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Are conservative Christian theology and liberal politics compatible?
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
OK, I know what is wrong with the picture I painted in the last post
Topic: Political and economic

OK.  I confess that I really know what is wrong with the picture I painted in the last post.  The problem is that many of the wealthy and powerful (note that I said "many," not "all") worship wealth and power, live for it, and are willing to sacrifice anyone ELSE, besides themselves and their friends, to get it.  Wealthy oppressors have been around as long as man, as, for instance, the Apostle James wrote

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.  Your wealth has rotted and moths have eaten your clothes.  Your gold and silver are corroded.  Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire.  You have hoarded wealth in the last days.  Look!  The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you.  The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.  You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence.  You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.  You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.

James 5:1-5 (NIV).

Those who really believe they are "pulling the strings" that run the world (because God is presently leaving them in that delusion) worship power, and those they have set up as public figurehead leaders in government, the economy, the media, the arts, and the other areas of life, worship wealth (material "progress") and sensual pleasure and urge us to do likewise.  But all such worship is idolatry.  (Ephesians 5:5).  They also, incidentally, urge us to view other human beings as expendable for our own collective purposes, and the visible Church itself has largely adopted this view.  (See, The Human Expendability Fallacy ). I saw more than nine years ago that the end of this would be an economic collapse that would ultimately be so deep that the Church will be absolutely forced to rely on God rather than on the means of this world, and those who refuse to do so will perish.  See my

Warning Concerning Idolatry

first posted October 8, 2000.  The collapse started only a few months after I issued my warning, and is now visibly approaching its climax.  The solution is still what I said nine years ago: the Church must repent! 

What I didn't see nine years ago, however, was that the "elite," the small group of very wealthy people whom God permits to labor under the delusion that they are in control, are orchestrating the final disaster DELIBERATELY and WITH CAREFUL CALCULATION, believing that sacrificing the rest of the world will gain them even more wealth and power.  I picked up this piece of the puzzle from a quite lengthy video presentation

The World Elite, Testimony of Lindsay Williams.

Pastor Williams claims to have inside information, from a member of the world's real ruling elite, to the effect that the United States will be put through an economic collapse from which it can never recover, in approximately two years' time (i.e., about 2011). He also predicts that a great war that will start in the Middle East, likely with Iran (and a few others) and Israel, that will precipitate the entire world into war, at about the same time.  The real, hidden objectives of this economic disaster and great war will be 1) the complete impoverishment of the U.S.A. and the enslavement of its citizens; and 2) the great increase in the wealth of the elite.  Some whole nations of people-notably Israel and Iran-will likely be sacrificed tomake the enslavement of the rest of us possible.

I do not know Pastor Williams, and it is possible that he has misunderstood his sources or been deliberately misinformed about the details.  But, regardless of the accuracy of the details of Pastor Williams' predictions, the MECHANISM he believes will lead to the great disaster is entirely cosistent with what the Bible says about the behavior of the wealthy and powerful, behavior which will become increasingly prominent as the end times approach.  But the "joke" will be on the powerful, as God will bring them violently out of their delusion:

Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain?  
The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers gather together, against the Lord and against his Anointed.
"Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters."
The one enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
Then he rebukes them in his anger, and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
"I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill."

Psalms 2:1-6





Posted by ian_j_site2 at 8:43 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 30 December 2009 9:40 PM EST
Saturday, 26 December 2009
2009: Bailouts, record profits, profiteering but no jobs: What is wrong with this picture?

Here are a few political, economic and personal financial notes from 2009:

At the end of 2008, the previous administration started the process of pumping a record amount of new money into the financial and insurance industries, mostly earmarked for very large entitites that were publicly declared to be too large to be permitted to fail.  We were assured that the industry was on its last legs, and would promptly collapse if not granted a massive, almost no-strings-attached, bailout.  Job losses and home losses had started already, and we were told that the bailout was necessary to reverse this.

At the beginning of this year, the new administration pumped another record amount of new money into the economy, some of it also bound for the financial industry.  This money had some strings with it, but the strings appear now to have been largely ineffective restrictions added for show.  This second economic bailout was supposed to buy jobs.

The job market has not yet recovered.  Indeed, job losses continue in many industries.  But, according to published reports, the financial industry reported RECORD PROFITS in 2009.

A year ago, there was much hopeful talk of health care reform that would benefit average people.  The insurance industry--the same insurance industry that our taxes had just so massively bailed out--threw a lot of money (money the taxpayers had recently indirectly given them!) into a massive PR campaign opposing any "new regulation" of the "free market" in health care and health insurance.  However, to those who really understand the health care market, the insurance companies' propaganda defending the "free market" really resembled the old folk story about Br'er Rabbit and the briar patch.  "Please, PLEASE!!!," Br'er Rabbit begged, "DON'T THROW ME IN THE BRIAR PATCH!!!"  But the briar patch was Br'er Rabbit's home.  Likewise, heavy, anti-competitive state regulation is the home of the health insurance industry.  The insurance industry does not really object to regulation, or even to uniform federal regulation, as long as the regulations that are made all profit the industry at the expense of consumers.  The health insurance industry is not at all opposed to a law that requires EVERYONE to buy their product, as long as they get to collectively agree among themselves to set the price and no real competition is permitted.  So they held out for a health care bill that was everything they wanted--mandated coverage, with no antitrust restrictions, no public option and no nonprofit cooperatives.  Business as usual, except that now everyone will be REQUIRED to buy their product.  The Senate health care bill will produce RECORD PROFITS for the health insurance industry, when it goes fully into effect in four years.  The industry will continue to publicly oppose it because, somewhere in the 2000 pages of the bill, there are a few details that aren't preceisely what they would prefer.  But they are really crying all the way to the bank.

Finally, at the beginning of this year there was a lot of talk about regulating the greed of credit card companies.  Of course, credit cards are provided by banks--often the same banks that received bailout money in 2008.  In May 2009, Congress enacted the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, which, on its face, at least, limited a few of the credit card issuers' most notorious methods of entrapping honest customers into additional fees and penalty interest rates.  However, the law does not go into effect until February 22, 2010.  This gives the industry plenty of time to put the screws to its existing customers before the law goes into effect.   And, as I have learned in the last month, the banks--the same banks that had record profits this year due to my generosity in bailing them out--are doing exactly that.  In spite of a good payment record, my credit cards have increased, or soon are increasing, my interest rate to 24.49% or 24.99%.  These used to be PENALTY rates.  Now, they are the NORMAL rates, and penalty rates are even higher.  So, the banks also have thanked the American people for their generosity, in giving the banks a record profit year, by ripping us off.  

But this is still a "jobless recovery," very profitable for rich corporations and their insiders, but very hard for everyone else. 

What's wrong with this picture?    

Posted by ian_j_site2 at 2:52 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 26 December 2009 3:00 PM EST
Saturday, 21 November 2009
Health Insurance: How is an antitrust EXEMPTION essential to the preservation of a FREE MARKET?
Topic: Political and economic

About the health insurance reform bill now before the Senate, I have a question I'd like someone to answer:

How is the continuation of the insurance industry's antitrust exemption necessary to the preservation of a free market in insurance?

I thought the purpose of antitrust law was the preservation of a free market. 

I suspect the answer is that, when politicians use the term "free market," they lie.  The code words "free market" are a smokescreen; they do not mean what they say.  What they really mean is not "free market," but "status quo." 

The truth is that the health insurance market as it presently exists is not a free market at all.  Entry to the market is carefully regulated by state insurance departments that are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the regulated industry, that are enforcing state laws written largely by the industry.  The terms that will be offered to insureds are agreed upon in a formal oligopolistic fashion by the major insurance companies and their trade associations, then written into state laws and regulations.  Risk rating practices and premiums are similarly a matter of open agreement within the industry.  Real competition in these matters is strictly prohibited.

Therefore, it is clear that Senator Reid's version of health care reform is trying to give the industry the best of both worlds--and the consumer the worst of both worlds.  We are all going to be required to buy health insurance, on whatever terms and at whatever premiums the industry itself decides together to give us.  In the end, there will be no "public option" competing with ythe industry's offerings, and the existing "public options" for certain vulnerable groups (Medicare, Medicaid and VA) are all having their funding reduced to raise funds to support the insurance industry option. 

Moreover, because the industry will retain its complete exemption from the antitrust laws, its decisions about what coverage it will offer in exchnge for its large new subsidy and at what price will be made entirely by the industry itself, behind closed doors, with ABSOLUTELY NO PUBLIC SCRUTINY.  We can be sure that these decisions will be made in favor of maximizing short-term profits, not in favor of better or less expensive health care.  The consumer will pay, not profit.

Of course, the consumer is an ordinary person with real needs, quite insignificant in comparison to a faceless corporate stockholder!

That's what the "free market" is all about, isn't it!


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:52 AM EST
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Christians: Is Intolerance a Correct Response to Islam in our Midst?

Recently, I received a mass-forwarded e-mail message entitled "The Joys of Muslim Women," that argued that Muslims in this country are committed to the task of imposing Islamic law on all of us, and that if this happens it would be a disaster for the rights Christian (and other) women now enjoy.  Some of the forwarders expanded on the original article, suggesting that we must not be tolerant toward Muslims, lest they achieve majority status here and use our own government to oppress us.  This e-mail raised for me quite clearly the question whether intolerance is a correct Christan response to Islam.  The answer I returned to that e-mail (using "reply all") is given below:

Yes, this is scary, just like the comment of one of the forwarders says, and I don't mean to be understood to say that it isn't. In fact, as a postscript to this e-mail, I quote a respected Islamic source explaining the intent to make Shari'a the law of the land in ANY country, once Muslims are in the majority. This is not a hidden agenda--they state it quite openly and without apology.

I fully agree that we need to be praying for our national leaders, including President obama.

However, I respectfully dissent from the implications of this comment made by one of the forwarders of the article: "boy do we need to wake up as a country and not become so tolerant as to take ANY steps down this road." Intolerant treatment of Muslims and attempts to use the legal system to forcibly suppress their message are not the answer. These people are not the enemy, as I will explain below, and intolerant actions toward them are both unscriptural and 100% certain to backfire. The answer, I'm afraid, is much more difficult than any political solution: we Christians need to start living consistently with the Christ we profess.

First, we need to observe that Muslim people are NOT the enemy. At church lately, we've been hearing sermons about the "Whole Armor of God," preached out of Ephesians 6. I observe that God never tells us to buy guns, tanks and planes, to go conquering real estate in His name. Instead, He tells us to put on spiritual armor to stand firm against a spiritual enemy. Indeed, Ephesians 6:12 says quite plainly that we are NOT engaged in warfare against "flesh and blood"--i.e., our real enemies are NOT other people--but our battle is against the SPIRITUAL forces of the darkness of this world. I also observe that ALL of the pieces of armor named in Ephesians 6 are positive spiritual qualities of our own lives; none of them are useful for attacking other people.

Even more to the point is 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, which says: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..." We are not fighting an earthly battle against human enemies, and we are not fighting using human weapons or methods of combat.

It's a battle that cannot be fought with guns, with harsh words and grandstanding, or with laws. We shouldn't try to fight it that way. Instead, the only way to fight the battle is by putting on the spiritual armor--spiritual qualities of life--and standing. This is true whatever the ideology we want to call the enemy. The Church has spent far too much of its energy fighting ideologies, declaring people who hold those ideologies to be the enemy and fighting them with human weapons. Just in my lifetime, I've seen great attempts to mobilize the Church to fight against Communists, Liberals, Secular Humanists, Evolutionists, Neo-Pagans, New Age followers, Abortion Providers and Muslims, each as if the people involved were The Great Enemy of Christ. Each of these mobilizations has failed to eradicate the people who were incorrectly identified as the Enemy, because God isn't a part of our attempts to fight people. Instead, God's approach to people who follow ignorant ideologies is this: "For it is the will of God that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." I Peter 2:15. It is our lives, not our laws, that is to silence ignorant talk about God.

We also need to be aware that persecution of Muslims and warfare against them is 100% certain to backfire on us if we undertake that course. Why? Because it will confirm in their minds that the Quran is right. Mohammed warned his followers that many among the other "People of the Book"--i.e., Jews and Christians--would violently reject their message, persecute them and attempt to kill them. They were told to expect this treatment from us, and that receiving it and standing up to it leads to a great reward in the hereafter. Unfortunately, since Mohammed , Christians have seldom disconfirmed his prediction. As a group, we have rarely practiced Jesus' instructions in Matthew 5:39-48 in our dealings with Muslims.

Mohammed was not a prophet, but he was a fairly astute observer of Christianity as it existed in Arabia in his day. He wrote one rather startling observation that should challenge us, because it is still too true of much of the Church: "From those, too, who call themselves Christians, We did take a covenant, but they forgot a good part of the message that was sent to them: so we estranged them, with enmity and hatred between the one and the other..." Quran 5:14 (A. Yusufali, Tr.).

The point of the quotation is this: what will win Muslim people to Christ is seeing our consistent Christian lives, not forgetting but remembering what Christ told us in the way we live, starting with the way we treat each other. It is our consistent lives, and our open love for each other, that will overcome Mohammed's criticisms of our faith.

But this is really no different than what we need to win people in any part of the unsaved population to Christ. "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another." John 13:35.

Ian Johnson

P.S.: Here is the quotation from an Islamic source that I promised. This is from "The Basics of Shari'a" by Dr. Hassan Hathout (at http://www.islamicity.com/voi/transcripts/Shariah.htm):


Some religions live on morals only. The ethic of this morality is when someone smites you on the right cheek, turn the other cheek. It is noble in a moral sense. But can people live by this? If I smite you and you take me to the judge, then the judge will rule that I be punished. So there are both the moral and legal wings in Islam.

Hence Islam caters for moralities and for societies. Yet when my Christian friend asks me, "How do you feel about the separation of Church and State?"

I tell him, "Excellent, it is the best think America and Europe have done."

Then he asks, "Why are Muslims keen on the Shariah, and want to live under Islamic Law?"

I tell him, "The difference is that in Christianity there is no State, and in Islam there is no Church." If you apply Christianity as Jesus taught it, then you will give to God what is God’s and to Caesar what is Caesar’s. In Christianity there is nothing about catering for a state and a law. Jesus didn’t say that. When the church took over, the church was wrong and the people had to separate the church from the state.

But when Muslims are living in their land and they are a majority and they want to be ruled by Islamic Law, it is their democratic right. It would be a folly if people would protest that people want to be ruled by Islamic Law. It is their right.

In Islam, if you remove the parts about governing the Islamic State, then you will have remaining a mos-haf which is thirty or forty pages. This is because Islam is a comprehensive way of life.

So, please let us in America separate the church and the state and let it be sufficient that the Freedom of Religion is safeguarded.

But please don’t blame Muslims if they want to be ruled by Islam. It is the prerogative as a majority in their land, and it is part of their religion and nobody is in a position to tell them, "Do not be ruled by your religion."


Quotation from "The Basics of Shari'a" by Dr. Hassan Hathout.

One final note: God has never promised us a life free of persecution, and avoiding persecution should not be one of our major objectives. Indeed, both Jesus and the Apostles told us that if we were living righteously and presenting the truth, we would without any question be persecuted. See, for example, Matthew 5:10-12, Mark 13:9-13, John 15:18-23, 2 Timothy 3:12, James 5:10-11, 1 Peter 4:12-19. The key is not to avoid it, but to bear it correctly.

I am reminded of Stephen. Stephen was faithful, and he acted and preached with such power that none of his enemies could refute his words or resist the Spirit in which he spoke. Acts 6:10. But, instead of believeing, many of his hearers hated him, and had him arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin for trial on false charges. Acts 6:11-15.

Now Jesus had promised that when his followers were brought before kings and councils to answer for the crime of believing in Him, the Holy Spirit would give the right words to say. Mark 13:11. Stephen was listening to the Holy Spirit, and preached a powerful sermon to the Sanhedrin--so powerful, in fact, that they were enraged and quickly stoned him to death. Acts 7. Did Jesus' promise fail? No, Jesus hadn't promised Stephen (or us!) a long life in this world. He had promised that Stephen would have the right words to say. This promise was kept. Stephen had precisely the right words to say, and obediently said them. In fact, on his way out of this life, Stephen saw Jesus STANDING, not sitting, standing, at the right hand of God, applauding him! Acts 7:56.

But that isn't the end of the story. Present at the trial of Stephen was a young man named Saul, from Tarsus. (Acts 7:58). saul also joined in the rage of the council against Stephen, fully agreeing, the scriptures say, to his death. (Acts 8:1). Saul held the clothes of his elders while they killed Stephen. He then, for a time, became the greatest persecutor of the Church, and was responsible for the imprisonment and death of many of our brothers. (Acts 8:2-5).

But Stephen's great sermon, the one that got him killed, wasn't lost on Saul. It planted a seed.

If Stephen had refused persecution and death, we would never have had the Apostle Paul.

Think carefully about that!

Posted by ian_j_site2 at 11:16 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 3 November 2009 11:27 PM EST
Links to Reviews of My Book
Topic: my books

Review by Dr. Bruce Cook at Reserve Books.com describes Our Oneness in Christ as a volume that "breaks new ground in the increasingly important struggle for unity among Christian believers" and that could be a part of "the most significant movement in the Christian church since the Reformation."

"This book should be read by all Christians who are looking for a true revival in this age," according to a review by Pastor Dwight Coffman posted on Spiritrestoration.org.

"As a Bible Study, this book is good and will benefit the reader" according to Theodocia at Ghost Writer Literary Reviews.

According to Richard R. Blake, reviewing on Amazon.com: "A much needed book on a subject close to God's own heart."

Book summary at The Authors' Den.


More Links.

Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:38 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 3 January 2010 4:12 PM EST
Sunday, 18 October 2009
Some Biographical Material
In case any of my readers are interested in my strange past, which I doubt, I have posted some biographical material on the site that supports this blog at the link given earlier in this sentence.  Nothing bad is included in this materia that hasn't already published against me by someone else, years ago.

Posted by ian_j_site2 at 7:05 PM EDT
Monday, 5 October 2009
Two wonderful jokes
Topic: F unAQs

Did you hear about the roofing company that went out of business because it didn't have enough overhead?


Q.  Why did the cow visit the psychiatrist?

A.  Because she had a moo disorder. 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 11:22 PM EDT
Is psychotherapy a mitigating measure taken to relieve mental illness?
Topic: legal matters

Is psychotherapy prpoerly considered a mitigating measure taken to relieve mental illness?  And, if it is, should it be afforded the same degree of legal protection that is afforded to the use of psychiatric medication?

I believe the correct answer to both questions is "yes," and I've posted my opinion in a public comment on psychotherapy as a mitigating measure the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's public docket regarding its proposed regulations implementing the ADA Amemdments Act.



Posted by ian_j_site2 at 8:45 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 5 October 2009 8:47 PM EDT
Saturday, 29 August 2009
Joe Wasserkopf and the founding of the Inverse Baptist Convention
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: Pure Satire
Joe Wasserkopf and the founding of the Inverse Baptist Convention: A Tale of Religious Experience

About 2 a.m. on the Sunday morning before Christmas in a year not too long ago, professional burglar Joe Wasserkopf was practicing his trade at the First Baptist Church of Podunk Falls, Arkansas when suddenly the fear of and Hell came upon him.  He had always known well enough that stealing was wrong, but he had burglarized churches before without feeling the slightest remorse.  This fear he felt was absolutely unfamiliar to him and was overpowering.  He sat for a time totally paralyzed, fearing greatly, wondering what he must do to be saved.

As he sat steeping in his fear, Joe remembered the few things he thought he knew about Christianity and salvation.  He remembered that salvation had something to do with the forgiveness of his sins.  He also remembered that someone had once told him he must call upon Jesus' name to be saved.  And finally, he remembered that someone had once told him that he had to be baptized.

It was at this point in his fearful musings that Joe noticed the baptistery. It had been filled the night before, in anticipation of several baptisms the next morning, but it had not yet been heated.  Upon seeing the full baptistery, Joe suddenly understood what he must do. He asked Jesus to forgive him for burglarizing the church.  Then he stood on his head in the baptistery, mentally reciting Jesus name, determined to remain in that posture until Jesus showed him the way of salvation.   

Sure enough, about three minutes later Joe had a very powerful religious experience.  His life immediately changed for the better, and he started preaching to others the utility and necessity of being baptized by calling on Jesus' name while standing on one's head in a baptistery.  Mockers, of course, attributed his religious experience to anoxia and hypothermia.  However, he persevered, and he assembled a following in spite of the mockery. Those who criticized Joe and his followers were not "true" Christians and simply didn't have "faith."

Others--many others, it seemed--were having powerful religious experiences after two to four minutes in the tank utilizing this unusual mode of baptism.  There were a few near-fatalities early in the growth of the movement, but after a few years the technique became sufficiently standardized that those administering the rite could distinguish religious from medical distress, and the near-fatalities ceased.  Joe Wasserkopf left his life of crime and became a wealthy televangelist.

Then Joe and the leaders of some of the local churches in the movement decided that the movement was in danger of being "split" by the heretical teaching of some of the newcomers to the movement. These newcomers had indeed experienced powerful baptismal religious experiences, but their visions while standing on their heads were not entirely similar to those of Joe and the older leaders.  Indeed, some of them even had the gall to teach that there might be other ways to receive the salvation experience, without standing on one's head in cold water!  Joe and the other leaders feared that a "split" would deceive some of the faithful, and might also damage their incomes.  So, it was time to form a denominational organization to bring some discipline to bear.

Therefore, Joe and the old leadership formed the Inverse Baptist Convention, in order to maintain the unity of the movement and the pure teaching of its one distinctive doctrine--namely, that God grants the penitent believer salvation at the instant he or she receives baptism by inversion according to the rite prescribed by the organization.  

This tale is fictional, of course, but it is believable because it is so much like so many things that have actually happened throughout church history...      

Posted by ian_j_site2 at 2:52 PM EDT
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Cash for Codgers and other health care exaggerations
Topic: Pure Satire

Yesterday, Roger Randel sent me this wonderful spoof on the hype that is being used against health care reform.  It's called "Cash for Codgers."  Here it is:


Democrats, realizing the success of the President's "Cash For Clunkers" rebate
program, have revamped a major portion of their National Health Care Plan.
President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Sen. Reed are expected to make this major
announcement at a joint news conference later this week.
I have obtained an advanced copy of the proposal which is named "CASH FOR CODGERS" and it works like this...
Couples wishing to access health care funds in order to pay for the delivery of a child
will be required to turn in one old person. The amount the government grants them will be fixed according to a sliding scale.
Older and more prescription dependent codgers will garner the highest amounts.
Special "Bonuses" will be paid for those submitting codgers in targeted groups, such
as smokers, alcohol drinkers, persons 10 pounds over their government prescribed
weight, and any member of the Republican Party.
Smaller bonuses will be given for codgers who consume beef, soda, fried foods, potato
chips, lattes, whole milk, dairy products, bacon, Brussel sprouts, or Scout Cookies.
All codgers will be rendered totally useless via toxic injection.
This will insure that they are not secretly resold or their body parts harvested to
keep other codgers in repair.
Remember you heard it here first.


And of course, we ALL know that if Congress enacts a health care reform package that threatens insurance company profits in ANY way, Iran will instantly invade California and a nuclear accident will eat New York!

Posted by ian_j_site2 at 12:32 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 August 2009 12:35 AM EDT

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