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The war was the result of the Bush Administration's failed diplomacy. | Uh, we support the troops. | A tax cut in wartime is a risky scheme. | We could have probably brought down that statue for a lot less. | Sure it was a quick victory, but the occupation will be brutal. | What's so called "liberation" in the face of the loss of humanity's antiquities? | Why are we building schools in Baghdad when we should be building schools at home? | We’re not extreme, our ideals represent the ideals of ordinary Californians.

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contributor commentary

[Hugh Hewitt] 8:10 am
TimesGrinder: John Carroll is the editor at the Los Angeles Times, and his now famous memo may mark a real turning point at the paper. We have to wait and see. Will the paper support Gray Davis through the recall campaign ahead, or will it trumpet the need for leadership and thus the booting from public life of GD? The paper's Sacramento columnist, Slumberin' George Skelton, is firmly in the waffles-and-Davis camp, so let's see if Carroll really means what he says. If so, Skelton will finally report the facts --Davis is widely regarded by both left and right as the worst gov in California's history. He's a thumb-sucker under the desk as the crises grow, and Skelton is lecturing the GOP on the need to raise taxes. The recall campaign will be a great test of Carroll's newfound resolve, as will be the coverage of the "roadmap" process. Carroll's paper is relentlessly anti-Israel. We wait for the real coverage of the toll of suicide bombings. [more at Hewitt]

[Streetsweeper 8:05 am]
Di-Fi No Recall But Vote For Me: The Bee reports that in an op-ed the Senator says that Gray should stay ["I believe a recall election can be appropriate when serious malfeasance and corruption is found," Feinstein wrote in an opinion piece distributed Thursday to newspapers throughout the state. "But I don't believe it is right to overturn the results of an election simply because of political differences."] Hey, doesn’t incompetence count?

more at CRO Blog

being Tom McClintock


California has a spending problem. As State Senator Tom McClintock likes to point out, population and inflation combined have grown at a rate of 21% the past four years; revenue has grown 25%. Yet California government spending has grown 40%. The result is an unprecedented state budget deficit expected to exceed $35 billion.
- Thomas Krannawitter 5/2/03

go to Shadow Governor

INSIDE CRO Campbell's Capitol Communication
A Tale of Two Cities
Cutting taxes in DC, piling on in Sacramento
by John Campbell 5/29/03 |
Washington DC: I write you this week's report not from a plane returning home from Sacramento but on one returning home from Washington, DC. While I was in the nation's capitol, the President held a couple of ceremonies at the White House. | One was to honor the World Champion Anaheim Angels in the White House rose garden. Now, this may not qualify as a significant moment in the quest for world peace or whatever, but for those of us in Orange County, it was pretty neat. My continued condolences to you Giant fans out there (not really). Anyway, the President was warm, funny, and congenial and ended with comments about champions setting examples for others. | The other event was somewhat more important in the grand scheme of things as the President signed the growth package into law thereby enacting the third largest tax cut in US history. I have been a vocal advocate of this plan and particularly of the dividend tax reduction provisions. Already, the investment community is talking about cash dividends rather than solely paper earnings. As investors demand more cash, which cannot be faked, the opportunities for corporate malfeasance will drop and the efficient use of capital will rise. Imagine, reforming something without giving trial lawyers more ways to make up junk lawsuits! The package will be a great thing for the economy. We should thank Congress and the President. But be assured, if the economy recovers, Gray Davis will claim he did it. [more inside]

TIMESGRINDER/From American Spectator
A Christmas Carroll
by George Neumayr 5/30/03 |
So conservatives aren't alone. Liberal bias at the Los Angeles Times even annoys its editor John Carroll, according to a leaked memo. | Last year the Los Angeles Times sacked a hapless sports reporter who had used the Times's e-mail system to send a blistering note to Republican Congressman Bill Thomas that began, "Surely, you can't be that stupid." Now John Carroll is cracking the whip on more important staffers. posted this week a Los Angeles Times staff memo in which Carroll told editors and reporters that "we are not going to push a liberal agenda in the news pages of the Times." He is "serious" about "purging all political bias from our coverage." [more at American Spectator]

Celebrity Injustice
Loudmouth moviemakers don’t know their audience.
by Joel Engel 5/30/03
| “Lethal Weapon actor Danny Glover is the latest celebrity facing an icy brand of national pride that puts the pinch on public figures who question American foreign policy." So begins a recent Associated Press story about a "threatened boycott" of MCI for its pitchman employment of the antiwar actor who also voices support for Fidel Castro. According to Glover and two law professors quoted in the article, the outcry directed at outspoken celebrities like himself and Sean Penn indicates that the country is teetering on the precipice of McCarthyism. | Glover's political illogic aside (endorsing the Cuban people's "right to self-determination" under a regime that doesn't offer free elections and executes or imprisons anyone trying to flee), the question is why so many celebrities still seem to confuse free speech with censorship. | Take Sean Penn. (Please.) The actor filed a lawsuit against producer Steven Bing for allegedly firing the actor from a $10 million payday after he returned from his Iraq fact-finding mission having found no facts — which he nonetheless recited endlessly to Larry King. The predictable result, just before a war that at the time had the support of at least half the country, was public outrage — and his unhiring. | Now, $10 million paydays are a wonderful thing, and so is the freedom to say whatever's on your mind, but they may not be wholly compatible. [more at National Review]

California's Problem Isn't Prop. 13
by Joel Fox 5/30/03 | Proposition 13, the tax-cutting measure that capped property tax rates and assessments and required public votes on other tax increases, reaches its 25th anniversary next week both reviled and praised. | With the state and local governments facing severe budget deficits, Proposition 13 is blamed by many public officials for the crisis — as it has been blamed for so much that has gone wrong in this state over the years, from education failures to freeway collapses during an earthquake to even the not-guilty verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial. | Yet the measure is hailed too. Understandably, it is praised by those who lived through the terrible days before the initiative passed, when soaring property taxes were threatening many people with the loss of their homes. | More remarkable is the widespread support from large numbers of today's Californians who either did not live in the state or are not old enough to remember the trepidation and dread that accompanied the arrival of pre-1978 property tax bills that most homeowners could not afford. | How can this be? Simply because the average voter understands that Proposition 13 is not about wild charges that the initiative is responsible for death and destruction; nor is it about budget deficits, unequal taxes or encouraging poor land-use planning. | Proposition 13 is about taxpayer protection, and the public gets it. [more at LA Times]

Up From the Ashes
by the Editors 5/30/03 | A state-appointed administrator will soon lead the Oakland public schools. That's just about the least painful consequence of fiscal mismanagement that has plunged the district $82 million into the red. | There's no way to underplay or sugarcoat the depth of this tragedy. It might have been easier to bear if it had happened almost anywhere else. Over the years, the Oakland schools have endured far more agony than they deserved. Finally, they appeared to be on the verge of a turnaround. | Instead, signs of progress obscured a crumbling fiscal infrastructure. [more at SF Chronicle]

INSIDE CRO the Shadow Governor
Memo to My Wife
by Tom McClintock 5/29/03 | Hi Honey --Since you've let me take over our household finances, I'm happy to report that our family budget is balanced, I've saved thousands of dollars, and I've kept us in the style to which I would like to become accustomed. | You might wonder how I've been able to do all this. I just followed the easy steps that Gov. Gray Davis outlined in his May Budget Revision. I know you're upset because I spent nearly $11,000 more than we took in this year. You really need to keep things in perspective. Gray spent nearly $11 billion more than he took in, and he's not worried. I've taken out a second on our house and Gray's taken out the largest state loan in American history to cover the difference, so just relax. | I'm being fiscally conservative and socially liberal with our budget, just like the Governor. I've cut thousands of dollars from our expenses without affecting our standard of living in the slightest. I know you're skeptical, but it was really very easy. I just added a new jet ski to my wish list and then scratched it out. That saves $5,500. Pretty clever, huh? You can actually do this in any amount - Gray "cut" $5.5 billion from the state budget exactly the same way. [more inside]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Weekly Standard
Gray Davis Rolls the Dice
In desperate need of cash and political capital, California's governor prepares to give Native American tribes some extra-Constitutional powers.
by Hugh Hewitt 5/29/03
| Last fall California Governor Gray Davis vetoed a bill the legislature had presented him--S.B. 1828. The bill would have transferred a large amount of authority over "sacred sites" to the California tribes. The definition of sacred site was broad; so too was the power that was to be transferred to Native American representatives. When the governor vetoed the bill, he proclaimed that it wasn't wise to place such enormous power in the hands of a single interest group. | The tribes have since regrouped and a new bill is moving through the legislature. If passed, it will cover every "site that is associated with the traditional beliefs, practices, lifeways, and ceremonial activities of a Native American tribe." Though dressed up in the dense language of land-use planning, the bill will empower the tribes with huge authority over private property. Consultation, avoidance, and mitigation will become watchwords in the land development process. | Davis is so weak politically that he will probably sign whatever bill makes it to his desk this time around, no matter how obviously unconstitutional. [more at Weekly Standard]

THE CELEBRITY BRIGADE/From Claremont Institute
Lives of the Party
by John Meroney 5/29/03 | THE RED AND THE BLACKLIST The Intimate Memoir Of a Hollywood Expatriate By Norma Barzman Thunder's Mouth. 464 pp. $27.50 | Hollywood has always been fertile ground for political activism. In the 1930s, the Communist Party began to see the film capital as prime territory for recruitment. By the end of World War II, Party members were active in many of the unions. Because propaganda was central to Stalin's methods, the Soviets considered Hollywood, with its extensive media network, a crown jewel. | Norma Barzman and her husband, Ben, were writers during this era. They were also communists. Yet if Barzman contributes anything to the literature of the so-called Hollywood blacklist, it is her unwitting confirmation of something many have long denied: The Party was more than just a political organization, and those who investigated communism may actually have been on to something. [more at Claremont Institute]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Sacramento Bee
Pension Fund Ills Can Be Traced To Big Giveaway
by Daniel Weintraub 5/29/03 | The public pension nightmare unfolding across California began with one bad decision based on faulty logic in the heady days when the stock market run looked as if it would never end. | The decision came when the board of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) urged the Legislature and the governor to take $9 billion that was deemed a surplus and use it to boost pensions for retirees and those still working for the state. | Those excess earnings in the retirement fund, the pension board concluded, belonged to employees and retirees. But the board was wrong. The state never should have given that money away. [more at Sacramento Bee]

A Wasted Windfall?
by the Editors 5/29/03 | Suppose someone is deeply in debt and close to bankruptcy. A favorite uncle sends him a check for $2,400. Should he a) use the money to help pay down the debt or b) spend the money? | Obviously, any sensible person would choose a). | A similar thing just happened to the state government. Uncle Sam's $350 billion tax-cut legislation, signed Wednesday by President Bush, included $20 billion in aid to the state governments, including $2.4 billion for California. | The state can a) use the money to help pay down the state budget deficit of up to $38 billion over 18 months or b) spend it. |"Democrats, who have restored some [budget] cuts proposed by Gov. Gray Davis, say all options should be kept open on what to do with the windfall," reported the Contra Costa Times yesterday. "Republicans say it should be used either to lower borrowing or to scrap suggested tax increases ... . Steve Maviglio, [Gov. Gray Davis'] spokesman, said Davis has not decided where the funding should go." [more at OC Register]

MISEDUCATION/From SD Union Tribune
State Must Keep, Not Water Down, Exit Exam
by the Editors 5/29/03 | It was a safe bet that the state Board of Education would blink when it came to requiring a passing score next year on the high school exit exam in order to receive a diploma. So, it's hardly surprising to hear board President Reed Hastings suggest the test be postponed as a graduation requirement until, say, 2006. | By then, most of the current board members will have completed their terms and be engaged in much less contentious issues. And a new board can conjure up ways to avoid holding schools to the standards of public accountability we keep hearing about. | The high school exit exam has been through a tortuous path since its birth four years ago. [more at SD Union Tribune]

Robert Scheer's Lurch Off the Cliff of Reality
by Hugh Hewitt 5/28/03 | What's the difference between a nutty, bile-filled columnist who mails in canard-and-conspiracy columns every week, and a left-of-center columnist who often gets the bottom line wrong but who gets some things right and who must be read? That's the difference between the Los Angeles Times' Robert Scheer and the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof. | Scheer turned into the blogosphere's bongo-drum last week after peddling the nonsense that American special forces staged the Pvt. Lynch rescue using blanks. This lurch off the cliff of reality drew a lot of first-time attention to the Left Coast's number one conspiracy theorist, and the laughter still hasn't died down. Stefan Sharkansky had already compiled a "Canard-o-meter" tracking Scheer's various cliches and we all had a good laugh at Scheer. | And we sat back waiting for the next installment of Professor Scheer's unique brand of hysteria. (Yes, he's a professor – a "senior lecturer," in fact, at USC's Annenberg School of Communication. What students he must produce.) But Tuesday rolled around and no new Scheer column appeared. Did he fail to write it? Did he turn it in late? Did the Los Angeles Times spike it? It doesn't matter, of course, since serious people don't take Scheer seriously. The future of Scheer's columns is interesting only as a marker of the Los Angeles Times' desire to be a real newspaper again. [more at WorldNetDaily]

Hold Fast, Republicans
by the Editors 5/28/03 | So far Republicans continue to stand up for the rights of taxpayers against the attempts to raise taxes by Gov. Gray Davis and the Democratic majority in the Legislature. | But it probably will go down to the wire whether Democrats can peel off two Republican senators and six GOP Assembly members to form the two-thirds majority needed to pass a tax increase that allegedly would solve a budget deficit of up to $38 billion over 18 months. | The Sacramento Bee reported Tuesday that "key GOP lawmakers also say they might grudgingly accept some temporary tax hikes - as long as Democrats agree to restrain the growth of state spending in the future." | However, Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte of Rancho Cucamonga told us that the GOP caucus in the Senate is holding firm. "That's not us," he said. | Things are shakier in the Assembly, where Assemblyman Keith Richman of Northridge voted for tax increases in the previous two budgets. But five more assemblymen willing to encounter the wrath of their voters still would be needed. [more at OC Register]

FREE CAMPUS/From National Review
The Right Papers
If it can happen in Santa Barbara, it can happen anywhere.
by Sheri Annis 5/28/03
| Back in the '80s, when I was at the University of California at Santa Barbara, my African-studies professor openly copped to being a Marxist and calmly informed me that the United States was oppressing the world. I tried to laugh off the left-wing indoctrination that surrounded daily campus life. After all, a full-moon beach party was always just around the corner. | At the time, those of a more conservative political ilk found little comfort in the campus paper, the Daily Nexus, checking it mainly to see if the temperature was going to be 65 degrees and sunny or 75 degrees and sunny. | But now, a conservative media revolution — or at least the glimmer of one — has reached my alma mater. Two enterprising students, Nick Romero and Gretchen Pfaff, have begun publishing the Gaucho Free Press. This is one of a number of conservative newspapers that have sprouted on college campuses, according to the Los Angeles Times, with help from the Collegiate Network, which is training right-leaning journalists. [more at National Review]

A Festival of Anti-Americanism
by John H. Hinderaker 5/28/03 | The Cannes Film Festival has ended amid a critical consensus that the films premiering there were the weakest group in memory. This might have something to do with the intellectual aridity of a festival which consisted largely of varieties of anti-Americanism: French anti-Americanism, Danish anti-Americanism, Iranian anti-Americanism, and American anti-Americanism. | The festival's Palme d'Or went to "Elephant," an American-made film about the Columbine High School shootings. The French apparently never tire of hearing about Columbine, but I suspect the commercial audience for this film will be close to zero. [more at Powerlineblog]

Don't Reform Trade Offices - Close Them
by the Editors 5/28/03 | In the wake of an Orange County Register investigation documenting overblown and false claims by California's foreign-trade offices regarding their usefulness at creating new business for the state, some state officials are proposing reforms. | There's talk of creating a uniform annual survey, of new audit procedures of claims, of new regulations requiring that trade officials contact businesses directly before boasting of having provided help in creating new business and additional tax revenues. And, as some legislators told the Register, directors of these 12 overseas offices should be prosecuted for perjury if they knowingly provide false information to the Legislature about the value of the offices. | But the best reform is the obvious one: Shut down these wasteful, extravagant and largely useless state offices. [more at OC Register]

Leftwing Hack
by George Shadroui by 5/28/03 | Robert Scheer, the syndicated columnist at the Los Angeles Times, has added yet another milestone in his career as an America baiter who has rarely met a fact he would not twist to further his leftist agenda. | The latest in Scheer lunacy is a May 20 column in which he makes the inflammatory claim that the U.S. military faked the rescue of Jessica Lynch. This allegation, based on the reporting of the BBC, a network that opposed the war and has shown pro-Palestinian tendencies, has been flatly denied by the Pentagon. | This did not stop Scheer from enthusiastically accepting the BBC report without doing any significant research of his own. He simply concludes: "After a thorough investigation, the British Broadcasting Corp., has presented a shocking dissection of the "heroic" (his quotes) rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch, as reported by the U.S. military and a breathless American press.” | To buttress his claims, Scheer turns to a single Washington Post story, in which it was reported that Lynch was fighting when she was captured and had been stabbed and shot. “It has since emerged that Lynch was neither shot nor stabbed, but rather suffered accident injuries when her vehicle overturned,” Scheer points out. | Scheer reports this as if it is a recent revelation when, in fact, the Post and virtually every other major American news agency or network corrected those reports within days as more complete information became available. [more at FrontPage]

Prop. 42 Highway Funds: Hands Off
Money for crucial road projects shouldn't be taken to cover state's red ink
by DAN BEAL 5/28/03
| As the budget showdown heats up in Sacramento, motorists may be left out in the cold again. The Legislature is considering siphoning the sales tax on gasoline away from transportation funding to help cover the billions in state red ink. | Proposition 42, approved by 70 percent of the voters last year, dedicated the state sales tax paid on gasoline to be used for transportation purposes. It's a critical source of about $1 billion per year in stable funding for road and transit construction and maintenance. | Among the dozens of budget proposals now being considered, there is talk of suspending Prop. 42 and then either taking or borrowing some or all of the gasoline sales tax money to pay the state's other bills. | The problem is that the state general fund has been "borrowing" transportation money for years and rarely repaying what it owes. In fact, another proposal to help balance this year's budget is to forgive $500 million in past loans of transportation money to the general fund. [more at OC Register]

Attorney General Jerry Brown?
Comics are smiling as 'Gov. Moonbeam' mulls new run for state office
by Doug Gamble 5/27/03
| Much like Jason in the "Halloween" movies or Freddy Krueger in the "Elm Street" flicks, there are some politicians who just don't know when they've worn out their welcome. | One is Jerry Brown, former California governor and secretary of state, perennial presidential candidate, failed U.S. Senate contender, former state Democratic Party chairman and now in his second term as mayor of Oakland. With term limits staring the 65-year-old Brown in the face, there are reports he is quietly letting it be known he might want to run for state attorney general in 2006. | Republicans can't be blamed for rubbing their hands together at the prospect. If Brown seeks the office of the state's leading law enforcement official, he'll do so as a mayor who has presided over a dramatic increase in violent crime in the city he governs. There were 108 murders in Oakland last year, a 28.6 percent increase over a year earlier. By comparison, nearby and more populous San Francisco held steady at 62 homicides. | When Brown promised to bring 10,000 people downtown, voters thought he meant residents, not armed thugs. It doesn't take much imagination to foresee that the charge, "What Jerry Brown did for Oakland he wants to do for California" would be a major theme of the GOP campaign against him. [more at OC Register]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From National Review
Honeymoon’s Over
Chief Bratton gets Los Angeles politicians fuming.
by Jack Dunphy 5/27/03
| Well, it took a bit longer than most people expected, but after seven months as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, William Bratton once again has the politicians fuming. Recall that Bratton, as chief of the New York Police Department from 1994 to 1996, oversaw a decline in the city's crime that can best be described as miraculous. Most notably, homicides were cut in half during his 27-month stewardship of the NYPD. Oddly, it was his success as a crime fighter that led to Bratton's undoing in New York. So spectacular were his accomplishments, so unbounded was his ego, so unrestrained and adoring was the media attention that he soon clashed with then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, another man whose name fairly leaps to mind when the discussion turns to accomplishments, ego, and media attention. When Bratton got more column inches in the papers and more mentions on the news shows than the mayor who gave him his job and at whose pleasure he served, well, that was just a little more than a man with aspirations far beyond the gates of Gracie Mansion could take. Bratton was handed his hat and rather unceremoniously shown the door. | Bratton worked in the private sector as a security consultant before being selected to succeed Bernard Parks, under whose direction the LAPD saw a sharp rise in crime and a similarly sharp decline in officer morale. Back in September 2000 I wrote that things in the LAPD would begin to improve the very day Parks was ushered to the exit, and I'm happy to report that this happy result has indeed come to pass. Homicides are down 26 percent from a year ago after years of double-digit increases, and officer morale is on the upswing with the abandonment of Parks's ludicrously draconian disciplinary system and the retirement of some of his more loathsome underlings. Chief Bratton, however, seems to have forgotten one hard-learned lesson from his time in New York: Thou shalt not embarrass the politicians, for theirs is a wrathful vengeance. [more at National Review]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From American Spectator
Cardinal Stonewaller
by George Neumayr 5/27/03 | Reality continues to outpace satire at Cardinal Roger Mahony's cathedral in Los Angeles. The perplexing cathedral now boasts one more innovation: a chapel dedicated to honoring "victims of sexual abuse by priests," reports the Los Angeles Times. | Mahony invited the media to his chapel opening on Sunday. But he didn't tender an invitation to the honorees. And they weren't touched. While Mahony "knelt silently in the chapel in front of television cameras," reports the Times, Mary Grant of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests "fumed" outside the church building. |"A public relations stunt," Grant said to the Times. "Clearly this continues to be about the cardinal and not the victims…I think Cardinal Mahony knew that if victims were aware of this ahead of time, they'd be here telling parishioners that real change needs to happen -- and that the priests who abused them are not yet behind bars." [more at American Spectator]

Race Preferences and the Resurrection of George Orwell
by Ward Connerly 5/27/03 | Have you ever wondered why the people of California have such an appetite for the voter initiative process? Proposition 13 (reformed the property tax), “Three Strikes” (got criminals off the streets), Proposition 187 (prohibited public services for illegal immigrants), Proposition 209 (ended race preferences), and Proposition 227 (reformed bilingual education) are all high profile examples of actions taken by the people of California over the past 25 years. | None of the above could clear even the policy committee in the house of origin of the bicameral California Legislature when legislation was introduced to enact these reforms, despite the fact that all of them were subsequently approved, overwhelmingly, by the people of the Golden State. | For nearly three decades, the citizens of California have had to endure a state legislative body that is arrogant, dysfunctional, incompetent, and in which the sum of its parts—individual legislators—do not equal the ideological whole of the people they are supposed to represent. As a body, the California Legislature probably has more socialist-thinking members than most countries for which socialism is official government policy. [more at FrontPage]

Ultimate Betrayal
The revived Belmont Learning Center is the curse of the LAUSD
by the Editors 5/27/03
| With their decision to complete the Belmont Learning Center, the flip-flopping Los Angeles school board and Superintendent Roy Romer have committed the ultimate betrayal of parents, students, teachers and taxpayers. | This betrayal began years ago, when the board decided to deprive teachers and students of classroom funds, using the money to buy the land that now houses the infamous school atop an earthquake fault and oil field spewing dangerous gases. | Now the board has compounded that betrayal by signing off on a new Belmont plan that would put a 2,100-seat high school and 500-seat academy on the site, as well as a library/auditorium, parent center and 10- to 12-acre park. | The park will be run by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, for which it will pay a symbolic $1 a year -- symbolic of what little regard the LAUSD has for taxpayer money that's supposed to educate children. [more at LA Daily News]

Proudly They Serve
A Memorial Day Thank You to the California National Guard
by Carol Platt Liebau 5/26/03 | No Memorial Day oration, however stirring, could ever match the power and majesty of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. In spare and elegant prose, he paid tribute to all the soldiers who suffered and died so that the United States of America might live. And even as he eulogized the dead, he called upon the living to look forward and advance the cause for which they died. | This Memorial Day, even as we look back with pride and awe at the brave men and women throughout history who have paid the ultimate price to secure our freedom and security, it seems fitting that we also look forward -- and make sure that we honor not only our nation’s war dead, but its living soldiers, in all the different branches of our country’s military. | As we offer heartfelt thanks to the members of our armed forces, it is sometimes too easy to forget those who serve – not in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard – but in the National Guard. And in California, of all states, the National Guard should never be forgotten. For we in California call upon our National Guardsmen to emergency duty more than any other state, asking their help with wildfires, earthquakes, floods, civil disturbances, search/rescue operations and anti-terrorism and infrastructure protection duties. Today, they are the people guarding our bridges and airports. | Nor are their duties necessarily limited to serving within California’s borders. According to the National Guard Association of California, nearly 400 California Army National Guardsmen are overseas, with another 1,500 who had been awaiting deployment in Operation Free Iraq. Another 1,000 are performing missions in the continental United States, with yet another thousand serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom or Noble Eagle. | The members of the National Guard are our friends and neighbors. [more inside]

Sacramento's Profiles in Cowardice
by Steven Greenhut 5/25/03 | Following my column last week, detailing the vociferously anti-business and anti-freedom climate found among the Democrats who control Sacramento, several readers have asked me what they can do about the matter. My answer: Be afraid, be very afraid. | Covering the governor's May budget revision, and the goings-on on the Assembly floor, reminded me of those old "scared straight" programs police agencies offer to potential juvenile trouble-makers. The kids get taken to prisons, where they see where a life of crime will get them. Every California resident ought to watch their government in action, and see what their voting has gotten them. [more at OC Register]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Sacramento Bee
In State's Time of Need, the Governor Fails to Lead
by Daniel Weintraub 5/25/03 | Everyone is talking about California's $38 billion budget gap. But the state has another shortfall that's even bigger: the leadership deficit. | Gov. Gray Davis just might be the weakest chief executive in recent history. He is a genius at reflecting the will of the people. Unfortunately, the people's will right now is to demand unlimited services from government while refusing to pay for them with higher taxes. And Davis is incapable of charting a different course. | At a time when California desperately needs a governor with the guts and the skill to talk tough to the people, we have a man whose political antenna works only one way. He can receive but cannot transmit. | One reason for his failure to communicate is his apparent lack of conviction. Davis rarely shows evidence of believing in anything beyond such abstract notions as an on-time budget, or compromise for its own sake. He's never demonstrated an ability to describe a vision for the state and then doggedly pursue a strategy to achieve it. [more at Sacramento Bee]

GOP Can Seize the Moment
by Tony Quinn 5/25/03 | Finally, state Republicans may be doing something worthwhile: They may stop the unnecessary and unwarranted $8-billion annual tax increase that Gov. Gray Davis and the Democrat-controlled Legislature want to impose on California to balance the budget. | The last time voters rose up against higher taxes was in the late 1970s, and that property tax revolt gave us Proposition 13 and 16 years of Republican governors. They could rise up again, but that would require GOP legislators to take advantage of Davis' budget mess. It's not clear they have the will to do so. | California has an unprecedented budget problem because legislators and the governor approved measures to spend a revenue bonanza generated by the dot-com boom in the late 1990s, and when the boom collapsed, so did the state budget. The wisest correction would be to return to the fiscal structure that preceded the boom, not to raise taxes to cover expenditures that never should have been appropriated in the first place. [more at LA Times]

In Memoriam: Freedom
The more a state provides, the more a state can take away
by Ray Haynes 5/24/03 | Each Memorial Day, we pause from our busy schedule to remember those who sacrificed their lives so we can be free. Two recent events had me thinking about liberty, and its slow destruction here in California. First, I watched as the US troops moved into downtown Baghdad and helped tear down the statue of Saddam Hussein. Second, my father-in-law received the honor guard burial he so richly deserved after his years of military service. When the commanding officer of the honor guard handed the flag to my wife and spoke the lines “On behalf of the President of the United States, and a grateful nation…” I was reminded of the reaction my father-in-law had to the fall of the Berlin Wall. He was serving as a tank battalion commander in Berlin when the Wall went up. When it came down, he cried. He told me that he had spent his whole life fighting the oppression that the Berlin Wall represented, and knew, when that Wall came down, his work had not been in vain. Those thoughts got me thinking about how little many in Sacramento value our freedom. [more inside]

Sacramento’s Union Label

Just two weeks of unionized monopoly at the Legislature
by John Campbell 5/24/03 | I have no problem with union members. I have no problem with unions themselves and even extensively worked with one when I was affiliated with Saturn Corporation. But many union bosses have a different agenda than the health of their members and their industry. And I have a major problem with any group that continually uses the power of government fiat to give themselves advantages or a monopoly in the marketplace. | A very small fraction of the workforce in California is unionized. But you wouldn't know that by the volume and severity of union bills running through the Legislature these days. Here is just a sampling of union-mandate bills (with their partners the trial lawyers) that have passed the Assembly in just the last 2 weeks! [more inside]

An Outsider Takes On L.A.'s Gang Problem
by Janet Clayton 5/23/03 | When the Rev. Eugene Rivers blew into Los Angeles from Boston recently, the welcome wagon wasn't exactly waiting for him. Rivers, head of the National TenPoint Leadership Foundation, had been invited by Bishop Charles Blake, a longtime friend and mentor, and Police Chief William J. Bratton, who had worked with Rivers in Boston, to lend a hand in stopping the orgy of gang killings in Los Angeles. | The city certainly needs some help. A recent one-month tally from the Los Angeles Police Department's South Bureau tells the tale: 226 shootings, 89 people wounded by gunshots, 18 homicides. Last weekend alone, 10 people were shot to death in the city, most of them in South Los Angeles. | The fact that Rivers, a preacher from 3,000 miles away, had been invited in part by Bratton, the relatively new police chief, irritated some local African American leaders. Most, in deference to Blake, made polite excuses for why they didn't attend an organizing meeting with Rivers at Blake's West Angeles Church of God in Christ on Crenshaw Boulevard. One politician, the soon-to-retire Councilman Nate Holden, complained openly about the lack of protocol, saying that he and other local black leaders hadn't been properly notified of the meeting. | Rivers, who has made the White House guest lists of presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, has seen it all before and loses no sleep over the thin skins and thick egos. [more at LA Times]

OCTA, Learn from San Jose
by the Editors 5/23/03 | Now that light-rail mass transit is the "in thing" among transportation planners, regions that have no business pushing for federal funds to build these trolley systems are pushing for them anyway. And some systems that should never have been built are facing significant financial problems. | In San Jose, where the bust has obliterated the sales tax revenues that local authorities depend upon for transit services, officials have proposed eliminating a light-rail spur and reducing service on other routes, reported the San Jose Mercury News. The agency must also cut bus service. | Of course, a sales-tax decline is not the fault of urban planners. But as study after study has shown, light rail moves only a tiny portion of any city's riders and requires large subsidies. Certainly, roads and freeways are paid for by tax dollars, but those dollars come in the way of user fees that typically cover more than the amount used for the roadways. Transit rarely ends up being a good investment, so it ought to be built only in those high-density areas where it makes the most sense. | It doesn't make much sense in San Jose. As Randal O'Toole of the free-market Thoreau Institute noted recently, light-rail ridership has plummeted by a third this year, and "San Jose's light rail is the second-worst performing line in the nation. [The problem is] San Jose is a post-automobile city - meaning it was built mainly after 1950. Few jobs are located downtown; instead, they are spread out throughout the urban area. Rail is totally inappropriate for such an urban area." | You can see where we're going here. [more at OC Register]

Real Problem, Wrong Solution
Affirmative action doesn't work and is antithetical to American values
by James L. Doti, President, Chapman University 5/23/03 | University presidents opposed to affirmative action are few and far between. I am one. My opposition is based on my belief that affirmative action does not accomplish its intended purpose. More important, I believe it is antithetical to the underlying values of our nation. | I do not believe affirmative action does what it was intended to do. In economics, there is the law of unintended consequences that suggests actions often lead to outcomes that are exactly the opposite of those intended. For example, agricultural price supports that were supposed to help small farmers actually help agribusiness behemoths. Similarly, affirmative action in colleges and universities, which began as a way to give African-Americans and other select minorities a helping hand, I believe, is actually hurting them. [more at OC Register]

GOP Focus Should Be Kid Stuff
Republicans must see that their most important constituency is children.
by Robert C. Fellmeth 5/25/03
| When my liberal colleagues learn I have been a registered Republican for 20 years, they look at me as if I had just been registered as a sex offender. But I have been persuaded by the GOP's traditional principles: democratic power closest to the people, checks and balances, civil liberties and equality of opportunity, family values — a fluid society that respects the individual and fashions a path upward, based on hard work and contribution. | Those principles also include advocacy for children. Republicans understand that first and foremost, children need simply to be wanted — and intended — by two parents. Commitment from parents correlates closely with child health and happiness. Yet a third of California's births are to unwed mothers — and it is not pregnant teens but adult women who account for the vast majority. And about 50% of births are unintended, according to the National Survey of Family Growth. Babies are born to women who want a teddy bear; they are the issue of men with the paternal commitment of salamanders. | Republicans have understood that "a village" cannot "raise a child" — it takes a family. Too many Democrats view the world through the eyes of a social service establishment with a capacity to grow infinitely so that children become little more than pieces of paper sweeping across the desks of social workers. [more at LA Times]

ELECTIONEERING/From Sacramento Bee
Parenting Before Politics
Rep. Doug Ose decides to come home
by the Editors 5/24/03 | During his four years in Congress, Doug Ose has been anything but a creature of Washington. His foray into politics has been more of a stimulating journey than a career. | Ose exploded onto the local political scene in 1998. He promised to serve no more than three terms, promised that he and his wife would raise their two daughters in Sacramento and promised to be his own man in Washington. That political journey will come to an end, at least for a while. Ose has decided against running for a fourth House term or challenging incumbent Barbara Boxer for her seat in the U.S. Senate. It is hard not to like and admire Ose. But it is easy to be frustrated that, for whatever the reason, he hasn't reached his full potential. [more at Sacramento Bee]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Sacramento Bee
A Budget Map
State needs a long-term solution
by the Editors 5/24/03 | Gov. Gray Davis made the rounds of newspaper editorial boards in recent days, urging papers to put the heat on anyone in the state Capitol, Democrat or Republican, who gets in the way of passing a state budget on time. Name names, the governor urged us. | It's a duty we happily accept. Having dug a budget hole tens of billions of dollars deep, the Legislature and governor have abandoned hope of climbing out in one year. The state needs to borrow soon, and an on-time budget is the key to opening the doors on Wall Street. | But it's not enough that the budget be on time. It must also be good for California. It must sustain the services that underwrite California's future and the prosperity and security of its people. It must be balanced for the long-term. And it needs to come with reforms that protect the state from enduring another fiscal boom-and-bust cycle and that strengthen California's ability to generate jobs and investment. | The name of the person entrusted with the prime responsibility to make that happen is Gray Davis. And he has not done his job. He has neither stood behind a fiscally sound plan nor has he tried to sell a road map to voters and legislators. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Where Your Money Goes
L.A. City Hall ignores national trend by giving out hefty pay raises
by the Editors 5/24/03
| "Where did my raise go?" | That's the question posed on the cover of the May 26 issue of Time magazine, followed by a story that documents the death of salary hikes in the current weak economy. | Pay raises are a thing of the past, the magazine reports, and "companies everywhere are reducing bonuses and overtime and eroding health and pension benefits." | Well, not companies everywhere. There's one company where the pay hikes keep coming, where the benefits are ever sweeter and the pension program is to die for: Los Angeles City Hall, Inc. [more at LA Daily News]

Front Page Index
The Week: 5/18/03 – 5/24/03

Decline of the Times, Part 2 The Los Angeles Times rails against its defenders and shows how bad its editorial page is, too. by Hugh Hewitt 5/23/03 | 'May I?' and 'The Matrix' Why my kids won't be seeing the latest R-rated blockbuster. by Dale Buss 5/23/03 | Entrepreneurs Find No Luster in Golden State by Joseph Perkins 5/23/03 | Wall Street Cons Rebuffed by the Editors 5/23/03 | California Hits Up Wall Street for More Cash by the Editors 5/23/03 | Leftists Fume at Second UCLA Affirmative Action Bake Sale by Adam Foxman 5/23/03 | Workers' Comp: Reform or Collapse by the Editors 5/23/03 | Can Legislators Probe College Computer Mess with Authority? by Dan Walters 5/23/03 | As the Deficit Turns at Daniel Weintraub’s Blog 5/22/03 [posting 5/21/03] | Why NotWin? by Debra J. Saunders 5/22/03 | Open Government on the Chopping Block by the Editors 5/22/03 | Exit Exam is Crucial for Disadvantaged Students by Daniel Weintraub 5/22/03 |Civil Rights Media Hounds Ignore Black Plight by Michael Reagan 5/22/03 | Wild and Wooly in California The prospect of a recall vote on Governor Gray Davis has the state's political establishment in an uproar. by Hugh Hewitt 5/21/03 | Tale of Two Cities -- One Drifting to Starboard, the Other to Port by Dan Walters 5/21/03 | Slandering the Military? More Sheer lunacy at the Los Angeles Times by Hugh Hewitt 5/30/03 | The Fourth Estate’s Failure: Who Really Loses When The Los Angeles Times Distorts The News by Charles McVey 5/21/03 | Choosing Gimmicks Over Leadership by the Editors 5/21/03 | Wall Street Isn't Saying, 'Raise taxes' Once again, Davis blames others for fallout from his mismanagement. by John Campbell | All for One City leaders quibble over details, but agree on their target by the Editors 5/20/03 | Illegal Immigration Surely, the House isn't serious about the issue by the Editors 5/21/03 | End of the Line You can’t go much beyond San Fran. by John Derbyshire 5/20/03 | Racial Head Counters by George Neumayr 5/20/03 | Real Budget Crisis is the $8 Billion Annual Income-Outgo Gap by Dan Walters 5/20/03 | Overspending a Plague Not Just at State Level by the Editors 5/20/03 | OSE POLITIC by the Prowler 5/20/03 | Even Hard-Bitten Lobbyists Roll Eyes at Capitol's Dysfunction by Dan Walters 5/19/03 | Betrayal in Sacramento Small-business owners denied promised reform of Unfair Competition Law by Maryann Maloney 5/19/03 | Liberals in State Capitol are Looking to Wield an Even Bigger Cudgel by Tony Quinn 5/19/03 | Senseless Spending Democrats' anti-business, anti-taxpayer agenda will push California even deeper into economic crisis by Steven Greenhut 5/18/03 | Testy, Testy by Debra J. Saunders 5/18/03 | Forecasts of 2-tier California Have Become Harsh Reality by Dan Walters 5/18/03 | Inquiry Casts Shadow Over City Hall FBI raid suggests a void in leadership by Philip J. LaVelle 5/18/03 | Battered Public Pension Funds -- Everyone Pays by Daniel Weintraub 5/18/03 | Dripping with Excess Water districts act as if no one is watching by the Editors 5/18/03 | Block the Biggest Disaster Since OC Bankruptcy by Larry Gilbert 5/18/03 | Tax Deceits Budget-speak is budget deceit. by Ray Haynes 5/16/03 | The 400-Pound Gorilla CalPERS can't cope with health care costs by the Editors 5/17/03 | Structural Reforms for State are a Must by the Editors 5/17/03 | Hollywood's Propaganda Awards by Brent Bozell 5/16/03 |
[go to Front Page Archive Index]


And some
Lingering Observations

TIMESGRINDER/From Weekly Standard
Decline of the Times, Part 2
The Los Angeles Times rails against its defenders and shows how bad its editorial page is, too.
by Hugh Hewitt 5/23/03
| Last week in this space I described the Los Angeles Times's slide into mediocrity and agenda journalism. Some objected. The Nation's always reliable Eric Alterman condemned the column as "nonsensical," and then quoted one of my objections--that "columnists who deal regularly with politics outside of the editorial pages come in two varieties: left and far-left." To which Alterman replied: "Oh really. My goodness. Nora [sic] Vincent is on the page as part of what I perceive to be an affirmative action program for young right-wing lesbians." | Note that Alterman cites Vincent's presence on the editorial page as evidence against my charge that outside of the editorial page, the Times employs only leftists. I suppose I shouldn't object: After all, this is close-reading for the Nation. | Mickey Kaus, on the other hand, conceded the bias on the Times's editorial page, but not at the paper in general. Kausfiles argued that "the LAT is getting better under its new owner." About the horribly skewed op-ed pages, Kaus conceded that "Hewitt's right . . . but the LAT's recently-hired Nick Goldberg is trying to diversify it." | Both pundits came to the Times's defense. The LAT actually came to my assistance on Tuesday with a nicely timed screed by Robert Scheer, long one of the paper's stars. Scheer has now been pummeled in print, on radio, and on television for his vicious and repellant essay alleging that the United States military staged the Jessica Lynch rescue. [more at Weekly Standard]

TIMESGRINDER/From WorldNet Daily
Slandering the Military?
More Sheer lunacy at the Los Angeles Times
by Hugh Hewitt 5/30/03
| Hard-left Los Angeles Times' columnist Robert Scheer's Tuesday column should not be missed. In "Saving Private Lynch: Take 2" Scheer asserts that the rescue of Jessica Lynch was a "fabrication" and a "caper." Scheer argues that the "manipulation of this saga really gets ugly" because of the "premeditated manufacture of the rescue itself, which stains those who have performed real acts of bravery, whether in war or peacetime." | Scheer cites a BBC report, and ignores a Pentagon denial of the report. He rushed into print even as the BBC was walking backward on its own story, as detailed in many links found at | Scheer is throwing around very serious charges, because they implicate every member of the Special Forces team involved in the rescue of Private Lynch. Are they liars and actors as Scheer asserts, or brave, selfless heroes as I and most other Americans believe? [more at WorldNetDaily]

The Fourth Estate’s Failure: Who Really Loses When The Los Angeles Times Distorts The News

by Charles McVey 5/21/03 | In our civilization the press is so powerful that in the late Eighteenth Century it was first called the Fourth Estate; more powerful than the Church, the State, and the People. By any objective measure, the press is now so imprinted with a Leftist orientation, a Leftist agenda, that they feel fully justified in not only slanting articles but in changing the news. | While the recent Jayson Blair affair at the New York Times may simply have been the disclosed factual fabrications of an unscrupulous reporter it is – however - emblematic of the ideological dishonesty of the majority of the Fourth Estate. | I need not look any further than the slab of newsprint sitting in my own driveway to see this dishonesty on the pages of the West Coast’s newspaper of record, the Los Angeles Times. [more inside]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Weekly Standard
Wild and Wooly in California
The prospect of a recall vote on Governor Gray Davis has the state's political establishment in an uproar.
by Hugh Hewitt 5/21/03
| The strangest season in California's long, strange political trip has begun with a declaration of candidacy for a governorship that isn't vacant, a withdrawal from a Senate campaign that hasn't really begun, and a rumor mill spinning out of control. | The declaration of candidacy came from Congressman Darrell Issa, who has injected cash and leadership into the campaign to place a recall election before the voters in early fall. The target is Governor Gray Davis, whose approval ratings make Nixon's in August of 1974 look pretty good. Issa's commitment has energized the effort and there is little doubt now that Davis will be fighting for his political life come September. Orange County's powerful Lincoln Club stepped up with a $100,000 in recall cash last Friday and pledged to lay out another $150,000 soon. The Club doesn't waste money on symbolism. The recall will qualify, and Davis will face a straight up-or-down vote. If 50 percent (plus 1) of the voters say throw Governor Clouseau out, he will be gone, and eyes turn to the second question on the ballot--who should replace him? [more at Weekly Standard]

The Litigation Lottery

California's Unfair Competition Act and the Depredations of Unscrupulous Trial Lawyers
by Carol Platt Liebau 5/16/03 | Anyone who truly wants to understand the legal concerns of everyday Americans can take a few minutes to tune into a Saturday morning Los Angeles radio program, where weekday morning drive time host and attorney Bill Handel offers what he flippantly characterizes as "marginal legal advice." Sometimes, of course, the callers are defendants -- but the really instructive calls are the ones seeking advice about whether to sue. | Last week, Handel took a call from a would-be plaintiff who had visited a 99-cent store and saw a lovely rug there . . . costing $24! He intended to sue. The call drove home a point: For too many Americans, undertaking a lawsuit has become tantamount to buying a lottery ticket . . . just another way to hope for a windfall. | Most sadly of all, if the caller really does decide to file suit, there will surely be a lawyer to help him. Over the past several decades, law school attendance has risen, and we are now confronted with a glut of lawyers who simply need a way to make a living. | Unfortunately, many of them have made their homes in California. And donated generous sums to the Democrat-controlled legislature. That's why there are laws like the California Unfair Competition Act (UCA). [more inside]

From Weekly Standard

Bad Times at the Other Times
The spotlight is on the New York Times today, but things aren't going so well at the Los Angeles Times, either.
by Hugh Hewitt 5/16/03
| Those professing surprise at the public collapse of credibility at the New York Times haven't been paying attention to Mickey Kaus or Andrew Sullivan. They haven't been reading the descent into fevers of Paul Krugman or the bitter stridency of Maureen Dowd. The deep sickness at the Times had many symptoms. Believers in the "mission" of the paper just chose to ignore those symptoms. | The very same symptoms are evident at the Los Angeles Times. The ideology of the newsroom is reflexively left. The reporters, as a group, are anti-Israel, anti-Evangelical, anti-free enterprise, and virulently anti-Bush. The editorial page boasts regular contributors Robert Scheer, Arianna Huffington, and John Balzar, reliable voices of the left, though lately Balzar has retreated into the pose of hand-wringer about the direction of society. | The columnists who deal regularly with politics outside of the editorial pages come in two varieties: left and farther-left. There is more diversity at a militia meeting than at a party of Los Angeles Times columnists. What happens when a newspaper becomes an echo chamber? Obvious errors and over-the-top biases go undetected. That's what happened in New York. It is happening in Los Angeles as well. [more at Weekly Standard]

Recalling Our Principles

Why the Davis Recall is Worth Reconsidering
by Carol Platt Liebau 5/9/03 | It’s hard to like Governor Gray Davis. Like the stereotype of a bad politician, he is self-righteous, cynical, manipulative and grasping – without possessing any of the typical politician’s compensating traits of charm, humor or even sheer entertainment value (think Rev. Al Sharpton). | So it’s no wonder that the movement to recall Davis has caught on like wildfire. For the first time in memory, it seems at least possible that a sitting California governor could actually be removed from office. In fact, as of April 30, recall supporters reported that more than 100,000 of the roughly 897,000 signatures needed to place a recall on the ballot had been collected. | The success of the “Recall Davis” movement is thanks largely to the grassroots. Over 400,000 recall petitions are currently in circulation, with tens of thousands having been sent out in response to citizen requests, and the “Recall Gray Davis” web site estimates that it has logged over 8 million hits since it went online on February 4, 2003. The California Republican Party has endorsed the effort only cautiously, and no single big donor has yet stepped forward to bankroll the campaign entirely, although Rep. Darrell Issa recently indicated that he would offer a six-figure contribution to the recall. | But in an era when recall petitions can be downloaded on the internet, and given the governor’s 56% disapproval rate even within his own party (according to a recent Field poll), a grassroots effort may be enough. Even in the San Jose area, a stronghold of support for Davis (he defeated Bill Simon there last November, 55% to 32%), a full 36% would support recall, with 46% opposing, according to Democratic pollster David Binder. Statewide, a recent Field poll reveals that if a recall initiative were actually placed on the ballot, 46% of voters would dump Davis, with only 43% being willing to retain him in office. | The thought of handing Davis his walking papers is, frankly, an intoxicating one. [more inside]


Kuehl-Care is wrong Rx for Californians
Sally C. Pipes
Pacific Research Institute

Boycott Jim Hahn's L.A.
by Arnold Steinberg
The Washington Times

Feds Shouldn't Bail Out State
Aid from D.C. would only prompt lawmakers to overspend even more
by Richard Vedder
OC Register


Why Hollywood Hates Conservatives III
by Steve Feinberg
more at FrontPage Magazine

Saving Democracy in California
by Ken Masugi

A Boy Catches a Terroist Gang
SLA brought to justice
by Adam Sparks SF Gate

Eight Ways To Solve The Budget Crisis
by Adam Sparks SF Gate

Why Simon Lost
From the beginning, and in the end.
By Arnold Steinberg National Review

The Authoritative Guide to Why Bill Simon Lost
What Really Happened in California
By Arnold Steinberg Human Events

Simon Should Have Won
The state GOP has lost track of its responsibility to voters, letting extraneous concerns crowd out attending to political basics.
by John Kurzweil
California Political Review


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