Mortaljive: The Rest is Silence

There is no still point in all the Universe, and that is the rock upon which I stand

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Random Acts of Presumed Madness



Last Sunday I drove down to Salem(OR) and hooked up with my friend Barry. We took digital shots of the Oregon State Hospital (known as the Oregon State Insane Asylum back at its inception in 1883). Knowing that demolition was taking place we went to document what we could: Barry informed me later that much of the facility that was set to be torn down had already been torn down. Judging from this image I would readily agree: though the cupola above the main building is still there most of the building to our right of the frame is gone.

Anyway, below are some fairly random shots taken on a clear, beautiful day in Salem, Oregon...


Exterior of Oregon State Hospital, looking south from Center Street


Enough crosses to give Jesus the willies


Shadows having fun


The links of chain curve back again...


I feel a chill coming on


Mural, mural on the wall, who will listen to your call?


I played with the contrast/exposure and
ended up with a kind of Bat Building effect


We headed over to the waterfront for
asphalt-combing in the old Boise Cascade lot...


Golden Tales of Summer's Promise

We talked to a gentleman working security for the state hospital, who emphasized that we could take pictures as long as we did not take any images of the patients. I did take one image of the basketball court that was famously used in Milos Forman's film version of Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest--the court presented itself as a rather no-nonsense nightmare of wire and despair. I didn't want to upset any of the security team so one quick image was all I managed. A friend of mine was in the film (the entirely deceased Phil Roth) and so I present this image in his honor!



Barry has posted more images from last Sunday at his photography blog.

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One last thought: The Shining meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest



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Monday, June 29, 2009

Earth Being Held on 24 Hour Suicide Watch



Authorities claim that this is a routine precaution, but I'm not buying it.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

To Kentucky I Will Roam

i went to the railroad tracks
the place where they bend
the train, she's a steamer
all the way to the end

got my little sticks of dynamite
got my fuses in a row
by this time tomorrow, baby
i'll be down the road

nobody loves a bad man
'cept his mom i suppose
when they bring the noose down
it's the last friend i'll know

kentucky
kentucky
the green, green hills of home
when i hear that lonesome train
to kentucky i will roam

saw a bank down by the border
as weak as a baby bird
ain't no fun killing little ones
it's the big ones i prefer

there's always another score
there's always a mark
set you up in a real big way
come and see me after dark

nobody loves a bad man
'cept his mom i suppose
when they bring the noose down
it's the last friend i'll know

kentucky
kentucky
the green, green hills of home
when i hear that lonesome train
to kentucky i will roam

stayed awake all weekend
smoked the secrets of hell
stick around and have a taste
watch how satan fell

i'm rough around the edges
i'm shot up through and through
i've got to hide in the afterlife
bury me with my shoes

nobody loves a bad man
'cept his mom i suppose
when they bring the noose down
it's the last friend i'll know

kentucky
kentucky
the green, green hills of home
when i hear that lonesome train
to kentucky i will roam

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Opinuary Column



The Opinion
You can live forever and ever
In Neverland
Nothing will ever harm you
No one will raise a hand
A magical place that can't be erased
No, no it can't
You can live forever and ever
In Neverland
has died of cardiac arrest at the age of fifty. The Opinion is survived by everyone who has ever wanted to turn their back on the insistent call of time and stay a child forever and ever, an ill-advised and impossible feat if ever there was one.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Opinion's family and friends, many of whom will surely act as pallbearers, and truly many of them are known to us: Puff the Magic Dragon, Winnie the Pooh & the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood Gang, the Velveteen Rabbit, Mother Goose, Rat & Mole & Badger & Toad & The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell and Company, The Little Prince, Pinocchio & Geppetto & Jiminy Cricket & The Blue Fairy, Goodnight Moon, The Red Balloon, Snow White, Cinderella, The Little Engine That Could, Peter Piper, Chicken Little, The Snow Queen, The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, The Wizard of Oz, Fernando the Bull, Babar, Dumbo, Bilbo Baggins, Gulliver (who asked that he not be listed for he is a Very Grown Up Man), The Cat in the Hat, Alice in Wonderland, Willy Wonka, Br'er Rabbit--the list just goes on and on. Perhaps Neverland is a place that you best carry inside your imagination and not try to actually live in: like many things in life, a day could come when it will surely break your heart.

In lieu of flowers many of the characters listed above suggested you construct a ladder out of moonbeams and climb up to the stars, whispering nonsense and nursery rhymes to the Northern Lights, or better yet wade into the harbor, and tie together all the boats! But beware the Castles of Childhood should they beckon for too long, for they can be turned into prisons!



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The Opinuary Column appears Friday afternoons at Jesus' General.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

30 Miles South

My wonderful sister Diana plays guitar and writes songs and sings and even posts her work on YouTube and, well, the girl can't help it. So, we're talking to each other tonight on our cell phones, and we're agreeing that anything can trigger a set of lyrics or a poem, and she said she asked her son #2 what he was doing and he answered that he was going somewhere "30 miles south." So now she and I have a little lyric writing contest to attend to.

And away we go...

30 MILES SOUTH
(this one is for Diana & Julian)

i woke up on the interstate
didn't make it home
didn't die and that's okay
another day to roam

i left my car in the parking lot
about two years ago
they must've towed it away by now
but i just don't know
i just don't know

my feet really fucking hurt
and my eyes keep falling out
i left my girl back in huntington
i'm going 30 miles south
i'm going 30 miles south
i'm going 30 miles south

the ocean is an acid wash
it burns off the pain
dive right into the magic glass
just like alice insane

ah, fuck it, i'm out of here
my words, my mouth
don't need no broken church
i'm going 30 miles south
i'm going 30 miles south
i'm going 30 miles south

(bridge)
no, no, no, it wasn't like that
we danced and swayed on the shore
happy little island junkies laughing here
all killed in the war
no, no, no, it wasn't like that
everybody having fun
everybody ride a big white horse
we're all carrying guns
we're all carrying guns

ah, fuck it, i'm out of here
my words, my mouth
you're going to a broken church
i'm going 30 miles south
i'm going 30 miles south
i'm going 30 miles south

i woke up on the interstate
didn't make it home
didn't die and that's okay
another day to roam

i left my car in the parking lot
about two years ago
they must've towed it away by now
but i just don't know
i just don't know

my feet really fucking hurt
and my eyes keep falling out
i left my girl back in huntington
i'm going 30 miles south
i'm going 30 miles south
i'm going 30 miles south

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Don't Demand Representative Government!



Don't ask questions about your religion, your food, your rights, your bad habit of voting against your economic interests! Don't ask why a woman shouldn't have sovereignty over her own body! Don't ask why being patriotic means we must continue to pollute the air, the water and our bodies! Don't ask why the interstate highways, police, fire and the military are all "socialized!" Don't ask why a fat, drug-addled draft-dodger makes millions of dollars while telling you to be angry and ready to explode! Don't trust anyone, anywhere, at any time, for you will be sorry you did! Don't ask why killing brown people in other countries will make you safe! Don't see the Other as you would see yourself! Don't let other people have equal rights! Don't think beyond the Bling! Don't listen to the beat of a different drummer: listen to the one who bangs really, really hard and makes you want to kill! Don't organize, except to chase away people who are brown and thirsty! Don't run for the border! Don't respect others! Don't show compassion and mercy--we are at war with compassion and mercy! Don't go to a National Park without your guns! Don't do too much meth or you won't get to work on Monday! Don't mistake diplomacy for murder! Don't eat the children at the first sign of trouble! Don't ever, ever think of the words "context" or "metaphor." Don't ever trust yourself, except enough to know that you should only trust me! Don't ever, ever feel empathy--I mean it! Don't do any of it! Don't! Don't! Don't!

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Paid for by the Committee to Keep You Poor & Pissed Off...

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Congress Puts Finishing Touches on Healthcare Reform



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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Neda, Don't Be Afraid

"Neda, don't be afraid. Neda, don't be afraid. (There is yelling and screaming.) Neda, stay with me. Neda stay with me!"

via Huffington Post.

In Iran, a young woman named Neda was shot through the heart as she stood in the street. There is graphic video of her just after being shot, wherein her life ends rapidly as blood escapes her body. The words at the top of this post (translated) are cried out by her father in the moments after she has been mortally wounded. One among many who have died in this conflict, she is now a martyr. In the United States, we don't have martyrs--I think we gave them up.

I dedicate these lyrics to Neda.

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Neda, Don't Be Afraid

hold my hand
stay with me
hold my hand
stay with me
neda
neda

don't be afraid
stay with me
don't be afraid
stay with me
neda
neda

we are all the children of god
we are all the heart of this life
we are all a miracle
we are all the end of a dream

i love you
my daughter
i love you
my daughter
neda
neda

take my heart
and live forever
take my heart
and live forever
neda
neda
neda
neda
neda
neda

we are all the children of god
we are all the heart of this life
we are all a miracle
we are all the end of a dream

hold my hand
stay with me
hold my hand
stay with me
neda
neda

don't be afraid
stay with me
don't be afraid
stay with me
neda
neda
neda
neda

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UPDATE: More about Neda and the events surrounding her death at CNN and at Crooks & Liars. This story is all over the Internet.

A further UPDATE--people still matter:



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Friday, June 19, 2009

Revenge of the Gray

i saw a god fall on high
he was screaming in the sky
he was such a little guy
he dazed me

i saw the turning man run
with crayons and a gun
said that he had a plan
to save me

dreams made the younger man cry
the birds could no longer fly
we wandered on the land
for days it seemed

be bop the god drop gotta drop it do it
doo wop the cop stop nothing for to do it
dance in the light of day
until it goes away
revenge of the gray
be bop the god drop gotta drop it do it
doo wop the cop stop nothing for to do it
who's gonna stop you
revenge of the gray

you took the letter away
and told me i should pay
for the thousand stupid things
that haunt me

lost all my colors in rain
let the ocean have all my pain
let the rivers die in the spring
who wants me

be bop the god drop gotta drop it do it
doo wop the cop stop nothing for to do it
dance in the light of day
until it goes away
revenge of the gray
be bop the god drop gotta drop it do it
doo wop the cop stop nothing for to do it
who's gonna stop you
revenge of the gray

the turning man went on the run
his crayons burned in the sun
nothing is ever quite done
and she liked it

the story had a twist of fate
just to make everybody else wait
then they put a tattoo on god
and she liked it

oh, oh
revenge of the gray

fire and children and timber and rocks
drunkards and dragons live on our block
jesus lost his alibi
in the river of time

be bop the god drop gotta drop it do it
doo wop the cop stop nothing for to do it
dance in the light of day
until it goes away
revenge of the gray
be bop the god drop gotta drop it do it
doo wop the cop stop nothing for to do it
who's gonna stop you
revenge of the gray

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Opinuary Column



The Opinion Politicians can receive millions of dollars from health insurance and pharmaceutical company lobbyists and still do the right thing for their constituents has died after its request for a medical review was denied by its health provider. The Opinion was never seriously believed by anyone anyway, and so its passing was not viewed as a surprise.

Doctors for the deceased Opinion released a statement that read as follows:
"Denying treatment was the humane thing to do in this case. Had the Opinion lived it would have been subjected to ridicule and derision for the rest of its born days. As healers, we just couldn't support that."
The funeral for The Opinion will be attended by the roughly forty-seven million Americans who do not have health insurance, as well as an additional sixty million or so citizens who are one major illness away from abject poverty. Of the eighteen thousand or so Americans who die yearly as a result of being sick without medical insurance the family notes that the dead will not be allowed to attend the funeral.

The Opinion is survived by the rest of us who happen to still be alive, but don't feel too smug: we'll be gone some day as well, so there's that. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you consider not blowing up government or insurance buildings, and that if you do get sick and die to please have the decency to not clutter up valet parking zones--very important people need to get in and out of commercial zones with all due haste!

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The Opinuary column appears on Friday afternoons at Jesus' General.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Nothing Will Fit In Eternity*

there is a sound coming down the hill
there is a someone who waits until
there is a sweetheart in the land beyond
there is a dancer in a song
in your heart
you dance along

there is a garden in the summer sun
and it's lots of fun
there is an answer
but it's not the one
that you wanted
there is a warrant to lay us all to rest
was it only a test
did you give it your best
in your heart
did you dance along?

what are you saving it for
what are you trying to put in the bank
nothing will fit in eternity
except you and me
and everybody else

there is a symphony in the middle of the sea
there are two lovers, one is you and the other me
there is a conductor with a magic wand
there is a dancer in a song
in your heart
you dance along

there is a stratosphere at the end of sight
i saw it in the night
stars made of fire
all were burning bright
just like lovers
there is a motion in the underground
it moves with the sound
it moves all around
in your heart
did you dance along?

what are you saving it for
what are you trying to put in the bank
nothing will fit in eternity
except you and me
and everybody else

there is a sound coming down the hill
there is a someone who waits until
there is a sweetheart in the land beyond
there is a dancer in a song
in your heart
you dance along

there is a garden in the summer sun
and it's lots of fun
there is an answer
but it's not the one
that you wanted
there is a warrant to lay us all to rest
was it only a test
did you give it your best
in your heart
did you dance along?

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*I sat down to write about being irritated, but the lyrics just would not go there.

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Laughing At God



Heh-heh. I love Regina Spektor. Hah-hah.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Song for Anita Floyd

have you ever seen wind in red hair
just like fire made of silk
water falling from a winter sky
could never deny something so fair

have your ever seen blue eyes before
when you didn't look away
just keep falling into her eyes
turn and fly until you are no more

see the sister with her coffee cup
fill the days all the way up, up, up
light a smoke and burn the air
it's always good to see her
a memory of love inside the storms
she keeps me warm

have you ever seen the promised land
or do you stop at the gate
if you think you are on the wrong side
realize your castles are built on sand

have you lately tasted paradise
sit on the bench and take your time
she came to tell you it's all here and now
you know how to open up your eyes

see the sister with her coffee cup
fill the days all the way up, up, up
light a smoke and burn the air
it's always good to see her
a memory of love inside the storms
she keeps me warm

have you ever seen wind in red hair
just like fire made of silk
water falling from a winter sky
could never deny something so fair

have your ever seen blue eyes before
when you didn't look away
just keep falling into her eyes
turn and fly until you are no more

see the sister with her coffee cup
fill the days all the way up, up, up
light a smoke and burn the air
it's always good to see her
a memory of love inside the storms
she keeps me warm

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I read an article in The Oregonian about bodies that are unclaimed by "next of kin"--one of the unclaimed that the story highlighted was a woman named Anita Floyd. These lyrics insisted that I type them up, and what the heck, I put them here on the blog. Here's to you, Anita! Tat tvam asi!

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Friday, June 12, 2009

The Fire Island Next Time

President Barack Hussein Obama is a homophobe. Let me rephrase that: President Barack Obama does not believe that gay Americans should have the same rights as so-called straight Americans.

In case you are wondering: It's none of my business if Obama smokes an occasional cigarette (he can smoke a pack all at once for all I care) or takes his wife Michelle out for dinner and a show now and again. I don't care if he eats his burgers with dijon mustard or shoots hoops with his left hand (though humans used to believe that being left handed was a sign of the devil at work). I do care that he would deny civil rights to gays based upon flinty, abrasive dogma from twenty-five centuries ago--an Old Testament approach to human reality that was bullshit then and is bullshit now. Some BCE asshole in a robe and a shawl spent his free time getting into everyone's gender/sexual business and this is the rock of reason that our great nation is standing upon? Please to be giving me a fucking break.

Well, Barack, I am done with your ass for awhile. I am paying my tab, saying goodnight to the bartender and going home. When I look into the face of an intelligent man and all that I can see is discrimination based upon edicts produced by Bronze Age priests doing the mumbo-jumbo-tango, well, you have shown me too much, sir, and not enough, all at the same time.

Good night to you, and please don't call. You have your feet in the many worlds of the here and now, but your heart and your soul are stuck in a sexist, primitive theological past whose claims to cultural primacy are wrapped in swamp gas and moonshine. It's a shame, really. A goddamn shame.

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The Opinuary Column



The Opinion It is what it is has died from complications arising from what doctors are describing as 'its not what it used to be and never was'. The Opinion had lived a full life of neo-existential, conversation-ending, elliptical vagueness that largely served to wrap up late night bar conversations, most of which, frankly speaking, weren't going anywhere in particular anyway. Often preceded by "Not that we know for sure" the Opinion will be missed by Zen masters and chattering muddlers alike.

Born in a working class neighborhood in a working class city in a working class state, the Opinion spent much of its youth not being what it wasn't until a chance encounter with Timothy Leary tuned it in, turned it on and dropped it out. Exploring the boundaries of what it could have been, all the while experimenting with a variety of hallucinogens which definitely already were, led it to a series of conclusions that "it was and it wasn't" but only relative to its belief that it "could and/or couldn't if it had to" which it didn't. Still unclear as to what "it" was, while despairing of where it was and why it was led it to forget just who it was, all the while fighting deep set feelings of deep set feelings.

The Opinion eventually enlisted in the army, where it was told it could be all that it could be, but soon found out that it already was what it was and didn't want to go beyond that, even if it could. By then it was too late: it had to because it must, even though it didn't want to. The Opinion's military career passed unremarkably, its only moment of note being that it got a tattoo of Popeye saying "I yam what I yam" even though it wasn't what it was, at least not while being all that it could be. It was discharged from the army after doing all that it did, which wasn't enough.

After settling down in Key Biscayne, Florida, it was asked to do a series of promotions for President Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" program, which was what it was, but shouldn't have had to be what it was. The Opinion declined to provide cover for President Clinton on the grounds that "...asking and telling are what they are and how can they be all that they can be, when they're explicitly told that they shouldn't?" It was the last interview the Opinion was asked to give, and gave it it did.

The Opinion requested that no memorial service be held. Some have speculated that its request belied a deeper, secret wish for anonymity, but friends close to the Opinion have said "It is what it is, or at least what it used to be."

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The Opinuary Column appears Friday afternoons at Jesus' General.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Oregon Senator Explains It All For You

Oregon's freshman Senator Jeff Merkley picks apart the amoral road map divined by Frank Luntz, intended to guide plutocrats to the golden shores of endless insurance lobbying money:
Here we go. Frank Luntz's memo, that's his memo on how to kill health care, came out in April. It says - talking point number five - "Health denial care horror stories in Canada and other countires do resonate, but you have to humanize them. You notice we recommend the phrase 'government takeover' rather than 'government run' or 'government control.'" Why? Because government takeover sounds even scarier.

So what did we hear in the chamber from our minority leader just recently? I quote - "Americans are concerned about a government takeover of health care and for good reason." And it goes on. So recognize that that is a point that's coming from a document about how to kill health care, not a responsible debate about the plan we have in front of us.
Way to go, Jeff! Way to go!



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PDB: Rightwing Extremists Determined to Attack in the United States

President Barack Obama states that he is "...shocked and saddened by today's shooting at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum."

Maybe he should read the Moonie Times:
The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in "rightwing extremist activity," saying the economic recession, the election of America's first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

"It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration," the warning says.
Shocked? Saddened, yes, but shocked? I blame the liberals. They get folks all antsy. Agitated, even.

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p.s. Tonight I will light a candle for the slain guard, Stephen Tyrone Johns, who died doing his job. Peace unto him and his family and friends.

UPDATE: WaPo looks at the suspected killer's history of poverty and extreme hatred. At the end of the article an individual named John de Nugent, a self-described white separatist, was quoted as stating the following:
"The responsible white separatist community condemns this," he said. "It makes us look bad."
I have no idea what mirrors are for anymore.

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Crossposted at Jesus' General.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Stuffed Vampire Mystery Theater!



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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Food For Thought



I don't like how much power our gigantic corporations have: their power is out of balance and puts at risk core democratic values of fairness and transparency. Would you vote for a food that hurts you? What if, like in the Matrix films, most of us just don't know or want to know what is really going on...well, films like the one featured in the trailer above can play a vital role in educating people, and I say hurrah to that.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Only Old Doc Jesus Can Save You Now

From a Prime Buzz posting regarding the murder of Dr. George Tiller at the Lutheran church he attended in Wichita, Kansas comes this statement from the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue:

"We are shocked at this morning’s disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down. Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller’s family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ."

"...comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ." What strikes me about this statement is that, in the middle of a violent tragedy, the good people at Operation Rescue still manage to get in an authoritarian absolutism, just in case the blood-dripped stains on the floor of the church throw you off a bit.

Note: after Googling "Operation Rescue" I clicked on their website OperationRescue.org but the page that came up had a "403 Forbidden" statement. They may be getting a lot of hits today.

CNN has more.

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