NRL hammers Krist on Assisted Suicide flip

Julie Schmit-Albin Executive Director Nebraska Right to Life
Julie Schmit-Albin
Executive Director
Nebraska Right to Life

Nebraska Right to Life’s Julie Schmit-Albin went after State Senator Bill Krist for his flip on assisted suicide legislation.

In an open letter to Krist, Schmit-Albin writes..

We noted that you voted to pass LB 1056, Physician Assisted Suicide, out of Judiciary Committee.

This appears to be a departure from your previous position on our Nebraska Right to Life Political Action Committee Candidate Survey in 2010. That Question #10 was:

State Senator Bob Krist
State Senator Bob Krist

“Would you support a ban on Physician Assisted Suicide?” and you responded “Yes”.

That was printed on both our Primary and General NRL PAC Survey Election Voter Guides in 2010 along with your endorsement from NRL PAC.

In 2014 you did not respond to the NRL PAC Survey.

Has your position changed completely on Physician Assisted Suicide from 2010 or did you vote LB 1056 out of Committee because you feel the issue needs to be discussed by the full body?

This issue and this bill will be watched closely by many in Nebraska and many nationally, as there are many groups interested. Right to Lifers and Catholics in particular have voiced strong opposition to these types of legislation.

Others who want the freedom to end life, particularly in terminal situations with extreme pain, are on the other side. Even with a bill like this which seems to add exclusions, there isn’t always a meeting in the middle.

It’s not clear if Krist is satisfied with the exclusions, has changed his tune, or just wants a debate.

But we will get one in any case.


Into the sunset

The fight for Medicaid expansion goes on as well. A new provision in the bill out of committee looks to add a “sunset” provision allowing “a future Legislature to determine whether to renew the program after three years.”

The Platte Institute, which has been fighting the plan, citing failures in other states, notes that a sunset provision is, using the term of another Senator, “bullcrap”.

“Promising a sunset date is just another false promise LB1032 would make that state lawmakers would later find completely unachievable, politically and legally,” says Adam Weinberg, Communications and Outreach Director for the Platte Institute.

Elected officials aren’t going to add over 100,000 Nebraskans to public assistance and then try to kick them off because of cost overruns, and even if they did, it may open the state up to lawsuits by beneficiaries or risk the total loss of federal Medicaid funding in Nebraska,” says Weinberg.

The plan also looks to fund the whole thing, according to Don Walton at the LJS, “from the state’s transitional health insurance cash fund, which is nourished by a continuing flow of tobacco settlement dollars allocated to the states for tobacco-related health care costs.”

Right. Because that spigot will NEVER turn off…

As this battle continues, one note:

New South Omaha State Senator Nicole Fox, who is up for election after her appointment, voted AGAINST sending this bill out of committee.


Stop the Madness!

The emails from the Office of the CIO in the Nebraska state government don’t seem to cease.

This time they have warned the suckers working in the Capitol that they will NOT be able to watch March Madness on their computers. OCIO will be blocking ALL sports related websites working their way through the series of tubes, so that the network remains reliable to “conduct the business of the State.”

Ah yes, that.

Just a note that back in the old days when I worked in a U.S. Senate office in DC, there were the TVs up in every office, and there were four different “in-house” channels that played the different committee hearings and floor debate. (I used to be able to identify every Senator by their voice…)

But during the first week of March Madness, those four stations would play the current game from each of the four regionals, LIVE.

And it was glorious.

It was like being at Buffalo Wild Wings, but without the crappy chicken and overpriced weak beer. And no one had to sneak out, or pretend they had a dentist appointment that afternoon.

Just sayin’…


New York to Miami

There is a big debate tonight.

And that debate is whether to watch the Creighton-Seton Hall game at MSG, or the Presidential debate, which will cross paths after the 7 o’clock hour.

Needless to say, I’ll be attentive to BOTH!

And so should You!

Follow me @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter to follow along, join the fun and see everyone slamming, juking, jiving and choking.

And I’ll be watching the basketball game as well.




  1. You know who I am says:

    And don’t forget the Huskers who are on at 8 PM. And the announcement of CrossFit 16.3 workout at 7 PM

  2. Anon says:

    The OCIO has blocked the Sweet 16 for years now….or at least the 7 years I have been here. No sports during that time!

    They’ve recently blocked some streaming services, including iheart radio.

  3. Anon says:

    Excuse me….I mean they have blocked all of March Madness for a while now…not a basketball fan. Couldn’t remember the terms LOL

  4. Sparkles says:

    March 10, 2016 – Brand New Iowa Poll:
    59% support ‘right to die’ for terminally ill, only 35% oppose.
    (+/- 3.5% – Selzer & Co., 804 Iowa adults)
    64% percent of Iowans age 35 and younger favor it.

    May 27, 2015, Gallup
    68% of Americans say doctors should be legally allowed to assist terminally ill patients in committing suicide.

    Ms. Schmidt-Albin and the Catholic organizations referenced are in the minority. In addition, the trend is not their friend.

      • Sparkles says:

        Thank you Anonymous, a great organization.

        I just read (on their site) Diane Rehm’s story about the loss of her husband John.
        Love Diane, I’ve listened to her weekly WAMU podcasts for years. Some of the most insightful guests/conversations available anywhere.

    • Catholics need to be more effective in their messaging. They need to emphasize that it’s doctors role to preserve and prolong life, not to end it, and that giving people the so-called ‘right to die’ will develop into an expectation that they use that right.

      There are obviously doctors who favor physician assisted suicide (such as that fortunately dead ghoul Kevorkian) but it’s my impression the majority of doctors don’t want it.

      • Sparkles says:

        Dec 2014 poll of 21,000 physicians by Medscape (Medscape Ethics Report – 2014) says 54% of physicians support aid in dying.

        (up from 46% in 2010 – there’s that trend, again)

      • repenting lawyer says:

        ProfGH, It is the physicians function, among others, to alleviate suffering. With that intent and appropriate causation(double effect), the Catholic position allows physician to bring about death. You have to accept the Catholic position to see the sense in that, which is why the 2nd Cir. found the NY bar a denial of equal protection SCOTUS reversed in a close decision, but as a legislative matter I am not sure that imposing the Catholic position on nonCatholics is fair.
        The alleged conflict of interest tends disappear once ending suffering is seen as the goal. Which is the approach of Canadian S Ct.
        So far the evidence where the practice is allowed does not support the fear of compulsion.
        I not sure about numbers on MDs, but there have been suggestions that the actual assistance be by non physicians. It would be interesting to compare MDs attitude based on place of training. But at threat at which Catholic hospitals are buying up the rest, it may not make difference.

      • The Grundle King says:

        “ProfGH, It is the physicians function, among others, to alleviate suffering.”

        And in pursuit of that function, isn’t their oath to ‘first do no harm’?

        Correct me if I’m wrong here…but helping kill someone is harm, is it not? And let’s not parse out moral or ethical right vs. wrong…biologically and scientifically speaking, if you contribute to an organism’s death, you’ve most certainly harmed it.

        Now, none of this is to say that I oppose giving people the right to ‘off’ themselves, but let’s face it…people already do it without physician help. Liberal gun control advocates have been holding up suicide deaths as supporting evidence for gun control…but now they want to let people kill themselves with medication? An injection of hot lead seems to do the trick, and at a much lower cost.

      • repenting lawyer says:

        Trundle king, first do not harm was originally a bar to surgery, though other folks did that. Even now treatment decision often involve harm for what is seen as a potential greater good. DNR orders contribute to death as do other terminations of treatments or decisions not to start treatment. Simple biology usually does not solve any complex moral question, for example ending artificial respiration. Do you oppose that in all cases? Even with an advanced directive? Dead sided.

      • The Grundle King says:

        Repenting Lawyer (I spelled your name right because it’s the adult thing to do),

        It seems as if you draw no distinction between discontinuing treatment, and providing treatment meant to kill….between simply letting someone die, and actually killing them. I have no idea how a lawyer could fail to draw such a distinction, but then I didn’t go to law school.

        Chemotherapy and radiation therapy absolutely harm the body, but that harm is done with the purpose of treating a disease. When it comes to doctors helping patients kill themselves, the only ‘disease’ they’re treating is life itself…and few rational thinkers, if any, would consider life a disease.

        I support giving people the power to make decisions to stop treatments, like DNR orders, stopping artificial feeding or respiration, etc. I support those because they provide people with the power to let their body do what it will naturally do…die. I am, however, uncomfortable with allowing doctors to aide and accelerate the process.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the point Nebraska. Right to Life was making was that Senator Bob Krist has either lied or changed his position. Again. Senator Krist is an intelligent and accomplished man, it is shameful that he has allowed himself to be a pawn of the career democratic operatives in the Unicameral. I would expect a man of his background to be leading and actually getting things done instead of being the terd in the punch bowl every time Mello needs him to.

      • Anonymous says:

        What does your comment mean? That Sen. Krist is a turd? That Mello is an autocrat? That NRL’s position is flawed?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not really. When the Hemlock Society broke up some went in opposition to Kevorkian antics and some remained his friend. The ‘opposition’ is now Compassion and Choices, and they can help you in your search for answers to very complicated human emotions about death and dying. Many doctors, counselors, therapists and laypersons, plus an active legal and lobbying team, assist those trying to define one’s natural right to die.

      • Julie Schmit-Albin says:

        If Sweeper allowed links I would have plenty to show that Soros funds Compassion & Choices (I don’t even like writing the organization’s name.) They apparently have Brittany Maynard’s husband Dan on the speaking circuit to all the States where they are pursuing this legislation. What’s interesting is that Sen. Chambers is working with them since he usually rails at us for bringing in a National Right to Life model bill or asks who brought in out of State testifiers. C & C had a person at the hearing and two people this week with Dan Diaz in Lincoln.

      • TexasAnnie says:

        Yeah. And if Sweeper would allow links I would have plenty to show that the pro-life movement is funded by religious enthusiasts. But that does nothing to defend, nor defy one’s natural right to choose the time, place and manner of one’s own demise. Julie, you and I can NEVER agree on this issue, we both know that. But you should be able to realize that your neglect (—of those now dead BSDC inmates and the children with disability who were cheated of their public education in Nebraska before that—) now demolishes your pretense that the disabled need “protection” from some slippery slope created of your imagination!

      • TexasAnnie says:

        In an effort to clarify for other readers: Julie knew of my effort to secure a public education for those students who had been moved, by the state, into group homes out of their parent’s school district of residence, and therefore denied a public education altogether. (Validated by an old statute which took the unicam three years to fix once realized.) Julie would do nothing to assist their plight, not even attest to the injustice! She told me repeatedly that my issue was not relevant to her issue of securing life for unwanted fetuses.

        So how is it that NOW Julie believes we need to “protect” the disabled from a “slippery slope?”
        Where the disabled of Nebraska are concerned, the slippery slope is actually a water slide dumping into a pool of neglect. If y’all are interested in “protecting” the disabled there, please ask your legislators why the disabled got slighted this biennium on their SPED growth rate? (They got 2 1/2% while every other category of educational spending got 3%. The answer is hidden in the onerous TEEOSA statutes, which the unicam and gov. could fix!!!)

  5. Anon says:

    Bringing it for debate is fine. But watching Krist, he is phony, in his party designation, and votes, He is the biggest male panderer to Ernie and the list is many. You could write it off to horsetrading but meek a**-kisser fits better

  6. Krist’s word is worth less than the electrons used to transmit it.

    I have a brother who, as it happens, is a geriatrician and stroke specialist (and a damn good one; he just won one of Ireland’s most prestigious medical awards). Obviously, he sees a whole lot of terminal cases. He is utterly opposed to physician assisted suicide. He says it puts doctors into a hopeless conflict between their duty to treat and care for patients, and the power it gives them to help kill the patient.

    In addition, a right to assisted suicide slowly over time morphs into a duty not to be a burden on one’s family.

    • repenting lawyer says:

      ProfGH, Interestingly under Catholic doctrine on withholding or terminating treatment, burden on family may be considered. Pius XII made that point in his famous address to a conference of anesthesiologists.

      • repenting lawyer says:

        ProfGH, I have never been sure about the aspect of family responsibility, most students on hearing it, including Catholics dislike it. I had thought that represented American attitudes, but not sure.

    • Julie Schmit-Albin says:

      Precisely. The Doctors who testified against LB 1056 at the hearing were eloquent and the theme among them was “don’t make us agents of death”. They’re healers. Anyone can commit suicide now but the response from society, rightly, is….please don’t, there is help for you. We brought in a disabled Vietnam Vet who is a disability rights activist. He kept telling people when you institutionalize the notion that Dr’s can and should be agents of death, then it obviously normalizes and prepares for the next step down the slippery slope. What today is limited to “terminally ill people with 6 months to live” becomes former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm’s admonition that “we have a duty to die”. What does that mean for the disabled and medically vulnerable or mentally challenged? There have been abuses of the law in Oregon and Washington, despite assurances otherwise from the Compassion & Choices rep at the hearing (coming in from California.)

      • TexasAnnie says:

        And of course those horrible abuses and deaths at Nebraska’s own BSDC had a very significant affect for ‘normalizing’ a ‘duty to die’ too.

      • repenting lawyer says:

        julie schmit-albin, there are abuses of DNR orders and opiates for palliation, and physicians occasionally kill patients. What is different about occasional abuses of right to die legislation? The view of physicians as healers and not agents of death lead to over treatment of those who physicians physicians could not heal. Do we want to go back to the days when a world class oncologist told an IRB that were mostly destined to die with a useless poison dripping into a vein. Slippery slop is the worst possible argument in bioethics, anything can be a slippery slope if you let it.

    • repenting lawyer says:

      ProfGH Have you talked to your brother about DNR or causing treatment? Does he treat these differently?

  7. Frequent Voter says:

    The Judiciary Committee testimony by Dale Michels MD was particularly compelling as he replied to Sen. Chambers: In my 40+ years of practice I have never had a terminally ill patient ask me to help them end their life. I work to keep patients as comfortable as possible. Anything less would be abandoning my patient and I would never do that.

    • Sparkles says:

      In my 40+ years of practice I have never had a terminally ill patient ask me to help them end their life.

      Dr. Michels didn’t have the opportunity to meet my mother as she cried out in pain from her hospice bed as a rapidly metastasizing cancer ate away at her spine and uterus and spread to every organ of her body. For weeks, crying out to her family to please end her suffering and for her beloved Jesus, to whom she’d been a faithful servant all her life, to please take her home.

      Dr Michels was a Family Physician, originally from Laurel, NE, where they all have a Hardy handshake.
      And although I’m sure a fine doctor and an outstanding citizen, he saw patients at an office complex at 74th and O street. Runny noses, annoying eczema, rheumatiz pills.
      I would imagine the instances are rare that a terminally ill patient would spend their final days in the office of their family physician.
      Also, Dr Michels has political aspirations. He is currently running for Kathy Campbell’s seat in the state legislature.

      I respect everyone’s right to their opinion in this highly personal issue, especially the opinion of a medical professional.
      But Dr. Michels, for the reasons noted above, may not the ideal example to put forth as expert testimony.

    • bynd says:

      He didn’t watch my mother die of Parkinson’s for 10 years. After shock treatments and other misdiagnosis, death was a God send. And admittedly it was back in the 80s, but Parkinson’s has current times equivalents. Many doctors don’t want to be abortionist, yet we have them. How much harm is done in extending a life with drugs or machines that make that life much like a slug’s. I watched my mother in law die from liver cancer. Doing hospice in home. We sat around the dinning room table while her life slowly ebbed away 10 feet from us in a hospital bed in the front room, finally. Wow. how humane.

      I told them to take the oxygen mask off of my father in law as he shook his head violently to try and throw it off. I can’t tell you any of them would have wanted assisted suicide. But I can tell you, if you want to give me chemo that causes more pain and gives me 6 more months of misery, just so I can what, say good by, even though the pain keeps me from functioning at all.? Or even replaced by a drug induced haze. You can’t even feed yourself. No thanks. Many times, what the medical system does to keep one from dying, is the harm. Compassion and putting one out of their misery. Now there is doing no harm.

      Doctors do not have to participate if they do not want to. But why you do you give them the power to decide how I die? Isn’t that my decision? This isn’t about the doctor or any one else.

      By the way, depending on whose figures you use, between 98,000 and 240,000 are killed ever year by “accidents” in hospitals. But yet I see nothing about 98,000 to 240,000 doctors resigning each year because they feel bad.

      So which is the bigger slope. Some getting killed because the system is abused or many living a hellish life they don’t want because we don’t trust ourselves 100% of the time. Nothing, absolutely nothing is 100%, except eventually dying. Yet we keep on living our lives because to fear the bad consequences all the time would give us the worse life imaginable. Because not allowing assisted suicide doesn’t give us 100% that we are right or that we are not already going down another worse, slippery slope. Protect those who need it. Let the rest of live our lives.

  8. bynd says:

    As a rock solid pro life Christian, I support the right to die legislation. The final word is, it is my life to do with as I as please. No doctor would be forced to help me because I wouldn’t want them to. It is not up to any religious leader to define my relationship with God and the consequences of such a personal decision.

    As a weak analogy, I have been a life long pet owner. And for many, the time comes to make a decision for them. It is always tough, but it’s a responsibility you take on when you have pets. Such is the same when you have a spouse, children etc. And my doctor. I expect them to always do what is best for me regardless of what that maybe.

    They’ll make a decision to keep you hooked up even when you may not want to be without the proper paper work. So if I have the proper paper work saying let me go and help if need be, it is no different in principle.

    It is up to no one else to decide whether or not I can make this decision. It is the greatest and most offensive intrusion on my personal life for any one to determine other wise. Protect those who need protecting. Let the rest of us die under our own terms.

    The irony is, the libs are actually right in wanting the government out of this decision. Go figure.

    • I fully support anyone’s right to kill themselves. It’s the entanglement of suicide and medicine I object you. We medicalize suicide in order to disguise the reality of what it is. But confusing termination with treatment is very, very dangerous.

      When you get to my age, you’ve watched a lot of people die. Everyone I’ve watched die, died fighting to stay alive.

    • TexasAnnie says:

      I absolutely approve your sentiment, bynd. Especially, the part about protecting “those who need protecting.” ‘Cause when Heinemann vetoed the funding for medical personnel on staff at BSDC, and when those dozen people formerly warehoused at BSDC subsequently died of medical emergencies, and when the good folks of Nebraska shrugged off the injustice, it left me an indelible impression that Nebraskans WILL NOT protect those needing protection.

      Is it your belief, bynd, that those dead BSDC inmates “had a right to die” and that the State of Nebraska, as custodial caretakers, simply helped them exercise that right? ‘Cause I’m having difficulty reckoning your idea of a “right to life” with those BSDC deaths…

      • bynd says:


        Are you picking on me? again!

        Not sure what your question is looking for. But it would be be my opinion, not medical or expert by any stretch of the imagination, that the patients at BDSC are not capable of making such a decision on their own. If the are in state custody, the state has the responsibility for them. Except that, it seems a lot of them still have family support and the support of charitable institutions also. All together, they should be able to come up with the best plan for the patients. But the right to life should include the words, quality life. Does that mean let them die if they don’t have such. Nope, it means do what it takes to give them such a life. Even though our politicians won’t agree, there is plenty of revenue that can be used for such a state responsibility.

      • TexasAnnie says:

        No. Not picking on you. I only sought your affirmation that Nebraska has and has had, always, a legal and moral obligation to care for those taken into it’s custody.

    • repenting lawyer says:

      Bynd, Your comment illustrates the point the 2nd Cir made in Quill, given the right to refuse treatment or have treatment terminated, including no food or water, is the objection to assisted suicide anything more than a matter of semantics. MDs are already embedded in the termination of the lives of patients, for example by use of opiates in increasing amounts to ease pain even though desperation will ultimately be suppressed, and at least some jurisdictions allow termination of life support and withdrawn of food and water from permanently comatose patients on a best interest test, last time I looked that was the position of Irish S. Ct. following House of Lords in the Bland case. The intermixing of medicine and suicide is a fact, hidden by a definitional trick.

  9. Buffy says:

    Good to know that you are all in favor of suicide. Now how do we get all the gross people to take advantage of it?

  10. Obama has now completely disavowed responsibility for the ‘5h17show’ in Libya (his words, cleaned up) and is blaming Britain and France. To an extent, this serves David Cameron right, for trusting and even befriending the man.

    Of course, the truth is we had strategic command of the Libya intervention from the beginning, contributed far more materiel than anyone else, and allegedly spent $1 bn on covert ops within the country.


      • Sparkles says:

        “Obama has done almost nothing to restrain it.” (military industrial complex)

        You’re absolutely correct, and that is a major disappointment.

        Although, both Gates and Hagel were appointed with a mandate to do just that. Both were met with impenetrable resistance from the House and Senate. Resistance fortified by massive walls, stacked upon massive walls, buttressed by massive walls – of money.
        Money from the legions of lobbyists sent into battle on Pennsylvania Avenue by the M.I.C.

    • Sparkles says:

      ..”the truth is we had strategic command of the Libya intervention from the beginning, contributed far more materiel than anyone else, and allegedly spent $1 bn on covert ops within the country.”

      Which of course translates to: America did it’s part.

      France, which sits immediately across the Mediterranean sea from Libya, along with Britain and it’s European counterparts, chose once again to keep their respective checkbooks closed and the soldiers at home, while awaiting American taxpayers and warriors to come to their rescue.

      If you read the Atlantic piece from which this story came, an objective reader would have a hard time finding fault in Obama’s logic and actions.
      I’m ecstatic that an American President goes on the record – finally – to call out the world’s “free riders”. And that is exactly what Obama called Britain and France – “free riders” (and you can throw Netanyahu in that lot). Countries that have for far too long become reliant on American treasure and blood to serve as the global police force every time there’s trouble in their respective back yards.
      Their tiny military forces remain idle, their treasuries remain untouched. Meanwhile America’s massively bloated and heinously expensive military apparatus is once again given new, boundless lease.
      And the American taxpayer is once again, bent over a table for a good schtupping.

      In that same Atlantic piece Obama also pulls back the cover on why America has for so long been eager to ride to the rescue of every nation on the planet – because there is a massive military industrial complex and their armies of lobbyists who profit immensely from America’s state of perpetual warfare.

      So – Hooray for Obama!
      The man deserves praise from every American for having the cajones to stand up and tell the worlds’s free riders and the powerful special interests of our military industrial complex –
      Enough is Enough! This fleecing of the American people needs to end!
      American taxpayers are done sacrificing our blood and treasure on behalf of Britain’s Treasury and Halliburton’s next quarterly statement.

      • Good grief, such denialism. Strategically commanding the whole exercise is hardly just doing one”s part.

        France relies on US military help very little. They take care of Africa largely on their own.

        Obama spent far more than the UK in toppling Qadafi, and almost nothing on reconstruction. In effect, he made Bush’s mistake of getting rid of the strongman, without a c;ear idea of his replacement. Bush at least redeemed himself by getting Iraq back into semi-civilized shape, although Obama screwed that up by withdrawing forces. Now we have ISIS in both Libya and Iraq. Whee!

        And if it’s the military industrial complex that worries you, Obama has done almost nothing to restrain it. Seven years and change into a presidency is not the time to complain about the status quo.

    • TexasAnnie says:

      Whenever I hear someone reach for the slippery slope argument, I always think that’s how they would act! So your Grandma begs for euthanasia as a release from pain. How does that lead to the notion that it’s alright to off Grandpa, who experiences pain but does not want euthanasia?

      And another oft used argument, that doctors are supposed to ‘do no harm,’ which depends upon a definition of what constitutes ‘harm,’ of course. When dying persons seek a hastened death, euthanasia is helping them, not harming them.

      The bottom line of course is that some religious imperatives are restricting lots of folks, while lovers of liberty are seeking release from those mores. It might be too soon for Nebraskans to embrace the natural right to die. But y’all will embrace it in time I’m sure!

  11. Anonymous says:

    “Catholics need to be more effective in their messaging.” RWP

    “Why would I agree with Catholic doctrine? I’m an atheist.” RWP

    Why indeed.

    Why should Catholics, who function under a Marxist pope, give a flying poop what an atheist chemistry professor think Catholics need to do? You trot out religion when it suits you and denigrate it when it doesn’t.

    Here’s my opinion on shuffling off this mortal coil. Assist it with vigor. Encourage everyone who wants to kill themselves, their pets and their kids to do exactly that. For as we Darwinians all know, a clean gene pool is a healthy gene pool.

    • No, idiot. I’m willing to give advice to Catholics without being one.

      I suggest that if you’re so enthusiastic about shuffling off the mortal coil, you should go first and demonstrate to all of us how it’s done.

    • bynd says:

      Any @ 12:27:
      Doing it your way, it would be better defined as leaving the cesspool. As long as we are putting opinions out there on on such a proposition.

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