|Question of the day
Friday, Aug 22, 2014
* A couple of friends of mine are getting married soon and they’re having a little pre-party celebration in Vegas this weekend. I’ll be heading there soon, so you don’t have much time to comment, unfortunately.
* The Question: Your favorite Las Vegas activity?
Keep it clean, people.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* 3:16 pm - The Illinois Supreme Court has just denied Bruce Rauner’s appeal of the appellate court’s ruling that his term limits amendment is unconstitutional. The Court also ruled that his motion to stay today’s ballot certification is moot.
Basically, what the Supremes just said was, we already killed that term limits thing in 1994. Go away, kid, you bother me.
*** UPDATE *** Rauner response…
“Pat Quinn, Mike Madigan and the Springfield career politicians won today, and the people of Illinois lost. But the people will have the final say. A pro-term limits General Assembly pushed by a pro-term limits Governor can put this critical reform in place any day they want. Illinoisans should have that in mind when they vote this November.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Unless they find some real money, and I doubt they will unless the Democrats step in to “help,” then this likely won’t have any impact on the governor’s race…
The Illinois Libertarian Party candidates will be on the November 2014 ballot, the State Board of Elections Board decided Friday.
“We’re certified and we’re on the ballot,” Brian Lambrecht of the DuPage County Libertarians told Illinois Review shortly after leaving the hearing in Chicago.
“The Republicans did everything they could to discredit the petition signatures to get us from the 46,000 signatures we gathered to below the required 25,000 signature threshold, but they failed,” Lambrecht said.
The only independent/3rd party candidate to impact an Illinois governor’s race was in 2010, when Scott Lee Cohen spent nearly $4 million and split part of the anti-Quinn vote with Bill Brady. The Libertarians received less than a point last time around.
The Green Party received ten percent of the vote in 2006, but had zero impact on the outcome.
No money, no real campaign, no impact.
* By the way, the Greens were kicked off the ballot…
Illinois Green Party candidates for statewide office – including Harvard attorney Scott Summers – likely will not appear on the Nov. 4 ballot after a federal judge on Thursday rejected a lawsuit aimed at forcing their inclusion.
While U.S. District Judge John Tharp Jr. in his 20-page opinion appeared to sympathize with some of the party’s arguments that the extra requirements imposed on third parties are unconstitutional, he concluded that he is bound to uphold the state’s constitutionally valid requirement when it comes to the number of signatures, which under Illinois State Board of Elections rules it did not meet.
Tharp called the Green Party’s predicament “a situation of the plaintiffs’ own making,” concluding that it had plenty of time before the election process started challenging the requirements, rather than filing a July lawsuit after the filing period ended. Candidates for the Nov. 4 ballot must be certified by Friday.
“What the plaintiffs have effectively created is a situation in which the only preliminary remedy that can be fashioned is to strike the ballot access provision that has been held to be constitutionally valid while allowing the allegedly unconstitutional provisions to remain. A cure that removes healthy tissue rather than the cancer has little to recommend it, and the plaintiffs’ reliance on that backward logic falls well short of meeting their burden …” Tharp wrote.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Former GOP Congressman Tim Johnson has endorsed freshman Rodney Davis…
“I think he’s done a very credible job of representing the district. He appears to be very hands-on attention to the people throughout the district. He’s concerned with transportation and agriculture and other issues that dramatically affect this area. And I’m proud to endorse him.”
* Johnson refused to endorse Davis in 2012, but Davis won without his help and during a huge Democratic wave, no less…
“I’ve come to like him personally and I’m really pleased to endorse him,” Johnson, who retired from Congress in 2012, said of Davis. “I think that one of the things that this will help him with is that his numbers in the election in Champaign County haven’t been quite what he’d like them to be and they haven’t been anywhere near where mine were. Of course when you’re from an area where you’re going to have a leg up on somebody who is not that happens, but I think this will help him in that regard.”
Davis has had trouble with the Champaign County GOP over the years because the county was so accustomed to having its own congressman…
“I think (Davis) reflects not necessarily Champaign County, but probably he is more mainstream for this district,” Johnson said of the congressional district that stretches from Champaign-Urbana on the northeast to Edwardsville and Collinsville on the southwest. “I think his philosophy reflects the district pretty well. And I think he’s done a more than credible job. Every time I’ve contacted his office with constituent matters he’s done a good job of getting back to me. And I want to see him get reelected.”
Davis is being challenged by former Madison County Judge Ann Callis, a Democrat from Edwardsville.
“I think this will be a tough reelection this year and in this part of the district — Champaign, McLean, Macon, DeWitt, Piatt (counties) — I think a number of people were interested in what my position was and I thought that with Labor Day coming up in a week or so, I thought it would be an appropriate time to endorse him. He asked me to endorse him and I told him I’d be pleased to do it.”
I”m not a usual reader or poster on Cap Fax but once in awhile people have told me that an anonymous poster going by the name “joan” posts really ridiculous opinions and implies it is me in Champaign County. As you can easily see by checking IP addresses, it is not me.
In March, I posted a disclaimer but it was the next morning and by then, evidently, readers moved on.
Apparently, a person believes it’s important to use my name to promote some political agenda but I’m sure you agree that it’s disturbing and unfair.
In addition, while I am known to be a proponent of primaries on every level as healthy to each party (and have won and lost in them myself), I fully support Congressman Davis. I admire his work ethic, constituent service, and agree with most of his policies and votes. I was an early contributor to his campaign.
Is there anything you/I can do to put a stop to this “joan” poster pretending to be me?
Thanks for any help/suggestions.
I suggested that I publish her e-mail. She agreed.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Gov. Quinn threw her under the bus earlier this summer, and now she’s returning the favor. Ann Schneider is not to be trifled with…
In a blow to Gov. Pat Quinn, his former transportation secretary has accused his office of pushing “the vast majority” of improper political hires in her agency even though an ethics report released Friday shied away from blaming the governor’s office.
As noted below, the Executive Inspector General assigned no blame to Quinn and instead focused all the blame on IDOT. Not so, says Schneider…
“It is my recollection that [the] vast majority of Rutan-exempt hires were chosen from those recommended to me or my staff by the governor’s office,” Schneider said, referring to the landmark Rutan U.S. Supreme Court opinion that placed limits on political hiring in government jobs.
“The governor’s office would have been provided resumes of all such candidates and would have requested that we complete the process of having the recommended person approved for the open position,” she said. […]
“Neither I nor my staff were in a position to reject the recommended individuals for these exempt positions as no additional interview process was required,” she said.
Time to toss another victim to the wolves.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Bruce Rauner is having a press conference later today. He’s expected to try and pin direct blame on Gov. Pat Quinn for the troubles at IDOT. I’m sure it’ll be intense.
In advance of the presser, the Quinn campaign has issued a preemptive assault…
Reminder: Bruce Rauner Takes NO Responsibility for Crime Under His Watch - Even When He Has Direct Ties to Business Associate Who Went to Prison
“Nobody wants to admit you were involved with a swindler in the past, particularly when you run for office.”
CHICAGO - On a day when Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner is plotting to throw barbs against Governor Pat Quinn about leadership, it’s important to remember Rauner’s own business record. Below is a case study of the Acartha Group LLC, one of several instances where Rauner had direct ties to a business associate who committed criminal acts - but has hidden from any responsibility for what took place under his watch.
Key point: Bruce Rauner’s longtime business associate and hunting buddy Burton Douglas Morriss defrauded investors of $9.1 million from a fund directly backed by Rauner. Morriss was sentenced to prison for five years for tax evasion in connection with the scheme to defraud investors. Rauner knew Burton Douglas Morriss well enough to buy a hunting lodge and farm with him and the two had long partnered on business deals through GTCR.
Rauner’s campaign dismissed the investment fraud and tax evasion as “shenanigans” and told a reporter during the Republican primary, incredibly, that Rauner was merely a “passive investor” though experts didn’t see it that way.
A Northwestern University professor put it like this: “Nobody wants to admit you were involved with a swindler in the past, particularly when you run for office.”
Another expert who reviewed the timeline scoffed at Rauner’s self-exoneration: “At some point in time, Mr. Rauner became aware of something not being right.”
It goes on and on for five pages. Rather than post the whole thing here, I converted the novella into a pdf, which you can read (if you have time) by clicking here.
- Posted by Rich Miller
Gov. Pat Quinn failed to rein in patronage abuses at the state transportation agency after replacing now-imprisoned Rod Blagojevich, and Quinn’s directors repeatedly hired politically connected workers in violation of the rules, the state’s top ethics investigator found.
But read down…
The report stopped well short of accusing the governor’s office of the blatantly illegal hiring practices under Blagojevich, Quinn’s two-time running mate. Meza found no evidence that Quinn’s office knew about the abuses and further noted that investigators could not demonstrate “any clear intent” by transportation officials to circumvent the so-called Rutan hiring rules that ban political considerations in most personnel matters.
* Indeed, if you read the actual report, the OIEG pretty much blames the whole thing on a handful of IDOT staffers. And those IDOT employees, the report repeatedly emphasizes, violated Quinn’s administrative order which prohibited the hiring.
And the two Transportation Secretaries in question were mainly faulted for lax oversight. Regarding Secretary Ann Schneider, the OEIG wrote…
…she delegated her personnel program responsibilities such that she could no longer be an effective overseer of the Bureau of Personnel Management
Instead, most of the fault is pinned on a couple of employees, and only one of those was recommended for termination.
* But check out this chart…
Sure looks like a whole lot of hiring while the governor was ramping up his campaign and passing a tax hike.
The inspector general’s report said dozens of the staff assistants had ties to Democrats including the top leaders of the legislature, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, both of Chicago. The husband of Sen. Kim Lightford, D-Maywood, was also listed among the “staff assistant” category, although the lawmaker said she’s always known him as a project manager.
…Adding… I meant to put this in earlier, but the OEIG even documents how these people get hired…
According to Mr. Croke, if the agency has already identified a candidate that it wishes to hire into a Rutan-exempt position:
· the agency submits an ePAR to the Office of the Governor for approval;
· the ePAR is approved by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget;
· the ePAR is approved by both the Deputy Chief of Staff and the Chief of Staff; and
· the agency fills the vacancy with the desired candidate.
Yet there is no blame assigned to anyone in the governor’s office in the report. So, I suppose the “finds no direct link to Quinn” headline was a bit off. There is a link to Quinn’s top guys, just no blame assigned. So, I changed the hed.
Also, I found it odd that former chief of staff Jack Lavin and his (and still current) deputy chief of staff over IDOT weren’t interviewed by the OEIG. Seems like a missed opportunity there.
Again, however, the OIEG found nothing resembling a Pat Quinn smoking gun.
* Quinn bears overall responsibility as governor, of course, but he escaped much more blame that I figured he’d get, and he got out in front of the story yesterday…
Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration, stung by a federal lawsuit alleging illegal hiring amid a tough re-election campaign, announced Thursday it will eliminate 58 transportation agency jobs at the center of the dispute.
Erica Borggren, acting secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation, announced the move along with other actions she said were necessary to restore public trust in the sprawling agency. But a spokesman for Bruce Rauner, the Republican businessman trying to unseat Quinn in November’s election, criticized the moves and questioned Quinn’s portrayal of himself as a reformer.
- Posted by Rich Miller
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains in a report this week, the teen birth rate has nosedived 57 percent since 1991. The total number of children born to adolescent mothers is lower today than it was in 1950, when the country was a bit less than half the size it is today.
* Several theories have emerged to explain this phenomenon, including the country’s economic problems, but the CDC believes it’s due to increased contraception use…
For its part, the CDC cites one telling paper from the American Journal of Public Health. Using government survey data on adolescent sexual behavior, it concluded that 86 percent of the decline in teen pregnancy between 1995 and 2002 could be chalked up to increased contraception use; the other 14 percent was due to abstinence. “The decline in U.S. adolescent pregnancy rates appears to be following the patterns observed in other developed countries, where improved contraceptive use has been the primary determinant of declining rates,” the researchers wrote.
Teen mothers are especially likely to use safety-net programs like Medicaid and WIC (which provides food for new moms and their infants), so as their numbers have shrunk, taxpayers have saved money. The CDC cites survey research by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which estimated that federal, state, and local governments avoided spending $12 billion in 2010, thanks to the post-1991 drop.
* Which leads us to this development…
Medicaid patients in Illinois could gain increased access to contraception under policy changes proposed Wednesday by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
Health care providers would receive more money for providing vasectomies to men and birth control to women under the proposal, which also includes a possible new referral requirement for Roman Catholic providers and others that object to contraception. […]
Unplanned pregnancies constitute a major cost among the approximately 1 million women of childbearing age enrolled in Medicaid in Illinois, Hamos said. […]
Expanded family planning has succeeded at saving money in other states, Hamos said, citing a Colorado initiative that she said cut teen birthrates by 40 percent from 2009 through 2013, reduced abortions and saved the state $42.5 million in 2010.
I’d really like to see the state avoid yet another fight with the Catholics, however.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* By itself, this doesn’t mean a whole lot…
Two parolees, including one on electronic monitoring, have been charged with shooting a Harvey police officer, then holding six children and two women hostage over two days before they were arrested by a SWAT team.
David Jordan, of Dixmoor and Peter Williams, of Chicago, are each charged with attempted murder of a police officer, aggravated criminal sexual assault with a firearm, home invasion and aggravated kidnapping.[…]
Jordan was allowed to leave his “home base” in Dixmoor between 6:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., according to IDOC spokesman Tom Shaer. On Tuesday, Jordan left at 6:47 a.m. and returned at 11:12 p.m., Shaer said. He left again at 11:51 a.m. and never returned, he said. […]
IDOC doesn’t always send an apprehension team to arrest a parolee who’s missing, Shaer said. The department often tries phone calls, visits to known hangouts and contacts with informants, he said. Shaer wouldn’t say what steps IDOC took to determine Jordan’s whereabouts.
But when no contact was made in the seven hours after Jordan missed his 3 p.m. Tuesday deadline, the department issued a warrant for his arrest.
Even if the department had issued the arrest warrant immediately at 3 o’clock, the guy was already holding hostages, so it would’ve been meaningless.
* But you get the feeling by reading all the stories today that the reporters are definitely looking for something…
“Six attempts were made to locate him,” Shaer said. “(W)hen the last attempt turned up nothing further, a warrant was issued.” […]
Despite the newest crime Jordan is accused of committing, Shaer defended the parole system Thursday.
“There was no systemic failure in this case, and there is no systemic issue, overall, in IDOC parole,” he said.
But when Jordan didn’t return home by his 3 p.m. deadline, the Illinois Department of Corrections parole division tried without success to contact Jordan six times, a spokesman for the agency said.
After the sixth attempt to reach him had failed, the department generated an automatic arrest warrant that was distributed to law-enforcement agencies across the state at 10:22 p.m., agency spokesman Tom Schaer said.[…]
Schaer declined to divulge whether a specific time limit exists that would trigger an arrest warrant if a parolee on electronic-monitoring is missing.
“We are unable to tell you that time because it would jeopardize public safety,” Schaer told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It would tell parolees how and when we look for them. We prefer to keep them in the dark as much as possible.”
Was IDOC trying to contact him or locate him? We have two different stories. Calling his phone would be a lot different than sending folks out to look for him.
* And more than 7 hours elapsed before an “automatic” warrant was issued for Jordan? Has it always been standard IDOC practice to wait that long? And, if so, why?
I could see giving parolees a brief buffer beyond their time limit, just out of humaneness (things do happen in life), but this guy was a murderer who spent more than 20 years behind bars. Should parolees like this really be allowed more than 7 hours extra time before enforcement kicks in? Could this be some sort of data manipulation to reduce reported parolee recidivism? Is my tinfoil hat on too tight?
Whatever the case, as long as IDOC refuses to answer questions about its policy and if there have been any recent changes to that policy, some folks are gonna suspect the worst. And I don’t blame them. A horribly botched IDOC early release policy nearly cost Gov. Quinn the Democratic primary in 2010. I’m sure the guv doesn’t want a repeat. On the other hand, waiting 7 hours before issuing a warrant could turn out to be an even worse mistake.
*** UPDATE 1 *** I just got off the phone with IDOC’s Shaer. He says there has been “no change” in the warrants policy in 2013 or 2014. The department decided it was “calling back” lots of warrants in 2012 because they were finding the guys on their own by doing things like contacting sources, local law enforcement, family and friends, sending out their own recovery teams, etc.
Shaer said he understood my concern about waiting so long to issue a warrant, but repeated that “A warrant is separate and distinct from looking for the guy,” he said. It’s “the last straw.”
…Adding… Also from Shaer…
This Department cannot disclose methods, timing or other specifics of the search or warrant processes. To do so would jeopardize public safety by thus showing parolees how and when we do our job. Safety and security require they not be informed of such internal procedures.
As for Jordan, he had a “generally compliant” parole record for a year or so, according to Shaer. He missed one meeting with his parole officer due to illness, but Shaer says the record doesn’t explain if this was the officer’s illness or Jordan’s. He also had a clean prison record.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Jordan’s prison record wasn’t totally clean. He was given an extra four years for possessing a weapon in prison.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From the US Chamber…
The U.S. Chamber is partnering with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce to launch its second ad in the tenth congressional district in support of Bob Dold. The ad highlights the difference between Bob Dold and Brad Schnieder on pro-growth issues. While Dold has outlined solutions to boost job creation by lowering taxes and reducing regulations, Schneider has stood in the way of free enterprise, voting with his party 90% of the time. The ad can be viewed here.
Blair Latoff Holmes
Executive Director of Media Relations
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
* The ad…
Is anyone in Washington right 90 percent of the time?
Brad Schneider says he’s an independent voice, but votes with party leaders like Nancy Pelosi 90 percent of the time.
Have those votes lowered your taxes, created jobs or reduced regulations?
You deserve leaders who will promote economic freedom and job growth. Isn’t it time?
Bob Dold, an independent voice for hard-working Illinois taxpayers.
*** UPDATE *** From the Schneider campaign…
Rep. Schneider has stood up to the Tea Party to protect seniors from attacks on Medicare, defend women’s access to critical health care services and preserve Lake Michigan–that’s in stark contrast to Bob Dold, who was a reliable Republican vote in Congress, voting 28 times to repeal or dismantle Obamacare, voting twice for the Ryan Budget to end the Medicare guarantee, voting to defund Planned Parenthood and allow drilling for oil in Lake Michigan.
Schneider for Congress
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Back in the day, Bruce Rauner was the chairman of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Board and he spoke at a press conference announcing that the National Restaurant Association had committed to keep its annual show in Chicago through 2016.
So, naturally he had some kind words for the state’s leaders about the then new McCormick Place reforms…
In 2010, just days after Gov. Pat Quinn clinched reelection, there was someone thanking him and other Democratic leaders, including Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, for their “extraordinary teamwork, dedication, and leadership” in the city and state’s most important “industry for our future economic growth and job creation.”
The person doing the thanking? Bruce Rauner, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who has railed against Democrats for things like failing economic growth and job creation. […]
Fast-forward four years to the present, the video looks like a spoof. You have to see it to believe it.
* It’s a fun little ding, for sure, but times were different then, for both Illinois and Rauner. Watch…
The tone of his voice is what struck me most. His voice has a much harder, sharper edge to it now, and if you close your eyes you can sometimes hear Reagesque inflections. Such a change can come with experience, but often, with political candidates, comes after coaching. No big deal either way.
* But imagine if this or even part of this brief little clip was somehow used in a TV ad…
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From a DGA press release…
After Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner this week delivered a passionate defense of profiting by shipping American jobs overseas, and more efforts to avoid taxes in the Cayman Islands was revealed, the Democratic Governors Association released a new web ad Thursday highlighting that when Rauner gets ahead, Illinois gets left behind.
As reported by the Chicago Sun Times, the web ad includes audio of recent news broadcasts addressing Rauner’s Caymans scheme and his history of outsourcing. As well, the video includes mention of the outright fraud that has occurred at Rauner-related companies.
“Rauner’s business practices are aimed at enriching a privileged few at the expense of the economic well-being of others,” said Rikeesha Phelon of the Democratic Governors Association. “Voters shouldn’t expect his philosophy to be any different if he were elected governor.”
* Rate it…
Text: How far did Bruce go to get rich?
Newscast audio: “Bruce Rauner hid income by putting assets in the Cayman Islands.”
Text: Cayman Islands: Where Rauner stashes millions of dollars
Audio: “…Millions invested in companies based in the Cayman Islands.”
Audio: “Former employee…said Rauner and Romney both worked for Bain capital in the late 70’s. He believes Rauner has a long history of killing jobs through outsourcing.”
Text: China, Mexico, India: Where Rauner’s companies outsourced our jobs.
Text: And wherever Rauner goes, fraud follows.
Audio: “Trouble from a company Bruce Rauner helped found… for defrauding investors out of millions of dollars… is facing charges.”
Text: Bruce Rauner gets ahead.
Audio: “Made a ton of money.”
Text: But Illinois gets left behind.
Earlier this week, the Rauner campaign shot back at the outsourcing issue with this: “The fact is Pat Quinn is invested in the Caymans and has engaged in business outsourcing as governor,” said Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf “Pat Quinn has clearly reached all out desperation mode with his new false and misleading attack. Only a failed governor who wants to cover up his own record of tax hikes and job losses would make outrageous claims like these.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From a press release…
Yesterday, the We Are One Illinois coalition, along with other plaintiffs, filed a motion in Sangamon County urging the Circuit Court to enter judgment in the plaintiffs’ favor on the State’s affirmative defense in light of the recent Supreme Court decision in the case of Kanerva v. Weems. The We Are One Illinois coalition and other plaintiffs assert that the Kanerva decision confirms that the Pension Protection Clause in the Illinois Constitution is absolute and without exception, even with respect to the fiscal circumstances alleged by the State in its defense.
The following quote may be attributed to We Are One Illinois:
“The Kanerva decision confirms what we have always argued, that the state’s constitutional language guards against any diminishment or impairment of pension benefits that Senate Bill 1 imposes. We believe, then, that the State’s defense is without merit and so have asked the Court in this motion to rule in our favor on the State’s defense that seeks to justify Senate Bill 1. We maintain that the constitution protects the hard-earned and promised retirement savings of our members and remain ready to work with any legislator willing to develop a fair and legal solution to our state’s challenges.”
The full motion can be found here.
In a decisive 6-1 vote this July, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in Kanerva v. Weems that the State’s provision of health insurance premium subsidies for retired state workers is a constitutionally protected pension benefit that the State is precluded from diminishing or impairing. The Court wrote:
“[I]t is clear that if something qualifies as a benefit of the enforceable contractual relationship resulting from membership in one of the State’s pension or retirement systems, it cannot be diminished or impaired … Giving the language of article XIII, section 5, its plain and ordinary meaning, all of these benefits, including subsidized health care, must be considered to be benefits of membership in a pension or retirement system of the State and, therefore, within that provision’s protections.”
Justice Charles Freeman, author of the Kanerva decision, noted:
“We may not rewrite the pension protection clause to include restrictions and limitations that the drafters did not express and the citizens of Illinois did not approve.”
* A reader sent me this brief explanation last night…
Here is the motion filed (in the Pension law case) by the plaintiff today asking that the State’s affirmative defense (i.e. the use of police power or “reserved sovereign powers”) be stricken.
Basically, the Kanerva ruling is used to plea for the striking of the affirmative defense. In so doing, this would gut the State’s defense. The judge would be saying, as the Kanerva decision has said, that the Pension Protection is absolute. That the State has no authority, be it reserved sovereign power or anything else, to disregard the Constitution by diminishing or impairing pension benefits. […]
There is no response from the State, yet, as this was just filed today. I can only imagine that they will try to argue:
1. The reserved sovereign power is absolute and can alter constitutional provisions.
2. That those benefits that have been reduced (such as the annual increase , or COLA) are not protected by the constitution since - the State will claim - they are not “core” benefits of the pension code.
Neither argument is compelling.
Again, the full motion is here.
- Posted by Rich Miller
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