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Liberalz bias....oh noes

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13texas.html?emc=eta1

 

Texas Conservatives Win Curriculum Change

 

By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.

 

AUSTIN, Tex. — After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

 

The vote was 10 to 5 along party lines, with all the Republicans on the board voting for it.

 

The board, whose members are elected, has influence beyond Texas because the state is one of the largest buyers of textbooks. In the digital age, however, that influence has diminished as technological advances have made it possible for publishers to tailor books to individual states.

 

In recent years, board members have been locked in an ideological battle between a bloc of conservatives who question Darwin’s theory of evolution and believe the Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles, and a handful of Democrats and moderate Republicans who have fought to preserve the teaching of Darwinism and the separation of church and state.

 

Since January, Republicans on the board have passed more than 100 amendments to the 120-page curriculum standards affecting history, sociology and economics courses from elementary to high school. The standards were proposed by a panel of teachers.

 

“We are adding balance,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left.”

 

Battles over what to put in science and history books have taken place for years in the 20 states where state boards must adopt textbooks, most notably in California and Texas. But rarely in recent history has a group of conservative board members left such a mark on a social studies curriculum.

 

Efforts by Hispanic board members to include more Latino figures as role models for the state’s large Hispanic population were consistently defeated, prompting one member, Mary Helen Berlanga, to storm out of a meeting late Thursday night, saying, “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.”

 

“They are going overboard, they are not experts, they are not historians,” she said. “They are rewriting history, not only of Texas but of the United States and the world.”

 

The curriculum standards will now be published in a state register, opening them up for 30 days of public comment. A final vote will be taken in May, but given the Republican dominance of the board, it is unlikely that many changes will be made.

 

The standards, reviewed every decade, serve as a template for textbook publishers, who must come before the board next year with drafts of their books. The board’s makeup will have changed by then because Dr. McLeroy lost in a primary this month to a more moderate Republican, and two others — one Democrat and one conservative Republican — announced they were not seeking re-election.

 

There are seven members of the conservative bloc on the board, but they are often joined by one of the other three Republicans on crucial votes. There were no historians, sociologists or economists consulted at the meetings, though some members of the conservative bloc held themselves out as experts on certain topics.

 

The conservative members maintain that they are trying to correct what they see as a liberal bias among the teachers who proposed the curriculum. To that end, they made dozens of minor changes aimed at calling into question, among other things, concepts like the separation of church and state and the secular nature of the American Revolution.

 

“I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate. “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”

 

They also included a plank to ensure that students learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.”

 

Dr. McLeroy, a dentist by training, pushed through a change to the teaching of the civil rights movement to ensure that students study the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers in addition to the nonviolent approach of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also made sure that textbooks would mention the votes in Congress on civil rights legislation, which Republicans supported.

 

“Republicans need a little credit for that,” he said. “I think it’s going to surprise some students.”

 

Mr. Bradley won approval for an amendment saying students should study “the unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation. He also won approval for an amendment stressing that Germans and Italians as well as Japanese were interned in the United States during World War II, to counter the idea that the internment of Japanese was motivated by racism.

 

Other changes seem aimed at tamping down criticism of the right. Conservatives passed one amendment, for instance, requiring that the history of McCarthyism include “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.” The Venona papers were transcripts of some 3,000 communications between the Soviet Union and its agents in the United States.

 

Mavis B. Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced an amendment requiring that students study the reasons “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.”

It was defeated on a party-line vote.

 

After the vote, Ms. Knight said, “The social conservatives have perverted accurate history to fulfill their own agenda.”

 

In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. They also replaced the word “capitalism” throughout their texts with the “free-enterprise system.”

 

“Let’s face it, capitalism does have a negative connotation,” said one conservative member, Terri Leo. “You know, ‘capitalist pig!’ ”

 

In the field of sociology, another conservative member, Barbara Cargill, won passage of an amendment requiring the teaching of “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teenage suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders.

 

“The topic of sociology tends to blame society for everything,” Ms. Cargill said.

 

Even the course on world history did not escape the board’s scalpel.

Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)

 

“The Enlightenment was not the only philosophy on which these revolutions were based,” Ms. Dunbar said.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-brad-hirschfield/god-history-and-the-texas_b_494904.html

Brad Hirschfield: God, History And The Texas Public Schools: A Debate That Impacts All Of Us

 

The Texas State Board of Education is in the midst of a three-day conference assessing the state's social studies curriculum, which includes U.S. history, government, and much more. As the nation's second largest purchaser of public school textbooks, what gets decided in Texas actually affects many of the rest of us, regardless of the state in which we live. Not surprisingly, a big percentage of what is being debated is how much the curricula and the textbooks used should reflect the "Christian roots" of our nation and the Christian faith of our nation's majority.

 

The effort to move things in that direction is being led by advocates who not only want to see a greater appreciation of the role faith played in the story of our nation's founding and many important moments since -- it seems they want nothing less than curricula that tell students who God is, which side "He" is on, and that we are all doomed if we don't subscribe to particular beliefs. Forget crossing over the line; these folks don't even acknowledge that the line exists.

 

But I really don't blame religious zealots like Rev. Peter Marshall and David Barton, both of whom sat on the state's curriculum advisory panel. They are only doing what they think is best from the perspective of their particular theologies. They are evangelists and they are evangelizing -- that's what they do.

 

I blame the public officials who invited the participation of evangelists in a process that is meant to respect the ideas and needs of the larger public. These officials abandoned the public they are charged with serving to advocate for their own religious worldviews, and that is a complete failure of leadership for which they should be held accountable.

 

The issue is not whether they are entitled to their views or to advocate for them. But when public officials knowingly choose polarizing pastors to participate in setting public policy, they are worse than the pastors behind whom they hide. They willfully create havoc from which little good can emerge other than the thrashing of any citizens who oppose them. And, ironically, that is precisely what they believe a previous generation of secularists did to them, and to public school curricula, so they should know better!

 

I am also concerned about political advocacy groups like the Liberty Institute, which poisons the debate with purposefully provocative language that needlessly inflames an already combustible situation. It's not that I mind controversy, but no one is really well-served by the kind of comments made by Liberty's legislative director, who said:

 

"Texas teachers and parents have had enough of liberal fringe groups trying to radically change and rewrite American history. This liberal effort to infiltrate, indoctrinate, and saturate our students' schools with extreme liberal ideology will fail."

 

They may win this round with that kind of language, but in the end we will all lose when decisions are reached simply because one side was more effective at fanning the public's fears and resentments. Most Americans are somewhere in the middle on this issue, as we are on most of the so-called hot-button issues.

 

Even if we are believers, we know that there is a difference between teaching about the history of religion in America and preaching the Gospel to a captive audience of children in our nation's classrooms. Most people would like to see the former and reject the latter. But they need leaders who will advocate for that sane middle ground that neither turns teachers into preachers nor ignores the crucial role of religion -- and Christianity in particular -- in our shared history.

 

That history should be explored in the classroom as just that, history, not theology or religious practice. Students should know that among the founding fathers there were men of deeply traditional faith and that without their faith they would have accomplished far less. There were also deists who had no use for organized religion at all. There were people who believed that God ordained the keeping of slaves and the oppression of women, and others who understood that such actions were truly sinful.

 

Religion has animated many causes in our nation's history, and our children are entitled to hear the entire story in all its complexity. That is what it means to study the history of religion and its influence in America, which is what we should do rather than teach either theology or devotional religion in our public schools -- which, the last time I checked, was against the law.

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1. Chuck Norris must be proud that his Dominionist Christian revisionist history is now official textbook policy.

 

Facts be damned. Christians mean it.

 

2. Texas exports their crazy.

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To be fair, i dont recall a single history class where we made it past Taft. So most of those revisions will be forgotten, left to be read when your bored/on the toilet.

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I teach US History. I'll admit we rarely go as in depth on post 60s stuff as I'd like, we always do a thorough job on Vietnam and we touch on stuff after that.

 

I'm pretty sure most everyone gets to Vietnam now. Not sure how many do much with the last fifty years though, which is unfortunate.

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1. Chuck Norris must be proud that his Dominionist Christian revisionist history is now official textbook policy.

 

Facts be damned. Christians mean it.

 

2. Texas exports their crazy.

 

Neg rep:

"Aquinas and Calvin heavily influenced natural law and the current government system of the US, respectively. It's actually been Facts be damned, the Left means it."

 

You seriously believe that Calvin had more influence on our government than THOMAS FUCKING DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE JEFFERSON?

 

Oh, I forgot he wasn't a christian. his input doesn't count.

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wow. just wow.

 

texas took just one more step in the direction of lunacy.

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I highly suggest Lies My Teacher Told Me to anyone who is interested in how our textbooks became this messed up.

 

"Is Chester A. Arthur more deserving of space than, say, Frank Lloyd Wright? Who influences us more today- Wright, who invented the carport and transformed domestic architectural spaces or Arthur, who, um, signed the first Civil Service Act?"

 

It's interesting how it took a single word to show that the writer's a moron.

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The New York Times Magazine ( that conservative bastion ) has a pretty decent article on our nations Christian origins.

 

To be fair, when textbooks are written based on political agendas--inevitably thats probably going to involve risk of abuses.

 

I think the larger problem is that Texas has so much sway in the process, because it seems to undermine or at least water down the diversity that our system of educational federalism was meant to ensure.

 

(I would imagine that New York and California hold a similar sway in the opposite direction....but I can't confirm that).

 

And the move in the recent Texas decision would pass the double-rationalization test, by telling a story which had originally been omitted which is relevant to our current state of affairs. If you want to trace the historical legacy of our nation and the historical legacy of ideas--this exercise in telling history is a fundamental prerequisite.

 

In what amounts to an in-between perspective, Daniel Dreisbach — who wrote a book called “Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State” — argues that the phrase “wall of separation” has been misapplied in recent decades to unfairly restrict religion from entering the public sphere. Martin Marty, the University of Chicago emeritus professor, agrees. “I think ‘wall’ is too heavy a metaphor,” Marty says. “There’s a trend now away from it, and I go along with that. In textbooks, we’re moving away from an unthinking secularity.” The public seems to agree. Polls on some specific church-state issues — government financing for faith-based organizations and voluntary prayer in public schools — consistently show majorities in favor of those positions.

 

That wall of separation would probably disallow Obama and others from speaking of their faith--might even prevent the text of Martin Luther King from being included in textbooks--if it was applied with consistency.

 

The current model is almost based by guilt by association.

Edited by nathan_debate
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That wall of separation would probably disallow Obama and others from speaking of their faith--might even prevent the text of Martin Luther King from being included in textbooks--if it was applied with consistency.

 

The current model is almost based by guilt by association.

 

That's sort of a Glenn Beck-style application of the idea of Separation of Church and State. I mean, you're applying the Separation of Church and State to an absurd extreme that a very, very small subset of its most ardent defenders would advocate in order to make the concept seem more threatening than it really is.

 

I've never heard anyone question whether or not MLK is worth learning about because he frequently mentions God and was also a religious figure. It's history, religious and non-religious people alike have made it thus far, and no serious Separation of Church and State advocate would propose neglecting to mention religious figures in history texts. The real debates concerning this issue are whether our science classes are going to be dumbed down with unscientific theological ideas, and if public schools are going to be allowed to potentially ostracize non-Christians by leading "voluntary" prayers during class time. Those things, I think, are fair applications of the concept.

 

In Texas, what they will do in the History classroom, in discussing MLK, is probably gloss over his socialist ideas which were central to his message and further propagate the notion that all he cared about was ending segregation. Textbooks do this already, but I imagine this problem will only balloon with this decision.

Edited by Danny Tanner

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our textbooks are already biased. texas is a conservative state for the most part, the teachers were probably already teaching as conservative as they could. so who's to know that it changes that much. idk about you guys but i didn't actually start studying my textbook until ap classes. all teacher lectures before that.

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The New York Times Magazine ( that conservative bastion ) has a pretty decent article on our nations Christian origins.

 

To be fair, when textbooks are written based on political agendas--inevitably thats probably going to involve risk of abuses.

 

I think the larger problem is that Texas has so much sway in the process, because it seems to undermine or at least water down the diversity that our system of educational federalism was meant to ensure.

 

(I would imagine that New York and California hold a similar sway in the opposite direction....but I can't confirm that).

 

And the move in the recent Texas decision would pass the double-rationalization test, by telling a story which had originally been omitted which is relevant to our current state of affairs. If you want to trace the historical legacy of our nation and the historical legacy of ideas--this exercise in telling history is a fundamental prerequisite.

 

 

That wall of separation would probably disallow Obama and others from speaking of their faith--might even prevent the text of Martin Luther King from being included in textbooks--if it was applied with consistency.

 

The current model is almost based by guilt by association.

 

i swear this isn't my troll account

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In Texas, what they will do in the History classroom, in discussing MLK, is probably gloss over his socialist ideas which were central to his message and further propagate the notion that all he cared about was ending segregation. Textbooks do this already, but I imagine this problem will only balloon with this decision.

 

Probably true about MLK and socialism. Although a case could be made that it doesn't fit in the narrative of civil rights. Its also the same reason MLKs personal life (aka cheating) isn't included in politics. Also, MLK's anti-militarism is probably a more relevant choice. MLKs (further) association with socialism would only further polarize race politics in America--you'd have state after state lining up to get rid of 1) the holiday 2) any street with MLK in the name. This isn't a good preservation of his legacy.

 

That's sort of a Glenn Beck-style application of the idea of Separation of Church and State. I mean, you're applying the Separation of Church and State to an absurd extreme that a very, very small subset of its most ardent defenders would advocate in order to make the concept seem more threatening than it really is.

 

I've never heard anyone question whether or not MLK is worth learning about because he frequently mentions God and was also a religious figure. It's history, religious and non-religious people alike have made it thus far, and no serious Separation of Church and State advocate would propose neglecting to mention religious figures in history texts.

 

I'm just arguing for the the plan inclusive counterplan....or permuation...or the golden mean a la Aristotle (whichever metaphor you prefer). It just makes the most sense. Not right or left...in the middle.

 

These are the people who are left outside of political debate in America, because polarization between the left and the right get all the attention from the media--because its easier to tell those stories and its more controversial and it gets more eyeballs.

 

Please tell me you wouldn't forsake sanity and the middle ground for petty name calling.

 

Its a little illegitimate of you to use guilt by association, besides Glen-Beck wouldn't use this line of argumentation....he's way way way right of me.

 

It bears repeating that if you want the truth How Christian Were Our Founders? is an interesting investigation in the New York Times Magazine.

Edited by nathan_debate

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Perhaps a re-reading of our declaration of independence could help (this is just the introduction) would help re-fresh in your brain the ways in which the founders were grounded in a faith in a higher power. In other words, your freedom is tied up with a belief in a higher power. A faith in a higher power and natural law are the very lynchpin of the case they lay out to justify the revolution on which our country was founded:

 

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
To read the full Declaration of Independence.

 

Are you suggesting the Founding fathers didn't say that?

Edited by nathan_debate

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Perhaps a re-reading of our declaration of independence could help (this is just the introduction) would help re-fresh in your brain the ways in which the founders were grounded in a faith in a higher power. In other words, your freedom is tied up with a belief in a higher power. A faith in a higher power and natural law are the very lynchpin of the case they lay out to justify the revolution on which our country was founded:

 

To read the full Declaration of Independence.

 

Are you suggesting the Founding fathers didn't say that?

 

Creator, huh?

 

Isn't that some sort of native/hippie spirit god? Why didn't Mr. Jefferson just thank Jesus Christ his Personal Lourde and Savior?

 

edit:

 

neg rep "Why are you such a fucking asshole? Christianity has nothing to do with this. They have traditional beliefs, yes, but what does that matter to the doctrine of Christianity? Fuck you, and your ignorance."

 

I didn't drag Christianity into this, TEA did.

 

POS rep:

 

"THOMAS FUCKING DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE JEFFERSON"

Edited by retired
hilarious reps!

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Christianity has nothing to do with this. They have traditional beliefs, yes, but what does that matter to the doctrine of Christianity?

 

I think the connection is pretty clear.

 

Perhaps "Bible based" or "faith based" would be more helpful for you. But "Christian" somehow seems equally fine for semantics.

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I think the connection is pretty clear.

 

Perhaps "Bible based" or "faith based" would be more helpful for you. But "Christian" somehow seems equally fine for semantics.

 

TJ cut up the bible, and made a bible of just the parts he believed in. "Using a razor, Jefferson cut and arranged selected verses from the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in chronological order, mingling excerpts from one text to those of another in order to create a single narrative. Thus he begins with Luke 2 and Luke 3, then follows with Mark 1 and Matthew 3. He provides a record of which verses he selected and of the order in which he arranged them in his “Table of the Texts from the Evangelists employed in this Narrative and of the order of their arrangement.”"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Bible

 

I think it is pretty clear to say that most of the founding generation were Christians, many of them had beliefs that were relatively in contradiction with each other. Including a fair share being Deists. Deism, in general, rejects both faith based and bible based belief systems. They would not be considered christians by the people on the tx school board.

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Forget the religious aspects. Its the other agendas that worry me more.

 

Inserting that Germans and Italians were interned in WWII thus the internment of Japanese wasnt racist? Are you kidding me? 2000 Germans were interned. compare that to 120,000 Japanese! Its one thing to report the facts - yes, Germans and Italians were interned and forced to self identify etc. But dont leap from that to the idea that internment wasnt a racist policy.

 

Yes, discuss the fact that the black panthers did have some violent elements. But they were no more violent than the Ku Klux Klan.

 

If you are going to portray 'the facts' then you had better tell ALL the facts that describe the truth of the matter. Dont be selective with it in an agenda to brainwash students.

 

This is why I love science textbooks.... they even argue against themselves accurately.

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Forget the religious aspects. Its the other agendas that worry me more.
Agreed.

 

In reply to Scu...interesting on both accounts.....

 

There tend to be four characters it seems those who make the deism argument draw upon: Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, and perhaps Paine.

 

Although, having not extensively studied Franklin much, I think the inclusion of Franklin. Also, in his books he basically copies Psalms and Proberbs--which would suggest that he supported that ethos. In addition:

 

In his autobiography, Franklin makes it clear that he was a Deist. Nonetheless, it is also apparent that Franklin had great respect for the teachings of Jesus. Franklin had this to say a month before he died in a letter to Ezra Stiles.

As to
of
, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his divinity; tho’ it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and I think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble.

Finally, this includes quotes from 16 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Which is supported by Steve Waldman's analysis of the founding fathers in the New York Times:

 

Many were orthodox Christians — Waldman lists Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, John Witherspoon (a Presbyterian minister) and Roger Sherman. The founders whose biographies fill our best-seller lists are a more heterodox lot. John Adams, a scrappy Unitarian, scolded Catholics, Anglicans and skeptical French philosophers as each passed under his eye. Benjamin Franklin flirted with polytheism in his youth but ended believing in “one God, creator of the universe,” who “governs the world by his providence.”
I'm not sure what Waldman's conclusion about religious freedom means--because I don't have any text to read to contextualize it. As a side note, I found one source which suggested that 106 of our first 108 universities were founded on Christian faith/faith in God. I don't have the time at the moment to see if those were more deist in orientation or not...but I still think it informs the debate. Edited by nathan_debate

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The Separation of Jefferson and History

 

The board rejected 10-5 an amendment by member Mavis Knight to “examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others.”

Board member David Bradley told the New York Times: “I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state. I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”

--

 

you can make that out to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

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