Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Overheard on CNN.com

CNN.com readers took a bit of a break from the usual bickering and spirited debate Tuesday to wait for word on a California girl who was abducted by a man in a truck in front of her mother. It was refreshing to see so many people offering their support and hoping and praying for the girl's safe return. They were also fairly united in their hope that the person who took the girl suffers a bad, and preferably creative, punishment.


Readers also were fairly uniform in their condemnation of the small Kansas church that is appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue that it has the right to protest at the funerals of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Most commenters felt these protests should be banned, and many of the people who supported the church's right to protest said the protests were wrong.


The comment section was also buzzing about a federal judge accused of buying drugs for his stripper mistress.


Most commented stories:


Police credit 'good Samaritans' for 8-year-old's recovery

suspect's truck

682 comments and 1,972 Facebook shares



CONGRATS to the good samaritans who CHOSE to get involved. They saved this little girl's life by NOT thinking of themselves and turn the other way, hoping that someone else would intervene. You get my highest respect today!



Made my day! Nice to hear there are still heroes out there to offset all the scum. Well done people!



What a blessing to find this child before she was dead. I just hope he didn't get his grubby hands on her first. Why are people that molest children allowed to keep their genitals? Offenders often repeat, repeat should = no more genitals.



It's a very sad day in society where children simply can no longer play outside and enjoy the warm, fresh air. I hope they hang this person.



Even when my children were very little, I used examples of The Old Hag in Snow White to show how people act kind, but are evil at heart. This guy pulled her into his car, that's hard to foresee. This will be a topic of conversation for us, when they get home from school.

Anti-gay church, grieving father square off


2,007 comments and 5,315 Facebook shares



It should not matter what anyone believes about gays. This supposed church group is being cruel to families of hero soldiers. That is wrong. Period. My son is in the Army and I would have a tough time controlling myself if these crazies showed up at any funeral I was at, let alone my son's. We have a large number of wonderful bikers who travel to funerals for soldiers so they can stay between families and these crazies.



If Albert Snyder had shot those idiots and I was on the jury, there would at least be a mistrial if not an outright acquittal. I'm sorry but when you act like that, you have that coming to you.



Albert Snyder has more class and is fighting the battle legally. You don't get to kill someone for offending you. But you can use the law to protect yourself. A violation of the families privacy at the least and it sounds like stalking behavior too. The younger Synder was not a public figure so the freedom to assemble and protest at his funeral is not a valid arguement. He was a private citizen and private citizens have more privacy rights than public figures.



Ignorance like this is what helps people who don't know the love of Christ want nothing to do with Him. These are most likely a bunch of religious folks who do not read their bible and only listen to the rhetoric of their ignorant leader. Then again they might not be ignorant, but just plain stupid.



It is hate speech, and while I think it is horrible I support their right to do it, just not at a funeral. Can we not enact something that protects their right to spew their hatred (Jesus must be rolling in his grave, oh wait he isn't in there) and protect the privacy EARNED by the families of fallen soldiers.



Not much to say about this article or these people. Their actions speak loud enough to how evil they are. So if we're going to Hell, they're the welcoming committee.



"I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend with my life your right to say it."  But not in this case. These people are doing nothing but harming the families who have already been harmed. That is not showing God's love. And if this doof wants to preach about "the hatred of God", perhaps he should look inward and see that perhaps the Heavenly Father isn't pleased with them. Then again, you must have a conscience to see that. He and his ilk have no conscience, no heart ... and no honor.


Judge bought drugs for stripper, feds say

618 Comments and 1,877 Facebook shares



A judge who breaks laws (& convicted) other than moving violations deserves a much harsher penalty if found guilty, because they not only broke the law … but damaged the justice system in an egregious way that Joe six pack cannot.



Since the federal judiciary is above the law, this judge, like others, will collect his full salary of around 170K, for at least a year or two until he is impeached by Congress.



How many drugs and weapons cases did he preside over and rule on, I wonder? How many cases will end up having appeals filed on the plausible grounds that he was a tainted judge?

Comment of the day


"Good people working to help each other are the solution to every problem there is."


13pearls was talking about the good Samaritans who helped rescue an 8-year-old girl from an alleged abductor in California, but it's also an inspiring statement that sums up our mission for the CNN.com comments section. We hope that when you are participating in the conversation at CNN.com, you will think about what you can add to our understanding of the day's stories.


Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments were edited for length and clarity.

October 5, 2010
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This Is not love!

October 5, 2010
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lol I love it: CNN readers "took a bit of a break from the usual bickering" to...bicker.  One nugget from the selection above: "Then again they might not be ignorant, but just plain stupid." So funny.  CNN is so obsessed with this ireport blogging twitterign tweetering texting podcasting crap that its impossible to "take a break from the bickering" because thats half the whole site now.  This techno-obsession of CNN is basically a substitute for in-depth intelligent analysis of trained journalists about...anything.  This is also part of what John Stewart is trying to point out.

October 5, 2010
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October 5, 2010
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I suprised someone hasn't shot Fred Phelps yet.  He is a miserable excuse for a human being.  There is a special place in hell for those who pervert the gospel.

October 5, 2010
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I post this in hopes that before someone posts a response saying that these people should not be allowed to do this they read what I have to say. Except for a few cases like shouting fire in a crowded theater, freedom of speech has to be absolute or our Constitution is worthless. If we decide what people can say or what they can protest that is censorship and democracy ends. I absolutely abhor these people- my son-in-law left for Afghanistan today and if anything were to happen to him and these people would show up at his funeral I would probably be even more insensed than most because I'm an atheist. I believe religion is mass delusion and the cause of most of the world's woes. Again, I still think they have a right to do this because as screwed up as this country is I still believe that the Constitution and The Bill of Rights are worth protecting.

October 5, 2010
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My thought here is the  small Kansas church is a cult. If a church interpret the bible in the wrong way, then obviously a cult like situation arise. The church in Kansas is a cult and nothing but a cult.

October 5, 2010
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October 5, 2010
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While you can't change their minds or their stupidity, you can regulate where they do it. I don't see how enacting ordinances to restrict a quiet zone around funerals interferes with free speech. Campaign signs are free speech, but they are prohibited within certain distances of a voting area, so why not do something similar with funerals?


Also, if God hates America so much, why do those freaks stay here? Leave, already, you hypocrite morons. I had thought Jesus told them not to hate anybody, but maybe I read a different version.

October 5, 2010
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Protesting at a family's funeral? Couldn't that be considered harassment? This is not a question of free speech, but more along the lines of basic human decency. These worthless pieces of garbage need to be shut up and shut out. God help them if they decided to protest at the funeral of one of my loved ones.

October 5, 2010
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As I've said many times in the past, if Westboro Baptist church wishes to freely express themselves at a military member's funeral service, the military present should be permitted to freely express THEMSELVES using Ma Deuce and a full box of ammunition, preferably incendiary rounds.

I'm just thankful that I was deployed when one of my buddies funeral was protested after he was blown up in Iraq, otherwise I would have been on color guard detail and I'd be in prison today for depopulating that protest.

October 5, 2010
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Let's face it. They continue to show up at funerals largely because they know that

news organizations will continue to cover it. This is not an indictment of the media.

There is obvious value in exposing certain heinous behavior. But too often we entertain ourselves by reading stories that piss us off. In cases like this, however, they win...


October 5, 2010
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Interesting how people get incensed when these idiots protest at soldier's funerals, but when they show up and protest at gay pride rallies, or production of the Laramie Project (a play based on the death of Matthew Shepard), with the same signs and message, hardly is anything is said.

October 5, 2010
Click to view RadarRider's profile

I find it interesting when people comment that this church group are not 'real' christians, or do not read the bible.  Actually, Shirley and Fred Phelps have an encyclopedic knowledge of the bible and adhere to it, well, religiously.  That's the thing - when you actually follow the bible word for word you wind up as messed up as these people are.

October 5, 2010
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Margot707 - must have read your comment wrong - you weren't comparing a grieving family by the grave of soldier who gave his life to people being harassed at a play are you?

October 5, 2010
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RadarRider - that is because it is a load

October 5, 2010
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The church is about to get a rude awakening.  According to the conservative court, the First Amendment applies to the person vs. the state.  Therefore they have no 'freedom' to insult at the funeral.


Second.  The soldier's funeral is the final act that the state can provide for it's 'ward'.  Therefore, they do have the right to protect the sanctity of the ceremony.  And while the church may protest, the state can restrict where they can protest.

October 5, 2010
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No religion allows for this kind of hatred, religion is about acceptance.  Jesus wouldn't have been able to spread the word of god through hatred, neither did Moses or Mohammed.  Actually, it is a sin to excommunicate individuals because of their behaviors.. so why all the hate?  Who cares if they are gay, you still owe them the respect as human beings and leave the judging up to god.  This is just like burn the quran incident... its a shame.

October 6, 2010
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I think those that believe the Phelps protesting at the funeral's of soldier's is more important than their preaching of hatred and intolerance of gay's is just as ignorant as the messag's the Phelp's make themselve's.

Yes losing a soldier is a tragedy.  But no life is better than another.

Hundred's of gay's kill themselve's every year because they feel wrong by society's standard's.

I should also note that the land of the home, the free & the brave include's fighting for the right's of gays! 


October 6, 2010
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There were TONS of horrible posts about that article where the guy saved the California girl.  CNN.com is quickly eroding my faith in humanity, and editing out some of the worst posts didn't help.

October 6, 2010
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I like turtles.

October 6, 2010
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The preacher is only a little right,but wrong on where he gets his publicity. God is punishing this country for many more reasons that just being tollerant to homosexuallity.False religions,greed, pornografy,taking God out of our schools, and the list goes on and on, thats why we DESERVE being punished

October 6, 2010
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I just think that all of this is so sad. Our kids are in this world and this is the kind of shit they have to hear about. SO SAD.

October 6, 2010
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Remember, Fred Phelps and his little "church" want you to get so angry that you do something they can sue you for. That's the goal. They want you to hit them. They need you to threaten them. It's essential to their groupthink, and it's the key to their business model. They make their living on lawsuits. It's easy, harass someone who is emotionally vulnerable, make them so angry they take action, and then sue them for that action. They bred their own lawyers to keep the whole process in the family, and it works for them. It's a money making machine, disguised as a church.


Eventually, Fred, or some other member of his family will reach the end of the protest road. I am not wishing harm on anyone, but it does happen to everyone eventually. When it's time for a Phelps family funeral, I hope the public shows them that what goes around, comes around.

October 6, 2010
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There are laws against cyber bullying, this should be considered bullying in the worst sense of the word.  Intimidating a family when they just lost a loved one, should be considered a criminal offense.

I was raised to beleive that GOD is a loving GOD who hates no one, that is why he allows free choice.  People can choose to do what they wish, and are free to be who they want to be under GODS plan.  It is up to GOD to take care of them on Judgement Day, and FRED PHELPS is not GOD, nor is he GODS messenger.  I would not want to be in that mans place on Judgement Day.  I am praying that the supreme court sees that these people are provoking, and should be criminally charged with attempting to incite a riot, mental cruelty, and anything else that they can apply to the churches actions.

October 6, 2010
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Phelps is an imposter posing as a Christian. God does not hate as any real Christian knows.  Phelps is entitled to say what he wants in terms of freedom of speech and ordinarly no matter how much I may disagree with what you say, I would defend your right to say it.  However, this is so hateful and hurtful I would gladly stand up and do whatever I could to keep anyone from hearing this horrible, miserable, little man and his group.  No, they are not Christians, they are being used as an instrument of the devil.

October 8, 2010
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The focus on Bullying is a welcomed chance for everyone to try and stop this harmful conduct. However, I haven't heard many realistic solutions from experts nor have I found that they've clearly identified the problem.  Ask experienced teachers.  We've tried values curriculums, mentoring programs, positive rewards and recognition with little success. My two cents:


Why Children Bully and How to Stop It    October 7, 2010


“A moral lesson is better expressed in short sayings than in long discourse.”

(This is my way of acknowledging that my training as a teacher of writing tells me that this is way too much information.)

                                           Johann Georg Zimmermann

“Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can break your heart.”

                                                  Robert Fulghum


Jane Jones 35 years of teaching experience 1972- 2007 – additional 8 years working in playground recreation programs – traveled throughout county to schools of various economic and ethnic backgrounds to teach art, music and dance  in Fairfax County, Virginia - Summers 1964-1972. In other words, my life’s work has been teaching kids.


Anderson and Ellen, this is rather a long letter and not the short, sound-bite type of piece that gets on-air. However, after watching your show(s) about bullying, I felt compelled to write. I hope that having taken the time to write this, that whoever reads this blogs will pass it on. You have not tapped the best source of solutions to this problem – experienced teacher.  I am passionate about this topic because, like many teachers, I have dealt with bullying and bullies. You can not lecture, preach, teach kids and/or set up a course to stop it!  I learned this the hard way. In fact, you may have the opposite effect of your desired goal by trying to teach students to be kind or empathetic.

By shinning a spotlight on the problem, you give the bully more power and attention.  No one can have eyes and ears on a child 24/7. You may create more pain because bullies will work relentlessly to find an opportunity to strike again. Now, they feel even more satisfaction when they score, because you have emphasized the pain of the victim. No courses please.

These are the more common reasons bullying occurs:

• Gives the bully power

• Gives the bully control over situations

• Gives the bully an audience and often encouragement from peers through

   laughter/entertainment value

• Gives the bully satisfaction – often bullies feel like failures, however, they can

   succeed as bullies

I am not going to site sources on this, but years of observation, experience, training and caring will have to serve as an expert reference and must serve as a basis for my observations and recommendations for solutions.

How can society stop bullying in our technological world?

Teachers, administrations, school districts, parents and children all have rolls to play. It’s all about creating simple, enforceable rules and enforcing them.  Three positive statements that can guide everyone in creating and enforcing rules that may be effective are:






Many districts have fundamental statements like these. These foundation statements have failed because the adults employed by the school system have been stripped of their ability to enforce supporting rules.  This has happened slowly over a period of several years. People involved with the school system have turned these types of statements into clubs to beat people up and media frenzies have helped. Often individuals obtain more influence than the school population as a whole, creating an imbalance of power or an endless power struggle pitting one group against another.

To illustrate this point to you and to others, I refer you to a short story titled: MUCH ADO ABOUT CENSORED by Connie Willis from Jane Yolan’s collection 2041: Twelve Short Stories About the Future by Top Science Fiction Writers. It’s about extreme politically correct behavior and censorship. The Drapery Defense League objects to Hamlet because Polonius is stabbed while he's hiding behind a curtain. The National Coalition Against Contractions protests because they feel that the use of contractions is directly responsible for the increase in crime rates. The CD containing the play, Merchant of Venice, is kept in the school safe and Portia, a student, must jump through all kinds of paper work and hurdles to get final permission to perform even a portion of the play. See my next post for the rest of the recommendations.


October 8, 2010
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     (Bullying cont.) Offending anyone is not an option and yet, incongruously, a young lady is allowed to protest outside the high school wearing a bikini. I used this story to let eight-grade students draw conclusions about the dangers of censorship and the potential scenarios that could play out should general society continue to respond to the calls of the few making lots of demands that on first glance, seem to require attention. It is only as time passes and more and more demands are met, that society realizes it has restricted what was worthwhile in the first place. Most of my colleagues thought I was engaging in risky behavior.  I called it teaching critical thinking.

A few people, who make a lot of trouble, have gained an unbelievable amount of ability to control what happens in public schools. Who should decide when something is interfering with any school rules and/or harming a child attending a particular school?  99.9% of time it must be the adult employed and trained by the school system. Too often bullies, people who wish to control the education everyone’s child receives and others find a technical loophole to get away with breaking sensible rules or changing well-developed curriculum.  Why do you think teachers don’t discipline or write students up for cursing or other verbal abuse? Why do you think teachers have demonstrated safer teaching strategies and slowed down in developing lessons that might be viewed as allowing divergent thinking?  Anderson, you seemed shocked by teachers seeming indifference to bad language.  

I hope you watch the reality show, Teach on A&E starring Tony Danza. I’m not sure, but in all his promos, it looks like he’s getting the full treatment. He will probably score a breakthrough, but for most new teachers, that is not the case. They are gone within the first two to four years and not necessarily to higher paying jobs. If teachers disciplined students solely for objectionable language, they would spend all of their time writing reports, on the phone explaining their actions in detail, or worse - in guidance or the administrator’s office meeting with angry parents. This is on top of teaching, training, meetings, grading papers, recording grades, testing, assessing, additional duties as assigned and more.

I was once called a five-dollar-crack whore. I had moved some tenth-grade girls’ seats because they talked while I was talking. I don’t tolerate talking while I teach because I’m a big ham. My response was that I thought I was at least worth ten.  Then, I deducted points from the young lady’s conduct grade which she was allowed to earn back.  I earned a great deal of respect from her clique and the class that day because I didn’t have a hissy fit, lecture or write her up for a discipline meeting with the administration.  We discussed the problem after class. I was not called a bitch (even mumbled) for the rest of the year by anyone in that class. I thought that was a big win.

Believe me – students know right from wrong. You have no idea of the time students subconsciously or consciously enjoy eating up with these disruptions and veteran teachers earn their reputations. Many of these teaching marvels flunk kids, call home, don’t smile in the first nine weeks and take a lot of heat.  However, even the toughest of them have come under fire. I used different tactics, but in the end even gentle humor, quick wit, anecdotes and positive reinforcement lose their luster. Some of my quick sound bites landed me in administrative hot water. Being a drone and single-minded task master is the safest way to earn a teaching pay check these days. 

Some children have been together for years and have learned to defeat most school districts’ lengthy Codes of Behavior.  Teachers, administrators, superintendents and school boards have been put through hours of grilling and lawsuits.  This has effectively hampered a lot of school personnel’s ability to handle even the simplest cases.   Phoebe Prince’s case is not unique in terms of bullying and if you delve into the details you find the high school’s administration admitted they had not enforced their Code of Behavior equitably.  If you give one student a pass when he or she breaks a rule, word gets out in the community and that’s when discipline, which is a shield for the bullied, fails.

There are horror stories of teachers, staff members and administrators who abuse their power when rules are strictly enforced - adults are not without faults. To solve any potential misapplication of purposeful adult authority, the adults involved have to come to consensus. Staffs must brainstorm, role play and decide what it means to be have a satisfactory learning environment, what it means to provide safety and support. They must agree when parents will be notified and the like. Everyone must reasonably follow what has been agreed upon. 

Then students must be trained to meet expectations. Taking a written test doesn’t cut it. See next post

October 8, 2010
Click to view JaneJones1's profile

(Bullying con't.)I mean students must be walked through the halls, brought to the cafeteria and more. A pep rally should be used to introduce all staff members to the student body and explain the rules using music and a slide show. I told my grad students to spend the first week lining up all students and to do this no matter what grade they taught. After lining them up, walk them back into class quietly and quickly. Next, have students sit at their desks and pull out homework, pencil and paper. Then ring a bell and give a grade for perfectly completing the drill as a class. Explain that the following week, individual conduct grades will fall for each failure, but can be fixed if the rest of the week is perfect.

I realized from raising my very intelligent daughter that telling her what to do was me presenting the information in only one format.  Even my little genius, who now has her C.P.A. would say, “Duh, I forgot.” It was a game, but adults have to be smarter these days and remove excuses. Only then will the three to five percent of troublesome students be stopped from hampering the education, physical and mental health of other children and staff. Adult judgment calls have to become the final word.

Caregivers and extended family must be invited to potlucks and trained and given tons of support. They must know that they can contact teachers, guidance, or any staff person that strikes their fancy.  Return calls are not optional, must be made within three days and documented. My Spanish speaking custodian helped me out lots of times.  At one school, the staff designed a general form to use and copies were sent to guidance, kept in a teacher-made file and sent to the appropriate administrator.

This will take tons of time and some principals claim they can’t get staffs to agree about discipline or much of anything (especially high school staffs).  We don’t have the luxury to ignore this problem any more, allow a few contrarians to dominate a staff, or claim it can’t be done. Once they are in place – the best plans can be adopted to cover the elementary, middle and high schools in a district and children and parents in these areas will find that expectations are uniform, fair and consistently applied.  I have seen a staff use a process that got 80 plus staff members (all staff) to agree on the top 5 discipline problems and how to tackle them in two meetings, but this is not the place to go into detail about how this miracle was accomplished.

Tragically, this system fell apart because administrators caved into parental pressure and pressure from district administration. Teachers had put into place a point system that, up-front, let students know that they would be dropped or denied the ability to try out for sports teams and clubs after a certain number of offenses and points had been reached.  In-school suspension was having an effect. Everything was working until exceptions started being made and teachers were pressured to withdraw discipline reports and even change conduct grades.

The least everyone connected with a school system can expect is a uniform application of discipline. Jocks, nice kids, the smart kids are not exempt . . . you break a rule, you pay the same price. No telling mom, dad, grandparents or others that the teacher is picking on you or that is not exactly what you did. Conduct grades should be on every report card and calculated by the teacher with a fair system that is consistent with school policy and communicated to students and caregivers. I am not plowing new ground with any of my opinions or facts.  This is what sane people have known for years and years.  I hear reasonable people say it all the time until it affects them or their child. Ellen, this will work as well as any curriculum. Denial and confusion is the heart of the problem.

We need a positive focus. Teachers are often mocked when they try and stop bullying or when they try and give examples of how it can affect a person’s whole life.  I found, to my dismay, it caused the student who was being picked on to be picked on even more.  That is why the failure of schools and parents to recognize that every child has a gift is so important.  Teachers spend most of their time telling students at all grade levels they must study to pass minimum competency tests and diagnosing students’ failures. 

I never taught a child that didn’t have a talent. I hope we can start to look for the gifts in children and adults alike, smile, let teachers have the time to focus on what’s right with children and be in the halls between class changes and place security cameras where adults can’t be positioned.  It is imperative.

Kids will be kids and it’s time for adults to take back their ability to enforce rules. Parents, monitor all electronics and if you find one slip up - turn off the computer, take away the cell phone and find some positive way to spend time with your child. (See next post)

October 25, 2010
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I was just wondering if cloned humans will be permissible by 2060?


The GoodLuck Mandate



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