76 thoughts on “Paging Bobby Jindal

  1. That is an incredible photograph. I’m glad we finally destroyed the mothership. My only question is whether or not Sarah Palin was aboard…

  2. As Mr. Jindal can’t see the cloud where he is, I doubt he thinks it will affect him. I’m guessing his opinion is unchanged.
    I don’t hear him decrying the wasteful millions we spend on the Army Corps of Engineers. Oh, wait…

  3. Agreed on the thrust of the post, but maybe it’s a good idea to point out that this particular photo is from the 1990 eruption? Presumably, this is due to the cloudy weather up there right now and we’ll be getting spectacular photos shortly.

    To reiterate: volcano monitoring good. Bobby Jindal is an ass.

  4. Just to be clear, the photo you selected is from 1990. Last night’s eruption was in the dark. However, vulcanologists say Redoubt’s eruption event could last months. There’s time yet for another such dramatic rendering!

  5. “Let’s check the news. Ah, a volcano erupted! Sounds like a good opportunity to attack a Republican!”

    I realize that it’s your blog and you can write what you want, but really, we have Daily Kos and the Huffington Post and the New York Times for this kind of thing.

  6. Err, you do realize that the bottom photo is from April 1990, right? Not that I disagree with the central premise of the post, which is that Bobby Jindal is incredibly stupid for suggesting that volcano monitoring is worthless.

  7. I see that two people have beaten me to the punch re: the 1990 thing, and by the time my original comment is published, there’ll probably be four more.

  8. @5: Hmm… Bobby Jindal decried volcano monitoring as a waste of money. John Scalzi simply showed why volcano monitoring is not a waste of money. I really don’t understand what the problem is here.

  9. But volcanoes only erupt because the free market isn’t giving them the proper incentives to sell their geothermal power instead! Shouldn’t we let the free market work this out?

  10. Re: “The Picture is from 1990!”

    At the time it was posted the LA Times had not noted it was from 1990; also, it was pretty. But to remove all doubt, I’ve replaced it with a more current photo. Confusion not intentional; please de-foam.

    Also, of course, it doesn’t change the fact that an actively erupting volcano on US soil argues for the desirability of volcano monitoring.

  11. And, a quick additional note. There’s an oil refinery at the base of Mt. Redoubt. I’m rather certain they’ll have appreciated any and all warnings.

    *wishes it was possible to edit posts*

  12. I think Jindal criticizing volcano monitoring is one of the most hypocritical things he could have done as the current governor of Louisiana and a former U.S. Congressman from the same state. Under both job titles, Jindal fights and has fought for federal money to pay for costal restoration and hurricane protection projects for Louisiana. The cost of these projects reaches far into the millions, with some even into the billions. These high costs prompted many prior to Hurricane Katrina to call these projects governmental pork. This was despite all sorts of years of studies that all concluded that when – not if! – the hurricane “big one” hits New Orleans, it would cause major devastation greatly outweighing the cost of the projects. Volcano monitoring amounts to the same thing; it’s a project the federal government can invest in to protect the lives and infrastructure of people living near a potential natural disaster. But I guess if Jindal didn’t point at that being pork, the darling of the GOP might not be able to pick up a presidential party nomination in the coming years. Oh, and if I sound particularly bitter about this, it’s because I’m from Louisiana and really, really, really wish the guy I will admit I voted for in the last election would focus more on running the state he’s supposed to be governor of and less time on any potential future run for president.

  13. Oh, and if I sound particularly bitter about this, it’s because I’m from Louisiana and really, really, really wish the guy I will admit I voted for in the last election would focus more on running the state he’s supposed to be governor of and less time on any potential future run for president.

    As a resident of the state previously “governed” by Mitt Romney (R-HisOwnEgo), I hear ya.

  14. I really think Jindal is just a standard party-oriented politician. He’ll always stand against government involvment in, well, anything, decrying it as socialism. Until, or course, he stands to gain something from it, or his party tells him to push it, at which point it becomes a matter of national security and a lynchpin of American life and family values.
    So, yeah, Jindall is a toad. It’s not often his toadishness is so graphicly illustrated, though.

  15. Many people have pointed out that volcano monitoring is a Good Thing, and the good people of Alaska were well warned because we spend money on monitoring them, and because we have been monitoring them, this one in particular, for many years. We did so with a good amount of money in the budget ALREADY for doing so. The additional money being funneled at such monitoring isn’t going to prevent volcanoes from erupting any more than what we’re spending now does, and our monitoring seems to work pretty well already. Why throw more money at it, when its working? Is it a problem that needs to be solved right now? There are others with higher priority, I think.

    Perhaps that was Jindal’s point, not that he wants people who live near volcanoes to die in lava. Everyone loves to argue hyperbole when its against the party they dislike. Can we get some perspective, maybe? The USGS already gets $971 million.

  16. Buzz:

    “Perhaps that was Jindal’s point”

    If that was his point, which I do not accept as a given, perhaps he should have said that, rather than making a blanket dismissal of “something called ‘volcano monitoring'” and snarking that “instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.”

    Which is to say your point is not the point Jindal seemed to be making, based on his own words.

  17. I believe that one day, a politician being a dunce will be a newsworthy event. One day, our elected body of representatives will have enough brains that, were they fissile material, could actual blow their own noses at the very least.

    Today is not that day.

    Tomorrow ain’t looking too great, either.

  18. Buzz (#17), what’s the basis of the arguement that the USGS gets too much?

    Are you familiar with any of the programs currently funded by the USGS? Do you understand any of the science behind the monitoring?

    Just curious, and waiting for some additional perspective.

  19. Scalzi

    “something called ‘volcano monitoring’” and snarking that “instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.”

    I say we need to do both or the former will become a metaphor for the latter.

    Oh…wait…

  20. I don’t think it’s possible to get much further away from Bobby Jindal’s house than Alaska and still be in the same p/a/r/t/y/ country, is it? The Google says it’s not possible for him to drive to Port Alsworth…

  21. I may be wrong but isn’t Bobby Jindal just a puppet for the GOP? sort of like BJ & The Bear, he’s got a monkey on his back pulling his strings.

  22. From a purely pattern-matching standpoint, it has been nearly thirty years since the last volcanic eruption that was much of a surprise; all the experts were calling Mt. Baker or, less likely, Mt. Rainier before Mt. St. Helens popped off in ’80. Mt. Redoubt has been erupting every couple decades since 1902. So a call for people to just stay away from the known offenders in the world could make sense on the surface.

    Of course, speaking as someone who has spent most of his life hiking and camping in the Cascades, and who would have, without volcano monitoring, had a much-greater-than-zero chance of having been standing in a now-vaporized location that particular May, I for one am perfectly happy to keep spending money on such wasteful projects.

    I wonder if I could have extended that last sentence any further?

  23. #27 georgmi: “I wonder if I could have extended that last sentence any further?”

    Possibly, but it might have sacrificed some of its effectiveness. (In other words: well said!)

    FWIW, the USGS does do more than monitor volcanoes. It also conducts searches for additional faults and other sources of geologic activity.

    I wonder if anyone who believes that learning about our immediate environment is wasteful really understands that that which you don’t know won’t hurt you; it will kill you.

  24. Jindal can kiss my ass. Both him and Palin.

    Life goes on as usual here in South Central Alaska. Schools and businesses are open – I’ve been running continuous updates on my site, mostly just to keep keep from being deluged with phone calls.

    Frankly I’m more worried about the suddenly de-hibernating bears wandering around in my backyard than the damned volcano. Should we see ashfall, we’re prepared.

  25. The volcanoes are celebrating the end of this year’s Iditarod! (Well, pretty close anyway; the first guy crossed the line last week, and the last guy should make it by tomorrow morning.) http://www.iditarod.com/

  26. i wonder if palin will be rejecting the volcano part of the stimulus for her state now

  27. I am profoundly amused to inform you that the RSS feed for this page, on Livejournal, has a very pleasant Nigerian Spam reply.

    And that in my opinion, that Nigerian Spam has as much of value to say as Jindal does about volcano monitoring.

  28. My only disappointment was that this didn’t happen, oh, the day AFTER Jindal’s speech.

    Still, it manages to be timely enough. :D

  29. It’s amazing to live here in Anchorage while a LA governor prattles on like that thousands of miles away.

    Maybe in his mind, monitoring should be limited to some guy standing on the outskirts of town with his cell phone handy for the first sign of the ash cloud coming our way, so we can all go screaming into the streets in a panic to get our kids from school and our homes ready for the volcanic dust.

    Nice idea. :)

  30. Jindal made the statement in the context of an overall criticism of the massive borrow-and-spend package that the White House and the Democratically controlled Congress are foisting on the country. Could he have chosen his words about volcano monitoring more carefully? Perhaps.

    However, Jindal was trying to alert taxpayers to the fact that Washington is behaving irresponsibly.

    Consider a few salient facts:

    >The bipartisan CBO has noted that Obama’s budget will force the U.S. to borrow $9.3 trillion over the next decade.

    >A few weeks ago, Sec. of State Clinton literally had to beg the Chinese government to keep buying U.S. Treasury bonds. (Our government now needs Beijing to keep itself afloat.)

    >Last week, our government began *lending money to itself*–a step that preceded hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic.

    >Today Geithner announced plans to sink $500 billion in U.S. tax dollars into the subprime bailout.

    And most importantly of all……

    >President Bush left the country with a $400 billion deficit. Obama’s deficit will be $1.8 trillion after the first year of his presidency—largely because of this menu of gargantuan spending projects.

    ********

    In the context of this scale of economic mismanagement, we might forgive Gov. Jindal for speaking precipitously about the relative merits of geological monitoring. I would even take a volcano or two in Ohio in exchange for a fiscally responsible leader in the White House.

  31. Volcano Monitoring? Who needs it? I can see the smoke when it blows.

    Think of how much money in tourism dollars Pompeii brings in each and every year.

  32. Trimnell – valid points to be sure, but focusing on $140 million showed an ability to seize the problem by the capillary. The real federal budget-busters are things like the off-budget “emergency” war appropriations and prescription drug benefits for Medicare. Items brought to you by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed for by a Republican President.

  33. Chris Gerrib@44:

    George W. Bush made numerous mistakes. Whereas Democrats have traditionally been tax-and-spenders, the GOP under Bush adopted a policy of borrow-and-spend.

    The problem is that Obama is continuing many of the Bush policies—swelling the debt, bailing out mismanaged corporations, etc. (Let us not forget that the corporate bailouts began under Bush, not Obama. But Obama has become an even more enthusiastic proponent of corporate welfare.)

    In fact, Obama and Bush have much in common, despite GW’s professed evangelical beliefs, and Obama’s obvious dedication to quasi-socialist principles. Both believe in the power of Big Government. They may have different social agendas; but they are both fiscal liberals at heart.

    The scope of the Obama plan is much larger than anything proposed by Bush—and therefore potentially more catastrophic. During the Bush years, the amount of U.S. debt held by China increased eightfold. I have seen some estimates predicting that it could increase one hundredfold under Obama.

    This has real consequences for our long-term economic future. My concern is that because of the Obama personality cult, many taxpayers (such as our gracious host, I fear) are turning a blind to the disastrous nature of the Obama economic plan.

  34. Edward Trimnell:

    “Jindal was trying to alert taxpayers to the fact that Washington is behaving irresponsibly.”

    Yes, by highlighting a useful service the government handles as something trivial and irresponsible. Which means he said something stupid, serving neither him nor the public, or for that matter, his overall point. And since he was theoretically speaking for all Republicans when he said it (it was the GOP response to Obama’s national address), he also made his party look like a bunch of asses.

    All that said, let’s not wander off into the thicket of why the Democrats are suddenly EVEN WORSE THAN BUSH when it comes to the economy, cue hand-fluttering and vapors. Aside from from the fact that it seems a lot of people are suddenly concerned about what the government is doing with its money after eight years not giving much of a crap, it’s also not on point to the entry.

  35. Given:
    1. The Republican Party is full of idiots.

    2. The Democratic Party is full of idiots.

    3. The people running this country (into the ground) are malevolent idiots.

    4. Volcano monitoring is good.

    Increasing the budget for volcano monitoring may not be the best use for our grandchildren’s money.

    It is common knowledge that the budget/stimulus package just signed into law by our saviour, Mr. Obama, has plenty of non-essential items in it. The PC police insure one can not say anything extemporaneously without pointing out an insult to some group. Was Mr. Obama slamming handicapped people when he made his Special Olympics bowling comment? Governor Jindal has said and will say many things that deserve criticism, I don’t agree this particular incident is one that should be on that list.

  36. Deb G @25: Perhaps he “can’t get there from here” because he’s on Canada’s terrorist watch-list?

  37. Spirit03(#47): “Increasing the budget for volcano monitoring may not be the best use for our grandchildren’s money.”

    Why not? The money involved would be far less than reparations to survivors and the cost of an airplane should existing monitoring equipment have failed (as it occasionally does; this is why there are multiple cameras around many watched volcanoes).

    “I don’t agree this particular incident is one that should be on that list.”

    Even if it supplies the opposition with ample ammunition?

    It was the worst example of unnecessary government spending Jindal could have picked. So why not call him out on the carpet for it?

    If he’s smart, he’ll learn from the mistake and shut up next time. If not, he’ll continue to make Republicans look bad.

  38. If he’s smart, he’ll learn from the mistake and shut up next time. If not, he’ll continue to make Republicans look bad.

    Easier done than said.

  39. Increasing the budget for volcano monitoring may not be the best use for our grandchildren’s money.

    Justify that statement.

    Keep in mind that much of that money was for maintenance and deferred upgrading of equipment for data gathering. Keep in mind, also, that vulcanism is intricately tied to tectonic movements, which also generates earthquakes, both locally and elsewhere.

    If they want to focus on government waste, they should choose something that’s actually wasteful, and not choose something that highlights their ignorance and lack of grasp pertinent facts.

    Moreover, they’re making the case that even the most wasteful activity they can identify is actually useful and needed. WHich generally makes voters feel good about the people they have in office and running things…

  40. nothing important comes from alaska so what is the big deal?
    Maybe obama mama can give a speech and magic will happen.

  41. I reeeeeaaaaallly hope Fred’s being sarcastic. That’s the only way I can read his comment that makes sense. Because if he’s not, boy howdy, either the Republicans spent the last decade or two bitching about something called ANWR, or I’ve spent my entire life in some weird alternate-history time-bubble thing.

  42. Here is what Gov Jindal actually said:
    “But Democratic leaders in Congress rejected this approach. Instead of trusting us to make wise decisions with our own money, they passed the largest government spending bill in history – with a price tag of more than $1 trillion with interest. While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a ‘magnetic levitation’ line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called ‘volcano monitoring.’ Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, DC.

    Apparently you are conceding that the $300 million for new government cars and $8 billion for high speed rail are actually wasteful.

    The point of the argument is “the eruption of spending in Washington” not whether the USGS needs $140 million to stimulate the US economy.

    (For an additional amount for ‘‘Surveys, Investigations, and Research’’, $140,000,000, for repair, construction and restoration of facilities; equipment replacement and upgrades including stream gages, and seismic and volcano monitoring systems; national map activities; and other critical deferred maintenance and improvement projects.)

    While I don’t see anything particularly wasteful in this paragraph from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, perhaps Joe SixPack might find a more economically stimulating way to spend $140 million than the USGS. Hell, that’s a whole bunch of beer and a whole bunch of people working to get it in Joe’s hand.

    Besides, it’s not like there wasn’t any money already earmarked for volcano monitoring. The USGS still has all their little probes all over the Big Island of Hawaii, Mt. St. Helens and the Yellowstone Caldera (as examples).

  43. I do love the assertion that people uncritically accept all things Obama due to some cult of personality. However, coming from a group of people who celebrated a transparently staged carrier landing, it carries very little weight.

  44. Apparently you are conceding that the $300 million for new government cars and $8 billion for high speed rail are actually wasteful.

    No.

    Try again.

  45. While I don’t see anything particularly wasteful in this paragraph from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, perhaps Joe SixPack might find a more economically stimulating way to spend $140 million than the USGS. Hell, that’s a whole bunch of beer and a whole bunch of people working to get it in Joe’s hand.

    And this is a rather cowardly statement.

    You think there’s something wasteful? Point it out. Don’t hide. You’re the one that’s posting.

  46. “The American Republic will endure until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.”

    @gwangung:
    The whole damn bill is wasteful. How is taking even more hard-earned money of the taxable workers of this country better than letting us decide where we want to spend it?

    Is this the Argument Clinic or have I found myself in Contradiction? All I see in this thread is naysaying. I paid for 5 minutes.

  47. let’s not wander off into the thicket of why the Democrats are suddenly EVEN WORSE THAN BUSH when it comes to the economy, cue hand-fluttering and vapors. Aside from being full of rank, stinking hypocrisy, it’s also not on point to the entry.

    Yes. This is very specifically and pointedly not about that.

    Because to be about that might distract from the very real issue that Bobby Jindal pointed out that a non-stimulusy thing, worthy as it might be, was sold as a stimulusy thing in a very giant spending bill that was to provide economic stimulus not volcano-watching (worthy as volcano-watching might be).

    And of course those of us who complained that Bush spent too much while he was President suddenly no longer have credibility when we point out that Obama and the Democrats are worse by several orders of magnitude.

    But forget about that because this is not about that.

  48. “Bobby Jindal pointed out that a non-stimulusy thing, worthy as it might be, was sold as a stimulusy thing in a very giant spending bill that was to provide economic stimulus not volcano-watching (worthy as volcano-watching might be).”

    Bullshit. He specifically and unambiguously declared volcano monitoring as “wasteful spending.” It’s right there in the text. There was not the slightest implication that was anything close to “worthy.” Indeed, he framed his splotz about wasteful spending by noting that some things “made sense” to spend money on — but then pointed out volcano monitoring as something that didn’t. Whether volcano watching is stimulative of the economy is a fair point of contention — but that’s not what Jindal was saying, and if it’s what he meant to say, then he should have said it.

    It’s fascinating to me how many people are spending so much time saying what Jindal meant to say, at the cost of actually ignoring or obfuscating what the man actually did say. And if the Republicans are so very bad at communicating that it requires several people in this comment to declare “well, what he meant to say was…” that points to a problem right there.

  49. And if the Republicans are so very bad at communicating that it requires several people in this comment to declare “well, what he meant to say was…” that points to a problem right there.

    Ah yes. What we have here is a failure to communicate. I would point out two things, however: First, the “trillion dollar” bill to which Jindal was specifically referring was indeed the stimulus bill, which was meant to be stimulating.

    And second, bad communicating isn’t reserved for Republicans.

    And maybe it’s not about what was said so much as what was heard.

  50. “First, the ‘trillion dollar’ bill to which Jindal was specifically referring was indeed the stimulus bill, which was meant to be stimulating.”

    As noted above (in an edit, so you may have missed it): “Whether volcano watching is stimulative of the economy is a fair point of contention — but that’s not what Jindal was saying, and if it’s what he meant to say, then he should have said it.”

    “maybe it’s not about what was said so much as what was heard.”

    No, it’s about what he said.

    As for bad communicating not being reserved for Republicans: Who said it was? It doesn’t change the fact that Jindal made an ass of himself by saying a stupid thing. Trying to mitigate someone’s stupidity by pointing out other people do stupid things is in itself a fairly dumb thing to do.

  51. Frank – The ” ‘magnetic levitation’ line from Las Vegas to Disneyland” was not in the stimulus bill.

    Which is rather the point of this thread – Jindal’s entire speech was loaded with pure Southern-fried bullshit. (Well, maybe Cajun-style bullshit, but that’s a quibble.) Here in the reality-based world, facts matter, and Jindal’s facts are wrong.

  52. Chris Gerrib

    Frank – The ” ‘magnetic levitation’ line from Las Vegas to Disneyland” was not in the stimulus bill.

    Really? Huh

    Anaheim’s two high-speed rail projects could get a funding boost if President Barack Obama signs the $787 billion stimulus package today.

    Included in the stimulus package is $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, added by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., according to Register reports. Anaheim has two rail projects on the burner. One is a train that would travel from Anaheim to San Francisco, and the other would travel from Anaheim to Las Vegas.

    The Maglev (magnetic levitation) train would travel the 269 miles from Anaheim to Las Vegas. Another planned high-speed rail line, costing about $40 billion, would take passengers from Anaheim to San Francisco.

  53. But really, I’m not defending Jindal. As I pointed out before, both the monitoring of volcanoes and the monitoring of Congress should be undertaken as worthy projects.

    Jindal may be the savior Republicans think he is. I personally don’t see it.

    But to ignore the horrendous debt and the fundamental changes we are incurring would be criminal.

    The question for 2010 will be is this what we as a nation really want? They answer may well be yes. But I personally don’t see that either.

  54. I’m not sure I see the problem with high-speed rail here.

    If putting a high-speed rail link from Southern to Northern California means that I will be able to travel by train (and I do travel by train) from Fresno to L.A. without having to get off the train in Bakersfield and ride a bus over the mountain to L.A. like I do now, I’m all for it.

    Especially after my most recent train trip south, when the bus driver drove in a manner which had us arriving at Union Station 45 minutes early. With stops in Santa Clarita and Van Nuys on the way. In the middle of the night. On roads that could reasonably have been expected to be icy, given the weather conditions at the time.

    I’m not sure how fast he was driving, but I can guarantee it was well over the posted speed limit.

  55. As Scalzi (and Jindal’s own words) point out, Jindal didn’t say squat about whether spending $140 million for volcano monitoring was “stimulousy” or about whether turning $8 billion for high speed rail over to Ray LaHood (Republican Sec’y of Transportation) was “stimulousy” either. Claiming that’s “what he really meant” is completely unfounded, not to mention pretty silly.

    Claiming that you believe they’re not stimulousy might actually shed a little more light than heat. Care to make (and support) that claim?

  56. Claiming that you believe they’re not stimulousy might actually shed a little more light than heat. Care to make (and support) that claim?

    Well I do think that Jindal was referring to the stimulus bill since that is what he gave as his context.

    I would agree that volcano-watching is not stimulusy but I think that a high-speed rail is sufficiently stimulusy since it is a valid “infrastructure” project that would employ a bunch of people.

    But who really cares since what is going on here is that we are just punching a potential threat to Democrat power.

    My own opinion is that it is a waste of electrons since the Republican contender in 2012 is probably not even on the RADAR yet.

    And Obama has to first get out of his own way sometime within the next 4 years and stand up to Congress or it won’t really matter who runs against him.

    Well, I shouldn’t say that. I really thought that about Bush in 2004 but then the Democrats nominated Kerry.

    Republicans could have their own Kerry standing in the wings.

  57. LB@73: I can just see USGS people sitting on the couch, watching Jindal’s speech, and thinking “wait for it…wait for it…”

    *snort* I’m surprised the USGS folks weren’t in Alaska jumping up and down on Mt. Redoubt, chanting “GoGoGoGo!” and calling on the demons of volcanoes. (But perhaps Jindal believes they can simply be exorcised…)

  58. Frank @# 72: “volcano-watching is not stimulusy…”

    OK, to cite Spirit03 back in comment 57, which I’m trusting accurately quotes the ARRA:

    “For an additional amount for ‘‘Surveys, Investigations, and Research’’, $140,000,000, for repair, construction and restoration of facilities; equipment replacement and upgrades including stream gages, and seismic and volcano monitoring systems; national map activities; and other critical deferred maintenance and improvement projects.”

    Repair, construction, and restoration of facilities: there’s a bunch of jobs for carpenters, plumbers, electricians, roofers, and all your other assorted construction trades.

    Equipment replacement and upgrades: there’s money going to manufacturers of stream gages, tiltmeters, seismometers, electronic distance meters, GPS receivers, correlation spectrometers, and the like. (Everything I know about volcano monitoring I learned from this website.

    National map activities: presumably this involves paying cartographers, surveyers, GIS specialists, and other assorted specialists to work on maps.

    I don’t know what your definition of “stimulusy” is, but all this sounds to me like paying people for products and services that serve a useful purpose, but which without the stimulus package would not have been acquired. And to me, you can’t get much better than that. It’s certainly more useful than Keynes’s classic definition of a stimulus where you pay people to dig holes and pay other people to fill them up.

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