low taxes and smaller government: "Which of the following statements do you agree with more? 1. I'd rather pay higher taxes to support a larger government that provides more services. 2. I'd rather pay lower taxes and have a smaller government that provides fewer services."

The answer: 35% for high taxes and bigger government, and 55% for low taxes and smaller government. But take a close look: The question's message is that you, the respondent hearing this question over the phone, are going to be personally paying higher or lower taxes.

On the other hand, take a look at these two questions about progressive taxation: "Do you support or oppose raising taxes on households earning over $250,000 a year and, at the same time, lowering taxes for most other households?" The answer: Support 66%, Oppose 30%. Even 41% of Republicans like the idea.

And this one -- also noted by Greg Sargent: "Do you think asking the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes is a good idea because it levels the economic and social playing field, or a bad idea because it punishes hard work and success?" Good idea 55%, Bad idea 39% -- with 29% support from Republicans.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Obama on Signing Statements



Presidential Signing Statements

For nearly two centuries, Presidents have issued statements
addressing constitutional or other legal questions upon signing
bills into law (signing statements). Particularly since omnibus
bills have become prevalent, signing statements have often been
used to ensure that concerns about the constitutionality of
discrete statutory provisions do not require a veto of the
entire bill.

In recent years, there has been considerable public discussion
and criticism of the use of signing statements to raise
constitutional objections to statutory provisions. There is
no doubt that the practice of issuing such statements can be
abused. Constitutional signing statements should not be used to
suggest that the President will disregard statutory requirements
on the basis of policy disagreements. At the same time, such
signing statements serve a legitimate function in our system, at
least when based on well-founded constitutional objections. In
appropriately limited circumstances, they represent an exercise
of the President's constitutional obligation to take care that
the laws be faithfully executed, and they promote a healthy
dialogue between the executive branch and the Congress.
With these considerations in mind and based upon advice of the
Department of Justice, I will issue signing statements to address
constitutional concerns only when it is appropriate to do so as
a means of discharging my constitutional responsibilities. In
issuing signing statements, I shall adhere to the following

1. The executive branch will take appropriate and timely steps,
whenever practicable, to inform the Congress of its
constitutional concerns about pending legislation. Such
communication should facilitate the efforts of the executive
branch and the Congress to work together to address these
concerns during the legislative process, thus minimizing the
number of occasions on which I am presented with an enrolled
bill that may require a signing statement.

2. Because legislation enacted by the Congress comes with
a presumption of constitutionality, I will strive to
avoid the conclusion that any part of an enrolled bill
is unconstitutional. In exercising my responsibility
to determine whether a provision of an enrolled bill is
unconstitutional, I will act with caution and restraint,
based only on interpretations of the Constitution that
are well-founded.

3. To promote transparency and accountability, I will ensure
that signing statements identify my constitutional concerns
about a statutory provision with sufficient specificity to
make clear the nature and basis of the constitutional

4. I will announce in signing statements that I will construe a
statutory provision in a manner that avoids a constitutional
problem only if that construction is a legitimate one.
To ensure that all signing statements previously issued are
followed only when consistent with these principles, executive
branch departments and agencies are directed to seek the advice
of the Attorney General before relying on signing statements
issued prior to the date of this memorandum as the basis for
disregarding, or otherwise refusing to comply with, any provision
of a statute.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any
right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at
law or in equity by any party against the United States, its
departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees,
or agents, or any other person.

This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register.


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Caption this photo

Be careful with your office supplies this Monday morning as you caption this photo!

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

When Obama gets Angry

Last night's Saturday Night Live was hosted by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and he showed what happens when you finally cause President Obama to lose his famous cool: he undergoes a Hulk-like transformation and turns into "The Rock Obama." Egged on By Rahm Emanuel to finally get mad, "The Rock Obama" shows Republican senators why you shouldn't oppose him:

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Vanilla Ice Apologizes for. . .everything.

"I'm sorry for the hairdos, baggy pants, the scandals, the lies, the gangs. I was young, manipulated and I was a puppet."

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Jon Stewart Thrashes CNBC

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Tonya Harding Beefing with Barack Obama

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

In Remembrance - John Belushi

John Belushi died of a speedball overdose on this date in 1982. Another flame who burned out before his time. Enjoy this first audition for Saturday Nite Live:

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The new de-facto leader of the GOP

Apparently the GOP has a new leader... Rush Limbaugh!!!
Media Matters even started a page just for him! http://mediamatters.org/limbaughwire/

The Politico reports:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he has reached out to Rush Limbaugh to tell him he meant no offense when he referred to the popular conservative radio host as an "entertainer" whose show can be "incendiary."

"My intent was not to go after Rush - I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh," Steele said in a telephone interview. "I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. ... There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership."

The only problem is that a recent poll shows Rush's listeners put him low on the list as someone they want to represent the GOP!

Rush! Rush! Rush!

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Picking the Bones of the Dead

Debt collectors have reached an all-time low; muscling surviving family members of the recently departed for payments due, even though survivors have no obligation to pay these bills. From the New York Times:

Dead people are the newest frontier in debt collecting, and one of the healthiest parts of the industry. Those who dun the living say that people are so scared and so broke it is difficult to get them to cough up even token payments.

Collecting from the dead, however, is expanding. Improved database technology is making it easier to discover when estates are opened in the country’s 3,000 probate courts, giving collectors an opportunity to file timely claims. But if there is no formal estate and thus nothing to file against, the human touch comes into play.

This is beyond disgusting. It's not as if someone says "Hey, I'm gonna be dead in six months - let me rack up my credit cards and stick it to the bank". People DO rack up their credit cards and spend beyond their means; there's no disputing that. But to hound, no matter how gently, a grieving family member is about as low rent as one can get.


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Monday, March 02, 2009

Letterman - Rush Limbaugh: Bonehead Gangster

David Letterman had CBS News anchor Katie Couric doubled over with laughter when he referred to Rush Limbaugh as a "bonehead" and described his shirt-unbuttoned appearance at the recent CPAC conference as that of an "East European gangster."

Though Couric didn't take the bait during her guest appearance on Monday night, she did admit to feeling uncomfortable to hear the words Rush Limbaugh and flesh in the same sentence and joked with Letterman, "So much for my interview with Rush."


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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Fighting for our Homes

The latest information on the foreclosure crisis from Brave New Films:

"We were trained to mislead borrowers," says a mortgage broker in Orange County, California. "There were people who were club promoters or even drug dealers that found out it was more profitable to run a mortgage shop than to do whatever they were doing."

Take a look at this video about the subprime mortgage lending racket

On Tuesday, Congress will vote on whether or not to level the playing field between the banks that caused the collapse of the housing market and struggling homeowners. Representative John Conyers has introduced legislation in the House that authorizes judges to require banks to reevaluate overpriced mortgages of bankrupt homeowners.

Sign our petition to let Congress know that you support Conyers' bill, H.R. 1106. Then, call your Congressional Representative and ask him or her to vote for it.

Conyers' proposal is a simple, modest fix that will help keep hundreds of thousands of families in their homes. This bill is a win for every homeowner in America. By helping stem foreclosures, it will help arrest the decline in home values for everybody, not just those who are struggling to make payments. President Obama supports the bill and has called on Congress to pass it. The banks and the lobbyists that represent them oppose the bill with a passion.

These are the same banks that started this recession in the first place by hawking worthless subprime mortgage loans to naïve or unsuspecting borrowers. Joan Adams of Irvine, California lost her home to foreclosure, and is now living out of a motel by the airport. "There's no one out there to help," Joan says. "Billions of dollars to all the banks for bailouts for something they caused, and yet we're the ones that are homeless."

The banks have had their handouts. Now it's time for struggling homeowners to be put first. Tell your Representative to support H.R. 1106.

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The Obama Budget - Real Change

via: MoveOn.Org:

Want to see what change looks like? Real change?

Well, here it is. Last week, President Obama unveiled his budget—his blueprint for America—and it's ambitious, amazing, and unapologetically progressive. As Paul Krugman said, it will set America on a "fundamentally new course."1

President Obama called his budget "a threat to the status quo," and trust me, the status quo noticed. Oil companies, big banks and insurance companies are already mobilizing to stop it.2

Unfortunately, most folks don't realize how far-reaching and progressive the plan is—that's where we all come in.

Here are 10 really incredible things about Obama's plan. Check them out and then send them on to your friends and family so that millions of people will have the information they need to fight to make this vision a reality.

10 things you should know about Obama's plan (but probably don't)

The plan:

  1. Makes a $634 billion down payment on fixing health care that will go a long way toward paying for a more efficient, more affordable health care system that covers every single American.3
  2. Reduces taxes for 95% of working Americans. And if your family makes less than $250,000, your taxes won't go up one dime.4
  3. Invests more than $100 billion in clean energy technology, creating millions of green jobs that can never be outsourced.5
  4. Brings our troops home from Iraq on a firm timetable, finally bringing the war to a close—and freeing up almost ten billion dollars a month for domestic priorities.6
  5. Reverses growing income inequality. The plan lets the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire and focuses on strengthening the middle class.7
  6. Closes multi-billion-dollar tax loopholes for big oil companies. 8
  7. Increases grants to help families pay for college—the largest increase ever.9

  8. Halves the deficit by 2013. President Obama inherited a legacy of huge deficits and an economy in shambles, but his plan brings the deficit under control as soon as the economy begins to recover.10
  9. Dramatically increases funding for the SEC and the CFTC—the agencies that police Wall Street.11
  10. Tells it straight. For years, budgets have used accounting tricks to hide the real costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush tax cuts, and too many other programs. Obama's budget gets rid of the smokescreens and lays out what America's priorities are, what they cost, and how we're going to pay for them.12


1. "Climate of Change," The New York Times, February 27, 2009

2. "Obama Calls His Budget Sweeping, Needed Change," The New York Times, February 28, 2009

3. "Obama Offers Broad Plan to Revamp Health Care," The New York Times, February 26, 2009

4. "Obama Expects Fight Over $3.55 Trillion Budget Plan," Bloomberg News, February 28, 2009

5. "Energy Budget Is Sunlight After Eight Years of Darkness," Center for American Progress, February 26, 2009

6. "The Economic Cost of War in Iraq and Afghanistan," The New York Times, March 1, 2009

7. "Tax Cuts," The New York Times, February 26, 2009

8. "Energy Budget Is Sunlight After Eight Years of Darkness," Center for American Progress, February 26, 2009

9. "Student Loans," The New York Times, February 26, 2009

10. "Obama unveils budget blueprint," CNN, February 26, 2009

11. "Obama budget would boost SEC, CFTC, FBI," Reuters, February 26, 2009

12. "Obama's budget," Los Angeles Times, February 27, 2009

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