Kernels - Monday, July 7, 2014

by Mark  

Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks!

News with a dash of commentary to spice up your fare for Monday, July 7th, 2014.

1. Not in My Backyard - Swamping news coverage across the Cornfield and across the nation is the issue of immigration. The nation seems to be seeing a plague of xenophobia sweeping across the land.

Southern border governors are fuming. The President is trying to use executive orders. Congress can't agree.

On one hand we have a humanitarian crisis with the influx of unaccompanied children crossing from Central America, through Mexico, landing in the US and turning themselves in to Border Guards.

Under the law signed by President George W. Bush, these children cannot just be turned around and kicked out. The children must either be placed with relatives in the US of A or detained until arrangements may be made to return the children to their home countries.

The children are actually a separate issue from immigration reform. The children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are coming legally under the 2008 law. The Administration is following the law determining which children to send to relatives and which to return to their home country.

Protests in places such as Murrieta, California are misplacing their anger at the children being shipped to detention centers rather than where the anger, the frustration should be directed - at the door of every Representative, every Senator and at the White House.

President Barack Obama is traveling to Texas this week, but at this time looks like he will not be accepting Governor Rick Perry's invitation to tour the border and see for himself the problem. Optically, this might not be in the President's best interest to not visit the border.

It's passed time for the adults to join the discussion, send the kids to their rooms, and find a workable solution.

2. Capitol City Violence - Three police officers will be laid to rest this week in the Hoosier State. Two were killed over the weekend. One was in Gary and the other in Indianapolis.

Speaking of Indianapolis, the Cornfield's capitol seems to be in a contest to become the violence and murder capitol of the nation.

The number of shootings and the number of officers being targeted has reached alarming levels that haven't been seen since the unrest in Gary a couple of decades ago.

At least, Indy was spared the tragedy of Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend when 14 people were killed and over 80 were injured.

To think the city and Illinois have some of the toughest gun laws in the country.

3. Caught in the Squeeze - An American teenager visiting relatives in the West Bank was caught in the escalating violence. The teenager, again an American citizen, was beaten by Israeli police.

Things are beyond getting out of hand.

Emotions are flaring and flames of war are becoming larger and larger. Hamas shelling Israel. Israel bombing the Gaza.

How long before Lebanon and Jordan are drawn into the no-win war?

4. We Should Have Known - The level and scope of spying on ordinary Americans by the National Security Agency, according to The Washington Post, is even worse than we thought. Reportedly 90% of the information being collected falls into what is known as "incidental collection".

That is 9 out of 10 of those whom the NSA was spying on were not targets, were not foreigners, were not doing anything other than using the internet or their cell phones.

You have to read it for yourself to see just how bad and how damaging to our constitutional liberty the NSA programs are.

Visit The Washington Post ( nsa-intercepted-data-those-not-targeted-far-outnumber-the- foreigners-who-are/2014/07/05/8139adf8-045a-11e4-8572- 4b1b969b6322_story.html) for all the details.

5. California Here I Stay Away - Can you believe the video of the California Highway Patrolman (CHIP) beating a woman over and over in the face in the middle of a highway?

What is up with California police officers beating people?

Remember Kelly Thomas?

Doesn't sound like a place I want to visit any time soon.

The officer has been place on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident. The California Highway Patrol says there is more to the story than what is seen in the video.

6. Call to Allegiance - Seems the want-to-be Caliph of the new Islamic Caliphate, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the seldom seen leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is believed to be the star of a video shot in Mosul delivering a sermon at a mosque. Baghdadi called for the faithful to rise up and to pledge allegiance to the new caliphate.

It is not known for sure if the man in the video actually is Baghdadi.

Intelligence analysts are studying the video to not only determine if who the man is who they think he is, but if there may have been coded messages to sleeper cells to wake up and begin warring activity in Baghdad.

7. It's Over - Well, that's what the Mississippi Election Commission ruled this evening proclaiming Senator Thad Cochran the winner of the Republican run-off against State Senator Chris McDaniel winning by nearly 8,000 votes.

But as expected, McDaniel says he will mount a legal challenge to the commission's finding.

8. Forget the Tax Pledge, Take the No Gun Pledge - A group headed by former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is attempting to pressure candidates to sign a pledge to support more gun-control legislation.

Candidates are being sent a questionnaire to determine who will or who will not get Bloomberg's blessing. The idea is to counter the political pull of the National Rifle Association on candidates.

That's what caught my attention for Monday, July 7th, 2014.

Tune in tomorrow for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.

I am Mark Ivy.

Good evening!

Kernels - Friday, July 4, 2014

by Mark  

Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks!

News with a dash of commentary to spice up your fare for Friday, July 4th, 2014.

1. Happy Birthday, America! - Today, the US of A celebrates its 238th birthday.

It was, like with any birth, one that was born out of travail, crying, shouts of glee, bloodshed and even death. Truly the continent was in heavy labor as the push and screams of thousands was heard around the world.

Read my tribute to American independence: Happy Birthday US of A!

2. Tragedy Turns More Tragic - The tragic death of a toddler left in a hot car while his father worked turned even more tragic during Thursday's 3-hour probable cause hearing in which the father, Justin Ross Harris, was bound over for trial on a charge of felony murder without bail.

During the hearing, an investigator said that Harris had six different personalities and alternate personnas. This has one wondering which personality is responsible for the death of this little boy.

Testimony also seemed to implicate the mother as being complicit in the horrendous act. It is not known at this time if she may also be facing charges.

3. Not So Limited After All - The ruling by the US Supreme Court earlier this week that Hobby Lobby did not have to provide for four of 20 contraceptives due to religious beliefs was supposed to be limited in nature. At least, that is what Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the opinion, stressed over and over.

That is seeming less and less the case.

Thursday, the Court sided with Wheaton College, a religious college in Illinois, that it did not have to sign a waiver that would allow the government or the insurer to provide contraceptive coverage for free without involvement of the college.

The Court's three female Justices dissented with vigor. The Justices noted that what they had feared would happen is happening as a result of Monday's ruling: A floodgate has been opened.

My thoughts on Monday's decision are found in: Splitting Hairs Gets Right Decision.

4. Arthur's in Town - Most of Thursday's news was dominated by Hurricane Arthur. The storm ran onto shore in North Carolina as a Category 2 hurricane, but has now waned to a Category 1 as it has turned back to sea.

No lives were lost and damage was minimal. But how Arthur will be as it tracks north remains to be seen.

5. Showdown - It's another showdown between Immigration Service and Border Patrol officers and citizens of Murrieta, California today.

A group opposed to transporting and detaining illegal immigrants from Texas to a detention center in the community successfully blocked that move on Wednesday.

Another expected transfer today will be met once again by those who want the government to ship the migrants back to their host countries immediately and not provide detention in their community while hearings are held on each illegal alien.

6. Cauldron Bubble - The seething cauldron continues to bubble and boil in Israel and the West Bank. Tension has erupted into rock throwing and rubber bullets between Palestinian protestors and Israeli police.

Hamas in the Gaza Strip continues to lob bombs into Israel. Israel in turn continues to respond with bombing strikes.

Will it lead to another all-out war between Hamas and Israel which may pull Lebanon and Jordan into the fray?

7. Not Giving Up the Fight - Chris McDaniel, the Tea Party candidate who went nose-to-nose with Senator Thad Cochran in the Republican Primary in Mississippi over a week ago refuses to take his bat and go home.

McDaniel is determined to find "thousands" of irregularities in the election in which Cochran appealed to black voters, mostly Democrats, to help him win.

McDaniel on CNN this morning said he didn't care if the law was followed or not, he would not back down.

The loser needs to concede. If he hopes to ever be politically viable, the longer he keeps throwing a temper tantrum, the less it is about public service and the more it is about him personally.

McDaniel also refused to say if the courts and election officials uphold Cochran's win whether he will support Cochran in the November election.

Along with his supporters, McDaniel is highlighting Mississippi, the state my Grandparents, my Dad and my Aunt were born, the home of Elvis Presley, as a state mired in racial politics of long ago which need buried.

Chris McDaniel - shut up, sit down and go away.

You're given Mississippians a bad name.

That's what caught my attention for Friday, July 4th, 2014.

Tune in Monday for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.

Wishing everyone a very enjoyable and Happy 4th of July weekend.

I am Mark Ivy.

Good evening!

Kernels - Wednesday, July 2, 2014

by Mark  

Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks!

News with a dash of commentary to spice up your fare for Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014.

1. Flight Risk - As I reported Tuesday, security alarms are going off surrounding intelligence coming out of the volatile Mideast that undetectable bombs are in the making. Reportedly additional security screening and warnings will be implemented shortly on international flights.

The US is worried that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula bomb master, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, is experimenting with new chemicals, new methods of delivery and training others to carry on his explosive legacy.

Flying high now may not be such a grand idea.

2. Kerosene on Fire - Kerosene has been thrown on the fire that is the tension between Israel and Palestinians, especially the terrorist group Hamas, over the past 24 hours. A Palestinian teenager was kidnapped from Jerusalem and left dead in a field in an apparent revenge killing for the three Israeli teens kidnapped and found murdered in a field yesterday.

The chance of Israel and Palestinians returning to the peace table seems even more remote as Israelis are calling for vengence.

3. Hobby Lobby Impact - Another 50 cases in a similar vein as the Hobby Lobby case were also sided on the side of opponents to the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act. Tuesday the Supreme Court confirmed its ruling on the religious freedom objection did apply to the other cases pending.

The Supremes further noted its ruling on closely-held corporations was not restricted to only the four contraceptive methods at the focus of the case, but to all contraceptives. Without comment or action, the Court let stand the lower court rulings in favor of those businesses involved in suits objecting to all methods contained in the ACA.

Tuesday's orders apply to companies owned by Catholics who oppose all contraception. Cases involving Colorado-based Hercules Industries Inc., Illinois-based Korte & Luitjohan Contractors Inc. and Indiana-based Grote Industries Inc. were awaiting action pending resolution of the Hobby Lobby case and included in Tuesday's ruling.

Lower courts who ruled in favor of President Barack Obama and his Administration's position on the ACA's contraceptive mandate were ordered to revisit the cases and rethink the decisions made.

My thoughts on the decision are found in: Splitting Hairs Gets Right Decision.

4. Worst President? - A new Quinnipiac University poll revealed today puts the label of worst president since World War II squarely on President Obama. Former President George W. Bush was a close second. Bush had the honor in a similar poll during the same time period in his administration.

The poll is a reflection of how people are feeling at the present time rather than a real indicator of how history will see a presidency, I believe.

How else could Richard Nixon have placed a distant third?

How else could Jimmy Carter have escaped the reality of being the worst president not just since World War II, but ever?

You can check out the full rundown from the poll at: (

5. Another New Kid in Town - Well, there won't be any new kids in town if residents of Murrietta have their way.

Last night they did.

Protestors prevented buses carrying migrant children who have been crossing the US border in Texas, most from Central America, from being relocated at a detention center in Murrietta. The buses had to turn around and go to another center at San Ysidro.

6. Speaking of the Prez - After House Speaker John Boehner announced his intention to bring suit against what the top Republican in the country sees as illegal moves by the President and failure to "faithfully execute" the laws of the land, President Barack Obama said matter-of-factly Tuesday, "Middle-class families can?t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff. So sue me."

Sounds like the man who drew a red line that had to be reassessed may have evolved to having a backbone.

7. Abuse at the NSA? - Say it ain't so!

A new report states that there is potential for the National Security Agency to commit abuse. The report states that the NSA program for collecting phone and internet information to look for security threats has the potential of privacy rights violations.

Someone had to pay and commission a study and report to know this?

The study reports the NSA program may "push the program close to the line of constitutional reasonableness."


8. Thought Police (Minority Report) - One for freedom to think and use your imagination and a blow to those who want to prosecute people for their fantasies and thoughts.

Former New York police officer, Gilberto Valle, had been convicted for having some gruesome and what many would call abnormal fantasies. Those fantasies, given life online, included kidnapping and eating his victims.

While disgusting in nature, a federal judge ruled that Valle was guilty of "fantasy role-play", which is not a crime. The judge said a person can't be convicted of what he fantasizes about, but what he does.

Valle's attorney, Julia Gatto said, "We don't put people in jail for their thoughts. We are not the thought police and the court system is not the deputy of the thought police."

9. Losing, But Winning - With all the hype still going around today for Tim Howard, you would never know he was on the losing team in yesterday's World Cup match-up between the US of A and Belgium. Howard has become the new icon of social media.

Howard played a super game yesterday, setting a world record of 16 blocked goals during the match which sent Team USA home.

10. Focus Change? - As many of you know, I am a contributor to CNN's iReport. I am also a member of a closed group on Facebook of other iReporters and former iReporters.

Lately many of us have noticed what seems to be a new trend on iReport. A trend toward more commercialized reports.

This brings me and others to speculate.

We have noticed what appears to be a trend recently in which the perspective has moved from objective, journalistic content to more promotion based iReports. On the surface these type of reports appear to be promoting a specific business or web site rather than providing journalistic content from ordinary people.

Has the focus changed?

Are individuals, groups, businesses now allowed to purchase "space" to promote their endeavors?

Will an answer be forthcoming or will we be left to wondering?

That's what caught my attention for Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014.

Tune in tomorrow for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.

I am Mark Ivy.

Good evening!!

Kernels - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

by Mark  

Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks!

News with a dash of commentary to spice up your fare for Tuesday, July 1st, 2014.

Today's Kernels ran late as I was catching the exciting US-Belgium soccer match. This is so unusual for a non-sports fan. I had no choice, but bring this headline and current event to tonight's edition in item #10.

1. Fiery Furnace Getting Hotter - The fiery furnace known as the Mideast is getting hotter and hotter.

Will it soon engulf the world in brimstone and smoke?

Israel is striking back at Hamas in the Gaza Strip after Hamas lobbed shells into the Jewish homeland. Under discussion in the Israeli Cabinet is how to respond to three Israeli teens killed by Hamas in the West Bank after being snatched on their way home from school.

Hamas is a major player not only in Gaza, but Lebanon, which borders Syria.

Will Israel strike Hamas in Lebanon igniting a wider firestorm?

As the Syrian civil war and advance of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) spills out over borders and affecting its neighbors, could another World War be on the horizon?

With ISIS declaring a Caliphate and thus the successor of the Prophet Mohammed, how will the Sunni world, which comprise the majority of Muslims worldwide, react?

Is this a call to arms not only against the Shia Muslims, but also against what Muslims perceive as the Zionist problem?

2. Apocalypse? - Those who follow biblical prophecy are seeing the signs leading to the final war, Armageddon, in the current pressure cooker situation.

With Russia, traditionally thought to be the biblical Gog and Magog, siding with those who will only be satisfied with the destruction of Israel, is this the beginning of the end, as some Christians believe?

3. Fallout - Monday's decision in favor of Hobby Lobby by the US Supreme Court continues to see fallout as liberals and Democrats see the ruling as a way to excite its base and fire up young women to get out the vote for the November Midterm Elections.

The spector of a "war on women" has resurfaced as a major talking point. Those on the left are decrying the men who make up the Republican Party as waging war against those of the "gentler" sex.

Citing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's 35-page dissent as Gospel, those opposed to the ruling are seeing boogey men behind every bush and under every rock. The Pandora's Box has been open and spells ill for women everywhere.

My thoughts on the decision are found in: Splitting Hairs Gets Right Decision.

Did the Supremes limit the impact in siding with Hobby Lobby or were the floodgates opened for the sky to fall?

4. Arthur for the Holiday - Arthur may make the Fourth of July anything, but festive for the Atlantic seaboard. No, I'm not talking about the cuddly, lovable Dudley Moore character, but the season's first named tropical storm which may become a hurricane before the weekend is over.

Arthur may hit its stride by the time it slams into the Outer Banks Thursday night just in time to put a damper on all those fireworks as it moves up the coast from Florida to Maine.

Time to start battening down the hatches.

5. Al Qaeda Not Running - Al Qaeda, at least not the one on the Arabian Peninsula, is not running. New worries that malls and airports may be subjected to a new breed of undetectable bombs is heightening security alerts.

A few months ago, the US had expressed hope either a drone attack or the Yemeni army had taken out the chief bomb maker for AQAP, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. Turns out he is alive and well and still building bombs. Reportedly he has now sworn allegiance to ISIS and the Islamic Caliphate.

6. Mission Creep - The vow of "no troops on the ground" seems to be put far back on the burner, as up to an additional 300 troops are sent to Iraq. There also 1,000 Marines waiting off the coast. Another 1,000 Marines are on their way to the Persian Gulf.

Military officials say the situation and need in Iraq for US involvement is under assessment. At this point it is unclear if additional American forces may be needed to protect the embassy and American citizens in Iraq.

Sounds similar to how we wormed our way into another no-win situation called Viet Nam.

7. Are There Potholes in Your Future? - States are receiving letters from the federal government warning that dollars for road construction after August 1 may not be there. That is if Congress doesn't find and appropriate money to replenish the federal trust fund and soon.

The trust is funded through federal gasoline taxes we each pay at the pump. The sluggish economy is being blamed for motorists traveling less and buying less fuel along with the higher cost of gasoline. This in turn has led to less gasoline tax being collected.

Congress can, as it has in the past, allocate more funds from the general account to prop up the leaking trust fund.

With summer upon us and the Midterm Elections five months away, will Congress act?

8. Fatal Explosion - An explosion in the Cornfield's northeastern city of Marion at a GM plant has resulted in the death of one and five injured. The chemical blast is still under investigation.

The plant was cited in 2009 for a serious safety violation which resulted in a fine.

Thoughts and prayers to our fellow Hoosier who passed on and to those who were injured.

9. Dominos Keep Falling - Add Kentucky to the list of states who have been on the losing end in banning equality to long-term, same-gender couples. Today a federal district judge ruled the Kentucky ban is unconstitutional and violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.

The order that Kentucky begin to allow same-gender couples to obtain legal recognition is on stay until the 6th District Court of Appeals rules on the state's appeal of Judge John G. Heyburn II's decision.

Heyburn had ruled months ago that the state must recognize same-gender couples who had obtained legal recognition in other states. That order is also on hold pending the outcome of the appeal.

10. Two Bones for Sports Hounds - American tennis great Serena Williams took ill at Wimbledon today. This forced her and sister, Venus, to cede the doubles match in which they were engaged. Reportedly a virus has felled the pro.

USA or Belgium?

That's the big question.

After Fabian Johnson walked off the field with a strained, left hamstring, people wondered if the USA could hold on?

The final score was 1-2 Belgium in extra time.

This was a must win for Team USA to make it to the big game. Now the team must pack their bags for home and wait another four years.

On a high note of skillfulness, Tim Howard played the game of his life. The US goalie seemed to be the whole team for the 90 minutes of regulation play. When regulation time ended, the ref added 30 more mintues which allowed Johnson to prove He's the Man!

That's what caught my attention for Tuesday, July 1st, 2014.

Tune in tomorrow for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.

I am Mark Ivy.

Good evening!

Kernels - Monday, June 30, 2014

by Mark  

Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks!

News with a dash of commentary to spice up your fare for Monday, June 30th, 2014.

1. Religious Liberty Upheld - In a 5-4 decision released this morning, the US Supreme Court ruled that closely held companies such as Hobby Lobby could not be forced to provide contraceptive coverage which would violate its owners' religious belief against abortion.

See and read my reaction which was vetted for use by CNN: Splitting Hairs Gets Right Decision.

2. Blow to Public Unions - In a separate 5-4 ruling released today, the Supreme Court ruled that home healthcare workers in Illinois were not government employees and could not be forced to pay dues to a public union representing government employees.

While narrow in its scope, the decision nonetheless was a blow to advocates of public unions. If you recall, limits placed on public unions by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was at the crux of a failed recall attempt a couple of years ago.

The order hampers union efforts to expand reach when membership is declining and lessening influence in the political arena. The ruling did not, however, overturn a 37-year-old decision allowing unions to collect fees from non-union employees at a union business.

3. Terror Strikes Israel - Three Israeli teens kidnapped a couple of weeks ago were found dead in a field today. The teens had been snatched by the terrorist Hamas in the West Bank on their way home from school.

As regional unrest amid fights between Sunnis and Shiites continues to expand, Israeli response and taking action of retribution against Hamas will only further ignite the real possibly more and more of the world may be drawn into a conflict which bears striking similarities to the Balkans in 1914 which led to World War I.

4. The Caliphate - Seeking to cement its goal, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria announced the creation of a caliphate comprised of territory controlled by the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq. The Islamic caliphate state was last seen a hundred years ago and ended with World War I.

It is clear that ISIS and its Sunni allies are not about to agree to a federation or unity government with the current Shiite majority in Baghdad.

5. No Troops on the Ground? - Seems like mission creep may be starting. An additional 300 troops are moving into Iraq. That will bring the total of US ground forces in Iraq to about 800.

What about those strange bedfellows?

Russia delivered figther jets to the Iraqi government today to fight against ISIS. This now has the US jostling for the bed clothes with Russia and Iran. While many Shiites and others think the US should butt out and blame the US for the current mess for butting into the internal affairs of Iraq to begin with.

6. New Chief at VA - Former Proctor & Gamble CEO and Army veteran, Bob McDonald, a West Point graduate, was tapped by President Barack Obama today to clean-up the mess of the Veterans Affairs medical system and to restore trust in America's commitment to veterans.

McDonald, with 30 years in the business field, hailing from the Cincinnati, Ohio area, will have his hands full if confirmed by the US Senate to be the new VA Secretary. A big priority will be clearing out the deadwood of bureaucracy which has caused the national disgrace.

7. Tragedy or Homicide? - Reports on court documents revealed over the weekend that the parents of a toddler, who was left in a closed, hot vehicle while his father was at work and died, had searched the internet on information on children dying in hot vehicles.

One CNN iReporter has little sympathy for the parents and cannot see how any parent could "accidentally" leave a child in a hot car. However, most of those who commented on his iReport seemed to give the father the benefit of the doubt and say accidents happen.

No matter where one stands on this tragedy, the brutal reality is a child is dead - accidentally or intentionally.

Time, an investigation and a trial will determine whether this was an accident, but still negligence on the part of the parent, or a premeditated murder. The father is currently charged with murder in the case.

8. Executive Action - The President today announced he is tired of waiting and giving House Speaker John Boehner time to bring a vote on immigration reform. The President is initiating executive action to deal with the crisis at the border with the deluge of children from Central America. He is asking for an additional $500 million from Congress. He is also ordering Homeland Security to refocus its resources from the heartland and to the border.

The full extent of what the President plans to do remains to be seen. He is also asking for studies and recommendations on turning off the spigot that is allowing the flow of illegal immigrants to the US border.

Immigration was a main reason for the defeat of former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the recent Virginia Republican primary.

9. Cornfield Equality - The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the 7th District late Friday afternoon granted an emergency stay at the request of Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller putting a hold on equality in the Cornfield until the appeals process runs its course.

You can learn more reading: Equality 'On Hold' in the Cornfield.

Check out my position on the issue: Equality - Where I Stand.

10. Gambling Motors - Well, maybe that should be consumers taking a gamble in light of the flood of issues and concerns with GM vehicles as another 8.4 million are recalled worldwide.

How can the company ever hope to gain back any of the US of A's once renown as a maker of excellence in automotives at this rate?

How long will consumers continue to gamble with their lives buying GM cars and trucks?

That's what caught my attention for Monday, June 30th, 2014.

Tune in tomorrow for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.

I am Mark Ivy.

Good evening!

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