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Midday Open Thread
  • President Obama said Congress should act to extend emergency unemployment insurance for more than one million Americans who have lost this vital economic lifeline while looking for a job. Letting emergency unemployment insurance expire not only harms American families, but it is also a drag on the overall economy. The President urges both parties to pass the bipartisan three-month extension under consideration in the Senate so that we can once again focus on expanding opportunities for the middle class and creating jobs for all hardworking Americans.
  • Was Conservative pundit David Brooks High on marijuana for this one?

    While David Brooks meanders in platitudes, those supporting legalization of marijuana now, and hopefully other drugs later, live in today’s reality. If your drug use does not have a physical or financial impact on someone else, you should have the freedom to do it. I thought that was a Conservative mantra as well.

  • The quote below found in this New York Times article should make every American scream. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? One could postulate that the bad personal decisions many make are not a personal failure in some vacuum but personal failures that result from a failed economic system that implicitly hurts the social fabric.

    “The nation should face up to two facts: poverty rates are too high, especially among children, and spending money on government means-tested programs is at best a partial solution,” Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution wrote in an assessment of the shortfalls on the war on poverty. Washington already spends enough on antipoverty programs to lift all Americans out of poverty, he said. “To mount an effective war against poverty,” he added, “we need changes in the personal decisions of more young Americans.”

  • Nerds, Internet junkies, as well as bloggers should love this.

    Cloud computing has crossed the threshold from a technology issue to a matter of political and cultural debate. It is at the center of the controversy over the National Security Agency’s collection of data in the name of counterterrorism. It has also launched conversations about the future of the workplace in the age of telecommuting. But while the cloud has permeated our lives, myths swirl around the concept.

  • Oh yes. Conservative David Frum excoriates that crazy Fox News pundit who advocates the assassination of President Obama.

    Michael Scheuer’s meltdown: It’s been a long way down for the former CIA hand and over-the-top Iraq War critic—right down to endorsing the assassinations of Barack Obama and David Cameron.

    Anybody who thinks the Obama years have been uniquely dominated by Teh Crazy should give a few minutes attention to the career of Michael Scheuer, once one of the most prominent critics of the Bush administration’s war on terror.

  • The company store is back in a new predatory form. Check out this AlterNet article. It puts economist Richard D. Wolff’s “Capitalism Hits the Fan” into perspective.

    If you can lure people into borrowing then you own them, sometimes literally—it’s a game as old as money itself. 

    Regular people don’t know much about money, loan terms or the trap of debt-slavery. This enables predators to dangle loans in front of desperate people and entrap them into various forms of financial and even actual servitude.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How’s your pointer working? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, JML9999, rebel ga

    This morning while listening to the talking meat sticks repeat this rhetoric I needed something to keep myself occupied. So I found one of the best wasting time websites ever.

    About your pointer, you can check it here and this other link will come if you aren't getting any.

  •  today's SF-GB NFL game: "The Meat Locker Bowl" /nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geez53

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 01:02:16 PM PST

    •  Uh huh (0+ / 0-)

      Oh yes, that is exactly what the president didn't say.

      The Koch brothers have done a real job on some of the nuts who make up quotes that were never spoken.

      Folks, if you don't already know what the Koch brothers are trying to do, let me spell it out for you:

      They are trying to turn our Constitutional Republic into a Fascist State by doing what Plutocrats have done in other countries.  First, they drain the average citizen of their financial strength, then they use their positions as Oligarchs to create an Oligarchy and then it's just a matter of lying through their teeth to get the lower classes to vote in the people the Plutocrats want and then it is a simple matter of overthrowing the Constitution and wham, bang...hello Fascists.

      Now just in case you think it cannot happen here, just look at what the Koch brother and their allies have already attempted to do.

      Be afraid, folks, be really afraid.
       

  •  cloud computing, like all distributed computing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999

    show both the advantages and disadvantages of decentralized computing in terms of security and encryption that highlights the horridly slow pace of standardization when a Snowden can defeat it not by electronic hacking but by pretexting from a position of trust
     

    Cloud computing has crossed the threshold from a technology issue to a matter of political and cultural debate. It is at the center of the controversy over the National Security Agency’s collection of data in the name of counterterrorism. It has also launched conversations about the future of the workplace in the age of telecommuting. But while the cloud has permeated our lives, myths swirl around the concept.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 01:07:11 PM PST

    •  While working around the edges (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli

      At the end of the day you still have boxes  in somebody else's  locked computer room?

      Payroll(ADP),HR(peoplesoft),Client Contact-Help desk-Call Center(SalesForce) so far

       are the fortune 500 going to put their core business in somebody else's  locked computer room?

      Is Boeing going to store the Engineering plans to their next 7X7 Jet or any other Defense contractor in somebody  else's  locked computer room?

      Are banks going to put their trading systems in somebody  else's  locked computer room?

      I rather doubt it

      I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

      by JML9999 on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 01:30:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is just incredible (7+ / 0-)

    Someone told me the Chargers finally beat the Bangles!

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "Ain't no blade can protect you from the True-True." - Old Georgie, Cloud Atlas.

    by klingman on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 01:09:23 PM PST

  •  The 'Forever War' on Drugs (9+ / 0-)

    I was really struck that today, while watching SD vs. Cincy football, a commercial for (yet another of the endless parade) the cop show 'Blue Bloods' ran, with the plot "Detective Mandalay goes undercover to stop a flood of Killer Heroin in the city!"......

    Jeebus t**y f**g Christ, I've been seeing this exact same plot on TV and movies since the '60s! How many trillions and how many lives ruined has the War cost, and apparently has accomplished nothing?

    Momma always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun. But Momma - that's where the fun is!

    by Fordmandalay on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 01:15:56 PM PST

  •  The InnerToobes had a field day with DB's Pot Days (7+ / 0-)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    David Brooks Explains Why He Doesn't Smoke Pot Anymore, Is Roundly Mocked

    New York Times columnist David Brooks set Twitter ablaze with a piece in which he explained why he doesn't smoke pot anymore.

    In a piece entitled "Weed: Been There. Done That." on Thursday, Brooks wrote that he and his friends used to smoke pot, but stopped for several reasons. The first reason he gave was an "embarrassing" incident that went as follows:

    "I smoked one day during lunch and then had to give a presentation in English class. I stumbled through it, incapable of putting together simple phrases, feeling like a total loser."

    The column elicited quite the response online. Vanity Fair's Juli Weiner had this to say: "For a little while in my teenage years, my friends and I read David [Brooks] columns," she began. "It was fun. I have some fond memories of us all being uninformed and feeling superior together."

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 01:19:33 PM PST

    •  I can't imagine (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JML9999, jes2

      Brooks being a bigger dork than he already is. Smoking a joint isn't going to change that. Next he's going to fabricate a lost weekend of bar hopping and smoking crack in the back of New York City taxi cabs.

      Somehow you get the feeling this is Brooks' notion of fitting in with the cool kids, claiming to have smoked weed and then rejected it. Quick - someone photoshop a picture of Brooks taking a bong hit!

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      "Ain't no blade can protect you from the True-True." - Old Georgie, Cloud Atlas.

      by klingman on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 02:02:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you use mind altering substances before an (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JML9999

      important presentation then one should not be surprised at the outcome.   I'm certain that many undergrads have consumed alcohol and done the same thing.

  •  The "no harm" argument (0+ / 0-)
    If your drug use does not have a physical or financial impact on someone else, you should have the freedom to do it.
    contains a lot of truthiness. In fact, any activity can be shown to have a physical or financial impact on someone somewhere somehow. The reason that this is frequently an argument used by libertarians the world over is that - like many libertarian views - it simply isn't true. There are no activities like that. In any case, when it comes to drug laws, that isn't the point. We exercise societal control over certain activities all the time and in general try to balance the level of control against perceived harm. Downloading child pornography is illegal, but does any specific viewing cause a physical or financial impact on someone else? Of course it's illegal and I don't know anyone who says it should be. The same goes for a zillion other things.

    The argument for legalizing certain drugs is that the harm done by maintaining penalties is frequently worse than would be done by use of the drug. But that doesn't turn marijuana into some kind of blessed sacrament that is utterly harmless. It's a trap many proponents of legalization fall into. Alcohol is legal, but we all recognize the harm it can do. Same with tobacco. So, let's not get all moony over pot. It can be harmful under certain circumstances and if over-used, like anything.

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 01:49:41 PM PST

  •  Please, everyone... Be careful out there (10+ / 0-)
    'Life-threatening' cold bites U.S. Midwest
    "The coldest temperatures in almost two decades will spread into the northern and central U.S. today behind an arctic cold front," the National Weather Service said in an advisory posted on its website on Sunday. "Combined with gusty winds, these temperatures will result in life-threatening wind chill values as low as 60 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit/ -51 Celsius)."
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has ordered all public schools in the state closed on Monday to protect children from dangerously cold weather.

    Chicago schools will be open Monday despite the cold, but officials, in a statement, advised parents to "use their own discretion in deciding whether to send their child to school."
    [My bold.  More at link.]

    I live in MN, and it's currently 10 below zero with wind chills to 30 below.  Air temps tonight are expected to get to minus 28, but the forecast doesn't say the expected wind chill factors.

    These extreme temps are allegedly going to be in the Midwest and the Eastern states.

    Stay inside, stay warm, don't let your animals stay outdoors for any length of time (make sure the most vulnerable are on a leash and go out with them so you make sure they don't get lost or hurt or freeze to death), and if you have an emergency and must go out, first call 911 and then do some over-dressing to keep yourselves warm as well as bring along things that can save your life.

    Really, I've been caught in blizzards before and it's scary.  In 1966 there was a three-day blizzard where snow was so heavy we couldn't see the little evergreen tree about 15 feet from the picture window.  People died in that blizzard in ND, including a couple of kids.  If I had not been nursing my child, she would have run out of milk right along with my mother and me since we were stuck at home (the side benefit of breast feeding is that baby always has a source of warm food)..., and since it has to warm up to snow, the temps were not that drastic!  These waaaaay-below-freezing-plus-wind-chill temps kill fast.

    Please, stay inside, stay safe, and keep warm.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 01:54:29 PM PST

    •  Squeegeed the slush that formed when moderate (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, NonnyO, Naniboujou, jbsoul

      rain turned to snow here. Was just getting salt down on the last neighbor's steps when i noticed the little puddles of slush had become rock hard. It got nasty very quickly.

      21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

      by geez53 on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 02:09:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, it most assuredly does... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jbsoul

        ... get "nasty very quickly" when temperatures are that extremely cold.

        I checked the map at weather.com and discovered the MN (and adjoining states) map is lilac colored to pale lilac colored - i.e., VERY cold.

        I'm a total coward in snow and/or cold.  I'm old, have had a lumbar fusion, one knee replaced (the other one needs replacing, too), and scared spitless of falling on my arse in the winter.  After those experiences with blizzards and freezing temps in the past, I just don't take any chances whatsoever.  When bad weather is expected a few days in advance, I go do some stock-up grocery shopping, come home, curl up with my cat, and stay warm (I also have an electric bedwarmer).

        I just want everyone else to stay safe, healthy, and warm, too.

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 03:15:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks NonnyO! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NonnyO

          We live in a small city in Ohio. I just found out school is cancelled (I work as a school counselor/support specialist) both tomorrow and Tuesday. That frees me up to accompany my husband on a 2 hour trip to Columbus to drop our dog off at Ohio State for knee surgery.

          I'm freaking because the temps are supposed to fall into the sub zero range through the day.

          Your post convinced me to bring along a couple of blankets even if my husband laughs at me!

          You take care and stay warm and safe too!

          •  My winter gear, stored in the car trunk... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jbsoul

            ... in a box was: Extra boots, extra sox, extra old pants, extra old sweater, extra old long coat, extra hat & scarf, old (but also clean) blanket, a large grain shovel to get myself out of a snowbank if I got stuck and was alone, kitty litter to use on ice if I was stuck.  I even had a little box with emergency candles and matches.

            In the front seat, I had extra gloves - big lined, leather mittens, actually; they came nearly up to my elbows, fit over the cuffs of my coat so no cold air blew up the sleeves. Mittens of any kind are warmer than gloves (there's science behind that), and when I put them on in the cold car right after work, I pulled them over my gloved hands.  By the time the heater warmed the inside of the car, my hands were nice and warm.

            On the floor behind the driver's seat I had the ice scraper and brush to clean off the windshield.  I had an extra flashlight in my glove box.

            I usually carried a candy bar in my purse in the winter (not summer since they'd melt).

            I had a sheet of paper with my name, address, medical history on it, and names and number of who to contact in an emergency or in case of death my wallet, and a copy in my glove box.  [That was as a result of knowing about a guy killed in a one-car accident, he had no ID with him, not even his driver's license.  If people at his destination had not called state police offices on his known route of travel, described the car and knew the license plate, his identity might still be a mystery.]

            Perhaps I went overboard in my preparations.... But, after being caught in more than one blizzard and/or heavy snows, I wasn't taking any chances.  My dad taught me about doing regular oil & water checks & fills, putting air on tires, how to change a tire.  For long trips, in particular, I always did a tune-up & oil change before leaving.  I always over-prepare when traveling; that way nothing bad ever happens.  I'm superstitious about it now.

            :-)

            I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

            by NonnyO on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 05:56:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, and PS: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jbsoul

            Let your husband laugh all he wants.  If something happens, you're prepared!

            Ha!  :-)

            I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

            by NonnyO on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 05:58:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Ah the cloud....I like the comment to the article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Capt Crunch

    about paying a monthly fee to access your family budget spreadsheet.  Much of the cloud is about turning a purchased product into a product leased on a monthly basis.  Some cloud services are very cost effective and very disruptive.  A lot of cloud service from established players is overpriced.

  •  Cloud computing = somebody else's computer (0+ / 0-)

    That's all it is.
    It means you're storing your precious digital data files on a computer belonging to someone else.
    When you store something in the cloud it simply means your stuff is now on a computer owned and controlled someone else.
    BTW - from what I understand, cloud storage of data negates any right to privacy.

    •  not always true (0+ / 0-)

      Many clouds are internally-owned. It really is not that new of a concept. We were doing cloud storage in the mid-90s.

      We just have introduced cheaper, larger storage drives and servers, plus management software to let you choose between block or file access.

      That, and a cloud's storage virtualization capability instead of the "dedicated silo disk with fiber attach" approach to disk storage.

      Meanwhile, the storage admin process is being pushed back onto the users, since the growth of disk storage continues at an ever increasing pace.

      In most cases, I have less concern of the security of clouds, but more issue with the backup capability of the data. If you can't afford to lose it, then it probably shouldn't be up on most cloud storage.

      •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

        it is true if you are referring to the end user.
        In other words if the user is sitting at a desk creating a file that file is not stored on the computer at that user's desk.
        That's a key concept to get across.
        "See that notebook you're typing on? That Word file won't be on your notebook. It will be on another computer."
        THAT'S the key concept to get across.
        Even if that other computer is owned by the company you work for - it's not your computer.

        •  I understand that (0+ / 0-)

          In reality, if you work for a company, then the disk in the cloud and the disk on the laptop (on your lap) is not your computer.

          It amazes me that many of my fellow IBMers fail to understand that concept even as they place personal information on a company-controlled laptop.

  •  Medical Marijuana (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, Minnesota Deb

    For the past several years, I have been in intractable pain. No opioid drugs have been able to stop or even mitigate the pain which, at times prevents me from being able to sleep for days at a time.  As soon as I fall asleep and turn over, it feels as though a knife has been pushed through my spine.

    Five doctors have recommended that I get on low THC marijuana as they feel it will at least minimize the pain for a few hours.  The ONLY thing outside of medical marijuana that has stopped the pain is IV Morphine.  Unfortunately, that can only happen when I am hospitalized and then for only a few times else I become addicted to it.

    I've become addicted to oral Morphine and to say that getting off it was a bugger bear is minimizing what it did.  It took almost two weeks to stop the cramping and nausea.

    New York's governor has just made an executive decision to make MM legal in New York State.  Here in Texas, ice skating will be a major attraction in the theological place of eternal punishment before it is ever legalized because of the "religious" nuts we've got down here.

    THE REASON THE STUFF WAS MADE UNLAWFUL IN THE FIRST PLACE WAS A RACIAL DECISION.  Hispanics and blacks were using it recreationaly and the knuckle-draggers back then were "afeared for their white ladies."  

    If you've ever seen the farce, "Marijuana Madness" you know how absurd the arguments about the innocuous weed really are.

    Millions of human beings are being prevented from having their pain attenuated because of old (white) wive's tales such as "Marijuana Madness."

    Have I tried it?  Of course!  I'm 73 and lived through the '60s.  Back then, I did not have the pain I have today, but knowing that low THC marijuana could help millions of us who are in unrelenting pain ANGERS me that political hacks are still preventing it from happening.

  •  GOP SHUTDOWN GOV'T ON THE UNEMPLOYED AGAIN! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, a2nite

    Every Democrat should be singing from the same Hymn Book. Every time the GOP obstruct the words "Shutdown" should be pronounce first. Democrats still have not learn their lesson on how to keep their message simple "Shutdown" is an easy word that is identified with the Republicans. Use it!

  •  Haskins = stupid 1% asshole who doesn't get it (0+ / 0-)

    Like every evil rotten TGOPer.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 02:45:45 PM PST

  •  Postulates (0+ / 0-)
    One could postulate that the bad personal decisions many make are not a personal failure in some vacuum but personal failures that result from a failed economic system that implicitly hurts the social fabric.
    Almost anything could be postulated—but choice of postulates needs justification.

    However difficult to determine, it is absolutely necessary to decide whether bad personal decisions are owed to individual foolishness, dysfunctional cultural tendencies, or to the larger economic issues. Failing that, how would you decide what road to take to remedy these problems? As Aristotle knew, there is at least one solution to the chicken-egg problem, but you have to first find clarity as to what the problem actually is and what are the principles on which you will think it through.

    I would advise reading Haskins' article, as he certainly identifies a problem with the current dispensation:

    There were about 46.5 million people in poverty in 2012, a year in which spending on means-tested programs was around $1 trillion. If that money were divided up among the poor, we could spend about $22,000 per person. For a single mother and two children, that would be over $65,000. The poverty level in 2013 for a mother and two children is less than $20,000.
    http://www.brookings.edu/...
  •  David Brooks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Naniboujou, Back of Bourke

    It's easy to poke fun at David Brooks and he certainly deserves the lambasting he is no doubt getting.

    But when you think about it, his column was perfectly consistent with what passes for conservatism today, wherein the attributes and rights of personhood are reserved for two entities: Corporations and conservatives. These entities should not be regulated or policed -- everything else should be. And a non-conservative is Anyone Not Like Me.

    Brooks is a conservative. Brooks no longer uses marijuana. Ergo anyone who does is not a conservative and their lives must be policed for the greater good of Anyone Like Me.

    As it always is with conservatives, it's all about keeping themselves at the top of the heap and everyone else in their place.

    "There is no room for injustice anywhere in the American mansion." Lyndon Johnson

    by pkgoode on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 03:28:42 PM PST

  •  Don't adopt libertarian arguments (0+ / 0-)

    If your drug use does not have a physical or financial impact on someone else, you should have the freedom to do it. I thought that was a Conservative mantra as well.

    1. If Monsanto was trying to sell something ten times less harmful than drugs, a lot of the dailykos.com readers would be hopping with outrage and fury.

    2. Most of what anyone does, does have indirect physical and financial impact on the community they live in.  Exercise of liberty can also have toxic side-products just like any economic activity - the question always is, how diligent are we in counting the costs?

    3. Not directly harming others is the bare minimum that we must satisfy in our actions - it is a necessary, but not sufficient condition.

    4. All the arguments in favor of taxes, safety net, etc., are contrary to this idea of "if you do not have a physical or financial impact on someone else, you should have the freedom to do it".  Your demand to fund schools for your children by property taxes has a financial impact on me, that I do accept; but by this argument, which is a libertarian argument, you cannot really expect me to pay taxes.

    In general, you cannot expect a majority decision to stick, because I can almost always find that the majority has an adverse financial or physical impact on me.

    5. In general, if you believe there is something called the "good of society" then you should realize that it is incompatible with the idea "if your does not have a physical or financial impact on someone else, you should have the freedom to do it", because said action may have no direct financial or physical impact on anyone but still may not be good for society.

  •  Cheers from the decriminalization of non-med MJ (0+ / 0-)

    I always found the whole medical marijuana thing very stupid. I'm sure it helped some people with ailments, but that is not why it should be legal. It should be legal, because it's not nearly as dangerous as alcohol and the idea that people are spending time in jail for marijuana is criminal.

    The US can find any ridiculous reason to throw someone in jail. Possible the US can start looking at some non incarceration solutions for more non-problems in society...I think step one should be making it illegal for prisons to be profitable for private industry.

    “Go to where the silence is and say something.” ― Amy Goodman

    by theblackandtanshow on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 11:44:23 PM PST

  •  Let us not forget who is writing this. He's from (0+ / 0-)

    the Bush administration too and his reputation is not spotless.

    It is true that Scheuer has gone off the deep end if he did say all of that. But at the end of his article he calls Professor Juan Cole a "dubious character" and that is just NOT TRUE.

    Cole is even handed and calls out the Israelis when he believes they get too aggressive; for an Israel firster as Frum is, that's just too much. So I'm not too sure he is really the best reliable source.

    "Oh yes. Conservative David Frum excoriates that crazy Fox News pundit who advocates the assassination of President Obama."

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