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The New York Times praises the military's decision to end its ban on women in combat:
The Pentagon’s decision to end its ban on women in combat is a triumph for equality and common sense. By opening infantry, artillery and other battlefield jobs to all qualified service members regardless of sex, the military is showing that categorical discrimination has no place in a society that honors fairness and equal opportunity. [...]

Some right-wing commentators rehashed false stereotypes that women couldn’t hack it, and warned that women would be captured and raped and men would get shot trying to protect them instead of killing the enemy. These lurid hypotheticals deny the reality that military women face far greater danger of sexual assault and harassment from their fellow troops — a crisis that the Pentagon has slowly been addressing, and that full combat integration should help to remedy. Adding women to the leadership corps will foster a healthier military culture freed from testosterone-soaked abuse and scandal.

Many in the military already understand that many women can do combat jobs as well as men, if not better, but none have the chance to prove it. “Fully support,” one Army Times commenter wrote of the new policy, “as long as the training and the physical standards for such positions remain what they need to be to accomplish the mission and make every team member able to provide support and cover for their teammates.”

USA Today agrees:
Critics argue that standards will in fact be lowered, that the presence of women will create awkward situations and relationship problems, and that military readiness will suffer. Couched in slightly different terms, the same sort of arguments were raised when the military was racially integrated, and more recently when gays were allowed to serve openly.

None of the dire predictions has materialized. Over the years, the military has become a model of opportunity for almost everyone. With women getting their shot at any job for which they can qualify, the "almost" can finally be dropped.

Jump below the fold for more analysis on today's top stories...


After inching in the right direction for years, military policy finally caught up with the reality of modern warfare. More than 250,000 women have been "in combat" in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade, because in those theaters there were no clear lines separating the front from the rear. One hundred fifty-two servicewomen have lost their lives in those wars. More than 900 have been wounded. From now on, valiant women will have their roles in combat recognized when vying for promotion. That's important. In an organization built to fight, combat experience is a key to career advancement.
The Los Angeles Times on the filibuster deal:
Senate leaders reached a compromise this week on limiting the filibuster, an obstructive procedural tactic that has become almost as routine on Capitol Hill as photo opportunities and news conferences. The Times' editorial board has long argued that the right approach would be to end the rule, not mend it. The best that can be said for this week's deal is that incremental progress toward a more functional Senate is better than no progress at all.
If you missed analysis from David Waldman and Chris Bowers on the latest filibuster reform deal, take a few minutes and read their take on the matter here and here.

Robert Schlesinger at US News & World Report:

They are shocked that Obama dares to appoint a defense secretary they don't like; they presume to dictate the terms of upcoming fiscal negotiations (revenues are off the table!); and they are contriving a series of budget crises to push radical spending cuts. You would think they had just won a 1994- or 2010-style vindication at the polls.

Here's the reality the rest of us live in: Two months ago voters chose the Democrats' governing vision over the Republicans', decisively. Obama won re-election by 4 percentage points; Democrats expanded their Senate majority; and while the GOP kept control of the House, they lost seats, and nearly 1.4 million more people cast ballots for Democrats than for Republicans. Should the GOP roll over in the face of a progressive agenda? No. But as the conservative writer David Frum wrote on his blog last week, this isn't the moment for conservatives to go "big and bold. This is the time for defensive play; for rethinking, rebuilding, and retooling."

Instead, conservatives seem to see in the 2012 election results a hunger for a government shutdown or the threat of it. They should ask the ghosts of '94 how voters reacted to that the first time.

Jack Shafer at Reuters on second term curses:
Just as farmers plant and reap with the seasons, political journalists consult the calendar for the best time to scatter seed and harvest, with second-term inaugurations being the preferred juncture to deploy temple-tapping discussions of the “second-term curse,” the notion that special doom awaits any modern president who wins the White House a second time.

Like most predictions, this one is for suckers. To begin with, the definition of a second-term curse has become so elastic that anything from a few policy setbacks to death can be interpreted as fulfillment of the curse. Even the definition of a second term has been debased by those who call vice presidents who complete a dead president’s term and win one on their own — Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman  and Lyndon Johnson — two-termers.

Blake Hounshell, managing editor at Foreign Policy, looks at terrorism in Northern Africa in the context of Secretary Clinton's testimony:
Perhaps a better question is how involved we want to be. Some reports have linked al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which has ties to al Qaeda's leadership in Pakistan, to the Benghazi attack. Three Americans died in the gas plant in Algeria, and seven more barely escaped with their lives. The United States reportedly has had special operations forces in Mali for years. So, in a sense, America already is very much involved.

But that doesn't mean the right course of action is to get in deeper. To varying degrees, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its allies clearly do pose a threat to U.S. interests in their corner of Africa, but there's little evidence that they have the capability or intent to strike the U.S. homeland. The United States needs to lead from behind in this region -- but way, way behind, with French and African forces in the front. Al Qaeda would like nothing more than to drag the United States into another protracted quagmire.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Harry Reid rewards the unions for saving his ass.. (31+ / 0-)

    .....a couple years ago, by stabbing them in the back yesterday.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 04:34:33 AM PST

  •  In the age of terrorism and asymetrical warfare (50+ / 0-)

    there are no "front lines" and "rear eschelon posts" anymore.

    Conservatives screeching about women in combat seem to have missed that women in uniform have been in combat, and inside some of the most dangerous of the world's danger zones, for a long time.

    It's been a great weird national political pretense for a long time that women in uniform are magically semi-shielded from getting hurt in Hell because of their plumbing causing a lot of powerful old white men to lose their fucking minds at the drop of a hat.

    Women have been in combat for a long time, they just didn't get the proper credit for it because bodies stacking up on the fainting couches in DC trumped bodies stacking up in theatre on a variety of fronts in the Great War On Terrah.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 04:42:23 AM PST

  •  Thanks for the roundup, Georgia (8+ / 0-)

    Liked the glimpse of different newspaper headlines.

    The Republicans didn't win the election, so now they're gerrymandering the electoral college state by state to make sure the Democrats never win another one.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 04:52:42 AM PST

  •  Fixed (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flygrrl, Onomastic, tobendaro, skohayes
    With women getting their shot at any job for which they can qualify getting shot, the "almost" can finally be dropped.
    Seriously though, the only real change is that now women can have a combat arms MOS and "earn" a CIB.

    Hobbs: "How come we play war and not peace?" Calvin: "Too few role models."

    by BOHICA on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:00:16 AM PST

  •  Conservatives meet your own petard (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, bear83, skohayes

    You know how Teapublicans like Senator Hair Club for Men (Rand Paul) talk about how they abhor prejudice and discrimination and that we should be a merit based society. What is more merit based than selecting the most qualified soldiers for certain jobs rather than picking them because of the absence of lady parts?

  •  'We are a populist party'.....sez Kenneth The Page (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx
    •  Populist party in a redneck country (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skillet, flygrrl, tb mare

      Sucking up to America's least common denominator: the stupid.

      America is FILLED with stupid.

      it's the republican base.

      So dems feel they need to appeal to stupid rednecks who don't know shit and are more concerned about finding bigfoot than any of that book-learnin shit.

      No problem: we'll just be GOP-lite.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:24:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Louisiana Lout (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, skohayes, JerryNA

      has now announced that the state's Medicaid program will no longer cover hospice care.  This is another example of Republican short term thinking in an effort to cut public spending.  This change in coverage will force terminally ill patients to die in hospitals (very expensive) hooked up to machines and tubes instead of in hospice care (very inexpensive) surrounded by loved ones - deliberate disregard both of  humane considerations and good budgeting.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:22:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So incredibly stupid and shortsighted (0+ / 0-)

        Hospice care is WONDERFUL and as you said, much cheaper than letting someone die in a hospital.

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:26:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  He reversed that decision yesterday after (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        getting hammered for it.

        •  Really just kicked the can down (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SueDe, tb mare

          the road until summer (June or July I think) then he'll give it another run. He's such an asshole.
          But it's our (Democrats) own fault. It would have been a challenge to beat him, but we didn't even field a half-way credible candidate against him (or any other statewide race for that matter).

          "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

          by gritsngumbo on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 09:31:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Are there any Democrats (i.e., liberals) (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tb mare

            or even populists left in Louisiana?  If there are, why wouldn't Democrats at least make it a race for control of the statehouse?

            "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

            by SueDe on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 09:49:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  If wingnuts EVER started saying things that (9+ / 0-)

    were represented/supported in reality, they'd cease being wingnuts.

    How, exactly, is it these people can be so goddamned delusional and still earn more money than me??????

    I feel cheated.

    The Armchair Commando subspecies are some of the BEST refudiations of evolutionary theory to date: 6 billion years of evolution and we have the likes of Allen West and Eric Ericcsonofabitch.??

    really, I can hope daily that their driving-while-bonkers way of living will have them drive off some metaphorical cliff, and help put them out of our misery.

    I mean, how far can you go believing dumb delusional shit and making your life's plans and decisions on it?

    Look at the drubbing Rand Paul - a posterfreak for dumbass Airmchair Wingnut Commandos - got from Hillary. The ENTIRE wingnut Benghazi debacle began from a delusional idea they could take this event and turn it into the same sort of event that 'took down' Jimmy Carter (operation eagle claw). They jumped on it from the first report and they have tried to SCREAM their way into making this stick but it was just a goddamned bullshit fairy tale that these dumbshits actually believed.

    Rand Paul opened his hole and let the crazy stupid out for the world to see and Hillary bludgeoned it correctly.

    this is what I mean: How far can you go being fucking delusional, misinterpreting reality ON PURPOSE, before you hit a wall?

    ALL I can hope for is the phrase "Those whom the Gods would destroy they first make insane".

    Waiting for the 'destroyed" part now.....

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:14:15 AM PST

  •  I have always been a Reid supporter (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx, Laconic Lib, JerryNA, Faito

    until now.

    I sent him $$, phone banked, etc AND I'm not even in his state.

    After having the chance to fundamentally change the Senate for the better, he caved. He would have had a legacy that would have lasted forever. Instead he became a traitor to the progressive agenda.

    Harry, you should retire .... let a progressive Dem take your place. Go back to Nevada - maybe find a job with the Gov out there. I also hear the sheriff is looking for a few "good" men.

    Bye, bye Harry - you lost me.

    Too early for a drink .............. need to cool off.

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. Frank Zappa

    by Da Rock on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:18:38 AM PST

  •  Hey, what is with "continue reading?" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texnance, pelagicray, skohayes, babaloo

    I liked that the Pundit Roundup used to be displayed in its entirety. It's episodic and easy to miss the "continue reading" invitation, plus it is nice to get up and just scroll down, then have access to other Kos front page stuff. Two fewer clicks.

    That is my morning gripe, not angry, but peevish. :-)

  •  good morning (10+ / 0-)

    An op-ed from my friend and fellow Newtowner MaryAnn Murtha:

    You know also that Newtown is suffering. A man shot and killed 20 of our schoolchildren and six of our educators in a matter of minutes on Dec. 14. Since then, green and white ribbons, the colors of Sandy Hook Elementary School, adorn our jackets, as we console each other and proclaim that we are Newtown Strong. Our shared grief is so thick you can almost hold it in your hands. As a town we weep unexpectedly and openly, just as our governor, Dannel Malloy, a tough former assistant district attorney from Brooklyn, choked up as he spoke during the opening of Connecticut’s legislative session. As one woman told me, standing by the cucumbers in the grocery store, tears welling in her eyes, “You just never know when it’s gonna hit ya.”..

    In 2001, al-Qaeda’s attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania were initially dubbed the attack on the World Trade Center. But the folks mourning the attacks on the Pentagon and Flight 93 spoke up, and the moniker morphed into 9/11.

    The media were sensitive; citizens were sensitive. Let’s do that again.

    Newtown, Conn., would rather hear “I don’t want to see another 12/14” than “I don’t want to see another Newtown.” Further, a Commission on 12/14 sounds better than a Commission on Sandy Hook. I suspect that the people who live in Newtown, Pa., and Sandy Hook, N.J., feel the same way.

    By naming the tragedy 12/14, we honor the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting, their families and their town. 12/14. Think it. Say it. Help Newtown heal.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:25:39 AM PST

    •  12/14....put it on tee-shirts and billboards...we (4+ / 0-)

      have met the enemy and he is us.

    •  People have to adjust to traumas at some point (5+ / 0-)

      Normally, people will move ("I can't go back into that house") or, as I have heard about the theater in Aurora, tear it down and build a memorial:

      I support the idea of referring to this as 12/14. Newtown was ground zero but people all ove the country and the world were hurt by it.

      You cannot move Newtown. Tearing down the school and rebuilding may not be realistic (I have no clue, just saying).

      In any event, people grieve, they talk and share and find a way to 'shore up and package' the event in such a way as to help people 'move on' and integrate the event in a healthy manner, versus spending a lot of time and energy in denial or worse (drug/alcohol abuse, suicide).

      It is the support people get in the wake of something like this that makes the difference between being able to deal with it productively and being sentenced to year - if not a life - of pain and torture.

      Tragedies like these come with an anniversary date which means every year at this time people will grieve and have horrible memories.

      I like the idea  of '12/14' because it embraces the anniversary date, it says "We WERE Hurt" and allows people to NOT have to engage in all manner of psychological distractions to evade the pain. People can be together because everybody was harmed by it.

      My 2 cents.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:41:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  12/14 brought into focus so many things (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes, tb mare

        that this nation needs to fix before it keeps undertaking to fix other nations.  Let us begin by looking into the mirror and asking ourselves, "How much does this nation truly care about its children, and what evidence exists to prove this?"  We have such low scores in health, education, crime, etc., when compared to other nations that we should be utterly ashamed, and yet we strive most mightily for arms, cash and electronics, things that matter more to us than the nation's children and our own good consciences.  Mr. Lanzo killed his mother as she slept.  We must wake up....or pay someone to stand watch as we sleep....if we can sleep....before a generation turns on us for our collective failure.

        Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

        by judyms9 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:29:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm still waiting for the tea-bag crowd (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic, skohayes, tb mare begin arguing that a standing army of men, women, or squirrels with lasers strapped to their tails is unconstitutional.

    Because boobs.

    The Aggressively Ignorant Caucus is getting aggressively ignorant again.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:29:29 AM PST

  •  I can't wait for the 2014 fundraising emails. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, DRo, bear83, Laconic Lib, tb mare
    Send us money! Help elect Democrats to the Senate so we can have filibuster reform!
    And I can't wait for the suckers who fall for it.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:29:51 AM PST

  •  interesting kaiser poll (9+ / 0-)

    More Americans Back Than Oppose State Medicaid Expansions But, Like Many Governors, Public Splits Along Party Lines

    On The Federal Deficit, Public Wants Action But Still Resists Most Cuts and Sacrifices, Especially to Medicare

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:36:56 AM PST

    •  The public (6+ / 0-)

      needs to organize.  At least as well as the pharmaceuticals and insurance companies have.

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:50:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  GOP.....On The Wrong Side Of EVERYTHING!... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laconic Lib, tb mare, KibbutzAmiad

        'But the public still loves our principles.'...Priebus 2013.

      •  It won't matter (0+ / 0-)

        Here in Kansas, where Governor Brownback refused the federal monies to set up and operate the exchanges, the legislature and our governor absolutely do not give a shit what people want. They are determined to ram their extreme agenda down the throats of Kansans, whether we like it or not.
        For example, Brownback wants to eliminate the personal state income tax (he's already cut all business income taxes to zero). He will do this by ending property tax deductions, mortgage interest deductions, and other tax deductions that help the middle class. He is slashing education funding, forcing localities to raise their local taxes to pay for their schools (Brownback actually considered a bill that would not allow districts to raise their taxes!).
        According to non-partisan budget groups, this will put Kansas in a huge deficit in less than 10 years.
        Even Republicans out here are waking up (a little late, since they just elected a majority Tea Party legislature).

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:39:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  People like the goodies (0+ / 0-)

      But they don't like to pay for them.  That's true for people of all political stripes in America.  Once you have a majority of people voting for benefits they know they'll never have to pay for, we're probably sunk.  

      I'd personally like to see a party that is socially liberal, environmentally enlightened, and fiscally conservative (small-c conservative).  We could really use a leader in America who tells the truth about things like our many trillions in underfunded pension obligations, and how the banking and financial systems that brought the entire globe to the brink of collapse have not really been changed in any fundamental way, and the true costs of our wars of choice, and the fact that our health care system isn't "the best in the world" for 90% of Americans.  That's not much of a sentence but you get the idea.

  •  military rape (0+ / 0-)

    I love that they are saying women being allowed to fight in combat makes them equal.  Shame on all the women who are now going to overlook the fact that they are still being raped and sexually assaulted in the military.  They threw us a bone and are robbing us of our dignity and rights!

    Isn't it funny how this happened the same time they wanted an investigation into past rape cases?!

    This isn't a win for women, it's showing how pathetic we are if we forget the real problem! RAPE!

  •  How Dumb Is Luke Russert? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Twice today - TWICE - he referred to W Africa without saying the word "West". H just read the W on the teleprompter as "wuh". The first time I thought I was hearing things.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:15:37 AM PST

    •  Pretty fucking dumb. (0+ / 0-)

      "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

      by gritsngumbo on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 09:34:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  oh yay. whoot. whoot. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We are now officially recognized as being allowed to kill people too.

    Banner day.  How exciting.  Thanks a bunch Leon!


    Seriously, my cynical nature can't help it...and I'm not unaware of the strain on combat troops and the difficulty the military has had in recruiting...even as the wars are winding down.

    I can't help but suspect that, at some level, the lifting of this official ban (ha ha ha...don't even get me started...) serves the dual purpose of providing more warm bodies...

    If the military and Leon really gave a flying shit about equality and women's equal rights, there'd be a "You're gonna get your dick cut off if you rape a fellow soldier or anyone!" campaign inside the military ranks.  

    There isn't.


    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:23:22 AM PST

    •  otoh, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, gchaucer2

      those women who do choose to be there (don't get me wrong, I can't imagine choosing it, god forbid) haven't been "competitive" in pay or promotions due to lack of combat classifications

      let's at least be fair about equal pay for equal work

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:34:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If money is the motivating factor for doing... (0+ / 0-)

        ...anything, then as the old saying goes, "We know what you are, the only question is price."

        So, to boil down this entire matter to an "equal pay for equal work" argument does one of two things, probably both:  1) casts the women serving in combat roles as whores, because they've sought recognition for money alone or 2) completely ignores all the real issues of (in)equality faced my women in the armed services.

        And from my current observation and past experience with the military, the military never does anything that doesn't first serve some need within the military; it's generally NOT an altruistic "industry," no matter what the rhetoric surrounding military service may be.


        "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

        by Marjmar on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 08:39:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  To the question: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    "Does anyone actually believe in a ‘second-term curse’?"

    Shafer is spot on. This is just more collective mind-set from pablum-preaching-press for pearl-clutchers ala mrsgreenspan. Stuff a pacifier in it willya?

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:29:24 AM PST

  •  I wish them luck, but... (0+ / 0-)

    there is no way in hell I would want that for my daughter - no matter what.  

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:46:18 AM PST

  •  The 3 month debt limit extension was a mistake. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I said it at the time, but that didn't stop many on Daily Kos from supporting it. Now we see this:

    "With the debt ceiling suspension, the order of budget battles has been reset in a way Republicans think is more favorable to them."

    It's still out there, folks, and mark my words: It's not going away....

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