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Archive for August 4th, 2015

President Obama Announces Clean Power Plan

Posted by Admin On August - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on President Obama Announces Clean Power Plan

President Barack Obama’s Remarks in announcing the Clean Power Plan

Well, good afternoon, everybody.

Gina, I want to thank you not just for the introduction, but for the incredible work that you and your team have been doing — not just on this issue, but on generally making sure that we’ve got clean air, clean water, a great future for our kids.

I want to thank all the members of Congress who are here, as well, who have been fighting this issue, and sometimes at great odds with others, but are willing to take on what is going to be one of the key challenges of our lifetimes and future generations.  I want to thank our Surgeon General, who’s just been doing outstanding work and is helping to make the connection between this critical issue and the health of our families.

Over the past six and a half years, we’ve taken on some of the toughest challenges of our time — from rebuilding our economy after a devastating recession, to ending our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bringing almost all of our troops home, to strengthening our security through tough and principled diplomacy.  But I am convinced that no challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than a changing climate.  And that’s what brings us here today.

Now, not everyone here is a scientist — (laughter) — but some of you are among the best scientists in the world.  And what you and your colleagues have been showing us for years now is that human activities are changing the climate in dangerous ways. Levels of carbon dioxide, which heats up our atmosphere, are higher than they’ve been in 800,000 years; 2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record.  And we’ve been setting a lot of records in terms of warmest years over the last decade.  One year doesn’t make a trend, but 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have fallen within the first 15 years of this century.

Climate change is no longer just about the future that we’re predicting for our children or our grandchildren; it’s about the reality that we’re living with every day, right now.

The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security.  While we can’t say any single weather event is entirely caused by climate change, we’ve seen stronger storms, deeper droughts, longer wildfire seasons.  Charleston and Miami now flood at high tide.  Shrinking ice caps forced National Geographic to make the biggest change in its atlas since the Soviet Union broke apart.

Over the past three decades, nationwide asthma rates have more than doubled, and climate change puts those Americans at greater risk of landing in the hospital.  As one of America’s governors has said, “We’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.”

And that’s why I committed the United States to leading the world on this challenge, because I believe there is such a thing as being too late.

Most of the issues that I deal with — and I deal with some tough issues that cross my desk — by definition, I don’t deal with issues if they’re easy to solve because somebody else has already solved them.  And some of them are grim.  Some of them are heartbreaking.  Some of them are hard.  Some of them are frustrating.  But most of the time, the issues we deal with are ones that are temporally bound and we can anticipate things getting better if we just kind of plug away at it, even incrementally.  But this is one of those rare issues — because of its magnitude, because of its scope — that if we don’t get it right we may not be able to reverse, and we may not be able to adapt sufficiently.  There is such a thing as being too late when it comes to climate change.

Now, that shouldn’t make us hopeless; it’s not as if there’s nothing we can do about it.  We can take action.  Over the past several years, America has been working to use less dirty energy, more clean energy, waste less energy throughout our economy.  We’ve set new fuel economy standards that mean our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade. Combined with lower gas prices, these standards are on pace to save drivers an average of $700 at the pump this year.  We doubled down on our investment in renewable energy.  We’re generating three times as much wind power, 20 times as much solar power as we did in 2008.

These steps are making a difference.  Over the past decade, even as our economy has continued to grow, the United States has cut our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth.  That’s the good news.  But I am here to say that if we want to protect our economy and our security and our children’s health, we’re going to have to do more.  The science tells us we have to do more.

This has been our focus these past six years.  And it’s particularly going to be our focus this month.  In Nevada, later in August, I’ll talk about the extraordinary progress we’ve made in generating clean energy — and the jobs that come with it — and how we can boost that even further.  I’ll also be the first American President to visit the Alaskan Arctic, where our fellow Americans have already seen their communities devastated by melting ice and rising oceans, the impact on marine life.  We’re going to talk about what the world needs to do together to prevent the worst impacts of climate change before it’s too late.

And today, we’re here to announce America’s Clean Power Plan — a plan two years in the making, and the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.

Right now, our power plants are the source of about a third of America’s carbon pollution.  That’s more pollution than our cars, our airplanes and our homes generate combined.  That pollution contributes to climate change, which degrades the air our kids breathe.  But there have never been federal limits on the amount of carbon that power plants can dump into the air.  Think about that.  We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and sulfur and arsenic in our air or our water — and we’re better off for it.  But existing power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of harmful carbon pollution into the air.

For the sake of our kids and the health and safety of all Americans, that has to change.  For the sake of the planet, that has to change.

So, two years ago, I directed Gina and the Environmental Protection Agency to take on this challenge.  And today, after working with states and cities and power companies, the EPA is setting the first-ever nationwide standards to end the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from power plants.

Here’s how it works.  Over the next few years, each state will have the change to put together its own plan for reducing emissions — because every state has a different energy mix.  Some generate more of their power from renewables; some from natural gas, or nuclear, or coal.  And this plan reflects the fact that not everybody is starting in the same place.  So we’re giving states the time and the flexibility they need to cut pollution in a way that works for them.

And we’ll reward the states that take action sooner instead of later — because time is not on our side here.  As states work to meet their targets, they can build on the progress that our communities and businesses are already making.

A lot of power companies have already begun modernizing their plants, reducing their emissions — and by the way, creating new jobs in the process.  Nearly a dozen states have already set up their own market-based programs to reduce carbon pollution.  About half of our states have set energy efficiency targets.  More than 35 have set renewable energy targets.  Over 1,000 mayors have signed an agreement to cut carbon pollution in their cities.  And last week, 13 of our biggest companies, including UPS and Walmart and GM, made bold, new commitments to cut their emissions and deploy more clean energy.

So the idea of setting standards and cutting carbon pollution is not new.  It’s not radical.  What is new is that, starting today, Washington is starting to catch up with the vison of the rest of the country.  And by setting these standards, we can actually speed up our transition to a cleaner, safer future.

With this Clean Power Plan, by 2030, carbon pollution from our power plants will be 32 percent lower than it was a decade ago.  And the nerdier way to say that is that we’ll be keeping 870 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution out of our atmosphere.  (Applause.)  The simpler, layman’s way of saying that is it’s like cutting every ounce of emission due to electricity from 108 million American homes.  Or it’s the equivalent of taking 166 million cars off the road.

By 2030, we will reduce premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90 percent — and thanks to this plan, there will be 90,000 fewer asthma attacks among our children each year. And by combining this with greater investment in our booming clean energy sector, and smarter investments in energy efficiency, and by working with the world to achieve a climate agreement by the end of this year, we can do more to slow, and maybe even eventually stop, the carbon pollution that’s doing so much harm to our climate.

So this is the right thing to do.  I want to thank, again, Gina and her team for doing it the right way.  Over the longest engagement process in EPA history, they fielded more than 4 million public comments; they worked with states, they worked with power companies, and environmental groups, and faith groups, and people across our country to make sure that what we were doing was realistic and achievable, but still ambitious.

And some of those people are with us here today.  So, Tanya Brown — Tanya, wave, go ahead — there’s Tanya.   Tanya Brown has joined up with moms across America to spread the word about the dangers climate change pose to the health of our children — including Tanya’s daughter, Sanaa.  There’s Sanaa, right there.

Dr. Sumita Khatri has spent her career researching the health impacts of pollution at the Cleveland Clinic, and helping families whose lives are impacted every single day.  Doctor, thank you.

Sister Joan Marie Steadman has helped rally Catholic women across America to take on climate.  Sister, thank you so much for your leadership.  (Applause.)  And she’s got a pretty important guy on her side — as Pope Francis made clear in his encyclical this summer, taking a stand against climate change is a moral obligation.  And Sister Steadman is living up to that obligation every single day.

Now, let’s be clear.  There will be critics of what we’re trying to do.  There will be cynics that say it cannot be done.  Long before the details of this Clean Power Plan were even decided, the special interests and their allies in Congress were already mobilizing to oppose it with everything they’ve got. They will claim that this plan will cost you money — even though this plan, the analysis shows, will ultimately save the average American nearly $85 a year on their energy bills.

They’ll claim we need to slash our investments in clean energy, it’s a waste of money — even though they’re happy to spend billions of dollars a year in subsidizing oil companies.  They’ll claim this plan will kill jobs — even though our transition to a cleaner energy economy has the solar industry, to just name one example, creating jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy.

They’ll claim this plan is a “war on coal,” to scare up votes — even as they ignore my plan to actually invest in revitalizing coal country, and supporting health care and retirement for coal miners and their families, and retraining those workers for better-paying jobs and healthier jobs.  Communities across America have been losing coal jobs for decades.  I want to work with Congress to help them, not to use them as a political football.  Partisan press releases aren’t going to help those families.

Even more cynical, we’ve got critics of this plan who are actually claiming that this will harm minority and low-income communities — even though climate change hurts those Americans the most, who are the most vulnerable.  Today, an African-American child is more than twice as likely to be hospitalized from asthma; a Latino child is 40 percent more likely to die from asthma.  So if you care about low-income, minority communities, start protecting the air that they breathe, and stop trying to rob them of their health care. You could also expand Medicaid in your states, by the way.

Here’s the thing.  We’ve heard these same stale arguments before.  Every time America has made progress, it’s been despite these kind of claims.  Whenever America has set clear rules and smarter standards for our air, our water, our children’s health, we get the same scary stories about killing jobs and businesses and freedom.  It’s true.

I’m going to go off script here just for a second.  (Laughter.)  Because this is important — because sometimes I think we feel as if there’s nothing we can do.  Tomorrow is my birthday, so I’m starting to reflect on age.  And in thinking about what we were doing here today, I was reminded about landing in Los Angeles to attend a college as a freshman, as an 18-year-old.  And it was late August.  I was moving from Hawaii.  And I got to the campus, and I decided — I had a lot of pent-up energy and I wanted to go take a run.  And after about five minutes, suddenly I had this weird feeling, I couldn’t breathe.  And the reason was, back in 1979, Los Angeles still was so full of smog that there were days where people who were vulnerable just could not go outside.  And they were fairly frequent.

And folks who are older than me can remember the Cayuga River burning because of pollution, and acid rain threatening to destroy all the great forests of the Northeast.  And you fast-forward 30, 40 years later, and we solved those problems.  But at the time, the same characters who are going to be criticizing this plan were saying, this is going to kill jobs, this is going to destroy businesses, this is going to hurt low-income people, it’s going to be wildly expensive.  And each time, they were wrong.

And because we pushed through, despite those scaremongering tactics, you can actually run in Los Angeles without choking.  And folks can actually take a boat out on that river.  And those forests are there.

So we got to learn lessons.  We got to know our history.  The kinds of criticisms that you’re going to hear are simply excuses for inaction.  They’re not even good business sense.  They underestimate American business and American ingenuity.

In 1970, when Republican President Richard Nixon decided to do something about the smog that was choking our cities, they warned that the new pollution standards would decimate the auto industry.  It didn’t happen.  Catalytic converters worked.  Taking the lead out of gasoline worked.  Our air got cleaner.

In 1990, when Republican President George H.W. Bush decided to do something about acid rain, they said the bills would go up, our lights would go off, businesses would suffer “a quiet death.” It didn’t happen.  We cut acid rain dramatically, and it cost much less than anybody expected — because businesses, once incentivized, were able to figure it out.

When we restricted leaded fuel in our cars, cancer-causing chemicals in plastics, it didn’t end the oil industry, it didn’t end the plastics industry; American chemists came up with better substitutes.  The fuel standards we put in place a couple of years ago didn’t cripple automakers.  The American auto industry retooled.  Today, our automakers are selling the best cars in the world at a faster pace than they have in almost a decade.  They’ve got more hybrids, and more plug-ins, and more high fuel-efficient cars, giving consumers more choice than ever before, and saving families at the pump.

We can figure this stuff out as long as we’re not lazy about it; as long as we don’t take the path of least resistance.  Scientists, citizens, workers, entrepreneurs — together as Americans, we disrupt those stale, old debates, upend old ways of thinking.  Right now, we’re inventing whole new technologies, whole new industries — not looking backwards, we’re looking forwards.

And if we don’t do it, nobody will.  The only reason that China is now looking at getting serious about its emissions is because they saw that we were going to do it, too.  When the world faces its toughest challenges, America leads the way forward.  That’s what this plan is about.

Now, I don’t want to fool you here.  This is going to be hard; dealing with climate change in its entirety, it’s challenging.  No single action, no single country will change the warming of the planet on its own.  But today, with America leading the way, countries representing 70 percent of the carbon pollution from the world’s energy sector have announced plans to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.  In December, with America leading the way, we have a chance to put in place one of the most ambitious international climate agreements in human history.

And it’s easy to be cynical and to say climate change is the kind of challenge that’s just too big for humanity to solve.  I am absolutely convinced that’s wrong.  We can solve this thing. But we have to get going.  It’s exactly the kind of challenge that’s big enough to remind us that we’re all in this together.

Last month, for the first time since 1972, NASA released a “blue marble,” a single snapshot of the Earth taken from outer space.  And so much has changed in the decades between that first picture and the second.  Borders have shifted, generations have come and gone, our global population has nearly doubled.  But one thing hasn’t changed — our planet is as beautiful as ever.  It still looks blue.  And it’s as vast, but also as fragile, as miraculous as anything in this universe.

This “blue marble” belongs to all of us.  It belongs to these kids who are here.  There are more than 7 billion people alive today; no matter what country they’re from, no matter what language they speak, every one of them can look at this image and say, “That’s my home.”  And “we’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change; we’re the last generation that can do something about it.”  We only get one home.  We only get one planet.  There’s no plan B.

I don’t want my grandkids not to be able to swim in Hawaii, or not to be able to climb a mountain and see a glacier because we didn’t do something about it.  I don’t want millions of people’s lives disrupted and this world more dangerous because we didn’t do something about it.  That would be shameful of us.  This is our moment to get this right and leave something better for our kids.  Let’s make most of that opportunity.

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  (Applause.)  God bless the United States of America.

Source: whitehouse.gov.

County Board President Preckwinkle Supports President Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Posted by Admin On August - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on County Board President Preckwinkle Supports President Obama’s Clean Power Plan
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle released the following statement in support of the Clean Power Plan

“I applaud the release today by President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of the Clean Power Plan, which sets flexible and achievable standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and provides world leadership in avoiding the worst effects of climate change.  Our County has already proven that significant reduction in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions – while saving money — is possible.  Cook County reduced its emissions by 9 percent between 2010 and 2014 by upgrading heating and cooling systems, replacing lighting, and improving air ventilation units and controls.  From 2010 through 2014, the County has decreased its emissions by 97,300 metric tons, equivalent to the annual emissions from 20,400 passenger vehicles.

“Our investments are saving taxpayer dollars by reducing energy costs — and by decreasing GHG emissions, therefore reducing the harmful health and related effects of climate change.   Climate change puts already vulnerable populations at greater risk.  Heat waves are more intense, and heat stress and poor air quality pose major health risks to vulnerable groups including those with asthma.

“The plan gives states flexibility in choosing how to meet carbon pollution standards.   Renewable energy such as solar or wind, energy efficiency, the mix of fuels used by power plants, and other measures can all play a role in meeting the standard. By following Cook County government’s lead, our residents and businesses can play a major role in meeting the goals of the Clean Power Plan, fight climate change, save money, and create a healthier Illinois.”

Growing Momentum for Restoring the Right to Vote

Posted by Admin On August - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on Growing Momentum for Restoring the Right to Vote

Disenfranchisement News

From The Sentencing Project


Presidential candidates’ felony disenfranchisment records

The felony disenfranchisement records of both Florida GOP presidential candidates, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Governor Jeb Bush, may draw negative criticism as calls for criminal justice reform and “Black Lives Matter” protests continue to gain national attention. Florida has the nation’s highest rate of felony disenfranchisement, with over 1.5 million people and 23% of the state’s black population unable to vote due to a felony conviction. During Sen. Rubio’s 2010 campaign for Senate against former Governor Charlie Crist, he repeatedly criticized Crist’s efforts to automatically restore voting rights to people convicted of non-violent offenses. While Jeb Bush was governor, the state tightened its disenfranchisement policies and used a flawed method to purge people believed to have a felony conviction from its voter rolls before the 2000 presidential election. Many of the people purposefully and mistakenly purged from the voter rolls were people of color. The outcome of the 2000 election was decided in Florida by 537 votes. “On the day of that national election there were an estimated 600,000 ex-felons in Florida who were not able to participate in the vote,” says Marc Mauer, Executive Director of The Sentencing Project, in the New Zealand Herald. “How many would have voted? How would they vote? We can only guess. But I think it’s certainly quite possible a national election was decided based on disenfranchisement policies in that one state.”


Growing momentum for restoring the right to vote

More and more states are beginning to consider legislation to ease voting restrictions for people convicted of a felony. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states considered felony disenfranchisement reform this year, up from 13 states last year. Wyoming was the only state to pass a bill this year, which restored the right to vote to people who have completed their probation or parole for certain non-violent felony offenses. Over the past two decades, more than 20 states have taken action to allow people with felony convictions to vote or to access that right more easily. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, the growing momentum on criminal justice reform is also fueling the support for voting rights restoration across the political spectrum. “Leaders of both parties are acknowledging that we imprison too many people for too long, and do not provide adequate opportunities for people to reintegrate into society — rather than recidivate — after they leave incarceration.” A study by the Florida Parole Commission found that the recidivism rate among people whose voting rights were restored was one-third the rate of those who remained unable to vote.

During President Obama’s recent weeklong push for criminal justice reform, he came out in support of restoring the right to vote to people with felony convictions. “If folks have served their time and they’ve re-entered society, they should be able to vote,” said the President at the NAACP annual conference in Philadelphia.

The “war on drugs” and black disenfranchisement

The 40-year war on drugs, which has disproportionately incarcerated young black males, has been the “main instrument” for excluding people of color from the voting booths, writes the New Zealand Herald. Although blacks and whites engage in drug use at comparable rates, blacks represent 31 percent of all drug arrests and over 40 percent of people incarcerated in state and federal prison for drug crimes, according to a 2015 Human Rights Watch report. “While one in 40 citizens is disenfranchised nationwide, this rises to one in 13 for blacks. In Florida, Kentucky and Virginia one in five blacks is disenfranchised.”

Racial attitudes and ideology affect support for restoration of voting rights

New research in the DuBois Review: Social Science Research on Race by David Wilson, Michael Owens and Darren Davis examines how racial attitudes and political ideology affect restoration of rights for people convicted of a felony. Using nationally representative survey data, the researchers found that racial resentment is a primary driver of attitudes regarding the restoration of political rights for people with felony convictions for both conservatives and liberals. “As levels of racial resentment increase, individuals are less likely to support congressional action to restore felon’s voting rights, to believe that restoring voting rights will make society better, and to believe that felons should be allowed to hold public office, even after completing their sentences.” In addition, the researchers found that conservatives, at all levels of racial resentment, tend to be more opposed than liberals to restoring voting rights for people with felony convictions, yet racial resentment is most politically influential when expressed by liberals.

Landmark Youth Concussions Measure Signed Into Law

Posted by Admin On August - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on Landmark Youth Concussions Measure Signed Into Law

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) and Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) hailed the governor’s decision to sign tough new youth concussion legislation as a major step forward for student health, on and off the field.

“As a parent of two children who have suffered concussions recently, I understand that brains take time to heal,” said Raoul, the measure’s sponsor. “With this law in place, parents can feel more confident that their young student athletes will be given the time and accommodations needed to fully recover from a concussion.”

“Concussions can have a serious impact on a student’s performance on the field and in the classroom,” said Kotowski, the legislation’s co-sponsor. “These new guidelines protect students from the potential long-term effects a concussion can have if it is not treated properly. I commend Sen. Raoul for his leadership on this issue, and look forward to working with him as we learn more about the side effects of concussions.”

When the General Assembly first considered Senate Bill 7, Tregg Duerson testified about his father, Dave Duerson, whose professional football career spanned eleven seasons and included a Super Bowl win with the legendary 1985 Chicago Bears. After retiring from the NFL, the elder Duerson began experiencing headaches, dizzy spells, memory loss, depression and flashes of anger and irritability. He believed he was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease brought on by repeated blows to the head, and before taking his life in 2011, he asked his family to donate his brain to Boston University researchers who could test for CTE. The autopsy confirmed his self-diagnosis, and at least 20 other deceased professional football players have been found to have suffered from the disease.

“It gives me great satisfaction that Illinois has taken this major step toward preventing brain injuries like the one that destroyed my father’s life,” the younger Duerson said. “My father’s story and the stories of many professional athletes who played at time when concussions were poorly managed have increased awareness of brain health in sports and are ushering in a new era where athletes at every level receive better care.”

“It is extremely important for a young person who has suffered a concussion not only to make a gradual transition back into physical activity but also to gradually transition back to full participation school and cognitive activities such as reading, doing homework, taking tests or using electronic devices,” said Dr. Cynthia LaBella, medical director of the Institute of Sports Medicine at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and an expert in pediatric concussions. “Illinois students are better protected now that state law recognizes the need for both athletic and academic accommodations.”

The new law expands current requirements so that all children participating in school-sponsored athletic activities are protected – at the elementary, middle and high school levels and at public, private and charter schools. These requirements include having emergency plans in place to deal with severe injuries that arise during sporting events, designating a “concussion oversight team” of health care professionals to develop and implement concussion policies and following Illinois High School Association protocols for taking student athletes out of a practice or game and allowing them to return after a concussion. The IHSA supports the new approach.

For the first time, the measure also requires schools to have “return-to-learn” policies in place so students who have suffered concussions – at a school-sponsored athletic event or anywhere else — can ease back into classroom attendance and academic work.

The new law takes effect immediately, in time for the start of the 2015-16 school year.

Rev. Leon Finney, Jr. “Stuck Up” Outside of His South Side Home

Posted by Admin On August - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on Rev. Leon Finney, Jr. “Stuck Up” Outside of His South Side Home

By Chinta Strausberg

When 77-year-old Rev. Dr. Leon D. Finney, Jr. was “stuck up” outside of his South Side home last Tuesday night after visiting his dying father-in-law at a nursing home, he was caught off guard but not afraid, he confirmed late Monday night but in the spirit of forgiveness, he wants to help the robber find God.

As pastor of the Metropolitan Apostolic Community church for 22-years and a former Marine who was once a criminal investigator working in counter-intelligence, Finney was completely surprised when a gun-wielding man, he described as around 35-years-old, demanded his money.

The incident happened last Tuesday when Finney had just left his father-in-law who was dying at a nursing home. Finney had completed other chores and around 11 p.m. headed for home.

“I was going into my apartment building and unfortunately the vestibule light was out,” Finney told this reporter. “I went in the first door and the gunman slammed the door in my back. I fell to the floor.”

When the robber demanded his money, Finney told him, “No problem…take the money…in fact take the whole wallet” which he did. The robber then asked for his car keys and warned him to be quiet and not to move. “I told him I won’t move, my friend, don’t shoot.” The robber took his $40.00, credit cards, his car keys and left. His father-in-law died the next day.

“Why should I be exempted” from crime,”? Finney asked. “Nobody is exempt” from this violence that is plaguing Chicago. “This is the first time I was stuck up ever.”

Finney said all the time he worked with the Black Stone Rangers and other gangs where at times he was in “very difficult situations” he never had a problem involving his safety. “I was a criminal investigator with the Marines working with counter-intelligence, but he caught me off guard.”

Explaining, Finney said, “I had just left a senior home where my father was expiring. If I had not have been dealing with the expiration of his life, I probably would have noticed this 35-year-old man and would have behaved differently. I probably would have been able to disabled him mentally.  He took me by surprised. This is the kind of stuff I was trained to handle.

“It was unfortunate. I consider myself fortunate, and I am praying for this young man. I have to forgive him for what he did.” Finney did make out a police report, but he has extended an olive branch to the robber inviting him to his church for redemption and prayer.

Asked what would he say to him, Finney said, “I would tell him there is a better way and I would offer to help him. I would figure out a way to get him employed. I would invite him to my church because the Lord in in the forgiving business. He deserves a second chance.”

Referring to South Carolina’s church shootings where nine people were killed, Finney said, “I think the Emanuel church taught us all a lesson…forgiveness.” Finney was referring to the survivors who publicly said they forgave the shooter. “I want to give him a second chance,” said Finney referring to the man who robbed him at gunpoint.

“I would love for him to come to my church. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to help him.”

Finney, who was born in Louise, Mississippi, has dedicated his life to the ministry and to the civil rights movement.

He has headed The Woodlawn Organization and the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation.

Finney, who has a talk show every Saturday on WVON, has taught at several universities including the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University, the Lutheran School of Theology, the University of Chicago, the Presbyterian College of Korea and the McCormick Theological Seminary where he taught African American Leadership Studies. There, he was also executive director of the African American Leadership partnership.

Very active in the community, Finney is the chairman and principal for the Lincoln South Central Real Estate Group and has held several municipal board related positions including vice chairman of CHA, chair of the Monitoring Commission for School Desegregation for the Chicago Public Schools and was a board member for the Chicago Planning Commission.

Finney is married to attorney Georgette Greenlee Finney.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

#RiseUpOctober National Tour Arrives in Chicago August 5

Posted by Admin On August - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on #RiseUpOctober National Tour Arrives in Chicago August 5

Stop Police Terror  – Which Side Are You On?

“Are you taking a stand against the epidemic of police terror or not? Which side are you on?” That’s the question #RiseUpOctober will pose in their national tour to organize a huge demonstration in New York City Oct 24th.

60 years after the murder of Emmett Till and 1 year after the murders of John Crawford and Mike Brown, police continue to murder Black and Latino people every day in this country with impunity and no convictions.   Sandra Bland, Sam DuBose, Freddie Grey, Andy Lopez … this is a stark reminder that after 60 years we are still fighting a slow genocide against Black people.

What: Press conference, photo op

Where: Chicago Police headquarters, 35th & Michigan Ave.

When: August 5th Wednesday at 11 am

Speakers include:

Carl Dix, a co-initiator, with Cornel West,  of the call for October 24 and a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party

Rev. Jerome McCorry, faith leader of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network

Mertilla Jones, grandmother of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, murdered by Detroit police in 2010.

Airicka Gordon-Taylor, Emmett Till’s cousin

The following families of loved ones killed by police will bring their powerful testimony of their loss and suffering and continuing fight for justice and why they support Oct 24 to stop police terror.  They will be available for interviews:

·         Martinez Sutton, brother of Rekia Boyd, murdered by Chicago police in March, 2012

·         Freddie “Godfather” McGee father of Freddie Latrice Wilson, shot 18 times by Chicago police, 2007

·         Erika Almas, fiancé of Heriberto Godinez, murdered by “over aggressive policing” CPD July 20, 2015

·         Gwen Moore, mother of Jamaal Moore, murdered by Chicago police Dec 15, 2012

·         Rev. Collier Baggett, grandmother of Jimmell Cannon, shot 8 times by Chicago police at age 13 in July, 2011

·         Hannibal Saleem Ali, uncle of Anjustine Hunter, killed by Memphis, TN police, 2013

Also speaking and attending:

Tio Hardiman, from Violence Interrupters

Brother Raheem from Midwest Coalition to Stop Violence

Rev Greg Greer, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). and President of Freedom First International.

Also attending: community activists: working to stop youth violence and police brutality, and youth who are former gang members. For more information read the Call for RiseUpOctober 24, and go to stopmassincarceration.net

Stop Mass Incarceration Network – Chicago

stopmassincarcerationchicago@gmail.com • (312) 933-9586


The Stop Mass Incarceration Network is a project of the Alliance for Global Justice, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. more info, see stopmassincarceration.net

It’s Like 1955 With Wifi

Posted by Admin On August - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on It’s Like 1955 With Wifi

By Rika Tyler and T-Dubb-O

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Some may say much has changed since our grandparents were boycotting in the streets of the U.S. during the Civil Rights era. Some new laws and policies did in fact give Black people some of the same civil liberties as other citizens in this country.

However, we are still being mentally enslaved, figuratively lynched, and discriminated against as if Malcolm, Martin, Fannie Lou, Rosa, and others never left their homes. The Charleston church shooting was another reminder that laws cannot change the hearts of men.

Similar to the infamous church bombing that left four Black girls slain, a young racist White male decided to go into a church during Bible study with the intent to kill Black people. Dylan Roof murdered nine Black people while having Bible study.

His reasoning was he wanted to start a race war. This showed the African-American clergy that are still on the fence during this critical time in America that even in your place of worship you are not safe from racism.

Racism cannot be abolished by a document. Murder is already illegal, but it seems to be totally moral and legal in some circumstances for law enforcement and others who murder, rob, and extort Black people at their will. Pictures from St. Louis during the Ferguson uprising were placed side by side with pictures from the 50s and 60s and you could not tell the difference between time frames in most pictures.

You see, a White police force armed with high powered rifles and dogs, facing off against unarmed Black people exercising their first amendment right to protest is not justice. Slavery was abolished on paper, but not in the minds and conditions of Black people.

No, we are no longer chained, whipped, forced to pick cotton, housed and fed by the “master”. But we are indeed still slaves because our minds are now enslaved – enslaved to capitalism and classism.

The media portrays us as “thugs” all while it also controls the influence of how the Black dollar is spent. The plantation was substituted for a school to prison pipeline that is worth billions, and minimum wage work that gives you just enough money to feed, clothe, and house yourself for your hard labor instead of “master” having to do so.

There is a term that is used by Black revolutionaries in which we say, “KKK members traded in their hoods for badges, guns, and seats at political party tables”. So again we ask, are things really different now?

Every 28 hours a Black person is murdered by a police officer, security guard, or vigilante. To us, these are versions of a modern day lynching. Systematic oppression, predatory policing, and the war on drugs has replaced the Bull Connors of the South to keep Black people in “check”.

A lot of us may feel things have changed things due to the fact we have a Black president, and a few successful Black people. They say if you work hard, speak properly, dress properly, follow the law, and basically deny your Blackness as much as possible you won’t be gunned down in the middle of the street by police and can make a survivable wage. Forget about the fact that your people were forced here, built this country, released with not a cent to their names, and told make something out of nothing.

One out of three Black men will go to prison in their lifetime. One out of three! That’s just in America. In the UK, there are more Black men in prison than there are in that entire country. We are not just discriminated against in the United States, but White supremacy and racism is a world-wide disease that ruins lives of Black families daily.

What separated Emmett Till from Trayvon Martin? The year is the main difference. Like George Zimmerman, Emmett Till’s murderers were also let off Scott free. It’s like 1955 with Wifi.

Black people were fully aware of their struggle during that time period. Today, we think we won something back then. We fail to realize the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King is still just a dream. Very few of the visions of our ancestors who sacrificed their lives to see us able to thrive and flourish have come to fruition.

We have been bamboozled by a few government-signed documents. The Confederate flag still waves proudly in many places. It symbolizes how we are still denied civil liberties daily. But, now we have a bunch of Black people who fail to realize their minds are still enslaved. If we don’t wake up now, we will never really get free.

T-Dubb-O, a Hip-Hop artist, is a director for Hands Up United, a grass roots organization building towards the liberation of oppressed Black, Brown and Poor people through education, art, civil disobedience, advocacy and agriculture.

Rika Tyler, a community organizer and advocate for children, is a program director of Hands Up United. She works to ensure programs are aligned to serving the community of Ferguson and the Greater St. Louis area.

This article is sixth of an op-ed series on behalf of the Civil Rights Coalition on Police Reform. The coalition, convened and led by the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, is comprised of over 30 national civil and human rights organizations, faith and community leaders working to address the nationwide epidemic of police brutality and lethal shootings, claiming the lives of Black men, women and youth; and provide necessary reforms to change the culture of policing in America. For more information, please visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.

Tough Truths About AAU Basketball

Posted by Admin On August - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on Tough Truths About AAU Basketball

Playing Time: Tough Truths about AAU Basketball, Youth Sports, Parents, and Athletes

CHICAGO, IL – Participating in youth sports is supposed to be about fun, fundamentals, learning and sportsmanship. Every youth dreams of sports stardom and every parent cosigns on the process and the union is one of wide eyed ambition and anticipated athletic achievement. Then the waters become murky. But in his balanced, steady and compassionate book, “Playing Time: Tough Truths about AAU Basketball, Youth Sports, Parents & Athletes,” Kevin McNutt wants to help all within youth sports and team sports deal with the single most pressing problem they are sure to encounter: playing time or more telling the lack of playing time.

Yet, the book offers so much more than ways for parents and athletes to cope and deal with playing time issues as they move up the “sports pyramid” of athletic competition. McNutt tackles the complexities of youth sports and how it is so easy for parents and athletes to become confused, misled and lost in the multi-billion dollar business of youth sports. And then, once entangled in the process, feeling a sense of desperation, parents and athletes make knee-jerk responses and countermoves that, lacking solid foundation and rationale only accelerate the distancing of reaching their athletic goals. McNutt does this without passing an ivory tower judgment or Monday morning quarterbacking reflection but instead with a been-there-done-that understanding and compassion that says I feel your pain. This is expertly illustrated in how parents must speak with the coach regarding playing time for their athlete. Here, McNutt provides valuable insight and in depth knowledge of the psychology of this meeting from the perspective of parent and the coach. It is invaluable instruction that all parents could use in an upcoming discussion—the author clearly states that for most athletes the “playing time” dilemma will certainly become the central focus at some time, some level within athletic competition.

The meeting with the coach is but one of several youth sports scenarios that the book addresses. All are dealt with in a systematic approach that attempts to guide the unsuspecting parent and athlete from the youth sports unchartered waters without a compass that they often find themselves. However, the book does not allow them to drift with the current as it provides tangible methods to correct the situations.

Nevertheless, it is not a pity party for the woe-is-me athlete or parent caught in the web of corporate youth sports. Tough truths is what the book says and delivers when parents accentuate their ego, obsessions and greed and place their selfish motivation beyond those of their athlete. McNutt is quick to point out these scenarios and chastise accordingly.

In this regard the referee in McNutt is obvious. Clearly, he is not afraid to make the big call regardless of who it may upset and offend. He aggressively takes on the burgeoning specter of AAU and specifically AAU basketball, which today is spoken about incorrectly albeit confidently by uneducated youth sports parents that had never heard of the term 10 years ago. In an odd twist, he is less harsh on AAU than he is on the black sports community for allowing it to become their Sheppard to their sheep-like sports grazing. Even here, while critical of the black sports community he provides solutions to how to maneuver adroitly within the AAU maze as opposed to becoming a support system athletic scholarship chasing casualty. The two chapters on the exploits of a DC based AAU program are fascinating in their depth, scope, and understanding. One need not be a sports fan to appreciate and have an attachment with the relationship between coach, player, sport and community.

Playing Time does not attempt to intimidate or run off parents and youth from participating in youth sports with gaudy and mind boggling numbers. It does not attempt to dissuade youth participation in sports. To the contrary the book endorses sports participation by addressing the tangible and practical pratfalls, setbacks and accomplishments that are certainly in the path of every sports family. Playing Time acknowledges the inevitable mistakes that will made by parent and athlete in youth sports but the goal is to provide a clear narrative in assisting to prevent or minimize the disastrous sports career ending choices before youth potential has a chance to thrive.

About the Author

Winner of just about every hat imaginable within youth and scholastic sport, from a basketball player, on the playgrounds of Washington DC, to private high school starter to college scholarship athlete, Kevin McNutt excelled as a coach for seven years of AAU basketball as well as being actively involved in his daughter’s athletic career as she would become a high school basketball star and eventually accept an athletic scholarship to Division I (Georgetown) university. Kevin is the author of Hooked on Hoops: Understanding Black Youths’ Blind Devotion to Basketball and he is also co-host, with Dave Zirin, of Edge of Sports radio for Sirius/XM.

For additional information, contact (708) 672-4909 x731, P.O. Box 1799, Chicago Heights, IL 60412. Website: http://www.africanamericanimages.com, Email: customersvc@africanamericanimages.com.

Photo: Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, African American Images

Tell Congress to Make Solar Energy Available to all Americans: Sign The Petition

Posted by Admin On August - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on Tell Congress to Make Solar Energy Available to all Americans: Sign The Petition

Tell Congress: Pass the Low Income Solar Act of 2015.

We need to make clean, money-saving solar energy available to all Americans.

Add your name:

Sign the petition â–º

If powering our homes and businesses with solar energy is going to be a major solution to climate change, it can’t be an option that’s only available to some.

That’s why the bill that Sen. Bernie Sanders has just introduced — the Low Income Solar Act of 2015 — is such a huge deal.1 The bill would dramatically expand the availability of the financial and environmental benefits of solar power, through loans and grants to low-income families, public housing, and community facilities.

But unfortunately, we don’t have a Congress that passes bills simply because they’re excellent ideas. That’s why we need to get to work whipping support for this bill in Congress right now. Can you sign the petition and help us make this bill a reality?

Tell Congress: Make solar energy available to all Americans. Pass the Low Income Solar Act of 2015. Click here to sign the petition.

Today, solar energy is more affordable than it’s ever been, and is now the fastest growing source of energy in the U.S. But it’s still out of reach for a large percentage of Americans who can’t afford the cost of installation, can’t qualify for financing, or who are renters and don’t have appropriate rooftop access to install solar panels.

Today, out of the 645,000 homes and businesses with rooftop solar panels, less than 5 percent are households earning less than $40,000.2

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Low Income Solar Act of 2015 would take direct aim at this problem by directly issuing grants for solar installation to low income homeowners with suitable rooftops, while connecting other households, like renters, with alternatives like community solar gardens which offer solar power access through a shared solar system.

Tell Congress: Make solar energy available to all Americans. Pass the Low Income Solar Act of 2015. Click here to sign the petition.

With four times more of their income spent on energy than the average household, allowing low-income households to produce their own energy would provide major economic relief to those who need it most. And lower income households also statistically use less energy, meaning solar panels would cover a greater share of their energy needs.3

Low-income communities have also suffered the most from proximity to toxic and polluting fossil fuel facilities. Expanding access to clean solar power is an important step in alleviating toxic fossil fuel pollution, and the carbon pollution that is causing climate change.

This is a win-win idea if there ever was one, and that’s why we need to make sure it wins in Congress.

Tell Congress: Make solar energy available to all Americans. Pass the Low Income Solar Act of 2015. Click here to sign the petition.

Thank you for your activism.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

Sign the petition â–º
  1. Sanders Introduces Solar Initiative,” Office of Senator Bernie Sanders, July 7, 2015.

  2. Bridging the Solar Income Gap,” GW Solar Institute, January 2015.

  3. State Policies to Increase Low-Income Communities’ Access to Solar Power,” Center for American Progress, September 23, 2014.

HotHouse Presents “Lion of Zimbabwe” Thomas Mapfumo and Author Banning Eyre September 12th

Posted by Admin On August - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on HotHouse Presents “Lion of Zimbabwe” Thomas Mapfumo and Author Banning Eyre September 12th

HotHouse presents Banning Eyre, Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited

Book signing and concert anchor day-long salute to the music that made Zimbabwe.

CHICAGO, IL – HotHouse has organized a day of events celebrating the recently released biography LION SONGS: THOMAS MAPFUMO AND THE MUSIC THAT MADE ZIMBABWE.

Banning Eyre, biographer, musician and producer of the nationally syndicated radio show Afropop Worldwide, will read from his book at the Sulzer Library on Sat., Sept. 12 from 1 to 3 p.m. Following the reading and later that evening, HotHouse will present Thomas Mapfumo and his band the Blacks Unlimited in concert at the famous blues club, Rosa’s Lounge. The concert will culminate in an impromptu performance with Mapfumo and his band “jamming” with local blues artists.

The two events promise to be a remarkable occasion honoring international civil rights and cultural work.

Both Thomas Mapfumo and Banning Eyre are available for advance interviews.


Sat., Sept, 12, 2015

Book Signing and Reading


1pm- 3pm

Sulzer Public Library, 4455 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago IL 60625

Free admission. Signed copies of the book available for purchase


Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited with special guests

Rosa’s Lounge, 3420 W. Armitage Chicago, Il. 60647

Doors open 7 p.m.

Two Shows: 8 and 10:30pm (house cleared between shows)

Tickets $25 General Admission, $30 seated and $35 for both shows


Thomas Tafirenyika “Mukanya” Mapfumo was born in Marondera, Zimbabwe in 1945. He discovered an early childhood interest for traditional music and indigenous instruments (ngoma, hosho and mbira) from his grandparents who were avid musicians in the village. By ten he moved to Mbare to live with his parents who worked in the city. At the time, Mbare was a black ghetto township and a hub of protest movements against the segregationist colonial regime of Rhodesia. Young Thomas became exposed to the freedom protesters and the police brutality against them and this shaped his life-long political consciousness. It was also during this time in Mbare that Mapfumo listened to diverse international music broadcast on the radio and this inspired him to plan for a musical career.

Around 1973 Mapfumo joined his first group, the Hallelujah Chicken band in Mhangura, a small mining town. Initially, he had sang in English but quickly realized the need to express himself in the local vernacular to both please his fans and spread the call for freedom. Realizing a need for seriously pursuing his own “Chimurenga” style of music, he then founded the Blacks Unlimited -around 1978. By then, Chimurenga music had morphed into a symbol for the struggle against injustice and was a threatening presence in war-torn Rhodesia. Through music, he continued to taunt the colonial regime, denouncing poverty and advocating for freedom. Despite the colonial system reacting to the music with censure and repression, Mapfumo’s music irresistibly rocked the nation like a hurricane.

When Zimbabwe won independence in 1980, Mapfumo was one of the featured artists at the national celebration appearing on stage with the iconic reggae legend Bob Marley. This opened more doors to recording opportunities in London and propelled his international fame. However now under Robert Mugabe, looming corruption, grinding poverty, and the decaying rule of law blighted the promising new nation. Mapfumo now began to compose his lyrics as missiles of protest against his own government. To the surprise of many, the same kinds of music censorship from former colonial Rhodesia now also visited Mapfumo. Upon his release of the “Corruption” album in and facing increasingly more pressing conditions, in 2000, he relocated to the USA.

In October 2012, Mapfumo was inducted into the Afro-Pop Hall of Fame during at the historic Carnegie Hall in New York City. This humbling recognition of “the Lion of Zimbabwe” for his historical contributions to the fight for freedom and social justice in Zimbabwe and decades of civil rights activism was a justly deserved award.

As Bob Marley is to Jamaicans or Fela Kuti is to Nigerians, Thomas Mapfumo is to Zimbabweans. The bandleader is a superstar in his home country, both for his masterful blending of traditional sounds with world music and for his powerful political messages. Now living in exile in Oregon due to his outspoken criticism of Mugabe, Mapfumo yearns to go home, according to biographer Banning Eyre.


Banning Eyre is a writer, guitarist, photographer and producer. He has written about international music, especially African music, since 1988. During all that time, he has been a lead producer for the syndicated, Peabody Award-winning public radio program Afropop Worldwide. He also comments and reports on music for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and has contributed over the years to The Boston Phoenix, Guitar Player, Global Rhythm, fRoots (Folk Roots), Songlines, The Beat, and other publications. He has traveled and done music research in 16 African countries, as well as in the Caribbean, South America and Europe.  In 1995, Eyre co-authored AFROPOP! An Illustrated Guide to Contemporary African Music with Sean Barlow. Eyre’s acclaimed book focused on Malian guitar styles, In Griot Time, An American Guitarist in Mali, was released by Temple University Press (2000) and in the UK on Serpent’s Tail (2002). The companion CD Eyre compiled, In Griot Time, String Music from Mali, was released on Stern’s Africa.

Eyre spent a month in Zimbabwe in 2001–his fourth visit there–and wrote a report on music censorship there for the Danish human rights organization, Freemuse. In Zimbabwe, Eyre has done especially deep research on the legendary bandleader, songwriter and music stylist Thomas Mapfumo–a figure of historic dimensions. All of this comes together in Eyre’s 2015 book, Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo and the Music That Made Zimbabwe. Eyre has also produced a companion CD for the book–Thomas Mapfumo, Lion Songs: Essential Tracks in the Making of Zimbabwe.



Billy Branch was discovered by Willie Dixon, the “father of modern Chicago Blues,” while Billy was still in college. Willie encouraged Billy to finish his college education, which he did, but instead of going to law school after receiving his political science degree, Billy began touring with the Willie Dixon Chicago All-Stars. This gave Billy the unique opportunity to travel and work as an under-study for the legendary Carey Bell who was planning to leave the All-Stars and form his own band. When Carey took his leave, the young Billy Branch took his place, touring with Willie Dixon for 6 years.

Since those early days, Billy has played on nearly 200 different recordings, including 12 albums under his own name. He’s recorded with Willie Dixon, Johnny Winter, Lou Rawls, Koko Taylor, Eddy Clearwater, Honeyboy Edwards, Syl Johnson, Lurrie Bell, Ronnie Baker Brooks, John Primer, and Taj Mahal, just to name a few. In addition, he has received three Grammy nominations.


HotHouse was founded in 1987 to provide a forum for expression in the arts that was under-represented elsewhere in the Chicago cultural community. It was created primarily to curate multi-arts and educational activities that bolstered the prominence of innovative artists working in the margins of the commercial market and to facilitate events that amplified a variety of progressive social movements. The New York Times wrote of HotHouse “few clubs anywhere offer a wider range of first-rate world music, from wildly vibrant Afro-pop to avant-garde jazz than HotHouse.” And a “Best of Chicago” award opined “from European avant-garde jazz acts that don’t even play in this hemisphere to performance art to world music to the city’s more esoteric acts, [HotHouse] has consistently pulled in some of the planet’s most innovative acts.”

For two decades the organization maintained two award-winning cultural centers where it presented its programs-the first catalyzed growth in the Wicker Park neighborhood (1987-1995) and the second spurred development in the South Loop in downtown Chicago (1995-2007). The board of directors is currently pursuing plans to build its third site.

HotHouse develops its programs in response to a variety of community needs and seeks to extend the milieu of the academy and position high caliber (and international) arts innovation before underserved populations throughout the Chicago metropolitan region.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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