Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010: The Worst of "The Rant"

Here we are again: Another year-end wrap up - and a strange one it was, huh? 2010 was - no molecule of a doubt about it - the weirdest political year in living memory. What say we take a little stroll down memory lane, shall we?

January 3:

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said of the American Plutocracy, "They hate me and I welcome their hatred." Obama needs to take a cue from FDR. Instead of trying to "reach out" to the right wing, he needs to understand that they are not his friends; that their political fortunes rest on a single strategy: that his administration is a complete failure. They don't care a thing for the welfare of the people they are supposed to represent. The only thing that concerns them is the corporate constituency they act as handmaidens for. You would think that after almost a year in office the president would have learned this lesson, wouldn't you? Perhaps he has. We shall see.

January 9:

Given all that we now know about [Cheney] it's almost surreal to think that that once upon a time he could have been seen as a political asset to anything but the American Nazi Party. Fortunately for humanity, people as undeniably evil as Dick Cheney only come around once in a lifetime. Other than [J.Edgar] Hoover the only other Americans I can think of who even come close to Cheney in terms of pure villainy are Joe McCarthy and Dick Nixon. But even Nixon is able to take credit for some positive accomplishments during his time on this earth (and give me a day or two and I might be able to cite one). Cheney's, however, will be remembered as a completely negative legacy.

January 19:

When someone like Sarah Palin can make it as far as she has, it can mean only one thing and it's not a particularly good sign: we are living in a culture that has been custom-tailored for idiots. When a person who can barely put two coherent sentences together without the aid of a teleprompter becomes one of the best-selling non-fiction authors of the decade, that's usually a pretty good indicator that society is spiraling downward at a fairly decent clip. Fasten your seat belts, kiddies!

January 23:

So corporations are "people", with "certain unalienable rights"? You've got to hand it to Reagan and the two Bushes. Thanks to their atrocious appointments to America's highest court, the damage they've done to our democracy will be felt for generations. The recent decision by the Supreme Court to strike down two precedents (including McCain/Feingold) which limited the obscene amount of money a corporation could use to influence the electoral process is a case in point. According to the Supremes, a corporation is "a person" entitled to take advantage of the First Amendment just like any other "person". It kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?

January 28:

Last week the voters of Massachusetts told pollster after pollster that they gave the late Ted Kennedy's seat to Republican Scott Brown because they wanted to send a clear, unmistakable message to Washington. Well now! They certainly did that, did they not? Their message has been received loud and clear:


Good for you, Massachusetts!

February 4:

The "Far Left" that the Far Right loves to whine about so much does not even exist in this country any longer. You don't believe me? The next time you're in any big city, try finding the local chapter of the American Communist Party. Happy hunting!

February 11:

Back in the Fabulous Fifties, Joe McCarthy's reckless accusations against honest and dedicated government bureaucrats irreparably harmed the State Department. Diplomatic talent that had taken decades to cultivate was scattered like ashes to the wind. As a result of this purge (and that is exactly what it was) so many of the blunders committed a few years later which led to American involvement in Vietnam might very well have been avoided. Tail Gunner Joe's sick and twisted legacy had done its eternal damage.

That very same kind of damage is being done to this country today. Contrary to what the inscription on his tombstone might have you believe, Joe McCarthy is not dead. The old bastard is still very much with us. Just look around you.

February 16:

No family in American history - not the Adams, not the Roosevelt, and certainly not the Bush family - paid a higher price in the cause of public service than did the Kennedy family. And to tell you the truth I'm getting sick and tired of hearing them kicked around. From listening to the half-witted cries of jubilation that are greeting the news of the end of the Kennedy presence in Washington, it is easy to conclude that there are a whole lot of people in this silly country who don't appreciate the Kennedy legacy....

Someone once said:

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass....It's about learning to dance in the rain."

Here's to the the Kennedy family! May they always be found dancing in the rain!

March 1:

And don't deceive yourselves into thinking that it's all the fault of one party and that the other will lead us to the promised land. You're kidding yourselves. There are no Republicans left who have not been corrupted and very few Democrats. Teddy Kennedy is dead and he's not coming back. The problem with America can easily be boiled down to a single question:

Would you like a nice, cold glass of donkey piss to go with that juicy plate of elephant shit you've ordered?

Bon appetit, America!

March 7:

It is embarrassing to have to point this out, but of the five-hundred and thirty-five members of the House and Senate, only one man (Bernie Sanders of Vermont) has had the the sense to point out what should be a no-brainer: We need to make drastic cuts in military spending. Or, in terms that even your average right wing extremist will be able to understand:

We piss away far too much of our national treasure on things that go BOOM!

March 14:

It's going to be an absolute scream in the next few years watching the Bush Mob try to rewrite history with the flood of books that are sure to come out. The latest screed by Rove is merely the tip of the iceberg. They have quite a chore ahead of them no doubt. Putting a positive spin on the worst administration in American history? I imagine something that tricky would be the equivalent of trying to put a smiley face on a decomposing pig:

"Well, lookie thar, Martha! Ain't that purdy?"

March 19:

Democracy in America has been overthrown - plain and simple. For three decades Corporate America was allowed - by law - to rape, pillage and loot our national treasure. When their house of marked cards came crashing down on September 15, 2008, you and I, against our will, were forced to bail these hideous bastards out. That's not a democracy. That's a plutocracy! These "Plutocrats" were able to buy our democratic form of government under the guise of campaign contributions. They have seized it and they have no intention of giving it back. And don't kid yourself by thinking that this is the fault of any particular political party. Both of them have been thoroughly corrupted - the Republicans only slightly more than the Democrats. You say you want a revolution?

March 29:

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!

April 8:

Once upon a time there existed a class of people who were SO FILTHY RICH that they lived in a ninety percent tax bracket. In other words, they kept ten percent of their income, handing over the rest to the federal government. It wasn't as much of a sacrifice as you might think. They still had more money than they knew what to do with - they only had ninety percent less of it. That situation has not existed in this country for a long time. But it will exist again - count on it. I'll be very blunt with you: Our very economic survival depends on us "soaking the rich" if you will. The last thirty years was their party and you and I were not invited. It's time for them to pay the piper - not us.

April 20:

I have spent enough time in Kentucky to know that it is chock full of good, decent, and honorable citizens. Knowing this as I do, another perplexing question forces itself on my consciousness: Why would such wonderful and lovely people consistently send a flaming asshole like Mitch McConnell to represent them in Washington? It just doesn't make any sense!

April 27:

As Jimmy Paige once wrote - or was it Robert Plant? - "It makes me wonder". I wonder what defect it is in the psychological makeup of a group of human beings that would have them place the health and well being of millions of other human beings behind the private profit of a very few. Most of these lawmakers who live in the pockets of the Plutocracy call themselves "Christians". Have they ever made a serious study of the books? You know! - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? - Those guys! How do they justify their actions? How do they sleep at night? We're talkin' major hypocrisy here! That's what makes them so much fun to watch! I always get a certain twisted delight in watching their fake piety. Imagine Wendy O. Williams being cast as Bernadette of Lourdes; or Marilyn Manson as Mahatma Gandhi. It's kind of the same thing.

May 10:

Roll the opening credits:

"Andy Hardy Gets A Clue"

Mickey Rooney as Andy Hardy
Lewis Stone as Judge Hardy

A fun time for the entire family!
Align Center
The Camera fades from black onto a house in a pleasant neighborhood in the mythical Midwestern town of Carvel. The home is the residence of kindly Judge Hardy and his family. The scene dissolves into the interior of the Judge's study. He is sitting in his leather-bound chair in front of the fireplace, concentrating on a small stack of legal briefs which are placed on his lap. There is a quiet knock on the door. "Come in", he says. From camera left enters the Judge's fifteen-year-old son, Andy Hardy....

Andy Hardy: Dad? I was wondering if we could have a little talk, you know, man-to-man.

Judge Hardy: What is it, Andrew?

Andy Hardy: I've been thinking a lot lately about deregulation.

Judge Hardy: In what way, son?

Andy Hardy: Well, Dad, I'm starting to think that deregulation might not have been a really neat idea after all.

Judge Hardy: No shit, Sherlock.

May 20:

I am totally ashamed of my behavior on the plane during the flight across the Atlantic. I'm sorry to tell you that I engaged in an inexcusable moment of racial profiling. Behind me were a group of seven or eight men whose attire and demeanor had me very suspicious. As things turned out, their behavior en route was exemplary and I had nothing to fear. Given all that has happened in recent years, however, and taking into consideration that it is their kind who are trying to destroy America, I had every reason to be worried. I'm sorry but seeing a group of bloated, middle-aged white guys in business suits tends to make me just a tad paranoid.

June 10:

In this one respect Barack Obama is a lot like JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although many of us are not old enough to remember those thirteen awful days in October of 1962, we've certainly seen enough film and videotape footage of it. How did Jack Kennedy behave during that confrontation with Russia? He was as cool as a freakin' cucumber, Buster! Can you imagine how the Soviets would have reacted had the president taken the suggestion of some media adviser and "freaked out" on Khrushchev ? Many of you reading this would never have been born. I would probably be dead. We would never have known the name "Sarah Palin". There would today be no such thing as FOX News. Oh, the humanity.

June 25:

I have a confession to make: I miss Dick Cheney. I miss him and his disgusting daughter Liz pounding the bejesus out of the talk show circuit, waxing idiotic on the subject of the evil socialist in the White House. Be honest; they were kind of fun to watch, weren't they? They always reminded me of two circus wagons stuffed with clowns that had crashed into each other on a main highway. You just couldn't take your eyes off the two of them! Then came the BP disaster. Liz lowered her profile and Sickie Dick all-but-disappeared! I'm sure that's all a big coincidence, though.

July 13:

What would the possibility of a President Palin mean for the United States? It would probably mean the death of this country - but that would be a fait accompli as far as I'm concerned. A people stupid enough to send someone like that to the White House deserves everything that happens to them.

July 19:

The most amazing thing in the aftermath of the BP/Gulf of Mexico catastrophe is the fact that the Republicans (and a more-than-a-few Democrats) are not even considering a moratorium on deep water drilling. These assholes just don't get it. They never have. They never will. The problem with most politicians is that it is not in their interest to think long range. All that really matters to them is the next campaign. Those campaigns are paid for, in large part, by the very companies (BP for one) that are destroying the environment. This is a good argument for either public financing of the electoral process or term limits - or both. In the meantime the country will only continue on its downward spiral. Fasten your seat belts, kiddies!

July 26:

Is it a coincidence that in the weeks leading up to the invasion of Iraq eight-and-a-half years ago, over seventy percent of the people who believed that Saddam Hussein was somehow culpable in the attacks of September 11, 2001 were habitual viewers of FOX Noise? Rupert Murdoch's organization has but a single purpose: keeping America stupid. Who would have dreamed that he would be this successful? Most Americans are unable to locate the continent of Africa on a map, or name a single Supreme Court Justice. FOX has a hand in this; I just know it!


Those in the extreme right who like to pretend that they've cornered the market on patriotism need to be exposed for what they are - ideological snake oil salesmen. All we have to do is open our eyes to see the damage that their thirty-year domination of our political conversation has done to this country. I'm almost at the point of believing that that damage is irreparable. At this writing, every poll indicates that the electorate intends on putting the party responsible for most of the mess we're in back in power on Election Day. Isn't that nice? Have another sip, America.

August 18:

Between you and me and the fire hydrant, I'm getting sick and tired of all the anti-Muslim hysteria that has been running rampant in the last nine years, and I've decided to take matters into my own hands. From this day forward I decree that the first week of September be deemed, "National Take A Muslim To Lunch Week". You don't know any Muslims? No problemo, amigo! Just get in touch with me. As I said before I have more Muslim friends and acquaintances than I know what to do with! I can set you up with a Class A, regulation Muslim in no time at all! September 1 is two weeks from now. You have plenty of time to set up a date. And if your schedule makes lunch time difficult, then take a Muslim to breakfast - or dinner. And if there is a fasting issue which prevents them from sitting down to a meal, then what the hell - take a Muslim to the movies. Take a Muslim to a ball game - or the golf course! Whatever the venue, be sure to spend some quality time with a child of Islam.
They're quality people!

September 1:

Is there a bigger asshole in the senate than Mitch McConnell? If someone can come up with a more worthy candidate for the title than poor, pathetic old Mitch, please let me know. So, he wants Obama to give credit to George W. Bush for the surge of troops into Iraq in the waning days of that disgusting administration? This is just too funny for words. Bush commits the worst military blunder in American history by invading the sovereign nation of Iraq by way of falsified evidence; nearly forty-five-hundred American servicemen and women are killed - not to mention as many as a million Iraqi men, women and little children - and now we're all expected to be grateful to the half-witted little bastard. I couldn't make this stuff up in fiction.

Spetember 15:

The idea of Tea Partiers getting the nomination in such "enlightened" states as New York and Delaware is an ominous thing to be sure. I have to believe (hope) that this revolution of knuckleheads is going to backfire on the grand old party in the end; that Election Day will prove to be the biggest upset since Harry Truman defeated Thomas Dewey in 1948. If the people who are responsible for most of our economic woes are put back in charge in January, it will prove only one thing: the jaw dropping stupidity of the American people. There will be no other explanation for it. None.

September 22:

I get the feeling (call it a silly hunch on my part) that the American people don't fully appreciate the implications behind the prospect of the GOP taking back the House and the Senate in January. I know what you're thinking and I agree. The Democrats are beyond worthless. Let's face some serious facts here: Any party with a pathetic and befuddled old Andy Gump like Harry Reid as their leader is going to have - "issues" shall we say? But the thing that has to be remembered about our elected Democratic representatives in Washington is the fact that - for the most part - their hearts are in the right place. The same cannot be said for the Republicans. They long ago ceased being a political party. They are now an organized criminal enterprise. If that sounds to you like the extreme ramblings of an embittered Lefty, that's fine. But I am convinced that within a decade, 20/20 historical hindsight will prove me correct. Call me in ten years and we'll compare notes.

September 29:

Yesterday's "contract" is today's "pledge". It's the same old bullshit with a different dessert topping. By now these ridiculous Republican photo-ops have become as predictable as they are unintentionally comical. There they were in their shirtsleeves - ties strategically removed, the women wearing casual slacks - all in a pathetic attempt to come off like real hard-workin' folks. They even staged the event in a Hardware store! They must really think that the American people are awfully stupid to fall for something as obvious as this. The very fact that so many people did swallow this nonsense without so much as a chaser proves that perhaps these politicians are onto something.

October 7:

Twenty-six days from today (if current trends continue) these imbecilic Americans will bang yet another nail into the slowly-closing coffin of their economic security by handing the legislative branch of our government back to Reagan's ideological heirs - the same jackals and jackasses - bitches and bastards - who are responsible for the mess we're in today....and our downward spiral will only continue.

Is this a great country, or what?

October 9:

It is ironic, and maybe even fitting, that our final vision of [John Lennon] is not as the sweet old curmudgeon we always knew he would turn out to be - but as the Lennon of 1980: Forever young, eternally whimsical, steadfastly defiant, deadly serious, and hopelessly silly - all of the paradoxes that were combined in this one incredible, enigmatic persona....I sure do miss John Lennon.

October 19:

I haven't given up hope. As the great and deceptively wise Yogi Berra once philosophized, "It ain't over till it's over." Sage wisdom indeed. We still have sixteen days and - as the old adage tells us - that's a lifetime in politics, baby! We also have a fact on our side that by now is a part of the natural order of things:

The sun will rise in the east
The moon will set in the west
The right wing will behave like assholes....

October 24:

You've gotta hand it to FOX Noise. These hideous bastards and bitches would have done Josef Goebbels proud. They grabbed the BIG LIE and ran with it. Through constant repetition and non-too subliminal messages, FOX kept repeating the LIE into the ears and minds of its clueless constituency:


On November 2, 2010, the American people - or at least those who were stupid enough to swallow this nonsense - will be going to the polls en masse, salivating like Pavlov's dogs at the bells of doom.

November 3:

If you happen to be driving down Route 9W in the vicinity of Hyde Park, NY this morning, a distinct rumbling can be clearly heard. If you're traveling north, the noise is coming from the rose garden of a mansion on your left. It is the sound of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt doing somersaults in their graves. They wouldn't recognize [the Democratic party] today.

November 17:

Regarding Sarah Plain: To paraphrase the late, great Molly Ivins in a slightly different context:

If that woman's IQ slips any lower we're gonna have to start watering her twice a day.

November 23:

I hate America for what it has become. I love America for what it was. I adore America for what it could be.

You and I will be paying more in taxes in the years to come. That is unavoidable. Come to terms with the idea. Here's the good news: We'll be paying a bit more. The rich will be paying a lot more. Here is the ONLY way out of the mess that the Republicans and more-than-a-few Democrats have gotten us into: We absolutely need to bring back the ninety percent tax bracket for the uber wealthy. That is the only way out. The only way. It amazes me that after all these years, the Republicans still want us to buy into the myth that says glad tidings will "trickle down" on the rest of us. Is that really true? Well, yeah. If you like getting pissed on,
it's very true indeed.

December 5:

The nightmare that we are now experiencing at our southern border is nothing compared to the one Canada will be feeling within a decade. It will be a phenomenon never seen before: American refugees. Whoa! What a concept! In ten years this country won't be worth the paper that the maps of it are printed on. All because we in this generation refused to recognize our priorities. And here is the nasty little reality that no one has dared to mention. The damage that we've done to ourselves is more-than-likely insurmountable. Isn't that a sweet thought? The years between 1981 and 2011 will be remembered as the period when the United States committed a long and slow suicide. The damage is now complete. Get used to living in a country in ruins.

December 14:

It's a secret no longer. We Liberals are out to destroy Christmas. Late in the evening on Christmas Eve we are planning a coordinated, all out, violent assault on the yuletide. As of December 25, 2010, the name of the holiday shall forevermore be referred to as "International Emma Goldman Day". Anyone caught celebrating the birthday of the Prince of Peace from that point forward will be severely punished. Let all those intending to ignore this edict be forewarned....But seriously, folks.


But now the days are short
We're in the winter of our years
And now I think of this land
As Wonder Bread turned green from mold
To rocks from gold
We were gripped by fear
It was a
VERY weird year....

And what a long, strange year it's been. Happy New Year, Everyone!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The photo at the top of this piece was taken in May in London during our trip to the Abbey Road Studios. The photographer was my old pal and patient traveling companion Kevin Swanwick.
Have a great year, pal! Give Kathy, Holly and Paulette a hug for me!


At 1:37 PM, Blogger Dearest Friend said...

I started counting the number of times the words "Sarah" and "Palin" were used this year - but I already have a headache! So, I gave up, I'm hoping for a Palin-less (or pain-less - drop one letter and whattya get? I know a thing or two about that!) New Year!

Please, please, please, keep it up - I know Obama's death squad is probably out to get me because I may need to take prescription medication for my headache...and I'm over 40 so...what to do?

Just please, keep the sanity in our humanity so 2012 doesn't turn out to be a tea-partiers dream.

2 more days for 2010 - good bye, good day, new decade, we can face it, right? I'm a little scared but we'll be okay...


At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel so disgusted with this nation. Growing up, my brothers tricked my sister into doing dishes every night with the toss of a coin. She believed she had rotten luck until my mom found out what my bro's were up to → headset I win, tails you loose. My bro's apparently missed their true calling as Fox news personalities. Heads I win tails you loose is being played daily on real Patriots. I wish everyone had someone like my momma to gently explain to them that they are being bamboozled in the most hideous way.

Happy New Year
Wendy B.

At 5:42 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

I have a funny feeling that - politically at least - things are going to get much worse before they get any better. Still, it's a lot of fun to watch, isn't it?

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Dearest Friend said...

I think you're on our side, Wendy, but it's hard to say. Fox News personalities are downright scary and often way over the top in what they have to say. Are they wrong? No - they have a right to their opinions which are usually based on facts that may or may not be correct.

Sarah Palin's pronouncements have been often based on poor information and half-baked research into the facts. It frightens me to thank that anyone like this who ignores the facts could lead this country. I find the president to be just the opposite - thoroughly reviewing and obtaining the facts of a matter before commenting.

Your momma was a good woman. I know my mom wouldn't let my older siblings "get over" on me with something. I recall an incident with a glass water bottle which my five-year-old hands couldn't handle. My older brother decided he wanted a drink and told me to get it. Well, the glass bottle slipped out of my hand and hit the wood floor - shattered into a million pieces some of which cut my hands. Mom read him the "riot act" and told him that she did NOT give birth to a slave or servant for him and if he was thirsty - he could get his own damned drink of water! So, how does this story fit into today's world? I think it is:

If you want something or want to do something, do it yourself, ask nicely if you need help and make sure you know what you're getting yourself into!

Or as my dad would say, "You don't know the answer? Look it up! That's why there's books!"

Happy New Year


At 1:34 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:35 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

That must've taken a helluva lot of reading of old posts to get the worst of the worst, Tom. Good job. I should do something like this, myself, for the end of the year.

At 1:59 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Tom, I am and have been a faithful reader of The Rant from its beginning. I don't think I have missed any of your columns and looking back at your pick from the last year, it is damned impressive work. Congratulations, and keep it coming!

At 11:30 PM, Blogger Catharine said...

It's been a long, long year. I don't know if things will get worse (whatever that means) or not. But I think that slowly but surely, people will begin to get used to this new America -- you know... the one that is okay with one in five children going hungry and a 20% unemployment rate.

They'll wave their little flags, and call themselves the "greatest country on Earth", all while trying to rob the poor to give to the rich, in hopes the rich will take pity on them and throw them a bone. Which of course, they won't, because they never, ever do.

In other words, America is going the way of every fallen empire. They just don't see it yet. That's okay... The British Empire fell, and they're still here.

Happy New Year, Mr. Degan. Try to spend at least part of the 31 and 1st being a little optimistic -- even if you have to fake it.

(Hey, I said "optimistic" not "sincere." :) )


At 6:07 AM, Blogger finefroghair said...

I was not sure whether to laugh or cry
decided to do both
great post!!!

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it certainly is good to see a tolerant leftie blog. I'd have never known all about those evil Republicans if it weren't for you Tommy. Oh brother. Open your eyes, both the Republican and Democratic parties are evil, and they are run by the banksters. Oh, and by the way, for others who write comments here: it's LOSER not LOOSER. Another well educated individual I see.

At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree with your rants about the positive effects of the tax rates in the 1930-60's but something seems to be missing from your argument. These rates are marginal rates.

Those top tax rates were what the rich paid on their income over a certain level. For example, in the 1932 tax bill the top rate became 67% on income over $1,000,000 (about 13Mill in today's dollars).
This Tax bill actually lowered the rates paid between 100,000 and 1,000,000 but raised the marginal rate on the top end.

What these top marginal rates did was make it insane for executives to try and extract so much pay they bled their companies dry. Because at this level the tax man got most of the money. Accordingly, under these rules executives invested in their companies and their communities because there was motivation to do so - they'd get a stronger pension.

I know its a small thing but when looked at in total it helps explain your position.

Best Regards

At 6:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if only the Kennedys were still alive, Camelot would have created our Utopia where money grew on trees and we all lived happily ever after...

blah blah blah tom degan

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Mary Mayhem said...

I have just spent an hour reading this when I should have been studying my Geology assignments, thanks. This is pretty counterproductive for the career college student.

I'm so frustrated with the insanity and fear mongering.

The Keith Olberman incident was the last straw, and I no longer watch or listen to the news, so l depend on The Daily Show, rant blogs, NPR (I guess that's news), human contact, and the Cobert Report to keep me up-to-date with what's going on in the world.

Thanks for your contribution. You are hilarious, but it is sad that this is the current state of our union.



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