Michael Bloomberg's gun control group greatly expands staff

It is my understanding that Bloomberg has already been deeply involved in the push for more gun control in a number of states.  His big gift to Johns Hopkins is also going to push for more gun control.  From Politico:
The Mike Bloomberg-founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns is expanding its staff in a number of states, bringing on field organizers and press secretaries to press members of Congress in advance of voting on gun control legislation, officials confirmed. 
Emails have circulated in the past two weeks searching for press operatives and other staffers to work on a three-to-six-month project for MAIG. The email says the teams will be deployed in states. 
MAIG officials declined to identify which states are involved, but the group released a poll of 21 states including Maine, Arizona and Louisiana showing voters overwhelmingly approve of background checks for all gun sales. The survey was conducted by Bloomberg’s longtime pollster, Doug Schoen. The group expects to be in at least some of those states, officials said. 
The goal of the new hires is to apply pressure on federal lawmakers in advance of voting on new gun-control legislation. 
“Ninety percent of Americans want background checks for every gun sale, we are helping to make sure their voices are heard,” said John Feinblatt, Bloomberg’s chief policy advisor who is also the point-person with MAIG. . . .

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UN takes up arms trade treaty on Monday

From The Hill newspaper:
The United Nations on Monday will once again take up an arms trade treaty that has drawn the NRA's ire amid assurances that the Obama administration is “steadfast in its commitment” to getting it done. 
The White House helped pull the plug on treaty talks ahead of last year's election amid heavy lobbying by the U.S. gun lobby. Now the world body is taking another shot at reaching consensus on a treaty, and this time the Obama administration says it's committed to getting it done. 
“The United States is steadfast in its commitment to achieve a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty that helps address the adverse effects of the international arms trade on global peace and stability,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement Friday. . . .
For those interested in a copy of the treaty, it is available here.

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Senate Democrats plan increases both taxes AND spending, deficits reduced only because taxes increase more

From The Hill newspaper:
The budget would dedicate $100 billion to economic stimulus in the form of infrastructure spending and job training.  Murray argues that her budget cuts $1.85 trillion from deficits over 10 years. But once the sequester cuts are turned off, Murray’s budget appears to reduce deficits by about $800 billion, using the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline. The Murray budget does not contain net spending cuts with the sequester turned off. . . .
Paul Ryan has this take:

Ryan took aim at President Obama and Senate Democrats, saying the tax increases in a proposal from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) only "fuel more spending."
"We know where this path leads—straight into a debt crisis, and along the way, fewer jobs, fewer opportunities, and less security," Ryan said, painting a desperate image of rising interest rates and inflating debt payments.
"Our finances will collapse," he warned. "You think this can't happen here? Just look at Europe." . . .

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Push for allowing concealed handguns in Florida schools?

It is disappointing that such a tough bill is having trouble getting passed.  At least it shows that some politicians are willing to discuss the issue.
. . . Rep. Greg Steube thinks so, and it’s why he spent months crafting legislation that could allow teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom. 
The bill (HB 1097) has yet to receive a committee hearing, but if passed, it would dramatically change the landscape of gun-free school zones. It would let principals choose one or more school district employees to carry a concealed weapon or firearm on campus — provided they took a training course. 
“In the bill, it requires them, before being designated, to go through the same exact training that is required of every armed security guard in the state of Florida,” said Steube, R-Sarasota. 
Principals also would have the option to require additional training. 
The bill was motivated by the dearth of school resource officers on campus, Steube said. It would remedy that, requiring every public school — elementary, middle, junior high or secondary — to either have a resource officer or employee designated to carry a concealed weapon. . . .

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NYC millionaire faces three years in jail for using unlicensed gun on a burglar inside his home

Why should people need to go through a costly and time consuming procedure to have a gun in their home?  In any case, this was a gun that was legally registered to the man's bodyguard.  So what exactly is the problem?  Can't you pick up a gun that is available when you need it if it is legally registered to another person?  This citizen even was the person who called the police!
A Manhattan millionaire faces three years in jail for drawing an unlicensed gun on a burglar inside his home . . .
Mr. Bardwil, 60, threatened the intruder . . .  The man fled and Mr. Bardwil called the police.
After showing the cops footage from his home surveillance cameras, they arrested him under suspicions of owning an illegal firearm.
The businessman’s lawyer, Michael Bachner, told the New York Post that the gun is legally registered to the defendant’s bodyguard.
“There’s no dispute that George was being burglarized,” Mr. Bachner said. “George had been the victim of multiple burglaries, and the DA’s office concedes that it was used in self defense.” . . .



Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) says that the current gun control laws are just the beginning

Pretty discouraging.
Mattera: So the assault weapons ban is just the beginning?
Schakowsky: Oh absolutely. I mean, I’m against handguns. We have, in Illinois, the Council Against Handgun... something [Violence]. Yeah, I’m a member of that. So, absolutely. . . .
Mattera: We’ll never get a handgun ban with the Second Amendment as stated.
Schakowsky: I don’t know. I don’t know that we can’t. And there may be an allowance, once again, for communities--I have communities in my district that prohibited handguns within their borders. The rights of municipalities and states to view that as a sensible way to keep people safe--I don’t think it’s precluded.

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Marine Corps Veteran saves a woman from being beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend

The person who stopped this crime makes a strong case for the benefits for concealed carry laws.  This dramatic case is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

A Marine Corps veteran was able to stop a man early Tuesday, March 12th from nearly kicking a woman to death. It happened near 102nd and Lincoln, and Wisconsin’s concealed carry law made his efforts possible.
Charlie Blackmore was driving home from work at 4:00 a.m. along Lincoln Avenue when he saw something on the sidewalk. Blackmore didn’t realize it was a woman on the ground being kicked in the head and stomach until he got closer.
That’s when he jumped out of his car and sprung into action.
“I said ‘stop’ and he starts coming towards me and that`s when I drew on him. He started getting closer and I said ‘get down on the ground,’” Blackmore said.
Blackmore held his gun on the suspect and called West Allis police. He says several times while waiting for police to arrive, the attacker moved toward him.
“I mean I’ve already made it up in mind that if he came at me I was going to have to take him down and I told him that. I warned him multiple times not to come towards me because he was a big guy and I wasn’t playing around and he didn’t seem like he was playing around,” Blackmore said.
Blackmore says police eventually showed up and had to force the suspect to the ground. They then asked to see Blackmore’s concealed carry permit. . . .

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So much for the notion that Obama cares about controlling the Federal deficit

From Fox News:
President Obama met Wednesday with House Republicans in an apparent bid to find consensus on fiscal policy, even as he seemed to antagonize the other side by claiming there's no "immediate crisis in terms of debt."  
His statement would be sharply at odds with a core Republican principle that the debt must be addressed soon -- and which underpinned the cost-cutting GOP budget released Tuesday. The president also acknowledged, in an interview aired earlier in the day, that differences with the GOP might be "too wide" to bridge. . . .
Wasn't this the same guy who attacked George Bush over much smaller deficits and blamed the poor economy on those much smaller deficits?

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Will Illinois appeal the 7th Circuit's decision on Concealed Handguns?

Personally, I hope that Illinois appeals the 7th Circuit decision.  A complete ban on carrying guns would be the easiest case for the Supreme Court to deal with, and the fear of that might be what is really motivating Madigan's decision to delay moving on an appeal.  It also seems to me quite unlikely that any legislation will finally be adopted by the legislature and approved by the governor on concealed carry so her discussion of waiting to see whether a law is going to be passed strikes me as not very serious.  That said, her probable race Quinn complicates trying to figure out her motivations.  From Fox News:

Gov. Pat Quinn said Wednesday that he wants the state's attorney general to appeal a federal court ruling that Illinois' last -in the-nation concealed carry ban is unconstitutional, a move that would take it before the U.S. Supreme Court. . . .
"The only hope now would be to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court," [Quinn] told reporters after an unrelated event. "The attorney general ought to take look at that and pursue that."
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who had said she hadn't decided whether to appeal, said Wednesday that she disagreed with Quinn. She said she wants to wait for lawmakers to come up with and act on a concealed-carry proposal first -- even though she thinks that Illinois' law -- which prohibits the concealed carry of weapons in public -- is constitutional.
"If the Legislature passes a bill, then appealing would not necessarily be something we need to do, because it would become moot," she said. . . .


"ObamaCare Tax Increases Are Double Original Estimate"

From the Economic Policy Journal
The Joint Committee on Taxation recently released a 96 page report on the tax provisions associated with Affordable Care Act. The report describes the 21 tax increases included in Obamacare, totaling $1.058 trillion – a steep increase from initial assessment, according to the Tax Prof Blog. The summer 2012 estimate is nearly twice the $569 billion estimate produced at the time of the passage of the law in March 2010.
Thanks to Tony Troglio for the link. 


Over 20,000 pages of regulations written up so far to implement Obamacare

828 pages of regulations were released in just one day.  But with a total of over 20,000 pages released so far, that is just the tip of the iceberg.


Oklahoma following South Dakota in allowing teachers to carry guns at school?

Last Friday, South Dakota's governor signed a law allowing people to carry concealed handguns on school property.  There could soon be six states that allow concealed carry on K-12 school campuses.  From Fox News:
Public school districts across Oklahoma could decide whether to allow armed teachers in classrooms under a bill approved late Tuesday in the Oklahoma House.The Special Reserve School Resource Officer Act passed by the House on a 68-23 vote despite concerns raised by opponents over the safety and liability allowing armed teachers. 
"Our children are grossly unprotected from an active violent threat," said Rep. Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa, who introduced the bill in part as a response to the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn. "We don't need to be willfully ignorant of the fact that this could happen." 
The bill would give districts the option of paying for teachers to receive a minimum of 120 hours of specialized training in order to carry a firearm into the school. The Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training would be directed to develop a specialized training course for volunteer teachers. 
Some members questioned whether 120 hours is adequate training for a teacher to be able to carry a gun around children. . . .

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Obamacare increases cost of owning pets

It turns out medical equipment is medial equipment.  Obamacare apparently has a lot of unintended consequences.

Pet owners listen up: You may want to start saving more money for veterinarian care this year. The reason goes all the way back to Washington and an unintended consequence from medical reform. 
Dog owner Lori Heiselman was surprised where her veterinarian posted a warning on Facebook. 
The notice read: “Because medical equipment and supplies will be going up in cost, that extra expense will have to passed on to the customers.” . . . .



Politico's take on Obama's charm offensive

Even reporters are concluding that there is no substance to the Obama charm offensive.  From Jim Vendehei and Mike Allen at Politico:
The truth is Obama has lost some leverage [after the sequester debate] — and needed a bunch of high-profile meetings with adversaries to swat away reports that he’s too stubborn and too political. But, in private, nothing has really changed. . . .  
Obama would have to persuade Republicans to vote for a tax increase for the second time in less than one year. Can you imagine Boehner and his troops heading into the 2014 midterm elections dominated by conservative activists having to explain, not one, but two increases? . . . .

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Media Matters doesn't even try to look at the arguments on the other side

Media Matters has a new piece written up about me entitled: "The Nine Worst Claims About Guns From John Lott's New Book."  It is really amazing how weak their criticisms of my book "At the Brink" are.  Since they have continually refused to let me respond to their posts in the comment section of their website, my responses are shown here:

1) Lott: "Facts And Figures" Prove "Establishing 'Gun-Free Zones' (At Schools, For Example) Actually Makes Mass Shootings More Likely."

Media Matters: Most Recent Mass Shootings Have Occurred Where Guns Are Allowed

Their evidence?  A report from Mayors Against Illegal Guns claims most mass shootings since January 2009 have occurred where guns could be lawfully carried.  The problem is that Media Matters doesn't even bother to respond to what I have already shown is wrong with the MAIG report, see here.

2) Lott: "In 1996, Obama Supported A Ban On Handguns."

Media Matters: Fact Checkers Have Dismissed Survey Answer As Evidence That Obama Wants To Ban Handguns

Again, Media Matters doesn't even try to address the evidence for this statement.
Obama has consistently supported gun control legislation that came up while he was in the Illinois state legislature and the U.S. Senate.
For example, when Obama ran for the Illinois state senate the political group, Independent Voters of Illinois (IVI), asked him if he supported a “ban [on] the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns” and he responded “yes.” Realizing how damaging this could prove in the general election, his presidential campaign “flatly denied” Obama ever held this view, blaming it instead on a staffer from his state senate race.
But then IVI provided Politico the questionnaire with Obama’s own handwritten notes revising another answer. Members of IVI’s board of directors, some of whom have worked on Obama’s past campaigns, told Politico that “I always believed those to be his views, what he really believes in, and he’s tailoring it now to make himself more palatable as a nationwide candidate.”
But the IVI questionnaire isn’t the only one out there.
3) Lott: Assault Weapons "Inflict The Same Damage" As "Small-Game Hunting Rifles." 

Media Matters: An Assault Weapon Typically Fires A More Powerful Round Than A Small-Game Hunting Rifle, Resulting In Devastating Tissue Damage

To put it simply, I made the claim that the .223 caliber is simply considered by many states to be too light to be used to hunt deer and other large animals.  Is that statement false?  Does Media Matters directly deal with that claim at all?  The reason for the government regulations that prevent using such caliber bullets is that it is more likely to wound than to kill these larger animals.  I will add the list of states here tomorrow.

As of December 2009, the states that banned deer hunting with .223 caliber bullets were:
Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  Many other states, such as Alaska, ban that caliber of bullet for hunting even larger animals such as caribou.
UPDATE: The issue might be even a little more complicated for other states.  Peter Blumberg wrote this to me: "Maryland requires a minimum of 1200 foot-pounds of energy for a rifle bullet to be legal for hunting deer.  The typical loads sold by Remington are a trifle below this."
4) Lott: Civilian Holders Of Permits To Carry A Concealed Gun Have "Prevented Mass Shootings On Many Occasions."

Media Matters: Shooting Rampages Are Not Typically Ended By Civilians Carrying Concealed Firearms

Media Matters relies on Mother Jones of all places to claim that I am incorrect here.  But there is an obvious error that Mother Jones made.

If they had read the first paragraph of my article, the reason that they couldn't find civilian defensive gun uses stopping the attacks should have been obvious: they only looked at cases where more than three people have been killed (or as Mother Jones says "at least four people") and I pointed out that all but one of those cases took place where permitted concealed handguns were banned. . . .

5) Lott: Law Enforcement Backs Legislative Effort To Force States To Recognize Concealed Carry Permits Issued In All Other States.

Media Matters: Law Enforcement Groups Oppose Proposal To Expand Concealed Carry

Media Matters relies on a survey from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, but they again ignore the long discussion that I have on the other side here.

6) Lott: "Germany, Despite Having Some Of The Strictest Gun-Control Laws Anywhere, Has Been The Scene Of Two Of The Three Worst School Shootings In The World." 

Media Matters: The Two Worst School Shootings In The World Occurred In The United States

I was discussing the worst K-12 school shootings before Newtown.  Media Matters raises the Virginia Tech College attack and the Newtown attack.  And that responds to my claim exactly how?

7) Lott: The "Vast Majority" Of Studies Have Found Concealed Carry Reduces Homicide.

Media Matters: Lott's Thesis That More Guns Lead To Less Crime Has Been Thoroughly And Repeatedly Debunked

Media Matters then cites a list of studies that only look at one side of the issue without mentioning the studies that find the benefits.  Hint: to show the percentage of studies that find a particular result you have to look at all the studies.  A list of all the studies is available here.  By the way, the one paper that claimed to find a cost from these laws did so because of data errors.

The last two points were dealing with operation "Fast and Furious."  Regarding Media Matter's weight on the Department Of Justice Office Of The Inspector General, I would simply refer people to the part of my book that deals with these points where I discussed the fact that the report simply took Obama officials at their word and did not investigate any contradictions in their statements (while I have much more in the book, you can see something here).

Original material from Media Matters (click on to make larger).  Given Media Matters' proclivity to alter statements and doctor photos, I have found it necessary to make photos of their pages after they have put them up.

Of course, Media Matters pattern is to engage in hit-and-run attacks.  They make claims, won't let me post responses in their comment section, and they won't respond to my responses (presumably for fear that their readers might actually see the responses).  At some later point they will repeat the claims again and ignore any responses that I have made.

Other attacks from Media Matters are responded to here.


Background check bill passed out of Senate Judiciary Committee has slim chance of passing full Senate

From Politico:
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a Democratic bill calling for background checks on all gun sales, which could potentially lead to the biggest change in U.S. gun laws in years. 
But the likelihood of the full Senate approving such a bill is slim because of objections from Republicans. 
The bill was approved on a 10-8 party-line vote and mandates background checks on all gun purchases and sales, including private transactions. State governments will also be able to tap into a national criminal background check system. . . . 
Without such Republican support, Democrats from conservative states are unlikely to sign on to the measure. Coburn objected to the idea that permanent records being kept of gun purchases. . . .

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Newest piece up at Fox News: Can poor people be trusted with guns?

This is based on some of the discussion in my new book "At the Brink."  My newest Fox News piece starts this way:
Can poor people be trusted with guns? Overwhelmingly, Republicans thinks so. But while Democrats fight against taxes on the poor and oppose voter photo IDs because they impose too much of burden, they seem to be doing everything possible – from fees, expensive training requirements, and photo IDs -- to make it next to impossible for the poor to own guns. 
Indeed, legislation in at least 17 states around the country is aimed specifically at making it more costly to own a gun. Democrats are voting in mass against exempting the poor from fees when it comes to guns. New Yorkers aren't alone facing everything from registration fees to buying liability insurance. 
That's too bad, because many law-abiding citizens, particularly minorities in crime-ridden neighborhoods really do need a gun for self-defense. There is little doubt that the people who are most likely to be victims of violent crime – again, overwhelmingly poor blacks in urban areas -- are also the ones who benefit the most from owning guns.  Research, including my own, has demonstrated this. . . .
Even after a few days, this piece was the most read piece in the op-ed section.

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What the future might look like: "California Seizes Guns as Owners Lose Right to Keep Arms"

This story is as sympathetic as possible to the government going into a person's home and taking their guns.  Nine officers going in to the home seems like more than a little bit of overkill.  As far as I can tell from the story, there is no discussion that indicates that this gun owner represented a threat to himself or others. From Bloomberg:
Wearing bulletproof vests and carrying 40-caliber Glock pistols, nine California Justice Department agents assembled outside a ranch-style house in a suburb east of Los Angeles. They were looking for a gun owner who’d recently spent two days in a mental hospital.  
 They knocked on the door and asked to come in. About 45 minutes later, they came away peacefully with three firearms.  
California is the only state that tracks and disarms people with legally registered guns who have lost the right to own them, according to Attorney General Kamala Harris. Almost 20,000 gun owners in the state are prohibited from possessing firearms, including convicted felons, those under a domestic violence restraining order or deemed mentally unstable. . . . .

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A University of Kentucky Professor on Zero Tolerance Policies at Schools

A professor of speech communication at Morehead State University in Kentucky has this discussion.  

Thanks to Mark Spurlin for this link.


French Socialist Government finally realizes that high taxes drives away business

From the UK Telegraph:
Company taxes will fall by €20bn a year equal to 1pc of GDP, to be phased in gradually by 2015 under a convoluted system of rebates. 
Premier Jean-Marc Ayrault said it amounted to a 6pc cut in unit labour costs, enough to close the gap with eurozone rivals. "France is not condemned to a spiral of decline, but we need a national jolt to regain control of our destiny," he said. 
The mid-rate of VAT for restaurants and services will jump from 7pc to 10pc. The top rate will rise slightly to 20pc. Spending cuts will plug the revenue gap in order to meet the EU’s 3pc deficit target. 
Critics call it the most humiliating U-turn in French politics since François Mitterrand abandoned his disastrous experiment of "Socialism in one country" under a D-Mark currency peg in 1983. . . . .

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Are Democrats in Colorado Threatening Sheriffs with Lower Salaries because of their support for gun ownership?

Here is something that received from Colorado State Representative Lori Saine:
Sheriff Maketa is filing charges with the AG, we will see where this leads. Apparently he is the only one to have received the email. If this is true, there will be no doubt we have a totally gangster government.   
Here is a quote from the video:
The Senate dem leadership is very upset with the sheriffs and their opposition to the gun control bills.  And there is another bill that has been put off and put off and that is the salary commission which makes recommendations to the legislature for the pay of sheriffs and other country elected officials.  And as you know Jeff, my pay is actually by the legislature.  Well, Governor Ritter under his tenure created a commission that would study these salaries and come forward with fact backed recommendations.  Now this salary bill has no effect on me, but the Dems have been dangling it out there and refusing to follow their own created commission's recommendations and they have put it off for two years and basically in that email it said sheriffs the Senate majority leadership are very upset with your testimony and opposition on the gun bills . . . they are stating . . . we should reconsider our positions to gain a more favorable light for salary support from the Dems. . . . 
Sheriffs haven't apparently gotten a raise since 2006.

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Why the General Social Survey is gun control advocates favorite survey

The New York Times cites the General Social Survey to claim that the gun ownership rate is low and falling.  

It is an impressive drop, and many have used it to claim that while gun sales have increased, the increase has taken the form of more guns being owned by a smaller and smaller number of people.  CNN states it this way:
A decreasing number of American gun owners own two-thirds of the nation's guns and as many as one-third of the guns on the planet -- even though they account for less than 1% of the world's population, according to a CNN analysis of gun ownership data. 
The data, collected by the Injury Prevention Journal, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the General Social Survey and population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, found that the number of U.S. households with guns has declined, but current gun owners are gathering more guns. . . .
Yet, the GSS survey shows a large drop that you don't see in other surveys.  According to Gallup, in October 2011, they wrote: "At 47%, reported gun ownership is the highest it has been in nearly two decades -- a finding that may be related to Americans' dampened support for gun-control laws."  Here is the Gallup survey data since 1991.

I have been concerned about the GSS survey for some time.  Here is something that I wrote in my 2003 book The Bias Against Guns.
A few years ago, while I was doing research at the University of Chicago, I had lunch with Tom Smith, who is the director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). This private organization conducts many important national surveys for the government as well as other clients. During lunch Tom mentioned how important he thought the General Social Survey was. He felt the large drop in gun ownership implied by his survey would “make it easier for politicians to do the right thing on guns” and pass more restrictive regulations.  His surveys have traditionally shown one of the lowest gun ownership rates among any of the surveys: for example, almost 20 percentage points lower than recent polling by John Zogby. . . .
Tom Smith is still the director of the GSS.  It is interesting to note that both the JAMA study this week as well as Tom Smith have received funding from the Joyce Foundation, which is well known for its gun control advocacy (or see here).  I am definitely not saying that the Joyce Foundation funding altered their views, but just that Joyce knows the individuals who are on their side of the debate.

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