Topics

City/Town Government

RhodeMap Brings Eminent Domain One Step Closer

Analysis of the state law purporting to protect Rhode Islanders from eminent domain suggests that RhodeMap RI makes government takings significantly easier.


Gary Morse: Accepting the Gary Sasse RhodeMap RI Challenge

The casual attitude of public intellectual Gary Sasse overlooks dangers of RhodeMap RI, perhaps in the interest of Bryant University.


Learning from the Tragedy of Eric Garner

The focus on race issues distracts from the lessons that Americans should be learning from high-profile incidents involving the police.


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Civil Rights

Gary Morse: PolitiFact RI Wrong on Stenhouse Statement

The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development is very concerned about fairness, and its definition falls within Mike Stenhouse’s characterization of it.


Monday’s Community Outreach Forum on Policing, Part 1


My two biggest takeaways from Monday night’s forum on policing, at the South Providence Recreation Center, with Chiefs Hugh Clements (Providence Police Department) and Steven O’Donnell (Rhode Island State Police):

1. If good policing is built on strong communities, while the pathway to strong communities is cleared by good policing, there is a real chicken-or-egg issue with finding a solution.

2. A basic concept that our government and society seems to be losing needs a restoration, the idea that the top elected official of a city, town or state police force is the leader of the police force, not just ceremonially, but in a true operational sense.


RhodeMap Brings Eminent Domain One Step Closer

Analysis of the state law purporting to protect Rhode Islanders from eminent domain suggests that RhodeMap RI makes government takings significantly easier.


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Congress

10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 46 (Congressional Debates)

Rob Paquin and Bob Plain discuss the candidates for U.S. Congress from Rhode Island (mostly by way of the issues).


Mark Zaccaria on Issues Facing the US Senate


After his campaign announcement, Republican Senatorial candidate Mark Zaccaria answered questions posed by Anchor Rising on the subjects of:

The guiding principle and vision of American foreign policy.

Where to go on Obamacare, from where we now are.

The institutional way to deal with executive overreach.

The gulf between the elites and the people, on illegal immigration.


Mark Zaccaria Announces for Senate


Mark Zaccaria: “[Y]our taxes, your food and your housing costs are all up as a result of what the Federal Government has done, and Jack Reed has voted yes for every single one of those increases, certainly during the last couple of terms. I contend that Rhode Islanders are ready to vote no, and it’s about high time.

But they have to have a choice to be able to do that, to be able to vote for better monetary policy, or smaller government that costs less, so that it takes less money out of your pockets. You have to have that alternative on the ballot. I hope to be the face of that message to the hard-working, tax-paying men and women of Rhode Island during this campaign.

There is another way, folks. We can do that. And I will be making that point, to anyone who will listen to me, every day between now and the fourth of November…you don’t have to vote for the guy you voted for last time. In fact, it might be better if you voted for somebody new.”


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Culture & Family

The Racist, Oppressive Progressives

Progressivism is a recipe for a new aristocracy, relying on distractions about racism and abstract bogeymen in order to herd us all into boxes.


Tribalism in the Marriage Debate

A Midwestern judge’s ruling on same-sex marriage raises questions about the relationship of parents to their children and the government to everybody.


The Sides in the Culture War

How #GamerGate points to the great metaphysical war of the universe.


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Economy

Was the Greenhouse Compact Right?

Aaron Renn’s belief that “the Greenhouse Compact was right” shows the missing piece in progressive analysis, and in Rhode Island governance.


October 2014 Employment: The Mysteries of Stagnation

Rhode Island’s employment picture was indeed “mixed” in October, but context makes it simply bleak.


Dangerous Complacency at Rhode Island League of Cities & Towns Towards RhodeMap RI?

A friend forwarded me an interesting and alarming e-mail thread with regard to RhodeMap RI. Below is the text of two of the e-mails, which went out this afternoon, followed by the author and his title. On Thursday morning, the State Planning Council will vote on a proposed Economic Development Plan which largely incorporates the […]


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Education

Gary Morse: Accepting the Gary Sasse RhodeMap RI Challenge

The casual attitude of public intellectual Gary Sasse overlooks dangers of RhodeMap RI, perhaps in the interest of Bryant University.


Question #4: In-State Employment Rate of URI Engineering Grads Does Not Justify $125 Million Tab for Taxpayers

This Tuesday, Rhode Island taxpayers will be asked if they are willing to pay an eye-opening $125 million, excluding interest, to construct a new building and renovate existing buildings at URI’s College of Engineering. Proponents claim it will improve Rhode Island’s workforce, but how many URI engineers are actually staying to work in the state, right now?


Nation-Leading Teacher Pay… and the Constitutional Convention

With Rhode Island leading the nation in government-school teacher pay, it isn’t surprising that the union would court gun-rights advocates to kill a constitutional convention.


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Environment

Politicians, Look to Your Own “Horrendous Impact” on Energy Prices

When the energy market forces National Grid to increase its rates, politicians condemn the company, but expensive energy is a problem to which they’ve happily contributed.


Representative Democracy, Left and Right

A view of “representative democracy” that casts representation as a mild form of dictatorship will destroy a society, whether we’re talking about Obama or an environmental protest in Somerset.


Of Free Markets and Atlantic Salmon

The evisceration of the Atlantic salmon is not a tale of free-market self destruction, but of society’s evolving needs and priorities, which are highly contingent on wealth.


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Gambling

RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


Beware Statists in Libertarian Clothing

Some libertarians have been encouraged to see the liberalization of laws on social issues, but they should go beyond the cliché that politics makes strange bedfellows and wonder why they have the company they do.


Betting the House for Rhode Island

Legislation submitted last week would allow people to gamble their assets (such as houses and investment accounts) at the new state-run casino.


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General Assembly

RhodeMap Brings Eminent Domain One Step Closer

Analysis of the state law purporting to protect Rhode Islanders from eminent domain suggests that RhodeMap RI makes government takings significantly easier.


Legislators as Mere Landmarks on the RhodeMap

The legislative history of the RhodeMap RI, as well as grant-related documents, suggest that Rhode Islanders’ elected representatives aren’t really the ones calling the shots and are following the bait-and-switch path that brought us 38 Studios.


Dangerous Complacency at Rhode Island League of Cities & Towns Towards RhodeMap RI?

A friend forwarded me an interesting and alarming e-mail thread with regard to RhodeMap RI. Below is the text of two of the e-mails, which went out this afternoon, followed by the author and his title. On Thursday morning, the State Planning Council will vote on a proposed Economic Development Plan which largely incorporates the […]


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Government

Gary Morse: PolitiFact RI Wrong on Stenhouse Statement

The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development is very concerned about fairness, and its definition falls within Mike Stenhouse’s characterization of it.


Monday’s Community Outreach Forum on Policing, Part 1


My two biggest takeaways from Monday night’s forum on policing, at the South Providence Recreation Center, with Chiefs Hugh Clements (Providence Police Department) and Steven O’Donnell (Rhode Island State Police):

1. If good policing is built on strong communities, while the pathway to strong communities is cleared by good policing, there is a real chicken-or-egg issue with finding a solution.

2. A basic concept that our government and society seems to be losing needs a restoration, the idea that the top elected official of a city, town or state police force is the leader of the police force, not just ceremonially, but in a true operational sense.


Gary Morse: Accepting the Gary Sasse RhodeMap RI Challenge

The casual attitude of public intellectual Gary Sasse overlooks dangers of RhodeMap RI, perhaps in the interest of Bryant University.


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Governor

RhodeMap RI: Bipartisan Group of Legislators Calls for Delay; Cite Its “near-total lack of an economic development focus”

The following statement was received via e-mail this afternoon. Attached was a letter addressed to Kevin Flynn, Associate Director of the R.I. Division of Planning.

State Planning Division Faulted For Pursuing “Predetermined Result” With Little Economic Development Focus

Senators, Representatives To File Legislation To Correct Imbalance

State House, Nov 18 – A group of five Republican, Democrat and Independent legislators today called for a delay in approval of the hotly-criticized RhodeMap RI.

The legislators want to correct an imbalance that seems to exclude meaningful action to improve Rhode Island’s poor economic performance, something the State Planning Division has continually tried to characterize as the goal of the effort.


Gary Morse: RhodeMap RI Is a Road Map to Disaster

Evidence of the consequences of adopting the RhodeMap RI plan (spurred by the federal Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) is easy to find, and Rhode Islanders should make up for Governor Chafee’s failure to look.


Prepare for Four Years of #HealeyDidThat

The last-minute candidacy of Moderate Moose Bob Healey gave Rhode Islanders an excuse not to take their gubernatorial votes seriously.


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Healthcare

UPDATED: Gruber’s Brief Dealings with HealthSource RI

A contract and correspondence with MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber show that HealthSource RI cut his project short and used earlier estimates that he had called “rough.”


UPDATED: Jonathan Gruber Behind Flawed HealthSource RI Projections

Jonathan Gruber’s remarks about the “stupidity of the American voter” have revealed the deception behind ObamaCare, and his involvement in the planning process for HealthSource RI raises the question of how pervasive his attitude has been among government agents locally.


RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


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History

The World the West is Creating with Vladimir Putin


Is there a better way than political authoritarianism and stunted economic growth that Vladimir Putin’s subjects (including high-ranking oligarchs) might want to consider? Western elites might not like to admit this, but ratcheting up an “uncivilized” tribal strategy may be an effective way for Putin and current Russian leadership to answer this question in the negative, by boosting the morale (at least in the short term) of his Russian followers, and by frightening an “internationalist” coalition away from being willing to take the steps necessary to slow his expansion.

The ultimate effectiveness of this strategy depends on the strength and the nature of the coherence of the adversary that Russia faces.


Immigrant Children as Political Chips

Progressive historians will one day attribute the Obama Administration-facilitated humanitarian crisis on the border to the racist evils of the United States.


Dorr Was Cool, Until He Wasn’t

Steve Ahlquist has published a portion of the testimony he will be giving in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Senate Bill 2641, which is an attempt to revoke Rhode Island’s current Voter ID law. Calling upon the memory of “Governor” Thomas Dorr, Ahlquist writes: Arguably, next to Roger Williams, no Rhode Islander has […]


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Immigration

Steve Ahlquist, the Oppressors’ Heir

In attacking Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement, Steve Ahlquist gives reason to believe he’d have been a different kind of oppressor in a different time.


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 37 (WJAR Gubernatorial Debates & Immigration)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss the first Republican and Democrat gubernatorial debates on Channel 10, WJAR, with some emphasis on the illegal immigration crisis.


Illegal Aliens and RI Social Programs: Qualifying Documentation Ranges from Strong to Alarmingly Weak

… In response to an inquiry from Ocean State Current-Anchor Rising, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services sent over several documents. One of those listed all of the documents that an applicant for social services can submit to verify citizenship qualification for those benefits.


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Infrastructure

Politicians, Look to Your Own “Horrendous Impact” on Energy Prices

When the energy market forces National Grid to increase its rates, politicians condemn the company, but expensive energy is a problem to which they’ve happily contributed.


RhodeMap Brings Eminent Domain One Step Closer

Analysis of the state law purporting to protect Rhode Islanders from eminent domain suggests that RhodeMap RI makes government takings significantly easier.


RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


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Legislation

Politicians, Look to Your Own “Horrendous Impact” on Energy Prices

When the energy market forces National Grid to increase its rates, politicians condemn the company, but expensive energy is a problem to which they’ve happily contributed.


RhodeMap Brings Eminent Domain One Step Closer

Analysis of the state law purporting to protect Rhode Islanders from eminent domain suggests that RhodeMap RI makes government takings significantly easier.


Learning from the Tragedy of Eric Garner

The focus on race issues distracts from the lessons that Americans should be learning from high-profile incidents involving the police.


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Media

Gary Morse: PolitiFact RI Wrong on Stenhouse Statement

The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development is very concerned about fairness, and its definition falls within Mike Stenhouse’s characterization of it.


About the Journal’s Endorsements

The Providence Journal said they want change. I think they missed a great opportunity to advocate for change in at least one of their endorsements.


Kilmartin’s Gift from the Providence Journal’s PolitiFactRI

Both a statement from Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and a related review by PolitiFactRI leave out important context that should have affected the Truth-o-meter rating.


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Musings & Announcements

Friday Night Beer: Troegs Troegenator

The Troegenator Doublebock blends alcohol and flavor for an experience of sweet associations.


Friday Night Beer: Troegs Hop Knife Harvest Ale

Troegs’s Hop Knife Harvest Ale accomplishes what a “harvest ale” ought to accomplish: it brings to mind an agricultural past and a sense of heritage.


Friday Night Beer: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA

Sometimes a beer just fits a dark New England evening, with heavy music on the speakers and a heavy meal on the plate.


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National Security

The World the West is Creating with Vladimir Putin


Is there a better way than political authoritarianism and stunted economic growth that Vladimir Putin’s subjects (including high-ranking oligarchs) might want to consider? Western elites might not like to admit this, but ratcheting up an “uncivilized” tribal strategy may be an effective way for Putin and current Russian leadership to answer this question in the negative, by boosting the morale (at least in the short term) of his Russian followers, and by frightening an “internationalist” coalition away from being willing to take the steps necessary to slow his expansion.

The ultimate effectiveness of this strategy depends on the strength and the nature of the coherence of the adversary that Russia faces.


Watching the President from the Other Side

Many among the conservative commentariate have quickly gotten past their brief flirtation with “I told you so” and are moving toward a tone of slow, aching disconcertment.


Government United in Surveillance, People Divided

An opportunity for unified action by all Americans looks likely to be thwarted by the discord that the government and political agents have sowed.


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On a Lighter Note

Friday Night Beer: Ommegang Valar Morghulis

A dubbel ale by Ommegang offers enjoyable flavor with mild buzz and a tie-in to the world of fantasy novels.


My Non-Epic Soccer Post


I’ll side with the Ancient Romans over Ann Coulter, but soccer’s powers-that-be should really lighten up on the substitution rules.


$5,000 – or .000022 – Worth of Sunday Morning Grins & Giggles Courtesy PolitiFact RI

On a personal note, I’d like to sincerely thank PolitiFact RI for starting my day with a big smile this morning, though perhaps they would not be altogether pleased at the reason.

In today’s Providence Journal, they’ve rated a statement by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity (hereinafter “the Center”) pertaining to the $224.5 million in wasteful spending identified by the Center in the governor’s proposed 2015 budget. PolitiFact is not questioning that the state gave away the $5,000 example offered by the Center of an expenditure item in the Governor’s Workforce Board from a prior year. PolitiFact is only saying that the Center did not fully explain what the $5,000 in hard earned taxpayer dollars was spent on.


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Pensions

Coalition Radio Introduces Three Fiscal Topics into the 2014 Campaign


Issue 1: Do any candidates for Rhode Island Governor or Rhode Island General Assembly support modifying or repealing Governor Chafee’s Wall-Street-first law regarding municipal priorities?

Issue 2: Will any of the candidates for Governor of Rhode Island have their fiscal staffs look immediately into the possibility of a Providence receivership. Will they tell us if they do?

Issue 3: Buddy Cianci, according to some research done by Michael Riley, once advocated for pension obligation bonds to help finance Providence’s pension system. Might he do so again?


A Public-Sector Sense of Unfairness

A retired teacher and Providence Journal contributor thinks pension reform gave her a raw deal. Looking at the numbers, it’s difficult to see her deal as a public employee as anything short of spectacular.


RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


Back to top



Political Theory

The Racist, Oppressive Progressives

Progressivism is a recipe for a new aristocracy, relying on distractions about racism and abstract bogeymen in order to herd us all into boxes.


Gary Morse: Accepting the Gary Sasse RhodeMap RI Challenge

The casual attitude of public intellectual Gary Sasse overlooks dangers of RhodeMap RI, perhaps in the interest of Bryant University.


Was the Greenhouse Compact Right?

Aaron Renn’s belief that “the Greenhouse Compact was right” shows the missing piece in progressive analysis, and in Rhode Island governance.


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Politics

Gary Morse: PolitiFact RI Wrong on Stenhouse Statement

The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development is very concerned about fairness, and its definition falls within Mike Stenhouse’s characterization of it.


Politicians, Look to Your Own “Horrendous Impact” on Energy Prices

When the energy market forces National Grid to increase its rates, politicians condemn the company, but expensive energy is a problem to which they’ve happily contributed.


Dangerous Complacency at Rhode Island League of Cities & Towns Towards RhodeMap RI?

A friend forwarded me an interesting and alarming e-mail thread with regard to RhodeMap RI. Below is the text of two of the e-mails, which went out this afternoon, followed by the author and his title. On Thursday morning, the State Planning Council will vote on a proposed Economic Development Plan which largely incorporates the […]


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Sports

Shut Down the NCAA

The NCAA handed down a one half of one game suspension for current Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel for taking money for autographs. However, they have a bit of a history with giving out much longer suspensions for lesser offenses. It’s time to shut down the NCAA.


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Taxation

Gary Morse: Accepting the Gary Sasse RhodeMap RI Challenge

The casual attitude of public intellectual Gary Sasse overlooks dangers of RhodeMap RI, perhaps in the interest of Bryant University.


Learning from the Tragedy of Eric Garner

The focus on race issues distracts from the lessons that Americans should be learning from high-profile incidents involving the police.


Dangerous Complacency at Rhode Island League of Cities & Towns Towards RhodeMap RI?

A friend forwarded me an interesting and alarming e-mail thread with regard to RhodeMap RI. Below is the text of two of the e-mails, which went out this afternoon, followed by the author and his title. On Thursday morning, the State Planning Council will vote on a proposed Economic Development Plan which largely incorporates the […]


Back to top



Unions

Nation-Leading Teacher Pay… and the Constitutional Convention

With Rhode Island leading the nation in government-school teacher pay, it isn’t surprising that the union would court gun-rights advocates to kill a constitutional convention.


Constitutional Convention as an Alternative to the Unions’ Legislature


Latest on the Central Coventry Fire District Includes Threat by Governor’s Lawyers to Personally Sue Fire Board For Standing Up For Democracy

At the height of election fever, let’s not lose track of the latest developments in the disturbing situation involving the Central Coventry Fire District.

The following report, on “Central Coventry Citizens Taskforce for Fire Protection” letterhead and inclusive of two contact names and phone numbers, was sent out via e-mail this afternoon. It appears that at the Monday meeting and in other venues, Governor Chafee has had no compunction in carrying out the almost certainly unconstitutional order of the General Assembly to the taxpayers of the Central Coventry Fire District: – an order that could well come to every fire district in the state: No voting; just shut up and pay.


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Welfare

Gary Morse: PolitiFact RI Wrong on Stenhouse Statement

The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development is very concerned about fairness, and its definition falls within Mike Stenhouse’s characterization of it.


SNAP Data Sings the Rhode Island Tune

Month-to-month trends of SNAP beneficiaries in Rhode Island and across the country show another way that Rhode Island is unique and reinforces a theory of decline that seems to fit every picture in the Ocean State.


RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


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