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Monday night, the Minnesota Wild defeated the St. Louis Blues, shutting them out 3-0. The Granlund-Parise-Pominville line scored the first 2 goals, with Granlund and Parise assisting on Pominville’s goal that opened the scoring:

Just 2:05 later, Granlund and Pominville assisted on Parise’s goal:

Parise’s goal was just sick. He’s being tied up by the Blues’ defenseman. The puck is in the defenseman’s skates. Parise’s solution? Poke the puck loose, get it onto his stick. Finish by rifling a shot over the goalie’s shoulder from point blank range.

Devan Dubnyk was strong when he needed to be, which, tonight, wasn’t that often. The story tonight was how totally unequipped the Blues are to deal with Minnesota’s speed. Wave after wave of Wild forecheckers kept the pressure on the Blues’ wings, defensemen and goalie. While the Granlund-Parise-Pominville line dominated the stat sheet, they weren’t the only Wild forwards that caused the Blues headaches. The Coyle-Niederreiter-Vanek line was relentless with its physicality and their forecheck. The Brodziak-Bergenheim-Fontaine line provided admirable energy for being the Wild’s 4th line.

The other story tonight was how the Wild totally frustrated the Blues’ goon. Shift after shift, Steve Ott tried running Wild players. Shift after shift, Wild players would laugh at Ott before leaving the ice at the end of their shift. Finally, with the game decided, Ott tried provoking a fight, first against Marco Scandella, then against Jared Spurgeon. Still, the Wild resisted the temptation. That ultimately led to Ott getting tossed from the game with a 2-minute minor and a 10-minute misconduct.

There’s an unmistakable trend developing. St. Louis is doing its best to intimidate the Wild. That’s failing miserably. The Blues’ defensemen are having tons of difficulty containing the Wild’s speedy forwards. Devan Dubnyk is making big stops whenever they’re needed.

This series isn’t over. Still, if St. Louis doesn’t bench Ott and figure out how to contain the Wilds’ speed, it won’t take long before St. Louis will be singing the end-of-season blues.

This morning’s St. Cloud Times Our View editorial is mostly the type of stuff you’d expect from liberals trying to paint themselves as moderates. There is a section, though, that’s clearly liberal:

Now is the time to (pardon the pun) pave the middle ground between DFL and Republican proposals to stabilize long-term transportation funding.

Dayton’s plan does the most because it spends the most by correctly getting users of the state’s transportation system to pay more in gas taxes. Never willing to raise taxes, House Republicans would rather shift general-fund money into transportation. That’s a bad idea because the next Legislature could shift it back based on its funding priorities.

Instead, Dayton should accept a smaller gas-tax hike to a level that more closely aligns with Republican spending targets. Oh, and just call it a user fee.

I hope the Republicans immediately reject the Times’ proposal. The Times editorial board will rationalize their opinion on the faulty theory that compromise is automatically the right thing. It isn’t. Principled compromise isn’t the wrong thing. Compromise for compromise sake is foolish.

First, I’d argue that We The People should come first. It’s clear that the vast majority of Minnesotans a) prefer fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges and b) don’t want to get hit with another tax increase. That means that the DFL would deserve the political nightmare they’d get in if they tried undoing the GOP transportation plan.

Next, I’d argue that it’s foolish to think that the DFL is interested in good faith negotiations regarding transportation. Move MN, the DFL front group that’s campaigning for a $13,000,000,000 tax increase, has consistently talked about Minnesota’s roads and bridges during their TV and radio interviews. The minute they’re off the air, though, they’re lobbying legislators for raising the sales tax on people in Washington, Dakota, Carver, Sherburne and Anoka counties to pay for transit projects that benefit Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

There’s nothing fair about that. It’s a major rip-off that benefits the DFL’s political base by taxing people more closely aligned with Republicans. If Hennepin and Ramsey counties want increased transit projects, let them pay for those projects. It’s immoral to force people to pay for things that a) they don’t benefit from and b) others benefit from.

There’s another flaw with the Times’ thinking. They say that “the next Legislature could shift it back based on its funding priorities,” which is true. What the Times isn’t taking into account is that people can let the DFL know that they’ll pay a steep political price if they get rid of the Republicans’ plan while replacing it with a plan that’s already been tried and failed.

If we implemented the Republicans’ plan and it fixed Minnesota’s roads and bridges, why wouldn’t the Times praise the Republicans’ plan? Further, why wouldn’t the Times criticize the DFL if they tried getting rid of a transportation plan that’s working?

Finally, Republicans should utterly reject the DFL plan in the strongest words possible because it’s been tried before and failed miserably. Compromising with people who’ve proposed terrible policies isn’t a virtue. It’s stupidity.

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The case for major reform of MnSCU seemingly gets stronger each week. Silence Dogood’s article about the latest financial crisis at St. Cloud State is an argument against MnSCU’s current structure. While the ‘highlight’ of the article is on President Potter’s getting taken to the cleaners by St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, the understory is MnSCU’s indifference towards President Potter’s mismanagement of SCSU’s finances.

Here’s the first question that MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone hasn’t answered: Why didn’t MnSCU, either through MnSCU’s Central Office, MnSCU’s Board of Trustees or through Dr. Rosenstone’s office directly, take quicker action to get SCSU’s finances in order?

OBSERVATION:
Dr. Rosenstone, the MnSCU Central Office and MnSCU’s Board of Trustees have been portraits in lethargy, indifference and apathy. Simply put, they’ve drawn 6-figure salaries without being the taxpayers’ watchdog or without providing oversight of the system.

Here’s the next question that needs answering: Why did MnSCU hire a consultant to a $2,000,000 contracts for things that MnSCU employees should’ve been able to handle? Apparently, spending money that doesn’t need to be spent is a habit within MnSCU. This emphatically suggests that the culture within MnSCU needs changing. That won’t happen with this chancellor. He’s established his identity. Dr. Rosenstone had the chance to straighten MnSCU’s financial ship out. He failed. Dr. Rosenstone was officially installed in October, 2011.

ULTIMATE QUESTION:
How many more multi-million dollar contracts will Dr. Rosenstone be allowed to sign before he’s terminated?

In 2013, the DFL legislature bragged about freezing tuition. While I’m sure students and parents appreciated that, I’m totally certain that this didn’t lower the cost of higher education. It just increased the subsidy needed to hide the cost of getting a degree.

Thanks to Silence Dogood’s article, we have a better perspective on President Potter’s incompetence. When it comes to managing SCSU’s finances wisely, President Potter would get an F. That isn’t to say that he’s gotten everything wrong. It’s saying that he’s gotten a bunch of important things badly wrong, starting with the lease he signed with the Wedum Foundation. That’s on track to lose $7,700,000 in its first 5 years in existence.

Despite losing millions of dollars on that initiative, President Potter publicly insists that the initiative is a success. It’s impossible for honest people to insist that something that’s lost millions of dollars a year from its start is a success. The good news for President Potter is that he isn’t honest, which makes it easier for him to make statements like that.

Another example of President Potter’s incompetence is the $12,000,000 deficit SCSU is expected to run for this fiscal year. Last June, SCSU announced that they would have a deficit. Back then, the deficit was only projected to be $3,000,000. At one of the first Budget Advisory Committee meetings last fall, that deficit was revised upward to $9,000,000. Now it’s estimated to top $12,000,000. Thankfully, FY2015 is almost in the books.

I’m tired of watching incompetents like President Potter foolishly spend the taxpayers’ money on frivolous things. The things listed above don’t represent a comprehensive list of President Potter’s financial transgressions. A comprehensive list of President Potter’s mistakes would require a ton more bandwidth.

Then there’s President Potter’s futility in turning around enrollment. When the subject comes up, President Potter’s response is that all MnSCU universities’ enrollments are down, which is fairly close to true. What President Potter hasn’t admitted is that SCSU’s enrollment decline isn’t just 1 or 2 years long. It’s been dropping since FY2011. It’s now FY2015. FY2016 starts on July 1, 2016. There’s no end in sight.

What’s especially frustrating is that MnSCU’s Board of Trustees haven’t notice SCSU’s calamity. Few politicians have either. The MnSCU Board of Trustees haven’t given parents and other taxpayers much to hope about. Their indifference towards SCSU’s financial mismanagement signals that they don’t take their oversight responsibilities seriously. If the Trustees, especially high profile trustees like Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, the former Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives, and Phil Krinkie, the former chairman of the Taxpayers League, won’t take this mismanagement crisis seriously, then there’s no reason to think that they’ll take anything seriously.

Anderson-Kelliher never took financial oversight seriously so I’ll give her a partial pass on President Potter’s mismanagement. It isn’t like the DFL has set the bar high in terms of protecting the taxpayers’ wallets.

Krinkie, on the other hand, initially set the bar high. Since getting defeated in 2006, though, he’s been indifferent about being the taxpayers’ watchdog. That’s putting it politely, Phil. It isn’t ok to let people like President Potter continue to steal the taxpayers’ money. That’s gotta stop ASAP. Period.

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Land Swap Is A Bad Deal For SCSU—What Else Is New!
by Silence Dogood

On April 17, 2015, this St. Cloud Times article announced a proposed land swap between the city of St. Cloud and St. Cloud State University. The article states: “The city of St. Cloud plans to swap three pieces of land with St. Cloud State University for the 50-acre park. The St. Cloud City Council will vote on the land exchange Monday.” The city property to be swapped is shown in blue in the following satellite image:

The property owned by SCSU to be swapped is shown in red in the following satellite image:

The scale in the two images is not the same. The following satellite image shows the two properties at the same scale. Clearly, the 50-acre parcel owned by SCSU is much larger than the combined three parcels owned by the city:

According to the article: St. Cloud owns three pieces of property near Fourth Avenue and 15th Street South that the university wants. Those pieces of land are worth $294,000. The park land is worth $328,000. From just the valuations stated in the article, SCSU is coming up on the short end by $34,000. However, if you look closely at the blown-up images of the properties, the city is clearly coming out way ahead!

Just by way of a historical reminder, the last time the city and SCSU worked out a deal it was for the “5th Avenue Live Project.” There’s no other way to say it. That deal was a complete failure and was cancelled after stage one. Unfortunately, as part of the project, SCSU entered into a lease with the Wedum Foundation and has lost $6,400,000 in the first four years of the project. It is on track to lose another $1,300,000 this year to bring the total to $7,700,000 lost in the first five years of operation! Since the lease runs for a minimum of an additional five years, SCSU may lose an additional $6,000,000 bringing the total amount lost to nearly $14,000,000 in the ten years required in the lease!

Since there has not been any discussion on campus of a potential land swap, it is not possible to know exactly why SCSU wants the city property. One might guess that it is to add parking spaces for students. In the satellite photo in the article, you can see the picture was taken during the winter while construction of the ISELF building was underway:

Clearly, classes are in session when the satellite image was taken because the faculty parking lots are fairly full. However, the student parking lots are clearly less than half-full! So much for needing additional parking. Also, since this picture was taken, the enrollment at SCSU has declined by over 20% so the argument that SCSU might need additional parking is simply a joke! In fact, SCSU has two mothballed high-rise dorms that have a total capacity of approximately 900 students. There is even discussion about demolishing one of them! Clearly, SCSU is not expecting these students to return.

In the satellite image, if you carefully examine the land SCSU is getting in the swap, it is pretty hard to see a lot of value in the storage yard where the city stores vehicles and stuff that it considers of such little value that the city chooses not to store it at the indoor storage facility in East St. Cloud.

Just for fun, let’s do a mental exercise. Let’s pretend that SCSU owned the three parcels of land south of the campus and the city owned the 50 acres of woods and quarries. Would it be a good deal for SCSU to accept an even up trade of its small three parcels of land for the 50 acres of woods? The answer is obviously YES! Not only would SCSU be getting a more valuable piece of real estate, it would be getting something that had the potential for development.

In fact, rather than the land swap, what if SCSU simply put the 50 acres up for sale to see if some developer might want to develop the property? While being adjacent to a maximum-security prison might not be the most desirable location for high-end homes, the city certainly thinks it’s a good location for a park. No matter what the use, SCSU might be able to sell the property for more than the valuation of $328,000, then buy the three parcels of property from the city and make $34,000 or more on the deal. SCSU is currently in the process of cutting $12,000,000 from its budget for FY16. While $34,000 might not make a lot of difference to a $12,000,000 deficit—every little bit helps! That $34,000 might even cover another trip to China for President Potter and his entourage.

The St. Cloud City Council is going to vote on the land swap on Monday evening. I’m going to bet that the vote approving the land swap is going to pass! I might even take bets about the outcome and be willing to give odds. In fact, it is hard to imagine that the vote by the City Council won’t be unanimous! It really is hard to think anyone on the City Council won’t vote in favor of the land swap. In my humble opinion, once again, the City of St. Cloud has stuck it to President Potter, SCSU and ultimately, the taxpayers.

Based on the recent history, I really wonder what Mayor Kleis has against President Potter and his alma mater. First, he got SCSU to buy into the “5th Avenue Live Project,” which will ultimately cost SCSU $14,000,000. Second, he got SCSU to pay $720,000 for three police officers over a three-year period to patrol the area around the SCSU campus. Lastly, he got SCSU to agree to a land swap that certainly looks like a pretty good dealfor the City of St. Cloud!

The only hope for SCSU is that the MnSCU Board of Trustees will say no to another bad deal for SCSU. However, this is the same board that recommended hiring Earl Potter as President of SCSU in the first place and then extended his contract. I guess there isn’t much hope for sanity prevailing.

This article illustrates 2 things. First, it’s proof that progressives don’t understand conservatism. Next, it’s proof that progressives are still fighting hard to prop Chris Christie up. Let’s look at that last point first in this paragraph:

The New Jersey governor is down, but not out. He’s putting all his chips on winning the Granite State, and the positive reception he received here showed that it’s probably the best bet he can make with his limited options.

Chris Christie is history. This weekend, Jazz Shaw wrote this post about Gov. Christie. Here’s the key point:

The Second Amendment was always going to be a tricky question for Christie as he attempts to navigate his way from being a successful executive in the very blue state of New Jersey to a prospective leader on the national level. After all, he is governor of the state with the second most horrible gun laws in the nation. Christie has, in the past, made a similar argument on this point as he has with other conservative issues. There is little he can do about it, or so the argument goes, because the Democrats run the legislature with an iron grip and he can’t summon new laws out of thin air on his own. To a certain extent that may be true, and it’s a defense which has been used by Republicans in traditionally liberal states to good effect in the past. But when you’re running for president it doesn’t really change the fact that you’re still the governor of the state with the second most horrible gun laws in the nation.

Jazz is right that Gov. Christie can’t create laws just by wishing them into existence. After all, he isn’t President Obama. What Christie could’ve done, though, is pushed for more NRA-friendly gun laws. There isn’t much in the way of proof that Gov. Christie fought for more Second Amendment-friendly legislation.

Next, let’s look at whether progressives understand conservatives. First, I’ll note that Gov. Christie isn’t a conservative. He’s a Republican, not a conservative. Next, let’s admit that any Republican with national aspirations can’t flinch on Second Amendment issues. That Republican can’t even hesitate in their support of the Second Amendment. A flinch is that politician’s death knell. Period.

I appreciate Salena Zito’s latest column because, once again, it’s about what’s important to Beltway pundits and what’s important to real people living in America’s heartland. This week, Ms. Zito’s column focuses on the fight between getting distracted by gimmickry or focusing on fundamentals:

Though he never was called up to serve in Vietnam, Garfein, out of Fort Lewis, Wash., led an armored reconnaissance unit and a field artillery battery. “I’ve always felt a connection to the men who fought in the Civil War.”

His conversation turned to leadership, honoring the past, the government scandals of the last five years and the country’s future: “I was taught at a young age to value your community and to serve it. We need more emphasis on that from those who want to lead our country. “And we need to hold those in power in check; stop chasing the unicorns and start chasing and revealing the truth and demanding competency.”

A week later, more than two dozen reporters chased the next presidential cycle’s first unicorn, Hillary Clinton, around an Iowa community college on her first official campaign stop. The optics of that was as comical as a tiny car releasing scores of clowns into a circus ring. But it doesn’t amuse people like Garfein, who wish the media would chase down government corruption and incompetency with the same gusto.

The ‘reporters’ covering Hillary on the campaign trail are making asses of themselves. They breathlessly told us that Queen Hillary had ordered the burrito bowl from a Chipotle in Ohio. They informed us that she’d ordered the “guac”, though Jon Stewart noticed that they didn’t tell us how many napkins she took:

The media are, for all intents and purposes, Hillary’s puppets. For all the talk about how Hillary won’t get the same kid glove treatment from the media like then-candidate Obama did, it’s looking like the media isn’t exactly fired up to investigate Hillary. While she won’t get the slobbering coverage that President Obama got, she’ll get kid glove treatment.

This week, we saw the Hillary ‘correspondents’ do some embarrassing things. First, they acted like puppets chasing her vehicle around a community college building. This morning, veteran NPR political reporter Mara Liasson told media critic Howard Kurtz “For some reason that I’ve never understood, the public wants to know everything that the Clintons do.” That’s what Beltway reporters think about the people’s appetite for the Clintons? Seriously?

There’s no finer example of the difference between real reporters from America’s heartland and ‘reporters’ from inside the DC Beltway.

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This weekend, Gov. Scott Walker, (R-WI), visited New Hampshire again. Thus far, Gov. Walker’s message is resonating:

Attendees at a New Hampshire Republican Leadership Summit on Friday offered plenty of reasons why Gov. Scott Walker sits atop a burgeoning field of potential 2016 GOP nominees in the latest Granite State polls.

But some cautioned that while Walker may check many of the right boxes, he is still a largely unknown quantity, and as voters get to know him better they may have concerns about his shifting positions on various issues, his lack of foreign policy experience or the divisive nature of his politics.

When you’re the frontrunner, it’s inevitable that people will criticize you. That’s already happening:

“There’s a lot of goodwill,” said Vernon Robinson, the director of a super PAC supporting retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson for president and a featured speaker at the event Friday. “Folks don’t know a lot about Scott Walker other than he beat the unions. As the vetting process goes forward, the good governor may have peaked too soon.”

That’s certainly mild criticism, far milder than Hillary and the DNC will throw at him if he’s the nominee. This mild criticism, though, tells me more about Dr. Carson’s team than anything else.

Criticizing a candidate in a crowded field often isn’t effective. Even if the criticism hurts the target, what often happens is that it hurts the candidate that did the criticizing. In the early stages of a presidential campaign, it’s best to just build your team while building enthusiasm and momentum.

Compare the Carson campaign’s criticism with this response:

Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for Walker’s political nonprofit group Our American Revival, declined to comment on polls. She said Walker would continue to talk to Americans about the principles he has promoted in Wisconsin and how he was able to win three times in four years.

That’s pitch perfect. It says that they won’t get drawn into silly tit-for-tat spats. Further, it emphatically states that Gov. Walker will take the high road by talking about his successes in Wisconsin.

That’s a smart approach. Gov. Walker has a lengthy list of accomplishments as the conservative governor of a blue state. Reminding people that your message and your conservative policies have won people over in Wisconsin is a great reminder to people that conservatism is a winning message.

No post is complete without Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s feeble attempt to criticize a Republican:

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz called Walker “one of the most divisive leaders in recent memory.” “The more voters get a close look at what Scott Walker’s actual policies are, the more they will be repelled,” she said.

That’s hilarious, especially coming from the woman that told Megyn Kelly that late term abortions are a private matter between a woman and her doctor. Rep. Wasserman-Schultz’s position isn’t just held by a minority of people. It’s a position that great liberals like the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan said was “too close to infanticide.”

If Ms. Wasserman-Schultz wants to promote a procedure that’s “too close to infanticide,” that’s her right. It’s just a foolish decision that a vast majority of women disagree with.

There are at least a dozen lifetimes between now and the first-in-the-nation primary, which means there isn’t a true frontrunner at this point. Still, if you’re Gov. Walker, you’d have to be pleased with the rollout thus far.

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This article includes one of the strangest quotes I’ve seen. Check this out:

Former state Rep. Juan-Carlos Planas, who also worked with both men and now backs Bush, made a similar point. “There were always projects that were important to Marco’s constituents,” he said. “And they always ended up in the budget.”

Rep. Planas just accused Sen. Rubio of — gasp! — representing his constituents. Apparently, that’s a mortal sin with Rep. Planas. That’s weird thinking for normal people because most people think a politician actually representing them is a positive.

Jeb’s unleashed his supporters to criticize Sen. Rubio:

Rubio’s team declined to respond to those statements and hasn’t cast Bush or other rivals in a negative light.

Yet a prominent Rubio supporter, billionaire businessman Norman Braman, has been less diplomatic. “We have to look for the future,” Braman told CNN this past week in a round of interviews. “We have to go beyond the Bushes. We have to go beyond the Clintons.” He added: “We’re not a country that believes in dynasties.”

Repeating a campaign theme isn’t going negative. It’s a substantive point. Jeb’s supporters didn’t take that path. Jeb’s surrogates attacked Sen. Rubio in a personal, semi-substantive way.

This shouldn’t be taken as me saying I’m supporting Sen. Rubio. I’m personally supporting Scott Walker. It’s just me saying I wish Jeb’s surrogates would be more substantive. Still, it’s helpful since it’s a safe bet that Hillary’s campaign will be rude to whomever the Republicans pick as their nominee.

Natan Sharansky’s op-ed provides a stunning contrast between the Obama administration’s Iran capitulation and President Eisenhower’s negotiations with the then-Soviet Union. Check this out:

For starters, consider that the Soviet regime felt obliged to make its first ideological concession simply to enter into negotiations with the United States about economic cooperation. At the end of the 1950s, Moscow abandoned its doctrine of fomenting a worldwide communist revolution and adopted in its place a credo of peaceful coexistence between communism and capitalism. The Soviet leadership paid a high price for this concession, both internally, in the form of millions of citizens, like me, who had been obliged to study Marxism and Leninism as the truth and now found their partial abandonment confusing, and internationally, in their relations with the Chinese and other dogmatic communists who viewed the change as a betrayal. Nevertheless, the Soviet government understood that it had no other way to get what it needed from the United States.

The Soviets capitulated because they didn’t have any options. Soviet negotiators thought that President Eisenhower was a serious, hard-nosed negotiator. They didn’t fear him like they feared President Reagan but they knew they couldn’t take liberties with Eisenhower.

As a result of their capitulation, the Soviets experienced a shaming that they never recovered from. It took several more decades before the gulags closed and the dissidents were freed but the Soviets had been dealt a stunning defeat.

Imagine what would have happened if instead, after completing a round of negotiations over disarmament, the Soviet Union had declared that its right to expand communism across the continent was not up for discussion. This would have spelled the end of the talks. Yet today, Iran feels no need to tone down its rhetoric calling for the death of America and wiping Israel off the map.

The Iranians sized up President Obama and figured it out that he wasn’t a serious negotiator. To the Iranians, President Obama looked like a mark in a con man’s sights. They figured that President Obama could be flipped. That’s because they knew he was a desperate man in search of a legacy. As a result, the Iranians played hardball with him.

The sanctions were working. Iran’s mullahs would’ve been toppled if President Obama was interested in that. Unfortunately for Israel and the US, President Obama wasn’t interested in dealing the Iranian regime a death blow. Because President Obama zigged when other administrations would’ve zagged, Iran is poised to become a Middle East hegemon with a nuclear weapon.

While negotiating with the Soviet Union, U.S. administrations of all stripes felt certain of the moral superiority of their political system over the Soviet one. They felt they were speaking in the name of their people and the free world as a whole, while the leaders of the Soviet regime could speak for no one but themselves and the declining number of true believers still loyal to their ideology.

President Obama’s legacy will be his administration-long apology tour. He’s felt that the United States wasn’t a force for good. This will be his fitting epitaph:

It’ll take a generation to clean up all the history-changing messes he’s created. President Clinton said that the 1990s represented a “vacation from history.” On 9/11, history came to collect on that debt.

It might well be that 2009-2016 will be called the United States’ vacation from being the United States.

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