Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny: January 2006

Is this where I put in key words such as sex, lesbians, vampires, Christopher Lloyd and others things to which this blog do not pertain, but by putting them here, I may get hits from all the Christoper Lloyd lesbian vampire fans (and you know who you are)? This is the primarily humorous and occasionally rambling writings of Leon Tchaikovsky, humor writer. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Watered Down Water Stories

I cannot understand women. Why do they get upset that we don’t want to ruin a perfectly good coaster by instead putting our drinks on the table?

Someone was going to put an indoor parachuting business in Citywalk. This never came to fruition. Of course not. If you want to parachute, you’re going to do so out of a plane, and not pay money just to jump a few feet. If you’re not going to want to parachute, you’re not going to pay to do so at Citywalk.

Did you ever check into a hotel room and say to yourself: Isn’t that nice? The hotel left a complimentary bottle of spring water. Then, after you drink the bottle, you find the sign in small print stating the bottle costs eight dollars. Which really upsets you, because there’s perfectly good tap water just ten feet away. So you then spend half a day of your vacation finding the water brand and size and label to exactly duplicate the bottle you drank so you can replace it to save eight dollars. Only, just as you are replacing the bottle, you notice the bottle you drank states, in small print “for hotel distribution only”. And the bottle you bought, of course, doesn’t have that lettering. So, you pour the water from the bottle you bought into the bottle you drank. As you’re doing that, you then realize you could have done that from the very beginning with the perfectly good tap water only ten feet away. You now what I mean by this, right? Oh, well, it’s just me then.

Shocking Update on Stanley Milgram Shock Study

Long hidden details of Stanley Milgam’s controversial studies during the 1960s at Yale University have been discovered. Milgram experimented to see how far people would obey a person in an authority position even to the point that they know they are causing harm to another purpose. A purpose of the study was to seek an explanation on how holocausts can occur and why people can be convinced to commit atrocities by someone in authority. The study had volunteers commit what they thought were behaviors that were causing great harm and could possibly kill another. Unfortunately, since these were volunteers, the possible psychological scarring of the volunteers upon realizing they had been talked into harming and possibly killing another was considered beyond the scope of reasonable scientific inquiry. The study was widely condemned.

The study put volunteers at the control of a knob that would shock a person sitting in front of the volunteers. The knob included a warning that voltage above a certain level could result in the death of the subject. As a Yale University scientist wearing a white coat instructed the volunteer to shock the subject, the Yale scientist recorded how far the volunteer would go in shocking another person. The study found that many, even after the subject was screaming in pain, would continue raising the level of the shocks. Many also continued to increase the voltage past the stated danger level that could result in death. The study concluded that many people will accept the request of a person seemingly knowledgeable and in charge, here a Yale scientist wearing a white coat, in going forth in causing great pain to another person.

Fortunately, there really was no voltage, and the subject screaming in pain was acting as part of the experiment. Yet, the volunteers did not know that. No humans were harmed during this experiment.

Two files long thought destroyed have been found. The first is of a volunteer listed only as “George W.B.” His file reads “George applied the shocks most willingly, stating that he had a legal right as a Yale student to do so. He insisted that shocking or torturing another in protection of our nation or Yale was appropriate and that he needed no prior approval from another to so engage. Rather than wait and determine if the person had committed any act deserving shocks, he argued that we need to show strength and resolve. Volunteer laughed giddily which applying the shocks.”

The second file was of a volunteer listed only as “Hillary R.” Her file reads “Hillary, before receiving any instruction, read the voltage warning on the knob, declared that she recognized the subject to receive shocks as a cheating former boyfriend. Without any prior instruction on what to do, she turned the knob on full blast, left it there for several minutes, and then walked out and left.”

Friday, January 20, 2006

Goggle Bush, Sex, and Intelligence, and You're Brought Here

There is a move to remove the name of J. Edgar Hoover from the Hoover Building. There is also a move to change the name of the George Bush Center for Intelligence, not out of any disrespect to the former President, but because, whenever they see it, the public keeps breaking into uncontrollable laughter.

The Federal government has demanded that Goggle show them what the American public is googling. Let me save the Federal government the trouble: the public is goggling sex.

Felicity Huffman’s latest movie has her portraying a man who wants to become a woman. Yes, like they couldn’t find a man to play that role in all of Hollywood.

50 Cent has been sued for copyright infringement. I don’t know why anyone would sue him: all he’s got is 50 cent.

Bin Laden has issued a statement that he is not dead yet. To underscore this, he has applied for a role in Spamalot.

College students have relied on the Internet so much that they lack an understanding of some basic life skills. Yes, if you came to this site by goggling “sex”, “bush”, and “spamalot” you may have a problem.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Numerous Studies Show Men are Whacked

A new breed of scorpion has reportedly been discovered. I warned this would happen when more young people continued becoming entertainment agents.

Had a funny experience. I entered a cab, quickly noticed the cab driver's dashboard sign that read “I love Jenna”, so later, as we were making conversation, I asked “is Jenna your girl friend?” He immediately panicked and asked how I knew about him and Jenna (well, I was thinking, your sign proclaiming to the world that you love Jenna might be a clue). He seemed very nervous and wondered if I was there to “deal with him” over his affair with Jenna. I couldn’t figure out why he thought his relationship with Jenna was supposed to be such a secret until I took a second look at his sign and realized it really read “I love Jesus.”

I saw a booth that was trying to get people to adopt retired greyhounds (the dogs, not the buses. Retired buses are,,,well, actually, they are never retired. They are still on the road.) This made me wonder: is there a place that also gets people to adopt retired human athletes? When you think about it, there are lots of athletes especially from minor league sports who are thrown aside and forgotten by their teams when they get too old. Who takes care of them?

I have an idea for a t-shirt to be sold. It’ll read “My father got whacked by the Cosa Nostra, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”

Speaking of which, with the recent Supreme Court decision affirming the right to assisted suicides, all future Cosa Nostra whackings will be relabeled as assisted involuntary suicides.

We had a bomb threat today. It didn’t surprise me: a lot of bad movies are always released in January.

The pitcher who led the major leagues in losing games last season just signed a $4.15 million contract. That does not include various performance bonuses, such as, next season, coming in second or better in losses.

A new study says men enjoy watching suffering. Which explains much of television programming.

Another study claims that the instances of prison forced sex are far fewer than previously believed. Apparently men don’t really want to see that much suffering.

Philadelphia is considering starting a single sex only public school. Objecting to this are hermaphrodites.

Friday, January 13, 2006

See Philadelphia: The Smell is New Jersey

Former Governor Don Siegelman is quoted as stating “have you ever tried to raise money when under indictment? It’s difficult.” This may be a very valuable piece of information for many in Washington, D.C.

New Jersey has adopted a new slogan: “New Jersey: Come See For Yourself.” As for me, I’ll pass and just take their word for it.

Recent news articles dispel the notion that the Donner family were cannibals. Also, it has been found that birds used to eat people. Therefore, maybe birds ate the Donners.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Should Secular Humanist Bishops Be Allowed to Marry Ivy League Women?

Albert Hofman, who invented the drug LSD, held a birthday celebration for his 100th birthday. Actually, he only turned 60, but he was high so everyone humored him.

Supreme Court Justice nominee Samuel Alito and I apparently tangled years ago. It seems he belonged to an organization that protested admitting women into an Ivy League college. I, on the other hand, was protesting that we needed more women, and we wanted them now.

President Bush yesterday said he favors granting “temporary worker status”. After all, it’s worked well for him.

My cousin is very confused. He says he wants to grow up and become a Secular Humanist Bishop.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I Challenge Brad Pitt to a DNA Test

The continuing news that Angelina Jolie might be pregnant continues. As this blog reported in July, Angelina Jolie is not pregnant. We stand by that statement. Although, should she give birth in May or before, we may consider issuing a rebuttal, but probably not. We’ll just pretend we never said anything. Although, perhaps Angelina Jolie has become pregnant since we reported she is not pregnant. But I doubt that, as I am certain she is saving herself until she decides to have a child with me.

A woman died in Cincinnati over two years ago and her family left her body sitting in front of a television. In other words, she fits the description of a typical Fox News viewer.

I never understood the mentality of people who invest in hedge funds. A hedge fund investor is like someone who goes to a roulette wheel, places two chips on “black” and then places one chip on “red”. This same person who be seen crying uncontrollably whenever the wheel lands on “green”.

There is a debate on a study that claims that praying increasing the chances of a woman getting pregnant. Which has to be a blow to all those fathers who sent their daughters to church hoping to prevent that very thing.

The press reports that an egg farmer was arrested for animal cruelty. What? He was seen cracking eggs and then beating the eggs?

A man knows a relationship with a woman is getting serious when he looks at the woman he is dating and starts considering those questions about marriage. Questions such as: is this woman capable of taking good care of half my stuff after the divorce? Would she be as attentive to car maintenance as you are to your car?

Legislation is being proposed that will prohibit imposters from calling themselves the names of defunct bands. So, until that proposal is enacted into law, I wish to announce that my new band, the Beatles, will be touring soon.

My close and personal friend Rupert just spend $580 million to buy the MySpace website company. Dude, you could have bought my site for a third that. Some people just have too much money. Poor guy. He earlier bought a baseball team and messed that all up. I think I need to get some friends together for an intervention: this guy obviously has no idea what he’s doing.

Speaking of baseball, I understand the Angels are considering another name change. They will soon be known as the North America Angels.

Joe Paterno is going to apologize for his insensitivity when he stated “a cute girl knocks on the door. What do you do? Geez, I hope—thank God they don’t knock on my door because I’d refer them to a couple of other rooms.” Paterno is going to admit that was totally insensitive, and to show that he has since become sensitive, anytime a cute girl knocks on his door, she will be welcome to stay.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Book Review: Unlocking the Doors

It is fortunate that George Leader, who was Governor of Pennsylvania from 1955 to 1959, has recorded the history of one of his important contemporaries, Harry Shapiro. Shapiro was a politician who saw injustice against people whom were hidden from most of society, the mentally ill, realized they deserved far better treatment then they were receiving, and devoted his political and professional energies toward successfully changing the way the mentally ill were treated and improving their lives. How this was achieved forms the basis of this book.

The history of how we treated the mentally ill has not been pleasant. Much ignorance and societal desires to remove the mentally ill from sight has been what has guided mental health policies. Pennsylvania has historically been a leader in mental health treatment, from Pennsylvania Hospital in the 1770s becoming the first state funded hospital to accept extreme cases of mental illness (less extreme cases were imprisoned or confined). Back then, mechanical restraints were considered as part of cutting edge treatment practices. In the 19th century, Pennsylvanian Benjamin Rush conducted scientific research in mental illness and, while many of his treatments since have been found to have been ineffective or even made matters worse, at least he introduced the approach of searching for what might work. The state legislature approved the first state funded facility specifically for mental illness in 1841, yet the project was terminated when patronage and political waste depleted funds necessary for the actual project. A report authored by Dorothy Dix about the abuse, unsanitary conditions, and chaining of the mentally ill in various Pennsylvania facilities led the legislature to approve an asylum. The State Lunatic Hospital opened outside Harrisburg in 1851. A Philadelphian, Thomas Story Kirkbride, published research on the various levels of mental illness and the need for “moral treatment” of patients. The legislature then approved several laws on mental health, including creating treatment guidelines according to Kirkbride’s recommendations and providing mental health patients with the right to legal counsel. The 20th century found that practices including lobotomies, shock therapy, and placing violent patients into insulin comas were common,

When the Leader Administration took office, they found most mental health facilities were actually holders of patronage workers who were unskilled for mental health purposes. Their salaries were such large portions of facility budgets that building repairs were often neglected as unaffordable. Patients resided in officially condemned buildings. The deplorable conditions found enraged State Senator Harry Shapiro. When Shapiro was denied entry to inspect one mental health building, he forced his way in and saw the shocking conditions firsthand. There were severe shortages of professional staff to treat patients and patients lived in overcrowded residences. By 1955, the number of patients in state mental institutions was at its historical peak of just under 50,000. A patient then received only an average of five hours of psychotherapy per year.

Governor Leader appointed Harry Shapiro as Welfare Secretary, which included the Mental Health System. Shapiro hired experts from the American Psychiatric Association to study Pennsylvania’s system and to make recommendations. What Shapiro learned and then adopted were national recruitment efforts to hire skilled personnel, to create individualized treatment programs for all patients, and where feasible to adopt efforts to enable some to return to society. Prior to this, many patients who entered the mental health system remained there for the rest of their lives.

Shapiro also fought to depoliticize the mental health system. Past practices of patients being on liquid diets while mental health patronage employees ate lobster and caviar ceased. Patronage employees were replaced and funds shifted towards hiring nurses, medical doctors, and psychiatrists.

Shapiro learned about mental health treatment practices in other countries. He saw how techniques such as group therapy and recreational activities were helpful and encouraged their use in Pennsylvania. Shapiro noted that patients are more apt to heal when in environments that encourage healing.

Children with mental health difficulties should be separated from adults, Shapiro decided. He created the first Children’s Services Bureau as well as the first facilities solely for children. He saw to it that over 110,000 mentally and physically challenged children were provided education. Governor Leader led a successful campaign for the mandatory education of handicapped children.

The author notes how the number of mental health patients has declined from 50,000 in the 1950s to about 2,000 today. He suggests there may be analogies from the mental health problems of the 1950s to the difficulties of the corrections facilities of today, noting that the number of people incarcerated has increased from 7,000 in the mid-1950s to over 40,000 today, The focus of this book, though, is on mental health. The appreciation provide to Harry Shapiro is well deserved and serves as an important indicator of how one dedicated public figure, backed by a supportive Governor along with a dedicated staff, can change an entire system for the better. Pennsylvania needs more George Leaders and Harry Shapiros.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

An Idea That Could Bomb

Pat Robertson plans to build a Biblical theme park in Israel. It will be called Galilee World Heritage Park, or, as in the Middle East, it will be known as the Deliver Bomb Here.

I do have to warn Pat Robertson, who claims God does not exist in Dover, Pennsylvania after rejecting a School Board that favors creationism. If that is true, then things may work out, because God will be needed overtime at the Galilee World Heritage Park.

It has to be personally insulting to Jack Abramoff to have all those politicians sending his money back to him. If it helps, I made a list of strangers on the street who want Jack to know that if he’ll send them money, they promise to keep it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Book Review: A Capitol Journey

Vince Carocci, a longtime reporter who served as an aide to Governor Casey, has written his professional autobiography. This intertwining of remembrances with keen analysis of events makes this a superb book for those interested in recent Pennsylvania government and politics. Readers learn how Capitol reporters in the 1960s were an assortment of grouchy men (there were no female Capitol reporters) ranging from those who sought quotes to verify angles on stories they had already written to those who pretended to write about things they heard secondhand. The press then could be vicious, as noted by the famous “Shapp Denies Rumor He Had Psychiatric Treatment” headline.

The author also worked as a State Senate staff aide, where he observed that political alliances were flexible and changing. Readers learn some Senators believed in the politics of revenge. The book also proposes an interesting theory that the defeat of Joe Ammerman for Majority Leader led to the decline of the Democratic Party. The claim is Ammerman would have objected to activities by then-elected Democratic leadership that led to the Republicans taking control of the State Senate in 1974. He believes the party drifted from leadership that sought to do what was the best to one that sought to do what was best for themselves. Democratic leaders even worked to defeat other Democrats. Republicans have had a near-dynasty of Senate control ever since.

Readers see how Republicans operated even in the 1970s, as when Appropriations Committee Chairman Jack Seltzer announced that “I’m ready to sit here until I get this settled the way I want.” In some ways, the art of negotiating with a Republican has changed little.

The 1970s, though, were a critical decade for the legislature. During that decade, it moved from a part-time office to a professional branch of government whose policymaking role became equivalent to that of the Governor. The author notes that professional legislative staffing became more important in shaping policies and subsequently the abilities of political parties to guide policies diminished. With the weakening of political parties, the legislative leaders lost some of their political clout while rank and file legislators increased their political strength. The author notes that Sen. Craig Lewis’s taking the Appropriations Committee Chairmanship from the incumbent Joe Smith would have been unthinkable a few years earlier.

Among important changes the author notes was the removal of the one term limitation for a Governor. Allowing a Governor a second term gave a Governor a longer period of time to work on goals plus the likelihood of such an extended presence gives the Governor greater political clout to achieve those goals. It is noted every Governor since this law was changed has been elected to two terms, thus allowing Governors to take advantage of these extended abilities. Ironically, both the legislative and administrative branches of government have become more influential in recent decades.

Politics in 1962 continues to influence us to this day. Rep. Bill Scranton (whose son is now running for Governor) then disavowed any interest in running for Governor. Yet, Republican political leaders (who included Scranton’s mother, Marion Margery Warren Scranton) were leery of their likely nominee, Judge Robert Woodside. Scranton told party leaders he would run for Governor if all 67 Republican county chairmen would unite behind his candidacy. To his surprise, 66 did, which was close enough. Scranton ran and was elected Governor.

Scranton used a clever ploy during his campaign. His Democratic opponent, Philadelphia Mayor Richardson Dilworth, has been making an issue of being unable to debate Scranton and thus would debate an empty chair. Dilworth bought television time to debate his empty chair, only to be thrown off and lose his composure on television when Scranton appeared at the last moment.

Governor Scranton then raised the sales tax. Surprisingly, the phrase “tax and spend Republicans” so far has failed to gain its rightful place in our lingo. The author, though, offers his opinion that Scranton and Casey were the two best Governors he saw.

As an interesting side note, the author observed how the senior Scranton was an excellent campaigner who knew how to work crowds while the younger Scranton keeps to himself more. Hopefully there will be a continued reluctance in the younger Scranton to learn how to campaign effectively.

Scranton was followed by Raymond Shafer as Governor. Shafer was a Republican who fought with the Republican legislative leadership, leading to the creation of an eight month budget where many budget issues were left for the next Governor. Shafer was followed by Democrat Milton Shapp, the first candidate to broadcast television ads every night for the ten nights prior to the primary and whose ads helped him be an upset primary victor twice and eventually Governor in his second attempt. The author notes that Shapp, who ran as a candidate against the Democratic Party machine, ran afoul of that same machine as it dispensed patronage to people loyal to the party but not necessarily to Shapp. The Democratic Party’s image took a sharp blow with the public as almost 400 politicians were indicted during the Shapp years.

The author notes the selling of patronage jobs appears to have never been traced to Shapp, but that it did exist and seems to have been fairly widespread. Republican legislative leaders took advantage of these scandals to advance their party. When Shapp willingly appeared to testify before a legislative committee, and was then handed a subpoena to testify, it was many observers’ opinions, including the author’s, that Shapp defended himself rather well against Republican efforts to gain political mileage off the scandals and in fact emerged political stronger.

The author sees Shapp as a Governor who had good intentions who truly cared about those with economic disadvantages. Shapp may have survived the scandals, but the Democratic Party did not (and to this day has yet to totally rebound.) Republican Dick Thornburgh was the next elected Governor.

The author views Thornburgh as a paradox as a Governor who expressed integrity yet was as manipulative as the very type of leader Thornburgh claimed to despise. He criticizes Thornburgh for opposing the bipartisan legislative efforts to create a prescription drug program for the elderly and then embracing the program as if it were his own. The author also believes Thornburgh supported abolishing the liquor control system less for reasons of policy but in retaliation for having his nominees to the Liquor Control Board blocked by State Senate Democrats. Further, his administration awarded a weatherization contract to a Democratic State Senator, Milton Street, who switched to the Republican Party. Finally, as the only Governor to use the official Governor’s Mansion for a political fundraiser, the author disbelieves claims that Thornburgh was a Governor above politics.

The author served as Deputy Legislative Affairs Secretary, Government Operations Secretary, and then Press Secretary to the following Governor, Democrat Bob Casey. The author helped Governor Casey transfer responsibility of liquor law enforcement to the State Police and create liquor control administrative judges. Economic times were difficult, and budget negotiations with the legislature once took eight months when three billion in new taxes had to be found. Fortunately, the Casey Administration was able to leave the next Governor, Tom Ridge, with a $500 million surplus.

This book is a fantastic account of state government from someone who observed it both from the outside as a reporter and from the inside as a key aide. The personal observations and accounts make this one of the most insightful books on state government operations. Readers will learn and appreciate much from “A Capitol Journey.”

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Signs You Elected the Wrong Person as Mayor

Signs you elected the wrong person Mayor:

Ken Lay and Jack Abramoff are by his side at his inaugural.
At inaugural, instead of using a Bible, swears on a stack of Martha Stewart magazines.
Proposes that Council meetings from now on are “clothing optional”.
His urban renewal plan: weaken the levy.
Keeps insisting to reporters that his ex-wife is a CIA agent.
His education reform: schools from now on are “clothing optional.”
Fires entire police force and replaces them with a samurai.
Puts his imaginary friend on the payroll.
Proposes preparations for invasion of Poland.
Fires entire fire department and announces for the next fire: weaken the levy.
Calls for legalized gay marriage, and then calls for banning heterosexual marriage.
His Press Secretary is a sock placed over his hand.
His Chief of Staff is a sock placed somewhere else on his body.
Urges Pledge of Allegiance to include the phrase “one nation, under God, and or Satan”.
His plan for senior citizens: weaken the levy.
Announces his Press Secretary has been naughty and displays a severed hand in his office window.
You don’t want to know what he did to his naughty Chief of Staff.
His sewage treatment plan: everyone gets a sock to put over their faucets.
Announces that citizen who receives sock with a body part wins a prize.
Builds a public airport, and for fun, all runways are a few feet too short.
His parks expansion project involves throwing dirt at people’s windows.
His weekly schedule lists attending funerals of people before they die.
His list of American Presidents includes Jefferson Davis.
His list of great Americans includes Benito Mussolini.
He is often mentioned as the future of the Republican Party.

I am worried about my cousin. He said he was going to get a hair transplant. They transport hair from one part of the body and implant it where you don’t have hair. I noticed there is now a path of hair missing from his head.

Noting Notes of the Non-Musical Kind


Peter Cunningham, International Trade Director for the North Carolina Commerce Director (who has advised several states including Pennsylvania on trade issues), told how North Carolina officials considered trade issues a Federal matter until trade decisions led to a one day job loss of 4,500 jobs. Officials then realized the state's economy was part of a dynamic global economy. A state economic plan was developed that focused on sustaining its existing industries. North Carolina had invested heavily in biotechnologies that were drifting towards other countries. $64.5 million was appropriated from their Tobacco Fund to retrain workers in biotechnological employment in attempts to stabilize that industry. A Science Board was created to develop a long term policy on science and technology including nanotechnologies among other developing industries. North Carolina officials also work on developing and expanding innovations that will assist existing industries, such as furniture enterprises and textiles companies. These efforts will support new technologies that attach fibers on molecular levels and will thus expand production. The Board also is assisting with hydrogen technologies that can bolster the American automobile industry. North Carolina officials have assisted its state manufacturers create investment and distribution partnerships with Japanese investors in furniture and upholstery concerns.

Cunningham urged there should be more focus on workers. More needs to be done to assist workers dislocated from their jobs due to economic shifts. Job retraining should be immediately after job loss. Programs that wait six months after job loss to start retraining are far less effective. More wage insurance is needed. Current wage insurance exists for employees whose job losses result from trade. Under this insurance, they may receive half the difference between their lower pay and their previous pay up to a maximum of $10,000 per year.


Peter Riggs, Executive Director of the Forum on Democracy and Trade, stated that few expect major new trade agreements to be achieved at the upcoming ministerial. This is the second ministerial, of which they are scheduled to be held once ever two years. The United States is seeing that services are a fast growing part of its trades. In 1985, the services industries’ employees worked in jobs providing 20% of the value of American trade production. Today, this percent is 30%. State and local governments may wish to see their laws regarding services and businesses are safeguarded from trade agreements. State licensing of professional services can be affected by trade agreements.

Agriculture trade policies have changed little since 1957, according to Riggs. Then, it was the goal of these policies to encourage agricultural self-sufficiency in other countries. Many countries are now not only self-sufficient but they find themselves with an over-production of agricultural goods. New concerns are involved around food safety and security issues. Many developing nations seek to negotiate greater access for getting their products to markets. Riggs notes that many divergent developing countries have acted and continue to act as a negotiating block. Many developing nations believe American food assistance is really America dumping its over-production. What they prefer is assistance towards increasing their own production capacity.

China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are free standing WTO members. Riggs believes China will become more open to greater involvement in the international community as it increase trade interactions.


State Rep. Rick Glazier told how North Carolina has created a new House Committee on Federal Relations and Trade Issues. He is the committee's vice chair. Among issues the committee considers includes assisting dislocated workers and expanding the mechanisms to provide such assistance.

Howard Rosen, Executive Director of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Coalition, has observed the frustrations of state and local government officials in not being heard on trade issues. The consequences of Federal trade policies are negatively impacting state and local governments, according to Rosen. The burden of unemployment from trade policies is draining state and local government resources. In the past, unemployment was structural and a cyclical economy would eventually create jobs for those who lose jobs. Now, job losses are structural and new jobs are not being created that could hire many who are unemployed now.

It is easier to find a job than it is to keep a job, Rosen explained. 30% of people employed will leave their current jobs over the next year. About half will move to better jobs and about half will lose their jobs. The labor market is very dynamic. While 200,000 new jobs were added in November, 2005, that was the result of 2.8 million new jobs being created and 2.6 million jobs disappearing.

The American workforce has high productivity increases, which requires much retraining in new skills. Job losses are occurring in all economic sectors. From 1994 to 2003, the services industry eliminated 23.5 million jobs while the manufacturing sector lost 7.8 million jobs, according to Rosen. The average person who lost a job collects unemployment insurance for 26 weeks, and does so at an average of $250 per week without health benefits, meaning the average person does not find a new job before unemployment benefits are exhausted. Rosen criticizes the lack of links between unemployment insurance and reemployment assistance. Many are placed into job retraining programs after their 26 weeks of unemployment benefits expire. Still, programs for one stop career centers, job searches, job banks, and gateway training programs are under-funded. The Trade Adjustment Assistance provide up to 78 additional weeks of income support while enrolled in a job training program for employees whose jobs were displaced by trade. This was enacted as a political means to assist in getting trade policies enacted. Unfortunately, this program is only for employees whose jobs are lost because of trade policies. Even still, about two thirds of states are running out of funds for the Trade Adjustment Assistance programs before the end of the fiscal year due to insufficient funds. Further, only a weak link has been shown between these programs and new employment. The Federal government will assist communities facing job losses from Defense Department job losses, and they should do so for other job loss reasons as well, Rosen argued. There declared that rapid responses to job losses are the most effective in finding new jobs. At present, only below 40% of unemployed receive even unemployment insurance.

A U.S. Labor Department Regional Director stated the department has streamlined paperwork, including online filing, to make it easier for applications to be determined for their eligibility for and for enrolling in Labor Department programs.


State Rep. Terri Austin of Indiana told how General Motors employed, at its peak, 30,000 people in her district, and now only 1,000 are so employed.

Luke Peterson, Editorial Director of the Investment Treaty News in Canada, told how 2,400 protections from American laws have been negotiated in treaties while American businesses have received 40 protections from foreign laws. In 1995, there was only one law suit regarding such protections. So far this year 40 such lawsuits have been filed, and this does not count unpublicized or undisclosed arbitrations regarding treaty protections from laws.

Law firms are becoming astute and are advising American companies to create a foreign nexus so they may sue under treaty agreements to circumvent state and local laws. International Tribunals are to consider only the written agreement and not the laws of the country. The bias is to construe rulings to protect international trade.

Many companies threaten lawsuits to seek exemptions from state and local laws. Peterson warned that America may someday find itself with a being required to pay a large judgment from an obscure and long ignored treaty.

Tara Mueller, Deputy Attorney General from California, stated how California successfully defended against one $1 billion claim against its gas laws. California is currently litigating against a foreign investor seeking to mine on sacred Native American land that is environmentally sensitive. The state government is not allowed to be a party in these suits and must rely upon the State Department to handle the litigation before Tribunals. She notes that a current suit seeks disclosure of documents, including legislative, Department, and lawyer-client communications that are considered privileged under American law.

Warren Waren, Policy Director of the Forum on Democracy and Trade, warned that even State Supreme Court decisions can be overruled by Tribunal decisions. States potentially face uncapped compensation claims from losses to foreign investors for their laws. Yet, they will not have standing as only the Federal government has standing before Tribunals. Constitutions have no basis before Tribunals. Tribunals do not use precedence, and Waren recommended that America should seek for Tribunals to codify their decisions. Waren warned that American companies are using Tribunals as a means to circumvent the American legal system.


Michelle Sager explained how the U.S. Government Accountability Office conducts nonpartisan research at the request of Congress. They operate in priority of research requested by Congressional mandates, then by requests from senior Congressional leaders, committee chairs, and then subcommittee chairs, and then by individual members. Should NCSL wish her office to request impacts of trade agreements on state laws, they should convince appropriate members of Congress to request such a study.

James Pertula, Senior Policy Advisor for the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade told how provincial trade officials regularly discuss with national trade officials regarding how Canadian trade agreements will impact provincial laws. He noted that American state governments could similarly learn to insist on having roles on international trade policies.


Kay Alison Wilkie, International Policy Analyst for the New York Economic Development Department, observed that the Federal government provides no resources to state governments so they may analyze and advise the Federal government on trade matters. Many state government officials have a very limited understanding of trade policies. Each state is required to have a person to be a point of contact to receive information from the Federal government on trade issues. Yet, most states are very passive in participating in recommendations on trade issues and very few told officials are even aware such a contact person exists. There needs to be better data sharing from the Federal government and state analysis of this data, according to Wilkie.

Among issues that may concern some state governments are sharp increases in fees for exporters that may make it too expensive for some exporters to continue operating their businesses as well as determining which industries should receive government supports.


Canadian federal Senator Jerry Grafstein told how most Canadian trade issues occur at their provincial level and rise to national concern. Canada actively engages provincial governments in developing its national trade policies. Trade is important to Canadians, and the US-Canada trade of nearly one trillion dollars a year is the most trade between two governments in the world.

The biggest block in foreign trade is the European Market that is using farm subsidies to protect European agricultural goods from allowing foreign competition, according to Senator Grafstein. 49% of the European Union budget is used for farm subsidies. Developing countries are particularly frustrated at the difficulties they face in entering European markets.

Robert Stumberg, Professor of Law at Georgetown University, explained how states’ laws are being overruled by Tribunals as detrimental to foreign trade. Antigua was allowed to operate internet gambling over objections from state laws that prohibited such gambling. The United States is not insisting on creating an exemption to disallow Internet gambling as it would then have to concede another economic sector in trade negotiations, and this would disrupt the entire American negotiating strategy.

Trade agreements do not consider state's environmental laws, according to Stumberg. The only state law that Tribunals consider are those regarding the quality of a product. Requiring a product to adhere to state environmental standards is considered a burdensome restriction of access to our markets.

States face difficulties in advising Federal trade negotiators on which exemptions they seek to protect in trade agreements. American state officials are usually not kept current on negotiating situations and have one month to provide Federal trade negotiators with information on how negotiations will affect their state laws and to further advise Federal trade officials. Canadian provincial officials are usually provided six to eight months to provide their input. Canada also seeks inputs from lobbyists and industry representatives who usually are most familiar with how trade agreements will affect their products.


Mindy Morette, a researcher for told how there is very little information on what should be done should elections be disrupted by disasters, especially when the disasters may affect not the elections themselves but election process deadlines. States have to decide whether deadlines or even elections could be postponed. Few states have considered these possibilities and she advised states to make plans ahead of time. Cost will be a major concern, as many county governments, especially if they face costly measures due to the disaster itself, may have difficulty funding changes in their elections process.

Glenn Koepp, Louisiana Secretary of the Senate, told how Louisiana passed laws in 1997 creating emergency provisions for elections during emergencies. These laws helped guide election officials during the Hurricane Katrina disruptions. The Secretary of State determines if there is an emergency requiring changes in the elections process and notifies the Governor who then must certify any postponement to elections to a specific date. The Secretary of State may modify elections procedures with the approval of the legislature. Noting there are still 25,000 living in FEMA trailers following Hurricane Andrew in Florida in 1992 and that six times the number of people were displaced by Hurricane Andrew were displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Koepp expects the elections process to be disrupted for several years.

In Louisiana, 366 polling places, or about 10% of the state's total, as well as 728 voting machines were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. In addition, over 1,200 election machines were damaged and need to be repaired and recertified. 488,000 voters, or about 20% of all of Louisiana's voters, were displaced by the hurricane. This will create huge difficulties with absentee voting. In addition, FEMA refuses due to privacy laws to mail voter information to displaced people, thus making it difficult to notify voters of elections procedures or notices of changes in election dates. Koepp argued there needs to be a Federal law to cope with this problem. In addition, this will likely create problems with redistricting and with America Vote programs.


William Strauss, Senior Economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, stated the economy generally is doing well. Economic growth is currently slightly above average. The economy has been expanding for the past four years at about 3.2% annually. Even in the quarter when Hurricane Katrina hit, the economy kept growing at a 4.3% rate. The national standard of living has improved due to productivity gains. Productivity growth is not at the top end of its historic growth rate. America is now producing more agriculture and more manufacturing goods than any point in its history, and is doing so with relatively far fewer employees. Adjusted for inflation, oil prices are less than they were in the early 1980s. Energy is being used more efficiently than it ever has been in the past 50 years. Employment has increased by almost two million jobs in the last two months. Corporate profits have been growing since the first quarter of 2002.

America has a trade deficit and the dollar's exchange rate has weakened over the last three years, according to Strauss. The Federal budget deficit is at an all time high. Yet, as a share of Gross Domestic Product, the Federal trade deficit is no worse than it has been in the past.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson told how Hurricane Katrina caused one of the largest natural disasters in U.S. history. This posed unusual responses, even for the EPA, who transformed their 60 watercraft used for water monitoring into rescue boats that saved 800 people. The EPA continues to monitor water and soil deposited in the wake of the hurricane for 200 harmful chemical and bacteria. In addition, they are determining whether 54 Superfund priority sites in the damaged area have been compromised. Fortunately for EPA, except for rescuing people, EPA is doing what they usually do, although not at this scale.

Johnson stated how there is a misperception that EPA can declare an area as being safe. That is a determination that is to be made by local officials. What EPA does is provide as much information regarding the safety of the water, air, and soil. Local administrators also need to consider factors outside what EPA provides, such as building safety and the availability of electricity.

Hurricane Katrina left a large aftermath of challenges, including debris management where we are faced with 350,000 abandoned automobiles and 1.5 million abandoned refrigerators and their spoiled food.


Daniel Calingaert, a Commissioner in the Carter-Baker Commission, noted that the election problems in Florida in 2000 were not a fluke and that they are common problems and that the closeness of the election only focused attention onto the Florida problems. International election experts have observed that American elections are the most flawed elections among the democratic nations. Ironically, it is American elections observers who are noted for providing the most expertise to foreign elections, yet American elections processes lag behind elections processes in other countries. Further, international election observers cannot advise American election processes, as only one state even permits international observers to monitor elections. Most states only permit representatives of political candidates and political parties to observe the elections.

A problem facing election reform efforts is that different proposals appeal to only one political party. Primarily Democrats favor a paper trail accountability of the elections process and primarily Republicans want a voter ID requirement for voting. The Carter-Baker Commission recommended both reforms be adopted.

Calingaert noted that 79% of eligible Americans are registered to vote. It the law is changed to make anyone with a state issued ID automatically eligible to vote, then 88% of eligible Americans would be registered to vote. The Carter-Baker Commission recommends that anyone wishing a photo ID in order to vote be issued a photo ID for free.

Calingaert called for using only voting machines that make a file for every vote so the votes can be tabulated separately from the machine total. If there is fraud in tampering with the machine's voting mechanism, simply having the machine refigure its fraudulent count would be pointless. There needs to be an ability to recount the votes separate from the machine tabulation.

Wendy Weiser, Associate Counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice, argued that requiring a voter ID would be creating an poll tax far more expensive than the poll tax that has already been found unconstitutional. Even if the voter ID were issued for free, there is a cost to obtaining the documents in order to be issued the ID. It can cost up to $200 to get a copy of the naturalization or other papers required to prove eligibility to vote. Further, for many homebound Americans who do not have IDs, such as people in nursing homes or in rural areas, there is a cost to go to issuing centers to obtain the ID.

There is little need for a picture voter ID, Weiser argued, as the rate of voter fraud has been estimated at .001%. Far more voters than this would be disenfranchised is there were required to produce a photo ID in order to vote.

There is a double standard in requiring voter ID as voter ID would not be required in order to cast an absentee ballot, Weiser noted. Further, absentee ballots are where most voter fraud has occurred. She faults using signature matches for absentee voters but then requiring it for voting at polling places where fraud is not a problem.


Doug Chapin, Director of, spoke of cases concerning election laws before the U.S. Supreme Court. Several cases are challenging aspects of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance law. McCain-Feingold put caps on soft money and restricting electioneering communication just prior to primaries and elections. The Wisconsin Right to Life organization sought to run issue ads urging people to challenge Wisconsin Senator Feingold on votes concerning judicial nominees during the time period such ads were prohibited. They sued and the courts denied their right to run the ads. The Wisconsin Right to Life organization is suing claiming the Act is unconstitutional as it is being applied to them.

Several court cases originating in Vermont are challenging campaign spending limitations. The Circuit Court upheld the law limiting campaign spending but required the lower court to ascertain that the spending limits are tailored to meet the public interest.

There is also a case that may determine what judicial candidates are permitted to say during judicial elections.


Kim Brace, President of Election Data Services, told of a study conducted from 6,000 jurisdictions. The study found that not all states report voter registration data in the same fashion, as 26 states report only active voters, 20 states report a combination of active and inactive voters, and 4 states leave this determination to the counties. Statewide voter registration lists shows that 11% of listed voters are inactive, while non-statewide registration lists show that 16% of their voters are inactive.

903 jurisdictions, including the entire state of Arkansas, do not report the number of voters who turn out to vote.

Election districts that permit election day voter registration had a 10% higher turnout than election districts that do not permit such registration. Ironically, election districts that permitted early voting had slightly lower voter turnout than districts that do not permit early turnout.

Absentee ballots that do not require an excuse to vote by absentee had three times the turnout by absentee than in districts that required an excuse for an absentee ballot.

16.8 million voters, or 10% of voters, requested absentee ballots. 14.8 million, or 88% of those who requested ballots, returned their absentee ballots. Of the returned ballots, 14.7 million, or 96% of those returned, were counted. Ballots that were not counted were rejected for failing to provide a signature or because they were returned too late. Ironically, absentee ballots that are automatically sent out are returned as a higher rate than are absentee ballots that are requested to be sent.

1.9 million voters, or 2.6% of voters, sought to vote by provisional ballot. 1.2 million, or 65.5% of provisional ballots cast, were counted. Ballots that were rejected were because the voter was not registered or because improper identification was provided.

Of provisional ballots cast and counted, by race, 79.3% of such ballots cast by Hispanics, 62.2% of such ballots cast by Caucasians, 56.6% of such ballots cast by African Americans, and 48.7% of such ballots cast by Native Americans were counted.

39.8% of voters use optical scans, 25.0% use electronic machines, 12.4% use level machines, 9.0% use punch cards, 7.7% use a mix, and 1.8% use paper ballots. While small in the number of people they have, 26% of election districts use paper ballots.

At least 856,962 polling place workers are employed on election day, and it known this number is larger as data is missing from some districts. There are 174,252 voting precincts.

Brace warns of potential difficulties during the 2006 elections. Many jurisdictions will be using new types of voting equipment for the first time, and several states will be using statewide voter lists for the first time. The first time any new system is used generally creates confusion.


Cathy McCully, Chief of the Redistricting Data Office of the U.S. Census Bureau, told of issues concerning her office that Congress will decide. Among these are whether non-citizens should be considered in census figures when used for redistricting purposes and how prisoners should be counted. Congress is also debating the use of non-English language assistance to voters and whether more assistance is needed.

Deirdre Bishop, Assistant Chief of the Redistricting Data Office of the U.S. Census Bureau, told how her office is collecting state legislative boundaries and placing this information over census data to receive census information by legislative districts. This has been completed for 12 states and almost 40 states are participating. Pennsylvania is one of the states that did not submit its legislative boundary information, although it is expected this information will be provided later.

Linda Franz, Assistant Chief of the Geography Division of the U.S. Census Bureau, told how GPS technology is being interwoven into census information. In addition, the Post Office is providing postal service delivery points to the Census Bureau. This address list will be kept confidential.


Thomas Merrill, a Columbia University Law Professor, speaking by phone, observed he has seldom seen such negative reaction opposing a Supreme Court decision then in the Kelo v. New London eminent domain decision. Various polls show that from 92% to 97% of the public opposes the decision. Congress and state legislators have rushed to introduce legislation that will diminish the effects of this Supreme Court decision, which allows eminent domain to be used for purposes of private economic development to increase city tax revenues.

Professor Merrill stated the press has misrepresented the decision. He stated it makes good copy to make readers fear that government can come and take away their homes at any time. The press has created a false perception that the decision is a fundamental change in constitutional law, which he claimed it is not. The Supreme Court has consistently permitted the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes and has yielded to state governments to make their own determinations on what they consider as proper economic development.

Since homeownership is at an all-time high, with 69^ of Americans living in privately owned homes, the fear of losing homes is a more central fear than ever before. Professor Merrill also noted that women have generally been the protectors against condemning homes and the leaders in anti-eminent domain campaigns, noting that women led the protests to Robert Moses’s development plans in New York City. As women have received greater political power, their influence on issues such as this has improved.

The use of eminent domain for economic purposes is slight, according to Professor Merrill. He estimated there are about 20,000 eminent domain condemnations a year and about five to seven a year are for economic development reasons. He observed that the press and public have focused on the costs of eminent domain for economic development purposes without considering the benefits. The issue has been framed in the press in moral terms as the loss of a non-blighted private property for corporate interests. He believes this is an exaggeration.

Professor Merrill stated he would agree with legislation that would prohibit using eminent domain solely to increase local tax revenues. He believes this would create competition between localities that could create social losses.

Rep. Michael Lawlor of Connecticut stated the New London properties that were condemned in the Kelo case looked like a bombed-out neighborhood that had been contaminated by a neighboring sewage treatment plant. Connecticut had spent $28 million to restore the neighboring Fort Trumbull park and historic military fort. Buses, though, could not reach the park and the road needed to be widened beside the Kelo property in order to reach Fort Trumbull. Rep. Lawlor stated the Kelo property could easily have been taken by eminent domain for road purposes. Unfortunately, New London was asked by Governor John Rowland to condemn the properties for a $70 million state project and so the neighboring Pfizer corporation could have a better view. Rep. Lawlor notes that Governor Rowland’s motives are now suspect, adding that the Governor is now in prison for improper economic deals. He notes the city of New London now owns the properties, the new Governor has placed a moratorium on further development in this disputed area, and the end result is the remaining families are living there rent free.

Using eminent domain in the fashion New London did meant that developers could obtain property at lower prices. Rep. Lawlor proposed that higher amounts should be provided for eminent domain and for relocation costs.

Rep. Lynn Smith of Georgia told how the Georgia Senate in 2003, before the Kelo decision, passed a bill permitting the condemnation of private property for private facilities. The public outcry against the bill was so loud that every Senator who cosponsored the bill withdrew their co-sponsorships. Further outrage was expressed when churches in Augusta were slated for condemnation. The National Rifle Association organized protests in fear that hunting lands could be condemned.

Georgia is now considering legislation that would disallow eminent domain primarily for increasing taxes or for private enterprises. It has passed the Senate and is now before the House.

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger of Illinois argued that economic development decisions should be left to the private market. He believes the government can not decide theses matters any better than the will of the market.


The following items on the Consent Calendar were approved by a voice vote:

2007 Farm Bill. NSL urges Congress to reauthorize the Farm Bill in 2007 in a manner that provides increased farm supports to the broadest number of farms. It is noted that trade agreements call for lower domestic support of agriculture and it is urged that these supports be replaced by direct payments and rural investment programs.

Long Term Care. NCSL supports tax credits for family member caregivers and supports fully funding Medicaid entitlements to states and individuals that allows them to provide home and community based care, nursing facility services, nutrition services, hospice, home health care, adult day care, and supportive services. NCSL also urges for consumer protection measures in long term care insurance, for preferential tax treatment for individuals and employers for purchasing qualified long-term care insurance, for portability laws for long term care, and for repealing the law restricting states from developing asset protection laws.

Low Income Energy Assistance. NCSL urges that all states be provided Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds, that LIHEAP be fully funded, and that the law allow the states strong oversight on how these funds are distributed. It also calls for disallowing considering LIHEAP as income when calculating whether a person’s total income qualifies a person for public assistance eligibility.

Nurturing Responsible Families. NCSL supports programs that create employment opportunities for non-custodial parents so they may make support payments. State programs promoting fatherhood should be considered part of states’ Maintenance of Effort requirements under Federal welfare law. Fatherhood programs should be allowed to operate in conjunction with faith based providers.

Nutrition Assistance. NCSL supports sufficient funding for the Food Stamp program. NCSL opposes Federal mandates that would restrict state flexibility and cap administrative funds for administering Food Stamp programs. When the Federal government restricted using TANF for Food Stamp administration, the result was a cut to administrative funding. NCSL further calls for increasing eligibility for Food Stamps through excluding considering $50 of child support as income when making eligibility determinations. NCSL also urges that basic food stamp benefits be increased to 103% of the Thrifty Food Plan. Outreach efforts are also called for to inform potentially eligible people that they may be able to receive Food Stamps and to make it easier for senior citizens and people with disabilities to apply. NCSL also calls for food service programs in for child and adult day care providers and in the summer for school children.

Takings and Land Use Authority. NCSL opposes creating any Federal law or regulation that would define “takings” or restrict the ability of state government to define takings.

Funding for States Under the Help America Vote Act of 2002. NCSL calls for the Help America Vote Act to be fully funded.

Redistricting and Elections. NCSL opposes creating any Federal law that would require a particular method of conducting redistricting.

The following item from the Debate Calendar was adopted by voice vote with dissention:

Financial Information Security. NCSL opposes creating any Federal law that would preempt state laws regarding financial and credit information.

The following item from the Action Calendar was adopted by a unanimous voice vote:

Urge Congress to Maintain the Federal Commitment to Clean Water State Revolving Funds. NCSL calls upon Congress to provide at least $1.342 billion for Clean Water State Revolving Funds.


Rich Miller, author of the Capitol Facts newsletter, claimed that Chicago and Illinois have a long history of corrupt politics. He told how corporations used to pass legislation in the 19th century by awarding favorable legislators with memberships in their Board of Directors. Legislators would decide public works and then purchase properties in order to profit by their works decisions. One legislator, Abe Lincoln, was one of the few legislators to actually lose money doing this.

Gangsters used to be very politically involved. Al Capone was a major political contributor. Illinois Governors used to sell pardons, even pardoning Capone associates before they went to trial. One U.S. Senator, Frank Smith, was considered so corrupt that the Senate twice refused to seat him.

Illinois politicians have used patronage, favoritism, and looking the other way when mobsters operate gambling and prostitution enterprises for decades, according to Miller. Numerous Illinois politicians are currently under investigation and one former Governor faces a trial. Miller tells how one politician used to require people to purchase a car from his auto dealership in order to get a patronage job. The former Governor facing trial, George Ryan, had the first political action fund indicted under RICO laws.

Miller noted that a large number of state officials are from a ten block radius of each other in north Chicago. He also stated that Senator Obama had a clean reputation and has achieved star status among the voters.

Monday, January 02, 2006

How Can You Expect Me to Come up with a Funny Title Each and Every Time: I Have a Life and Other More Important Things to Do, Too

I have an important belief to add to my new religion of Jewish Scientist: God never opens a door without also slamming a window shut on your fingers.

A met a couple who were so dumb, when DNA analysis indicated that the father was not the father of their son, the wife immediately demanded to know with whom her husband was cheating on so he would have another man’s sperm.

I saw the police pull over a speeder. The driver, while pleading his case hinted he had some information and asked if it was true that all tips were kept confidential. When the police officer reassured him they were, the driver slipped the officer twenty dollars, and told the officer to keep it quiet.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

2005 Just Flu By

Just when I stopped writing “2004” on all my checks, they change the number again. This is so confusing.

I saw a movie where Kim Basinger is filmed performing a deep, dark fantasy of mine. She goes around killing Elvis impersonators,

I have realized nothing a guy does with a woman will ever be correct. Thus, why fret it? If I hit on a woman, she thinks I’m a pervert. If I don’t, she thinks I’m gay. Most of my life, though, I am just a well behaved, restrained pervert.

I will conclude on a happy note—those of us not killed by floods, terrorists, flu, disease, war, choking while naked with a hooker’s phone number in the waste can, and any of a number of myriad causes---see you at the next New Year.

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