December 19, 2007

"There's a big relationship between this marvelous time of year and living in a one-party state."

Christopher Hitchens scrooges about Christmas.

IN THE COMMENTS: John wrote:
How can you get him to go home? He drank everything on the buffet, including the little sternos underneath the meatballs, pilfered the Irish whisky in your top cabinet, smoked his smelly fags in the kitchen, and passed out on the couch making his 31st North Korea joke. Everyone else left the party hours ago.
Trooper York:
Linus Van Pelt: Charlie Brown, you're the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Maybe Lucy's right. Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Browniest.

Charlie Brown: No I'm not. Look at Christopher, he hates Christmas too!

Linus Van Pelt: What is doing over there?

Lucy Van Pelt: I think he is vomiting on a picture of Mother Theresa.

Linus Van Pelt: Is he sick?

Charlie Brown: No he is a political commenter. They do this all the time.... Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?

Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.

[moves toward the center of the stage]

Linus Van Pelt: Lights, please.

[a spotlight shines on Linus]

Linus Van Pelt: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]

Linus Van Pelt: That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

Charlie Brown: Mr. Hitchens what are you doing with that gun?...

Charlie Brown: Oh my god, Christopher Hitchens just shot Linus. And the little Christmas tree. Two shepherds. A donkey. And the partridge in the pear tree.

Lucy Van Pelt: Thank God Snoopy was packing and laid down a covering fire.

Christopher Hitchens: God had nothing to do with it you fools. There is no god. Only a stupid dog with a luger.

Linus Van Pelt: Thank god for the second amendment. And dogs with guns. God bless us all! Even you little Christopher Hitchens.

Christopher Hitchens: (vomits)

(A Charlie Brown Christmas starring Christopher Hitchens, 2007)

65 comments:

reader_iam said...

(In honor of Maxine's memory:)

Yeah, but is your tree up yet? Shouldn't you have two, given the size of your house? And what sorts of ornaments do you favor?

And--most important--you ARE hosting that blogger meetup IN your festooned home, aren't you? Complete with appropriate holiday goodies lovingly made with your own little hands, of course.

(/not entirely OT)

Richard Fagin said...

Damn, I just put away my electric menorah with the red, white and green bulbs in it.

rhhardin said...

We have just seen that the Messiah is the just man who suffers, who has taken on the suffering of others. Who finally takes on the suffering of others, if not the being who says ``Me''?

The fact of not evading the burden imposed by the suffering of others defines ipseity itself. All persons are the Messiah.


Levinas, _Difficult Freedom_ p.89

It doesn't come with music explicitly, but you can find a lot that suits it.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bissage said...

(1) I’ve been away from Althouse far too long!

(2) Regarding the video, I made it to 2:11. Smart though he may be, the man needs to learn that booze might be a spirit but it’s never a motivation. I heard that, first, from an acting coach. Ha!

(3) Mrs. Bissage has been pushing me, lately, to form a local theater group so I can get roaring drunk and do my Jacob Marley impersonation in front of an audience other than her, the children, the cats and the poor suffering dog, who might as well be named “Tiny Tim” for all her cheerfulness in the face of hammy doom. (For some reason, my wails of incessant torture make her think it's time to play "catch." Go figure.)

(4) Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well at Althouse and God bless us, EVERYONE!!!

Ron said...

We should all do boozy podcasts/vlogs and you could host the Carnival of Drunken Carolers!

Blake said...

Playing our rubber bandjos...

john said...

How can you get him to go home? He drank everything on the buffet, including the little sternos underneath the meetballs, pilfered the Irish whisky in your top cabinet, smoked his smelly fags in the kitchen, and passed out on the couch making his 31st North Korea joke. Everyone else left the party hours ago.

john said...

that's cigarettes

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eli Blake said...

Well, here is what you get when you live in a one party state:

The state of Texas is a de facto one party state, with Republicans in control of the Governorship, both houses of the legislature by wide margins and most other state offices.

And as we well know Republicans are very careful to make sure that there is no fraud, and that public funds are spent properly. A certain amount of that is of course good, since if there are no controls or accountability then there could be fraud or misappropriation of funds.

So recall that over two years ago hurricane Rita came ashore in Texas and caused over 9 billion dollars in damage. The Fderal government has sent over $500 million to the state, with the first $43 million getting there in May 2006.

So how has it been spent? it hasn't.

Only $1.1 million, or less than one quarter of one percent has actually been spent, and the majority of that on administrative costs.

The state has had 12 million dollars on hand for the area around Sabine pass for over a year but has released none of it.

13 out of 4,300 families who applied for the funds have actually had their claims processed by the state.

The culprit for the slow pace? Executive Director Michael Gerber of the agency that is there to distribute the funds eventually admits that the state has also moved slowly to prevent fraud.

Two years, only a quarter of one percent of the money has been spent, and the bulk of it on administrative costs. In fact the audit has cost more than was actually spent on houses.

Maybe what Texas needs is some representation from Democrats, who might actually be more concerned with spending the money to help the people it was intended to help in a timely manner than with being absolutely 100% sure that every penny has been accounted for in triplicate before any of it is released.

Here's an idea: release the funds, fund the audit and then prosecute anyone who is subsequently found to have applied fraudulently. But to be so obsessed with preventing fraud that you intentionally don't do anything with the money that has already been sent by the feds is despicable.

It would be like preventing voter fraud by turning everyone aay at the polls. Then you could be certain that no one was voting fraudulently. Dang, maybe I shouldn't post that, it might be the next great idea they'll have down in the Lone Star state.

AJ Lynch said...

For Hitchens & for Eli:

My Christmas gift to each of you.....now don't get excited it's just a bit of advice: Don't become a one-trick pony as it makes you boring and predictable.

Trooper York said...

Charley Brown: Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
[moves toward the center of the stage]
Linus Van Pelt: Lights, please.
[a spotlight shines on Linus]
Linus Van Pelt: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"
[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
Linus Van Pelt: That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
Charlie Brown: Mr. Hitchens what are you doing with that gun?
(A Charley Brown Christmas starring Christopher Hitchens,2007)

Eli Blake said...

AJ:

I know what I believe. I'm a liberal.

So I'd rather be a 'one trick pony' than be erratic and inconsistent just so you can keep guessing.

Meade said...

Ebenezer Dork

Trooper York said...

Charley Brown: Oh my god, Christopher Hitchens just shot Linus. And the little Christmas tree. Two shepards. A donkey. And the partridge in the pear tree.
Lucy Van Pelt: Thank God Snoopy was packing and laid down a covering fire.
Christopher Hitchens: God had nothing to do with it you fools. There is no god. Only a stupid dog with a luger.
Linus Van Pelt: Thank god for the second amendment. And dogs with guns. God bless us all! Even you little Christopher Hitchens.
Christopher Hitchens; (vomits)
(A Charley Brown Christmas starring Christopher Hitchens,2007)

Simon said...

Umm... Eli? The Texas House has 71 Democrats to 79 Republicans, and at the federal level, their delegation to the U.S. House is split with 13 Democrats to 19 Republicans. I wouldn't cal that "overwhelming," and with those numbers, the idea of a one party state seems unsustainable.

rcocean said...

Where's the Hitchens rant against Hanukkah?

He's may be an atheist, but he's not stupid.

Ann Althouse said...

"Where's the Hitchens rant against Hanukkah?"

On Slate. I liked to it maybe last week. It's quite severe.

titusballs said...

fellow republicans and lovers of the bush doctrine and despisers of everything liberal how is everyone tonight?

I will be leaving for Wisconsin tomorrow for the holidays.

One of my favorite things while going to Madison is to go to a store that thinks it is fabulous and ask for product that is more fabulous and they tell me I would need to go to Chicago to find it. One of the little things in life that I enjoy. I have a very disappointed look on my face after they tell me and storm out of the store. Example would be "can you point me to your Prada fall/winter collection for men".

Althouse and I will be having a very intimidate diller while I am home which will be very confidential. All I can say is it will be fabulous, expensive, and intellectual. Yes it will,

Pastor_Jeff said...

"All broadcasts, all songs, all jokes, all references are, just for that magic few weeks, just exactly like living in...North Korea."

Yes, especially when the Christianists force everyone to go to stadiums for mass celebrations, forbid any public expressions of contrary opinions, and arrest people for disagreeing with them.

Hitchens can be very stupid for a smart person.

Zeb Quinn said...

When the subject comes around to (a) religion or religous people, or (b) Henry Kissenger, Hitchins is sure to go off the rails.

Clang!Honk!Tweet! said...

Pastor Jeff: Who said he was smart?

If the crap he spews is smart, stupid has to be an improvement.

rcocean said...

"Bah, Hanukkah

The holiday celebrates the triumph of tribal Jewish backwardness."

Well, what do you know. I have to admit Hitch has courage.

ricpic said...

Hitchens is shallow, shallow and silly. It is the fate of all those who have seperated themselves from the deepest currents that run through us. You don't have to be a Christian, or even a believer, to respond to O Holy Night and its chorus:

Fall on you knees...

Something in you thrills. That is not an order from an unloved dictator. It's a command that speaks to our need to accept the sacred, or if not that to at least acknowledge the possibility of the sacred. Of course it works immediately on us and at levels that we can only rationalize away later, when some time has passed. When we've finally succeeded in stamping out the sacred inside us then we're with Hitchens. In hell.

zzRon said...

"Hitchens can be very stupid for a smart person."

Indeed. Sometimes I am ashamed to even admit that I enjoy much of what he writes. But the guy just has some sort of weird fetish about hating God. It must be in his genes or something, and he just cant help himself.

My own spiritual journey has taken me from being raised Catholic, to becoming a determined and devoted atheist, and then on to being a confused and bewildered agnostic. Nowadays, I like to call myself a deist. However, I do and always will wish a very merry CHRIST-mas to my friends and loved ones during the holidays no matter what their religious beliefs might be. It would seem almost un-American to do otherwise :-).

titusballs said...

Hey whatever happened to the diva blog awards. I went over to that sorry site and voted for your ass and never found out the results.

Did you win?

titusballs said...

I love Hitchens. He is such a bitch which is why I love him.

He doesn't give a crap.

I got a fabulous new tmobile blackberry-it talks to me. I think we are going to be having some fun tonight.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Let me clarify: I don't think Hitchens is stupid because of his atheism; I think he acts stupid when he compares receiving Christmas messages in December to living under brutal totalitarianism.

Obviously it's a huge blind spot for Hitchens. And it's odd because he can clearly recognize totalitarianism. His blind hatred of religion, however, causes his thinking faculties to shut down.

zzRon said...

"Obviously it's a huge blind spot for Hitchens."

Obviously. But I would go even a step further... and label it as a genuine obsession. Hate has a way of doing that to certain folks.

titusballs said...

by the way fellow republicans my pucker is completely waxed right now and feels very special.

No klinkers or dingle berries on me!

Blake said...

Hey, Eli,

Here in my one party state, they would've spent $90 billion in that time, and raised a 1/2 per cent "temporary" sales tax to fund a Bureau of Handing Out Money To People We Feel Like.

One party states suck no matter which party is in control. (Though I would like to see a one party Libertarian state.)

titusballs said...

How many men here wax their pucker?

If you really want to talk about tough on terror have your puckers waxed.

It takes a brave man to have the full brazillian on his pucker.

I like the word pucker.

Pucker....Pucker...Pucker.

titusballs said...

I also like the word Benazir Bhutto-it just rolls off your tongue.

titusballs said...

I would do Putin.

Meade said...

Ever hear Lou Christie's cover of O Holy Night? One of the best.

jfm said...

Hitchens talks about religion with all the insight of a 7th grade Sunday school dropout.

It's amusing that such a smart and humane man could have such a huge blind spot.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I don't think Hitchens is stupid because of his atheism; I think he acts stupid when he compares receiving Christmas messages in December to living under brutal totalitarianism.

Well to people like Hitchens, it seems perfectly reasonable. Hitchens is a lot like those who claim we’re living in a police state yet have never set foot in one, nor would knowingly. But it sounds so good to say it because it gives them an almost what is the phrase….ah, complete moral authority to claim victim hood in light of the excesses of Bush or Father Christmas.

Hitchens may be brilliant at writing but I find him to be an insufferable, pompous bore.

Titus said: If you really want to talk about tough on terror have your puckers waxed.

Actually Titus I don’t think that one would pass muster and would be considered torture. Considering that most of those Whabbist nutballs believe Allah requires facial hair, I would think forcible removal of bunghole follicles would be considered culturally insensitive, morally repugnant to Islam, racist, fascist and preposterous. But feel free to indulge yourself. :-)

Pogo said...

Hitchens harbors a hatred for religion so deep, one must conclude
a) he fears those who believe in God might actually be right, and the call in his head to return is incessant. I expect a conversion in old age, if he has one.

b) he protests too much, and secretly belongs to Opus Dei
or
c) when he was a young lad there was this one priest...

Pogo said...

or
d) he actually believes his rants, and he has become the homeless lunatic wearing a sandwich board emblazoned with his screed, in all caps and sans punctuation, around whom a wide path is created in avoidance, just a rock in the stream.

MadisonMan said...

Trooper, that is very funny -- but how can a dog pull a trigger? They don't have fingers!

AJ Lynch said...

Ann/ John/ Trooper:

Falling down laughing. Thanks for a fun start to my day!

Roger said...

Trooper: I thought the writers guild was still on strike--you are either a scab or not a member--at any rate you are on fire today! Thanks for making my day!

Hoosier Daddy said...

Trooper, that is very funny -- but how can a dog pull a trigger? They don't have fingers!

MadisonMan c'mon! Snoopy is a WW1figher ace who flies a Sopwith Camel.

A mere pistol would be puppy's play for him.

Zeb Quinn said...

It is worth remembering that Hitchens hates all religion. It isn't just Christianity. It just seems that way because Christmas is topical at the moment, given the season. Christmas is in his crosshairs right now. But the truth is he hates them all, probably a lingering tenet of the Trotskyism he adopted and swallowed whole hog back in his radicalised Oxford days, a little nostalgic something he never let go of and still clings to.

knoxwhirled said...

c) when he was a young lad there was this one priest...


and this one time, when he was at band camp....

knoxwhirled said...

I didn't think much could annoy me more than the whole "War on Christmas" dealie. Then Global Warming overtook that handily.

Now the atheists and their tiresome meme are making a strong play for first place. Way, way, way too strident, and it's starting to feel like they're in it to ruin everybody's fun.

AlphaLiberal said...

Having received an email from a relative whom I will, unfortunately, be spending Christmas with that stated we should "SHOUT MERRY CHRISTMAS" and otherwise explaining how liberals hate Christmas, I say "bah humbug."

These days "Christmas is all about" forcing your religion down other peoples' throats, gluttonous consumerism, and highlighting our differences with other people, all the better to hate them.

Christmas is just one more wedge issue for conservatives. One more way to divide people.

Really, fuck it. I will have as little to do with Christmas as possible.

Jami Hussein said...

It was the English Victorians who turned Christmas into a drunken Saturnalia of excessive consumption. Before them Christmas was more like Easter, a day for a church service with some humility.

It was the Christians who built Western Civilization. When Atheists try to build a government they end up with a Reign of Terror and a dictatorship under a Napoleon or a Stalin or Mao or Castro or Pol Pot or Kim Sung, etc.

AlphaLiberal said...

Jami:

Interesting point on the firs tone, maybe even true.

Crazy second point. So, the Spanish Inquisition doesn't count as a "Reign of Terror?" How about colonial Salem? Witch-burnings were not "terror?"

How about the Crusades? That terror doesn't count? The mass murderer Augusto Pincochet said he was Christian. Does that make all Christians fans of mass murder? (no)

I really don't think you know what religion these guys professed to hold anyway: "Napoleon or a Stalin or Mao or Castro or Pol Pot or Kim Sung."

At any rate, the actions of despotic rulers should not be held against the faith they claim to hold, or not hold.

Christy said...

Oh dear me. I agree with AL, always enjoy Hitchens, and think I'm in love with Trooper. I am so confused.

ShadyCharacter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ShadyCharacter said...

AlphaLiberal opens his mouth and beclowns himself as usual.

He comes up with the standard historically illiterate leftist (though I guess that's redundant) catalogue of “Christian” atrocities to balance against the Stalin, North Korea etc…

Death toll according to modern historians (as opposed to 19th century Protestant and then atheist ideologues posing as historians) of that over-arching boogey-man of Alpha’s imagination, the Inquisition: 800-3,000 people over 150 years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition#Death_tolls

Death toll under Stalin’s explicitly atheist regime: approximately 20 million give or take a few tens of million. http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat1.htm#Stalin

Number of sleepless nights of a typical leftist Christian/atheist fretting about the Inquisition: uncountable
Number of sleepless nights of a typical leftist Christian/atheist fretting about the hundreds of millions of people slaughtered by Stalin, Pol Pot, or assorted other leftist despots lionized (currently or concurrently) by people who said typical leftists still hold in high esteem: 0

Do we need to rehash the fact that there were two sides in the Crusades, with borders fluctuating back and forth? Or that there used to be a Christian empire in Anatolia, or that there used to be Christians in North Africa? Nope. What would be the point? Challenging a na├»ve leftist’s preferred historical narrative is about as useful as trying to teach a dog to drive a car…

knoxwhirled said...

It was the English Victorians who turned Christmas into a drunken Saturnalia of excessive consumption. Before them Christmas was more like Easter, a day for a church service with some humility.

What prudish wet blankets you two are. oo, don't forget, Santa is a tobacco user and he promotes the use of chimneys.

Revenant said...

How about the Crusades? That terror doesn't count?

How were the Crusades an example of "terror"? Christians taking land from Muslims who had taken it from Christians who had taken it from Jews who had taken it from whoever else doesn't sound like "terror", it just sounds like business as usual -- warfare between two cultures which celebrated warfare.

AlphaLiberal said...

ShadyCharacter, you excuse the Inquisition by saying Stalin killed more. That's just a dumb argument. So, in keeping with the "Christian Conservative" (oxymoron) embrace of torture, you don't seem to have a problem with torture under the Inquisition.

I said that the actions of despots should not reflect on the beliefs (or non-beliefs) of people who share the faith/non-faith the despot touts as their own.

You clearly disagree and think liberals should be held to blame for Pol Pot, Stalin, etc.

OK, then by your standard all "Christian Conservatives" (oxymoron) should be held responsible for the injustices perpetuated by Christians in power down throughout the ages. Starting with Bush.

Now do you see how offensive and dumb your statement is?

AlphaLiberal said...

Another example of terror under the hand of a Christian in power is the "Shock and Awe" campaign used in the bombing of Baghdad in 2003.

"Shock and Awe" are literally synonymous with "terror." Hence, Bush is literally a terrorist.

However, I don't think that makes all "Christian Conservatives" (oxymoron) terrorists. Dupes, yes. Terrorists, no.

ShadyCharacter said...

Alpha, baby, nope, I'm not buying it. I don't "excuse" the inquisition. I'm just pointing out that when you and other leftists bemoan it, you are quite simply, lying. You don't give two shits, or even half a fart, about some poor 16th century peasant hauled before a secular court for heresy (you did know it was the secular authorities who prosecuted the inquisition, right). I know you don't give said shit, because you guys CLEARLY don't give a shit for people killed by leftist regimes in the last century, or for political prisoners in places like Cuba or North Korea today. I know you don't give a shit about these people, because as a group, the lot of you are either conspicuously quiet in condemning said leftist atrocities or you openly lionize those commiting the atrocities. Look down at the glowering Che on your chest and you'll see what I'm talking about.

When you guys spout off about the Crusades or the Inquisition, it is nothing more than moral preening to score a policital point against your political opponents in contemporary America - i.e. Republicans or Christian conservatives.

It's rather like the son of a convicted rapist ragging on another kid for having an alcoholic father (one who actually drinks only occasionally). Beam out of your own eye and all that.

AlphaLiberal said...

revenant disingenuously wonders:
"How were the Crusades an example of "terror"?"

- Killing
- Plunder
- Rape
- Heads on pikes
- Disembowelment
- Cannablaism, massacres
- "In Ma'arra our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking-pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled." (they did this to non-believers, apparently.)

The legacy of Christianity, denied to this day.

rcocean said...

The Crusades, etc - Lame.

Want to come up with a more current example, say in the last 200 years? Y'know when people had started using the steam engine and bathing more than once a week.

ShadyCharacter said...

"The legacy of Christianity, denied to this day."

I love it. It's like the way leftists view American history. Tainted by slavery. Tainted by the treatment of Native Americans... Any achievement of the country can be besmirched by reference to these horrible things. Any criticism of the horrors of a leftist-approved monstrous entity like the Soviet Union can likewise be deflected.

So millions died in the intentionally induced Ukranian Famine – well, America has no room to criticize as there was once slavery. You can't criticize X because America once did X.

Same with Christianity. A leftist/self-hating Christian will point to the Crusades or the Inquisition (as I've already pointed out, usually with a 3rd grader's cartoon understanding of the actual history involved) and say you can't criticize a Muslim's beheading of Daniel Pearl because Christians have acted in a barbaric manner. You can’t judge this facet of Islam because the history of Christianity shows it to be inherently wicked. You can’t point out the evils of atheistic regimes because of this point about Christianity. These aren’t actually logical arguments, they are instead deflection mechanisms to avoid dealing with logical arguments.

Short of a time machine I’d like a leftist to explain how the taint can be expunged. The Pope’s apologized for any excesses of the Crusades and the Inquisition, right? That didn’t do it. Maybe all Christians should wear sackcloths for a month? Would that expunge the taint? Would payment of reparations expunge the taint of slavery from America? Of course not (if it was capable of being expunged, the deaths of a few hundred thousand northern soldiers would play a role in the analysis, one would think…). These are merely rhetorical foils of the leftist and there is nothing that can be done (or should be done) that would get a leftist to stop relying on these tropes to avoid encountering reality…

Laika's Last Woof said...

The difference is that you aren't "disappeared" if you celebrate Hannukah instead.

However ... Santa always wins the popular vote by 98%, so I guess there is a whiff of the Banana Republic coming from the North Pole.

For my own part I'm just Machiavellian enough to apply McArdle's Law: the party who runs against Christmas always loses. I may not like religion, but I darn well love me some Christmas.

Revenant said...

The legacy of Christianity, denied to this day

So how's that "terror"? It sounds like the normal warfare of that time period, the same stuff the Muslims did when they conquered the "holy land" in the first place.

Fred Drinkwater said...

aha... the remark about 'glowering che' reminded me of a fine sight yesterday morning. paused in front of a somewhat run-down house in north san jose, california, i see in the driveway on the right side a very new looking mercedes amg55, about 100000 bucks worth of car, and in the window at the left end, a che poster. my son wanted to know why i was laughing so hard...i was imagining the conversations around their dinner table.
freak'n keyboard cap shift key stopped working. my new pc is a pos.

Fen said...
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