Massive Snowstorm Batters Chicago: The Chicago Blizzard of 2011

Massive Snowstorm Batters Chicago: The Chicago Blizzard of 2011

Chicago is a city that prides itself on its ability to conquer any snowstorm that comes its way, but it woke up on Wednesday to discover that hundreds of people had been trapped by a massive blizzard for hours along a prominent roadway that runs smack through the heart of the city.  Among the scenes described by those who spent most or all of the harrowing night on Lake Shore Drive: Frustrated drivers trying to unclog the roads by pushing stuck and abandoned cars through snow-filled exit ramps; a band of passengers crowded inside one Chicago Transit Authority bus, deciding after five hours to make a run for it (many were forced to turn back); people who ventured out, perhaps from their homes along Lake Shore Drive, to deliver cereal bars, water and Gatorade to those who had been stranded.

Cold winds were part two of the brutal storm system that stranded motorists, caused power outages, forced the cancelation of thousands of flights and closed down schools across the region, including Chicago schools for the first time since 1999.  On Wednesday, winds of up to 70 mph had whipped up around about 20.2 inches of snow, creating high drifts and some whiteout conditions that made driving hazardous. Thursday’s sub-zero temperatures were expected to add a different layer of misery for commuters.

At 7 a.m. on Thursday, the temperature at O’Hare International Airport was zero with a wind chill of 11 below.  Wind chills were expected to plumet to 20 below by early afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Under such conditions, frostbite can develop within 30 minutes, officials said.  Emergency personnel worked overnight to clear Lake Shore Drive of the large number of abandoned vehicles and huge mounds of snow, according a spokesman for Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

The Chicago Blizzard of 2011

Two Fifty Three Kelvin: A Winter Music Video

Slide Show: The Chicago Blizzard of 2011

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Change in the Metropolis: A Tale of Two Cities

A Former New York: Photographs from the 1960’s and 70’s

Old New York: Photography by Elliott Erwitt, NYC

Slide Show: Photographs of New York in the 1960’s and 70’s

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A Former Chicago: Photographs from the 1960’s and 70’s

Chicago’s South Side in the 1940’s: Photography by Wayne Miller

Slide Show: Photographs of Chicago in the 1960’s and 70’s

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On This Day in 1954: Senator Joseph McCarthy Began a Witch-Hunt of The U. S. Army




The Secretary of the United States Army ordered two generals, who had been subpoenaed by the crusading anti-Communist Senator Joseph McCarthy, to ignore the summons. The move by Robert T. Stevens came on the first day of the hearings into communist activity in the U. S. Army. Mr. Stevens said he would speak on behalf of the Army, provided that the session was held in public.

His announcement came after a former army major, who had been summoned by Senator McCarthy, head of the Senate’s Permanent Investigations sub-committee, refused to answer questions. Senator McCarthy responded, “Either the Army will give the names of men coddling Communists or we will take it before the Senate.”

However, Mr. Steven’s stand made it seem highly unlikely that such a list would be forthcoming. It was a rare challenge to the controversial Senator who had been virtually unknown before he took up the cause of rooting out Communists, just four years earlier. In a speech in West Virginia during February 1950, Mr. McCarthy had claimed to have the names of 205 “card-carrying Communists” in the State Department. However, he later scaled the list down to 57 persons and was willing to name only four of them. His critics have stated that he was never able to produce any real evidence to back up his claims, accusing him of having conducted wild “witch hunts,” which often destroyed both the careers and public lives of those persons who were accused.

Many have said that an interview conducted by the courageous television commentator Edward R. Murrow on March 9, 1954, was a pivotal influence leading to the demise of Senator McCarthy’s career, in turn helping to end the witch-hunt that had destroyed the careers and public lives of so many people. Some have said that this courageous broadcast provided the public with an essential, intensely felt sense of relief from our increasingly painful general preoccuptions with and fears of unannounced persecution. This kind of social relief is even today at the core of the fabric that both gives birth to and provides support for our public and private freedoms.

That night Murrow, Friendly (at that time, a Vice-President of CBS) and their news team produced a 30-minute See It Now special entitled “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy.” Murrow used excerpts from McCarthy’s own speeches and proclamations to criticize the Senator and to point out episodes where he clearly had contradicted himself. Murrow knew full well that he was using the medium of television to attack a single man and expose him to nationwide scrutiny, and he was often quoted as having doubts about the method he used for this news report.

Murrow and his See It Now co-producer, Fred Friendly, paid for their own newspaper advertisement for the program; they were not allowed to use any of CBS’s money for the publicity campaign and were prohibited from using the CBS logo in any way. Nonetheless, this 30-minute TV episode contributed to a nationwide backlash against Senator McCarthy and against the Red Scare in general. It has been viewed by many people as representing one of the most critical turning points in the history of the media.

The broadcast provoked tens of thousands of letters, telegrams and phone calls to CBS headquarters, which ran 15-to-1 in favor of Murrow. It has been reported that truck drivers would pull up to Murrow on the street in subsequent days and shout, “Good show, Ed. Good show, Ed.”

Murrow offered Senator McCarthy a chance to comment on the CBS show, and McCarthy provided his own televised response to Murrow three weeks later on See It Now. The Senator’s rebuttal contributed nearly as much to his own downfall as Murrow or any of McCarthy’s other detractors did. Edward R. Murrow had learned how to use the medium of television, but McCarthy had not.

Murrow’s conclusion to the program was truly magistral:

No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.

This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it — and rather successfully. Cassius was right. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”
Good night, and good luck.

No Sense Of Decency: A Documentary

This video is 10 minutes in length.  It is extremely well worth your time, and is a vitally important video for everyone who can obtain access to the internet to view in a deeply thoughtful manner. Please spread the word.

Hannah Arendt: Commemorating A Life in Exile

Hannah Arendt: Commemorating A Life in Exile

I. On Misunderstood, Departed Women Intellectuals

Some time ago, I published an article here in honor of Hannah Arendt. More recently, a new work has been published that argues forcefully for the continuing importance of Arendt’s political theories. Carlin Romano has provided a detailed review of the book in The Chronicle of Higher Education. An adaptation of Romano’s review is presented here, followed by my own memorial article that was written earlier:

“…Elizabeth Young-Bruehl reminds us of the importance of Hannah Arendt’s political thinking in her new book, Why Arendt Matters (Yale University Press, 2006). Young-Bruehl, a former student of Arendt at the New School for Social Research, presents a staunchly devotional argument for the continuing relevance of political theorist Hannah Arendt. Why Arendt Matters marks a welcome, growing commitment of today’s female scholars to dismantling simplifications of past female intellectuals.

One of Young-Bruehl’s chief aims for showing Arendt’s relevance today is to speculate on what her mentor would have thought about events that have occurred since her death. As Young-Bruehl examines The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), a veritable “field manual” for identifying an enemy, we get sentences such as, “She would, for example, have taken the measure of Slobodan Milosevic’s government from his talk about ‘Greater Serbia,’ a phrase he obviously and purposefully modeled on Hitler’s ‘Greater Germany.‘” And, “It seems to me that Hannah Arendt, had she been alive in 2001, would have gone straight to her writing table to protest that the World Trade Center was not Pearl Harbor and that ‘war on terror’ was a meaningless phrase.” At the same time, Young-Bruehl acknowledges, “Neither I, her biographer, nor anyone else should presume to know what Hannah Arendt would have thought about any event, trend, idea, person, or group that she did not look upon with her own fiercely observant eyes and the eyes of her uniquely and inimitably brilliant mind.

Still, Young-Bruehl repeatedly and successfully unpacks Arendt’s views of such concepts as action, power, forgiveness, judgment, radical evil, revolution, and the human condition itself. Arendt’s phrasemaking and popularization of notions such as “totalitarianism” developed because she “wanted thoughts and words adequate to the new world and able to dissolve clichés, reject thoughtlessly received ideas, break down hackneyed analyses, expose lies and bureaucratic double talk, help people withdraw from their addiction to propagandistic images.” She persuasively suggests that Arendt’s ideas informed such modern political phenomena as Poland’s Solidarity movement and South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and credits her with being ahead of the curve on globalization.

Drawing by: Shy Abady, Dusty Orange (2004)

II. A Commemoration: Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906-December 4, 1975) was an eminent political theorist of German origin. In 1940, Arendt was taken to the infamous internment camp at Gurs, near the Pyrenees; at the last minute she was able to avoid deportation to an extermination camp and made her way to New York in 1942.

As a student in Germany, Arendt studied with Martin Heidegger, Karl Jaspers, Husserl and Walter Benjamin. Subsequent to her escape to New York, she became part of the large group of immigrant academics known as “The Exiles in Paradise.” They found that, upon escaping to America, academic insitutions were generally anti-semetic and refused to give them teaching appointments. In response, Jewish relief agencies established special institutes in New York City, at which they could conduct research and teach. One of the special institutes was the “University in Exile” (later to become The New School for Social Research), where Arendt served on the graduate faculty for many years.

In 1963, there was intense critical debate among the New York Jewish intellectual community following Arendt’s publication of Eichmann in Jerusalem: The Banality of Evil. Arendt was subjected to great censure for her position that evil is never “radical” but only extreme, that evil does not possess depth or demonic dimension. She described it as “thought-defying,” because people try to reach depth but there is nothing there and that is banality. She then wrote, “Eichmann may very well remain the concrete model of what I have to say.” She felt that was quite frightening to imagine that Eichmann was not an inherently outrageous mythical monster, but rather a clear example of the kind of person that a totalitarian regime is capable of producing. In other words, she was saying, Eichmann could very well be you or I.

Suffering from and saddened by the intense criticism in New York and feeling “doubly-exiled,” she accepted an offer to teach at the University of Chicago (The Committee on Social Thought, which at that time also included Saul Bellow as a faculty colleague). The University of Chicago was one of the very few major universities that welcomed the academic immigrants with open arms. This was an opportunity that allowed her to resume previous relationships with other immigrants teaching at the University, which included Leo Strauss, Hans J. Morgenthau and Bruno Bettelheim.

In addition to her faculty positions at the “University in Exile” (New York) and the University of Chicago, Arendt later held professorships or guest-professorships at several universities, including Princeton, Harvard and The University of California at Berkley. She received numerous honors, including ten honorary doctorates.

During her later years in New York City, she became more reclusive, but maintained a renowned circle of friends, including W. H. Auden. In 1971, she was personally deeply struck by the death of Auden. She openly wept on the way to Auden’s memorial service at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. At the memorial service, she was dressed in black and overcome with melancholy. In her own memorial for Auden, she focused upon Auden’s capacity to let himself feel full vulnerability to the devastations of human failures and to:

Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress

Arendt went on to say:

Now, with the sad wisdom of remembrance, I see him as having been an expert in the infinite varieties of unrequited love.”

An Arendt quotation on growing old:

I must admit that I mind this defoliation (or deforestation) process. As though to grow old does not mean, as Goethe said, ‘gradual withdrawal from appearance’–which I do not mind–but the gradual (rather, sudden) transformation of a world with familiar faces (no matter, friend or foe) into a kind of desert, populated by strange faces. In other words, it is not me who withdraws but the world that dissolves–an altogether different proposition.”


The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)

The Human Condition (1958)

Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963)

* The drawing by Shy Abady, entitled Dusty Orange (2004), is used with permission granted by the artist.  This work is part of a larger series concerning Arendt’s image.  The series, entitled The Arendt Project, is comprised of 19 works portraying the image of the Jewish-German thinker Hannah Arendt (1906-1975).  The works focus upon her personality, as well as upon the manner in which her visual image and her life mirror the turmoil of the twentieth century.

An exhibition of The Arendt Project was presented first in October 2005 at the Jewish Museum of Frankfurt, later at the Heinrich Böll Foundation Gallery in Bremen and in the Hannah Arendt Zentrum in Oldenburg.  In October 2006, Hannah Arendt’s 100th birthday was commemorated around the world. The Arendt Project was presented at the Jerusalem Artist’s House, supported by The Heinrich Böll Foundation in Israel and The Goethe Institute.

The entire series can be viewed at:

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Double Bind and Paradoxical Communication: A Hazard to Mental Health

Double Bind and Paradoxical Communication: A Hazard to Mental Health

The world of electronic communications exponentially opens the door to some very interesting comments. For example, I recently read a statement that exhorted its readers to focus their attention upon the need to ensure that something had to be “squashed.” “Squashed?” I thought to myself. I don’t hear that word too often in everyday life. It seems like an attitude that opposing elected political figures might develop, or what one nation would attempt to do to its enemy (declare) in a state of war.“Squashed”—crush, suppress, stifle, subdue, forcibly squeeze something into a tiny space. The conclusion of the entreaty was somewhat of a shock: “With warm regards.”

Squash, crush, stifle, subdue—with warm regards?

I thought, “What is this kind of statement?”  Then, I realized, it’s the form of communication known as the double bind. Like a road sign that you’re looking at that says: “Do not read this sign.” You cannot do both what it asks and implies simultaneously. The double bind or paradox gives the illusion of space between the opposites, but the space isn’t really there. The effects of such paradoxical communication can be devastating, especially to those already experiencing disturbed emotions.

Unless the more vulnerable are helped to be able to untangle or unravel themselves from being trapped within the double bind or paradoxical communication to which they are exposed, they will become consumed by doubt, which will in turn reinforce enactments of repetition-compulsion. This, I propose, is the real path, simply stated, to the development of repetition-compulsion states, designation of which has been so elusive for many years.

The only way out of such traps is an inter-subjective approach, which is why models based upon behavioral techniques boast of great promise, but never really work. In fact, the latter techniques only make matters worse, since they add feelings of guilt and shame to the already present sense of anguish about being trapped.

The Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis: A David and Goliath Epic

I made a brief reference to The Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis in a previous discussion. There is a story of the great perseverence demonstrated by CCP that really needs to be told:

The history of the founding and process of growth for The Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis (CCP) is an intriguing and courageous one, with its earlier beginnings traced to a time when the traditional psychoanalytic institutes refused to accept non-M.D. applicants for full clinical training.

CCP was the first free-standing psychoanalytic training institute for psychologists established outside of New York City and Los Angeles. It traces its beginnings to the late 1950s, when a small number of clinical psychologists (all psychotherapists) came together to form a study group for the purpose of deepening their understanding of all aspects of psychoanalysis. This small beginning eventually evolved into what became known as “The Bettelheim Study Group.” This was essentially a clinical case seminar devoted to the psychoanalytic process, and it continued in that format until 1972.

The Study Group set a precedent for the Center, seeking out psychoanalytic educators of eminent national reputations, talent, and accomplishments: teachers such as Thomas French, Heinz Kohut, Michael Serota, Ernest Rappoport, and Edoardo Weiss.

With the emergence of the Division of Psychoanalysis within the American Psychological Association in the late 1970s, several psychologists from Chicago were invited to serve on the Steering Committee of the Division. One of the first orders of business at the Committee’s meeting in New York City was to focus upon the urgency of meeting the organizational and educational needs of psychologists outside of New York City, Los Angeles, and Topeka (at that time, home of the renowned Menninger Clinic).

Those who attended this historic meeting from Chicago were inspired upon their return to do what they could to further the goals of Division 39. Spearheaded by these people, an organizational effort was begun to create a local chapter of Division 39, which came to be known as the Chicago Association for Psychoanalytic Psychology (CAPP). The local chapter of the Division was thus born, dedicated to the development of psychoanalytic education and practice for psychologists.

A variety of programs within the local chapter soon engaged the energies and interests of various clinical psychologists, most of whom became involved in the Center, active as leaders and officers of the local chapter. Early in its existence, CAPP set up a yearly symposium in Chicago that attracted psychoanalytic educators and clinicians from across the country, such as Roy Schafer, Sidney Blatt, Martin Mayman, Rudolf Ekstein, Bruno Bettelheim, Hedda Bolgar and Sydney Smith for all-day workshops and symposia. These events brought out full-capacity, excited audiences and succeeded in sparking the interest of the mental health community in and around Chicago. Attendees included graduate students, social workers, psychiatrists and many clinical psychologists, both from the academic as well as the private practice communities.

In 1982, it became apparent that a more structured and sophisticated model of training was a necessity if clinical psychologists in Chicago were going to join the broader psychoanalytic community of psychologists, since it already had developed, with a reputation of considerable prestige, in New York City where the majority of Division 39 members were concentrated.

With the advice, consultation and guidance of noted psychologist-psychoanalysts from the Los Angeles Center for Psychoanalytic Studies, the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (New York), The Derner Institute at Adelphi University and the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, a committee of CAPP members convened, taking the first steps in setting up a psychoanalytic institute which was eventually to be known as The Chicago Center for Psychoanalytic Psychology (CCPP).

The initial step was the establishment of a small study group consisting of a carefully selected group of CAPP members who met in a series of seminars presented as an introduction to classical readings in psychoanalysis. This was followed in 1983 and 1984 by a series of intensive weekend seminars held for this study group. In 1990 the name of the Center was changed to The Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis, a title more representative of the Center’s function.

The CCP faculty has included nationally and internationally renowned psychoanalytic authors and educators. It is arguable that no other analytic training center or institute in the country has ever had a teaching faculty as esteemed as that of the small CCP program. The faculty members have been the leaders of the classical, post-classical and leading-edge, contemporary relational models of psychoanalysis. It is only fair to pay homage to these distinguished faculty members from across America, who came to offer their wisdom to help transform a small group of psychologist “renegades” into what is now one of the most intellectually intense, free-standing psychoanalytic training programs in the United States.

CCP Faculty Members: 1984-2004

Elizabeth Auchincloss, MD

Virginia Barry, MD

Alan Bass, PhD

Jessica Benjamin, PhD

Harris Berenbaum, PhD

Mark Berger, MD

Bruno Bettelheim, PhD

Dale Boesky, MD

Hedda Bolgar, PhD

Christopher Bollas, PhD

Jennifer Bonovitz, PhD

Maurice Burke, PhD

Fred Busch, PhD

Bertram Cohler, PhD

Jody Davies, PhD

Muriel Dimen, PhD

Darlene Ehrenberg, PhD

Gerald Fogel, MD

Rita Frankiel, PhD

Lucy Freund, PhD

Lawrence Freidman, MD

Paula Fuqua, MD

Glen Gabbard, MD

Lester Gable, MD

Robert Galatzer-Levy, MD

Benjamin Garber, MD

John Gedo, MD

Mark Gehrie, PhD

Merton Gill, MD

Peter Giovacchini, MD

Lorraine Goldberg, PhD

Jay Greenberg, PhD

William Greenstadt, PhD

Meyer Gunther, MD

Irwin Hirsch, PhD

Irwin Z. Hoffman, PhD

Michael Hoit, MD

Marvin Hyman, PhD

Lawrence Joseph, PhD

Donald Kaplan, PhD

Louise Kaplan, PhD

Jerome Kavka, MD

Oliver J.B. Kerner, PhD

Nathan Kravis, MD

Frank Lachmann, PhD

Eli Lane, MD

Ernest Lawrence, PhD

Jonathan Lear, PhD

Robert Leider, MD

Norman Litowitz, MD

Nell Logan, PhD

J. Gordon Maguire, MD

Martin Mayman, PhD

Joyce McDougall, EdD

Stephen Mitchell, PhD

George Moraitis, MD

Dale Moyer, PhD

Kenneth Newman, MD

Donna Orange, PsyD

Edward Owen, MD

Michael Parsons

Fred Pine, PhD

Warren Poland, MD

Joanne Powers, PhD

Ellie Ragland, PhD

Leo Rangell, MD

Moss Rawn, PhD

Owen Renik, MD

Barbara Rocah, MD

Bernard Rubin, MD

Roy Schafer, PhD

Howard Shevrin, PhD

Norma Simon, EdD

Vivian Skolnick, PhD

Ignes Sodre

Donnel Stern, PhD

Nathan Stockhammer, PhD

Harvey Strauss, MD

Frank Summers, PhD

Johanna Tabin, PhD

Richard Telingator, MD

Arnold Tobin, MD

Marian Tolpin, MD

Phyllis Tyson, PhD

Judith Vida, PhD

Jerome Winer, MD

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, PhD

The French Quarter: A Reminiscence

Historic Apartment Rows in the French Quarter

The French Quarter

Very late last night, actually in the wee hours of the morning, I found myself repetetively searching for an image of a tiny, tiny house.  Finally, a sudden thought of New Orleans’ French Quarter emerged (along with a curiosity about how or why that had occurred).  Searching through my memories of last week, I began to realize the context within which this seemingly uncanny recollection had come into view.

Participating in a free-flowing discussion with a small group of adolescents, at a certain point our conversation shifted to issues related to achieving a stronger sense of one’s own particular vocational wishes, opportunities or potential choices.  These interactions included considerations about the differing, unique paths or journeys that individuals might take during that process.  In my own mind, I was thinking (associated with the element of freedom that we have, despite the constraints of “given realities”) that any choice that we make inevitably is accompanied by a sense of sacrifice and loss regarding the paths not taken.  That sense of sacrifice is amplified by an acknowledgment that those paths not taken are extensively unspecified and indeterminant.

One of the adolescents, knowing that I had originally come from a deeply antebellum part of the South, asked me whether I was happy that I stayed in Chicago after completing my training as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst.  I responded that I was extremely pleased that I had stayed.

But, if you could go back and make that decision again,” I was asked, “where else would you have most greatly enjoyed living and doing your clinical work?”  Emphasizing that this was, of course, within the realm of wishful thinking (as emotions about Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeward, Angel” surfaced in the background), I said that I probably would have chosen to settle into the French Quarter, describing some of the many imagined enjoyable experiences of living quietly in a tiny courtyard apartment there. They all laughed in a cordial way and observed, “But you have so many things, even here in your office, it’s so cluttered, though in a warm and pleasant kind of way!”  “And you can just imagine what it’s like at home—clutter, clutter everywhere,” I answered, “but it manages to provide an atmosphere in which I actually can work in very creative ways.”

For me, the most important point to be taken from the overall commentary presented here is how the initial lack of any conscious sense of understanding about how or why my focus upon finding a satisfying image of a “tiny, tiny house” shifted to a thought of The French Quarter.  And, of course, the reference to a “tiny” courtyard apartment in The French Quarter during the reported group conversation of last week enabled me to unravel some of the previous ambiguity about the how the seemingly unassociated flow of ideas did contain a meaningful connection.

Perhaps all of this might strike some readers as an overly-long account of a seemingly minor event, but from a different perspective it might be understood as one particular example of the many, diverse ways that we all create in our attempts to organize the “clutter” with which we are continually confronted during the experiences of our everyday lives.

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