Thursday - July 23 2009


Hour One - Michael Cannon Why is it that United Healthcare (the insurance giant) who's profit just leaped 155% while 5 million more people became uninsured will do better than we the people in providing healthcare?

Hour Two: "Nanoparticles in items you use everyday...are they safe, and why aren't they better regulated?" Thom debates Dr. Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute

Hour Three: Radio host Mark Thompson is here - Did race play a role in the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Jr. and was it as Obama described "stupid"? Is Obama treating blacks differently then whites and Latinos?

"Geeky Science Rocks" Thom explores all the latest news from the world of science including - Do Cats “exploit: humans by purring & Do 2 yr olds possess grammatical insights?


Making Progress (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago
So, as someone who has listened to your discussion with Chris Hedges five times, I think you both have ADD. Nevertheless, he never really answered your last question of 'are you [Thom] being hopelessly optimistic about actual change'. His answer, in which you summarized as "Resacralizing America", painted a dark picture of the destruction of our species. It doesn't seem as though it's going to happen. Even in the beginning of the interview he said you are a minority in that you engage in real discussions and not the shell game that the MSM plays.
Everyone that I talk to is so busy scraping out a living that they don't and can't engage in real discussions about real issues. Instead I'm left explaining to my mother why the Pickens Plan is not a real solution, and how 27 out of 28 industrialized countries have healthcare for all. That's a fact you don't hear within the MSM on the debate over healthcare. Things will have to get a whole lot worse before they get better.
Also, it’s the end of July and RAVI BATRA said the collapse would happen around now. It’s time to have him back on to discuss.
Additionally, I would love to hear you talk to Jonathan Turley about where he thinks our democracy is now heading. I know he’s always on MSNBC, but I think you two would have a lot to talk about and 10-20 minute radio interviews are much better than TV. Rachel Maddow’s show, for example, isn’t nearly as informative as it was when she was on Air America.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Making Progress,

Thanks for posting the Youtube video. I heard the original discussion from Thom's show, but I "heard" alot more when I replayed it. I am sending that link to family, friends and others.

Mugsy (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

NRA for Gay Marriage?

A thought came to me yesterday when I heard that Congress rejected an NRA-backed bill to recognize "concealed weapons permits" from one state in any another state: Might the NRA of almost done the gay community a HUGE favor?

Had their law of passed, forcing one state to recognize the rights of individuals in another, couldn't a case of then been made that a legal gay marriage in, say, Iowa, must be recognized in a state like Georgia, where it isn't?

Just a thought that I think is deserving mention.

Michael Tate (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


I know you sometimes have a quote of the day, well here is a suggestion for you when you decide to talk about banking regulations.

This is from "Mr. Free Market" himself, Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations. Book II, Chapter II, paragraph 94 as he himself is talking about banking regulations.

"Such regulations may, no doubt, be considered as in some respects a violation of natural liberty. But those exertions of the natural liberty of a few individuals, which might endanger the security of the whole society, are, and ought to be, restrained by the laws of all governments"

Being now about 1/3 of the way through that book, I can hardly believe that libertarians use this guy and this book as some sort of economic bible. There are vastly more passages that support progressive economics and progressive social policy then libertarian. I think it's time that progressives took back Adam Smith

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


Thank you so much for your awesome interview with Mayor Sam Adams on the morning show today. He has been through such hell and your questions let his enlightened, progressive views shine. We are so very lucky to have him as our mayor and he has been through unfair hell. I hope you interview him many many times so he can get his ideas out there for everyone to hear! That was really neat!

And could the byproduct of the feds cracking down on the Columbia River Crossing be that we might get a larger, separate pedestrian/bike lane, hopefully, along with fewer lanes for cars and trucks?

Rasta (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago




JERUSALEM — The Israeli government will remove references to what Palestinians call the "catastrophe" of Israel's creation from textbooks for Arab schoolchildren, the education minister said Wednesday.

The reference to "al-naqba," the Arabic word catastrophe, as Palestinians call their defeat and exile in the war over Israel's 1948 creation, was inserted by a dovish Israeli education minister in 2007.

The phrase remains contentious six decades later, a symptom of the continuing divisions in Israel. Many Israeli Arabs identify politically with their Palestinian counterparts in the West Bank and Gaza. As a result, some Israeli Jews accuse Israeli Arabs of disloyalty to the country.

Israel's current government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu and his hard-line Likud Party, includes members who favor cracking down on Israeli Arabs by ordering loyalty oaths or even moving them out of Israel.

"No other country in the world, in its official curriculum, would treat the fact of its founding as a catastrophe," Education Minister Gideon Saar of Likud told Israel's parliament on Wednesday.

Israeli Arab lawmaker Hana Sweid accused the government of "naqba denial."

"It's a major attack on the identity of the Palestinian Arab citizens of the state of Israel, on their memories and their adherence to their identity," he told the Associated Press.

Teachers will be free to discuss the personal and national tragedies that befell Palestinians during the war, Saar said, but textbooks will be revised to remove the term, he added.

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Because of the big money involved in defeating health care reform, It's pretty apparent that we are going to have to do more than email our congressmen if we want good care. We will have to treat this like the presidential election and get out there and doorbell our neighbors!

The Obama team has a website set up so you can find a take action event near you here:

If you search around, you will be directed to a webpage that gives you a list of neighbors in your area for you to contact about health care reform, neighbors who you might be able to convince to call their congressmen.

Lets all contact 35 neighbors this week and try to convince them to contact ten neighbors each and then report back here. Lets make a pact to contact 35 people per week until we get our healthcare! Anyone game?

Mahatma Kane Jeeves (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Our representatives need to be pressured to start representing all of their citizens, not just the corporate interests and those who run the corporations.

You would think based on recent history that the fallacy of the old adage "What's good for G.M. is good for America" should reflect on their justification that doing favors for corporate sponsors benefits us all.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

"Do cats exploit humans with their purring?"

Of course, Thom. They train US, not vice versa!

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

In response to your guest who thinks privatization is the answer because government can't do anything right.


It was a proud day for the governor. In December 2006, he stepped to the lectern, full of confidence: "No decision we've made," he told the assembled media, "is more clearly in the public interest."

Gosh, if that was his best decision, I'd hate to see one of his bad ones.

He's Mitch Danials, governor of Indiana and an ideological absolutist on the virtues of privatizing government, and he was announcing his hallmark plan to outsource that state's administration of food stamps, Medicaid, and other welfare benefits for poor folks. No need for all those government case workers, Daniels declared, because the needs of welfare recipients can be better met the corporate way – with efficient computers and call centers.

IBM was given a $1.1-billion contract from the state to take charge. Taxpayers, boasted the governor, will reap "a billion dollars in savings," while low-income families will enjoy the stellar service of the private sector.

Serving a public need, however, is not as easy as designing computer software. More than two years into the task, IBM's stumbles and fumbles include lost paperwork, frustrating runarounds, poorly-trained staff, inadequate equipment, and rejection of qualified applicants. The rate of mishandled food-stamp cases, for example, has more than tripled since IBM took over.

To try to fix this mess, the state has now issued a list of 200 reforms that IBM must achieve, giving it until September to shape up. The changes include hiring additional staff and managers, which will eliminate much of the highly-touted "savings" that privatization was to bring. A state official says bluntly: "It's possible we'd have to cancel the contract."

The so-called "efficiencies" of privatization are actually only achieved by shortchanging service and eliminating the personal touch – and that's no way to run a public program.

It seems to me that when any organization gets too big, either government or corporations, then quality & service suffers.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Interesting science tidbit:

Humans Glow in Visible Light|htmlws-main|dl1|link6|

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


I saw that article about the "human glow" and thought.. Thom is going to think it's proof of auras and claims by some people that they can see them.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

It looks as if this year’s budget battle in California managed to damage the unions and broach oil drilling in pristine waters. Schwarzenegger’s Propositions two years ago weren’t needed after all . . .

Richard Adlof (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


Please seek appropriate professional mental healthcare. Maintaining such extraordinary levels of mindless hatred for prolonged periods leads to biological/physiological changes that can dramatically impact your health and shorten your brutish, angry life.

A Thoughtful Zionist

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


Here’s what Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had to say on Democracy Now this morning about Obama saying that his administration releasing the information about who has visited the White House in regards to health care reform.

I usually don’t make long posts quoting others. I usually reserve my long posts for my own nonsense. But I’m making an exception here. The segment can be found at

MELANIE SLOAN: Well, we had sent a Freedom of Information Act request in June, asking for information about eighteen executives’ visits to the White House. The White House had declined to respond to that Freedom of Information Act request, or FOIA. So we, yesterday, sued them, and we, in fact, filed for a preliminary injunction, asking a judge to order that the White House deliver that information to us quite promptly. Then, late last night, right before the President’s news conference, the President—the White House released a letter naming some of the executives in our letter and listing when they had in fact visited the White House.


MELANIE SLOAN: Well, this, in fact, is not a response to our request, in our mind. This is a two-page letter that the White House sent over last night. But in fact what we asked for are the records, the records that the Secret Service maintains regarding these visits. This is—this information is not nearly complete. We’re allowed to see the records themselves, which will also indicate who from the White House requested that the person—that the visitor be admitted, perhaps who they were meeting with, and sometimes even the purpose of the meeting. So there’s a great deal more information that can be gleaned from the records themselves. Also, we don’t actually know if this is a complete search or not. The White House’s letter doesn’t indicate that this is complete in any way.

Finally, the White House says that this is a—they’ve released this as a matter of discretion. Well, in fact, several courts have already held—judges have held in three cases that these records are subject to the Freedom of Information Act request, and they are not just a matter of the President’s discretion to release them. They have to be required—by law they’re required to release them.


MELANIE SLOAN: Well, the way that you request visitor records is you have to have the names of people. You can’t just say, did a particular—“Did Citizens United come? Did SEIU come?” You need to have the name of the person you want them to seek for. So we picked a list of eighteen industry executives, trying to take from a variety of different places in the healthcare system, and this is what we got. Somebody else could of course submit a Freedom of Information Act request asking specifically, you know, how many times has Andy Stern, the president of SEIU, been to the White House, and other people like that.

and about the Secret Service records on visitors to Cheney

MELANIE SLOAN: Yes. This is a case that’s been going through the courts for quite some time. We had asked for it under the Bush administration. And then, when the administration changed, we thought perhaps the new Justice Department would give over the notes of the interview, the transcript of the interview. But, in fact, the Justice Department lawyer said in front of Judge Emmet Sullivan, “Well, just because the administration changes doesn’t mean the Department of Justice’s position changes.”

And then they tried to argue for a Daily Show exception, saying if you’re going to give over information that’s going to be used to embarrass politicians on The Daily Show, that shouldn’t be handed over.

In addition, Lanny Breuer, the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, has argued in a declaration that the Cheney interview shouldn’t be handed over, because handing that over will provide a chilling effect, meaning that future top White House officials won’t cooperate with criminal investigations if they can’t be guaranteed confidentiality, which you have to think is a pretty outrageous statement, that the top law enforcement officials in the country would not abide by and cooperate with a criminal investigation. Because they might be embarrassed?


MELANIE SLOAN: You know, the White House is refusing to provide any kind of Secret Service visitor record. So, they say that they’re reconsidering their policy now, and perhaps they are. We won’t be satisfied if the White House takes the position that they’ll just release these records on a discretionary basis, because that means some days they can release them, and some days they can not. So anytime they think it would be embarrassing to admit that a certain person visited the White House, they won’t tell us.

The fact of the matter is, there’s a law called the Freedom of Information Act that entitles citizens to know what our government is up to, and that includes knowing who’s visiting the White House and who’s influencing the administration when they’re making decisions that affect all Americans.

Mahatma Kane Jeeves (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Richard (Thoughtful Zionist), I believe that a lot of people like RASTA will not begin to "recover" and turn-down their anger until they have a realistic expectation of justice for the Palestinian people.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

B Roll ,
Re: your post:


I saw that article about the “human glow” and thought.. Thom is going to think it’s proof of auras and claims by some people that they can see them.

B Roll,

I almost added the note "These are not auras" but thought, "Nahhh..."

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


Thanks for posting. I was starting to wonder if my last comment (quoting Melanie Sloan) had broken the board. There was a gap of around 40 minutes between that post and yours.

I bet you that there will be people who will use that research to support their belief in auras.

I saw the article on Yahoo News and went to Live Science to read it. Auras were brought up by at least one person who posted in the comment section. I wonder if the research noted the color of the light and if it was always the same or changed.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Regarding the announcement by Blue-Cross Democrat Harry Reid regarding the delay in a vote on a health care bill until after the August recess, Thom said "I think that we'd be better off pushing something through NOW, that we can fix later."

I'm not sure that I agree. The Law of Unintended Consequences would indicate that pushing through a bill that's known to be flawed would be quite likely to cause a fair amount of harm before it could be "fixed".

Making Progress (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

B Roll - Thanks for mentioning Melanie Sloan from CREW, She's awesome and we need to hear more from her in the MSM. She used to be on The Al Franken Show on AAR all the time.
Here's the link to the interview on Democracy Now:

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

When I heard a clip of Obama's NAACP address on the radio, I wondered if I was listening to Al Gore.

I think people tend to speak differently when speaking to different groups. We tend to notice it when they speak to blacks. I wonder if that's because we think of the whites and the way we speak to whites as the norm.

Randi Rhodes was very upset with Oprah (who she practically worships) when she heard her speaking at an Obama campaign event, because she was "talking black" (I don't know if Randi used that phrase, but that was her meaning).

Randi felt that Oprah was putting on a false front. I remember she said that Oprah is all about being authentic and she wasn't being the authentic Oprah at that campaign rally. Randi insisted that the authentic Oprah speaks like a news anchor and that she knows that because she's how Oprah talks at her own home. It didn't occur to Randi that she saw Oprah at her own home ON TV.

Numerous black callers tried to explain to Randi that blacks have to "talk white" for employment and other purposes, but speak differently among themselves. Randi, who imagines herself to have a closeness and understanding of blacks that she grossly overestimates, couldn't accept that concept and told her callers that they were pathetic if they weren't themselves all the time. It got to the point that the callers basically started implying or saying outright that her inability to understand their situation was because she is white. Coming back from a break, Randi said that she was so hurt by those comments that she cried on the break. I agreed with the callers.

The fact is that most white people (including "progressive" talk show hosts) have very little understanding of black people, the black experience and black culture.

Here's the first stanza from a "A Death Song", a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar an African-American poet who writes in both standard English and black vernacular. The whole poem can be found at

I hope this site maintains the formatting.

Lay me down beneaf de willers in de grass,
Whah de branch 'll go a-singin' as it pass.
An' w'en I's a-layin' low,
I kin hyeah it as it go
Singin', "Sleep, my honey, tek yo' res' at las'."

AZAFVET (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Harry Reid, No Guts No Glory

If there is one thing you can be sure of with Harry Reid as Senate Majority leader is that nothing will ever get done. Senator Reid has never showed his lack of intestinal fortitude more than in the now raging Heath Care debate. Harry Reid boldly goes nowhere that might cause him to have to make tough decisions. As such, the Democrats who now arguably control a filibuster proof 60 vote majority but Leader Reid can't garner enough support to get any useful legislation passed.

Today, Senator Reid went completely against President Obama's request to have legislation through committees by the August break by announcing that it will not be complete until September. Incompetence rears its ugly head again.

We have been waiting for Health Care reform since Harry Truman, why? Because of incompetent leadership or lack of courage by those who are in leadership positions like Harry Reid that's why. In some regards it might not be bad for the Democratic Party if Harry Reid was to lose his bid for re-election in 2010.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


I thought I heard Thom say the other day that Harry Reid said he doesn't like confrontation. (!)

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

P.S. to above comment.:

As if my post above wasn't long enough. I understand that the issue of whether Obama speaks differently to blacks than to whites was about content and regarding his habit of "tough love" lecturing to blacks and my comment dealt more about style.

I've noticed that he does that and that he also takes on the black preacher style. So did Al Gore.

But I also feel that we tend to over generalize about blacks and members of all groups. We think that since Obama "looks" black he understands the black experience. But he spent most of his formative years living with his white mother in Indonesia and his white grandparents in Hawaii. It was only in his mid to late teens that he began to search for his "black" identity.

I remember that a black reporter asked him a question during his first presidential press conference. The question was about how Obama's stimulus program was going to affect the black men in New York who have an unemployment rate around 50%. It seemed to me that Obama didn't even understand the question. His answer was about how local health clinics would provide health care to the community. He didn't seem to realize the reporter was talking about long time structural unemployment.

AZAFVET (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

I have a simple question. When I am sick, I am a consumer. When I go to the Doctor he becomes a provider. The Doctor admits me to the hospital and the hospital becomes the provider. What vital role then does the Insurance Company play in this scenario? What value does the insurance company add to my wellness? Nothing that a single payer system couldn't provide as well or better.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Reid does not like confrontation with Republicans . . . With Republicans, he rols over and presents his soft under-belly.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


I'm going to respond to your comment and video about the Hyskos on yesterdays' blog where you posted it. Interestingly, when you mentioned the Hittites, I almost mentioned the Hyskos, but decided not to keep my post shorter and I didn't know about this theory.

See you there later.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

B Roll,

I hate to use Fox "News" as a reference, but here's a clip of Hillary using the same kind of drawl:

Having never had an occasion to address a large crowd of Southern blacks, I don't know if this is supposed to be flattering or not. I can only say that I would attempt to "be myself" as a white person. I would feel like a phony otherwise.

Obama surely didn't grow up (in Hawaii) with a southern accent. I question his use of it, too, I guess. Is there a range of opinions on this by blacks?

Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Richard Adlof ,

Re: "Reid does not like confrontation with Republicans . . . With Republicans, he rols over and presents his soft under-belly."

I can just hear him saying, "rub my tummy, rub my tummy!"

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


You ask me "Is there a range of opinions on this by blacks?"

That made me think back to the primaries. Frangela (the two black women who are guests on the Stephanie Miller Show during the last half-hour on Fridays and fill in for her when she's on vacation) were wondering why Obama didn't attend the State of the Black Union conference that Tavis Smiley puts on every year in February (I think). I knew and wrote them that he didn't attend because he chose to launch his presidential primary campaign that weekend in Springfield, Illinois where Abraham Lincoln had launched his.

Then I told them that whenever they had a question about black people and couldn't find the answer they could take advantage of my "Ask a White Man" service. I guess you're my second subscriber. (After sending the email I remembered that there's a guy in Orange County, California named Gustavo Arellano who has a newspaper column called "Ask a Mexican". He also has a book by that name. I felt kind of guilty that I had unconsciously ripped off his concept.)

Back to your question; there are over 40 million African-Americans in this country. Of course there's a range of opinions. But from what I've seen in the media, a large (probably overwhelming) majority can understand Gates anger. A similar though slightly smaller number would believe that race played a big roll in the event.

I have heard Hillary do that to. I think people sometimes do that without even knowing and don't forget, Hillary lived in Arkansas for many years. But God, was that accent awful in that clip. I wonder if Fox, or someone fiddled with the audio. I believe I've heard her speak to a black audience and not sound so bad.

I'd be willing to bet that, at least with some people, picking up the accent and speech patterns is subconscious. A dear friend of mine, a black woman, went to teach in Africa some years ago. After a while, I noticed when we talked on the phone, she would roll her R's when she spoke. I mentioned it to her and she wasn't even aware of doing it. It took her a while, after getting back to the states, to stop rolling her R's.

I agree about just being yourself. I think part of the reason I get along well with blacks is because I just be myself. But myself is a very multicultural person, having lived much of my life in mixed communities.

Mollie (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

The fella from the Ayn Rand Institute suggested that people have the choice not to purchase products that are known to be harmful to our health. The only problem is that these harmful chemicals don't simply accumulate in our bodies and stay there. The production process as well as the disposal of these products are also not regulated, and so these harmful substances leech into our environment and into other places, say, such as into our tap water, as is the case with pharmaceutical drugs. Therefore, an individual has less and less choice as to what chemicals we take into our bodies. His argument simply is not correct. We simply do not have the choices he asserts we indeed do.

Shag (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

As a black gentleman from Watts, who grew-up without a dad,(knew him, but he wasn't much of a father) I am annoyed at this crap about "blaming the victims," and too use a rape victim as an analogy was just bad.
People like Revs. Wright, Sharpton and Jackson, are "poverty pimps." They need to keep people mad at "the white man" to keep themselves in business. Gates and many others in black hierarchy, are not all that different. Instead of helping to heal the racial divide, they perpetuate it, just as right-wingers do.
I am with Cosby and the president, in that, we know what historical racism has done to us, but don't let that be an excuse not to attempt to succeed. What's wrong with Obama trying to encourage single moms to go to school, what wrong with telling ment to be a parent, no just a sperm donor.
I am a retired school principal and I'll never forget that my latin students would take any job available whereas, a number of my black students were picky. Going into stores in the community, the majority of workers were latins, for many years. All of a sudden in the last few years, I am seeing almost a fifty/fifty split between black and latin workers.
What happened? Welfare reform meant that one can no longer be on welfare for life, so many more blacks are applying for jobs they wouldn't have thought of doing before.
That situation with Dr. Gates may have been allowed to get out of hand, but I used to be an angry young man, and things could escalate with me from time-to-time. I finally realized alot of the problem was me. Way too many of my people have yet to get this, hence we are 20 percent of the prison population, and only twelve percent of the U.S. population. The AIDS that the guys coming out of pen are gving to women is an epidemic in the black and latin communities.
"Blame the victim" my ass, we need to get a grip, and began to look within.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


As I'm sure you know, many years ago, a white John Howard Griffin, wrote the book Black Like Me, publicizing journals he kept when he changed his skin and hair color and travelled thru the South as a "black" man.

I have thought, since then, that living in this country must be a Kafka-esque experience. I can't imagine maintaining the inner strength it would take to endure here. I think I might choose to live in Paris, like Josephine Baker in the 1920s.

Please help me to understand what it takes to live and stay here in spite of everything you must endure. (If my request is presumptuous, please don't hesitate to let me know.)

I certainly do agree with you that an unexamined life is not living up to its potential.

btw, my uncle is a now-retired Episcopal priest who marched with Dr. King. It's too bad there isn't some way we all could "virtually" walk with Dr. King.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

B Roll,

I went to yesterday's blog and didn't "see" you (or any new messages, at least.)

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


My bad, I thought I was going to be able to get to it earlier. But I just went and looked at yesterday's blog and found the same thing you did... no message from me! I'm going to correct that now, although I have to look a few things up. I'm putting my Tai Chi response team on it right now.

J Patrice Cuddy-Lamoree (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Please accept my compliments, Thom. I have long admired your dedication to teaching and I hear you now taking that commitment a step further by actually listening to your callers and allowing them to say things, sometimes somewhat imperfectly, that you have already said. People who find their voices are qualitatively different from those who have not. You help to empower them by allowing them to speak, the altruistic act of a true teacher. As a Progressive myself, I am proud you are one of us.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

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