Monday, March 29, 2010


Howdy! Today we're gonna mess with Texas.

By now it should be obvious to even the casual reader that I am not a huge fan of the state of Texas. All in all, I don't think it has been much of an asset to American history. Have you ever noticed how much time we spend making excuses for Texas to the rest of the world? Seriously! This is not meant to imply that most Texans are idiots, certainly that is not the case. I'm just talking about the ones who vote - and their representatives in Austin and Washington. It has been established, beyond a doubt, that most of the people who partake in the electoral process in Texas are brain dead. Does that sound like a cruel and reckless exaggeration to you? Two words: Rick Perry. 'Nuff said?

I am not trying to imply that the Lone Star State is without merit. Any place that can produce the likes of (among many others) Buddy Holly, Molly Ivins, Bill Moyers, Barbara Jordan, Dan Rather, Carol Burnett, Mary Martin, Ann Richards, Jim Hightower, and Kinky Freidman (not to mention the Texas Jew Boys) has more than enough to be proud of.

Then there are my beloved cousins, the fabulous Barras family of Port Arthur. Born and raised in Texas, they are the children of the late Marietta Clements, my mother's older sister. They are just about the smartest, sweetest and loveliest people you could ever possibly hope to meet - this side of the Rio Grande or the other. Hi, cousins!

But other than those little candles in the darkness, I'm not particularly crazy about Texas. Truth be told, I believe it to be one of the nation's glaring shames. Molly Ivins (rest her soul) once wrote that all Texans owe a deep debt of gratitude to Mississippi. But not for that state, Texas would be dead last in everything! And to think we fought a war over the place! I would suggest giving it back to Mexico but they have enough problems as it is. Why add to their burden?

The latest offering of Texas-style lunacy comes to you courtesy of that state's Board of "Education". They wish to "alter" the curriculum in text books used to educate children all across the land. Because it is such a huge state and they have so many children in public schools, many of the textbooks that are used in classrooms throughout the country are designed and written in Texas. In fact if you are over the age of fifty, one of the books you studied from as a child was probably stored in Dallas' infamous Texas School Book Depository at one time.

The Board of Ed in Texas has taken it upon themselves to rewrite history. You see, the problem with the story of America, they argue, is that it has always been written with a nasty left wing bias. I have to concede their point. Have you ever noticed the way those Liberal historians always tend to focus on the attributes of Abraham Lincoln? They totally ignore all that was good and decent in the character of Jefferson Davis! The Texas Board of Education is going to remedy this awful injustice. From this day forward (if these idiots have their way) Davis will be presented to America's schoolchildren as the moral equivalent of Lincoln. Look away, Dixieland!

Hmm....Given the underlying militancy of the right wing in general and the Tea Party in particular ("WE CAME UNARMED - THIS TIME") portraying a man who raised an army to go to war with the government of his own country as a figure to be admired - just call me a silly, Liberal nitpicker - but that does not seem to me to be a really nifty idea. Jeff Davis was not a hero. He was the most despicable traitor ever to walk American soil. His cause - HUMAN BONDAGE, FOR GOD'S SAKE! - was one of the most reprehensible in all recorded human history. As a result of that cause, over six-hundred thousand human beings lost their lives....and the jackasses on the Texas Board of Education would like to place him on the same moral level as Abraham Lincoln - The Great Emancipator! Texans is the craziest people!

It is also their plan to omit the name of Thomas Jefferson as one of the great thinkers who influenced the revolutions of the late eighteenth century. Now what the hell do they have against him?

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."

-Thomas Jefferson

Oh, right. That is what they have against him. The fact that it was he who concocted the phrase "separation of church and state" probably didn't help matters either. They even want to teach your kids that the Founding Fathers never meant for ours to be a secular form of government. They were really aiming for a theocracy!

Wait! It gets better!

The word "capitalism" is being replaced by the phrase "free enterprise" (Sounds friendlier).

Historic research has uncovered a microscopic number of Germans and Italians who were interred during World War Two. Their conclusion? The internment of one-hundred thousand Japanese during the same period had absolutely nothing to do with their race. I am so relieved.

Confederate General Stonewall Jackson - you know, one of the guys who tried to destroy the United States of America - is held up as a role model of "effective leadership".

The words in Abraham Lincoln's inaugural address are to be placed side by side with those of Jefferson Davis in his. Can't you see? They were both great men with equally great vision!

Ronald Reagan cleaned up the horrible legacy of that wicked Franklin D. Roosevelt and his nasty New Deal.

In addition to the non-violent philosophies of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement, equal emphasis will be placed on the violent philosophies of the Black Panthers - as if both movements had equal social impact in their time.

"Mayberry RFD" is cited as an example of American humor at its finest and most creative.

Actually, I'm just kidding about that last one. They didn't include it only because the thought never crossed their minds, I'm sure. Don't be surprised if Mayberry replaces Robert Benchley in next year's edition. To my utter astonishment, Lenny Bruce is not even given a passing reference. Go figure.

The panel spewing forth this fiction-as-fact, historical nonsense were not unanimous in their proposals. It was a ten-to-five, party line vote - ten white Republicans against five minority Democrats. I'm sure I need not point out for you who voted for what. The moon will rise in the east this evening. It was as predictable as that.

Just what is it about those naughty Liberals? Why do they always slant American history for their own selfish purposes? Or do they? Could it possibly be that history naturally ends up being viewed from the progressive angle? After all - what is history? It is the story of human progress! "Progressive" and "Progress". (You see where I'm going with this, don't you?) Conservative causes may look fine and dandy when viewed through a contemporary prism. But they always - without exception - look foolish, even totalitarian, when viewed through the objective lens of 20/20 historical hindsight. If you don't believe me, look up every Conservative cause in American history - starting with slavery!

Think about it: Who championed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security? It was the Liberals. Who was it that fought vehemently to destroy those programs? It was the Conservatives. In 1919 Woodrow Wilson literally fought to the death to include America in the League of Nations. It was the right wing fringe of American politics (Republican and Democrat) that destroyed any chance of the League succeeding. Had it come into being, it is very possible the carnage of the second world war might have been avoided. Thanks to the Conservatives we'll never know.

And lets not forget those damned, bleeding heart abolitionists. Although the complexities of America's sociology have changed much since the nineteenth century, by the standards of today they were Liberals all. The south went to war against the United States government for no other reason than to conserve the "peculiar institution" of slavery. These aren't mere political opinions on my part. These are inarguable historical facts, boys and girls. A group of dimwitted ideologues should not be allowed to represent propaganda as fact under the guise of "public education" merely to serve their own weird political agenda. The Nazis tried that seventy years ago. It didn't work then. It's not going to work now.

The final vote on the Texas School Board's "alterations" of the history of our republic is due in May. In a twisted way, I kind of hope it passes. I'd love to get me a copy of one of those books! That should be a scream!

Tom Degan


Starting today, if you wish to make a comment on this site, you will need to sign in with a "CAPTCHA" word. For almost four years I tried to avoid this, but lately the spam has gotten out of control. The final straw was when some pervert started posting a link every morning to an Asian porn site that dealt in underage girls. I have no other choice. Sorry for the inconvenience, folks.

For more recent postings on this hideous, commie site, kindly go to the following link:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan



At 8:42 AM, Blogger Denise said...

*grin* As a Daughter of the Republic of Texas (by birthright, not by membership), you and I are in full agreement...I love my family there, and they've ALL heard me say it:

Texas would be perfect if we did but ONE thing...get rid of all the damn Texans.

:-) Lovely post!

At 10:03 AM, Blogger The Catharine Chronicles said...

I had a young Texan cousin "defriend" me on Facebook for making these very points. Her argument? The only bad person in Texas was Rick Perry, and everything and everyone else in the state was just fine, thanks.

Yeah. Buh-bye, sugar. (She lives in New York at the moment, by the way.)


At 10:16 AM, Blogger Lionel Braithwaite said...

The problem with Texas is that it's got bigoted morons running it! get off of your asses and put the Green Party in power, Texans!

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Darlene said...

Two more great Texans were the late Ann Richards and Barbara Jordan.

My first experience with a Texan was when I had a date with a Texas Aggie and we had to ride the bus. The only adjoining seats were in the back row and I sat there. He was not going to sit where the 'niggers' sat. Since we were in a more enlightened state, Colorado, I finally convinced him that we did not have Jim Crow laws and he finally sat down, but was on the edge of his seat the whole way.

Prejudice and ignorance are still rampant in that large state. Some things never change.

As for the text books, I hope that the public will rise up in protest each time one is introduced into their school. I see Phyllis Schaffly's dirty fingers all over this outrage. The books also include the Biblical view of creation instead of the scientific Darwin view. Are we to have another Snope's trial?

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Darlene said...

P. S. Tom, your captchas are not enabled yet.

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Yeah, Darlene, I am trying to figure out how to do it.

And Lionel....


Seriously, I thought that was a dandy idea. I'm just wild about the Kinkster.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

It's installed. If the CAPTCHA words are too hard to read, someone please let me know. When the author of a blog makes a comment apparently he/she doesn't see them - which makes sense, I suppose. If you can't trust yourself not to post spam, whom can you trust?

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous aislinnluv said...

well said, for the most part, Tom. but - I VOTE! (so don't tar me with that dumbass texan brush!)i voted for every candidate that seemed progressive and against every republican that ever ran while i was of voting age. i really wish i had not been born in texas, and i took every step i could at an early age to erase all traces of drawl and vernacular. we did, after all, elect ann richards. but money talks, and after poppy bush decided to roost here and spread his money around like fertilizer (sorta like his BS politics), it just hasn't been the same since. hoping this election will roust governor goodhair and usher in a new, clean breeze in texas politics. meanwhile, i'm looking to get out as fast as i can.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...


Texas needs you. You are the one who can change it. But if you really need to get out, I have a guestroom here in Goshen!

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Rain Trueax said...

you were really on a roll with this one. Good work. Education is too important to leave it to politics. You have to wonder where we are heading as a nation. (Tommy Lee Jones is a Texan).

At 2:13 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

I can't add much more to what's already been said except you forgot Stevie Ray Vaughan as one of the few Texans worth knowing about, and one of my favorite quotes that i happened to see on a bumper sticker once:
Texas: too small to be a country, too big to be an insane asylum.

At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please don't lump all of us from Texas in the same barrel. There are some decent and progressives people in Texas. The problem: We are out-numbered 1000 to 1 by A&M educated,back-woods hicks that feel (truly in their hearts)history was written wrong the first time around. One would think time would rid up of all the bigots and Bible Bullies in our state, but the younger generations revert back to the old ways (Not what you know, but Who you know)when they realize they can't compete with anyone equally.
So don't blame all Texans for the ignorance here. You just sent us yours before we could send you ours. There are decent folks way down here in Texas.
Go Horns

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Hey friend....

I know that most of the citizens of Texas - like most people everywhere - are good and decent and smart people. My argument is the political representation they choose. My type of satire tends to be a bit brutal, I know. Please don't take it personally.

All the best,


At 4:44 PM, Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

Everything in Texas grows bigger: ignorance and stupidity (not the same), LIES, hate, racism and Christianity. Amarillo. Lubbock.

On the flip side: multiculturalism, friendliness, occasional truths, openness and religious who-gives-a-shit. And, oh God, the food! Austin. San Anonio.

The textbook publishing industry has been alive and well there forever. They may have to come up with two different editions of each topic to satisfy clients in more enlightened states.

The victims of this BS can look forward to a future where they can only get into the lowliest of community colleges and where they will be sentenced to a life of rotten jobs and unfulfilling personal experiences.

This will be the next generation of Tea Buggers who can't spell the words on their signs correctly.

At 5:11 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

And don't forget that Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur - okay, she just happens to be a favorite of mine.

I am just unable to comprehend the why of all of this. Why they would want to alter history and what they expect to accomplish by doing so. I guess there is just no cure for ignorance.

At 5:20 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Yes, Charles! Let's make a list of great Texans I omitted! This may be a tad controversial, but I nominate Lyndon Johnson. He may have screwed up royally with Vietnam but he did so many good things.

At 6:02 PM, Blogger Cimarron said...

as bass-akward as Texan politicians are, California's ballot initiative process promotes mean-spirited lunacy to new heights: outlawing affirmative admissions/contracting programs, banning bilingual instruction, derailing "the gay agenda,"and attempting to deny humanitarian aid to undocumented workers. what's more, if it flies in CA, neighb'g AZ, CO, & OR are likely to follow suit - & they exported immigrant animus to Massachusetts, where a CA multimillionaire w/no background in education, no children of his own, who speaks only English, organized a successful White suburban-base vote outlawing bilingual instruction here.

At 6:04 PM, Blogger P M Prescott said...

I was exiled to Texas for five years (college). It's a good place to be FROM! New York, Florida and California also influence textbooks so Texas isn't the only game in the country. If they do get their way, and it looks like they will, I thing the textbook companies will just print a Texas edition and leave the other editions as is for the rest of us.
With print on demand capabilities today it's not as big a deal as it would have been ten or twenty years ago.

At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Freya said...

You all probably know the lyrics to the Rogers and Hammerstein song
"You've Got to be Carefully Taught"

"You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught"

That pretty much sums up the reason behind the revisionist view of history....

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Yes, Freya. It's from South Pacific. It is my belief that Oscar Hammerstein - the man who wrote the lyrics to that timeless tune - was one of the great poets America ever produced - as great as Bob Dylan.

In 1949, when that show was being readied for production, the financial backers told Rodgers and Hammerstein that "You've Got to be Carefully Taught" would have to go.

Oscar said, "Over my dead body!"

Dick stood by his friend and collaborator.

Think of this....

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sun
And the sweet, silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on
Walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone

That's poetry, folks.

That is poetry as deep and as meaningful as it gets.

Good night and sleep well.


At 11:42 PM, Anonymous gina said...

The closest I've been to the state is the panhandle of Florida, but I'd like to nominate a few more Texans: Jim Hightower, Lyle Lovett, and the lesser-known, late, great Don Walser, the "Pavarotti of the Plains". Here's a sample tune from the channel his son created in his honor:

At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, how biased is this. Socialists have been and continue to practice revisionism for decades in American textbooks. These good ol’ boys are giving it a shot and everyone’s got there undies in a wad. They’re just playing your game. You think any of our kids by and large listen to any of it anyway? I never learned any history until I began reading for myself post-college. To assert that this will somehow affect the “education” of the children is a reach.

Also, implied in the “rant” is that modern day “conservatives” are somehow linked with a pro-slavery stance? C’mon. Silly at best. Intellectually dishonest at worst.

Sorry, but I thought the blog needed a small break in the “who can name a liberal or drugged-out hippie from Texas or both” contest. Rant is such a good name for this blog – I’ll give it that.

BTW – Hook ‘Em Horns! – yes, UT-Austin graduate. Texans, quit apologizing for Texas and running to this guy for acceptance – it’s the greatest state there is and always will be.

At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Paul Madryga said...

Memo to the State of Texas: The Civil War (you remember that war? the one you call "The War Between the States"?) ended in 1865. Your side lost.

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Memo to Paul Madryga:

Folks in Texas know that the Civil War is over. Furthermore, we understand that the south lost. The bulk of us believe slavery to have been an inhuman and intolerable practice and feel the US was fully justified in what it did to end slavery and preserve the union. We have racists here still – just like in every other state of the union – and every other country in the world. Your memo makes no sense. But, thanks anyway…

The State of Texas

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

Tom, thank you for posting the words to 'You'll Never Walk Alone". It was my mother's favorite song and I can never hear it without feeling her presence.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Tom, I've spent more time in Texas than I'd care to admit, although in my defense it was always on business and not for personal reasons. The only state "landmark" that is incomparable, in my opinion, is Rick's Cabaret. I'm almost embarrassed to say (well, not really) that I'd spent more than a couple of evenings at the original in Houston, many years ago, entertaining clients. Honestly, it's about the only thing in that state that ever impressed me.

Perhaps the RNC might want to steer future Young Eagles' events to Rick's. The entertainment is, by comparison, more wholesome and certainly less controversial. Besides, I'm sure the Houston economy could use the economic stimulus.

By the way, I graduated from college and worked in Oklahoma for way too many years. It didn't take me long to realize that the Sooner State is truly Texas's "mentally-challenged" little brother. Texas is overflowing with liberalism, and a cauldron of supreme intellect, compared to its northern neighbor. If you're ever faced with the unfortunate circumstance of having to drive through...don't. I suggest you take a more circuitous route and enjoy the trip.

At 3:26 PM, Blogger Cher Duncombe said...

Hey Tom, don't forget that Janis Joplin was from Port Arthur, Texas. That should be worth something!
Although I disagree with presenting Jeff Davis and Abe Lincoln as equals in the history books, the urge to rewrite history, or perhaps emphasize one event over another, is very compelling. It all depends on one's particular bias. For example, the Europeans that colonized North America and made it there own, committed mass genocide against the native populations over a period of two hundred years or more. When I went to school this fact was barely mentioned at all. Everybody wants to view the same historical events through their own filter, and determine what they think the truth is. Texas is no different.

At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'm glad somebody finally mentioned Lyle!

I'm in a group developing on-line courses/support for K-12. One of the most heated areas of discussion is about "dumping the textbook" and going to entirely electronic with course material. This move by the Texas Bored of Education has many supporters of the continued reliance on textbooks adopting the electronic alternative. The stench of politics has made them change which side they were sitting on.

So maybe this is a good thing they have done for the rest of the nation because electronic resources can be more easily aligned with each of the state's standards and (more importantly) be customized to best suit the learning needs of individual students.

The law of unintended consequences applies even in Texas.

Thanks Tom!

At 6:05 AM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Hey Tom,

Another great peice hitting its marks! I think you know my thoughts on this already:

Revisionism: The Texas Brain-saw Massacre


An Open Letter to the Texas Board of Education

At 12:11 PM, Blogger pooorpeddler said...

Tom your stirring the pot and I'm loving it. Many people are unaware that General Santa Anna's government fought with the "Texicans" because they brought slavery to Texas and Mexico didn't permit slavery. It's hard to believe the bush competency bar could be lower by Perry but he did it.

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, another brilliant article.

I'd like to nominate the following states or parts of to be wiped off the map!

Western Mass
California (three times for fun)
New York
Illinois (unlimited)

Harry from Mass

At 3:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poorpeddler –

You mean the same Santa Anna against whom, not only the Texians, but other Mexican states were rebelling? The same one who declared himself Supreme Dictator and was called the Napoleon of the West? The same one who declared that honorable despotism and not liberty was the best government for his people ?

Slavery was not legal in Mexico – true. But that had nothing to do with his war against Texas. He sensed their desire for liberty and their desire to be allied with the US and not with him. He cared little about slavery one way or the other – he was a despot and simply wanted control of the territory. He died a dishonorable figure among his own people.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Citizen Nancy said...

great post and blog. I am glad I am not the only one who feels this way about texas. I have always said, let texas go from the rest of the unions (the only good idea those people have.) once we get ride of it the I.Q rate in the United States increases considerably.

At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah well - I personally enjoy Texans. There have been a few who are irritants - Molly Ivans, Ann Richards, Madalyn O'Hair - there are others, but not quite in the class of those three.

Church-going people in Texas are like church-goer's everywhere. They'll invite you to church, but 99.99% of them will not get in your face if you don't go. They're independent though - they don't like it if someone gets in THEIR face and badmouths their lifestyle, their religion or their family. I can't say as I would hold that against them. After all, they have the right to believe.

Too many seem to think that Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association is part of the Constitution. It is not. Jefferson's letter stated that the Constitution guaranteed through the First Amendment that the government would not impose it's will on religious groups in the form of a national religion (like the British government had done with the Church of England). He never said a thing about limiting the role of religious influence within government. You can read this yourself - the letter resides in the Library of Congress and is online for your perusal.

And as far as Oklahoma - those are good people too, friends.

Sorry they don't fit your progressive views, but somehow they have managed to stay true to the Constitutional view of the role of federal government, not to the revisionist views.

BTW, until 1875, there was no progressive (or if you want to call a spade a spade - socialist) views of governance in the United States.

At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah well - I personally enjoy Texans. There have been a few who are irritants - Molly Ivans, Ann Richards, Madalyn O'Hair - there are others, but not quite in the class of those three.

Church-going people in Texas are like church-goer's everywhere. They'll invite you to church, but 99.99% of them will not get in your face if you don't go. They're independent though - they don't like it if someone gets in THEIR face and badmouths their lifestyle, their religion or their family. I can't say as I would hold that against them. After all, they have the right to believe.

Too many seem to think that Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association is part of the Constitution. It is not. Jefferson's letter stated that the Constitution guaranteed through the First Amendment that the government would not impose it's will on religious groups in the form of a national religion (like the British government had done with the Church of England). He never said a thing about limiting the role of religious influence within government. You can read this yourself - the letter resides in the Library of Congress and is online for your perusal.

And as far as Oklahoma - those are good people too, friends.

Sorry they don't fit your progressive views, but somehow they have managed to stay true to the Constitutional view of the role of federal government, not to the revisionist views.

BTW, until 1875, there was no progressive (or if you want to call a spade a spade - socialist) views of governance in the United States.

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Nance said...

Woo-hoo! This one was a crowd pleaser, Tom! I'm itching to stick it to SC with similar style; I could use a really good guest blogger on this one, since I have to live here a while longer. The ignunce is equally scary here. Thank goodness SC is not big enough to foist its version of history on anyone else. If Texas ever seriously wants to secede, shall we let it?

At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

California with its massive government and bloated bureaucracy is on the verge of bankruptcy while Texas is booming (Tommy, New York is right behind California).


Michael Barone explains:

California has gone in for big government in a big way. Democrats hold big margins in the legislature largely because affluent voters in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area favor their liberal positions on cultural issues.
Those Democratic majorities have obediently done the bidding of public employee unions to the point that state government faces huge budget deficits. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempt to reduce the power of the Democratic-union combine with referenda was defeated in 2005 when public employee unions poured $100 million -- all originally extracted from taxpayers -- into effective TV ads.

Californians have responded by leaving the state. From 2000 to 2009, the Census Bureau estimates, there has been a domestic outflow of 1,509,000 people from California -- almost as many as the number of immigrants coming in. Population growth has not been above the national average and, for the first time in history, it appears that California will gain no House seats or electoral votes from the reapportionment following the 2010 census.

Texas is a different story. Texas has low taxes -- and no state income taxes -- and a much smaller government. Its legislature meets for only 90 days every two years, compared with California's year-round legislature. Its fiscal condition is sound. Public employee unions are weak or nonexistent.

But Texas seems to be delivering superior services. Its teachers are paid less than California's. But its test scores -- and with a demographically similar school population -- are higher. California's once fabled freeways are crumbling and crowded. Texas has built gleaming new highways in metro Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth.

In the meantime, Texas' economy has been booming. Unemployment rates have been below the national average for more than a decade, as companies small and large generate new jobs.

And Americans have been voting for Texas with their feet. From 2000 to 2009, some 848,000 people moved from other parts of the United States to Texas, about the same number as moved in from abroad. That inflow has continued in 2008-09, in which 143,000 Americans moved into Texas, more than double the number in any other state, at the same time as 98,000 were moving out of California. Texas is on the way to gain four additional House seats and electoral votes in the 2010 reapportionment.


At 1:42 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

We have a secular government, and anyone who labels the US as a 'christian nation' is lying, either to themselves or people who wish it was true.

The Pilgrims first came here to escape religious persecution, and when their descendants had a chance to form a new country, they didn't forget that.

Consistently, they made sure there was no bias favoring any religion, or requiring that people even had to have any religious belief. From the choice of the word "Creator" in the Declaration of Independence (thus leaving it up to the individual to decide who they regarded as their creator), to the 1st Amendment, and to Article VI, section 3 of the Constitution: "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

It is clear that their intent was to both protect government from religion AND religion from the government by keeping them separate.

Freedom OF religion also means freedom FROM religion.

While I am not one of those who think the Constitution is immutable gospel written in stone, there are basic concepts in it that cannot be violated without fundamentally changing what our country is, and has always been.

At 11:25 PM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

As a Yankee secessionist I hereby propose returning the surrender documents signed by Lee and Grant.

Let them go...Of course, we will keep New Orleans. The radical right has shown they don't want the Big Easy anyway.

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

I'm sure Mexico would love to have Texas back, but they'd insist we keep the Texans. That's a deal-breaker.

At 8:09 AM, Blogger W.D. Shirley said...

Harley A:"Socialists have been and continue to practice revisionism for decades in American textbooks."

Name two. Name a fact that a "socialist" has inserted into a history book. Also please supply us with references so we can check that the so-called socialist was in fact a socialist. When I was a kid you would have said "communists" but the fad lately seems to be to assume that communism is no longer on the planet, because WE won the war!
"You think any of our kids by and large listen to any of it anyway? I never learned any history until I began reading for myself post-college."

Harley, you insult students without cause. Okay, you ignored history class but YOU are not everyone nor are you a prime example: you're on a fringe of society. My daughter enjoyed history, enjoyed talking about it and learning about it. So did her friends. She continues to study it so she will learn more about the things happening now. She GETS it! I'm sorry you didn't, but that explains some of your comments.

Tom, please explain to these characters the difference between communism and socialism. Maybe add some comment about the idea being expressed that "progressive" is somehow a code name for "Socialist". I would identify myself as a progressive. I would add that I am a social liberal and a fiscal conservative, thus I believe there can be no excuse for a war of choice, especially if paying for a war means American families find themselves homeless and with no social network to help them out. Reagan thought waging war was a stimulus to the economy. Bush thought war was good for business. Both forgot to deal with the blood. We are getting back from Iraq about 12,000 men and women with brain injuries ranging from mild to severe. As a father to a young man currently in a semi-conscious state for the last 10 years due to a traumatic brain injury I can tell you all that the health care "system" in America is incapable of dealing with these people. There is not enough money to pay for the aides, not enough room for the new bodies of the kids like my son. The science of consciousness in America is years behind Europe. Knowing that some other father might have to sit next to a bed, holding his child and trying to convince a doctor to use a fairly expensive test to see if the brain is still capable of thought processes. My son is on Medicare and they are really tight with the money. They won't test Jon because the paper says he is effectively brain dead. They won't test my son to see if he can think because some doctor wrote on the paper that he can't.

How many families will face this nightmare thanks to a conservative, Republican, Texan President?

Everyone who promotes the idea of war as a conservative option should go to a brain injury facility and help the aides clean and turn a young patriot who was sitting in his Humvee when an IED exploded next to the vehicle. You have to turn them every 2 hours or they can get pressure sores. Imagine your child in that bed with pressure sores and running a high fever because the damn government won't pay for enough aides and nurses. Bad old Progressives think war is bad...

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...


Sorry, W.D....Someone spiked my Kool-Aid this morning.

At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

W.D. – calm down. The “they don’t listen anyway” was meant largely tongue-in-cheek. My point being that the textbooks of sound-bite history that are used in high schools are often biased with the slant of the author, most of which tend to be “progressive”. I cannot name two without more research than I care to engage in. But, as an example, the Puritans are most often presented in a sound-bite manner presenting a caricature of who these people were. Anyone coming out of an American high-school knows virtually nothing about Puritans – but they “know” they were dour, mean, sexually repressed zealots who came to America in the 1600’s.

Also, surely, you’re not complaining about my use of the term socialist. Here’s a couple of the terms used in this particular string about Texans (and by implication conservatives in general) – “bigoted morons”, “dumbass Texan brush”, etc… Also, by implication, conservatives have been equated with racism, pro-slavery, war-mongering, etc. That’s simply not true – no matter how much you might want it to be. The “progressives” on this blog appear to be far more concerned with ad hominem attacks than with presenting rational arguments. My rational argument was that most any history text is going to have some inaccuracy due to unavoidable bias and slant. That’s the world we live in. But, notice, I didn’t resort to calling folks morons or dumbasses – or “characters” for that matter. Learn to attack arguments, not people.

Lastly, I am truly sorry to hear about the struggle you are having with your son. I cannot imagine the pain and frustration. All of these debates pale in comparison. I wish you the best and I hope he can get the care he needs.



At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Alex Merovan said...

No matter what is written down anywhere it is all just made up stories about stuff that happened in the past. The only thing that is true about the past, it is not here now.

The truth has nothing to do with what someone writes down. Noble words sound good again and again that is why writing was invented and also to try and catch people doing stuff they ought not be doing. Example: The Constitution and Declaration of Independence is a fearful attempt to do unto others before they can do more bad stuff unto you. The basic human condition.

Forget words, words are useless unless they are being used to point out how useless words are.

The human unfearful heart knows how to conduct itself, no need to write anything down. A huge waste of all that is truly Sacred. WE must learn to forget about the words and remember who you really are.

Alex Merovan

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Alex Merovan wrote: "Forget words, words are useless unless they are being used to point out how useless words are... no need to write anything down."

Sorry, that's palpably wrong in every respect.

It's estimated that we've lost in the region of 800+ languages in the course of recent history due to them remaining an oral tradition and not being written down. For longevity, and for them to remain 'alive' and carry any worth (for posterity if nothing else), then words need to be written down. Otherwise, they are lost, permanently.

And, seeing as history is that tool by which all knowledge is handed from one generation to another, and whose lessons it is essential we learn, so we don't repeat its mistakes, you can see why any recommendation not to write words down, or learn accurate history, is an entirely flawed manifesto.

History's examples and lessons on this point are legion.

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Alex Merovan said...

I have news dude and dudesses nobody ever ever learns anything from history. Just look at teenagers and young trophy wives. And of course the leaders of Korea and Iran plus George Bush.

Once you have grasped the fact that this world is full of suffering and to be born is a calamity you will begin to seek a better way because there is one.

First, you have to realize that there is no such thing as free will. If you were truly free you probably would not be reading this at your lonely computer screen. Even if you won 100 million in a lottery you would not possess freedom or free will. The reason is because you are always totally concerned and involved with your personal survival. Your defensive radar screens and spam filters are always turned on with your fingers on the destruct buttons.

Take someone who does not keep score, does not write things down, does not wake up to an alarm clock, is not concerned with what he eats, or who he sleeps with, what he drives or what he wears, who is not afraid of losing, who has not even the slightest interest even in his or her own personality, he or she is free. No free will is necessary. Free will is a constuct of a world at war with itself. The human condition presently. Stop making sense as David Bern said.

Alex Merovan

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

"The tragedy of dying languages"

At 6:14 PM, Blogger fitzhamilton said...

Just a note on the German and Italian internment issue - over 11,000 American citizens and legal residents of German descent were interned during WW II as were 3,200 Italian Americans. This as opposed to the 112,000 Japanese American citizens and legal residents interned..

See this website for a map the camp system.. It was huge.

Four of the camps were in Texas.

I say that this fact is a valid one to be included in any high school curriculum.

Obviously, racism was a factor in the Japanese interments.. But the fact that most people would not ascribe racial or ethnic bias to the interment of of German or Italian Americans doesn't mean that the actions of our government toward those people is any less problematic.

Or any less worthy of our attention in school.

This is not to imply support for the Texas Sate Curriculum Committee in any other matter, by the way. Just on this point.

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex -

Your silliness begs the question - "then why do YOU write anything down to make your point". Which is of course pointless in and of itself by your own argument.

As any skeptic will, you pull the carpet out from under your own silly argument.

It's not useful or interesting. Just old repackaged skepticism.

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Alex's outpourings are worse than scepticism, Harley: they're nihilism.

At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex fears free will because it leaves one culpable for his decisions and brings morality into the picture. Determinism frees one from that. But this desire for determinism undercuts itself, because it inevitably points to that lingering feeling that there is a GOOD. But, I pity him and those like him, because he has grown up in a post-modern soup that has done damage to the idea of absolute truth. He has grown up in an era where pseudo-science has become THE science and it postulates, nay declares, materialistic determinism though no evidence exists for such. Once truth is destroyed, the search ends.

Actually, Alex is drawing the most logical conclusion from the data he is being fed – really the only conclusion. A wrong conclusion, but a logical one.

Alex, there is an answer and it is not determinism. God created you. He is sovereign, but he created you with a free will. That free will, as you know, is broken and sinful like mine. That’s not the end of the story, but until you understand that, nothing else will ever make sense despite the cries of those who try to make sense. Jesus didn’t say “I am the way the TRUTH, and the life…” because He thought it just sounded cool. Read the first chapter of the gospel of John – very enlightening. Then, keep reading…

At 3:37 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

Free will either means there's a God who created a Universe absolutely devoid of any objective proof of his existence so that if people choose to believe in him, it is solely because of faith, OR he doesn't exist.

The only real choice we have in this life is reason or faith. At some point, one obviates the other. Even Martin Luther said it: “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but - more frequently than not - struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God”

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

You guys have a great conversation going on here. I am fascinated! Thanks for keeping the pot stirred.

All the best,


At 6:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill –

The two are certainly not mutually exclusive – in fact they are inextricably entwined. That’s why, to divorce them, leads to confusion. Faith does not mean blind, irrational belief. To conceive of a being exerting faith without the capacity of reason is a nonsensical concept. It is impossible – faith is a rational exercise. Now, faith can be misplace or misguided, for sure. But it cannot be without reason. Nor reason without faith. The physicist has faith that “2+2=4” is meaningful and real. You cannot avoid this reality.

God certainly did not provide a world without evidence. He did not leave us without instruction or guidance. If you don’t see the evidence for God, you’re being irrational. You don’t pick up a soda pop can on the side of the road and say, “wow, how did all of these aluminum molecules accumulate here in the form of a small thin-walled cylinder – that’s weird”. No you say, that’s a soda pop can. One cannot view the micro-complexity of even one of the dozens of functions of one of the billions of cells in the human body. Or the macro complexity of the cosmos and realistically play dumb. Wake up. It is not an intellectual issue – it is a moral one.

At 8:15 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

Faith just marks the point where you have decided to stop thinking and rely on the unknowable.

When you look at something and say you can't imagine how such a thing could come into existence without the guidance of some outside intelligence says a lot more about your lack of imagination than about the reality of its existence.

Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. - Frater Ravus

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I didn’t realize that Bill’s imagination was another choice. So now we have faith, reason, and Bill’s imagination. Well, I’ll tell you, I can imagine some pretty fantastic and nonsensical (unreasonable) things. People do it every day. I can imagine that maybe 2+2=5 or maybe if I stand on I-35 and allow a semi hit me, it won’t harm me. Imagination is not a valid epistemological basis for which to frame one’s worldview.

Reason, on the other hand would tell you that to look at anything that has the appearance of design and imagine that an incomprehensible level of organization took place on the basis of chance and time is silly. Furthermore, that ANYTHING should exist at all in the absence of a Creator that transcends it all is the height of blind faith.

From where do you think you achieved your ability to reason? I suppose if matter can create itself ex-nihilo then mind can create itself without a transcendent Mind.

At 2:21 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

When I used the word 'imagination', I was trying to say diplomatically that people who reach the limit of their understanding and then declare that anything beyond that must be magic are just trying to impose their limitations on everyone else.

The problem is, the line between what is known and what is unknown keeps moving, so at some point, it just becomes a little ridiculous to keep saying that the will and actions of some supernatural being lie just beyond that line.

At 10:36 AM, Blogger landsker said...

Hello there,
Nice one Tom, it`s only as a reader that yours truly passes here, but for once, I feel compelled to leave something for the record.
When you speak of educating Americans as to the facts and numbers behind the scenes of the second "World War", almost anyone can name the three stooges who declared mechanised war on the human race....Franco (Spanish), Hitler (German), and Mussolini (Italian).
How did three somewhat obscure fascists all rise to prominence at around the same moment, who backed and finaced them, and who was it supplied their war machines with oil....crude oil....and refined...and the technology to refine avaiation fuel.
What kind of sewer froth was that...

Not the Arabs, or the Cubans, or the Russians or Chinese....Closer to Texas than Berlin, and certainly fascism is and never was about politics, but about wealthy elites using armed force for their own ends.

Take care, blessings, and thankyou.

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To declare there is no God in the face of zero evidence is the height of presumption and a priori dismissal of the most logical explanation. Also, to declare an omniscient, omnipotent, and sovereign Creator imposes no limitation on anyone, certainly not on science. Truth is, the atheist/materialist/determinist imposes the strictest limitations that anyone could possibly impose and it doesn’t even make rational sense. Sorry – the three fingers are pointing back at you.
You assume too much when you assume what is known (your understanding). Science cannot give you understanding – it can only observe and draw conclusions about natural laws. We have the technological ability today that allows us far superior power of inquiry and observation. However, our ability to synthesize what we observe into a coherent theory (understanding) is a far different story. Do you think there is anywhere near any sort of scientific agreement on cosmology? Far from it – there is more widely varied and contradictory theories now than there ever has been. All deduced from what they “know”. You are the magician, not me.

“The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?"

- Stephen Hawking

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

I'm sorry, but I can't find any where in any of my posts where I claimed the non-existence of god is a proven certainty.

What I said was that the existence of free will is proof enough (for me) that there is no reliable repeatable proof that conclusively objectively shows him to exist.

All you have is your chosen interpretation of anecdotal evidence as proof of 'the most logical explanation'.

I just don't buy into it. I am not an atheist, by the way. Atheists have more in common with religious fundamentalists than they do with any one else, both sides are desperate to prove the unprovable. I consider my self to be more of an indifferent agnostic, I don't know if there is a god, and I don't much care.

I just refuse to believe that the 'supreme intelligence' of the Universe is so childish and petty he punishes people for all eternity for not holding on to childish mythologies (and there is no shortage of those) that claim to be 'his word', and that he would use such a clumsy method for creation.

Maybe all science is saying is, 'this is the way he did it', not he can't exist, because the way it really happened is not what's in the Bible.

What I do take exception to is any adult who claims "of course there's a god, that indisputable'. Umm, no, it's not. I use the word "adult', because when a child says it, I don't challenge their illusions, the same way I don't say there's no Santa Claus around them. To say that there's no consensus on cosmology, and saying that's proof of god's existence is once again finding the line where our present understanding ends, and announcing (yet again) 'AHA! See? that's God's work!' It's simple, it's all his work, or none of it is.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”


"When one person suffers from delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called Religion."

As long as we're closing our posts with relevant quotes.

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never asserted I can claim a logical proof for God. You bring up some interesting questions about evil, morality and such that would be a very interesting discussion. If only they mattered. Without a God who cares about these issues, it matters not at all. We define it for ourselves with no absolute basis to measure from. You’ll supply some reason why it matters, continuing to borrow from the absolute morality that God has created.

You declare the knowledge of God is unknowable. This position is logically unsound – you cannot declare something unknowable unless you have perfect knowledge of EVERYTHING yourself – omniscience, in other words. But it is consistent with people who have become a God unto themselves and define their own rules. You stated it plainly – you don’t care. That is sad and I fear for you. If you are intellectually honest, you must continue to follow the road to the philosophical waste bin of skepticism. You, see our ability to know always depends on evidence. You claim free will, yet by your own terms, you cannot know this.

As a last thought from me – you may have the last word if you like - one final quote and I’ll leave off the debate.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

– Romans 1:18-21

At 9:47 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

For me,the fact that I don't believe in a supreme being or an afterlife is all the more reason for morality and the denial of evil, because it's ALL in our hands, what we do here is all that matters, so it's up to us to get it right, no excuses about 'being judged in heaven'.

True proof of the existence of god IS unknowable, whether it's by design or because he doesn't exist. Religious people start out with the belief the 'of course god exists', then go about collecting any proof that supports that belief.

I grew up in a religious family, and was taught at an early age that yes, of course there's a god. But when I was old enough to think for myself, I first started questioning the obvious inconsistencies in the creation myth, and then other beliefs based on the Bible.

That lead me to first separate Faith from Religion. Faith being the belief in a supreme being, and religion being the mythology invented by man in an attempt to explain him.

Eventually, that lead me to the fact that (to me) the existence of god is no more rational than the different mythologies that purport to explain him.

During this conversation, all I have tried to do is explain my position, I don't need anyone to agree with me, or to convert anyone to my way of thinking. I just have decided that when someone says something that I believe to be less than factual, I'm going to say so, instead of just shaking my head and saying, 'Well, that's their religion.'

You have a right to believe what you want, and to express it, and I reserve that same right for myself.

"A lie is a lie... unless your friends and family are in on it. Then it's a "commonly held belief".

"Without religion, we'd have good people doing good things, and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

"Religion cannot be without morality, but morality may arrive without religion."

At 5:56 PM, Blogger bootie2 said...

I must admit a slight hesitation to enter here as a 5th generation Texan. I feel as though I'm in a pit bull den with a lamb chop attached around my neck. TeeHee!
Regardless, I always enjoy lively chit chat. I admit I am no Rocket Scientist;however,I'm pretty well educated (in the Northeast). I understand the underlying reasons for the derogatory; but,humorous comments. I have not lived in Dallas for many yrs. and after being away for some time I often cringe when I speak to some family members. One cousin I nicknamed several yrs. ago "Cinderella" stated, "Why I just love George Bush..I agree with "eva"thing he's doin' in Irag. You know we just named a highway down hea after him cause we just love him to death. You know those damn Sand N**gers are gonna just take us over." One question she asked me,"Why did you marry a damn Yankee and move up thar in that ole nasty Northeast?"
Hmm. I just can't imagine why!

At 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actualy the idea of a government that has elections that create winners and loosers is bad , It lends to ,much division ( And that issue is a windfall for greed and power . The way the Powers that be run this dog and pony show is some thing that makes one ashamed to live in this hillybilly country , Freedom ,what a joke . Try reading B.F. Skinners,take on Freedom ,ie. Beyond Freedom & Dignity . New York Times book of the year 1971 !This is a government guide to power that is working now ! The Dumb Masses just think they are free , or have any control over their enviroment in any way . Patrick McGoohan of 1970 BBC show The Prisoner has always said "Freedom is a myth " Mao said freedom comes from the barrel of a gun ! He was referring to America and its never ending rich mans croney system . What we have here is a wealth grabbing mechine created by the Old rich with only one purpose .Take everything in sight as fast as possible return the dumb masses to payed slaves or unpayed slaves ,or out right kill them if that will protect their greed .Wag The War ! Some how you have fell for the Nazi propaganda that some one in this Rich mans government on the left is going to fix things . The Only statesman this country had in the last century was Teddy the ruff rider TR And that was our best leader of all times ,He dropped Party politics for the good of the people and created the third party Bull Moose ! To Bad all the Suckers in this Wreck of a Corvair country did not go third party ,Ralph Nader ,the only guy in DC that never took the bribes ,a true man for the people . Keep voting crooks see how things will change ! The worst thing I have ever seen in all my life (And I am a lot older than most of you !) Is the Fake Right and the Fake left paid the bonus billions to the rats that help bust this country .Some of them not even citizans ! We bailed out The Bank bosses in Germany no less ,And they even got bouns money . Not one cent went to Mom & Pop that lost 401k s in the hands of these crooks ,and the Libs had a hand in it just like the Goose stepping Right . What they did Hand in Hand is nothing short of treason ,and its not a joke . This country may match the crimes of Hitler soon .In the night clubs of pre WW2 Nazi ,the German people though Hitler and his henchmen where a joke .By 1942 after the army was destroyed on the eastren front and most of the U boats went down the joke was over . The police state would have killed everyone but a hand full of rich crooks for loosing the war , But cool headed Albert Speer stopped it . We do not even have anyone in this system of crime as loyal to the people as Top Nazi Speer . As long as we think this mess is funney we will be destroyed ,our kids will fight never ending wars for greed or starve to death in the dark ,homeless and theaving from trash cans . The level of greed in this country makes the Nazis look like Boy Scouts ,Even Hitler built a car for working Germans and had every intention of getting them to the workers .The Peoples Car VW . But ,NO not this country ! Near the highest taxes on earth and nothing fare for the people .WE the new poor class Have nothing but lies and grand theft Taxes and a police state in the making "its not Funney anymore sorry " And the LIbs are on the take just like the right beleive anything else and you are a sucker !Now go read Skinner .

At 6:31 AM, Anonymous Will Shirley said...

In the not too distant future, when the "Republic" has be de-friended by the world due to our inability to honor our debt obligations, Texas will likely be established as a conservative republic, possibly joined up with Missouri or Oklahoma. Thankfully, I live in the NE and our little corner of the ex-USA will link up with the NE states to form the NE Territories, a democratically formed union of independent states. Time to start writing our own history books rather than wait for anyone else.

Gold standard? or monetary policy based on something entirely new? Do we even NEED money to have an economy? Suppose everything you needed was free...?"Why would anyone work?" To be useful, to be valued, to be creative, to grow as a human...

Remember, the Hippocratic Oath requires a doctor to give medical care for free to those in need, AND requires doctors to teach their skills to anyone who asks, for free! Ask your doctor if he/she has read it recently.

At 8:19 PM, Blogger The Catharine Chronicles said...

Tom messed with Texas again.

Tee hee....



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