Friday, March 31, 2006

Why I won’t see Brokeback Mountain

Why I won’t see Brokeback Mountain

by Tim Wilkins

With eight Oscar nominations, more than any other movie this year, Brokeback Mountain continues to gain momentum. And with the momentum comes increasing interest by evangelicals to see it.

I will avoid the movie like a slug avoids an overturned saltshaker and for the life of me, cannot understand why any evangelical would see it-though there appear to be many. But what is more disturbing to me is that many men and women I know with unwanted homosexual attractions are seeing the movie.

A reporter from The Christian Post asked my thoughts about the movie and I obliged. My comments as a former homosexual were made from the reviews I had read–comments which generated numerous emails to me from individuals arguing that I could not make an intelligent comment on a movie I had not seen. (More at Cross Ministry)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Station Drift

Station Drift
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Governor Tim Kaine's new radio ads and automated phone calls pushing his road plan don't mention a key feature -- nearly $1 billion a year in tax hikes. But that should come as no surprise, given that Kaine's gubernatorial campaign didn't emphasize tax hikes, either. On the contrary: Kaine accused his opponent, Jerry Kilgore, of "making stuff up" when Kilgore warned that Kaine would try to raise taxes.

But then, Kaine also cooed sweet lullabies about governing in a bipartisan manner. Yet after a brief feint in the direction of bipartisanship he shifted swiftly to the realm of smashmouth politics. The radio ads and robo- calls give the impression the Commonwealth faces a choice between a Kaine/State Senate plan that increases funding for roads and other state services, and a plan by House Republicans that fails to invest in roads while cutting other programs.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Under both plans the state budget will grow by more than 20 percent. The key difference lies in whether to pay for road improvements with tax hikes (Kaine/Senate) or with surplus dollars and modest borrowing (House). Given the tax hikes passed in 2004 -- with assistance by House Republicans -- to preserve the state's bond rating and the debt capacity the state currently enjoys, the House plan represents the responsible middle way.

That's where candidate Kaine placed himself in campaign advertisements last year, when he expressed the view that "we can't tax and pave our way out of traffic." Now safely ensconced in office, Kaine has abandoned that view and drifted over to the far end of the dial, where tax hikes reign and the only thing to the left is the soothing sound of static.

Richmond Times Dispatch

Monday, March 27, 2006

Another tax-and-spend Democrat (Mark Warner)

Kansas City Star ^ | Mar. 26, 2006 | Sam Batkins

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In 2008, when voters begin to decide on presidential candidates, parsing through stump speeches and plain vanilla debates will make it difficult to judge who among the hopefuls will live up to their rhetoric on taxes and government spending.

For concerned taxpayers, history has proven to be the best measure of a candidate’s mettle.

Former Virginia Democratic Gov. Mark Warner is heralded as a fiscal conservative who brought his state out of a financial crisis. Voters took note when Warner proclaimed: “I will not raise taxes. My plan states it. I’ve said it through this campaign.”

His record says otherwise. He and his allies in the state legislature raised court fees, imposed $34 million in additional regulatory burdens, increased cigarette and alcohol taxes, and boosted sales taxes by $395 million.

But Warner also has a propensity to spend as well as tax. Overall, state spending in Virginia has increased 22 percent from Warner’s first biennial budget. Total two-year spending for 2004 to 2006 will approach $63 billion.

If Warner can balance the budget, but then push for record tax increases, as well as boost spending in his state, what would he do with the keys to the U.S. Treasury?

Sam Batkins, National Taxpayers Union

Thursday, March 23, 2006

AFA, 20 Other Pro-Family Organizations Call For One-Year Boycott of Ford Motor Company

Boycott details

This is a good cause...Visit this site to send a letter to Chairman Bill Ford....also visit the site below to look up local dealers. I sent an email to 10 Ford Dealers in SW VA on this issue.....

Find local Ford Dealers

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

FDA Urged to Pull RU-486 after Two More Reported Deaths

( - A conservative group is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to pull the abortion pill RU-486, after the FDA reported that two more women died after taking the drug.

The cause of death in both cases has not been determined, the FDA said, but four other women's deaths have been linked to a bacterial infection that developed after they took RU-486. (More at

Never Satisfied: Kaine, Chichester Bang on Their High Chairs and Wail for More

Never Satisfied: Kaine, Chichester Bang on Their High
Chairs and Wail for More


Barton Hinkle

Kaine again suggested that the conservative
Republicans who rule the House of Delegates are
blocking a compromise. --Times-Dispatch news story.
With budget negotiations having ground to yet another
impasse, Virginians can expect all the parties
involved to try to depict the others as rigid,
uncompromising ideologues. Some of them are -- but not
those whom Kaine fingered last week.

Let's review some history.

In 2001, budget negotiations broke down over the
car-tax cut. Governor Jim Gilmore and the
Republican-led House want- ed to increase the rollback
of the despised tax from 47.5 percent to 70 percent.
The Senate, led principally by Finance Committee
chairman John Chichester, refused. The House made
several attempts at compromise, submitting four
different budget versions for Chichester's approval.

At the time, Republican Delegate Vince Callahan and
Democratic Delegate Earl Dickinson wrote to

"Over the last five days the House conferees put forth
four specific proposals designed to overcome your
objections to our budget. Each time, we made every
effort to reduce the amount of borrowing, provide
equitable salary increases for all employee groups,
restore the cuts in services to our most vulnerable
citizens, and provide car-tax relief at 70 percent . .
. .The final component of our proposal dealt with the
level of budget restoration to maintain service
levels. As you know, your budget went beyond restoring
budget cuts and proposed new spending not contained in
the previously approved budget. The position of the
House conferees was to maintain services, not to start
or expand new programs."

Chichester barely budged beyond a "compromise" car-tax
rollback of 55 percent, and Gilmore wound up having to
amend the budget himself.

IN 2004, WITH a new Governor (Mark Warner) and a new
Speaker (Bill Howell, who by then had replaced Vance
Wilkins), the House and Senate deadlocked again --
this time over tax hikes. The House initially proposed
no new taxes. Governor Mark Warner wanted to raise
taxes by about $1 billion a year. In a spirit of
compromise, House Republicans offered to meet him
halfway by raising taxes $500 million.

Chichester insisted on jacking up taxes a remarkable
$4 billion. At the time, lofty voices in the state's
high councils were warning that tax increases were
urgently needed to protect the state's bond rating --
and to shore up state finances that had been bled by
weak economic growth. A marathon tug-of-war lasting
115 days ended with capitulation by House Republicans
and a tax hike of $1.4 billion.

Now, for the third time (and with the third Governor)
in six years, budget negotiations have hit a wall. Tim
Kaine practically tripped over himself in his haste to
propose a steep tax hike despite repeated campaign
vows not to do so until the state had secured road
funds against raiding for other purposes. He then
threatened with reprisal Republicans who dared to
voice doubts about the wisdom of his plans.
Chichester, once again, is being Chichester.

Kaine and Chichester are banging on their high chairs
demanding still more revenue despite all this:

(1)THERE IS NO threat to the state's bond rating.

(2)The state enjoys a honking big surplus.

(3)The $61.3-billion budget that included Warner's tax
hikes increased spending 19 percent.

(4)The current budget, at least $75.3 billion, will
increase spending by another 22.8 percent.

(5)Transportation has claimed 12 cents of every new
state dollar in the past decade.

(6)Also in the past decade, public-school enrollment
rose 10 percent while inflation-adjusted direct state
aid to education rose 42 percent.

(7)House Republicans, again, have agreed to raise
another $500 million for transportation.

Having got much of his way during the previous two
battles, Chichester evidently feels secure that
continued pig-headedness will succeed again. He might
be right. If so, it will be interesting to see what
pretext he produces to justify more tax hikes two
years hence.

And still some persist in suggesting House Republicans
are the uncompromising ideologues on tax issues. Those
who hold that view would do well to review the history
-- and return to planet Earth.

Richmond Times Dispatch

Monday, March 20, 2006


2006 Legislative Session Ends – Special Session Set For March 27th

THE BOLLING REPORT, by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling

The 2006 session of the Virginia General Assembly ended on schedule on March 11th, but significant work remained undone, including the adoption of a new state budget for the 2006-2008 biennium and agreement on a plan for addressing Virginia’s highway construction needs. A special session to address these outstanding issues has been scheduled for March 27th.

As we look back on the 2006 session, it can best be characterized as “the good, the bad and the ugly.” While many important pieces of legislation were approved by the General Assembly, other significant proposals failed to pass and the budget impasse reflects significant philosophical differences between Republicans in the Senate and House of Delegates.


During this year’s legislative session the members of the General Assembly gave their approval to several important pieces of legislation. The more significant measures approved by the General Assembly include:

Cable Competition – establishes a new procedure by which cable operators may obtain authorization to operate cable systems in localities. It is believed that this new system will enhance cable competition and reduce rates for consumers.

Small Business Health Insurance – authorizes the establishment of cooperatives for the purchasing of health insurance by small employers. It is believed that the formation of these cooperatives will reduce costs and make it easier for small employers to purchase health insurance for their employees.

Marriage – provides for a referendum in the November 2006 election on approval of a constitutional amendment to define marriage. The proposed amendment states that “only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid or recognized by the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions.”

Dangerous Dogs – provides criminal penalties for the owners of dangerous dogs by setting out a penalty scheme ranging from a Class 2 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony for violations that result in serious injury or death of a human.

Sex Offenders – amends provisions related to the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry. Penalties are increased for certain sex crimes, including offenses involving a child under 13 years of age, and the list of offenses that qualify as sexually violent offenses is expanded.

Virginia Energy Plan – Requires the Commonwealth to develop a ten year comprehensive energy plan. The bill supports the surveying, exploration, and production of potential natural gas deposits in areas off the Commonwealth’s Atlantic shore. The bill also sets out a plan for siting nuclear power plants, wind power facilities, natural gas facilities and solar facilities; and requires state agencies to look for additional ways to reduce energy consumption.

Medicaid Long Term Care – requires the Department of Medical Assistance Services to establish a long term care partnership program between the Commonwealth and private insurance companies to reduce Medicaid costs by encouraging the purchase of private long term care insurance policies. Companion legislation provides a 10% tax credit for payment of premiums associated with the purchase of long term care insurance.

In State Tuition For Children of Military Personnel – permits the children of active duty military personnel who are assigned to a permanent duty station in Virginia and reside in Virginia to pay in-state tuition at Virginia’s colleges and universities.

Back To School “Tax Holiday” – provides a sales tax exemption for certain school supplies, clothing and footwear purchased during a three day period each year beginning on the first Friday in August. Exempt items are school supplies with a selling price of $20 or less and articles of clothing or footwear with a selling price of $100 or less.

Communications Tax Reform – simplifies the imposition of telecommunications taxes in Virginia by eliminating a number of existing state and local telecommunications taxes and applying a statewide sales and use tax rate of 5% to retail communication and video services.


Unfortunately, several other pieces of worthy legislation failed to receive the General Assembly’s approval. This defeated legislation included:

Death Tax – would have eliminated the death tax in Virginia. While the Senate and House of Delegates both passed legislation to eliminate the death tax, these bills differed in content. Unfortunately, these differences could not be reconciled before the General Assembly adjourned.

Small Business Health Insurance – would have provided a tax credit to employers with 50 or fewer employees who pay at least one half of the annual health insurance premiums of their employees.

Teen Drivers And Cell Phones – would have prohibited persons under the age of 18 from using any cellular telephone or other wireless communications device while driving.

Eminent Domain – would have tightened the definition of “public use” to eliminate potential abuses of state or local governments in utilizing the power of eminent domain. Would have prohibited the use of eminent domain if the primary purpose was economic development or expansion of the tax base.

In State Tuition For Illegal Immigrants – would have prohibited Virginia’s colleges and universities from allowing illegal immigrants to pay in state tuition.

Licensure Of Abortion Clinics – would have required abortion clinics to be licensed and comply with requirements currently in place for ambulatory surgery centers.


When this year’s legislative session started, I said that the most important issue currently facing Virginia was building a transportation system for the 21st century. While almost everyone agrees that this will require the dedication of significant additional revenues to the Transportation Trust Fund, the members of the Senate and House of Delegates were unable to agree on a specific approach for accomplishing this important goal.

As discussed in past editions of The Bolling Report, Governor Tim Kaine and an overwhelming majority of the members of the State Senate support increasing a number of state taxes and fees to generate about $1B in additional funding for the Transportation Trust Fund.

However, the members of the House of Delegates have taken a more conservative approach, generating about $500M a year in additional funding for transportation purposes without raising taxes. The House plan would utilize budget surpluses and existing general fund revenue sources to generate additional funding for transportation.

I have made my position on this issue clear. While I strongly support dedicating significant additional revenue for transportation constructions, I do not believe that it is necessary to increase taxes to accomplish this.

Virginia’s economy is currently growing at a very rapid rate. This economic growth will produce budget surpluses and new revenue growth sufficient to support a 19% increase in state spending in the upcoming biennium. Armed with such impressive economic growth, I do not believe it is either necessary or appropriate to increase taxes.

I am convinced that we can adequately fund the core responsibilities of state government and make a significant ongoing investment in transportation without raising taxes if we have the fiscal discipline to direct existing revenue sources to our most pressing needs and the budgetary restraint to resist the temptation to embark on a number of new and costly government programs.

Unfortunately, the members of the Senate and House of Delegates were unable to resolve this issue prior to the scheduled adjournment of the General Assembly on March 11th. The members of the General Assembly will return to Richmond on March 27th for a Special Session to continue this important dialogue.

It has been a pleasure to publish The Bolling Report again this year. I hope the report has helped you better understand the issues being discussed in Richmond by your elected representatives. I will continue to keep you informed of developments in ongoing budget negotiations and other important state issues in the weeks to come.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Oscar's Big Dud

There were plenty of films that deserved recognition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — some of them family-friendly fare coming from Hollywood 's biggest studios.

Pro-family film critics say Sunday night's Oscar ceremonies were a sign that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences isn't just out of touch with the American people — it's out of touch with Hollywood itself.

"The Oscar ceremony seemed to bomb -- 10 percent of the (television) audience left," said MovieGuide's Ted Baehr. "It was not only the lowest Oscar ratings, but it was the steepest drop-off. (Host) Jon Stewart seemed to alienate people — and you had this long sequence of clips which became tedious after awhile." (more at Focus on the Family)



By RALPH PETERS, New York Post - In Iraq, March 5, 2006


I'm trying. I've been trying all week. The other day, I drove another 30 miles or so on the streets and alleys of Baghdad. I'm looking for the civil war that The New York Times declared. And I just can't find it.

Maybe actually being on the ground in Iraq prevents me from seeing it. Perhaps the view's clearer from Manhattan. It could be that my background as an intelligence officer didn't give me the right skills.

And riding around with the U.S. Army, looking at things first-hand, is certainly a technique to which The New York Times wouldn't stoop in such an hour of crisis.

Let me tell you what I saw anyway. Rolling with the "instant Infantry" gunners of the 1st Platoon of Bravo Battery, 4-320 Field Artillery, I saw children and teenagers in a Shia slum jumping up and down and cheering our troops as they drove by. Cheering our troops.

All day - and it was a long day - we drove through Shia and Sunni neighborhoods. Everywhere, the reception was warm. No violence. None.

And no hostility toward our troops. Iraqis went out of their way to tell us we were welcome.

Instead of a civil war, something very different happened because of the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. The fanatic attempt to stir up Sunni-vs.-Shia strife, and the subsequent spate of violent attacks, caused popular support for the U.S. presence to spike upward.

Think Abu Musab al-Zarqawi intended that?

In place of the civil war that elements in our media declared, I saw full streets, open shops, traffic jams, donkey carts, Muslim holiday flags - and children everywhere, waving as our Humvees passed. Even the clouds of dust we stirred up didn't deter them. And the presence of children in the streets is the best possible indicator of a low threat level.

Southeast Baghdad, at least, was happy to see our troops.

And we didn't just drive past them. First Lt. Clenn Frost, the platoon leader, took every opportunity to dismount and mingle with the people. Women brought their children out of their compound gates to say hello. A local sheik spontaneously invited us into his garden for colas and sesame biscuits.

It wasn't the Age of Aquarius. The people had serious concerns. And security was No. 1. They wanted the Americans to crack down harder on the foreign terrorists and to disarm the local militias. Iraqis don't like and don't support the militias, Shia or Sunni, which are nothing more than armed gangs.

Help's on the way, if slowly. The Iraqi Army has confounded its Western critics, performing extremely well last week. And the people trust their new army to an encouraging degree. The Iraqi police aren't all the way there yet, and the population doesn't yet have much confidence in them. But all of this takes time.

And even the police are making progress. We took a team of them with us so they could train beside our troops. We visited a Public Order Battalion - a gendarmerie outfit - that reeked of sloth and carelessness. But the regular Iraqi Police outfit down the road proved surprisingly enthusiastic and professional. It's just an uneven, difficult, frustrating process.

So what did I learn from a day in the dust and muck of Baghdad's less-desirable boroughs? As the long winter twilight faded into haze and the fires of the busy shawarma stands blazed in the fresh night, I felt that Iraq was headed, however awkwardly, in the right direction.

The country may still see a civil war one day. But not just yet, thanks. Violence continues. A roadside bomb was found in the next sector to the west. There will be more deaths, including some of our own troops. But Baghdad's vibrant life has not been killed. And the people of Iraq just might surprise us all.

So why were we told that Iraq was irreversibly in the throes of civil war when it wasn't remotely true? I think the answers are straightforward. First, of course, some parties in the West are anxious to believe the worst about Iraq. They've staked their reputations on Iraq's failure.

But there's no way we can let irresponsible journalists off the hook - or their parent organizations. Many journalists are, indeed, brave and conscientious; yet some in Baghdad - working for "prestigious" publications - aren't out on the city streets the way they pretend to be.

They're safe in their enclaves, protected by hired guns, complaining that it's too dangerous out on the streets. They're only in Baghdad for the byline, and they might as well let their Iraqi employees phone it in to the States. Whenever you see a column filed from Baghdad by a semi-celeb journalist with a "contribution" by a local Iraqi, it means this: The Iraqi went out and got the story, while the journalist stayed in his or her room.

And the Iraqi stringers have cracked the code: The Americans don't pay for good news. So they exaggerate the bad.

And some of them have agendas of their own.

A few days ago, a wild claim that the Baghdad morgue held 1,300 bodies was treated as Gospel truth. Yet Iraqis exaggerate madly and often have partisan interests. Did any Western reporter go to that morgue and count the bodies - a rough count would have done it - before telling the world the news?

I doubt it.

If reporters really care, it's easy to get out on the streets of Baghdad. The 506th Infantry Regiment - and other great military units - will take journalists on their patrols virtually anywhere in the city. Our troops are great to work with. (Of course, there's the danger of becoming infected with patriot- ism . . .)

I'm just afraid that some of our journalists don't want to know the truth anymore.

For me, though, memories of Baghdad will be the cannoneers of the 1st Platoon walking the dusty, reeking alleys of Baghdad. I'll recall 1st Lt. Frost conducting diplomacy with the locals and leading his men through a date-palm grove in a search for insurgent mortar sites.

I'll remember that lieutenant investigating the murder of a Sunni mullah during last week's disturbances, cracking down on black-marketers, checking up on sewer construction, reassuring citizens - and generally doing the job of a lieutenant-colonel in peacetime.

Oh, and I'll remember those "radical Shias" cheering our patrol as we passed by.

Ralph Peters is reporting from Forward Operating Base Loyalty, where he's been riding with the 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (attached to 4ID).

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Forum: Choosing plans wisely

Forum: Choosing plans wisely

Published March 5, 2006

During my military career, I learned the art of bartering in local market places from Syria to South Korea. It required patience and the ability to see a deal for what it was worth.
So too, the Virginia General Assembly must decide which of the three competing transportation plans to address our transportation issues in the Commonwealth. And there are profound differences between competing plans we will consider in Richmond over the course this coming week.
At stake is whether we will adopt an responsible plan that uses surplus dollars and real reform to address transportation needs, or fall back on the reflexive tax-increase mantra that dominates among some in Virginia's Senate and the Governor's Mansion
When Gov. Tim Kaine was a candidate, he stressed his opposition to tax increases for transportation until the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) was constitutionally protected from raids by other spending. In fact, five days prior to the election, Mr. Kaine said: "I'm not going to be in for tax increases because we did it in 2004 and we're going to have to live within our means." (Nov. 3, 2005: Tim Kaine on WRVA Radio AM 1140 in Richmond.)
But he promptly submitted a $3 billion tax increase, knowing well we were far from completing the process to constitutionally protect the TTF.
Not to be outdone, the Senate submitted a $4 billion tax boost that exceeds the gargantuan $1.5 billion it passed in 2004. "It worked then, why not again?" they reason. Never mind that we have a $1.4 billion surplus right now. Never mind that the surplus in the last 30 days has been revised upward $163 million dollars by the Kaine administration. Never mind that since 2004, Virginia's surplus has grown to more than $3 billion, not including recent tax increases. Never mind that people have to sell homes in Northern Virginia because they are priced out of them by soaring property assessments and taxes.
Bottom line: Governor and the Senate want you to pay more while doing nothing to reform the system that spends our money.
But the House of Delegates has a better idea. We introduced our comprehensive transportation plan that: (1) manages growth in a sensible manner, (2) transforms how transportation services are organized, planned and delivered, and (3) makes a major investment by dedicating and sustaining revenue for targeted solutions that actually reduce congestion and increase mobility -- without raising taxes.
In regard to growth, we are enacting better land-use reforms as well as improving how localities create comprehensive plans in coordination with VDOT. We are expanding local ability to collect cash proffers from developers to help pay for roads. We are adding to our popular "transportation matching fund" that helps localities build roads faster.
In reforming VDOT, the House plan increases private-public partnerships, provides for more cost-effective and time-saving procurement methods, expedites new technologies to improve traffic capacity, makes dangerous drivers pay for the negative effect they have on traffic and creates more legislative oversight in how VDOT spends our money.
More important, the House plan increases transportation funding by more than $2 billion in the next four years without raising taxes amid major surplus growth. This additional $2 billion builds on the $9 billion we already have in this and the next biennium, bringing our total investment to more than $20 billion in four years. And in Northern Virginia, we have directed $215 million of that $2 billion to a revolving bond fund that will support $673 million in targeted transportation improvements in our region -- an idea that incorporates my HB 1436.
The political rhetoric will be intense in the next few weeks. First, you will hear we can't afford to use debt to finance capital construction. That's bunk.
By law we must have a balanced budget in Virginia, and do. That said, we aren't even close to our annually acceptable debt load and we won't be under the House plan. People who play "Chicken Little" with the debt argument have no problem going into debt for university construction and state parks. Using some debt capacity for roads is neither unprecedented nor bad.
Second, the high-tax lobby will say the House plan doesn't go far enough. Unfortunately, they fail to comprehend that a low-tax environment creates the actual surpluses we are able to use -- now -- on this budget's transportation projects. Low taxes increase revenues by promoting business investment and personal spending.
Third, the high-tax lobby will say the House plan robs rural areas. That may be the biggest distortion of all. In fact, under the House plan transportation funding actually increases in rural areas even while we make record investments in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
Fourth, the pro-tax chorus will sing their familiar tune that the House plan threatens other funding like education and health care. Wrong again. The House Budget provides almost $12 billion for K-12 education, an increase of $1.6 billion over current levels. It provides $137 million for Virginia's research institutions of higher education and $200 million in new funding for the Chesapeake Bay.
Sad to say, the Senate of Virginia is poised not only to kill House reforms, they are setting the stage to drive us, as they did in 2004, into another overtime session until they again reach into your pockets for more taxes.
Mr. Kaine is also threatening to keep the Legislature in Richmond until we raise your taxes, tax increases he said he would not support when he was seeking your vote.
So beware when assessing the plans. Some are based on broken promises. Some are based on breaking your bank. But the House plan recognizes that at a time of record surpluses, government should not ask you for more money when wise reforms and better spending priorities will achieve our purpose.

Mr. Lingamfelter, a retired Army colonel, is a Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Prince William and Fauquier Counties. Elected in 2001, he also serves on the House Finance Committee.

Washington Times

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