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Just as states with progressive lawmakers and activists have themselves initiated innovative programs over a wide range of issues, state-based progressive blogs have helped provide us with a point of view, inside information and often an edgy voice that we just don't get from the traditional media. This week in progressive state blogs is designed specifically to focus attention on the writing and analysis of people focused on their home turf. Let me know via comments or Kosmail if you have a favorite state- or city-based blog you think I should know about. Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.

At Left in Alabama, mooncat writes—Climate Change & Jimmy Carter:

Left in Alabama logo
I've maintained for several years that it is already too late to avert significant climate change resulting from human activity—specifically our energy choices. We screwed around and did nothing for too long and now we (or our grandkids) are screwed. With apologies to Will Rogers, if you like the climate humanity evolved with, just wait a minute.  [...]

Thirty-five years ago President Jimmy Carter did his best to put America on the track toward renewable energy sources instead of dino fuels. In honor of Earth Day 2014, American Family Voices released this "Conservation Rap" of Jimmy Carter laying out his ambitious energy conservation plans back in 1979. Had Carter's plan been implemented, our current climate crisis would be significantly more manageable. Carter wanted to create a solar bank that would enable America to obtain 20% of its energy consumption from solar by 2000. Unfortunately his successors abandoned these goals. In 2013, less than 1% of American energy consumption was derived from solar.

At Juanita Jean's of Texas, Susan DuQuesnay Bankston writes—The Day Rick Perry’s Brains Fell Out:
state blogs,Juanita Jean's
Mark today as the day when Rick Perry’s brain fell out. Thank goodness it was just a small splat.

Let’s start with Rick’s refusal to disavow Cliven Bundy’s racist statement and then move quickly to this:

“What we have in the state of Texas … the federal government is coming in and attempting from our perspective to take over private property,” he continued.

Perry had previously made remarks critical of the armed federal presence during the Bundy Ranch standoff over cattle grazing. “I have a problem with the federal government putting citizens in the position of having to feel like they have to use force to deal with their own government,” he said Wednesday on Fox News.

So, Rick is all hissy fitting over the government wanting to take land. Uh huh.

Does he think we’ve forgotten about the Trans Texas Corridor, that 580,000 acre land grab by Perry to sell to Spain for them to pour concrete on?

Below the orange gerrymander you can find more excerpts from progressive state blogs.

At The Left Hook of California, Rich Robinson writes—Mayor Reed Should Have Accepted Help:

When your house is on fire and somebody offers their water to help, it is wise to accept. No reasonable person would reject such assistance. But that is exactly what Mayor Chuck Reed did to Supervisor Dave Cortese’s proposal to help stem the crime rate in San Jose using Sheriff’s deputies to temporarily augment an understaffed and demoralized San Jose Police Department.  Reed didn’t just refuse the help; he maligned the offer. It is this myopic failure to work together that has caused such a division in the City of San Jose.

The Mayor doesn’t have to like Dave Cortese, but both have an interest in seeing their  constituents protected. The Mayor said the offer was “political”.  Even if he believes that, so what? Take the help!

There is no question that the San Jose Police Department is in disarray. Crime is up, recruitment is down, and San Jose needs officers on the street. The Sheriff’s Office already patrols some areas right next door to the City of San Jose; why not allow them to respond to calls in San Jose if they are close? When Oakland needed help, Alameda County provided some public safety services. When East Palo Alto needed help, San Mateo County provided a hand, nobody called it a political ploy.

 The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office is recognized as one of the premier law  enforcement agencies in the nation. They could have helped.  Sheriff Laurie Smith supervises two of the safest cities in California she has under contract. She has saved taxpayers over $10 million a year by taking over the jails.

At Blue Cheddar of Wisconsin, blue cheddar writes—Dear Oligarchs and Oligarch Worshippers: Stop with the part-time Wisconsin legislature talk.:
Sheldon Wasserman wants legislators to be paid a part-time wage?

“It really is a part-time job,” said Sheldon Wasserman, who served 14 years in the state Legislature. During that time, Wasserman also maintained a full-time medical practice in Milwaukee.

This is un-frigging-believable. Did everybody decide that Oligarchs really do know best?

Dearest Dr. Wasserman: Your privilege is showing. Most working people can not shove off their duties onto somebody else or rearrange all of their responsibilities so they can be in Madison in the Capitol for weeks. It’s terribly nice that somebody with your sort of professional “practice” can but apparently all those little people who work an hourly wage can go fuck themselves in your opinion.

Dearest Readers: We can not bitch about politics being for only the monied class and then turn around and make the job of representing you—us—something that only the monied class can afford to do. Because only the monied upper crust has the spare time and flexible schedule to accomplish creating the APPEARANCE of serving you in “their spare time”.

At Ohio Daily, Anastasia Pantsios writes—Read This And Bug Off, Doomsters:
What is wrong with some of you people? I saw more of you online today, shredding every aspect of what our candidates and our party are doing here in Ohio, with the conclusion of course that Kasich has the election in the bag.

Hell NO he does not have the election in the bag.

http://www.scribd.com/....

This week the latest PPP poll showed Ed FitzGerald tied with Kasich.

A few weeks ago, the latest Quinnipiac poll showed Ed rapidly closing a gap they’d found last year.

In other words, this race is winnable—if you doomsters don’t lose it for us.

I hate to sound like a broken record but just quit with the fault-finding and the yearning for some flawless white-knight candidate to come riding up and save us all.

At Raging Chicken Press of Pennsylvania, Sean Kitchen writes—McCord Campaign Responds to Drillers Tax Questionnaire:
Raging Chicken Press
The Raging Chicken Press sent a questionnaire focusing on Rob McCord’s proposed 10 percent drillers tax to the McCord Campaign, and campaign has sent their response. The questionnaire looked at the rhetoric behind the “drillers tax,” how a drillers tax would restore public education and higher education cuts and how the tax can be used to fix problems at the Department of Environmental Protection, but before I get into the responses, let me explain where I stand in the ongoing “drillers tax vs. moratorium” debate.

For the past year, I have publicly supported the idea of using a drillers, severance or extraction tax to fund public and higher education. I mostly wrote about using the generated revenue for supporting higher education, and since the beginning of the recession, North Dakota and Wyoming have used revenues to invest in higher education. I am in the “drillers tax camp,” but I do not believe that natural gas is a “bridge fuel” to greener pastures. Methane is a greenhouse gas and scientific literature shows that fugitive methane emissions is equivalent to burning coal. I would support a moratorium in the Marcellus and Utica Shales, but I do not agree with the strategy and tactics those in Pennsylvania’s environmental community are pursuing.  

Getting a moratorium through Harrisburg will take an enormous amount of energy by winning the governor’s race and flipping the House and Senate, which are gerrymandered in the Republican Party’s favoring. This option will take years to accomplish and probably won’t happen until the maps are redrawn in 2020.  

The second reason I will not jump into the moratorium fight is the strategy and tactics those in the environmental community are pursuing. Signing online petitions and holding permitted sidewalk demonstrations aren’t going to change the hearts and minds of those in Harrisburg.

Lastly, I believe that the environmental community in Pennsylvania should be pushing really hard for renewable and solar projects.  Unlike a moratorium, pushing for solar and renewables is a progressive solution at meeting our energy demands.  In our current political climate, a moratorium will be seen as a regressive stance that will not meet our energy demands. With that being said, here is a breakdown on Rob McCord’s 10 percent drillers tax proposal.

At R.I. Future.org, Steve Ahlquist writes—LeeAnn Byrne, RI Coalition for the Homeless: Obtaining ID for the homeless is difficult:
R.I. Future.org
At the RI Coalition for the Homeless, says LeeAnn Byrne, caseworkers spend a significant amount of time trying to secure photo ID for the homeless, because “they do recognize it’s important for obtaining housing and other services.” Any delay in obtaining such ID should not disqualify a person from voting, and if someone enters a shelter once month before an election their ability to vote should not be the number one concern of caseworkers.

These people need help to get back on their feet, they should not have to worry about whether or not their right to vote will be respected.

“It’s just important for all of you to know that our constituents are constantly silenced while they experience homelessness, one of the most overlooked and invisible populations in our state,” she said. “They face daily barriers to obtain all their daily needs, from food to shelter to clothing. The one place where they are equal, the one place they can share their voice without discrimination should be the voting booth.

At Blue Oregon, Carla Axtman writes—OR-SEN: the Monica Wehby follies:
I've been on hiatus from BlueO for most of the last couple of months, toiling away on a bunch of other projects. But I can't resist coming out from my self-imposed blogging drought to sit in awe of the Boyfriend PAC, also known as Monica Wehby's squeeze, Andrew Miller.

Unless you've been living under a political rock, you know that Miller and the ever-creepy Loren Parks launched a $100k attack campaign against Jason Conger, who is running in the Oregon GOP Senate primary with Wehby. Miller claims the whole thing happened independently of Wehby and that he didn't tell her what he was up to.

So Miller is close enough to her to be her boyfriend, but not close enough to tell her that he's dropping $100k to fluff up her campaign against her opponent? That's some crazy relationship dynamics.

The fun part for a political watcher like me, of course, is that it's entertaining to watch the two camps go at it in what appears to be a genuine dislike fest. These people DO NOT LIKE EACH OTHER. At all.

But even better, the national press has picked up on Miller's activities on behalf of his paramour. And it's serving to make Wehby a bit of a national joke.

Are the Oregon Republicans really silly enough to nominate this woman? If so, carry on GOP. This is a blogger's delight.

At MN Progressive Project, Dan Burns writes—Can Mike McFadden be straightforward about anything?
MN Progressive Project
Mike McFadden has been running for Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) job for some time now. In political circles, what he has accomplished has been to get a reputation for being supremely evasive when it comes to addressing specific stances on specific issues. (The boilerplate, platitude-dominated issues pages on his campaign website are no better.) Obviously he and his staff have determined that that’s the best way to go, though even other GOPers are noticing.

Here’s an anecdote:

The thing about that interview that caught my attention though, was McFadden referencing his campaign using Snapchat to help raise his name recognition. This sounded a little weird to me as the only thing I had ever heard anyone use Snapchat for was to carry on illicit conversations. What good is Snapchat for raising name recognition?

Apparently not much good, I can’t find Mike McFadden on Snapchat. I also searched his Twitter feed for mentions of Snapchat, and found nothing. There is also no mention of it on his website.

So how exactly is he using Snapchat to raise his name recognition if I can’t even find him on Snapchat?

I’m not saying that some fibbing about an obscure social media site constitutes a major campaign blunder. Probably at some staff meeting they talked about getting him an account there, but it slipped whoever’s mind. But it sure is in keeping with everything that’s gone on, with him, so far. No doubt we’ll be subjected to many more slick commercials, but at some point, the candidate himself has to show something, if he even is going to get the GOP nomination. And right now, it’s not at all clear that he can show much of anything.
At Appalachian Voices, Brian Sewell writes—Surprised? McCrory’s Coal Ash Proposal Falls Short:
Appalachian Voice state blog
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is catching flak for a proposal on coal ash that could derail state legislators’ efforts to reform regulation of the toxic waste during the upcoming legislative session.

According to the News & Observer, McCrory’s proposal calls for “site-specific closures.” Coal ash from some ponds could be moved, other ponds would be drained and capped but likely still threaten groundwater. In other words, basically what Duke Energy has already said it plans to do.

McCrory and John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, have been adamant that a one-size-fits-all approach to coal ash isn’t prudent, talking down a vocal public that believes the toxic waste should be moved from storage near waterways to safer, lined landfills.

On its face, the bill seems to signal progress, or at least make a bad situation a little bit better. [...]

So what’s the rub? After all, McCrory’s office says it still prefers that the ash be moved away from waterways. But that’s part of the problem. Leaving pond closure timelines and what to do with all that coal ash up to Duke hasn’t worked too well up to this point. The public is demanding clean water be protected, not half measures that leave people to throw their hands in the air and say “well, hopefully Duke Energy will do the right thing.”

Citizens and environmental groups sounding off about the ties between Duke, McCrory and DENR have every reason to be skeptical. DENR’s customer-first (read: industry-first) approach had people scratching their heads long before the Dan River spill in February. And early revelations of the federal criminal investigation that followed the spill only increased the lack of trust.

At Blue Virginia, lowkell writes—"Conservatives" Embrace Bundy When He's "Only" a Violent, Anti-Government Extremist. But Now?
Blue Virginia
So, let's get this straight: Cliven Bundy is a "conservative" hero (e.g., to the likes of Sean Hannity, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Dean Heller, Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, etc.) when he's "only" a right-wing extremist—essentially a domestic terrorist along the same lines as Timothy McVeigh—who refuses to obey the law, doesn't believe he needs to obey federal law, freeloads by grazing his cattle on public land without paying for it, surrounds himself with violent/armed thugs, etc. But while "conservatives" (in quotes because there's nothing conservative about these people, really) continue to love all that crazy, anarchist, violent, extremist, anti-government stuff, they know that politically, if they keep supporting Bundy now that he's exposed himself as a vicious racist, their desperate, disingenuous attempts to avoid getting a lower and lower share of the non-white vote in this country will suffer a disastrous setback.

So, yes, expect most "conservatives" to run as fast as they can from good ol' boy Cliven, based on their own perceived political self interest if nothing else. Except perhaps for unhinged demagogues like Sean Hannity, whose Faux "News" venom-fest panders to exactly the types of people who can't get enough of Cliven and his ilk. If Hannity doesn't back off of Bundy after the racist remarks, will that make HIM toxic as well? Will the Republicans he's endorsed, such as 10th CD Congressional Republican—and likely nominee Barbara Comstock—stick with Hannity or what? We'll be watching. Closely.

At Delaware Liberal, Delaware Dem writes—2014: The Delaware Senate:
Delaware Liberal
We have gotten several comments recently from newcomers to Delaware asking us to explain who the cast of characters that is Delaware politics. So here is a first post in a series of posts giving every one of our readers an overview of the upcoming elections in the Delaware Senate. And then we will review the elections in the House. And then we will profile each and every Senator and Representative in our General Assembly. Each profile will include demographic information about each Senator or Representative, and information about their respective districts. [...]

To aid us in this series will be the graphics and tools of Stephen Wolf and his team at Daily Kos Elections. They have put together a Google Spreadsheet that shows us a map of all the Senate districts in Delaware, and colors them according to how they voted in the 2012 election and which party represents these districts today. [...]

This is is a great tool for a political junkie. What jumped out at me is that there are basically only 6 competitive Senate districts, and only one of them is ripe for a Republican takeover.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Need an eminent domain variance in Texas..?!?! (5+ / 0-)

    Just check a box, and the Texas State Railroad Commission will review your request.
    If you represent oil and gas interests, you are exempt from any regulations that protect private land owners from encroachment and will most likely receive the variance...

    •  Texas is the most corrupt, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Puddytat, northerntier

      worst "good ol' [white] boy" political crony-network in the nation.

      Let's hope the coming Hispanic majority in Texas keeps them up sweating at night.

      “When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.” —Abraham Lincoln

      by Pragmatus on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:53:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Trans Texas Corridor (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Puddytat

        Not being from TX, I had forgotten, if I ever knew. But here and here shows a 1200' wide corridor, 4000 miles long, died in 2009. Much larger than Rick Perry's brain.

        What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

        by TerryDarc on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:14:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This, from the man who has used the ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pragmatus, Puddytat

    over reach of the government to execute more than 250 people. Rick Perry has executed more people than Taylor Swift has dated, and that is saying something.

    I have a problem with the federal government putting citizens in the position of having to feel like they have to use force to deal with their own government -Rick Perry


    The third time I tried to put on my jacket, and it wouldn't fit, I knew I was in the wrong body.

    by glb3 on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:47:37 AM PDT

    •  Reply to Mr. Perry: (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      antirove, Odysseus, Puddytat, Eric Nelson

      "If you don't like paying fees to graze your cattle on federal lands, keep them at home.  If you think charging fees for cattle to graze federal lands is unconstitutional, we can always fence off the land and prohibit anyone's cattle from grazing on them."

      Put that in your 12-gauge and smoke it.

      “When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.” —Abraham Lincoln

      by Pragmatus on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:51:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blue Oregon - Monica Wehby for US Senate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldoregonlib, Puddytat, Eric Nelson

    Hmmm...truly I have not been following this but our national treasure, Jeff Merkley's senate seat is up for grabs and the R's have picked a neurosurgeon, Monica Wehby.

    Have heard that the Koch's have targeted Jeff their monies.

    What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

    by TerryDarc on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:21:46 AM PDT

    •  From the ads She's been running she seems (5+ / 0-)

      to imply that, because she is a neurosurgeon, she has a unique understanding of insurance regulation, insurance company operations and whats best for Oregon consumers of healthcare insurance. How being skilled in one profession qualifies a person as an expert in a totally unrelated field I don't get.

      •  Everything I watch comes off the HD recorder (0+ / 0-)

        so the no. of ads I see are precious few. Thanks for the heads-up.

        What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

        by TerryDarc on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 11:39:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  IL - Capitol Fax: more hints pension cuts fail (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat, Eric Nelson, Meteor Blades

    County Teasurer ruling darkens pension bill future

    In a case with implications for the upcoming legal battle over pension reform, an Illinois appellate court in Springfield ruled that constitutional protections prevent the state from reducing mandated payments to county treasurers.

    The pension protection clause of the Illinois Constitution, which says that workers’ retirement benefits can’t be diminished, is at the heart of lawsuits challenging statewide pension changes enacted late last year.

    While the county treasurers’ case relies on other language in the constitution, the appellate court’s decision yesterday is analogous, using the same legal arguments and precedents that teachers and other state workers are pressing in court against pension reform.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 10:30:07 AM PDT

  •  In Wisconsin, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dragonlady, Eric Nelson, northerntier

    the Republican Rampage in Madison has already reached its Big Gubmint hands into Milwaukee County to slash the pay and benefits of the Board of Supervisors and turned it into a part-time board so now it's going after itself (or, rather, non-oligarchic backed Democratic Legislators) by cutting pay and benefits.

    The power grab of Republicans and use of state authority to impeded local governments is stunning.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 11:04:49 AM PDT

    •  This is surprising, coming from a Democrat (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Puddytat, Eric Nelson

      I had always thought Dr. Wasserman was a very good legislator. He must have changed somewhat during the last few years that he has been out of politics. This was a bad idea for the County Board and is a bad idea for the legislature.

      •  He sees the world through the tiny lens (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, Eric Nelson

        of plutocracy.  Others don't have his life, his flexible work schedule, or need for a decent salary.

        Far too many Democrats have moved further and further to the right to take up the space vacated by Republicans.  He's one of them.

        There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

        by Puddytat on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:40:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Part-time legislatures vary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Puddytat

      Here in RI, many of the members are either lawyers (court ends by 4:00 when the leg convenes, apparently) or work for unions or other entities where their official title is something like "Government relations officer." In other words, they're lobbyists as their day job, and legislators on second shift.

      In NH, on the other hand, there were very few lawyers; hearings and sessions were during the day. A few were small businessmen (insurance agencies, construction that's slow during the winter, nurserymen ditto). Many were retired; many of the rest were women whose husbands could support them, often not in especially lavish fashion. (Jeanne Shaheen got her start that way.) It's one reason there were so many women in the body, back from the days when a lot of very capable women did not have paying jobs.

      My major objection to part-time legislatures, as to term limits, is that they increase the likelihood that the real work of preparing legislation (and the research behind it) gets done by staffers and especially lobbyists, who gain power at the expense of The People. I suspect that's the real goal in WI.

      •  No public office should ever be made (0+ / 0-)

        out of bounds for an average citizen.  Making offices so low paid and without benefits to limit their potential officeholders to the rich or retired is wrong.

        There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

        by Puddytat on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 01:10:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks to anastasia, people need to get to know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    Fitzgerald.

    Kasich sucks.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:47:53 PM PDT

  •  If I'm getting this 'drillers tax vs. moratorium' (0+ / 0-)

    ..response from Sean Kitchen writing @ the 'raging chicken press', I have to agree with a commenter on this. Sam Bernhart.
    Sam Bernhardt / April 22, 2014 at 10:56 am / Reply   

    Sean- Your assumption that a statewide moratorium would entail legislative action is false. The next Governor (or the current one, for that matter) could instruct the DEP to cease issuing permits. That would be a statewide moratorium. From that perspective, a tax, at 5% 10% or whatever, actually requires more moving parts than a statewide moratorium.

    I also want to point out that a tax is not a solution to the problem of fracking, so I’m not sure why you’d choose to compare the two in the first place. A tax is a ‘solution’ to fiscal issues (‘where do we get money from?’), but actually aggravates most of the problems associated with the issue of fracking (‘what do we do about this inherently unsafe practice?’).

     = emphasis added

    While Sean points out that:
    Getting a moratorium through Harrisburg will take an enormous amount of energy by winning the governor’s race and flipping the House and Senate, which are gerrymandered in the Republican Party’s favoring.  This option will take years to accomplish and probably won’t happen until the maps are redrawn in 2020.
    I've heard this before many times.
    It sounds too much like the approach what Duke Energy powned NC governor McCrory is pulling. but not as bad. At least it is not a proposal to make all people pay a tax that only the frackers should be paying for by themselves.

    Although, maybe it is as bad; and really is a tax that all people will pay, as big energy corporations nearly always push costs onto the consumer when it gets right down to it

    But the fact that fracking will now be 'paying for schools' and/or other needed populist programs, is an old GOP trick to get polluters ingrained into the system. Programs dependent upon furthering the special interests - petrochem corpos/frackers and such

    And to "restore " the cuts (to education, DEP, and everything else) That governor Corbett enacted (slashed) by depending on the revenue generated by what one is fighting against is falling right into the oldest GOP tactics. Attach some poison amendments to legislation for something needed (funding that has been slashed just for this purpose), holding hostage anything that is valued and getting in into law where it is more permanent -  hard to "extract" kind of like a parasite or a virus - imo

    Thx MB

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