Obama’s Response to Oil Spill: Incompetence or Politics?

June 14, 2010

Question: Is President Obama’s Obysmal response to the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico the result of his inexperience (i.e., incompetence), or is it due to something far more sinister: politics and his devotion to Unions?

I believe the answer to this question will prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Obama is either the most inept President the United States has ever had… or the most vile and corrupt.  Let’s look at some facts:

  • The oil spill is the worst ecological disaster this country has ever experienced
  • It’s getting worse every day regardless of what progress BP reports
  • The Obama administration’s response has been far slower in coming than the Bush administration’s response to Katrina… and far less focused or coordinated
  • A 1993 oil spill of 800 million gallons in the Persian Gulf (approximately 70 times the size of the Exxon Valdez, by comparison) was cleaned up using technology available through Saudi Aramco.  That technology has been offered to those in charge of cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico spill by former Saudi Aramco engineer Nick Pozzi. But, accoding to Pozzi, no one at the White House is listening
  • When asked what foreign countries had offered assistance to the US in lending technology and boats to assist with the cleanup, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley refused to answer, saying only

“As a policy matter, we’re not going to identify those offers of assistance until we are able to see, you know, what we need, assess the ongoing situation. And as we accept those offers of assistance, we will inform you.”

  • According to the Associated Press, only after reporters pointed out that the Bush administration identified foreign offers of assistance after the Katrina disaster, the State Department begrudgingly identified the governments of Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations of all offering assistance in the cleanup. (UPDATE: It seems that the administration is now backtracking and reaching out to other nations for assistance. Too little, too late?)
  • We do, however, know that the White House refused an almost-immediate offer of help from the Dutch government (skimming booms and help with dredging sand barriers) within three days of the initial explosion:

“According to Geert Visser, Consul General for the Netherlands in Houston “The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks.'”

What, then, could the real reason be that the federal government’s response has been so little and is taking so long? And why have the above offers for assistance from foreign lands been rejected thus far? Herein lies the arrogance or the incompetence of the Obama administration and the President himself.

Meet “The Jones Act
Wikipedia describes The Jones Act (aka section 27 of The Merchant Marine Act of 1920), as requiring:

…that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. The purpose of the law is to support the U.S. merchant marine industry, but agricultural interests generally oppose it because, they contend, it raises the cost of shipping their goods, making them less competitive with foreign sources.

After Hurricane Katrina, President Bush didn’t wait to be asked; he knew that reaction time was crucial in the aftermath of the hurricane. He immediately waived the Jones Act in order to get assistance from any country that had the ability to offer it. And for that humanitarian gesture, he was roundly criticized by the unions and their mouthpieces – including one Barack Hussein Obama who later openly criticized him on the White House web site.

The obvious question, then, is of course, “Why hasn’t President Obama waived the Jones act in order to accept assistance from the 13 countries (plus the United Nations) who have all offered to help?”

Obama continues to claim this oil spill is his top priority. Then why hasn’t he accepted the offer of assistance from Belgium firm DEME who has the equipment that, according to spokesman Hubert Fiers, can contain and resolve the spill far faster than the technology in the U.S.? Says Fiers:

“The U.S. authorities (are) estimating that they need nine months to get the job done. We can do that in four months. And if we work together, there may be perhaps one month off.”

Yet none of the assistance can legally be done unless Obama does what President George W. Bush did after Katrina:  Waive The Jones Act.

So we’re down to a very simple question: Why is Obama refusing or failing to do so? Their are only two possible answers as I see it:

  1. President Obama is telling the truth that resolving the oil spill is his toppriority… but he’s the most inept President this country has ever had and is unable to see the beginnings of solutions staring him in the face, OR
  2. He is a puppet to Union officials who have warned him NOT to allow foreign countries take away work from union workers, regardless of the resulting impact.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusion. I think you know what mine is. The overriding issue, however, is “Can The Gulf Coast Survive Either Answer?” Indeed, can the country survive either President?

Doug Powers wrote an excellent piece as guest blogger for Michelle Malkin yesterday, likening Obama’s commitment to the Gulf Spill to Leslie Neilson’s character (Lt. Frank Drebin) in “The Naked Gun.” It’s a must read.

Gerry Ashley

How Does a Rig “Miss” 16 Inspections?

June 12, 2010

All the recent news reports are chattering excitedly about the Deepwater Horizon rig’s having missed 16 inspections since January of 2005. Source after source gives pretty much the following info in the lead paragraphs:

“Newly released government inspection reports show BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig was only inspected six times in 2008 even though government regulations say drilling rigs should be inspected every month. In total, the rig missed 16 inspections since January 2005, according to the documents.”

I have a few questions, however.

First, where are these “newly released” reports? Not a single news article or blog post has linked to these reports–they all simply parrot the main CBS News article, up to and including the screaming headline, “ZOMG!! RIG MISSED 16 INSPECTIONS BEFORE EXPLOSION!!1!”. (Among the other damning items mentioned in the piece is the fact that the last person to inspect the Deepwater Horizon was a trainee who was sent to inspect the rig by himself. Clearly this was also BP’s fault.)

But here’s my real question: how does a rig like that “miss” an inspection? Was it out to lunch the day the inspectors showed up? Did it call in sick to work that day? It seems to me that the responsibility for scheduling inspections and then, you know, actually doing the inspections, falls under the responsibility of the MMS. If, for example, bad weather prevented an inspection from being done, shouldn’t the inspector and his team be the ones to re-schedule?

From January 2005 through April 2010, 16 inspections were reportedly missed. On a hypothetical monthly inspections schedule, that’s about a 25% miss rate. I don’t know if that’s good or bad in the oil industry, or for that matter, if it’s even par for the course for the MMS.

BP and TransOcean are taking a lot of kicks these days, and deservedly so. This, however, is not a blow they deserve. CBS should be putting the blame for missed inspections squarely on the shoulders of the MMS and the Obama administration. But since part of the mainstream media’s agenda is to cover Obama’s ass (rather than kicking it), you won’t see it reported that way.

Oh, and that “newly released” document? Here’s the PDF of the Inspection Report, and by my count, 17 inspections were missed, not 16.

CBS can’t even count. But what did you expect?


UPDATE: Sorry, the link above to the Inspection Report goes to a general download page. Here’s the actual PDF report. It can also be found using the link above, and selecting the very last item: “Unredacted copies of all reports from Minerals Management Service (MMS) inspections that took place on facilities located in Mississippi Canyon Block 252 since January 1, 2009.

A Little Butt-Kicking Humor

June 11, 2010


The problem with trying to sound tough when you’re not perceived as a tough guy is that you’re apt to get mocked mercilessly for it–in this case, with good cause.

Better perhaps to laugh than to cry.


UPDATE: James Lileks nails it with exquisite perfection, as is his wont:

My nine-year-old daughter looked at the front page of the paper, and her eyes grew wide:

      The president said “ass”?

She swallowed the A-word, because it is, after all, the A-word. I nodded; he said that. She was silent for a while, digesting the information. Presidents, after all, are part of the great Pantheon of Authority, standing over the school principal, teachers, the pastor, police, and perhaps the mailman. To consider them using bad words reordered everything. Unless …

“He didn’t mean donkey,” she said, this being the only possible explanation. I shook my head. It will now be difficult to tell her not to use that word…

Read it all, because it’s Lileks and therefore well worth your time.

AP Reporter Enthusiastic But Not Too Bright

June 9, 2010


Well, this is a new one for me. Apparently a reporter from the Associated Press decided he wanted to see the Gulf oil slick in a new way, so he, er, dived right in. Literally.

I jump off the boat into the thickest patch of red oil I’ve ever seen. I open my eyes and realize my mask is already smeared. I can’t see anything and we’re just five seconds into the dive…

The oil is so thick and sticky, almost like a cake batter. It does not wipe off. You have to scrape it off, in layers until you finally get close to the skin. Then you pour on some Dawn dishwashing soap and scrub. I think to myself: No fish, no bird, no turtle would ever be able to clean this off of themselves. If any animal, any were to end up in this same puddle there is almost no way they could escape.

It’s actually a very interesting narrative, but there’s a very good reason none of his colleagues would dive without wearing Hazmat suits.

I’m all for getting to the heart of a story, but I think this is taking it way too far. Especially if you’re somewhat of a klutz, as this reporter apparently is; turns out after getting out of the water, scrubbing for half an hour to get clean, he fell back in and was slimed again. 

I sure hope he’s had all his shots.


Aid To Haiti: Heroes And Villains

January 26, 2010

Where’s Hugo when he’s really needed?

There are those who step up to the plate in times of crisis. Then there are those who simply turn their heads and pretend not to see. This is what separates the “Do-ers” from the “Talkers.”

Case in point: When Haiti was struck by the devastating 7.0+ Earthquake on January 12th, the United States was amongst the first to respond with aid in the form of search and rescue, medical and food–as usual. Other countries were also quick to respond, but the bulk of the assistance arrived from the U.S. This should come as no surprise, given our response to the tsunami victims several years ago as well as all the other international tragedies requiring humanitarian response. It’s what we do.

It should also come as no surprise that there are those who are eager to criticize us. The man President Obama wanted so desperately to be buddies with in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, wins the prize as the world’s biggest absentee and hypocrite. 

To date, Venezuela has donated absolutely nothing to the relief efforts in Haiti, while the Unites States has made the largest contribution in money, food, supplies and military support. The military support is for the sole purpose of helping to provide security in the stricken area where desperation has caused people to resort to unspeakable brutality on each other as they scramble for food, shelter and aid.

Here’s a breakdown of the top countries making donations to the relief effort:  Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Leader Is No Leader in Charity

January 21, 2010


One might think that a $15,000 donation to charity for victims of Haiti’s earthquakes is a generous response to a terrible tragedy. In general, one might be correct.

In particular, this $15,000 donation came yesterday, more than a week after the 7.0 magnitude quake decimated the small nation. It came from our President and First Lady, out of their personal bank account. And it came for the following reason:

“[T]he Obamas were inspired to give upon seeing the response of millions of Americans who have given generously during tough economic times.” [Link]

Not the day of the earthquake; not the day after, nor the day after that. It was over a week later that the Obamas decided to donate. Not because they realized that the cause was worthy, but because the generosity of the American people was showing them up.

Americans have been giving at what could be a record pace. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, as of Saturday, $150 million has been donated by Americans.

That’s more than the U.S. government has committed so far…

Not that this lack of generosity is unusual for the Obamas. As the Huffington Post reports:

Up until recent years when their income increased sharply from book revenues and a Senate salary, Obama’s family donated a relatively minor amount of its earnings to charity. From 2000 through 2004, the senator and his wife never gave more than $3,500 a year in charitable donations — about 1 percent of their annual earnings. In 2005, however, that total jumped to $77,315 (4.7 percent of annual earnings), and to $60,307 in 2006 (6.1 percent).

Among those charitable donations, the Obamas listed “a $13,107 contribution to the Congressional Black Caucus as a charity gift”, HuffPo states.

Americans are arguably the most generous people in the world. Whenever there is a need, Americans donate tens and hundreds of millions of dollars almost instantly. Regardless of the economic situation or the state of our bank accounts, we donate whatever we can. Not only in emergencies like Haiti, but also on a regular basis, we donate to food pantries, soup kitchens, orphanages, church outreach efforts. We are Americans. We give.

It is unfortunate, then, that our nation’s leader only gives when it becomes politically expedient.


Hell In Haiti – How You Can Help

January 13, 2010

“Complete And Utter Chaos!”  - Eyewitness

Update: According to a Red Cross official, Haiti’s devastating earthquake has left an estimated 3 million people in need of emergency aid. Much of the world is putting aside political differences and rushing to help. Countries pledging their immediate support in terms of personnel, cash and supplies to Haiti include the United States, Iceland, Britain, France, Canada, Germany, China, Mexico and Venezuela. 

The Face Of Haiti - Source: AP

Once again, natural disaster has brought its wrath to Planet Earth; this time it is Haiti that must bear the brunt of nature’s fury. An earthquake registering 7.0+ on the Richter scale has devastated the tiny Caribbean country. Once again, America’s heart opens to the victims. We will respond as we always do: with compassion and utter disregard for politics.

As demonstrated by the diverse countries responding, this is no time for politics. These are innocent people who are suffering now.  Children, babies. Parents, the elderly. Hospitals and clinics where they might seek medical treatment have vanished into the debris.

The call has gone out to the world for help. As is usually the case in times of turmoil, America will lead the way in aid to Haiti. And President Obama has stepped up to pledge assistance from the American Government.

Still, it is often the private sector from which much of the aid comes. We are Americans… it’s what we do.

If you’re asking, “How can I help?” the following is a list of various organizations whose charters are to provide aid and comfort. I would advise you to look at each one before determining, for yourself which organization is likely to have the most direct impact on the people in Haiti who can only turn to the outside world in this time of utter need.

Click on the following links for more information on each organization:

International Medical Corps
Direct Relief International
World Vision
International Relief Teams
Yéle Haiti
American Red Cross
Operation USA
Catholic Relief Services
World Food Programme
World Concern
Save the Children

List source: CNN.com

Keep the people of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers in this time of need and desperation.

Gerry Ashley

Annum Absurdus: Top Ten News Stories of 2009

December 24, 2009

Goodness, what an absurd year it has been! And it’s been an even tougher year to rate news-wise. Below, I humbly offer my choices for the top stories of the year. The choices are based on a number of things… most were inspired by actual events, some by  friends with unique perspectives, and one is from a viral e-mail we’ve probably all received by now. They are listed in ascending order of importance in terms of their impact to our American way of life.  And I reserve the right to ridicule where appropriate. 

And so, with out further ado: 

10) The public’s fascination with celebrity death and scandals.  

From Michael Jackson’s passing (“All Michael, All Day!” screamed the headlines on some sites providing ghoulish  coverage) to the exaltation of Ted “Lion of the Senate” Kennedy, we were mesmerized by those we loved to hate in life. Jackson, who will be forever linked to suspicions of inappropriate relations with children, was never convicted. However, one thing the vast majority of people with IQs above shellac will agree with, he was guilty of showing extremely poor judgement in the way he professed his affections towards children based alone on his own public admissions (Sleeping naked with them at Neverland, giving them “Jesus Juice” etc.) 

There were a number of also-rans in the celebrity loss department, but Jackson and Kennedy each grabbed the gold ring of coverage in death. 

As for scandals, who’d have thunk it? The year’s top celebrity scandal: Tiger Woods? Rumor has it that the publicists for Madonna and Britney Spears are still in intensive care.  All I know is that somewhere, Roger Clemens is saying, “Thank God the spotlight is off me!” Uh, yeah, Roger that

9) The Miracle On The Hudson 

Well, the passengers on US Airways Flight 1549  didn’t exactly get a whole lot of frequent flyer miles on January 15th, but I don’t think you’ll hear any complaints. And with over 40 years logged as a pilot and more than 27,000 hours of flight under his belt, Captain Chesley Sullenberger will forever be remembered for a flight that lasted about three  minutes. No one was killed and the only injuries were minor. Police DID find 3 or 4 bodies in the Hudson, but that had nothing to do with the flight. It was, as the NYPD referred to it, “a typical Thursday on the Hudson… except for the plane landing.” 

One side note: Upon closer inspection, it turned out that the passengers luggage from US Airways Flight 1549 suffered less damage than that caused by the United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago’s O’Hare airport. This has been confirmed by Dave Carroll.   

8 ) Protests In Iran – and the Murder of Neda Agha-Soltan 

Millions around the world shed tears for a beautiful young woman we would never meet, named Neda. She was brutally shot by a Basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house near where she was standing during a political demonstration in Iran in protest of the outcome of Iran’s Presidential election. Neda instantly became the face of reformist opposition. To add insult to barbarism, last month her grave was desecrated by supporters of the Iranian regime headed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. You know, the man who President Obama has said on many occasions, he would meet without any preconditions.   

In light of Neda’s brutal slaying however, Obama wasted no time, taking only about a week to condemn the action, after carefully weighing the impact such a stand might have on himself.  Perhaps the world-wide uproar enabled him to see it was “OK” to speak out. 

One is left to imagine how different things might have been if we’d had a leader with guts, like President Ronald Wilson Reagan. Suffice it to say, things would have been quite different for Ahmadinejad.    

7) ACORN & Van Jones 

I grouped these together because both were discovered to be grossly inappropriate for the powers given them by Barack Obama and who, had they NOT been exposed, could have done great damage to this country in a surreptitious manner. They are also two examples of why the President should not be allowed to empower his own choices with such authority without having to go through the standard vetting process of a Senate confirmation hearing.   

Another reason I’ve grouped them together:  They may have been removed from their official positions within the administration, but don’t think for a moment they are gone and out of the picture. An administration that doesn’t give a damn what the American Public wants, and is determined to shove their agenda down our throats regardless, isn’t about to excommunicate either ACORN or Jones.  

Unless I’m wrong, their influence will continue to stink up the Obama administration and, if we’re not vigilant in keeping tabs on both, will continue in the federal government long after Obama is gone. KEEP YOUR EYES ON BOTH. We have not seen the last of their impact. For more in-depth information on just how dangerous Jones could be (and remember, he had Barack Obama’s complete confidence and Valerie Jarrett’s dewy-eyed admiration), click here. This issue also exposes just what kind of people Barack Obama chooses to surround himself with as he attempts to live up to his promise of “fundamentally changing life in the United States.” 

6) The Deficit 

This should be ranked a lot higher, but it took the better part of the year for much of the American public to catch on to the fact that while Obama was blaming everything on the Bush administration (yes, Bush did leave a whopping deficit) Obama was in the process of tripling it with his “Spend money to get out of debt” approach to the recession.  If either Cap and Trade or the Health Care Reform bills are enacted, we could be looking at the death of the American economy. Fortunately, the public has caught on to the President’s attempts to blame Bush for everything including… 

5) Swine Flu 

This hasn’t turned into the Pandemic to end all Pandemics as predicted, but it is taking a toll on a lot of people world-wide and we need to continue to take it seriously. Uh, folks? You can get all the flu shots you want, but until WE THE PEOPLE start practicing better personal hygiene, we’re gonna continue to get sick, whether it’s swine flu or pink eye.  

4) Obama winning the (heh-heh) Nobel (snicker) Peace Prize 

Bwahaha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!! Well, it’s nice to have some comic relief during this past year. It was just getting waaayyyy too serious. As far as I know, it’s the only time that Comedy Central provided live coverage of the presentation of the award.  OK so it wasn’t one of the top stories, but we surely did need the laugh.   

3) The University of East Anglia Global Warming e-mail Scandal 

Controversy exploded in late November when someone hacked into the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit and downloaded tens of thousands of e-mails (even zipped, the data weighed in at 62 megabytes). The e-mails exposed a conspiracy to hide research results detrimental to the claims of man-made global warming.  They also discussed different ways scientists could “fix” the outcome of experiments to support the agendas of  major global-warming advocacy groups desperate to show that global warming is real. The exposure of the fraud could not have come at a worse better time, just weeks before the global warming Convention in Copenhagen.   
The authenticity of the e-mails was confirmed as genuine by Dr Phil Jones, head of the University’s Climate Research Unit. 

2) Health Care

 I don’t think the American public fully understands yet just what this is really all about. It’s not just about ruining what is arguably the world’s best health care system in terms of research, healing, and chances of recovery. It’s about the government taking control of 1/6th of the American economy and, in all probability, completely destroying the economy altogether with debt even our great-grandchildren will not be able to pay off. 

Why else would the administration (and the whores of Congress) stoop to the levels they are lowering themselves to in order to cram it down our throats when numerous polls show that the American public is against this by a margin of approximately 3-1? 

And my choice as the number one news story of the year in terms of its impact on the American Way of Life as we know it (inspired by an e-mail I received last week: Read the rest of this entry »

Point:Counterpoint:Repoint, Part 3

December 4, 2009


Continuing where we left off Wednesday, here is the final response of this discussion series.

 I’m reminded of a speech Patton delivered to his men on the eve of a big battle. Basically, he told them that some would die, but not all. Better to just be honest.

America is like the Titanic in the last hours: Beginning to slip beneath the waves bow down, but it hasn’t snapped in two yet.

[I] thought the slight shake up in Dubai was interesting [the other day]. Piddly little country couldn’t pay its tiny $60 billion debt, and the global marketplace shuddered. The Dow lost 160 points. What happens when we can’t print enough money, and no one will loan us anymore? What happens when the U.S. $100 trillion debt collapses? Well, to put it in perspective, $60 billion is roughly 1/1,600th of $100 trillion; or put another way, $60 billion is roughly .06% of $100 trillion. And of course, when we go, Japan goes.

How could this happen? And why is it that only folks like Walker, Dobbs, Laffer, Payne, Beck, and a few others are screaming their heads off? Here’s how and why via analogy.

In the early 1970s Eastern Airlines flight 401 suffered a slight mechanical failure in its landing lights. For four arduous minutes, the flight crew screwed around with the lights not noticing that the auto pilot had been inadvertently turned off. They ignored audible warnings and falling gauges. In the last ten seconds, they finally realized that the alarms were going off and sat in disbelief.

If the captain or co-pilot had grabbed the yoke and applied full power, they might have made it. But instead they sat stunned in the face of all their instruments, of all their warning signs. Here’s the FAA YouTube recreation for all to see and learn from:

This country has sub-consciously known this financial disaster was coming since the 1970s. My brother used to warn me about it when I was a teenager. The alarms have been going off for decades and we’ve been busy dicking around with disco and pro wrestling. Well, now we’re in those last ten seconds, and we simply cannot believe our eyes. We’re unable to grab the yoke; we’re unable to apply full power.

I just don’t know what’s going to happen, and I don’t think turning to the readers will do a damned bit of good. I’d say go quietly, build a good survival kit, a decent .22 and a bunch of bullets, and invest in silver.

Some of Patton’s men did survive. Some of the people on the Titanic did survive. Some of the folks on flight 401 did survive. I’m not saying all is lost, but I am saying that it looks like excruciating days are getting closer.

Like I said, I don’t know what to write. But I don’t think writing “Barney Frank Started This Whole Mess” will do any good.

Besides, I already wrote that.

 Hope you enjoyed this series as much as I did. The two correspondents occasionally have exchanges like this via email, so if you liked this, let me know, and I’ll see if I can get permission to publish the next time they chew the fat online.


Misery Loves Company, North Korea-Style

December 3, 2009


It’s not enough that there is no freedom, no commerce, no electricity, and that millions in North Korea are slowly starving to death. No, to add to all that, Kim Jong Il and the gang of thugs who run the North Korean “government” have just frozen all cash transactions as its currency is de-valued at a ratio of 1 to 100.

The Times Online reports:

Shops and markets in North Korea have been closed and all cash transactions frozen after the Government’s shock announcement of a devaluation of its currency in an effort to crack down on the country’s burgeoning free-market economy…

There were reports of public outrage and confusion after the announcement of the measure, which requires North Koreans to swap existing won notes for new ones at an exchange rate of one to 100 — effectively knocking two zeroes off their value. Because of a cap of 100,000 won per family (£475 at the official exchange rate), anyone with significant holdings of cash will have their savings wiped out.

“Loud sounds of weeping in every house have not ceased since the news was released,” a South Korean website quoted an inhabitant of Sinuiju, a city on the border with China, as saying.

I’m sure that weeping was the very least of it.

The announcement was made on Monday via a closed-cable broadcasting system that is piped into all North Korean homes.

Eric Blair was nearly spot on in his presecient depiction, but was wrong in one small detail; it’s not Big Brother in North Korea, it’s “Dear Leader.” Dear God, what a travesty! Dear Leader is allowing his subjects to die in misery, squalor, hunger, and darkness.

“One of the worries our North Korean staff have is whether they will have enough food to get through to next week,” the manager of a foreign organisation in Pyongyang said. “Our employees have access to foreign currency but most people don’t and they could be in trouble.”

Perhaps President Obama could peddle some of his trademarked “Hope” and “Change” to the citizens of North Korea. If anyone could use it, they certainly can.



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