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if you're a fiscal conservative who believes in small gov't - then i take it you haven't voted for Rs in presidential elections, as every R president since reagan has both increased debt and size of gov't over Ds.
i'm for efficient government. size has little correlation to efficiency.
bush gave us solyndra - it just wasn't finalized by the time he hit the eject button (though he gladly took credit for it).
also, germany's already ceded control of the solar industry to china.
oe, you can edit but i think you only get 5 min... then the option goes away...
i could be wrong...
Ahh yeah. Noticed that on my last post. I guess I'll have to hurry in the future if I don't want to subject everyone to my awful first-pass grammar.
The fact that Romney won the primary does kind of undercut the argument that all republicans are fundamentalist christians
romney won because they think he has the best shot at beating obama not because they like his policy. In nov. most republicans will be voting against obama not for romney. hatred is far more powerful of a force for getting people out to vote than liking someone is which is why I am getting nervous that romney may win. Romney will be worse than bush imo.
clinton-bush-obama-romney, etc. they are all the same. And as long as we keep thinking there are differences between them, we all lose.
oh, please -- you think there are no differences between Bush and Obama ?
on what planet have you been living ?
There are obvious electoral politics that drive all mainstream politicians to the middle, but it does matter Handsum. Had 9/11 happend with Gore in office we would not have invaded Iraq. We wouldn't have the Bush tax cuts blowing a hole in the deficit and we would probably be on our way to a national smart-grid. Im no Gore booster. I think he's a self-congratulatory asshat, but I'd still rather have lived in a world where Bush was never president. How many countries has John McCain advocated on the senate floor that we invade in the last three years? I've lost count. Now imagine a world in which we did actually invade all those countries. Iran alone would be 5 times worse than Iraq. Add a new cold war with Russia and we're halfway to WW3 without Obama
I don't know what you're hoping for. There's no one who can get elected who will dismantle the military. I'd love to know what kind of pacified utopia you're expecting after whatever 20 year civil war bloodbath you think could prevent that. It's not going to happen. No one believes you that makes sense. So you're right, no matter who you pick we're gonna have a federal government. We're still gonna have a TSA. We're still gonna have functioning highways and mediocre public schools. But that doesn't make the differences trivial. The fact we'll have ended these two wars is not trivial. The fact insurance companies cant block you for pre-existing conditions is a big deal. Equal pay for equal work, boosting pell grants and clean energy investments, the end of DADT, these are all really important changes that no republican president would have made.
Nobody thought Bush would be as bad as he was and look what happened. Romney may not be as dumb as Bush, but he's twice as craven. He doesnt even pretend he cares about people making less than 20 mill a year. He's already got Sheldon Adelson paying him 100 million dollars to start a war with Iran. In 4 years he'll have auctioned off half the country. He's lied to so many people for so long he doesn't even know who he is anymore. The the man simply has no honor. You dont like Obama, fine. Just think about the consequences of voting for a person like that.
i'm just waiting for someone to tell me when the 1% in this country have ever sacrificed a god damn thing. when have they ever given blood for any cause? a modest increase in their ridiculously low tax rate is the least they could do. a-holes.
because class warfare really solves everything, right?
on a side note, here's a question that i actually want someone to answer because i've been wondering. i was okay with the first stimulus, but the second not so much. i have however heard the president say on multiple occasions that they've been putting money into creating construction jobs. but isn't the problem in construction deeper? i mean, employing a handful of guys to repave something or fix a bridge looks great in a campaign ad and in a speech, but isn't construction is based on what investors do with their money?
i really don't see how any of that stimulus money in construction was used for anything more than making it "look" like the economy is recovering. they repaved a highway in my state that was paved three years prior with that money. what are they going to do, do it again?
That is true. Construction jobs usually means fixing roads. Both dem's and repub's have zero imagination.
As for class warfare, citizens united is real class warfare. This is the single worst blow to democracy!
due, suck a nut, specifically my left one. why is it class warfare when the 99% are getting kicked in the fucking teeth? working wages are down, employment is in the shitter, the rich get richer and the one war the rich claim to be fighting is class? give me a fucking break.
due - to answer your question: there was only 1 true stimulus. 50% of the money was simply given to the states to plug their own plunging budgets. that part worked pretty much as designed: unemployment numbers for government workers was much lower than the overall economy, spending was somewhat normal and the hope was that things would get better within the 2 years that money was around. around 25% went to shore up the social safety net. which, unless you're a heartless bastard, actually did what it could. 25% of that stimulus went to a mix of stuff. i personally consider that mostly wasted since it didn't address the core weakness in the economy.
which is the construction sector. if you even casually read my blog, you've probably seen the multiple posts talking about the overall weakness in the construction sector, which continues until right now. if you don't know, the construction sector is roughly 8% of the total GDP. that number factors in everything associated with construction - roads, buildings, architects, engineers, manufacturer's which make materials, etc.
overall, right now, the construction sector is running about 50% of it's 'normal' capacity. not the overheated capacity of 05-06, but 'normal'. which means, the economy is starting out 4% 'in the hole'. meaning, to grow at 3% overall, the economy needs to generate 7% of real growth just to hit that number. that's china like growth, not us. we're still stuck at roughly 2% a year (which means we're really down 5%). long story short: if you can't fix the construction sector, you can't fix the economy.
what does that have to do with this thread? well, the conservatives in this country have pretty much said 'efff off' to any government spending. and, as you note, there's simply not enough private demand (or, more precisely, there's no banks willing to loan money to do enough private deals. and, no, that's not regulation as much as it is trying to stay afloat). there's not enough pension funds, foreign investors, etc. to generate new supply or substantially upgrade the existing supply enough to generate a 'normal' construction sector. and the people not employed in that sector aren't making enough or finding enough employment to get us out of the ditch unemployment wise.
so what to do? the answer is surprisingly easy: have the government spend a lot of money fixing up our infrastructure, including making all federal buildings much more energy efficient. give money to the states to do the same. you save money in the long term (what you spend on energy costs), you stimulate the sector that needs it the most and the borrowing costs are cheaper than we've ever seen in our lifetimes.
lastly: so, which party do you trust to put this plan into action? i might - might - have said a bush41. but not this tea party bunch. on the flip side, i think the obama camp could be pushed to do this, but it's not going to happen in washington right now. so we'll all keep dragging along and take what could have been a 3 year dip and drag it out into a 10+ year pounding of the everyone except the very rich. that's probably why most architects aren't conservative...
but isn't the problem in construction deeper? i mean, employing a handful of guys to repave something or fix a bridge looks great in a campaign ad and in a speech, but isn't construction is based on what investors do with their money?
This is investment in infrastructure - which can also help stimulate the economy in other ways - but the problem is that where it makes the most sense to spend the larger share of money - cities (i.e. more efficient use of systems due to denser population and can more easily spur other development) - the Rs systematically try to strip funding that goes toward urban areas for some reason. they're more interested in sending stimulus money to their buddies in rural areas - like the gas pipeline, highways, things that promote low-density development, etc... where there's much less (if any) return on the government's investment. If the Rs were really interested in how to best spend our tax dollars they'd be spending it in cities. However, we all know that's not where their base is.
Mitt Romney seemed to understand this when he was governor (he was an avid smart growth advocate) - I wonder what his position is now - especially since he has to answer to the tea party/conspiracy theorists who think smart growth is a UN (or extra-terrestrial) plot to turn america socialist.
No need to be rude Beta. Due is being completely reasonable. Its a valid question.
And yeah, as others have said in more detail, the idea is to compensate for a lack of private demand. In good times, private growth becomes a self-sustaining cycle, more income means more hiring means more costumers means more growth. But in a recessive cycle the opposite happens. Less demand means fewer jobs means fewer customers means an imploding economy. If left to its own devices, as many conservative economists would suggest, the cycle would in fact bottom out, and eventually bounce back, but the depth of the hole in the case of the last recession would be so deep we may not have been able to dig ourselves out for decades. So much money had evaporated we were looking at dustbowl conditions without action. Bank runs, 20% unemployment, breadlines... nobody wanted to take that chance. If you can keep people working, teachers, police, firefighters, auto-workers, and yes construction workers as well, they then kick that money back into the system and provide a buffer against the recessive cycle. If in the process they fix bridges and ports and highways and improve our overall infrastructure, all the better.
And toaster, I think the easiest answer to your first question is most Republicans come from rural districts and rural states. Like all members of congress, part of what they do is bring home the bacon, whether it makes sense for the larger country or not. Democrats do it too.
As for Romney, I think the real problem is nobody knows what he's going to do. I might have expected to see him make some tack to the center after the primary, but as of yet I see no evidence of that. His entire platform seems more of obfuscation than giving any hint of policy plans, and given what his donors are asking, Im not in the least bit comforted by that. Republicans have always been the party of the upper class. This didn't even used to be a problem. Wealth is an enormously powerful incentive, and just because someone has money doesn't make them a bad person. Up until the 70's it was in the interest of the wealthy to invest in things like education and healthcare, because they were investing in the strength of their own workforce. But because so much manufacturing has moved to China and latin america since then, that incentive is simply no longer there. People with means invest in countries with lower wages and fewer environmental controls because that lowered overhead means more growth. In purely economic terms its a no-brainer for them. I'm not a class warrior. Raising taxes for the upper most bracket isn't punishment. Its simply the only way to ensure that money made here stays here and is invested in our own people. Of course conservatives will argue thats because our wages are too high and safety and environmental regulation is too stringent for them to willingly invest here. But is your solution really to pay people what they pay in china? To pollute like they do in china? That american workers will be throwing themselves off buildings rather than face another 16 hour shift? If your idea of how to fix the american economy is to turn it into a 3rd world country, then perhaps your economic ideas aren't really serving our best interest. Most people on the left think a much better way would be to out tech the world, to race to the top rather than race to the bottom. Think like Germany and Scandinavia; invest in education and technology and healthcare to produce the smartest, most productive workforce in the world. Thats always been what we've been good at.
romney's real problem is he's a "northeastern" conservative. which means you actually have a soul and are much more pragmatic and interested in getting to solutions, even if you don't agree 100% with every aspect of the solution. this was reagan. which in and of itself is just fine. his backers, though, are "southern" conservatives, for whom the individual is the be-all, end all focus of the universe. they simply don't believe in government, in any form (although they paradoxically love hierarchy). compromise is worse than a scarlet letter. compromise is worse than defeat. (and i say this as a southerner who's clearly not that.)
the class angle is there in both strains, but it simply wasn't something discussed in public (which is why romney's had so much trouble framing and handling the 99% movement). the class wedge is actually being driven less than one might imagine by the southern conservatives as well. it's there, but as part of a kind of social hierarchy they still can't reconcile was dismantled 40 years ago.
If you've never seen the 1994 Charlie Rose interview of Sir James Goldsmith, leave the Republican vs Democrat argument aside for a second and please watch it and pay special attention to 5:00-6:30.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PQrz8F0dBI
romney's real problem is he's a "northeastern" conservative. which means you actually have a soul ????
Romney has a soul? His real problem is that he is a CEO. Most people will be turned off by this (hopefully). Most people hate their boss.
I don't so much mind bosses as I do contemptible schmoozers.
Romney's problem is that he is a flip-flopping, stiff, wealthy old white guy from Massachusetts. In other words, he is John Kerry.
In the meantime:
(image via zerohedge.com)
Oops, sorry. I was wrong. There are differences between them. They're just superficial differences.
jla - yeah, i think he does. look, i'm not going to demonize too many people. except karl rove. and grover norquist. and dick cheney. that trio really are zombies...
i have a family full of engineers. the differences politically between my architecture crowd and my engineer crowd are huge. they've really proven to me the futility of judging right from wrong in politics.
but i'm italian so i have no choice but to argue with everyone.
also, i tend to side with thomas hobbes regarding human nature. anyone with me?
Don't see how romney is any different. If anything I think he will be worse. He represents the very thing that destroyed this country -corporatism. His kind is responsible for the fastfood nation created over the last 30 years, the polarization of wealth and power, outsourcing, the economic collapse of 08........... His kind only cares about easy profit. It is in his DNA.
i'd love to apologize for my comments, but i can't, i'm too busy working for 20% less than what i should. so, i'll just say this; anytime that bullshit, ill conceived idea of class warfare dares to step out of the shadows, i'll be there, like the dark knight, to kick the shit out of it. "class warfare" is the sideshow equivalent of a lie concealing the ultimate truth about the individual claiming it as fact. Mittens and Conservative Right call it class warfare, when what they have been perpetrating for the past 30 years, in actions and policies, is just that; Warfare. only, they don't call it that, they call it tax cuts, destruction of collective bargaining, outsourcing, and free trade.
"working for 20% less than what I should"
Um. Basic economics lesson time. You are "worth" precisely what you accept in return for your work. So if you are currently being paid 20% less than what you believe is the accurate value of your work, you should immediately either refuse to work for that amount and sell your work elsewhere, or realize that the amount you're paid is what your work is really worth.
When you negotiate an employment and payment agreement, what you're doing is engaging in price discovery for yourself. The price you settle on is your value in the market. If you think your price has changed, then it's time to renegotiate or sell to a higher bidder.
The plight (and economics) of making full time hires in America.
Math suks, yo!
"oo busy working for 20% less than you should? and too busy arguing with people on the internet.
^^ some of us have friends and relatives with downs and/or participate in the special olympics. don't be a dipshit.
You are "worth" precisely what you accept in return for your work
BS! Are you kidding. Maybe in a perfect world.
Are Bank CEO's really worth 40 million dollars a year while brain surgeons are getting 400k and teachers are making 40k? I have no problem with being rich. I hope I am too one day. I think that if you earn it you deserve to be as rich as you want, but there is a huge imbalance between how much you can earn making and selling "stuff of value" and just shuffling around numbers or selling cheap garbage that degrades society. I am not saying that those people should be strung up and beat, but I am saying that we should all expose them for the greedy shit they are! I am all for class warfare if we target the ones who are robbing others, not the ones making life better. I don't think that anyone hates Steve Jobs or George Lucas, we are mad at Halliburton and BOA for making their wealth on the backs of everyone else. Class warfare was declaired by them on us not the other way around!
If a CEO asks for $40mm/year and somebody agrees to pay him that much, then by definition, that individual is worth $40mm per year, priced at the market. Duh.
Now, we can argue whether or not the board of directors or whoever made the hiring decision to pay such an exalted salary made a wise decision to do so. Did they overpay? Did they underpay? What on earth does this person do for them that they consider it worth paying $40mm per year for it? But the fact remains that they did, in fact, pay that much. As long as they keep doing so, that's what he's worth.
warren buffet thinks banks and banker pay is ridiculous and does not reflect market. it's not just a liberal idea...
i think the point is that the insane compensation for financial market workers is possibly akin to bernie madoff's value not so long ago. he was never worth all that money. he was scamming his investors and his compensation reflected shadows not reaily
i don't agree entirely but with all the scandals lately sometimes one has to wonder. recent shenanigans at barclays, jp morgan, etc, do make a person think.
buffet seems to make money without all that paper shuffling. somehow that seems a more reasonable economic model when it comes to valuation.
underpaid teachers do not mean teachers are getting what they are worth. it is more likely true that the valuation system is stressed and failing. Most likely a re-adjustment is necessary, not a shoulder shrug and pointing to the invisible hand of the market. That is more about ideology than a useful tool that we can use to make decisions, financial or otherwise...
Why are so many architects so woefully ignorant of even basic principles of economics? It's no wonder we have such a notorious reputation in the industry for being bad at business.
A lot of people here seem to laboring (heh) under one of two serious misconceptions about economic value in the labor market. The first essentially boils down to the Labor Theory of Value, which has been so thoroughly disproven over the last few decades that anyone supporting it now is merely comical. Unless they understand that it's bullsh@t and advocate it anyway, in which case they are evil. If this describes you, please seek professional help. Perhaps Marxists Anonymous has a twelve-step program starting up in your neighborhood.
The other misconception is more common and more subtle: value realism. We see this when someone suggests that they are "worth" something that they plainly are not, as demonstrated by the fact that nobody seems willing to pay the price suggested by this supposed value. The misconception is that there is some independent property of value (worth) existing outside of current transactional circumstances: an intrinsic "value" that price only approximates.
This is a fallacious belief. Value is purely contextual: entirely dependent on the transactional agents and their purposes (e.g. Of value to whom and for what?). Nothing has intrinsic value. Nothing at all. Value only comes into play when relative assessments of importance are made. When this is transactional, we can measure the participants' value judgments by using the price of the trade. That price truly represents the value of whatever is being traded between those people at that time.
Now, their judgment may be in error or their knowledge incomplete. When this is the case, or when information available is corrupt or false, then the price may be subject to major changes as more accurate information becomes available. And the emotional states of the actors may change quite a lot as well. Thus, we get things like market crashes and manias, ponzi schemes, bubbles, and massively-inflated CEO salaries
What does all that have to do with architecture? Three things:
First of all, our standard way of managing and pricing our work is based on the Labor Theory of Value (that's right: I just called y'all Marxists. If you budget and manage using timesheets, you may as well just start chanting the Internationale and quoting Trotsky). We budget and track hours spent like that actually means something, and write up proposals based on how many hours we think it will take to do the job, plus a percentage for profit. If you do this in your practice, and the odds are good that you do, then I LOL in your general direction. You are using a debunked, silly, 150-year-old fantasy to run your business.
Second, we gripe about how nobody appreciates the value of what we do, and yet we are the primary discounters. As I mentioned above, architectural design and services have NO INTRINSIC VALUE. It's stupid to act like they do. On the other hand, what we do and produce can be enormously valuable to some people in some places at some times. But the value is entirely relative to the context. Who needs us? For what? What can we do for them that they think is most important? Why can they get more of that value from us than someone else? Instead, we take a boilerplate approach based on stupid, obsolete ideas and price ourselves right out of the market: either so high nobody will buy (at which point we get huffy about not getting what we're "worth"), or too low ("buying" work to keep utilization up, or drastically undervaluing what we are giving our clients). On the other hand, if you learn a lot about what your market values, and tailor your proposal and price to THAT, you'll be surprised how much leverage that gets you in negotiations, and how suddenly healthy your profit margin just got.
And finally, we do the same thing to ourselves when we look for employment in the profession. I'll say it again: YOU HAVE NO INTRINSIC VALUE. You are worth exactly what the market will pay. No more. No less. That doesn't mean you can't do better, but doing better means pricing yourself on value. Not your own notion of how much you are intrinsically worth, but how much value you can provide to somebody such that they'll happily pay your outrageous price and consider themselves lucky for doing so.
Sorry for the wall of text. I posted that from my phone, and Archinect stripped all the line breaks out of it.
holz.box get a sense of humor. i know people too.
gwharton, can you name something that *does* have intrinsic value?
so i guess you think paul krugman has it all wrong to, gwharton? there are all kinds of ways to think about economics and most models do not quite match reality. they are often more about how we wish the world should be than how the world is...
the way the political system is now, we are not giving value to people who should be paid better. i am not talking architecture. Personally i have no major complaints about how much i make. it isn't enough but that's on me, i agree. however I can always take risks or whatever and earn more (especially since i am director of my own office). a teacher cannot. that particular system is flawed.
there is a system in place that is NOT the market. I do believe we will all do better to not assume the market is leading to valuation in such a simplistic way as you describe.
this is for duenuts:
1. mocking, contemptuous, or ironic language intended to convey scorn or insult
2. the use or tone of such language
i've been paid what i am worth, but in the great contraction, and the fact nearly half of all architects are/were unemployed, it has change dynamics all around. not the least of those is the simple fact that architects, people, are trying to feed families, pay mortgages, healthcare, etc...and have been forced into the ongoing practice of cutting their rates to get work.
geez well i guess if anything proves anything, most architects are liberal. mention any conservative talking point and you die a miserable death in this place.
gwharton's analysis is why the market has given value to the total strip-mining of all of our natural and human resources: there is no 'value' to thinking about them ethically or responsibly.
if you extract and take only, and are never held responsible for damage, you may become wealthy and intrinsic value is anathema because it might suggest that your conscience could escape from the underground vault you've locked it in.
if you are silly enough to think that you can both build a career and be a steward of the resources made available to you, possibly even improving the environment and community around you, you're a sucker and have no understanding of the all-important market and how it assigns value.
"i don't agree entirely but with all the scandals lately sometimes one has to wonder. recent shenanigans at barclays, jp morgan, etc, do make a person think. "
Yeah, and if you think about it, then you understand how broken the whole thing is. the problem with such scandals (you should have mentioned MF Global too) is that they completely undermine the credibility of the markets and the rule of law in general. Money is lost/stolen and nobody goes to jail. The executive bigshot might get fired or resign (while getting a mulitmillion dollar parting check) and whatever losses the bank or financial institution incurred are handed over to the public to pay for with another round of bailouts which is really just theft from common people to support the e x t r a v a g a n t lifestyles of these thieves.
The whole fucking thing is a thieving fucking joke. You put save money in your 401k but it losses value in market and the thieving financial bosses till get rich. Thieves. You pay your taxes but the road still have potholes and the schools are falling apart & laying off teachers but the politicians leave office richer than when they enter. Thieves. You put your money in a bank, they charge fees to do practically anything with yet are still going bankrupt and need government bailouts but the bank execs suffer no personal losses. Thieves.
The only really comforting thought is that the pace of this bullshit corruption is accelerating exponentially and it's probably going to implode sooner rather than later.
"The only really comforting thought is that the pace of this bullshit corruption is accelerating exponentially and it's probably going to implode sooner rather than later."
explain because this sounds interesting.
Due, it is just that people are so tired of neocons. That's why you encounter so many knee jerk reactions. Being an old fashioned conservative is ok, they care about the well being of society too but they're a dying breed. There were great Republicans such as Abraham Lincoln and there was Fiorello La Guardia who called himself a "liberal Republican". He supported Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Today a liberal Republican would sound like a total oxymoron but it was possible in the past. Unfortunately the Republican Party is totally hijacked and their small government mantra is all about "shrinking the government to a size they can drown in a bathtub." I'm not saying the Democratic Party is flawless, both parties serve the corporations but Dems seem like the lesser of two devils. That being said, ignorance exist among many conservatives and I've seen a lot of uninformed liberals:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/us/liberal-or-conservative-the-problem-is-ignorance.html?_r=1
Wow. Reading comprehension has hit a new low here.
I'll drink to that. Happy 4th of July, yo!
i assume you're referring to my comment, maybe, gwharton, so i'll offer this:
you say that something's value is only in what the "market will pay". while this is what is happening, it doesn't mean that it's right. the market completely ignores a realistic assignment of cost in its valuation.
the costs the market acknowledges are related to its own assignment of value but ignore eventual costs like depletion of resources, loss of educated or skilled workforce, mitigation of air and water pollution, etc. these are simply passed down the line. those who end up dealing with them are those who find value in things beyond the market's navel-gazing value system.
architects tend to have a foot in both camps, subject to the value system of the markets but similarly invested in non-market interests like stewardship and community-building.
gwharton on Tuesday: wall of incomprehensible text
gwharton on Wednesday: "Wow. Reading comprehension has hit a new low here."
Well, son. If you are going to be a shithead that parrots fox news factoids de jour, you gotta format that manifesto at least. Posting war and peace by phone? Yeaaaah! But still. Get them returns in there.
text "shithead" to get a detailed breakdown on why your formulaic diatribe makes you of average intelligence. At best.
And speaking of corruption, gotta love Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone:
"But to me what’s missing from all of this is the “Holy Fucking Shit!” factor." in regards to the latest scandal via his recent blog post Why is Nobody Freaking Out About the LIBOR Banking Scandal?
Holy Fucking Shit, yo!
good link handsum. I'll give you an econ101 primer as to why we don't care if banks and regulators work together for the private profit of the bank:
Value is purely contextual: entirely dependent on the transactional agents and their purposes
I'll say it again: YOU HAVE NO INTRINSIC VALUE
It's only money. Money isn't worth anything unless it's assigned a value by someone with a lot of money, such as the federal reserve, JP Morgan, Barclay's, or the LIBOR people, and then traded to someone who agrees to that value. Now if you believed that value could be assigned to labor, or your own income (we'll call that 'value realism'), obviously this would be something to be worried about. But we like rich people. It's okay for them to screw around with between 10 and 800 trillion dollars of other people's money. If we speak against them, and asked for regulation, that would be like forming a labor union and expanding government. You're not a communist are you? If so you must have forgotten this part of our lesson:
which has been so thoroughly disproven over the last few decades that anyone supporting it now is merely comical.
Anyway, it's only a few 10s of trillions of dollars. It will trickle down to us eventually, after the bank CEOs take their cut and give a bonus to their circle of people and pay off a few politicians and regulators and then spread the rest around as shareholder dividends so it doesn't look their failing institutions are failing.
true dat, rusty
happy fourth all.
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