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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: February 21, 2013

Time and Healthcare The Morning Flap: February 21, 2013

These are my news headlines for February 21st:

  • Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us | TIME.com – 1. Routine Care, Unforgettable Bills
    When Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his wife Stephanie knew she had to get him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Stephanie’s father had been treated there 10 years earlier, and she and her family credited the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson with extending his life by at least eight years.Because Stephanie and her husband had recently started their own small technology business, they were unable to buy comprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. “We don’t take that kind of discount insurance,” said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean.
  • GOP Has Trouble Settling on Candidates Who Can Win – One of the interesting things about recent elections is that Republicans have tended to do better the farther you go down the ballot.They’ve lost the presidency twice in a row, and in four of the last six contests. They’ve failed to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, something they accomplished in five election cycles between 1994 and 2006.But they have won control of the House of Representatives in the last two elections, and in eight of the last 10 cycles.And they’ve been doing better in elections to state legislatures than at any time since the 1920s.

    One reason for this is that, as I have written, Democratic voters are clustered in large metropolitan areas, which helps them in the Electoral College but hurts in legislatures with equal-population districts.

    But there’s another reason, which has been particularly glaring in races for the U.S. Senate: candidate quality.

  • The future of free-market healthcare – Over nearly a century, progressives have pressed for a national, single-payer healthcare system. When it comes to health reform, what have conservatives stood for?For far too long, conservatives have failed to coalesce around a long-term vision of what a free-market healthcare system should look like. Republican attention to healthcare, in turn, has only arisen sporadically, in response to Democratic initiatives.Obamacare is the logical byproduct of this conservative policy neglect. President Barack Obama’s re-election was a strategic victory for his signature healthcare law. Once the bulk of the program begins to be implemented in 2014 — especially its trillions of dollars in new health-insurance subsidies — it will become politically impossible to repeal. And as the baby boomers retire and Obamacare is fully operational, government health spending will reach unsustainable levels.The great irony of Obama’s triumph, however, is that it can pave the way for Republicans to adopt a comprehensive, market-oriented healthcare agenda.  The market-oriented prescription drug program in Medicare has controlled the growth of government health spending. Similarly, conservatives can use Obamacare’s important concession to the private sector — its establishment of subsidized insurance marketplaces — as a vehicle for broader entitlement reforms.
  • The Pro-Growth Sequester – The Obama administration is whipping up hysteria over the sequester budget cuts and their impact on the economy, the military, first providers, and so forth and so on. Armageddon. But if you climb into the Congressional Budget Office numbers for 2013, you see a much lighter and easier picture than all the worst-case scenarios being conjured up by the administration.For example, the $85 billion so-called spending cut is actually budget authority, not budget outlays. According to the CBO, budget outlays will come down by $44 billion, or one quarter of 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP is $15.8 trillion). What’s more, that $44 billion outlay reduction is only 1.25 percent of the $3.6 trillion government budget.
  • Ted Cruz knocks Obama on immigration – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says President Barack Obama wants to “scuttle” immigration reform by injecting a path to citizenship into the debate so Democrats can keep the issue alive for political gain.“The president has been focusing on amnesty — a path to citizenship that skips ahead of the line,” the freshman tea party senator said Wednesday at a speech in Dallas, according to The Dallas Morning News. “That, he knows, is a position not supported by a great many Americans and not a position that will achieve bipartisan cooperation. It’s designed to scuttle the bill.”
  • Foreign Buyers Hop on Rental Trend – US Masters, a real-estate investment trust that has raised $276 million, primarily from Australian retirees, is one of a handful of foreign firms that are betting on the U.S. housing recovery by buying houses at discount prices.The business of buying-and-renting houses, long dominated by local mom-and-pop investors, has morphed over the past two years into one of the hottest investments on Wall Street. Dozens of pension investors and private-equity firms, such as Blackstone Group LP BX -2.19% and Colony Capital LLC, are clamoring to buy homes in beaten-up markets, sometimes using money from foreign co-investors.
  • Majority of U.S. citizens say illegal immigrants should be deported – More than half of U.S. citizens believe that most or all of the country’s 11 million illegal immigrants should be deported, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday that highlights the difficulties facing lawmakers trying to reform the U.S. immigration system.The online survey shows resistance to easing immigration laws despite the biggest push for reform in Congress since 2007.
  • Missile Defense Tests Successful, but Future of Program in Doubt – The unanswered question is whether the Missile Defense Agency will be permitted to advance this space-based missile defense capability—whether through the STSS program or the PTSS program—to a deployed constellation at all. There should be little doubt that arms control advocates, both inside the Administration and out, are livid that this test took place at all, let alone that it was successful. This is because a space-based missile defense capability is incompatible with the Administration’s arms control agenda.
  • Gov. Scott agrees to expand Florida Medicaid program – Gov. Rick Scott announced plans Wednesday to expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 900,000 more people under the federal health overhaul, a surprise decision from the vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s plan.Scott said he will ask the Legislature to expand the program under a bill that would expire in three years, after which it would require renewed legislative support. He’s the seventh Republican governor so far to propose expanding the taxpayer-funded health insurance program.
  • Tea Party and Republican groups launch Hispanic outreach – Tea Party and Republican groups launch Hispanic outreach #tcot
  • How former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. Spent His Campaign Funds – Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D) pleaded guilty today “to a conspiracy to siphon about $750,000 in federal campaign funds for their personal use,” the Chicago Tribune reports.”About 3,100 personal purchases were made on campaign credit cards, totaling $582,772.58… Prosecutors said $60,000 was spent on restaurants, nightclubs and lounges; $31,700 on personal airfare; $16,000 on sports clubs and lounges; $17,000 on tobacco shops; $5,800 on alcohol; $14,500 on dry cleaning; $8,000 on grocery stores and $6,000 at drug stores.””In one of the more exotic purchases, Jackson used campaign funds in the spring of 2011 to pay a taxidermist in Montana $7,058 for two mounted elk heads to be shipped to his office in Washington. This was the beginning of an FBI sting, according to court documents.”
  • California Dept. of Transportation: ‘Be Sure to Black Out the ‘United States’ and [the] Motto’ | The Weekly Standard – California Dept. of Transportation: ‘Be Sure to Black Out the ‘United States’ and [the] Motto’
  • Pentagon informs Congress of plans to furlough 800K civilians – Pentagon informs Congress of plans to furlough 800K civilians #tcot
  • The sequester blame game – Much depends on the timing of any economic turndown. If it occurs this year, but is followed by improvement in 2014, the political consequences are not likely to be significant. If the economy is in trouble in mid-2014, then all bets are off. For this reason, among others, Republicans should reject out of hand the president’s efforts to postpone the sequester for a year. In any event, the sequester would make the Republicans a full partner with Obama when it comes to the state of the economy.In the end, though, Republicans are committed, as they should be, to cutting government spending. This is never a politically risk-free proposition. But it’s better to get a head start now, when blame might well be shared, than to save all the work for when (if) Republicans gain control of the government and will absorb all of the blame.JOHN adds: My own view is that Republicans should happily take credit for the spending cuts represented by the sequester. They aren’t anywhere near enough, but they are the most substantial spending cuts, I believe, in my lifetime. I think 75% of the population will be pleasantly surprised to learn that Congress is actually capable of cutting spending.
  • The GOP’s astonishingly bad message on sequester cuts – None of which addresses the Republican problem on the sequester. If the problem is one of substance — that is, if GOP leaders truly believe the cuts threaten national security but are nevertheless supporting them — then Republicans have put themselves into an untenable situation. If, as is more likely, the problem is one of message — that is, if Republicans believe the cuts are not only manageable without threatening national security but are also desirable as a first step toward controlling spending — then the Boehner article is sending all the wrong signals.
  • Video: John McCain Gets Testy With Arizona Voter Questioning Immigration Amnesty – Flap’s Blog – Video: John McCain Gets Testy With Arizona Voter Questioning Immigration Amnesty #tcot
  • Mistake in First California Carbon Auction Raises Questions About Secrecy | KQED News Fix – Mistake in First California Carbon Auction Raises Questions About Secrecy
  • Second cap and trade auction needs big bucks | news10.net – Second cap and trade California auction needs big bucks
  • We predicted there was no tax ‘windfall’ | CalWatchDog – We predicted there was no California tax ‘windfall’
  • The Morning Flap: February 20, 2013 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: February 20, 2013 #tcot
  • A Mighty Wind by Ben Boychuk – City Journal – A Mighty Wind – California Flatulence Jokes
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: February 21, 2013
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: November 16, 2012

Union Kills the Twinkie The Morning Flap: November 16, 2012

These are my links for November 14th through November 16th:

  • Twinkies Maker Hostess Going Out of Business- Hostess, the makers of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, is going out of business after striking workers failed to heed a Thursday deadline to return to work, the company said.“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” Hostess CEO Gregory F. Rayburn said in announcing that the firm had filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to shutter its business. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”
  • Details about the GOP’s alternate to the DREAM Act emerge- The Daily Caller has obtained details of an ACHIEVE Act proposal being floated by some Senate Republicans.It appears similar to the conservative alternative to the Dream Act that Sen. Marco Rubio worked on last summer (before President Obama issued his executive order, effectively tabling the issue until after the election).Essentially, the proposal involves several tiers: W-1 visa status would allow an immigrant to attend college or serve in the military (they have six years to get a degree). After doing so, they would be eligible to apply for a four-year nonimmigrant work visa (also can be used for graduate degrees.)Next, applicants would be eligible to apply for a permanent visa (no welfare benefits.) Finally, after a set number of years, citizenship “could follow…”
  • Martinez criticizes Romney comments, points way forward for GOP- New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the GOP’s most prominent Latina, chastised Mitt Romney’s rhetoric Thursday and called on the Republican Party to play ball on immigration reform.“We have to start electing people who look like their communities all the way from city council to county commissioners to county clerks all the way through the state and up into national politics,” she told POLITICO and Yahoo News at the conclusion of the Republican Governors Association meeting here.
  • Some Republican governors soften on taxes- Some Republican governors are softening on the party’s hard-line toward tax increases for the wealthy, suggesting that GOP congressmen at least be open to rate hikes in exchange for a comprehensive fiscal agreement on taxes and entitlements.“The people have spoken, I think we’re going to have to be [flexible] now,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, when asked if his party would now have to be open to taxes on the highest earners. “Elections do have consequences. The president campaigned on that.”
  • Top California pollster says 2012 election could be a turning point- DiCamillo said the overwhelming support for President Barack Obama among ethnic voters was solely responsible for his landslide, 21 percentage-point win in California. While non-Hispanic white voters backed Republican Mitt Romney by an 8 percent margin, he noted, Obama carried Latinos by 45 points, Asian-Americans by 53 points and African-Americans by more than 90 points.”It bodes very poorly for the long-term prospects of the California Republican Party,” he said.Both pollsters agreed with the assessment of numerous national analysts that, to become more competitive among Latino voters, Republicans in Congress must support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who have been working in the United States for a number of years.That policy change alone, however, will not be enough, DiCamillo said.

    “It’s not even the one thing that I would point to as having the most to do with partisan preference,” he said.

    DiCamillo said the issue that most separates ethnic voters from non-Hispanic whites in California is their perception of the role of government. His polling has found that while non-Hispanic whites are essentially divided over the question of whether government should do more to try to improve the lives of residents, ethnic voters by a 2-to-1 margin believe that it should.

  • Political Cartoons / Secede???? – Secede???? via @pinterest #tcot
  • Jobless Claims in U.S. Jumped Last Week After Sandy- Bloomberg – Jobless Claims in U.S. Jumped Last Week After Sandy #tcot
  • Jobless Claims in U.S. Jumped Last Week After Sandy- More Americans than forecast submitted claims for unemployment insurance last week as superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the job market.Applications for jobless benefits surged by 78,000 to 439,000 in the week ended Nov. 10, the most since April 2011, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Several states said the increase was due to the storm that hit the Northeastern part of the U.S. in late October, a Labor Department spokesman said as the data were released to the press.The extent of the damage means it may take weeks for the underlying trend in firings to again become clear. Before the storm, the labor market was gaining momentum even as year-end domestic fiscal policy uncertainties raised concern among businesses.“At least a few state labor offices were shut in the prior week so it’s almost as if you have two weeks of claims in one,” said Ryan Wang, an economist at HSBC Securities USA Inc. in New York. “You have a double whammy this week, where people were filing claims they were unable to previously and individuals unable to work for the storm were filing additional claims.”
  • Day By Day November 14 – 15, 2012 – Underwater and Illumination – Day By Day November 14 – 15, 2012 – Underwater and Illumination #tcot
  • The ObamaCare Battlefront Shifts To The States- Throughout the debate over ObamaCare – and back to HillaryCare and beyond – the fundamental question in health reform has always been this: Who will control our choices – government or individuals?Each side has won battles over the last 15 years in the tug of war between those who want a system that empowers the individual and one that cedes more and more authority to the state.Congress created the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to expand publicly-financed coverage to children.But it later created Health Savings Accounts to empower individuals in the free market.

    It expanded Medicare to create a new prescription drug benefit.

    But it also boosted participation by private plans in Medicare through the Medicare Advantage program.

  • Doc Shortage Could Crash ObamaCare Health Care- The United States will require at least 52,000 more family doctors in the year 2025 to keep up with the growing and increasingly older U.S. population, a new study found.The predictions also reflect the passage of the Affordable Care Act — a change that will expand health insurance coverage to an additional 38 million Americans.”The health care consumer that values the relationship with a personal physician, particularly in areas already struggling with access to primary care physicians should be aware of potential access challenges that they may face in the future if the production of primary care physicians does not increase,” said Dr. Andrew Bazemore, director of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Primary Care and co-author of the study published Monday in the Annals of Family Medicine.Stephen Petterson, senior health policy researcher at the Robert Graham Center, said the government should take steps — and quickly — to address the problem before it gets out of hand.

    “There needs to be more primary care incentive programs that give a bonus to physicians who treat Medicaid patients in effort to reduce the compensation gap between specialists and primary care physicians,” said Petterson, who co-authored the study with Bazemore.

    But such changes may be more easily said than done.

    The problem does not appear to be one of too few doctors in general; in fact, in 2011 a total of 17,364 new doctors emerged from the country’s medical schools, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Too few of these doctors, however, choose primary care as a career — an issue that may be worsening.

  • California Vehicle license fees would triple under measure planned by state Sen. Ted Lieu- Touted as a test of the new Democratic supermajority in Sacramento, South Bay state Sen. Ted Lieu plans to introduce a measure to triple vehicle license fees.The constitutional amendment would restore the 2 percent vehicle license fee slashed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after he won office partly on that pledge.The 1.35 percent transportation system user fee increase would generate an estimated $3.5 billion to $4 billion annually for roads and public transit in yet-to-be-decided proportions, Lieu said.Buoyed by the Democratic supermajority achieved just last week, Lieu, D-Redondo Beach, plans to introduce the legislation in either December or January. He envisions the Legislature will approve the amendment and place it before voters in November 2014.

    “It would be a test to see what the two-thirds (majority) Legislature means,” Lieu told the editorial board of the Los Angeles News Group. “The best way for us to lose the supermajority is to overreach.

    “I’m not saying it would be an easy sell,” he added of the proposal. “I’m aware of the fact I may be attacked for it.”

  • THE IMMIGRATION AMNESTY FANTASY- The networks had barely called the election for President Barack Obama before GOP elites rushed to embrace an amnesty for illegal immigrants.Getting killed by almost 3-to-1 among Latino voters understandably concentrates the mind, but it’s no reason to lose it. The post-election Republican reaction has been built on equal parts panic, wishful thinking and ethnic pandering.It’s one thing to argue that amnesty is the right policy on the merits. It’s another to depict it as the magic key to unlocking the Latino vote. John McCain nearly immolated himself within the Republican Party with his support for amnesty and did all of 4 percentage points better among Latino voters in 2008 than Mitt Romney did in 2012, according to exit polls.What is the common thread uniting McCain, the advocate of “comprehensive” immigration reform, and Romney the advocate of “self-deportation”? They are both Republicans supporting conservative economic policies. Surely, that had more to do with their showing among Latinos than anything they did or didn’t say about immigration.

    According to Census Bureau data, among native-born Hispanics, 50 percent of all households with children are headed by unmarried mothers. About 40 percent of all households receive benefits from a major welfare program. This doesn’t mean that the GOP shouldn’t try to appeal to voters in these households. It does mean that they aren’t natural Republican voters.

    Latinos tend to have liberal attitudes toward government. Take health care. An ImpreMedia/Latino Decisions poll of Latinos conducted on the eve of the election found that 61 percent of Latinos support leaving Obamacare in place. Sixty-six percent believe government should ensure access to health insurance. This might have something to do with the fact that 32 percent of nonelderly Latinos lack health insurance, about twice the national average.

    In California, Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute noted in the aftermath of the election, “Hispanics will prove to be even more decisive in the victory of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, which raised upper-income taxes and the sales tax, than in the Obama election.”

    These are facts that never intrude upon Wall Street Journal editorials scolding Republicans for supposedly turning their backs on new recruits. In the Journal’s telling, if it weren’t for Republican intransigence on immigration, Latino voters would be eagerly joining the fight for lower marginal tax rates and free-market entitlement reforms.

  • John Cornyn on Senate races: GOP bungled it- Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the incoming Republican whip who led his party’s Senate campaign efforts this year, candidly acknowledged the GOP bungled a prime opportunity to take control of the chamber through a combination of poor polling, poor candidates and a poor job of selling its message.While claiming Democrats “got lucky” in gaining two Senate seats, the Texas Republican admitted his party had an image deficiency with women, minorities and disaffected voters — one that needs to be immediately addressed before suffering the consequences in the next election cycle.
  • Gallup Poll: Economy, Entitlements, Iran Are Americans’ Top Priorities- Solid majorities of Americans in the Nov. 9-12 USA Today/Gallup poll also put heavy emphasis on significantly reducing the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels, making college education more affordable, making major cuts in federal spending, and simplifying the tax code by lowering rates and eliminating deductions and loopholes.Not only do at least seven in 10 Americans rate all of these goals as extremely or very important, but majorities of Republicans as well as Democrats agree on their importance. In other words, there is bipartisan consensus that these goals are important.On the reverse side of things, relatively few Americans, including fewer than four in 10 Republicans or Democrats, consider making major cuts to military and defense spending a high priority for Obama.
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-11-14 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-11-14
  • Romney Blames Loss on Obama’s ‘Gifts’ to Minorities and Young Voters- Saying that he and his team still felt “troubled” by his loss to President Obama, Mitt Romney on Wednesday attributed his defeat in part to what he called big policy “gifts” that the president had bestowed on loyal Democratic constituencies, including young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics.In a conference call with fund-raisers and donors to his campaign, Mr. Romney said Wednesday afternoon that the president had followed the “old playbook” of using targeted initiatives to woo specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.”“In each case, they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said, contrasting Mr. Obama’s strategy to his own of “talking about big issues for the whole country: military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs and so forth.”Mr. Romney’s comments in the 20-minute conference call came after his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, told WISC-TV in Madison on Monday that their loss was a result of Mr. Obama’s strength in “urban areas,” an analysis that did not account for Mr. Obama’s victories in more rural states like Iowa and New Hampshire or the decrease in the number of votes for the president relative to 2008 in critical urban counties in Ohio.
  • LA Governor Bobby Jindal rejects Mitt Romney’s ‘gifts’ theory- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal forcefully rejected Mitt Romney’s claim that he lost because of President Barack Obama’s “gifts” to minorities and young voters.Asked about the failed GOP nominee’s reported comments on a conference call with donors earlier Wednesday, the incoming chairman of the Republican Governors Association became visibly agitated.“No, I think that’s absolutely wrong,” he said at a press conference that opened the RGA’s post-election meeting here. “Two points on that: One, we have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent. We need to go after every single vote.“And, secondly, we need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American Dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children an opportunity to be able to get a great education. … So, I absolutely reject that notion, that description. I think that’s absolutely wrong.”

    He reiterated the points for emphasis.

    “I don’t think that represents where we are as a party and where we’re going as a party,” he said. “That has got to be one of the most fundamental takeaways from this election: If we’re going to continue to be a competitive party and win elections on the national stage and continue to fight for our conservative principles, we need two messages to get out loudly and clearly: One, we are fighting for 100 percent of the votes, and secondly, our policies benefit every American who wants to pursue the American dream. Period. No exceptions.”

  • Gregory Flap @ Crown & Anchor – Having a birthday lunch with my son and soccer/football (@ Crown & Anchor) [pic]:
  • Twitter / Dodgers: Our followers to retweet this … – RT @Dodgers: Our followers to retweet this tweet are eligible to win a @CochitoCruz autographed jersey tee! #DodgersTY
  • California Legislators Take Off for Hawaii and Australia – (500) … #tcot
  • Will the Senate GOP Filibuster the President’s Next Nominees? – Yes, they will if it is Rice and Kerry | Will the Senate GOP Filibuster the President’s Next Nominees? #tcot
  • Obama to open ‘fiscal cliff’ talks with call for $1.6T in new revenues – So 2009- President Obama is taking a tough opening stance in talks over deficit reduction, pushing Republicans to accept a plan that calls for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue over the next ten years, according to reports.The figure is double the $800 billion last discussed by the White House and House Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) during their 2011 negotiations on raising the debt-ceiling limit.The president’s plan is based on his most recent budget proposal, which sought the $1.6 in new revenues by targeting the wealthy and corporations.  The president and congressional lawmakers are set to meet at the White House on Friday as both sides begin hammering out a deficit-cutting plan that helps the nation move past the “fiscal cliff” of rising tax rates and automatic spending cuts set to take effect in January 2013.Both sides say they hope to avoid the fiscal cliff, but are at an impasse over taxes, with the president insisting that the wealthy pay more.

    House Republicans on Wednesday were incredulous at the president’s opening bid.

    “That is so 2009. It’s like he is still in charge of this place,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), referring to the last time Democrats had a majority in the House.

  • Look Who’s Refusing To Compromise To Avoid Going Off The Fiscal Cliff – The LEFT- Budget Talks: If President Obama wants to get a deficit deal done to avoid the fiscal cliff, his biggest challenge won’t be Republicans, but his own hard-core left-wing supporters.Two days after the election, Obama’s favorite economist, Paul Krugman, set the tone for the intransigent left in a column titled: “Let’s not make a deal.” Boiled down, his advice to Obama was this: Don’t give in to any Republican demands, even if doing so would “inflict damage on a still-shaky economy.” After all, Obama would be better positioned to “weather any blowback from economic troubles.”Krugman’s advice may be disturbingly cold and calculating, but he has plenty of company on the left.Robert Kuttner, co-founder of the liberal American Prospect magazine, suggests Obama should just sit it out, let all the Bush tax cuts expire, the automatic spending cuts kick in and expect public pressure to force Republicans to give in entirely.

    The left-wing Daily Kos called any kind of “grand bargain” between Obama and the GOP a “Great Betrayal.”

  • Maps of the 2012 US presidential election results – Maps of the 2012 US presidential election results
  • Don’t cry now | WashingtonExaminer.com – Don’t cry now – The GOP Will Have a Better Candidate in 2016 #tcot
  • Immigrants and the GOP – Debunking some talk radio myths- The GOP’s Presidential election defeat is opening up a debate in the party, with more than a few voices saying they are willing to rethink their views on immigration. This is good news, which means it’s also a good moment to address some of the frequent claims from the anti-immigration right that simply aren’t true, especially about Hispanics.One myth is that Latino voters simply aren’t worth pursuing because they’re automatic Democrats. Yet Ronald Reagan was so eager to welcome Latinos to the GOP that he described them as “Republicans who don’t know it yet.”Recall that between 1996 and 2004 the GOP doubled its percentage of the Hispanic vote to more that 40%, culminating in the re-election of George W. Bush, who won Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico and Nevada—states with fast-growing Hispanic populations that Mitt Romney lost. The notion that Hispanics are “natural” Democrats and not swing voters is belied by this history.
  • The Morning Flap: November 14, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: November 14, 2012 #tcot
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: November 16, 2012
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: March 28, 2012

Supreme Court The Morning Flap: March 28, 2012

Attorney Paul Clement (R) argues on behalf of respondents challenging the constitutionality of U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare law, while standing before members of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, March 27, 2012

These are my links for March 27th through March 28th:

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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: January 11, 2012

limbaughromney The Morning Flap: January 11, 2012

These are my links for January 5th through January 11th:

  • Rush Loves Mitt; Hates Newt – Master-talk-master continues finger on the scale for frontrunner on Wednesday’s show.

    Praises the Bay Stater: “Romney gave what may be his best speech ever last night.”

    And/but: El Rushbo bashes Romney — GM/Obama comparison from CBS “This Morning” Wednesday interview.

    Pans Gingrich: “Newt is so ticked off over the negative ad campaign…that right now, he is solely focused on taking Romney out, making sure Romney doesn’t win this thing.”

  • Gregory Flap Cole – Google+ – Iran: What me worry?

    From Michael Ramirez…… – Iran: What me worry?

    From Michael Ramirez……Michael Ramirez Cartoon

  • Savings from ’3 strikes’ reform may be smaller than claimed | California Watch – Savings from California ’3 strikes’ reform may be smaller than claimed
  • Flap’s California Morning Collection: January 11, 2012 » Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Morning Collection: January 11, 2012
  • Will Mindful Eating Help Curb Obesity? | Smiles For A Lifetime – Temporary (Locum Tenens) Dentistry – Will Mindful Eating Help Curb Obesity?
  • Journalists’ campaign trail secrets revealed – The Washington Post – Journalists’ campaign-trail secrets revealed
  • The Bain Capital Bonfire – About the best that can be said about the Republican attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital is that President Obama is going to do the same thing eventually, so GOP primary voters might as well know what’s coming. Yet that hardly absolves Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and others for their crude and damaging caricatures of modern business and capitalism.

    Bain’s business model is little more than “rich people figuring out clever legal ways to loot a company,” says Mr. Gingrich, whose previous insights into free enterprise include years of defending the taxpayer-fed business of corn ethanol.

    A super PAC supporting the former House Speaker plans to spend $3.4 million in TV ads in South Carolina portraying Mr. Romney as Gordon Gekko without the social conscience. The financing for these ads will come from a billionaire who made his money in the casino business, which Mr. Gingrich apparently considers morally superior to investing in companies in the hope of making a profit.

    Mr. Perry, who has no problem using taxpayer financing to back his political allies in Texas, chimes in that “I have no doubt that Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips, whether he was going to have enough of them to hand out. Because his company Bain Capital, with all the jobs that they killed, I’m sure he was worried he’d run out of pink slips.”

  • President 2012: Conservatives Scrambling to Block Romney | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012: Conservatives Scrambling to Block Romney
  • (500) http://flapsblog.com/2012/01/11/day-by-day-janaury-11-2012-reality-show/ – Day By Day Janaury 11, 2012 – Reality Show
  • Riehl World View: Romney Has Lied, Maligned And Danced Away For Years, It’s Time He Paid For It – GOP will pay | RT @DanRiehl Romney Has Lied, Maligned And Danced Away For Years, It’s Time He Paid For It
  • (404) http://t.co/DqN – RT @jpodhoretz: Romney may win the easiest nomination victory ever–even though he’s as weak a candidate as we’ve seen: …
  • In Florida, Obama Trails Mitt By 3, Leads Rick By 2 – By Jim Geraghty – The Campaign Spot – National Review Online – Closer than you would expect RT @jimgeraghty In Florida, Obama Trails Mitt By 3, Leads Rick By 2 #tcot
  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-01-11 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-01-11
  • Log In – The New York Times – Log In – The New York Times
  • Log In – The New York Times – Log In – The New York Times
  • Log In – The New York Times – As Romney Advances, Private Equity Becomes Part of the Debate
  • As Romney Advances, Private Equity Becomes Part of the Debate – A working paper released in September shows that private equity-owned companies shed slightly more jobs than similar companies, though the difference was quite small. In total, they shed about 1 percent more jobs.

    The study — by Steven J. Davis of the University of Chicago; John C. Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland; Josh Lerner of Harvard, and Ron S. Jarmin and Javier Miranda of the Census Bureau — looked at about 3,200 buyouts conducted between 1980 and 2005.

    It found that companies bought by private equity firms let go a larger proportion of workers than similar firms, shrinking their work forces about 6 percent more over a five-year window. But companies bought by private equity firms also tend to open more new branches, offices and factories and hire more new staff members, partly offsetting the job losses.

    Some economists also argue that private equity takeovers make good economic sense in the long term, even if they result in more layoffs in the short term, by making companies more efficient.

  • Gingrich’s Own Close Tie to Buyout Industry – Newt Gingrich has ramped up his attacks on Mitt Romney as a heartless leveraged buyout executive for his years at Bain Capital, asking reporters in Manchester on Monday, “Is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of other people and walk off with the money? Or is that, somehow, a little bit of a flawed system?”

    But Mr. Gingrich was himself on an advisory board for a major investment firm that had a similar business model, Forstmann Little, a pioneering private equity firm co-founded in 1978 by Theodore J. Forstmann that was, along with Mr. Romney’s Bain Capital and Henry R. Kravis’s Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, among the leading private equity firms during the 1980s and 1990s.

    Forstmann Little earned billions of dollars in profits from its investments in companies including General Instrument and Gulfstream Aerospace. But the firm shut down most of its operations a decade ago after suffering losses from ill-timed bets on high-flying telecommunications companies at the height of that industry’s bubble.

    Mr. Gingrich’s involvement with the firm could complicate his attacks on Mr. Romney.

    Still, to be fair, Mr. Forstman bristled at some of the more aggressive tactics of his rivals, and once described them as “barbarians at the gate.” That phrase was used as the title of a bestselling book that detailed Mr. Forstmann’s buyout battle with Mr. Kravis for RJR Nabisco, a contest K.K.R. eventually won.

  • President 2012: Mitt Romney Wins New Hampshire But…. | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012: Mitt Romney Wins New Hampshire But….
  • Film Attacking Romney Leaked Early – Film Attacking Romney Leaked Early – 0n to South Carolina #tcot
  • (500) http://flapsblog.com/?s=Romney+and+Kennedy&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter – Romney And Kennedy | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog:

    Annotations:

  • (500) http://flapsblog.com/2012/01/10/president-2012-when-mitt-romney-came-to-town-or-will-come-crashing-down/ – President 2012: When Mitt Romney Came to Town or Will Come Crashing Down?
  • The Wait Is Over: All Time Warner Cable Customers With HBO Can Now Use HBO GO/MAX GO « Time Warner Cable Untangled – RT @jeffTWC: The Wait Is Over: All Time Warner Cable Customers Can Now Use HBO GO/MAX GO – (Please RT)
  • CA-26: Rep Elton Gallegly to Retire – Tony Strickland, Steve Bennett and Linda Parks to Run | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – CA-26: Rep Elton Gallegly to Retire – Tony Strickland, Steve Bennett and Linda Parks to Run
  • Day By Day January 10, 2012 – Horse | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Day By Day January 10, 2012 – Horse
  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-01-10 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-01-10
  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-01-09 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-01-09
  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-01-08 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-01-08
  • foursquare :: Gregory Flap @ Harrah’s Laughlin – Eating dinner and then football or poker. What debate? (@ Harrah’s Laughlin w/ 2 others)
  • foursquare :: Gregory Flap @ Arizona State line – On the way to Nevada! (@ Arizona State line)
  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-01-07 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-01-07
  • MapMyRUN – Map New Run – MapMyRUN – Map New Run:

    Annotations:

  • foursquare :: Gregory Flap @ Santa fe, NM – Leaving Santa Fe in the morning. Laughlin and poker here I come. (@ Santa fe, NM)
  • Unemployment Rate Drop Is for Real – now 8.5% – The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 8.5% in December, while a broader measure dropped even further to 15.2% from 15.6% the prior month, both at their lowest levels since February 2009.

    While the unemployment rate has been falling in part due to people leaving the labor force, a large portion of this month’s number appears to come from people finding jobs.

    The unemployment rate is calculated based on people who are without jobs, who are available to work and who have actively sought work in the prior four weeks. The “actively looking for work” definition is fairly broad, including people who contacted an employer, employment agency, job center or friends; sent out resumes or filled out applications; or answered or placed ads, among other things. The rate is calculated by dividing that number by the total number of people in the labor force.

    In December, the household survey showed the number of people employed rose by 176,000, as the population increased by 143,000 over the month. So even though the labor force — the number of people working or looking for work — fell by 50,000, job growth is outpacing the increase in the population.

  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-01-06 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-01-06
  • Brown Seeks 7% California Spending Boost- Bloomberg – Brown Seeks 7% California Spending Boost
  • Brown Seeks 7% California Spending Boost – Governor Jerry Brown proposed $92.6 billion in spending for the year starting in July, an increase of about 7 percent, which will count on voters approving $7 billion of higher taxes in November.

    The spending plan foresees a deficit of $9.2 billion through the next 18 months. Almost half of that is in the current fiscal year, he said. He called for $4.2 billion in cuts, mostly to welfare and programs for the poor. If the tax increase isn’t passed, Brown’s plan would cut another $4.8 billion in support for public schools and community colleges.

    California is Standard & Poor’s lowest-rated state, at A-, six levels below AAA. Moody’s Investment Service grades it A1, four steps below the top rating, tied with Illinois (STOIL1) for the worst credit rating among states.

  • Small Business: Doctors going broke – Doctors in America are harboring an embarrassing secret: Many of them are going broke.

    This quiet reality, which is spreading nationwide, is claiming a wide range of casualties, including family physicians, cardiologists and oncologists.

    Industry watchers say the trend is worrisome. Half of all doctors in the nation operate a private practice. So if a cash crunch forces the death of an independent practice, it robs a community of a vital health care resource.

    “A lot of independent practices are starting to see serious financial issues,” said Marc Lion, CEO of Lion & Company CPAs, LLC, which advises independent doctor practices about their finances.

    Doctors list shrinking insurance reimbursements, changing regulations, rising business and drug costs among the factors preventing them from keeping their practices afloat. But some experts counter that doctors’ lack of business acumen is also to blame.

  • Employers close door on smokers – More job-seekers are facing an added requirement: no smoking — at work or anytime.

    As bans on smoking sweep the USA, an increasing number of employers — primarily hospitals — are also imposing bans on smokers. They won’t hire applicants whose urine tests positive for nicotine use, whether cigarettes, smokeless tobacco or even patches.

    Such tobacco-free hiring policies, designed to promote health and reduce insurance premiums, took effect this month at the Baylor Health Care System in Texas and will apply at the Hollywood Casino in Toledo, Ohio, when it opens this year.

  • New Pentagon strategy stresses Asia, cyber, drones – President Barack Obama unveiled a defense strategy on Thursday that would expand the U.S. military presence in Asia but shrink the overall size of the force as the Pentagon seeks to reduce spending by nearly half a trillion dollars after a decade of war.

    The strategy, if carried out, would significantly reshape the world’s largest military from the one that executed President George W. Bush’s “war on terrorism” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Cyberwarfare and unmanned drones would continue to grow in priority, as would countering attempts by China and Iran to block U.S. power projection capabilities in areas like the South China Sea and the Strait of Hormuz.

    But the size of the U.S. Army and Marines Corps would shrink. So too might the U.S. nuclear arsenal and the U.S. military footprint in Europe.

  • Obama: the US can no longer fight the world’s battles – The mighty American military machine that has for so long secured the country’s status as the world’s only superpower will have to be drastically reduced, Barack Obama warned yesterday as he set out a radical but more modest new set of priorities for the Pentagon over the next decade.

    After the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that defined the first decade of the 21st century, Mr Obama’s blueprint for the military’s future acknowledged that America will no longer have the resources to conduct two such major operations simultaneously.

    Instead, the US military will lose up to half a million troops and will focus on countering terrorism and meeting the new challenges of an emergent Asia dominated by China. America, the President said, was “turning the page on a decade of war” and now faced “a moment of transition”. The country’s armed forces would in future be leaner but, Mr Obama pointedly warned both friends and foes, sufficient to preserve US military superiority over any rival – “agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats”.

  • Mitt Romney’s the nominee: The Republican primary race is over. – Is there anyone not annoyed by Mitt Romney’s narrow win in the Iowa caucus? Conservatives are disappointed because they recognize that the former Massachusetts governor, who used to be pro-choice and was for Obamacare before it was called that, is only pretending to be one of them. Seventy-five percent of Iowa’s Republican voters wanted someone further to the right. But because their votes were divided among too many weak and weird candidates, the only moderate running in their state came out on top.

    Liberals are bummed because Romney is the strongest potential challenger to President Obama. This shows up clearly in head-to-head polls, which put Romney tied with or slightly ahead of Obama, while other Republican contenders trail by 10 points or more. It was hard for Obama campaign officials to suppress their glee last month when Newt Gingrich, the only even remotely plausible alternative to Romney, briefly ran at the head of the pack. But even they knew this was a momentary aberration. Short of Republicans committing collective suicide by picking someone else, Democrats would like to see Romney win the nomination after a protracted, costly struggle that would deplete his financial resources, sully his image, and drag him further to the right. Today, that scenario looks less likely.

  • Richard Cordray & the Use and Abuse of Executive Power – Some think me a zealous advocate of executive power, and often I am when it comes to national security issues. But I think President Obama has exceeded his powers by making a recess appointment for Richard Cordray (whom I respect and have no problems with as a nominee) to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Any private party can challenge this nomination by refusing to obey any regulation issued by the agency as the act of an unconstitutional officer. As a result, this may be the first time that Richard Epstein and I get to represent someone in court together!
  • Day By Day January 4, 2012 – Bupkis | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Day By Day January 4, 2012 – Bupkis
  • Obama Begins 2012 at 46% Job Approval – Obama Begins 2012 at 46% Job Approval
  • Obama Begins 2012 at 46% Job Approval – Obama Begins 2012 at 46% Job Approval
  • Obama Begins 2012 at 46% Job Approval – RT @gallupnews: Obama Begins 2012 at 46% Job Approval… #Obama #Gallup
  • foursquare :: Gregory Flap @ Alburquerque, NM – On to Santa Fe (@ Alburquerque, NM)
  • (500) http://flapsblog.com/2012/01/05/flap-twitter-updates-for-2012-01-05/ – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-01-05
  • foursquare :: Gregory Flap @ Grants – Albuquerque here we come (@ Grants)
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: January 11, 2012
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share save 120 16 The Afternoon Flap: November 25, 2011

These are my links for November 23rd through November 25th:

  • An Electronic Eye on Hospital Hand-Washing – Beeps and blinking lights are the constant chatter of a hospital intensive care unit, but at the I.C.U.’s in North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., the conversation has some unusual contributors. Two L.E.D. displays adorn the wall across from each nurses’ station. They show the hand hygiene rate achieved: last Friday in the surgical I.C.U., the weekly rate was 85 percent and the current shift had a rate of 91 percent. “Great Shift!!” the sign said. At the medical I.C.U. next door, the weekly rate was 81 percent, and the current shift 82 percent.

    That’s too low for a “Great Shift!!” message. But by most standards, both I.C.U.’s are doing well. Those L.E.D. displays are very demanding — health care workers must clean their hands within 10 seconds of entering and exiting a patient’s room, or it doesn’t count. Three years ago, using the same criteria, the medical I.C.U.’s hand hygiene rate was appalling — it averaged 6.5 percent. But a video monitoring system that provides instant feedback on success has raised rates of hand-washing or use of alcohol rubs to over 80 percent, and kept them there.

  • First 5 LA chief to get sizable severance despite having quit – The board of First 5 LA will give its former chief executive officer an expensive severance package even after she resigned earlier this month following a critical audit of the agency.

    Evelyn V. Martinez submitted a letter on Nov. 10, saying the commissioners had required her to resign instead of being fired without cause from the independent Los Angeles County agency, which uses state cigarette taxes to fund health, safety and educational programs for children from birth to age 5.

    In her letter, Martinez said she was entitled to a lump sum payment equal to 12 months of salary and health benefits and her unused vacation. Martinez, who earned more than $240,000 annually, also said she should receive an additional month of pay and health benefit costs because she was not given a 30-day written notice.

  • Push against California’s redistricting maps moves forward – Republican activists trying to overturn some new voting districts cleared a significant hurdle toward putting the issue on the ballot by turning in petitions bearing hundreds of thousands of signatures.

    But the next step — verification of those names by county elections officials — could take long enough to stymie the proponents’ goal of getting new state Senate districts drawn by the state Supreme Court in time for next year’s elections.

    Secretary of State Debra Bowen has said that vetting all the signatures could take until mid-March, after the Feb. 23 deadline for some candidates to file for the June primary. The timing could mean that the maps drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission would be used until voters could weigh in on the November ballot.

    The referendum would allow voters the final word on the Senate maps. Dave Gilliard, a consultant who oversaw the $2.5-million signature drive for a group called Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting (FAIR), said the activists believe the state’s high court could act in time for the June elections. He said FAIR’s attorneys believe current redistricting law gives the court the authority to create new maps once signed petitions for the referendum have been filed.

  • NYT Claims Increasing Bipartisan Support for Plans that Could Raise the Cost of Medicare Policies by $34 Trillion – The NYT claims that plans that could raise the cost of Medicare equivalent policies for seniors by $34 trillion are gaining increasing support in Congress. These plans involve replacing Medicare with a voucher. This leads to higher costs both because the administrative costs of private plans are far higher than Medicare and they are likely to be less effective in controlling costs.

    The Congressional Budget Official projected that a Republican plan along these lines, that was approved by House earlier in this year, would raise the cost of Medicare equivalent polices by $34 trillion over the program’s 75-year planning horizon. While this plan would save the government money by reducing its payments for Medicare, it would mean that future generations of workers would pay far more for health care in their retirement. The cost of Medicare equivalent policies would far exceed the typical retiree’s income by 2050.

  • Support Builds for Premium Support Plan for Medicare – Though it reached no agreement, the special Congressional committee on deficit reduction built a case for major structural changes in Medicare that would limit the government’s open-ended financial commitment to the program, lawmakers and health policy experts say.

    Members of both parties told the panel that Medicare should offer a fixed amount of money to each beneficiary to buy coverage from competing private plans, whose costs and benefits would be tightly regulated by the government.

    Republicans have long been enamored of that idea. In the last few weeks, two of the Republican candidates for president, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, have endorsed variations of it.

    The idea faces opposition from many Democrats, who say it would shift costs to beneficiaries and eliminate the guarantee of affordable health insurance for older Americans. But some Democrats say that — if carefully designed, with enough protections for beneficiaries — it might work.

    The idea is sometimes known as premium support, because Medicare would subsidize premiums charged by private insurers that care for beneficiaries under contract with the government.

    “This is an idea that could easily resurface in the future as Congress seeks additional Medicare savings for deficit reduction,” said Patricia H. Neuman, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-11-25 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-11-25 #tcot #catcot
  • foursquare :: Gregory Flap @ Chez Bev Webb – Alice’s mom’s home for Thanksgiving – watching football (@ Chez Bev Webb)
  • foursquare :: Gregory Flap’s Badges :: Superstar – I just unlocked the “Superstar” badge on @foursquare!
  • U.S. ranks 28th in life expectancy while we pay the MOST for health care | Mail Online – U.S. ranks 25th in life expectancy — lower than Chile and Greece…
  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-11-24 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-11-24 #tcot #catcot
  • News from The Associated Press – RT @AP: #Bachmann receives apology from NBC after off-color song was played during her appearance on ‘Late Night’:
  • NationalJournal.com
  • Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving: November 24, 2011 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving: November 24, 2011 #tcot #catcot
  • NationalJournal.com – Timeline of 2012 Presidential Primaries and Caucuses – Kenneth Chamberlain -
  • Medscape: Medscape Access – Medscape: Medscape Access
  • Timeline of 2012 Presidential Primaries and Caucuses – Kenneth Chamberlain – NationalJournal.com – RT @nationaljournal: TIMELINE: 2012 Presidential Primaries and Caucuses:
  • Medscape: Medscape Access – Coffee Linked to Lower Endometrial Cancer Risk
  • The Afternoon Flap: November 23, 2011 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – The Afternoon Flap: November 23, 2011 #tcot #catcot
share save 120 16 The Afternoon Flap: November 25, 2011
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