Friday, July 31, 2009

BRONZECOMM: Friday Morning News and Events Roundup 7/31/09

1. From: Raynard
Subject: Illinois worst at using Web to inform about stimulus spending

States rate poorly on stimulus info; Ill. worst
Source: Chicago Tribune
On a scale of zero to 100, it can't get worse than the big goose egg.

That's the embarrassing rating Illinois received in a report released
on Wednesday that concludes the state is worst in the nation when
it comes to information available online about how federal stimulus
money is being spent.

The 50-state study by the Washington, D.C.-based watchdog Good Jobs First
sought to assess how well states are living up to President Barack Obama's
pledge that the $787 billion federal stimulus bill would seek "an
unprecedented level of transparency and accountability."

To fulfill that and similar promises from governors, state Web sites were
supposed to play a central role as one-stop shops where watchdogs,
reporters and citizens could go to track stimulus cash.

While Illinois' official stimulus site garnered a zero, most states also scored poorly
-- with an average rating of just 28.

Read the entire report online: click here>>>

2. From: Esther J. Cepeda
Subject: on parting with Pilsen

· Dispelling the Hispanic Chicago Pilsen Myth: We’re – GASP! – everywhere
ThatR17;s right, folks: 800,000 Chicago Latinos call the city limits home, as do about a million
or so Chicago metro region Hispanics, and contrary to popular belief, we don’t ALL live in Pilsen.

3. From:
Subject: Bronzeville Family Fest this weekend


Heritage JazzFest Music Weekend lineup
10:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

On Saturday, August 1st the program begins with the High School Bands,
at approximately 11:00 a.m. and concludes with the James Moody
Quartet. Other performers scheduled to appear include:

Fernando Jones
Theresa Griffin
Orbert Davis
James Moody Quartet

SUNDAY, August 2nd, 2009
12:30 p.m. - 8:30pm

Mr. Fernando Jones
The Mambo Express Afro Cuban Band
Michael Ross
The Deep Blue Organ Trio
The Norman Connors Starship Orchestra
with/ Special Guest Tom Browne
&Jazz Vocalist
Tecora Rogers


5. From: Karen Durham
Subject: Save the Dates - Black Harvest Film Fest

Gene Siskel Film Center presents the 15th Annual Black Harvest
International Festival of Film and Video, August 7-September 3

The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago presents its15th Annual
Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video. The Midwest’s largest festival of the
Black experience on film, Black Harvest showcases Chicago premieres of 21 features
and documentaries and 22 short films.

Special events include opening night A Black Harvest Feast (August 7) featuring five short films
which convey the spirit and vibrant feeling of the festival with a number of filmmakers in person.
Harmene Hartman, publisher/editor-in-chief of N’DIGO, will receive the Deloris Jordan Award
for Excellence in Community Leadership in person. Hill Harper will receive the Gene Siskel Film
Center Renaissance Award and convey his gratitude via DVD. NBC 5’s LeeAnn Trotter will
emcee the program. Other events include “Date on State” (August 14), Real Men Cook (August 21),
advance screenings of The Nine Lives of Marion Barry (August 9) and Blaxploitation parody
Black Dynamite (August 15 and 20), festival panel discussion How to Get a Movie Made (August 15),
and a number of filmmaker and special guest appearances.

This year festival passes are available for $50—see six films for the price of five plus six free popcorns,
an $83 value! Tickets are $10/general admission, $7/students, and $5/Film Center members. The
Gene Siskel Film Center is located at 164 N. State St. Learn more about Black Harvest
at or call 312-846-2800.

6. From: W Casey
Subject: The health-care reform town hall


Congressman Jackson will host another town hall meeting
about efforts in Congress to overhaul our nation's
health care system.

The health-care reform town hall will take place from
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18th,
at the Sheldon Heights Church of Christ located
at 11355 South Halsted Street in Chicago.

Congressman Jackson hopes to see you there.



7. From: Kine Corder
Subject: Teaching young people about money

Kids can learn about money at all ages

It’s never too early to begin teaching kids about money. Teaching your children to be financially responsible at a young age can help them achieve financial security from childhood to retirement.
Children learn more about how to handle financial responsibility from their parents than from any other source, including schools. The best time to start discussing this topic is when children begin asking for new things.

Younger Children

Before children can learn about money, they must practice making choices. Children as young as 18 months can be taught they don’t always get what they want. Teach your child to make decisions at a young age. The decision-making skills they learn will be applied to financial decisions later in life.
R26; Start young children with simple choices, such as “Would you like to use the green or the yellow crayon?”

• Move on quickly to three or four choices so that children learn to handle more than two. Most children four years of age can handle up to six choices.
Kindergarten to Second Grade

From kindergarten through second grade, children learn how to count and perform simple mathematical equations. This is a perfect age to start giving them a small amount of allowance and teach them financial responsibility.

• Choose an amount you feel comfortable with and pay it regularly.

• Let children see the results of their decisions. If your daughter spends all her money on candy the second day of the week, don’t give her more money when she wants a new toy on the fourth day.

• Encourage children to divide their allowance into three equal categories. Make envelopes for immediate spending, charity and long-term savings. Only let them spend the long-term savings when it reaches a certain amount, such as $10 or $25.
Third to Fifth Grade

Since this age group may want more expensive toys, like in-line skates and video games, consider increasing the amount of their allowance.

• Teach this age group how to save for a goal. For example, if your son wants an expensive computer game encourage him to save for the game.

• Match their savings. If your child wants a new bike, tell him you will give him the same amount he saves. This encourages him to reach his goal and teaches him how to wait for what he wants.

Middle School Children

Your son or daughter might be starting to make extra money by babysitting, mowing lawns or shoveling snow.

• Open a savings account with your child so they can watch their money grow.

• Consider giving them a larger allowance. But if you do, also consider giving them the responsibility of buying their own clothes. This teaches them the value of money and they will learn to look for bargains.

• Explain how buying on credit works and ways you get the most from the family’s money. Ask your children to evaluate television and radio commercials and newspaper ads when the family is buying a higher ticket items such as new television or computer.

As a family

Each family member can learn about money when planning a trip. Give each child some responsibility by delegating tasks. Older children can help mom and dad plan a budget and decide on the vacation location. Middle school children can research hotel rates and airfares. Younger children can clip coupons for small things the family will need on the trip, like sunscreen, film and snacks.

No matter where they’re starting from, you can teach your children how to achieve financial security that will last a lifetime.

If you would like to receive a free budget that is easy to use or if you have any questions please email me at or call me at 708-430-2540.

Good luck on raising financially responsible children.

Kine' Corder
708-430-2540 office
708-430-2617 Fax
COUNTRY Financial
9630 S Roberts Rd Suite B6-b
Hickory Hills, IL 60457

Relax, you have a Financial Representative now.
Referrals are welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Investments - Life - Auto - Home Retirement - Disability - LTC

8. From: Barbara Kensey

Bud Billiken is having a birthday party in honor of Bud at 80
and EVERYONE is invited. Join us this Saturday, August 1st
from 12-3 pm on the northwest corner of 47th & King Drive.

It's free!

There will be live entertainment, including Vance Kelley & the
Back Street Blues Band, drill teams, a marching band, majorettes,
dancing to old school and new school music and ice cream & cake.

It's a prelude to the 80th Bud Billiken Parade & Picnic on the
following Saturday, August 8th.

For more information, call Chicago Defender Charities
at 773-536-3710.

9. From: Aina Holmes
Subject: Mortgage HELP from - NACA - Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America


I just learned about NACA (a non-profit HUD certified counseling agency) that helps people keep their homes.

The address for the local Chicago office is below.

NACA’s tour began July 17th in Cleveland and then every week nationwide. The tour was in Chicago last weekend.
Over 25,000 homeowners participate at each event with thousands having their mortgage restructured
the same day to an affordable payment with interest rates permanently reduced to as low as 2%.
NACA has legally binding agreements with all the major lenders/servicers to achieve this.

All of NACA’s services are FREE.

NACA - Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America
4425 W. 63rd St.
Chicago, IL 60629

10. From: jking
Subject: Prayer Vigil For Mental Health Services

Prayer Vigil For Mental Health Services
Friday July 31st - 5pm
Greater Grand Clinic - 4314 S. Cottage Grove

We need you to join us (Friday 7/31 at 5pm
at the Greater Grand Mid South Mental Health Clinic
4314 S. Cottage Grove - Martin Luther King Jr. Center.

For more information:
Southside Together Organizing for Power
813 E.63rd Street, 2nd Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60637

11. From:
Subject: Mentoring in the Park - African Drumming

As a part of our summer youth employment program,
an African-Drumming/cultural enrichment Life-Skills
workshop is planned for Burton Park on Friday, July 31,
at approx 1:30 pm, at 16th & Washington, Maywood.

We will meet at the gazebo in the Fred Hampton Park behind the Police Station.

Donations of hot dogs, burgers, rolls, pop, chips, cookies, etc. are appreciated.
We are planning for approximately 100 youth.

Drop off items at our office or at the park on the day of (we will freeze any
perishables for use on another day -- the youth are always ready to eat!).

Barbara Cole - 708-343-9600 or 344-3577
Maywood Youth Mentoring Program, Inc.
840 S. 17th Avenue, Maywood

12. From: Dr. Daniel Dixon
Subject: The Mandatory 15-Second Voicemail Instructions

The Times's technology columnist, David Pogue, keeps you on top of the industry
in his free, weekly email newsletter.
Sign up | See Sample

Suppose you call my cell to leave me a message. First you hear my own voice: "Hi, it's David Pogue. Leave a message, and I'll get back to you"--and THEN you hear a 15-second canned carrier message.

* Sprint: "[Phone number] is not available right now. Please leave a detailed message after the tone. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press pound for more options."

* Verizon: "At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press 1 for more options. To leave a callback number, press 5. (Beep)"

* AT&T: "To page this person, press five now. At the tone, please record your message. When you are finished, you may hang up, or press one for more options."

* T-Mobile: "Record your message after the tone. To send a numeric page, press five. When you are finished recording, hang up, or for delivery options, press pound."

(You hear a similar message when you call in to hear your own messages. "You. Have. 15. Messages. To listen to your messages, press 1." WHY ELSE WOULD I BE CALLING?)

I, the voicemailbox owner, cannot turn off this additional greeting message. You, the caller, can bypass it, but only if you know the secret keypress--and it's different for each carrier. So you'd have to know which cellphone carrier I use, and that of every person you'll ever call; in other words, this trick is no solution.

These messages are outrageous for two reasons. First, they waste your time. Good heavens: it's 2009. WE KNOW WHAT TO DO AT THE BEEP.

Do we really need to be told to hang up when we're finished!? Would anyone, ever, want to "send a numeric page?" Who still carries a pager, for heaven's sake? Or what about "leave a callback number?" We can SEE the callback number right on our phones!

Second, we're PAYING for these messages. These little 15-second waits add up--bigtime. If Verizon's 70 million customers leave or check messages twice a weekday, Verizon rakes in about $620 million a year. That's your money. And your time: three hours of your time a year, just sitting there listening to the same message over and over again every year.

In 2007, I spoke at an international cellular conference in Italy. The big buzzword was ARPU--Average Revenue Per User. The seminars all had titles like, "Maximizing ARPU In a Digital Age." And yes, several attendees (cell executives) admitted to me, point-blank, that the voicemail instructions exist primarily to make you use up airtime, thereby maximizing ARPU.

Right now, the carriers continue to enjoy their billion-dollar scam only because we're not organized enough to do anything about it. But it doesn't have to be this way. You don't have to sit there, waiting to leave your message, listening to a speech recorded by a third-grade teacher on Ambien.

Let's push back, and hard. We want those time-wasting, money-leaking messages eliminated, or at least made optional.

I asked my Twitter followers for help coming up with a war cry, a slogan, to identify this campaign. They came up with some good ones:

"Where's the Beep?"
"Let it Beep"
"We Know. Let's Go."
"Lose the Wait"
"My Voicemail, My Recording"
"Hell, no, we won't hold!"

My favorite, though, is the one that sounds like a call to action: "Take Back the Beep."

And here's how we're going to do it.

We're going to descend, en masse, on our carriers. Send them a complaint, politely but firmly. Together, we'll send them a LOT of complaints.

If enough of us make our unhappiness known, I'll bet they'll change.

I've told each of the four major carriers that they'll be hearing from us. They've told us where to send the messages:

* Verizon: Post a complaint here:

* AT&T: Send e-mail to Mark Siegel, executive director of media relations:

* Sprint: Post a complaint here:

* T-Mobile: Post a complaint here:

Three of the four carriers are just directing us to their general Web forums. Smells like a cop-out, I know. (As for AT&T: Props to the guy for letting me publish his e-mail address! Hope he knows what he's in for!)

Yet all four carriers promise that they'll read and consider our posts. And we have two things going for us.

First, I have a feeling that the volume of complaints will be too big for them to ignore. To that end, I hope you'll pass these instructions along, blog them, Twitter them, and spread the word. (Gizmodo, Consumerist and others have agreed to help out.) And I hope you'll take the time to complain yourself. Do it now, before you forget.

Second, we'll all be watching. I'll be reporting on the carriers' responses. If they ignore us, we'll shame them. If they respond, we'll celebrate them.

Either way, it's time to rise up. It's time for this crass, time-wasting money-grab to end for good.

Sign in to RecommendMore Articles in Technology »

13. From: Thomas Palmer
Subject: Hate delivered as news -- Stop CNN's Lou Dobbs

Dear _______________,

CNN's Lou Dobbs has been using his show to give life to conspiracy theories claiming President Obama wasn't born in the U.S. The question was put to rest long ago, but Dobbs is pretending that this extremist nonsense is a legitimate national conversation.

Dobbs, intentionally or not, is stoking the fires of racial fear and paranoia in the same way that the McCain/Palin campaign did when they cast Obama as "not one of us." Even after being called on it, he refuses to stop.

President Obama: an undocumented immigrant?

Why is Lou Dobbs pretending that a racist conspiracy theory is news?

It's not the first time. Will you take a moment to demand CNN drop Dobbs?

CNN claims to be "the most trusted name in news," yet it is allowing one of its hosts to give legitimacy to debunked, racist conspiracy theories. Will you join me in calling on CNN to dump Dobbs -- and ask your friends and family to do the same? It takes just a minute:

For more than a year, folks on the far right have been claiming that Obama is not a U.S. citizen, that he was born in Kenya , and that as a result he can't be president. The theory has been repeatedly debunked. Not only has the state of Hawaii produced a birth certificate several times, there were also birth announcements in two separate Hawaii papers when Obama was born, placing his birth in Hawaii--for most reasonable people, that would remove any doubt.

Members of Dobbs' own staff have said they're uncomfortable with his insistence on pursuing this story, but Dobbs insists on claiming there must be something to it because "Obama refuses to produce the long-form of his birth certificate." Other news outlets have refused to give the idea any credence. The head of MSNBC, Phil Griffin, had this to say about the claim: "It's racist. It's racist. Just call it for what it is."

Dobbs and race

Lou Dobbs has a history of attacking immigrants by spouting hateful rhetoric and lies. He once claimed that "the invasion of illegal aliens is threatening the health of many Americans" through "deadly imports" of diseases like leprosy and malaria. This kind of rhetoric feeds anti-immigrant hate, which has led to horrors like the beating death of Luis Ramirez in Pennsylvania and the shooting death of 9-year old Brisenia Flores in Arizona earlier this year. Dobb's role in creating this environment has led organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to call on CNN to reign in Dobbs in the past.

Now Dobbs is going after Obama by giving voice to the same kind of xenophobic rhetoric, stoking the deep-seated fears of angry right-wing extremists who, as CNN analyst Roland Martin has said, can't accept the fact that their president is Black.

Dobbs may not like Obama. But it's a real problem for him to use his powerful position as a moderator of discussion about the news to validate a dangerous falsehood that's rooted in racism.

Several watchdog groups have demanded action on the part of CNN. The head of the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote CNN last week asking that they fire Dobbs based on his recent actions9. Media Matters and others have launched efforts to hold CNN accountable as well.

CNN has the opportunity to live up to its description of itself as the most trusted cable news network. Or it can start to look like FOX, where the legitimizing of extremist propaganda is part of doing business.

I've joined in calling on Jon Klein, the president of CNN, to take Dobbs off the air. Will you join us, and ask your friends and family to do the same?


Here are some links to more info:

Lou Dobbs Show, CNN, 7-23-09

"Mob scene or campaign rally?", 10-14-08

"(Still) Challenging Obama's birth certificate," Politics Daily, 11-24-08

"CNN chief addresses Obama birth controversy," LA Times, 7-25-09

"On Television and Radio, Talk of Obama's Citizenship," The New York Times, 7-24-09

"CNN's Immigration Problem," Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, 4-24-06

"Broken Record," Intelligence Report, Winter 2005

"CNN's Martin: Birthers' "I want my country back" comment means "How is this black guy all of the sudden running the country?" Media Matters, 7-22-09

"Major Civil Rights Group Demands CNN Remove Lou Dobbs From The Air," Huffington Post, 7-24-09

"CNN's Dobbs Problem," Media Matters


14. From: Michelle Williams
Subject: Actor Jeffrey Wright - Commentary: Obama, race and my arrest

Be Well, Be Free

By Jeffrey Wright
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Jeffrey Wright is a stage and screen actor who has won a Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe.
Wright has appeared in "Angels in America," "Basquiat," "The Manchurian Candidate," "Syriana," "W."
and "Casino Royale."

Actor Jeffrey Wright says a nation that put a man on the moon should be able to take race out of policing.

President Obama expressed what many Americans feel regarding the recent arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates -- that the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police responded "stupidly."

Obama is catching some flak for that, but I applaud him for having had the courage to speak his heart and mind.

I wonder if the president himself has ever experienced the blunt end of racial profiling, or if he personally knows of anyone other than Professor Gates who has. Among African-American males in this country, the small minority is those who have not or do not.

Did some prior experience or knowledge inform his response about the Gates incident? I have no facts to back this up, but, to me, it seemed personal. If it was, I understand.

I was arrested last July in Shreveport, Louisiana, outside a bar where dozens of members of the cast and crew of the movie "W." and I had gathered to celebrate the end of filming. There was no bar brawl as widely reported -- nor even a pre-election political argument.

Nine police cars and a fire engine responded; seven people were arrested. Two of the seven suffered minor head wounds at the hands of the Shreveport police. Josh Brolin and I were pepper sprayed by cops, and while face down in the street, I was made to feel the business end of a Taser.

The truth of what led to the whole morass has never been accurately reported. I was asked to leave the bar by a white female bartender who took exception to a comment I made.

As with Professor Gates, the police in my case backed unquestioningly the suspicion of a white woman that the black man she accused must be guilty of something. Once that die of accusation was cast, a ghost of racial bias, misperception, and the potential abuse of police authority was set free to make mischief.

The bar was one of two places in downtown Shreveport that serves food after 10 p.m. A few nights before my arrest, I had gone there very late after work to grab a bite to eat. It was before closing, and there were a few customers and employees inside, but the door was locked. I knocked and asked, over the music streaming from inside, if I might buy a small pizza. The bartender insisted that they were closed.

"Whatever," I said with a shrug of resignation and walked back to my hotel room.

Four nights later and in a festive mood, we gathered at this same establishment. Upon seeing the bartender who had a few nights before told me that the place was closed, I asked her for a drink, which she poured. I quipped, "Ah you're going to serve me tonight!"

At that, she pulled the drink away and told me that I had to leave. I asked if she was kidding. She went on to say that if I didn't leave, she would call the police. As I stepped away to tell friends what had happened, a call was made to Shreveport police.

Two cops, the first of many, arrived in minutes, and I was physically escorted outside although neither of them had the curiosity to ask what had transpired before they arrived. A mess ensued.

To their credit, Josh and the others arrested followed me outside with a few others from our group. The cops physically released me and were seeming to be ready to let me go altogether when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw another member of the film crew driven headlong into the sidewalk by two newly arrived cops.

Josh verbally objected to their actions, at which point a cop said to him, "You too!" I moved Josh away from the fray and held him. We were then pepper sprayed to separate us, after which Josh knelt in submission and was handcuffed.

Disoriented and blinded by the pepper spray, I remained standing until I was kicked in the knee and forced to the ground. I did not completely relax one of my arms as it was twisted behind me, so I was tasered in the back of my ribs repeatedly, eventually handcuffed, left to lie in the street for several minutes, then arrested and hauled off to jail, and charged with impeding police. The six others were similarly charged -- and it all began with a joke.

Nearly six months later, after a good-size storm kicked up in Shreveport over the incident, prosecutors agreed to drop the charges against all of us arrested that night.

New Year's Day 2009 and the same week in which charges were dropped against us, in Oakland, California, Oscar Grant, a young father, was killed in a BART station, surrounded by cops and in the same position as I found myself down in Shreveport. It seems the BART cop may have pulled the trigger of his firearm thinking that it was his Taser.

Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover is known as a law-and-order mayor. The day after the encounter, in the presence of his police chief, Glover apologized to me and privately acknowledged that while most Shreveport's cops were good, there were some "devils" among them.

In public meetings regarding the "W." incident, however, he held fast that the responding officers acted appropriately. Either Glover's public statement was dead wrong, or the joke was on us.

Of course, public officials, particularly at the local level, are loathe to criticize law enforcement officers. On a certain level, it's understandable. Cops answer a noble and difficult calling. The pressure must be relentless, and I imagine a cop is largely underappreciated by most except those with whom he or she serves.

A political pat on the back from the executive in charge must be a comforting thing in controversial times, and politicians prefer to duck behind the political safety of the blue wall of silence than upset the men and women who, like our nation's troops, are charged with placing themselves every day in harm's way to keep us safe.

When he was mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani encamped himself behind that blue wall. After Amadou Diallo, living out the All-American, hard-working immigrant story, was brutally shot down on the steps of his Bronx apartment building, Giuliani refused to question the actions of the cops who fired 41 bullets in killing the unarmed young man.

Is a politician's unwavering fidelity to law enforcement officers the best approach, or does it promote a police culture of impunity and retard progress on law enforcement issues?

What if after the Diallo tragedy, political leadership in New York inspired the passage of serious legislation to keep in check the presumption of criminality that cops so often direct toward young men of color. What if that had led to similar acts nationwide around these issues?

Gates might not be headline news today; Grant might not have died; and New York police Officer Omar Edwards, an African-American undercover officer shot down two months ago by a white fellow officer while chasing a suspect through a Harlem street, might be alive today to toss a football again with his son. "Shame" on Gates

I'm not presuming to blame Giuliani alone for what has become a systemic problem in our country -- that would be absurd, these issues predate him -- but when political leaders in this country express compassion only for those for whom they perceive it to be politically expedient or fail to challenge law enforcement and incarceration issues that cut to the core of the history and culture of race in America, they fail us all. They exemplify what U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder meant when he spoke of the cowardice with which we as a society approach race dialogue in this country.

These are messy, even bloody issues, but the cost of not addressing them is too draining of our societal health. Among other things it fosters a society in which too many young Americans internalize the aura of criminality that's projected onto them and handcuff themselves to self-imposed limitations that stifle us all.

Going to prison rather than to college becomes a rite of passage. They wear their pants below their behinds in solidarity with their friends, brothers, uncles or fathers who aren't allowed belts while incarcerated, though perhaps the low-hanging pants are a defiant gesture to society at large for continually presuming them to be miscreant.

This past week the Apollo 11 crew was at the White House welcomed by the president of a new generation of dreamers. Our great nation put a man on the moon, but it can't train its cops to distinguish between an ordinary brown-skinned brother and a criminal. At its least injurious, as with Gates and myself, this leads to bruised pride and reputation; at its worst, Grant or Edwards gets killed.

President Kennedy famously said, "We choose to go the moon ... and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard." Maybe properly educating, screening and training our nation's police is one of "the other things." My son is 7 years old. May our generation have accomplished this other thing before he's a young man, and before we've sent a man to Mars.

The challenge is one that many Americans are willing to accept -- one, that for the sake of our children, all Americans should be unwilling to postpone.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jeffrey Wright.



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