Interesting tidbits from AFGE newsletters

Old Oct 20, 12, 1:16 pm
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Interesting tidbits from AFGE newsletters

List of PDFs here Pretty much all of them contain something I consider delusional.

For instance, in this one, I find the following icky turn of a phrase:

The new council president [Hydrick Thomas (JFK)] said the council's immediate goal is to organize into AFGE the maximum TSOs or at least 50% of the 45,000 officers. The council will communicate regularly with all TSA Local leaders and their members.

Thomas, who is the president of Local 2222 in New York and New Jersey, said he would like to see a change in the image of the TSOs so they will be recognized as a professional workforce. The council wants the flying public to be reminded why this agency was created and every day that officers put their uniform on, it could be their last day alive.


The delusion of the screeners being in harm's way continues. Insane.
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Old Oct 20, 12, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by TheRoadie View Post
List of PDFs here Pretty much all of them contain something I consider delusional.

For instance, in this one, I find the following icky turn of a phrase:

The new council president [Hydrick Thomas (JFK)] said the council's immediate goal is to organize into AFGE the maximum TSOs or at least 50% of the 45,000 officers. The council will communicate regularly with all TSA Local leaders and their members.

Thomas, who is the president of Local 2222 in New York and New Jersey, said he would like to see a change in the image of the TSOs so they will be recognized as a professional workforce. The council wants the flying public to be reminded why this agency was created and every day that officers put their uniform on, it could be their last day alive.


The delusion of the screeners being in harm's way continues. Insane.
What a crock. Just look at the screeners at any checkpoint. Have you ever seen any apprehension of danger on the faces or in the body language of a single screener even when the ETD swab test is positive? No. There's a bigger risk of getting killed just commuting to work.
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Old Oct 20, 12, 1:55 pm
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Originally Posted by nachtnebel View Post
What a crock. Just look at the screeners at any checkpoint. Have you ever seen any apprehension of danger on the faces or in the body language of a single screener even when the ETD swab test is positive? No. There's a bigger risk of getting killed just commuting to work.
I have actually.

I was choosing the grope and I told the clerk, no, I'm not going in that thing, they cause brain damage. And she said "Oh!" and looked worried.

And I don't think your analysis is complete. You don't think extreme obesity carries an increased mortality risk?
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Old Oct 20, 12, 2:57 pm
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Originally Posted by TheRoadie View Post
Thomas, who is the president of Local 2222 in New York and New Jersey, said he would like to see a change in the image of the TSOs so they will be recognized as a professional workforce.
Well, that's relatively simple to achieve.

To be recognized as a professional workforce, you have to act like a professional workforce. Every single person, every single day, with every single passenger. No making excuses like "the acts of this person do not reflect on the 50K other TSA employees", when they do reflect on everyone else. No blaming the passenger for confrontations, even when the passenger provokes the confrontation. And, for Pete's sake, no whining or self-promotion about the level of disrespect received.

Respect is earned, not bestowed.
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Old Oct 21, 12, 3:55 am
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Originally Posted by jkhuggins View Post
Well, that's relatively simple to achieve.

To be recognized as a professional workforce, you have to act like a professional workforce. Every single person, every single day, with every single passenger. No making excuses like "the acts of this person do not reflect on the 50K other TSA employees", when they do reflect on everyone else. No blaming the passenger for confrontations, even when the passenger provokes the confrontation. And, for Pete's sake, no whining or self-promotion about the level of disrespect received.

Respect is earned, not bestowed.
Keep preaching brother JK! This is almost the exact same thing I have been saying since I came to TSA. Treat the passengers with professionalism, and courtesy, do the job right, and if you find yourself in a situation where you do not know what the next step is, find someone (LTSO, STSO, TSM) that does know what the next step is. I have long advocated taking it on the chin when we have done something that is wrong, then taking steps to make certain it doesn't happen again. Of course, I also believe we should post things to the contrary when we are falsely accused of things, but what do I know.
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Old Oct 21, 12, 7:31 am
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Originally Posted by TheRoadie View Post
The council wants the flying public to be reminded why this agency was created and [B][U]every day that officers put their uniform on, it could be their last day alive.
An alternate interpretation is that whenever anyone goes to work, they could be going to work on the last day of their lives.

I suspect that, similar to my job, the commute to work for a TSO is more dangerous than being at work. I welcome statistics that prove otherwise.
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Old Oct 21, 12, 5:15 pm
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Originally Posted by TheRoadie View Post
Thomas, who is the president of Local 2222 in New York and New Jersey, said he would like to see a change in the image of the TSOs so they will be recognized as a professional workforce. The council wants the flying public to be reminded why this agency was created and every day that officers put their uniform on, it could be their last day alive.[/I]

The delusion of the screeners being in harm's way continues. Insane.
The sad thing is, the TSA crowd really thinks this way.
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Old Oct 21, 12, 5:37 pm
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Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
Keep preaching brother JK! This is almost the exact same thing I have been saying since I came to TSA. Treat the passengers with professionalism, and courtesy, do the job right, and if you find yourself in a situation where you do not know what the next step is, find someone (LTSO, STSO, TSM) that does know what the next step is. I have long advocated taking it on the chin when we have done something that is wrong, then taking steps to make certain it doesn't happen again. Of course, I also believe we should post things to the contrary when we are falsely accused of things, but what do I know.
Far to often the LTSO, STSO, or TSM don't know what the next step is. Take for example the case of a woman being held hostage by TSA screeners over the screening of breast milk and the TSA suit (TSM) stood by and did nothing.

http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?d...7-1c50c1e590ec

To have a professional workforce you need professional people, TSA has none!
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Old Oct 21, 12, 11:52 pm
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Originally Posted by TheRoadie View Post
List of PDFs here Pretty much all of them contain something I consider delusional.

For instance, in this one, I find the following icky turn of a phrase:

The new council president [Hydrick Thomas (JFK)] said the council's immediate goal is to organize into AFGE the maximum TSOs or at least 50% of the 45,000 officers. The council will communicate regularly with all TSA Local leaders and their members.

Thomas, who is the president of Local 2222 in New York and New Jersey, said he would like to see a change in the image of the TSOs so they will be recognized as a professional workforce. The council wants the flying public to be reminded why this agency was created and every day that officers put their uniform on, it could be their last day alive.


The delusion of the screeners being in harm's way continues. Insane.
It truly could be their last day alive. Mainly do to heart attack.
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Old Oct 22, 12, 12:24 am
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Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
Keep preaching brother JK! This is almost the exact same thing I have been saying since I came to TSA. Treat the passengers with professionalism, and courtesy, do the job right, and if you find yourself in a situation where you do not know what the next step is, find someone (LTSO, STSO, TSM) that does know what the next step is. I have long advocated taking it on the chin when we have done something that is wrong, then taking steps to make certain it doesn't happen again. Of course, I also believe we should post things to the contrary when we are falsely accused of things, but what do I know.
You do post this here, I will credit you with that.

However, I wonder if you post this at the TSA Blog. (I honestly don't know, because I quit going there long ago. Perhaps you did).

It was an allegedly moderated cesspit of misinformation and Bob did nothing to correct posts from (real or alleged) TSOs that were clearly wrong, misleading or gratuitously insulting - certainly nothing that reflected positively on the organization. Bob's (and other 'real' TSOs refusal to correct such posts constituted tacit support. I wonder if Bob ever realized (or cared) that the Blog might also be read by folks who do not read FT, folks who go there with an open mind looking for information and answers. It's hard to believe that anyone going to the Blog for insights into TSA for the first time would come away with the impression of a proud, professional, self-policing organization with high standards.
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Old Oct 22, 12, 3:54 am
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Originally Posted by chollie View Post
You do post this here, I will credit you with that.

However, I wonder if you post this at the TSA Blog. (I honestly don't know, because I quit going there long ago. Perhaps you did).

It was an allegedly moderated cesspit of misinformation and Bob did nothing to correct posts from (real or alleged) TSOs that were clearly wrong, misleading or gratuitously insulting - certainly nothing that reflected positively on the organization. Bob's (and other 'real' TSOs refusal to correct such posts constituted tacit support. I wonder if Bob ever realized (or cared) that the Blog might also be read by folks who do not read FT, folks who go there with an open mind looking for information and answers. It's hard to believe that anyone going to the Blog for insights into TSA for the first time would come away with the impression of a proud, professional, self-policing organization with high standards.
There are tons of folks that read the site that are not on FT, and I have commented the same as I do here, although I am much less of a commenter now than I used to be. I have other responsibilities to take care of with the blog at this point, and that limits my commment time. I too disagree with much of what is posted there by both sides of many subjects, and feel that some of the posts by self proclaimed TSOs are not what should be posted by TSOs, in actuality, they represent what TSOs should be against. There is good information at the blog, if you can look past the negative posts, the childish posts and the attitude that is existent in many of the posts (on both sides), you can discover plenty of information that you may not have known.

The crappy attitude, the rudeness and unprofessional behavior should never exist in the first place. I hear many statements that (from other TSOs mind you) I just don't understand the pressure or environment that exists in larger airports, and I respond with something akin to "that is a crock". Even in a challenging situation a TSO should be professional and courteous at the bare minimum, there is no reason to yell in a checkpoint unless there is a safety situation that requires it (such as "look out!", etc). I have had people that were cursing and abusive and downright nasty, the entire time I spoke in even tones, and in a polite and professional manner, then escalated it up the chain if need be. To quote Yoda, "there is no try, either do, or do not", and there is simply no excuse for being unprofessional. It seems that there is some life coming out of OPR right now, and they are beginning to crack down on the right areas at this point. I personally would like to see them move a bit faster in their operations, but the office is still new, and Halinski is moving that group forward in a positive direction (see Newark this past week). My true desire is to see all of the thugs, knuckleheads and unprofessional workforce members removed, permanently from the workforce, so we do not have to worry about them popping back up in the system somewhere else - where they can be unprofessional for another section of the nation in some other format (other civil servant positions). I know I am but one voice, but I have been consistent in my voicing the fact that being unprofessional should never be acceptable.
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Old Oct 22, 12, 7:22 am
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Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
There are tons of folks that read the site that are not on FT, and I have commented the same as I do here, although I am much less of a commenter now than I used to be. I have other responsibilities to take care of with the blog at this point, and that limits my commment time. I too disagree with much of what is posted there by both sides of many subjects, and feel that some of the posts by self proclaimed TSOs are not what should be posted by TSOs, in actuality, they represent what TSOs should be against. There is good information at the blog, if you can look past the negative posts, the childish posts and the attitude that is existent in many of the posts (on both sides), you can discover plenty of information that you may not have known.
While I commend you for trying to do the right thing, the TSA Blog is nothing more than a massive government propganda organ, and I refuse to spend time there.

Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
The crappy attitude, the rudeness and unprofessional behavior should never exist in the first place. I hear many statements that (from other TSOs mind you) I just don't understand the pressure or environment that exists in larger airports, and I respond with something akin to "that is a crock". Even in a challenging situation a TSO should be professional and courteous at the bare minimum, there is no reason to yell in a checkpoint unless there is a safety situation that requires it (such as "look out!", etc). I have had people that were cursing and abusive and downright nasty, the entire time I spoke in even tones, and in a polite and professional manner, then escalated it up the chain if need be. To quote Yoda, "there is no try, either do, or do not", and there is simply no excuse for being unprofessional. It seems that there is some life coming out of OPR right now, and they are beginning to crack down on the right areas at this point. I personally would like to see them move a bit faster in their operations, but the office is still new, and Halinski is moving that group forward in a positive direction (see Newark this past week). My true desire is to see all of the thugs, knuckleheads and unprofessional workforce members removed, permanently from the workforce, so we do not have to worry about them popping back up in the system somewhere else - where they can be unprofessional for another section of the nation in some other format (other civil servant positions). I know I am but one voice, but I have been consistent in my voicing the fact that being unprofessional should never be acceptable.
I really do you think you are in the minority, because your leadership takes the exact opposite approach, actually fostering the unprofessionalism that rightly object to.
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Old Oct 22, 12, 7:25 am
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You take great care to point out that there were (and probably still are) inappropriate posts on the TSA Blog by both TSOs and non-TSOs.

You miss (or ignore) my point.

It is a TSA Blog, in spite of Bob's occasional qualifications. The average citizen who finds his/her way to the Blog will read it as an official blog sponsored and maintained by the agency, allegedly with the goal of keeping the public informed and continuing a dialogue with the public.

The average citizen who finds his/her way to the Blog (and I know a few, folks who do not know my opinions about TSAs misconduct) do not walk away talking about inappropriate comments from the public or about the 'gems' of information they manage to ferret out. Instead, they walk away with the perception that inappropriate posts by self-identified TSOs, on a TSA website, posts that are unchallenged by a TSA moderator or fellow TSOs, represent the agency as a whole.

They do not walk away with the perception that inappropriate posts by pax represent all pax.

This perception is only re-inforced every time a TSA spokesperson responds to a incident involving clearly inappropriate actions by a TSO with boilerplate nonsense about 're-training' and 'high standards' and 'procedures followed' (particularly when subsequent investigations sometimes reveal this is not true).

I can understand you not liking a double standard - folks automatically assuming pax are always right, TSA is always wrong. But the reverse is also true - TSA is not always right and the pax is not always wrong. But in a certain sense, every TSO in uniform, even if off-duty, represents the agency. Every TSO who witnesses misconduct and does not speak up tacitly supports the misconduct by his/her silence.

TSOs are, by TSA's own repeated statements, trained and paid to be professionals concerned with the safety of the public. Rudeness, retaliatory conduct, allowing personal irritation to take over - these compromise the task at hand.

There is no requirement for a pax to behave in a 'professional' manner in order to fly. Unfortunately, there is all too often a functional requirement for a pax to swallow pride, accept retaliatory conduct or clear indisputable violations of SOP or risk not flying, get labelled a 'domestic terrorist', lose Pre-check privileges or worse.
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Old Oct 22, 12, 10:01 am
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Originally Posted by chollie View Post
You take great care to point out that there were (and probably still are) inappropriate posts on the TSA Blog by both TSOs and non-TSOs.

You miss (or ignore) my point.

It is a TSA Blog, in spite of Bob's occasional qualifications. The average citizen who finds his/her way to the Blog will read it as an official blog sponsored and maintained by the agency, allegedly with the goal of keeping the public informed and continuing a dialogue with the public.

The average citizen who finds his/her way to the Blog (and I know a few, folks who do not know my opinions about TSAs misconduct) do not walk away talking about inappropriate comments from the public or about the 'gems' of information they manage to ferret out. Instead, they walk away with the perception that inappropriate posts by self-identified TSOs, on a TSA website, posts that are unchallenged by a TSA moderator or fellow TSOs, represent the agency as a whole.

They do not walk away with the perception that inappropriate posts by pax represent all pax.

This perception is only re-inforced every time a TSA spokesperson responds to a incident involving clearly inappropriate actions by a TSO with boilerplate nonsense about 're-training' and 'high standards' and 'procedures followed' (particularly when subsequent investigations sometimes reveal this is not true).

I can understand you not liking a double standard - folks automatically assuming pax are always right, TSA is always wrong. But the reverse is also true - TSA is not always right and the pax is not always wrong. But in a certain sense, every TSO in uniform, even if off-duty, represents the agency. Every TSO who witnesses misconduct and does not speak up tacitly supports the misconduct by his/her silence.

TSOs are, by TSA's own repeated statements, trained and paid to be professionals concerned with the safety of the public. Rudeness, retaliatory conduct, allowing personal irritation to take over - these compromise the task at hand.

There is no requirement for a pax to behave in a 'professional' manner in order to fly. Unfortunately, there is all too often a functional requirement for a pax to swallow pride, accept retaliatory conduct or clear indisputable violations of SOP or risk not flying, get labelled a 'domestic terrorist', lose Pre-check privileges or worse.
I actually agree with you on many of your points. Many casual readers will possibly come away with a negative impression of the comments made by some of the self proclaimed TSOs. I dislike that type of post from anyone, it does not contribute to the discussion, and many times it fails to further the education process on either side. I will make an attempt in the future to address the errant comments in the future, but I can make no promises that it will have an impact - other than sound like I am making an effort.

The attitude that is exhibited in many of the comments is something I personally find useless, it smacks of someone not willing to treat passengers as what they are, people simply trying to get from place A to place B with as little challenge as possible. TSOs should not be acting the part of one of those challenges, but helping the passengers that need it, and getting out of the way of those that do not need it. While we have the regulations and SOP to enforce, it should not be seen as an adversarial relationship, quite the contrary it should be seen as a partnership between the passengers and the TSOs (admittedly, that is looking at it through rose colored glasses, but that should be the ultimate goal).

I do my best not to take situations at face value when they are presented in the media or blogosphere, I always try to remember that there are 3 sides to every story and we very rarely get the truth (like most humans, I fail in that endeavor from time to time). There is simply no way that TSA is not guilty of anything, just like there is no way that all of the claims against TSA are true. One of the problems is that when something is reported to the media, you most likely have one side of that story, and the way our media and communications systems are set up, it runs ad nauseum in about 48 hours - whether it is true, part true or false. By the time some sort of investigation can be done into the incident, it is too late to make an effective statement. That is not making an excuse, we as an agency need to do a more effective job of communicating on issues that crop up, however, we currently do not do that. I agree that making an announcement 24 hours into a news cycle that says we followed regulations, without a completed investigation to back that up, is not the best way to handle a situation. There should be no double standard, no statement should be made until you can back that statement up - and that runs both ways, but you and I both know that is not the way of the world right now (which is sad in an of itself).

Passengers should never have to be afraid to enter a checkpoint, swallow their pride, accept retaliatory behavior (which is expressly forbidden by the regulations) or any of the other things you mention, unless they are doing something that could endanger other passengers, the airport/airline employees or the infrastructure. It should be a simple process that generates policy discussion, not challenges to the professionalism of the TSOs. That is an area where TSA has problems, I am lucky - I work at a smaller airport, and we have pretty good staff here, other airports may not have that same situation - and to me, that is simply not acceptable to me. I think that things are changing, with the introduction of OPR last year, and them being more and more involved in the everyday operation, it will generate positive change. I also think that like any other agency this size, that change will probably be too slow in coming for both you and I.

The major discussion about TSA should be changes to policy, not how rude or unprofessional the TSOs were at checkpoint A. That is my long term goal, that the stories you see most often about TSA, are the ones discussing what changes in policy are being made in response to Congress and the public speaking out, not someone being yelled at or jacked up because they looked at someone wrong.
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Old Oct 22, 12, 10:53 am
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Thanks for a thoughtful reply. I hope you understand where I am coming from in my criticism of the Blog, particularly the inappropriate TSO comments (real or alleged. If alleged, they should be deleted; if 'real', perhaps 'retraining' is in order). I can't believe a similar blog for any other organization (teachers, for example, or the IRS) would allow alleged employees to 'represent' the organization with inappropriate posts. I'm not criticizing you specifically - it appears that Bob is the primary individual responsible for the tone, but if I were a TSO, I wouldn't be happy about it.

You mentioned that some TSOs have suggested that perhaps because you work at a smaller airport, you don't 'understand' the pressures of a larger airport. Do you think they possibly have a point?

Here's what I'm getting at. I work in a very high-pressure, time-sensitive job. Things come up and need to be addressed five minutes before they happened. I happen to thrive in this environment (not many do). Some folks tolerate it and manage to keep their cool (with the help of sometimes frequent smoke breaks). Some folks simply can't cope, the pressure builds and they snap.

Is it possible that some of these folks are capable of being professional, but not in a perpetually high stress environment? That perhaps changes in task rotations or something similar at larger airports would reduce the stress (which I think we would both agree would result in a better experience for the pax, a 'better' experience for the TSOs, and probably a more effective job performance and focus)? Or perhaps some folks simply aren't suited for face-to-face interaction and should be relegated to baggage screening. If so, perhaps forcing them to perform a task that they are bad at (groping people, tolerating the same (understandable, don't TSOs get it?) confusion from even frequent flyers every day isn't the best allocation of resources.

I'm just curious. I'm sure the last thing TSA managers (or whoever is responsible) want to be dealing with is TSO stress and burnout.

I take your point about focusing on policy changes vs. focusing on the latest inappropriate behavior (real or fancied or somewhere in between), but I can't say I agree. From where I sit, the few positive policy changes I have seen have been a direct result of the media and/or private citizens giving widespread publicity to inappropriate conduct. I find it hard to believe that after nearly a decade, TSA would finally decide that children, elderly and service members in uniform are 'lower risk' pax if it hadn't been for repeated videos and outcries about children, elderly and service members being groped, especially since we've been hearing for over a decade that the bad guys are 'known' to use children. This is, after all, first and foremost an organization that is about security, all security involves risk assessment, and there are certainly enough folks at all levels in the organization with prior security experience. It should not have taken over a decade (and a media firestorm) to 'suddenly' discover that these folks might be lower risk categories.

Sadly, I have seen no evidence that there is (even now) a reliable way for the public to directly address TSA and expect such input to be taken into consideration short of a media circus. I thought that the Blog and a serious feedback system would fill that role, but apparently not. (Recent example: an Ipad was reported missing, tapes aren't kept forever, we're told - yet two weeks elapses, no word from TSA until the network announces they are going to air incontrovertible results of the sting. I'd like to think TSA was treating the theft report, and all theft reports, seriously, but it sure doesn't look like it).

Also, I would like to point out that IIRC, Kip Hawley specifically addressed the liquids ban in his book. I would think that the liquids ban is a policy issue, and it seems a bit awkward to me that the former (and presumably much more knowledgable than the average citizen or media hack) head of TSA would say the liquids ban should be eliminated when the current leadership seems to be making no moves in that direction - in fact, there were widespread reports shortly after his statements that TSA was stepping up enforcement of the LGA policy (ALL baggies out, correct size, a supposedly reliable resident TSO even hinting a potentially punitive action for anyone failing to do so). Pistole clearly doesn't feel he needs to respond to Congress or anyone else, let alone the media, but it still creates an awkward public perception when he doesn't respond to something the former TSA head says.
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