Nov 23

The Breakfast Club (Give Thanks)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

UN war crimes panel to try Slobodan Milosevic for genocide in Bosnia; Ukraine’s Viktor Yushchenko declares win in disputed vote; ‘Life’ first hits newsstands; Singer Enrico Caruso makes American debut.

Breakfast Tunes

David Cassidy April 12, 1950 – November 21, 2017

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.

Jim Davis

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Nov 22

Turkey Loaf

Yoob a dinkadee a dinkadoo a dinkadee
A dinkadoo a dinkadee a dinkadoo
Morp!  Morp!  Morp!

Us Scandinavian Bachelor Chefs (h/t CompoundF) frequently find ourselves in the position of needing a last minute substitute for real food because planning ahead is not one of our strengths (if it were we probably wouldn’t be Bachelors anymore).

Here’s a recipe that is not too fussy and can be thrown together at the last minute and great expense as a cheap imitation of inferior quality.

You will need-

  • Ground Turkey
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Onion (chopped coarse)
  • Bread
  • Butter
  • Garlic Powder
  • Bell’s Poultry Seasoning
  • An Egg
  • Dry Packaged Instant Turkey Gravy

Optional (of course the more you add the better it will taste)-

  • Walnuts (chopped coarse)
  • Canned Mushrooms (stems and pieces, chopped coarse)

The goal is simple, to create a reasonable taste facsimile of a Turkey dinner with stuffing and gravy without days of defrosting and hours of cooking time.  It is somewhat pricey as ground Turkey often costs as much as ground beef or more.

The primary problems to overcome are cohesion and dryness.  I’m going to recommend what seems like a lot of fat but Turkey is quite a lean meat.  I’ll be working with approximately 2 pounds of Turkey as a base (that’s how much the local Super Market puts in a package), you adjust the other ingredients for taste and volume.

The most labor intensive part of preparation is chopping the onion(s).  Depending on how strong the flavor (in decreasing order- yellow, red, sweet) you’ll want to prepare about half the volume of your meat.  If you use yellow and are sensitive to onions (I am) you may want to saute them a little to take some of the harshness out.

The most time consuming part is the bread.  Toast it a bit (hey, if you have enough time to stale it you most likely don’t need this recipe), smear generously with butter and shake quite a bit of garlic powder on top.  Cube.  You need about 3/4 of the volume of your meat (6 slices or a little more).  Crusty European breads work much better than Balloon breads because the goal (as with meat balls) is to lighten the texture of your finished dish.

Mixing

I put the other ingredients in the bottom of the bowl with the meat on top but I don’t think it makes any difference.  The important thing is not to over mix because the loaf will get gummy and dense.

A cup or more of Dried Cranberries (I like them), Onion, Garlic Toast, 4 Tbls Butter (chopped), Ground Turkey, 1 – 3 Tbls Bell’s Poultry Seasoning (the primary flavor is Sage in case you can’t find it), an Egg or 2 to bind.

Mix gently, completely, and not too long with your fingers.  Now is the time to add your optional ingredients, if using Mushrooms include the liquid too.

Cooking

I like loaf pans, others mound on a sheet.  Grease for clean release.  It leaks a bit so you’ll want a lip to catch the drip.  In any event at least an hour at 325 – 350 until the internal temperature reaches the recommended level for poultry or brown on the top and gray through the thickest part.

Rest 5 – 10 minutes while you prepare the gravy, slice and serve.

Thanksgiving on a stick.

Nov 22

The Breakfast Club (Hear the Whistle)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated and Texas Gov. John Connally is seriously wounded during a motorcade in Dallas. Suspect Lee Harvey Oswald is arrested. Lyndon B. Johnson becomes America’s 36th president.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.

Charles de Gaulle

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Nov 21

Sorry for the clutter.

You may have noticed some changes in the appearance of DocuDharma. This is due to an unfortunate update in our WordPress Theme.

It’s unlikely that we’ll be able to correct this problem over the Thanksgiving Holiday and, frankly, because it will probably require intervention by our service provider (which always takes a long time) it may be impossible to fix before the new year.

We will not cease publication.

It may be we will move to an alternate format (hopefully temporarily) that solves some of the immediate difficulties though our goal is the same as it was before we had to make our transition in 2015, to move to the closest possible analog of the Soapblox experience everyone is used to.

Our other site, The Stars Hollow Gazette, is uneffected and basically re-publishes most of our stuff anyway.

Nov 21

I Can’t Drive 55

I’ve done some reprehensible things in the past and I continue unabated to this day. One of the cars I owned while I was living in Syracuse was ‘The Red Rocket’, a maroon Buick Century with a white vinyl top that boasted Positraction and a 454 4 Barrel V-8.

Yeah, it only got like 6 miles per gallon but that puppy could move. In a straight line. One time I was taking an exit off 691 and it was a little slick and I was a little fast and 720 degrees later, pointed the right direction without a scratch mind you but rocking back and forth on my shocks, I decided I ought to petition Richard for a new set of tires since mine were probably flat spotted.

Anyway I had my sister and her boyfriend in the back of the car and we were tooling down Erie Boulevard which for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure is 4 to 6 lane local divided by a single strip of Armco and punctuated by traffic lights.

The speed limit was 55 and the lights were timed for that but I decided it would be an interesting test, since there was no traffic, to see if it applied at 110.

Now all of my experiments are duplicatable, though some you may not want to. I can assure you it works and you can test yourself but I don’t recommend it. My sister, who was used to my whimsy, hardly reacted at all. Her companion grabbed my shoulder and said-

“Dude. Please don’t do that again.”

Fox News Host Jeanine Pirro Gets Ticket for Speeding at 119 M.P.H.
By SARAH MASLIN NIR, The New York Times
NOV. 20, 2017

Jeanine F. Pirro, the high-octane host of a Fox News Channel show, was given a summons on Sunday for driving 119 miles per hour in upstate New York, according to the State Police.

Ms. Pirro, a former Westchester County district attorney who now hosts the Fox News television show “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” said in a statement that she was unaware that she was going nearly double the speed limit of 65 miles an hour.

“I had been driving for hours to visit my ailing 89-year-old mom and didn’t realize how fast I was driving,” she said in the statement through a Fox News spokeswoman. “I believe in the rule of law and I will pay the consequences.”

Ms. Pirro was pulled over at 1:15 p.m. on Route 17 in the town of Nichols, N.Y., in the Southern Tier, about 25 miles east of Elmira, where she grew up and where her mother still lives, according to news reports.

Ms. Pirro, known as much for her conservative views as for the rapid-fire way in which she expresses them, has made reference to her tendency to drive quickly. She said in a 2015 interview with The Hill that her biggest pet peeve was people who “drive slow in the passing lane.”

Only 119? Oh, it is so on. Route 17 for Pinks. I’ll kick your ass.

Nov 21

An Anthology of Turkey Day Helpful Hints and Recipes

Republished from November 18, 2012 because it’s that time of year again.

PhotobucketOver the last couple of years I’ve shared some of the recipes that I served at the annual Turkey Feast. There have also been diaries about cooking the bird, whether or not to stuff it and suggestions about what to drink that will not conflict with such an eclectic meal of many flavors. It’s not easy to please everyone and, like in my family, there are those who insist on “traditions” like Pumpkin Pie made only from the recipe on the Libby’s Pumpkin Puree can slathered with Ready Whip Whipped Cream. For my son-in-law it isn’t Thanksgiving without the green bean casserole made with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Thank the cats we have a crowd that will eat just about anything on the table that looks pretty. Rather than reprise each recipe, I’ve compiled an anthology of past diaries to help you survive the trauma of Thanksgiving Day and enjoy not just the meal but family and friends.

  • What’s Cooking: Stuffing the Turkey Or Not
  • Health reasons why not to stuff that bird and a recipe with a clever decorative way to serve the dressing.

  • What’s Cooking: What to Drink with the Turkey
  • Suggestions on wine and beer pairings that go with everything including brussel sprouts.

  • What’s Cooking: Sweet Potato Mash
  • A great substitute for those sticky, over sweet, marshmallow topped tubers that goes well with pork or ham and breakfast.

  • What’s Cooking: Autumn Succotash, Not Your Usual Suspect
  • Hate those gritty, tasteless lima beans in succoatash? I do but this recipe using edamame change my mind

  • Pumpkins, Not Just For Carving
  • Includes a great recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake that will please even those diehard traditional pumpkin pie lovers.

  • What’s Cooking: Pumpkin Soup
  • Any squash can be substituted for pumpkin in this recipe. My daughter is using butternut served with a dollop of cumin flavored sour cream.

  • What’s Cooking: Don’t Throw That Turkey Carcass Out
  • Besides making turkey soup or hash with those leftovers and the carcass, there is also some great recipes like the mushroom risotto in this essay.

    May everyone have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving.  

    Nov 21

    The Breakfast Club (A Simple Song of Freedom)

    Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

     photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

    This Day in History

    Thomas Edison says he’s invented the phonograph; Gap revealed on Nixon White House tape; Final victim dies in America’s anthrax scare; Jonathan Pollard arrested; ‘Anything Goes’ opens on Broadway.

    Breakfast Tunes

    Della Reese July 6, 1931 – November 2, 2017

    Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

    Voltaire

    Continue reading

    Nov 20

    Cut Cut Cut- Part 2

    The inherent problem with this piece as a whole is that it assumes the tenants of Debt/Deficit Hawkdom which have been demonstrably proven to be false even if you don’t buy the whole nine yards of Modern Monetary Theory.

    “It’s a Ponzi Scheme”: Wall Street Fears Trump’s Deranged Tax Plan Could Kick Off Economic Euthanasia
    by William D. Cohan, Vanity Fair
    November 17, 2017

    It’s a Ponzi scheme,” a Wall Street executive told me, dismissing the idea that a multi-trillion dollar tax cut for multinational corporations would trickle down throughout the economy and also pay for itself. It’s a view that’s widely shared among the bankers, hedge-fund managers, traders, and quants whose job it is to determine, with Vulcan accuracy, how the Republican tax bill that passed the House yesterday will actually affect the markets. It’s also more than a little ironic, given that the plan was spearheaded by two former senior partners of Goldman Sachs turned Trump shills—Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin—a pedigree that has done little to reassure Wall Street veterans who worry that the White House may accidentally nuke the economy in the name of “tax reform.” “Will this be the first tax cut in American history that actually results in a recession?” the executive asked.

    It’s a great question. And the House plan provides plenty to be worried about in that regard. Take, for instance, the proposed elimination of the deductibility of state and local taxes. That is obviously a cynical, politically motivated ploy on Donald Trump’s part to penalize voters who didn’t vote for him (for good reason) in high-tax blue states, such as New York and California, and to give a benefit to the red-state voters who did vote for him. (I get it, elections have consequences.) Eliminating the deductibility of state and local taxes is an incredibly divisive plan. “It’s a transfer to red-state wealthy guys,” said the executive, who lives in a blue state.

    Worse, he says, it could lead to another housing crisis, just as the last one is (or should be) still fresh in our collective memories. Here’s his thinking (which is hard to refute): Since, generally speaking, one of the largest state taxes is on property—your home—eliminating the federal tax deduction for state property taxes will inevitably cause the cost of homeownership in states with high property taxes to go up. It follows, logically, that if the annual cost of home ownership goes up, then the value of the home—which is for most people their single most-valuable asset—must go down. The National Association of Realtors commissioned a recent study that predicted that the elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes could result in a decrease in home valuations of between 10 percent and 17 percent.

    That would wipe out a huge amount of homeowner equity, with the usual expected consequences: the sick feeling that comes from knowing that suddenly you are poorer, which can then lead to lower consumer spending, kicking off a recession. Furthermore, if the value of homes goes down, then whatever equity has been built up in those homes will also go down, and the ability to unlock that equity—through home-equity loans or reverse mortgages—will also decrease. Lower home values could also lead to problems—again—for the government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that have guaranteed some home mortgages, which are secured by homes worth materially less. New problems for the G.S.E.s will make it harder for people to get mortgages, leading to a lower level of home ownership than already exists.

    In the next little bit Cohan insists that increases in the National Debt/Deficit have already led to increases in interest rates and inflation when inflation has only hit luxury goods and the increases in interest rates are entirely due to Federal Reserve policy decisions. The rest of the World is ready to buy Treasury Notes at negative interest rates, the Fed insists we pay them for the privilege so that they have room to lower rates in accordance with now discredited Chicago School monetary theories. Inflation is for things like fake da Vincis and yachts.

    On the plus side he goes on to perform a beat down of Tickle Down Supply Side Voodoo Economics.

    What will happen, they (Republicans) say, is that the tax cuts will unleash our collective animal spirits and put G.D.P. growth on a much-higher trajectory, generating an additional $1 trillion in tax receipts over 10 years to partially offset the cost of the tax cuts. Federal tax receipts in 2016 were $3.27 trillion, or 17.5 percent of 2016 G.D.P. of $18.6 trillion. In order for tax receipts to generate another $1 trillion over 10 years, G.D.P. would have to grow on the order of another 2.5 percent per year, compounded for 10 years. In other words, the United States economy would have to grow at around 5 percent annually for the next 10 years, in line with emerging economic powerhouses China and India. Guess what sports fans? That’s not happening, especially in an economy that has already supposedly been benefiting from absurdly low interest rates for close to a decade, and that is already at or near structural full employment.

    Sure, there are some goodies in it for Wall Street’s clients, which might end up being good for them, too. Cutting the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent should generate higher corporate profits— not that generating corporate profits has been much of a problem lately— that should translate into even higher stock prices, which would benefit shareholders (including Wall Street bankers and traders) and that might result in more investment banking business, which tends to be correlated with growing C.E.O. confidence. Talk about trickle down! The reality is that few corporations have been paying taxes at a 35 percent rate, so lowering them to 20 percent may not change their bottom lines much. Furthermore, the expected corporate tax cut has already likely been baked into the stock market, which is trading at or near all-time highs. In fact, as details of the tax plan have come out in recent days, the stock market has pulled back a bit. My guess is that it has found its highs for the time being.

    Then there is the tax holiday that corporations will get if they choose to repatriate some or all of the $2 trillion or so held overseas. Having drunk the Trump Kool-Aid by now, Cohn tried out some of the Trump mind games on a group of C.E.O.s at a Wall Street Journal conference the other day. They didn’t fall for it. He asked them for a show of hands as to whether the tax plan would lead to higher corporate investment. A few hands went up but fewer than Cohn had expected. “Why aren’t the other hands up?” he asked. They’re not up, Gary, because it’s obvious to them, and many of the rest of us, that trickle-down economics is a myth.

    If Cohn were being more honest, he’d admit what most chief executives are saying privately, and some publicly. “The Trump team is arguing that massively cutting taxes for corporations will somehow translate into significant wage increases for working people,” David Mendels, the former C.E.O. of publicly traded software company Brightcove wrote last week. “This argument fundamentally disregards everything we know about how companies actually decide to hire and how much to pay their employees. As a C.E.O. (and in previous roles) I was involved in hiring and determining salaries for thousands of people over 25 years. From real-world experience I can tell you that tax rates literally never came up in any discussion about hiring or pay levels.” Occam’s razor, he added, is the best rubric to predict what will happen when you give investors more money in the absence of increased demand: they’ll keep it.

    Howard Schultz, the billionaire executive chairman of Starbucks, was more blunt: “This is not tax reform,” he said at the DealBook conference in New York last week. “This is a tax cut. It’s fool’s gold that he wants to take the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. For what purpose? Is that profit going to go back to the people who need it the most? Is that going to help half the country that doesn’t have $400 in their bank account for a crisis? No.”

    Executives know there’s no mechanism in the G.O.P. tax plan to reward them for passing those savings along to their employees, who Paul Ryan has estimated would get an average $4,000 raise (over a decade) as a result of corporate largesse. The labor market has tightened considerably—the unemployment rate is at a 15-year low—and the stock market is starting to level off. The word on the street, though, isn’t that higher corporate profits will lead to higher wages; rather, it’s all about buybacks: Goldman says stock buybacks will hit $590 billion in 2018, while Merrill Lynch predicts half of all repatriated cash would go to buybacks or acquisitions. It’s a sugar high that might extend the market rally temporarily, but will deepen the rot in our economic cavity.

    There is one bright spot in the Trump tax plan for Wall Streeters: the proposed elimination of the estate tax. While the estate tax snags only around 5,000 estates per year—which applies to estates with a fair market value greater than $11 million, for married couples—eliminating the estate tax completely will be of some benefit to bankers, traders, and executives, many of whom do have a net worth in excess of $11 million. “That’s great,” my Wall Street friend said, “but I’ll be dead by then.”

    Sooner than you think maybe, the piece in BoingBoing I got the link from puts it in starker terms (check the url)-

    Candid Wall Street barons worry that GOP tax plan will lead to literal euthanasia of the rentier
    by Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing
    Sat Nov 18, 2017

    In 1936, John Maynard Keynes suggested that a fair economic system would lead to “the euthanasia of the rentier, and, consequently, the euthanasia of the cumulative oppressive power of the capitalist to exploit the scarcity-value of capital” — implying that we have a choice between fairness and extreme wealth, and that the two couldn’t peacefully co-exist.

    Lurking in the back of the minds of the super-rich, and in the share-price of surveillance/control businesses like Palantir and G4S is the fear that one day, the world will come to realized that Peter Thiel was right when he declared that the “freedom” to be a ruthless exploiter plutocrat was not “compatible” with democracy, and decide to opt for the latter (Thiel, meanwhile, seems to plump for the former).

    Now, the Republican Party is pushing for a tax-plan that rewards literal idle wealth, windfalls to fund share buybacks and other nonproductive financial engineering, millions for the children of the richest 0.2% of Americans, while making it impossible for all but the wealthiest to go to grad school, cutting funds for rural people suffering from opiod addiction, cutting health-care for 9,000,000 poor American children; raising tax on the dwindling middle class, raising tax on home-ownership, cuts funding for health care for the poorest Americans across the board, cuts benefits for veterans, adds 1.5 trillion to the debt.

    Candid Republican lawmakers have admitted that they feel they must transfer trillions to the richest Americans or face the end of their political careers as their campaign contributions dry up.

    But as wave after wave of revelations come about the impunity with which the super-rich dodge taxes and cram the American worker, the euthanasia of the rentier is gaining traction.

    Now me, I’m anti death penalty, even for aristocrats. Better they should rot in Spandau for the rest of their long and thoroughly miserable lives and lose all their money, but here’s what Robspierre had to say-

    La terreur n’est autre chose que la justice prompte, sévère, inflexible; elle est donc une émanation de la vertu ; elle est moins un principe particulier, qu’une conséquence du principe général de la démocratie, appliqué aux plus pressants besoins de la patrie.

    Nov 20

    This Is Totally A Real Thing!

    Honest.

    KFC’s Totally Fried Internet Escape Pod Will Save You From Cyber Monday For Only $10K
    by Paul Lilly, Hot Hardware
    Sunday, November 19, 2017

    Do you hate how technology has come to rule the day? Are you looking for some peace and quiet during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday madness that is nearly upon us? Do you like…nay, LOVE fried chicken? Then boy, oh boy, does KFC have a product that is right up your alley. It is the Internet Escape Pod, essentially an adult-sized dome made of metal with Colonel Sanders perched on top. And it can be yours for just $10,000!

    The only thing more obscene than the asking price is what Colonel Sanders appears to be doing to it, but we won’t go there. And before anyone cries fowl at the price tag, understand that KFC originally intended to sell this for nearly ten times that amount.

    Surely KFC is pulling our chicken legs, right? Well, yes and no. The Internet Escape Pod is actually a real product (and not its first quirky one), available through the restaurant’s online merchandise shop, KFC Ltd., which opened this past summer. Other items are much more reasonably priced and include a variety of KFC-themed swag, things like t-shirts, enamel pins, a pillow imprinted with Colonel Sanders’ face, and a few other items.

    The new pod is undoubtedly an attempt at a viral marketing campaign, but it’s real, and it looks like KFC is only making one. Our guess is that somebody will actually buy it, for the novelty factor. Whoever that person is, they will be able to fit four adults and a bucket of delicious fried chicken inside.

    “We’ve come up with several technologically advanced, creative experiences for our customers and fans this year. But even we feel the burden of technology during the holiday season. So we decided to go in the opposite direction and create an anti-technology product, using technology, to help one lucky buyer literally escape the holiday chaos,” Felix added.

    As far as I can tell it’s just an umbrella tent with a stuffed Colonel Sanders humping the roof and the silver is what passes for a high tech color scheme and offers no barrier to cellular or wireless signals at all. You can get one on Amazon for $80.

    But if you need some personal space this holiday season it works both indoors and outdoors (probably want a heavy coat or sleeping bag or something for outdoors and the ground can get kind of chill so think about what you will sit on), humping Colonel and bucket of bird parts not included.

    Nov 20

    The Breakfast Club (Fifths)

    Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

     photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

    This Day In History

    Nazi war crimes trial begins at Nuremberg; Robert F. Kennedy born; Britain’s future Queen Elizabeth II marries; Spain’s dictator Francisco Franco dies; Mexican Revolution begins; ‘Cabaret’ hits Broadway.

     

    Breakfast Tunes

    Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

     

    One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time.

    Robert Kennedy

    Continue reading

    Nov 19

    Rant of the Week: Seth Meyers – Sexual Harassment in Congress

    NBC’s “Late Night” host Seth takes a closer look at a new sexual harassment allegation against Senator Al Franken and more women coming forward to accuse Roy Moore of sexually assaulting them as teenagers.

    Nov 19

    What’s Cooking: Pan Gravy and Carving the Bird

    One of the best parts of Thanksgiving dinner is the gravy made from the pan drippings. Here are Alton Brown’s directions for making a smooth, not greasy dressing. It’s actually pretty easy.

    Now the last task is carving the bird, for which you’ll thank yourself for investing in an electric knife. It really makes it easier and faster. Just follow Alton’s instructions and you’ll be the other star of the day.

    The recipe for the pan gravy is after the jump

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