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December 3rd, 2008


by Ed Gold

Why can’t these guys get married? Seriously, is there a rational reason?

People in California voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama, then surprisingly supported the traditional and conservative position by backing Proposition 8, opposing gay marriage and reversing a decision by the State Supreme Court which had concluded that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

The Prop. 8 vote left about 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who married after the court decision in legal limbo, although it is hard to believe a state can cancel a marriage retroactively.

But the Prop. 8 decision in California, with similar results in Arizona and Florida, brought the marriage issue front and center, reinforcing the view that same-sex marriage may well be the hottest of the cultural wedge issues, even topping abortion. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | News | Politics

November 24th, 2008


by Ed Gold

I was sitting across the dinner table from him.

Newt Gingrich was pontificating about ancient history. He was the teacher and we were all students, although the table was occupied by a mix of famous people and top editors of Time Magazine, the writer excepted.

We were at a Time Magazine anniversary celebration. People who had made the Time cover had been invited. That included the writer and feminist, Susan Brownmiller, someone I had known for 40 years, who asked me along.

It was 2002, and I asked Gingrich if he was interested in being president. He said probably not in 2004, but who could tell about the future.

It seems now as if he has his eyes on 2012, and recent evidence indicates he’s trying to capture the right-wing base of the party. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | News | Politics

November 17th, 2008


by Ed Gold

No autographs, please: Palin at the Republican Governor’s Conference in Miami.

The Republican governors gathered in Miami recently, still suffering from the concussion their party received on Nov. 4, recognizing the seriousness of the injury but showing very little understanding of how they might recover.

A collection of 2012 wanna-bes was on hand, conspicuously headed by the gunslinger from Alaska, and including at least three other ambitious governors—Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

Leaving aside the Barracuda, the other three have all succeeded politically, thanks to tight economies, good personalities, and sadly, loyalty to the cultural base of the party. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | News | Politics

November 16th, 2008


by John Coakley

Bush: will not be missed.

Unsurprisingly, the Bush administration is doing what it can to make our society as regressive as possible before we kick its collective ass to the curb. Case in point: new regulations that severely weaken the Family and Medical Leave Act. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, says it better than I could so let’s give the floor to her:

“It’s disappointing that the Bush Administration in its waning days would undermine a policy that’s so vital to working families. Among other things, these new regulations will make it harder for employees to take FMLA leave and easier for employers to deny it. The United States lags far behind most countries in protecting the jobs of workers who have caregiving responsibilities or who happen to fall seriously ill. There could not be a worse time than during a serious economic downturn to ask workers to choose between their job and a family member or their own health. Rather than watering down these important family supports, we should be working to expand them. Congress and President-elect Obama will have to add these regulations to the ever-growing list of compassionless Bush Administration policies that must be reversed.”

Quite so. Rep. Maloney will be joined by NYC Councilmember Jessica Lappin, NOW-NYC Chair Noreen Connell, Francine Moccio of the Institute for Families and Work, and other women’s leaders tomorrow at a news conference to protest this shining example of why Bush won’t be missed. Join them, won’t you?

Monday, 11/17/8 @ 10:30 AM
City Hall Steps
Centre St. between Worth and Pearl

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November 7th, 2008


by John Coakley

Billy Pumpkin, as they call him across the pond.

When I first saw the Smashing Pumpkins at the Roseland in the fall of 1991, they were second on the bill—before the Red Hot Chili Peppers but after this obscure Northwestern band called Pearl Jam. They were doing their version of the loud/quiet rock thing—as powerful as Nirvana but with a more sinuous, feline grace. Billy goaded the largely frat-boy audience by telling them that the crowd in Philly rocked way harder than they did. He was a petulant, ego-maniacal jerk but his band rocked so well that it didn’t matter. What was odd was seeing a band that was underground a year before play to an audience that resembled the people who kicked the band’s ass when they were in high school. It was a little disheartening. But then I saw one beefy dude in a ‘CUSE! baseball hat stop knocking skinny alterna-boys to the floor when Siva slowed down. As if floating on the gossamer chord’s of Billy’s guitar, the pride of Syracuse University closed his eyes and sang along:

Sprinkle all my kisses on your head
Stars full of wishes fill our beds

Then the song roared back into overdrive and I got out of his way.

Last night I saw the Pumpkins play a show at Washington Heights’ United Palace, a 3,800 seat church that also hosts concerts. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | Commentary | New York

November 1st, 2008


by John Coakley

Governor Paterson recently told the Daily News that charities “are going to become the replacement for what government is supposed to do.” At the same time, Paterson is ruling out an increase in taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers to help close the budget gap.

Oh really? Mary Brosnahan, Executive Director of the Coalition for the Homeless, put it best: “Apparently Governor Paterson’s version of shared sacrifice is similar to that of George Bush: demand sacrifice from the poor and nothing from the most affluent.” In other words, if you’re rich, maybe you should sacrifice a bit by paying more taxes since you aren’t in a position to need services like Medicaid, though apparently lots of other people do—applications increased by 30% between December of last year and April of this year. And that was before the economic crisis. In other words, this is not the best time to cut services across the board, especially if you aren’t going to raise taxes for those who can afford it.

90 non-profit agencies got together and sent Paterson this letter in response to his plans: Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Letters | New York | News | Politics | the Hamptons

October 27th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Mayor Mike, looking just a bit smug.

We knew the Bloomberg-Quinn tandem would carry the day when a vote was scheduled before the City Council which would permit the mayor to run for a third term. Both the mayor and the speaker are proficient in counting votes.

While all recent polls indicate a 70 percent approval rate for Bloomberg, a Quinnipiac poll showed 89 percent of voters in the city calling for a public referendum on term limits.

This adds up to a conspicuous ambivalence, with large majorities supporting the mayor’s right to seek a third term and at the same time opposing a change in the charter on the third term issue without a public referendum.

The N.Y. Times made the case for Bloomberg. The paper has always opposed term limits and would prefer no term limits at all.

Since a majority of New York voters have indicated they would back a Bloomberg third term, the Times argued they should have the right to make that choice.

Opposition was widespread and emotional. At the heart of the argument was the contention that a law opposed twice by public referendum should not be revoked by City Council action. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | New York | News | Politics

October 22nd, 2008


by John Coakley

Loyal readers will know that we’ve been covering this issue for some time now. And most of you agree with us that it’s a bit insulting; yesterday’s Quinnipiac University poll shows an overwhelming majority (89%!) of New Yorkers want to see term limits decided by referendum. Well, tomorrow is it—your last chance to speak up. At high noon, the City Council will meet to vote on whether or not to extend term limits for both itself and the Mayor. If you haven’t signed this petition, do it now. If you have, send it to someone who hasn’t. And if you’re able, come down to the meeting and make your presence known. The best time to raise your voice is when the powers that be don’t want to listen to it. Hey, I just made that up. Damn, I’m good.

What: The City Council votes on extending term limits without voters’ approval
Where: Council Chambers, City Hall.
When: Thursday, October 23, 2008 at Noon
How to get there: Take the 4 / 5 /6 trains to City Hall/Brooklyn Bridge;
the 2 / 3 trains to Park Place, the W / R trains to City Hall, or the A / C trains to Chambers Street.

Filed Under: Commentary | Events | New York | Politics | Take Action

October 20th, 2008


by Ed Gold

The GOP: In need of repair.

This has been an “Alice in Wonderland” presidential campaign, complete with a full moon. While the nation is faced with the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression, involved in two wars, trapped by an addiction for oil and faced with a collapsing infrastructure, the Republicans have their gunslinger from the north-her eye on the presidency, telling crowds in North Carolina that henceforth she only wants to talk in “pro-American” sections of the nation.

As unemployment this year climbs over three quarters of a million, and further millions are fearful of losing their homes, the GOP fills the nation’s phone lines with rantings challenging Barack Obama’s patriotism by suggesting his collusion with terrorists. One of that rare species, a moderate Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has publicly asked her candidate, John McCain, to stop running that garbage in her state.

As Yeats once put it, “the center doesn’t hold” in today’s Republican Party. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | News | Politics

October 13th, 2008


by Ed Gold

No candidate for president in my lifetime has ever been attacked so viciously and from such a wide range of sources as Barack Obama, who somehow has confounded the screamers by maintaining a composure that has further angered his enemies.

There are obvious reasons for this near-hysteria coming from the right: Barack Obama is not a familiar American name, and the man, after all, is black, the first of his color to be seriously considered for the presidency.

But other factors intrude. His mother seemed to favor African and Asian men. His early schooling was in a Muslim country.

He has contradicted a host of stereotypes. He overcame poor economic conditions to become a star in the Ivy League, which perplexed and aggravated many of his opponents. Then he skipped the big bucks in prestigious law firms for the grubby, painful work of urban community organizer. He served in the Illinois state senate, then won a surprisingly easy victory for the U.S. Senate where he now sits as its only black member.

The rightists turned the word “elite” into a pejorative because of his success at Harvard, where he became the first black editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | News | Politics

October 10th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Kay Hagan, D-NC.

The wind is at the Democrats’ backs in the battle for Senate control with one big surprise in the making: Liddy Dole of North Carolina may join husband Bob in retirement.

Kay Hagan, a feisty state senator, only recently took the lead against Liddy, who had held a steady edge in September.

Hagan has rapped Dole for for being a loyal Bush follower, and for being lethargic on the Senate floor.

There are 11 seriously contested seats, with ten currently occupied by Republicans and only one by a Democrat. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | News | Politics

October 6th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Ehud Olmert: Now he sees the light, since he’s no longer in office. Thanks!

Four of my cousins miraculously survived the Holocaust and now represent a third generation in Israel. I correspond with Yehuda, who has become an internationally known biologist at the Weitzmann Institute.

He was saved twice during the Nazi rule of Czechoslovakia. First, a Christian family protected him and he has honored them by taking their last name. He was finally arrested and sent to a concentration camp. He survived by hiding under floorboards as the Nazis retreated in the face of the Soviet drive towards Berlin.

He e-mails me regularly and is not a political person, asking only that he and the rest of the family may live peaceful lives.

That likelihood is not too promising. An Israeli prime minister, weakened by scandal, has just resigned, leaving future Israeli leadership pretty much up in the air. Apparently, Ehud Olmert has had a very delayed epiphany. Long a right-winger, and then a moderate on Israeli-Palestinian relations, he now sounds like a member of Peace Now, the Israeli organization that wants Israel to give up almost all of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem to a Palestinian state. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | News | Politics

September 25th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Mike Bloomberg has shown great confidence in his first elected position, but he can’t seem to make up his mind about his future political life, at least not at the time of this writing.

He has toyed over the past few years with running for president or perhaps vice-president, and now he is trying to figure out whether he should get city law changed, without a public vote, so he could seek a third term as mayor.

He has in fact put all the city’s potential candidates in “limbo,” as Councilwoman Melinda Katz of Queens has correctly stated, since she has been making plans to run for City Comptroller over the past two years.

Another Queens Councilmember, John Liu, who is interested in either the Comptrollership or Public Advocate, has expressed growing annoyance with the Bloomberg stance, suggesting that “at some point, people just get tired of the is-he or isn’t- he game.”

Henry Stern, former Parks Commissioner, who has long supported the the two-term limit, suggests that “the mayor may be suffering from victor’s remorse as the day of departure draws near.”

Bloomberg’s problem is that his third-term interest seems self-serving since he would change the law in collusion with the City Council without having a public referendum. Twice, in 1993 and 1996, New Yorkers decided two terms for the city’s elected officials was enough. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | New York | Politics

September 24th, 2008


by Ed Gold

An open letter to Ed Koch:

Dear Ed,

We of course had our differences in the presidential election four years ago, so it’s very gratifying to me that you are now rooting for Obama and Biden.

I must admit I had expected you to go with John McCain, whom I know you admire. But that must have changed after he plucked Sarah Palin out of Alaska.

I recall four years ago that you completely ignored domestic issues and backed Bush because you supported his Iraq policy and felt he would defend Israeli’s security. Unfortunately, from my point of view and as you now repeat, you “didn’t feel that way about John Kerry.”

Your renewed support for the Democratic Party philosophy is particularly encouraging. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | News | Politics

September 15th, 2008


by Joelle Panisch

When the Museum of the Moving Image launched landmark website “The Living Room Candidate” in 2000 it was met with critical acclaim. At the time the site, which neutrally showcases historic political commercials from 1952 through 2008, was a fascinating discussion for the sophisticates lounging in bar stools on the election’s eve. But after eight years of G. W. Bush and what only can be described as the current American crisis, this election is arguably the most important of modern times, and we know it.

Through nonpartisan examinations the site has always been a valuable means for comparison and analysis. The simplicity of the commercials without politics brings awareness to the commercials themselves, and how separate they are from actual policy. However this year the site has taken on a new relevance by instituting a consistently updated stream of McCain, Obama and even third party advocacy commercials that demonstrate the disconnect between candidate marketing, the media, and the issues in today’s election.

“Living Room” makes its opinion of campaign commercials clear. On its homepage the site posts a quote from democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson in 1956 that compares presidential campaigns to selling breakfast cereal. It urges one to ask, if the awareness of candidate “merchandising” has been around since the 1950’s then why in 2008 do we still fall victim to it? Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | Politics

September 7th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Watch out, Governor Palin! That King Crab is about to attack!

A smiling Ms. Barracuda dazzled her colleagues in the Twin Cities, a GOP party now slightly to the right of Attila the Hun, tossing them raw Democratic meat just as she shoots down polar bears in Alaska from a helicopter, even though the EPA calls them an endangered species.

She preached reform and change based on her performance as mayor of a town of 7000 and governor of a state with much fewer people than Manhattan, a state where her success has been rooted in Federal government earmarks and a policy of drill, drill everywhere for oil.

She won the hearts of one of the great American parties—which has now become an anachronism—at a convention in which 68 percent of the delegates were men and 93 percent were Caucasians. They cheered when she ridiculed Obama’s goal of “turning back the waters and healing the planet,” her dismissal of global warming. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | Politics

September 3rd, 2008


by Jack Torrance

As repressed sadists are supposed to become policemen or butchers so those with irrational fear of life become publishers.
–Cyril Connolly (1903-1974)

Westhampton Beach had its Village elections this past June and more attention was paid to the fact that the local synagogue wanted to construct an Eruv than any issues having to do with local governance. The Eruv, which outlines a path with pieces of black PVC piping on telephone poles, got everyone’s juices flowing. In addition to the public face of support by the Mayor, who is also the former Police Chief of Westhampton Beach, the Village Board had to give a good show to the press. In reality, racism and anti-Semitism run deep in the Hamptons and the election spawned spontaneous groups such as a “non-profit” organization that suddenly erupted out of nowhere; it sent mailings to every voter supporting the “Separation of Church and State”and apparently was organized to exist only long enough to get Teller reelected. While Teller is known among his friends to be anti-Semitic, anti-New Yorker, and against change of any sort, the fact that he is an aging cop who controls the police force through intimidation and threats of removal is not lost on those around him. Many local businesses are holding on by a thread and most are forced to close in the winter for lack of customers. Why? No support from local government. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Politics | the Hamptons

September 3rd, 2008


by Sean Jaeger

Batten down the hatches, board up the windows, belt your butt to the mast.

It’s a perfect storm, an economic nor’easter, and like the actress said to the bishop, “Hang on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

Some of the top economists in the country say this sucker of a storm isn’t going to blow over any time soon. In fact we are looking at years of low to negative growth. Some are not talking recession anymore. They are whispering warnings about the big “D” word. That’s D for depression, D for desperate times, D for drowning in debt, D for do you remember 1929? Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Politics | the Hamptons

September 1st, 2008


by Ed Gold

Pro-life, creationist, anti-science, and potentially one heart attack away from the presidency.

The religious right’s intrusion into American politics gets scarier with each election.

Now we have a pretty face from Alaska, who once supported Pat Buchanan for the presidency, who could possibly be one breath away from the Oval Office, telling us abortion is unacceptable even after incest and rape; creationism should be added to the science curriculum; and that humans have nothing to do with global warming (maybe because she couldn’t find “global warming” in the bible).

Sarah Palin is John McCain’s gift to the religious right. McCain, who on occasion calls us a “Christian nation,” can be counted on to bury Roe vs. Wade should he prevail in November.

It should be mentioned that Palin’s pitch for the Hillary vote is an insult to women. As Gail Collins says in the N.Y. Times: “The idea that women are going to race off and vote for any candidate with the same internal plumbing is both offensive and historically wrong.”

A few years ago, Chris Shays, the Republican congressman from Connecticut, put the issue in more frightening terms: Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | Politics

August 28th, 2008


by Ed Gold

I’ve been in a fair number of political campaigns, particularly during the reform battles against Tammany, and each has its own character. There is always a winner, usually several losers. Some campaigns leave you euphoric, some result in pain, while others are bittersweet. Many are memorable for some special quality.

Here’s a mix of campaign experiences that have stayed with me through the years:

I was living in a DeSapio-controlled building in 1957 when Village Independent Democrats ran Herman Greitzer, a purist reformer, against the last great Tammany leader, Carmine DeSapio.

I had the temerity of running for county committee against my building owner, Irving Hartstein, a DeSapio captain. He didn’t appreciate my position and called me a “disloyal tenant.”

But he approached me one day with a proposition. It concerned Greitzer’s candidacy. “Mr. DeSapio is a very busy man,” he noted, “and really would like to avoid a district leadership campaign you can’t possibly win. I think we could arrange a judgeship for Greitzer.”

It was difficult not to break out laughing. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | New York | Politics

August 28th, 2008


by D. Clark MacPherson

Pete Gleason.

This year there are a number of real races among the Democrats, which will affect SoHo in particular. Since we live in a Democratic town, the Primary is the election. November is merely a formality once the Primary battle is concluded in September.

Daniel Squadron, for example, is running against Democratic incumbent State Senator Marty Connor, who for 30 years has not had a serious opponent. That has changed this year. Squadron managed to garner the endorsement of Downtown’s major, if embattled, Democratic political club, D.I.D. (Downtown Independent Democrats), and is clearly now in the lead for that State Senate seat. While Squadron has raised significant money (nearly $500,000 thus far), his real success is in making headway without the overt support of his political rabbi, Senator Schumer. Squadron traveled with Schumer and they wrote a book together.

Having to make one’s own political way–in spite of a tremendous political asset–in order to connect with the community and inspire a sense of commitment is not an easy task. Squadron seems to have accomplished this by virtue of his energy and persistence.

The City Council races for SoHo will soon become more interesting. Julie Menin, Chair of Board #1, thought to have the upper hand in the coming election next year, has primarily focused her attention on attorney Pete Gleason. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | Politics

August 27th, 2008


by Delbert Grady

Well, we’ve gotten plenty of the first two from our fearless leader and benefactor, George Walker Bush. Now comes the third, but in a very different way than we’re used to.

Let’s start at the beginning: the tech bust of 2000. If you look back in history, that kind of beating has always been followed by serious economic problems.Well, none of those for Dubya! With the help of Alan Greenspan (interest rates), Congress (tax reductions and pork barrel), an unnecessary war (procurement spending) and totally irresponsible banks and other lenders (no-equity mortgages and virtually unlimited credit card lines), he’s been able to dodge the bullet for 6 years. Till now.

Now we have giant budget and trade deficits because we’re spending far more as a government and a people (U.S. households savings rate is actually negative for the first time since the Great Depression) than we can possibly afford and a repayment schedule for all this funny-money spending that’s going to be a bitch.

Plus, in any event, you can add to all this exponentially growing debt the cost of oil due to a plethora of problems which will not go away and the true eventual cost of the Iraq fiasco, which has been estimated by Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia and Linda Bilmes of Harvard as $1.3 trillion. That’s about $4,500 for every man, woman and child in the country. (That was in 2006—much more now.) And let’s not forget the almost 50% of the relatively anemic jobs creation numbers in this country since 2000 were in construction due to the runaway housing boom, which has now ended.

So what does all this mean for us? It means we’re fucked, that’s what. Here’s my cheery scenario: Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | Politics

August 26th, 2008


by Trip Plunkitt

The push for development buy this mayor has led to the death of quite a few people this year alone. His development mania has also wasted precious government time and resources: just look at the failed 2012 Olympic bid and failed congestion-pricing plan (Bloomberg sent state legislators glossy brochures to convince them). And don’t forget “Guantanamo on the Hudson,” the four day police-instigated hostage situation during the Republican National Convention, where protesters were held at Pier 57 long enough to keep them off the streets until the convention was over, without due process. Thank YOU, Mayor Bloomberg!

In taking the City in the direction of non-stop construction, the mayor has chosen to overlook the safety of workers and citizens. For this ignoble effort, we give Mayor Bloomberg the “Emperor Nero, Death by Development” Award for most construction, most death of any mayor since (pick a date). And as we write this, more will probably be killed as a direct effect of Mayor Bloomberg’s (“the business mayor”) edict that business, real estate interests, and big money trump all else. Even life. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | New York | Politics

August 25th, 2008


by Ed Gold

I am a veteran of St.Vincent’s Hospital, with my share of ER visits, procedures, overnight stays and an assortment of operations. So the hospital appeal for a new state-of-the-art medical center sounds good. If the hospital fulfills its plans, I hope “state-of-the-art” will extend to patient transport, which, in my experience, has left a lot to be desired.

I have no complaint about doctors and nurses have been conspicuously conscientious and caring during my recovery periods.

But “transport”—moving my body from one location to a desired destination—has been dysfunctional on several memorable occasions.

First, there was the case of the broken hip. My right leg collapsed as I got out of bed in the middle of the night. I eventually dragged myself to a phone, contacted friends who came over and called for an ambulance, which deposited me at St.Vincent’s ER. Shortly thereafter, an x-ray confirmed a broken hip, and periodically I was visited by a nurse who gave me pain killers. I was advised I would be removed to a room as soon as an open bed was discovered.

I lay in ER for eight hours, with nurses offering encouragement as the hours passed. Finally picked up by transport, I was delivered to a room in Coleman where I found two beds that had been unoccupied all day. The breakdown in communication was never explained. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York

August 18th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Jefferson Market Library, one of the architectural gems of the nation, is in the process of being renovated, thanks to contributions from Speaker Chris Quinn of the City Council, State Sen. Tom Duane and Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who have put together a $7 million package to ensure the structural integrity of this storied building.

Apparently, work is required on the facade, windows, roof and tower, with construction completion scheduled in the spring of2010.

This new effort brings back memories of a much darker period when the library’s very existence was threatened until a tiny, feisty woman–Ruth Wittenberg–got the city to reverse its disasterous policy: a decision by the trustees of the New York Public Library to shut down arguably the most important branch library in the city, one which doubled as an historic treasure. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | New York | Politics





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