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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thanks for eveyone's help


Dear family, friends, transplant patients, bloggers, my blog readers, and other concerned citizens,

I have good news. Yesterday, HB 2655 (Tennessee Medication Therapy Monitoring and Management Act of 2010) passed out of the subcommittee with all members present voting in favor of it !! Let me say a big thank you to everyone that made phone calls and sent e-mails. We couldn't have done it without your help. All that being said, we still have a ways to go before the bill can become law and we still need your help. The members of the subcommittee that heard and voted on the bill yesterday only make up about half of the full committee which means the other half have not heard much, if anything, about the bill. Therefore, contacts, and lots of them, are going to be very important again.

This coming Tuesday, April 6th, the bill will be heard in the full House Health and Human Resources Committee at 10:30 a.m. in Room 16 of Legislative Plaza. If you can help with more e-mails, phone calls, and or attend the hearing, please do. Once again, please be polite and simply ask the members to support HB 2655, Tennessee Medication Therapy and Monitoring Management Act. The contact info for the full committee is available at this link http://www.capitol.tn.gov/house/committees/health.html. Also, if you can attend, please let me know so that I can pass the info along to the bill's sponsor.

Once again, thanks for everyone's help. We would appreciate your prayers in this matter, too. I believe this bill will provide a vital safety net to Tennessee's transplant recipients and many others currently taking prescription medications that require close monitoring by their physicians. I hope everyone will continue to help us as we head into Round 2.

Sincerely,
Johnny a.k.a. The Second Chance Sheepdog
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Friday, March 26, 2010

PLEASE HELP US OUT !!

Dear friends, family, transplant recipients, bloggers, my blog readers, and concerned citizens :

Many of you have been receiving my e-mail updates in regards to the physician notification legislation currently in the Tennessee Legislature that I have been honored to be involved with for the last year. However, some of you have not been. Nevertheless, myself and the others that have been involved with and working hard for over a year on this legislation need your help in a big way.

Here's a quick update - The legislation started off last year being about transplant recipients. If it had been passed last year, it would have required Tennessee's pharmacists to notify a transplant patient's physician anytime their anti-rejection meds were changed. Unfortunately, we did not have the votes to get it out of subcommittee, so a compromise was worked on during the summer and fall and we believed an agreement had been reached. In fact, this year's version of the bill (Tennessee Medication Therapy Monitoring and Management Act of 2010 -  HB 2655 / SB 2639) is, in my opinion, a better bill than last year. It goes beyond just helping transplant patients but will provide a layer of safety for ALL Tennesseans on a prescription medication. The bill would give your doctor the option of noting on a prescription if he or she wants to be notified by your pharmacist if that medication has to be changed for any reason. Likewise, if your doctor does not want nor feel it's necessary for them to be notified in the event of a change, he or she does not make the notation and it's just business as usual. For some meds, your doctor might want to be notified but not for others. The good thing is that it gives YOUR doctor that option. The bill is NOT about your doctor being able to approve or disapprove a medication change. It is ONLY about him or her being notified by your pharmacist if your medication is changed. Thus, it keeps them in the loop. We thought we had an agreement with the retail pharmacists, the insurance companies, and others to move this bill forward. Now, they are attempting to go back on their word by backing out of their agreement and putting pressure on the members of the subcommittee to vote against the bill. In my opinion, that is unacceptable. This is where you come in. We need phone calls made and e-mails sent to the subcommittee members. Their contact information can be found at this link - House Professional Occupations Subcommittee

If you've never got involved in the legislative process, this is your chance to make a difference. Please make calls or send e-mails by the end of business hours this coming Monday, March 29th. This will ensure that the subcommittee members hear from you before the subcommittee hearing and vote this coming Tuesday, March 30th, at Legislative Plaza in Room 31 at 8:30 a.m. What we need is very simple. First, when you contact the subcommittee members, please be polite. Second, tell them that you believe the Medication Therapy Monitoring and Management Act of 2010 (HB 2655 / SB 2639) is a good bill for Tennesseans and that they should vote in favor of it. The reason is because it will improve communication between patients with medical conditions that require additional monitoring, their doctors, and pharmacists which will provide these patients with an additional level of safety.The special interests and their money are fighting tooth and nail against this bill and the safety of Tennesseans. It's time for us to fight back and none of us can do it alone. We'll have to do it as a team.
Furthermore, if you have family or friends who can help with phone calls and e-mails, please pass this information along to them, too. The more contacts we make with the members of the subcommittee, the better our chances are of getting the bill approved and we need all the help we can get.

Thanks a bunch for your help in this matter,
Johnny a.k.a. The Second Chance Sheepdog
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's on !!!

I received an e-mail yesterday from Tea Party Nation about a new blog page they have set up called Fire the 219. It identifies the Top 10 of the 219 members of The House of Representatives that voted for the Health Care Takeover Bill who need to be voted out a.k.a. fired this November. I was glad to see the "gentleman" (Jim Cooper) who is supposed to represent Tennessee's 5th Congressional District third on the list. This low-life weasel has needed firing for a long time. I'm sure you're wondering what else he has done to piss me off besides voting for The Takeover. For starters, he was one of only 20 members of the U.S. House cold-hearted enough to vote against the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. Yes, he voted against a bill whose purpose was to end discrimination against Americans with disabilities and improve their access to jobs, buildings, parks, and other facilities across the country. Do I really need another reason ??

The video below states exactly what many Americans are feeling after Sunday. I can't say it any better. Enjoy.
Watch it here.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

"Fundamental Transformation" of U.S. health care system now a reality

Last night, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats achieved their goal. By a margin of 219-212, including Tennessee District 5 Congressman Jim Cooper, the Constitution-disregarding-Socialists voted to began the complete overhaul of the best health care system in the world. For months, Obama, Pelosi, and the Sociali-crats have been blaming the Republicans and others for being the party of "No." All of that was nothing but spin. The responsibility for the health care and economic boondoggle that will follow this vote lies completely upon the Democratic party. Why ?? Because the Republicans have no power. They are significantly in the minority and had no voice in this debacle.

The roll call as to how each member of the House voted is available on The New York Times website.
Even though George W. screwed some things up, I think I can honestly answer this question with a resounding YES !!
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gobble !! Gobble !!

Two weeks from today (April 3) at dawn, the 2010 spring turkey season will open here in Tennessee. It's a time that myself and thousands of other Tennessee turkey hunters look forward to every year. Reports are that birds are plentiful this year. Hopefully, that will equate to fresh turkey in the freezer.

Last year, Knight and Hale released the Smok'N Fire diaphragm mouth call. I've tried similar calls made by H.S. Strut, Primos, and Quaker Boy at different times through the years without ever really finding one that produced the life-like turkey sounds I was looking for. Therefore, I decided to give the Smok'N Fire a try. The first time I put one of these in my mouth and blew on it, I knew it was a turkey killer. For me, it produces the most life-like yelps, clucks, and cackles of any turkey call I've ever used. If you like to cut, then this is the call for you, too.

Last year was my 14th turkey season, and I had never killed a bird. I had called birds in only to have them hang up out of shotgun range, or see me and spook, and I've shot at and missed a few, too. These TV hunting shows have you to believe that they will always come in, stop, pose, and stand still for you to shoot at them. Unfortunately, it seldom happens that way.

I did not hunt opening day last year. However, I did the Saturday after and tried out the Smok'N Fire for the first time. At high noon, three jakes came out of the woods into the field I was sitting alongside of about 75 yards away from me. There was a cedar tree between me and them that I had ranged earlier at 40 yards. I had decided that once they got to that tree - one of them was TOAST. Forty-five minutes after first appearing, then going back in the woods, and then coming back out, one of them finally got to that tree. After 14 unsuccessful years, I did not hesitate. I squeezed the trigger and dropped the 13 lb. jake like a bad habit.
Last spring was special. My first bird. Two years earlier, I was recovering from a life-saving heart transplant. Not only had I received a second chance at life from a caring organ donor, Kent, but I had received a second chance to get back into a hobby I loved - hunting. This spring I'll be using the Smok'N Fire exclusively hoping for more success. If you're a turkey hunter who's still looking for the right call. Pick up a pack of the Knight and Hale Smok'N Fire. They sound great and kill turkeys dead. Getcha some !!
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chip implant ban fails in TN House of Representatives


According to an article on KnoxNews.com titled "Bill to Ban Microchip Implants Fails in House Panel", a bill that would have banned the forced or mandatory implantation of a microchip in people without their consent was voted down on March 16, 2010 in a Tennessee legislative committee. The bill, HB 2059, was sponsored by Rep. Susan Lynn (R - part of Sumner and Wilson Counties -  pictured top right) and basically ended in a tie (5 yeas, 5 nays, 1 present not voting) in the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill was an issue of protecting personal liberty and individual freedom but apparently 5 members of the committee believe personal liberty and the right to privacy are unimportant. Sadly, one couldn't even make up their mind how to vote. The vote breakdown shows who does and doesn't support individual liberty :

Ayes :
Nays :
Present Not Voting (a.k.a. can't make up their mind)
Here's the really sad part of this deal. Rep. Bass' (pictured lower right) reason for voting against the bill was the ACLU's support for it. "I just have a problem with any bill backed by a group .... (that supports) taking a prayer out of our school system," said Bass.

You're kidding me, right ?? Is this what it's come to in this country ?? You don't support a good bill because someone or group that's done something in the past we don't agree with supports it ?? That makes about as much since as it would for me, a Tennessee Volunteer fan, to refuse a hamburger from a Florida Gator fan if I hadn't eaten in a week just because they're a Gator fan !! How immature is that ?? That type of thinking is ludicrous. Rep. Bass brought up the school prayer issue. Here's a question for him ?? Didn't Jesus teach forgiveness ?? What would He think of carrying a grudge so huge that it prevented you from doing what's best for your constituents ?? I think we know the answer to that.

The thing that really irks me is that earlier this week I sent Rep. Bass a thank you e-mail for supporting Tennessee's concealed carry permit holders in current legislation. His support for the right to carry led me to believe he supports freedom and individual liberty. Guess I was wrong.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

SHOCKING REPORT : Pelosi and Democrats may pass health care takeover without a vote !!

A shocking report in The Washington Post yesterday (March 16, 2010) says that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats may try to ram through the government takeover of health care without even taking a vote !! Pelosi is considering using a maneuver called the "self-executing rule" or "deem and pass" which would allow members of the house to vote on corrections they want to make to the Senate version and just "deem" the health care overhaul as passed. Pelosi is considering this option "because it would politically protect lawmakers who are reluctant to publicly support the measure." Well .... duh. It's a cover-up. When the majority of Americans are opposed to the bill, Congress wants to CYA so we don't know how each of them voted.

Newsflash for Pelosi - even though the "self-executing" rule may be a legislative tool at her disposal, it's completely unconstitutional. The U.S. Constitution says in Article 1, Section 7(2) :

"..... But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law."
In plain English it says that there must be a vote and the "yeas" and "nays" must be recorded. These people still aren't listening. We have told them time and time again to follow The Constitution and they refuse. At least now we know exactly what happened to the Soviet Union when it fell. It migrated a few thousand miles west to Washington D.C. If Pelosi and the rest of the House pull this stunt, we voters need to show them this fall that by using the "self-executing" rule, each one of them "self-executed" their political career. Stick a fork in 'em ..... they're done !!
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My experience with socialized medicine - part 2

Today's post is a follow-up to the one I did on December 18, 2009 telling of my experience with the current U.S. version of socialized medicine, Medicare. I shared the frustrations I had experienced as well as the poor customer service I had received. Up until December 31, 2009, I was enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan by Humana. I ended my relationship with them due to their poor service and hoped switching to a different carrier in 2010 would fix the problem. Unfortunately, it did not.

The problems I experienced with the Humana Medicare Advantage Plan seem to be system-wide. The new plan I am under has lousy customer service, too. Last week, I spent six (6) days trying to get a prior authorization for my Cellcept (an immunosuppressant) completed. The nutty thing is that when I got it a month ago everything was fine. Transplant patients know we will be on these drugs the rest of our lives. They are a medical necessity so why does Medicare need a prior authorization every month ?? My doctor's office sent them one set of forms and then Medicare turns around and says, "We need these forms, too." So, my doctor's office does the additional forms and sends them in. Then, Medicare says, "We need you to note on the second set whether the transplant was paid for by Medicare." Um, hello government morons, that's in the files you already have. Get off your lazy butts and look in them !! Fortunately, the pharmacy was nice enough to give me enough of the medication to last until the bureacratic nightmare was over. Otherwise, I would have been in rejection simply because a bunch of bureacrats were too lazy to pull their head out of their @#$.

The final vote on ObamaCare in the U.S. House of Representatives is supposed to be this week. If it becomes law, it's only a matter of time before every American will be on a Medicare-like plan of socialized medicine and having the same lousy experiences that I've had. Plus, think about the fact that the Federal Government runs ......
All that being said, do you really want them running your health care ?? The 2000+ bill currently being considered in Congress is not "health care reform." It is a health care takeover. It doesn't take a 2000 page bill to tweak and fix the current problems we have, such as folks being un-insured due to pre-existing conditions. The only reason Congress would need that big of a bill is for a complete takeover. If you agree and you don't won't that happening then you better contract your Congressperson today (click here to find out how) and make your voice heard.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

God is busy

A rendition of the emblem on the flag of the U...A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments. He had completed  missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist and a member of the ACLU.  One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, "GOD if you are real then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 minutes." The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am GOD, I'm still waiting." It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got up went and knocked the professor out, knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold. The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, "What in the world is the matter with you? Why did you do that?" The Marine calmly replied, "GOD was too busy today protecting America's soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So He sent me." The classroom erupted in cheers!

SEMPER FI !! OOOAH !!
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Your politics may surprise you

I had not heard of the Nolan Chart until it was discussed on the Glenn Beck Program last week. The Nolan Chart is a survey made up of ten questions. Once you answer all of them, your answers are tabulated to determine which of the five political groups your views on the issues most closely relate to. You will notice there is no Democrat, Republican, or Independent. The five groups and their definitions, according to Webster's Dictionary are :
  • libertarian - a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action
  • liberal - not literal or strict; loose; broad-minded; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms
  • centrist - a person who holds moderate views
  • conservative - tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions; traditional; marked by moderation or caution; marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners
  • statist (progressive) - an advocate of statism; statism is concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government often extending to government ownership of industry
On Glenn Beck's show the other day, he also made the point that statist and progressive are the same. Webster's defines progressive as "making use of or interested in new ideas, findings, or opportunities." Since Hillary Clinton defines herself as "a modern progressive," I would say that Beck is right on target.

Now that we've defined all five groups, let's have some fun. Please visit The Nolan Chart website (click here) to take the 10-question quiz and see which group it calculates that you are in. You may be surprised at the results. I was. I've always considered my self a "conservative," but the results I got classified me as a "libertarian." Once you take the quiz, please send me an e-mail and in it tell me two things : 1) where it grouped you, and 2) where you thought you'd group. I'm gonna tabulate all the results and follow up with another blog entry later. I want to see how many people were grouped where they thought they would. This could get interesting.
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hand transplant gives hope to Veteran

An article, "Transplant Recipient Sees Potential for Wounded Warriors", on the U.S. Department of Defense website tells the story of Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Janet McWilliams. She received the first hand transplant ever received in a Defense Department facility. Furthermore, she is only the 10th person, and first woman, in the U.S. to undergo the procedure.

About 9 years ago, she lost her left hand and suffered severe injuries to her right hand when a package bomb exploded in her office. Two weeks after her surgery Master Sgt. McWilliams was able to move her thumb and fingers. However, doctors say it will take at least six months before she will have any feeling in her new hand. She is excited about the possibilities her hand transplant holds for other severely injured U.S. Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Honestly, all of us should be excited with her. Our veterans put life and limb on the line for us everyday to keep us safe and protect the freedoms we hold so dear. I can't think of a group of individuals that deserve a second chance more than them. Can you ??
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Wasting taxpayer money ...... again !!

I usually enjoy watching the NASCAR races on Sunday afternoons, but something I saw yesterday in the Kobalt Tools 500 from Altanta made me angry and it wasn't Carl Edwards intentionally wrecking Brad Keselowski. The #16 Ford Fusion driven by Greg Biffle was sponsored by the 2010 U.S. Census !!! Yes, the Census Bureau spent our tax dollars on sponsoring a race car. I'm sure the Census Bureau would argue that it was good PR and they're just wanting to make sure everyone knows that 2010 is a census year. The problem with that argument is that unless you have not had a TV on, not seen a newspaper, or had your head stuck in the sand you know it is a census year. PSA's have been everywhere.

The U.S. is in debt up to its ears. This years budget will in the red by trillions of dollars, but yet Obama and Congress continue to waste taxpayer dollars on non-essential services and other expenses. Americans have told them over and over to stop spending, but they do not listen. I'll bet they'll listen in November when we go to the polls. Throw the bums out !!
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Friday, March 5, 2010

The Sheepdog's health care reform proposal

By now everyone's heard all the different proposals about how to reform health care in this country. Obama's got a plan, the Democrats have several different ones, and the Republicans in Congress have one, too. Now, I, the Sheepdog, am gonna share mine. No 2000+ page bill required and it's very simple. However, parts of it go against my conservative political views. You'll understand why shortly. However, I think it's the only way to get the un-insured with pre-existing conditions health insurance coverage, and in my opinion, that is the biggest problem. And yes, before you ask, I am one of them. We'll call it The Sheepdog Health Care Reform Plan and it does four (4) things.

First, we have to end the discrimination against people with chronic illnesses / disabilities / pre-existing conditions. Discrimination is prohibited in the sale of other products and insurance is a product. For instance, let's say an African-American couple are newly married and looking to buy their first house. They find one they like and make an offer. The seller refuses to sell to them because of their race. That is not only wrong but is against the law. So, why do we allow health insurance companies to legally discriminate against people who are sick by refusing to sell them health insurance coverage ?? It's wrong and should be against the law, too. Anyone that wants coverage and can pay for it should be able to buy it.

Second, we have to limit, cap, the premium that a health care insurance company can charge for both individual and family plans. Why ?? Because if we don't the insurance companies will offer people with pre-existing conditions insurance but then charge them so much that the insurance is unaffordable. Basically, they would continue to discriminate.

Third, we must have tort reform. The frivolous lawsuits that physicians, nurses, drug companies and others face on a daily basis are forcing up health care costs. I do agree that if the negligence of a doctor, nurse, drug company, etc. injuries or kills a patient that the patient and/or their family should have legal recourse and be able to sue the heck out of the provider. However, there are so many frivolous lawsuits now that the physicians malpractice insurance premium are sky high and that is driving up health care costs. Anybody but me noticed that we have not heard a peep out of the American Bar Association during the health care reform debate ?? Interesting, isn't it ??

Fourth, we must standardize and simplify the states' mandates on health insurance companies. Many people believe that health insurance cannot be sold across state lines. That is not exactly true. It just seems that way. The reason is because state governments have created so many different mandates that health insurance companies have to follow that a policy may meet the requirements of and be legal to sell in one state and not another. To fix this, all 50 states need to simplify and standardize the requirements they put on the insurance companies. For example, a policy that meets all the mandates required to be legally sold by Company A in Tennessee should automatically meet all the requirements to be legally sold in California. Then, it will be much easier for residents in one state to by health insurance from a company in another state. Competition would increase and prices would decrease.

So, there you have it - The Sheepdog Health Care Reform Plan. Now, I do not believe that Americans should be forced / mandated to buy health insurance as Mr. Obama's plan does. However, it you want it and can pay for it, I don't believe you should be turned down for health reasons. Before anyone says, "but in some states you are required to buy auto insurance," let me say that you have a choice not to. How ?? You can use public transportation or ride with family or friends and not own a car. However, if you choose to drive, then you have to have auto insurance. Under, ObamaCare, if you choose to live then you have to have health insurance. Your other choice - die or leave. Not much of a choice. I also wish we would not have to force health insurance companies to cover people or cap the premiums they can charge. I wish they would just do the right thing, but they won't. One can probably argue the The Sheepdog Plan will interfere with the free market. Some will argue that forcing an insurance company to cover you even if you're sick is unconstitutional. Maybe so, but, I also believe that discrimination is wrong and any form of it should be illegal. Plus, I know from my own experience that you will be turned down if you have a pre-existing condition. I called one of the big health insurance companies one day, told them I was interested in an individual policy, and that I was a transplant recipient just to see what would happen. The call lasted less than 15 seconds as the "customer service rep" said, "You're an automatic exclusion," and then couldn't hang up quick enough. Don't believe me ?? Call one of them and tell them you are a transplant recipient and find out for yourself.

Let me be clear - I am absolutely, positively against ObamaCare / universal health care, and if someone else has a better plan, I'd love to hear it. Obama's plan will wreck our health care system because it will lead to a complete government takeover of the industry over time. My plan will not. It will just tweak what we've currently got. If you think ObamaCare won't lead to a complete takeover, then maybe this video will change your mind :

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

The mechanic and the cardiologist

A mechanic was removing a cylinder-head from the motor of a Harley motorcycle when he spotted a well-known cardiologist in his shop. The cardiologist was there waiting for the service manager to come and take a look at his bike when the mechanic shouted across the Garage, 'Hey Doc, want to take a look at this?' The cardiologist, a bit surprised, walked over to where the mechanic was working on the motorcycle. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, 'So Doc , look at this engine. I open its heart, took the valves out, repaired any damage, and then put them back in, and when I finish, it works just like new. So how come I make $39,675 a year and you get the really big bucks ($1,700,000) when you and I are doing basically the same work?' The cardiologist paused, smiled and leaned over, then whispered to the mechanic...

 'Try doing it with the engine running.
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010