Friday, March 22, 2013

Why Price Controls Won’t Fix American Health Care ^ | March 20, 2013 | Peter Suderman

Anyone looking for a clue about the future of health policy debates should take note of a Center for American Progress panel convened earlier this month. The topic at hand was journalist Steven Brill’s Time magazine story on high medical bills, which compared rates charged to uninsured and privately insured patients with the negotiated, lower per-service rates charged to Medicare.
But rather than push for a government-run, single-payer system—what liberals often term “Medicare for all”—several of the left-leaning health experts on hand talked up a technocratic alternative known as "all-payer": Instead of the federal government serving as a universal insurer, as in single payer, the government would set payment rates for the entire system, public and private, eliminating price discrepancies for different payers.
In other words, price controls. This is the great new idea that has gripped liberal health wonks as health costs have continued to rise: to simply have the government declare that prices must be lower.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Conservative Superheroines

When I was a kid I loved comics. It's what led me down the path to ultimately become a graphic artist. I originally wanted to draw them, but 9-11 turned my attention to the real world, and I never looked back.

I still love the art form, and I thought it would be fun to match VIP conservative women with some of the best and toughest super-heroines created. The connection is pretty obvious after all...
Also check out Conservative Superheroes and Liberal Supervillians.

Obama Continues to Offend Israelis & Embarrass Americans

Michelle Obama's Mirror ^ | 3-22-2013 | MOTUS

No wonder Big Guy had to launch his Mideast Charm Offensive: USA Today reports that the U.S is now less popular in the region than at the end of the George W. Bush administration(!).

bo so much fun

Perhaps if their reporter had attended last night’s State Dinner in honor of BO they would have felt otherwise. It was, well, charming:

So, with gratitude for your life and your service, and as you prepare to celebrate your 90th birthday this summer -- and since I’m starting to get pretty good at Hebrew -- (laughter) -- let me propose a toast -- even though you’ve taken away my wine
-- (laughter.) Come on. Bring another.

How are you?

SERVER: Here you are, sir. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: A toast -- ad me’ah ve’esrim. L’chaim! (Applause.) Mmm, that's good wine. (Laughter.) Actually, we should probably get this out of the photograph. All these people will say I'm having too much fun in Israel. (Laughter.)

bo mmmm matzo  funToo much fun with Matzo crackers: Big Guy doing his “rodent impersonation”

bo peres way too much funToo much fun playing “Air Raid” with Shimon

bo having fun in israelToo much fun looking out over the massive crowd that came to hear him tell them to “Demand peace from your leaders!”

telaviv crowds go wild watching bo's speech Massive crowd, having too much fun listening to Big Guy’s speech on the Jumbotron

Here are a couple other highlights of BO’s too fun trip:

bo bibi Professor Amir Geva, head of the biomedical signal processing  tech expoBig Guy meets his favorite Hasidic rapper, doKtor dreiDel

And of course his meeting with Yityish Aynaw. Who knew? If Big Guy had a Jewish daughter…she could be Miss Israel!

bo miss israel Yityish AynawI swear, I didn’t know there were any black Jews!

Speaking of race - and it seems we always are - here’s another little issue back on the homefront that might get out of hand if BO doesn’t get back pretty soon to resolve it.

It’s about our illegal alien situation; apparently we have some people questioning our deportation policy. They want to know why Ricky and Big Sis don’t want to deport this family:

more-fine-illegal-aliensThe MS-13 “family,” they’re welcome to stay

Butt they do want to deport this evangelical German family seeking asylum for the religious right to homeschool?

romeike-familyThe Romeika family, they’re not welcome

I realize that the evangelical family is unlikely to vote even once let alone 3 or 4 times for the Democrats whereas the MS-13 family is a lock; and I really hate to be the one to bring this up, butt isn’t this policy a little…uh, racist? (SNIP)

I’ll leave you today with a little sample of doKtor dreiDel’s “art”. Big Guy’s got it on his iPod and you should have it too:

Oh sure, it’s no Beyonce (role model for Big Guy’s daughters), or even Jay-Z, butt it is timely.

...Read the Rest Here>>>

Obamacare Is a Prescription for a Democratic Headache in 2014

National Journal ^ | 03/22/2013 | By Alex Roarty

President Obama’s health care law—a killer issue in 2010 but an afterthought among voters in 2012—will face another round of attacks in 2014 as its thorniest parts go into effect, potentially supplying Republicans fresh ammunition in their war against "Obamacare" and creating renewed problems for a plethora of vulnerable Democrats. Neither party knows for sure how smoothly the law will be implemented or if Americans will ultimately support it.
But it’s clear that seismic change is coming in health care, and that any disruption to the system could alienate voters who today are mostly ambivalent toward the law.
Businesses are starting to scramble to meet the law’s requirement that they offer health insurance by the start of next year, which is also when new taxes and regulations will kick in that critics say will result in “rate shock” for young consumers. State and federal officials may not have insurance-enrollment programs fully operational in time, sowing red tape and confusion as people who have never bought insurance try to navigate flawed and complicated systems. Insurers are already warning that premiums are set to spike.
Collectively, those scenarios represent a worst-case scenario for the law. But Republicans are counting on them, suggesting that a health care doomsday will turn voters against the Affordable Care Act just as the fierce debate over the legislation did during the 2010 conservative wave (and, by some GOP operatives’ own admission, failed to do in 2012).
Not only will voters be alienated by changes they dislike, the thinking goes, they’ll also be confronted by the litany of promises Democratic lawmakers made before and after it became law. Rob Jesmer, who served as executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2008 and 2010, suggested Republicans might have an easier time making their case in the next election cycle than in 2010.
“Even then, it was all theory,” said Jesmer, who is now a Republican consultant. “What I like about what’s happening in 2014 is we can use statements that were said in 2010 by vulnerable Democrats. They said, ‘You could keep your doctor, and your insurance premiums won’t rise.’ Well, the rubber is going to meet the road in 18 months. Many of them will prove largely not true.”
Even before most of the changes take effect, and despite predictions from the White House that the law would become more popular after passage, the public remains cold toward Obamacare. No more than 45 percent of the public has viewed it favorably in the last two and a half years, according to a monthly tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Health Foundation, and only 37 percent approved of it this month. Even debunked myths about the law, such as the inclusion of so-called “death panels,” persist: Just 39 percent of the public correctly believes Obamacare includes no such provision.
The ground is fertile, then, for the issue to reemerge in 2014, because the midterm battleground map will largely be fought where Obamacare is least popular. Deeply red states like West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana will feature races next year. And several Democrats up for reelection, like Sens. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, Mark Begich in Alaska, and Mark Pryor in Arkansas, are facing voters for the first time since voting for the legislation in 2010.
Republicans see fewer opportunities in the House, mostly because the Democrats who voted for it were mostly purged in 2010. Among the few survivors: Reps. Tim Bishop of New York and John Tierney of Massachusetts, as well as Reps. Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire and Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, who lost their reelection bids in 2010 but made comebacks in 2012.
But officials at the National Republican Congressional Committee vow they will continue to litigate the issue. According to data provided by the committee, polling conducted by GOP firm OnMessage found that in 18 targeted districts—a collection of potential swing districts—54 percent of independents favor repealing Obamacare. Even women who skew Democratic lean right on this issue, with 50 percent of them in the targeted districts favoring repeal.
“House Democrats are in denial if they thought they were done defending this unpopular law,” said NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek. “Obamacare is getting worse with age and Americans are ready to hold Democrats accountable for the higher premiums, tax increases, and reduced care.”
Democrats welcome renewed attacks on the law, confident they will win against a party trying to regurgitate a stale issue. An attack that went bust in 2012, when the GOP spent tens of millions of dollars linking Democrats to Obamacare but still lost just a net of two Senate seats, won’t suddenly return to bite them two years later. And that was before a plethora of high-profile Republican governors, like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, approved the dramatic expansion of Medicaid in their home states.
“It’s proved to be a failed strategy,” said Matt Canter, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “What clearly matters most to voters is new information that defined the contrast between the two candidates.”
And Republicans risk alienating voters with a blunt message of repeal when they gloss over the fact doing so would mean tens of millions of people losing health insurance. Avoiding that pitfall might not be easy, either, with a conservative base that still thirsts for outright repeal.
As one GOP strategist, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, suggested, the party needs to offer ideas explaining how to provide them insurance.
“Our voters have real economic concerns, and part of those economic concerns is having reasonable and affordable health care,” the GOP source said. “Many of them think Obamacare isn’t the answer, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to address those concerns.”
It’s also possible that implementation, while a massive undertaking, could improve public perception. Uninsured people will start receiving subsidies to buy coverage or will be eligible for expanded Medicaid services. Insurers also won’t be able to reject patients with preexisting conditions.
Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, said that a smooth implementation will require “significant political and civic leadership” at the local level.
That’s more likely to occur in states dominated by Democrats who want to make sure the health care law hits the ground running.
“There’s all the technical issues of setting up these health care exchanges, and then there’s mobilizing millions of people who are not well organized to sign up, and all of this is going to occur within the congressional election cycle,” he said. “The issue will be whether the newspapers are filled with stories about confused people and businesses with premiums going up, or with pictures of people who didn’t have insurance lining up and taking their baby to the doctor for the first time.”
For Republicans, 2014 is likely to be their last stand against the health care law, Blendon said. “I can’t imagine this becomes a presidential issue in 2016,” he said. “This election is sort of the last political play.”

Fighting Back: How to fight the radicals who play by the “Rules for Radicals”

Nachum ^ | 3/21/13 | Nachum

Fighting Back:

How to fight the radicals who play by the “Rules for Radicals”

Here is the complete list from Alinsky.

* RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)

Rule 1: Radicals are your enemy. They think you have power over them, whether you do or not. Radicals are in an never-ending attempt to “Build Power” by recruiting the miscreants of society, conditioning youth, and using any and all agents to do so.

* RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don’t address the “real” issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)

Rule 2: Find the areas of lack of expertise of the enemy and those they have recruited. You cannot attack what you do not understand. Find their weakness to expose the ignorance of the enemy.

* RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

Rule 3: Attack the Attackers. Whenever the enemy attacks an organization, objectify the ones making the attack immediately and return the attack. Know that the enemy has scouted you for perceived weakness and you must undermine by any means necessary those who are attacking and financing the attack

* RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)

Rule 4: Modify your rules to waste the time, energy and money of the enemy. If you have promised to “give a reply to every letter”, do not respond to the letters of the enemy at all. You will not die and they will spin their wheels uselessly. The enemy depends on this rule to “kill you”, but the “besieged entity” will lose nothing by ignoring the obvious ploy of the enemy. Be prepared to respond to the attackers’ with lawsuits, public humiliation, and the spotlight of media they are unprepared for.

* RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)

Rule 5: Return ridicule with even more ridicule. “They believe there is no defense, and they will act irrationally themselves. The enemy’s pressure will evaporate to avoid the return of their “most potent weapon” on themselves.

* RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid “un-fun” activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.)

Rule 6: Make their own tactics no fun. Make their tactics harder, more boring, and even painful. If ignorant “activists” are feeling pain, like other human beings will avoid the pain.

* RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)

Rule 7: Make sure their tactics take a very long time. Work to make their activities look repetitive and tired. Excitement will dwindle when nothing is happening and everyone sees the tactics the enemy employs are from a playbook being used over and over again.

* RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

Rule 8: Always make the enemy pay. The enemy never stops. They will always come back with something else. They will say whatever comes to mind. If the enemy finds you have thwarted their attack, be sure that another one is coming. You must be vigilant and you must make them pay dearly for every attempt. They must pay a price. It must be painful.

* RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)

Rule 9: Answer all threats with threats of your own. Use the knowledge you have of your rights to make the enemy aware that you will make them all personally pay, even if you do not follow through. If your organization is under threat from activists, return the threat with threats on the enemy. Personalize the threats. Let them know you know who they are and you will make a threat of your own. They also have irrational fears. Use them.

* RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management’s wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)

Rule 10: Defend yourself physically if required. The enemy will always resort to violence, defend yourself. The enemy has overplayed their own negative tactics. The public will respect someone who will not lay down and die. The enemy will also know that they will also pay a physical price if they resort to violence. Expect it violence and prepare for it. During the Los Angeles riots, those businesses that used armed security to respond to physical threats were largely untouched.

* RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)

Rule 11: The Always identify the enemy as never having a constructive alternative. The enemy’s only alternative is communism or fascism. The enemy has no ideas of their own. Everything they have is borrowed from the extreme left or European socialism. Activist organizations are mostly fronts for communism. Do not ever compromise with a communist. They only will use it as a foothold to take more rights away from you.

* RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

Rule 12: Get to the enemy first. When your enemy sets out in the morning to kill you, wake up earlier than your enemy and kill him first. You have been attacked. Do not wait to be a victim. Make the enemy pay in every way. Make them a pariah in society. Make them outcasts. Punish them personally.

U.S. Still Making Payments to Relatives of Civil War Vets (143 Years Later, V.A. Still Pays Out)

Breitbart ^ | 21 Mar 2013, | Wynton Hall

civil war photo: General McClellan and staff 395304_2836101473885_1711851296_n.jpg
U.S. Still Making Payments to Relatives of Civil War Vets
The U.S. government spends over $40 billion a year to compensate veterans and their family members for service in conflicts as far back as the Civil War.
According to an analysis conducted by the Associated Press, the costs of veteran compensation for previous wars are as follows:
• $12 billion a year for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the first Persian Gulf War
• $22 billion a year for Vietnam
• $5 billion a year for World War II
• $2.8 billion for the Korean War
• $20 million for World War I
• $50,000 a year to 10 living recipients of benefits tied to the 1898 Spanish-American War
• Two payments of $876 a year to two children of Civil War veterans
Using federal payment data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the AP identified disability and survivor benefits to conduct the analysis.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Democrat Running for Governor of Arkansas Promises Free College!

College Insurrection ^ | March 21, 2013 | Aleister G.

Of course!

Democrats love to promise expensive things for free. Free healthcare, free cell phones, free money. Why not free college?
Meet Bill Halter who’s running for governor of Arkansas. The emphasis below is mine.
Bill’s letter to Arkansans
Young adults who receive a college degree today on average can expect to earn $1 million more over the course of their working live than similarly situated Arkansans who do not. But Arkansas currently ranks 49th out of 50 states in the percentage of our workforce with college degrees – behind Mississippi and ahead of only West Virginia. And we’re not just competing with other states. Within two decades, China will have 200 million college graduates. That’s more than the entire U.S. workforce. Within the next ten years, India will produce four times as many college graduates as the United States. We must meet this challenge. It is time to give every Arkansas high school student the opportunity to attend college if they earn it.
I call it the Arkansas Promise.
Simply stated, if you go to high school in Arkansas, qualify for a lottery scholarship, maintain a 2.5 GPA and plan to attend college in the state, we promise to pay your collegetuition......
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Gay Kryptonite

Taki's Magazine ^ | March 12, 2013 | Kathy Shaidle

Gay activists insist that “faggot” comes from the word for the kindling beneath the feet of heretical homosexuals. That’s a lie.
But while the word “faggot” doesn’t come from “a bundle of sticks,” the word “fascist” does.
Funny, that.
Behold: In the name of “truth, justice and the American way,” a renowned science-fiction writer has just been condemned to (professional) death for expressing his views on homosexuality in a tiny Mormon magazine almost twenty-five years ago.
Orson Scott Card wrote the beloved 1985 Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel Ender’s Game“ about the innocence of a child winning out over war and hatred,” an “irony” which seems to be making his “homophobia” all the more heartbreaking to his lifelong (liberal) fans.
So what did Card say?
Back in 1990—and again in 2004—he objected to the legalization of sodomy and “gay marriage” by judicial fiat. If unelected judges can nullify thousands of years of civil and religious law in a trice, he asked, what else will our robed rulers force us to accept? Will ordinary people someday rise up against this tyrannical system?
“These spindly beta males all secretly see themselves as righteous macho caped crusaders, rescuing the world whether it needs it or not.”
That candid, decades-long (and, some would say, perfectly sound) opposition to “gay marriage” in particular and top-down social engineering in general suddenly rendered Card persona non grata when DC Comics hired him to write a Superman comic last month.......
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

OBAMACARE FORBIDS GUN REGISTRATION - Thanks Harry Reid email ^ | 1-9-13 |

This should stir the pot. Looks like Obama should have read the "Obamacare" law before he signed it, OR he was so eager to get "Obamacare" that he didn't care about the "gun owners" clause that was in it! So, Obama was either stupid for not reading the bill OR knew the clause was necessary to get his "Obamacare" passed, so that his ego could soar! Wednesday, it was discovered that hidden deep within the massive 2800-page bill called Obamacare, there is a Senate Amendment protecting the right to keep and bear arms. It seems that in their haste to cram socialized medicine down the throats of the American people, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Barack Obama overlooked Senate amendment 3276, Sec. 2716, part c. According to that amendment, the government cannot collect "any information relating to the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition." This means that the government CANNOT mandate firearm registration. No registration, no confiscation. Poor ol' Joe Biden, he spent the last couple of weeks focusing on making a law requiring registration. Good thing is though, the amendment also states that not even an executive order can override the amendment. CNN is now referring to it as "a gift to the nation's powerful gun lobby." And according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), that's exactly right. He says he personally added the provision in order to keep the NRA from getting involved in the legislative fight over Obamacare, which was so ubiquitous in 2010. It looks like Harry Reid actually helped out firearm owners without even realizing it. Thanks Harry!!
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Senate GOP proposals would force Obama into health law exchanges

The Hill ^ | March 21, 2013 | Sam Baker

Republican amendments to the Senate's budget proposal would require President Obama and Vice President Biden to get their medical care through the new exchanges created by Obama's signature healthcare law.
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) both offered amendments to move the president and vice president into the healthcare law's exchanges.
After the Affordable Care Act passed, the White House said Obama would enroll in an exchange once the time came in 2014. Collins and Ayotte's amendments would require the president, the vice president and the Cabinet to put their premiums where their politics are.
Lawmakers and most of their staff members already have to purchase coverage through an exchange, thanks to a provision Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) added to the healthcare law.
But the White House and its staff aren't covered by that provision. Some congressional leadership staffers also aren't affected, and can remain in the healthcare exchange for federal employees.
All of the budget amendments are messaging documents — as is the budget itself. And there are a slew of proposals to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act.
Dozens of amendments have already been filed, including proposals to repeal the healthcare law and some key provisions, including the individual mandate and some of its taxes.
More from The Hill • Reid to bring gun bill to floor with expanded background checks • Unions representing federal workers bemoan extended pay freeze • McCain: Media leaks damaging Gang of 8 immigration talks
An amendment from Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) would prohibit the use of federal money to advertise the law's new benefits, cutting off a publicity campaign that will be essential to making sure people actually enroll in the new benefits available to them.
Other GOP amendments would delay the law's implementation and change its definition of a "part-time" employee.
There's one bipartisan proposal in the mix — amendments to repeal the healthcare law's medical device tax.
Because budgets do not become law, none of these proposals would take effect even if the House and Senate were to agree on the underlying budget.

Obamacare May Cost Small Business 'Whiners' 65% of Annual Profits!

Breitbart ^ | March 20, 2013 | John Sexton

Today the NY Times has a case study on the cost of Obamacare to one small business. The business in question is Baked in the Sun, a California baker with 95 employees.
Baked in the Sun does about $8 million in annual revenue, however margins for bakers are tight so their annual profit is only about $200,000. Because the business has over 50 employees, they will be required to offer health insurance to their employees or pay a fine for not doing so.
The owners estimate that the cost of compliance would be $108,000 per year plus $10,000 in overhead to manage the plan. The cost of paying the fine for not offering insurance would be $130,000. So they have a choice between losing 64% or 65% of their annual profits.
The article goes on to note that not all employees will take the insurance being offered. Some will already have it through another individual--a spouse or parent. So the actual cost of offering a plan will likely be less than the potential cost. Of course, no one knows what the plans themselves will cost yet so it's all a guess at this point.
In any case, just a week ago Five Guys burgers announced the cost of Obamacare compliance was going to force them to raise prices. Matt Yglesias, who writes for Slate, was quick to call them "whiners."
Obamacare is going to reduce his profits by about one-eighth and he (and any investors in his business) will eat the loss. With corporate profits as a share of the economy at an all-time high, nobody's going to cry for him either.
In other words, eat the 1/8 loss of profits and shut up about it........
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

It's Complicated

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Our Shepherd

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Tax Hike

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Got A Ticket?

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Free Money?

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