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Ak-Sar-Ben Itself Merits Praise Along With King Dick And Queen Suzanne - 10-14-10

Come Election Day, White And Terry Can’t Duck Party Labels Any Longer - 10-07-10

Today, Second-Guessing Other Sports Commentators But Some Thoughts On Current Political Issues, Too - 09-30-10

Gates Gives Somber Non-Political Appraisals Of Iraq, Afghanistan - 09-23-10

At Last, A Prominent Moderate Muslim Speaks Out Against Muslim Terrorists - 09-16-10

Today, It’s All About College Football With Some “As I See It” Commentary - 09-09-10

Danes’ Sensible Approach To Immigration Won’t, Unfortunately, Fly In The U.S.A. - 09-02-10

Mosque Controversy Isn’t About Legal Rights; It’s About Moral Use Of Those Rights - 08-26-10

Time To Answer The Obvious Question: What Chance For Success In Afghanistan? - 08-19-10

Two-Paragraph News Story Offers Scary Prospect For World’s Future - 08-12-10

Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10

Not Wall Street But Democratic Policy Caused Mortgage Market Crash - 07-29-10

Windfarm Promoters Need More Facts, Less Rhetoric - 07-22-10

Nebraska Democrats’ ‘Find A Candidate’ Problem Began Long Months (Years?) Ago - 07-15-10

When The Subject Is Disasters,Obama Needs A History Lesson - 07-08-10

McChrystal’s Firing Spotlights Afghan War And The Slim Chance Of U.S. Victory There - 07-01-10

Advice For An Egocentric President: “I, I, I” Suggests One-Man Team - 06-24-10

Texas Decision Good For Big 12 But Even Better For The Longhorns - 06-17-10

Europe Is Sobering Up From 'Welfare' Binge; Obama-Led U.S. Moving Toward Similar Crises? - 06-10-10

A New Issue: Does ‘Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell’ Make Military Service Easier For Gays? - 06-03-10

Do State Officials Really Understand The Challenges Faced By Omaha Schools? - 05-27-10

Democrats Continue Cheap Shot Campaign Against Republican Congressman Lee Terry - 05-20-10

Cartoonist Koterba Says It Clearly: Don’t Put All The Blame On Schools - 05-13-10

Citizenship For Immigrants Is Inevitable But Start By Closing The Border - 05-06-10

Punish Wall Streeters If They Deserve It But Liberal Dems Spawned The Mortgage Mess - 04-29-10

Did Legislature, Speaker Mike Flood Deserve All Those Kind Words? - 04-22-10

Tiger Sulks His Way Through Masters— Is Obama Gambling On The Nuclear Issue? Rogue States And Terrorists Won’t Sign Up - 04-15-10

Did Obama/Pelosi ‘Sausage Factory’ Produce A Debt-Increasing Unpopular Health Plan? - 04-08-10

The Stories Behind Some Disturbing Headlines And Some Advice For Avoiding National Bankruptcy - 04-01-10

Four-Vote House Margin Makes Americans Swallow Trillion-Dollar Pill They Don't Want - 03-25-10

Insurance Pays 96% Of Family’s Cost For Seven Years Of ‘End Of Life’ Treatment - 03-18-10

President Angry Replaces President Cool; ‘ObamaCare’s’ Chances Helped Or Hurt? - 03-11-10

Americans To Get ‘ObamaCare’ Even If They Don’t Want It? - 03-04-10

Despite The Headlines, There’s Progress In Curbing Violence In North Omaha - 02-25-10

Corporate Expenditures Bad For Politics Except When They Benefit Liberal Candidates? - 02-18-10

Wind Energy Industry Faced Disaster; V.A. Hospital Not Personal Obama Choice - 02-11-10

Some Remarkable Legislative Comments And Some Questionable Media Performance - 02-04-10

When The Subject Is Nebraska Wind Energy, ‘Green’ Is The Color Of Money - 01-28-10

The “Teddy Kennedy Seat” Lesson Might Benefit Both Democrats and Republicans - 01-21-10

Some Legislative Issues—Like Gambling—Deserve Quick Death But Water Issues Deserve Careful Attention - 01-14-10

Today: ‘Big Daddy’ Government Wrong Again, And How Justified Is Cornhusker Title Talk? - 01-07-10

Dan Neary Worthy Of The Honor--
Today Some Upbeat Comments But "Obama Care" Debate Demands Attention
- 12-30-09

Even Without That Health Bill Vote, Another Term For Nelson Was Questionable - 12-23-09

Let’s Talk Football And Why Nebraska’s Suh Deserved The Heisman - 12-17-09

Image of Immigrants Would Be Helped By Less Cinco de Mayo, More 4th of July - 12-10-09

Image Of Islam Is Badly Damaged By ‘God-Approved’ Slaughter Of Non-Muslims - 12-03-09

Close Call For NU Research, Reputation; Thanksgiving Reminder: Count Your Blessings - 11-25-09

NU’s Reputation And Research Role Are Both At Stake When Regents Vote - 11-19-09

Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’
Changing To ‘Maybe We Can’t’?
- 11-12-09

Review The History Before Renaming A Street; Memories Of Sarah, Our Sweet Senior Dog - 11-05-09

“Socioeconomic Diversity” More Important Then Academic Achievement In “Learning Community”? - 10-29-09

A Visiting Sports Columnist Agrees: ‘There Is No Place Like Nebraska’ - 10-22-09

Might Obama Wish He Had A Chance To Say ‘No, Thanks’ To Early Nobel Prize? - 10-15-09

Don’t Overlook The Variety Of Aid Which Goes To ‘Poverty Level’ Families - 10-08-09

Smorgasbord Today: From UN’s “Nutcake Day” To Obama Performance Here And Abroad - 10-01-09

Must Defense Continue To Cover For Huskers’ Anemic Red Zone Offense? - 09-24-09

'Energizer Bunny' President Continues To Add Proposals For Reform - 09-17-09

Today, Variety: Football, Golf And Why No President Should Televise Himself Into The Nation’s Classrooms - 09-10-09

Massachusetts Gave Kennedy Significant Second Chances - 09-03-09

Obama’s Problem Not Just With GOP
But With A Great Many Americans
- 08-27-09

Tiger Could Use Sportsmanship Lesson—And Less Coverage From Fawning Media - 08-20-09

Gallup ‘Competitive’ Label, If Accurate Long Term, Is Good News Not Only For Nebraska Democrats - 08-13-09

Democrats Go All-Out Negative:
Trash Private Insurance Industry
- 08-06-09

Journalistic Watchdogs Turned Lapdogs When Obama Called That ‘News Conference’ - 07-30-09

Look Back, Mr. President: Opposition Is Catching Up - 07-23-09

Dem Lynch Mob Might Hang President’s Hopes - 07-16-09

Dems Start Oust-Terry Effort In The Political Gutter - 07-09-09

Despite Liberal Media's Views, Nation Better Served By Viable GOP - 07-02-09

A Varied Menu For You To Consider - 06-25-09

Freshman President Learning Some Political Realities? - 06-18-09

Voices Of Reason Raised Too Late To Slow Rush To Wind Power? - 06-11-09

Public Will Be Watching Prosecution Of Three Teen-Age Creatures - 06-04-09

Wealthiest Paying Less, In Taxes?
It’s Simply Not True
- 05-28-09

Notre Dame And Obama
Offer A Splendid Lesson
- 05-21-09

Special-Interest Liberals
Shouldn’t Badger Obama
- 05-14-09

A Surprising Source: Obama
Cites Positive Results of Iraq War
- 05-07-09

Media Transfer Their Love
From Candidate to President
- 04-30-09

Suttle Campaign Subtly Two-Faced? Or ‘Just Politics’? Voters Will Decide - 04-23-09

If America Is "At War
With Islam," It's Self-Defense
- 04-16-09

Seven Iowans Change Marriage
Tradition For 3 Million Others
- 04-09-09

Will Liberal Democrats Continue
Escaping The Verdict Of History?
- 04-02-09

Multi-Focused President
Upsets Even Liberals
- 03-26-09

Richard Nixon—Appropriate To Recall The Good As Well As The Dark Side - 03-19-09

Not Reducing Mortgage Costs; We’re Simply ‘Modifying’ Them - 03-12-09

Fair Warning From NY Times: Obama’s “Breathtaking Plans” Would “Transform American Society” - 03-05-09

A Look At Academy Awards Nastiness, But First A Plug For My Book, “Life With Marian” - 02-26-09

Let’s Not Move Slot Machine Cancer From Iowa Casinos To Nebraska Race Tracks - 02-19-09

Whiteclay Is Wrong Target;
Aim At Alcoholism Problem
- 02-12-09

For The Best “Stimulus” Formula:
Put Economic Recovery First;
“Remaking USA” Can Wait
- 02-05-09

Journalistic Hounds Are Still
In Full Pursuit Of Bush
- 01-29-09

‘First Black President’ Celebration
Shouldn’t Further Distract Us
From Job We And Obama Face
- 01-22-09

‘Adults In Wonderland’
Need To Get Real
- 01-15-09

Advice For Husker Fans:
Rejoice—But Be Realistic
- 01-08-09

Kennedy Dynasty History
Includes Shameful Chapters
- 12-31-08

Today Some Merry Christmas Thoughts But A Few Political Barbs, Too - 12-24-08

This Time It’s Indians
Who Break The Treaty
- 12-18-08

Me? A Grumpy Old Man?
One Reader Thinks So
- 12-11-08

Obama Steers A Moderate Course
But Congressional Democrats Veer Left
- 12-04-08

Too Many "Non-Blessings"
This Thanksgiving Week
- 11-26-08

Let’s Hear More About
The Principal ‘Crisis’ Victims
- 11-20-08

Color-Blind Issues Voting
Showed No Turn To The Left
- 11-13-08

Election Made History
But Big Questions Remain
- 11-06-08

Today, A Choice of Topics:
Politics Or Football—Or Both
- 10-30-08

Splitting Electoral Votes Good Idea? Then Why Do 48 States Reject It? - 10-23-08

Dems Take 11th Hour Low Road
In 2nd Congressional District Race
- 10-16-08

Another Government “Welfare Program,” Bargain Mortgages, Caused The Crisis - 10-09-08

Words Can Lose Their Meaning
When A Government Program Is Involved
- 10-02-08

—Have We Learned This Lesson?— Crisis Results When Individuals, Encouraged By Financial Institutions, Try To Live Beyond Their Means - 9-25-08

Bonds To Build Four-Lane Highways?
Where Would The Money Come From?
- 9-18-08

Today, a Large Load of Political
Commentary After a Brief Plug For
My Book, ‘Life With Marian’
- 9-17-08

Major News Media Look Bad
In Non-Coverage of
Edwards’ Sex Affair Story
- 9-11-08

Disadvantaged Students Can Be
Helped Without Discriminatory ‘Affirmative Action’
- 9-04-08

My Favorite Olympic Champion?
It Wasn’t Michael Phelps
- 8-28-08

Will Chinese Get Away With
'Out Air Is Clean' Scam?
- 8-21-08

Windmills, Solar Won't Do It;
Time To Get Real On Energy
- 8-07-08

I Doubt That God or Jesus
Have Heavenly Money on Either Team
- 8-07-08

‘Pop Star’ Obama Lacks Experience,
McCain Lacks Clear Campaign Strategy
- 7-31-08

Top Athletes Should
Know When to Quit?
- 7-24-08

Would Odor of Politics
Taint Fire Chief Choice?
- 7-17-08

Will Hospitality, Qwest Center
Lure Swim Trials Back to Omaha?
- 7-09-08

Omaha Stars Again
On National TV Stage
- 7-02-08

Omaha's CWS Reputation
Gets New "Rave Reviews"
- 6-25-08

S.D. Vote Could Lead
To National Abortion Battle
- 6-18-08

Don’t Let Niobrara Go The Way
Of The Republican And The Platte
- 6-11-08

Voters Didn’t Impose Term Limits
To Rid Legislature of Chambers
- 6-04-08

“It’s Our Turn” Pitch Might
Not End With Hillary Defeat
- 5-28-08

Prime Nebraska Political
Battleground This Year:
2nd Congressional District
- 5-21-08

The 'Browning' of America:
How Far Will It Go?
- 5-14-08

Obama ‘Stumbling’ To Victory? - 5-08-08

"Does Homebuyer Bailout
Reward the Irresponsible?"
- 4-30-08

"Was McCain, Not Clinton,
The Real Winner in Pennsylvania?"
- 4-25-08

"Cleaner Skies Advice For Gore:
Pressure On China, More Nuke
Power If Jane Fonda Will Allow It"
- 4-16-08

"Why The Big Fuss Over
Tiny Gasoline Cost Increase?"
- 4-09-08

"Quietly, Nebraska Yields
All-Public-Power Status"
-  4-02-08

"Obama’s ‘Historic’ Speech Left
Big Questions Unanswered "
-  3-25-08

"Overweight Moore Produces
“Sicko,” Finds An Ally In Creighton Doctor"
-  3-19-08

"Bush Sings, Praises Press
At Annual Gridiron Dinner"
-  3-12-08

"Obama Would Be Least
Formidable Opponent For McCain"
-  3-7-08

"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" -  2-27-08

"Could Citizen ‘Packing Iron’
Have Stopped Von Maur Killings?"
-  2-20-08

"Obama’s Style Without Substance
Exciting, But Is It Presidential?"
-  2-13-08

"Barack Obama and John McCain:
A Major Contrast in Egos? "
-  2-07-08

"‘First Black President’
Emphasis Wouldn’t Help Obama"
-  1-30-08

"Kimball Lauritzen: Think of Her
As Joyous on Some New Dawn"
-  1-23-08

"What 'Tough' Election Contest
Was Ben Nelson Talking About?"
- 1-16-08

"Overhyped New Hampshire
Offsets Overhyped Iowa"
- 1-10-08

"Coach Bo Now Well Welcomed;
Time to Start Thinking of NU Wins"
- 1-2-08

"Words of Jews Most Moving
To Me This Christmas Season"
- 12-25-07

- 12-19-07

"Killer Is Getting Just What He Wanted;
Let's Add Anger and
Action to Our Sorrow"
- 12-12-07

"Bo Brings Emotional Fire to NU Job;
Scary News: Huckabee Gain in Iowa"
- 12-05-07

"Callahan Outclasses Loudmouth Critics;
Tom Osborne Treated Him Fairly"
- 11-28-07

"A Thought for Thanksgiving Day:
Tell Them You Love Them"
- 11-21-07

"Callahan Critics: Is Loss to CU
The Only Way to Satisfy Them?"
- 11-16-07

"Crybaby Fans, Sports Commentators
Distracting Players From Their Job?"
- 11-09-07

"Did Bob Kerrey’s Decision Avoid
the Likelihood of Defeat?"
- 11-02-07

"Nosy Congress Makes
Three Bad Calls"
- 10-26-07

"Is This The Way to Run UNL´s
Athletic Program?"
- 10-19-07

"Right Decision Could
Help Both Fair, UNL"
- 10-12-07

"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07

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As I See It
Harold W. Andersen is a retired Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of the Omaha World-Herald Company. Full biography.

This week we are making my column available Wednesday instead of Friday.

A number of you have told me that you don’t look forward to reading the column on your computer screen. That’s not necessary if you have a printer. Print out the column and take it with you to the breakfast table or wherever else you choose to read printed material. (You can also call up past columns in case you missed them.)

And, if you haven’t already done so, let us know your e-mail address so that we can send you a weekly reminder when a new column is available.

A Thought for Thanksgiving Day:
Tell Them You Love Them

November 21, 2007


Based on reader reaction, it was the most popular of the 1,343 columns which I wrote for The World-Herald, and it was also my favorite, so I enjoy returning to the language of that Thanksgiving-week column written in 1998.

Some of the numbers have changed. Marian, for example, is preparing to add to her total of more than 10 orthopedic surgical procedures with a left knee replacement and what she describes as a “touch” of rehab work on her artificial left hip in early January. And our courtship and marriage have now spanned 57 years (although Marian draws laughs when she occasionally comments, “But it’s still day to day.”) But the basic theme remains unchanged, including some good advice for husbands: Tell your wife you love her and feel blessed to have that opportunity.

So herewith the column written for publication November 29, 1998 and a subsequent column item telling of reader reaction:

As I count the blessings that are special to me this Thanksgiving season, it’s not hard to start my list: Her name is Marian, and she has blessed my life these past 48 years.

Today, her right arm suspended in a pillow-like sling following her eighth major orthopedic surgical procedure, she continues to radiate that warmth of personality and concern for others (thankfully including me!) that makes her such a remarkable person.

Marian’s reaction to her long siege of surgery tells a good deal about the upbeat way she approaches life. With a medical record that includes four artificial hip joint implants (two in each hip, need I explain?), an artificial right knee joint, rotator cuff repair and the fusing of a cervical disc, I’ve never once heard her complain. Her attitude is consistently positive, grateful for the fact that her serious involvement with osteoarthritis can be surgically addressed.

She has become something of a counselor to acquaintances with joint problems. Her consistent advice, given diplomatically but clearly, is to stop limping painfully around and consult a doctor about the possibility of surgical relief.

Marian’s resilience in the face of surgical adversity is noteworthy. She rebounds quickly, as evidenced by the fact that on her second day home after three recent days in the hospital following rotator cuff surgery, her right arm in a sling, she served me left-hand-scrambled eggs for breakfast while trying to take charge of the allocation of our tickets for the Colorado-Nebraska football game.

(I know there are readers out there who have demonstrated - - or who have loved ones who have demonstrated - - courage and grace in the face of physical adversity over a period of years. In telling Marian’s story, I would hope to indicate my admiration for all those individuals whose stories would make compelling reading if I were in a position to report them.)

Marian’s friends and I could cite countless examples of her genuine interest in other people, their lives and their problems. A typical example:

Late one evening I heard Marian on the phone discussing an airline ticket reservation with a United Airlines employee in Denver. It seemed to me the conversation was taking longer than should be necessary to make a reservation. I figured out what had happened when I heard Marian say something like:

“Well, it’s certainly been nice talking with you. And I hope your mother gets to feeling better real soon.”

Marian’s memory for names and dates - - especially people-related dates like birthdays - - continues to astound me after all these years.

A recent example: I was on a mid-November golfing trip with the Fairfield brothers, Terry and Bill.

Marian said to be sure to wish the Fairfields a happy birthday. She had remembered that they were born, two years apart, on the same day of the year, Nov. 30. (I’ll leave it to Bill or Terry to tell you which is the older.)

It is this genuine interest in others that, I believe, has led Marian to work so hard on behalf of so many civic causes dedicated to helping others - - whether they be students at the University of Nebraska or recipients of the various services the American Red Cross and United Way of the Midlands provide to people in need.

Marian’s civic service was well summarized by Loretta Carroll of KMTV when Marian was recognized as one of KMTV’s Women of Mid-America. Carroll said of Marian:

“Marian Andersen…who has shown again and again that women of ability and determination can make great contributions to society. As chairman of the National Search Committee, Marian recruited Elizabeth Dole to serve as president of the American Red Cross, and she co-founded the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of United Way. Marian’s numerous leadership roles have brought such events as Shakespeare on the Green to thousands in our community. If there was a glass ceiling standing in her way, Marian Andersen simply ignored it, or broke through it, becoming the first woman to head the University of Nebraska Foundation and the Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross.”

On the occasion of Marian’s 60th birthday, I prepared a special card in the form of an “Honorary Degree of Doctor of Friendship and Concern for Others.” Half light-heartedly and half seriously, I listed these among Marian’s achievements worthy of special recognition:

“Exhibiting the good judgment to pursue and capture a Scandinavian-American for her husband.

“Adding immeasurably to the clinical experience - - and the income - - of a wide spectrum of members of the medical profession, including (but not limited to) three orthopedic surgeons, a plastic surgeon, two internal medicine specialists and anesthesiologists and radiologists beyond count.

“Educating countless listeners (some of them even interested listeners) in the strategic intricacies and the statistics, as well as the personalities involved, in a wide range of competitive athletics.

“Finding time in the midst of all her other activities (civic duties, visits to hospital emergency rooms and doctors offices and all the rest) to be a splendid wife and mother. (The fact that during her tenure as president of the Omaha Junior League, she temporarily forgot the names of her two children and on several occasions neglected to chill her husband’s martini glass was considered by the family to be a forgivable departure from the norm.)

“Doing all of these things with an unfailing sense of good humor and a warmth of personality and friendship based on a genuine interest in the lives and welfare of others, thereby touching many lives in a most positive way.”

“Touching many lives in a most positive way,” including especially, of course, my life and that of our children, Dave and Nancy. What better words to suggest why my list of blessings this Thanksgiving season starts with the name Marian.

* * *

I should give credit to the late Jim Murray, superb sports columnist of the Los Angeles times, and to the editors of the Times for prompting me to write today’s column. After Murray’s recent death, the Times republished several of his most memorable columns. One was a very moving tribute to his wife, written shortly after her death. The column ended with the thought of what Murray had intended to tell his wife on the 39th wedding anniversary, which they never reached. Murray wrote:

“I had my speech all ready. I was going to look into her brown eyes and tell her something I should have long ago. I was going to tell her, ‘It was a privilege just to have known you.’ I never got to say it.”

I decided I would write the column you are reading today, making sure that Marian is here to read the sentiments I am proud to share with my readers.

Incidentally, Marian’s favorite among the get-well messages that came her way this past week: The cover page of the card advises, “Sit back, relax, let people wait on you.

Turn the page and you read: “In other words, act like a man.”

‘Thanks For A Great Reminder’

Two weeks later, I reported the reaction, which was the greatest response to any column that I have written:

Several friends and fellow husbands passed along comments like this from my brother-in-law Chuck Battey, Jr. of Kansas City, Kan., who said the column “makes it awfully hard on the rest of us.” But like the other husbands who commented in this vein, Chuck added that he thought the column was a well-merited tribute to a wonderful wife.

The calls and letters included messages from four or five wives who said the column moved them to tears. One husband wrote that his wife had “started to read your column aloud to me, but could not finish it. She was crying.”

Another friend said his wife had shown him the column, which he described as “a wonderful love song.” Then he summarized my feelings about as well as I could have done: “She is a grand, brave, gracious woman, and you are a lucky man.”

Three husbands wrote to express thanks for, as one of them said, “a great reminder to all the rest of us to tell our loved ones how much we care, as often as we possibly can.”

If the column had produced no other result than this “great reminder,” it was well worth the writing, I believe.

Who Best Protects Your Life?

I have a simple bottom-line position - - one which I think a great many Omahans would share - - in the continuing debate over how we recruit more minority group members and women into Omaha police and fire department ranks:

Put public safety emphatically ahead of the “diversity” issue. When Omahans need police and firefighters to protect their safety and their lives, I don’t think very many of them prefer anything but the most able, best qualified pesons that the city can recruit - - white, black, brown, male or female.

Making large numbers of additional job applicants available in the pool from which police and fire chiefs can make their selections is, it seems clear, simply a way of instituting an “affirmative action” program without calling it that.

Instead of lowering the standards in the name of “diversity,” it seems to me a better course would be to start some sort of pre-employment training academy which could work to bring less qualified but potentially trainable applicants up to what should be rigorous standards when it comes to the employment of police officers and firefighters on whom citizens’ lives may depend.

Those Courageous Critics

When he or she can remain anonymous, a critic’s courage - - and outrage - - very frequently know no bounds.

That truism is frequently demonstrated in letters and phone calls which come my way. I don’t mean to diminish the pleasure which such critics derive from their anonymous barbs, but I do think it appropriate to tell them that the opinions of people who don’t have the courage to identify themselves get little or no attention from me, except when they give me a good laugh. For example:

A recent caller who didn’t give his name described me as a “tool of the right wing.” Still, this anonymous critic said, he’ll keep reading “your stupid columns for humorous content” and closed with: “Goodbye, jerk.”

I also frequently am amused - - or puzzled - - by criticism from readers who give their names, as in the case of a reader who criticized comments which he said “reveal, once again, your ultra-conservative Bush-supportive position on just about everything.”

This reader must not have read my account of leaving the Republican Party and registering as an Independent because I was fed up with the influence which the religious right has on President Bush on such matters as stem cell research and his approval of legislation which substituted congressional judgment - - and Bush’s judgment - - for that of doctors on the issue of the partial-birth abortion medical procedure.

If my comments in these matters could by any stretch of the imagination be considered “Bush-supporting,” I suspect that Bush would be glad to get along without such “support.”

# # #

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