The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 22, 2020

A discovery made by a geology professor turned out to be a bigger deal than he could have imagined. He stumbled upon the oldest vertebrate fossil tracks ever found at Grand Canyon National Park — about 313 million years old. They are among the oldest tracks on Earth of shelled-egg-laying animals, such as reptiles, and the earliest evidence of vertebrate animals walking in sand dunes. (CNN)

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 22, 2020

• • •

MLB play of the week…

The Phillie Phanatic shows off the foul ball he caught among the cardboard cutouts of fans during a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets on Aug. 16 in Philadelphia. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

It’s been too long since I’ve heard such eloquence spoken in a political context…

So what do we do now? What’s our strategy? Over the past four years, a lot of people have asked me, “When others are going so low, does going high still really work?” My answer: going high is the only thing that works, because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that’s drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves. We degrade the very causes for which we fight.

But let’s be clear: going high does not mean putting on a smile and saying nice things when confronted by viciousness and cruelty. Going high means taking the harder path. It means scraping and clawing our way to that mountain top. Going high means standing fierce against hatred while remembering that we are one nation under God, and if we want to survive, we’ve got to find a way to live together and work together across our differences.

And going high means unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with the only thing that can truly set us free: the cold hard truth.

Michelle Obama, Aug. 17, 2020

The latest in micturation technology…

To combat the problem of public urination, Amsterdam has installed 8 hemp-filled, sustainable urinals in the city’s “wild peeing” hotspots. The urinals — called GreenPees — look like traditional planters, with greenery sprouting from the top. Look more closely and you’ll notice an opening in the side. This is the target zone for urination. GreenPee is manufactured by Dutch company Urban Senses, and there are now a total of 12 of them in the city. (CNN)
The idea of using a public bathroom with see-through walls may sound like the stuff of nightmares. But a famous Japanese architect is hoping to change that view, using vibrant colors and new technology to make restrooms in Tokyo parks more inviting. “There are two things we worry about when entering a public restroom, especially those located at a park,” according to architect Shigeru Ban’s firm. “The first is cleanliness, and the second is whether anyone is inside.” Transparent walls can address both of those worries, Ban says, by showing people what awaits them inside. After users enter the restroom and lock the door, the powder room’s walls turn a powdery pastel shade — and are no longer see-through. (Satoshi Nagare/The Nippon Foundation)

Who knew?

One of the most important revelations the nation received this week was that calamari is the official appetizer of the state of Rhode Island. By the way — WHAT DO YOU CALL A JAMAICAN SQUID? (Cala Marley)

100 years ago…a historic vote for suffrage…

In 1913, the day before President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, thousands of suffragists descended on Washington for the Woman Suffrage Procession, organized by Paul and Burns for NAWSA. Inez Milholland, a 26-year-old suffragist, led the parade on horseback. Three years later, she would collapse while giving a speech in Los Angeles and die shortly thereafter. Her last public words were reportedly, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?” (Library of Congress)
Ken Florey Suffrage Collection/Gado/Getty Images

This week marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee legislators voted in favor 50-46 to put the amendment over the line.

Winning the vote was a long and complex process. The New York Times has an excellent piece called Suffrage at 100: A Visual History at 100 that gives a photographic overview of the battle.

One of the interesting photos reminds us that winning the vote involved a hard-fought culture war then too:

“Counterintuitive though it may seem, there were women who actively opposed the suffrage movement. Some argued that having the vote would make women masculine, disrupt their traditional roles as wives and mothers and destroy American society. Their fears were illustrated in this cartoon by Laura Foster, published by an anti-suffrage group in 1915.”

A different kind of faith message at the DNC…

Senator Chris Coons speaks at the Democratic Convention.

From Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons at RNS:

“People of faith have long led change, from abolition and women’s suffrage to the labor movement and the struggle for civil rights,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, Thursday night (Aug. 20) during his address to the Democratic National Convention. “Joe Biden will continue that progressive march towards justice, inspired by respect for the dignity of all people, people Joe believes were made in the image of God.”

Coons, a Yale Divinity School graduate and an ordained Presbyterian elder, delivered the most faith-focused message of the convention.

…The past four days have emphasized the Democratic Party’s commitment to religious outreach and that has the potential to transform all of American politics.

…Jill Biden said her husband’s “faith is unshakable — because it’s not in politicians or political parties — or even himself. It’s in the providence of God.”

In addition to highlighting Joe Biden’s personal faith, the convention emphasized the role of religion in the Democratic Party. A diverse group of faith leaders — including Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox clergy — were invited to pray at the convention, including Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

…The convention held an interfaith service and Catholic Mass. And earlier Thursday, I spoke at a “Believers for Biden” virtual convention watch party with actress Jennifer Garner. My message was simple: The religious diversity of the Democratic Party is a cause of celebration.

Seventy-one percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners identify with a religious tradition, according to Pew Research Center. Yet we rarely hear about the religious diversity of the party or our leaders. The embrace of religion spans the ideological spectrum of the party, from U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and former President Barack Obama. Obama has been speaking eloquently about his Christian faith as far back as 2004, when he delivered his history-making address at that year’s Democratic National Convention.

For too long, an imbalance of public discourse about the role of religion in each party has led to a warped perception that the GOP is the party of God. The idea Republicans have a lock on God heightens political polarization and erases a key motivation of progressive politics.

Goodbye and good luck…

50 years ago…remembering a historic break-up…

The Beatles play their famous goodbye concert on the roof of their Apple headquarters in London, the final performance of their career: January 30, 1969

Paul has to chuckle, thinking about how future generations will look back at this — the Beatles, the greatest of all rock & roll bands, the world’s most legendary creative team, falling apart over such a trivial spat. Even on a winter morning as gloomy as this one, Paul breaks into a laugh.

“It’s gonna be such an incredible sort of comical thing, like in 50 years’ time, you know. ‘They broke up because Yoko sat on an amp!’ ”

Rolling Stone has a fascinating article on the Beatles’ break-up, called And In the End, with the byline: “Fifty years ago, the Beatles went through rock’s most famous breakup. Inside the heartbreak, the brotherhood, and why the music still matters.”

But as with most Beatles stories, the truth is a lot more complicated when you look closely. In the end, it’s really a story about four friends trying to hold on to one another in dark and confusing times — searching for a way to shine on till tomorrow. Like everybody else, John, Paul, George, and Ringo witnessed the end of the Beatles with shock and disbelief, no idea how to apply the brakes. None of them really imagined this was the end.

Now here’s a feel-good story…

Brayden Harrington, age 13, was a highlight of the Democratic Convention this week. He told about his problem of stuttering and how Joe Biden, who also battled stuttering, helped him overcome it. Our own Internet Monk, Michael Spencer, faced this challenge too: Read Remember the Stutterer.

August Gardens
Henry H. Bellamann

Failing petals and dusty leaves
And drooping flower-heads,
Beneath unpitying skies
Unpromising of cloud or change—
Yet some faint life still moves
In your pale veins;
Some dumb, unknowing courage
Meets each day’s mocking sun.

How you keep faith with wind and rain!

I watch you in your silence,
Touch your curled tendrils;
While my tired eyes
Search heaven for promise
Or for change.

Can you know in your dim nerves
The touch of one who waits, like you,
And still keeps faith with God,
As you keep faith with wind and rain?

43 years ago…Long live the King! The King is dead.

Crowds wait outside Graceland mansion before the gates are opened for the public to view Elvis Presley’s body on Aug. 17, 1977.

On August 16, 1977, at the age of 42 Elvis Presley was found by his girlfriend, Ginger Alden, lying unconscious on the floor of the master suite bathroom in his mansion in Memphis, Graceland. He was taken by ambulance to the Baptist Memorial Hospital and, after attempts to revive him failed, was pronounced dead at 3:30 pm. Like many other stars of his era, Elvis’s death was the result of drug abuse, confirmed by the toxicology report after his death. However, this was hidden from the public at first, the original report saying that he died of cardiac arrest.

According to charges filed against his physician, Dr. George Nichopoulos, in 1980, in the last 20 months of Elvis’s life, the star was prescribed over 12,000 pills and other pharmaceuticals and carried three suitcases of the drugs with him when he traveled.

182 thoughts on “The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 22, 2020

  1. Same, Clay. The more I hear the Beatles, the more I like the Stones. But Abbey Road pretty much kept me from suicide. I’d come home from church or work, play through side 1, and let the grungy ending of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” gather up my darkness in its repetitions. Then I’d flip the record and end up listening to side 2 four or five times in a row. It did for me what sermons, prayers and soul-winning couldn’t do.


  2. Limbaugh in his very early days was both informative and witty. But he has not been that way in very long time. I haven’t listened to him in 20 years or so. All I can say now is I hope enjoys his 30 pieces of silver (correction: Presidential Medal of Freedom) for selling out conservatism while he can. He will be buried with it before too ling


  3. Speaking of fruits, Jerry Falwell, Jr has resigned from LU. Apparently the news that he, his wife, and the pool boy were doing the bull and cuck action with Junior watching the pool boy have sex with Junior’s wife came out. And the fact that the reason he endorsed Trump back in 2016 was part of the deal to get photos of this action back from fixer lawyer Michael Cohen:


  4. Lincoln Project videos have already triggered hours-long Presidential Twitter Tantrums.


  5. Eagle’s regular Trump-fanatic troll (a DEVOUT CHRISTIAN from all his barrages of SCRIPTURE proof texts) has said flat-out that “The Only Issue in This Election is LAW AND ORDER”.

    “”Then they will call upon The Strong Man. And The Strong Man will come.”
    — Demon-possession voice at the climax of a pre-Peretti spiritual warfare novel by a “Carol Balizet” (do not remember the title after 50 years; this was the climax of the Demon bragging about how “We have made chaos and…”)


  6. Am I supposed to feel sorry for Limbaugh for losing his hearing because he was a pill-popping opiod criminal or because he got cancer for smoking cigars daily for 40 years?


  7. In many ways Trump is a reproach on the American church and the all the Trumpista posers that taken the MAGA-MoB have been exposed.


  8. The Lincoln Project is living inside of Trump’s head. They must a full detailed psychological profile of Trump and it is driving him crazy….


  9. I know industrial hemp isn’t pot. It was bred for maximum fiber strength in the stems instead of maximum THC in the leaves.

    But do the local RL Cheech & Chongs know that?

    Many years ago, I heard about an old widow who had opium poppies in her flowerbeds — she’d been sent the seeds, didn’t know what they were, and liked the flowers. After the legal hassle settled and word got around, the cops decided to stake out her house. And hit jackpot — one night, some guys pulled up to her house and started ripping the poppy plants out of the ground and stuffing them in their car trunk. Like something out of Cheech & Chong or Fabulous Furry Freak Bros.

    After that (and the YouTube videos about smoking and/or vaping crushed Carolina Reapers), I would not put it beyond stoners to bong-rip industrial hemp.

    P.S. Remember “bananadine” back in the Sixties?


  10. They can only see God as raw POWER.
    POWER that they can rub off onto themselves.
    Like Tabaqui the Jackal sucking up to Shere Khan.


  11. You should see clips from ‘The Lincoln Project’ . . . .

    Like this preview of Nov 3?

    “We’re gonna have everything. We’re gonna have sheriffs and we’re gonna have law enforcement and we’re going to have, hopefully, US attorneys, and we’re going to have everybody, and attorney generals.”

    Trump made the comments in response to a question from Hannity about whether he plans to employ poll watchers on Nov. 3.


  12. They’re already celebrating their October Surprise and November VICTORY.
    (And sharpening their Long Knives for the Night afterwards.)


  13. I see there was a battle between antifa/BLM and right-wing reactionaries in Portland yesterday. Fortunately no shots were fired, no one killed. The closer the election gets, the more violent these will become, and the “chaos monster” will encourage that.


  14. Just look at the ROs and Tsar Putin.
    The Two Pillars of Society: “Autocracy and Serfdom.”
    As long as Orthodoxy gets to be The State Religion.


  15. And since The Deep State is so Vast and so EVIL, it justifies Any Means Necessary to uproot and annihilate it. Any. Means. Whatsoever.


  16. Hemp 7s3d for agricultural purposes isn’t really something you can get high on. It’s more likely to cause a headache

    Besides, you can’t smoke or vape anything that’s newly picked. It has to be allowed to dry out 1st. (By “vape,” I’m not referring to the sort of thing that requires cartridges, just a heating element that can cause material to emit vapor without combustion.)

    I think local people would laugh at the idea of smoking what’s known as “ditchweed” in some parts of the US, especially given the availability of far better herbs at coffee shops there.


  17. Mike, i think he will continue doing that regardless, in order to undermine the credibility of Biden and Harris, and as a continuing spur to his most rabid base, who believe him implicitly.

    Plus, he can do an awful lot of damage between early Nov.-mid-Jan. So can his crew.

    It’s ominous.


  18. Amsterdam has installed 8 hemp-filled, sustainable urinals in the city’s “wild peeing” hotspots.

    Depending on the neighborhood of Amsterdam, how do they keep the hemp fill from getting stolen and smoked?

    “Wild peeing hotspots” — gotta remember that!


  19. “Pay attention boys and girls this IS what ROCK & ROLL looks like, this IS what ROCK & ROLL sounds like, this IS what ROCK & ROLL SMELLS LIKE AND SHOULD ALWAYS BE!!”


  20. Thanks, Klasie. “The Judeo-Christian consensus” involved very little consensus on the part of Jews.


  21. Wasn’t it the monkey who thwaked the young lion king in the head who then asked, “what was that for??” and the monkey replied, “doesn’t matter, it’s in the past.” ?


  22. The political Duopoly drives the litmus test mentality. My voting history is likely much the same as Dana’s. Having been reared as a Cactus Conservative and voting Perot in ’92 because the 1st Bush was much to liberal I subsequently never voted for a Duopoly presidential candidate until Obama. At this point I would NEVER vote for a so-called ?epublican. At least the ?emocrats demonstrate some semblance of caring and legislating for the needs and welfare of those other than the upper 5%.

    Our system weakness is that it encourages the political Duopoly thus polarization. A parliamentary system would encourage coalition building among numerous parties, thus folks like Dana and I would be more likely of finding a political home.


  23. Now he’s accusing the FDA of Deep State complicity in slowing down trials for a vaccine. Of course, the FDA is not slowing down trials, just following procedure, but in the age of Trump following procedure = Deep State complicity.


  24. And when we DO get a COVID-19 vaccine, will it be distributed only on the basis of LOYALTY, LOYALTY, LOYALTY?


  25. All this is not just paranoia anymore. It can happen, and we need to prepare at least psychologically for that possibility.


  26. I hate to sound dismal, but i think we need to be prepared for DJT to refuse to leave the White House, to declare himself “president for life,” and/or some other, related actions.

    From Twitter-calls to the Base for “Second Amendment Solution” armed uprising, to declaring National Emerrgency and Martial Law, to deliberate scorched-earth sabotage between Election Day and Inauguration Day, to nuclear arm-and-launch just out of spite.

    In any case, the Christians will chorus “AAAAAAA-MENNNNNN!!!”


  27. I’ve looked at several fact-check sites, and you’re right, Christiane, the policy was not the same. Separations happened, but the Trump policy of referring all undocumented immigrants for criminal prosecution resulted in near universal separation of children from parents. I stand corrected.


  28. A few weeks ago, a tiny handful of Black Lives Matter protesters had a peaceful demonstration in a little town south of me (all towns here are small), and a posse of armed militia showed up, with assault rifles.

    Are they going to be the promised polling place guards for Election Day.

    “And there never was another election, of course.”
    — Robert Heinlien, regarding the election of Reverend Nehemaih Scudder as POTUS in the early 21st Century of his Future History series


  29. And remember the original IMonk covering the predecessor of and setup for Christian Trumpism:
    The Limbaughization of Evangelicals

    You can make a case that Rush Limbaugh and other “right wing shock jocks” acted as John the Baptists and Elijahs for Trumpus Christus. Just add Entropy over 30 years, then unveil the Messiah who’s more shock-jock than the shock-jocks. Overripe Limaugh-ized Christians ready and waiting to Take The Mark.


  30. Robert, the inhumanity of separating babies from their mothers’ arms and putting the babies and toddlers into sub-standard care was NOT a policy of Obama. That came from the intense right wing movement to paint asylum seekers in the worst way and stir up hatred against them and your primary culprit there is Steven Miller.

    The right wing attempted to justify the abuse of those families by saying that ‘Obama did it too’ but think about it for a moment.

    In Obama’s policies regarding asylum seekers and DACA people, was there EVER any malevolence shown towards mothers with babies in their arms?

    Check out Stephen Miller. Be prepared to get sick to your stomach at the degree of hatred expressed by that man. Check out the history of Breitbart also. The fear-mongering of ‘caravans coming north to invade the USA’ was not done by the Dems, no.


  31. Before the current hate stew of social media, there were the daily ala carte offerings of outrage and venom offered up by right wing media shock jocks like Rush. His schtick is so old it’s putrid.


  32. I was also a big Dylan fan. He seemed to have much more to listen to, musically and in his lyrics, than the later Beatles LPs.


  33. Clay, Rick is about my age, i believe – definitely of the same generation, certainly, although i was in grade school when the Beatles played at Shea Stadium.

    Iirc, i preferred a lot of the Stones’ earlier albums, though i loved Sgt. Pepper, too.

    One thing that messed with my appreciation for the post-Sgt. Pepper LPs was that idoiocy about backwa4d masking on “I am the Walrus.” The “Paul is dead” foolishness. Although i do think it’s kind of sad that there aren’t extras on the CD releases of albums like Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced,” with the snippets of backward masking from songs like “Third Stone from the Sun.”


  34. Of course, I agree, Robert. But I certainly hope that, if Biden wins, the noise will gradually lessen and there will be a much lower level of frenzy and agitation like that generated by our current tweeter and chaos monster in chief.


  35. Rick, if you live long enough, you’ll become cynical, too. All those screaming teenage girl at Shea Stadium? Please.

    Now, when Grand Funk Railroad played at Shea, that was a concert!


  36. Turning away from politics or political discussions will not be possible for the engaged Christian, that’s for sure, numo. The election, even if it unseats Trump, will not be the end of our troubles.


  37. Yes. This. The fact that Graham and a large number of evangelicals could not see God in the compassion, unity, genuineness and empathy and call to high purpose that ran throughout so many of the convention’s speeches tells me a whole lot about the god that much of evangelicalism actually worships.


  38. Robert – same.

    My professional training, as a historian, does play a big part for me, even though i haven’t worn that hat in years. At least, not in a job or other public whatever.

    But it’s my inclination, regardless, and would be if i hadn’t gotten the education i chose.


  39. But Christiane, from what I understand, Obama was doing the same stuff. It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. It should’ve been vocally exposed and condemned then by the same people and groups that are exposing and condemning it now (although we’re not hearing much about it right at the present), but I’m afraid many let Obama skate on the same things they are (or were) rightly holding Trump’s feet to the fire for.


  40. No, they would have continued to pretend that Tel Aviv is the capital of a responsible sovereign state like other sovereign states on the planet. In reality, Jerusalem is the capital of the ethnostate of Eretz Yisrael. It is also the capital of Cisjordania, the secular constitutional monarchy that exists entirely in my imagination


  41. Rick, i think it’s not cynicism, but personal taste.

    After Yellow Submarine came out, that was it for me. I never really cared for either Abbey Road or the White Album, although i love certain cuts from both.

    My attention shifted to soul, R&B, etc. Like Stevie Wonder’s string of brilliant albums from the early-mid 70s, culminating in Songs in the Key of Life. Also Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and many others from the folk and rock worlds who branched out on their own, along with people who died before they reached their creative oeak (Hendrix, for one), groups like Sly and the Family Stone, P-Funk, etc.

    The Beatles had their day, but music and culture were changing, as were the Beatles themselves.
    They were smart to break up when they did, and pursue their own projects. The McCartney gig you went to nrver would have happened if the group hadn’t called it quits.

    Like the title of George’s boxed set says, all things must pass.


  42. I’m totally in favor of the 1619 Project, and in general of revision of inaccurate and incomplete history for the purposes of addressing social problems today. We should not look away.


  43. Rick, i don’t think anyone is being cynical here. The Beatles * as a group* peaked, and then began to fade. All of them came a long, long way, artistically and personally, from their days playing at places like the Cavern Club, as well as Shea Stadium.

    All of them needed to pursue their individual careers. I mean, George’s “All Things Must Pass” came out, then Paul did some pretty brilliant things on his own, etc. While I’m not a huge fan of PM’s post-Beatles output, as it’s not my thing per taste, i cannot and will not deny that he soared after the Beatles broke up.

    It’s like Thomas Wolfe said: you can’t go home again. Because you’re an independent adult, basically.

    Every group has its inevitable decline. And few shone as brightly as the Beatles did, at their best.


  44. And by “individuals,” i mean women.

    Full stop.

    If the so-called pro-life crowd is really concerned about children, then why are they absent from the effot to curb/eliminate school shootings? ISTM that they ought to be in the front ranks on this, and yet…. :crickets:

    I could add other examples, but you folks get what I’m saying here.


  45. Christiane – YES

    I have yet to see so-called pro-lifers who are actively involved in child welfare issues.

    As Sr. Joan Chittester has stated more than a few times, they are actually pro-birth, not pro-life.

    When the rubber hits the road, they’re long gone. They abdicate all concern and moral responsibility for what they’ve done, no matter what part of the religious spectrum they come from.

    While i wish that abortion be the choice of last resort and thus rare, i believe it is up to individuals and their doctors to make that decision. I do not believe the government has a right to interfere with it on any level, safety excepted.



  46. Chaplain Mike, i sympathize – including your not wanting to write about politics if (I pray to God) Biden and Harris win.

    The thing is, if they do, their administration has the incredibly daunting task of attempting to restore all of the things that the current regime has destroyed within federal agencies, deal with the pandemic + associated financial crises + all the millions of us who have no jobs, no place to live, etc. – *and* trying to do all of the above on the domestic front with an incredibly polarized country.

    White supremacists and white supremacism aren’t going to politely disappear. I mean, things were horrendous when we were kids, but i think they’re *much* worse now.

    I am afraid we will end up in an actual shooting war right here, even if only in isolated places.

    A few weeks ago, a tiny handful of Black Lives Matter protesters had a peaceful demonstration in a little town south of me (all towns here are small), and a posse of armed militia showed up, with assault rifles.

    It is *not* safe to protest publicly in a locale like mine, and this area is similar to about 95% of our country’s landmass, i.e., it’s rural.

    There isn’t going to be any normal, graceful transition should Biden and Harris win, and my God, do they ever face a landslide of issues, foreign and domestic!

    I am, per
    Russian emigre writer Masha Gessen, one who thinks that Gessen’s advice to “believe the autocrat” is realistic and necessary. I hate to sound dismal, but i think we need to be prepared for DJT to refuse to leave the White House, to declare himself “president for life,” and/or some other, related actions.

    We are on the brink of either sanity or disaster, worse than anything we’ve ever seen, even if DJT concedes in the face of a Biden-Harris win.

    TBH, i doubt i will see the full restoration of all of the things DJT and crew, Stephen Miller in particular, have perveted and destroyed during the past 3+ years – meaning i doubt i will live long enough to see it all fixed. And i do anticipate sticking around for a while.

    Abandoning political posts and discussions isn’t (likely) going to be an option for anyone with a conscience.

    At least, that’s how i see it. YMMV, though.


  47. Considering his grandfather died in the Spanish Flu (1918) and his father Fred (“Mr Trump” in the Woody Guthrie song) used the life insurance payoffs to get into the NYC real estate business…

    (And Big Money Real Estate in NYC is a VERY dirty business.)


  48. From my time in an End-of-the-World CULT, it’s obvious:
    They have Taken The Mark – on both forehead AND right hand.
    And if you’ve read bad Book of Revelation fanfics (i.e. End Times novels), you know what happens when the 666 tat goes on. Instantly, Utterly, Fanatically LOYAL unto death and beyond.

    (Come to think of it, don’t MAGA hats “Mark your forehead”?)


  49. I will make a prediction. About a week from now the Evangelicals will be crowing about how great the Prez is and how great the RNC was.

    With “sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick” (Daniel 3:5).


  50. BTW: to reinforce the complete inability of the fundagelical crowd to understand/accept the faith expressed and demonstrated by many Democrats, here is an excerpt of Franklin Graham’s recent Facebook post:

    In watching some of the Democratic National Convention on television this week, it has been interesting to see the absence of God. I don’t believe America’s finest hours will be in front of us if we take God out of government and public life.


  51. ‘QAnon claims to be fighting for children, but the child sex-trafficking victims they speak for are exclusively in their heads. In fact, QAnoners not only ignore the real cases of sex trafficking that exist, which have nothing to do with their conspiracy theory, but get in the way of activists who fight the real problem by clogging up phone lines, confusing their fundraising efforts, and interfering with social media campaigns. And they certainly don’t give a damn about the real-life children that Donald Trump separated from their parents and stuffed in cages along the border.’


  52. what is the cut-off point for determining that something is History and not germane to the discussion,

    When it goes against MY Agenda, of course.


  53. the culprit for fanning the ‘doctrine’ of hurting the asylum seekers in this terrible way was that thirtyish ‘advisor’ to Trump . . . Stephen Miller . . . . not even Kerstin Nielsen was so on-fire for this extremism as was Miller.

    She caved. But the impetus for the venomous treatment of those asylum families was Miller, completely with Trump’s blessing, of course.


  54. ‘making kids a priority’? Evangelicals taking up the cry for abused children coming, not from ‘Save the Children’, which is a credible organization but from the ‘co-opted’ use of the issue by QAnon which has used other similar names to spread consipiracy theories lately, such as #saveourchildren and other ‘titles’ . . . of course many evangelicals are innocently pulled into the battle to prevent abuse to children and find themselves caught up in QAnon conspiracy theories in the process . . . some evangelicals are wise enough to know the ‘difference’ between legitimate organizations like ‘Save The Children’ and the QAnon co-opted tripe, but not all . . . some get caught up into what the FBI is now calling a possible domestic terrorist group . . .

    ‘the border children’ – silence? – BURRO, it was the silence that gave the go-ahead for worse treatment of children, such as ‘the virus is a HOAX, so send the kids back to school NOW and they won’t get sick’

    Silence? in the face of pulling babies out of their mothers’ arms?

    it breeds strange and terrible happenings-

    BURRO, beware of asking people to be silent over situations that are morally unconscionable, as some will be ‘cowed’ and ‘get quiet’;
    but then most who spoke out will just be encouraged to SCREAM EVEN LOUDER

    trust me on this 🙂

    take a look at THIS latest ploy from the far, far, far right:


  55. The Left is certainly using History to address contemporary racial injustice in just the way that Adam is criticizing, and using it very effectively.


  56. Okay, so you don’t care; that’s fine. “Constant” is a problem, I’ll admit, but I don’t think we’d have to bring up this particular bit of history if at least educated people remembered certain facts. I’m not talking at all about not addressing people’s challenges, or stalling to avoid finding amelioration for real problems. I’m saying that all of the things we recognize as civic goods have come out of the Judeo-Christian consensus, and there are too many people who are ignorant of that; or they have to make the point that you don’t have to be religious to be moral, therefore we don’t owe anything to any religious tradition. See Richard Beck’s recent post:

    As for Elitist, The 1619 Project is every bit as “you sit and listen to the wise Historian” as anything else.



  57. Honest question: what is the cut-off point for determining that something is History and not germane to the discussion, particularly the conversation of whether moral judgments are being rendered hypocritically or with double standards dependent on one’s political preferences? Obama’s administration was less than four years ago; the events we are talking about were less than ten years ago. If they are History, with regard to assessing double standards in judgment, then what isn’t?


  58. I wasn’t thinking of them. I was thinking of how some of the movement involved in the civil unrest in the last couple months is extreme, and seems to me to be growing in power and influence in Washington and the rest of the country. I know we probably disagree in this, and I admit I may well be wrong, but that’s my concern. That doesn’t mean I won’t be voting to unseat Trump in the election; in my estimation he’s the greater threat. But I see extremism growing on the Left, and some of it is violent and threatening.


  59. The media was definitely not as focused on detained children during the Obama administration as with Trump. It leads to the fair question of whether confirmation bias is involved in the neglect of the subject under the one president, and the focus on it under the other. And today, in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the detained children have seemingly fallen off of the face of the earth, insofar as media attention and political focus are concerned. Last year they mattered in the national consciousness, this year they don’t, they are indeed treated as History.


  60. > They have forgotten where classical Liberalism came from

    Well, I am a card-carrying Democrat. And, no, I have not forgotten.


    Civics is not a History Lesson; it is concerned with recognizing, prioritizing, and finding amelioration for ACTUAL PROBLEMS TODAY.

    The constant dragging people through History Lessons which never, ever, seem to come back around to addressing people’s challenges is (1) a convenient deflection that keeps the conversation stalled (2) Elitist [now, you, sit and listen to the wise Historian] (3) a reason people throw up their hands and walk away [because they also don’t care – they’ve got things to do].


  61. I must confess that I think that Obama was no better with regard to this than Trump. I remember reading a story or two about the detained children during Obama’s administration, but for the most part the silence was deafening then too, and not just on the part of evangelicals.


  62. Neither Biden nor Harris would’ve moved the American embassy to Jerusalem just to reward American evangelicals.


  63. well, in the sixties, when we first heard ‘The Mersey Sound’ with drummer Ringo Starr and those cute British ‘mop’ hairstyles on the four Beatles, and those ‘suits’ (yes, they wore ‘suits’), we American teens were all SO impressed. Our little transistor radios were constantly being tuned to the next Beatles hit and we all watched the Ed Sullivan show when the Beatles first played in this country, and my school friend Ella Fitzgerald took a picture of the television screen and we were so jealous of her ‘prize’ photo.

    It was the ‘drum beat’, strong and steady and something lyrical at times about the songs, something older than our own experience . . . traces of melodies from more ancient days, something from the mists of time in Britain which seems haunting in ways.

    It wasn’t all ‘cheesy’, no. You had to be there THEN to get the excitement the Brits brought to America with them and you had to be young then to understand, young enough to accept what was ‘new’ as is so true of all young people, this ability to adapt to a new sound and a new experience of ‘music’.

    Then came the other bands, and eventually the Stones, now iconic. And ‘old’.

    But still, when we older folks hear ‘the Mersey Beat’, something in us ‘remembers’ and that is not a bad thing, no.


  64. Can we please put the poor wounde border babies to rest? The company thar the BUSH DHS cotracted for this job does this to American kids on American soil. Obama and Trump both renewred the contract. They’re a worthless piece of dog feces, a particularly noisome part of the prison industrial complex. It became an issue under Trump because Trump. Ill concede he did nothing about bringing these bastards to heel and probably reduced the oversight, but why do we have to hear this all the time?

    If we gonna make kids a priority, can we start with the foster care system?


  65. I didn’t like much of the Beatles music until I was in my late teens/early twenties, in the late 1970s. But when I was younger, someone gifted me Abbey Road, and I did like that album from early on.


  66. I meant the Beatles as a group, not the individual solo work of the former Beatles. In fact, in one of my comments below I expressed appreciation for the solo work they did, and wondered if it would’ve happened had they remained in the Beatles.


  67. Not true. I saw McCartney in concert just a few years ago and it was awesome. A consummate entertainer. I’m guessing the Beatles, had they stayed together, would’ve been just as awesome.


  68. The Lincoln Project videos are almost brutal. They’re almost painful to watch, knowing that they have a targeted one viewer specifically, and are designed as psychological warfare against him.


  69. thing is, trump’s base can fill in their favorite ‘hate’ objects on that blank line, Tom, and there are plenty of them, too many

    I am still trying to work out how decent Christian evangelical people could fall into trumpism and into all of the crazy conspiracy theory propositions and do it so wholeheartedly.

    I KNOW these are good people. Something happened there. To them. I don’t understand it and I may never understand it, but I have seen evidence that trumpism has CHANGED some of them, in that they seem to have a greater tolerance for following trump even at the cost of human lives to covid-19;

    and that change upsets me more than anything. How on Earth did this happen to them. They were supposed to be so pro-life? This ‘idol’ comes along and demands complete ‘loyalty’, and people of faith CAVE???????

    I am and will always struggle to comprehend this. There are some evangelical folks I love and care about above all divisions, and my heart breaks for them. This trump-loyalty thing is not ‘who they are’. At least I know this. I am counting on them to recover their true identity in time. Maybe not by November, no, but certainly in time. Til then, I am grieving for something precious that was lost.


  70. Amen, Amen, Amen

    if only the fundamentalist-evangelical Church had risen to speak for the children . . . if only

    the silence was deafening


  71. ”I really hope some day that the Evangelicals that have supported him with not one word of criticism of anything he has done will at least be embarrassed. They will not be!”

    You cannot utter even the slightest critique of the Dear Leader as it would be immediately construed as opposition, prone to be used against him by all the enemies he sees everywhere. This is the absolute rule once you have willy-nilly subscribed to the cult of such a leader. Having grown up under one (i.e. on the ”nilly”), and also as a political scientist, I recognize the pattern very well. But it still makes me sad to have found it here in the US (i.e. on the ”willy”), especially among the Right and among people of faith.

    Now I see this is taking over the Left as well, the Dear Leader part having been effectively replaced, at least for the moment, by the political correctness, the anti-racism and such. This new cultist behavior is duly enforced by PC police (Bret Weinstein & Evergreen College comes immediately to mind).

    I expect the RNC next week to make tremendous hay of it, and we will see mentioned many examples of shutting down free discussion of ideas on campuses. Still what will be the most effective for Trump is a 2nd edition of Nixon 1968 ”law and order” campaign. And he cannot be blamed given the deafening silence of the Dems on the lawlessness in big cities, on the attacks on police etc. I expect many a rerun of images of Chicago stores looting, of assaults on police precincts in Portland, all with the compelling background of the large sign held a few days ago by Chicago protesters “Our future has been looted from us…loot back!”.

    Unless Biden & Harris offer more than a sound of chirping crickets, unless they start to actually stand up to misguided extremism and lawlessness, unless they forcefully distance themselves from the anarchy and the attacks on the police, they are taking the totally unwarranted risk of giving Trump a second mandate on a silver platter. The election is the Dems’ to lose.


  72. And I’m feeling like the practical Two-Party Monopoly of our political national reality has a strong tendency to empower and solidify the extremists on either end of the spectrum, and compels those who are not extremists and who do not like extremism to throw in with the extremists and extremism.


  73. Dana, I agree with much of what you say. The only reason I really care about much in politics right now is because of a passionate desire to oust Trump. I have never been a truly engaged political person, and if Biden wins, I will gladly give up talking and writing about political matters, satisfied simply to know that there is an adult and a decent person in the White House.


  74. Ripping children from their monthers’ breasts at the border and shipping their kids off in a way their parents will never be able to find them is enough “pro-life” for me.

    . . . and I could go on.

    The orange man is a sick one and must be defeated.


  75. I’m feeling marginalized about the possibility that my independent mail-in vote may be intentionally set aside in the Trump effort to suppress the votes of independents and Democrats. I’m well on the way to believing that whatever democratic mechanisms exist in our form of government nearly nothing, at least when it comes to the most powerful national offices and the most important issues.


  76. If the Beatles hadn’t broken up, would we ever had heard the many wonderful albums and/or songs they all produced as solo, post-Beatles artists? And I would put Ringo’s “It Don’t Come Easy” with the best at the top of that list so solo Beatles’ songs.


  77. Even on the couple occasions I ate it when it didn’t taste like rubber bands, it was nothing to write home about. Just another battered and fried food. I’d rather have some nice thin slices of fried eggplant, or even good onion rings.


  78. Headless Unicorn Guy and Burro (Mule),

    I must admit all those singing Elvis movies were pretty cheesy, but amusing and mindless entertainment What was the one were he was some sort son an oil company owner and was a singing chemist? That’s it “Clambake”.


  79. You should see clips from ‘The Lincoln Project’ . . . . there are many REAL Republicans who are honorably shocked by the present inhabitant of the White House. They remember when there were strong patriotic Republican leaders who would have NEVER cuddled up to dictators and tried to pull the country out of NATO.

    The current ‘Republican Party’ is NOT Republican, it is TRUMPIST. No way is it honorable.


  80. I never had calamari at all growing up. I have had it not tasting like rubber bands, but it’s hard for cooks to get it right.



  81. “Biden and Harris will do nothing to contain Israel, rein in the Saudis in the ongoing Shi’a-Sunni civil war, or disengage us in the Middle East. If anything threatens the interests of the credit card companies which are REALLY at the center of Joe Biden’s heart, he’ll send off the Sardaukar to protect their interests… There will be no anti-trust action against AmazonGoogleMicrosoftAppleFacebook under a Biden Administration…”

    THIS. We’ll see how far E. Warren will go after Big Business.



  82. Mike, I’m for all of those causes you list (except Liberation Theology morphed into something very Marxist). I was raised Catholic, remember, and knew about Catholic Social Justice teaching before I was a teenager – not least because I enjoyed reading the lives of the saints, many of whom actually embodied that teaching. However, not ALL the policies the Democratic Party supports have their roots in the Judeo-Christian ethic. And what would happen if one tried to speak with certain progressives about that very history? I don’t imagine there would be much conversation. They have forgotten where classical Liberalism came from.

    Democrats for Life is not an official Party organization. So far, Party folks have not agreed to even meet to talk with them about mutual concerns, so no, there is not room there for me. I’m not saying I’d never vote for a candidate who supports abortion; I voted for Obama, for crying out loud – both times. But I am very, very concerned that Biden has flipped on the Hyde Amendment.

    There are moderate, reasonable people like you and me everywhere in this country who are feeling increasingly marginalized. Remember when our parents had plenty of friends who voted the other way? (Well, mine did, anyway.) That’s not happening anymore. Some number of those people voted for Trump because they felt that even though he is an amoral, incompetent, pitiful jerk, “at least he leaves us alone/doesn’t hate us”.

    I am a Never-Trumper. No question that Biden would be a better president as far as qualifications and capabilities go. But I am as wary of the people who are currently running the Democratic Party as I am of those running the Republican Party. I’m tired of (and apprehensive about) a political atmosphere – identity politics, on BOTH sides – that consists of nothing but litmus tests.



  83. Tupelo, Mississippi

    My favorite Elvis movie? King Creole with Mother Dolores and the incomparable Carolyn Jones


  84. Oh yeah, I forgot. There will be no anti-trust action against AmazonGoogleMicrosoftAppleFacebook under a Biden Administration, nor will a Kamala Harris-themed Justice Department care too much about electronic surveillance.

    Trump might have ordered it on a whim because he doesn’t like the kale-and-kombucha rajahs of Silicon Valley.

    Just sayin’


  85. Once again, the problem is not the GOP voters who are over the moon for Trump, but those who know exactly what he is and will vote for him anyway. Yeah, there’s the (caution – sailor language)BFYTW vote who will vote for Trump because he’s White-on-purpose. That’s not insignificant here in the South.

    I’m likely going to vote for Biden/Harris this fall, because Georgia is in the running, and I’ll vote for Ossof for Senate if only because the GOP adds attacking him are so blatantly low-information and bone stupid, and Purdue is a real plutocrat, but I will do so with no great enthusiasm. The Democratic party has completely capitulated to abortion-on-demand, even as birth control, and open borders, and will be for the foreseeable future.

    As I have said before, I am a War-and-Peace voter. Biden and Harris will do nothing to contain Israel , rein in the Saudis in the ongoing Shi’a-Sunni civil war, or disengage us in the Middle East. If anything threatens the interests of the credit card companies which are REALLY at the center of Joe Biden’s heart, he’ll send off the Sardaukar to protect their interests. But Trump is vain enough and susceptible enough to accusations of weakness to get us involved in a real barn-burner. He actually was the peace candidate in ’16, but I’m not sure anymore.

    So, I’ll vote for Big Pharma Joe in the hopes that the ” radicals ” of the Democratic party will be persistent enough to push through some sensible health care legislation.


  86. Yes, it’s A trope, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

    I haven’t voted Republican since Bush II and will never, ever do so again.



  87. Re (4) Elvis was a country boy from Georgia, and eating hearty was part of the culture he grew up with. This gave him a BAD case of “middle-aged spread” – weight gain when your metabolism slows during your 30s to 40s.


  88. Isn’t that also the Fruits you see from so many Megapastors, Televangelists, and CELEBRITY Christian Leaders?


  89. Sure, it’s okay with Democrats if you’re religious, as long as you keep your religion inside your place of worship or your home, or you invoke it in favor of everything they support. If you actually try to live according to your religious tenets, you open yourself up to all kinds of opprobrium.”

    This has become standard Christianese boilerplate for going Republican, i.e. Us or Them. Which in the past four years has further distilled down into Trump as Our Protector from THEM, Trump as Savior.


  90. Considering Biden’s age, I hope he also considered a potential successor when he chose Harris.


  91. Had they stayed together they would today be singing “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” to an audience of geezers.

    I shudder at that thought, even more so since they too would have been geezers. Although the two surviving members, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, remain creative at ages 78 and 80, respectively.


  92. Agree with Chaplain Mike 100%. As a Republican turned Democrat by Reagan and the co-opting of the “Religious” Right back in the 80’s, I am weary of the trope that Democrats are anti-religion. I prefer my candidates to not wear their faith on their sleeve.


  93. Sure, it’s okay with Democrats if you’re religious, as long as you keep your religion inside your place of worship or your home, or you invoke it in favor of everything they support. If you actually try to live according to your religious tenets, you open yourself up to all kinds of opprobrium.”

    Dana, I don’t think this is true at all. Invoking one’s faith “in favor of everything they support” is exactly their point. The policies they support have a long history of being advocated by people of faith because of their faith.” They, of all people, are not keeping their faith inside their place of worship or their homes — they are bringing it to the public square. If anything, it has been the evangelical/fundamentalist movements that have urged their followers to stay out of the political arena — at least before the Christian Right made certain political positions essential litmus tests for true Christianity. But most of the “progressive” causes — civil rights, women’s rights, worker’s rights, immigration reform, etc. — have strong roots in Christian faith in our country. Remember “the social gospel”? Catholic social doctrine? Liberation theology? The Civil Rights movement? It was these very things that the evangelical/fundamentalist side of Christianity condemned as “not the gospel.” And yet, look where we are today.

    As for abortion, I recommend reading Ron Sider’s article that is linked on the IM Bulletin Board. Also, the fact that there is a “Democrats for Life” group shows that there is room for people like you there.

    My problem is, as a moderate Republican, there is no room anywhere in the GOP for me. Just look at the hundreds of prominent Republicans who are now supporting Biden.


  94. Sure, it’s okay with Democrats if you’re religious, as long as you keep your religion inside your place of worship or your home, or you invoke it in favor of everything they support. If you actually try to live according to your religious tenets, you open yourself up to all kinds of opprobrium.

    I think Harris is a smart pick in that she could actually run the country if Biden were to have health issues or die in office. However, her hounding a judicial nominee because he was a member of the Knights of Columbus was a Religious Test in everything but name, and as AG she went after some religious people/groups in California – not all of them Christian. (Sanders did something similar with questioning another nominee.) So much for “tolerance”.

    The Democratic Party is schizophrenic in supporting some policies that would help woman and families, while at the same time supporting abortion at any stage of pregnancy. No more “safe, legal and rare talk; this is now a litmus test for anyone running for office as a Democrat, and there is no room in the Party for any pro-life person who wants to work with them on those family-friendly policies. Most voters, including a large slice of registered Democrats and a very large slice of Black voters, want some kind of limits on abortion, and are not in favor of using taxpayer money to fund it; see the Democrats for Life web site.

    I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again. I’ve been a “decline to state party” voter for nearly 20 years, though I’m very sympathetic to most Democratic positions. If the Democrats would truly open the tent to pro-life people without the abortion litmus test, and especially if they showed even a mote-sized bit of support for people’s First Amendment religious rights, they could sign me up tomorrow. As it stands now, I am not welcome, from THEIR side.



  95. I suspect that they were pretty close to the end of their creative period anyway. Had they stayed together they would today be singing “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” to an audience of geezers. One can only shudder at the thought.


  96. Replies….
    1) During my upbringing in an Italian-American family, calamari was a frequent item on the menu. Almost every time I tried it, it was “like eating rubber bands.” As a result, I haven’t touched calamari in decades, and won’t touch it in the future.

    2) Don’t know from Robot Chicken.

    3) John Lennon loved Yoko Ono, and for all I know, she loved him.

    4) That’s mean.


  97. A few observations….

    1) Calamari is truly awesome if cooked right, otherwise you are eating rubber bands, which brings me to point #2..

    2) Calamari was referenced in Robot Chicken:

    3) Does the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have the hammer Yoko Ono used to break up The Beatles?

    4) When came out with USPS stamps for Elvis, should not they have 2 versions: First Class postage stamps with the young slim Elvis, and the large dollar amount stamps for Priority Mail with the fat, overweight Vegas Elvis?


  98. An open bathroom by any other name, or shade of orange, blue or yellow, Is still a traumatizing experience no one need be subject to. I know what’s going on in there and I don’t any more information. The only way they could make it even more intimate would be to have internal fans that vent the aroma outside to the viewers.


  99. Yeah, but what about that time Trump spoke with empathy and from personal experience of loss to those who’ve lost a loved one to COVID-19 !!!

    Oh, wait —- never mind….


  100. One of the things Republicans in general (I said “in general”) really don’t like about Biden is that he’s the kind of white guy who would select someone like Kamala Harris — a woman born of a non-white, multiracial, multicultural, religiously pluralistic immigrant family — to be his running mate. She embodies everything they hate and are terrified of, including but not limited to religious diversity, potentially one step away form the presidency. They just hate human diversity, except of very limited kinds and if it parrots their political and religious mantras. As for the religious diversity of the Democratic party, they consider it irreligious, heathen, and unAmerican.


  101. And many evangelicals continue to stay silent when he makes fun of _________________. I just do not get it.


  102. The only time I’ve carried coins around in daily life in the last 10 years is when I’ve been in Europe. So I could get into a toilet to pass some water or more.


  103. For Trumpian Christians, Trump is their moral lodestar.

    Let’s look at the Fruits of the Donald: Greed, Sluth, Rage, Envy, Pride, Lust, & Gluttony .


  104. I think the reason the Beatles broke up was because they were older and had been in each other’s space their entire adult lives and needed space of their own. They were just growing apart like any family or group of friends and desiring their own lives. Any excuse would have done. Any conflict would have blown up in the pressure of living in public. It was beautiful while it lasted but the great illusion of the 60s was that youth would last forever.


  105. Brayden Harrington is a great example of the difference between the character of Biden and Trump. Biden showed compassion for a person with a disability and help this young man as one who struggled with stuttering.

    Now let’s recall in 2016 when Trump made fun of a reporter with the neurological disorder.

    Who is showing the mercy that Christ calls Christians to show others?


  106. Crowing more than ever-dancing in the streets. Using worship time that Sunday and maybe even the whole sermon about the man god sent to them.


  107. > Evangelicals will be crowing about how great the Prez

    Is that even a prediction? That’s today.

    > How can the RNC convention show the humanity

    That wouldn’t be the RNC at that point.


  108. I will make a prediction. About a week from now the Evangelicals will be crowing about how great the Prez is and how great the RNC was. How can the RNC convention show the humanity that the DNC? I really hope some day that the Evangelicals that have supported him with not one word of criticism of anything he has done will at least be embarrassed. They will not be! And I am not against voting Republican.


  109. Yabbut… This concern for doctrinal conformity is strictly situational. When it is a Mormon, or a non-practicing cultural Episcopalian who thinks he might be Baptist, or a pussy-grabbing sybarite who gets the Republican nomination, we find big-tent inclusiveness for all persons of faith, extremely loosely defined.


  110. Behold the duck.
    It does not cluck.
    A cluck it lacks.
    It quacks.
    It is specially fond
    Of a puddle or pond.
    When it dines or sups,
    It bottoms ups.

    —Ogden Nash


  111. It is exactly the pluralism of religious belief in the Democratic Party, not the absence of religious faith, that Republicans consider irreligious and unChristian. The more religiously pluralistic the Democratic Party becomes, the less religious Republicans consider it.


  112. Elvis, the Beatles, Neil Young, a duck’s butt…to think that I was born in an age when a DA was a men’s hair style…

    Enjoyed the brunch CM. Thanks for your efforts.


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