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Reading on a Saturday Morning

Reading On A Saturday Morning.

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 02/09/2019 - 06:53

Apologies, not much is new this morning, with the exception of the Canada thing, we have pretty much the same ol' ...

HPD WARRANT: What was found in southeast Houston home after deadly drug raid.

  Evidently that which was actually found was significantly different from that which was advertized to the judge asked to excecute the "No Knock" search warrant that led to the shooting deaths of Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle in a shootout in their home with the Houston Police Department this week.

Also ...

Houston police officer connected to deadly raid shootout relieved of duty


Then, and much to my suprise ...

Who Owns All The Land In Canada?

Evidently, it's the Queen of England. Who'da thunk it?


Then we get Elon Musk.

Elon Musk’s highflying 2018: What 150,000 miles in a private jet reveal about his ‘excruciating’ year

In addition to a real fun graphic that is absolutely worth the price of admission depicting all of Musk's travels for the year, we get the following. "In September, a few days after calling fossil fuels “the dumbest experiment in human history,” his plane burned thousands of pounds of jet fuel flying 300 miles from L.A. to Oakland so Musk could view a competitive video-gaming event. (Tesla said Musk went to the video-gaming event with this kids but also met with a Tesla board member and went to work at two Tesla offices in Fremont before flying home.)"


And since we're already on the subject, here's some old news.

Glamorous billionaire who funded study telling people they must only eat a quarter of a rasher of bacon a day to save the planet is slammed as hypocrite for jetting around the world in her £20m private PLANE


I think that's about all the senseless violence and hypocracy I have time for this morning.

Be careful, it's a dangerous world out there.


I Was A Communist For The FBI

Submitted by Roanman on Fri, 06/08/2018 - 07:42


On this day in history, 1949 ... ok, ok, yesterday actually, The FBI decided that Frederic March, John Garfield, Paul Muni, Paul Robson and Edward G. Robinson ... among others, were all members of the American Communist Party. 

To quote Edward G. Robinson on the matter.

The FBI report relied largely on accusations made by “confidential informants".

Both Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan testified before the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee and identified colleagues within the entertainment industry as "communists'.

Congress would later cite 10 Hollywood writers and directors for contempt for refusing to divulge their political sympathies or name others who might be communists. The “Hollywood Ten,” as they came to be known, were later convicted and sent to prison for varying terms. 

Eventually, more than 300 artists were blacklisted by the studios including Charlie Chaplain, who had openly supported the Soviet Union during WWII.

Chaplain chose to return to England to work and subsequently had his re-entry permit revoked by US Attonrney General, James McGranary.

He never returned to this country.

Dalton Trumbo, proud member of the Hollywood Ten, admitted member of the Communist Party and passionate anti-war activist was later quoted as follows,

In an effort to give you a feel for the tone of the times, click the image below for one of my all time favorite movies,

I Was A Communist For The FBI.

Starring the extraordinarily hardboiled Frank Lovejoy as Pittsburgh steel worker, Matt Cvetic in this billed as true story.

Or click on the image below for the subsequant radio program with the same title starring Dana Andrews that ran during the early 50's at the height of McCarthyism, and the second "Red Scare".

The more things change ...

Reading on a Saturday Morning

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 11/25/2017 - 20:55


But not getting around to posting until much later.

We've posted on the nature of America's "defense" spending on a couple of occasions, most notably here  and here .

Here's a little something from the Financial Times.

As always, clicking on the map will take you to the article from which this image was taken.

My favorite sentence from this piece reads as follows:

"US officials acknowledge that its record is mixed and calibrating the extent to which they get involved will remain a delicate balancing act."


The stock in trade explanation for the practice of stationing American military personel for all practical purposes the length and width of Africa is nicely summarized by this piece by Republican United States Representative Will Hurd of Texas on CNBC in the winter of 2016 and in response to the atrocity at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida.

"The unfortunate reality is that the terrorist threat is not going away any time soon, and increased dramatically when countries like Iraq, Syria, and Libya destabilized. This was a direct result of the U.S.'s decision to slowly pull away from our global responsibilities over the past eight years. 

ISIS took advantage of a crumbling Syria, which we did little to stop. They took over the city of Fallujah in Iraq in January 2014, and President Obama discounted the threat they posed. If there's anything we should take away from the Obama administration's tenure, it is that disengagement is positively correlated with the rise of the terrorist threat. The U.S. must lead a broad coalition of countries to uproot terrorist groups from wherever they control territory. Radical Islamic extremism is a global phenomenon and it will require a global strategy to mitigate. 

The U.S. has not kept up with the rapidly changing nature of the threat environment. While our military is more likely to continue engaging in nonconventional conflicts, the structure of the Department of Defense (DoD), the way our forces are trained, and the types of equipment the department purchases all reflect preparation for conventional warfare. Insurgent groups discovered quickly the advantages of fighting this kind of asymmetric conflict. There is a need to reexamine the way the DoD operates to ensure it is the most flexible and efficient military force in the world. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated, raw power does not determine military victory — flexibility and efficiency does. 

America is the country people around the world look to as the shining example of liberty. They consider us the global champion for human rights and to act when those rights have been violated. Shirking from this responsibility has damaged our international credibility immensely. 

We must restore American leadership by speaking up when countries violate the principles of international order. We must demonstrate our commitment to make this world a more free and prosperous place by upholding the promises we have made to our allies."

Forgetting, for the moment, questions having to do with how is it that stationing our military in harm's way all over the globe keeps Americans safe, particularly if the complaint about terrorism begins with the shooting at the Pulse. Which, if you think it through is prima facie evidence that troops abroad do not protect us from terrorist acts here at home.

Let's examine that "shining city" thing for just a minute.

Click on some headlines which link to the original site of their publication.

'Human tragedy': LA homelessness jumps to record-breaking level

As America Gives Thanks, Homelessness Continues To Set New Records In Major Cities All Over The Nation

1 in 7 New York City Elementary Students Will Be Homeless, Report Says

Baltimore Murder Crisis Continues: 2nd 'Ceasefire' Scheduled For Next Weekend

Three Americans Now Own More Wealth Than Bottom Half of US Combined: Report

That oughta keep you busy for a minute.


Reading on a Saturday Morning ..... finally

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 03/26/2016 - 09:35


I haven't been able to sit and read on a Saturday for a long time.

Turns out that my first Saturday back offers just a treasure trove of stuff.

But where to begin?

Well, the children attending Emory University in Georgia, not having learned their lessons at the scorn heaped on the children at the University of Missouri and Yale over prior episodes, recoiled in pain and tears from chalk grafitti writings of the word "Trump" appearing on their campus.

The following is the headline and some of the bullet points taken from the Daily Mail's piece on the incident.

Click on the photo to the right or the headline below for the entire piece.


Students freak out because someone chalked Trump slogans on campus: Emory University president says students are scared and 'in pain'



Here's just a small sample of the blowback from the "Crybully" fad that is currently sweeping the nation's universities.




Not entirely sure just exactly what the hell is going on here.


Anyway, This one below in particular had me laughing for a couple hours this morning.

I'm thinking the the silly young boy below is drop dead certain that the category "Liberal Intelligencia" includes him.


As I feel very comfortable in asserting that your garden variety, professional economist falls comfortably into the category "Liberal Intelligencia", I'm also thinkin' he might want to rethink his little pigeon hole.

So, here are just a couple headlines from discussions on just exactly how well the "Liberal Intelligencia" is doing, at least where it comes to economics. There were multiples of dozens of examples to chose from, I selected the easy reads for you today.  Feel free to delve further.

You can click on any headline for the entire piece.


Why  are  economic  forecasts  wrong  so  often?

An astonishing record – of complete failure

Economists' Biggest Failure

And, since we are on the sublect of failure by the "Liberal Intelligencia", to quote President Barack Obama on the cost of Obamacare, 

"Now, I just want to repeat this because there's so much misinformation about the cost issue here.  You talk to every health care economist out there and they will tell you that whatever ideas are -- whatever ideas exist in terms of bending the cost curve and starting to reduce costs for families, businesses, and government, those elements are in this bill."




BEA = Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Apologists for the President on this issue will argue that because The Affordable Health Care Act, aka Obamacare provides health care for an addition 33 million people, he gets it half right.

Except that the number is now closer to 17 million ..... rounding up ..... maybe.

That's all for today, I've been summoned from on high to appear elsewhere. Maybe we'll chase these numbers around some next time. 


The Chapwood Index

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 03/20/2016 - 19:01

I've been going on for sometime about what I view to be the cynically dishonest calculation for the headline unemployment number, otherwise known as U3. Which number only the most blatant of our government's paid shills in the press and the most willfully ignorant of both left and right wing partisans are able to tout without cringing.

This morning we'll look into what I view to be the equally dishonest inflation numbers being offered up as factual by the Federal Government's Bureau of Labor Statics or BLS and worse yet supposedly beiing used to drive monetary policy at the Federal Reserve.

Ed Butowsky, managing partner for Chapwood Equities has developed his own method for calculating the rate of inflation and has compiled it into "The Chapwood Index".

That's Ed over there on the right.

Click on the image below for a trip to the Chapwood Index.

Here's a short history of the CPI as seen by Mr. Butowsky.

"In 1983, the government CPI rose roughly 12% and the government modified the CPI calculation to save money. In order to save money on salary increases and entitlement benefits, which are tied to CPI, the government changed their calculation of the CPI to reflect a much lower number.

The statistic underwent another reconfiguration in 1995/96 with the Boskin Commission. These changes made the CPI an even worse indication of the real cost of living increase.

It is estimated that between 1996 and 2006, this reconfiguration of the CPI saved the US government over $680 billion.

Since then, the government has been artificially deflating the CPI to keep figures as low as possible. The readings you see published today no longer represent the real out of pocket expenditures incurred by most Americans.

The government’s baseline CPI measure excludes items such as taxes, energy, and food; which are not only necessities, but also often a majority of our daily expenditures.

The CPI increase from 2008-2012 was a total of 10.2%, but our research has found that for many cities, the cost of living increase was more than that in 2012 alone.  The increase was slightly more in 2013."

... and furthermore ...

"While the CPI was originally a measure to evaluate a pre-defined, consistently weighted basket of goods, over time, the basket of goods grew to an unreasonable 80,000+ items, muting dramatic price changes in common goods and services.By adding too many layers of complexity and algorithms you lose the organic, real results in a muddled mix of diluted data.

Perhaps more dangerous have been the changes in the way the CPI is calculated and consistent manipulated to keep government expenditures down and mislead the public with misinformation."

I'm not entirely sure about the bolded sentence above. Among the reasons I am not entirely sure about the bolded sentence above is that having actually gone over to the Bureau of Labor Statistics site in an effort to figure out just exactly what the hell they are doing to come up with their rate of inflation, I run into a lot of stuff like this,  or this.  Then there's this,  and of course, that. 

Actually I read most of what BLS offers on the subject and came away from the experience with the distinct impression that on this particular subject, there is a sincere desire on the part of the Bureau of Labor Stastics to baffle with bullshit.

Just sayin'.

Anyway, I give creedence to Mr. Butowsky's method on the basis that it makes sense to me when he explains it in plain English.

The Chapwood Index reflects the true cost-of-living increase in America. Updated and released twice a year, it reports the unadjusted actual cost and price fluctuation of the top 500 items on which Americans spend their after-tax dollars in the 50 largest cities in the nation.

It exposes why middle-class Americans — salaried workers who are given routine pay hikes and retirees who depend on annual increases in their corporate pension and Social Security payments — can’t maintain their standard of living. Plainly and simply, the Index shows that their income can’t keep up with their expenses, and it explains why they increasingly have to turn to the government for entitlements to bail them out.

It’s because salary and benefit increases are pegged to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which for more than a century has purported to reflect the fluctuation in prices for a typical “basket of goods” in American cities — but which actually hasn’t done that for more than 30 years.

The middle class has seen its purchasing power decline dramatically in the last three decades, forcing more and more people to seek entitlements when their savings are gone. And as long as pay raises and benefit increases are tied to a false CPI, this trend will continue.

The myth that the CPI represents the increase in our cost of living is why the Chapwood Index was created. What differentiates it from the CPI is simple, but critically important. The Chapwood Index:

Reports the actual price increase of the 500 items on which most Americans spend their after-tax money. No gimmicks, no alterations, no seasonal adjustments; just real prices.

Shines a spotlight on the inaccuracy of the CPI, which is destroying the economic and emotional fiber of our country.

Shows how our dependence on the CPI is killing our middle class and why citizens increasingly are depending upon government entitlement programs to bail them out.

Claims to persuade Americans to become better-educated consumers and to take control of their spending habits and personal finances.


Again, click on the spreadsheet above for some plain English regarding the increase in the cost of living across 50 or so American cities.


Sometimes A Map Along With An Occasional Chart Is All You Need

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 03/20/2016 - 10:18


I'm just wandering around some this morning, asking myself questions.

So, for lack of a better idea to be perfectly honest about it, let's start here.

As always, you can click on any of the maps below to go to the source material.

This map shows Federal government spending as a percentage of total state GDP for the years 2004-2013.


As you would expect, Virginia benefits mightily from Federal government spending as it surrounds the nation's capital.. Answers to questions regarding New Mexico and Mississippi show up below.

The following provides twenty year cumulative totals of taxes paid into the Federal government as compared to Federal spending received. Surplus, in this conversation means that green states are paying more into the federal government than they are receiving in returned government spending.


Nearly 2/3 of Federal spending went to benefit payments for individuals.

You can read just about the exact same thing below, I'm not really clicking yet this morning.


As for the growth in government spending from 2004-13 ....


I hit this one a couple weeks ago, but I do believe it to be one of the two most important issues facing America today, so ..... I hit it again.



As you would fully expect.


I'm about out of time for today, but going back one conversation .....


I'm thinking we need to step up our defense of the Canadian border.


I'd like to be offering a whizbang solution or failing that, some conclusion for all of the above this morning, but ..... evidently ..... no.

I'm just thinking.

As an aside, that's just a real good looking horse going around there, I don't care what anybody says.


Goofing Off On A Saturday Morning

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 02/20/2016 - 08:21


The motor is running slow this morning. So I'm goofing off watching video, lacking the energy even to sit and read.

The first is Colonels Shining Gun, a very nice reining stallion that recently came back to the States from Europe. I'll probably be sending a mare to this stud next year.


This next one is Special Nu Baby tying the all time record for the highest score ever recorded in a cutting horse contest, marking a 234.

Punch it out to about 52 seconds, there's a bunch of nothing going on before that.

Pretty spectacular stuff if you ask me.


Sometimes a chart or two, maybe some maps are all you need

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 08/23/2014 - 09:48


Our last post of charts was probably our all-timer for calls.

Probably/mostly because the posting around here has been less than haphazard for a good long while.

Some of you were worried that I had gone out and got me a job.

Like somebody's gonna hire me.

Anyway ..... we continue. 

As always clicking the image will mostly take you to the source article from which it was taken.


On that military gear coming to a county near you thing .....


I'll post it again despite it being just a post or two below mostly because I think it matters.

One outcome is predictable.



The above was taken from an economist piece that concludes, "This is not because they are trigger-happy but because they are nervous. The citizens they encounter have perhaps 300m guns between them, so a cop never knows whether the hand in a suspect’s pocket is gripping a Glock.

I don't disagree.

The ignored issue here is the fact that the citizenry is equally nervous, as the following is the image that Cops are aggressively projecting to the American people on a daily basis.



Why the facemasks?

Here are two other reasonable questions.




The Economist also doesn't care much to consider this next issue.


I'm not relying much on the Economist's numbers on "Death by Police Shootings" for perfect accuracy as I wish there was better sourcing.

As an aside, I frequently come away from The Economist with that same thought ... but I digress.

I mostly believe it though because of this.







If you go through all the numbers in the linked pieces above, they don't always add up real well as these charts come from different years and sources, but the message holds regardless of the details.

Compared to any other country in the world, we put an extraordinary number of people in prison relative to our population.

Your intuition is correct however as high incarceration rates have led to a reduction in crime ..... at least on the outside.

I linked all of the charts below to the same University of Chicago research paper which offers it's own batch of charts as I thought it was the best thing out there.




Lying Al Sharpton among others will tell you that America's criminal justice system is racist because Black and Hispanic People are significantly more likely to run afoul of the law than are White People.

He is absolutely right about that second part.


Maybe not so much there on that first part.

The following statistics are taken from the 2005 edition of The Color of Crime by Jared Taylor.

Apologies for making you read, but I found the following summary to be significantly better than any five charts I could assemble.

Click anywhere below to link up to the entire work.


The Color of Crime

Race, Crime, and Justice in America — Second, Expanded Edition, 2005

Major Findings: 

Police and the justice system are not biased against minorities.

Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery.

When blacks commit crimes of violence, they are nearly three times more likely than non-blacks to use a gun, and more than twice as likely to use a knife.

Hispanics commit violent crimes at roughly three times the white rate, and Asians commit violent crimes at about one quarter the white rate.

The single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of the population that is black and Hispanic.

Interracial Crime

Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.

Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Forty-five percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are black, and 10 percent are Hispanic. When whites commit violent crime, only three percent of their victims are black.

Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.

Blacks are 2.25 times more likely to commit officially-designated hate crimes against whites than vice versa.


Only 10 percent of youth gang members are white.

Hispanics are 19 times more likely than whites to be members of youth gangs. Blacks are 15 times more likely, and Asians are nine times more likely.


Between 1980 and 2003 the US incarceration rate more than tripled, from 139 to 482 per 100,000, and the number of prisoners increased from 320,000 to 1.39 million.

Blacks are seven times more likely to be in prison than whites. Hispanics are three times more likely.


If you want our opinion ..... even if you don't ..... issues having to do with incarceration rates, exploding prison population, prison safety and busted budgets at every level of government can all be traced to one pervasive public policy mistake.








Although ...


That was 1997,  I would guess it's not much different now, but I dunno.

I'd love to do more, but I was just informed that I gotta clean the basement for a party.

As an aside ...


That's all for today.


Charts and stuff on a Saturday morning

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 03/16/2013 - 07:37


Apologies again for being slow posting.

We've been deep thinking.

We've posted this one before in a different format and couldn't find it, so here it is again,

From Good Infographics, The Almighty Dollar Mapping Income Distribution By Religious Belief.

As always, you can click on the graphic below for a full screen image.



After top level bankers and CEOs of international corporations, the best faith to be practicing in America lately of course is government worship, as it's priests and accolytes are among the highest paid faithful in the nation.




From the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, America is #2 (not 32 as incorrectily posted previously ... thanks Carolyn) in K-12 spending per student as compared with the other nations making up the Orgaization of Economic Development and Cooperation.


While student performance continues to lag.



The argument in America from teachers unions is that lower class sizes will improve results.

Maybe not so much.

Click on the chart below for a thoughtful bit of work from Financial



As an aside, we think that issues having to do with K-12 education have far more to do with failing families than they do with failing schools.

Things gets worse as we consider the costs and performance of the fine colleges and universities of our fair land.

Again, from Financial here's an inflation comparison of College Fees and Tuitions, Medical Care, Cost of a New Car, Food and Energy.



Students are paying for wildly inflated college costs by going into debt and are subsequently defaulting in huge numbers.

Student debt by the way is typically not discharged in bankruptcy.



Why are they defaulting, you might ask?

Increasingly, despite what the Powers That Be keep telling you, college ain't worth the money.



Speaking of college.



Everybody hates lobbyists, lying politicians excluded, and probably rightfully so.

Among the reasons that schools at all levels are killing us with costs while failing at their job is the $1.2 Billion dollars the education lobby has showered on public bodies since 1998.

Which of course pales in comparison to the $5.3 Billion Pharma/Healthcare etc. has shelled out on the same public bodies, which should serve as an explanation as to why our healthcare system and Obamacare have both turned out to be such ....... what is the word I am looking for here? ....... abortions.



Speaking of Lobbying, from money spent on public assemblies is the single greatest investment one can possibly make ..... probably of all time.



You may ask yourself, why is it that lobbying the government is such a great business?

That's where the money is.



That's all for today.

Happy TD?


You want maps? We got em.

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 03/03/2013 - 11:50


We've had some complaints.

No maps or charts for far too long.

It's true, we've been remiss mostly because maps and charts involve doing work, and we haven't been all that keen on doing work lately.

So ..... ok.

We begin with some old stuff.

Here are county by county election results for the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.

The "mandate" Democrats want everyone to believe they have is for the most part limited to urban communities which as you will see below, have been and continue to grow.





Republicans have been methodically taking control of state governments lately.



Americans continue to get fatter, but then so does everybody else who keeps tabs on such things.




"Subjective Well Being" seems to be fair to middling with the exception of Russia, large swaths of Africa and of course, Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq where seemingly nobody gives a rat's patootie one way or the other.



We particularly liked the part in this piece about the prominent UK politician who argued that "It’s time we admitted that there’s more to life than money, and it’s time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB – general well-being."  

Your habitually cynical Uncle Roany is of the opinion that there can be no finer goal for a politician than one that can't possible by measured.

The links to the map sources at have broken which was a disappointment as when we first went through them we thought the criteria to be even more obtuse than we had originally guessed it might be.  

Still, we thought it was an excercise worth attempting and we remain pretty sure that happier is better.

This next one from the CIA's World Factbook is also a bit tricky as it maps the percentage of a nation's population living below the poverty line of that nation.  It comes with the following qualifier,

"National estimates of the percentage of the population falling below the poverty line are based on surveys of sub-groups, with the results weighted by the number of people in each group. Definitions of poverty vary considerably among nations. For example, rich nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poor nations."



The following is The Fraser Institute's Freedom of the World 2007 map. I couldn't pull the 2012 map from the site for some reason.  It's not like much has changed except for the U.S. going backwards.  Click on the map below for the entire report for which the criteria is somewhat less obtuse than that behind the "Subjective Well Being" map above.



A very simple explanation of global economics is next.

Apologies for the fuzzy text.




Here's a different kind of map.

Unicef's An Urban World offers percentages of each individuals country living in town.

Click on the map for a quick and informative presentation.



Speaking of the world, it is for the most part opposed to the Obama Administration's fondness for killing people via missile attacks launched from drone aircraft.




Americans are slowly coming around to a similar line of thinking.

Slowly being the operative word.




As financial costs and freedoms lost continue to add up.




Government spending continues to climb regardless of Administration.



The silliness of President Obama regarding his tax and fiscal policies can be demonstrated in the following two charts.



A high percentage of Americans pay no taxes at all and over half of U.S. households are now "on the dole" for at least a part of their income.

Middle class or former middle class households have been pouring onto U.S. entitlement roles adding to deficits and crowding out the poor in a scramble for benefits.






When they tell you that wages are in decline, they ain't kidding.



Almost finally, the Fibonacci number or ratio sometimes known as the "Golden Ratio" is forever showing up all around you.  

Among the better examples of it appearing in nature are shells.




In mathematics, Fibonacci numbers, Fibonacci series or Fibonacci sequence are numbers in the following sequence.

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89 ......

Where the first two numbers in the Fibonacci sequence are 0 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two.

Or by formula Xn  =  X n -1 + X n-2.  

Got that?

 It doesn't matter.  Here's what it looks like.




Anyway, Fbonacci showed up again just recently off the coast of New York as Hurricane Sandy.




And finally, speaking of blowing hard.

From Investech Research via Zero Hedge, here's a series of comments from National Association of Realtors spokesman and Chief Economist David Lereah plotted on a chart of housing prices.

Remember this chart the next time one of the talking dolls at CNN/MSNBC or anywhere else for that matter start talking about the housing recovery.





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