Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of our contributors and readers,

Best wishes for a happy, healthy Thanksgiving.

Truly enjoy sharing the day with your family, friends, and loved ones--we often forget how quickly our world can change, especially when it is for the worse.

It makes it all the more important to remember the good times and build memories that we can hold on to and use as a light when things get dark.

And no matter how bad things may seem, we can always find something to be thankful for.

Hope you all have a great day leading into an even better Christmas season (or whatever other holidays you may observe).

Love,
dark commenteer
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Want One!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

NRO - What went wrong

Very good column by Victor Davis Hanson of NRO if you're looking for some good conservative arguments in our never-ending battle with the other side.

Don't worry about it

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Good cop, Bad Cop

Well, John Dingell has been defeated by Waxman for Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee.

2009 is going to be an interesting year - the house and senate forcing through universal care, non-secret union organizing, and now CO2 emission regulation (the bad cop). Obama can sit back and sign all of it and claim he's going along with the will of the people (the good cop), a.k.a. the democrat controlled legislative branch.

Fun times, indeed.

Joe Klein in Time: Obama is winning on the war on terror

And the "proof" is the letter of congratulations by Ahmadinejad to Obama for winning the election, and the blustery and derogatory speech about Obama issued by Al Qaeda's #2. I swear I'm not making this up.

In other news, that fire burning down your house creates a nice, comfortable dry heat. Cut down on your oil bill this winter!

But even more grating than the Hosannas from the liberal choir are the old liberal blind spots, which they are powerless to overcome:

The terrorists are now exposed as racists, on top of everything else.

OMG! RACISTS!!!!!!!

When they murdered thousands of American civilians in sensless terror, we sort of got a bad feeling about those guys. But they really let their guard down now. Using a racial epithet? These folks need a good stern talking to.

ht: AmSpecBlog

Here we go

Well, it didn't take the MSM very long to look even more pathetic than they did during the run-up to this election. They are now whining that they don't know Obama, and he is not exhibiting the change he promised with his cabinet picks so far.

Really? Because I thought a guy who promised to take public financing then broke his pledge and in so doing became the FIRST and only presidential candidate to reject public financing since the system was invented, a guy who refused to accept McCain's request for town hall debates, and a guy who had the most liberal record in the Senate equals change. Man, I don't know how anyone could've known that Obama does not equal change. It's not like any signs were there, you know?
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Real Danger of Obama: Update 2

More evidence that al Qaeda does not view Obama as a "friendly": a new message from their #2 criticizing Obama for his position on Israel, Afghanistan, and calling him a "house negro."

This is partly an attempt to try to coerce Obama to cave and change his positions, I'm sure, but importantly: Al-Zawahri also urged Muslims to continue attacks against "criminal America". So no change in policy of planned violence against the US. Hopefully the change of Obama's homeland security policies compared to Bush do not render us less safe.

Romney and Detroit

My man Mitt gives his thoughts on why Detroit should not be bailed out in NYT op-ed piece. Spot on analysis, as usual.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Begich defeats Stevens

A couple of quick thoughts.

What a shame that a legendary public servant allowed himself to become so corrupted. It was pure chutzpah on the part of Stevens not to withdraw once his legal issues became known. Now the party and nation will pay the price.

Begich will be tough to defeat. Alaska likes to keep incumbents forever, and he has a strong base in the state's largest city.

That said, things set up pretty perfectly for Palin now. Her second term as governor will end just as Begich's first term winds down. She'll be term limited as governor at that point. I dare anyone to predict with more certainty a Senate race in which the incumbent's opponent in 6 years is as much a sure thing as in this case.

Coming to a Retailer Near You

New blog focused on the New York State GOP

Red Albany. Check it out here.

I'm going to put it in the sidebar as well.
Sunday, November 16, 2008

If you ever want to remind yourself how bogus the data that supports AGW data is,

just keep this column handy. It's a great reminder how government funded science groups stand ready, willing and able to come up with any required conclulsion.
Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yet more evidence Vermont needs to be voted off the island

In Vermont, students don't have to opt-out of saying the pledge of allegiance. They have to opt-in, leave their classroom, and make the walk of shame to the gymnasium to recite the pledge with other jingoistic xenophobes.

Can Vermont just please go away now (note: before you secede, please leave us the kids who are solid enough to go the gym to say the pledge).

Jim DeMint for Minority Leader?

Count me on board. His comments from earlier today via CNN (ht Drudge):

“We have to be honest, and there’s a lot of blame to go around, but I have to mention George Bush, and I have to mention Ted Stevens, and I’m afraid I even have to mention John McCain,” he said.

DeMint offered a long list of complaints about McCain’s record in the Senate and on the campaign trail.

“McCain, who is proponent of campaign finance reform that weakened party organizations and basically put George Soros in the driver’s seat,” DeMint said. “His proposal for amnesty for illegals. His support of global warming, cap-and-trade programs that will put another burden on our economy. And of course, his embrace of the bailout right before the election was probably the nail in our coffin this last election. And he has been an opponent of drilling in ANWR, at a time when energy is so important. It really didn’t fit the label, but he was our package.”

Bush and Stevens, he said, had corrupted the party brand by expanding the size of government and engaging in wasteful government spending. Had Republicans not strayed from their core beliefs in recent years, DeMint argued, the election results might have been different.

“Americans do prefer a traditional conservative government,” he said. “They just did not believe Republicans were going to give it to them...”

“One of our principles is that power corrupts, and you need to disperse it,” DeMint said. “And if our own party allows ourselves to be destroyed by this idea, and are not willing to stand up, then we have to change everyone at the top.”

Astronauts are still cool.


And I'm still amazed by what our country has accomplished and is accomplishing.

I don't know if anyone saw this story about India becoming only the fifth country to accomplish a lunar orbit. Congratulations to them. And congratulations to us for putting a man on the moon almost 40 years ago.

Well, it was worth a try...

Guy came this close to solving this whole economic crisis...
Friday, November 14, 2008

Whose Reality, Yours Or Mine?

From AFP:

California blaze 'like Armageddon' says actor Lowe

Yours AND Mine.

J-E-T-S

JETS JETS JETS.

Suck it, Pats.
Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stealing Minnesota

The damning evidence, here.

Rebuilding the Party

Article in WSJ about Republican Governors' meeting trying to assess what went wrong and how to fix it. At they end they provide two opposing viewpoints: expand the tent, or return to our core values.

I think expand the tent is not the answer.* If you look at voter turnout this year, despite the fact that registration and voting in Dem primaries was through the roof, and you had the historic nature of Obama and Hillary, at the end of the day voting was only slightly up from '04. In fact, as a percentage of eligible voters it was not up at all, and Obama barely got more votes than Bush in '04. What happened was simply that fence voters who leaned Republican in '04 switched in '08, more than any "new" voters affecting things.

The problem is simply that the Republican party did not provide a clear, compelling vision with any credibility. How can we claim that we are the party of fiscal responsibility when the deficit has ballooned under Bush, and now Paulson gives us the bait and switch? The bailout plan was ill conceived and a bad idea to begin with, and only getting worse by the day. Republicans have NO credibility on fiscal issues at this point, and that must be item #1 in restoring the party.

We lost because people viewed Dems as the superior party to handle the economy and provide jobs. This is unacceptable. The Republican party must wrestle this back from the Dems, which starts with people like Romney.


*One concern and caveat about expanding the tent. If the Dems successfully give citizenship to the 12-20 million illegals, they will have added that many voters to their ranks in one fell swoop. That may prove to give them an insurmountable voting base for many years.

Don't swallow the MSM line on Gov Palin hurting McCain.

The WSJ points out that, based on exit polling, she helped the ticket:

Asked if she was "a factor" in their vote, 60% said yes, while 33% said no. Yet of those who said Mrs. Palin was a factor, 56% voted for Mr. McCain, while 43% voted for Mr. Obama. Even among independent voters (a group Mr. McCain lost by eight points) she was a net vote-getter for the Republican ticket among those independents who said Mrs. Palin was a factor.

What in the...

heck is going on here. I just found this at the website of my college fraternity:

Hazing and frivolous, dangerous, or demeaning tasks detract from the overall experience and hinder the growth of meaningful bonds among brothers and those seeking admission into the brotherhood.

Looks like they'll be needing a visit from an alumnus. Clearly the train's gone WAAYY off the track down there.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Is Palin the future of our party?

Here's a copy of a comment I made over at Race 4 2012. It captures my current thinking on 2012, as well as the current race over the RNC chair. And let's be honest, it's extremely important that everyone be up on MY thinking. ;)

This debate over Palin takes me back a few years to when ConfirmThem was in its heyday. We’d argue about who would make the best justice if W got another appointment, and most folks (myself included) typically wanted the judges who seemed to check off the most “right” boxes ideologically. In the case of the supreme court, that typically meant the most outspoken opponents of Roe and the most strident supporters of originalism. Thus, possibles like Edith Jones, William Pryor, Janice Rogers Brown, and Michael Luttig got the most approving comments.

Meanwhile, there was a smaller group of contributors that wanted ideological consistency, but also insisted on proven excellence. For them, while Luttig, Pryor, Brown and Jones were all solid jurists with good idelogical instincts, they did not feel they “measured up” to men like Roberts, Alito, McConnell and Frank Easterbrook. All of these men were much less definitive in their written case record w/r/t Roe (except McConnell), but were known to have a conservative outlook, and more importantly, a track record of excellence. They were known by their fellow judges to be the most accomplished legal thinkers, and all had come from the most prestigious schools (both as students and professors).

I came to realize that while folks like Kristofer Lorelli diminish “elite institutions” and pine for “middle class” voices, there is a strong argument in favor of those who have cut their teeth fighting against the most capable (and often most liberal) opponents. In the case of the Supreme Court, the need for such excellence is easily seen. It’s because the case record lives on. The arguments and conclusions that justices render do not only need to have the support of a majority of their fellow justices today. They must withstand the review of judges for decades, if not centuries to come. And many of those justices will be incredibly capable, incisive and liberal people. They will use all of their persuasive powers to undo any legacy of judicial restraint.

The same situation applies to Presidential politics. Reagan is the best example. Don’t be fooled by the fact he could connect to the common man. While he shared their heart, President Reagan was an exceptional intellect. And that was a known fact, not merely a guess, when he ran for office. Reagan had spent decades arguing the liberal estalishment/intelligentia about the power of personal responsibility, economic incentives, and free markets. He was fearless, cogent, and had a set of policy initiatives that rolled seamlessly out of his ideology.

By the time he became President, he was ready to win the argument with his political opponents, even as they still controlled Congress. He was ready to lay the groundwork for what would become 25 years of economic progress. Even as we now cower in fear at the “end of the financial world,” unemployment is at 6.5%. We’re not even at early ’90’s levels, no less 1970’s or 1930’s levels. Our economy has enjoyed some of the strongest and longest-lasting growth in our nation’s history, thanks to Reagan’s exceptional intellect and powers of persuasion. He could take counter-intuitive ideas (e.g., lower tax rates = higher tax revenues) and sear them into the consciousness of his countrymen. Even now, as Scott Rasmussen recently pointed out, Obama did not dare not run as an unabashed tax hiker. He had to win the tax issue to get elected, and that’s due to the intellectual power of Presdient Reagan, who completely changed the landscape.

We can’t afford to settle for a candidate who professes conservative beliefs, but seems unable to articulate an integrated conservative worldview. That was one of the problems that felled McCain, and it handicapped the presidency of Bush 43. We need a candidate who has an established track record of a conservative ideology that is integrated, heartfelt, and coupled with an intellect that can apply it to today’s problems. The best way to find such vibrant minds is to look for those who have achieved excellence, real results, at every stop along way in their careers. We need to find leaders who are excellent, and don’t merely check off our pre-conceived notions of which boxes need checking.

I don’t want to start naming ‘12 possibles, but you could probably guess, based on the above criteria, which candidates most intrigue me.

As far as RNC chair goes, it had better be Newt. Steele’s a nice guy with decent instincts and a compelling backstory. But a true, creme de la creme intellect and persuader? He simply doesn’t stand up to Newt. In a position where ideas and organization are paramount, and you don’t need to win votes for your own personality, Newt’s a perfect fit.
Monday, November 10, 2008

Speaking of Sausage ...

As this blog is based on our love of bourbon and meat, I highly recommend viewers of this blog to check out the online sausage store, Continental Sausage in Denver. I was introduced to this place two years ago by some Swiss-American immigrants that swore this place made the most authentic European sausage in the U.S. They sell great brats and knockwurst, and if you're looking for some new types of sausages, you can't go wrong.

While Europe doesn't have much to offer us superior Americans, I think we can all agree that their mastery of the art of making sausage is unparalleled.

I know I've been spending too much time blogging,

when my elder son's first request, whenvever he sees me at the keyboard, is "can I see the bread and sausage?"

OK, SingleWing, I've got you covered

We all know how SW feels about Notre Dame. Loathes them. With a passion.

And I can only assume it's for that reason that he forwarded me this story from a local Indiana newspaper.

I'm guessing it must be some kind of satire that's meant to poke fun at the Irish. It would probably be more effective satire if it had a thread of believability.

I mean, is anyone really buying that a good looking, articulate, and right-thinking girl like the author of that letter would fall for that guy?

Breaking News - ND fan meets other ND fan

As a Michigan fan, undergoing our worst football season since 1967, and about to break our single season record for losses, I can take little solace in this college football season. However, the future looks very bright with Rich Rodriguez as head coach. We'll either be on probation or NC's within 5 years.

Down the road in lovely South Bend, Michiana, ND is having a banner year. It's a virtual tale of two cities, compared with Ann Arbor. ND is over .500, and if they manage to beat one of the service academies or USC, they will make a bowl game. I guess there have been a few negatives ... losing to BC for the 6th straight time, Jimmah's haircut, someone forgetting to tell Weis that he already had bariatric surgery ... but it sure beats 3 - 9!

The biggest news from South Bend, however, is that two ND fans fell in love at a BC game a few years ago and ended up married. I'm so glad I don't know the guy in this article, because he would get a lot of s*** from his buddies about this one. Discussed family and religion after an afternoon football game - as we say in Italy, what a figa.

I say: do it. do it now.

Hire the man and don't look back.
Sunday, November 09, 2008

UPDATE: The Real Danger of Obama

SHK posted this on Thursday, but it got a little lost in the crush of post-election items. It's worth giving it (and its linked stories) another hard look. Elections are about the economy, stupid. Being CIC is about defending the country. And the task is daunting, especially given the tightrope that Obama's laid out for himself with his seemingly contradictory goals. -Fredo

While most readers of OccObs oppose the fiscal and social policies Obama will surely try to enact, that is not the real danger. I'm hopeful that economic realities will curtail how much he can really raise taxes and spending, but even if not I can still live with higher taxes. (I will bitterly fight it until the end, but it won't kill me.)

No, the real danger is--God forbid--another terrorist attack. But this can't happen now that Obama's in power and the world loves us, right?

Wrong, for several reasons, the primary one of which is that while the differences between McCain and Obama are stark to American eyes, they are in fact not very different to international eyes. Remember that the WTC car bombing, USS Cole, and extensive planning for 9/11 all occurred while Bill Clinton was in office. While we despised his policies, the fact is he was not viewed by terrorists as any friend to the Middle East. His presidency did nothing to reduce their hatred of what we stand for.

The same will be true of Obama. If he truly wants to free us from dependence on foreign oil, that directly kills the economy of Middle East countries. That will surely raise their ire. If he pursues Bin Laden in Pakistan, it will further irritate Pakistanis. In fact, Pakistanis have already been on record as saying they see little difference between McCain and Obama. If he refuses to allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, he will also place us in their cross-hairs. All of these, by the way, are policies I wholly support and hope he will choose or at least be forced to enact. But the fact is that they are policies that will result in continued targets on our back.

The difficulty is that if you discontinue Bush's other policies, you are placing us at greater risk of attack. If you eliminate the wiretaps and aggressive interrogations, you are limiting our intelligence capabilities. If you withdraw from Iraq, you create a power vacuum that can be filled by terrorists. Even now the real advantage of Iraq is that it focuses the activity of terrorists overseas and against our greatest strength: our military. Without Iraq terrorists would be focused on attacking American civilians on our own soil.

So in my opinion the real danger that Obama potentially presents is how he handles our national security. I hope that his views are changed upon receiving his security briefings. And for those who doubt that there is still a threat, I suggest reading an excellent article by a Harvard JFK government prof just published in MIT Tech Review. In it, he makes a scary case for the possibility of a nuclear attack by terrorists on US soil.

A friend of the blog

is in need of our prayers. He has placed his considerable education and intelligence in the service of our country (Army), and yet his wife (and mother of his children) is losing her eyesight.

We have 10 contributors. 10 prayers could do a world of good. God is never outdone in generosity.
Saturday, November 08, 2008

In the words of Don Draper, "Constantly drink, constantly smoke, take 6 hour lunches"

Whenever our list of contributors expands, I like to keep photos current. Here's our most recent:

L to R: Mayor Protium, SingleWing, Caboose, Linderman

Nice suits, boys.

Occ Obs poll

Mark Steyn on the Growth of Government

Some food for thought as we conservatives begin our long walk in the wilderness. What issue(s) need(s) to be prioritized? I would suggest spending discipline as agenda item #1.

...federal spending (in inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars) has gone from $600 billion in 1965 to $3 trillion today. The Heritage Foundation put it in a convenient graph: It’s pretty much a straight line across four decades, up, up, up. Doesn’t make any difference who controls Congress, who’s in the White House. The government just grows and grows, remorselessly.

If you went back to the end of the 19th century and suggested to, say, William McKinley that one day Americans would find themselves choosing between a candidate promising to guarantee your mortgage and a candidate promising to give “tax cuts” to millions of people who pay no taxes he would scoff at you for concocting some patently absurd H.G. Wells dystopian fantasy. Yet it happened. Slowly, remorselessly, government metastasized to the point where it now seems entirely normal for Peggy Joseph of Sarasota, Fla., to vote for Obama because “I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage.”

I disagree with my fellow conservatives who think the Obama-Pelosi-Reid-Frank liberal behemoth will so obviously screw up that they’ll be routed in two or four years’ time. The president-elect’s so-called “tax cut” will absolve 48 percent of Americans from paying any federal income tax at all, while those who are left will pay more. Just under half the population will be, as Daniel Henninger pointed out in The Wall Street Journal, on the dole.

By 2012, it will be more than half on the dole, and this will be an electorate where the majority of the electorate will be able to vote itself more lollipops from the minority of their compatriots still dumb enough to prioritize self-reliance, dynamism and innovation over the sedating cocoon of the Nanny State. That is the death of the American idea – which, after all, began as an economic argument: “No taxation without representation” is a great rallying cry. “No representation without taxation” has less mass appeal. For how do you tell an electorate living high off the entitlement hog that it’s unsustainable, and you’ve got to give some of it back?

No Country for Old Men - top 5 ever

PLOT SPOILERS BELOW

Beetz and I were (again) discussing the nature of Anton Chigurh's character in No Country last night, as well as the difficulty in interpreting the scene at the film's climax (where Tommy Lee Jones' character appears on the brink of a decisive battle with Chigurh in the hotel room where Moss had been killed).

First off, I'd love to get any theories that folks have on the motel room scene. Was Chigurh there in the room with the Sheriff behind the door? Was he in an adjacent room, as with the earlier confrontation with Llewylen? Is he supernatural and capable of disappearing? Or, my new interpretation of the scene, is the Sheriff nervously envisioning what might be behind the door while deciding whether he's going to go in?

The way the screen shot goes from a tight look at the Sheriff, who is anxiously considering entering the room, alternating with a fuzzy and shadowy shot of Chigurh, where you can't really discern his features, makes it seem to me that the Sheriff is imagining what might be waiting for him once he enters the room.

This would nicely round out the plot from where it starts in the opening monologue, with TLJ saying "I'm not going out to face something that I can't understand." He ultimately does just that by entering the hotel room, only to realize it's a day late and a dollar short. His own common sense/aversion to violence may have cost Moss' life, and led him to decide, in light of the "dismal tide", he just wasn't cut out for this work anymore.

It also is the least problematic of all the possible interpretations, IMHO.

One thing's for sure--No Country is in my top 5 all time (along with another Coen Bros film). It's the total package: stunning and beautiful cinematography, great dialogue, great acting, suspsense, and an insightful look at the nature of morality and evil.
Friday, November 07, 2008

Failure of Community Reinvestment Act

The following is a condensation of a series from the Investor's Business Daily explaining "What Caused the Loan Crisis" (and why we're screwed for years to come):

1977: Pres. Jimmy Carter signs the Community Reinvestment Act into Law. The law pressured financial institutions to extend home loans to those who would otherwise not qualify.
The Premise: Home ownership would improve poor and crime-ridden communities and neighborhoods in terms of crime, investment, jobs, etc.
Results: Statistics bear out that it did not help. How did the government get so deeply involved in the housing market?
Answer: Bill Clinton wanted it that way.

1992: Republican representative Jim Leach (IO) warned of the danger that Fannie and Freddie were changing from being agencies of the public at large to money machines for the principals and the stockholding few.

1993: Clinton extensively rewrote Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's rules turning the quasi-private mortgage-funding firms into semi-nationalized monopoies dispensing cash and loans to large Democratic voting blocks and handing favors, jobs and contributions to political allies. This potent mix led inevitably to corruption and now the collapse of Freddie and Fannie.

1994: Despite warnings, Clinton unveiled his National Home-Ownership Strategy which broadened the CRA in ways congress never intended.

1995: Congress, about to change from a Democrat majority to Republican, Clinton orders Robert Rubin's Treasury Dept to rewrite the rules. Robt. Rubin's Treasury reworked rules, forcing banks to satisfy quotas for sub-prime and minority loans to get a satisfactory CRA rating. The rating was key to expansion or mergers for banks. Loans began to be made on the basis of race and little else.

1997 - 1999: Clinton, bypassing Republicans, enlisted Andrew Cuomo, then Secretary of Housing and Urban Developement, allowing Freddie and Fannie to get into the sub-prime market in a BIG way. Led by Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd, congress doubled down on the risk by easing capital limits and allowing them to hold just 2.5% of capital to back their investments vs. 10% for banks. Since they could borrow at lower rates than banks their enterprises boomed. With incentives in place, banks poured billions in loans into poor communities, often "no doc", "no income", requiring no money down and no verification of income. Worse still was the cronyism: Fannie and Freddie became home to out-of work-politicians, mostly Clinton Democrats. 384 politicians got big campaign donations from Fannie and Freddie. Over $200 million had been spent on lobbying and political activities. During the 1990's Fannie and Freddie enjoyed a subsidy of as much as $182 Billion, most of it going to principals and shareholders, not poor borrowers as claimed. Did it work? Minorities made up 49% of the 12.5 million new homeowners but many of those loans have gone bad and the minority homeownership rates are shrinking fast.

1999: New Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers, became alarmed at Fannie and Freddie's excesses. Congress held hearings the ensuing year but nothing was done because Fannie and Freddie had donated millions to key congressmen and radical groups, ensuring no meaningful changes would take place. "We manage our political risk with the same intensity that we manage our credit and interest rate risks," Fannie CEO Franklin Raines, a former Clinton official and current Barack Obama advisor, bragged to investors in 1999. 2000: Secretary Summers sent Undersecretary Gary Gensler to Congress seeking an end to the "special status". Democrats raised a ruckus as did Fannie and Freddie, headed by politically connected CEO's who knew how to reward and punish. "We think that the statements evidence a contempt for the nation's housing and mortgage markets" Freddie spokesperson Sharon McHale said. It was the last chance during the Clinton era for reform.

2001: Republicans try repeatedly to bring fiscal sanity to Fannie and Freddie but Democrats blocked any attempt at reform; especially Rep. Barney Frank and Sen.Chris Dodd who now run key banking committees and were huge beneficiaries of campaign contributions from the mortgage giants.

2003: Bush proposes what the NY Times called "the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago". Even after discovering a scheme by Fannie and Freddie to overstate earnings by $10.6 billion to boost their bonuses, the Democrats killed reform.

2005: Then Fed chairman Alan Greenspan warns Congress: "We are placing the total financial system at substantial risk". Sen. McCain, with two others, sponsored a Fannie/Freddie reform bill and said, "If congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole". Sen. Harry Reid accused the GOP ;of trying to "cripple the ability of Fannie and Freddie to carry out their mission of expanding homeownership" The bill went nowhere.

2007: By now Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee over HALF of the $12 trillion US mortgage market. The mortgage giants, whose executive suites were top-heavy with former Democratic officials, had been working with Wall St. to repackage the bad loans and sell them to investors. As the housing market fell in '07, subprime mortgage portfolios suffered major losses. The crisis was on, though it was 15 years in the making.

2008: McCain has repeatedly called for reforming the behemoths, Bush urged reform 17 times. Still the media have repeated Democrats' talking points about this being a "Republican" disaster. A few Republicans are complicit but Fannie and Freddie were created by Democrats, regulated by Democrats, largely run by Democrats and protected by Democrats. That's why taxpayers are now being asked for $700 billion!!

If you doubt any of this, just click the links below and listen to your lawmakers own words.

They are condeming!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68D9XrqyrWo&feature=related# http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIgqfM5C8lY#
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9juJr8CSY4&feature=related#

Postscript: ACORN is one of the principle beneficiaries of Fannie/ Freddie's slush funds. They are currently under indictment or investigation in many states. Barack Obama served as their legal counsel, defending their activities for several years.

Dick Armey - we need more guys like you

Editorial written by Dick Armey in today's WSJ. He has hit the nail on the head.

Welcome, Caboose

I'd like to welcome our newest contributor to the blog, Caboose.

Several of you have probably met Caboose, who is a close friend and work associate of D.C.

Once again, welcome Caboose! We look forward to hearing from you.

Rahm Emanuel: More than Just a Bitter Partisan

Apparently he was also a director at Freddie Mac during the time when they were accused of scandalously falsifying financial statements.

Looking forward to the rest of the Obama "bipartisan" team.
Thursday, November 06, 2008

2012

While I'd love to look forward to 2012 as the year we recapture the White House, it seems highly likely that things will be lined up for an Obama 2nd term. Even if the economy is down for the next 18 months, and even if Obama implements poor policy choices that delay recovery, it is highly unlikely that we will still be in an economic downturn in 4 years. Economy will likely have at least 1-2 years of growth under its belt at that time, for which Obama (with the MSM's help) will take full credit.

Iraq is the one interesting question. Bush/Petraeus have already set events in motion that would allow for significant troop withdrawals in less than 4 years. If Obama changes his position and follows a Bush-like plan for withdrawal, although he will upset some of his supporters in the short term who want immediate withdrawal, he will end up with big support in 4 years for a highly successful withdrawal. Again, the credit here largely would belong to Petraeus and Bush, but Obama will be given full credit. However, if he sticks with his campaign promise and implements a quick troop withdrawal - regardless of conditions on the ground - just to appease his supporters, he risks creating a real travesty that could sink him.

He could also sink himself if he goes too far with tax hikes (lowers his definition of "rich"), or too far left on social policies. But here's the bottom line: if he plays his cards right Obama will be the lucky recipient of the timing of various cycles that could set him and the Dems up for a real strong showing in 2012.

So this is how it's going to be

I knew this would happen; everyone on this site knew it would happen. Still doesn't make it any easier to tolerate.

The "this" is the fact that now that Obama has been elected, the press will feign true surprise at true Obama. Take this AP headline:

Obama's choice of Emanuel shows switch in tone

It goes on: Barack Obama is signaling a shift in tactics and temperament as he moves from candidate to president-elect, picking sharp-elbowed Washington insiders for top posts. His choice Thursday for White House chief of staffRahm Emanuel, a fiery partisan who doesn't mind breaking glass and hurting feelings — is a significant departure from the soft-spoken, low-key aides that "No-Drama Obama" has surrounded himself with during his campaign.

Really?

A shift? Perhaps if you had spent ONE LOUSY MINUTE doing some real investigative journalism the fact this is Obama's true tone would have been obvious. How do you think you rise to the top of south-side Chicago politics, by being a sweetheart and pushover??? Who pals around with Wright, Rezko, and Ayers? A low-key person? Doubt it.

The realization from Brokaw, Meacham, Rose and others that they in fact know almost nothing about Obama or his positions is my favorite. Stop it. Stop it right now. You didn't want to do your job before, so don't start doing it now and whining when you find things you don't like.

Another quick point on the GOP's future

I would like to see Republicans have a debate over what our guiding principles will be going forward. Huckabee-style populism? Paul-style draconian spending cuts? Bush-style muscular foreign policy?

If we start trying to choose our next standard bearer before deciding on our core priorities, we'll have put the cart before the horse yet again. Placing electability over principles is what led to the muddled mess of the last 8 years, where we've spent money like crazy and acted like Democrats-lite with a more aggressive foreign policy.

Will we be the party of the Bush Doctrine or Nixonian realism?

Will we be the party of "deficits don't matter" or deficit hawks?

Will we be the party of limited government and local decision making, or of one-size-fits-all conservative solutions to social issues?

Will we be the party that pushes structural reform of our entitlement programs? Will we back free-market solutions to education, retirement income and health care, when people perceive the free market to have failed?

Fight for the soul of the GOP - UPDATED

No time to discuss it now, but this is what I'm sure we'll be discussing over the next 12 months (as well as rear guard actions to prevent the more extreme portions of the Dem agenda from getting through).

The first shots were already fired last night and this morning by Paul Ryan, Rush Limbaugh, Tim Pawlenty, Jim DeMint, and Rudy Giuliani.

It will be interesting to see where we go.

----------------------------

More here.

From Rep. Marsha Blackburn here.

Kristofer Lorelli at Race 4 '08 has links to Thune and Cantor declaring their intention to challenge current GOP leadership in the Senate and House.

Kavon Nikrad, founder of Race 4 2008, says we need to return to the principles of the Contract with America.

Capitalists weigh in on the Obama administration's proposals

See here.

Deer Hunting is Good for the Soul

By Russ Chastain:

Some folks like to lie on the beach for relaxation. Others prefer to visit the Grand Canyon, or take a trip to Venice or some other foreign city, to wander the streets and gaze in awe at all the ancient stuff before them, or maybe head to glittering Las Vegas to gamble or watch the shows. Some folks like that kind of thing.

Other folks hunt deer.

Most of the aforementioned folks don't realize what it's like out there in the deer woods. They don't know the pleasure we hunters derive from primitive camps in the boonies. From tree stands on icy mornings. From shivering uncontrollably with cold and adrenaline, yet feeling a flush of warmth inside while watching deer do their thing - in the wild - unaware of our presence.

Bummer for them.

Deer hunting, for some, is simply a mechanical exercise that hopefully results in venison in their freezer. That, of course, is part of what all deer hunters are out there for - but most of us find something more out there in the woods where we do our hunting.

Putting that into words is the challenging part. Is it about pitting ourselves against a quarry that is well-known for its elusiveness and incredibly acute senses? Is it about the camaraderie we feel when camping and hunting with good friends and well-loved family members? Is it about the elation of making a kill? Is it about watching a doe with her young offspring, knowing that we will not shoot but experiencing a rush just the same? Is it about all the other wildlife we see while hunting?

The answer is yes.

It is also about freezing on a stump or in a tree stand. Realizing that you left your ammo or release in the truck. Eating freeze-dried-whatever around a too-smoky campfire made with wet wood. Broken lanterns. Stuck vehicles. Flat tires. Forgetting your compass and walking a few miles in the wrong direction.

Dropping your rifle; breaking your scope. Missing a big buck. Finding another hunter already in "your" spot. Having a deer in your sights when your rifle fails to fire (dammit). Sweating under clothing that was not quite enough on stand, but is too much for a hike - or for dragging a deer.

Getting stranded up a tree when you drop the bottom half of your climbing stand. 'Coons in the groceries. Fearless bears that keep you looking over your shoulder. Slipping while crossing a creek on a log.

Hmmmmm.

Sounds like a lot of negatives, doesn't it? I guess it would, to the unseasoned or uninitiated. But the positives of deer hunting outweigh the negatives, without a doubt.

Deer hunting is not for everyone - not by a long shot. But for those who try it and like it, it is the best medicine around. Time spent hunting deer is good for learning, introspection, meeting new people, returning to our ancient hunting roots... and yes, for stocking the freezer with venison for the coming year.

Deer hunting gives us new stories to tell, new memories to savor, new peace within ourselves. And I never feel closer to God than I do when I'm out in the woods hunting.

If that's not good for the soul, I don't know what is. - Russ Chastain


I've often said the same thing. Just not as goodish as Russ does.

Just a thought

The GOP revitalization needs to be led by blue state republicans. It's time to reestablish a brand that can compete nationally.

Don't ever say your vote is meaningless.

As if Florida 2000 wasn't proof enough, check out this year's final tally in the election for Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat.

A 437 vote differential out of 2,422,613 votes cast for the two primary candidates.

That's a 0.018% difference.

Sen. Coleman looks to have survived.

SHK to the America haters: follow us or get out of the way

Promoted from the comments:

True Americans were proud of their country two years ago, two weeks ago, two days ago, today, and tomorrow. We have always been proud of our country, and will continue to be proud. The true strength of America is not one particular financial system or one particular foreign policy. It is, and always has been, our ability to react and respond and LEAD.

Stories about the demise of American capitalism and American might are, as the saying goes, highly overrated. The fact is, what makes us so strong is our unique ability to rapidly recover from tough times, adjust, pick ourselves up and move forward. We have always done it and we always will.

To those who stuck with us along the way (Australia, eastern bloc, you know who you are), we continue to welcome you. To those who bailed on us in recent years and want back in, I say piss off and get in line like everyone else.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Stuff White People Like: America

I'm sure many of you are readers of the website, http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/. It was awesome to see No. 114 added to the list last night: America. The people that are parodied by the website are in a bit of an uproar.

Now that the Messiah has been anointed, a large group of urban white liberals are now, finally, proud again, or for the first time, to be Americans. They can hold their heads high when they travel to Europe for their next vacation and will not have to apologize for being an American.

That's the difference between us and them. I was proud to be an American two days ago, yesterday, and today. I don't agree with Obama, but it's great that a black person from such a humble and unique background has been elected president. President-elect Obama, you are truly "an only in America story", and remember you stand on the shoulder of giants ...

To Fredo, SHK, DC and others that have been posting here the last couple of days; you guys are true Americans and your passion for the country is exemplary. I look forward to reading more of your postings over the coming years. Let's hope the gains made by the Republicans over the last 28 years does not evaporate in the next 2 to 4.

And When I Thought I Couldn't Bear More Bad News...

R.I.P. Michael Crichton.

One of my all-time favorite authors, his novels were often turned into popcorn films. Some of these movies are classics (Jurassic Park, Andromeda Strain), some solid (Rising Sun, Disclosure), many abyssmal (Congo, Sphere, Timeline). However, the source material outshone even the best of the films by an immeasurable margin.

He was the father of the modern techno-thriller, often warning of the dangers of science when unchecked by morality. Crichton was a doctor and his background in science and medicine carried over to his meticulous research for his novels. In fantastic situations, the science-fiction was always based closely on existing or developing technology and theories.

One of his last books was his most controversial--State Of Fear. I highly recommend it to all OccObs readers and anyone else that I can convince to pick it up. It is a scathing criticism of global warming that caused Crichton to be villified in many circles. The best part is that he bases all his statements on scientific research and includes footnotes in a fictional work to back up his points. The bibliography is about 25 pages--truly a beautiful thing.

Godspeed, Michael.

Congrats, America!

You've just elected the coolest President ever (or probably world leader, for that matter)!

He says lots of stuff that makes you feel good, tells you nothing is your fault and everything will be given to you on a silver plate, and he's got a bitchin' jumper.

Yeah! He's a rock star! He's the star hoops player! He's homecoming king! He talks to you!

Doesn't mean he gives a damn about you or is gonna even let you sit at the cool kids table at lunch. He got what he wanted--your vote. Now he's in the history books, can just sit back for the next 4 years and when his policies flop, he can blame it all on the mess Bush left for him to clean up (even though he's got that great Congress behind him--aka, the toadies).

Yes, Obama is handsome, popular, cool. He's got all the other cool kids following his every word and do what he says. But what happens to all the high-school superstars? They usually end up pumping gas. And who goes on to be successful and make the real difference in the world? The nerds that got wedgies from the in-crowd.

We needed a nerd--we got a rock star.

And now we'll get what we deserve...

I am so disappointed in our populace (but not in our country).

Long Live America--we will recover.

Congratulations, Mr. President

Godspeed to you. Under your leadership, I pray that our great nation will continue to be a beacon of freedom and opportunity to the world.

While you are President of all Americans, I agree with Senator McCain that this should, once and for all, lay to rest any ideas that Americans see candidates as defined by their race, or for that matter, by their gender or ethnicity. We are a tolerant, good people that take our civic responsibilities with the utmost seriousness. While I did not support your candidacy, I have no doubt of your intellect and judicious temperment, which should serve the nation well. I can certainly see why many of my compatriots supported you.

You will assume the office of the Presidency in January, 2009. In 233 years, merely 8 or 9 generations, we have been able to attain great success as a people, thanks to the acculumulated sacrifices of many Americans, known and unknown. Please remember, as you approach your new responsibilities, that our nation has succeeded because of our political, economic and cultural heritage. And that heritage is now, at least partially, in your hands.

I know you seek "change." Make that change tactical and not fundamental. The gift of our heritage has been bought at a great price. Let's not discount that cost or the great benefits that it has provided us.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008

O!Bama

Looks like it's all but certain Obama has won, and Dems have solid control of House and Senate. That's the bad news.

Now the good news. They inherit a hideous economy that is almost certain to drag for at least another year if not two, limiting what they can really do. They are almost certain to underwhelm and disappoint the fringe elements of the liberal party that put them in power. They can't possibly deliver on all their promises. Much like with Deval Patrick in MA, I believe the bloom will quickly come off Obama and his star will fade over his first few months in office.

Furthermore, the Dems will no longer have the Republicans to hide behind and scapegoat. Guess what Dems? You can no longer simply be against Republican policies; you now must actually be for something. The responsibility to come up with actual ideas, create legislation and stand for something is now squarely on your shoulders. Let's see if you can preside over economic growth, keep the country safe from terrorist attacks, and keep your temptation to swing far left on social issues (which will surely get you voted out once the economy turns around) in check.

Hmmm

If McCain wins popular vote but loses electoral will we hear major outcry from press and other groups that the election was "stolen?"

I'll give you one guess and tell you that "Yes" is not an option.

F New Hampshire

New Hampshire is an absolute bunch of douches. WHOOOOOO look at you, you big bunch of mavericks. Aren't you all SOOO proud of yourselves. I'm SO glad you morons voted for McCain over Romney in the primary, starting Mitt's downward spiral, and then handed your state to Obama today. Well played you d-bags, well played. You're all so independent and for McCain, just like the NYT, until it comes time for the general election.

Senate votes

From Drudge: SENATE SOURCES: DEMS SEE 58 SEATS; EXIT POLLS RELEASED 5:15 PM ET

To be honest, if we can at least avoid a filibuster-proof Senate I'll take that as a win and regroup for 2010/2012.

Turnout

Turnout is supposedly very heavy across the nation. This is very bad news for McCain. While it is possible that the conservative base has turned out to vote against Obama/Biden, the far more likely scenario is that this is finally the year of high turnout among young people and minorities. These are two groups heavily supporting Obama, of course, so early indications are bad for McCain...

Won't you be my neighbor?

From ABC.com:

Among the Other Voters
November 04, 2008 8:38 AM

CHICAGO, Ill. -- Among the other voters who have shown up to vote at Shoesmith Elementary School this morning, where Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., will vote: Louis Farrakhan and William Ayers.

Seriously.

Welcome to the South Side of Chicago.

The Vermont Republic

I was discussing the secession movement in Vermont with my Dad. While we were in agreement that it would probably be a net positive for the rest of the country if Vermonters went rogue, we also recognized that you can't allow secession to become acceptable. Every 5 seconds, some other state, county, village, or berg would be threatening to leave the country if they didn't get their way on this or that. Lincoln already won that battle. No need (or want) to refight it.

After pondering this dilemma for a few long hard seconds, I came up with a great idea. Let's not wait for Vermont to seceed. Let's just kick them out. Vote them off the island. Let Donald give 'em a "you're fired."

This way we don't create any secession rights, but get rid of the socialists. Would anyone really vote against getting rid of Pat Leahy and Bernie Sanders?

I didn't think so.

Palin exonerated

The Alaska state personnel board has ruled that Palin broke no ethics laws in regard to firing of her state police chief, or the so-called "Troopergate" situation.

In what can only be called par for the course, the hack politician council that claimed wrongdoing rushed to judgment with a decision that influenced the campaign, while the real investigation exonerated Palin too late to help McCain-Palin.

Tammany Watch: Philadelphia

From Townhall.com

GOP Election Board members have been tossed out of polling stations in more than half a dozen polling stations in Philadelphia because of their party status.

A liberal judge previously ruled that court-appointed poll watchers could be NOT removed from their boards by an on-site election judge, but that is exactly what is happening.

It is the duty of election board workers to monitor and guard the integrity of the voting process.

Denying access to the minority (in this case Republican) poll watchers and inspectors is a violation of Pennsylvania state law. Those who violate the law can be punished with a misdemeanor and subjected to a fine of $1,000 and sent to prison between one month and two years.

Those on site as describing it as "pandemonium" and there may be video coming of the chaos.

Some of the precincts where Republicans have been removed are: the 44th Ward, 12th and 13th divisions; 6th Ward, 12th division; 32nd Ward, Division 28.

“Election board officials guard the legitimacy of the election process and the idea that Republicans are being intimidated and banned for partisan purposes does not allow for an honest and open election process,” said McCain-Palin spokesman Ben Porritt in a statement to Townhall.
Monday, November 03, 2008

Don Draper's Guide to Picking Up Women



"There was a man once... with bright shiny shoes..." Swoon.

Now, unlike Barack Obama, THIS is worth swooning over.

Too bad SNL was kaput during the primaries. Jon Hamm would have made a great Mitt.

D-minus-1

Tomorrow is decision day. While I'm sure most of you are decided on how you're voting, I feel obligated in the midst of this extraordinary election cycle to give you all, as people I know and care about, my two cents. Because our countrymen seem on the verge of elevating to the White House a man who, a mere 4 years ago, was a virtual unknown to the nation.

Do we want wealth redistibution or do we want to incentivize and reward work? Do we want an expanding economy, or a higher tax bill on corporations and successful entreprenuers (the very folks who could be investing in PP&E, hiring more workers or raising wages)? Most of all, do we want someone like Senator McCain, who has a proven track record of laying his life, body and spirit, on the line for his country in the most difficult of circumstances?

McCain wants to protect our traditional economic liberty, promote free trade, keep taxes low to grow the economy, secure the border while protecting our heritage of lawful immigration, and keep supporters of terrorism on notice that we will not turn a blind eye to their actions (as opposed to meeting with dictators of terrorist-supporting states without preconditions).

Or do we want a guy with a breezy smile who talks about creating a national police force, redistributing private property, bankrupting our domestic energy industries, banning guns, and has supported infanticide?

Most importantly and ominously, Obama is a guy who takes positions out of convenience, not conviction, and will surround himself with left-wing ideologues. If you don't believe it, check out what his fellow Democrat (Rep.) Jerrold Nadler said in trying to "defend him" in Florida this past weekend. He finally admitted the truth...

Congressman Nadler (D): Obama has no courage.

He puts expediency before doing the right thing, and countenances evil if it serves his ambition. But vote for him anyway.

OK, D.C. Ask and you shall receive.

With Barack prattling on about change, and our banking system in a state of turmoil, looks like D.C. found one stone for two birds:



"Volume"

24 Hours to Change!

This PSA has been brought to you by the Organization for Whirrled Peas and the Don't Worry Be Happy Coalition.
Sunday, November 02, 2008

Obama: If your company builds a coal plant, under my policies, you'll go bankrupt

That's not a paraphrase, by the way. That's pretty much verbatim:



Luckily, with only 49% of our domestic electricity being produced by coal (assuming this guy has his numbers right), we can probably afford to dump coal power altogether.

As luck would have it, pretty much every swing state has a big coal producing portion of the state (PA/VA/MO/IN/CO). I wonder why Palin is only hitting on these comments now. They've been out there a long time.

ht: Drudge

UPDATE:

ICYMI: Biden says "No coal plants here in America!"

ICYMI 2: Reid says "Coal and oil make us sick". Which is another way of saying home heat and automobiles make us sick. Warm teepees and good horses would make us well, I guess.

McCain on SNL

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Obama: The Emperor Cometh

Let's remember, this is the guy who voted for every firearm ban he could. He's also the guy who believes in "vote early, vote often", as our recurring Tammany watch feature has documented. And now, he tells us, right to our face, that he wants to recruit a new Gestapo:


Could Obama just be another garden variety leftist, who will merely set back our economic recovery a few years and a few % points of GDP? Perhaps. But it's also possible he could be something much, much worse. Someone like FDR who fundamentally reshapes the populace's ideas about what American government is, and is supposed to be. About what is Constitutionally acceptable action for the federal government.

But of course, FDR, for all his flaws, was fundamentally a patriot who believed in victory when war was upon us. Obama's values? Somewhat different. How far will he/would he go?

A few creative YouTube users have offered us some ideas:



FDR Redux

BTW, you're now seeing a full flowering of opinion among new commentators who are alleging that Obama's brand of socialism is "well suited to the times." After all, since this is Great Depression 2.0, don't we need New Deal 2.0?

I'll bypass the entire argument over whether this situation, bad as it is, in any way resembles the Great Depression. After all, with unemployment at 6%, I'm more interested to see if we'll crack double digits than if we'll get anywhere near the 1930's unemployment rates, which topped out in the mid-20s.

No, I'd rather go after one of our most sacred political fallcies head-on. FDR's groundbreaking new American government, while heartwarming to the masses, was incredibly unhelpful to our country's economy in the short run. Thomas Sowell, economist extraordinaire, summed up the FDR expirement nicely in this review of a book on the New Deal:

The grand myth for decades was that Hoover was unwilling to use the powers of government to come to the aid of the people during the Great Depression but that Roosevelt was more caring and did. In reality, both presidents represented a major break with the past by casting the federal government in the role of rescuer of the economy in its distress.

Scholarly studies of the history of these two administrations have in recent years come to see FDR's New Deal as Herbert Hoover's policies writ large and in bolder strokes.

Those who judge by intentions may say that this was a good thing. But those who judge by results point out that none of the previous depressions — during which the federal government essentially did nothing — lasted anywhere near as long as the depression in which the federal government decided that it had to "do something." [my emphasis]

...With policy after policy and program after program, [there were] high hopes and disastrous consequences. It would be funny, like the Keystone cops running into one another and falling down, except that millions of people were in economic desperation while this farce was being played out in Washington.

Perhaps worse than any specific policy under FDR was the atmosphere of uncertainty generated by incessant new experiments. [N.B.: sound familiar?] Billions of dollars of investment were needed to create millions of jobs for the unemployed. But investors were reluctant to risk their money while the rules of the game were constantly being changed in Washington, amid strident anti-business rhetoric.

Some of the people who most admired and almost worshipped FDR — poor people and blacks, for example — were hurt the most by amateurish tinkering with the economy by Roosevelt's New Deal administration. This book is an education in itself, both in history and in economics. It is also a warning of what can happen when leaders are chosen for their charm, charisma and rhetoric.

Tammany update

Looks like Boss Tweed has his line bosses working overtime.

Tip of the iceberg, friends. Tip. of. the. iceberg.

Not that it's going to change anything,

but Obama really is an arrogant ass. And Mac nailed him for it earlier today:

“[Obama] said the other day that his primary victory vindicated his faith in America,” said McCain. “My country has never had to prove anything to me, my friends. I’ve always had faith in it and I’ve been humbled and honored to serve it.”

I mean, can Barack be serious? It's as if Barack felt that, once Iowans showed him the love, he could finally consider stooping down to pick the rest of us up and carry us on his shoulders.

A liberal says that Sarah is here to stay

From Eugene Robinson at the WaPo:

I thought Palin was a lightweight; she's not. I thought she was an ingenue; she is, but only as long as her claws are sheathed. I thought she was bewildered and star-struck at her sudden elevation to national prominence; if she ever was, she isn't anymore. I thought she was nothing but raw political talent and unrealistic ambition; it turns out that she has impressive political skills. I thought she was destined to become nothing more than a historical footnote; I now think that Democrats underestimate her at their peril.

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