Rise and Shine


Pete Souza: “The President plays with Sunny, the new Obama family pet, on the South Lawn on Sunny’s first day at the White House.”



NYT: Millions Gaining Health Coverage Under Law

Millions of Americans will begin receiving health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Starting Wednesday, health insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and cannot charge higher premiums to women than to men for the same coverage. In most cases, insurers must provide a standard set of benefits prescribed by federal law and regulations. And they cannot set dollar limits on what they spend on “essential health benefits” for a policyholder.

“I feel a huge sense of relief,” said Katie R. Norvell, 33, a music therapist in St. Louis, who has been uninsured for three and a half years and has a pre-existing gynecological condition, endometriosis. She signed up Dec. 22 for a midlevel silver plan offered by Coventry Health Care, owned by Aetna, and has already begun making doctor’s appointments. “With coverage,” she said, “I can be my best self. Health insurance won’t control my job choices.”

More here



Baltimore Sun: Thousands Of Immigrants Seek Drivers Licenses

Thousands of immigrants living here without legal permission will start the new year demonstrating skills in parallel parking and two-point turns in hopes of becoming licensed drivers in Maryland. Maryland joins a handful of states on Jan. 1 that issue so-called “second-tier” licenses that allow immigrants who do not have full legal documentation to drive on Maryland roads, register cars and obtain insurance. The licenses will not suffice as federal identification. Nearly 13,000 immigrants have signed up to take driving tests in the coming weeks, according to state officials.

Advocacy groups hail the licensing process as a step toward self-sufficiency for many and as a means to promote safety because drivers must know the rules of the road and can get insurance. Many immigrants, though, say the ability to get a license will make their lives easier. Armando Tema, an immigrant from Guatemala who lives in Baltimore, has marked his calendar for Jan. 9, when he has his appointment with the Motor Vehicle Administration. He’s a cook at a restaurant in Catonsville and said with a license, he’ll no longer have to rely on the bus for transportation. He said he was beaten and robbed a couple of years ago while waiting for a bus.

More here




Washington Post: Getting Health Coverage Like ‘Light At End Of Dark Tunnel’

Adam Peterson’s life is about to change. For the first time in years, he is planning to do things he could not have imagined. He intends to have surgery to remove his gallbladder, an operation he needs to avoid another trip to the emergency room. And he’s looking forward to running a marathon in mid-January along the California coast without constant anxiety about what might happen if he gets injured. These plans are possible, says Peterson, who turned 50 this year and co-manages a financial services firm in Champaign, Ill., because of a piece of plastic the size of a credit card that arrived in the mail the other day: a health insurance card.

Peterson is among the millions of uninsured Americans who are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law that launched far-reaching changes to the U.S. health-care system and is President Obama’s premier domestic achievement. Getting Americans health insurance is at the heart of the health law, the most significant change in health-care policy since the 1965 creation of Medicare, the federal program for the elderly, and Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor and disabled. Such a dramatic expansion in coverage had eluded presidents, including Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat Bill Clinton, for decades.

Emily Wright has been worrying about the mole on her back. The suspicious mole is on a mental list of “little things” that Wright, 28, of Johnson City, Tenn., said she wants to get checked out. Recurring joint pain in a foot and knee are also on the list. So are her frequently swollen glands. Wright also needs surgery for endometriosis, a painful gynecological condition that has already required her to have two operations. Constant pain makes it difficult for her to work delivering pizzas and attend East Tennessee State University, where she hopes to get a history degree in May. Enrolling through the federal exchange, she qualified for a federal subsidy and picked a top-tier plan that will cost her $125 a month. The soonest appointment she could get with an obstetrics-gynecology practice, the first step before surgery, is Jan. 17. “I am excited. I am ready,” she said. “It feels like the light at the end of the long dark tunnel.”

More here




Brian Beutler: GOP’s 2014 Horror Strategy: Exploit American’s Misfortune, Drum Up Fake Outrage

A quick look at the House and Senate vote calendars indicates that Congress did not in fact come back into session over the holidays to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which means that as of today (depending on how you count it) millions and millions of people who were previously uninsured now have comprehensive healthcare coverage. There’s the 3-or-so million young adults under 26 who have been covered under their parents plans for a couple of years now, about 4 million new Medicaid beneficiaries, and some large percentage of the 2 million who have enrolled in a private plan via Healthcare.gov or one of 14 state-based insurance exchanges and submitted their first premium payment.

Their benefits are now active, which means proponents of repealing the law have a severe entropy problem on their hands. Just like you can’t re-create an erased image by unshaking an Etch-A-Sketch, you can no longer re-create the pre-Obamacare status quo by repealing the law. After spending three months effusing sympathy for people who’ve had their insurance plans canceled, Republicans can’t really continue to support repeal while ignoring the (2 million? 6 million? 9 million?) who would lose their coverage as a result. But the GOP lacks a consensus replacement for Obamacare, and the plans that caucuses within the party do support don’t do anything for the new beneficiaries, and fall well short of Obamacare’s coverage expansion in the long run. They’ve walked into a cul-de-sac planting mines behind themselves along the way.

More here




Josh Marshall: As Obamacare Sign-Ups Surge, So Does Conservative Rage

It is amazing to witness the sheer depths of rage, denial and disgust many people experience as they see millions of people gaining access to affordable health care for the first time. After an expected surge of sign-ups in late December, just over 2.1 million people have purchased ACA-compliant health care policies through the federal and state health care exchanges. A bit more than half came through the now-mainly-functional healthcare.gov website (which covers 36 states) and the rest came from the 14 states which established their own exchanges. Next there are currently rough 4.3 million people who have been enrolled in Medicaid through Medicaid expansion. Notably, we also know the number of Americans who have been prevented from getting coverage because Republican governors and/or state legislatures who refused to participate in Medicaid expansion. That’s 5 million people.

Next there’s a number that’s been in effect for a couple years now and no one seems to want to discuss: roughly 3.1 million young adults under the age of 26 who now remain covered under their parents policies under a key provision of the ACA. This went into effect in September 2010. And the number of covered young adults in that age bracket grew steadily over the next two years. So let’s do some simple math. 2.1M + 4.3M + 3.1M = 9.5 million covered. So how does it get to 10 million? What none of these tabulations take into account are people who bought ACA-compliant policies directly from insurance carriers as opposed to purchasing them from private carriers via the exchanges. A lot of people did this and there was actually an aggressive push to get people to do so while the federal exchange site remained basically dead in the water. There is no tally of this number yet and will require a survey of carriers throughout the country. But I suspect it is certainly in the hundreds of thousands. And thus the round number of 10 million.

More here



Think Progress: Raising The Minimum Wage To $10.10 Could Lift Nearly 5 Million Out Of Poverty

Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could lift about 4.6 million people out of poverty directly, according to a new study from economist Arindrajit Dube. Longer-term effects could reduce the number of people living below the poverty line by 6.8 million. That wage level “would reduce the poverty rate among Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 by as much as 1.7 percentage points,” Jillian Berman explains in the Huffington Post. Poverty increased by 3.4 percent during the recession, a rate that has not improved since, but a $10.10 wage would erase more than half of that uptick. Dube’s findings come from an analysis of 23 years of data on minimum wage increases as well as a review of previous findings.

More here



Pete Souza: “The President signs memorabilia in the Oval Office for an overjoyed Nina Centofanti, 8, the 2013 March of Dimes National Ambassador.”

106 Responses to “Rise and Shine”

  1. 1 desertflower
    January 3, 2014 at 10:20 am


  2. 6 Vicki
    January 3, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Terrific round-up of the news that really matters.

  3. 8 MightyPamela
    January 3, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Mornin’ y’all!

  4. 9 Vicki
    January 3, 2014 at 10:26 am

    NYC and its new Mayor Bill de Blasio came through the snowstorm just fine I am happy to report.

  5. January 3, 2014 at 10:30 am

    A fantastic newsie round-up UT, thanks a billion gazillion – I’m so far behind with the news, this is JUST what I needed.

    Morning everyone!!!

  6. 14 Ladyhawke
    January 3, 2014 at 10:33 am


    NYT Editorial Board Fails to Make Their Case

    by Nancy LeTourneau


    I find one aspect of the New York Times editorial today (suggesting that Edward Snowden should be given clemency) to be helpful. Finally, in one location, we have someone making a list of all the “horrors” revealed in the Snowden leaks. To be honest, I’ve been trying to figure this one out for a while now. And I keep coming up with “where’s the beef?” So lets run through them real quick and see where things stand.
    I’d say that the NYT editorial board needs to rethink their claim that “government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law.” Reforms might well be worth pursuing. But accusing people of breaking the law is a serious charge that they didn’t even come close to demonstrating.



    • 15 Linda
      January 3, 2014 at 10:45 am

      The same NYT that covered for Bush’s warrantless wiretapping for 3 years and cheered for the Iraq War ?


  7. 17 GGail
    January 3, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Do they search high & low for glitches?


    Having a baby in the new year? Good luck trying to enter that into HealthCare.gov.

    In the latest glitch to emerge regarding the Affordable Care Act system, health officials are telling new enrollees that the federal insurance marketplace will not be able to update their coverage online to reflect the birth of a baby and other life changes.
    Instead, parents are being told to contact insurers directly, and then contact the government later on — when the system is ready to handle it.
    Parents will still be able to get new babies covered, but the missing feature on the website represents another step, and just one of several glitches that continue to surface.

    • January 3, 2014 at 10:57 am

      I find this sort of odd since CMS defined birth of a new baby as a “triggering event” for being able to change your coverage outside the open enrollment period. Nevertheless, I’m fully confident they’ll handle this just as they have all the other glitches in good time.

      • 19 GGail
        January 3, 2014 at 11:03 am

        I do too meta. I had to shake my head when I saw the heading and then I closed my eyes and said to myself “I bet this is a FOX news article” and sure enough – it is!

        If you just read the heading, you think “Now What?”, but when you read the article, you see that it’s “No Big Deal !”

    • 20 Linda
      January 3, 2014 at 10:59 am

      That makes no sense to me……why would anyone need to update on the website instead of just contacting the Insurance provider….?

      • 21 GGail
        January 3, 2014 at 11:05 am

        Isn’t it what we normally do Linda? We contact our insurance when we have family changes…No Big Deal

        Tell FOX to stop trying to stir s_ _ t up!

    • 22 57andfemale
      January 3, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Right. Once you have insurance, you deal with your insurance company. How stupid are these people?

  8. 23 dotster3
    January 3, 2014 at 10:52 am

    • January 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      I don’t get this one. At least an entire decade prior to Obamacare, Catholic organizations in 28 states had contraceptive coverage in their insurance policies. It even came out after all the bluster from Dolan in NY, who was going to “do whatever it took to defeat Obama”, in NY they were not only covering contraceptives, but abortions. What am I missing?

      • 25 pkayden
        January 3, 2014 at 12:45 pm

        No, I don’t think you’re missing anything. Obama Derangement Syndrome seems to have fully caught on.

      • 26 57andfemale
        January 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm

        What is particularly annoying about this suit (and this should get it thrown the hell out of court): These particular nuns aren’t willing to sign an opt-out for themselves. Contraception is against their religious beliefs, and they therefore believe they can shove their superstition down everyone else’s throats.

        That’s theocracy, people.

  9. January 3, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Good morning and thank you, ut!

  10. 30 dotster3
    January 3, 2014 at 10:56 am

    ALERT! Obamacare could usher in legal beheadings! Run for your lives!!!

  11. 32 JER
    January 3, 2014 at 11:10 am


  12. 39 jacquelineoboomer
    January 3, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Good morning, Chips, UT, and all of TODville! Sunny and 31 degrees ABOVE zero here today in the Land of Lincoln; i.e., hot as hell! 🙂

    • January 3, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Good moooooorning Jacqueline, I confidently predict the snow-covered folk will post quite rude replies to you 😆

      • 41 jacquelineoboomer
        January 3, 2014 at 12:22 pm

        No need – we are snow covered, too, with more to come – but we finally got our temp. above the teens today. Yeehaw!

        • 42 57andfemale
          January 3, 2014 at 1:35 pm

          It’s 13 degrees in chicago. So kindly……….

          • 43 jacquelineoboomer
            January 3, 2014 at 2:20 pm

            I was mistaken about our temp … but it’ll be 32 tomorrow! #SomethingToLiveFor

            • 44 57andfemale
              January 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm

              I’m trying to stay philosophical. We are one day closer to the end of winter….. I will try to remind myself when I’m shoveling the new 3-6 inches and dealing with the plummeting temperatures.

              • 45 jacquelineoboomer
                January 3, 2014 at 2:52 pm

                I know that feeling. Last winter, I’d open my front door – see my neighbor – ask “Is it spring, yet?” When the answer came back no, I’d say “See ya!”

    • 46 japa21
      January 3, 2014 at 11:27 am

      Where the heck in IL are you, Cairo?

      • 48 vcprezofan2
        January 3, 2014 at 12:22 pm

        Japa, I’ve been meaning to ask how Mrs. Japa has weathered her bout of flu. Is she back on her feet?

        • 49 japa21
          January 3, 2014 at 12:38 pm

          VC, so kind of you to ask. I notice that someone else has not done so. Yes she is back on her feet and doing well. She will probably have a crummy cough for a few weeks, and is tiring easily (of course that could just be old age settling in) but is doing much better.

          Again, thank you for asking.

          • 50 vcprezofan2
            January 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm

            Glad to hear she is doing much better – encouraging start for 2014!
            And BTW, just for the record, take it easy on the mention of ‘old age settling in’! You ARE aware that I’ll be having another birthday this year, aren’t you? 😉 😉

            • 51 japa21
              January 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm

              Yes, but you are still a Spring chicken compared to some of us. Lately I’ve been feeling like I am having 2 birthdays each year.

              • 52 vcprezofan2
                January 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm

                You are so sweet (sometimes)! 😀 Of course I’m never going to correct you about the spring chicken image. Instead I’m simply going to enjoy the thought while telling you that even in high school I was told I was ‘born old’ and ‘old-fashioned’.

                This is your retirement year, right; or have I gotten mixed up… again?

                • 53 japa21
                  January 3, 2014 at 1:46 pm

                  My retirement year should have been last year. Unless I win the lottery, it may not be for awhile.

                  • 54 vcprezofan2
                    January 3, 2014 at 1:59 pm

                    My dear Japa, I’m in line ahead of you on that one. I’ve been in line for decades now, and suspect the lottery people have lost the original order of winners! 🙄

      • 55 jacquelineoboomer
        January 3, 2014 at 12:43 pm

        Well, it wouldn’t matter, since I just realized the temp. I saw when I opened my email front page earlier was apparently not here in River City, where’s it’s actually 10 degrees, per TWC. #LosingIt I checked after I opened my front door! Brrr. Guess because of the sunshine, I’d believe anything. And Monday it’ll be a high of -8 and Tuesday, +5. So, upon further investigation, now I’m crying cold tears!

    • 58 pkayden
      January 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      Sunny and warm in Illinois? Really? It’s horrible here in Southern Maryland — unless you like the cold and snow. Lucky you.

      • 59 jacquelineoboomer
        January 3, 2014 at 12:52 pm

        I was mistaken on the temperature today! But tomorrow it will be 32 degrees! But back to a high of -7 and a low of -13 on Monday. Eek!!!

  13. 60 Linda
    January 3, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Joe Scarborough argued against pot legalization on Friday’s “Morning Joe” because “pot just makes you dumb.”

    The MSNBC host weighed in on the ongoing national debate. “I don’t get the legalization thing,” he began. “Pot just makes you dumb.”

    Scarborough’s proof came from his experiences playing music “with a lot of guys in bands and on football teams that smoked pot.”

    “I hung around a lot of guys that smoked a lot of pot and never once did I say ‘Hey, man, that looks like something I want to do,'” he recalled. “Never smoked it because everybody that ever did just looked dumb as hell. I’m sitting there going, ‘Wait a second. I’m challenged enough as it is. Why do i want a hammer and hit myself in the head and make my odds for success even longer?'”

    But even he was temporarily stumped when contributor Mark Halperin wondered, “Does drinking make you dumb?”

    “In large amounts, yeah, it makes you dumb,” Scarborough said.

  14. 64 Linda
    January 3, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I am already sick of the news about the ” blizzard ” since I lived in Buffalo NY in 1977. These people are crybabies.

    • 65 jacquelineoboomer
      January 3, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      President Obama, I believe, always says that about anybody who hasn’t survived Chicago winters!

    • 66 pkayden
      January 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      As someone who grew up close to Toronto, Ontario, I understand you completely.

    • 67 57andfemale
      January 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      What is particularly annoying is the Hair on Fire reporting of SNOW! when there’s half an inch. You don’t know what to believe. Journalism has gone to hell.

  15. 68 Judith Fardig
    January 3, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for the excellent R&S with Obamacare success stories. Will keep amplifying those locally and on Twitter! Have a great day with no dogs bites, snowball fights, etc.

  16. 69 vcprezofan2
    January 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Howdy folks, what am I missing?

  17. 70 Linda
    January 3, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Cody Crothers was accepted to Ohio State University this fall, but found out soon after that he couldn’t afford to go.

    To save money, he began working as a sign artist for a mattress store in Cincinnati, Ohio, dancing on a street corner eight hours a day, five days a week. In wind, rain, sleet, and snow, Crothers danced.

    Despite the setback, he always wore a smile. “I want to be out there not only to show that I have a strong work ethic and to inspire others to have the same, and maybe brighten someone’s day,” Crothers explained to Right This Minute.

    Cincinnati residents passing by Crothers’ corner found his positivity infectious.

    “I was driving and I was having a really crappy day, and I looked over at him and he was just dancing and so happy and I instantly got got a smile. So every time I came through Beechmont, I was always looking at him, and [he] just gave me such instant happiness,” motorist Danielle Toft says in the video above.

    Along with friend Lisa Connelly, Toft set up a Facebook page called Beechmont Dancing Guy to celebrate Crothers’ energy and optimism. His fans soon grew from a few dozen to several thousand, and a flash mob was planned in his honor.

    Over 100 people showed up for the December 29 flash mob, all dancing and waving their own sale signs.

    Participants even made a contribution to Crothers’ college fund — a gesture that seemed to overwhelm him. ( he began crying )

    “Completely shocking. I had no idea that I was having that kind of impact. I’ve never met such genuine people,” Crothers told Right This Minute.

    Beechmont Avenue’s dancing man will be enrolling in his dream school this spring.

    Collections for Crothers’ college fund are still ongoing. Donations can be made online via Paypal.


    I couldn’t find it on youtube…….


  18. January 3, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I just saw on the news that John McCain and Lindsay Graham are in Afghanistan? Are they the Afghanistan envoys or something?

    • 74 vcprezofan2
      January 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      They are the CEOs of the looking-for-attention brigade. My only concern is to wonder if they pay their own way each holiday when they run to wherever they think a good photo-op is to be found. Though I doubt it is, I would feel a bit better if I thought the entire cost was coming out of their own pockets.

      • 75 Linda
        January 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm

        Yawn…they have no influence on any foreign policy…..

        • 76 vcprezofan2
          January 3, 2014 at 1:29 pm

          I know THAT, Linda, – my only interest in them is whether they get a tax payer all-expenses-paid trip to go pose for a picture EVERY break they take from the work they are not doing back home.

      • 77 vcprezofan2
        January 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm

        I guess the idiot is trying to imply he and McCain have more concern about Iranian NP than SoS Kerry and PBO. “Yawn” is right, Linda.

        • 78 jackiegrumbacher
          January 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm

          Oh VC, that needle was sharp.

          • 79 vcprezofan2
            January 3, 2014 at 3:25 pm

            I confess, JG, the moment I saw that quotation I thought of McCain and his Graham sidekick! 😀 I don’t even know who Thomas Fuller, and don’t care, because I’m **sure** he had these two in mind, or one like them, when he coined this expression. 😀 😀

  19. 80 amk for obama
    January 3, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    ok, I’ll get off the line now. I can take a hint.

  20. 82 dotster3
    January 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    As dial phones were being introduced in the U.S., instructions were given at movie theaters on just how to operate these new convoluted instruments. (life used to be a lot simpler)

  21. 85 Don
    January 3, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Excuse my language, but, who gives one fuck about Netanyahu and his lovely phone conversation with Lindsey Graham. These fuckers act as though we can simply bomb Iran into submission; I’m here to tell you it won’t work. The moment we launch our first missile, it will change forever how we not only deal with Iran but also how we deal with the Middle East. History has already shown us how to effectively deal with a rogue nation without so much as firing one shot. Why would we turn around and use a nuclear weapon on a country that has shown a willingness to come to the table.

    • 86 Linda
      January 3, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      One of the hosts on CNN is asking ” Should President Obama send troops back to Iraq ” ? ( due to all the violence )

      Her guest laughed at her

    • 89 anniebella
      January 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      You are excuse Don. I wish Israel would keep Lindsey Graham. That is just what I think of him.

    • 90 jackiegrumbacher
      January 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Don, the president is well aware of this and it will not happen under his watch. Lindsay Graham is trying desperately trying to seem like macho man since he’s facing a primary challenger who will call him all sorts of weak. I’m sure the president didn’t miss one swing in his golf game when he heard about this trip and Lindsay’s comment. Netanyahu is just playing games, but even he must know that Lindsay Graham has zero influence on what will happen in the ME.

      • 91 HZ
        January 5, 2014 at 12:12 am

        TY, jackiegrumbacher. Little Lindsay is wasting his time. President Obama is not moved by this moved by Lindsey and John McCain. Not one minute. These people are so foolish in that they still have not stopped to give President the credit of his brilliant mind. HZ

  22. 92 vcprezofan2
    January 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Be back in a bit – body is sending out hunger signals.

  23. 93 dotster3
    January 3, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    2 new executive actions on gun control by PBO—–restricting firearm access to mentally ill.

  24. 94 dotster3
    January 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm

  25. 95 proudmemberofglobalzero
    January 3, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Reminds me of this video from 2008:

  26. 97 Linda
    January 3, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Over 1 million dollars has been spent on weed in the Denver area so far…

    • 98 Don
      January 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      What is this fascination with weed and it being legalized, what is the rush to interject weed into our society? I get that it’s a harmless drug and I understand the criminal ramifications for both the seller and the buyer and what it does to our legal system financially. But why all of a sudden we just got to have some weed to smoke as a society? You want to smoke weed, be my guest, smoke until the cows come home. But don’t label me just because I don’t get the fascination, and yes, I’ve smoked weed before.

      • 99 Linda
        January 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm

        I don’t know, but if is more expensive than on the street…this will flop….I saw that it only costs $120 an ounce in New York City…..

      • 101 forus50
        January 3, 2014 at 2:54 pm

        Don, I would disagree that this is a rush to interject weed into society. It’s always been there just sold in the black market. And many many people, including many in the medical profession, have been trying to decriminalize it for decades. Aside from whether or not it’s a sudden thing here’s why it’s important: the taxpayer ends up paying a lot for this to be considered a crime; cost of law enforcement; cost of imprisonment, cost of courts, etc. Total waste of money. Not to mention all of these people incarcerated not being taxpayers or working and spending. So it’s a big first step to see Colorado decriminalize this and allow pot to be taxed for state revenue. Hopefully other states will follow. This is a good summary of the cost.

    • 104 forus50
      January 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      And a corresponding 5 billion in Doritos sales. 🙂

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