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Saturday, den 1. September 2012

From: Nation in the News Nation in the News Thursday’s federal court ruling was a major victory for voing rights advocates, but the campaign against voting rights continues nationwide. 

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Monday, den 27. August 2012

by Bracken Hendricks and Adam James In a political season dominated by divisive electoral politics and obstructionist legislative strategies, the future of America’s energy policy has been a casualty, caught in the political crossfire. Whether debating drilling for oil on public lands, extending the production tax credit for wind energy, or the role of fossil fuel subsidies in an “all of the above” energy plan, federal policy makers are scoring lots of political points but coming up short on building a durable foundation for transformative energy innovation.

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Sunday, den 26. August 2012

From: Voting Rights Watch 2012 Voting Rights Watch 2012 After exposés on Rachel Maddow and Al Sharpton news shows, the Ohio secretary of state abandons True the Vote.

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Sunday, den 26. August 2012

From: Voting Rights Watch 2012 Voting Rights Watch 2012 After exposed on Rachel Maddow and Al Sharpton news shows, Ohio Secretary of State abandons True the Vote.

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Friday, den 24. August 2012

From: Voting Rights Watch 2012 Voting Rights Watch 2012 As the RNC platform is amended to include support of voter ID legislation, we bring you the week’s voting rights updates

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Thursday, den 23. August 2012

From: Voting Rights Watch 2012 Voting Rights Watch 2012 Changes to Florida’s voting rules target people of color, and not those who have done anything wrong. Our newest community journalists reports what’s happening on the ground.

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Thursday, den 23. August 2012

From: Laura Flanders Laura Flanders Todd Akin, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan all have me thinking of June Jordan’s great “Poem about My Rights.”

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Saturday, den 11. August 2012

From Progressive News Source- http://www.thenation.com/blog/169348/voting-suppression-schemes-and-how-theyre-being-challenged Progressive News Post- Voting Suppression Schemes and How They’re Being Challenged

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Tuesday, den 7. August 2012

From: Voting Rights Watch 2012 Voting Rights Watch 2012 Why would a group of people who are ineligible to vote engage in electoral politics? We talk to a rider on the “UndocuBus” to find out

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Friday, den 3. August 2012

From: Voting Rights Watch 2012 Voting Rights Watch 2012 George Lujan, the latest community journalist to join Voting Rights Watch, reports from New Mexico, where the states busy frustrating registration efforts and prepping a massive voter purge. 

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Thursday, den 2. August 2012

Sasha Abramsky The former Salt Lake City mayor is mounting an unlikely protest against American plutocracy.

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Thursday, den 2. August 2012

From: Voting Rights Watch 2012 Voting Rights Watch 2012  Ten Pennsylvania residents have spent the past week explaining in court that they do, in fact, exist and ought to be able to vote.

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Thursday, den 19. July 2012

From: Ilyse Hogue Ilyse Hogue Romney’s recent strategy appears less Rove and more schoolyard whine, serving not to attack the president’s strength but to hold a mirror up to his own weaknesses. 

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Saturday, den 14. July 2012

From: Voting Rights Watch 2012 Voting Rights Watch 2012 Voters stand up for themselves in Texas; purge-fest spreads beyond Florida; and ALEC’s exodus continues. This and more in our voting rights news roundup.

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Friday, den 13. July 2012

From: Katie Halper Katie Halper Why does Tammy Duckworth make Joe Walsh so angry?

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Friday, den 13. July 2012

From: Voting Rights Watch 2012 Voting Rights Watch 2012 A landmark 1944 Supreme Court decision over Texas’s Jim Crow laws changed the arc of voting history. This week, a case that’s expected to change things again began its trip to the Roberts Court.

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Thursday, den 12. July 2012

Vin Weber Since joining Mitt Romney’s campaign as an adviser in 2011, Republican politician and “super-lobbyist” Vin Weber took up a position lobbying for Ukrainian interests on behalf of an association aligned with the ruling party there. Over the past year, Ukraine’s human rights record has come under fire, becoming only the latest in a line of clients with questionable practices taken on by Weber. The Daily Beast reports that Weber appeared on a disclosure form as a lobbyist for the Brussels-based European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU)

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Wednesday, den 27. June 2012

From: Voting Rights Watch 2012 Voting Rights Watch 2012 What does Holder’s defense of voting rights have to do with a House committee move to hold him in contempt? Everything.

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Saturday, den 23. June 2012

The Editors The crushing recall loss shows that labor must find better ways to defend itself in the electoral arena.

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Friday, den 22. June 2012

From: John Nichols John Nichols The Supreme Court’s partisan majority has made it harder for public-sector unions to engage in politics. This is not what democracy looks like

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Thursday, den 21. June 2012

From: Voting Rights Watch 2012 Voting Rights Watch 2012 Civil rights groups are suing Florida over the state’s voter purging initiative and The Advancement Project’s co-director Penda Hair explains why. 

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Thursday, den 21. June 2012

From: Voting Rights Watch 2012 Voting Rights Watch 2012 In a state with an existing voter ID law, three bills target voters of color, youth, the elderly and non-English speakers.

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Monday, den 11. June 2012

Conservative media figures have mocked President Obama’s concerns about continuing job losses in the public sector but experts say the job cuts are more severe than in other recoveries in recent decades and threaten the recovering economy. Conservative Media Mock Concerns About Public-Sector Job Loss Bill Kristol: Obama Thinks “The Problem With The Economy Is That The Government Isn’t Big Enough.” Fox News contributor and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said on the June 10 edition of Fox Broadcasting’s Fox News Sunday : KRISTOL: This gaffe is revealing about President Obama. And it’s his policy. He wants more public sector jobs.  That’s his address to the country, his radio address this past weekend was about how we – as you pointed out in your discussion with Mitch Daniels – is about how we need — Congress needs to spend more money on public sector jobs, that will get the economy going again. So there’s a fundamental difference here. The Republicans believe that the private sector is the engine of economic growth. And President Obama believes that the private sector is doing fine and that the problem with the economy is that the government isn’t big enough. [Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Sunday, 6/10/12] Liz Cheney Refers To Public-Sector Job Losses As “The Good That Is Being Done At The State Level.” Later on Fox News Sunday , host Chris Wallace asked Fox News contributor Liz Cheney if reducing public-sector job loss is “an answer for the economy.” Cheney responded that President Obama’s call for public-sector hiring is “trying to undo the good that is being done at the state level”: CHENEY: One prominent economist said this week, Chris, that if more government spending were the answer then Greece would now be experiencing a new golden age. So obviously more government spending is not the answer. I think Bill [Kristol] is right. I actually don’t think this was a gaffe. This is what President Obama believes. And I think — it’s interesting if you look what happened, which is that you got responsible governors like Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, even to some extent Governor Cuomo, a Democrat in New York, who are tightening their own budgets who are going through a process of fiscal responsibility, who are reducing their state deficits, who are reducing unemployment. But as a result they have had to in fact cut the government roles. And the president’s prescription now is to use federal tax dollars to come in and essentially undo that. You know, the president ought to be in situation where he’s saying “what’s working at state level let’s put that in play here. Let’s make this a better place for the private sector to invest. Let’s cut taxes and let’s reduce government.” Instead he is actually trying to undo even the good that is being done at the state level. [Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Sunday, 6/10/12] But Public-Sector Job Losses Have Been Severe And Unusual Public Sector Has Lost Over 550,000 Jobs Since Mid-2009. Business Insider posted achart compiled from Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) showing that while private-sector jobs (blue) have been increasing since the beginning of 2010, public-sector jobs (red) — most of which are at the local level but this also includes federal and state jobs — continue to fall. The spike in the red line reflects the temporary hiring of Census workers in 2010. [Business Insider, 6/8/12 ] Wash. Post : State And Local Governments Continuing To Lose Jobs. The Washington Post  created the following charts with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which show how monthly private-sector job gains compare to monthly job losses in state and local government: [ The Washington Post , 4/29/12 ] Calculated Risk: Public-Sector Job Loss Is A “Significant Drag On Overall Employment.” Financial blog Calculated Risk highlighted how public-sector jobs during Obama’s presidency (blue) compare to Bush’s first term (red). Calculated Risk called these job losses “a significant drag on overall employment”: [Calculated Risk, 3/18/12 ] EPI: Loss Of Government Jobs In Current Recovery Contrasts Sharply With Other Recent Recoveries.  The Economic Policy Institute stated that if public-sector employment had increased the way it did in previous recoveries, “there would be 1.2 million more public-sector jobs in the U.S. economy today” and “these extra public-sector jobs would have helped preserve about 500,000 private-sector jobs”: The figure below compares trends in public-sector employment in the last four recoveries. The current recovery is the only one that has seen public-sector losses over its first 31 months. If public-sector employment had  grown  since June 2009 by the average amount it grew in the three previous recoveries (2.8 percent) instead of shrinking by 2.5 percent, there would be 1.2 million more public-sector jobs in the U.S. economy today. In addition, these extra public-sector jobs would have helped preserve about 500,000 private-sector jobs. There is reason to be optimistic, though, as public-sector losses have moderated recently. If the sector begins to actually add jobs in the coming months, the economy would benefit significantly in 2012 and beyond. [Economic Policy Institute,  4/5/12 ] The Economist : “Government Payrolls Typically Swell In Economic Recoveries” But”Not This Time.” A May 12 article in The Economist noted that, although public-sector jobs usually increase following economic downturns, “for much of the past two years the biggest source of job losses has been the public sector.” From The Economist : On May 8th Mr Obama sent Congress a “to-do list”, asking it for tax incentives and mortgage refinancing in the hope of boosting private job creation. Yet for much of the past two years the biggest source of job losses has been the public sector. Government payrolls typically swell in economic recoveries, by 5.9% on average during the first 34 months after a recession has ended, according to data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics. Not this time, however: from June of 2009 government employment dropped by 2.7% (see chart). The 2.5m overall rise in employment since the downturn’s end corresponds to 3.1m new private jobs, less 600,000 lost government ones. [ The Economist , 5/12/12 ] Krugman: During Reagan-Era Recovery, “Government Employment Had Risen By 3.1 Percent; This Time Around, It’s Down By 2.7 Percent.” From economist Paul Krugman’s March 4 New York Times column: By this stage in the Reagan recovery, government employment had risen by 3.1 percent; this time around, it’s down by 2.7 percent. If government employment under Mr. Obama had grown at Reagan-era rates, 1.3 million more Americans would be working as schoolteachers, firefighters, police officers, etc., than are currently employed in such jobs. And once you take the effects of public spending on private employment into account, a rough estimate is that the unemployment rate would be 1.5 percentage points lower than it is, or below 7 percent — significantly better than the Reagan economy at this stage. One implication of this comparison is that conservatives who love to compare Reagan’s record with Mr. Obama’s should think twice. Aside from the fact that recoveries from financial crises are almost always slower than ordinary recoveries, in reality Reagan was much more Keynesian than Mr. Obama, faced with an obstructionist G.O.P., has ever managed to be. [ New York Times , 3/4/12 ] Experts Note Public-Sector Job Losses Damage The Overall Economy Wall Street Journal : Unemployment Rate Would Be Near 7.1% Without Government Job Cuts. Wall Street Journal reporter Justin Lahart stated that, all things equal, “if there were as many people working in government as there were in December 2008, the unemployment rate in April would have been 7.1%, not 8.1%.” The post included the following chart: [WSJ.com, 5/8/12 ] Economist Mark Zandi: “Job Losses At State And Local Governments Is The Most Serious Weight On The Job Market.” From an April 29 Washington Post article: The state and local job losses are significant for several reasons, economists say. For one, these losses have a broad social impact. Laying off teachers means larger class sizes and fewer after-school programs, for example. What’s more, federal aid can go directly to state and local governments to prevent job losses, a relatively effective way to sustain economic growth. (Tax cuts, by contrast, can lead indirectly to job growth if they increase the amount of money consumers spend.) “The job losses at state and local governments is the most serious weight on the job market,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, who has advised both parties. Experts worry that the cuts will have lasting effects. “There’s a big body of research showing that a lot of the things that state and local governments spend their money on have long-term effects on the economy and society as a whole,” said Nicholas Johnson, vice president for state fiscal policy at CBPP. “Cutting school funding now can hurt the education of a future workforce.” [ The Washington Post , 4/29/12 ] Economist Scott Brown: Economy Would Be Growing A Full Percentage Point Faster Without Drag From Government Job Losses. From a June 6 ABC News report: “The government is actually contributing to the slow recovery,” said Scott Brown, the chief economist at the Florida-based financial firm Raymond James & Associates. Brown said that if it were not for the “drag” of this public sector job loss, the economy would likely be growing a full percentage point faster, with GDP growing at 3 percent rather than at 2 percent. “That would help mop up the jobs lost during the downturn,” he said. “Factor in the drag from government and we are growing at a pace that’s roughly enough to absorb the growth in population but not fast enough to make up much of the ground lost.” [ABC News, 6/6/12 ] Economist Joel Naroff: When The Public Sector Cuts Jobs, “The Private Sector Gets Affected.” A September 2, 2011, U.S. News & World Report article quoted economist Joel Naroff who pointed out that “the private sector gets affected” by public-sector job losses. From U.S. News & World Report : Those job losses are taking their toll on the national economic scene, and are in their own way creating more job losses in the private sector. “If we’re losing [20,000 to 25,000] in the public sector, that’s income and spending that doesn’t occur. It’s more like [35,000 to 40,000] jobs as a result of that,” says Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors, an economic consulting firm based in Holland, Pennsylvania. “So one job isn’t just one job; it’s more than one job. And so the private sector gets affected,” he says. Behind those government job losses are  budget cuts , particularly from states and local governments, many of which have lost revenues as lower incomes and lower property values lead to lower tax income. Those budget cuts mean fewer government contracts, which also leads to pain in the private sector. The winding down of the stimulus package also contributed to these losses, as federal assistance to state governments for things like extra Medicaid funding has disappeared, leaving many states with substantial budget gaps. Altogether, the strain on the national economy is considerable. “There’s no such thing as a free budget cut.” says Naroff. “If the public sector trims [20,000 to 25,000] jobs a month, then the private sector has to create those jobs before the economy can add one job. That’s the hole that the public sector puts the economy in at this particular point,” he says. [ U.S. News & World Report , 9/2/11 ] CBPP: Government Job Losses Hurt Those Who Don’t Work In Government. From a February 8 report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Here’s how the economic damage from spending cuts happens: when lawmakers cut services they end contracts with private sector businesses and reduce spending on private sector goods, leading to layoffs or lower wages among private sector workers. When lawmakers cut services they also lay off teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public sector workers (over 650,000 state and local government workers have lost their jobs since the recession hit the states). In turn, private AND public sector workers who are laid off, or who see their pay reduced, buy less and further reduce economic activity. Deep cuts to state services also erode the foundations of a strong economy, in both the short and long term.  Spending on education, transportation, and public safety has been shown to stimulate economic growth in the short run and is among the most important determinants of economic growth and job quality in the long run. Research also shows that expanding and improving upon these investments through well-targeted tax increases (in other words, finding new money to pay for better services) stimulates income and job growth. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2/8/12 ] Brookings Institution: Government Job Growth Is Associated With Economic Recovery In Many Metro Areas. In June 2011, Howard Wial of the Brookings Institution observed that “government job growth is associated with the economic recovery of America’s metropolitan areas” since 14 out of the 20 large metro areas with the strongest recoveries from the recession “gained government jobs since total employment began to recover in each metro area.” By contrast 12 of the 15 major metro areas with the slowest recoveries “lost government jobs since total employment began to recover.” Wial also noted that increased government employment boosts private-sector jobs and income: I haven’t been able to find anything else besides the growth of employment that’s as closely associated with the strength of metropolitan economic recovery. Increased government employment means increased government spending, which means increased demand for goods and services and the creation of more private sector jobs and more private sector income. [The Brookings Institution, 6/22/11 ] Wash Post .’s Klein: Public-Sector Job Losses Are A Problem That The Federal Government Could Actually Fix. In a June 8 post on The Washington Post’s Wonkblog, Ezra Klein wrote: Speaking of private-sector jobs, at this point the Obama presidency is net positive on private-sector jobs. Since February of 2009 — remember, Obama wasn’t president for most of January — the economy has added, on net, 780,000 private-sector jobs. Hence the president’s comments: The private sector’s job creation machine is basically working, even if it would be nice to see it working faster. The public sector, conversely, has been losing jobs. As a disclaimer, these numbers don’t tell you very much. The bulk of the job losses came in early 2009, when Obama had just entered office and when his policies hadn’t yet taken effect. Blaming him for what happened to the labor market in, say, March of 2009 is like blaming a firefighter for the damage the fire causes as his truck is pulling up. And even at this point in his presidency, the economy is driven by much more than his policy preferences. Europe, for instance. That said, the place where you can most fairly blame the government for the shape of the labor market is in public-sector jobs. The federal government can choose to hire, fire or hold employment steady. It can give states money to keep emmployees on the job, or it can withhold that money. So the fact that the public sector is losing jobs isn’t just a problem, but a problem that the federal government could, with 100 percent certainty, fix. [WashingtonPost.com, 6/8/12 ] NY Times’ Norris: Proposals To Prevent Public Sector Job Losses “Were Blocked By Republicans In Congress.” From a January 6 New York Times post by chief financial correspondent Floyd Norris: The declines in government jobs in both the Reagan and Obama presidencies coincided with major recessions, of course, which reduced tax receipts for all levels of government. If Mr. Obama had had his way, state and local government job losses in 2011 could have been reduced with more federal assistance, but such proposals were blocked by Republicans in Congress. There is no reason to think Mr. Obama is as happy about the reduction in government workers as some Republicans. But like it or not, the Obama administration has turned out to be anything but a big-government one. [NYTimes.com, 1/6/12 ]

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Monday, den 30. April 2012

From: Voting Rights Watch 2012 Brentin Mock Unjust Voter ID laws won’t solve the problem of a broken democracy, especially when fat-cat Super PAC donors aren’t subject to the same identification regimens.

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Tuesday, den 24. January 2012

From: Nation in the News Nation in the News The Republican primary race reveals the fundamental unfairness of our economic and political system.

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Sunday, den 22. January 2012

From: Laura Flanders Laura Flanders Not for nothing is Newt going after the “food stamp president.” There’s a battle shaping up, but who will fight it?

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Sunday, den 22. January 2012

From: Eric Alterman Eric Alterman  Eric asks how about the real relevancy of the Tea Party and Reed examines the crazy 27 percent.

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Sunday, den 22. January 2012

From: Katie Halper Katie Halper Here are some of his Perryisms we’ll miss. 

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Sunday, den 22. January 2012

From: Katie Halper Katie Halper

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Thursday, den 19. January 2012

From: John Nichols John Nichols Members of Congress need to feel the heat on the Stop Internet Piracy Act. Here’s how a bold progressive challenger and digital activists forced Paul Ryan to come out against SOPA. It’s a smart model for winning this fight.

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Saturday, den 7. January 2012

From: John Nichols John Nichols The paper that knows Romney best, the Boston Globe , dismisses him as a blank slate who is “merely checking boxes on the GOP playlist.”

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Saturday, den 7. January 2012

From: John Nichols John Nichols Two debates this weekend in New Hampshire will see some ugliness. It begins with Newt Gingrich’s stalking of Mitt Romney. But it is likely to get even uglier when Gingrich clashes with Ron Paul.

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Wednesday, den 28. December 2011

From: John Nichols John Nichols Newt will likely finish fourth or fifth in Iowa. What comes next? Rick Santorum, your fifteen minutes have arrived.

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Tuesday, den 27. December 2011

From: Ilyse Hogue Ilyse Hogue Unless there’s a blueprint to break the Republican strategy of hostage taking, the Dems will be left trumpeting their own weakness to avoid blame.

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Tuesday, den 13. December 2011

From: John Nichols John Nichols Progressives will march Saturday from the Koch brothers’ headquarters to the UN to demand an end to the attack on voting rights in America.

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Tuesday, den 13. December 2011

From: Nation in the News Nation in the News The slanderous attack ads against Warren are doing nothing to dampen enthusiasm for her campaign.

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Wednesday, den 16. November 2011

John Nichols From Ohio to Maine to Mississippi, voters rejected the conservative agenda on key issues.

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Saturday, den 5. November 2011

From: John Nichols John Nichols  Boulder voters reject corporate personhood, and move to replace private power with a public utility.

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Monday, den 25. July 2011

Big names launched an Internet race for a spot on every ballot. Will this be 2012′s spoiler? By John Avlon.

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Monday, den 25. July 2011

From: The Notion Ben Adler There are plenty of real problems with Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus. But her migraines and his mannerisms are not two of them.

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