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An Alternative National Anthem

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes.
Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that the boat is leaking.
Everybody knows that the captain lied.
   Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died.
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   And a long red rose.
Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that you love me, baby.
Everybody knows you really do.
   Everybody knows that you've been faithful,
Give or take a time or two.
   Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
   Without your clothes.
Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that it's now or never.
Everybody knows that it's me or you.
   And everybody knows that you live forever
When you've done a line or two.
   Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
   For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that the plague is coming.
Everybody knows that it's moving fast.
   Everybody knows that the naked man and woman —
Just a shining artifact of the past.
   Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
   That will disclose
What everybody knows.

   And everybody knows that you're in trouble.
Everybody knows what you've been through
   From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach at Malibu.
   Everybody knows it's coming apart.
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
   Before it blows.
And everybody knows.

Everybody knows. Everybody knows.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.

By Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson.
© 1988 CBS Records, Inc.

I hope you understand I just had to go back to the island.
Leon Russell, 1942-2016

Gang banging on 9th Street
by Andrew Barbáno
/ Special Barbwire Confidential Extra Edition / Monday 7-1-2019 / Updated 7-3-2019 and 7-4 & 7-5 & 7-6-2019

Update: Witness at the execution

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The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.

RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

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Traci Davis will stand naked before the Washoe County school board Monday morning.

She may have her top gun lawyer at her side, but she will nonetheless face a substantial disadvantage to save her career.

The school district’s taxpayer-paid PR apparat ran a political campaign against her for most of June. She needed to hire her own PR firm but I guess she doesn’t think that way. Too bad.

Image is everything. If she looked like Halle Berry and was an extroverted pol like Barack Obama, she’d be in better shape. That’s harsh but true.

Now let’s play a game. See if you can name our national disease without my ever typing the magic word.

THE WICKED WITCHES OF THE WEST. Like every community, Reno-Sparks has a yin and a yang, a light side and a dark side, an angel on one shoulder and Satan hisself on the other.

Our bright angel is Ms. Rosy Scenario, sweetness and light, everything’s gonna be alright. Don’t talk to those displaced renters or payday loan victims.

Her evil twin is Ms. Sub Rosa, who flushes the cruel undercurrents of the disease whose name we must not speak.

Ms. Davis has tried to attack Sub Rosa with only marginal effect. The district doyennes countered with a confusing sheaf storm of alleged smoking gun documents, totally disorganized, the equivalent of old grocery lists and notes from mother. School district boss lady Katy Singlaub Simon Holland has promised an organized and contextual presentation on Monday.

Ms. Davis’ top gun attorney William Peterson (not the CSI-Las Vegas star) countered with a paperwork storm of his own. That’s what lawyers do. This guy is good. His former client, fired administrator Pedro Martinez, walked with about $1.2 million after a previous board of trustees was intimidated by a megalomaniacal businessman who…ahem...still influences a couple of current school board members.

His power trip was exacerbated by the Reno Kazoo-Journal’s kneejerk reaction to any alleged open meeting law violation. The best journalist in Nevada torpedoed that issue with a cover exposé in the Reno News & Review. (10-23-2014. Click here and search for "Martinez.") Alas and alack, the mythology persists and infects.

Remembering the Martinez debacle, the current board has narrowly focused on a single issue to try to oust Ms. Davis. In doing so, they may break Nevada’s open meeting law by creating such a hue-and-cry. The school board’s meeting room is a glorified postage stamp. seating only a few dozen. They have announced preparing overflow rooms with TV screens.

By promoting major public attendance with a minimal venue, they have potentially provided Ms. Davis an appealable issue no matter what the board decides at Monday’s inquisition.

Nevada Revised Statutes 241.02 — Meetings to be open and public; limitations on closure of meetings; notice of meetings; copy of materials; exceptions.
      1. Except as otherwise provided by specific statute, all meetings of public bodies must be open and public, and all persons must be permitted to attend any meeting of these public bodies. (Emphasis added.)

My first reaction after reading just about everything written about this remains “what’s the big deal?” The best the school district PR machine has been able to assert is that Ms. Davis would’a-could’a-should’a known that one or more of her subordinates leaked allegedly confidential information about the special education apparat.

FUNNY FACE. That’s hilarious on its face. The Washoe County School District is world-class when it comes to hiding information under the guise of “we can’t speak about personnel matters.” Until it otherwise suits them. They pretty much held that line until a few weeks ago when they opened the full court press political campaign against Ms. Davis. Now, it’s Katy Bar the Door (apologies to anyone too young to get the golden age of radio reference).

Some board members have reportedly said that their entire job consists of asking questions of the superintendent. For one of the top five employers in the county with thousands of students and staff, that’s a communication disaster waiting to happen.

Greenhorn school trustees soon learn how complicated are the vagaries of education administration. If you ever get a chance to go to a finance committee meeting, say you have a previous appointment to watch the paint dry on your new Stutz Bearcat Roadster. (Wish I had thought of that before attending one.) You soon learn that the district is bound by a labyrinth of rules, regulations, laws and court settlements dating back decades. Most board trustees are totally unqualified to even attend, let alone listen or participate. Again, their job is mostly trying not to be seen as micromanaging their superintendent.

It’s a lot easier to say “that’s confidential” than to say “I’m in way over my head.”

This teapot tempestion obscures the fact that Davis has arguably produced a successful tenure. Graduation rates have increased even without Martinez or his predecessor to run their career-promoting shell games. The public had enough faith in Davis and the district to vote for a sales tax increase to build new schools desperately needed due to growth uncompensated by Nevada’s myriad corporate welfare tax scheme queens. Other sources of revenue could have been included, but boomtown Nevada, with its stingy legislature and regressive taxation structure, has always placed the heaviest costs of development on the least among us.

Ms. Davis accepted lower pay than Martinez when she won the top job. Hey, she’s a woman and a single mother. They work for less. That’s the American way.

On Monday morning, Ms. Davis will not have the same defensive weapons which were available to Mr. Martinez (now comfortably ensconced as San Antonio’s school boss while seeking his PhD). He threw a hissy fit when fabrications on his resumé were questioned. His insubordination merited termination.

Guys can get away with macho displays of little-boy anger. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas perfectly played the Shibboleth card to defuse damning evidence that he was a male chauvinist piglet. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh pulled a Clarence by throwing a beer besotted tantrum over anyone — especially some woman — daring to accuse him of a less than monastic life. Pedro perfectly played the patriarchal card. Like Clarence and Kavanaugh, the perp morphed himself into a hapless victim. (Remind you of anybody often in the news these days?)

In contrast, Ms. Davis must remain demure while she demurs. PR and political death await any woman judged as (gasp!) “shrill.” Which is why Ms. Davis needed a PR firm for counter-spin. Alas, former Sparks elementary school student Karl Rove is unavailable.

I bring this defense of Ms. Davis as one of her consistent critics. She doesn’t like me and I don’t blame her. See the We Don’t Need No Education Archive at for some of my greatest hits.

Nonetheless, I recognize injustice here. Special ed has always been a problem, especially misclassification of black and brown students as developmentally disabled. (There’s that shadowy Shibboleth again.) At least Superintendent Davis tried to do something about years of institutional drift and abuse.

I’ve been doing this stuff awhile. I exposed overt racism at Shaw Middle School in Spanish Springs while Ms. Davis’ predecessors did nothing. I scooped all other media by a month regarding the overt racism which led to the attempted murder of two African-American students at Yerington High School in Lyon County. I investigated and printed stories about how the Washoe and Clark County school districts published inflated graduation statistics. Mr. Martinez and his predecessor Heath Morrison were masterful con artists at that shell game. I was a year ahead of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and two years ahead of the Reno Gazette-Journal on that issue. (See the We Don’t Need No Education Archive.)

And I have a day job.

The kneejerk defense of Pedro Martinez was one more assertion of an endangered locker room patriarchy. Monday can thus rightly be termed as a Pedro hangover. The white male power structure of the old apartheid Reno abides, cleverly camouflaged by Ms. Sub Rosa and her self-righteous acolytes. Poke a stick in that sacred bear’s cave at your peril.

DEMAGOGUERY MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU’RE SORRY. Perhaps ambitious interim superintendent Kristen McNeill and board chair Holland overplayed their hand last week and inadvertently provided an opportunity for Ms. Davis and her lawyer.

They shut down the district HQ for two days because they apparently quaked in fear that Superintendent Davis might (gasp!) show up for work. You know how THOSE (Shibboleth) PEOPLE are when they get angry. So a whole bunch of people got two days off with pay at a yet undisclosed cost to thee and me. (McNeill and WCSD lawyer Neil Rombardo are called "Cracker" and "Barrel" by underlings.)

There exists more here than meets the eye. This dustup would be just another water cooler conversation about administrative hijinx if other motivations were not in play. Sub Rosa and her guys are still formidable adversaries when they punch the right buttons.

What kinda Shibboleth town do we remain no matter the best spin from Ms. Rosy Scenario? I know a radio newsman ordered not to run interviews with Rev. Jesse Jackson because the station appeals to a “white bread” audience. So it’s OK to dance to Motown, just get off my radio station and my lawn.

Some Reno stations play sanitized rock because program directors are ordered to avoid all rap/hip-hop which their research shows produce automatic tuneout. Try to find a Wonder Bread music station that plays the Aerosmith/RunDMC version of “Walk this Way” or UB40’s reggae cut of Neil Diamond’s “Red Red Wine” with the concluding rap track. Nada.

Americans don’t have room for nuance in the age of postage-stamp-sized video screens. Form supersedes substance in the post-rule of law era.

As actor Billy Crystal so memorably said, “it’s more important to look good than feel good.”

Monday morning in the community of my residence for 48 years feels very bad indeed.

WHERE TO WATCH? LOTSA LUCK. Without success, I have approached local governments about carrying Monday’s show trial on their Charter/Spectrum cable channels. The Washoe County School District had one for free that it seldom used and apparently abandoned. Last Saturday, I scrolled thru more than 200 channels and found nothing. I will link the district’s YouTube site to the web edition of this column at Barbwire.US/ Local educational and governmental channels are only available to premium subscribers anyway. High-speed Internet users have real-time access to online video. Alast and alack, there are tens of thousands of residents of this community who have neither smart-phone nor web access. (The Media Audit, 2018) Just the way the school district likes it.

It may not take too long. Ms. Davis will only be allowed a whole 20 minutes to defend her life and livelihood.

Local TV stations make millions using the public airwaves. None will telecast Monday's meanderings. I will link the school board's gang e-mail address to the web version of this bulletin at Barbwire.US/

LATEST ODDS: Three bound-for-glory board members (including Holland) to fire Davis, three against and trustee Scott Kelley in the Anthony Kennedy/John Roberts swing position. Making access as difficult as possible, the Inquisition starts at 8:00 a.m. PDT in the Green Monster administrative building at 425 E. 9th Street in Reno (89512). I hope somebody remembers to tell staff to show up for work. (Aw, who cares. Give ‘em 4th of July week off. It’s only taxpayer money.) BTW: Parking will be close to impossible, but that will be good if so many try to get in that it violates the open meeting law and takes the match back to deuce.

As Woody Allen remarked so long ago, 80 percent of success is showing up. Please consider doing so. It should prove a tad more interesting than a damned finance committee meeting.

Tell our public servants to take this Shibboleth and shove it.

Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (And my French.)
Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

¡Sí se puede!

UPDATE on Independence Day: Reactions to the above post and upload have run about 3-1 positive with e-list cancellation requests coming mostly from Republicans. This one warmed the cockles of my flaming liberal heart. It came from a highly-placed DEMOCRATIC official somewhere in the bowels of a Nevada government: "Please remove me and anyone in this office from your inappropriate and offensive emails."

Barbwire Response: Thank you for reading and writing. Be well. Raise hell.

That person would do well to remember that politics does not reward the shy.

UPDATE 7-5-2019— An emblematic Republican response, albeit more polite than usual: "As usual you skim the cream off the top without looking for the curdled milk below. Have a happy fourth."

Barbwire Response: Curds are actually beneficial. They are the source of cheese and yogurt. Other Kurds are at war with Syria, Russia, Iraq, Turkey and us turkeys. (War comes from a more toxic culture and produces only sorrow.) I never drink milk, but nonetheless lead a sometime cheesy life as I occasionally root for the Green Bay Packers. Be well. Raise hell.

Update: Witness at the execution
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 7-3-2019 Sparks Tribune


Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan, executive producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, superannuated labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of and BallotBoxing.US and and and Protect Our As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail He has lived in both northern and southern Nevada during his half-century+ in the Silver State. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988 and received its ninth Nevada Press Association award (6th first-place) at the 29 Sept. 2018 NPA annual convention in Las Vegas. His multi-media road construction zone safety campaign for Laborers' Union Local 169 won a first-place award from the National Safety Council in a nationwide competition. (Such ephemera and about six bucks will get you a Latte Mocha Cotsafracas Chingade at just about any Starbux worldwide, guaranteed.) His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian of London/UK and more important publications.


REAL NEWS DEPT. In January, Culinary Union Local 226 defeated an attempt by Circus Circus-Reno to decertify (terminate) the union's representation of its workers. No word on whether management plans to appeal the result to the National Labor Relations Board which was recently put out of business for 35 days. Thank you, Czar Donaldov.

[UPDATE 4-20-2019] — About 100 demonstrators from almost all the region's unions, local community service organizations and political activists joined Culinary Union members picketing Circus Circus in the late afternoon of April 18. A couple of CC suits came out to see what all the fuss was about, as if theydidn't already know. In addition to the familiar union "contract now!" chants came calls for a strike against the Carano jocks. ¡Viva Huelga! ¡Sí se puede!

CONSUMER CONUNDRUMS: PINK SLIPS, PURGES AND PRUNING. I need to hear from recently purged Eldorado Hotel-Casino, Circus Circus-Reno and Silver Legacy employees. Barbwire spies report perhaps 100 workers got the ax just in time for the holidays. In the Tribune, at Barbwire.US and in the London Guardian, I have lamented the deepening desperation of renters here in Tesla boomtown. I'm now getting complaints about medical and dental practices purportedly pruning their patient loads, cutting loose the less-lucrative.

That's de facto malpractice but medical professionals are lawsuit-proof under Nevada law — unless you're rich enough to personally pay a few hundred grand in legal fees. That's why TV lawyers only advertise for arrest or accident cases these days. If you've been cast adrift by patient pruning, call me at (775) 882-TALK or e-mail me.

Eldorado-Caesars merger means labor union battles far beyond Reno & Las Vegas
Culinary Union leader D. Taylor: "Where are they going to cut?"
Building trade union campaigns continue
By Ed Komenda / Reno Gazette-Journal / 6-27-2019

Sore-oppressed Soul-Sister Cities: Menlo Park and Reno-Sparks-Fernley share similarly sad high-tech stretch marks.
"All humanity has left the area": paying for Tesla's Gigafactory
Barbano and Nevada conservatives decry corporate welfare depredations

By Rory Carroll / The Guardian 7-3-2018
Editor's Note: The Guardian publishes 180,000 newspapers daily in London and environs and generates ONE BILLION monthly web page views.
(I should live so long.)
"Facebook is taking everything": rising rents drive out Silicon Valley families
Property companies advertising their proximity to Facebook’s campus are giving low-income residents a choice: pay a huge rent increase or move out
By Sam Levin / The Guardian 6-20-2018

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For all the news you never knew you needed to know 'til now: Tell your friends and friendly enemies to subscribe to Barbwire Confidential for warm laughter, cheap thrills, hot scoops and occasional cold logic at BallotBoxing.US/ Cheap at twice the price. (Hush Hush!)

Last year's dark foreshadowings unfortunately became reality. I thus suggest inoculation by signing onto the HushHush! list at BallotBoxing.US/ It's cheap as well as enlightening entertainment. Thank you kindly for your support.

Smoking Guns—>

The divine right of kings, casino gods & dingbat heirs
by Andrew Barbáno
/ Expanded from the Wednesday 6-26-2019 Sparks Tribune

The Barbwire Presidential Dirtiest Dozen
by Andrew Barbáno
/ Expanded from the Wednesday 6-19-2019 Sparks Tribune

Carson City, Transylvania County, Nevada USA
by Andrew Barbáno
/ Expanded from the Wednesday 6-12-2019 Sparks Tribune

Trumpeting tragedy as Great Depression2 descends
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 6-5-2019 Sparks Tribune

Nevada: Righteous results, wrongheaded reasons
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 5-29-2019 Sparks Tribune

Nevada Business Opportunity: Abortion Tourism
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 5-22-2019 Sparks Tribune

May 15: The Ides of Uncle Walter Cronkite
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 5-15-2019 Sparks Tribune

What if they gave a murder and nobody came?
BARBWIRE CONFIDENTIAL: Sheriff Balaam's icy hot patch
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 5-8-2019 Sparks Tribune

MayDay for renters, movie fans and avengers
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the 5-1-2019 Sparks Tribune

Sen. Ira Hansen announces his pregnancy
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the 4-24-2019 Sparks Tribune

Priorities for butt-, rent-, birth- and gun-control
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the 4-17-2019 Sparks Tribune

Relieve Rent & Pillage: Save SB398 & AB399

Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno
/ Special Online Legislative Edition / 4-12-2019 / Updated 4-13 and 4-14-2019 GMT
Fairness for tenants dies 4-12 unless lawmakers throw it a lifeline

Politics does not reward the shy
Rent justification and a death penalty for corporate depredation
by Andres Luis Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 4-10-2019 Sparks Tribune / Updated 4-11 and 4-12-2019 GMT
Fairness for tenants dies 4-12 unless lawmakers throw it a lifeline

A liberal case for a new, brutal death penalty
Barbwire by Andres Luis Barbáno / Expanded from the 4-3-2019 Sparks Tribune

50 years in Nevada: Trying to outlive them all
Barbwire by Andres Luis Barbáno / Expanded from the 3-27-2019 Sparks Tribune

Guns, gouging and guts: once upon a time in the west
Barbwire by Andres Luis Barbáno / Expanded from the 3-20-2019 Sparks Tribune

Guv keynotes César XVII: 17-year overnight success
Barbwire by Andres Luis Barbáno / Expanded from the 3-13-2019 Sparks Tribune

Judge not lest ye be judged — or misjudged
Barbwire by Andres Luis Barbáno / Expanded from the 3-6-2019 Sparks Tribune

Even in Sparks, God works in mysterious ways
Barbwire by Andres Luis Barbáno / Expanded from the 2-27-2019 Sparks Tribune

OF CRABS AND CLANS: White bibs or white sheets tonight
Barbwire Confidential by Andres Luis Barbáno / 2-23-2019 SPECIAL ONLINE HUSHhush E-EDITION

Trump's Wall: First step toward ending Nixon's War on Drugs
Barbwire by Andres Luis Barbáno / Expanded from the 2-20-2019 Sparks Tribune

BLACK LIKE ME 2119: The problem as solution
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 2-13-2019 Sparks Tribune / Updated 2-14 and 2-16-2019
Breaking News —> Culinary Union defeats decert at Circus Circus Reno
Dear Readers: The above column served as the conclusion of remarks I submitted before the "Tahoe Talks: Racism in America" symposium at the Incline Village, Nev., Library on February 12, 2019. So you might want to read "FADE TO BLACK" before you read "Black Like Me 2119".

Andrew Barbano, former governor of Nevada
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 2-6-2019 Sparks Tribune

Downtown Sparks: New taxes, gun controls & a wall
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 1-30-2019 Sparks Tribune

Striking sex: The only thing Trump understands
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 1-23-2019 Sparks Tribune

Sands of time blast the milestones of life
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 1-16-2019 Sparks Tribune

Bob Price: Cowboy, lawmaker, union man and Elvis fan
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 1-9-2019 Sparks Tribune

Crystal Balls: Peerless Predixions 2019 & Beyond
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 12-26-2018 Sparks Tribune

$75 dead or alive: Still crazy after all these years
A mass murderer becomes famous on TV a century later

How come nobody noticed 'til now?
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 2-21-2018 Sparks Tribune

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory owners Max Blank and Isaac Harris. Is not Mr. Harris eerily familiar to television junkies?

From the Emmy-winning opening slate of the blockbuster "Cheers" television series. Combined with its "Frasier" spinoff, it lasted 20 years.
The "shirtwaist kings" immigrated from Russia and made a fortune manufacturing "Gibson Girl"-style blouses. (Photo, "The American Experience"/PBS)
The Emmy-winning opening slate of the "Cheers" television series before the "slate" of creators is superimposed. Looks like Mr. Harris' dead ringer (at left) is having a bloody good time.

"Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" Chico Marx disguised as Groucho Marx in "Duck Soup" (1933)
Back to the story of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist holocaust

Triangle tragedy recalled as requiem
"The Fire in My Mouth," a new oratorio by Pulitzer honoree Julia Wolfe, premiered with the New York Philharmonic Jan. 24

By Michael Cooper / The New York Times 1-23-2019

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Copyright © 1982-2019 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee. He is the executive producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

Betty J. Barbano
2-7-1941 / 12-27-2005

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