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July 16, 2009

Vol 7 • No 27

The Roofer’s Son

If you’ve never done it before, stepping off a ladder two stories above the pavement is a scary experience.

Arkies stand with Ron Paul

Paul Barton contributes an item of interest from Washington. All four members of the House from Arkansas have joined Rep. Ron Paul's legislation to audit the Federal Reserve.

Sympathy for the Huckster

The old weight loss roller coaster. It's well known to all who battle obesity.

UALR raises the bar

The UALR Board of Visitors meets Thursday to hear Chancellor Joel Anderson's team lay out a bold building plan -- $25 to $30 million in projects to be financed by bonds.

Booze comes to Clinton

The Baptists protested, but the ABC approved a private club drink permit in dry Clinton today.

It's open

Comments here.

Wishful thinking

Conservative congressmen and corporate media continue to promote the notion that Social Security is near death:

This modern world, July 16

July 8-14, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … A CHANGE OF SCENERY. The house at 4910 Club Road where KATV’s Anne Pressly was fatally beaten in October won’t become a historical curiosity. A new owner demolished it to make way for a new house.

Marked man

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola has learned the downside of enhanced powers.

Jerry Seinfeld

At the end of his nearly hour and half long set last Friday, Jerry Seinfeld told the audience he was going to give it to them straight, and with a toothy smile said, “I’m old, I’m rich and I’m tired.”

To-do list, July 16

Switchfoot, Summer Explosion, Wicked 2, Dirtfoot, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Hot Damn!, and Cory Brannan and Jon Snodgrass make for a few entertainment options this week.

Lottery mania

Since the voters and the legislature settled the big questions about the worth of a state lottery by convincing margins, this may be disregarded as sour grapes or empty second-guessing.

The observer, July 16

A public service announcement.

Better than cancer

Early in “Bruno” — the exceedingly vulgar, borderline traumatizing and altogether hilarious mockumentary starring Sacha Baron Cohen — the title character manages to screen a pilot of his celebrity news program for a focus group in California.

Blue Dogs growl

First, considering their sudden relevance, who and what are Blue Dog Democrats?

Avant-Arkansas

It’s almost an embarrassment of riches for local cinephiles.

Smart talk, July 16

The 2009 legislature did drinkers a favor — and goosed alcohol tax revenues, too — but passing a law that instantly allowed any drinking establishments with a Monday-Saturday permit to also open on Sunday from 10 a.m. to midnight.

Social Security move

The Social Security office, now located at 700 W. Capitol, in the Federal Building, will move to West Little Rock by the end of next year, a change that raises questions about access.

Court ruling helps special-needs kids

On June 22, the U.S. Supreme Court implicitly gave school districts nationwide monetary incentive to do what they were supposed to be doing all along — provide free appropriate public education to all children — rather than to simply buy their way out of the problem.

Orval, July 16

Eye on Arkansas, July 16

In brief, July 16

Perhaps Arkansas’s finest living songwriter, Jim Mize, shares a bill with his sometimes guitarist Chris Michaels, who’s readying a solo debut, at White Water, 9 p.m., $5.

Summer reading

Someone asked the other day if I had a summer reading list, which I do, and if I’d share it, which I’m glad to do herewith.

SWOP at ASI

The Arkansas Arts Council’s 22nd annual “Small Works on Paper” show enjoys a high profile this year, hanging in the glass-walled entry to the Arkansas Studies Institute on President Clinton.

Words, July 16

Ted Bailey of Conway writes: “Shame on you for writing ‘Arkansas has a ways to go’ (‘Putting Wind to Work,’ 2 July 2009).

What's cooking, July 16

Za Za, the wood oven pizza and salad restaurant in the Heights, is expanding to Conway and the new planned community development, the Village at Hendrix.

Mexican ‘agents’

I am Hispanic, I came to the U.S. as a legal immigrant and I am a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Pia’s, please

Too many restaurants that claim to do Italian get their sauce from a can, their dough from a freezer, and their recipes from, well, maybe it’s not even a recipe but a suggestion on the back of a box.

Social Security move

The Social Security office, now located at 700 W. Capitol, in the Federal Building, will move to West Little Rock by the end of next year, a change that raises questions about access.

The televisionist, July 16

God, when will you wipe away the scourge of Reality TV?

Speaking of cell phones

Though new rules governing use of cell phones by younger drivers are about to take effect, the safety of their use by all drivers is a growing concern.

Sustainability and Wal-Mart

The New York Times gives quite a bit more attention than local press did today to the Wal-Mart plan to come up with labeling that quantifies the environmental and social sustainability of every item the discount store sells.

What Sotomayor is about

Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed. So what is it with all the repetitive questioning about race, guns, abortion, etc.?

The straw that stirs the crime

Crime news from Jonesboro: Gun pulled on Wendy's workers because a couple didn't get straws with their drinks.

I-430: Center of town UPDATE

Our Insider column this week reports news of the federal government's intention to move its Social Security office from the downtown federal building to a new building at Executive Center Drive and Bowman Road.

A Lot on the Menu.

  You’ve heard the old adage “do one thing, do it well”? Sometimes that’s how our restaurants should work.

Mike Ross sez ...

... write the health care bill my way or I'll kill it. Commentary from America Blog:

McDaniel for the defense

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel testifies this afternoon for Judge Sonia Sotomayor. I'll post the prepared testimony after it's delivered.

Thursday: Jim Mize, Chris Michaels, Wade Bowen and more

Mize. Perhaps Arkansas's finest living songwriter, Jim Mize, shares a bill with his sometimes guitarist Chris Michaels, who's readying a solo debut, at White Water, 9 p.m., $5.Long a favorite at Sticky Fingerz, Red Dirt rocker Wade Bowen returns to the chicken shack, 9 p.m., $10 adv., $12 d.o.s. From Donaldson, the family band Posey Hill offers high harmonies and bluegrass break-downs at the Old State House's “Bands on the Bricks” free outdoor concert series, 5:30 p.m., free.

Now Beebe goes to meddling

Yesterday, Gov. Mike Beebe looked askance at state lottery pay. He's pushed it a step farther today, suggesting a review of salaries of people already hired.

For education-LRSD wonks

As close readers know, I long ago made FOI requests for internal Little Rock School Board e-mail because it frequently provides insight on decisions, happenings, etc. in the district.

For education-LRSD wonks

As close readers know, I long ago made FOI requests for internal Little Rock School Board e-mail because it frequently provides insight on decisions, happenings, etc. in the district.

Springdale booze monopoly broken

Jason Tolbert, who truly is the hardest working blogger in Arkansas, Twitters that the state ABC has voted 5-0 to approve the permit for a Macadoodles liquor store in Springdale.

"No Boundaries" replacement

In Sacremento. I forgot about the "No Boundaries" news for a couple of days and failed to follow up.

Handicapping Miss Arkansas

Morgan Hold, Megan Bowers, and Joi Chen The preliminary results are in for the 2009 Miss Arkansas Pageant.

This is also happening tonight...

The line is open

I may check back in. Or not.

Even the bad times are good ...

... for the Little Rock-based Stephens financial empire. Cash-laden and not burdened with debt, they are finding opportunities in a tough climate, Forbes reports in a glowing article.

UALR focuses on honors students

The UALR Board of Visitors today considered a roster of potential building projects on campus.

A little less license

If there’s one drawback to the new teen driver law that goes into effect July 31, Bernard Allbright says, it’s that it will put more teens on the road.

Rationing health care

Of course we should. This piece by Peter Singer, a professor of bioethics, is No. 1 on the Times' list of most read articles.

Now he's concerned

Thanks to Blogger Jason Tolbert for catching House Speaker Robbie Wills blaming others for Breakfast at Tiffany's, otherwise known as the Arkansas Lottery Commission.

Show and tell

The following is an excerpt from a routine daily report to the Little Rock School Board on unusual occurrences in the district. File it away the next time you hear one of the usual suspects blame all student shortcomings on teachers.

Show and tell

The following is an excerpt from a routine daily report to the Little Rock School Board on unusual occurrences in the district. File it away the next time you hear one of the usual suspects blame all student shortcomings on teachers.

Food Won't Starve Ya...

Artistic food can be very hit or miss. Sometimes in the delivery more attention is paid to the appearance and presentation of food than in the taste and texture of same.

Friday To-Do: Dirtfoot

DIRTFOOT10 p.m., Maxine's, $5.Swill some whiskey on the front porch out on the countryside with a carefree, jubilant hippie girl twirling her dress in the front yard after burning some hand-rolled tubes, and you're on your way to the vibe this Shreveport, La., group should create down in Spa City.

Friday To-Do: Wicked 2

Propa Tingz. WICKED 28 p.m., the Village.

Card check compromise

Says here that unions have agreed to drop the card check provision from the Employee Free Choice Act and settle for a compromise that would speed union elections and perhaps provide a fewother sops to labor, such as access to employees during work hours.

Friday To-Do: Switchfoot

SWITCHFOOT6:30 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre, $10-$20.The first concert in the Music in the Park's Summer Series features a four-act lineup geared to the faithful.

A C Street trifecta

Add former U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering to the Republican congressmen -- also John Ensign and Mark Sanford -- who lived in the secretive C Street Republican relgiious commune with the likes of the Rev./Doc./Sen. Tom Coburn while diddling someone other than their beloved wives. The family values tribunes all say same-sex marriage is a threat to the institution.

Friday To-Do: Summer Explosion

8ball and MJG (but pictured MJG and 8ball) SUMMER EXPLOSION8:30 p.m., Clear Channel Metroplex. $15 adv.For the first time in years, Juneteenth came and went in Little Rock without a concert showcase of national rap and R&B acts.

Next year...

...instead of doing a swimsuit pictorial for our "Summer Fun" issue, we're going to up the ante and swipe this idea from Seattle's alt-weekly, The Stranger.

Better than a shoot-out

The paid obituaries in the Democrat-Gazette sometimes dispense with the traditional obsequies in favor of plain talk.

Weekend To-Do: Arkansas Underground Film Festival

George Melies' "The Conjuror" from 1889. Wow.

Unemployment edges up

The unemployment rate in Arkansas in June was up two-tenths of a point, to 7.2 percent.

If you've got the money honey ....

... the American Conservative Union will say just about whatever. The American Conservative Union asked FedEx for a check for $2 million to $3 million in return for the group’s endorsement in a bitter legislative dispute, then flipped and sided with UPS after FedEx refused to pay.

Tony's world

Tony Alamo, on trial for unspeakable, serial sexual acts with children, apparently has had a press release distributed.

Politics before patients

This quote from U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, pretty well says what the debate about health care is all about, and it's not about those without: It's pure politics.

Did she or didn't she?

City Director Erma Hendrix has long seemed a few bricks shy (memorably, she stooged for G.W. Bush in his road show to privatize Social Security), but she seemingly outdid herself this week by scapegoating gay people in her latest broadside against a day center for homeless in the former Job Corps building at I-30 and 21st.

The Weekend: Four on the Floor, Damn Bullets, Tre Day at the RiverTop Party, Reckless Kelly and more

Four on the Floor. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Saturday To-Do: Cory Branan and Jon Snodgrass

Branan and Snodgrass. CORY BRANAN AND JON SNODGRASS9:30 p.m., White Water Tavern.

Saturday To-Do: Hot Damn!

Maxx of Apples and Spades. HOT DAMN!9 p.m., the Village.

Saturday To-Do: Frankie Beverly and Maze

MAZE FEATURING FRANKIE BEVERLY9 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre. $42-$85.Let's consider three musicians influential in the development of Frankie Beverly.

Patients? Right.

Comes the Arkansas offshoot of an industry front group to oppose universal health care, as envisioned by President Obama.

Patients? Right.

Comes the Arkansas offshoot of an industry front group to oppose universal health care, as envisioned by President Obama.

What's wrong with downtown LR?

Sharon Priest, director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, has written a letter to U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor suggesting that he take a look at the Social Security Administration's plan to move out of its downtown Little Rock office in favor of a new building in an office park in western Little Rock A lack of parking at the federal courthouse seems to be the reason for the move.

Did biz take union head fake?

I posted an item early this morning from the New York Times that reported a compromise in the works -- Sen. Mark Pryor on the negotiating team -- on the Employee Free Choice Act.

Three-way race for court

Add a third candidate to the race for Supreme Court to fill former Justice Tom Glaze's seat.

The weekend has begun

Your  thoughts here.

Mike Ross defends slowdown

Paul Barton in Washington had a late-afternoon interview with U.S. Rep. Mike Ross on his pivotal role in slowing the progress of President Obama's health legislation.

Why print is dying

Because no newspaper obituary can do justice to the death of someone like Walter Cronkite the way video clips of the anchorman can.

Web: Looking for love in wrong place?

Internet dating sites. Are some better than others?

Wills pays dividends

Taiwan certainly got its money's worth out of giving House Speaker Robbie Wills an expenses-paid trip to the country.

Ernie P. where are you?

This had to happen. Blogger Jason Tolbert made a request for some lottery commission records a few days back.

What a wonderful day

Exhilarating is what it was. I had a beautiful walk in the 60-degree morning. A vibrant Q&A with Arkansas Governor's School Students.

Prime Picking.

If there were any doubt, lay it to rest... it's time to get out and pick blackberries if you're going to.  The season started late due to the wet weather, but there are still plenty of juicy berries out there to grab -- that is, if you can find a bush that hasn't been gone over by the neighbors.  Some spotted at the Central Arkansas Farmers Market, too... but what's the sport of picking thornless blackberries?  More at Tie Dye Travels. 

HUGE!

  How huge, Razorbabies? I’m not sure even Episcopalians yet realize the enormous long-range impact of their church’s ground-breaking vote (72% FOR) to end their moratorium and once more ordain same-sex priests and begin blessing same-sex marriages (in churches that wish to).

On second thought

Brummett is reconsidering his defense of Arkansas's solid gold Cadillac, the state lottery commission. At a minimum, he allows, bad PR to date.

What the TV guys wouldn't do ...

... to get Mark Sanford on the big network talk shows. More embarrassment for the likes of David Gregory.

Arkansas goes to India

NY Times' coverage of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to India mentions her talk of Arkansas education standards.

Hang up the d*** phone

Major feature in NY Times this morning on one of my favorite topics -- the indisputable danger of using phones, Blackberries, etc. while driving.

You are known by your friends

WASHINGTON – Democratic Rep. Mike Ross, much in the news because of his questioning of the main House health care reform bill, found himself being praised late last week by the Heritage Foundation, a fiercely conservative Washington think thank.

Lottery at work

A followup to yesterday's mention of blogger Jason Tolbert's unanswered call to the Arkansas Lottery Commission on Saturday.

His wonders to behold

Gov. Mark Sanford says God is going to make him a more humble and effective leader.

There she is; here you are

Sarah Slocum of Sheridan, a second-year law student  and the new Miss Arkansas, invites you to contribute to our Sunday open line.

Mid-summer's day dream

For a slow Monday morning, hopeful words from the New York Times' advance look at the Hogs' football prospects this fall.

The attack on gay marriage bans

Thanks to Norma for a link to a Wall Street Journal! op-ed by David Boies, who's joined in unlikely legal venture with Ted Olson to strike down state bans on same-sex marriage.

The lottery's poll numbers

Roby Brock's Talk Business has embarked on polling of policy and other issues. First up, the lottery.

The lottery's poll numbers

Roby Brock's Talk Business has embarked on polling of policy and other issues. First up, the lottery.

Poblano Pick.

There are so many cases out there where good Mexican and cheap Mexican food cross.

Your Chance To Be A Food Writer.

Let me tell you what... writing about food on a public forum is certainly not all puppies and rainbows.  But it is a lot of fun.

Your Chance To Be A Food Writer.

Let me tell you what... writing about food on a public forum is certainly not all puppies and rainbows.  But it is a lot of fun.

Speaking of polls

If it wasn't for bad news there'd be no news at all. Obama's numbers are dropping.

The mighty wind

This plant has long been announced, but given other setbacks its worth noting that Nordex will break ground on a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Jonesboro this week that will employ 700.

Examining teaching grants

I posted some Little Rock School Board correspondence recently between Board member Baker Kurrus and Superintendent Linda Watson concerning a federal grant the district has sought to provide training to history teachers.

Another Lincoln challenger

Add another political unknown to the roster of Republicans clamoring to run against U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

"Slumberland" screens again

"Slumberland," the surprise winner of the Charles B. Pierce Award for Arkansas Film at the Little Rock Film Fest, is coming back to the big screen.

The Televisionist: "Dating in the Dark" and "Obsessed"

DATING IN THE DARK9 p.m. Monday, July 20ABCGod, when will you wipe away the scourge of Reality TV?

Beer burglary suspect caught

The Little Rock police have arrested a 31-year-old suspect in a recent spate of convenience store burglaries, several in which stolen vehicles were used to smash doors to facilitate thefts of cigarettes, cigarillos and 30-packs of beer.

You can't fix Peter Frampton's guitar rig in just one day

Peter Frampton's massive guitar rig was recently damaged during a thunderstorm, and whatever MIT grad guitar tech Frampton has manning it, can't get it in working order in time for tomorrow's show at the Arkansas Music Pavilion in Fayetteville.

Pleas entered in Pressly case

Guilty pleas were entered today by three people accused of improperly accessing the medical records of KATV's Anne Pressly.

Boozman to face primary opponent?

Word has been circulating of a primary opponent for Rep. John Boozman, the Third District Republican. Boozman apparently is insufficiently conservative for at least one Republican.

Dangerous: Entering your home while black

-- Henry Gates in Harvard photo The famous scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested at his own  home near Harvard after being seen trying to force open a locked door.

Open line

Get to work.

Cronyism or coincidence

Brummett reviews the close ties of Sen. Bob Johnson and members of the state lottery hierarchy.

The Ross conundrum UPDATE

Here's a pretty good piece, from the Kaiser Health, a publication of the Kaiser Family Foundation, about Rep. Mike Ross' dilemma.

Cell phone safety coverup

Federal government sat on research about the dangers of phone use while driving -- significantly a danger that includes hands-free phone use -- rather than risk angering Congress.

Dogging Mayor Hays

I meant to mention this, but Scott Miller at Argenta News has done the full job on NLR Mayor Pat Hays' latest nutty rationale for his bond-doggle to borrow money to buy the necessary infrastructure so that Central Arkanas Transit can buy more expensive gas-powered buses rather than the clean diesel buses most prefer to buy.

This could be interesting

Sick-o cult leader Tony Alamo told reporters this morning that he intends to testify in his sex crimes trial in Texarkana.

Mark Pryor, 'Family' man UPDATE

Much has been written in recent days about the C Street House, a Washington bunkhouse for born-again Christian congressmen.

Beautiful Disfarmer

Famed jazz guitarist Bill Frisell has just put out a nice album called "Disfarmer," in honor of the late eccentric Arkansas genius photographer whose heartbreakingly beautiful photos of ordinary Arkansans now are fetching thousands of dollars each in New York art galleries.Tracks on the album include "Peter Miller's Discovery," "I Am Not a Farmer" and "Arkansas, Parts 1, 2 and 3."

Professor Gates a free man

A disorderly conduct charge against famed Harvard professor/author Henry Louis Gates Jr. will be dropped. He was arrested in his home yesterday, apparently for objecting to police actions in checking a report that a black man (Gates) had been seen trying to open a door in a Cambridge house (Gates' own house).

Professor Gates a free man

A disorderly conduct charge against famed Harvard professor/author Henry Louis Gates Jr. will be dropped. He was arrested in his home yesterday, apparently for objecting to police actions in checking a report that a black man (Gates) had been seen trying to open a door in a Cambridge house (Gates' own house).

Blinded by the Light

I'm on vacation this week, so in I've asked a few friends to pinch-hit while I'm away.  This first installment comes from Jim Fisher, the first section leader for the Arkansas chapter of the International Dark Sky Association.  Jim and I met while working on a cover story that appeared in the Times a few months back.  I looked at the growing problem of light pollution and what Arkansas officials and utilities were doing about it.  The answer is not much, but a number of concerned citizens are trying to change the way people think about this looming issue.  While doing research for the story, I visited the observatory near Wye Mountain and was completely amazed by these star-gazers, what they're able to find through their telescope lenses.  The Central Arkanasas Astronomical Society will host a star-party on July 25 at Pinnacle Mountain.  All are welcome to come. 

Woo, Ernie P., sooie!

-- Video by David Koon Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue talked to the Political Animals Club today.

Bring on the diesels

The Central Arkansas Transit Authority today turned down North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays’ pitch to drop a purchase of eight “clean diesel” buses from Gillig Corp. in favor of ordering buses that run on compressed natural gas.

Bill Frisell takes on "Disfarmer" on new album

Like Mumford noted earlier today on Max's blog, Bill Frisell has a new album out today on Nonesuch called "Disfarmer."

Diplomat Huckabee

Have Fox TV show, will travel the world to oppose the president. That would be Mike Huckabee, who plans to broadcast from a controversial Israeli settlement on Arab land in East Jerusalem.

Tuesday: Patrice Pick, Willie Neal

"Rock Star: Supernova" finalist Patrice Pike brings her swaggering alt-rock to Sticky Fingerz, 9 p.m., $10.

The root of Mike Huckabee

Money. It's always been money.

Speaking of gubernatorial ethics

Soon-to-be ex-Gov. Sarah Palin may have some trouble -- taking private contributions to pay for legal expenses may be viewed as improper use of her official position.

Exit strategy

I'm turning it over to readers.

Storm chaser

  The Log Cabin Democrat provides a reader's video of a water spout that churned over Lake Conway today.

Fghting over the homeless

The Little Rock City Board heard extended comments tonight on competing resolutions concerning a day center for the homeless.

Man of the hour, Mike Ross

Wall Street Journal chronicles his successful at least temporary derailment today of the Obama health care plan.

Following the bouncing lotto ball

New employees have struck it rich. Some players will eventually reap big jackpots. That doesn’t mean the Arkansas Lottery is a silver bullet for family finances or targeted beneficiaries, college students.

Follow the bouncing TIF ball

Scott Miller of Argenta News once again refuses to just move along, as traffic cop Pat Hays undoubtedly would wish, at another NLR governmental car wreck.

Rethinking Ernie P.

A hat tip to Rep. Jon Dismang, who has brought a little broader-based numbers crunching to the raging debate about the expense of the Arkansas lottery.

Last Night: Patrice Pike and Tiffany Shea at Sticky Fingerz

Tiffany Shea and Patrick Pike. Photo by Brian Chilson.

The Gossip comes home

Even hot shit dance punks want to play near their hometown every once in a while, apparently.

Where do you get your news?

The latest edition of a poll for Roby Brock's Talk Business Quarterly asks 600 Arkansans for their main source of political, business and other news.

The next big story: Double dipping

State Rep. Allen Kerr (R-Little Rock) may be onto Arkansas's next big political story. It will be easy to understand if it pans out.

Wednesday: 'Juno,' Future Leaders of the World, Pope County Bootleggers, Copper Grill b-day, more

What the blog, y'all? Tonight, at Movies in the Park: Two hours of "This is one doodle that can't be un-did, Homeskillet" and other wonderfully droll dialogue from former stripper Diablo Cody.

Meanwhile, back at the lottery

The lottery commission is meeting today. Much talk of cost cutting.

Tall talking Tony UPDATE

No, Tony Alamo didn't testify after all. Closing arguments have begun in the sex crime trial of the so-called evangelist cult leader in Texarkana.

Chris Denny's big break?

Chris Denny has been Arkansas' Next Big Thing for about five years. In that span, he's met with Rick Rubin, played record label showcases in New York, enjoyed financial backing an out of state patron, toured all across the country and recorded an album for a promising Brooklyn-based indie.

Huck PAC 'restructuring'

Arkansas Business reports a shakeup at the Mike Huckabee PAC, including one layoff amid, according to most recent reports, rising debts.

A zombie army of Kris Allen look-a-likes prepares to strike

"Wait, this isn't the evil Kris Allen stalker look-a-like section?" Kris Allen's official website is not terrible.

Chicken bleepin' technicality

A federal judge has ruled that Oklahoma cannot seek monetary damages from poultry companies for alleged pollution of watersheds by poultry farmers because the Cherokee Nation was not part of the case.
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