It’s not really Private when it’s for Profit: Whore Education and Hillary Clinton


This is just like taking it at Princeton!

Today they announced the Rhodes scholarships. I always peruse these since one of my close friends in undergrad, Peter Bednekoff, was a Rhodes scholar and got his DPhil. I’ll never forget when our Rhodes recruiter faculty member did a very short interview with me….”Oh, you’re married? Not eligible.” I wouldn’t have been selected anyway. The vast majority of those who are come from a handful of elite private universities. And, Tulsa was one of the rare local/regional liberal arts colleges to field someone who made it. Fewer still are Rhodes scholars who came from State universities, and almost none have come from regional state universities like my own humble school (though there is one from Youngstown State this year).

Excellence is what the super rich want to keep the middle classes and even lower upper classes from attaining. They want to make sure that elite education is only available for their own children, and want to make sure that their spawn don’t have to compete with dirty immigrants, the children of schoolteachers, and other people of low station. People forget that there was no semblence of meritocracy until the late 1970s. Before then, you got into Harvard or Princeton or Yale based on your family ties. Sure, you had to graduate from a “prestigious” high school. But you could have damn near failed out like W Bush and they’d still take you. Now, schools have to justify their admissions, and pools of applicants are teaming with honest to fuck smart kids.

No worries. As long as you make sure little rich Buffy and Miff are at least adequate—1200 SAT or whatever that amounts to these days with the new bullshit scoring—the “elite” universities will simply price out the middle and lower-upper class competition! They’ve simply raised tuition to levels where even highly compensated parents will encourage little Hillary to go to Bullshit State instead of Stanford.

A local acquaintance of mine exemplifies this perfectly. Both parents have stable professional jobs giving them over $200k income per year. Their smart kid got into Northwestern or Wash U or Duke. Because of their income, they didn’t get squat for financial aid, and since they’ve been “keeping up with the Joneses” they don’t have much savings—not that you can fault someone for not having a quarter million dollars stashed away for each of your three kids or something……End result, of course, the kid goes to Bullshit State. As long as BSU remains ok, she may do just fine. Maybe even just as fine as if she had gone to Duke….but probably not. And, of course, she’ll never marry some person from a wealthy family who she met in college.

One of the most disturbing things about contemporary politics is the lack of focus on what higher education should be. It isn’t job training. It isn’t just a credential. It should be education. That goes without saying for the elite. They do not have adjuncts (well, there is the “College of Fellows” but those people are top PhD’s from top universities who want to hang in Boston). They are encouraged to learn and to study broadly across a range of academic fields, and none of those fields are going to be eliminated or truncated or only staffed by an adjunct with minimal qualifications. But, downstream, nothing is bad enough. No, the Plebians can have MOOC courses and take all of their exams online with no quality control on content, no professors in charge, no interactions in the classroom, and no discernment as to whether students have even done the work they supposedly turned in. That this model has been an abject failure in the for-profit education sector does not seem to have curbed the enthusiasm of politicians and university administrators.

Hillary Clinton recently opined that she didn’t think that taxpayers should pay for Donald Trump’s daughter to go to college (we aren’t, she doesn’t….). But, yes, we should. Hillary’s self-righteous indignation reveals her elitist orientation–she thinks that real education should just be for the rich, and that they should pay for it privately. If you can’t afford Yale, you shouldn’t go. If you can afford Yale, your kid shouldn’t be at Iowa. But that is bullshit. If Trump’s kid can get into college it should be free, and she should have to compete with everyone else for which university she is allowed to attend. No quotas limiting poor kids or what amount to academic poll taxes–which make middle class and even lower upper class people discourage their children from attending elite universities because they can’t afford the exorbitant tuition.

As someone who has worked in education for nearly 30 years, I’m deeply troubled that the supposedly liberal “front-runner” Hillary Clinton is completely on board with the corporatist model of “education reform” which basically turns our public institutions into for-profit pig farms for asshole sleazebags who suck off the tit of the state. Hillary’s husband has even taken  $16.5 million in the last few years from one of the for-profit parasitic “education” firms he’s hooked up with.  According the Bloomberg:

“In 2014, Bill Clinton made $9 million off of paid speeches and $6.4 million in consulting fees. Of that, $4.3 million came from Laureate (a parasitic education for-profit) and another $2.1 million from GEMS Education, a Dubai-based company that runs preschool and K-12 programs (an even worse parasitic for-profit). He made less from those two gigs in previous years – $5.6 million in 2013 and $4.7 million in 2012. In 2011, the former president was paid $2.5 million by Laureate, $500,000 by GEMS and $100,000 by Teneo Holdings, a firm co-founded by former Clinton aide Doug Band.”

The real reason why Hillary hates public education (which she has never used) is that she truly believes that real education is for the rich, and that the poor folk should have job training and telecourses from a junior college. If you can’t afford Wellesley, then you are not a Wellesley woman. Here, have some MOOC cake….


Cho vs ISIS….sounds like a video game….


Cho would win, of course. I know it seems/is insensitive and politically incorrect, but when we talk about the use of violence in social movements you have to talk about impact. If ISIS really is at WAR with other sovereign nation states, then you really need to grade its performance in battle. Daesh/isis chose to “battle” a soft target. There appear to have been at least a dozen or so “soldiers” involved. This kind of makes it comparable to the attack on Mumbai in 2008, which killed 257—way more than Daesh got, with at least as large of a force hitting a similar soft target.

That ain’t shit. As I’ve noted in the link above, even the Mumbai terrorists suck, and they’re batting nearly double of Daesh in France. ONE graduate student in English at Virginia Tech took out 32 people! While we cannot equate the two situations in any moral or social sense, we sure as fuck can in a tactical sense! If you are a terrorist group trying to make maximal destruction on a soft target, it’s all about body count, baby. So why is Cho so awesome?

Because the various Islamic terrorist groups suck. They are poorly trained and don’t know what they are doing. Not only that, they don’t really want to do what they are trying to do. Even suicide bombers. Did you see that shit? The suicide bomber at the France-Germany game only killed one other person?!!!! Jesus Fuck! Are you kidding me!!!! France v. Germany….gotta be sold out. Any real suicide bomber could have taken out at least 50…just go to the fucking beer line…or the bathroom…Have you ever been to a match? …..Or did you not want to kill a bunch of people…..

Same thing in the concert hall….1500 people in a sold out show, plus no doubt another 500 support, artistic, and service staff. And several gunmen who also had bombs maybe got 100. They had time. I didn’t watch, but the fucking band was playing. A really loud band. And, they had bombs, though obviously their bombs sucked. Cho would have lit the place up, Tim McVeigh would have taken out the entire ensemble—minimum 800 kills for McVeigh.

Acting like the Islamic State is somehow strong because they can kill a hundred people in a huge city is bullshit. They couldn’t take out a small battalion from any real nation state. They didn’t do as well as the Pakistani terrorists in Mumbai in 2008, and their kill-ratio is far below that of a garden variety psycho killer in the United States.

Why? Because most of the “terrorists” didn’t want to do it. They backed off the trigger. They killed themselves in isolated areas when a hundred thousand were gathered nearby. Terrorism is a tough job.

Cho, he was just nuts….

One Big Reason Why I won’t be Voting Clinton in the Primary

Cornel West in a pickup truck for Bernie

Cornel West in a pickup truck for Bernie

Nothing but terror and turmoil all around the world. Daesh is back to doing terrorism instead of trying to maintain state borders, and US college campuses are reeling from continued ethnic unrest—much of which is being fostered by deanlets and deanlings seeking to further expand the administration. Hillary Clinton figures into both problems, and those are the top two (of many) reasons why I won’t vote for her in the primary. Bernie Sanders will win the presidency handily if he can beat Hillary, so that pragmatic pig doesn’t fly. I’ll start with the foreign policy problem, and whine about Clinton’s corporate education model later.

World peace matters a lot to me, and the US has been a key impediment to peace because of the military industrial complex which controls our economy, media, and foreign policy establishment. Clinton is from the “liberal imperialist” establishment as Stephen Walt calls them–naive liberals who think that we can use American force to shove “democracy” down the throats of people in other nations. Only, we don’t really want democracy. We want them to act like us. So, when we kill their dictators (and their children) and they elect someone we don’t like, we kill that person, too, thinking that if we just keep killing the regimes we don’t like, eventually they will all become upper class New England liberals like Hillary. It doesn’t work, and we’re sitting on over a century of failed foreign policy proving the liberal hawks (and the conservative hawks) wrong.

Jimmy Carter has been the only consistent voice of reason and realism in American foreign policy since the 1970s, and his take on the situation in Syria and with Daesh and Iraq is a must read. Even though nobody read it. They should have had him on every talk show. Salon and the Atlantic and other progressive outlets should have devoted weeks to analyzing what could and should be done. President Obama should have been grilled by the media about why he hasn’t attempted to prosecute the Carter agenda. Instead, nothing. Just more “bomb them back to the stone age” shit.

Buried in Carter’s plan is a cold stiff backhand to Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama—though I think we all know that on this the former was more at fault than the latter. John Kerry has been a much more peaceable Secretary of State, negotiating with Iran instead of threatening them….etc. Before 2011, Syria was doing ok. There was peace. They had some problems, and the drought hurt, a lot, but it was not an unstable place. The US used the “Arab Spring” uprisings to foster regime change throughout the area, and when Bashar al-Assad freaked out and leveled a few Sunni neighborhoods WE unilaterally demanded that he step down. Wow. Really? His family’s been in power without any serious threat to their authority for 45 years. As Carter puts it “Because of many complex reasons, he (al-Assad) was supported by his military forces, most Christians, Jews, Shiite Muslims, Alawites and others who feared a takeover by radical Sunni Muslims. The prospect for his overthrow was remote.”

Carter laments the ignorance and arrogance of the Clinton/Obama non-diplomatic strategy “Despite our (the Carter Center’s) persistent but confidential protests, the early American position was that the first step in resolving the dispute had to be the removal of Mr. Assad from office. Those who knew him saw this as a fruitless demand, but it has been maintained for more than four years.”

It is instructive that even in the face of open US and Saudi military support of Sunni rebel groups (including ISIS/Daesh), al-Assad’s dynasty did not fall. Still, the US, with Hillary in charge, refused to negotiate with Assad. We could have talked him down. We could have tried to understand what was going on in Syria that was freaking him out.

Now, it should be obvious. Al-Assad may be an asshole as Carter put it “His most persistent characteristic was stubbornness; it was almost psychologically impossible for him to change his mind — and certainly not when under pressure.” That’s how Jimmy says, “he’s an asshole.” But, what kicked in his assholery was the realization that a very significant Sunni militia was pouring across his border with heavy equipment from the US and Iraqi Sunni groups. The Islamic State was being birthed in front of his eyes and in his country. That’s gotta freak a guy out. So, we want to rid Syria of a secular Alawite and leave them to ISIS/Daesh because nobody messes with Hillary and Amurika gets to tell you who your dictator will be.  We chose to give material, military, and financial aid to Daesh just so we could tell Syria who could be their dictator.

We did the same thing in Libya. Two years before demanding that the Gaddafi’s exit (so US oil companies could take over…), Hillary was hanging with Gaddafi’s hot son signing cooperation agreements. The real scandal that nobody cares about is that we destablized Libya which led to a bloody civil war and no real resolution.

Like Carter says, we need to work with Russia, Iran, Syria, Turkey, and the Saudi’s to deescalate Sunni militarism and Syrian tyranny. And now, we’ll have to do that in a context of having a radical Salafi regime-in-formation in Eastern Syria and Southwest Iraq. What we don’t need is another absolutist, tone-deaf, militaristic regime in the US promoting endless war.

Why Religious Studies Should Die.



I just heard that both candidates for President of the American Academy of Religion are conservative Christian theologians. I thought it appropriate to resurrect this from a few years ago. Yes, religious studies should die.

Originally posted on Iranianredneck's Weblog:

I think we have a subject-object issue here.... I think we have a subject-object issue here….

I spent 8 years as a joint appointed faculty member in religious studies at one of the top 10 programs (in anyone’s book) in the field. Each year, Vanderbilt churned out about 3 PhD’s a year in each of 6 separate areas: (1) Theology; (2) Church History; (3) New Testament/early Christianity; (4) Old testament (judaism); (5) Christian Ethics; and (6) History and Critical Theories of Religion (whatever that means, that was “my” group). Each year about 15 people completed their PhD’s at Vanderbilt. And, each year almost none of them got jobs. While it is nice to look back and focus on success stories like Anthea Butler, who is now tenured at Penn. My mind tends to drift to those who are working at printing presses or spending their fifth stint as an adjunct or working for religious organizations far beneath the…

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William Form


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William Form is gone. Sociology has lost one of its most important figures, someone who forged a research legacy that is unmatched and did so in circumstances that few understand. There simply are not scholars like him around today, and it is depressing. I wish I had known him better and had had more time to discuss scholarship with him.

I first met Bill when he was tagging along with Joan Huber to do a plenary at the SSS in Nashville in 1988. Ken Land introduced me. I was struck that he seemed interested in my research even though I had him pegged as being antagonistic to cultural stuff. I next met him when I interviewed at Ohio State in 1990, and he was gracious and hands off, saying at the outset that he had nothing to do with who would be hired (which would not be me). Over the years, we were intermittently engaged, often having dinner or drinks at various sociological excursions.

Then I fell from grace, for some. For family reasons, I resigned a position at Vanderbilt and came to my current humble abode. Bill cornered me at one meeting or another right after I came to SIU, and we had a long discussion about scholarship, values, work, and what it really meant. I never knew how much he had been through. When I returned from the meetings he sent me a copy of his book, Work and Academic Politics: A Journeyman’s Story, which everyone should buy and read. It’s his story, and it is humbling for all. Bill Form had it hard. He wasn’t some pre-boomer who made Full Professor from nothing. He helped forge modern sociology, and he did it while teaching a horrific load of classes and working on numerous research projects–often without compensation. He moved from minor colleges and eventually into the elite, working his ass off and paying some of the prices we pay.

It meant more than almost anything that Bill Form acknowledged me, and I read his autobiography with many tears in my eyes. Sometimes, you know that there are people like you. It is hard to convey. I have often thought about his struggles when I’ve felt put upon, overworked, or under appreciated. Bill implored me to send his story on to others. I did ask my humble library to order it. But I can’t give up my own copy. It’s too important to me. I love his life, and I’m so privileged that he bothered to connect me to his own story of the struggles of academics.

And, he hit me with his cane once….I’ll miss him a lot. He can never be replaced.

Gay Republicans and the Closet of Conservatism

GSS: 1990-2014 for behavior, 2008-2014 for identity

GSS: 1990-2014 for behavior, 2008-2014 for identity

Who are the homocons, and how many are there? I’ve been dealing with an R and R that raises some questions about the political diversity of GLB populations and so I was investigating this “diversity.” What is interesting is that the GSS measures for sexuality are twofold: one is behavioral—who did you have sex with in the last five years? The other is identity—do you consider yourself heterosexual or straight, or bisexual or gay or lesbian? The numbers aren’t there for the identity measure for separating gender and sexuality, but even without that, there are some interesting associations.

While about 23% of GSS respondents claim Republican Party identifications the percentage is about 11% for behavioral GLB people (people who report having sex with someone of the same sex). That proportion may have declined in the last few years, with the continuation of vehement homophobia in the Republican Party–but only down to 9.6%. So, nearly 1 in 10 are Republicans…..if we only look at behavior. When we examine identification as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, the proportion of Republicans declines to 6.2%.

Obviously, many more closeted people are Republicans than are self identified GLB people. And, the closeted make up a much higher proportion of Republicans:

Percentage of Republicans who are GLB: GSS

Percentage of Republicans who are GLB: GSS

Since 1990, about 2% of self-identified Republicans are GLB based on behavioral measures, and that doesn’t decline much from 2008-2014 where 1.9% of Republicans are GLB on behavior. But, identification matters, and the GSS shows that only 1.1% of Republicans are self-identified GLB people. It appears than nearly half of the remaining “gay base” of Republicans are closeted.

We don’t know who is ahead in the primaries, and it is almost certainly not who is polling best in shit polls

Because nothing is more important than made up numbers.

Because nothing is more important than made up numbers.

I’ve been holding back on this for a while, only because I fear some right wing toad at Pew will agree and tell someone who has influence to alter GOP policy, but I am quite certain that Donald Trump is not the favorite among Republican Primary Voters. Walker and Perry should not have dropped out–Perry would likely have been at a minimum the third most popular candidate if he’d have just cooled his jets. Bush is doing the right thing and not panicking, perhaps because someone finally woke up and figured this out.

I was heartened to see Robert Wuthnow agrees that shit polls tell us nothing and he even quotes this humble blog in his new book. If you think about what the whore pollsters are doing these days, you can easily see where Trump winds up on top in bad national polls and why Hillary appears unbeatable even though she can only get a few hundred rich people to show up at a cocktail event while Bernie Sanders is filling stadiums with raucus supporters.

The whore polls are probably achieving less than .5% response rate. Yes, you got that right. I don’t even believe they get their claimed 5-8% response–not even Gallup or other supposedly reputable whores. The Pew-Gallup Religious landscape study claims 10-11%–my hand calculation was 8.8%, and they worked on that. They aren’t working on polls that happen every single day. They have caller banks of low-wage workers (probably piecemeal pay, more interviews, more money….hmmmmm….). They’re just trying to get to 500 interviews. Calling mostly on landlines—which most younger people (and now we’re talking 50 being young….) and minorities don’t have. And, most people don’t answer their phone if they don’t know who’s calling, this is true of cell and landlines. We almost never answer our phones, and certainly not if a foreign number or “no details” is in the caller id.

Who answers their phone when called by strangers? Old conservative white people. And, not just any old conservative white people, the types who watch reality TV and sit around in their armchairs like Archie Bunker. Trump supporters. Rich professional conservatives who would vote for Bush or Walker or Perry or Kasich (all governors from heavily Republican high population states) do not answer their phones when plebes call. They probably pay extra for a blocking service. The other types of people who answer the phone when strangers call are the old retired Democrats who used to be schoolteachers, nurses, and other civil servants—heavily female, and much more conservative than the majority of Democrats.

I don’t know how Trump fest is going to work out, but I suspect Bush will weather the storm and prevail. But, tomorrow Bernie Sanders is going to destroy Hillary Clinton in the debate, and the polls will still show that she’s ahead among the bluehairs.  Sanders will win easily unless Biden enters, and he’ll beat Biden as well. Hillary is gong to have a hard time convincing Biden to broker her his delegates, since I think Biden will beat Hillary. It’ll be an interesting convention if that happens.

Peer Pressure

I feel the Pulse of the Populace, I can feel it!

This is just like ASR….

As is usual, there continues to be considerable whining about the peer review process. I can relate. Sort of. But, the idea that there is another alternative is total bullshit. AND, the whining is just that, whining. Whining babies whining about their privilege being momentarily abrogated by people who think that maybe their shit does indeed stink. It’s especially discouraging that whining is coming from overprivileged full professors at major research universities who can’t seem to be bothered to revise manuscripts because they believe that their shit don’t stink.

Peer review is not broken. It works. It’s not perfect, but nothing is, duh…. We all may experience negative appraisals, and even unjust appraisals, but that is far better than a system which only publishes shit from the anointed ones.  Indeed, the bullshit open access online shit is just that, a venue for the anointed to act as if they published something peer-reviewed without all of that nasty peer review process.  If you are not one of the cool kids, they won’t accept your paper. Yeah, that’s better than peer review….if you are a full professor at a major PhD granting program who is in favor with the gatekeepers of those online bullshit journals.

Let me just tell you a thing or two, having published a dozen or four or more in real peer-reviewed journals. First, while we all should bitch about our negative reviews, acting like they are the problem is not productive. Once I get the piss out of my eyes, I try to approach all of my R and R’s from the perspective that the reviewers are always right. That’s not just to kiss ass. That’s because maybe I’m wrong and they’re right. I may not agree with criticisms, but it is essential that critiques are taken seriously and addressed in subsequent versions. Not doing so is really arrogant, counterproductive, and stagnates your scholarship. When people tell you repeatedly that your framing of a paper is misguided, you really should listen, particularly when this happens six or eight times at different journals and from people with different theoretical and methodological orientations. It’s really cheap these days to send a paper to another journal without doing shit to it, but if you really think you are Mark Granovetter and this is 1971 you are deluded.

I will now return to taking seriously the many criticisms of the two R and R’s I have on my plate….I suggest that you do the same, because it will make your scholarship better.

Can we have some gun troll now, pretty please?

Support for Gun Control and Cun Ownership Trend: 1972-2014 GSS

Support for Gun Control and Cun Ownership Trend: 1972-2014 GSS

Ah, another day, another mass killing in the US. Typical. Another psychotic white male who has a long history of psychotic disorders, but yet was able to acquire multiple high powered, concealable weapons and shitons of ammo. It seems that at least 10 are now dead, with another 20 wounded.

We are told by Gallup, who is bought and paid for by the NRA, that there is no hope that there will be any gun control. We are told by these public opinion manipulators, who enjoy unlimited access to our “media” that Americans love guns, and that all Americans own guns, and that no Americans want to control access to guns. Bullshit.

Gun ownership in America is at a historic low, and it is going down. Only 30% of households own guns, and within those households, 25% do not own guns (those are the women and children who will be murdered by their gun nut relative). So, maybe a quarter of Americans own guns. It is clear that that unhinged minority is now out purchasing more guns and ammo to prepare for the race war, or whatever.

And, the guns are now mostly for killing people, at least the ones that are the big sellers for the gun nuts. When I was a kid and hunted and was a gun nut, there were very few semi-automatic weapons, and the maximum capacity for a semi-auto handgun was 7 unless you got a very expensive exotic. Now, I can go to the redneck wal-mart gun store and buy a semi-auto handgun that doesn’t even have a safety mechanism and has a 13 shot clip….14 if you load an extra…because why not, eh? And, let’s not even get me started on the true military hardware that we can now buy for under a grand at any Wal Mart. That shit would have cost more than twice as much in 1980 dollars in 1980, if you could even get it, and they would have done a background check in most states.

Fuck Gallup. Fuck the NRA. It’s time for the majority of Americans to have their voices heard and to have some real gun control.



Going off the rails.



I remember meeting my old dorm mate Sanders the first day I moved into the dorms at Oklahoma. He probably followed the smell of weed. I wound up rooming with a series of frat boys who peed in their trashcans, and Sandy was roomed with a transgendered guy who disappeared after the first week….We were roommates by week four in Oliver House, an unairconditioned party dorm closest to the main campus.

We spent the year sitting around in our dorm room drinking cheap whiskey, smoking weed, listening to music and studying. Tom Thiel and Danny Bartfeld would come up and we’d party, and Teresa and some of her friends might come over. We were the party kids on a budget. We didn’t go out. We couldn’t afford it. I worked in Tulsa on the weekends and brought “home” my tips and shit. We’d figure out how much beer, whiskey, and weed we could afford, and maybe a couple of pizzas or a concert or some acid.

Sanders had done it all and was a good bit older than my 17 years. He’d worked in construction and oil rigging, attended a shit school in Chickenshit OK where he lived in the dorms with some really interesting characters. He is from Sapulpa, which is where most of my family is from on my mom’s side. We had a great year. But I had to move on. I was engaged, my fiance was in Tulsa in a nursing program, and OU wasn’t the place for me. Sanders was in my wedding, I keep looking for pictures but I can’t find one, but I only saw him a few times after that. He moved to Florida with Teresa, but it didn’t end well, and I heard from Tom that Sandy wound up in prison for a bit in Florida on a coke charge.

Tom died of cancer in the early 1990s while in med school at Wisconsin after an MA in Physics at Davis. I used to sometimes get together in Tulsa with Tom’s brother Dan who is a physicist at Cornell, but he was my last connection with Sandy after he’d split with Teresa. Last time I saw evidence of Sandy was in a blues bar in Tulsa in the mid 1990s, where he had scrawled his name on the ceiling. I always hoped I’d run into him and we could hang out. Teresa disabused me of that hope. Drugs are bad. Sandy got in way too deep. Apparently he was living in Texas and had an altercation with his 20 year old son in 2012, and wound up killing his own kid. He’s serving a long sentence in Huntsville.

It’s strange how things can get off track. Sanders was doing a major in theater tech and set design. He had a shit-ton of experience with bands and plays, and I figured he’d be head roadie for major touring acts. But, that didn’t happen. I don’t know what did. I keep thinking I need to make a trip to Huntsville, but I don’t know what I’ll find. The Sanders I know is the coolest guy in the world, fun, smart, easygoing….but I guess sometimes things go off the rails. We saw Ozzy together in 1983….


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