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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Sunday, October 31, 2004
French Jew-Hatred
It is the third time in the last six months that Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated in the Alsace region.
Via LGF of course.
Osama Bin Laden Tape Threatens U.S. States Not to Vote for Bush
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has translation and Islamist interpretation of the latest bin Laden tape.
The Islamist website Al-Qal'a explained what this sentence meant: "This message was a warning to every U.S. state separately. When he [Osama Bin Laden] said, 'Every state will be determining its own security, and will be responsible for its choice,' it means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president has chosen to fight us, and we will consider it our enemy, and any state that will vote against Bush has chosen to make peace with us, and we will not characterize it as an enemy. By this characterization, Sheikh Osama wants to drive a wedge in the American body, to weaken it, and he wants to divide the American people itself between enemies of Islam and the Muslims, and those who fight for us, so that he doesn't treat all American people as if they're the same. This letter will have great implications inside the American society, part of which are connected to the American elections, and part of which are connected to what will come after the elections."
I heard a conservative talk show host Friday (don't remember which) call the tape "Madrid without the bombs". I thought he was exaggerating, but it looks like he was right. It was a clear attempt to influence the election in a specific direction. Remember, it worked in Spain. Via LGF.
Bean's California Ballot Guide
Your wait is over. Here's how I'm voting. You can print this out and take it to your poling place! Since I'm married to ball-and-chain and we went through the ballot together, I can tell you that this is her ballot too.

President: George W. Bush
Senator: Bill Jones
State Measures:
64: Yes
69: Yes
all the rest: No

While Nomad looked at the California Republican and Libertarian recommendations, I found it instructive to compare the Republican with the Democratic. I used this simple algorithm:
On all measures for which the Republicans and Democrats agree, (regardless of whether they agree Yes or No) I vote No.
On all measures for which the Republicans and Democrats disagree, I vote the way the Republicans suggest.

The reason for the first rule is a contrarian opinion about ballot measures voiced well by Ralphie. I think the reason we elect a legislature is to, um, pass good laws. The initiative process has become a way for the legislature to dodge responsibility for issues and pass the buck to us. Any issue that the Reps and Dems agree on sounds either irrelevant or something the legislature should pass and leave me out of. It just doesn't smell right. While I wouldn't go as far as Ralphie and get rid of ballot measures entirely (prop 13, after all, was a landmark in tax restraint) I think it's smart to approach them with suspicion and to have your default vote on them be "No" (rather than having the default be abstention, which would be appropriate for example in a vote for a judicial position in which you've never heard of the candidates).

After applying this algorithm, I reviewed the list again, since there were a few propositions on which I had specific opinions. It turned out that the algorithm served me well and I didn't have to change a single vote. Interestingly, Dennis Prager recommends the same votes on the initiatives, though he doesn't give us reasons or analysis.

On some specific measures I will include my analysis below in Nomad's California Ballot Initiatives post, and I'll include the Democratic recommendations. I'm surprised that we disagree on a few.
I've been waiting for the final Gallup all day, but now that it's here, I just don't know what to make of it, other than that it's close. Nationally, it has Bush up 49 to 47. At the state level, it has a Bush victory, but the allocation of states is kinda whacky.

Of the 6 battleground states it polls, it gives PA (21), WI (10) and IA (7) to Bush, while giving FL (27), OH (20) and MN (10) to Kerry. I guess if you reversed PA and FL, it wouldn't be THAT far off other polling, but the margins are kind of high in several cases.

Assuming a pickup of New Mexico for Bush and a pick up of New Hampshire for Kerry, and a hold of every other state by the party that won it in '00, you start with Bush having 279. Subtract OH and FL per above, and Bush has 232. Give PA, WI and IA to Bush, and you end up with a total of exactly 270. So, it's yet another permutation of polls that give the election to Bush in differing manners.

I guess it comes down to this. Bush has more options to get to 270. Kerry needs to nearly run the table in order to win. Bush does not. That's why, despite differing state breakdowns, Bush continues to come out on top in various poll-driven projections. But, things could still go the wrong way if everything breaks for the opposition.

Fox has 'em neck-and-neck as well. Does this one count?

This is why I hate being so partisan. I honestly can't understand why half the country is insane. Loves the UN more than the US. Or have no idea there's a conflict there. Softly, I weep.
Dead Heat
Good thing Zogby's one to avoid...
Intiative to end all initiatives?
Would y'all be in favor of an intiative that outlaws initiatives? I have done zero research, but it seems to me that the original idea was for citizens to mobilize forces at the grass-roots level and use direct democracy to pass a law. Does anyone seriously believe these aren't put on ballots by big business or big activism? Maybe it doesn't matter. I have no alternative. Except, I mean, electing people and having them vote in legislatures 'n' stuff.
Bad omen?
Redskins lose at home.

Do you realize what this could mean????
Reputable Poll Update
Amidst all the noise of daily tracking polls and Zogby madness, we have some reputable polling organizations. Per an earlier post, one of these is Pew. Their final poll shows a 3 point Bush lead. Find it at RCP.

Note that Newsweek's final put Bush at +6.

Gallup should be out later today or tomorrow morning.

Update: Polipundit notes this quote from Pew:

“As in previous polls, Bush’s supporters are much more enthusiastic than those backing Kerry. In fact, Bush registers a higher percentage of strong supporters in the final weekend of the campaign than any candidate since former President Ronald Reagan in 1984.”

California Ballot Initiatives
This is a listing of the positions of the major parties on the California ballot initiatives, and also some of our own positions...

GOP: Yes
This constitutional amendment, placed on the ballot by the Legislature, would provide local government with assurances that their funds would not be taken by the Legislature. It locks in place the current allocation of property taxes, sales taxes, and vehicle license fees.
Libertarian: No Position
Dem: Yes
Oven: YES. Good for cities (yours and mine), bad for the big spenders in Sacramento.

59: Access to government information
GOP: Yes
This is a constitutional amendment that provides that the people have the right to access information concerning the conduct of the people’s business.
Libertarian: Yes
This was a unanimous bipartisan measure to imbed statutory guarantees of open government (mostly for local governments and local agencies) into the state Constitution.
Dem: Yes
Oven: YES. Good government is transparent (mostly) and accountable.

60: Primary elections
GOP: Yes
This constitutional amendment guarantees political parties the ability to place nominees elected in primary elections on the general election ballot. Rather than changing current law, this measure merely provides constitutional protections for the current primary election process.
Libertarian: Yes
Would nullify the Open Primary Initiative (Prop 62) if it received more votes. [NOTE: A court order has split the original Proposition 60 into two separate measures, Propositions 60 and 60a.]
Dem: Yes
Oven: YES. Primaries are good for parties.

60A: Surplus state property
GOP: Yes
This amendment would earmark the proceeds from any disposal of surplus state property for repayment of the Economic Recovery Bond, Proposition 57 (approved in the March 2004
Libertarian: Yes
Would use the sale of surplus state property to pay off bonds.
Dem: Yes
Oven: YES. Reduce state deficit, rather than spend, extra income.

61: Children's Hospital Projects. Grant Program. Bond Act
This is a $750 million bond to be used to fund grants to children’s hospitals. It would be repaid from the state’s General Fund. (Note: There is no guarantee that this would increase funding to children’s hospitals, since the Legislature could use these bond funds in place of existing revenues that would otherwise have been dedicated to children’s hospitals.)
Libertarian: No
Not a proper function of government, and the taxpayers do not need more bond debt.
Dem: Yes
Oven: NO. All bond measures are for worthwhile heartstring-pulling projects. This one is no exception. I vote NO because (1) CA's debt is large enough already, (2) CA can pay for this without a bond measure by cutting spending elsewhere, and (3) if Californians REALLY want it, they'll override my NO vote.

62: Elections. Primaries
This is the disastrous initiative statute designed to eliminate party primary elections and replace them with “Louisiana-style” jungle primaries, where the general election ballot would contain the names of only the top two candidates (regardless of party). In many districts, perhaps most, there would be two Republicans or two Democrats on the general election ballot. Real voter choice would no longer exist.
Libertarian: No
Would destroy minor parties and limit voters choices in the general election. A much better solution is Instant Runoff Voting.
Dem: No
Oven: NO. Don't mess with my primary and I won't mess with yours.

63: Mental Health Services Expansion and Funding. Tax on Incomes over $1 Million
1% tax on incomes over one million dollars, to be used to fund mental health services. Note: This new tax would not necessarily increase funding for mental health services, since the Legislature could shift existing funds to other sources (as they have often done with transportation funds). If a small number of millionaires left the state to avoid this tax, this measure could actually reduce state revenues.
Libertarian: No
Not a proper function of government, and taxpayers don't need to be further burdened with more taxes.
Dem: Yes
Oven: NO. France has a "screw the rich" attitude, too. I don't want to be French.

64: Limitations on Enforcement of Unfair Business Competition Laws
GOP: Yes
Only allows lawsuits for unfair business practices in those situations where the plaintiff was actually injured personally. This initiative contains several other procedural reforms to reduce the many frivolous lawsuits.
Libertarian: Yes
This would limit shakedown lawsuits in which lawyers sue businesses for trivial matters that don't even have victims, and thereby force businesses to settle rather than endure the horrendous expense of a trial.
Dem: No
Doctor Bean: Yes
Oven: YES. Fewer frivolous lawsuits.

65: Local Government Funds and Revenues. State Mandates
T measure would require voter approval for any legislation that provides for any reduction of local governments’ vehicle license fee revenues, sales tax powers and revenues, and proportionate share of local property tax revenues.
Libertarian: Yes
Prevents state government from raiding revenues intended for local governments and agencies, which in turn leads to "back door" local tax hikes.
Dem: Neutral
Nomad: Yes. My folks live in a rural county that was nearly bankrupted by the Davis administration raiding their coffers. NO!! THIS MEASURE WAS ESSENTIALLY REPLACED BY 1A. THE LIBERTARIAN POSITION IS OUT-OF-DATE. THE ORIGINAL AUTHORS SAY TO VOTE YES ON 1A/NO ON 65.
NO. See 1A.

66: Limitations on "Three Strikes" Law. Sex Crimes. Punishment
This initiative would amend the successful “Three Strikes” law to require increased sentences only when the third conviction is for a violent or serious felony, instead of any felony. It also re-defines violent or serious felonies to make certain that more criminals would go free.
Libertarian: Yes
Sentence enhancements should be limited to violent crimes. The current law can put non-violent criminals who commit victimless crimes away for life.
Dem: Yes
Nomad: Yes. I don't want to be locking people away for life for non-violent crimes from either a financial or ethical perspective.
Doctor Bean: No. All three-strikers have to have commited violent crimes as their first two strikes. Three strikes imposes 25 years to life for their third felony even if their third isn't violent. I think that's money well spent. (I thought I only disagreed with Libertarians on foreign policy. Looks like I also disagree with them on law enforcement.)
Oven: NO. I hate real-life "Get out of jail free" cards.

67: Emergency and Medical Services. Funding. Telephone Surcharge
This initiative would add a 3% surcharge on telephone use within California, without eliminating any of the other taxes, fees, and surcharges already present on our telephone bills.
Libertarian: No
Not a proper function of government, and taxpayers don't need to be further burdened with more taxes.
Dem: No
Oven: NO. Same reasoning as for 61.

68: Tribal Gaming Compact Renegotiation. Non-Tribal Commercial Gambling Expansion. Revenues, Tax Exemptions
This is the casino initiative that allows just 16 specific, non-tribal racetracks and gambling establishments to operate 30,000 slot machines, paying 33% of revenues to fund public safety, regulatory, social programs. These facilities, which paid to get this measure on the ballot, would be exempt from many other local and state laws.
Libertarian: Neutral
Reduces some restrictions on gambling but also creates new monopolies for race tracks and card clubs.
Dem: No
Oven: NO. Schwarzenegger says NO and that's good enough for me on this one.

69: DNA Samples. Collection. Database. Funding
GOP: Yes
This initiative statute requires the collection of DNA samples from all felons, and from adults and juveniles arrested for any felony. The DNA database would be funded by a 10% increase in traffic citations and other criminal fines. The expanded DNA database would help solve unsolved crimes and it might help prove the innocence of persons who have been wrongfully convicted.
Libertarian: No
An invasion of privacy for those people who are arrested but not convicted of a crime.
Dem: No
Nomad: No. It doesn't differentiate between people arrested and people convicted. I'm uncomfortable taking DNA samples from people who have not been convicted of a crime.
Doctor Bean: Yes. Being arrested without being convicted lets the police detain you and search you. Why not take your DNA? It would help acquit lots of innocent people.
Oven: NO. This was my toughest decision, but I'm going to vote NO for Big-Brother reasons.

70: Tribal Gaming Compacts. Exclusive Gaming Rights. Contributions to State
This is the Indian-sponsored initiative to require the Governor to offer renewable 99-year gaming compacts to Indian tribes with no limits on the number of machines or types of games. Tribes would pay the state corporate tax rate in lieu of any other fees, taxes or levies. Tribes would not pay taxes if the state permits non-tribal casino-type gaming.
Libertarian: Neutral
Reduces some restrictions on gambling but also extends monopolies for Indian tribes.
Dem: No
Oven: NO. Like 68, I'm following Schwarzenegger's lead.

71: Stem Cell Research. Funding. Bonds
This is a $3 billion dollar bond to pay for a new unaccountable government bureaucracy to fund cloning and other research that. The new bureaucracy can exempt itself from open- meeting laws and current medical research guidelines. Funding priorities are based on current funding levels not scientific success.
Libertarian: No
Not a proper function of government, and the taxpayers do not need more bond debt.
Dem: Yes
Governator: Yes (Schwarzenegger has broken with the GOP on this one)
Doctor Bean: No. A good article against was sent to me by Ralphie.
Oven: NO. Public money to experiment with embryos? It will increase CA's debt and it's probably evil.

72: Referendum Petition to Overturn Amendments to Health Care Coverage Requirements
This is the referendum to overturn John Burton SB 2. This law would impose a “pay-or-play” system that requires most employers to provide health insurance for employees and some dependents - or pay a new tax to fund health insurance provided by the state. The costs are astronomical. Voting “No” will prevent this new mandate from taking effect.
Libertarian: No
A "NO" vote will reverse the new mandate that requires California businesses to provide health insurance for their employees.
Dem: Yes
Nomad: No. Because I just received a call from the Governator urging me to vote no. He sends his regards. Visit www.joinarnold.com for more from the Governator.
Oven: NO. Bad for business. Let people be responsible for their own health care.

Here are the sites for the:
California Republican Party
California Libertarian Party
California Democratic Party
Note that the Democratic Party only offers support/don't support on their website; no rationale is provided.
Election Projection's Final Call
He details every state, so click over to read it.

Here are the top-level projections:

Electoral Votes July 25: Bush 356, Kerry 182 - FINAL
Popular Vote: Bush 51.9%, Kerry 46.5% - FINAL
States July 25: Bush 37.25, Kerry 13.75 - FINAL

Seems pretty optimistic to me. While I certainly think it's possible that a Bush/GOP surge (undecideds breaking, GOTV dominating) could carry the President to a big victory like this (2002, 1994), I'm hesitant to get too excited about it. Still, it's a cool prediction.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Has Kerry been wearing the same jacket for 3 weeks?

And, what's with the hand movements when he talks? It's like he's practicing semafore.
My God, It's Full of Stars
Hubble's Deepest View Ever of the Universe Unveils Earliest Galaxies
This story is from March, but it's about one of my favorite astronomy pictures, and I didn't have a blog in March.
Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute today unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved by humankind. Called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), the million-second-long exposure reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called "dark ages," the time shortly after the big bang
when the first stars reheated the cold, dark universe.
These are the farthest (and therefore oldest) objects ever photographed. If you go to the Hubble site and then click on the picture and download the high resolution images, the detail and clarity is astonishing. You can spend minutes scrolling around and getting lost in the picture. But the really mind-shattering thing is that every little smudge and spiral and blot on the picture isn't a star; it's a galaxy of billions of stars. Truly breathtaking.
Helllllp Meeeee!

Octogenarian Supporter Smothered at Kerry Rally
Paul Johnson picks Bush
British historian Paul Johnson, author of many popular books including A History of the American People, A History of the Jews, and A History of Christianity, endorses Bush.

Campaign 2004: High Stakes
Quite simply, Kerry must be stopped; and Bush must win
I don’t recall any occasion, certainly not since the age of FDR, when so much partisan election material has been produced by intellectuals of the Left, not only in the United States but in Europe, especially in Britain, France, and Germany. These intellectuals—many of them with long and lugubrious records of supporting lost left-wing causes, from the Soviet empire to Castro’s aggressive adventures in Africa, and who have in their time backed Mengistu in Ethiopia, Qaddafi in Libya, Pol Pot in Cambodia, and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua—seem to have a personal hatred of Bush that defies rational analysis.

Behind this front line of articulate Bushicides (one left-wing columnist in Britain actually offered a large sum of money to anyone who would assassinate the president) there is the usual cast of Continental suspects, led by Chirac in France and the superbureaucrats of Brussels. As one who regularly reads Le Monde, I find it hard to convey the intensity of the desire of official France to replace Bush with Kerry. Anti- Americanism has seldom been stronger in Continental Europe, and Bush seems to personify in his simple, uncomplicated self all the things these people most hate about America—precisely because he is so American. Anti-Americanism, like anti-Semitism, is not, of course, a rational reflex. It is, rather, a mental disease, and the Continentals are currently suffering from a virulent spasm of the infection, as always happens when America exerts strong and unbending leadership.
Original article from National Review via LGF.
Mason Dixon Final State Polls
As noted earlier, there were certain polls to be on the lookout for between now and 11/2. Per Jay Cost and Drummond, these have a solid track record, are open about their methodologies, and use well-established practices (Cost and Drummond aren't in complete agreement on all the polls, but agree on most of them).

Mason Dixon is one of these. MD is particularly strong on the state-by-state polling. They've just released their latest numbers with the following results for states that are in-play:

States that Bush won in 2000:
FL: Bush +4
AR: Bush +8
CO: Bush +7
OH: Bush +2
MO: Bush +5
NV: Bush +6
WV: Bush +8
NH: Kerry +1

States that Gore won in 2000
MN: Bush +1
IA: Bush +5
NM: Bush +4

WI: Kerry +2
MI: Kerry +2
PA: Kerry +2
OR: Kerry +6

These are very positive numbers for President Bush. Thanks to RCP for posting them.
State of the Race
From an email I sent to my dad earlier...

Of the Bush states from 2000, the only ones that are seriously in trouble are New Hampshire and Ohio. I think he'll probably lose New Hampshire, and Ohio is a tossup.

That starts him out with 254 votes.

I think he will most likely pick up Iowa and New Mexico.

That brings him to 266 votes (270 needed for outright victory, 269 sends it to the House of Reps).

Meaning that he needs only 1 of the following in-play states for victory:

NJ, PA, OH, MI, WI, MN, OR, HI or even NH.

Of those, I think his chances are better than even in OH (20), and WI (10)

His chances are realistic in MN (10) and PA (21)

More of a long-shot in NJ (15), MI (17), HI (4) and OR (7) and NH (4).

Bottom line: Bush needs one of these. Kerry has to sweep them.

Polls to Watch and Polls NOT to Watch
Via Jay Cost at the Horserace Blog

Polls to watch this weekend:
Strategic Vision*

Polls to avoid this weekend:
Survey USA
Democracy Corps
Any poll you have never heard of

Read his whole 10/30 analysis of the state of the race.

Where to watch the polls:
Real Clear Politics of course.

*Update: I pretty much agree with Cost, but there are two that I believe my other guru might take exception to. Newsweek might be one to watch. Drummond has indicated that they are open about their methods, and have a decent track record of sampling. Strategic Vision might be one to avoid, as it is a GOP polling firm, and probably has some inherant bias.

Some relevant posts from Drummond at Polipundit:
The Leaning Poll of State Bias
Poll Methodology: a 2004 Guide

Update 2: Almost seems like Jay read my first update, because in his afternoon state-of-the-race analysis, he explains why he uses Strategic Vision, and has decided to include Newsweek in his sampling. Here's the analysis. Excerpt:

Right now the EV math is looking awfully tough for Kerry. He is definitely
behind in FL, IA and, though I do not cover it here, NM. This gives Bush a
minimum of 266 EVs. Plus, Bush is likely leading in OH and WI -- and I think
Kerry will be unable to hold MN when all is said and done. The word on the
ground is that BC04's organization in MN is a sight to behold. The big question
on my mind right now is not whether Bush gets to 269, but whether he breaks 300
(which he would do if he carries FL, IA, NM, WI, OH and MN -- that would be

What I REALLY like about that conclusion is that it exactly agrees with the prediction I made over a week ago, and am sticking by. Kerry takes NH. Bush holds all his other states from 2000, and adds IA, WI, MN and NM for a 306 tally. Note that Fred Barnes comes to the same tally in his prediction (although he doesn't indicate how) at the Weekly Standard's staff prediction page.
Friday, October 29, 2004
Another Video from the Evil One
WASHINGTON The Arab television station Al-Jazeera is broadcasting a new tape from Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden.
Is it impossible for us to realize that al-Jazeera is as much a technology of the enemy as an RPG or an improvised explosive device? I know it's owned by a country that's supposed to be our pals (Qatar? UAE? I forget. Anyway, what's the difference?) but at best they are carrying propaganda that aids the enemy, at worst they are actually broadcasting coded intelligence information from terrorist commanders to the field. Can't we put an end to that through diplomatic means or, say, by destroying their transmitters from 30,000 feet?
Bush 232 - Kerry 207
Four days to go. I'm so nervous I feel like Nomad walking in Jaffa.
I haven't read this review yet, but check out the headline:

'Voices of Iraq': For the Iraqis Interviewed, Daily Life Is Better Today

Maybe my media-bias antenna are hypersensitive, but doesn't the opening clause sound unnecessary? Hey, readers, we just want to be sure you know, if you see this movie and think life is better for Iraqis without Saddam around, these are only the opinions of those interviewed in the movie. Everyone else in Iraq who was not interviewed for this movie - and, hey, that means their opinions don't appear in this movie! - could very likely be different. Those not present in the movie - silenced by the filmmakers! - probably loved life in peaceful pre-war Iraq. You know, when there was, like, peace and stuff.

Okay, like I said, I'm a little sensitive on this issue and maybe it's not a big deal at all. But I just, I, aargh.
Gaza insights
Here is a very thoughtful piece about the Gaza situation. I don't fully agree that it's the right thing to do, but if it's gonna happen, I think Rabbi Gordis is thinking about it the right way. Here's a tidbit:

When a human life is saved by removing a critical part of the patient's body, the correct medical decision may have been made, but the trauma is real, and no one involved has any cause for rejoicing. The loss is permanent, and life altering. Even if the patient survives.

Rabbi Gordis used to be head of the University of Judaism's rabbinical program here in L.A. He moved to Israel a while back. I bought his electric sander at the moving sale. Sweet!

(Yes, Jews use electric sanders. Shut up.)
lame explanation
The quote below is indeed from Commando. Came to mind when Bean was talking about taking turns to die.

By the way, the man in this movie who was denied his wish to cut off an opponent's arm and then hit him with it is now our governor. I love California!

(Being serious, in case you were wondering)
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Remember when I said I was going to kill you last?
I lied.
"The Streets Will Run With Blood"
Via Drudge.
The CIA and FBI have authenticated a new al Qaeda videotape which warns of retribution for Americans electing Bush and Cheney.

"What took place on September 11 was but the opening salvo of the global war on America and that our Lord willing, the magnitude and ferocity of what is coming your way will make you forget all about September 11," the man, whose face is covered by a headdress, warns in the video.

"After decades of American tyranny, now it's your turn to die."
Hmmmm... I don't think he likes us. It's my turn to die? I didn't realize we were taking turns.
Hair Wars
Very funny (nod: Polipundit)

Blue Hawaii
If Hawaii goes Dem I got dibs on this headline.
Terror Smurf to be Flown to Paris for Treatment
Bush 227 - Kerry 207
There's a lot of red on this map, but over 100 EVs in the toss-up states.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
MichNews.com: Russia tied to Iraq's missing arms

Russia might have transfered arms to Syria pre-invasion. Yipes.

Weird nugget: I first saw the link to the Wash Times article in the Corner, but the link was dead. The link from Google news on "russia Syria" search produced no content. All I could get was this teaser, which links to the Times site where, you guessed it, there's no content!

Conspiracy, anyone?
More Hawaii
More from Jay Cost, who has become my favorite Horserace prognosticator.

5. But the big question on everybody's mind is whether HI is actually in
play. I think ABC News has answered it. Says their daily must-read, The

ABC News has learned that the Democratic Party plans to divert
"substantial" resources to Hawaii; their independent expenditures arm will
be going up on the air there, as well as some of the liberal 527s.

The Democrats also claim to "eyeing" AR and WV this weekend as well. I am not sure why this is the case. Do they really think they stand a chance there, or are they just trying to save face over HI?

If you want details on the latest HI poll, head to here.

What no one else will say
We already know about the phony explosives story, but here's what no one's talking about:

Al Qaqaa.

Best name of anything, ever!!!!

(Hey, I didn't start the scatological tone in this joint.)
Best. Lileks. Ever.
Read this immediately or regret it on your deathbed.
Rewind the calendar to the 80s; there were two different approaches to the Soviet threat:

Coexistance, whereby we sign pieces of paper that outlaw six classes of missiles, permit development of three others, lay out frameworks for future talks on reducing expansion of experimental tests for another class, accept Soviet client states in our neighbodhood, and oh, we exchange circuses and ballet troops. Peace!

Up Yours, Ivan, whereby we push back against any attempt to plant the hammer and sickle in our hemisphere, fund those who resist your imperialism, match you rocket-for-rocket in Europe’s front yard and spent eleventy billion dollars on stuff you can neither invent nor afford. War!

But peace, in the end.
Screedy blogolicious genius, I tell you.
How the mighty have fallen
Great. Less than a week old and this blog has already descended into scatology.
Hawaii (to Doc)
That's a nice pessimistic, but not completely accurate assessment you've linked to there.

Moran drops the cliche about undecideds breaking for the challenger. He should do some research to support this, because the numbers don't support it. I'm on my way out, but I'll dig up the numbers that say it just ain't so when I get back. Undecideds, in the last week of a race, generally break even or for the incumbant. Once in the past 10 presidential elections, have undecideds broken decively for the challenger. That was 1980.

True, states' historical voting trends are good indicators of future voting patterns. But, Moran fails to note that while Hawaii usually goes Democratic, it also votes incumbant, voting to reelect both Nixon and Reagan, and nearly giving its votes to Ford in '76. Hawaii also has a sizable military population, and a popular, recently elected republican governor.

In New Jersey, Moran ignores the 9/11 factor. New Jersey lost more people than any state other than New York on 9/11. It's a factor.

Moran is correct that one poll here or there is likely to be an outlier. What he neglects to mention is that there are two recent polls from Hawaii, both showing Bush leads (albeit small ones). The only other recent polling came immediately on the heels of the DNC, and only had Kerry up by 6 or 7 (well below Gore's victory margin). No recent polls have Kerry up.

There are also several polls indicating that New Jersey is close... although there are several indicating comfortable leads for Kerry too.

I'm not willing to put either in Bush's camp, but nor am I willing to concede them or argue with Michael Barone about Hawaii. My hunch is that, based on the polling average, without a late, sizable break for Bush nationally, NJ is out of reach. Hawaii, on the other hand could surprise.

I include neither in Bush's column for my prediction, which I'm revising from a week ago by subtracting Maine's 2nd CD.

Bush: 306, Kerry 232

Update: As promised... http://www.dalythoughts.com/Update-05-26-04.htm. Scroll about a third of the way down to read about breaking undecideds, or if you have time, read the whole piece. Daly does good stuff.
A Good Start
Palestinian sources: Arafat has lost consciousness
(He's still not dead.)
Jaffa Desperation
True story. It wasn't in Gaza, but it in Jaffa (Yafo), which is basically Southside Tel Aviv (Arab section) where I was dropped off by an Israeli soldier after hitch-hiking from Beer Sheva. It was a Friday, and most (actually, pretty much all) businesses in this section of town were closed for the Muslim Sabbath. A few minutes after being dropped off, and beginning the 3 mile trek north to downtown Tel Aviv (backpack and all), I realized I had a problem.

Apparently, something I ate in Beer Sheva hadn't agreed with me. In fact, at present, it was arguing vociferously with me, and accepting none of my counterpoints, like: "but, I'm 3 miles from the nearest bathroom and in semi-hostile territory." I decided to proceed on power of will.

20 minutes later, the contractions were increasing in frequency. I imagine it to be similar to labor, only with the opposite intentions. We're all familiar with the crisis point. This is the point where the pressure reaches a crescendo, and you must summon all of your energy to maintain dam integrity. I'd survived 3 of these in the previous 8 minutes, and I was still 2.5 miles from a throne.

At last, a ray of hope. Movement inside a restaurant. A knock at the glass door and a pleading look to the man inside. The "no room at the inn" look I received was disheartening, but this was not the time for cowardly retreat. I plead with the man in earnest, doing my best to sign my dilemma. He closed the blinds, and that was that.

Another hundred yards. 2 more close calls. Time to survey my options, as it became clear that the feasibility of a 2.5 mile hike had evaporated in the late spring heat. My remaining options were 2:

1) The Mediterranean. A cool swim into the surf, followed by some untreated waste disposal. In retrospect, this might have been the better decision, but at the time, the logistics seemed insurmountable. Where would I leave my backpack. How would I explain myself as the only person in the water, to the people on the shore. What if I lost my boxers...

2) A large white bucket next to an abandoned structure. The structure was boarded up, and clearly in no condition for inhabitants. The bucket appeared to be a construction bucket of the sort used to carry paint or sealant. The location was about 10 feet below the road I was on, and somewhat obscured from the view of the casual onlooker.

Using the remaining 20 seconds of decision time allocated to me, I opted for 2. Less than 30 seconds later, I was standing next to my backpack, taking a few nervous glances around to be sure I was as private as possible when trying to crap in the open, in the middle of the afternoon, in a city with a high population density. It was time.

I desperately unbuttoned my 501s, and crashed onto the bucket, straining to expedite the process. 15 seconds passed. Enough to consider calling it even and getting back on the road, but another 15 would be better....

Of the many images I've catalogued to memory over the course of my life, few stand out as vividly as what I saw next. Covering the large doorway I faced from my perch on the white bucket was a large, warped board. Tracing the grain of the wood to about knee height, I gazed upon a knot hole. In the center of the knot hole was the unmistakable shape of an eye. An eye which, had I been able to see the remainder of the human head attached to it, would have surely revealed a mixture of confusion and horror normally only seen in combat and trauma wards.

But, there was no time to evaluate the full meaning of the eye just then. Fight/flight instincts took over, and before I had time to take measure of what had just happened I was a hundred and fifty yards down the road and traveling at an impressive pace. 2 and a half miles and an epic rash later, I reached Tel Aviv and a very nice beachside restroom at which to take care of a little unfinished business. Afterwards, as I stood watching the sun set over the Mediterranean, I reflected on the moral of the story. No matter how bad your day's been... no matter what's got you down, or how tough it gets, you can look yourself in the mirror, be grateful and say:

At least nobody crapped in my water bucket today.
Impure partisan
Bean - you're not being correctly and purely partisan. The point isn't that blair went against his party - it's that he went against the Left.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Hawaii is Not in Play
Note to Nomad:
The State of the Race, by the Numbers
In the past few weeks we've been treated to breathless reports of promising polls in New Jersey and Hawaii. The president may, in fact, collect a higher percentage of the vote in these states in 2004, but he will almost certainly not win either of these Democratic strongholds.
Titan's First Close-Up
This image is one of the closest ever taken of Saturn's hazy moon Titan. It was captured by Cassini's imaging science subsystem on Oct. 26, 2004, as the spacecraft flew by Titan. At its closest, Cassini was 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) above the moon, 300 times closer than during its first flyby on July 3, 2004.
Why Gaza
Hello all,
Why did they choose a Gaza "strip"? It seems like usually when you carve out part of a country to make another country, you want something attached to a border. That way, if they piss you off, you can point your guns at them and start killing them. Having a strip of land totally contained inside your own country sounds like a bad plan.

Anyone know?

Maternity Ward
OK, Since nomad saw fit to tell us all about his favorite TV show, let me share mine.........Maternity Ward. What a little slice of life! Also, fabulous to watch someone else go through excruciating labor pains when you have no intention of ever being pregnant again. You can also learn a lot about the real world. I have, however, discovered that the real world just pisses me off. For example, few of the women profiled on the show have spouses. It seems that while I was busy having babies the rest of the world decided that husbands were optional. A case in point was the show last night. 19-year-old girl with nary a boyfriend in sight, just an aunt and mother to get her through labor. Despite the fact that she did not have a father for the baby, she did have a page-long birth plan that included only natural childbirth. I kid you not that she said that her birth-plan was an attempt to do what was best for her baby. Let me clue you in, a Dad is best for a baby, even if you give birth in the back seat of a cab! Like I said, it just pisses me off. At the end, one of the doctors said "she's going to be a great mother." Why? Because she refused pitocin? What chance does she have of actually being a good mother?
You know, on second thought, maybe this shouldn't be my favorite TV show. I'm gonna switch back to Home and Garden Television.
I am very ambivalent about the Gaza pullout. Unlike Ralphie, I don't have a clear opinion about it. Here are arguments against it:

* As Ralphie said, it will be sold to the Arab world by the Arab media as a retreat under fire, and therefore as a show of weakness. That is never seen as generosity; it is always seen as an invitation to more violence.
* It leaves behind a more-or-less autonomous group that has never demonstrated its ability to build infrastructure, govern itself reasonably, or in general behave any better than swarms of loosely organized armed thugs and terrified impoverished brain-washed civilians. Without Israeli supervision, they will be able to import arms and funnel all their resources on planning and executing attacks on Israel proper. The wall separating Gaza from Israel would be only a temporary deterrent. The argument that "well if they attack across the wall then Israel could really go in and wipe them out" makes no sense. An attack on Gaza would certainly be harder after withdrawal then now, since then Israel will have lost much of its local intelligence sources. And if they did attack, then what? Re-occupation? More targeted killings? How is that better than the current situation?
* The current plan is that after Israeli withdrawal, responsibility for "security" be taken up by Egypt! Bwaaaaahaaaahaaaaaheeeehe! Ahem. Sorry. 'nuff said.

Here are arguments for it:

* The only other alternative other than occupation without end is forced deportations, which no one (yet) on the Israeli political spectrum except the very far right is willing to seriously consider.
* Sharon deserves trust if only because of the tremendous success he has had in pulling Israel from the brink in the wake of Oslo and because of the heat he is taking from the right for this. Just as Blair is courageous for alienating his own (liberal Labor) party in steadfastly fighting in Iraq, Sharon should receive some slack when alienating Likud for what he thinks is the best for Israel.
* I'm not an Israeli; I'm an American. Israel is a democracy. Its Prime Minister and parliament just decided on a difficult course of action. Since I don't vote or pay taxes there, my role should be not to second guess and criticize, but to pray it goes well.

It could go ugly. Lots of Jewish Gaza residents have vowed to stay in their homes, some with the unfortunate support of their Rabbis. Many of them are armed. The thought of IDF soldiers shooting or being shot at by other Jewish Israelis sickens me. Let's pray cooler heads prevail.
War Plan Orange
Thanks to Vodkapundit for pointing me to this interesting analysis of the tactics employed by the Iraqi insurgency, and it's primary objective....
Gaza Pullout
I haven't read the VDH article yet, and I'll say that I love that man. Love him. No, I mean, like, I looooove him.

But here's why I think the Gaza pullout is already a bad idea. First of all, with the news that Israel is pulling out, are the bad guys laying low until they're gone? Getting ready for elections, building infrastructure, what-have-you? Of course not. Then are stepping up attacks both in and from Gaza. Because they have to keep up the myth that they are driving Israel out. That's exactly how this is going to be taken - how it's already being understood by the Palestinians.

Secondly, the "peace-process" folk are already taking credit. Saying they feel vindicated - echoes of what they (ok, we - I was an idiot) said during Oslo. This can't be good.

As usual, I have no alternative solution, of course.

That reminds me: what are the two currently most meaningless phrases in the English language?

"Peace Activist" and "Compact Only" (you know, the words painted in the spot where your Hummer is parked)
VDF on Ariel Sharon
[Ariel Sharon's] past is checkered. Critics cite his negligence in not restraining Lebanese militias from massacring Palestinians. His former opposition to peace accords has emboldened settlers — and gave encouragement to dangerous zealots and radicals. Opponents remember all that and more — forgetting that in 1967, and especially 1973, his service to Israel was heroic and life saving. Five years ago no sane person in Israel thought that the widowed, obese, sweating, blunt-speaking, untelegenic bulldog would ever be prime minister; five years from now no sane person will ever quite believe he actually was. But now? At this moment of Israel's greatest peril? Israel is lucky to have the likes of him — one last time.
Via Roger L. Simon. Read the whole thing. It's magnificent.
Knesset Approves Gaza Withdrawal
Roger L. Simon on the NYT Scam
Like most New York Jewish boys from liberal homes the paper was a
replacement religion for me. Many decades ago, when I was twenty-three and
published my first novel, finding a short positive review in the Book Review
validated me as a writer, enabling me to go on with my risky career. I was
published by them several times in the eighties when I was an officer of the
left-leaning International Association of Crime Writers. I owe a lot to the
Times. I also fear them because they review my books and movies. But I cannot
shut up. This kind of biased behavior is unconscionable.

David Zucker makes an anti-Kerry ad

Via LGF. David Zucker, producer of many comedy movies, including Airplane, supports Bush and made an anti-Kerry ad. You can watch the ad by clicking on the picture. David Zucker called himself a liberal Democrat who was "mugged by 9/11". The story behind Zucker's political transformation is here.

Wow! A formerly-liberal famous Hollywood Jew publicly supporting Bush! Pinch me. If the rivers turn to blood tomorrow, I'm not going to work.
Hawaii in play?
Is Hawaii in play? I don't know, but I'd like to play in Hawaii...
Hawaii Update
According to Michael Barone, Hawaii is in play.
What Liberal Media?
I for one am shocked - SHOCKED - that a major media outlet would do all it could do to stump for a Democrat! That's too outlandish - it can't be true!!!!

Okay, a not-so-subtle attempt at irony. Here's the deal with me: I'm so far gone that I'm convinced that Katie Couric's "hardball" questions to John Kerry this morning ("Wasn't going goose hunting during the campaign opportunistic?") were all a set-up to a.) give Kerry a chance to answer his critics and b.) make Katie look like she's not a shill...

But then, I think all opposing thoughts should be suppressed...
NYT/CBS Explosives "Story"
This is all over the blogosphere, but if you weren't aware of it, here's the skinny.

1) NYT "breaks" story on missing explosives in Iraq. In comparison with the quantity that US forces have destroyed, the quantity is minute, but that's not really the point.

2) MSNBC, who had imbeds with units who first captured the cache in '03 reveal that the stuff had disappeared before US troops arrived.

3) So far, NYT, AP, CBS et. al. still running with the story as if it's a big reveal about Bush administration incompetence.

4) Kerry running with it, and now apparently has an ad focusing on it.

5) Turns out CBS had planned to run this on election eve.

Best I can tell, this is a completely bogus story designed to hurt the president. As I'm understanding the information, the weapons were long gone before US troops got there. I'll note that there is an issue of the IAEA "breaking" this information to the UN/World simultaneous with the article. It seems to me that the Iraqi government, who reported the information on the missing explosives to the IAEA was probably doing something pro forma, and the IAEA/UN/NYT/CBS/AP have been treating it like breaking news in order to take down the president.

It's all developing. Polipundit and Drudge seem to be the most in tune at the moment.

Update - Must See TV: Here is the MSNBC report that completely debunks the story, intertwined with video of an opportunistic Kerry trying to bludgeon the President with a bogus story. Polipundit first directed me to the link.

More: Good summary of the story here.
Who Supports Kerry?
Some people support John Kerry. Ana Clara Voog is one of them. Read her post and the response to it.


Monday, October 25, 2004
Stuff I Support
The links to the left are a reasonable amalgalm of what we all like, but it would have been nice to actually have some buttons with graphics to display our love with a little more color. To that end, I offer some colorful links to just a few things dear to my heart.

Nomad: if you don't think the buttons are too big and ugly, can you move their code into the left column to jazz up the links a little?
Close-up of Titan Tomorrow

NASA's Cassini spacecraft which is in orbit around Saturn is going to have one of it's many close passes of Titan tomorrow. Titan is one of Saturn's most interesting moons, as it is one of the few solid bodies in the solar system with an atmosphere (like Earth). We should get some great pictures of Titan, but most imaging thus far has failed to produce clear details of the surface because of the opaque atmosphere. It may even have liquid oceans! On December 25, Cassini will release the Huygens probe which will drop to Titan and give us precise details about its atmosphere and our first glimpse at its surface.

It's very exciting stuff, both the technology that's making it happen and the new discoveries that are being made. Western Civ once again explores beyond old barriers, looks over new horizons, and litters on virgin soil!

(You can learn more about Titan and the rest of the solar system at this terrific site.)
Jay Cost's Florida Analysis
This guy does some real work taking apart the numbers, and it's well worth reading. The bottom line is that he thinks Bush is looking strong in Florida. He also thinks the Dem's talk about record registrations is bluster (and backs it up).
Arafat Still Mostly Not Dead
Arafat undergoes 'minor surgical procedure'
I would like his next procedure to be the removal of my boot from his rear.

You have to admit that with Bush's help, Sharon's plan to make Arafat irrelevant has largely worked, and that the angry multitudes publicly demonstrating their love and fidelity to him have largely gone back to whatever they were doing without any concession from Israel about releasing Arafat from his sty.
Actually, it's not close
Looks like W is pulling away in the last days as the nation looks at Kerry and decides "no, thanks." This site which by it's own admission is pro Kerry has Bush up 285-247. Take a look at the electoral map. The West Coast is light blue, meaning weakly for Kerry! In California Bush is only 9% down! Election Projection and RealClearPolitics have similarly encouraging numbers.

Does that mean it's all over but the voting, the post-election litigation, the vote fraud, and the riots? Maybe. I'm still worried of a mass-casualty terror strike before 11/2. Everyone says that such a thing would work to W's advantage, but I don't know if the terrorists know that. They may have learned the wrong lesson from Spain. An ugly thought I had this morning is that if the bad guys don't want to influence the election but disrupt or paralyze it, an attack on Election Day would really shake the country.

I hope for a boring 10 more days.

Update: Looks like Nomad and I cross-posted about the same thing at the same time. Jinx!
Penultimate ElectionProjection
The next to last Election
is up. It will be welcome news for Bushies everywhere.
President Bush has moved out in front by a 296-242 electoral-vote margin.
In the projected popular vote, he is right at 50%, leading 49.9% to 48.3%.
Even though I do like these numbers, I'll reiterate that turnout will make
this election. Either candidate can still win this thing.

However, at this point, Bush does hold some significant structural
advantages. He is leading in both Iowa and Wisconsin and, judging from the
very latest polls, New Mexico as well. If Bush does end up winning those
three states, Kerry will have to win both Ohio and Florida.

Along with Real Clear Politics, this has been one of the more even-handed of the electoral vote counters. Uses some real analysis (not simply basing his numbers on the latest swings in different polls). He's had the tally at 274 for Bush for a week or two (with the only state changing being New Hampshire going to Kerry). He's now added Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico to the president's column. That trio would immunize the President against a loss of either Florida or Ohio (although an FL offset would send a 269 - 269 tie to the House).

EDIT: Also check out RCP's analysis of the state of the race today. It pretty much nails it right on the head. As the doctor pointed out in a comment earlier, RCP has the race at 234 to 211. The difference between RCP's count and ElectionProjection's is that EP doesn't do tossups.


Rehnquist Has Cancer, Will Keep Working

Not to gloss over the obvious hopes for a speedy recovery for Chief Justice Rehnquist, but if you weren't already convinced of how important this election is, you should be now.

wow! a blog to call my own!
I don’t know how easy it is to customize this blog, but it would be nice to have some buttons to show support in the left column (to the left of the actual posts). Like a button linking to W’s campaign site, like a “Blogs for Bush” button, and/or maybe a “Friend of Israel” button.

Nomad, Oven: any clues?Here’s an interesting news link via Little Green Footballs. More speculation that Arafat might be sick. A year ago everyone was spreading the rumor that he had stomach cancer, but unfortunately he persists in using oxygen.
Hawaii in Play?
I initially took this poll to be an obvious outlier, but Daly Thoughts notes that the polling firm has a track record. He still designates it as a slight advantage for Kerry, but that's big news in a state that Gore carried by 18. I wonder if it's similar to what I suspect is going on in New Jersey with the 9/11 effect. Is there a "Pearl Harbor" effect in Hawaii?
UPDATE: A second poll also gives Bush the lead in Hawaii.

Best sites for tracking the state-by-state polling
The first two are must-read between now and the election.





More from Drummond
DJ Drummond at Polipundit deconstructs Ipsos.
Polipundit on the Polls

I really like DJ Drummond's insights on the polls. Really seems to know his stuff.



The Key Signals?

91.3% of Republicans support the President, while Kerry claims 87.0% of

Bush also holds a narrow lead among Independents, 45.8% to44.5%.

Men prefer Bush over Kerry 52.8% to 41.3% on average, while Women preferKerry
50.0% to 44.3% (note that ABC says Bush has a 4 point lead with women;this is
either an outlier or a fascinating signal).

82.3% of Bush Supporters saythey are “strong” supporters; 76.7% of Kerry
Supporters say the same.

Bush has a54.0% average Personal Favorability Rating, to Kerry’s 32.7%.

Read the whole thing. Lots of good stuffon how polls are conducted, whom to believe andwhy...

Update: Neat! DJ's blogs more details in a different spot. http://stolenthunder.blogspot.com/2004/10/dilative-poll-demographic-transition.html

Goose Politics

I think Ed, from Captain's Quarters, best nails the goose hunting thing.


There's something terribly hypocritical about toting a gun out for a campaign
event and killing an animal that you have no interest in eating. In fact, it
confirms the worst impulses often assigned to hunters -- that their guns are an
extension of their genitalia and the hunt's only significance is to affirm one's
masculinity. Most hunters I know don't fall into that category; they hunt for
the food and for the camaraderie, the tradition.

Kerry sold that out yesterday just to prove his manliness. If his base can't
admit to the irony in that, then they've bought into the hypocrisy.

And even worse, Kerry couldn't be bothered to handle his own kill, as the
Washington Post points out:

Seriously, who goes out an kills a dumb animal in order to get votes. I find it sick on its face. Kerry's a busy man. He doesn't have time for recreation for recreation's sake in the final days of a presidential election. Killing the goose is about one thing, and one thing only: a transparent and ridiculous attempt to appear to be something he's not. In doing so, as is often the case, he exposed more about himself than he had wished.

What Not to Wear

Okay, I'm pretty much beer and baseball, but I have to confess that I really like TLC's "What Not to Wear".


It's not the fashion. I don't get fashion. Never have. Doubt I ever will. What I like about it is twofold:

1) Stacy London is a total babe. She's just got a look that drives me ga ga. http://tlc.discovery.com/fansites/whatnottowear/stylegurus/london.html

2) And this is really more to the point. Vulnerability and sincere happiness. Each episode involves taking a generally unwilling person, embarassing them publicly (at the behest of their friends) and dragging them into a fashion makeover. They're given $5K with which to shop, and t bunch of fashion advice.

The nature of the subject material obligates the "victim" to expose themselves in an extraordinarily uncomfortable manner. How much time do many of us spend considering what we're going to wear in public. How much trepidation do many of us approach the audition of a new outfit in front of other people. Truth be told, most of us have very little fashion sense. However, polite society allows us to muddle our way through social settings without comment on our fashion shortcomings.

Imagine having 2 fashion experts litterally dress you down on national television. Taking all of your carefully (or perhaps not so carefully) thought out private choices and ripping them apart. Bottom line, even for beer and baseball types, what we choose to wear is a very personal matter, and the thought of having those decisions ripped open in public is frightening.

The result on the show is a surprising view of ordinary people at their most vulnerable... but in a helpful way. The emotions that you see are sincere and touching. People that begin the show hiding behind a cynical facade are shown to be, underneath it all, as terrified as the rest of us about their appearance.

By the end of the show, you end up with a person who has been provided a generally dramatic improvement in their appearance, as well as a body of knowledge to maintain that appearance with a degree of confidence. Having been stripped of their attempt at a defensive exterior over the course of the show, the subject usually ends the show feeling elated with the gift they've been given, while simultaneously finding it unnecessary to restrain their happiness. The result is a rare glimpse of joy at its most sincere.

So, while fashion is about as far from my cup of tea as it gets, the naked, positive emotions that result from the experience have made this a show that makes me stop surfing.

Saturday, October 23, 2004
Opening Post
Okay, it's official. We have a new blog. HooRAY!

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