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Monday, April 23, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — Confederacy of Dunces

Updated - today's items:

Caroline McGeough, Duke Chronicle:
LDOC rapper issues apology -- Common, the rapper scheduled to perform at the Last Day of Classes concert Wednesday, has apologized for publicly denouncing the men's lacrosse team at a performance last spring.

"I want to say first of all that I apologize for accusing people wrong that didn't do it," Common told The Raleigh News and Observer Thursday.

During an April 19, 2006, concert at Emory University, the rapper said he believed allegations of rape made against members of the team.

Common said his statements regarding the allegations stemmed from personal reactions and did not reflect the facts of the case.

"I just felt like, 'That's my sister,' so I felt emotional about it, and I guess I did what a lot of people do to other people, to convict them or consider them guilty before we even know the truth," the rapper said.

LDOC Chair Beth Higgins, a senior, said she was thrilled to hear of Common's apology and expects students to forgive the artist for his earlier comments against the team...

Stephen Miller, Duke Chronicle:
Farewell -- For many at Duke, the last year offered a horrifying tutorial in the moral bankruptcy of the left's politically correct orthodoxy and the corruption of our culture at its hands.

Three of our peers faced a devastating year-long persecution because they were white and their accuser black. Imagine that Collin, Reade and David had been black students, accused of raping a white girl and that they faced a witchhunt led by a prosecutor re-elected thanks to the overwhelming support of the white community. Then imagine this witchhunt was supported by hordes of student protesters, prominent white activists and a large portion of an elite campus faculty, many of them affiliated with the European Studies Department. Imagine also that the University president suspends the almost all-black sports team of which these students are members and fires their black coach. Further imagine that the accuser in the case has continually changed her story from the first night, that there is no evidence against the players, that they've cooperated with the police and passed polygraphs and that extensive evidence exists to prove their innocence.

You think that scenario would have lasted for a year? Try a week. . .
Ruth Sheehan, News & Observer:
To Duke accused: I'm sorry -- Members of the men's Duke lacrosse team: I am sorry.

Surely by now you know I am sorry. I am writing these words now, and in this form, as a bookend to 13 months of Duke lacrosse coverage, my role in which started with a March 27 column that began:

"Members of the men's Duke lacrosse team: You know. We know you know."

That was when Durham police and District Attorney Mike Nifong were describing a "wall of silence" among the men who attended the now-vaunted lacrosse party at 610 Buchanan Blvd. Nifong, now described by the state attorney general as a "rogue prosecutor," was widely respected as solid, even understated.

Though wrong, my initial column was cheered by hundreds of readers.

Last weekend, our public editor, Ted Vaden, laid me low for that first column, and the second, which called for the firing of lacrosse coach Mike Pressler. According to Don Yeager, a former Sports Illustrated staffer who is writing a book about the case, Pressler blames me for his dismissal. I'm sorry he ended up coaching at a Division III school.

But, lest my reporting on Duke lacrosse over the course of a year be reduced to two early columns, let me remind you that I did not just throw those two Molotov cocktails and remain mute for nine months before declaring myself "naive." . . .
LieStoppers: Ruth Sheehan apologizes
TalkLeft: Ruth Sheehan Apology
Joan Collins, Friends of Duke University:
A Conversation with Susan Pressler -- After her husband’s contract was renewed, they put a large addition on their Durham home, almost doubling its size, making it just the way they always wanted. They expected Durham would be their home for the next 20 years. Everything changed on April 5, 2006, when Mike Pressler lost his coaching job at Duke.

Sadly, Durham became a community Susan no longer recognized. After receiving threats and out of fear for their children’s safety, they sent their eldest daughter to live with friends in another city, while their youngest was sent out of state with family for a time.

Immediately after the players were indicted, she used a labeler to make handmade signs “Innocent #6- Innocent #13- Innocent #45” which she displays prominently on her license plate as she drives around Durham. She proudly wears a Duke Lacrosse wristband with the same inscription. Susan insists she will not remove the wristband, until Reade and Collin each score their first goal and she hears from Rae Evans that Dave is alright.

Although she is the mother of two daughters, Susan considers herself to have hundreds of sons. She spoke in a most loving, motherly way of Coach Pressler’s players, not just the recent team, but of all the players over the last 16 years of coaching at Duke...
Nifong: Intentionally avoiding pursuit of evidence -- Much has been made of the conspiracy between Durham County’s rogue District Attorney, Mike Nifong, and DNA Security, Inc. lab director, Dr. Brian Meehan, to withhold exonerating DNA evidence from the former defendants in the Nifong/Mangum Hoax. The conspiracy to withhold evidence and the efforts to disguise the conspiracy are the subject of one hundred and six paragraphs of the State Bar’s amended complaint against Defendant Nifong. Ultimately, revelation of the conspiracy led to the State Bar’s unprecedented intervention in the Hoax, a public condemnation by the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys confirming Defendant Nifong’s status as pariah among his elected peers, Defendant Nifong’s forced recusal from his hijacked Hoax, and the eventual total exoneration of the innocent defendants by NC Attorney General Roy Cooper. . .
Solomon Burnette spews hateSolomon Burnette, NCCU/Campus Echo:
Death to all rapists -- On March 13, 2006, some forty affluent white men solicited the presence of two black women on (former) plantation property for the explicit purposes of racially denigrating, disrespecting, and exploiting them...

The ‘facts’ of the case should not matter to us because even if we are unsure of sexual assault, these supremacists have admitted to sexually, racially and politically denigrating these women. Strippers or not, this must be addressed.

History has shown us that the (in)justice system cannot and will not address these issues because it is built upon them. So upon whose shoulders should the responsibility of retributive correction fall?

White people still murder us with impunity. White people still beat us with impunity. White people still rape us and get away with it.

The only deterrent to these legally, socially and economically validated supremacist actions is the fear of physical retribution.

Black men, stand up. Black women, stand up. Black children, stand up. We have been at war here with these same white people for 500 years...
LieStoppers blog;
NCCU's "Campus Echo" Responds to Exoneration of Hoax Victims With Call to Arms -- The decision of the Campus Echo to publish Burnette's violent message of hatred and top it with a headline calling for death undermines the efforts of NCCU Chancellor James Ammons' call for closure and healing while praising the University communities patience and calm...

the Echo's decision to publish Burnette's hate filled diatribe works against Ammons' continued efforts while seemingly validating the worst that has been said of the local racial landscape. Demonstrating poor judgment, at best, the Echo's willingness to confirm the exaggerated impressions created by Chan Hall and the rabid participants of the April 10, 2006 "Pep Rally for Indictments" can only serve to further diminish the world's view of Durham and NCCU.

LieStoppers forum: More Black Racism Rears Its Ugly Head, NCCU Hatefest continued
BYRON CALAME, The Public Editor, NY Times:
Revisiting The Times’s Coverage of the Duke Rape Case -- THE official declaration of the innocence of three former Duke University lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting a stripper triggered a flood of critical e-mails to the public editor. Many readers focused their ire on The Times’s massive Aug. 25 “portrait” of the case, . . .

Byron Calame, NY Times Public Editor - NY Times might have been sloppy but we ment no harm to Duke playersI found that the past year’s articles generally reported both sides, and that most flaws flowed from journalistic lapses rather than ideological bias. . .

Largely on the basis of the sergeant’s report [Gottlieb], the Aug. 25 review was significantly less skeptical about Mr. Nifong’s case than a solid 1,600-word June 12 story that had described “a growing perception of a case in trouble.” The August article presented a summary paragraph — the “nut graf,” in newsroom parlance — whose final sentence amounted to The Times’s certifying the district attorney’s case as worthy of a trial.

This overstated summary was a major flaw in the article that has overshadowed other worthwhile aspects of the story, such as the list, high up, of weaknesses in the prosecution case. Reading the article last August had left me concerned that Times journalists were not sufficiently skeptical in relying so heavily on the Gottlieb notes.

In one striking instance in the article, however, The Times decided Sergeant Gottlieb’s “case notes,” apparently based on his memory, were more credible than the handwritten notes of a fellow police investigator, Officer Benjamin Himan.

I find that news judgment flawed — one allowing critics to foster a perception of the paper as leaning toward Mr. Nifong...

Times editors discussed whether “to stick to our policy of not naming accusers in sexual assault cases,” Mr. Keller told me, “and decided to do so.” My first instinct was that The Times should strongly consider adopting a policy of naming false accusers. Then I decided that the mental health of the Duke accuser and the failure of Mr. Nifong to limit the harm she caused by doing his job responsibly combined to keep this case from being a good one on which to debate such a policy change. But I hope Times editors will soon consider holding a discussion, free of deadline pressure, about what purpose the tradition of not naming sexual assault victims serves when their accusations are proved to have no merit.
LieStoppers forum: NY Times Re-Examines its Coverage of Duke Case, Media Coverage of Duke Case
TalkLeft: NY Times Examines Its Coverage of Duke Case

LieStoppers blog:
Revisiting The Times’s Coverage of the Duke Rape Case -- New York Times features a disappointing, though not surprising, non-apology from Public Editor Byron Calame...

Lead & Gold blog: Duke lacrosse: Can the Times be any more fatuous?

KC Johnson:
The Times: No Harm, No Foul -- Roy Cooper’s April 12 press conference contained two messages for the New York Times. “I think,” the attorney general remarked, “a lot of people owe a lot of apologies to, to other people. I think that those people ought to consider doing that.” It would be hard to imagine that Times columnists Selena Roberts and Harvey Araton, reporter Duff Wilson, and the paper’s senior editors would not be included in the category of those who owe apologies to the falsely accused students...

Calame’s column gives no indication that Times reporters, editors, or even the public editor believe that there was something wrong—seriously wrong—with the Times’ coverage of the case. Such a conclusion, of course, allows them to avoid exploring how the paper allowed its employees’ biases on issues relating to race, class, and gender to distort its search for the truth.
Kathleen Eckelt RN, FNE; Forensics Talk:
Duke Lacrosse SANE Documentation II -- Every single time we walk into an exam room with a patient, we know there's a real good chance that we'll end up sitting in court soon, with our credibility on the line.

Second, is the fact that this is not your typical hospital care scenario. It's not even civil court. This is criminal court. Someone has been accused of a horrendous crime. By the time we get to court, it's a pretty good guess that someone may be going to jail. Given that, it's imperative that our documentation be complete, objective, and without any flaws. . .


The issue of Tara Levicy's discussion with Nifong, in January, is a prime example of how a nurse's chart, and credibility, can later be affected by contradictions. Liestoppers and Mr. Cooney kindly gave me permission to copy/paste Mr. Cooney's statement regarding the condom discussion with Ms. Levicy. It speaks volumes...
The Astute Bloggers:
Honor at Duke & in Durahm: Dramatis Personae -- the single figure whose actions were the most despicable and most dishonorable in this whole shabby spectacle must be Richard Brodhead, the President of Duke University. Crystal Mangum is a sick individual. Mike Nifong acts like an ambitious sociopath. The 88 leftists on the Duke Faculty were only producing the sort of leftist filth that won them tenure.

But Richard Brodhead was the man who should have taken charge. He should have seen to it that the members of the faculty honored the requirements of the University, and that they refrained from slandering and libeling 3 innocent students -- Duke students. He should have insisted that the accused be considered innocent until proven guilty, and provided them the protection that the sacred centrality of academic freedom is supposed to confer on a University community.

Instead, he joined the lynch mob. He dishonorably betrayed his office...
Cash Michaels, ezboard/Wilmington Journal:
CASH WORM IN THE APPLE for April 19, 2007 -- Recently, the ombudsman for the Raleigh News & Observer did a post mortem on that paper’s coverage of the now ended Duke lacrosse case... So what about our coverage here at this paper? How did we do?...

Certainly we kept our eye on pertinent information about the accuser and the three defendants, and referred to that as needed. But for the most part, we paid close attention to process – what was happening with both the prosecution and the defense, and tried to accurately report such...

As a “voice” of the African-American community, there was no way to circle the wagons to defend our community, but leave her outside to catch the slings and arrows. We had to defend her right to have her day in court, take the stand, and tell her story before a judge or jury.

It was clear that the objective of Duke Three supporters and the defense team was to prevent a trial at all costs..
comment: The "Confederacy of Dunces" strikes again.

Why do Cash Michaels and some Durhamites keep making silly statements that the false accuser, Crystal Mangum, has a right to "have her day in court?" That's not how the justice system works. It's the accused who has the right to a trial. Go to the chalk board and write the 6th amendment 100 times, you dunces.
The governing law for criminal cases in both federal and state courts is the Sixth Amendment, which provides in part:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed . . . .
TalkLeft: CASH IN THE APPLE . . .
Kathleen Parker, RecordNet/Washington Post:
The hypocrisy really is stifling -- While the Rutgers women suffered hurt feelings, Imus lost his TV gig and his radio show, the three Duke men potentially faced 30 years in prison, and District Attorney Mike Nifong faces ethics charges.

The episodes do share the complicating and distorting factors of race, sex and politics.

Of course, they both share the opportunistic involvement of those two rogue race-baiting reverends, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

Both not only came to the aid of the Rutgers basketball team but grabbed the microphones before the accused Duke players had their day in court.

In Imus' case, neither was willing to accept the radio host's apology for his unfunny racist remark aimed at the basketball players. They worked, successfully, to get him off television airwaves.

In the Duke case, we'll succumb to suffocation, I suspect, if we hold our breath waiting for Sharpton and Jackson to apologize for feeding the racist frenzy that condemned those three young men whose lives were nearly ruined by innuendo, lies, an out-of-control prosecutor and a complicit media.
Erik, RedState blog:
Nancy Grace: A Whorer Show -- The mainstream media loves to tell bloggers that the MSM is fact checked, reliable, lacking the rabid looniness of the online horde, and credible. Whether you are of the left or the right, the next time anyone tells you the media has greater credibility than bloggers, point them to Nancy Grace, media whore.

For the last year, between driving mothers of kidnapped children to commit suicide and keeping us up to date on the latest developments in the Anna Nicole Smith case, this fellow alumnus of Mercer University who now sadly sits on the Board of Trustees of my beloved University, has done her best to indict three innocent young men in North Carolina and start a race war just for kicks.

When blogs do what Nancy Grace has done, the mainstream media piles on, ridicules, condemns, and demands correction. So do other bloggers. When Nancy Grace does it . . . . crickets
Richard Stevens; Law Offices of Stevens & Brash, MilitaryAdvocate blog:
“How Can You Defend Them?” -- Maybe it takes a highly publicized case like the Duke case to shake you to realize that false claims are made and people can be convicted, jailed, and have their life ruined for something they didn’t do. Criminal defense lawyers are the people who fight to prevent that from happening. We fight to ensure the system stays honest. There seems to be a general acceptance that if an arrest is made, or if a conviction occurs, it must be correct. Maybe now more and more people are realizing that isn’t so. I’m not suggesting you need to completely distrust the police, the prosecutors and the courts. I’m simply saying you shouldn’t so readily rush to accept their version. It is important to ask questions. It is important to presume innocence unless guilt is proven.
News & Observer:
More letters on the lacrosse case --
Del Parkerson; Sanford, NC -- The way the prosecution of the Duke lacrosse players was initially handled was a tragedy. Kudos to the N.C. attorney general, however, for the way he handled the case once it was turned over to him. He is correct in saying that there needs to be a thorough review of how prosecutors handle cases in North Carolina. The justice system needs to be totally transparent to be trusted...

Dennis D. Whelan; Raleigh, NC -- Well, finally the ordeal is over, the players exonerated, and the district attorney under scrutiny. Before we package this event up, let�s remember that these players hired two strippers, were drinking with underage minors and were generally acting inappropriately during the event...

Allen Turkow; Cary, NC -- I cannot image the pain the young men (Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann) and their families must have experienced over the last year. Not knowing whether your son may go to prison for 20-30 years � indescribable pain. Not knowing whether you may not see your son again in your lifetime other than in a visitors� room in prison � beyond words. Why? $15,000 more in retirement pay.

How can someone compartmentalize the overwhelming facts of the case and then ignore them for personal gain? How can one person have so much negative impact on so many people for so many months? How can one person in our legal system go so long unchecked? Mike Nifong proceeded with this rape case with ear plugs inserted and blinders on. And so did Durham County, the State of North Carolina and Duke University...

Anne-Marie Harvey; Raleigh, NC -- The lacrosse players and their families have spent a year in hell. Mangum appears to have issues with mental health that could have been addressed a year ago if Nifong and his staff had taken the time to treat all of these individuals as human beings.

Mr. Nifong, as the mother of a son, I want to say something to you: Shame on you! Maybe those are words you should have heard as a child yourself...

Patricia M. Walker; Raleigh, NC -- While I recognize that there were many errors in the Duke lacrosse case, both procedural and ethical, and though it is true that under North Carolina statutes the three men might be technically innocent, there are important aspects of the case that should not be dismissed.

Had the players not engaged in behavior that was, to say the least, distasteful, and had their reputations not preceded them, things might have been far different.
George Bridgers (Durham), Letter, Herald Sun:
Forgive Nifong -- I think that it is a shame that District Attorney Mike Nifong's career has been stained by this one case. He has admitted that he made some mistakes -- we all make mistakes in our lives, some more than others. Some can tear up the lives of others for the rest of their lives. Why can't all the "haters," especially those who have made mistakes, leave this man alone?
Robert Z. Nemeth, (Worchester, MA) Telegram:
Hypocrisy and PC permeate the U.S. -- Leading this parade of hypocrisy were Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, two sanctimonious opportunists, who have made a career of playing the divisive race card. This is the same Rev. Sharpton who incited mob violence after Tawana Brawley, a black woman, made false accusations of rape by a white man, and the same Rev. Jackson, who aimed ethnic slurs at New York’s Jewish population. They also made their voices heard during the Duke University scandal.

Thirteen months ago, three Duke lacrosse players, all white, were arrested, charged and expelled from school after an exotic dancer, who is black, accused them of rape. The usual media frenzy ensued, and the alleged incident quickly evolved into a scandal of race, sex and class privilege. Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong used the case to promote his own re-election campaign. Eighty-eight professors pronounced the athletes guilty without a trial. University President Richard Brodhead turned his back on the students. Lacrosse coach Mike Pressler was forced to resign.

The Duke scandal is likely to go down as one of the most hideous examples of presumed guilt in recent history. Yet there have been no calls for the firing of Mr. Nifong, who is facing ethics charges, the resignation of Mr. Brodhead or the punishment of the false accuser. No demands for an apology from the two black leaders or any of the others who shredded the lives of David Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty...
Andy Walter, Delaware State News:
Duke lacrosse: Back on ball; 'Nightmare' over for Coveleski -- It isn't what people said that really dug into John Coveleski. It was the look he'd get.

Over and over Coveleski would tell people that the rape allegations lodged against Duke lacrosse players last spring would end up being unfounded.

But Coveleski, whose son, Josh, is a member of the squad, was never sure if people believed him.

"You felt absolutely helpless," said the elder Coveleski, the former Caesar Rodney High coach. "Human nature tends to believe the worst.

"I would tell people that this is really just a false story. But you can see it in people's eyes - they go, 'Yeah, sure.'"

Now, of course, everyone believes the players' side of the story...
Editorial, San Francisco Examiner:
When will Duke apologize? -- No legal maxim is more sacred than that the accused is innocent until proven guilty by a jury of peers. So it was dispiriting to observe what happened last year right after newspaper stories appeared passing along sensational accusations against members of the Duke lacrosse team. No fewer than 88 Duke professors signed a statement that all but proclaimed the three young men not merely guilty of raping a young black woman, but also of being exemplars of a corrupt, privileged white culture supposedly suffocating the Duke University...

But [Prof. Houston] Baker and the other 87 signers were only the most vocal members of a Duke community rushing to judgment amid a barrage of all-too-familiar accusations about America’s inherent racism and sexism. Even Duke president Richard Brodhead said, with a stunning lack of logic, that “if they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough.” This malodorous chorus of presuppositionally blinded academics was abetted by the mainstream media, which predictably added their own special brand of condemnation before judgement...
KC Johnson:
The Chronicle: Right Again -- Friday’s Chronicle has another spot-on editorial. Duke’s Student Government purchases one local paper for free newspaper boxes across campus; during the 2006-2007 academic year, the Herald-Sun was the choice. Using the lacrosse case coverage as an example, the Chronicle urges a move to the N&O...
John Stevenson, Herald-Sun:
Lawyers: Nifong remains efficient -- For 13 months, District Attorney Mike Nifong's name has been inextricably linked with the Duke lacrosse case, but that hasn't been the only issue on his professional plate. Nifong continues to personally prosecute a major homicide case in which he wants the death penalty for Rodrick Vernard Duncan.

Duncan is accused of killing four men at a townhouse in the Breckenridge subdivision -- off Hope Valley Road -- in November 2005. Police believe the killings were "drug-motivated." ...
Inside Lacrosse:
Duke takes down Army, 11-5 -- Zack Greer scored five goals while Peter Lamade added two goals and two assists as second-ranked Duke defeated Army, 11-5, in men's lacrosse action on Saturday afternoon as 3,681 fans looked on at sun-splashed Koskinen Stadium.

The Blue Devils, winners of six straight, improve to 11-2 while the Black Knights fall to 6-6...
John in Carolina:
“INNOCENT” Tags -- Starting later today I’m adding a new tag to some Hoax case related posts: “INNOCENT.” Most of you who’ve just read “INNOCENT” understood immediately why I’ll be using that tag: besides cuing readers to a Hoax case post, it will highlight the most critical outcome of the case to date: “INNOCENT.”
John in Carolina:
Why Those Letters? -- Commenters often ask questions like: “Why do you bother writing to the N&O public editor? You don’t really expect Ted Vaden to answer your questions, do you?” and “I know you mean well, JinC, but nobody at Duke is going to speak up about the attacks last May 18 on Reade Seligmann, his parents and Kirk Osborn. So why keep asking?”
Carl Campanile, NY Post:
SHARPTON'S JUST A LEADER TAWANA-BE: KOCH -- Former Mayor Ed Koch surprised an almost exclusively black audience yesterday by telling the Rev. Al Sharpton he had spoiled his chance to become "a crossover leader" by refusing to apologize for "the Tawana Brawley hoax."

Koch was speaking at a conference sponsored by Sharpton's National Action Network when he brought up his relations with Sharpton.

"I admire him even when we disagree. I always believed he was a bona fide leader when others said he was not," Koch told the crowd of about 100 people at the New York Sheraton.

But the former mayor said Sharpton's role in the controversy concerning the upstate black teenager 20 years ago was a stain on his record that kept him from winning white supporters.

"If you would have apologized for the Tawana Brawley hoax, you'd be a crossover leader," he said...
Mike Freeman, CBS Sportsline:
Mike's Malicious Mail: We can all get along (almost) -- Suddenly, everyone loves Mike's Malicious Mail. It's an orgy of butt kissing and super snuggles. My column that the Duke case showed us that stereotypes work both ways struck a chord. MMM received more e-mail than Santa does in December. I remain convinced that many of us jumped to conclusions on the guilt of the Duke lacrosse players because we believed -– that they believed -– they were rich and white so they could do whatever they wanted to a poor black stripper. We all bought into stereotypes about race and class. The case, along with the Rutgers one, showed just how far we have to go when it comes to race in America.
Mike Freeman, CBS Sportsline:
Duke case shows: Hurtful stereotypes come in all colors -- They were a group of athletes, verbally brutalized, stereotyped, blasphemed, treated horribly by a sometimes insane system and arrogant, bullying media. No, I'm not talking about the proud and wonderful women from the Rutgers University basketball team. I'm talking about the Duke University lacrosse players. We have seen the justifiable outrage over the wronged Rutgers players who have displayed their intellectual prowess and stiff upper lip in front of an entire nation.

But where is the outcry? Over the white guys. Indeed, they have demonstrated an even tougher resolve after being called rapists and racists, and when sexual assault charges were dropped Wednesday afternoon by a legal system that suddenly grew a conscience, you practically heard crickets chirping...

The Sharptons and Jacksons and black civil leaders on and around the Duke campus should approach these men and say: We know what it is like to be falsely accused. It has happened to our people for hundreds of years. No one knows what it is like to be abused by the legal system like us. We'd like to offer our support. What can we do to help? That should occur, but you know it never will.Every black person who thought they were guilty as hell should now look at them and sympathize. Maybe even, in whatever way possible, apologize...

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